Renault Twingo facelift
Nissan Juke-style large, round foglamps spruce up the front of the Renault Twingo this month. Also new is a 900cc, three-cylinder economy engine. Read Autocar's first drive of the 2012 Renault Twingo here. Given the dramatic news about Renault cutting back its model range this year, the revised Twingo needs to be a success.
Not really a car, but the Renault Twizy will spearhead Renault’s EV thrust when it appears in April. See Autocar's video review of the Renault Twizy here. The two-seat commuter will be cheap, starting from £6500, plus £40 per month for the battery. Its performance matches that of a 125cc scooter and the range is claimed to be 60 miles.
Seat returns to the city car segment in May with the all-new Seat Mii, seven years after it dropped the Arosa. Different grille and headlamp details differentiate the Mii from its Skoda and VW clones. Read Autocar's first drive of the 2012 Seat Mii here. The engines will mirror these two’s, with a 1.0-litre, three-pot engine making either 59bhp or 74bhp. There will be three trim levels and two option packs. Prices will start from just under £8k. The five-door version arrives in November.
Skoda’s version of the VW Group city car, the Skoda Citigo, will be launched in the summer, moving the company into a new market segment. Priced from £7k. it is distinguished by a different grille and mild tweaks to the headlamps and rear window shape. In 74bhp guise, the Citigo is fun to drive and well engineered and it fits the bill as an agile city car. Read Autocar's first drive of the Skoda Citigo here. Official economy is 60mpg. The less powerful 59bhp version is little harsher to drive but fuel economy is better, at 62mpg. Inside, the Citigo features a novel, removable mini-tablet device with a five-inch screen that doubles as phone, sat-nav, trip computer and audio controller.
Smart will facelift the ForTwo in the summer and preview the mildly tweaked design at Detroit next week. There will also be a mainstream EV version, with lithium ion batteries, based around the experimental design tested in London last year. Smart is still working on an all-new design for 2013-2014, already teased as a curvy concept at the 2011 Frankfurt show and developed in a new direction by a pick-up concept that’s also due at Detroit.
The distinctive Vauxhall Junior will be revealed late next year, probably at the Paris show in September, although cars won’t be in dealers until February 2013. The premium-priced Junior will be aimed at the Mini and Fiat 500 and will feature an innovative interior with up-to-minute connectivity.
The Volkswagen Group has placed the city car at the cornerstone of a plan to crack its next ginormous global sales target. Fortunately, the all-new model behind the fanfare is really rather good. The manufacturer may have stripped out some of the original concept’s more imaginative features for cost reasons, but it has replaced them with a scaled-down version of its conventional-but-brilliant blueprint. Consequently, the Up is almost everything you could hope for from a modern city car: economical, well finished, refined, comfortable and even affordable. Read our full road test of the Volkswagen Up here. It is short on rascally charm but, as a complete package, it’s all but undeniable. The order book is open now, with first deliveries in March. The five-door will follow in July, as will the robotised manual ‘automatic’.
Audi A1 5dr
An extra pair of doors will boost the A1’s appeal in April. Identical in size and style to the three-door, the Audi A1 five-door is a modest 25kg heavier. Engines mirror the three-door’s, although in the summer a 141bhp 2.0-litre diesel joins the range, boasting 69mpg. Expect a £560 premium over an equivalent three-door.