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Astra joins the coupe club


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Vauxhall's new Astra coupe will cost from £16,150, for the 1.8 16v, while the 147PS 2.2 16v is £17,650 and the 190PS Turbo, to be launched later this year, is £19,995. In comparison, the Hyundai coupe 2.0SE is £17,399 and the Renault Megane 2.0 Sport Alize coupe costs £16,300.

Hyundai has introduced a sporting derivative to top off the Accent range. The 3dr MVi gets an uprated 1.5-litre engine with 101PS, plus sports suspension, ABS, electric windows and mirrors, alloys and CD player. With a low insurance rating of group 5, the first batch of MVi Accents will sell for £10,999 with aircon. Thereafter, aircon cars will be £11,499, the standard model £10,699.

Peugeot has addressed the pricing issue by offering upgraded 406 LX models with Rapier badges. The cars gain side airbags, rear electric windows, sports trim and alloys. Prices are £14,995 for the 1.8 - £400 less than the LX - and £15,895 for the 2.0 HDi. Estates are £1,000 more.

Chrysler's new PT Cruiser starts at £14,995 for the 2.0 Classic, with the Touring £15,995 and the Limited £17,195. All models get aircon, four airbags, central locking, electric windows and mirrors.

Nissan's compact MPV, the Almera Tino, goes on sale in August from £14,200. The entry-level model features a 1.8-litre engine, bigger than all competitors' base cars, plus five independent seats similar to the Scenic and Picasso. All models get power steering, twin airbags, ABS, electric windows and mirrors. Full pricing will be announced at launch.

Kia's mini MPV, the Carens, is launched from £9,995 for the 1.8 SX with twin airbags, central locking, electric windows and mirrors. The 1.8 GSX adds aircon, alloys and ABS for £11,995. Six-seat models, with three rows of seats, are £300 extra.

Toyota's new Previa goes on sale with prices starting at £19,950 for the 2.4 GS eight-seater. That is about the same price as the outgoing model but the GS is £1,200 cheaper and the CDX £3,600 less than the models they replace. ABS and aircon are standard on all.

Audi's 'allroad quattro' goes on sale this month. The estate derivative of the A6 comes with automatic height-adjustable air suspension, reinforced bumpers and stainless steel underbody protection. The price is £32,550 for the 180PS 2.5V6 TDi - an increase of £2,150 over the standard model with the same engine - and £36,630 for the 250PS 2.7 V7 bi-turbo petrol model. A low-ratio set of manual gears is an additional £1,000 and Tiptronic transmission an extra £1,400.

Suzuki has announced the price of its new 1.3-litre Wagon R+. At £7,645, it is £195 more expensive than its sister Vauxhall Agila 1.2 but adds a second airbag, electric windows and central locking, worth £940 on the Agila options list, as well as a three-year warranty.

Citroen has added an adaptive automatic transmission to the Synergie for a £1,000 premium. It will be coupled to a new, more powerful 2.0 16v engine. Prices for the manual cars are virtually unchanged.

Daihatsu has temporarily cut the price of the Fourtrak TDL by more than £3,000. It will remain at £15,995 until at least the end of September. Price cuts are also offered on the Fieldman commercial models.

Subaru has launched the Sport Special based on the outgoing Impreza 2.0 Sport model. The saloon gains aircon, high-rise turbo rear spoiler, Momo steering wheel and white instruments for £16,500 - a £1,000 premium over the base car.

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