The past year has been one of highs and lows for the car industry. We’ve seen new car sales nosedive, but there has also been a rapid growth in the number of available electric and plug-in hybrid models as manufacturers respond to the ongoing backlash against diesel. So what exciting new cars will 2019 bring? We’ve rounded up our pick of the models to watch out for.
Manufacturers are going big on alternative fuels as they begin the long road to shedding their petrol and diesel cars for good. In 2019 we’ll see the launch of Mercedes-Benz’s first all-electric SUV, the EQC, and Mini’s first mainstream electric car.
Honda is also distancing itself from diesel, launching its first ever hybrid CR-V crossover. We got to drive it at its media launch – keep reading to find out what we thought of it.
If you like your sports cars, then the new Porsche 911 and Toyota Supra should hit the spot. Want tidy handling and an upmarket image, but in something a little more practical? Then 2019 welcomes all-new versions of the BMW 1 series and Audi A3 hatchbacks.
Looking for luxury? The seven-seater BMW X7 might be right up your street.
For the family car market, Skoda is putting up a new challenger – the Scala. It goes head-to-head with the Ford Focus and VW Golf. For years these two cars have ruled the medium car hatchback market, so we can’t wait to see if Skoda’s new model has what it takes to put them in their place.
Below we’ve rounded up the new cars we’re most looking forward to driving in 2019.
Want to know what are the best cars you can buy right now? See all of our best cars for 2020.
Skoda has attempted to make the Scala appeal to the heart as well as the head, and it comes with some eye-catching design features. This includes an extra-large glass area in the rear tailgate, and slimline lights front and rear.
Official launch dates and prices are yet to be confirmed, but we’d expect the Scala range to start from around £16,000 – slightly undercutting the hugely popular Focus.
Once we’ve got it through our test lab, we’ll find out if the Scala upholds the Skoda values of practicality and ease of use. Plus whether it challenges the competition in terms of passenger and boot space.
The EQC is the first in an electric-car model offensive from Mercedes-Benz, which has plans to introduce no less than 10 different plug-in cars as part of its shift towards cleaner motoring.
Given the popularity of crossovers, it was little surprise that the first of these models, the EQC, is loosely styled like the GLC mid-sized SUV. As a high-riding model, it provides a direct competitor to the likes of the Jaguar I-Pace, Tesla Model X and the recently unveiled Audi E-tron Quattro.
Its electric drivetrain has two motors, one powering each axle, so a four-wheel-drive setting will be available for slippery or off-road conditions. Mercedes also claims the EQC will have a towing capacity of around 1,800kg.
It has seating for five, and Mercedes is claiming the EQC will have a larger boot than the petrol or diesel GLC – we’ll put that to the test once we get it into our labs.
It’s not just SUV manufacturers that are embracing electric technology. Mini is due to launch its second ever all-electric hatchback in 2019. The first was the Mini E, which was launched in 2008 and limited to just 600 examples.
Pictured above in concept form, Mini claims the new model will retain the go-kart-like driving appeal of the regular Mini hatchback. As despite the additional weight of the batteries, they’re able to be situated lower in the car, lowering the centre of gravity to the benefit of handling.
There are currently no confirmed details as to the hardware or expected driving range we can expect the Mini EV to boast, but it’s likely it will use similar technology as parent brand BMW’s i3 electric car.
Want to buy an electric car now? See the best electric cars.
Honda C-RV Hybrid
With the world quickly falling out of love with diesel, Honda has decided to ditch the fuel altogether for its latest CR-V crossover, and has instead launched its first ever hybrid version.
The upside of this should be improved fuel economy over the regular, very popular, Honda CR-V petrol version.
However, the additional batteries do eat into boot space somewhat. Plus there’s no seven-seat version – for that, you’ll have to opt for the petrol model.
We’ve been fortunate enough to get behind the wheel of the new C-RV Hybrid, before its showroom debut. Head to our first drive Honda C-RV Hybrid review to find out exactly what our car experts thought of it.
The Terraco brings Spanish marque Seat somewhat late to the seven-seat, full-size SUV party, with almost all rivals now offering such a model.
However, the smaller Seat Ateca acquitted itself well against some very accomplished rivals, with a sense of quality and plenty of driver appeal. There’s currently little to suggest that the Tarraco won’t follow a similar path, and distance itself from its numerous and varied rivals with a sporty feel.
Expect a huge boot, a wide range of petrol and diesel engines, as well as the option of both four-wheel-drive and the VW Group’s excellent DSG twin-clutch automatic transmission.
The Tarraco is available to pre-order now. Prices start from £28,320, with the first customer deliveries expected in early 2019.
BMW 1 Series & Audi A3
Details for both models are currently thin on the ground, with no official images or information. However, expect both models to sport discreet styling tweaks, to match the design themes of their respective brands’ model ranges.
In a departure from its traditional setup, the new 1 Series will be front-wheel-drive for the first time, with a four-wheel-drive setup expected on high-performance versions.
It will sit on similar underpinnings to the current generation Mini. This bodes well for the 1 Series keeping its trademark entertaining drive, despite no longer being rear-wheel-drive.
Expect a range of 1.5- and 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol and diesel engines. As well as at least one model featuring a mild-hybrid setup, for improved efficiency, as well as a plug-in hybrid version – which will join the range at a later date.
The A3 is expected to be offered in a range of body styles, including the current three and five-door ‘Sportback’ models, as well as a new four-door coupe version, which will rival the forthcoming Mercedes CLA in 2020.
It too will come with a wide range of turbocharged four-cylinder engines, in conjunction with a mild hybrid system. The high performance RS3 model – expected in 2021 – will have a 2.5-litre turbocharged five-cylinder petrol engine, with power expected to be as high as 400hp.
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The first Toyota Supra of the 1990s earned itself something of a cult following, thanks to its high-technology, high performance, and focus on driver thrills.
Despite being conceived in a joint venture with BMW (the new Supra and 2019 BMW Z4 convertible are the same underneath), Toyota is keen for the new model to be seen as a true sports car.
As such, it does without the convertible roof of its BMW sibling. It features a six-cylinder engine, an eight-speed automatic transmission option and rear-wheel-drive.
The Supra will go on sale in the first half of 2019, after making its public debut at the Detroit motor show in January. Prices are yet to be announced but we’d expect a starting point of around £50,000.
Love sports cars? We’ve rounded up the very best models you can buy right now. See our best sports cars.
Once upon a time, the BMW X5 was the German brand’s luxury rival to the likes of the hugely desirable Range Rover. But as Land Rover has slowly pushed the Range Rover upmarket to match new Bentley and Rolls-Royce SUVs, the X5 had started looking somewhat common.
The X7 is BMW redressing the balance.
Unlike the Range Rover, it’s offered as a seven-seater, and claims to have enough space for adults in the rearmost chairs – we’ll verify that once we get our hands on it.
BMW claims the new X7 ‘redefines automotive luxury’ – but then it would. We’ll be able to objectively assess BMW’s claims, and rate the X7 against the Range Rover, as well as rivals from Mercedes and Audi, when we get it into our lab in the new year.
But for now we can tell you all models will come with four-wheel-drive as standard, and it will benefit from the powerful new 395hp six-cylinder diesel engine, badged M50d.
Everything you need to know about BMW – see should I buy a BMW?
Yes, really – the image above does show the brand new (992 generation) Porsche 911. Despite taking a very much evolutionary approach to its new sports car, the latest 911 promises to move the sports car game on yet again.
As ever, the 911 will remain usable on a daily basis, and unlike most of its sports car contemporaries, the styling remains subtle enough to almost blend into traffic. This will be a massive part of the appeal for less extrovert buyers.
Like the current generation version, all models are now turbocharged. However, specific ‘Turbo’ models will still top the range and are expected to be introduced soon after the car’s showroom debut.
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