This post was originally going to be, ‘Cars We’re Looking Forward To In 2020’. But when we saw just how many amazing cars are on the way next year (Lotus Evija, anyone? Tesla Roadster?), we realised we needed to focus on one market.
In our blog, we usually stick to VW Group cars. But this time, just for a change, we’ve included some other marques.
In no particular order of excitement, here we go:
1. Honda E
Let’s kick off with Honda’s fantastic little Postman Patmobile. Arriving in Spring, the fully electric Honda E isn’t going to win any prizes for range (a weedy 125 miles) or performance (possibly 8.3 seconds, 0-62mph). Or for that matter, value for money (£26K with the government grant). But cuteness – now that it has by the bucketload. We look forward to seeing it zipping around the trendiest areas of London. Or we would if we ever went there.
2. Honda Jazz
Does anyone really look forward to a new Honda Jazz? Well, yes actually. The Jazz might not be the most exciting supermini in the world, but it’s superbly engineered, practical and perfect for round-town driving. And with the new version, Honda have tried hard to ditch the yawnsome image in favour of something a bit more rugged-looking. The new model will only be available as a hybrid, starting from about £16,000.
3. Audi A3
The new version of the A3 won’t be with us until late in the year, and we’re waiting excitedly to see what those clever Audi elves have in store. We know that under the Audi bodywork, the A3 will share mechanical components with the Volkswagen Golf Mk 8 — and that’s a great place to start. We anticipate somewhat sharper styling and the usual infotainment upgrades. The one to watch out for will be the 2 litre S3, the current version of which is one of the best pocket-rockets available.
4. SEAT el-Born EV
OK, it took us a while to get past the name (it’s a district in Barcelona), and we’re still not bored of referring to it as the el-bow. Put that aside, and what SEAT are offering looks to be a compelling electric package. Range is a decent 260 miles for the 62kWh version and performance is a warm-hatch-bothering 7.5s for 0-62mph. Charging to 80% takes 47 minutes, assuming you can find a 100kW charger. On top of that, we think it looks the business, with clean lines and a sharp, snarly little snout. Expect the el-Born to start at around £26K.
5. SEAT Leon
The second small car offering from SEAT in 2020 will be the new Leon. We’re sure it won’t be anywhere near as groundbreaking as the el-Born — there’s limits to how much SEAT can tweak a 22-year-old design. Nevertheless, a new Leon is always something to be celebrated, because it’s great at what it does: combining all the virtues of VW Group know-how with a style all of its own and a competitive price. The 2020 version will be available as a diesel, two petrol variants and the inevitable plug-in hybrid. Prices should start at around £19K.
6. Fiat 500 Electric
The classic, much-loved Fiat 500 is ditching fossil fuels completely and acquiring an electric powertrain. The new version will be with us from the summer and, according to Autocar, will offer a range of up to 300 miles. We’re stoked to see it, but have a couple of reservations. Firstly, will all the added battery weight make the electric 500 a wee bit lumbering ? The second concern is the price. Just consider that the petrol version currently retails as £11,000, whereas the electric 500 is expected to start at £26,000. That is a huge difference and shows the hurdles faced by the EV market.
Electric small cars… are you sensing a theme?
2020 is the year when electrification is really gaining traction in the small car market. Apart from the three models we included above, there are new electric versions of the Mini, the Peugeot 208, the Vauxhall Corsa and several others. And that’s not to mention the Volkswagen ID3, which we think will be a truly important car that deserves a post all to itself. Of course, whether all this manufacturer investment translates into decent sales is anyone’s guess. Maybe we’ll get back to you in a year on that one!
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