Monday 22 March 2010

Citroën 2CV returns as a modifed Citroen C3; first spy picture

Update: 01/04/10: It turns out that this spy-shot is indeed an camouflagued C3 supermini, intended as an April fools joke by Greek car magazine '4 Wheels'. Click here for more.

Spy photographers have caught what seems to be a test mule for the second generation 2CV supermini. Snapped undergoing chassis testing outside Citroën's HQ in Belchamps, France, the mule seems to be based on the C3 supermini - suggesting the newcomer will underpin the C3 platform.

The original 2CV was famous for its comfortable ride and low fuel consumption, so using the C3 platform will allow Citroën engineers to tamper with the suspension and use fuel-efficient engines. Whilst also being quite modern, the 2CV won’t forget it roots; a chiselled bonnet leading down the top radiator grille and over-sized rear fenders will remain.

Set to be unveiled at the Paris motorshow in 2012, the 2CV could have a name change. Names like DS2 and DS2i have been rumoured, hinting the car will be more upscale compared with the 62 year old original, which was known for being 'cheap and cheerful'. This potential change will leave space for Citroën's forthcoming Cactus supermini as the firms budget car and gives Citroën a rival to the Fiat 500, Volkswagen Beetle and Mini Cooper as an affordable, retro-styled, must-have car. Closer inspection indicates that the car is very likely to feature a roll-back canvas top, rather than a panoramic glass roof. Whether the fabric top will be electrical remains to be seen.

Powering the ‘Tin Snail’, ‘The Duck, ‘Little Freak’, ‘Two Horses’, whatever you want to call it, will be a range of 3 & 4 cylinder petrol and diesel engines; 1.0 litre 68bhp, 1.4 litre 75bhp & 95bhp, 1.4 HDi 70bhp & 1.6 HDi 90bhp. However, speculation reveals that a diesel-hybrid or an EV could be in the pipeline.

The 2CV will feature modern safety equipment like ESP, ABS, x2 airbags, seatbelt pre-tensioners, active headrests and lots more. We also expect a wide-range of options and accessories to be made available to customers. Prices could start at £8,000 when the car its UK shores in 2013.


Wednesday 17 March 2010

Vauxhall introduces entry-level Corsa, Astra, Zafira & Insignia (UK)

Vauxhall has launched cheaper versions of many of its models. The new Expression and ES models are up to £3,675 less expensive than the previous cheapest version. The maximum headline saving is with the Zafira Expression, which now costs from £14,995 - a saving of £3,675.

Most of the new variants come with less equipment. You don't even get air-conditioning in the Zafira, however, the only exception to this is the Insignia ES, which is £1,700 cheaper but comes with upgraded wheels and MP3 compatible stereo system.

The Corsa Expression starts at £9,995 and you don't even get electric front windows or central locking, however, the entry-level Fiesta Studio starts at £11,536 with similar features.

For £13,995, the Astra Sport Hatch and Astra 5dr Expression doesn't get cruise control, dusk & rain sensor, leather steering wheel and the latter makes do with a 86bhp, 1.4 litre petrol engine. The Astra Twin-Top, from £17,995 doesn't differ from the 1.6 litre Air variant.

The Zafira Expression, from £14,995 has no air conditioning or roof-rails, but you do get steel wheels and body-coloured door mirrors.

For £17,120, the Insignia ES adds equipment rather than taking it away. Upgraded wheels and MP3 compatible stereo are now standard.

All of the Expression and ES cars are available for a limited period in solid white or red paints.

Special edition Fiat 500C Pink launched (UK)

Fiat has launched a Pink special edition for the 500C. Unlike the hatchback, which went on sale in January, just 300 models will be made (compared with the 500 models of the 500 hatchback).

The 500C Pink is based on the 1.2 Pop variant and at £13,500, it costs £1,200 more than the non-Pink car. However, Fiat says the 500C Pink comes with £1,870 worth of extra features. These include 16" alloy wheels, chrome trim, body-coloured door mirrors, leather steering wheel and gearknob, Blue&Me infotainment system, carpet mats and a split folding rear seat.

Tuesday 9 March 2010

Hyundai ix35 pricing announced (UK)

Hyundai UK has revealed the prices for their all-new ix35, which replaces the Tucson SUV in the European line-up. Prices start from £16,495 and rise to £20,745 when it goes on sale in the UK on Thursday 25th March.

At launch, the ix35 will be available with an entry-level 161bhp 2.0 litre petrol unit in two-wheel drive only and an all-new ‘R’ 134bhp 2.0 litre common rail turbo diesel that's offered in 2WD & 4WD models.

Style model fuel consumption:

For the entry level Style model, the base 2WD 2.0 litre 161bhp petrol does 28.8mpg (9.8l/100km) urban, 46.3mpg (6.1l/100km) extra-urban and 37.7mpg (7.5l/100km) combined. This is linked to a 5 speed manual with CO2 emissions of 177g/km.

The 2WD 2.0 CRDi with 134bhp is mated to a 6 speed manual transmission. Its urban fuel consumption figures are set at 42.8mpg (6.6l/100km) urban, 57.6mpg (4.9l/100km) extra-urban and 51.4mpg (5.5l/100km) combined. This engine coughs out CO2 gases of 147g/km.

The 2.0 CRDi 6 speed 4WD variant fuel consumption differs from the 2WD diesel, but only slightly. On the urban, extra-urban and combined cycle, it can achieve 42.2mpg (6.7l/100km), 55.4mpg (5.1l/100km), 49.6mpg (5.7l/100km) respectively. This model emits a class-leading 149g/km of CO2.

Premium model fuel consumption:

The flagship Premium model is only available with the ‘R’ diesel engine in both 2WD & 4WD forms. Take into account that Premium models are heavier than the Style models due to more equipment.

Fuel economy figures for both 2WD & 4WD* are as follows; 40.4mpg (7.0l/100km) urban, 54.3mpg (5.2l/100km) extra-urban and 47.9mpg (5.9l/100km) combined. The 2WD emits 153g/km, while the 4WD* emits 154g/km of CO2.

* Subject to final confirmation

The entry-level Style trim models come equipped with a 5 year warranty, 17” alloy wheels, solid paint, ESP, traction control, x6 airbags (twin front, side & curtain), air conditioning, Bluetooth phone connectivity, heated front and rear seats, electrically adjustable & heated door mirrors with integrated LED indicators, x4 electric windows, headlamp delay function, eco-drive indicator, 6 speakers w/ USB & AUX connections, leather steering wheel w/ audio controls and gearknob, rear parking sensors and a trip computer.

The Premium models add 18” alloys, rear spoiler w/ integral brake light, electric panoramic glass sunroof, automatic headlights & wipers, cruise control, dual zone climate control, electric folding door mirrors, keyless entry with engine start/stop button, rear privacy glass, rain-sensing wipers, part-leather upholstery and roof rails.

Options include metallic paint – at £405 on both models. Premium models get 2 option packs dubbed; Individual Pack and Media Pack.

The Individual pack includes black or brown leather interior, auto-dimming rear-view mirror and a supervision cluster. This can be purchased for £700, while the media pack features touch-screen satellite navigation system w/ rear-view camera and 7 speakers including and amp & subwoofer at £800.

In November, Hyundai will expand the ix35's range with the introduction of a 1.6 petrol engine with direct injection technology and a new 1.7 litre CRDi. Details of these engines will be released during Summer.

The ix35 will be built in Kia’s Zilina plant in Slovakia.

Monday 8 March 2010

Chrysler to use Fiat's MultiAir engines

Chrysler has announced a raft of new engines for its line-up, which it says will boost the overall fuel-efficiency of its vehicles by 25% between now and 2014.

The engines are taken from Fiat's range, and include direct injection, turbocharged, and Multiair units, plus dual-clutch transmissions. Chrysler said 80% of its vehicles across all its brands will get the new technology.

Among the line-up is two Multiair 4 cylinder units: a 100bhp 1.4 litre unit with 95lb ft of torque and a turbocharged 1.4 litre unit with 170bhp and 170lbft of torque. A 190bhp 2.4 litre Multiair unit putting out 175lb ft of torque will also be available. A 280bhp 3.4 litre V6 Multiair unit with 260lb ft of torque will also be available and will first be available in the Jeep Grand Cherokee later next year.

Chrysler says that it will start selling vehicles with a new 6 speed Dual Dry Clutch Transmission (DDCT) from later this year, with the next generation Sebring thought most likely to get the unit first. A hybrid Ram 1500 will also go on sale later this year.

One of the conditions attached to Fiat's shareholding in Chrysler being expanded in future was that the Italian manufacturer must reach emissions targets with the U.S brand.

Vauxhall Meriva pricing announced (UK)

Vauxhall's longer, wider, taller and more stylish Meriva compact MPV will cost from £15,495, over £1,500 more than the current model, £3,050 more than a basic Citroen C3 Picasso, £4,000 more than a Kia Venga and upto a staggering £4,895 more than an entry-level Nissan Note – but the new car is larger and more practical than its predecessor, as well having a more powerful entry-level engine.

The new people-carrier, based on the Astra/Zafira platform and which for the first time adopts so-called “flex doors”, will go on sale during Summer in the UK. Order books are now opened.

The Meriva, which has led the small MPV segment since 2003 – with more than 1m sales, is around 20cm shorter than the Zafira, mostly because of the demands of new crash and pedestrian protection legislation. Engineers say all compact MPVs will have to grow, so the difference between classes will sooner or later be restored.

To go with the sportier, more stylish exterior, the Meriva gets a airy, modernised fascia and interior, which reduces the mass of the dashboard, picks up the improved switchgear, instrumentation and steering wheel of the recently launched Astra and Insignia models. Flexrail (a set of load-bearing rails running through the cabin), provides flexible mounting for a variety of bags and consoles, or which just provides carrying space for handbags and briefcases.

The Meriva is launched with five engine options, two 1.4 litre turbo petrol units from the Astra range (120bhp and 140bhp) and three 1.3 & 1.7 litre turbo-diesel powerplants, producing between 90bhp and 145bhp.

Vauxhall engineers say the Meriva’s new chassis improves the driving experience, giving it better handling and ride, and a considerably quieter and more comfortable ride.

Entry-level S models include a CD player, front electric windows, x4 airbags (twin front & side), electric door mirrors w/ heat, height adjustable drivers seat and steel wheels. However, buyers will need to spend an extra £500 if they want air-conditioning added to the most basic trim. The cheapest diesel model starts at £16,875.

Mid-spec Exclusiv models – starting at £16,650, have air-conditioning, cruise control, curtain airbags and the Flexrail system as standard.

Range-topping SE models start at £17,430 and get a panoramic glass roof w/ electronic sunshade, tinted rear windows and folding tables on the front seat backs. The most expensive Meriva; SE 1.7 CDTi with an auto gearbox will set you back £21,255. All engines get 6 speed manual gearboxes as standard.

Honda CR-Z pricing announced (UK)

Honda UK have revealed pricing on the all new CR-Z hybrid sports car, days after its world debut at the Geneva motorshow. Prices start from £16,999 for the entry-level S model, rising to £19,999 for the flagship GT model.

Powered by a 1.5 litre petrol engine and Honda's IMA parallel hybrid system, total output is 122bhp. Mated to this is a 6 speed manual gearbox that can make the car can achieve 56.5mpg (5.0/100km) combined whilst emitting 117g/km of CO2. Urban fuel economy is 46.3mpg (6.1/100km) and extra-urban fuel economy is rated at 64.2mpg (4.4/100km). The CR-Z can do a 0-60mph time of 9.9 seconds before topping out at 124mph.

The CR-Z comes with a 3 mode system - Norm, Econ, Sport. In NORM mode, the speedometer is illuminated blue, with green illumination when the car is being driven in an economical manner. In ECON mode, it is also blue (glowing green when driven economically) and it has a green eco flower lit alongside. When the speedometer is illuminated in a red ambient light, this indicates the CR-Z is in SPORT mode.

At just under 4.1 metres (4,080mm), the entry-level S models come in at £16,999 and have 2+2 seat layout, 16" alloy wheels, tyre repair kit, solid paint, trip computer, electric front windows, front cupholders, urethane tilt/telescopic steering wheel, electrically heated & adjustable door mirrors w/ integrated indicators, x6 airbags (twin front, side and curtain), active front headrests, drivers seat height adjustment, VSA (vehicle stability assist), alarm w/ immobiliser, DRL's (daytime running lights), climate control, 4 speakers and AUX input.

Mid-spec Sport models have rear parking sensors, cruise control, privacy glass, USB port w/ 6 speakers, multi-function leather steering wheel & gearknob, front fog-lights, drilled alloy pedals, ambient lighting and electric folding door mirrors. This can be purchased for £17,999.

Top-spec GT models feature leather interior w/ heated front seats, panoramic glass sunroof, xenon headlights w/ dusk sensor, Bluetooth handsfree and rain-sensing windscreen wipers all for £19,999.

Upto 5 exterior colours (Milano Red, Storm Silver, Crystal Black, Horizon Turquoise & Premium White) can be selected, with the former being solid. Apart from paint being the only optional feature, GT variants can be specced with a DVD satellite navigation system with CD tuner.

The CR-Z can be ordered now with the first deliveries beginning in Summer.

Sunday 7 March 2010

Photo Gallery: 2010 Aston Martin Rapide

The 2010 Aston Martin Rapide is one of those cars - the more you see, the more you like, which is why you can now enjoy over 40 high-resolution photos of the new sports car.

Priced from of £139,950 in the UK, $199,950 in the U.S, Aston Martin's first ever series-production sports saloon features a hand-built 6.0 litre V12 engine delivering 477bhp at 6,000 rpm and 600Nm or 443 lb-ft of peak torque at 5,000 rpm. Power is sent to the rear wheels through a 6 speed Touchtronic 2 automatic transmission with Aston announcing a 0-60 mph time of 5.1 seconds and a top speed of 188 mph.

The car are being built at Aston Martin's factory in Graz, Austria. Each car will take around 220 hours to create. First deliveries start next month.

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