I have loved looking at the Parisian catwalk of cars for the past week or two, eyeing up all the best new cars on show for fleet at the Paris Salon. If only I was able to spend the whole two weeks enjoying the odd baguette, fromage and glass of red wine too! (well, when in Paris….).
Paris is the last big motor show of the 2016 season and features 286 exhibitors: too many for one blog so I’ve picked my 10 most significant new fleet cars on show at the Paris expo Porte de Versailles, which runs until 16th October
1. Audi Q5
Audi took the wraps off its new Q5 SUV, as it takes the fight to BMW’s X3 and Mercedes with the GLC.
Key news for fleet users is that the adoption of the Volkswagen-Group’s adaptable MLB platform, which has resulted in a significant 100kg saving which will help CO2 emissions. We’re also promised that, on top of the efficiency, this new platform should result in the latest Q5 being a keener drive.
Outside, the new Q5 is a sharp looking mix of scaled-down Q7, mated with taut styling cues from the all-new A5. The new Q5 is expected to make its debut late this year
2. BMW X2
There’s already a fine selection of BMW SUVs on sale, in the form of the X1, X3, X5 and X6. Clearly, there’s a gap, and the Munich-based manufacturer chose Paris to pull the covers off the baby of the range – the X2, at least in concept form.
As I said, it’s just a concept at the moment, but rumour is that a production version will hit the streets by the end of 2018, with the familiar choice of diesel and petrol power.
Personally, I really like the X2’s styling – it looks aggressively muscular. Can’t wait for the real deal.
3. Citroen C3
Citroen has come full-circle with its designs – the Cactus has proved that it’s cool to be quirky again. So with its new supermini, the C3, it’s no surprise to see more of the same styling cues, although the ‘Marmite’ love-it-or-loathe-it Air Bumps down the side are now an option!
Inside, again the similarities with the Cactus are obvious, although clever new tech, which will be useful for business drivers, include the ConnectedCam. It’s a forward-facing camera built into the rear-view mirror, which could prove useful for business drivers when recording everyday incidents and accidents while driving.
The C3 should cost pennies to run too, with low-emission choice of PureTech petrol and Blue HDi diesel power.
4. Honda Civic
Not really a surprise, as lots of pictures were leaked to the press before the new Civic’s debut. However, like the outgoing Civic, the all-new one has the makings of a fine fleet car.
As well as being longer and wider, the new Civic sits on a new and lighter platform, which combined with the new turbo charged 1.0-litre and 1.5-litre VTEC engines should make for an even more efficient drive.
On top of all that efficiency, Honda is also promising a better drive and if that’s not enough, there will be a new Type-R for the performance driver inside you.
5. Hyundai i30
Revealed just before Paris, the new i30 made its public debut on the Hyundai stand at Paris.
The new i30 majors on quality, safety and technology. With a more European look to its design, it certainly looks a high quality product.
The new i30 will be the safest Hyundai ever, with a suite of new technologies including Autonomous Emergency Braking, a front collision warning system, smart cruise control, Blind Spot Detection and even a Lane Keeping Assistance system.
Inside the i30’s infotainment system features Apple Carplay and Android Auto connectivity so that should appeal to tech fans.
UK buyers will be offered a choice of the new 140PS 1.4-litre and 1.0-litre 120PS GDi petrol turbo engines. Diesel will be taken care of by 110 and 136PS versions of the 1.6 CRD engine. The new i30 goes on sale early next year.
6. Land Rover Discovery
The all-new Discovery is the latest and most important piece of Land Rover’s SUV puzzle, replacing the current car that dates back to 2004.
Outside, the big SUV gets a sleek new look, like a scaled-up Discovery Sport, that follows a theme first seen on the baby Range Rover Evoque. Although the near vertical rear styling is something new.
The new Discovery might be big, but this car is surprisingly efficient too, with a new twin-turbo version of the four-cylinder 2.0-litre Ingenium diesel engine found in the Jaguar XE and a bonded aluminium monocoque shell, equalling a 20% weight saving over the outgoing model.
Like the last Discoverey, there’s room for seven, promised serious off-road capabilities and some neat technology in the form of new infotainment systems.
7. Nissan Micra
One of the few real surprises at Paris was the reveal of Nissan’s fifth-generation Micra supermini.
For a start the Micra looks great, with its short bonnet, raked roof line and short rear overhang. It’s longer and wider than the outgoing car, which should equal class-rivalling interior space,
If the looks and interior space don’t appeal, the amount of safety kit should, with Lane Departure Prevention, usually fitted to bigger cars, offered on the new Nissan Micra. With the choice of high-tech small petrol and diesel engines plus the slippery shape, Nissan is promising efficiency too, so company car tax figures should be appealing.
8. Peugeot 3008
The current 3008 is a practical crossover, but its frumpy looks are…well…something of a disappointment. No more. Paris was the place to see the all-new, second-generation car.
No longer a half-hearted crossover, instead this Peugeot has been re-imagined as a sharp-looking SUV and is all the better for it. All the latest Peugeot family cues are there, but our favourites are the LED lights, sculpted bonnet, floating roof and those chunky roof bars.
The interior of the 3008 is equally revolutionary, with Peugeot’s new i-Cockpit fitted as standard. This includes a configurable 12:3 screen instead of dials, plus a curvy dashboard and console that wrap around the driver.
The new 3008 hits UK shores later this year, with the choice of two PureTech petrol and two BlueHDi diesels.
9. Skoda Kodiaq
I reckon we should be expecting big things from the revitalised Skoda brand, with the all-new Kodiaq SUV that made its show debut at Paris.
Slightly odd name aside, its exterior styling is clean and sharp, like the Superb that was launched last year. Inside, the new big Skoda feels classy, high-quality and with logically-placed switchgear. It’s spacious too, with room for four, over two rows of seats.
Five engines, two diesel and three petrol will be available at launch next year, with the choice of six-speed manual and seven-speed DSG auto. In such a competitive market segment, the Kodiaq will be one to watch.
10. Volkswagen I.D. Concept
There have been some tough times at Volkswagen recently, with the diesel emissions scandal having a real effect on sales.
The fightback was revealed at Paris, in the form of the new I.D. Concept. From now on, Volkswagen wants to be known for its technology and alternative fuel vehicles. This all-electric five-door hatch boasts a quoted range of 370miles, plus interior space to rival the bigger Passat in a Golf-sized footprint.
A concept now, Volkswagen is keen to emphasise that a production version of this car will be launched by 2020 – wow!