Friday, 30 March 2012

Peugeot's new economic expert

With petrol prices oaring fuel consumption is now becoming increasingly more important when looking for a new vehicle. This is especially true for small companies looking to buy a works van as they can often clock up hundreds of miles.

It’s recently been announced that the Peugeot Expert is a leader in its class when it comes to CO2 emissions.  It’s a versatile and practical light utility vehicle. This model is available as an LUV compact van and as a private vehicle, making it extremely versatile. It’s got a spacious and model interior space that’s ideal for those who lead a hectic lifestyle.

It has a modern appearance, with a restyled front and it features a range of the latest technology which has not been seen in this segment before.

The new Peugeot Expert features a range of efficient engines which all meet the stringent Euro 5 emissions standards. The engines help to lower fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. Despite the economical engines, they still produce plenty of power, which ranges from 90 to 163bhp. They also help to improve traction and grip thanks to the inclusion of a new range of safety features.

To help keep emissions low the new Expert features an aerodynamic design and other specific changes were made to help this model achieve record values.

The Expert Tepee is available with a range of different engine options and depending on which options to choose, you can transport between 2 and 9 people. It’s available in two different lengths, two different heights and with three different body heights. The load volume is 5, 6 or 7 metres cubed and the payload is a maximum of 1,200kg,

Having recently test drove this Peugeot in Southampton it was apparent that its power was definitely not compromised.

Kia Rio gets an update

Kia have released their latest version of the kia Rio. The Korean car company which is owned by Hyundai has always been looking into ideas of developing budget models which are reliable. The Kia Rio is priced from £10,595 on the road and has a combined miles per gallon rate of 88.3. The Rio however has a major rival, the Volkswagen Polo. It comes with a choice ot two petrol engines and two diesel engines which include a 1.1 litre EcoDynamic engine which produces the 88.3 miles per gallon.

There is a choice of four trim levels. They are called the 1, 1 Air, 2 and 3 which are similar to the trim names of the Kia Picanto. The base model Rio comes with electric front windows as standard and 15 inch steel wheels. The interior has a CD player and USB port. The entry level diesel engine doesnt have Bluetooth but the 1 Air trim model has air-conditioning for an extra £800.

The Mid-range spec, the Rio 2 has 16 inch alloy wheels as standard, front fog lights, electronic door mirrors and a leather trimmed steering wheel. Kia dealers usually stock more of the Mid-range specifications because of its high demand.

The Top specification Rio has sporty 17 inch alloy wheels complete with low-profile tyres. It has privacy glass and LED daytime running lights which are soon going to be compulsory on all UK production cars. It also has climate control and automatic wipers and headlights as standard. The petrol engines are capable of either 83bhp from the 1.25 litre engine or 107bhp from the 1.4 litre engine. The 1.25 litre Rio averages 56,5mpg. The 1.4 litre engine is capable of 51.4mpg. The diesel engines, the 1.1 CRDI is the entry level diesel engine and 1.4 CRDI averages 70.6mpg.

European dominance for Lexus in 2012

Luxury Japanese car maker Lexus is expecting European sales to boom in 2012 following a successful 2011. Last year, over 43,000 cars were sold in Europe, an increase of 40%, and this year Lexus forecasts sales to rise about 50,000. It is an ambitious target, as the overall luxury car market in Europe is expected to remain fairly flat throughout 2012. Lexus has made a few changes to its offerings, however, with a facelift given to its vehicles, new smaller models in its range, as well as more fuel efficient larger models, all of which are helping to drive its success.

Lexus has struggled particularly badly throughout the economic crisis, which hit back in 2008 and coincided with stricter controls on vehicle emissions, encouraging many motorists, including the crucial fleet buyers market, to downsize to smaller models. Lexus has traditionally sold larger cars with an emphasis on luxury rather than the environment and efficiency, but the changes it is making are helping to turn the company’s reputation around.

For example, the new RX 450h SUV, which was unveiled at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show, has CO2 emissions below 150g/km, making it suitable for company car buyers. In addition, the introduction of the CT 200h has helped to put Lexus back on the map with European motorists. The new hatchback made up almost half of all sales in Europe for Lexus in 2011, with 17,000 vehicles sold, as Lexus explored a new market.

Lexus has traditionally been very successful in the US market, and hopes to regain its position as the best-selling luxury car company there in 2012 with the launch of nine new models. This will help the car maker achieve its global sales target of 510,000 vehicles in 2012 compared to 404,000 in 2011. The new CT 200h is available now at every Lexus dealer across the UK, and the new RX 450h SUV will be available later this year.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

The Mazda MX-5 Venture Edition

The best selling roadster in the UK is now available as a special edition, available both as the Roadster and Soft-Top. The Mazda MX-5 Venture Edition has an upgraded specification and interior trim and exclusive exterior colours. Whether it’s the roadster or the soft top, the MX-5 Venture looks stunning, especially in white!

The Venture model is based on the Mazda MX-5 SE and Sport Tech models, the Venture is available as a 1.8 MZR Soft-top (SE) and a 2.0 MZR Roadster Coupe (Sport Tech) and gets a dozen items of additional equipment over the standard versions. The extra kit in the special edition includes light gun metal 17-inch alloy wheels, front fog lights, chrome front grille, piano black fashion bars and ‘Venture Edition’ badging.

As well as exterior enhancements the Venture model has some lovely interior touches, it comes with Havana Brown heated leather seats, a leather steering wheel and hand brake with contrasting grey stitching, matching door trim, climate control air-conditioning, piano black dashboard accents, alloy pedals and, for the first time on MX-5, satnav.

Mazda MX-5 buyers can choose from three colours; Metropolitan Grey Mica and two colours exclusive to this special edition, Radiant Ebony Mica and Crystal White Pearlescent. If you want one of these models you are going to have to be quick only 250 examples of the Venture Edition soft-top and 550 of the Venture Edition roadster will be available for UK Mazda Dealer

Prices for the special edition Venture model start at £18,995 for the 1.8 litre and £22,285 for the 2.0 litre model. With a new MX-5 model anticipated to arrive in the next couple of years the current model has become even more desirable, especially with the tweaks Mazda has been making. Mazda has been quiet about details of the new MX-5, some say it may come with a turbo charged engine.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Ford S-MAX Multi-Purpose Vehicle of the Year 2012

Ford launched the S-Max in 2006; it is a multi-purpose vehicle (MPV) that sits under the newly launched Ford Galaxy and above the Ford C-Max. The S-Max is meant to be sporty like a saloon/hatchback and spacious like an MPV. It has taken many design inspirations from the Galaxy and C-Max.

The S-Max was the first Ford model to feature Ford’s new Kinetic Design, under the new design scheme the S-Max has angular headlights, twin trapezoidal grilles, and large wheel arches. One of the important and distinguishing design elements of the S-Max is its “Fold Flat System” which allows the second and third-row seats to fold seamlessly into the floor, leaving extra storage space.

The new Ford S-Max comes with either a Duratorq or Duratec engine – petrol and diesel. The engine choice is quite vast, the smallest petrol option is a 1.6 litre Ecoboost that has 115 PS, the largest petrol is a 2.0 litre with 145 PS. The smallest diesel in the range is also a 1.6 litre, it comes with 115 PS. The largest diesel unit is a 2.2 litre TDCI and comes with 175 PS.

Euro NCAP awarded the S-Max with 5 stars for its safety features. As standard it comes with Intelligent Protection System (IPS), three-point seat belts, optimised pre-tensioners, load limiters, anti-submarining seat subframes, a collapsible steering system and safety pedals.

Overall the S-Max has been received well by the automotive world, after its launch in 2006 it was named European Car of the Year 2007. Five years after it first went on sale it won the BusinessCar Multi-Purpose Vehicle (MPV) of the Year award. 

BusinessCar editor Paul Barker said: "Ford's S-MAX has proved that family transport doesn't have to be bland to look at nor boring to drive, and the readers of BusinessCar obviously agree. The recent changes to the S-MAX further enhanced its appeal in the corporate marketplace, and this BusinessCar MPV of the Year Award reflects the high esteem in which the car is held."

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Ford Transit Awarded 'Van of the Year' 2012

Five trophies were picked up by Ford commercial vehicles picked at the annual awards presented by website Vans A2Z and the 'Van of the Year 2012' was awarded to the Ford Transit , whilst the Ford Ranger was awarded ‘Best Pick-up’ and the Ford Fiesta Van received the‘Highly Commended Small Van’ award.

Commercial vehicles director of Ford UK Steve Clary said "in a tough economic climate, operators are choosing Transit for its reliability and cost of ownership.

The latest models are saving operators hundreds of pounds in fuel, making them the most efficient, durable and technologically-advanced version of this iconic commercial vehicle so far.”

ECOnetic technologies available on new Ford vans include Auto-Start-Stop (which automatically shuts down the engine when at idle, and with the transmission and clutch disengaged) and 70mph Speed Limiter. There are also two new Ford Transit ECOnetic models with CO2 levels from as low as 173g/km an improvement of up to 8.5 per cent in fuel economy and emissions versus the original Transit ECOnetic. The latest Ford Fiesta Van ECOnetic has a class-leading 95g/km CO2.

Has anyone had any experience with the New Ford Transit? Let Torque Auto know your thoughts!

Monday, 26 March 2012

2013 Ford SHO Taurus

The new Ford Taurus SHO is the sportiest Taurus yet to wear the coveted performance badge. With its unique blend of the award-winning, enhanced driving dynamics, fuel-efficient EcoBoost engine and performance-inspired design, the new Ford Taurus SHO shows it means business. An unprecedented combination of technology, hosepower and fuel economy takes this acclaimed sporting sedan to a whole new level.

"The Taurus SHO has always followed the original formula of stealthy sleeper, and the new model is no exception," said Gordon Platto, chief designer. "We wanted to keep the subtle, understated, yet sporty elegance, but at the same time we knew it was time to even more fully differentiate the Super High Output model from other Taurus series models."

Inspired by club enthusiasts and SHO buyers, the design team knew just what to do.

"Listening to SHO buyers and enthusiasts encouraged us to strengthen the design and the driving quality for the new 2013 model," said Platto. "For us, this was a clear indication that SHO customers have passionate feelings about aesthetics and design as well as performance."

Torque Auto would like to know it we are going to see this fantastic new Ford here in the UK, whilst London Ford dealers anticpate a success

Friday, 23 March 2012

Skoda busy making babies, feels the cold

The Czech company Skoda have two new SUV’s in production it seems, the new Skoda Yeti MKII and the cooler cousin, the Skoda Snowman.

Due in 2014, the Skoda Snowman is larger than its older brother and based on the VW Tigan. It seems Skoda are still deciding on where to place the new vehicle in its current line-up. Its possible the coupe version will become part of the Octavia family. Skoda are also of thinking of using the name Grand Yeti, I’m not sure what sounds worse, but based on the current Yeti sales, we won’t be surprised if it flies off the showroom floor.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

UK automotive industry on the up

Yesterday Jaguar announced it would be creating 1,000 more jobs at its Halewood factory on Merseyside. This is on top of another 1,000 jobs confirmed for Jaguars Solihull plant earlier on in the year.  This will take the site’s workforce to over 4,500, more than treble than that of three years ago, whilst Jaguar dealers across the UK continue to expand.

Roger Maddison, Unite national officer, said: "Britain's car industry is bucking the trend of manufacturing decline. It is proof that with the right investment and support, UK manufacturing can be a success story."

This comes on top of more good news for UK motor industry as earlier in the week Nissan launched a joint venture £125 million investment program to manufacture a new model in the UK, creating 2,000 jobs.  The new Nissan Note will be built at Nissan’s Sunderland plant.

Ford have also proposed a £1.5bn investment in new ECO technologies, safeguarding over 2,500 jobs at six different sites across the UK.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Mazda shrink off $1.2bn losses

In the 2011 financial year Mazda reported losses of 1.2 billion and now it seems the business model outside of Japan is falling short of success as they report the latest job losses.

The latest in a long of hard knocks for the North American company, the loss of Ford Motors as a major stakeholder, the flamed Mazda CX-5 advert featuring Lorax, the sometimes negative effect of social media, #saveLorax and a fire sale of $1.9 billion worth of shares imminent to help raise capital.

Surely they could license the SkyActiv technology that Mazda offers, seemingly being received well received by reviewer’s, I know a couple of marques well behind on the Eco transition.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Volvo offer free holidays with new cars

It's not often I find myself jealous of our American friends over the pond but this offer from Volvo is probably worth emigrating for, maybe.

If you are a US resident and looking to buy a new Volvo, Volvo will fly both you and one other to their Gothenburg factory in Sweden, let you rally around the roads of Europe for a while in your new purchase, fly you back and deliver your shiny new Volvo to your local US dealer for collection. How much does this experience cost? Nothing, nada, not a penny. It's all on Volvo as thanks for buying a new car from us. Car manufactures are going to serious lengths to sell cars these days and if I lived in the US, i'd probably be won over. Better than saying I went to my local Volvo Chelmsford dealer anyway.

Check out their Facebook page for more info.

What are your thoughts?

Monday, 12 March 2012

Swedish House Effciency, the New Volvo V50

Buyers wanting to go green with a new Volvo V50 have two choices of the Swedish firm’s DRIVe model: one with the eco-friendly 1.6-litre turbodiesel engine and the other with the same engine but equipped with stop-start technology. Both models have the same 108bhp 1.6-litre turbodiesel engine, which comes with 177lb ft of shove from just 1750rpm, and this engine has a revised electronic brain to improve efficiency. The low down punch makes the V50 very relaxing to drive as the power comes in gently but surely, while the five-speed manual gearbox has an accurate and light shift action. Acceleration is adequate rather than brisk, taking 11.5 seconds to get from 0-62mph, while top speed is 118mph. More importantly, the V50 DRIVe models both cruise comfortably on the motorway without resorting to lower gears when it comes to climbing steeper inclines. With the Start/Stop version, the engine switches off when the car is at a standstill and the driver selects neutral and takes his or her foot off the clutch pedal. This saves fuel and lowers carbon dioxide emissions without affecting the driving experience, while a gear shift indicator on the dash encourages the driver to select the best gear for economy.

The standard DRIVe version turns in 62.8mpg combined economy and 119g/km of carbon dioxide emissions to qualify for low-rate road tax. The Stop/Start model goes further with 72.4mpg economy and 104g/km CO2 emissions. Depending on which trim you opt for, the V50 DRIVe models attract between group 8 to 10 insurance ratings, while all models are covered by a three-year, 60,000 mile warranty. Every model comes with climate control, four electric windows, CD stereo and alloy wheels.

Whilst Volvo came out on top as the best used car to buy in this previous article, it seems they could be looking at dominating the new Eco car market too. Has anyone taken the plunge with the new Volco v50? What are your thoughts?

Skoda look to a postive 2012

2011 was an extremely tough year for the automotive industry with many manufacturers, let alone small independent car dealers, struggling to survive. The current economic climate is very unstable which has caused many consumers to sit tight and hold back from preventing them from splashing out on a brand new car. At least towards the beginning of the recession dealers had the scrappage scheme to help boost new car sales.

Those within the industry will be keeping a very close eye on vehicle sales and will be hoping to see a significant uplift. 

Skoda have already reported that their worldwide sales rose by 10.2 per cent to 75,000 vehicles in January, when compared with the same month last year. In fact, January 2012 was the best month the manufacturer have experienced in their 117 year history which is excellent news for them.

 ‘We achieved a lightning start and grew further in all sales regions in January. This was a perfect pickup and one that creates the basis for more growth this year,’ said J├╝rgen Stackmann, Skoda board member for sales and marketing.

‘The Skoda brand has good momentum. Our model offensive will really start rolling this year. We are continuing on the course of our 2018 growth strategy.’

Skoda saw a big rise in sales in the west of Europe, as they increased by 10.8 per cent to 29,300 units in January 2012. The manufacturer, who are now owned by the Volkswagen Group also set a new record last month in achieving over 3,700 new car registrations, which was up by an impressive 22 per cent when compared to the same period last year.

If you’re looking to buy a new car, why not head to your local Skoda Dealer Essex to take a closer look inside one of their popular new models…

Kia tests the waters

 Kia is a car manufacturer that Torqu Auto admire. Following its entrance into the UK market enjoyed a reputation as a cheap, unreliable and boring manufacturer. However, credit to the Korean manufacturer; following some intense marketing, the launch of an impressive 7 year warranty and, of course, the production of some decent cars, Kia now has a pretty decent reputation within the UK. 

Most manufacturers have cottoned on to the fact that in today’s market it is important to be innovative. Kia do not appear to have missed this either as they are launching their first electric vehicle into the Korean market. This comes shortly after they launched the Kia Ray into Korea, which is a 1.0 litre gas powered car. What’s more, they are soon set to release this very same model as an all-electric car.
The Kia Ray EV is a crossover vehicle which has been specifically designed for urban driving – ideal for Korea. The car will be able to accelerate from 0-62 mph in 15.2 seconds and will reach a respectable top speed of 81mph. It seems we have certainly come a long way from the first electric vehicles that were launched.

The quirky cars are pretty stylish too – the interior is modern and comfortable and features a seven inch navigation system which also conveniently shows the locations of the nearest recharging stations meaning you should never get caught short. 

The bad news is that there are no plans to make this car available in the UK. However, if the car does well in Korea there is bound to be pressure from your local Kia Dealer to make them available in the UK. 
The Kia Optima 2012 Superbowl advert

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Bentley SUV

It has been crazy trying to keep up with all the news from the current Geneva Motor Show now nearing its end, but the new V12 Bentley SUV has particulary caught our eye. I'll leave you and these pictures alone for a while.