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Geneva Motor Show 2006

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All of the show stars from Geneva 2006

STEP BY STEPPE
They say
It provides a vision of what a leisure vehicle on a Logan base might be. True to the brand’s reputation for robustness, the Logan Steppe concept features sturdy body parts. Its colour scheme gives it a convivial feel and it was developed with snow sports especially in mind. The netted seatback pockets are ideal for stowing sports magazines. The design of the dashboard is evocative of escapism and sport, and it would come as no surprise to spot the trace of a snowboard boot above the passenger-side airbag...

We say
This is Dacia’s first ever show car - splendid job chaps. The Steppe will form the basis of Dacia’s next  hit, an ‘activity wagon’ on the lines of the Skoda Roomster. It grows the Logan platform, gains internal space and adds all the ‘I’m-muscly’ cladding needed to carry off a rather presentable look. Ignore the snow-fluff, and you have a practical, promising estate thingy. Again, we expect the Steppe to be cheap, well-built and practical. Just like the sort of cars Skoda made to regain brand equity. And look at them now.

READY TO HATCH
They say
Honda engineers have designed a ‘superhatch’ to deliver blistering performance from the same power output as the previous incarnation - 200 bhp. The aggressive, lower and wider-looking body wraps around the new 2000cc engine and the model, built in Britain, will go on sale in early 2007. Expect to see more 3 door versions at the London Motor Show in July.

We say
The five-door Civic may have stolen some of the thunder of the Civic Type-R, but man, it looks rocking in yellow. It shares the same wheelbase and roof as the five-door, but you’ve to look for the thicker C-pillar and the coupe-esque DLO. That aside, the 200 bhp normally aspirated motor will be a thrill, that’s a promise, and the aggression of the mesh grilles and the Type R signs will not be in vain.

EZ RIDER
They say
The Mitsubishi Concept-EZ MIEV uses four in-wheel motors and a lithium-ion
battery system to drive all four wheels. EZ means Easy and gives expression to the easy-to-use nature of the interior and the vehicle’s leisurely functionality. MIEV means ‘Mitsubishi In-wheel motor Electric Vehicle.’ The vehicle shows Mitsu’s vision for next-gen electric vehicles. The concept uses a 20kW outer rotor-type in-wheel motor on each wheel to generate 110 bhp. Maximising the space freed up by the MIEV
design – no central powertrain results in a low flat floor layout – the Concept-EZ MIEV offers roomy interiors with the interior height of a large mono-box despite its relatively low overall height.

We say
It’s an idea. The theme works well, and the MIEV powertrain has very obvious space and packaging advantages. The silver and white design makes it looks like the sort of thing that would go well with next-gen iPods and stuff and become hip. The body colour surround on the head and tail lamps are only the tip of the clever detail highlights. And notice the silly but funny European tourist destinations in the tyre tread. Inside, the seats turn all the way round so you can watch a movie on the rear mounted screen. It’s
a likeable design, we vote, and not without tangible ideas for the future.

SPYKER PIC
They say
Yes, SSUV. The latest from Spyker is a Super Sports Utility Vehicle. A new product line altogether, it’s the first SUV format to come from the Dutch marque. The Spyker D12 Peking-to-Paris is a four-wheel drive, four-door, four-seater luxury car that has a powerful 500 bhp W12 engine. Going into production at the end of 2007, it brings in elements from Spyker’s aeronautic heritage (see the functional roof fin on the D12), and the name from the factory-backed Spyker that took part in the 1907 Peking Paris race. Heritage aside, the car has AP racing carbon-ceramic matrix discs, suicide doors, 0-100 kph in five seconds, F1-style
paddles for the six-speed automatic, ‘cockpit’ dash layout and a luxo interior.

We say
Been watching the success of the Cayenne, eh? Just like Porsche did, Spyker wants more sales and an SUV is the way to go. Spyker’s cars and now this, look unique and therefore  there are a few elements that look like they’ve come off the C12 and end up looking decidedly odd. But you won’t mind, the Bentley W12 should keep you busy. The details are all carefully executed and in the flesh, the car
probably looks stunning, expensive and capable. Interiors are on the same lines as well, with a billet aluminium central spine, Spyker-standard shifter and acres and acres of leather. It’s all a bit over the top and ‘showy’ but that’s Spyker for one, and there are fresh ideas in here that are worth looking deeply into.

WAXING LIRICA
They say
Inovo Design is a Turin-based firm that does consultancy work, makes prototypes and offers CAD services. And the Lirica concept is their first visit to Geneva. Lirica, the name, refers to Italian lyric opera – appropriate, they say, because of the car’s blend of classical proportions and modern features. The Lirica is a large GT with a front-mounted V8 engine and rear-wheel drive and also has a very advanced driver-car interface with an Airbus A320 10-inch multi-function touch screen as the dash. Inovo designed and developed the Lirica in just eight weeks, and describes it as its ‘four-wheeled business card.’ 

We say
Though not famous, the Lirica should get Inovo more clients. Sort of like DC did with the Infidel, leading to the AMV8. The car is very reminiscent, unintentional of course, of the proportions of the Ferrari 612 Scaglietti. The naked design is very attractive, very reserved somehow and in parts, CLS-ish. Maybe Inovo should have painted it a brighter, more expressive colour.

EX FACTOR
They say
The Rolls-Royce 101EX is the latest experiment from the maker of
luxury cars. This time, they’re exploring a modern coupe, through engineering-led design. The 101EX uses the same aluminium space frames as all recent Rollers, but in a shorter, more rakish body style. The Phantom supplies motive power from its direct injection 6750cc V12 ( read unstressed, effortless performance). While there are no production plans at the moment, Ian Cameron’s design does look tempting, with its all-new body panels, the gorgeous 21-inch wheels and the Rolls-spec interior wrapped up in machined aluminium, leather, rosewood and red oak.

We say
No matter what they say, the 101EX is the next step in bringing the 100EX (Geneva 2004) closer to production reality. Yes, it does have a clutch of new and innovative design ideas. The skin is very similar to the 100EX, but the Spirit of Ecstasy in clear acrylic looks spell-binding. The windshield surround is a bit iffy, with opinion being fairly split on how much class it adds. That said, it’s crafted from a huge chunk of billet aluminium,so it is admirable. The interior apparently uses 1600 LEDs in the roof for a starry
starry night effect; that’s a new idea. And finally, the 101EX also has a wood-lined box in the boot for sports equipment.

A CAPITAL IDEA
They say
A Volkswagen with all wheel drive, a cross between a sports car and SUV, with a design that is as powerful as it is aesthetic and that possesses the best all round features. Its front part, with a new 3D crest radiator grill made out of brushed aluminum, and distinguished head lights form a congenial yet competent and confident progressive appearance. The study is powered by a CNG 150 hp Twincharger (TSI), whose
motto is ‘maximum driving pleasure, minimum consumption’. Power reaches the wheels via a six gear transmission and an all wheel drive 4MOTION.

We say
Oh yes, the Golf’s rib now rests at VW R&D, giving birth to a crossover. And this  is the ultrasound image of sorts. But already there is veiled criticism with elements appearing to resemble others. The Egeus and Panamerica names have been whispered in reference to concept philosophy and sloping cabin profile respectively. BTAIM (Be that as it may) it’s an almost all-new VW face, a likeable one at that. The shiny ‘beard’ is nice too. We like it. Interiors are quite neat as well. If VW keep this up, the Golf crossover will be funky. And will it have a GTI version as well?

Buzz bomb
They say
Rally-ready and eager to go, the new Dodge Hornet concept vehicle is designed to bring to the B-segment market a unique blending of European sensibility regarding engine size and overall footprint with an American flair for aggressive attitude and flexible interior space. Underhood is a 1600cc 16-valve OHC supercharged four-cylinder engine putting out 170 hp and 22.6 kgm.

We say
No, no, no this is all wrong. Dodge makes imposing cars the size of buildings with engines that resemble truck motors... what is this? Actually, this is probably as American as small cars get. It is chunky, modern, compact and still small. It is very much a Dodge. We like the details - the strip indicators in the mirrors, the spot lamp and below the sill surface development. However, we’re still not convinced about the way the grille sits between the two ‘buttressed’ front wings.

MAX POWER
They say
The new S-MAX offers a flexible seven seater with distinctive styling. The S-MAX will get two petrol motors including the streaker from the Mondeo ST, the 220 bhp 2500cc five-pot turbo. Three diesels will be on offer as well, the cream of the oil burners being the 140 bhp 2000cc DuraTorq. The S-MAX is designed to look and feel sporty, with the gills on the lower grille area making the car look unique. Ford has also reformatted the cabin to give the driver a ‘cockpit’ sort of feel.

We say
The S-MAX shares a fair bit with the new Galaxy, but it aims for greater dynamic ability. The angular lines are an attempt at remaining in sync with the European ‘Kinetic Design’ idea. The S-MAX will be lodged between the Mondeo and Galaxy and you can specify either five or seven seats. The 220 bhp top-flight motor certainly seems to be in line with the sporty intentions and Ford says an SAV concept style orange nose and 20 inch wheels will be on offer. The S-MAX is a pretty cheeky move. It effectively allows Ford to play a two-MPV for the launch of one sort of game, with the 220 bhp one acting as the GTI variant of the regular one. At least it’s a first. No one, at the moment, has a performance MPV (sic?).

S SIR
They say
Volvo says the new S80 has more to it than meets the eye. Engines first; there’s two petrols and one diesel. The top of the line motor is a 4400cc 315 bhp V8 that comes with all-wheel drive. You could also opt for a 235 bhp 3200cc petrol or the 2400cc 185 bhp diesel (both come in all- and front-wheel drive options). Among the new gizmos is radar-equipped adaptive cruise control. Sort of like the Mercedes brake system, the S80 also has a complicated braking system that braces the systems when it detects an impending collision. And finally, there’s a booming music system and a blind spot information system.

We say
It was the S80 that gave us the new Volvo shape we came to like. Post-Square, we’re told, is the technical term. Now, the straight sill line bends into a cunning arc, the S80 gets softer edges, a more angled rear windscreen like the S60. Design gurus say the S80 looks less distinctive, but we disagree. The S80, in our books, looks smart, welcoming and even classy.Inside, the S80 features the slim centre stack like in the S40, with a neat dark wood insert. It’s a bit at odds with the hi-po music system though. The rest is all Scandinavian-Ikea sort of neat, functional and very upper-class design, some of it traceable to the Geneva 2003’s VCC showcar. Volvo could probably have tweaked the S80 a lot more, but we’re thinking, enough.

CAPTIVA AUDIENCE
They say
The Chevrolet Captiva has many firsts to its credit already. It’s the first Chevy SUV made for Europe. The engine comes from the GMDAT-GM Powertrain joint programme and the Captiva will have 2400cc and 3200cc petrol V6s and a new 2000cc 150 bhp common rail diesel as well. It will also be the first Chevy on this side of the Atlantic with an electronic stability program. Chevrolet are specifying McPherson struts in front, with an independent four-link design for the rear. Discs all-round and a butch stance round out the new car.

We say
RAV4 and HRV seem to be the targets here, as the SX3 concept finally shows its production ready shape. And it isn’t breaking any new ground. Like the Q7, the Captiva uses a lot of car-like details and surfaces and looks attractive as a result. But we’re not kicked about the cladding, which looks like it came straight off the X3 and the silver painted bits inside the car. And yet, this is a good, clean design and a smart package.

JET LAG
They say
The Aero X is a straight ‘Born From Jets’ Saab. It boasts a 400 bhp twin turbo 2800cc V8 that runs bioethanol. Four wheel drive, with double-clutch sequential manual gearbox promises loads of fun. Saab claims a 0-60 acceleration time of less than 4.9 seconds, with top speed electronically limited to 155 mph. Instead of space and time wasting doors, the Aero gets a Jet-style canopy that
the driver gets in and lowers around himself.

We say
She’s an exotic Scandinavian beauty all right. The canopy is too sexy for words, the lines are all dramatic arcs, taut surface development and neat space-age details like the green acrylic instruments are all delightful. The bio-powerplant is a neat idea, as is the super-long nose. But we can’t imagine this car as anything more than a way for the beleaguered brand to snag some glitter at the show. And my, they managed to put together the best looking car at the show in the process.