High luxury meets full power in HSV’s new 2011 Grange

September 8th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Holden Special Vehicles will launch a bigger power, re-styled new Grange (WM3) with a host of new technology as part of its MY11 range of model upgrades inspired by the company’s E-Series 2 line-up (read news).

The Grange was first included in HSV’s line-up in 1997, and has been the company’s luxury flagship ever since. It’s received a host of upgrades including more power, updated equipment and refreshed styling.

Visually, the updated Grange follows its HSV stablemates, with a new look both front and rear. Like the rest of the HSV line-up, the updated Grange also gets LED daytime running lights at each end of the front bumper.

Julian Quincey, HSV Chief of Design and Styling, believes the new-look Grange will appeal to more buyers. “We have made the Grange a more dynamic looking car, and the update delivers greater on-road presence,” he said. “It definitely still retains the classy appearance and proportions that you expect from a luxury performance car; however, we have added a few more masculine-looking details like the DRL’s and the shockwave inspired exhaust tips.”

Inside, the new Grange features the all-new Enhanced Driver Interface (EDI); an intuitive touch-screen display that provides info on vehicle dynamics, economy and performance. The 2011 Grange is the first HSV model to feature the new EDI system.

Tim Jackson, HSV’s General Manager of Marketing believes this feature will be perfect for the HSV customer.

“EDI is for the driving enthusiast. For the first time our customers will have real-time information including G force, power & torque, accelerator and brake position, and stability control data — all at the driver’s fingertips,” he said. “For the real enthusiast they can even download their data to a USB memory stick and analyse it on their laptop.”

Operated through a touch-screen display, HSV’s EDI system offers a total of 11 different functions, allowing drivers to tap into the car’s computer and monitor fuel consumption, stability, g-force and various vehicle dynamics.

Perhaps most appealing to track enthusiasts is the race screen, which utilises GPS technology to log and display a driver’s ability on the race track, including lap times, fastest laps, and lap gain and loss.

HSV has yet to reveal when the EDI system will make its way to the rest of its range, but it should be included in the rest of the range over the next year.

Continue reading “High luxury meets full power in HSV’s new 2011 Grange” »

2011 Bentley Continental GT unveiled with updates and optional V8

September 8th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

The 2011 Bentley Continental GT represents just the second generation of the popular coupe since it was introduced back in 2003. Back then it represented the first step in Bentley’s renaissance and helped define a whole new market segment. It was a luxury GT offering solid usability that retained much of Bentley’s grand touring spirit.

Now the new Continental GT 4-seat coupe builds on the success of its predecessor, with refreshed design and updated engineering, luxury, craftsmanship, dynamic performance, everyday practicality and refinement.

A  sculptured new body gives the GT coupe a more defined appearance. There are more prominent front guard lines that roll over the headlights and into a more-upright grille, a more pronounced grille treatment that pushes itself into the lower intake, LED running lamps surrounding the main headlight elements and a double-horseshoe rear-end treatment inspired by the Mulsanne.

Inside the cabin apparently offers new levels of design, comfort and hand-crafted luxury. There’s a sleeker dash and climate-controlled seats that provide more legroom. There is also a new touchscreen infotainment system featuring state-of-the-art navigation, Google Maps and entertainment while playing the tunes is the latest Balanced Mode Radiator speaker technology and Dirac Dimensions digital sound processing which delivers enhanced audio quality.

In terms of power there has been a boost in horses with Bentley’s 6-litre, 12-cylinder, twin-turbocharged powertrain raising output to 423kW and 700N of torque and this is mated to a new Quickshift transmission which enables double downshifts. Thanks to advanced FlexFuel technology it can also run on both standard unleaded petrol (gasoline) and sustainable bioethanol (up to E85) or any mix of the two.

Continue reading “2011 Bentley Continental GT unveiled with updates and optional V8” »

Ford Mondeo gets a new face for 2011

August 30th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

The old fave Ford Mondeo has just been reworked to give it a fresh face and some new engine options. Officially unveiled at the Moscow Auto Show the Mondeo is looking as sharp as ever.

Visually, the car’s lines are largely unchanged, but the details have been made sharper. Out front there’s a new front bumper with fashionable LEDs and a more prominent lip, there’s also  twin chrome trim surrounding the windows and a new rear bumper.

The interior sees some upgraded materials and new equipement. Interior lighting is done by LED illumination. Driver aids include a Lane Departure Warning system, Auto High Beam, Driver Alert, Smart Regenerative Charging and Active Grille Shutter, which opens and closes the grille aperture automatically to promote either cooling or greater aerodynamic efficiency.

Under the bonnet are some new engine options, including Ford’s all-new 2.0-liter, four-cylinder EcoBoost. The Ecobbost engine pumps out a very healthy 176kW of power and will be an option alongside the current 2.0-litre engine when the car is released. There’s also a reworked 2.2-liter Duratorq TDCi diesel producing 147kW. Continue reading “Ford Mondeo gets a new face for 2011” »

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.

2011 Nissan X-Trail updated for NZ market

August 19th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Late 2010 will see the launch of the new 2011 model Nissan X-Trail, which undergoes a series of extensive updates to maintain its position in the New Zealand SUV market.

The changes refresh X-Trail’s exterior styling; improve the interior perceived quality and functionality, as well as mechanical and aerodynamic changes. These revisions contribute to X-Trail’s improved economy and CO2 emissions.

The most obvious changes have been made to the frontal aspect of X-Trail, with completely redesigned grille, new headlights and bumper assembly. The lower part of the bumper is also angled further outwards, indicating a more solid stance.

At the rear, the X-Trail’s distinctive vertical lights have been updated to incorporate LED light technology for the running lights and braking.

In profile, the X-Trail’s stance has been updated by an increase in wheel size, with a ten-spoke 18 inch alloy wheel design which is also wider, now up to 225/55R18 in size, giving the X-Trail more stance to the road. A 17 inch alloy wheel is fitted to some variants, a new design featured for the 2011 model.

In the interior, the design has been updated with new materials and colour coordination. The materials used for the switch surrounds on the steering wheel, around the gear selector and on the door-mounted armrest have all been upgraded, while thicker, soft-touch materials have been chosen for the cloth seats.

Across the entire X-Trail range, all models now feature a 6CD in-dash autochanger with MP3 CD compatibility and auxiliary input, along with integrated Bluetooth handsfree phone system. All models feature steering wheel controls for audio, Bluetooth phone, drive computer and cruise control.

With optimised underbody aerodynamics, X-Trail’s drag coefficient is reduced from 0.36 to 0.35 and the X-Trail’s environmental impact has been lessened, with noticeable improvements in CO2 output and fuel consumption. These aerodynamic enhancements along with other improvements in the drivetrain result in fuel economy improvements of 2% for the petrol variants, and almost 9% for the diesel variants.

Full specification and pricing will be released closer to the New Zealand launch date, later this year.

Land Rover Freelander 2 gets upgraded

August 5th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Range Rover has just released official information and images of the new 2011 Land Rover Freelander 2 facelift. The facelift model is more than just a new face and will be powered by an updated 2.2-litre turbo diesel engine that’s available in two power output levels. The TD4 variant produces 110kW and 420 Nm of torque which is a 20 Nm increase over the previous version. The more powerful SD4 model develops 140kW and the same amount of torque, 420 Nm.

The 2011 Freelander 2 will be made available in Europe with both automatic and manual transmissions. Awayfrom the 4WD models, Land Rover will also be offering a two-wheel-drive version of the Freelander 2 that will become available in the UK from January 2011. Called the Freelander 2eD4, the 2WD version promises to be the most efficient Land Rover ever produced, with a 5.9l/100km fuel consumption on the combined cycle and a 158g/km CO2 emissions level. The 2eD4 will be equipped with the six-speed manual transmission and will come with Stop/Start technology as standard.

The exterior styling of the new Freelander 2 has also been reworked with a new front bumper, new headlights, and tail lamps and some new tailgate trim. The Freelander 2 will be rolling on newly designed 18- or 19-inch alloy wheels and come with three new color options.

Nissan Qashqai Ti 2010 Review

July 30th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Being named after a nomadic tribe of people it’s fitting that Nissan’s Qashqai has undergone a mid-cycle facelift and a movement towards an even more modern look. Selling in massive numbers in Europe, the small crossover has gained good traction here in NZ with 600 sales already achieved since its launch. The 2010 facelift is more a well-calculated nip and tuck than a butcher’s chop, with subtle changes both inside and out. Will the refresh move the quiet achieving Qashqai on to even greener pastures? Car and SUV spent a week living with the top-spec Ti model to find out more.

Visually, the major changes are at the Qashqai’s front where a new bumper, bonnet, honeycomb grille and headlamps distinguish it from its predecessor. The changes bring a smoother less awkward and more modern look while retaining its unique appeal.  At the rear differences are less obvious but the taillights have been replaced with new LED 2-piece units and the tailgate spoiler has been tweaked to help reduce aerodynamic drag. The Ti tested vehicle also includes front fog lamps and rolls on some nicely suited 18-inch alloy wheels. Overall the Qashqai remains a distinctive machine thanks to its bold styling but also its stocky dimensions and off road styling cues like the low black plastic mouldings and raised ground clearance.

Continue reading “Nissan Qashqai Ti 2010 Review” »

Nissan reveals facelifted 2011 X-Trail

July 12th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

The Nissan X-Trail has just been given a refresh and images have been released of the JDM-spec model. For 2011, there are some subtle design tweaks, mainly to the front end and the interior, plus equipment upgrades and a new diesel variant has been added to the range.

Fron the outside, the new 2011 X-Trail gains a redesigned front grille, front bumper and headlights, along with a rejigged rear bumper and new LED tail lamps. There’s also a new model aptly named the ‘X-Tremer’ which has unique bumpers and alloy wheels.

Inside, the X-Trail is given a redesigned instrument panel and a new larger information display system, plus additional standard features.

The diesel-powered X-Trail 20GT will now be made available with a new 6-speed automatic transmission. This 2.0-litre diesel unit outputs 170-horsepower and 360Nm / 265 lb-ft of peak torque. Nissan has also introduced a new “Advanced Hill Descent Control” fitted with a clever speed-setting function.

The 2011 X-Trail goes on sale in Japan on July 16. Check back for more information on an upcoming NZ launch of the refreshed Nissan X-Trail.

Click here to read a Car and SUV review of the current model Nissan X-Trail.