14 Must See Geneva Motorshow Attractions

14 Must See Geneva Motorshow Attractions

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Geneva, Switzerland is prized for its beautiful scenery, its global diplomacy and the city’s compact center where arts, good food and shopping abound. The city is also home to the International Motorshow which is usually held for 11 days in early March.

The 2011 Geneva auto show is one of the best in recent years, reflecting the rebound in the global economy. Some 700,000 people are expected to pass through Geneva’s Palexpo Exhibition Centre in coming days to see the latest new models and concepts offered by European, Asian and North American car manufacturers.

If your travels take you to Switzerland in March, then a visit to the exhibition centre is required. We have 14 reasons why this year’s show is worth a visit and will share this information with you:

1. Chevy Cruze hatchback — The Chevrolet Cruze is popular and America, but has lacked a body style prized by Europeans: a hatchback. GM remedies that problem by introducing a five-door Cruze hatchback, offering outstanding storage capacity to match its excellent fuel economy. No, this model is not headed for the states.

2. Ferrari FF — You already love Ferrari and the FF doesn’t disappoint. What it does do is show how Ferrari incorporates four-wheel-drive and 2+2 seating in a vehicle that defies easy description or categorization. If anything the FF reveals a new design language coming for the marque, one that will revolutionize the iconic Italian sports car line.

3. Ford Ranger Wildtrak — It’s official: you can now hate the Ford Motor Company. Why would you want to do that? Because the global Ranger pickup truck won’t be available in the U.S. and Canada. At Geneva, Ford shows the model’s wild side, rolling out a version of the truck which looks awfully like a Chevrolet Avalanche: featuring four doors and a short truck bed.

4. Infiniti Etherea Concept — Coupes are cool unless you don’t want your car to look like one. The Etherea Concept from Infiniti changes that, featuring crescent shaped C-pillars that hides the fact that this compact car is really a hatchback. It is also a gas-electric hybrid, powered by a supercharged 2.5-liter four cylinder engine paired with a continuously variable transmission.

5. Mazda Minagi — Where competing manufacturers are investing in new hybrid models, Mazda is investing in engine technology, producing new gasoline and diesel engines to help improve fuel economy. In addition, the automaker is rolling out new models with the Minagi crossover concept reflecting its new design direction. The five passenger “cute ute” should top 40 mpg when it hits the market. We’ll see it in late 2012 or early 2013.

6. MINI Rocketman Concept — This cool concept is slightly smaller than the current Cooper, but uses a unique three plus one seating arrangement to offer room for four adults. This model is big on infotainment and features an interactive speedometer screen and a steering wheel mounted joystick to control everything. Not your usual Cooper, but one that extends the MINI’s reach in the compact car segment.

7. Mitsubishi Global Small — This model is a concept which means what you’ll see isn’t what you’ll get should Mitsubishi decide to build its Global Small model. Oddly named, this car points to the styling direction for the Japanese automaker and what will be underneath its hood: one of two available three cylinder engines.

8. Opel Ampera — Voltec technology comes to Europe in the form of the Opel Ampera, Europe’s version of the Chevy Volt. This model, like its American cousin runs on battery power for 25 to 50 miles before switching to a gas engine for extended range. The price? Just north of $60,000. Opel says it has already lined up 1,000 buyers for its electrified offering.

9. Renault R-Space — Too bad Renault doesn’t sell cars in the U.S. Since giving up on America in the late 1980s, Renault has remained absent, but they haven’t left the rest of the world. Not by a long shot. The R-Space is roomy, a multipurpose vehicle with a customizable interior. Booster seats, flat floor, table or an open area for kids are all possible which why this “our space” vehicle may be the most personalized car ever conceived.

10. Rolls-Royce 102EX — An electric Rolls-Royce you say? Sure, why not? The 102EX is also known as the Phantom Experimental Electric which is, as the name implies, the marque’s attempt to find out if customers might be interested in a luxury saloon powered by a pair of 145-watt electric motors. Yes, this “green phantom” is definitely an engineering reach for the vaunted ghost, offering environmental appeal for the well-heeled consumer.

11. Saab 9-5 SportCombi — The wagon version of the Saab 9-5 hasn’t always stirred the hearts of Saab faithful, but the 2012 SportCombi changes all of that. From the B-Pillars back, this car gains some windows and sports a glass-wrapped D-Pillar, offering unobstructed back up views and plenty of storage space to boot. We’ll see this car stateside after Europe gets it.

12. Toyota Prius+ — We’re familiar with Prius, the best selling hybrid model in the world. What is new are several submodels being planned including the Prius+, a seven passenger multipurpose vehicle. 7 people is a lot to get into a Prius, but this extended size model has the seating room and storage space to match. Europe gets the model in early 2012; we’ll see it here late next year.

13. Volkswagen Bulli — Remember the VW Microbus? Well, its back or at least it is in concept form. This six passenger battery electric vehicle has a range of 186.4 miles and looks a lot like the “love bus” of the 1960s. If VW green lights the Bulli, it will be available for sale in 2014.

14. Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet — VW’s subcompact Golf has always been a hot seller, but pair it with a convertible and you have a car that maximizes its sex appeal. Yes, this rag top Golf is the first we’ve seen since 2003 and will return to the European market in 2012. Will America be on that list? We’re not sure yet.

The 2011 Geneva show runs from March 3 to 13. More information can be had by visiting salon-auto.ch/en/.

Resources

My UMBC: Koenigsegg Agera R: Geneva ’11: Expect More Within 1-2 Days

WAToday: Mazda’s Compact CX-5 SUV Revealed

Geneva Tourism (English)

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