Car makers display style for France
Lerato Matebese looks at some of the exciting regular models unveiled in Paris
FOLLOWING our review last week of the lusty exotic cars from the Paris Motor Show, this week we shift our attention to the more sedate end of the vehicles displayed. Though not quite the stuff dreams are made of, these remain the industry backbone with a universal appeal and accessible pricing.
Let us cast our attention to the Ingolstadt manufacturer, Audi, which unveiled the five door variant of its forthcoming A3, the Sportback. Longer and wider than its predecessor, the new model is said to bristle with technology associated with its more expensive brethren, but it is perhaps its luggage carrying capacity over its three-door sibling that will win it favours with the four ring brigade. It boasts 380l boot space — 10l more than its predecessor — that can be extended to 1,220l with the rear seats folded. The cargo floor is said to have 100cm of clearance between the wheel wells, making it easier to carry those cumbersome items. Engines will include TDI diesel and TFSI petrol, the latter currently headlined by the new 1.8TFSI engine putting out 125kW and 250Nm. Equipped with a front-wheel drive set up and an S-tronic transmission, a 0100km/h time of 7.3 seconds and a top speed of 225km/h is claimed for this particular model.
Kia unveiled its latest generation Pro_cee’d, which looks more upmarket than its predecessor, thanks to the design wizardry of the company’s head designer, Peter Schreyer. There was also the third generation Clarens small MPV, while the Optima hybrid signals the company’s approach to greener motoring. Still on green, or perhaps blue in this instance, Volkswagen unveiled the Bluemotion variant of its imminent seventh generation Golf, boasting a 1.6l TDI engine with ultra-low emission figures of 99g/km and fuel consumption claims in the region of 4.9l/100km.
Lexus unveiled its LF-CC concept, a mid-sized coupe that is a likely platform to spawn the next generation IS range, as the current model is now rather long in the tooth in the wake of its more modern rivals. It was also the first Western European appearance of the updated LS600h F-Sport.
Renault’s new Sandero seems to be a more upmarket prospect than the current model with a host of new engines, including a three cylinder 900cc turbo charged petrol engine making 66kW and 135Nm. There is also a 1.5l dCi turbo diesel with 66kW and 200Nm, similar to that in the Micra, though they have not been confirmed for local consumption.
Suzuki unveiled the S-Cross concept, which will be the company’s foray into the c-segment crossover market should it decide to turn it into a production model. Its biggest draw cards would be space and comfort, which the company says it will slot in above the SX4 and will offer a similar 4WD system to its younger sibling, allowing strong traction on many different road surfaces.
Mitsubishi unveiled, among other models, the updated variant of its ASX crossover, which boasts an updated face with chrome lashings around the grille and front foglights and new and improved cabin materials, while the 1.8 DiD turbo diesel model is also likely to join the local fray.
Toyota showcased its all-new Verso, which, much like the forthcoming Auris, signals the company’s new design language with a sharper demeanour. According to the company’s release, the main changes are at the front where the new design strategy has been adopted to project a family look that gives the car a strong visual link to the new Auris and Auris Touring Sports (wagon).
The aim has been to reduce the perception of the vehicle’s height while emphasising its width and length. Among other features, the new model will also boast LED daytime running lights, while power will be offered by revised variants of the current 1.6l and 1.8l petrol engines, and the 2.0l D-4D turbo diesel. Six-speed manual transmissions will be standard across the range, while an improved CVT (continuously variable transmission) will be optional on the 1.8l model.
Mazda’s new 6, which is characterised by the company’s Kodo design language, will go on sale in international markets in the first quarter of next year, with SA likely to follow soon after.
It will be offered with both Skyactiv petrol and turbo diesel engines, the latter headlined by the 120kW and 420Nm 2.2l unit, which should give it enough power to cope better on the rarified reef than the petrol model. It is likely to boast ultra-low fuel and emission figures too, thanks to the high compression ratio of the Skyactiv engine technology.
This year’s Paris show has continued its reputation of being one of the most hyped up motor shows on the calendar, and with good reason. While greener motoring remains on every manufacturer’s design brief, it is good to know driver enjoyment, even in traditionally family oriented vehicles, has not been left by the wayside.
The Suzuki S-Cross concept, above, and the new Mazda 6, top right. The VW Golf 7 in Bluemotion guise, right. Left: The new Kia Pro_cee’d.
The new Dacia (Renault) Sandero.