Honda has unveiled the 10th generation of the Honda Civic at the company’s UK manufacturing base in Swindon, with production of the car underway and the first units on already making their way to the North American market. Honda of the UK Manufacturing (HUM) has stepped up to become the global production hub for the ubiquitous Civic hatchback, with the model set to be exported to more than 70 countries.
The launch of this new Civic corresponds to soaring EU growth for the popular saloon. Honda is Europe’s fastest growing mainstream brand in 2016 with sales growing by 33%, compared to 2015, as the brand progresses towards its next sales ambition of 200,000 sales in Europe.
The Swindon plant is Honda’s flagship production facility in Europe, employing 3,600 people, and plays a key role in Honda’s global manufacturing network. The company has invested a further £200m into the factory in preparation for production of the new Civic, bringing Honda’s total investment in HUM to more than £2.2 billion since 1989.
Katsushi Inoue, President and Chief Operating Officer of Honda Motor Europe said: “As we reveal this new Civic, we look forward with confidence as we expand the role of our Swindon manufacturing plant. Honda has made significant investments in this facility and this next step is an important endorsement of the skills and expertise of our workforce. We’re also setting out a clear and sustainable future role for HUM, broadening our export markets beyond Europe.”
Chevrolet has happily announced just how far it’s Bolt electric might go— the EPA has rated the Bolt for an estimated range of 383km on a single charge. For many commuters, that means the car will get them to and from work, with several errands in between before plugging the car in for the night. Of course, the grid you plug into makes a very large difference in how clean the technology really is.
But range is just one factor: “While range is important, we knew Bolt EV owners would want more— more space and more power— and the Bolt EV delivers,” said Bolt EV Chief Engineer Josh Tavel. “Our team took special pride in optimizing every aspect of this vehicle, especially its impressive range and ride dynamics.”
Chevrolet likes to call the plug-in Bolt the first affordable electric vehicle, though the distinction doesn’t mean much here in the Middle East where hybrids are still relatively novel. That said, GM would love to take Tesla down a peg or two in its home market, and it’s interesting to watch the technology progress. In the long run, electric cars are likely to have a greater presence in every car market, even our own.
Meanwhile, the car should appear in the US before too long: “Chevrolet showed the world the production version Bolt EV earlier this year and in a few short months we’ve moved from that vision to a reality,” said GM North America President Alan Batey. “The Bolt EV is a game changer for the electric car segment and it will start to become available at Chevrolet dealerships later this year.”
Chevy says Bolt buyers in the States can expected to pay below $37,500, and may receive a tax credit that further lowers the expenditure by as much as $7500, putting the car close to Tesla’s $35,000 Model 3. GM set out to build an EV with ample range, cargo space, technology and safety features— it will be interesting to see how the buying public reacts. One thing Tesla has that will be difficult to replicate is the halo factor, the Silicon Valley carmaker has a bleeding edge appeal that 105 Chevy may find hard to match.
Nissan just debuted the new 2017 Sentra SR Turbo at the Miami International Auto Show, and the leap in performance is striking. The new 188-horsepower 1.6-liter Direct Injection Gasoline turbo engine – a 50 percent increase in horsepower versus standard Sentra SR’s naturally aspirated 1.8-liter. Internationally, buyer’s will have a choice between a 6-speed manual Nissan’s Xtronic transmission with it’s “manual mode.” We may not get the manual transmission here in the Middle East, but we’re happy to speculate that it will be the more enjoyable of the two. Oh, and there’s 177 lb-ft of torque on offer, that’s 52 more lb-ft of torque with the turbo.
“The Sentra SR Turbo is designed for buyers who want all the attributes of traditional compact sedans but also desire some serious turbo performance,” said Michael Bunce, vice president, Product Planning, Nissan North America, Inc. “The SR Turbo builds upon the redesigned Sentra and adds 50 percent more horsepower and more than 40 percent more torque, as well as the upgrades where drivers will feel them. It’s truly the complete package for compact car buyers and enthusiasts alike.”
In order to accommodate the added power and torque, the new Sentra SR Turbo also receives an enhanced body structure, revised steering system, larger front disc brakes. The 2017 Sentra SR Turbo includes a standard power sliding glass moonroof and SR Turbo badging. The SR Turbo Premium Package, the only option package available for the SR Turbo, includes Blind Spot Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, leather-appointed seating and Bose Premium audio system with eight speakers.
All Sentra SR models feature LED low beam projector headlights with LED accents, lower body side sill extensions, rear spoiler with integrated LED brake light, fog lights, chrome exhaust finisher, heated outside mirrors with LED turn signals, and unique design 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels with 205/50R17 all-season tires and more.
Jaguar Land Rover is expanding its powertrain family, unveiling new technologies to reduce vehicle emissions and improve fuel economy across its range. At the heart of its low-emissions strategy, the new four-cylinder Ingenium petrol engine is now in production, delivering up to 25 per cent more power than the engines they replace and offer fuel consumption reductions of up to 15 per cent.
To deliver all that efficiently generated power to the wheels, Jaguar Land Rover has developed a new automatic transmission dubbed Transcend, uses an innovative ultra-wide ratio spread (20:1) that integrates low-range gear box, dual-clutch and hybrid technologies to deliver new levels of off-road performance and fuel economy improvements of nearly 10%.
Nick Rogers, Group Engineering Director, said: “Environmental innovation is at the heart of our strategy to dramatically reduce emissions up to 2020 and beyond. With the Ingenium family of powertrains and advanced research projects such as Transcend, future Jaguar Land Rover vehicles will emit significantly less CO₂. By 2020, new technologies will help us reduce our CO₂emissions by a further 25 per cent.”
The Ingenium petrol engine is a technology forward proposition, with an electrohydraulic valvetrain, integrated exhaust manifold and twin scroll turbocharger with ceramic ball bearing technology. The goal, it seems, is to meet tightening emission standards while delivering the kind of performance JLR customers demand.
Nick Rogers said: “Ingenium has been developed as a modular family of powerful, efficient and refined all-aluminum petrol and diesel engines. All Ingenium engines deliver benchmark low levels of friction, contributing to inherently good efficiency and refinement.”
Using a common architecture based on a 500cc per cylinder displacement delivers both maximum flexibility and scaleability. This enables a range of derivatives to be developed to suit applications as diverse as sports saloons and luxury SUVs.
The next generation Hyundai i30 has been announced in the UK, with a modest but attractive new look. If that’s not news enough, consider that the i30 will get the high performance treatment under the carmaker’s new N brand, with this new sporty i30 beginning production in 2017.
“We have listened closely to customer needs in redefining our offer to create a car for everyone. It’s the new people’s car: Accessible, appealing in design and great to drive,” comments Jochen Sengpiehl, Vice President Marketing at Hyundai Motor Europe. “With up-to-date infotainment and connectivity features we offer everything today’s digital natives and modern customers expect.”
According to Hyundai the all-new i30 will boast a host of active safety features, improved connectivity, and better fit and finish. Hyundai is referring to the new i30 as the DNA model for the entire line, so if you like what you see, you should be happy since we can expect more of it.
The new iteration of the i30 features a cascading grille and wrap around LED headlights that embrace the front bumper. The car is longer, and wider, with a tad less overhang at both ends, while the bonnet is longer than the outgoing model year. The new i30 will be available in 12 factory colours, and optional 15-inch steel and alloy wheels, or 16 and 17-inch alloys are in the offing.
“To create a car for everyone, we focused on a wide range of different people,” explains Peter Schreyer, President and Chief Design Officer of Hyundai Motor Group, “So the design is an evolution of Hyundai Motor’s design language with natural flowing lines, refined surfaces and a sculpted body to create a timeless appearance.”
The New Generation i30 will also be the the first Hyundai car to feature Hyundai’s new turbo-charged petrol engine, the 1.4 T-GDI offering 140 PS. The press materials boast that the car is responsive and handles well, but we’ll be the judge of that come test drive time. For now the question is, when might that be?
Japan’s government has ordered Mitsubishi Motors to stop selling a variety of models after revelations that the company falsified the efficiency of some models, including two it produced for Nissan. Mitsubishi first admitted fault in April of this year, which triggered a sharp decline in the company’s stock and a subsequent take over by Nissan which bought a controlling share in the ailing carmaker.
“Our investigation confirmed that the fuel economy on eight models were as much as 8.8% and on average 4.2% lower than advertised,” Japan’s transport ministry said in a statement.
According to the BBC, variants of the Pajero, Outlander are affected by the latest phase of the transport ministry’s investigation. Availability in the GCC is currently unaffected by the revelations.
Mitsubishi Motors admitted in April to a legacy of rigging tests stretching back 25 years. Regulatory change in 1991 required adjusted methods for compliance, but Mitsubishi failed to adhere. The company’s president, Tetsuro Aikawa, resigned in May.
While the Land Cruiser Pickup has been disappearing from markets for decades, recent news in the Australian motoring press suggests the popular utility vehicle may have a fourth act after all: “It’s an indefinite member of the Toyota family, it’s a crucial and much-loved vehicle in Australia. It’s iconic … and this update will solidify in a lot of people’s minds that we’re not giving up on the model. It’s here and it’s here to stay,” Stephen Coughlan, a spokesperson for Toyota said in an interview.
And while the model hasn’t been imported to the States since the 1980s, and Toyota has no plans to sell the truck in US, it’s a fair guess that we’ll continue to see them here in the GCC in years to come. Why all the fuss then? Our market liley isn’t large enough to support the model on it’s own, so its continued success in Oz is good news for Land Cruiser Pickup fans.
The current model Land Cruiser Pickup is powered by Toyota’s 228 HP 4.0-litre petrol engine. The frame of the pickup has been constructed to be lightweight as possible for both handling and fuel efficiency improvements.
Introduced in 1984, this iconic work horse hasn’t changed much since its introduction, although you couldn’t get creature comforts like USB inputs, Bluetooth, and er, air bags back in the day. (Airbags were mandated in new cars the US starting with the 1989 model year.) And while the Land Cruiser Pickup might not be the average daily driver, we expect many readers will rest assured that these capable beasts should continue to dot our corner of the desert.
Porsche’s baby SUV is offering some very grown up specs with the launch of a new Performance Package for the Macan Turbo. With Stuttgart’s enhancements, the twin-turbocharged, 3.6-litre V6 engine now delivers 440 hp. That’s 40 hp more than the, er, standard Macan Turbo. As such, the car will do the zero to 100 km/h sprint in a scant 4.4 seconds, reaching a new top speed of 272 km/h
Maximum torque is also improved to 600 Nm across a broad rev range of between 1,500 and 4,500 rpm. In Sport Plus mode, the time taken to accelerate from 80 km/h to 120 km/h has dropped to 2.9 seconds. Depending on the tyres, fuel consumption for the new top-of-the-range Macan model is between 9.4 l/100 km and 9.7 l/100 km. Not bad, eh?
It doesn’t stop there— a newly developed brake system, lowered body, controlled sports chassis, Sport Chrono Package and sports exhaust system are all fitted as standard. The front axle features grooved brake discs with a diameter of 390 millimetres, which are 30 millimetres larger than the brake discs fitted on the non-Performance Package variant of the Macan Turbo. The discs are gripped by six-piston brake callipers completed with a red paint finish. Available at the push of a button, the optimally tuned Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) delivers an exceptionally sporty position on the road with vehicle lowered by 15 millimetres. Air suspension with self-levelling function and height adjustment, lowered by ten millimetres, is also available as standard.
In Sport Plus mode, this package ensures the chassis, engine and transmission are tuned to sporty effect – accompanied by an even more emotional sound from the sports exhaust system. The seven-speed PDK double-clutch transmission is now designed to deliver extremely short response times, optimum switching points and increased torque during gear changes for maximum acceleration.
Naturally, the Macan is a Porsche, so the ala carte upgrades list is lengthy. Features available with this package include 21-inch wheels in the 911 Turbo design with lateral spokes painted in high-gloss black, LED main headlights equipped with PDLS Plus and numerous other elements finished in black. The Turbo Interior Package delivers a black leather interior with lavish Alcantara elements, colour appliqué in numerous areas and carbon elements such as the door entry guards with the model logo lit up in white.
The Macan Turbo with Performance Package is available for order now. In UAE, the new top model costs AED 385,600.
Sick of waiting in traffic, enslaved behind the wheel? That kind of boredom may soon be a thing of the past. Nissan has made its bid to participate in motoring’s high tech makeover. The company’s ProPilot technology officially announces the Yokohama based carmakers foray into autonomous driving. At the heart of the program, is a high-spec laser scanner that determines the distance between the vehicle and its surroundings through precise three-dimensional measurements enabling navigation in tight spaces.
The laser combines with an eight-way, 360-degree view camera system for accurate routing decisions at intersections and on sharp curving roads. These autonomous driving technologies were tested on roads and highways in Japan and the United States earlier this year.
Nissan will introduce the ProPilot autonomous driving technology in a model in Japan later this year, and then expand availability to Europe, United States, China and eventually the Middle East. ProPilot 1.0 can be used in congested highway traffic conditions.
By 2018, the company plans to implement a multiple-lane, ProPilot autonomous driving function that allows highway lane change, while by 2020, the new technology will facilitate driving on urban roads, including intersections.
The future might not have arrived just yet, but with ProPilot it feels closer than ever and Nissan is hardly alone in its efforts. What’s next? Eventually these systems will need to communicate intra-brand so that cars can share data and avoid traffic snarls. Autonomous driving— it’s the future.
Toyota has announced that global sales of its hybrid vehicles reached 9.014 million units as of April 30, surpassing the 9 million-unit mark. Toyota hybrid sales are up one million units in just nine months. Once a fringe product category, hybrid vehicles are now mainstream.
Toyota’s high volume approach is based on the idea that eco-friendly vehicles can only truly have a significant positive impact if they are widely used. Toyota has been the most successful carmaker in driving mass-market adoption of hybrid vehicles across the globe. The carmaker currently sells 33 hybrid passenger car models and one plug-in hybrid model in more than 90 countries and regions. In the Middle East, Toyota currently sells the Prius hybrid.
Takayuki Yoshitsugu, Chief Representative of Middle East & North Africa Representative Office, Toyota Motor Corporation said, “The steady increase in hybrid sales reflects the worldwide appeal of hybrid vehicles backed by Toyota’s significant efforts in developing ever better cars. Hybrid is the practical way towards green motoring and it actually delivers a more relaxed and rewarding drive than a conventional car.”
Toyota announced the Toyota Environmental Challenge 2050 in October of last year, setting challenges that it will undertake in order to reduce the negative impacts automobiles have on global environmental health to as close to zero as possible, and to contribute to the creation of a sustainable society. In order to fulfill these challenges, Toyota is working to expand its lineup of hybrid vehicles even further and will work to contribute to the environment by achieving annual sales of 1.5 million units, and cumulative sales of 15 million units by 2020.
Toyota calculates that as of April 30, the use of Toyota hybrid vehicles has resulted in approximately 67 million fewer tons of CO2 emissions. Toyota also estimates that its hybrid vehicles have saved approximately 25 million kiloliters of petrol.