By John Simpson 28 February 2011
Thursday marks the opening of the 81st Geneva Motor Show and with the promise of the world’s first look at a batch of brand new models as well as tweaks to models which have already been tried, tested and loved, FleetDirectory.co.uk has compiled (in no specific order) ten of the likely highlights expected at this year’s event.
With more than 860,000 units since since its launch in 2005, the well-established Kia Rio has taken a ‘big step forward’ with its new line partly due to its revised looks which will bring it in line with the rest of Kia’s striking design-led passenger car range.
Soon-Nam Lee, director of Kia’s Overseas Marketing, said: “The Rio has always been successful and with this new incarnation, we have a car that people will want to buy for its looks.”
Featuring more passenger space and a high level of quality previously associated with larger models, the five door model will ship from September with a three door following in early 2012. The Kia Rio will be unveiled alongside the all new Picanto.
Another car set to make its debut at the Geneva Motor Show is the Saab 9-5 Sportwagon.
Sleek and a real blast to drive, the SportWagon is said to inject versatility to the widely acclaimed 9-5 saloon and will bring a distinctive, alternative choice to the premium large estate segment.
“The launch of the 9-5 SportWagon is a much-awaited next step in the roll-out of our new product offensive,” says Saab Automobile CEO Jan Åke Jonsson. “It will take Saab back into the large estate segment where we have established a strong presence in many key markets with our previous offering.”
Backed by the same all-turbo petrol and diesel powertrain line-up as the 9-5 saloon, the Sportwagon also features Saab’s DriveSense adaptive chassis control, adaptive cruise control (from late 2012), and Bi-Xenon SmartBeam adaptive lighting.
Orders will be taken in the spring with the first customer vehicles set to appear from September.
What, more world premieres?! ‘Fraid so, but a familiar face nonetheless.
Volkswagen’s all-new Golf Cabriolet is the first since the Mk IV Golf was launched in 1999 and the two-door, four-seater, front-engined soft top is aimed at building on VW’s reputation for producing popular convertibles which first started with the original Beetle cabriolet.
A choice of three engines will be available from launch; a 1.2-litre TSI 105 PS, 1.4-litre TSI 160 PS and a 1.6-litre 105 PS TDI with a further three following later in the year; a 1.4-litre TSI 122 PS, 2.0-litre TSI 210 PS and a 2.0-litre TDI with 140 PS.
Those behind the new Ford Ranger Wildtrak say the revised model is “bold, powerful and confident with more power, capability and features”.
Boasting exceptional towing capability and Smart technologies including Adaptive Load Control, Trailer Sway Control, Voice Control and the segment's first rear-view camera system, the new Ranger Wildtrak is expected to serve as an exciting addition to the commercial vehicle market.
Epitomising their altered ideals, the Hyundai i40 is intended highlight the company’s new ‘modern premium’ concept – the belief that the highest quality and characteristics should be accessible to everyone.
“Offering more for less has always been a fundamental principle at Hyundai,” said Allan Rushforth, Senior Vice President and COO of Hyundai Motor Europe.
“The i40 is a perfect example of how we are offering the best and making it accessible to everyone. From stunning design and specification, to industry-leading technology and aftersales care – the i40 sets itself apart from its competitors.”
With a purely European identity, the i40’s 1.7-litre diesel engine will emit from just 113 g/km of CO2 emissions – a best-in-class figure that also demonstrates Hyundai’s pro-active approach towards eco-technology.
Toyota will use the Geneva Motor Show as a prime opportunity to parade the next stage in its hybrid power technology strategy for sustainable future transport with the Yaris HSD.
Incorporating hybrid-specific styling cues and new, forward-looking design elements, the Yaris HSD heralds a production model that will bring full hybrid power to the B-segment and the next step in Toyota’s roll-out of full hybrid versions of its complete model range across Europe.
The Kangoo Van Maxi Z.E. will be the newest addition to Renault’s range of electric vehicles when it goes on sale at the end of 2011.
Driven by a 44kW motor (equivalent to 60hp) which is powered by a 22kWh lithium-ion battery located beneath the floor, the extended version of the Kangoo Van Z.E. allows a greater carrying capacity of up to 4.6m3 (1.1m3 more than Kangoo Van Z.E.) with a wheelbase lengthened to 4.60 metres, and will come in a two- and five-seat form.
Renault hopes the Kangoo Van Maxi Z.E. will appeal to fleet ownerswho are looking for maximum carrying capacity, and in the case of the crew van version, additionally a people carrier and who wish to lower their fleet CO2 emissions.
The Chevrolet Cruze will continue to grow in popularity at this week’s Geneva Motor Show, at least that’s what Wayne Brannon, president and managing director of Chevrolet Europe hopes.
“Cruze is turning out to be a real success story,” said Brannon. “We are selling it in 70 countries around the world and it has recently surpassed the Aveo as our top selling passenger car nameplate globally.
“Hatchbacks play a critical role in many markets. The total compact segment in Europe represents around 4.8 million units which is over a quarter of the total market, with hatchbacks representing around 65% of that volume. We therefore expect to see increased business in a number of regions, while sending out a signal that Chevrolet is now a serious mainstream player in Europe.”
Striking a balance between high levels of driving dynamics and low emissions and consumption is the new Volvo V60 which offers sub-120 g/km emissions and 62.8 mpg from its 1.6 litre turbo diesel engines.
"We have moved ahead very quickly since we launched our first three 119 gram models in Paris in autumn 2008,” says Volvo Cars President and CEO Stefan Jacoby. “The fact that we now have seven models below 120 g/km, three of them below 100 grams, emphasises that few of our competitors can match us in the drive for increasingly eco-efficient cars.”
Production is set to start imminently with customer vehicles expecting to be delivered in April 2011.
We’ll wind this up with just one more world debut, the new revised Renault 308.
After undergoing a spruce-up style-wise, the 308’s new look adopts a more sophisticated elegant appearance and with reduced weight, redesigned aerodynamics, and optimised engines, now sets the benchmark in terms of environmental efficiency.
With its 1.6 litre HDi FAP 112 bhp Euro 5 engine, the 308 paves the way for CO2 emissions of 98 g/km – another new record in the segment.
If you are heading to the show, why not leave a comment below and tell us which models you’re most eager to see up-close.
Alternatively, if you’re sticking to home soil, which cars would you be excited about seeing?