Saturday, February 16, 2013

Autocar Online - News

Autocar Online - News

Ford Kuga 2.0 TDCi Powershift first drive review

Posted: 16 Feb 2013 05:05 AM PST

The second generation of Ford's popular SUV is larger, more refined and better equipped than previously, yet retains its handling prowess. Our first steer in the all-new Ford Kuga on UK roads. The new Kuga has grown bigger for its second-generation, adding increased practicality, quality, equipment levels and refinement in the process, according to the Blue Oval.The increase in size is also due to it now being twinned with the US-market Ford Escape, a place where bigger nearly always mean better for buyers. But just because it can trace its roots across the Atlantic, don't expect the new Kuga to be softly set-up and brash to look at; the new Kuga is very much a car for the European market, with bespoke chassis tuning and styling revisions.Four engines are offered: 138bhp and 161bhp 2.0 diesels and 148bhp and 178bhp 1.6-litre petrols. It's the more potent diesel we're testing here, complete with Ford's new Intelligent All-Wheel Drive system and a six-speed dual-clutch automatic Powershift gearbox.

Canadian motor show report and pics

Posted: 15 Feb 2013 08:55 AM PST

The full details from the Canadian motor show, plus pics of all the important show cars

Hot on the heels of last month's North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the Canadian International AutoShow celebrated its 40th anniversary this past weekend. 

With well over one thousand vehicles occupying 600,000 square feet on three levels of Toronto's Metro Convention Centre, the show is the nation's largest. 

Since the 1965 Canada-United States Automotive Products Agreement (colloquially known as the Auto Pact) brought the Big Three (Ford, GM and Chrysler) manufacturing plants to Canada in exchange for tariff reductions, the automotive industry has been of vital importance to the province of Ontario. 

Today, the province produces more vehicles than any other jurisdiction in North America, with Honda/Acura, Toyota/Lexus, Suzuki and Volkswagen joining the American giants. All are situated within an approximate 300 kilometre radius of Toronto.

As has become an annual tradition, the show kicked off with the awarding of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada's (AJAC) Car of the Year, the 2013 Honda Accord, which edged out the Porsche Boxster and Hyundai Elantra GT for the title. 

Not to be confused with its European counterpart, offered in Canada as the Acura TSX, the larger Ohio-built Accord was recently revised and re-introduced last September.

It also offers new direct-injection four cylinder and V6 engines, improved levels of refinement, better handling (although not without some initial uproar over the axing of the venerated front double wishbones), weight reduction and enhanced electronic connectivity.

The good news at the Honda pavilion did not end there. Honda displayed two concept vehicles carried over from their initial NAIAS showings, the closer-to-production NSX and the Urban SUV Concept

Unlike the display buck from last year's show circuit, this NSX features functioning doors revealing a sporting, purpose-designed cabin. Clad in contrasting leather, Alcantara and loads of carbonfibre, the upmarket interior is more reminiscent of Maserati or Lamborghini.  

A Honda spokesperson confirmed that the curious, narrow fish-eyed LED headlight array, first appearing on last year's NSX and RLX Concepts but not implemented in a road car until the 2013 Accord, will also see production. 

Functional as projection beams, not merely as daytime runners, their efficacy lies in their arrangement and lens refraction, and that their light-weight, compact packaging and exceptionally low electrical draw make them extremely versatile for applications only limited by imagination, not least of which hybrid systems. 

The Urban SUV Concept, clearly at the other end of the pricing spectrum, also features LED lighting, and is built on the Jazz platform. Offering all wheel drive and possible hybrid variants, the eponymous Urban SUV Concept is aimed at younger city dwellers, as opposed to serious off-roaders. 

Honda's renewed focus on youth buyers and sport enthusiasts, who had been instrumental in building the company's brand decades ago, gives one a greater sense of hope that the company is making a serious bid to resurrect its glory years.

Elsewhere at the CIAS were other Detroit Show carryovers, including the 2013 Corvette Stingray and the Canadian premieres of the Jaguar XFR-S and 2013 Dodge Viper SRT

Coming off Red Bull's third straight World Championship Title, Sebastian Vettel's RB8 was proudly front and centre as a feature of Nissan's Infiniti pavilion.

The 2013 CIAS runs from 15 through 24 February.

Anthony Francis

Audi Q5 2.0 TFSI Quattro S-line Tiptronic first drive review

Posted: 15 Feb 2013 08:18 AM PST

The Audi Q5 makes a good all-rounder – but is a petrol version a good choice? This is the latest example of the Audi Q5, equipped with a new 2.0 litre TFSI engine coupled to Audi's eight-speed automatic Tiptronic gearbox. It tips the scale price-wise at £35,985, which is considerably more than many of the diesel versions. The Q5 is part of the new generation of soft-roaders hitting the UK's roads. Capable of tackling country roads, motorways and fields all in the same sitting, these vehicles need to be versatile and sturdy while still offering good economy and value for money.In S-line spec the Q5 benefits from 19-inch wheels, Xenon headlights with DRL functionality, and plenty of colour-coded interior stitching. The subtle sports bodykit also helps give the Q5 extra presence on the road compared to the somewhat bland-looking standard car.

Porsche Cayman 2.7 first drive review

Posted: 15 Feb 2013 07:28 AM PST

The base Cayman with a manual transmission is as captivating as the PDK-equipped Cayman S, and usefully cheaper, too This is the new Porsche Cayman, driven here for the first time in its base 2.7-litre form and, joy of joys, with a manual gearbox instead of the dual-clutch PDK automatic transmission.You've probably read elsewhere how good the new Cayman is in S form. In this sub-£40k base trim it is 730cc down on capacity and, therefore, comes up shy of the S by 50bhp, making 271bhp.Elsewhere, the differences are more slight. The 2.7 is just 10kg lighter (at 1340kg) than the S and has a rear track 4mm narrower, because it wears 8-inch rather than 8.5-inch-wide rear wheels. Both models wear the same width rubber, mind: 235-section at the front and 265 at the back, on 18-inch (2.7) or 19-inch (3.4) rims as standard. The manual 2.7 has slightly shorter gear ratios than the manual S, though the PDK's ratios are the same for both models. The rest of it is as the Cayman S, so should prove just as lovely.

New Chevrolet Cruze – first spy pics

Posted: 15 Feb 2013 02:29 AM PST

First spy shots of the second-generation Chevy Cruze.

The second-generation Chevrolet Cruze has been spied in testing for the first time. Predicted to go on sale in the US in late 2014, this fully disguised Cruze prototype is believed to be the first car to use GM's new global D2XX platform.

It is thought to underpin a variety of future Chevrolet and Opel/Vauxhall vehicles, including the next-generation Vauxhall Astra and Ampera, as well as a wide range of other models from GM's other brands, that is Buick, Cadillac, Holden and GMC.

Chevrolet has said that the second-generation Cruze will benefit from improved interior space and fuel economy.

Externally the prototype looks longer and sleeker than the current generation. Estate, hatchback and saloon versions are likely to be available, along with a range of updated petrol and diesel engines.

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