Best new cars for 2018

29 Mar, 2018 2:30pm

SUVs and superminis are set to triumph over the rest of the automotive world as we run down the best new cars for 2018.

There’s an army of new cars heading to showrooms over the next year, with everything from superminis to SUVs and plug-in hybrids to full EVs on the way. So if you’ve got a big deposit burning a hole in your bank account, it can be difficult to decide what to do with it.

We can’t promise to make your choice any easier, but below we can at least give you all the information you need. We’ll tell you exactly what’s coming, when it’ll arrive, how much it’s likely to cost and, crucially, whether it’s worth holding on for. So don’t sign on the dotted line on a new car until you’ve read our essential guide.

Index: A-GH-MN-ST-Z

Best new cars for 2018

Alfa Romeo 5 Series rival

Price: From £35,000
On sale: Late 2018

The Giulia proved Alfa can seriously challenge market-leaders such as the BMW 3 Series, and the brand is now looking to repeat the trick with a rival for the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes E-Class. Alfa has stayed tight-lipped about the unnamed saloon, but our exclusive image shows how we think it will look. We expect it to share the Giulia’s style, using the same platform and engine range.

• Alfa Romeo's new BMW 5 Series rival

Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio

Price: From £65,000 (est)
On sale: Summer

Alfa’s Giulia Quadrifoglio proved the firm can make superb high-performance cars, and the Stelvio Quadrifoglio looks like another hit.

It gets the same 503bhp 2.9-litre bi-turbo V6 and eight-speed auto as the flagship saloon, and they’re every bit as effective here. The Stelvio is an incredibly fast and secure performance SUV – and a worthy rival for the Porsche Macan Turbo.

• Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio review

Alpine A110

Price: From £51,000 (est)
On sale: Now

You won’t find a better revival than the A110. This Porsche Cayman rival looks like its sixties’ namesake, but it’s a thoroughly 21st-century sports car, with a rear-drive aluminium chassis and superb agility. Order books are already open, and the first owners will take delivery in June. Those cars will be well-equipped Premiere Edition models – which will cost about £51,000 – but the range will expand in the future. It will certainly include some cheaper versions, plus a lighter and more powerful Sport.

Aston Martin Vanquish

Price: £220,000
On sale: Summer

Our spy shot shows the third-generation Vanquish is undergoing final testing. It shares much of its profile with the DB11, but we expect Aston will develop it to be a performance-focused supercar.

We think most of the changes to the way the DB11 looks are to improve the aerodynamics, and we expect the 5.2-litre twin-turbo V12 to develop much more than the DB11’s 600bhp.

Aston Martin V8 Vantage

Price: From £120,900
On sale: Now

Aston Martin is back in the black and powering along nicely, with £87million profit recorded in 2017. The new V8 Vantage is now all set to give the firm another significant sales boost.

The latest car shares its basic aluminium architecture with the larger DB11, as well as its rear-wheel-drive layout and AMG-sourced 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8. In the Vantage this produces 503bhp and 685Nm of torque to give a 0-62mph time of 3.6 seconds and a top speed of 195mph.

With 50:50 weight distribution, an electronic E-Diff rear differential and adaptive dampers, the Vantage promises to offer handling to match its high performance.

• Aston Martin Vantage 2018 prototype review

Audi A1

Price: From £15,000 (est)
On sale: Winter

Audi is gearing up to move its smallest car on to the same A0 version of the MQB platform as the new SEAT Ibiza and Volkswagen Polo.

As a result, the new A1, previewed in our exclusive image, is expected to be roomier than at present thanks to a 90mm-longer wheelbase. The engine line-up is likely to resemble that of the Polo, and include a 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbo petrol with a range of outputs. Audi could launch a BMW i3-rivalling plug-in hybrid A1 e-tron, too.

• All we know about the new Audi A1

Audi A6

Price: From £35,000 (est)
On sale: June

Audi has held nothing back for its all-new A6, which moves the game on from the current car in every area. It’s bigger, for a start, and with an extra 12mm in the wheelbase, there’s more legroom without sacrificing any of the old model’s 530 litres of boot space.

The A6 also benefits from aluminium panels in order to counteract the weight gain brought about by the mild-hybrid powertrains across the range. Borrowing tech from the bigger A8 means buyers can specify air suspension for the smoothest ride possible, too.

• 2018 Audi A6 specs and pics

Audi e-tron

Price: From £60,000 (est)
On sale: Summer

We have yet to see a production version of Audi’s first pure EV, but the company did bring camouflaged e-tron prototypes to the recent Geneva show, no doubt to steal some of the Jaguar I-Pace’s thunder. The e-tron will be the first of a pair of all-electric crossovers built on the VW Group’s MLB platform.

We’d expect it to offer around 310 miles of range from a single charge – although it’s still feasible that Audi could offer it with more than one battery capacity.

• New 2018 Audi e-tron

Audi Q3

Price: From £27,000 (est)
On sale: Autumn

It’s no surprise that Audi is busy putting the finishing touches to its new Q3, because the current version is now the oldest model in its range. The new Q3 will be marginally larger on the outside, and with a longer wheelbase, it should offer more interior space as the brand fights for sales against the BMW X1 and Volvo XC40.

To that end, jumbo-bg understands Audi is also working on an all-electric version of the Q3 to sell alongside petrol and diesel models, and a plug-in hybrid e-tron. Despite such major changes under the bodywork, our exclusive images show that the Q3’s styling will be very much an evolutionary affair.

• Audi Q3 review

Audi Q8

Price: £65,000 (est)
On sale: Late 2018

As part of the rapid expansion of its range of SUVs, Audi will be introducing a new flagship Q8. This will be the brand’s largest Q car, and is intended to be an all-out luxury 4x4 to rival the likes of the Range Rover.

Underneath, it’s based on the Q7, but the Q8 will have a more distinctive, coupé-like look; judging by the latest spy shots, it looks very much like the Q8 concept from the 2017 Detroit show. We also expect the car to be available with the e-tron plug-in hybrid petrol-electric transmission from the concept.

• 2018 Audi Q8 SUV

Audi SQ2

Price: From £33,000 (est)
On sale: Mid-2018

We’ve been seeing spy shots for a while, but we expect Audi will finally introduce a hot Q2 later this year. The most recent pictures reveal tell-tale quad exhausts and enlarged air intakes, as well as large brake discs.

The SQ2 is likely to use a version of the four-cylinder turbo from the S3, and we expect it’ll offer around 250bhp, use all-wheel drive and feature a sportier chassis set-up. That would then leave the possibility of Audi introducing an even faster RS Q2 model, using the same engine as the RS 3.

Bentley Bentayga PHEV

Price: From £150,000 (est)
On sale: Autumn

The hybrid Bentley SUV is said to be the first step to full electrification. It has a 3.0-litre V6 petrol turbo, electric motor and generator, and claims 75g/km CO2 emissions and a 31-mile EV range.

Other than a charging socket, it looks much the same as any Bentayga, but various functions – such as the instruments, sat-nav and smartphone app – have been tailored to suit the hybrid mode.

Bentley Continental GT

Price: From £159,100
On sale: Now

Bentley’s Continental GT has always had help from the VW Group, but this car is based on the latest Porsche Panamera – and it shows. Its sheer breadth of abilities will take your breath away.

At more sedate pace, it’s more comfortable than ever, although on track in Sport mode the Conti is incredibly capable. And the cabin is supremely refined and classy, and packed with kit.

BMW 3 Series

Price: From £28,000 (est)
On sale: Winter

Despite SUVs dominating the headlines, the new 3 Series is perhaps BMW’s most important car. It’s immensely popular for both private and fleet buyers, and has a rich bloodline to live up to.

As with the larger 5 and 7 Series, the next-generation 3 Series, previewed in our exclusive image, will feature an evolutionary design, so it’s fresh but familiar. Under the skin, however, this is a completely different car that is based on the German firm’s latest CLAR modular platform.

This means it will use innovative materials to save weight. The set-up also allows it to accommodate not only a new version of the current 330e plug-in hybrid, but potentially a fully electric 3 Series – to rival the Tesla Model 3 – at some stage as well. Of course, the 3 Series will be offered with petrol and diesel engines, too; the range is likely to kick off with a downsized 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbo motor.

It’ll take a step forward in terms of technology as well, with much of the infotainment and driver assist features borrowed from the new 5 Series.

• BMW 3 Series specs, pics and full details

BMW 8 Series

Price: From £65,000 (est)
On sale: Late 2018

Stand by to welcome a whole family of 8 Series cars, with a convertible, Gran Coupé and M8 set to join the regular coupé caught on test by our spies. Since the Concept 8 Series appeared last May, we’ve seen various cars on the road, suggesting the front end will be toned down for production. But the svelte bonnet grooves and slim laser headlamps remain.

The 8 Series is based on the same platform as the 7 Series, so expect the most popular cars to use smaller-capacity six and eight-cylinder engines.

BMW M5

Price: £89,640
On sale: Now

Fans of fast BMWs may have been alarmed when the firm announced its M5 was going to have four-wheel drive. But this sixth-generation model has everything it takes to challenge the mighty Mercedes-AMG E 63.

The M xDrive system offers a bespoke calibration for the M5, and the benefit is huge traction, so you can deploy all of its performance. There are 4WD, 4WD Sport and 2WD modes, and in Sport, the active M diff on its rear axle helps to make the car feel more nimble than something this big and heavy has any right to.

• New BMW M5 2018 review

BMW i8 Roadster

Price: From £124,730
On sale: Now

The i8 Roadster costs £12,000 more than the coupé; and, as well as the electrically operated fabric roof, the open-top i8 has its own suspension set-up and an uprated petrol-electric hybrid powertrain that will also be introduced to the coupé variant.

It gives the four-wheel-drive roadster 33 miles of all-electric range, as well as a 0-62mph sprint time of 4.6 seconds. That’s slightly slower than the coupé, partly due to the extra 60kg of body strengthening the roadster carries to compensate for the loss of the roof.

BMW X2

Price: From £30,040
On sale: Now

The BMW X2 is a cross between an SUV and a coupé that should appeal to buyers in the market for a smaller and cheaper version of the German company’s X4 or X6. As with its larger siblings, the X2 is based on a conventional BMW SUV (the X1 in this case), but through a combination of style and a more exciting driving experience, it’s designed to attract younger buyers.

Sure enough, the result is an SUV that is even more agile on the road than the X1, and although passenger and boot space aren’t quite as generous, there’s still enough room for four people to travel in comfort.

• BMW X2 SUV 2018 review

BMW X4

Price: From £42,900
On sale: Now

X marks the spot for BMW, with the X3, X2 and now X4 rushing to market within months of each other. As before, the new X4 is a coupé version of the X3, based on the same CLAR platform and with a similar 5 Series-inspired cabin. It’s longer than the outgoing X4 and has a lower roofline to ensure a sportier appearance, as well as 25 litres more boot space to give a total capacity of 525 litres. At launch there are 20d and 30d diesels, with BMW yet to say if it will sell petrol X4s in the UK.

BMW X7

Price: From £70,000 (est)
On sale: Late 2018

BMW’S new Range Rover-rivalling X7 SUV is likely to arrive in dealers later on this year, possibly after making its production debut at September’s Paris Motor Show. We think it will stay pretty close to the Concept X7 iPerformance that was revealed at the Frankfurt show last September.

That means it should carry over the concept’s enormous kidney grilles and front bumper, as well as a similar tailgate and tail-light set-up. A seven-seat option should also be offered.

BMW Z4

Price: From £35,000 (est)
On sale: Winter

The third-generation Z4 will go back to a soft-top roof as BMW aims to once again take on the Porsche Boxster and Mercedes SLC.

The new car has been developed with Toyota, which will launch the GR Supra using the same platform. Both will be rear-wheel drive, while jumbo-bg understands the Z4 will have the choice of 2.0-litre four-cylinder or 3.0-litre straight- six engines. BMW says most of the styling of 2017’s concept will make production.

Citroen C5 Aircross

Price: From £20,000 (est)
On sale: Late 2018

It’s been a long time coming, but the Citroen C5 Aircross will finally go on sale at the end of this year. We first saw it at last April’s Shanghai Motor Show, and the European version will appear in the middle of this year before starring at the Paris show in October.

The C5 Aircross is based on the same platform as the Peugeot 3008 and Vauxhall Grandland X, and we expect the engine range to mirror the Peugeot’s. Citroen says it will offer class-leading space inside and new ‘Progressive Hydraulic Cushion’ suspension.

Cupra Ateca

Price: From £35,000 (est)
On sale: Winter

As we’ve seen with the Cupra Ibiza, SEAT is taking its performance models to the next level with its standalone Cupra range. And the Cupra Ateca will be the first car from the new brand. The 296bhp, all-wheel-drive version of SEAT’s SUV features a 2.0-litre petrol turbo, seven-speed dual-clutch auto and adaptive suspension to give performance worthy of the aggressive bodykit.

The new brand claims its Ateca will accelerate from 0-62mph in just 5.4 seconds and have a top speed of 152mph, while a selection of driving modes will firm up the suspension and pipe more engine noise into the cabin. Setting the SUV apart visually are quad exhausts and 19-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels. Other Cupra cars based on SEAT vehicles are set to follow the Ateca, with the possibility of a standalone model from the marque, too.

Dacia Duster

Price: From £9,995 (est)
On sale: Summer

Considering the new Duster SUV is based on the same platform as the car it replaces, Dacia has done an effective job of updating the looks, with a fresh honeycomb grille, LED daytime running lights and raised bonnet line giving it a more upmarket feel.

The cabin has also been spruced up, with larger seats and a touchscreen system that sits higher on the dashboard to make it easier to use, although it’s worth noting that boot space has been reduced by 25 litres to 445 litres in front-wheel-drive versions. Dacia has carried over petrol and diesel engines from the previous car, albeit with improvements to refinement.

• New 2018 Dacia Duster review

DS 3 SUV

Price: From £22,000 (est)
On sale: Winter

Following the recent launch of the DS 7 Crossback, PSA’s luxury brand will add a smaller SUV to its model range. It’s likely to be badged DS 3 Crossback, and the move is being seen within the company as crucial in order to give existing owners of the DS 3 premium hatchback a viable upgrade instead of losing their custom to cars such as the MINI Countryman and Audi Q2.

The new DS 3 Crossback could be a pioneering model for a number of reasons. For starters, it could be the first car to use the group’s new CMP small car platform (if Peugeot doesn’t get there first with its next-generation 208). And on top of that, it could be the first all-electric DS. The indications are that an EV version of the DS 3 Crossback would use a 50kWh battery to deliver a range of around 280 miles from a single charge.

Ferrari 488 Pista

Price: From £210,000 (est)
On sale: Now

The name is derived from the Italian word for ‘track’, and that’s where many of the 488 Pista’s lightweight parts and aerodynamics were developed. Oh, and the 710bhp the 3.9-litre engine produces makes this the most powerful V8 Ferrari ever.

It manages 0-62mph in 2.85 seconds, while the ‘Ferrari Dynamic Enhancer’ makes the most of that performance, adjusting the brake pressure at the calipers to give the car extra pace and predictability when accelerating through and out of corners.

• 

Ferrari Portofino

Price: From £166,180
On sale: Now

Ten years after the California T arrived, it’s been replaced by the Portofino – and after our first taste we said it was hard to fault. The new front-engined, rear-wheel-drive roadster not only has more power, but also a new chassis with revised suspension.

Rather than its on-the-limit handling, what first strikes you is how comfortably it rides on its electronic suspension, which helps to make this an everyday Ferrari. It’s also capable of dramatic performance, with a suitably spectacular noise to accompany it.

• Ferrari Portofino review

Ford Edge

Price: From £32,000 (est)
On sale: Nov 2018

Never mind the backlash against diesel; Ford’s revised Edge won’t be available in petrol form when it goes on sale later this year. What it will get is a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder twin-turbodiesel, badged EcoBlue and producing 235bhp, plus sporty ST-Line trim. Other versions are Titanium and the more luxurious Vignale.

The facelift includes reshaped headlamps and grille, plus a raft of extra safety kit. And a new front-wheel-drive model with a less powerful engine could bring down the starting price of the range.

Ford Ka+

Price: From £10,795
On sale: Summer

The Ka+ hasn’t been on sale for very long, but a revised version will hit Ford dealers this summer.

Yet this is far more than just a facelift. As well as the revised grille, headlamps and daytime running lights, there is a new infotainment system and fresh engines, with a three-cylinder 1.2 petrol replacing the old four-cylinder, and a 1.5-litre diesel joining the line-up.

Also, a new top-spec Ka+ Active, with a 23mm increase in ride height and SUV-inspired looks, will rival Kia’s Picanto X-Line and Vauxhall’s Viva Rocks.

Ford Fiesta ST

Price: From £19,000 (est)
On sale: May

Talk about having big boots to fill. The new Fiesta ST takes over from one of the best fast Fords there’s ever been, its task made even more difficult by the fact that it uses a smaller engine than its predecessor.

Small doesn’t have to mean weak, however; Ford has demonstrated this by squeezing an additional 17bhp from the ST’s 1.5-litre three-cylinder unit than it did from the old four-cylinder 1.6. That gives a total of 197bhp, which in turn is enough to get the new ST from 0-62mph in 6.7 seconds. Let’s just hope the car has the ride and handling to match; we’ll find out when we get behind the wheel in the coming weeks.

• Ford Fiesta ST specs, performance, price and video

Ford Focus

Price: From £19,000 (est)
On sale: Spring

The new Focus will continue to use Ford’s Global C-car platform, but with a revised cabin and sleek styling, previewed in our exclusive image. Ford wants to recapture the Mk1’s handling magic, so it’s employed the team responsible for the new Fiesta and Ka+, both of which mix fun with a smooth ride. Alongside the standard car, there’ll be a sporty ST-Line, luxurious Vignale and a jacked-up Active model.

Ford Mustang

Price: From £35,995
On sale: Summer

Ford’s facelifted Mustang is due to go on sale in the summer. It’s not a major revamp, but styling tweaks include sharper headlights and bumper, a reprofiled bonnet and new C-shaped tail-lamps, while inside the company has installed a new set of digital dials.

There are more customisation options to choose from, too, and at the same time both engines have been tweaked and are now available with a 10-speed auto. Finally, the chassis has been revised in an effort to make the car even more engaging to drive.

Ford Ranger

Price: From £23,000 (est)
On sale: Late 2018

Following its debut at January’s Detroit Motor Show, a facelifted version of Ford’s Ranger pick-up will arrive later this year. It’s only a very minor nip and tuck, with reshaped headlamps and a slimmer front grille, while the Ranger name has been stamped into the tailgate.

Details on the UK model range are scarce, but in the US the new car comes with a 2.3-litre turbocharged EcoBoost petrol engine, linked to a new 10-speed auto box. Ford claims this combination delivers V6 performance with the fuel efficiency of a four-cylinder.

Hyundai Kona EV

Price: From £25,000 (est)
On sale: Summer

The Kona needs a USP, and this electric version that’s about to go on sale could be just what it’s after. Unveiled at the recent Geneva show, the Kona Electric will be available in two versions: a short-range edition with a 39.2kWh battery that is expected to be able to travel up to 186 miles on a single charge, and a long-range 64kWh version that can manage 292 miles.

Hyundai claims the small battery will take six hours and 10 minutes to revive on a 7.2kW home AC charger, and the large version nine hours and 40 minutes.

Hyundai Nexo

Price: £60,000 (est)
On sale: November

The high price of hydrogen models and the UK’s limited refuelling infrastructure are hard to ignore, but Hyundai is continuing to push ahead with hydrogen fuel-cell cars.

The five-seat Nexo SUV picks up where the old ix35 Fuel Cell left off, but ups the ante not just in terms of its range, performance and durability, but also with its quality, practicality and connectivity. We’ve driven the car in Korea and were impressed; it performed well for a big car and rode comfortably, while the quiet was disrupted only by a rustle of wind.

Hyundai Santa Fe

Price: From £32,000 (est)
On sale: Winter

The Santa Fe is one of the roomiest seven-seat SUVs on sale, but that hasn’t stopped Hyundai from adding 65mm to the new car’s wheelbase.

Tech is also improved, with options such as a head-up display and digital dials joining the expected infotainment touchscreen. Under the bonnet, the 2.2-litre diesel is upped to 197bhp and 436Nm of torque. Early tests also hint at stiffer suspension, giving improved body control and a firmer ride.

Infiniti QX50

Price: From £35,000 (est)
On sale: Late-2018

Three years after the demise of the old QX50, Infiniti is preparing to launch its replacement. As you’d expect given the timeframe, the new QX50 uses a fresh platform and has a revised design.

Under the bonnet is the brand’s new VC-T variable compression ratio petrol engine, with 268bhp and 380Nm of torque, delivering 0-62mph in 6.7 seconds.

Just as hi-tech is the handling, because Infiniti is persevering with its steer-by-wire set-up. But considering past iterations of this system have felt oddly remote and overly direct, it’ll be interesting to see whether it has been improved for the QX50.

Jaguar I-Pace

Price: From £58,995
On sale: Summer

Jaguar obviously decided that actions would speak louder than words when it came to demonstrating the performance of its first electric car, and so filmed its new 395bhp I-Pace beating a Tesla Model X P100D in a race from 0-60mph and back to a standstill.

Equally impressive are the I-Pace’s range (around 300 miles) and roomy four-seater interior. Charging its 90kWh battery from flat to full, meanwhile, is said to take 10 hours via a 7kW fast charger.

Jaguar XE Project 8

Price: £149,995
On sale: Now

You’ll have to be quick if you want to get your hands on Jaguar’s hand-built XE Project 8. The firm is making just 300 examples of the car that’s already set a new lap record for a four-door saloon at the Nürburgring.

The key to that speed is its 592bhp supercharged 5.0-litre V8, along with the 4WD system and a host of race-derived parts, like aluminium body panels, a deep front splitter, a huge wing and a rear diffuser. Despite the hardcore looks, all cars get a 10.2-inch Touch Pro infotainment set-up with sat-nav and a 4G WiFi hotspot.

Jeep Compass

Price: From £22,995
On sale: Now

Jeep is one of the most famous names in the world of off-roading, and the brand’s products have a style all of their own. That’s certainly true of this new Compass, which sits between the smaller Renegade and larger Cherokee in the Jeep range.

It rivals the likes of the Nissan Qashqai and SEAT Ateca, and because it shares much with the Fiat 500X (and the Renegade), it’s more in tune with European tastes than the previous Compass. There are plenty of engines to pick from, and all cars are well equipped.

Jeep Wrangler

Price: From £35,000 (est)
On sale: November

Just one look at this picture will tell you that this is a Wrangler – but this is the fourth generation of the car, and the most advanced version Jeep has ever built.

We’ve tested it in America, and like the previous models, it has uncompromising rugged ability, with top-spec Rubicon cars getting off-road-focused tech. Jeep has tried to raise the quality of the interior, as well as kitting out the Wrangler with the company’s latest kit, which includes the Uconnect infotainment system, along with 75 safety and security features.

Kia Ceed

Price: From £16,000 (est)
On sale: Summer

The new Ceed has lost an apostrophe but gained more interior space and an improved roster of safety equipment as Kia aims to shake up the family car market once again.

Among the new safety kit is a clever Lane Following Assist system that monitors road markings and surrounding vehicles and can control the brakes, accelerator and steering to keep up with traffic or move into a different lane if a suitable gap is identified.

Under the bonnet, the new Ceed will be powered by a range of petrol and diesel engines that includes a revised version of Kia’s turbocharged three-cylinder 1.0-litre, delivering 118bhp.

Kia Ceed SW

Price: From £17,000 (est)
On sale: 2018

Hot on the heels of the new hatch comes the estate version of the Ceed. The Sport Wagon is the second model in what will eventually be a four-strong line-up. It, too, was designed and engineered in Europe.

Lower and wider than the current car, the estate also has a bigger boot, as well as a lower load lip and 40:20:40 split rear seats that fold down flat. Kia claims that the Ceed SW will be the “most hi-tech car in the compact tourer class” when it lands in showrooms here later this year.

Kia Niro EV

Price: From £30,000 (est)
On sale: Late 2018

A concept version of the all-electric Niro wowed the crowds at this year CES show in Las Vegas, and as this spy shot indicates, the final model isn’t far away. The picture also shows that the car set to appear towards the end of this year will look more like the rest of the Niro range than the relatively outlandish concept.

We expect the production version to stick with the show car’s 150kW electric motor hooked up to a 64kWh lithium-ion battery pack, which – Kia claims – will deliver a normal driving range of 238 miles.

Kia Optima

Price: From £21,000 (est)
On sale: Autumn

Kia is hoping to revive flagging large family car sales with a revised Optima. The Ford Mondeo rival has been given subtle styling revisions, including a new front facia and headlight design, revised bumpers and LED tail-lamps.

Updated dash trim and a new steering wheel aim to lift the cabin, with Kia’s latest infotainment system and a new drive mode selector added, too. Two new engines have been drafted in, with a cleaner 134bhp 1.6-litre diesel replacing the old 1.7-litre, and a 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine producing 178bhp. It’s expected to be seen in the third quarter of 2018.

Kia Sorento

Price: From £28,995
On sale: Now

Not only is the big new Sorento one of the roomiest seven-seat SUVs on sale, every model also has four-wheel drive, making it great off road and for towing. For all that, though, it’s got a really classy interior – more upmarket than you might expect of a Kia – and no shortage of kit. That makes it tremendous value for money, even if it’s not as cheap as it once was.

Comfort and refinement are real strong points, and its one engine – a 2.2-litre diesel – provides decent performance, whether you pair it with a manual or auto.

Kia Soul

Price: From £15,000 (est)
On sale: Late 2018

since its debut nearly a decade ago, the Soul has been an oddball choice. But the car is popular in several key markets, so Kia hasn’t had to think hard before starting work on a successor, spied here on test.

Expect the Soul to switch to a platform shared with at least one other Hyundai-Kia product (our money is on the architecture that underpins the Kona). And that means Kia will be able to equip it with the latest 1.0-litre petrol engines, and to offer a second generation of pure-electric Soul, with about 250 miles of range.

Lamborghini Aventador S Roadster

Price: From £251,462
On sale: Now

We first saw the Aventador S Roadster at last year’s Frankfurt show, when Lamborghini displayed the new active suspension, four-wheel steering and EGO driving mode – all previously seen on the Coupé. The changes are claimed to sharpen turn-in and boost responses.

With a 730bhp 6.5-litre V12, the 4WD car sprints from 0-62mph in 3.0 seconds and can reach 217mph. Meanwhile, the Ad Personam programme offers endless customising potential, ranging from a shiny carbon-fibre exterior finish to an Alcantara-trimmed interior.

Lamborghini Huracán Spyder Performante

Price: From £238,000
On sale: Summer

If the Nürburgring lap record-holding Huracán Performante isn’t exciting enough for you, later this year Lamborghini will introduce a Spyder model. The drop-top supercar uses the same naturally aspirated 631bhp V10 as the hard-top, managing 0-62mph in 3.1 seconds and cracking 200mph.

Also carrying over to the Spyder is the beefed-up exterior design – including the large rear wing – and the interior remains mostly unchanged. The folding fabric hood and extra chassis strengthening do add 125kg to the new Performante’s kerbweight, however.

Lamborghini Urus

Price: From £165,000 (est)
On sale: Spring

Lamborghini doesn’t want to miss out on the SUV craze, and the Urus promises to be the class leader for “power, performance and driving dynamics”.

Its gaping grille, thin LED headlights and Huracán-inspired tail-lamps are typically Lambo, as are its sharp creases, deep cuts and swooping roofline. Under the bonnet is a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 offering 641bhp and 850Nm of torque. It’s driven through an eight-speed auto and a complex all-wheel-drive system with active torque vectoring and four-wheel steering.

Land Rover Discovery SVX

Price: From £100,000 (est)
On sale: Late 2018

The new hand-built Discovery SVX is the first ‘extreme off-road’ vehicle from Land Rover’s Special Vehicle Operations division.

It gets a retuned 5.0-litre supercharged V8 delivering 518bhp, plus modifications to make it even better off road, including Hydraulic Active Roll Control, a raised ride height, long-travel dampers and new suspension knuckles.

Lexus UX

Price: From £28,000 (est)
On sale: Winter

Lexus is targeting younger buyers with its smallest SUV to date. The UX is designed as a rival to the BMW X2, Jaguar E-Pace and Volvo XC40, and will be offered with a choice of petrol and hybrid powertrains.

Both will come with a ‘Direct Shift-CVT’ automatic box that is said to offer the smoothness and efficiency of a CVT, but with a more direct, responsive driving feel. The hybrid is Toyota’s latest, combining a 2.0-litre petrol unit with an electric motor for 176bhp. Front and all-wheel-drive versions will be offered.

• Lexus UX specs

Mazda 6

Price: From £20,000 (est)
On sale: Summer

This summer, we’ll finally be able to buy the cars that have been Mazda’s stars at two recent motor shows; the revised 6 saloon appeared in LA last year, while the Tourer estate was at Geneva in March.

Both only have modest exterior revisions, although much more work has gone on inside, with smarter, but simpler, interior designs, fresh tech and extra kit.

As well as chassis revisions, Mazda has confirmed that the new 2.5-litre SkyActiv-G petrol motor, featuring cylinder deactivation, will be among the engine line-up.

McLaren Senna

Price: £750,000
On sale: Sold out

Named after three-time Formula One world champion Ayrton Senna, the McLaren Senna is a track-focused (but road-legal) hypercar that has an astonishing 789bhp and can cover 0-62mph in 2.8 seconds.

It’s billed as the ‘lightest, fastest, most engaging McLaren yet’, and its carbon-fibre body aims for an optimal blend of aerodynamic efficiency and downforce, while the pared-back cabin features only the essentials. If you’re tempted to buy one, we have bad news: McLaren is only making 500, and they’re all sold.

Mercedes A-Class

Price: From £25,800
On sale: May

Tech fans are in for a treat inside Mercedes’ new A-Class, which has moved the game on over rivals such as the Audi A3 and BMW 1 Series.

Standing out is a pair of screens, measuring up to 10.25 inches apiece, that display the instrument cluster and infotainment functions, while Mercedes’ ‘me connect’ lets you book a service remotely.

Even the voice control is novel; it’s been developed to respond to natural speech rather than to set commands, and is activated when you say: “Hey Mercedes.”

• Mercedes A-Class pricing, specs and details

Mercedes-AMG A 45

Price: From £45,000
On sale: Late 2018

The eagerly awaited Mercedes-AMG A 45 will sit at the top of the A-Class range. AMG’s boss told us last year that it could have 400bhp-plus, making it the world’s most powerful hot hatch.

However, it’s expected to retain the current car’s four-wheel drive and dual-clutch powertrain. Also, a less powerful AMG A 43 could fill the gap between the A 45 and the rest of the range.

Mercedes-AMG GLC 63

Price: From £68,920
On sale: Now

With sales of SUVs and Mercedes-AMG models booming, a combination of the two was inevitable – hence the introduction of the new GLC 63.

By mi the 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 from the C 63 S with the E 63 S’s new nine-speed MCT box, Mercedes has created a very effective, go-faster GLC. Four-wheel drive gives incredible traction, and body control is strong for a car of this size.

Mercedes-AMG GT 4-door

Price: From £110,000 (est)
On sale: Winter

If you’re after a four-door supercar, Mercedes-AMG may have the answer. In top-spec S guise its handsome new GT boasts 630bhp and 900Nm of torque from a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8. Channelled through all four wheels, it’s enough for 0-62mph in just 3.2 seconds and a 196mph top speed.

Externally it’s easy to see the DNA from the AMG GT coupé and roadster, but inside the AMG GT 4-door is more hi-tech because it uses the dual 12.3-inch instrument panel and infotainment display from the E-Class.

Mercedes C-Class

Price: From £30,000 (est)
On sale: Summer

It might look like the old model, but the 2018 Mercedes C-Class is set to feature new engines and a revised interior with upgraded infotainment.

It’s expected to gain the new 2.0-litre, four-cylinder diesel from the E-Class to improve fuel economy and offer a smoother, quieter drive, while it’s possible that the C 180 version could feature a turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol motor.

As for gadgets, the C-Class gains the ‘Energizing Comfort Control’ from the larger S-Class. This programmes the ventilation, seat heating and massage functions to improve driver well-being.

Mercedes CLS

Price: From £56,295
On sale: Now

The third-generation CLS continues where its predecessors left off by combining most of the space of a saloon with the grace of a coupé.

The price will leave you in no doubt this is a premium Mercedes, although all models come with an engine of at least six cylinders, plus 4MATIC all-wheel drive, adaptive dampers and the twin 12.3-inch instrument and infotainment displays.

In the CLS 400 d, Mercedes has also created its most powerful diesel production car ever, with 335bhp and a massive 700Nm of torque.

Mercedes G-Class

Price: From £100,000 (est)
On sale: Summer

Perhaps the hardest thing to believe is that this is a new G-Class. This is partly because it looks so similar to the old one, and also because that car had been on sale in pretty much the same form since 1979.

Beneath the subtly changed look is a longer and wider car, albeit one that retains many of the famous G-Wagen features, such as the spare wheel on the rear door. The platform it sits on is new – although it’s still a ladder frame – which is said to give more comfort on the road, as well as increased ability off it.

Mercedes GLE

Price: From £52,000 (est)
On sale: Late 2018

There’s no doubt Mercedes is embracing the SUV sales boom, and we expect to see an all-new version of the GLE this year. Our exclusive image shows it’s set to adopt some of the smaller GLC’s style, and we understand it’ll still be offered with a choice of two bodystyles, although the sleeker ‘coupé’ version will probably arrive a year or so after the regular model.

The GLE should also have a fresh engine range, including an AMG GLE 63 range-topper, and the new platform should support plug-in hybrid technology.

MINI Cooper

Price: From £15,000 (est)
On sale: Spring

You may struggle to spot the difference, but yes, this is a facelifted MINI. The changes apply to the three-door, five-door and Convertible models. At the back, the LED lights have the Union flag across the lens. They join new LED headlamps, with new ring daytime running lights and a one-piece indicator.

All cars get a 6.5-inch touchscreen, while a fresh sat-nav system, with new connected services, is available on higher trim levels. A new seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox is offered with some engines, too.

Nissan Juke

Price: From £16,000 (est)
On sale: Late 2018

Although the current Juke has just been revised, an all-new model is expected before the end of the year. It should improve on the latest car in every way, not least because it will be based on the same platform as the new Micra. That means the Juke can grow into a more refined, higher-quality, more efficient package, while providing more room inside.

Even so, the Juke is set to retain much of its unique style – as previewed in our exclusive image – while at the same time adopting the new Nissan ‘face’, as seen on the latest Qashqai.

Nissan Leaf

Price: From £21,990
On sale: Now

It’s a sign of just how far ahead of the EV game Nissan has been that the second-generation Leaf is on sale when most makers are merely dabbling with electrified versions of their existing cars.

The newcomer is easy and comfortable to drive – to the extent that people who already have a Mk1 Leaf may be unhappy at just how ‘normal’ this model feels to own and live with. The standard version has a range of 235 miles, but a 310-mile model is expected in about a year’s time.

Peugeot 508

Price: From £26,000 (est)
On sale: Autumn

Peugeot’s push into the SUV market hasn’t come at the expense of the development of a new version of its flagship family hatch, the 508.

As with the 3008 and 5008, the latest 508 is based on the manufacturer’s EMP2 platform, which in turn means it will eventually be available with a plug-in hybrid powertrain.

For the car’s launch in the autumn, however, Peugeot will stick with a line-up of conventional engines with power outputs ranging from 128bhp to 222bhp. The interior, meanwhile, features the latest iteration of the brand’s i-Cockpit design, and it has a digital instrument panel and ‘piano-key’ switches below the central touchscreen to help it stand out from rivals.

Porsche 911 GT3 RS

Price: £141,346
On sale: Now

With more power, a revised chassis and additional downforce, the updated 911 GT3 RS was a star of the Porsche stand at the recent Geneva Motor Show.

There are some minor visual updates – new lights and a revised front bumper – but the big changes are revisions to the air intake and exhaust that squeeze an extra 20bhp and 10Nm of torque from the 4.0-litre engine. That knocks a tenth of a second off the 0-62mph time and, along with some updates to the cabin, adds about £10,000 to the price of the old car.

Porsche Cayenne

Price: From £53,875
On sale: Now

Ignore the same-again looks, because this third-generation Cayenne brings some cutting-edge tech that means it’s a big improvement in some key areas.

Above all, the cabin looks more attractive and up to date, as well as being far more refined. On top of that, the car is more economical and better to drive than before, thanks in part to the 4D chassis control system that uses sensors to adjust the air suspension to suit where the car is being driven – on or off road. The result is a new SUV class benchmark for ride and handling.

Porsche GT2 RS

Price: From £207,000 (est)
On sale: Now

The GT2 RS is a rare beast and previous versions have had a fearsome reputation, but this latest model adds some delicacy to its ferocious performance.

Combining elements of the 911 Turbo S and GT3 RS, the GT2 RS has a 3.8-litre turbo engine driving the rear wheels and claims 0-62mph in just 2.8 seconds.

Although it’s a track-focused machine that holds a record at the Nürburgring track in Germany, you can also exploit its performance to the full on the road without the bone-jarring ride you might expect.

Porsche Macan

Price: From £47,000 (est)
On sale: Early 2018

Porsche seems to be working on the ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ principle with the new Macan. Sales of the current model are booming, so not much needs doing.

Spy shots suggest the only changes to the looks will be to adopt more Cayenne-like styling, and that extends to little more than new lights front and rear.

More importantly, the new Macan will also inherit Porsche’s latest tech, such as the new PSCB tungsten carbide-coated brake discs first seen on the Cayenne. There may even be a power boost for the Turbo model.

Range Rover SV Coupé

Price: £240,000
On sale: Now

Land Rover has hit back at SUVs from the likes of Bentley and Rolls-Royce, with its Special Vehicle Operations division producing the stunning hand-built, limited-edition Range Rover SV Coupe.

It sits lower than the standard car, and with an uprated 558bhp supercharged 5.0-litre V8, it’s also the fastest Rangie ever. Buyers can choose whatever mix of colours and trims they want, too.

Renaultsport Mégane

Price: From £29,000 (est)
On sale: April

Renaultsport has squeezed 276bhp from a 1.8-litre turbocharged petrol engine for the latest version of its Mégane hot hatch.

This is deployed to the front wheels through a six-speed dual-clutch automatic or six-speed manual gearbox. There’s also a new four-wheel-steering system called 4CONTROL, which is designed to increase high-speed stability while making the car more agile at low speeds.

And as we’ve come to expect with fast Renaults, buyers will get the choice of a Sport chassis and a more hardcore Cup version, the latter adding a mechanical limited-slip differential and stiffer dampers. An even more powerful Trophy model with 296bhp will arrive at the end of the year.

Rolls-Royce Cullinan

Price: From £300,000 (est)
On sale: Late 2018

It’s been three years since Rolls-Royce said it would build a ‘high-sided vehicle’, but the Cullinan name – for the largest flawless diamond ever – was confirmed only last month. Apart from revealing the SUV will use a new aluminium platform, the marque has said little.

Even in disguise we can see the Bentley Bentayga rival looks like a Rolls-Royce – it’s reminiscent of a raised Phantom – while the brand has been testing the newcomer in the world’s most arduous conditions to produce a car it describes as “effortless everywhere”.

SEAT Tarraco

Price: From £27,000 (est)
On sale: Late 2018

SEAT has the public to thank for the name of its first seven-seat SUV; fans voted for Tarraco online. As for the rest of the car, it pays its dues to other companies within the VW Group; the platform is shared with the Skoda Kodiaq and Volkswagen Tiguan.

The Tarraco will also be built alongside them and, as they are, will be available as both a five and seven-seater. As you can see from our exclusive image, we’re expecting the SUV to usher in a slightly new look for the company, with a fresh shape for the grille.

SsangYong Musso

Price: From £20,000 (est)
On sale: June

SsangYong has the Ford Ranger and Mitsubishi L200 in its sights with an all-new Musso pick-up. It’s based on the brand’s new Rexton SUV, carrying over the front-end design and interior, but with a pick-up bed that fits a Euro pallet at the back.

It’s double-cab only, and smaller than its rivals, but SsangYong plans to introduce a model with a 400mm longer cargo area in 2019. The powertrain is a 178bhp 2.2-litre diesel with a six-speed manual or auto box, and there’s a 3.5-tonne towing capacity.

Skoda Fabia

Price: From £10,500 (est)
On sale: Summer

Skoda is ditching diesel for its facelifted Fabia, which will instead be offered only with the VW Group’s range of 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrols.

In naturally aspirated form this means 59bhp or 74bhp, while turbos get 94bhp or 108bhp – the latter being the only Fabia with a dual-clutch auto box.

Styling tweaks are minor, but safety kit has been improved with the option of blind-spot monitors and automatic high-beam assist. Skoda will also offer its 6.5-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLink.

Suzuki Swift Sport

Price: From £16,000 (est)
On sale: June

The Suzuki Swift Sport was unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show last September, complete with a 1.4-litre turbo engine which develops 138bhp and should give plenty of performance in such a light car.

It certainly looks the part, with aggressive cuts in the front bumper, a revised grille and a splitter to give the car a sportier nose, while lowered side skirts and large diamond-cut alloy wheels are also fitted. Inside, there are sports seats, a flat-bottomed steering wheel, red dials and plenty of red trim.

Toyota Aygo

Price: From £9,000 (est)
On sale: Mid-2018

Four years after the Mk2 Toyota Aygo first appeared, a facelifted version is set to go on sale later this year.

Although the X-shaped profile on the nose remains, there are plenty of design changes, such as the LED headlights that sit above new fake grille trim pieces, while the grille is more emphasised, with horizontal slats and a tweaked front apron housing new foglamps.

Inside, the changes are more minor, but the 1.0-litre engine has been revised to meet the latest emissions standards and to boost its economy and refinement.

Toyota Auris

Price: From £20,000 (est)
On sale: Late 2018

As well as unveiling the new Aygo and Supra, Toyota has recently taken the wraps off its third-generation Auris hatch. Based on the platform of the Prius and C-HR SUV, the Golf rival looks distinctive and more dramatic, with wraparound lights and a more subtle kink in the rear window than on the car it replaces.

Inside it’s getting a thorough overhaul, with similar infotainment to what you’ll find in the C-HR. Toyota has confirmed that the Auris will be available with a new 2.0-litre full-hybrid powertrain, too.

Toyota Land Cruiser

Price: From £32,795 (est)
On sale: Now

The Land Cruiser is one of the longest-standing off-roaders, and 2018’s revamp sees three and five-door models, plus five and seven-seat layouts, carried over. However, for the first time the range will kick off with a ‘workhorse’ Utility version.

New bumpers and fresh tail-lights set the latest model apart, but what hasn’t changed is the 2.8-litre turbodiesel providing the power.

TVR Griffith

Price: From £90,000 (est)
On sale: Late 2018

It seems right that the car charged with revitalising TVR should have been unveiled at the Goodwood Revival last year and use a name that first appeared in 1964.

What’s described by its maker as a ‘British muscle car’ is undergoing final testing; we expect to see the first of 500 Launch Editions later this year. Thanks to a 500bhp 5.0-litre Cosworth-developed V8, TVR says the Griffith covers 0-60mph in under four seconds and hits 200mph-plus, while the 50:50 weight distribution and ground effect aerodynamics should give fine handling.

Volkswagen Golf SV

Price: From £20,475
On sale: Now

The latest SV (which stands for Sportvan) benefits from the same changes as the new Golf hatchback and estate models. It was first seen at the Frankfurt Motor Show last September, and the visual changes extend to little more than revised bumpers, a new grille, LED front and rear lights, plus fresh trim levels.

Inside, new trims aim to boost quality, but the big news is the introduction of Discover Pro sat-nav on flagship cars. In all, there are 25 models, with four trim levels, six engine options and three gearboxes.

Volkswagen T-Cross

Price: From £16,000 (est)
On sale: Winter

The T-Cross will slot in beneath the T-Roc as Volkswagen’s smallest SUV to date, not to mention one of 19 different SUVs the company will offer worldwide by 2020. This Polo-sized crossover will sit on the MQB platform, with an engine line-up likely to include the popular three-cylinder 1.0-litre turbo petrol with manual or dual-clutch auto boxes.

Previewed in our exclusive images, the styling will mirror the T-Roc’s bold approach, so expect the option of contrasting roof and wheel colours, plus bright dashboard panels inside.

Volkswagen Touareg

Price: From £50,000 (est)
On sale: Late 2018

Volkswagen is hoping for a real lift upmarket from the Touareg; the SUV will need to deliver, because the top-end version could cost £70,000. Its tech provides a premium feel, with a 15-inch touchscreen blending into a smaller digital dash.

When we drove a pre-production 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel (above), we were impressed by the ride, refinement and performance.

Volvo V60

Price: From £31,810
On sale: September

It seems Volvo can do no wrong at the moment, so we expect big things of its latest estate, the all-new V60 – and we don’t just mean the 529-litre boot. The V60 is based on the same SPA architecture as the brand’s XC90 and XC60 SUVs, as well as the larger V90 estate from which the new car borrows much of its handsome design.

This in turn means it will accommodate the company’s plug-in hybrid system for a petrol-electric T6 variant that will be sold alongside the conventional petrol and diesel models. On the safety front, Volvo will offer the V60 with its semi-autonomous Pilot Assist system.

Now that is 2018's best cars taken care of, why not look at the best cars set for 2019?

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