The new mini-citycar is the star of the Renault stand during press-days. We can see it from every angle and a wide range of color combinations.
Let’s stop the wrong comment right away. While looking at the New Twingo, most people were making reference to the Fiat 500. Let’s say…why not if you are looking at the vinyl “side stripes » arrangement only. But certainly not if you remember the volume and design language of the Renault 5…The shape of the headlights, the pronounced shoulders on the back part and the design of the tailgate are an echo to the R5 Turbo, the most iconic sports version with a rear engine. The design accentuates that feeling, pushing out the tail lamps to the sides.
For the first time the Twingo has four doors…This new vehicle shares its platform with the next generation Smart with an engine placed to the rear. Because of that technical choice, the gar has a very interesting and recognizable silhouette. With only 3.59m width and wheels rejected to the four corners, the wheelbase is 2.49m, allowing a generous interior space for such a small car.
The interior looks dynamic and playful with many customization options. No doubt that the interior will become iconic as the first opus was. The dashboard is very simple and is surrounded by a wide plastic part giving all its character to the IP.
Some optional storage products are possible which makes the interior very customizable…
No doubt that this Twingo III will be a new reference in its category. It is not retro design as the Mini or the Fiat 500 and to us it is much more interesting in term of design…


We left the Cactus concept car in Frankfurt with a lot of hopes and we discover the production car here in Geneva. There is no disappointment and no surprise with the result in the flesh. The Cactus production car remains simple and efficient in term of design and keeps the “courage” to be innovative this category.
The Airbump on the side are still part of the menu. We are sure it is going to be efficient in the everyday use, and we are still curious about how it will go throughout the years…
The interior still uses a “sofa” style seat on the front, even though they are still two seats.
The digital IP reminds us the history of Citroen and can feel a little bit disconcerting for some drivers.
The rear part is a little bit disappointing…rear space is not very comfortable, especially for a family.
The aesthetic of the Cactus is really treated in different way than other cars: maybe more like a product design or architectural piece.
With the Cactus, Citroen is really trying to regain its idiosyncratic image.  But in a highly competitive and rather homogenous ‘world-car’ market, is it possible to reclaim the “Frenchness” and the strong individual brand identity that Citroen once enjoyed with iconic cars like the 2CV and the lovely DS?  Perhaps more importantly will it work outside France?

GENEVA 2014 | Hyundai INTRADO

Hyundai has unveiled its new concept car, the Intrado, initiating a new design language called Fluidic Sculpture 2.0. It is the first Hyundai designed under the direction of Peter Schreyer (CDO&President of Hyundai Motor Group). The inspiration of the concept takes place in the aviation industry…and that is not a surprise knowing Raphael Bretecher (General Manager) who was in charge of the project. No doubt he has influenced the design team a lot. This cross-over concept is built around a super lightweight structure made of advance materials (see photo), and is powered by hydrogen.
The grill is very three-dimensional and wheel arches look like wings. It looks very impressive in the flesh. The doors open to reveal the absence of a B-Pillar and this gives a very interesting access to the interior.  The flashy orange on the inside is very aggressive and provides a strong counterpoint to the immaculate white of the outside. Seats are floating and even though there are four seats, the impression of space is clear. The central tunnel and its interesting details also remind us of that aviation feeling.
As Raphael Bretecher told us, the Intrado is inspired by the name of the airplane wing “intrados” producing lift to allow a plane to fly. The use of advanced materials is also a “clin d’oeil” (implied reference) to aeronautics. Listening to Peter Shreyer, the Intrado foreshadows the future of the automobile by combining the concepts of efficiency and freedom symbolized by the notion of flying. For him the power of mobility should deliver physical and emotional sensations. How can we disagree with that…? With this concept, Hyundai demonstrates that the future of car can be relevant and exciting…



This “baby Jeep”, made in Italy for sale in a hundred countries, is a tangible result from the new-born American-Italian group Fiat-Chrysler.  Although we are not fans of the overall exterior design, it is a real Jeep with all the necessary off-road genes. This small SUV does look good on the road. The DLO is tall and seems to shine a lot of light on the interior… and we like the interior much more, with its obvious product orientation. Simple and clear, using good quality plastic and colored inserts. The dashboard shows three clearly identified volumes for the driver, the passenger and the infotainment. Design of the HMI also is clear and simple, with strongly focused graphics.

GENEVA 2014 | Aygo, C1 and 108

Toyota, Citroen and Peugeot have released the replacement of the three sisters…
If the first opus was essentially three identical cars (with just small differences to provide identity), now we can talk about three quite different designs, even though the cars have been developed on the same platform.
Each car now reflects the spirit of its brand.
The Toyota Aygo has a very aggressive look, while the Citroen appears more product design oriented and the 108 more “chic”.
While the Aygo is graphically complicated and looks very sporty, the C1 is very Citroen-like, showing a friendly face using the superposition of lights similar to the C4 Picasso. The Peugeot is more into the French Chic with a simple shape, but using different color combinations for graphic effect.  Interiors emphasize the “onboard wellbeing” design philosophy.


In Geneva, las week,  Audi has introduced the new TT MK3.
The original concept car was unveiled in 1995…almost 20 years ago…
Let’s take a chance to see the evolution of the TT, from its original concept to MKIII, with this movie by Audi Communications.



During the Geneva International Motor Show, BMW introduced a new car and a new concept.  Like the other premium German manufacturers, BMW wants to cover or open each and every market segment with high-end cars.  The new 2 Series Active Tourer may be the first front wheel drive car from BMW, but it is probably not the most important for our friends in Munich.  On the booth we can see this car just in front of the new BMW 4 Grand Coupe.  And we are in two different worlds.
The BMW 4 is what we have come to expect from BMW.  A nice, powerful coupe for 4 people with all a BMW driver can offer to his family and friends – after fulfilling his own dreams that is…
At Geneva, BMW showed that it also wants to enter a new world with the Active Tourer.  The 2 series exterior shape is very traditional and similar to what the volume car manufacturers already offer.  This segment will certainly enjoy BMW quality, comfort and ergonomics, but we will have to wait and see if BMW will have the same success here as with the X series SUV’s.


GENEVA 2014 | VW T-Roc Concept

The T-ROC SUV concept car seems to be a car from another company.  Compared with the other Volkswagen products on the same booth we see a big difference – and we like it.  Let’s hope that we see this SUV, with its new front-end design, on the road very soon. Listening to VW the progressive design of the front end demonstrates a new approach to small SUVs.
From the interior, we can see that digital concepts are becoming more and more widely utilized by Volkswagen group. Digital technology certainly offers many new possibilities, but it also requires drivers to be capable computer users if they are to fully benefit from and appreciate the functionality.  Concerning all the available cameras that watch over our every move — we are not yet addicted.


GENEVA 2014 | Volvo Estate Concept

After the Concept Coupé in Frankfort and the XC Coupé in Detroit, Volvo has unveiled latest showcar of its trilogy: the Concept Estate. What can we say but that the third concept is the most ambitious especially in its interior. This shooting brake continues to give us a hint of what the future exterior design of Volvo will be. When we see it, we know it is a Volvo. Designers have taken their inspiration in the history of the Scandinavian brand: the 1800 ES from the early 1970s. It is clear, especially on the rear part.
Volvo has introduced all new digital concepts for the interior preserving what we expect from Volvo. Thanks to its association with Volvo’s specially designed software, the touch screen will be the main control panel for in-car user experience. Almost all buttons are replaced and we appreciate, however, that there are still a few dedicated for crucial commands (volume, play/pause, hazard warning…)
Touchscreen is nice but important controls need physical commands.
If the XC Concept is anticipating the future XC90 due in a year, there is no doubt that this Estate gives us significant clues of a future model…

GENEVA 2014 | future next door…

Major autoshows (at least the ones we cover) follow one after the other, but they are certainly not alike.  Last September, the IAA in Frankfurt gave us a reminder of how powerful the German industry is.  In early January, the NAIAS in Detroit taught us that the American car industry is very much alive and has reached full revival.  As usual the Geneva show is the first European event of the year. This exhibition in the Palexpo is understated and takes place in a uniquely neutral environment.  Unlike some of the other shows, here everything stays close to a human scale…more intimate, more manageable.  It feels like a jewelry show…
And because it takes place on neutral ground, it seems that all kinds of different trends are represented.  Small design houses stand next to big OEM’s.  Many concepts cars are introduced, but there are also world premieres of important high volume production cars…
Urban and compact vehicles are well represented at this edition with the unveiling of the Twingo III, Toyota Aygo, Citroen C1 and Peugeot 108 for example.
The main trend is that less fuel consumption and lower emissions are paramount.  Most companies are working on reducing the number of cylinders (e.g. Audi TT with a 2.0l 4 cylinder making 420HP) and/or building hybrid or electrical solutions.
The future is just next door…..and the future looks cool and peaceful…