Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Sah Cute!

For someone who isn't a massive Ford fan, it's strange to hear me actually get excited by a new model debuting. This is face of the new Fiesta ST concept. And I have to admit, I really like it.
Mimicking the Focus ST concept, it seems that Ford's little fighter is se
rious about taking luring buyers the light car segment.

A 6-speed manual is another bonus, likely to win purists over from the Polo GTI.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Dare I Say 'Sexy'?

Hyundai's i30 hatch has been an important model for the Korean automaker. It was the first production Hyundai to debut their 'Fluidic Sculpture' design language and has since become one of the best selling models in. Four years on, images of the 2012 model have surfaced online.

The new design has evolved into a far more aggressive and sporty package than before, and is possibly the best rendition of 'Fluidic Sculpture' yet. Up front there's nothing you haven't seen before - Hyundai's hexagonal grille, new headlights (Elantra, anyone?) and LED daytime running lights.

What's more interesting is the details. Strong creases on the bonnet and a more pronounced shoulder line make the previous generation look bulbous in comparison. Gone are the c-pillar tail lights, replaced by generic wraparounds units. It all adds up in making the new i30 far more focussed and accomplished.

The interior, too, has been updated. While few details have been revealed, you can be sure that high quality materials abound and nearly everything is tactile.

While powertrain options are yet to be confirmed you can be sure there'll be improved efficiency across the range, along with slight power increases. If recent Koreans are anything to go by, Hyundai's biggest model yet should also be one of the most satisfying to drive.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Forbidden Fruit: Infiniti FX

Nissan's Australian range comprises of boring hatches (Micra, Tiida, Dualis), saloons (Maxima), SUVs (Pathfinder, Murano, Patrol) and then their incredible sports cars (370Z, GT-R). Overseas, the Maxima is a whole different car, there are wholly better cars (Juke, Cube, Altima, Quest) and a wholly better brand, Infiniti. Infiniti is Nissan's Lexus and Nissan's Acura; it's a brand that takes the everyday platforms of Nissan and transforms them into massively more desirable products. This is seen in no other car more than the FX, Infiniti's luxury SUV (a BMW X5, Audi Q7 and Mercedes ML rival). It's the most aggressively-styled car under $100,000 and it looks fantastic. Choosing the FX50S means it goes just as well as it looks with a 291kW/500Nm 5.0 litre V8 that launches the FX50S to 100km/h in 5.0 seconds. The FX range has just been updated with a slightly revised front that is even more aggressive and added standard features. Launching this striking car, let alone brand, in Australia would hurl Nissan's reputation into greatness instantly. Infiniti is being launched here in a year but that's too far away. Nissan, get it here now!

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Mazda CX-5

After previewing it through the Minagi concept car, Mazda has released its first pictures of their new compact SUV, the CX-5. At this stage we're not sure if the CX-5 replaces the ageing CX-7 but it's certainly related to it and provides a look at the new Mazda corporate 'face' for their products to come. The CX-5 effectively launches Mazda's new SkyActiv range of revolutionary petrol and diesel engines, including a 150hp/110kW 2.0 litre petrol and 185hp/136kW 2.0 litre turbo diesel that offer extraordinarily low CO2 emissions. A range of manual and automatic transmissions, all 6-speeds, will also be launched with the car, as will class-leading dynamics. The interior is just as inviting as the stunning exterior and appears (from these shots) to be very high quality, in typical Mazda fashion. The only problem is that the planned launch date is next year... Hurry it up Mazda and get rid of the CX-7 already!

Friday, 29 July 2011

Forbidden Fruit: Renault Laguna coupé

In terms of automotive design, the Renault Laguna coupé has to be one of my favourite current designs this side of AU$100K. At the front you have an imposing grille, dressed in delicate slashes of chrome, hinting a powerful engine lurks beneath. The long rakish bonnet flows back elegantly in typical GT car fashion, the roofline continuing seamlessly to the boot lid spoiler, which happens to echo that of a certain British sports car. The Laguna coupé is genuinely sexy in comparison to its dowdy looking siblings, and potentially one of the sexiest vehicles Renault has ever had on offer.

While majority of the production model mirrors the beautiful concept first displayed at Frankfurt in 2007, there have been a few typical concept-to-production changes. Gone are the LED headlights. Gone are the scissor doors. Sadly, the glamorous 21-inch alloys have departed as well, and we’re left with a rather average looking set of 18-inch wheels that leave those arches looking a little hungry for more. Also, there is now a gap between the headlights that makes the car look as if the bonnet is not properly shut. While these minor differences are a little disappointing, the large GT coupe still has an amazing presence.

One of the best features in the Laguna coupe is ‘4Control’ steering. The four-wheel steering system allows the large coupé to change direction quickly and easily at speed, while tightening its turning circle at lower speeds. Four-wheel steering has been around before, being incredibly popular among mid-size Japanese coupés in the early 90’s, but the Renault’s system is more high-tech.

The engine line-up includes the usual array of four-cylinder turbo petrol and diesel power plants. But the engines I’m more interested in are the two big sixes - a Nissan-sourced 3.5-litre V6 we remember from the 350Z, and a 3.0-litre turbo diesel. The petrol unit has been detuned for the front-wheel drive chassis, producing 177kW and 330Nm, while the diesel puts out 175kW and a mighty 450Nm of torque. The power is sent to the ground via a six-speed auto and both manage 0-100km/h in about 7 seconds. While those figures are by no means sluggish, you can’t help but want more from the svelte coupé. Perhaps the original 228kW/363Nm output from the 350Z V6, channeled to the rear wheels via a slick shifting six-speed manual. Tuned by Renault Sport, of course. Pretty please?

Unfortunately, to the disappointment of all Renault fans in Australia, the Laguna coupé is not coming our way. The failure of the hatch and estate variants and the repositioning of the brand in the local market have caused Renault Australia to axe any plans on bringing the coupé here (for now, let’s hope). If it wants to survive in Australia, Renault has to build sales numbers and improve its image here. The only way that seems to be possible is by marketing cheap and bland, if competitively priced vehicles like the Latitude. If that will someday allow for cars like the Laguna coupé to make their way here, I’m all for it.


Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Forbidden Fruit - Toyota Venza

While Toyota Australia's range of passenger cars is staid and uninspiring, the Toyota range overseas provides some cars that you wouldn't fall asleep at the prospect of owning. This is the Toyota Venza and it's part of the new breed of 'crossovers' (SUV body, car chassis/driving dynamics/zero off-road ability) from the US. It features a 2.7 litre 4-cylinder engine with 2WD, or if you're really reading this, a 3.5 litre V6 (from the Aurion/Kluger/Rav4 V6 and everything else under the Toyota tree) and AWD, so it goes pretty well. Think of it as a Camry Wagon, except a little taller and bigger. Oh, and a whole lot better looking!

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Spotted: RCZ

I spotted this sexy Peugeot in the city just now. Quite a stunning design!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


Location:Canning Beach Rd,Applecross,Australia

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Hans and Sandra - The Exclusive First Photo Shoot

Below are a selection of photos of Hans the Polo and his 'girlfriend' - the sexy, sassy Sandra - a VW Passat CC. Thanks to Tom W for taking the photos and providing Sandra for half a day. The photos were taken at Floreat Beach, Western Australia. 

Drive Harder

Forbidden Fruit: RenaultSport Twingo 133

This car would have to be one of my favourite hot hatches. Ultra-compact, nimble handling, quirky but aggressive styling and a fantastic 1.6VVT 133hp engine make this one of the most desirable cars in its class. This Renault would be a fantastic day to day city ride for somebody looking for a compact car that is also entertaining to drive. It really is a shame that Renault Australia couldn't find a place for it in its local line-up. The Twingo proves once again that the French know how to do hot hatches better than anybody else. Perhaps when I move to Europe one day I could buy one and then drive it home...

UK Video Review: Peugeot 207

An interesting review of the Peugeot 207 from the UK. Personally, I would not buy one of these cars, despite me being a Peugeot fan-boy. Cheap interior, poor reliability and mundane petrol engines ruin the package. Like many others, I am eagerly awaiting the global debut of the next-gen 208. What do you think of this car?

Drive Hard

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Forbidden Fruit: Hyundai Genesis Coupe

We never expected to find a 'forbidden fruit' from an automotive company such as Hyundai, but the Genesis Coupe shows it's really possible! Stunning looks, a fantastic 3.8 litre V6 (producing 228kW nonetheless) coupled to a rear-wheel drive chassis AND (as a bonus) a 6-speed manual, the Genesis represents a true breakthrough car for Hyundai. However, it isn't for Hyundai Australia, as it's not being released here; they prefer the i30 as a new-age car... The lime green example sitting at the front of Hyundai Australia's headquarters appears to be jailed there for another two years at least...

Unseen Photo of Hans

Here is an exclusive, unseen photo of my VW Polo, Hans. This photo was taken in the Perth inner-city suburb of Northbridge when I was visiting a friend one rainy night.

Drive Harder,

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Jake, Steven and Sam