So, the dust has settled on the 2011 Geneva Motor Show (for the press gang at least – it’s still open to the public until 13 March). The Which? Car team was there for both press days, checking out the latest concept and production cars coming our way.
Here’s our pick of the top 10 most significant cars from the show.
Geneva Motor Show 2012
– all the latest news, pictures, videos and industry gossip from the 82nd edition of the International Motor Show.
Volkswagen Bulli concept
VW has reinvented the Camper, brought it bang up to date and shrunk it in the wash to become a six-seat people carrier. Thank goodness we had a chance to see this the night before the show opened, as it was impossible to get near it on the VW stand. If the level of interest in this concept is anything to go by, VW simply has to build it. The compact MPV market is crying out for something you can buy with your heart as well as your head.
Remember the old Kia Rio? Thought not. While that car had looks only a mother could love, the new Rio is genuinely good looking, and boasts impressive emissions figures too (CO2 as low as 85g/km). Make no mistake, Kia is now a major player on the world stage, and its new Rio and Picanto superminis at Geneva will have the likes of Ford, Vauxhall and Toyota losing sleep…
Full marks to Ford for listening to the needs of its target audience. The new B-Max mini MPV (based on the Fiesta) will become the smallest people carrier in its range when it arrives in the next 12 months, but it won’t be the least practical. Sliding rear doors, and the total lack of a B-pillar (which normally obstructs access to the cabin) should make the B-Max a big hit with families.
Nissan Esflow concept
Talking of target audience, we’d hate to draw attention to Nissan’s pen portrait of the typical Esflow driver (read more in our Esflow coming soon page), but that’s the worst thing about this car. OK, it’s only a concept, but if Nissan can actually build an all-electric sports car as cool as this, which hits 62mph in less than 5 seconds and lasts for 150 miles on one charge, it will be onto a real winner.
Mercedes-Benz C-class coupe
We’ve never been huge fans of the compact Mercedes CLC (or Sport Coupe, as it used to be known), but we’re quite taken with this larger C-class coupe. With looks, performance and fuel economy to worry the likes of Audi’s A5 and BMW’s 3 Series coupe, this four-seater should have no trouble finding buyers. It’s due here in June, and we’d expect a C-class convertible to follow in early 2012.
Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet
It’s been 10 years since we waved goodbye to the last Golf soft-top, but now the Cabriolet is back. While VW already offers the Eos folding hard-top convertible (based on the Golf), it clearly feels it has space in the range for a Golf Cabrio too. It’s nothing spectacular inside or out, but it’s a solid, well conceived car that will almost certainly have a waiting list. Bit small for four adults, but other than that, we like it.
Audi A3 concept
Another motor show, another niche filled by Audi. This time it’s the turn of the A3 range to get a spin-off model – an A3 saloon. Small saloons don’t tend to be popular in the UK, but they might be if they all looked this good (and were this fast). Audi does intend to build it, too, alongside hatchback and Avant (estate) versions of the new A3, due to arrive in late 2011.
In terms of Geneva’s more fanciful cars, we’d take the Jaguar XKR-S over the new (spot-the-difference) Aston Martin Virage any day. With 540bhp from its uprated 5.0 V8 engine, this the most potent Jag to date. It’s not terribly subtle, and probably not a car to buy in the middle of an oil peak, but let’s hope that dies down in time for this car’s arrival in late 2011…
Volvo V60 Plug-in diesel hybrid
At the other end of the spectrum, in terms of eco credentials, is Volvo’s plug-in diesel hybrid. While Peugeot showed off the world’s first production diesel hybrid (the 3008 Hybrid4), Volvo hopes to take that one-step further, with a diesel hybrid that can also be plugged into the mains. If it can pull this off, V60 could offer CO2 emissions as low as 49g/km and fuel economy of 150mpg. Potentially a game-changing car.
Toyota Yaris HSD
The Yaris HSD concept clearly showcases the look of the new Mk3 Yaris, due here in autumn 2012, but also indicates Toyota’s intention to build a Hybrid Synergy Drive (HSD) version of the supermini. If Toyota wrings all it can from the system, CO2 emissions could fall below 75g/km. And that means the government will give you 25% off the list price of the Yaris HSD under its low-carbon grant scheme. Watch this space…
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