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5 New Cars For May

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5 New Cars For May

The ultimate in sports fuel efficiency, a fun urban car turned work-horse and a facelift for an old favourite are just some of the innovations we can expect this year as well as some ground-breaking additions and upgrades for existing marques.

1.Trident Iceni

A fledgling British manufacturer, based in Norfolk, has presented what it claims is the most fuel efficient sports car in the world. The Trident Iceni comes in three body styles and runs on a diesel V8, said to be capable of 108mpg.

Trident is taking orders now for the car, priced from £96,000. The Iceni Manga variant is a fastback, the Iceni Venturer an estate and there's an Iceni Convertible soft top. The sinuous metalwork hides a 6.6 litre V8 diesel turbo engine producing 395bhp, with performance figures including 0-60mph in 3.7 seconds and a 190mph top speed.

That bold fuel consumption claim is based upon a constant running speed of 30mph, at which an 84 litre tank of fuel will give coverage of about 2,000 miles. This is achievable thanks to the long gearing ratio that maximises the large amount of torque available. In top gear, at 70mph, the V8 doesn't even pass 1,000rpm. Trident claims the Iceni's performance is the result of patented torque multiplication technology rather than horsepower, which helps it cut fuel use by 20%.

However, it's the fuel source that really stands out, with the Iceni said to be able to run on biodiesel - or cooking oil.

Air conditioning, leather trim, electric windows and a Bluetooth DAB radio will be standard equipment, but this can be boosted by four upgrade packages. The Track Pack, costing an astronomical £30,875, increases power to a whopping 660bhp. It also throws in a bit of extra torque, and includes uprated brakes, differential and Eibach racing style suspension, to keep it all under control.

The £11,500 Performance Pack is a diluted version of the above, taking power up to 430bhp and adding a carbon fibre splitter to the rear end. Creature comforts can be catered to by the Lux Pack for £7,000, for which you get integrated satellite navigation, diamond cut alloy wheels, two tone Alcantara and leather seating and a four piece luggage set. Add the Premium Pack for a further £2,700, for a fog resistant windscreen coating, interior trim in carbon and electrically controlled seats. You can also specify carbon ceramic brakes for another £15,500.

Among the car's unique features is a convertible roof that can be used to keep the driver covered while the passenger enjoys the open air or vice versa. Its manufacturers are touting its race car handling, saloon car ride and bespoke shocks that help to create the feel of a grand tourer. With its attractively retro styling, the Iceni is certainly worth further investigation.

2.Mini Cooper Paceman Adventure Concept

BMW design students have created a pickup with a difference. Based upon a Mini Cooper S Paceman, the funky Paceman Adventure is a project, with no production prospects at this stage, designed to turn the usually very urban Mini into a supremely capable off roading transport vehicle.

To make the four wheel drive concept, its apprentice engineering team removed the back of a standard Paceman, including rear seats, and replaced it with a pick up tray. The idea was to make the car capable of transporting cargo over inhospitable terrain. To up its mud plugging credentials, the Paceman Adventure has been fitted with a snorkel air filter to allow it to breathe while traversing bodies of water. The chassis has been engineered for extra ground clearance, while a set of roof mounted spotlights boosts night time visibility. The off roading tyres, with specially wide and deep tread, boost traction.

Mini revealed the concept this week, but in fact, the company has produced a pickup on a commercial basis in the past. From 1961-1982 some 50,000 Mini pickups were built, producing just 37bhp from a diminutive 850cc engine. With a top speed of only 69mph, the original Mini pick up took a ponderous 34 seconds from 0-60mph.

By contrast, the Paceman Adventure is powered by a turbocharged four cylinder 1.6 litre engine, with 184bhp. 0-62mph is achieved in less than eight seconds, while the top speed is nearly double, at more than 130mph. ALL4 all wheel drive helps out the off roading experience. The one off project is finished in a suitably rugged Jungle Green metallic colour way.

However, Mini's owner, BMW, has no intention of putting this fun, two seater concept into production. Nonetheless, there will be a face lifted Paceman available this year. Cosmetically, little has changed, with the focus instead upon improved fuel economy and lower CO2 emissions. The Paceman petrol and diesel engine range now complies with new Euro VI emissions legislation but the Paceman S is also slightly more powerful. Previously 184bhp, it now produces 190bhp, while CO2 emissions have been reduced to 139g/km from 143g/km.

Apart from adjustments to the engines, this has been achieved through air flow increasing measures to the underside of the vehicle and low rolling resistance tyres. Air conditioning, DAB radio with Bluetooth and MP3 connectivity, plus rear parking sensors, are included in the standard kit.

3.New Peugeot 108

Peugeot's new 108, an update of the previous 107, will be released at the beginning of July. Prices start at £8,245, with improvements including a wider range of trim levels, more customisation possibilities and a cabriolet model.

The 108 forms part of a triumvirate with the Toyota Aygo and Citroen C1, developed together to defray their respective manufacturers' development costs. All three are imminent and all look pretty good, with the new roll back cabriolet roof variant in common between them. The 108's version of this will be identified by the designation TOP!

There are four trim levels available: Access, Active, Allure and Feline. Only the middle two specifications, Active and Allure, will apply to the TOP! Cabrio.

The entry level Access, from £8,245, is for three door variants and includes LED DRLs, remote control central locking, ESP stability control, six airbags and a USB input. Upgrade to the £9,495 Active for colour coded wing mirrors and door handles, air conditioning, Bluetooth connectivity, DAB radio with steering wheel controls, electric front windows and a seven inch touchscreen controlled infotainment system. To get the Active trim with the TOP! Cabrio you will need to pay an extra £850.

The next step up, Allure, costs £10,995 and comes with 15 inch Thorren alloys, automatic headlamps, front fog lamps, heated wing mirrors, a reverse parking camera, keyless entry, stop/start ignition, tinted rear windows plus leather trimmed steering wheel and gearstick knob. The range topping Feline trim level, available for the hatchback only, adds leather upholstery, chrome wing mirrors and door handles and automatic dual zone air conditioning.

Both hatchback and cabriolet body styles come with two engine choices: a three cylinder 1.0 litre unit for 68bhp and an all new Pure Tech 1.2 litre Vti with 82bhp. Both emit sub-100g/km levels of CO2. The front wheel drive city cars are fitted with a five speed manual gearbox as standard, but 1.0 litre models can be specified with a semi automatic transmission instead.

Apart from the individual trim levels as specified, Peugeot is pushing the modern trend for personalisation with the 108. There are eight main body colours in the range, with the option of three contrasting roof colours. An extra £350 will buy additional decorative elements named Barcode, Diamond, Dressy, Kilt, Sport and Tattoo. There's also the option of a two-tone Purple Berry and Zircon Grey paint job for another £850.

4.Land Rover Discovery Sport

After long anticipation, Land Rover's replacement for it most junior model, the Freelander, has been named as the Discovery Sport. A production ready model should be publicly revealed later in the year, probably at October's Paris Motor Show, prior to going on sale in 2015.

A clear idea of the car's appearance has already been indicated by the Land Rover Discovery Vision Concept at last month's New York Motor Show. The production version is likely to be diluted slightly in form but the end result should be both chunky and sleek. The Discovery Sport will fill a similar role in the Land Rover line up as the Evoque does for Range Rover.

Land Rover has been quite open that it plans to create at least a three model 'Discovery family'. With the Discovery and the Discovery Sport, that leaves room for a third entrant but the company is vague so far on what form that will take.

Another new Land Rover could also see parent company, JLR, moving production abroad. With ambitious expansion plans that have already seen its factories working to capacity, JLR is considering foreign investment, while insisting that its British heritage remains the cornerstone of the firm's philosophy.

The Discovery Sport will be available with five or seven seats and will ostensibly be new from the ground up. Underneath, however, it will be based upon the existing Freelander's chassis. Land Rover claims it has no fear that the new Discovery Sport and the seemingly similar Range Rover Evoque will dilute each other's brand image or customer base, thanks to an ever increasing international demand for SUVs. Currently, the sector is worth 14 million unit sales annually but, by 2020, this is expected to grow to 22 million. Land Rover also has a very clear vision of its corporate strategy to deal with the sales boom, dividing its product line up into three distinct 'pillars' - luxury, leisure and dual purpose.

The Discovery Sport will use the brand's thoroughly modern new engine range, featuring four cylinder petrol and diesel units, built at JLR's dedicated engine production centre in Wolverhampton. These have been carefully engineered for peerless levels of efficiency and refinement.

Land Rover's growth plans don't stop with the Discovery range - keep your eye out for as many as 16 new cars from them over the next decade, including new variations on the Evoque and up to five variants of the next Defender...

5.2015 Volvo XC90

While other SUV manufacturers have been actively expounding upon their new products, Volvo has been quietly getting on with development of its next generation XC90. The car is set to be released next year and the company has now released specification and price details.

A full reveal is due later in 2014, but in the meantime, we know that prices will start at about £40,000. Now owned by Chinese auto firm, Geely, Volvo has been benefiting from new resources and exploiting new design philosophies, evident in some interesting coupe concepts it has displayed at motor shows over the past year.

The same spirit of adventure will be seen on the XC90; with slim, modern headlights incorporating T-shaped LED DRLs and a new format grille. A plumb horizontal shoulder line has been softened by a subtle but effective vertical curve, to lend elegance to the flanks, while an S shaped tail light cluster will make the car distinctive at night.

Volvo will debut its new Scalable Platform Architecture with the XC90, later to be used on all the firm's larger models. The SUV will be powered by more new technology from the firm, in the form of a four cylinder petrol and diesel 2.0 litre Drive-e engine family, while there will also be a flagship hybrid model in the range. Exact figures for power and emissions have not yet been given. In a new departure, the XC90 will be available with front wheel drive, along with the more usual four wheel drive set up.

The standard transmission will be an eight speed automatic unit but Volvo's SPA is capable of supporting manual gearboxes for saloon and estate models. In typical Volvo style, safety features have been made a priority and a number of new technologies will be provided as standard - think automatic braking and sensors, cameras and radars for accident prevention.

The car's interior has been heavily modernised to include an Apple CarPlay compatible 9.3 inch colour screen in portrait shape, as used by Tesla. This will allow drivers to use smartphone style swipes and pinches to operate the satellite navigation system, climate control, audio system and various other settings. The same arrangement lightens the dashboard of buttons and switchgear, to give a minimalist look. This Sensus Connected Touch infotainment system is Android and Windows compatible and can run apps, such as Spotify, for music streaming, TuneIn for internet radio and full web browsing capacity.

What a great choice of new and different models if you are looking for a new car in 2014.

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