Drive buy

Brent Davison checks out the local market and takes us for a spin through the new cars for 2019

The new year means new cars and while the swing away from passenger cars to SUVs continues, other trends emerge. There’s definitely more ‘electrification’ – either hybrid or full-electric – but while 2019 won’t be the tipping point it is taking us closer to it.

AUDI The German car maker brings us a couple of interesting new cars with the entry-level A1 small hatchback and the A6 luxury sedan. A1 brings a touch of class to the lower end of the market and an engine family likely to include a new turbocharged 1.5-litre, four-cylinder unit. New A6 comes in sedan and wagon variants offering choices of front- and allwheel- drive, mild hybridisation to cut fuel use and rear-wheel steer for more nimble handling.

BMW Best described as ‘sporty luxury’, BMW’s new 8 Series family includes a two-door coupe, a convertible and a four-door coupe. Expect big power, big performance and a whole lot of plush to pamper occupants. For budget buyers, BMW has a new 3 Series sedan. A little longer and slightly wider, it will offer two four-cylinder engines and the potent M340i xDrive with a six-cylinder engine and all-wheel drive.

FORD Ford gives us the new Fiesta ST hot hatch and Focus Active, a quasi-SUV built to link the Focus family with Ford’s ‘proper’ SUVs. Expect it to have a 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine, an eightspeed automatic transmission and frontwheel- drive.

HONDA Honda’s 10th generation Accord, midsized sedan arrives later this year, the quasi-luxury family sedan coming as a high tech, high-spec model offering a petrol-electric hybrid variant.

JEEP The latest iteration of the Wrangler features a new interior treatment, new mechanicals and autonomous emergency braking. Expect to see it in short (twodoor) and long (four-door) wheelbase variants as well as a new light truck variant known as Gladiator.

MAZDA Mazda’s much-hyped new-generation ‘3’ sedan and hatchback pair are due mid-year and could be one of the most important launches of 2019. Expect to see stunning styling, loads of equipment and the new high-tech SkyActiv-X supercharged petrol powerplant, boasting diesel-like fuel efficiency.

PEUGEOT Peugeot’s new and very good-looking 508 mid-sized sedan and wagon duo blend cool contemporary styling with a generally dignified air. Expect the traditional Gallic touches, plenty of high tech in the cabin and, for the bits you can’t see, lightweight materials to help boost fuel economy.

TOYOTA We’ve been waiting for Toyota’s new Supra sports coupe for a while and now the Firebreather, complete with powerful turbocharged six-cylinder engine and seven-speed automatic, promises enough acceleration to make your eyes roll back in your head . A new mid-sized RAV4 SUV is also on its way, bringing a roomier cabin, greater load area, 2.0- and 2.5-litre petrol engines and a petrol-electric hybrid power unit in place of a diesel.

VOLKSWAGEN Volkswagen’s third-generation Touareg large SUV will target Mercedes-Benz and BMW SUVs. The five-seater is longer and wider than its predecessor and will hit the market with the same turbocharged V6 diesel engine used for VW’s Amarok light truck.

VOLVO Stand by for S60, a medium four-door sedan with nicely restrained styling and aimed squarely at the likes of Mercedes- Benz C-Class, BMW 3 Series and Audi A4. The interior is distinctly high-end and there is a likelihood of plug-in hybrid electrification for the 2.0-litre petrol and diesel engines, meaning serious fuel savings.