The French brand’s latest-generation city car is unlikely to set the sales charts ablaze but it will certainly be one of the more interesting propositions. Styling – particularly the ‘Airbump’ side protection panels – is inspired by Citroen’s quirky Cactus hatch. A leaf is also taken out of the Mini book on customisation, with 36 different roof/body colour combinations possible. The Facebook generation will also appreciate an HD camera that can record journey photos and video for social media posts.
South Korea releases another important new-generation small car this year – the fourth version of the Kia Rio due in quarter one. The Euro-centric styling will be a five-door-only affair, with the previous three-door variant dropped. A more upmarket interior is claimed to feature class-leading cabin space, and the boot is a good size for the segment – 325 litres. The range of petrol and diesel engines grows with a new 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbo engine entering the fray, offered with either 73kW or 88kW of power. A sportier GT model is also in the pipeline.
Suzuki’s most popular car will emerge in fourth-generation form this year. Curves look set to be replaced by angles for the design, judging by spy images – though the Swift’s characteristic wraparound glass/floating roof effect will be retained. Components are shared with Suzuki’s other light car, the Suzuki Baleno, including platform and a 1.0-litre turbocharged three-cylinder. The faster Sport variant is tipped to gain the Vitara SUV’s 1.4-litre turbocharged four-cylinder. We’re also hoping rumours of a return of a Swift GTi hot-hatch are true.
The German hatchback is already considered the classiest in its field, yet a major 2017 update further raises its levels of sophistication – especially inside the cabin. Bigger and more advanced infotainment display systems will include the availability of a digital instrument cluster and a segment-first ‘swipe’ action gesture control. Driver aid options will include Traffic Jam Assist, giving the Golf autonomous driving capability in low-speed commuting. A couple of new 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engines join the line-up, while the famous GTI hot hatch will gain more power.
2017 Top 5 Small Cars ($ AUD)