Automakers at the 2009 Geneva auto show seem to think we need a new class of vehicle, a cross between a compact sedan and a small SUV. Three automakers, Nissan, Hyundai, and Dacia, showed off concepts based on this type of vehicle.
Hyundai puts its latest technologies into the Ix-onic, such as a turbo-charged 1.6-liter direct-injection four-cylinder engine, producing 175 horsepower, mated to a dual-clutch manual transmission. The power train also uses idle-stop technology to save gas and reduce emissions in heavy traffic.
Ix-onic uses an all-wheel-drive system that intelligently moves torque around to the wheels that need it most. The rear window is made of lexan, allowing its unusual shape. LEDs are used liberally around the concept, in tail lights and daytime running lights.
In the cabin, the speakers for the audio system are mounted high on the doors, creating a better sound stage than if they were mounted low, as in most cars. The side view mirrors incorporate warnings for the blind spot detection system.
Although the driver side only has one door, access is enhanced on the passenger side with an extra rear-hinged door. The front passenger seat folds and slides under the driver's seat, allowing room for a mountain bike, of all things.
Nissan designed the Qazana concept as a smaller brother to its Qashqai urban SUV. Inspired by dune buggies, Nissan separates the headlight and signal light casings on the front. The grille, covered with acrylic, is cosmetic--holes below the bumper serve as air intakes.
The rear doors are rear-hinged, creating easy access to the cabin. Although the Qazana, as seen here, isn't likely to go into production, Nissan has committed to a car of its dimensions and configuration for 2010.