- New SsangYong SUV for Seoul motor show
- Mazda 6 2.2D Tourer auto first drive review
- BMW 320d GT first drive review
- Quick news: Volvo V40 range additions, new car emissions fall, European Mustang
Posted: 16 Mar 2013 12:27 AM PDT
SIV-1 continues the off-roader theme of SsangYong's concepts and hints at a Rexton replacement
SsangYong has followed immediately the SIV-1 seen at the Geneva motor show with another SUV concept. The LIV-1 will have its debut at the Seoul motor show later this month and is likely to influence the design of the next Rexton.
The Korean firm says LIV-1 stands for 'Limitless Interface Vehicle' and employs a design philosophy known as 'Robust Aesthetics. From the rear at least, styling similarities with the Kia Sportage are evident.
SsangYong will reveal the LIV-1 officially on 28 March, and it will also use its home motor show to give further details on its upcoming range expansion. A production version of the LIV-1, as a Rexton or a separate model, is not expected until 2015.
Posted: 15 Mar 2013 01:00 PM PDT
Automatic gearbox pairs well with the Mazda 6 diesel, but is an expensive option that harms economy This is the higher-powered diesel variant of the new Mazda 6, planted in a Tourer version of the car and linked – most crucially for this test – to the company's new automatic gearbox.Readers of our full road test of the new Mazda 6 will already be familiar with all the car's engine and trim combinations, and the warmth with which we have received them, so the chief concern here is the effectiveness of the six-speed automatic and the compromises it introduces.
Posted: 14 Mar 2013 04:00 PM PDT
The 3 GT is an interesting package, with a hugely practical and attractive interior. The handling remains good, but the diesel engine shows its age A BMW 3-series with added space – especially in the rear seats and the boot.Unless you're familiar with riding on the back bench of some of BMW's biggest machines, you'll be quite unused to legroom on this scale, and if three occupy it, they'll make the surprise discovery that the arrangement will be tolerable for more than half an hour. This is the new 3-series for families, and families that need more room than a 3-series Touring or even a 5-series saloon can offer.Though not as much as the rather odd-looking 5-series GT provides, this 3 GT being its new, smaller brother. The 5 GT offers cavernous room, but within an envelope that's probably BMW's unhappiest aesthetically. By comparison the 3 GT is more harmoniously sculpted, even if its rear end looks over-heavy in the bumper area and the rearmost pillar seems anaemic.So it's not the most handsome BMW, but if you consider it as a rakishly sporty, five-door MPV-coupé, its appeal becomes easier to understand. Especially when you learn that the car was born out of a delve into 3-series customers' desires, these including more room – not so surprising if you've served time in the back of the saloon – and the raised seating of SUVs. Which is why this car is unusual for being a taller sports hatch of a kind that, in the premium segment, has no direct equivalent.Calling it a GT might seem odd, but these letters have been liberally applied – or misapplied – for decades. And there's no question that visually, this smaller BMW GT is a more harmonious and dynamic-looking device than the 5 GT.It's also hugely practical. The boot is larger than a Touring's, at 520 litres, and very large indeed when the rear seats are felled to reveal 1600 litres of stowage. A shame that the backrests merely drop onto their cushions rather than tumbling with the seat base to form a bulkhead and a flat floor, but there's no question that you can get a lot in there. Each portion of the split backrest descends with the tug of a handle, although you must hump it back upright yourself.Versatility is further improved by a backrest that locks into 15 different positions across 19 degrees, potentially allowing it to swallow that pesky chest of drawers without dropping the seats. The boot provides an under-floor well, load-securing rails, hooks and lashing eyes, while the rigid two-piece rear parcel shelf stows below the deck floor – a rare convenience. All GTs have electric tailgates – just as well, because it's a hefty structure – and waggling a foot under the rear bumper sends it rising skywards. Equally obscure, though, is a release button buried near the driver's door that few will spot.The reason for all this extra space is quite simple: the GT is a much bigger car. You also sit at much the same height as an X1 driver. Of course, that also means that this GT 3-series has a higher centre of gravity, besides being heftier than a Touring. So what does that do to the dynamics of this ultimate driving machine?
Posted: 14 Mar 2013 04:34 AM PDT
Improved efficiency with new powertrains for Volvo hatch, SMMT emissions figures and why the Mustang is well placed for Europe
Volvo has introduced two new powertrain options to the V40. The D2 diesel is now available with an automatic transmission, which pushes CO2 and economy figures up to 102g/km and 72.4mpg. The V40 T2 has a 1.6-litre turbo with 118bhp and 177lb ft. It emits 124g/km and returns 53.3mpg.
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has released figures showing that the average new car in 2012 emitted 133.1g/km of CO2, more than 25 per cent less than in 2000. Sub-100g/km cars doubled their market share, accouting for 8.2 per cent of sales, up from 3.7 per cent.
Ford research has revealed that 'Mustang' is the eighth best-known car name in Europe, despite never having been officially sold here. The research is part of the reason why the next-generation car will be sold in Europe with a 300bhp, 2.3-litre version of the Focus ST's EcoBoost engine.
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