Jaguar is to limit UK sales to 160 special editions to celebrate the 100th anniversary of founder Sir William Lyons. The black XJR 100 saloon and XKR 100 coupe/cabriolet specials have leather interiors and 19-inch alloys. The XKR also gets the R Performance handling kit. Prices: saloon £58,935, coupe £69,950, cabriolet £74,950.
More modestly priced is the £7,850 Fiat Punto Go special edition based on the 1.2-litre 8v 3dr which is £328 cheaper. Extras include body-coloured bumpers, special wheel trims, sports seats and uprated stereo. Zero per cent finance is on all Puntos, with a 30% deposit – only Vauxhall offers a similar deal on the Corsa SXi, but it is dearer at £9,960.
Renault's Megane Fidji special, based on the Dynamique, adds a CD player and aircon. Even so, it costs £670 less, with the range opening at £10,995 for the 1.4 16v. Engine options include 80bhp and 105bhp 1.9-litre turbodiesels.
Heading the Rover 25 range is the new 1.6 iXL, with leather trim, aircon, ABS with EBD, twin airbags and metallic or pearlescent paint. Rover places a value of £4,500 on these: at £13,980, it is £2,600 dearer than the iL. The new model falls bang into Alfa 147 territory.
Lexus has a more powerful IS300. The 211bhp, 3-litre version adds full leather trim and automatic gearbox to the existing IS200 spec, for £26,700. The IS300 SportCross estate costs £28,450. The IS200 has been boosted by 16-inch alloys, and modifications to the grille and rear light clusters, adding £235 to the base price, now £18,615. Competitors include the £19,485 Alfa Romeo 156 2.5 V6 Turismo, £22,370 BMW 320i SE and £24,540 Mercedes C240 V6 Classic.
The Skoda Fabia saloon has one trim level, including electric windows, central locking, driver airbag and power steering. Prices: from £9,100 (SDI), £9,400 (100bhp 1.4-litre) and £9,900 (75bhp 1.4-litre auto). VW's Polo saloon, its only real rival, starts at £10,700 for the 75bhp 1.4 E.
Vauxhall's Omega Sport combines MV6 looks with the efficient 144bhp 2.2-litre petrol engine. Uprated, lowered suspension, 17-inch alloys and front and rear spoilers are all standard. Sports seats and alloy facia trim feature, along with ABS, climate control and front fog lights. Prices: £19,995 (saloon), £20,995 (estate). Revisions to the Astra range see more standard equipment and the option of climate control. Prices for the majority of the range remain unchanged.
Suzuki's seven-seat 4x4, the XL7, costs £19,995 and is based on a stretched Grand Vitara platform. It uses a larger capacity 170bhp 2.7-litre V6 engine and has ABS, front and rear aircon, alloy wheels and a CD stereo as standard. Its main rival is the £22,595 Land Rover Freelander 2.5 V6 GS, but this has less equipment and only five seats. The seven-seat Land Rover Discovery V8 GS costs £27,295, and Mitsubishi's Shogun 3.5 V6 Equippe retails at £25,995.