There have been many interesting new car releases into the buoyant UK car market in 2015 as manufacturers try to grab as much market share as possible while times are good. It’s all great news for the car buyer, with the rush to innovate and impress resulting in a raft of exciting models vying for their attention.
- MINI Clubman
The Mk III MINI from BMW is following in the highly successful footsteps of its predecessors, and now more variants are being released including the ‘estate’ version Clubman.
The new Clubman is considerably larger than the outgoing model and is clearly looking to compete with larger and roomier premium hatchback competition in the form of the VW Golf and Audi A1. It has five doors, unlike the old models’ three, and is nearly 300mm longer – in fact, it’s some 158mm longer than the previously largest MINI, the Countryman.
With a choice of petrol and diesel engines and a hybrid said to be in the pipeline, the MINI Clubman is set to add to the marque’s success in the UK.
- VW Golf Type R Estate
For the ultimate in practicality and performance, this 296bhp four wheel drive performance Golf offers sub six second 0-60mph acceleration and a 605-litre boot for those trips to Ikea.
Bristling with high-tech performance and safety aids, the automatic-only DSG gearbox (although a semi-manual experience can be achieved using it in paddle shift guise) is a winning combination of a car offering driver appeal galore with day-to-day practicality.
- Porsche Boxster Spyder
A reduction in kerb weight and an increase in power make the new Boxster Spyder a highly desirable machine. With a 3.8 litre engine from the fabled 911, the Boxster charges from 0-62mph in less than five seconds and can reach 180mph.
With its soft top and sleek lines, the Boxster Spyder looks the part – but you’ll need a friendly bank manager as it starts at just over £60,000.
- Ford Focus RS
Following a period where Ford was reluctant to build high performance versions of its top selling Fiesta and Focus models due to manufacturing economics, the RS versions of these best sellers have won many admirers for their mix of performance and practicality.
The latest RS sports a 2.3 litre turbocharged 320bhp engine while offering the stability and traction of four wheel drive. It’s a bit different to the bread and butter Focus with its huge rear wing but at its heart is still that smooth-to-drive top quality performance of the smaller models that many learn to drive in.
- Vauxhall Viva
With the trend amongst some manufacturers for retro and the evocation of past glories, Vauxhall has resurrected the Viva name some 35 years since a Vauxhall last wore that badge. Starting at a touch under £8,000, the 2015 Viva is an attractively priced city car to rival VW’s popular Up! and Hyundai’s i10.
The Viva is among the larger of the current crop of city cars being a good 200mm longer than a Peugeot 108 for example, and it is offered with just the one engine – a three-cylinder petrol unit capable of 70mpg economy.
And many more
Many more cars were released in 2015 to tempt buyers to get their wallets out; BMW has replaced the popular X1 SUV, Skoda has a new Superb saloon and estate on the market offering limo-like space for bargain basement money, the successful Vauxhall Astra has been replaced with an all-new model and there are various offerings from the likes of Audi, Fiat and Mercedes. With the race to impress, you really are in the driving seat, in more ways than one.