Best cars of 2017 - UK

  • Our pick of the best new cars for 2017
  • SUVs continue to dominate across the marketplace
  • Could one of these new cars be on your driveway?
  • Our pick of the best new cars for 2017
  • SUVs continue to dominate across the marketplace
  • Could one of these new cars be on your driveway?

Buying a brand new car is exciting.

But if your new car is replaced just weeks later by a brand-new model, there’ll be a twinge of disappointment. 

So what are the best cars of 2017, and which ranges are due to be replaced over the next 12 months?

Alfa Romeo Stelvio SUV

Alfa Romeo Stelvio SUV - best cars 2017

There are no signs of the popularity of crossovers waning in 2017, which explains the introduction of the Alfa Romeo Stelvio, the Italian brand’s first SUV.

Based on a revised version of the Alfa Romeo Giulia, the Stelvio is a car designed primarily for on-road use rather than scampering across the countryside. Alfa’s reinforced this by so far only revealing the high-performance Stelvio Quadrifoglio packing 510hp.

Those of us in the real world will be more interested in the more efficient diesels for the mainstream range, although if Alfa follows the Giulia’s form, it’ll be automatic only.

Expect it to be priced similarly to the Audi Q5, BMW X3 and Mercedes-Benz GLC when sales begin towards the end of the year.

BMW 5 Series

BMW 5 Series - best cars 2017

In saloon guise, the BMW 5 Series has been a cornerstone of the German brand’s line-up since 1973, with its seventh iteration appearing in February 2017 to take on the Audi A6, Jaguar XF and Mercedes-Benz E-Class.

While it looks like a conservative evolution of its predecessor, the architecture it’s based on is all-new, packing a wealth of cutting-edge technology and assistance systems into a package that will continue to sate enthusiastic drivers.

Diesels will continue to dominate 5 Series sales charts, but petrols also feature and plug-in hybrids will follow before long, too.

Expect the next 5 Series Touring estate to follow later in 2017, with a replacement for the 5 Series Gran Turismo hatchback likely to become a 6 Series derivative.

Ford Fiesta Hatchback 

There’s an all-new version of the UK’s best-selling car in 2017, although the latest Ford Fiesta looks like a very measured evolution of its predecessor.

Ford assures us the latest model will be even more fun to drive when sales start in the spring, although from launch the sportiest offering will be the ST-Line – it’ll be 2018 before the next Fiesta ST hot hatch arrives.

Set to battle the latest Citroen C3, Volkswagen Polo and Vauxhall Corsa among a plethora of alternatives, Ford’s also introducing a couple of niche Fiestas this time around.

With extra chrome detailing outside and quilted leather for the cabin, the Fiesta Vignale will be one of the most luxurious small hatches on sale, while with its plastic body cladding and higher ride height, the Fiesta Active taps in to the booming SUV scene with its off-roader appearance.

Honda Civic Hatchback

Honda Civic - best cars 2017

Another nameplate originating in the 1970s and still going strong is the Honda Civic with the hatchback arriving in March being the 10th-generation model to wear the badge.

It looks distinctive and arguably divisive – but in a completely different style to the last couple of Civic iterations – although there’ll be no mistaking it for anything else in a class dominated by the Ford Focus, Vauxhall Astra and Volkswagen Golf.

Much roomier – and less whacky – inside, but the clever Magic Seats that increase its flexibility are no more. 

There’ll be a familiar range of i-VTEC petrol engines, with the i-DTEC diesels following later. Expect first sight of the next estate-bodied Civic Tourer before the end of the year.

Land Rover Discovery SUV

Land Rover Discovery SUV - best cars 2017

Deliveries of one of the most eagerly anticipated new cars of 2017 begin in February when the first customers get their hands on the all-new Land Rover Discovery, although it’s available to order already.

Gone are the Discovery’s chiselled looks, the newcomer looking lithe and slippery by comparison, although it promises to be even more spacious, with seats for seven adults. 

Land Rover’s gone very techy with the new Discovery and not just with aids for its very capable off-roading systems, but also to make it more flexible as a family car – the five rear seats can be folded electrically from a smartphone app, for instance.

It’s the Discovery’s rump where there’s most discussion, with its asymmetrical design hinting at a split rear tailgate – in fact, it’s a single top-hinged door, with a flap that folds down from inside the boot to sit on while changing into your wellies.

Mazda CX-5 SUV

Mazda CX-5 - best cars 2017

It barely seems like five minutes, let alone five years since the first Mazda CX-5 arrived but by the summer the second-generation will be upon us.

That it looks like a sleeker evolution of the original is no mistake for the CX-5’s a handsome crossover free of brash detailing that blight others in the class.
First time around Mazda had tuned the CX-5 to deliver a sportier driving experience, but for the new model the firm has indicated that it’ll be be more comfortable but no less engaging to drive.

Factor in a suite of even more efficient petrol and diesel engines, taking advantage of Mazda’s weight-saving SkyActiv program and suddenly the Ford Kuga, Nissan Qashqai and Renault Kadjar have a much bigger problem on their hands.

Mercedes-Benz E-Class All-Terrain

Mercedes-Benz E-Class - best cars 2017

It’s taken a while to jump on this niche bandwagon but the Mercedes-Benz E-Class All-Terrain is the Three-Pointed Star’s first salvo on the Audi A6 Allroad, Volvo V90 Cross Country as well as the less expensive Volkswagen Passat Alltrack.

All the ingredients are present and correct for this low-slung SUV transformation: chunkier bumpers, beefier wheelarch extensions and side sills and the obligatory raised ride height.

You also get Mercedes’ exquisite E-Class cabin, a fine level of build quality and dose of real-world practicality with a large boot, 40:20:40 split rear seats and a seven-seater option. Whether you’d want to clart the luxurious interior up with sticky-fingered, muddy-booted kids is another matter…

Skoda Kodiaq SUV

Skoda Kodiaq - best cars 2017

You can already order your Skoda Kodiaq in five- or seven-seat guise but deliveries for British customers don’t begin until early spring.

Based on the same underpinnings as the SEAT Ateca and Volkswagen Tiguan, while the Kodiaq’s not inexpensive it still represents a value for money proposition against much larger – and more expensive – SUVs. We expect it to steal sales from the Hyundai Santa Fe and Kia Sorento in particular, if not from the Volvo XC90.

Petrol and diesel engines are offered, along with both front- and four-wheel drive, in a sharp-suited package. Running costs are reasonable and trim levels are generous, although it lacks many of the ultra-practical touches Skoda’s cemented its reputation on.

Nevertheless, it is one of 2017’s most significant cars.

Suzuki Ignis SUV

Suzuki Ignis - best cars 2017

There have been two generations of Suzuki Ignis before, but this time around the small SUV package is even more diminutive, featuring plenty of styling cues from the brand’s first car sold in Britain, the SC100.

Yet this isn’t a retro pastiche – in fact, if you’ve never heard of its stylistic forebear, it doesn’t matter, for the Ignis looks fresh, quirky and more distinctive than its nearest rival, the Fiat Panda Cross.

It’s a strict four-seater and its dimensions inevitably make it more suitable to younger families rather than those populated with strapping teenagers. 
Climb aboard and the interior’s almost as distinctive as the outside – and far more interesting than many of Suzuki’s other models.

Inexpensive to run and buy, the Suzuki should do well for urbanites looking for something less run of the mill.

Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport 

Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport - best cars 2017

Now a similar length to the Skoda Superb, this five-door hatchback is the all-new Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport, its nomenclature reflecting how far removed this sleek range is from its bloated predecessor.

As well as the Skoda, the new Insignia Grand Sport will continue to rival hatchback versions of the Ford Mondeo, but this time around Vauxhall won’t be offering a traditional four-door saloon variant.

The range will be fleshed out later in 2017 with a replacement for the Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer estate, as well as the more rugged Insignia Country Tourer.
Vauxhall promises significantly more passenger space in the Grand Sport’s higher quality interior, with comfort set to be a hallmark of the new range.

Petrol and diesel versions will be available to order from February, but high performance versions featuring four-wheel drive arrive later in the year.


More new arrivals due in 2017

If you thought last year was busy, with a raft of new crossovers, expect to be staggered by the number of them arriving this year.

Audi Q5, BMW X2, & MINI Countryman

We’ve recently driven the all-new Audi Q5 in its Mexican homeland and judge it to be the new class leader, although it’s likely the BMW X2 will be more fun to drive.

Similar under the skin to the X2, but in a dinkier package, is the all-new MINI Countryman (below). It follows the same recipe as before but don’t expect a replacement for the slow-selling Paceman coupe.

MINI Countryman- best cars 2017

Volkswagen Touareg & Tiguan Allspace

Sharing much of its architecture with the Q5 is the third-generation Volkswagen Touareg. Don’t get the Touareg confused with the Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace, though – that’s VW’s version of the seven-seat Skoda Kodiaq.

Volkswagen Group’s made no secret that it will be launching a smaller family of crossovers, too – the first being the SEAT Arona. 

Peugeot 5008 & Citroen C3 Picasso

Following hot on the heels of Peugeot’s SUV onslaught which concludes with the all-new 5008 (below), the replacement for the Citroen C3 Picasso will become a crossover and will be joined by a larger model before the year end. Expect rebodied DS versions of them, too.

Peugeot 5008 - best cars 2017

Vauxhall Crossland X, Grandland X, & Viva Rocks

Those French-badged models will also be the basis for two similarly-sized SUVs from Vauxhall in the forms of the Crossland X and larger Grandland X. Filling the range out further will be a toughened-up version of the firm’s smallest model, to be known as Vauxhall Viva Rocks.

Honda CR-V, Jeep Compass, & Renault Koleos

Further into the mainstream, 2017 will see the arrival of the fifth iteration of the Honda CR-V, along with the similarly-sized Jeep Compass and Renault Koleos, the latter sharing its under-structure with the Nissan X-Trail.

Tesla Model X & Range Rover Sport Coupe

Looking for something more prestigious? Few cars beat the wow factor of the electric Tesla Model X with its gull-wing rear doors, although it won’t be as sporty to drive as the on-road focused Land Rover Range Rover Sport Coupe.

Fiesta, Micra, & Rio

Crossovers haven’t killed off the humble hatchback, yet with a variety of practical choices to suit more modest budgets expected over the next year.

While the Ford Fiesta will likely dominate the supermini sector, it’s not the only newcomer in the class. Most rakish is the dashing Nissan Micra, which looks set to be the boldest choice, with styling far more interesting than the all-new Kia Rio (below). 

Kia Rio - best cars 2017

Swift & Ibiza, and maybe a Polo

Chasing the same value-conscious buyers as the Kia will be a more distinctive Suzuki Swift range; they’ll all do battle with the five-door only SEAT Ibiza and we may even see its sister car – the next Volkswagen Polo – before the year’s out, too.

Need something larger?

Facelifts are in store for the Skoda Octavia and Volkswagen Golf, both of which will face stiff competition from the high-quality, sober-suited Hyundai i30.

More of a leftfield choice will be the all-new Subaru Impreza (below), but those looking for something more premium without being garish should sit tight for the new-from-the-ground-up Volvo V40. 

Subaru Impreza - best cars 2017

Audi A8, and Lexus LS & LC Coupe

Audi will replace its enormous A8 range, but it will find a fresh rival in the shape of an all-new Lexus LS, complete with hybrid powertrains. Petrol-electric systems also feature in the Japanese luxury brand’s striking new LC Coupe.

VW Arteon

Slightly larger than the Passat, but featuring a five-door coupe body with a tailgate to access the boot, is the Volkswagen Arteon. VW says it’s not a direct replacement for the slinky CC, so presumably it’s a coincidence that model is discontinued this year.

Tesla Model 3 - best cars 2017

A little like the Arteon, the Tesla Model 3 (above) is a sleek five-door coupe, too, but powered solely by electricity. Can Tesla cope with pre-orders said to number over 400,000?

And finally...

If you’re of the opinion that five doors are three too many for a coupe, then await the introduction of the slinky Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe, or consider the next Audi A5 Cabriolet if you prefer soft-top motoring.

More surprising an entrant in this field is the still-to-be-named Kia ‘GT’ – a four-door sports saloon with rear-wheel drive. Can the Korean brand beat BMW at the 3 Series’ game?

Perhaps you still need a little more practicality? Well, BMW’s next 5 Series Touring won’t have things all its own way if the all-new Jaguar XF Sportbrake estate can do anything about it.

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