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mrina
03-18-2009, 10:07 AM
Geneva Auto Show hits
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Hit: Tata Nano Europa
Indian automaker Tata timed the global mood perfectly when it said it will bring this larger, better-equipped and more-expensive version of its $2,000 Nano to Europe. At 129.5 inches long, the Europa is 7.5 inches longer than the bare-bones model developed for sale in India. It will have standard safety features like antilock brakes, air bags and traction control. Tata won't say when the roomy and attractive little car will reach Europe, but it's sure to cause a sensation.

mrina
03-18-2009, 10:07 AM
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Hit: Ford Iosis Max
This roomy little concept will lend its looks to the Focus compact that Ford will build in Europe and the United States next year. Look for a sedan to be the bread-and-butter model in the United States, but a hatchback will lead the charge in Europe. Innovative features like sliding rear doors and a three-way opening hatch eventually could make it to production.

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Hit: Chevrolet Spark
The production version of GM's first global minicar should aim to give Chevrolet's U.S. dealers a fuel-economy and affordability champ in 2011. Nearly identical to the popular Beat concept car from a couple of years ago, the Spark aims to beat the Smart Fortwo's fuel-economy ratings while offering two more seats and tuner-ready looks.

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Miss: PeugŽot 3008
A surprisingly bland hatchback designed to cash in on Europe's taste for eensy-teensy minivans, the 3008 lacks the styling panache that usually distinguishes PeugŽot's small cars.

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Hit: Rolls-Royce 200 EX
If the global economy craters so deep that even sultans and sheikhs have to downsize, Rolls will be waiting for them with its lovely and luxurious new "small" car. The 200 EX measures 212.6 inches long -- 10 inches longer than a Chevy Tahoe SUV, but still 17.1 inches shorter than the Rolls Phantom. The 200 EX is officially an "experimental model" -- Rolls-speak for a concept car -- but is to be on sale next year. The production model's power will come from a new V12, while its name will come from the Rolls roll call of historic names that includes Seraph, Ghost, Wraith and Cloud.

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Miss: Renault Scťnic
Another so-so French minivan, the new Scťnic looks positively drab compared to the daring earlier versions of Renault's popular compact people hauler. In poor light, it could pass for the departed Colt Vista Wagon, and it ends a run of strong auto shows for the automaker's design team.

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Hit: CitroŽn DS3 Inside
French design is not dead, and neither is the DS badge that adorned the avant-garde luxury car that carried everyone from President Charles DeGaulle to Inspector Clouseau. Smaller than the original, the compact DS3 Inside concept is a French Mini Cooper, and it will spawn a new production model built to return CitroŽn to the heights of French fashion.

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Miss: BMW 5-series Gran Turismo The front styling will carry on almost unchanged on the new 5-series sedan. The rest of the 5 GT concept misses the mark, however. The fastback styling pales next to the elegant Audi Sportback concept and the tall, crossover-style stance appears to compete solely with BMW's own X6 sporty SUV. A rotating wall periodically blocked the crowd's views of the car, making BMW a runner-up to the faux-marble stockade surrounding Infiniti's display for the show's least user-friendly stand.

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Miss: Mercedes-Benz E-class The new E-class picks up a couple of the C-class' least-effective styling cues in its hood and the rising crease along the sides. The interior doesn't offer any obvious improvement in look and feel from the outgoing E-class, a surprise from a company that used to raise the ante significantly with each new E-class.

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Miss: Mazda 3 MPS
The latest example of how to mess up a good design with frilly add-ons, the MPS suffers from a ground-scraping lower grille that mimics the look of a baleen-sifting whale's mouth, an adenoidal hood scoop and an ungainly rear spoiler.