• Ssangyong XAV Concept unveiled in Seoul

    April 5, 2015

    While all attention has been turned to the Big Apple, Seoul has been holding its own auto show, where South Korean automakers are unveiling their latest concepts. The Ssangyong XAV is the firm’s latest design study, a rugged-looking compact SUV.

    With some elements that might resemble the Toyota FJ Cruiser, the XAV is actually a design throwback to the 1996 Ssangyong Korando, notable for its flared fenders and large corner lamps. While it may not have been the most expected choice for retro inspiration, the XAV does a commendable job of taking a design widely regarded as downright ugly and interpreting it in modern form.

    Ssangyong says XAV stands “for eXciting Authentic Vehicle” and is designed for outdoorsy lifestyle types. One of the more notable design cues is a small lockbox integrated into the rear hatch. Clever storage options are peppered throughout the interior as well.

    The concept is fitted with a 1.6L four cylinder driving the rear wheels through an automatic transmission, but an electronic 4WD system can theoretically power the front wheels as well.

    Ssangyong is 70 percent owned by Mahindra & Mahindra Limited, an Indian automaker known for its SUVs.

  • New Toyota Corolla sedan, wagon and hybrid for Japan

    April 5, 2015

    Toyota has unveiled an updated version of its evergreen Corolla for Japan, including sedan, wagon and hybrid versions.

    While the Corolla sold in the US (and much of the rest of the world) has grown considerably with each successive generation, the Japanese Corolla is a different model altogether and retains its slim Y2K-era size, about 11 inches shorter than the US-spec model.

    The new grille is not dissimilar to that of the 2012 Camry, pre-2014 facelift. However, below the bumper is a large trapezoidal grille connecting two foglamp nooks. The honest sedan profile that eschews faux sportiness and does not attempt to be anything that it’s not.

    Even more likely to be missed in American markets is the Corolla Fielder, the five-door wagon variant. Equipped with optional LED headlights, a 5-speed manual, and handsome longroof profile, it represents a breed long extinct in the States.

    While the sedan comes with the option of a 1.3 or 1.5L four-cylinders, the wagon is available with 1.5 or 1.8L mills to compensate for the added heft. Both can be had with the same 1.5L hybrid-electric system found in the Prius.

    All new Japanese-market Corollas will be equipped with Toyota’s new Safety Sense package, that includes pre-collision warning and braking, lane departure alerts and automatic high beams.

  • Ford launches Europe-bound 2016 Galaxy minivan

    April 5, 2015
    Ford has lifted the veil off of the 2016 Galaxy, a large van whose biggest market is Europe.
    Entering its fourth generation, the Galaxy predictably gets an evolutionary design that falls in line with the Blue Oval’s current design language. The van’s overall silhouette stays roughly the same but its front end is fitted with slim angular headlights and a hexagonal radiator grille with horizontal slats.

    Inside, the Galaxy continues to offer seating up for to seven adults. It gains a number of available premium options including a retractable panoramic glass roof, massaging front seats, a fully configurable digital instrument cluster and Ford’s Active Park Assist technology. Buyers who are planning on regularly towing heavy loads can order the Galaxy with an optional self-leveling rear suspension.

    The 2016 Galaxy is offered with a wide range of diesel- and gasoline-burning four-cylinder engines sourced from the Ford parts bin. The headline-grabber is an all-new twin-turbocharged 2.0-liter TDCi diesel-powered unit that generates 207 horsepower and a stout 331 lb-ft. of torque at just 2,000 rpm. Ford boldly claims that its sequential twin-turbo technology all but eliminates turbo lag.

    The other noteworthy engine is a 2.0-liter gasoline-burning EcoBoost mill that provides 236 horsepower, making the Galaxy one of the most powerful vans in its segment. All engines come standard with a fuel-saving start/stop system.

    The 2016 Ford Galaxy will go on sale across Europe in the coming months, and it could be added to the Blue Oval’s lineup in China shortly after. However, Ford is not currently planning on selling the van in the United States

  • Peugeot reveals futuristic Foodtruck concept

    April 5, 2015
    France’s Peugeot has introduced an innovative new concept car called Foodtruck at a special event held in Paris.
    The Foodtruck commemorates the fact that Peugeot is the only company in the world that offers both a full line of tableware and passenger cars. To enhance the food truck experience, designers opened up the kitchen and positioned the chef and the food preparation as close to the customers as possible in order to create a cozy, small restaurant-like feel.

    Alternatively, the Foodtruck and its matching trailer can be transformed into an amphitheater-like dining space with a DJ booth and a 46-inch screen that lets customers watch the chef’s every move. Peugeot says the truck is designed to accommodate up to 30 customers when it is in amphitheater mode.

    Chefs and foodies alike will appreciate that the truck is equipped with two grilling plates, four induction burners, a deep fryer, a professional espresso machine and two large refrigerators. Additionally, Peugeot’s centuries-old Poivrières Salières Production division built a set of salt and pepper mills specifically for the concept.

    Peugeot has not provided technical details about its restaurant on wheels, though it promises that it is fully functional.

    Although it’s simply a concept that will not see the light that awaits at the end of a production line, the Foodtruck will be put to work during the Milan Design Week that will kick off on April 14th, and later in the French Pavilion of the World Fair, Expo Milano.