1. 2016 Holden Astra
A new Astra hatch (pictured top, below) and wagon will be Holden’s small-car stars when they arrive in the second half of the year, sourced from Europe. Reports suggest the new-from-the-wheels-up sixth-generation model will have a high-quality interior headlined by a brilliant infotainment interface, will be very quiet inside, and will offer a responsive 1.6-litre turbo four-cylinder among the engines.
Holden will also introduce a new generation of its Cruze small car, likely late in 2016, which will sell alongside the Astra – and very likely for less. Unlike the current, Australian built, Cruze it will come from Korea.
2. Toyota’s baby SUV
Toyota pioneered the Sports Utility Vehicle with its original RAV4, so a new, smaller SUV from the Japanese brand, designed to rival the Mazda CX-3 and Honda HR-V is big news. The as-yet-unnamed Toyota is likely to be powered by a small, non-turbo petrol four-cylinder with a CVT automatic gearbox and front-wheel drive, although an all-wheel-drive version is also a possibility.
3. 2016 Volkswagen Tiguan
The current Volkswagen Tiguan is a polished and popular pick, but its relatively small cargo area makes it a squeeze for many families. By addressing the model’s biggest shortcoming with a much larger, 521-litre, boot, the more efficient, roomier and nicer looking second-generation Tiguan due in 2016 could go on to even greater popularity.
4. 2016 Mazda CX-9
Mazda’s next-generation CX-9 promises to be both responsive to drive and more fuel efficient, thanks to a change from a 3.5-litre V6 engine to a turbocharged 2.5-litre four-cylinder. That will make it a much more appealing choice for families who wish to save money on fuel while having effortless acceleration.
We’ll see an updated and restyled Mitsubishi Lancer, Honda’s new tenth-generation Civic, and French brand Renault’s fourth-gen Megane in 2016. Updated versions of the Audi A3 and Mercedes A-Class are expected.
Mitsubishi’s ASX and Suzuki’s new iM-4 will join the increasingly popular small SUV class in 2016, and we’ll see Ford’s large SUV, the Explorer, which is set to replace the locally designed and built Territory ahead of the brand closing its Australian manufacturing in October.
A busy 2015 in the increasingly popular utility segment saw tray-back heroes such as the Mazda BT-50 and Ford Ranger updated, and a new Toyota HiLux (pictured above) and Nissan Navara arrive, in readiness for another stout sales year in 2016.