Hyundai i30 N Performance review by Jeremy Clarkson for Sunday Times Driving

13 of the best new cars on sale that nobody is talking about

The models that deserve more attention

On sale today, there’s a wide sweep of cars that have garnered much in the way of critical praise in their life cycles, yet they are presently not talked about as widely as others.

Whether that’s down to being near the end of their current generation and due a replacement soon, or perhaps being a type of car that is looking increasingly less relevant in an eco-conscious age, they’re not making the headlines.

Yet we think these vehicles are brilliant machines in their own right, worthy of some love from the right potential owner. Here are 13 of our favourites still on sale today.

1. Alfa Romeo Giulia

You might forget the gorgeous Giulia is still on sale, given it hasn’t exactly been a showroom success. However, its taut styling, attractive interior — after two facelifts improved the less standout first effort — and range of superb, sporty engines make this one of the most intriguing alternatives to the default BMW 3 Series. The Quadrifoglio model is expensive but arguably a genre-defining supersaloon, and unquestionably a future classic.

2. BMW Z4

The BMW Z4 has been around for 20 years now, across three generations, and while the current model is maybe not the prettiest, it is the best to drive. Peak Z4 is the 335bhp M40i version, which is basically a soft-top of the Toyota Supra coupé (BMW and Toyota worked together on this car). Roadsters are rare these days, especially ones with big-hearted six-cylinder engines up front and rear-wheel drive.

3. DS 7

The luxury SUV that no one remembers. Well, at least here in the UK — go over to DS’s native France and you’ll see the 7 everywhere. It’s worth British drivers checking out, though, because it has comfortable, clever camera-assisted suspension, a large, well-built and opulent passenger compartment and price tags that usually undercut the typical German opposition.

4. Genesis GV60

Genesis is an upmarket spin-off from Hyundai. Next year the brand is being moved back under the Hyundai umbrella but don’t let that put you off the pebble-shaped GV60, as it’s a genuinely excellent SUV, designed from the ground up to only take pure-electric power. All versions will officially give you 290-320 miles to a charge, the interior is attractively minimalist, high tech and of very high-quality, and if you go for the flagship dual-motor Sport Plus then you also benefit from a supercar-like 483bhp.

5. Honda Jazz

Don’t laugh. While there are obvious blue-rinse connotations to Honda’s long-serving Jazz, the current model is one of the best superminis on the market right now. That’s thanks to class-leading refinement, a fuel-efficient but responsive hybrid drivetrain, clever front crash protection design, excellent all-round visibility and the retention of the fabled “Magic Seats” in the rear (the squabs easily fold up so you can carry tall items such as plants behind the front seats with ease). Not a sexy car, but one owners grow to love.

6. Hyundai i30 N

In the wake of other, subsequent N models, plus Hyundai’s Ioniq electric vehicle range, it’s easy to forget that the sublime i30 N hot hatch is still available from the Korean manufacturer. It’s one of the best cars in its class — easily the dynamic superior of the obvious Volkswagen Golf GTI — and with a strong 276bhp 2-litre engine, there’s plenty of performance to go with the exquisite chassis.

7. Jaguar F-Pace

Jaguar’s current product portfolio is starting to creak a bit, as there haven’t been any all-new models from the manufacturer for some years now as it stuttered over the move to a pure-electric line-up. Nevertheless, the Audi Q5-rivalling F-Pace was updated in 2021 with a brilliant, high-tech interior interface, plus the option of some interesting plug-in hybrid drivetrains. A slick chassis and handsome looks make this a tempting premium family SUV package.

8. Kia Picanto

Manufacturers are starting to row back from petrol-fuelled city cars because the margins just aren’t there any more on cheap, tiny runarounds. Kia, though, perseveres with the diddy Picanto and its blend of sharp looks, decent cabin, impressive levels of standard equipment, easy-to-understand single engine line-up and seven-year warranty. Well worth consideration for new-car buyers on a budget.

9. Mazda CX-30

Crossovers are multitudinous these days, so there are plenty of alternatives to the Mazda CX-30 — an unusual, high-riding take on the Mazda3 hatchback. However, the Japanese company has executed the CX-30 brilliantly, which makes it a rare-groove choice. An ergonomically excellent interior and efficient drivetrains are the highlights, although aim at the 184bhp petrol if you can as the 120bhp Skyactiv-G is a bit gutless.

10. Peugeot 508

Another class of car that is being squeezed to the brink of oblivion by the onslaught of SUVs and electric vehicles. Peugeot soldiers on in the large family car segment with the lovely 508. Its rear seats are tight for taller passengers but it remains one of the best-looking machines of its type, especially as the SW (Sport Wagon) estate, while a range of petrol and plug-in hybrid drivetrains mean there should be a model to suit every need.

11. Seat Ibiza

Seat future as a carmaker was put in doubt recently but for now it still makes the Ibiza, which we’d recommend as the best of the superminis using the same underpinnings from the Volkswagen Group. Yep, that includes the VW Polo. For all its creased bodywork the Ibiza isn’t particularly flashy, but it does many things very well indeed and nothing notably badly. All starting from the attractive price of £19,265.

12. Volkswagen Arteon

It’s easy enough to dismiss the Arteon as nothing more than a swish version of the humdrum VW Passat… which is true enough from a purely technical standpoint. Yet it feels more special to drive and sit in, not to mention look at. Volkswagen does a genuinely lovely Shooting Brake version of the Arteon (facing away from us above) for fans of posh estate cars, while engine options include a plug-in hybrid and a high-powered R flagship with 315bhp.

13. Volvo V90

You won’t be able to buy Volvo estates in this country for much longer, so it’s time to get out there and bag the boss of Swedish load-luggers now, while you still can. What you get for your money here is an effortlessly stylish and sophisticated car with a truly magnificent interior, complete with the comfiest seats in the car business. The T8 Recharge plug-in hybrid at the top of the tree also blends fuel-saving parsimony with big power — think 449bhp.

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