Details of the new and updated small cars launching in Australia in 2015.
Alfa Romeo Giulietta update – January
Updated version of Alfa’s Golf rival gains a number of updates for 2015 – and its January local release.
The range-topping Quadrifoglio Verde joins a month later. Mechanically, its 1.8-litre four-cylinder turbo is now the uprated version found in the 4C sports car – producing 176kW and 340Nm. And where it was previously manual only, the QV’s engine is now exclusively paired with a six-speed dual-clutch auto with paddleshifters (also from 4C). Alfa says the result scrubs 0.2 seconds from its 0-100km/h time (now 6.6sec).
The tweaked cabin incorporates new leather/alcantara sports seats and new Uconnect infotainment system.
Read more about the Alfa Romeo Giulietta.
Holden Cruze update — February
Holden’s locally made Cruze sedan and hatch gets a mild update at the start of the year. It’s a minor refresh, potentially bringing some more equipment and maybe some mild cosmetic tweaks.
Full details are being kept under wraps, but you won’t have to wait long. No doubt a big part of the launch will be Holden promoting the car in a big way, given sales dropped 26 per cent over the first 11 months of the year and fell behind the cumulative total of the Volkswagen Golf.
Hyundai i30 update - March
In the first quarter of the year, an upgraded i30 range will launch, featuring revised frontal styling among the changes. As Hyundai’s biggest seller, any activity on this car is vital to the brand’s fortunes.
But while European versions will get a new dual-clutch transmission option and some new turbo engines, including a new i30 Turbo flagship with 137kW/265Nm, Australia is expected to maintain the existing range of powertrains so as not to cannibalise the Veloster SR.
A revised version of the Australian-market SR, with its 129kW/209Nm engine, will be created however, likely featuring some new cosmetic tweaks such as different alloy wheels.
Peugeot 308 GT – March
The new warm-hatch version of the Peugeot 308 hatchback, the new Peugeot 308 GT, is set to hit showroom floors late in the first quarter of the year.
The GT model is powered by a turbocharged 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine pushing out 151kW and 285Nm (or slightly less than a VW Golf GTI and about the same as a Kia Pro_cee’d GT) in petrol guise. The diesel 2.0-litre has 133kW and 400Nm.
Expect it to be sold as a five-door hatch and small station wagon, and it should be easily distinguishable from the rest of the 308 range by its sporty body additions and larger 18-inch alloys.
Who knows? We may even see a 308 GTi by the end of 2015.
Read more about the Peugeot 308 GT.
Peugeot 308 1.6-litre turbo – March
The Peugeot 308 line-up will receive a new 1.6-litre turbocharged engine in the Allure specification and the soon-to-be-added Allure Premium specification.
The new 110kW/240Nm four-pot engine will replace the three-cylinder, 96kW/230Nm unit that is currently the mainstay of the petrol model range. That smaller engine will remain in the Access and Active models.
The new four-cylinder will be available in both hatch and wagon body styles, meaning buyers who want a more practical small car will have the choice of the new petrol engine or the existing 2.0-litre diesel.
Read more about the Peugeot 308.
Mini 5 Door Cooper One – Q1
Mini will seek to bring more young families to the brand by introducing the entry-level 5 Door Cooper One to Australia early in 2015.
As with the rest of the 5 Door range, the 5 Door Cooper One will cost $1100 more than its equivalent three-door, meaning a starting price of $25,600 for the six-speed manual and $28,950 for the six-speed auto (prices before on-road costs) – $2150 cheaper than the regular 5 Door Cooper.
The Cooper One is powered by a 1.2-litre version of the brand’s three-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine. It produces 75kW of power and 180Nm of torque – down 25kW and 40Nm compared with the Cooper’s larger 1.5-litre.
Compared with the Cooper, the One gets 15-inch steel wheels instead of alloys, black grille bars and mirror caps, and a two-spoke steering wheel with no controls instead of the Cooper’s three-spoke multi-function wheel.
The One also misses out on auto headlights and wipers, reversing sensors, interior LED lighting package, passenger seat height adjustment, front centre armrest with storage compartment, floor mats, and Hazy Grey decorative trim.
Read more about the Mini 5 Door Cooper One.
Nissan Pulsar SSS sedan – March/April
The Nissan Pulsar SSS sedan will finally reach Australian showrooms by April – 12 months later than originally planned – after being delayed to allow Nissan to reduce existing stock of the outgoing luxury Ti sedan.
The sporty SSS sedan will be powered by the same turbocharged 140kW/240Nm 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine that’s fitted to the hatch, and feature similar equipment levels and exterior enhancements.
The Pulsar SSS sedan will be priced from about $30,000 before on-road costs, likely wearing a price tag slightly higher than the SSS hatchback that costs $29,790 with the six-speed manual transmission and $32,390 with the automatic continuously variable transmission (CVT).
Read more about the Nissan Pulsar SSS sedan.
Holden Astra GTC and VXR — April
A very well-known badge returns — again — for now in performance guises only. That said, expect the regular versions of the next-generation car to launch here inside a few years.
The Astra GTC three-door model will offer buyers a warm-hatch experience with a 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine producing an expected 125kW of power and 280Nm of torque. It’s essentially the same model that was sold here in Opel badges in 2013.
The Astra VXR is powered by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo with 206kW of power and 400Nm of torque, which sends its power to the front wheels via a six-speed manual transmission. It’s getting on in years, but remains one of the market’s more potent hot-hatches.
Ford Focus ST update – May
The German-built Focus ST hot-hatch will be the first of the updated small car range in Australia, beating the rest of the Thailand-sourced Focus range that’s due to launch around the middle of the year.
The 2015 Focus ST features mildly revised styling with a higher honeycomb grille, larger lower intake, slimmer headlights and foglights, re-profiled bonnet, tweaked tail-lights and a deeper rear bumper.
The cabin benefits from an overhauled centre stack with a larger 8.0-inch touchscreen display with a reverse-view camera and fewer button and dials, aiding usability. A new flat-bottom steering wheel is standard, while heated front seats will be available in some markets.
The 184kW/340Nm 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol engine and six-speed manual transmission carry over unchanged, though Ford has reworked the steering and suspension, targeting an even sharper drive.
Read more about the Ford Focus ST.
Honda Civic hatch update – Q2
Honda’s UK-sourced Civic hatch will get a facelift before the middle of 2015, refreshing the outside and inside of the brand’s Golf rival.
New at the front is a pair of lightning bolt-inspired headlights integrated into a sharp-edged trapezoidal grille and new foglight housings, while the rear gets revised tail-lights with a body-colour spoiler and a reworked bumper.
An infotainment touchscreen will find its way onto an overhauled centre stack, while safety will get a boost from the addition of active city braking, among other features.
Read more about the Honda Civic hatch.
Subaru Impreza update – First half 2015
An updated version of the Subaru Impreza will go on sale in the first half of 2015, bringing mild styling tweaks and revised equipment levels.
The refreshed Impreza – which was revealed in September – sees styling changes and the addition of a new touchscreen media system across the range and, for the first time, Subaru’s EyeSight collision avoidance system will be offered on the Impreza.
No engine changes are expected, with the 2.0-litre four-cylinder ‘boxer’ to be retained with the choice of six-speed manual or continuously variable transmission (CVT) auto.
Read more about the Subaru Impreza.
Ford Focus update – Mid 2015
The Focus small car will benefit from a significant mid-life update around the middle of the year, refreshed outside, inside and under the bonnet.
The 2015 Focus gains the brand’s now-signature chrome-slatted hexagonal grille along with slimmer headlights and other exterior tweaks, while the cabin gets a cleaner dashboard with fewer buttons and a larger centre screen with Ford’s SYNC 2 connectivity system.
It will benefit from a host of new and improved technologies, including automatic perpendicular parking, rear cross traffic alert, park-out assist (to guide drivers out of parallel spaces), enhanced collision avoidance auto braking up to 50km/h, enhanced adaptive cruise control with preferred following distance options, and MyKey technology.
The existing 125kW 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine is set to make way for a turbocharged 1.5-litre four-cylinder EcoBoost engine with either 110kW or 132kW, while the 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbo – available in 74kW and 92kW tunes – may replace the ageing naturally aspirated 92kW 1.6-litre.
Power from the 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel is set to dip from 120kW to 110kW, though Ford is also promising a 13 per cent fuel economy improvement, potentially dropping combined cycle consumption to 4.8 litres per 100km.
Ford’s engineers say the updated Focus’s revised steering, suspension and electronic stability control systems deliver a “more solid, responsive and connected-to-the-road feel”.
Read more about the Ford Focus.
Volkswagen Golf Alltrack – Q3
The German brand doesn’t yet have an SUV to sit between its Tiguan and Touareg models, and while there is a Passat Alltrack to help quench the thirst of SUV buyers, there’ll soon be a smaller alternative in the form of the Volkswagen Golf Alltrack.
The Golf Wagon-based high-rider has all the looks to go with its all-wheel-drive underpinnings, including a rugged body cladding package, underbody bash plates and sills, and uniquely designed alloy wheels.
Engine and drivetrain details are still to be confirmed, though it’s likely there will be a turbo petrol and turbo diesel offering.
Expect pricing to be slightly higher than the regular Golf Wagon, which ranges from $25,540 to $36,340 plus on-road costs.
Read more about the Volkswagen Golf Alltrack.
Mini Clubman – Q4
The first additional body style to be spun-off the third-generation Mini Cooper will be one of the brand’s quirkiest creations: the six-door Clubman.
Previewed by the Clubman concept that debuted at the 2014 Geneva motor show, the new Clubman will trade its predecessor’s unconventional right-side suicide door layout for twin rear passenger doors (like those on the Mini 5 Door hatch), while retaining its barn door design for the boot.
At 26cm longer and 16mm wider than the original Clubman, it promises to offer much more room for rear passengers and loads more cargo space behind the second row.
The new Mini Clubman will premiere at September’s Frankfurt motor show and will launch in Australia either very late in 2015 or at the start of 2016.
Read more about the Mini Clubman.
Subaru XV update – Second half 2015
The Subaru XV is expected follow the lead of the Impreza, with a mild styling upgrade and revised equipment levels by the end of 2015.
The refreshed XV is expected to gain minor cosmetic adjustments and a new touchscreen media system across the range.
On top of that, buyers can expect to see Subaru’s EyeSight collision avoidance system offered for the first time in the XV.
Read more about the Subaru XV.