News: Hyundai i20 to be debuted in Paris

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Six new Hyundai models will make their international debut at this year’s Paris “Mondial de l’automobile”, including this i20. Designed at Hyundai’s European Design Centre in Russelsheim, Germany, the new five-door i20 rides on a longer wheelbase than its predecessor model, the Getz. The i20 is due to be launched in Europe towards the end of 2008. New Zealand launch dates haven’t been confirmed, but we are getting the i10 late 2008.

Key modifications to deliver a significant reduction in CO2 emissions and fuel consumption include: full-length under floor covers, a 15mm reduction in ground clearance, changes to the front and rear aerodynamics, low rolling resistance tyres and high performance, low friction engine oil.
i20 i-blue concept

The i20 i-blue concept is fitted with Hyundai’s all new state-of-the-art 1.4 CRDi diesel engine, which produces 90PS and generates 220Nm of torque. To further improve economy, it drives through a six-speed manual gearbox — instead of the car’s usual five-speed unit. With a CO2 output of just 99g/km and a fuel consumption figure of 68mpg, the i20 blue concept sets new standards for the sector.
Santa Fe Petrol-Electric Hybrid concept

Further demonstrating Hyundai’s commitment to reducing CO2 emissions, the Santa Fe Petrol-Electric Hybrid concept maintains the overall design of the existing Santa Fe, yet is an entirely different vehicle under the skin.

Hyundai engineers have developed a new hybrid drive system, which mates the current 2.4-litre petrol engine to a six-speed automatic transmission and a 30kW electric motor powered by lithium-ion batteries. The end result? CO2 emissions of just 148g/km and a fuel consumption figure of 44mpg.
ix55 sports utility vehicle

Although not destined for British shores, Hyundai’s seven seat iX55 sports utility vehicle will also make its debut in production-ready form at Paris. Based on the successful Veracruz already on sale in the USA, the ix55 has been extensively re-styled and re-tuned to match European requirements and driving styles.
Other Hyundai premieres at Paris

The new Genesis saloon will also be displayed at the Paris Motor Show. Based on Hyundai’s all-new, rear-wheel drive platform, the Genesis will be shown alongside the Genesis Coupe Show Car. Combining the dramatic looks of the production model, this one-off design study features bare carbon fibre bonnet and roof to reduce weight.

Blogs: Maracoonda F650 – do it for the environment

This is how they roll in Queensland. They take a Ford F650 (with engines up to 7.2 litres, making 300+hp and over 1100Nm of torque), and convert them to right-hand drive.

That would be pretty intimidating if it was for use on urban streets, but over in Ozzie it’s all relative because there’s the ever present threat of having your manhood shriveled into submission by a passing road train.

But, the Ozzies don’t do it as well as the Yanks, who have been pandering to redneck requirements since records began.

Here’s the Ozzie effort from Maracoonda::

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And here’s the Yank effort probably from a guy called Jed who sprinkles shotgun pellets on his steak breakfast:

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News: More Kia Soul images and specs

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Kia’s new production-ready Soul will be on display at Paris Salon de l’Automobile in October with confirmation that the urban crossover will come to Europe in February 2009. No release date for Australia or New Zealand has been set.

Mainland left-hand drive Europe models will come with a choice 126ps diesel and petrol engines based on the DOHC engines already fitted to the European-built, Kia cee’d — with a choice of manual or automatic transmissions, depending on model. Right-hand drive production is due to start in March 2009.

The diesel engine generates 126ps at 4,000rpm and maximum torque of 255Nm at 2,000rpm. The all-aluminium petrol engine also produces 126ps at 6,300rpm and 156Nm of torque at 4,200rpm.

Soul is a five-door hatchback with front-wheel drive, a high roofline and an unusually long wheelbase. The key elements behind Soul’s appearance are its vertical measurements. Overall height is 1,610 mm but the base of the windscreen is 135mm higher than a typical compact car, the hip-points are 120mm higher and the ground clearance is raised by 45mm.

Access to the new Kia Soul’s spacious interior is designed to be easy and the cabin will deliver head, leg and shoulder room that matches or beats many larger vehicles.

Looking ahead to the Paris Show debut, Gregory Guillaume, Chief Designer, Kia Motors Europe, commented: “Soul is about surprise and style and the experience of sitting in the Soul is unique. First impressions will make a big impact. Tall doors and high-mounted seats make for easy access and an airy interior, yet the ‘laid-back’ dashboard design, triple dial instrument cluster and thick-rimmed steering wheel create an unusual combination of spaciousness for passengers and cosiness for the driver generating a very special ambience.”

Soul will make its world premiere on the Kia stand (No 520, Hall 5) at the Paris International Motor Show at 16.45 hrs on 2 October 2008.

Soul will be manufactured at Kia’s Gwangju facility in Korea from November 2008. In the USA and several non-European markets a 2-litre, 142ps petrol engine will also be available.

News: Airport to city in a new Falcon – and you’re driving

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There’s a brand spankers Ford Falcon XR8 sitting in the Car and SUV garage right now, so we were intrigued when Ford sent us through details of this offer.

For the next two weeks, if you arrive in Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch, you can choose to drive to your city centre destination in a new FG Falcon. For free.

By booking online at www.travelfirstclass.co.nz or by calling 0508 FIRSTCLASS, travelers arriving between the hours of 7am — 11am or 4pm — 8pm at Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch airports can be met by a Ford representative and a new FG Falcon ready to transport them to their city centre destination.

News: Holden’s Aussie customers get 99c/litre petrol

GM Holden is tackling rising fuel prices head-on by capping the price of fuel at 99 cents per litre for all new Holden customers.

Private customers who buy and take delivery of any new Holden before 31 October will enjoy a 99 cents fuel cap on 91 RON petrol or diesel for up to 20,000 kilometres or two years, whichever comes first, with Holden covering the difference.

Alan Batey, Executive Director of Sales, Marketing and Aftersales said the Holden 99c fuel cap would ease the pain of petrol and diesel prices for Holden customers.

“We will provide this cap across all segments to ensure the benefits are as widely available as possible, given that fuel prices impact all drivers regardless of the size of their car,” Batey said.

“Whether you’re buying a Commodore for the family, a Barina as your first car, or a Colorado as tool of trade, we know everyone will appreciate our helping hand.

New Holden customers will be given a Holden 99c Fuel Cap debit card to purchase fuel for up to 20,000 kilometres, based on the vehicle’s ADR081/01 combined fuel consumption figure. In most cases, within 48 hours of fuel purchase, the customer will be debited from their nominated bank account to the value of 99 cents per litre purchased.

Accounts can be monitored by a monthly email statement or checked any time online or by phone. Consumers can see how many litres have been purchased during that month and the savings they have made.

Will this promotion come to New Zealand? We’ll let you know.

News: Aston Martin to revive Lagonda marque

Aston Martin Chief Executive Officer Dr Ulrich Bez has today confirmed his intention to revive the Lagonda marque.

In a statement today he said, “After my eight years with Aston Martin, four with profitability, and 16 months of independence, it’s time to think about a longer term future. Aston Martin is an honest, authentic brand which builds the most beautiful sportscars combining modern technology with craftsmanship. Next year we will launch the four door Rapide sportscar, and this will be followed by the project ‘one 77’, the most spectacular Aston Martin ever.  Aston Martins are currently available in 32 countries but we will remain limited in our market penetration by the pure character of our cars – sportscars.

“We have now investigated and concluded that the revival of the Lagonda brand would allow us to develop cars which can have a different character than a sportscar, and therefore offer a perfect synergy.  Lagonda will use a unique design language as Aston Martin does. We will take elements of DNA from the past but will be very future orientated as we are with Aston Martin.  With Lagonda offering exclusive, luxurious and truly versatile products with high quality and usability and suitable for both existing and emerging markets, I believe we can be present in more than 100 countries in the world.

“In 2009 Lagonda is about to celebrate its 100th birthday and in its centenary year we are confident that we will show the first concept of a car which could be in the market in 2012,” he confirmed.

News: 30-mile McRae convoy smashes world records

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More than 1000 Subaru owners and thousands more fans have celebrated the life of Colin McRae this weekend.

A convoy, which at its peak stretched 30 miles with an estimated 1100 Subaru cars, left Colin’s home town of Lanark on Saturday morning, led by his father Jimmy McRae.  Nine hours and 300 miles later, it arrived at Prodrive’s headquarters in Banbury, having been cheered along the way by thousands of fans who stood on every available motorway bridge on route.

“Literally every bridge had people waving and cheering us along with many hanging the Saltire from the railings.” said Grant Hendry, who led the McRae Gathering convoy. “It turned what was an already memorable event into a truly amazing and emotional occasion.”

The convoy re-gathered at Prodrive’s headquarters in Banbury on Sunday morning, before being led up the M40 by Colin McRae’s original 1996 Impreza rally car.  In a fitting finale to the event, a sign almost half a mile long and made up of 1086 Subarus spelt out COLIN MCRAE and the Scottish Saltire in a new official Guinness World Record — smashing the previous record by more than 800 cars.  The cars then broke a second Guinness World Record by creating the largest parade of cars as they left the Prodrive test track.

It is estimated that the event has raised nearly £40,000 ($103,000) for the McRae charities.

News: Renault Koleos gets five stars in crash test

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Renault’s Koleos sports utility vehicle, which will be available in New Zealand before the end of the year is the tenth Renault model to obtain the maximum score of five stars in Euro NCAP crash tests.

Koleos is the tenth Renault model to obtain the maximum five-star score in adult protection. It scored 33 out of 37 in adult protection tests, earning five stars. It obtained 4 out of 5 stars in child protection and 2 out of 4 in pedestrian protection.

Koleos benefits from Renault’s longstanding work in real-life accident analysis. In terms of passive safety, its body structure features programmed crumple zones at the front and back. The cabin was designed as a real survival cell for passengers in the event of an accident.

Renault Koleos also boasts a comprehensive range of equipment for passenger protection, including six airbags, seatbelts with force limiters in the front and rear side seats and pretensioners in the front seats, along with Isofix anchor points for attaching child seats in the rear side seats – all fairly standard now for cars in its class.

The headrests have a carefully worked ergonomic design that offers maximum protection against whiplash in the event of rear impact.

Interestingly, Koleos’ four-wheel drive system was developed by the Renault-Nissan Alliance and first featured on the new Nissan X-Trail. It comes with electronic stability control.

Other EuroNCAP results for Renault models are:
·    Laguna II 5 stars (2001 and 2003), first car ever to obtain this score

·    Vel Satis 5 stars (2002 and 2005)

·    Megane II 5 stars (2002), first medium segment vehicle to obtain 5 stars

·    Espace IV 5 stars (2003)

·    Scenic II 5 stars (2003), first compact MPV to obtain 5 stars

·    Modus 5 stars (2004), first 5-star vehicle in its category

·    Megane II Coupe Cabriolet 5 stars (2004), first 5-star vehicle in its category

·    Clio III 5 stars (2005)

·    New Laguna 5 stars (2007)

·    Koleos 5 stars (2008)

Two 5-star rated Koleos models will be launched in the New Zealand late October — the 4×4 diesel and the 4×2 petrol.  Pricing will be announced closer to release date.