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Hummer leads a stampede of new models for 2007


Nevertheless, Australian car buyers are set to be spoiled for choice again.

 

ALFA ROMEO

February will see the Alfa Brera 3.2 V6 and Spider 3.2 V6 available with six-speed autos for the first time, along with self-shifters for the 159 JTD 2.4 and 159 JTS 3.2 V6.

And the cheapest petrol 159 JTS 2.2 goes half way along the auto path with the Selespeed sequential manual gearbox. A new entry-level 159 JTD model with a 1.9-litre diesel is also coming in February.

 

ASTON MARTIN

The middle of winter is hardly the ideal time to launch a $270,000 convertible, but the Vantage Roadster arrives as potentially Aston's best seller in Australia. The DBS will be launched in Europe later in the year — but it will be 2008 before the first cars are shipped to Australia.

 

AUDI

Another busy year starts with the new Audi Allroad 3.0 TDI diesel in May and the Q7 4.2 TDI softroader in October. The two extreme ends of its performance range — the mild S3 and the wild Le Mans car-based R8 — are also due in June and September respectively, while the TT Roadster will land some time

in the middle of the year.

 

BMW

The lid will be lifted on the 3-Series Convertible in February before the new X5 four-wheel-drive lands in April. Then there's a wait until the fun starts again in November with the M3.

 

CHRYSLER

Meat and potatoes is on the menu for Chrysler in June with the Sebring sedan, but many customers will be more excited about dessert — the Sebring Cabriolet, which is scheduled to arrive in September.

 

CITROEN

Abstract thinking is the go in February, with the C4 Picasso exhibition opening with petrol and diesel interpretations of the same theme. The Picasso is Citroen's new people-mover class car.

 

DODGE

The production version of the Avenger concept car is a possibility for Australia in November following the company's return Down Under last year after a long absence.

 

FERRARI

A nice 60th birthday present for Ferrari could land on our doorstep in August, with the FXX test car likely to evolve into a top-of-the-range Enzo replacement.

 

FIAT

Fiat in Australia gets a second model in September following on from last year's Punto. The new model will be called the Bravo and represents the next stage in Fiat's renewed fight for Aussie sales.

 

FORD

The Focus coupe-cabriolet model is due in November. Of course, the car Ford doesn't want to talk about is a Territory diesel, which is a possibility for later in the year.

 

HOLDEN

Cloak and dagger time also at Holden, which is vying with Ford for the title of Australia's most secretive car company. Holden is saying nothing but we expect utility and wagon versions of the VE Commodore to arrive some time around August. Also stamped Top Secret is the file marked Epica, a GM Daewoo-sourced replacement for the Vectra.

 

HUMMER

Holden's biggest import will be the South-African built Hummer H3, landing here in the second half of the year.

 

HONDA

Only one newcomer for 2007: the new, larger CR-V. But it's a particularly important one, given the ongoing popularity in Australia of compact offroaders. It should even up the fight with the newest model Toyota RAV4, which was released last year.

 

HYUNDAI

Hatch and wagon versions of the Elantra join the existing sedan in November. Hyundai is also promising the hatch will be more radical than the conventional four-door.

 

JAGUAR

XF might sound like an old Falcon station wagon, but it's Jaguar's replacement for its mid-level S-Type. It should leap into Australian showrooms by October.

 

JEEP

The new Wrangler arrives in March with four-door Unlimited and diesel models. Also arriving in March is the first of Jeep's compact softroaders, the Compass, to be followed by the Patriot in June.

 

KIA

A new entry-level Rio powered by a 1.4-litre engine that could sell for as little as $14,990 drive-away will kick off in February. But it mightn't be the cheapest Kia by the end of the 2007, with the tiny Picanto a chance to come to Australia if it can be sold for $11,990. At the other end of the line-up, Kia's two AWDs get diesel power — the Sorento (a 125kW 2.5-litre turbo-diesel) in April and the Sportage (a 103kW 2.0-litre turbo-diesel) in July. The company is also weighing up whether to bring in a 2WD Sportage or the Carens people mover.

 

LAMBORGHINI

As if it actually needed it, there is a boost in power for the top-of-the-line Lambo, the Murcielago LP640 (640hp, or 477kW) coupe to be launched in February, followed by the convertible Spyder version in October.

 

LAND ROVER

The new Freelander arrives in July. The compact offroader goes up a step in size and price (likely to start from $50,000). The tough-as-old-boots Defender and the posh Range Rover are also upgraded later this year.

 

LEXUS

The sensitive new-age millionaire gets his hybrid petrol-electric car, even if the electric motor is connected to a not-so-politically-correct, 5.0-litre V8 petrol engine, when the long-wheelbase LS600h arrives in June.

It follows the LS460 in May.

 

LOTUS

Lotus goes mainstream, sort of, from February. The Europa is the first Lotus GT in decades, a car primarily for driving on roads, rather than a race car that can be steered to and from the race track.

 

MAZDA

Generational change begins with the new Mazda2 to be revealed in Europe possibly in October. The Mazda6 should follow in 2008.

 

MERCEDES BENZ

Only two significant newcomers but one of them is the brand's most important car. The new C-Class arrives in June with new looks, new interior and possibly new engines. Of more interest to the mega-rich the new CL arrives in February.

 

MINI

The new offering arrives here in March and it's even larger than the old one.

 

MITSUBISHI

An exciting new Lancer and the 380 gets a facelift to keep it in the hunt with Toyota's Aurion and Holden's VE Commodore.

 

NISSAN

The tiny Micra is likely to return in November. Also arriving then is its AWD, known as Qashqai, in Europe but likely to get a better name before it is launched here.

 

PEUGEOT

In mid-March it launches the 207 hatch range, followed by the 207CC coupe-convertible and 207GTi in June or July.

 

PROTON

A pill for Proton next month: the fizz factor rises with its Satria performance hatch.

 

RENAULT

Grand Scenic arrives in February, the sporty Megane R26 in March, the Megane diesel in May and Clio III in September.

 

ROLLS ROYCE

When the Queen visits next she will be able to enjoy the Australian sunshine. The as-yet unnamed convertible is here in October.

 

SAAB

Alternative energy is the mantra at Saab, starting with the 9-3 diesel this month, followed by a bio-ethanol 9-5 mid-year, depending on the success of a trial program.

The bio-ethanol car runs on petrol as well (the engine computer detects the mix and responds accordingly), so the company could bring them out to replace the regular 9-5 in anticipation of the availability of 85 per cent ethanol fuel.

 

SMART

Next generation fortwo comes to a cafe near you in September.

 

SSANGYONG

The Actyon 4WD wagon is launched in March, followed by the dual-cab ute in April.

 

SUBARU

This year sees new Imprezas, including a new WRX. Best of all, they won't have the existing model's "propeller" nose.

 

SUZUKI

Only one newcomer here for rejuvenated Suzuki, with its compact AWD, the SX4.

 

TOYOTA

Probably the most important new-car launch this year in terms of sales is the Corolla, in May. Other additions include Tarago V6 (February), RAV4 V6 (October) and Landcruiser LC200 (November).

 

VW

After the Eos convertible lands this month it will be a quiet year. Touareg gets a facelift in October and a sporty Passat R36, probably here in December.

 

VOLVO

The brand's stalwarts — S40 and V50 — are available with a five-cylinder diesel from February, while the new small car, the C30, appears in April with three five-cylinder engines, petrol, turbo petrol and turbo-diesel. October sees the arrival of the V70 wagon and its AWD counterpart the XC70.

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