Best cars of the Frankfurt show you can buy

The Frankfurt Motor Show, Europe’s largest gathering of car manufacturers displaying their latest wares, is in full swing.

To celebrate, we’ve already taken a look at the most exciting concept cars on show at the event in a previous buyers guide.

Now it’s the turn of those cars you will soon be able to get behind the wheel of and drive away with from a Perrys dealership.

There are plenty to choose from as a whole host of car makers updated, revamped or completely overhauled some of their most popular cars for 2012.

Below we’ve picked out the best ten cars of the Frankfurt Motor Show which will be going on sale in the UK over the next few months – in fact some have already made it into showrooms.

1) 2012 Fiat Panda

UK buyers will have to wait until Spring 2012 for the new Fiat Panda but by the looks of the new model, it will be worth the wait.

This is the third generation of the Panda, an impressive achievement considering the first was launched way back in 1980.

Its famous upright stance remains in place and this translates to plenty of room in the back for passengers and luggage.

The Fiat Panda also comes equipped with Fiat’s TwinAir petrol engine. First seen on the Fiat 500, the two-cylinder TwinAir engine will cut CO2 emissions to below the magic 100g/km mark, meaning free road tax and exemption from the London congestion charge.

That’s not all – a 4×4 versions is expected to be a huge hit in the UK where four-wheel drive cars are increasingly popular.

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2) Renault Twingo

The arrival of the Dacia Duster next year probably won’t be the big launch of the year, capable car as it is.

However, it will mean Renault begins a subtle move upmarket to make space for the budget, Renault-owned brand.

It begins with the new Twingo, which features hugely improved looks thanks to a front end taken from one of our favourite concept cars in recent years, the Renault DeZir electric supercar.

The pronounced headlamps and new grille work well on the Twingo, which looks more grown up and attractive. It also comes with more customisable options than ever before including roof graphics and interior colour and upholstery options to make the car more unique.

Like the Fiat Panda before it, it also boasts an eco-friendly version. This time a diesel engine delivers CO2 emissions of just 85g/km and improved fuel economy over the previous generation model.

The new Twingo will go on sale at the beginning of 2012.

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3) Kia Rio

A few years ago, the very thought of Kia taking on the Ford Fiesta, the UK’s best-selling car of 2011 (and 2010) was laughable.

How things change. A succession of stylish and refined cars including the Kia Sportage crossover and the superb new Kia Picanto city car have overhauled the brand in the UK.

The Kia Rio is the latest to get an upgrade and for the first time a three-door version will be released in the UK.

Designed specifically for Europe, the car looks sporty thanks to a lower roofline than any other Kia and boasts modern, stylish touches at the front and rear.

Behind the wheel, the Kia Rio is a huge improvement in terms of handling and the quality of the materials and equipment levels do not go unnoticed.

It may not topple the Ford Fiesta, but when the three-door Kia Rio arrives early next year (five-door versions are on sale now) it should take sales from several of its key rivals – and deservedly so.

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4) Ford Focus EcoBoost

The Ford stand was one of the busiest at the Frankfurt Motor Show. A new Ford Fiesta ST concept and a new Ford Focus ST production version dominated the news at the Blue Oval’s stand.

However, of much more interest to Ford customers should be the introduction of a clever bit of engine technology.

The 1.0-litre EcoBoost may seem too small to be used in a Focus but increases in efficiency mean it is actually as powerful as a 1.6-litre engine.

Therefore the petrol unit is ideal for the Focus and helps to lower CO2 emissions below 120g/km. In real terms this means lower rates of road tax (zero in the first year) and less trips to the pump.

Designed and built in the UK, the new EcoBoost engine will be available for the hugely popular Ford Focus from next year.

Who says only diesel can offer impressive fuel savings?

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5) Citroen DS5

The Frankfurt Motor Show is the first time the third model in Citroen’s DS Line has appeared in Europe.

Following the success of the Citroen DS3 and the Citroen DS4, the Citroen DS5 is the largest of the three and appears to be a cross between a family hatchback and a larger MPV.

Citroen calls it a premium executive vehicle and the generous levels of equipment and high-end materials throughout support this description.

The Citroen DS5 is also notable for its powertrain. It uses the HYbrid4 diesel hybrid system used in both the Peugeot 3008 HYbrid4 and the Peugeot 508 RXH (see below).

The clever diesel-hybrid technology means fuel economy is well above that of its executive rivals and CO2 emissions are low enough to compete with much smaller family cars.

It can even run on electric mode and in hybrid mode depending on the driver’s preference (and the remaining battery charge) and in normal mode uses a 4×4 system.

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6) Seat Exeo

The Seat Exeo is the third best-selling Seat car in the UK behind the Seat Ibiza supermini and the Seat Leon hatchback.

This is partly down to Seat’s recent push for fleet business which has improved sales drastically for Volkswagen’s sporty brand.

All eyes may have been on the striking Seat IBL concept saloon at the Frankfurt Motor Show but its current saloon (and estate) was also there to showcase its new look and lower ownership costs.

The Exeo now boasts new alloy wheels and LED headlamps to match a more luxurious interior which features some leather highlights on the steering wheel.

The real changes come in terms of running costs however. The Exeo makes use of an imporved 2.0-litre diesel engine offering an impressive 57.6mpg on the combined cycle.

CO2 emissions are, as expected, lower as well, at around 129g/km. Even more impressively, this will drop to below 120g/km when Start/Stop versions are introduced next year.

With some clever upgrades for 2012 and a starting price of around £19,000, the Seat Exeo is sure to be a popular car for businesses in the UK.

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7) Peugeot 508 RXH

The Peugeot 508 Estate has been upgraded with a clever bit of technology at the Frankfurt Motor Show and it is even possible to buy one now, if you’re quick.

The new Peugeot 508 RXH is essentially a Peugeot 508 Estate but with Peugeot’s all-new diesel-hybrid powertrain.

The HYbrid4 system matches a diesel engine to an electric motor for the first time in the UK and as a result, fuel savings are significantly higher than those of a petrol hybrid.

The 508 RXH delivers 200bhp and four-wheel drive but offers fuel economy of 67mpg and keeps CO2 emissions down to 109g/km. In real terms that means free first year road tax in the UK – a fact which is sure to be popular with fleet managers and private owners.

Peugeot also launched a Limited Edition version for the market now (the official launch is in March) and while it is a top-spec model, only 30 will be sold in the UK between now and March.

Prices for the Limited Edition are £36,000 but this will be much lower for the standard versions when they arrive.

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8) Mazda CX-5

Mazda has finally unleashed a car built using its Skyactiv principles. If the term is new to you, it is essentially an umbrella term used by the Japanese car maker to describe its new focus on greener technology.

This means more lightweight materials, aerodynamic designs, more efficient gearboxes and a huge leap forward in petrol and engine technology.

The result is Mazda’s first tentative step into the compact SUV segment with the stylish Mazda CX-5. It retains the typical SUV chunkiness but adds some flowing lines courtesy of its new ‘Kodo’ design language, first revealed on the Shinari supercar concept.

It also adds a petrol engine capable of 47mpg and a diesel delivering 63mpg. CO2 emissions are 139g/km and 119g/km respectively on the most frugal models without a reduction in power compared to similar size powerplants.

As a result, the Mazda CX-5 is stylish, well-equipped and frugal – all the ingredients required to make the two- or four-wheel drive SUV a success when it arrives early next year.

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9) Vauxhall Zafira Tourer

The Vauxhall Zafira Tourer is a large, seven-seat car designed, according to Vauxhall, as a ‘lounge on wheels’.

This means a vast interior decked out in comfortable materials and with Vauxhall’s celebrated Flex7 seating – which means the three rows of seats can be manipulated into any number of different configurations.

The Zafira Tourer looks great thanks to a front end lifted straight from the Vauxhall Ampera extended range electric car and as a result it is now one of the more stylish models on the market.

More importantly, it undercuts the seven-seat Ford Galaxy by nearly £3,000 and the five-seat Ford S-Max by £1,000 despite the move to make the Zafira Tourer more upmarket.

Expected to go on sale in early 2012 from £21,000, the Vauxhall Zafira Tourer is the next generation of large cars from Vauxhall and it should prove to be a popular choice in the UK.

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10) Jaguar XF

The Jaguar XF has been on sale for a couple of years now but the 2012 model displayed at the Frankfurt Motor Show features a number of significant changes.

These include new headlamps, some new wing vents, alloy wheels and rear lights and inside, bucket seats for the first time.

While these are all good, the real change comes in the shape of the XF’s most efficient engine ever. The 2.2-litre diesel engine is good for 800 miles on a single tank of fuel and emits just 149g/km of CO2 emissions – the lowest ever for the Jaguar executive saloon.

However, performance remains unaffected – just one of the reasons why the car was named Car of the Decade by car owners in the highly respected Auto Express Driver Power survey.

The 2012 Jaguar XF is on sale in the UK now.

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