The updated Hyundai i20 revealed

March 8th, 2012 by Karen Joy Provo

Hyundai has released the first images of the updated Hyundai i20, in time for the world premiere at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show this week.

The updated model features refreshed styling and enhanced equipment such as a redesigned centre console and a new 6 speed manual transmission.

The debut of the updated i20 sees the introduction of Hyundai’s fluidic sculpture form language. The revised exterior design carries the hallmarks of Hyundai styling, including the company’s signature hexagonal grille and new headlight units. Updating their own design from the original i20, the stylists at Hyundai’s European design studio have further modernised the i20 with a more contemporary profile for the front and rear bumpers, a new sculpted bonnet and new wheel designs.

In terms of dimensions, the width (1710 mm), height (1490 mm) and wheelbase (2525 mm) of updated i20 remain the same, while the length has increased by 55 mm (front 30 mm, rear 25 mm) over its predecessor to 3995 mm.

The updated Hyundai i20 is expected to arrive in New Zealand showrooms mid-2012.

ZOE The Affordable Electric Car

March 8th, 2012 by Karen Joy Provo

Renault has launched an affordable electric car, ZOE, at the Geneva Motor Show. It will go on sale in the UK – and other European markets – later this year.

ZOE features six world firsts and 60 patents in its ground breaking technology.

Designed from the ground up as an electric vehicle, ZOE packs the industry’s most advanced technology, including no fewer than six ‘world premiere’ features designed to deliver user-friendliness, range and connectivity.

No decision has been made as to whether ZOE will be launched in New Zealand as any infra structure for electric vehicles is only in its infancy.

ZOE comes in the wake of the status-enhancing Fluence Z.E. saloon, Kangoo Van Z.E. (both launched in 2011) and the innovative urban runabout Twizy to make Zero Emission mobility a reality for ordinary motorists – one of the pledges of Renault’s ‘Drive the Change’ signature.

Through its ‘Renault 2016 – Drive the Change’ plan, and thanks to its growing range of electric vehicles, along with work on its internal combustion engines, Renault has made a commitment to reduce its global carbon footprint by 10 per cent by 2013, and by a further 10 per cent between 2013 and 2016. The fruit of this strategy can now be seen on the street.

Renault’s new design strategy is now visible with ZOE’s new front-end styling signature.

“ZOE will be the spearhead of the Renault Z.E. range and the version on show at Geneva represents the model’s final design. In addition to its compact size, attractive styling and affordable price tag, it showcases Renault’s technological excellence when it comes to electric vehicles. ZOE also heralds the beginning of a new era of electric mobility for all and confirms our commitment to electric vehicles. It marks an important step for Renault which has a 110-year history of making major innovations a concrete reality for ordinary motorists.” Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Renault

Zoe will be the first mass-market electric vehicle with a range of more than 200 kms. It is equipped as standard with ‘Range OptimiZEr, a system designed to improve real-world range under all driving conditions. For example, in suburban use the owner will achieve between 100 and 150 kms.

Zoe is the first electric vehicle capable of being charged at any level of power from 3 kWs to 43 kWs – in between 30 minutes and nine hours – thanks to the Chameleon charger.

It is the first electric vehicle to enable the massive roll-out of fast-charging stations, which are easier and up to four times cheaper for local governments and it is the first Renault vehicle to be presented with Renault R-Link, a multimedia system featuring a seven-inch touch screen tablet, navigation and connected services.

Zoe’s price is comparable to that of a diesel-engined city car in markets where tax incentives are available, as low as UK13,650 sterling with tax incentives. Even in countries where tax incentives are not currently available, prices for ZOE are still attractive. In Switzerland, ZOE’s catalogue price is 22,800 Swiss francs with no Government support for electric or hybrid vehicles.

In the UK, monthly battery hire costs from $NZ140 (14,500 kms/36 month contract), inclusive of comprehensive breakdown assistance (which covers flat batteries).

More than 60 patents have been filed for ZOE’s design. Range, interactivity and occupant wellbeing are at the core of its innovations.

In terms of autonomy, Renault has developed the ‘Range OptimiZEr’, which combines three major innovations (new-generation regenerative braking, a heat pump and MICHELIN EnergyTM E-V tyres).

New-generation regenerative braking recovers practically all of the energy otherwise wasted during braking, without any significant impact on ZOE’s on-road dynamics. The car offers a smooth drive with no jarring electric motor braking. The system works in two ways:

– The kinetic energy produced under deceleration and braking is recovered by the motor so that it can be converted into electricity to charge the battery. This feature is also fitted to Fluence Z.E. and Kangoo Z.E.
– When the driver presses the brake pedal, the system intelligently distributes the braking effort between applying the brake pads and the electric motor brake with a view to maximising the use of the electric motor brake and charging of the battery.

The heat pump provides excellent thermal comfort without detracting from the vehicle’s range. This system, which operates in the same way as reverse-cycle air-conditioning, consumes very little electricity. It produces warm or cool air by simply reversing the cycle of operation. The heat pump generates approximately 2kW of cooling or 3kW of heat with just 1kW of electricity. The cabin temperature is also more constant since it is not affected by the heat given off by the motor.

The MICHELIN EnergyTM E-V tyre is a Michelin innovation co-developed with Renault as a world premiere for ZOE. The tyre features enhanced energy efficiency to maximise vehicle range. Its rubber compound, tread design and sidewalls have been engineered to withstand ZOE’s high torque and address the specific demands of electric vehicles, yet it still delivers the same safety and handling performance as all other Michelin tyres. Available in 15- and 16-inch versions, this tyre is fitted to all ZOE models as core equipment.

ZOE is the only electric vehicle to feature the Chameleon charger. Patented by Renault, this charger is compatible with all power levels up to 43kW. Charging batteries at a charging station can take between 30 minutes and nine hours. For example, ZOE can be charged in an hour at 22kW. This intermediate power level extends battery life and puts less pressure on the power grid than the fast-charging of batteries at 43kW.

The Chameleon charger allows fast-charging at charging stations at quarter of the cost.

ZOE is the first Renault vehicle to feature R-Link, Renault’s brand-new integrated, connected multimedia system. To enable drivers to control its functions without taking their eyes off the road, R-Link features a large seven-inch display, steering wheel-mounted controls and voice recognition. It also delivers integrated connectivity with motoring services and applications available from the R-Link Store. When released, R-Link Store will offer more than 50 applications adapted for life on the move thanks to an active partnership with application developers. These apps will be downloadable directly inside the car or via owners’ My Renault account.

R-Link also includes a host of new functions dedicated to electric driving and range management: tracking of energy consumption, display of energy flows and pre-programming of battery charging. The navigation system offers bespoke services such as a display of the vehicle’s operating radius based on the range remaining in the battery, suggestions for the most energy-efficient itineraries and the location of nearby battery charging stations (depending on country), as well as their real-time availability. R-Link also lets drivers view their eco-driving performance and improve their technique with ‘eco-scoring’ and tips (general and personalised).

Driving ZOE is a unique experience which gives new meaning to the term ‘driving pleasure’. The synchronous electric motor with rotor coil has a power output of 65kW and instantly delivers maximum torque of 220Nm. Acceleration and pull-away are responsive from low speeds. Driving is more relaxing thanks to the silent ride and smooth, gearshift-free acceleration.

For stress-free driving in built-up areas, ZOE is fitted with ‘Z.E. Voice’, an alarm which warns pedestrians that the vehicle is approaching. ‘Z.E. Voice’ can be heard from 1 to 18 mph and was the subject of special design work to create a bespoke sound identity for ZOE. The driver can choose between three different sounds, while it is possible to turn off the warning system by simply pressing a button.

Programmable pre-conditioning heats or cools ZOE’s cabin when the vehicle is charging. There are two benefits for the system. Firstly, when the driver gets into the car the cabin is just the right temperature and secondly, it removes the need to use up battery charge.

An activated charcoal cabin air filter traps most bad smells and pollutants. It also filters substances just a few microns in size, such as pollen and soot.

Like all electric vehicles, ZOE emits no CO2, NOx, CO or fine particles. It also signals the loss of unpleasant smells and ‘engine’ noise during road use. Well-to-wheel CO2 emissions depend on the energy-generation mix of each country. Emissions total 62 g/km of CO2 in Europe, versus 89 g/km for the new Toyota Prius. They are even lower in France at just 12 g/km of CO2.

ZOE complies with the very latest criteria required to qualify for the Renault eco² signature. It is manufactured at Renault’s ISO 14001-certified factory at Flins, France.
As required by Renault’s eco-friendly hallmark, its CO2 emissions are less than 120g/km. ZOE is 85 per cent recyclable, while nine per cent of the plastic it contains is sourced from recycling.

DIMENSIONS
Length (mm) 4,084
Overall width (mm) 1,730
Height (unladen) (mm) 1,568
Wheelbase (mm) 2,588
Boot capacity (litres) 338
Number of seats 5
Front / rear overhang (mm) 836 / 661
Front / rear track (mm) 1,506 / 1,489

MOTOR
Type – Synchronous with rotor coil
Power 65 kWs
Maximum torque 220 Nm
Transmission – Reducer gear

BATTERY
Type – Lithium-ion
Capacity 22 kWs
Range (NEDC) 200 kms
Top speed 135 km/h

CHARGER
Type – Single or three phase supply up to 43kW
Charge time – 3kW (16A single phase wall box) = 9 hours
22kW (32A three-phase charging station) = 1 hour
43kW (63A three-phase charging station) = 30 minutes

Next-generation i30 range to expand at Geneva

March 8th, 2012 by Karen Joy Provo

Ahead of the world debut at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show this week, the next-generation i30 Wagon has broken cover. The wagon is the second member of the next-generation i30 family, and joins the five-door hatchback to broaden the appeal of Hyundai’s small car range.

The stylish wagon has a longer body to create a significant increase in luggage space without compromising the model’s dynamic styling.

The wagon’s overall length is increased by 185 mm over its five-door sibling to 4485 mm, making it one of the most accommodating vehicles in the small segment, and 10 mm longer than the original i30 Wagon.

Compared with the five-door, the wagon expands luggage space from 378-litres to 528-litres – and with the rear passenger seats folded down, cargo volume increases more than three-fold, to 1,642 -litres.

Like its hatchback sibling, the next-generation i30 wagon was designed and engineered at Hyundai’s European R&D Centre in Rüsselsheim, Germany. The wagon was developed alongside the hatchback form from the earliest stages, enabling the stylists to fashion a coherent design that bears a strong family resemblance inspired by Hyundai’s fluidic sculpture design language.

As with the five-door variant, the front is distinguished by Hyundai’s hexagon-shaped grille and jewel-like headlights, but from the B-pillar backwards the wagon differs significantly. The roofline extends rearwards over the flexible passenger/cargo area, sloping to add dynamism to the car’s stance in keeping with the fluidic sculpture ethos of a stationary car appearing to be in motion.

Further enhancing the wagon’s dynamic appearance, a pronounced crease line runs horizontally along the sides of the body and rises all the way to the tail lights. The rear windscreen wraps around the D-pillars, enhancing the light and spacious interior and benefiting visibility. The deep tailgate gives the car a clean look and opens to bumper-level for easy loading.

Hyundai New Zealand has yet to confirm whether the i30 Wagon is available to the New Zealand market, and is under validation for the New Zealand market at this stage.

XF Sportbrake to debut at Geneva motor show

March 2nd, 2012 by Karen Joy Provo

Jaguar has revealed details of the XF Sportbrake, a truly versatile derivative of the multi award-winning XF saloon, which will make its public debut at the Geneva Motor Show this month.

Entirely new from the B-pillars backwards, the XF Sportbrake represents a compelling combination of muscular yet elegant design, dynamic ability, contemporary interior luxury and, with a load-space capacity of up to 1675 litres, a no-compromise approach to practicality.

The XF Sportbrake extends Jaguar’s design leadership in a new direction to create a desirable, premium estate with remote-fold levers dropping the 60:40 split rear seats (with integral ski-hatch) to create up to 1675 litres of load-space.

It is a full five-seater with an additional 48mm of rear headroom compared to the XF sedan. New rear air suspension allows for self-leveling while load carrying with no dynamic penalty.

Jaguar’s Adaptive Dynamics System – which continuously monitors the suspension and can adjust damping rates accordingly up to 500 times a second – is available on all XF Sportbrake derivatives.

The tailgate features ‘soft-close’ as standard, and can be specified with fully powered open/close functionality while acclaimed premium-quality interior materials used in the cabin are also a feature of the load-space.

The XF Sportbrake will be available with both Aero and Black styling packs from launch for additional on-the-road presence.

Jaguar’s refined, powerful and efficient range of four- and six-cylinder turbo-diesel engines will drive the Sportbrake, which matches the XF saloon for aerodynamics, torsional stiffness and dynamic handling ability.

A range of accessories – both internally mounted by floor rails and externally by roof rails – extends the versatility of the XF Sportbrake still further.

No decision has been made yet whether the XF Sportbrake will be launched in New Zealand.

“The XF epitomizes the Jaguar sporting dynamic with its combination of innovative, seductive design and performance. In the XF Sportbrake this is complemented by a no-compromise approach to practicality and versatility,” said Adrian Hallmark, Jaguar’s Global Brand Director.
The XF Sportbrake builds on the extensive refresh received by the XF saloon for the 2012 model year which saw it adopt a more assertive appearance in line with the flagship XJ model – including striking new lightblade headlamp technology.

Befitting the XF Sportbrake’s perfect balance between usability and beauty, it is powered exclusively by Jaguar’s range of powerful, refined and efficient diesel engines, driving the rear wheels via an eight-speed automatic gearbox. The 2.2-litre engine is fitted with Jaguar’s Intelligent Stop-Start system, making it the company’s most efficient powertrain to date, while the 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 is available in two states of tune, with 202 kWs and 600 Nm of torque in the range-topping Diesel S.

The Jaguar design philosophy is based on the smooth, uninterrupted flow of lines that lead the eye along and around the vehicle and this is readily apparent in the XF Sportbrake which, despite sharing an identical wheelbase with the saloon, is imbued with even greater presence.

The first of these elegantly simple feature lines begins in the propeller-inspired blades fitted to the side air intakes, leading the eye into the lower wing crease and then along the sills of the car and around the rear bumper. The second feature line runs up from the outer edge of the same intakes, defining the edges of the front wings before wrapping the entire way around the car, creating the XF Sportbrake’s muscular shoulder line.

Sharing the same new lightblade headlamp technology as the saloon, the XF Sportbrake also adopts the new, more upright grille and purposeful bonnet, giving it an enhanced ‘rear-view mirror’ recognition factor. The lights themselves feature bi-function HID xenon technology and LED daytime-running lights arranged in a distinctive Jaguar ‘J-Blade’ pattern.

From the leading edges of the grille, strong feature lines rise over the bonnet, then seamlessly into the A-pillars and over the roof, defining the load area before flowing down to form the slope of the tailgate and rear bumper. The roofline itself is echoed by polished roof rails (when specified) that add both functionality as well as a strong feature element. The signature Jaguar side window graphic is here seen in its most elegant and elongated form stretched backwards to the rear windscreen like a taut bowstring and highlighted with a brightly polished finish.

The XF Sportbrake is also available with two optional exterior design packages that serve to further strengthen the assertiveness of its appearance. The Aero Pack (standard on the ‘S’ model) adds a deeper front bumper, side sills and rear valance plus a rear spoiler enhancement – a tailgate spoiler being standard on all models. The Black Pack replaces the exterior bright finishes with gloss black and pairs them with similarly finished alloy wheels to create new colour combinations that are subtly distinctive and eye-catching.

“Creating the Sportbrake was a great opportunity for us to extend the XF’s design aesthetic. The flow and connection of lines that lead the eye around the car result in an entirely practical estate car consistent with Jaguar’s reputation for drama and elegance,” says Wayne Burgess, Studio Director, Jaguar Design.

As with the exterior, the cabin of the XF has been upgraded to ensure it retains that essential Jaguar appeal, creating a sense of sporting luxury by using the finest combinations of premium quality, crafted materials, complemented by the use of intuitive technology.

A centrally-mounted touch-screen offers control of the navigation system and a range of other functions, while the switchgear features new soft-touch matt black paint and a soft phosphor blue illumination theme throughout. The metallic Aurora finish to the majority of the brightwork complements new aluminium and veneer accents. More sculpted, heavily bolstered front seats introduced for the 2012 model year hint at the dynamic potential of the car and feature a ‘racetrack’ design device that creates a sporting bucket seat aesthetic.

For the XF Sportbrake, entirely new rear seats, which allow generous seating for five features an integral ski hatch and a 60:40 split. Rear passengers also enjoy an additional 48mm of headroom.

Remote-fold levers allow the rear seats to be folded down with just one touch to provide an uninterrupted load surface that is 1970mm in length. The practicality of the XF Sportbrake’s load-space is further enhanced by its width which allows, for instance, sideways stowage of golf clubs.

The load-space displays Jaguar’s typical attention to detail as it is trimmed in materials identical in quality to the XF Sportbrake’s cabin. The central portion of the load-space floor can be lifted to reveal an extra, hidden storage compartment and can also fold and lock into position to quickly and easily divide up the bay.

The practicality of the load-space is extended through the inclusion of a floor rail system, which allows the quick fitment and release, for example, of optional nets and retaining bars to compartmentalise the space. A wide range of accessories engineered for the XF Sportbrake will allow owners to extend its versatility still further by organising or extending its carrying capacity.

A tow bar can also be specified – when not needed the tow-hitch can be removed quickly, stored in a dedicated stowage space inside the boot, and replaced with a rear valance cover to disguise its mounting point. When fitted with the tow bar, the XF Sportbrake’s Trailer Sway Mitigation system is activated. This uses the car’s Anti-Lock Braking and stability control systems to reduce the risk of ‘snaking’ when towing.

“Jaguar is rightly praised for its design-led products but in creating the XF Sportbrake we were careful to ensure that this was balanced with the engineering integrity required to create an estate car that is as usable as it is enjoyable,” said Andrew Whyman, Chief Programme Engineer, Jaguar XF.

Every derivative of the XF Sportbrake is fitted as standard with self-leveling air suspension at the rear to replace the coil springs fitted to the saloon. This system has been developed and tuned by Jaguar’s chassis engineers to offer the same linear responses and ensure the XF Sportbrake offers identical dynamic attributes in terms of ride and handling as the saloon while keeping the car level even when fully laden.

The intuitive use of driving technology is also evident in the XF Sportbrake via safety features including Adaptive Front Lighting, which deflects headlamp beam into corners, while intelligent high beam functionality automatically switches between low and high beam when appropriate.

Adaptive Cruise Control enables the XF Sportbrake to monitor vehicles around it, automatically braking should a slower vehicle be ahead, then resuming set speed once the road is clear. Operating in conjunction with Adaptive Cruise Control is an Intelligent Emergency Brake system which, in the event of detecting the necessity for a severe stop, applies maximum optimal braking force.

“The XF Sportbrake matches the saloon in both aerodynamics and torsional stiffness. The use of air suspension has allowed us to create a car that captures the unique Jaguar combination of refinement and outstanding dynamic abilities regardless of its load,” says Mike Cross, Chief Engineer, Vehicle Integrity.

XF SPORTBRAKE DIMENSIONS
Length: 4966mm
Width (inc. mirrors): 2077mm
Width (exc. mirrors): 1877mm
Wheelbase: 2909mm
Front track: 1559mm
Rear track: 1605mm
Load-space maximum length: 1970mm
Load-space minimum width: 1064mm
Load-space maximum volume: 1675 litres
Load-space volume behind rear seats, under tonneau: 550 litres
Permitted trailer load, braked: 1850kg

V40 to debut at Geneva Show

February 29th, 2012 by Karen Joy Provo

Volvo Cars will reveal the all-new Volvo V40 at the Geneva Motor Show next week.

The all-new V40 is designed to take on the competition in the Premium Hatchback class with sharpened features and characteristics from larger Volvos wrapped in a sleek, compact package.

“The all-new V40 is the first new model that is fully developed according to our human-centric, Designed Around You strategy. Charged with an outstanding set of high-tech features it definitely will give our toughest competitors a headache,” says Stefan Jacoby, President and CEO of Volvo Car Corporation.

Volvo, with the regular launch of striking new models, was the fastest growing luxury car brand in the world in 2011. The V40 is expected to continue that momentum as it comes on stream progressively from June. Its New Zealand launch is expected in the last quarter.

The V40 is a modern, expressive car with a Scandinavian luxury look and feel, a high-quality aura and meticulous attention to detail. The new, fully graphic instrument cluster with personalised layout and Continue reading “V40 to debut at Geneva Show” »

New Morgan Plus 8 leaks out before Geneva debut

October 21st, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Word has leaked out early that Morgan will be releasing a new version of the its Plus 8 ahead of next year’s Geneva Motor Show.

The reworked Plus 8 sports car will feature wheels borrowed from the Series IV Aero 8 along with air conditioning as standard equipment. Those who love their retro-styling but don’t like manual transmissions will now be offered an automatic transmission. Otherwise, the vehicle remains fairly close to what we’ve come to expect from the iconic 8. The new model will be offered in a total of eight colors along with various wood finishes on the interior.

According to unconfirmed reports the new Morgan 8 will cost around £71,000 ($141,500 NZ). Final production figures on the Plus 8 models is unknown but it’s likely the production run will be limited.

Perena Z-One by Zagato to finally enter production

May 16th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Zagato has been one busy Italian design house in recent times with new and upcoming models like its smoking hot TZ3 Stradale, and the much anticipated work it’s doing with Aston Martin.

Now, it would appear that another sexy Zagato-bodied sports car can is set to join the party. If the reports are to be believed the Perena Z-One concept is now ready for production and UK delivers will commence later this year.

The Z-One is a dead set stunner and car enthusiasts may recall it debuted back in March 2009 at the Geneva Motor Show. It was a stand out concept at the show, but has since fallen off the radar. Apparently, the custom chassis on the Z-One has been set up by Lee Noble – the man behind a variety of cottage-industry sportscars wearing names like Ultima, Ascari, Rosion, Fenix and, naturally, the Noble brand itself. The Perena Z-One will be powered by a 442-hp GM LS3 V8 and with that sort of motor, performance will be brisk.

Expect more details to be released shortly.

Kia preparing to build Rio hot hatch

March 15th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Who doesn’t like hot hatches? Not many people, especially not in Europe where cars like the Volkswagen Golf GTI and Ford Focus ST/RS are hot property and the hot hatch segment is still growing.

Not surprisingly, Kia, who has recently shaken things up in many other areas of the car market, is now reportedly considering launching its own hot hatch. Kia’s entry into this performance arena will be based on the recently revealed 2012 Kia Rio.

According to recent reports, Kia’s marketing and product planning chief, Benny Oeyen, said a sportier version of the new Rio could help boost Kia’s image, especially in the UK where hot hatches are most popular. Other variants Oeyen hinted at during the interview included a convertible and coupe.

It’s no secret that Kia plans to launch a sporty three-door version of its new Rio, as well as the already revealed five-door hatch and a sedan. The car Kia took to the 2011 Geneva Motor Show was also fitted with large alloy wheels, hinting at some performance potential and hot hatch styling.

The first examples of this latest Rio are expected to be powered by a 1.6-litre direct injection gasoline engine producing 102 kW, but it’s likely a more powerful version with a 1.8 or even a 2.0-litre unit could prepare the Rio to take on more established hot hatch competitors. Continue reading “Kia preparing to build Rio hot hatch” »

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