Thursday, December 31, 2009
New Cars of 2010: Small Cars
ALFA ROMEO GIULIETTA
Prepare to be spoiled for choice - there will be an abundance of small and light cars on sale in 2010, including a few new Alfa Romeos, some Citroens, several Volkswagens, a handful of Protons, plus many more.
ALFA ROMEO GIULIETTA
The new Alfa Romeo Giulietta will arrive in the fourth quarter of 2010. The replacement of the decade-old 147 will be slightly larger than its predecessor, and will offer a variety of engines: two 1.4-litre MultiAir variants, one offering 88kW and the sportier model with 125kW.
Also available will be a 1.6-litre turbo-diesel 77kW and a 2.0-litre turbo-diesel with 125kW. The top of the pops Quadrofoglio Verde (aka Cloverleaf - likely the replacement for the GTA) will boast a healthy 173kW.
ALFA ROMEO MITO
Another Cloverleaf model arriving in 2010 is the MiTo Quadrofolglio Verde. It will be powered by a 125kW turbo-charged 1.4-litre Multi-Air engine and all-new 6-speed manual transmission. You can expect this pocket-rocket sometime before October.
The MiTo will also have dual-clutch automated manual transmissions across the range by the third quarter.
Audi's lips are sealed about the arrival of the Mini-fighting A1, which should be out in Europe next year. Expected to debut at either Detroit or Geneva
Chinese cars will continue their assault in 2010, with automotive manufacturer Chery expected to release a new small car. The 1.3-litre A1 (not to be confused with Audi's upcoming A1), is curiously described by the Chinese manufacturer as 'powerful, like a quickly attacking cheetah'.
French manufacturer Citroen will bring its new large-windscreened C3 small-car range to Australia, which will be similar to the current line-up and will arrive in the third quarter of 2010.
The current C3 is still a best-seller for Citroen, having sold over two million units globally since it debuted in 2002. The all-new C3's appealing appearance, lighter body and more spacious interior along with better technology and fuel figures should entice small car buyers. The new C3 should start at the same price as the outgoing model.
Also from Citroen will be the DS3, the French rival to the Mini that cashes in on the current trend for stylish small luxury cars. The C3 based DS3 is likely to have a choice of a few engines, with the top two engine versions destined for our shores by the third quarter of 2010. The variants will likely include a 1.6-litre turbo-diesel capable of 82kW, and a 1.6-litre turbo petrol engine offering 110kW. Both automatic and manual versions of the car should make their way downunder. Price-wise, the DS3 should be placed in the same range as the Mini.
FIAT PUNTO EVO
Fiat Punto Evo - don't let the Evo tag confuse you: this is not a nod to Mitsubishi's rally-bred Lancer. Conversely, the Evo moniker is a poke at the evolution of the automobile. In this Punto's case, the name of the game is efficiency. The Punto Evo should be downunder by the third quarter, and it makes use of Fiat's new 'multi-air' petrol and JTD diesel engines, meaning an increase in fuel efficiency and a drop in carbon emissions.
The popular Fiesta small car will be sourced from Thailand from the third quarter of 2010. The change to Asian-sourced Fiestas will also bring about new models, and should include the delivery of a Fiesta sedan. The Fiesta range is likely to look the same, but the switch to Asian manufacture will mean leaner pricing for buyers as well as the inclusion of dual airbags and stability control as standard.
Holden will be producing its very own Australian-made small car based on the Cruze, which is likely to sit next to (or perhaps in place of) the Cruze. The car is said to have quite a few changes, and according to Holden it will have an Australian feel to it. Expected late 2010.
For those who've seen the new Opel Astra and have been hoping for a return of the German small car, there's some bad news. Holden has confirmed that it is not going to import the Astra, as it doesn't currently make economic sense. Holden did say, however, that they are open to any opportunities.
Another hotly anticipated Holden arrival is the new Spark. There's no confirmation of delivery as yet, but according to Holden the Spark could make its way to Australia - and possibly New Zealand - in the future. Perhaps not in 2010, though.
Honda's popular Civic will also be the beneficiary of a mid-model update during the first half of the year. Expect both cosmetic and specification changes.
Hyundai will release the i20 light car in 2010. Exact timing is uncertain for the Mazda 2 competitor, however the hype surrounding the i20 in the European market should make for an interesting debut. Expect competitive pricing.
The Hyundai i10 compact car is still in discussion between Hyundai Australia and its Korean headquarters. Hyundai has told us that they are currently assessing the feasibility of the i10 in the Australian market.
KIA CERATO HATCH
Kia's Cerato range will be joined by a 5-door hatch in the last three months of the year. The 5-door Cerato will likely offer the same 2.0-litre engine and 5-speed manual and 4-speed automatic gearboxes. The pricing for the Cerato hatch is likely to be close to the retail price of its sedan sibling.
The Rio small car will receive an update in very early 2010. Expect minor changes only.
Mazda are keeping quiet on their plans for the year ahead, but we know that the Japanese brand will start manufacturing its 2 small-car from Thailand in 2010.
The shift to cheaper production also ties in with the release a new Mazda 2 sedan variant. It is expected that the currently optional curtain airbags and stability control will now become standard across the Mazda 2 range. New model prices are unknown.
The small Mitsubishi Colt will likely receive the trademark face of the new Lancer and Outlander. The Colt will have both a cosmetic and specification upgrade sometime in 2010.
Nissan's small car, the Micra, will be produced in Thailand and India in 2010. A release is in the pipeline, and it could make it here next year. More news on the Micra will be available in the first quarter of 2010.
There is talk of an updated Swift by the end of 2010, though the timing for this is not confirmed as yet.
TOYOTA COROLLA SEDAN
After the recent update to the Corolla hatch, we can expect an updated sedan in early 2010. The sedan is expected to gain an updated look, as well as safety features like stability control and Bluetooth phone connectivity as standard.
An all-new Polo range is on the horizon, with the base model three- and five-door versions arriving in the second quarter of 2010, followed by a GTI version sometime in the second half.
Dubbed the 'mini-Golf', the new Polo is a vastly improved car to its predecessor. The fifth-generation Polo is sure to appeal to small car buyers, with its younger-twin looks and sophisticated engine line-up. Variants include a 77kW 1.2-litre turbo three-cylinder and a 1.4-litre turbo four-cylinder, and there is also word of a 1.6-litre diesel. Transmissions include a 5-speed manual and 7-speed dual-clutch automatic. Price is likely to be slightly higher than the current model.
New versions of Golf are also on the way. The all new Golf R, the most powerful Golf ever, with a 2.0-litre turbo engine, is both quicker and lighter than the V6 R32 model, despite remaining all-wheel drive, having sourced the all-wheel drive system from the Audi S3. It will be out in the middle of the year. The other new Golf to come in 2010 is the Golf Wagon, which should enable to Golf to cater to an even broader market. It should be on the road in Australia by February.
A facelift to the love-it or hate-it C30 will carry similar swoopy lines and a revised facia including bonnet, grille and headlights. The C30 will also gain a range of petrol and diesel engines, including the new C30 DRIVe with start-stop technology which helps the C30 attain a miniscule 3.8L/100km and a low carbon emissions figure of just 98g/km. The C30 range should be on sale early 2010, and should retail for around the same prices as the current range.