If you have a large extended family, and take plenty of trips together, then let them pile into the Hyundai H1 Van....also known as the Starex in some parts of Asia.
Hyundai launched its new H1 11-seater van at the 2007 Thailand Motor Expo. The Hyundai H1 - also known as the Hyundai Starex in certain markets - is a van that can be configured with either 8 or 11 seats aimed at customers who wish to have a people mover but do not want to spend so much on luxury MPVs (multi-purpose vehicles). The Hyundai Starex goes head to head against vehicles such as the Ford Transit, the Volkswagen Transporter and the Mercedes Benz Vito. The Thai model is configured with 11 seats.
With its sophisticated lines, the all-new H-1 (project codename TQ) improves on its predecessor in every measurable respect. More spacious, more comfortable and more convenient, the new H-1 reinvigorates Hyundai's competitiveness in this hotly contested segment.
For all markets outside of Korea and the EU, power for the new Hyundai Starex is provided by a 2.5-liter turbocharged intercooled engine (4D56). Euro-III emissions-compliant, the 4D56 delivers 100ps of horsepower and 23kg m of torque whilst delivering 9.4km per litre of fuel. It's mated to a five-speed manual gearbox or the optional four-speed automatic.
The new H-1 Starex is also fitted with an electro-chromic rear view mirror and new roof-mounted air vents for improved cooling and heating throughout the cabin. The new H-1 gets 16-inch front disc brakes providing better braking power than the H-1's 15-inch discs. And for improved handling, it's fitted with a MacPherson strut front suspension.
Great car for kids to play around in!
Apparently the Starex has always been a popular vehicle in the Philippines:
EVER since Hyundai Starex appeared in the Philippine market several years ago, the Korean-made family van has developed quite a following that now its buyers demanded more than just discounts and efficient after-sales service.
"The market deserves more so we decided to bring the latest Starex here," said Ma. Fe Agudo, managing director at Hyundai Asia Resources Inc. (Hari), the exclusive distributor of Hyundai automotive products in the Philippines.
And not surprisingly the Philippines Sweetheart, Angelica Panganiban, called the Starex her favorite car since her teen years!
Monday, January 28, 2008
Posted by Chrissy at 7:31 PM
Saturday, January 26, 2008
This is the Japanese company Suzuki's new biplane concept, showcased at the same auto show where the small car Nano was unveiled. It was first shown at the Tokyo Auto Show last year.
Suzuki Biplane Concept
The Suzuki Biplane concept uses a semi-exposed V4 engine for power, and a girder-type front end, similar to that found on the Confederate Wraith, for steering and front suspension. The partly covered rear wheel and flush seat-to-tank design is similar to those found on the 1986 Suzuki Nuda concept bike.
An Indian off-road vehicle, the M&M-SUV.
Interestingly another small car was launched at the same show as the Nano. This was the Bajaj Auto small car:
Bajaj Auto , India’s second-largest motorcycle maker, on Tuesday unveiled its concept small car that will be launched in a partnership with Renault and Nissan.
The vehicle, expected to be priced at around $3,000, will launch within the next four years. Bajaj will develop both diesel and gasoline engines for the vehicle at its plant near the western city of Pune, which will have an initial capacity to manufacture 250,000 auto units. The company is looking at exporting the vehicle...
While traffic on city roads is already spilling over, vehicle manufacturers are betting that the primary demand for small cars will come from tiny cities and even villages, which aren’t as crowded. Bajaj Auto’s unveiling ceremony comes ahead of Tata Motors launch of its small car this week.
An attractive Asian girl showcases the interesting Plastic Hyundai QarmaQ. This car was first displayed at the Geneva Auto Show, made of recyclable plastic, another interesting concept from an automaker doing its bit for the environment:
The advanced technology development vehicle (ATDV) uses high-performance composites and thermoplastics extensively to replace components traditionally manufactured from metal, glass, and thermosets. As well as the Elastic Front®, they appear in the exterior, interior, lighting systems, and underhood.
The Elastic Front® requires no airbags or mechanical pop-up hydraulics; it uses the inherent properties of plastic materials. Energy-absorbing structures and the natural properties of the plastics are seamlessly integrated into the futuristic styling of the vehicle. Different impact zones on the car correlate to the various areas of a pedestrian’s body likely to be contacted in a collision.
Among the benefits is a weight reduction of up to 60kg that can offer an average fuel savings of up to 80 litres/year, plus the ability to create complex, 3D shapes.
Components are derived from 85 percent post-consumer plastic waste, each QarmaQ helping divert close to 900 PET plastic bottles from potential landfill.
Posted by Chrissy at 4:10 PM
Thursday, January 24, 2008
A 624cc engine, producing 34bhp to power a four-door vehicle at a top speed of 105 kmph, at a fuel efficiency of 20 kpl (which converts to a whopping 40 mpg!)....this is the very small Tata Nano. The much talked about small car at Detroit this year where the theme was small and green.
How the Tata-Nano was born
Chairman Ratan N. Tata had told a Financial Times correspondent on the sidelines of the Geneva Auto Show that he was thinking of making a car that would cost about € 2,000. Adjusted against the then exchange rate of the rupee, that translated to Rs 1 lakh.
Jai Bolar, senior manager for development at Tata Motors’ ERC, recalls that the team entered the conference room armed with just a 60-slide presentation on all the low-cost modes of personal transport. The vehicles included motorbikes, autorickshaws, scooters and the company’s own Indica. “We had no clue as to what we were supposed to do,’’ says Bolar. “So finally, we asked him whether he could tell us what he had in mind.”
The next few minutes will, forever, be imprinted on the team’s mind. Tata, or RNT as he is affectionately called, held forth, exhorting the team to dream of building a low-cost car that would cost only marginally more than a two-wheeler and revolutionise personal transport in India. Show the world what Indian engineering is truly capable of, RNT told the engineers. “Make me also part of the team. Only in a country like India or Pakistan can a low-cost car be made,’’ he insisted.
The motivational talk worked. “We came back from the meeting all charged up,’’ says Nagabhushan R. Gubbi, head of engineering for passenger cars. Gubbi did not know, nor did the others, that they had just been impelled by arguably India’s most visionary businessman to create history.
The team made little progress over the next year and a half. It tried to source parts from around the world, even toyed with the idea of an open car with plastic or canvas sheets for protection. The problem was it was still thinking of making the motorcyclist safer. Two-wheelers continued to overtake the image of a car in their minds. “The biggest challenge when the project started was there was no brief, no benchmarks, and it had never been done before,’’ says Bolar. Even RNT had only the disturbing image of a family of four riding a scooter on wet roads and an unclear dream to help such families as benchmarks.
At Tata Motors, Jain is regarded as a pioneer. Jain redesigned the engine and increased its capacity to 586 cc. That appeared to be peppy enough and satisfy all parameters. While Tata engineers worked on the engineering of the car, Italian design house I.D.E.A., which also designed the Indica, was chartered with styling.
Beat But Not Beaten
Bolar says that since there was no precedent to the project, everybody had a number of concepts. “The management remained open, but the most challenging task was to define the specs,” he says. The Maruti 800 was the only benchmark to go by. And it cost more than Rs 2 lakh on the road.
Finally, in October 2006, Jain hit upon an optimal engine design. His creation had a capacity of 624 cc and squeezed out 34 bhp of power. “It was the first time that a high-pressure die-cast engine was made in India,’’ says Jain. In comparison, the first Maruti 800, which was powered by a 796-cc engine, delivered only 37 bhp.
Jain’s computer prototype was cast into a real engine in January 2007, when it was first fired. With a multi-point fuel injection system developed by Bosch calibrating the gasoline flow, the heart of the car was ready. Jain filed 10 patents for the engine. By the time the car was finished, the company had filed 34 patents in all; and some more are in the pipeline.
Since the project was inspired by two-wheelers, people who had worked in the two-wheeler industry were roped in, especially in sourcing. Rakesh Mital, who came from Yamaha, came up with the idea of using instrument panels similar to those in motorcycles. The panel in Nano’s dashboard was inspired by the minimalism of the clusters on the heads of motorcycles. Ideas for suspension, cables and lamps were inspired by scooters and motorcycles. The tall-design car has McPherson struts stabilising the front and uses a suspension similar to that of motorcycles at the back to balance for a higher centre of gravity and a rear-mounted engine.
An Idea Is An Idea
Often ideas came from unexpected sources. The team was struggling to reduce the cost of seats while complying with safety norms when RNT, a passionate pilot, who often shuttles between Mumbai and Pune by a chopper, had a brainwave. He thought the reclining and sliding mechanism of helicopter seats could hold a solution for the Nano. The engineers at Tata Johnson studied the mechanism and designed one for the car. The window winding mechanism of the car was also inspired by helicopter windows and done by IFB and Shivani.
The manufacturing team also introduced pokayoke, a Japanese term for mistake-proofing. Mirasdar, who made the prototypes, almost always had a suggestion that would end up reducing costs and simplifying processes.
If the Nano was one of the most anticipated events in automotive history, its launch has set the industry aflutter. “It’s a problem for Detroit,’’ wrote The Washington Post, “which is racing to enter India’s booming small-car market but will now have to completely revolutionise its production and distribution to compete.’’
Perhaps the most important comment came from Ford’s Executive Vice-President John Parker. “It is a groundbreaking product,’’ he said. “The Nano will cause people to think differently about the car. I have a lot of respect for Tata.’’ It seemed like poetic justice that the praise came from the company that had revolutionised personal transportation with the launch of the original ‘people’s car’, the Model ‘T’, exactly a hundred years ago. Curiously, every ‘people’s car’ has been launched in the eighth year of the decade!
However, Tata Motors still needs to align the commercial imperatives behind the car, analysts say. The company has invested Rs 1,700 crore in creating the Nano, which will yield wafer-thin margins. Analysts are concerned the company will have a hard time achieving the volumes before the Nano returns a profit. In fact, Tata Motors’
stock has been downgraded by rating agencies on this count as well as concerns over RNT’s bid to acquire the Jaguar and Land Rover for $2 billion. Analysts also seem unsure if a company can straddle a spectrum of products that ranges from a $1-lakh car to a Rs 1-lakh car. “That car doesn’t have airconditioning, power steering, air bags and other features. Do you dare to buy that kind of car?’’ Wang Chuanfu, chairman of Chinese carmaker BYD, was quoted as saying at the Detroit Auto Show.
In fact, the publicity the Nano has garnered globally would be worth more than Rs 500 crore.
The Last Mile
The launch was perfect, but the Nano has to go some more distance before it reaches the customers. The last stage of cost reduction is expected to happen in distribution. Tata Motors is developing an assembly kit for distributors who would stock completely knocked-down kits of the car at warehouses and assemble them on site. Carting CKDs to different parts of the country is expected to bring down costs as more parts can be transported in the same space that a fully built car can be moved.
To enable cheaper assembly at the distributor’s end, some parts of the car would be glued together instead of welded. “Usually those who make a small number of cars do such distributed manufacturing,” says Wagh. “Sometimes others do it to test the market. For the first time, it would be tried on a large scale.’’ Also, the car is still at the beta stage. Wagh says there would be more tweaking done by the time the first car rolls out of Singur later this year.
Already newly converted cynics are describing the car as revolutionary. The only person not fully satisfied is RNT himself. “It is not as revolutionary as I wanted,'' he said. “I wanted the car to be made from new materials, use new techniques, in a sense completely re-envisage the way cars are made. In that sense I am still not satisfied,'' he told BW.
For the moment, however, the cute-as-a-bug Nano is the cynosure of all eyes. And Ratan Tata has undoubtedly entered the hall of fame of automobile manufacturing.
Posted by Chrissy at 4:20 PM
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Apart from driving in the dark, there were other car technologies, unveiled at this year's Consumer Electronics Show at Las Vegas. One of these was voted the best car tech at CES by CNET...
Our winner in the car tech category was Dash Navigation's Dash Express, which takes GPS navigation to the next level. With its two-way connectivity--giving it access to other Dash units--as well as its preprogrammed, historic traffic-flow data, Dash Express has the potential to provide drivers with real real-time traffic information. Its Yahoo Local search gives drivers access to a points-of-interest database as big as the Web itself, and Dash throws in neat features such as the ability to search for gas stations by fuel price and for movie theaters by showtime.
Dash Express is the first portable navigation system to have built-in two-way connectivity (cellular and Wi-Fi), giving drivers access to a whole new world of information via the Internet and the network of other Dash-connected users. The system display real-time traffic data, which comes from the network of other Dash drivers, while Web connectivity gives drivers a points-of-interest database served up by Yahoo Local, with whom Dash announced a partnership last week.
First, the system comes preprogrammed with historical traffic flow data for all major roads, so it has an idea of what the road conditions are like in the area during all times.
The advantage of the Dash Express system is that you have access to all the resources of the World Wide Web.
In addition to these functions, you get all the standard navigation features, such as turn-by-turn directions including text and voice guidance (no text-to-speech functionality in the first iteration), and as a bonus, all map and POI updates are done automatically and over the air, so you don't have to do a thing. Dash Express will be available in March, and we hear that it will be priced "competitively with other high-end navigation systems," which means that it will likely be in the $600 to $800 range.
Posted by Chrissy at 2:26 PM
Monday, January 21, 2008
From the past to the future, innovations in auto technologies, mainly those that help us drivers are eagerly awaited. And this years Consumer Electronics Show (CES) at Las Vegas did not disappoint.
FLIR (forward looking infra red), originally used by the military and law enforcement agencies, to enable their vehicles with night-vision, was demonstrated on civilian cars at the CES this month. It was displayed on a classy BMW, which as you know has recently showcased a small and green version of its car at the auto Show in Detroit!
The FLIR camera provides vision for up to a kilometer in the dark, making it a peach for driving in the dark. But for some strange reason the camera displays the infra-red video mounted on the rear-view mirror of the car?? At least this was the case at the display in Las Vegas....maybe the individual driver will have the freedom to place the camera and the screen where s/he chooses.
Since FLIR is based on the concept that every object emits heat, and shows up against the relatively colder night-environment, there are drawbacks. While human beings and animals show up at great distances, some inanimate objects blocking the road, may not display very clearly until the last moment, making it very difficult to avoid hitting them.
FLIR systems are costly, setting you back by $2000, which is as much as that small new Indian car the Nano!
Posted by Chrissy at 5:22 PM
Sunday, January 20, 2008
This vehicle was built way back in 1954 and was touted as the jet-age car! Blasting on at 90mph...
No flames spout from the tail pipes of a custom-built three-wheeled car, but that is about the only difference between it and a space ship! The engine is a 60-horsepower V8 mounted in the rear. A single front wheel is suspended on a motorcycle fork. The sheet-metal body is welded to the frame.
Air scoops on each side of the body ventilate the engine. The 10 tail pipes permit the hot air from the engine to escape. The unusual car was built by Stanley M. Eakin of Grove City, Ohio. It took six years of his spare time. Top speed is about 90 miles per hour.
Certainly a blast from the past! Read More......
Posted by Chrissy at 5:21 PM
Saturday, January 19, 2008
With General Motors going green, investing in a bio-fuel company, and introducing its trademark off-road vehicle in a green avatar, take a look at the competition in this category. The latest Jeep Wrangler:
This tough off-road vehicle is now in its latest version: the 2008 Jeep Wrangler. Available as the traditional two-door and in the new four-door versions, the Jeep Wrangler gives a city mileage of 15mpg and on the highway burn 19mpg...pretty awful but what do you expect from an off-road vehicle? Now if it went green like the Hummer HX...
The cost, depending on the version you buy, is between $18,000 and $30,000. Like the Hummer it has a 3.8-liter V-6 engine with 202 horsepower and four-wheel disc brakes. Standard safety features include side impact door beams, anti-lock brakes and an energy-absorbing steering column.
A detailed review on the Wrangler and past versions of this off-raod vehicle:
Perhaps the quintessential niche vehicle, the Jeep Wrangler has held the crown of ultimate off-roader ever since it was offered to the general public. This SUV's lineage goes back more than 60 years to the original military "Jeep," the now-legendary 4x4 that transported World War II soldiers and supplies over very rough terrain....
Revamped for the 2007 model year, the current Wrangler is larger and more refined than its precursor. Key changes include a stiffer structure and more insulation for a quieter ride, a more powerful engine, more modern transmissions and the first-time availability of a four-door variant (known as the Wrangler Unlimited). Styling is familiar, and although the standard Wrangler retains roughly the same short length as before, its increased width helps to improve passenger comfort.
All 2007 Jeep Wranglers come with a 3.8-liter V6 engine capable of 202 horsepower and 237 pound-feet of torque. The V6 is connected to a standard six-speed manual transmission or an optional four-speed automatic. Most models are four-wheel-drive, though a rear-drive version of the Unlimited is available.
Three trim levels are offered: bare-bones X, midlevel Sahara and serious off-road-oriented Rubicon. The latter trim adds heavy-duty axles, extra-low gearing and electronically locking front and rear differentials. Each trim level is available in two body styles: a short-wheelbase two-door or the long-wheelbase four-door Unlimited.
Age-old and desirable attributes such as compact dimensions (provided you choose the two-door version), a high ground clearance, steep approach and departure angles, and a no-nonsense four-wheel-drive system with an aggressive low-range function still apply to today's Wrangler, and it remains a popular choice among hard-core off-roaders.
Make no mistake, the ride is still stiff, and on the road the Wrangler's modest handling and acceleration abilities can actually be bested by most minivans. But unlike past Wranglers, the new model is actually tolerable on longer highway trips, thanks to a much quieter cabin, more comfortable seats and the availability of luxuries such as a CD changer, a navigation system and full power accessories.
The lovely Avril Lavigne is a proud owner of the Jeep Wrangler:
Posted by Chrissy at 5:21 PM
Thursday, January 17, 2008
General Motors and the environment: poles apart? Not so. As that link shows the automaker is concerned about global warming and climate change. And now at this years small and green dominated North American International Auto Show GM unveiled its own green humvee: the Hummer HX.
General Motors introduces 'green' Hummer
General Motors has introduced an ethanol-adapted 'green' version of its heavy gas-guzzling military compact truck derivative, the Hummer, at the Detroit auto show, where media continued getting a preview before the show opens later this week to the public.
The unveiling, coupled with an announcement of a partnership in a bio-fuel company Monday, was part of GM's efforts to raise its image as a company trying to reduce carbon emissions blamed for global warming.
The Hummer HX has a flex-fuel V6 power train that will run on biofuel and is somewhat smaller than its bigger brothers. Yet it is still packed with 'all the legendary capability' of the iconic vehicle, according to a video posted on the Internet. Doors, roof and bumper panels are removable.
GM chief executive Rick Wagoner Sunday unveiled plans to bring 16 new hybrid models onto the market within four years, and also revealed it would buy a stake in biofuel company Coskata Inc, a pioneer in efforts to convert waste into cheap ethanol.
The production process does not rely on corn and requires less water than other processes, according to an article posted on an msn website offering coverage of the show. The pilot fuel programme was expected to be in place by 2009, with production costs at about $1 per gallon (four litres.)
Growing demand for corn-based ethanol, including new US government guidelines, have sparked worldwide criticism over the upward pressure on food prices and the relative inefficiency of corn as a bio-base for fuel.The North American International Auto Show opens to the public Saturday and closes Jan 27.
Posted by Chrissy at 5:11 PM
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
The 2008 North American International Auto Show is being held at Detroit from Jan 13 to Jan 27. It will be open to the general public from the 19th.
The history of the show:
The first auto show occurred in Detroit in 1907 at Beller's Beer Garden at Riverside Park and was held there every year except 1943-1952. It was renamed the North American International Auto Show in 1989. Since 1961, it has been held at Cobo Center where it occupies 1 million square feet of floor space. The show is particularly important because the Metro Detroit area is the location of the headquarters of the Big Three American automakers, Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors.
Given the efforts of car makers to produce hybrids, keeping in mind climate change, and the requirements of the new energy bill, the themes for this year's auto show are "small and green":
Small and green
LAND Rover has unveiled a bold new diesel-electric hybrid concept at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The LRX, a sleek sport utility vehicle, promises to get 50 miles per gallon of petrol.
“We’ve got to make sure if we are moving into a different segment with a different type of Land Rover, that we actually produce a vehicle that people want to buy,” said Popham.
Earlier this month, Ford named Indian automaker Tata Motors as the top bidder both Land Rover and Jaguar, replacing the other two bidders, Indian automaker Mahindra & Mahindra and U.S. private equity firm One Equity Partners, as most likely purchaser.
Tata Motors announced a new small car of their own in Delhi last week – the Nano –- which will be the cheapest production car in the world , as part of an aggressive strategy for expansion that included its largest ever presence at the Delhi Auto Expo, showcasing a new range of 17 models of cars, utility vehicles, trucks and buses at the 5200-square meter Tata-Fiat pavillion.
“Our expectation is that if we are sold, the purchaser would be investing in the business based on the business plan that the board has presented to them,” Popham said after unveiling the white concept vehicle. “That includes the opportunity for this car.”
The concept comes at a time when many major manufacturers are looking to produce smaller vehicles, and the motoring industry as a whole is moving gradually towards a greener agenda. BMW has unveiled its first diesel-powered vehicles for the US market, the 335d coupe and X5 xDrive35d sport utility vehicle.
Toyota announced plans to offer a plug-in hybrid to compete with GM’s electric Chevy Volt – both are set to hit the road in 2010 – and promised to introduce two new dedicated hybrids at next year’s Detroit Auto Show.
Honda unveiled the FCX Clarity fuel-cell powered sedan, which will be leased to a limited number of customers in California later this year, and vowed to increase hybrid sales to 10 per cent of its global volume by 2010. And even Ferrari has a biofuel vehicle on display – the F430 Spider.
The LRX is one of a number of ambitious concept vehicles which will be presented to the public for the first time when the motor show in Detroit opens on Saturday, January 19.
More on the cheapest production car in the world, whose price has not been given above, see the Tata Nano:
Tata’s $2,500 Nano car may not have been unveiled at the Detroit auto show, but that didn’t stop it from being the talk of the show. Auto executives said the car could have far-reaching impact. Ford’s head of Asia Pacific, John Parker, certainly thinks so.
“It is a groundbreaking product,” Parker told reporters. The car will “cause people to think differently about the car. I have a lot of respect for Tata.”
Calyon Securities analyst Mark Warnsman in a research note released during the show pointed out that the Nano took its bow this month in India almost 100 years after Ford revolutionized the global auto industry with the Model T car.
“Will the Nano revolutionize the global auto industry in the way that the Model T originally did? In brief, our answer is no, but there are a number of aspects of the Nano that we do find interesting,” he said.
“The Nano may not be revolutionary in its technology, but it is state-of-the-art in the way it has tweaked existing technologies to target an as-yet untapped segment of the market,” Warnsman added. “For this, it will be worthy of study, and imitation, by automobile manufacturers everywhere.”
Nissan executive vice president Carlos Tavares was very interested in the Nano’s reception last week. The Japanese automaker, along with partner Renault and India’s Bajaj Auto Ltd, is studying whether it can profitably develop a $3,000 car to rival the Nano.
“We’re very excited to see the reception that the Nano got,” Tavares told Reuters. “It’s very impressive. Hopefully they will deliver on the promise, and of course we will benchmark against the Nano.”
Other executives heard talking about the impact of the Nano, which will be offered in India later this year, included General Motors vice chairman Bob Lutz and AutoNation CEO Michael Jackson.
For more on the Tata Nano, its technical specifications and how it was built, see the very small car!
Posted by Chrissy at 4:23 PM
Monday, January 14, 2008
Honda's supercar, the popular Acura NSX, has a new version due out this year!
Not merely a concept car like the Carbon Ferrari, the 2008 NSX, was already in road trials.
Honda today unveiled the Acura Advanced Sports Car Concept, a preview of the design direction for the successor to the Acura NSX. The concept is designed to incorporate a powerful front-mounted, V-10 engine and a new high-performance, rear-wheel-drive based version of Acura's 'Super Handling All-Wheel Drive' (SH-AWD).
"Our intention was to design an exotic sports car that gracefully combines advanced technology and strong emotion," said Jon Ikeda, principal designer, Acura Design Center. "The technical, machined surfaces and keen-edge design are balanced with sweeping curves and dramatic lines, all of which results in the ultimate exotic sports car."
But it took some time and a lot of work before the problems were ironed out.
The long-overdue next NSX is not yet a done deal, as Honda struggles to define what kind of car it should be and how it should look. The mid-engine Honda HSC concept (above) from the 2003 Tokyo show no longer points the way toward the next NSX, which will be front-engine, not mid-engine, mainly for packaging: American Honda insists that it be able to carry two sets of golf clubs. Honda Motor CEO Takeo Fukui has decreed a ten-cylinder engine, frustrating employees from Japan to California to Ohio, who would like to develop a V-8 that could be used across a wider product range, such as a proper flagship sedan for Acura. Honda insiders also hint of continued design hiccups. We'll see it in 2008, if we're lucky.
Posted by Chrissy at 5:14 PM
Thursday, January 10, 2008
A cute nifty little car for girls!
Costing more than $20,000, the great thing about the Beetle Cabrio is its light weight, and compact size, which make it so easy to maneuver. And for these reasons its mileage, so relevant in these days of climate change, is a satisfying 24mpg in the city and 30mpg on the highway making it useful even ten years later when the new energy bill takes effect!
A review of the Cabriot although here the mileage is given as 40mpg. Not really sure about the technical stuf, just follow the review:
The 2.0-litre engine is from the old-shape Golf GTI – but don’t get too excited. This eight-valve unit is flexible and easy-going but strained at high speed. The 1.6 is more driveable, although it can’t match the 2.0’s pulling power. A 1.9 turbodiesel introduces greater flexibility. Fastest is the 150bhp 1.8T which does 0-60mph in 9.3sec.
Soft suspension makes for comfortable cruising, but at the expense of lurching body roll in corners. Despite losing its roof, however, the Beetle cabrio’s stiffened body means there is no windscreen wobble or scuttle-shake.
In any convertible with a roof in place, there’s bound to be some wind noise, but in the Beetle it’s relatively hushed. Even at motorway speeds, there’s little need for raised voices when trying to have a conversation. There’s a wonderful solidity to all the controls and materials in the cabin.
It’s a Volkswagen, it’s a Beetle and it offers the full wind-in-the-hair driving experience, so this car holds its value very well. The 1.4 model is the cheapest four-seater convertible on sale, and with a group 8 insurance rating and combined fuel economy of nearly 40mpg it is relatively cheap to run, too.
Whether you love or loathe the Cabriolet’s retro styling, there’s no denying that its materials and plastics are made to the highest quality. Every one of the cabin’s materials is fresh and funky and yet feels solid as a rock. The mechanical parts are known, proven and trouble-free, too.
The beautiful Elisha Cuthbert with her Beetle Cabrio.
Posted by Chrissy at 2:38 PM
Tuesday, January 8, 2008
General Motors unveiles a new car, which is driverless! It can steer through traffic, race on highways, follo the speed limit to the last mile, and can even park itself in congested lots...
"This is not science fiction," Larry Burns, GM's vice president for research and development, said in a recent interview. Much of the technology already exists for vehicles to take the wheel: radar-based cruise control, motion sensors, lane-change warning devices, electronic stability control and satellite-based digital mapping. And automated vehicles could dramatically improve life on the road, reducing crashes and congestion.
"Now the question is what does society want to do with it?" Burns said. "You're looking at these issues of congestion, safety, energy and emissions. Technically there should be no reason why we can't transfer to a totally different world."
GM plans to use an inexpensive computer chip and an antenna to link vehicles equipped with driverless technologies. The first use likely would be on highways people would have the option to choose a driverless mode while they still would control the vehicle on local streets, Burns said.
He said the company plans to test driverless car technology by 2015 and have driverless cars on the road around 2018.
Good news for those who can't drive. Good news also for those who can drive but have so much trouble parking!
Posted by Chrissy at 2:17 PM
Sunday, January 6, 2008
No I'm not referring to the all the carbon-based fuel that the Ferrari 612 Scaglietti guzzles, and no this is not about the carbon-based exhaust that it spews out as the gorgeous car revs and roars across highways. Ferrari has entered the business, and necessity, of saving the planet, by producing a hybrid sports car!
Christened the FXX Mille-Chili, which in Italian refers to its 1000-kg weight (mille=1000), this Ferrari will be built entirely from carbon-fibre and will be powered by a petrol-electric engine. Initially the Mille Chili was seen to be only a concept car, and Ferrari had no intention of taking it into production.
But in an interview with Auto Motor and Sport Ferrari's Director General Amedeo Felisa:
How important is the issue of hybrid to you?
Felisa: A hybrid solution will come. We see the hybrid but also dynamic aspects. Besides which: From now on, every new model is more economical than its predecessor.
Can diesel be an alternative to the hybrid engine?
Felisa: diesel models achieve extraordinary performance. But their power-to-weight is bad. We will achieve our consumption targets without diesel.
So we will see a Hybrid Ferrari by 2009!
Posted by Chrissy at 5:46 PM
Wednesday, January 2, 2008
Italians and Filipinos. What do they have in common?
So look here at the Italian part...a gorgeous Ferrari. Specifically the Ferrari 612 Scaglietti, named as a tribute to Sergio Scaglietti, famous Ferrari coachbuilder who had worked in the company for 17 years.
A picture of the powerful 5.7-liter V12 engine that produces 540 hp of power and enables the Ferrari 612 Scaglietti to reach 62 mph in 4.2 seconds. The car can reach a top speed of 199 mph. Unfortunately, but expectedly, it's not great for the environment or your pocket, consuming 10 mpg (miles per gallon) in the city and 17 mpg on the open road.
The front panel and seating of the Ferrari 612 Scaglietti. The car is 16 feet long and just over 6 feet wide, giving plenty of headroom and leg space in the front and the rear. See this review for how the Ferrari handles on the road:
Larger and lighter than the 456M it replaced, the four-seat 612 Scaglietti is Ferrari’s most expensive model and the first to boast a chassis and body made entirely of aluminum. This is said to cut the vehicle’s weight by about 40 percent — versus a standard steel setup — and allow exceptional rigidity for a more refined ride and improved handling over the model it replaced.
The understated styling is courtesy of famed Italian design house Pininfarina, which has a long history of designing Ferraris. The engine is mounted entirely behind the front axle, and the transmission is in the rear of the car for optimum weight distribution (46/54 percent weight distribution front-to-rear with a driver onboard). This allows superior handling.
An optional sequential-manual “F1” six-speed transmission offers manual gear changes with paddles mounted behind the steering wheel — right paddle for upshifts, left paddle for downshifts — or can be left in automatic mode. A sport mode allows better acceleration by holding gears longer so that the engine can rev all the way to redline.
Like most exotic cars, the 612 Scaglietti can be customized with any exterior color and interior trim of a client's choosing. Options include a full-size spare tire, special 19-inch wheels, run-flat tires have high performance, parking sensors and custom-fitted, six-piece leather luggage designed by Pininfarina.
So what does this have to do with Filipinos? Well look at the Ferrari in black:
The Dutch-Filipino model Misa Campo loves black sports cars!
Posted by Chrissy at 5:01 PM