Latest Road Tests and Reviews
Honda New Zealand says it will use the same strategy of offering multiple variants of the new HR-V, which proved extremely successful with the launch of the Jazz light hatchback. There will be six HR-V Read More
The New Zealand market demand for sport utility vehicles (SUV) is among the highest in the world with annual growth up to 44% according to latest industry figures. Automotive industry experts expect the sales trend Read More
Microcars have become extremely popular recently and many motor industry insiders are predicting that the microcar category will only pick up more steam. Manufacturers are not blind to this trend with the Smart Car brand leading the way, BMW is working hard on a city-spec Isetta revival, Toyota has responded with its diminutive iQ and VW went small with its Up! concept car. But Volkswagen has got even smaller ideas in the works and is working on a ultra tiny city car to slot in below its already miniture Up! model.
Power for the new city car will come from either a 1.2L four cylinder or even a three cylinder powerplant. The future engine is expected to feature cylinder cut-off technology so it can operate on just half of its allotment of pistons when full power isn’t necessary. All of that adds up to an estimated 1.5l/100km. VW is also looking at an electric drivetrain.
Current rumours indicate that the German automaker has given this new model priority status, working to get the car on roads by 2011. Labelled at this stage as the VW Chico. the mini motor will hopefully get a new name come launch time.
Microcars have become extremely popular recently and many motor in ...
When the engineers and designers at ABT Sportsline tune an SUV, you can be sure that the result will go fast and look mean. ABT have worked on the Touareg, AS7 and Tiguan – and that’s now continued with the new ABT Q5.
The ABT Q5 is dressed up with a new front skirt with the integrated under-ride protection finding its equivalent in the rear skirt, which also hides the extendable tow bar. The front grille, the fender extensions and the dynamic door strip attachments form a full replacement unit. The higher rear wing, a 4-pipe-rear muffler and the 20 inch BR wheel round off the new look.
An ABT upgrade always includes more power, especially when all four wheels are powered. The two diesel engines variants both receive treatment with the 2.0 TDI delivering a potent 190hp (140kW) instead of 170hp (125kW). The 3.0 TDI delivers the most powerful performance for the ABT Q5: with 310hp or 228kW instead of 240hp/177kW. Particularly impressive is its maximum torque of 610Nm.
Suspension and brakes have had a rework too with new suspension springs, lowering of the car’s center of gravity and the ABT Level Control, an electronic lowering for the CDC air suspension (Continous Damping Control). Helping deceleration is the ABT sports brake system with big 380mm brake discs packing in behind the 20 inch rims.
The ABT Q5 is going to be available in Europe from early 2009.
When the engineers and designers at ABT Sportsline tune an SUV, yo ...
When Ford developed the F-150 SVT Raptor R, it wanted to be sure that it could offer fantastic off-road performance. So Ford entered a modified version of the truck into the Baja 1000, confident that the race-ready Raptor could hold its own in the endurance competition. The plan was to finish the race and prove the vehicle was a true off-road competitor. The SVT Raptor not only crossed the finish line, but it finished third in the Class 8 division. This is especially impressive considering the Raptor is built for the lower-level Stock Full class in which it couldn’t compete because the production version is not yet for sale.
Considered one of the toughest off-road races in the world, the Ford F-150 SVT Raptor R race truck that participated in the Baja 1000 was a collaboration between the Ford Special Vehicle Team (SVT), Ford Racing, and Foutz Motorsports Inc.
“We engineered the F-150 SVT Raptor to be the best high-speed off-road performance truck available right off the showroom floor, and finishing the Baja 1000 proves this,” stated Jamal Hameedi, SVT’s Chief Nameplate Engineer. “Now we need to analyse all the engineering data from the race and apply lessons learned to the production truck, ensuring that the truck delivered to customers exceeds their expectations.”
Prepared for racing in long distance off-road endurance events, the Ford F-150 SVT Raptor R uses stock components of F-150 SVT Raptor, including the transmission, brakes and axles. The frame – the part of the truck that will take the most stress – is the same fully boxed frame that delivers strong towing and hauling in the all-new 2009 Ford F-150 that went on sale in October. The Raptor race truck is powered by a specially-calibrated version of the available 6.2-litre V-8 engine, making 500-horsepower.
Will be a while before we see the 2010 F-150 SVT Raptor down here in NZ, but now we know it might just be capable of dealing with our tough off-road conditions.
When Ford developed the F-150 SVT Raptor R, it wanted to be sure t ...
One vehicle that was rumoured to be launching at the recent LA Auto Show was BMW’s redesigned 2009 Z4 roadster. The Z4 never showed up, but apparently it is ready to be rolled out next month.
Drivetrain choices are to include either a naturally aspirated or twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre inline-six, found currently in the 328i and 335i, respectively, with an M version packing the M3’s V8 and a carbon fibre roof. The Z4’s front and rear will be worked over and a lower roofline and ducktail spoiler should finish off the alterations. BMW is expected to employ a range of stylistic differences to separate the Z4 coupe from its folding hardtop sibling. For 2009, BMW is expected to drop the soft-top Z4 and only offer the folding hardtop.
The rumoured Z2 is also currently in the works and could be available in both coupe and cabrio variants, and equipped with some form of BMW’s EfficientDynamics system. Check back for more details on the updated Z4 and mysterious new Z2.
One vehicle that was rumoured to be launching at the recent LA Aut ...
Mazda will showcase the world premiere of the all-new Mazda3 5-door hatchback at the Bologna Motor Show on December 3, 2008. The second generation Mazda3 5-door hatchback follows on the heels of the new 4-door sedan version, displayed at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The all-new Mazda3 adopts similar characteristics as its sedan counterpart, offering a popular mix of sporty-style driving and fresh design.
The new engine line-up includes the freshly developed 2.2-litre turbo diesel engine, recently launched in the new Mazda6, in addition to the existing 1.6- and 2.0-litre petrol engines and the 1.6-litre turbo diesel.
The new 2.2-litre turbo diesel engine will be offered in two variants, a high power version with a maximum output of 136 kW, and a standard power version with a maximum output of 110kW. Both offer clean emission performance and comply with the Euro Stage5 regulations.
Check back as we bring you more on the Mazda3 launch and the Bologna Motor Show
Mazda will showcase the world premiere of the all-new Mazda3 5-doo ...
Just when you thought you had enough Internet-based distractions at work Ferrari has brought out an online configurator to let us toy around with the different color, trim and wheel combinations available on its latest offering, the California.
With 27 exterior colors, 12 different leather hues, three wheel options and five brake caliper choices, no fewer than 4860 distinct combos can be created. I like the Ferrari in darker colours but there is plenty to choose from especially since Ferrari revived some of its classic hues. Actual customers who visit one of Ferrari’s customisation agents, can select from far more options, but this online configurator should keep Ferrari fan’s dreams alive for a while longer.
Click here to visit the Ferrari California configurator website
Just when you thought you had enough Internet-based distractions a ...
Honda has given its 2009 Civic a makeover and some mild performance enhancements. The 2009 Honda Civic builds on the success of the redesigned 8th version, released in 2006.
The exterior makeover includes a new more aggressive and sporty shape, new front grill and bumper and redesigned rear grill and tail lights for all three models (the 1.8S, 2.0S and Hybrid), plus new design 17″ alloy wheels as standard on the 2.OS.
Changes to the gear shift paddles enable the Sports Shift to be live all the time on the 1.8S and 2.0S models, not just when in S mode as it was previously. By activating Sports Shift the driver essentially transforms the vehicle into a manual car, and is able to move through the gears using the steering wheel-mounted paddle switches. Allowing for driver activated engine braking, as well as more aggressive acceleration.
Under the bonnet the 1.8L engine produces power and torque (103kW and 177Nm respectively). Meanwhile the 2.0L engine (derived from the Award winning Accord Euro and tuned for the Civic) produces 114kW power and 188Nm of torque. The 2009 Civic Hybrid retains its Integrated Motor Assist powertrain that produces outputs equivalent to the 1.8L engine.
All three engine feature i-Vtec engine management systems that use valve control systems that provide either variable lift control of vales, variable timing of valve opening or in the case of the hybrid complete cylinder deactivation by valve closure to assist fuel efficiency and/or power delivery.
Safety is ensured with the continued inclusion of front, side and curtain airbags, ABS, EBD, Emergency Brake Assist and Honda’s Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure that reduces potential vehicle body misalignment in a collision.
The Civic’s instrument panel is designed for comfort and to reduce fatigue. The instruments are split into two areas: less used items are in the traditional position while the critical items are closer to the screen and also in the driver’s peripheral vision when looking at the road so they can read the speed without having to significantly adjust their focal point away from the road.
“The 2009 Honda Civic builds even further on the success of the 2006 model. We expect that the 2009 Honda Civic, which combines everything that was great about the 2006 version with an attractive facelift and the inclusion of even more innovative features, it will continue in its popularity with New Zealand drivers,” says Honda New Zealand Managing Director Graeme Seymour.
The 2009 Honda Civic is available now and priced from $28,900 for the 1.8S, $35,200 for the 2.OS and $37,000 for the Hybrid (plus on-road costs).
Honda has given its 2009 Civic a makeover and some mild performanc ...
We would all love to build our own supercar, but determined American Neal Bailey is making it happen. Bailey has been working on his Bailey Blade project for well over a year now and has recently hit a snag. Like the Detroit three money has become very scarce for Bailey and he is asking for donations to keep the dream alive, and to help with funding he is taking the project in a green direction.
Visitors to the Bailey Blade website can keep help Neal with a little cash while reading about the newest trim levels of the exotic Blade. If all goes as planned, Neal hopes to not only offer the Blade XTR, a 750 hp, 5.4L, Roush-powered supercar, but also the Blade EVR and Blade HDR.
The EVR is an all-electric version of the Blade with dual electric motors feeding off lithium ion phosphate batteries. Neal claims “big block performance but all electric.” The HDR would be a 600 hp Roush supercharged V8 with an on-demand hydrogen system. Theoretically, owners would see a 20% fuel-savings over a gasoline-only engine.
At this stage Bailey should probably keep concentrating on the basic model Blade which stats are as impressive as its looks. Powered by a Roush 353 with 480 hp. Fiberglass over box steel frame with a target weight of 2,200 pounds. Four-wheel independent suspension and six-way adjustable shocks and adjustable coil-overs. The Price? Bailey only says he hopes to make it “affordable”
Donors to the Blade project will get their names posted on the Baily Blade Web site, as well as on displays accompanying the car at shows. They’ll also be added to a newsletter list to get the latest news on the project’s progress.
Click here to visit the Bailey Blade website
We would all love to build our own supercar, but determined Americ ...