ALFA Romeo will introduce its revised 147 in March, with a new front and rear end. The engine line-up is similar to the current 147, while the GTA will continue in current form.
AUDI begins the year with the launch of the revised A4 range, while the high-performance Audi RS4 is expected in the summer. The A6 Avant has already been revealed to the public and should arrive in UK showrooms by April. By the end of 2005 the whole range should be sporting the new trapezoidal corporate grille.
AN all-new 3-series saloon will arrive in the UK in the spring with new technology and a new 3.0-litre petrol engine. It will be joined by the Touring in the autumn, while the existing 3-series convertible will gain a 2.0-litre diesel option from March. A new six cylinder 3.0-litre diesel engine will be offered in the X3 towards the end of the year while two truly high-performance BMWs will also arrive in the UK in 2005: the 507bhp BMW M5 in the summer, while the 6-series will be the same M Sport 5.0-litre V10 late in the year.
Cadillac will launch in the UK in 2005, and while there will be four models available in due course, the first right-hand drive car will be the BMW 5-series sized CTS saloon. Initially available with V6 petrol engines, a diesel is expected later. Other Cadillacs will be available in left-hand drive only in 2005.
IT’S all change at Daewoo in 2005 with the adoption of the Chevrolet brand. It means the existing Daewoo line-up has been re-badged Chevrolet. Initially, the whole range is carried over, but there will be a new Matiz, as well as a seven-seat SUV. New common-rail diesels are being made ready for this car and other models, although these might appear in 2006.
CHRYSLER begins the year with the launch of the PT Cruiser Cabriolet. The soft-top version of the Cruiser will be left-hand drive only and will be powered by the 2.4-litre petrol engine. Later in the year, the 300C saloon will arrive in the UK offering a choice of V6 and V8 petrol engines as well as a V6 diesel. While the styling might be too brash for some tastes it will be well-equipped and a diesel model’s wholelife costs should be competitive.
CITROEN’S ‘Stop & Start’ fuel-saving technology is now in the C3, but the first half of 2005 should see the launch of the C1 city car that shares components with the Peugeot 107 and Toyota Aygo. Later in the year, Citroen’s new flagship car, the C6 should arrive after an expected unveiling in Geneva in March.
NEW additions to the excellent Panda range arrive in February, with a super-frugal diesel version, using the 1.3-litre Multijet engine, and the charming Panda 4x4 which is a fraction of the size of cars like the Honda CR-V and Nissan X-trail but can still hold its own when the going gets rough.
A CONTENDER for this year’s best-selling fleet car is now on sale: the new Ford Focus, although four-door cars will arrive in the spring.
The Fiesta and Fusion start the year with an option of a new 1.6-litre TDCi engine, but at the other end of the scale, there are also high-performance versions of the Fiesta in the 1.6 Zetec S and the 2.0 ST.
The Fiesta is due a minor refresh during 2005, although changes will be focused mainly on the interior, while the Mondeo is also expected to undergo similar treatment.
The Ford Transit is celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2005 and to commemorate, the company is launching a range of special edition vehicles. Ford is a launching a series of special value models including the new Transit Leader, SilverBlue, Hallmark, Connect LXPlus and Connect Hallmark.
HONDA will begin offering its 2.2-litre common rail diesel in other models apart from the Accord. First to benefit will be the CR-V in March, which could give the car what it needs to become a sector leader, promising class-leading fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions.
The same engine will follow in the FR-V six-seat compact MPV in August.
An all-new Civic will appear before the end of the year, with a diesel engine, but we are unlikely to see any cars in UK showroom until 2006.
Honda’s new Legend, which is still unconfirmed for the UK, showcases new technology, such as a lane departure warning system, object recognition and an all-wheel drive system. Expect to see some of these features on the Honda Accord in 2006.
HYUNDAI will launch a new Sonata in the UK early this year, with a common-rail diesel engine to follow the launch of the petrol version. Bigger than before, Hyundai has also worked to improve the car’s perceived quality, using better materials inside and fitting an integrated audio system.
IVECO has revealed a raft of improvements to the Daily range for the coming year. The company has seen increased demand among European fleets recently for higher-powered vans and so to oblige is replacing the old 2.8-litre engine with a 3.0-litre unit, offering either 136bhp or 166bhp, making the Daily the most powerful heavy panel van on the roads. Iveco reckons on savings of around 10% over the old 2.8-litre unit.
Iveco’s other big launch this year is the new AGile automatic model, on the 2.3-litre 96bhp and 116bhp models.
JEEP will launch a revised Cherokee this month, with some styling changes plus a new 2.8-litre diesel engine.
However, perhaps more significant will be the launch of the new Grand Cherokee in June. As well as the petrol engines in its line-up, this car will have access to the new V6 diesel recently unveiled by Mercedes-Benz.
ALL diesel X-types are now offered with Euro IV diesels, and later this year, there will be a more powerful diesel variant available using the same engine as in the Ford Mondeo ST TDCi. Jaguar will also launch a long-awaited diesel version of the new XJ, using the same 2.7-litre common rail diesel engine as in the S-type. Although it might be less powerful than those offered in other luxury saloons, Jaguar claims the XJ’s aluminium body will ensure performance is not compromised.
KIA joins the rush to launch SUVs with its new Sportage this month. It has the lowest list price of any SUV of this size and offers permanent all-wheel drive, with the front wheels in charge for most of the time, and drive being sent to the rear when slippage is detected.
THE last time Land Rover launched a completely new model was eight years ago with the Freelander. Later this year the Range Rover Sport will become the fifth model in its line-up, and it aimed at drivers of BMW X5s, Porsche Cayennes and the like. Promising to be the most agile Land Rover on the road, it is still expected to perform like a Land Rover off-road. Topping the range will be a supercharged V8, alongside a normally-aspirated V8 and a diesel.
THE eagerly-awaited replacement for the ageing LDV Convoy and Pilot finally breaks cover in January. The new vans were originally a joint venture between LDV and Daewoo. But when the Korean outfit was taken over by General Motors, the Americans weren’t interested in the commercial vehicle and sold the rights to the British firm for a song. Until the official unveiling there are no details of what the new models will be like.
LEXUS will launch a new GS range this year claiming it heralds a new ‘more passionate’ design direction. Lexus will also launch its petrol-electric hybrid SUV, the RX400h, which promises V8 performance from its V6 petrol engine with by two electric motors, with petrol saloon fuel economy of about 35-40mpg. Also expect news on a diesel Lexus during 2005.
MAZDA will replace the Premacy and MPV with one model in the autumn. Offering a six-plus-one seat layout, the Mazda5 will be unique in the compact MPV sector, offering sliding rear passenger doors. The Mazda6 will gain a high-performance saloon variant with the MPS6. With a turbo bolted to a direct-injection 2.3-litre engine and four-wheel drive, the 250bhp car will arrive in the summer, about the same time that the Mazda6 will benefit from minor revisions. Mazda is also coming up with a replacement for the iconic MX-5, which should be seen in 2005.
THREE new Mercedes-Benz products will arrive in 2005. The new A-class will arrive in February, while the CLS ‘four-door coupe’ will arrive in March and a new M-class will go on sale in the autumn. By then we should have seen the first pictures of the new 2006 S-class. The B-class and R-class – production versions of prototypes unveiled in September 2004 – will also be in the pipeline for 2006. On the Mercedes-Benz Commercial Vehicles front, a new Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is due to be launched in 2006, but by the end of this year, the press and public will have been given a sneak preview of the new vehicle.
MG Rover will not have any major product changes in 2005. However, a coupe version of the MG TF seems likely. The company revealed a coupe prototype in November called the MG GT, and there is likely to be a production car based on it. MG Rover also unveiled a coupe based on the Rover 75, and while a production version was not mentioned, it cannot be ruled out in the future.
A QUIETER year for MINI than last year when the whole range was revised and convertible versions added. This year will see the introduction of a six-speed automatic transmission on the Cooper S. The ‘Works’ pack will be upgraded to 210bhp this year, while a limited slip differential for even better handling will become available as an option on the 170bhp Cooper S.
MITSUBISHI will be welcoming a new arrival in February with the introduction of the Lancer saloon and estate, offering a low-entry price alternative to the likes of the Ford Focus and Vauxhall Astra.
Three-door versions of the Colt will also arrive in February, along with the high-performance 147bhp Colt CZT.
Diesel versions of the Grandis MPV/estate crossover are also expected to appear in 2005, and we might see some clues on the next-generation L200 by the end of the year.
NISSAN will undergo a busy year for new products with two new four-wheel drive vehicles and a roadster in March.
The Murano is an upmarket ‘urban 4x4’ powered by a V6 petrol engine. It will be joined by the more rugged Pathfinder – a seven-seat SUV – which will be offered with a new four-cylinder common rail diesel.
Arriving at the same time will be the 350Z roadster – the long-awaited soft-top version of the two-seat sports coupe.
Later in the year the Micra will gain a 1.6-litre engine option and will be offered in folding hard-top convertible guise with the Micra C+C. The X-trail will undergo a minor change to keep it fresh. The Nissan Pickup will also be replaced, and will share styling cues with the new Pathfinder.
PEUGEOT will launch two small cars in the summer. The first will be the 1007 – a compact four-seater with two electric sliding doors and a tall roof to maximise interior space. It will be followed by the 107, which is a shared project with Citroen and Toyota that will also spawn the C1 and Aygo, giving Peugeot a replacement for the 106 range.
Peugeot should give fleets the first sight of the 407 coupe before the end of the year, although sales will not start until 2006.
RENAULT will launch a heavily revised version of the Laguna in March, with an upgraded 1.9-litre dCi engine, boasting 130bhp and a particulate filter. A new 205bhp turbocharged petrol GT model with a ‘sports chassis’ will also join the range. The Modus will be offered with a Euro IV compliant diesel early in the year, while the next generation Clio will be on sale by the end of the year.
SAAB will have its busiest year for new products for a while with a estate version of the 9-3 to be unveiled in Geneva in March before arriving in the UK in August.
At the same time, a new turbocharged V6 engine will be introduced as the top model in the 9-3 range. Meanwhile the 9-5 will undergo some cosmetic changes before the end of the year, as well as both 2.2 and 3.0-litre diesels being dropped in favour of a 150bhp 1.9 TiD. Saab is also evaluating an ethanol/petrol engine with can run on either fuel or a mixture of both. This might develop during 2005 into a feasible product for local authority fleets with commitment to cutting pollution.
A joint development cross-over vehicle with Subaru will be seen in concept form during 2005 which will initially go on sale in North America early next year, but is also expected to arrive in Europe during 2006.
SEAT’S new styling direction, that started with the Altea last year, will be further established with the new Toledo this month. While it looks similar to the Altea, the new Toledo is longer and competes with upper-medium sector cars. However, like the Altea, it is based on the same platform that has produced the Audi A3, Volkswagen Golf and Skoda Octavia.
SKODA will launch the estate version of the Octavia in March. The line-up will reflect the impressive Octavia hatchback, but Skoda will also offer four-wheel drive estates with greater ground clearance and improved traction, with a choice of either 1.9 TDI or 2.0 FSI engines. Later in the year expect to see the high-performance Octavia vRS, which is expected to be fitted with a 200bhp turbocharged 2.0 FSI engine.
Smart underwent a significant change in 2004 with the introduction of its first ‘mainstream’ model, the forfour. Spring 2005 will witness the introduction of the high-performance Brabus forfour.
Toyota will launch the Aygo city car in July – its product in the small car partnership with Peugeot and Citroen. It will sit below the Yaris in the Toyota range, and we can expect to see a slightly larger Yaris unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September, before going on sale early in 2006. The Avensis will gain a high-performance diesel option in the summer with the launch of a 150bhp variant. Later in the year, Toyota will launch a new version of the Hilux pick-up truck.
VAUXHALL will boost the Astra range in the spring with the addition of the three-door Sport Hatch. The line-up will be similar to the five-door range, but a high-performance VXR version is also expected.
The Zafira will be replaced in May by a new seven-seater which will be revealed to the public at the Geneva Motor Show, based on the new Astra platform. The Vectra and Signum will be given mid-life revisions in late summer, while the Meriva will also be refreshed before the end of the year. A new high-performance version of the Monaro using a 400bhp 6.0-litre V8 will also go on sale in the spring.
Vauxhall is also gearing up for vans in 2005 with a range of new niche models in a bid to sell 50,000 CVs annually.
First niche model will be a new Vivaro minibus converted by Advanced Minibus. It will have nine seats and the rear row will be removable. This will be followed by a 12-seat version, wheelchair-accessible version and a taxi.
Movano will be available in 15, 16 and 17-seat minibus versions, along with a wheelchair version. Combo will also be launched with wheelchair access. Vivaro will have a brand new member of the family in the shape of a dropside body, in both high and low-deck formats.
Combo and Movano will also be available with refrigerated bodies, courtesy of Somers, and there will be a Vivaro cherry picker converted by Versalift. Last but not least is a Movano car transporter, home delivery vehicle, milk float and glass transporter.
VOLKSWAGEN is in for a busy summer with a new Passat saloon and a new variation on the Golf theme. The Passat saloon will be unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in March before arriving in the UK in June. An estate model will be available by the end of the year. The Golf Plus is a roomier, more versatile version of the five-door Golf and should also be available in June. Although not on sale until 2006, we should also see the Fox – a replacement for the Lupo – before the end of the year, as well as the new Bora.
THE S40 range will gain two entry-level engines this month – a 100bhp 1.6-litre petrol and a 110bhp 1.6-litre diesel. Otherwise it will be a quiet year for Volvo, although a replacement for the C70 convertible should be revealed before the end of the year.