Tag Archive | "Geneva Motor Show"

Geneva Choice

As well as the desirable examples entering the automotive market that we have already featured on Motor Blogger, there are also plenty of other new cars worthy of our attention at this year‘s Geneva show. The selection is diverse and has plenty to offer all price points and sectors.

For example, we have already heard a lot about the budget brand Dacia and the decent value for money cars they offer. Joining the ranks in the UK market now is the Logan. Essentially, this is an estate car version of the Sandero which will be priced from about £7000, which is excellent value for a family sized car that is a similar size to the Volvo V70.

The Logan is offered with the same range of engines as its hatchback siblings, including a 1.5L diesel which busts the 100g/km CO² barrier. For the cost-conscious driver who needs some decent carrying capacity (better than a Focus estate) this car seems like a great choice.

On the Honda stand there is more about their Earth Dreams Technology. No, it’s not some sort of return to a mystical pagan past but rather just a name for their equivalent of BMW’s ‘EfficientDynamics’ or Volkswagen’s ‘Bluemotion’ eco-strategies. It’s centred around Honda’s 1.6L I-DTEC diesel engine, first seen in the new Civic. This time it is in the company’s British built CR-V which will deliver a balance between efficient performance and functionality. It looks good too.

Suzuki are a car maker who perhaps don’t really get the credit they deserve. They have been plugging away on the British forecourts for years without actually setting the market on fire. They have made some good cars and their current Swift is a popular choice in the press. Maybe with the new SX4 Crossover (pictured) they will get a bit more attention from the buying public.

This new model is bigger than its predecessor and has moved into the popular C sector by increasing in size. It combines compact car know-how with the Suzuki technology honed for SUVs. To be built in Hungary the SX4 will be on sale from the Autumn.

Finally, Chevrolet are showing a selection that includes the Spark EV and a new upscale Captiva. Sales of the Trax will start this Spring but for petrol- heads the biggest news is of the new Corvette Stingray. This is powered by a 6.2L V8 which shoves out a muscle-bound 450bhp. Totally impractical for Britain’s third world roads of course but we want one anyway. In black, please.

Posted in Auto News, Auto ShowsComments (0)

Turning Over A New Leaf

The Nissan Leaf was launched in 2011 and to date the company have sold over fifty thousand cars worldwide. In many ways it is a very good car but with the drawbacks that afflict all electric cars. Potential owners remain concerned about range as the cars arrived long before the introduction of any meaningful electric infrastructure around the nation. Never mind – the Leaf has a market and is an ideal vehicle for urban lifestyles.

Nissan have been listening to customers and have announced a wide range of improvements to the next generation EV, which will be built, along with its batteries, at the successful Sunderland plant in the North of England. Production begins in the Spring. This seems like an admirably perfect time for a new Leaf.

Crucially, the range has been extended. The original car could manage 109 miles at best. The new maximum is 124 miles. It’s not a lot if we’re honest but that extra bit could just give buyers peace of mind in knowing that 100 miles should be reliably feasible. This is aided by a new heat pump which reduces electrical consumption in cold weather thus boosting range.

In addition to the standard eight hour charging arrangement, customers can now opt for a 6.6kW charger which halves charging time. Additionally, the charger has now been relocated under the bonnet which has freed up additional luggage space at the back. An amount of judicious re-engineering has bought the car up fully to European driving standards which means handling has been improved.

To further enhance performance Nissan have made some styling changes to the car which will improve aero efficiency. In keeping with the green credentials the new Leaf is more recyclable than its predecessor, not that owners are likely to be thinking that far ahead. The company has listened and they say that there are over one hundred improvements and enhancements on the new model.

Battery life is another concern expressed by customers. It would be a hugely expensive fix and nobody really seems to know how long they will last and how much capacity they will lose over time. To counter this Nissan have a new comprehensive warranty plan. There’s a five year / 100,000 mile guarantee for workmanship and defects and, because lithium-ion batteries lose capacity over time, they will be covered by a ‘State of Health’ clause to cover this. Thus, if the batteries wear out earlier than expected they will be repaired or replaced.

The interior has been improved too with new colours, more supportive seats with environmentally friendly fabrics and more equipment including the Around View Monitor. Overall, Nissan have paid attention to the reaction to the original Leaf and acted accordingly. The new Nissan Leaf is an attractive proposition for a large percentage of car users.

Posted in Auto News, Auto Shows, Car ReviewsComments (0)


Why are Ferrari’s like buses? Because two come along at once. We’ve just seen the Italian company’s answer to the family four wheel drive, the FF (Motor Blogger 27/2), and now we have the long anticipated successor to the Enzo called, for some reason known only to them, LaFerrari.

Name aside, this car has simply got to be the most desirable offering from the Prancing Horse stable yet. Such is the fickle nature of motor bloggers, we have already allowed our eyes to be drawn from the beauty that is the Wraith to the alluring Mediterranean charms of this fiery Italian temptress.

Not noted for being the most reticent of individuals, the president of Ferrari, Luca di Montezemolo, states “We chose to call this model LaFerrari because it is the maximum expression of what defines our company – excellence. Excellence in terms of technological innovation, performance, visionary styling and the sheer thrill of driving”. He is, of course, absolutely correct.

LaFerrari is a collectors release and will cost something in the region of one million pounds so don’t expect to see one on the roads any time soon. Nevertheless, it is a supreme example of automotive art. It is a chance for Ferrari to experiment with the latest technological offerings. Although we will never own one, we might find that some of the developments that feature on this vehicle will filter down to the cars that we do drive in the fullness of time.

As you might expect, LaFerrari is petrol-electric powered. The hybrid technology used is known as HY-KERS and combines maximum power with lower emissions; down to just 330g/km of CO² . Weight isn’t so much of an issue because the batteries for the twin electric motors only weigh 60 kilos. It doesn’t have electric only drive – that isn’t its purpose – this is a car designed to perform. With an output of an astounding 949bhp this red rocket will hurtle you past the 60mph mark in under three seconds and a scant twelve seconds later you’ll be doing 186 and won’t be able to hear the whimpering noises coming from your passenger.

This power comes from a V12 displacing just over six litres coupled with the electric motor, to generate 715lb/ft of torque. The combination of the two motor sources mean that all this power comes in an even spread throughout the range. The red line is at 9250rpm although the combination of petrol-electric means that high torque levels are available at low revs, which seems to suggest the car should be admirably useable in the course of ordinary motoring. Not that there is anything ordinary about this car.

It goes without saying that the interior is exactly as you would expect from the masters of sports car technology. Ferrari have done it again.

Posted in Auto News, Auto Shows, Car ReviewsComments (0)


There is an auto design team headed up by a man called Giles Taylor to whom temples will be raised, ballads written and statues erected. We have been waiting since the nineteenth century for a car to come along that is so glorious, so perfect, that mere superlatives pale into insignificance.

Mr Taylor is unknown to us personally. For all we know he will, like the Wizard of Oz, be a bit disappointing in the flesh and the sculptors will have to use a bit of artistic licence to show future generations a representation of this colossus of car design and, no doubt, his team of co-workers. What we do know is that all the beautiful cars that have ever been will just become the ugly sisters to this automotive Cinderella.

It is the two door version of the Ghost and is the most powerful and fastest Rolls Royce yet. It’s V12 engine produces 624bhp and the car has been set up to be more agile and minimise body roll; more of a driver’s car. Despite being a traditional name it carries on board the very latest technology including a new Satellite Aided Transmission system which uses satellite technology to allow the 8 speed gearbox to predict corners and junctions and set itself up accordingly.

There doesn’t seem much point in detailing all the facts and figures of this car. Cows have obviously bathed daily in asses milk to grow the opulent hide for the seats. The Canadel wood panelling effects are made from actual birch wood from trees. On the flowing dashboard there are exquisitely crafted dials and displays and switches all of which are mini-masterpieces in their own right. All the latest technology is there; not in a brash way but in a typically understated fashion that spurns any talk of bling.

The fastback design is revolutionary for this traditional company. Messrs Rolls and Royce will look down benignly upon this vehicle and see that it is good. Strictly speaking it should have been introduced to the world in Trafalgar Square with the Queen driving and Horse Guards as outriders instead of on a stand at the Geneva Motor Show. Never mind – Geneva is an acceptably grand and sophisticated city – just the place for such a momentous unveiling.

This is not a sports car, it is something else – the ultimate gentlemen’s Gran Turismo. It is likely to cost in excess of two hundred thousand pounds but that doesn’t really seem to matter. It is the new Rolls Royce. It is British made. It is The Wraith.

Posted in Auto News, Auto Shows, Car ReviewsComments (0)

New Cars At 2013 The Geneva Motor Show

Ah, Geneva! Nestling on the banks of its eponymous lake, snug in the surrounding Alpine scenery. There’s a lot to recommend Switzerland (although from experience the Swiss authorities can be a bit bossy) but one thing is for sure – when they do something, they do it properly. Which is why every year all the manufacturers crowd into the Geneva Motor Show to display their latest new cars and some exciting new concept vehicles. This March is no exception. The auto list is enormous; so just as a bit of a mouth-watering appetiser, here’s a selection of some choice morsels from the menu.

There’s arguably the most awaited car for years, the Alfa Romeo 4C. How long you’ll have to wait for yours is debateable because this will be the car that parent company Fiat will use to re-launch the Alfa brand in the USA. It will be in the vanguard for a range of new Alfa Romeo’s over the next few years.

For those with a slightly larger budget, the closely guarded and mysterious Rolls Royce Wraith will finally be revealed in all its glory. Word is that the car will be a two-door coupé version of the Ghost. According to the CEO of the company, “Expect the boldest design, the most dramatic performance and the most powerful Rolls-Royce that has ever played host to the famous Spirit of Ecstasy figurine.” Wow, you can’t say fairer than that, can you? Let us hope that it lives up to the superlatives.

Having debuted the Chevrolet Spark all-electric car in the USA last year, the company are giving it a major plug at the Geneva show. This city car is reported to have the most advanced electric motor and battery system so far from General Motors.

The power comes from a lithium-ion pack that, in order to extend useful life, features liquid cooling and heating and a fast charging arrangement that will boost the pack to 80% in twenty minutes. Impressively, this little motor punches above its weight with 128bhp and a frankly astonishing 400lb/ft of torque; enough to hustle this little car to 62mph in just 8.5 seconds. Range is yet to be discovered.

VW have decided that the Up! obviously needs to man up a bit because they are introducing the rugged Cross Up!, although its chances of making it to market are only 50/50. Rather than just being a short-tempered car they are aiming to give this city car a bit of stature. It has a body kit and a trim pack and very attractive 16” wheels but no power boost. Big wheels always look good on a car but on an urban vehicle it seems to be a tad pointless.

There’s plenty to look forward to. New concepts from Mitsubishi and Ssangyong, an SUV from Bentley and the Citroen C4 Technospace to name but a few. The star of the show however is likely to be Ferrari’s new flagship hypercar, codenamed the F150 (pictured in disguise). With a V12 working in conjunction with a KERS based hybrid system it is sure to be something very special indeed. Watch this space.

Posted in Auto ShowsComments (0)

Captur Captured

If manufacturers are going to keep naming cars in this manner then they have got to expect headlines like that. No doubt there will be more variations on the theme. In this case the car in question is the new Renault Captur, which will go into production this year having featured as a concept a couple of years ago.

That’s it in the photo and very good it looks too. There’s clearly no need to describe it here as you can see for yourself that it follows the design theme started by the new Renault Clio that will no doubt be the new face of Renault autos.

It is a small crossover designed to offer the expressive styling and driving position of an SUV whilst simultaneously offering the passengers the space and modular interior of an MPV. If that isn’t enough Renault also believe this car will deliver the agility and driving pleasure associated with a hatchback. So, all things to all men, then; and why not?

In keeping with current trends the Captur is based on the same platform as the Clio and the Nissan Juke. It’s bigger than the former and slightly shorter than the latter. An interesting addition that is sure to be popular is the exterior paint, offered in funky two-tone as standard. Equipment levels are good with parking sensors, hill start assist and keyless entry also standard on all versions. The wheels arches flare out to accommodate a set of butch wide wheels. The overall look gives a lot of kerb appeal.

Also available on option is Renault’s R-Link system which adds a touch screen media tablet that controls the stereo, Bluetooth and all the infotainment functions. The engines are as offered on the Clio including one diesel that will cough up a tax-beating 96g/km.

Like other manufacturers, Renault seem to be listening to consumers and our need for smaller, frugal cars that are still an attractive prospect to own. We want all the benefits yet require dynamic cars that offer good road holding and handling characteristics and this car looks to fit the bill. It is going to be built in Spain and will reveal all at the Geneva Motor Show in March. It will be interesting to see if the reality matches the hype.

Posted in Car ReviewsComments (0)

Peugeot Reveal 2008 for 2013

For some reason Peugeot have been a bit neglected of late on these pages. It’s nothing personal, honest; they make some very good cars, but there’s not been much to seriously whet the appetite lately; being rather eclipsed by the classy offerings from sister company Citroen.

Well that might be about to change. The French company will reveal their new small crossover – the 2008 – at this year’s Geneva Motor Show and jolly nice it looks too. Peugeot plan to take on the likes of Skoda’s Yeti and Nissan’s quirky Juke later on this year.

As is the current trend, there is some model family design cues currently seen on the regular 208 but for the most part the car looks like the concept they showed last year. The only changes are to generally tone things down a bit. The result, as you can see from the photo, is a very good looking set of wheels indeed.

There’s a tendency for SUV’s of whatever size or brand to have a similar look about them as if all the designers worked from the same initial blueprint. This is presumably because to make an all-purpose car results in a particular shape. Never mind – the car makers have still managed to give their offerings a sense of individuality and the 2008 is no exception.

The stepped roofline and the roof rails coupled with a purposeful stance gives the car a rugged look and the panoramic roof should make the roomy interior a nice light and airy place to be. Under the bonnet there’s the usual selection of frugal engines we’ve come to expect. There’s the now ubiquitous three cylinder job and a tax-busting diesel and these are likely to be the main customer choices. The sporting look of the car seems to suggest that the more enthusiastic driver might prefer the 156bhp 1.6L with a comely turbocharger fitted.

There will not be a four wheel drive version (not yet, at any rate) which seems a shame but higher specification versions will get Peugeot’s Grip Control system that varies the torque at each driven wheel to gain maximum grip when the going gets tricky.

The company are confident about how this car will fare in the global market place and as a consequence will build it at three different locations around the world. When it goes on sale expect a starting price from around £13k in the UK. The 2008 certainly looks like a worthy challenger.

Posted in Car ReviewsComments (0)