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Carmakers find new twists to attract retail customers


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Ford's all-new Maverick 4x4 is on sale with a choice of 122bhp 2-litre four-cylinder and 194bhp 3-litre V6 engines. The 2-litre costs £17,995 which features ABS, aircon, side airbags, alloy wheels and electric sunroof. The V6, at £20,995, adds automatic transmission, cruise control, six-disc in-dash CD player, larger alloy wheels and leather trim.

Toyota's Rav 4 2.0 NV 5dr is £16,495, but does without the Ford alloys and CD player.

Hyundai's Santa Fe range starts at £15,995 for the 2.0-litre, with the 2.4-litre V6, featuring aircon and automatic transmission, costing £17,995.

VW has introduced new derivatives to its Bora, Passat and Beetle ranges. Saving £1,600 over the existing 2.0 SE, the £13,615 115bhp Bora S 2.0 retains aircon. The 110bhp TDI engine is also now available in Bora S trim, costing £14,335. The new 150bhp Bora 1.8T Sport is £16,995 and features aircon, alloy wheels, CD autochanger and sports seats. This 150bhp engine is also now available in S trim in the Passat, with prices starting at £15,915 for the saloon and £16,865 for the estate, saving £1,475 over the existing 1.8T SE. There are also two new performance Beetles – the £15,445 1.8T and £16,995 V5.

Mitsubishi's Space Star features a new 96bhp 1.6-litre engine, to complement the existing 1.3-litre and 1.8-litre units. Costing £11,995, the Space Star has ABS, CD player, electric windows and twin airbags. A special edition of the Carisma 1.8 GDI has also been introduced. Based on the Equippe and costing £13,995, the Mirage adds electric rear windows and a CD player to the standard car's ABS, alloys and aircon but loses the sunroof. Mitsubishi is now offering Euro-spec L200 Double Cabs to UK buyers. The Trojan1 range comes in four trim levels, all featuring a 98bhp 2.5-litre turbo-diesel engine. Trojan I and II models, aimed at fleet users, are £13,995 and £14,495. The £14,495 Trojan III and £15,495 IV are more luxurious, featuring alloys, electric mirrors and central locking, with the Trojan IV also adding twin airbags, ABS and aircon.

Vauxhall's new Astra Convertible range is released in June. Prices start at £17,495 for the 1.8 and £18,995 for the 2.2-litre. Chief rivals are the Peugeot 206 CC, from £14,480, Renault's Megane convertible which starts at £14,665, and the Golf cabriolet, from £15,180. The £15,495 Zafira Comfort SE limited edition is based on the Comfort, adding alloys, CD player and rear electric windows, saving more than £1,000 with an additional £500 customer-saving on orders placed before the end of June.

Peugeot is to launch a diesel version of its 406 Coupe. Taking advantage of forthcoming tax regulations, the 2.2 HDI model costs £2,000 more than the standard 2.0-litre petrol car, but will receive an 18% tax rating, 3% less than the petrol variant. Equipment levels are the same as for the 2.0-litre petrol, and include aircon, alloy wheels and a CD player.

TVR has announced prices for the Tamora, its new entry-level model, on sale in June. The £36,500 car uses a 350bhp 3.6-litre straight-six engine, and features a number of modifications over the show car, launched at last year's Birmingham motor show. Meanwhile, the Chimera has been face-lifted, with a new nose, seats and interior detailing. Prices are unchanged, starting at £34,980.

Suzuki has introduced a 1600 version of its 3dr Grand Vitara. The £10,995 GV1600 Sport is available in estate and soft-top style, with twin airbags, electric windows and central locking as standard.

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