All the major load luggers and soccer mom favorites you'll find at this year's Geneva Motor Show.
Though the Geneva Motor Show is historically known for its supercar unveilings, it's also worth pointing out that cars far down the pecking order are also given glitzy reveals here. Sure, they might not have the drawing power of a new Ferrari or Porsche, but they do generate a fair bit of buzz, especially if their respective receptions are incredibly divisive. And it's highly likely that, unless Bugatti pulls a massive bait and switch at this year's show, none will split the community as much as Maserati's first ever SUV model: the Levante.
Despite being one of the worst kept secrets in motoring, the new Maserati Levante has still managed to rustle the jimmies of countless gearheads the world over. And it's fairly understandable why so many are annoyed by the concept of a Maserati SUV: here's a carmaker best known for its beautiful grand tourers and iconic post-war racers, that's now building a posh soft-roader aimed at people who couldn't care less about the brand's storied heritage. There are conciliations, though: Maserati's bound to offer the Levante with a range of turbocharged V6 gasoline engines, it should generate enough cash for Maserati to re-invest in making lots of lovely GTs and, in this writer's eyes, the Levante doesn't look that bad.
Another firm looking into expanding its SUV line-up is Audi - which is in itself a major feat, considering it's already got the important crossover bases covered. That desperation to expand further into additional niches can perhaps be best defined by the Audi RS Q3 Performance: a slightly faster and more powerful version of the already limited-appeal RS Q3 hot crossover. Of perhaps greater importance to Audi's expansion strategy will be the new Q2 crossover - not only will it almost certainly spawn an A2 hatchback, but it also means compact crossover buyers who are looking at the Nissan Juke, Jeep Renegade and Buick Encore will soon have a legitimately premium and upmarket alternative to choose from.
To help combat the Q2 threat, Buick may end up updating the aforementioned Encore. Granted, Buick hasn't officially announced any plans to overhaul its inaugural compact crossover anytime soon, but the activities of its sister companies on the other side of the pond gives us a hint at what may lay in store for the Encore. At this year's Geneva Motor Show, Opel will be revealing its 2016MY facelift for the Mokka (the name the Encore is sold under across Europe), complete with a subtle exterior refresh, an all-new dashboard design and a 'X' designation (as if it was already hard enough to identify the Mokka as a crossover). Photoshop on the Buick TriShield emblem, and you may very well be looking at the updated Encore.
Though it's more than likely a case of when we'll get the facelifted Buick Encore rather than if, the jury's still out on whether the Kia Optima Sportswagon will come to the United States. We know the Optima estate will be sold in Europe, but we hope Kia's higher ups in Seoul see sense and get the Optima wagon's US visa ready as soon as possible. After all, the Optima sedan sells incredibly well here, and we're certain the sleekly-styled Sportswagon would be more than a match for the Subaru Outback and Volkswagen Passat Alltrack. You know you want to bring the Optima SW to America, Kia, and the fact we aren't the only ones begging you to do so surely shows there's big demand for an Optima estate here!
Mercifully, we won't need to do any grovelling to Volvo, as it's already confirmed the V90 Estate will be heading to your nearest dealership showroom soon. And for that, we're incredibly grateful. Not only do we love Volvo estate models anyway, but the V90 has all the makings of being a cracking premium wagon. Being essentially a more practical version of the stunning S90 sedan helps, as do the beautifully appointed cabin and innovative powertrain options, but the progress Volvo has made since being bought by the Chinese car company Geely really fills us with hope that the V90 wagon will be a true class leader. Hopefully it won't take us long to find out if the Volvo V90 Estate is as good as we sincerely hope it will be.