GENEVA – One of the world's most prominent auto shows is a combination of the practical and the fanciful. Both showed up this year at the media preview for Switzerland's Geneva Motor show as dozens of new models, many of them headed to U.S. showrooms as well as those around the world, made their debut.
Worldwide, SUVs couldn't be more popular at the moment. And the show saw some interesting new ones, including a wild, self-driving box on wheels from Volkswagen and two crossovers coming to the U.S.
Here they are:
It was one of the oddest cars to hit the floor at the Geneva Motor Show.
Meet Sedric, the transporter prototype from Volkswagen that's more akin to a mobile living room than a sleek SUV.
It is meant to be fully self-driving and was developed from scratch. As a concept, it shows where VW believes it is headed in the future. Plus, it's fun.
Volkswagen says if you need to summon your car, press a button and along waddles Sedric – all on its own. Once inside, you can talk to the car and tell it where to go. Passengers need only sit back and hang out until it arrives at the destination.
The car is supposed to able to recognize its user and open the doors, with the interior optimized for people and cargo.
Subaru XV Crosstrek
Subaru has given its hit Crosstrek subcompact SUV its first redesign since the model was introduced in 2012.
The 2018 Crosstrek, which unveiled at the auto show here, will get a stiffer body and chassis, which could help on rough roads, Subaru says.
The crossover's collision safety and hazards avoidance systems have also been beefed up. The look is fresher, updated in keeping with the brand identity.
"The all-new model was redesigned inside and out and expresses a crossover styling that is unique to Subaru," said Yasuyuki Yoshiniga, CEO of Japan's Fuji Heavy Industries, which makes Subarus.
The XV Crosstrek, as it is formally known, is the brand's third biggest seller. Last year, Subaru sold 97,855 of the conventional and hybrid versions in the U.S., trailing only the Legacy sedan and larger Forester SUV, Autodata reports.
It competes against a raft of other small SUVs, including Honda HR-V, Jeep Renegade, Chevrolet Trax, Nissan Juke and Mazda CX-3, among others. The U.S. version of the Crosstrek will be shown at the New York Auto Show in April.
Volvo has added some cool new tech to one of its best-selling vehicles in the U.S., the XC60 crossover.
Because it's a Volvo – a brand that still focuses on marketing safety – most of the new tech involves features to help the car avoid or minimize damage in crashes.
So, for instance, there is a new "Steer Assist" feature that helps the SUV move out of the way of hazards like other vehicles, pedestrians or large animals on the roadway even as it automatically throws on the brakes. There is also Oncoming Lane Mitigation to prevent head-on accidents on two-lane roads by guiding the vehicle back into its own lane and out of the path of an oncoming vehicle.
"With the new design and powerful performance that incorporates the latest technology, we are confident U.S. customers will respond favorably to the new model," said Jim Nichols, production and technology communications manager at Volvo USA.
Bachmann, a special correspondent to USA TODAY, reported from Geneva. Woodyard reported from Los Angeles.
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