I will try my best to provide detailed info on various cars and what is like to live with them, I have already produced a few for Jaguar-car-forums, I will do my best to be unbiased, but it will be hard for some cars. I will re-produce press releases and copy from other motoring news.

Friday, 18 July 2014

New FIAT Panda Cross, the best baby 4x4 available.

  • Based on the successful and hugely capable FIAT Panda 4X4, the new FIAT Panda Cross offers even more capability, attitude and fun
  • 'Torque-on-Demand' all-wheel drive, Electronic Stability Control, Electronic Locking Differential and Hill Descent Control all standard
  • New Terrain Control selector offers the driver the choice of three driving modes depending on conditions
  • Powered by uprated versions of the 1.3 MultiJet II and 0.9 TwinAir Turbo engines, now with 80hp and 90hp respectively
  • TwinAir gets specific 6-speed transmission with ‘crawler’ 1st gear
  • Oversized tyres, improved attack angles, increased ground clearance and additional component protection enhance all-terrain ability
Being able to offer something truly unique in the increasingly competitive SUV segment is no small achievement but in the FIAT Panda Cross that’s exactly what you get – a car like no other! In 2006 SUVs accounted for around seven percent of the total car market in Europe whereas today they account for approximately 20 percent, and yet despite the proliferation of models in the past decade the new FIAT Panda Cross remains a truly unique offering by combining the genuine capabilities of a proper off-road vehicle with the efficiency and practicality of a versatile city car.
The technological upgrades of the FIAT Panda Cross make it the most capable vehicle in its class by some margin – more so even than the award-winning FIAT Panda 4X4* on which it is based - yet it is a car that could still be chosen purely for its low running costs, day-to-day practicality and general ease and pleasure of use. The aesthetic enhancements not only provide some visual clues to the all-road potential of the FIAT Panda Cross, they also perform the functional role of protecting its bodywork, lights and mechanical components, both in extreme off road conditions and the rough and tumble of city traffic. No other car can offer such extreme cross functionality, but then FIAT does have more than 30 years of experience in city car innovation: The FIAT Panda was the first to be offered with all-wheel drive in its segment, as well as the first to be powered by diesel, methane and LPG. More recently it pioneered City Brake Control in its segment, a safety feature that is ideally suited to city cars but until that time was reserved for larger luxury vehicles. It’s this reputation for practical innovation that has consistently kept the Panda amongst the best sellers in its class – it currently occupies the second spot in Europe, just behind its stable-mate, the FIAT 500.

The new FIAT Panda Cross builds on the combination of versatility and style which has always been a hallmark of the range-topping Panda 4X4 versions, ranging from the FIAT Panda 4X4 Steyer-Puch special edition of the late 80s to the previous-generation FIAT Panda Cross, which was first launched in 2006. In keeping with the distinctive looks of its predecessor, the front end of the new FIAT Panda Cross is dominated by a chunky new bumper which features scratch- and bump-resistant corner sections and a large, functional skidplate - finished in silver “ultrashine” and enhanced with cooling perforations in the Panda’s signature “squircle” shape. The skidplate is further embellished with a pair of easily-accessed tow hooks, finished in brilliant red, as well as new LED daytime running lights located in protective recesses. The new head-light clusters are framed with matte black surrounds and incorporate pronounced new fog lights, while the bonnet trim is also redesigned for the new FIAT Panda Cross.
In profile, the FIAT Panda Cross features protective wheel arch extensions, thick side mouldings with “ultrashine” inserts, matching roof bars and ‘Cross’ badging in the rear door inserts. The 15-inch alloy wheels feature a five-spoke V design and a burnished metal finish, while the rear end also benefits from some functional revisions, including a new bumper with “ultrashine” under-body protection, distinctive new light clusters and a chrome tail pipe.
The interior reflects the unique character of the FIAT Panda Cross every bit as much as the exterior: The seats are trimmed in bespoke natural fabrics with brown eco-leather bolsters (which match the brown door panels) while the dashboard is finished in a new copper colour to set off the striking new silver “ultrashine” finish of the instrument surround and audio system facia. The same finish is also used for the centre console, where the new Terrain Control drive selector – another segment first - is conveniently located.
Terrain Control offers FIAT Panda Cross drivers the possibility of adjusting the vehicle’s driving characteristics according to how it is being used: There are three modes: Auto, Off-Road and Hill Descent Control.
Auto mode, as the name suggest, automatically distributes the engine torque between the front and rear axles without requiring any input from the driver. On normal roads with good traction, the FIAT Panda Cross is 98 percent front-wheel drive but when a loss of traction is detected the system is capable of automatically reacting by redistributing the engine torque between axles in just a tenth of a second. The level of torque distribution is varied using an electro-hydraulically controlled, multi-plate central differential and is versatile enough to direct the entire torque output of the engine to the rear axle if necessary.
In Off-Road mode, the all-wheel drive function is permanently activated up to 30 mph to ensure the Panda Cross responds immediately and consistently to driver inputs: The Electronic Locking Differential (ELD) is engaged, ASR intervention is disengaged and to improve traction on slippery terrain (e.g. snow, ice, gravel or mud), the ESC system is employed to brake slipping wheels, thus transferring the engine’s torque to those wheels with the most grip.
Hill Descent Control (HDC) activates automatically when the speed drops below 15mph and remains in standby mode up to 30mph. It employs the vehicle’s ESC sensors and ABS brake system to maintain a constant speed and avoid unexpected yaw movements on tricky downhill terrain with unpredictable levels of grip, and requires no input from the driver other than steering actions.
The FIAT Panda Cross also benefits from versatile all-season 185/65R15 Mud & Snow tyres. Larger than those of the standard Panda 4x4, these tyres were specially developed to ensure optimum traction and responsiveness on wet and dry surfaces, as well as snow-covered roads, while also ensuring excellent off-road performance. When combined with specific springs and redesigned bodywork, they help increase the ground clearance to 161 mm for the TwinAir version and 158 mm for the MultiJet model, while the improved attack angles of the FIAT Panda Cross are now close to those enjoyed by pure off-road vehicles: the approach angle is 24 degrees, the departure angle is 34 degrees and the breakover angle is 21 degrees. This allows the FIAT Panda Cross tackle a maximum gradient of 70 percent and lateral gradients of up to 55 percent.
These figures aren’t just for bragging rights: The FIAT Panda Cross backs these numbers up by offering protective, steel, underbody shields to allow drivers to tackle genuinely tough terrain without damaging essential components, and the air intake duct for the engine is raised by 739mm in the diesel version and 711mm in the petrol version to ensure the Panda Cross has no difficulty in fording the occasional river or flooded road.
Even the engines are upgraded for the new FIAT Panda Cross: The 0.9-litre TwinAir Turbo engine sees its maximum power increased to 90hp at 5,500 rpm (up from 85hp) and maximum torque is 145 Nm (107lb. ft.) between 1,900rpm and 3000rpm. In ECO mode, engine output is 77.5hp at 5,500 rpm and 100 Nm (74lb. ft.) at 2,000rpm. In terms of performance, 0-62 mph is dispatched in 12.0 seconds and top speed is 104mph, while on the combined fuel economy cycle it returns 57.6 mpg (4.9 litres/100 km) with CO2 emissions of 114g/km. This engine is also equipped with a unique six-speed gearbox which has a shortened first gear to enable the vehicle to crawl while the engine is idling, a useful feature when tackling challenging off-road conditions.
The 1.3-litre MultiJet II Turbo-Diesel engine, with DPF as standard, also enjoys a 5hp boost in power to 80hp at 4,000 rpm, while maximum torque is an impressive 190 Nm (140lb. ft.) at just 1,500 rpm. This second generation MultiJet power unit is equipped with a fixed geometry turbocharger and an intercooler, and weighs just 140kg including all its ancillaries. It can propel the FIAT Panda Cross from 0-62mph in 14.3 seconds and on to a top speed of 99mph, and on the combined fuel economy cycle it returns 60.1 mpg (4.7 litres/100 km) with CO2 emissions of 125g/km.
The FIAT Panda Cross offers a comprehensive list of standard equipment, including automatic climate control; Blue&Me™ Bluetooth connectivity with a USB port and steering wheel controls; a satellite navigation dock; heated electric door mirrors; remote central locking; split rear seat with rear head restraints; height-adjustability for the driver’s seat and steering wheel; front fog lights; a leather steering wheel and gear knob; ESC system complete with ELD and Terrain Control and specific 15-inch alloy wheels with a burnished finish and all-season 185/65R15 M+S tyres. A comprehensive range of optional equipment and accessories is also available, including a Winter Pack (£250 - heated windscreen and heated front seats), rear parking sensors (£250), tinted rear windows (£155) and the innovative City Brake Control system (£250) which received a 'Euro NCAP Advanced’ reward for its contribution to road safety in 2013. This active safety system operates at speeds of up to 19mph and employs a LIDAR laser sensor to detect the presence of vehicles or obstacles in front of the car and, depending on the data it receives from the ESC system, can automatically utilise the vehicle’s Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB), Brake Prefill and Brake Assist systems if the driver fails to intervene promptly. By deploying these emergency braking systems, the FIAT Panda Cross can then avoid or mitigate the consequences of a collision.
The 2014 FIAT Panda Cross goes on sale in the UK early in Q4 2014 priced from £15,945 for the TwinAir version and £16,945 for the diesel-powered model. For more information please visit www.FIATpress.co.ukand for more information on the FIAT Panda 4X4 or the broader FIAT range visit www.FIAT.co.uk.

Engine1.3 MultiJet 80hp S&S0.9 TwinAir 90hp S&S
Compression Ratio16.8:110:1
Maximum Power80hp @ 4,000rpm90hp @ 5,500
Maximum Torque190Nm / 140lb ft @ 1,500rpm145Nm / 107lb ft @ 1,900 – 3,000rpm
4X4 with ELD and ESC
5-speed manual
4X4 with ELD and ESC
6-speed manual with low 1st ratio
BrakesFront 257 X 22mm vented discs. Rear 240 X 11 solid discs
SuspensionFront independent MacPherson struts, lower wishbones. Rear torsion beam
DimensionsL 3,705mm X W 1,662mm (1,882 incl. mirrors) X H 1,657mm  WB 2,300mm
CapacitiesBoot: 225 m3 (VDA), Fuel 35 litres
Kerb Weight DIN1,155kg1,090kg
Max Towing Weight900kg braked, 400kg non-braked800kg braked, 400kg non-braked
Performance0-62mph 14.3s, 99mph0-62mph 12.0s, 104mph
Fuel Economy
Urban: 56.5 mpg / 5.0l/100km
Extra Urban: 61.4mpg / 4.6l/100km
Combined: 60.1mpg / 4.7l/100km
Urban: 47.9 mpg / 5.9l/100km
Extra Urban: 65.7mph / 4.3l/100km
Combined: 57.6mpg / 4.9l/100km
Approach 24 degrees / Breakover  21 degrees / Departure 34 degrees
70 percent maximum gradient / 55 percent maximum lateral gradient
Ground Clearance158mm161mm
Base Price£16,945 OTR£15,945 OTR

Limited Edition Black edition covers eight models in Skoda range, you can have it in White as well !!!!!!

  • New limited edition version of every ŠKODA car
  • Black alloys and exterior detailing makes stunning style statement
  • DAB radio and sat-nav as standard
  • Prices from only £10,090
The debut of eight new models in one day usually only happens at a motor show, but ŠKODA has done it with the launch of the ‘Black Edition’ cars.
A striking and ‘high-on-style’ limited edition model is now available on every one of ŠKODA’s award-winning cars – that’s everything from the Citigo supermini to the Superb executive Hatch and Estate.
Based on the already well-specified mid-level SE trim, the Black Edition range is available in either black or white exterior paint*. Each gets at least £1,200 worth of desirable optional extras, with Superb buyers benefiting from more than £3,200 of additional specification. The customer benefit is up to £1,720 depending on the model.

The exact detail of the enhancements varies by model, but examples of equipment that features in the Black Edition range includes black alloy wheels, additional black exterior styling details, sunset privacy glass, ‘Amundsen’ satellite navigation, DAB digital radio, full leather upholstery, cruise control, floor mats and metallic/pearl effect paint.
Likely to prove extremely popular is the ŠKODA Octavia Black Edition, available in both Hatch and Estate body styles and with a choice of 2.0-litre TDI CR 140PS manual/DSG or 2.0-litre TDI CR 170PS manual/DSG powertrains. It’s priced from just £21,685.
The full ‘on-the-road’ price list of ŠKODA Black Edition cars is:
›  ŠKODA Citigo Black Edition:from £10,090
›  ŠKODA Fabia Black Edition: from £15,490
› ŠKODA Roomster Black Edition:£15,490
› ŠKODA Rapid Black Edition:£16,880
› ŠKODA Rapid Spaceback Black Edition: £18,250
› ŠKODA Octavia Black Edition:from £21,685
› ŠKODA Superb Black Edition:from £23,630
› ŠKODA Yeti Black Edition:£23,990
Alasdair Stewart, ŠKODA Brand Director, commented: “The Black Edition cars further enhance the cutting-edge contemporary style to the entire range of ŠKODA passenger cars, yet still have our core philosophy of value-for-money motoring at their centre.”
* Citigo, Roomster and Rapid are available in black exterior paint only

All parties deny merger talks between FIAT and Volkswagen.

Volkswagen, Fiat and Fiat's controlling shareholder all denied a German magazine report that the companies have discussed a possible merger.
VW has held talks with owners of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles about a possible merger, the German magazine Manager Magazin reported today, citing unnamed company sources.
Fiat's owners want to shift their focus to the Ferrari brand and quit the volume automotive business, the publication said in a report, without being more specific. The Chrysler division could help VW in the United States, where the automaker has struggled to keep its sales momentum, the report said.

However, a VW spokesman said it currently had no takeovers on the agenda as it was focusing on improving efficiency at the group. The Agnelli family's holding firm Exor, which owns a 30-percent stake in Fiat Chrysler, denied any talks had taken place, as did Fiat.
A Fiat source told Automotive News Europe that the company is not aware of any meeting between its shareholders and management with VW Group representatives.
Manager Magazin said VW Chairman Ferdinand Piech, who is a member of the Porsche family that controls VW, has held various talks with associates and members of the Agnelli family.
There are a number of obstacles to any deal, including finances and divergent strategies pursued by both Fiat and Volkswagen, the magazine said.
Gabriele Gambarova, an analyst with Banca Akros in Milan, said: "We deem the news realistic."

Juergen Pieper, an analyst with Bankhaus Metzler in Frankfurt, said: "Volkswagen has an urge to become the No. 1 global automaker, and an acquisition of that size would bring them to their target immediately." But real interest in Fiat as a whole is "rather unrealistic" and would entail many problems, including Fiat's struggles in Europe and potential antitrust issues in South America, Pieper said.
The report sent Fiat shares up as much as 5.1 percent to 7.99 euros, the stock's biggest intraday gain since Jan. 2. VW shares fell as much as 2.4 percent to 184.65 euros. VW is valued at 88 billion euros ($120 billion), while Fiat is worth 9.9 billion euros.
VW has almost 18 billion euros ($24 billion) in cash but CEO Martin Winterkorn said in March that the company had no plans to expand the group through acquisitions as it was focusing on integrating its 12-brand network. VW has since sealed a 6.7-billion euro buyout of minority shareholders at Swedish truck division Scania to forge a long-planned alliance of its truck brands.
'Diverging views'
The Manager Magazin report could suggest "diverging views" between VW's management and the supervisory board about the carmaker's future course, said Arndt Ellinghorst, a London-based analyst at investment researchers ISI Group, at a time when Winterkorn, 67, and Piech, 77, are soon likely to face a debate over succession.
Rather than talking about further expansion, top managers at VW - concerned that profitability gains aren't keeping pace with the company's steadily-growing size - have been pushing a new efficiency program that includes 5 billion euros of cost cuts per year at the core passenger-car brand.
Earlier this month, VW also denied a report it was planning a bid for U.S. truck maker Paccar next year.
"The risks from integrating Italian plants and managing a U.S. business are material and we do not believe that the potential benefits justify the risks," Ellinghorst wrote in a note to clients.
A person familiar with the situation told Reuters that VW would more likely bid for Fiat assets such as the supplier Magnetti or Alfa Romeo rather than the entire company.
A member of VW's supervisory board, which oversees the management board, said the 20-member panel had at no point of time had any discussions about a purchase of Fiat.
Still, Piech and Winterkorn have repeatedly expressed interest in Alfa Romeo despite rebuttals from Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne, which Marchionne has vowed to keep.
U.S. troubles
Manager Magazin said VW was hoping to use Chrysler's U.S. distribution network to help solve its own problems in the world's No. 2 auto market where flagging sales of the VW brand in January sparked the ouster of VW's regional chief.
However, VW's U.S. troubles "are more image and pricing problems and not so much problems of distribution and manufacturing," an auto analyst said. "Buying Chrysler would not really help VW."
While rumors of a potential Agnelli family exit have surfaced over the years in Italian press, Exor has repeatedly said the stake remained a strategic investment for the family.
Manager Magazin also said VW and Fiat Chrysler's owners were far from reaching an agreement about a possible price.
The Wall Street Journal, citing two people familiar with the situation, also reported there are no talks taking place. One source told the Journal that the Agnelli family chose to incorporate Fiat Chrysler Automobiles -- the company to be formed by the formal merger of Fiat and Chrysler later this year -- in the Netherlands to exploit Dutch law that covers a company's non-voting shares.
Those rules will make it easier for the Agnelli family to continue to control FCA, the paper said.

Infiniti sets up shop in Vietnam with first outlet.

  • Global premium car brand establishes strong presence in Vietnam
  • Continued global expansion
  • First Infiniti Center inaugurated in Ho Chi Minh City
  • Introducing Infiniti QX80 full-size premium SUV and iconic QX70 crossover
Infiniti today officially introduced the brand and its premium vehicles to customers in Vietnam. The company inaugurated its first Infiniti Center showroom in Ho Chi Minh City. Initially, Infiniti will introduce the full-size SUV QX80 and the iconic crossover QX70 to the Vietnamese market as customers will be able to enjoy the premium execution, the performance,and the craftsmanship brought by the Infiniti vehicles.
The Infiniti Center in Vietnam adopts the signature IREDI (Infiniti Retail Environment Design Initiative) design concept. It creates a highly distinctive, original Infiniti branded retail environment – the look and feel that aligns with Infiniti’s brand identity consistently around the world.

Today’s announcement marks the next step in Infiniti’s quest to transform itself into a global challenger brand. Infiniti earlier announced that the brand had achieved record global sales in the first half of 2014 by delivering more than 100,000 new vehicles around the world, up 30% compared with a year ago. It has broken monthly sales records globally in April, May and June this year and grew in 31 markets around the world, including key markets such as the US, China, Canada, Western Europe and the Middle East.
Infiniti is also making strong progress towards expanding its product portfolio. The brand’s vehicle lineup will increase by 60 percent over the next five years, and the number of engines and transmissions will more than double. By starting producing vehicles in China later this year, in the UK in 2015 and Mexico in 2017, Infiniti will extend its current manufacturing footprint from Japan and the U.S. to five countries on three continents in the next few years.