10 Most Significant Cars from the 2017 Geneva Motor Show
The list of significant vehicle introductions at this year's Geneva Motor Show demonstrates that hatchbacks are in, while traditional sedans with their 3-box look of a hood, cabin and trunk, are on the way out. Ranging in size and purpose from small subcompact economy cars up through luxurious SUVs, the latest wave of open-back vehicles includes more than a smattering of another long lost form, the station wagon. In alphabetical order, here are the top 10 vehicles you should know about from Geneva.
Audi RS3 Sportback
While Audi hasn’t yet said whether this high-performance compact wagon is headed to the U.S., the upscale German make found a small but dedicated following for its A3 Sportback in previous generations. The Audi RS3 Sportback certainly will appeal to those same enthusiasts, boasting 400 horsepower from a 2.5-liter 5-cylinder engine, which is good for 0-60 mph acceleration of 4.2 seconds, as well as the bonus utility of a wagon.
Ford Fiesta ST
A better bet to make it to the U.S. is the new Ford Fiesta ST. This is an econobox that packs a powerful punch thanks to its turbocharged 1.5-liter 3-cylinder engine that makes nearly 200 horsepower. The Fiesta also boasts selectable driver modes for the first time with Normal, Sport and Track settings, as well as 3- and 5-door body styles.
Europeans sometimes get all the best stuff when it comes to high-performance one-off models, but that’s not the case here as Honda is preparing to bring its superhot Type R version of the Civic hatchback to the U.S. The Honda Civic Type R shown in Geneva boasts over 300 horsepower delivered to its front wheels through a 6-speed manual gearbox. The wild performance is complemented by the wild look, which features a large fixed wing on the rear hatch. We’ll see it here by this summer.
Mercedes-AMG E63 S Wagon
Mercedes is set to unleash the most powerful wagon it's ever brought to the U.S. In addition to the handy rear liftgate, the Mercedes-AMG E63 S Wagon boasts 603 horsepower from its 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8, output that’s delivered to all four wheels. That’s good for a top speed of 180 mph, transforming it into a wagon that not only hauls the goods, it also hauls tail. It’s scheduled to go on sale this fall alongside its more prosaic sibling, the Mercedes-Benz E400 4Matic Wagon.
Opel Insignia Sports Tourer
General Motors may be in the process of selling Opel to the French PSA Group that owns Peugeot and Citroën, but there are still some products in the pipeline destined to come to the U.S. as Buicks. One of them is the Opel Insignia Sports Tourer that will likely be sold as a Regal in the U.S. This handsome wagon makes one wonder why this body style has faded from favor in the American market. Maybe tastes will change thanks to the popularity of crossovers and we’ll see more good-looking vehicles like this on the road. Offered in front- and all-wheel drive, the Insignia is powered by a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine.
Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo
Continuing the parade of wagons at Geneva, the Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo is the German company’s first-ever such vehicle. It wasn’t long ago that people scoffed at the idea of a 4-door Porsche, much less a Porsche SUV. The success of the Cayenne and Macan (as well as the Panamera sedan) has proven the skeptics wrong. Now comes a Panamera wagon variant which not only offers more cargo-carrying capability than the standard model, but also a new rear seat that can accommodate three passengers instead of two.
Range Rover Velar
Sedans are in decline, SUVs are on the rise, and nothing underscores the growth of the luxury utility segment like the proliferation of models under Land Rover’s Range Rover banner. The all-new Range Rover Velar slots neatly between the entry-level Evoque and the Range Rover Sport. Based on the same architecture used for the Jaguar F-Pace, the Velar’s design is meant to echo the look of the original Range Rover, which was launched in 1970. It goes on sale this summer with a base price of $50,895.
Subaru XV Crosstrek
The whole hatchback phenomenon has been given a huge boost by car-based crossover SUVs like the Subaru XV Crosstrek. Nominally, it shares the Impreza platform and mechanicals, but with the addition of styling tweaks and a taller ride height, it comes across as more of a go-anywhere, do-anything SUV than a compact econobox. In addition to its new look, the Crosstrek boasts a new 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine, which makes 154 horsepower and 145 lb-ft of torque delivered to all four corners through Subaru’s Symmetrical all-wheel-drive system.
Volkswagen Arteon Gran Turismo
VW’s Geneva star is a car that delivers the luxury of a traditional sedan in a package that offers the utility of a liftback. The VW Arteon Gran Turismo will be positioned above the current midsize Passat, replacing the upscale CC in the lineup sometime in 2018 as a 2019 model. The Arteon boasts a particularly long 111.9-inch wheelbase, which promises plenty of rear-seat legroom and a steady highway ride. And when that rear seat is folded down, the Arteon boasts SUV-like cargo capacity of 55 cubic feet.
Volvo’s long-term reputation was for building boxy sedans, but that reputation is being put to rest not only by its stylish new luxury flagship, the S90, but also its sexy crossover SUVs, the latest of which made its debut in Geneva. Available in either front- or all-wheel-drive versions, the Volvo XC60 promises good performance from its base 250-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine in T5 guise. Stepping up to the V60 T6 nets a turbo and supercharged version of the same engine, this one good for 316 horsepower. Topping the range is the 400-horsepower T8 plug-in hybrid, which goes into production in April.