CAR dealers across the country are checking themselves in the mirror and straightening their ties, because once the clock strikes midnight tonight (Monday, August 31), and their forecourts open, they are expecting a surge of new-car buyers.
The switch to the “65” numberplate will herald one of the busiest months of the year for new-car sales. In September last year 425,861 new cars were registered; the figure for the previous month had been 72,163. In fact, so traditional has the plate-change buying splurge become that September and March (the month of the other change) now account for more than a third of all new-car sales throughout the year, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.
This year the plate change comes at a time when the domestic industry is in rude health. Despite the recent slowdown in China, which has reignited industry fears that the broader economic recovery may not be as solid as was once hoped, car buyers are still flocking to dealerships, tempted by finance deals that can allow them to be driving away in a new car for less than £200 a month.
Of course none of this matters if there aren’t any decent cars to buy. But so far 2015 has proved a bumper year for new models. From the second-generation Volvo XC90, already set to be a staple for middle-class families wanting an understated seven-seat family car, to the rarefied but superlative Ferrari 488 GTB, there are plenty of new models to choose from.
In this guide we have picked our current favourites across a range of categories. Some of them, such as the BMW 7-series, have only just gone on sale, and deliveries won’t start until later in the year, but apart from that we have driven all the cars, giving buyers the benefit of real experience over marketing hype. We have also tried to keep the list as current as possible, which has meant sometimes favouring newer models over cars that have been around for several years.
65-plate Special contents
- Electric and hybrid cars
- Family cars
- Sports cars and supercars
- City cars
- Executive and luxury cars
- WAG gags: the words made possible by the 65-plate