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Best new cars for 2017

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2017 has been an incredible year for the car industry. Record breaking supercars, a sharp turn up electric avenue and of course the odd scandal, there has definitely been mix of highs and lows. A lot of the best bits have come from the awesome models that manufacturers have revealed, ranging from high-octane track monsters such as the Jaguar XE Project 8, to comfy family SUVs such as the Toyota Land Cruiser. As there have been so many new cars launched this year, we’ve rounded them all up to reveal the best new cars for 2017.

Aston MArtin V8 Vantage

On sale: December

According to Aston Martin vehicle dynamics expert Matt Becker, the new V8 Vantage will be the best-handling Aston ever. Having formerly been responsible for chassis tuning at Lotus, Becker knows a thing or two about how to set up a car, and has already demonstrated his expertise with the sublime DB11 V8.

The smaller V8 Vantage will be powered by the same AMG-sourced 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 engine, albeit detuned from the DB11’s 503bhp to closer to 450bhp. In the lighter Vantage that should still give enough performance to challenge a Porsche 911 or Audi R8; expect 0-62mph in around four seconds.

As with the car it replaces, the V8 Vantage will send its power to the rear wheels only. A keen driver and racer himself, company boss Andy Palmer has hinted that both manual and automatic gearboxes will be offered.

Audi A8

On sale: Now

The latest flagship A8 saloon is Audi’s most hi-tech car yet. Launching next month, it will seek to steal sales from the market-leading Mercedes S-Class and carbon-cored BMW 7 Series.

Chief among the innovations are what Audi claims to be class-leading Level 3 autonomous driving features. This means that, subject to local laws, the A8 can drive itself at speeds of up to 37mph provided the road has a central barrier to separate it from oncoming traffic. The limo also sets the design standard for future Audis, notably in its large front grille, while inside there’s a 10.1-inch infotainment display, plus a secondary 8.6-inch screen for the heating controls.

At launch, petrol and diesel engines will be offered, assisted by a mild hybrid system that allows the car to coast without the engine for up to 40 seconds at a time.

Audi R8 RWS

On sale: Now

Audi Sport is the new name for the brand’s Quattro performance division, and in an effort to establish its credentials as a purveyor of great-handling cars, it’s launched a rear-wheel-drive version of the R8 supercar. The RWS (Rear Wheel Series) is designed to deliver greater thrills, and while the 533bhp V10 remains the same, the suspension and electronics have been tweaked to cope with the car’s new drive layout. Audi Sport plans to build 999 RWS models.

BMW 6 Series GT

On sale: Now

From the ashes of the 5 Series Gran Turismo has risen an all-new model, but this time it wears the 6 Series badge to help distance it from the 5 Series.

As well as a new name, the five-door executive hatch has been given a more stylish look and lower roofline that’s a break from its awkward-looking predecessor. There’s tech from the latest 5 Series under the skin, while the engine range will be made up of the more powerful six-cylinder engines from that car. Four-wheel drive is on offer at the top of the range, too.

BMW i3 S

On sale: Now

As battery technology advances, it was only a matter of time before an improved i3 hit showrooms. The facelifted model has been given a longer range and faster charging, and it’s joined by the sportier i3S. This features a 181bhp electric motor that gives the car a 0-62mph time of 6.9 seconds.

In addition to the new motor, S-spec models get lowered suspension, a wider track and optimised electronics to boost the i3’s cornering ability.

BMW X3

On sale: November

BMW was one of the first manufacturers to build a premium mid-size SUV with its original X3 in 2004. This was followed by a Mk2 car in 2011. Over 1.5 million sales later the time has come for an all-new version.

The latest X3 stands out from its predecessor with its larger kidney grille and curvier rear end. It’s based on the same CLAR platform as the 5 Series, and carries over much of that car’s interior design. This includes features such as gesture control, ambient lighting and even the ability to stimulate the senses by wafting fragrances through the climate control system.

This tech doesn’t come cheap, though; the X3’s starting price has jumped by more than £4,000 compared with the outgoing model. The line-up will consist of SE, xLine and M Sport cars, while engines at launch will include a 20d diesel with 187bhp, a 30d diesel with 262bhp and a 3.0-litre petrol version with 355bhp badged as the M40i.

Citroen C3 Aircross

On sale: Now

The booming small crossover sector is filling up with new arrivals, and one of the latest is the C3 Aircross. Blending chunky concept car looks with tech and running gear from the C3 supermini, it also has a hint of the C3 Picasso about it, because its boxy proportions mean it has just as much room as the supermini-MPV that it’s replacing.

Like the closely related Peugeot 2008, there won’t be any 4WD Aircross models introduced; instead top-specification versions of the newcomer will feature switchable traction control and all-season tyres. Citroen claims the C3 Aircross is the most spacious car in its class, featuring a 410-litre boot. The sliding rear bench also allows customers to increase space to 520 litres when more luggage capacity is needed.

Jaguar XF Sportbrake

On sale: Now

There was a belief among some people that the launch of the F-Pace SUV meant Jaguar would no longer need to offer an XF estate, but the company has now launched a new version of its elegant Sportbrake. There’s a full line-up of models available, ranging from 2.0-litre Ingenium diesels to supercharged V6 petrol power, while the £60k First Edition version comes with a 3.0-litre V6 diesel motor.

All cars get a 565-litre boot, which is a 25-litre increase over the XF saloon. This capacity rises to 1,700 litres with the estate’s back seats folded. Despite the new body, Jaguar has maintained the XF’s near-perfect 50:50 weight distribution.

A fresh suspension set-up has been introduced to boost the car’s agility, while standard air suspension has been added to the rear axle to help cope with heavier loads.

Kia Stonic

On sale: Now

Kia’s Stonic crossover enters what is the fastest-growing sector of the new-car market facing no shortage of competition. In the last few months alone we’ve seen the arrival of the Citroen C3 Aircross, Hyundai Kona and SEAT Arona to name but three other B-SUVs.

The Stonic is based on the South Korean firm’s Rio supermini, albeit with eye-catching SUV-inspired-styling and a ride height that’s been jacked up by 42mm. Not that it’s designed to be an off-roader in any way, as evidenced by the fact that four-wheel drive isn’t even an option.

The engine range at launch consists of 1.4 and 1.0-litre petrol engines and a 1.6-litre diesel, all linked to a six-speed manual gearbox. However, what really makes Kia’s crossover stand out from its rivals is the extensive list of standard equipment. Not only that, there’s a wider variety of ways in which to personalise the Stonic than Rio buyers are offered.

Honda Jazz

On sale: November

Blink and you’ll miss the updates to the Honda Jazz, which gets a very subtle evolution for the 2018 model year. This light facelift adds a fresh corporate nose inspired by the Civic and latest CR-V, while new-look front and rear bumpers further update the styling.

The big change under the skin is the addition of a new 128bhp 1.5-litre i-VTEC petrol engine. The car is available in new Dynamic trim with a six-speed manual gearbox, although the CVT auto will also be offered, delivering official average economy of 52.3mpg.

Hyundai i30 N

On sale: Now

The initial impressions of Hyundai’s first proper hot hatchback are that it’s very capable – which means it could even topple some established names from the top of the fast five-door pile.

The new car’s development was led by former BMW M division guru Albert Biermann, and his team has elected to offer trick kit such as adaptive dampers and an electronic diff. The i30 N is available with two power outputs – 247bhp or 271bhp – and it gets specially developed Pirelli P-Zero tyres designed to transfer that grunt into on-road performance.

Hyundai Kona

On sale: November

This chunky-looking small crossover is the sister car to the Kia Stonic, and the Kona injects a bit of style into the Korean maker’s line-up.

It’s larger than the i20 supermini, while the plastic body cladding gives it a purposeful stance that’s backed up by the option of four-wheel drive on top-spec models. Power will come from 1.0-litre turbo and 1.6 petrol engines, plus Hyundai will offer its usual range of well equipped trim levels without much in the way of options. There are also plans to develop a performance-based Kona N, which could pack up to 200bhp.

Jaguar XE Project 8

On sale: Now

The latest product of Jaguar’s Special Vehicle Operations skunkworks is the most powerful roadgoing car the brand has ever built. The XE-based Project 8 packs a 592bhp supercharged V8, an eight-speed automatic gearbox and plenty of bespoke parts inside.

Four-wheel drive helps the saloon to sprint from 0-62mph in 3.3 seconds and go on to a top speed of 200mph. Only 300 examples will be made.

Jeep Compass

On sale: December

Compact SUVs are big business, and US firm Jeep re-enters the fray later this year with the second-generation Compass. The new model aims to offer an alternative to the likes of the Nissan Qashqai and Volkswagen Tiguan, although with Jeep’s reputation for building great 4x4s, it’s likely to offer far superior off-road ability to its rivals.

There will be plenty of space inside, while generous kit on top-spec models should draw in buyers. It will be offered with a range of engines, including 1.6 and 2.0-litre diesels as well as a 1.4-litre turbo.

Lexus LC 500

On sale: Now

There hasn’t been a large Lexus coupe since the Soarer of the late nineties, but the new LC is a far cry from its ancestor.

There’s hybrid or V8 power, a luxurious interior and plenty of hi-tech gadgetry that will filter its way to the rest of the Lexus range over time. The striking coupe bodywork means the LC looks like no other luxury sports car on the road, and the V8 version can back up this styling with a 4.4-second 0-62mph time and a 168mph top speed. Whether you go for the hybrid model or V8 version, both are priced from £76,595.

Lexus NX

On sale: Late 2017

The NX has been a massive sales hit for Lexus, so this mid-life update is subtle to say the least. There are smoother front bumpers, plus satin and smoked chrome finishes for the grille and windows.

Inside the seven-inch central screen increases in size to 10.3 inches and there’s a revised touchpad to control its menus. In the rear, passengers now get their own heater controls. However, the petrol and hybrid engines are carried over from the current car.

Mercedes-AMG GLC 63

On sale: Now

AMG’s powerhouse 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 has found another home, in the shape of the GLC SUV. There are four versions available, with the standard 469bhp/650Nm GLC 63 version and more powerful 503bhp/700Nm GLC 63 S both available in regular five-door and style-focused GLC Coupé variants.

The fastest S model manages 0-62mph in just 3.8 seconds – which is more than half a second faster than a Porsche Macan Turbo – and while its top speed is limited to 155mph, an optional AMG Driver’s pack is available which raises this figure to 174mph. All GLC 63s get a nine-speed automatic gearbox.

Prices start from just under £69,000, but there’s a £2,500 premium for the Coupé. The 63 S is nearly £7,000 extra, and the limited-run Edition 1 launch model will cost you more than £90,000.

Mercedes S-Class

On sale: Now

In an effort to keep the S-Class at the top of the limousine pile, Mercedes has given it a few tweaks. There are some subtle visual upgrades outside, and the latest safety and autonomous driving tech has been introduced inside.

The engine range now features a 3.0-litre straight-six petrol, as well as a diesel, hybrid, plug-in, V8 and V12. The top-spec Maybach version makes a return, while the facelift will cover the S-Class Coupé and Cabriolet, too.

Mercedes X-Class

On sale: November

The X-Class is taking Mercedes into the double-cab pick-up truck market. It uses the basic platform and bodyshell of the Nissan Navara, but has been given a suitably classy interior.

The cabin takes inspiration from Mercedes’ off-roader range, with plenty of premium materials and the German brand’s user-friendly Comand control system on board.

Power comes from the same four-cylinder diesel used in the Navara, although a V6 diesel is also expected to join the range at a later date. However, a potent AMG model isn’t on the cards.

MG ZS

On sale: Late 2017

MG has done a complete 360 with the naming of its new baby SUV. Already on sale in China as the ZS, the SUV was rebranded as the XS in the UK to disassociate it from the old Rover 45-based saloon. However, MG has now decided to revert back to the original ZS name.

A crossover alternative to the MG3, the ZS will get an uprated version of that car’s 1.5-litre petrol engine, as well as MG’s new 1.0-litre turbo three-cylinder unit. Prices have yet to be confirmed, but are expected to be competitive in the class.

Peugeot 5008

On sale: Now

Not many car makers can replace one model with a completely different bodystyle, but because Peugeot is sticking with its ‘-08’ naming structure, it’s done it twice.

The 3008 evolved from a dumpy crossover into a proper SUV, and now the 5008 is doing the same. Essentially the all-new model is the seven-seat 3008, because it shares engines, tech and its interior design with the smaller model.

As with the 3008, the 5008 doesn’t have 4WD, instead relying on Peugeot’s Grip Control switchable traction control system. It also features a new i-Cockpit design inside, complete with digital dials.

Porsche 911 GT3 Touring Pack

On sale: Now

Fresh from the introduction of the hardcore, track-focused 911 GT3, Porsche has revealed the GT3 Touring Pack option. This is a visually restrained version that emulates the limited-run 911R, featuring the existing GT3’s rev-hungry 493bhp naturally aspirated flat-six. It deletes the huge rear wing and adds a subtle retractable spoiler. It’s also available only with the six-speed manual box, and is designed to appeal to drivers who like to be in full control.

Most of the GT3’s chassis tech, including rear-wheel steering, is retained, but there’s no roll cage – making the car more civilised to drive. Perhaps the best news is that, unlike the 911R, Porsche will make as many GT3 Touring Packs as it can sell. It’s available for exactly the same price as the standard car, too.

Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo

On sale: Now

The Sport Turismo is the perfect family Porsche for buyers who aren’t keen on SUVs. With a 520-litre boot that rises to 1,390 litres with the seats folded, it’s not as big as a Cayenne, but it’s still roomier inside than the standard Panamera.

Go for the E-Hybrid version, and boot space drops a little, but you could benefit from efficient electric running (and a much-reduced company car tax bill) to compensate. At the top of the range, meanwhile, the Turbo S E-Hybrid manages 0-62mph in 3.4 seconds and a top speed of 192mph.

Rolls-Royce Phantom

On sale: Now

The brand-new Rolls-Royce Phantom piles on the luxury like never before. It includes tech such as self-levelling air-suspension and a camera system that scans the road ahead to optimise the settings, while the cabin offers all the personalisation you could want.

Our first drive showed the Phantom prioritised comfort over handling, but the twin-turbo V12 with 593bhp and 900Nm of torque ensures performance isn’t lacking. The Phantom’s platform will form the basis of the next Ghost, Wraith and Dawn, too.

SEAT Arona

On sale: Now

With its triangular headlights, sculpted flanks and elevated ride height, the Arona looks just like the baby brother of the well received Ateca SUV. This time, though, SEAT has its sights set on the rapidly expanding compact crossover market, where the newcomer will do battle with established players such as the Nissan Juke and Renault Captur, as well as all-new rivals like the Citroen C3 Aircross and Hyundai Kona.

The Arona should get off to a good start because it’s based on the brilliant new Ibiza supermini, but it’s 79mm longer for a roomier cabin. Its 400-litre boot is also one of the class’s biggest. Engines and gearboxes mirror the Ibiza’s. There are 94bhp or 113bhp versions of a 1.0 petrol turbo and a 148bhp 1.5 with cylinder deactivation that shuts down two cylinders to save fuel when coasting. The only diesel will be a 94bhp or 113bhp 1.6.

Skoda Karoq

On sale: Now

As you may have read, the family-friendly Karoq SUV is usefully bigger than the Yeti it replaces. It comes with the neat practical touches you’d expect from Skoda, such as three individual VarioFlex rear seats on the mid-range SE-L and top-spec Edition. These can be adjusted to trade rear legroom for boot space, or removed to create a 1,810-litre load area.

Prices start from £20,875 for the entry-level SE trim. For that, you get a 113bhp turbocharged 1.0-litre petrol engine and a six-speed manual gearbox, plus dual-zone climate control and 17-inch alloy wheels. The other engines available are a 148bhp 1.5-litre petrol, and diesels of 1.6 and 2.0 litres with power outputs ranging from 113bhp to 148bhp.

An automatic transmission, front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive are all available, as is a digital instrument panel, adaptive suspension and a Rough road pack with underbody protection.

Vauxhall Grandland X

On sale: Now

There’s been a serious lack of presence from Vauxhall in the mid-size SUV market since it dropped the Antara a few years ago, but that all changes with the arrival of the latest Grandland X. The new model shares its platform with the excellent Peugeot 3008, so there’s a range of efficient petrols and diesels on offer as well as the option of Grip Control – a traction control-based system that helps maintain grip on slippery surfaces.

The Grandland X majors on comfort over handling finesse, with soft suspension and lazy steering, but it comes loaded with standard equipment. It shares much of its technology with the Astra hatchback, including Vauxhall’s excellent OnStar service, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto – all of which are standard across the range. Tech Line cars add sat-nav and cruise control, while Sport Nav models get LED lights.

Volkswagen Polo

On sale: Now

The new Polo follows hot on the heels of the latest Ford Fiesta and SEAT Ibiza as Volkswagen attempts to regain ground in the fiercely contested supermini class. To do so it has developed a car that is longer and wider than before, freeing up more room for passengers. Boot space has also increased from 280 litres to a very respectable 351 litres.

Petrol engines consist of the VW Group’s 1.0-litre three-cylinder with either 65bhp, 95bhp or 114bhp, a 1.5-litre four-cylinder with 148bhp or a 2.0-litre four-cylinder GTI with 197bhp. On the diesel front, there’s a 1.6-litre TDI with either 80bhp or 95bhp.

The Polo carries over much of the tech from the latest Golf including a central touchscreen of up to eight inches in size complete with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus the option of VW’s Active Info Display digital dials. Seven trim levels will be offered to buyers – S, SE, SEL, Beats, R-Line, GTI and GTI+.

Volkswagen T-Roc

On sale: Now

VW has taken longer than most to come up with a small SUV, but in the funky T-Roc the manufacturer would seem to have a sure-fire hit on its hands.

As with the Audi Q2 and virtually all VW Group products of this size, the T-Roc is based on the maker’s MQB platform. It will be sold with turbocharged petrol engines ranging from a 1.0-litre with 93bhp to a 148bhp 1.5 that can close down cylinders when you’re cruising along, to help save fuel. There will also be a 1.6-litre diesel producing 113bhp and a 2.0-litre diesel with the choice of either 148bhp or 197bhp. The latter power level will be offered exclusively with four-wheel drive and a DSG automatic gearbox.

The T-Roc eclipses its Audi rival with a 445-litre luggage area, while managing to offer a similar amount of cabin space to the Golf hatchback. This should make it one of the more practical small SUVs on the market.

Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace

On sale: Late 2017

The Tiguan Allspace is a roomier variant of Volkswagen’s standard Tiguan SUV. It’s 215mm longer overall and has a wheelbase that’s been lengthened by 109mm, so there’s more room in the back seats and enough space has been created to fit a third row of chairs in the boot, too.

These small seats are only really designed for children, but they do boost the car’s versatility. The standard model’s range of petrol and diesel engines will be offered, as will front and 4Motion four-wheel drive, plus manual and DSG boxes

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