The Paris Motor Show – one of the biggest dates in the automotive calendar – manages to find a fair middle-ground by peppering its host of unobtainable megacars with level-headed models that you or I could realistically afford.
Opening to the public on October 1st, the French capital’s biennial car event provided the stage for cars that you could be driving some time soon.
Land Rover Discovery
One of the biggest cars at the show – in more way than one – was the fifth-generation Land Rover Discovery.
More than 1.2 million Discoverys have been sold over its 27-year lifespan and after the success of the Evoque and Discovery Sport, the full-fat Discovery 5 is set to keep the good times rolling for Jaguar Land Rover.
You’ve surely spotted the Discovery Sport on UK roads by now, so if you can imagine that car stretched to about five metres long and you’re almost there.
The Disco Sport’s seven-seater sibling ups the luxury and off-road prowess for one of the most capable and high-end SUVs on the market. Interior space is plentiful and comfort is optimised to deliver the kind of premium feel you’d expect from a big Land Rover.
It’s lighter, more powerful and more fuel efficient than before, but with the entry level model priced at £44k, it’s not quite as affordable as our next model…
The latest Nissan Micra has struggled to compete in the ridiculously-crowded supermini segment for the past few years, with refined rivals like the Ford Fiesta and VW Polo dominating the UK market.
That could all change early next year though with the fifth-gen Micra, which has been reimagined with the sole intention of taking on the big boys leading Europe’s B-segment.
Compared to the previous model, the new Micra is significantly longer, wider and lower, while its sharper, more aggressive exterior styling should chime with more UK car buyers than in previous years.
The front-end gets the same V-grille design as the Qashqai and the interior has been smartened up too, with the buttons on the steering wheel adopting an intuitive, no-nonsense arrangement.
There’s more than a whiff of the Clio about the new Micra though. The hidden rear door handles and inclined door opening resemble its Renault sibling and it’ll even use the Clio’s 0.9-unit petrol engine. Diesel drivers get the 1.5-litre unit from the Juke though.
No performance or efficiency figures yet but the new Micra should benefit from an improved ride, thanks to sitting on the CMF-B platform that also underpins – yep, you guessed it – the Clio.
Will all this be enough to shift Nissan’s supermini in similar volumes as its mega-selling Qashqai? We’ll find out when it arrives here from March 2017.
More than 3.6 million C3s have been sold worldwide since the five-door supermini’s introduction in 2002 and following the success of the C4 Cactus, the French marque should be confident of continued sales success with the third-gen C3.
It isn’t as visually audacious as the C4 Cactus, but the new C3 does feature a rounded bonnet and squidgy airbumps, designed to protect against everyday bumps and scrapes.
The car is clearly aimed at the same style-conscious buyer that would consider a Mini Hatch or DS3, but the C3 is expected to have a more appealing price on its side. Spacious, comfortable, cheap to run, and with tons of customisable options, the new C3 is sure to stir up the supermini market.
The most recent Honda Civic deserved to do better. Sure, it wasn’t as well-crafted as the current Golf, nor did it handle as well as the Focus, but it was a very capable and left-of-centre take on the conventional family hatchback; it was just too ruddy expensive when placed alongside the usual suspects.
In steps the tenth generation Civic, which represents the largest single model development in Honda’s 70-year history.
Nope, Honda ain’t messin’ about this time. They’re giving the hatch an all-new platform, all-new 1.0 and 1.5-litre turbo petrol engines, class-leading boot space and made it wider, longer and lower than ever before with a snarly front-end intended to intimidate anything else on four wheels.
The more spacious interior has been decluttered and kitted out with new tech, high-grade materials and a lower seating position to really immerse the driver.
A new Civic means only one thing: a new Civic Type-R, even though the current hot hatch has only been available for just over a year. A prototype – decked out in reflective fine grain brushed aluminium effect finish – was unveiled in Paris, ahead of going on sale in the second half of 2017. No details on how fast it will be but it will certainly have to be as quick as the Ford’s 345bhp Focus RS (0-62mph: 4.7secs) to stand any chance.
We couldn’t sign off without giving Skoda’s first full-size SUV a mention.
The Skoda Kodiaq – or ‘Skodiaq’ if you’re into tacky portmanteaus – will also be the Czech brand’s first ever seven-seater model and will boast the largest boot in its class (up to 2,065 litres) when it takes on the Nissan X-Trail and Kia Sorento from April 2017.
With a starting price of £22,500, it will undercut its two main rivals and with angular styling, a wide-range of VW Group engines designed to suit all situations, and a clever eight-inch touchscreen, the Kodiaq is definitely one to watch.
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