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New cars and hot deals, 11 April 2008

Qashqai gains more seats; £4k off 6-seat Honda MPV

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Market watch – new and used deals

Honda FR-V

Save up to £4k on the quirky but clever FR-V

Motor Provider has a special offer on the Honda FR-V. The FR-V is a slightly unusual MPV, seating six people in two rows of three – but that typical Honda quality remains, and it’s even quite good fun to drive.

Try a 1.8-litre petrol in ES spec, brand-new for £14,450. That’s £3,090 less than list price – although depending on spec Motor Provider reckons it can save you as much as £4,000.

Suzuki Swift deal

Swift – very capable ‘mini

How much does age and mileage mean to you? Smartcars is listing a pair of Suzuki Swifts on sale at Belmont Suzuki.

Both are 1.5-litre GLXs, but one is from 2005, has 21,466 miles on the clock, and priced at £6,499, the other is from 2007, has done 15,500 miles, and costs £7,799. We actually think the newer car looks better value.

Daihatsu Copen

Copen – will now get standard 5-year warranty

Finally, Daihatsu has upgraded the warranty on all its new cars to five years. Already available on the Terios mini-SUV and Sirion supermini, it has now been extended to the Materia MPV and Copen sports car.

Daihatsu may not seem like an obvious choice for your next car, but the company makes no-nonsense, good value transportation. The Materia and Copen are certainly distinctive, too, so the added peace of mind should boost their appeal.

Nissan reveals Qashqai+2

Nissan Qashqai+2

Nissan Qashqai+2 – more room for the family

More than 170,000 Nissan Qashqais have been sold since the car went on sale last March, making it not only the biggest-selling compact crossover, but also Nissan’s most successful new car launch – ever.

Not content with going after the five-seat hatchback market, Nissan has now announced there will be an extended version, the Qashqai+2. As the name suggests, this will feature extra seating for two people, bringing the total number of passengers up to seven.

Nissan Qashqai+2 seats

Two fold-down rear seats make space for 7

To accommodate this, the Qashqai+2 extends the standard car’s wheelbase by 135mm, grows in overall length by 211mm, and in height by 38mm. The new third row of seats folds flat into floor, while under-floor storage goes some way to recapturing the lost boot space.

Like the regular car, it will be offered with a choice of two- and four-wheel drive, two diesel and two petrol engines, and three trim levels.

Pricing will be announced later, with its official public debut at the British International Motor Show in July. European sales start in October. Popularity is almost assured, so start making enquiries now if it tickles your family’s fancy.

VW Touareg now more efficient

VW Touareg 3litre diesel 08

Touareg 3.0 TDI – now faster and marginally greener

Following the Tiguan last week, this week it’s the Touareg’s turn to be the Volkswagen off-roader getting a new diesel engine.

The 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel isn’t all new, but in fact a revision of the existing unit, tweaked to provide more power and a greener drive.

A boost in power from 221 to 236bhp, and torque from 369lb ft to 406 sees the 0-62mph time drop by nearly a second – from 9.2 seconds to 8.3.

CO2 emissions have also fallen from 278g/km to 262g/km; this is presumably just to make your conscience clearer, as the reduction still doesn’t bring the Touareg near the sub-225g/km lower road-tax band.

Fuel economy is also said to be better, but VW has yet to publish any figures.

The 3.0-litre diesel accounts for 68% of all Touareg sales, so we suppose any change for the better is a worthy one. Prices start at £33,465, and it’s on sale now.

Hyundai and Kia get sporty

Hyundai Coupe TSIII

Hyundai Coupe TSIII – a fiver under £20k

Hyundai and Kia both have both announced sporty new additions this week.

Hyundai’s is a limited edition version of its pretty Coupé. Badged TSIII, and priced at £19,995, this gets tougher looks, quilted leather seats and new sports suspension.

Its 141bhp output may not be enough to tackle similarly priced hot hatches for performance, but the anthracite alloys, quad exhausts, and big boot spoiler should certainly attract attention.

It costs £1,575 more than the 2.0 Coupé SIII it’s based on – but seems worth it.

Kia Cee'd 2.0 diesel

Cee’d and SW now get quick 2.0 diesel from the Pro_cee’d

Kia’s new baby is more permanent. The Cee’d five-door hatchback and SW estate are now available with the 2.0-litre diesel engine that previously only came in the Pro-cee’d three-door hatch.

Branded CRDi Sport, these cars represent the performance pinnacle of the current Cee’d range while Kia ums and ahs about introducing a properly hot version.

It’s a high-tech engine, good for 138bhp, and will set you back £1,200 more than the existing 1.6-litre diesel in both versions. That makes the five-door £15,595, and the Cee’d SW £16,395. Add in the Cee’d’s standard seven-year warranty, and they look like good value.

Suzuki Swift and Chevrolet Matiz now greener

Chevrolet Matiz

Matiz – now cleaner

Chevrolet has taken a spanner to the Matiz 0.8S, and reduced its CO2 emissions to 119g/km.

This means the city car and its tiny 0.8-litre petrol engine now sneaks into road tax band B, bring the annual taxation cost down from £115 to £35 – and also exemption from the London Congestion charge from October.

Suzuki Swift diesel

Swift diesel – emits 119g/km

Group 1 insurance, 54.3mpg (claimed) and various servicing packages make the £6,245 Matiz very cheap to run. Compensation, perhaps, for driving a re-badged Daewoo.

Meanwhile, the Suzuki Swift diesel has benefited from similar fettling, and it too now emits just 119g/km CO2.

More supermini than city car, the 1.3-litre turbodiesel Swift also returns an impressive 61.4mpg combined, has six-airbags, and remains fun to drive. It’s £10,515, and available now.

Renault Laguna GT – with active handling

Renault Laguna GT hatch

Laguna GT has four-wheel steering

The new Renault Laguna has a new sporting flagship, the GT.

It features the usual styling enhancements, and the choice of a 202bhp 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol, or a 178bhp 2.0-litre turbodiesel.

But the really big news is its Active Drive chassis – with four-wheel steering. This promises to deliver improved responses in virtually every situation – from close manoeuvring to high-speed cornering.

Renault Laguna GT Sport Tourer

Sport Tourer version costs £22k

The GT also benefits from retuned electronic stability control – which, if it is anything like the system on the Renault Mégane F1 Team, should keep well away from interfering until it’s really needed. Visual changes include 18-inch alloys, a bigger front grille, and new lights.

As a hatchback, the petrol version sprints from 0-62mph in 7.8 seconds, and returns 34.4mpg, while the diesel’s benchmarks are 8.5 seconds, and 43.4mpg.

A Sport Tourer estate is also available, and performs only marginally less efficiently. The worst CO2 rating for any variant is 196g/km.

The Laguna GT is available to order from 9 May, with prices starting at £21,050 for the hatch, and £22,000 for the Sport Tourer.

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