Mitsubishi teases Concept Global Small ahead of debut

January 20th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The 2011 Geneva Motor Show isn’t on until March but carmakers are already warming us up with previews of their latest concepts. Mitsubishi has now come to the party and released the first image of the Concept Global Small, ahead of its official debut.

While the name seems a touch unoriginal, the CGS is based on the notions of compact size, affordability and high fuel-efficiency. It features a modern, attractive design with distinctive headlights, a sloping roofline, and flush-mounted door handles.  In the cabin, clever use of space should ensure the cabin can comfortably seat five occupants.

At this stage the CGS is technically a concept vehicle but will possibly be the new Colt/Mirage, which is scheduled for production in March 2012. It will be built in Thailand and will be challenging for class-leading fuel efficiency as well as CO2 emissions.

Detailed specifications haven’t been announced, but the concept vehicle will use a 1.0 or 1.2-litre gasoline engine with a regenerative braking system, a stop-start mechanism to decrease fuel consumption and a thrifty CVT gearbox. The concept has also been trimmed of as much weight as possible and is given a highly aerodynamic body shape. Continue reading “Mitsubishi teases Concept Global Small ahead of debut” »

Mazda Minagi concept car uncovered before Geneva debut

January 19th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Like so many concept cars the Mazda Minagi may never see production but that doesn’t mean it’s not an important machine for the Japanese carmaker. The Minagi design will likely influence many of Mazda’s next-generation of production cars and one look at the front shows that Mazda’s new ‘Shinari’ design language is already in full bloom.

If the Minagi is produced, it will be positioned below the CX-7 within Mazda’s lineup. In fact, test mules for this new small CUV have already been spotted testing. Provisionally called the CX-5, Mazda is showing genuine intent to build a smaller crossover machine.

Little else is known about the Minagi concept vehicle at this stage but official information is expected to be released leading up to the Geneva Motor Show in March. Continue reading “Mazda Minagi concept car uncovered before Geneva debut” »

Kia releases teaser images of 2012 Picanto

December 14th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Few carmakers have worked as hard as Kia in the past few years. The Korean company has got busy earning credibility and sales in seemingly all market sectors. Kia is no longer seen as a no-frills brand and now offers higher quality products with attractive styling, but the Picanto is still waiting to join the party with a new model. There has been updates in the past couple of years but it hasn’t been enough. Now Kia is preparing the next-generation model and it is already looking sharp.

With a debut scheduled for the Geneva Motor Show next March, Kia has released a couple of stylised sketches of what we might expect from the new Picanto. If the new model can carry over even half of the edgy styling from these sketches, the Picanto could be reborn as a true player in the city car market.

Click here to read a Car and SUV review of the current model Kia Picanto.

Rinspeed previews quirky BamBoo concept

December 2nd, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Rinspeed the slick Swiss design house that has already brought the motoring world some seriously funky creations, has just revealed its latest creation – the BamBoo.

Being prepared to debut at the Geneva Motor Show next year, the BamBoo is part golf cart, part eco machine. As the name might suggest many of the interior components have been constructed from bamboo fibres. ¨¨What exactly is the purpose of the BamBoo? Rinspeed offers this explanation in its official press release:

“This open-top vehicle awakens the longing for sun, summer, for lightness and easiness, the desire to be at the beach. It is a reminiscence of the Seventies, of the south of France and St. Tropez. And one would expect to find Brigitte Bardot behind the wheel with playboy Gunther Sachs at her side heading towards Tahiti beach.”

Sounds awesome, but still gives no real details to what the BamBoo is all about, including powertrain, interior accommodations and any plans for serious production (unlikely). All should be revealed at the Geneva Motor Show in March. Continue reading “Rinspeed previews quirky BamBoo concept” »

Lagonda crossover canned in favour of larger Rapide-based sedan

September 7th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Aston Martin has been a bit unsure about how to best use its Lagonda nameplate which has been worn by various four-door models during the brands history.

Recently Aston could have badged its Rapide four-door sedan as a Lagonda model, but chose not to. Instead, the Lagonda badge was resurrected for a quite bizzare crossover concept that was poorly received at its unveiling at the 2009 Geneva Motor Show.

After the Geneva Motor Show reports indicated that the Lagonda concept was heading back to the design studio in an attempt to make it less offensive. Now, new reports indicate a different approach altogether. Apparently the crossover has been scrapped entirely, but there are still plans for that Lagonda badge.

In response to customer complaints that the Rapide was lacking in rear-seat legroom, Aston Martin is now planning to enlarge its four-door coupe into a more accommodating body that will use the Lagonda name. Sources state that the sedan’s arrival is at least four years away, so long-legged passengers will have to keep waiting to enjoy decent rear legroom in an Aston Martin vehicle.

Citroen SM celebrates 40th Anniversary

March 15th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Citroën’s high performance coupe, the SM, is currently celebrating its 40th birthday.

The luxury sports tourer, an alliance between Citroën and Maserati, was first unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show on 11th March 1970 – 40 years ago.

Technically innovative, with a dynamic, yet supremely comfortable ride experience, the Citroën SM was highly regarded for its futuristic styling, prestigious quality, ‘magic-carpet’ suspension and outstanding performance – a unique combination of characteristics not available in any other car at the time.

Officially recognised as a truly exceptional vehicle in the early 1970’s, the SM placed third in the European Car of the Year Awards in 1971 – the winner was Citroën’s GS.  The SM also received the Motor Trend Car of the Year Award in the US in 1972.

Powered by a Maserati V6 engine, the SM was one of the fastest front-wheel drive cars of its day, with a top speed in excess of 220km/h (137mph).  A competitive performer in motorsport, the SM won its first race at the Morocco Rally in 1971.

Pioneering innovative technology, the SM introduced a new type of variable assist power-steering, which made it easier to manoeuvre at lower speeds and provided greater resistance at higher speeds for improved control and handling.

The car also featured hydro-pneumatic suspension with automatic height correction and six headlamps with automatic levelling.  Four power-assisted disc brakes, with independent front and rear circuits, automatically adjusted brake power according to vehicle load and weight distribution.

Renowned SM owners have included U.S. comedian Jay Leno (who owns one of almost everything), Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts, author Graham Greene and actor Lee Majors.  French Presidents from Georges Pompidou to

Jacques Chirac used two specially modified 4-door convertible ‘presidentielle’ models, created by coach builder Henri Chapron.

Click on the link below to see more images of the Citroen SM.

Continue reading “Citroen SM celebrates 40th Anniversary” »

Volvo S60 arriving in NZ end of 2010

March 10th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

The Volvo S60 is a sedan with coupe styling and has officially been launched at the Geneva Motor Show. The medium sized prestige model will go on sale in Europe in the middle of the year and reach New Zealand at the end of 2010.

It is being labeled as Volvo’s most sporting saloon yet and is ready to compete against several German brands with its combination of sharp design, advanced safety features, while apparently offering more driving pleasure from a Volvo than ever before.

The S60’s design has a flowing organic shape to emphasise its dynamic ability.

The S60 will be available with a number of petrol and turbo diesel engines ranging between 1.6 and three litres. There will be manual and automatic transmissions and All Wheel Drive will be optional on some models. However, no final decision has been made yet on what power trains will be used in the New Zealand market cars.

The S60 will also debut Volvo’s Pedestrian detection system with automatic braking. Sensors can detect pedestrians in front of the moving car and brake to avoid hitting them if the driver does not take evasive action at speeds up to 35 km/h. At higher speeds the system will reduce the impact speed as much as possible.

S60 also comes with Volvo’s City Safety technology, which is designed to avoid or minimise the impact of collisions with other vehicles in front of the car. Other safety features include Dynamic Stability and traction control, with an additional corner traction control system and rollover protection system.

The S60 interior is set to be the most advanced high tech environment ever offered to a Volvo driver.

“The interior of the all new S60 is all about innovative design in two areas: form and technology. The design is characterised by sporty freshness down to the smallest detail. The technological aspect includes all those smart solutions that contribute to a driving experience unlike that of any other Volvo — from collision avoidance safety and comfort systems to infotainment and audio excellence of absolute world class” says Tomas Ahlborg, Project Director for the all new S60.

In the cabin there is more rear seat legroom than the current S60, while the instruments and Volvo’s now trade mark centre stack are angled towards the driver.
The sport’s front seats have more lateral support than before and the boot opening has been made 107mm wider than in the previous generation S60.

As part of Volvo’s marketing of the S60, goatskin driving gloves will be available as an accessory, with the same stitching and finish as the upholstery. And for the ladies there are three choices of nail polish to match the car’s exterior colour.

Click the link below to see images of the new Volvo S60.

Continue reading “Volvo S60 arriving in NZ end of 2010” »

Subaru Impreza XV arriving in NZ mid year

March 5th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Subaru’s newest model, the Impreza XV, which has just been launched at the Geneva Motor Show, will be available in New Zealand towards the middle of the year.

The Impreza XV isn’t a totally street-focussed machine and will apparently combine road performance with recreational styling.

Only one engine will be available a two-litre model with the choice of manual or automatic transmission and naturally symmetrical All Wheel Drive will be standard.

Among the features unique to Impreza XV are wheel arch extensions, roof rails, grille, and interior trim. Black wheel arch flares and side sills give the Impreza XV an off-road look. A large rear spoiler extends down both sides of the rear window, while black aluminium roof rails feature up top.

Suspension spring and damper rates are slightly firmer than the standard Impreza models, while retaining a quality ride. The Impreza XV sits on 16-inch alloy wheels with 205/55R16 tyres.

New Zealand versions will be optimized for local conditions by having a greater ride height than the European specification cars shown in Geneva

Standard safety features will include Vehicle Dynamics Control with ABS brakes, Electronic Brake-force Distribution and Brake Assist. There are six air bags and Subaru’s patented ring shaped reinforcement frame body shell.

Complete specification details and pricing will be announced at the time of the Impreza XV’s launch in New Zealand.