Friday, February 22, 2013

Autocar Online - News

Autocar Online - News

Quick news: Ford EcoSport for Geneva, Auris Touring Sports prices

Posted: 22 Feb 2013 05:02 AM PST

Nissan to reveal Nismo plans, Ford unveils full Tourneo range and EcoSport, Toyota Auris Touring Sports pricing released, new special-edition Mazdas

Nissan is set to reveal its plans for its performance-orientated Nismo brand. An opening ceremony for the new Nismo factory, scheduled for 26 February, will feature an announcement about the brand from Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn. Nissan has already begun producing Nismo versions of its cars.

Toyota has announced specification and pricing details for its new Auris Touring Sports model. Four trim levels will be offered: Active, Icon, Sport and Excel. Pricing for the British-built range will start at £15,595 for the 1.33-litre Dual VVT-i petrol model in Active trim, rising to £22,845 for the 1.8-litre Hybrid in Excel specification.

Ford will launch the full Tourneo range and the all-new EcoSport SUV at the Geneva motor show. The complete Tourneo range, and the global debut of the Tourneo Courier, will be presented by Ford executive vice president Stephen Odell and product development vice president Barb Samardzich. The EcoSport is a small SUV that was designed and engineered in Brazil.

Mazda has launched new special versions of its Mazda 2 and MX-5 models. The new Venture Edition Mazda 2 gets 16-inch alloys, upgraded trim, rear parking sensors and rain-sensing wipers. The Venture Edition MX-5 comes with heated tan leather seats, 17-inch wheels, a tan fabric roof and tan door inserts. Prices start at £13,295 and £18,895 respectively. 

Mazda continuing with rotary engine development

Posted: 22 Feb 2013 04:22 AM PST

New naturally aspirated rotary could go in to production within five years

Mazda has confirmed that it is still continuing to develop its rotary engine, which last saw production use in the Mazda RX-8.

The rotary engine was removed from Mazda's line-up due to its low efficiency. It wasn't able to meet stricter emissions regulations and it suffered high-fuel consumption for its output.

SkyActiv, a recent series of technologies developed by Mazda, focused heavily on improving the efficiency of combustion in an engine. Advances resulting from the project could be applied to the rotary engine in order to improve its economy and output.

The manufacturer also believes that there are considerable gains to be had by utilising more advanced ignition systems. This would further serve to boost performance while reducing consumption and emissions.

A Mazda engineer told Autocar that he'd like to see the new rotary in production within five years but, at the current moment in time, nothing is confirmed.

If it were to go in to production, the new engine would initially be offered in naturally aspirated form, with turbocharged versions following if testing proved them reliable. 

Mazda boss, Takashi Yamanouchi, has stated that research into future rotary engines will continue as long as he works at the company. "The challenger spirit that has made us the world leader in rotary engines is still alive and well at Mazda."

Toyota RAV4 2.2 D-CAT 150 Invincible first drive review

Posted: 22 Feb 2013 01:29 AM PST

Likeable Toyota RAV4 4x4 grows and matures but loses originality and still falls short of the class's highest dynamic standards The all-new Toyota RAV4. With the car's 20th anniversary approaching next year, Toyota made much of its status as self-proclaimed founding father of the modern monocoque-based compact SUV at the launch of this, the fourth-generation car. From behind the wheel, however, it's not instantly obvious if that status is more a blessing or a curse.One of Europe's few remaining growth segments, the compact 4x4 market must look like a bewildering place to the makers of 1994's original, three-door 'Recreational Activity Vehicle'. Over the past two decades, as buyers have moved out of family saloons and into these 'lifestyle' utility specialists, so choice has burgeoned. You can now have seven-seat practicality, sporting dynamics, fashion-savvy style or premium brand cachet for the price of this new Toyota. None of which the RAV4 has ever had an answer to, and all of which continue to be unknown to it.Old-school, rough-and-rugged, ready-for-anything 4x4 character has been Toyota's reply to all that. The trick has worked quite well to give this soft-roader a distinctive selling point thus far. But Toyota knew even that wouldn't give this car enough to trade on in 2013.So it has parachuted the new RAV4 plumb into the middle of a fragmented class that, as Toyota sees it, has the likes of the Nissan Qashqai and Mitsubishi ASX at one end and the BMW X3 and Range Rover Evoque at the other. If you plot a graph comparing the price and overall length of every small and medium-size 4x4 you can think of – from the Hyundai iX35 to the Audi Q5 – this new Toyota marks the very centre, the sweet spot. That's where the Japanese firm expects the most demand for SUVs to exist over the next five years.  But is that where a RAV4 belongs?

Goodwood to celebrate 50 years of the Porsche 911

Posted: 21 Feb 2013 04:02 PM PST

Festival of Speed will include 911-influenced sculpture

This year's Goodwood Festival of Speed will be dedicated to fifty years of the Porsche 911. A unique sculpture based on the iconic sports car will be on display outside Goodwood House, and a vast array of 911s, both road and race-ready, are to appear over the weekend.

Expect to see 911s in every Festival of Speed arena; not only will they feature heavily on the hillclimb and rally stage, but many are expected on the Cartier Style et Luxe concours lawn also.

The Festival of Speed, itself marking its 20th anniversary this year, is just one of many events globally that are part of the Porsche celebrations for the 911 this year. Events are planned in America, China and Europe, whilst a special exhibition at the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart is planned for the summer.

As well as many significant 911s, examples of the 356, 908, 917 and 962 will also feature at Goodwood. This year's Festival of Speed takes places from 11th-14th July.

Revised Citroën C3 launched

Posted: 21 Feb 2013 04:00 PM PST

Mid-life facelift for Citroën's five-door Ford Fiesta rival at the Geneva motor show

Citroën has given its Citroën C3 supermini a mid-life nip and tuck ahead of a UK launch in late spring. It will be shown in public at the Geneva motor show next month.

The revised look for the curvy five-door includes new lights and bumpers front and rear, plus the option of a 'Zenith' front windscreen that runs back into the roof to improve visibility.

New 67bhp 1.0 and 81bhp 1.2-litre three-cylinder petrol engines from the Peugeot 208 make it into the C3.

Fuel economy is improved by around 25 per cent and CO2 emissions cut by a similar amount over the old 1.1i, 1.2 VTi and 1.4 VTi engines they replace.

A 118bhp 1.6-litre petrol is also offered alongside four diesels, with a CO2 figure as low as 87g/km from the e-HDi 70 version.

Volkswagen Golf plug-in hybrid launched

Posted: 21 Feb 2013 07:01 AM PST

New eco-friendly Volkswagen Golf set to go into production in 2014

This is the Volkswagen Golf Mk7 plug-in hybrid, which will go on sale in 2014. It uses the same drivetrain as the Audi A3 e-tron, also announced today.

This means a combination of a 148bhp 1.4-litre TFSI petrol engine and a 100bhp electric motor for a combined 256lb ft of torque, a 138mph top speed and a 0-62mph sprint time of 7.6sec. According to the official EU test cycle, the Golf achieves 188mpg or a CO2 rating of just 35g/km.

The MQB platform has been engineered to have a modular rear structure into which a number of different drive systems can be fitted into the same space, including all-wheel drive, natural gas tanks and the battery packs for the hybrid version.

The hybrid transmission combines a petrol engine and electric motor with a six-speed e-S Tronic transmission. This Golf will run on petrol only, electric only and with the two motors combined.

The latter mode is called 'boosting' , while the drivetrain can also go into fuel-saving 'coasting' mode when both motors shut down. In pure electric mode, the Golf can travel up to 31 miles and has a maximum speed of 81mph.

Quick news: New Range Rover engine, Vauxhall Ampera offer, British car production rises

Posted: 21 Feb 2013 04:13 AM PST

Supercharged V6 in Range Rover, free home charging units for Ampera customers and 2013 begins well for domestic car building

The new Range Rover is to have its engine range bolstered by the addition of a supercharged V6 petrol, albeit not in the UK. The 3.0-litre unit produces 335bhp and 332lb ft, enough for a 0-60mph time of 7.1sec and a 130mph top speed. Emissions are rated at 254g/km.

Buyers of the Vauxhall Ampera range-extender hybrid are to be offered a free home charging unit. Government funding is now available for 75% of the cost, and Vauxhall will meet the remaining 25%. A home charging unit cuts the battery charge time from around six to four hours compared to a conventional plug.

Car production in Britain increased in January this year compared to January 2012. A 1.2% rise from 127,550 to 129,049 units suggests 2013 will be a strong year for domestic car production. Of those cars, 79.1% (102,111) were exported, with 26,938 being sold in Britain.

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