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    Citroën and Rip Curl have collaborated to create a one-off camper van that's aimed at outdoor activity enthusiasts.

    Named SpaceTourer Rip Curl Concept, it essentially takes the existing Pössl Campster conversion (which isn't currently available in the UK) and adds unique two-tone paintwork and bespoke upholstery. A Dangel four-wheel drive system is fitted too, but off-road ability is likely to be hampered by a lack of ground clearance and limited wheel travel.

    Citroën SpaceTourer Rip Curl Concept (2017) Front Side 1

    The Campster layout will be familiar to anyone who has seen inside a Mercedes-Benz Marco Polo or a Volkswagen California. The sliding rear bench transforms into a double bed, there are two further berths 'upstairs', the cab seats swivel and all the furniture is arranged along one side.

    While the similarities are numerous, Pössl has also incorporated a couple of innovative features. Firstly, the elevating roof's front section can be fully opened, thereby providing a raised viewing platform.

    Secondly, the kitchen module is removable. Because it's self-contained with a two-burner hob, a gas bottle, water canisters and a sink, outside use is possible. What's more, the combination of this facility and twin sliding doors means the Citroën should be a practical everyday car. A true multi-purpose vehicle, in other words.

    The SpaceTourer Rip Curl Concept is going to début at the Frankfurt Motor Show later this month.

    Citroën SpaceTourer Rip Curl Concept (2017) Rear SideCitroën SpaceTourer Rip Curl Concept (2017) Front Side 2

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  • 09/04/17--13:44: Kia introduces the Niro PHEV
  • For the first time, a plug-in hybrid compact crossover is available in the UK. It's the Kia Niro PHEV, which joins the existing parallel-hybrid version.

    A 1.6 litre, direct-injection, Atkinson-cycle petrol engine and an electric motor provide the car's power. They produce 104 bhp (77 kW / 105 PS) and 59 bhp (44 kW / 60 PS) respectively, giving a combined rating of 139 bhp (104 kW / 141 PS) with 265 Nm (195 lb/ft) of torque. That output is sent to the front wheels via a six-speed dual-clutch transmission.

    Kia Nero PHEV (2018) Front Side

    Energy is stored in an enlarged 8.9 kWh lithium-polymer battery pack. Although total luggage capacity drops slightly to 324 litres as a result, maximum range when running in EV (pure electric) mode is a fairly useful 36 miles (58 kilometres).

    Regenerative braking is fitted but, realistically, proper recharging is going to involve finding a suitable socket to plug into. Once one has been located, the process takes two hours and fifteen minutes from fully depleted to fully charged.

    Efficiency will undoubtedly become a strong selling point. Officially, the Niro PHEV can achieve 217.3 mpg (1.3 l/100km) on the combined cycle while emitting 29 g/km of carbon dioxide.

    Kia Nero PHEV (2018) Interior 1Kia Nero PHEV (2018) Interior 2

    As this new model shares a specification with the current Niro '3' trim grade, equipment levels are very impressive. The interior features leather upholstery, heating for the front seats and steering wheel, a power-adjustable driver's seat and dual-zone climate control.

    There's also a comprehensive infotainment system that's compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. It comprises an 8” touchscreen, satellite navigation, a DAB radio, Bluetooth and an eight-speaker JBL Premium audio set-up.

    Furthermore, the standard kit list includes smart cruise control, lane-keeping assistance, front and rear parking sensors, a reversing camera, wireless smartphone charging and 16” alloy wheels with aerodynamic plastic covers.

    Kia Nero PHEV (2018) DashboardKia Nero PHEV (2018) Rear Side

    Prices for the Niro PHEV start at £27,995 (after applying the government's Plug-in Car Grant of £2,500). By comparison, a Niro '3' parallel hybrid costs from £25,135.

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    Thanks to a few cosmetic changes, the Style Edition has a subtly distinctive look. Those enhancements comprise black 18” diamond-cut alloy wheels, black door mirror caps and LED headlights with black bezels.

    Nissan Pulsar N-Connecta Style Edition (2017) Front Side

    Taking the existing N-Connecta trim grade as a starting point means the car's specification is already extensive. Indeed, standard-fit items include cruise control, automatic lights and wipers, dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth, a DAB radio, touchscreen-controlled satellite navigation and a colour reversing camera.

    Nissan Pulsar N-Connecta Style Edition (2017) Dashboard

    Just one engine option is being offered with this special Pulsar. It's the 1.2 litre DIG-T turbocharged petrol unit, which delivers 113 bhp (85 kW / 115 PS) via a six-speed manual gearbox.

    Nissan Pulsar N-Connecta Style Edition (2017) Rear Side

    The Style Edition is priced at £18,325. That's £400 more than the equivalent regular N-Connecta costs.

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    Calling the Amarok Aventura Exclusive a 'concept' is arguably a misnomer. In reality, it merely previews a more powerful version of Volkswagen's pick-up.

    Output from the 3.0 litre V6 turbocharged diesel engine has been increased to 254 bhp (190 kW / 258 PS). However, the effects on performance and efficiency aren't known, because those figures have yet to be released.

    Volkswagen Amarok Aventura Exclusive Concept (2017) Front Side

    As per the current 221 bhp (165 kW / 224 PS) Amarok range-topper, the rest of the drivetrain consists of an eight-speed automatic gearbox and permanent all-wheel drive.

    Eye-catching Turmeric Yellow Metallic paintwork is complemented by polished 19” 'Milford' alloy wheels and various chrome highlights. A particularly notable new feature is the cargo area's aluminium roll cover, which is both lockable and waterproof.

    For the interior, Volkswagen has opted for black leather upholstery with contrasting yellow stitching. Also fitted are the Discover Media navigation system, fourteen-way adjustable ergoComfort front seats and the just-introduced black roof lining.

    Volkswagen Amarok Aventura Exclusive Concept (2017) Interior 1Volkswagen Amarok Aventura Exclusive Concept (2017) Interior 2

    The Amarok Aventura Exclusive is due to appear in public for the first time at this month's Frankfurt Motor Show.

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    Along with the Amarok Aventura Exclusive concept, Volkswagen will be unveiling the Amarok Dark Label at the upcoming Frankfurt Motor Show.

    This special edition pick-up – which arrives at dealers next spring – is based on the existing Comfortline trim grade. An enhanced specification includes Indium Grey matt paintwork, anthracite-coloured 'Rawson' 18” alloy wheels and lacquered chrome strips in the front grille.

    Volkswagen Amarok Dark Label (2018) Front Side

    A black finish for several other components completes the exterior look, while the interior gains a black roof lining and floor mats embroidered with the Dark Label logo.

    Power is provided by a 3.0 litre V6 turbo-diesel engine that's offered in 160 bhp (120 kW / 163 PS) and 201 bhp (150 kW / 204 PS) guises. The former output can be ordered with either rear-wheel drive or on-demand all-wheel drive, but the latter comes with on-demand all-wheel drive only. Both options are mated to a six-speed manual gearbox.

    In Germany, Amarok Dark Label prices start at €33,714 (excluding VAT). UK availability has yet to be confirmed.

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    Nissan's second-generation Leaf is undoubtedly one of this year's most important new car launches. This all-electric five-door hatchback might look fairly ordinary, but it could persuade a significant number of buyers to ditch petrol and diesel engines.

    Here are ten things worth knowing about the 2018 Leaf:

    1. The design is much more appealing

    Whereas Nissan probably tried too hard to give the old Leaf a distinctive appearance, the 2018 model's neat yet inoffensive styling is unlikely to alienate many people. Among the key elements are a floating roof and a 'V-motion' grille that's flanked by LED headlights.

    Nissan Leaf (2018) Front Side

    2. Battery capacity has been improved

    A 40 kWh lithium-ion battery array replaces the previous Leaf's 24 kWh or 30 kWh packs. Packaging isn't affected much though, because its physical size has hardly grown.

    Recharging from empty to full takes sixteen hours via a 3 kW supply, or eight hours using 6 kW. Alternatively, a Quick Charging facility can do the job to 80% in just 40 minutes.

    3. Range is better

    According to the official New European Driving Cycle measure, 235 miles (378 kilometres) can be travelled on a single charge. The real-world distance arguably has to be around 200 miles (321 kilometres) in order to convince sceptics.

    By comparison, the equivalent NEDC figures for the superseded Leaf are 124 miles (200 kilometres) with a 24 kWh battery and 155 miles (250 kilometres) if the 30 kWh option is fitted.

    Nissan Leaf (2018) Dashboard

    4. Two versions will be offered

    Initially, the Leaf is going to have a 148 bhp (110 kW / 150 PS) electric motor that delivers 320 Nm (236 lb/ft) of peak torque from zero rpm.

    However, a more powerful variant with greater range is promised for the end of 2018, so prospective customers might want to consider waiting before placing an order.

    5. It's semi-autonomous

    The new Leaf features a suite of Intelligent Driving technologies. They include ProPILOT, which controls speed, following distance and positioning within a single lane. Additionally, the system is able to cope with traffic coming to a halt without any human intervention.

    Nissan Leaf (2018) Side

    6. It's self-parking

    Assisted by four cameras and twelve ultrasonic sensors, ProPILOT Park can identify a suitable spot, then perform a nose-in, reverse-in or parallel parking manoeuvre as required.

    7. One-pedal driving is a genuine innovation

    A standard-equipment device called e-Pedal means the accelerator pedal alone can be used to build up speed, slow down and bring the car to a complete stop. While there's a separate brake pedal too, Nissan reckons that it'll seldom be needed.

    Nissan Leaf (2018) Interior

    8. Home and grid integration are possible

    Nissan's Intelligent Integration philosophy is intended to exploit the Leaf's energy storage capability.

    In the vehicle-to-home role, for example, the car's battery pack could be charged using either 'free' daytime solar generation or cheap night-time electricity from the grid. Any surplus not needed for driving would then power the house at peak-cost times.

    Taking things one step further, vehicle-to-grid would allow Leaf owners to sell electricity back to the national network. Essentially, such an arrangement lets electric cars absorb demand fluctuation, a crucial function that can help to make the most of 'always on' renewable sources such as wind.

    9. There are three manufacturing locations

    Production has already started in Oppama, Japan. By the end of 2017, the Sunderland, UK and Smyrna, USA plants will be building the Leaf too. European deliveries are due to begin next January.

    Nissan Leaf (2018) Rear Side

    10. Pricing has yet to be announced

    Even with the UK government's generous Plug-in Car Grant, purchase cost is bound to be a significant factor for anybody thinking of getting a Leaf. Depreciation, fuel spend and servicing are important financial issues too, but an attractive initial outlay remains key to inciting showroom visits.

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    Customers ordering the improved pure-electric Kangoo will have two big decisions to make.

    The first is whether to buy the 33 kWh battery pack outright, or lease it separately. Looking at the figures below, the latter option is probably going to make financial sense for lower mileage users who know how long they want to keep their vehicle for.

    The second concerns the body type. Renault is offering the Kangoo Z.E. 33 in four guises: Van (two seats and a 3.6 m³ load capacity), Maxi Van (two seats and a 4.6 m³ load capacity), Maxi Crew Van (five seats and a 1.3 m³ load capacity) and Maxi Crew Van Cab (up to five seats or a load capacity of up to 3.6 m³, thanks to a multi-position bulkhead).

    Renaut Kangoo Van Z.E. 33 (2018) Front Side

    All versions are powered by an R60 motor that produces 59 bhp (44 kW / 60 PS) with 225 Nm (165 lb/ft) of peak torque. While performance is unlikely to be a primary consideration, a 0-62mph (100 km/h) time of 20.6 seconds (22.3 seconds for long-wheelbase models) and an 81 mph (130 km/h) top speed are not scintillating.

    Class-leading range might make up for the lack of pace. Whereas the previous Kangoo Z.E. could travel up to 106 miles (170 km) according to the New European Driving Cycle, a new higher-capacity battery means that figure is now 168 miles (270 km).

    NEDC doesn't necessarily reflect real-world driving, though. As Renault readily admits, a full single charge (which takes six hours to achieve using a single-phase 7 kW AC charger) should give between 75 and 99 miles (120 and 160 km) in the winter, or around 124 miles (200 km) in the summer.

    Renaut Kangoo Van Z.E. 33 (2018) DashboardRenaut Kangoo Van Z.E. 33 (2018) Rear Side

    Kangoo Z.E. 33 deliveries are due to begin in November.

    Renault Kangoo Z.E. - UK prices
    Version Part purchase* Full purchase
    Van Z.E. 33 £14,194.67 £17,741.34
    Maxi Van Z.E. 33 £15,334.67 £18,881.34
    Maxi Crew Van Z.E. 33 £16,018.67 £19,565.34
    Maxi Crew Van Cab Z.E. 33 £16,778.67 £20,325.34
    *Plus monthly battery lease.
    All prices are after the Plug-in Van Grant has been applied and they exclude VAT.

    Renault Kangoo Z.E. - UK battery lease costs
    Annual mileage Monthly payment
    0 - 4,500 miles £49
    4,501 - 6,000 miles £57
    6,001 - 7,500 miles £65
    7,501 - 9,000 miles £73
    9,001 - 10,500 miles £81

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    Its boxy proportions might have been influenced by Honda's 'N' kei car range which first appeared in the late 1960s, but the Urban EV Concept actually resembles the original Volkswagen Golf. That's not a bad thing, incidentally.

    Plans have already been announced to build this pure-electric four-seat hatchback on an all-new platform. Indeed, a production version is due to be launched in Europe during 2019.

    Honda Urban EV Concept (2017) Front Side

    However, as is often the case with concept cars, some of the more fanciful features probably won't survive the transition to showroom model. For instance, the rear-hinged doors, thin A-pillars and huge dashboard screen are likely to be casualties for either cost or safety reasons.

    Rather frustratingly, Honda is divulging nothing about the Urban EV Concept's powertrain, so performance, range and recharge times are all unknown.

    Honda Urban EV Concept (2017) InteriorHonda Urban EV Concept (2017) Side

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    Vauxhall seems to have missed an opportunity with the Vivaro Tourer Weekender. That's because this new arrival (which will be known as the Opel Vivaro Life across the rest of Europe) lacks the amenities to make it a true Volkswagen California or Mercedes-Benz Marco Polo rival.

    Based on the long-wheelbase L2 Vivaro, the Tourer Weekender features two individual swivelling chairs in the second row and a rail-mounted three-seat bench in the third row. The latter converts into a large double bed.

    Vauxhall Vivaro Tourer Weekender (2018) Front Side

    Extra interior LED lighting is fitted, while a folding table, an auxiliary heater and dark-tint windows appear on the options list. However, blinds or curtains, an elevating roof, built-in storage cupboards and kitchen facilities simply aren't available.

    Vauxhall Vivaro Tourer Weekender (2018) Interior - Day ModeVauxhall Vivaro Tourer Weekender (2018) Interior - Night Mode

    Consequently, the target market is probably going to be very small. There can't be many prospective customers who want or need a vehicle that can transport seven people and then provide sleeping accommodation for just two of them (with little privacy).

    Vauxhall Vivaro Tourer Weekender (2018) Rear Side

    For anybody who is still interested, Vauxhall dealers are due to begin accepting Vivaro Tourer Weekend orders soon. Power comes from a 1.6 litre CDTi BiTurbo diesel engine with a choice of 123 bhp (92 kW / 125 PS) or 143 bhp (107 kW / 145 PS) outputs.

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    Kia's European design studio in Frankfurt created the Proceed Concept, so the Frankfurt Motor Show was a fitting venue for its first appearance.

    Described as an “extended hot hatch”, the Proceed Concept is a five-door coupé with a low roofline, no B-pillars and huge 20” wheels. In other words, a production version – which is being mooted for the next-generation Cee'd range – would be a Hyundai i30 Fastback equivalent.

    Kia Proceed Concept (2017) Front Side

    According to Gregory Guillaume, Chief Designer Europe for Kia Motors, “The Pro_cee'd has always been Kia's performance halo model in the Cee'd family. Since its debut in 2008 it has embodied all our driving passion, and the model that succeeded it in 2012 extended this dynamic lineage.

    “However, with many European drivers seeking alternatives to the traditional three-door hot hatch, we began thinking about a new halo model. The Proceed Concept is our vision of how the vibrant spirit of the Pro_cee'd could be reincarnated and revitalised for a new generation of drivers.”

    Kia Proceed Concept (2017) SideKia Proceed Concept (2017) Interior

    Kia Proceed Concept (2017) DashboardKia Proceed Concept (2017) Rear Side

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    Organisers of the World Car Awards have revealed the models that'll be competing for 2018's prizes.

    2018 World Car of the Year

    As expected, an extremely wide range of contenders is going to vie for the main accolade. Of the thirty-five entries, eighteen are from European brands, fifteen are Asian and two are American.

    • Alfa Romeo Giulia
    • Alfa Romeo Stelvio
    • BMW X2
    • BMW X3
    • Citroën C3 Aircross
    • Dacia Duster
    • Ford Fiesta
    • Genesis G70
    • Honda Accord
    • Hyundai Kona
    • Jeep Compass
    • Kia Niro
    • Kia Picanto
    • Kia Stinger
    • Kia Stonic
    • Land Rover Discovery
    • Land Rover Range Rover Velar
    • Mazda CX-5
    • Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross
    • Nissan Leaf
    • Nissan Micra
    • Peugeot 3008
    • Renault Koleos
    • Seat Ibiza
    • Škoda Karoq
    • SsangYong Rexton G4
    • Subaru XV / Crosstrek
    • Suzuki Swift
    • Toyota Camry
    • Vauxhall Insignia / Opel Insignia / Buick Regal
    • Volkswagen Arteon
    • Volkswagen Polo
    • Volkswagen T-Roc
    • Volvo XC40
    • Volvo XC60
    Ford Fiesta Active 5-Door (2017) Front Side

    2018 World Luxury Car

    A very small collection of candidates here and, apart from the Lexus, all represent German marques.
    • Audi A8
    • BMW 6 Series Gran Turismo
    • Lexus LS
    • Porsche Cayenne
    • Porsche Panamera
    Audi A8 55 TFSI (2018) Rear Detail

    2018 World Performance Car

    Unsurprisingly, the nominees cover a broad spectrum of prices and capabilities. Consequently, they'll have to be judged against their direct rivals, rather than each other.
    • Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio
    • Alpine A110
    • Audi RS 3 Saloon
    • Audi RS 5 Coupé
    • BMW M5
    • Ferrari Portofino
    • Honda Civic Type R
    • Hyundai i30N
    • Lexus LC 500
    • Volkswagen Polo GTI
    BMW M5 Saloon (2018) Front Side 1

    2018 World Urban Car

    Compact dimensions and low emissions are undoubtedly major factors in determining what makes a good urban car. As 2018's contestants are all roughly the same size and all run on petrol or diesel, picking the best might end up being a purely subjective (and somewhat pointless) exercise.
    • Ford Fiesta
    • Hyundai Kona
    • Kia Picanto
    • Kia Stonic
    • Nissan Micra
    • Seat Ibiza
    • Suzuki Swift
    • Volkswagen Polo
    Kia Stonic (2018) Front Side

    2018 World Green Car

    Provided the second-generation pure-electric Leaf offers real-world range improvements and a decent driving experience, then it should be favourite to win this title.
    • BMW 530e iPerformance
    • Chevrolet Cruze Diesel
    • Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid
    • Hyundai FE
    • Nissan Leaf
    Nissan Leaf (2018) Front Side

    2018 World Car Design of the Year

    All of the vehicles noted above automatically enter the World Car Design category too. In addition, there are a couple of stand-alone participants.
    • BMW i8 Roadster
    • Lamborghini Urus
    Lamborghini Urus (2018) Silhouette

    Between now and the 12th of January 2018, the jurors are tasked with test-driving all of the eligible cars before voting on them. That initial ballot is used to determine the finalists.

    Next, a second round of test drives and voting are due to take place, with a 13th of February deadline for both.

    Then, the top three finalists for each award are going to be announced at the Geneva Motor Show on the 6th of March. A declaration of the winners at the New York International Auto Show on the 28th of March will conclude the rather lengthy process.

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  • 09/18/17--11:33: 2018 NACTOY semi-finalists
  • Following a first round of voting, 2018's North American Car of the Year, Truck of the Year and Utility Vehicle of the Year semi-finalists have been named.

    2018 North American Car of the Year

    Incredibly, the Tesla Model 3 is one of just three entrants that haven't progressed to the second round (the other two being the Honda Clarity and Mini Clubman). The Kia Rio – which wasn't initially included – has mysteriously appeared on the list, though.

    • Alfa Romeo Giulia
    • Audi A5 Sportback
    • BMW 5 Series
    • Honda Accord
    • Hyundai Ioniq
    • Kia Rio
    • Kia Stinger
    • Lexus LC 500
    • Porsche Panamera
    • Subaru Impreza
    • Toyota Camry
    Kia Stinger (2018) Side
    2018 Kia Stinger

    2018 North American Truck of the Year

    No surprises here, as there were only ever three nominees in this category.
    • Chevrolet Colorado ZR2
    • Ford Expedition
    • Lincoln Navigator
    Lincoln Navigator (2018) Front Side
    2018 Lincoln Navigator

    2018 North American Utility Vehicle of the Year

    Four candidates failed to make it through to the semi-final phase. While the departures of the GMC Terrain and Nissan Rouge Sport aren't necessarily huge losses, it's a shame that the appealing Land Rover Range Rover Velar and Toyota CH-R are now out of the process.
    • Alfa Romeo Stelvio
    • Audi Q5 / S5
    • BMW X3
    • Buick Enclave
    • Chevrolet Equinox
    • Chevrolet Traverse
    • Honda Odyssey
    • Jeep Compass
    • Kia Niro
    • Land Rover Discovery
    • Mazda CX-5
    • Subaru Crosstrek
    • Volkswagen Atlas
    • Volkswagen Tiguan
    • Volvo XC60
    BMW X3 xDrive M40i (2018) Front Side
    2018 BMW X3

    The next stage will see the sixty jurors drive every contender again at a three-day event in October. Then, after another ballot, the finalists are going to be revealed at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November.

    All three winners are due to be declared at the North American International Auto Show next January.

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    As it's based on the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 4x4, Winnebago's Revel should appeal to people who enjoy off-grid camping in remote places.

    This new van conversion (or Class B in American parlance) is powered by a 3.0 litre, six-cylinder, turbo-diesel engine that delivers 188 bhp (140 kW / 190 PS) and 440 Nm (325 lb/ft) of torque via a five-speed automatic transmission. To help exploit the on-demand four-wheel drive facility, hill descent control is also part of the specification.

    Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 4x4 Winnebago Revel (2018) Front SideMercedes-Benz Sprinter 4x4 Winnebago Revel (2018) Side

    Features installed by Winnebago include a diesel-fired heating and hot water system, three leisure batteries, a solar charger, a 2,000 watt inverter and double-glazed acrylic windows with built-in shades.

    The habitation area has a fairly conventional layout. On the driver's side, there's a dinette that utilises a pull-up table and the rotating cab seats. Positioned behind is a wet washroom with a shower and a swivelling cassette toilet.

    Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 4x4 Winnebago Revel (2018) Interior 1Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 4x4 Winnebago Revel (2018) Interior - Dinette

    Opposite is the small galley, which boasts welded aluminium cabinet face frames and positive-closing latches for extra durability. Because everything here runs off electricity, a compressor-driven refrigerator is fitted and cooking facilities are limited to a single induction hob.

    Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 4x4 Winnebago Revel (2018) Interior - GalleyMercedes-Benz Sprinter 4x4 Winnebago Revel (2018) Interior 2

    At the rear, a Power Lift double bed can be raised to the ceiling to create a huge garage space beneath. Cleverly, the addition of bodywork protrusions allows for transverse sleeping.

    Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 4x4 Winnebago Revel (2018) Interior - GarageMercedes-Benz Sprinter 4x4 Winnebago Revel (2018) Rear Side

    In the United States, prices for the Winnebago Revel start from $134,799 (excluding tax, title and delivery charges).

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    Next month's Tokyo Motor Show will see the début of Suzuki's SV650X concept bike.

    Essentially, it taps into the current nostalgia trend by being a modern interpretation of a 1970s-style café racer.

    Suzuki SV650X Concept (2017) Front Side

    The transformation from regular SV650 to SV650X is actually a fairly straightforward process, because all that's involved is the fitting of some special parts. They include clip-on handlebars, fog lights, a unique saddle and a bikini fairing which incorporates a tinted windscreen.

    As a result, creating a production version would be a quick and comparatively easy task. Cautious Suzuki wants to assess public reaction before deciding whether or not to make the available-to-buy SV650X a reality, though.

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    To begin the gradual reveal of its all-new Sprinter, Mercedes-Benz has released a sketch that gives an idea of what the large van is going to look like. The styling, which appears to be a gentle evolution of the current model's design, holds few surprises.

    While no technical details have been revealed yet, an advanced suite of driver assistance devices, telematics systems and connectivity services is promised. Furthermore, the number of variants is increasing.

    Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Panel Van (2019 Rendering) Front Side

    As is the case now, the next Sprinter will be built at two plants in Germany. However, full manufacturing (rather than the reassembly of knock-down kits) is also set to take place in the United States for the first time. This major change is primarily a means to avoid draconian import tariffs, but it should additionally reduce lead times and help to satisfy a growing demand from North American customers.

    Sprinter market launches are due to commence across Europe during the first half of 2018, with other territories scheduled to follow later.

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    Customer motorsport teams that are planning to run a Camaro GT4.R next season can now place an order to buy one.

    The conversion to GT4-specification race car is carried out by Michigan-based Pratt and Miller Engineering on behalf of Chevrolet. As well as the installation of mandatory FIA-approved safety equipment, there are plenty of other modifications.

    Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R 2018 Front Side

    They start with the body. It gains numerous carbon fibre components including a front splitter, front diveplanes, an adjustable rear wing and replacement doors. 18” Forgeline alloy wheels and an Öhlins suspension set-up form part of the package too.

    Strict regulations mean changes to the 6.2 litre LT1 V8 engine have to be fairly limited. Nevertheless, dry-sump lubrication, a recalibrated Bosch ECU and a bespoke carbon fibre air intake are among the upgrades.

    Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R 2018 Rear Side

    Output, which is rated at up to 480 bhp (358 kW / 486 PS), gets delivered via an Xtrac six-speed sequential transmission and a Salisbury-type rear differential.

    Each Camaro GT4.R costs $259,000 (plus taxes) in the United States. That figure equates to roughly £193,200 or €220,300 at current exchange rates.

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  • 09/30/17--05:20: Audi e-tron FE04 unveiled
  • Since the inception of the Formula E series for electric-powered single-seaters, ABT Sportsline has been involved with support from Audi. Indeed, reigning champion Lucas di Grassi won the category's first ever race when driving for them.

    For the 2017-18 season – which begins with the Hong Kong ePrix on the 2nd of December – the German marque is upping its involvement to full manufacturer entrant. A change of name to Team Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler reflects that commitment.

    There's also an updated car. The Audi e-tron FE04 boasts a more efficient powertrain that now features a single-speed transmission instead of the previous three-speed gearbox.

    Lucas di Grassi and Daniel Abt continue as the two drivers, while Allan McNish has become the new team principal.

    Audi e-tron FE04 2017-18 #1 (di Grassi) Front SideAudi e-tron FE04 2017-18 #66 (Abt) Front Side

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    2017/2018 Formula E calendar announced

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    In 1918, Chevrolet began selling trucks to the public. That event's upcoming centenary deserves celebrating, so a couple of special Centennial Edition pick-ups have been launched to help commemorate the anniversary.

    The 2018 Colorado Centennial Edition, which uses the Z71 trim grade as a starting point, is being offered in Crew Cab and Extended Cab guises. Additional features include 18” wheels, extra chrome embellishments and a body-colour finish for the front grille surround and rear bumper.

    Chevrolet Colorado Centennial Edition Crew Cab (2018 North American Spec) Front SideChevrolet Colorado Centennial Edition Crew Cab (2018 North American Spec) Front Detail

    Alternatively, the 2018 Silverado Centennial Edition is based on the existing LTZ Z71 Crew Cab variant. It boasts 22” painted wheels with chrome inserts, all-terrain tyres and chrome tow hooks.

    Chevrolet Silverado Centennial Edition Crew Cab (2018) Side DetailChevrolet Silverado Centennial Edition Crew Cab (2018) Front Side

    Furthermore, the Colorado and Silverado versions both gain Centennial Blue paintwork, a spray-in bedliner, cab-floor liners, '100' badges and unique heritage Chevrolet bowtie emblems.

    Deliveries of the former begin in November 2017, while the latter is due to arrive at dealers a month earlier.

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    Images © General Motors.

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    In terms of the automotive sector, the 2017 Interbrand 100 Best Global Brands survey shows very few changes compared to last year.

    Ferrari earns a place on the list, plus Nissan and Volkswagen swap positions. Otherwise, the marques included and the order in which they appear are identical to 2016's results. Consequently, Toyota remains the most valuable, while Mercedes-Benz is still the only other vehicle manufacturer ranked in the overall top ten.

    Toyota C-HR (2017) Front Side
    Toyota is 2017's most valuable automotive
    brand, according to Interbrand.

    To be considered for the study, brands must be truly global. That means they need to have a significant presence and public awareness across Asia, Europe and North America, as well as participation in emerging markets. Furthermore, at least 30% of sales revenue must come from outside the home region.

    The methodology employed by Interbrand to arrive at a valuation figure involves three main aspects. These are profitability forecasts, brand strength (measured using ten criteria to assess the ability to create customer loyalty) and the role a brand plays in determining buying decisions.

    Interbrand Best Automotive Brands 2017
    Overall ranking Ranking change Brand Value
    (US$ million)
    Value change
    7 -2 Toyota 50,291 -6%
    9 0 Mercedes-Benz 47,829 +10%
    13 -2 BMW 41,521 0%
    20 -1 Honda 22,696 +3%
    33 0 Ford 13,643 +5%
    35 0 Hyundai 13,193 +5%
    38 0 Audi 12,023 +2%
    39 +4 Nissan 11,534 +4%
    40 0 Volkswagen 11,522 +1%
    48 -2 Porsche 10,129 +6%
    69 0 Kia 6,683 +6%
    73 +5 Land Rover 6,095 +7%
    77 +3 Harley-Davidson 5,671 +3%
    87 +1 Mini 5,114 +3%
    88 New entry Ferrari 4,876 New entry
    98 +2 Tesla 4,009 0%

    Related post:
    Interbrand’s most valuable auto brands of 2016

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    Thanks to a new 40 kWh lithium-ion battery, the revised Nissan e-NV200 pure-electric van should appeal to a significantly larger number of urban operators.

    That's because range is much better. According to the official NEDC measure, 174 miles (280 kilometres) can now be driven on a single charge. By comparison, the previous version could achieve 106 miles (170 kilometres) at best.

    Nissan e-NV200 Evalia (2018) Front Side

    Acceleration isn't too bad either. An AC synchronous electric motor delivers 107 bhp (80 kW / 109 PS) with 254 Nm (187 lb/ft) of peak torque, which allows the e-NV200 to reach 62 mph (100 km/h) in around 14 seconds. Top speed is less relevant, but for the record it's just 76 mph (123 km/h).

    A full recharge takes a protracted 21.5 hours via a standard domestic supply, but the time required reduces to 7.5 hours when using a dedicated 32 amp wallbox. Alternatively, 80% replenishment is possible in just 40 minutes if plugged into a quick-charge facility.

    Nissan e-NV200 Evalia (2018) Rear Side

    As the higher-capacity battery pack is no larger than before, cargo volume remains at 4.2 m³. Maximum payload meanwhile is 694 kg (1,530 lbs).

    Nissan dealers will begin accepting orders for the improved e-NV200 before the end of this year. Prices have yet to be announced.

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