Weekly round-up: Audi Q8 SUV, Kia wows with Stinger GT saloon and we go silly over superminis
Winter Madness! The Big Freeze! Travel Chaos! Unless you’ve managed to avoid the news for the last few days, that’s what most of us were expecting. As it turned out however, this proved to be slightly misleading. Thundersnow? Outside ContractHireAndLeasing HQ it appears to be a mild case of rainslush…
Meanwhile, a storm of a different kind hit the other side of the Atlantic this week. No, not the Donald’s dodgy dossier, but the Detroit Motor Show. The Motor City can’t claim to be the US’ biggest motoring event anymore, but there’s still a raft of new models launched there every year. Here’s the five we think will be most significant.
If we had to choose one to drive though, first port of call would definitely be the Audi Q8 concept car. While it isn’t a finalised design, it gives us a good idea of what we can expect the production car to look like when it’s launched in 2018, and we think it’s stunning. Based on the Q7’s platform, it’s nothing if not large, but that allows for oodles of interior space and a whopping 600+ litre boot.
Another of our favourite hits from Detroit is Kia’s upmarket sports saloon – the Stinger GT. With rear-wheel-drive, a 365bhp V6 and an aggressive stance, it’s not like any Kia we’ve seen before.
It’ll be launched in the UK later this year and, while we don’t know how much it will be to lease, with a list price of £43,000, it’s certainly not priced like other Kias either. We’ll have to see if it’s a match for the German class leaders…
Talking of which, with lease prices making luxury cars more attainable than ever, we’ve listed 5 of our favourite executive compact saloons and yes, at least three of them are German! Thanks in part to their Bavarian badges, strong residual values will allow you to get behind the wheel of these cars for less than £250!
Like Kia, another manufacturer planning to bite into the executive market is Vauxhall. Its new Insignia range will join the line-up later this year and, while it misses out on the Stinger’s potent V6, it will be available with an all-wheel-drive system and clever torque vectoring control.
With Detroit kicking off the car even calendar of 2017, we’ve had a look at what we can expect to see over the next few months, too – The Brussels and Geneva Shows are just around the corner, and there’s a host of cars we’re looking forward to driving.
Our raving road test reporter Phil Huff has been lucky enough to drive two new models already, and they’re sure to be two of the most significant superminis launched this year.
The most impressive transformation comes from Nissan’s Micra, which really is a COMPLETELY different car to its forebear. Not only is it a new platform, but a number of all-new engines and sharp looks promise to put it on par (or potentially above) the upcoming Fiesta.
Where Nissan took the Micra from ugly duckling to beautiful swan, Citroen has done rather the opposite with its new C3, but that’s no bad thing. The stand-out styling ensures it gets the love-or-hate appeal of the C4 Cactus.
It’s also sitting on a new platform and gets class-leading comfort thanks to armchair-esque seats. Overall then, a far cry from its rather mundane predecessor. It’s currently benefiting from some seriously attractive pricing – check out C3 personal lease deals here.
Car prices on the rise?
On the subject of lease prices, we all know just how affordable personal contract hire can be as a form of car finance, but a recent report indicated that average personal lease prices had shot up by 8% since October. We weren’t so sure and, as it turns out, our vast amounts of data puts the figure closer to 1%.
We looked at the UK’s most popular cars, to see if lease prices rose as quickly as the report suggested.
So, there you have it – that’s another week of January ticked off the calendar. Just in case the thundersnow does make an appearance, we’ll leave you with our top five winter driving tips. Safe travels!