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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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    Jeep has published prices for its 2019 model-year Renegade, which benefits from an updated engine line-up and a subtle facelift.

    Unfortunately, inflationary effects are evident, but the range has been simplified. Whereas before twenty-two variants cost between £18,500 and £30,450, now there’s a choice of twelve that start at £19,200 and go up to £30,805.

    Jeep Renegade (2019) Front Side

    Three petrol and three diesel units – all turbocharged – are available:
    • 118 bhp (88 kW / 120 PS), 1.0 litre, three-cylinder, petrol
    • 147 bhp (110 kW / 150 PS), 1.3 litre, four-cylinder, petrol
    • 177 bhp (132 kW / 180 PS), 1.3 litre, four-cylinder, petrol
    • 118 bhp (88 kW / 120 PS), 1.6 litre, four-cylinder, diesel
    • 138 bhp (103 kW / 140 PS), 2.0 litre, four-cylinder, diesel
    • 167 bhp (125 kW / 170 PS), 2.0 litre, four-cylinder, diesel
    They can be variously combined with a six-speed manual gearbox, a six-speed dual dry clutch transmission (DDCT) or a nine-speed automatic transmission. Most examples of Jeep’s revised B-segment SUV are likely to be front-wheel drive, but some will feature a 4x4 system instead.

    Jeep Renegade (2019) Rear Side

    Deliveries of the 2019 Renegade are due to begin in September.

    2019 Jeep Renegade – UK OTR prices
    Trim grade Engine Transmission Price
    Sport 1.0 120 PS petrol Manual 4x2 £19,200
    Longitude 1.0 120 PS petrol Manual 4x2 £21,700
    Longitude 1.3 150 PS petrol DDCT 4x2 £23,900
    Longitude 1.6 120 PS diesel Manual 4x2 £23,200
    Longitude 1.6 120 PS diesel DDCT 4x2 £24,600
    Limited 1.0 120 PS petrol Manual 4x2 £24,400
    Limited 1.3 150 PS petrol DDCT 4x2 £26,600
    Limited 1.6 120 PS diesel Manual 4x2 £25,900
    Limited 1.6 120 PS diesel DDCT 4x2 £27,300
    Limited 2.0 140 PS diesel Manual 4x4 £28,200
    Limited 2.0 140 PS diesel Automatic 4x4 £29,900
    Trailhawk 2.0 170 PS diesel Automatic Low 4x4 £30,805

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    Eight rounds will comprise the 2019-2020 World Endurance Championship, if just-announced plans are approved by the FIA World Motor Sport Council.

    The revised schedule – which includes the return of events in Bahrain and São Paulo – has the 24 Hours of Le Mans as its finale. Other changes see the Silverstone and Shanghai races reduced from six to four hours in duration.

    WEC Provisional Calendar 2019-2020 Graphic

    Commenting on the proposals, Gérard Neveu (CEO of the WEC) said, “Our fans spoke, we listened and have reacted. Naturally we have had a period of consultation with our partners and competitors, and we believe that this new calendar will meet their expectations and requirements as well as please the fans who are so important to us all. Our aim is to introduce an additional round to the 2020-2021 calendar so that there is more or less an event every month to help maintain interest.”

    2019-2020 FIA World Endurance
    Championship - provisional calendar
    Round Date Race
    1 01 September 2019 4 Hours of Silverstone, Great Britain
    2 13 October 2019 6 Hours of Fuji, Japan
    3 17 November 2019 4 Hours of Shanghai, China
    4 14 December 2019 8 Hours of Bahrain, Bahrain
    5 01 February 2020 6 Hours of São Paulo, Brazil
    6 XX March 2020 1000 Miles of Sebring (8 hours), USA*
    7 03 May 2020 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium
    8 13-14 June 2020 24 Hours of Le Mans, France
    * To be confirmed.


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    Seven years have passed since the MG3 first appeared, so an update was needed. The most visible changes are the redesigned front end – which now resembles the ZS crossover – and a spruced-up interior.

    MG 3 (2019 European Spec) Front Side

    However, in the absence of any significant mechanical upgrades, power still comes from a 105 bhp (78 kW / 106 PS) 1.5 litre petrol engine. While this naturally-aspirated, four-cylinder unit will probably be adequate for most target customers, it’s worth remembering that many competitor models have already switched to three cylinders and turbochargers for better efficiency.

    MG 3 (2019 European Spec) Interior

    As befits a budget brand, one of the Chinese-built supermini’s key strengths is value for money (at least in terms of initial purchase cost). Prices start at just £9,495 for the entry-level Explore trim grade, for instance. Alternatively, the Excite and Exclusive versions are listed at £11,395 and £12,795 respectively.

    MG 3 (2019 European Spec) Rear Side

    An extension of the standard warranty period to seven years / 80,000 miles should also help to tempt buyers. Furthermore, MG is currently offering a five-year, zero-deposit, 0% APR finance deal.

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    Following the Ranger Raptor’s recent launch in the Asia Pacific region, Ford has announced that its high-performance pick-up will soon be available across Europe too.

    As previously disclosed, power is provided by a 2.0 litre bi-turbo diesel engine. This four-cylinder unit delivers 210 bhp (157 kW / 213 PS) and 500 Nm (368 lb/ft) of peak torque to all four wheels via a ten-speed automatic transmission. Acceleration and efficiency figures have yet to be released, though.

    Ford Ranger Raptor Double Cab (2019) Front

    Driving modes are selected via the Terrain Management System. ‘Normal’ and ‘Sport’ cover on-road use, while for other surfaces there are ‘Grass / Gravel / Snow’, ‘Mud / Sand’, ‘Rock’ and ‘Baja’ settings.

    Other key features include a stronger chassis engineered by Ford Performance to accommodate a unique suspension set-up. Among the upgrades are Fox Racing Shox dampers that incorporate Position Sensitive Damping and Internal Bypass technologies. Also fitted are a Watt’s linkage arrangement and coilovers for the solid rear axle.

    European deliveries of the Ranger Raptor are due to begin during summer 2019.

    Ford Ranger Raptor Double Cab (2019) Front SideFord Ranger Raptor Double Cab (2019) Dashboard

    Ford Ranger Raptor Double Cab (2019) InteriorFord Ranger Raptor Double Cab (2019) Rear Side

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    This weekend’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance will see the début of a unique car. As its name indicates, the ‘McLaren 600LT in Stealth Grey by MSO’ has been produced by McLaren Special Operations and grey paintwork is one key feature.

    McLaren 600LT in Stealth Grey by MSO (2019) Front Side

    In addition, various components from the MSO Defined and MSO Bespoke options lists are fitted. They include a functional roof-mounted air intake, some gloss black ten-spoke forged alloy wheels and all three 600LT Carbon Fibre Upgrade packages.

    McLaren 600LT in Stealth Grey by MSO (2019) Rear Side

    Super-Lightweight Carbon Fibre Racing Seats – as used in the McLaren Senna – are the most obvious interior enhancement. They’re complemented by six-point harnesses, a harness bar and numerous carbon fibre trim pieces. A twelve-speaker audio system and embroidery on the head restraints complete the changes.

    McLaren 600LT in Stealth Grey by MSO (2019) Interior

    In the absence of any engine modifications, output from the 3.8 litre twin-turbo V8 is the usual 592 bhp (441 kW / 600 PS).

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    Just fifty examples of Suzuki’s latest limited edition are going to be available. Based on the GSX-R1000R, it’s a tribute to the Buildbase Suzuki Team bikes that currently race in the British Superbike Championship.

    Suzuki GSX-R1000R Buildbase BSB Replica (2018) Front Side

    As well as a special colour scheme, the specification includes a Yoshimura R11 SQ exhaust, mirror blanks (for track use) and a numbered fuel tank.

    A double-bubble windscreen, lever guards, engine case protectors and a pillion seat cowl are among the Suzuki accessories that are fitted too. A garage mat, a paddock stand, a bike cover and an Ogio kit bag complete the package.

    Suzuki GSX-R1000R Buildbase BSB Replica (2018) Rear Side

    There’s a considerable premium to be paid for the enhancements, though. Whereas a regular GSX-R1000R costs £16,299 (plus first registration fee and vehicle excise duty), the Buildbase BSB replica’s price is £19,999.

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  • 08/26/18--12:58: 2019 Honda NSX announced
  • Unless the owner has opted for the newly-available Thermal Orange Pearlescent paintwork, then identifying a 2019 NSX might be tricky. Indeed, the main visual difference compared to its predecessor concerns the front grille’s upper bar, which is now body-coloured rather than chrome.

    However, changes beneath the skin are more significant.

    Honda NSX (2019) Front Side

    To improve driving dynamics and responsiveness, thicker anti-roll bars, stiffer rear bushings and recalibrated magnetorheological dampers have been fitted. In addition, a switch to specially-developed Continental SportContact 6 tyres means that grip should be better in both wet and dry conditions.

    Honda NSX (2019) Rear Side

    Powertrain alterations are limited to modified fuel injectors, the installation of a particulate filter and a software update for the hybrid system. Honda hasn’t mentioned any output or torque increases, so the figures are probably still 573 bhp (427 kW / 581 PS) and 645 Nm (476 lb/ft) respectively.

    UK deliveries of the 2019 NSX are due to commence early next year.

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    This year’s Düsseldorf Caravan Salon is the first since the third-generation Mercedes-Benz Sprinter was introduced. Unsurprisingly, a few new campers based on that particular van have appeared at the 2018 show and, understandably, they’re receiving plenty of attention.

    One of them is the latest Hymercar Grand Canyon S, which is available now in rear-wheel drive guise with a choice of three engines. However, anybody who needs some all-terrain ability might want to wait, because a 4x4 version is due to arrive next summer.

    Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 4x4 Hymercar Grand Canyon S Prototype (2019) Front Side 1

    The interior layout is very conventional. Rotating cab seats form a half-dinette with the rear bench, while the mid section is occupied by a kitchenette on one side and a small wash room on the other. At the back of the van, there’s a transverse double bed (with conspicuous bulges built into the bodywork to provide sufficient length) above a storage area.

    Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 4x4 Hymercar Grand Canyon S Prototype (2019) Rear SideMercedes-Benz Sprinter 4x4 Hymercar Grand Canyon S Prototype (2019) Interior

    Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 4x4 Hymercar Grand Canyon S Prototype (2019) Front Side 2Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 4x4 Hymercar Grand Canyon S Prototype (2019) Side

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    When deliveries of the Volkswagen Grand California camper van begin early next year, customers will get to choose between two different versions.

    The Grand California 600 is based on the medium-wheelbase Crafter that measures 5,986 mm (19’ 8”) from bumper to bumper. A notable feature is the unique high-top roof, which has a distinctive peak over the windscreen. This can accommodate an optional children’s bunk above the dinette, in addition to the main 1,950 mm x 1,400 mm (6’ 5” x 4’ 7”) transverse double bed in the rear.

    Volkswagen Grand California 600 (2019) Rear Side

    Alternatively, the Grand California 680 is a converted 6,836 mm (22’ 5”) long-wheelbase Crafter with a regular super-high roof. The extra interior space allows the bed to be mounted longitudinally, mattress size increases to 2,000 mm x 1,700 mm (6’ 7” x 5’ 7”) and there’s more storage capacity underneath.

    Volkswagen Grand California 680 (2019) Side

    Both variants are otherwise very similar.

    The habitation area has a bright ambience thanks to white furniture and a pair of skylights. For convenience and practicality, the numerous windows are equipped with integrated fly screens and cassette blinds.

    Kitchen facilities are fairly basic, as they comprise a two-burner gas hob, a sink and a drawer-type fridge-freezer with a capacity of seventy litres. Anybody requiring an oven, a grill or a microwave is going to be disappointed.

    With a generous floor area of 840 mm x 800 mm (2’ 9” x 2’ 7”), the wash room incorporates a toilet, a shower and a flip-up basin. In other words, all the amenities expected of this type of vehicle are provided.

    The Grand California costs from €55,000 in Germany. Volkswagen has yet to announce UK prices, though.

    Volkswagen Grand California 600 (2019) Front SideVolkswagen Grand California 600 (2019) Interior

    Volkswagen Grand California 600 (2019) Children's BunkVolkswagen Grand California 600 (2019) Double Bed

    Volkswagen Grand California 600 (2019) KitchenetteVolkswagen Grand California 680 (2019) Front Side

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    For its latest special edition pick-up, Nissan has taken inspiration from 2016’s EnGuard Concept. The Navara N-Guard – which is based on the existing Tekna Double Cab trim grade – is a lot less extreme, though.

    Available with a choice of Metallic Black, Twilight Grey or Storm White paintwork, the N-Guard gains some unique body graphics. They’re complemented by a black finish for the grille, wheels, side steps, door handles, mirror caps, roof rails and rear bumper.

    Nissan Navara N-Guard Double Cab (2018) Front Side 1

    Inside, there’s leather and cloth upholstery and a set of bespoke floor mats. A dark grey and yellow colour scheme adds some visual interest.

    Extra equipment comprises a tinted-glass sunroof and headlight washers. However, a rear differential lock remains on the options list.

    Nissan Navara N-Guard Double Cab (2018) SideNissan Navara N-Guard Double Cab (2018) Front Side 2

    Prices for the Navara N-Guard start at £28,075 (excluding VAT) if the 2.3 litre diesel engine is paired with a six-speed manual gearbox. Opting for a seven-speed automatic transmission instead increases the required outlay to £29,525.

    By comparison, a regular Navara Tekna costs from £26,863, so prospective customers will need to decide whether or not the enhancements are worth the premium being charged by Nissan.

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    In terms of the number of races and circuits visited, the 2019 FIA Formula One World Championship is due to look almost identical to this year’s. Indeed, the only change to the running order concerns the events in the USA and Mexico, which have swapped places.

    However, the season’s duration will be longer, as it’s timetabled to start a week earlier and finish a week later. That’s going to avoid the situation seen in 2018 where the French, Austrian and British rounds were held on three consecutive weekends.

    Formula 1 Logo

    As the plans have yet to be ratified by the FIA World Motor Sport Council, there could be some amendments before a final schedule is published.

    2019 FIA Formula 1 World Championship – Provisional Calendar
    Round Date Grand Prix
    1 17 March Melbourne, Australia
    2 31 March Sakhir, Bahrain
    3 14 April Shanghai, China
    4 28 April Baku, Azerbaijan
    5 12 May Barcelona, Spain
    6 26 May Monte Carlo, Monaco
    7 09 June Montreal, Canada
    8 23 June Le Castellet, France
    9 30 June Spielberg, Austria
    10 14 July Silverstone, Great Britain
    11 28 July Hockenheim, Germany
    12 04 August Budapest, Hungary
    13 01 September Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium
    14 08 September Monza, Italy
    15 22 September Marina Bay, Singapore
    16 29 September Sochi, Russia
    17 13 October Suzuka, Japan
    18 27 October Mexico City, Mexico
    19 03 November Austin, USA
    20 17 November São Paulo, Brazil
    21 01 December Yas Marina, Abu Dhabi

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    Jeep unveiled a revised Renegade a few months ago, so similar changes to the closely-related Fiat 500X were expected.

    Fiat 500X (2019) Front Side 1Fiat 500X (2019) Rear Side 1

    The upgrades focus on a new engine line-up. Significantly, it does not feature a diesel option:
    • 109 bhp (81 kW / 110 PS), 1.6 litre, four-cylinder, petrol
    • 118 bhp (88 kW / 120 PS), 1.0 litre, three-cylinder, turbocharged, petrol
    • 147 bhp (110 kW / 150 PS), 1.3 litre, four-cylinder, turbocharged, petrol
    While the 500X hasn’t really received a proper styling facelift, the lights and bumpers are different. Furthermore, the interior gains a nicer multi-function steering wheel, clearer instruments and a 3.5” TFT display.

    Fiat 500X (2019) InteriorFiat 500X (2019) Dashboard

    Equipment fitted to the entry-level Urban trim grade includes 16” alloy wheels, manual air conditioning and a Uconnect infotainment system that’s operated via a 7” touchscreen. Cruise control, Traffic Sign Recognition, Intelligent Speed Assist and Lane Assist all come as standard, too.

    Moving up, the City Cross adds protective skid plates, front fog lights, 17” wheels, rear parking sensors and dual-zone climate control.

    Fiat 500X (2019) Rear Side 2Fiat 500X (2019) Front Side 2

    The Cross Plus is the range-topper. This variant boasts LED headlights with a dusk sensor, 18” wheels, roof bars, rear privacy glass, a rear parking camera and TomTom satellite navigation.

    2019 Fiat 500X – UK OTR prices
    Trim grade Engine Transmission Price
    Urban 1.6 110 PS Five-speed manual, front-wheel drive £16,995
    City Cross 1.0 120 PS Six-speed manual, front-wheel drive £18,995
    City Cross 1.3 150 PS Six-speed DCT automatic, front-wheel drive £21,195
    Cross Plus 1.0 120 PS Six-speed manual, front-wheel drive £20,995
    Cross Plus 1.3 150 PS Six-speed DCT automatic, front-wheel drive £23,195

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    In reality not much is different, but Abarth is calling the 2019 595 range “new” nevertheless. As before, power comes from a 1.4 litre turbocharged engine, but this four-cylinder petrol unit now complies with the latest Euro 6D-Temp emissions regulations.

    Output still depends on the trim grade selected. An entry-level 595 is rated at 143 bhp (106 kW / 145 PS), the Trofeo has 158 bhp (118 kW / 160 PS) and the Turismo boasts 162 bhp (121 kW / 165 PS). If extra performance potential is required, then there’s the 177 bhp (132 kW / 180 PS) Competizione.

    All feature a five-speed manual gearbox, but the Turismo and Competizione can be equipped with the MTA robotised sequential transmission instead.

    Abarth 595 Competizione (2019) Front Side

    In terms of specification changes, an Urban Pack (comprising parking sensors plus automatic lights and wipers) becomes standard on the Turismo. This variant is also available with Asphalt Grey paintwork for the first time.

    Another additional colour is Adrenaline Green, which is being offered on the Trofeo and Competizione only. Furthermore, the Record Monza exhaust fitted to these two models gains an ‘active valve’ that alters the engine note when in Sport mode.

    Abarth’s UK dealers are accepting orders for the hardly updated 595 now.

    2019 Abarth 595 – UK OTR prices
    Model Powertrain Price
    595 1.4 T-Jet 145 PS £15,690
    595C 1.4 T-Jet 145 PS £17,690
    595 Trofeo 1.4 T-Jet 160 PS £18,480
    595C Trofeo 1.4 T-Jet 160 PS £20,480
    595 Turismo 1.4 T-Jet 165 PS £19,180
    595 Turismo 1.4 T-Jet 165 PS MTA £20,530
    595C Turismo 1.4 T-Jet 165 PS £21,180
    595C Turismo 1.4 T-Jet 165 PS MTA £22,530
    595 Competizione 1.4 T-Jet 180 PS £21,280
    595 Competizione 1.4 T-Jet 180 PS MTA £22,630
    595C Competizione 1.4 T-Jet 180 PS £23,280
    595C Competizione 1.4 T-Jet 180 PS MTA £24,630

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    Toyota’s next C-segment contender – which will be launched early next year – isn’t going to be called Auris. Instead, the Corolla nameplate is returning to Europe. This is in recognition of the model’s Toyota New Global Architecture underpinnings.

    As well as a five-door hatchback version, a Touring Sports estate has been developed. Its wheelbase of 2,700 mm (106.3”) is claimed to benefit rear legroom, while load space capacity is 598 litres according to the VDA method.

    Toyota Corolla Touring Sports (2019) Front SideToyota Corolla Touring Sports (2019) Interior

    Although practicality is certainly an important factor for buyers of this sort of car, a decent driving experience is also being promised thanks to a low centre of gravity and rear multi-link suspension. If required, an available adaptive variable damping system should further improve the handling.

    In accordance with Toyota’s current strategy, the powertrain line-up comprises a 114 bhp (85 kW / 115 PS) 1.2 litre turbocharged petrol unit, a 120 bhp (90 kW / 122 PS) 1.8 litre petrol-electric hybrid and a 178 bhp (132 kW / 180 PS) 2.0 litre petrol-electric hybrid. Strangely, both hybrids are purely self-charging, so they can’t use plug-in facilities. There won’t be a diesel option.

    Toyota Corolla Touring Sports (2019) Load SpaceToyota Corolla Touring Sports (2019) Rear Side

    The Corolla Touring Sports is due to appear in public for the first time at next month’s Paris Motor Show.

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  • 09/07/18--13:28: BMW X2 M35i unveiled
  • “Sportiness coupled with a polarising appearance” is BMW’s frank description of its new X2 M35i.

    As befits an M Performance variant, this particular ‘sports activity coupé’ is undoubtedly a quick car. The 0-62 mph (100 km/h) sprint takes just 4.9 seconds, for instance.

    BMW X2 M35i (2019) Front Side

    Such pace is the result of installing a 2.0 litre, four-cylinder, turbocharged petrol engine that produces 302 bhp (225 kW / 306 PS) with 450 Nm (332 lb/ft) of peak torque. The transmission comprises a specially-calibrated eight-speed automatic gearbox and an all-wheel drive system.

    Chassis upgrades include stiffer springs and dampers, an M Sport Differential for the front axle, a redesigned rear axle, larger brake discs and more responsive steering. In addition, two-mode adaptive suspension will be available as a cost option.

    Unique bumpers, lightweight 19” alloy wheels, twin exhaust pipes, a rear spoiler and the use of Cerium Grey for various trim elements distinguish the X3 M35i.

    European market launches are scheduled for March 2019. However, UK pricing and final specifications have yet to be confirmed.

    BMW X2 M35i (2019) DashboardBMW X2 M35i (2019) Side

    BMW X2 M35i (2019) Rear SideBMW X2 M35i (2019) Interior

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    Chevrolet has collaborated with American Expedition Vehicles to create the Bison, a more extreme version of its Colorado ZR2 mid-size pick-up.

    The additional components focus on providing more protection for the truck when traversing rough terrain. Accordingly, Boron steel skid plates shield the oil sump, front differential, transfer case, fuel tank and rear differential.

    Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison Crew Cab (2019 North American Spec) Front Side

    Tougher pressed steel bumpers are fitted too. The front one incorporates fog lights and space for a winch, while the rear unit has built-in recovery points.

    Other identifying features include unique 17” x 8” alloy wheels shod with Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac tyres, larger arch extensions, a redesigned grille and some special decals. Inside, the floor mats and front head restraints gain ‘AEV’ embroidery.

    Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison Crew Cab (2019 North American Spec) Rear Side

    Bison customers are going to have a choice of either crew cab / short bed or extended cab / long bed configurations. As per the regular Colorado ZR2, both the 308 bhp (230 kW / 312 PS) 3.6 litre V6 gasoline and the 181 bhp (135 kW / 183 PS) 2.8 litre I4 Duramax diesel engines will be available.

    Sales are due to begin this January.

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    Images © General Motors.

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    Next month’s Intermot Show in Cologne will see the unveiling of two new 125 cc motorcycles from Kawasaki.

    The Ninja 125 features a full fairing, while the Z125 is a naked bike with a more upright riding position. Both machines are built around a tubular trellis frame.

    Kawasaki Ninja 125 (2019) Front SideKawasaki Z125 (2019) Front Side

    Kawasaki Ninja 125 (2019) SideKawasaki Z125 (2019) Side

    They also share the same single-cylinder, water-cooled engine that’s claimed to deliver strong mid- and high-range performance. Full technical specifications are unknown at this stage, but output is rated at 14.8 bhp (11.0 kW / 15.0 PS).

    Similarly, prices have yet to be announced.

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    Later this month, Mercedes-Benz is going to unveil four minibus models at the IAA Commercial Vehicle Show in Hanover. All are based on the third-generation Sprinter van.

    In total, more than twenty different variants will be offered in both left- and right-hand drive configurations. However, their launches are due to be staggered over the next year.

    The initial line-up includes the Sprinter Mobility 23, Sprinter Transfer 23, Sprinter Transfer 35 and Sprinter City 75.

    As its name suggests, the Sprinter Mobility 23’s role is to accommodate movement-impaired and disabled passengers. Gross vehicle weight is 3.5 tonnes, so many UK car licence holders could drive this particular vehicle on not-for-profit journeys.

    Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Mobility 23 (2019) Front Side

    The Sprinter City 75 – which sits atop the range – is intended for use on public transport routes. Measuring 8.5 metres (27’ 10”) long with a wheelbase of 5.1 metres (16’ 8”), a special heavy-duty rear axle is fitted to help achieve a GVW rating of 6.8 tonnes.

    A low floor and a quick-change securing system are other key features. Crucially, they give operators the flexibility to run with whatever combination of tip-up seats, regular seats, wheelchair / pram bays and standing room is required.

    Mercedes-Benz Sprinter City 75 (2019) Front Side

    The fourth version (and last to arrive) is the Sprinter Travel.

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  • 09/13/18--15:01: 2019 NACTOY semi-finalists
  • Following an initial ballot, the 2019 North American Car of the Year, Truck of the Year and Utility Vehicle of the Year semi-finalists have been announced.

    2019 North American Car of the Year

    It’s notable that only one American brand – Buick – appears on this list. However, such a situation shouldn’t be too surprising, because the domestic manufacturers are increasingly shifting their focus from ordinary passenger cars to crossovers and SUVs.

    • Audi A6
    • Buick Regal TourX
    • Genesis G70
    • Honda Insight
    • Hyundai Veloster
    • Kia Forte
    • Mazda 6
    • Mercedes-Benz A-Class
    • Nissan Altima
    • Nissan Leaf
    • Toyota Avalon / Avalon Hybrid
    • Toyota Corolla Hatchback
    • Volkswagen Jetta
    • Volvo S60
    Mercedes-Benz A-Class Saloon (2019) Side
    Mercedes-Benz A-Class

    2019 North American Truck of the Year

    Just like last year, only three candidates were named in this category. Therefore, all automatically proceed to the next round.
    • Chevrolet Silverado 1500
    • GMC Sierra 1500
    • Ram 1500
    Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn Edition Crew Cab (2019) Front Side
    Ram 1500

    2019 North American Utility Vehicle of the Year

    While GM and FCA are represented here via the Cadillac XT4 and Jeep Wrangler respectively, Ford isn’t. Indeed, the EcoSport was a nominee, but it failed to garner enough support. Other high-profile casualties in this extremely competitive category included the Jaguar E-Pace, Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, Mercedes-Benz G-Class and Porsche Cayenne.
    • Acura RDX
    • BMW X5
    • Cadillac XT4
    • Hyundai Kona
    • Hyundai Santa Fe
    • Infiniti QX50
    • Jaguar I-Pace
    • Jeep Wrangler
    • Nissan Kicks
    • Subaru Ascent
    • Toyota RAV4
    • Volvo XC40
    Volvo XC40 (2018) Front Side
    Volvo XC40

    Next month, the jurors will have an opportunity to drive every semi-finalist at a special event in Michigan. Then, after a second vote, the finalists are going to be declared at November’s Los Angeles Auto Show.

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

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    Drivers wanting a supermini that combines decent handling with insurance-friendly performance might want to consider the Yaris GR Sport. This new trim grade – which arrives at dealers later this year – has been inspired by the Yaris GRMN hot hatch.

    A lowered ride height, Sachs Performance dampers and a more rigid solid anti-roll bar all contribute to the enhanced chassis dynamics. Furthermore, extra grip is provided by a set of 17” alloy wheels shod with Bridgestone Potenza RE50 205/45R17 tyres.

    Toyota Yaris GR Sport (2019) Front Side

    Power comes from an unmodified self-charging hybrid system. Comprising a 1.5 litre petrol engine and an electric motor, it delivers 98 bhp (74 kW / 100 PS) via a continuously-variable transmission.

    The Yaris GR Sport is being offered in five-door guise only. Unique headlights, privacy glass, a rear spoiler and a black roof panel are among the car’s identifying features. Inside, the specification includes front sports seats, Ultrasuede upholstery, a black headlining and some special floor mats.

    Pricing has yet to be confirmed.

    Toyota Yaris GR Sport (2019) InteriorToyota Yaris GR Sport (2019) Rear Side

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    At the Paris Motor Show in 1998, Toyota unveiled the first-generation Yaris. Now, to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of that event, a special version of the latest model has been created.

    The Yaris Y20 gains two-tone ten-spoke 16” alloy wheels, rear privacy glass and some unique badges. Moreover, a dark grey finish for the front grille, door mirror caps, roof panel and side mouldings adds an air of sophistication.

    Toyota Yaris Y20 Launch Edition (2019) Front Side

    Adorning the interior are satin chrome trim pieces, black carpet mats and a distinctive fabric upholstery with chequered-pattern inserts.

    The first 1,998 examples of the Yaris Y20 are being built in Launch Edition specification, which means that they’ll all come with gold paintwork. Thereafter, customers are going to have a choice of black, silver or white as the main body colour.

    Toyota hasn’t announced prices yet.

    Toyota Yaris Y20 Launch Edition (2019) InteriorToyota Yaris Y20 Launch Edition (2019) Rear Side

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    To kick off the 2019 World Car Awards process, the candidate vehicles have been announced.

    Now the jurors have to test-drive every one of them and cast their initial votes. The sole purpose of this first poll is to determine the finalists.

    Once they’re known, another round of test drives and a second ballot will follow. The top three finalists in each category are then due to be revealed at the Geneva International Motor Show on the 5th of March 2019.

    Lastly – and most importantly – the winners are going to be declared on the 17th of April 2019 at the New York International Auto Show.

    World Car of the Year

    • Acura RDX
    • Audi e-tron
    • Audi A1
    • Audi A6
    • Audi Q3
    • BMW 3 Series
    • BMW i8 Roadster
    • BMW X2
    • Cadillac XT4
    • Citroën C5 Aircross
    • Dacia Duster
    • Ford Focus
    • Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid
    • Hyundai Santa Fe
    • Hyundai Nexo
    • Infiniti QX50
    • Jaguar E-Pace
    • Jaguar I-Pace
    • Jeep Cherokee
    • Jeep Wrangler
    • Kia Ceed / Forte
    • Kia Niro EV
    • Kia Soul
    • Lexus ES
    • Lexus UX
    • Nissan Altima
    • Nissan Kicks
    • Seat Arona
    • Subaru Forester
    • Suzuki Jimny
    • Toyota Avalon
    • Toyota Corolla
    • Toyota RAV4
    • Volvo S60 / V60
    • Volvo XC40
    Hyundai Santa Fe (2019) Front Side
    Hyundai Santa Fe

    World Luxury Car of the Year
    • Audi A7
    • Audi Q8
    • BMW 8 Series
    • Mercedes-Benz GLE
    • Volkswagen Touareg
    BMW M850i xDrive Coupé (2019) Front Side
    BMW 8 Series Coupé

    World Performance Car of the Year
    • Aston Martin Vantage
    • BMW M2 Competition
    • Hyundai Veloster N
    • Kia Ceed GT
    • McLaren 720S
    McLaren 720S Pacific Theme (2018) Front Side
    McLaren 720S

    World Urban Car of the Year
    • Audi A1
    • BMW X2
    • Kia Soul
    • Seat Arona
    • Suzuki Jimny
    Suzuki Jimny (2019) Front Side 2
    Suzuki Jimny

    World Green Car of the Year
    • Audi e-tron
    • BMW i8 Roadster
    • Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid
    • Honda Insight
    • Hyundai Nexo
    • Jaguar I-Pace
    • Kia Niro EV
    • Lexus ES Hybrid
    • Lexus UX Hybrid
    • Toyota Avalon Hybrid
    • Toyota RAV4 Hybrid
    Honda Insight (2019) Front Side
    Honda Insight

    World Car Design of the Year
    • All of the above models are automatically included in this category.

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    ‘Up to’ are the important words here, because the distance that Kia’s new pure-electric e-Niro can travel on a single charge depends on the version chosen.

    Customers will be able to opt for either a 39.2 kWh or a 64.0 kWh lithium-polymer battery pack. As would be expected, the latter delivers much better figures according to the World Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure.

    In addition, the 64.0 kWh model offers extra performance, as it’s equipped with a more powerful electric motor. Recharging to 80% capacity is claimed to take 54 minutes if a 100 kW rapid charger is used.

    Kia e-Niro (2019) Front Side

    Kia intends to sell the e-Niro alongside the existing hybrid and plug-in hybrid variants. Deliveries across Europe are due to begin before the end of this year, after a début at the Paris Motor Show in October.

    There’s a strong possibility that the e-Niro’s capabilities could be good enough to persuade drivers to switch from combustion-engine vehicles. However, take-up is likely to depend on the purchase prices being sufficiently attractive too, but they’ve yet to be confirmed.

    Kia e-Niro 39.2 kWh 64.0 kWh
    WLTP combined cycle range 193 miles
    (312 kilometres)
    301 miles
    (485 kilometres)
    Power 134 bhp
    (100 kW / 136 PS)
    201 bhp
    (150 kW / 204 PS)
    Torque 395 Nm
    (291 lb/ft)
    395 Nm
    (291 lb/ft)
    0-62 mph (100 km/h) 9.8 secs 7.8 secs

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    Just fifty examples of the Abarth 124 GT are going to be available in the UK. A removable, fully-lined, carbon fibre hardtop roof means that they should be fairly easy to spot, though.

    The enhanced specification also includes a Visibility Pack (comprising LED headlights, a dusk sensor, a rain sensor and rear parking sensors), 17” OZ Ultra-Light alloy wheels and a Bose audio system.

    Abarth 124 GT (2018) Front Side

    Abarth 124 GT (2018) Rear Side

    As per the regular Abarth 124 Spider, power comes from a 1.4 litre turbocharged engine which delivers 167 bhp (125 kW / 170 PS) plus 250 Nm (184 lb/ft) of peak torque. It can be paired with either a six-speed manual gearbox or a six-speed automatic transmission.

    Buyers of the 124 GT will have a choice of San Marino 1972 Black, Portogallo 1974 Grey or Turini 1975 White paintwork. Prices start at £33,625.

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    According to Volkswagen, the I.D. Buzz Cargo could become a production model as early as 2021. This pure-electric van – which is based on the Modular Electric Drive Kit (MEB) platform – isn’t intended to be replacement for the existing T6 Transporter, though.

    Measuring 5,048 mm (198.7”) long, 1,976 mm (77.8”) wide and 1,963 mm (77.2”) tall, the I.D. Buzz Cargo has a maximum payload of 800 kg (1,763 lbs). Access to the load space is via a passenger-side powered sliding door and a pair of barn-type rear doors.

    Volkswagen ID Buzz Cargo Concept (2018 Rendering) Front Side

    A 201 bhp (150 kW / 203 PS) electric motor plus a single-speed transmission are integrated into the rear axle. While full performance figures have yet to be released, top speed is electronically limited to 99 mph (160 km/h).

    Arguably, the most important component is the lithium-ion battery pack. The MEB architecture allows various sizes to be fitted, thereby giving operators a choice of capacities that start at 48 kWh and go up to 111 kWh. Estimated range according to the WLTP cycle is between 205 and 341 miles (330 and 550 kilometres).

    Volkswagen ID Buzz Cargo Concept (2018 Rendering) Rear Side

    Recharging times obviously depend on the method used. Replenishment to 80% can take as little as fifteen minutes when plugged into a dedicated DC rapid charger, for instance, but an ordinary domestic supply is going to involve a much longer wait.

    The I.D. Buzz Cargo is also equipped for cord-free inductive charging, a convenient process that simply involves parking over a special plate set in the roadway. Furthermore, a roof-mounted photovoltaic solar cell is reckoned to add an extra 9 miles (15 kilometres) of ‘free’ driving distance per day in the right weather conditions.

    As befits what is for now a show vehicle, there are numerous other attention-grabbing features. These include a 3D augmented reality head-up display instead of conventional instruments, rear-view cameras rather than mirrors, and I.D. Pilot mode that delivers Level 4 autonomy.

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