Saturday, October 31, 2009
Just a year after its European market launch in October 2008, and the Ford Fiesta has raked over half a million sales marking a significant milestone for the company which is preparing to bring the small hatch to North America and key Asian Pacific markets next year. Following its introduction in Europe, the latest generation Fiesta was launched in South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and China with global sales reaching 470,000 units through September, with 430,000 units sold in Europe and 40,000 in the Asia Pacific region.
Following in the footsteps of the E-Class Executive SE, Mercedes-Benz has introduced a similar version of its smaller C-Class sedan with an exterior styling pack and interior upgrades. Based on the C 180 KOMPRESSOR BlueEFFICIENCY with the 156 HP engine, the C-Class Executive SE is distinguished on the outside by the Sport Grille with the integrated Mercedes-Benz star, specific 16-inch alloy wheels and chrome trim finishes for the boot lid and exhaust.
Though definitely not as unique or attention-grabbing as the 1989 E34 M5 soft-top Convertible that we showed you in an earlier post here on Carscoop, the one-off E39 M5 Touring prototype that was also revealed by BMW at a special event in Germany commemorating the 25 years of the M5 and photographed by the folks over at 'Bimmertoday', is certainly worth a second look .
Volkswagen has released pricing for its UK-bound Golf R and Scirocco R that are both expected to reach British showrooms in February of 2010. Prices for front-wheel drive Scirocco R that's fitted with a 265HP 2.0-litre TSI four-cylinder engine and a six speed manual gearbox start at £26,945 on-the-road while the all-wheel drive Golf R that's powered by a 270HP 2.0-liter turbo engine linked to a six-speed manual transmission, begins from £28,930. A six-speed DSG gearbox is available as an option on both models from £1,300.
Subaru of America's in house performance division, STP (which stands for Subaru Performance Tuning), will reveal a custom-built Impreza WRX STI at the Las Vegas SEMA Show next week. The WRX STI gets all sorts of goodies from the SPT catalog such as a sportier exhaust system that boosts the 2.5-liter turbocharged boxer engine's output from 305 HP to 315 HP at 6,000 rpm with peak torque remaining stock at 290 lb.-ft. at 4,000 rpm and a turbo heat shield.
Making its debut alongside the Lingenfelter 2010 Camaro-based Pontiac Trans Am Concept at next week's SEMA Show will be a supercharged Camaro SS with all kinds of mechanical and cosmetic revisions. The most significant changes on Lingenfelter's Camaro are hidden under the hood as this Chevy features a 750 horsepower supercharged 426 cubic inch (equal to 7.0-liters) LS7 V8 with an 8.8:1 compression ratio, forged JE pistons, production GM LS7 crankshaft and titanium connecting rods, just to mention a few of the upgrades.
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
The 2009 Toyota Tacoma is the best selling small pickup truck in America in spite of not having seen significant change in its looks since the 2005 model year. Surprisingly, given the time since the last change, it's still one of the best looking small trucks on the road. Minor upgrades for this year include changes to the grille, taillights and tailgate handle. Competitors include the Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon, Dodge Dakota and Ford Ranger in the USA. Foreign competition includes the Mitsubishi Raider, Nissan Frontier, Mazda Truck and Suzuki Equator.
The Tacoma comes in three cab styles: Regular, Access (small rear doors) and Double (full rear doors). Regular and Access cabs have a long bed, while the Double cab comes with either a long or short bed. Each cab size comes in either four-wheel or rear-wheel drive. The engine also depends largely on the pickup style. Regular cab and some versions of the Access cab come with the 2.7 liter, 157 horsepower gasoline powered I4 engine, which can be matched with either a four-speed automatic or a five-speed manual transmission with overdrive. The rest of the Access cabs and all of the Double cabs come with the 4.0 liter, 236 horsepower gasoline powered V6 engine with either a five-speed automatic or six-speed manual transmission with overdrive. Maximum towing weight for the Tacoma is 6500 pounds. Maximum payload is 1570 pounds. The payload is excellent for class, while the towing weight is fair. The four-cylinder engine is somewhat underpowered, making the power to weight ratio a little weak, especially on the Access cab models. Front legroom is also a little tight. The Tacoma is very safe for a small pickup. NHTSA ratings are five-star everywhere except rollover, which is either three- or four-star, depending on the cab style. The lower rollover rating for a small pickup is not uncommon. IIHS gives G's straight across. Safety features include child safety locks on the Double cabs, an anti-theft system, antilock brakes with electronic braking assistance, traction control and vehicle stability control, limited slip/locking differential, electronic parking aid and seat belts everywhere. It does not have a locking tailgate. The base price for the 2009 Toyota Tacoma is a mere $15,170. That's almost $10,000 below class average. The fact is, as the sales numbers attest, if you want a small pickup and willing to give up the room, horsepower and hauling capacity of the bigger trucks, the Tacoma is hard to beat. If, for instance, you want an inexpensive vehicle to drive to work and do some light hauling now and then - and it seems a lot of us want just that.