Posts Tagged ‘autos’

Whilst catching up on my weekend’s email and news I came across a review for the Mazda CX-9. As I was sat there reading it I couldn’t help thinking that I hadn’t seen much of this Mazda in Kent. Or anywhere before for that matter. There’s a reason for it too.

For some reason, despite the market that’s patently juicy for the likes of VW, Ford and even Porsche with their Cayenne, Mazda doesn’t let us have the CX-9 in the UK. Or Europe. Buy why??

cx-9

I really can’t undestand this. While I’m all in favour of more eco-friendly cars and consider such large vehicles as a display of money over taste, it strikes me as odd for a company that needs usually finds as many ways as possible to turn a penny not to market a car in the UK. Especially given how positive reviews of this car have been.

The standard car delivers about 273hp from a 3.7 litre V6 for just $30,000 – still less than £19k though it’s unlikely they’d price it so equally. All that power comes along with aircon, powered everything and keyless entry and the option for All-Wheel-Drive. Not only that but it looks pretty damned good too.

Given the prices it’s available at it, the fact that there is a market, Mazda seem to be in a hole finance wise and it’s got a lot of things going for it, why can’t we Brits stroll down to our nearest Mazda dealer and drop a deposit?

If somebody can actually tell me why we don’t get it, I’d love to kow.

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Didn’t Fiat once occupy the motoring pages for new cars too? Of course they did, only recently their delightful little 500 was picking up all the headlines for design awards and stop-start technology and now there’s rumours floating around about Fiat that involve cars rather than purchasing countries.

Never ones to rest on their laurels, the 500 has been turned bright pink for Barbie, had it’s top taken off for convertible status and is now likely to be fattened up an older, more traditional name taken from this: 

fiat 500 giardiniera

Don’t ask me why but looking at this Fiat I think of Kent countryside in the summer and picnics. That’s despite the suitcase and German language in the ad. Perhaps it’s the tartan. 

The original hasn’t been around since 1970 but the the upcoming 500 Giardiniera is strongly tipped to be a mini-SUV. Small and quirky enough to bounce around town and nip cheekily into parking spots yet roomy enough for a little family holiday too, almost like the classic imagery in the ad above. If it does it will put Fiat into direct competition with the Mini clubman, a car which – I think – looks ridiculous in lengthened form.

We shall see. Then again, what is really the point in a mini-suv? Why not just get a family sized-car? Are we in danger in flooding the market with pointless model types? I think so…

So I’ve been reading the results from this years World Car of the Year awards (the VW Golf in case you didn’t know) and I’m a bit bemused by the winner for the Word Car Design of the Year: the new Fiat 500.

Really?new fiat 500

Yes it’s cute but… the other finalists are a baffler too. The Citroen C5 sedan and tourer and the Jaguar XF? Really? Nothing else out there left the panel lusting?

There was plenty of talk about how the 500 “pushes emotional hot buttons” and how it meshes the appeal of the old model with new technology… but that’s like awarding an Oscar to re-touched versions of the original Star Wars films!  Then there’s the idea that it’s “straightforward, without gimmicks.” 

What?! Aren’t we awarding for actual flair in design anymore? Something that makes your mouth drop open! The auto world is full of them. I appreciate that the idea is for the winner of the WCOTY award to be something that’s attainable for most otorists – that’s why the Golf wasn’t a surprise – but in design terms it shouldn’t have to apply too.  

Don’t get me wrong – I like the new 500, I really do. It’s cute, funky looking and with all it’s eco credentials and start-stop fuel saving technology, it’s a real cracker of a car. But surely I’m not the only one thinking that a design award should go to something that leaves you drooling? 

I can’t imagine there’s many people with posters on their walls of the little Fiat..

There’s lots of talk (plenty on this very blog) about whether they’ll be taking the smaller cars that are a success over here in Europe to the States. new ford focus

Well, now Ford are considering taking a monster version of the Focus to the US markets too, if American markets feedback that they would really really like it, please. The power-house version of the Focus, the RS, is sold over here and powerd by a supercharged 2.5 litre Volvo engine with a whopping 305hp.

Director of Advanced Product Creation and Global Performance has said that the decision to sell the Focus on the US is governed by the response from American car entusiasts. The guys at the Blue Oval want to know “how much do they like it? Is it reallywhat they want?” and are “pretty confident that it is.”

I’m not surprised by the fact that they think it’d be wanted, the Volvo-powered Focus has proved hugely popular in Europe since the beefed-up version was launched and more and more Americans asy they want a smaller car. 

Could the higher power of the RS version be enough to make the small car be a full-time member of the Ford U.S line up? Though maybe a change of colour would help….

You know, it’s funny. Having spent so long paying zero attention to the brand – for reasons discussed before – I can’t seem to escape Lotus lately. 

Yesterday I fell in love with the looks of the Evora and today, I glanced out of the kitchen window while the kettle boiled in the company kitchen to see an unfamiliar white sports car. Ilotus exige‘m assuming it belongs to one of the visitors currently in a meeting in our boardroom but it looks staggering. 

I’d only seen it once or twice on pictures but images don’t really give you a decent idea of the real thing (like the Megane) and I was surprised by the size of it. In a similar way to when the boss bought his Ferrari in and I realised that it’s not as big as it’s power suggest, the Exige is really quite a small motor. So small that it’s dwarfed out there by the VW Golf and the Seat that are parked next to it. 

But… The stats for it beggar belief in comparison to the size. The car is tiny yet it’ll propel you to 62 mph in under 4 seconds and keep you going til you reach 100 in 5 more seconds and then on to 160mph, assuming there’s no blue lights in sight. Or traffic. 

It seems insane though for a car that small. Granted it’s not made out of paper mache and looks pretty solid, but at such a small size, doing that must feel like you’re in an aggressive, hyped-up go-kart?? Has anyone driven one of these little rockets?

Where do I sign up for a spin?

To me, marketing a car as a sports luxury coupe smacks of trying to hit at too many things – isn’t a coupe something sport like by definition? And, for the price they want, you’d expect the luxury to be pretty standard too. However, I’ll forgive them on this instance. The “them” being Lotus.

Why? Well, the “sport luxury coupe” thing is a phrase I heard used to describe this:

lotus evora

 

Ain’t it a stunner? It’s the new Lotus Evora. I have noooo idea where that name comes from but it’s better than the name they gave it during development – the Eagle. I love it, I think it’s a massive improvement over everything they’ve done recently (I’d gone off them since the end of the Esprit) and, to my mind, points out that we Brits still really know our stuff when it comes to fine-looking sports cars.

What do you think, have Lotus created the best looking British sportscar with this Evora?