Geneva motor show review: the concepts
There were so many new cars being shown at the Geneva show it was easy to overlook some of the concepts that hinted (in some cases very unsubtly) at future cars.
We thought that we would take a look at some of the hidden stars of the Geneva show that could be coming to a road near you quite soon.
The Volkswagen Bulli (that's the nickname Germans gave to the original Transporter - no, we don't know either) was one of the most intriguing concepts of the show - Volkswagen says it has unfinished business after the Microbus concept of 2001 came to nothing, but the Bulli is more mini-MPV than Transporter reborn.
As Autoblog UK's Jay Nagley put it, "it looks like a Daihatsu Materia with a bodykit". If the reception is good, however, expect it to go into production in the next two years.
Smart put the forspeed concept on show in Geneva - it might look a little whimsical, but stare harder and you'll see the longer wheelbase and more cutesy features of the upcoming fortwo, due in 2012.
Smart has seen its initial lead in the chic city car market drop down to almost nothing, so it will need to pull the stops out on this one.
Many onlookers are in agreement that the Audi A3 saloon concept is the best looking car that Audi has managed to cobble together for a good while - and despite being officially a concept that examines the idea of a saloon rear on the A3 hatchback, we are pretty much looking at the new A3 which goes on sale in the UK next spring.
New Renault design boss Laurens Van Den Acker is to be commended for the work he is doing to revitalise Renault design - but as a man with a reputation for impressing with concept cars and not being able to see that promise through to production, the pressure is on to get it right with these cars.
We showed you the sleek Captur concept as it was unveiled at the Geneva show, but sitting quietly behind it was the Renault R-Space, the concept car which previews the replacement for the Scenic. It looks like there's a new family face going on, judging by recent concept cars, but from the A-pillars back it's anyone's guess. The new Scenic should be on sale around 2013.
Skoda is another company keen to put some pizzazz back into its styling and the Vision D could go down as one of the quiet heroes of the Geneva show.
Autoblog has a hunch there could be a Golf-sized hatchback in the offing that will fit nicely between the Fabia and Octavia, but the clean, crisp lines of the Vision D promise a more mature approach to styling across the whole range. That hatchback could be on sale as early as next year.
The Ford Vetrek concept is the preview of the car that will replace the Kuga in Europe - the Focus-esque face and slightly bland lines remind us that it's going to be a Ford world car, but the premium pretensions and crisp driving experience should add up to a very respectable package when it goes on sale next year.
Suzuki's S-concept is hardly worthy of the name - it's practically the exact car that will go on sale later this year as the hot hatch variant of the Swift. We liked the last Swift Sport - it was a real dark horse - and we also like the latest-generation Swift, so the new performance car will have a lot to live up to.
The muscular body kit gives some cause for hope - as does the rumour that Suzuki is aiming at the Polo GTI in terms of benchmarking the new car's performance.
The Tata Pixel is more of a traditional concept car, but the company insists that it gives a good idea of the European version of the Nano which arrives next year.
What with the scissor doors and fancy infotainment system inside the Pixel it already seems a world away from the super-basic Indian version of the Nano.
Click on the video below for more concepts.