If one of your New Year’s resolutions was to clean up your old car, sell it and usher in 2016 with a new set of wheels, you will be spoilt for choice. There’s something little, something large; cars for the mud, and cars for the sun. So start your research here, with the latest new models to arrive in showrooms this month.
For dropping the top in the city: Smart fortwo cabrio
Price: from £13,265
Claim to fame: It’s Britain’s cheapest soft-top car.
The Smart fortwo cabrio is Britain’s cheapest soft-top car. A shade more affordable than Fiat’s equally dinky 500C, the fortwo cabrio is ideal for city drivers. The two-seater is less than 9ft long. And because the engine’s under the boot floor, the front wheels will turn to extreme angles, making the hip little motor as wieldy as a London taxi.
The roof is fabric and rolls back electrically – a little bit like a high-tech sardine tin – to rest just above the boot. Then you can lift out a pair of roof rails, above the driver’s and passenger’s heads, to open it further still – making it the ideal car for a panoramic city tour.
For a super-size American SUV: Ford Edge
Price: from £29,995
You can boast about: A fancy sound-cancelling system that can mute bickering children... maybe.
From the land of super-size comes the Edge. No, not the guitarist from stadium rockers U2 but a large, spacious SUV that’s fit for scrambling around off the beaten track or more likely enjoying life on the road.
It’s priced to compete with models such as the BMW X3, Land Rover Discovery Sport and new Kia Sorento. And one of the aces up its sleeve is a noise-cancelling system which plays sound waves through the audio system to mute exterior noise. All versions come with four-wheel drive, but annoyingly, an automatic gearbox is only available with the more expensive 207bhp version selling for £34,395. That, and the lack of a seven-seat option, are likely to hold it back.
For a fully-loaded hatchback: Volkswagen Golf GT Edition
Price: from £23,915
How much extra for free? Comes with nearly £1,500 of freebies.
The Volkswagen ‘dieselgate’ emissions scandal has not only damaged the reputation of VW, but also slowed its sales. In an effort to get more car buyers to walk into its showrooms, Volkswagen has come up with a new version of its best-selling Golf, which appears to offer seriously good value for money.
Called the GT Edition, it bundles together £1,795 of extra equipment for a £300 price increase over the model it succeeds, the Golf GT. There are 18-inch alloy wheels, a panoramic sunroof, a navigation system, front and rear parking sensors and tinted rear windows. It also comes with a choice of engines, including a 1.4-litre turbo petrol and 1.6-litre and 2-litre turbo diesels, as well as manual or automatic gearboxes.
For a workhorse wonder to tackle the rough stuff: SsangYong Rexton
Price: from £22,995
What’ll she pull, mister? Up to three tonnes, actually.
Caravanners take note: the latest SsangYong Rexton is stronger and fitter than ever, and can tow up to three tonnes of beautiful, pristine-white caravan. It comes with a new 2.2-litre, four-cylinder diesel engine provided by Mercedes-Benz. That means there’s a choice of a six-speed manual gearbox or seven-speed automatic.
The four-wheel drive machine is built with a ladder-style chassis that lets the suspension travel further and means it should be as agile as Bear Grylls when traversing tough terrain. And given its £22,995 starting price plus the availability of seven seats and a five-year warranty, it’s a bit of a bargain for a 4x4 of this size.
For something completely different: Infiniti Q30
Price: from £20,550
Did you know? Underneath the Q30 is essentially a Mercedes A-class.
Infiniti: ever heard of it? Possibly not. But the Nissan-owned car company is slowly – ever so slowly – making inroads into the British car market. And as you can see from the Q30, it’s trying hard to stand out from the crowd. Beneath the distinctive bodywork are bits and pieces from the Mercedes A-Class. But the Infiniti is slightly cheaper, and inside much of the interior of the five-seat hatchback looks bespoke, rather than borrowed.
One of the problems for Infiniti, (and a hurdle for its customers), is that the company has relatively few dealers in Britain. At the time of writing, there were just 12, so convenience is unlikely to be a strong point for a company that’s trying to take on Audi, BMW, Mercedes and VW. But if there’s one near you, the Q30 is worth a test drive.