Jumat, 24 Desember 2010
Kamis, 23 Desember 2010
As the cheapest and humblest car in Mercedes’ U.S. showrooms, where it lives next to larger, more-powerful, more-luxurious, and more-prestigious vehicles, the C-class has had a tough time establishing itself as a full-cachet, no-apologies Mercedes-Benz. But a window of opportunity seems to be opening for the C-class come the 2012 model year, with its mid-cycle update arriving just as world events and economic challenges have precipitated a shift among luxury buyers toward “right-sized” vehicles containing full-size luxury amenities.
It will certainly try to impress. The restyled 2012 C-class will greet customers with a more upscale face highlighted by a sculpted front fascia and new, CLS-style headlamps that blend into the fenders. Distinct Sport and Luxury trims continue for 2012, with the Sport model being differentiated by its grille and thin chrome spears in the outboard air intakes, which also house the LED running lights that are now standard on all C-class models. The brightwork continues along the doors and around the new rear bumper. The taillamps are also new for 2012, with more distinct detailing and still more LEDs.
The biggest news is a more powerful naturally aspirated engine in the top-shelf C350 Sport, plus the addition of a new base model, the C250, with a turbocharged four-cylinder under its hood. The C350 Sport’s V-6 is a new, direct-injection 3.5-liter, and its output is raised from the outgoing C350’s 268 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque to a healthy 302 hp and 273 lb-ft. The mid-grade C300 retains its 3.0-liter V-6 with 228 hp and 221 lb-ft of torque, but now is offered only with 4MATIC all-wheel drive (and will be the only C-class available thus equipped). At the low end of the range is that new C250, powered by a direct-injected, turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder that produces 201 hp and 229 lb-ft of torque. The C250 is slated to deliver among the highest fuel-economy of any Mercedes-Benz offered on these shores: an estimated 24 mpg combined. (For the record, the larger E350 BlueTec diesel is EPA-rated for 26 combined.) As for acceleration, Mercedes says the C250 should hit 60 mph in 7.1 seconds, a figure it also cites for the C300 4MATIC. The top-dog C350 is said to make the 0-to-60-mph sprint in 5.9.
Each of the three engines comes mated exclusively to a seven-speed automatic transmission, which means that you’ll no longer be able find a manual in the C-class when the 2012 model arrives next summer. (As if you could realistically find one in circulation before!) That means the current SLK300 will be the only U.S. Merc with a row-your-own option. As usual, auto-only also will apply to the 2012 C63 AMG, which also will be refreshed and goes on sale next summer or fall. It will retain the current 6.2-liter V-8, rather than moving to the twin-turbocharged 5.5-liter V-8 like other AMGs.
Thanks to: Car and Driver
Selasa, 21 Desember 2010
It's no secret that BMW is preparing a hybrid version of its latest generation [F10] 5-Series sedan as the Bavarian automaker teased the model at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show with the Concept 5 Series ActiveHybrid study. And even though the prototype model seen in our latest spy pictures carries the 535i badge, the "Hybrid Test Vehicle" label on the boot pretty much explains everything.
Being a test mule, the prototype doesn't feature any of the (few) unique styling cues of the concept model, such as the LED strips, different front apron and special alloy wheels, but we assume these details will make it into the production car.
Underneath the body work, we expect to see a similar setup to the concept vehicle, which made use of BMW's straight-six gasoline engine with TwinPower Turbo technology (same as the one found in the 535i), an eight-speed automatic transmission, and an electric drive capable of delivering up to 54HP (40kW). Given that the 3.0-liter turbo is rated in the U.S. at 300 hp, the combined system output should be around the 340 hp mark.
According to BMW, the hybrid power train reduces both fuel consumption and emissions by more than 10 per cent over the conventional version, while it also allows all-electric, zero-emission motoring at low speeds.
The production version of the 5-Series Hybrid could be introduced at a major international car show as early as next year with sales most likely to follow in 2012.
Thanks to: Autocar India
Mahindra & Mahindra has launched the Thar, an all-new off-roader that retains the looks of the Mahindra MM540 but comes with a new chassis and loads of features. The MM540 is popular among city-dwellers as well as the army and paramilitary forces.
Available in DI and CRDe versions, the company hopes to target a new lifestyle segment with the Thar and will customise the vehicle for buyers ready to pay more.
While the CRDe 4x4 BSIV variant is priced at Rs 5.99 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), the DI 4X2 variant is priced at Rs 4.47 lakh (ex-showroom, Jaipur).
The Thar will be launched in New Delhi, Chandigarh, Bangalore, Mangalore and Jaipur by end of December, and all over the country in January. Based on a chassis that is a mix of the Bolero and the Scorpio, the Thar offers 105bhp.
While the CRDe variant will be built at Mahindra’s plant in Kandivali, Mumbai, the DI variant will be built at Nashik. Company sources said that the estimated development costs were Rs 5 crore.
A customized Thar was showcased at the Mumbai launch equipped with alloys, black leather seats with red piping and a winch. According to Mahindra, customization options can cost around Rs 2 lakh over the standard variant, and all customizations will be done at dealers end.
Thanks to: Autocar India
MG has given its new small hatchback, the MG3, a relatively low-key public debut at the Guangzhou auto show in China.
The firm's parent company, SAIC, revealed no technical information on the car. But it did give it a launch date: March 2011, ahead of the next major Chinese car show in Shanghai in April.
Styled under the co-ordination of MG’s studio in the UK, the MG3 looks like a neat production development of the Zero concept car. It's just under four metres long, 1.728m wide, and 1.517m tall; that makes it as long as a five-door Fiesta, but slightly narrower and taller.
SAIC seems keen to push the car's 'Britishness' - witness the Union Jacks displayed prominently on its stand - and personalisation, with contrasting roof colours and plenty of body stripes.
Information about just one engine spec has emerged from China; it's said to be a 1.5-litre petrol unit producing 109bhp at 6000rpm, and 99lb ft at 4500rpm, enough to get the MG3 to a top speed of 113mph. Those figures would put the car up against a 1.4 petrol Fiesta.
The other engines in the line-up are likely to be a 1.3-litre petrol, with around 67bhp, a diesel (SAIC is still in talks with potential suppliers) and a turbocharged version of the 1.5 petrol, with 156bhp.
The car is being aimed at buyers aged between 18 and 28. Top-spec models will get a CD player-based sound system, but more lowly specs are understood to offer just a USB socket and perhaps a solid-state memory-based MP3 player.
MG Motor UK has yet to even acknowledge the car's existence, let alone detail European specs or a launch date. But it's unlikely to reach UK dealers before 2012, particularly given the delays that have hit the on-sale date of its bigger brother, the MG6. Once pencilled in for a late 2010 release, it's now unlikely to reach buyers until the spring.
Thanks to: Autocar
Senin, 20 Desember 2010
This is the Mini Paceman concept, which will make its public debut at the the Detroit auto show on 10 January - the 10th anniversary of the brand’s relaunch in the USA.
Substantially based on the five-door Mini Countryman, the Paceman concept is designed as an upmarket, compact coupe and is said to be strongly placed to go into production in 2012, although the green light has not yet been given.
BMW is calling the Paceman (so named because it follows on from the Clubman and Countryman) the first ‘Sports Activity Coupe’ in the small car segment. When the Paceman goes on sale it is likely to only be available with the most powerful Mini engines. One source told us, "There’s no chance of a 'One' version of this car," and the concept is being shown with a tuned version of the John Cooper Works petrol engine, now with 212bhp and hooked up to Mini’s ALL4 permanent four-wheel drive system.
However, in keeping with the car's intended upmarket feel, the production models will probably not be highly strung, high-performance racers. The emphasis will be on accessible torque for performance that’s effortless rather than urgent.
The Paceman is based on the current Mini Countryman, using the same platform and floor structure and the same inner structure up to and including the bulkhead. The car also uses the same windscreen as the Countryman, although it's had 20mm shaved off its height. From the screen rearwards, the Paceman gets an entirely new exterior. It's 4110mm long, marginally more than the Countryman, even though the front bumper is 20mm shorter.
The car's long doors are newly designed and have allowed the Mini design team to incorporate a rising window line, which flows into the new rear wing. This further kicks up towards the roof, giving the Paceman a much wedgier and dynamic profile than its sister car. There's also a marked shoulder over the rear wheels, which pushes the rear windows of cabin inwards, giving a sportier, more coupe-like feel and emphasising the width of the car’s rear tracks.
However, outgoing Mini design boss Gert Hildebrand says that there's no loss of shoulder room in the rear cabin compared to the Countryman. Unlike most coupes, the Paceman is also set to have significant rear legroom and more than adequate headroom.
As well as the rising waistline, the Paceman has a sloping version of the Mini family’s 'capped' roof which, combined with the rising waistline, further reduces the size of the side windows, emphasising the Mini’s 'three-layer' design theme of roof, windows and bodyside. The car’s C-pillar is tinted the same colour as the glass to give the impression of complete wrap-around glazing.
However, the big break from modern Mini tradition comes at the rear of the car. The vertical shutlines and vertical sheet metal that characterise the other models in the range have been replaced by a surface that’s much softer and more flowing.
Unexpectedly, Hildebrand and his team have dumped the rule that said Mini tail-lights are vertical and surrounded on all sides with painted bodywork. The Paceman's lights are substantial and cut right across into the tailgate, resulting in a most un-Mini-like rear elevation. However, the combination the wide track, sloping roof and narrower glasshouse means the rear wheels are well outboard of side windows, and it all combine to make the Paceman look extremely purposeful from the rear.
Inside, the concept uses the same interior as the Countryman (including the elliptical door trim design) but it will have redesigned seats in quilt-stitch tan leather front and rear. The two rear seats will be individually shaped, but manufactured in one piece, very similar to the layout in the VW Scirocco. Despite the coupe styling, the front seats will continued to be mounted higher than in a conventional road car.
The concept gets some very effective exterior touches in the copper-coloured fillet on the front wing and leather trim on the door handle and filler cap. The bronze colouring is repeated on the wheel’s rims. The roof colour ‘cold white’, a white with a blueish tinge. The body colour is ‘Jaded Green’ (in the sense of the stone, rather than design team's lack of morale) and is said to be based on the colour of a 1950s Jaguar. However, the shade is also very reminiscent of the Aston Martin DB4 Zagato cars and Autocar understands that the design team did look at equipping the Paceman concept with a Zagato-style 'double-bubble' roof.
When the Paceman arrives in production form, it will be the most expensive Mini so far. Prices are likely to start from £22,000 for a front-drive version, rising to £26,000 and beyond.
Thanks to: Autocar
Jumat, 17 Desember 2010
Electric cars were popular in the US in the mid-19th to the early 20th century. They soon fell by the wayside with the introduction of the combustion engine. Now, electric cars are being revived again in the 21st century. Several auto manufacturers have joined the electric car production arena just in time to take advantage of the new era of “green technology,” and here are a handful of models that are currently available.
The Toyota Prius Hybrid
The third generation Prius uses the patented Hybrid Synergy Drive, which is a system that uses gas and electric to power the car. There are four models to choose from, but all are 1.8L, four cylinder engines with 98 horsepower, and an estimated 51 city and 48 highway mpg. You can expect to pay between $22,800 and $28,070 for a new Prius.
The Toyota Camry Hybrid
Toyota utilizes the same Hybrid Synergy Drive system for the Camry as the Prius, but the Camry Hybrid is a little more generous with interior space and a 2.4L engine with 169 horsepower. Fuel economy for the Camry Hybrid is 31 city and 35 highway and starts at around $26,575.
Due in Chevrolet’s 2011 line-up, you can contact your local dealer to place an order for the Volt. The Volt is a 4-door electric-gas hybrid sedan with an efficient 1.4 litre engine. The battery pack is backed by an 8-year, 100,000 mile warranty with an estimated cost of electric recharging of $1.50 per day. The Volt is emission-free and boasts an aerodynamic design, closed grille, and Goodyear Fuel Max tires to maximize efficiency. It starts at $32,780.
Ford Fusion Hybrid
Ford brings this four-door sedan with a 2.5L Atkinson-Cycle I-4 gas engine combined with an electric motor. A net 191 horsepower is available when the two power supplies combine. You can expect a speed of 47 miles per hour when the car runs on the electric motor alone, but assistance is available on demand from the gas engine when needed. Mileage is around 41 miles per gallon, and base price for this model is $28,100.
The Tesla Roadster
This roadster is not in everyone’s price range, but it will eliminate dependence on oil because it is 100% electric powered. It can be recharged on or off-grid and touts 88% efficiency compared to 20-25% efficiency of gas-powered cars. The Tesla is a stunning sports car that is capable of high-end performance with a 0-60 acceleration in 3.7 seconds and goes 245 miles per charge. You can order online from their website, or you can visit one of their dealers. The Tesla Roadster starts at $101,500.
Miles Walker is a freelance writer and blogger who usually compares car insurance deals over at CarinsuranceComparison.Org.
Kamis, 16 Desember 2010
Toyota’s subsidiary company, Daihatsu, has unveiled its new Move in Japan.
Power comes courtesy of a 0.66-litre petrol unit - featuring stop-start - and produces 51bhp and 44lb ft of torque.
Shorter in length than Fiat’s 500, the Move is available with either front or four-wheel drive and is said to be the most efficient petrol car in Japan, the company claims.
Compared with its predecessor, the new Move is 35kg lighter, thanks to weight reductions in its instrument panel and door trim as well as the CVT unit and other components.
Prices in Japan will start at approximately £8000.
Thanks to: Autocar
Mercedes-Benz is planning to enter the hot hatch market in 2012 with a 320bhp AMG-badged A-class.
The hot AMG version of the new, third-generation A-class will have a turbocharged 2.0-litre engine and four-wheel drive. It is being developed by Mercedes’ AMG performance arm under the direction of its new boss, Ola Källenius.
The hot A-class is due on sale in the UK in September 2012. It will be priced to compete with the Audi RS3, Volkswagen Golf R and an M Sport-badged, turbocharged four-cylinder version of BMW’s second-generation 1-series hatchback — which suggests that it could be around £35k.
The new A-class will be based on Mercedes’ MFA (Modularen Frontantriebs-Architektur) platform — a newly developed unitary construction structure that ditches the heavy and expensive ‘sandwich floor’ of today’s model.
Codenamed W176, the car is radically different from its tall predecessor. It takes on a much lower and more conventional two-box silhouette, overlaid with taut surfacing and styling cues first seen on the F800 Style concept car.
The racy new look will be previewed on a concept at next year’s Shanghai motor show. It is designed to attract a younger customer than today’s A-class.
The look will be further embellished on the AMG version by uniquely styled bumpers, pronounced sills, chromed tailpipes and 18-inch wheels. The car is likely to be badged A25 AMG, according to insiders.
AMG had planned to use a 2.0-litre, direct injection engine running an electrically operated turbocharger from Swiss firm Hyprex. But concerns over its complexity and related production costs have forced a switch to a more conventional powerplant using a mechanical twin-scroll turbo.
Insiders with knowledge of the 2.0-litre, aluminium-block engine suggest that AMG’s powertrain department is aiming for a power output in excess of 300bhp. One source told us: “Something in the region of 320bhp is realistically possible with the technology at hand.”
By providing the car with a new six-speed, dual-clutch gearbox and a Haldex-style four-wheel drive system with a multi-plate clutch, Mercedes is hoping to dispel any concerns about traction. But in a bid to provide the A25 AMG with the dynamics to match its badge, the new driveline will feature a positive rear-drive bias, together with an electronically operated torque-vectoring clutch to juggle drive between each of the rear wheels.
Thanks to: Autocar
Selasa, 14 Desember 2010
General Motors has just begun shipping Chevrolet Volts to dealers from the Hamtramck factory in Detroit, and the firm estimates that it could sell more than 10 times the number of Volts it’s able to build in 2011. That’s not stopping the product planners from looking to the next phase of the company’s range-extended EV platform, though. It looks like the General is planning a five-passenger small crossover or MPV on the Volt’s architecture, which may be called the Chevy Amp and could debut at the Detroit auto show in January.
It’s a bit of an open secret that GM has been considering a five-door, five-passenger variant of the Volt. The company even showed the Volt MPV5 concept at the Beijing auto show in April, and has been very clear that, for economic reasons, it needs more vehicles using the Volt’s electric-drive system. A few weeks ago, GM’s European chief told a publication on the Continent that Opel is hoping to expand its Volt-underpinned products to include a five-passenger crossover and a more conventionally shaped five-door hatchback (instead of the Volt’s sedan-like silhouette).
Considering the relationship between voltage and amperage—volts equal amps multiplied by resistance—an Amp-branded MPV seems plausible. December trademark filings by General Motors show applications for Chevrolet Amp and Chevrolet Strobe, in addition to the recently announced Sonic, née Aveo. (As is always the case with trademark filings, keep in mind that companies frequently lay claim to certain names they wish to protect, but which will never adorn a vehicle; in this case, GM’s European brand Opel will be selling the Volt as the Ampera.) GM also has registered the domain names ChevyAmp.com, ChevroletAmp.com, ChevroletAmp.net, and ChevyAmp.net, the latter two being purchased just this past October.
We expect news of GM’s full concept and production-car lineup for the Detroit auto show soon, so check back for updates.
Thanks to: Car and Driver
The picture you see here is the best glimpse yet of Lamborghini’s V-12–powered Murciélago replacement, the supercar that’s all but certain to be called the Aventador LP700-4. The snapshot reached the light of day thanks to the Lamborghini Club of Los Angeles, who posted the photo on its Facebook page.
While the image may be below National Geographic standards, it’s enough to make any red-blooded car fan froth at the mouth. The Aventador’s bulging front fender dominates the picture, but it would be impossible to miss the air intake behind the driver’s door—it’s big enough to kick a football through. That intake will be gulping air for the all-new 6.5-liter V-12 (which we described in detail last month), and possibly cooling the brakes, too. Expect the latter to be huge, as it will take serious stoppers to rein in the Aventador’s 700 hp.
Our sources have confirmed that the Aventador will have a carbon-fiber monocoque, similar in theory if not execution to that of the Sesto Elemento concept, meaning it should be exceptionally lightweight. Add the trick, single-clutch transmission that the company says will shift faster than any dual-clutch unit, and it seems like the Aventador will—as any good Lambo flagship should—tick all the boxes on the bleeding-edge-supercar checklist.
Thanks to: Car and Driver
Senin, 13 Desember 2010
Ford has issued an artist's impression of the upgraded Territory for 2011. It's the first official opportunity to gauge how the locally-manufactured SUV -- on the market since 2004 -- will look in upgraded form when it's launched before the end of the first quarter next year.
Between now and then, Ford will steadily drip-feed information to the media concerning the new model, which will introduce a version of the 2.7-litre turbodiesel V6 that powers the Land Rover Discovery 4. The turbodiesel will sell alongside the petrol six-cylinder in the Territory range.
It's clear, contrary to rumours doing the rounds, that the upgraded Territory will be a little more than just a tweak of the frontal styling via the medium of new bumpers and other details. There are obvious sheet-metal changes in the vehicle, based on the artist's sketch, which we presume is an accurate representation of the finished product.
Tail lights, what we can see of them, don't extend as far down the corner of the rear quarter panels as is the case with the current Territory. Furthermore, the beltline behind the C pillar doesn't follow the beltline of the doors -- again, unlike the current Territory. This suggests the sheet metal of the rear quarter panels has been revised, along with the front hang-ons.
Speculation within the industry suggests that the Territory will raise the bar high among softroaders in the medium SUV segment for NVH and dynamics -- not that Ford is admitting anything much on either score, but Ford President Bob Graziano did confirm big gains for the Territory in the press material accompanying the image.
"The Ford Australia team is taking the Territory to an all-new level of performance, refinement and quality, and customers will definitely experience these advancements when they drive it," Graziano was quoted as saying.
According to the press release, the Territory will also introduce a major redesign for the interior.
The Territory upgrade should end the popular perception that the SUV hasn't kept pace with the market. Toyota has just revised its Kluger and Holden is enjoying strong sales from its multifarious Captiva, which not only starts at a lower price, but also offers a diesel. The Territory has a little catching up to do...
But Ford anticipates that the diesel Territory will hit the spot with the buying public and the styling changes will re-awaken consumer interest in the SUV. The company saw an upswing in sales after the minor facelift marketed as the SY Series II model, which will be replaced by the upgraded Territory. If a minor facelift (and improved consumer confidence after the GFC) can boost sales, this forthcoming upgrade should kick some goals, the manufacturer hopes.
Until next year, when all will be revealed, the question likely to be the most pressing will be that of pricing for the diesel variants.
Thanks to: Car Point
Two roomy and highly practical front-wheel-drive BMWs are set to broaden the reach and appeal of the forthcoming second-generation 1-series.
The new front-drive models will be aimed squarely at the Audi A3. They will also provide added environmental credentials to BMW’s entry-level line-up through the introduction of a ground-breaking new three-cylinder engine.
Based around a modified version of the Mini Countryman’s front-wheel drive platform and aluminium-intensive chassis, the new entry-level BMW models will be a traditional five-door hatchback and a sporting estate. They are scheduled to begin arriving in UK showrooms in September 2013.
BMW’s first modern-day front-wheel-drive models are known internally under the codename UKL (an acronym for the German words Unter Klasse). They are totally separate from the company’s high-profile MegaCity Vehicle project and form part of a new six-strong 1-series line-up.
Included are a three-door hatchback, a five-door hatchback, a coupé and a cabriolet, all with rear-wheel drive, plus the five-door hatchback and estate versions running on the new front-drive architecture.
In its design and packaging, the UKL is a vastly different proposition from the second-generation rear-drive 1-series that will make its world debut at the Geneva motor show in March. The primary difference between the two is that the front-drive car has its engine mounted transversely under a comparatively short bonnet rather than longitudinally under a typically long bonnet.
With drive being sent to the front wheels rather than channelled via a propshaft to the rear wheels, the layout has given BMW’s designers the freedom to dispense with the transmission tunnel running back through the interior. This should increase the amount of available space, especially in the rear.
The new layout has also allowed BMW to rethink the car’s proportions, with the front bulkhead and A-pillars being brought further forward. This will increase the volume of the cabin to a level comparable with Europe’s best-seller, the Volkswagen Golf, and the Audi A3.
Thanks to: Autocar
Mini is likely to show a super-small city car at the Geneva show next March, according to hints from the brand’s boss, Wolfgang Armbrecht.
The long-rumoured concept is expected to be the same size as the original Mini, competing directly with the Toyota IQ. It’s likely to be based on a version of today’s Mini platform, making it a candidate to be built in the UK.
Armbrecht was also quoted in a Financial Times Deutschland interview as saying that another, larger, Mini concept would be shown at the Detroit show in January.
However, industry reports say that BMW’s development chief Klaus Draeger has warned that the Mini brand should not build too many large cars, because of the potential risks to the brand.
Autocar sources have said that some in BMW’s senior management are cautious about the likely success of the Countryman project.
The five-door model would need to be judged a successful addition to the brand if it is to survive and become part of the next-generation Mini family based on the upcoming BMW group front-drive drive platform.
Thanks to: Autocar
Chrysler’s been working its way through its lineup, giving nearly all 2011 Dodge, Chrysler, and Jeep vehicles reworked interiors and revised mechanicals, if not outright redesigning the entire model. Now it’s the diminutive Compass’s turn, and its treatment is more the former than the latter. The Compass shares most of its dirty bits with the Jeep Patriot, which has also been revised for this year. (You might remember that when the Patriot and Compass were being examined by focus groups prior to production, men favored the Patriot, while women preferred the Compass. Jeep intended to build only one of the two vehicles, but rather than actually, you know, make a decision, the company produced both. And here we are.)
The 2011 Compass will get a new face, nicer cabin materials, a new suspension, and a new, off-road-oriented optional AWD system. The most obvious changes are up front, where the Compass receives a new hood, fascia, fenders, grille, and headlights. The result looks like a Grand Cherokee that shrunk in the wash and gained an upswept grin; it’s more attractive than the gawky look of the outgoing model. The family resemblance is of course deliberate, and Jeep jokingly calls this the “Grand” Compass.
The rear is restyled with a new roof spoiler, LED taillights, and a new bumper, and the Compass Limited gets a chrome exhaust tip and bumper step plate. New chromed roof rails are available, and the lower body sides have protective cladding to help deal with off-road or—more likely—shopping-cart dings. Seventeen-inch aluminum wheels are standard, with chrome or aluminum 18-inchers available on the Limited.
The 2011 model’s interior gains a new three-spoke steering wheel with integrated audio and cruise controls, a redesigned center stack, higher-quality upholstery, soft-touch materials on the door panels, and newly backlit door switches. An armrest and cruise control are now standard for all Compass trims.
As for mechanicals, the Compass benefits from similar suspension upgrades as seen on the 2011 Patriot (and the 2011 Dodge Caliber, another platform-mate); these include higher-rate springs and shock absorbers, as well as a thicker rear anti-roll bar. There’s also a new All-Weather Capability package, which equips the SUV with Goodyear all-terrain tires, an engine-block heater, tow hooks, daytime running lights, and all-weather floor mats so your carpet won’t get all mussed when you drive your Compass in a typhoon, which is nice.
There are no powertrain changes: A 158-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder is standard on base and Latitude models, while a 172-hp, 2.4-liter unit is optional on those two trims and standard on the Limited. A five-speed manual is standard on the entry-level Compass, with a continuously variable transmission being optional; the CVT is standard for Latitude and Limited models.
Front-wheel drive is the default arrangement, while two different all-wheel-drive systems can be equipped. Freedom Drive I carries over from last year; it’s an active AWD system that can be locked into all-wheel-drive mode. New for 2011 is the Freedom Drive II package, a more robust setup that was previously only available on the Patriot. It bundles low-range gearing, skid plates, tow hooks, fog lights, and a one-inch suspension lift, and is designed for those who want to try serious off-roading with their Compass—a demographic we didn’t know existed.
The revised Compass will be in dealerships by the end of this month. While the new Grand Cherokee is both highly capable off-road and very competent on pavement, the Compass has heretofore been pretty terrible to drive, so regardless of the new suspension, any resemblance between the GC and this SUV may only be skin deep. Still, Chrysler has done a very good job instilling competence in many of its previously disappointing products—witness the Sebring-turned-200—and we’re looking forward to finding out if that’s the case with the Compass.
Thanks to: Car and Driver
Remember the Civic? With the high level of flux in the econobox segment of late, Honda’s little sedan and coupe have been somewhat overlooked. The current generation landed in the U.S. for 2006, so the car is just about due for a rework, which will appear in concept form at the 2011 Detroit show.
If Honda concepts of the recent past are any indicator, the production Civic—due in the spring of 2011 as a 2012—should look a lot like the little red number sketched here. And that means it will in turn look a lot like the current European Civic; this sketch shows a combination of the Euro car’s aggressive headlights and the wide-mouth grille on the current U.S. Civic. The lower fascia also gets angry, and there appear to be LED strips situated inboard of the fog lamps. And we’re hoping for more stylistic lightning bolts, à la 2011 Odyssey’s beltline.
As for what will power the new car, we expect a lineup of four-cylinder engines similar to the current car’s, as well as the return of the Civic hybrid. Look for more information—on the concept, at least—early next year.
Thanks to: Car and Driver