News: Mitsi PHEVer as plug-in hits target

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Things mightn’t be too special at Mitsubishi these days – now under control of Nissan after being caught out for manipulating its fuel economy data.

But for the first time since those raging Evolutions, it’s got a vehicle that’s hit a market sweet spot – and that’s the Outlander PHEV.

Its global target for the big PHEV was 100,000 vehicles – and it’s smashed it, since it went on sale in some markets in 2012. Continue reading “Mitsi PHEVer as plug-in hits target” »

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News: Small concepts show Volvo evolving

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Volvo has lifted covers on a pair of concept cars that signal a move into small, globally-pitched cars – and sends the Swede in brand new direction.

In line with Volvo’s ambitious goal to sell up to a million electric cars by 2025, the new 40 series range includes both and electric vehicle and a plug-in hybrid.

The 40 series cars will be the first built around Volvo’s Compact Modular Architecture (CMA), which has been specifically created for smaller cars. Continue reading “Small concepts show Volvo evolving” »

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News: Tesla ‘Summon’ mode brings forth bad things

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Tesla has cool tricks – it prides itself on them.

But it’s had issue an update for its Knight Ridery ‘Summon’ mode on Model X and Model S.

Summon mode either tells your car to automatically park itself – or come to you, just like Kitt did, albeit at 1.6km/h for a massive 10 metres. Continue reading “Tesla ‘Summon’ mode brings forth bad things” »

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News: GNCAP vents at India’s zero-star cars

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Global NCAP has slammed several manufacturers over India-only cars that score zero-stars.

Some emerging market offerings are bad enough to spur the Global New Car Assessment Programme (NCAP) to pressure four major car companies to pull cars from sale.

Zero-star safety ratings were given to Renault Kwid, Maruti Suzuki Celerio, Maruti Suzuki Eeco, Hyundai Eon and Mahindra Scorpio during a series of crash tests in Delhi. It noted some had “a high probability of life-threatening injuries,” Continue reading “GNCAP vents at India’s zero-star cars” »

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News: Sneaky coppers adopt Google van disguise

image001In the tradition of Dragnet, Get Smart and the Naked Gun movies, cops in strange disguises can be quite funny.

But if you’re living in Philadelphia, there’s a new super-sneaky trick up the city PD’s sleeve – and it’s not funny at all.

Matt Blaze, a local university computer science prof tweeted a photo of a van that was displaying a low-key Philadelphia PD logo and a Google Maps window. Continue reading “Sneaky coppers adopt Google van disguise” »

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News: Autonomous Audi knows how to be nice

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Audi’s test research car – dubbed ‘Jack’ – has learned a new trick. In kiwi language you would say he has learned how to not ‘drive like a dick’.

According to the company ‘Jack’ has learned how to show consideration for other road users. “Jack” exhibits a driving style that is adaptive to the given situation, safe and especially interactive – a research car with social competence.

The Audi A7 piloted driving concept technology platform – is now driving more naturally. This is illustrated by the way it confidently deals with hazardous points on the road. ‘Jack’ now passes trucks with a slightly wider lateral gap. It also signals upcoming lane changes by activating the turn signal and moving closer to the lane marking first – just like human drivers would do to indicate their intentions. Continue reading “Autonomous Audi knows how to be nice” »

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News: “We are the boys from down on the farm”

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It had to happen. I had bitten off more than I could chew, and as the driver in front slowed his progress up the hill – killing my momentum – so I knew I was not making it to the top.

Car and SUV was out last month – on a farm north of Auckland – putting together the two utes doing battle, not just to lead our commercial market, but also the broader new vehicle trade – the Toyota Hilux and the Ford Ranger.

Our two test vehicles are – in fairness – not entirely equal. We had on hand a Hilux SR5 diesel automatic and a Ranger Wildtrak. But this test is not about detail – we have covered enough of that in Car and SUV before. Continue reading ““We are the boys from down on the farm”” »

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News: Kombi comeback makes for happy hippies

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While big bags of kale and buckets of marinated mung beans have probably replaced the original Kombi diet, there’s a worldwide base of customers that are grown-up, cashed-up and probably signed-up to get an early drive of the Kombi reboot – Volkswagen’s California Ocean.

The west coast mightn’t quite the idylic surf spot it was when the originals landed in sandy car parks full of long-hairs and topped with piles of surfboards up to 90-feet long.

The Ocean’s interior transforms into a four adult camper – a rear two-seater bench creates a double bed on the ‘first floor’ and the old-skool pop-up roof lifts to reveal a second spacious sleeping birth. Continue reading “Kombi comeback makes for happy hippies” »

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