My fleet favourites from Geneva

140314The Geneva Motor Show – the start of the European season for motor shows – is always a great event, so full of optimism and bristling with new models and new technologies.

Some of them, like fuel cells, will be coming and are clearly important for fleets in the longer term – see my blog The zero emission car you can fill up at a fuel station – but in the nearer term there was plenty to whet your appetite for what’s coming soon.

And it was very much about the downsizing trend. The cars I’ve picked out highlight this growing trend for big car features in pint-sized formats. Or not so little if it’s the capacious but compact BMW 2 Series Active Tourer.

So here we go in alphabetical order.

Audi TT
A user chooser favourite, and Audi understands this, so the styling remains familiar even though it is longer and wider. Inside Audi has replaced the analogue instrument display with a ‘virtual cockpit’ allowing classic mode (speedometer and rev counter) or infotainment (boosts sat nav map for example and reduces emphasis of speedo and rev counter).  Audi TT TDI offers 67.2mpg and 110g/km CO2. Available late 2014.


BMW 2 Series Active Tourer
BMW is moving into the practical car space with this compact hatch (just slightly longer than a 1 Series), offering 468 litres of loadspace with the rear seats up – and plenty of rear legroom for rear passengers – increasing to 1,510 when folded flat. It’s also front-wheel drive – the first for BMW – and features a range of three-cylinder engines with CO2 as low as 109g/km. On sale from late September with costs from around £23,000.


Citroen C1
The all-new C1 version from the small car programme between Citroen, Peugeot and Toyota, promising great economy for city driving. Citroen has given the car a cheerful front end design and plenty of touchscreen app enhanced interior technology.


Ford Focus
There are new looks for the crucial Ford Focus fleet car. The front grille adopts the One Ford global look with a widened stance giving the car more road presence. Inside there’s better quality finish, while improved engines, including a new 1.5 diesel, offer better economy and emissions.  On sale later in 2014.


Mini One
MINI One paves the way for best value MINI motoring for fleets, with lower P11D and a three-cylinder diesel that produces 89g/km – good for over 83mpg. Also at Geneva was a Clubman Concept – the new estate version – with four passenger doors this time, rather than three on the current model.


Nissan Juke
After the launch of Nissan’s hugely successful new Qashqai, the smaller Juke model gets a mild makeover. There are tweaks to the exterior styling but inside you’ll notice improved quality materials and new technology with advanced NissanConnect system. On sale later in 2014.


Peugeot 108
Peugeot’s version of the new Citroen C1/Toyota Aygo triumvirate range. The new 108 hatchback is available in both three- and five-door forms, and there’s an electric roll back fabric roof version too – called TOP! (as exclamation marks continue to infiltrate car manufacturer model language). Expect plenty of urban manoeuvrability and economy, plus MirrorLink connected technologies inside.


Renault Twingo
The designers of the cutesey Twingo clearly had their eye on the Fiat 500 when they penned this. Result: looks great! What’s more the engine sits in the rear and it’s rear wheel drive, too. More to the point, it’s fun and joyful – just what a city user-chooser needs.


Toyota Aygo
Toyota’s version of the joint venture city car that is also developed as the Peugeot 108 and Citroen C1 gets much more distinctive styling than before, with CO2 emissions down to 95g/km and improved interior quality including Toyota’s new x-touch multimedia system, featuring a fully integrated seven-inch touchscreen. It’s the first system in its segment to come with a rear view camera as standard.


VW Scirocco
There’s revised styling for the Scirocco, which first made its appearance at the Geneva Show 40 years ago. There are new head and tail lights, but the major story is under the bonnet with more powerful engines that are better on economy. The diesel returns 68.9mpg – so you can have a dashing coupe as a company car without breaking the bank. On sale from May for September delivery.