The Geneva motor show is underway and The Car Expert‘s Andrew Charman is busy trawling the halls checking out the new metal unveiled in the halls. But while the supercars will be attracting the most attention, the most important cars are the mainstream models that will likely sell in their thousands.
Here we showcase some of the real stars of 2018 – keep an eye on the site for more news from Europe’s most important Auto Show.
Definitely a British car is the Toyota Auris – the Japanese brand having only this week confirmed that the latest generation of its family car will be built at its Burnston plant and be powered by Welsh-built engines. The third-generation Auris is expected to boast more distinctive styling as Toyota attempts to boost its competent but slow-selling hatch.
One of the biggest rivals to the Toyota Auris will be the third generation of the Kia Ceed. It’s a long time since the unveiling of a new Kia failed to get the attention of journalists, and while the Ceed doesn’t sell as many as the brand’s Sportage SUV, it is still an important model and the new one will gain all the quality and technology that has completely changed perceptions of the Korean brand’s product.
The new Ceed, which goes on UK sale in the summer, also loses something – the apostrophe in the name, a butt of jokes by the likes of Top Gear, is gone in a bid to add to the car’s mainstream appeal.
Volvo has plenty of reason to celebrate at Geneva – not only has it won the European Car of the Year trophy with its XC40, but the show sees the debut of the new V60 estate. The new V60 is expected to prove as successful alongside its XC60 SUV sister as the larger V90 is with the XC90.
The latest to join the expanding Lexus crossover line-up will be the most dramatic-looking model yet. First shown as a concept at the Paris show in 2016, the Lexus UX is a small SUV described as an ‘Urban Crossover’ by its makers.
The UX is pitched as a real driver’s car – the cockpit is focused around the driver and the car built on an all-new platform that promises far greater rigidity and a lower centre of gravity – Lexus says the UX will have ‘the handling of a hatchback.’ When it goes on sale it will rival such cars as the Jaguar E-Pace and Mercedes-Benz GLA.
The saloon is dead, long live the fastback. The Peugeot 508, unveiled at the show, will offer buyers something different to the current glut of new SUVs when it goes on sale, probably before the end of 2018.
Peugeot has abandoned the saloon styling of the first-generation 508 in favour of a much more dramatic fastback shape. Naturally, it also gets the latest variant of Peugeot’s much-praised i-Cockpit. The petrol and diesel powertrain range is expected in time to be joined by a plug-in hybrid.
Audi’s big saloon is gaining a significant updating to take on younger versions of its big rivals, the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class. On sale in the summer of 2018, the car boasts all of the technology that has been seen in other recent cars from Audi, particularly the larger A8.
Highlights include all-digital controls in the cockpit, the most up-to-date connectivity, and powertrains that include mild hybrid technology.
All photos: Andrew Charman