Nissan has launched the X-Trail as a rival to the Freelander which is being taken further upmarket by Land Rover with a new derivative.
The X-Trail has standard equipment including twin airbags, ABS, electric windows/mirrors/sunroof and remote central locking. Sport models add side airbags, climate control and CD player, to which SE+ models add leather seats, six-CD autochanger and electric folding mirrors.
Nissan's 4x4 uses a 140bhp 2-litre petrol engine and a 114bhp 2.2-litre turbodiesel, mated to a six-speed gearbox. The range starts at £16,750 for the 2.0-litre S, with the 2.2 Di S costing £17,750. The Freelander Station Wagon range is priced from £17,495 for the 1.8 S.
Land Rover has added the ESX to the Freelander range. It has an electric sunroof, aircon, 17-inch alloys and body additions, and a 2.5-litre V6 petrol or 2-litre Td4 turbodiesel. The diesel versions start at £23,700, and the petrol costs from £26,095. The prices are £1,500 higher than the derivative they are based on and Land Rover says the extras add value of £3,500.
Lexus has boosted its IS range, with a new 3-litre, 211bhp engine matched to an automatic transmission, and body option. Meanwhile, the SportCross estate has 'crossover' styling, similar to BMW's Touring version of the 3 Series. The IS300 SportCross is £28,450 – the IS300 £26,700.
The ZT-T Sportswagon, the MG estate based on the Rover 75 Tourer, has160bhp and 190bhp versions of the group's 2.5-litre V6 engine. Standard equipment includes a stereo, alloy wheels, electric mirrors and remote central locking. ZT-T+ models add climate control, all-round electric windows and CD autochanger. The entry-level ZT-T 160 costs £19,545, with the ZT-T+ 160 at £20,145. Standard and 'plus' versions of the more powerful engine cost £21,145 and £22,045 respectively. The cheapest Alfa 156 V6 Sportwagon, in comparison, is £20,585 and BMW's 318i SE Touring starts at £21,880.
Vauxhall's new Vectra estate, the Tourer, is based on the LS which features ABS, four airbags, aircon, CD player, electric windows and mirrors, and remote central locking. The Tourer, which adds 16-inch alloys and a rear roof spoiler, uses a 125bhp 1.8-litre 16-valve engine, and costs from £12,495, compared with the Ford Mondeo estate range which starts at £15,595 for the 1.8 LX.
Kia has added removable rear seats to its 2002 model-year Sedona, on sale from November. There are also other detail and equipment improvements, including a new 2.9-litre common-rail turbodiesel engine which, at 143bhp, is the most powerful such engine fitted to an MPV sold in the UK. The existing 148bhp 2.5-litre V6 engine remains unchanged. There are three derivatives in the Sedona range: the L has twin airbags, remote central locking and electric front windows. LX trim adds ABS, aircon and tinted rear glass.
Mercedes-Benz has released its first A-class special edition, badged Autumn, limited to 250 cars. It has vibrant metallic orange paint, ABS, CD player, part-leather seats, aircon and 16-inch alloys. It is sold with a choice of 1.4- and 1.6-litre engines, in both normal and long-wheelbase format, and commands a £100 premium over the equivalent Avantgarde. The entry-level A-class Autumn is £15,700, with the 1.6 starting at £16,850. Long-wheelbase models have the usual £900 premium. Its only real rival, the Audi A2 SE 1.4, costs from £15,045.