Monday, October 10, 2016

2016 Paris Auto Show Review

Alexander Carabitses

I know that it has been a while since my last post, but I am back to cover the first major auto show of the season, the 2016 Paris Auto Show. This year's show actually had a lot more to offer than in previous years, with the Germans bringing their biggest arsenals to the show.  Of course there were many other brands and many other introductions, which I will do my best to highlight below, enjoy...

Let's begin with some of the subdue debuts and work our way up to the good stuff.  We'll kick off with FCA, which showed off a bunch of facelifts that were instantly forgettable.  The European version of the 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee was shown off, as were some other special edition Jeeps.  Fiat showed a special edition 500 and 124 Spider, as well as the refreshed 2017 Panda.  Maserati showed off face lifted versions of the Ghibli and Quatroporte (the latter of which was announced earlier in the summer); finally there was the 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Veloce, which will be positioned between the base models and the Quadrifoglio in global markets, except for the US.
(Images credited to Fiat, Alfa Romeo, and Maserati)

We'll move on to GM who also didn't really bring anything that spectacular.  Opel was the only brand to show anything, with the Ampera-e (a rebadged Bolt EV), the Cascada Supreme, the 2017 Zafira Tourer, and the 2017 Karl Rocks (an Opel Karl with body cladding) being the brand's premiers.  I guess we still have to wait for the new Insignia.
(Images credited to Opel)

PSA Automotive celebrated their home turf show by showing the new Peugeot 3008, 3008 GT, and 5008, along with the eF01 bike and Fractal Concept.  Citroen showed both the new C3 (including a rally version), the e-Mehari electric buggy (which actually is a production car), and the Cxeperience Concept.  DS only had a special edition model.
(Images credited to Peugeot and Citroen)

We now move on to Renault-Nissan who was busy showing off a bunch of models that everyone has already seen before, such as the facelifted Clio, the Koleos, and the Alaskan pickup.  In addition to these models, there was an unnecessary special edition Scenic, a facelifted version of the Zoe electric car, and an interesting concept called the Trezor.  While Renault relished in its home market, Nissan had a quieter show, showing only the 2018 Micra subcompact that will once agin not be coming to the US, which is actually a damn shame because it actually looks a hell of a lot better than the small cars the Nissan sells here.  Just for the record Infiniti had debuts, but Infiniti's are really nothing that we haven't seen before (the official facelift for the Q50 is irrelevant given how much the brand touted the powertrains in the 2016 model); also, Dacia refreshed its entire lineup.
(Images credited to Renault and Nissan)

Toyota was also quiet, showing most of the brand's New York reveals to European audiences.  Lexus trotted out the way too overdone UX Concept.  When I first saw this thing, I thought that its designers were experimenting with LSD when they sketched this out; it's that busy, that dramatic, and that ugly.  Sure there is plenty of interesting tech inside and all, but when the wrap looks nauseating, who really gives a crap.  Also, note that the Euro-spec 2017 IS was trotted out, as was a new trim level for the NX.
(Image credited to Lexus)

Over at Honda, things were much more exciting and bearable.  Not only did the Civic sedan and Hatchback make their European debuts, but Honda also showed the new Civic Type-R Concept.  Of course, every Honda concept is a thinly veiled production vehicle so this is a really good indicator of what the production model will look like.  Also, it's coming to the US for the first time, so there is a lot to be excited about.
(Image credited to Honda)

Hyundai and Kia each had a lot to show.  Facelifted versions of the Soul and Carens MPV debuted, as did an entirely new 2017 Rio that will be coming to the US pretty soon.  Overall, it's not bad and looks much more mature than it's predecessor.  If you want more mature, you should take a look at the 2018 Hyundai i30, which will eventually come to the states as the next-gen Elantra GT.  In addition to this surprisingly sophisticated hatchback, there was a facelifted i10 city car and the RN30 concept, which previews the hot hatch version of the i30.  Expect the design to be heavily toned down for production.
(Images credited to Kia and Hyundai)

Let's not forget about the poor souls over at Mitsubishi who still aren't giving up despite the hell they're going through legally in Japan and sales wise around the world.  Interesting piece of news comes in the form of the GT-PHEV Concept, which is sort of a design preview for the next generation Outlander.  Of course it will probably end up looking nothing like the concept, save for some minor details.
(Image credited to Mitsubishi)

BMW Group and an enormous list of unveils from the John Cooper Works Mini Clubman to a new electric scooter, as well as facelifted versions of both the 2-series M-Sport and 3-series GT and several other special editions. However, the biggest piece of news was the X2 Concept, which previews a production vehicle of the same name.  While it doesn't look bad, it only continued the BMW trend of cutting the market segments too thin, which will probably damage the company long term.
(Images credited to Mini and BMW)

Daimler's list of unveils was long, ranging from the Smart ForTwo and ForFour Electric, the Mercedes AMG GLC43 coupe, the AMG GTC Roadster, the E-Class Estate, and the E-Class All Terrain (basically an ultra expensive Subaru Outback). Then there were the two electric vehicle concepts: the Vision Van, which features drones on the roof that can deliver small packages and the EQ Electric SUV Concept, which will take ether fight to the Tesla Model X in 2020.  To make up for this dull concept, Mercedes also trotted out another special edition version of the gas guzzling G-Wagon, so everyone can calm down.
(Images credited to Smart and Mercedes-Benz)

We now move on to the VW Group, which actually had far fewer debuts than I expected.  There was the Skoda Kodiaq SUV, a new off road trim package for the Seat Ateca, the new Porsche Panamera and Panamera E-Hybrid, and a new trim level for the Macan.  Audi was red hot, launching the new A5/S5 coupe and sportback (the latter will be coming to the US for the first time), the all new and painfully dull, but all important Q5, and the highly anticipated RS3 sedan.  Volkswagen showed off their vision for an electric and autonomous future with a concept car called the ID; it too previews a line of electric cars that will be ready in 2020.
(Images credited to Skoda, Porsche, Audi, and Volkswagen)

Land Rover Jaguar showed off the new Discovery, which is all new from the ground up.  I honestly have to say that I'm quite impressed by this vehicle and am pleased that the old shoe-box look of the LR4 has gone away.  Then there was Volvo, which showed the V90 Cross Country, which like the E-Class All-Terrain, is basically a jacked up AWD version of its wagon brethren. Finally, Ferrari debuted a series of special edition models to celebrate its 70t birthday, while a less powerful version of the GTC4Lusso debuted along with the LaFerrari Aperta that we saw earlier in the summer.
(Image credited to Land Rover)

(Image credited to Volvo)

(Images credited to Ferrari)

And that's Paris in a nutshell.  In the end I think that there were a lot of great cars shown and I have to say that it was quite nice to see given that in years past, Paris hasn't always been as exciting as Frankfurt and Geneva.  What I find to be most interesting is that both Ford and Mazda did not participate at this year's show, which does seem a little peculiar now given how big of a show this was.

 The auto show circuit's next stops are SEMA and Los Angeles, and I will attempt to cover SEMA this year, so look forward to that.  Until then, thanks for reading and have good week.

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