Telegraph Cars: 2016 preview – Telegraph.co.uk
The Telegraph Cars team look ahead to the major new cars and
standout events of what promises to be a bumper year for British drivers
The rise of Jaguar and alternative-fuel vehicles
In 2016 we should finally get answers to two questions that have
hung in the air since Noah was in short trousers. Does Jaguar have what it
takes to become a major player? And are battery-electric or hydrogen
fuel-cell cars the future?
With the first, I fully expect the answer to be a resounding yes,
because Jaguar is introducing the one type of car that’s almost
guaranteed to fly out of showrooms – an SUV. Add in the fact that this
new F-Pace trounces all rivals, bar the Porsche
Macan, in the looks department, and it has the potential to double
the company’s sales, despite being saddled with a name that’s the
automotive equivalent of Tami-Lynn.
True, the F-Pace
could yet turn out to be so bad to drive that it scares buyers off.
But given Jaguar’s recent track record, crisp handling and a
well-controlled ride seem more likely. Either way, we’ll let you know
It will be a little longer before we can come to a conclusion about
just what’s going to replace the internal combustion engine in the
long run. But with the Toyota
Mirai and Honda
FCV set to join the Hyundai
ix35 Fuel Cell on sale in the UK in 2016, and Tesla expanding its
all-electric line-up to include the Model
X SUV and the more affordable Model 3, this is a very exciting
time for alternative fuel vehicles.
I’ve got to admit that until recently I was an electric car sceptic –
blame a cold December weekend with a Nissan Leaf where I
had to drive it in overcoat, scarf and gloves due to the catastrophic
effect running the heater had on the already small range. However, the
technology seems to be advancing rapidly now, and in the next 12
months many major manufacturers will reveal details of their own electric plans.
Steve Huntingford, Editor, Telegraph Cars
Classic car prices continue to soar
Wiser people than I keep saying the bubble will burst, but the classic car
market continues to go from strength to strength. We’ll be following
the first big auctions of the year during the fantastic Retromobile
show in Paris.
The large auction houses such as Bonhams and RM Sotheby’s will all
be holding sales between February 3 and 7 and there are already some
outstanding consignments – I’d eat my hat (if I had one) if prices
don’t continue to escalate.
Ferrari Daytona video review
I’m also looking forward to this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours, the 84th
running of the world’s greatest race. One would do well to study how
the Automobile Club de l’Ouest continues to make it as relevant as it
is exciting. Witness the amazing performance with economy of the cars,
not to mention the incredible tyre life that’s attained while lap
There’s also a new LMP3 prototype class, aimed at making endurance
racing more affordable and therefore more enticing to smaller teams.
victory in the premier LMP1 class in 2015 won’t be taken lightly by
serial Le Mans winner (and fellow VW Group brand) Audi, while former
world champion Toyota will be
aiming to come up with something special after the disappointment of
last year’s race.
There’s also the intense battle in the production-based GT classes,
with the return of works Ford cars to take on
established manufacturers such as Aston
Martin, Corvette, Ferrari and
Porsche. My greatest hope for 2016, however, is that our insurer will
be able to provide affordable cover for me to be able to drive some of
the greatest classic road cars ever made so that I can continue to
bring you the stories
and video on them.
Paul Hudson, Deputy Editor, Telegraph Cars
Does more power really mean more fun?
said on this, perhaps, but clearly when we finally learn what went on
and how and why, there will be lessons to learn.
My 1939 Peugeot motorcycle is now running, with a magneto spark you
could weld with, and I’m planning to ride it to its native St Malo in
France next May. Also my Triumph TR rally car is almost finished, so a
navigation rally of some sort beckons this year.
Cars I’m looking forward to include the Ford Focus
RS, with lots of power and four-wheel drive – it will be
interesting to see if it’s as good as its specification suggests. In a
similar vein is BMW’s M2, which debuts in two weeks. Since its less
powerful sister, the M235i, is one of the most perfect expressions of
power and balance, will more be more, or less?
Clearly a new Mercedes
E-class is worth looking forward to. After all, this business
express is the company’s best car, makes it the most money and uses
the most research and development budget. A big step forward has been
made inside and we’ll see the whole car at the Detroit motor show in January.
Fuel cells are now being taken seriously by the Government, and I’m
expecting an announcement from Audi soon with a serious contender in
the market rather than the daft hybrid concepts it’s so far teased us
with. I’m hoping BMW will be producing something based on the i3, or
possibly the mooted i5 SUV, and we’re also waiting for Mercedes to
show its hand.
Andrew English, Motoring Correspondent, Telegraph Cars
A big year for Alfa Romeo, Honda and Jenson Button
My track record in predicting the future is poor. Last year I said
Jenson Button would win the Formula One World Championship driving for
McLaren-Honda, and that Honda itself would
have a mammoth year, topped off by the new NSX supercar.
As it turned out, Button suffered the ignominy of trundling around
at the back of the grid, but at least he did more miles than anybody
managed in an NSX, which has been delayed more times than my commuter train.
I also relished the opportunity to drive anything to emerge from the
Romeo from the middle of the year, which turned out to be nothing.
However, rather than consign my predictions to poor judgment, I am
merely going to carry them over. Because, actually, everything that I
claimed would happen in 2015 could well come true this year instead.
Honda, flushed with embarrassment at 2015’s performance, will come
up trumps over the winter, allowing Button to do the business. We will
finally drive an NSX for more than three minutes. And Alfa pulls its
finger out and does something.
I suppose I should make a few new predictions, too. So, a scandal-hit
Volkswagen will bounce back, with sales in the UK stronger than ever
by the middle of the year. And rumours of other companies employing
the same kind of defeat devices to cheat emissions tests will subside
(also, numerous polls will be released suggesting that people didn’t
really care anyway).
What else? Ford will be forced to remove the “drift” mode from its
new Focus RS as owners cause all kinds of havoc in empty car parks.
And despite claiming to care about the environment, buyers will
pretend not to notice developments in electric and fuel-cell cars, and
instead pour money into luxury SUVs from Bentley, Jaguar and Maserati.
Chris Knapman, Contributing Editor, Telegraph Cars
Electric overload and a very fast Ford
In my opinion, 2016 will be the year we start to see mainstream car
makers really jumping into electric technology with both feet. Porsche
has already announced its Mission
E will be produced as a rival to Tesla’s Model S. But expect more
pure-electric models from prestige manufacturers as they seek to
reclaim the initiative that was seized so unexpectedly by Tesla.
Further down the food chain, plug-in hybrids will dominate. I
wouldn’t be surprised if at least half the new cars we see launched in
2016 come with a plug-in hybrid variant, and as public opinion turns
increasingly against diesel after the Volkswagen emissions scandal, I
expect petrol hybrids to fill the gaps.
Volkswagen has already realised this, which is why it will be
talking a lot about electric and hybrid models – anything, in fact, to
prevent the words “Volkswagen” and “diesel” appearing together in the press.
But it won’t be the only company pushing its electric range. Volvo and Ford are
both making big noises about committing to electrification. Away from
the electric overload, we’ll also see some serious attention being
paid to having fun. The new Ford Focus RS will prove there’s still an
appetite for utterly bonkers performance cars.
The car I’m most looking forward to driving, though, is the new
718s. A flat-four Boxster
might sound a bit anaemic, but Porsche knows how to make an engine
that sounds exciting, so a raspy boxer unit could be the most
characterful example of downsizing yet.
Alex Robbins, Consumer Editor, Telegraph Cars
More kids means more love for SUVs
With a growing family and a series of “lifestyle choices” to be made
around four boys, SUVs have assumed a higher place on my agenda than
I’d have otherwise liked, it must be said.
With that in mind, I’m probably one of the few journalists looking
forward to the appearance of Maserati’s Levante SUV at March’s Geneva
motor show. At the other end of the scale, Skoda and Seat will be
showing off their SUV offerings; the more the merrier, say I.
Telegraph video review: Volvo XC90
Speaking of unspeakable luxury, I’m also rubbing my palms at the
thought of driving the Rolls-Royce Dawn, the
convertible that has helped push the average age of a Rolls customer
down to a staggering 40 years.
In 2015 I got back on a motorbike for the first time in six years,
and really enjoyed it. I’m not sure if I still have the stomach for
riding on public roads, but some track time would be great. And while
we’re on the subject of bikes, I can’t wait to see how Michelin fares
as the tyre supplier for MotoGP. I’m going to shamelessly use the 40th
anniversary of the Volkswagen
Golf GTI to get my hands on a couple of generations of this hot
hatch. If I were minus kids, this would be my car of choice.
Finally, the automotive event I am most looking forward to is my
youngest son moving into a booster seat. My back will be free of pain,
and that is something to truly rejoice.
Erin Baker, columnist, Telegraph Cars
Car insurance and fuel bills set to rise
With costs only following an upward trajectory for what felt like
decades, drivers have been spoilt over the past two years. The price
of fuel has fallen and efforts to get to grips with spiralling
insurance fraud have seen premiums tumble, too.
Sadly, 2016’s drivers could be another generation to look back and
say we’d never had it so good. It looks fairly certain that the amount
of fuel duty we pay will increase. Although the amount we pay the
government for the privilege of filling up has never gone away, and we
still pay the highest proportion per litre in Europe, it has been
frozen for the past five years. That will end in 2016. With the price
of oil low, a duty increase might not be viewed by many as much of a
problem. Sadly, when the cost of oil rises, as it will eventually, the
understandable and inevitable ire at the proportion the government
takes will come too late.
Insurance is also on an upward curve. The government’s measures to
get to grips with the fraudsters have largely failed to deter the most
persistent and organised criminals. Throw in an increase in Insurance
Premium Tax and the cost of cover will only go in one direction.
On a more cheerful note, this is the year the London Motor Show
attempts to make a comeback. Set in Battersea Park, south of the River
Thames, it claims it’s going to be fully interactive, offering
“entertainment for the whole family”. I hope that’s the case. But
having read the address from its patron HRH Prince Michael of Kent, I
do fear this will be another case of British car fans getting a rather
impoverished alternative to the big three of Geneva, Paris and
Frankfurt. But everything’s got to start somewhere…
James Foxall, columnist, Telegraph Cars
Motorcycle manufacturers go back to the future
There’s a varied bunch of bikes on the way in 2016, which should
lead to exciting riding both on and off-road.
I’m looking forward to muddying the tyres of dual-purpose machines
such as Ducati’s Multistrada 1200 Enduro, Honda’s CRF1000L Africa Twin
and Triumph’s revamped Tiger Explorer.
Despite their names, neither BMW’s 1,170cc Scrambler nor Ducati’s
399cc Scrambler Sixty2 is a serious off-roader. Both were created to
join the growing ranks of retro-styled, easily customisable bikes,
along with Triumph’s new family of Bonneville parallel twins and
Yamaha’s XSR900 triple. The classical looks shouldn’t prevent them
being fun to ride.
And having watched the recent explosion in interest in “alternative”
bike events including Wheels and Waves, in Biarritz, and the Glemseck
101 in Germany, I’m determined to make it to at least one of them in 2016.
The coming year won’t match 2015 for performance gains from
super-sports bikes, partly because of the need to comply with Euro 4
emissions legislation. But Kawasaki’s revamped Ninja ZX-10R should be
competitive. And Suzuki’s long-awaited GSX-R1000 promises to offer
another route to hi-tech, 200bhp-plus thrills.
Roland Brown, Motorcycle Correspondent, Telegraph Cars
The culmination of a dream
My four-year Project
Le Mans challenge will come to a head in 2016. All of the
training and preparation will pay off when I find myself sitting on
the grid for the most famous endurance race in the world. But before
that I’ll be competing in another high-profile event on the motorsport
calendar: the Dubai 24 Hour, which takes place on January 15.
A closely fought championship to ensure my racecraft stays
competitive will fit snugly in between, although my team is still to
confirm which one it will be. And I have plenty of filming days,
photoshoots and events to look forward to this year, as I take on more
ambassadorial roles to ensure that I have sufficient funds to hit that
final goal of competing at the Le Mans 24 Hours. Either that, or I’ll
make sure that I have the money that I need by eating baked beans on
toast for the whole year, and maybe several more to come.
Away from the track, the Telegraph
Cars YouTube channel is really starting to make waves in the
online review world, with some of our videos attracting almost 400,000
hits. I’m looking forward to testing more of the latest new cars as
they come to market.
Festival of Speed is one of the biggest events in any
petrolhead’s year. I usually manage to drive up the hill in something
fast and flash, so I’m sure this will be another highlight. But 2016
won’t all be about having fun, because I’ll spend much of the year
taking part in intense physical training and spending time in the
simulator practising on the Le Mans circuit so that it will be etched
in my mind by the time I tackle the circuit for real this June.
Rebecca Jackson, video reviewer and columnist, Telegraph Cars
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