With the help of our partners, and new car review experts, CompleteCar we’ve chosen the star cars of the 2nd registration period in 2016 from each of the manufacturers represented in  the UK & Ireland. Out shopping for a new car over the next few months? These demand a closer look.

Alfa Romeo Giulia:
Price from: approx. €40,000
Rivals:
Audi A4, BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class
Best engines:
2.2 diesel, 3.0 V6 petrol

Admittedly, the eagerly anticipated Giulia saloon isn’t on sale in Ireland as yet, but it has been promised for Q3 so buyers of executive four-doors that fancy the best-looking car in the class needn’t wait too long. Our first drive suggests it lives up to the appearance too. full review

 Top Cars of 2016

Audi A3:
Price from: £27,810
Rivals:
BMW 1 Series, Mercedes-Benz A-Class, Volkswagen Golf
Best engines:
1.0 petrol, 1.6 diesel

Audi launched a revised A3 range this year and though you may not spot the changes in isolation, they add up to an even more desirable car than ever before. Spend a little more on options like the Virtual Cockpit to transform it and don’t discount the sweet new 1.0-litre petrol engine. full review

 Top Cars of 2016

BMW M2:
Price from: €78,370
Rivals:
Audi TT RS, Mercedes-AMG CLA 45, Porsche Cayman S
Best engines:
3.0-litre petrol

The M2 is, hands down, one of the most exciting cars to be launched in the past few years. Sure it’s expensive, but not in comparison to the cars that it is better than. The best thing about it? It feels as special on bumpy backroads in Ireland as it does on a smooth track in America. full review

 2016-BMW-M2-Coupe-front-three-quarter-04 Top Cars of 2016

 

Citroen C4 Cactus:

Price from: €17,795
Rivals:
Ford Focus, Mazda3, Opel Astra, Volkswagen Golf
Best engines:
1.2 petrol, 1.6 diesel

We realise that the appearance of the C4 Cactus divides opinion like few other cars on the market, but that’s kind of why we love it. The interior is equally cool, if flawed and genius in equal measure, and not as spacious as you’d hope, but it soaks up rubbish Irish roads with aplomb. full review

 Top Cars of 2016 citroen-c4-cactus-1

Dacia Duster:

Price from: €16,690
Rivals:
Jeep Renegade, Skoda Yeti, Suzuki Vitara
Best engines:
1.5 diesel

While the Duster isn’t the most refined SUV on the market it is the cheapest to buy. There’s more to like too, as it’s well-equipped for the price, rugged and exceedingly good at traversing poor Irish back roads without jiggling its occupants about too much. full review

 Top 31 Cars of 2016 Dacia-Duster-Edition-2016-1

Fiat 500:

Price from: €13,600
Rivals:
Citroen C1, Toyota Aygo, Volkswagen up!
Best engines:
0.9 and 1.2 petrol

When Fiat revealed the ‘new’ 500 in 2006 we never expected that its retro looks would have such lasting charm. Ten years on it still looks great, helped a little by last year’s modest refresh. It’s a highly likeable car that drives well, though is at its best in an urban environment. full review

 Top 31 Cars of 2016 2016-fiat-500-european-spec_100517504_h

Honda Jazz:

Price from: €17,640
Rivals:
Kia Rio, Toyota Yaris, Volkswagen Polo
Best engines:
1.3 petrol

Let’s be very clear: there’s nothing sexy about the Honda Jazz; it’s an awkward looking small hatch with strange design details. However, it is also the most practical and spacious car of this size with a very cleverly designed interior. It’s likely to go forever, too. full review

 

Karen Parry - UK

Ford Focus RS:

Price from: €52,600
Rivals:
Audi RS 3 Sportback, Honda Civic Type R, Volkswagen Golf R
Best engines:
2.3 petrol

We’d like to label the Focus RS a ‘giant killer’, but with a price of €52,600, it’s a bit of a giant itself. The good news is that it’s worth every cent. The turbocharged 2.3-litre engine has as much performance as it has personality (i.e. ‘a lot’) and the four-wheel drive chassis has something called a ‘Drift Mode’. This will be remembered as an icon of our times. full review

 ford_focus_rs_001

Hyundai Tucson:

Price from: €25,745
Rivals:
Kia Sportage, Nissan Qashqai, Renault Kadjar
Best engines:
1.6 petrol, 1.7 and 2.0 diesel

This is the car to have this year it seems, as it out-sells the stalwarts to be the best-selling car in Ireland. That signifies a shift from hatchbacks to crossovers, but the Tucson deserves the success as it’s spacious, comfortable, very well equipped and pretty economical. full review

 Top 31 Cars of 2016 2016-hyundai-tucson-vlp-07

Jaguar F-Pace:

Price from: €44,100
Rivals:
Audi Q5, BMW X3, Lexus NX, Mercedes-Benz GLC
Best engines:
2.0 and 3.0 diesel, 3.0 petrol

Jaguar’s first-ever SUV has, finally, arrived in Ireland. It’s a cracking looking thing too, so long as you choose the right wheels and colour, that is. It drives with some verve and is also one of the most spacious cars in its class. full review

 f-pace_4

 

Jeep Renegade:

Price from: €22,950
Rivals:
Fiat 500X, Kia Soul, Skoda Yeti
Best engines:
1.4 petrol, 1.6 and 2.0 diesel

Compact SUVs don’t come much more distinctive than the Renegade, Jeep’s smallest model to date. Saying that, the Renegade is more spacious inside than most cars in the class, and it feels more seriously off-road ready too. The downside is a bouncy ride on the road, but it performs well overall. full review

 

Top 31 Cars of 2016 2016 Jeep® Renegade Trailhawk

Kia Sorento:

Price from: €38,995
Rivals:
Ford Edge, Honda CR-V, Hyundai Santa Fe
Best engines:
2.2 diesel

It’s easy for motoring journalists to forget cars once they’re a few years old, but the fact is that the Kia Sorento SUV is still one of the best large cars of its type money can buy. It’s simply huge inside, with room for seven, plus it’s massively refined and quiet on the road. full review

 2016-Kia-Sorento-PLACEMENT

Land Rover Discovery Sport:

Price from: €41,565
Rivals:
Audi Q5, BMW X3, Hyundai Santa Fe, Jaguar F-Pace
Best engines:
2.0 diesel

Land Rover’s USP for the ‘junior’ Discovery is that it can be had with seven seats, but there are more spacious cars around the same price so we say buy it for its good looks, good on-road manners and the feel that it will get just about anywhere. full review

 2016-Land-Rover-Discovery-Sport-2

Lexus RX 450h:

Price from: €69,650
Rivals:
BMW X5, Volvo XC90
Best engines:
3.5 petrol-electric hybrid

The brand new Lexus RX 450h hybrid SUV really surprised us this year. It’s refined, oh so comfortable and pretty much as economical as any other large SUV. The interior is exceptional and we even love the edgy exterior styling. full review

 2016-Lexus-RX-450h-4

Mazda 3:

Price from: €22,995
Rivals:
Ford Focus, Kia cee’d, Opel Astra, Volkswagen Golf
Best engines:
1.5 petrol, 1.5 and 2.2 diesel

We liked the new Mazda3 from the start, with its smart exterior, lovely interior and well-engineered feel all round, but the Japanese manufacturer really made the hatch relevant when it launched a smooth and efficient new 1.5-litre diesel engine. Seriously, this is worth considering alongside the Golf now. full review

 2016_Mazda_3_i_Sport_4dr_Sedan_20L_4cyl_6M_6620688

Mercedes-Benz E-Class:

Price from: €54,150
Rivals:
Audi A6, BMW 5 Series, Jaguar XF, Lexus GS
Best engines:
2.0 and 3.0 diesel

Finally Mercedes-Benz launches an E-Class that doesn’t look like it was designed solely for pensioners… The new one has the best cabin in the class, a brilliant new 2.0-litre diesel engine and a chassis that manages to mix composure in the bends with genuine country-crossing comfort. Top marks. full review

 01-Mercedes-Benz-Vehicles-new-e-class-2016-1180x686

MINI Convertible:

Price from: €26,670
Rivals:
Fiat 500c, Mazda MX-5
Best engines:
1.5 and 2.0 petrol, 1.5 diesel

Reflecting low demand from new car buyers, there really aren’t all that many open-topped cars on sale in Ireland and the new MINI Convertible is probably one of the best all-rounders. It mixes a four-seat interior with top quality and a fun-to-drive attitude. It’s economical to run too. full review

 2016-Mini-Convertible-Cooper-S-top-view-04

Mitsubishi Outlander:

Price from: €31,500
Rivals:
Honda CR-V, Hyundai Santa Fe, Nissan X-Trail
Best engines:
2.2 diesel, 2.0 petrol-electric hybrid

Following a facelift last year, the Outlander now has the presence it deserves. It’s also more refined than before and the 2.2-litre diesel has loads of grunt. The PHEV hybrid model is well worth a look for those that spend most of their driving time in and around towns. full review

 2016-Mitsubishi-Outlander-01

Nissan Qashqai:

Price from: €25,620
Rivals:
Ford Ranger, Toyota Hilux, Volkswagen Amarok
Best engines:
1.2 petrol, 1.5 and 1.6 diesel

Nissan kick-started the crossover class with its original Qashqai and this second generation model is even more impressive. It looks good, is of high quality and has a range of efficient engines to choose from. Still one of the best in the sector. full review

 2016-Nissan-Qashqai-rear

Opel Astra:

Price from: €20,695
Rivals:
Ford Focus, Mazda3, Toyota Auris, Volkswagen Golf
Best engines:
1.0 petrol, 1.6 diesel

Opel’s Astra has sold by the thousand, but we’ve never really thought of it as the best car in the class. Until now. This new version beats the Focus and Golf at their own game. Choose between a perky 1.0-litre petrol engine and a smooth and efficient 1.6-litre diesel. full review

 2016-opel-astra-k-5-door-hatchback-11

Peugeot 2008:

Price from: €19,400
Rivals:
Ford EcoSport, Nissan Juke, Opel Mokka, Renault Captur
Best engines:
1.2 petrol, 1.6 diesel

A facelifted version of the lovely Peugeot 2008 crossover arrives just in time for the new registration period and it’s more impressive than ever inside and out, looking more like an SUV than a jumped-up hatchback. The GT Line version looks particularly good. full review

 carpixel.net-2016-peugeot-2008-gt-line-39071-wide

Porsche Macan:

Price from: €67,701
Rivals:
BMW X4, Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe, Range Rover Evoque
Best engines:
2.0 and 3.0 petrol, 3.0 diesel

Porsche has a modest presence in Ireland, but we reckon it should be selling a lot more of the Macan SUV. It’s the best car of its type to drive, looks fab and, come on people, it’s got a Porsche badge on the front yet can carry all the family. What’s not to love? full review

 FX15668

Renault Megane:

Price from: €19,490
Rivals:
Citroen C4, Ford Focus, Opel Astra, Toyota Auris
Best engines:
1.5 diesel, 1.6 petrol

Can Renault take the fight to the Opel Astra, Golf and Focus with its brand new Megane hatchback? Our first impressions say no, but its standout design, great interior and high specification may be enough to convince buyers otherwise. full review

 2016-renault-megane-full-specs-released-16l-base-engine-new-7-speed-edc-102365_1

SEAT Ateca:

Price from: €24,750
Rivals:
Hyundai Tucson, Kia Sportage, Nissan Qashqai, Volkswagen Tiguan
Best engines:
1.4 petrol, 1.6 and 2.0 diesel

SEAT has never had an SUV or crossover on its books, so you can bet that the dealers are rubbing their hands with glee at the prospect of the new Ateca model. Luckily for them it’s a cracking looking car that promises to be good to drive too. full review

 seat_ateca_04

Skoda Fabia:

Price from: €13,995
Rivals:
Ford Fiesta, SEAT Ibiza, Toyota Yaris, Volkswagen Polo
Best engines:
1.2 petrol

In the Skoda line-up, the Octavia, Yeti and Superb are well known stars, but the Fabia is an unsung hero. Yet we reckon it’s one of the best small hatchbacks money can buy, with high quality, a brilliant 1.2-litre petrol engine and decent space inside and in the boot. full review

 skoda-fabia-ii-2016-80545

SsangYong Tivoli XLV:

Price from: €24,750
Rivals:
Kia Sportage, Nissan Qashqai, Renault Kadjar
Best engines:
1.6 diesel

Although we don’t envy its dealers trying to convince buyers to choose SsangYong over more established brands, the Korean company is starting to make some good cars. The regular Tivoli is quite good and the new XLV version adds a huge boot to give it something quite unique in the marketplace. full review

 ssangyong-tivoli-xlv-2016-02

Subaru Forester:

Price from: €35,995
Rivals:
Honda CR-V, Mitsubishi Outlander, Nissan X-Trail,
Best engines:
2.0 petrol, 2.0 diesel

Need an unbreakable SUV that’s comfortable off-road, yet up to hundreds of kilometers on the motorway without breaking your back? The Subaru Forester could be just the thing. It’s non-nonsense SUV motoring at its best. full review

 2016-Subaru-Forester-XT_10

Suzuki SX4 S-Cross:

Price from: €20,995
Rivals:
Kia Soul, Nissan Qashqai, Skoda Yeti
Best engines:
1.6 petrol, 1.6 diesel

The Suzuki SX4 S-Cross is for those that need four-wheel drive and more ground clearance, but don’t really care for the SUV image. It’s a sensible and likeable car, just not one that excites or will have the neighbours’ curtains twitching. full review

Suzuki-SX-4-S-Cross 

Toyota Prius:

Price from: €31,450
Rivals:
BMW i3, Nissan Leaf, Volkswagen e-Golf
Best engines:
1.8 petrol-electric hybrid

The brand new Toyota Prius is a revelation. We’ve never liked the hybrid Toyota hatchback, but the new one is amazing. Sure, it looks a little odd, but it’s spacious and modern inside and, somewhat surprisingly, it’s really quite good to drive. It’s also very economical. full review

 2016-Toyota-Prius-Two-Eco-rear-three-quarter-01

Volkswagen Tiguan:

Price from: €29,720
Rivals:
Ford Kuga, SEAT Ateca, Toyota RAV4
Best engines:
1.4 petrol, 2.0 diesel

Forget everything you know about the previous Volkswagen Tiguan, as the new one is completely different. It’s more of a Golf crossover than an SUV, which is a very good thing indeed. It looks particularly great in R-Line specification. full review

 tiguan

Volvo S90:

Price from: €48,400
Rivals:
Audi A6, BMW 5 Series, Jaguar XF, Mercedes-Benz E-Class
Best engines:
2.0 diesel, 2.0 petrol-electric hybrid

As if buyers of executive class saloons didn’t already have enough choice in the market, Volvo goes and launches one of the most interesting yet, its new S90 saloon. It takes everything we love about the XC90 SUV (cool design inside and out, efficient engines) and packages it in a huge saloon body. One to watch for sure. full review

 Volvo-S90-official-10