2017â€™s been a pretty good year in cars. From superminis to supercars via the all-conquering crossovers and SUVs, there have been some great new models.
For us, highlights have ranged from a Â£20,000 Fiat convertible to a Â£250k Bentley with 700bhp. But all thatâ€™s behind us now. Itâ€™s time to look ahead to next year and pick out a few of the big releases weâ€™re most looking forward to.
Long-dead French sportscar manufacturer has been resurrected by owners Renault. A first look around it at the Geneva Motor Show revealed a stunning two-door coupe promising true sports car performance from its mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive setup. First reports are that the 250bhp, 1,100kg A110 realises the promise of the display car and could prove a real headache for the Porsche Cayman.
Designed from the ground up as a pure EV, the I-Paceâ€™s sleek, almost coupe-like body sits atop a battery pack offering 300 miles of range but with a 0-60 time of four seconds thanks to 395bhp from two electric motors. Thanks to that drivetrainâ€™s packaging, thereâ€™s space inside for five adults plus their luggage. As an all-electric SUV the I-Pace points in the direction many carmakers are likely to be heading.
VW Up GTI
Virtually the same weight and power output as the original Golf GTI this could be hilarious fun. The standard car is a joy to drive so hopefully giving it a sportier edge will mark a return to the kind of affordable hot hatches that prove you donâ€™t need 300bhp and 4WD to have fun.
Good looks, style, sumptuous interior. There are certain things you know youâ€™ll always get with an A6. Expect more of the same when the new version arrives but with lashings of the latest technology, including some of the self-driving features previewed by the recent A8. Thereâ€™s also electric turbocharging and a hybrid e-tron version fitted to the all-new platform.
Ford Fiesta ST
The standard Fiesta is so well sorted in the chassis department that even the most basic models can put a smile on your face. Chuck a couple of hundred horsepower at it and add some bespoke oily bits to keep it all under control and youâ€™ve got the recipe for one of the most anticipated hot hatches of the year.
Not the most exciting car on this list but an important one nonetheless. The Ateca shook things up on its release last year, for many dethroning the Nissan Qashqai as the best mid-sized SUV thanks to its great driving experience, quality and value for money. If the Arona can bring the same qualities as its big brother it could make a huge impact in a busy but often dull segment.
Suzuki Swift Sport
The old Swift Sport was great fun. Cheap and cheerful with a mere 133bhp from a naturally aspirated 1.6 engine it majored on making the most of what it had thanks to light weight and a sharp chassis. The new model will be turbocharged but maintain the old carâ€™s lightweight, wheel-at-each corner characteristics.
Hyundai i30 N
Yes, another hot hatch, but this first attempt at one from Hyundai looks set to be a cracker. It looks the part but more importantly the chassis tuning has been overseen by former BMW M man Albert Biermann and there are 247bhp or 271bhp versions on offer so itâ€™ll walk the walk as well as talk the talk. Whatâ€™s more, even in top spec itâ€™ll set you back less than Â£28,000.
Volvo are a brand on the up. The XC90 was their first all-new car under new ownership and set a standard thatâ€™s been maintained by every new model since. Volvos look great, have among the nicest interiors on the roads and are, whisper it, quite cool. Following the critical success of the S/V90 and this yearâ€™s XC60 thereâ€™s no reason to think the brand’s smallest SUV will be any different.
Renault Megane RS
Okay, one last hot hatch to finish off. The Megane GT is a fun 200bhp hatch but compared to rivals itâ€™s a lightweight, standing in until the biggy arrives next year. The Megane RS will look to reclaim its place among the most focused of hot hatches with 276bhp, steering and suspension mods, four-wheel-steering plus the option of an even stiffer Cup chassis. Given the abilities of previous models, weâ€™ve got high hopes for this.