MPV, News, People Carrier

Toyota Verso refreshed for 2016

Toyota’s Verso MPV has been given a ‘substantial’ safety upgrade as part of an overall model revamp.

Toyota Safety Sense active safety and driver assistance features have been added as standard spec to every model. It’s part of a refresh that includes a revised grade structure, new alloy wheel designs and cabin upgrades. Safety Sense includes a Pre-Collision System that recognises an imminent impact with a vehicle ahead, triggering a warning to the driver and priming the brakes for extra stopping power the moment the brake pedal is pressed. If the driver fails to respond, Autonomous Emergency Braking is activated, automatically slowing the vehicle to reduce the force of any impact.

The Verso also now has Automatic High Beam which detects both the headlights of oncoming vehicles, and the tail lights of vehicles ahead, automatically switching between high and low beams to avoid dazzling other drivers. The third Toyota Safety Sense element for the Verso is Lane Departure Alert, which monitors lane markings on the road to helps prevent accidents and head-on collisions. If the vehicle starts to deviate from its lane without the turn indicators being used, the system alerts the driver with visual and audible warnings.

These features are in addition to seven airbags, ABS, emergency brakeforce distribution, brake assist, traction control and vehicle stability control which all come as standard.

A new Design trim has joined the range alongside the established Active, Icon and Excel specifications. Available with the 1.8-litre Valvematic petrol engine with automatic transmission and the 1.6-litre D-4D diesel, it comes with the Toyota Touch 2 with Go multimedia system with satellite navigation and reversing camera, rear privacy glass and a (fixed) panoramic roof. These are in addition to the standard features of Icon grade, including DAB tuner, dusk-sensing headlights, cruise control, automatic air conditioning, six-speaker audio and power windows front and rear.

The range-topping Excel model now has the Design trim’s panoramic roof, as well as rain-sensing wipers, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, high-intensity discharge headlights and combination leather and cloth upholstery.

New alloy wheel designs have been added - 16-inch for the Icon, 17-inch for the Design and 17-inch with a double-spoke arrangement for the Excel models, with an Anthracite dark grey finish. The colour choices include a new Platinum Bronze shade.

In the cabin there is a new leather-trimmed steering wheel with integrated switches for hands-free phone, a new gear shift design and a new look cloth upholstery for Icon and Design models. To free up more boot space, the tyre repair kit (when specified) has been relocated to the underfloor storage compartment behind the driver’s seat. The Toyota Touch 2 system adopts a larger, seven-inch display and an improved interface for easier, more intuitive sat nav operation.

The 2016 Toyota Verso is on sale now, priced from £18,120 for the five-seat Active model, £18,650 for seven-seat models with the new Design grade models starting at £23,405 OTR.

Family Car, People Carrier, MPV, News

SEAT reveals Alhambra 20th anniversary model

SEAT’s MPV - the Alhambra - celebrates its anniversary with a special edition model.

The new Alhambra 20th anniversary special edition includes unique design features with an ‘extensive package’ of technologies. The special edition runs on 17-inch alloy wheels in high-gloss black, which are complemented by the xenon headlamps, the tinted side and rear windows and the large panorama glass sliding roof.

On the inside, the dark Alcantara upholstery features stitching in light corn silk with ‘Alhambra 20 years’ stitched into the front sports massage seats. The technology package includes Keyless entry while the tailgate can be operated hands-free by a foot gesture. Like the two sliding doors also open and close electrically. Safety and assistance systems includes Lane Assist lane-departure warning system, Blind Spot Detection, traffic sign recognition and the light assistant.

Prices for the SEAT Alhambra 20th anniversary model are expected to start around the £25k mark.

Family Car, MPV, News, People Carrier

New Renault Scenic debuts in Geneva

Renault has revealed its new Scenic people carrier.

Described as a fresh take on the MPV concept, the new model was unveiled by Chairman and CEO Carlos Ghosn.

“The New Scenic redefines the MPV. Loyal to its principles of practicality, ingenuity and modularity, the new Scenic addresses the demands of today’s customers and re-emerges as a pioneer in its segment with ground-breaking design and assertive personality,” said Ghosn. “Renault continues its product offensive, and 2016 will be the most ambitious in Renault’s history, with the introduction of 10 new vehicles around the world. With these new models Renault has the youngest range in Europe.”

Renault says the new Scenic is a ‘modern, assertive MPV which combines driving enjoyment and comfort for the whole family' and comes with ‘unprecedented proportions’, 20-inch wheels across the range and a two-tone colour scheme.

On the inside an more modular interior includes a sliding centre console and an automatic One Touch Folding system for the rear seats. The French company says for the first time in the compact MPV segment, the Scenic has a comprehensive suite of driving aids including AEBS (Automatic Emergency Braking System) with Pedestrian Detection as standard equipment for all versions. Features shared with the new Espace, including MULTI-SENSE technology, R-LINK 2 with an 8.7-inch display and a colour heads-up display.

Power comes from ‘an extensive’ choice of petrol and diesel engines to cover all needs, including a Hybrid Assist diesel-electric powertrain.

A new Grand Scenic will be revealed before the summer and both will be available for sale before the end of the year.

Family Car, People Carrier, MPV, News

Peugeot facelifts 2008 SUV

Peugeot has facelifted its 2008 SUV.

Launched in 2013, the new frontal appearance now takes on an even more ‘assertive, powerful and appealing SUV design’ according to the French company. Its wheel arch extensions (from Allure level), new vertical front grille and scuff plates (from Allure level) ‘confirm its robustness’. The new vertical multi-faceted front grille features the Peugeot lion at the centre which Peugeot says gives a dynamic and attractive appearance. This style approach continues from the grille over the bonnet and onto the roof with roof bars and spoiler completing the new profile. Black and chrome headlamps and 3D LED rear lights with 3-claw design 'illustrate the embedded technology from the outside'.

The new Ultimate Red colour further ‘epitomises the power and desirability’ of the new 2008. The Access, Active and Allure levels are complemented by the new ‘GT Line’ model. This trim level is already popular on other Peugeot models (208, 308 and 508), and adds a sporty theme with a red/black coloured interior theme and is consistent with the brand's move up market strategy.

The Peugeot i-Cockpit is unique to Peugeot and ‘embodies the driving characteristics of the Peugeot 2008’ - being ‘agile, intuitive and safe’. The compact sports steering wheel offers precise steering and improved manoeuvrability while the 7” multifunction colour touch screen puts all the functionality at your fingertips. In addition, the head-up instrument panel allows driver information to be accessed without taking the eyes off the road.

Grip Control - an adapted traction system - gives the 2008 its versatility on all types of terrain. It is combined with Mud & Snow (all-Season) certified winter tyres. Peugeot 2008 is equipped with MirrorScreen, based on MirrorLink and Apple Carplay, along with the reversing camera, Active City Brake and Park Assist - a rarity in this segment.

The petrol range of the new 2008 includes a choice of five engines while the Diesel line-up includes three engines, all of them with CO2 emissions at less than 100g/km.

Pricing has yet to be confirmed for the faceifted model, with the revamped 2008 set to go on sale this summer.

MPV, People Carrier, News

Opel to launch compact Ampera-e

Opel is to launch a new compact battery electric car next year - the Ampera-e.

The five-door hatchback is part of a major new model offensive which will see 29 new vehicles launched between 2016 and 2020. 

Opel says the Ampera-e will be affordably priced and have a longer range on a full charge than most electric cars, combining innovative electric-mobility with state-of-the-art connectivity and exciting driving dynamics.

Announcing the Ampera-e at the CAR Symposium in Bochum, Germany, GM Chairman & CEO Mary Barra said: “GM and Opel have always been convinced that electric cars will play a defining role in future mobility. The game-changing technology of the Ampera-e is a significant step toward realising that vision.”

The compact proportions of the Ampera-e are achieved by the flat battery pack mounted underneath the interior floor. This also enables a more spacious interior, says Opel, providing seating for five passengers and competitive boot space.

The Ampera-e will also offer the personal connectivity and service assistant, OnStar as well as infotainment systems that will integrate smartphones and other electronic devices seamlessly.