International auto expos such as the Geneva Motor Show are great fun to attend. As one of the bigger events on the calendar, Geneva rarely disappoints car fans thanks to a reliable flow of high-end, mega-dollar supercars and wild concepts gracing the show floor each year.
This year’s show was no different, but mixed among the glamour cars at Geneva was a sizable contingent of production-ready mainstream models – the type of vehicles you head to WhichCar to read about. Here are the ones that are coming our way, and the ones you might want to consider for your shopping list.
Suzuki’s all-new Swift may be one of the smallest on this list, but it is by no means the least important. The Swift is a mainstay model for Japanese automaker Suzuki, and the next-generation compact hatch the company will send to Australia will be near-identical to the model range revealed at Geneva.
It weighs less than before and is powered by the same 1.0-litre turbo three-cylinder as the Baleno, with reduced fuel consumption and improved driveability being the result. There’s more active safety gear too, though we will likely miss out on the mild hybrid powertrain and all-wheel drive option that will be available overseas.
Range Rover Velar
In terms of production-ready head-turners at Geneva, the Range Rover Velar, an entirely new model for the British SUV specialist designed to sit between the entry-level Evoque and the mid-tier Range Rover Sport, was a standout.
Built on the same all-aluminium bones as the Jaguar F-Pace, the Velar promises to be a sleeker, more road-biased and sportier model than what presently occupies Range Rover’s showrooms. It will do battle with the BMW X6, Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe and the upcoming Audi Q8. Want to have the coolest whip at the country club? The Velar may be your steed.
Holden Commodore Sportwagon
We’ve already driven the next-generation Commodore (appropriately codenamed ‘NG’ by Holden) in sedan form, but Geneva was our first look at its wagon-bodied sibling in Opel-badged form.
To be offered as the Opel Insignia Sport Tourer in Europe, the new Holden Commodore Sportwagon will be heading here in early 2018 with a model range that largely mirrors that of the sedan. Expect the same engines and equipment, just in a more practical wagon bodystyle.
Honda Civic Type R
Hot hatches are one of the most popular types of performance cars in this country, and Honda will be returning to he segment when it re-introduces the Civic Type R at the end of this year.
The production version rolled out in public for the first time at Geneva. While there’s some significant powertrain carryover from the previous model (which wasn’t exported to Australia, but was the first turbocharged Civic Type R to be offered by Honda), the Type R’s 235kW and 400Nm outputs place it near the top of the hot hatch pecking order.
The new XV is much like its predecessor, in essence a jacked-up Impreza hatchback with additional plastic body armour and few other changes. That said, the very fact that it boasts rugged styling and a higher hip-point than the regular Impreza means the Subaru XV is playing an increasingly important role for Subaru as the uptake of small SUVs accelerates.
The XV is based n the same all-new platform that also underpins the Impreza, and also shares its 2.0-litre petrol flat-four engine and all-wheel-drive driveline. Refinement, interior space and equipment are also improved as a result.
Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross
The Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross may resurrect the name of a 1990s Mitsubishi sports car, but the chunky, sharp-edged crossover that was on show at Geneva is worlds apart from the low-slung two-door that previously wore the Eclipse badge.
Effectively taking the place of the ASX (which will move down in size and maintain its position as an entry-level SUV) in Mitsubishi’s line-up, the Eclipse Cross is pitched as a Nissan X-Trail, Mazda CX-5 and Toyota RAV4 competitor.
The Infiniti Q50 is the BMW 3-Series rivalling medium sedan from the Nissan-owned luxury brand, and while it’s struggled to gain traction in this market Infiniti hopes the updated model revealed at Geneva will provide extra appeal.
Semi-autonomous driving features were announced for the Q50, along with refreshed exterior plastics and a revised variable-ratio steering system. Australian prices and specs are yet to be locked in, but with the first revision for the current-generation Q50 only having arrived here at the end of September, there may be a wait for the latest update finds its way over here.
Ford Fiesta ST
Though regular versions of the Fiesta were revealed overseas toward the end of 2016, Ford reserved the hotter Fiesta ST version for Geneva. It’s a dramatic departure from the template set by its predecessor, with power now supplied by a turbocharged 147kW 1.5-litre three-cylinder engine rather than the old car’s 1.6 turbo four. More power, fewer cylinders.
What’s more, it can even run on just two cylinders when cruising to save fuel. Power still goes to the front wheels and the emphasis remains on razor-sharp handling – the only catch is that Ford Australia is staying quiet on the Fiesta ST’s prospects for a local launch. Here’s hoping.
The latest model in Volvo’s stable to get an all-new replacement is the XC60, and besides box-fresh styling and a thoroughly modern interior, Volvo’s new SUV will also boast a massive tech update.
Headlining the new XC60’s spec sheet are semi-autonomous safety features and the same cutting-edge turbocharged (and supercharged, in the case of the T6 variant) four-cylinder diesel and petrol engines as used by the XC90 and S90.
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