Acura Claims the RWD V8 Program is Still Alive!

Who can we believe anymore? Reports surface that certain vehicle programs are dead and then days later differing reports come out. Earlier this week, Autocar claimed that Honda had killed the V8 engine program and RWD Acura's. Now Jeff Conrad, Vice President of Acura as informed dealers that the Acura "tier 1" program is still in the works.

According to Conrad the NSX program is officially dead, but the much needed V8 engine and RWD programs are still moving forward. It's rumored that Acura is working on a large RWD, V8 powered sedan to go head to head with the Germans.

It's still not known if the other reports about the death of the S2000 are in fact true.

Hot Clio impresses on track

I'm here in Portugal, where I've just had a first drive of the new Renaulsport Clio 200 on the racetrack at Branca. You'll have to check back later for the full first drive, but first impressions are overwhelmingly positive.
As the former keeper of Autocar's Clio 197 I must admit to approaching the new car reckoning that it would be nothing more than a re-nosed version of the same car.

But on track the 200 feels a fair bit keener than the old car, with a bit more steering feel and a chassis that loves to be balanced between understeer and oversteer on the throttle.
It looks good, too. And it sounds great, losing the 197's empty rasp for a properly meaty exhaust note.
I’ll wait until I've driven it on road before coming to any conclusions. But on track, this thing's awesome.

Electric cars: it really isn’t that hard

You won’t have heard of the Citroen C1 Evie. In fact I hadn’t either until the invite to its launch dropped through our postbox recently. It turns out that a British-based company named the Electric Car Corporation has created a pure-electric Citroen C1 with a range of up to 60 miles and a top speed of 60mph, and the order books are open now.
Sounds good, I thought, but what’s the catch? Surely this can’t come out of nowhere and be as good as the press fluff made it sound. After all, I spent a good few minutes staring open-mouthed at the electric cars at the London motor show last year. Not a single one of them resembled a normal, let alone desirable, method of transport.

Sure, there were some clever ideas, but they were clever in the same way that Vivienne Westwood’s catwalk creations are clever. I’m still not going to wear them down the street.
In fact, my pessimistic initial reaction was totally wrong. It really is just an electric Citroen C1.
The steering wheel is where you would want it to be, there are four seats, four doors, a boot and a plug where the fuel nozzle would be. The right pedal makes it go, the other one makes it stop. You have to look under the bonnet to find an electric motor and some of the latest lithium-ion batteries (imported from China), and there are more of the same where the fuel tank is.
You turn the key, push the pedal and the car drives. Silently, and effortlessly.
Okay, so it’s expensive at an estimated £16k, but it’s priced competitively in the market. More than anything else, I can’t help but look at the Citroen C1 Evie and ask why it hasn’t been done before. If you’ve just bought a G-Wiz, I imagine that seeing the Citroen C1 Evie is going to be like discovering that you’ve just spent five figures on a car with square tyres when you could have had round ones.
So it seems that the electric city car was nowhere near as complicated to make as we all thought. Even better, it’s a British company run by a British entrepeneur (David Martell – also responsible for Trafficmaster) and a few dedicated staff that has proved it. Chalk one up to Blighty.

The exaggerated demise of the electric car

A few years ago I spent a day driving in central London in a Ford Think, which was Uncle Henry’s attempt to create an all-electric car for the urban market.
It was one of the most horrible experiences of my motoring life. For all the millions that Ford had ploughed into the creation of the two-seat Think City, it felt horribly out of its depth when asked to deal with the capital’s traffic. The unassisted steering was heavy, rear visibility was terrible and the chassis crashed its way through every pothole as a couple of hundred kilos of batteries made their presence felt.

The worst bit was the fact that, after making less than 10 miles of very slow progress across London, the battery gauge reported that it had less than half charge remaining, meaning that getting back required the use of an AA transporter.
Ford’s accountants subsequently worked out that the project wouldn’t be economically viable even if the Think wore a £15,000 price tag and – to nobody’s surprise – the whole project was wound down a few months later.
The contrast with the day I recently spent in the equally electric Mitsubishi i-MiEV filming our video couldn’t be greater. Only seven years separates the Mitsubishi from the Think, but in evolutionary terms it’s a higher primate to the Think’s single-cell organism.
In the urban environment it’s designed for, the i-MIEV is completely painless. It’s rapid, easy to drive and equipped with power steering, air-con and a decent sound system. Apart from the pleasing whine of the traction motor, it might as well be any other city car.

But other than a thirst for 240V AC, I can only think of two things that the i-MIEV shares with the Think, although sadly both are significant problems.
The first is the range anxiety that quickly comes over the pilot of any electric vehicle – with the possible exception of the Tesla Roadster. It takes seven hours to recharge the battery pack from a domestic socket, meaning that the i-MIEV’s battery meter is by far the most important of its instruments. Miscalculate any journey’s duration and that’s a long wait by the side of the road – especially as you won’t even have juice to run the hazard lights.
The second similarity is price. The i-MIEV is an almost infinitely superior car to the Think, but it’s still going to struggle to make a case for itself costing anything up to 100 per cent more than a petrol-powered equivalent. Mitsubishi still hasn’t decided whether the production i-MIEV will be coming to the UK, but realistically it’s going to require a fat government subsidy to make it a viable proposition.

Mazda Taiki

Mazda Taiki

The Mazda Taiki, revealed at the 40th Tokyo Motor Show in October 2007, culminated Mazda's theme for the show "Sustainable Zoom-Zoom – Mazda's showroom today and in the future." The Mazda Taiki sets a new ideal for the front-engine rear-drive sports car of the future and continues the evolution of the Nagare design theme, following in the footsteps of the Mazda Nagare, Mazda Ryuga, and Mazda Hakaze concept vehicles. The challenge to create "a design that visually expresses the flow of air" was inspired by the image of a pair of Hagoromo—the flowing robes that enable a celestial maiden to fly in Japanese legend—floating down from the sky. Inspired by Japanese koinobori—the decorative "climbing carp streamers"—the notion of creating an Air-tube became the concept word for the interior design. As the fourth in the series, Mazda Taiki further advances and refines the theme through a fusion of the Nagare (flow) design concept and real-world technologies, such as a next-generation rotary engine and enhanced aerodynamic performance.

In developing the next-generation RENESIS, Mazda made a thoroughgoing revision of engine dimensions including the trochoid rotor housing, adopting a longer stroke and larger displacement of 1600cc (800cc x 2) aimed to raise thermal efficiency and boost torque at all engine speeds. By employing the Hydrogen RE design policy of a direct injection system and aluminium side housing, as well as various other measures, we are further promoting the rotary engine’s merits of light weight and compact size.

Mazda Ryuga


Mazda's provocative Nagare (pronounced "nah-gah-reh") - Japanese for "flow" - concept car, revealed at the LA Auto Show, introduced a new surface language that evokes the emotion of motion in a stationary automobile.

Evolving that idea further, Laurens van den Acker, Design Division General Manager for Hiroshima, Japan's Mazda Motor Corporation, revealeds the Ryuga (pronounced "ree-yoo-ga") - Japanese for "gracious flow" - concept, at this year's North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

"Ryuga celebrates refined and controlled motion," van den Acker said. "Nagare is a dream or an emotion that's just beginning to take shape; Ryuga extends that idea by adding definition.
"To draw this new surface language closer in time to a car Mazda will produce for sale, we've added interior and powertrain details that were purposely absent from Nagare," van den Acker continued. "In addition, large wheels placed at the far corners of Ryuga's exterior lend a highly stable, balanced stance. The aggressive wedge shape imparts motion even when this sports coupe is parked. Volumes that are small in front, larger at the rear, wrap around and over the wheels to give the exterior tension and direction.

"After we began studying natural phenomenon for inspiration, Mazda designers were initially hesitant to apply their findings, but I encouraged them to blend artistic and sculptural beauty to see where it led. Once we did, the results were both original and instantly appealing.

"While this initiative began with textures inspired by nature, it goes much deeper than that. We're looking at grand gestures that wrap all over the vehicle's exterior and throughout the interior. Some of the proportions are dramatically wind-swept. There's drama at every turn. There are no square corners."

Mazda Nagare


After presenting three ground-breaking concept vehicles during the 2005-2006 global auto show season – Sassou, Senku and the Kabura, which won Detroit Motor Show’s esteemed Aesthetics and Innovation Award at the 2006 North American International Auto Show – the 2007-2008 Auto Show Season continues to keep energy levels brimming with the introduction of Mazda’s design and surface language for future Zoom-Zoom vehicles. The new surface language called Nagare (pronounced “na-ga-reh”) was revealed at this year’s Greater Los Angeles International Auto Show and is the first of a series of design concepts that Mazda will showcase this global auto show season, including Los Angeles, Detroit, Geneva and Tokyo.

Under the direction of Mazda’s new global design director, Laurens van den Acker, the challenge given to the team was to invent a novel means of registering motion in vehicles whether they’re moving or still. Nagare, which means flow in Japanese, achieves that goal while also signaling a fresh design direction for future Mazda vehicles.

Franz von Holzhausen, Mazda North American Operations’ (MNAO) Director of Design, and the man responsible for leading the US-based design team, which developed this vehicle, explains, “We’re looking well down the road with Nagare. We want to suggest where Mazda design will be in 2020. To do that, we redefined basic proportions and the idea of driving without losing the emotional involvement. Mazda’s driving spirit will be enhanced and intensified by Nagare.

Toyota Triathlon Race Car

Toyota Motor Triathlon Race Car

Toyota Motor Triathlon Race Car is a sports car designed to attract tomorrow’s drivers thanks to its unique content based on Toyota’s key strengths: motor sport history, its 4WD heritage and the pursuit of high-tech solutions. This vehicle has an extremely sporty design and concept. It is also soon to be one of the stars of Gran Turismo 4, the famous video game. Advanced driving dynamics are provided by Toyota’s Fuel Cell stack for zero emissions, by-wire allows the use of 4 in-wheel electric motors giving unparalleled all wheel control. Height adjustable suspension and intelligent tyres that adapt to road conditions add to the excitement.
Why use one electric motor per wheel?

The use of an electric motor per wheel allows an unparalleled 4-wheel drive control. Each motor is instantaneously controlled with by-wire technology, making it possible to execute torque distribution per wheel much more quickly than a normal system using differentials.
How can the settings be changed to improve the dynamic performance?
The car can alter the suspension height to provide high-speed stability or better off-road driveability. It also uses intelligent tyres with built-in sensors. These tyres can read road conditions, making the tyres’ grip to instantaneously adapt to road conditions when necessary.
What advances does this car incorporate in terms of IT (information technology)?
Motor Triathlon Race Car uses the Mixed Reality system. It allows the driver to visualise information in the helmet, just like in a Head Up Display (HUD). This information is related with road conditions like road temperature, presence of snow or ice, tyre condition, serving almost as a co-pilot.

Financial crisis hits electric car company Think Global

Think Global is a Norwegian based manufacturer of electric vehicles and is the same company behind the original ‘Th!nk’ electric car that went on sale in the U.S. during the late 1990s. Back then, Think was owned by Ford, which sold it in 2003 to Swiss company Kamkorp Microelectronics. In 2006 Think went bankrupt and was subsequently rescued by a group of Norwegian investors determined to build the firm into a proper carmaker with a number of all-electric models. The rejuvenated company showed some promise in recent years, revealing a number of new concept vehicles and announcing plans to establish operations in the U.S.

Look Into Your Soul, Kia Soul that is!


My God, I never thought I would be saying that a Kia looks good but here goes. The Kia Soul looks nice. Okay, there, I said it. So what!

The Kia Soul is a definite contender. I mean, look at the new commercial of the Kia Soul. It literally has Soul! It has the looks, the right price and a great warranty to complete the package. I have not driven one of these things personally but I plan on it very soon.

What is your scoop on the Kia Soul? Does it do it for you if you were shopping for a vehicle in that particular segment? The price of Souls are going for cheap these days. Look at President Obama, his morals are somewhat shaky right now according to many conservatives. But enough about politics, this is a Soul that’s in the balance that we are talking about here.

Kia has come a long way while Hyundai has really helped them over the past few years. That was probably the best thing for Kia to be a part of Hyundai or they would not even have a Soul. The Kia Soul looks to give the Scion xB and Nissan Cube a run for its money… and when I say money, I only mean about $14 grand of it.

2010-kia-soul-side-front 2010-kia-soul-off-road 2010-kia-soul-rear

kia-soul-interior kia-soul-front-seats kia-soul-cargo


2010 Kia Soul Specs:

Check out the popular hamsters Kia Soul Commercials below and you tell me is it worth the price!

Price: Starting at 13,300 for base 1.6L model and tops out around $17,000 for the Sport 2.0L
Type: Compact Wagon
Where Built: South Korea
EPA Class: Small Station Wagon


Length: 161.6 in. Width: 70.3 in.
Height: 63.4 in. Wheel Base: 100.4 in.
Maximum Seating: 5

Performance Data

Base Number of Cylinders: 4 Base Engine Size: 2 liters
Base Engine Type: Inline 4 Horsepower: 142 hp
Max Horsepower: 6000 rpm Torque: 137 ft-lbs.
Max Torque: 4600 rpm Drive Type: FWD
0-60mph: 8.8 seconds

Fuel Data

Fuel Tank Capacity: gal.
EPA Mileage Estimates: (City/Highway/Combined)
Manual: 24 mpg / 30 mpg / mpg

Zagato People Mover : 2009

zagato peoplemover 3 09

At the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi, Zagato, the Italian Total Design Center, responsible for aerodynamic collectibles cars like Aston Martin, Bentley, Ferrari, Maserati and Spyker, unveiled a futuristic model of an automated people mover vehicle, for Masdar City