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Cars to watch out for in 2011

  • Our pick of the cars to look out for in 2011
  • Six of the top sellers have been refreshed
  • 'Green' technology is still high on the agenda

With Christmas trees already in the shops and the New Year approaching quickly, it seems 2010 has been a vintage year for the car industry.

Highlighted by an optimistic Paris Motor Show and a whole host of new cars set to hit roads over the next 12 months, the industry really does appear to be picking up.  

With that in mind, here's a list of our top company cars to watch out for in 2011: 

Ford Mondeo

WHAT IS IT? 
The Mondeo has long been the choice for the discerning company car driver, but it's also one of the best cars in its class. Look past the badge and you'll find a car that's practical, well made, rewarding to drive and easy to live with. The facelifted car has an upmarket feel and a range of more efficient engines to keep it up to date with the competition.

 

VW Passat

WHAT IS IT? 
The seventh-generation Passat sees all diesel derivatives getting stop/start and brake regeneration, so the focus is firmly on frugality for Volkswagen. An aggressive pricing structure means its better value than ever, too. Prices start at £18,470 for the saloon, undercutting BMW, Saab, and Audi equivalents. The three trim levels are available with more kit than the previous car.

 

Peugeot 508

WHAT IS IT?
The 407 replacement will hit showrooms in January. Peugeot says its focus is on producing a quality product, and on initial inspection the signs are promising. The top-spec car will be the GT, and will come with a 204bhp 2.2-litre engine and loads of equipment. All of the engines in the range major in efficiency, the lowest emitting 109g/km CO2. In 2012 a diesel/electric hybrid will appear with even lower emissions, at 99g/km.

 

Audi A1

WHAT IS IT? 
The A1 is a classy small hatchback with excellent build quality and an efficient range of engines. It's set to go head-to-head with BMW's MINI, but feels a lot more grown up. A range of efficient engines are available, with a performance version using a 1.4-litre engine borrowed from the Polo GTI, but with 182bhp (up 6bhp on the baby VW). The hot A1 is coming in March.

 

Citroen DS4

WHAT IS IT? 
Based on the C4, Citroen's new premium hatchback follows on from the DS3. LED running lights, flashy wheels and a panoramic windscreen are the defining features, while there will be a choice of five engines and two gearboxes, and plenty of trim options. It's certainly got distinctive styling so should be easy to pick out among the more mundane hatches out there.

 

Ford Focus

WHAT IS IT?

The Focus has traditionally been right at the top of the hatchback tree, and 2011 sees the next stage in the evolution. The range will be topped by an ST version that promises 247bhp from its 2.0-litre engine and the loudest paintwork around. Downsizing is the theme for Ford next year, so expect a range of smaller and more frugal engines to complete the line-up.