Photo Gallery: 2011 Ford Explorer

After weeks of Ford’s infuriating teasers regarding the all-new Explorer, the SUV will start from $28,995 – $1,000 less than the outgoing model. The new Explorer marks a major departure from the outgoing model as the 7 seater model by switching from a BOF (body-on-frame) to a uni-body structure with independent front and rear suspension – shared with the Ford Taurus sedan and Flex. Ford said despite adding more features on the all-new Explorer, engineers were able to reduce gross vehicle weight by around 45kg (100lbs) through the use of lighter materials such as an aluminium bonnet.

Out goes the previous V8 petrol engine for a new base 3.5 litre Ti-VCT V6 engine that produces 290bhp (294PS) and 345Nm (255lb-ft) of torque. This means the 2011 Explorer is 20% more fuel efficient. However, with the towing package, the V6 can haul up to 2,268kg (5,000lbs).

Optional is the all-new 2.0 litre turbocharged 4 cylinder EcoBoost petrol engine, producing 237bhp (240PS) and 339Nm (250lb-ft) of torque from 1,700 rpm. Front wheel drive is standard on all models, but only the AWD is available on the 3.5 litre Ti-VCT engine. Both engines are linked to a 6 speed automatic transmission. Expected is a 355bhp, 3.5 litre turbocharged V6 EcoBoost engine that will be added to the range in the future.

The AWD features a Land Rover-esque Terrain Response. This terrain management system has four settings (normal, mud, sand and snow) and is controlled via a console-mounted knob. This also features hill-descent control. Bi-xenon headlamps will be standard on plusher grades, while Adaptive cruise control and collision warning with brake support and BLIS® (Blind Spot Information System) with cross-traffic alert will be optional.

The entry-level Explorer, called Base will come standard with a 4.2” LCD touch-screen w/ MyFord driver connect, MyKey, air-conditioning w/ air filtration system, Easy Fuel capless fuel filler system, cruise control, tyre perssure monitoring system, x6 airbags, electric power steering, front & rear electric windows w/one touch auto down for driver, remote-control locking w/safety rear door locks, tilt & telescopic steering wheel, x4 12v power points and cargo hooks.

Mid-spec XLT adds rain & dusk sensors, 6 speed SelectShift automatic transmission, electrically adjustable/heated door mirrors w/LED indicators and puddle lamps, SecuriCode™ keyless entry keypad, rear parking sensors and anti-theft alarm.

Flagship Limited includes XLT specification and electric folding door mirrors w/driver’s memory, ambient lighting, electrically adjustable pedals w/memory, cargo net, climate control, 10 way electrically adjustable fronts seats, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, reversing camera, remote start system, 110v power outlet, keyless entry & start and Universal garage door opener.

According to Derrick Kuzak, group vice president of Global Product Development, "The new Explorer simply does everything well. It raises the bar for ride and handling on the road and transforms the off-road experience. It's the hands-down winner for towing capability and ease. All this capability - and three rows of seating - with amazing fuel economy will make Explorer the absolute right choice for families with a sense of adventure."

Look for the 2011 Explorer to arrive at dealerships in Winter, just in time for the snow.

2011 Chevrolet Volt requires premium fuel (U.S)

General Motors have said that the 1.4 litre petrol engine in the 2011 Chevrolet Volt will require premium fuel.

The Volt hybrid uses an 111kW electric motor as its primary driving force. When the lithium-ion battery pack is used up after 40 miles (65km), the 80bhp petrol engine comes to life to recharge the motor and battery pack, extending the vehicle's range to 300 (547km) miles plus. Combined engine and electric power comes to 150bhp and 370Nm (273lb-ft) of torque.

Chevy’s 2011 Online Order/Reference Guide for dealers, an entry under the reference code LUU states: "Engine, Range Extender, 1.4L Internal Combustion Engine (estimated: 80bhp [60 kW]), requires premium fuel."

A GM spokesman Adam Denison confirmed: "The Volt's unique architecture causes the onboard engine to act more like a generator. As such, premium fuel is required to maximise fuel efficiency. The use of premium fuel in the Volt increases fuel efficiency by 5 percent or greater over the use of regular fuel. Simply put, premium fuel optimizes this engine's characteristics. Basically, with reduced fuel consumption a key objective, premium fuel is the right solution for the Volt."

Although fuel economy is yet to be announced, GM stresses that the Volt can return 230mpg combined on the U.S cycle. That translates to around 1l/100km.

The 2011 Volt receives an 8 year, 100,000 (160,000km) mile battery warranty. Prices start at $41,000, $33,500 after the $7,500 tax credit. If you fancy leasing, put down a $2,500 security deposit and you can lease the all-new Volt for $350/mth for 36 months. The first 4,400 owners will get a 120v charging cord and a 240v charging station with home installation. A 5 year OnStar 'Directions and Connections' service (which includes Automatic Crash Response, stolen vehicle assistance and connected navigation), 8 airbags (x2 front, side, curtain and knee), ESP w/ traction control will come as standard. On the warranty front, a 3 year/36,000 mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, a 5 year/100,000 mile road assistance, courtesy transportation and petrol engine warranty, 6 year/100,000 mile corrosion protection coverage, and an 8 year/100,000 mile battery warranty will be available.

Currently available for pre-order at select dealerships (in California, New York, Michigan, Connecticut, Texas, New Jersey and Washington D.C), the first Volts will be delivered late this year. Those who are curious about the Volt can ring 1-888-VOLT-4-YOU (1-888-865-8496) to get any questions answered. Impatient customers can order their new Volt on

The Volt will go on sale in the U.S and Europe in 2011.

Buick pondering over station wagon, coupe and convertible (U.S)

In a live web chat aired on GM's official blog, Buick Product Marketing Director, Roger McCormack answered questions from the general public. He said that Buick is looking into increase the brand's line-up in the U.S with new models.

Apart from a small crossover that has been confirmed, McCormack said Buick is considering numerous alternatives including a coupe, convertible with either a soft-top or a hard-top and a station wagon.

One question asked was whether or not Buick is considering a coupe model, in which McCormack answered: “Yes, it’s under very strong consideration".

Another question was about a convertible. He answered; "We are always looking for ways to excite our customers...I think a convertible would do just that. Nothing to announce today but know we will look hard at a convertible option".

All in all, McCormack said: “As we mentioned, we are looking at all options...a coupe, convertible, a wagon, a retractable hardtop and more...we don't know right now which direction we'll go. We think the Buick brand can stretch in a lot of directions."

Unsurprisingly, McCormack didn’t reveal many details about the potential models. However, we imagine that the coupe, station wagon and convertible models would underpin either the Regal (Vauxhall/Opel Insignia) or the Vauxhall/Opel Astra. A sedan variant – badged as Buick Excelle GT in China – is expected to be launched in the U.S next year.

BMW to recall 5 Series GT (U.S)

BMW USA is to recall in excess of 6,000 2010 and 2011 5 Series GT built between 12th January – 1st July, due to a faulty fuel gauge. BMW owners are being cautioned by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration about the problem.

According to NHSTA, the 5 Series GT’s level sensor within the fuel tank can become wedged against the tank. If this happens, the fuel gauge in the instrument cluster will display a larger amount of fuel than what's in the actual tank.

BMW has not yet provided details on when the fix or notification schedule will take place. Concerned owners of the affected models can contact BMW on 1-800-525-7417.

New Car: 2011 Mazda Verisa (JP)

Mazda has subtly revised the Verisa crossover (MPV & SUV) for the Japanese market for the 2011 MY. Some may recognise the Verisa, that's because it underpins the 2002 Ford Fiesta/Fusion. The Verisa will still be sold alongside it’s younger sibling, the Demio (Mazda2 in overseas market).

The minor changes consist of new colours for both the fabric and leather seats, revised instrument panel that includes a fuel consumption gauge and an "eco-lamp" to support economical driving, restyled steel wheels and improved standard equipment on some model grades. Sales have already begun.

Main features of the refreshed Verisa


• The Verisa C features new Coral Brown fabric seats, which are brown in the middle and beige on the sides

• The Verisa L has new Cool Black leather seats with a black and sand-coloured two-tone design.

• To match the new seats, the Verisa L has a black and sand-coloured leather-wrapped steering wheel.

• Both grades have a newly designed instrument panel with blackout metres.

• Newly designed hub caps for both the 14” and 15” wheels.


• Automatic headlights and front rain sensing wipers (which automatically switch on according to ambient conditions), and water-repellent coating (on the front door windows and door mirrors) are standard equipment on the Verisa L grade.

• A fuel consumption gauge (showing average fuel consumption) and an eco-lamp have been added to the instrument panel on all model grades.

2011 Hyundai Equus specification announced (U.S)

Hyundai have revealed extra information regarding engines and specifications for the all-new 2011 Equus. The Equus will be offered in just two trim-levels, Equus Signature and Equus Ultimate.

The Equus Signature features a 4.6 litre 385bhpTau® V8 petrol engine w/ 6 speed automatic, 608w Lexicon® sound system w/17 speakers, electronically controlled air suspension with continuous damping control, Vehicle Stability Management with pre-collision warning, Smart Cruise Control, bi-xenon headlamps w/ LED day-time running ligths, front and rear parking sensors w/rear-view camera, premium leather seating, Alcantara suede headliner, heated and cooled front seats w/ drivers massage function, heated wood and leather steering wheel, and other lavish luxuries.

The Equus Ultimate adds a grille-mounted front camera, power bootlid, electrically reclining rear seats with powered headrests, cooled rear seats, rear seat massage and leg support function, rear seat refrigerator and rear seat entertainment system.

"When you're spending this much for a new car, you don't want to feel like you've been short-changed on engineering, technology or features," said John Krafcik, Hyundai Motor America president and CEO. "Equus Signature has the technology and content of fully-optioned flagship models from Lexus and BMW, while Equus Ultimate delivers a specification approached only by our competitors' low-volume, special-order models."

Hyundai's novel perspective on intelligent luxury, features "Your Time, Your Place," the industry's first at-home vehicle demonstration program, the Valet Service program, which provides at-home pickup for Equus service and maintenance and the industry's first iPad-based interactive owner's manual.

A 5.0 litre Tau 429bhp V8 petrol engine will join the range at a later date, mated to an all-new in-house 8 speed automatic. Prices are expected to start around $58,000.


4.6 litre DOHC Tau V8 engine, 6 speed automatic transmission with SHIFTRONIC® , electro-hydraulic power steering (EHPS), electronically controlled air suspension with continuous damping control (CDC), 19” chrome alloy wheels with P245/45R19 (front) / P275/40R19 (rear) tyres, four-wheel disc brakes with Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) and EBD, electronic stability control (ESC) with TCS and brake assist, vehicle stability management (VSM) system with pre-collision warning, 9 airbags; x2 front airbags, front and rear seat-mounted side-impact airbags, driver knee airbag, and roof-mounted side-curtain airbags, electronic active front head restraints with power controls, electronic seatbelt pretensioners, tyre pressure monitoring system (TPMS), lane departure warning system (LDWS), smart cruise control, adaptive high intensity discharge (HID) headlights with LED turn signal indicators w/auto-levelling, fog lights and automatic headlights, front and rear parking assistance system w/rear-view camera, electric-folding heated auto-dimming mirrors w/ turn signal indicators and approach lamps, twin asymmetrical exhaust tips integrated with rear bumper, proximity key entry w/push-button start, illuminated scuff plates, inside door handles and door armrest, premium leather seating surfaces and Alcantara® suede headliner, 12 way power driver seat plus lumbar adjustment and 10 way power front passenger seat, driver seat massage system, heated and cooled front seats, heated, wood-trimmed and leather-wrapped steering wheel, power tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel, integrated memory system (IMS) for driver-side seat, mirror and steering wheel, leather-wrapped dash and real wood interior trim, electroluminescent cluster (Supervision) with 3.5-inch TFT LCD screen, electronic parking brake with automatic vehicle hold, power windows with auto-down/up, navigation system w/ DIS and multimedia controller, Apple iPad interactive owner's manual, 608w Lexicon 7.1 Discrete surround-sound system with 17 speakers, iPod/USB and MP3 auxiliary input jacks and iPod connection cable, XM® Satellite Radio & NavTraffic® with trial subscription, Bluetooth® hands-free phone system, dual automatic temperature control with air quality system, windshield-wiper de-icer, rain-sensing wipers and auto-defogging windshield with humidity sensor, electrochromic auto-dimming inside rear-view mirror with HomeLink® and compass, acoustic laminated windshield , front and rear side windows, power tilt-and-slide glass sunroof, 60/40 power reclining and heated rear seats, power rear sunshade and rear side-window sunshades, luggage net, premium-grade floor mats, premium-grade trunk cargo mat and first-aid kit (PIO).


Tau V8 engine, rated one of Ward's "Ten Best Engines" for 2009 and 2010

First-class seating available on Equus Ultimate (competitors' best seating options come only on the long-wheelbase variants)

Standard Smart Cruise Control

Standard Lane Departure Warning System

Standard heated steering wheel

Standard power reclining rear seats

Standard heated rear seats

Standard premium Lexicon 7.1 Discrete surround sound audio system with 17 speakers

Available rear console refrigerator (only available on some competitors' LWB models)


Equus Ultimate adds or replaces:

50/50 split rear seats (four-passenger seating) with reclining function, rear passenger leg support and massage system, cooled rear seats, rear-seat entertainment system w/ 8” monitor, thermoelectric rear center console refrigerator, rear-seat power up/down head restraints w/ manual tilt, rear-seat illuminated vanity mirrors, forward-view cornering camera and a power trunk lid.

The Equus Ultimate replaces the 60:40 rear seat of the Equus Signature with a 50:50 power reclining seating configuration. The seat-back of this 50:50 seat massages and vibrates with heat - the perfect relaxation therapy for extended cruising. It is operated by its own remote control unit.

Equus offers four exterior colours and three interior theme choices. Exterior colours are White Satin Pearl, Black Noir Pearl, Granite Gray and Platinum Metallic. Interior themes are Cashmere with genuine Birch Burl wood, Jet Black with genuine walnut wood and Saddle with genuine walnut wood.

Infiniti M37 pricing announced (UK)

Infiniti has confirmed prices of the M37. The M37 will be available in five different trim-levels, priced from £35,150. The M30d will arrive in October and the M35 hybrid in Spring 2011, with prices and specifications for these variants to be announced at a later date.

The M37 is powered by a 3.7 litre V6 petrol, kicking out 316bhp (320PS) that thrusts the four-door saloon from 0-62mph in 6.2 seconds with an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph. Combined fuel economy is 27.7mpg, while it pumps out CO2 emissions of 235g/km.

The entry-level M37 is priced at £35,150 and comes equipped with a 7 speed automatic transmission, bi-xenon lights, 10 way electrically adjustable front seats, reversing camera, hard disk drive (HDD) sound system and Drive Mode Selector – that adapts key driving parameters to Sport, Normal, Snow and Eco settings.

Lower mid-range M37 GT starts from £37,650 and adds semi-aniline leather, heated and ventilated front seats and White Ash wood trim with silver powder finish.

Upper-mid range is the M37S, which costs £39,650 and adds 4 Wheel Active Steering (4WAS), sports suspension, sports seats w/heat and ventilation function, gearshift paddles and 20” alloy wheels.

Flagship Infiniti GT & S Premium models start from £45,000 and £43,000. These acquire a Dynamic Safety Shield package, Forest Air, 16 speaker BOSE sound system and the Connectiviti+ information and entertainment platform comprising 30GB HDD navigation. Premium models also feature a "Eco Pedal", which helps reduce fuel consumption by pushing back the accelerator pedal on the driver's foot when it detects excess pressure and poor fuel efficiency.

BMW Gran Coupe concept green-lighted for production

BMW will inveterate that the Gran Coupe Concept will reach production. The design of the Audi A7-rival will be shared with the forthcoming 6 Series Coupe.

Speaking at an event in Munich, Klaus Draeger, an associate of BMW's Board of Management, said that the GCC will become a 6-Series "four-door coupe". He implied the car would launch in late 2012.

To be sold as the BMW 6-Series Gran Coupe, several engines and models will be offered: two petrols & diesels, a hybrid, and an M variant. So expect a 300bhp (304PS) 3.0 litre 6 cylinder (hybrids will have a 54bhp (55PS) electric motor), 400bhp (406PS) 4.4 litre V8 petrol, 3.0 litre diesel with 204bhp (207PS) and 245bhp (248 PS), and a twin-turbo V8 with 555bhp (563PS) to 570bhp (578PS).

Other than talking about the production GCC, Draeger mentioned BMW has designed and built a 6 Series Shooting Brake. It hasn't been confirmed for production, but market evaluation studies are currently in progress.

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