Renault's tough-looking sport-utility concept draws many design cues from the French automaker's Vel Satis concept car. The Koleos features large windows and windshield, sharp angles and a distinctive rear end. But it was the interior that appealed to the judges. Billed as a luxury sport-utility, the vehicle's rear doors feature two original design concepts. The tailgate uses the twin-stage parallel opening technology found on the Renault Avantime's doors. The tailgate also slides to the left of the car as it opens to allow full access to the rear storage space.
The rear storage area is separated from the passenger compartment by a retractable window. A mechanism lowers the rear window into the tailgate while the rear roof section slides horizontally under the roof panel. This allows the driver to convert the Koleos into a pickup.
The vehicle allows optimum use of interior space. To improve interior light, Renault extended the windshield in two glazed lateral strips along each side of the roof. The four seats are made from carbon sheets covered in hand-stitched Connolly leather, which draw inspiration from horse saddles. The seat and back are supported by four damping cylinders. Carbon laminates built into the seatback adapt to body pressure for comfort.
There is plenty of high-tech equipment inside the car. There is a speech-responsive screen that controls essential interior functions such as climate control, audio and driver guidance. Options are displayed on a screen and can be chosen by a finger roller control. The arch-shaped headlamps use fluid optics technology by the French company Megalux. That technology eliminates separate bulbs for the low- and high-beam headlights.
Versatility is the key to Fiat's Ecobasic, another star of this year's Geneva show. It is a model that can be modified to customers' needs. The vehicle can be a hatchback complete with tailgate and four doors, or it can be a three-door model. To cut costs, the basic vehicle can be modified to fit either body style at the end of production. Short overhangs allow maximum use of interior space. Seats can be adjusted in various patterns to suit the needs of the occupants. Although Fiat does not plan to produce the Ecobasic, the company designed it to be a versatile, economical city car.
Another Geneva concept, the Cadillac Imaj expands the concept of luxury to include advanced technology. The motorist climbs into a comfortable seat similar to that found in a jet's business class. A passenger can read e-mail on a computer built into the rear of the front seat.
The Imaj features adjustable pedals, a head-up display and shift-by-wire gear selection. All of this enhances the driver's sense of command. Adaptive cruise control is a useful feature for rush-hour driving, while front and rear radar make parking easy.
Vehicle access is controlled by e-lock, a security system that reads fingerprints. The Imaj also is equipped with smart airbags. Every seat features in-seat heating and ventilation. Passengers can view DVD movies on screens built in the seatbacks. The motorist can use a cockpit screen to view navigation and entertainment developed by IBM and Delphi. The cockpit screen won't display TV images while the car is moving.
Bose provided the sound system and Italian jeweler Bulgari supplied aluminum luggage, an exclusive clock and distinctive instrumentation for the instrument panel.