18 cars for 2018: The ones to look for, and the ones to avoid.
2017 was a bit of a ‘meh’ year for cars. The only thing we found exciting was the shiny, do not touch’s behind the red ropes at the car shows. Tokyo being (in our opinion) the show we hawked over more than the others. Mostly Mazda’s RX concept. But we ain’t getting that until 2019. So as 2017 comes rapidly to a close. What did we see this year that we know will be hitting the tarmac, if it hasn’t already, in 2018?
Now in the sake of format for this article. And not to cause anyone any stress related symptoms. We will list the good stuff first, and the stuff thats disinterested us or disappointed us last. After all, winners never come last.
THE GOOD STUFF
No. 1 Renault Megane RS
The old car was pretty hard to beat. Being the dominant front wheel drive force for a large period before Honda came along and stole the crown off its big French booty. By this time though, Renault knew the platform had been exhausted. But thats not to say its aged in terms of drive. We have driven one, sadly not for very long so we couldn’t fully get down into its big crack (no rear end pun intended we promise.) But we concluded that we 100 percent could see what all the fuss was about. So what’s new about its replacement? Well heres what we do know. Its 5 door for the first time, Which has been met with some gasping from die hards.It will come with a DCT or a manual. Renault learnt their mistake with the DCT only Clio RS so offering a manual was much needed. The new car retains its front wheel drive layout but gains an electric four wheel steering system which Renault are calling 4Control, to give you more confidence, sharpness and slingshot sensation into the corners. Dropping the 2.0 Turbo inline four for a much more ‘economical’ 1.8 turbo. The same engine thats used in the new Alpine, But with more power here for some curious reason. The Megane will produce 276 BHP and 288 ft of torque. One criticism people have is It seems to be down on power from its rivals. But Its lightweight’ness will make up for this shortfall. Expect to see It on sale early 2018 and prices to be around the £30k mark. Make that 34 once you have optioned for liquid yellow.
No. 2 TVR Griffith
Blackpool’s lethal weapons manufacture is back. And will start producing cars again for a rather large amount of orders placed since the cars unveiling at Goodwood Revival. And what a way to come back! This car is achingly good from what we have read. A 5.0 Cosworth V8 producing 500 BHP. And a perfect 50 50 weight distribution thanks to Gordon Murray’s iStream architecture (I guess this means It plays V8 sounds via bluetooth?) What this actually means, is inner carbon fibre panels bonded to a steel frame for rock solid rigidity and impressive crash safety. It also means it will be light at 1250kg. And we all know what that means, right? TVR have achieved their goal of 400bhp/tonne which will only help to propel this British bull from 0-60 in under four seconds, hit a top speed of 200 MPH and our favourite bit. 0-100 in 6 seconds flat. It looks good, sounds good, goes like crazy and for, as TVR have said “3 tireless years of development,” we think this might have payed off. Customers will receive their Griffiths next year at an unknown date. Prices start at 90k. And as a little tip off, we have heard an even faster bigger brother is in the works as we speak. To top it off, it has side tail pipes!
No. 3. Hyundai i30 N.
From out of the blue, quite literally, Is Hyundai’s answer to Volkswagen’s Golf GTI. But for a considerably amount less, £23,856 to be exact. Thats cheaper than the GTI’s £25 845. Is it worth paying the extra for that badge though? We don’t think so, its .1 of a second faster from 0-60, now that might not seem much but it will to those buying this car. It looks better in our opinion. Its cheaper to run, cheaper to insure. But comes as standard with an electronic limited-slip differential and three-way adaptive suspension. For a little more money you will get a power increase from 247 to 271 BHP. This will also be a model most people will go for. Now this car is already out. But we had to include it because it will be an interesting platform to watch and see how popular these thing are. As handling goes we have heard its very, very keen indeed in the twists. Hyundai’s popularity has grown by 87 percent in Europe. As if this was not amazing enough they landed this one on us! We sadly have no info on how much this thing weighs. But we should imagine quite a margin less than its German competitor.
No. 4. Suzuki Swift Sport
Heres another car that was in dire need of replacing. The old car really was good, but the looks were marmite. And this new one is even more marmite. The new model which was shown off at the Frankfurt Motor show back in September, is to drop the 1.6 for a new 1.4 turbo, which will produce a little more than its outgoing unit, 4 BHP to be exact. But the real difference here is the weight. 970kg, a huge 80kg less than the outgoing model, and from what we have heard is stuffed with more options as standard. Quite an engineering achievement. We cant think of any other cars on the market that are lighter than this. The new Swift sport will go on sale in April next year with a price of £14,500. Very competitively priced for its offerings.
No. 5. BMW 3 series.
Suits rejoice! You will have a new car on your drive next year. BMW have been strange about this one. Probably as they want to hype up a car for no reason because it will sell anyway. We weren’t given an actual car on any motor show stand and we nowhere is there photo. BMW have given it the model name of G20. Expect it to have had a weight shave. Improved diesel and petrol engines and in general, a refinement of already one of the finest saloon cars on sale today.
No. 6. Mercedes AMG GT four-door.
We saw this car at Goodwood and it was rather striking. We didn’t get any photos of it personally unfortunately. Designed to be an upmarket replacement for the CLS 63 and a direct competitor for the Porsche Panamera Turbo (good luck with that one.) Mercedes are dropping their all onto this project and as we quizzed the Mercedes man in the booth we were told it will have ‘EQ’ Power branded petrol electric drivelines. But don’t down thumb this car down yet, It will launch with the same 4.0 twin turbo V8 found in the E63. Although slight back peddling, the top of the range hybrid model will push a horsepower rating of 805 BHP with a range of 31 miles on the batteries, and the entry level model with 671 will come with a range 19 mile range on the batteries. Were confused as to why the more powerful one gets a better battery range but based on this knowledge we suggest you go for the most powerful one even if it costs more. Because thats the only way you will convince your wife.
No. 7. Aston Martin V8 Vantage.
This car is out already! As of writing this article we saw one, in the flesh on the road in convertible form. And we can confirm it looks better in the flesh. Then met with a contradicting disappointment. When what we did actually see was a Vanquish Zagato Volante in testing. So not quit the £1.3 million car that we did manage to witness on a Sunday December day. But never the less they new vantage is coming soon and we will reserve judgement on looks in person. Because we aren’t enamoured by it in pictures. The 4.7 has been replaced with a 4.0 twin turbo V8. Which if you have been following is the same engine you will find in the E63. There may be some Aston fettling here or its a straight fit but either way, 503 BHP is nothing to scoff at in a car.
The new ‘baby’ Aston is more of a super car now than it is a sports car. Despite saying its entry level. It now requires a higher premium than before. Starting at £120k, this is more priced at 911 Turbo than 911 S. Suspension upgrades include skyhook and according to Aston, the geometry is more driver focused than that of the DB11.
No. 8. Mercedes X-Class.
Not exactly a car, but worthy of inclusion in this article. We have seen in person. And no, it wasn’t met with disappointment when we found out it was actually a 2CV special edition, (only kidding.) This actually was the X class pick up truck we have been hearing about. And it’s looks like a monster! Especially in black. Mercedes been in the commercial vehicle market for a long time now. But they have never done a pick up truck before. Mercedes have co developed this pick up with Nissan and Renault. And if things couldn’t get anymore odd, the engines are from the Nissan Navara too. A 2.3 turbo diesel pumping 161BHP or a Twin Turbo pumping 187. With eh ability to tow 3.5 tonnes of weight. We expect these engines too be very torquey and not bad on MPG. Mercedes’s goal was to make this pick up feel more car like with the usability of a pick up, but it comes at a price. £27,310 on the road, chuck in a few options and it will become expensive. This makes it more than the Navara and way more than the VW Amarok. £3600 and £6,500 respectively. Thing wont get interesting until the V6 diesel (which is coming soon) slots its way inside it.
No. 9. Kia Stinger GT.
The Koreans are on a bit of a roll this year. Study this car closely, and you will realise it’s actually a bit of a revolution. It’s created a new market for itself that we are calling ‘hot sedan’. There are Audi’s and even BMW’s that have the same BHP as this. But, They are all very normal looking where this shouts out that it means business. Thats why we feel its a very unique option. This car is quick, especially with the 3.3 litre Twin Turbo variant that starts at £40K. Entry level models start at £32k. For the case against the M3, It has peak power of 365BHP and 376lb ft of torque. 0-60 in 5.1 is not bad for a car that weighs just under 2 tonnes. In the world of mega hot hatches its not comparable. But this is no hot hatch, its a hot sedan. Did we also mention It has a 7 year warranty? Well done Kia, you deserve this!
No. 10. Polestar 1
Now this ones a bit different, it also seems nobodies either heard of/or payed attention to it either. Polestar were to Volvo as AMG is to Mercedes. Take the ordinary and make it unordinary. But this time it is now its own brand in itself, see It as what Abarth is to Fiat. What do we know about it? Well lets start by looks, Awesome! Possible production in 2018 with only 500 being made a year and It will be left hand drive only initially. The Polestar 1 comes with a hybrid system consisting of two motors that drive the rear wheels with Volvo’s new Drive-E 2.0 inline four. The motors pumping out 220BHP and the engine producing 377BHP, you do the maths. What we will also say is it can pump out 737lb of torque. Prices are estimated to be at £116k. But don’t expect to see one in the UK for a while. But it is well worth the wait in our books!
Now that we have shown you the stuff, by internal vote, that we really seem to like and consider very promising for next year. We now want to give you the list of stuff that gave us an ice cold bucket of water of disappointment or cars that made us fall asleep with boredom. The hot hatch market from what we have shown you is definitely still a mainstay topic for next years car trend. But we shall now counteract that with a few surprises. Whats coming next may be controversial to some. But here it is anyway..
THE STUFF THAT LEFT US COLD.
No. Volkswagen 11 Polo GTI.
The Polo model we have now feels like a grandad amongst its rivals. It has done quite well sales wise for Volkswagen. But Its now time to move on, although it’s replacement looks brilliant, we thought we would stick to the more important issue of the GTI variant. It’s forever been dominated by the Fiesta ST in nearly every single way apart from badge appeal, and it seems nothing has changed. It has already been tested by several other journo’s, with most saying its good. But it’s rivals are better. With a DSG only from launch disappointing prospective buyers. A new 2.0 litre that seems fairly breathless with only 197BHP, (de-tuned not to make it as fast as its bigger brother,) and no doubt thirstier than the outgoing 1.8. With a 0-60 of 6.7 seconds it’s not slow. But in a market where driver engagement is crucial. We are hearing nothing but moaning of a disappointing drive. And with prices starting at just under £20k. We had to put it on this list.
No. 12. Ford Fiesta ST.
We did say this would be contradicting to the theme of hot hatches. But this is also a very important one due to the huge cult following and success of the now out of production model. From what we have seen and heard, the king will be dethroned in 2018. We adore the current Fiesta ST. Ford got everything, and we mean everything right with it and more. Chassis, suspension, engine, looks, practicality, steering, a sweet gearbox, a feeling of complete control and balance, good MPG and reliability. And the big point was the price, starting at 16 and a half thousand pounds when it was initially introduced, (prices did rise due to Ford cutting production and demand rising) undercutting its rivals by a good 3 to 4 thousand pounds. It was a complete no brainer. You hear people the whole time saying “they are too popular, I don’t want one for that reason.” The reason why they are so popular was because it was that rare opportunity in life where the cheapest option was the most exclusive. To those who owned this model, I guarantee you will look back in 20 years time and it will be remembered as the best car you ever owned, I promise you. So, Instead of reminiscing on the past/present. Lets talk about the future. And oh dear lord, if this is what the future holds then I want to swiftly exit stage left. Ford displayed the next generation Fiesta ST at the 2017 Geneva Motor show with a rather bemused on look. And we can see why. They have hand on heart, ruined the looks of this car. The back looks even higher and too B-Max’y, the front looks to conservatively cute rather than aggressively cool. Theres just something too ordinary looking about it this time round that doesn’t differentiate the ST from the standard models. And this is hugely important for the age group this car is aimed at. The news gets worse when you dig deeper. The 1.6 inline four has been ditched for a 1.5 inline three due to new emissions regulations. Even with this engine being the first 3 pot in the world to feature cylinder deactivation, and the fact it has a bit more power than before. Its still not enough to get you round from the shock of the loss of a cylinder. Feel and involvement as we said earlier is crucial for hot hatches. And a 3 cylinder doesn’t cut it. It may have a wider track at the front than the previous model but thats only there to counteract the fact its heavier than the older model. Is there anything at all redeeming this car? The price will still cheaper than its rivals when it goes on sale early next year. Or it could be the fact we could be totally wrong, and this car could be even more fun and faster than the previous model. But we are comfortably sitting here thinking that ford hit its peak with the last ST. Sorry, but not sorry.
No. 13. Lamborghini Urus.
The name isn’t right, we just need to get that out the way first. Lamborghini’s need to have long names that sound exotic. This may be named after a type of fighting bull, but it sounds bad. Lets get down to more crucial stuff like its crazy styling.. Been looking hard for it and all you found was a jumped up VW product look alike? Same here. Someone left a Tiguan in the sun for too long is the best way of describing it. Same goes for the interior. Its the most Audi influenced Lambo interior to date, which at this price level (we will tell you at the end what it is) is nothing but outrageous. This is all explained quite simply by the fact this car is based on the Audi Q7 platform. Not really a good start for a performance SUV is it? I’m sure they have put their own suspension geometry on this thing, but it still seems like they are cutting corners. To recap so far, and we really have to cause we are struggling. They have failed on three things. lets see what this thing is packing numbers wise? Quite impressive actually. 641BHP from a 4.0 twin turbo V8. 0-60 is 3.6 seconds. And flat out, 190 MPH. Making this the fastest SUV in the world. So why are we not impressed? Well here’s the point. Its a Q7 underneath, wrapped in a boring by Lambo standards styling, all for the on the road price of, sit down. £165K. A fully equipped Cayenne Turbo S doesn’t cost that much and we highly doubt the Lambo will be as good to drive, wether or not it is faster. Lambo seem to know their customers a little too well now. Were sure this thing will sell really well. But thats because they know themselves that it will.
No. 14. BMW Z5/Toyota Supra.
Not really one car, but it is. We were really sad when we heard about this partnership. most of us got the impression BMW are going soft and Toyota are getting the better deal here. So what is it? BMW and Toyota have teamed up to create 2 new sports cars in tandem with each other. No photos apart form some spy shots on Nordschleife which we thought weren’t worth showing. Mazda and Fiat had a similar agreement with each other for the MX-5 and 124. And it sadly ended up in tears. What we do know is Toyota will get 2 things from BMW, the wiring loom and the straight six engine. But we cant help but thinking that they could end up being the same car to drive but with different styling. A bit lengthy to explain fully, But lets get our head rounds the dilemma here. The BMW is most likely going to cost more than the Supra. But the Supra is the same car, for less. So, let’s say you buy the Supra instead. Yes you saved money, but your not driving the Supra everyone remembers. The Fast and Furious one everyone loves. New buyers instead of cult is what Toyota are wanting. Rumours of these 2 cars coming out next year are somewhat low but it isn’t getting ruled out. Apart from that, we cant say anymore than our thoughts. And so far, we are disappointed.
No. 15. Kia Stonic
SweetTonic? possibly. Kia’s answer to the Mazda CX-3, Renault Caputur and the Nissan Juke. But this seems to be a pointless car considering Kia have the ‘Soul’ in the line up already. The soul may not have the same pedigree as other marque’s models but it does seem a bit unnecessary. A very good friend of mine works for Kia and he confirmed that the Soul is not being replaced by this car. Kia have given us some really nice looking cars of late. The Stinger (mentioned earlier) looks brilliant. But sadly they seem to forgot to apply their craft to this car. The language is there, just not pronounced as nicely as the rest of the new line up. The Stonic shares the same platform as the Soul. But it is more jacked up and longer than its smaller brother. It gets less promising when you find out 4 wheel drive is not an option on this car either. There are three engines available, oddly enough the smallest being the most powerful. a 1.0 turbo four cylinder with 118 BHP. A 1.4 litre with 98 BHP and a diesel 1.6 with 108 BHP. MPG is said to be 56.5 but we find that hard to believe as a small engine in a car this size is never a good thing. Starting at £16,995 It does undercut its rivals on price and offers the same level of equipment. But our best would be the Mazda CX-3 as a better all rounder which starts at a thousand pounds more. It may not have the warranty the kia offers. But its a far more premium product for a bit more.
No. 16. BMW 8 Series.
Its not looking good for BMW. Now there is a lot of people breathing in for this car. But from what we have seen so far its nothing like the original car was. We loved the original 8 series for its looks, and for its time was hugely advanced. But It never really knew what it was. Was it a GT car or a 4 seater sports car? BMW tried to improve its image in later years by adding more power. But Porsche had already seen that the four seater, coupe sports car was no longer a viable market option and discontinued the 928 (the 8 series’s only real competitor at the time) in 1995. Prompting BMW to do the same a couple years later with no replacement. What are we expecting next? BMW have decided to resurrect the name at what we feel is a bad time. The S-Class coupe has not been a hot seller for Mercedes, and umm.. that kind of is the only car in its segment. Fast sedan’s in this price point offer so much more performance than what was only achievable with coupe’s yonks ago to the point where most people would rather spend the money on something with more than just 2 large doors. So has BMW got huge promises for the new 8 series comeback? We have not seen or heard anything so were taking that as a no. What we can tell you is the platform will be able to take small engines from 2.0 up to 6.6 litres. An M model will be available which is a first for the 8 series. And thats really about it. Sounds similar to something they already offer doesn’t it? The 6 series. It may not be a looker. but the concept BMW showed everyone of this car didn’t have the wow factor the original one had. It looks more like a glorified Ford Mustang with a bit of Aston Martin going on. We don’t like it. And sadly, we ain’t looking forward to it either.
No. 17. Volkswagen Up! GTI
We don’t have too much to say about this little pocket rocket apart from one thing! As It all may seem promising. And then you realise how much it costs. Starting at £15k for the 3 door model its way, way too expensive for what it really offers. It may only weigh just under a tonne at 997kg and have a 115 BHP turbo’d 3 cylinder engine. It seems to be quite a fun thing to drive too, But we feel its not enough to justify its price tag. There are loads of used cars you could pick up for less than that premium. Insurance is a factor to consider but the price of buying in the first place pushes that aside. The Up! GTI will go on sale early next year.
No. 18. Toyota Yaris GRMN
Whilst were on the subject of overpriced. Heres a limited run fast Toyota. only 400 will be made for the price of £26,295 a piece. Its the same story as the Up! But on a more ridiculous scale. From what we’ve gathered they have all sold out already and they aren’t actually too bad to drive. But we cant see this being a car that will be hugely sought after once they have all sold out. Expect the values of them not to rise for another few years yet and just why would you want spend that money on a car of that size?
Im sure there is stuff in this article that we have missed but we sat down for a long time and managed to come to an agreement from out team. You may disagree with us or agree with us entirely. But this is solely our opinion and we try not be biassed! I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as we did putting it together!
We would like to honour the photographers of all the images used. We fully respect copyright laws and we would like to give all credit to all magazines/media groups.