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by Matt Brogan

Knowing what’s just around the corner is important, particularly if you’re buying a new car. So with that in mind, here’s a brief overview of some key new models due for release in 2008.

Due for release in March, the new Ford Falcon (code named Orion) will be the last in a long line of Ford’s popular family sedans to sport the 4.0-litre six-cylinder engine produced in Geelong, Victoria for over forty years.

From 2010 the next generation Falcon may be powered by a 3.5-litre US sourced V6 engine and could yet become front wheel drive. Until then Orion will fill the void and although we only have computer-generated and spy pictures so far, a large departure from the current BF series shape is not expected for at least two more years.

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Coinciding with Ford’s March release is Holden’s final VE variant, the Sportwagon. In what’s seen as a departure from the norm, Sportwagon will be based on the VE Ute platform instead of the longer Statesman platform as used in previous Commodore models dating back to the 1997 VT.

This means a slightly reduced cargo area, but as I’m sure you’ll agree, this is counter acted by the stylish looks Sportwagon presents. Powertrain options and model line up are expected to remain unchanged from  the VE sedan range.

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Honda is set to replace its Accord within the first quarter of the year with a model that has seen extensive testing in Alaska, US, this year.

The new Accord is powered by a choice of 2.4-litre four-cylinder petrol or 3.5-litre V6 (petrol) and will be available standard with cylinder deactivation technology (as seen in Chrysler’s 300C) to reduce fuel consumption when cruising. Pricing, although not yet confirmed, will not deviate greatly from the existing model.

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Not to be outdone, Mazda’s direct rival to the Accord, the Mazda6, will also be updated in teh first half of next year.

Sharing its platform with  Ford’s Mondeo, the new Mazda6 will be powered a 2.5-litre engine. US models will also receive a 3.5-litre V6 (186kW/325nM), but this is not expected to be made available in Australian models.

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Subaru will release their second generation Tribeca after the questionable styling of its predecessor saw slower than expected sales through the 2006-07 period.

Sharing its styling with co-developer SAAB, the new Tribeca will go on sale from April with pricing and specification details as yet unconfirmed. Subaru has however confirmed that Tribeca will feature its all new 3.6-litre Boxer engine.

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Honda’s pint-sized Jazz (sold a Fit in Japan) will receive a long overdue, but relatively minor, facelift in April. Growing slightly (52mm longer) the new Jazz is expected to maintain the  excellent value for money and brilliant fuel economy of the model it replaces.

Powered exclusively this time round by a 1.5-litre four cylinder petrol engine (the 1.3-litre engine will be retired) full pricing and specification details are not yet known.

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Towards the end of the 2008, Nissan hopes to release its Skyline model after a two decade absence. Hardly the base model sedan seen here in the late 1980’s, new Skyline is a luxury vehicle pegged at taking on the likes of Honda’s Legend.

Nissan’s luxury arm Infiniti may also allow Nissan Australia badging rights over a coupe version (sold in Japan and the US as Infiniti G35) to be marketed here along side the sedan. This is purely speculation at this point with more details to follow mid 2008.

We’ll keep you posted on any news as it becomes available, and look forward to your comments and any rumours you may have heard about other upcoming models. As always, spy pics are very welcome.




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