With the world debut of the new i40 and the first sighting on European soil of the exciting Veloster and Curb concepts, there's plenty to see at the Hyundai booth here at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show.

The i40 launches Hyundai into the midst of the hard-fought European midsize-wagon segment in a big way, pitting it against some serious rivals.

Alongside the i40 is Hyundai's Veloster. Shown at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January, it's a distinctive 3-door coupe, sporting an innovative 1-plus-2-door configuration, which Hyundai hopes will compete with the likes of popular Audi TT.

Hyundai says the Veloster combines "sporting looks, real-world practicality and cutting-edge technology" while offering the best emissions performance in class — 139g/km of carbon dioxide.

Following the company's new brand slogan, "New Thinking, New Possibilities," Hyundai's Curb Concept, also shown in Detroit, is here, too. A compact urban-activity vehicle (apparently), the Curb showcases Hyundai's future technology.

Hyundai i40

What is it? The new Hyundai i40 is the company's first serious attempt at the upscale midsize-wagon segment, and might give U.S. car buyers a glimpse of what the Sonata wagon might look like.

What makes it hot? The new i40 has been designed to alter the perception of the Hyundai brand; i.e., increase the premium quotient and thus attract a new class of customers. It sports a powertrain lineup boasting best-in-class performance and fuel-economy figures, as well as superlow carbon-dioxide emissions. Showcasing Hyundai's latest design language, the i40 packs numerous features you'd normally expect to see on higher-end products, such as Hyundai's own Genesis and Equus models. Included in the package are features such as heated and reclining front and rear seats and an "intelligent" de-mist system that automatically keeps the windshield fog-free.

What concerns us? As far as badge snobs go, Hyundai's brand image is still lacking prestige, and the styling isn't quite as bold or distinctive as it needs to be to create a real splash. Plus, the chances of our ever seeing a Sonata wagon on American shores are slim to none at this point.

How much and when? Price and launch date yet to be confirmed.

Our verdict? Can Hyundai's successful business model move upmarket? We'll have to see.

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