Hybrid, Electric, News, SUV

Hyundai confirms new IONIQ eco-car

Hyundai has announced a new eco-friendly compact car, due for launch in 2016, will be called the IONIQ.

The car will be available with electric, plug-in petrol/electric hybrid, or petrol/electric hybrid powertrain - the first car from any manufacturer to offer these three powertrain options in a single body type. The IONIQ will combine 'class-leading fuel efficiency with a fun, responsive drive and attractive design, a unique mix not yet achieved by a hybrid vehicle' says Hyundai.

The new car's name references elements of its creation (with 'ion' representing an electrically-charged atom) and is based on an 'exclusive' new platform, made specifically for the car's multi-powertrain options. The chassis is optimised to deliver 'responsive handling' while remaining efficient in each of its three powertrain configurations.

In its fully-electric (EV) form, the IONIQ is powered by a high capacity, ultra-efficient lithium ion battery. The plug-in hybrid (PHEV) version combines a fuel-efficient energy with battery power obtained by charging the car with electricity, boosting its range while cutting its emissions. Finally, the hybrid (HEV) utilises the petrol engine and motion of the car to charge the on-board battery, which returns enhanced efficiency by supplementing the engine's power.

Woong-Chul Yang, Head of Hyundai Motor R&D Center said, "Hyundai Motor has a heritage of building innovative, fuel-efficient vehicles, so we are proud to advance our eco-friendly car line-up with the introduction of IONIQ. Our vision for future mobility focuses on choice, with a variety of powertrain options to suit customers' varied lifestyles, without compromising on design or driving enjoyment. IONIQ embodies Hyundai Motor's vision to shift the automotive paradigm and future mobility; IONIQ is the fruit of our efforts to become the leader in the global green car market."

Following its world premiere in Korea in January, the IONIQ is due to be shown at the Geneva Motor Show, followed by the New York Auto Show, both in March 2016.

4x4, SUV, News

SsangYong adds 4x4 to Tivoli

Suzuki has confirmed it is adding a more sporting and dynamic model to the Vitara line up.

The Vitara 'S' model is equipped with 17-inch Gloss black alloy wheels, a unique grille design, satin silver door mirrors, LED Headlamps with red projector covers, rear upper spoiler and black side body mouldings. On the inside the sporting theme continues with red interior stitching, red accents for air conditioning vent and instruments and aluminium alloy pedals.

The Vitara S is available in Bright Red (solid colour), Cool White Pearl metallic, Galactic Grey metallic, Cosmic Black metallic and is the first Suzuki to be powered by the new 'BOOSTERJET technology' engine which, in the Vitara, is a 140PS 1.4-litre Direct Injection turbocharged unit (DITC).

The newly developed BOOSTERJET engine features improved fuel efficiency using a small displacement, high torque turbocharger. By controlling the wastegate valve, the system reduces pumping loss, thus achieving high levels of both power and fuel-efficiency - combined fuel consumption comes in at 52.3mpg for the manual transmission model. With a 0-62mph time of 10.2 seconds for both manual and automatic transmissions, the maximum speed where permitted is 124mph.

A six-speed manual transmission is fitted as standard with optimised gear ratios to help provide a good combination of performance and fuel economy. Additional measures include a shift lever counterweight to 'help provide a smooth, positive shift action'. A six-speed automatic transmission is available optionally.

CO2 emissions for the new S model with its standard ALLGRIP system and manual transmission is 127g/km and one gram higher for the optional automatic transmission. The ALLGRIP system is fitted as standard on the new S model and has four driver-selectable modes - Auto, Sport, Snow and Lock.

The new Suzuki Vitara S model goes on sale in the UK from January 2016, priced at £20,899 for manual and £22,249 for the automatic version.

Hatchback, News

Production-ready Infiniti Q30 revealed

The Infiniti Q30 has been revealed in its final production form ahead of its world debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September.

The all-new Q30 is a compact 5-door hatchback developed, says Infiniti, for customers seeking urban individuality.

The public premiere of the car comes exactly two years after its precursor, the Q30 Concept, was introduced at the 2013 Frankfurt show and the distinctive design of that concept has been tweaked only slightly for production. 

"Design is a key pillar of the Infiniti brand - and the new Q30 Active Compact perfectly embodies this approach," said Infiniti President Roland Krueger. "The Q30 Active Compact delivers the distinctive design, the driving dynamics and the individuality that our customers expect of an Infiniti vehicle. With our first ever entry in the compact car segment, we continue the product offensive and provide additional options for our discerning customers."

The Q30 underwent final testing and development in Europe. It will be built in Sunderland in the UK which will then become the fourth country on three continents to build Infiniti vehicles.

Press days for the Frankfurt Motor Show are on September 15-16 and the doors open to the public from September 17-27.

Family Car, News

Italian Police chooses SEAT Leon

SEAT has won the fleet contract to supply new Leon cars to the Italian police.

The first 206 vehicles have already started being handed over, with an initial 106 service vehicles being delivered to the Carabinieri and a further 100 to the Polizia di Stato. Overall, the contract includes the option for up to 4,000 vehicles over the next three years. So far, they have taken orders for 925 cars, split between 475 'panthers' (Polizia di Stato) and 450 'gazelles' (Carabinieri).

This marks the first time that both police forces have tendered and selected the same brand and the same vehicle. SEAT says that major factors in the decision included the Leon’s low fuel consumption and emissions figures, as well as its high quality and excellent total cost of ownership.

"We are honoured by the trust given by the Italian police in SEAT and the Leon. And we are very proud to be able to contribute thanks to reliable, secure and high quality vehicles to public safety," says Jurgen Stackmann, Chairman of the Executive Committee of SEAT. 

The new Italian police cars are based on the five-door Leon powered by the 150 PS version of the 2.0 TDI engine. The front end of the cars will be armoured against small arms fire and special safety tyres are fitted, with the suspension adapted to suit. 

Warning and alarm lights, radio and communications equipment, weapons carriers and other items of equipment are also featured and the back seat is laid out as a secure 'prisoner cell', with police officers seated in the front protected by a dividing partition.

Extensive prototype tests were conducted with two vehicles codenamed 'gazelle' and 'panther', while comprehensive endurance testing assured the quality of the vehicles, which will face harsh and demanding conditions in day-to-day use. The armoured door, for instance, was opened and closed 100,000 times and the two vehicles were finally driven continuously for 30,000 kilometres, stopping only to refuel and relieve drivers. 

The base vehicles are produced at the SEAT factory in Martorell near Barcelona, before being transferred to Chivasso, Italy for further adaptation at N.C.T. (Nuova Carrozzeria Torinese), the specialist firm that has converted most of the police cars in Italy since 2003.

Crossover, Electric, SUV, News

Ford EcoSport gets new upgrades

The Ford EcoSport has received new styling upgrades, improved driving dynamics and new equipment for 2015.

Customers can now specify the compact SUV without the rear-mounted spare wheel, while interior improvements include standard partial leather seats for Titanium models and additional chrome detailing. Driving dynamics have been improved with revisions to the springs, dampers, rear torsion beam, Electronic Stability Programme, and Electronic Power Assisted Steering settings.

Convenience and comfort are also enhanced with a Winter Pack - featuring heated windscreen, heated mirrors and heated front seats. Models specified without the rear-mounted spare wheel feature a tyre mobility kit as standard, while the rear swing-gate design for those vehicles also has been revised to allow easier access to the bootspace with partial opening.

Inside, privacy glass is available for all EcoSport trim levels, while the Winter Pack also adds rear seat ventilation at floor level to improve comfort for rear passengers in cold weather. The restyled interior has a charcoal black lower instrument panel, centre console and door boards. The instrument cluster now features a light dimming function and chrome-surround rings to match the electric window switches.

Refinement has been enhanced with thicker sound deadening materials in the doors and dashboard, as well as tighter seals around the pedals. Engine and gearbox matching has been revised to offer more low speed torque and better drivability.

'Significant' improvements to the EcoSport's driving dynamics follow development work at the Ford Lommel Proving Ground, where 50 miles of test tracks include replicas of European road surfaces. This resulted in a stiffer rear torsion beam being added, offering 'greater control of body roll', and revised spring and shock absorber rates improve damping.

A 10mm reduction in ride height lowers the car's centre of gravity for improved handling, and Electronic Stability Control and power steering systems also have been specifically tuned for European roads.

The 1.5-litre TDCi also now offers 95PS, a 5PS improvement, and delivers 64.2mpg and 115g/km CO2. The 125PS 1.0-litre EcoBoost delivers 52.3mpg and 125g/km CO2, while the 1.5-litre Ti-VCT engine delivers 44.8mpg and 149g/km CO2. All engines now meet Euro Stage 6 emissions standards.

Further technology that will be available later this year for EcoSport, for the first time including satellite navigation and Rear View Camera to help drivers manoeuvre the vehicle when in reverse.

Prices for the revamped Ford EcoSport start from £14,245 OTR and is available to order now, for an October delivery.