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Most reliable cars known to last 300,000 kilometres or more

  • Most reliable cars known to last 300,000 kilometres or more
  • 2014 Kia Cee'd GT
  • Xcar goes analog with the Ferrari F40
  • Bugatti Dynamic Driving Experience

Meet Sparky, Nissan's Leaf-based, Frontier-bedded EV parts hauler [w/video]

Posted Sep 18th 2014 5:00PM

Nissan Leaf Frontier

For many enthusiasts, the concept of the ute – a car with a pickup bed – is somehow irresistibly appealing. On paper, it promises the marriage of a truck's utility and a car's superior driving dynamics, and for that reason alone, we'd love to see more of them. Yet while other parts of the world get them in good numbers, North America doesn't ever see them – at least not for long. Based on what we've seen of late, though, that's not due to a lack of motivation on the part of engineers.

BMW wowed us several years ago with an M3 ute, and earlier this year, some interns converted a Mini Paceman into the pickup-bodied Paceman Adventure. Loathe to let their rivals in Munich and Oxford have all the fun, Nissan has built its very own car-based pickup. Meet Sparky, the world's first Leaf Frontier.

Like the M3, this all-electric ute is used as a parts hauler for Nissan's engineering teams at its sprawling Stanfield, AZ tech centre and proving grounds. "We tried to keep it a secret and be exciting for everybody. But we have visitors and they come and they see that truck and they go straight to 'What is it?' and they start looking at it, and it makes great conversation," Nissan's Roland Schellenberg said in a statement.

Schellenberg completed the months-long team-building project alongside fellow engineer Arnold Moulinet. "After [Schellenberg] told us it was going to be the Leaf that we would redo, I went home and stayed up til like four in the morning making all kinds of designs for what would work. We basically got the stock Leaf, and after reviewing a bunch of designs of pickup trucks that we have here at Nissan, we decided to go with a Frontier bed," Moulinet said in a statement. "My main job here is working on rough-road vehicles, rough-road testing. I'm pretty good at taking cars completely apart to the bare frame and putting them back together again to resume testing."

Take a look below for the video on the impetus behind Sparky, the build process and to see the final result in action.

News Source: Nissan Newsroom via YouTube

Lotus to layoff a quarter of its workforce

Posted Sep 18th 2014 4:30PM

Group Lotus HQ

Lotus has issued a press release to day, wherein it indicates that a "need to both reshape its organisation and to reduce costs" may result in the loss of "up to 325" jobs. That's a fairly significant number of layoffs for any company, but considering that Lotus currently employs 1,215 people (per the company's bio in the same release), it could mean a full 25-per cent of the automaker's workers could soon be sharpening their resumes.

CEO Jean-Marc Gales says in the statement that Lotus has "worked very hard to avoid the need to make this proposal," but admits that it is now "essential" to the future of the company. The chief indicates that post-restructuring, he expects Lotus to be a "leaner" and "more competitive" organization, one which – and we can all see a little silver lining here – is focused on "producing class-leading sports cars and innovative engineering."

The 325-job number appears to be soft at this point, with the statement indicating that some negotiation about which and how many posts will be cut is yet to come. Further, the company may "redeploy" some employees, and may even recruit new blood for "key roles," all with an eye toward running the strongest possible team going forward. Though, we imagine that the recruitment bit won't fly well for those employees getting the sack.

Continue on below for the full press release from Lotus.

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Image Credit: Ian Hampton / Flickr CC 2.0

Volvo XC90 R-Design adds a dash of sport

Posted Sep 18th 2014 4:00PM

2015 Volvo XC90 R-Design

The 2015 Volvo XC90 is a huge leap forward for the Swedish automaker as its first all-new model since leaving Ford ownership. There's a lot riding on the crossover's success, too, because its platform is supposed to underpin Volvo vehicles for years to come. The latest move for the new CUV is adding a little aggressiveness to the look with the R-Design trim for buyers desiring a sportier-looking Swede.

The R-Design joins the already announced Momentum and Inscription trims. Mechanically it doesn't change anything, but ticking the box for the R-Design adds a slightly different grille with horizontal slats, a redesigned lower air dam, new window trim, matte silver side-mirror covers and rectangular exhaust nestled in an altered lower rear bumper. The sportier XC90 comes standard with 20-inch wheels, but a 22-inch design is optional, as well.

The meaner look is carried inside with sport seats covered in Nubuck and Nappa leather, a perforated leather steering wheel and R-Design trim for the gearshift, pedals, floor mats and illuminated tread plates. The touchscreen infotainment system also gets an R-Design theme.

According to Volvo, the XC90 R-Design is all about giving buyers a chance to personalize their crossover. With the Momentum as the base and the Inscription trim representing more luxury with high-end finishes, the new addition goes after one more niche. Scroll down to read the official announcement of this slightly meaner looking XC90.

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News Source: Volvo

Most reliable cars known to last 300,000 kilometres or more

Posted Sep 18th 2014 2:57PM

Honda

Canadians drive a lot. Collectively, we average between 15,000 to 20,000 kilometres on our cars each year, according to Transport Canada. Because of this, a vehicle's ability to travel long distances without major problems or costly repair is a huge aspect to take into consideration when it comes time to purchase a new or used car.

iSeeCars.com recently released its findings for the most reliable cars known to last past 300,000 kilometres or more. The study was based on a sample of used vehicles listed online ranging from 1981-2010 that have more than 300,000 kilometres on the odometer, thus seeing which models are really going the distance for their owners. The findings, which listed the top 12 vehicle models with the highest percentage of 300,000-kilometre travelers, are quite interesting. Only one car made the list, the ever-popular Honda Accord. All the rest are either trucks or SUVs.

Click here to see the top vehicles known for rolling past the 300,000 kilometre mark and still going strong. It's important to note that while these are the vehicles that have stood the test of time up until today, we can't guarantee future results if you decide to opt for one of these from a current new car model year.

RELATED STORIES: The Car That Just Keeps Going

News Source: iSeeCars via AOL Autos

Mini Rocketman back on the table, might go aluminum

Posted Sep 18th 2014 2:00PM

Mini Rocketman Concept

Mini just doesn't want its Rocketman concept to die. It unveiled the truly mini model at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show, and since then, there have been countless on-again, off-again rumours about the possibility of it going into production. If the latest talk proves true, a smaller vehicle like the Rocketman might make it into the automaker's lineup after all, as competitor to other stylish city cars like the Smart ForTwo.

According to the company's head of design, Anders Warming, speaking to Auto Express, Mini likes the idea of having a smaller model in its lineup, but it has to figure out a way of actually making it work. Warming is clear that the next iteration of the Rocketman concept (or whatever it's called then) won't be seen until a design is ready.

There are still plenty of challenges keeping a production Rocketman off of the city streets of the world, and chief among them continues to be finding a platform. But Mini is at least considering it. "At the moment, we don't have the right tech solutions, but we are working on it. We don't yet have a final solution, you could say," said Warming to Auto Express. He also thinks the final version would drop the concept's carbon fibre in favour of more aluminum components.

The other key is getting the interior just right, and Warming's plan is to keep things simple. "Driving in the city is stressful enough, so we need a reduction in the number of elements," he said to Auto Express.

If Mini can jump these hurdles, then a city car like the Rocketman might make sense in the lineup. After all, the standard Mini Cooper is growing with every new generation. But with no platform or design ready, it might be a few years before we see a production version, if at all.

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Forza Horizon 2 opening sequence drops

Posted Sep 18th 2014 1:00PM

Forza Horizon 2 Opening Sequence

This week marked the launch of the Forza Horizon 2 demo on the Xbox One (go play it, it's darn entertaining as demos go). This partial version of the game doesn't allow you to explore the entire playing area, and you're limited to a paltry trio of vehicles, but it does come with a big-ticket item: the full, live-action video that introduces the open-world racer.

The roughly two-minute "countdown" is big on the two big, central themes of FH2. That means there's plenty of epic sheetmetal, including its flagship vehicle, the new Lamborghini Huracán, as well as the ability to go just about anywhere on the huge open-world map. The video leads into the traditional opening race which, like the original Forza Horizon, sees you hurtling through the countryside towards the Horizon Festival.

Take a look at the video and keep your eyes open for our review of Forza Horizon 2, ahead of its September 30 on-sale date.

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Forza Horizon 2 Launch Trailer

News Source: Shaunessy Chapman via YouTube

2014 Kia Cee'd GT

Posted Sep 18th 2014 12:00PM

Kia Cee'd GT

Kia may be an automaker with a lot going for it these days, but it's not yet one that takes pains to appeal to performance enthusiasts. Aside from its Pirelli World Challenge team, it doesn't support any major racing programs to speak of. And despite having showcased such concepts as the GT4 Stinger and the Provo, it doesn't really offer much in the way of performance models.

That is, at least not in North America. But at the Geneva Motor Show last year, Kia got itself into the Euro hot hatch game with the launch of the Cee'd GT (and its three-door compatriot, the Pro_Cee'd GT). It's based on the Korean automaker's European-market Volkswagen Golf rival that's now in its second generation and which, in its previous base iteration, served as the Reasonably Priced Car that celebrity guests drove on Top Gear before it was replaced by a Vauxhall Astra. Now with a GT moniker attached, the Cee'd has warmed up to the point that it'd potentially be better suited towards a proper romp down twisting B-roads than serving as a celebrity punching bag.

Since Kia's first genuine performance model (like the model upon which it's based) isn't offered Stateside, we jumped at the opportunity to drive it while on a recent trip to the UK... READ MORE

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Noah Joseph / AOL

Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Gets 10.7L/100km

Posted Sep 18th 2014 11:00AM

2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat

With its crazy 707 horsepower on tap and roughly $63,995 starting price, the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat has been one of the most talked about cars of the summer, maybe even the year. However, there's always been one lingering question about the behemoth that Dodge has waited to answer until now – its fuel economy. The fuel ratings for the muscle car are finally out, and the numbers are actually pretty impressive for a vehicle with this much power.

A 2015 Challenger Hellcat with the eight-speed automatic is rated at 10.7L/100km (22 miles per gallon) highway, 18.1L/100km (13 mpg) city and 14.7L/100km (16 mpg) combined. Opting for the six-speed manual drops those figures to 11.2L/100km (21 mpg) highway, 18.1L/100km (13 mpg) city and 14.7L/100km (16 mpg) combined.

"As the fastest muscle car ever, the Challenger Hellcat can run 10-second ETs [elapsed times] at the track, and then get 10.7L/100 km (22 miles per gallon) on the drive home. With a starting price of $63,995, there's nothing else that even comes close," said Dodge and SRT President Tim Kuniskis in the company's release.

When comparing the Hellcat to other cars in its power class, its fuel economy numbers could almost be called frugal. Take a Lamborghini Aventador coupe for example. With 700 hp, the Lambo is rated at 13.1L/100km (18 mpg) highway and 21.4L/100km (11 mpg) city, but it costs significantly more than the Challenger. Even the Dodge Viper, the muscle car's sibling rival, is slightly lower at 11.2L100km (21 mpg) highway and 19.6L/100km (12 mpg) city, while making less power and torque. Scroll down to read Dodge's full fuel economy announcement about the supercharged V8.

News Source: Dodge

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Seyth Miersma / AOL

Ferrari 458 Speciale Spider will make Paris debut

Posted Sep 18th 2014 10:00AM

Ferrari 458 Speciale

The news out of Ferrari is coming nearly as fast as its wonderful sports cars, as of late, with CEO Luca di Montezemolo stepping down and a special model for America upcoming. Now, it's looking increasingly likely that the 458 Speciale Spider is making its world debut at the 2014 Paris Motor Show in early October, confirming earlier rumors.

Di Montezemolo had already confirmed that the Prancing Horse would unveil a new car in Paris, but exactly which model it would be had been a mystery. However, an unnamed Ferrari insider has recently confirmed to 4WheelNews that it would be the droptop Speciale.

As the name suggests, the special model takes the sonorous 4.5-litre V8 engine from the 458 Speciale with 597 horsepower and 398 pound-feet of torque and drops it into the convertible hardtop from the Spider. According to the source, the special Ferrari is also getting new wheels, stripes and seats, but the folding top might mean losing the coupe's transparent engine cover.

There's the possibility that Ferrari could build even more Speciale Spiders than originally thought. Earlier rumours indicated that it might be limited to just 458 units worldwide. However, wealthy buyers reportedly already reserved many of them during private showings. With Sergio Marchionne reportedly scrapping di Montezemolo's 7,000-units-per-year production limit, more of these Prancing Horses could hit the road. Regardless of how many the company makes, we hope this high performance convertible actually shows its face in Paris in a few weeks.

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