You could tell that the new Grand Vitara is important to Suzuki even before they unveiled it.
Before the start of most presentations a stand might have one or maybe two interesting new shapes under wraps; the Suzuki stand was almost completely filled with sheeted three- and five-door clones of the car to be revealed, seemingly with every possible major engine and transmission variation.
And they had Toshihiro Suzuki from the main board to introduce the new car to us – because just as for most of the latest Japanese product, the European market and Germany in particular, are vital to the new car’s success.
As the third generation, it has a lot to follow: the original Vitara was introduced in 1988 and the first Grand Vitara in the late 1990s – since when the Vitara family has sold some 1.9 million cars, and the majority of those in Europe.
Suzuki think of this as their second ‘world production model’ (the first was the new Swift) and describe it as ‘a fast SUV for a driver with a go-for-it attitude’. They also say it’s for enthusiasts who live their lives to the full, whatever they are doing, and who want to live life rather than just watching it go by.
So the all-new Grand Vitara looks chunkily sporty, and a lot of the focus is on its technical detail and drivability. It is based on a combination of monocoque shell with additional lightweight ladder frame underneath, to give maximum stiffness, especially in off-road situations. It has near perfect 50:50 weight distribution, all-independent suspension including a new multi-link rear layout, and four-mode full-time four-wheel drive – including a Neutral mode for if you’re towing it long distances, say behind your motorhome when you’re heading into the hills on vacation. They say this new ‘Off-Road Athlete’ is environmentally friendly, too.
Opel Antara GTC Study: New Sporty SUV Interpretation
Extraordinary world premiere for an extraordinary study
Further world premieres: Astra TwinTop, Vectra OPC models, Zafira CNG
First public presentation of new Vectra and Signum on Opel stand in hall 8
Rüsselsheim/Frankfurt. A celebratory IAA premiere that was as extraordinary as the car itself: on Monday evening in the Bockenheimer Depot, Alain Visser, Executive Director, European Marketing, and Bryan Nesbitt, Executive Director, Design, General Motors Europe unveiled the Antara GTC (Gran Turismo Crossover) study, in the presence of GM`s top management including Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Rick Wagoner and Vice Chairman Bob Lutz. The objective: to show just how dynamic and athletic an SUV (Sport Utility Vehicle) can now look, with this four-wheel drive Opel concept vehicle. It was then transported to the exhibition site overnight, for its world premiere on the Opel stand in hall 8. With the distinctive three-door Antara GTC, Opel presents the public a new, particularly sporty SUV interpretation, as well as the brand's dynamic design language in this special vehicle format.
With striking LED headlamps that stretch into the fenders, and typical Opel crease in the engine hood, the front of the four-seater (length/width/height: 4530/1970/1640 mm) accentuates Opel's new design line. The side profile is highlighted by the frameless windows that drop right down and contribute to the coupé-like silhouette. With a number of visual and technical details, as well as typical Opel versatility in the interior, the study also sets out to satisfy demanding practical requirements. The tailgate, for example, has a pantographic hinge. Thanks to this innovative design, it swings upwards and to the front when it is opened, so that the person loading the vehicle is not forced to take a step backwards. This provides more convenient access to the load compartment. The two rear seats can be completely folded away from the rear of the vehicle, producing a totally flat loading area. The front seats are anchored on mono-rails and therefore look as if they are floating. With the aid of an EasyEntry system, they slide forward up to the instrument panel at the touch of a button to allow the passengers easier entry to the rear.
Beneath the hood, the Antara GTC features a 212 hp twin-turbo version of the 1.9 CDTI four-cylinder engine. The transversely-installed concept unit produces 400 Nm from
1400 rpm and, like all 1.9 CDTI engines in Opel models, is equipped with a maintenance-free Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF). In combination with the six-speed automatic transmission, the performance is outstanding: computer simulations show a top speed of over 210 km/h and acceleration from zero to 100 km/h in around 8 seconds.
Open-air feeling, OPC power, natural gas Zafira, new Vectra and Signum models
In addition to the Antara GTC study, Opel presents IAA visitors four further world premieres: Opel expects the dynamic Astra TwinTop cabrio-coupé to attract a lot of attention at the stand in Hall 8. A particular highlight of the four-seater, which goes on sale in the spring of 2006, is its three-part electro-hydraulic retractable steel roof. Thanks to the innovative roof kinematics very little space is taken up, allowing plenty of room for passengers and luggage.
The public will also get a first look at the OPC variants of the five-door Vectra and the Vectra station wagon. They feature a 255 hp, 2.8-liter V6 turbo gasoline engine and are available from November. The particular technological highlight of the Vectra OPC models is the newest-generation of the electronically controlled chassis with adaptive damping control, IDSPlus2.
The visually striking, as well as technically further developed new Vectra and Signum models will also be under the spotlight on the Opel stand in Frankfurt, as will a further premiere, the new Zafira 1.6 CNG with particularly economical and environmentally compatible natural gas propulsion.
Chrysler Group has unveiled the Jeep® Commander that will be coming to the UK market in right-hand drive during 2006.
The Jeep Commander, the first-ever Jeep to offer seven seats, will arrive in the UK in March 2006, expanding and strengthening the Jeep range.
Commander is only 47 mm (1.8 in.) longer than the new Jeep Grand Cherokee, even though it is designed to accommodate three rows of seats, so it is as manoeuvrable and off-road capable as the Grand Cherokee. Jeep Commander shares the same state-of-the-art 4x4 systems, suspension and powertrains as the Jeep Grand Cherokee, including an independent front suspension and rack-and-pinion steering.
Simon Elliott added: "The Jeep Commander initiates the expansion of the Jeep vehicle line-up. Chrysler Group also revealed two new Jeep concept cars – the Jeep Compass and Jeep Patriot – at the show. These two compact SUVs focus on performance and fuel economy as well as nimble handling and a flexible interior, and help demonstrate where the Jeep brand may be heading at the other end of the range."