Top 10: New cars due in 2015

Picking the most significant new cars coming in 2015 is not an easy task, simply because of the huge volume and variety of planned launches. Nevertheless, here are ten candidates that should make an impact on their respective market sectors.

1. Land Rover Discovery Sport
Launch: January

Land Rover Discovery Sport (2015) Front Side 2

Nominally a replacement for the Freelander, the Discovery Sport gets a different name, an extra row of seats and sleeker styling. The new Land Rover is going to be a bit more expensive than its predecessor, though. In the UK, where four trim grades are being offered, prices range from £32,395 to £42,995.

2. Ford Mondeo
Launch: spring

Ford Mondeo Hatchback (2015) Front Side

The all-new fifth-generation Mondeo was first unveiled as the Fusion at the 2012 North American International Auto Show, so its European launch is effectively three years late.

Available in hatchback, estate and saloon guises, Ford’s D-segment contender will feature a broad choice of powertrains including a 1.0 litre three-cylinder petrol unit, a plug-in hybrid and optional all-wheel drive.

3. Smart fortwo and forfour
Launch: spring

Smart ForFour (2015) Top

Arguably, Smart has struggled to earn the cachet enjoyed by some other small cars such as the Mini Hatch and Fiat 500. The latest fortwo might not be able to reverse that situation, but at least five-speed manual and six-speed automated dual-clutch transmissions replace the troublesome old semi-automatic gearbox.

Expanding the range’s appeal is the five-door forfour, which also serves as the basis for the current Renault Twingo.

4. Jaguar XE
Launch: May

Jaguar XE (2015) Front Side 3

Forget the X-Type; the XE is - at last - a Jaguar that looks capable of taking on the likes of the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series, Cadillac ATS and Mercedes-Benz C-Class in the ultra-competitive compact executive class. Prices start at £26,995, and industry experts are predicting strong residual values.

5. Volvo XC90
Launch: May

Volvo XC90 (2015) Side

Having been on sale for twelve years, Volvo’s original XC90 was definitely due a successor. The new version’s interior has enough seats for seven people and it’s intended to be both elegantly simple and luxurious.

Costing from £45,785, the XC90 can be specified with either a diesel engine or a more efficient plug-in petrol-electric hybrid system.

6. Honda HR-V
Launch: summer

Honda HR-V Prototype (2015) Front Side

Small SUVs are likely to be the next big thing, attracting customers away from their superminis and compact hatchbacks. Honda’s HR-V, essentially a rebadged Vezel, is a relative latecomer to this burgeoning niche but it does promise class-leading cabin space.

7. Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupé
Launch: summer

Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 AMG 4Matic Coupé (2015) Rear Side

Just one look at the GLE Coupé is enough to confirm that Mercedes-Benz’s product planners clearly wanted something to steal sales from the BMW X6. Initially the line-up is going to consist of three variants, all of which boast all-wheel drive and a nine-speed automatic transmission.

8. Mazda MX-5
Launch: summer

Mazda MX-5 (2016) Front Side

Radically changed styling, broader proportions and less weight define the fourth MX-5. The engine selection is set to comprise 1.5 and 2.0 litre normally-aspirated petrol units, but it seems that only the former will be imported into Europe.

9. Toyota Mirai
Launch: September

Toyota Mirai (2016) Front Side

Potentially, the Mirai could be the car that makes people realise that using a load of lithium-ion laptop batteries as a replacement for fossil fuels is neither sustainable nor particularly green.

Equipped with an innovative hydrogen fuel cell, it’s expected to achieve a range of 300 miles (480 kilometres) between gas refills while emitting nothing except water vapour.

To begin with European sales volumes are anticipated to be no more than 100 units per annum, spread between Denmark, Germany and the UK. Such modest ambition is understandable given the Mirai’s price - expected to be around £52,000 - and a sparse hydrogen refuelling infrastructure.

10. Infiniti Q30
Launch: autumn

Infiniti Q30 Concept (2013) Front Side

An extension to Nissan’s UK plant in Sunderland is being constructed especially for the Q30, which debuted as a concept at 2013’s Frankfurt International Motor Show. This prospective rival for the BMW 1 Series and Mercedes-Benz A-Class will be the first Infiniti ever built in Europe.

So what about the numerous other models that are scheduled to arrive at UK dealers during 2015?

Among the more notable are the Alfa Romeo Giulia, Audi Q7, BMW 2 Series Convertible, Fiat 500X, Ford Mustang (in right-hand drive form), Ford S-Max, Honda Jazz, Hyundai i20 Coupe, Jeep Renegade, Mazda CX-3, Škoda Superb, Suzuki Celerio and Vauxhall Viva.

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