Luxury Cars

"The difference between men and little boys is the price of their toys."

Fast Cars

"Everything in life is somewhere else, and you get there in a car."- E.B. White

Car Technology

"And I, I took the road less traveled by. I was using a GPS system."- Robert Brault

Green Cars

"Environmentally friendly cars will soon cease to be an option ... they will become a necessity."- Fujio Cho

Safe Cars

"Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves." - Albert Einstein

Friday, May 23, 2008

New 20mph Urban Speed Limit

In 2007 UK streets took their toll of more than 3,000 human lives, including passengers, cyclists and pedestrians. Thus, the government was harshly confronted once again for not implementing a solid strategy to reduce those pointless deaths. And so, the government’s response came thunderous this time with plans, not only to reduce the speed limit to 20mph but also measures like lower drink-drive limit, six penalty points for serious speed limit breaches and harsher on seat-belt policy.

The strategy’s ultimate goal is to eventually reduce the number of fatalities from 3,000 down to 2,000 by 2020. Ambitious as it may be, at least there is a clear-cut target to be reached; implementation of new techniques such as digital road signs signifying allowed speed to drivers when closing up to schools and cameras detecting a vehicle’s average speed instead of road humps was therefore judged as compulsory for bringing results.

The fact is that research from the Department for Transport proves that 1 in 40 pedestrian car accidents at 20mph will result into mortality, whereas it is actually 1 in 5 at speeds of 30mph. On 40mph the survival rate plunges to a sad 10% chance.

So, on one hand it’s the annoying 20mph limit for residential roads and harsher penalties for alcohol consumption and seat belt issues, but on the other hand there are less speed humps and more integrity.

But come on, if 1mph in a vehicle’s average speed reduces the mortality rate by around 5% doesn’t a fellow human’s life worth a few more minute of your time?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

New Vauxhall Agila - Just for city drive

Vauxhall has been more often than not succesfull and intuitive in creating automotive benchmarks with their creations. What it lacked from the German manufacturer's range was a smart and practical city car, thus the new Vauxhall Agila was "summoned".

The first edition of the model, although not competing for its good looks, was a commercial success throughout Europe as much as for the practical interior and ergonomics as for its competitive pricing. The new Vauxhall Agila was bound to a facelift before anything else, so the end product shows off funky-looking exterior to the point that many characterize it as a attention magnet. The interior is in accordance with Vauxhall's new mentality where new, quality materials and colourfull combinations create a causy yet practical environment with plenty of cubby holes next to as many drink holders.

That was as far as the good news go, because when getting down to performance the Vauxhall Agila, specifically the top 1.3 litre version, will probably dissapoint even the most chilled-driving clientele. Strangely the 1.2 litre engine feels perkier, somehow more willing to follow up with you on playful glimpses with the accelerator.

The new Vauxhall Agila is a very stylish little city car considering the dreadful looking predecessor, though I fail to understand how it can stand a change against the Fiat 500 or Renault Twingo. And with that I mean the price of course; it offers nothing more than the other two, on the contrary. As part of a link-up with Suzuki, the Vauxhall Agila is virtually identical to the Splash but £1,000 more expensive lacking a few of gadgets as well.

Thus the question remains, if the humble basic edition 1.0 litre Agila costs more than car such as the brilliant 1.2 litre Fiat Panta - former car of the year - do you think it stands a chance?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Fiat 500 cute and stylish

The trend of reviving classic successful cars of the past shouldn't be regarded as commercial safety valve for car manufacturers whose design houses are drained out of ideas. VW was to first that got busy reshaping the ultimate classic Beetle who reined streets since 1938. The same path was followed by Ford giving us the new GT and BMW relenting the expensive yet brilliant Mini. It was about time Fiat to answer back and what an answer they gave motorists last year with the sparkling Fiat 500.

Fiat's newborn has nothing to do with the dull Fiat Cinquecento of the 90's. The original design dates back to 1957 when Dante Giacosa responded to an increasing demand for a practical and inexpensive city car by placing the engine at the back very much like the VW Beetle. Fiat 500 was on production until 1975.

The new Fiat 500 was previewed exactly 50 years after the first design was presented, featuring a sexy retro-look reflecting the design legacy of the original. All petrolheads though lay their eyes upon the 1.4 liter Fiat 500 Abarth whose turbocharger will feed the sparkling little gem with 135 bhp and incredible ammounts of torque.

The looks are actually so wonderful, almost in a trecherous way, to make you ignore few flaws the car has. It is actually the basic 1.2 liter engine which will let down a bit and the car's response to speed bumps, holes and all sort of everyday obstacles we come across everyday and will make the ride quite frappe!

From a handling point of view though Fiat 500 unfolds all characteristics one would seek from a small city car, with a cheeky but safe response when pushed a bit harder while it is definitely very practical without being boring. It should be an instant success, a new classic is born since the car is so well placed in the market, targeting a big group and priced around £3,000 less than the cheaper BMW Mini its hard to go wrong.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Land Rover 60th Birthday

The year is 2008 and Land Rover celebrates its 60th birthday party actually coinciding with the dusk of a glorious automotive manufacturing era and the dawn of a new one. I feel obliged here to pay a small tribute to the company's manufacturing history of producing its famous 4x4 vehicles.

I was right after the victorious end of World War II that Land Rover "borrowed" Rover's chief designer Maurice Wilks who kicked off straight away with designing vehicles inspired by the World War II Jeep. The first car spawned from this coalition came off the production line in 1948 and was baptized "Huey" actually based on Jeep's chassis.

Originally the term Land Rover was used to describe one specific vehicle, a revolutionary civilian all-terrain utility vehicle presented on April 30, 1948, at the Amsterdam Motor Show. Such was the popularity of the name that was later used as a brand for several distinct models, all four-wheel drive.

Many Land Rovers have been altered for a range of civilian an non purposes, with vivid examples being the Defender 6x6 model, frequently converted into a fire vehicle or the Series IIa used extensively as an ambulance. It is actually true that Land Rover still supplies vehicles to the Red Cross since 1954, the reason being that according to valid estimation about 70% of all Land Rover's produced are still in use in various activities. Maybe hard to believe, nevertheless, the Series I Land Rovers sent to Costa Rica to be utilized in coffee plantations in the 1950s are still in operation today.

So, going through Land Rover's history we admired the indestructible English-produced vehicles setting new automotive benchmarks throughout European narrow streets, to Latin America's plantation, armouring them up for Police use, fire fighting and hospital needs. That brings us to the present and the Detroit Auto Show in January 2008 where the astonishing futuristic LRX Concept car (right) was revealed. Nowadays Land Rover is reining no more but keeps on reporting loses cornering its parent Ford to sell it to the Indian conglomerate Tata in a £1.15bn ($2.3bn) deal.

What will the future of Land Rover be is difficult to say...


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