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Spoilt for choice in half a year


As Australia's new car juggernaut rolls on towards the magic million sales mark, the number of available models continues to swell. Already recognised as one of the most diverse and competitive car markets in the world, Australian importers continue to add to the mix.

With half the year nearly gone, buyers have taken almost 500,000 new vehicles into their garages with some of the traditional biggest selling months still to come.

At least three new marques will arrive in Australian showrooms in the second half of  the year; Hummer, Mahindra and Skoda,  testament to the vibrancy of what is, in world terms, a minor market.

However, it is the expanding model range within existing brands that will drive the Aussie market over the million mark for the first time.

Over the next six months more than 50 new or revised models will arrive in Australian new car showrooms. Here's a look at what's coming soon:

ASTON MARTIN

Dip your lid in style in September with the V8 Roadster, a gorgeous extension of the Vantage.

 

AUDI

Audi starts its end-of-year program in September with the R8, the biggest, baddest Audi in the garage The Supercar looks with enough performance to keep most on their toes. Also on the cards for October is the A5, Audi's first coupe since the TT. An all-new platform which comes as a front-wheel-drive and quattro. In November the V8 4.2 TDi may answer some questions for the Q7, including on fuel economy.

 

BMW

You'll have to wait until October for the new M3, but the latest offering from the M garage has something special. It's the first V8 for an M3.

 

CHRYSLER

A Sebring convertible, topless cousin of the sedan launched in early 2007, arrives in December.

 

DODGE

The Nitro SUV joins the Caliber for Dodge next month and the US marque backs that up with its Avenger sedan in August.

 

FIAT

The baby Ritmo, sold as the Bravo in Europe, will be Fiat's second passenger offering in Australia when it lands in October. Expect petrol and diesel.

 

FORD

The rush to oil-burners continues with the Focus getting the honour of being Ford's first passenger diesel next month before the Focus CC, the drop-top concept that set hearts aflutter at Frankfurt two years ago lands in October. The other big news for Ford is the return in November of the Mondeo for a third tilt at Australia.

 

HOLDEN

The key second-half model from the General is the VE Ute, bringing all the developments in the VE sedan to the working man's Holden.

 

HONDA

The Civic Type-R is razor-sharp styling built around a high-revving fun package. Next month.

 

HUMMER

The iconic offroader from the land of the large truck opens its Aussie account in October, a couple of months later than anticipated as a result of production delays for the H3. Surprisingly agile with real offroad ability.

 

HYUNDAI

An important second-half for the Korean marque. It starts with the popular Santa Fe SUV finally getting the 3.3-litre V6 from the Sonata to give it some extra punch. In October, the new Elantra hatch joins the sedan in the Aussie line-up after a wait of almost 12 months.

 

JAGUAR

An October styling refresh for the marque's luxury sedan, the XJ, is all from the Big Cat this year before a big 2008.

 

JEEP

The second of Jeep's non-Rubicon Trail-rated soft-roaders arrives in August to join the Compass for duty around town.

 

KIA

The Carens compact people mover has never really taken off here. The new generation is a little bigger and more stylish. It will be powered by a four-cylinder petrol or diesel engine with five- or seven-seat capacity. On sale in October.

 

LAND ROVER

The baby Freelander gets a complete makeover for this generational change. New engines and a new family look all go on show in July.

 

MAHINDRA

India's workhorse ute, the Pik-Up, starts to roll out to Australia in July.

 

MAZDA

A new generation and a new look for the little Mazda2. Sharper styling is the key to this one's October debut. At the same time Mazda will add a diesel option to its top-selling Mazda3 range.

 

MERCEDES-BENZ

The key model for Mercedes this year is the meat-and-potatoes C-Class. Bigger, brighter and ready to meet the masses it is available from July. Also on Mercedes' new-model list is an upgraded ML500 and R-Class in September, both getting the 285kW V8 engine. October is a big month for the three-pointed star with the cracking

CL65 AMG (a bi-turbo V12 with 450kW and 1000Nm) and the more sociable S320 CDi, which marries diesel with uber-luxury.

 

MITSUBISHI

You have to love a fighter. Australia's “other” family car, the 380, wins a minor refresh with some interior updates from next month. In August the automatic turbo diesel, traditionally the model's top seller, completes the Triton range while in October the point guard for the red-hot Evo X (due late in the year), the new Lancer, promises look-at-me-styling and more punch than the current model.

 

NISSAN

The baby Micra finally gets the green light for Australia with an October date with sales. In November the X-Trail, a core model for Nissan and the compact SUV that set the benchmark for those who actually can go off-road, gets a full generational change. The Dualis arrives in December. A softer option to the X-Trail, it sits on a similar platform but is more plush.

 

PEUGEOT

It's all about size for the French manufacturer. In July the 207CC, the previous generation of which set the standard for accessorising small cars, is back and promising to reclaim the crown. Its far more focused and athletic sibling, the GTi arrives in August with its turbocharged 1.6-litre engine. The station wagon derivative of the base 207 goes on sale in October.

 

PORSCHE

The 911 turbo cabriolet proves Porsche's belief that if you can go fast in a sedan you should be able to go just as fast in a cabriolet. In September you can prove it for yourself.

 

RENAULT

August sees the Megane diesel join the Renault fleet, while the Clio Sport returns in November in an all-new guise.

 

SAAB

The new 9-3 will highlight Saab's first all-wheel-drive system in a completely renewed model range. All models arrive in November.

 

SKODA

Launches into Australia with a two-pronged attack in October. The Octavia medium-sized hatch and the quaintly named Roomster compact MPV will carry the flag initially.

 

SMART

In September the next next-generation smart ForTwo arrives, a little bigger and a little smarter.

 

SUBARU

The new Impreza is one of the most polarising styling departures of the year. In basic and WRX fettle the hatch arrives in September. A cult car heads mainstream and the jury is out.

 

SUZUKI

If it ain't broke ... A freshen-up for the car that put punch back in Suzuki's local range, the brilliant Swift is in showrooms in October with the sedan version of the SX4 “tall hatch” joining the stable in September.

 

TOYOTA

The first product from Toyota's new “hot shop”, the Aurion TRD, arrives in August with a 3.5-litre supercharged V6 with sports manners and a load of plastic kit. Also in August is the generational change for Kluger with the SUV getting a substantial facelift and the 3.5-litre V6 from the Aurion. November brings the Landcruiser 200 Series and a TRD version of the HiLux.

 

VOLVO

The highlight for the Swedes in the second half of the year is the all-new generation of the XC70 due in November. About the same time the C30 will get the in-line five-cylinder diesel.

 

VW

A hot version of the Passat, the R36, is heading Down Under in November.

 

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