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Frankfurt motor show 2015 top five facelifts

Date: 18 September 2015

Paul Barker, Chris Lloyd and Hugh Hunston report on the facelifts and new variant highlights from the Frankfurt motor show.

Ford Ranger

A mid-life revision for the triple What Van? Award-winning pick-up.

Why is it interesting?

Ford has improved fuel efficiency by up to 17%, taking emissions down to a best of 171g/km for the new 160hp engine that replaces the outgoing 125hp and 150hp units.

When is it on sale?

Early 2015.

Any other business?

The regular, super and double-cab versions are all retained, and payloads and towing capacities remain unchanged.

The interior is now offered with Ford's latest voice-activated Sync2 connectivity system, and new driver assistance technologies now available include Lane Keeping Alert and Lane Keeping Aid, and adaptive cruise control with forward alert.

Audi A4 Avant

Estate version of new A4 premium compact saloon.

Why is it interesting?

With 505 litres of boot space with the seats up and 1510 with the rear seats folded, no other posh compact exec estate can match the A4 Avant for load-carrying ability.

Making the boot more usable are a standard powered tailgate and an electrically retracting luggage cover. CO2 of as little as 104g/km for the 2.0 TDI ultra 150 diesel - and the prospect of strong residual values - mean that the A4 Avant should prove affordable for business users to run.

When is it on sale?

November 2015.

Any other business?

Audi claims refinement levels in the A4 now match its A8 luxury saloon.

Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer

Estate with more interior space than its predecessor, but with almost identical external dimensions.

Why is it interesting?

Arguably the workhorse of Astra's core range, it is 200kg lighter than the car it succeeds. This should reduce CO2 to an average diesel figure of below 90g/km with the Ecoflex format.

For fleet drivers demanding load-lugging capability, the ST enjoy an additional 80 litres of space, or a 1630-litre capacity with the rear seats folded flat. The Tech Line Ecoflex fleet-specific model in 110hp 1.6-litre diesel form promises a theoretical 85mpg.

When is it on sale?

First quarter, next year.

Any other business?

Built at Ellesmere Port in the UK, the car should benefit from quality levels that set a standard across GM's global assembly empire.

DS4/DS4 Crossback

Citroen's premium brand DS has revised its small crossover model, with the DS4 getting a revised front end to bring it in line with the recently facelifted DS5. More interestingly, there's also a new DS4 Crossback model (pictured).

Why is it interesting?

The Crossback version is raised by 30mm and features styling enhancements for its £1000 premium over the regular DS4.

When is it on sale?

The DS4 arrives in the UK in November, and the Crossback follows in January 2016.

Any other business?

The DS4 gets a choice of three petrol and three diesel engines, which drops to two diesel and one petrol on the Crossback.

Hyundai i20 Active

The smallest member of Hyundai's SUV crossover family. More than half of its body panels and trim are specific to this latest derivative while the powertrain is shared with other i20s.

Why is it interesting?

With two-wheel drive running gear and a more overtly butch body kit, there are no off-road pretensions. Fleet scope is limited by not offering a diesel, and features the confusingly titled 90hp 1.0-litre T-GDI three-cylinder turbo-petrol unit.

There are no plans to import a 120hp version from the Turkish assembly plant.

When is it on sale?

January, next year.

Any other business?

Hyundai UK predicts the Active will account for 10% of i20 sales and join the burgeoning supermini SUV crossover market, which includes the Nissan Juke, Peugeot 2008, Fiat 500X and Ford's reworked Ecosport. Although eclipsed by the Active's chunkier, funkier looks and 2cm higher driving position, the ix20 remains in the catalogue.