After the mad rush of new car sales brought on by the September registration change, October and later can be a good time to go shopping for a new model. The flood of people pouring through showroom doors slows to a steady trickle, so dealers may be prepared to strike a good deal to keep their sales targets on track.
If you’re doing your homework, drawing up a shortlist and planning to head for a test drive, this handy guide to the best new cars on sale in showrooms during October is your invaluable companion.
For being chic in the city: Fiat 500
Price: from £10,980
Why we love it: There are endless ways to personalise a 500
The Fiat 500 is the equivalent of a cup of espresso: small, perky and affordable. It’s at home in the city but can hold its own on the open road. It’s also inexpensive to run with many models exempt from road tax.
Thanks to a recent facelift and thorough round of improvements under the surface, the latest model is packed with handy features, such as the Uconnect touchscreen unit that handles music-streaming, phone calls, voice recognition and access to apps including TomTom navigation, TuneIn internet radio, Facebook and Twitter.
For carrying the kids and their grandparents: Ford Galaxy
Price: from £26,445
Adult-sized seats: seven
If you, or rather your family, are feeling the squeeze in your current car, it could be time to test drive the new Ford Galaxy. Little else short of a One Direction tour bus offers more space for lounging. And no other people carrier, or MPV, boasts as much space in the third row of seats.
We’ll concede, however, that the Galaxy is no oil painting and certainly not as easy on the eye as its sister model the S-Max. But the S-Max can’t compete for space. The Galaxy’s third row of seats folds and raises electrically. And getting into them is a breeze, as the outer middle seats tilt and slide forward. Add in plenty of ventilation, a smooth ride from the suspension plus good diesel engines, and this is a family workhorse that really does go the extra mile.
For a desirable alternative to German saloons: Jaguar XE
Price: from £26,990
Best version for company car drivers: SE 2.0 D (163PS)
There isn’t a vast choice in the compact saloon class, assuming you care about the tax costs based on CO2 emissions. So raise your hands to the sky and sing in praise of Jaguar. The British car company has finally come up with a credible alternative to usual suspects such as the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series and Mercedes C-Class. And the good news is the new XE saloon is highly desirable too.
It drives well, delivers in terms of low CO2 emissions figures, and looks good. It’s also comfortable to spend time in. The fact that Jaguar performs so well in British customer satisfaction surveys such as Auto Express Driver Power – and far better than its German rivals means the time may have come to change your company car.
For a good excuse to go the long way round:
Price: from £18,496
Bragging rights: Roof folds in two seconds flat
Treat yourself to a Mazda MX-5 and you will find any excuse to take it for a drive. This is a roadster that’s simplicity itself, with a manually-operated roof that drops down in two seconds, perky engines that thrive on revs and one of the most perfectly poised rear-wheel drive chassis going.
It’s friendly, charming and fun. That it’s also affordable makes the MX-5 a winner in our books. Just don’t say we didn’t warn you that you’ll be forever finding an excuse to take it for a spin…
For luxury, space and the ability to tow the boat: Audi Q7
Price: from £47,755
Handy to have: An off-road driving mode
The last Audi Q7 had a reputation for being a bit of a bruiser. So engineers at the German car company went back to the drawing board for the new model. They slashed more than 300kg from its bulk, while the designers toned down its imposing looks. In all areas, the new Q7 is a big improvement.
It’s a genuine seven-seater, by which we mean that it can carry seven adults without forcing any of them to put their knees up by their ears. The interior is German craftsmanship at its very best, there are gadgets galore and the driving experience is calm and comfortable.
This SUV is also up to towing a boat or horsebox, and can even venture off the beaten track, thanks to a selectable all-terrain driving mode that’s surprisingly competent when the going gets tough.