The best cars to get on the new ‘69’ plate
There’s a plate change on the way, but what are the best cars to wear it? We’ve picked them out
September is quickly approaching, and though the month usually symbolises the start of autumn and the beginning of longer nights, colder days and browner leaves, it also means that there’s a new registration — and this time around, it’s ‘69’.
In the past few months, there’s been a big influx of new models, updates and refreshes, meaning potential buyers are inundated with choices. Here are some of the best new models to wear the new plate.
Though concepts and ultra-modern designs may draw the crowds, it’s cars like the humble Audi A4 that keep the motoring world turning. This latest model is by far the most complex we’ve seen, with a large infotainment screen and more assistance systems than ever before.
It still gets the bread-and-butter jobs done too though, thanks to plenty of space and a range of efficient engines.
Audi A6 Allroad
Audi’s A6 Allroad has historically been a great option for those who want the spaciousness of an estate car, with the added security that comes with all-wheel-drive. Now, there’s a new one, with better comfort levels and more interior tech.
On top of that, of course, there’s that four-wheel-drive capability too. In terms of one car for all occasions, the Allroad does well.
The big, seven-seater Q7 has been a popular choice in the large SUV segment for quite some time now, and Audi has seen fit to update it. Now, with a larger infotainment screen and a plusher interior, it’s at its most luxurious.
Plus, it hasn’t lost that all-important seven-seat configuration – so it’s still a great choice for larger families.
BMW 1 Series
There was a fair amount of discontent when BMW announced that its famously rear-driven 1 Series would be switching to front-wheel-drive. However, in reality, the change hasn’t affected the overall package too much; it’s still a good car to drive, and more efficient now too.
It’s not a bad looking car either, while the interior is one of the most high-tech we’ve seen on a compact hatch.
BMW 3 Series Touring
In a similar vein to the A6 Allroad, the 3 Series Touring is a car for people who want one vehicle for all jobs. The latest model is comfortable, refined and because it’s an estate, impressively practical too.
There’s also a punchy 330d version, for those who want plenty of performance from their compact estate car.
BMW M8 Competition
BMW’s range-topping M8 had been teased for several months before it finally being revealed. Now, it’s easily one of the most anticipated performance cars yet to hit the market – and given its three-second 0-60mph time and 189mph top speed, it looks like it’s going to live up to the hype.
It’s also going to cost over £120,000 before options — making it one of the pricier cars to wear a ‘69’ plate.
The updated BMW X1 debuted back in May, showcasing an all-new look and a fresher, sleeker interior. It’s the car’s first major revision since 2015, so it’s a well-needed update for BMW compact crossover.
As well as the usual range of petrol and diesel options, a hybrid version will be available in 2021 but, because of that, it won’t be on a ‘69’ plate.
Ford Focus ST
The Ford Focus ST has been a favourite among the hot-hatch community ever since it was first introduced back in 2002. The latest model, introduced this year, packs more punch than ever — 276bhp.
On top of the power hike, there’s a new electronic limited-slip differential and plenty of other mechanical upgrades to make it the most driver-focused ST yet.
Ford’s happy-looking Puma returned with a surprise — no longer was it a sleek, two-door compact coupe, instead of launching as a crossover instead. Some kicked up a fuss at the use of the nameplate on such a car, that’s for sure, but the end product is interesting.
It features a clever boot storage option, which can extend the load area up to an impressive 456 litres.
Kia Soul EV
Kia’s Soul EV arrives on the back of the success that the South Korean firm has had with the e-Niro. With a claimed all-electric range of 172 miles (or 280 with the larger battery model), it’s got more than enough juice for most occasions, while a practical layout should mean there’s plenty of space for passengers and luggage.
We’re adamant that these will fly off the forecourts — so get yours while you can.
Kia has expanded on its Ceed range with this – the XCeed. It’s designed to sit in between the smaller Stonic and the larger Sportage, giving people a medium-sized crossover option. A range of petrol and diesel engines are available from launch, with hybrid versions joining the line-up later on.
It takes on rivals such as the Mercedes-Benz GLA and Volkswagen T-Roc in the segment.
Maserati Levante GTS and Trofeo
Maserati revealed its performance Levante GTS and Trofeo models back in June, marking an entry by the Italian firm into the super-speed SUV category. With a 3.8-litre twin-turbocharged V8 under the bonnet, it’s no slouch – the Trofeo will crack 0-60mph in under four seconds.
Though the Trofeo is likely to steal the headlines when it comes to outright performance, we’d argue that drivers looking to use their performance Levante every day will opt for the more road-orientated GTS.
Mazda MX-5 30th Anniversary
The MX-5 has been with us for 30 years and Mazda has, rather unsurprisingly, built a version to celebrate that. The 30th Anniversary car features a striking orange exterior colour, as well as a series of mechanical upgrades.
Just 600 units will be coming to the UK, so it could be very much the future classic – and certainly one that die-hard MX-5 fans will want to get their hands on.
When the original A45 arrived, it blew rivals out of the water thanks to its ground-breaking performance figures and sensational acceleration. Now there’s a new one, and it appears that the little AMG has pulled off the trick once again.
With over 400bhp in S layout, it’s easily the most powerful hot-hatch on sale and a host of driver modes and all-wheel-drive mean it’s one of the most capable in the bends, too.
The CLA45 sits on the same platform as the A45, so unsurprisingly can still deliver the same sensational levels of acceleration and performance. The CLA, however, offers a bit more in the way of practicality, with the CLA45 Shooting Brake going even further when it comes to spaciousness thanks to an estate-like rear end.
Performance remains sensational, but if you’re after a hot hatch with more spaciousness, then the CLA45 could be the way to go.
Despite the current deluge of SUVs hitting the market, Mercedes seems to think that one more simply couldn’t hurt. It’s why the GLB will be arriving on our roads soon, slotting in between the GLA and the larger GLC in the range.
It still offers the option of seven seats, however, and all of the high levels of tech that we’ve come to expect from Mercedes vehicles.
It’s another Mercedes SUV we’ll admit, but the latest GLC is an update on one of the firm’s most popular models. It now gets a stronger, more efficient range of engines as well as Merc’s latest MBUX infotainment system.
Exterior tweaks mean it falls closer into line with the rest of the company’s line-up, with styling cues taken from larger models like the GLS.
MG ZS EV
MG isn’t ignoring the electric revolution either, which is why it has introduced this — the ZS EV. It uses a 44.5kWh electric motor and has a claimed range of up to 163 miles. Because of its SUV layout, it’s also a practical size with decent interior space and a large boot too.
Could it be the car to revive MG’s fortunes? If initial reports are anything to go by, it certainly looks that way.
The Mini Clubman, with its split boot design, may seem like a bit of an oddity in the small estate car market – but it’s an oddity which has proved popular indeed. Now updated for 2019, it’s got sharper looks and a more refined interior.
Plus, there’s a John Cooper Works version — packing the most powerful engine ever fitted to a Mini.
Mini JCW GP
In recent times, Mini has signalled the end of a generation by introducing a no-holds-barred JCW GP variant of its hatchback — and another is on the horizon.
Full details on the car are still kept under wraps, but this hatch will be the most powerful Mini yet when it arrives early next year, while also featuring several mechanical enhancements to make a proper track monster.
Though due for a full replacement in the next few years, Mitsubishi has given its ASX crossover a facelift for the 2020 model year to keep a presence in the booming market.
It sports a new face to bring it in line with the rest of the firm’s offerings, while a new 2.0-litre petrol engine replaces an outgoing 1.6-litre unit. All-wheel-drive returns to the ASX here, too.
Nissan GT-R Nismo
It’s crazy to think the R35 Nissan GT-R is still on the market considering it was first introduced in 2007, but Nissan has just introduced an upgraded version of its most hardcore variant.
The new GT-R Nismo benefits from revised aerodynamics, race car-sourced turbochargers and mechanical tweaks to make it the fastest and most capable R35 to come from the factory to date.
Nissan Leaf e+
Nissan’s new Leaf has picked up the mantle of Europe’s best-selling EV from its successful predecessor, but the Japanese firm is refusing to rest on its laurels.
The Leaf e+ takes claimed range up to an impressive 239 miles — up from the base car’s 168-mile offering. It also boasts Nissan’s ProPilot suite of semi-autonomous tech as standard.
Peugeot 208 and e-208
Peugeot has started from scratch with its new 208 supermini, bringing a dramatic and head-turning look to a new platform.
Though available with traditional combustion engines, it’s the all-electric e-208 that’s most intriguing — sporting a 50kWh battery to return a claimed 211 miles between charges.
Porsche 911 Cabriolet
Earlier this year, Porsche introduced the new ‘992’ 911 Coupe to UK roads — and it’s set to be followed by a drop-top version later in the year.
It’s mechanically-identical to the 911 Carrera S hardtop, meaning its twin-turbo six-cylinder engine spits out an impressive 444bhp.
Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 and Boxster Spyder
When Porsche introduced its new 718 in 2016, many enthusiasts scowled at the replacement of its silky six-cylinder engine in favour of a turbocharged four-cylinder unit.
Clearly the firm has been listening though, with it bringing the flat-six back for the special-edition Cayman GT4 and Boxster Spyder. Both cars feature a number of chassis enhancements for ultimate track performance, too.
Renault’s stylish new Clio doesn’t dramatically revolutionise the look of the hatchback — after all, why fix what isn’t broken?
It does, however, bring a more luxurious cabin to the car, bags of technology and a racy new R.S. Line trim level. There’s the promise of hybridisation to come in 2020, too.
Renault Megane R.S. Trophy-R
This is the latest proper hardcore hot hatch from Renault — and it can cost as much as £72,000.
Yep, a Renault Megane for over £70,000. This is no normal version of the hatch though, featuring a whole host of performance upgrades that make it the current king of hot hatches at the famous Nurburgring race track. Just 32 examples are destined for the UK.
It may not look all that new, but the Renault Zoe is incredibly advanced in its new second-generation.
Under the skin, a 52kWh battery translates into 242 miles of range between charges while a 100kWh motor is said to improve performance dramatically. We think it looks pretty neat, too.
Seat Mii Electric
Seat has moved its Mii to electric-only, with the plug-in powertrain coming into to replace its internal combustion engine counterparts.
Set to go on sale later this year, it’s capable of 161 miles between charges and will boast a comprehensive list of standard equipment — including LED daytime running lights and cruise control.
Skoda Citigo e-iV
Much like the Seat Mii Electric it shares underpinnings with, the Skoda Citigo e-iV is going electric too.
It’s capable of 164 miles on a single charge thanks to its 36.8kWh battery pack and is capable of 0-60mph in 12.3 seconds thanks to its 81bhp and 210Nm of torque powertrain.
Skoda has given its Superb a refresh for the 2020 model year, bringing a new look to the car along with more technology.
Available from £24,655, it features full LED headlights for the first time plus ‘SKODA’ lettering in place of the emblem at the rear of the car for a classier look.
Tesla Model 3
A UK arrival of the Tesla Model 3 has long been overdue, but it seems it will be at last arriving in time for the ‘69’ plate.
Boasting cutting-edge tech, a range of up to 348 miles between charges and looks that are sure to turn heads no matter what road you’re on.
It’s out with the Avensis and in with the Camry for Toyota, as it brings back a nameplate last seen on the UK market in 2004.
Long one of the best selling cars globally, the Japanese firm is being reasonable with its expectations for UK sales of this hybrid saloon — but those looking for an efficient and comfortable A-to-B vehicle may find it a compelling option.
It’s been a long time coming, but the Toyota Supra is here and just in time to be released on the ‘69’ plate.
First customer deliveries of the reborn icon are due to arrive in September, though the UK waiting list now extends well into 2020. Though its roots lie in BMW, the Supra has been well-received by the UK motoring media and should be a hit with buyers.
You would be hard-pressed to notice this is a new Vauxhall Astra, but the popular hatchback has benefitted from a refresh for a new model year.
Styling tweaks are minor, but there’s a fresh line-up of engines borrowed from the French owners PSA Group plus a greater list of equipment on offer.
Vauxhall Corsa and Corsa-e
One of the most popular cars in the UK is back for a new generation, and it’s sure to continue the success of its predecessors.
The new Corsa benefits from fresh technology, a modern design and even an all-electric powertrain in Corsa-e form — making it the firm’s first EV.
Vauxhall Grandland X Hybrid4
Aiding in Vauxhall’s electric charge is this — the Grandland X Hybrid4.
An output of 296bhp makes it the most powerful car currently produced by Vauxhall, while a claimed 176.5mpg and 36g/km of CO2 output makes it the most efficient car featuring a combustion engine in its line-up.
Volkswagen California 6.1
One of the most iconic vehicles on the road — the Volkswagen has been given a bit of a refresh for the 2020 model year.
A new digital control display has been added for greater control of the camper’s many features, while its holidaying equipment has been improved in a number of areas.
Another facelifted model from Volkswagen is the latest Passat, which has been treated to a tweaked look and a list of new goodies.
Perhaps a highlight feature is its new Travel Assist feature — bringing semi-autonomous functions to the car that’s available in both saloon and estate form.
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