Monday, 27 April 2009

Rolls-Royce may sue Geely over Phantom clone

A Rolls-Royce spokesman admitted that the company may take legal action against Chinese car maker, Geely over the similarities between its Geely GE model and the Rolls-Royce Phantom. The 5.4 metre Geely GE sedan prototype was unveiled at the Shanghai motorshow, painted in black and given a raised plinth in the middle of Geely’s huge stand.

It made obvious reference to the Rolls in the shape of its cabin, windows and sloping down rear deck. However, its nose is considerably shorter than the Rolls's and houses a 3.5 litre V6 petrol engine.

The 'Grecian temple' grille is close to being a Rolls copy, though, and it is topped by a figure which seems to draw much influence from Rolls-Royce's traditional Spirit of Ecstasy, except that the figure slopes backwards. Although Rolls-Royce spokesmen were initially reluctant to comment on the similarities, a spokesman has now said: "Rolls-Royce is currently keeping its options open and is in consultation with its legal advisers."

Toyota planning hybrid RAV4

In Shanghai, Toyota’s managing officer Mr. Koei Saga said that Toyota is planning to produce a hybrid version of the RAV4 SUV, which is due for MY2013. Although no exact dates were given, Toyota plans to introduce 10 new hybrids globally by 2012.

Mr. Saga also added: “I believe Toyota needs to accelerate the 2020 goal to hybridise all the Toyota models.”

The RAV4 hybrid would use Toyota’s third-generation hybrid system. Toyota RAV4 SUV was introduced first in 1996 and during 1997-2003 it was also produced as an electric vehicle. Around 1,500 RAV4 EVs were ever produced. The vehicle had a range of 100 miles and a top speed of 80 mph.

Oddly, most were destroyed but 328 examples made it to customers. At the time they were priced from $42,000. Nowadays, the RAV4 EV can be picked up from $65,000.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Toyota Prius pricing announced (U.S)

Toyota USA has released prices for the all-new 2010 Prius. The entry-level model starts at $22,000 (plus $750 for delivery and handling), the same exact price as the entry-level model 2009MY Prius. However, Toyota announced that later in the year, it will launch a stripped-down base model of the Prius that will be priced even lower, at $21,000 MSRP. This will be called Prius I. The Japanese carmaker did not disclose details on the basic version's standard equipment. The current entry-level, Prius II will come with Smart Key & push button start, EV, Eco and Power modes, multi-informational display, 6 speaker system w/AM/FM/MP3 CD player w/ satellite radio capability and auxiliary audio jack, criuse control, active front headrests, x7 airbags (x1 driver's knee, x2 twin front, side and curtain), 4 wheel disc brakes, height/reach adjustable steering wheel and HVAC, 6 way adjustable driver's seat, x4 electric windows, body-coloured electrically adjustable/heated door mirrors with manual fold.

Prius III adds JBL sound system with 8 speakers and 6 disk CD changer and Bluetooth. This comes in at $23k.

$25,800 buys you the Prius IV, and this features 3 door Smart Key system, leather interior with heated front seats w/ driver lumber adjustment, driver and passenger hydrophobic front windows and auto-dimming rear-view mirror with Homelink.

Flagship Prius V, at $27,270 adds 17" alloy wheels, LED headlamps with washers and front fog lamps.

3 option packages are available. Navigation package adds voice-activated touch-screen DVD navigation system with JBL AM/FM/MP3 four-disc CD changer, 8 speakers, integrated satellite radio capability, XM Nav Traffic capability, hands-free phone capability and music streaming via Bluetooth wireless technology and integrated backup camera for $1,800. This is optional on all model but Prius II.

Solar roof package adds Includes Navigation Package equipment plus electric tilt/slide sunroof with solar powered ventilation system and remote air conditioning system. This cost $3,600 and is only optional on Prius III & IV.

Advanced technology package adds Includes Navigation Package equipment plus dynamic radar cruise control (DRCC), Pre-Collision system (PCS), lane keep assist (LKA) and intelligent parking assist (IPA). This comes in at $4,500 and is optional on Prius V models.

The 3rd generation model of Toyota's popular hybrid car will be available with a total of five trim levels, the most expensive being the 'V' spec model at $27,270 MSRP.

U.S sales start late May.

Press Release:

Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc., announced manufacturer’s suggested retail prices (MSRP) today for the all-new 2010 Prius midsize hybrid, scheduled to go on sale beginning in late May at Toyota dealers nationwide. The third-generation Prius will be available in one grade with a starting MSRP of $21,000. The Prius will be offered with five levels of popular standard equipment combinations. “The 2010 Prius delivers outstanding mileage, performance and advanced technology at a great price,” said Bob Carter, group vice president and general manager of the Toyota Division. Carter sees the most popular model starting at an MSRP of $22,000, equipped with a high level of standard features, “This model provides more than $2,000 added value, including the features most buyers want, at the same price as the current base model” he said. A new base model with a lower level of standard equipment is scheduled to be available later this year. It is designed to appeal to the most cost-conscious businesses and consumers. Celebrated as the benchmark for cars of the future, the Prius has delivered superior fuel economy and ultra-low emissions to more than 1.2 million owners worldwide for over 10 years.

When it goes on sale, the 2010 Toyota Prius will once again set new standards for innovative hybrid design and technology, raising its level of convenience features and performance to new heights, including EPA fuel economy estimates of 51 mpg city, 48 mpg highway and 50 mpg combined (EPA MPG estimates, actual mileage will vary). The third-generation 2010 Prius will offer enhanced performance and innovative design features. It will be quieter, roomier, and equipped with advanced standard and available features such as four driving modes, steering wheel touch controls that display on the instrument panel, a moonroof with solar panels, and Intelligent Parking Assist (IPA).

The Prius is equipped with Toyota’s industry-leading Hybrid Synergy Drive and certified as an Advanced Technology Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle (AT-PZEV), emitting over 70 percent fewer smog-forming emissions than the average new vehicle. A larger and more powerful yet more efficient 1.8-litre Atkinson-cycle, four-cylinder engine produces 98 horsepower at 5,200 rpm. Together with its electric motor the hybrid system in the new Prius will generate a combined net horsepower of 134, an increase of 24 horsepower over the previous generation. All Prius models offer Toyota’s Star Safety System™ as standard equipment, which includes enhanced Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) and Traction Control (TRAC) Systems, Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) with Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist (BA). Other standard features include electric power steering and four-wheel disc brakes. Starting fall 2009, select Prius models will include Toyota’s all-new telematics service, Safety Connect™, which will offer four safety and security features: Automatic Collision Notification, Stolen Vehicle Location, Emergency Assistance Button (SOS), and Roadside Assistance. Safety Connect will be available by subscription, with an included one-year trial subscription. Adding to the appeal of Prius is an additional array of standard convenience features on most models that include automatic air conditioning equipped with an electric air compressor; AM/FM/MP3 CD player with six-speakers and satellite radio capability; driver door Smart Key system with Push Button Start and remote illuminated entry; a Multi-Informational Display with an energy monitor and fuel consumption history; six-way adjustable driver seat; power door locks; auto up/down on all windows with window jam protection; cruise control; tilt/telescopic adjustable steering wheel with audio and HVAC controls; color-keyed foldable power heated side mirrors; dual sun visors with vanity mirrors; and tonneau cover. Prius also brings many new firsts to the Toyota lineup.

To help increase fuel efficiency, the 1.8-litre engine is beltless, uses an electric water pump, a new exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) system, and an exhaust heat collection system. Other Toyota firsts include a new Touch Tracer Display, which features touch sensors on the steering wheel switches that are designed to reduce driver eye movement for better concentration on the road; an available sliding glass moonroof is packaged with solar panels that power a new ventilation system; a remote air-conditioning system functions on battery-power alone, and allows remote operation so the driver can cool the interior temperature for comfort before getting in the car. Also new to Toyota is an available Dynamic Radar Cruise Control system that uses advanced millimeter wave radar. The system also enables Lane Keep Assist, which helps the driver stay safely within the lane, and the Pre-Collision System, which retracts seatbelts and applies the brakes in certain conditions when a crash is unavoidable.

Base MSRPs do not include a delivery, processing, and handling (DPH) fee of $750. The DPH fee for vehicles distributed by Southeast Toyota (SET) and Gulf States Toyota (GST) may vary.

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Nissan revises Qashqai for MY 09 (UK)

Nissan UK is introducing a new trim level to its Qashqai models as well as giving its Tekna trim a makeover. The new n-tec model will be positioned between Acenta and Tekna trims and prices will start from £17,645.

The n-tec version is available on both Qashqai and Qashqai+2 and across all engines, transmissions and body colours. The new spec will include Nissan's Connect system which features integrated bluetooth connectivity, 5" touch screen sat nav with 2D/3D map and full postcode search facility, CD with MP3/WMA playback, FM/AM radio, AUX socket and USB port for full iPod connection. N-tec buyers will also get 18" alloy wheels, panoramic glass roof, rear privacy glass, satin silver roof rails and satin silver door handles, auto-dimming rear view mirror and silver alloy pedals. Nissan Connect also comes as standard with the enhanced Tekna trim level. Costing from £19,245, Tekna add-ons over n-tec include xenon headlamps with washers, body coloured door handles, ESP, black leather trim with heated front seats and keyless entry/ignition. £24,295 will get you the 2.0 litre 4WD diesel Qashqai+2.

Along with the introduction of the n-tec trim level, Nissan is also offering 0% APR across the Qashqai range, along with ‘Just in Case’ redundancy payment protection.

The introduction of new n-tec and revised Tekna models coincides with the availability of metallic colour Nightshade across the range. Both Qashqai and Qashqai+2 n-tec and Tekna models can be ordered now with first deliveries expected in early May.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Renault Grand Scenic pricing announced (UK)

Renault UK has announced pricing on their all-new Grand Scenic MPV. Prices start from £14,995 rising at £23,750. That's more than £1,000 less than the current cheapest model and matches the price of the cheapest Citroen Grand C4 Picasso. It also undercuts the cheapest Toyota Verso and VW Touran models.

Extreme trim is limited to the smallest engines and includes x6 airbags, stability control, electric front windows, air-conditioning and an MP3 connector.

There's a £1,600 premium for Expression trim,but includes electric rear windows, automatic parking brake, child-minder mirror and a folding passenger seat.

Dynamique trim adds alloy wheels, automatic headlights and wipers, Bluetooth, cruise control and a leather-trimmed steering wheel. Renault expects this to be the best-selling trim-level.

Flagship Privilege cars have dual-zone climate control, electric folding mirrors, rear parking sensors and a sliding centre storage unit. The priciest model is the dCi 150 Privilege auto at £23,695.

Options for the Grand Scenic include an electric panoramic sunroof for £600 and front and rear parking sensors as well as a reversing camera for £650. There's also the Carminat TomTom satellite navigation-system, which is a fully integrated system but costs just £450.

The Grand Scenic will be in showrooms from May while the Scenic goes on sale in July.

Kia Soul sales exceeds 5,000 units (EU)

The Kia Soul crossover has got off to a good start in Europe with sales surpassing the 5,000 mark since it went on sale across Europe in January, 2009. That's 13% higher than Kia's executives first predicted. In particular, 1,334 cars were delivered in January, while keys for a further 1,485 cars were handed to customers in February and an additional 2,172 Souls found their way out of Kia dealer showrooms in March.

By comparison, in the UK, the Ford Fiesta sold 20,654 units in March.

PM expected to introduce scrappage scheme (UK)

Prime Minister, Gordon Brown is expected to sign off plans to introduce a £2,000 old-car scrappage incentive within the next few days.

The scheme, which is tipped to give owners of cars 9 or more years old £2,000 to upgrade to a new, cleaner vehicle, is expected to be announced in the budget on 22nd April. The plans are designed to boost demand for new cars and help struggling carmakers who are suffering during the recession.

However, they have also proved controversial with chancellor of the exchequer Alistair Darling and business secretary Peter Mandelson reportedly at loggerheads over whether the scheme should be introduced.

Darling is reportedly concerned at spending £160 million on the scheme at a time when the government's finances are being stretched by a series of other economic stimulus packages. He is also worried about supporting one struggling industry over another and that many of the new cars that will be bought will not have been built in Britain.

However, Mandelson has pledged to help the car industry and believes the benefits to the entire car supply chain make the investment worthwhile. Brown is reported to now side with Mandelson, having been concerned by a year-on-year sales drop of new cars of nearly 30% in March, and job losses, plant closures and pay cuts at Nissan, Jaguar, Land Rover, Mini, Honda and Toyota. Manufacturers claim that in this country it could generate demand for up to 250,000 new cars.

"Our position on this is that we continue to look at the possibilities of such a scheme but no decision has been taken," Brown's spokesman said today.

However, it is not clear how the deal will be funded. Reports suggest Darling wants the car makers to provide half of the incentive, with the government providing the rest of the money. Some environmentalists have opposed a scrappage scheme, saying it is better to keep old cars running because building new ones uses more energy. However, Friends of the Earth has supported the plan, insisting it would encourage drivers to switch from thirsty cars for more fuel-efficient models.

"This scheme won't create jobs and it won't help the environment. All that you're going to get is a switch to more polluting, bigger vehicles. And that's not going to help anyone," Peter Cranie of the Green Party.

Motorist caught speeding & having sexual intercourse whilst driving (NO)

When travelling down a road, you see all sorts of things. People walking, birds flying, cars driving past, however, it was a different story in Oslo.

A Norwegian motorist is facing a fine and ban after being caught romping his girlfriend while speeding. It’s been reported the unnamed man was travelling in a Mazda 323 at 82mph in a 62mph zone, near Oslo when a police officer noticed it was more than just the steering wheel that the driver had his hands on.
Tor Stein Hagen, a superintendent with Soendre Buskerund district police told the AFP news agency: "It was veering from one side to the other because the woman was sitting on the man's lap while he was driving and doing the act, shall we say.

“He couldn’t see much because her back was in the way.”

Hagen added he expected the man to face a fine of "several thousand Norwegian Kroner"(£300) and a lengthy driving ban. The whole incident was filmed by officers and will be used as evidence against the driver.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Mercedes E-Class receives 50,000 pre-orders (EU)

Mercedes has announced that they have received nearly 50,000 pre-orders for their redesigned E-Class sedan. The news couldn't have come at a better time as the brand's March sales declined 17.5%. Most E-Class sedans went to fleets to be used as taxis.

Under the hood, the new sedan offers a variety of petrol and diesel engines. Diesels consist of 136bhp E200 CDI, 170bhp E220 CDI, E250 CDI with 204bhp and the E350 CDI with 231bhp. Petrols consist of a 184bhp E200 CGI, E250 CGI with 204bhp, E350 CGI with 292bhp and the V8 powered E500 with 388bhp.

The E-Class sedan recently went on sale in Europe and U.S sales are expected to begin in July, with UK sales due in June. In a few months, Mercedes will launch their high-performance E63 AMG and the new E-Class coupe.

Friday, 10 April 2009

Buick LaCrosse pricing announced (U.S)

The better-looking 2010 Buick LaCrosse will start from $27,835 including destination charge - undercutting the $36k Lexus ES, when the new mid-sized sedan goes on sale in Summer.

The entry-level CX is front-wheel drive and has a 3.0 litre 255bhp, direct-injection V6 mated to a 6 speed automatic transmission. This can achieve 18mpg urban and 27mpg extra urban. This model is equipped with 17 inch alloy wheels, electrically adjustable and heated door mirrors, stability & traction control, fabric seats, x4 electric windows and remote control locking. Mid-spec CXL adds leather seats, 18 inch wheels and dual-zone climate control for $30,395. The all-wheel-drive CXL adds an additional $2,175 to the price tag. Flagship CXS, which is powered by a 3.6 litre DI V6 280bhp, starts at $33,765 and comes with heated and cooled seats and chrome-plated 18 inch wheels. The 3.6 litre V6 manages 17mpg urban and 26mpg extra urban.

The 2010 LaCrosse can be equipped with a blind-spot alert system, navigation system with a rear-view camera, DVD entertainment system with two screens and a rear-window sunblind.

Motorshow: 2009 New York International Auto Show

The '09 New York motorshow was home to loads of new car debuts like the Mercedes S-Class facelift, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Mercedes ML hybrid, Mercedes GL-Class facelift, Kia Koup and the Mazda CX-9 facelift, just to name a few.

With more than 270,000 units sold, the 2010 S-Class sedan has been subtly facelifted with new bumpers, lights and interior. Most importantly, the engine range has changed. While 6 engines remain, out goes the popular entry-level 320 CDI V6 in favour for a larger, more powerful 350 CDI V6. The new diesel engine boasts better fuel economy at 37.2mpg combined, from 34mpg. CO2 emissions have dropped from 220g - 223g/km to 199g - 201g/km. While the S-Class goes on sale in the UK in Summer, the S400 Hybrid won't come to the UK as carbon emissions are slightly lower than the diesel engine (186g/km), which makes the car next to useless when it comes to taxation. In addition, the hybrid would also prove to be more expensive.

German prices start at €73,000 for the entry-level S350 CDI rising to €155,354 for the S600. Order books are now opened.

S350 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY - €73,006.50

S450 CDI - €91,987

S350 - €76,160

S400 HYBRID - €85,323

S450 - €84,609

S500 - €96,509

S600 - €155,354.50

Related links:

Thursday, 9 April 2009

New Car: 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee

The new Jeep Grand Cherokee has been unveiled at the New York motor show.

The car, which will go on sale in 2010 in the U.S and 2011 in the UK, has a new exterior look, a revamped interior, and an all-new V6 engine that is up to 11% more fuel efficient.

Jeep has revealed two petrol engine options for the U.S but diesel versions will be available in Europe. The U.S receives an all-new 276bhp 3.6 litre Pentastar V6 with 260lb ft of torque. Linked to a 5 speed automatic gearbox, it is up to 11% more fuel efficient than the Grand Cherokee's previous 3.0 litre V6 engine. The 355bhp 5.7 litre Hemi V8 with 390lb ft of torque is carried over from the previous model. No fuel efficiency figures have been released but don't expect anymore than 25mpg combined. Europe will get the current 3.0 CRD V6, which is likely to be tweaked to make it more fuel efficient.

Jeep has completely redesigned the interior to meet European standards. The interior has been designed by Chryslers Advanced Interior Design Studio. The new Grand Cherokee's wheelbase is 13.25cm longer than the model it replaces but just 4.5cm longer overall. As a result, interior space is increased with particular emphasis on improving rear passenger space. The rear doors are also larger to improve access. Boot space is also up more than 15%. The track is also 7.5cm wider to improve handling. The car will be sold with 17 inch wheels as standard, with options of 18 inch and 20 inch wheels.

It is available with full-time four-wheel drive, a system which transfers power between axles to avoid wheelspin and a system that uses an electronic limited-slip differential to provide maximum traction.

Built on the same underpinnings as the Mercedes M-Class, it has a new air suspension system called Quadra-Lift. This has five height settings, two of which the driver can select, and three of which engage automatically. Two automatic settings cover off-road use, while the third lowers the vehicle slightly at speed to improve fuel economy. The two driver selectable settings cover normal on-road use and a park mode, which lowers the car by just under 4cm.

On the two higher-spec models, Quadra-Lift works in conjunction with the Selec-Terrain system to allow the driver to choose between on-road and off-road settings. Selec-Terrain has 12 different settings which co-ordinate the powertrain, braking and suspension settings, selecting the best one automatically after the driver has selected from five driving conditions: sand/mud, sport, auto, snow and rock. Combined with new, independent front and rear suspension, Jeep says that the Quadra-Lift and Selec-Train systems deliver 'premium on-road handling and comfort.' The revised suspension also means the spare tyre is stored in the car, rather than under it.

The car also has greater approach, departure and breakover angles with the front air dam removed. It has a 35.9 degree approach angle (compared with 32.3 on the current model), 29.2 degree departure angle (against 27.5) and 25.1 degree breakover angle (versus 20.4).

Among the key interior, U.S options are an Onstar-like "uconnect guardian" telematics system, a CommandView panoramic sunroof and power operated rear tailgate. The high-spec Overland model comes equipped with a heated steering wheel, heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, four-way power lumbar controls, rain-sensing wipers, Keyless Go, a rear-view camera and a power tilt/telescoping steering column with memory and xenon headlamps.

UK models should be available as three trim levels: Standard, Limited and Overland when it goes on sale in early 2011. Entry-level Grand Cherokee's will have body-coloured electrically adjustable, heated door mirrors, tilt/telescopic steering wheel, cruise control, leather steering wheel, 17 inch alloy wheels, front fog lamps, 4 way adjustable drivers seat, ESP, hill start assist and x4 electric windows as standard.

Limited models will add auto-dimming rear-view mirror, electric folding door mirrors, 18 inch alloy wheels, electrically adjustable heated leather seats, 6 airbags, parking sensors, auto headlamps and wipers. Options will include 20 inch alloys, CommandView panormic glass roof and uconnect sat-nav with rear-view camera with 9 speaker sound system.

Overland models will have electrically adjustable steering column with memory function for front seats and door mirrors, xenon headlamps, ventilated front seats with heated rear seats, auto-dimming door mirrors, wood/leather steering wheel, adaptive cruise control and power tailgate.

Press Release:

Jeep® Introduces All-new 2011 Grand Cherokee: Inventor of the SUV Hits the Sweet Spot of Real-world Capability and On-road Refinement

Legendary Jeep Capability:

New Quadra Lift™ air suspension system provides height control and lifts vehicle up to 4.5 inches from park mode to a maximum ride height of 11.1 inches to deliver legendary Jeep off-road capability

Choice of three 4x4 systems – Quadra-Trac I®, Quadra-Trac II® and Quadra-Drive® II with Electronic Limited-Slip Differential (ELSD)

New Selec-Terrain™ system with Quadra-Trac II and Quadra-Drive II offers five terrain settings: Auto, Sand/Mud, Sport, Snow and Rock to match driving conditions

First application of company’s all-new, flexible fuel 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine which features Variable-Valve Timing (VVT), 280 hp (209 kW) and 260 lb.-ft. of torque (353 N•m) @ 4,800 rpm – an increase of 33 percent in horsepower, 11 percent in torque over its predecessor and up to an 11 percent improvement in fuel economy

Available 5.7-liter HEMI® V-8 generates 360 hp (268 kW) and 390 lb.-ft. of torque (520 N•m) @ 4,250 rpm – features VVT and fuel-saving Multi-displacement System (MDS) technology with dual exhaust to maximize efficiency

For international markets, left- and right-hand drive and a choice of diesel and petrol powertrains will be available

Unsurpassed trailer tow capability of up to 7,400 lbs. on 4x2 models

Larger fuel tank with 24.6 gallon capacity, compared to 21.6 on current model, combined with improved V-6 fuel economy, delivers range close to 500 miles on one tank of gas

Refinements World-class Interior:

Premium soft-touch interior materials for all price classes, including leather instrument panel and door uppers on

Overland model:

World-class interior features include real wood and leather, heated steering wheel, heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, four-way power lumbar controls, rain-sensitive wipers, Passive Entry/Keyless Go, ParkView rear back-up camera and power tilt/telescoping steering column with memory

Increased storage areas in instrument panel with larger glove box and covered center-stack storage bin

Premium packaging delivers enhanced comfort and easy accessibility for up to five passengers and cargo

Larger front- and rear-door openings (78 degrees) for improved ingress/egress compared to current model (67 degrees)

More than 4 inches of increased rear-seat knee and leg room (38.6 inches) compared to previous model with reclining second-row seats

Larger cargo volume (36.3 cubic feet) provides 17 percent more room for gear compared to current model (31 cubic feet)

A fold-flat front passenger seat provides improved cargo carrying capability (Laredo models)
Well-appointed cargo compartment with removable dual storage bins inside the spare tire compartment


All-new sculpted body and athletic profile define a sleek exterior with aerodynamic finesse

All-new dual-pane panoramic sun roof (CommandView®) extends from the windshield to the rear of the vehicle. Comprised of two glass panels with power open/close sun shade

Effortless power rear liftgate for remote up/down convenience (Grand Cherokee first)
New 20-inch wheels available on Limited and Overland models

Bi-Xenon High-intensity discharge (HID) headlamps standard on Limited and Overland models
Segment-exclusive SmartBeam® headlamps adjust to ambient light and oncoming traffic to deliver maximum lighting

Ride and Handling:

All-new independent front and rear suspension systems deliver premium on-road manners with isolated front and rear suspension cradles and variable-rate rear springs that combine to enhance on-road character and ride comfort

All-new body structure’s torsional stiffness is 146 percent stiffer than current model and stiffer than the BMW X5 and Toyota Highlander for improved durability and reduced noise, vibration and harshness (NVH)

Stiffness achieved with more than 5,400 welds in the body alone. This marks a 53 percent increase in spot welds, a 42 percent increase in arc welds and a 38 percent increase in structural adhesive

More than 45 Safety and Security Features:

Standard Electronic Stability Control (ESC) includes Electronic Roll Mitigation, Hill-Start Assist, Trailer-Sway Control and available Hill-Descent Control

Standard full-length side-curtain air bags extend protection to front and rear outboard passengers

Standard seat-mounted side thorax air bags enhance protection of the driver and front passenger

Standard Jeep-first active head restraints deploy in the event of a rear collision to minimize the gap between the head restraint and occupant’s head

ParkSense® Park Assist System assists at low speeds to detect stationary objects. Warnings include audible chimes and display in the Electronic Vehicle Information Center (EVIC)

Blind-spot/Rear cross-path detection system notifies driver of vehicle(s) in blind spots with illuminated icons on side-view mirrors and/or an audible chime

Adaptive cruise control decreases vehicle’s pre-set cruise-control speed when closing in on another vehicle or when another vehicle pulls into same lane (late availability)

Forward Collision Warning (FCW) system detects when the vehicle may be approaching another vehicle too rapidly and alerts driver (late availability)

Remote Start (standard on Overland (available on Limited) starts engine and activates comfort settings based on ambient conditions by using the key fob while maintaining vehicle security
Connectivity and Infotainment

uconnect guardian standard on all models and includes: Automatic Crash Notification, Emergency Call, Roadside Assistance Call, Remote Door Unlock and Stolen Vehicle Location Assistance

uconnect tunes wireless Bluetooth® connection for cell phones (and future MP3 players), enabling streaming music, and new USB connection with digital technology, enabling voice search by song title and artist for iPod devices

uconnect nav featuring all-new Garmin navigation and uconnect studios featuring SIRIUS Backseat TV

Premium Alpine audio system with nine speakers, surround sound and a 506-watt sub woofer

Nearly 18 years ago, Jeep invented the premium SUV segment with the introduction of the Jeep Grand Cherokee. More than 4 million sales later, Jeep improves the formula and hits the sweet spot of real-world capability and on-road refinement with the all-new 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee. The all-new Jeep Grand Cherokee delivers premium on-road performance while maintaining the Jeep brand’s legendary four-wheel-drive, torque-on-demand two-speed transfer case and towing capability. It also offers improved fuel economy (up to 11 percent) and a world-class interior cabin. “We listened carefully to our customers and the market,” said Scott Kunselman, Vice President – Jeep/Truck Product Team, Chrysler LLC. “Our all-new Jeep Grand Cherokee hits the sweet spot of premium on-road performance and legendary class-leading Jeep capability.” The all-new Quadra-Lift air suspension system delivers legendary Jeep off-road capability along with the new Selec-Terrain system that allows the driver to choose the drive system that best matches on- or off-road driving conditions. New front and rear independent suspension systems deliver premium on-road handling and comfort. The all-new 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee is built on a proven rear-wheel-drive unibody platform sharing the same underpinnings as the Mercedes-Benz ML. “Jeep invented the SUV segment and our all-new Grand Cherokee is the next step in the evolution of the SUV,” said Mike Accavitti, Director – Jeep, Chrysler and Dodge Brands. “Jeep innovations including Quadra-Lift air suspension and Selec-Terrain traction control separate us from the crowd.” Legendary Capability The all-new Jeep Grand Cherokee offers the new Quadra-Lift air suspension system.

The Quadra-Lift system features five height settings for optimum ride performance:

Normal Ride Height (NRH): 8.1 inches of clearance offers improved fuel economy and improved aerodynamics during on-road driving

Off-road 1: Lifts the vehicle an additional 1.5 inches for added height in clearing obstacles (9.6 inches)

Off-road 2: Delivers legendary Jeep off-road capability and provides an additional 3 inches of height for 11.1 inches of ground clearance

Park Mode: Lowers the vehicle 1.5 inches from NRH for easy ingress/egress. NRH and Park mode are driver-selectable giving the driver control over vehicle ride height

Aero Mode: Lowers the vehicle 0.6 inches from NRH. Aero Mode is controlled by vehicle speed and adjusts for optimal performance and fuel economy

Quadra-Lift adds up to 4.5 inches of lift span that is supported by four-corner air springs that provide a cushioned, premium ride. Quadra-Lift operates automatically, or may be controlled manually via console controls. In addition to the Quadra-Lift air suspension, the all-new Selec-Terrain™ traction control system lets customers choose the off-road setting for the optimum experience on all terrains. This feature electronically coordinates up to 12 different powertrain, braking and suspension systems, including throttle control, transmission shift, transfer case, Traction Control and Electronic Stability Control (ESC).

The Selec-Terrain’s control dial allows the driver to choose from five driving conditions in order to achieve the best driving experience on all terrains:

Sand/Mud: Traction control and Quadra-Lift operate with sensitive response to wheel spin, and torque is tuned for optimal performance

Sport: Provides enhanced on-road "fun-to-drive" capability

Auto: Automatically adapts to any on- or off-road situation

Snow: Vehicle traction and Quadra-Lift adjust for ultimate performance over snow-covered roads

Rock: Quadra-Lift suspension raises to maximum height (11.1 inches) and the transfer case, differentials, and throttle coordinate to provide low-speed control

Selec-Terrain, coupled with the all-new Quadra-Lift air suspension, offers drivers an adjustable suspension span that delivers legendary Trail Rated® performance. With the front air dam removed, and the available Quadra-Lift air suspension, the all-new Jeep Grand Cherokee features a 35.9-degree approach angle, (compared to 32.3 on current model), a 29.2-degree departure angle (compared to 27.5 on current model) and 25.1-degree breakover angle (compared to 20.4 on current model). The all-new independent front and rear suspension features isolated front and rear suspension cradles. Variable-rate rear springs deliver improved on-road handling and comfort that complements the vehicle’s off-road capability. The new rear suspension allows the spare tire to be stored inside the vehicle as opposed to underneath.

Go-Anywhere 4x4 Systems:

The 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee offers three 4x4 systems (Quadra-Trac I®, Quadra-Trac II® and Quadra-Drive® II). Quadra Trac I delivers full-time four-wheel drive without any switches or levers to pull. The system provides smooth operation over a variety of road conditions. This light-weight single-speed case is both proven and highly efficient for enhanced fuel economy.

Quadra Trac II’s two-speed transfer case uses input from a variety of sensors in order to determine tire slip at the earliest possible moment and take corrective action. The system uses Throttle Anticipate to sense quick movement in the throttle from a stop and maximizes traction before slippage occurs. When tire slippage is detected, as much as 100 percent of available torque is instantly routed to the axle with the most traction. Quadra Drive II, with a rear Electronic Limited-Slip Differential (ELSD), delivers industry-leading tractive capability. The system instantly detects tire slip and smoothly distributes engine torque to tires with traction. In some cases, the vehicle will anticipate low traction and adjust in order to proactively limit or eliminate slip. Selec-Terrain is standard with Quadra Trac II and Quadra Drive II. Jeep Trail Rated® All 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokees equipped with either the off-road or the Quadra-Lift group are Trail Rated®. The Jeep Trail Rated badge on the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee indicates that the vehicle has been designed to perform in a variety of challenging off-road conditions identified by five key consumer-oriented performance categories: traction, ground clearance, maneuverability, articulation and water fording. Jeep Trail Rated is a unique methodology used by Jeep Engineering to measure and predict off-road performance for all Jeep vehicles. Through a combination of natural and controlled field tests, Jeep Trail Rated provides a consistent measurement of off-road performance for all Jeep vehicles. Only Jeep vehicles are Trail Rated. Powertrains: The all-new 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee is available with two leading engine options for North American markets. The 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee’s standard engine is an all-new flexible fuel 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine. The 3.6-liter V-6 engine is an all-new design featuring double overhead camshafts (DOHC) and a high-pressure die-cast aluminum cylinder block in a 60-degree configuration. It features Variable-Valve Timing (VVT) and delivers 280 horsepower (209 kW) and 260 lb.-ft. of torque (353 N•m) @ 4,800 rpm. This all-new Pentastar V-6 engine improves fuel economy up to 11 percent compared to the previous Grand Cherokee equipped with a V-6. It is coupled with the proven W5A580, a five-speed automatic transmission that delivers smooth shifts and optimum fuel economy. The five-speed W5A580 transmission includes adaptive electronic control or Electronic Range Select (ERS) driver-interactive manual control and an electronically modulated torque converter clutch. The all-new 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee’s larger fuel tank, with a 24.6 gallon capacity, combined with the Pentastar V-6 engine’s improved fuel economy, delivers a range of approximately 500 miles on one tank of gas. The available legendary 5.7-liter HEMI® V-8 engine delivers 360 horsepower (268 kW) and 390 lb.-ft. of torque (520 Nm) @ 4,250 rpm. The HEMI also features VVT, which delivers performance and towing capability, as well as fuel efficiency with the fuel-saving Multi-displacement System (MDS). The 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 engine is mated to the 545RFE multi-speed automatic transmission. The all-new Jeep Grand Cherokee offers unsurpassed trailer tow capability of up to 7,400 lbs. on 4x2 models when equipped with the HEMI V-8 engine. For international markets, the all-new 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee will be available in left- and right-hand drive with either diesel or petrol powertrains.

World-class Interior Refinement:

The all-new interior is elevated to that of its European competition and features rich materials and elegant appointments, as well as more room for both passengers and cargo. “Following in the footsteps of our all-new 2009 Dodge Ram, our all-new Jeep Grand Cherokee is another proud graduate of our Advanced Interior Design Studio,” said Ralph Gilles, Vice President – Design.

“We achieved a world-class interior by using fine materials and maintaining a laser-attention to details.” An available all-new CommandView® dual-pane sun roof provides twice as much glass surface than a standard sun roof and extends from the windshield to the rear of the vehicle. The front panel can be opened rearward, providing additional light and fresh air to first-row passengers. The rear panel, which is fixed, allows light and open viewing for second-row passengers and comes standard with a power sun shade.

Right-sized Packaging:

The vehicle’s 114.8-inch wheelbase is 5.3 inches longer than the model it replaces and contributes to an overall vehicle length that is 1.8 inches longer than the prior model. The longer wheelbase creates more interior room and gives passengers an additional 4 inches of rear-seat knee and leg room. The vehicle also is 3 inches wider for improved handling and packaging. Larger front door openings (1.9 inches wider; 2 inches higher) and rear doors open 78 degrees compared to current models (67 degrees) for better access to the interior. Inside, premium seating includes room for five passengers. An available fold-flat front-passenger seat provides improved cargo storage room (Laredo models). For added passenger comfort, rear seats recline 12 degrees. There also is a 12-degree forward angle to allow 24 degrees of variation. Cargo volume behind the second-row provides an additional 6.8 cubic feet of room (36.3 cubic feet total) compared to the previous model. The well-appointed rear cargo area includes a storage unit with a rechargeable flashlight and new and improved grocery hooks on both sides. The spare tire compartment includes removable dual storage bins for secure storage of muddy gear or other items. An all-new power rear liftgate is available for effortless remote up/down convenience.

Classic Exterior Design:

Every surface of the all-new Jeep Grand Cherokee is new and treated for aerodynamics. This improves fuel efficiency and puts more fluidity into the design while delivering a 7- percent improvement in drag compared with the current model. The all-new 2011 Grand Cherokee Cd is approximately 0.37 compared with the 2009 Cd of 0.404. “Our all-new 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee is much more refined, focused and sportier than the model it replaces,” said Gilles. “It has classic Jeep Grand Cherokee styling with sculpted athletic exterior refinements for 2011.” The front includes Jeep’s classic seven-slot grille, round headlamps and trapezoidal wheel arches. The removable lower front fascia delivers improved fuel economy, on-road performance and off-road capability. The lower front fascia features a large chromed appliqué (Limited and Overland models) that showcases available tow hooks. From the side, Jeep Grand Cherokee features an athletic, muscular profile. Black appliqués on B-pillars give the day-light opening (DLO) an aerodynamic, modern appearance and a sleek profile. Available chromed mirrors and door handles add to the profile and complement the full-chromed DLO surround on all models. Seventeen-inch wheels are standard and deliver off-road capability, with optional 18-inch and all-new to Jeep, 20-inch wheels for 2011. Taillamps wrap from the rear quarter panel to the back of the vehicle and create a solid form which achieves more of an upscale appearance. The treatment complements the front-end design and resonates with the rest of the exterior. Jeep Grand Cherokee models equipped with a HEMI V-8 engine have 3.5-inch dual chromed exhaust tips, and those with the Pentastar V-6 engine have a 3-inch single exhaust. Premium Performance Continuing to build on the Jeep brand’s legendary off-road capability, the all-new 2011 Grand Cherokee adds premium on-road performance to complete the package. The all-new 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee’s premium SUV on-road manners and legendary Jeep ruggedness is achieved with more than 5,400 welds in the body alone. Torsional stiffness is 146 percent more than the current Grand Cherokee and stiffer than the BMW X5 and Toyota Highlander for improved durability and reduced noise, vibration and harshness (NVH). With more than 3,700 mm of arc welding and 100 m of structural adhesive to augment welding, this marks a 53-percent increase in spot welds, a 42-percent increase in arc welds and a 38-percent increase in structural adhesive.

More than 45 Safety and Security Features:

The all-new 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee includes more than 45 safety and security features. Standard safety features include Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Electronic Roll Mitigation (ERM), four-wheel Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) with rough-road detection, four-wheel Brake Traction Control System (BTCS), Passive Entry/Keyless Go, Remote keyless entry, express up/down windows for driver and front-seat passenger, seat-belt pretensioners, Trailer-Sway Control and Remote-Start which is standard on Overland and available on Limited. Other standard safety features include full-length side-curtain air bags which extend protection to front and rear outboard passengers, seat-mounted side thorax air bags that enhance protection for the driver and front passenger and active head restraints which deploy in the event of a rear collision. The body structure is all new and designed to achieve expected safety performance in global markets (new roof-crush standards, side-impact standards and Euro pedestrian impact). Connectivity and Infotainment Features The all-new 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee will feature uconnect guardian as a standard feature on all models (services provided by Hughes Telematics). uconnect guardian provides customers with the top five requested security features. uconnect guardian customers can access the following:

Automatic Crash Notification – In the event of an accident, a call is placed and a request for assistance is dispatched to the vehicle’s location

Emergency Call – With a push of the emergency button, customers are placed in contact with a trained emergency response specialist during an emergency situation

Roadside Assistance Call – Connects customers to a uconnect customer care specialist who can connect them to Chrysler’s road-side assistance for towing or jump starts

Remote Door Unlock – Remotely unlocks doors with a simple phone call

Stolen Vehicle Location Assistance – Works with local authorities via on-demand tracking to provide the current location of the vehicle if it is stolen

The 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee also features SIRIUS Travel Link. Giving drivers up-to-the minute information about, gas prices, weather conditions, sports scores and movie listings. In addition, the all-new 2011 Grand Cherokee features SIRIUS Traffic, which monitors traffic in 78 markets across the U.S. and continuously displays those conditions through the vehicle’s nav system. Together SIRIUS Traffic and Travel Link connect Jeep Grand Cherokee drivers and passengers to the information they need while on- or off-road.

Manufacturing The all-new 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee will be built at the 2.7-million-square-foot Jefferson North Assembly Plant (JNAP) in Detroit, which has been the site of Grand Cherokee production since its introduction in 1992. In preparation for production of the all-new Grand Cherokee, Jefferson North Assembly is undergoing a 285,000-square-foot expansion to replace the existing body shop, which is part of Chrysler’s investment of approximately $1.8 billion in new vehicle programs.

In addition, changes throughout paint and assembly operations will give the facility an all-new level of manufacturing flexibility for multiple product capability. JNAP was built in 1991 and was expanded in 1999.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

No Scirocco for the U.S

Sources have officially revealed that the U.S won't receive the sleek Scirocco coupe.

After acquiring an official-looking memo which stated that the car wouldn't be coming to the U.S, a publication decided to get in touch with Volkswagen's public relations coordinator, Tom Wegehaupt. During the course of their conversation, it was able to confirm that the coupe will not come Stateside.

While it remains unclear as to why Volkswagen decided against bringing the model to the U.S, several scenarios likely spelt doom for a possible American launch. The two leading contenders appear to be the dismal economic climate and the potential of having the Scirocco steal sales from the GTI, both of which would have hampered Volkswagen's profitability.

Renault pushing new mid-sized sedan ahead

Renault is pushing forward with plans to launch a large saloon in Europe, the company’s marketing boss Steve Norman has revealed.

Despite fears that current economic conditions and the failure of previous large cars such as the Vel Satis, the company will be launching a rebodied version of the Korean built Samsung SM5 possibly as early next year.

'We need this car primarily for the Middle East and Russia,' Norman said. 'But it would be crazy not to put it on sale in Western Europe as well.' However, the new sedan is sold in the Middle East as the Safrane.

The company's chief marketer also countered claims that it would join a line of low-selling large French saloons: 'This car will be a success. The closest thing to it at the moment is the Audi A6, but it will be very Renault and it will have a price and a package which you’re not going to believe.'

Norman also admitted that Renault is currently plotting to replace the Espace with a crossover vehicle that’s likely to be partially electric, due to go on sale around 2015. 'The Odelios concept is not exactly what we're thinking but it's in that direction,' he said.

Tesla S receives over 500 orders in first week

Tesla has taken 520 orders for its new Model S saloon in its first week of availability. Production of the Tesla Model S is expected to begin in late 2011 after Tesla builds a new assembly plant in California to meet demand.

Elon Musk, Tesla CEO, said: “Frankly the number of cars reserved in the first week has exceeded our optimistic internal projections". “Enthusiasm surrounding the Model S is proof that there’s pent-up demand for more affordable, fuel-efficient vehicles – including those made in America.”

U.S prices for the Tesla are expected to start at $49,000 (£33,200 at current exchange rates) and customers are required to pay a $5,000 (£3,400) refundable deposit. Telsa models will be sold from a new London showroom planned for this year.

A Signature Edition Model S, limited to 2,000 cars, will also be available and will require a deposit of $40,000 (£27,100).

Several battery packs will be available for the Model S which will offer ranges of 160, 230 or 300 miles. A full charge could take just 45 minutes. The Tesla S's 0-60mph speed is estimated at 5.6 seconds while top speed is around 130mph.

Tesla has also said it had the best month for deliveries of its Roadster in March with 104 customers receiving their cars. This takes the total number of Tesla Roadsters delivered to 320.

Monday, 6 April 2009

Photo Gallery: 2009 Toyota Urban Cruiser

Next month, the Toyota Urban Cruiser will go on sale across Europe. While in Europe, 3 trim-levels are available, the UK market gets 1 trim-level. All models come equipped with 16-inch high-gloss alloy wheels, Bluetooth, automatic air conditioning, Smart Entry & Start w/ keyless entry and push-button, rear privacy glass, electrochromic auto-dimming rear-view mirror, 6 speaker audio system inc an Aux-in socket, leather-trimmed steering wheel, x4 electric windows, electrically adjustable/heated door mirrors with power-folding function & integrated indicator, front fog lamps, reclining rear seats (AWD model also get fore and aft slide adjustment), space-saver spare wheel on the 2WD with a tyre repair kit on the AWD version.

Urban Cruiser owners can take advantage of a range of optional equipment and option packs that provide extra touches of style, entertainment, practicality and protection against the knocks and scrapes of modern urban driving.

Style Pack: includes scuff plates, alloy pedals, front chrome strips and a leather and aluminium handbrake lever trim.

Urban Pack: includes rear parking sensors, rear bumper protection plate, bumper corner protectors and side mouldings.

Tech Pack: includes Aux/USB connection and iPod/iPhone integration kit and a digital audio tuner.

Leather seats: seats are finished in two-tone Furano leather with perforated panels.
Satellite navigation: full-map, EU-wide system with city centre lane guidance, 3D landmarks, live traffic information, Bluetooth with music streaming and voice recognition software.

While the equipment is generous, the starting price isn't. £14,500 is the starting price for the 1.33 litre petrol Stop/Start rising to £16,400 for the AWD 1.4 litre D-4D.

The 1.33 litre petrol does 42.8mpg urban and emits 154g/km, 57.7mpg extra urban and 115g/km with 51.4mpg combined and overall CO2 emissions of 129g/km. The AWD 1.4 D-4D does 48.7mpg urban with emissions of 153g/km, 64.2mpg extra urban with CO2 at 117g/km and overall fuel economy and emissions of 57.7mpg and 130g/km.

Toyota UK will ditch the tacky looking wheelarch extensions because...they look tacky. Toyota plans to sell more than 25,000 units (2,500 units in the UK) of the Urban Cruiser during its first full year of sales in Europe and the AWD version is expected to account for 30% of overall sales.
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