Mazda3 isn't really a new car, more of a facelift



I'm sure they have cut down the noise, but there was a lot to cut down.It wouldn't take a genius to cut the noise of a helicopter landing outside your bedroom window by putting a pillow on your head, but it would still be pretty noisy. And so it is with the Mazda3.
The 1.6-litre engine generates an invasive and unpleasant racket partly, but not entirely, masked by the substantial road and wind noise.
Expect to see these driven by people who, from afar, look to have terrible constipation. But they will be pulling the face we all pull when subjected to a dismal and deafening din but can't take our hands off the wheel to stick our fingers in our ears.
It's not a peaceful and welcoming environment in which to meditate and think calm thoughts. So what does this new Mazda3 have to offer?
In fact, it isn't really a new car, more of a facelift. And at first glance, it looks pretty much the same as the old Mazda3: ie, not very exciting.
And once on the move, the road and wind noise soon become invasive and boring. That noisy 1.6-litre petrol engine is unchanged from the outgoing model.
It's gutless at the bottom of the rev range, but shows signs of springing to life as you push it harder. And just as you think it's about to put its back into it, it runs out of puff and goes all weedy again.
Unfortunately, the ride is suitably harsh to match the aural offensive and makes for uncomfortable progress across anything but the smoothest tarmac.
And there's little solace and comfort from the surroundings either. The plastic used for the dash and door panels feels cheap and flimsy. It will last a long time but that's an irritation because the best thing a substance as nasty as this could do is rot away within a week of leaving the factory.
Then there are the gizmos - millions of them. What Mazda appears to have done, maybe to take our minds off the nasty plastic and noise, is to make it available with every luxury and technical bauble known to car-kind.
Mine had dual-zone air-conditioning, heated seats, electric mirrors and windows and buttons on the steering wheel to control the stereo, your iPod, the telephone and the cruise control.
I wouldn't be surprised if one turned on my electric blanket. And I'd swap at least a third of the gadgets for nicer surfaces and a third less noise.
For this facelift of the Mazda3, it seems Mazda decided on the gizmos and features they wanted then tweaked the fit and finish to bring it all in on a budget.
I would rather they had started with a standard of quality and added only the extras they could manage for that budget.
Mazda has some top stuff at the moment. The 2 is excellent and the MX-5 is, for me, just about the best two-seater roadster on the market. With this though, they've dropped the ball.
There are far better mid-sized hatchbacks out there and I struggle to see why anyone would reject them all on the way to deciding it has to be the Mazda3.
The Rivals
Kia Ceed 1.6LS
Extended seven-year warranty, well-made, honest transport.
£13,745
Fiat Bravo 1.6 Mjet
Stylish Italian alternative. Closest rival to Mazda on price and power is a diesel. £15,750
Ford Focus 1.6 Style
Is it me or are Fords getting to be rather expensive these days? Top notch all the same.
£16,295
The Facts
Mazda3 five-door hatchback
Price: £15,500
Engine: 1.6-litre four-cylinder, 105bhp
0-62mph: 11.0sec
Fuel consumption:
39.2mpg

Ford raises the stakes and expands the Kuga range



TAKE a look at the new 4x4 that’s going to turn heads on and off-road! This striking machine is a coupĂ© version of Ford’s popular Kuga, and it’s set to take style to the top of the agenda in the SUV sector.
From out of nowhere comes this reporting claiming that Ford is readying a Ford Kuga coupe. The magazine suggests -without a source- that Ford could be planning both two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive versions of a three-door Kuga, to be introduced sometime in 2011.
The source is showing off interesting-looking renderings of the sport activity vehicle with a "sloping roofline" and a look inspired by the Ford Fiesta. Styling lines are meant to remind us of the Ford Iosis X concept seen during the 2006 Paris Motor Show. Looking at old renderings of the Iosis X makes it seem like the Auto Express artist lifted the entire front end from that vehicle. The artist added large alloy wheels, raising the vehicle off the ground in similar fashion to the Iosis X. By basing the renderings off the Iosis series of concepts, Auto Express has digitally built a car that is easily distinguished from the Kuga SUV (seen above).
As a budget priced vehicle, the Ford Kuga Coupe could be a good entry-level choice for those looking to purchase an SAV. If produced, the vehicle could get a 1.6-liter turbo petrol with up to 180 horsepower. This engine would be a newcomer appearing alongside the turbocharged, direct-injection EcoBoost petrol units. Two turbodiesel units, including a 128 hp 1.6-liter and a 197hp 2.0-liter, could also make it on the car. The 2.0-liter model may also be made as a 168hp version.
Speculation has a six-speed manual or Powershift twin-clutch automatic transmission offered for the car. Other features would include a new sat-nav unit, rearward facing camera, Bluetooth, panoramic glass roof (not seen in the renderings), and start-stop technology.

New BMW X1 SUV Photo looks Hot and Sexy??



Hot hot sexy sexy your screen does not need adjustment, nor is the picture out of focus. The image of the white BMW X1 which you are obviously so deeply focused on is blurred by design. It's part of yet another teasing game by BMW to build hype around the company's newest and smallest SUV. Websites like FaceBook have been used to drum up support with the target market which consists mainly of young people.
After plenty of spy pictures and official teaser images and videos the X1 will finally make a splash into the European market this autumn. Power will come from petrol and turbo diesel engines with horsepower figures of up to 204.
Wait for the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show for some face time. Full clear frontal shots will probably become available some time before then. And by that we mean shots of the car.

Fiat has launched the small car Grande Punto in India.



Fiat has launched the biggest small car Grande Punto in India. By doing this so it has thrown a challenge at Maruti and Hyundai, the two leading player in this sector.
Several customers who were recently jolted by the high pricing of Honda’s new car Jazz in India say they would prefer to go for Fiat’s Grande Punto that is no less world class a car and comes at more reasonable rate than Jazz.
Now with Fiat Grande Punto’s launch people are hoping that they can enjoy a world class mini car with all world class fixtures at a lesser price.
The third generation Fiat supermini to bear the name Punto, codenamed Project 199, the Grande Punto was unveiled at the 2005 Frankfurt Motor Show and went on sale later that year. Styled by Giugiaro, the car is based on the Fiat/GM SCCS platform. Whilst the model shares some of its name with the previous Punto, a large number of its components are new, including a new chassis and body shell.

The engines are the Fiat 1.2 8V Fire (65 PS), a new 1.4 8V Fire (77 PS) and the 1.4 16V StarJet (95 PS). Four MultiJet diesel engines are also available: two 1.3 16V units (75 PS (55 kW) and 90 PS (66 kW), the latter with a variable geometry turbocharger) and two 1.9 with 120 PS (88 kW) and 130 PS (96 kW), all of them with diesel particulate filter. The 1.9 diesel will be replaced with new 1.6 JTD starting in the end of 2008.

Fiat Grande Punto is available with four variants –
Active

Dynamic

Emotion and Emotion Pack in both petrol and diesel engine trims.
So the pricing of this car reflects its too as its base variant Active which is powered by 1.2L petrol engine is available at Rs 3.99 lacs (as ex-showroom prices in New Delhi).
Other petrol variants Dynamic, Emotion and Emotion Pack which are packed with 1.4L FIRE petrol engine are priced in range of Rs 4.65lacs to Rs 5.61 lacs.
While all four diesel variants of Fiat Grande Punto are that is equipped with 1.3L, multijet diesel engine are priced in the range Rs 4.85 lacs to rs 6.11 lacs.

Brabus unveil features of sound alarm in its Smart Fortwo



The German tuner has unveiled its Smart Fortwo Electric Drive equipped with a few sporty features — the coolest of which is an exhaust-note generator.
The Smart has a top speed of about 60 mph and a range of 70 miles. It can trot to 30 mph in 6.5 seconds and takes eight hours for the lithium-ion battery to fully charge. Performance-wise, the car features a sport suspension and five-spoke alloy wheels that blend well with the overall design of the car.
Brabus' coolest innovation, perhaps ever, is the noise generator, which allows the bright-green car to bellow like a muscle car or, more subtly, whine like a peppy Smart — depending on which way you flick the under-dash switch. The sound is generated by an external loudspeaker positioned at the front of a car. It's initiated the moment you put the pedal to the metal.
The minty livery is continued inside, where a Kenwood head unit provides iPod connectivity and navigation.

Let’s see how soon Japan and the U.S. create different green car markets



For the last two months in Japan, hybrid vehicles from either Honda or Toyota have actually managed to outsell all other vehicles, regardless of what's powering them. Here in the States, though, Honda is reporting that it's unable to sell as many Insight hybrids as it had hoped. What's up with that?

According to Earth2Tech, the issue is with incentives. It seems that Japan has both wide-ranging subsidies to spur the sale of fuel efficient vehicles along with harsh penalties in the form of expensive fuel for choosing gas guzzlers. Here in the U.S., there may be similar programs in place, but they are not nearly as beneficial to highly fuel efficient vehicles.

For instance, hybrids like the Honda Insight and Toyota Prius are completely tax free in Japan. In contrast, U.S. tax rebates for hybrids have been all but completely phased out due to the seemingly arbitrary 60,000 limit for incentives per hybrid vehicle manufacturer.

When it comes time to sign on the dotted line, it would seem that relatively inexpensive fuel in the U.S. and a general lack of federal incentives mean that hybrid vehicles just don't pay back their increased sticker price quickly enough for most consumers in the States to justify their purchase.

New Pyramid-shaped Dream Car 123 electric what you think????



Just giving a look on this it’s looking so funny car and its shape like a Pyramid. The Dream Car 123 electric car is not your average EV. Previously named the Zanis 1 after designer and builder Greg Zanis, the car is a pyramid-shaped beast that weighs something like 8,000 pounds and carries 80 batteries and four motors. Of course, there are also neon lights. Yeah, this isn't the most efficient vehicle ever.

Zanis has big dreams, from 65-feet-tall garages that collect solar and wind energy to city-to-city tunnels where vehicles like the Dream Car 123 can go 250 mph. For now, things are a bit more modest: the prototype can only go between 15 and 20 mph (but up to 40 downhill!). The good news, if you think this is a vehilce you'd like to drive: it's for sale on eBay right now. Current bid is $10,000 and the auction ends June 23.

As the seller says in the listing, "We are selling this car to rise money for the dream car project. We need to start making the real thing." For more information about the car, check out the Dream Car 123 website and watch the two videos describing the vehicle after the jump