I’m trying to tell my colleague about one of the new products at the 76th Geneva Motor Show.
To classify cars is an interesting occupation, but every year it is more and more complicated. In the variety of cars that flooded the spacious exhibition center of Palexpo, it is easy to get confused. Moreover, other models are “deceivers”: you do not always at first glance recognize what essence a hurt body hides. But here, at one of the largest exhibitions in the world, the trends of recent years are especially clearly visible.
First, cars are moving from class to class. New models are becoming larger than their predecessors of the same name and ousting older brothers in the next group. Say, the current Volkswagen Passat is quite small … for the business or E-class, which just entered (length over 4700 mm). And the Passat's place in Class D was ambitiously taken by the Volkswagen Jetta. I wonder if the designers will have to lengthen the next Phaeton?
The second sign of today: models that are difficult to integrate into the usual classification are gaining popularity. Manufacturers are clearly confident: market power can only be shared. Therefore, already long model lines are divided into subclasses and subgroups. More and more so-called niche cars are designed for relatively small groups of consumers. It would seem that in the lineup of the largest concerns there are already cars for every whim, model bricks laid nowhere denser. But marketers are able to find a clearance in any masonry. And designers and constructors - to fulfill their instructions: to create the next "interclass" machine.
Let's say the so-called crossovers. Literally - hybrids, but in this case not by the type of power plant, but by the breadth of application. Such a car is roomy in a family, comfortable in the city - dynamic, maneuverable, economical. However, thanks to all-wheel drive and increased ground clearance, it is also able to overcome "light" off-road conditions (rather, a lane). He, of course, is not an all-terrain vehicle or even the so-called SUV. The latter are usually more serious with a transmission lock (mechanical, and more often - electronic) of the center differential. But crossovers, as a rule, also differ from ordinary all-wheel drive station wagons - at least by high ground clearance.
Another out-of-class tribe: fast (sometimes even very fast!) Versions of serial, mass models. Such modifications are in the “Ford Focus” and “Volkswagen Golf”. In addition to the GTC versions for Astra and Vectra, Opel offers a whole line of “ground-up” modifications created by the OPC court tuning company - from the compact Meriva to the roomy Zafira van. Now Mazda 3 MPS and the new generation Honda Civic Type R have joined this company. Sports versions of folk cars can be rightfully reduced to a separate group.
Of course, the usual European classification (from A- to E-class), based on size, still has a right to exist. Just do not forget that the sedan, for example, our good friend - “Ford Focus”, as a rule, is longer. So, formally, it should be put in a different class than the eponymous hatchback. But these are little things. It's not just about size.
Even in the most popular classes A and B, cars differ not only in price but also in power by 2–2.5 times. A typical example: the little "Smart" with a 41-horsepower diesel engine and his brother-accelerator from the "Brabus" with an engine of 75 hp And just a few steps away is the Mini Cooper S, which has outgrown the A-class by only 25 mm, but armed with a 210-horsepower engine - in which group or subgroup does it belong?
But what about the increasingly popular vans of all sizes and growths? Here and very short, but high cars, and more spacious, but, like basic hatchbacks, five-seater cars, and roomy six-seven. The Volkswagen company, presenting the Concept Star Line, even states that the best van is a relative of the Multivan minibus. Well, the Ford company offers a sports van named S-MAX. There are only five places, with considerable dimensions, but the motors are powerful and the finish is appropriate.
The number of close relatives of mini- and micro-vans is growing rapidly: tall, more spacious than ordinary wagons. These are the Czech Skoda Rumster and the Japanese Nissan Nout. And in order to completely confuse the advocates of classification, some of these cars (for example, the concept of “Dacia Logan Stepp”) are skillfully disguised as crossovers.
Even the meticulous Germans, prone to strict systematization, seem to have lost their way in such a motley world. In some reputable publications you will find a class … Traumautos (literally - dream cars). It is interesting that there are both Ferrari and … Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution /> Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, which is about two times weaker than the engine and four times cheaper. Is it weird? But, you must admit, a common - at least an emotional beginning - can be found in these cars.
Trying to attract attention, firms are boldly breaking stereotypes and mixing classes. Alfa Romeo, presenting the passenger-and-freight version of model 159, claims that the station wagon can be not only sports, but also diesel. Still: a 200-horsepower 2.4-liter engine allows you to reach as much as 228 km / h! I offer a riddle for connoisseurs. Determine the class of the car according to signs: power - 420 hp, four-wheel drive with a central differential "Thorsen". Of course, this is Audi. But not at all a solid roomy station wagon "Allroad", but an elegant RS4 convertible …