The automotive world is constantly evolving. Each year brings with it a slew of new technologies for cars – both on the inside and out – all of which aim to improve the driving experience, and to (usually) be more considerate of the environment.
With the new decade firmly underway, we thought it best to take a look at the cars coming your way in the year ahead, but to help sort the wheat from the chaff, we spoke to some of Australia’s leading motoring journalists to find out the cars they’re most looking forward to driving.
Mike Sinclair, Carsales
Carsales’ Editor-in-Chief Mike Sinclair lists the new Land Rover Defender on his ‘to-drive list’ in 2020. The iconic Landie was first released back in 1983 (although it can be traced back to 1948 before Land Rover introduced the ‘Defender’ moniker), with production ceasing in 2016. After a three-year hiatus, Land Rover announced it would bring the model back to our roads.
Mike says of the upcoming model: “The all-new, new generation Defender is a step-change for Land Rover and must fire if the brand is to proper.”
“As a Defender fan from way back, I’m also interested in whether the all-new vehicle can retain some of the character of the old classic Landie, within the bound of much-improved ergonomics, mechanicals, emissions, and safety. Most importantly, will it be as good off-road?…”
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Also on Mike’s list is the Porsche Taycan. It’s not a new car anymore – we’ve driven it ourselves on the roads of Finland – but Mike “wants to see how it performs on our [Australian] roads and conditions. Stunning repeatable and streetable performance is the claim, along with decent range and proper refinement.”
“Our taste-test of the extra-rapid four-door in Germany make the car seem oh so tempting, but how will it work Down Under?”
Rounding out Mike’s top three cars for 2020 is the Ford Fiesta ST, so often regarded as one of the best affordable hot-hatches. Mike says of the spritely car: “Ford builds great hot hatches but so often they are not available in Australia – or watered down to pale imitations of what the Euros get.”
“The newest three-cylinder turbo tearaway from Ford should deliver true pocket-rocket performance with approachable, fun to drive dynamics and all at a decent price…Should! Let’s hope it proves to be the case…”
Alex Inwood, WhichCar?
Mike isn’t the only journo to put the Defender on his list; Which Car’s Alex Inwood also agrees. Their reasoning? “JLR (Jaguar Land Rover) know the value of heritage, and are experts at tapping into this while delivering all the comfort and convenience buyers want in a 4×4.”
“This is an off-roader that will make you want to plan an adventure.”
However, the motoring experts add that if you decide to order one, “just say no” to the optional 22-inch wheels.
It’s all about speed in 2020 for Which Car? too, as the BMW M2 CS also makes their list of cars to look forward to in the year ahead. The M2 arrived as a superfast, but compact car. The introduction of the limited-edition CS model will make it even more bonkers. “It’s a two-door, rear-drive coupe with M4 levels of stonk in a diminutive package. Make that several boxes ticked.” says Which Car?
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“The S55 straight six packs 331kW and 550Nm of turbocharged goodness, enough to propel the CS to 100km/h in 4.0-seconds.” If you want one, you best head to a BMW dealer soon and put your name on the waiting list.
We all know Australians love a big, burly truck too, and in 2020, you’ll be able to get yourself a Ford Ranger with a beast of an engine under the hood. The Raptor V8 will arrive down under later this year, with, as the name suggests, a 5.0-litre V8 plucked straight from the company’s Mustang GT. Why does it make the Which Car? list?
“It’s a Ranger Raptor with an engine its off-road-focused suspension deserves – finally.”
“The brakes will be approproately upsized too – which is good to know when you’re hauling down the road in a more than two-tonne dual cab.”
Jesse Taylor, Evo Magazine
Jesse Taylor, Editor of Evo magazine, has also weighed in with his choices, and they’re all cars your kids will want posters of on their bedroom walls. He starts with the Chevrolet Corvette C8, which he admits won’t actually arrive in Australia until 2021, however “it will be the first Corvette officially sold in Australia and it will be the model’s first mid-engined generation – a dramatic change from the seven previous generations that date back to 1953.”
“The new C8 is claimed to offer supercar performance, handling and looks, for about a third of the asking price of traditional exotics.”
Speaking of exotic cars leads nicely into Jesse’s second choice: the Ferrari SF90 Stradale. “It’s set to launch internationally in March and due in Australia just before Christmas, the SF90 starts at $846,888. Tick a few boxes and you’re well over a million.”
But if you think that’s a lot of money, rest assured you’ll get an awful lot of car, as Jesse adds: “For that, you get Ferrari’s first-ever plug-in hybrid that combines a twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 with three electric motors for an enormous power output of 736kW/986hp.”
The final car to make Jesse’s list is the latest iteration of the Porsche 911 Turbo. “The rumoured hybrid drivetrain won’t eventuate this time, but the Turbo and Turbo S will still offer plenty to excite middle-aged motoring enthusiasts who may or may not have had a poster of a 911 Turbo on their bedroom wall nearly 40 years ago.”
Gentlemen, start your savings now.