Wednesday, 16 April, 2014

 
Published December 28, 2013
What's new in Cat A
The new COE Category A should be a very different place in February. For one, BMW will no longer be represented in this segment for cars under 1,600cc because none of its models will have an engine output of below 97 kW or 130 hp. But two other German luxury brands will, along with a whole host of mass market models. Samuel Ee looks at some of next year's new cars
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Audi A3 Cabriolet

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Audi A3 Cabriolet

THE second-generation A3 Cabriolet is an all-new car. Adopting the styling of the slinky A5 Cabriolet, it is vastly improved compared with its predecessor and offers improved rear legroom with a longer wheelbase.

This soft-top A3 also gets a 1.4TFSI engine under the hood.

Due: H2

Mercedes-Benz CLA180

THE popular CLA200 may no longer qualify to be in Cat A from February but have no fear, the Mercedes-Benz CLA180 is likely to be here.

The CLA180 also has a 1.6-litre turbocharged engine but instead of the CLA200's 156 hp, it has been detuned to produce a kosher 122 hp.

Due: H1

Nissan X-Trail

IT has sleeker and smoother styling than its two predecessors, but the third-generation X-Trail will stand out for a more important reason - its new 1.6-litre turbodiesel engine allows it to slot into Cat A for the first time. Another first is that this new Nissan crossover is also available as a seven-seater.

Due: Q4

Mazda3

THE new Mazda3 1.5 will be available as a five-door hatchback or four-door sedan.

The latter's styling is especially appealing as it looks like a smaller version of the slinky Mazda6. Like all recent Mazdas, it has SkyActiv technology which combines efficient engines with a smooth transmission in a lightweight but strong body.

Due: Q1

Audi A3 Sedan

THE A3 is Audi's first compact sedan and it slots neatly into Cat A with its 1.4 TFSI engine.

Like the A3 hatchback, this turbocharged unit produces 122bhp and drives the front wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox. More interestingly, it has the longest wheelbase for an A3 variant and hence, the roomiest rear bench.

Due: Q1

Honda City

THE fourth-generation of the City is all-new.

Its overall length of 4,440 mm is unchanged but its wheelbase of 2,600 mm is 50 mm longer than the car it replaces.

The existing 1.5-litre engine is retained but it is now mated to a new continuously variable transmission instead of the previous five-speed automatic.

Due: Q2

 

Peugeot 308

THIS handsome hatch is based on a new platform that makes it shorter and lower but wider. The 308 is lighter and more efficient, with a new low-emission 1.2-litre turbo engine that produces exactly 130 hp.

Its i-Cockpit interior is similar to the 208 supermini, with a small steering wheel and a touchscreen to reduce the number of buttons.

Due: Q4

Toyota Corolla Altis

THE 11th generation of the Toyota Corolla Altis has gone upmarket. Bigger with a longer wheelbase and more refined with a higher level of standard equipment, it is also slightly more expensive.

Its 1.6-litre engine is carried over but is now mated to a seven-step continuously variable transmission instead of the old four-speed auto.

Due: Q1

Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet

THE latest version of the topless Bug is sportier and less feminine than the old convertible.

The four-seater Beetle Cabriolet's fabric roof takes just 10 seconds to open or close electrically. Under the hood, it should have a 1.2 TSI engine producing 105 hp and mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox.

Due: H2

samuelee@sph.com.sg