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NEWS ➤ 2020 Subaru XV e-Boxer hybrid

2020 Subaru XV e-Boxer

Now powered by a 2.0-litre horizontally-opposed petrol engine assisted by electric e-BOXER technology and symmetrical all-wheel drive capability.

Subaru’s popular XV compact crossover now comes with a new powertrain, the e-BOXER, which combines an electric motor with two of Subaru’s core technologies – the horizontally-opposed Boxer engine and Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive.

Built on the Subaru Global Platform, the XV e-Boxer offers advanced safety performance and a dynamic driving experience. Plus, the XV is as safe as ever with Subaru’s own EyeSight driver assist technology and Subaru Rear Vehicle Detection standard across the range.

2020 Subaru XV e-Boxer

The 2020 XV e-Boxer combines a 2.0 direct injection horizontally opposed petrol engine with an electric motor. A lithium-ion battery is mounted within the boot floor and allows for pure-electric driving at speeds of up to 25mph.

The new technology used in the XV e-Boxer is arranged in a symmetrical layout, with the heavy motor placed near the vehicle’s centre of gravity and the battery positioned above the rear axle. It is designed to ‘plant the car on the road giving noticeable handling improvements and maintaining Subaru’s unique balanced weight distribution’.

2020 Subaru XV e-Boxer

Subaru says the XV e-BOXER has a ‘natural braking feel and offers a seamless transition between EV and ICE driving’.

Built with 220mm of ground clearance, permanent symmetrical all-wheel drive as standard, plus an additional ‘X-Mode’ to tackle the most extreme weather and road conditions, the XV e-BOXER combines impressive traction with a 1,270kg towing capacity, making it perfectly suited to any on- or off-road adventures.

The XV e-Boxer was awarded a maximum of five stars by the crash-safety testing experts Euro NCAP, in 2019. Subaru was also voted Best Manufacturer for Safety Features in the 2019 Driver Power Survey and, as safety is a top priority, the XV e-Boxer comes with a suite of driver-assist and safety features as standard.

2020 Subaru XV e-Boxer

EyeSight driver-assist technology functions optically using two stereo cameras which are mounted either side of the rear-view mirror. It monitors for hazards up to 110 metres ahead and includes: adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking, pre-collision throttle management, lane sway and departure warning, lane keep assist and lead vehicle start alert.

Subaru’s ‘Rear Vehicle Detection’ identifies vehicles approaching from the rear. It offers three main functions to improve visibility and to help minimise common causes for accidents – blind spot monitoring, lane change assist and rear cross traffic alert.

2020 Subaru XV e-Boxer

The Subaru XV e-Boxer benefits from a new front grille design with active grille shutter and the new low-profile roof rails have an aerodynamic design. The exterior has received other discreet upgrades including a new fog lamp bezel which surrounds the LED fog lights, the rear spoiler end plate is finished in gloss black and an e-Boxer badge has been added to the wings and tailgate.

The XV e-Boxer is very well specified with keyless entry and push button start, LED headlights with high beam assist, privacy glass on the rear windows and 18-inch alloy wheels standard across the range.

2020 Subaru XV e-Boxer

Inside, the XV e-Boxer has an intuitive 8-inch colour multifunction touchscreen and contains Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, DAB radio and Bluetooth connectivity. Dual zone air-conditioning, reversing camera and heated seats are also standard but customers can upgrade to the SE Premium trim grade to add leather seats, 8-way power adjustable driver seat, satellite navigation and sunroof.

Priced from £30,995 on the road, the Subaru XV e-Boxer is available in nine colours and is in dealerships now – WG.

 
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Posted by on January 22, 2020 in News

 

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NEWS ➤ 2020 ‘Festival of the Unexceptional’

2020 Hagerty Festival of the Unexceptional

➤ This year’s Hagerty Festival of the Unexceptional will take place Saturday July 25th at its new venue of Grimsthorpe Castle, Lincolnshire.

Forging itself as one of the must-attend car events of the year, Hagerty Classic Car Insurance announces a new venue for the spectacular Festival of the Unexceptional Concours de l’Ordinaire – the seventh year the event has been staged. The date for the 2020 event is Saturday July 25th.

An increased demand for larger show space and greater availability of tickets, prompted a change of venue and provided an opportunity to relocate. The chosen location for 2020 is the beautiful Grimsthorpe Castle in Lincolnshire, a 1516 architectural masterpiece, showcasing a mix of Tudor and Baroque splendour, originally given as a wedding gift by Henry VIII to William, 11th Lord Willoughby de Eresby.

2020 Hagerty Festival of the Unexceptional

What better backdrop for the UK’s largest collection of mundane vehicular transport, perfectly befitting the status of those exhibits wearing hallowed Ghia, Vanden Plas and CD badging.

Originally staged by Hagerty in 2014 as the first event of its kind in Europe, the Festival has since earned its place in the automotive calendar as the only attainable concours event offering a mix of great cars and a prestigious location with an informal and friendly approach not often seen on the concours circuit.

As in previous years, the Festival celebrates much maligned and long forgotten ‘ordinary’ classic cars and commercial vehicles of the late 1960s, 70s, 80s and 90s, and remains the only concours that applauds an Astra, believes in base-models, makes a case for a Maxi and robustly defends a Daf.

2020 Hagerty Festival of the Unexceptional

In keeping with the spirit of the event, guests are welcome to arrive in the latest supercars but are forewarned that forward parking is offered in favour of an FSO over a Ferrari, a Metro will be fawned over more than any Maserati and a Zastava will gain more privileges than a Zonda.

Once again, Hagerty’s annual Concours de l’Ordinaire will be free to attend and open to classic cars and light commercial vehicles from across the globe that were built between 1966 and 1996. Last year’s panel of automotive expert judges deemed a gloriously original 1977 Morris Marina Deluxe Estate as overall winner, with a 1978 Vauxhall Chevette Deluxe E saloon as notable runner up.

2020 Hagerty Festival of the Unexceptional

The Hagerty Festival of the Unexceptional celebrates a generational shift towards affordable classic cars and respects the love directed to them by owners and enthusiasts. The fact the event sells out year after year emphasises the deep-rooted understanding Hagerty has of market trends and movements, and highlights their passion for creating innovative and engaging events.

If you are the owner of a suitably mundane but interestingly ‘unexceptional’ 1966-96 vehicle, you may register it for consideration from 14th February at: http://www.unexceptionalcars.co.uk – WG.

 
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Posted by on January 7, 2020 in News

 

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NEWS ➤ Citroen adds auto to C5 Aircross

Citroen C5 Aircross PureTech 130 automatic

➤ Citroen’s popular C5 Aircross PureTech 130 petrol model is now available with an automatic gearbox. 1.6-litre PureTech 180 discontinued.

Citroen has introduced the option of an automatic gearbox with the PureTech 130 petrol engine in the C5 Aircross SUV. The new variant is available to order now, with first deliveries scheduled for March. As a result, the 1.6-litre PureTech 180 model will be discontinued for the UK market.

The new automatic gearbox option sees Citroen’s eight-speed automatic gearbox combined with the PureTech 130 1.2-litre, three-cylinder petrol engine for the first time in the C5 Aircross. It’s available in mid-range Flair and range-topping Flair+ models.

Citroen has also announced that the BlueHDi 130 diesel model of the C5 Aircross now claims lower CO2 levels than before, with official emissions figures slashed by up to 5g/km depending on the exact trim level.

The C5 Aircross BlueHDi 130 1.5-litre diesel now returns 105g/km of CO2 with a manual gearbox, which is down from 108g/km. The same model with an automatic gearbox returns 100g/km, a reduction of 5g/km.

Citroen C5 Aircross PureTech 130 automatic

Citroen plans to electrify its entire range by 2025 and will introduce a plug-in hybrid version of the C5 Aircross in the summer. The C5 Aircross PHEV will offer low CO2 emissions of 39g/km and will be capable of travelling up to 31 miles on electric power only.

Prices for the C5 Aircross start at £24,435 for the Pure Tech 130 manual in entry-level Feel trim. The new automatic PureTech 130 is offered in mid-range Flair trim for £28,335.

The revised diesel line-up starts from £25,335 for the BlueHDi 130 manual in Feel trim and rises to £33,335 for the range-topping BlueHDi 180 automatic. The C5 Aircross PHEV is expected to start at £35,340.

Buyers can order the new PureTech 130 automatic now. The car is scheduled to enter production in February, with first deliveries due in March – WG.

 
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Posted by on January 6, 2020 in News

 

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DRIVEN ➤ Skoda Scala – the value card returns

Skoda Scala

The Scala is the Czech carmaker’s first all-new car since 2017 and Skoda’s most competitive family hatchback offering yet.

Skoda Scala

The Scala replaces the Skoda Rapid and sits between the Skoda Fabia and Skoda Octavia in the UK product line-up. As SUV and crossover sales continue to steamroll global markets, the Scala’s release shows that Skoda still sees the value in more conventional family hatchbacks.

Skoda Scala

In the family hatchback class, the Scala faces an expansive range of rivals, including the Volkswagen Golf, Ford Focus, Vauxhall Astra and the SEAT Leon. It is a viable alternative to the Hyundai i30, KIA Ceed and Toyota Corolla, plus B-sector models like the Volkswagen Polo and SEAT Ibiza.

Exterior

Skoda has given the Scala much bolder styling than the rather dour Rapid. The front end features a wide grille and pointy headlights – which are LED units even on the entry-level model – and, in the side profile, there’s a nice chrome kink that follows the window line. At the rear, the tail-lights spread across the width of the tailgate, the top half of which may be a full glass panel, should you prefer.

Interior

The no-nonsense cabin is one of the more appealing aspects of the Skoda Scala. All models offer an infotainment screen, but high-spec models offer a super crisp Amundsen touchscreen. Skoda has sensibly decided to retain buttons for the touchscreen shortcuts and the climate controls, so you don’t have to navigate through menus just to change the temperature.

Skoda Scala

Skoda Scala

Overall, the interior isn’t quite as plush as a Volkswagen Golf, but its lower price means you don’t feel short-changed. Material quality is markedly better than the Rapid because Skoda has placed less-expensive but more durable materials lower down, so you don’t notice them as much. The main touchpoints, like the door armrests, are made of a more luxurious soft-touch material.

Another plus for the Scala is the level of space on offer. Front and rear passenger space is superb, affording generous leg and head room – even with the optional panoramic sunroof in place. There is a chunky central tunnel – which robs foot room for those sitting in the middle of the rear – but it’s not enough to spoil the Scala’s excellent practicality.

Skoda Scala

Trim grades and equipment

No Scala is sparsely equipped. The range kicks off with the S trim which features all-round electric windows, air conditioning, a 6.5-inch infotainment screen with DAB radio and Bluetooth, 16-inch alloy wheels and LED headlights.

Step up to SE, which is proving to be the most popular spec, and Skoda adds cruise control, rear parking sensors and a larger eight-inch screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity.

Skoda Scala

The current top-spec SE-L offers larger alloys, LED rear lights, dynamic indicators, tinted rear windows, digital dials and a 9.2-inch Amundsen infotainment screen.

There is no word yet if a high-end Monte Carlo or even the luxury Laurin & Klement trim grade will join the Scala line-up any time soon. This is unlikely though, as their respective prices will likely elevate the Scala into Optima territory, away from its value-led character.

Safety

All other VW Group cars were rated the top five-star score by Euro NCAP and it’s reassuring that the Skoda Scala follows suit.

It features a range of systems designed to prevent you having a crash, such as automatic city braking and lane-keep assist and offers many airbags and automatic emergency services contact if you do have a collision.

You can order extra features like adaptive cruise control and rear cross-traffic alert from the options list.

Boot space

Despite being slightly longer than the Volkswagen Golf, the Skoda Scala doesn’t use that car’s platform. Instead, it shares underpinnings with the less expensive Polo and Fabia, albeit a stretched version of that architecture. The result is a much bigger boot than the Golf; at 467 litres, capacity is almost 90 litres more with the seats up, or 140 litres (1,410) when folded down.

The boot floor can also be adjusted which allows a hidden storage compartment plus, the lip at boot entry is minimal, making it easier to slide heavy items in.

Skoda Scala

Engines and transmissions

Three petrol engines are currently available in the Scala line-up. There is a 1.0-litre turbocharged triple-pot offered in 94- and 113hp. Only a five-speed manual gearbox is offered on the lesser-powered unit, while the latter may be paired with a six-speed manual or a seven-speed DSG automatic.

There’s also a 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine with 148hp (six-speed manual or seven-speed DSG auto) that manages 0-62mph in 8.2 seconds, while the 113bhp version of the 1.0-litre manages the sprint in a reasonable 9.8 seconds. To be honest, the 113hp engine feels plenty quick enough in the middle of the rev range.

Skoda Scala

On the diesel front, there is just the one oil-burner – a 1.6-litre TDI that has seen extensive service throughout the VW Group product range. Paired with either the 6M or 7DSG auto gearbox, the engine is tuned to deliver 113hp and buyers are likely to be high-mileage drivers who need the slightly better fuel economy.

On the road

Avoid the costly and superfluous adaptive sports suspension – the Scala is not a sports car. Stick with the Scala’s standard suspension and you’ll find nothing to grumble about. It has a soft, cosseting setup that keeps life impressively comfortable, whether you’re crawling along pockmarked urban streets or cruising along motorways.

Skoda Scala

There is enough control in the suspension to prevent the body from excessive movement on undulating roads, or from leaning over too much in the bends, making the car feel suitably tidy and stable. Sure, it’s not the sharpest-handling hatchback you’ll ever drive, but the comfort level enjoyed is easily worth that trade-off.

SUMMARY

A big step up over the previous Rapid, the Scala is an accomplished family hatchback that – although not a genuine Golf or Focus rival – is a serious alternative to the likes of the KIA Ceed and a plethora of others.

It majors in space, cabin quality, technology and safety kit, plus the Volkswagen Group connection could draw in customers looking for a cut-price Golf alternative.

As much as the SE-L’s niceties appeal, it’s the mid-range SE that strikes a better balance, particularly when matched with the 1.0-litre 113hp TSI petrol engine and the smooth-shifting DSG automatic transmission.

Pick yours in a strong, bold colour and you’ve got a spacious, practical and comfy family hatch that still cuts a dash.

Skoda Scala

 
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Posted by on January 5, 2020 in Driven

 

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NEWS ➤ Morgan 3 Wheeler to cross India

Morgan 3 Wheeler Trans-India Challenge

Steve Morris, Morgan CEO, Lee Jenkins, Morgan 3 Wheeler technician, Alan Braithwaite, Trans-India Challenge and John Bishop, Morgan Recycling Manager.


*   Morgan 3 Wheeler to set on demanding 3,500 mile trans-Indian road trip.
*   Drivers Alan and Pat Braithwaite to receive full Morgan support.
*  
33-day adventure aims to raise £200,000 to support Indian aid NGO Goonj.

An open-air Morgan 3 Wheeler is set embark on its most arduous adventure yet, the Trans-India Challenge. The 3,500-mile, 33-day journey around India will put the 3 Wheeler to the ultimate test as it takes on one of the world’s most demanding road networks.

The Morgan Motor Company has given official backing to the car’s drivers, 73-year-old entrepreneur and philanthropist Alan Braithwaite and his wife Pat. In 1909, the Malvern-based car manufacturer produced its first car, a three wheeler and the new 3 Wheeler, launched in 2011, takes inspiration from this original model. Featuring an 82hp S&S V-twin motorcycle engine and weighing just 525kg, it’s one of the most exhilarating cars on sale today.

Morgan 3 Wheeler Trans-India Challenge

Few modifications were required for the Challenge but, to help the car cope with the rough terrain, raised suspension has been fitted by Bury St Edmunds-based Morgan dealer Krazy Horse. The car’s exterior, however, has changed very little and is certain to turn heads in India, where the 3 Wheeler has rarely been seen and, if so, not for many decades. With no roof of any kind, the Braithwaites will be fully exposed to the elements.

Morgan 3 Wheeler Trans-India Challenge

Alan Braithwaite, Trans-India Challenge and Steve Morris, Morgan CEO.

The Challenge aims to raise £200,000 to support Indian aid NGO Goonj and fund academic research into Goonj’s ‘circular economy’ model.  This sustainable approach recycles urban waste to use as ‘currency’, rewarding rural communities for improving their local environment – such as roads, water supply, hygiene or schools. It mirrors Morgan’s ecological values, for example its use of sustainable woods in the construction of its cars and a zero-landfill policy for all materials.

The Morgan adventure has attracted support from Ralph Lauren, too. Throughout the Challenge, the team will be wearing polo shirts from its Earth Polo range made from thread derived entirely from recycled plastic bottles and dyed using an innovative waterless process.

Morgan 3 Wheeler Trans-India Challenge

For Alan Braithwaite, Morgan’s support is a major boost: “We are delighted that Morgan has recognised the significance of the Trans-India Challenge. It will be a massive test for the car, but will certainly put Morgan firmly on the Indian map. With Morgan’s durability, and the materials used in the cars’ manufacture being sustainable and re-useable, this is the perfect choice of vehicle. It is also another milestone in recognising the ‘circular economy’ model championed by Goonj.”

The adventure starts in February – just six months after Alan underwent open heart surgery: He added: “I actually needed more extreme modifications than the car for this trip, but I’m confident we’ll both reach the finish line in great shape.”

Morgan 3 Wheeler Trans-India Challenge

The 3,500 mile Trans-India Challenge starts from Mumbai on February 1st, 2020 and take in cities including Pune, Hyderabad, Visakhapatnam, Puri, Kolkata, Patna, Lucknow, Agra, New Delhi, Jaipur, Udaipur and Ahmedabad, before returning to Mumbai at the beginning of March. It aims to visit 11 Goonj centres and projects along the way  – WG.

 
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Posted by on December 18, 2019 in News

 

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NEWS ➤ New Toyota Land Cruiser Active CV

2020 Toyota Land Cruiser Active CV

Toyota is expanding its Land Cruiser Commercial range for 2020 with the addition of a new, higher-specification Active model.

The Land Cruiser Commercial Utility was launched in 2018 as a rugged, no-nonsense vehicle, aimed at customers who want practicality and the kind of hard-wearing, go-anywhere capability for which the Toyota is renowned worldwide. The positive response this generated has helped prompt the introduction of the Active version, which comes with extra equipment features but is no less a redoubtable performer, whatever the conditions.

2020 Toyota Land Cruiser Active CV

2020 Toyota Land Cruiser Active CV

Both short (three-door) and long-wheelbase (five-door) versions will be available, powered by a muscular 2.8 D-4D engine with 420Nm of torque on tap. The transmission is a six-speed automatic, in place of the manual gearbox featured in the Utility model.

The specification upgrades add extra touches of style, convenience and comfort. On the outside there are new 19-inch six-spoke silver alloy wheels and body-colour door handles and door mirror casings. In the cabin there is dual-zone automatic climate control, a nine-speaker audio system with DAB radio reception, and the Toyota Touch 2 multimedia system with eight-inch touch screen. Additional handling and safety features include rear parking sensors, reversing camera, Hill-start Assist Control and Downhill Assist Control.

2020 Toyota Land Cruiser Active CV

Customers can take advantage of a number of accessory options to increase the Land Cruiser Commercial Active’s usefulness, including a navigation system, and seven or 13-pin tow bars. An Essential Protection Pack adds a rear bumper plate and rubber floor mats.

In other aspects, the Active grade carries forward the Utility specifications, including cruise control, Bluetooth, smart entry, mud flaps and automatic headlights.

2020 Toyota Land Cruiser Active CV

The Land Cruiser Commercial can tow braked loads up to three tonnes and is fitted with an edge-to-edge non-slip floor tray and side-hinged tailgate. The load space can also be accessed through the rear doors on the long-wheelbase model, with the rear windows covered by an opaque film that matches the body colour. All versions come with a full-height metal bulkhead with a strong mesh upper section and access hatch.

The new Land Cruiser Commercial Active is available to order now with customer deliveries from March 2020. Commercial vehicle on-the-road prices are £32,969 for the short wheelbase model and £33,932 for the long-wheelbase version – WG.

 
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Posted by on December 17, 2019 in News

 

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NEWS ➤ Suzuki on hybrid model offensive

2020 Suzuki Vitara Hybrid

A new K14D 1.4-litre BoosterJet petrol engine coming in the Spring, plus the Swift Sport, Vitara and S-Cross models get the new hybrid powertrain.

In continuing plans to further reduce CO2 emissions and improve fuel economy across its range of vehicles, Suzuki UK will introduce three 48-volt self-charging hybrid derivatives to its range next Spring, which will also include the introduction of its new K14D BoosterJet petrol engine.

The new hybrid setup will board the Swift Sport, Vitara and S-Cross models and offer up to 20% lower CO2 emissions, a greater level of torque and 15% overall improvement in (WLTP Combined) fuel consumption. These models will directly replace the current 1.4-litre BoosterJet derivatives with manual transmission.

2020 Suzuki Swift Sport hybrid

Similar in basic principle to their own 12v Hybrid SHVS system pioneered by Suzuki in 2016 and fitted to all manual transmission models in the Ignis range and Swift SZ5 models, the newly developed 48v hybrid powertrain remains is lightweight in design and the components add less than 15kg to the overall weight of the vehicle.

The new and higher-powered Suzuki SHVS system consists of a 48v lithium-ion battery, integrated starter generator (known as ISG) and 48v-12v (DC/DC) converter to power components requiring lower voltage including lights, audio and air conditioning. The ISG acts as both a generator and starter motor, is belt driven and assists the petrol engine during vehicle take off for a higher level of torque with 235Nm available from 2,000rpm.

2020 Suzuki S-Cross hybrid

The lithium-ion battery stores electrical energy recovered from deceleration and braking and incorporates an idle/stop function operated via the ISG. The battery, along with the DC/DC convertor unit, is located under the front seats to assist overall weight distribution.

A further benefit of the new 48v hybrid system is the introduction of electric motor idling when the clutch is disengaged and the engine speed is approximately 1,000rpm. This feature essentially replaces fuel injection with power from the electric motor to then control and maintain engine idling at vehicle speeds below 10mph and when stationary.

This function therefore eliminates fuel consumption under these conditions as engine momentum is electrically controlled by the ISG unit and the car is ready to re-accelerate on request with no engine restart delay.

More details along with full specs of the three new hybrid models will be announced in advance of the media and public launch scheduled for March 2020 – WG.

 
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Posted by on December 16, 2019 in News

 

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