The Peugeot 3008 (above) has been on sale in Europe for some time, but gained renewed attention at Geneva after winning the the 2017 European Car of the Year award. The mid-sized SUV arrives in New Zealand at the end of this month, but in such limited numbers that each Peugeot dealer gets only one each until the first substantial shipment lands here in June/July. Peugeot is late to the SUV party in NZ and the 3008 will struggle to compete against best-sellers such as the Kia Sportage, Mazda CX-5, and Toyota RAV4.
The new Suzuki Swift (above) is expected to go on here in June. It is based on the platform of the Baleno and shares a similar interior layout, including a centre touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The car shares the same dimensions as the European model unveiled at Geneva, but exterior styling will be mildly different. Suzuki NZ is likely to have three engine choices available once the complete Swift range lands before the end of the year. Heading it will be the Swift Sport, powered by the 103kW 1.4-litre Boosterjet four-cylinder turbo petrol unit from the Vitara Turbo.
The new-generation Subaru XV (above) is another SUV with strong credentials and is expected to land here mid-year. It is based on the stiffer platform of the new Impreza hatchback, architecture which will further improve ride and handling. The new XV uses Impreza’s all-wheel-drive system with X-Mode that adjusts throttle response, torque allocation and braking on slippery surfaces. Safety features include Subaru’s excellent EyeSight, a camera-based driver-assist system with adaptive cruise control, autonomous braking.
The new all-wheel-drive Volvo XC60 (above) is due here in the last few months of 2017 and is already being billed as one of the safest cars ever made. It carries trademark styling cues from the bigger XC90 and is based on the company’s scalable architecture. The XC60 is 4688mm long, 2117mm wide and 1658mm high, a little longer and wider than the old car, but lower. Its 2865mm wheelbase is about 90mm longer, promising more rear legroom. Volvo has confirmed five drivetrains for the global market — two petrol, two diesel, and a T8 petrol-electric plug-in, each one mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox.
Heading hatchback performance offerings in NZ later in the year is the Honda Civic Type R (above), with its aggressive aerodynamic bodykit, large alloy wheels and huge rear wing. It will be powered by a 2.0-litre VTEC turbocharged four-cylinder engine delivering 235kW and 400Nm of torque to the front wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox. Type R gets driving modes Comfort, Sport and +R, each one tailoring the adaptive dampers, steering weight, shift feel and throttle response to suit speed and conditions. Honda says the Type R chassis is 38 per cent more rigid than the previous model, which wasn’t sold by Honda NZ.
Another flyer due late in 2017 is the Porsche 911 GT3 (above). The track-focused model gets a 4.0-litre flat-six engine delivering 368kW and 458Nm and mated to either a seven-speed PDK dual-clutch gearbox or a six-speed manual. Porsche says the PDK-equipped GT3 sprints from 0-100km/h in 3.4 seconds, while the manual gets there in 3.9 seconds. Top speed is 318km/h (196mph). The GT3 gets rear-wheel steering as standard, which, depending on speed, steers with or against the front wheels to improve agility. GT3 features a GT Sport steering wheel from the 918 Spyder hypercar.