Star Cars 2010 part 1 - Superminis - 2

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  • 198 new cars revealed
  • Secret projects coming your way
  • The cars you need to see
Renault Twizy/Zoe
Price from £5000 (est)
On sale From late 2011
What is it? Renault gets serious about the future of electric cars

Renault has been shouting louder than anyone about electric cars, and it's more than just talk – it has confirmed that three of its Z.E. (Zero Emission) battery-powered concept cars will now go into production.

Besides the Fluence we're first getting the odd-looking Twizy (pictured), which will arrive in 2011. Renault says the road-going machine will be relatively unchanged from the concept car/scooter crossover. That remains to be seen, but after being invited to drive it in France, we know how confident Renault is about the future of electric cars.

The Twizy's top speed is only 47mph, but it accelerates briskly and can manage up to 60 miles on a full charge. One passenger can sit behind the driver, and the rear seat adjusts to suit an adult or a child. The Twizy will have airbags, and Renault is even considering putting it through Euro NCAP's crash testing programme.

The following year, a proper electric supermini will go into production. It may well be called the Zoe, after the concept car from the Frankfurt motor show. However, the final design will be much more conventional.

If you can't wait, Peugeot will launch its iOn – a variant of Mitsubishi's i MiEV – in October. Mitsubishi became the first major car maker to offer an EV (electric vehicle) in the UK, in December, and Peugeot's tie-up with the Japanese company will allow it to sell an almost identical car from next autumn. Sister company Citroen will launch its own version, the C-ZERO, in October.

See all of Renault's electric cars here

Nissan Micra/Cube
Price from £8500 (est)
On sale Early-mid 2010
What is it? More conservative replacement for bug-eyed Micra, plus a boxy supermini

Final details of the all-new Micra are still sketchy, but Nissan has released these official drawings ahead of a probable unveiling at the Geneva motor show in March. We've seen the final design at a top-secret showing and can confirm it's no Fiesta rival in the style stakes.

Still, it will be more spacious than the existing model and roughly 50kg lighter. An all-new three-cylinder engine will also be available. The new Micra won't be made in the UK – Nissan's Sunderland factory will produce the Qazana crossover.

Before then, Nissan will finally bring its Cube to the UK. Some eager buyers haven't been able to wait, instead importing cars from Japan, where the quirky supermini has been on sale since 2008. That demand bodes well for its success ahead of a January launch. Prices start at around £14,000.


Seat Ibiza ST
Price from £11,000 (est)
On sale Mid 2010
What is it? Sexy estate should have more than a hint of practicality

Think estates are boring? Seat is about to change your mind with a load-lugging version of its trendy Ibiza, based on its IBZ concept car from the Frankfurt motor show.

The Sport Tourer (or ST) will use the same platform and engines as the Ibiza hatch and will be marketed as a sportier alternative to cars such as the Skoda Fabia Estate.

It will be practical, too. The IBZ concept car has a 410-litre boot, with rear seats that fold flat to the floor – and we reckon the production Ibiza ST model will be similar in capacity. It's not quite as practical as its Skoda cousin, but it's a much more desirable estate.


Mazda 1
Price from £8000 (est)
On sale Early 2011
What is it? A cleaner supermini to complete Mazda's line-up

Mazda is staying tight-lipped about a production model of its Kiyora concept car, first shown at the 2008 Paris motor show. However, with a '1' missing from its numbered line-up, and no small supermini currently on offer, we reckon it's a dead cert.

The 1 probably won't look much like the Kiyora, though. Mazda has a history of creating wacky show cars, but we've yet to see much of this carried into production.

The Kiyora name (which means 'clean and pure') will no doubt have a big influence, though, as a sub-100g/km CO2 output will be a prerequisite for any small supermini by the time the 1 arrives – the Kiyora concept car's estimated CO2 output is just 90g/km.


Seat/Skoda city cars
Price from £7500 On sale 2011
What is it? Seat and Skoda look to the future with a pair of Volkswagen Up! spin-offs

Remember the Joyster? It's more than three years since VW-owned Skoda unveiled the dinky little concept car pictured here. Smaller than a Fabia, it makes perfect sense to us as a new product for the brand, and will help to pay back the cost of the VW Up! platform that it's based on. The VW Group will make even more of the Up! through a new city car from Seat, too.

Skoda is being a bit cagey and will only say its car is a long way off, but Seat is a bit more positive and says its runabout will be, well, running some time in 2011.

The original Up! concept car was rear-engined and rear-wheel drive, but final versions will be more conventional front-engined and front-wheel-drive cars.



Also on the way...
What and when...new cars coming your way in 2010
Aston Martin Cygnet
Ford B-Max (pictured)
Hyundai i10
Kia Rio
Hyundai i10 Blue eco
Mazda Sky-G and Sky-D eco engines
Seat City car

Star Cars 2010 part 1 - Superminis - 3

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