2011 Ford Territory – first teaser image revealed

December 15th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Ford Australia has given blue oval fans a treat today with the first teaser image of the new-look 2011 Territory. Due out in around six month’s time the new Territory is set to breath life back into the well aged name plate.

First launched back in 2004 the current Territory is based on the underpinnings of the Falcon sedan and has only received subtle updates throughout its long production life. Now Ford Australia has committed to the Territory until at least 2016.

The new 2011 Territory will continue to make use of the Falcon platform but will use updated global styling inside and out, plus a number of new technologies, including the introduction of turbo-diesel power.

“The Ford Territory set a new benchmark when it was first released and it is set to achieve this again — and more,” said Bob Graziano, President and CEO of Ford Australia. “This is an exceptional SUV. It wears an exciting new look and will boast an extensive list of technical highlights. The Ford Australia team is taking the Territory to an all-new level of performance, refinement and quality, and customers will definitely experience these advancements when they drive it.”

Ford hasn’t released official details on powertrain options for the new Territory but the company had previously announced that the updated Territory would benefit from the introduction of the Ford and Peugeot-Citroen PSA co-developed 2.7-litre V6 turbo diesel motor. It’s also likely that Ford will make use of its 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder EcoBoost engine in this application, as the new powerplant has already been confirmed for the Australian market Falcon. Continue reading “2011 Ford Territory – first teaser image revealed” »

Ford New Zealand enhances Fiesta range for 2011

November 25th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Ford NZ has officially launched its updated Fiesta range for the local market at a special event held yesterday. The popular Fiesta range sees a number of additions and enhancements for the 2011 model year including a diesel power train option and the introduction of an all-new six-speed PowerShift automatic transmission.

The 2011 Fiesta range has been on sale since 1 November and now offers small-car buyers a wider choice with improved performance and style.

Chief amongst the 2011 Fiesta’s changes is the addition of the new PowerShift automatic six-speed transmission. The new transmission introduces an efficient and smooth-changing double dry-clutch option to the petrol variants that offers the convenience of an automatic with the fuel efficiency of a manual. Effectively, PowerShift consists of two transmissions working in parallel, each with its own clutch unit. This leads to less torque interruption and a more consistent, smoother drive. This new transmission will be available with the standard-fitment 1.6-litre petrol engine.

The 1.6L petrol engine delivers 89kW and 151Nm of torque and like its diesel siblings, fuel consumption is low, with both the PowerShift and manual petrol derivatives using just 6.1-litres per 100km combined.

The Fiesta line up also includes the expansion of diesel power train beyond the already announced ECOnetic model. The efficient 1.6-litre diesel engine is torque-rich — 200Nm — and very fuel-efficient, consuming just 4.4-litres per 100km combined. Partnering the diesel engine is a five-speed manual transmission. Meanwhile, the five-door Fiesta ECOnetic will continue to offer the greenest option for drivers at 3.7-litres per 100km, making it New Zealand’s most fuel-efficient vehicle.

Continue reading “Ford New Zealand enhances Fiesta range for 2011” »

Finalists announced for 2011 European Car of the Year

November 11th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

While there are a multitude of automotive awards out there in cyberspace the one many automakers value most remains the European Car of the Year. To find a winner for the coveted title seven publications from seven different countries get together each year to nominate their collective Car of the Year, and then announce it in one united voice.

The process takes place over the course of months with the first step being the nominations, then the finalists and ultimately the solitary winner. The finalists for 2011 have just been announced, and as you’d expect it’s heavily loaded with European vehicles, but the list is not without some surprises.

The finalists include the Alfa Romeo Giulietta, Citroën C3/DS3, Renault/Dacia Duster, Ford C-Max/Grand C-Max, Nissan Leaf, Opel/Vauxhall Meriva and Volvo S60/V60. The Alfa’s nomination is a decade after its predecessor, the 147, took the award in its launch year. The Nissan Leaf is an interesting inclusion and represents the first time an electric vehicle has made it this far in the competition.

The winner will be announced on November 29, so check back then.

All-new 2011 Ford Ranger ute revealed!

October 19th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Unveiled last Friday at the opening of the 2010 Australian International Motor Show, Ford’s all-new 2011 T6 Ranger has already been well received by show attendees and ute fans.

Nearly ready to go on sale in 180 markets around the world, the new Ranger has been developed in cooperation with the new Mazda BT-50. This new-generation Ranger is an integral part of Ford’s ‘One Ford’ strategy and was developed in Australia with 450 local engineers working on the project.

“In Australia, Ford reinforces its tough-truck credentials by revitalizing the Ford Courier and re-branding Ford Ranger around the world,” Ford Australia President and Managing Director Marin Burela said. “It’s anchored by work credibility, versatility and bolder styling, which will make it more appealing to a dual-purpose user.”

In terms of styling the 2011 Ranger moves a step closer to passenger cars in aesthetics, interior appointments as well as equipment levels. The Ranger’s interior design is intensely modern with Ford’s designers looking to ergonomically-designed tools and Casio’s G-Shock watches for inspiration.

Ford has revealed details on the available engines in the Ranger’s line-up, although pricing remains a secret for now.

Two new diesel engines will be offered with the Ranger, along with Ford’s new 6R80 six-speed automatic transmission and the MT82 six-speed manual transmission. Ford’s new common rail Duratorq TDCi diesel engines will see duty under the bonnet, starting with the 2.2 litre four-cylinder unit offering 110kW and 375Nm of torque. At the other end of the scale is Ford’s 3.2 litre five-cylinder producing 147kW and a stump-pulling 470Nm of torque.

Unlike some current ute ranges Ford will be offering a petrol model that uses a 122kW 2.5 litre Duratec four-cylinder petrol engine, mated to the MT75 five-speed manual transmission.

The new 6R80 six-speed automatic transmission will have two driving modes, Normal and Sport mode which will provide quicker shifts and a general sportier feel. Another feature of the six-speed auto is Ford’s Grade Control Logic, designed to automatically shift down on a downhill grade when sufficient brake pressure is sensed.

The 4WD models are equipped with an electronically controlled transfer case that allows drivers to shift from 4×2 to 4×4 through an electronic switch located on the console, while low range gearing can also be enabled when required.

In size the new Ranger is larger than its predecessor in almost every way. The new Double Cab model is 190mm longer, 43mm wider and 63mm taller, while its wheelbase has seen an increase by 220mm to 3220mm.

Carrying capacity has also increased with the more powerful engines now reaching 1500kg.

Continue reading “All-new 2011 Ford Ranger ute revealed!” »

All-new 2011 Mazda BT-50 ute unveiled at Aussie Motor Show

October 15th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

The Australian International Motor Show has had its first major unveiling with the all-new 2011 Mazda BT-50 dual-cab revealed. The new-gen BT50 comes carrying high hopes from Mazda that it will increase its ute market share both here in NZ and across the ditch.

Designed by Ryo Yanagisawa, the 2011 BT-50’s styling is a significant departure from the current model BT-50 and wears plenty of the company’s ‘Nagare’ design language. There’s no doubt its a striking-looking machine and will align the BT-50 closer to Mazda’s passenger vehicles.

Pumped front guards, almond-shaped rear lamp clusters and the five-pointed grille are all elements shared with the Mazda range, and while it’s unusual to see such elaborate styling on a working ute, the BT-50 certainly has road presence.

Dimensions have increased on the new BT-50 with growth in almost every dimension, with the larger dual-cab having noticeably more width.

Inside, cabin appointments have continued to become more car-like and less spartan while rear seat room is more generous.

Exact features and specifications haven’t been released but the pre-production show car is equipped with dual-zone climate control and curtain airbags.

The suspension set-up consists of double A-arms at the front and a leaf-sprung live rear axle, with disc brakes at the front and drums out back.

No word yet on what will be under the bonnet but expect the BT-50 range to continue with a diesel-only engine range. Engines will likely be shared with the 2011 Ford Ranger.

Continue reading “All-new 2011 Mazda BT-50 ute unveiled at Aussie Motor Show” »

VW Eos updated with GTI engine and design refresh

October 8th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Volkswagen has pulled the covers off its mid-life updates for its convertible Eos model. Along with a number of interior and equipment updates, the updated Eos now features the Golf GTI’s 2.0 litre four-cylinder TSI petrol engine, replacing the previous range-topping 147TSI.

The 155kw GTI motor will be made available with either a six-speed manual or VW’s dual-clutch transmission  and will take the 1580kg Eos to 100kph in a respectable 7.8 seconds.

Volkswagen has also included Hill Start Assist standard on the 2011 Eos, along with classy Vienna leather upholstery, heated seats, 17-inch wheels and an updated grille and taillights. The exterior tweeks will visually bring the Eos into line with the rest of the brand’s small car lineup.

Mazda teases new BT-50 ute interior before Sydney debut

October 5th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Leading up to Mazda’s all-new BT-50’s launch that will take place at next week’s 2010 Australian International Motor Show in Sydney, a second teaser sketch has been released. This time, it’s the interior design of the new ute that we get a look at.

From the sketch, the cockpit looks more like a sports car than a utility vehicle,  featuring a modern design with a wrap-around dashboard layout and a ringed instrument panel with two prominent and deeply set gauges.

Mazda has said this about the new BT-50’s cabin: “The interior of the All-New Mazda BT-50 has been designed to complement its athletic and refined exterior design and offers a comfortable and sporty environment to rival Mazda’s current passenger car standard.”

The model was designed in partnership with Ford and its sister model the Ranger. The BT-50 will be both wider and longer than the current model, providing greater stability thanks to its wider track. Interior space will also benefit, with the rear seats likely to prove more spacious.

Mazda has revealed little in the way of technical details for the new BT-50, so far, although the new model is sure to be offered in dual-cab and king-cab form. The two companies recently announced plans to invest US$350 million in the AutoAlliance (AAT) plant in Thailand which will handle production of the BT-50.

The BT-50 will be joined in Sydney by its Ford brother, the new 2011 Ranger. Both utes are scheduled to go on sale globally in the second quarter of 2011.

Click here to read a Car and SUV review of the current model BT-50.

Refreshed 2011 Toyota Higlander unveiled at Moscow show

August 27th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Toyota’s reworked 2011 Highlander crossover has just made its world premiere and the Moscow International Motor Show. Though Toyota isn’t releasing much in the way of launch details global buyers should be able to snap up the new Highlander towards the end of the year.

The refreshed crossover wears a new, more defined nose and headlights, along with restyled tail lamps and replaced bumper trim at the rear. The rest of the car’s sheetmetal is largely unchanged from its predecessor.

If you’re a Russian or Ukrainian buyer, the Highlander is only available with a single engine option, the 3.5-litre V6 gasoline unit that pushes out 273HP and is mated to a five-speed automatic transmission.

Here in NZ, powertrains and accessories should carry over from the 2010 model year, which means choosing the 3.5-litre V6 engine in either 2WD or 4WD versions.