• Refreshed Hyundai Grandeur previews Azera update

    June 9, 2014

    Hyundai has unveiled the mid-generational refresh of the Grandeur sedan at the Busan Motor Show. The full-sizer will likely appear in US markets under its North American badge, the Azera.

    The front fascia has been redesigned with a new vertical-bar grille and LED fog lights flanking a grille that spans the width of the chin. A redesigned rear bumper also sports a flatter character line and new trapezoidal exhaust outlets.

    Inside, the center console’s HVAC controls get a revamp while the touchscreen navigation display grows to eight inches and is now standard equipment. A slew of modern safety conveniences also populate the spec list: Front collision, lane departure and blind spot warnings, as well as parking assist functions.

    The Grandeur was shown with a new 2.2-liter diesel, force fed by a variable geometry turbo and good for 200 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque. It meets the Euro 6 emission standards new to the books since September 2014. An improved 2.4-liter direct-injection gasoline inline-four generates 188 hp and 178 lb-ft. However, US market engine options are likely to remain the existing 293hp 3.3-liter V6.

    The current Azera was introduced two and a half years ago at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November 2011, so expect to see the updated version on our shores soon.

  • Mitsubishi seeks Electric Division title at Pikes Peak

    June 9, 2014

    Mitsubishi plans to tackle the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb again this year, fielding two all-electric racers in the challenge. As the name implies, the Mitsubishi MiEV Evolution III is the automaker’s third attempt at the Electric Division title in the United States’ second-oldest motorsports event.

    The car itself is built on a dedicated tube-frame chassis. A high-capacity battery powers four electric motors, one at each wheel as part of the Mitsubishi in-wheel motor Electric Vehicle system. The company has been developing MiEV technology, first fitted to a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, since 2005. Together, the four motors can generate 603 hp, up 67 from last year’s MiEV Evolution II.

    Additionally, wider tires, a carbon-fiber cowl and wind tunnel-optimized aerodynamics set it apart from last year’s model. An improved S-AWC all-wheel-drive system, similar to the unit in the Lancer Evolution, distributes power based on vehicle dynamics.

    The first car will be piloted by a long-time Mitsubishi factory driver, Hiroshi Masuoka, who has won the Dakar Rally twice. The second car will have six-time Pikes Peak motorcycle champion Greg Tracy behind the wheel.

    The 2014 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb takes place on June 29.

  • Renault to preview premium sub-brand in Paris

    June 9, 2014
  • Tesla mulling European R&D center

    June 9, 2014
    California-based Tesla has confirmed it is considering opening a research and development center in the United Kingdom’s Midlands region.

    “It’s probable that we will establish a center to supplement the work that we do in California,” confirmed Tesla CEO Elon Musk, “but if we want to attract the top talent we can’t just be modifying cars for Europe, it has to be complete programs.”

    The facility could be inaugurated as early as next year. Musk has not detailed the exact role that the center will serve but he has hinted it will be tasked with designing European-spec versions of the cars Tesla sells in the United States. The center’s first project will likely be making modifications to the upcoming Model X crossover to ensure that it appeals to buyers on the Old Continent.

    Musk expects the European research and development center to attract the top engineers on the Old Continent and to create hundreds of jobs locally.

    While some of Tesla’s future models will likely be partially designed in the United Kingdom, the automaker has all but ruled out building cars in the nation.

    “We will look strongly at a factory in the UK if the market justifies it. But if we do full production in Europe it’s more likely to be on the continent. We already have a final assembly plant in the Netherlands,” explained Musk in an interview with British magazine Autocar.

    Photo by Ronan Glon.