Geneva show round-up

March 2, 2010 | By | In Events

Ford, Vauxhall, Saab, VW and Nissan use top motor show to unveil new models bound for the UK. Check them out here This is the next Ford Focus. This sporty-looking new hatchback ranked among the new cars taking centre stage at this week’s Geneva motor show. Along with this car, Ford showed off the estate version of the Focus, the first time that this body shape was seen publicly. Ford has sold over 1.3 million Focuses since introduction 12 years ago. Four out of five have been hatchbacks, while estates account for a further one in 10. One in three buyers pick a diesel engine and the most popular petrol choice is the 1.6 99bhp. Buyers prefer highly specified vehicles: more than half go for the Zetec models and one in six opts for Titanium trim, which is the top spec.

One car to spark intense interest given its recent past was the new Saab 9-5. This all-new model should give the make a desperately needed boost when it begins sale later this year, replacing as it ds a 9-5 that dates from early 1998. But doubts over the future of the make as it struggled to find a buyer last year meant that this handsome new saloon might never have been built. But with new owners Spyker Cars installed, its future now looks assured.

Honda used the Geneva show to give an airing to its new CR-Z coupe. This sporty car uses Honda’s established IMA petrol-electric hybrid engine technology – already seen in the Civic and the Insight – and links a 1.5-litre petrol engine to a powerful electric motor. Because it is a sporty car, fuel economy and emissions levels won’t match those of other Honda hybrids – it will manage up to 56mpg overall while pumping out 117g/km of CO2. Prices will run from £16,999 to £19,999 and the first cars will reach UK owners in June.

Toyota has also announced that it will produce a hybrid version of its Auris hatchback, which it will build at its UK factory at Burnaston, Derbyshire. The new car, called the Auris HSD (for ‘hybrid synergy drive’) will be capable of up to 74mpg and will push out 89g/km of CO2. That’ll put it among the leaders of its class for economy and low emissions and means that it is ‘green’ enough to qualify for free road tax.

Volkswagen showed off the successor to its long-running Sharan models and, unlike earlier versions, this one features twin sliding doors to either side of its body. The new cars will seat up to seven, as before, but will be longer, wider and lower. Despite this, they are around 30kgs lighter. The new models will pack many more gadgets including on some models a new version of VW’s Park Assist system, which can also guide vehicles into spaces in a multi-storey or outside a grocery store. The Sharan will use a range of petrol and diesel engines mated to stop-start technology and regenerative braking and, in the case of the 138bhp 2.0 turbodiesel, that’ll means up to 52mpg overall and an output of 143g/km of CO2. Stop-start technology fitted as standard helps achieve these figures.

Staying with MPVs, Vauxhall used Geneva to showcase its newest model, the second-generation Meriva. This model is notable for its radical new looks and styling that takes in rear-hinged side doors – as you’d find on current Rolls-Royces. The new Meriva is substantially bigger than the current car and prices will start at £15,495. The Meriva will reach the UK later this year.

Over at Nissan, the company used the show to unveil its new, fourth-generation version of the Micra. This will use a new chassis and new three-cylinder engines, topped by an all-new body that nonetheless retains the little car’s characteristic ‘bubble’ silhouette. The new car is lower and a little longer, while the wheels are ‘pushed’ to each corner to increase cabin space – an area where the current Micra now falls behind rivals. The car will use a new 1.2-litre three cylinder engine, available in normal and supercharged tune. A ‘green’ version that produces carbon dioxide emissions of just 95g/km will join the line-up later. The car will begin sale in the UK this autumn. However, unlike the current Micra, it won’t be built here, but in Thailand, India, Mexico and China.

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