Wednesday 31 August 2011

Hyundai Genesis Coupé facelift spied undisguised in factory

An Hyundai worker has posted spy photos of the upcoming Genesis Coupé facelift. Upfront, the reworked fascia mirrors that of the smaller Veloster and includes new headlights with daytime LED's and a ventilated bonnet. Restyled door mirrors, chrome window trim, reshaped rear LED lights and bumper complete the external makeover.

Inside, a updated infotainment system and revised centre console competes the overall alterations.

Video: 2012 Toyota Yaris vs the Gadget Guy

Toyota UK aired the new 2012 Yaris commercial on the 26th August. The concept of the commercial is to outsmart life, so on the left, we have the 'Gadget Guy', who has a pasta-shredder and many plug-in gadgets in his Honda Civic, while on the right, we have a young woman in the Yaris.

Gadget Guy is then asked a question by an animated dancer, which then shows the woman connecting her phone to the vehicle's multimedia system. One thing you may notice about the ad is the GTA San Andreas feel and sound to it. Check it out after the break!

Feature: Petrol vs diesel

Ahhh, the age old debate; petrol or diesel. With some cars, you're restricted to one or the other, not so with the Kia Sportage used in this test.

The test compares a naturally-aspirated petrol engine to a turbocharged diesel engine. This is where the problem lies, turbocharged petrol engines tend to be more fuel efficient than there naturally-aspirated counterparts.

Tuesday 30 August 2011

Video: Grim Reaper features in Hyundai Veloster commerical for Holland

Hyundai is rolling out the Veloster coupé across Europe and in order to attract buyers, it needs a snappy, thought-provoking, strong-messaged commercial, at least in the Netherlands anyway. The message was so strong, that Dutch authorities banned the advert.

Initially, the advert features a a young lady exiting a 2012 Ford Focus after a night out, but then she gets mowed down by a passing vehicle. This is where things start to get uneasy. Featuring the Grim Reaper, when he tried to open the rear passenger door on the driver's side of the Veloster (there is no door!), he gets run over instead.

Saab holding out for new short-term cash injection

Ever since departing from GM two years ago, Saab has been fighting for survival due to the lack of capitol. Unlike previous rounds, this time, the Swedish brand really is in live or die mode as it actively seeks short-term funding to restart production.

Previously, Saab struggled to pay its employees and suppliers, and still believes it will live on. Saab's Chairman, Victor Muller said it's even mulling a possible shake-up to defend itself from creditors looking to get their hands on assets.

Police, camera, action; Floridan police unlawfully ticket more than 10k motorists

A Floridian man has decided to launch a lawsuit against authorities after finding out that since 2005, the Florida Highway Patrol intentionally handed out 10,429 fines to drivers that tried to warn others of speed traps using their high beams.

Around $1,042,900 (£643,319/€709,310) was generated and would have to be refunded if the case is successful. Additionally, Eric Campbell, who filed the suit, is looking for $15,000 (£9,250/€10,500) in compensation for each motorist, which totals $156,435,000 (£96,487,000/€109,542,000) in damages, in addition to the over $1 million in refunded tickets.

Monday 29 August 2011

Fail: How NOT to hurricane proof your car

If you're faced with a potential hurricane and you'd like to protect your personal belonging, say, a car, don't go wrapping it up in plastic and duct tape.

This image was snapped by a New York Daily News reader. Now, although we're not entirely sure whether this was a prank, as a NYDN reader commented, or the owners were genuinely misguided, the plastic sheeting was ripped off the following day.

Video: Everyday I'm shufflin'; Kia Soul hamsters now dance!

The dancing hamsters seemed to be popular with our readers, so Kia has revealed its new advert for the Soul facelift. The four-legged furry team remain but this time, they're rocking out to a new beat called 'Party Rock Anthem' by LMFAO. It features dancing robots with a Halo-esque background battleground.

Although the new rhythm is rather catchy, where does it go from here?

GM marketing executive given $50k to redecorate office, saves $48k (U.S)

General Motors gave its marketing executive, Joel Ewanick $50,000 to redecorate his office in GM's HQ in Detroit.

The ex-Hyundai employee spend a mere $2k on the facelift, saving $48,000. It's believed that Ewanick shopped at an upmarket Crate and Barrel store and Ikea. GM even offered to hire a decorator, but insisted on doing it himself.

Sunday 28 August 2011

High demand for exported vehicles in China (CN)

Although car sales are slowing in China, the Asian country nabbed imported cars at a rapid rate in the first half of this year. Pick-up trucks and SUV were most popular, with the Subaru Outback, BMW X1, Renault Koleos, Dodge Ram, and Mercedes GLK contributing to the total of 220,000 units.

German car manufactures accounted for 47% of imports, with BMW and Volkswagen seeing a 50% and 0.5% increase, the latter seeing strong sales from the Touareg SUV and Phaeton sedan.

Nissan owners facing huge bills over mechanical issues (U.S)

According to reports, owners of the body-on-frame Nissan Xterra, Pathfinder, and Frontier (Navara overseas) have been seeing expensive transmission failures and owners want Nissan to assist with repair costs.

The radiators within the aforementioned vehicles have a habit of cracking and leaking radiator fluid – an issue Nissan has recognised and sort out with an extended radiator warranty – but it doesn't end there.

Saturday 27 August 2011

Police stock up on Ford Crown Victorias (U.S)

Ford announced that it will cease production of the august Crown Victoria sedan, but doesn't mean that there isn't high-demand for the iconic sedan.

“We’re kind of stocking up,” Sgt. Larry Poleski of the Grand Rapids Police Department in Michigan told local media. The department purchased 28 Crown Victorias earlier this year.

Chrysler may replace Dakota with smaller pick-up

Despite the last Ram Dakota rolling off the production line this week, Chrysler is already pondering over a smaller light-pick-up to replace the 24 year old Dakota.

The marque may consider a lifestyle pick-up that will fit in under the Ram 1500 that could underpin the same platform as its MPV, which would allow for a front-wheel-drive, unibody chassis.

Video: It's in front of you; SUV ploughs into cop car

The irony; You're drink-driving and you want to get to your destination as soon as possible, without getting caught, but because you're drunk, you swerve to avoid another car and because your reaction time is delayed, you plough into a cop car.

That's exactly what happened to an Oklahoma County Sheriff' at 6:30pm when his got damaged by 21 year old Noriega-Perales. According to local media, the SUV driver was jailed for driving under the influence, driving on the wrong side of the road, and not wearing a seatbelt. The police officer suffered minor injuries.

Friday 26 August 2011

Video: Some like it on top; Porsche 911 Turbo with mattress on roof

Is there anything wrong with this? Here we have a older generation Porsche 911 Turbo carrying an unwanted mattress in an upmarket area somewhere in the U.S.

Bloggers who have watched this video have criticised the idea of a sports car carrying a mattress, but what's actually wrong with it? Even the rich are cost-cutting. If you're watching this video at work, watch out for the unneeded profanity by the commentator in the video.

McLaren may schedule MP4-12C convertible

According to reports from the U.S, McLaren will be developing a range of different cars and variants. The first vehicle to arrive, in 2013, is codenamed 'P12' and will succeed the 1993 F1 to rival hypercars such as the Lamborghini Aventador and the now non-production Bugatti Veyron.

This should produce around 800bhp (789PS/597kW) and weigh similar to that of the MP4-12C, thanks to extensive use of carbon fibre and aluminium. Expect more aerodynamic and electronic equipment.

Video: Balls of steel; Badass fireman watches car explode right in front of him

Check out this video of a few firemen dousing a burning green Buick. Why, you may ask? Because the car explodes and a fireman was a mere few centimetres away from the vehicle. Unfazed by the explosion, the fireman continued dousing the burning car.

The incident occurred on Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles last week, and was caught on camera. “As they were attacking the fire, it appears from the video, that an airbag went off, sending sparks,” LAFD Capt. Jaime Moore told NBC news. “They had their personal protective equipment on, so he was not injured. As you can see in the video, he didn't event flinch,” said Moore.

Thursday 25 August 2011

Israel allows Google Street View under certain restrictions (IL)

The controversial Google Street View will now hit the Middle East. Following the United States, parts of Brazil, Europe, Asia, and Australia, the free service will now allow users to get a clear view of the streets of Israel. The country was very reluctant to allow such as service, following numerous reasons such as illegally capturing WiFi-based data while taking images, violating privacy laws, and raising safety concerns.

The Associated Press is reporting that Israel has agreed to allow Google to record within its borders as long as it complies to a set of rules. The deal took six months to confirm as potential terrorists could use Google Street View to launch attacks on Israel.

Sunday 21 August 2011

New Car: 2012 Mercedes SLK55 AMG

Official photos of the Mercedes SLK55 AMG have surfaced onto the web, ahead of its premier next month.

Externally, the AMG treatment consists of a bespoke bodykit, tinted headlights, large alloys wheel, a rear diffuser, quad exhaust pipes, and lowered suspension. Inside, you'll find plenty of silver accents, leather, and a pair of sports seats.

Photo Gallery: 2012 Kia Rio (UK)

Kia has released new photos and a video of the new RioRio centres on the Hyundai i20, but unlike the i20, the Rio features eye-catching style and was designed at Kia's European design studio in Germany, under the firm's design executive, Peter Schreyer.

"The Kia Rio has always been successful, and with this new incarnation we have a car which is extremely attractive with a fresh feeling of sportiness - a car that people will want to buy for its looks, as well as its environmental credentials" comments Benny Oeyen, Vice President Marketing and Product Planning, Kia Motors Europe.

New Car: 2012 Volkswagen Up!

Volkswagen has taken the wraps off the long-anticipated Up! city-car, ahead of its world debut at the 64th IAA. The Up! is set to overtake the firms own Golf as the best-selling model in the line-up and will be an important vehicle to Volkswagen as it assumes world domination by 2018.

The production car holds true to the original concept – that debut four years ago in Frankfurt - with its simple two-box silhouette. Klaus Bischoff, Volkswagen design officer said the layout provides optimum space usage within a compact footprint, making the Up! extremely suitable for metropolis driving. Other design features that mimic the concepts included the low-placed rectangular grille, angular headlights, large wheels, and prominent wheelarches, which give the Up! a more expressive fascia compared to other Volkswagen models.

Kia developing new Forte/Cerato sedan, spied in U.S

Even though the current Forte/Cerato hit the South Korean market in late 2008, second-quarter of 2009 for the U.S, it seems that the next incarnation is on the horizon as Kia has started testing the new model in the U.S.

This pre-production prototype was snapped by spy photographers in Death Valley, CA, wearing a moderate amount of disguise. Departed is the Audi-inspired lines and shape of the current model, in favour for something more clinical, appearing to be an exaggerated Rio sedan.

Subaru Impreza pricing announced (U.S)

Subaru has released prices of the new Impreza line-up. The Impreza 2.0i sedan with a 5-speed manual gearbox will start from $17,495 before topping out at $22,095 for the flagship 2.0i Limited hatchback.

With four grades on offer, the lower mid-spec Premium sedan comes in at $18,795, with the hatchback starting at $19,295. Upper mid-spec Sport Premium weights in at $20,295 for the hatchback.

Lancia may terminate Flavia

At the Geneva motor show in March, Lancia revealed three rebadged Chrysler's to fill huge gaps in Lancia's line-up, the 200 based Flavia, 300C based Thema, and the Grand Voyager. With many thought all three with reach production, it seems that the Flavia won't.

Rumours suggest that's because Lancia didn't see the car being profitable enough. Critics said because the Chrysler 200 is an evolution from the Sebring, a model that never caught on amongst European customers, putting a Lancia badge thereon won't change anything.

Kia Soul facelift pricing announced (U.S)

Kia has announced prices for the heavily revised Soul crossover. Starting at $13,900, the Soul, with manual transmission, has the lowest entry-price in its class. Adding an automatic gearbox pushes the price upto $15,700, with the Soul! range-topper slotting in at under $20,000.

Three trim-levels are offered; Soul, Soul+, and Soul!, with two petrol engines, a 1.6 litre GDI or a 2.0 litre, both linked to either a 6-speed manual or automatic.

Nissan launches special-edition Juke Kuro (UK)

Nissan has released the Juke Kuro special edition for the British market. 'Kuro' translates to black in Japanese and supplies the strictly limited edition a new, dark look to the funky Juke.

Based upon the top-of-the-line Tekna, Juke Kuro just adds gloss-finished, 10-spoke, 17” alloy wheels, black door mirrors, and handles. The special edition is available in two metallic tones, Pearl Black or Force Red, with all models boasting a numbered plaque fitted to the centre console. Only 700 units will be available with all engine options.

Bugatti may produce Veyron replacement

2011 Bugatti Veyron Super Sport sketch
In a interview, Bugatti has revealed that it has no intention of losing its crown for the world's quickest production vehicle.

CEO Wolfgang Durheimer said the title is “vital” to the brand's image and will react if a vehicle is released that tops the Super Sport record 268mph (431 km/h).

Concept Car: Cadillac Ciel

Cadillac recently bowed the Ciel concept at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in California. The Ciel - pronounced  “C-L”, the French translation for sky – is a four door, four passenger “open-air grand-touring car inspired by the natural beauty of the Californian coast,” according to the brand.

The Ciel is 300mm longer than the CTS with power coming from an 425bhp (431PS/317kW) 3.6 litre twin-turbo V6, that linked to a hybrid system. With drive going to all four wheels, the total torque output is 583Nm (430lb-ft).

Saturday 20 August 2011

Honda may develop CR-V based light-truck to replace Ridgeline

According to recent reports, Honda may replace the ill-fated Ridgeline with a CR-V-based truck. The Ridgeline light-truck hasn't been the best-selling vehicle in the brand's line-up and as such, it will be axed from 2013. The vehicle was plagued by two main problems; its exterior style and poor fuel economy.

Although nothing is official, the new pick-up could bow in Spring 2013. As it will underpin the CR-V architecture – which is unable to house a V6 – a 4-cylinder petrol engine will be offered, that will inevitably hit towing capacity.

Vauxhall/Opel 'premium supermini' gets detailed

It's clear that Vauxhall/Opel is developing a premium supermini, designed to compete with the Mini and Audi A1. The unnamed newcomer will sit upon the new Chevrolet Aveo platform and will be launched in Spring 2013.

Like its rivals, the “Junior” will only be available as a three-door hatchback and will measure at 3.7 metres. The car has been on the agenda for many, many years and was almost aborted by GM's then world chief, Ed Whitacre, who considered that global programmes should be given priority. It was only recently when European CEO, Nick Reilly stressed the success of and demand for retro-inspired, cute, premium cars like the Mini, Fiat 500, and Audi A1, that board members decided to alter the decision.

Oh, the irony: Secret Services choose to out-source Pres. Obama's tour buses

Photo: The New York Post
President Obama just launched a bus tour of the United States with a plan to talk about and produce jobs for troubled Americans. While that may sound perfectly normal, the buses are a problem, more specifically, where they're produced.

Despite being purchased in Tennessee, the flagship $1.1m Prevost VIP X3-45 model buses were actually built in Canada, according to The New York Post, which isn't a huge issue as President Bush did the same for his re-election campaign, but some have pointed out the irony of utilising out-sourced buses for an American job tour.

Video: Hicks 'R' Us; Ford and Chevrolet play tug of war

Now, here's a tug of war battle you never thought you would see. Two monster pick-up trucks fighting it out to see who's the brawnier of the two. The great battle included a modified Ford, on the left, and a homemade bespoke Chevrolet, belonging to Cooper, the driver, on the right.

One of the trucks ends up getting destroyed, but which one? Click after the jump to find out!

Thursday 18 August 2011

Concept Car: Audi Urban Concept Spyder

Following the official sketches of the Audi Urban Concept last week, Audi has dropped new images of a Spyder variant of the Urban Concept. Although no new details have been revealed, Audi refers to the Urban Concept as a Sportback model.

Like the Urban Concept Sportback, the Spyder has 21” wheels, blinking LED lights, and a lithium-ion battery.

Audi Q6 test mule snapped shredding the Nürburgring Nordschleife

Audi has begun testing the long speculated Q6 crossover with this Q5 test mule. Despite the testing equipment on the wheels – which measures rolling resistance, the vehicle's ESP system, and brakes – the Q5 test mule sports an extended wheelbase, bodyshell and widen wheelarches.

Although this is a chassis mule, genuine prototypes should appear sometime in mid-2012.

Teaser: Jaguar C-X16 concept

Due to bow at the Frankfurt motor exhibition is the Jaguar C-X16 production concept, seen here in this teaser picture. Designed by Ian Callum, the C-X16 is intended to preview the upcoming XE compact sports car, due to debut sometime in 2012.

As the concept neared completion Ian Callum, Director of Design, Jaguar Cars commented: “Great Jaguars have always been beautiful, innovative and have looked firmly to the future. The finished C-X16 concept has the potential to do these things while retaining the ability to surprise, to excite and invigorate.”

Moo: Next-generation Range Rover caught up in the sky

Spies have caught the next incarnation of the Range Rover as the brand continues to test its flagship model. Nabbed here in Sierra Nevada, Southern Spain, wearing black and white camouflage, the newcomer seems to hit the perfect balance between the original Range Rover and the sporty, contemporary styling of the smaller Evoque.

Per se, a sloping roofline, clamshell bonnet, and LED headlights will feature. Like the current line-up, two models will be offered; a cheaper Sport and the actual Range Rover Vogue itself.

New Car: 2012 Mercedes SLK250 CDI

Mercedes has slipped a diesel engine into the compact SLK sports car for the first time...ever!.

The new SLK250 CDI will bow at the 64th Frankfurt IAA, with power coming from a turbocharged 2.1 litre 4-cylinder unit, kicking out 204bhp (206PS/150kW) and 500Nm (369lb-ft) of torque. This is linked to a 7G-Tronic Plus automatic gearbox, although a 6 speed manual will be offered in mid-2012, with drive heading towards the rear wheels.

Hyundai launches i20 Blue (UK)

Hyundai has extended its i20 line-up with the addition of a new variant called Blue, which goes on sale in September. Emitting 98g/km of carbon dioxide, Hyundai has used a stop/start system, low rolling resistance tyres, rear suspension under cover and rear wheel deflector, in addition to the humble 89bhp (88PS/66kW) 1.4 CRDi unit. All these alterations allow for a combined fuel economy figure of 76.4mpg (3.7l/100km)  and a theoretical range of 755 miles (1,215km).

Not forgetting, the i20 Blue is excluded from the London Congestion Charge and annual vehicle excise duty. Based upon the Comfort trim-level, the i20 Blue is equipped with 15” alloy wheels, electrically adjustable/heated/folding door mirrors, USB port w/AUX input, air conditioning, and x4 electric windows.

Customer's losing interest in Chevrolet Volt (U.S)

Despite the huge interest in the Volt range-extender, according to a research company, consumers are starting to lose interest in the vehicle. Going on sale in late 2010, Chevrolet sold around 3,000 Volts in the first seven months of 2011, but disclosed that some retailers still have Volts sitting on the forecourt, although Chevrolet hasn't begun selling the Volt in all 50 states yet.

CNW Marketing Research believes that consumer interest in the Volt is plunging. In March, CNW discovered that 21% of early adopters were considering a Volt but by July, that figure declined to 14.6%. Overall, CNW found that “all categories of new-car intenders are reporting less likelihood of even considering the vehicle.”

Wednesday 17 August 2011

Rapper unable to purchase Maybach Exelero Coupé

Earlier this year, music artist, Birdman, tweeted that he was in talks with a European entrepreneur over the acquisition of the bespoke Maybach Exelero Coupé, but the rapper allegedly has yet to foot the bill.

At $8m, the unique Maybach Exelero Coupé may be out of his reach. Arnaud Massartic, the current owner, says Birdman has yet to pay.

Mazda to stay away from EVs

Mazda has confirmed that it will not enter the electric vehicle market anytime soon as it focuses on its new SKYACTIV engine line-up that achieves an 15% and 20% improvement in fuel economy for petrol and diesel units.

“Research tells us that only 10% of new cars sold in 2020 will be fully electric. So we believe that the strategy we are pursuing is the right one – first launching breakthrough technologies for gasoline and diesel engines while continuing to work on hybrid and electric vehicles as well as hydrogen-powered models,” said Christian Blank, director of European fleet operations.

2013 Mazda MX-5/Miata patent leaked from Japanese patent office

With information on the next MX-5/Miata slowly leaking out onto the 'Net, a Japanese media outlet leaked the first patent drawing – from the Tokyo Patent Office - of the forthcoming sports car.

The basic shape and proportions of the newcomer will be akin to the original 1989 MX-5/Miata with upswept teardrop headlights. Since the new MX-5/Miata will be lighter, power will come from a 1.5 litre SkyActiv-G engine, churning out 125bhp (123PS/93kW) and when mated to a 6-speed manual gearbox, expect fuel economy of 60mpg (4.7l/100km/50mpg U.S).

German built EV travels over 1,000 miles on single charge

If you're worried about sufficient range in your electric vehicle, worry not. A German team has shown that their experimental “Schluckspecht” EV travelled over 1,000 miles (1,600km) on a single charge.

Co-developed between Pforzheim University, the Fraunhofer Institut EMI and the University of Offenburg, the Schluckspecht travelled 1,013 miles (1,630km) on a single charge, shattering the previous EV record of 623 miles (1,003km).

GM to be motoring equivalent to Apple

GM's Global Marketing Chief predicts that the marque can perform turnaround, similar to Apple's, but not in terms of pumping out huge profits.

“We have an aspirational goal and this is a big target for us,” Ewanick told reporters at the company’s Global Business Conference in Detroit. He said the change will reflect Apple's technological innovation and product-loaded products is a possible goal.

Holiday driving more stressful than child birth (UK)

According to a survey from Continental Tyres, having a holiday is a stressful time for people. Out of 2,000 participants, 51% said they begun their holiday with an argument and that they had an average of three arguments with family members during the trip.

Once they reached their destination, the holidaymakers relaxed for an average of two days and six hours, with 15% stating they were very tense after they've come back. Most arguments were caused by directions and straying away into unfamiliar territory.

Tuesday 16 August 2011

Photo Gallery: 2012 Kia Picanto 3dr

Kia has launched the sportier three-door Picanto, ahead of sales in September. According to Kia, the “rear panels and glass aft of the A-pillar give the three door Picanto a fresh, dynamic appearance”, that will appeal to both young buyers and fashionistas alike.

To better differentiate the three door variant from its five door sibling, a restyled, larger bumpers and twin chrome exhausts feature. Four trim-levels are available; 1, 1 Air, Halo, and Equinox. Kia says “[the] Halo and Equinox are similar in concept to the popular ‘Originals Collection’ versions of the Kia Soul, such as the Soul Echo, Burner and Searcher, and each offer a very high level of specification.”

Video: Ahhh blast!; Hummer H3 gets blown up

With the 17th season of Top Gear finishing recently, we have a few favourable episodes, including Richard Hammond toying around with the South African-built armoured Marauder.

During his time with the 10 tonne vehicle, Hammond sat in traffic, drove over cars in a supermarket, destroyed a McDonalds drive-thru, and tried blowing the Marauder up, alongside a Hummer H3. Jump after the break to see the clip.

Monday 15 August 2011

Honda to produce new factory in Mexico

Honda will spend $800m (£489m) on a new factory in Mexico to produce the next-generation Fit/Jazz supermini for the North American market. The new facility will be located in the suburbs of Celaya, Guanajuato, about 210 miles east of Honda’s two active plants in El Salto, Jalisco, which produces car, motorcycles and car parts, and will start pumping vehicles out in 2014.

Once completed, the plant will produce 200,000 vehicles annually and employ 3,200 workers. The reason behind the new plant comes as the strong Japanese Yen is munching into Honda's profits. Honda's chief financial officer, Fumihiko Ike, claimed: “It’s beyond severe,” he said. “None of our exported models are eking out a profit.”

Volkswagen Bulli concept may head for production

Volkswagen is “very serious” about producing a fossil-fuelled version of the Bulli MPV electric concept car, as the firm believes building its heritage should be included in its business case.

The Bulli, who styling echoes the '60s Microbus, debuted in Geneva last March and immediately received a warm reception. The Bulli concept is a smidge larger than the Polo supermini and would be produced in Puebla, Mexico as insiders believe the Bulli would sell very well in the U.S and become a cult car, where the Microbus is lovingly remembered.

First Bugatti Veyron Super Sport Sang Noir for sale

If you're in the market for a hypercar, then get yourself over to British luxury car dealer, Tom Hartley, who has a Bugatti Veyron Super Sport in stock. With a price-tag of £2.1m (€2.4m/$3.4m), the custom model features matte black paint, bright mandarin interior and 864 miles (1,390 km) on the clock.

The Super Sport has an 8.0 litre 16-cylinder engine with 1,183bhp (1,200PS/882 kW) and 1,500 Nm (1,106 lb-ft) of torque.
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