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Best new cars for 2020 - P to W

From electric SUVs to exotic supercars, we look at the best cars due to arrive in 2020

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P R S T V

Polestar 2

  • Price: From £49,900
  • On sale: June

It’s very easy to dominate when you’re in a field of one, as the Tesla Model 3 proves. Yes, it’s a great car, but this prestige electric executive has had virtually zero in the way of credible competition. Until now, that is. Volvo’s sister electric performance brand really means business with the Polestar 2, which boasts figures impressive enough to silence the crowing from Silicon Valley: 402bhp; 0-62mph in 4.7 seconds, and a 292-mile range. 

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Even better, this car feels like the real deal. We’ve tried a prototype version, and we found it plush to sit in, with solid materials and plenty of tech, while also being sophisticated yet engaging to drive.

Porsche 911 Turbo S

  • Price: From £155,970
  • On sale: Now 

The word ‘Turbo’ has come to mean much more to Porsche than simply a means of forced induction. These days, the Turbo badge means that the car it’s on represents the pinnacle of exclusivity and speed. That’s why even the Taycan electric car uses the moniker.

The new 911 Turbo S, meanwhile, is designed to take that formula and turn it right up to 11. To that end, this car features a new twin-turbocharged 3.8-litre flat-six powerplant that delivers 641bhp to all four wheels via a recalibrated eight-speed dual-clutch transmission. That means it completes the benchmark 0-62mph sprint in only 2.7 seconds, and carries on to a top speed of 205mph. A lower-priced (non-S) Turbo model will also be introduced, which is slightly less powerful than the full-fat version.

Porsche Panamera

  • Price: From £69,000 (est)
  • On sale: Autumn 2020
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The Porsche Panamera saloon will get a minor mid-life spruce-up later this year, and the key details are visible in the latest spy shots. Keen-eyed readers will notice a subtly reshaped front bumper, revised LED daytime running lights, a restyled rear light bar and a new design of tail diffuser. All of the metal panels remain unchanged, though. 

So far, there have been no details on the car’s technical revisions, but given the brand’s recent focus on electrification, we’d expect the hybrids to get more sophisticated systems, with larger-capacity battery packs. The twin-turbocharged V6 and V8 petrol engines in the current car are likely to be retained, but with improved efficiency and performance.

Porsche Taycan

  • Price: From £83,367
  • On sale: Now 

The Taycan is perhaps one of the most important cars Porsche has ever developed. It’s the German firm’s first electric vehicle and is tasked with taking on Tesla

Like every Porsche, the Taycan comes in various flavours. The entry-level 4S sprints from 0-62mph in 4.0 seconds, while the monstrous Turbo hacks that time back to just 2.8 seconds. Importantly, this car (we’ve tried both versions mentioned) also handles like a Porsche should, and with a comfortable ride, a range of up to 287 miles, decent interior space and a roomy, plush cabin, the Taycan is an excellent sports saloon in other areas, too. The Taycan is a true game-changer – and a benchmark for luxury sports EVs.

Renault Zoe

  • Price: From £25,670
  • On sale: Now
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As more electric cars hit the market the ones that already exist need to get better in order to stay desirable. Happily, that’s what’s happened with the Renault Zoe.

Importantly for those wanting to take the plunge into electric motoring, one of the biggest improvements comes in the form of the Zoe’s range, because it can now offer up to 245 miles on a full charge, depending on the version. What’s more, the Zoe is classier inside, more practical, better to drive and packed with more technology than ever.

Rolls-Royce Ghost

  • Price: From £240,000 (est)
  • On sale: Late 2020

The second-generation Rolls-Royce Ghost will be a very different car from the one it replaces, but it might not look that way. Our spy shots indicate only minor revisions to the styling, with a smaller grille and new front and rear lights the most distinguishing factors.

Underneath, however, the marque’s ‘small’ limousine will be based on the same scaleable aluminium space-frame chassis as the larger Phantom, rather than the current Ghost’s platform, which is derived from the BMW 7 Series’ underpinnings.

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You can also expect all of Rolls’ most recent infotainment technology, as seen on the Phantom and the Cullinan SUV, along with the latest iteration of the manufacturer’s 6.6-litre V12 engine.

Seat Leon

  • Price: From £18,500 (est)
  • On sale: Spring 2020
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Taking on cars like the Volkswagen Golf and Ford Focus is no mean feat, but the Leon has managed to do it remarkably well over the past few years. However, new versions of both rivals have hit the market in the last year or so, and SEAT’s hatchback is about to follow suit.

The new model is based on the same MQB platform as before, but the wheelbase has been increased in an effort to improve interior space. The car’s styling is evolutionary rather than revolutionary, but that’s no surprise given the success of its predecessor. The Leon will also have a refreshed powertrain line-up with mild hybrids and plug-in hybrids available. 

Skoda Octavia

  • Price: From £20,000 (est)
  • On sale: April 2020
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The Octavia is the car that has arguably come to define Skoda, so it’ll be good news for many that the new model will be easily recognisable as an Octavia.

Its styling has been evolved and modernised rather than changed completely, and like before, both hatchback and estate variants will be available, along with the off-road-inspired ‘Scout’ version.

It’ll use the same MQB platform as before, too, but with updates that allow the latest driver-assistance and engine tech. As a result, mild-hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions will be available alongside the regular petrol and diesel options.

Skoda Octavia vRS iV

  • Price: From £30,000 (est)
  • On sale: Summer 2020
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Traditionally, one of the most appealing aspects of Skoda’s hot Octavia is the sheer amount of choice it gives; you can have it as a hatchback or an estate, a petrol or a diesel, and so on. The latest vRS will add even more choice into the mix, because it’ll also be on offer as a plug-in hybrid for the first time.

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Known as the vRS iV, this version will combine a 1.4-litre petrol engine with an electric motor to deliver an output of 242bhp. This will allow 0-62mph in 7.3 seconds and a top speed of 139mph. The car will also be able to cover up to 37 miles on battery power alone. The standard petrol and diesel versions of the vRS will follow later in the year. 

Toyota GR Yaris

  • Price: From £29,995
  • On sale: November 2020

The Toyota Yaris is a car known for being sensible rather than exciting, but that’s about to change with the sporty new GR. This supermini-sized pocket rocket is a direct result of Toyota’s participation in the World Rally Championship, and as such, it features a whole bunch of motorsport-derived technology.

That includes its unique three-door body, a bespoke suspension set-up, a clever four-wheel-drive system and a 1.6-litre three-cylinder turbo petrol engine giving a whopping 257bhp. Toyota claims 0-62mph in less than 5.5 seconds and an electronically limited top speed of 143mph. That alone makes it hotter than any other hot hatch of its type, but it remains to be seen whether it’s the most engaging.

Toyota RAV4 PHEV

  • Price: From £40,000 (est)
  • On sale: Autumn 2020 (est) 
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Toyota was one of the original pioneers of petrol-electric hybrid technology, and has championed its use ever since. Therefore, this new plug-in hybrid version of the RAV4 SUV is no great shock.

What might be slightly more surprising, though, is the potency of the car’s powertrain. The RAV4 PHEV uses a 2.5-litre Atkinson-cycle petrol engine and a pair of electric motors to deliver a combined output of 302bhp, giving a 0-62mph time of a mere 6.2 seconds. It also has a best-in-class electric-only range of 38 miles.

The PHEV will become the new flagship of the RAV4 range, so as well as a few styling tweaks it’ll also have a very generous list of standard equipment.

Volkswagen Arteon Shooting Brake

  • Price: From £35,000 (est)
  • On sale: Autumn 2020 

Estate cars are often seen as being less stylish than their saloon counterparts, but the Arteon Shooting Brake could be about to change that. The regular model is already a fairly handsome machine, and the wagon is identical up to the windscreen pillars. From there, though, the Shooting Brake has its own sloping roofline, new quarter-light windows, a fresh tailgate and redesigned rear lights.

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The engine line-up will mirror the saloon’s, so the most popular choice is likely to be the 148bhp diesel, while the flagship will be a 268bhp petrol that could carry the R badge. However, we also expect the arrival of the Shooting Brake to usher in a new plug-in hybrid Arteon, with the same 215bhp powertrain as the Skoda Superb iV. 

Volkswagen Golf GTD

  • Price: From £32,000 (est)
  • On sale: Autumn 2020
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Diesel is a bit of a dirty word these days, especially in the corridors of VW’s HQ, but that won’t stop the German car maker once again offering a diesel-powered performance Golf.

Sitting alongside the petrol-powered GTI and plug-in hybrid GTE, the GTD is positioned as the long-distance cruiser of the group, being capable of a theoretical range of 600 miles on a full tank. It’ll use a 197bhp version of VW’s familiar 2.0-litre diesel engine, which makes it the most powerful diesel Golf ever.

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We also know that drive will be sent to the front wheels exclusively via a seven-speed DSG gearbox. No official performance figures have been released, but expect a 0-62mph time of around seven seconds.

Volkswagen Golf GTI

  • Price: From £34,000 (est)
  • On sale: Autumn 2020 (est) 

The Golf GTI recipe has been so popular for so long that it’s no surprise Volkswagen doesn’t want to mess with it too much. While some rival manufacturers (and VW Group stablemates) are looking to hybrid assistance at the sporty end of their various model ranges, the GTI continues to make do with a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine driving the front wheels. 

We say ‘make do’; that engine delivers 242bhp, up 15bhp on the old version. No official performance figures have yet been released, but we’d expect a slight improvement on the old car’s 6.4-second 0-62mph dash, and a limited top speed of 155mph.

Volkswagen Golf R

  • Price: From £40,000 (est)
  • On sale: Late 2020
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Leaked internal documents recently revealed that the next Golf R will have a power output of 328bhp, making it – unsurprisingly – the most powerful production Golf ever. Like before, the R is expected to use four-wheel drive and a twin-clutch DSG gearbox, which should enable a 0-62mph sprint in around 4.5 seconds. 

What our spy shots prove unequivocally, though, is that the Golf R will continue to be a car that hides its light under a very plain-looking bushel. There’s barely anything to mark the R out next to a regular R-Line Golf; the only real differences are the diagonal body-coloured struts in the front bumper and quad tailpipes.

Volkswagen Golf GTE

  • Price: From £36,000 (est)
  • On sale: Autumn 2020

The Golf GTI and diesel GTD are already very familiar to fans of fast VWs, but it’s possible that the third member of the line-up, the GTE plug-in hybrid, will steal the limelight from its siblings.

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This time around, the Golf Mk8-based GTE gets a considerably more powerful electric motor to accompany its 1.4-litre TSI turbo petrol engine. The combined power output now stands at a healthy 242bhp, which is the same as the GTI.

The GTE’s electric-only range has also been increased to 43 miles, meaning that most drivers will enjoy a zero-emission commute. Plus the car has GTI-inspired styling touches picked out in blue, although if you want to be more subtle, a cheaper, standard plug-in hybrid Golf will also be available.

Volkswagen ID.3

  • Price: From £26,000 (est)
  • On sale: Summer 2020 (est)
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When bosses at Volkswagen say the firm’s new electric car could be as important as the original Beetle or Golf, you know you’re on the cusp of something pretty momentous. The ID.3 is VW’s first purpose-built all-electric car, and its MEB platform will form the basis of dozens of future EVs from VW, SEAT, Skoda and Audi.

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The first cars will come in a ‘1st Edition’ specification that’s already sold out. It gets a rear-mounted 201bhp motor linked to a 58kWh battery, giving a range of up to 261 miles. Later on, another version will be added that’ll be capable of up to 342 miles, while you’ll also have the choice of an entry-level ID.3 that’ll offer 148bhp and up to 205 miles.

Volkswagen T-Roc Cabriolet

  • Price: From £26,750
  • On sale: Now

Volkswagen is hoping to succeed where Land Rover failed (remember the Range Rover Evoque Convertible?) in combining two appealing genres – the SUV and the convertible – in a package that people actually want to buy.

VW’s greater experience in producing convertible cars (recent examples being the Golf, Eos and New Beetle) should stand the car in good stead, and the black fabric roof folds up or down in nine seconds, at speeds of up to 19mph.

As well as its solid roof, the T-Roc also loses its rear doors and one of its back seats in the transition from SUV to sun-seeker, so it’s a strict four-seater. Another sacrifice you’ll have to make is boot capacity, which drops by 161 litres to 284 litres, due to the stowage area for the folding roof.

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