Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Renault Laguna 3.0 V6

It’s a well-worn path from mind-bending concept to mind-numbing reality, and Renault is as guilty as any of treading it. Great-looking show cars always seem to fall remarkably flat if they make it into production. Gull-wing doors are a bit pricey, and fuel cells don’t really work.

But has Renault pulled it out of the bag with the Laguna Coupe? Here was a stunning show car that was meant to be pretty damn close to the real thing. After all, the guys already had a working Laguna, with no gull-wings or fuel cells, and all that was needed was fewer doors and more balls. How far wrong could they go?

I’ll argue that a miss is as good as a mile; many will definitely disagree. From certain angles, it’s a fairly handsome-looking thing, but from too many, in this highly subjective opinion, it’s a collision of ideas that fails to stay true enough to the elegance and poise of the concept. The front is all Clio/Twingo/Whatever, while the rear owes a little too much to Aston’s V8 Vantage for comfort. And the all-important point where the C-Pillar meets the shoulder line, looks more Volkswagen Passat clumsy than Mercedes CLS deft.

Still, the Laguna Coupe is going to appeal to a lot of people. It’s far better-looking than the latest Laguna on which it’s based (which isn’t saying much), and what Renault has going on underneath is impressive.

On launch, the car debuted with its flagship diesel and petrol engines. Big, thirsty V6s, mated as standard to smooth six-speed automatic gearboxes. Neither is likely to be a volume-seller, but both showed up the Coupe’s capabilities admirably. Against the saloon (which is actually a hatch), it is squatter and shorter and has a shorter wheelbase, all improving the handling. The Coupe’s chassis provides bags of grip and response without dispensing with that vital degree of comfort. The steering is utterly devoid of feel, however.

Something Renault is doing really well at the moment, however, is poshing up its cars to an extent that leaves its more obvious rivals, like Peugeot and Citroen, absolutely floundering: quality materials, solid touch-points and a general sense of a very Germanic finish. The cabin is full of nicer bits and bobs to provide owners with subliminal reminders that they are a marginally better class of citizen than those in lowly Laguna hatches. This, of course, is something that coupes do all on their own anyway. After all, if you’re rakish and carefree enough to buy a car with just two doors, well you’re the very embodiment of class and sexual potency, aren’t you?

But not too potent, let’s hope, because having a hatch with five doors makes an awful lot more sense if children are going to enter the equation. Or, worse still, full-scale adults who want a lift. The coupe does have a vast boot, and the neat inclusion of split folding rear seats, makes it a potentially very versatile car, but rear access isn’t ideal.

It’s a difficult one to sum up, this. It looks all right. Some will like it a lot more than others, that’s for sure. And priced in the low 20s as the cheapest of them will be, it’ll look like an attractive alternative to more staid saloons or less mature hot hatches. But the pricier versions are straying into Audi A5 territory – a very inhospitable place for a Renault.

Terrible residual values mean that expensive French cars are extremely good at mugging their owners, and it’s a brave sort of an idiot who buys a six-cylinder two-door version of a boring Gallic saloon car. Really what it boils down to is this: if you would have bought a normal Laguna, you still should, but that if you absolutely have to slightly inconvenience yourself for the sake of your penis, the Laguna Coupe is an accomplished way of doing it.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Acura - 2009

The 2009 model year is looking to be a big one for Acura, with all three of the brand’s sedans getting fresh styling and feature upgrades. The flagship RL all get new satin-finish grilles similar to those on the MDX and RDX, now a defining trademark for Acura. The 2009 RL has a roomier rear seat, softer armrests, redesigned vents and easier-to-use climate controls. Additional sound insulation and an Active Sound Control (ASC) noise abatement system help make the cabin even quieter. The bestselling vehicle in the Acura lineup, the TL is all-new for 2009, and is available for the first time with Acura’s high-tech Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD). This new drivetrain option should help handle the V6’s 305 horsepower – the most powerful engine ever to come from the brand. Inside, in addition to the luxurious leather seats, elegant wood trim and additional space, the TL is available with a keyless entry system with push-button start, a voice recognition navigation system with real-time traffic and weather (including Doppler-style radar overlays), and Bluetooth wireless connectivity. Meanwhile, the new TSX still retains the basic shape of the previous generation, but it has a 1.3-inch longer wheelbase and a 2.6-inch wider track, which should make for improved handling and ride comfort. Bold fender flares and taillights provide an updated look. A new 2.4-liter DOHC VTEC engine gives the TSX more torque over a wider range for better midrange acceleration.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Aston Martin One-77

The leakage of unreleased photos of a car onto the internet way before the manufacturer does a public unveiling seems to be happening more and more these days, and this time we have the honour of drooling over badass-looking product shots of the ultra exclusive and expensive Aston Martin One-77 way before its launch.

From these photos we can see that the Aston Martin One-77 keeps the classic Aston Martin shape and most of its design cues as well - the gaping front grille and the sleek wrap-around tail lamp clusters. Unlike your classic sleek and understated Aston Martin, the car is littered all-over with aggressive design elements such as on the door and on the engine hood, which I’m not really sure I like. The headlamps look like they’ve been stopped abruptly before extending to the front of the recessed area where they sit by a gaping slit - presumably this is the air intake to cool the massive front brakes needed to stop the 700hp V12-powered car.

Only 77 units are available and after knocking on the doors of the rich and famous, Aston Martin managed to find over 100 people who were interested. Aston Martin is keeping to its promise of only making 77 though, and according to them, the customization list is so vast and detailed that its most likely no two Aston Martin One-77s will be alike.

Look after the jump for three more angles of the One-77.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Volks Wagen Golf

In America, the Rabbit is a trendy, economical urban runabout—little more than a niche car in a market where the Jetta rules VW’s sales roost. But in Europe, where it remains known as the Golf, the diminutive Volkswagen hatchback defines its class. It is VW’s most important model on the Continent, a fact that the company was not trying to hide during the new car’s elaborate international press launch in Reykjavík, Iceland. The Golf is the quintessential Volkswagen, and the new version is spearheading VW’s highly ambitious drive to replace Toyota as the global number one carmaker by 2018.

A Disappointment from the Beginning in Europe

Even though it has been just five years since the fifth-generation Golf was launched in Europe—and not even three years since its U.S. debut as a Rabbit (it is increasingly likely the Golf name will return for this generation)—this replacement doesn’t come a moment too soon. VW sources privately concede the Golf V, as the car is referred to in Europe, was expensive to build but felt cheaper than the Golf IV it replaced. Its looks were debatable. “The Golf V had too many fathers,” explains a high-ranking company executive. “It was nobody’s particular child.”

Dealers and customers complained about the perceived quality. And when VW asked how to do it better, the Golf IV kept coming up as a shining example. “The original Golf and the Golf IV were clear inspirations for the Golf VI,” said VW chairman Martin Winterkorn in Iceland. Incidentally, those two models are still making money for the company: the Golf I is alive and well in South Africa, where it faithfully carries on under the CitiGolf moniker, and the Golf IV is available in Latin America, Canada, and China. The Rabbit/Golf V, by contrast, is already out of production.

Walter de’Silva Pours On de’Awesome

Perhaps most important is the fact that it is much better-looking than the Golf V; indeed, it is the first Volkswagen from new design chief Walter de’Silva. The Passat CC was finished when he came, and the Scirocco, even if its frontal design was significantly altered, was too far in its development process to allow truly extensive changes. This Golf, however, shows the direction in which he’s taking the company. The exterior looks extraordinarily clean. The new car sits lower—as much as two inches, depending on the version. A pronounced character line makes the car look much sportier than its predecessor. This Golf again looks like a car not a minivan.

In the interior, there is no visible trace of any cost-cutting whatsoever. This car’s richness is easy to appreciate, and it invites you to look at the details. It’s somewhat easy to fix perceived quality by throwing in more expensive materials, but VW also targeted cost with the Golf VI. This car is cheaper to produce than the Golf V, say analysts, thanks to the application of less costly production techniques, wiser purchasing, and economies of scale. So, does it feel cheaper? In a word, no.

Although we lament the passing of the unique and futuristic blue instrumentation, the icy white glow of the Golf VI’s gauges looks its part, too. The tach and the speedometer are located within round tubes, and like the vents and shifter, they are surrounded by metallic accents that look more expensive than anything else we’ve seen in this class. The seats seem too firm at first, but they grow on you as miles accumulate. There is classy piano finish around the nav system, and as a whole the new car has modern shapes that even evoke current Alfa Romeo styling touches.

The touch-screen nav system is cool. For several functions, you don’t need to push buttons repeatedly—you simply slide your finger across the screen, as with an iPhone. One demerit: The gimmicky “rocket” button, which provides a space-view perspective for a few seconds before returning to the previous map scale, is perhaps over the top.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Used Cars With New Car Reliability

Second hand car never had quite the ring to it that people wanted to boast about. This label portrayed a rather battered, rusty old car that would limp along and break down regularly. It was only the don't thing to be able to be seen in a new car. However, this was hardly a fair opinion to hold unless you had actually had experience of a second hand car. After all, drive down the road and would you know if that passing vehicle had had one careful owner or twenty? You simply wouldn't.

Car manufacturers have always encouraged people to upgrade their vehicles in their bid to continually sell new cars. However, attitudes are now changing, mainly thanks to the effort that manufacturers are putting in to giving a better image to used vehicles.

The credit crises is biting and while people have now got to the point where they wouldn't be without a car, not everyone wants to spend a huge proportion of their hard earned wages on transport to get them to the place that will earn them those exact same wage. To that end, the second hand car market has taken an upturn.

Manufacturers want to sell new cars and to this end, they have needed to make provision for all the used vehicles this leaves available. Many manufacturers now implement special programmes that recycle used cars that have come to the end of their lives and this is not only good for the environment but shows them to be responsible manufacturers. These same responsible companies will also provide a list of used vehicles that meet a certain standard and are fit for many more years use.

One such manufacturer is BMW. Buying a used BMW from an approved dealer means that you will not only get a reliable car at a reduced rate but you can also ensure your used BMW has undergone the most rigorous of checks to ensure it meets a certain standard. It will come with a guarantee of mechanical parts and also some of the best safety features in the business. A used BMW is always best from an approved dealer as you cannot always be sure of these checks when buying them from your average high street forecourt. The little extra you will pay will always be worth the peace of mind that comes with it.

Ford also do their own line in used vehicles. Buying a used vehicle from a Ford dealer will mean you can drive for at least two years with priceless peace of mind that a warranty and RAC inspection bring. A whole new competitive market has built up around used cars and Ford won the used car of the year award in 2007.

This is a highly competitive market these days and is excellent news for the consumer. It means that we get to drive high quality vehicles at much reduced prices with virtually all the conveniences that a new car brings, avoiding the hiccups that often accompany new cars.

Mercedes-Benz are another car manufacturer who pride themselves on the grade of their used cars. The employ skilled technicians to go through some extremely rigorous checks to ensure that every Mercedes that is put onto the open market is one that is as near to a new car in quality as they can get it. They also offer a service that means if you are not happy with the used Mercedes of your choice, you have thirty days to take it back and exchange it. This is an excellent facility given that it can often take several weeks of using your new car to discover all its little foibles and decide if its the car for you or not.

So it would seem that whether you are looking for a used BMW, used Mercedes or used Ford, you will have a wide choice of reliable cars open to you and the recommendation is to use an approved dealership for any used car you are looking for to ensure reliability and safety.

Credit to: Catherine Harve

Friday, August 1, 2008

Honey, I shrunk the car

These are the latest spy shots of Fiat’s new micro-car, dubbed the Topolino after the company’s original 1930s small car.

The diminutive Italian, which will sit below the Fiat 500, is one of a rush of new micro models being planned by carmakers looking to beat the European Union's tough new emission laws, which will take effect in 2015.

The Topolino, tipped to built in collaboration with Indian firm Tata, is also said to use a two cylinder engine, with a capacity of 900cc. Diesel and full electric power will be options, although electric power won’t be available at launch, which is slated for the middle of 2010.

Industry speculation also has Fiat collaborating with BMW on the micro car platform that would underpin both the Topolino, and a proposed BMW small car that has been dubbed the Isetta, after the original bubble cars of the same name made by BMW under license in the 1950s.

While it’s true that BMW and Fiat have signed a memorandum of understanding that will see them collaborate on new cars for Alfa-Romeo and Mini, insiders say that the deal doesn’t extend further downwards into the Isetta size range.

According to reports, the Isetta will use a twin-clutch semi-automatic gearbox that, combined with light weight and efficient aerodynamics, will lead to 42 km per litre fuel efficiency (that’s 100 mpg in the old money) and carbon dioxide outputs of less than 100 grams per kilometre.

But Toyota will beat both makers to the punch with its new iQ model, which is slated to go into production towards the end of 2008. The iQ measures 2985mm and has a 2000mm wheelbase, yet Toyota claims it will seat four due to space saving innovations in packaging. These include a flat fuel tank under the floor with angled rear shock absorbers, a newly developed differential that allows short frontal overhangs and a small heater and air conditioning unit. There are also sliding passenger seats, and an asymmetric dashboard that provides more room for the front passenger by allowing the seat to be moved forward.

Toyota hasn’t said what engines will power the iQ, however the company has said that there will be the choice of petrol and diesel power units that, combined with the car’s low weight and aerodynamic efficiency, should lead to emissions in the region of 100g/km of CO2.

Toyota estimates it will produce 100,000 units of the iQ in the first full year of production.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Hybrids great on gasoline savings but not expense, study finds

Hybrids may be tops when it comes to saving gasoline, but they're far for the best choice for budget-conscious car buyers, a new study says.

The four-door hatchback Chevy Aveo for General Motors Corp. leads the ranking of the highest quality new-car price points in terms of "total ownership cost" as intended by automotive information steady Edmunds.com, based on $5-a-gallon gas. The highest-ranked hybrid was the Honda Civic at No. 10. The Toyota Prius hybrid -- No. 1 in the government's power sector rankings -- came in 26th.
Hybrids, which are powered by both an electric motor and a gasoline engine, typically get better gas mileage as opposed to their non-hybrid counterparts but carry higher worth tags.

A 2008 Aveo hatchback amidst manual transmission lists for $10,235 and is rated by the Environmental Protection Agency at 27 miles per gallon in combined city-highway driving. The Prius, by contrast, has a combined fuel economy of 46 mpg and a implied retail price of $21,500 -- and typically transactions for thousands of dollars above that when of above average demand.

The study's purpose "isn't to discourage shoppers from obtaining hybrids," alleged Jesse Toprak, head of industry analysis for Santa Monica-based Edmunds.com. However, "consumers ought to ponder regular-engine small cars if such a goal is just to save money."

The Edmunds.com findings are at odds amongst a recent analysis by Consumer Reports, which ranked both the Prius and the Civic hybrids amongst the 10 cars that the bidder "the best gas economy for the buck."

Consumer Reports easily included vehicles that get its "recommended" rating, which is centered on reliability, safety, handling and other components in addition to dealings price and power economy. That's part of the reason the Aveo and the Toyota Yaris did not make Consumer Reports' fuel-economy cut.

"We did not want to send households to cars who are anticipated to let them down in other areas," said Rik Paul, the magazine's auto editor.

One car-shopping strategy that is basically absolute not to get sense financially is to trade in a late-model sport utility vehicle or pickup truck for a smaller, a greater number of fuel-efficient vehicle. Because of plummeting demand, trade-in values on these types of gas guzzlers have been falling fast -- some dealers won't accept them at all -- and that can wipe out the gas savings achieved by switching to a tinier car, auto research steady Kelley Blue Book Co. said in a prediction last month.

Toprak noted that many lendees buy hybrids because of the cars' environmentally friendly image or additionally reasons unrelated to economics.

"At least 50% of all automotive purchases are not founded on mortgage considerations," he said. "Its a particularly emotional purchase that doesn't constantly involve numbers."

Friday, July 25, 2008

Top 10 Pickups With the Worst Residual Value for 2008

It's worth taking the tiny bit to find out a thing or two about residual value before deciding on your next pickup. Choose a truck with a high residual value, and you'll benefit from decreased monthly bills if you opt to lease. Opt to buy one of such pickups, and you will enjoy greater amount of robust resale values.

This directory showcases the 10 pickups amongst the rock bottom visual expense for 2008 — the trucks that are likely to depreciate the numerous during the ownership period. We've argued the fee of its earliest market worth such a each truck is possible to retain subsequent to five years in an annual mileage of 15,000. Residual price level percentages are based on the nationwide True Market Value (TMV®) price, plus usual opportunities and target charge.

These trucks are not as dismal a bet as you'd think. For one thing, a couple of them come with bargain-basement worth tags, making them choices to ponder for those on a budget. Also, these kinds of trucks can be virtual steals when purchased on the used market, since you will perhaps be able to purchase a pickup on currently directory for a lot less than you'd pay for a competing car with a sturdier resale value.

1. 2008 Mazda B-Series Truck — 33.2%

2. 2008 Isuzu i-Series — 34.7%

3. 2008 Ford Ranger — 36.8%

4. 2008 Mitsubishi Raider — 37.0%

5. 2008 Dodge Ram 1500 — 37.9%

6. 2008 Nissan Titan — 38.3% (tie)

7. 2008 Dodge Dakota — 38.3% (tie)

8. 2008 Ford F-150 — 38.9%

9. 2008 Dodge Ram 2500 — 39.9%

7. 2008 Cadillac Escalade EXT — 38.4%

8. 2008 Ford F-150 — 38.9%

9. 2008 Dodge Ram 2500 — 39.9%

Saturday, July 19, 2008

2008 Honda Odyssey

Four ages into the current generation, the Honda Odyssey is holding its own, rather speaking, in a new automobile market savaged by $4 a gallon gas and a dwindling economy.

Like those of its archrival, the Toyota Sienna, dealings of Odysseys were off by 9 per cent the year with June as compared to a year earlier. But persons of the longtime leader of the minivan pack, the Dodge Grand Caravan, are off by 26 percent, continuing to while the Dodge and its cousin, the Chrysler Town & Country, were a great deal more recently redesigned than either the Sienna or Odyssey.

Honda updated the Odyssey's styling for '08 and has supplied the supplementary expensive Odyssey variants, similar to the Touring which I sampled, how is said to be an improved variable cylinder management system - which can shut off two or 3 of the engine's six cylinders to save fuel.

So, it seemed worthwhile to take an extra look at the Odyssey.

And our one-week look, including over a hundred dollars of miles of driving, reveals a minivan with one of the most attractive and user-friendly interiors on the family automobile market but, at 4,600 pounds in a suspension tuned for comfort, one the is just average in its handling.

Further, continuing to when the tester was empty except for the driver, the 241 hp. engine, while smooth, disappointed in its ability to uphold speed additonally climbing for a long while interstate improvements without a downshift from the five-speed automatic transmission. And, if the driver requested a downshift with a stab of the accelerator, so gearbox was ongoing to deliver.

Back on the upside, the Odyssey has a top five-star score from the federal authorities for frontal and half impact crash protection, additonally the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety names it a "top safety pick." (The Sienna and Grand Caravan get a slightly lesser rating of "good" from the institute.)

The U.S. EPA anticipations the Odyssey's fuel sector as prohibative as 25 mpg on the highway; I never saw an average on the trip computer above 21.4 in the local-highway mix I did over seven days.

Odyssey prices start at $26,530 with freight for an LX, plus automatic transmission, air conditioning, electricity windows and locks and stability control and brake assist. Most are priced in the $30,000s and they duration past $40,000 for a top-of-the-line Touring model through options like a navigation system.

This minivan seats up to eight and, when the split third row is not needed, it can be quickly folded into a vastly in the floor.

That last row, by the way, earned praise for its spaciousness based on two of my adult passengers seated in it on a trip for 15 or 20 minutes. But I'm not guaranteed if properties could undergo been as enthusiastic if we had been on the road for an hour or more.

Honda's large, clearly marked dashboard controls deserve special praise, constructued unlike individuals in some competitor vehicles to be leg work on the move by a past customer who is in addition driving.

2008 Honda Odyssey Touring

Vehicle tested:

Engine: 3.5-liter V-6, 241 hp.

Fuel: Regular

Transmission: Five-speed automatic, front-wheel drive

Safety: Dual front, seat-mounted side and curtain air bags; 4-wheel disc brakes with anti-lock, brake help and stability control; rearview camera for backing; tire pressure monitoring; fog lamps, daytime running lamps

Place of assembly: Lincoln, Alabama

Cargo room, min./max, cubic feet: 38.4/147.4

EPA fuel economy

estimates: 17 mpg, city; 25 highway

Price as driven: $40,645 not excluding freight

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Hummer H2 - 2009 Reviews


At the L.A. Auto Show in 2004, General Motors first introduced the idea of a smaller HUMMER pickup. It was the H3T Concept. The production version of the concept, the 2009 H3T, is scheduled to be on GM's stand at the 2008 Chicago Auto Show in February.

While the '04 concept featured a standard cab with an integrated the bed (similar to original HUMMER H1 variants), the new H3T is a traditional pickup with a separate crew cab and five-foot bed. There is only one cab/box configuration. The H3T rides on a 134.2-inch wheelbase, some 22 inches longer than the standard H3 SUV. The HUMMER truck is also longer than the crew cab iterations of the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon mid-size trucks on which the H3s are based. On paper and in person, this is not a small vehicle.

Interior Design

An extra star for not using chrome plastics. The seats are perfection. With all the legroom in the backseat, it's a nice vehicle for passengers as well. The instrument panel lighting is attractive and easy to read.

From the B-pillar forward, as you'd expect, the H3 SUV and T are identical. The rear seat of the H3T is standard pickup fare with a three-person bench that folds up to open up floor space for cargo. Behind the cab, the five-foot box incorporates GM's bed-rail accessory mounting system, as well as a removable tailgate.

Powertrains include the standard 3.7-liter in-line five-cylinder that produces 242 horsepower with either a five-speed manual or an old-school four-speed automatic. The Alpha-level 5.3-liter V-8 with 300 horsepower is optional, and given the new truck's weight (our estimate is 4600-4800 pounds), it's going to need all the power it can get. While we hope for a modern six-speed automatic to go with the V-8, it's looking like the heavy-duty four-speed automatic from the existing H3 Alpha is going to be as good as it gets. The Alpha editions will be rated to tow 5900 lb.

4.10 gears get these 2.5 tons of steel and plastic up and moving. It's not gonna blow anyone's doors off, but it does what it needs to in traffic.

Big discs at each corner slow this thing down in a hurry, and the dynamic rear proportioning should keep the rubber rolling in the back regardless of load. There's no handbrake present, and that doesn't make a whole lot of sense. The vehicle will automatically engage brakes if it rolls backwards for 2 seconds, but a handbrake would have felt more natural.

Bouncy and truckish, but this is a pre-production model, so lets hope it gets smoothed out by the time it reaches showroom floors.

Staying true to the HUMMER image, the H3T should prove to be a capable off-roader. Full-time four-wheel drive is standard, as are functional skid plates and 32-inch tires. Taller 33-inch tires and locking differentials are optional.

Pricing will be announced closer to the H3T's on-sale date, which is expected to be late summer/early fall. If GM follows the pricing conventions they've set with the H2 SUV vs. H2 SUT, expect to see prices around $28,000 for a base H3T to $39,000 for the Alpha models.

Handling: ***
Given the ride height and center of gravity, this thing actually handles pretty well. The massive sway bars in the front and back help cornering a lot and the new steering gearing (16:1, 3 1/8 lock-to-lock) made parking and general driving pretty easy.

Its 50:1 crawl ratio and 4.03 low range lock make downhill grades virtually brake free and let the 4-speed HydraMatic do all the work, keeping 2.5 tons under control. Highway shifting is silky smooth.

The speakers are fine and amplification is decent, but where's the iPod jack? XM is great and all, but c'mon, even Aveo's have an AUX input jack these days. It can't cost that much to implement this, so it just seems like an annoying oversight.

Toys: ***
The nav/entertainment system is nice, but throws a distracting glare into the back window. The pushbutton 4x4 controls are easy to read and conveniently located above the radio. Monochrome reverse vision seems a bit dated, but probably gives a better image in low light situations. The sunroof improves off-road visibility, especially when crawling down steep grades. OnStar and XM are nice doodads as well, at least for the free trial periods.

Value: N/A
Can't really call this one until pricing is announced, but there's bound to be a premium on the Hummer brand.

Probably the most complete vehicle in the Hummer range, the H3T improves on its relatives' best attributes — off-road ability and macho styling — but still suffers from the same problems - 'roid rage styling and enormous dimensions for relatively little storage space. A plain old pickup would be cheaper and more practical. Still, if you must have a Hummer, this is the one to get.

GM's recent investment of $74 million investment in the Shreveport, Louisiana plant makes producing the new H3T possible. Estimates for yearly production hover around 35,000. The plant also produces the H3 SUV, the Chevrolet Colorado, and the GM Canyon mid-size pickups.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Citroën C5 Tourer (08 on)

As far as stylish estate cars go, few can rival the good-looking C5 Tourer. The sharp lines are a stark contrast to the dull shape of the previous model and the C5 shows that Citroen has rediscovered its flair for unusual and striking design. But that hasn't come at the expense of practicality. There's a massive 1,500-litres of boot space, while rear passenger room is good too. The C5's real strengths, however, are its superb levels of comfort and refinement which make it a great long distance car. A vastly improved interior, generous equipment levels and a range of excellent diesel engines make it even more attractive.

There's a good choice of petrol and diesel engines in the C5 Tourer range. The entry-level engine is the 1.8-litre petrol with 127bhp while the more powerful 143bhp 2.0-litre unit is available with an optional four-speed automatic gearbox. Both offer adequate performance but they're outshone by the excellent range of diesels. First up is the 1.6HDi with 110bhp which although not particularly quick, returns 50mpg. However our choice is the 138bhp 2.0HDi which offers better in-gear punch for overtaking and is almost as frugal. For even more pace there's also a 2.2HDi unit with 173bhp while the range-topping model is the 2.7-litre V6 diesel with 208bhp.

Like the saloon the C5 Tourer is happiest cruising on the motorway where it will cover long distances with minimal fuss and maximum comfort. The Citroen is unusual as it comes with a choice of two different suspension settings - entry-level SX models are conventional but higher spec models come with a 'hydropneumatic' self-levelling system designed to give added comfort. Most buyers will find it difficult to notice any difference but the air suspension does have a 'sport' setting which firms things up for more twisting roads. There's still some body roll in corners but the C5 corners with confidence and offers plenty of grip. It's a shame that the steering feels overly light but this does make town driving and tight manoeuvres a doddle.

This is the C5's forte. Like Citroen's of old it majors on ride comfort, soaking up potholes and bumps with ease to produce a magic carpet-like ride. This makes it superb on the motorway where passengers will appreciate the lack of wind and road noise - helped by the acoustic windscreen and multiple door seals. Compared to the old model, the new C5 certainly feels more refined. The seats are soft yet supportive while passengers in the back get generous head and leg room.
Citroën C5 C5 Tourer Citroën C5 C5 Tourer Citroën C5 C5 Tourer Citroën C5 C5 Tourer

With the rear seats in place the C5 Tourer offers a decent 505 litres of boot space - that's larger than the Peugeot 407 SW although not as big as the cavernous Ford Mondeo Estate. The luggage area is wide and easy to access thanks to a large opening, although there's an annoying load lip and no underfloor storage areas. Lowering the rear seats could be easier too - there's no lever in the boot so the only way to fold them is by leaning in through the rear doors. Once folded, the boot capacity increases to almost 1500 litres while the suspension can be cleverly raised or lowered to make loading heavy items easier. An electric tailgate is also available but while it's a handy feature it's not particularly quick and can't be manually overridden.
Citroën C5 C5 Tourer Citroën C5 C5 Tourer Citroën C5 C5 Tourer Citroën C5 C5 Tourer

The C5 received a five star Euro NCAP crash test rating. This is the maximum score, although anything less than the top score would be considered poor for this type of car. Seven airbags come as standard, including side, curtain knee airbags) while two extra rear side airbags can be specified as options. Stability control and electronic brakeforce distribution (which automatically varies the amount of braking on each wheel depending) are both standard plus there are three Isofix points (two in the back and one for the front passenger seat). On the security side, there's an alarm, deadlocks and laminated glass to help prevent break-ins.

The original C5 launched in 2001 did not have a good reputation for reliability. A significant facelift in 2004 brought improvements in build quality, but overall it lagged behind the competition. The latest version feels much better built, uses proven diesel engines and is far better trimmed inside. This should translate into improved reliability, though time will tell if this is actually the case.

Buyers who have previously bought a C5 may find that the incentives and discounts on offer aren't as generous as before - the 'premium feel' of the C5 means it won't be sold as a bargain basement car. You're still likely to be able to negotiate a deal or at least get some extras included in the final price. That said the C5 is good value with generous levels of equipment and competitive list prices. Buy a new C5 Tourer and save 19% on selected models

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Quality Cars

Of course if they do prep the car prior to wash it slows the speed, cuts down the volume of cars that can be washed in the day and changes the consistency of each car washed due to the human element. Now, if you are looking at new cars, is buying or leasing a better option for you.

By 1914, he was building more cars in one day than most competitors could build in one year. By downplaying the appearance of the cars-calling them "wrecks" he allowed the media to expect dented, scratched, beat-up cars. By cleverly designing their buildings, they can stack 10-12 cars between the order point and pickup, so the customer waits 3 minutes but moves every 18 seconds so time flies by. I had names for my cars and machines and an uncommon ability to repair them. Cars have changed a lot over the years and my uncle wants someone who can not only turn a wrench, but be able to read a computer. If you have purchased energy efficient cars or heating/cooling devices make sure you claim this credit on your income tax.

Well really there are many things they can do, from giving out coupons to senior citizens, for 80% off to free detailing for the local church who has cars donated to them to sell. You may have a great idea for flying cars, but if consumers are not ready for your product you may not be able to turn your idea into a successful business. After gathering this information, he started taking me in the direction of the jeeps and sports cars.

For example, if you were selling big, gas-guzzling cars, you would stress the comfort, luxury interiors, prestige, reliability and smooth riding capacity of the car. That's why many automobile makers design cars that are categorized as "woman cars".

Soli Kator


Sunday, June 15, 2008

BMW GINA Light Visionary Model Concept

Have you ever wondered what might result from a three-night hook-up between a zeppelin, an original BMW 507, and a BMW Z4 roadster? Neither have we, but now that we’ve seen the BMW GINA concept (pronounced jee-nah), we’ve got a pretty good idea, and it’s even sort of beautiful.

GINA is an acronym for “Geometry and Functions in ‘N’ Adaptations,” where the N stands for infinite—as if the acronym wasn’t enough of a stretch already. It’s a fancy way to summarize a way of thinking about how cars will be shaped, manufactured, and used by their owners in the future. The Light Visionary Model (LVM) is a physical manifestation of this idea, and features some innovative—and out there—approaches to making the philosophy a reality.

BMW says that this concept isn’t just about the styling of the car of the future, but also about the “creative freedom” offered to designers and engineers alike. To that end, this concept wears a fabric “skin” comprised of a wire-mesh inner stabilizing layer and a water- and temperature-resistant outer layer.

Instead of the usual myriad body panels, the LVM has just four outer elements: one that covers the entire front end and runs to the rear edge of the doors, two rear-quarter coverings, and one across the rear deck. BMW’s seat designers helped with the precise measurement, cutting, and attachment of the material, which is stretched over a mechanized electric and electro-hydraulic metal and carbon frame.

Wait—What’s Going On Here?

The headlamps are hidden until the driver turns them on, only instead of popping up cheesily, like an ’80s Pontiac Firebird, the skin opens to reveal BMW’s traditional round lights. Not that anything needs to open to see the light; the turn signals and taillights operate behind the fabric, shining through when activated. The eight-cylinder engine hides under a 1.6-foot-long slit that opens and closes in a manner that BMW likens to the top of an old-fashioned doctor’s bag.

As the fabric’s surface area doesn’t change as the structure shimmies beneath, something’s gotta give. In the case of opening the doors, the fabric piles up in planned and prearranged folds; when the BMW kidney grille widens to swallow more air, the side panels tense and add another character line.

Yes, Even the Seats are Weird

The LVM is as adaptable inside. The material from the rear deck runs over the rear bulkhead and covers the two seats, which only move into prime position once someone sits in them; at that point, a headrest rises and the rest of the interior readies itself for action by moving the steering wheel and gauges into place from what BMW calls an “idle position.”

BMW says that vehicles with this sort of adaptive functionality will help forge a stronger emotional bond between man and machine, and that the GINA philosophy will allow manufacturers to make cars with less model-specific tooling and hardware. Beyond the pragmatic implications that the GINA LVM represents for manufacturing and design, though, it also represents a return to the fanciful future-car stuff that dominated auto-show turntables of the 1950s and 1960s. Today, production-ready “concepts” only teach people to dream into next month, not next century. The LVM is weird, bizarre—and forward-thinking. And for that, we like it.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

250 Cars -- Owned By One Guy -- Hit The Block

250 lots in one classic car auction is impressive, but is not, in and of itself, big news. 250 lots from one single collection? Yes, that would be big news in the collector car atmosphere. And by the by, they are offered at No Reserve, which means each and every one will find a new owner on June 28 and 29.


Who is this guy? He's Art Astor, a well-known SoCal entertainment doyen, primarily radio and broadcast. Why is he selling his flock? The handsome, Xacto knife-sharp Astor has a simple answer: "I'm cutting down. I'm not getting any younger and I still love cars, but have too many. It's gotten to be a lot of work, and now takes a lot of space just to house it all"


"Cutting down" to Astor means he's reducing his approximately 325 car fleet to "just 75. Or so." The sale will be handled by RM Auctions, the folks that, a few weeks ago, shifted the ex-James Coburn Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spyder for nearly $11,000,000. The offerings are wonderfully varied. There isn't much from the brass era, but some pieces from the 20s, more from the 30s, and a ton of 40s, 50s, and 60s machines.


Astor shows a particular penchant for Fords, but there are some rocking Caddies, Chevys, Lincolns, Packards, and a few celeb pieces. Like sports cars? There are Jags, Mercedes SLs, Morgans, and others from which to choose. Ponies? Several Mustangs and Camaros, plus a Challenger R/T (Plum Crazy, of course...). Celeb cars? Names that pop up in the catalog range from Admiral Nimitz to Richard Carpenter. Want to own the very last Corvair built? Here's your chance. It's all original, with less than 1000 miles on the clock.


Besides the variety and eclectic nature of the offerings, I like the level of quality. There are a few solid concours pieces, many more in strong #2 condition, plus plenty "driver" level #3s, and nothing that qualifies as junk. And not all are high priced, fully optioned, super rare pieces here (although several are). So, some will be jewels in their future owners collections; others will make nice semi-classic drivers. All are driven regularly. Not every car in these photos will be in the sale, by the way. The winnowing was still in process on the day these pix were taken.


This deal is going to be a hootenanny, let me tell you. I'll be there, and if you're near Anaheim, California, that weekend, you should too. Get the details, and review the entire on-line catalog, at www.rmauctions.com


Thursday, June 5, 2008

2009 Aston Martin V8 Vantage

By David Gluckman

Since its introduction in 2006, Aston's V8 Vantage has always ranked highly with our staff. Indeed, in 2007 we named it an Automobile Magazine All-Star. A great car, but there's always room for improvement, right?

And our biggest gripe was a lack of power. For 2009, the V8 Vantage will finally get the guts it deserves and attempt to shut us up once and for all - well, once would be a start.

As you might have guessed from the name, the V8 Vantage still sports an eight-cylinder. It also remains front mid-mounted but sees its displacement grow from 4.3 to 4.7 liters - made possible by a switch from cast-in to pressed-in cylinder liners. Horsepower is now up to 420 from 380, while torque climbs 15 percent to 347 lb-ft. That should do nicely.

The transmissions have been altered for that increased output, with both the standard manual and Sportshift automated manual getting a modified clutch and flywheel, respectively. That translates to improved responsiveness from a reduction in rotating mass and, for models with a third pedal, should mean reduced clutch effort. Sportshift models also get new programming that allows you to choose from Comfort or Sports mode, depending on your intentions for the car on any particular journey.

And that journey will start in a decidedly more high-tech way. Aston has chosen to fit the ECU (that's 'emotional control unit') first seen on the DBS, in place of a more traditional, this-century key. Our recent test of a DBS (Running Scared, July 2008) revealed that the ECU is more gimmick than convenience. The Vantage's cockpit gets a bit of a makeover as well, borrowing the look of its die-cast zinc alloy center console from big brother DBS, which we found to be a bit busy looking. (These changes will soon migrate to the DB9 as well). We will, however, welcome the new hard disk-based navigation system and standard iPod integration.

Standard suspension also gets an update with revised geometry and standard Bilstein dampers, as well as changes that were first introduced on the Roadster now moving to the Coupe as well. A new optional Sports Pack includes different Bilsteins, 19-inch lightweight five-spoke alloy wheels, and stiffer springs. Non-Sports Pack cars also get a new 20-spoke, 19-inch wheel design.

The 2009 V8 Vantage will be available toward the end of the year. Oh, and aside from the wheels, exterior styling is unchanged. No complaints here.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Ford Falcon XT

At first glance, the new Ford Falcon looks remarkably like the old one. That’s partly because Ford gave the previous generation Falcon a new nose late in its life to prepare us for the new model. And, partly, because the new model has the old model’s hubcaps and badging (other than the Ford badge on the grille, which is noticeably bigger).

In the metal, however, the differences become more apparent and the new Falcon looks like a much cleaner design.

The new Ford Falcon’s roof is slightly wider to create more headroom, and the sides of the car are more upright.

The new Falcon is slightly bigger in every dimension and yet overall weight has barely changed from its predecessor. While the exterior styling may be “evolutionary”, as designers like to say when they don’t change the look that much, the interior is a big improvement, and a big change.

Many of the buttons that were hidden from view behind the steering wheel are now plain to see. And, finally, Ford has fitted a digital speedometer as part of the trip computer display in between the regular speedo and tacho.

The trip computer is also more clever; you can adjust the increments by 1km/h by pushing the button briefly, or adjust the increments by 10km/h by holding the same button a moment longer.

The steering wheel has a quality feel and the cruise and audio controls are easy to navigate. One big blot, though: the steering wheel-mounted buttons are not illuminated at night (as they are on all Commodores).

The indicator and wiper stalks are carried over from the previous Falcon but the indicators now have a soft-touch three-flash lane-change function. Holden also introduced this European-style feature on the new Commodore.

The quality of the new Falcon’s cabin materials is a big step up, and the layout of most controls are user-friendly. Some testers commented on the number of buttons – and the small symbols that identified what each did – but we got used to them by the end of the drive.

The centre console is massive and, cleverly, contains a small pouch to store a phone or MP3 music player. An auxiliary audio input socket is standard but you can also option an iPod connector which allows all your songs to be displayed on the digital display and controlled through the car’s audio controls, while charging the iPod at the same time.

Other fine details such as the Audi-style retractable key (standard on all new Falcons, whereas retractable keys are reserved for only the more expensive Holdens) and the new Falcon’s soft-touch external boot release (the Holden only has an internal boot-release switch and a button on the remote) are things many car reviewers may gloss over, but which customers will no doubt appreciate.

The previous Falcon’s small side mirrors, which were like looking through Ned Kelly’s helmet, have been replaced by larger mirrors which provide a much better over-shoulder view (although it could be improved further with an ultra-wide convex mirror on the driver’s side, as many new models have these days).

The steering and seating positions are unchanged from the previous Falcon and don’t have the same level of adjustment as the Commodore.

The steering wheel could do with more reach adjustment and the seat is too high. That said, of all the Falcons, the base model Falcon XT has the lowest and most comfortable seating position because the seat fabric compresses more readily than the leather seats in the luxury and sports models, which also sit slightly higher because they have the hardware for their electric adjustment underneath.

The side bolsters on the lower seat cushions of all the Falcons, we noted, felt flimsy and wasn’t as supportive as it could be.

Back seat room is marginally improved from the previous Falcon. There’s about 10cm of space between an average-sized adult’s knees and the back of the front seat. In a Commodore there’s about 15cm of knee room.

The Falcon’s back bench is reasonably comfortable except the seat back is quite short. The fixed foam headrests (only on the outer two positions) barely come up to the necks of adults, let alone offer any decent whiplash protection. The middle back-seat passenger gets no headrest at all and, further, it’s possible to hit your head on the lug on the parcel shelf that child restraints bolt on to.

The Commodore also lacks a headrest in the middle rear seating position but the seat back itself is taller. In the Commodore, the two fixed foam headrests are also taller than the Falcon’s and get closer to protecting adult passengers’ necks from whiplash in a rear-end crash.

Both sedans have massive boots, but only the Falcon gets a split-fold seat that opens to the cargo hold, creating a large load space for pushbikes, surfboads and the like.

Further, the Falcon has a clever recess in the floor above the spare wheel, which is handy to stop shopping bags from emptying their contents on the way home. True story: during development of the new Falcon, Ford’s chief engineer randomly approached Falcon-driving mums and dads in shopping centre car parks to ask them what they were putting in their boot. And he never once got a black eye. The rectangular recess is the result of his grassroots research.

The Falcon’s 4.0-litre in-line six-cylinder engine is older than grandpa’s axe but it’s had another round of refinements that give it more power – and better efficiency – before it is replaced by an imported V6 engine in 2010.

The updated six-cylinder still has that characteristic Falcon shudder as it cranks over – although with the new FG Falcon there’s now a one-touch starting system that automatically cranks the engine until it starts. And there’s a moment of coarseness as it gets going, but it idles and runs smoothly.

It’s now matched to a five-speed automatic transmission, which helps get the Falcon off the line smartly, is better for overtaking and also improves fuel efficiency at freeway speeds. The extra ratio also means there’s a better chance the car will be in the right gear at the right time.

For an extra $1500 the Falcon can be had with a more efficient six-speed automatic, which delivers incremental improvements to driveability and acceleration. Assuming today’s fuel prices of around $1.50 a litre, it would take about 250,000km of driving to pay off the difference between the standard five-speed auto and optional six-speed.

These cars aren’t supposed to be sports sedans but acceleration times provide an interesting insight into their overall performance.

In our satellite assisted 0 to 100km/h tests, the XT stopped the clocks in 7.4 seconds – more than two seconds faster than the Commodore Omega and one second faster than the Calais.

The Falcon XT has the edge in overtaking performance as well. The extra ratio (the Commodore Omega is a four-speed only) means it’s never left wanting.

Of course, straight line speed is just one measure of a car.

Ford has spent millions of dollars reworking the steering and front suspension on the new Falcon, and it shows. The previous model’s steering was too sensitive on bumpy bends and Ford has removed much of that nervousness. The new Falcon feels well connected to the road, even in its most basic guise, and the ride is comfortable without being floaty.

But, alas, having spent plenty of time in the Falcon, it was time for a change of scenery.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

2008 Lancer Review Summary & Specifications

One of the above all 2008 patterns to land in dealer showrooms, the new Mitsubishi Lancer is a thorough remake from what i read in the wheels up of the company's entry in the compact sedan class. This is not just an exercise in dressing the previous exemplary in a new set of threads. From sheetmetal to upholstery to mechanicals to interior trim, it's a new car.

The body has kept on re-styled, in on a larger amount of aggressive fascia and a wedgier profile. The result, sadly, is mixed. It looks as if it's in fact sharp head on, a little dull ready away. Overall levels are balanced, though, so the closing result is a plus.

The engine is new, albeit the same displacement as before, but now with a dual overhead cam in place of the '06's single, and updated electronics. Horsepower is up by 32, torque by 16 pound-feet of torque (22 and 12, respectively, in suggests provided California emission rules). A Continuously Variable Transmission replaces the '06's automatic, with a five-speed manual still the rule gearbox.
The 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer has gained weight over the '06, between 200 and 400 pounds, depending on ideal and trim. This, up amidst the funny things powerful engine, no hesitation accounts at the very least in part to the lower electricity market's prosperity scores for the 2008 model. Lower, also, as opposed to numerous of the competition, particular of that proper the Lancer by 5 miles per gallon or a good deal more in EPA City and Highway estimates.
Inside, there is roomy seating for five. Instruments and dash are pleasing to the eye and friendly to the fingers, through easy-to-use knobs and switches for the a good amount critical functions. Some details are relatively low as opposed to ideal, but the Lancer is, subsequent to all, an state car and not Mitsubishi's flagship.

The options include comprises value-adding packages. Disappointing is the need to pay supplementary for air conditioning and antilock brakes on the base Lancer. But a high-quality sound process is offered for the two upper trim levels. And astounding for their market value level is a full-featured navigation-cum-music server system around on the top model.

Pricing wasn't announced as this investigate is written. Expect, however, the base exemplary to begin around $14,000.

The Mitsubishi Lancer profits for 2008 after skipping the 2007 model year. Now, just now one engine is available: a 152-hp four-cylinder (143-hp in California emissions form). It comes surrounded by a selection of five-speed manual transmission or optional CVT automatic, a continuously variable transmission. Body style is currently a four-door, five-passenger sedan.

The Mitsubishi Lancer DE is the base model. Standard portions are sparse. There is no air conditioning, though the heater does experience micron filtration. Shift knob and tilt steering wheel are wrapped in urethane. Most interior trim pieces and accents are black, as are portion view mirror housings and inside and outside door handles. Driver and front passenger get four-way, manually adjustable seats. The audio method is a four-speaker, 140-watt AM/FM/CD/MP3 unit, but it has DSP and vehicle speed-compensated volume and equalization and pre-wiring for Sirius satellite radio. Windows and outside mirrors are powered, but door locks are not. A driver tips heart hosts a trip meter, electricity market's prosperity information screen and fuel and coolant admonition lamps. Steel wheels wear P205/60R16 tires. There's an anti-theft engine immobilizer. One factory option is offered for the DE, a package consisting of antilock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution, air conditioning, fuel door locks and auto-up on the driver portion window. Dealers sell the fog lights and floor mats.

The Lancer ES comes with air conditioning, cruise control provided steering wheel-mounted controls, electricity door locks in on keyless remote, six-way adjustable driver seat, 60/40-split folding rear seatback with folding core armrest, front map lights, floor mats, the auto-up driver-side window, premium fabric upholstery, silver interior accents, body-color outside mirror housings and door handles, second power point, anti-theft security alarm and steering wheel-mounted redundant audio controls and pre-wired Bluetooth switch. Aluminum alloys replace the DE's steel wheels, and the rear suspension gets a stabilizer bar. The Sun & Sound package includes a 650-watt, nine-speaker, Rockford-Fosgate premium audio system; a six-month, pre-paid Sirius satellite radio subscription; a six-disc in-dash CD/MP3 changer; an auxiliary audio input jack; and a power, tilt-and-slide, glass sunroof. Fog lights are sold by dealers.
The Lancer GTS is the top of the line. Automatic climate control is standard. Leather wraps the steering wheel and shift knob. Driver and front passenger get sport bucket seats with unusual fabric surfaces. Most interior accents get a geometric print. The stereo adds two speakers, for a whole of six. An aero package through front air dam, harm portion air dams and rear spoiler spruces up the exterior. The factory installs the fog lights. Tires are P215/45R18s on alloy wheels. The suspension becomes sport-tuned shocks and springs and stiffened bushings. A cross-brace bar bolted to the tops of the front suspension towers increases person stiffness. The Sportronic version of the CVT, exclusive to the GTS, lets the driver shift gears using steering wheel-mounted, magnesium paddles. Options insert the same Sun & Sound package. The Navigation & Technology package includes a GPS-based navigation system storing mapping data on a 30GB hard disk press (with 6GB set aside for personally recorded audio files). Integrated into the navigation system is the driver info center plus screens displaying, surrounded by other things, ambient temperature, barometric pressure and altimeter; automobile maintenance reminder and calendar; controls for the underlying Rockford-Fosgate audio process and Sirius satellite radio; and customization settings for the Lancer's various interior electronics. Also in this package is Fast-Key, a keyless, proximity-activated, auto-unlock system.

Safety parts record seven airbags, providing a driver's knee airbag augmenting the expected collection of frontal airbags; front seat-mounted, upper body-protecting half airbags; and head-protecting, side-curtain airbags. Front seatbelts hold pretensionsers and drive limiters to help position users for maximum preservation from what i read in airbags in crashes. Rear seats incorporate child safety seat anchors and tethers (LATCH).

Antilock brakes, which enable the driver to steer the car within panic stops, and electronic brake-force distribution, that balances emergency brake application between front and rear brakes for maximum effect, are standard on ES and GTS and optional on DE. Tire pressure monitors, which warn of low tire pressure, are ordinary across the line. Missing, however, is an electronic stability program, which attempts to avoid spin outs, an critical safety feature that's ordinary or at the very least optional on many cars in the Lancer's class.

Were it not for the trademark, three-diamond logo, minimal almost the 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer leads to it is linked in any way to the 2006 model. In now instance, however, right now is good. As terrific a car as who previous edition was, its competitors have leapfrogged it in almost any sense, not the lowest of which is styling.

Where the 2006 Lancer was somewhat minimalist in its approach, with a swept-back hood and squinty headlights, the 2008 presents a brusque face, amongst a strong chin and scowling eyes, a look Mitsubishi not unfairly compares to a shark's snout. Grille and lower intake form a trapezoid horizontally split by the front bumper; Mitsubishi claims such a a jet fighter. Blacked-out blanks short of the bumper balance the headlights and house the projector-lens fog lights when fitted. Mild creases trace the hood's electricity bulge from the grille back to the A-pillars framing the windshield, quitting well-defined shoulders over the front wheel wells.

Side view stays real to the shark theme, with the upper border of the grille looming in the rather flush front bumper. A high beltline (where the side windows meet the smaller door panels) goes down the car's Residual core of gravity, giving it a !no! substantial and more strurdily planted look. A character chain that plays on the car's wedge circumstances begins in a deep groove in the front quarter panel and front door and fills in as it moves to the rear simply below the full-round door handles, fading to a shallow shadow throughout the rear quarter panel before ending at the acutely angled rear side-marker light. Even the base, 60-aspect tires on 16-inch wheels check right in the circular wheel openings.The rear aspect is outstandingly bustle-ish, providing a tall trunk lid. Taillights try to echo the headlights shark-like scowl, but do not pretty allure it off, how surrounded by the egregious spots of surrounding, for the most part flat sheetmetal. In the end, it is a disappointing conclusion to an otherwise sleek design with a healthy dose of personality.

Autodom's interior styling pendulum turns out to swing according to busy to not-so-busy. One year there are more buttons and switches than any ten fingers and two eyes can manage and of all strange sizes and shapes. Then the next, all folks myriad of drives are buried short of 3 or uni knobs, or in the insane a single monumental one, with a few switches sprinkled right here and there for margin features. In the 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer, right now seems to have been heard caught in mid-swing. Much of the result is good, but a few bits need greater number of refinement.

Most monumental in this measure is the dash, in the instrument cluster and climate and audio controls. In the former, a large, circular tachometer and speedometer bracketing a digital, LCD-based info center in the '08 replace an asymmetrical array of two large and three small gauges in the '06. And therein lies the conundrum. The new, i.e., '08, group looks slicker, a greater amount of contemporary and even a bit sportier than the '06's. But the analog-style fuel and coolant gauges in the '06 were always there, so properties did not have to be identified up by pressing a button somewhere. And they communicated such a guidelines more readily, requiring recently a quick glance in its place of a refocusing of the eye on a little tower of light.There's sharp and not so good, too, in the climate and audio control panels. The most easy functions, covet fan, temperature, mode, volume and tuning, have traditional, relatively large, rotating knobs. They're correctly placed, too, surrounded by climate beneath and audio above, at which it is more accessible. After all, a multitude of lendees adjust audio locations a great deal more repeatedly as opposed to climate. And reasonably sized, well-marked buttons choose station presets and manage funny things media. But the info telltales are merely obscured LEDs tucked away in a slit at the middle top of the dash where deciphering them forces drivers to divert their consideration from traffic and shift this optical focus from distance to close. Again, want the instrument cluster, it all looks like it's good, but comes up very brief in function.

The shining exception to all this ambivalence is the screen and control operate for the GPS-based navigation system. Buttons and rocker switches with firm tactile feel clamor up the desired screen. Moving a joystick in the lower right-hand corner underlines the desired function. Pressing it accesses the function. While Other of the information is supplementary entertaining than essential, like the x/y axis dot graphs popping median speeds and energy economy within the duration of a floating two-hour window (especially when higher speeds coincide among higher energy economy; cool), the ease of use is tops.

The story pretty even exists the same elsewhere across the interior. Front seats are comfortable, with adequate, if not exorbitant depth in the seat underside cushions. The driver's door armrest and the padded top on the front heart console are both too low, and the heart console is too far rearward, for supporting a driver's elbows on straight and boring interstates. The handbrake positioning is not optimal, resting proudly between the driver's seat rock bottom cushion and the heart console at just the ideal height to trip the floor of a slurpee on its way to or of one of the console's two cup holders.

Rear seats are marked improvements over the '06's. There's more definition in the cushions, the seat bottoms are deeper and now there are 3 head out restraints, all adjustable. The fold-down, center armrest in the ES and GTS is more stable as opposed to it looks, which means everyday driving isn't prospective to spill the kids' soda pop.

By the numbers, the 2008 Lancer causes the numerous of its more than two inches of added width within the '06. Careful packaging of interior facets and trim permits the majority of of the present two inches to front seat hiproom and adds basically twice the current to rear seat hiproom. This parks the new Lancer smack in the middle of the pack on this measurement. The Nissan Sentra, the Hyundai Elantra and the Mazda 3 best it, and the Honda Civic, the Toyota Corolla and the Ford Focus fall a bit short. Otherwise, the '08 Lancer could be within an inch plus or minus of the '06 in headroom and legroom front and rear. Versus the competition, the new Lancer once again splits the adjustment in front seat legroom but ratings near the top in rear seat legroom. All the way in the back, the Lancer's trunk betters only the Mazda 3's 11.4 cubic feet and whores up about 3 cubic feet to the most-commodious-in-class Ford Focus's 14.8 cu. ft.

Driving Impressions
For the various part, the new MitsubishiLancer's static-mode idiosyncrasies exhaust significance once the car is in motion. This holds whether the movement is in the channel of fun or work, as the car is equally comfortable and competent on arrow-straight interstates or grapevine-twisted back roads.

Steering response is decent, if not sparkling, truly on folks coming back roads, as the new Lancer is likely to waste some concentration when pointed straight to come for for a while now stretches. For a front-wheel force sedan, it tracks well with corners, in on no astronomical person lean.

The GTS, of course, is the most recomensing driver, amid firmer coil springs, news absorbers and bushings and perfect stabilizer bars than the DE and ES models. The stiffness added by the cross brace on the front suspension towers is tangible in a quicker, more and more precise steering response. Interestingly, however, the GTS' sporty front seats do not add much by way of lateral substantiation within the duration of the ES' buckets.

In ride and handling, two of the competitive brands stand out: the Civic, providing its longer wheelbase (by around two-and-one-half inches), has a smoother ride just generally, but several notably over weather-induced pavement heaves, and the Mazda 3 is a sportier drive.Throttle response is respectable for the class. Only the Mazda 3's top engine pumps out more horsepower (160 vs. the Lancer's 152), but the Lancer is the heaviest of the class, amid the GTS only topping 3000 lbs. Brake pedal feel is firm in the ES, even supplementary so in the GTS, that becomes the Outlander's large discs.

The manual transmission's shift lever requires a bit of a stretch to reach third gear and fifth gear with the driver's seat comfortably positioned for a six-foot tall driver. And the juxtaposition of the brake pedal and accelerator force an awkward ankle contortion to effect a heel-and-toe double-clutch on a downshift. In the GTS amid the Sportronic, the manual up/down choice slot opens to the driver's side of the shift gate, that Other drivers find larger number of normal than away throughout to the passenger's side. This certainly isn't as much an matter in the GTS, however, what in those handy steering column levers.

In all odds due in no diminutive side to that aforementioned weight penalty, the '08 Lancer rather much brings up the rear in power economy. For example, the less important engine in the 200 lb.-lighter Toyota Corolla instigates six more horsepower but betters the Lancer by thre miles per gallon in the city and by seven miles per gallon on the highway, according to EPA estimates. And the more powerful Mazda 3, weighing roughly 100 lbs. less than the Lancer, comes out down the road by 3 mpg and two mpg, city and highway respectively.

The new, 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer may not be the several attractive, the several popular, the most powerful, the most miniature or the several fun-to-drive in the affordable, compact sedan class. But in every of folks measures, it is second in sequence or at the very least competitive. That instigates it well market worth a look when shopping for a car in this class.

Monday, May 19, 2008

2010 Ford Fiesta and Refreshed 2009 Focus

Small cars, direct-injection, and turbocharging are all part of the fuel-efficient vehicle strategy.
The way Ford sees it, miniature cars could be big. Potential subcompact or B-segment folks are climbing by leaps and bounds, fueled by astronomical gasoline prices, and the automaker thinks it will be well-positioned to get in on the action amongst the all-new Ford Fiesta.

The Fiesta goes on sell in the U.S. in 2010 as a automobile one size smaller than the compact (C-segment) Ford Focus. It’s a popular size in the rest of the world, and one the present is appreciating popularity in North America because smaller cars regularly are additionally fuel-efficient and the Fiesta is planning to be no exception. It would have a compressed four-cylinder engine of undisclosed displacement, according to Ford.

And there probably also will be an Ecoboost option—Ford’s overarching powertrain strategy that will use direct injection and turbocharging to enable downsizing of its engines in 500,000 vehicles in North America by 2013.
Initially, that strategy suggests putting a turbocharged 3.5-liter V-6 in the Lincoln MKS sedan in the first part of 2009 and adding it to the 2010 Ford F-150 pickup and the new Ford Mustang in such a over&wshyp;arching timeframe. It also means putting boosted fours finally in the Ford Fusion, Focus, and Fiesta, surrounded by displacements more than likely ranging from 1.0 to 1.6 liters by 2020.

But fuel-efficient and lower-emissions engines are not enough, suggests Derrick Kuzak, bunch vice president in credit of global product development. Ford moreover needs lighter unibody vehicles, six-speed and dual-clutch transmissions, electric power-assisted steering, battery management systems, and !no! aerodynamic vehicles.

And Ford needs a larger number of small cars. B-cars accounted for only one percent of U.S. sells in 2002, grew to two per cent in 2007, and ought to dual once more to uni percent by 2012, says Beth Donovan, Ford small car product manager. Globally, subcompacts account for in regards to 27 per cent of industry sales or about 85 million units. Importantly, Donovan argues 32 per cent of first-car households purchase a B-car, contrasted amongst 28 per cent who buy the larger C-car.

The goal demographic for the Fiesta in the U.S. are the so-called Millennials—14 to 29-year-olds forecast to comprise 20 percent of the arena in 2010, says Sheryl Connelly, Ford’s number one of worldwide marketing. Ford wants to woo them amongst a compact sedan it hopes should forward better looks, features, materials, and performance as opposed to the econoboxes of the 1970s the got loved clearly for the sticker price.

Econoboxes in the U.S. market can be traced back to the Toyota Corolla’s debut in 1968, followed by the Honda N600 two-door in 1970. Ford imported the original Fiestas to the U.S. from 1978 to 1980 in a knee-jerk response, followed by the Ford Festiva based on information from 1988 to 1993, which gave way to the Ford Aspire from 1994 to 1997. They all had one thing in common: they provided dispassionate but affordable clear transportation.

Today Ford is a pithy car leader in Europe and the automaker’s design and engineering lofts there took the lead in developing the next-gen Fiesta overly has carried on shown in thinking form as the Verve sedan and hatchback at auto shows in Frankfurt, Shanghai, and Detroit.

Meanwhile, Ford announced it is tweaking the front and rear fascias of the 2009 Ford Focus to give the SE coupe a sportier appear and more in series amongst the approaching Fiesta for North America; a move that includes ditching the heinous chrome fender vents. The SE will start at $16,615 when it goes on sell such a summer. The top-of-the-line Focus SES will get 17-inch aluminum wheels norm and a new roofline spoiler, with pricing to start at $18,035. The moves are programmed to draw younger mortgage holders for the Focus. No fluxes got announced for the Focus sedan.

The Focus was redesigned for 2008 and a coupe added to the lineup for North America to try to still be the first-generation car fresh until the third-generation of the car is introduced globally (Ford transactions the second-gen Focus in the rest of the world).