SUVs and performance models lead the charge of the best new cars for 2018.
Whether you’re looking for a Ford or Ferrari, 2018 will see dozens of gleaming new cars arrive in Britain, with fresh designs, cutting-edge technology and even more choice than ever.
Expect a flood of new sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and crossovers, from the small Dacia Duster and Volkswagen T-Roc, to the ferocious Lamborghini Urus.
Sales of these taller vehicles have been surging in recent years, but there are still plenty of family cars arriving this year, headed by a brand new version of the Ford Focus, as well as a hi-tech Mercedes A-Class and redesigned Subaru Impreza.
The new Nissan Leaf, with a much larger range, could tempt more buyers into electric cars, as could the first electric hot hatchback – the BMW i3S.
And if you’re looking for driving fun, then this year won’t leave you short of options. There’s the affordable and zippy Ford Fiesta ST, as well as the Audi RS4 Avant, BMW M5 and Renault Megane RS in all-new guises plus something less familiar, the Hyundai i30N.
Scroll down for full details of 2018’s most exciting cars, or take advantage of the new models by grabbing a bargain on one of the outgoing versions.
New small cars 2018
2018 Suzuki Swift
On sale summer 2018 Price from £13,995 (estimated)
The old Swift Sport was eager as a puppy but as cheap to own as a stick insect. It put a smile on your face the second you turned the key. Suzuki will be hoping this all-new version has the same effect, especially given the relative lack of character from the rest of the range, launched earlier last year. It certainly looks good on paper: a 1.4 turbocharged engine producing 138hp in a car weighing less than 970kg.
More small cars coming in 2018
Volkswagen up! GTI
New crossovers and SUVs 2018
2018 Volkswagen T-Roc
On sale Now Price from £19,000 (est)
The name T-Roc is Volkswagen’s way of signposting this small SUV as a car for the youth who don’t want a fuddy duddy hatchback – even if the price means that it’ll be mostly middle-aged drivers who can afford it.
Smaller than the Tuguan and using the same mechanical parts as the Golf, the T-Roc should offer reasonable fuel economy, with the practicality of a higher roof that’s curved to make the car look sporty. The dashboard is straight out of the Golf but can be colour-matched to the exterior for a less grey look (VW promises some bold shades). There’s decent rear headroom thanks to a neat recess, while the boot is just a little bit bigger than that in the rival Audi Q2.
2018 Jaguar E-Pace
On sale: Early 2018; Price from £28,500
The baby brother to the F-Pace is around the size of an Audi Q3, one of its rivals, but looks a whole lot sportier. That’s because it draws some of its inspiration not from the XE saloon but from the F Type sports car. Not that it’s an impractical affair – the cabin is almost as roomy as an Audi Q5’s while the boot is a generous 577 litres, and has a low and wide opening. It’ll be powered by the usual array of petrol and diesel engines but will be front-wheel drive as standard, unusual for a car with sporty intentions.
2018 BMW X2
On sale Now, deliveries from March Price from £33,980
It’s no Lamborghini Urus, but the BMW X2 is a more realistic prospect for most buyers looking for an SUV with a sporty design. A similar size to the current BMW X1, this new car is claimed to deliver agile cornering and rapid acceleration as soon as you put your foot to the floor.
The car’s curvier looks mean that it’s likely to be less spacious and practical than the X1. It’s more expensive too, with prices around £3,000 higher than the equivalent X1.
2018 Dacia Duster
On sale Middle of 2018 Price from £9500 (est)
This SUV has been given a heavy makeover in the shape of a new look, fresh technology and a new interior but, says Dacia, it will continue to be the bargain the original always was. That’s important because the brand isn’t desirable enough to attract top prices. Still, with standard-fit LED running lights, smart silver highlights on the exterior and larger 17in wheels on top-spec versions it looks like the new Duster is quietly moving up market. Inside, there are soft-touch materials, plus a dashboard angled towards the driver, just like in a BMW.
2018 Ford EcoSport
On sale Now Price from £15,800 (est)
The EcoSport has recently been Ford’s weakest link but that could be about to change with the arrival of this heavily revised version of the compact SUV. For a start, it looks sharper and more in keeping with current Fords (there’s a sporty ST-Line version with a bodykit, too).
Inside, the new Fiesta’s much-improved dashboard has found its way into the EcoSport. There’s more tech in the shape of Ford’s latest SYNC 3 voice-control system, plus an array of safety systems including a rear-view camera. There’s a new engine, too, in the shape of a 1.5-litre diesel in combination with four-wheel drive.
2018 Volvo XC40
On sale Now, deliveries from Spring Price from £27,905
Volvo’s recent SUVs have gone to the top of their class. Their comfortable ride, spacious interiors and minimalist, calming dashboards bring luxury and practicality to family travel.
Now the XC40 uses the same ingredients in a smaller package, designed for couples or young families. The central touchscreen, quality interior materials and high specification make it feel as upmarket as Volvo’s other models, and it also has a similar rugged shape, with smoothed corners. Designed to compete with the Audi Q3 and BMW X1, it’s priced at a premium.
2018 Lamborghini Urus
On sale Spring 2018 Price from £160,000 (est.)
Keen to zoom across the countryside at 190mph? Lamborghini’s supercar SUV can oblige. The new Urus is the first ultra-high performance car in this class and it will soon be joined by a Ferrari rival.
The claimed top speed of 190mph is delivered by a twin-turbocharged V8 engine, which can move the car from 0-62mph in 3.6 seconds. Lamborghini says that it’s easy to drive in the city, comfortable on long journeys, capable of driving off-road, and can still provide supercar speed and grip on track. We’ll soon find out if the car can deliver all-round performance without compromise.
More SUVs and crossovers coming in 2018
Citroen C5 Aircross
New family cars 2018
2018 Ford Focus
On sale Summer 2018 Price from £17,000 (est.)
One of Britain’s favourite family cars will be completely relaunched this year. It’s expected to catch up with the competition, especially in areas like interior space and technology, where it lags behind rivals such as the VW Golfand Vauxhall Astra.
A luxurious Vignale version will be offered, as well as a taller Active model, which has more space between the bottom of the car and the ground, which makes it more capable of tackling rougher surfaces. Ford has not released many details of the new model and the image above is the only official picture so far.
2018 Mercedes A-Class
On sale Spring 2018 Price from (£21,000 (est.)
Mercedes is moving its best-selling family hatchback further upmarket, with a hi-tech interior that has two screens sitting side-by-side. It has released pictures of the set-up, which creates a digital widescreen display that’s standard on all versions of the car (although more expensive models get larger screens), and leaves the rest of the interior relatively clear of buttons.
Optional wood trip, massage seats and 64-colour mood lighting make higher-priced models in the new range more luxurious than the outgoing car. The 2018 A-Class should be more practical too, with more space for passengers, a larger boot and better visibility. The car’s exterior design will be shown later this year.
2018 Hyundai i30 Fastback
On sale early 2018 Price from £18,500 (estimated)
On sale Early 2018; Price from £18,500 (est)
The Korean car maker will brighten its all-new, recently launched i30 range with this, the Fastback. It’s actually a five-door coupe with more flowing lines and a lower roof than the other model’s (so check that rear headroom). It’s a sporty car with firmer suspension and a lower ride height than its sister cars and the launch engines will comprise two turbocharged petrols (diesels will follow).
2018 Hyundai i30 Tourer
On sale early 2018 Price from £18,500 (estimated)
The all-new Hyundai i30 hatchback is already on sale and now Hyundai has unveiled the estate version, the i30 Tourer. It looks to be a sensible choice, offering more efficient engines and a quieter, smoother drive. Boot space is a competitive 602 litres and 1650 litres with down. It’s not an exciting choice but continues to include a five-year, unlimited-mileage warranty.
2018 Subaru Impreza
On sale Now Price from £18,995 (est)
Best known for the high-performance versions that resembled World Rally Championship cars, the Subaru Impreza has rarely been top of the list for most family hatchback buyers. This doesn’t look likely to change with the imminent arrival of the latest version. It’s a rather bland-looking affair, while its engines seem unlikely to match the smooth and quiet motors that power rivals, such as the Volkswagen Golf.
On the upside, it has four-wheel drive while Subaru’s comprehensive EyeSight safety system will be an option.
2018 Vauxhall Insignia Country Tourer
On sale Now Price from £25,635
Vauxhall is keeping faith with the traditional estate car in the shape of this, the Insignia Country Tourer. It’s a beefed-up model with a raised ride height, body protection and on-demand four-wheel drive, much like the Audi Allroad. Three engines are available including a 2.0-litre diesel producing 270bhp that comes with an eight-speed automatic gearbox.
More family cars coming in 2018
BMW 3 Series
New sports cars and hot hatchbacks 2018
2018 Audi RS4 Avant
On sale Now Price from £65,000 (estimated)
Audi’s fast estates are legendary for combining practicality with performance that bears comparison with a rocket. The RS4 is arguably the most famous version among enthusiasts and the latest version goes on sale shortly.
2018 BMW M5
On sale February 2018 Price from £89,640
No BMW line-up is complete without an M5. The new 5 Series has been on sale now for a few months so this all-new performance version can’t come soon enough. For the first time, it’ll have four-wheel drive; a good thing, too, since its 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine produces 592bhp.
Despite the weight of the car’s extra running gear, BMW claims it’ll be lighter than the old model by some 40kg, a result of giving it aluminium body panels and a carbon fibre-reinforced plastic roof.
2018 Hyundai i30N
On sale Now Price from £28,000
This is Hyundai’s first hot hatch and with favourites like the VW Golf GTI and Seat Leon Cupra to choose from, it’s taking nothing for granted. Naturally, it’s done a few laps of the Nurburgring, where all self-respecting performance cars are given a workout, and returned grinning from ear to ear.
It’s powered by a 247bhp 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine but there’s a performance pack that raises that to 271bhp and brings a limited slip diff for improved traction. It’s not a Golf, though, so expect prices to undercut that benchmark model.
2018 Renault Megane RS
On sale Spring 2018 Price from £29,500 (estimated)
For as long as there’s a Megane, there’ll be a sporty RS version. The new Megane line-up came out earlier last year so, with a launch date of spring 2018, Renault is in clearly no hurry to get its hot new addition just right.
But so far so good since we do know its 1.8-litre turbocharged engine will produce 276bhp and that a still more powerful Trophy version will have 295bhp and a firmer chassis. Add four-wheel steering from the rest of the range and a trick automatic gearbox that allows fast multiple downchanges under braking, and it should be worth the wait.
More sports cars coming in 2018
Aston Martin DB11 Volante
Seat Leon Cupra R
New electric cars 2018
2018 BMW i3s
On sale Now Price from £32,475 i3 S
On the back of the i3 facelift (exterior styling tweaks, an updated iDrive system) BMW is adding a sporty new variant called the i3s. Intended to make the most of the electric motor’s instant thrust, it gains an extra 13 horsepower (hp), taking it to 181hp, for acceleration of 0-62mph in 6.9 seconds – around half a second quicker than the standard car.
Sports suspension is meant to improve agility when cornering. Think of it as the first model in a brand-new electric hot hatch segment.
2018 Nissan Leaf
On sale Early 2018 Price from £21,990 (including government grant)
The car that saw the electric revolution coming is replaced by an all-new version this year. The new Leaf is less odd-looking than the old car and more aerodynamic. It’ll be available with a choice of two battery packs but even the standard one is good for a claimed range of 235 miles. In reality, you should expect between 150 and 180 mils but that’s still twice as far as the outgoing entry-level cars. Despite the battery’s extra charge, it takes the same time to recharge to 80% – around 40 minutes.
Meanwhile, the electric motor is more powerful, with faster acceleration. Other improvements include an optional semi-driverless system that will take over driving in queuing motorway traffic at up to 62mph.
More electric cars coming in 2018
Range Rover plug-in hybrid