Citroën DS4 to be revealed in Paris, arriving NZ in 2011

August 31st, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Citroën has released the first details for the new DS4, which will make its world debut at the Paris International Motor Show at the end of September.

The Citroën DS4 is the second model in Citroën’s DS line, following on from the Citroen DS3, which makes its New Zealand debut next month.

The DS4 uses a four-door coupe-roofed body, for practicality within a compact design. It’s measurements are 4.27m (l), 1.81m (w) & 1.53m (h).

With a slightly raised stance and taut lines, DS4 is certainly a unique looker and will be an interesting addition to the segment in NZ.

In the cabin there’s plenty of chrome touches and full leather seating.  A large panoramic windscreen, offering good occupant visibility and will creating a bright environment.

The DS4 offers three full-sized rear seats, accessed by rear doors with hidden handles that are integrated into the body’s lines. The DS4 will have a practical 370-litre boot capacity and plenty of small storage in the cabin.

In terms of power there will be a choice of five engine options – two HDi diesels and three petrol powerplants. There’s also a new to Citroën 200hp petrol unit and there’s Citroën’s new e-HDi drivetrains which offer improved fuel economy and lower CO2 emissions.

DS4 will be revealed at the 2010 Paris Motor Show and is expected to go on sale later in New Zealand in the third quarter of 2011, when prices and specifications will be announced.

Mazda reveals new design direction with Shinari concept

August 31st, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Mazda has surprised the world’s motoring press by unveiling a new four-door-coupe concept named Shinari which is set to debut Mazda’s new Kodo design language.

With the departure of head designer Laurens van den Acker to Renault, Mazda’s polarizing Nagare design language has been displaced. Now it’s all about the new Kodo design, Kodo means ‘soul of motion’ in Japanese.

Set to debut at the Paris Motor Show later this month, the Shinari concept reveals the new front end design as well as the overall design language for all future Mazda vehicles. The massive grin currently found on the Mazda3 and other models has been toned down, while there’s new aluminum accents that are expected to be used throughout Mazda’s future products.

The Kodo design language was created in a joint effort between Mazda’s design studios in Japan, U.S. and Germany.

Check back as we bring you more concepts for the upcoming Paris Motor Show. Check out photos of the Shinari in the gallery below.

Next Lotus Esprit could be Lexus V10 powered

August 31st, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Lotus is ready to go big at the 2010 Paris Motor Show on next month.  The English automaker is set to reveal its new Esprit, the new Seven and two hybrid vehicles built on the modular chassis concept the automaker showed off in Geneva earlier this year.

The company is pushing on with its five-year plan to completely update its model range and with sales of the Evora strong it’s now all about the new models. While little is known about the replacement for the Seven the new Esprit has attracted much attention and speculation.

In terms of powertrains Lotus’ relationship with Toyota will come into play once more and could see Lexus-sourced engines fitted to the new Esprit. Apparently a choice of three Esprits will be available, including a 300hp version using Toyota’s direct injected V6, a 417hp model that would use the Lexus IS F’s 5.0-litre V8 and for the top range Esprit, a V10 500hp motor lifted from the Lexus LF-A supercar.

The partnership between Lotus and Toyota could also mean more eco-friendly motoring for Lotus fans. The English automaker has repeated said that lightweight platforms and fuel-efficient drivetrains are a top priority. With that in mind, an “Eco Esprit” could be available with a reworked version of Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive.

The Evora will provide the basis for the next Esprit, and considering the quick turnaround for the Evora to shift from concept to production, Lotus has the ability to bring the new Esprit to market rapidly. If the Evora keeps selling well, then the new Esprit could be tearing up European roads by 2012, but it’s not going to come cheap.

Ford Mondeo gets a new face for 2011

August 30th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

The old fave Ford Mondeo has just been reworked to give it a fresh face and some new engine options. Officially unveiled at the Moscow Auto Show the Mondeo is looking as sharp as ever.

Visually, the car’s lines are largely unchanged, but the details have been made sharper. Out front there’s a new front bumper with fashionable LEDs and a more prominent lip, there’s also  twin chrome trim surrounding the windows and a new rear bumper.

The interior sees some upgraded materials and new equipement. Interior lighting is done by LED illumination. Driver aids include a Lane Departure Warning system, Auto High Beam, Driver Alert, Smart Regenerative Charging and Active Grille Shutter, which opens and closes the grille aperture automatically to promote either cooling or greater aerodynamic efficiency.

Under the bonnet are some new engine options, including Ford’s all-new 2.0-liter, four-cylinder EcoBoost. The Ecobbost engine pumps out a very healthy 176kW of power and will be an option alongside the current 2.0-litre engine when the car is released. There’s also a reworked 2.2-liter Duratorq TDCi diesel producing 147kW. Continue reading “Ford Mondeo gets a new face for 2011” »

Kiwi Corolla owners unaffected by huge US recall

August 30th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Toyota New Zealand has announced that kiwi Corolla owners are unaffected by a recall of late-model Corolla vehicles in the US.

Over in the States, approximately 1.13 million vehicles are affected by a problem which could cause the 1ZZ-FE 1.8-litre four-cylinder engine to stall. Three accidents have been reported in America, so far, though Toyota hasn’t confirmed that these incidents were indeed caused by this engine stalling issue.

Here in NZ, Paul Carroll, General Manager of After Sales for Toyota New Zealand, says no Corollas in New Zealand — including Japanese imports — are fitted with the electronic control module used in the US market.

“The potentially faulty electronic control module used the US market is supplied by a different manufacturer than those in New Zealand vehicles. No vehicles here are affected and owners can have confidence in their Corollas.”

Mr Carroll says Toyota in the US will replace the control modules on affected vehicles, which could malfunction and cause harsh gear changes, or in the worst case, stalling.

Mitsubishi wins big with NZ government contract

August 30th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Mitsubishi Motors has been selected by the New Zealand Government Procurement Development Group to supply vehicles for use by all government agencies over the next five years.

The popular Outlander LS, in both 2WD and 4WD, was selected for Large Wagon and Large SUV categories respectively, while Triton GL and GLX were both selected for the 2WD and 4WD Utility categories.

Mitsubishi Motors NZ national fleet sales manager Mike Davidson is delighted with the decision. “The endorsement is a reflection of the quality and value of both models, our industry-leading 10/5 Diamond Advantage Warranty and the strength of the Mitsubishi network,” he said

“Ever since its launch in 2005, Outlander has been a New Zealand favourite and it continues to top the sales charts in its class. Triton has moved from strength to strength and is recognised for its class-leading 4WD and safety features. It is the only option in the diesel ute segment with active stability control and the GL configuration is the only 4WD ute with rear diff lock as standard.

“The all-of-government procurement process reviewed 518 vehicles provided by 14 suppliers. Up to eighty five percent of the vehicles available to agencies could potentially be supplied by Mitsubishi and two other suppliers,” said Mr Davidson.

Continue reading “Mitsubishi wins big with NZ government contract” »

Mustang GT 5.0 vs BMW M3 – Track Attack

August 29th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Ford’s Mustang GT goes head to head against a BMW M3 on a closed circuit track. Results may surprise.

Mazda CX-7 GSX 2010 Review

August 27th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

It’s a fact that not all crossover vehicles are created equal, not just in terms of quality and appeal but also in their focus and job description. It’s a broad market segment with some crossover’s spinning all four wheels almost equally well on tarmac as on dirt tracks. Others are far more directed at suburban duties relying on looks and ride comfort to build a loyal fan base. Then there’s Mazda’s CX-7 which has been an enigma since its release back in 2007. With curvaceous styling and a focus on performance and dynamics the CX-7 blazed its own trail and built its own niche. Now for 2010, the CX-7 has received a mid-life facelift and is rediscovering its slot in the competitive crossover market. Car and SUV got into the driver’s seat of the reworked CX-7 to find out exactly what makes it tick.

Aesthetically, the CX-7 defies any SUV squareness, instead opting for full-figured curves and swooping lines. The 2010 refresh uses some minor styling changes to bring the CX-7 into line with the rest of Mazda’s current lineup. The most obvious change is the redesigned front end that boasts a larger five-point grille and new fog-light housing. On our lower-spec tested GSX model there were some classy touches like silver trim framing the windows and indicator repeaters in the side mirrors. The GSX has 17-inch alloys that are an attractive design but struggle to fill the arches. The top model CX-7 Limited comes fitted with 19-inch wheels which are better matched to the pumped up sheet metal.

Inside the CX-7 there’s a new high-grade dark cloth trim lining the supportive and well positioned front seats. The instrumentation has also been reworked to include Mazda’s latest display screen that shows fuel usage, audio information and doubles up as a monitor for the onboard reversing camera. All switchgear is sensibly laid out and the orange/blue nighttime illumination is a real feature. Stereo and cruise control buttons are neatly housed in the leather-wrapped steering wheel which will prove handy for shorter drivers who will have to stretch to access the centre control stack. Everything feels well screwed together and while interior quality has improved, the contrasting silver trim may not have the same long-term durability as the main surfaces. In terms of occupant space there is plenty of shoulder and leg room for front passengers, the back seat provides ample head room and leg room is adequate but not class leading. Standard equipment for the CX-7 in GSX trim includes a tilt and rake adjustable steering wheel, remote central locking, climate air-con, one-touch power windows and a 6-disk CD player with aux input. A Bluetooth hands free phone kit is available as a dealer-fitted accessory.

Continue reading “Mazda CX-7 GSX 2010 Review” »

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