The 34th International Motor Show in Barcelona starts ttoday with the unveiling of five new models.

  • The Seat Altea Freetrack which unveils the latest TDI engine good for 170 HP and 36 mpg used in other VW brands.
  • The new Kia Picanto with 40-plus mpg in 1.0 and 1.3 gasoline, and 1.1 diesel offerings.
  • A subcompact wagon, the Peugeot 207 SW which can be equipped with antiparticullate filters
  • The Citroën C4 sedan also available with antiparticullate filters for 45-50 mpg diesel engines
  • The Opel Corsa GTI, less ecofriendly but a decent grown-up subcompact that is still good for 35mpg. Watch this because GM is bringing Opels to the US as Saturns.

The Motor Show has started with a non-declared war between the Spanish government and car manufacturers. Plans in Spain include the widspreading of biofuels and supporting the CO2 emissions limits coming from the European Union to 140 g/km. In order to incentivate more efficient cars, it was proposed to change the tax system but automakers declined that the current system was good enough. Currently 33 percent of the price of a car in Spain is taxes and tags: 16 percent of VAT (sales tax) and the "license plating" good for an extra 17 percent. The proposal wanted to change that 17 percent according to how the car polluted, from 10 to 30 percent.

Among the 5 introductions, only the Peugeot and the Kia emit less than 140 CO2 g/km. The Seat is good for about 146 and the Citroën, 160 because of the drag the third body adds to the bodywork.

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