Small family cars: Kia - Mercedes

* New cars coming in 2012 * Small family cars to MPVs revealed today * More throughout the week...

Small family cars: Kia - Mercedes

Kia Ceed
What is it? New Ceed should be bigger and classier
Price from 14,000 (est)
On sale June

Kias next Ceed will be launched shortly after its sister car, the Hyundai i30, with which it will share many parts.

As with the second-generation i30, the new Ceed will have larger dimensions for increased cabin space, and improved interior quality. A new touch-screen entertainment system is also likely to be added.

Spy shots reveal that the forthcoming Ceed has a similar look to the i30, with much sleeker styling than the current model. The Ceed is likely to have a slightly sportier look than the i30, however.

The engine range is expected to mirror the i30s, with a 1.6-litre diesel that should provide CO2 emissions below 100g/km.

Prices are likely to rise, so the Ceed wont be significantly cheaper than most rivals. All versions are likely to be well equipped, though. The SW estate version is due in autumn.

Mercedes A-Class
**What is it? A Golf-sized package with Merc premium quality
Price from 19,000 (est)
On sale** Autumn

The old Mercedes A-Class was a supermini, but the name will adorn a larger model that will be a true rival for the next Audi A3 and the latest BMW 1 Series when it arrives next autumn.

The A-Class has been previewed by a rakish three-door concept, called Vision A, but the production car will be launched as a five-door. The cars profile is far more sporty than the boxy looks of the outgoing A-Class, with a steeply raked windscreen line. A three-door model is likely to be launched during 2013.

Mercedes is aiming to steal sales from the A3 and 1 Series by offering a particularly grown-up and well-finished cabin; sources say many of the switches and materials have been adopted from the larger, more expensive C-Class.

All of the A-Classs engines will be four-cylinder motors, driving the front wheels through a six-speed manual gearbox (a dual-clutch semi-automatic will be offered as an option). The main petrol unit will have around 150bhp, while the diesel options will be based around Mercedes 2.1-litre motor. Expect power outputs of up to 180bhp.

An AMG-badged high-performance variant is due in 2013, equipped with a 320bhp version of the 2.0-litre petrol engine.