Shopping expedition - Part Two

Andrew Hopkins

Mr Average heaves another sad sigh as he checks his bank balance again and is still in search of that new vehicle to fulfil his everyday motoring requirements. Will he find it this time?

The Asians: The Japanese were pretty much marching in step, Mazda with the world debut of their five-door Mazda3 and Toyota lining up with the new Avensis and the European premieres of the revamped Aygo, Yaris and RAV4. The Koreans were represented by Hyundai whose stall was dominated by eco models such as the Santa Fe Hybrid but also by the large ix55, an SUV with a 3-litre V6 diesel engine. It will be interesting to see what price this comes in at. Also making a strong impact were the Indians and the Chinese: Tata and Mahindra from India together with Katay and Martin Motors (Shuanghuan) from China arrived in Bologna with a selection of compact cars and off-roaders.

Rest of the world: Most prominent amongst the Americans were Cadillac who have extended their CTS series with a station wagon and a new 2.9-litre V6 diesel version. At the Volvo stall, all eyes were on the XC60, while Land Rover presented the Freelander with its automatic stop/start system. Škoda showed off the upgraded Octavia and Seat the Exeo, a 4.6-metre-long aesthetically styled saloon. Dacia also put in an appearance. And DR. Ever heard of them? They are based in Southern Italy where they build a pleasant-enough compact SUV called the DR5 with a choice of engines. However, it has more than a passing resemblance to the Chinese-built Chery Tiggo, which in turn is strongly reminiscent of the old Toyota RAV4. The chassis and the petrol engine are both sourced from Chery, the diesel engine from Fiat. The bargain basement price of 16,000 euros is attracting buyers, but reports are that the Euro NCAP crash tests produced abysmal results. So Mr Average needs to exercise due caution...