The New Honda Civic

Posted in Honda

Honda announces the new Civic at the IAA Frankfurt Motor Show. Developed specifically for the European market, the Civic will be offered exclusively as a five-door hatchback and will compete in the C-segment. It will reach European showrooms in early 2012.
The Civic team led by Mitsuru Kariya, the ‘Large Project Leader’ (LPL), were given the task to create and develop the new Civic. With the current Civic being known for its unique exterior styling and interior practicality within the C segment in Europe, Mitsuru Kariya and his team were keen to further understand the needs and desires of the European customers. The current Civic became the benchmark focus for their research to create a car that was even better.
“… when evaluating the requirements of our customers, we recognised that the European customer desires are demanding and unique in many aspects. We have focussed our development on fulfilling these expectations and through this process we have taken our development standards even further to a new level.” (Mitsuru Kariya, LPL)
With the current increase of fuel prices across Europe and the environmental targets set to achieve low emissions, it was concluded from the European customer survey that the current Civic customer not only considers modern styling and performance to be important but also advanced technologies to create a Civic that was even more cost efficient to run and eco-friendly.
The development period for the new Civic spanned over four years. Nearly all of components are new to the Civic or have been further developed with areas of focus on the suspension set-up to improve the ride and handling, the interior materials to improve the overall interior quality, the new design styling and aerodynamics for a refreshed image and improved efficiency, and the engines for improved performance and reduced CO2 emissions.
Overall the new Civic builds on the core strengths of its predecessor and takes them to an appreciably higher level. It also is one of the sector’s best in performance against low CO2 emissions – the diesel model produces just 110 g/km with 150 PS and 350 Nm of torque.
Background and Research
The current Civic originally launched in 2006 saw a change in the type of layout approach with the development of a unique platform based on a “centre tank” layout designed to offer practical benefits such as large cabin space meeting the needs of Europe’s “C” category customers. The Civic was designed and developed for the European market receiving positive feedback in areas such as design and versatility/practicality which have helped define the current Civic as having ‘road presence’ with its ‘futuristic looks;’ and having a ‘multi-purpose’ function with the large boot space and multiple seat arrangements offered by the ‘magic seats’.
As research commenced, the development team for the new Civic considered these key milestones achieved with the current Civic and opted to maintain and even look to enhance the current Civic model qualities. The team wanted to create a new emotional design with the ability to surprise and provide the unexpected in terms of roominess and other practical features whilst also improving the visibility and widening the field of vision to enhance the overall ownership experience.
The current Civic had already achieved superior interior space with an unbeatable boot capacity among its competitors. Focus now was on maintaining this class leading interior space whilst improving the overall packaging and space efficiency in the attempt to reduce overall dimensions. This would lead to a new exterior design, improved aerodynamic performance, reducing weight that play a role in raising the car’s overall performance envelope.
Focused research was conducted to determine the latest and most important requirements for the European market. European and Japanese designers and engineers worked together closely throughout the development process. Testing was carried out first in Japan and then repeatedly in Europe to ensure suitability for the world’s most demanding C-segment customers.
“the car had to be safe and easy to handle, affordable and so on … premium in terms of having a good balance of affordable performance.” (Mitsuru Kariya, LPL)
The Civic development team turned to drivers, dealers and the media to evaluate the existing Civic and define the essential ‘must keep’ features and qualities, as well as the priorities for the new model. Drivers appreciated the distinct styling and form of the car, with its futuristic looks and practicality. However their feedback suggested that the car’s rear design could be more sophisticated and that rear view could be improved. Inside the Civic the modern and user-friendly cockpit design was appreciated, as were the spacious cabin and versatile ‘magic seats’, but users demanded an improvement in the quality of the materials used. Drivers were impressed with the driving experience, but noted that suspension noise could be reduced and ride comfort increased.
Research revealed that the typical Civic driver is attracted to unique, fresh design with sporty performance and advanced technologies. The environment was defined as a high priority, with customers demanding high fuel economy and low emissions.
Concept and development
Initial ideas for the new Civic explored the realm of the car having a ‘Lean Energetic’ design. ‘Lean’ was to emphasize the environmental-conscious world existing today, and ‘Energetic’ to express Honda’s vitality. This design direction translated into a ‘Clean-Dynamic’ design concept.
The design team often referred back to their sources of inspiration to help define ‘Clean- Dynamic’, a ‘blended body’ airplane in which fuselage and wings blend into a single body for superior aerodynamic performance, quietness and habitability. Other inspiration was swimwear and track outfits worn by the athletes which provide low resistance.
Initial sketches focused on elegantly flowing designs taken from the ‘blended body’ airplane (a concept model designed by engineers at the University of Cambridge) and low resistance swimwear with no obvious borderlines between surfaces with bumper and fender lines blending seamlessly into the body.
This concept was a clear break in a new direction, rather than relying on sheer strength and engine power to convey a sporty image, a ‘blended body’ with reduced resistance would demonstrate a smarter image for the new Civic.
The team returned to these sources over and over again during the design process, using them as a touchstone when they needed to reaffirm their direction.

Drive trains
The new Civic will be offered with three engine options: a 1.4 l petrol unit, a 1.8 l petrol unit and a 2.2 l diesel unit. All the engines are combined with a 6-speed manual gearbox, ECO Assist, advanced fueling control technology and Idle Stop. They are also equipped with Hill Start Assist. The 1.8 l engine can be paired with a specially designed 5-speed automatic transmission.
The chief goal in the engine and transmission development was to maintain the high performance driving experience whilst improving the overall efficiency of the engine resulting in lower running costs.

Kia TV Ad

Posted in Kia

For Kia, What You Like influences us to move forward, challenging us to enter new frontiers of automotive technology and design. These innovations lead us to new lifestyles that are unique and fun. Alongside our core brand beliefs – ‘Challenger’, ‘Human-driven’ and ‘Spirited’, we aim to deliver a unique customer experience inspired by What You Like. We know that everyone looks for something different when they look for a car and Kia want to know What You Like with the help of our new global brand campaign; Kia, Inspired by What You Like.

We know that everyone looks for something different when they look for a car and Kia want to know What You Like with the help of our new global brand campaign; Kia, Inspired by What You Like.
Join our Facebook page to share with other Kia fans aspects that you like about Kia cars and exactly what you look for in a car and be rewarded with your very own wallpaper using our ‘What do you like?’ app. Enter our ‘Like Lab’ to explore the unlimited possibilities of Kia’s forward thinking via interactive social video letting you control and integrate what you ‘LIKE’ into the Kia story.

In addition, Kia are offering two fans the chance to win a trip for two to the 2012 Australian Open Men’s Singles Final on the 29th January 2012 by correctly selecting the seven things that you believe our Kia Brand Ambassador Rafael Nadal ‘likes’ in our global competition ‘Guess What Nadal Likes’. To be in with a chance of winning, visit our Kia Motors UK Facebook page and enter the competition via our ‘I like Kia’ Facebook tab. The winners for this competition will be announced on December 10th 2011.

Sabaru debuts BRZ sport coupe

Posted in Subaru

Toyoto’s UK division spilled the beans on the production GT 86 over the holiday weekend, and now Subaru has let loose on its version of this jointly developed sports coupe: the BRZ. Not surprisingly, most of the details we know about both models are identical, including their naturally aspirated 2.0-liter horizontally opposed boxer engines, your choice of 6-speed manual or automatic (with shift paddles) transmissions, rear-wheel-drive layout and low center of gravity.

Toyota states that the GT 86′s engine will produce 197 bhp and 151 lb-ft of torque. Likewise, Subaru says its version will make a nice, round 200 horsepower and 151 lb-ft. Subaru also revealed a couple of tidbits that Toyota left out, including a svelte curb weight of 2,689 pounds and a standard tire size will be 215/45R17 rubber.

As for the car’s design, there’s nothing here we haven’t seen before in the various concept iterations of the BRZ (and FT-86, for that matter). It’s up to you to decide whether or not that’s a good thing, but we’ll just say we think the BRZ’s better angle is from the rear.

Toyota Fun-Vii concept

Posted in Concept Cars, Toyota

The Tokyo Motor Show wackiness has officially begun, and the first far-out concept comes courtesy of Toyota and the Fun-Vii.

Forget custom paint jobs and vinyl graphics, the Fun-Vii lets you change the exterior design “with the same ease as downloading an application,” allowing drivers to display everything from custom messages to flashy graphics through some manner of magical exterior display technology.

The same goes for the interior, which Toyota claims can be customized to suit the mood of the driver, with a variety of themes and an augmented reality function taking place of the traditional navigation system.

Less far-out is the incorporation of a “navigation concierge” that provides up-to-the-second driving and multimedia information through a virtual assistant. And naturally, the Fun-Vii interfaces with both your smartphone and other road users, adding both a safety and social element to the driving experience.

2013 LEXUS GS 250

Posted in Lexus

Lexus has revealed a further extension of its all-new GS luxury saloon range with the unveiling of the GS 250 at the Guangzhou International Automobile Exhibition.

The GS 250 is powered by a 2.5-litre V6 petrol engine with D-4S direct port injection and Dual VVT-i intelligent valve timing. Maximum output is 206bhp at 6,400rpm and peak torque of 253Nm is delivered at 4,800rpm, giving the car nought to 62mph acceleration in 8.6 seconds and a top speed of 142mph. Combined cycle fuel consumption is 31.7mpg and CO2 emissions are 207g/km.

The engine is matched to Lexus’s Super ECT-i close-ratio intelligent six-speed automatic transmission, with a sequential manual shift function. The system has been engineered to deliver faster shift speeds, earlier torque converter lock-up and downshift throttle blips, complimenting a range of different drive modes available through the GS 250′s Drive Mode Select System.

Compared the current GS, the new model has a more spacious interior, with notably more head and legroom for rear seat passengers. It will be offered with a range of new technology features, including a 12.3-inch multimedia screen – the largest on the market. It will be available with a new S-flow air conditioning system with nanoe air purifying technology, and a new Mark Levinson audio system with up to 17 speakers.

The new GS delivers improved driving dynamics thanks to a bodyshell that has been rendered 14 per cent more rigid; front and rear suspension revisions; and an optimised seating position for the driver. The driver can also adjust vehicle behaviour to suit road conditions and driving preferences using the Drive Mode Select. This gives the option of Eco, Normal and Sport S modes, while versions equipped with Adaptive Variable Suspension offer a further Sport S+ mode for even more dynamic performance.

Safety provisions will include Lexus’s advanced Pre-Crash Safety system, combined with Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management, and a series of other systems designed to reduce the risk of an accident, including Lane Keep Assist, Blind Spot Monitor and Lexus Night View.

The new GS 250 will be launched in the UK at the same time as the full hybrid GS 450h in June 2012; the range will include a performance-t