68 Plate | 2018 Top 5 Best New Cars

Published Date: 25th Jun 2018

68 Plate new cars are on their way in September with order books open now. So, if you are looking to pre-order your new vehicle here are our top 5 recommended cars:

68 Plate New Nissan Qashqai

Nissan Qashqai Exterior ImageBritain’s best-selling Crossover for many years and one the flag-bearers and first of its type, the Qashqai has been leading the pack in an ever increasingly popular Crossover segment with an all-round package that makes it a near perfect family car.  Not only is it the leading Crossover but it is also the third best-selling new car in the UK in 2018 to date.

If you’re looking for the high driving position and other benefits a Crossover delivers then the Qashqai should be on your short-list.

What’s the ride like? … The Qashqai handles bumpy urban roads well and delivers a comfortable experience whilst handling is a solid experience. One caveat is that if you plump for a model equipped with the larger 19-inch alloy you will find the larger wheels do  ‘firm-up’ the ride a little.

Which engine should I choose? It’s a case of horses for courses here, the 1.2 petrol is great if most of your driving is around town but it lacking at the top end. If you spend a lot of time on longer journeys/motorways or traveling with a full load, you might want to consider the 1.6 petrol.

The 1.5 diesel offers very low running costs and compared with the 1.2 petrol we prefer it. The 1.6 diesel offers more grunt and is a good option if you are regularly travelling with a full load of passengers.

There are some automatic gearbox options but we prefer the manual transmissions which deliver better performance.

Nissan Qashqai interior imageWhich model should I choose? The model range consists of the entry-level Visia which has all the basics covered like air con, DAB radio, Bluetooth, 5-inch TFT screen, electric windows etc. The Acenta is next in the line-up and adds dual zone climate control, 17-inch AERO alloy wheels, automatic headlights and windscreen wipers plus front fog lights.

Down the middle of the range and our pick is the Qashqai N-Connecta which comes with levels of tech and equipment that should keep just about everyone happy, including parking sensors, rear-view camera, 7-inch touchscreen with navigation, 18-inch two-tone alloy wheels and rear privacy glass.

The top of the range models are the Tekna and Tekna+ which feature 19-inch alloy wheels, part leather interior, electrical adjustable driver and front passenger seats and electric panoramic glass roof (Tekna+ model).

OUR PICK: The Qashqai N-Connecta with the 1.5 diesel engine for low running costs. If you are frequently travelling with a full load of passengers or on long motorway journeys consider the 1.6 diesel or petrol but stick with the manual transmission which delivers better performance.


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68 Plate Renault Clio

Clio GT Kine exterior imageSay goodbye to the dated looks of the old Renault Clio models and say hello to a stylish and eye-catching small car that will be extremely appealing to a wide audience. This new sleeker Clio with redesigned front grille, new alloy wheels and front rear LED signature lights really is a class leader when it comes to looks in our opinion.

What’s the ride like? It feels as though the Clio has entered a new era, much like the exterior styling, the ride is vastly improved its equally fun as it is comfortable on longer journeys.

Which engine should I choose? There’s a simplified engine line with 75 and 90 bhp petrol engines the TCe75 and TCe 90. The TCe75 is more than adequate for around town driving but can feel a little underpowered with a car full of passengers or at the top end on motorways. There’s no automatic transmission available with the petrol but the diesel does have the option although the manual delivers much better performance.

If most of your driving is around town and you don’t generally carry a full load of passengers then the petrol option is more than adequate, the 90 bhp will cost around £500 more over the 75 bhp but we think its worth it or the little bit of extra power/torque as running costs do not differ. If you travel long distances on motorways or frequently have a full load of passengers the extra power/torque provided by the diesel (with manual transmission) may be useful but it will set you back around another £1600 over the TCe90 petrol.

Renault Cliointerior imageWhich model should I choose? There are three basic trim-levels; the Play, Iconic and the GT-Line. The entry-level Play has good levels of standard equipment and includes black 16-inch alloy wheels, keyless entry, air con, cruise control, speed limiter, front electric windows, DAB radio and Renault’s R&Go app.

The Iconic model (our pick) will set you back around an extra £1200 and adds larger 17-inch black alloy wheels, a 7-inch infotainment system with sat nav, rear parking sensors and tinted rear windows.

The GT-Line adds its own unique ‘GT Line’ styling, rear electric windows, climate control, full LED headlights, rain sensing windscreen wipers and automatic windscreen wipers.

OUR PICK:  The Iconic model with TCe90 petrol engine is perfect for around town driving and offers good levels of equipment.


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68 Plate New Skoda Octavia

Skoda Octavia exterior side imageIf you’re looking for a more traditional hatchback that equally suited as a large family car or business vehicle then look no further than the Skoda Octavia. It boasts great 'classic'  looks, very good levels of equipment and there’s something in the line for everyone whether your looking to keep running costs ultra-low, want some luxury or sports performance there’s something in the line-up for you.

The Octavia is Skoda’s flagship and best-selling car, a lot if its success is down to its wide appeal and the ‘Skoda’ badge is no longer a thing of amusement or something to be embarrassed about, indeed the opposite applies. It’s a stylish hatchback that looks a lot like a traditional saloon (and there’s an estate version too) and you’ll see lot of Octavias on UK roads.

What’s the ride like? Its especially good on long journeys and motorway driving whilst around town driving comfort is adequate. There’s also the option of adaptive suspension on some models which makes around town driving a tad more comfortable.

The Octavia handles well and there are no niggles or twitches under normal driving conditions that should make you nervous. The vRS sporty model offers a harder ride and whilst its very punchy and offers nippy performance similar to hot hatches you shouldn’t expect the handling to be on a par, it’s a bigger vehicle and thus you won’t be flinging it round corners like you would a VW GTi for example.

Skoda Octavia interior imageWhich engine should I choose? You’d be forgiven for thinking the entry-level 1.0 (115PS) petrol engine would be seriously short on juice to pull a car of this size along, especially with a full load of passengers but the Skoda 1.0 petrol does a surprisingly good job, in fact at its best you can get from 0-62mph in a fraction under 10 seconds which we think is admirable.  If you are frequently travelling with a full load of passengers and possible luggage then you could consider the 1.4 or 1.5 petrol units which can propel you from 0-62mph in a nippy 8.1/8.2 seconds. All petrol units have both manual or DSG options. 

Diesel options are a 1.5 or 2.0 TDi, performance of the 1.6 is tad disappointing., both diesels have a DSG option.

The sport vRS model comes with either a 184PS 2.0 diesel or 230PS 2.0 TSi petrol engine, the latter is the quickest offering 0-62mph in a swift 6.7 seconds, again both manual and DSG options are available.

Which model should I choose? The entry-level S model has decent levels of equipment if you’re looking to keep costs to a minimum, couple it with the 1.0 petrol engine which performs remarkably well you may pick one up for under £15,000, which for a good size family hatchback is a snip. You’ll get electric front windows, 8-inch touchscreen, DAB radio, Bluetooth, air con with pollen filter and 16-inch alloy wheels plus plenty of safety features.

If you have a bigger budget go for the SE Technology with the 1.4 petrol unit, you should be able to pick one up for little over £20,000 and equipment will be plenty with 8-inch infotainment/touchscreen system with navigation, front and rear electric windows, front and rear parking sensors and adaptive cruise control included.

OUR PICK: The entry-level S model with 1.0 petrol engine has a bargain price-tag and offers low running costs and decent equipment levels, the 1.0 petrol engine is a pleasant surprise and performs admirably.


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68 Plate New Mazda3

Mazda3 exterior imageThe Mazda3 is Mazda’s mid-sized hatchback that boasts stylish new looks that Mazda call the ‘KUDO Soul Of Motion’ design, the sharp looks definitely set it apart from rivals.

Which engine is best? The range of engines is a departure from the plethora of small 1.0 litre units available in the segment. Instead of small turbo-charged petrol units Mazda offer a 2.0 litre petrol engine (the 120ps SKYACTIV-G Petrol) without a turbo and two diesels; 1.5 (105ps SKYACTIV-D Diesel) and 2.2 (150ps SKYACTIV-D Diesel) litre units.

There’s also the benefit of Mazda’s SKYACTIV technology which is a combination of efficient engine technology and lighter materials that improve overall fuel economy without sacrificing performance or safety. Mazda say that their engines are not over-worked in ‘real world’ conditions like some of the smaller engines in rival vehicles so therefore can be more economical and offer realistic economy figures.

The 1.5 diesel can feels a little sluggish with a full load but if the majority of your travel is a single driver around town then its more than adequate and you’ll get great fuel economy and low running costs.

We like both the 120ps SKYACTIV-G Petrol and the 150ps SKYACTIV-D Diesel preferably with manual transmission. The 150PS diesel models will set you back over £2000 buy should be a consideration if you are clocking up the miles, otherwise stick with the petrol. Both engines are pretty swift the diesel can take you from 0-62mpg in little over 8 seconds whilst the petrol manages it in just under 9 seconds.

Automatic transmission is available for the 120PS petrol and 150PS diesel engines (not an option with the entry-level SE Nav model), our advice is stick with manual transmission for better performance.

Mazda3 interior imageWhich model is best? There are three basic models; the SE Nav, SE-L Nav and Sport Nav, equipment levels are something Mazda are known for so even the entry-level SE Nav model offers plenty including; 16-inch alloy wheels, front and rear electric windows, air con, 7-inch colour touchscreen infotainment system. DAB radio, CD/MP3 player, sat nav, Bluetooth, electric parking brake and engine start/stop button.

The SE-L Nav model adds cruise control, dual zone climate control, LED front fog lights, privacy glass, rear parking sensors, automatic windscreen wipers, automatic headlights, smart city brake and heated front seats. We like the SE-L Nav model which delivers tech and equipment levels that should keep just about everybody happy.

The Sport Nav further adds larger 18-inch alloy wheels, keyless entry, front and rear parking sensors, LED daytime running lights, rear view camera, premium Bose audio system, colour head-up display and traffic sign recognition.

OUR PICK: The SE-L Nav model is packed with equipment and tech as standard, if you are clocking up the miles pay the extra for the 150ps SKYACTIV-D Diesel, for around town driving and lower mileage plump for the 120ps SKYACTIV-G Petrol, manual transmissions offers better performance.


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68 Plate New Citroen C4 SpaceTourer

Citroen C4 Space Tourer exterior imageThe Citroen C4 Spacetourer and C4 Grand Spacetourer replace/are the new names for the C4 Picasso and C4 Grand Picasso, Citroen’s extremely popular MPV/People Carrier in 5 and 7 seat guises. So how do the new models and re-branded models stack up?

The newly named Spacetourer inherits all that’s good about the C4 Picasso and Grand Picasso which is a combination of stylish looks and practicality. The seats for example fold in a number of clever ways and arrangements and there are plenty of clever storage options.

What engine should I choose? There are two petrol engines available with the first trim-levels the, Puretech 110 and 130bhp units. The 110bhp petrol can feel a little underpowered especially with a full load pf passenger. Diesels include a BlueHDi 100, 120 and 130bhp units. The 100bhp again feels a little underpowered.

We like the BlueHDi 130 diesel or the Puretech 130 petrol. Automatic transmission is offered as an option with some engines and there’s a more powerful BlueHDi 160 with automatic transmission but the manual transmission makes much more sense.

C4 Space Tourer interior imageWhich model should I choose? The model line-up is a fairly simple affair with three trim-levels; the entry-level Touch Edition, followed by the Feel model and the top of the range and aptly name Flair model.

The entry-level Touch model is very well-equipped and includes front and rear electric windows, rear parking sensor, 7-inch infotainment touchscreen system with DAB radio, Bluetooth, USB and AUX sockets and Smartphone Mirroring. There’s also 16-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, automatic rain detecting windscreen wipers and plenty of clever storage options.

The Feel model (our pick) adds Citroens emergency assistance system, front parking sensors and automatic dual zone climate control, a 12-inch panoramic central display, navigation system and 17-inch alloy wheels.

The top trim-level the Flair model adds keyless entry, electric rear tailgate, park assist, blind spot monitoring and the safety pack as standard (optional on the Feel model). You also get some additional storage options with the Flair model

OUR PICK: The Feel model offers excellent levels of equipment and tech, if you are clocking up the miles look at the BlueHDi 130 diesel, for around town and for those clocking up lower mileage, the Puretech 130 petrol may make more sense.



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