The most important business cars of the 2010 Geneva motor show
09 March 2010
The worldwide car industry decamps to Geneva once a year for one of the major events in the European calendar. Paul Barker and Rachel Burgess take a look at the crucial corporate cars revealed in Switzerland.
On sale: 1 November 2010
Possibly the most exciting car of 2010, the A1 is Audi's return to the small car sector after the 2005 demise of the ahead-of-its-time A2. It will arrive from £13,000 with a choice of 1.4 diesel and 1.2 and 1.4 petrol engines. Potentially the brand's third-biggest seller after the A3 and A4, expect rock-solid residual values for what is likely to be a must-have car, much like rival BMW's Mini. Full pricing, specification, emissions and economy figures will be revealed later in the year.
On sale: Spring 2011
Lexus' first foray into the lower medium segment, the CT200h, could take over from its current best-selling IS as mid-sized cars begin to reign supreme. A hybrid with a 1.8 petrol engine, it will be priced "mid-segment" compared to premium rivals such as the Audi A3 and BMW 1-series and have class-leading CO2 emissions, expected to be in the mid-1990s. Lexus hopes to appeal to a younger audience with CT200h which will have two driving moods - dynamic and relaxing - and will also offer four drive modes.
On sale: Late 2010
Mazda's all-new mini-MPV builds on the appeal of its predecessor, and again offers the sliding rear-door style other manufacturers such as Ford and VW have recently fitted to their people carriers. The Japanese firm's stop-start system reduces emissions by 15% on the 2.0-litre petrol version, and Mazda has retained the same seating layout as the previous generation 5, with a smaller middle Seat in the central row. First cars will hit the UK towards the back end of this year.
On sale: September 2010
Minis have always been the retail customer's favourite, but with its first four-door five-seat model, the brand hopes to break into the user-chooser business market. Starting at £16k and with lowest emissions at 116g/km for the more expensive diesel variants, Mini says it could take people away from the Golf and Focus. This is a car that Mini describes as "spacious and practical in a way Mini hasn't been before, but still with all the vibrancy of the marque".
On sale: November 2010
Nissan hasn't been renowned for its low-CO2 models, but the new Micra will change all that. A 95g/km version will arrive around half a year behind the launch line-up, and the revelation is that it's a petrol model. Rivals Ford, VW, Seat and others are getting below 100g/km with diesel, but the Micra's clever lightweight construction and engine technology sees it get to the lowest CO2 point for a petrol supermini. The grown-up looks are designed to attract a more balanced clientele than the female-oriented predecessor.
On sale: June 2010
The Megane CC is the first of Renault's models to use its new dual clutch auto transmission, which the carmaker claims will mean CO2 and fuel economy comparable to a manual version. Only available on its dCi 110, there are two further diesel engines and three petrol on offer all mated to a six-speed manual transmission. Core buyers are men and women in their 30s and 40s says Renault. Fleet is expected to make up about 30% of sales with Motability popular on this type of car due to wide doors.
On sale: July 2010
Toyota believes the hybrid version of its lower medium Auris has the potential to be its flagship model. While its traditional engines flag behind on CO2 compared to rivals (see road test p19), the Auris HSD combines a 1.8 petrol engine and a 60kW electric motor for an output of 134hp, which matches the performance of a conventional 2.0-litre diesel hatchback claims Toyota. With 89g/km CO2 and BIK?of 10% there will be a premium over a standard petrol Auris, but prices are yet to be announced.
On sale: 19 June 2010
Vauxhall has gone radical with its new Meriva supermini-MPV courtesy of a pair of rear-hinged 'suicide' rear doors more regularly associated with Rolls-Royce. They create a wider opening, and also ease access into the rear seats as there's no sloping roofline to duck under or wheel arch intrusion to step around. For safety reasons the doors automatically lock so they can't be opened at above 2mph.?The new model is 236mm longer than its predecessor, and Vauxhall claims class-leading seat adjustment in the rear.
On sale: November 2010
VW?has finally produced a new Sharan, updating it with a new look to match the Touran mini-MPV and also adding practical sliding rear doors. The UK will get either six- or seven-seat options, with the 2.0 TDI 140hp engine expected to prove most popular. VW is predicting 65% of Sharan registrations to be taken by fleet, and stop-start and regenerative braking are both standard across the line-up. Pricing will be announced later in the year, but is expected to range from £23,000-£33,000 across the two petrol and two diesel engines, topped by a petrol 200hp 2.0-litre.
On sale: Summer 2010
Fleets will make up more than two-thirds of registrations for the new S60, which is longer, taller and wider than its predecessor. Prices are yet to be announced but are expected to be around 3% cheaper than its core competitors the Audi A4, BMW 3-series and Lexus IS. At launch a 2.0 and 2.4 diesel and a 3.0 petrol engine are available. The real winner for businesses, the Driv-e version, which has less than 115g/km CO2 and 65.7mpg, won't come to market until early 2011. The S60 introduces Volvo's pedestrian detection with full auto-brake system, which uses radar and cameras to identify objects.