100 hot new cars - part 1 - City cars and superminis - part 3

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  • All the star cars coming in 2011-12
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Volkswagen Up!
What is it? Fox replacement will be more compact and more efficient
Estimated price from £8800
On sale Spring 2012

VW had planned to revive the Lupo name for its ultra-efficient new city car, but that idea has been scrapped. The Fox replacement will now definitely be called the Up! (and yes, the exclamation mark is part of the car’s name). The styling hasn’t changed much since the Up! concept from 2007 (above), but there have been some major changes underneath.

The car was originally designed with a rear-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout to maximise cabin space, but the production model will be front-wheel drive to reduce costs. At 3.4 metres long (the same size as a Toyota Aygo) it’ll also be shorter than initially planned, but VW says the Up! will still seat four adults.

It will be built in Slovakia and launched with two engines: a 65bhp 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine and a 75bhp 1.2 diesel. The latter should top 80mpg and emit less than 90g/km of CO2. A turbocharged 105bhp 1.0 TSI will follow later in 2012.

The Up! will be more expensive than the Fox it replaces, but it will be better equipped and a good deal cheaper to run. We reckon it will be priced just above the Toyota Aygo, which means the entry-level model should cost under £9000. A five-door will follow in late 2012, and Audi, Seat and Skoda will all launch versions of the Up! before 2015. An electric version – codenamed E-Up! – is expected to arrive in 2013.

Nissan Micra 1.2 supercharged
What is it? New supercharged Micra is the cleanest petrol ever
Estimated price £11,000
On sale Spring 2011

Nissan’s new supercharged Micra makes diesels look a bit redundant. Its 1.2-litre direct-injection engine pumps out just 95g/km of CO2 – less than any other petrol car – which means every gallon should last more than 70 miles. It’s all down to a clever variable valve timing system, which wastes less fuel than conventional engines and converts more of it into energy.

Despite its incredible efficiency, the supercharged Micra is no slouch. With 98bhp and 105lb ft of torque, it’s much pokier than the only other engine offered in the Micra, a 79bhp 1.2 petrol. It doesn’t turn the Micra into a hot hatch, but you don’t have to thrash the engine to keep decent pace on the motorway, and it pulls strongly when you need to pick up speed. It’s also pretty quiet.

The supercharged Micra will be available from next April and will be priced around £11,000.

Toyota Verso S
What is it? Toyota’s new Honda Jazz rival
Estimated price from £12,000
On sale March 2011

Toyota’s new mini-MPV will lock horns with the Honda Jazz and Kia Venga early next year. Based on the Yaris supermini, the Verso S is less than four metres long, but clever use of space means it feels bigger inside than you’d imagine.

Four adults fit without much of a squeeze, but the interior layout does compromise boot space. To solve that problem the rear seats fold flat, more than trebling the load bay from 430 litres to 1388 litres.

Toyota says the Verso S has been designed to appeal to people downsizing from larger cars such as Ford Mondeos and BMW 3 Series, as well as to compete directly against other mini-MPVs. There’s a new touch-screen multimedia interface to boost appeal with buyers used to more expensive cars.

There will be three generously equipped trims to choose from, and we expect petrol models to start at around £12,000.

Renault Clio/Zoe
What is it? New Clio and electric supermini
Estimated price from £14,000
On sale Summer 2012

The Renault Zoe (right) was unveiled at the 2010 Paris motor show and, while it is a credible electric car in its own right, it is also significant for showing how the front end of the new Clio supermini will look when it’s launched, some time around the middle of 2012.

Meanwhile, the Zoe concept car’s styling shows 90% of how the real thing will look. It is powered by a 60kW electric motor and a full battery charge takes between 3.5 and eight hours. It can achieve an 80% charge, however, in 37 minutes.

Toyota Yaris Hybrid
What is it? Toyota’s tiniest hybrid yet
Estimated price from £16,000
On sale 2012

Toyota plans to offer a hybrid version of every car in its range by 2020, and the Yaris will be its smallest so far when it arrives in 2012. The hybrid will be built alongside other Yaris models at Toyota’s Valenciennes factory in France, and will compete for sales with the Honda Jazz Hybrid, as well as the VW Polo Bluemotion.

We’d be surprised if Toyota manages to squeeze in the 1.8-litre petrol engine – used by the Auris Hybrid and Prius – alongside an electric motor. The 1.33-litre petrol looks a more likely bet, which would pave the way for a CO2 output of under 80g/km.

In brief...
Fiat Panda
What is it? Third generation of Fiat’s city car
Estimated price from £7500
On sale Spring 2012
The replacement for the current Panda will almost certainly get the
new two-cylinder Twinair petrol engines.

Renault Twizy
What is it? Renault’s first electric car
Estimated price from £7000
On sale Summer 2012
This wacky two-seater is powered by a 20bhp motor. The Twizy can hit 47mph and do 60 miles before it runs out of juice.

Nissan ‘Twizy’
What is it? Nissan’s take on the Renault Twizy
Estimated price from £7000
On sale Late 2012
Officially called the New Mobility Concept, Nissan is expected put a version of partner Renault’s Twizy on sale a few months later.

Toyota Yaris
What is it? Face-lift for Toyota’s ’mini
Estimated price from £10,500
On sale Summer 2011
The Yaris will have a refresh before the Hybrid (right) appears. Japan will get its own version (the Vitz) in spring. We get it by summer.

What's your most exciting car of 2011? Take part in our Car of the Year poll.

100 hot new cars - part 1 - Small family cars - part 1


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