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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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    First things first: spending more than £64k on a Volkswagen California seems absurd, especially when a similar outlay could buy a larger camper van or motorhome with much better habitation facilities.

    Nevertheless, as can be seen below, that’s where prices start for the new 30 Years version. Based on the existing California Ocean, this special edition (unsurprisingly) celebrates the passing of three decades since the original California was launched.

    UK OTR prices California Ocean California 30 Years
    2.0 litre diesel
    147 bhp (110 kW / 150 PS)
    £57,605 £64,307
    2.0 litre diesel
    196 bhp (146 kW / 199 PS)
    £60,915 £67,097
    2.0 litre diesel
    196 bhp (146 kW / 199 PS)
    DSG 4Motion
    £63,927 £70,629

    Only 999 examples are going to be produced, of which thirty have been allocated to the UK.

    Volkswagen California 30 Years (2018) Side

    Identifying features include a contrasting Indium Grey or Reflex Silver finish for the elevating roof panel and door mirror caps. Furthermore, a unique badge on the B pillar shows the build number.

    Apart from those cosmetic changes, the enhanced specification comes from the Ocean’s options list. Among the extra items fitted to the 30 Years are LED headlights, parking sensors, 17” ‘Cascavel’ alloy wheels, an outdoor shower connection and a removable tow bar.

    The driving experience should be improved too, thanks to the addition of a Discover Media Navigation Pro infotainment system, the App-Connect tool and Side Scan lane monitoring with cruise control.

    Certainly, the California 30 Years costs a huge amount of money, but relative rarity, ‘official conversion’ status and the prospect of strong residual values are in its favour. Volkswagen won’t struggle to find enough customers.

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    A special version of the Amarok pick-up is intended to appeal to customers who want a more upmarket offering. Named Aventura, it combines a distinctive exterior with a luxurious interior.

    The enhanced specification includes 20” ‘Talca’ alloy wheels and power-folding door mirrors. A body-coloured ‘sports bar’ and a protective coating have been added to the cargo box as well, but a bespoke roll-top cover is a cost option.

    Volkswagen Amarok Aventura (2019) Front Side

    Inside, ErgoComfort front seats, black Nappa leather upholstery and unique floor mats increase the opulence levels. Discover Media navigation and the Lights and Vision pack come as standard, too.

    A 3.0 litre V6 turbocharged diesel engine is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission and a 4Motion all-wheel drive system. Although output is ordinarily rated at 254 bhp (190 kW / 258 PS), that figure can rise briefly to 268 bhp (200 kW / 272 PS) when using overboost.

    The 2019 Amarok Aventura is available to order now. On-the-road prices start at £39,960 excluding VAT (or £47,891 including VAT).

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    A year after the C 400 X was launched, BMW is introducing a second mid-size scooter. The new C 400 GT has been designed to provide better weather protection and extra comfort.

    Both models share the same tubular steel frame, 34 bhp (25 kW / 34 PS) 350 cc engine and continuously-variable transmission. Consequently, the C 400 GT’s main differentiator is its unique styling.

    BMW C 400 GT (2019) Front Side

    A much more attractive front fairing incorporates twin LED headlights and a higher windscreen. Another distinctive feature is the one-piece saddle, which has a separate rider backrest. Pillion passengers get to rest their feet on boards rather than basic pegs.

    The standard specification also includes Keyless Ride, Automatic Stability Control and an anti-lock system for the disc brakes. A 6.5” TFT multifunctional instrument display is among the available options.

    UK prices for the C 400 GT start at £7,050. By comparison, the C 400 X and the C 400 X SE currently cost from £6,200 and £6,985 respectively.

    BMW C 400 GT (2019) InstrumentsBMW C 400 GT (2019) Side

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  • 11/07/18--15:42: CBR650R replaces the CBR650F
  • As part of its model updates for 2019, Honda is introducing the CBR650R. This new sporty middleweight all-rounder supersedes the CBR650F.

    Styling changes give the bike a more purposeful look, especially at the front where a revised fairing incorporates dual LED headlights and twin ram-air intakes. A stubbier tail unit, lower clip-on handlebars and repositioned foot pegs move the rider forwards and downwards, but seat height is still 810 mm (31.9”).

    Honda CBR650R (2019) Front Side

    Power continues to be provided by a 649 cc, four-cylinder, fuel-injected engine that’s mated to a six-speed gearbox. However, compared to the CBR650F, maximum output is up from 85 bhp (64 kW / 87 PS) at 11,000 rpm to 93 bhp (70 kW / 95 PS) at 12,000 rpm. While the peak torque figure of 64 Nm (47 lb/ft) is virtually identical, it now arrives at 8,500 rpm instead of 8,000 rpm.

    The addition of a slipper clutch and the Honda Selectable Torque Control system are among the other major upgrades. Also helping to bolster the CBR650R’s performance potential is a reduction in kerb weight to 208 kg (458 lbs), which is mainly the result of alterations made to the fuel tank and steel frame.

    Some front-end chassis modifications complete the enhancements. An adjustable Showa Separate Function Fork becomes part of the specification, along with a pair of floating brake discs and their radially-mounted four-piston calipers.

    Honda has yet to announce a UK price for the 2019 CBR650R.

    Honda CBR650R (2019) SideHonda CBR650R (2019) Instruments

    Honda CBR650R (2019) TopHonda CBR650R (2019) Rear Side

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    A couple of years ago, Kawasaki had to stop selling the W800 in Europe because it didn’t comply with stricter emissions regulations that were being introduced. Now, though, the retro-styled bike has been resurrected.

    While the 2019 model looks almost the same as before, around 90% of the components are new (including the frame). Another major development is Kawasaki’s plan to offer Street and Cafe versions.

    Kawasaki W800 Street (2019) Front Side

    Both guises a powered by a twin-cylinder engine that’s still a 773 cc, air-cooled unit. Target output remains at 47 bhp (35 kW / 48 PS) and, of course, the latest Euro4 pollution standards have been achieved.

    LED lighting, a rear disc brake and an anti-lock system are among the specification enhancements. Full details are due to be announced early next year.

    Kawasaki W800 Street (2019) InstrumentsKawasaki W800 Cafe (2019) Front Side

    Related post:
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    As expected, BMW has introduced an Adventure version of its F 850 GS. This new motorcycle is intended to primarily appeal to customers who want to do some serious long-distance travel on varying road surfaces.

    An enhanced equipment list includes a larger height-adjustable windscreen, hand guards, engine protection bars, wider enduro-style footrests and a stainless steel luggage rack.

    BMW F 850 GS Adventure (2019) Front Side

    Like the regular F 850 GS, the Adventure is powered by an 853 cc, parallel-twin, liquid-cooled engine. 93 bhp (70 kW / 95 PS) and 92 Nm (67 lb/ft) of peak torque are delivered via a six-speed transmission and a chain drive.

    Automatic Stability Control (i.e. traction control) and a choice of ‘Road’ or ‘Rain’ modes are among the standard features. If additional rider aids are desired, then the Dynamic package (which comprises ‘Enduro’ and ‘Enduro Pro’ modes plus ABS Pro and Dynamic Traction Control) and Dynamic Electronic Suspension Adjustment are both cost options.

    The F 850 GS Adventure is being offered in a choice of regular, Exclusive and Rallye colour schemes. UK prices start at £10,600.

    BMW F 850 GS Adventure Exclusive (2019) SideBMW F 850 GS Adventure Rallye (2019) Rear Side

    BMW F 850 GS Adventure (2019) InstrumentsBMW F 850 GS Adventure Rallye (2019) Side

    Related post:
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    A mid-capacity sports bike would certainly fill a gap that currently exists in the Aprilia range. The Concept RS 660, which was unveiled at the EICMA show in Milan, offers a preview of such a model.

    Power is provided by a 660 cc parallel-twin engine. Derived from the company’s existing 1,100 cc V4, this compact unit sits inside a lightweight aluminium frame as a stressed member. Indicative output and performance figures haven’t been revealed yet, though.

    Aprilia Concept RS 660 (2018) Side

    The minimalist bodywork looks suitably attractive. However, it’s worth noting that efficient aerodynamics were another core design objective.

    According to Aprilia, target buyers are likely to be younger riders across Asia, Europe and North America who want to graduate to a more powerful machine. A production version of the RS 660 should appeal as a downsizing proposition, too.

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    Following the recent launches of the R 1250 GS and R 1250 RT, BMW has installed its latest twin-cylinder boxer engine in three other motorcycles. They are the naked R 1250 R, the sporty R 1250 RS and the tough R 1250 GS Adventure.

    BMW R 1250 R (2019) Front Side

    The début of BMW ShiftCam Technology (which varies the valve timing and valve stroke) plus a capacity increase from 1,170 cc to 1,254 cc bring various benefits. For example, power is up by 11 bhp (8 kW / 11 PS) to 134 bhp (100 kW / 136 PS) at 7,750 rpm, while peak torque becomes 143 Nm (105 lb/ft) at 6,250 rpm.

    BMW R 1250 RS (2019) Front Side

    Standard equipment on all of these bikes is fairly generous. The list includes Automatic Stability Control, a couple of riding modes, Hill Start Control and a 6.5” colour TFT display instead of conventional instruments.

    BMW R 1250 GS Adventure (2019) Front Side

    UK starting prices are:
    • R 1250 R – £11,215
    • R 1250 RS – £12,100
    • R 1250 GS Adventure – £14,415
    However, if customers are tempted by the myriad cost options and accessories being offered, then they could end up paying considerably higher amounts.

    Dynamic Electronic Suspension Adjustment and Riding Modes Pro are among the available extras. The latter is a rider aids package that consists of Dynamic Traction Control, ABS Pro, Dynamic Brake Control, Hill Start Control Pro and two additional mode settings.

    Dealers are accepting orders now.

    BMW R 1250 R (2019) InstrumentsBMW R 1250 R (2019) Side

    BMW R 1250 RS (2019) SideBMW R 1250 RS (2019) Instruments

    BMW R 1250 GS Adventure (2019) InstrumentsBMW R 1250 GS Adventure (2019) Side

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    Next year will be very significant for Harley-Davidson. That’s because the LiveWire – its first production pure-electric motorcycle – is due to arrive at selected dealers across North America and Europe during 2019.

    The bike features an aluminium frame which uses the powertrain as a stressed member for extra rigidity. A fully-adjustable Showa suspension set-up comprises an SFF-BP (Separate Function Fork-Big Piston) at the front and a BFRC-lite (Balanced Free Rear Cushion-lite) mono-shock at the rear.

    Harley-Davidson LiveWire (2019) Front Side

    Brembo brake components include Monoblock calipers for the dual front discs. Of course, an anti-lock system is fitted, plus traction control comes as standard too. To help make the most of such technologies, there’s a choice of four fixed and three customisable riding modes.

    Energy is supplied from a lithium-ion battery (or Rechargeable Energy Storage System, in Harley-Davidson parlance) that’s contained within a cast aluminium housing. A permanent-magnet electric motor is joined to a single-speed transmission, so the LiveWire doesn’t have a clutch lever or a gear shifter.

    All of the above sounds rather interesting but, as with any electric vehicle, prospective customers are likely to be most curious about output, range and recharge times. Unfortunately, those crucial details haven’t been announced yet.

    Harley-Davidson LiveWire (2019) SideHarley-Davidson LiveWire (2019) Rear Side Detail

    Harley-Davidson LiveWire (2019) Front Side DetailHarley-Davidson LiveWire (2019) Rear Side

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    Mitsubishi has unveiled an updated version of its L200. The pick-up – which is named Triton in some markets – benefits from several cosmetic and technical enhancements.

    Mitsubishi L200 / Triton Double Cab (2019) FrontMitsubishi L200 / Triton Club Cab (2019) Rear Side

    A restyled front end that follows the brand’s latest ‘Dynamic Shield’ design language is the most obvious alteration. The wheel arches are now more prominent and slightly squared off, plus the rear light clusters are noticeably different too.

    Mitsubishi L200 / Triton Double Cab (2019) DashboardMitsubishi L200 / Triton Single Cab (2019) Front Side

    Chassis upgrades include improved four-wheel drive systems. Customers will have a choice of either three-mode Easy Select 4WD or four-mode Super Select 4WD-II. As well as Hill Descent Control, both options also feature a new Off-road Mode that controls power delivery and braking via Gravel, Mud/Snow, Sand and Rock settings.

    Mitsubishi L200 / Triton Double Cab (2019) SideMitsubishi L200 / Triton Double Cab (2019) Interior

    In addition, the rear dampers are stronger and the front brakes are larger. A better six-speed automatic transmission instead of the previous five-speed gearbox completes the mechanical changes.

    Mitsubishi L200 / Triton Double Cab (2019) Front SideMitsubishi L200 / Triton Double Cab (2019) Rear

    Sales of the revised L200 begin this month in Thailand, where manufacturing takes place. As European launches won’t happen until the end of summer 2019, final UK specifications and prices have yet to be confirmed.

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    Honda has announced prices for its new CR-V Hybrid, which is due to arrive at dealers next February.

    Standard equipment across the range includes air conditioning, Bluetooth, a DAB radio, LED headlights and alloy wheels. All versions also have Honda Sensing, a comprehensive suite of safety technologies that comprises lane keep assist, lane departure warning, road departure mitigation, traffic sign recognition, an intelligent speed limiter, adaptive cruise control and collision mitigation braking.

    Honda CR-V Hybrid (2019) Side

    The SE grade adds parking sensors front and rear, a rear-view camera, dual-zone climate control and the Connect touchscreen infotainment system with Garmin navigation.

    For any customers wanting some extra luxury, the SR boasts leather upholstery, heated front seats, rear privacy glass, blind spot warning and cross traffic monitoring.

    Sitting atop the line-up is the EX. As well as heating for the steering wheel and rear seats, this variant features an opening glass sunroof, a powered tailgate and a head-up display.

    Honda CR-V Hybrid (2019) Front Side

    As can be seen below, the minimum outlay required to purchase a CR-V Hybrid is £29,105. By comparison, the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV – an obvious rival – currently costs between £36,755 and £45,600.

    2019 Honda CR-V Hybrid
    UK on-the-road prices
    Trim grade OTR
    S 2WD £29,105
    SE 2WD £30,965
    SE 4WD £32,065
    SR 2WD £33,445
    SR 4WD £34,545
    EX 4WD £37,255

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    A starting price of £15,499 certainly won’t hinder sales of the fourth-generation Jimny.

    Suzuki is going to offer this all-new model in SZ4 and SZ5 guises. Both variants come with Bluetooth, a CD player, a DAB radio, cruise control, air conditioning and high-beam assist. Hill descent control is also fitted to complement the vehicle’s Allgrip Pro part-time four-wheel drive system.

    Suzuki Jimny (2019) Front Side 1

    Standard safety equipment across the range includes Dual Sensor Brake Support, which can issue alerts, increase braking force or apply autonomous emergency braking if a frontal collision is imminent. A lane departure warning device and six airbags are present too.

    The more expensive SZ5 additionally features LED headlights, 15” alloy wheels and rear privacy glass. Inside, it gains climate control, heated front seats and satellite navigation.

    2019 Suzuki Jimny
    UK on-the-road prices
    Trim grade / transmission OTR
    SZ4 manual £15,499
    SZ5 manual £17,999
    SZ5 automatic £18,999

    As previously confirmed, the Jimny’s powertrain comprises a 1.5 litre, four-cylinder, naturally-aspirated petrol engine that can be mated to either a five-speed manual gearbox or a four-speed automatic transmission.

    Deliveries are due to begin in January 2019.

    Suzuki Jimny (2019) ChassisSuzuki Jimny (2019) Front Side 2

    Suzuki Jimny (2019) Front Side 3Suzuki Jimny (2019) Dashboard

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    Sixty jury members have decided the seven finalists for the 2019 European Car of the Year award. As might be expected, the collection is both diverse and slightly mystifying.

    The Nissan Leaf, Suzuki Jimny and Volvo V60 were among the eminent candidates that didn’t get enough votes to progress, surprisingly. What’s more, German premium brands have apparently fallen out of favour, as five Audi, four BMW and four Mercedes-Benz models also failed to make the cut.

    These are the successful nominees:

    • Alpine A110
    • Citroën C5 Aircross
    • Ford Focus
    • Jaguar I-Pace
    • Kia Ceed
    • Mercedes-Benz A-Class
    • Peugeot 508
    Kia Ceed Hatchback (2018) Front Side
    The Kia Ceed could become the
    2019 European Car of the Year.

    Following a second ballot, the overall winner will be declared on the 4th of March 2019.

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  • 11/28/18--14:52: 2019 NACTOY finalists
  • Organisers of the 2019 North American Car of the Year, Truck of the Year and Utility Vehicle of the Year awards have revealed the three finalists in each category.

    2019 North American Car of the Year

    • Genesis G70
    • Honda Insight
    • Volvo S60 / V60
    Honda could take this title for a second year running, following the Accord’s victory in 2018. However, while the hybrid Insight is undoubtedly a strong contender, trying to predict the jurors’ favourite is fundamentally a waste of time.

    Honda Insight (2019) Front Side
    Honda Insight

    2019 North American Truck of the Year
    • Chevrolet Silverado 1500
    • GMC Sierra 1500
    • Ram 1500
    No surprises here, as there were only three candidates to begin with.

    Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn Edition Crew Cab (2019) Front Side
    Ram 1500

    2019 North American Utility Vehicle of the Year
    • Acura RDX
    • Hyundai Kona
    • Jaguar I-Pace
    The outcome will be fascinating, because three different powertrain philosophies are represented on this list: internal combustion engine only (Acura), internal combustion engine or pure electric (Hyundai) and pure electric only (Jaguar).

    A major upset was the Volvo XC40’s failure to advance to the last stage, especially as it was named 2018 European Car of the Year in March.

    Hyundai Kona Electric (2019) Front Side
    Hyundai Kona Electric

    All of the winners are due to be declared at the North American International Auto Show on the 14th of January 2019.

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    Following last year’s launch of the third-generation Continental GT coupé, Bentley has introduced a drop-top version. The new Continental GT Convertible features a ‘Z-fold’ roof that can be opened or closed in nineteen seconds while travelling at up to 30 mph (50 km/h).

    Customers will have a choice of seven fabric hood colours, one of which is authentic tweed. Furthermore, there’s a range of eight shades for the interior lining.

    Crucially, alfresco motoring need not be limited to when the weather’s balmy. As well as heating for the seats, steering wheel and armrests, the specification includes blown-air neck warmers.

    Bentley Continental GT Convertible (2019) Front Side

    Superb ride quality and decent handling are essential for a car like the GTC. Therefore, air springs and Continuous Damping Control are fitted to help provide the requisite chassis behaviour. That suspension set-up is augmented by Bentley Dynamic Ride, which uses electronic actuators on the anti-roll bars to counteract lateral rolling forces when cornering.

    The sole available engine is currently a 6.0 litre petrol W12. Its 626 bhp (467 kW / 635 PS) and 900 Nm (664 lb/ft) of peak torque are delivered to a variable all-wheel drive system via a dual-clutch eight-speed transmission.

    Performance is impressive, thanks partly to a steel and aluminium body-in-white structure that’s 20 per cent lighter than the previous model’s. The 0-62 mph (100 km/h) sprint takes 3.8 seconds, for example, while the top speed is 207 mph (333 km/h).

    As might be expected, poor efficiency is a downside. According to the WLTP measure – admittedly harsher than the superseded NEDC – the combined cycle fuel economy and CO2 figures are 20.2 mpg (14.0 l/100km) and 317 g/km respectively.

    UK prices start at just over £175k, but that amount could quickly escalate once a few options have been selected. Deliveries are due to begin next spring.

    Bentley Continental GT Convertible (2019) Interior 1Bentley Continental GT Convertible (2019) Side

    Bentley Continental GT Convertible (2019) Rear SideBentley Continental GT Convertible (2019) Interior 2

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  • 12/01/18--14:18: 2020 Kia Soul EV first view
  • One of the most important débuts at this year’s Los Angeles Auto Show was that of the all-new Kia Soul EV.

    Its electric motor produces 201 bhp (150 kW / 204 PS) plus 395 Nm (291 lb/ft) of peak torque, with energy being supplied by a 64 kWh, liquid-cooled, lithium-ion polymer battery pack.

    Kia Soul EV (2020) Front Side

    Those figures all represent massive improvements compared to the superseded model, for which the respective ratings are 109 bhp (81 kW / 110 PS), 285 Nm (210 lb/ft) and 27 kWh.

    Therefore, performance and range should be significantly better. However, because Kia has yet to release that information, we must wait for proof. Recharging times remain unknown too, although a standard Combined Charging System will allow every customer to use DC fast-charge stations.

    Kia Soul EV (2020) DashboardKia Soul EV (2020) Rear Side

    To help manage the balance between efficiency and responsiveness, there’s a choice of Eco, Eco+, Comfort and Sport driving modes. Another key component is four-setting regenerative braking that’s controlled via paddles mounted behind the steering wheel.

    Sales of the 2020 Soul EV are scheduled to begin across Europe and North America during the first half of 2019. Final UK specifications and prices are going to be announced at a later date.

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    Back in 2011, Nissan unveiled the first Leaf Nismo RC, a unique racing adaptation of its pure-electric hatchback. Now there’s a completely new version, which is based on the current model.

    The 2018 car boasts two electric motors and all-wheel drive. Total power and torque are rated at 321 bhp (240 kW / 326 PS) and 640 Nm (472 lb/ft) respectively, figures that result in an impressive 0-62 mph (100 km/h) time of just 3.4 seconds.

    Nissan Leaf Nismo RC 2018 Front Side

    Such performance is also due to a paltry 1,220 kg (2,689 lbs) kerb weight. Indeed, achieving lightness seems to have been a key objective for Nissan, as the structure comprises a carbon fibre monocoque chassis plus bespoke two-door, three-piece bodywork.

    Although a competitive future for the Leaf Nismo RC isn’t envisaged, six examples are going to be built for demonstration purposes around the world.

    Nissan Leaf Nismo RC 2018 RearNissan Leaf Nismo RC 2018 Side

    Nissan Leaf Nismo RC 2018 Rear SideNissan Leaf Nismo RC 2018 Front

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    Almost every hot hatch in the 1980s seemed to feature thin red bumper inserts. That rather retro styling trait has just made a comeback, albeit on an unlikely vehicle: the latest special edition pick-up from Isuzu.

    Named V-Cross, it’s based on the existing D-Max Utah. Other additional components include unique 18” twelve-spoke diamond-cut alloy wheels, a front-mounted camera and a wireless phone charger which sits inside the glove box.

    Isuzu D-Max Utah V-Cross Double Cab (2019) Front Side

    On-the-road prices (excluding VAT) start at £26,199, or £27,199 if an automatic transmission is specified. Only 100 examples of the V-Cross will be available and Isuzu dealers are already accepting orders.

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    Ahead of deliveries beginning next April, Toyota has confirmed prices and specifications for its all-new fifth-generation RAV4.

    There’ll be a choice of Icon, Design, Excel and Dynamic trim grades. All come with LED headlights, rear privacy glass, rear parking sensors and a reversing camera. Among the other key features are a 7” TFT driver information display, a DAB radio and the Touch 2 infotainment system that uses an 8” touchscreen.

    Toyota RAV4 (2019) Front Side

    Also fitted as standard is the Safety Sense suite of technologies. This comprises all-speeds adaptive cruise control (which can operate even in stop-start traffic), pre-collision detection, lane departure warning, road sign recognition and automated emergency calling if a crash occurs.

    The Design variant adds a wheel upgrade from 17” to 18”, satellite navigation, front parking sensors, Smart Entry and a powered tailgate.

    Toyota RAV4 (2019) Dashboard

    Customers wanting more luxury might want to opt for the Excel, as it gains leather upholstery, heated front seats and a heated steering wheel. A blind spot monitor and rear cross-traffic alert are part of the enhanced package, too.

    Alternatively, the range-topping Dynamic has a more purposeful appearance courtesy of black 18” wheels and two-tone metallic paint. Inside, a black headlining and heated front sports seats continue the theme.

    Toyota RAV4 (2019) Interior

    Significantly, every 2019 RAV4 offered in the UK is going to be a self-charging hybrid. The set-up consists of a 2.5 litre, four-cylinder, petrol engine together with an electric motor unit, a nickel metal-hydride battery and a continuously-variable automatic transmission.

    Hybrid AWD-i is available for every equipment level (apart from Icon). This all-wheel drive system sends torque to the rear axle as required, plus it has a Trail mode for rougher terrain.

    Toyota RAV4 (2019) Rear Side

    Toyota dealers are accepting RAV4 orders now.

    2019 Toyota RAV4
    UK on-the-road prices
    Trim grade OTR
    Icon front-wheel drive £29,635
    Design front-wheel drive £31,190
    Design AWD-i £33,430
    Excel front-wheel drive £33,610
    Excel AWD-i £35,850
    Dynamic front-wheel drive £34,400
    Dynamic AWD-i £36,640

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  • 12/06/18--15:53: 2019 Škoda Scala first view
  • Škoda’s all-new C-segment hatchback might steal sales from a few other Volkswagen Group products. The Scala– which replaces the Rapid in the Czech brand’s range – is actually 104 mm (4.1”) longer than a Volkswagen Golf, for instance, plus it could offer much better value for money.

    Certainly, the styling won’t harm the Scala’s prospects. Neat proportions and considered design details easily identify the car as a Škoda. For an even more distinctive appearance, the Emotion package adds extended rear glazing and a panoramic sunroof.

    Skoda Scala (2019) Front

    Inside, the focus is on technology and connectivity, although soft-touch surfaces and ambient lighting help to ensure that the cabin doesn’t have a budget feel.

    The dashboard is dominated by a high-mounted infotainment touchscreen which varies in size from 6.5” to 9.2”. Thanks to a built-in eSIM with 4G LTE capability, a Scala is permanently online. Consequently, additional apps are downloadable from the Škoda InCar Shop, existing software updates automatically and, in the event of an accident, the Emergency Call function would be activated.

    A Škoda Connect app for mobile phones and smartwatches has been developed too. As well as allowing the vehicle’s status to be accessed remotely, this is able to provide position details and operate the door locks. Notifications can also be sent by the Scala if predefined parameters such as speed or location area are breached.

    Advanced safety devices are likely to be among the various key selling points. Unsurprisingly, Škoda hasn’t neglected this aspect, so Front Assist (comprising Predictive Pedestrian Protection and City Emergency Braking) and Lane Assist are both on the standard equipment list.

    A comprehensive selection of cost options further signifies the Scala’s rather upmarket aspirations. Available items include Sport Chassis Control (with ‘Normal’ and ‘Sport’ settings), a 10.25” Virtual Cockpit display, Adaptive Cruise Control, Side Assist enhanced blind spot detection and Park Assist.

    The absence of a hybrid powertrain means that the engine line-up is very conventional. Nevertheless, the petrol and diesel units are all turbocharged and some follow the current trend for downsizing. There’s also a natural gas alternative for selected markets:
    • 93 bhp (70 kW / 95 PS) 1.0 litre TSI 3-cylinder petrol, with a 5-speed manual gearbox
    • 113 bhp (85 kW / 115 PS) 1.0 litre TSI 3-cylinder petrol, with a 6-speed manual gearbox or a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission
    • 147 bhp (110 kW / 150 PS) 1.5 litre TSI 4-cylinder petrol, with a 6-speed manual gearbox or a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission
    • 113 bhp (85 kW / 115 PS) 1.6 litre TDI 4-cylinder diesel, with a 6-speed manual gearbox or a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission
    • 88 bhp (66 kW / 90 PS) 1.0 litre G-TEC 3-cylinder natural gas, with a 6-speed manual gearbox
    Škoda Scala deliveries are scheduled to begin during the first half of 2019.

    Skoda Scala (2019) Rear SideSkoda Scala (2019) Dashboard

    Skoda Scala (2019) InteriorSkoda Scala (2019) Side

    Skoda Scala (2019) Front SideSkoda Scala (2019) Rear

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    Public reaction to the prototype Nissan GT-R50 by Italdesign must have been overwhelmingly favourable, because now a limited production run is happening.

    The dramatic styling remains virtually unchanged. Customers can choose their own exterior and interior colour schemes though, so they won’t be restricted to the grey, gold and black palette of the original.

    Nissan GT-R50 by Italdesign (2019) Front Side

    Just fifty examples are going to be available. As the GT-R50 was conceived to celebrate the fiftieth anniversaries of Italdesign in 2018 and the GT-R nameplate in 2019, that’s a fitting number.

    It also represents a tiny volume, but demand shouldn’t outstrip supply by much thanks to one critical factor: the pre-tax starting price is an astonishing €990,000 (approximately £886,500 or US$1,130,200 at current exchange rates).

    For those people who aren’t fazed by such an amount, Nissan has set up a dedicated website to handle sales. Orders are due to be fulfilled during 2019 and 2020.

    Nissan GT-R50 by Italdesign (2019) InteriorNissan GT-R50 by Italdesign (2019) Rear Side

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    Renault has confirmed prices and specifications for the updated Kadjar, which is due to arrive at dealers in February 2019.

    As part of its subtle mid-life facelift, this compact SUV gains redesigned bumpers, a broader front grille, full LED rear light clusters and, on some models, LED headlights.

    Renault Kadjar (2019) Front Side

    Inside, the changes include more supportive seats, bigger door bins and a better quality feel for many of the touch points. In particular, the air conditioning, electric window and door mirror switches have all been refreshed.

    The adoption of Renault’s ‘EasyLife’ philosophy has resulted in a slightly simplified trim grade structure. Consequently, customers will be able to choose from Play, Iconic, S-Edition and GT Line variants.

    Renault Kadjar (2019) RearRenault Kadjar (2019) Dashboard

    Standard equipment highlights across the line-up are:
    • Play– 17” alloy wheels, automatic lights and wipers, a 7” colour infotainment touchscreen, cruise control, automatic climate control and rear parking sensors.
    • Iconic– As Play plus 19” alloy wheels, hands-free door lock operation, a DAB radio, satellite navigation, front parking sensors and a reversing camera.
    • S-Edition– As Iconic plus LED headlights and a panoramic sunroof.
    • GT Line– As S-edition plus blind spot warning, leather upholstery, heated front seats, puddle lamps and a 360º camera array.
    Renault Kadjar (2019) SideRenault Kadjar (2019) Front

    In terms of engines, the big news is the introduction of two 1.3 litre, four-cylinder, turbocharged petrol units that were developed in collaboration with Daimler. A couple of turbo-diesel options are the alternatives.

    Petrol engines TCe 140 TCe 160
    Capacity 1,332 cc 1,332 cc
    Transmission 6-speed manual 7-speed EDC automatic 6-speed manual
    Drive 2WD 2WD 2WD
    Power 138 bhp
    (103 kW / 140 PS)
    157 bhp
    (117 kW / 160 PS)
    Torque 240 Nm
    (177 lb/ft)
    260 Nm
    (191 lb/ft)
    Combined cycle* 47.9 mpg
    (5.9 l/100km)
    51.3 mpg
    (5.5 l/100km)
    47.9 mpg
    (5.9 l/100km)
    0-62 mph
    (100 km/h)
    10.4 secs 9.6 secs 9.9 secs
    Top speed 126 mph
    (203 km/h)
    126 mph
    (203 km/h)
    130 mph
    (210 km/h)
    Diesel engines Blue dCi 115 Blue dCi 150
    Capacity 1,461 cc 1,749 cc
    Transmission 6-speed manual 7-speed EDC automatic 6-speed manual
    Drive 2WD 2WD 2WD or 4WD
    Power 113 bhp
    (85 kW / 115 PS)
    148 bhp
    (110 kW / 150 PS)
    Torque 260 Nm
    (191 lb/ft)
    340 Nm
    (250 lb/ft)
    Combined cycle* 65.7 mpg
    (4.3 l/100km)
    67.2 mpg
    (4.2 l/100km)
    0-62 mph
    (100 km/h)
    11.7 secs 11.5 secs TBC
    Top speed 117 mph
    (189 km/h)
    117 mph
    (189 km/h)
    *Equivalent NEDC values derived from WLTP figures.

    Starting prices range from £20,595 to just under £30k.

    2019 Renault Kadjar
    UK on-the-road prices
    Trim grade and powertrain OTR
    Play TCe 140 £20,595
    Play TCe 140 EDC Auto £22,095
    Play Blue dCi 115 £22,495
    Play Blue dCi 115 EDC Auto £23,995
    Iconic TCe 140 £22,095
    Iconic TCe 140 EDC Auto £23,595
    Iconic TCe 160 £22,895
    Iconic Blue dCi 115 £23,995
    Iconic Blue dCi 115 EDC Auto £25,495
    S-Edition TCe 140 £23,595
    S-Edition TCe 140 EDC Auto £25,095
    S-Edition TCe 160 £24,395
    S-Edition Blue dCi 115 £25,495
    S-Edition Blue dCi 115 EDC Auto £26,995
    GT Line TCe 140 £25,095
    GT Line TCe 140 EDC Auto £25,895
    GT Line TCe 160 £26,595
    GT Line Blue dCi 115 £26,995
    GT Line Blue dCi 115 EDC Auto £28,495
    GT Line Blue dCi 150 £27,995
    GT Line Blue dCi 150 4WD £29,995

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    McLaren has launched the latest member of its Super Series range. The 720S Spider – which is available to order now – features a carbon fibre Retractable Hard Top that can be electrically raised or lowered in just 11 seconds.

    Crucially, the Monocage II-S carbon fibre body structure hasn’t required any additional strengthening in the transition from Coupé to Spider. The convertible car’s weight penalty is therefore a mere 49 kilogrammes (108 lbs).

    McLaren 720S Spider (2019) Side 1

    McLaren 720S Spider (2019) Side 2

    Other elements unique to the Spider include glazed flying buttresses for better all-round visibility, an opening back window and a set of bespoke 19” front / 20” rear forged alloy wheels that can be shod with either Pirelli P Zero or P Zero Corsa tyres. Furthermore, the behaviour of the recalibrated active rear spoiler depends on the RHT’s position.

    Thanks to the familiar 710 bhp (537 kW / 720 PS) 4.0 litre twin-turbo V8 engine and seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, pace certainly isn’t lacking. Indeed, the 0-62 mph (100 km/h) time of 2.9 seconds equals the Coupé’s, while 202 mph (325 km/h) is possible with the roof down. That figure increases to 212 mph (341 km/h) when everything’s closed.

    The 720S Spider is being offered in standard, Luxury and Performance guises. UK prices start at £237,000 and deliveries are due to begin in March 2019.

    McLaren 720S Spider (2019) Front SideMcLaren 720S Spider (2019) Interior

    McLaren 720S Spider (2019) TopMcLaren 720S Spider (2019) Rear Side

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    McLaren Special Operations has designed some bespoke examples of the 570S Coupé and Spider for McLaren’s dealer in Beverly Hills. The collection, which has a ‘Racing Through the Ages’ theme, comprises three different colour schemes.

    All of the sextet benefit from gloss black ten-spoke lightweight forged wheels, the MSO Defined Black Pack, an MSO Defined Titanium SuperSports Exhaust and an MSO rear wing. A GT4 stripe appears on the outside and on the seat backrests, plus the cabins have unique plaques.

    The ‘Muriwai’ 570S Coupé and Spider are distinguished by their MSO Defined Muriwai White paintwork. With a pale blue tinge, this shade is intended to evoke Muriwai Beach in New Zealand, the place where Bruce McLaren competed in his first motorsport event.

    McLaren 570S Spider ‘Muriwai’ (2019) Front Side and 570S Coupé ‘Muriwai’ (2019) Rear Side

    McLaren racers of the 1960s and 1970s were the inspiration for the ‘Papaya Spark’ duo. Of course, the same vivid hue currently adorns the company’s Formula One cars.

    McLaren 570S Coupé ‘Papaya Spark’ (2019) Rear Side and 570S Spider ‘Papaya Spark’ (2019) Front Side

    Completing the line-up are the ‘Sarthe Grey’ versions. They commemorate the McLaren F1 GTR that won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1995.

    McLaren 570S Coupé ‘Sarthe Grey’ (2019) Front Side and 570S Spider ‘Sarthe Grey’ (2019) Rear Side

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    In February, Seat announced that Cupra (originally a trim grade for sportier vehicles) would become a standalone brand. It was a bewildering move for a couple of reasons.

    Firstly, leaving Seat without any halo models raises an obvious question: what’s the point of Seat now? Certainly, any ambitions to be regarded as a Spanish equivalent of Alfa Romeo seem to have been entirely abandoned. There’s a very real risk that future car buyers could look elsewhere because Seat is perceived as either anonymous or non-aspirational.

    Secondly, establishing a separate marque is going to take time and a concerted marketing effort. Most non-enthusiasts have probably never heard of Cupra. To make matters worse, they’ll only be confused by the ‘Seat but not a Seat’ situation (assuming that there’s not total disinterest, of course).

    Selecting the Ateca compact crossover to be Cupra’s first production offering is, at first glance, further evidence of a puzzling strategy. Launching a hot hatch based on either the Ibiza or Leon might have been a more prudent move. However, the Ateca represents a growing market segment, so perhaps such a decision was actually quite clever.

    Cupra Ateca (2019) Front Side

    Unique bumpers, LED headlights, a honeycomb grille, 19” diamond-cut alloy wheels and four exhaust pipes identify the Cupra Ateca. Inside, the specification includes front sports seats, Alcantara upholstery, an 8” infotainment touchscreen and a bespoke TFT cockpit display.

    Cupra Ateca (2019) Dashboard

    While looking the part is important for showroom appeal, decent performance is a key prerequisite too. Fortunately, the latter hasn’t been forgotten.

    A 2.0 litre, four-cylinder, turbocharged petrol engine produces an impressive 295 bhp (221 kW / 300 PS) plus 400 Nm (295 lb/ft) of peak torque. That output is delivered to all four wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

    Consequently, the 0-62 mph (100 km/h) sprint takes just 5.2 seconds and a 153 mph (246 km/h) top speed is possible. 38.2 mpg (7.4 l/100km) and CO2 emissions of 168 g/km (according to the NEDC combined measure) suggest fairly poor efficiency, though.

    Cupra Ateca (2019) Rear Side

    On-the-road prices for the Cupra Ateca start at £35,900, with deliveries expected to commence during the first quarter of 2019. The £3,345 Design and £1,930 Comfort and Sound packages are among the available cost options.

    In the UK, twenty-five Seat dealers have been appointed to handle Cupra sales.