- Our pick of the exciting cars released so far in 2019…
- … and the ones yet to come
- SUVs dominate, and hybrid and electric vehicles becoming more commonplace
We’re now a good way into 2019, but there are still plenty of new cars to look forward to in the coming months. While big model debuts such as the BMW 3 Series, Range Rover Evoque and Porsche 911 may be behind us, cars such as the Ford Kuga, Honda e and Peugeot 208 have yet to hit the market – though we’re excited for when they do.
(Another) Year of the SUV
Continuing a trend we’ve seen for the last few years, SUVs continue to dominate new car debuts. Just about every manufacturer now offers a high-riding crossover or 4x4, even unlikely ones such as Lamborghini. 2019’s new debuts include several new SUVs, ranging from compact crossovers for small families to high-end performance machines.
There’s no denying that buyers can’t get enough of SUVs, crossovers and 4x4s and that doesn’t look set to change any time soon.
More electric and hybrid vehicles
Another trend for 2019 is the growing number of electric vehicles (EVs) and hybrids offered on the market. Most manufacturers have promised some level of investment into the technology, whether that be full EV or hybrid offerings across their range of just a level of mild hybridisation on select engines.
There are also a fair few totally bespoke electric vehicles heading to market, such as Volkswagen’s ID.3 which will spearhead a new all-electric sub-brand. If you were unsure whether to make the switch from a petrol or diesel car to an electric or hybrid vehicle, this latest crop of cars could be the ones that convince you to make the switch.
Manufacturers refreshing their most important models
2019 is also set to be the year several manufacturers refresh or totally relaunch some of their most crucial models. Toyota already kicked things off with its reborn Corolla – the best-selling model nameplate of all time, and a massive worldwide sales champion. BMW has also launched an all-new 3 Series, its biggest-selling nameplate and a crucial car for the brand.
Meanwhile, in the European small car leagues, Peugeot and Renault will go tete-a-tete when their new 208 and Clio superminis launch into the same market. Both have undergone serious upgrades, aimed at delivering big-car technology and driving dynamics in a small package. We’re looking forward to finding out which is best.
Launching a new car into an uncertain marketplace – with uncertainty surrounding diesel emissions, electric infrastructure and even Brexit – is a challenge, and one we should be glad so many manufacturers have taken the plunge and done.
Read below for our full list of 2019’s most important cars.
The most important new cars for 2019
- BMW X7
- Citroen C5 Aircross
- DS 3 Crossback
- Ford Kuga
- Range Rover Evoque
- SEAT Tarraco
- Volkswagen T-Cross
- Audi E-Tron
- Honda e
- Kia Soul EV
- Mercedes-Benz EQC
- Tesla Model 3
- Volkswagen ID.3
- Mazda 3
- Peugeot 208
- Renault Clio
- Skoda Scala
- BMW 3 Series
- Jaguar XE
- Toyota Camry
- BMW Z4
- Ford Focus ST
- Porsche 911 Cabriolet
- Toyota Supra
BMW’s taking the fight to Range Rover with its enormous new X7. Offered in the UK with a choice of two diesel engines or a single petrol, this luxurious SUV aims to offer slightly more of a dynamic drive than its competitors – much like its saloon sibling, the 7 Series.
Citroen’s first large SUV since the slow-selling C-Crosser (which was really just a rebadged Mitsubishi Outlander), the C5 Aircross is a typically quirky Citroen product. With trick hydraulic suspension providing a cushioned ride, it harks back to the brand’s heritage, but remains practical – thanks to a spacious interior and good range of petrol and diesel engines.
Though the standalone DS brand has been around for a while, the DS 3 Crossback is only its second standalone model. It’s another fashion-led compact crossover, intended to rival the likes of the Audi Q2 and Mini Countryman. Hybrid powertrains and an all-electric E-TENSE model will follow later in the car’s lifetime.
The current Ford Kuga is a little long in the tooth, but the American brand could have the answer with the new model. Based upon the brilliant Focus hatchback, the new Kuga brings more car-like styling and a much-improved interior. Here’s hoping it also brings some of the Focus’ trademark driving dynamics, too.
We’ve already driven the new Range Rover Evoque and can happily report it’s a very good SUV indeed. It’s got a great interior, loads of tech and it looks fantastic – plus, it’s very refined to drive. Plug-in hybrid powertrains are set to arrive later on, but for now there’s a choice of diesel and petrol engines, with mild hybrid boost.
It was pretty easy to see the Tarraco coming, as SEAT was the only Volkswagen Group brand without a seven-seat SUV in its lineup. The Tarraco shares much of its makeup with the Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace and Skoda Kodiaq, meaning a versatile interior, plenty of high-tech equipment and a range of impressive and
The T-Cross is the smallest offering in Volkswagen’s range of SUVs, and its cute looks and Volkswagen Group build quality make a compelling package. A good array of personalisation options plus perky turbocharged petrol engines are bound to attract young buyers, too.
With the E-Tron, Audi has a credible rival to the likes of the Jaguar I-Pace and new Mercedes-Benz GLC (below). The E-Tron looks good, drives well, offers a decent 248 miles of range and has those all-important four rings on the bonnet. Tesla’s Model X had better watch itself – the premium manufacturers are coming for it…
Just look at it! The adorable Honda e is an expression of what a good concept car can do – punters at the Geneva Motor Show liked the Urban EV so much that Honda decided to put it into production, with the ‘e’ nomenclature instead. This all-electric city car is set to target the higher-end of the market, so don’t expect a bargain – and its 124-mile range is pretty titchy, too.
Kia’s new Soul is a lot like the previous models – a stylishly square SUV. However, the UK market will only receive one version, and it’s the fully electric Soul EV. Sharing a powertrain with the Kia e-Niro means the Soul EV will be capable of an impressive 280 miles on a charge, while buyers can expect strong performance and of course, the brand’s standard seven-year warranty.
The Mercedes-Benz EQC looks a lot like the existing GLC on the outside, but that’s a calculated move by the German brand to make the new all-electric model as accessible and inoffensive as possible. It’s certainly got the chops to compete, with four-wheel drive, more than 400hp and a range of 259 miles.
Here’s one that EV fans have been waiting for for a long time. While Tesla’s Model S and Model X are impressive machines, they’re luxury items – the Model 3, on the other hand, is a truly mass-market all-electric saloon car. First drives appear promising, but the fabled entry-level model priced under £40,000 won’t make it to our shores for a while.
Volkswagen’s first purpose-built electric vehicle (the e-Golf and e-Up were based on petrol models), the ID.3 looks particularly promising. It’s built on a bespoke set of components geared towards electric vehicles, and with an unconventional shape it should provide excellent passenger room. Best of all, the largest battery on offer will keep the car going for more than 350 miles between charges – seriously impressive.
Keen drivers will be pleased to know that the very latest Mazda 3 is just as good to drive as the previous model – so one major box is ticked. It’s also a particularly striking-looking hatchback, and later on in its life will offer a groundbreaking compression ignition petrol engine that we’re very much looking forward to trying out in production form.
Peugeot has form with small cars, and the new 208 looks like it’s going to continue that legacy. Divisive styling aside, this dinky hatchback will offer a wide array of engine options including a fully electric variant in the e-208. It also features the very latest incarnation of Peugeot’s i-Cockpit interior setup, with innovative 3D-effect digital dials.
Competing with its arch-rival, the Peugeot 208, the new Renault Clio has a lot riding on it. While its exterior design doesn’t take a massive leap forward, it does on the inside with a new large infotainment display and much-improved material quality. Under the skin, conventional powertrains will be joined by a hybrid later in the model’s lifetime.
Replacing the much-ignored Skoda Rapid, the Scala is yet another mainstream offering from Skoda that’s just a little bit better than it needs to be for the price. Don’t expect anything groundbreaking, but the Scala will be painless to live with, pleasant to drive and reasonably cheap to own. And really, what more can you ask for from a mid-sized hatchback?
Replacing the 3 Series is always a massive deal for BMW – it’s the firm’s best-selling nameplate and the one that best sums up its ethos of making ordinary cars extraordinary to drive. The new model may be divisive to look at, but it’s fantastically dynamic and packed with tech. It’s bound to appeal to buyers in the market for a compact executive saloon.
The Jaguar XE was somewhat of an also-ran compared to the BMW 3 Series, Audi A4 and Mercedes C-Class, but the facelifted model has addressed our concerns. It’s still brilliant to drive, but Jaguar’s sorted out the interior – which was arguably the old car’s biggest downside. A pair of slick new touchscreens and improved material quality means that the new XE is not only good to drive, it’s comfortable and up-to-date.
The return of the Camry nameplate is another blast from the past – the UK market dropped the Camry in favour of the Avensis back in the 1990s. But now the Avensis is dead and the Camry’s returned, taking the form of a sharply-styled hybrid-only saloon. It’s very relaxing to drive and should prove reliable and painless to own, if a little unexciting.
The Z4 may be divisive to look at, but to drive it’s BMW at its best – mixing the character of a sports car with a comfortable boulevard cruiser. Available with a classic straight-six as well as a pair of four-cylinder engines, this soft-top roadster is ideal for those who want convertible thrills in a package that’s usable every day.
The Focus ST has morphed from a relatively pedestrian ‘hot’ hatchback into a ferocious contender, with 280hp available from its 2.3-litre engine and performance to match. It’s still practical, though, and it’s even still available with a diesel engine – a rarity in this sector. This handsome machine will give the Volkswagen Golf GTI cause to shudder.
A soft-top version of the brilliant Porsche 911 is always cause for celebration. The latest 911 Cabriolet is unsurprisingly the best yet, and it retains its status as the ultimate everyday supercar thanks to its extraordinary dynamism and usability.
Cynics will say it’s just a BMW Z4 in a frock, but the Toyota GR Supra is more than that. Despite sharing its underpinnings and engine with the German machine, Toyota has given the Supra its own character, and it’s a different animal to drive. With a superb chassis yet impressive everyday usability, the Supra proves Toyota still knows a thing or two about making sports cars.