Monday, February 25, 2013

Autocar Online - News

Autocar Online - News

New Jeep Cherokee unveiled

Posted: 25 Feb 2013 02:53 AM PST

Early reveal for Jeep's new Land Rover Freelander rival, following a leak online

This is the new Jeep Cherokee, the first all-new Jeep to be born out of the Fiat-Chrysler alliance. The model will be seen in the public for the first time at the New York motor show later next month, before going on sale in the autumn.

Jeep released these first official pictures of the car following a leak online late last week. The new model will replace the Liberty and marks a return for the Cherokee name in the Jeep line-up for the first time since 2001.

Confirmed details on the model are scarce ahead of New York, but Jeep has said the Land Rover Freelander rival will offer fuel economy improvements of 45 per cent compared to the Liberty, "exemplary" on-road performance, and Jeep's Trail-Rated off-road ability.

The new Cherokee is underpinned by Fiat's Compact Wide platform, an enlarged version of the Alfa Romeo Giulietta's architecture that is found currently beneath the US-market Dodge Dart.

Front- and all-wheel-drive versions of the car will be offered. The Cherokee will be one of the initial Fiat-Chrysler cars to be offered with ZF's new nine-speed automatic gearbox.

The four-cylinder 2.0-litre Tigershark engines from the Dart will be offered with the Cherokee, and it's possible the Giulietta's turbocharged 1.4-litre MultiAir unit could be offered as a fuel-efficient base engine. A 3.2-litre petrol V6 is unlikely to make it to Europe, but a predicted 2.0-litre JTDm turbodiesel from the Giulietta should be the best-seller in Europe.

The styling is evolved from the recently revised Grand Cherokee model, featuring slim headlights and a slimmer version of Jeep's seven-bar front grille.

New Ford EcoSport for Europe revealed

Posted: 25 Feb 2013 01:00 AM PST

Ford's new compact SUV to come with range of advanced features, including emergency communications systems

Ford has unveiled its new European market Ford EcoSport, a compact SUV with a range of advanced equipment and options. 

The EcoSport, due to be launched at the 83rd Geneva motor show next month, is Ford's second offering into the SUV market. It sits just below the freshly updated and larger Kuga in its product range on the B-segment platform, sharing underpinnings with the Fiesta. It will host a range of frugal petrol and diesel engines, topped off by a 123bhp EcoBoost petrol unit. 

Ford is set to introduce several innovative new technologies on the upcoming EcoSport crossover, including smartphone-car connectivity, as well as emergency communications systems in the event of a crash, called 'SYNC Applink' and 'SYNC Emergency Assistance'.

The technologies, which base around integrating the smartphone craze into the driving experience using in-car connectivity, were showcased at the Mobile World Congress, Barcelona. The MWC is an extremely important mobile technology show, featuring the most current updates and announcements from technology firms and their affiliates; an ideal place for Ford to show off these new ideas.

Ford's 'SYNC Applink' is a feature which will allow the driver to connect their smartphone to the car's internal systems, and activate apps via voice-control. Not only is this useful for drivers, it reduces the risk posed by drivers illegally using their mobile phones at the wheel considerably. These features allow the driver to "enjoy the same level of connectivity in their cars as they would do at home" said Ford's vice president of research and innovation, Paul Mascarenas.

Also to feature on the new Fiesta-based crossover will be 'SYNC Emergency Assistance'; a safety application which allows the driver to contact the emergency services after a crash. The system also relays information about the whereabouts of the vehicle to the local authorities, in the appropriate language for where the car happens to be; meaning more rapid response times from emergency teams as the language barrier is removed from the situation. 

A similar concept has featured on BMW's iDrive system, as well as cars from PSA and Volvo, however, Ford says that the EcoSport will be one of its first to offer SYNC technologies, as the brand introduces them across its model range.

These technologies are just some of the options available on the EcoSport, as the car is claimed to boast a 'comprehensive package' of safety and driver assistance features. 

Jimi Beckwith 

One-off Aston Martin Rapide shooting brake for Geneva

Posted: 24 Feb 2013 04:01 PM PST

Bertone has created the Aston Martin Rapide-based Jet 2+2 shooting brake for the Geneva motor show

Italian design and coachbuilding firm Bertone has created this exclusive shooting brake concept version of the Aston Martin Rapide.

The concept known as Bertone Jet 2+2 has been created for the Geneva motor show to celebrate both Aston's centenary and 60 years of collaborations between Aston Martin and Bertone.

The Jet 2+2 follows the Jet 2 concept car from 2004, which was a shooting brake version of the Vanquish. It has been commissioned as a strict one-off by an Aston Martin collector and has the Gaydon firm's approval. 

The elegant Jet 2+2 retains the same mechanicals as the Rapide, and the same dimensions also. Power comes from a 470bhp version of Aston's 5.9-litre V12 taken from the current Rapide, rather than the more potent 550bhp version from the upcoming Rapide S. That model also makes its debut in Geneva.

The biggest change from Rapide to Jet 2+2 is its altered shooting brake-style body. Stretched, muscular lines help accentuate the car's sleek, elegant shape.

Bertone says the C-pillars are bent forwards and connected to the tall, muscular wheel arches to create a perception of movement even when the car is stationary. A sharply raked tailgate and pronounced rear end with a full-length LED light strip running through it helps complete the transformation from saloon to shooting brake.

Inside the 2+2 cabin are four individual seats. Headroom is increased for rear passengers over the Rapide saloon thanks to the switch in bodystyle. The two rear seats fold flat and can be covered by a sliding cover to create a sizable luggage space, access to which is aided by a wide loading area when the tailgate is lifted.

Special wood, aluminium and two-tone leather trims have also been fitted to give the car the feel of that of a fine-tailored suit.

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