The world of cars this week: It’s as busy as ever in the world of cars from the first glimpse at what effects the new tax rules are having to looking at the future in Shanghai, along with new models breaking cover.
Here we take a bitesize look at the latest news in motoring. If you’re looking for a new car visit www.exchangeandmart.co.uk/new-cars and www.s1cars.com/new-cars
New car tax rules hit registrations
April saw the introduction of new car tax rules, with the majority of those buying a new motor paying more than they would have previously.
March saw huge growth as buyers moved their purchases forward to beat the rise, which means that most cars cost a minimum of £140 from year two onwards. But the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said that there was a significant decline in April following the change.
The SMMT said that 152,076 new cars were registered in April, a drop of 19.8% It said the fall was across the board – private buyers, fleets and businesses were all down. Alternatively fuelled vehicles recorded their first fall in 47 months, though by a small -1.3%.
The overall picture for the first four months of 2017 is good, though, with new registrations up 1.1% year-on-year, which is the highest level on record.
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “With the rush to register new cars and avoid VED tax rises before the end of March, as well as fewer selling days due to the later Easter, April was always going to be much slower.
“It’s important to note that the market remains at record levels as customers still see many benefits in purchasing a new car. “We therefore expect demand to stabilise over the year as the turbulence created by these tax changes decreases.”
Looking at the future at The Shanghai Auto Show
What’s a motor show in China got to do with us? Well, while some models unveiled there are solely for one of the biggest markets in the world, others offer a glimpse of what could one day come to UK roads.
Or, in Renault’s case, to a Formula One track in a decade’s time. Its R.S. 2027, it says, embodies its vision of the pinnacle of motorsport in 2027 – with a greater focus on the drivers, more focus on electric power and safer racing.
Meanwhile, the firm’s evergreen Espace is going to China to complete its crossover line-up in the country. Aston Martin had a big show, debuting its high-performance brand AMR, its race-inspired arm.
Making its Asia debut, the Rapide AMR is the first tier, giving the four-door sports car power, chassis and styling upgrades inside and out.
Aston Martin president and CEO, Dr Andy Palmer, said: “AMR is something we have wanted to bring to fruition for some time. Cars such as the Vantage GT8 and Vantage GT12 confirmed that our customers love, raw, race-bred models, but we also knew there was an opportunity to create cars that offer a sharper performance focus but stop short of those truly hard-core, special series models.
“With the AMR brand we have the perfect platform to deliver both.”
Aston has now confirmed that the Rapide AMR and the Vantage AMR, which was unveiled at the Geneva show, for production – with just 210 Rapides and a mere seven Vantages to be built.
Citroen unveiled two new models, with the C5 Aircross making its global debut alongside the C-Aircross Concept that previews the brand’s future compact SUV, the C3 Aircross.
BMW also unveiled a new car to the world – the new 5 Series Long Wheelbase – while it also took the covers off a special edition of its i8 plug-in hybrid sports car. It also showed off the BMW Concept X2 as well as the revised 4 Series.
Smart launches a new sub-£10k entry level model
If you’ve always thought that Smart cars were kind of cool, but also kind of overpriced, you wouldn’t be alone. However, the Mercedes-Benz-owned marque has moved to attract the budget crowd with a new entry level model for both the fortwo and forfour body styles.
The smart pure (we’ll let the firm have its lower case letter just this once) starts from just £9,995 and comes with a 1.0-litre, 71hp, petrol engine mated to a five-speed manual gearbox.
That setup is good for 94mph, with CO2 emissions at just 97g/km and on-paper mpg of 67.3. For a fiver’s change out of ten grand you get 15in alloys, electric windows, electric heated door mirrors, and the Smart audio system.
You can add automatic climate control for £575 and there is a choice of nine colours.
Order books open for new SEAT Ibiza
The new SEAT Ibiza is available to order ahead of arriving in showrooms in July. Prices start at £13,130 for the Spanish firm’s stylish supermini, with this new one being the fifth generation.
SEAT says it sees advances in style, quality, performance, handling, refinement and technology.
It also debuts the VW Group’s new MQB A0 platform and will be launched exclusively as a five-door model, with five trim levels and four petrol engines available – with new efficient three-cylinder units leading the way.
You can have Honda’s hot new Civic for less than £300 a month
Honda’s new Civic is nice, sure, but we all want to know more about the hot one, don’t we?
Well wonder no more, the next-gen Civic Type R hits forecourts in July and the ‘base’ one will cost £30,995, while the GT, which carries a host of extras, will be £2,000 more.
More interestingly, with many people choosing to go for PCP deals these days, Honda has revealed that the hot hatch, which will be built at its Swindon plant, will be available from £299 a month.
Its 2.0-litre VTEC turbo is an optimised version of the power plant that sat in the previous car, now producing 320ps and peak torque of 400Nm, while the six-speed manual gearbox now has a rev match control system.
Phil Webb, head of cars at Honda UK, said: “As with the previous generation, we are fully expecting a huge demand for the Civic Type R.
“The order bank is already open and we are experiencing strong interest off the back of the launch at the Geneva Motor Show in March – and this is before our customers have even taken a test drive.”
Peugeot updates 308
Peugeot has given its 308 a refresh, with sharpened styling, updated engines and improved tech.
Order books are open for delivery from September, with the 308 continuing to be available in hatchback and SW (sports wagon/estate) and tasty GTi trims.
Design tweaks include a new vertical grille and LED running lights for all models, while inside the i-Cockpit seen in the 3008 means top-end touch screen, 3D connected sat nav and new graphics.
The new 308 can also be specced with all of the driver assistance safety systems seen on the flagship 3008. Engine-wise there’s a new 1.5 BlueHDi 130 diesel; with a new eight-speed automatic gearbox coupled to the more powerful 180 diesel.