May 31st, 2011 by Darren Cottingham
Electric cars are becoming impossible to avoid in the media and its only a matter of time before they reach NZ shores. The Nissan Leaf is a pioneer among this new breed of automobiles and is promoting its environmentally friendly nature in a new advertising campaign that pokes fun at petrol power.
In the TV commercial entitled “Gas Powered Everything”, Nissan mocks the internal combustion engine by showing an electricity free world where all appliances run on gas.
It’s clever stuff and shows regular people using petrol-powered alarm-clocks, microwave ovens, computers and other appliances. Towards the end, Chevrolet’s Volt car gets a serve too for being a gas-electric hybrid. Nissan can go getting all high-and-mighty about its Leaf EV, but what about Nissan’s performance cars like the GT-R which go through petrol like its all going to run out?
Pays not to think too much, just enjoy the ad clip below. Continue reading “New Nissan Leaf TV ad mocks petrol power (+video)” »
May 27th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham
Production of the next-generation 2014 Chevrolet Impala will be shifted to GM’s Detroit-Hamtramck manufacturing plant. At this production facility the new Impala will be produced alongside the Chevrolet Volt and Malibu with the decision being an early indication that Holden’s Commodore won’t be returning to U.S. shores.
The next American-market Impala will use a stretched version of GM’s Epsilon II platform, with a front-wheel drive layout. It certainly won’t prove a popular move with Chevy enthusiasts who want the famous-named large sedan to be rear-wheel powered and it also lessens the chances of the Commodore ever returning to the U.S., in either sedan, wagon or ute bodystyles.
With the Impala going front-driven GM is showing an awareness of fuel economy regulations. GM’s decision to keep most of its range front-wheel drive shows that the automaker has a preference for better fuel economy over performance. The front-wheel drive architecture also helps with developing more modern interiors due to the absence of a bulky driveshaft running the length of the car. In simple terms the Commodore just doesn’t fit into GM’s new politically correct range. It was popular in Pontiac G8 form but that was a different time and with the new Malibu being a direct competitor within the GM range the Commodore will have a tough time finding its way back into the lucrative America market. Continue reading “New Chevrolet Impala could kill Commodore’s U.S market hopes” »
April 29th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham
The 2012 Chevrolet Corvette has been revealed for keen badge fans with some subtle tweaks and updates to the hard-serving C6 platform. The enhancements are aimed at improving the Corvettes on-track performance and on-road comfort levels.
Michelin Pilot Sport Cup Zero Pressure tyres are now optional on both top spec variants – the Z06 and Zr1. Chevrolet claims that the new rubber should be good for an eight-percent gain in lateral acceleration (more than 1.1g) and will make for shorter braking distances.
The Z06 also gets some fresh optional gear like performance traction control, a full-width rear spoiler and a carbon fibre bonnet. The top dog ZR1 receives taller gearing in the fifth and sixth ratios to maximize fuel economy and possibly push out the top-end as well.
The entire 2012 Chevrolet Corvette line now benefits from a slightly reworked interior that includes a new steering wheel and new seats. The racing pews have more supportive bolstering along the sides and microfibre inserts are now available for the first time as well. The new steering wheel features leather-wrapped spokes and all models receive contrasting coloured stitching and more padded centre console and armrests. Interior appointments have been considered a weakness of the C6 Corvette and this changes should go some way to change that opinion. Continue reading “Chevrolet Corvette updated for 2012 (+video)” »
April 20th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham
Holden’s new medium-sized sedan, the Malibu, has made its international debut at the Shanghai Auto Show amid much anticipation.
The reveal, conducted by Chevrolet, saw the veil lifted on the new-generation model that will be sold in up to 100 countries including Australia next year. A decision has not yet been made on whether the Malibu will be sold here in New Zealand. If it is, the Malibu will replace the unpopular Epica in Holden’s lineup and will compete against segment heavyweights like the Ford Mondeo and Mazda6.
The Mailbu will be powered by a range of 4-cylinder engines, with more details to be released shortly. Over in the States the Malibu will be offered with a new direct-injected 2.5 litre four-cylinder Ecotec petrol engine producing 141kW and 245Nm of torque.
The exterior design has taken inspiration from Chevrolet’s iconic Camaro muscle car and also some styling cues from the Cruze. The wide stance, twin exhaust tips and integrated spoiler give it strong road presence. Continue reading “New Holden Malibu revealed in Chevrolet form” »
April 4th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham
The first image of Holden’s new-generation mid-sized sedan has been released ahead of its global reveal as the Chevrolet Malibu. The Malibu will be revealed during the sedan’s public debut at Shanghai Auto Show on April 19th.
Holden has confirmed that the Malibu will be coming to New Zealand for the first time in 2012 with a range of four cylinder models.
Holden New Zealand Managing Director Simon Carr said the Chevrolet Malibu gives a clear indication of what customers can expect from Holden when it launches its version of the next-generation mid-sized sedan.
“The Malibu will provide a spacious and efficient four-cylinder alternative for New Zealanders in this fuel conscious time and needless to say it will play an important role within the Holden line-up,” Mr Carr said. “Malibu will bridge the gap between our very popular Cruze small car and a favourite of this country, one of New Zealand’s best-selling cars, the Commodore. This car will have heads turning in the streets with its striking styling, in the same vein as recent additions to the GM portfolio, including the new-generation Cruze Hatch and Barina. Many customers were pleasantly surprised at how good the Cruze was and Malibu will be no different, especially with its amazing array of clever technologies and features.” Continue reading “Holden teases NZ-bound Malibu ahead of debut (+video)” »
April 1st, 2011 by Darren Cottingham
When the Pontiac brand was killed off in the States so was the Holden Commodore, but at that time financially desperate General Motors had little idea of the following that the Commodore/Pontiac G8 already had.
Now, after serious demand, the Commodore will likely return to the U.S market badged as a Chevrolet SS sedan. There is also a chance that the Commodore’s ute and wagon form will also be sold in the states, but they remain unapproved at this stage. The Commodore ute would likely receive the El Camino moniker and the long back car would keep the SportWagon name.
If the Commodores do make it to the States in Chevy trim it won’t likely be until early 2013 as GM is waiting for the next-generation “VF” Commodore to be developed by Holden. GM will be most interested in performance models for the American market so expect Holden’s exports to be mostly V8 powered. Continue reading “Holden Commodore ready for next O.E in American market” »
March 23rd, 2011 by Darren Cottingham
It’s been rumoured for some time now and in Singapore a cosmetic version was released (pictured), but the sports-focused Cruze SS could be closer to reality than ever before.
Holden looks set to take the reins on building a higher-performance Cruze with the SS name plate already being mentioned. While nothing is certain at this stage if Holden gets to work on a Cruze SS it could be on the road in just one year.
Currently, Holden has been developing a revised suspension and steering setup for the Cruze. There is also talk that the 1.6-litre turbo engine found in the Astra in Europe is a possibility for the Cruze as well.
But it’s another possible engine option that has performance car fans excited – the 208kW 2.0-litre twin-turbo four-cylinder from the Opel OPC Concept shown at last year’s Paris Auto Show.
Holden’s ultimate plan for the Cruze is to eventually compete directly with the Mazda3′s range, with sport and standard powertrains, hatch and sedan bodystyles, and a range of trim levels. That plan won’t be possible in all markets, but Holden’s powertrain and suspension work could prove very valuable for GM.
If the Holden Cruze SS does make it to production don’t expect it any sooner than the end of the year. Till then check back for more info as it becomes available.
March 22nd, 2011 by Darren Cottingham
General Motors has just revealed the first details and images of it’s next-generation midsize ute truck. Ahead of an official unveiling at the Bangkok Auto Show GM has revealed the new ute in Chevrolet Colorado form but expect a new re-badged Holden Colorado in the future.
The concept truck is an extended-cab mid-size ute which features a prominent grille, polished aluminum accents, and LED-infused headlights. Elsewhere, there’s a body-color tonneau cover and 20-inch alloy wheels with Cooper Zeon off-road tyres.
Like the next-gen Ford Ranger the styling of GM’s new ute is sure to stir some controversy as all the best and worst designs do. But Chevrolet’s global vehicle line executive Brad Merkel said of the design, “Although this is a show vehicle, the basic proportions convey the vision for the next-generation Colorado that we will bring to market.”
The Colorado in concept form features a 2.8-litre turbodiesel engine, five-speed manual transmission 20-inch wheels and all-wheel drive.
The Colorado cabin was an area of criticism for the current model and that has been addressed with the new concept vehicle. The interior is apparently high quality and has a motorcycle-inspired instrument cluster, leather seats, dark wood trim, and chrome accents. Other highlights include a dual-zone climate control system and an infotainment system with a 7-inch touchscreen display. Continue reading “GM previews next global ute with Colorado concept” »