2013 Fiat 500LEnlarge Photo
The 2012 Geneva Motor Show is right around the corner, and just like last year there's a heavy focus on green cars.
To give you a clue what to expect at the 2012 show, which opens to the press on March 6, we're bringing you two preview guides.
This guide covers the fuel-efficient production models and concepts due at the show - and you can expect a complete guide to all the plug-in models soon.
BMW 116d EfficientDynamics
The 1-Series EfficientDynamics is one of our "forbidden fruits" and will be officially launched at the show. On the - admittedly slightly optimistic - European cycle, the twin-turbocharged diesel manages 62 MPG, and low CO2 emissions allow it to circumvent several European taxes. Efficient and sporty? That's good enough for us.
2013 Fiat 500L
The "Large" Fiat 500 is actually based on the European Punto model, but shares styling cues with the smaller, retro-styled 500. It's expected in the U.S, but unfortunately probably won't get the ultra-efficient and fun 900cc "TwinAir" engine, a two-cylinder, gasoline turbocharged unit with diesel-like efficiency.
2013 Ford B-Max
Another vehicle that hasn't been confirmed for U.S. sales, the Fiesta-based B-Max crams a lot of technology into a small footprint. It marks the European debut of Ford SYNC, the car does away with B-pillars making for easy cabin access, and it'll also get Ford's 1.0-liter, 3-cylinder EcoBoost engine for low emissions and high gas mileage.
Lexus RX 450h facelift
The Lexus RX 450h hybrid SUV has been around for a few years, but now it's getting a subtle facelift to bring it in-line with more recent models. Apart from a new F Sport trim line, no mechanical upgrades are expected - which means the same 32 MPG city, 28 highway and 30 combined.
2013 Mercedes-Benz A-Class
A concept version of Mercedes' A-Class replacement made it to Frankfurt last year, and the production model is making its debut at Geneva. It does away with the sandwich floor and tall body of the previous generations, instead aiming for a sporty look to help it compete against BMW and Audi's smaller models. A range of efficient turbocharged gasoline and diesel engines is a certainty.
2013 Volvo V40
Unfortunately not due in North America, Volvo's sleek V40 majors on design, technology, safety and efficiency. All models will get fuel-saving features like stop-start and brake-energy regeneration, and as with other models sold in Europe, a range of DRIVe diesels with low CO2 outputs is likely.
2012 MINI Clubvan ConceptEnlarge Photo
Could this be the next Prius? Not necessarily, as Toyota says the FT-Bh concept is a city car, and is likely to be more like a Prius C in size - but the chance of seeing details from the concept on a future Prius is higher. It's lightweight at only 1,760 pounds, and CO2 emissions are said to be 50 percent lower than the class average.
Mazda Takeri Concept
Mazda's Takeri isn't new to your computer screens - it was first shown at the 2011 Tokyo Auto Show. However, it's still a great looking car and previews the next Mazda6, as well as some high-tech fuel-saving techniques, like capacitor-based brake energy regeneration. We'll let you know if Mazda reveals any more at Geneva.
You're right - the MINI Clubvan does look more like a production vehicle than a concept, but as MINI has no plans (yet) to put it into production, it's a concept. Based on the Clubman, it's aimed at owners of small businesses, who may want something a little more upmarket to sell their goods from. Would it reach the U.S? Who knows, but we're sure MINI could be persuaded.