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Price falls and extra value prepare market for X-day


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##A2--left##Audi's aluminium-bodied A2 goes on sale this month priced from £13,950 for the entry level 1.4 which has alloys, four electric windows, electric mirrors, ABS, four airbags and power steering - but no spare wheel. The SE pack takes the price to £15,100, adding climate control, wider alloys, fog lights and leather steering wheel. 1.4 three-cylinder turbo-diesels will be launched next year for £1,150 extra. The only direct competitor, the Mercedes A-class, is now priced from £12,790.

Mercedes-Benz C-class prices will start at £20,740 for the new C180 Classic. That represents an increase of £300 over the outgoing car although Mercedes claims that £4,000 of extra value - including climate control, 'intelligent' driver airbags, upgraded stereo and multi-function steering wheel - has been added in so that the price is effectively 15% lower. Two other trim levels are offered, Elegance and Avantgarde, both of which demand a £2,000 premium over the Classic.

Volkswagen has topped off the Bora range with the V6 4Motion. Priced at £22,750 it is £140 more than the 5dr Golf. A cheaper Beetle is introduced for a £2,000 saving over the 2.0-litre. The 1.6 costs £12,995 and lacks the alloys and aircon of the original.

Vauxhall has added a bargain basement model to the outgoing Corsa range. The 1.0 Expression costs £5,995 - the same as the Citroen Saxo First - but the Corsa lacks a driver airbag.

Toyota's revised Avensis has a completely new set of engines coupled with price changes across the range. The new 1.6 Vermont comes in at £12,995 with four airbags, ABS, electric front windows and mirrors, CD player, aircon and alloys - undercutting the old S by £1,030 and the new S by £500, both of which lack aircon and alloys. Other models are increased in price - the 2.0 GLS saloon is up by £870 to £17,745.

Fiat has increased the specification of the Punto across the board, coupled to price increases of up to £110. Base versions gain central locking and electric front windows with prices for the 1.2 3dr now £8,078. A new entry level car, the 1.2 Mia, does without these or a passenger airbag but costs almost £600 less at £7,495.

Suzuki has knocked 10% off the list price of all vehicles until the end of September. At the same time a new Baleno derivative is introduced, the hot hatch 1.8 GSR 3dr. Listed at £11,400 (and thus temporarily £10,278), the GSR gets a new 119bhp alloy engine, sports seats, alloys, leather wheel, twin airbags and a full set of electrics.

Daihatsu has facelifted its mini-4x4, the Terios, with a new look, "drastically" improved suspension and the 1.3 engine used in Toyota Yaris. Two trim levels are offered immediately, the basic E for £9,995 and the £10,995 EL which adds alloys, passenger airbag, central locking, electric windows and mirrors. Outgoing derivatives have similar prices and specifications. A third model, the SL, will be launched in the autumn for £12,995, with aircon and a body kit.

##Proton--left##Proton's imaginative marketing has come up with another set of limited editions. All get the S and LE badge but the base car is unchanged from the mainstream version. The key difference is that the warranty and breakdown cover is cut back from three years to one. The 1.3-litre Satria and four or five door versions of the Wira can now be bought for £6,999, savings of at least £1,000.

Land Rover has introduced V6 and td4 versions of the Freelander. The 2.5 V6 from Rover is by far the most powerful Freelander yet with 177bhp. It will sell for £3,800 over the price of the 1.8 equivalent models, which includes automatic transmission. Prices start at £21,595 for the V6 GS 3dr. The turbo diesel uses BMW's four-cylinder engine familiar from the 3 Series and Rover 75. Prices start at £20,895 for the 2.0td4 GS 3dr.

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