Your one-stop shop for all the important new car debuts for the year ahead
9 January 2019

2019 is set to be a bumper year for new cars, with important releases due from Porsche, Volkswagen, BMW, Toyota and many other manufacturers. Before you head down to a dealer to commit to buying something, check out what we'll be seeing on sale in the next few months here in the UK.

Here is your one-stop shop for keeping up to date with what's coming when in the car industry. 

Contents

| Part 2: September - December

September

Aston Martin DBX

There are many firsts about the Aston Martin DBX. It’s the firm’s first SUV, the first model to be produced in its new factory, the first built to target female buyers and, in time, the first to get hybrid technology. 

That it’s also set to become the company’s best-selling model shows just how crucial the DBX is to Aston’s ‘Second Century’ plan, devised (and so far being near-faultlessly implemented at double speed) by boss Andy Palmer. 

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

The DBX was first shown as a concept in 2015. Little has carried over to the production car in tangible terms, but the ethos is the same, with Aston trying to keep the model as sleek as it can while also giving it the practicality of a five-door layout. Aston has shown off some development pictures of the DBX snaking sideways on the gravel forest stages of Wales Rally GB to prove that it’s serious about giving the car off-road performance credibility, too.

The DBX has a new aluminium and composite architecture inspired by that used on Aston’s front-engined, rear-wheel-drive sports and grand tourer models. It’s of Aston’s own design and not related to any Mercedes, as reported elsewhere. Mercedes will, however, supply the DBX’s electrical architecture. Expect Aston’s own V12 and its AMG-sourced V8 engine to be offered, a couple years before the hybrid technology arrives. That’s also set to be sourced from AMG. 

A close-up look at the Aston Martin DBX

Audi E-tron Sportback

Shown in concept form at 2017’s Shanghai motor show, the electric E-tron Sportback SUV will finally make production towards the end of this year. Sharing its underpinnings with the recently-launched E-tron, the Sportback will offer a sleeker, more coupé-like body and, Audi claims, a sportier driving experience. 

It will likely share the same powertrain, too, so expect 355bhp from two motors, a 0-62mph time of about 5.5sec in Boost mode and a range in the region of 250 miles. 

New Audi E-tron: Launch Edition of brand's first EV released

Hyundai Ioniq facelift

Hyundai’s challenger to the Toyota Prius has proven a hit with fleets and private buyers alike, and the Korean firm intends to capitalise on that with a series of mid-life upgrades. Alongside expected styling upgrades to bring it into line with Hyundai’s newer models, it could also get a higher-quality interior. 

Most importantly, however, we’re expecting improvements to the Ioniq's efficiency in the hybrid variants and the charging range in the electric version as Hyundai takes advantage of improvements in battery technology. 

Hyundai Ioniq 2019 facelift seen testing on US roads

McLaren Senna GTR

The McLaren Senna was one of our favourite supercars of last year, with true racing car performance in a road-legal package. But this is McLaren, seemingly one of the most restless companies around, so, almost inevitably, a Senna GTR is on the way. Priced at £1.1 million plus taxes and with only 75 being built, it’s not only more powerful but also set to be lighter than the standard model. 

New McLaren Senna GTR: specs and price confirmed

Nissan Juke

Perhaps the most important here: the all-new Juke is the difficult second album. With more than a million sales of the current car in eight years, Nissan will be praying it can recreate that success in the face of a massive onslaught of rivals with a new take on the SUV's polarising design. 

Second-gen Nissan Juke due in 2019 with radical styling

Porsche 718 Cayman GT4

The GT4 version of Porsche’s sports coupé will stick with a naturally aspirated flat six engine, despite the arrival of a turbocharged flat-four elsewhere in the 718 Cayman range. The unit is a detuned version of the old 911 GT3’s 4.0-litre unit, although it’s still expected to produce more than 400bhp.

With the extra power, the 718 Cayman GT4 is likely to beat the previous car’s 0-62mph time of 4.4sec and slightly increase its 183mph top speed, while Porsche is expected to keep the weight below 1450kg. Expect the new model to cost just under £70,000.

Porsche Cayman GT4 to use naturally aspirated flat-six

Porsche Taycan

The Taycan is the most important car Porsche has ever made. Yes, more important than the first 911. Why? Because it’s Porsche’s first electric car, and the most radical addition to its line-up since the Cayenne SUV.

It’s Porsche’s attempt to prove it can make a sporting four-door EV to rival anything Tesla makes. And, with the firm investing £5.3 billion in an electrification programme, it’s our first taste of whether Porsche’s biggest ever bet will pay off. While you have to consider the Taycan in that context, when it’s launched at September’s Frankfurt show, it’s important to remember that it’s still ultimately just a car. 

Porsche readying electric Taycan for 2019 reveal

Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography

Land Rover’s sleek mid-range Range Rover model will get the same treatment as Range Rovers before it, adding a top-of-the-range SVAutobiography trim to its line-up. 

That’s likely to translate to design tweaks to make it stand out from the lower-trim Velars, plus a bunch of engineering tweaks and a power boost to make it more performance-orientated. It will use the same supercharged 5.0-litre petrol V8 as the equivalent Range Rover Sport. 

Land Rover Range Rover SVAutobiography review

Skoda Superb

Skoda’s flagship Superb model will be revamped this year, with new technology, design tweaks and an updated engine range for the Volkswagen Passat rival.

Notably, the yet-to-be-confirmed revised powertrain line-up will include a Superb plug-in hybrid, which will kick-start Skoda's electrification programme and add another feather in the cap of the versatile and voluminous mid-size saloon. While exact details of the powertrain have yet to be revealed, expect the Volkswagen Passat rival to gain the ability to complete limited electric-only running, with little compromise in everything the Superb is well known for. 

Plug-in hybrid Skoda Superb to kick-start electrification programme in 2019

Toyota Supra

Anticipation is high for this reborn front-engined rear-drive coupé, which will appear at the Detroit motor show with a BMW-sourced 340bhp straight six 3.0-litre engine. Toyota's new sports car has been developed alongside the recently revealed drop-top BMW Z4, but the different designs and focuses should result in very different machines.

Autocar's Matt Prior recently had a chance to drive a prototype Supra and was impressed. “A few years ago, the Porsche Cayman was regarded as unbeatable,” he said. “Now everybody wants a crack at it. On this showing, Toyota is getting as close as anyone.” 

New 2019 Toyota Supra - official pictures leaked, plus video

Volkswagen Passat

Volkswagen’s Ford Mondeo rival will receive a mid-life facelift later this year, including a new version of the plug-in hybrid Passat GTE variant.

The facelift will include an exterior revamp to bring the car in line with the yet-to-be-revealed eighth generation Golf hatchback, along with the latest version of Volkswagen's infotainment system.

Full details have yet to be revealed, but Volkswagen’s old 1.4 TSI petrol unit will be replaced with the new 1.5 TSI Evo, and it’s likely the diesel range will shrink. The GTE version is likely to be offered in a slightly lower-powered form than the previous version, which was discontinued early due to the tougher WLTP tests.

Volkswagen Passat 2019 facelift to bring new tech and improved hybrid

Volvo XC90

The Volvo XC90 large SUV has been a major hit for the Swedish firm, combining its brand values of safety and practicality with an added dose of technology and style.

The seven-seat Range Rover rival will receive a minor update later this year, which will be focused on adding the firm’s latest self-driving technology systems.

Volvo XC90 review

October

Aston Martin Valkyrie

A hypercar co-developed with the Red Bull Formula 1 team, the Aston Martin Valkyrie is designed to lap Silverstone at speeds similar to a grand prix car.

While full technical details of the car have yet to be disclosed, it will feature a petrol-electric hybrid powertrain containing a Cosworth-developed 1000bhp 6.5-litre V12 that can achieve 10,500rpm.

In the style of a racing car, the V12 will be a structural component of the Valkyrie, bolted directly into its tub with the gearbox and suspension hanging from it. It will be augmented by an electric motor sitting between it and the gearbox, which will also use an F1-style energy recovery system to charge the lightweight batteries while braking. Total power output could exceed 1130bhp.

The aerodynamics of the car have been developed by a team left by ace F1 designer Adrian Newey, and sources suggest it will generate up to 1816kg of downforce at full speed.

Aston will produce 150 road-going versions and 25 track-only Valkyrie AMR-Pro track cars. Pricing has not been made public, but it's believed to be around £2-£3 million.

Aston Martin Valkyrie: V12 engine makes 1000bhp on dyno

Bentley Bentayga Hybrid

It should come as no surprise that Bentley’s first electrified model is an SUV. The Bentayga plug-in hybrid is the marque’s first step into the EV world and precedes the launch of an electric sports car in 2020. 

The Bentayga Hybrid will use a supercharged 3.0-litre petrol V6 mated to a motor, a system related to the one in the Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid. It’s expected to have a total output of more than 410bhp, with the ability for zero-emissions running on the motor alone.

The car will feature no external styling changes from the W12 petrol and turbo V8 models, aside from the addition of a charging port.

Bentley Bentayga plug-in hybrid due in 2018 with 3.0-litre petrol V6

BMW 1 Series

Steady yourself, because the third-generation 1 Series will be… front-wheel drive. BMW reckons this will make its Audi A3 rival lighter and sharper to drive while also boosting passenger and luggage space, lowering weight and reducing the car’s production cost and list price. 

Expect some of the technology showcased in the latest 3 Series to make its way to BMW’s entry-level model, while a range of three and four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines will feature. And don’t fret, because the flagship M130iX hot hatch will get four-wheel drive and around 300bhp.

Top 2019 BMW 1 Series model to be 300bhp M130iX M Performance

BMW 8 Series Gran Coupé

The final bodystyle to arrive in the 8 Series line-up will enter a niche that didn’t really exist when the original 8 Series was around: the four-door coupé segment. Filling the gap previously occupied by the four-door 6 Series, the 8 Series Gran Coupé is designed to combine the style-led looks of the two-door coupé with some of the practicality and comfort of the 7 Series luxury limousine. Expect an identical engine range to the 8 Series coupé and cabriolet.

New BMW 8 Series Gran Coupé: revealing spies preview four-door's design

Ford Mondeo

Ford will hope to combat dwindling sales of non-SUV D-segment models with a facelifted Mondeo later this year. Featuring some of the changes already seen on the US-market Ford Fusion facelift, the 2019-model-year Mondeo will feature design tweaks to the front and the rear. We’ll also see minor updates inside, including upgraded technology and a redesigned control layout. In addition, an estate version of the Mondeo hybrid has been officially confirmed for this year, while a plug-in hybrid variant, already seen on the Fusion, could be destined for these shores. 

2019 Ford Mondeo facelift spotted in the UK

Jaguar XE

Jaguar’s answer to the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4 hasn’t been the sales success the brand had hoped. It’s a decent car, but CO2 emission levels don’t match its rivals’, and that's crucial in the business car market. We’re told those won’t improve for the facelift (despite the introduction of 48V mild hybrid engine tech), so Jaguar will be focusing on technology updates to bring punters in. 

The interior will be inspired by the I-Pace electric SUV, including the Touch Pro Duo infotainment system, and there will be improvements inside, centred on boosting material quality and general fit and finish. The XE will also get a series of tweaks to its design, which is expected to take cues from the SV Project 8. Minor upgrades to improve refinement should feature as well, while those to the suspension will ensure the XE balances ride comfort and handling even more impressively than it does now.

Updated Jaguar XE confirmed for 2019

Jaguar XF

Much of the same treatment on the XE will also apply to this year’s Jaguar XF update. The brand’s larger executive saloon isn’t exactly at the cutting edge any more, particularly when it comes to interior features. It will get major technology upgrades, mild hybrid powertrains and more, all of which should help the XF’s standing against far more modern rivals, including the BMW 5 SeriesAudi A6 and Mercedes-Benz E-Class.

Jaguar XF review

Kia Ceed PHEV

Just before the hotter Ceed GT arrives, Kia will expand its Ford Focus rival’s line-up with its first ever hybrid version. Set to use the same plug-in powertrain as the Niro PHEV and likely to be offered only in estate form, the Ceed PHEV should combine decent performance with sub-30g/km CO2 emissions, a useful electric-only range and serious economy claims. It’s part of Kia’s plan to meet tough CO2 targets, with aims of 25% of sales going to electrified variants. 

Kia to add plug-in hybrid Ceed and Sportage in 2019

Kia e-Niro

No longer content merely to ape European rivals, Korea’s Hyundai and Kia are now leading the way. With the Kia e-Niro and related Hyundai Kona Electric, they’re at the forefront of making truly credible, affordable electric cars. In 64kWh spec, the £32,995 e-Niro has an official (WLTP) range of 279 miles, putting it ahead of almost every mainstream rival in terms of charging range and even ahead of a number of premium models. It’s also larger than the Kona Electric, so able to serve as a genuine family car.

New Kia e-Niro launches with 301 miles of electric range

Land Rover Discovery Sport

The updated Discovery Sport will receive most the new technology that the second-generation Evoque gets. Despite only being a facelift, it’s a dramatic one, with the entry-level Land Rover moving to the same platform as the Evoque. That means improved ride comfort, greater boot space and room for lithium ion batteries for a plug-in hybrid variant. It will also get a version of the overhauled interior first seen in the Velar and the optional off-road tech, such as the so-called Clearsight Ground View, which essentially acts as a see-through bonnet, using cameras to let you see what’s in front or down the other side of a steep gradient. 

Updated Land Rover Discovery Sport to get plug-in hybrid

October

Mercedes-Benz V-Class

It may not be top of the list of importance for Mercedes’ 2019 model debuts, but a new V-Class is something of particular interest to minicab firms and the like. The van-based people carrier will be significantly upgraded for this year, with much of the latest technology features and engines offered in the brand’s range transferred over. 

Peugeot 3008 PHEV

The Peugeot 3008 has evolved notably through its time on sale and remains a bold alternative to the likes of the Nissan Qashqai in the small SUV category. The addition of a plug-in hybrid powertrain should help to further its appeal.

The 3008 PHEV will use the PSA Group’s Hybrid4 system, which combines a 197bhp petrol engine with two electric motors – one at each axle – to offer a combined 296bhp. The system can provide four-wheel drive, 0-62mph in 6.5sec and up to 30 miles of electric-only running. It's likely to cost around £35,000, a slight increase on the current range-topping 3008.

Peugeot announces 508, 508 SW and 3008 plug-in hybrids

Peugeot 508 PHEV

Hybrid power will also arrive in Peugeot’s stylish saloon model as part of parent firm PSA Group’s major electrification offensive. The 508 PHEV will get a 222bhp petrol-electric set-up, which emits less than 49g/km of CO2. It will also give the 508 the ability to complete up to 25 miles on electric-only power.

Vauxhall Astra

Vauxhall’s perennially popular Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf rival will receive a mid-life facelift this year. While there will be some styling changes and probably some new tech inside, don’t expect much to change mechanically.

That’s because the Astra will remain on the same GM-developed platform, so it won’t get any of the engines and powertrains currently being developed by the PSA Group, Vauxhall’s new owners. Major changes will have to wait until the next-generation Astra switches to a PSA platform.

Vauxhall Astra review

Vauxhall Vivaro

The Vauxhall Vivaro van was only launched in 2014, yet a new version will arrive just five years later. That’s because the 2014 Vivaro was built on the same platform as the Renault Trafic, but Vauxhall has now been bought by the PSA Group, Renault’s French rivals.

The new Vivaro will still be built at Vauxhall’s Luton factory and will share the PSA Group’s EMP2 platform with the Peugeot Expert and Citroën Dispatch vans.

Notably, a passenger version of the Vivaro, called the Vivaro Life, will also be launched. Vauxhall has also confirmed that an electric version of the Vivaro will follow in 2020.

Future of one of two Vauxhall plants in UK secured

Volkswagen T-Roc R

Volkswagen will enter the rapidly growing hot SUV category with the 306bhp T-Roc R, which the firm promises will be among the most agile cars in the class. 

With the T-Roc sharing much of its architecture with the Golf hatchback, expect much of the Golf R’s underpinnings to be used for the SUV. That will include the turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine, which can also be round in the Cupra Ateca, the T-Roc R’s Volkswagen Group stablemate and main rival. The T-Roc R will also get Volkswagen’s 4Motion four-wheel-drive system and Dynamic Chassis Control.

Volkswagen T-Roc R: 306bhp SUV to be 'most agile in class'

November

Aston Martin Rapide E

Aston’s first electric car will be a limited-run version of the Rapide designed as a testbed for future EV models. Just 155 examples of the luxury saloon will be made.

The firm says the Rapide E will produce more than 602bhp from two electric motors, both mounted over the back axle. That’s different to the set-up used by the rival Tesla Model S in Dual Motor form: a power unit over each axle to give four-wheel drive.

The Rapide E's two motors will produce close to 738lb ft of torque, with the aim of a 0-60mph time of around 4.0sec, similar to the standard Rapide S. Aston says it has put a development focus on “repeatable performance”, which means the quoted acceleration targets can be achieved without quickly draining the batteries. The top speed of 155mph can be maintained for around 10 minutes.

Sources suggest the weight of the EV is nearly identical to the combustion-engined version. Pricing is yet to be set.

Aston Martin Rapide E: new details of electric super-saloon

Bentley Flying Spur

Bentley will reinvent its four-door Flying Spur as a more distinctive luxury saloon in 2019, making it the last Bentley to be launched before the company completely reinvents its cars for its era of electrification. It will shift away from simply being a four-door Continental GT, despite close relations, to become a luxury Mercedes-Maybach rival in its own right. We’ll see the same range of V8 and V12 engines, with an even faster Speed variant added in due course. 

New Bentley Flying Spur due in 2019 with more distinctive design 

BMW M8

The crowning glory in the new 8 Series range arrives towards the end of 2019: the hot M8. Due to be available in coupé, cabriolet and four-door Gran Coupé forms, the M8 will take on everything from the Audi RS7 Sportback to the Porsche 911. It will use a modified version of BMW’s 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8, tuned to produce over 600bhp, alongside four-wheel drive and a more driver-focused suspension tune. After that, it looks like there will be an even more hardcore M8 Competition for the presumably small amount of people who think 600bhp isn’t enough. 

New BMW M8 Competition leaks out ahead of 2019 unveiling

BMW X6 and X6 M

Effectively a BMW X5 that trades passenger space for a more style-led look, the new X6 is due based on the fourth-generation X5, which was introduced late in 2018. It shares its underpinnings, engines and technology with that car but drops the option of seven seats, due to that coupé-like rear. Expect the Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupé rival’s range to begin with xDrive 30d and 40d diesels, with xDrive 40i and 50i petrols and eventually a 45e plug-in hybrid offered. The range-topping X6 M will arrive very soon after, with a thumping 600bhp V8 promising storming acceleration from this two-tonne SUV.

600bhp-plus BMW X6 M due in 2019

Infiniti QX50

Infiniti has gained traction in markets such as the US, but its volumes remain tiny in the UK. In fact, it’s getting to the point where the brand’s future here is under threat, but the QX50 SUV could be the car that rescues Infiniti in Britain. 

It’s a premium SUV, which for starters will always win appeal, and it has genuine innovation in the form of a clever variable-compression-ratio petrol engine, which promises the performance and response of a petrol yet also the efficiency of a similar diesel engine. The QX50 will go up against the Audi Q5 when it arrives towards the end of the year.

Infiniti QX50 review

Kia Ceed GT

Kia is returning to the warm hatchback market with a new GT variant of the five-door Ceed, sitting alongside the Proceed GT shooting brake. Enthusiasts might be disappointed to learn that the Ceed GT's 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine puts out the same 201bhp as the old car's, but Kia is promising that while the model won’t be a true hot hatch in a straight line, it will offer the agility and handling of one. Extensive suspension revisions, bigger brakes, an active exhaust and the option of a dual-clutch automatic gearbox is Kia’s attempt to offer a more rounded package. Kia Ceed GT unveiled with 201bhp turbo petrol engine

Kia Xceed

Kia’s expansion of the Ceed range will be complete by the end of the year as it aims to capitalise on growing SUV sales with a crossover version of the family hatchback. Named the Xceed, it bridges the gap between the regular car and the full-size Sportage by offering an increased ride height and rugged styling details. The Ford Focus Active rival will remain largely the same mechanically as the hatchback, though, so four-wheel drive is unlikely.

2019 Kia Ceed SUV spotted for the first time

Mazda CX-3

Although the current CX-3 isn’t desperately ageing, having been launched back in 2015, it will look decidedly old-school next to the new 3 when that car arrives in the Spring. So, Mazda will introduce a new version of its compact SUV, bringing its styling, practicality and technology up to the standard of the very latest competitors. Expect it to sit on Mazda’s new global platform alongside the 3, plus we know that it will be the next recipient of the brand’s clever compression ignition petrol engine technology. 

2019 Mazda 3 introduces innovative compression-ignition petrol engine

Mercedes-AMG A45

The A35 will be a teaser for the Full Monty, due towards the end of the year. The forthcoming Mercedes-AMG A45 promises to blow even the most powerful rival into the middle of next week, with leaked powertrain specs promising up to 416bhp from a 2.0-litre engine (in S form). That makes it the most powerful 2.0-litre engine in production. Expect a 0-62mph time to drop just underneath the 4.0sec mark, which will give some of AMG’s larger models a bit of a scare.

2019 Mercedes-AMG A45: power output revealed for super hatch

Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupé

Just as night follows day, the late 2018 introduction of a new GLE will be followed in due course by the swoopier GLE Coupé. As a model, it’s fairly self-explanatory: expect a similar design to the GLE but with a more sporting profile and sloping roofline, less space in the back and a slightly more focused driving experience. The same range of mild hybrid petrol and diesel engines will be offered, and a shouty V8-powered AMG variant is expected in due course.

New Mercedes-AMG GLE 53 Coupe to get 429bhp straight-six hybrid

Peugeot 208 and 208 Electric

Aside from the captivating 208 GTi, we never rated the current 208 hatchback above average. The public bought it anyway, though, and it has remained a popular choice for several years. So imagine how successful the new version could be if it challenges for class honours. Peugeot will hope it can do just that; a more striking design mixed with a roomier and better-quality interior are expected. The PSA Group's CMP platform strikes again, allowing petrol, diesel and electric variants. Insiders suggest the 208 GTi will reappear in electric form. 

New Peugeot 208 spied with production body for 2019

Polestar 1

Polestar’s first standalone model, the 1, will hit the market this year. It may share a family resemblance with Volvo’s range of sensible saloons, SUVs and estates, but this is no badge engineering exercise, with a 592bhp hybrid powertrain propelling it and a unique coupé body that makes extensive use of carbonfibre. Alongside this, a smaller saloon, the 2, will make its debut at this year’s Geneva motor show, and a coupé-SUV, the 3, has also been confirmed. 

The 2 and the 3 will be fully electric and aim to cut a piece of Tesla’s pie for the brand. Polestar will also offer Volvo’s innovative subscription service. There are just two main hurdles that UK buyers may struggle to get over: the first is that the 1 is left-hand-drive-only, for now, and the second is that it will cost £135,000, putting it in the realms of some serious luxury models and supercars. 

There’s ambition by the bucketful here, but it remains to be seen if the Geely-owned Swedish brand can establish itself with the technical might and long-standing heritage of brands such as Porsche and Bentley.

Polestar 1 prototypes enter production

December

BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé

Following shortly after the 1 Series will be a new generation of the 2 Series. Alongside the usual two-door coupé and convertible versions, a four-door coupé will be introduced to rival Mercedes’ new CLA and the Audi A3 Saloon. A longer wheelbase brings extra passenger room, but the car is still expected to retain the characteristic sloping roofline. Expect a familiar range of three and four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engines. Topping out the range will be a new version of the M2.

BMW M2 Gran Coupé due this year with 365bhp to rival RS3 saloon

Borgward

Back in 2015, we first heard about plans to return the Borgward name to market. The German car maker ceased to exist back in 1961 after filing for bankrupcy, but a Chinese company has bought the rights and relaunched the brand as a rival to Audi. Late last year, plans to import cars into the UK and Ireland were also revealed. That means we’ll see the Q3-size BX5 and Q5-sized BX7 SUVs, electric versions of which are planned to arrive a few months after. Borgward will attempt to undercut its rivals on price while offering a more interesting alternative to the norm.

Borgward SUVs to be sold in UK and Ireland from 2019

Honda Urban EV

When Honda’s Urban EV was revealed at the Frankfurt motor show in 2017, it was one of our most-read online stories. Everyone loved its retro, compact styling – so much so that apparently the designers went back to the drawing board to make sure the production car was as close to the concept as possible. The final car, which has been spotted testing with a more practical five-door layout than the concept’s three-door format, will be unveiled at the Geneva motor show in March. Honda’s first electric car in Europe (it already sells an electric Clarity hatchback in Japan and the US) is built on a new dedicated electric vehicle platform and “sets the direction for the technology and design” of the brand's future EVs. 

The concept is 100mm shorter than the Jazz, at 3895mm long, and has the Honda emblem backlit in blue, previewing a new styling feature for forthcoming EVs from the brand. No powertrain or range details have been revealed, but Autocar sources have said that, as a city car, it will have a modest range of around 155 miles. However, Honda has confirmed that the Urban EV will have a high-density lightweight battery pack, integrated heat management and energy transfer functions both to and from the vehicle. The Honda Sports EV concept, a sports car sibling to the Urban EV that was unveiled at the Tokyo motor show in 2017 and has similar design cues, hasn't been signed off for production but is under consideration.

Honda Urban EV readies for production in first spy shots

Kia Soul EV

The Kia Soul is a firm youth favourite in the US, but things aren’t the same over here. That’s why Kia has taken the bold step of selling the new, third-generation model as purely an electric car in the UK, while Americans get a petrol engine choice too. 

The styling of the new model may be evolutionary, but there are big developments under skin, particularly in the new EV powertrain, which is not only considerably more powerful but also expected to offer more than double the range of the old Soul EV. A greater emphasis on in-car tech is aimed at attracting a younger audience, while there’s more space inside, too.

New Kia Soul EV revealed at LA show with more power and range

Mercedes-Benz GLB

Just when you thought we had more than enough compact SUVs to choose from, Mercedes comes along with another. The GLB is meant to combine the modernity and small size of the A-Class with the rugged, macho styling of the G-Class off-roader. It effectively sits between the GLA, which is little more than a raised-up A-Class, and the full-size GLC. We’re expecting the same 35 and 45 AMG-tuned performance variants as the A-Class, too.

2019 Mercedes-AMG GLB 35 caught in first spyshots

Mini Cooper S E

If Alec Issigonis could invent the Mini today, it would definitely be an electric car. It is the answer to current challenges, as the original Mini was in 1959.” That’s the view of Mini boss Sebastian Mackensen, and while there’s an element of ‘he would say that, wouldn’t he?’, an affordable small electric car certainly fits the ethos of the diminutive original more than some of the recent supersize SUV offshoots. The first proper electric Mini is due to arrive this year, and it will be built on an adapted version of the UKL platform used for the current hatchback. It will be launched as a three-door only. 

No details of its range have been released yet, but the latest version of parent firm BMW’s i3 has a 193-mile official range, and it's likely that the Mini will adopt a similar powertrain and battery package. That set-up should give a 0-62mph time of less than 7.0sec and, thanks to instant torque, result in performance similar to that of the petrol Cooper S. Mackensen says the EV’s layout will result in handling far closer to the original Mini’s. If you think that sounds like the perfect recipe for an electric hot hatch, you’re not alone: that’s why, despite being called the Mini Electric during development, the finished car is set to receive Cooper S E branding. 

If Mini can truly produce the first proper electric hot hatch, it could be a game-changing moment for both the brand and electric cars. The future of Mini is currently being debated at high levels within the BMW Group, and the success of the S E is likely to inform those discussions. So it’s fitting that the car will arrive in the year the brand celebrates its 60th birthday, because it could define its direction for the next 60 years.

Mini plots maiden hot hatch EV for 2019 reveal

Tesla Model Y

Tesla has been increasing the appeal and affordability of its models with each new launch, and it now arrives at something of a sweet spot: the compact SUV. The Model Y will be a sister car to the Model 3 and share its underpinnings and running gear, while being priced marginally higher. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said the Model Y will be revealed on 15 March, so while a UK launch isn't likely until 2020, we should get to drive it before the year is out.

As ever with Tesla, little more is known about the model, but it’s expected to get a more advanced version of the company’s ‘supercomputer’ with more-developed semi-autonomous features.

Tesla Model Y to be revealed in March 2019; production begins 2020

Vauxhall Grandland X PHEV

The Vauxhall Grandland X PHEV will add a plug-in hybrid powertrain to the British firm’s Nissan Qashqai rival as part of a massive electrification strategy by the PSA Group.

The SUV is Vauxhall’s second best-selling car behind the Corsa hatchback, despite its current engine range comprising just 1.2-litre petrol and 1.5-litre diesel units. The new PHEV unit will feature PSA’s 1.6-litre Puretech petrol engine mounted transversely in the nose, mated to two electric motors, one at each end of the car and capable of producing around 300bhp of performance, delivered to all four wheels. There will also be a front-wheel-drive single motor version that produces 180bhp.

2020 Vauxhall Grandland X PHEV to lead fast-paced electric growth plans

Volkswagen Golf

The hype surrounding Volkswagen’s upcoming range of electric vehicles is huge, but there’s one car that will still reign supreme long after its arrival: the Golf. To be unveiled early this year, the eighth-generation model will move upmarket to carve out a distinctive new niche in the family hatchback market. While the design will be evolutionary, it will have levels of fuel-saving technology, connectivity, autonomous driving capability and refinement that are intended to render the mainstream competition second-best. 

There won’t be a new electric model, but the Golf will get a 48V mild hybrid powertrain, most likely on the GTI and R models (which will offer a previously unseen brand of instant performance) and a new range of micro-hybrids. The Golf will have a noticeably wider track and a marginally longer wheelbase, resulting in more interior and boot space. But the most dramatic change will be the high-tech interior and related connectivity. 

Volkswagen design boss Klaus Bischoff has been quoted as saying that the Mk8 Golf’s interior is a “total digital environment", with the steering wheel the only conventional component. Touchscreens will replace the traditional instrument binnacle and the climate controls. The Golf will be permanently connected to the internet and feature advanced autonomous technology. 

Talking about the set-up, Volkswagen has said: “It will always be online, and its digital cockpit and assistance systems will be the benchmark in terms of connectivity and safety.” All of this intends not only to retain loyal customers but also lure those downsizing from bigger cars. Volkswagen knows the Golf, as its biggest-selling car, is crucial to its medium-term success and must deliver significant returns to help the firm’s broader product plans. 

New 2019 Volkswagen Golf: Official image released of Mk8 hatchback

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| Part 2: September - December

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