Volvo putting plug-in hybrid V60 on sale next year

October 19th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Volvo is preparing to put its V60 Plug-in Hybrid diesel car on sale in European markets from next year.

The Plug-in Hybrid has been built in close cooperation between Volvo Car Corporation and Swedish energy supplier Vattenfall.

“No industry or organisation can tackle the climate challenge all by itself. It is our mission to develop carbon dioxide-lean cars, but it is the society that is responsible for creating a sustainable future,” says Stefan Jacoby, the President and CEO of Volvo. “This project shows how cooperation between experts in different areas brings us closer to the transition from individually carbon dioxide-lean products to a climate-smart lifestyle.”

When powered solely by electricity, the V60 Plug-in Hybrid has a range of up to 50 kilometres. Continue reading “Volvo putting plug-in hybrid V60 on sale next year” »

Toyota’s larger Prius V goes on sale in Japan

May 17th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Despite severe production and supply issues after the Japanese earthquake/tsunami disaster Toyota has just put its Prius V on sale in its domestic market.

The second model in Toyota’s growing Prius range will be sold in Japan as the Prius Alpha. The new Prius V is based on the current third-generation Prius but is a larger vehicle and will be sold with seven- and five-seating capacities. It also features a much more advanced lithium-ion battery pack. Even in five-seater form, the Prius V offers an impressive 60 percent more luggage capacity than the standard Prius. It also is longer and higher which means extra head and legroom for passengers.

Mechanically the Prius V differs little from the standard model using the same 1.8 litre Atkinson-cycle petrol engine matched with an electric motor. Power output for the petrol engine is rated at 73kW and 142Nm, with the electric motor chipping in another 60kW and 207Nm of torque. Continue reading “Toyota’s larger Prius V goes on sale in Japan” »

Porsche offers another 911 variant – the Carrera 4 GTS

May 13th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Porsche fans could be forgiven for thinking the sports car maker was all done with variants of its 911 models before the next generation is officially revealed. Now it seems those fans are wrong and Porsche has one last sports machine hidden up its sleeve – the 911 Carrera 4 GTS.

The Carrera 4 GTS is an all-wheel drive version of the 911 Carrera GTS which was unveiled at the Paris Motor Show. It will be available in both Coupe and drop top formats and comes packing Porsche’s 3.8 liter inline six-cylinder unit that produces 300 kW of power and a peak torque figure of 420 Nm. The standard transmission offering is a six-speed manual gearbox with the seven-speed PDK double-clutch being an optional extra. The 0 to 100 km/h sprint is canceled out in just 4.6 seconds with the manual box and 4.8 seconds for the Cabriolet variant. Using the PDK auto transmission drops the acceleration numbers down by 0.2 seconds.

Porsche’s high-tech all-wheel drive system uses torque vectoring to send just the right amount of twisting power to the front wheels with a limited-slip differential for the rear axle. The electronically-controlled system gives the Carrera 4 GTS maximum performance and agility on the road. Continue reading “Porsche offers another 911 variant – the Carrera 4 GTS” »

All-new Nissan Micra arriving in NZ soon

October 22nd, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

The all-new Nissan Micra is on its way, and after making its Australasian debut at the Australian International Motor Show in Sydney, its New Zealand launch is drawing closer.

With some innovative packaging and modern small-car engineering, the new Nissan Micra is set to be solid value for money vehicle and should have a good level of specification and safety equipment when it goes on sale in New Zealand.

The new Micra builds on the success of its predecessor, but aims to attract a wider audience with fresh styling, spacious and fashion-aware interior and a long list of standard safety and convenience features. In New Zealand, a single powertrain option will be available in two specification grades.

Standard will be a 1.5L four-cylinder petrol engine which produces 75kW of power. When mated to the four-speed automatic transmission, fuel consumption is 6.6L/100km and emissions only 156g/km. The all-new Nissan Micra comes standard with Vehicle Dynamic Control, Anti-Lock Brakes with Electronic Brake Force Distribution and Brake Assist, as well as dual front, front side and curtain airbags on both models.

Convenience features such as a multifunction Drive Computer and air conditioning are standard, along with a unique digital anniversary reminder, remote entry, CD player, auxiliary input jack and steering wheel-mounted controls for the audio system. The top-of-the-range Micra Ti model offers extras like keyless entry and push button engine start/stop, Climate Control air conditioning, 15-inch alloy wheels, front fog lights and a unique convenience feature for female drivers – handbag storage on the front passenger’s seat.

If the front passenger seat is unoccupied, the rear section of the seat squab can be flipped forward, providing a secure well in which a bag or other small items may be stowed, to stop them rolling around in the footwell, or skidding off the seat under braking or cornering.

Continue reading “All-new Nissan Micra arriving in NZ soon” »

Mini Coupe and Roadster on sale 2011

December 11th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

After the recent unveiling of the Mini Roadster and Mini Coupe at the Frankfurt Motor Show, new reports are now suggesting both models could be in production as early as October next year and on sale early in 2011.

Around 1000 new jobs are expected to be created at MINI’s Cowley assembly plant in the UK to help build the new Minis, according to a recent report.

Mini confirmed in September that the production Coupe will make use of the same turbo-charged 1.6 litre petrol engine that drives the MINI John Cooper Works, developing 155kW and 260Nm of torque.

The Roadster is more likely to be fitted with the 126kW 1.6 litre turbocharged engine found in the Cooper S instead of the John Cooper Works-sourced unit.

Like the Coupe, the Mini Roadster Concept has a shorter bootlid and a far more reclined windscreen than the standard Mini’s body.

Unique to the Roadster is its manually-folding fabric roof, which matches the profile of the Coupe’s roofline and gives the Roadster a very low 1356mm overall height.

Mini announced back in September that it would postpone production of its other new model, expected to be named the Mini Countryman, to make room for the Roadster and Coupe.

Mini Coupe and Roadster on sale 2011

December 11th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

After the recent unveiling of the Mini Roadster and Mini Coupe at the Frankfurt Motor Show, new reports are now suggesting both models could be in production as early as October next year and on sale early in 2011.

Around 1000 new jobs are expected to be created at MINI’s Cowley assembly plant in the UK to help build the new Minis, according to a recent report.

Mini confirmed in September that the production Coupe will make use of the same turbo-charged 1.6 litre petrol engine that drives the MINI John Cooper Works, developing 155kW and 260Nm of torque.

The Roadster is more likely to be fitted with the 126kW 1.6 litre turbocharged engine found in the Cooper S instead of the John Cooper Works-sourced unit.

Like the Coupe, the Mini Roadster Concept has a shorter bootlid and a far more reclined windscreen than the standard Mini’s body.

Unique to the Roadster is its manually-folding fabric roof, which matches the profile of the Coupe’s roofline and gives the Roadster a very low 1356mm overall height.

Mini announced back in September that it would postpone production of its other new model, expected to be named the Mini Countryman, to make room for the Roadster and Coupe.