News: Skoda to unleash the Yeti at Geneva Show

Skoda Yeti

Volkswagen’s Spanish subsidiary SEAT has a whole bunch of new models to debut at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show, but its Czech cousin isn’t about to sit it out. In addition to unveiling the Greenline version of its Octavia model and the Scout and S2000 versions of its smaller Fabia, Skoda will roll up at the show with the production version of its new Yeti soft-roader.

Previewed by the Yeti concept from the 2005 Geneva show, the new Yeti is expected to be based on the company’s Roomster cargo van, but with a more off-road slant to it. The 2005 concept car combined a rugged look with clean lines and a retro white roof. Stay tuned to see how the production version of the Yeti looks when we bring you more from next month’s Geneva Show.

Volkswagen's Spanish subsidiary SEAT has a whole bunch of new mode ...

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News: The Citroen DS wins title of ‘Most Beautiful Car’

Citroen DS fq

If you think about the full history of the automobile and try to find the most beautiful car ever made, it’s a difficult ask. While everyone has their own opinion, how could you pick just one? Well, the editors of an English car magazine have assembled a panel of some of the most influential car designers around and asked them to choose. And what did they come up with? The Citroen DS.

Names like Ian Callum (famous for his Jaguar and Aston Martin designs), Leonardo Fioravanti (of Pininfarina/Ferrari fame), ItalDesign founder Giorgetto Giugiaro, former McLaren designer Gordon Murray, former Pininfarina chief Ken Okuyama, and Ford’s European design director Martin Smith were all part of the jury which placed the Citroen DS ahead of the Jaguar, Ferrari and Lotus icons that rounded out the Top 10. A timely choice, to be sure, as Citroen prepares to relaunch the DS line with a new concept in Geneva. But a peculiar choice just the same. See below for a list of the finalists and judge for yourself.

1. Citroën DS
2. Jaguar XK120
3. Ferrari 275GTB
4. Cord 810/812
5. Ferrari 250GT Lusso
6. Ferrari 250GT Short-wheelbase
7. Jaguar E-type
8. Lamborghini Miura
9. Lotus Elan
10. Lotus Elite (1957)

If you think about the full history of the automobile and try to f ...

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News: Nissan ceases development of a Silvia successor

Nissan Foria fq

According to reports, Nissan has suspended plans to create a compact, rear-wheel-drive to replace the Silvia. This is an unfortunate side-effect of Nissan’s financial difficulties and big boss Carlos Ghosn’s pledge to reduce costs.

The first indication that Nissan was working on a Silvia replacement came in the form of the Foria concept (pictured) that debuted at the Tokyo Motor Show in 2005. The Urge design study quickly followed and development of the RWD coupe continued over the following years. Even back in August of 2008 Nissan confirmed that work was still underway, but wouldn’t put an exact date on when it would be unveiled.

Now, big-cheese Ghosn wants the automaker to focus its development efforts on producing sensible small and medium-sized passenger cars, including a Toyota Prius competitor… boring.

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Blogs: Valentines Day – Time to modify your Girl

Many years ago, I was busy preparing to spend some cash on modifications for my Mazda Familia when I received some sound advice. An older and wiser friend told me to save the money I was about to spend, borrow a little more and sell my Familia. Then, with the all the money I had at my disposal buy a newer, better car. It was just too radical for my young mind to get around and I never took that advice, but it was when I was first taught the concept of ‘upgrading’.

Now, with Valentines day tomorrow it reminded me of that important lesson and got me thinking about all the men out there who secretly wish they could just upgrade their ladies. Perhaps an upgrade to a younger model, or one with different dimensions and weight specs, but upgrading is not really an option for most. So all that’s left to do is modification and Valentines day is the perfect opportunity to begin a full modification program. This Valentines when buying modifying gifts you can forget your wishful Italian cookbooks, gym memberships and Vacuum cleaners, and instead start from the feet up.

Based on the now defunct Gallardo Superleggera, the new Lamborghini inspired pumps make the perfect gift. What woman doesn’t like shoes and what man doesn’t like Lamborghinis, it’s pure genius. The high-heels are well thought out, right down to the carbon fibre stilettos holding them up. So with your ladies feet looking hotter than ever you’re ready to hit the town.

Sadly, these Lamborghini shoes don’t really exist yet, so you won’t be able to get any for tomorrow. But we are Kiwi men and don’t need to buy overpriced Italian footwear when we have tools and sheds. You’ll score extra points for making the shoes yourself and you can base the style on your favorite car. For nostalgic reasons I’m going to make a pair of 1986 Mazda Familia size-8 wedges, with a two-tone white and silver paint job. Can’t fail.

lamborghini heels

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News: Car and SUV meets Top Gear Live – Interview & Images

On Wednesday, the NZ leg of Top Gear Live fired into life with a pre-event media launch held just hours before the first of many New Zealand performances at ASB Showgrounds over the 12th — 15th of February. As a teaser to the event, we were shown a couple of the acts from the show, additionally to being led about the display of uber-expensive cars and given the chance to take photos with the Top Gear Live team.

But enough from us, here’s some thoughts from the boys running the show (Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and Greg Murphy) about the NZ tour.

Richard, how do you feel about being in New Zealand?
RH: Very excited to be here. I’ve never been to New Zealand before, but it is great to come to a place where people really seem to get what we’re about.

Jeremy, you’ve said that New Zealand is one of the best countries in the world. Is this true?
JC: I have been here a few times before and have extremely good memories of it. That is everything; the people, the place, the food, the scenery, the wine, the place — I really love it here. A few too many Nissan Cedrics, but that’s about the only drawback.

Do you say that in every country you visit?
JC: I promise you that I do not say ‘this is the best country in the world’ in every country in the world or I would have to say it in Australia as well, and that simply is not possible. No, New Zealand and Iceland really are my two favourite countries in the world — because I like countries that are based on volcanoes.

I understand you’ve been on Waiheke Island?
JC: Waiheke Island was fantastic — right up ‘til the moment a bee carrying a knife and fork and a napkin attacked my arm and now a man pretending to be a doctor has put me on steroids and I’m going to be Governor of California in the morning.

Does that mean you’re going to be unable to perform?
JC: No, I’m just going to be performing with an Austrian accent and I’m going to say ‘get owwwt’ to him.

Greg, what are you expecting from being part of Top Gear Live?
GM: Just to enjoy myself and learn such amazing witty comments from two such well travelled gentlemen.

Has it been a good ride so far?
GM: I’m trying to keep up — I’ve got to play car football and try to successfully beat Richard’s team; England. Being that we are a rugby nation, I’m slightly concerned about our prospects there.

RH: So I’ll be playing soccer against a rugby playing nation — am I going to get killed???

Greg, are you having to teach the others (Jeremy and Richard) anything about driving?
GM: I’m not sure we’ve got enough time for that to be honest. But if they watch closely I think they’ll pick up a few bits and pieces.

Can you understand why so many kiwis like these two so much, to have bought so many tickets?
GM: Top Gear is a massive show here. People get their kind of humour down here for sure.

So Greg, are you frightened of the Stig?
GM: Yes! Well, he’s certainly a daunting figure — there are a lot of questions to be asked about the Stig.

Are you New Zealand’s greatest ever driver?
GM: Ahhh, hmmm — I’m the wrong person to ask¦ Ask a Ford driver.

JC: Maybe the Stig is New Zealand’s greatest driver. It is possibly that he is New Zealish?

RH: He could be — a lot of people think he is — in these parts.

GM: It is not me — I’m going to prove that it is not me though — in the show tomorrow.

Does it feel like you’re a rock band at the moment?
RH: Yes it does, it feels exactly like a world rock tour; if you were to take away any discernable talent, the looks, the money, the glamour, the fan base, the sense of purpose, those few things aside, it feels like that.

Jeremy, why did you go on a world tour?
JC: Because I wanted to know what it would be like to be a rock star.

Do you know now?
JC: Yes, fantastic, the best bit was having a girl throwing contest on Waiheke Island, and I won. I threw my girl almost the length of the pool.

Have there been some terrible antics?
JC: No, not yet, but as we come to the end of the tour, as we leave New Zealand we’ll start to crank up the rock star bit.

RH: I like the rock star question- if the opportunity comes, you’ve just GOT to do it. Who wouldn’t?

JC: But we do always brush our teeth before bed and get an early night — I’ve had four different types of orangeade this trip, and once I stayed up til midnight, and stuff like that — it’s been mental.

Have you boys got the best job in the world?
JC: No, because somebody is Angelina Jolie’s gynaecologist.

RH: That really is a job though. That’s a Monday morning you’d look forward to, isn’t it?

Well, do you have the second best job in the world then?
RH: Job? Are we working? I don’t know why everyone thinks we’ve got a job. We go and drive other people’s cars — quite badly.

JC: We get middle aged. We fall over. We catch fire. We drown. Everything we do goes wrong. We are ambitious, but an eternal disappointment to ourselves, our nations and our mothers¦. on a daily basis.

Does each country treat you differently?
JC: I’m not making this up. I really, really like coming to New Zealand. I’ve been like a little boy all around the rest of the world; Birmingham, Ireland, Jo’Burg — because I knew that soon I would be in New Zealand, sipping wine on this lovely terrace.

On Wednesday, the NZ leg of Top Gear Live fired into life with a pre-e ...

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News: Porsche shows off Panamera interior

Porsche panamera int4

Porsche has released the first official images of the interior of the new Panamera. Unlike the much criticised exterior, the inside is much easier on the eyes and features usable rear seats. The images show off a two-tone color scheme with a center console featuring an array of artistically positioned switches. The steering wheel has thumb switches allowing the driver to manually select the ratio of the seven-speed PDK dual clutch gearbox. A large navigation screen dominates the center of the instrument panel while two more are available to entertain the backseat passengers.

The Panamera goes on sale in Germany on September 12, with a six-speed manual, 4.8-liter S model starting at €102,251. From there, the price escalates quickly as options are added. At launch, only normally aspirated and turbocharged V8s will be available. Sometime in 2010-11, a V6 hybrid should arrive, and possibly a diesel as well.

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News: World Exclusive! – the Stig press conference

Here in New Zealand at the Top Gear Live media launch on Wednesday, we were treated to a world first — a press conference with the infamous Stig. To be expected, this was a very honourable experience for all in attendance, and one that will go down in history. We recorded the questions from the floor, and have put it down for you to enjoy here.

Stig, what is your favourite type of beer?

Stig: ¦¦

Stig, what are the chances of a guy like you, and a girl like me ending up together? Sharing a bit of helmet time together?

Stig: ¦.

Stig, have you seen Greg Murphy anywhere? In the toilets maybe?

Stig: ¦.

What’s the staple diet of the Stig?

Stig: ¦.

Stig, you’re a talented driver, and have driven numerous high performance cars in your time. I guess what we want to know though, why don’t you show your face?

Stig: ¦.

Of all the cars you’ve driven, which is your favourite?

Stig: ¦.

Did you get your start in go karts, or was it in wings and slicks?

Stig: ¦.

Stig, I have here a printout that shows footage on youtube of the black Stig. What’s the deal there?

It was at this point the Stig stood up, slammed the microphone down on the table, picked up the piece of paper showing said footage, screwed it up and threw it over his shoulder as he left the room. None the less, the New Zealand media were treated to a once-in-a-lifetime experience: 5 minutes with the legendary Stig. Thanks for your time, Stig!

Here in New Zealand at the Top Gear Live media launch on Wednesday, we ...

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News: 2010 Mazda CX-7 debuts with fresh look

Mazda CX-7 fq

The 2010 refresh for the Mazda CX-7 has just debuted at the Canadian International Auto Show. The CX-7 is getting a new 2.5-litre normally-aspirated four-cylinder motor, the same engine is employed in the 2010 Mazda6 and Mazda3. With the new motor the CX-7 generates 161 horsepower. The turbocharged, 244 horsepower 2.3-litre engine remains unchanged. Further details like fuel-economy, price, and trim specification for this model will be revealed at a later date.

Beyond the powertrain, Mazda has refined the CX-7 inside and out, including a redesigned front end with a larger five-point grille and different front and rear fascias. Inside, new gauge faces have taken up residence, along with a 4.1-inch color TFT information display, an available blind-spot monitoring system, three-position seat memory for the driver’s seat (and a power backrest for the passenger seat), and Bluetooth for both phones and audio.

The 2010 refresh for the Mazda CX-7 has just debuted at the Canadi ...

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