2006 Hyundai Arnejs conceptEnlarge Photo
The platform on which it's based will spawn other new models, including a compact minivan, wagon and sporty three-door. A coupé cabriolet with a folding metal hard top will follow, but probably not until at least 2008.-Richard Yarrow
Peugeot Epure Concept
2006 Peugeot Epure conceptEnlarge Photo
The car is officially called the 207 Epure concept, and is also a demonstrator for Peugeot Citroen Group's new experimental hydrogen fuel cell. Producing 20kW of power and with a lithium ion battery, the 2+2 machine has a range of more than 200 miles, can hit 60 mph in 15 seconds and go on to a top speed of 81 mph. The hydrogen cylinders are stored under the trunk floor, allowing space for the folding metal hard top and some cargo.
While no one is expecting a hydrogen-powered 207 CC when the production version arrives in European showrooms next summer, it does hint at where Peugeot's eco-future lies. A range of gasoline and diesel engines will be offered, though the concept's interior - finished entirely in white leather - is unlikely to become a reality. -Richard Yarrow
2006 Citroen C-M?tisse ConceptEnlarge Photo
At the Paris Motor Show later this month the firm will unveil the C-Métisse, a concept that proves high performance machines can also be eco-friendly. Top speed is 155 mph, 60 mph comes up in six seconds and there's impressive 45-mpg fuel economy. It boasts an economical 208-hp V-6 diesel engine mated to a pair of electric motors on the rear wheels, capable of developing a massive 295 lb-ft of additional torque. Around town the car can run in zero emissions mode.
The design is classic Citroen, with a long bonnet and almost no rear overhang. It's 4.74 meters long, but only 1.24 meters high. The doors open up and out - not quite gullwing, but not far off - to reveal a four-seat cabin with individual white leather seats. Each passenger gets independent air conditioning controls, individual roof lighting and plenty of space. -Richard Yarrow
Škoda Octavia Scout
2007 Skoda Octavia ScoutEnlarge Photo
Equipped with full-time four-wheel drive, the car is most interesting because it appears to be treading on the toes of the already-on-sale Octavia 4x4. The newcomer is half an inch longer, wider, and taller than the older model, and the raised ride height and sump guard will boost its off-road ability.
Under the hood there's the choice of 140-hp, 2.0-liter TDI diesel or 150-hp, 2.0-liter FSI gasoline engines. Both are four-cylinder units and mated to a six-speed manual transmission. -Richard Yarrow
SEAT Altea XL
2007 SEAT AlteaEnlarge Photo
So what's different? An extra 7.4 inches in the length of the bodyshell means there's the choice of extra cargo capacity in the trunk or better room for rear seat passengers. With the back seat moved forward 5.5 inches, luggage space is increased to a class-leading 22.4 cubic feet. But push the bench rearward and there's an extra 0.79 inches of knee space for the occupants. Roof rails are standard on the car, too.
A range of engines will be available on the Altea XL, but in Europe it's the 1.9-liter and 2.0-liter diesels which will be the top sellers. -Richard Yarrow
Bentley Arnage T
2007 Bentley ArnageEnlarge Photo