Blog: Glenn BrooksFrankfurt show round-up

Glenn Brooks | 15 September 2011

Five into four

Five into four

Most significant car of the Frankfurt IAA? That would have to be the Volkswagen up! for the mere fact that Europe's dominant manufacturer believes it can make money from such a tiny, low-priced car. The SEAT Mii as well as a variant for Skoda will follow soon, while a five-door up! is surely on the way too. All will come down the same line at VW Group's Bratislava plant, the Slovakian plant having had major investment over the last two years in preparation for production of all these cars.

On my final walk around the many halls at the Frankfurt Messe, I found some unusual things. I saw the facelifted Volvo XC90 and stopped when I noticed four tailpipes on one of the cars. The V8 engine has been discontinued, so how could this be? Volvo, it turns out, seems to think that buyers want the look but not the fuel bills of a petrol V8. So order your XC90 with the 200hp five-cylinder D5 engine and you get four shiny exhausts. Expect other makers of big SUVs powered by small capacity diesels to follow suit.

One other oddity I spotted was a small piece of plastic stuck to the body on either side of the new Honda Civic. What is it for, I asked a lady from Honda? It is, I was assured, peculiar to the diesel variants of the car and is reportedly part of a better aerodynamics package which helps "Co2". Huh? Surely, if anything, it adds a tiny bit of drag. I checked the sides of two adjacent V-TEC-badged cars and sure enough, no added plastic on these petrol-powered models. Perhaps someone from Honda who might be reading this can explain.


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