The back end of 2015 will bring a number of impressive newcomers, from the baby Skoda Fabia through to the muscular Ford Mustang, bigger Hyundai Tucson and youthful Jeep Renegade. For now, the best of the bunch looks like this:
This car could be as impressive, in its own SUV style, as the Volkswagen Golf Mk7. It’s first with the mechanical package that will go under several VW Group arrivals, including the next Porsche Cayenne and Bentley Bentayga. So we’re expecting class leading comfort, quality and a great family drive.
If the born-again Mustang is half as good as the hype it will be a serious COTY contender. Early drives in the US point to best-yet dynamics for the first ’Stang with factory right-hand drive. There is even a four-cylinder EcoBoost engine. More than 2000 Australians are paid-up and waiting for their car to arrive, sometime in November.
This one needs to be more than good to challenge the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series and Mercedes C-Class. But Jaguar learned bitter lessons from its X-Type, which was no more than a rebodied Ford Mondeo, and is pushing hard with an XE that gets everything from an aluminium backbone to newage engines. In Australia, the key will be in the pricing and equipment.
The world’s favourite sports car is odds-on for a COTY spot. It’s been completely reworked for 2015 despite a body that could only be an MX-5. It’s promising a much-needed improvement in cabin space and overall refinement, as well as Skyactiv
engine technology that already works in Mazda’s mainstream models. Add the lightweight body and sharp pricing. There is already a queue for early deliveries.
The all-new Mitsubishi Triton and Nissan Navara for 2015 are good but not great, which leaves the Ranger to challenge the all-new Toyota HiLux for the benchmark in utes. This midlife update is more than just a mild makeover. It has new panels, tweaked driving dynamics and on the flagship model it has technology that would make a German SUV blush.
More than just a truck, the HiLux has been Australia’s favourite ute for more than a generation, not just because it scores with miners but because it can be most things to most people. The new HiLux promises everything from a new turbo diesel to car-like quality and refinement.
It’s been a very long time since the first XC90, which has given Volvo — after its change from a Ford subsidiary to Chinese ownership — plenty of time to develop a benchmark upscale SUV. Extensive work on everything from cabin comfort and quality to best-in-class safety technology — wrapped in a good-looking new bodywork — should make the XC90 something special and a ’15 standout.