) Moto Buzz cars: 2010

Thursday, December 30, 2010

New Hot Hatchbacks coming in 2011


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

BMW X1 launched in India

 German luxury car maker BMW on Thursday introduced its cheapest model in India, a new sports utility vehicle. The vehicle will be available in both petrol and diesel variants. While the petrol option, BMW X1 sDrive 18i, will be available for Rs 22 lakh (ex-showroom, all-India), the diesel variant will have two options, X1 sDrive 20d, priced at Rs 23.9 lakh and X1 sDrive 20d Exclusive priced at Rs 29.9 lakh (ex-showroom, all-India).

it is also the most practical model for India thanks to its high ground clearance and compact dimensions. Have already generated a good interest among buyers and have received over 1,000 bookings which has already created a waiting period of three months.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

M&M launches the Mahindra Thar

Mahindra Unveiled Thar India.
Thar is for Jeep lovers and off-road enthusiasts. The Thar is a manual 4x4 machine coupled with a powerful CRDe engine 77 kw (105 BHP) & drive by wire technology which is capable of providing it variable speeds and acceleration. To handle this excess power, THAR CRDe's tough rigid ladder frame chassis has been optimised to enable crisp handling. There is also a direct injection (DI) version of the Thar meant for rural and semi-urban markets.

M&M has only launched the soft-top Thar at the moment and this variant does not come with air conditioning. Owners can however get a custom made canopy for their Thar and then get an aftermarket air conditioner fitted. We feel M&M should have also launched a hard-top variant with air conditioning even if it were to bump up the price a bit.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

New Maruti SWIFT Will be Launched In End of 2011

New Maruti Swift

Maruti Suzuki has revealed a news which will is not so good for the people waiting for the launch of the new Maruti Swift 2011. While the new model of Swift 2011 is already available in UK by Suzuki, but its not yet lunched in India. As per the latest news the new model of Suzuki swift will be launched in India towards the end of year 2011, which means its another one year to go from now. This delay is mainly due to the reorientation of the production facilities of Maruti Swift and Maruti Swift Dzire between the Gurgaon and Manesar plants of Maruti. This change will take place near the mid of year 2011 and the production of the new upgraded versions of Swift 2011 will start in India towards the end of the year 2011.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Fast Five- The next level of fast & the furious cumin..

Fast Five (also known as The Fast and the Furious 5) is the upcoming fifth installment of The Fast and the Furious film series. The film is set to be released on April 29, 2011. Fast Five comes after Fast & Furious and before The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. This will be the only film in the film series to release in a IMAX theater.

Fast Five releases in April 2011. Vin diesel & Paul walker this time will be against Dwayne Johnson in a action packed thriller full of hot rods and hot latinos. This movie is coming for all car lovers and racing maniacs...

Stay tuned............

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Ford Figo is the Indian Car of the year 2011

Ford’s Figo has won the 2011 Indian Car of the Year (ICOTY) title beating notable competitors including Chevrolet’s Beat, Nissan’s Micra, Skoda’s Yeti, VW’s Polo and Vento. The winner is decided based on a point system in which Ford Figo emerged a clear winner where Volkswagen Vento secured a second place. This award is a big achievement for Figo as it will help boost the image of the car further in the Indian automobile market.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Tata Nano V2

Tata Motors is set to give the Nano its first major upgrade. Although the changes are minuscule but they are important as it shows Tata’s commitment to improving its vehicles. The Tata Nano now has a higher rev limit at 6000rpm, up from 5000rpm to quicken acceleration in the first two gears helping in making life easy for the people’s car on steep inclines. The top speed is unaffected at 105kmph. The old fashioned outside rear view mirrors will be replaced with units where the mirror moves within the housing. This change is to make the mirrors compatible with electric adjustment in the future.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Honda's small car Brio

Honda conducted the world premiere of a prototype of Honda Brio, the new compact car developed for Asian markets and scheduled to be introduced in Thailand and India in 2011, at the Thailand International Motor Expo. Honda Brio Prototype is being developed as a commuter vehicle which is easy to use even in urban areas, the Honda Brio has a length of 3,610mm, width of 1,680mm and height of 1,475 mm, while ensuring enough cabin space achieved by highly efficient packaging. For the Indian model that is scheduled to be introduced within 2011, local customer needs for a small car will be reflected to the specifications and local content will be increased to create a model that achieves a good balance between vehicle performance and price (Rs. 5 lakhs).

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Leaked: 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK revealed ahead of schedule

Mercedes-Benz has pulled the drapes back on its 2012 SLK... by accident. A French promotional film made its way to the Internet, and the star of the clip is the redesigned hardtop convertible.

The compact two-door Benz will be available with the company's neck-warming AirScarf system, adaptive headlights, a seven-speed automatic transmission and a Magic Sky Control roof that darkens at the touch of a button.

The style of the Mercedes-Benz SLK has grown up to fall in line with the rest of the family. The front sports a very aggressive treatment with a gaping grille and a massive Three-Pointed Star. The whole package comes off as a miniature SL rather than a soft imitation of one.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Yamaha India to Launch FZ1

Yamaha is going to launch its sporty performance bike Yamaha FZ1 in India through CKD (completely knocked down) unit route. The super bike will be launched in December and will be priced between Rs 8-9 lakh. Yamaha FZ1, with its 1000cc and four cylinders , would compete with the recentlylaunched Honda CB1000R. It is pitted in the same category as the Suzuki Bandit and Kawasaki Z1000S in the international market. Yamaha, which sells super bikes in the range of Rs 14-24 lakh, plans to sell over 80-100 super bikes in India in 2010. The company hopes bike enthusiasts will overlook the cost factor and lap up its products just for the iconic value they have gained on other markets       

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Government Declares incentives on electric vehicles

The Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE), Government of India has announced the much awaited incentive scheme for Electric Vehicles in India by which the manufacturers of Electric Vehicles will receive financial incentive for each Electric Vehicle sold in India.

The scheme envisages incentives of up to 20% on the ex-factory prices of the vehicles, subject to a maximum limit. The cap on the incentive will be Rs.4,000 for low speed electric two wheelers, Rs.5,000 for high speed electric two wheelers and Rs. 1 lac for an electric car. In total, Govt. will provide financial incentives of about Rs. 95 Crores. Owing this these rebates, the Society of Manufacturers of Electric Vehicles (SMEV) expects a growth of about 100% in electric-vehicle sales.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Chevrolet Aveo UVA 2011

Chevrolet will launch the new Chevrolet Aveo UVA next year. The pictures of the Aveo RS Concept new model show that there is a drastic change in the exterior.The existing curvy model will be replaced by a sharply designed look which looks more like Chevrolet Beat, the latest small car by Chevrolet. The dimensions of the New 2011 Aveo UVA will be larger compared with the beat. The instrument cluster will also be somewhat similar to the Chevy Beat which is radical bike like digital instrument cluster with a tachometer and a digital speedometer. The front grille has gone larger and the headlamps have become sharper resembling the big Chevrolet Cruze Sedan eyes. The tail lamp cluster is also very stylish with a high mounted brake lamp mounted on the rear spoiler which gives it a very sporty rear looks.

Friday, November 19, 2010

The much awaited Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X launched in India

Mitsubishi has finally brought its supercar chaser, the Lancer Evo X to India. The sports sedan with rally pedigree has been launched at the ongoing Autocar Performance Show in Mumbai.
The Evo X is powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine which belts out an astounding 291bhp and helps the car propel itself from 0-100kph in just 6.6 seconds. The Evo X features six-speed manual transmission, all-wheel drive, ventilated Brembo disk brakes (front & rear), ABS with EBD and seven air bags.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Mercedes launches M-Class Grand Edition

MUMBAI: Luxury car-maker, Mercedes Benz, today launched its new M-Class grand edition in two variants--Grand Sports and Grand Executive--priced at Rs 54.11-lakh and Rs 47.91-lakh (ex-showroom Pune) respectively. 
While not much has changed the new variants come with some exterior tweaks like darkened headlamps and tail lights, LED daytime running lights, new 19-inch alloy wheels and AMG radiator grille and under guards at the front and rear. The M-Class Grand edition models also come with an AMG steering wheel, new two-tone interior colour scheme, and a Grand edition badge on the centre console.

The New M-Class was introduced in the country last year. 
"The M-Class has been a popular model series in India. The Sports Edition and the Executive Edition are very aggressively priced considering the loadings and features of this marquee," Mercedes-Benz India's managing director and CEO, Wilfried Aulbur, said in statement here. 

"We are confident that customers who expect highest standards from their vehicles will find the M-Class a vehicle that exceeds their expectations-both on and off the road," Aulbur said.

Mercedes Benz has its plant at Chakan near Pune in Maharashtra, where it produces models including C Class, E Class and the S Class        

Monday, November 15, 2010

Skoda Yeti launched in India

Czech carmaker Skoda has launched the much awaited Yeti compact SUV in the Indian market today.  The Yeti has been priced from Rs. 14.98 Lakh (Ambiente trim) to Rs. 16.18 Lakh (Elegance trim) (both ex-showroom Mumbai).
The 4.2 metre long Yeti is based on the Laura’s platform and features the same 140bhp diesel engine found in the latter. At the moment the Yeti comes with a 2 litre TDI CR (Common Rail) mated to a six-speed manual transmission. The Yeti boasts of all-wheel drive which normally transmits 95% power to the front wheels but can send up to 90% power to the rear wheels if conditions so demand.

While the Yeti’s proportions might not make a large visual impact, it’s nimbleness and compact dimensions are a boon for driving in the city. 

Saturday, November 13, 2010


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Mercedes-Benz for Rs 15lakh??

Mercedes is looking at getting cars based on its new front-wheel-drive platform to the Indian market. Unlike the current crop, that includes the A- and B-class hatchbacks that use an expensive sandwich floor construction, the new platform will be cheaper and will have a huge range of cars.
The mother plant for these cars is likely to come up in Hungary where Mercedes, like Suzuki, will make use of cheaper labour rates to make its cars more cost effective. But Mercedes engineers and designers we spoke to at the Paris Motor Show insist this will not be at the cost of Mercedes-Benz build quality, something they have fought so hard to get back recently.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Bookings Open for Nissan Micra Diesel

Nissan has launched a media campaign for its upcoming Micra diesel which will launch before Christmas this year.
Nissan dealers across the country have already begun taking bookings for the Micra diesel even though final prices haven’t been revealed. The diesel Micra is expected to be powered by a 1.5-litre diesel engine and is being claimed by Nissan to deliver an overall mileage of over 23kmpl. The car’s light weight coupled with this high torque diesel engine will give the Micra a spirited drive while being light on the wallet.
While the Micra hasn’t yet set the sales charts on fire, the diesel engine variant could change that and lead to a sales spurt for the Japanese carmaker. Nissan would do well to price the Micra diesel competitively alongside the Figo diesel which would be one of its main competitors.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

BMW to launch new hybrid supercar

It’s official! BMW will build a plug-in hybrid supercar inspired by the Vision Efficient Dynamics concept (pictured here).
The mid-engined supercar will be built at the company’s plant at Leipzig in Germany within two years time. The Vision supercar will use advanced materials like carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) chassis and body panels to keep its weight close to the concept’s 1,450kg, amazingly low for a car in this segment.
BMW is expanding the plant and creating a new production line which will be able to churn out carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) chassis and body panels, which the new car and the upcoming Megacity electric compact car will be made from. While the concept uses a three-cylinder 1.5-litre diesel engine paired to a pair of electric motors to produce 323bhp, the production version could use a petrol engine mated to one electric motor for cost rationalisation and simplicity.
It is reported that BMW’s Vision supercar will cost upwards of Rs. 1 crore (without import duties) and will compete primarily with Audi’s e-tron and Mercedes-Benz’s SLS E-Drive.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Harley-Davidson to assemble bikes in India

Iconic bikemaker Harley-Davidson will begin local assembly of bikes at its upcoming plant in Haryana in the first half of 2011.
Currently all Harleys are imported as completely built units thereby attracting the highest rate of import duties and tariffs. Local assembly will enable Harley to price its bikes cheaper by 20-25% and reach out to more premium bike buyers and enthusiasts. The new plant in Bawal, Haryana will be able to only assemble 200 bikes per year and the capacity will be increased as demand goes up.
At present the entry level Harley Davidson bikes is priced at Rs. 6.95 lakh but this figure is likely to go down by a couple of lakh as local assembly begins next year. The first bike series to be assembled in India will be the 883cc Sportster.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

MINI coming to India in 2011

BMW’s niche brand MINI will be available in India by the middle of 2011. The iconic British brand which is owned by the German carmaker will make its entry into the Indian market after the launch of BMW’s X1 SUV early next year.
MINI will launch the Cooper hatchback followed by the Countryman crossover. The MINI Cooper will be powered by a 1.6-litre 181bhp petrol engine and will be priced around Rs. 20 lakh owing to the high duties that imported cars attract. The larger MINI Countryman will be priced a tad higher. Both these models will be niche players in the Indian market and would attract buyers due to their novelty value end exclusivity.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Raikkonen commits to WRC

Kimi Raikkonen’s team management has reportedly confirmed that he does not want to return to Formula 1 next year and wishes to stay with the World Rally Championship in 2011.
"We're no longer looking at opportunities in F1. Kimi seems to be focused on rallying at the moment," said Steve Robertson speaking to Finnish television station MTV3 as quoted on Autosport.
Robertson also clarified that currently the former Ferrari driver is focussed on rally and refused to rule out a return to F1 in the future. "Never say never, but right now our eye is not on F1.
"Nothing's been decided yet [for the WRC]. We'll let you know when there is something to say. At the moment nothing has been signed. We're talking to several teams," added Robertson.
Meanwhile, Citroen appears to be keen on finding a solution to keep the Finn in its Junior team with the former F1 champion agreeing to a personal sponsorship deal from Red Bull, which seems to be worth a lot less than the £5 million that he supposedly received from the Austrian outfit.
Besides Citroen, Mini could also be an option for the 31-year-old but with the limitations for the 2011 events and the extensive car development programme this could not be viable.
Another opportunity could be with the American outfit Monster Ford to race alongside Ken Block, however the teams seems to be struggling with finances.
The best choice for Raikkonen would be to take a break for a season from the rigours of the racing world and return with a bang in 2012 with some more manufacturers taking interest in all likelihood.

Friday, October 29, 2010

BMW to launch bikes in India priced Rs 18 lakh onwards

After 13 years of its first attempt to enter the Indian two-wheeler market through a joint venture with the Hero Group, BMW revealed plans to launch BMW Motorrad.

The German luxury carmaker will start selling the flagship S 1000 RR as well as the R and K series models in December with prices expected to start from 18 lakh.

Toyota Etios launch nears; Will it blow the Swift away?

The most definitive car launch for the Japanese Major Toyota is just weeks away and boy are they rolling their sleeves up!
Right from the getting the music maestro, A R Rahman on board to increasing its dealership network from 82 to 150 in just 2 years, they have got it all figured out. And why not, after all a 3200 crore investment is at stake.
Yukitoshi Funo, Executive VP and member of the board for Toyota Motor said,
The success of the Etios is very critical for Toyota’s success. We have never developed a car as small as this and we will not do anything smaller than this. It is absolutely important that we succeed with the Etios
Funo san forgot about the Toyota iQ? That’s the smallest hatch on Toyota’s global portfolio. If there’s a hatch smaller than Etios, will that be Daihatsu’s job of bringing it here considering Toyota is open to idea of setting up a multi-brand strategy in our country?
The company has even managed to localize 70% of the car and further localization will follow suit. Just to give it a yardstick, Skoda Fabia, a hatch present in the market for more than 2 years has only managed 40% localization of its parts. Clearly, Toyota knows that it has to shed its ‘high price’ image very soon to be appeal to the masses.
Being developed as an India-specific product, the company also plans to introduce the Etios in places like Brazil.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

James Bond's 1964 Aston Martin DB5 is auctioned for Rs. 20.5 crore!!

James Bond's 1964 Aston Martin DB5 is auctioned for Rs. 20.5 crore!! It was used in Goldfinger and Thunderball by Sean Connery.

The road worthy car comes with dual machine guns behind the driving lights, revolving license plates,
ejector seat, rear blast shield, slicer wheel caps and console-activated
oil slicks!!!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Hyosung enters India with the GT650R and ST7

Korea’s Hyosung has tied-up with India’s Garware group to establish an assembly plant for its bikes at Wai in Maharashtra.
The company has also launched the Hyosung GT650R sports bike and the ST7 cruiser in India. While bookings open shortly, deliveries will commence in the first quarter of 2011. The 650cc GT650R will be available in two variants; faired and naked and will be priced around Rs. 5 lakh. The 680cc ST7 will set buyers back by a whopping Rs. 6.5 lakh.
We are assuming that these prices are for the imported bikes and locally assembled ones should be cheaper because of lower duties and tariffs.

Second Drive: 2011 Nissan Leaf - Some things you probably didn't know

These days, Nissan's overall marketing strategy is called "Innovation for All," and this applies not just to the company's high-profile Leaf electric vehicle, but to things like the company's direct injection gasoline engines, two-clutch, one-motor hybrid system and more. Still, nothing in the portfolio is as impressive as what's in the Leaf, which was on hand for journalists this week in Nashville, TN. That's where we got to learn a little more – okay, a lot more – about the world's first mass-market EV.

First, a bit of history. Nissan has been considering using lithium-ion batteries in vehicles since they showed up in cell phones in the early 1990s. Nissan's R&D in this field started in 1992 and, in the mid-1990's, Nissan was already testing the Prairie and Altra EVs, followed by the Hyper Mini in 2000. About 100 of those drove around in the U.S. – one even appeared in the movie Sleepover. That car was a stepping stone, because with just 50 miles of range and a top speed of 50 miles per hour, it wasn't ready for prime time. In 2003, Nissan had what Nissan's director of product planning, Mark Perry, called a "battery breakthrough" with the shift from cylinders to prismatic cells. It was at this point that Nissan really got serious about EVs, showing off battery-powered concept vehicles like the Mixim and the EV-02.

This long development lead time means is helping Nissan beat its major OEM competitors to market with a pure EV. Still, the competition is right behind the Leaf. In fact, if all press releases and other announcements are to be believed (we know they can't), we should see 30 plug-in vehicles on the market by 2015. That's a big change from today and, while everyone has their own predictions for how long it will take for plug-in vehicle market to take home, it appears that the technology is here to stay. What's it all about and how does it work in the Leaf? We answer those questions and more after the jump.

Let's start with a few over-the-road impressions. If you're looking for a detailed First Drive review, read this, as this is just a refresher. Actually, 'refreshing' is a good way to describe driving in the Leaf. Cruising through the hills and highways south of Nashville was an entirely pleasant affair. The car – and, just to get this out of the way in case anyone has any lingering doubts, the Leaf is a 'real car' in every sense of the word – will zip between trucks on the highway and provide you with near-silent city driving, all without a drop of gasoline. Just like General Motors can be proud of what the Chevrolet Volt engineering team has done to make that car an entrancing experience, Nissan's Leaf team deserves accolades for making what can only be called the best possible EV available in 2010 that doesn't cost over $100,000.

Nissan doesn't have an official 0-60 mph time, but the impressive low-end torque in the electric motor does provide very impressive 0-40 times. Perry notes that he's happy to let the media run its own 0-60 tests, and early results show this taking around seven seconds.

As AutoblogGreen contributor Chelsea Sexton described so well, the Leaf provides the driver with a ton of information about the battery pack, range and more. Perry said this was totally intentional. "We believe 'range anxiety' is a falsehood, because anxieties only show up when you don't have information," he said. "We're telling you everything that's going on in the car so you shouldn't be surprised." He's not kidding. The dashboard can tell the driver his average distance per kWh (something the Volt can only do through GM's OnStar website) and also has a constantly updated "distance to empty" number, which is a point-in-time reading based on how you're driving right then. This means that when you drive more efficiently, the car takes this into consideration and shows more relative range. If you want to see the number jump up, shift into eco drive mode, which gives you up to 10 percent more range by limiting acceleration and increasing brake regen. A conscious driver should be able to get at least five miles per kWh, but the car's scale goes up to eight miles/kWh.

The central display screen can also display a more detailed range/energy usage screen that shows where the battery's power is going: to the motor, the climate control or other systems. This "hypermiler screen" also tells you how much energy is being regenerated and how many miles you can add by turning off the air conditioner or heater. If all this detail is too much for you, you can just watch the 'trees' grow. On the left of the upper part of the dash is a tree meter and the more efficiently you drive, the more trees you "grow." It takes a little bit of careful driving to make them appear, which is how it should.

Sometimes, though, you'll be maxing out the battery. If you do, the navigation system can tell you where public vehicle chargers are. But how do we know how much energy we're actually using? Nissan has not announced how much of the battery pack's 24 kWh capacity the Leaf will use, but it's almost all of it. It has to be, to offer as much range as it does. The car has a "low fuel" light that comes on at 4 kWh, and Perry said this is not four kWh of the useable capacity, that's four kWh left in the whole pack. A second warning comes on at two kWh, and there's not much more to go below that. This is a much lower level than GM is willing to go with the Volt, but Nissan remains confident in its battery technology and Perry said Nissan is very happy with the Leaf battery's 100,000, eight-year warranty, which matches what the standard Volt will have. Perry also admits that Nissan has no plans to compete with the 150,000, 10-year warranty that the enhAT-PZEV version of the Volt will have in early 2012.

Nissan knows that the Leaf's batteries will degrade over time, which is why the warranty says that, after the eight years, drivers should expect about a 70 percent performance level compared to the original pack. Perry also said that, while unlikely, anyone who fast charges (at 440V) two or three times a day, something the Leaf manual will warn against, will see a quicker degradation.
The warranty is not related to battery capacity. The warranty is related to motor output. So if the battery has degraded to a point where the motor can't get enough power from the battery, then it's a warrantable event. But if someone abuses the battery – parks it outside in 140 degrees and all that - and they have 60 percent capacity after eight years, that's on them. They abused it.

The Leaf – many more small details

Here are a few more tidbits we learned in Tennessee:
  • The Leaf's exterior sound operates until the car reaches 18 miles per hour. You can't really hear it from inside the vehicle, and above that speed, pedestrians should be able to hear the car because its tire noise.
  • The headlights, maybe the Leaf's most controversial design choice, are designed to split the air flow and send it around the side mirrors to curb wind noise around the A-Pillar and mirror assemblies.
  • There are no rare earth metals in the car.
  • As some people know, many household electronics that are plugged into the wall draw "phantom power," even if they are not turned on. Perry says the Leaf is smart enough to not draw power once the battery is full. He does admit, however that if a Leaf is stored unplugged for a long time, it will lose one- to two-percent of its charge every 30 days. This also means that if the car is kept plugged in and not driven for this amount of time, a small amount of energy will be drawn from the grid. This isn't the smartest thing to do, though. Perry notes that a Leaf that sits for a long time should be parked at around 80 percent state of charge, as that's best for the battery.
  • Nissan says the Leaf can be someone's "primary" car, if you define that as the one you use the most. You can define "primary" as one that can do everything, but the Leaf is not that car.
  • There are a lot of recycled materials in the Leaf, some that originate from other cars, some from home appliances. Old plastic bottles are used in the production of the fabric, for example. All told, the Leaf is 99 percent (by weight) recyclable in Japan because of the country's robust recycling infrastructure. In the U.S., only about 94-95 percent of the car is recyclable.
  • The electric motor offers 80 kW sustained power (no peak number is quoted).
  • Some parts, like suspension components, are shared with Nissan's other B-segment vehicles (e.g. Versa).
  • If you order your AeroVironment vehicle charger through Nissan for $2,200 and have a lease for the Leaf, it will add roughly $30-40 a month to the monthly payment.
  • Nissan is partnering with an unnamed roadside assistance company (AAA?) that is looking at how to provide roadside recharging to get stranded drivers to a charge point.
  • Nissan's marketing team has reached out to insurance companies to see what those costs might be for consumers. The initial response is that they will probably charge about the same rates as a compact car – at least at first. After a year or so, once accident and repair cost data is in, the rates will probably change.

Even with all of this revealed this week, we're sure there's more to come. One slide Nissan showed said that there would be 12,000 public Level 2 chargers in the U.S. by 2012. But that slide, made just five days before the presentation, was already out of date – the new target is 13,000.


Man hits 1M miles in Ford F-250... in four years

All those miles must make for a pretty big maintenance bill, as trucks typically need an oil change in fewer than 10,000 miles, and tires and brakes usually don't last for more than 60,000 to 70,000 miles, though obviously with that much highway mileage, the binders should hold on a bit longer than that. That's two or three oil changes a year and a brake or tire job every few years for most of us, but Maresella hits those milestones in no time flat. The career driver claims his four-year maintenance bill is a cool $67,000. If Marsella continues at this pace, and his beloved truck remains road-worthy, in the next six years he could challenge the all-time record of 2.8 million miles in a single vehicle; a record that required 40 years of driving.

[Source: NBC Miami]

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

2011 Dodge Challenger SRT8 392 is the crème de la Chrysler

Chrysler made waves earlier today when it announced the company would have an armada of 35 vehicles on display at this year's SEMA show, but the star of the shindig is likely to be the new 2011 Dodge Challenger SRT8 392.

While no one has ever accused the Challenger SRT8 of being light on grunt, Chrysler engineers have taken things up a notch or two with a new 6.4-liter V8 that produces 470 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque, all while delivering 15-20 percent better fuel economy than the outgoing 6.1-liter V8 in the 2010 Challenger SRT8. The big V8 uses variable valve timing and cylinder deactivation to help keep consumption low.

The Challenger SRT8 392 also employs a reworked suspension with even firmer shocks, a quicker steering ratio and more negative camber than before, all of which are supposed to help the hefty muscle bruiser tackle the corners with a little more finesse.

Up front, there's a unique chin spoiler that helps channel air to the vehicle's radiator and provide additional downforce at higher speeds. It also just looks pretty dang sharp.

Chrysler says it will build just 1,492 inaugural editions of the Challenger SRT8 392

BMW to launch new 2 Series model range


BMW is working on a new 2 Series model range which will be pegged between the 1 Series and the 3 Series.
The 2 Series will become BMW’s entry-level rear-wheel drive model when the 1-Series moves to a front-wheel drive platform in 2015.BMW has already filed trademark applications for the nameplates 228, 230 and 235 which hints at the possible engine choices for the new 2 Series as well. Even the M2 moniker has been registered by BMW, pointing towards a hot performance version of the 2 Series.

Apart from the 2 Series, BMW will also launch a premium all-electric hatchback based on the ‘Megacity’ concept by 2012.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Jaguar Land Rover bringing armoured cars to India

Tata owned Jaguar Land Rover has disclosed plans to launch its armoured vehicle range in India.
Aimed at wealthy buyers who need protection against possible assault, the company will launch armoured versions of the Range Rover and Discovery SUVs. The indicative and astronomical prices are Rs. 4.75 crore for the Range Rover and Rs. 3.75 crore for the Discovery. In comparison, a stock Range Rover costs just Rs. 1.06 crore.
Later Jaguar would also bring in an armoured version of the XJ sedan called XJ Sentinel priced at Rs. 5.5 crore! All models would be imported as CBUs from Jaguar Land Rovers plant in England where they would be fitted with a host of safety features for protection against automatic weapon fire, grenade attack and even a TNT blast.
While the market for such armoured vehicles is very limited in India, the company will find takers amongst our loaded politicians, industrialists and movie stars. Other luxury carmakers like BMW and Mercedes-Benz also have similar products but they have not yet launched in India.


First Drive: 2011 BMW X3

Refined, Not Redefined

Long before the segment-bending X6, BMW's crossover strategy was simple: offer the utility of a traditional SUV but in a package that's not only luxurious, but fun to drive. The original X5 Sport Utility Activity Vehicle kicked things off in 1999, and only a few years later, the smaller X3 arrived.

Now, luxury crossovers are a dime a dozen, and automakers are clamoring to be a part of the small CUV segment. In just the past few years, we've been introduced to the Audi Q5, Mercedes-Benz GLK, Volvo XC60 and Infiniti EX35, among others. But as the X3 aged, its unusually harsh suspension and not-so-great interior plagued sales. In 2004, BMW moved roughly 35,000 X3s off dealer lots, and just last year, that number dropped to less than 10,000. Things aren't looking good for 2010, either.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

Hyundai Aims To Lead The Mid-size Hybrid Pack

At some point, the minds at Hyundai got serious about the company's mid-sized sedan game. Seemingly in a heartbeat, the Korean manufacturer went from being completely under the radar of the average American family sedan buyer to a viable alternative to default buys like the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry. That jump fell solely on the shoulders of the all-new 2011 Sonata, a sedan that has so far delivered the kind of styling, efficiency and low MSRP that sends consumers scrambling for their checkbook. But if you want to go the full distance in this segment, you had better come to the fight packing more than just a competent base model.

That's something you don't need to tell Hyundai. The company has shored up its Sonata line with a potent turbocharged 2.0-liter model designed to tango with V6-equipped competitors as well as the car you see above – a hybrid model that comes loaded with nearly all of the latest and greatest tech to keep fuel consumption at a minimum. Is it enough to put the Sonata Hybrid ahead of the electrified versions of the heavy hitters already prowling the scene?
The mid-size hybrid segment is a funny little corner of the automotive world. Most of the players at this table are little more than standard sedans that have had their mechanical innards gutted and replaced with mutant internal combustion/electric motor mashups. From their exteriors, there's generally been little to distinguish hybrid from V6 models other than wheel options and maybe a badge or two. But Hyundai has waded into somewhat uncharted waters by offering the hybrid version of the Sonata with bodywork that goes a long way toward separating the car from its siblings.

The keen-eyed out there are likely to pick up on a handful of small details that both add a bit of funky, slightly futuristic styling to the mix and help slim the vehicle's shape as it cuts through the air. Up front, Hyundai's designers and engineers worked together to come up with that slightly agape front fascia. There's more than a little catfish in that hexagonal opening, but it serves the purpose of setting the Sonata Hybrid apart from the rest of the family. (Note, too, that the 'bumper' bar has been subtly altered from the model that debuted at the New York Auto Show). Additionally, LED daytime running lights grace the front headlights and the low-set fog lights now boast a stylish upkick that wraps around the front fascia.
The profile of the 2011 Sonata Hybrid reverts to more well-established tricks of the mid-size hybrid trade, including re-sculpted side skirts and small but effective badges on the front fenders. Hyundai has also graced its hybrid with two unique wheel selections, a smaller 16-inch roller that shouts, "I'll see you at Mac World," and an optional, more attractive 17-inch five-spoke design like the one on our tester.

Move around back, and if you're paying close attention, you'll notice that the rear fascia is slightly squared-off on both sides. Those sharp edges help the Sonata Hybrid achieve its dizzyingly low .25 coefficient of drag. The standard Sonata makes do with a still enviable .28 cD. To complete the futuristic picture, Hyundai has also thrown in reworked taillights that are designed to evoke the image of an atom when lit.

But as different as the exterior of the Sonata Hybrid is from its standard internal-combustion brethren, things have been left largely untouched inside. Buyers will still find the comfortable thrones, attractive dash and heaps of soft-touch goodies layered over almost every surface just like in the base Sonata. One difference between the base Sonata and the hybrid comes in the form of decreased trunk space. While the standard Sonata yields an EPA-rated cargo volume of 16.4 cubic feet, the compact battery pack soaks up a full 5.7 cubes all by itself. But the largest change comes at the instrument cluster, where a helpful full-color LCD screen delivers pertinent information on the vehicle's battery state of charge, fuel economy and an "Eco Score." Likewise, the left instrument bezel has forsaken the standard tachometer in favor of a helpful guide that lets drivers know when the vehicle can be driven in all-electric mode.

And when is that, exactly? Officially, Hyundai says that the Sonata Hybrid can cruise on all-electric go-go at speeds of up to 62 mph, though in our testing we saw electric-only driving at 65 mph under light acceleration downhill. and there was some indication from the company's engineers that the car may be capable of doing even better. How do they do it? Under the hood, Hyundai has converted its 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine to the Atkinson Cycle and added a 40-horsepower electric motor. The duo is good for a combined 206 horsepower and 193 pound-feet of torque, but the real star of the show is the car's battery pack.
In addition, the sedan makes use of an engine clutch that can separate the gasoline engine from the electric motor, helping the hybrid to clip along on electric power even at highway speeds, all without using an ounce of fuel. Hyundai has also made the interesting step of shutting off the gasoline engine entirely when the vehicle decelerates, further conserving fuel and allowing the regenerative brakes to recharge the batteries.

And what does all of that translate into once on the road? During our time behind the wheel, we saw just over 36 mpg in intermittent stop and go driving, though if you're ginger with the accelerator, numbers closer to 40 in combined driving weren't unheard of among the gaggle of writers the company had out to sample the Sonata Hybrid. Just out of morbid curiosity, we spent the last 30 miles of our drive hypermiling the hybrid. When all was said and done, we walked away with a sweaty 60 mpg, further proving that by and large, fuel economy falls on the shoulders of the nut behind the wheel.

When you're not treating the throttle like a hair trigger, the Sonata Hybrid rewards with a surprisingly normal driving experience. The run to 60 mph takes around 9.2 seconds, and thanks to the clutch separating the engine from the electric motor, transitions between internal combustion power and electric go-go are some of the most seamless in the industry. Part of the sensation that you're driving a real vehicle and not some slot-car track escapee comes from the fact that Hyundai opted for the company's proprietary six-speed automatic gearbox instead of a continuously variable transmission. Engineers may have been able to eek out a bit of additional fuel savings had it gone with a CVT, but selecting a conventional cogbox has gone a long way toward making this hybrid a more satisfying craft to pilot.
Impressively, despite the fact that this is Hyundai's first shot at a production hybrid, the electrified Sonata successfully avoids one of the biggest pitfalls of throwing an electric motor into an otherwise solid chassis. The regenerative brakes are progressive and feel just like what we expect stoppers to feel like. There's no danger of having your dental work ripped from your mouth thanks to an overly sensitive second pedal.

But that's not to say that Hyundai hasn't left room to grow in the Sonata Hybrid. Interestingly enough, the company chose to forsake forced-induction in favor of an updated version of its 2.4-liter mill. A little bit less displacement paired with a small turbo would probably help squeeze a few more mpgs out of this equation, but it undoubtedly would have swelled the per-unit cost on a model that's unlikely to make any money to begin with.

Even with that shortcut under its belt, the 2011 Sonata Hybrid is an impressive first showing from Hyundai in the hybrid game. As it sits, the car is eligible for a $1,300 federal tax credit, at least for the first month it's on sale. Hyundai says that buyers can snap up their own Sonata Hybrid starting this December, but unfortunately, the federal tax incentive program for hybrid vehicles is scheduled to dry up at the end of 2010, so interested parties would do well not to dawdle.

Hyundai hasn't yet said how much we can expect to pay for its new hybrid four-door, nor what kind of warranty the model will carry when it does hit dealer lots. Given the company's long history of providing copious content and an industry-beating warranty for reasonable money, we're guessing that neither will be a point of contention when the car goes on sale. Even with those questions left blank, the 2011 Sonata Hybrid has proven itself more than capable of running with the rest of the mid-size hybrids. Is it the best of the breed? We'll need some back-to-back time to know for sure.