By Wayne Gorrett
The Morgan Motor Company is to continue its technology drive with the launch of new models based on its recently introduced CX-Generation aluminium platform.
A raft of new car introductions will take place in 2020 and form a core range of models for the British manufacturer.
It follows the success of the first car to use this platform, the new Morgan Plus Six, launched at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2019. The British hand-built car maker has received an overwhelmingly positive reaction to the Plus Six model from both the press and customers, in large part thanks to its CX-Gen platform.
Designed in house by Morgan, the CX-Gen platform is twice as rigid as the previous aluminium chassis used by the company, which underpinned the Aero 8 and second-generation Plus 8 models. Thanks to a focus on reducing weight, the chassis tips the scales at just 97kg, contributing to the Plus Six’s mere 1,075kg dry weight.
Although full details of the new aluminium platform models are yet to be shared, the company can confirm that the range will feature a variant with a manual gearbox, as well as an engine with a smaller capacity than the 3.0-litre turbocharged inline six-cylinder unit used in the Plus Six.
The introduction of the CX-platform-based Plus Six marks the end of production for Morgan’s legendary traditional steel chassis. Introduced in 1936 in Morgan’s first four-wheeled vehicle, the 4-4, the steel chassis has played a hugely important role in the company’s history, underpinning its models for 83 years. A variation of the chassis continues to be found today, in the Morgan 4/4, Plus 4 and V6 Roadster.
More information on the model range, launch dates and celebration plans for the end of the traditional steel chassis will be made in 2020 – WG.
The all-wheel drive Toyota GR-4 Yaris, an all-new, rally-inspired sports car, will make its world debut at the Tokyo Auto Salon on January 10th.
Plucked straight out of the World Rally Championships (WRC), the GR-4 Yaris has been slightly de-hooned to make it road legal, but still benefits from advanced technologies, knowledge and experienced acquired in the WRC under the Toyota Gazoo Racing (TGR) banner.
It will be the second pure sports car to be launched globally by TGR, following the return of the legendary Toyota GR Supra. The ‘4’ in the name denotes all-wheel drive.
For the Japanese market, an AWD version of the Yaris is already offered. It has a more sophisticated multi-link suspension than the front-wheel-drive European model. The teaser video above confirms the new model will have four-wheel drive; footage of a full-throttle launch showed all four wheels gripping the surface.
The GR-4 Yaris has completed its final development stage and a prototype was recently pushed to the limits by Akio Toyoda, Toyota’s global president, under his TGR Master Driver codename ‘Morizo’ (how cool is THAT?).
In 2017, TGR returned to the FIA World Rally Championship with the Yaris WRC, going on to post five victories and secured the manufacturers’ title the following year. Its success has continued in 2019, with the team claiming both the drivers’ and co-drivers’ championships.
Further details of the new Toyota GR-4 Yaris will be announced in due course.
Land Rover UK has announced availability of a Range Rover Velar R-Dynamic Black edition, with only 500 units entering production and all for the UK.
Based on the popular Range Rover Velar D180 R-Dynamic SE, the limited Black edition features a ‘Black Exterior Pack’, privacy glass, panoramic roof, 21-inch gloss black alloys, heated steering wheel metallic paint and adaptive dynamics as standard. The special edition adds £4,885 worth of options for £1,125.
Two metallic exterior colour finishes are available to choose from; Santorini Black and Eiger Grey, while for the interior there is ebony grained leather furniture and black headlining.
The range-entry D180 diesel engine is the only engine available. It’s a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine with 178hp and comes with a ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic gearbox and four-wheel drive as standard.
Acceleration from 0-62mph takes 8.9 seconds, the car’s top speed is 120mph and up to 42mpg is possible. It’s a shame that the R-Dynamic Black isn’t available with the more powerful 237hp D240 engine, which knocks the 0-62mph time down to 7.4 seconds while still returning 41.1mpg.
Pricing for the Range Rover Velar R-Dynamic Black starts at £56,995 and is available to order now with first deliveries expected in early 2020 – WG.
Last week, Euro NCAP released its latest round of crash-test results after a dozen vehicles were put to the test.
The Tesla Model X, Porsche Taycan, Audi Q7, Renault Captur, Subaru Forester, Skoda Octavia, Ford Mondeo and Ford Kuga all achieve the coveted five-star rating.
The all-new Peugeot 2008 was tested both with the optional safety pack and with standard safety equipment achieving five and four stars, respectively. The updated Volkswagen Sharan and twin sister SEAT Alhambra get a creditable four stars, while the facelifted Jeep Renegade claims only three.
The stand-out performer of this round is undoubtedly Tesla’s Model X, scoring 94% for Safety Assist, the same percentage as its smaller Model 3 sibling scored earlier this year. This makes the two Teslas the best performers in this part of the assessment against Euro NCAP’s most recent protocols. The recently-updated Model X also achieved an impressive 98% for adult occupant protection, making it strong contender for Best in Class this year.
Another eye-catcher of this round is the Taycan, Porsche’s first battery electric vehicle (BEV), set to rival to the Tesla Model S and Jaguar I-PACE in the BEV saloon segment. While the Taycan is all about high-performance electric driving and primarily targets the premium end of the consumer market, it is reassuring that the car achieved the full five stars in safety testing.
The Skoda Octavia, Renault Captur, the Ford Kuga and Audi Q7 all performed well in different size categories. The all-new Peugeot 2008 shares the same platform with other models of the PSA Group, such as the second generation DS 3 Crossback and the Vauxhall Corsa.
Like the DS 3, the Peugeot 2008 offers an optional ‘Safety Plus’ pack on all variants, that adds a radar sensor alongside the standard camera and gives the car enhanced AEB capabilities. Subaru’s new Forester also performed well all-round, showing off its family car credentials by scoring particularly well in child occupant protection. The Forester completes an all five-star model line-up for the Japanese manufacturer.
The Volkswagen Sharan and its SEAT twin, the Alhambra, have been around for several years, but the VW Group has done a fine job in keeping them up-to-date in terms of safety, with the addition of autonomous emergency braking and rear seatbelt load-limiters. The outcome is a still-competitive four-star rating, and the cars are amongst the few to offer i-Size compatibility in all rear seats and integrated child restraints as an option in the second row. This continues to make them ideal transport for a growing family.
The venerable Ford Mondeo has also been updated with AEB, and rear pre-tensioners and load-limiters, and offers safety to rival many newer vehicles.
However, on the recently facelifted Jeep Renegade, AEB is not standard and oddly remains on the options list. As a result, it becomes the only car so far this year to achieve a rating of less than four stars.