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Monthly Archives: August 2013

Volkswagen CrossBlue Coupe Hybrid Revealed – Is This The Future Of SUVs?

The Shanghai Auto Show 2013 offered a stunning display of 1300 vehicles with exhibitors hailing from 18 different countries. Everything of significance in the automobile industry was represented here; the demand for affordable luxury cars, fuel efficiency, style and flamboyance and so on. But what stood out in prominence was an apparent fascination for hybrid SUVs. In fact, Volkswagen’s unveiling of its CrossBlue Coupe Hybrid had many eyes staring and several tongues wagging over it.

Volkswagen’s CrossBlue Coupe combines the chic, sports-feel of a coupe with the striking majesty of an SUV. In terms of exterior appearance and interior design, this concept car is a VW classic; German layout, clean spaces, sharp creases, distinctive head and taillights and carefully designed controls. While the external features are suitably impressive, it is the internal mechanics of this model which tends to amaze and overwhelm.

volkswagen-crossblue-coupe

The CrossBlue is empowered with a direct-inject V6 gasoline engine and two electric motors – 40 kW and 85 kW – at the front and back respectively. Together they have the capacity to produce 305kW power (or 409 horsepower) which allows for the vehicle to reach the speed of 62mph in less than 6 seconds. The maximum speed attainable is a whopping 146mph. This means it would outperform other contemporary models such as the Mercedes-Benz ML350 and Porsche Cayenne as well.

Despite the speed and luxury that the Volkswagen CrossBlue concept promises, it is meant to be a green car through and through. It uses plug-in hybrid technology and can thus be driven in 5 modes; “Eco” or classic hybrid mode, “Sport”, “Offroad” or permanent all-wheel drive, “EV” where only the rear motor provides propulsion, and “Charge” where the V6 engine charges the electric battery for subsequent zero-emission driving. Volkswagen claims that this model would offer a combined fuel economy of 78 mpg or 3 liters per 100 km. However, these figures are likely to drop in the real-world driving experience, though VW does quote a more convincing battery-depleted figure of 34 mpg and only-electric figure of 21mpg.

This concept car is based on Volkswagen’s recently developed “Modular Transverse Matrix” or MQB, which assigns uniform positions for transmissions and motors across varied automobile platforms. VW asserts that all the new MQB models are designed such that they can sustain with any kind of engine, be it diesel, gas, natural gas, electric or hybrid. With the CrossBlue having being unveiled at the prestigious Shanghai Auto Show, there has been much speculation in the industry regarding Volkswagen’s vision for future SUVs. Interestingly, Klaus Bischoff, Head of Design for the Volkswagen Brand, stated, “In the CrossBlue Coupé we are showing the potential of our Volkswagen design DNA. This concept vehicle will undoubtedly have an influence on future SUV models”, sparking off much contemplation over the nature of vehicles that the VW is to produce in the future.

While Volkswagen has remained silent over the question of production of this CrossBlue Coupe Hybrid, it goes without saying that the whole industry eagerly awaits this confirmation.

Boxy, Yet Amazing…the New 2014 Ford Flex

With the square and flat, solid face that it carries, Ford Flex 2014 can certainly not just be titled as a family car housing 7 passengers, reminding of the old school station wagons dating back to 1960s and 70s showing off a silken look sleeker than other SUVs. The Flex is a one of its kind innovation. Compared to its competitions in the market namely Chevrolet Tahoe, Honda Pilot etc. focuses over ride quality than off-roading capabilities.

With a seating configuration of 2-3-2 the Flex is aimed pin-pointed at people, until the rear seats are folded and its directions alter to cargo, but not being built upon solid body-on-frame chassis, the Flex is dissimilar to a van. Initially called a Crossover Utility Vehicle by Ford, it has now been decided to be called just a Utility Vehicle rather, the entitlement being unclear. The Flex could be really called a modern version of the old American station wagon clan. It would best be called a crossbreed between a limo and a taxi, not well suited for heavy off-road business. The 2014 Flex received minor tweaks in this year’s model, after last year’s extensive redesign and mechanical upgrade.

2014-ford-flex

The Flex is packed in a box full of stylish confetti with great riding comfort and long journey pleasures. The shape seems to be just apt for an elegant box, simple and sweet, with sharp edges and a rounded front. It utilizes maximum space and provides large interior space while presenting a bold image. The three screen instrumental panel is easy to use and simple while it is a home to the new MyFord Touch System. The rear compartment refrigerator and voice-controlled Sync Communication system have undoubtedly been the favorites of the show. Forgetting its wide body and long wheelbase, the Flex is good enough to respond to your driving requirements. The ride overall is fairly smooth and it quests very well over tight turns, while the quiet interiors add on to the amenity if offers. The Flex boasts a low ground posture, managed nicely because of the large wheels and taut suspension. The electric power steering often arrests the feel, but works well. Despite of its squared appearance, Flex manages to flow through the air at great speeds. An option of contracting color of the roof and a lift gate adorned in brushed aluminum enhance the looks greatly.

The base 3.5L V-6 engine with a power of 287 horsepower, with a fuel economy of 18 mpg in city and 25 mpg on the highway, provides just enough acceleration while a twin-turbo V-6 EcoBoost engine with a power of 365 horsepower adds a thrill to the ride, though compromising on the fuel economy by 2 mpg . An all-wheel-drive system ensures tight grips on snowy and slippery tracks. A 6-speed automatic transmission is available with both engine variants while options of Front-wheel-drive and All-wheel-drive are available for buyers.

The Ford Flex is a clear winner for somebody looking for roomy interiors and soothing long rides but it certainly cannot double as an SUV or a crossover. Although the package is bundled with latest technology and has offers comfortable, smooth and fast rides it fails to please buyers expecting more from its looks.

2013 Toyota Sequoia – Reworked…Slightly!

Toyota Sequoia 2013

Toyota has taken a chivalrous step with the launch of the upgraded model of truck-based 2013 Sequoia SUV, even as the number of vehicles become rarer with increasing preference of fuel economy every progressing model year. Buyers who are not keen for off-roading or towing capabilities are switching to crossovers and small utility vehicles. But if off-roading qualifies as a requirement, then the new Sequoia is perfectly set to work for such customers.

The basic revamps are attributed to comfort and safety while the 2013 Sequoia offers minor mechanical under the hood transformations which seek attention. Although the Sequoia may have the bones of Tundra, Toyota’s big pickup, the ride is rather pleasing. The adaptive air suspension of the Platinum trim is meant to regulate comfort and riding pleasure. The 5.7L V8-engine’s quenching thirst for continuous supply of fuels shall not be awarded for any earth-saving accomplishments, yet it shall ensure smooth motion, acceleration, and with ultra-premium luxury. While just buying the Sequoia for the sake of hauling numerous people, alternatives lie in smaller, higher on fuel economy and easier to maneuver, crossovers; whereas towing requirements are best served by the SUV.

2013-toyota-sequoia

The new Sequoia offers seating capabilities for 7 or 8 members depending upon model selection while providing three trim variants – SR5, Limited and Platinum – each rendering both manual and automatic drive options. The exteriors remain aesthetically unaltered for the most part. It offers aerodynamically friendly mirrors, wipers, and roof rack as previous models. In addition, the newer version has headlamp washers to ensure vision as bright and clear as possible. The Limited package brings along various new upgrades like power-retracing and glare resistant mirrors along with turn controls mounted on the mirror. An upgrade to the Platinum model features additional puddle lamps mounted on the mirror, and also mirror position memory. Sequoia also bundles along a set of front and rear parking sensors essential for proper placement of the behemoth.

The interiors are pretty much unchanged from the last year’s model featuring 60/40 split reclining, cloth upholstery, flat fold third row for extended storage and leather wrapped steering. The Sequoia has 16 extra-large size cup holders on the SR5 and Limited models while the Platinum is laid with 18, which is pretty much a key factor for the choice of vehicle for a family nowadays. It can carry a cargo of up to 11ft with both rear seats folded flat and the total capacity in cubic-feet numbers out to be 120.1 offering mountains of space. The styling has been retained simple with color options of sand beige and graphite standards, along with option for black in SR5 and red rock in Platinum.

The new iForce engine provides 401 pound-feet of torque and 581 horsepower at 5600 rpm. This beast boasts a six speed automatic transmission that allows flexible torque control lock-up. This allows three overdrive gears in fourth, fifth and sixth gears each. The standard options are for rear wheel drive but Sequoia also allows multi-mode four wheel drive. The Sequoia is equipped to tow up to 7400lbs which carried over from last year.

At a base pricing of $40,930 Sequoia pays off to what is spent with a brilliant nimbleness offering independent rear suspension which allows itself to take on even the worst of roads. The highly powered engine is silent until the throttle is pushed hard!

With the oversized features, and engine, the owner will be someone who enjoys towing, power, and the ability to drive anywhere they please. Even better, you don’t have to overpay like some of the other competitors such as Infiniti, or Mercedes-Benz.

BMW Launches 2014 Version of its Legendary BMW X5 SUV

The creator of the Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV) Segment and segment bestseller – BMW X5 plunged into a newer sphere in its golden history with the launch of third generation featuring leisure and adventure simultaneously with a powerful engine and along with spacious interiors, luxury and vivid innovation. The 2014 X5 presents an all-rounder package catering demands of different customers. Eager buyers for ready customization can have variations made in the beast’s basic setup with M Sports Package, Pure Excellence and Pure Excellence Design World packages which include exterior visual enhancements and luxurious upgrades in the interiors.

BMW’s smart all-wheel x-Drive is integrated with Dynamic Performance Control included in various Dynamic and Professional suspension upgrades. The promotion also includes stability controls for better sporty handling. The choice of engine includes a V8 engine which produces 450 horsepower for X5 xDrive50i and a 258 horsepower diesel engine animating the xDrive30d. This is further added with M Performance upgrades in the format of the X5 M50d. Efficient Dynamics Technology by BMW enriches the fuel economy and reduces CO2 effluence. This optimization has been achieved by streamlining the new X5’s body by smart light weight build and better aerodynamics. The SAV is impressive with its load capacity ranging from 650 to 1870L after rear split seat folding.

BMW X5 likely to other X series model offers plenty of robustness, brilliant presence and vividness when it comes to looks recently updated in the new generation for catching multiple eyes. The muscular kidney grille, included within the quadrilateral of fog lamps and twin circular LED headlamps and the X-molded profile lines marks it as a member of the family. The three-dimensional underline of the lights adds a pinch of sophistication. The front shield is set to draw attention with air intakes placed at the sides while the robust underbody armor adds character to the versatility. The drag reducing curtains are added in the latest generation. The vertical hole guide air to create padding over the wheels before exiting through side panels. Large windows provide ample ambiance and pure vibe to passenger compartment along with clear vision. The L-form rear lights are strikingly appreciable.

bmw-x5

The interiors are rich in art as well as appropriately sized. Distinctive contrasting shades and large dash board, along with elegant instrument panel add feel to the interiors. The bright and beautiful lighting available in the lighting packages bring detail and distinction between door panel and instrument panel. LEDs outlining the curvatures are bound to charm the passengers. “Design World” customization package enable buyers to provide a sense of individuality in the vehicle for both interiors and exteriors. The X5 offers and optional seven seat availability along with seat heating and multi-way seat adjustment configurations.

The Drive Assistant Plus Package provides safer drives by additional Active Cruise Control and Stop & Go Traffic Control which maintains a safe distance from any other vehicle upto a speed of 210kmph (13mph). In case of severe collisions active assistance system transmits vehicles location rendered by Intelligent Emergency Call system. BMW ConnectedDrive technologies assist drivability in poor vision and low light. Adaptive LED lights and anti-dazzle High Beam assistance enhance night driving.

The SUV buyers’ world has set its eyes at November 2013 when the new X5 will roll out in Germany along with other markets around the globe following high anticipation. The brilliant combo of leisure and off-roading thrill is alluring for many.

SUV That Runs on Water People – Introducing the Watercar Panther!

Ever qualm yourself riding those super cool and clique James Bond vehicles that move equally well on bother road and water surfaces? For certain, you have. Now your fancy for the ride may be accomplished with the world’s fastest amphibious car, as claimed by the manufacturer,  a jeep based off-roading machine that can swim as well, the WaterCar Panther which has been the outcome of endeavor of car manufacturers in the coastal areas, specially Florida and California. Now hassles of towing a boat along, or paying heavy prices for speed boats is a pain redressed.

Powered by a 3.7L V-6 engine supplied by Honda, with a power of 250hp, this limber desert or water off-roader attains speed of 80 mph on the road and an astounding 44 mph in water. The transformation from car to boat mode is a play of merely 15 seconds for the Panther.  The engine powers the wheels on road, and Panther jet during water propulsion, as called by the company. The Panther took a period of fourteen years, twenty-seven patents, various failures and successes and numerous hours of uncounted hard work to qualify to a position it adheres to, today. Whilst it has a design evocative of the Jeep Wrangler, even reminding of similar headlights and few design elements, a Light weight bespoke chromel chassis is what supports the Panther. The Panther weighs less than 3000lbs which makes its performance efficient and sliding easily on water contours.

watercar-panther

The Panther has capabilities of towing a wake board or water ski, making it the ultimate supper for summer adventure hungry. But to enjoy the Panther to its fullest one must possess a valid drivers’ license and a marine operators’ license in some states of the US. The Panther also needs to be registered both as a car and a boat while insurance agencies will make sure its use for the purpose. Unlike other water skiers in which parts have to be purchased separately and installed for the manufacturer due to government regulations, the Panther can be fully arranged for a price of $135,000 which although seems insanely expensive, yet it saves the pest of buying a boat, a car and an appropriate trailer, all separately. The promo video that aired, boasts quick transformation in the boat mode, not as it is called officially, is for sure noticeable and the bikini-clad advertisement ensures that you tell your female accomplice to exult herself for the boat ride mode.

With the lustrous commercial, WaterCar has launched a promotional giveaway of a thousand dollars, with the tagline question “What will you do with your WaterCar?” on Facebook. As far as the pricing is concerned, the Panther will make its way to the market in three variable forms i.e. the skeletal structure of the chassis rolling out without its engine, ancillaries, gearbox, some missing accessories and wiring for $76,000 while the complete package which only requires turning the key-to-go will come at a price of $135,000. A model amid the two trim levels will be available for $106,000 housing the exhaust but missing on some key components like the lights, doors, steering wheel etc. Overall it is a fun-filled package and an active substitute for yachters.

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