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Dazzling and practical on display at Geneva Motor Show

From sleek luxury sports cars to practical small SUVs, manufacturers will be showing off their new models to European consumers at the Geneva Motor show with press previews starting Tuesday.

The show highlights a trend in Europe toward a preference for U.S.-style SUVs. "Models in Geneva are further evidence of the shift in European consumer tastes away from the conventional hatchback and sedan body styles to compact crossover and SUV body styles," said Tim Urquhart, principal analyst for IHS Automotive.

But some models continue a European taste for small, high-MPG cars spurred by high gasoline prices. Having failed to make headway with the introduction of the Chevrolet brand into Europe, General Motors will go back to expanding its Opel brand that historically has offered GM's least expensive cars in Europe. GM is showing the 2015 Opel Karl, an urban minicar hatchback that shares design and power plant with the Chevrolet Spark. The Karl is powered by a 1.0-liter, three-cylinder engine.

Here's a closer look at some of the other featured models at the Geneva show:

  • Small SUVs. Hyundai is presenting its redesigned Tucson model, larger than the previous generation. The Tucson competes with compact SUVs such as the Toyota RAV4 and the Honda CR-V. Nissan is showing its Kadjar compact SUV--similar to the Nissan Rogue sold in the U.S. Honda will be displaying its even smaller utility--the HR-V. Already shown at the Detroit auto show in January, the HR-V joins a wave of these very small SUVs coming to market--including the Jeep Renegade and Chevrolet Trax.
  • Luxury Sports Cars. Audi is presenting its redesigned R8 sports car (pictured above). The sleek R8 will be powered by a 610-horsepower V-10 engine. Ferrari is bringing out a re-engineered performance model that will carry the 488 GTB nameplate. It will sport a 3.9 liter turbocharged V-8 power plant.
  • Ultra-luxury models. Mercedes Benz will unveil its Maybach brand to be called the Maybach Pullman. A stretched version of the Mercedes S-Class, the Pullman is expected to sell for at least half a million dollars. Bentley is introducing a concept car that previews future coupe models.
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