Friday 29 February 2008

2 Hyundai coupes arrive in 2009 (UK)

Hyundai will launch two new coupes by 2009. The first will be front wheel drive and will replace the current Coupé SIII. This is be based off the i30 and will look alot like the Veloster. Expect the same radical design, including the shooting brake-style rear end and squat, wide body, although the glass roof may be lost for safety reasons. Engine options will include the 1.6 and 2.0-litre engines also used in the i30, with a diesel model still being considered.

As part of Hyundai’s new brand restructuring, the next Coupé will remain in the same price range as the current model (which starts at £15,700) without compromising the level of quality which has been set by the new ‘i’ cars; it hasn’t yet been decided if that nomenclature will appear on the coupé.

Hyundai is confident that the new, more premium coupé’s price won’t rise because it will not come with a V6 engine option — as the current model does.

The second coupe is likely to be the Genesis Coupé. The plan is to introduce an entirely different, more performance-focused coupé based on the rear-wheel-drive, 350bhp V6 Genesis coupé concept that was unveiled at the 2007 Los Angeles show. This would be Hyundai’s answer to the Nissan 350Z, and would be available with the concept’s V6; the V8 from the Genesis saloon concept is also being considered.

The Genesis coupé has not yet been confirmed for the UK, but Tony Whitehorn, MD of Hyundai UK, maintains that Hyundai “must have a sports car as its halo model”.

Odd-looking Mazda6 spied (U.S)

Meet your new Mazda6, provding you are living in the U.S. This pre-production car was spied in the snowy state of Detroit, undergoing final shakedown tests.

The vulgar headlamps are part of the car, right down to the XF-esque exhausts. A 3.5 litre V6 is likely to be used, alongside a 4-cylinder 2.5 litre petrol.

Look for the official debut of the Mazda6 in the next few months with sales beginning sometime this year.

Related link:

Spied: 2009 Mazda6 sedan

Thursday 28 February 2008

Subaru Forester pricing announced (U.S)

Last month, Subaru debuted the Forester SUV and this month, they have revealed the pricing for the new compact SUV.

Priing will start at $19,995 which which undercuts its predessor by $1200 but thats without the $665 destination charge. The PZEV (Partial Zero Emissions) model will start from $20,195 and the XT Limited will be priced from $28,195 excluding destionation charge.

The crossover is what Subaru calls a "more SUV-like" look, in part due to its 3.6-inch-longer wheelbase, now up to 103.0 inches.

Power will come from a 2.5 litre petrol normally aspirated and turbocharged engines. The turbo models will be mated with an automatic transmission. VDC (Vehicle Dynamic Control) and traction control will be standard across the range. It will go on sale in April.

Related links:

New Car: 2009 Subaru Forester

Subaru Forester uncloaked

2009 Subaru Forester

Sunday 24 February 2008

Hyundai i30 Estate pricing announced (UK)

After months of teasing UK customers on the Hyundai UK website, Hyundai has announced the prices for their newest arrival in the i30 family.

The i30 estate will start from £12,995 for the entry-level Comfort grade which gives you a 1.6 litre petrol engine that is equipped with electric folding door mirrors, air conditioning, 15” alloy wheels, ESP, six airbags, USB/iPod and aux connections. Expect to pay £16,295 for the flagship Premium grade which features 17" alloy wheels, heated & leather seats, climate control, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, rear parking sensors and front windscreen wiper de-icer.

It goes on sale 2nd April.

i30 Estate 1.6 Comfort £12,995
i30 Estate 1.6 Style £13,995
i30 Estate 1.6 Style Auto £14,995
i30 Estate 1.6 CRDi Style £14,695
i30 Estate 1.6 CRDi Premium £16,295

Standard specification:


Air conditioning
15” alloy wheels
Six airbags
Electric folding door mirrors
USB/iPod and aux connections


As Comfort, plus:

16” alloy wheels
Automatic lights-on sensor
Cloth seats with leather trim
Leather gear knob and steering wheel
Solar control glass (windscreen)
Tyre Pressure Monitoring


As Style, plus:

17” alloy wheels
Climate control
Auto-dimming rear view mirror
Leather seat facings
Heated front seats
Rear parking sensors
Front windscreen wiper de-icer

Related link:

Hyundai Elantra Touring preview

Friday 22 February 2008

Chrysler gives Europe a diesel SRT 300C

Later on this year, Chrysler will install a 3.0 V6 diesel engine in the 300C SRT which is borrowed from the regular 300C 3.0 CRD. This means 218 bhp, 163kW and 376lb ft of torque.

It will be available as a sedan or a touring model and boasts many of the SRT features including 20-inch alloys, body kit, chrome mesh grille. On the outside bootlid spoiler, revised rear light clusters, and extra LED lights will be incorporated in the facelift.

The interior will feature a satellite navigation system with a 20GB drive (referred to as MyGig), carbon-fibre detailing and leather sports seats straight out the of the 425bhp, 6.1-litre V8 SRT-8.

Thursday 21 February 2008

Honda Swindon plant produces 2 million cars


£80m investment tops day of achievement

This week marks Honda's celebration of the 2 millionth car from its Swindon car production facility. The silver CR-V is scheduled for production tomorrow evening (21st February, 2008) nearly 16 years after car manufacturing began in October 1992. Today the company announced substantial new investment, showing further commitment to its UK manufacturing operations. Building on its 22 year history, Honda of the UK Manufacturing Ltd. (HUM) is investing a further £80 million to upgrade and improve manufacturing processes.

This includes:

• £20 million into Plastic Operations which started mass production in January 2008 - capable of moulding and painting 1300 sets of bumpers for Civic and CR-V each day

• £16 million into a new casting facility employing the Honda patented process of ASCT (advanced semi-solid casting technology). This unique new process will enable HUM to independently cast diesel blocks, a process which, until now, has only been carried out at Honda in Japan

• A further £50 million being invested in welding and paint production technology, increasing efficiency and production flexibility. Honda's Swindon plant has shown a 25% increase in production volume over the last 18 months, with the company's UK sales operation breaking through the 100,000 sales barrier for the first time in 2007. Currently just under 30% of Swindon production goes to the UK market. In 2007, HUM produced 237,783 cars. David Hodgetts, Director at HUM, stated that "We are extremely proud of our workforce here in Swindon. This major milestone demonstrates the scale of our achievement since our operations began nearly 22 years ago. This fresh investment will enable Honda to improve overall competitiveness and increase the level of localised manufacture in Swindon. " Ken Keir, Senior Vice President of Honda Motor Europe, said "The fact that there are over two million happy customers driving Swindon built Honda cars is testament to our Associates' commitment and is a great accomplishment."

Honda of the UK Manufacturing Ltd. (HUM) : Key Facts 1) HUM Vehicle Production History

• Accord 4 Door (1992~2002 ) 280,432
• Accord 5 Door (1999~2002) 46,418
• Civic Aerodeck (1998~2000) 48,064
• Civic 3 Door (2001~Present) 213,810
• Civic 5 Door (1994~Present) 777,850
• CR-V (2000~Present) 633,426

Total 2,000,000

Tuesday 19 February 2008

Suzuki Splash pricing announced (UK)

Prices for Suzuki’s all-new Splash mini-MPV, which goes on sale 8 March, will start from £8,999 for the 1.2 GLS model rising to £9,499 for the 1.2 GLS+, which adds 15 inch alloys, front foglamps and privacy glass on the rear side windows and tailgate.

Both are powered by an 86 PS 1.2-litre petrol engine mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox. The GLS+ model can also be equipped with a 4-speed automatic, priced £10,349. Combined fuel consumption is 51.4 mpg for the manual, 47.9 mpg for the automatic.

For those whose preference is diesel, the 1.3 DDiS model, with an identical specification to the GLS+, is £10,499. Its 75 PS Fiat-derived turbo diesel is capable of 62.8 mpg on the combined cycle and emits only 120 g/km carbon dioxide, making it eligible for £35 annual road tax. Splash is one of the safest cars in its class – all models are equipped with six airbags – including two full length curtain airbags – and ESP® electronic stability as standard – reflecting Suzuki GB’s policy to make ESP® a universal fitment on all new models and all major facelifts.

All Splash models are also equipped with a CD tuner with MP3 player and steering wheel-mounted audio controls; leather-trimmed steering wheel; remote central locking; front electric windows with driver’s auto-down; air conditioning; electrically adjustable and heated door mirrors; height-adjustable front seats; tilt adjustable steering wheel; and an information display.

Petrol models are insurance group 3E, the diesel model 4D.

Sunday 17 February 2008

Mazda2 makes 100,000 milestone

Highly acclaimed, Demio posts strong global sales results Mazda Motor Corporation announced that production of the all-new Mazda Demio (known overseas as the all-new Mazda2) in Japan reached 100,000 units at the end of January 2008. This milestone was achieved only eight months after domestic production commenced at the end of May 2007. The all-new Demio was developed to inject a breath of fresh air into the global compact car segment. The vehicle concept was “a personal smart commuter” and development emphasized emerging modern values such as increased concern for environmental and safety issues, and a greater focus on design. The all-new Demio has won eight awards in Japan, including the 2008 RJC Car of the Year. Overseas, the all-new Mazda2 has been selected for 23 awards, including the New Zealand Car of the Year and second place in the 2008 European Car of the Year (as the highest ranked Japanese car). As demonstrated by 31 global awards earned in the seven months since its launch in July 2007, Mazda’s latest compact car already enjoys an excellent reputation among media and customers around the world. The all-new Demio is around 100 kilograms lighter than the previous model and boasts superb body rigidity through the use of ultra-high tensile steel. These advances help it to achieve top class fuel economy, dynamic driving performance and superior safety protection—all at the same time. In December 2007, the all-new Mazda2 was awarded five stars for adult occupant protection in the European New Car Assessment Program (NCAP)* crash testing; validation that its collision safety performance is world class. Against this background, the all-new Demio/Mazda2 is posting strong sales in global markets. In Japan, sales reached 34,389 units in the first six months, which represents a substantial portion of Mazda’s expanding market share in the challenging Japanese market. Mazda’s 2007 calendar year sales in Europe recorded 311,247 units, its highest volume since 1991. Sales of the all-new Mazda2 in Europe made a significant contribution to this achievement, reaching 12,591 units in just four months. To commemorate the RJC Car of the Year win, Mazda launched the Demio ‘Chiara’ special edition model with a custom body color and exclusive seat covers that give the interior a stylish and individual appearance. As of the end of January 2008, Mazda had received 578 orders for the Demio ‘Chiara’ in its first month of sales.

Related links:

Mercedes CLK Coupé exposed in snow

Mercedes engineers are currently working hard on testing the upcoming 09' CLK Coupé. These are the first shots of the new premium coupe undergoing cold-weather testing in Northern Sweden.

Although it’s hard to see underneath the camouflage, the front light clusters are expected to be spilt into two and with the rear light clusters, they maybe located on the boot-lid.

Based of the new C-Class sedan, the next generation CLK will show signs of a similar design. Engines aren't expected to change much but the current 3.5-litre V6 will most likely remain as the base powerplant, with the 5.5-litre V8 continuing as an option. Diesel engines will also be available for the European market. Rear-wheel drive will continue as well, although there is speculation that 4Matic will be added as an option.

The CLK coupe is due late 2008 with the convertible expected to follow in 2009.

Related link:

Thursday 14 February 2008

Say bonjour to the new Sandero

Updated on: 06/06/08

New pictures: 2009 Dacia Sandero SUV via

The Sandero has been launched in Brazil as a Renault but when the European counterpart arrives, don't expect the same name treatment.

Although, the Sandero is set for launch in 2009, Dacia is hot on its heels, testing it thoroughly in Southern Italy and Romania. Compared to the Brazilian Sandero, the European model will have a revised radiator grille.

Better specc'ed grades could have colour coded bumpers and door mirrors, electrically adjustable/heated door mirrors, front electric windows, height adjustable drivers seat, remote central door locking etc although, lower grades will be available for the UK market.

The Sandero will measure at four-metres and should be available at £6,500, which is the same price tag as an entry-level KIA Picanto.

The Sandero is based on the same BO platform and mechanicals that are found in the Logan saloon, estate and van. Its official launch will be at next month’s Geneva motor show but it won’t go on sale in the UK until early 2009.

There will also be a seven-seat version of the estate car which will be available to Europeans but isn't likely to come to the UK, however, the Logan estate could join our range later on in 2009.

When the new variants appear, they will be sold through Renault’s strong 200 dealer network with most showrooms having their own “Dacia” section.

A hatchback and estate aren't the only variants in the pipeline, expect to see a pseudo "SUV" looking Sandero hatchback and a sedan, which are all due to launch in 2009.

Related links:

Renault Sandero video
Renault Sandero launches in Brazil
New Car: 2008 Renault Sandero

SsangYong cuts prices across the range (UK)

The Korean car maker, SsangYong announced that it will chop prices across its range in the UK.

SsangYong was thinking about pulling out of the UK market due to poor sales. Only 1,500 cars were sold last year with the Rexton II be the most popular but even this even suffered poor sales itself due to high tax band and emissions.

The new Kyron will start from £14,995, this being front wheel drive which is saving you £3000 from the previous price tag of £17,995. This undercuts the Hyundai Tucson, Honda CR-V and KIA Sportage. The Rexton II SUV sheds £2,600, with a sticker price of £19,995. Powering it is a 2.7 litre diesel engine and lets not forget, it is almost as big as the Land Rover Discovery/LR3, but the Rodius doesn't get a price cut.

These price reductions are due to the brand being bought and distributed by Koelliker UK and re-launching.

Audi TT-S pricing announced (UK)

Audi UK has announced prices for the TT-S roadster and coupé.

The coupé will sell for £33,380 while the roadster will start at at £35,380 both OTR.

TT-S is a new name on the market, coming in, without a clear direct rival as far as its two German counterparts are concerned. At introduction, it will sport the same overworked 2.0-litre VW company mill, which for this application will produce 200kW and torque of 350Nm. The 0 – 100km/h time should be just 5.4 seconds for the 6-speed manual coupé and 5.6 seconds for the roadster.

Buyers who choose the dual-clutch S-tronic will go 0.2 seconds quicker off the line. A new damping system called Audi magnetic ride will help to change the driving character of the car by varying suspension for different road surfaces and situations.

LED daytime running lights also feature and standard 18-inches alloys, though an upgrade to 19-inch 5-spokers is available at £750.

Tuesday 12 February 2008

Infiniti debuts in Geneva

Reports confirm that the next generation of the FX crossover will debut at the Geneva Motor Show but in somewhat, surprising news, the actual debut will take place in a private ceremony outside the show. Occurring during the evening of Tuesday March 4th, Nissan President and CEO Carlos Ghosn is expected to pull the curtain off the FX. Infiniti is a subsidiary of Nissan.

Coming up on the brand's 20th anniversary, this will be the first premiere for the brand outside of the U.S.

The FX will be joined by several Euro-specific performance cars being unveiled at the Swiss show. The vehicles will include the G-Series V6 sedan, G-Series coupe and the EX crossover which will rival the LR Freelander, BMW X3, Audi Q5, Mercedes GLK and the Volvo XC60. All three vehicles including the new FX, will be available across Europe beginning in October 2008, but Infiniti announced that it will enter the UK market in 2009, one of the brands most important markets.

Previous accounts of the Infiniti crossover call for the availability of a V6 or V8 petrol powered engine with a Renault develop V6 diesel option coming out in 2010.

The new FX is also believed to have an optional hybrid power train available, which will have a revolutionary electric motor system to assist petrol engines at low and high speeds. If this is true, this could potentially revolutionise a market segment consistently plagued with negative PR related to fuel efficiency. Nissan's new system would mean cleaner running vehicles in almost any driving situation.

Although a hybrid FX is not expected until 2011, news about it is expected to be released at the unveiling of the 2009 Infiniti FX.

Press release:


Infiniti and its range of performance sedans, coupes and crossovers has been in existence for almost 20 years. 2008 and the 78th International Geneva Motor Show marks the brand’s introduction into Western Europe, the toughest luxury market in the world.

To celebrate this important milestone, Infiniti will use the show timing to stage the global premiere of the second generation of the iconic FX performance crossover. Never before has a new Infiniti been revealed outside of the US.

Infiniti will also unveil the rest of its line-up of performance cars, tailored for the European market: the V6 powered G Sedan, G coupe and EX coupe crossover. This portfolio of products will be launched across Europe, together with the second generation FX, from October 2008.

The V8 powered Infiniti FX will be revealed away from the motor show on the night of Tuesday 4th March 2008 at a private ceremony attended by Mr Carlos Ghosn, President and CEO Nissan Motor Co. Ltd.

Related links:

Infiniti enters Western Europe
New Car: 2008 Infiniti EX35

Monday 11 February 2008

New Car: 2008 Honda Accord

This is the all-new Accord. It may not look very different, but according to Honda this will be the car to catapult the Japanese brand into contention with established premium marques.

A ground-up re-design, the Accord will again be sold in saloon and Tourer forms, which are both expected to arrive in the showrooms this July. The current Accord sold 8500 units in the UK last year. Honda UK expects the new model to jump to between 12- and 14,000 sales, with prices kicking off at £18,000 and rising to over £23,000 for a diesel Tourer – roughly £1000 over prices for the current model. The new car is ‘significantly’ wider and slightly lower than the outgoing model. Under the sharper skin is a new, more rigid platform with new front and rear multi-link suspension.

Honda says it benchmarked the BMW 3-series to achieve a ‘more involving, communicative drive’.

More power; less emissions:

The Accord will be offered with two petrol engines and a new ultra-clean diesel. The 2.0-litre i-VTEC petrol is good for 154bhp and will improve economy thanks to revised valve and intake engineering. The 2.4-litre i-VTEC delivers 197bhp at 7000rpm and 187lb ft at 4500rpm.

However, the big news for European drivers is the Accord’s new 148bhp i-DTEC diesel, which has a massive torque output of 258lb ft at just 2000rpm. The previous Honda diesel unit was a benchmark for refinement, but Honda says it has made the new i-DTEC engine ‘more powerful, smoother and cleaner’. It’s so clean it will meet the US’s ultra-stringent ‘EPA Tier II Bin 5’emissions standards without the NoX-reducing urea injection system Mercedes fitted to its US-bound Bluetec diesel engines.

All three engines will be offered with a six-speed manual box. A five-speed auto is also offered on the petrol engines, with a diesel auto arriving in 2009.

A quality finish:

A great deal of effort has been expended on the fit and finish of the new ‘cockpit-like’ interior, which features floating, back-lit, instruments and a central LCD multi-information display.

Honda sources claim the interior feels a ‘class up’, going so far as to say it rivals the Audi A6 for space and quality. Even the front seats are described by Accord engineer Toshiro Morita as ‘no expense spared.’ Audi was the target when the Accord’s body and interior quality was being refined. BMW was the target for the engine development and the sophistication of engineering individual components, with Audi, BMW and Lexus used as reference points for the Accord’s electronics.

This includes Motion Adaptive EPS, which combines the stability system and electric power steering to detect instability and makes steering inputs designed to get the drive to steer in the correct direction. It also gets the option of Adaptive Cruise Control, a Collision Mitigation Braking System and Lane Departure Warning. You won't have to wait long to find out if the new Accord stands up to the hype; it will make its international debut at the Geneva show next month.

New Car: 2009 Acura TSX

All-New 2009 TSX to Debut at New York International Auto Show:

Acura announced today it will debut the all-new 2009 Acura TSX sports sedan at the 2008 New York International Auto Show and released an exterior photo of the new model. Scheduled to go on-sale in the spring, the 2009 Acura TSX will be the second generation of Acura's popular entry level sedan and feature numerous advancements in performance, styling, technology and safety.

"The new 2009 TSX speaks clearly to the direction we are taking our Acura sedans in the future," said cock Colliver, executive vice president auto sales, "The TSX is a significant step in the advancement of our sedan lineup and the continued enhancement of the Acura brand."

Acura unveiled the new 2009 RL at the Chicago Auto Show last week and also announced the company will introduce an-all new TL performance luxury sedan later this year.

The 2009 Acura TSX will be introduced during the New York International Auto Show media days which occur on March 19th and 20th.
Press release:
The 2009 Acura TSX will be introduced during the New York International Auto Show media days which occur on March 19th and 20th.

Press release:

All-New 2009 TSX to Debut at New York International Auto Show.

The second-generation Acura TSX is designed to appeal to young professionals with its keen-edge styling, athletic performance and advanced electronic features.

Designed and engineered to reaffirm its place as a desirable and affordable entry point for entry-premium buyers, the all-new second-generation 2009 TSX is larger, more agile, more performance minded and even "more Acura" than ever before. Carefully crafted to honour the original TSX's vision as a world-class sports sedan, the new TSX has significantly evolved to offer more comfort, convenience, driving performance and safety. It does so with expanded luxury and electronic features, a wider stance for more agile performance, and advanced safety systems.

The 2009 TSX is expected to appeal to current TSX owners, young professionals and other image seekers who will appreciate its innovative styling, technical allure and total performance - while also valuing the outstanding customer treatment that owners have come to enjoy at Acura dealerships. Extremely brand conscious and eclectic in their tastes, buyers will find the TSX as satisfying for driving colleagues to lunch as it is for weekend snowboarding trips or vacation travel.


An all-aluminium DOHC i-VTEC® in-line 4-cylinder engine heralds a pair of firsts for the TSX model, including dual balance shafts and a direct ignition system. Along with improved performance, it is also cleaner as it now meeting the EPA's aggressive Tier 2-Bin 5 and CARB LEV II Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (ULEV) standards for the first time in TSX history.Displacing 2.4-liters and producing 201 hp and 172 lb-ft of torque (with manual transmission), the new in-line 4-cylinder engine produces its useable power across a much wider rpm range, while five percent more torque further strengthens the engine's pulling power at middle rpm levels. This allows the 2009 TSX to be more responsive off the line and out of corners, and stronger in the middle of the rpm range where the engine operates most of the time.

This newfound performance and flexibility is due in part to a higher compression ratio, revised valve timing, and improved intake and exhaust gas flow. Further credit goes to the TSX engine's i-VTEC® "intelligent" valve control system, which provides the power characteristics of a V-6 without sacrificing the light weight or fuel efficiency of an in-line four. Likewise, a new rear-mounted exhaust manifold layout, a close-coupled catalytic converter design, and a Programmed Fuel Injection (PGM-FI) system substantially reduce emissions levels. Estimated fuel mileage is 21/30/24 mpg* (city/highway/combined, 5 AT) and 20/28/23 mpg* (city/highway/combined, 6 MT).

Two transmissions are available, both as standard equipment - a 6-speed close- ratio manual with new performance-oriented ratios for Second through Sixth gears, and a Sequential SportShift 5-speed automatic with a new lock-up torque converter assembly. The manual transmission features a short-throw shifter with a precise, light action that makes it highly rewarding to use, while the Sequential SportShift automatic permits fully automatic operation with intelligent features such as Grade Logic Control and Shift Hold Control, which make driving the TSX on hilly or winding roads more enjoyable. If the driver desires, the automatic transmission can also be operated manually via new steering-wheel mounted F1®-style paddle shifters.

Body and Chassis:

The 2009 TSX body structure includes two firsts for the Acura division, including a closed-channel cross-braced roof structure and inside frame rails. Along with a stronger rear bulkhead, the closed-channel cross-braced roof structure yields a more rigid and vibration-resistant structure. The first use of inside frame rails for any Acura model help tailor the aerodynamics underneath the car for improved fuel economy, lower emissions and reduced noise. In addition, new A-, B- and C-pillar separators improve the TSX's quietness over rough roads and at high speed. Slippery aerodynamics also helps fuel economy as well as high-speed stability - all while lowering emissions.

In addition to its 3.0-inch greater width and 2.6-inch wider track, the 2009 TSX has a 1.3-inch longer wheelbase and 2.4 inches more overall length. These dimensions combine to provide greater interior roominess, more agile handling and improved ride quality. Another first for Acura are the TSX's new dual-mode suspension dampers, which provide superior suspension damping characteristics at both lower and higher damper speeds. Using a unique deflector plate stack, the new dampers adjust compression damping characteristics to suit the vehicle speed, cornering forces and road surface. In creating the second-generation TSX body design, Acura designers sought to retain the crisp, dynamic design of the original and enhance it by widening the body overall and adding more muscular and distinctive cues to create a keen-edged sports sedan. Their key design goal was to create an aerodynamic design that evokes both emotion and tension with a decisively sporty flair.

Outward visibility is improved with a slimmer A-pillar design, while an auto up/down front passenger window adds convenience and a reverse-linked passenger-side door mirror tilts down to help improve safety while parallel parking. The new TSX also has a wider trunk opening and a lower trunk lift-over height for more convenient loading.


Functionality and refinement converge with luxury and style in the interior of the 2009 Acura TSX. Featuring a blend of sweeping, contemporary shapes, a high level of standard comfort and convenience features, widespread use of premium materials and an available Technology Package, this 5-passenger sports sedan offers the upscale modern interior that customers have come to expect from Acura.

From the precision-crafted metal door sills to the satin-metal finish accents, from new leather-covered seats to the steering-wheel mounted controls, and from the premium 7-speaker sound system to the dual-zone automatic climate control, the TSX represents a merge of intelligent design and innovation. For example, Bluetooth® connectivity is standard and includes a HandsFreeLink® cellular telephone interface that makes communications easier and safer while en route.

Typical of Acura, the TSX offers an exceptional level of standard equipment. Included are a standard power passenger seat, a new folding key with remote entry, new automatic headlight activation, a premium 7-speaker sound system with CD, AM/FM/XM®, Bluetooth® HandsFreeLink® , and USB port music interface. A HomeLink® remote control system is also standard.

Adding to the already impressive list of TSX standard equipment is the available Technology Package, which bristles with leading-edge electronics that make driving much more efficient and enjoyable. These include an Acura Navigation System with Voice RecognitionTM, AcuraLink® Real-time traffic, AcuraLink® weather, and the highly useful AcuraLink® Satellite Communication System. The navigation system also features Real-time trafficTM covering 76 major metropolitan markets, and offers Traffic Rerouting with dynamic route guidance to help navigate around slow-downs. For 2009, the TSX receives a dash-mounted electronic compass for added directional information while driving.

Included in the Technology Package is a premium sound system tuned by legendary sound engineer Elliot Scheiner. This 10-speaker Acura/ELSTM Premium Surround Sound System with DVD-Audio includes a new Note function for XM® Radio that makes it easy to identify songs to recall at a later date. With push of a button, the Note function can capture 10 seconds of up to 30 songs, along with noting text indicating song title, artist name, and XM® channel.


The 2009 Acura TSX leads the way in safety with its new Advanced Compatibility EngineeringTM (ACETM) body structure. Engineered into the TSX model for the first time, ACETM improves the dispersal of frontal crash energy through the use of load-bearing frame structures that better match the TSX with other vehicles of different sizes and with different bumper heights. Simply put, ACETM helps maximize the effectiveness of the TSX's front crumple zones, better dispersing crash forces before they reach the passenger compartment.

A broad range of passive safety features likewise contributes to occupant safety, including six airbags (dual-stage, dual-threshold front airbags, new dual-chamber front seat side airbags, and side curtain airbags for outboard seating positions). Three-point seatbelts and head restraints are provided in all seating positions, and front seatbelt load limiters with an integrated automatic tensioning system further protect the TSX driver and front passenger. A new Active Headrest Restrain System is used for the first time on the TSX, while the rear seat features a Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) system that allows for the easy and secure affixing of up to two child seats. Exterior features designed to further improve safety include daytime running lights (DRL), pedestrian-injury mitigation features such as a deformable hood, hood hinges and windshield-wiper pivots, and a 5-mph front bumper and 2.5-mph rear bumper.

The 2009 Acura TSX is expected to achieve the highest ratings in both government (NHTSA)** and independent (IIHS) crash testing - including garnering IIHS's TOP SAFETY PICK.

Finally, the 2009 Acura TSX is covered by a comprehensive 4-year/50,000 mile bumper-to-bumper limited warranty and a 6-year/70,000 mile powertrain limited warranty. Additional benefits of ownership include Acura Total Luxury Care® (TLC®) that provides free 24-hour roadside assistance, concierge service and trip routing.

New Car: 2008 Renault Koleos

Renault haspublished the first officical photographs of the car that represents its first step into the 4x4 market: this is the new Koleos. A 4.5-metre 'soft-roader' that will give the French maker a car to pitch against the Toyota RAV4, Vauxhall Antara and the new Ford Kuga this summer.

The Koleos is, for Renault, one of the most valuable fruits of its alliance with established 4x4 maker Nissan. It was designed by the former, but engineered and developed by the latter, and comes packed with the Japanese brand’s specialist 4x4 technology such as electronically controlled all-mode active four-wheel drive and hill descent control.

Based on the brands’ ‘Alliance C’ platform, the Koleos shares mechanicals with both the Nissan X-trail and Qashqai. It will be built in Korea, at Renault-Samsung’s Busan plant, where it will share a production line with Korea’s native Samsung QM5.

The Koleos will be available on a global scale with a choice of three powerplants. Nissan supplies the car's range-topping petrol engine, a 168bhp 2.5-litre option which is, according to one Renault UK spokesperson we referred to, “unlikely to be offered in Britain.” Instead, UK buyers will be limited to two 2.0-litre diesel options, one with 148bhp and one with 173bhp.

The less-powerful of the two oil-burners will be available as a front-wheel-drive-only model, offered for around £18,500; the range-topping model is likely to come in around £22,500. Sales will begin this June

Chevrolet Epica pricing announced (UK)

On the 26th April, the Chevrolet Epica (which is almost as long as the BMW 5 Series sedan) will go on sale in the UK.

This front-driven four-door - which comes with a six-cylinder engine, air conditioning, cruise control, electric windows, an MP3 CD player, six airbags and 16in alloy wheels will be priced from just £13,595. That’s not just less than a Skoda Superb, it’s even less than the cheapest diesel-engined Ford Focus.

The Epica 2.0 LS will become the cheapest new six-cylinder car on the UK market. With just 143bhp under the hood, it won’t be the most powerful but it should be smooth-driving and comes with the option of an automatic gearbox. A 148bhp, 2.0-litre diesel option will also be available at £14,595 which could become popular amongst taxi drivers and families with a budget.

The Epica is built in Korea, and will be imported to Britain by Chevrolet UK alongside the Captiva 4x4.

TATA Nano to go on sale in 2012 (EU)

In four years time, the TATA Nano will reach European showrooms. During that time, TATA will alter the Nano to make it cleaner and safer for Europeans because the engines have to meet Euro 5 emission standards and the most stringent crash standards. The problem is that the car consumes alot of petrol, which is leading to high emissions and the fact it doesn't have any airbags.

"We will develop a successor model in four years time, which will meet the Euro 5 emission regulations and the crash standards in Europe," Girish Wagh, head of Tata’s compact car division. The cheapest car in the world will have a production total of 250,000 units yearly.

FIAT 500 sold out (UK)

The United Kingdom had an initial allocation of 4,500 units when sales began two weeks ago, but already Fiat dealers are struggling to replenish stocks of the popular modern-retro car.

Originally, 16,000 units were planned for the UK but due to demand, it looks as if that figure could rise to 25,000 units annually. Fiat executives, who have hit the proverbial jackpot with the 500, can not wipe the smiles off their faces because of 500. The growing waiting list is evidence of this 500 madness that hasn’t been seen since the launch of the new MINI in 2001. So bad/good is the situation – depending on who’s asking – that certain buyers are taking advantage and seeing the investment opportunity presented by the shortage of cars.

They are offering their cars for sale on auction on websites like eBay, some at ridiculous prices because they know the waiting list is long and people with the cash aren’t willing to wait. Fiat South Africa is also saying better order your 500 tomorrow, otherwise you may have to wait until the end of July for delivery. One Fiat dealer claims he can’t believe the number of MINIs that park outside his dealership where owners want to check out the 500, which is priced at €1200 less than MINI.

The phenomenal success of the 500 comes at a time when the Fiat Group has recorded its largest ever trading profit – €3.2 billion based on a turnover of €59 billion – in its 2007 Annual Results. These figures are up 12.9 percent on 2006 with a 66 percent increase in trading profit, and the Automobiles sector almost doubled its profit over 2006, to €1.1 billion.

The 500 has won heaps of awards including Car Of The Year 2008 and the Gay Car Of 2008.

When the 500 came out on the 21st January, I immediately went to my local dealer to see the car myself. I was told a 6 - 12 weeks waiting list is in order after I ask about the demand.

As for the sportier models, they are likely to be powered by a 1.4 litre petrol engine developing around 155bhp & 180bhp for the Abarth which is due in late 2008 and 200bhp for the Abarth SS which is due early '09.

I sat in the 1.4 100bhp Sport model. I didn't really like the chrome exterior pack which chromes the door handles, parts of the front and rear bumpers, exhuast pipe and window line etc. The interior is surprisingly spacious for such a small car and headroom is great. Trunk room seemed fairly reasonable for a car this size but fold the rear seats and you'll have more space than you can handle. So, my mini verdict:

Pros - Spacious cabin especially with glass roof, great front head/leg room, fashionable and chic and funky interior

Cons - Rear headroom made me feel claustrophobic, rear legroom is poor and my knees dug into the driver’s seat and the centre console looks empty.

What else is in the pipeline? As I said above, 2 sports models are currently testing around Europe. The Abarth will take on the Mini Cooper S and the Abarth SS is currently class-less. A cabrio is due next year alongside a wagon which will rival the Mini Clubman. A wagon based SUV could even reach showroom in 2010 and the 500 itself should get facelifted aswell.

Related links:

FIAT 500 at 2008 F1 Grand Prix
FIAT 500 UK pricing
FIAT 500 production expands again
FIAT 500 crash test results
Private importers import FIAT 500 in UK
FIAT 500 production expands
FIAT 500 goes off-road
FIAT 500 Abarth expected in Tokyo
FIAT 500 goes on sale in France & Italy
FIAT 500 commercial shoot pictures

Saturday 9 February 2008

Hyundai Sonata pricing announced (U.S)

Hyundai Motor America announced pricing for the refreshed 2009 Sonata. The 2009 Sonata features an all-new interior, enhanced suspensions and revised powertrains boasting even more horsepower and improved fuel economy. The 2009 Sonata is now on sale at Hyundai dealerships.

“You’d expect that all of these changes and new content would lead to startling new price points for the Sonata,” said John Krafcik, vice president, Product Development and Strategic Planning, Hyundai Motor America. “But that’s not Hyundai’s business model. With a starting price of just $18,795, including delivery, the 2009 Sonata is very well equipped to compete with the best mid-size sedans on quality, craftsmanship, capability…and of course, value.” The Sonata combines refined design, proven dependability, spirited performance and an extensive list of standard features to increase its appeal to a broader range of customers. For 2009, Sonata raises the bar for value and standard safety technology in the mid-size segment.

Hyundai’s sales leader boasts new features ranging from standard USB/iPod auxiliary inputs to available navigation and sport-tuned suspension. Combined with Sonata’s continued leadership in safety – it remains the only mid-size sedan under $20,000 with standard Electronic Stability Control (ESC) – the 2009 American-made Sonata is the smartest choice in the competitive mid-size sedan segment. The new, second-generation Theta II 2.4-liter DOHC inline four-cylinder engine delivers more horsepower and quicker acceleration. Fuel economy numbers are 22 mpg city/32 mpg highway with the standard five-speed manual transmission or the newly available five-speed automatic transmission with SHIFTRONIC®.

The Theta II is rated at 175 horsepower and 168 lb.-ft. of torque. This high-tech, all-aluminum, 16-valve engine now features Continuously Variable Valve Timing (CVVT) on both camshafts and a Variable Induction System (VIS) for better engine breathing. Sonata’s 3.3-liter V6 engine now pumps out 15 more horsepower and three more pound-feet of torque (249 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm and 229 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,500 rpm). This newly refined powerplant features all-aluminum construction, dual overhead camshafts, four valves per cylinder, CVVT on both camshafts and stiffer hydraulic engine mounts for optimum power, efficiency and refinement. A variable intake system is added for 2009, which further broadens its power curve, improving off-the-line acceleration and passing performance. New mileage figures for V6-powered Sonatas are 19 mpg city/29 mpg highway.

All V6-powered Sonatas use Hyundai's five-speed SHIFTRONIC automatic transmission, which features an overdrive lock-up torque converter for improved highway fuel economy. The automatic transmission has a new reducing valve and solenoid valve for smoother shift quality while the manual transmission has been refined for more precise shifts. The pleasant surprises continue inside where Hyundai designers have thoroughly revamped the cockpit to create the ambiance of an upscale, premium sedan.

The sophisticated look is achieved thanks to a completely new center console and instrument panel, which borrows design cues and rich materials from the premium Hyundai Veracruz. The Sonata continues to be classified by the Environmental Protection Agency as a Large Car, truly a “class above” Camry, Altima, Fusion and Malibu (all are categorized as mid-size cars). Music lovers will welcome the 2009 Sonata’s inclusion of standard auxiliary input jacks (3.5 mm mini-jack and USB input) to accommodate and charge audio devices such as iPods®. Other refinements include dual-zone climate controls for the driver and front-seat passenger and two-stage front seat warmers. A new factory-installed touch screen navigation system is now available as well.

The design team added a more refined touch to Sonata’s exterior design, with new bumpers, lamps, wheels and grille creating a more elegant, dynamic and taut stance. The unibody design crafted of high-tensile steel features a concave hood design, distinctive rear-door cut lines, strong Z-lined body-to-bumper interfaces and four-barrel jeweled projector lens headlights. New chrome bodyside and bumper moldings match the chrome grille and chrome-accented exterior door handles on Limited models. On the safety side, 2009 Sonata’s front collision performance has been improved by tweaking the design of the engine subframe. Every Sonata also has lifesaving ESC as standard equipment along with six standard airbags. The braking technology package includes four-wheel disc brakes and an Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) that includes Brake Assist and Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD).

Sonata GLS 2.4-literI4 5-speed manual $18,795
Sonata GLS 2.4-liter I4 5-speed automatic $19,995
Sonata GLS 2.4-liter I4 PZEV 5-speed automatic $19,995
Sonata GLS 3.3-liter V6 5-speed automatic $22,245

Sonata SE 2.4-liter I4 5-speed manual $21,195
Sonata SE 3.3-liter V6 5-speed automatic $23,845

Sonata Limited 2.4-liter I4 5-speed automatic $24,645
Sonata Limited 2.4-liter I4 PZEV 5-speed automatic $24,645
Sonata Limited 3.3-liter V6 5-speed automatic $26,345

Related links:

New Car: 2008 Hyundai i40/Sonata
Hyundai Sonata hot-weather testing

Nissan GT-R makes European debut at Geneva

The much anticipated Nissan GT-R will make its European debut a the Geneva motorhow in March alongside the revised Nissan Murano and the eco-friendly Pivo 2.

The supercar will go on sale in Europe in 2009 whilst the popular Murano crossover, will go on sale in October.

The GT-R has already reached pre-order status in the U.S ahead of a June date for the first deliveries to customers. With its 480-horsepower 3.8-litre biturbo V6 engine, Nissan says the GT-R recently made a lap of the Nordschleife at the Nürburgring circuit in Germany in 7 minutes, 38 seconds.

Nissan UK will not allow any private imports but pricing and other details for European customers will be announced at the Geneva show.

Related links:

Nissan dealers rip off potential GT-R buyers
Nissan GT-R in high demand
New Car: 2009 Nissan GT-R

Sunday 3 February 2008

Nissan dealers rips off potential GT-R buyers

A curious automotive writer called 15 dealerships throughout California, Florida, Illinois, Texas, Virginia and Washington to find out how much they would charge for a 2009 GT-R. Nissan dealers were charging anything from $20,000 - $60,000 in excess for the GT-R supercar. The GT-R has a sticker price of $69,000 and only 1,500 will available in the first year which could get you a Sentra and a 350Z.

Nissan is also threatening legal action against grey importers if they import new Japanese spec GT-R's into the UK. The GT-R went on sale in Japan in December 2007 with a price tag of £36,000. Nissan’s lawyers have written to grey importers warning that shipping in Japanese-spec models and selling them for a profit infringes trademark rights.

In other news, the first GT-R crash has happened in Hong Kong. Not much is known about the incident but the nose has been crumpled severely. Pictures can be viewed here and here

[b]Related links[b]:

Nissan GT-R in high demand
New Car: 2009 Nissan GT-R

Saturday 2 February 2008

Next Cerato/Spectra caught cold

KIA engineers have started testing on the next Cerato/Spectra. Frozen spy photographers have caught a couple of prototypes undergoing cold-weather testing in temperatures of -25°C. The current Cerato received a slight refresh in 2006 and was axed in the UK line-up due to dismal sales. The next Cerato is expected to take styling hints of the current Elantra and what gives this away is the thick c-pillar by the rear-side window and the overall wedginess of the cars styling. It’ll also be larger than its predecessor.

Described by Kia Motors America President Len Hunt as an offshoot of the Spectra, the concept should have a more sporty and aggressive styling than its real-world counterpart. KIA is rumoured is unveil a concept car at the upcoming New York motorshow.

Power is likely to come from a 2.0 Beta 138bhp 4-cylinder mated with a 6 speed manual. A 5 door variant isn't confirmed yet but it is likely.

Friday 1 February 2008

Top 10 cars sold in Europe in 2007

According to figures from industry data firm JATO Dynamics, the overall European market grew by just under 1% which, while it doesn't sound like much, is "a significant achievement" according to a JATO spokesman.

So much of the industry waffle, what about the figures? Well, VW remains at the top of the brand leaderboard, having sold just over 1.6 million cars on the European market. GM comes in second with 1.3 million, Ford just 36,000 sales behind in third. Of the top 10 manufacturers only Renault and Peugeot recorded overall falls in sales, although they maintained their respective rankings of fourth and fifth. And the cars? Well, GM, Volkswagen and Peugeot are going to be happy but don't expect the same cheer at Renault. The results as follow:

1st: Peugeot 207

Sales: 437,505, +105.5%

The Fiesta and Corsa both sell considerably more than the baby Peugeot here in the UK, the 207 coming 6th in the sales charts and selling more than 35,000 fewer than the ever popular Ford. But Europe wide the 207 is king, posting a remarkable level of growth, despite Peugeot posting an overall dip in sales of 1.4%. This pales against the 105.5% expansion in 207 sales though, a victory that must come as particularly sweet considering the Clio's poor performance over the same period. If the new 308 can match its baby brother's success and do the same in the C-segment Peugeot could be set for an amazing year.

2nd: Volkswagen Golf

Sales: 435,055, +4.5%

It's hard to argue with the Golf and even against stiff competition VW's star performer recorded a 4.5% boost to its European sales. Volkswagen has further reason to be proud of 2007's results, having sold 118,322 more cars overall than it did in 2006. And given the general doom and gloom about the world economic situation that has to be seen as a positive result. The current fifth generation Golf was due to be replaced this year with a more profitable (cheaper to produce) version this year but it looks like this won't happen before 2009. It doesn't look like there's any need to rush.

3rd: Ford Focus

Sales: 406,557, -7.5%

Britain's most popular car, the Focus has similar popularity Europe wide, even if sales have dropped off a bit during 2007. Ford is unlikely to be concerned though, thanks to the mid life facelift and reinvigorated 'kinetic design' updates revealed late last year. This, combined with a brand new dual-clutch automated gearbox plus a whole range of sub 120g/km diesels and the even greener Econetic model, should ensure continued dominance for the mid-range Ford. Here in the UK the Focus retained its number one spot, a position it has occupied every year since 1999, selling 1.2 million examples in Britain alone.

4th: Vauxhall/Opel Corsa

Sales: 402,173, +41.7%

The lippy woollen puppets are going to be shouting even louder with a 41.7% boost in sales for Vauxhall's critically acclaimed Corsa. Buyers obviously appreciate the car's refinement and quality, strong pricing and a wide range of engines, even if the less powerful ones struggle with the car's added heft. Vauxhall has expanded the range of hot Corsas too, with a new SRI complementing the red hot VXR version - the latter officially the fastest supermini around the Nürburgring's Nordschleife. The Corsa's fourth place in Europe matched its position in the UK sales chart too, with just over 94,000 registrations in 2007.

5th: Vauxhall/Opel Astra

Sales: 402,044, -7.9%

Sales may be on the wane for the Astra but Vauxhall can't feel too upset, even posting a modest increase in overall sales for 2007. Against its arch rival, the Focus, the Astra fared well, selling just 4,513 fewer examples in Europe. It was a similar story here in the UK too, with the Astra's tally of 113,894 registrations putting it in second place on the overall sales charts, 13,034 fewer than the Focus. A good result, but Vauxhall has no time to rest on its laurels, especially with a refreshed Focus reaching showrooms this month.

6th: Renault Clio

Sales: 382,041, -11.5%

An apparently strong result for the Clio masks concerns for Renault, with sales of the crucial supermini falling by over 10%. Relatively fresh and with a strong engine line up packed with clean diesels and efficient turbocharged petrol engines, the Clio deserves to do better than this and Renault must be wondering where it went wrong. It gets worse too - overall sales are down by 8.3%, the biggest fall of any of the manufacturers in the top 10. Here's hoping the new Laguna and forthcoming Laguna coupe can inject a bit of va-va-voom into the sales figures this year.

7th: FIAT Grande Punto

Sales: 377,989, -5.9%

OK, so a fall of nearly 6% for Punto sales isn't great. But they'll still be beaming over in Turin. Why's that? An overall growth for 2007 of 7.7% and sales just shy of a million mean Fiat wins the prize for most improved results of the year and for that you can thank the Punto's baby brother, the new 500. It's only just launched in right-hand drive but it's been on sale in Europe since September and FIAT's Polish factory can't build them fast enough and with huge excitement here in the UK about the new model you can expect even greater success for 2008, with a 6 - 12 week waiting list.

8th: Ford Fiesta

Sales: 300,566, +0.6%

Given that it's due for replacement, 2007 isn't bad for the Fiesta sales, even posting a tiny increase. And with this level of popularity should Ford really start afresh and ditch the Fiesta name in favour of Verve? There will be some sleepless nights among Ford execs as they wrestle with the decision but with this, the new Kuga and the facelifted Focus Ford's line up for 2008 looks very strong indeed. It needs to be too, given the sale of premium brands like Jaguar and Land Rover and the continued appalling losses in its US homeland.

9th: Volkswagen Passat

Sales: 300,566, -9.4%

Sales are down by nearly 10% but the Passat nonetheless leads the family segment. It's going to have its work cut out this year, as it fends off sharp new rivals from all corners. Ford's Mondeo has been a huge critical success and the recently launched Mazda 6 has also been very well received. Honda will launch its new Accord this year and Vauxhall will have its Insignia too and let's not forget the french firms: the new Laguna is now making its presence felt and a resurgent Citroen will also be weighing in with a brand new C5.

10th: BMW 3 Series

Sales: 295,312, +2%

If you ever doubted that premium was the new mainstream it's time to sit up and pay attention! The fact that BMW only sold 5,000 fewer 3-Series than Ford did Fiestas is proof of the aspirational appeal of ever popular compact BMW. Growth of 2% is impressive by any stretch but the more so when you consider the current E90 model has now been around for nearly three years. With Mini sales climbing by 26.8% and BMW's ever expanding range, the blue propellor's domination of the European market looks set to continue.

Ford Edge heads to Brazil (BR)

North American cars are hugely popular in South America, particularly in Brazil were the Fusion sedan outsold its rivals.

Ford hopes the new Edge crossover will continue the trend. Power will come from a 3.5 litre V6 petrol engine which will be mated with a 6 speed automatic transmission.

Ford will also invest $1 billion dollars in the next 4 years, much of it to renew its locally built products

Audi RS6 pricing announced (UK)

I'm starting February with the official pricing of the new Audi RS6. It will cost more than the Mercedes E63 AMG by £7k and BMW M5 Touring by £9,500 with a sticker price of £76,625.

What do you get for your money? Parking sensors, 20 inch alloy wheels, leather interior including heated front and rear seats, 6-disc CD changer, sat-nav, DAB radio and BOSE sound system and not to forget the extra 70bhp the RS6 has over the BMW and 46bhp over the Mercedes.

Related Link:

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