The week in one story
22 September 2006

You can tell we're getting closer to the French motor show – there's been a bevvy of concept cars unveiled this week, all of which will be in Paris when the 2006 Mondial de l'Automobile opens on 30th September.

Perhaps the most important is the new Ford Mondeo, revealed as a concept but in truth pretty much the finished article. It looks pretty sleek and should be good drive; you can buy the real thing from early next year.

Pitted against the Mondeo will be the new Dodge Avenger, which is the next part of the American brand's push into Europe. The Avenger's rather ungainly boxy profile is certainly distinctive, if nothing else.

Smaller in size but with a much bigger helping of style is the Skoda Joyster concept. Essentially a shrunken, sleeker version of the recently released Roomster MPV, the Joyster will most likely be based on the same platform as the next Fabia. Here's hoping that it looks just like the concept if they decide to build it.

If only that were also true of the Kia cee'd, which was downright desirable as a concept, but is ever-so-slightly dowdy in reality. Still, the new cee'd sport wagon looks smarter than its hatchback sibling, and shows that Kia is making great strides in terms of desirability.

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It's hard to think of many cars that are more desirable than a Porsche 911, and it only took one drive for Matt Saunders to become smitten with the new Targa.

"The Targa 4 might be all the 911 you ever want; not the fastest or the most visceral, but certainly the most complete car in a very impressive bunch," said Matt.

While Matt was driving the Porsche, Richard Bremner was at the wheel of the Mercedes-Benz CL600, which is probably more car than you could ever want and "only for those who feel compelled to tick only the highest specification on the list." If he was choosing, Richard would restrict himself to merely a CL500.

Still, just because you're not in the market for £70,000-plus motors doesn't mean you can't have fun. Steve Cropley's just driven the Peugeot 207 GT, and he's a happy man. "Shout this from the rooftops," said Steve. "Peugeot is building involving hot hatchbacks again." All for just over £14,000.

And if that's too pricey, you could always consider the new £12,495 Subaru Impreza 1.5R. Just don’t expect a cut-price WRX.

Come back next week for our Paris show preview video and all the latest news as it happens.

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