Purpose

I will try my best to provide detailed info on various cars and what is like to live with them, I have already produced a few for Jaguar-car-forums, I will do my best to be unbiased, but it will be hard for some cars. I will re-produce press releases and copy from other motoring news.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Outstanding five-star safety rating for recently unveiled SEAT Leon ST


  • Outstanding five-star safety rating for recently unveiled SEAT Leon ST
  • Score includes 94% rating for adult occupant protection and 92% for child occupant
  • Euro NCAP Advanced commends SEAT for Leon ST’s multi-collision brake and lane-keeping assistant technology
  • All-new estate car open for ordering from 1 October, starting from just £16,675

The SEAT Leon ST has been awarded a five-star safety rating by car safety assessment body Euro NCAP. The outstanding score puts the Leon ST among the very safest cars on the road.

The spacious, versatile and beautiful estate car, which goes on sale in the UK in October for January 2014 first deliveries, joins the Leon five-door hatchback as a five-star car.


The rating is the result of exceptional scores in all areas of the industry-standard Euro NCAP test, but particularly the adult occupant safety and child occupant safety sections, for which the Leon ST scored 94% and 92% respectively.

Features such as front passenger airbag deactivation, to facilitate installation of a rear-facing child seat, helped achieve the child occupant score, while extensive use of high strength and ultra-high strength steels in key areas of the chassis ensure that the Leon ST remains as stable as possible during a collision.

Alongside the five-star safety rating, the Leon ST has received two Euro NCAP Advanced awards, for its lane-keeping assistant and multi-collision brake systems; Euro NCAP Advanced was established in 2010 by Euro NCAP to reward ground-breaking emerging safety innovations.

“SEAT is committed to the highest levels of active and passive safety in all its models,” says Dr. Matthias Rabe, Executive Vice-President for Research and Development at SEAT S.A. “The thorough development work developed at our Technical Centre is now rewarded with the excellent classification achieved by both variants of the new Leon in the demanding Euro NCAP tests.

“We are also pleased with the two Euro NCAP Advanced rewards for the SEAT multi-collision brake system and the SEAT lane-keeping assistant in the new Leon. It is the new Leon family at the very top of the latest technology,” he adds.


Dr. Rabe accepted the two Euro NCAP Advanced certificates at the Frankfurt Motor Show, where the Leon ST made its world debut.

SEAT lane-keeping assistant (known as Lane Assist in the UK and available as part of the Leon’s optional Driver Assist Pack) uses a camera mounted behind the rear view mirror, which detects lane markings and helps the driver stay in lane. Working at speeds above 40 mph and linked to the power steering system, it applies a small amount of torque to the steering wheel intended to prompt the driver into taking corrective action should he or she begin to drift out of lane.

The multi-collision braking system (called Automatic Post-Collision Braking System in the UK, and standard fit) detects when the car has been involved in an accident – for example when the airbag has been fired – and automatically applies the brakes to prevent or mitigate a subsequent impact. It triggers both the hazard warning lights and the brake lights.

With a starting price of just £16,675 for a 1.2 TSI 105 PS model in S specification, the Leon ST represents amazing value. Every version comes with air conditioning, Bluetooth connectivity for phone and audio, steering wheel-mounted controls, a colour touch-screen infotainment interface, front electric windows, roof rails and a double boot floor.

Thanks to a 587-litre boot that stretches to 1,470 litres with the rear seats folded flat, the Leon ST is one of the biggest estates in its class, while its £825 premium over an equivalent Leon five-door model is significantly lower than that of the majority of its direct competitors.

Brilliant news - Lister cars is back in business.

In an historic announcement today, Lister Cars, one the greatest names in British sports car manufacturing, has stated it will return to its Cambridge roots to once again reinstate production of an exciting new Lister car.

After a gap of almost 25 years since the last Lister rolled off the production line, the three Lister companies of George Lister Engineering of Cambridge, Brian Lister Light Engineering and Lister Storm, have been reunited into one organisation that will herald the return of one of the greatest sports racing cars of the 1950's - the fabulous Lister 'Knobbly' Jaguar.


In an exciting move that will ensure the return of the Lister name to new car production, the three companies have been consolidated within a new business called Lister Motor Company Limited, after a significant investment by Warrantywise, one of the UK’s most successful aftermarket used car warranty providers.

Lister Motor Company Limited has invested in a new, state-of-the-art facility in Cambridge, which includes CNC machining, 3D scanning and Catia design, all of which will enable George Lister Engineering to develop and deliver an exciting and near identical development of the historic, race-winning, competition and track car.

Brian Lister’s original working drawings and manufacturing jigs have all been re-commissioned, and many of the team involved in the original 1950’s project with Lister Cars have been called back into service, including Martin Murray, Colin (Chippy) Crisp, Graham (Curley) Hutton, Laurence Pearce and even Brian Lister himself.  Heading up the manufacturing project is Mark Hallam, technical director at George Lister Engineering and Jerry Booen of D Type Developments will also be assisting with the project. The cars will be built to be identical to those of 1958, and will be race-ready 'out of the box' to race with BHL-C (C for Continuation) chassis insignia and up to FIA/HTP Appendix K specification.


Lawrence Whittaker, CEO of Warranty Wise and the investor in the project, said: “Anyone with a fondness for British sports car manufacturing and with an understanding of Lister’s remarkable heritage should rightly be excited by this news. The Lister ‘Knobbly’ was a powerful, giant-killing racing car in its heyday, and with all the expertise we have brought together for this project, I can promise that the new Lister will be a fabulously exciting and desirable car. This is a passionate undertaking for us and we also have some very exciting plans for the future.”

Race proven, Jaguar D Type-specification engines and D Type gearboxes will be supplied by world-renowned experts, Crosthwaite & Gardener, and all race preparation and track commissioning will be undertaken by Chris Keith-Lucas of CKL Developments, another leading specialist in historic Jaguar restoration and preparation. Last but not least, that fantastic streamlined Knobbly body will be re-created using the original Shapecraft body bucks by the immensely skilled artisan craftsmen, Clive Smart and Adrian Breeze.

A series of Lister sponsored historic race meetings are planned for 2015, in time for the Lister 125th year anniversary.

The new Insignia from Vauxhall, a better choice.

MODEL AND MARKET

  • New Insignia world premiered at Frankfurt, first deliveries October
  • Prices start from £16,279, nearly £2,000 less than outgoing model
  • New 2.0 CDTi engine with class-leading CO2 emissions of 99g/km

DESIGN AND AERODYNAMICS

  • Refreshed exterior front and rear styling
  • New interior fascia and controls
  • Optional 8-inch touchscreen infotainment display

ENGINES AND CHASSIS

  • Four new engine choices from 99g/km - 250PS
  • Enhancements to chassis dynamics
  • New Insignia is most aerodynamic car in its class – in the world

NEW GENERATION INFOTAINMENT

  • New infotainment with touchpad and voice control
  • Radically simplified operation with vast scope for customisation
  • Infotainment system with 8-inch colour touchscreen in centre console

SAFETY, COMFORT AND CONTROL

  • Range of advanced driving safety and assistance features
  • Innovative Adaptive Front Lighting Plus which optimises light beams
  • Adaptive Cruise Control and speed limiter function

RANGE AND PRICING

  • Highly competitive pricing from just £16,279 to £29,329   
  • Nearly £2,000 less than outgoing model
  • Undercuts outgoing range and key rivals

NEW INSIGNIA COUNTRY TOURER

  • Top-of-the-range Sports Tourer with SUV characteristics
  • Higher ground clearance and distinct protective body elements
  • Advanced all-wheel drive with variable torque delivery

NEW INSIGNIA VXR

  • Performance flagship benefits from latest revisions to new range
  • Top speed of 170mph and power output of 325PS
  • Insignia VXR is UK’s fastest car under £30,000

MODEL AND MARKET

The New Insignia range made its world debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show last week before first UK deliveries start in October.

Available as a five-door Hatch, four-door Saloon and Sports Tourer estate, the new range now starts at just £16,279, nearly £2,000 less than entry into the outgoing line-up.  Also available are a range-topping Country Tourer and a high performance VXR version, the fastest car available in the UK for under £30,000.

There are four new engines, including: a 99g/km 140PS 2.0 CDTi offering large cost benefits to fleet and high-mileage drivers; an all-new 1.6 SIDI 170PS Turbo petrol; and a new 250PS 2.0 SIDI Turbo petrol. Existing diesel units have also benefited from refinement improvements.

An all-new infotainment system, incorporating Bluetooth-operated internet connectivity, an 8-inch touchscreen, and 3D navigation and voice control, has full smartphone compatibility and allows drivers unrivalled communications while on the move. A DMB (Digital Media Broadcast) radio is now standard across the range.

Since its launch in 2008, the Insignia has largely dominated the mid-size sector and launched the eye-catching design philosophy that has permeated through all subsequent new Vauxhalls. The Insignia’s classic exterior lines remain for the new range, refreshed styling at the back and front of the car, but inside there are important changes to its instrument cluster and centre console design, as well as improvements to control-functionality.

The Insignia’s range has been simplified, too. There are now eight trims (down from 14 in the outgoing line-up), ranging from Design to Elite, with a mixture of new models that will appeal to both retail and fleet buyers. And like all Vauxhalls, the new Insignia range will come with Lifetime Warranty, allowing first owners peace of mind for as long as they own the car, up to 100,000 miles.

Vauxhall is raising its game in the highly competitive D-segment with the launch of the new Insignia. 167,000 Insignias have been sold since launch in the UK illustrating its popularity with both retail and fleet buyers, as well as its appeal to buyers who had only previously considered premium cars in the D-sector.

While the Insignia has increasingly found favour with retail buyers, much of its success has been in the fleet market with 80 per cent of Insignias going to business customers.

Vauxhall’s combination of more efficient engines, premium design and state-of-the-art infotainment systems will certainly prove tempting to both company car drivers and fleet decision-makers alike.

The new Insignia’s direct competitors include the VW Passat, Ford Mondeo, Toyota Avensis nd Peugeot 508. Other potential competitors include the Audi A4, BMW 3 series, and Mercedes C-class.

DESIGN AND AERODYNAMICS

The biggest change existing Insignia customers will see when they sit in the new car is a completely re-designed centre console and instrument cluster. The centre console has been simplified and now has fewer buttons for more intuitive operation of common functions, such as air conditioning and infotainment, while the instrument cluster has new dials and a fresh, high-tech look.

Optional across the range is an 8-inch screen infotainment display (up from 5-inches in the outgoing range) and a new, upgraded instrument cluster with an 8-inch, high-resolution colour display. The cluster incorporates two outer dials showing fuel and revs, while in the centre sits a speedometer that can be displayed in analogue or digital form, or changed to show functions such as smartphone or audio use, or navigation.

The 8-inch infotainment display has touch-screen functionality, allowing drivers to access all functions and sub-menus such as radio stations, song titles, smartphone connection or 3D navigation in an intuitive and safe way. Its illuminated, touch-sensitive surface reacts immediately to finger movements, with even individual letters and numbers being accessible via this method. Up to 60 favourite menus can be stored from all functions and apps, available next year, and can also be downloaded via the car’s Bluetooth-connected internet.

In addition to button, touchscreen and touchpad operation, Insignia drivers can also control the infotainment system via re-designed controls on the new-look steering wheel. The advanced voice recognition function can also be operated by a single push of a button on the steering wheel.

Stylish new leather and cloth trims are available in the New Insignia range, complemented by upgraded dashboard materials and decors.

With 40 industry awards to its name – including the coveted European Car of the Year in 2009 – the outgoing Insignia has earned respect from media and customers alike. One of the pillars of its success has been its premium design – we called it ‘sculptural artistry meets technical precision’ at launch – and with the new range this has been enhanced still further.

Starting at the front of the car, the high-gloss chrome grille is wider and lower than before. The logo-bar that cradles the Griffin badge is thinner and includes winglets that link with the re-designed headlamps. On Elite models, these feature bi-xenon lamps with AFL (Advanced Forward Lighting), which is optional on all other models.

Standard headlamps are trimmed in high-gloss black with chrome-embedded accents, with the up-level AFL lights getting a ‘wing-signature’ daytime running light with energy-saving LEDs.

The lower front fascia inserts are designed to appear slim and wide to emphasise the upper grille size. Fog lamps are combined with wide, black inserts and chrome accents, which grow in width as they near the cabin.

In profile, the New Insignia range’s Hatch and Saloon models are better defined through their unique tailgates and rear spoilers. The crease line on the C-pillar of the Hatch fades out before it reaches the spoiler’s trailing edge, giving it a classic coupe silhouette. On the Saloon, the crease line continues along the edge of the spoiler to emphasise the body’s length.

At the rear, the New Insignia range models appear wider and lower. The high-gloss chrome logo bar has been positioned lower on the tailgate. It extends into the tail-lights and incorporates the slim-look reversing lamps. The tail and stop functions of the two-piece tail-lights are illuminated by LEDs throughout the range.

The Sports Tourer’s rear styling embodies a similar wider and lower appearance. The main visual enablers are again the stretched chrome brand bar, also framing the reverse functions, and an uninterrupted body-coloured division between the tailgate glass and the longer, slimmer light units. The rear bumper moldings for all models also incorporate several black ‘cut-out’ inserts according to the powertrain choice, with or without visible exhaust tailpipes.

The New Insignia range offers a raft of technology, safety and comfort highlights. These include state-of-the-art radar and camera-based assistance systems (including adaptive cruise control and second-generation park assist), premium seats, and ‘Open & Start’, the keyless entry and start system, to name just a few.

Two new exterior colours – Emerald Green and Aurum Green – join the existing 10 colour choices.

Aerodynamics

Vauxhall’s new Insignia is not only the lowest CO2 emitting car in its sector but now also the most streamlined vehicle in the world in its class.

Thanks to clever changes to the body design of the new Insignia, Vauxhall’s engineers have reduced the vehicle’s drag coefficient to under 0.25 for the Insignia hatchback and 0.28 for the Sports Tourer. New extended underbody covers, wider front spoiler lips, tail lamp housings designed to enhance airflow separation and an integrated rear deck lid spoiler contribute to the new Insignia’s slippery shape.

Insignia 2.0 CDTi ecoFLEX (120/140PS) models with Start/Stop also feature an additional, ultra-modern aerodynamic element: an active front air shutter. Air flowing through the front grille to cool the engine usually accounts for up to eight per cent of total vehicle air drag. To reduce this effect, a shutter in the lower front grille automatically closes to prevent air entering and causing turbulence. For cold starts, an additional advantage is a faster engine warm-up, which also helps reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. Whenever the engine needs air for cooling, the shutter opens automatically.

These changes help the new Insignia ecoFLEX (120/140PS) achieve class-leading CO2 emissions of 99g/km and 76.3mpg on the combined cycle.

This gives the ecoFLEX a range of up to 1175 miles, which means that an average UK driver covering 8,200 miles*, would only have to refill with diesel seven times per year.  Or put another way, an ecoFLEX driver could travel from London to Budapest on one tank of fuel!

*Source: Department of Transport’s UK Travel Survey 2012 and based on a combined 76.3mpg for an ecoFLEX model fitted with 2.0 CDTi 99g/km engine.

ENGINES AND CHASSIS

The new Insignia range’s powertrain line-up has been broadened still further with the addition of an all-new petrol engine and new derivatives of the existing 2.0 CDTi unit.

Now available with a choice of three power outputs – 120PS, 140PS and 163PS – the New Insignia range’s 2.0 CDTi engine offers drivers ultra-low C02 emissions of 99g/km (76.3mpg combined) for the lower two outputs and 114g/km (65.7mpg combined) for the higher output unit (figures for Hatch models). But performance hasn’t been compromised, with even the 120 and 140PS models producing up to 320 and 370Nm of torque respectively, and the 163PS model up to 380Nm.

For company car drivers, the new diesel engines offer an even more compelling argument, with both the 120 and 140PS ecoFLEX Hatch versions emitting just 99g/km of C02 and dipping in to the 14 per cent Benefit-in-Kind category for the 2013/14 Tax Year.

Also new to the engine line-up are two direct injection petrol units: the new-generation 1.6-litre SIDI (Spark Ignition Direct Injection) producing 170PS/280Nm that recently launched in the 2013 Cascada convertible, and the 2.0-litre SIDI, producing 250PS/400Nm. Both engines provide an exceptional mix of refinement, economy and performance. They can be coupled with a six-speed manual transmission and Start/Stop function, or with a new, low-friction six-speed automatic gearbox.

Chassis

Across the New Insignia range, there have been improvements including dampers, roll-bars and steering, which result in improved noise and vibration behaviour and even higher levels of comfort. Completely new suspension control arms and carrier housings were built into the axle architecture to improve driving comfort. Electronic Power Steering (EPS) is standard in all but the VXR models and has been reprogrammed for improved feel. Noise Vibration and Harshness (NVH) levels have also been reduced for enhanced occupant comfort.

Vauxhall’s FlexRide adaptive damping chassis system, with its real-time driving style recognition, is also used in the new Insignia. This innovative chassis networks all driving dynamics systems and features electronic damper adjustment, as well as speed-dependent power steering. The driver can choose between three driving modes: Standard for driving comfort, Tour for an even softer, more comfortable drive, and Sport for a more direct, sporty driving experience.

RANGE AND PRICING

The New Insignia range comprises eight trim levels starting with Design, and going up to Elite. There are also two trims – Energy and Limited Edition – which package generous equipment levels popular with retail buyers. And a further two trims – Design and Tech Line – that package comprehensive levels of equipment for company car drivers.

All models have a long list of standard equipment, which includes:

  • DMB digital radio
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • USB connection and aux-in socket
  • CD/MP3 player & stereo radio
  • LED daytime running lights
  • Leather covered steering wheel
  • Cruise control and trip computer
  • Electric four-way lumber adjustment on driver’s seat
  • Electric height adjustment on driver’s seat
  • Six airbags
  • Remote control security alarm and deadlock
  • Electronic Stability Control
  • Electric park brake
  • Electronic climate control
  • Automatic lighting control
  • Electrically operated front windows
  • Electrically adjustable/heated door mirrors
  • Massive savings for company car drivers


The New Insignia range offers big savings over key competitors for company car drivers. Thanks to the new low C02 engines, the Insignia Design 2.0 CDTi (120PS) ecoFLEX with Start/Stop saves company car drivers £992 in benefit-in-kind tax over a three-year period against a Ford Mondeo Edge 1.6 TDCi (115PS) and £1,118 over a Volkswagen Passat BlueMotion Tech S 1.6 TDI (105PS).

‘The New Insignia family not only offers refreshed styling, new engines and cutting-edge infotainment, but also big savings for company car drivers,’ said James Taylor, Vauxhall’s Fleet Sales Director. ‘Against key rivals such as the Ford Mondeo and the VW Passat, company car drivers can save over £1,000 in BiK tax as well as getting more standard equipment and better fuel economy.’

Pricing for the New Insignia starts at £16,279 for the Design and goes up to £29,329 for the top-of-the-range Elite model.  Full pricing and range details can be found in the price guide in this press kit.

NEW GENERATION INFOTAINMENT

The new Insignia features cutting-edge infotainment with many existing features radically simplified over the outgoing model.

Vauxhall technicians set three developmental criteria when working on the new Insignia’s infotainment offering safety, simple operation and personalisation. Most importantly, any infotainment must offer maximum safety for driver and passengers, with the lowest-possible distraction from road traffic. The system also had to be clear and simple to operate and drivers and passengers had to be able to individualise it to their personal tastes.

The centre console has a completely new look and feel. It has a host of state-of-the-art technologies and functions. The control panel was simplified and the operation of the infotainment system as well as air conditioning or the premium FlexRide chassis is now fast and intuitive.

The new infotainment generation is part of the IntelliLink family introduced in the ADAM this year. Thanks to user-friendly IntelliLink technology, smartphone functions can be optimally integrated into the car. In the Insignia, the driver can choose between four different operating possibilities. The new system Navi 900 Touch can be controlled over an 8-inch colour display with touch operation. From the starting screen the driver can access all core functions and sub-menus such as radio stations, song titles, smartphone connection or 3D navigation map via the touchscreen as well as a button on the steering wheel, voice control or the brand new touchpad.

The degree to which the system can be individualised is unique – up to 60 personal favourites can be stored. While earlier infotainment systems only enabled the selection of radio stations, driver and front passenger in the Insignia can now also choose their personal favourites in navigation, telephone and entertainment. For example, the most popular radio station is directly next to the most important telephone numbers on the display, which are just one fingertip touch away from the stored business address in the navigation directory.

The touchpad is ergonomically integrated in the centre console and offers a completely new way of quickly and intuitively accessing the infotainment system. Its touch-sensitive surface recognises handwriting and reacts immediately to finger movements, vibrating lightly to give noticeable haptic feedback and making operation of the new infotainment generation simple and without distracting the driver.

To move the cursor, just one finger is needed, followed by slight pressure on the touchpad to open the selected menu option. With a two-finger swiping motion, the driver can for example change the audio source and a three-finger swipe over the touchpad surface opens the favourites list. The navigation system map has zoom functionality which can be controlled with a pinching motion just like on a smartphone. Even individual letters – for instance when searching for a song title in the database or a city in the navigation system – can be entered by fingertip on the touchpad. When just the first letter is entered, a list of stored addresses appears in the navigation system.

Synchronisation of the infotainment system and a smartphone is easy. Drivers only have to connect their phone to the infotainment system and many smartphone contents are displayed on the colour touchscreen in the centre console. These include not only telephone and song lists but also films that are saved on the smartphone on the Insignia’s 8-inch monitor (only when the car is stationary).


Insignia drivers can control the newest generation infotainment system over newly designed, clearly laid-out steering wheel controls as well as voice commands in addition to via buttons, touchscreen and touchpad operation in the centre console. The advanced voice recognition function can be activated by the simple push of a button on the steering wheel controls. Then using voice control, the driver can enter addresses into the navigation system, play songs saved on the smartphone or make calls, all while the drivers’ hands stay safely on the steering wheel.

The newly designed instrument panel with an up to 8-inch high-resolution colour display also contributes to the driver’s optimal information overview. In addition to the classic readouts like speed, rpm and fuel tank level, further driver-defined details on navigation, smartphone use and audio options are directly in the driver’s line of sight.

Similar to the infotainment system display in the centre console, the most important functions can be called up here on the starting screen and then the sub-menus selected. To do this, the driver uses the buttons on the right side of the steering wheel. The steering wheel buttons on the left are to control safety functions such as cruise control or the speed limiter. So Insignia drivers not only benefit from a multi-functional, customisable infotainment system, but also from an instrument panel with a centrally located, colour display that can be tailored to individual needs and preferences.

A state-of-the-art Bose Sound System, with nine loudspeakers, a sub-woofer, four broadband loudspeakers, tweeters and a digital sound processor, is available as a £525 option.

SAFETY, COMFORT AND CONTROL

The new Insignia’s cabin offers access to a host of advanced driving safety and assistance features, many radar and camera-based. These include:

Adaptive Forward Lighting Plus (AFL+). Vauxhall’s innovative system improves driving safety and significantly eases driving strain at night by automatically optimising light beam patterns for different driving situations, road and weather conditions. Numerous intelligent AFL+ lighting configurations are provided, including High Beam Assist (HBA), which automatically engages high and low beam by using a forward-facing camera to detect approaching traffic or a vehicle ahead.

Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) helps the driver keep to a selected speed, while always maintaining a safe distance to the vehicle(s) in front. In combination with automatic transmission, ACC will now also bring the car to a complete stop and automatically re-start it. The system includes Forward Collision Alert (FCA) with automatic Collision Imminent Braking (CIB) to mitigate a potential impact.

A speed limiter function allows the driver to select a maximum vehicle speed, a useful feature in town or city driving to prevent a 30 or 50mph speed limit being inadvertently exceeded.

Traffic Sign Assistant (TSA), which recognises and displays circular speed limit signs and rectangular advisory road signs as a reminder for the driver.

Lane Departure Warning (LDW), which recognises road markings and initiates an audible warning chime and tell-tale light display if the vehicle should unintentionally veer out of lane.

Other radar-based driving safety functions are: Side Blind Zone Alert (SBZA), which warns of traffic close-by within the driver’s blind spot, and Lane Change Alert (LCA), which warns the driver of traffic rapidly approaching from the rear in a parallel lane. New for Insignia is Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA), which is activated when reversing and warns the driver of traffic approaching from up to 20 meters away on either side of the vehicle. LCA and RCTA are provided in combination with a Rear View Camera (RVC), also new for Insignia. This is mounted above the rear number plate, and a full colour image is displayed in the centre stack screen, together with a dynamic overlay showing the path of the vehicle when reversing.

Advanced Park Assist (APA) helps the driver detect a suitable parking slot by using multiple sensors in the front and rear bumpers. APA calculates the optimal parking path, and guides the driver with steering input displays in the centre stack screen and audible warnings.

NEW INSIGNIA COUNTRY TOURER


  • Top-of-the-range Sports Tourer with SUV characteristics
  • Higher ground clearance and distinct protective body elements
  • Advanced all-wheel drive with variable torque delivery
  • Two powerful turbo-diesel engines with up to 400Nm torque
  • Vauxhall has added a rugged SUV-inspired all-purpose estate to its New Insignia range with its first public appearance at the Frankfurt Motor Show.


Known as the Insignia Country Tourer, and based on the Sports Tourer model, but with all-wheel drive, higher ground clearance and tougher styling.

DESIGN

With its signature Griffin grille, now wider and deeper, the Country Tourer’s front styling is distinctively Vauxhall. The grille’s horizontal chrome bar carries the central brand emblem and is sculpted in a wing form, with its outer tips turned upwards alongside the headlamps. A protective panel, in a gleaming silver finish, sweeps out from under the engine compartment, a prominent design theme echoed at the rear.

Another feature is the anthracite-coloured protective cladding on the side sills and lower body sections, which gives the wheel-arches a more pronounced, flared look.

A final visual flourish is provided by distinctive front and rear light units. The headlamps, with embedded chrome accents, incorporate wing-style LED daytime running lights. This theme is repeated at the rear, with LED brake and taillights.

POWERTRAINS

State-of-the-art all-wheel drive is combined with two powerful turbo-diesel engines: a 2.0-litre BiTurbo CDTi, producing 195PS and 400Nm of torque, and a 2.0-litre CDTi with 165PS and up to 380Nm torque available. A choice of six-speed manual or a low-friction, six-speed automatic transmission is available on the 2.0-litre (165PS) diesel engine.  The 2.0-litre (195PS) BiTurbo diesel engine is available in automatic only.

DRIVETRAIN

The electronically controlled 4x4 drivetrain incorporates a high-quality clutch, operating on Haldex principles, and an electronic limited-slip differential to ensure superb traction on both paved and unpaved surfaces. It constantly adapts to the prevailing road conditions, and can vary torque distribution seamlessly between the front and rear axles, as well as between the rear wheels, even before a wheel begins to slip.

When necessary, the clutch controlling drive distribution immediately sends more torque to the rear axle. The 4x4 system’s sensors constantly feed individual control modules with information on yaw rate, acceleration, steering angle, wheel speed, throttle pedal position, engine speed and torque. The front/rear power distribution is constantly adapted to the driving situation based on this information.

ltimate stability and higher dynamics are ensured by the electronically-controlled rear-axle Limited Slip Differential (eLSD). The eLSD controls the distribution of torque between the rear wheels, transferring drive torque to the wheel that has the most grip. While offering better traction in slippery conditions, the sophisticated operation of this adaptive 4x4 drive system guarantees the highest levels of driver control and active safety in all situations. The Insignia Country Tourer can even provide propulsion when three wheels are on loose or slippery ground and only one rear wheel has traction.

The adaptive all-wheel system also supports drivers in non-critical situations. To reduce frictional losses and save fuel, the system automatically reverts to front-wheel drive whenever it senses that no adaptive interventions are required.

Off road, the new Insignia Country Tourer also benefits from larger tyres and a raised ride height, in addition to its four-wheel drive traction. Ground clearance is 20mm higher than on a standard model, a major advantage when encountering loose, uneven terrain. The Nav models also come with 8-inch instrument cluster as standard.

“The Insignia Country Tourer is perfect for a winter holiday, on snowy roads, or simply when the going gets tough,” said Stuart Harris, Vauxhall’s Head of Carline Brand.  “Even on urban roads its robust looks give it strong stand-out appeal.”

NEW INSIGNIA VXR

With a top speed of 170mph and power output of 325PS, the new Insignia VXR SuperSport remains the UK’s fastest car you can buy under £30,000.

Now benefiting from a raft of design and chassis revisions which have been made across the entire Insignia range, the new Insignia VXR SuperSport will receive its world premiere at the Frankfurt Motor Show (September 12th -22nd).

As before, the SuperSport is available as either a Hatch or Sports Tourer, but externally both models have received a re-styled front and rear, with signature VXR design elements such as distinctive ‘saber-tooth’ detailing at the front and the tailpipe trim integrated into the rear valence.

The SuperSport’s adaptive all-wheel-drive chassis has also been improved, with around 60 per cent of the car’s rear suspension components receiving revisions, while the car’s front HiPerStruts – which prevent geometry changes during hard cornering – remain an innovative feature in this class.

Complementing this, are modifications to the ESP software for even more precise handling and control of understeer, and upgrades to the damper software as part of the SuperSport’s FlexRide adaptive damping system.

In addition, NVH (Noise Vibration Harshness) behaviour has been fine-tuned to achieve greater refinement for occupants, enhancing the SuperSport’s credentials as one of the UK’s best-value performance saloon cars.

With six-speed manual transmission and all-wheel-drive, the new Insignia VXR SuperSport reaches 60mph from zero in just 5.9 seconds (6.1 seconds for Sports Tourer) and on to a top speed of 170mph. Its drivetrain incorporates an electronically controlled 4x4 system, operating on Haldex principles and an electronic limited-slip differential. It constantly adapts to prevailing road conditions and varies torque distribution seamlessly between the front and rear axles, as well as between the rear wheels.

Other important changes to the Insignia VXR SuperSport range include an all-new instrument panel and central console design, which incorporates optional Bluetooth-operated internet connectivity, an 8-inch touchscreen, 3D navigation and voice control. DAB is standard across the SuperSport range.  The Insignia VXR has both 8-inch screens as standard, Navi 900 IntelliLink and the 8-inch instrument cluster behind the steering wheel.

The Insignia VXR SuperSport is available to order now, and starts at £29,749 OTR for the Hatch and £31,049 for the Sports Tourer.

Alfa Romeo 4C marks a return to lightweight sports coupés for the brand


  • Alfa Romeo 4C marks a return to lightweight sports coupés for the brand
  • Advanced materials and construction ensure lightness and rigidity
  • Compact, agile and engineered for pure driving satisfaction
  • Supercar performance with impressive economy and emissions
  • On sale in October priced from £45,000 OTR

Designed, engineered and built as a pure driving machine, the all-new Alfa Romeo 4C is an uncompromised thoroughbred that marks the return to the world of lightweight sports coupés for the Alfa Romeo brand.  Its "natural beauty" is defined by function; the need to wrap the engine and chassis in a compact, aerodynamically-efficient shape, making it a worthy descendent of one of the most beautiful coupés of all time: the Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale.

Designed and engineered by Alfa Romeo and built at the Maserati plant in Modena, the mid-engined Alfa Romeo 4C employs the latest technologies of Alfa Romeo's newest models: The new, all-aluminium 1750 Turbo Petrol engine; the latest-generation "Alfa TCT" dry twin clutch transmission and theAlfa DNA drivingmode selector - now with a new “Race” mode.

Carbon-fibre was chosen for the one-piece monocoque due its high levels of structural rigidity and exceptionally low weight –just 65kg – and is built using sophisticated Formula 1-derived technologies, evolved especially for Alfa Romeo for series production of up to 1,000 units per year. SMC (Sheet Moulding Compound), which is lighter than both steel and aluminium, is used for the bodywork while even the thickness of the glass has been slimmed down by 15% to help reduce the Alfa Romeo 4C’s overall weight.

Less than 4m in length and with a wheelbase of 2.38m, the Alfa Romeo 4C’s compact shape accentuates its remarkable agility: With a dry weight of 895kg and a 40:60 front-to-rear weight distribution, the 4C is capable of generating 1.1g of lateral acceleration and in excess of 1.2g of deceleration force.

To optimise handling, its double-wishbone front suspension is secured directly to the monocoque while the rear uses a performance-tuned McPherson arrangement. The brakes, engineered with track use in mind, employ a patented aluminium/cast iron hybrid construction complete with ventilated, cross-drilled 305mm/292mm discs (F/R) clamped by Brembo callipers. 17-inch front and 18-inch rear wheels are standard, while 18/19-inch wheels with Alfa Romeo’s signature, five-hole “telephone dial” design are optional.

Power comes courtesy of a new four-cylinder turbo engine which, thanks to its aluminium block, is 22kg lighter than the engine that powers the Alfa Romeo Giulietta QV. Turbo-charged and with direct injection, this new1750 Turbo Petrol unit sets new torque and specific power records for this size of engine, at over 200Nm- and 137hp-per-litre respectively. Its maximum power output is 240hp at 6,000 rpm while its maximum torque output is 350Nm (258 lb ft), available between 2,100 and 4,000 rpm. To underline the flexible nature of this new engine, just 80% of its torque is available from just 1800 rpm.

Accelerating from 0 to 62mph takes just 4.5 seconds in the new Alfa Romeo 4C and top speed is 160mph, but this supercar performance isn’t at the expense of the environment. Due to its light weight and advanced engine and transmission technologies, the emissions of the Alfa Romeo 4C fall well within the strict limits of Euro 6. Its official combined-cycle fuel economy figure is 41.5MPG and its CO2 emissions are just 157g/km.

Being an Alfa Romeo, the driving experience is more than just raw statistics. The exhaust has been tuned to emit a full, rich sound and particular attention paid to the seat design so the movement and reactions of the car can be 'felt' properly. The steering, unassisted, is progressive, direct and engineered to convey as much feedback and feel as possible. The steering ratio (16.2) is such as to allow 90% of bends to be taken without having to take your hands off the steering wheel. Both brake and throttle responsiveness have also been tuned to match with the dynamic nature of the Alfa Romeo 4C.

Inside the Alfa Romeo 4C, the exposed carbon-fibre chassis and driver-oriented controls leave you in no doubt as to the purposeful nature of the car. In place of traditional dials, a multi-function, digital display occupies the instrument binnacle and the steering wheel is a bespoke, flat-bottomed, two-spoke item with integrated paddle gear-shifters. The remaining controls are grouped together on the tunnel console, including the button-operated TCT transmission selector and the DNA system selector, which alters the operational parameters of the engine, transmission, ESC and electronic Q2 differential depending on the driver’s requirements. Composite bucket seats and aluminium pedals complete the minimalistic, drive-focussed cabin.

The all-new Alfa Romeo Romeo 4C goes on sale in the UK in October priced from £45,000 on the road, with first deliveries expected early in 2014. In total, global production for the Alfa Romeo 4C is limited to just 3,500 units.

Whilst the all new Alfa Romeo 4C officially goes on sale in the UK in October, due to an exceptionally high demand and limited product availability, prospective buyers are invited to register their interest now for deliveries in late 2014. In total, worldwide production for the Alfa Romeo 4C is limited to just 3,500 units per year.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

TMW - The new MG3, the car that has to succeed

MG 3FORM Sport

The new MG3 is a car in its own class, it is far better than a Dacia Sandero, but not quite the level of a mid to top range Fiesta, the MG3 is a very likable small car and one that those that owned the ZR before will like, the engine is revvy and the gear change quick and short, as well as being quite smooth, I previously stated I was not a fan of the silver sheen seats, so the £400 option for a leather upgrade would be my only option to have.

MG are relying on the younger market with this car and therefore there are a large number of colour schemes, wheel choices and graphic packs, personally I and not a great fan of these graphics but if they bring in much needed cash then so be it.

What is it

Well, this new car from MG is, I suppose a replacement for the very likable and popular MG ZR, which was a rebadge Rover 25, nee Rover 200, The MG3 will have a lot of work to do to be able to say it is as good as the ZR before it, and it has got off to a good start, the "3" is a good looking car, the hockey stick look DRL's at the front really make the car stand out, I even got a few looks when i was out on the road, so, in the looks dept, it is a winner, I know that a lot have spoken about the rear end being ungainly, but as far as I am concerned it is far better than a lot of cars out there.


What's it like inside

Someone has taken a lot of time with the interior, as so much of it gels with each part, similar shaped instrument pods, the shape of the radio, rear view mirror and so on are similar in shape, and this gives the interior a coherent look that will satisfy anyone that chooses to buy this car, even the key fob is like a USB stick, again to give you the emphasis of a young persons car.


The seats in this little car are extremely shiny, but once you sit down and don't have to look at them, you are comfortable if not as supported as other cars, but this car has a charm of its own, it does not want to be a Fiesta, or a Sandero, it is an MG and that's what makes this car stand out, that badge if it were another badge from china then I probably would not have bothered, but MG means a lot in the UK, and that's why they have to get it right first time and not balls it up.



Engine and Gearbox

Like its bigger brother the MG6, the "3" comes only with one petrol engine and one state of tune, neither inspiring, which is such a shame, this car should have a range of engines, from 1 litre 3 pots to a turbo 1.5, which may be coming to the UK sometime in the future, maybe, possibly, but for now we have this engine, it is a new block which begs the question, what went wrong, for general around town driving, this car is ideal, it will handle all you can throw at it.

On the main roads things start to become a little difficult for the car, you do have to use the gears a lot more than in other similarly powered/geared cars and the lack of sixth gear is shameful these days, if the car had that sixth gear it would make motorway cruising slightly better, and getting there easier. I am not saying it is dreadful, quite the opposite, this little 1.5 MG3 cruised nicely at motorway speeds, with quite a bit of wind noise for the over sized mirrors which started to become intrusive at about 48 mph.

With MG co-developing engines with GM there should be a nice new range of modern engines coming on stream but when that will be I cant say, but it wont be too soon, also the five speed box is another negative point, for a new car six gears should be the norm these days, if not more, and the total lack of an auto in any of the UK MG's is also a negative point, by not having the choice of engines and gearboxes, it is sorely limiting the car to those that either don't care, or relish the thought of aching shoulders due to constant gear changing, me, i got the aching shoulders.


Space and Storage

There are a few storage and cubbies in the "3", and the sliding cubby in the top of the dashboard hides a rubber mat with the MG logo embossed, owners of older Rover models will be familiar with this as a number of 200, 400, 600 and 800 models also had rubber mats on the dashboard, also within this cubby is the aux connection for those that want to use iPods, iPhones and the like, the door pockets are not overly large, but big enough to hold a few bits and pieces.


The glove box is also on the smallish size, especially when you take into account that the MG literature pack takes a chunk of the space, but like the "6", there is enough room for some chocolate, sweets and more chocolate, which after all is what most people keep in the glove box, don't they ? or is just me ! Now we come to the boot, this is where the "3" is compromised further, the extremely high lip to the boot makes it very difficult for the less mobile, or elderly to get anything in, but as this car is being aimed at the young, who will no doubt change the boot into a undersized nightclub, with various woofers and tweeters (is that right), so the higher lip will no doubt help rather than hinder them.


Gizmo's and gadgets

  • 16" Alloys
  • Electric windows
  • Hill Hold Control
  • Tyre pressure monitor
  • Remote central locking
  • Steering wheel controls
  • Air Con
  • Side sills with black inserts

Options

MG seems to have learned from teh shambles of the MG6, and have at least given this car a serious number of options, allegedly over 8000 different versions can be specified, we will never know, as they wont be selling that many cars in the UK, for a while, but as with a lot of brands, the idea of customisation is the name of the game with the MG3,

  • Seven wheel choices
  • Three wing mirror choices
  • Ten Graphics packs
  • Ten colour choices
  • Leather Upholstery

MG are definitely on the button with this car, and it deserves to do well, I just can't see many young people buying it,  after all, they love the aftermarket add ons, lights, exhaust, wheels, lower suspension and so on, but they should at least consider it, but they have played a blinder with a ridiculously low 4E insurance rating, no other competitor comes close, for the package given, so maybe it will do well, but only if the advertising and online media is up to par, and not just the usual facebook posts, as they are becoming a joke amongst many, for trying far too hard with too little.



Overall

Have they got it right, well, partly, one model one engine Again, is not they way to go, where are the diesels, the autos the ultra fuel efficient engines, or the sporty top of the range car, like the MG6 before it, it struggled on with one engine until the diesel came out, and that's it nothing else, where are the autos in that, nowhere, but I digress, the MG3 is a very punchy car, it likes to be driven it grips extremely well around the corners and roundabouts has some intrusive road noise, but not as much as some cars I have driven, but it struggles badly on the motorway,to clarify, I was on the slip road which joins the A-road, which in its self was not too long, at 40mph I joined the A-road,  I had my foot planted and it huffed and puffed, but once in top gear it eventually got to about 60, it was fine and the increase to 80, oops, i mean 70 was not too bad, however, an overtaking maneuver is definitely something that will need to planned, once at 70 it cruised ok at that speed with lots of wind noise and engine noise intrusion, this is to be expected, after all it is a small hatchback, built to a price, so something had to be left aside, and that was sufficient noise insulation, but, if you want near silent riding, you go buy a Rolls Royce.

Would I own this car myself, ultimately no, it is just a little too harsh for me, I prefer a little more comfort, but that's more to do with age and a worn out body than anything else, if I were younger with no commitments then yes, most definitely, I would have one, and at the prices they are you really would be silly not to consider it, this MG3 at less that £10k for the top of the range, must do well for MG, it can not carry on selling 18 cars a month, the bean counters in China will be calling and wanting things to change, maybe however, they should be told that to sell a car, people have to know about it, and that means advertising, after all not everyone reads auto magazines.

My thanks goes to James at MG Cambridge, whose team treated me with respect and courtesy at all times, and never not once commented in the negative about the brand, their enthusiasm and foresight was a breath of fresh air, this is how all dealerships should be, even my suggestive questions never resulted in anything against MG, this was a great dealership, thank you.

Jon Mower

TMW - The MG6, a car that deserves so much more.

MG 6 GT TSE

I'll admit straight off for a liking of the 6, I think it looks good, and has plenty of kit in the car to keep even the most fidgety nosey people happy, but can MG give us a car that can get it back on the road to the glory days when MG was revered the whole world over and can the MG6 be that car.



What is it

Well this is the MG6 GT TSE hatchback, the top of the range car with all the bells and whistles from sat nav, electric and heated seats, rear camera, front and rear sensors and too many other toys to mention, it is a car situated above the Ford Focus and below the Mondeo, but aimed squarely at the retail customer rather than the corporate sale, but they won't say no to any sales at the moment.



What's it like inside.

MG have given the interior of the six a faux luxury air and it works in this car, yes there are some scratchy plastics, the fake carbon fibre esque look around the hand brake area , which is nasty, does not do the car any favours, it looks tacky, yet once you open the cubby hole they have a feel more in tune with a far superior car, solid and well put together, the steering wheel is well weighted and has a fine grip, yet the seating position is slightly off centre which means you look directly at the rev counter and not the centre info section.

The seats are very supportive and hold you well when cornering a little bit too hard, getting in and out is easy without banging your legs on the steering wheel, unlike a lot of cars around today, the rear seats are equally as comfortable, if not as supportive as the fronts, and entry exit is slightly more difficult due to the big intrusion of the rear wheel, again like many other cars, head room is compromised slightly by the sloping roof line on the GT, but not as bad on the saloon version known as the Magnette.



Engine and gearbox.

MG have decide that you get one petrol and one diesel and that's that, whereas with all other manufacturers you get a range of petrol, diesel and more commonly hybrids, the 1.8 petrol which I drove today was the first engine followed later by the 1.9 diesel, it is far from the most refined engine in the world, quite harsh once you push the car, and you don't need to push it that hard either, the fuel consumption, as indicated by MG is the nearest to real world driving as you will find anywhere, as most of the car makers massage the figures, which is really dishonest,

The gearbox is by far the biggest let down in a quite good power-train package, with only five  yes five forward gears, in an era when seven, eight and even nine forward gears is becoming normal, having just five is down right Jurassic,  however, it pulls well and even in fourth gear you can attempt a pull away, with a slipping clutch and slight decline, the gear change in this car was a bit graunchy, and not like I remember from testing the MG6 at a launch event some while ago, 

Space and storage.

The boot space in the MG is not the best in class but is more than adequate, hindered by a rather high lip so getting your heavy shopping or luggage in becomes slightly more difficult, and for those of limited mobility or elderly it could be the deal breaker, the door pockets are not over sized like some cars which now provide space for a huge bottle of coke or water, the other cubbies at the front are limited to the ash tray (do cars really have them these days) and one, set in the arm rest which can be difficult to get into as it is set slightly too far back.

The glove box is a reasonable size, enough to hold the books and a few necessities, like cadburys, Polo's, mars and so on, you know, the really important things in life, there are also map pockets in the rear seats, so enough storage throughout the car.



Gizmo's and gadgets

The car comes well equipped with 
  • sat nav including European mapping, 
  • cruise control, 
  • Electric windows all round,
  • Multi function trip computer,
  • Bluetooth,
  • Dual zone air con, 
  • Rear view camera,
  • Front and rear sensors,
  • Electrically heated and moving seats,
  • Leather upholstery,
  • 18" alloys,


So, it comes wonderfully equipped for the £19,400 price tag, for this top of the range TSE, but is it worth the near £20k price tag, and unfortunately i have to say on this occasion no, the prices for these cars should have been far lower, something which they have addressed in the MG3, which is a separate report, the lack of a decent dealership coverage does not help, and no advertising is crippling the brand, that and the fact that MG seems to like to register a number of cars from Longbridge and sell them onto independent franchises at drastically discounted prices, this hinders the decent friendly dealerships that want to sell cars, but cant.

The MG6 is a good car, priced wrong, with little coverage, even though they are doing great things with the BTCC, Jason Plato and Sam Tordoff, lots of race wins, and challenges for the title, but nothing from MG to show that they are achieving great things, yes they introduced a BTCC special edition, but it was just a basic "6" with stickers, and that's it, nothing more, no engine upgrades, not interior differences, nothing to set it apart from the rest of the range.

The dealerships around the country are crying out for sales, after all they need to pay people who work there, the lack of coverage, the lack of choice, the reliability issues, silly niggles that don't effect other brands, these need to be ironed out and then push the car, push the brand.

 MG deserves far better than it is getting, the dealerships deserve far better treatment from the parent company, not shaft them with selling 50 Magnettes to Motorpoint and sell them at £11,000, for a TSE, that's about half price, the dealers can not compete with that, if these cars can be sold for this price why is MG asking over £20k for a Magnette, surely a reasonable price of £15k for the top of the range car, remove a couple of the standard items and offer them as reasonable priced options, after all every manufacture relies on the options list to boost income, why not MG.

My thanks goes to James at MG Cambridge, whose team treated me with respect and courtesy at all times, and never not once commented in the negative about the brand, their enthusiasm and foresight was a breath of fresh air, this is how all dealerships should be, even my suggestive questions never resulted in anything against MG, this was a great dealership, thank you.

Jon Mower

Monday, 16 September 2013

Toyota’s fourth-generation RAV4, introduced for the 2013 model year, debuts a new Entune®


  • Second year of fourth-generation model
  • Four levels of Entune Audio offered
  • RAV4 Limited offers new Technology Package
  • Excellent cargo space

Toyota’s fourth-generation RAV4, introduced for the 2013 model year, debuts a new Entune® Audio lineup for 2014. The RAV4 Limited grade model offers a new Technology Package option that includes Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Departure Alert and Auto High Beam.

In line with other 2014 Toyota models, the RAV4 offers four levels of Entune Audio, with the top two levels integrating the Entune App Suite.

The RAV4 is carefully tailored to the needs of the compact crossover SUV market it launched more than 15 years ago. The latest model combines a fuel-efficient four-cylinder engine, a standard six-speed automatic transmission, two-row seating for five and exceptional in-cabin technologies. Available in three trim levels -- LE, XLE and Limited – the fourth-generation RAV4 offers balanced performance and capability, including higher fuel efficiency, along with increased cargo capacity, striking design, and a compelling array of standard features.

Design: Dynamic Exterior, Sleek Roofline, Bold Character Lines

The RAV4 design shows strong, dynamic proportions while conveying an agile, fun character. Its low hood, sculpted fenders and arcing roofline define an athletic presence. The interior has a premium look with soft-touch accents and driver-centric controls.

For greater convenience, the new-generation RAV4 features a more conventional roof-hinged liftgate with a space-saver spare tire stored under the cargo floor.  The Limited grade comes standard with a one-touch power liftgate with driver-selectable memory height settings.

As on other recently introduced Toyotas, RAV4 shows special attention to aerodynamics, the most obvious detail being small vortex generators molded into the taillight cases and near the base of the A-pillars.  Aerodynamic undertrays beneath the passenger cabin help smooth and control airflow. RAV4’s rear spoiler visually extends the arc of the roofline, enhances aerodynamics and incorporates a brilliant LED center brake light.

Halogen headlights with projector low beams give RAV4 a modern look, and provide excellent illumination in an energy-efficient package. RAV4 high beams, with brightness reduced, serve as Daytime Running Lights (DRL) that can be turned off. RAV4 XLE and Limited feature standard fog lamps.
       
The RAV4’s body structure uses high-strength steel to provide a robust and stiff yet light platform that enhances steering and handling precision. Several grades of high-strength steel form key structural components in the roof, rocker sills, floor, engine compartment and doorframes. A strut tower bar links the top of the suspension strut towers to the main bulkhead at the rear of the engine, helping to increase torsional rigidity.
 
Spacious Interior Design, Premium Materials, Excellent Cargo Volume
The new-generation RAV4 offers a versatile seating arrangement, vast cargo space, and a quiet interior with high levels of standard equipment. The asymmetrical, driver-centric dash panel puts primary and secondary controls within easy reach.  The dash panel and gauges feature Clear Blue Illumination, which provides crisp visibility in most ambient light conditions, and a unified, coherent appearance at night. On the passenger side, the scalloped dash panel adds to the sense of spaciousness.

 The RAV4 LE and XLE driver’s seat is six-way adjustable, including seat height. RAV4 comes standard with a manual tilt/telescope steering column, with a leather-trimmed wheel for the Limited grade. All RAV4 models have steering wheel controls for audio, Bluetooth® hands-free phone and audio, and the Multi-Information Display.  RAV4 XLE and Limited models also offer advanced voice recognition control.
       
The front seats feature a slim seat back, enhancing rear-passenger knee room. The RAV4 XLE features premium front seats with sport bolstering that provides enhanced lateral support during cornering.  The XLE uses premium fabric with French stitching on the seats and portions of the dash panels.
       
The Limited comes equipped with driver and front-passenger seat bottom and seat back heaters with two temperature settings.  Limited adds an eight-way power driver’s seat adjustment with memory and lumbar support. All RAV4 Limited seats are trimmed in high-quality, breathable SofTex with French stitching.  SofTex also covers the center armrest, and portions of the door and dash panels.        
       
The 60/40 split/fold second-row seats recline several degrees to enhance passenger comfort, and retractable rear seat head restraints help with rear visibility. Compared to the previous-generation RAV4, the new model’s cargo area is deeper, larger and easier to access, with 38.4 cu. ft. of cargo capacity behind the rear seats. With the rear seats folded, RAV4 offers excellent maximum cargo capacity of 73.4 cu. ft.
       
Privacy glass, cruise control, power side mirrors, power door locks and power windows are standard on all RAV4 models.  The XLE and Limited feature dual-zone automatic climate control, integrated fog lights, power moonroof with sliding sunshade, and heated outside mirrors with turn signal indicators.
       
The standard Multi-Information Display (MID) is controlled through buttons on the right-hand spoke of the steering wheel. The MID provides an array of information including distance to empty, average fuel economy, instant fuel economy, selected gear, as well as  warnings including low fuel, battery, tire pressure monitoring system and more.

Six-Speed AT,  Dynamic Torque Control AWD, Sport and ECO Modes
All 2014 RAV4 models are powered by a 2.5-liter direct-injection four-cylinder engine coupled to a standard six-speed automatic transmission, with fifth and sixth gear ratios being overdrives. The engine produces 176 SAE net horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 172 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,100 rpm and runs on regular grade gasoline. With front-wheel drive, the EPA-estimated fuel economy ratings of 24 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway, while all-wheel-drive models are EPA-estimated at 22/29 mpg.
       
RAV4’s flex lock-up control torque converter helps increase fuel efficiency while also smoothing powertrain performance. Lock-up can engage at speeds as low as approximately 12 mph, a marked difference from the previous generation’s approximately 25 mph engagement speed. A driver-selectable Eco mode also promotes efficient driving to help maximize mpg.

       
Sport Mode sharpens shift timing, throttle response, and steering response.  When downshifting the RAV4 six-speed automatic transmission in “S” Mode, engine revs rise with a clearly audible “blip,” adding character to the driving experience.

Advanced Dynamic Torque Control All-Wheel Drive
The new-generation RAV4 debuted a sophisticated new Dynamic Torque Control All-Wheel Drive system, which coordinates through a high-speed interactive management system with Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) and Electric Power Steering (EPS) systems to enhance performance, handling and safety.
       
Dynamic Torque Control AWD continuously monitors and controls the torque transfer between the front and rear wheels via an electromagnetically controlled coupling positioned in front of the rear differential. Front to rear torque distribution can vary from 100:0 to 50:50, with front-wheel drive (100:0) automatically engaged under normal driving conditions helps enhance fuel economy.

The Dynamic Torque Control AWD system processes information from speed, steering angle, throttle angle and yaw rate sensors to automatically govern the transfer of torque to the rear wheels, as required. In Auto mode, torque transfer to the rear wheels will take place not only when the slip is detected, but also when the system detects steering input and cornering forces. As a result, the overall agility and driving performance of the new RAV4 is enhanced during both on- and off-road driving.
       
When Sport mode is selected, torque transfer to the rear wheels will start from the moment the steering wheel is turned, switching to a 90:10 front/rear torque distribution to reduce the load on the front tires. If understeer develops, torque transfer to the rear wheels is automatically increased by up to 50 percent, further reducing front tire loading to provide enhanced lateral grip.
       
For off-pavement driving and certain other driving conditions, pushing an AWD Lock button locks torque distribution in a fixed 50:50 ratio at speeds up to about 25 mph. Above this speed, the system automatically reverts to Auto mode.
       
Front-drive RAV4 models feature an Automatic Limited Slip Differential (Auto LSD), essentially a second layer of computer logic in the Traction Control system that the driver can engage in certain low-speed situations, up to approximately 25 mph. Through pulsed application of the individual front brakes, Auto LSD helps direct power across the front axle, simulating the function of a limited-slip differential. Unlike Traction Control, Auto LSD allows a measure of controlled drive-wheel slip to help the vehicle to “dig” out of difficult conditions, such as a sandy patch on an unpaved road, or a driveway covered with snow.
       
The RAV4 uses MacPherson strut front suspension and a double-wishbone rear suspension system. Rack-and-pinion steering with vehicle-speed-sensitive Electric Power Steering (EPS) is tuned for a precision feel and quick response. In Sport Mode, steering has a firmer feel and sharper response to steering input.

The RAV4 LE features standard 17-inch steel wheels with wide vent wheel covers and P225/65R17 all-season tires. The RAV4 XLE upgrades to alloy wheels in the same size, and the RAV4 Limited is fitted with machine-finished 18-in. alloy wheels with P235/55R18 all-season tires.

Eight Standard Airbags; STAR Safety; and New Technology Package
The Toyota RAV4 combines the “active safety” of agile handling and four-wheel disc brakes with a range of safety technologies. All 2014 RAV4 models come equipped with eight standard airbags: dual stage advanced driver and front passenger airbags, front seat-mounted airbags, first and second row side curtain airbags, driver knee airbag and front passenger seat cushion airbag. Whiplash Injury Lessening (WIL) front seats are designed to help support the driver’s and front passenger’s heads during certain types of rear-end collisions.
       
Like every Toyota, RAV4 has the Star Safety System as standard equipment and includes: Traction Control (TRAC), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Enhanced Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Brake Assist (BA), an Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), and Smart Stop Technology (SST).

The RAV4 body structure is designed to help absorb collision-impact forces and minimize impact deformation to the passenger cabin. High-strength steel is used in the roof, rocker sills, floor, engine compartment and door frames to help manage overall body deformation in the event of certain side collisions.

A new Technology Package is offered on RAV4 Limited and includes a Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Land Departure Alert and Auto High Beam.  All three systems can be turned on or off with a switch on the dashboard or a twist of the head light stalk.

The Blind Spot Monitor operates when the RAV4 is traveling at approximately 10 mph or above. When the system detects a vehicle in the adjacent lane, it alerts the driver using indicators on the side mirrors. If the turn signal is on when there is a vehicle in the blind spot of the driver’s intended lane, the indicator on the corresponding mirror will also flash.

The Blind Spot Monitor incorporates Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA), which uses the Blind Spot Monitor radar sensors at the lower rear bodywork of the vehicle.  When backing up, RCTA senses vehicles approaching from either direction and provides an audible warning combined with flashing indicators in the outside mirrors.

While driving 32 mph or more on a road that has lane markers, Lane Departure Alert recognizes the lane markers using a camera as a sensor to alert the driver when the vehicle deviates from its lane.  If the system judges that the vehicle may deviate from its lane, it alerts the driver with an audible beeping sound and an indicator light that flashes on the instrument panel.

The Auto High Beam system uses an in-vehicle camera sensor to assess the brightness of street lights and/or the environment and the lights of oncoming and preceding vehicles to automatically turn the high beams on or off as necessary.  The high beams will go on when the vehicle speed is above approximately 21 mph and turn off when the speed drops below 17 mph.

Standard Back-Up Camera and Entune with 6.1-in. Touchscreen
The RAV4 LE models come standard with Entune Audio, featuring a 6.1-in. touchscreen, AM/FM/CD, Bluetooth® hands-free phone connectivity and audio streaming, iPod® connectivity and control, USB 2.0, AUX mini-jack, and six speakers. The Entune touchscreen, which serves as the display for the standard backup camera, allows the driver and front passenger to operate the audio system and display HVAC settings, engage available navigation and access the Entune system.

Standard on XLE and optional on LE, Entune Audio Plus adds HD Radio with iTunes® tagging plus HD Traffic and Weather (metro areas only).

The RAV4 Limited steps up to standard Entune Premium Audio, adding Navigation and the Entune App Suite. This level of Entune leverages the user’s mobile smartphone to provide a richer in-vehicle experience with fully integrated access to navigation, entertainment and information services. Engaging mobile apps include Bing™, iHeartRadio, MovieTickets.com, OpenTable®, Yelp, Facebook Places and Pandora®, plus real-time traffic, weather, fuel prices, sports and stocks. Access to Entune services is complimentary for three years. Customers can download available Entune updates.

Entune Premium Audio is optional for the XLE. The Limited can be upgraded to the Entune system with JBL Audio, featuring 11 efficient GreenEdge speakers, including a subwoofer, and an 8-channel, 576-Watt (max) amplifier. The amplifier and Green Edge speakers reduce electrical draw on the vehicle compared to other systems of comparable output. Entune Audio Plus and Entune Premium Audio systems include SiriusXM Radio, with a complementary 90-day trial subscription.

Limited Warranty
Toyota’s 36-month/36,000 mile basic new-vehicle warranty applies to all components other than normal wear and maintenance items. Additional 60-month warranties cover the powertrain for 60,000 miles and against corrosion with no mileage limitation.
       
The 2014 RAV4 also comes standard with Toyota Care, a complimentary plan covering normal factory-scheduled maintenance and 24-hour roadside assistance for two years or 25,000 miles, whichever comes first.

New Nissan Note goes into production at Sunderland Plant


  • New Nissan Note goes into production at Sunderland Plant
  • £125m investment in the UK has created 2,000 automotive jobs
  • UK Business Minister to attend special ceremony on production line

Nissan is today celebrating the start of production of the new Nissan Note at its record-breaking Sunderland Plant.

Already the UK’s biggest ever car plant, the new Note is set to boost production even further in Sunderland following a £125m investment by Nissan, secured for the UK with a £9.3m grant from the UK Government's Regional Growth Fund.

The official start of production is being marked at a ceremony on Line 2 at Sunderland Plant by John Martin, Nissan’s Senior Vice President for Manufacturing, Purchasing and Supply Chain Management in Europe, with the UK’s Minister of State for Business and Enterprise, Michael Fallon, in attendance.

The new Note’s design and technology has already caught the attention of customers, with Nissan dealers across Europe taking more than 14,000 pre-orders since the order books opened in July.

SVP Martin said: “The new Nissan Note is giving mainstream B-segment customers an unprecedented combination of design, technology and safety features which up to now have only been available in premium brands.

“This investment is further endorsement of our Sunderland Plant, which is now an international benchmark for productivity and quality as a result of the hard work and consistently high performance by the management and workforce.

“I would like to congratulate all of my colleagues at the plant and in our supply base on the launch of this new model, and once again thank the UK Government for their ongoing support for the automotive industry.”

In addition to vehicle assembly, the new Note has brought additional work to Nissan Sunderland Plant and its supply chain in axle production, cylinder head casting, camshaft machining and engine assembly.

In total, the upgraded Nissan Note is responsible for 2,000 new jobs in the UK automotive industry, including 400 staff at Nissan’s workforce at Sunderland, taking the number of British jobs supported by Nissan to more than 35,000.

Business Minister Michael Fallon said: "The investment by Nissan to make the Note at the world class Sunderland plant has been achieved by Government and industry working together. It provides a very welcome boost to their exceptional workforce, the North East economy and the country.

“Working in partnership with industry, our automotive industrial strategy sets out how we will secure the long term future of the sector as a UK success story by growing our share of the value chain and by getting ahead of the game in research and development on the vehicles of tomorrow.”

Designed to perfectly meet the demands of today's B segment customer, the new Nissan Note has benefited from extensive European development, tailored for European buyers. With engineering and development work for the new Note completed at the Nissan Technical Centre Europe (NTCE) in both the UK and Spain, the new Note has been designed to perfectly meet the demands of today's small car customer.

The new Note also continues the Nissan tradition of bringing bold design and exciting new technologies to a new area of the market. Customers will benefit from a raft of innovative features relevant and useful in day to day driving.

The new Note heralds the beginning of Nissan’s busiest launch period in its history in Europe, supporting the company’s goal of becoming the number 1 Asian brand in Europe. With design, engineering and manufacturing operations all based within Europe, over 80% of the Nissan cars sold in Europe are made in Europe.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Aston Martin continues its year-long centenary party at the Goodwood Revival

Aston Martin continues its year-long centenary party in the appropriately historic surroundings of The Goodwood Revival this weekend.

The luxury British sports car maker is a main sponsor of this year’s meeting at the famous old English race circuit where examples of some of Aston Martin’s rarest and most highly-prized sports cars of the revival period – 1948-1966 – will be on show, and in action.


Among the cars set to do battle on the West Sussex track include a brace of DBR1s, numerous DB3, DB3S and DB2/4 Mk IIIs, plus the 1961 Aston Martin Project 212.

Aston Martin’s centenary will be a signature theme of the 2013 Revival with the strong association between the brand and the historic racing circuit celebrated fittingly throughout the weekend.

Aside from the numerous iconic Aston Martin racing cars in action on the Goodwood track, in meticulously authentic 1950s-style the Earls Court motor show will play host to a broad selection of Aston Martin models from across the years. Rare and exotic examples on display will include A3, the oldest surviving Aston Martin; the Atom and Bulldog concepts; a selection of Zagato models and a highly-prized One-77 hypercar.

Earls Court will also play host to Aston Martin’s ‘cars of tomorrow’ which, of course, means current sports cars including the timeless DB9 Coupe and luxurious new Rapide S.

Commenting on the brand’s extensive involvement in this year’s Revival, Aston Martin UK Marketing Manager Leighton King said: “The Goodwood Revival is always a great occasion and a real highlight of the UK motoring calendar. It seems entirely fitting, therefore, that Aston Martin plays such a significant part in this year’s Revival in this, our centenary year.”

Goodwood Revival founder the Earl of March says: "I am really delighted that Aston Martin is supporting the Goodwood Revival so enthusiastically, especially in this, its Centenary year.  Some very important moments in Aston Martin's long and glorious history have taken place at Goodwood, including the marque taking the 1959 World Sportscar Championship in a hard-fought race in the DBR1 here.  I am looking forward to seeing so many beautiful road and race Aston Martins here over the 2013 Goodwood Revival weekend."