Motor Show: The main small cars at the Geneva Motor Show

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The main compact cars at the Geneva Motor Show

Motor Show: The main small cars at the Geneva Motor Show-motor

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Crossed: In the 500 L, Fiat has combined the face of the 500 with the roof line of the new Panda.

Source: Fiat

Motor Show: The main small cars at the Geneva Motor Show-show

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Modern: The Nissan Note looks ready for series production, and will hit the market in 2013 at the latest.

Source: Nissan

Motor Show: The main small cars at the Geneva Motor Show-small

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Fresh: The small Toyota Aygo remains at 8990 euros base price despite the facelift.

Source: Toyota

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Original: the Ford B-Max is a small van with sliding rear doors.

Source: Ford

Motor Show: The main small cars at the Geneva Motor Show-geneva

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Electric: The revised Smart is also available as an E version with 48 hp.

Source: Daimler AG

Fiat stretches its smallest: 59 extra centimeters turn the 500 into a family car. But Opel, VW and Nissan have also prepared new products for the fair.

S.This car looks strangely strange and yet so familiar: Fiat has stretched the cuddly, spherical Cinquecento and made the 500L model out of it. L for long version, the Italians’ booth at the Geneva Motor Show at the beginning of March is sure to attract a large audience.

The extended Fiat 500 remains in the small car class, even if it has now reached an impressive 4.14 meters. But it is not allowed to join the VW Golf class (4.20 meters) count. On the one hand it shares the technical basis with the Fiat Punto, which competes in the Polo class, on the other hand it is offered – also in terms of price – as an alternative to small vans like the Opel Meriva.

How the gained 59 centimeters are divided between the rear seat passengers and the luggage compartment, Fiat is still in silence. No information about the flexibility of the interior either – the rear seat should be able to be folded down in parts and moved lengthways.

Fight for the doors

The successfully launched Opel Meriva, which will get new and more economical engines in the spring, is also threatened with trouble from another side: the new Ford B-Max will be coming from Cologne in the autumn. He attacks the Meriva where it actually has its strength: with the door concept.

While the small Opel van with doors that open in opposite directions not only attracts attention, but also makes getting in and out of the vehicle easier, the Ford B-Max goes one better: the rear doors are sliding doors like those of large vans – and the middle door post is missing.

This makes the small Ford van indisputably the easiest to get in and out of, and it’s easier to get by with sliding doors in tight parking spaces. In everyday life, however, the strength of the body has to prove itself – with the B-pillar, an important stabilizing component has been removed.

When it comes to engines, Ford also wants to take the lead: the new three-cylinder, one-liter capacity, should deliver between 80 and 100 hp and consume only about four liters per 100 kilometers. As with the Fiat, no prices have been announced yet, but neither of them may cost much more than an Opel Meriva (from 16,150 euros).

New Nissan only as a study

This also applies to the Nissan Note, which will also be on display at the Geneva Motor Show, albeit as a study for the time being. The car has been on the market since 2006 and is one of the more successful Nissan models, but the success of the Opel Meriva has affected it too.

The model shown in Geneva already looks very close to series production and no longer looks as staid as its predecessor. The fact that the new Note should be a van is just as difficult to see as with the Fiat 500 L. Peugeot is adding the new 208 one floor lower than the B-Max and Meriva. It competes in the VW Polo class, is unusually shorter than the 4.03 meter long predecessor model 207, but should offer more space inside.

And in a class below that, the Toyota Aygo (3.41 meters) comes to the stores in a new look, which also applies to its sister models Peugeot 107 and Citroën C1. The timing of the revision is not inconvenient, as VW has put itself at the top of its class with its new Up (3.54 meters) small car. In January 2153 Up were newly registered in Germany, so the smallest VW is just ahead of the Smart..

A car every minute

And the Up! doesn’t stay alone: ​​At Seat there is an Up! spin-off as Mii in the starting blocks, and at Skoda it is called Citigo. All three come from the factory in Bratislava, which, ironically, has so far built the largest car in the group: the VW Touareg, Audi Q7 and the body shell of the Porsche Cayenne.

The group subsidiaries are also busy collecting orders. When production in the hall with the size of 21 football fields is in full swing, a new small car should be ready there every minute.

In order to fully utilize this capacity and to ensure that the Up! If it becomes a more sustainable success than its predecessors Lupo and Fox, plans for further variants are in full swing. The VW brand alone will have five more body and engine variants by the end of next year, announced Ulrich Hackenberg, Head of Development: Almost all studies will go into series production, which VW last September for the world premiere of the Up! had shown at the International Motor Show in Frankfurt, only the playful Buggy-Up! remains a unique piece for the time being.

Elektro-Smart comes onto the market

The start of the offensive, however, is the five-door, which will cost 475 euros extra and make it much easier to get to the rear. The Eco-Up will follow in autumn for a surcharge of around 2500 euros – it runs on natural gas and emits only 97 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometer. And for 2013 VW is already planning a sporty GT-Up, the e-Up with electric drive and the fashionable Cross-Up.

Development chief Hackenberg also admits that the Up! Basic price of currently 9,850 euros will at least double in the case of the electric version. But: "In the end, the electric car will also pay off for the customer. ”One of Hackenberg’s technicians is more specific: the e-Up! should undercut the around 24,000 euros that Mercedes, including battery rental, names as the price for the electric smart.

After many years of fleet testing (also in Berlin), it is finally coming onto the market, and the slight facelift that Daimler has given its smallest model for the new season fits in with this. The radiator grille is now bigger and the side skirts are wider. The other changes concern a larger selection of colors, rims and upholstery, the base price remains unchanged at 10,275 euros.

Basic Panda still below 10,000 euros

Incidentally, Fiat did not want to exceed the magical 10,000 euro limit for the new Panda and has therefore decided not to offer the anti-skid electronics as standard in every model variant. The basic Panda costs 9,990 euros, but only got four out of five stars in the current crash test of the Euro NCAP organization.

This result has nothing to do with actual crash safety, but you can’t get five stars without ESP as standard – that should also cost the Panda victory in the vote for Car of the Year. The new model and six other cars have just been nominated for this award, which its predecessor won in 2004.

Perhaps Fiat could have saved itself the surcharge calculation for the Panda anyway, because the list prices in the retail market are almost impossible to maintain, especially for small cars. The CAR Institute of the University of Duisburg-Essen, for example, which evaluates the manufacturers’ discount campaigns on a monthly basis, has determined that discounts are mainly given for smaller cars – and Fiat itself is offering the new Panda from March 3 to 31 for 8,490 euros at the introductory price with a 1500 euro discount.

More shortcomings in small cars

The unstable prices may also be related to the usage behavior of small car owners: Smart & Co. are often used as second and third vehicles and are accordingly neglected.

The current TuV report has determined a significant increase in the defect rate between the third and fifth year of life in small cars. For those interested in small cars, the following applies: choose carefully from the growing range, do not accept any price and take good care of the car later.

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