Paris Motor Show Preview

Paris Motor Show - It happens every two years but manages to be worth the wait.

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RTÉ Motors will be meeting with the designers, engineers and big wigs of the motor industry at the Paris Motor Show to get the latest info on motoring trends. Of course, the exotic machinery will catch our eye, like the Zondas of this world and the more attainable new Jaguar F-Type, but we're more interested in the real world cars, like the new Mazda6, SEAT Leon, KIA Carens and FIAT Panda 4X4, to name a few, that will take a bow at the French show.

The French brands Peugeot, Citroen and Renault will do their collective best to steal the show - just as the German brands do on their home turf in Frankfurt - but, apart from the 208 GTi and new Clio, there is not a huge amount expected from their stands.

Mazda's 6 (pictured with the Takeri concept car) has always been the alternative to Ford Mondeo for drivers who enjoy being behind the wheel. The all-new 6 promises improved driving dynamics and even better styling that are sure to tempt many.

SEAT, the Spanish arm of the Volkswagen group, will show its new Leon - according to industry insiders VW initially refused to sign off on the car, saying it was too good! Now that could just be excellent hype, but in truth SEAT is serious about making a name for itself and there is a fine line between VW, SEAT and Skoda and it is getting more faint with every new model. VW will be showing the seventh-generation Golf at the show. This ever-popular Golf will be in Ireland by December and we are looking forward to comparing the Leon to it.

We love the FIAT Panda 4X4 at Motors, so the new, more spacious and practical Panda with added off-road ability is high on our test drive list.

Korean carmaker KIA has big plans for the seven-seat Carens, which is due in Ireland next spring. Replacing not only the Carens but the larger Sedona too, KIA has decided on conventional rear doors and not sliding ones on the insistence of the styling team. This could be a mistake and only time will tell. We know the underpinnings are good, but can the interior live up to expectations? I'll certainly be rattling a few bits of trim to find out.

Toyota will reveal a host of face-lifted machinery, including the Auris and Verso. The global giant needs to deliver more style to the mainstream sector. With the stunning GT86 Toyota is pointing in the right direction, but the Japanese firm has its work cut out to keep ahead of the Koreans.

Traditionally Paris attracts a very large audience; not so much because of the new cars on show as in Frankfurt or Geneva, but rather its location. Of course, the above are just a sample of the countless machines on offer from hundreds of carmakers. The show opens to the public on Saturday, September 29.

Michael Sheridan


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