2008 Paris Auto Show: Green Preview

By · September 16, 2008

Every two years, thousands of car enthusiasts and journalists flock to see what’s new at the Paris Auto Show. This year however, it’s more than just about what’s new. It’s about what’s green. And as the event takes place through the first two weeks of October, more than a dozen green vehicles—both production and concept—will make appearances. Here are a few we should pay close attention to, as they are either slated for the US marketplace, or at least rumored to be.

The Chevy Cruze src="/files/ChevyCruz.jpg" />

The Chevy Cruze

The first car to consider is the 2010 Chevrolet Cruze compact sedan. This stylish little car promises great drivability and a choice of three efficient powertrains, making it an attractive commuter. It should be stateside by July 2010, but the Europeans will have it by next year.

The new Insight hybrid is Honda’s secret weapon for taking on Toyota’s flagship Prius. It is a four-door gas-electric sedan which touts comparable fuel economy, a lower price, and better handling dynamics. This one arrives in April.

 

Smart is expected to give a quick peek of its most recent electric-powered Fortwo. This tiny tot aptly combines super small size with a zero-exhaust power system. And Smart plans to outfit this car with the latest lithium ion batteries. When will it come to the US? No answer on that one yet, but 2012 is a good guess (considering the US is about three to four years behind on the Smart curve.)

The Ford Ka src="/files/ford_Ka_2.jpg" />

The Ford Ka

Another ultra-mini mover is the Toyota iQ. If this one heads to the US, it will be a direct competitor to the Smart Fortwo. It’s a little larger than the Smart, and offers two rear seats that can accommodate small children—barely, that is. Regardless, its minute size and superior efficiency could be well-received in certain American cities. And with Toyota’s reputation and brand recognition, the iQ has the potential to become the more popular choice versus the Smart.

  

Finally, the Ford Ka makes its appearance as a hipster city car. It's powered by a choice of two miniscule powerplants: a 1.2-liter gas-engine rated at 69 horsepower, or a 1.3-liter turbodiesel with 75 horses. Ford has alluded to bringing the Ka to the US, but it would be renamed for the American market. No time frame has been given.

Obscure vehicles to be unveiled at the show include the Nissan-Renault Nuvu and the Bollore Blue Car electric car.

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