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Ford Vertrek Concept – 2011 Detroit Auto Show

January 13, 2011 Leave a comment

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Based on the ubiquitous global C-platform that has already spawned the new Focus and C-MAX families, the Ford Vertrek Concept was created to serve as the basis for a compact utility vehicle that will have global appeal in its design, engineering and in its technology. A de facto forerunner of the next-generation Ford Escape and its European Kuga counterpart, the Vertrek Concept melds dynamic visuals, exceptional people/cargo space and class-leading fuel economy into a package that Ford execs will use as a sounding board as they seek to reach new buyers in a segment that has more than doubled in size in the U.S. since 2000 and enjoyed equally robust growth in Europe and Asia.

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Jim Farley, group vice president, Global Marketing, Sales and Service summed up the purpose of the exercise noting. "The Ford Vertrek Concept will allow us to hear directly from potential customers about trade-offs they are prepared to make as we look to deliver a future production model that brings to life all these attributes."

Exciting appearance

Embracing a look that tastefully treads a fine line between evolutionary and revolutionary, the Vertrek embodies Ford’s latest take on its kinetic design language. Despite the heightened sense of visual drama present in its signature trapezoidal grille treatment, raised hood surfaces, prominent wheel arches and flowing shoulder and rooflines, the Vertrek boasts aero numbers that are more than five percent better than the current Escape/Kuga.

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The Vertrek’s interior extends the kinetic modeling theme with equally distinctive executions of the dash and four individual slim-line bucket seats. The former, loaded with MyFord Touch technology, is finished in Dusk Grey leather, as is the equally friendly center console that extends all the way into the rear passenger area. Each seat is covered in naturally-tanned velour leather hide inset with metal accents. Woven leather flooring surfaces replaces traditional carpeting throughout the Vertrek’s cabin while neon red-orange fluorescent highlights add one more eye-catching detail to the mix. Style aside, the Vertrek provides the same amount of usable people and cargo space as the current Escape with the rear seats up or folded (and 10-20-percent more than the current Kuga) and its large, single- piece hatch cutout facilitates loading/unloading chores.
Outstanding fuel economy 
To address the increasingly critical question of operating efficiency, the Ford Vertrek Concept relies on a 1.6-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine matched with a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, one bit of show-car tech we can expect to find whatever production variant it may spawn. In Europe, the company will offer its 2.0-liter Duratorq TDCi turbodiesel in the Kuga successor.

To help bump its mileage making capability even further, the Vertrek also is fitted with the Ford Auto Start-Stop system, a feature the automaker recently announced will be rolled in across its lineup in the next several years. In addition to increasing mpg by up to 10 percent in city driving conditions, Start/Stop also can trim up to five percent of normal CO2 emissions in mixed-operating mode. To help cope with the added battery demands Start/Stop brings, the Vertrek also boasts Smart Regenerative Charging that increases alternator output whenever the vehicle slows down or brakes.

While some degree of design refinement/reshuffling is certain to take place before the Vertrek morphs into its ultimate volume-build form, it appears Ford is seriously committed to making its next-gen Escape a true benchmark in the compact SUV segment.

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Categories: AUTO-MOBILES, Concept

Hyundai Curb Concept – 2011 Detroit Auto Show

January 13, 2011 Leave a comment

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Designated an Urban Activity Vehicle (UAV), the Hyundai Curb Concept is aimed at piquing the interest of a new generation of potential Hyundai buyers. In addition to avant-garde styling that puts a more youthful spin on the automaker’s existing Fluidic Sculpture design language, the Curb is meant to serve as a rolling test bed that can showcase a number of present and future connectivity features that Hyundai is developing for its recently introduced Blue Link infotainment/telematics system.

Hyundai designer Jason Brown refers to the appearance of the Curb as "Tough Tech," a look that conveys a sense of urban armor that melds its protective essence with a decidedly high profile. The Curb’s extended windshield that wraps around its slim-line A-pillars recalls the face shield on a sport bike while a prominent grille, innovative LED front/rear lighting treatments, a panoramic glass roof and boomerang-shaped body side sculpting further add to the Curb’s appeal, as do a set of 22-inch five-spoke alloy wheels wrapped in custom Michelin tires with saffron accents that match the Curb’s interior trim color.

Hyundai’s UAV makes an equally strong visual statement when seen from the rear. Like its side doors — one for the driver and two on the passenger side for easier rear-seat access — the Curb’s large clamshell hatch opens via touchpad surface. A special One-Way paint developed by Shamze Custom Coatings allows the Curb name to be projected literally through the exterior finish. As a final flourish, the Curb features pop-up roof rack towers and a bike rack that pops out and up from its exhaust vents.

To help link the Curb’s exterior with its cabin, the rocker panels extend into the passenger compartment, which is rendered in black, white and saffron. All of the seats are covered in a stretchy, quick-dry "board short" material. In addition to offering fore/aft adjustability, the rear perches also can be folded down to increase utility.

Recognizing the increasing importance to connectivity to Gen Y and younger buyers, the Curb offers a plethora of displays and surfaces that can keep all on board fully linked to each other and the outside world. The centerpiece is giant acrylic touch-sensitive multi-purpose screen that runs from the dash and center console to the rear seat area. The driver gets critical information — including navigation, vehicle diagnostics and inputs from the side-view camera that replace conventional mirrors — courtesy of a new Heads Up Display developed by Continental while individual LCD screens in the front seatbacks offer entertainment to the Curb’s rear-seat occupants.

Hyundai’s new Blue Link telematics system also commands its share of the Curb limelight, providing a comprehensive array of services from navigation guidance and Automatic Crash Notification and Assistance to remote lock/unlock/start, theft protection/recovery functions and vehicle diagnostic/maintenance notifications. The Curb’s package offers several innovative touches, including a new Blue Link Location Sharing feature. Using information sent to its dedicated website, Location Sharing can securely facilitate impromptu meetups of those invited by allowing a vehicle’s position to appear as a point of interest on the Curb’s navigation screen.

Motivating the Hyundai Curb Concept is a turbocharged version of the firm’s 1.6-liter direct-injected Gamma four-cylinder engine that makes 175 horsepower and 169 lb-ft of torque. It’s backed by a six-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission and coupled with economy-enhancing Idle Stop and Go (ISG) start/stop technology. Hyundai says the combination will allow the Curb to return 30+ mph in the city and 40+ mpg on the highway.

No word on production plans for the Curb, but given Hyundai’s take-no-prisoners approach to the market, it seems possible that some variation on the theme may well be moving its way through the future product pipeline.

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Categories: AUTO-MOBILES, Concept

Compact coupe concept

January 13, 2011 Leave a comment

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Expect the production version of the new Honda Civic to look a lot like this concept car when it goes on sale this spring.

Honda will replace the Civic sedan and coupe, but only a coupe concept is on display at the show.

The concept retains the short-hood, fastback proportions of the current Civic, adding sporty touches like 19-inch wheels, a trapezoidal center tailpipe and a rear spoiler with dual vents.

Honda’s not saying much about the 2012 Civic’s powertrains, but you can expect hybrid and natural-gas powered models as well as a gas-powered version.

Categories: AUTO-MOBILES, Concept

Kia Concept Car Debut

December 30, 2010 Leave a comment

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Kia is the next manufacturer in a long list to start to produce some eco-friendly concept cars. They have already released some pictures of their recent concept and have explained that the debut launch is not too far away. They have chosen to use the Paris Motor Show that is in October as the main debut for the vehicle.

According to Kia, the new Pop concept is likely to change the way that people think about eco-friendly vehicles and in particular, the Kia brand itself. The press day on the 30th of September is likely to be where people can get a much more in depth peak at the new concept. Kia has already suggested that the concept will utilize a three seat structure. Along side this it will be using electric motor setup, setting it up to be extremely eco friendly.

Like many of the concept cars these days, this has been designed as an extremely small city vehicle. At only 3 meters in length, it is one of the smallest vehicles that they develop. They have already suggested that it will be a zero emissions car, which is obviously a good thing. The creative design that Kia has brought to the new “Pop” concept is extremely unique.

They have managed to incorporate the likes of a panoramic roof along side LED tail lights which is going to give it that extra bit of presence on the road. The Kia brand is drastically changing the way their range is perceived by the end user. Effectively, they are going towards what all manufacturers should be doing, which is to produce vehicles that have a minimal impact on the environment.

They are certainly trying hard to achieve this, with the Pop concept being the third eco-friendly development that they have revealed in 2010 alone! In fact, Kia has already suggested the way their company is going. A spokesman for the company has already suggested that they are looking towards producing cars that are small and eco-friendly.

They are certainly sticking to their word, going on to say that they hope to release a hybrid by the end of the year in the USA. The new Pop concept does look like it has a lot of functionality behind it, but Kia may have problems. It seems like they are one step behind manufacturers such as Toyota, a company that has already released similar models.

Categories: AUTO-MOBILES, Concept, Kia

Mazda Shinari Concept Car

December 30, 2010 Leave a comment

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Mazda is constantly improved their range of vehicles, most of which started out as concepts in a previous life. The new Shinari concept from the manufacturing giant is proof of this and is an exciting concept for people looking to purchase a new car in the future.

Mazda has already suggested that the first sighting for the public will be available at the Paris Motor Show, which will take place at the end of September. Mazda has promised that the four door coupe will be on display for all to see and it is likely that the majority of the technical specifications will be released here too.

Essentially, the Shinari concept will show the route that the company will be taking in the future. While the focus is to produce an eco-friendly range of cars, Mazda will be mixing this up with their next generation design and style.

There are a lot of features in the Shinari that can be seen in the rest of the Mazda range. The likes of aggressive styling help to keep the brand different from the rest of the manufacturers that are fighting for their market share.

Mazda has managed to create a new look by including the likes of wide wheel arches and a uniquely designed front grille, giving it that extra bit of style. This is coupled by the fact that the styling of the bumper and headlights has a tint of both Audi and Aston Martin inside them.

Although the Shinari looks like a completely new vehicle from the exterior, it is likely that the interior and the mechanics behind it have been taken from elsewhere. They have taken inspiration from the likes of BMW and Jaguar, but in reality, it will probably end up taking the place of the current Mazda6, or at least running in a similar category.

It seems Mazda has certainly taken the right route here. They either needed to go for an eco-friendly vehicle, or a luxury one. They have obviously chosen the later, with the new concept featuring the likes of leather and aluminium throughout, simply adding to the class that it already possesses.

At the present time, the Mazda Shinari is a concept and nothing else. Mazda has not suggested that it will be released as a production model any time soon – or in fact, at all!

Categories: AUTO-MOBILES, Concept

Alfa Romeo Pandion by Bertone

December 30, 2010 Leave a comment

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Alfa Romeo has rarely shied away from giving us stunning concept cars, over the years many incredible designs have come from both their own stylists and those of Bertone, the internationally renowned car design studio in Italy.

This Alfa Romeo Pandion by Bertone shows just how great the cars of the future could really look, where as often concept cars are produced which could never make the road in their concept form, there is little in this car that really could not become reality in a production model. Everything about it has a very real feel to it and it takes very little stretch of the imagination to see this in the showrooms and out on the streets.

The body shape looks simply beautiful, this Alfa Romeo Pandion is certainly one of the best looking cars we have seen for a while, the sleek lines and flowing curves give the car a real sense of motion, and to ensure you really stand out when you pull up outside the local Starbucks the doors are gull-wing affairs that effortlessly rotate from the rear wheels 90 degrees straight upwards, a real nice way to make an entrance.

Adding to the mouthwatering potential for production is the fact this car is constructed around a Maserati GT, meaning many of its major components do actually work, and can actually be produced. The most obviously striking feature of this concept is the rear of the vehicle, which uses a crystal type styling to invoke a feeling of speed even when the car is stationary, and it looks really good.

Sadly Alfa Romeo, like most manufacturers don’t, as far as we know, have any intention to put this car into production, of course they like some of the styling elements and its likely some features of this concept will reach production models sometime in the future, but the gull-wings and crystal styling are likely to remain only in the minds of the creative designers at Bertone rather then actually seeing the light of day on a production car, none the less, its not hard to imagine cars like this roaming our streets in 20 or 30 years time.

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Categories: AUTO-MOBILES, Concept

Lamborghini Indomable Concept

December 30, 2010 Leave a comment

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The Paris Motor Show is nearly with us, and thus so will be the new Lamborghini concept that many (including us) have been itching to see. Until we get to see that undoubtedly beautiful piece of art in a few weeks time, others have been getting busy developing concept Lamborghini’s of their own, and the knockout pictured above is from Daniel Chinchilla Ochoa and Alberto Fernandez Albilares in collaboration with Lamborghini.

This concept was inspired by the lines of modern stealth military hardware, such as the F22 Raptor jet fighter, this inspiration is clear to see from the styling, and in the flesh it looks pretty striking, really eye catching and certainly its angular design could not slip by unnoticed as its combat counterparts are designed to do.

Obviously enthused by his creation, Daniel states that “Soft transitions between the surfaces with hard cuts are the main design cues. These create the functional elements of the car.”

Were not sure the surface transitions are quite so soft, but for whatever this Lamborghini Indomable Concept is, it is certainly a dribble inducing sight, and we can only implore the decision makers at Lamborghini to look favorably upon this concept and get to work setting this thing into production… as soon as possible… before Ferrari do it.

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Categories: AUTO-MOBILES, Concept