Since the 1950s, the Frankfurt Motor Show has been the showcase for Europe’s best new vehicles. Unfortunately, many of the coolest machines unveiled here will never be offered in the United States. Here, in no particular order, are 10 vehicles from the 2011 show, ranging from the sensible and practical to the fun and bizarre, that we think should make the journey stateside.
Chevrolet Colorado Rally Concept
It has been presented at shows nearly all over the world. It’s ruggedly cool-looking and the interior isn’t rubbish. So guess where it hasn’t been shown yet? North America. That’s because GM thinks an off-road-ready midsize pickup with this level of style won’t fly off dealer lots in the U.S.
Honda Civic Euro-Spec
Even though a new Civic just come out here in the U.S., Our European friends are getting a different model Civic, built in the United Kingdom, with some features we’d like to have seen in the U.S.-spec model. The Euro Civic is a 5-door hatchback available with a variety of engine choices, including the 2.2-liter 4-cylinder i-DTEC turbodiesel, but what we really like are the shorter wheelbase, exterior styling cues and slightly more upscale interior.
Making its European debut at Frankfurt, the DS5 is the third model in Citroen’s new DS line. This stylish wagon is powered by a diesel-electric hybrid system — the diesel sends power to the front wheels, the electric to the rear — and can run on electric alone up to just under 40 mph. The DS5 is seated atop the DS line in terms of luxury and options, making this a thoroughly modern and upscale family vehicle
Peugeot 508 RXH
Another diesel-electric hybrid wagon making its debut in Frankfurt, the 508 RXH will go on sale in Europe in the spring. Four driving modes will be available, including a “zero-emissions vehicle” mode. It also will develop 200 horsepower and average around 56 mpg.
The new Twingo should be coming in 2013. The updates appear to be all cosmetic, indicative of the direction in which new designer Laurens van der Acker will be taking the entire Renault line in the next few years. Under the pretty new face is the same compact — similar in size to the Fiat 500 — that delivers reliable city driving performance and good fuel economy.
The concept was first displayed at the 2007 Frankfurt Motor Show, and this year we get to see the production model. Built to compete in a crowded European entry-level hatchback market, the Up! is slated to get between 54.6 and 56 mpg, depending on the engine chosen.
Opel Astra GTC
It is a true hot hatchback that would have an immediate place in the American market. Packing a turbocharged inline 4-cylinder engine and producing 177 horsepower while mated to a 6-speed manual transmission, the GTC does “small, light, fast” properly without unnecessary back doors or other concessions to the needs of families who will be looking to buy wagons or SUVs anyway. Wide track, 6-speed, turbocharged engine — we need this car.