Crossover, SUV, News

Full-scale Origami Nissan Juke

Nissan has revealed a full size Origami Juke, celebrating 5 years of the model.

British paper artist Owen Gildersleeve collaborated with Nissan on the unique project in a nod to Nissan's Japanese heritage. Gildersleeve hand built the intricate replica model from paper to the exact dimensions of the current Juke, taking over 200 hours and folding more than 2,000 pieces of paper to create the detailed sculpture.

The Origami Juke features the same design cues - such as the wheel arches, lights and grille - that give the real-life model its distinctive character.

Artist Owen Gildersleeve said: "This was a great project to work on - hard work but very rewarding. As a celebration piece it draws on so many influences, such as the origami focus inspired by Nissan's Japanese roots. Using so many individual pieces of paper to create the overall structure also represents the thousands of people who helped bring the Nissan Juke into reality and the thousands who continue to do so right here in the UK."

The Juke, which is built in Nissan's plant in Sunderland, reaches its fifth birthday this year. Since first deliveries began in October 2010, more than 150,000 Juke models have been sold in the UK, with over 700,000 total sales across Europe.

Darryl Scriven, Design Manager at Nissan's Design Centre for Europe, said: "The first step of any car design involves putting pencil to paper. From that simple start, it's a complex journey to production involving hundreds of skilled people, thousands of man-hours and millions in investment. So we think it's very apt that on its fifth birthday, we celebrate the Nissan Juke with a tribute that harks back to that simple, but bold, first step, all carried out with Nissan's signature innovation and excitement of course."

The Origami Juke is revealed as 'World Origami Days' are celebrated across the world between 24th October and 11th November.

Crossover, News

Suzuki unveils Mighty Deck in Tokyo

Suzuki has debuted a new concept - the Mighty Deck - at the 44th Tokyo Motor Show.

The Mighty Deck, which does seem to resemble a mighty duck, offers 'new kinds' of fun in the minicar segment according to the Japanese manufacturer.

The theme for the Suzuki's stand is "SUZUKI NEXT 100" as the brand will be celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2020. The exhibits represent proposals for products and technologies that give a sense of the company's preparations for ongoing success in the next 100 years, with a range of concept models will show how Suzuki can deliver 'wonder and enjoyment to drivers and riders'.

The Mighty Deck is described as a fun-oriented minicar with a canvas top for an open load deck that can be repositioned for diverse purposes, adding extra utility. The deck opens and closes automatically.

Suzuki says the "urban/outdoor" concept is embodied by features that 'free people to move between contrasting situations and mind sets: city and nature; home and away; work and leisure or relaxed and playful'.

Concept Car, Hydrogen Fuel Cell Car, Sports Car, News

Toyota to reveal new concepts in Tokyo

Toyota has unveiled its new concepts, ahead of a Tokyo Motor Show debut.

The Japanese brand will give world premieres to three contrasting new concepts, including a lightweight, entry-level rear-wheel drive sports car and a new fuel cell vehicle.

The S-FR concept celebrates Toyota's heritage of lightweight, fun-to-drive sports cars - a line that stretches back from today's GT86 to the 2000GT and S800 of the 1960s. Pitched as an entry-level model, Toyota says its focus is on 'responsiveness and character' with the brand confident it could attract 'its own die-hard fan base of drivers and customisers'. Featuring a long nose and wide stance for a classic sports car profile, the concept also has rounded bodywork adding to the S-FR's appeal.

The S-FR combines simplicity and compact design with an 'exceptionally' lightweight body and a front engine/rear-wheel drive drivetrain which contributes to responsive performance and direct handling. The engine has a front/midship location, says Toyota, with optimal weight distribution and independent suspension securing 'excellent cornering performance'. A six-speed manual transmission supports smooth acceleration.

The FCV Plus concept joins the S-FR and explores how the hydrogen fuel cell, used to power the car, can also be deployed to as an energy source for general use. As well as having its own hydrogen fuel tank, the FCV Plus can generate electricity from hydrogen stored outside the vehicle, so the car can be used to produce power in different locations - at home, at work, or further afield.

Compressed hydrogen has a higher energy density than electricity, can be produced from a wide range of raw materials and is easy to store - all qualities that make it a promising future source of energy. When the car is not being used for transport, it can share its power generation capabilities with communities as part of the local infrastructure. The fuel cell stack can be reused as a device to generate electricity, going beyond the traditional functions of a car.

The fuel cell stack in the FCV Plus is mounted between the front wheels, with the hydrogen tank located behind the rear seat. Together with independent in-wheel motors in all four wheels, this allows for a spacious cabin within a compact vehicle body. Concentrating the functional parts of the car at the front and rear creates an ideal weight balance and gives the driver a wide field of vision, according to Toyota.

The KIKAI concept makes the most of the car's mechanical parts, rather than concealing them from view, the vehicle's inner workings have become part of the exterior in a design concept that breaks with convention. This approach extends to the details such as the fuel tank, exhaust, analogue meters and switchgear. There is even a small window by the driver's feet, giving a view of the tyres, suspension and road surface. The movement of the front suspension's upper control arm can also be seen through the windscreen.

The driver's seat is positioned centrally, putting the driver at the heart of the action. A triangular arrangement of the three passenger seats and an expansive side window that extends up to the roofline help create a congenial cabin environment.

The new, fourth generation Prius will also will be making its Japanese debut at the Tokyo motor show, together with the C-HR Concept - recently unveiled in Frankfurt - that previews a new production compact hybrid crossover that Toyota will unveil next year.

The Tokyo Motor Show runs from 30 October to 8 November 2015.

Crossover, Concept Car, SUV, News

Mazda to unveil new crossover concept in Frankfurt

The Mazda Koeru crossover SUV concept is set to make its debut at the 2015 Frankfurt International Motor Show.

Koeru - Japanese for 'exceed' or 'go beyond' - was the name chosen for Mazda's latest entry into the growing crossover SUV market, which features the company's trademark KODO - Soul of Motion design - expressing "the power and vitality of a predator along with a unique level of refined dignity", according to Mazda.

Mazda will also display its new-generation model line-up in Frankfurt with highlights including an all-new MX-5 complete with accessories as well as several SKYACTIV powertrains. 

Mazda's Frankfurt Motor Show press conference takes place on 15 September and the doors open to the public from 17-27 September.

News, Pick-up

New Mitsubishi L200 Series 5 pick-up

Mitsubishi has revealed its new L200 Series 5 pick-up.

Inheriting the DNA of its predecessors, it's an entirely new vehicle from the ground up, with 'significant improvements in 330 areas'. The result, says Mitsubishi is the 'ultimate vehicle for commercial duty, combined with SUV-like refinement in quality and dynamic performance'. 

The Japanese automaker describes the new pick-up as just as competent climbing up a mountain or navigating a building site, as it is comfortable on a motorway or around city streets, and claims the L200 Series 5 is the only pick-up that can be driven permanently in 2WD and 4WD on tarmac and off-road.

Mitsubishi's 'J' curve body design between the cabin and cargo area is not just for visual styling as it allows for a 25 degree recline in the rear seats, making for a comfortable 4 or 5-passenger 'long journey' space. It also allows for a compact wheelbase, aiding manoeuvrability and giving the all new L200 Series 5 its 'best-in-class' turning radius of 5.9 metres and steering that can go from lock to lock in 3.8 turns (down from 4.3 in the previous generation L200). Interior width has also increased, as have the sizes of the driver and front passenger seats.

Ride comfort has been 'elevated to SUV levels' through the introduction of a fully revised suspension, including six shock absorbing body mounts that are more than double the size of those in the previous model. These absorb noise and vibration from the road, contributing to a smooth and quiet cabin experience. Torsional rigidity is 7 per cent greater than in its predecessor, contributing to a 'significant improvement' in handling and stability.

Mitsubishi says the new Series 5 has the largest carrying capacity of any pick-up, largely due to the extensive use of high-tensile steel in both cabin and cargo bed, building in strength without increasing overall vehicle weight. The result is a pick-up with the best in class combined load bed capacity and full towing capability of 4.1 tonnes.

The new MIVEC turbo diesel engine offers 42.8 mpg allowing the L200 Series 5 to travel 685 miles on a full tank of fuel while emitting 169g/km CO2. Power and torque are increased to 178bhp and 430Nm at 2,500 rpm, delivering performance through a new 6-speed manual transmission or automatic. At 10.4 seconds, L200 Series 5 is two seconds quicker to 62 mph than its predecessor.

On board Active Stability & Traction Control (ASTC) prevents wheel slip by controlling unstable vehicle movements. It individually brakes spinning wheels and controls power distribution from the engine, if traction is lost on slippery surfaces or when negotiating steep slopes.

Seven SRS airbags have been incorporated into the cabin to protect the vehicle's occupants, and the steering wheel retracts in a collision. Additionally, the new model is fitted with lane departure warning, trailer stability assist, hill start assist and ABS with electronic brake force distribution.

Initially available in double cab, prices for the all-new Mitsubishi L200 Series 5 start from £19,749 for the 4Life, £20,749 for the Titan, £23,049 for the Warrior and £23,799 for the top of the range Barbarian and will go on sale in September.

Vintage Car, News

Toyota celebrates 50 years in the UK

In 1965 Toyota made a modest entry into the UK car market with the Corona.

Fifty years later Toyota has sold almost three million vehicles in Britain, it also builds them here too. That first Corona wasn't big, it wasn't flashy and its arrival was marked by a small four-car stand at that year's motor show. Clocking up 50 years makes Toyota the Japanese car maker with the longest unbroken history in the UK.

Pride and Clark was the original UK importer and distributor, a South London family firm that launched its enterprise after John Pride travelled to the Far East to see the developing Japanese car industry for himself. His faith in Toyota was shared by a handful of car retailers who set up the first Toyota showrooms, at first with just a single model line - Corona - to offer their customers.

Business prospered as the range of vehicles grew, not least with introduction of the first Corolla in 1966. The name Toyota (GB) Ltd was adopted in 1967 and by 1980 200,000 cars had been sold, securing its position as a leading player in Britain's car market. Nine years later Toyota announced the UK as the location for a European manufacturing centre. Toyota Manufacturing UK's Burnaston car plant in Derbyshire and Deeside engine factory in North Wales came on stream in 1992 and have benefited from more than £2 billion investment in technology, skills and jobs.

Paul Van der Burgh, Toyota (GB) President and Managing Director, explained: "Toyota entered the UK market with the aim of providing better cars and better service, even if those weren't the words used back then. But ever since, Toyota has stood out for giving the customer something better - better equipment, better reliability and better service."

While Toyota says its focus is on the future and the development of 'ever-better cars', it honours the achievements of some its influential models of the past in a heritage fleet, maintained by Toyota (GB). The classic line-up includes an original Corona saloon, the famous Corolla AE86 that helped inspire today's GT86 coupe, a first-generation RAV4 and one of the earliest British-built models and a 1992-vintage Carina E.

In its 50th year in the UK, Toyota has already launched new Avensis and Auris models - built at Burnaston. Later this year it will also begin marketing the first of its Mirai hydrogen fuel cell vehicles here, opening a new chapter in zero emissions driving with technology the drivers of those first Corona saloons could never have imagined.

Hydrogen Fuel Cell Car

Toyota Mirai hydrogen car sets new record

The new Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel cell vehicle has proved it can go the distance, traveling over 300 miles on a single tank.

Instead of using petrol however, the car runs on electricity created on demand by hydrogen fuel and oxygen. The only emission produced by this process is water vapour.

The Mirai achieved 67 mpg in official US combined city/highway driving calculations, and an estimated driving range of 312 miles on a one tank - a distance Toyota says is further than for any other zero-emissions car on the market.

Jim Lentz, Toyota North America CEO, announced the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) fuel economy rating for Mirai at the Aspen Ideas Festival in Colorado. It confirmed that the Mirai is the only zero emissions electric vehicle on the market capable of exceeding 300 miles on one fill.

Lenz said: "Toyota realised in the early 90s that electrification was key to the future of the automobile. Just as Prius introduced hybrid-electric vehicles to millions of customers nearly 20 years ago, Mirai is now poised to usher in a new era of efficient, hydrogen transportation."

The Japanese manufacturer describes the Mirai is the world's first mass-produced hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle, a four-door saloon with performance that competes with traditional internal combustion engines. Toyota will introduce the Mirai in limited numbers in the UK and other selected European markets later this year, following its launch in Japan and, from this summer, California.