Wednesday 29 June 2011

Peugeot 208 spied hot-weather testing, will utilise 3-cylinder engine

Peugeot's upcoming 207 replacement has been spied undergoing hot-weather testing in Southern Spain, ahead of its launch in Summer 2012.

Caught here wearing thick plastic camouflage, it's believed the 208 will spearhead Peugeot's new design language, taking design inspiration from both the SR1 and HR1 concept vehicles, thus lending the newcomer a clean, elegant look. The interior of the 208 will focus primarily on simple style and higher-quality materials than the 207.

European driving habits revealed

Tyre producer, Goodyear Dunlop carried out a Summer survey to analyse European driving habits of 15 nations. While some of the results are unsurprising, others are eye-opening. You have been warned....

The survey shows that 48% of British drivers are nervous when driving aboard with a third set to drive around 400 miles (644km). A quarter said they will drive for five-hours before taking a 30 minute break.

Monday 27 June 2011

Nissan Micra/March reaches 6 millionth milestone

Nissan Motors reached an all-important milestone with the Micra last month. Over 6m units have been sold since its launch in 1982, and despite no assistance from the United States, the Micra, known as March in Japan, has enjoyed popularity in its home market for around 30 years. Recently, the Micra went on sales in emerging markets like Thailand, China, and India.

Nissan puts affordability, high-quality, and drivability as the main properties that drew in consumers to the first generation Micra. Between 1982 and 1992, Nissan sold 1.65m Micra's. As of May 2011, the fourth-generation Micra sold 170,000 units in 56 countries. Initial production occurred in Japan and the UK but now the sub-compact is produced in Mexico, India, China, and Thailand.

Saturday 25 June 2011

Hyundai toying around with five-door Veloster

Hyundai's Overseas Product Planning Manager, Eunjoo Shin has disclosed that the South Korean brand is developing a conventional five-door variant of the Veloster.

While the regular model features a four door layout (two normal front doors, one small rear passenger door on the passenger's side, and the bootlid), the five-door would add slightly longer rear passenger doors to enable ample boarding and exiting.

2012 Fiat Panda spied in Italy, first interior shot and patent filing leaked

Updated: 20/06/11

The first spy images of the third generation Panda city-car have emerged from Italy. A reader for the Italian magazine,, caught the prototype - in its last stages of development - entering and exiting Fiat's Mirafiori factory in Turin, although the car will be produced in Pomigliano d'Arco.

The leaked patent files reveal the Panda's external shape. Less boxier than the outgoing model, the newcomer will feature a rounder bonnet, larger, sweptback headlights, wider radiator grille, large air intake, small rear quarter window, and a sloping roofline. The side profile inherits curvy squared-off wheelarches, echoing that of the marque's larger Qubo. At the rear, squat vertical light clusters, bulbous bootlid, and a plastic insert on the bumper with reflector lights will feature.

Toyota to export British-built Avensis to Japan

Toyota will begin exporting the British-built mid-sized Avensis Tourer to Japan next month. The move comes as Toyota said Japanese consumers want European styling and engineering.

Toyota Motor Manufacturing (UK) Ltd Managing Director Katsunori Kojima said: “We are very proud that the Avensis has been selected for export to Japan. This is yet another vote of confidence for the factory and the high quality of our products.”

Audi A1 production reaches 100,000th milestone

The A1 premium supermini is proving to be an astounding success for Audi. Just after one year since its launch and without any assistance from the United States or China, the 100,000th A1 rolled off the production line at the marque's Brussels facility in Belgium. The ice white milestone model was bearing the signatures of 2,400 workers in colours of the Belgian flag: yellow, red and black.

The milestone was so important that Audi invited King Albert II of Belgium to see off the 100,000th car and was treated to a factory tour with the factory's Rupert Stadler.

Thursday 23 June 2011

Honda looking to revive Beat sports car

According to British sources, Honda may resuscitate the tiny, rear engined, rear-wheel-drive Beat roadster, originally produced from 1991 to 1996.

Despite initially being a kei-car, measuring at 3,295mm, the newcomer will grow substantially in size because it will underpin the CR-Z hybrid sports car, with design being influenced by the 2008 OSM concept.

Monday 20 June 2011

1966 Volvo P1800 coupé clocks nearly 3m miles

Most car manufactures tend to test their cars to last around 620,000 miles (1m km), however, Irv Gordon's 1966 Volvo P1800 coupé has clocked 2.9m (4.7m km) miles with no purpose of stopping.

Unsurprisingly, the bright red P1800 has been used in numerous Volvo marketing campaigns to showcase the brand's strength, reliability, and purpose of its vehicles. By the time Gordon's 73rd birthday has come around, he hopes to have clocked 3m (4.8m km) miles, meaning the speedometer has to flipped over 30 times within the next two years. In order to achieve that 3m (4.8m km) milestone, Gordon would have to drive 5,500 miles (8,800km) a month.

New Car: 2012 Mazda BT-50 Freestyle

Mazda will launch a new variant of the BT-50, called Freestyle at the Australian International Motor Show.

Fundamentally an extended-cab BT-50, the Freestyle offered suicide rear doors to offer better access into the cabin. The rear seat cushions have been extended by 50mm and the seatback by 128mm, according to Mazda.

Mercedes planning new crossover SUV

Mercedes will be expanding its SUV line-up rapidly within the next five years, including a sporty model that will compete directly with the popular BMW X6, and the upcoming Audi Q6 and Range Rover Sport.

Internal sources suggest the newcomer will be named 'GLS' and will underpin the same unibody architecture as the marque's M-Class, Jeep Grand Cherokee, and Dodge Durango when it goes on sale in 2014.

Sunday 19 June 2011

GM's upcoming large SUV to centre on Insignia platform

Following our previous report regarding the forthcoming Vauxhall/Opel large crossover, new details have been revealed.

The FLV (Future Large Vehicle) will underpin the current Insignia and will feature all-wheel-drive, alongside front-wheel-drive when it launches in 2015. The flagship vehicle will adopt styling elements from the recent Zafira Tourer and strangely, the Citroën DS5 crossover.

Ford increases C-Max production

Ford has announced that it has increased production of its C-Max and Grand C-Max models to meet thriving demand within Europe.

Since its launch late last year, over 100,000 units have been sold. In Italy, the C-Max soared to the the top of the compact MPV sales table with a 27% market share, with Ireland nabbing a 23% share.

Nissan cuts-out Altima Hybrid (U.S)

Nissan has discreetly killed-off the mid-sized Altima Hybrid variant. It comes as the marque announced that it sold a mere 35,000 units since 2007, which isn't bad as the hybrid variant is sold in seven states.

But there' another reason for the abortion. The Altima Hybrid utilised a Toyota hybrid system, which will be replaced by the firm's bespoke hybrid system, that was recently launched in the Infiniti M35h.

Thursday 16 June 2011

Video: BMW owner protects 5-Series sedan from hailstones

There's not much you can do when you're caught up in intense hailstone storm to protect your beloved BMW from getting chipped paintwork. Or is there....

This Croatian traveller, said to be visiting Slovenia decided to cover his third generation 5-Series sedan using what he can find from his suitcase. Somewhat, it doesn't seem like such a good idea afterwards....

Wednesday 15 June 2011

Volkswagen may offer diesel Tiguan in 2015 (U.S)

Volkswagen has disclosed that a diesel-powered Tiguan is under consideration for the North American market. It comes as American consumers are purchasing fuel thrifty vehicles, hence the increase of diesel car sales.

John Ryan, Volkswagen product planner said in an interview there are a couple of set-backs. Firstly, the current 2.0 TDI would have to be equipped with an expensive urea-based catalyst system to meet U.S emission standards, which would make the Tiguan TDI staggeringly expensive, and secondly, exceptionally strong demand in Europe pushed-back American availability indefinitely.

Volkswagen Beetle R may debut at Frankfurt motor show

According to reports out of the United States, Volkswagen will reveal the sporty Beetle R at Autumn's Frankfurt motor show.

Although nothing has been confirmed, the vehicle may be powered by a turbocharged 2.0 litre 237bhp (240PS/177kW) petrol unit. Furthermore, the Beetle R will feature sports suspension, additional exterior styling tweaks, and a enhanced interior.

Sunday 12 June 2011

Mazda Demio revised for 2012, new petrol engine announced (JP)

Mazda has launched the revised Demio supermini for the Japanese domestic market. The 2012 model year Demio biggest change comes in form of a new SKYACTIV-G petrol engine.

The all-new 4-cylinder 1.3 litre direct-injection powerplant produces 84bhp (83PS/63kW) and 112Nm (83lb-ft) of torque. Thanks to its high compression ratio of 14:0:1, CVT transmission, i-stop (stop/start), and aerodynamic features, the car can travel 30km/lt (3.3l/100km/85.6mpg UK) on the Japanese cycle.

Friday 10 June 2011

Volkswagen Passat Cross spied in Austria

Spies have captured the first ever spy images of Volkswagen's upcoming Passat Cross. Two pre-production prototypes were spied in Austria, conducting towing tests with the prototypes sporting wider matte black wheelarches, panelling on the lower doors and increased ride-height.

While the camouflage may seem a little excessive, the exterior modifications will be limited to plastic cladding, front and rear sump guards, and a restyled lower fascia.

Thursday 9 June 2011

Chevrolet Cruze hatchback pricing announced (UK)

Chevrolet has announced prices and specifications on the new 5dr Cruze hatchback, which goes on sale next month.

The Cruze hatchback starts from £13,995 for the base 122bhp (120PS/91kW) 1.6 litre LS petrol, before topping out at £20,295 for the flagship LTZ Exec Pack 2.0 VCDi 161bhp (159PS/120kW) automatic. Sitting in-between those will be the mid-spec LT at £14,895 and the 1.8 litre 139bhp (137PS/104kW) petrol engine, only available on the LTZ.

Wednesday 8 June 2011

Kia Tam sketch leaked, new spy photos

An artist rendering of the upcoming Kia Tam ultra-compact MPV has been let out onto the web, ahead of its public unveiling later this year.

The Tam will mirror that of many Japanese kei-cars, with its tall profile, tiny wheels, and smart styling. The new model will feature large wheelarches and a unique door layout, in which the rear passengers door (if the steering wheel is on the left-hand side) slides with the driver's side passenger door opening conventionally.

New Car: 2012 Mercedes ML-Class

Following its leak on the interweb, Mercedes has unravelled the new M-Class large SUV. The new M-Class has a few surprises in store, including a 4-cylinder diesel engine for the first time.

The compact 2.1 litre unit, known in the M-Class as 'ML250 CDI Bluetec' is powered by twin-turbochargers that produce 201bhp (204PS/150kW) and 500 Nm (369lb-ft) of torque. Although British sales of this engine is yet to be confirmed, in Mainland Europe, the engine is expected to nab a majority of sales, thanks to its standard stop/start system and 7G-Tronic semi-automatic which gives a 47mpg (6l/100km) combined fuel economy figure and carbon emissions of less than 160g/km. This gives a hypothetical range of over 900 miles (1,448km) with the optional 93 litre fuel tank.

New Car: 2012 Vauxhall/Opel Astra GTC

GM has unveiled the Astra GTC, ahead of its world debut at the Frankfurt motor show. With four turbocharged engines, a revised chassis, and a 6 speed manual at your disposal, prices in the UK start from £18,495 for the entry-level Sport, or €21,750 in Germany. The former price tag undercuts the base Volkswagen Scirocco by £1,100.

Handling has been improved thanks to a 15mm lowered ride height, an additional 10mm to the wheelbase at 2,695mm, wider front and rear tracks by 40mm and 30mm, and bespoke HiPerStrut suspension.

Monday 6 June 2011

Škoda reaches new milestone with Yeti

Škoda has produced its 100,000th at the brand's plant in Kvasiny, Czech Republic. The Yeti has been in production for two years. Besides the Kvasiny factory where British-built Yetis are produced, production has also been taking place in the Indian city of Aurangabad since 2010. Furthermore, the vehicle is also assembled in the SKD procedure in the Russian city of Kaluga.

In the first quarter of 2011, sales figures rose 34% compared to the previous year, to 22,100 units. In 2010, the marque delivered 52,600 Yetis to customers.

British car sales fall 1.7% in May (UK)

New car sales in Britain have fallen just a mere 1.7% year-on-year in May, the tiniest reduction of 2011 yet. The SMMT said 150,431 cars were registered last month. Sales of fleet and diesel markets surged by 10% on 2010 levels.

The Volkswagen Golf was the best-selling diesel vehicle last month. Sales of city-cars and superminis have increased for the first time in 11 months, while sales of dual-purpose vehicles (MPV, SUV, crossover), executive, and luxury cars have shown the best growth rates during May.

Compact Mazda CX-5 spied, to emit under 120g/km

Mazda's compact CX-5 is still in its early stages of development, so its unsurprising to still see cut-and-shut CX-7-based test mules roaming around in Germany.

Anyway, we know the CX-5 will take its design inspiration from the Minagi concept that debuted at the Geneva motor show. It will also be the first Mazda vehicle to adopt ‘KODO – Soul of Motion’ design theme. Inside, the air-vents slot below the top-up integrated satellite navigation system, which has been taped off, and below the vent are heater controls.

Next-generation Buick Enclave and LaCrosse may sell in Europe

According to an unconfirmed report, the next-generation Buick Enclave and LaCrosse will be sold in Europe.

Anonymous sources suggest the Enclave - rebadged to Vauxhall in the UK and Opel for Continental Europe – will launch in 2015. Expectedly, details are scare, however, power may come from a turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine with underpinnings coming from the current Lamba platform, which will be revised. Rumours of this large crossover have been floating around since 2006 when GM wanted a mid-sized SUV.

Nissan forced to slash sales target for Leaf (U.S)

Despite all the hype, American consumers aren't warming towards the Nissan Leaf electric vehicle. Because of this, Nissan has been forced to trim its initial sales projection of 20,000 units down to 10,000 – 12,000 units for 2011.

Nissan declined to comment on the lowered targets but we believe the 11th March earthquake and tsunami played its part, in addition to the unaccepted Leaf's driving range of 100 miles (161km) per charge.

Next-generation MINI spied in Germany

2013 Mini Cooper S
German-based spy photographers have snapped the first ever images of the upcoming Mini Cooper and an unnamed BMW compact, both undergoing chassis testing in Germany.

The 2013 Mk3 Mini appears to be longer and wider than the outgoing model, while retaining the same height. Additionally, the Mini prototype sports slender A-pillars, a longer bonnet, and smaller fascia grilles.

Porsche confirms 7 speed manual for forthcoming 911

American reports indicate that Porsche has developed a new 7 speed manual transmission for the upcoming 911 sports car.

The intention of the 7-speed manual is to cut-down engine noise and improve fuel economy by a longer seventh gear.

Sunday 5 June 2011

New Car: 2012 BMW 1 Series

BMW has revealed the redesigned 1-Series, ahead of its world debut at the upcoming Frankfurt motor show.

The newcomer has more presence than its predecessor, thanks to its substantially large headlamps that fade into the front wheelarches, a more prominent radiator grille, and compact lower air intakes. With an increased length and width of 4,320mm (+85mm) and 1,770mm (+17mm), a longer wheelbase of 2,690mm (+30mm over the outgoing model) means the cabin is more spacious and luggage capacity increases to 360 litres (+30 litres) behind the rear seats. With the rear seats folded, you will have 1,200 litres at your disposal.

Fisker Karma plug-in hybrid faces another delay

Fisker has announced that the Karma plug-in hybrid will be delayed in the U.S. Despite the lack of explanation by Fisker, a spokesman said "the first dealer and customer cars will arrive on these [U.S] shores in July."

That would mean the marque has missed to previous launch dates of Winter 2009 and Spring 2011.

Škoda launches range-topping Superb Laurin & Klement

Škoda has announced a new trim-level called Laurin & Klement on the Superb station wagon. The top-of-the-line variant will be launched at Autosalon Brno 2011 and will go on sale soon.

Intended to be one of the marque's most luxurious models, the L&K grade is equipped with bespoke 18” alloy wheels, adaptive bi-xenon headlamps, and external chrome accents. Inside, owners will be greeted with Magnetic Brown leather upholstery on the seats, doors, dashboard, handbrake, and gearbox, in addition to piano black highlights and stainless steel door sills.

Thursday 2 June 2011

Ford announces turbocharged 3-cylinder petrol engine

2011 Ford B-Max concept
Ford has recently announced production plans for a brand-new direct-injection, twin independent variable camshaft timing (Ti-VCT), turbocharged 1.0 litre EcoBoost 3-cylinder petrol engine that will first premier on the upcoming B-Max sub-compact MPV, due in mid-2012. Additionally, Ford has also announced a bespoke 8-speed hybrid transmission called 'e-CVT'.

The tiny engine will also power the forthcoming facelifted Fiesta supermini, with a distinct possibility of the engine finding its way under the larger Focus and C-Max models too.

One in 10 British drivers prepared to run the risk of being caught without insurance cover

Photo credit: Wongdood
Guest post by

In less than a month, Continuous Insurance Enforcement will be implemented, making it illegal to own a motor vehicle without valid insurance unless it has been declared ‘off the road’. Leading price comparison site asked its visitors how the new law will affect the way they think about insurance and the outcome suggests the law will fail to have an impact on a worryingly large proportion of British drivers.

Moneysupermarket’s research shows that 56 per cent of motorists say they’ll be more prudent and will shop around for a better car insurance premium. Eight per cent of those who took part in the survey, however, said that they’d continue with their policy and renew it as normal.

Fiat set to expand product line-up (U.S)

According to Laura Soaves, Fiat CEO of North America, the brand will be expanding its product line-up with Bravo replacement. This comes as the 500’s early sales figures have surpassed expectations. With the cabriolet now hitting dealerships, Fiat will also launch the Abarth and EV variants later on.

Despite the addition of an extra model, Soaves stressed that Fiat won't infringe upon Chrysler’s traditional markets in the U.S.

Wednesday 1 June 2011

Hyundai i40 Tourer pricing announced (UK)

Hyundai has announced prices on the i40 Tourer ahead of its launch date in September. The i40 Tourer will undercut most rivals like the Mondeo by £550 and the Insignia by around £1,000 when it goes on sale.

Three trim-levels will be available with prices starting from £18,395 for the base 1.6 GDi Blue Drive Active, before topping out at £25,895 for the range-topping Premium 1.7 CRDi automatic.

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