2004 Geneva Motor Show Index by TCC Team (2/22/2004)
Switzerland Shows It Off
Switzerland — you can set your watch by the trains, and you can count the number of major car companies native to the nation on no fingers. And that’s what makes the Swiss show a major hit with automakers, who throng to the show each year to make their press play on neutral ground. Yes, General Motors and Volkswagen and Toyota and Ford are here — but so are Lorinser, Rinspeed and a whole host of brands Americans may never have heard of. Today TCC is bringing you the highlights from the Geneva motor show from far and wide as well as big and small. You can get all of our Geneva stories through the index below; also make sure to see the show’s official site atwww.salon-auto.ch for more information.
2004 Geneva Motor ShowEnlarge Photo
Mitsubishi Preens Two New Colts
Mitsubishi’s new subcompact for Europe has some familiar underpinnings — the Smart formore shares the Colt’s architecture but not its rather conservative look. Sized for European roads, the tall five-door hatchback is due to go on sale in Europe this May for a price of about $13,000. For that price, buyers will get a roomy vehicle, Mitsu promises: the Colt’s said to be the widest vehicle in its class, with the longest interior space as well. The interior is more flexible that most subcompacts, with split-fold rear seats that can slide, flip, fold or be completely removed; the front passenger seat also folds flat down for loading of long objects. The engines range from a 1.1-liter, 75-hp gas four-cylinder to a 95-hp, 1.5-liter diesel three; a five-speed manual gearbox and a six-speed automatic are available with either engine. Standard anti-lock control for the brakes and optional stability control and side airbags round out the safety features.
2004 Mitsubishi ColtEnlarge Photo
The second Colt is a concept that Mitsu is already plotting for production. The Colt CZ3 reconfigures the new Colt/Smart architecture into a three-door hatchback, with coupe styling and a lower, more dramatic roofline. The concept shares the same wheelbase as the production five-door, but is somewhat shorter in overall length. Blackout privacy glass and 17” Okazaki alloy wheels gave the shape more drama. Mitsu promises a production version of this concept for the 2004 Paris Motor Show in September.
2004 Mitsubishi ColtEnlarge Photo
MINI Exposes Convertible
Though MINI continues to exceed BMW’s expectations for sales in the States, that doesn’t mean the revived British brand will rest on its laurels. Later this year, the MINI Convertible will come to the States, and audiences in Geneva got the first look at the coming droptop. The fabric-roofed MINI Convertible is, in fact, two convertibles in one: the fabric roof slides back nearly 16 inches for a targa effect, and opens the rest of the way, stacking onto itself behind the rear seats, in 15 seconds for a completely open-air experience. Structural reinforcements to the chassis and a pair of roll hoops provide for better safety in the Convertible, while a slightly revamped front end distinguishes it from the roofed MINI from the beltline down. In Europe, the MINI Convertible will be offered as the 90-hp MINI One. The U.S. will get the Cooper Convertible with the 115-hp four-cylinder and later the Cooper S Convertible with 163 hp. Two new colors—Hot Orange and Cool Blue—can be ordered with the ragtop edition, while three top colors will be offered. Anti-lock brakes and electronic brake distribution are standard, while stability control and traction control will be made available as options.
2004 MINI Cooper ConvertibleEnlarge Photo