Volvo has added new models to its 4x4 range. The new V70 is the 2.4T AWD, based on the mechanical package of the Cross Country, but without the pumped-up suspension or the rugged body panels. The price is £26,995 for the S and £28,495 for the SE, savings of almost £2,000. Added to that is, confusingly, an upgrade on the Cross Country, which means the improved Cross Country S (£28,910) has much the same specification as the AWD SE, adding leather, cruise control, climate control and upgraded audio system. Cross Country SE (£31,410) gains satnav with television, plus electric seats. Volvo has also added a new derivative to the S40 and V40 ranges. The Sport falls between the S and SE models, incorporating larger alloys, front fog lamps, half leather interior and a leather steering wheel. Four petrol and two turbo-diesel engine variants are available, with prices from £16,245 for the S40 1.8 Sport to £19,645 for the V40 T4.
Honda's Civic range has been broadened with the addition of a coupe. Bearing only a passing resemblance to the British-built hatchback, the coupe is sourced from the US and is sold with a new, 1.7-litre 125bhp engine for £13,995, or £14,995 with the optional automatic transmission. Its biggest selling competitor is the £12,980 1.7 Ford Puma.
Ford is to launch its most sporting version of the new Mondeo to date, the Zetec-S. Taking a revised version of the 2.5V6 from the Ghia X, it gains sports suspension and interior. Prices are £19,095 for the saloon/hatch and £20,095 for the estate, a £3,000 premium over the 2.0 Zetec Mondeo and £2,750 more than the Vectra 2.6V6 SRi.
Nissan has added saloon derivatives to the Almera range. Engine options are 1.5, 1.8 and 2.2 turbo-diesel, with prices the same as the 5dr hatch, starting at £11,065.
BMW has extended its Sport trim level from saloon to estate versions of the 5 Series. The packs include sports seats and suspension, de-chroming, cloth/Alcantara interior and an 'M' body pack. It adds £2,600 to the price of the SE, starting at £31,180 for the 525i Sport Touring.
TVR has reprieved its entry model, the Chimaera, for a while longer, perhaps discovering the value of retaining a sub £40,000 model within the range. At the same time, a cheaper version of its newest production roadster, the Tuscan, has been launched. The entry-level model uses a 350bhp 3.6-litre version of the straight six and will sell for £39,850. The £48,800 4-litre becomes the Tuscan S and gains a touch more power, up to 390bhp, and styling revisions.
Maserati's only model currently on sale in the UK, the 3200GT, gets the special edition treatment. Seventy-five 'Assetto Corsa' models are to be offered in the UK, which represents around a quarter of the annual sales. Priced £65,950, a £5,000 premium, buyers get lowered and stiffer suspension, unique 18-inch alloys, uprated brakes and steering and an interior with black leather piped in red.
Land Rover has focused its new Freelander Sport special edition entirely on dealers in the south of England. Based on the V6 GS, it adds alloys and plenty of body addenda for an additional £2,000.
Mitsubishi's L200 Double cab range has been expanded with the addition of a 3.0V6 petrol version. Dubbed the Triton, it comes well equipped with power steering, central locking, alloys and four electric windows, for £17,900. Automatic transmission is £1,277 extra. Like the 2.5 diesel 4Life model, which is £850 cheaper, the Triton offers strong personal taxation incentives for those who choose it as their company car.