Details of the new and updated city cars launching in Australia in 2015.
Kia Rio update - January
Kicking it off is the updated Kia Rio range, with the S and Si variants rolling off the boats before the end of 2014 and the better-equipped SL and SLS arriving by the end of January. It’s a minor update with front/rear styling tweaks and some new cabin materials.
Suzuki Celerio – February
Suzuki will replace its Alto micro car with the more mature Celerio hatchback in February.
Larger in every direction, the Celerio offers five seats (up from the Alto’s four) and a 254-litre boot, which is more than twice the size of its predecessor’s.
It’s set to retain the Alto’s 50kW/90Nm 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine, though fuel consumption of automatic variants it expected to fall below 5.0 litres per 100 kilometres.
Suzuki Australia anticipates a four-star ANCAP safety rating for its new baby, and is targeting pre-runout Alto pricing, suggesting pricing between $12,000 and $14,000 before on-road costs.
Read more about the Suzuki Celerio.
Toyota Prius C – Q1
Following its unveiling at the 2014 Los Angeles auto show, the revamped Toyota Prius C will arrive in local showrooms by March 2015.
Sporting a marginally more aggressive design including LED headlights and a restyled bumper – not to mention three new colours – it looks a little fresher from the outside. The interior, too, has been reworked, with new materials and upholstery, a revised media system and, likely, more standard equipment.
The more important bits of the Prius C are unlikely to see much change – that means its 1.5-litre four-cylinder hybrid drivetrain will continue to permit it one of the best fuel consumption ratings on the market – 3.9L/100km.
Read more about the Toyota Prius C.
Nissan Micra update – Q2
The updated Nissan Micra will finally reach our shores in the second quarter of 2015 – more than two years after its international unveiling. (The delay has been the result of Nissan Australia’s decision to shift its Micra production source from Indonesia to India at the start of 2013.
The 2015 Micra gets more angular headlights, a V-shaped chrome grille, reshaped bumper and foglight housings, and LED tail-lights, while the cabin benefits from a sharper-looking centre stack with square air vents and new air conditioning controls, along with new instrument cluster graphics and fresh trim colours and materials.
Expect the Micra’s 56kW/100Nm 1.2-litre three-cylinder engine and sub-$14,000 starting price to carry over into the updated range.
Read more about the Nissan Micra.
Volkswagen Polo GTI – Q2
The Volkswagen Polo GTI will return with a manual gearbox in the second quarter of 2015.
The new GTI may look similar to the existing model, but there are myriad changes – including that new manual transmission – and a new 1.8-litre four-cylinder turbocharged engine with 141kW and 320Nm. For those who wish to let the car do the driving, there’s a seven-speed dual-clutch auto option, too.
A revamped interior includes a larger media screen than in the standard Polo range, meaning it should include satellite navigation and a reverse-view camera. Specifications are currently unclear, though.
Pricing for the entry manual model is expected to drop to a new baseline, possibly tackling the Ford Fiesta ST at $25,990 plus on-road costs.
Read our 2015 Volkswagen Polo GTI Review.
Proton Iriz/Satria – Mid 2015
Proton’s long-awaited new-generation city car will arrive on our shores around the middle of 2015.
The Iriz, as it’s known in its home market, follows the lead of the Preve, Suprima S and Exora in featuring the Malaysian car maker’s sharp design language, new engines, and modern technology and safety features.
There’s a chance the new Barina-sized five-door hatch could resurrect the Satria badge in Australia, however, given the strong public recognition of the nameplate.
In Malaysia, it’s available with two four-cylinder petrol engines – a 70kW/120Nm 1.3-litre and an 80kW/150Nm 1.6-litre – and the option of five-speed manual and automatic continuously variable transmissions.
Safety features include six airbags and electronic stability control, while other specification highlights from its home market include daytime running lights, keyless entry with push-button start, leather upholstery, a 6.2-inch screen with Bluetooth, front and rear USB inputs, DVD player, satellite navigation and WiFi integration.
Prices should start below $15,000 driveaway.
Read more about the Proton Iriz/Satria.
Kia Picanto - Q3
Around September or October, the Kia Picanto micro car is expected to arrive here and create a new $13K-$14K range entry point below the larger Rio.
The local launch will introduce the forthcoming mid-life updated model and will be sourced from South Korea. Kia has been tossing up whether to launch the car or not for some time, but we understand it’s now almost got the go-ahead.
Mazda 2 sedan – Q4 (unconfirmed for Australia at this stage)
The attractive Mazda 2 sedan was unveiled in November 2014, but there’s still no confirmation of whether the longer, four-door model will make it to Australia.
Mazda has told us there will be a decision on the 2 sedan in the coming months, and if it gets the green light, we’d expect to see it before the end of 2015.
The 2 sedan is powered by a the same 1.5-litre four-cylinder engines seen in the 2 hatch range (one with 79kW/139Nm, the other a slightly more efficient offering with 81kW/141Nm). The Thai-built sedan also has an option of a 1.5-ltre turbo diesel.
Stay tuned for more.
Read more about the Mazda 2 sedan.
Skoda Fabia – Q4/2016
We drove the new Skoda Fabia in October 2014, but there’s every chance the Czech brand’s new city-friendly hatchback won’t be on sale by October 2015. It may not even make it here until early 2016.
The all-new Fabia is set to follow on from the current model in being offered as a hatchback and wagon, with a range of more efficient four-cylinder turbo engines fitted.
The car has seen a major upgrade to its interior, borrowing plenty from the recently-updated Volkswagen Polo. It also looks less awkward from the outside.
Read our 2015 Skoda Fabia Review.
Honda Jazz Hybrid – Second half 2015
Despite struggling to shift stock of its hybrid vehicles, Honda Australia has reason to be optimistic about the new Jazz Hybrid.
The 2015 model benefits from an entirely new petrol-electric powertrain, which teams a 1.5-litre four-cylinder Atikinson-cycle petrol engine with an electric motor and a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.
Combined power rises to 100kW and 170Nm (up 28kW and 3Nm) while Honda claims fuel economy improves 35 per cent, which should translate to consumption of roughly 3.0 litres per 100 kilometres.
Unlike it predecessor, the new Jazz Hybrid can also operate in pure-electric mode over short distances, as well as hybrid mode with both the petrol engine and electric motor engaged, and engine-only mode.
Read more about the Honda Jazz Hybrid.
Fiat 500 update - 2015
Details are thin on the ground for an update to the cheeky-looking Fiat. Don’t expect any dramatic changes to the design that remains faithful to the original.