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CarAdvice’s guide to the 10 most significant new cars coming to Australian showrooms in 2013, and a quick look at the other new vehicles arriving on our shores this year.

Ford Kuga

The locally built Ford Territory has done an admirable job for Ford Australia, but the local car maker’s SUV strategy has otherwise been flawed.

In the hotly contested small-SUV segment, Ford has for years competed with only the creaking, ancient Ford Escape. And when it did belatedly import the Ford Kuga from Europe, it took only the thirsty turbocharged 2.5-litre five-cylinder variant and priced it in the high-$30K bracket.

But 2013 is set to be a turning point for Ford and SUVs, with the second-generation Kuga going on sale in the first quarter and the Fiesta-based EcoSport baby SUV arriving later in the year.

Pricing is expected to start below $30,000, making the new Ford Kuga truly competitive against key rivals, especially with a 129kW 1.6-litre turbocharged ‘EcoBoost’ four-cylinder unit and a 120kW 2.0-litre turbo diesel likely to be the primary engine selections – with both six-speed manual and automatic gearboxes sending power to either the front, or all four wheels, depending on the variant.

One of the Kuga’s party tricks is the ability to open its tailgate while your hands are full of bags or boxes, simply by aiming a kick under the rear bumper.

 

Holden VF Commodore

With sales in decline, this is perhaps the most crucial Holden Commodore ever. The VF, a major re-work of the seven-year-old VE, will retain the existing car’s structure, but lose up to 100kg thanks to a lightweight aluminium bonnet, boot lid and suspension parts. Holden is promising major efficiency improvements that should see the entry-level Omega drop from 8.9L/100km combined to below 8L.

New technologies, including GM’s MyLink connectivity suite, will be standard.

The styling has already been previewed by the 2013 Chevrolet NASCAR racer, which essentially resembles the forthcoming Chevrolet SS sedan, a re-badged version of the VF Commodore. While the VF will officially be revealed in February, the car won’t go on sale until April, ahead of the SS making its debut in North American dealerships in October.

In 2012, Commodore suffered a 25 per cent sales drop, its 30,532-unit tally a third of the VT’s record 94,642 sales in 1998.

 

JAGUAR F-TYPE

Porsche hasn’t had a proper Boxster rival for… well, ever. The BMW Z4 and Mercedes-Benz SLK are a bit too soft, but the new Jaguar F-Type promises to be more aggressive. It looks fantastic and sits low.

A trio of supercharged V6 and V8 engines provide plenty of stonk, although it lacks a manual transmission, and the expected $150-200K pricing squares the range neatly between Boxster S and entry-level 911 Cabriolet. Jaguar claims the F-Type is sized closer to 911, yet will be priced substantially below it.

With rear-drive and a premium cabin, it should carve a neat niche in the market, and provide a welcome return to the sports-roadster genre made iconic by the Jaguar E-Type. The likelihood of an F-Type R-S – in line with the recently unveiled XFR-S and the XKR-S launched in 2011 – is strong, but probably not until 2014.

 

LEXUS IS

One of the oldest cars on the market, the current eight-year-old Lexus IS, will finally be retired in the third quarter of this year when the all-new third-generation model lands in Australian showrooms.

Revealed at January’s Detroit auto show, the new IS sports an aggressive version of the Lexus ‘spindle’ grille, distinctive two-piece headlights with LED running lights, and piercing tail-lights inspired by the Lexus LF-CC coupe concept.

Lexus Australia will offer all three variants of the 2013 Lexus IS, including the new versions of the IS250 and IS350, as well as the all-new petrol-electric IS300h, which teams a 2.5-litre four-cylinder Atkinson-cycle petrol engine with an electric motor for combined cycle fuel consumption below 4.3L/100km.

 

MAZDA3

The CX-5 SUV was first, the Mazda6 medium car was second, and in 2013 it will be the turn of Mazda’s best-selling car to adopt the company’s full suite of Skyactiv technologies.

Mazda only released the current Mazda3 in early 2009 but the compact hatch/sedan duo is too important to continue without the manufacturer’s new range of platforms, engines and gearboxes that all contribute to better efficiency (though the SP20 does employ a Skyactiv 2.0-litre engine and six-speed auto).

The new Mazda3 will sit on a revised, shortened version of the platform shared by the CX-5 and 6, helping to make the small car lighter and stronger.

Expect the same line-up of drivetrain options as the SUV and medium car, meaning 2.0-litre petrol, 2.5-litre petrol and 2.2-litre diesel powerplants and six-speed manuals and autos.

This should be enough to transform the Mazda3 from being one of the thirstiest cars in its class to one of the most fuel efficient – if not the benchmark.

Technology from the Mazda6 that includes blind spot and lane departure warning systems, swivelling headlamps and automatic braking functions will also cascade down to the 3, though will not necessarily be available on all models.

 

MERCEDES-BENZ A-CLASS

Innovative sandwich floors and tall-body styling will be consigned to history in March 2013 when the Mercedes-Benz A-Class turns up in all-new hatchback form. A $35,600 starting price will also give those buyers who were willing to put their hard-earned down on a high-end Volkswagen Golf something to think about.

The new five-door approach will also be of concern to the Audi A3 and BMW 1 Series.

Forget manual gearboxes; all A-Class variants come standard with the gearbox du jour, a dual-clutch transmission (with seven speeds).

The A180 and $40,900 A200 share a 1.6-litre turbo four-cylinder in different states of tune, and the $40,900 A200 CDI adopts a 1.8-litre turbo diesel to help achieve fuel consumption as low as 4.6L/100km.

The A250 Sport, featuring a 155kW 2.0-litre turbo four, tops the range initially, but the most anticipated model is undoubtedly the upcoming A45 AMG hot-hatch from Mercedes’ renowned performance arm.

AMG also helped fettle the suspension of the regular models – so, unlike the original, the new A-Class shouldn’t fail any ‘elk’ tests.

 

MINI COOPER

Would you believe this is the third-generation of ‘new’ Mini, the first of which debuted almost exactly a decade ago? The looks may never change, and the concept of a light, ultra-small, wheel-at-each-corner go-kart for the road also remains.

But this new Mini will benefit from technology that will be introduced to new generation BMWs, particularly a line-up of three-cylinder turbocharged engines and ‘efficient dynamics’ technology like stop-start and brake energy regeneration.

The current Mini, now four years old, lacks the latter technologies, and the entry car’s 1.6-litre four-cylinder lags behind the benchmarks. With competition increasing from Audi, Fiat and Citroen, the Mini will need to be on guard like the chaps out front of Buckingham Palace if it’s to retain a leading portion of the premium-small segment.

 

NISSAN PULSAR

It won’t admit it on record, but Nissan Australia was never happy that the once-popular Pulsar was renamed Tiida a few years ago, leaving buyers scratching their heads and heading to rival cars. Common sense has returned to Japan HQ, however, and the Pulsar badge is back.

The sedan body style that launched on February 1 will be followed mid-year by a hatch version.

A $19,990 starting price puts it on par with the newly released Toyota Corolla and is part of Nissan’s strategy to replace Mazda as the top full-line importer in Australia.

Three trim levels cover the main range, all powered by a 1.8-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with 96kW of power and 174Nm of torque and fed to the front wheels either via a manual transmission or CVT.

Enthusiast drivers will take greater notice of the return of another badge – SSS – for a hot version of the Pulsar, with 140kW and 240Nm produced by a turbocharged 1.6-litre four.

 

TOYOTA RAV4

It’s bye-bye to the V6 petrol, heavy side-hinged tailgate and rear-mounted spare wheel as a new-generation Toyota RAV4 enters the fray this month.

Toyota’s SUV, one of the first of the on-road-focused breed when it launched in 1994, enters its 19th year with sharper styling that reflects the design of other members of the vehicle family, such as the Corolla and Camry.

And at last there’s a turbo diesel option, which should make this big-selling soft-roader even more popular.

The 2.2-litre four-cylinder will use less than 6.0L/100km on the combined fuel cycle, and produce more than 300Nm of torque – more pulling power than either of the two petrol engines available (a 2.0-litre shared with the Corolla Ascent sedan and a 2.5-litre shared with the Camry).

Toyota also promises the RAV4 will be more exciting to drive than before as it takes on foes old (such as Forester) and new (such as Mazda CX-5).

 

VOLKSWAGEN GOLF

The small-car benchmark gets reset in April to the delight of buyers and to the distress of rival car makers. Volkswagen’s seventh-generation Golf is absolutely superb, blending trademark ride and cabin quality, and refinement, with new, more powerful and frugal engines.

A brand new 1.4-litre turbo produces 103kW, only 13kW more than the current car, but the torque figure jumps by a full 50Nm, to 250Nm. In addition, the new car is larger yet lighter, quicker yet more frugal. Performance times drop by more than a second, to an 8.4sec 0-100km/h, while economy improves by 14 per cent to sub-6L/100km. A diesel is available too, but the petrol remains the pick.

Expect similar pricing to the current car’s $23-35K to make life very difficult for its small-car competitors.

 

NEW CARS OF 2013: QUICK CALENDAR GUIDE

Q1

 

Q2

 

Mid 2013

 

Q3/Q4


  • Vti07

    I thought the Civic hatch diesel was meant to be launched this year? Or have Honda Australia changed their minds again?

    • Honda Guru

      No it is still being launched this year, along with the CR-V Diesel.

  • Rdavidson

    How is a VF Commodore all new when it uses same body (except bonnet boot front and rear lights) same engines, same seating, modified dash. Just an update thank you!
    Richard

    • JamesB

      It’s only significant to retarded people.

  • Golfmother

    Exactly just  a face lift ,

  • Anthony

    Hate Golfs.

    • $29896495

      Speaking of Golfs, it’s not a small car, look at the measurements CA.

      • Dave W

        That’s the classification. Cars like Corolla, Mazda 3, Focus, Golf, Civic, etc. are all in the C segment or small car segment.

        Cars like Polo, Mazda 2, Yaris, Fiesta are in the B segment or light car segment.

        Cars in the Medium car segment are the Camry, Mazda 6 (although it is a bit oversized for the segment now), Accord, etc.

        • $29896495

          Dave measurements don’t lie, it’s in the numbers. You know how much space a car takes up on the road. The Golf started at 63 inches wide, now some variants are 72 inches or 1800 mm – which is a large car width. Which is one reason the Jetta became it’s own car, width, body plus boot gives you length – large medium . 

          Light cars are the micros, the city cars, small cars are the Polos, 2s etc. Medium cars are the 3s Focuses Cruse and so on. All those cars are about the same size as the original Falcon, a VB Commodore, or early 70′s Toyota crown. In some cases they are bigger.

          The way cars are described these days is a bit of a joke, Camry medium Aurion big, they are the same size! That’s why you need measurements, they don’t lie.

          • Dave W

            I’m just telling you what I read. It doesn’t really matter to me whether they’re big or small.

          • Darryl

            Sounds like your getting a bit hung up by FCAI VFacts definition of car classes and sizes. Just go onto the FCAI website and have a look what they say under Segmentation Criteria, and you will see that price relativity as well as wheelbase x track are what they use. They are not God, and it isn’t the law, so you are perfectly entitled to describe a car any way you like. I actually think you’re better off using the American subcompact, compact, mid size, etc. Things like Corolla, Cruze and Elantra are compacts, Camry’s (4′s or V6′s) are mid size. The Falcon and Valiant were early examples of compacts in 1960, and as those size classes are based more on interior room, that seems about right to me. A Tata Nano is a pretty small car – a nanocompact maybe?

          • $29896495

            I agree with you, I’ve suggested that before. The measurements and sizes I quoted are how we used to describe cars in this country and Japan and in fact over lap with the American terminology. But even wheel base by track, works the same way, which makes the so called  small and mediums much larger. Still, just get tired of obviously wrong pronouncements of growing cars. 

    • Golfmother

      Yer you stick with your girlie corolla tony , golf is a bit to clever for you .

      • Gazza

        Can VW make the Golf any more ugly!!!

        • JamesB

          How is breaking down every thousand kays clever?

        • netwalker

          or boring (exterior)

      • John

        I’m sure you’re wife would be happy with you equating ‘girlie’ with those not ‘clever’ enough. I guess she must live in a house under Golfmother’s rule and everything that Golfmother says is right without question. ugh.

      • Hans

        If the Golf is too clever for Anthony…then why on earth did you buy it?

    • Jacob

      How is Golf the “benchmark” when the Focus and Astra have been outselling it in Britain for years?

      If “benchmark” means the best regardless of price, then surely Volvo V40 is a better benchmark than Golf. :-)

      • Darryl

        Ford and Vauxhall are regarded as British though, whereas VW is a German import, so you’d expect that. Astra and Focus are certainly not outselling Golf in Germany, and never have. 

        Why would the Volvo V40 be regarded as the benchmark? In any of the overseas comparisons I’ve read it doesn’t win. In fact the UK What Car? mag gave their COTY to the Audi A3, not the Golf. Partly as they are priced fairly close, which I’m sure won’t be the case here.

        • Jacob

          Winning car reviews is about value for money, not performance.

          Otherwise Ferrari would win every time.

          Porsche 911 is a benchmark, Nissan GTR and Jaguar F-type are chasing it.

        • Golfmother

          Darryl all fords are designed in germany , few are even built in britain , vauxhalls are all opels designed in germany , so they are not british .

  • Zaccy16

    Lots of important new cars! golf, mazda 3 jag f type etc…. 

    • Captain Nemo®™

       Nothing important about the Rolf same unreliable poorly built POS just dressed up a bit.
      New dress for the Bogan express.

      • Golfmother

        Nemo the exact words i was going to post about the new feral VF crummerdore , bla bla about a face lift .

  • F1orce

    Mazda 3 looks dramatic

    But only Lexus knows how to implement door mounted wing mirrors nicely..

  • Noely

    I just couldn’t take my eyes off that new IS…

    • richard

      I hear ya, it’s very ugly.

      • Gazza

        Your joking right? it looks AWESOME!

      • Ivn

        That’s what I thought too, but now it’s growing on me.

        • JamesB

          You are a lost cause, richard.

      • Guest12

        Yeah it looks retarded.
        Something not quite right about the new Lexus grill.

  • Dave W

    Mazda 3 will have Blind Spot and lane departure warning system, automatic brake… BAH!!! Can you opt out these features if you buy the car?

    • Nickapopolis87

      I bet you’re the sort of person who won’t use cruise control either. Idiot. 

      • Dave W

        I get abused just for asking if I can opt out of features I don’t want in a car? Seriously? lol

        • JamesB

          Blind spot warning can be useful at times, though it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do head check anymore. But I do agree that the lane departure warning could encourage bad driving. If you can’t maintain your lane, then you shouldn’t be driving at all.

          • Dave W

            I do that by checking my mirrors and developing awareness of what’s around me. Maybe someone who drives a van or truck or those SUVs find them useful but a small hatchback?

            Anyway, however useful you find these equipments is irrelevant to me. I was just asking if I can opt out these features when I buy the car.

          • JamesB

            Well, I was actually trying to defend you, moron. You’re welcome.

          • Dave W

            You guys are having period or something? Don’t forget the fking tampon ya bunch of sensitive btches.

          • Golfmother

            Maybe you can give disc brakes the flick or ABS or stability control seeing your such a brilliant driver .

          • Dave W

            Give disc brakes the flick? What an epic fail post. You should’ve said replace it with drum brakes.

            Actually, I wouldn’t have a problem driving a car without ABS or stability control. I learned how to drive in a car which had none of those things and I never had a crash in it. Heck, it didn’t even have power steering.

            Thing is, it was also a manual car. Now I bet you can’t drive one of those even if your life depends on it.

            An auto Golf driver wanna get sarcastic with me about being a good driver? Pfft…

          • JamesB

            Just shut up, gay troll!

          • Golfmother

            Actually i do drive a manual Davey W , whats the W stand for lol .

            Any fool who disregards new technology is obviously a flat earth believer .

            Safety is the issue , but your such an old driver i would have thought lane depature would be a blessing , dozing is issue with many drivers .

          • Dave W

            Nice reply James. Already ran out of comeback?

            Golfmother. Safety is an issue because many drivers lack the interest to develop their driving skill, made worse by their selfish attitude on the road. These so-called safety systems act like a crutch for them.

            But I understand why blind spot monitoring system is becoming standard. How many new car reviews mentioned “poor rear visibility”? Megane RS, Veloster, Civic, CR-Z, etc. Car manufacturers are sacrificing visibility for design aesthetic with their thick C/D pillar design.

        • Bryan

          I thought the “idiot” was unwarranted too but unfortunately there isn’t a rudeness filter on this forum.

          I think that even if Mazda is willing to build you a car without the Lane Departure system, they probably won’t drop the price for you.  Maybe you can just switch the system off if you don’t like it?  A bit like traction control…

          I am finding out first hand just how expensive Mazda bits are: almost three hundred dollars for a keyless entry remote, seven hundred and eighty dollars for an O2 sensor (there are four of them in my car!) and the list goes on.  Fortunately my car was a joint effort between Ford and Mazda and the exact same parts from Ford are a fraction of the price, the door remote was about one hundred dollars and the same four sensors came to just over a thousand dollars instead of the more than three grand that Mazda wanted! 

          I know where I will be shopping from now on!

  • Nmrenwick

    I got a letter from the new Citroen distributors (I own a DS3) and aside from their spiel about increasing the dealer network and parts available in Aus, they said they’re going to introduce the DS3 cabrio this year.

    • PSA

      Considered driving it off a cliff?

  • larry09

    You don’t know what the Mazda3 will feature so why say you do ?  I think its unlikely it will have direct injection because of the cost.  The SP models start at $30k.

    Euro 5 is mandated for 1st of November and the current drivetrain doesn’t go anywhere close to meeting it.  It needed a 6 speed manual just to meet Euro 4.

  • Sam

    Mazda 3 for the win…..looks great and will outsell everything, again!

  • bg

    what new VW golf? they look the same every update they do, couldnt tell the difference between a 2003 or a 2013 model, the new mazda 3 is so ugly

    • Golfmother

      And what have toyota given us , zilch as usual .

      • Logan

        What has the Toyota Corolla have to do with bg’s comment or this article? This is about new cars in 2013.

      • OhNoKoko

        That’s right golftart, the corolla is the same piece of s**t as the Golf. Bland white good equivalent cars.

  • doublepug

    So the pug 2008 is being launched in Q2 and again in Q4?
    Shortest model cycle ever?
    HAHAHAHAHAHAH 

    • filippo

      I noticed that too. I guess the Q2 launch is a typo and they meant to write 5008, as I don’t think the 2008 will be production ready by then.