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Best new cars for 2020 - S to Z

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

Click on the links below to jump ahead to another section

A B-C D-H I-L M-O P-R S-Z

SEAT EL-Born EV

Price: £26,000 (est)On sale: Summer 2020

SEAT is taking its first step into an electric future with the el-Born, a compact family car due next year. Sharing the new MEB platform with Volkswagen’s ID.3 hatchback, the el-Born will be only the second VW Group car to use the new architecture. Making the most of its electric powertrain, the el-Born has a long wheelbase with short overhangs to create maximum interior space for passengers and bags.

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Initially the el-Born will be offered with a 62kWh battery, giving a WLTP range of up to 261 miles, and with 100kWh DC charging it can take on an 80 per cent charge in 47 minutes. With as much as 201bhp sent to the rear wheels, the el-Born will get from 0-62mph in 7.5 seconds; cheaper versions starting from around £26k will use smaller batteries, but won’t be as quick and will have a shorter range. 

SEAT Leon

Price: From £19,000 (est)On sale: Early 2020

An all-new SEAT Leon is undergoing final testing ahead of its introduction next year, as this spy shot captured at the Nürburgring shows. The Leon’s new look can be seen through the disguise, sharing the more vertical grille already seen on the Tarraco SUV, as well as a full-width light bar at the rear.

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Mechanically the new Leon will stick with the accomplished MQB architecture as well as a familiar engine line-up of two petrols and a diesel, with a plug-in hybrid version also confirmed. A 48V mild-hybrid version is expected to arrive later in the Leon’s lifespan, thanks to technology shared with the forthcoming Mk8 Volkswagen Golf.

Skoda Octavia

On sale: Summer 2020

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Following the recent launch of the Scala will be a fresh Octavia. It’s due to reach the UK during the second half of 2020, in both hatchback and estate bodystyles, with a starting price of just over £20,000. Like the eighth-generation Golf and the forthcoming Audi A3, the Octavia uses updated MQB underpinnings and the VW Group’s usual range of petrol and diesel engines.

However, the most interesting addition will be the Octavia iV, which features a plug-in hybrid powertrain. This combines a 1.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, an electric motor and a 13kWh lithium-ion battery for an outputof 201bhp – and an electric-only range of 34 miles, according to WLTP testing.

Inside, the new Octavia will have a premium finish, with soft-touch plastics, new chrome trim, configurable LED ambient lighting, and a two-spoke leather steering wheel. Buyers will also be offered an optional head-up display, as well as the VW Group’s latest 10.25-inch infotainment system and digital instrument binnacle.

Skoda Vision E

Price: From £40,000 (est)On sale: Late 2020

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Skoda’s first pure-electric model will be a car based on this, the Vision E concept, dovetailing with the brand’s recent success from its growing SUV range. The Vision E will spawn two distinct models; one will be similar in size to the current Kodiaq and major on practicality, while the second will be strongly design-led with a more coupé-like body. Both models will use the VW Group MEB platform, with the SUV-coupé getting the longer-wheelbase version of Volkswagen’s ID.4 architecture, while both will be built alongside the Octavia

Tesla Model Y

Price: £40,000 (est)On sale: Summer 2020

Not long after the success of the Tesla Model 3 comes the Model Y, a baby SUV that shares around 75 per cent of its components with the saloon. Inspired by the larger Model X, the Model Y has a similar high-roof design and will offer up to seven seats. However it ditches the expensive ‘Falcon wing’ rear doors in favour of ones that open conventionally. 

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The line-up will also echo that of the Model 3, with the Standard Range version offering a battery good enough for 230 miles and 0-60mph in 5.9 seconds. A Long Range version capable of 300 miles and 0-60mph in 5.5 seconds should be offered, too. There will also be a Dual Motor AWD model with a 280-mile range and 4.8-second 0-60mph time. This will be joined by a Performance model, also with a 280-mile range and good for 0-60mph in 3.5 seconds.

Tesla Roadster

Price: From £151,000 (est)On sale: Late 2020 

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Remember the original Lotus Elise-based Tesla Roadster from 2008? This 2020 model is a very different beast as Tesla CEO Elon Musk aims to create the world’s fastest-accelerating car. The standard Roadster has a claimed 0-60mph time of 1.9 seconds and is said to get from 0-100mph in 4.2 seconds, thanks to a 200kWh battery pack and three electric motors. Although still to be confirmed, the suggested top speed is 250mph, and Musk has hinted at an even quicker version being produced.

Toyota Yaris

Price: £14,000 (est)On sale: September

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The fourth-generation Toyota Yaris will try to capitalise on the wider acceptance for hybrid tech when it arrives in the UK in September 2020. The brand expects around 80 per cent of Yaris models will be sold with the firm’s all-new 1.5-litre, three-cylinder, petrol-hybrid powertrain.

The electric element of the system is made up of a 79bhp electric motor and a lithium-ion battery pack, which is smaller and 27 per cent lighter than the cell in the outgoing Yaris hybrid. The powertrain joins a recalibrated CVT gearbox, which aims to eliminate the ‘rubber band’ rev rises of earlier systems.

Toyota is still confirming the homologation of the vehicle, so official efficiency figures have yet to be released. But the company says it will bring gains of “more than 20 per cent” over the outgoing Yaris hybrid – so in theory CO2 emissions could be as low as 65g/km. The powertrain is capable of running on pure-electric power, which Toyota expects to handle 80 per cent of urban journeys.

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The new Yaris is built on Toyota’s latest GA-B underpinnings, so it also gets a host of chassis improvements, including extra strengthening around the engine bay and a strut brace bonded to the scuttle panel, in a bid to improve steering response. It also has a quicker steering rack, redesigned front MacPherson struts and a stiffer torsion beam than before.

TVR Griffith

Price: From £90,000 (est)On sale: Summer 2020 

A famous British brand will finally be reborn in 2020 when the TVR Griffith appears in production specification ahead of its launch. A factory in Ebbw Vale, South Wales, is being refurbished to build the new car, with Gordon Murray’s iStream production process helping to cut costs and increase efficiency.

The Griffith is powered by a Cosworth-developed 5.0-litre V8 producing 500bhp, with a teaser video already giving a glimpse of the performance and spectacular soundtrack on offer. Weighing less than 1,250kg thanks to a carbon-composite structure, the Griffith should have a power-to-weight ratio of about 400bhp/tonne – enough to deliver a top speed of 200mph and 0-62mph in less than four seconds.

Vauxhall Mokka X EV

Price: £30,000 (est)On sale: Summer 2020 

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Vauxhall’s forthcoming all-electric Mokka X continues the brand’s shift towards an electrified model range as the crossover adopts electric power for the first time. The electric crossover will look very similar to the regular Mokka X, as shown in this exclusive Auto Express image because Vauxhall’s research says buyers don’t want EVs to look any different to conventionally powered models.

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The Mokka X will use the PSA Group’s CMP platform, which allows for electrification and share its 50kWh battery with the DS 3 Crossback E-Tense. That should result in a range of around 185 miles and an 80 per cent charge in 30 minutes. 

Volkswagen Arteon Shooting Brake

Price: £34,000 (est)On sale: Summer 2020

A Shooting Brake model is set to give Volkswagen Arteon buyers a stylish estate option next summer. The new bodystyle will bring added practicality thanks to its longer roof and sloping tailgate, as previewed in this exclusive Auto Express image, and will help the company’s push upmarket.

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The Arteon Shooting Brake could also be one of the first Volkswagens to get a new six-cylinder engine currently under development and being tested in a prototype. The new powerplant would give a useful performance boost over the current 2.0-litre turbocharged model, and increase the Arteon’s desirability in markets such as the US.

Volkswagen Golf GTI

On sale: Summer 2020

The new Mk8 Golf is upon us and, as you would expect, the high-performance models will follow hot on the heels of the conventional model in 2020. This will include the rebirth of the iconic Golf GTI.

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We’ve had spy shots showing the car almost completely undisguised, revealing twin tailpipes, extended side sills, and a deep front bumper housing a large intercooler behind the gaping air dam. Inside, the new Golf’s modern dashboard architecture will be complemented by the GTI’s trademark tartan sports seats, along with new graphics for the digital driver’s display.

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The major interest this time around will centre on what’s under the bonnet. The GTI will continue with a development of the 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine from the outgoing model, boosting power to around 280bhp in the flagship edition. This car will also feature a more sophisticated limited-slip differential and a set of more performance-focused tyres. As before, there will also be a cheaper entry-level GTI packing around 250bhp. Both will retain a six-speed manual gearbox, however.

In order to keep its weight down and improve agility, the next GTI will maintain its front-wheel-drive layout. The hotter Golf R will boast four-wheel drive and a higher output.

Volkswagen ID.3

On sale: Now

The ID.3 was unveiled at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show as Volkswagen’s first purpose-built pure-electric vehicle, and it’s a car that bosses admit could be as important to the brand as the original Beetle or the Mk1 Golf. All 30,000 launch edition models have been reserved, with the first UK deliveries due this summer.

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Under the skin, the ID.3 is based on VW’s dedicated MEB electric platform, which has a front-mounted motor and lithium-ion battery pack and will come in a range of power outputs and capacities. Launch edition cars will have a 201bhp motor and a 58kWh battery, which VW says offers a range of between 186 and 261 miles.

The wider ID.3 range will feature a less powerful car with 148bhp and a smaller-capacity 45kWh battery, for a range of between 143 and 205 miles. A top-spec version will blend VW’s 201bhp motor with a larger 77kWh battery pack, allowing the ID.3 to travel from 242 to 342 miles between charges.

VW’s latest all-electric car will spark a big push into the electrified market, with a new ID.4 electric SUV set to arrive in UK showrooms by summer 2021, and a new supermini-sized MEB model due in 2023.

Volkswagen T-Roc Cabriolet

Price: From £25,000 (est)On sale: Spring 2020 

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Volkswagen’s latest niche-plugging exercise is this – the T-Roc Cabriolet. Due to go on sale in the spring, it’s a drop-top compact crossover intended to make the T-Roc one of the most versatile models in the German brand’s stable. It’s also the first convertible to come from the company since the Beetle Cabriolet was discontinued in February 2018.

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The T-Roc has lost two doors and its B-pillars in the transition to a cabriolet, to make space for the fabric roof. Electrically folding arms and brackets for the soft-top are positioned in the bodywork either side of the back seats, squeezing them down to just two spaces and turning the car into a strict four-seater.

The convertible roof can be retracted in just nine seconds at speeds of up to 19mph. All of the mechanical components for the roof have been lifted from the old Golf Cabriolet, while the car’s chassis has been reinforced with additional bracing and stronger A-pillars to claw back some of the body rigidity lost by removing the metal roof.

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Underneath, the T-Roc Cabriolet shares its MQB platform and engine range with the conventional SUV. Buyers can opt for either a turbocharged 113bhp 1.0-litre three-cylinder or a turbocharged 148bhp 1.5-litre petrol engine. Both will come with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, although the latter can be had with a seven-speed DSG auto.

Volvo V40

Price: From £25,000 (est)On sale: Autumn 2020

Volvo is set to leave the compact hatch sector behind because its new V40 takes on a ‘pseudo-SUV’ look, as this exclusive Auto Express image shows. The current V40 is the only model in the Volvo range not built on the firm’s SPA or CMA platforms, and so is due for replacement, but the need to include the capacity for electrification from the start makes a taller SUV-type vehicle much more likely. 

The V40 is expected to inherit much of the tech seen in the XC40 SUV, and is likely to offer three turbo petrol models, plus a plug-in hybrid T5 Twin Engine version, and D3 and D4 diesel engine options. Later in the car’s life a fully-electric version is expected to appear, sharing some of the technology already seen on the Polestar models.

Which car are you most looking forward to seeing on the road in 2020? Let us know your thoughts below...

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