Ford drops details and photos of Falcon FG MkII

September 16th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Ford has revealed the first photos and details of its upcoming FG Falcon MkII range this week ahead of it reaching NZ showrooms late this year.

The updated Falcon brings new technologies, an enhanced safety package, new exterior design appointments  and the first global application of EcoBoost engine technology in a rear-wheel drive vehicle. It also heralds in the debut of Ford’s global 2.0-litre four-cylinder Ecoboost petrol engine which will be offered in the FG Falcon from next year.

The MkII Falcon will showcase some of Ford’s latest tech like a new 8.0-inch colour touch screen and integrated audio, phone and navigation functions and a more comprehensive occupant protection package.

“The improvements made to the award-winning Falcon range with the introduction of FG Falcon MkII have made a great car even better,” Ford New Zealand Marketing Manager, Chris Masterson said. “FG Falcon MkII builds on the success of the FG Falcon program, as well as the recently released new Territory range, by offering New Zealanders more equipment and the latest technology innovations, while continuing to deliver outstanding performance, fuel efficiency, refinement and safety.” Continue reading “Ford drops details and photos of Falcon FG MkII” »

Skoda Octavia vRS hits 325 km/h at Bonneville

August 17th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Last year Suzuki took a modified version of its Kizashi sedan to Bonneville in a big to break the 200 mph (321 kph) barrier and this year Skoda has done the same with its Octavia vRS.

In standard form the Octavia vRS sports the VW Group’s turbocharged 2.0 litre TSI engine producing around 150kW. This was never going to be enough so engineers from the brand’s UK team, along with partners REVO Technik made modifications including a Garret turbocharger to dial up around 373kW from the same motor.

Other modifications to the car included a high-octane race fuel supply, a full safety roll-cage, several aerodynamic aids, and a ride height that’s been lowered by more than 3-inches.

With the engine’s displacement unchanged the vRS was able to compete in the ’2.0-litre production car’ class. The hot Skoda achieved its goal and reached a top speed of 202.15 mph (325.33 km/h) during the Bonneville Speed Week. Continue reading “Skoda Octavia vRS hits 325 km/h at Bonneville” »

BMW reveals new four-cylinder turbo powerplant

February 1st, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

BMW has been teasing the motoring press with tidbits of information on its new 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine for some time. Now finally, official details have been released on this exciting new mill.

The new four-pot motor uses the same twin-scroll turbo technology lifted from the larger N55 3.0-litre engine. Peak power is rated at 178kW at 5,000 rpm, and max torque is rated at a healthy 352Nm and is delivered at just 1,250 rpm. Naturally the advantage of switching to a smaller-displacement, turbocharged, direct-injected engine, is fuel economy so expect the cars that use this engine to go much further on a tank than the current six-cylinder models.

BMW hasn’t revealed yet exactly which models will be receiving the new 2.0-litre turbo engine. However the German automaker has given in clue in saying that the 4-cylinder offers more power and torque than the current naturally aspirated 3.0-litre inline-six engine. So don’t be surprised to see the new motor in models that previously have a 28i or 30i at the end of the name. Some earlier reports suggested that the Z4 sDrive30i will now use four-cylinder power, and both the 1 and 3 Series, as well as X1, also look likely to get the turbo-four treatment.

Nissan Qashqai +2 2010 Review

October 22nd, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

It’s always nice to have a little bit more. Like chocolate bars that come in ‘king size’ allowing that all-important extra bite. Or that mini-series on TV that begins with a double episode. Whatever way you look at it, a good thing is only really bettered by more of a good thing. With that in mind Nissan has taken its current good thing, the big-selling Qashqai and given it just a little bit more size. The enlarged Qashqai +2 now has the space for a third row of seating, allowing two more passengers and boosting total potential capacity to seven occupants. While the Qashqai was a gamble at the start being billed as a modern alternative to the traditional hatchback it was a risk that paid off handsomely, with more than 500,000 sales globally. Then it was facelifted for 2010 and has since been well received again. But is this larger +2 model a step too far? Car and SUV spent some time with the part crossover, part people mover to get the answers.

At first glance it’s difficult to distinguish the Qashqai +2 from its standard sibling, but look closer and its dimensions are clearly chunkier. The +2 is 211mm longer to allow for the extra seat and the wheelbase has increased by 135mm. Additionally the body is taller with a flatter roofline allowing for better headroom throughout and there’s a handy 55-litres of extra cargo space.  In terms of exterior design the +2 differs little from the standard model and benefits from the smoother look brought with the recent mid-cycle facelift. Raked headlights at the front and LED two-piece fittings at the rear help give the Qashqai a distinctive look but the standard 16-inch alloys struggle to fill the raised guards. The larger Qashqai boasts some practical features like integrated roof rails, tough black plastic mouldings all round, and longer rear doors than the standard model to help entry and exit from that third row of seats.

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Mitsubishi Outlander LS 2010 Review

September 17th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Sharp styling is always nice, and strong performance can be exciting, but nothing speaks to new car buyers as loudly as price. The Korean carmakers have known this for decades and now Mitsubishi has cottoned on and released a new entry-level model in its very successful Outlander range. Like buying ‘home brand’ at the supermarket the Outlander LS forgoes some of the fancy packaging to chase down a more attractive price – $37,990. That’s a tempting sum to swap for NZ’s best selling medium SUV especially coming with Mitsubishi’s 5-year/10-year warranty.  But in achieving this price what concessions have been made on this brazen base-model? Car and SUV opened the packet on the Outlander LS to take a closer look at the contents within.

Visually the LS, like all Outlanders has a more traditional boxy SUV shape when compared to the highly curved new-school SUVs like the Hyundai ix35 and the Mazda CX-7. Classic good looks aside, it’s only under close inspection that the LS differs from its more expensive siblings. Mitsubishi’s ‘jet fighter’ grille, first used on the Lancer then on the facelifted Outlander range, hasn’t filtered down to the LS model. While this leaves it a facelift behind other Outlanders the overall styling on the LS is modern and gives it genuine presence. Tough black plastic mouldings protect the underside and it rolls on 16″ steel wheels with silver covers. Overall, it’s a smart looking machine with its high beltline, tinted rear glass and subtle chrome touches.  With the exception of the steel wheels there is nothing about the Outlander LS that really screams ‘base model’.

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