Asian auto makers’ Paris debuts have a decidedly green hue.
Almost all Japanese or Korean manufacturers are rolling out hybrid- or battery-electric vehicles at the Paris auto show, which opened to the media today.
The eco-friendly models include the productionAuris HEV, Jazz HEV, European-spec Mitsubishi i-MiEV electric vehicle and the concept Kia Pop and Townpod EVs.
While not electrified, several other small, fuel-efficient cars also are taking their public bows, including theix20 multipurpose vehicle, Swift subcompact and Verso-S, a small van built on the Yaris platform.
The C-segment Auris, officially dubbed Auris HSD for Toyota Motor Corp.’s Hybrid Synergy Drive system, is being billed as the first full hybrid in its class in Europe. It mates a 1.8L gas engine with dual variable valve timing to an electric motor. Fuel economy is 62 mpg (3.8 L/100 km), Toyota says.
Toyota’s Verso-S, less than 157 ins. (399 cm) long, is the shortest B-size MPV in Europe but is designed to maximize interior space, the auto maker says. Inside is a new 6.1-in. (15.5-cm) multimedia touch screen, housing audio system controls and displaying the rearward view supplied by the vehicle’s backup camera.
An optional Navi-Box, which Toyota calls a “multimedia booster,” will be offered sometime after the MPV’s February arrival. It allows viewing of images from USB-connected devices, as well as “enhanced” satellite navigation features.
The Verso-S offers the choice of a 1.3L gasoline engine with dual variable valve timing with intelligence or a 1.4L common-rail intercooled turbodiesel.
Toyota also is showing its FT-Ch compact hybrid concept, as well as the plug-in Prius, now available as part of a European lease program and set to go on sale globally in 2012. One third of the 600 leased Prius PHEVs on the road in the world are in Europe, Toyota says.
Motor Co. Ltd. calls its Jazz HEV, on sale in parts of Europe early next year, the industry’s first B-segment parallel hybrid. The hybrid version of the Jazz, known as the Fit in other markets, will feature the same 1.3L 4-cyl. i-VTEC engine as Honda’s Insight and CR-Z hybrids.
The Jazz HEV will achieve comparable fuel economy to the Insight, despite its tall profile, the auto maker says.
Honda also notes it was able to retain the Jazz/Fit’s convertible, second-row Magic Seat, by placing the HEV’s battery below the rear cargo area. Visual differences inside and out, including a lime-green metallic paint, distinguish it from the non-hybrid Jazz.
Motor Co. Ltd. says the Townpod concept EV, based on the Leaf’s platform, promises to herald “a new era of flexible, stylish vehicles that will bring electric-vehicle mobility to the masses.”
Reminiscent of both Nissan’s Cube compact car and its light-commercial vans, the Townpod has a low, flat floor and interior space that can be configured to fit the owner’s lifestyle, Nissan says.
Nissan promotes the use of proprietary or third-party accessories for the Townpod, which also has two digital screens in its interior: one showing vehicle information and the other with navigation and audio functions.
The Puck, a rubber ball with a slit, can hold drinks, cell phones or other gadgets.
Also on Nissan’s Paris stand are the Leaf, the next-generation Micra subcompact, refreshed X-Trail SUV and all new Juke B-segment cross/utility vehicle – which Nissan says has 20,000 pre-orders in Europe.
Motor Co. Ltd. unveils the new ix20 B-segment MPV. Designed in Germany and built in Czech Republic, it continues the brand’s new “fluidic sculpture” design language.
Hyundai expects to sell 55,000 ix20s annually in Europe. Two gasoline and two diesel engines – most mated to stop/start technology – will be offered.
Sibling Kia Motor Corp.’s Pop 3-seat EV is notable mostly for its huge expanse of glass from roof to rear and its small size. It measures just 9.8 ft. (3 m) long and offers only one, bench-style seat.
Motors Corp.’s i-MiEV for Europe goes on sale in December in the U.K., France and 12 other nations. Pricing for the car will range €33,000-€35,000 ($44,919-$47,642) but may start below €30,000 ($40,8356) if buyers qualify for government incentives.
For Europe,says it has upgraded the i-MiEV’s bumpers, changed the center stack and increased interior comfort.
Mitsubishi also displays its latest diesel-powered models, including the new ASX small CUV, Lancer Sportback and Outlander midsize CUV.
Motors Corp. says its new Swift boasts a sportier, “more elegant” design and now features stop/start technology, revised front and rear suspensions and a new 1.2L gasoline engine.
Suzuki also pulls the covers off its sport-grade Kizashi, boasting a lowered ride height and exterior and interior design tweaks.