Maserati details ambitious plans for new model range

July 28th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Maserati has detailed its ambitious plans to shift up a gear and increase annual sales to 50,000 units. There are new products that will push the growth with concepts scheduled to debut at the upcoming Frankfurt motor show.

What Maserati expect to become its volume seller is an all-new entry-level sedan (code-named the M157) it may be launched as early as next year and will compete directly with the Audi A6, BMW 5-Series and Mercedes E-Class. Expect luxury appointment on the inside but a Chrysler-sourced engine under the bonnet. The rumoured power source is a turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 – based on the current Chrysler 3.6-litre V6 and alternatively, a 224 kW 3.0-litre V6 diesel currently shared with the Jeep Grand Cherokee. The new sedan is expected to cost between €55,000 to €70,000. Continue reading “Maserati details ambitious plans for new model range” »

Renault facelifts Koleos SUV for 2012

June 24th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Renault has just revealed the facelift version of its Koleos SUV for the 2012 model year.

The refreshed Koleos features a thoroughly revised front end with a new chrome grille and slimmer, sportier headlamps. The side mirrors now include LED turn indicators.

In terms of power the Koloes will be built with three engine variants. Two diesel mills, the dCi 150 with a 110kW power output and the dCi 175 which pumps out 129kW.  For petrol fans there is a 125kW TR25 petrol engine that completes the small range. Exactly what Koleos variants will be offered in the NZ market hasn’t been announced.

The Koleos will continue to be built as either a 4×4 all-wheel drive or a 4×2 front drive model. There’s also a new colour on the Koleos palette, Cayenne Orange as pictured. Continue reading “Renault facelifts Koleos SUV for 2012” »

Chinese brand Chery to launch in NZ with two models

April 1st, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Chinese carmaker Chery Automotive is about to make its launch into the New Zealand vehicle market with its J11 SUV and J1 hatchback.

Chery is China’s largest independent vehicle manufacturer. It has five car assembly lines, two engine plants and one transmission plant that combined to produce over 680,000 cars in 2010. Chery is also a prolific exporter of vehicles from China, exporting over 40% of all vehicles sold out of China in 2010. Total exports of Chery vehicles now amount to almost 500,000 units with cars and components sold into 80 countries.

Now it’s NZ’s turn to receive Chery vehicles with the J11 SUV and J1 hatch leading the way.

The J11 is a 2.0-litre compact 2WD SUV available with either manual or automatic transmission. Its features include leather trimmed seats, air conditioning, power windows, MP3 compatible four speaker stereo, power mirrors, 16” alloy wheels and remote keyless entry.

The J11’s 2.0 litre engine produces 102Kw power and 182Nm of torque, while safety features include ABS, EBD, dual airbags and front seatbelt pre-tensioners.

Retail price for the J11 is $21,990 plus on road costs with the automatic transmission a $2000 option.

The Chery J1 is a 1.3 litre manual five door hatchback with a retail price of $12,990 plus on road costs. This J1 is set to be NZ’s cheapest car when it goes on sale.

Standard equipment on the Chery J1 includes power steering, air-conditioning, alloy wheels, power windows, MP3 compatible four speaker stereo, power mirrors and remote keyless entry. Safety features include dual airbags, ABS, EBD and front seatbelt pre-tensioners. Continue reading “Chinese brand Chery to launch in NZ with two models” »

2011 Ford Territory – first teaser image revealed

December 15th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Ford Australia has given blue oval fans a treat today with the first teaser image of the new-look 2011 Territory. Due out in around six month’s time the new Territory is set to breath life back into the well aged name plate.

First launched back in 2004 the current Territory is based on the underpinnings of the Falcon sedan and has only received subtle updates throughout its long production life. Now Ford Australia has committed to the Territory until at least 2016.

The new 2011 Territory will continue to make use of the Falcon platform but will use updated global styling inside and out, plus a number of new technologies, including the introduction of turbo-diesel power.

“The Ford Territory set a new benchmark when it was first released and it is set to achieve this again — and more,” said Bob Graziano, President and CEO of Ford Australia. “This is an exceptional SUV. It wears an exciting new look and will boast an extensive list of technical highlights. The Ford Australia team is taking the Territory to an all-new level of performance, refinement and quality, and customers will definitely experience these advancements when they drive it.”

Ford hasn’t released official details on powertrain options for the new Territory but the company had previously announced that the updated Territory would benefit from the introduction of the Ford and Peugeot-Citroen PSA co-developed 2.7-litre V6 turbo diesel motor. It’s also likely that Ford will make use of its 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder EcoBoost engine in this application, as the new powerplant has already been confirmed for the Australian market Falcon. Continue reading “2011 Ford Territory – first teaser image revealed” »

Porsche confirms smaller ‘Cajun’ SUV for production

December 1st, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Rumours of a smaller Porsche SUV have been circulating the web for years now but Porsche has finally ended speculation and officially green-lighted its entry-level Cajun crossover.

Designed to increase sales volumes and attract new, younger customers, the Cajun will be an “efficient and sporty model” with design goals of “typical Porsche features such as light weight, ease of handling and agility.” The new crossover will share a platform with the Audi Q5 and feature styling influenced by VW design boss Walter de’ Silva. It will be given sportier themes and priced around five to ten percent higher than the Audi.

The Cajun is expected to be launched in 2014 and will be a direct and fierce competitor for the Mercedes GLK, BMW X3, and Land Rover Evoque.

Click here to read a Car and SUV review of the 2011 Porsche Cayenne

Return of the Rambo Lambo – new Lamborghini SUV planned

November 12th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

The Internet is rife with rumour and speculation that Lamborghini may be preparing another entry into the lucrative SUV market. The previous Lambo SUV was called the LM002 (picture) and the company had, at one point, plans to throw it into the Dakar Rally battle. But the Lambo LM002 never quite made it that far. Now the Italian supercar maker is working on a model called the LM00X.

The LM00X SUV is expected to be built on the Audi Q5 platform, which will also be used by the upcoming Porsche Cajun. The 4WD Lambo will have a full 4×4 traction system, most likely based on Audi’s award winning quattro.

In terms of engine options a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 engine that will output around 550 hp will make sense. Expected performance figures for the LM00X are around the 4.5 second mark getting to 100 km/h but it remains speculation at this stage. In reality, once loaded with all sorts of luxury equipment it may take around the high 5 seconds range to reach the speed limit.

The LM00X SUV will sit on three-door coupe architecture, with supercar-inspired styling and a swags of carbon fibre trim keeping the weight down.

The price tag will reflect all the R&D that is about to go into it and much change from $220k NZ is unlikely. Expect to see it no earlier than 2012.

McLaren commissions design study to pen SUV of the future

November 11th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Car design studies are generally pretty cool even if they almost never actually reach fruition. The latest carmaker to get some futuristic paper concepts going is kiwi-connected McLaren who has entered into a collaboration with the IED design institute in Turin, Italy. The objective is to create an SUV vehicle for 2020, called the 2020 McLaren SUV, it’s to represent the potential future of the British marque’s lineup. Each design was penned with the following requirements in mind: a hybrid, mid-engined four-wheel drive sport-utility riding on a McLaren chassis with space for two occupants.

After getting some one-on-one face time with McLaren top dogs at the Woking, UK facility, the IED students developed thirty-three concepts in total. After that, the number of proposals was whittled down to eleven cars deemed worthy of “further development”, whatever that really means. Ultimately three winning vehicles were approved for 1:4 scale model production these are called the HOLON, the TOROK, and the BIO RENOVATIO, and can be viewed below along with some of the other concepts in the gallery below. Check it out, there’s even a picture of a futuristic lady in a futuristic jumpsuit included. Continue reading “McLaren commissions design study to pen SUV of the future” »

2012 Ford Ranger line up could include a SUV variant

October 26th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Ford introduced its all-new 2012 Ranger at the recent Australian Motor Show in Sydney (read news) and while it’s already been well received Ford isn’t stopping there. According to recent reports online, Ford has plans to expand the Ranger Lineup to include an SUV variant. This new SUV isn’t expected till late 2012 at the very earliest.

Being developed in collaboration with Mazda (the Mazda BT50 is a redesigned Ford Ranger), the Japanese manufacturer could be considering a new SUV based on the BT50.

The new SUV is expected to share the same powertrains found on the 2012 Ranger. Ford introduced three new engines on its compact pickup truck: a 2.2-litre Ford Duratorq TDCi I4 diesel engine with peak torque output of 375 Nm and power output of 110 kW, a 3.2-litre Ford Duratorq TDCi I5 diesel engine with a powerful 470 Nm of torque and 147 kW of power; and a 2.5-litre Ford Duratec I4 petrol engine with more power at 122 kW.

The new Ford Ranger has been big news here in NZ, so check back as we bring you more info on a possible SUV variant.