September 5th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham
Keen bumper sticker readers would have surely seen the classic “If the wagons rocking don’t come a knocking” label affixed to the occasional van. Now Citroen has brought the shagging wagon into the 21st century with its latest show car concept. The French carmaker has just revealed official images of its new concept van named the Tubik which is set for an official debut at the upcoming Frankfurt Motor Show.
The French have done more for romance than just invent pashing a.k.a French kissing, they also came up with two of the first shagging wagons – the 1939 Tub van and its replacement, the 1948 Type H that was produced up until the beginning of the 1980s. The Tubik concept pays homage to these historic machines and adds a range of modern conveniences.
The Tubik isn’t just about the horizontal action and can serve as both a commercial van and a people carrier with very usable dimensions; 4.8 metres long, 2.08m wide and 2.05m tall. The space age carrier can seat up to nine passengers in three lounge-style seats, with the driver operating in a separated compartment. As for windows – who really needs them? Continue reading “Citroën reveals Tribek concept – shagging wagon of the future” »
August 30th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham
Peugeot has revealed the striking lines of its latest concept car – the HX1 before it officially debuts at this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show. Peugeot claims the concept marks the future of crossover vehicles and can seat up to six adults.
The HX1 is certainly low-slung, it measures 4.95 metres long, 1.99 high and has a height of just 1.37 metres. Coefficient drag is a very low 0.28, making the HX1 very advanced in terms of aerodynamics. Achieving this figure is helped by clever tech in the side skirting and spoilers and also wheel blades that open up to form a flat surface.
Other tricks include five rear-hinged half-scissor doors and trick seating which can create a centre row by a set of pull out buckets integrated into the front seats.
Powering the HX1 is an all-wheel drive diesel-electric motor with a 2.2 litre HDI unit for a combined output of 220kW. The HX1 can travel up to 30km in full electric mode and has an economy rating of just 3.2-litres/100km. Continue reading “Peugeot HX1 crossover concept revealed before Frankfurt debut” »
August 19th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham
Cadillac’s smooth styled ELR Coupe has been given the green light for production. With its sharp looks and range-extending hybrid drivetrain, General Motors has high hopes for the luxury two-door.
The model was originally shown as the Cadillac Converj concept at the 2009 Detroit Motor Show, rumours have been around ever since that it would enter production. Now, development has been officially confirmed with the new model, named the ELR Coupe, heavily borrowing technology from the Chevrolet Volt.
“The concept generated instant enthusiasm,” said Don Butler, vice president-Cadillac Marketing. “Like other milestone Cadillac models of the past, the ELR will offer something not otherwise present – the combination of electric propulsion with striking design and the fun of luxury coupe driving.”
No official specs have been released but Cadillac has confirmed its ELR will use a version of the same Voltec drivetrain as the Volt, but possibly a more advanced set up. This will feature a T-shaped lithium ion battery, an electric drive unit, and a four-cylinder engine-generator. Continue reading “Cadillac confirms production for electric ELR Coupe (+video)” »
August 11th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham
Mazda has keenly championed the rotary engine since it was originally used in the 1967 Mazda Cosmo but now the future of this iconic motor is uncertain.
The Wankel rotary has powered numerous Mazdas over the years, including the RX-2, RX-3, RX-7 and finally the RX-8. Mazda even sold a rotary-powered ute between 1974 and 1977. But in 2011 the automotive landscape is much different and Mazda big wigs are currently in discussions about where to go next with the unique powerplant.
While the engine hasn’t been officially axed altogether, current economic conditions have forced Mazda to re-evaluate several programs and the rotary engine is one of the things that could be dropped. For now, the company has halted development of the engine and will focus on new SKYACTIV technologies.
Mazda still believes in the advantages of rotary power including its light weight and fewer moving parts but its weaknesses are more apparent than ever. The rotary engine doesn’t burn as clean as a piston engine, it consumes more oil and is very thirsty for petrol. In these times of emission regulations and minimal fuel usage – the rotary just doesn’t fit in. Continue reading “Mazda’s rotary engine program on death row” »
July 12th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham
Peugeot’s new 508 RXH diesel-electric hybrid has been revealed with photos and details released by the French carmaker ahead the model’s world debut at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show in September.
The RXH heralds in a new nameplate but also comes with all-wheel drive thanks to a Hybrid4 diesel electric drivetrain.
The hybrid setup features a turbocharged 2.0-litre HDi diesel engine which works with a 28kW electric motor to give a combined output of 147kW and 450Nm of torque. The diesel engine drives the front wheels while the electric motor handles business at the rear axle, allowing the 508 RXH a four-wheel drive mode. The hybrid setup also allows the wagon to run on a pure electric mode although Peugeot has not revealed the vehicle’s “zero-emissions” range. Economy is rated at 4.2 litres of diesel per 100km combined, with emissions at 109 g/km of CO2.
The 508 RXH rides on high suspension and comes with unique styling features like a bespoke front bumper with vertical LED lights, 18-inch wheels, under body plastic mouldings and chrome roof rails. Interior features include electric front seats, heads up display, a panoramic glass roof and satellite navigation. Continue reading “Peugeot reveals AWD diesel-hybrid 508 RXH wagon” »
May 30th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham
Kia Motors is about to launch its first ever global hybrid car with the introduction of the Optima Hybrid into the U.S market next month.
The Optima Hybrid uses a Kia-developed powertrain with lithium polymer batteries that won’t need replacing for up to ten years or 240,000kms.
The Optima Hybrid will be a full parallel hybrid vehicle with its 2.4-litre GDi direct injection petrol engine mated to a small electric motor driving the front wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission. A special clutch is fitted between the engine and motor, enabling the petrol engine to be de-coupled from the powertrain so that Optima can be operated in zero-emission, full-electric drive mode from standstill up to 100km/h ( 9.2 seconds) or in a co-operative electric-petrol mode at any speed.
Together, the 2.4-litre petrol engine and 40kW electric motor produce a combined power output of 154kW and 265Nm of torque and when it’s running on electric alone produces no emissions. Overall combined emissions are estimated to be 99 grams of CO2/Kilometre.
Kia says the system’s configuration does not have a requirement for a high-capacity electric motor and generator, saving weight and cost. Fuel economy is rated at 6.2L/100km in the combined cycle. This is aided by lowering the car 5mm and including an ‘active air flap’ in the front grille, smooth under-floor panels, low-drag wheels and low rolling resistance tyres. Continue reading “Kia to sell first global hybrid car – may come to NZ” »
May 26th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham
Mazda’s next rotary powered machine is often the subject of rumour and speculation with claims that the RX-Series of vehicles may end with the RX-8. But fresh reports are suggesting that there will be an RX-9 and what’s more, it will use a hybrid drivetrain borrowed from Toyota.
These latest rumours have some weight behind them because last year an agreement was signed between Mazda and Toyota that would have the Zoom-Zoom company licensing the same hybrid tech that powers the Prius. Back then, Mazda announced that its first hybrid vehicle would reach the market in 2013. But nobody really thought it would come in the form of an RX-9.
Naturally a rotary engine will still spin under the vehicle’s bonnet, but it will likely take on a low-powered form with the hybrid system adding extra grunt. Doesn’t sound so flash right? Well not when you consider the rotary motor’s traditional design flaws of weak torque at low rpm, leaky seals and high fuel consumption. If the borrowed hybrid system can solve these issues it may be what saves the rotary engine from production car extinction. Continue reading “New Mazda RX-9 could use Toyota’s hybrid drivetrain” »
May 25th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham
In 2014 Holden is on track to launch its next-generation VF Commodore and the new model comes carrying serious expectations and some new technology. Fans can expect significant savings in fuel economy, improved aerodynamics, new electric power steering and it will also be the first Aussie-built car to use mass produced aluminium panels in its construction. To remain competitive with vehicles like the Toyota Camry Hybrid, Holden’s Commodore will be saving weight wherever it can.
Total fuel savings will be in the region of 7% off the current figures of the VE Commodore range (pictured). This will drag the 9.1lt/100 km combined rating of the 3.0 L V6 SIDI down to a more acceptable 8.4 lt/100 km. The older 3.6 L Alloytec V6 will drop to 9.1 lt /100 km (26 mpg) down from its current 9.8 lt/100 km. The fuel saving measures are partly funded by the Australian federal government, which has used AU$39.8 million from the discontinued Green Car Innovation Fund.
The entire VF model’s development will apparently cost just AU$189 million which is a huge decrease on the rumoured one billion that was spent on the VE Commodore. Continue reading “New VF Holden Commodore to save weight with aluminium panels” »