New cars for 2012 - Part 2 - Small family cars: Renault - Seat

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  • New cars coming in 2012
  • Small family cars to MPVs revealed today
  • More throughout the week
Renault Fluence
What is it? Leaf-based electric family saloon
Price from £22,850 (£17,850 with Government grant)
On sale June

Sharing much of its tech with Nissan’s Leaf, the Fluence is Renault’s first all-electric saloon. Its electric motor has a little less power than the Nissan’s, but performance is similarly smooth.

This isn’t a car you’ll want to start hurling around corners, because the soft suspension allows a fair degree of body roll, but refinement is excellent.

The Fluence’s £22,850 starting price is a lot lower than the Leaf’s, even before the Government’s maximum £5000 plug-in grant, but Fluence buyers have to lease the car’s battery at an extra cost of at least £81 per month.

Renault Mégane
What is it? The first Mégane to make it under 100g/km
Price from £15,700 (est)
On sale May

The mid-life face-lift for the Mégane will bring the hatchback’s looks into line with the new Renault range. That will mean swoopier lines around the front and sides, with the headlights set for a complete redesign.

More important, though, will be the new engines, especially a diesel that’ll take the Mégane’s CO2 emissions below 100g/km for the first time.

The new offering is expected to include an efficient 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol engine, a reworked version of the 1.5 dCi diesel and the 1.6-litre diesel from the Scénic range.

Seat Toledo
What is it? A family saloon with a small hatchback price
Price from £14,500 (est)
On sale Autumn

Seat’s autumn show star was this saloon, called IBL – a hint at the long-term future for the Exeo – but the Spanish manufacturer is planning to launch a smaller three-box model in the spring.

The new saloon is likely to be badged Toledo, and is designed to fit between the Ibiza and the Leon. It should share some of the IBL’s sharp front-end styling, but is likely to have a more practical roofline and a much higher rear bootline. That should equip it with near-hatchback practicality, which is essential if Seat wants the car to sell in markets (such as the UK) where small saloons aren’t traditionally popular with buyers.

Expect the Toledo to get a mix of Ibiza and Leon motors; that line-up could conceivably include three-cylinder engines, although the saloon’s extra size over an Ibiza makes four-cylinder motors far more likely. We’d also expect an Ecomotive version, with a small-capacity diesel and engine stop-start as standard.

New cars for 2012 - Part 2 - Small family cars: Skoda - Subaru

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