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Compact concept car photos

Due to high gas prices and narrow roads, Europeans have always appreciated small cars. Two new concepts from Ford and Kia show how small can be big, maximizing interior space and utility on a short wheelbase.

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Wayne Cunningham
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Ford Iosis Max

Although Ford calls this car Iosis Max, it's actually rather small, at least by U.S. standards. This concept is the third in a line of Iosis cars Ford has shown at auto shows over the years, and uses the kinetic-design language Ford has been developing. It uses Ford's most advanced power train, a direct injection 1.6-liter four-cylinder mated to a dual-clutch manual transmission.

See more coverage of the 2009 Geneva auto show.

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Ford Iosis Max

The car is designed to be accessible in small spaces, with a rear door that slides back instead of hinging out. Likewise, the rear hatch opens in two pieces, using less room than a single-piece hatch.

See more coverage of the 2009 Geneva auto show.

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Ford Iosis Max

Ford took inspiration from touch-screen cell phones for the instrument panel, using a touch screen running down the center console to control the infotainment system. The seats are attached to the central console rather than being supported from underneath, so they appear to float.

See more coverage of the 2009 Geneva auto show.

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Kia No. 3

Kia obscured its compact concept, simply called No. 3, with a couple of youthful and hip models supposed to represent the typical owner. The car itself is a small four seater with a high roof, allowing for a variety of uses.

See more coverage of the 2009 Geneva auto show.

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Kia No. 3

To make the car feel bigger inside, Kia fits it with a panoramic sunroof, stretching from the top of the windshield over the top of the car. A light-sensing panel at the front provides glare protection for the driver when the sun is blasting through the front of the car.

See more coverage of the 2009 Geneva auto show.

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Kia No. 3

Besides a little accent lighting, the drive controls are fairly standard, suggesting Kia could easily put this car into production. The only concept-like thing on the instrument panel is the big dial, presumably for controlling the infotainment systems.

See more coverage of the 2009 Geneva auto show.

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