It’s fair to say Jason Castriota’s SAAB Phoenix concept is one of the most talked-about cars of the show: opinions may have varied but one thing’s for sure – everyone had one. That of course includes Chris Bangle who you can see ask Castriota “Why is the PhoeniX a SAAB?” in our video.
If you’ve not had a chance to check it out yourself you can check out our full SAAB PhoeniX Flickr set, while 20 of said set are featured below.
Needless to say we’ll make our own opinions clear when the dust has finally settled.
Before heading out to the show, we were a little reticent to make a beeline for the Kia stand. You see we’ve been right behind Peter Schreyer’s vision for Kia and fans of the results too. But from the initial press pictures the new Rio looked like it may be the first Schreyer-era Kia to disappoint. Thankfully we were wrong.
It overall form has a sophistication that’s approaching the VW Polo’s in this class. It’s not far behind the car from Wolfsburg when it comes to detail execution either:
Shutline treatment is bold, clean and precise. Rear door/boot treatment has a hint of Mk4 Golf in its parallel-ness
It would have been easy to run the feature line straight through the rear lamp but this subtle sculpturing is indicative of its attention to detail
Interior plastics quality may not be up to the standards of the best but details like these neat rocker switches and bold colourways greatly lift perceived quality
In the second phase of its new design lifecycle the Renault Captur is all about ‘discovering the world’ after that wildly passionate, visceral embodiment of ‘falling in love’, the DeZir.
On a macro scale its format fits the remit perfectly; a compact crossover with the sort of outdoorsy stance that would look perfectly at home half-way up a mountain in a nauseatingly-posed publicity shot.
Of course that’s the danger with such a vehicle: it’s easy to slip into ‘lifestyle’ clichés, with mountain bikes and snowboards attached to every possible orifice. But the Captur deftly sidesteps such sickliness, particularly in its interior design, led by Magali Gouraud-Borgers, with Kana Watanabe responsible for colour and trim.
The use of fluorescent bungee cord to support the passenger side IP as well as form the front seat centres and the inspired rear load bay/seat-base/shag-pad perfectly encapsulates my interpretation of the project: organised complexity.
The same theme runs through Julio Lozano’s exterior – the repeated boomerang graphic that lays scale-like on its fenders, flicks into the window line, through the rocker panel, inside the lamp cans – doesn’t appear in any way forced or fussy. In the same way the bungee cord simply takes up its natural form under tension, so too do the myriad of feature lines, aping the adjustment systems found on shoes and bags. They also provide structure to the voluminous but wonderfully controlled bodyside surfacing.
Of course the interior material choice is directly inspired by outdoor sports equipment and the Captur is one beautifully-executed rucksack we’d love to throw on our backs and head off to explore the world.
The Esflow polarised opinion in Geneva. It clearly has a lot of Nissan Z-car language in it, and appears to demonstrate an intention to build an electric sport car before too long. However, inside feels like a very different car to outside (we don’t mean that as a negative comment). We were grabbed by some of the details, such as the indicator stalks (below), bank of toggle switches that sit in the midst of the dual-hump of the IP, and billet-like gear selector (see bottom). Design review coming soon.
Skoda has relaunched itself somewhat at Geneva this year, with a redesigned logo and corporate typeface as well a concept car called ‘Vision D’. Its aim is to “at least double” its sales by 2018.
The Czech subsidiary of the VW Group has quietly become a huge hit over the last few years. It has increased market share (now way outstripping the group’s perennial underachievers, Seat) thanks to great products such as the Yeti and Superb Estate that encapsulate Skoda’s understated, rational and friendly image.
Strange then that rather than consolidating this proven formula, the Vision D appears to undo much of the established perception.
As an overall concept a five-door fastback sits oddly next to the famously practical Fabia, Roomster, Yeti and Superb with their higher-than-average H-points and best-in-class interior space. And isn’t the fastback format (sure to be dubbed a ‘five-door coupe’ by the marketing department) a little frivolous for Skoda?
Its form language also contradicts Skoda’s core appeal. You could cut your finger on the intersections of its surfaces and feature lines and set your spirit level by the brutal, static rocker treatment. The new corporate face, while still recognisable, has increased its facial aggression by around 20 per cent thanks to the tightening of radii, a trend that is spreading like wildfire throughout the entire VW Group.
Its interior is much more pleasing, with a simplicity and implied solidity to its architecture. The air outlet, minimal brightwork treatment and floating HVAC controls feel ‘on-brand’. But crystal trim inserts? Surely more befitting a gin palace Bugatti than a practical honest-to-goodness car for families and grandparents, even if crystal has an authentic Czech-ness.
The Skoda Vision D isn’t a bad car – it’s very competently executed and that fastback silhouette has a cool late-’70s Italian vibe. But as a statement of how the brand is looking to build on its core strengths it completely misses a wide open net.
The Minagi concept is the last vehicle to have been created under the direction of Laurens van den Acker, though Mazda’s new design boss, Ikuo Maeda, has also made his mark on the design.
Very near production ready, the five door crossover features a Z- shaped character line on the bodyside as well as a new front and rear end design, which incorporate many of the design elements first seen on the Shinari concept last year.
The concept’s interior is perhaps the most appealing. With a clear sports theme – again reminiscent of the interior design of the Shinari – the detailing is both elegant and technical.
Rich black leather and contrasting red stitching on the seats and IP combine with swathes of chrome and recessed lighting throughout the cabin, while transparent glass elements (through which the HVAC system is operated) adorn the center console.
Maeda’s sports car experience and enthusiasm for racing is showing through in this new crossover.
Sitting next door to a Lancia stand, where Lancias were badged as Chryslers, and Chryslers as Lancias (yes – we’re confused too) the Zagato 500 coupe struggled for attention. And while the trademark Zagato double bubble roof-line didn’t really work on the diminutive form of the 500, overall this was a quietly impressive and appealing piece of work. Of particular appeal is this plastic window surround, which I thought was an eye-catching detail, and creates an interesting surface break between C-pillar and roofline.
The HSD concept previews the design direction for the next generation Yaris, but there’s nothing groundbreaking here…
Showcasing Toyota’s proprietary hybrid technology in a B-segment package, the monovolume exterior design features some hybrid-specific styling cues previously seen on the Prius and Lexus RX450h. These visual identifiers include the LED headlamps and taillamps and blue Toyota badges.
Within compact exterior dimensions is a ‘spacious practical interior’, Toyota claims. We would have liked to see this for ourselves, but the blacked-out windows of the show car demonstrate that it’s not yet been finished.