All the cars to watch out for at the 2020 Geneva motor show
Audi's new family hatchback, an all-electric Fiat 500 and Mercedes goes green – here's everything you need to know about the new models headed to the Geneva motor show next month.....
Of all the motor shows taking place in 2020, the Geneva motor show is one of only a handful you should keep an eye on.
Why? Well, while all motor shows present an opportunity for car makers to set out their stalls in terms of new models and new developments, the cars on display in Geneva have a high chance of ending up in UK showrooms. The event begins on Tuesday March 3 - that's assuming the Coronavirus doesn't lead to the event's cancellation, at least.
This year, the big focus is on going electric, and that's why you'll see lots of models being launched that are either plug-in hybrids or fully electric cars. Among the new models we're expecting to see at March's show include the new Audi A3 family hatchback, a facelifted version of the Mercedes E-Class, and Skoda's new performance-oriented family car, the Octavia vRS.
Below and over the next few pages, we've all the details you need to know.
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The new A3 is one of 2020's biggest car launches, not least because the current car is still very good indeed. As a new car, it's a former What Car? Car of the Year, and as a used buy, it's our reigning Used Car of the Year.
The stakes couldn't be higher, then, but Audi is giving the A3 everything it needs to succeed again, with underpinnings based on those of the latest Golf, a frugal range of engines – including a plug-in hybrid – and a plush interior with an infotainment system that will be permanently connected to the internet.
Such is the popularity of the current Fiat 500 that, for a time, this new all-electric version will be sold alongside current versions of Fiat's city car.
Set to rival small electric cars including the Honda E and Seat Mii Electric, the 500e is expected to offer a range of around 150 miles between charges, with power coming from a single electric motor driving the front wheels. In time, the rest of the 500 range will be refreshed too, with a new estate version, called the Giardiniera, joining the line-up.
Honda Civic Type R facelift
It's safe to say that we're big fans of the current Honda Civic Type R – it's our reigning champion in the hot hatchback market, and has claimed the title of Hot Hatchback of the Year for the past three years running.
For 2020 the Type R has been given a range of mechanical upgrades, including better brakes and tweaked suspension. Power is unchanged, but drivers now get safety aids including lane-keeping assistance, traffic sign recognition and adaptive cruise control as standard.
Hyundai's new Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Corsa rival will get a far sportier and aggressive design than today's i20, while inside drivers will have two 10.25in screens to display information – one in place of a usual instrument cluster, and one acting as an infotainment screen.
While much of the i20's current engine line-up is expected to continue, it's likely that at least one electrified version will be offered too.
The current Kia Sorento offers seven-seat practicality for a very tempting price, and those are two things that the new fourth-generation model will be looking to replicate.
As well as updated infotainment and driver assistance technologies, Kia has already said that the new SUV will feature hybrid power for the first time – most likely in the form of a plug-in hybrid version.
Mercedes CLA and GLA plug-in hybrids
Both the GLA family SUV and the CLA five-door hatchback are due to receive plug-in hybrid power in 2020, with each car gaining the option of a 1.3-litre petrol engine mated to an electric motor, producing a combined output of 215bhp.
Both models should be able to travel for around 35 miles on electric power alone.
Mercedes E-Class facelift
Updates to the Mercedes E-Class saloon and estate might be light, but they're designed to keep the car fresh at the mid-point in its life – think of it as the equivalent of a forty-something heading to the gym with a new wardrobe.
Inside, tweaks to the car's infotainment system will bring a new interface and more advanced voice controls, while on the outside, a light nip and tuck will bring the E-Class in line with Mercedes' newer models, most notably the A-Class family hatchback. In terms of engines, expect more of the E-Class range to be offered with economy boosting mild hybrid technology.
Porsche 718 Boxster and Cayman GTS
There was some outcry from Porsche purists about a six-cylinder engine being absent from the standard 718 Cayman and Boxster line-ups, but those voices will be silenced with the arrival of these new GTS models; each is powered by a 4.0-litre flat six engine developing 395bhp.
Both models can leap to 62mph in just 4.5sec and have a top speed of 182mph. Prices start from £64,088 for the Cayman GTS 4.0, and £65,949 for the Boxster.
Porsche 911 Turbo
The regular Porsche 911 is already a cracking sports car, offering driving thrills and surprising family-friendly practicality.
For those seeking a permanent grin, however, the 911 Turbo could be the way to go. Power will come from a 3.8-litre flat-six petrol engine, with tweaked suspension aimed at offering even keener handling than the standard car.
We recently spotted the soon-to-come Turbo S model testing in public (pictured).
The new Leon family hatchback has already been revealed, but in Geneva we'll get to see the new car in the metal for the first time.
Based on the same underpinnings and borrowing much technology from the latest Volkswagen Golf, the new Leon gets mild and plug-in hybrid power for the first time – the latter gives it the ability to cover 38 miles on electric power alone. Inside, there's a high-tech infotainment system that can tell you the latest fuel prices and even warn you about upcoming hazards.
Skoda Octavia vRS
The new Skoda Octavia family car was revealed late last year, and now the vRS performance version is ready to take a bow.
Expect to see sporty styling inside and out, but the big news concerns what will power the new vRS, because it's becoming a plug-in hybrid for the first time in Skoda's history. And with 242bhp available, you can bet it won't have any trouble hustling you and your family along a winding road, either.