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THIS year, about 100 new mod­els will hit the show­rooms. NEIL McDON­ALD and NEIL DOWL­ING take a look at the main con­tenders ARGAIN base­ment cars will make ever greater in­roads this year with the ar­rival of the first Chi­nese sedans.

The bud­get Geely brand — pro­nounced jeelee — is the head­line act with a range that will shake up the sub-$15,000 mar­ket.

First up are the Corolla-sized 1.5-litre MK sedan and hatch, which will be priced from $13,000. More bud­get Chi­nese mod­els are arriving in the first quar­ter in the shape of Great Wall Motors passenger cars and Ch­ery cars and com­mer­cial vans later this year.

About 100 new mod­els will hit show­rooms this year, in­clud­ing a new wave of full-elec­tric and hy­brid cars. Here’s a sam­ple of what’s around the cor­ner.


Fol­low­ing a stel­lar 2009, the suc­cess will con­tinue this year with the A5 Sport­back next month, S5 Sport­back in July, A8 in the sec­ond half, and R8 Spy­der around Oc­to­ber.


The new Gi­uli­etta ar­rives in Novem­ber. There are two petrol en­gines (a 90kW 1.4-litre turbo and an up­graded Mul­tiAir ver­sion at 127kW) and two diesel en­gines (a 78kW 1.6-litre and a 127kW 2.0-litre). Ex­pect Volk­swa­gen Golf pric­ing.


We’ve seen them over­seas and now they will roll out lo­cally. First the 5 Se­ries Grand Turismo ar­rives in March, then the X1 soft-roader in the sec­ond quar­ter. The new 5 Se­ries sedan ar­rives around June, to be fol­lowed by the wagon around Oc­to­ber.


The baby Fiat 500 gets its elec­tric two-stage con­vert­ible roof this month. Based on the hard­top ver­sion, the Fiat 500C has a 74kW 1.4-litre petrol en­gine with a claimed fuel fig­ure of 6.3 litres/100km. Priced from $28,990.


The Kuga — pro­nounced cougar — is big on the radar, as one of the best SUVs in its class. The VW Tiguan ri­val has a 2.0-litre turbo-diesel but may later add the 2.5-litre turbo-petrol five­cylin­der en­gine seen in the Fo­cus ST. The all­wheel-drive is ex­pected to be joined by a 2.0-litre turbo-diesel Mon­deo wagon.


Holden al­ready builds an E85 Com­modore for Brazil. Now it’s Aus­tralia’s turn. The ethanol­com­pat­i­ble en­gines are a first for an Aus­tralian car­maker and op­er­ate on any­thing from E10 (10 per cent ethanol, 90 per cent petrol) to E85 (85 per cent ethanol).


Honda’s In­sight hy­brid ar­rives around July with a bud­get sub-$30,000 price and the abil­ity to sip only 4.4 litres/100km. The five-door In­sight joins the Civic Hy­brid and CR-Z hy­brid coupe. The In­sight uses a 1.3-litre petrol en­gine and elec­tric driv­e­train.


The ix35 of­froader is here in March to re­place the Tuc­son, and the mini i20 hatch ar­rives around June. The all-new mid-size sedan, co­de­named the YF, should also be here in June to re­place the Sonata.


The ea­gerly awaited XJ hits show­rooms in May but be­fore that the XK and XKR will be up­graded this month.


The iMIEV elec­tric hatch could beat Nis­san to be­come Aus­tralia’s first full elec­tric pro­duc­tion car. Based on the ‘‘i’’ mini-car, it has a lithium-ion drive bat­tery un­der the floor and a 47kW power unit un­der the lug­gage com­part­ment. It has a sin­gle-charge range of 160km. Lit­tle change from $60,000.


The 370Z Road­ster ar­rives in March with the Dualis facelift mid-year.


The RCZ is Peu­geot’s an­swer to the Audi TT. The 2+2 coupe — which may also later come as a con­vert­ible — is based on the 308. De­spite be­ing smaller than the TT, it has a big­ger cargo area be­cause it for­goes all-wheel-drive. En­gines in­clude the GTI’s 147kW turbo 1.6-litre shared with the Mini Cooper JCW.


The GT3 is here this month, to be fol­lowed by the 911 Turbo Coupe and cabrio from midFe­bru­ary. The GT3 RS should be here in May but the big news is the all-new Cayenne of­froader, which ar­rives mid-year.


In June the trusty Forester gets the same 2.0-litre turbo-diesel as the Out­back — a flat four cylin­der pump­ing out 110kW/350Nm de­liv­er­ing sub-7.0 litre/100km fuel econ­omy.


The Kizashi is Suzuki’s first big car. The Camry-sized sedan will be the com­pany flag­ship when it ar­rives in May. It will be pow­ered by a 2.4-litre four driv­ing the front wheels. The SX4 gets a facelift and more power in Fe­bru­ary.


The big news is the Camry hy­brid. The Aus­tralian-built model goes on sale next month. The 2.4-litre petrol en­gine and elec­tric mo­tor com­bine for 140kW yet pro­duce less than 150gm of CO2 per kilo­me­tre.


The S60 is back and adopts most of the styling fea­tures shown in the con­cept ver­sion at the Detroit mo­tor show. Aus­tralia gets a range of petrol and diesel en­gines which may in­clude the Euro­pean-spec 1.6-litre di­rect-in­jec­tion turbo-petrol.


Cars­Guide’s car of the year Golf hatch is joined by the wagon next month, then the new T5 com­mer­cials and Car­avelle ar­rive in March. The Polo hatch ar­rives in April. Per­for­mance buy­ers will be able to slide be­hind the wheel of the Golf R in June.


The com­pany’s mid-en­gined sportscar, the Evora, ar­rives this month. The 3.5-litre V6 is roomy, fast and safe. The Evora 2+0 will cost $149,990 and the 2+2 will be $156,990.

HI THERE: Hyundai’s ix35 of­froader is here in March

HOWDY AUDI: The R8 Spy­der is due about Oc­to­ber

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