New Peugeot 108 review

The Peugeot 107 and its sister cars the Toyota Aygo and Citroen C1 were fantastic city cars for first-time drivers and downsizers. The low entry prices, keen three-cylinder engine and fun chassis sold the car well and even now years after they first came out they still feel rock solid. Replacing the 107 then is no easy task.

As is the way with the automotive industry, it has to be replaced though, and the new version is going to be called the 108. So, what’s it like?

The first thing you notice about the 108 is that it’s radically different to the 107 in design. This is still one of the shortest and lightest cars in the super mini class, although it is longer than the 107, to add extra boot space (the 108 has a 197-litre boot, the 107 a 139-litre boot) and rear leg room. Like the 107, the 108 will be rebranded as a Citroen and Toyota, but as before, it will be the Peugeot that offers the best deals such as those from Bristol Street Motors.

The new styling includes LED daytime running lights as standard, alloy wheels, sporty bumpers all round and chrome detailing on the bottom bumper air vents.

The new 108 will also be available as a three-door and five-door. Both with share the exact same dimensions, although the five-door version will be around 5kg heavier.

Unlike in the 107 range, there will be two engines to choose from in the 108, a 1.0-litre three-cylinder unit and a 1.2-litre unit. Both are petrol powered and Peugeot have worked hard to ensure that they are smoother and more economical than before. The 1.0-litre engine is the same as before but has been modified for less friction to reduce thermal properties.

No diesel engines will be available at launch, although a 1.3-litre diesel would suit the character of this car in my opinion.
In terms of equipment, the 108 will be more technologically capable than the 107. For the first time sat nav will be an optional extra and automatic headlights and wipers are on the card too.

Driving wise, Peugeot have said that the 108 maintains the playful character of the 107, yet delivers a more grown up and refined experience. In other words, the 108 will have go-kart handling characteristics but be quieter and smoother on the motorway and on uneven surfaces. This, I expect, will be a welcome improvement for owners of the 107.

Overall

Used Peugeot (click here) have always been a good buy and the 108 looks like it will be too. New pricing has not yet been announced but you can expect the entry-level car to dip under the £10,000 mark, as this is what made the older version so accessible. It is this accessibility which will drive sales and so if Peugeot can get the equipment levels right and avoid any new engine issues and recalls like some manufacturers (ahem, Porsche), Peugeot, Citroen, and Toyota could be on to another winner.

New 2015 Corvette ZO6 is a beast

2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06

The Detroit Auto Show has had plenty of cars generating buzz, but the all-new 2015 Corvette ZO6 is getting plenty of well-deserved attention. The new Corvette Stingray is impressive on its own, particularly with the ZR1 package. But now track afficionados will have even more performance with the new ZO6. This is now a well-established tradition with Corvette and it’s a natural addition to the new C7 lineup. For the money, you won’t get better performance anywhere in comparison to the Corvette lineup of cars. The ZO6 starts to rival some of the supercars out there.

Many of the modifications might appear to be subtle but they help to create incremental improvements in performance. You’ll see some minor changes to the exterior of the Corvette, including a wider back side. But it looks very similar to the Stingray.

If you love sports cars, see this one in person and then set up an appointment to drive the ZO6 along with the Stingrays. You’ll come away impressed.

How to take the stress out of buying a new car

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Buying a new car can be a very stressful experience. There’s a lot riding on the outcome: even an inexpensive car can be a significant financial investment. Ideally, you and your car will be together for a long time, so there’s a lot of pressure to choose the right one. In addition, buyers, particularly first-time buyers, find themselves bombarded by information. This car costs less, but might be more costly to run, while another might be more expensive but help you save money over the long run. How do you sort through all the available information to find the right vehicle for you? Fortunately, there are a few ways to reduce some of the stress of buying a new car.

Decide what you’re looking for

Knowing what you want in advance can save you a lot of stress before you get to the dealership. A lot of the stress of car shopping comes from uncertainty; it’s much easier to decide what you want and then see if a dealership has it than to decide what you want while a salesman is trying to pressure you. Consider your budget and the features you need. Don’t just consider the car, but other factors such as insurance. Choosing the right car can not only save money on operating costs but also keep the price of new drivers insurance down.

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Ford reveals 50th Anniversary Mustang

The wait is finally over. Ford has revealed the all-new 2015 Mustang which will celebrate the 50th anniversary of this iconic nameplate. Ford had achieved great success with the current version of the Mustang with its retro design, so the bar was set very high with this new redesign. Opinions will likely vary, especially among purists who are very hard to please. In many ways this design is more evolutionary and incremental as opposed to something radical. It looks like the current body style was simply modified to look more modern and more like the rest of the current Ford lineup. Still, it’s unmistakably a Mustang, and that should please many fans.

The front view of the vehicle offers the most noticeable design change with the more modern looking headlamps. The front facia still looks like a Mustang, but now we’re seeing something more like the uninspired looks of the car from the 1990s. Meanwhile, the fastback rear end seems like the most aggressive part of the new vehicle and may save the overall design.

Some on the fan message boards are deriding the new design as looking like an Accord Coupe, but there was no way Ford was going to get a more modern design without getting some of this negative criticism. The retro Mustang was a massive hit, but it had lost its sales lead to the new, retro Camaro. Ford had to move on and the 50th anniversary offered the ideal opportunity.

The design provides a lower, wider stance with a reduction in roof height and wider rear fender. The return of Mustang fastback with a sleeker profile enabled by more steeply sloped windshield and rear glass.

Ford sees the new Mustang as a world car, so they will be aggressive about marketing this American icon overseas. Also, there are plenty of improvements to the vehicle as well that will please consumers.

The Mustang will now be available with three engines – a more powerful 5.0-liter V8, a 3.7-liter V6 and an all-new fuel-efficient 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine. With the emphasis these days on gas mileage that should help the vehicle appeal to a broader audience. The robust 5.0-liter V8 available in the Mustang GT will feature an upgraded valvetrain and cylinder heads that yield more than 420 horsepower and 390 lb.-ft. of torque. The standard 3.7-liter V6 will have at least 300 horsepower and 270 lb.-ft. of torque. Meanwhile, the Mustang EcoBoost engine uses direct injection, variable cam timing and turbocharging to provide both power and projected segment-leading fuel efficiency. Output is projected at more than 305 horsepower and 300 lb.-ft. of torque. It will be interesting to see the sales breakdown and how these engines feel in terms of power.

Ford is emphasizing that the new Mustang will be more nimble with better handling. The goal was to surpass the handling dynamics achieved in the recent Boss 302. Ford explains that the new Mustang features all-new front and rear suspension systems. At the front, a new perimeter subframe helps to stiffen the structure while reducing mass, providing a better foundation for more predictable wheel control that benefits handling, steering and ride. At the rear is an all-new integral-link independent rear suspension which might not please some of the purists. The vihicle has been modified and tuned for this high-performance application.

This new Mustang will generate considerable buzz and we’ll see how fans react when it goes on sale next year.

Love the Ron Burgundy – Dodge Durango commercials

This new Dodge Durango commercial starring Will Ferrell as Ron Burgundy is hilarious. You can see more of them at the Dodge YouTube page.

The inspiration for this particular “MPG” commercial has to have come from this old promo video where Ron Burgundy couldn’t pronounce ESPN, which has to be one of the funniest Burgundy clips ever.

Ferrell will be back soon as Ron Burgundy again in “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues.”

Hyundai announces pricing for 2014 Equus

2014 Hyundai Equus

Hyundai Motor America announced pricing today for the refreshed 2014 Hyundai Equus during a media event at its Ann Arbor, Michigan facility. The Equus comes in two model options – the Signature and the Ultimate. The Equus Signature has an MSRP with freight of $61,920, and the Equus Ultimate has an MSRP with freight of $68,920. Hyundai expects a sales breakdown of 70/30 between the Signature and the Ultimate.

Hyundai has positioned Equus as a competitor in the high end luxury segment, with vehicles like the Lexus LS460 and Mercedes S550 seen as the primary competitors, and the BMW 750i, Audi A8 and Cadillac XTS seen as secondary competitors. Hyundai’s strategy has emphasized packing the Equus with safety and technology features buyers are looking for in luxury vehicles and then making them standard in the Equus, while offering a price point that is roughly $30,000 less than comparably equipped target competitors. The emphasis on buyer experience has also helped Equus, with features like a dedicated Equus premium ownership champion at each dealership, at-home vehicle demonstrations branded under “Your Time, Your Place,” a valet service program with pickup and delivery on a flat bed truck with service loaner vehicle dropoff and a 3-year/36,000 mile no-cost maintenance.

John Krafcik, president and chief executive officer of Hyundai Motor America, said he’s been very pleased with Equus sales since the launch of the vehicle, noting that many auto analysts were skeptical that Hyundai could even compete in this space. Krafcik pointed to the 2013 year-to-date market segment numbers for Equus of 5.5%, which is greater than Hyundai’s overall brand share. He also pointed out that Equus scored highest among the luxury brands in the 2013 J.D. Power Customer Service Index Study.

Like other Hyundai brands, Equus sales are being held back by Hyundai’s capacity issues. When asked whether Hyundai would be adding production capacity, Krafcik declined to comment, though it should be noted that in the past he was quick to squelch any notion of new production facilities. With the American car market rapidly bouncing back near pre-recession levels, Hyundai is likely reconsidering its ultra-cautious approach to production capacity in order to take advantage of increased demand. Krafcik noted that Hyundai’s overall market share in the US has contracted a bit to 4.7% in 2013 due to those production constraints. Demand is not the problem, as Hyundai has among the lowest inventory and days supply levels in the industry. Hyundai’s incentive spend remains among the lowest in the industry second only to Subaru. With these statistics, it appears that Hyundai can easily absorb more capacity, though auto executives have to look years ahead, and the volatility of the past seven years has to be taken into account.

4 Best Cars for the New Teen Driver

Let’s face it-new teen drivers’ need cars with excellent safety features and crash-test results, but teens aren’t looking for the safest car like their parents. They want something cool and sporty that they can personalize and show off to their friends. Car safety technology has improved drastically over the past few years, so it’s now an ideal time to trust teens on the road. Luckily, there are cars that fulfill both requirements for teens themselves and their parents. Check out these great options for your teen driver.

Hyundai Elantra

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The Hyundai Elantra stands out as one of the best cars for new drivers. The Elantra received a five-star rating in government crash-tests for overall safety and side impact protection. It also earned for stars for frontal impact protection as well as earned the title of top small sedan by Consumer Reports.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gives the Elantra its highest score of side-impact and frontal-offset crashes. The car also receive a top rating for roof-strength test.

Those tests show you that the Elantra will protect your kid during an accident. You also need to know what features will help them avoid accidents.

The Elantra comes packed with standard safety features, including:
• anti-lock disc brakes
• traction control
• stability control
• active from head restraints

In addition to the Elantra’s ratings, teens love the sporty look of this car from the curved shaped headlights, aerodynamic roof line, and standard rims. The body style reminds me of the Pontiac Grand Prix I owned as a teen. As for the interior, consumers loves the gauge appearance with blue lighting and the steering wheel controls. Overall, this cars boasts style and safety, which makes it perfect for teen drivers.

Ford Focus

2012 Ford Focus Hatchback SEL

The Ford Focus comes in as a close second as it’s been one of the top selling compact sedans for years. It also receives excellent safety and crash-test ratings and comes with the safety features that can help parents relax when their kids are out and about.

Government crash-tests give the Focus four out of five stars in overall safety. That’s good score worth noting. The IIHS gives the car its highest rating in side and frontal-offset crashes. It also gets the top score for roof strength.

To make the Focus even safer, add the Ford Sync System. This system can notify 911 when a crash occurs.

Also consider setting the MyKey System, a standard feature, so you can control your teen’s driving behaviors. If they can’t speed, then they’re automatically in less danger.

Fuel efficiency is definitely a factor that teens should look at since they’ll be filling their gas tanks from now on. Lucky for them, the Focus has an excellent fuel economy at 28/38 MPG. This car has a sporty appearance as well with wrapping tail lights, crisscross bumper material, and a trunk lid lip and skirt.

Although consumers don’t like the steering wheel controls half as much as the Elantra’s, they do like the attractive blue gauge lighting. Not a bad car to look at, but I would still personally recommend the Elantra.

Chevy Sonic

2013 Sonic RS NAIS

Parents can’t go wrong with the Chevy Sonic. The Sonic launched in 2011 to replace Aveo and tied with the Fiesta for the 6th highest hatchback vehicle. IIHS designates it as a Top Safety Pick. The government gives it five stars in side, frontal, and overall protection. In other words, the Sonic can handle a crash.

The safety features will also impress parents. It includes:

• stability control
• traction control
• anti-lock brakes
• front knee airbags

A quick look at an informative car insurance blog will tell you that these features and ratings do more than protect your kids. They’ll also help keep your insurance prices low.

Okay, let’s get to the good stuff. Teens love the sound controls, aerodynamic front end, and the circular tail lamps for a sporty look. Since this has a hatchback, the back end is flat, which makes parking a breeze whether you’re pulling into a stall or parallel parking in the city. I would be interested in test driving this vehicle to compare its performance and handling to the Elantra and Focus.

Volkswagen Jetta

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The Jetta has a long history as one of the world’s safest cars. Although the appearance isn’t as sporty, it has the kind of styling that won’t embarrass your kids when they pull up to the school parking lot.
The government gives this car four out of five stars, but the IIHS gives it its highest rating in roof strength, frontal-offset collisions, and side collisions.

The VW Jetta comes in a large range of trim levels, so you can choose one that matches your budget and your safety concerns. Standard features include:

• active front head restraints
• side curtain airbags
• stability control
• traction control
• front side airbags

Teens will love the interior space with a roomy backseat and comfort when they’re cruising around with their friends. While the Jetta has a simple and understated design, it’s not a bad value for the money.

If teens wants to personalize their car, there are plenty of ways to make it burst with character, such as a new paint job, spoiler, shiny rims, modern headlights, grills and tinted windows. Just know that too much personalization may attract the cops like a magnet (I know from experience).

Luckily, there are some car options that will please both teens and parents when they normally don’t see eye-to-eye. Which of these cars would you prefer as a teen driver? Why? Any other vehicles that you believe should make the list?

Electric competition coming for Tesla?

Tesla Model S f

Tesla is riding high right now, as the Tesla S is a beautiful car and it’s piling up awards. The company is certainly worthy of all the praise directed its way. But, things are changing quickly in the auto business, as technological innovation is progressing rapidly. Thus, things can change quickly for Tesla as well with competition lurking.

GM and Honda made big news this week with an announcement that they’re teaming up to develop a mass-market fuel-cell system for future cars. The system, which is expected to debut in about 2020, chemically “burns” hydrogen to generate electricity without toxic emissions.

That electricity can then be used to power an electric motor: In other words, these will be electric cars, only without the batteries. GM and Honda also pledged to work on storage technologies for all that hydrogen, as well as on infrastructure — places to “get gas” for your future hydrogen-powered ride.

This doesn’t mean that the world is giving up on battery-powered electrics, of course. Batteries remain heavy and expensive, and take a while to recharge, but Tesla Motors has recently made it very clear that a great car can be built around a big heavy battery pack, despite the trade-offs.

But the GM-Honda link-up, along with Toyota’s recent confirmation that it would launch a fuel-cell car next year (a car that seems likely to be aimed directly at the Model S, by the way), is a good reminder that battery-electrics aren’t necessarily the way forward, just one of several possible ways.

That’s something that investors in any car company, including Tesla, should keep in mind.

Of course, this article is aimed at Tesla investors, and the stock issue is separate from the company and its current and future prospects. The stock may be a bit overpriced yet the company’s outlook can be fantastic.

Tesla has proven to be a leader in this space, and I think they can handle the competition. But the competition will be there.

Dodge Dart GT will hit dealerships soon

2013 Dodge Dart GT

Dodge Dart sales have been rather disappointing for the brand, so the arrival of the GT version has to be a relief to the dealers. Production started up recently and the vehicle is now available for ordering.

The vehicle debuted at the 2013 North American International Auto Show and looks pretty sharp as you can see in the photo above. Here are some additional details:

- the GT is powered by the 2.4-liter Tigershark MultiAir2 four-cylinder engine, which produces 184 horsepower and 174 lb.-ft. of torque

- premium Nappa leather

- sport suspension with frequency-sensing damping shocks, including standard 18-inch aluminum wheels

- standard class-exclusive features include racetrack LED taillamps, integrated dual exhaust, 8.4-inch touchscreen, 7-inch TFT display, and in-seat storage

- MSRP of $20,995

Let’s see if this helps raise the profile of the vehicle.

Cadillac ELR plug-in hybrid looks badass

Cadillac ELR plug-in hybrid
© General Motors

GM showed off this new Caddy at the Detroit Auto Show earlier this year. It looks pretty awesome and it’s basically a luxury version of the Chevy Volt as Cadillac brings plug-in hybrid technology to the Cadillac brand.

When General Motors (GM) decided to make a plug-in hybrid several years ago, there was a lively discussion behind closed doors about whether the first model to showcase the expensive technology should be a Chevrolet or a Cadillac. The Chevy advocates won and the Volt was born. History suggests that may not have been the right choice. The Volt—the first car to mix all-electric capabilities with an auxiliary gas engine to extend its driving range after the battery’s depleted—has had disappointing sales. Republicans during the presidential campaign pilloried it as a symbol of the failings of President Obama’s auto-industry bailout.

GM has decided to take a second stab at Volt technology, and this time it’s heading upmarket, with the Cadillac ELR plug-in hybrid, introduced Jan. 15.

That may be going a bit too far, as there’s nothing to indicate that a Cadillac would have fared any better as GM’s first plug-in option. The technology is just getting started, and the Volt’s price point was always an issue.

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