We hope all you readers of The Root had a lovely Christmas and New Year with your families and friends, getting the presents you hoped for, your journeys having gone smoothly and safely and maybe even one or two Brussels sprouts having bravely being munched. 2016 is now here so we thought it’d be fitting to have a look at new cars on the way throughout the year, focussing on smaller, more sensible cars.
Infiniti Q30 – January
If you’ve not heard of Infiniti before, think of it as the posh arm of Nissan, in the same way that Lexus is the luxury part of Toyota. On sale this month, the Q30 is a hugely important car for this Japanese company, which is hoping that family buyers with a taste for plushness will fall for this new crossover. The Q30 is about the same size as a BMW 1 Series, Audi A3 or Mercedes A Class and is focussed more on high spec’ rather than driving thrills. Some may feel the Japanese car’s price tag is a bit steep compared to the quality of the Germans, but it’s built in Britain, looks stylish and has modest 1.5-litre diesel and 1.6-litre petrol engines to choose from, among others.
Suzuki Baleno – spring 2016
The name may sound familiar because Suzuki sold a car called the Baleno in the UK between 1995 and 2002. It was quite a bland, forgettable car, but owners rated it for reliability. Suzuki is bringing the Baleno name back to the UK in the form of a new hatchback, which they boldly declare will be bar-raising, without any compromises. The new 2016 Baleno isn’t stunning to look at but is smart and modern. It’s a bit larger than a Swift and will offer loads of space inside for five people and their luggage. The standard-fit colour touchscreen is compatible with Apple Car Play 2, and the 1-litre turbo BOOSTERJET engine sounds like it’ll be economical whilst providing relatively punchy performance. A 1.2-litre DUALJET engine will also be offered, which works a bit like a hybrid in some ways.
Hyundai i20 Active – early 2016
Revealed at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2015, the Active version of Hyundai’s excellent i20 hatchback is the company’s attempt to lure in adventurous types who like their cars to look rough and rugged. It features jacked-up suspension, a higher seating position, skid plates, beefy wheel arches and other body styling, giving it an off-road vibe. There will be a couple of economical engines to choose from, plus handy features like a steering wheel that adjusts for both height and reach, and a reversing camera displayed on the rear-view mirror, making the i20 Active quite a cool car. Being Korean, with a 5-year warranty, it’ll no doubt also be pretty reliable.
New Renault Mégane – summer 2016
One thing this popular French model has always been known for is attractive styling, from the bottom-shaking antics of the Mégane II, released in 2002, to the sharp-edged styling of the current generation. Version IV looks fantastic from all angles, too, with a sleek grille, eye-catching lights and a curvy, sporty rear. The interior of the new Mégane for 2016 is very smart and features a large colour touchscreen and more upmarket materials. It’s set to go on sale in the UK in the summer, will be packed full of fancy technology, offers more space inside than the current model and the GT version will even come with four-wheel steering for enhanced manoeuvrability and handling.
FIAT 124 Spider – late 2016
The original 124 was a hit when it was launched nearly fifty years ago and if its gorgeous looks are anything to go by, the new model for 2016 will no doubt be snapped up like hot cakes. Like all the best sports cars, its engine will be at the front, power will be sent to the back wheels, it’ll be made from lightweight materials and the suspension will be tweaked for a sporty driving experience. Competing with Mazda’s famously brilliant MX-5, the new Fiat 124 Spider won’t be fitted with a daftly powerful engine, Fiat’s 1.4-litre MultiAir Turbo engine more than capable of providing exciting performance at more realistic levels. It’s set to be really safe, too, with a pedestrian-friendly “active” bonnet and a high-strength body.
If you have any questions about any of these new models for 2016, we’d love to hear from you on Twitter or Facebook, and once we have details on the new Ford Ka and Audi’s new baby SUV, we’ll be sure to update you.