With 2011 drawing to a close, the Which? Car team is looking to next year and the cars we can’t wait to get behind the wheels of. Will you agree with our choices or are there other cars you’re more excited about?
Not all of the cars we’ve listed are confirmed for 2012, but we’d expect to see them emerge sometime next year.
Claire Evans: VW Beetle
At last 2012 promises a VW Beetle that’s worth buying. The first car I ever bought was a VW Karmann Ghia (aka a squashed Beetle, according to the unconverted), so I was one of the many who wistfully reminisced when VW first promised to reinvent the Beetle back in 1999.
But that car was more TV reality wannabe than true star, and simply not worthy of the name. This time round it’s got a great chassis and sparky engines to compliment its curvy body – I just can’t wait to drive it.
Dave Evans: Toyota GT86
When it arrives in June 2012, the Toyota GT86 will make a refreshing change from my usual mundane car requirements – size, versatility and economy. As a family man, this is my reality.
But in that parallel world where I’m still young, free and loaded, I would seriously consider splashing out £28k on a GT86. With its sporty aspirations, I suppose it’s the long-awaited successor to the MR2. Powered by a 2.0 ltr four cylinder engine, driving the rear wheels (in true sports car fashion), it looks to me to have a layout similar to a Mazda RX8 – a 2+2 coupe.
I look forward to test driving this one, even if taking my daydream one step further would require my lottery numbers to come up… hmmm, keep dreaming Evans.
Lewis Skinner: Hyundai i30
If the performance of the 2012 Hyundai i30 lives up to its predecessor then the class-leading Ford Focus could have a real competitor on its hands. Hyundai has upped its game in the looks department for the new i30, both inside and out. A stylish, modern dash and a distinctive, sharp exterior will ensure it stands out from the many other hatchbacks in the market.
With plenty of engine options available I’m sure this car will prove to be very popular – and I’ll be right at the front of the queue to get my hands on one!
Mike Briggs: Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid
The Prius has been the undisputed poster boy of the environmentally-aware motoring generation for over a decade now. But don’t expect Toyota’s hybrid car to bow out gracefully anytime soon. Far from it, in 2012 we’ll be seeing a new ‘plug-in’ version hitting UK showrooms.
The ‘lease’ version delivered an impressive 83.1mpg in our combined fuel efficiency tests (the best we’ve ever recorded). The lighter and more compact battery of the ‘retail’ model due in the summer promises an even better tonic for spiralling pump prices. The bitter pill? A hefty £26k price tag – and that’s with the government’s electric car grant thrown in.
Richard Headland: Jaguar C-X16
The Jaguar C-X16 was the star of the Frankfurt Motor Show in September, and has just wowed crowds at the LA Auto show.
The C-X16 is a stunning evocation of what a 21st Century Jaguar should look like, but it’s not all about the looks. Jaguar makes some astonishing claims about the hybrid powertrain, too.
The 375bhp 3.0 V6 is allied to a 94bhp electric motor, helping the C-X16 sprint to 62mph in just 4.4 seconds. The driver can also call upon an F1-style ‘push to pass’ button to briefly boost power for overtaking. All this, and yet Jaguar reckons CO2 emissions will be a very respectable 164g/km.
Will it turn corners as well as heads? We’ll have to wait until late 2012 to find out – by which time, order books should be open for anyone with an estimated £55,000+ to spare…
Rob Hull: Alfa Romeo 4C
Personally, I’ve always been a bit of an Alfa fan, and despite its very poor reliability track record in the Which? Car Survey, I couldn’t resist drooling over the latest Alfa concept car at the Frankfurt Motor Show, the 4C.
What excites me most, however, isn’t the performance claims or the achingly stunning looks; it’s the fairly reasonable price tag. Alfa claims this car, looking this good, will cost under £40,000. It’s due to go on sale in 2012, and we’re expecting to see the production-ready model at the Geneva Motor Show in March. My only concern is that the price tag could swell by the time we see the showroom-ready car.
Tim Pitt: Porsche 911
People who complain that the latest Porsche 911 doesn’t look very different to the old model are missing the point. This new iteration is lighter and more powerful – 350bhp for the entry-level Carrera and 400bhp for the S – and it’s the first 911 to emit less than 200g/km of CO2.
I can’t wait to get behind the wheel next year. The handling has been honed by rally legend Walter Rohrl, so it should be sensational. Porsche’s styling team may have the easiest job in the car industry, but the Germans rarely disappoint when it comes to driving dynamics.
If money were no object, which of these cars would be in your driveway? Or perhaps there’s a different model that you’re eyeing up for next year?