New cars you can buy at the end of 2018

New cars you can buy at the end of 2018

New wheels for the new year

Text: Daryl Lee

Wondering what new car you should get as Christmas (and the new year) draws ever nearer?

Well, wonder no further with our guide to the best cars that have been launched in the last few months of 2018. Apart from the five below, you might also want to check out the Hyundai Ioniq, the Skoda Kodiaq, the updated Mini Cooper 5-door and the BMW X3.

Skoda Karoq (from $112,900)

Skoda Karoq

Another challenger enters the increasingly competitive and increasingly crowded mid-priced compact SUV segment. The Skoda here, the Karoq, is a close relative of the Volkswagen Tiguan, though where the cars differ is obviously the badge... and price tag. The Karoq starts at $112,900, against the Tiguan's $135,400.

In other differences, the Karoq has, in keeping with the Czech carmaker's "Simply Clever" tagline, VarioFlex rear seats. In addition to fold-flat functionality (that most other cars also have), the VarioFlex seats can be folded down, or removed from the car entirely to maximise luggage space.

More interestingly, those three rear seats can be folded down/removed individually, allowing for a near infinite number of loading/seating configurations. This feature, however, is only available in the top-shelf Style variant, which costs $122,900.

Common to all Karoq variants is a 1.5-litre engine that produces 150hp and has a fuel consumption of 5.8litres/100km.

Volkswagen Polo (from $93,900)

Volkswagen Polo

At long last, the new Volkswagen Polo supermini is here (its predecessor was in production for a decade, an eternity in car terms). And it couldn't have come at a better time. COE premiums are as low as they've ever been for a good long while, hovering at the $30,000 mark, which makes this the best time to get a small car.

The new Polo is priced from $93,900 for the entry-level variant, going up to $102,400 for the one equipped with all the bells and whistles you could want, including a Beats sound system, 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system, digital dashboard, sunroof and a self-parking function.

Moving down to the base model Polo, however, you'll have to do without all the above, and live with just an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system. Push-button, keyless start is still present, thankfully.

Providing power to the Polo twins is a 1-litre turbocharged engine that develops 115hp, which endows the smallest member of the VW family here with some pep.

Alfa Romeo Stelvio (from $238,000)

Alfa Romeo Stelvio

If nothing else, the Alfa Romeo Stelvio is proof that no company is immune to the inexorable march of progress. Progress in this case meaning the addition of an SUV to the model range. You see, never in the Italian carmaker's 108-year history has there been anything taller than a conventional saloon.

As with any Alfa Romeo, the Stelvio (named after an Italian mountain pass) is quite the handsome thing, or at the very least striking, with its oversized 'shield' front grille. More significantly, the Stelvio, if its saloon cousin, the Giulia is any measure, will be the first modern Alfa free from quirks and be normal.

The base Super variant is equipped with a 2-litre turbocharged engine producing 200hp, giving it a top speed of 215km/h. But if it's fire-breathing you're after, you'll want the Quadrifoglio variant, which is equipped with a 510hp engine, which is power equivalent to a sports car.

The Stelvio Super is available now, but if it's the Stelvio Quadrifoglio you're after, you're going to have to wait till early 2019 at the Singapore Motor Show, where it'll be making its official debut.

Mercedes-Benz CLS (from $336,888)

Mercedes-Benz CLS

The car that spawned an entire genre (namely, the four-door coupe bodystyle) some 15 years ago is now in its third generation. Admittedly, the once red-hot segment has lost its shine in recent years, overtaken by a rash of SUVs, which is a bit of a pity because we think this CLS is the best looking one yet.

To start with the new CLS has lost the droopy bum of its two forebears, replaced by a perky truncated rear end, making it resemble an enlarged version of its little brother, the CLA. Two variants are available here, with the top-end CLS450 ($386,888) coming with all-wheel-drive, which bodes well for surefootedness when the weather turns nasty, something that's been happening with alarming frequency of late.

Its cabin is standard Mercedes-Benz fare, that is to say, endless acres of premium leather, brushed aluminium and glass. Speaking of glass, a sunroof is standard, as is a pair of 12.3-inch screens that form the infotainment and instrument clusters. A wireless charging pad for your phone is also part of the CLS' standard equipment package.

McLaren 600LT (from $819,000)

McLaren 600LT

Do you pine for simpler times? For when there was but a handful of TV channels, a handful of radio stations and for when there wasn't the vast, infinite expanse of the internet? Do you also pine for the halcyon days of 2011 when McLaren sold but one model, when you walk into its showroom and had no decisions to make apart from colour/trim?

Depending on your point of view, you might be delighted/dismayed to find that McLaren now makes eight models, and aside from its limited-run hypercars, its other cars have model names for numbers, which can be bewildering for the uninitiated.

Anyway, the car McLaren just launched is the 600LT, a close relative of the 570S (are you confused yet?) and while they may share some outward similarities, the former was bred primarily to terrorise race tracks and your quiet-loving neighbours.

As its name implies, it has 600hp (a lot) and gets from 0-100km/h in 2.9 seconds (very fast). It's also got all sorts of other fancy things like a top-mounted, flame-spitting exhaust, plus sticky tyres and carbon fibre aerodynamic bits to help it corner that much harder. You might also be interested to know McLaren's beetle-wing doors ("dihedral" in McLaren-speak) also make an appearance here.