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News and views about cars, bikes and motorsport. Covers new cars and motorcycles, auto industry news, motoring issues and motor racing.

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    Nissan has released a teaser image of its new Sport Sedan Concept, which is due to debut at January’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

    Nissan Sport Sedan Concept (2014) Front Side

    For now, nothing is known about the car, not even whether it’s front- or rear-wheel drive. Nissan has said that the concept’s styling signals a change in design direction for the brand, though.

    Related posts:
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    They’ve been around since the 1980s, but that hasn’t stopped Honda from using the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as the inspiration for four new Grom customised concepts.

    Honda Grom Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Raphael Concept (2014) Front SideHonda Grom Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Leonardo Concept (2014) Front Side

    Each motorcycle is based on one of the cartoon quartet - Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael and Donatello - with colour schemes that match the characters’ costumes. Even their familiar masks appear across the headlights.

    Honda Grom Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Michelangelo Concept (2014) Front SideHonda Grom Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Donatello Concept (2014) Front Side

    The diminutive concepts are due to appear at the 2014 Tokyo Auto Salon, which opens on the 10th of January. There are currently no plans to put them into production.

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  • 01/02/14--15:36: Top 10: New cars due in 2014
  • 2014 promises to be another busy year for new car launches in the UK. Here are ten of the most significant models that are going to be introduced this year.

    1. Peugeot 308 Launch date: January
    Peugeot 308 Hatchback (2014) Rear Side Customer deliveries of the Peugeot 308 actually began today. A 2014 European Car of the Year finalist, this compact hatchback is a cornerstone of Peugeot’s aspiration to become a more premium brand. Interestingly, the 308 bucks a trend set by many of its rivals by being slightly shorter and considerably lighter than its predecessor.
    2. Mazda 3 Launch date: January
    Mazda 3 (2014) Front Side Another Car of the Year nominee is the Mazda 3, which will be a distinctive-looking competitor for the Peugeot 308 as well as the ever-popular Ford Focus, Vauxhall Astra and Volkswagen Golf. The cabin design isn’t as bold as the exterior styling, but at least a longer wheelbase should mean more passenger space versus the old model.
    3. Nissan Qashqai Launch date: February
    Nissan Qashqai (2014) Front Side Judging by registration volumes, the Qashqai is the UK’s most popular crossover by quite some margin. Therefore the arrival of an all-new second generation version is an important event. Length and width have grown a tad, but the Qashqai is slightly lower than before. Those revised dimensions plus stronger styling should give it greater presence on the road.
    4. BMW 2 Series Coupé Launch date: March
    BMW 2 Series Coupé Modern (2014) Front Side The first ever 2 Series is noticeably longer and wider than the two-door 1 Series, the car it replaces. It’ll be initially available in 220i, 218d, 220d and 225d guises with buyers able to choose from SE, Sport, Modern and M Sport trim grades. Topping the range is the M235i Coupé which features a turbocharged six-cylinder engine, upgraded suspension and a stronger braking system.
    5. Jaguar F-Type Coupé Launch date: March
    Jaguar F-Type R Coupé (2014) Side One of the major car launches of 2013 was the Jaguar F-Type Convertible. This year sees the arrival of the Coupé, which was unveiled simultaneously at the Los Angeles and Tokyo motor shows last November. Not only does the addition of a roof make the F-Type more practical - beneath the rear tailgate there’s room for two sets of golf clubs - but it also results in the most torsionally rigid production Jaguar ever.
    6. Mini Hatch Launch date: March
    Mini Cooper S Hatch (2014) Front Side Eventually revealed after a protracted sequence of unauthorised and official spy shots, the new Mini Hatch didn’t get a universally positive reception thanks to its bulbous looks and increased size. ‘Mini’ it isn’t, but final judgement should be reserved until the car has been seen in the metal and driven. Despite being bigger, the Cooper and Cooper D will both use three-cylinder turbocharged engines for the first time.
    7. Porsche Macan Launch date: April
    Porsche Macan Turbo (2014) Side Resembling a shrunken Cayenne, the Macan SUV is expected to add an additional 50,000 units to Porsche’s annual global sales figures. The range comprises S, S Diesel and Turbo variants, all of which feature a V6 engine, active all-wheel drive and a seven-speed PDK dual-clutch transmission. Drivers who prefer a manual gearbox are going to be disappointed though, as one isn’t being offered.
    8. Jeep Cherokee Launch date: April
    Jeep Cherokee (2014) Front Side 1 The 2014 Cherokee has been on sale in North America for quite a while. After some delays, this spring will at last see it arrive in UK dealers, but final specifications and prices have yet to be confirmed. In the USA, the engine line-up consists of 2.4 litre four-cylinder and 3.2 litre V6 petrol engines that come connected to nine-speed transmissions. A diesel option is expected for Europe.
    9. Lamborghini Huracán Launch date: April
    Lamborghini Huracán LP 610-4 (2014) Front Side It’s hard to believe that the Lamborghini Gallardo is over ten years old. Nevertheless, that’s considered ancient in automotive terms, so the appearance of the Huracán to replace it hasn’t come as a surprise. Built predominantly from aluminium and carbon fibre, it’ll be offered only in LP 610-4 form to begin with. The spec includes a 5.2 litre V10 engine, all-wheel drive and a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox.
    10. Mercedes-Benz C-Class Saloon Launch date: June
    Mercedes-Benz C 300 BlueTec Hybrid Saloon (2014) Front Side With its deeply scalloped sides, tapered rear end and massive front grille, the latest C-Class represents a daring change in design direction for a model that’s formerly been elegant yet understated. Although longer and wider than the previous version (primarily to give more rear-seat and boot space), the 2014 model manages to be lighter thanks to the partial use of aluminium.

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    The Q50 Eau Rouge concept has been created to help exploit the links between Infiniti and the Red Bull Racing Formula One team.

    Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge Concept (2014) Front Side

    Due to be unveiled at the North American International Auto Show later this month, it features various carbon fibre bodywork components including the roof panel, door mirror caps, front splitter, side skirts and rear diffuser. The bumpers and front wings have also been redesigned.

    Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge Concept (2014) Side

    To complete the transformation the saloon’s suspension is lowered, 21” forged alloy wheels are fitted and a sports exhaust system replaces the standard item. There’s no word yet on any engine modifications, though.

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    Highlight of the Kia stand at this month’s North America International Auto Show is likely to be this GT4 Stinger concept.

    Kia GT4 Stinger Concept (2014 Rendering) Front

    For now details are meagre, but Kia has revealed that it features a 315 bhp (235 kW / 320 PS) turbocharged four-cylinder engine which drives the rear wheels.

    Kia GT4 Stinger Concept (2014 Rendering) Top

    Whether the GT4 Stinger heralds a halo production car for the Korean brand remains to be seen.

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  • 01/04/14--14:58: Top 10: Irish car sales 2013
  • The new car market in Ireland contracted by 6.6% during 2013. That was despite the switch to a biannual number plate system, introduced as an attempt to redistribute some of the usual first quarter sales peak and to avoid a ‘13’ age identifier appearing.

    In total 74,303 registrations were recorded in 2013 compared to 2012’s figure of 79,574, according to data just published by the Society of the Irish Motor Industry.

    In terms of manufacturer performances Volkswagen, Toyota and Ford continued to occupy the top three slots in that order. Indeed, combined they accounted for one third of all retails, even though Toyota saw its volumes slashed by almost a quarter.

    Volkswagen Golf GTD (2013) Front Side
    Volkswagen is still Ireland's top car brand.

    Another notably poor performance came from Renault. The French marque dropped out of the top ten altogether after achieving just 3,318 registrations, a drop of almost 2,000 units versus 2012.

    Top 10: Irish Car Registrations 2013 - By Manufacturer
    Position Manufacturer 2013 2012 +/- % +/-
    1 Volkswagen 9,508 10,150 -642 -6.3%
    2 Toyota 7,665 9,998 -2,333 -23.3%
    3 Ford 7,621 8,592 -971 -11.3%
    4 Hyundai 5,830 5,242 588 11.2%
    5 Nissan 5,317 6,074 -757 -12.5%
    6 Opel 4,914 5,103 -189 -3.7%
    7 Škoda 4,903 5,084 -181 -3.6%
    8 Audi 3,700 3,685 15 0.4%
    9 BMW 3,539 3,393 146 4.3%
    10 Kia 3,350 3,133 217 6.9%
    Figures provided by SIMI Statistical Service

    The Golf underscored Volkswagen’s status as the leading car brand in Ireland. It ended 2013 as most popular individual model, a result that was helped by a mediocre year for the Ford Focus.

    Top 10: Irish Car Registrations 2013 - By Model
    Position Model 2013 2012 +/- % +/-
    1 Volkswagen Golf 3,604 3,349 255 7.6%
    2 Nissan Qashqai 2,944 3,298 -354 -10.7%
    3 Ford Focus 2,871 3,748 -877 -23.4%
    4 Ford Fiesta 2,416 2,152 264 12.3%
    5 Toyota Auris 2,142 1,914 228 11.9%
    6 Škoda Octavia 2,002 2,396 -394 -16.4%
    7 Volkswagen Passat 1,866 2,372 -506 -21.3%
    8 Opel Astra 1,735 1,568 167 10.7%
    9 Toyota Yaris 1,679 2,438 -759 -31.1%
    10 BMW 5 Series 1,594 1,658 -64 -3.9%
    Figures provided by SIMI Statistical Service

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    Volkswagen is beginning 2014 by rationalising its Passat range in the UK. Just announced are two new trim grades called Executive and Executive Style that replace the previous Highline, Sport and R-Line variants.

    Available in both saloon and estate guises, the Executive features a generous specification. Standard kit includes touchscreen satellite navigation, automatic lights and wipers, dual zone climate control, parking sensors, cruise control and leather upholstery. Also fitted are heated front seats with electric adjustment for the driver’s, while the exterior gets chrome trim and 17” alloy wheels.

    Volkswagen Passat Executive Style Estate (2014) Front Side

    Volkswagen Passat Executive Style Estate (2014) Interior

    Additional equipment on the Executive Style comprises rear privacy glass, bi-xenon headlights, front fog lights, lowered sports suspension and larger 18” alloys.

    Prices for the Passat Executive start from £20,235, with Executive Style models costing £995 extra.

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    Peugeot’s new 308 family is set to grow with the imminent arrival of the SW estate.

    Measuring 4.58 metres (just over 15 feet) from bumper to bumper, it’s slightly longer than C-segment wagon rivals such as the Volkswagen Golf and Ford Focus.

    Peugeot 308 SW (2014) Front Side

    A few extra centimetres apparently makes all the difference though, as Peugeot is claiming class-leading boot space. Practicality is further enhanced by having a completely flat floor when the rear seats are folded down.

    Deliveries of the Peugeot 308 SW are scheduled to begin across Europe this spring, following a public debut at March’s Geneva International Motor Show.

    Peugeot 308 SW (2014) InteriorPeugeot 308 SW (2014) Side

    Peugeot 308 SW (2014) Rear SidePeugeot 308 SW (2014) Dashboard

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    With its bright fuchsia roof, door mirror caps and wheel centres, a new Citroën DS3 Pink edition will be very easy to spot.

    Available exclusively in the UK, the rest of the car’s bodywork comes painted in either Polar White or Perla Nera Black with matching wheels. Completing the look is a similar fuchsia finish for the dashboard panel and gear knob.

    Citroën DS3 DSport Pink (2014) Front Side

    The DS3 Pink models are based on the existing DStyle and DSport trim grades. As well as that unique livery, the former also features upgraded 16” alloy wheels and a better audio system. The latter meanwhile is equipped with the usually optional City Signature pack that includes rear parking sensors, automatic lights and wipers, electrically heated and folding door mirrors, a self-dimming rear-view mirror and a front central armrest.

    Citroën DS3 DSport Pink (2014) InteriorCitroën DS3 DSport Pink (2014) Rear Side

    Sales begin this month, with prices varying according to engine and colour choices:

    Citroën DS3 Pink - UK On The Road Prices
    Model Engine Polar White Perla Nera Black
    DStyle Pink VTi 120 petrol £15,675 £16,170
    DStyle Pink e-HDi 90 Airdream diesel £15,870 £16,365
    DSport Pink THP 155 petrol £17,800 £18,295
    DSport Pink e-HDi 115 Airdream diesel £18,075 £18,570

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  • 01/07/14--09:20: Top 10: UK car sales 2013
  • Stats just published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders show that 2,264,737 new cars were registered in the UK during 2013. That figure, the highest annual amount recorded since 2007, was up almost 11% on 2012’s total of 2,044,609.

    Of course registrations don’t necessarily mean sales, as the numbers can be easily distorted by dealer demonstrators, pre-registrations and other tactics such as the short-term placement of vehicles with daily rental companies.

    Nevertheless the SMMT’s ‘Private’ registration category, which should be a more meaningful barometer of true retails, actually rose by 15.6% and so it accounted for most of the market growth. By comparison, the ‘Fleet’ and ‘Business’ sectors together showed a much more modest increase.

    Total UK Car Registrations 2013 - By Category
    Category 2013 2012 Change Change %
    Private 1,074,622 929,440 145,182 15.6%
    Fleet 1,084,279 1,025,501 58,778 5.7%
    Business 105,836 89,668 16,168 18.0%
    Total 2,264,737 2,044,609 220,128 10.8%
    Fleet + Business 1,190,115 1,115,169 74,946 6.7%

    The 2013 manufacturers’ league table held no surprises as Ford, Vauxhall and Volkswagen remained in the first three slots. Combined they accounted for one third of all registrations.

    Ford Fiesta ST 3-Door (2013) Front Side
    2013 saw Ford once again topping
    the UK’s new car registration chart.

    In fact, changes were very limited. Audi and Mercedes-Benz both moved up one position, while Citroën returned to the top ten displacing Hyundai.

    Top 10: Total UK Car Registrations 2013 - By Manufacturer
    Position 2013 Manufacturer Registrations Market Share Position 2012
    1 Ford 310,865 13.7% 1
    2 Vauxhall 259,444 11.5% 2
    3 Volkswagen 194,085 8.6% 3
    4 Audi 142,040 6.3% 5
    5 BMW 135,583 6.0% 4
    6 Nissan 117,967 5.2% 6
    7 Mercedes-Benz 109,456 4.8% 8
    8 Peugeot 105,435 4.7% 7
    9 Toyota 88,648 3.9% 9
    10 Citroën 78,358 3.5% 11

    The individual models’ chart was fairly predictable too, with the Ford Fiesta retaining its seemingly unassailable position as the country’s most popular car.

    Top 10: Total UK Car Registrations 2013 - By Model
    Position Model Registrations Market Share
    1 Ford Fiesta 121,929 5.4%
    2 Ford Focus 87,350 3.9%
    3 Vauxhall Corsa 84,275 3.7%
    4 Vauxhall Astra 68,070 3.0%
    5 Volkswagen Golf 64,951 2.9%
    6 Nissan Qashqai 50,211 2.2%
    7 BMW 3 Series 43,494 1.9%
    8 Volkswagen Polo 42,609 1.9%
    9 BMW 1 Series 41,883 1.9%
    10 Peugeot 208 38,616 1.7%

    Related posts:
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    While figures published today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders revealed that new car registrations in 2013 were at their highest level for six years, individual manufacturer performances varied significantly. Some fared exceptionally well, but others experienced serious declines.

    First of all, special mention has to go to Dacia, which in its UK launch year managed to achieve 17,146 registrations. To put that into perspective, the Romanian brand outsold budget rival Chevrolet by 5,470 units.

    Dacia Duster Adventure (2013) Front Side

    Of the marques that were also around in 2012, here are the ten that posted the largest year-on-year volume percentage increases:

    Top 10: Total UK Car Registrations 2013 - Winners
    Manufacturer 2013 2012 Change Change %
    Lotus 256 137 119 86.9%
    Mitsubishi 9,044 6,549 2,495 38.1%
    Suzuki 33,088 24,893 8,195 32.9%
    Škoda 66,081 53,602 12,479 23.3%
    Fiat 60,198 49,907 10,291 20.6%
    Mazda 31,228 26,183 5,045 19.3%
    Mercedes-Benz 109,456 91,855 17,601 19.2%
    Seat 45,312 38,798 6,514 16.8%
    Audi 142,040 123,622 18,418 14.9%
    Jaguar 16,210 14,109 2,101 14.9%
    Total Market 2,264,737 2,044,609 220,128 10.8%

    At the other end of the spectrum, these are the ten makes that suffered the greatest drops:

    Top 10: Total UK Car Registrations 2013 - Losers
    Manufacturer 2013 2012 Change Change %
    Saab 3 232 -229 -98.7%
    Proton 20 208 -188 -90.4%
    Perodua 206 416 -210 -50.5%
    MG 504 782 -278 -35.6%
    Infiniti 386 530 -144 -27.2%
    Chrysler 2,515 3,333 -818 -24.5%
    SsangYong 662 875 -213 -24.3%
    Alfa Romeo 5,687 7,253 -1,566 -21.6%
    Chevrolet 11,676 13,476 -1,800 -13.4%
    Smart 5,314 5,616 -302 -5.4%

    Saab’s result was expected given the firm’s bankruptcy issues, although more surprising is the virtual disappearance of Proton. MG will doubtless be hoping for a stronger 2014, especially given the arrival of its new 3 supermini which has had generally favourable reviews.

    Clearly the strategy to bolster the Chrysler line-up with rebadged Lancia models isn’t working particularly well. Alfa Romeo meanwhile continues to struggle without a replacement for the mid-size 159.

    Related posts:
    Top 10: UK car sales 2013
    Top 10: Irish car sales 2013
    Top 10: UK car sales 2012

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    Seat has launched the new performance-orientated Leon Cupra. Offered with a choice of two body styles, two engine outputs and two transmissions, the line-up comprises five different versions.

    All use a 2.0 litre turbocharged petrol engine and come with a mechanical front axle differential lock for improved traction and the elimination of torque steer. Also included in the specification are a dynamic chassis control device which lets the driver tweak the suspension settings, progressive power steering and an electronic stability control system that can be partially or fully deactivated.

    Seat Leon SC Cupra 280 (2014) Front Side

    Distinguishing the Cupra from other Leon variants are its restyled bumpers, 18” alloy wheels, full LED headlights and rear privacy glass. The interior features Alcantara upholstery, front sports seats, aluminium pedals and a unique steering wheel design.

    Furthermore, Cupra 280 models are also equipped with satellite navigation, larger 19” titanium-coloured alloys, black door mirror caps, a rear roof spoiler, red brake calipers and gloss black cabin trim pieces.

    Seat Leon Cupra 280 (2014) InteriorSeat Leon Cupra 280 (2014) Rear Side

    Prices range from £25,690 to £28,525. By comparison the Volkswagen Golf GTI, which is noticeably slower than the Seat thanks to its relatively humble 217 bhp (162 kW / 220 PS), costs between £26,125 and £28,195.

    2014 Seat Leon Cupra - Specifications and UK Pricing
    Model SC Cupra 3-door SC Cupra 280 3-door SC Cupra 280 DSG 3-door Cupra 280 5-door Cupra 280 DSG 5-door
    Power 261 bhp (195 kW / 265 PS) 276 bhp (206 kW / 280 PS)
    Torque 350 Nm (258 lb/ft)
    0-62 mph (100 km/h) 5.9 secs 5.8 secs 5.7 secs 5.8 secs 5.7 secs
    Top speed 155 mph (250 km/h)
    Combined cycle 44.1 mpg (6.4 l/100km) 44.1 mpg (6.4 l/100km) 42.2 mpg (6.6 l/100km) 44.1 mpg (6.4 l/100km) 42.2 mpg (6.6 l/100km)
    CO2 149 g/km 149 g/km 155 g/km 149 g/km 155 g/km
    OTR price £25,690 £26,940 £28,225 £27,240 £28,525

    The 2014 Leon Cupra is available to order now in the UK. Customer deliveries are scheduled to begin this coming March.

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    The V-Specification moniker isn’t particularly redolent of Rolls-Royce, not least because it’s bound to be shortened to V-Spec - and that instantly brings to mind a special Nissan GT-R.  However, maybe such a faux pas can be partly forgiven after considering the cars that lie beneath the name.

    Available to order from now until June this year, the Ghost V-Specification and Ghost Extended Wheelbase V-Specification are limited production models that boast several appealing features.

    Rolls-Royce Ghost V-Specification (2014) Front Side

    These begin under the bonnet, where the 6,592 cc twin-turbo V12 engine has had its power raised from the usual 563 bhp (420 kW / 570 PS) to 593 bhp (422 kW / 601 PS). Peak torque, which arrives at just 1,500 rpm, is still 780 Nm (575 lb/ft).

    Surprisingly, the official performance figures are also unchanged despite that extra output: the 0-62 mph (100 km/h) sprint takes 4.9 seconds, while top speed is electronically limited to 155 mph (250 km/h).

    Rolls-Royce Ghost V-Specification (2014) DashboardRolls-Royce Ghost V-Specification (2014) Rear Seats

    Exterior tweaks include a set of rather extravagant part-polished 21” alloy wheels and some bespoke hand-painted coachlines along the bodywork.

    The interior enjoys a unique dashboard clock plus contrast piping and stitching for the leather upholstery. Completing the package is a distinctive ‘V’ motif that adorns the rear central armrest, doorsill tread plates and multimedia screen cover.

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  • 01/09/14--05:40: 2014 Lexus RC F first view
  • Following the Lexus RC coupé’s debut at the Tokyo Motor Show in November, a high performance ‘F’ version is due to be unveiled at the North American International Auto Show later this month.

    With a 5.0 litre V8 engine that Lexus says produces ‘well above’ 450 bhp (335 kW / 456 PS), the RC F is going to be more powerful than the 425 bhp (317 kW / 431 PS) BMW M4. However, acceleration figures have yet to be released, so for now it’s unknown whether that extra output will result in any performance advantage.

    Lexus RC F (2014) SideLexus RC F (2014) Rear Side

    The RC F also features numerous bodywork changes. These include a redesigned bonnet, large cooling vents in the front wings and an active rear wing that automatically deploys at 50 mph (80 km/h) and retracts below 25 mph (40 km/h). Finishing off the purposeful look are some 19” ten-spoke forged alloy wheels that’ll be available in three different styles.

    As expected, the interior gets a sporty makeover too. More supportive seats are fitted, along with a thick-rim steering wheel and special high-grip pedals.

    Lexus RC F (2014) Front SideLexus RC F (2014) Interior

    Pricing and market launch dates are still to be confirmed.

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    After a year’s absence, a Mossy Oak Edition is returning to the Ram 1500 pick-up range.

    Named after the supplier of Ram’s official camouflage pattern (yes, there is actually such a thing), it’s based on the existing Outdoorsman Crew Cab 4x4 model and offers a choice of 5’ 7” or 6’ 4” cargo bed lengths.

    Ram 1500 Mossy Oak Edition Crew Cab 4x4 (2014) Rear Side

    Available with Black, Black Gold Pearl or Prairie Pearl paintwork, the tailgate and top edges of the cargo box come covered in ‘Break-Up Infinity’ camouflage. That same pattern can also be optionally applied to the lower portions of the body sides.

    On the inside, the Canyon Brown and Frost Beige colour scheme gains embroidered Mossy Oak logos on the headrests, plus more camouflage on the door panel inserts and dashboard centre. Alternatively, Tuscany Katzkin leather upholstery can be specified, which incidentally sees the Mossy Oak emblems move down to the seat backs.

    Ram 1500 Mossy Oak Edition Crew Cab 4x4 (2014) DashboardRam 1500 Mossy Oak Edition Crew Cab 4x4 (2014) Interior

    In the United States, prices start at $39,985 plus a $1,195 destination charge.

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    The 2014 Polo R WRC is essentially the same car that helped Volkswagen Motorsport secure the drivers’, co-drivers’ and manufacturers’ titles in last year’s World Rally Championship.

    That’s largely because the manufacturers participating in the series agreed not to re-homologate any existing cars for this season. They have been permitted to play ten modification ‘jokers’ though, thereby allowing some detail changes. For the Polo, these include revised software and chassis components.

    Volkswagen Polo R WRC 2014 Front Side

    Volkswagen Polo R WRC 2014 Rear Side

    Defending their championships in the lead Volkswagen will be Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia. Jari-Matti Latvala / Miikka Anttila and Andreas Mikkelsen / Mikko Markkula comprise the crews for the team’s other two entries.

    The first event of the 2014 World Rally Championship is the Rallye Monte Carlo, which begins on the 16th of January.

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    The FIA has now published the 2014 Formula One World Championship entry list, which includes the permanent race numbers chosen by each driver.

    2014 FIA Formula One World Championship Entry List
    Race No. Driver Team Engine
    1* Sebastian Vettel (Deu) Infiniti Red Bull Racing Renault
    3 Daniel Ricciardo (Aus) Infiniti Red Bull Racing Renault
    44 Lewis Hamilton (GB) Mercedes GP Petronas Formula One Mercedes
    6 Nico Rosberg (Deu) Mercedes GP Petronas Formula One Mercedes
    14 Fernando Alonso (Esp) Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari
    7 Kimi Räikkönen (Fin) Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari
    8 Romain Grosjean (Fra) Lotus F1 Team Renault
    13 Pastor Maldonado (Ven) Lotus F1 Team Renault
    22 Jenson Button (GB) McLaren Mercedes Mercedes
    20 Kevin Magnussen (Den) McLaren Mercedes Mercedes
    27 Nico Hülkenberg (Deu) Sahara Force India F1 Team Mercedes
    11 Sergio Pérez Mendoza (Mex) Sahara Force India F1 Team Mercedes
    99 Adrian Sutil (Deu) Sauber F1 Team Ferrari
    21 Esteban Gutiérrez (Mex) Sauber F1 Team Ferrari
    25 Jean-Éric Vergne (Fra) Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault
    26 Daniil Kvyat (Rus) Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault
    19 Felipe Massa (Bra) Williams Team F1 Mercedes
    77 Valtteri Bottas (Fin) Williams Team F1 Mercedes
    17 Jules Bianchi (Fra) Marussia F1 Team Ferrari
    TBC Max Chilton (GB) Marussia F1 Team Ferrari
    TBC TBC Caterham F1 Team Renault
    TBC TBC Caterham F1 Team Renault
    *Will revert to 5 when Vettel is not World Champion.

    Red Bull RB9 2013 (Vettel) Front
    Will Sebastian Vettel secure his fifth
    Formula One World Championship in 2014?

    Caterham has yet to name either of its drivers for 2014, although an announcement is expected soon.

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    A replacement fortwo is expected later this year, but that hasn’t stopped Smart from producing another special version of the current model. Named citybeam, it’s based on the passion trim grade and buyers can opt for either coupé or cabriolet body styles.

    Externally, the citybeam edition is distinguished by some unique double-spoke alloy wheels, a silver tridion safety cell, LED daytime running lights and titanium-coloured headlight surrounds. The paintwork selection comprises matt anthracite, light blue or silver metallic.

    Smart ForTwo Citybeam Coupé (2014) Front Side

    On the inside, the upholstery mixes black leather with grey fabric inserts and stitching. The three-spoke sports steering wheel and upper dashboard are leather-covered too.

    In Germany, the Smart fortwo citybeam will cost from €14,490 (including 19% VAT) when deliveries begin in April. It’s being offered with a choice of two 1.0 litre three-cylinder petrol engines with different outputs or an electric motor.

    Prices and availability in the UK have yet to be confirmed.

    Smart ForTwo Citybeam Coupé (2014) DashboardSmart ForTwo Citybeam Coupé (2014) Interior

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    Volkswagen has confirmed that its electric-powered e-Golf is to be offered in the United States.

    Outwardly similar to a regular model, the five-door e-Golf features a liquid-cooled 24.2 kWh lithium-ion battery pack and a 113 bhp (85 kW / 115 PS) electric motor. With 270 Nm (199 lb/ft) of peak torque the 0-62 mph (100 km/h) time of 10.4 seconds is brisk enough, but top speed is electronically limited to 87 mph (140 km/h).

    More important than performance is range. On average, it’s anticipated to be a fairly modest 70 to 90 miles (about 110 to 145 kilometres).

    Volkswagen e-Golf (2015) Front Side

    In an attempt to address potential customer concerns about living with an electric vehicle, the specification boasts a fast charging facility as standard. It replenishes the batteries to 80 percent capacity in around half an hour. Alternatively, fully recharging a totally flat battery takes 20 hours via a standard domestic socket, or approximately four hours using a special 220 volt / 7.2 kW wallbox.

    As well as a ‘Normal’ driving mode, drivers will be able to select ‘Eco’ and ‘Eco+’ settings to help conserve energy. These aren’t without compromise though, as they restrict output to 92 bhp (69 kW / 94 PS) and 72 bhp (54 kW / 74 PS) respectively. Furthermore, the regenerative braking system can be adjusted to three different severity levels.

    Volkswagen e-Golf (2015) Front Side X-Ray

    Also included in the specification are all-LED headlights, unique 16” alloy wheels, low rolling resistance tyres, a redesigned grille and an aerodynamically-optimised rear spoiler.

    Sales of the Volkswagen e-Golf are scheduled to begin in selected states during the fourth quarter of this year. Pricing has yet to be announced.

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    The new 2015 Canyon is essentially a rebadged version of the North American-specification Chevrolet Colorado that was first revealed last November.

    Visually the most noticeable difference is at the front end, where the familiar GMC grille provides a more imposing look for the midsize pick-up. As with the Colorado, three configurations will be offered: extended cab / 6’ 2” cargo bed, crew cab / 5’ 2” cargo bed or crew cab / 6’ 2” cargo bed.

    GMC Canyon SLT Crew Cab 4x4 (2015) Front Side

    Beneath the skin things are pretty much identical too. The standard engine is a 2.5 litre four-cylinder petrol-powered unit, but a 3.6 litre V6 is going to be on the options list from launch. Significantly, they’re due to be joined by a 2.8 litre Duramax turbodiesel for the 2016 model year.

    When sales begin towards the end of 2014, Canyon buyers will have a choice of base, SLE and SLT trim grades that can be equipped with either rear- or AutoTrac four-wheel drive. Furthermore, an All Terrain package has been developed for SLE models that comprises retuned suspension, an automatic locking rear differential, 17” wheels shod with off-road tyres, a body-colour grille surround and unique cabin details.

    GMC Canyon (2015) DashboardGMC Canyon SLE All Terrain Extended Cab 4x4 (2015) Rear Side

    All variants feature a power-adjustable driver’s seat, six airbags, a 4.2” colour information screen set within the instrument cluster and the StabiliTrak stability control system. Practical aspects include a two-tier loading system for the cargo box as well as a ‘CornerStep’ rear bumper.

    Prices have yet to be confirmed.

    2015 GMC Canyon - Preliminary Technical Specifications
    Type Midsize pick-up
    Cab styles Two-door extended cab or four-door crew cab
    Type 2.5 litre I4 3.6 litre V6
    Displacement 2,457 cc (150 cu. in.) 3,564 cc (217 cu. in.)
    Fuel Regular unleaded
    Fuel delivery High-pressure direct injection; electronic throttle control
    Valvetrain DOHC; four valves per cylinder; continuously variable valve timing
    Block material Cast aluminium Aluminium
    Cylinder head material Cast aluminium Cast aluminium
    Power 193 bhp (146 kW / 195 PS) at 6,400 rpm (est.) 302 bhp (224 kW / 306 PS) at 6,950 rpm (est.)
    Torque 250 Nm (184 lb/ft) at 4,400 rpm (est.) 366 Nm (270 lb/ft) at 4,000 rpm (est.)
    Type Six-speed manual Six-speed automatic
    Availability Base model with extended cab, 2.5 litre engine and rear-wheel drive only All models
    Tow / haul mode No Yes (V6 only)
    Auto grade braking No Yes
    Front suspension Independent coil-over-shock; twin-tube dampers
    Rear suspension Solid axle; semi-elliptic two-stage multi-leaf springs; twin-tube dampers
    Wheel sizes 16 x 7”, 17 x 8” or 18 x 8.5”
    Tyre sizes 265/70R16, 255/65R17 or 265/60R18
    Steering Electrically-assisted power rack-and-pinion steering with variable assist
    Stability control StabiliTrak electronic stability control with hill start assist
    Brakes Power-assisted; disc brakes front and rear; anti-lock standard; hill descent control optional
    Configuration Ext. cab / 6’2” box Crew cab / 5’2” box Crew cab / 6’2” box
    Length 5,395 mm (212.4”) 5,395 mm (212.4”) 5,705 mm (224.6”)
    Wheelbase 3,258 mm (128.3”) 3,258 mm (128.3”) 3,568 mm (140.5”)
    Height (incl. antenna) 2WD 1,998 mm (78.7”)
    Height (incl. antenna) 4WD 2,005 mm (78.9”)
    Width 1,886 mm (74.3”)
    Front headroom 1,016 mm (40.0”)
    Front legroom 1,059 mm (41.7”)
    Rear headroom 932 mm (36.7”) 973 mm (38.3”) 973 mm (38.3”)
    Rear legroom 726 mm (28.6”) 909 mm (35.8”) 909 mm (35.8”)
    Curb weight 2WD 1,789 kg (3,944 lbs) w/ 2.5 litre engine 1,831 kg (4,037 lbs) w/ 2.5 litre engine 1,935 kg (4,266 lbs) w/ 3.6 litre engine
    Max. GVWR 2,540 kg (5,600 lbs) 2,721 kg (6,000 lbs) 2,721 kg (6,000 lbs)
    Max. payload 657 kg (1,450 lbs) 635 kg (1,400 lbs) 635 kg (1,400 lbs)
    Max. towing weight 3,039 kg (6,700 lbs)

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    Images © General Motors.

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