It’s relaunch time for Citroen; one that will see models culled. The Picasso has already disappeared and the C4 Cactus and Berlingo are “under review”. Heading an SUV charge is the $39,990 C5 Aircross, with a 121kW/240Nm 1.6 turbo and a focus on “comfort and design flair”. Key to that promise is a “magic carpet ride” thanks to lightweight regressive hydraulic dampers.
It’s all change for Land Rover, ending its vast model line-up that allowed owners to pair any engine with any spec level. LR will follow the luxury norm in pairing more powerful engines with a richer spec. It is also reviving the inline six-cylinder, available in the (real) Range Rover later this year. The 3.0-litre six includes a hybrid option good for 294kW/550Nm.
It’s a big year for Peugeot, with commercial vehicles joining a rejigged range, and the 508 setting the template for the brand’s luxury aspirations. The sole model is powered by a lusty 1.6 turbo-petrol pumping out 167kW/300Nm, and priced at $53,990.
The Vantage AMR ($369,950) will have a seven-speed manual mated to the 375kW version of AMG’s 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 delivering a claimed 0-100km/h of 4.0sec.
Audi Q3, Audi A6, Audi TT update
Genesis G70, G80
Mercedes-Benz A-Class sedan
Skoda Kodiaq RS
Tesla Model 3
Audi e-tron, A1 Sportback
BMW 7 Series update
Hyundai Veloster, Sonata
Hyundai i30 N hatch update
Mazda 3 sedan
Porsche 911 Speedster (991)
If you don’t ask, you don’t get
USA’s sports-car legend makes the switch to a mid-engine layout for the next-gen C8. In the meantime, HSV, could you please do a run of RHD-converted C7s? We reckon Aussies would be happy with the LT1 atmo V8 and seven-speed manual.
HIGHLIGHTS Utes and small cars again dominated April’s top five sales spots and of the top 10 sellers just three were SUVs, due to competition. China’s MG (+127%) and Great Wall (+115%) continue to grow off small bases, while Skoda is up 38.3%. The uber-luxury market (Aston Martin, Bentley, Ferrari, Lamborghini and Rolls-Royce) continued to shrug off the economic gloom, up almost 10% so far this year.
LOWLIGHTS Bloodshed continued with the market falling 8.9%. Premium brands were down 11.9% off the back of big drops by Mercedes-Benz (-15.0%) and Audi (-31.4%). Lexus (-13.4%), Maserati (-48.4%) and Alfa Romeo (-45.5%) also slid. Mainstream market leader Toyota fell 9.1%, Holden 23.9% and Mitsubishi’s stellar March figures were tempered by a 14.4% April drop. Other losers included Jeep (-25.3%), Subaru (-25.2%) and Honda (-12.8%).
Rechargeable-car talk seems to have sparked interest in electricity-propelled vehicles. Sort of. Diesels fell 11.5 percent and petrol cars 9.0 percent, but plug-ins and electric rose 129 percent – off a low base – with 181 sales (excluding Tesla, which doesn’t report). Hybrids grew 52.9 percent to 2.2 percent of sales.
Audi was once dominant in the luxury SUV scene – the Q5 a regular top seller – but competition has not been kind. Five years ago, Audi accounted for about 20 percent of luxury SUV sales, but it’s at less than 12 percent so far this year. In April Audi sold 522 SUVs, almost half that of BMW and Mercedes-Benz (though Merc SUVs fell 18.3 percent).