12th December 2016

Our pick of fleet cars on the way in 2017

Another year has nearly drawn to a close and what a remarkable and surprising twelve months it’s been, especially on the political front. Although things are much more predictable when it comes to cars aimed at the business market, the New Year still has plenty of tantalising prospects in store. Focussing on definites rather than unconfirmed concepts, we’ve picked out some highlights from the fleet-friendly vehicles on the way in 2017.

Audi Q5 (spring)

Crossovers and SUVs are all the rage these days among private and business drivers alike and the all-new version of Audi’s globally-best-selling SUV is more spacious for both people and cargo, is 90kg lighter and is available with the optional and stunning Virtual Cockpit. Importantly for company car fleets, the latest 2.0 TDI engine offers improved fuel consumption of up to 58mpg and CO2 emissions as low as 129g/km depending on the power output chosen. A fuel-saving freewheel function is incorporated into the optional automatic transmission and the new Q5 will be fitted with a range of business-friendly technology like ‘personal route assist’ and LTE Wi-Fi, along with ADAS safety systems including active lane assist.

BMW 5 Series (February)

Miffed that the latest Mercedes E Class has overshadowed the 5 Series in recent times and with Audi busy fettling the forthcoming new A6, BMW predictably hasn’t rested on its laurels and has revealed the 7th generation model, which will appear very early in 2017 with a sharp and modern makeover but nothing too radical. Slightly larger and using copious amounts of aluminium and other light materials, the engine of choice for fleets will be the 520d EfficientDynamics, which emits just 102g/km of CO2 and can theoretically return up to 72.4mpg. Organisations aiming for Go Ultra Low status may favour waiting til the 530e iPerformance hybrid arrives towards the end of 2017 with 46g/km and 141.2mpg credentials. Connected car technology in the form of BMW’s ‘car-to-x’ communication system will keep drivers of the new 5 Series and certain other new BMWs safer, information such as hazardous weather conditions and significant delays being shared.

Hyundai i30 (early 2017)

The hatchback segment of the company car arena is as burgeoning as ever and still dominated by the likes of the Astra, Focus and Golf, but with Hyundai and sister Korean manufacturer Kia vying to position their offerings as more upmarket choices, the new i30 could do fairly well. Fully LED lights at the rear, an edgier silhouette and new grille add to its aesthetic appeal, whilst inside, the entirely new dashboard has a German aura and there’s an optional 8-inch floating infotainment screen available. Even the standard 5-inch touchscreen has an integrated reversing camera and Bluetooth, though, and autonomous emergency braking, driver attention alert and blind spot detection will provide reassurance for fleet managers. Three different power outputs spanning from 94bhp to 131bhp for the solitary 1.6-litre turbo diesel engine see emissions commence at a mere 89bhp for the Eco model with steel wheels, although many user-choosers will no doubt favour slightly higher BIK rates in exchange for alloy wheels.

Kia Optima SW PHEV (early 2017)

Always having been a leftfield and scarcely-known car despite its quite stunning styling, the Optima recently gaining an estate boot heightened its appeal in this competitive fleet category, and Kia hopes green-minded user-choosers with fairly short commutes and a taste for something a little different will be lured by the Sportswagon PHEV. A plug-in hybrid electric vehicle combining a 2-litre petrol engine, electric motor and battery pack, it will produce up to 202bhp but emit under 40g/km CO2. Fleet managers will receive greater peace of mind from the industry-leading 7-year warranty provided by Kia, while company car drivers themselves will be kept informed with Kia Connected Services, which includes live traffic, search and weather updates from TomTom.

Mercedes X-Class (late 2017)

Pickup trucks have become increasingly popular as lifestyle vehicles driven by everyone from private motorists and sole traders to construction site managers and others who lease their vehicles on business contract hire – a market that typically sees Mercedes finish in the top three brands. Combining these two factors, Mercedes has revealed its debut pickup truck, the X-Class, which also heralds the first time such a vehicle has been given a premium label. Available in two editions, only organisations whose vehicles need to tackle challenging terrains will choose the luminous yellow ‘powerful adventurer’ model with its enormous knobbly tyres and integrated winch. Most fleets will go for the aptly-named ‘stylish explorer’ variant which exudes Mercedes-ness both outside and in, with a sumptuous interior. The X-Class will start rolling off the production line in Barcelona in late 2017 and although details are TBC, it’s based on the Nissan Navara NP300 and Renault Alaskan double cab pickup trucks, so is likely to be offered with their 2.4-litre four-cylinder diesel engine, as well as a V6 diesel unit possibly from Mercedes.

Ford Fiesta (early 2017)

Despite being the UK’s best-selling car, which is equally in-demand in the fleet market, the Fiesta now has much-improved rivals like the Fabia, Mazda 2 and Polo snapping at its heels, meaning a new model for 2017 is most welcome timing. Set to be larger in all directions, with a plusher interior predictably incorporating a large touchscreen, the next gen’ Fiesta will feature sleeker headlights, a bold family grille and horizontal rear lights to replace the current vertical design. While the 1.5-litre diesel engine is set to return around 70mpg, fleet managers perturbed by recent developments in vehicle emissions and government legislation may steer their employees towards the EcoBoost petrol models.

Managers of vehicle fleets small to large can discover the wide-ranging benefits of telematics by adopting Trak Global Group’s Appy Fleet solution, which not only removes the barrier of hesitancy surrounding hardware installation but is also provided completely free of charge.