- Our pick of the best new cars for 2018
- SUVs continue to dominate marketplace
- Which cars should be on your radar?
- Our pick of the best new cars for 2018
- SUVs continue to dominate marketplace
- Which cars should be on your radar?
What cars should you be looking forward to in 2018? Parkers is here to run you through the best cars worth waiting for – be they petrol, diesel or alternatively fuelled – and from what we've seen so far, it's going to be a great year for car buyers.
An emphasis on driver enjoyment as well as safety is shaping new car designs for 2018 – there’s a lot to look forward to regardless of your motoring tastes and budget.
Which fast small car should I buy in 2018?
Hot hatches are a perennial favourite with keen drivers. But don't think that just because a car is small and fast that it's not practical – in this best hot hatch 2018 round-up, Parkers highlights the cars you can't afford to ignore. If you want fun and excitement, step this way!
The 2018 Ford Fiesta is already on sale, but the range won’t be complete until the Fiesta ST arrives in showrooms in 2018.
A petrol 1.5-litre turbo engine, producing 200hp, joins the range, and despite the fact is has one fewer cylinders than the out-going ST and measures 1.5 litres instead of 1.6, Ford promises improved performance. It has a chassis tuned for driver involvement, and promises to result in a capable hot hatch for less than £19,000.
Styling on the ST is subtly different. A more aggressive airdam and rear diffuser differentiate the ST from the regular ST-line models.
Both three- and five-door versions of the Fiesta ST will go on sale early in 2018.
The Suzuki Swift Sport has been reworked extensively for 2018, and offers affordable performance with a strong youth appeal. A turbocharged 1.4-litre Boosterjet four-cylinder engine should produce at least 140hp. The basic Swift weighs only 890kg, so we're hopeful that the Sport will be similarly lightweight.
The interior design of the Swift is a clean, restrained starting point for the Sport, which takes the proven route of adding supportive seats and red highlights to the trim.
Prices should start at less than £15,000 for a car capable of 0-60mph in less than 8.0 seconds, with distinctive styling and practical interior space. We can't wait, given the brilliance of the old one.
Which is the best small car to buy in 2018?
Superminis are growing. This is countered by more powerful, efficient, engines and the benefits that come from superior comfort and safety equipment. If you want a small car for 2018, these are our favourites of what’s new.
The 2018 Volkswagen Polo is the reincarnation of another of the strongest lines of heritage in the supermini world. The Polo has always been very much a miniature Golf, but this all-new model changes tack slightly to place style at the very forefront – with an exterior that’s striking in the metal and a colourful interior that sets new standards in the class.
Most buyers will choose one of the new 1.0-litre TSI turbo petrol engines, but you’ll be able to buy a 1.6-litre diesel, too – and later a 200hp GTI model that promises to also sharpen up the handling.
The regular versions are good to drive, but not especially exciting – making up for this with class-leading interior space and plenty of technology, including an all-digital instrument cluster on the options list called the Active Info Display. It’s a very appealing all-rounder.
Best family cars for 2018
If you want versatile, daily use and a minimum of four seats, there’s a range of cars out there tailored to suit, but while most people are switching to SUVs these days, that doesn't mean you have to. Here are our top conventional family cars:
Despite the popularity of SUVs, the BMW 3 Series remains extremely popular and affordable for families wanting a practical saloon or estate without the perceived bulk of a tall hatchback or SUV.
The 2018 3 Series is based on a new, lighter platform that should retain nimble handling and driver involvement. Externally, BMW knows better than to mess with a winning formula, so expect evolutionary styling and a look closer to the current 5 Series.
Weight reduction should make the 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbo models more entertaining to drive. At the upper end of the range, the M340i will attract those too eager to wait for a new M3.
A new BMW 3 Series Touring is also expected to join the range in 2019.
Building on the success of the current i30, Hyundai is adding some flair to its conservatively competent range.
An opportunity to pick up a performance hatchback away from the usual brands is presented by the i30 N. With 250-280hp available, the development has been overseen by the former VP of BMW's M-division, Albert Biermann. A pre-production drive demonstrates significant improvements over the previous i30 Turbo.
Alongside the N, a new Fastback bodystyle joins the range. Following the style set by Audi's A3 Saloon and the Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class, the i30 Fastback moves slightly upmarket. Hyundai has suggested that the performance N model might offer 300hp.
The Kia Stinger's low, sleek bodywork disguises a surprisingly large car. Slim front wings and flared arches join aggressive front intakes and bonnet vents to underline the sporting intent, yet there’s plenty of room for five adults and 500 litres of luggage, easily accessed through a full hatchback.
Under the bonnet, Kia offers two petrol engines and might offer a third, 200hp diesel option of 2.2 litres in Europe.
The petrol duo are both turbocharged, a 255hp 2.0-litre four cylinder and a 3.3-litre V6 producing 369hp. All models feature an eight-speed automatic gearbox and rear-wheel drive, with optional all-wheel drive.
The best new SUVs for 2018
There is seemingly no end to the popularity of the SUV.
Manufacturers are moving towards the higher seating position style as the default for family and premium cars alike. No niche is left unfilled; whatever your budget, needs and taste there is an SUV for you from almost every manufacturer.
Starting with a list price aimed to undercut the bestselling Nissan Juke, the Citroen C3 Aircross keeps the distinctive style of the new range, but does without the 'airbumps' of the C3 and C4 Cactus. Packaged with the latest technology, even the top-of-the-range Flair model is on sale below £18,000.
The now-familiar Citroen lighting arrangement gains bold contrasting-coloured highlights, and the interior range builds on the Cactus’s variety of materials and schemes. The engine range includes two diesel and three petrol models, spanning 82 to 130hp.
Expanding the DS range upwards, the DS 7 has an emphasis on material quality and diversity, with suede and leather trim that delivers a quality feel as well as appearance. Powered by a choice of three diesel and a single, 225hp petrol engine at launch, there will be an AWD hybrid model soon after launch.
DS wants to deliver the same comfort as their historic namesake, and Active Scan suspension is the technology they have developed to achieve this. Cameras scan the road ahead and set up the damping accordingly; in the real world, it does not isolate the battered reality of urban roads, but works well at speed.
Although not the highest rated car joining the market this year, it is visually interesting and has an appealing range of equipment; it may prove to be a good choice for those wishing to express more individuality.
The Jaguar E-Pace starts at less than £29,000.
Its compact, sleek body design combines with F-Type styling cues, resulting in classic appeal in a segment dominated by cartoonish, exaggerated details. Inside the F-Type theme continues with a driver-centric dashboard and console layout. The distinctive passenger grab handle reinforces the sporty intent.
It’s not all style, either, as a wheelbase close to that of the larger F-Pace results in impressive passenger space and a respectable 577-litre luggage capacity. 2.0-litre petrol and diesel Ingenium engines from 150hp to 300hp are planned, the lowest output diesel being front wheel drive and rated at 124g/km.
Based on the Rio platform, and sharing much of the interior design, the Stonic adheres to the small SUV copybook nicely. Bold C-pillars forming a band of body colour across the roof, a swept-in lower line and a raised driving position and suspension combine with flexible colour configurations, two-tone finishes and an emissions-friendly 1.0-litre T-GDI engine producing 120hp.
Equipment levels and a seven-year warranty will ensure the Stonic is excellent value for UK buyers. Improved driving experience and a modern, bold style mean Kia needs to rely on pure value less and less, however.
The Arona is SEAT’s first compact SUV. Riding 15mm higher and 78mm longer than the Ibiza, it keeps the Spanish firm's family look intact with triangular LED running lights and sharp sculpted sides. The internal space is impressive with 400 litres of boot room.
The interior is relatively subdued and mature, with a clean uncluttered look. Two three-cylinder and one four-cylinder petrol engines are offered, ranging from 95 to 150hp, while a 1.6-litre diesel offers 95 or 115hp.
The Arona is offered with 68 body and roof colour combinations. Options include full LED lighting, driver assistance, wireless phone charging and mirroring, and a full suite of safety features.
If a Polo is too subtle, the T-Roc is designed to get attention - yours and those around you. Underlining the shift towards SUVs generally, VW expect to tempt Scirocco owners as well as family buyers, and have tuned the suspension accordingly.
Like the Polo, bold colourways are available with striking interior trim, and VW's impressive three-cylinder engines suit the small, urban runabout character of the T-Roc. Competitive pricing, premium build and a new bodystyle for VW should make this one of the most popular small SUVs available.
Based on a new architecture, the XC40 is a significant leap forward; it also features Volvo's strong new design language. Aimed at the smaller SUV market, initial engines are the higher performance 247hp T5 and 190hp D4, paired with eight-speed automatic and all-wheel drive transmission.
Safety is a significant element in the XC40's design, but Volvo have recognised that other manufacturers do safety well too - and have gone for interior and exterior design that steps away from the herd a little. As such, the appeal of this new SUV is surprisingly broad, and it challenges hard-working utilitarian models as much as it does the premium marques.
We've driven the XC40, and found refinement and performance impressive. Front-wheel drive and less powerful engines will be offered as the range expands; it is also available under Care by Volvo within the M25.
New 4x4s for 2018
The Mercedes-Benz X-Class is targeted at the current trend for lifestyle pickups. As such, it will be a popular alternative to an SUV or executive car for those looking for a high driving position, all-wheel drive security and assuming nothing changes, company car tax breaks.
Sharing a platform with the latest Nissan Navara NP300, the X-Class has little need to deviate from the multi-link rear and refined chassis, though some additional stiffening has been applied to the frame.
The interior represents a significant move upmarket over its Nissan and Renault platform mates, with a fully bespoke dashboard and seating, distinctive vents and Mercedes’ own Comand multimedia and navigation system. Pure, Progressive and Performance trim levels are available.
Power is initially be provided by the same 2.3-litre turbo diesel as the Navara, in single (X220d) and twin (X250d) turbo forms for 163hp and 190hp respectively. A choice of six-speed manual and seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmissions are offered, paired to a selectable part-time four-wheel drive system.
Later in the year, the 258hp V6 X350d will not only increase the power available to the X-Class, it will introduce full-time four-wheel drive with 7G Tronic transmission and Dynamic Select.
We've driven the X-Class back to back with the Volkswagen Amarok, and it's clear the premium pickup market is getting some serious competition.
As it approaches 40 years in production, the Mercedes G-Class 4x4 - better known as the G-wagen among enthusiasts - is undergoing a significant update, with a new body and major engineering changes. Messing with a formula that has been appreciated by Austrian farmers and Detroit gangsters alike is a risky business, and externally there's little change to the fundamental shape. Likewise, the excellent off-road ability has been retained, with three differential locks and excellent axle articulation. A wider track and rack and pinion steering will significantly change the on-road manners of the car.
Detail changes around the body reveal substantial development, from windows to the shape of the front wings. Inside a vastly updated interior transfers elements of current S-Class thinking without losing the shallow dashboard and upright windscreen. Electronics and efficiency are all brought into the 21st century.
Based on the new, fifth-generation L200 pickup chassis but with a fully enclosed seven-seater body and passenger-tuned suspension, driving dynamics are likely to be acceptable rather than class-leading.
Equipment available on the Shogun Sport, which is expected to cost around £30,000 when it goes on sale in the UK in mid-2018. Specification will include lane-departure warning, touchscreen media and navigation, adaptive cruise control and a bird's-eye view camera for parking.
Power will come from the 180hp DI-D 2.4-litre Turbo Diesel, offering 430Nm of torque and around 40mpg, though six-speed manual or five-speed automatic gearboxes.
Other great cars to look out for in 2018
Renault’s new Alpine A110 brings back a style and nameplate from the 1960s, and a whole new platform for the £50,000 sports car. It has been engineered for weight saving.The Alpine weighs in at 1,080kg, compared with 1,330kg for the Porsche 718 Cayman.
Its 1.8-litre turbo petrol engine produces 252hp, and is mid-mounted so you sit in front of it. The fuel tank is positioned in the front of the car, which helps make for 44:56 weight distribution. Suspension and brakes are specially developed. A seven-speed transmission with paddleshift allows the Alpine to reach 60mph in 4.5 seconds, with a top speed of 155mph.
Light, aerodynamic and powered by an engine of reasonable size, the A110 should be as frugal as it is fun, with pre-release specifications indicating emissions of 140g/km of CO2.
We've driven the Alpine A110 - and it made an impression.
New electric cars in 2018
Many manufacturers have been working to meet anticipated demand for electric vehicles, and 2018 will see the release of several high-profile models that aim to normalise the experience and widen the appeal of a battery-powered car.
With few contrived 'electric age' styling elements the I-Pace should stand out by simply looking good. The technology beneath is backed by significant investment in the UK.
The EQ’s production model will debut in 2018, moving closer to the SUV segment/GLC in design and market appeal. Capabilities are likely to be comparable to Nissan’s Leaf (below).
The Leaf has been a huge success for Nissan. During which time more than a quarter of a million have been sold worldwide. We're told 2018’s Leaf will introduce more autonomous features.
ProPILOT will offer a combination of adaptive cruise control, braking assistance and lane keeping, which will make automated motorway driving possible. A less conventional feature is e-Pedal - a single-pedal driving mode that uses battery-recharging drag to brake the vehicle in normal conditions. Range on the 2018 Leaf has been increased to 235 miles, and a high-performance model will be released before 2019.
The Model 3 should cost around £35,000 when launched in the UK. Styling is smooth and slightly unconventional to emphasise the alternative power plant; a one-piece glass roof and rear window underlines the futuristic nature of the car, and so does the space-age interior.