Sunday, August 30, 2009

Fiat 500

If the original Fiat 500 were still around it would be celebrating its 50th birthday. This twin-cylinder, puttering bubble of a car helped motorise postwar Italy, driving its way into the heart of the nation, and much of Europe too.

Alas, the last Fiat 500 rolled off the production line 22 years ago but, inspired by the success of other relaunched classics like the VW Beetle and the Mini, Fiat has revived it. The (re)launch party was in Fiat’s home city of Turin, accompanied by a fireworks display. Fiat has more to celebrate than the rebirth of its most famous product; the company is now in profit after three perilous years of loss that had its survival in doubt. A fast-renewing range – it is also about to release the Bravo hatchback – has turned its fortunes around.

This new Fiat 500 makes you pleased that the Italian company didn’t go the way of Rover. A glance at it has you smiling – this is an old friend in modern wrapping. You will be amused by the reappearance of the circular headlamps that created the earnest little face of its predecessor, and the Mona Lisa-like smile suggested by the chrome strip on its nose. There are retro references inside too, including a circular instrument pod and a body-coloured dashboard.

Though instantly identifiable as an interpretation of the original, the substance of this new 500 couldn’t be more different. The 1957 edition was rear-engined, its air-cooled twin cylinder hard pressed to push the Fiat far beyond 60mph. Today’s 500 is based on the Fiat Panda, its four-cylinder water-cooled engine driving the front wheels. This time you get a choice of engines, including a 69bhp 1.2 litre petrol, a 100bhp 1.4 litre twin-cam six-speed version of the same engine, and a 75bhp 1.3 litre turbodiesel.

More impressive still is that this baby car, aided by seven airbags, scores the full five stars in the Euro NCAP occupant protection crash test. It has antilock brakes as standard and can be ordered with electronic antiskid control.

But enough of the serious stuff: this car is meant to be fun and in that spirit Fiat will offer it with myriad paint jobs, trim and accessory options. There are also 100 accessories to choose from including a fragrance diffuser, a navigation system, chromed door mirror capping, a ski rack and an additional front bumper bar just like the one worn by deluxe versions of the original 500.

None of it would matter much if this Fiat didn’t measure up, but the good news is that it is a thoroughly capable and hugely enjoyable car to drive. It is both refined and quiet: conversation is easy even at the 100mph maximum of the basic 1.2 tested, and the lack of wind, road or engine noise at speed makes long journeys – for two, at least – entirely palatable. There’s room for four but adults will feel confined, and they’d have to travel light because the boot is compact. However, for a city car, accommodation is fine.

Although the 1.2 is not the briskest thing its lower power and lower price are true to the spirit of the original, and the engine’s smoothness makes you more than happy to work the gearchange hard, just as old 500 owners did. They would have had to double-declutch to deal with the unsynchronised cogs, whereas the new box is light of movement, its lever capped with an amusingly oversized gobstopper of a knob.

As with many Fiats, the power steering has two settings, the lighter for town work, and it changes the 500’s direction with alacrity. That makes it a game partner on a twisty road. It’s not quite as sharp as a Mini, or Ford’s ageing but still excellent Ka, but it’s good enough to be fun. Better still is a surprisingly pliant ride, and a robust feel over rough roads, confirming the impression that this is a very well made little car.

Quality, claims Fiat, is of a higher order than Toyota achieves, and underpinning this claim is an extended warranty – admittedly optional – that will cover the car for five years and a staggering 300,000 miles. That alone is a sensible reason to buy. But we suspect that for most people the decision to purchase this excellent Fiat will be made with the heart, not the head.

Vital statistics

Model Fiat 500 1.2 8V Pop

Engine type 1242cc, four cylinders

Power/Torque 69bhp @ 5500rpm / 75 lb ft @ 3000rpm

Transmission Five-speed manual

Fuel/CO2 55.4mpg (combined cycle) / 119g/km

Performance 0-62mph 12.9sec / Top speed: 100mph

Price £9,300 est

Verdict Cute, well made, practical, charming and hard to resist


Date of release January 2008

The opposition

Model Mini One £11,525

For Cute and cultish, finish, verve and economy

Against Pricey, poor space efficiency

Model Ford Sportka 1.6i SE £9,995

For Stylish, brilliant to drive, surprisingly practical

Against Old, low quality interior, soon to be replaced

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Ferrari 458 Italia

It's only been a few weeks since we last spotted the newest Ferrari supercar roaming the streets of Europe. But today, Maranello has quelled a growing storm of speculation by releasing initial details and images of its all-new Prancing Horse -- the Ferrari 458 Italia.

Set to make its world debut at next month's Frankfurt motor show, the 458 Italia (that's "Italy" in English) is intended to pay tribute to the country in which it was born, according to Ferrari CEO Luca di Montezemolo. It is a land he describes as being synonymous with "excellence, creativity, and quality" -- all characteristics he believes his company's newest model embodies.

One look at its exterior and you'll get a gist of what di Montezemolo is talking about. The Pininfarina-penned design is executed in hand-laid aluminum and carbon-fiber panels underpinned by the latest in Ferrari's F1-derived aluminum chassis technology for weight minimization.

Up front and at the rear, improved aerodynamic features like a sealed undertray, diffuser, and what the brand calls "aeroelastic winglets" at its nose, all culminate to create a more stable, precise, and sleeker super sports car, according to Ferrari. At roughly 124 mph (200 km/h), the car produces 309 pounds of downforce, according to the automaker's engineers.

The 458 Italia looks ultramodern and much sleeker than its two immediate predecessors, the F360 and F430. Still, the car is a clear evolution on the same swoopy-fendered Pininfarina styling premise that began with the Dino 206GT of the late 1960s. There are plenty of Enzo cues too -- especially toward the rear clip -- and the long, slim headlamps appear to be directly inspired by the Enzo-based Pininfarina Ferrari P4/5. Offset above the headlights are vents crafted to cool the giant available carbon ceramic binders; Yes, there are plenty of new touches here too.

It's indeed a compact design compared with other exotics in the segment, but the 458 Italia grows ever slightly in length (178.2 inches. versus 177.6) and width (76.3 inches versus 75.7) compared with the outgoing F430. Height remains at a short 47.8 inches. Its wheelbase is extended by nearly two inches (104.3 inches from 102.4) and its dry weight is upped to 3042 pounds with forged wheels and carbon-fiber racing seats onboard (expect a curb weight of at least 3250 pounds) compared with the 430's 2974. As the tenet goes, muscle weighs more than fat, and per Ferrari's specs, the 458 Italia has been a definitive body-builder during the R&D process.

Set low in the mid-gut of this Prancing Horse is a more muscular direct-injected 4.5L V-8 producing 562 horsepower at a screaming 9000 rpm and an associated 398 pound-feet of torque at 6000 revs. Engineers improved upon the 430's 4.3-liter unit by incorporating a racing-like low piston compression height combined with the usual flat-plane crankshaft.

In total, it's a substantial 79-horse and 55-pound-foot improvement over the F430 (483/343) and impressively, the motor drinks less fuel to the tune of 17 mpg U.S. (converted from EU combined cycle) and emits less harmful gases from its tri-tipped exhaust (320 g/km of CO2 versus 345 g/km). Its longitudinal positioning also helps greatly in achieving a 42-percent front/58-percent rear weight distribution, which should prove ideal for the mid-engine car.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Toyota Supra (93-96)

The Toyota Supra is an amazing twin-turbo supercar that not only looks like a sci-fi space vehicle, it goes like one, too. The huge rear spoiler looks like it should improve rear traction and grip at high speed, and the ride is very firm. Supras are rare and very expensive to run, but the engine performance alone more than justifies the running costs. So, if you're after a stylish sportscar that goes like lightning, you could do much worse than joining the exclusive Supra club. Official UK cars were only available between 1993 and 1996, so anything registered outside of these date will definitely be a private 'grey' import.

With Ferrari-beating acceleration, the Supra boasts a top speed and delivery that is unbelievably effortless. The engine purrs innocently, providing no real clue to the potentially mammoth power that it possesses. Although the gearchange is heavy and notchy, the six-speed manual three-litre twin turbo has an top speed limited to 155mph, accelerates from 0-60 in under five seconds and feels like it will keep pulling relentlessly.

The Supra handles surprisingly well for a big car, with generally good traction – helped massively by the vehicle’s weight and large rear wing - though the back end can twitch through twisty bends. The agile and sophisticated chassis design ensures that the ride is comfortably smooth, plus the steering feedback is fantastic, giving you a real feel of the car’s capabilities.


The air-conditioned cabin is snug enough for two, but passengers in the rear may find it a bit of a squeeze, due to the shallow sloping rear window and shelf-like seats. The leather-upholstered seating is very soft and gives great support, while the nice fascia encompasses a wealth of nifty gadgets and gizmos. The sporty suspension is a touch too firm however, causing the ride to be a little uncompromising over long distances.

The three-door design makes rear access a little awkward, although the Supra’s back seats aren't best suited to frequent family use anyway. There is a reasonable level of boot space and it is sufficiently large enough to easily accommodate the weekly shop or holiday luggage. The Supra is simply too powerful for mundane, inner city driving - behaving like a bull in a china shop if faced with urban congestion – so keep it to the A- and B-roads to maximise its performance capabilities.

The twin-turbo Supra from 1993 has rear-wheel drive, a limited-slip differential, independent suspension, and traction control. Six-speed manual transmission is standard, and four-speed automatic transmission was optional. Equipment includes a large body-coloured rear spoiler, circular rear lights behind flush lens, front spoiler with large front air intakes, five-spoke alloy wheels, cruise control, electric driver’s seat adjustment, heated front seats, leather upholstery, leather-rimmed steering wheel. A high-level brake light and CD autochanger were added in October 1994

Behid The Wheel.
The driving position is reasonably good, though there are a few blind spots that could make overtaking and reversing a little awkward, caused by the thick rear window columns and obstructive bulky spoiler. Everything within the driver’s grasp is clearly arranged, while the leather rimmed steering wheel and electrically adjustable driver’s seat give a great sense of sporty style.

Reassuringly, all models come with power steering and ABS as standard, as well as twin airbags and traction control. The remote alarm and central locking system seems to be up to the task of deterring thieves, but fitting a tracker advice might keep the insurers somewhat happier, as these cars tend to attract a lot of attention.

apanese manufacturers tend to epitomise the term 'dependability' and Toyota are no exception to the rule. Superbly engineered, the Supra is generally very reliable if properly maintained. Specialist or main dealer servicing is essential for reliability and to retain value and saleability, as there's an awful lot of specialist and highly stressed machinery involved that should have been well looked after.

Car check problem points

Body: Watch out for crash repairs.

Engine/Gearbox: There's an awful lot of specialist and highly stressed machinery involved, so full Toyota service history is essential.

Other: General abuse and neglect.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

2009 Ferrari 599XX Reviews

2009 Ferrari 599XX

This outstanding car has the same transaxle layout and engine type which is based on the 599 GTB Fiorano, this prototype is an ultimate track car, the 2009 Ferrari 599XX. The 599XX is powered by a 700 horsepower at around 9,000 RPM redline and a faster shifting F1 gearbox. Characterized by a an innovative concept called the "High Performance Dynamic Concept", designed for a maximum performance.

Improved aerodynamics of the 2009 Ferrari 599XX results for a faster Ferrari around the track. The car boasts 280kg of downforce at 200 km per hour (around 630kg at 300 km per hour).

The price for the 2009 Ferrari 599XX is not yet specified at this time.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The New Perodua MPV Coming ahead with Pictures and Based Model

The Perusahaan Otomobil Kedua Sdn Bhd (Perodua) has releasing the statement of publishing the new MPV model after the launching of Perodua Nautica on 9 May 2008. The Manager, Datuk Hafiz states that the new car will be MPV or SUV family but since they’d launched Perodua Natica, MPV will exactly be the following upcoming model and will be releasing this year of 2009.

It is uncovered that Perodua MPV will be using the established of Toyota Passo Sette, which means Passo Seven, or a 7-seater version of the Toyota Passo in Italian. The Daihatsu version is called the Daihatsu Boon Luminas, the combination of the words convenient and luminous.

Both are powered by the 1.5 liter 3SZ-VE engine, 109 PS at 6,000rpm and 141Nm of torque at 4,400rpm with front wheel drive and 4WD variants of 4 speed auto. The front wheel drive rated at 15.6km per liter.nToyota Passo Sette measures 4,180mm long, 1,695mm wide and 1,620mm tall, with a long 2,750mm wheelbase to get utmost interior space of 2,550mm long, with 5.2m working radius.

Perodua also mentioned to be releasing new product each 2 year. Like as Myvi by 2005, Viva by 2007 and the new model will surely get popular attention this year. What surely automotive users want is, this new car will be a lot different with unique pattern. No price tag is named yet for the New Perodua MPV.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

2009 Chevrolet Traverse

It is exactly what you’ve been wishing for – a vehicle that is as is captivating as it is accommodating. With a bold design complemented by impressive functionality and generous capacity. Introducing the crossover vehicle you really want – the 2009 Chevrolet Traverse. With seating for eight across three rows, plus a class-leading maximum cargo area. And peace of mind enhanced by the highest possible U.S. government frontal and side-impact crash test ratings – five stars.** Powered by a technologically advanced 3.6L V6 engine that delivers inspiring performance and enviable fuel efficiency. With world-class quality and Chevrolet’s proven dependability. The very beautiful, yet exceptionally practical 2009 Chevrolet Traverse.

Winner of a Consumers Digest Best Buy Award

Make Some Room On The Mantle

Chevrolet Traverse has just won a Consumers Digest Best Buy Award and has also been named one of 2009's Best New Family Vehicles by Kelley Blue Book's® - edging out the field with its outstanding value, excellent fuel efficiency and best-in-class cargo space.

2009 Chevrolet Traverse

Traverse To The Top

The Chevrolet Traverse has been named one of 2009's Best New Family Vehicles by Kelley Blue Book's® Edging out the field with its low starting price, excellent fuel efficiency and best-in-class cargo space. Your lifestyle, your vehicle - made affordable.

2009 Chevrolet Traverse

Beautiful Design – Precise Execution

The sculpted lines create a potent presence, further enhanced by such striking details as the standard jewel-like dual halogen projector headlights and the 20” ultra-bright aluminum wheels on LTZ. A closer look reveals tight-fitting body panels that uphold world-class quality standards.

2009 Chevrolet Traverse

Prevent And Protect

Traverse’s comprehensive safety package includes features that help prevent an incident, such as the standard StabiliTrak™ electronic stability control system and the available Rear-view Camera System. Should a collision prove unavoidable, Traverse is equipped with six standard air bags and OnStar ®.

2009 Chevrolet Traverse seating

Room For Eight – And Their Stuff

Traverse offers standard seating for eight – friends, family or car-pooling colleagues. As for their stuff, there’s a class-leading cargo space behind the third-row seat and a class-leading maximum cargo space of 3297 L (116.4 cu. ft.). And the Smart Slide™ second-row seat makes it easier to get into the third row, or to maximize the cargo area.

2009 Chevrolet Traverse front seating

Puts You In The Hot – Or Cold – Seat

It isn’t only the cabin’s style that’s unique – it’s also the refinement. That’s particularly true of Traverse LTZ, which features the only heated and cooled front seats in its class, †† top-stitched perforated leather-appointed first and second-row seating and automatic tri-zone climate controls.

2009 Chevrolet Traverse Rear-view Camera System

No Need To Choose Between Power And Efficiency

The technologically advanced 3.6L V6 engine generates impressive power with remarkable fuel efficency, thanks to Spark Ignition Direct Injection (SIDI) and Variable Valve Timing (VVT). Output is 281 horsepower on LS and LT models – and a class-leading 288 standard horsepower on LTZ .†† The standard six-speed automatic transmission further enhances fuel efficiency.