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Archive for the ‘Europe’ Category

PostHeaderIcon Kia Has Debuted a “Facelifted” Sportage For Europe, but it’s the Mild Hybrid Drivetrain that Matters

It’s wasn’t long ago that we told you that Kia was working on a Mild Hybrid drivetrain. And, just as promised, that drivetrain has made its debut in 2018, right along with what Kia considers a facelift for the 2019 Sportage SUV.

PostHeaderIcon EU Commission to Implement 11 Mandatory Car Safety Features, Including One That Prevents Speeding

In three years, all new cars sold in Europe must come standard with at least 11 different safety systems including an “intelligent speed assistance” system. That system will be paired with traffic-sign recognition and will automatically set a car’s maximum speed based on the current speed limit on any given road. That means that by 2021 it may be impossible to break the speed limit. And, while that may be the most invasive of the 11 systems, it’s only the tip of the iceberg and a preview of how moderated driving will be in the very near future.

PostHeaderIcon Sorry, Europe – Ford Says No ST-Badged SUVs For You

Over here in the U.S., we love our SUVs – throw in a solid dose of extra performance, like you get in an ST Ford, and we like it even more. Unfortunately, it looks as though buyers across the pond with similar interests will be left out in the cold, as the Blue Oval won’t sell ST-badged SUVs in Europe.

Continue reading for the the full story.

PostHeaderIcon Sorry, Europe – Ford Says No ST-Badged SUVs For You

Over here in the U.S., we love our SUVs – throw in a solid dose of extra performance, like you get in an ST Ford, and we like it even more. Unfortunately, it looks as though buyers across the pond with similar interests will be left out in the cold, as the Blue Oval won’t sell ST-badged SUVs in Europe.

Continue reading for the the full story.

PostHeaderIcon The Three-Door Peugeot 208 has Been Tried, Convicted, and Executed

As the rage and rising demand for crossovers and SUVs continues, other car segments have become unwitting bystanders. Sedans are losing their appeal, and the same goes for three-door hatchbacks. The latest to fall victim to this is the three-door version of the Peugeot 208. Word out of the Dutch version of Auto Week indicates that the French automaker is no longer taking orders for the three-door hatch in the Netherlands and that the model is no longer being produced.

PostHeaderIcon The Three-Door Peugeot 208 has Been Tried, Convicted, and Executed

As the rage and rising demand for crossovers and SUVs continues, other car segments have become unwitting bystanders. Sedans are losing their appeal, and the same goes for three-door hatchbacks. The latest to fall victim to this is the three-door version of the Peugeot 208. Word out of the Dutch version of Auto Week indicates that the French automaker is no longer taking orders for the three-door hatch in the Netherlands and that the model is no longer being produced.

PostHeaderIcon Ford Fiesta Active

After almost 10 years on the market, the sixth-generation Ford Fiesta was finally discontinued in 2017, making way for a brand-new model with a fresh and sportier design. The new Fiesta also brought new technology on the table, as well as revised engines and an ST model powered by a three-cylinder unit. Come 2018 and Ford added a new member to the Fiesta family, this time around in the form of a crossover-styled model called Active. The Fiesta Active joins the Ka+ Active, a similar version of the smaller Ka+ hatchback launched earlier in 2018.

Designed for a small niche that used to include the Volkswagen CrossPolo — a model that is no longer available — the Fiesta Active will share the market with the Hyundai i20 Active. Essentially a hatchback with increase ground clearance and crossover-style cladding, the Fiesta Active is aimed at customers who want the benefits of crossover but still need a compact car that’s easy to drive and park inside the city. A bit more rugged on the outside, the Fiesta Active shares its technology and drivetrains with the standard hatchback, although certain differences are noticeable in every department. But more about that in the review below.

Continue reading to learn more about the Ford Fiesta Active.

PostHeaderIcon Sweden Is the Land of Station Wagons and Old American Cars

Sweden is known for many things. From the IKEA and H&M shops in our malls to ABBA and Ingmar Bergman in the art field. It’s also the land where those Viking stories come from and the country that gave us the “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” novel that spawned a great film. When it comes to vehicles, Sweden is home to iconic marques like Volvo, Saab, Koenigsegg, and Scania. It’s also the country where station wagons are still extremely popular, something I found out while spending a couple of days in Stockholm recently.

Station Wagon Heaven


Sweden Is the Land of Station Wagons and Old American Cars - image 763752
“More than half of the cars on the road are station wagons”

And I do mean extremely popular. I didn’t really notice it at first, as I was rather busy absorbing the city’s unique contemporary architecture, but later I realized that more than half of the cars on the road are station wagons. Coupled with the smaller hatchbacks, tailgate-equipped cars made out at least 70 percent of the vehicle population. With station wagons having lost a big share of the market to crossovers in recent years, it was an amazing discovery. Sure, wagons are still pretty popular all over Europe compared to the United States, but I haven’t seen so many of them in one place in any other European city I’ve visited so far.


Sweden Is the Land of Station Wagons and Old American Cars - image 763746
“More than 90 percent of taxis are wagons”

When I was in Oslo, electric cars were all over the place. One of every three cars that drove by was either a Nissan Leaf, a Tesla, a BMW i3, a Volkswagen e-Golf, or a Renault Zoe. Stockholm doesn’t have as many, but it seems to be a heaven for station wagons. And it’s not just mundane cars from Skoda, Ford, or Volkswagen. Premium cars are also preferred in this body style. I’ve seen a lot of BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi wagons, not to mention a big fleet of new Volvo V90s. More than 90 percent of taxis are wagons. It was actually a real struggle to see a cab with a four-door sedan layout.

For a station wagon fan like me, Stockholm was a real treat. And it got me thinking that maybe the wagon market still has a future, despite the crossover segment still having a lot of room to grow.

A Cult for Old American Cars


Sweden Is the Land of Station Wagons and Old American Cars - image 763740
“There are more restored 1950s American cars in Sweden than in the United States”

Swedish drivers also have a strong passion for classic American cars. This is impressive for two reasons. First, American cars aren’t very popular in Europe. Sure, most Western countries have U.S. classic car clubs, but this feels somewhat weird in a country focused on green energy and electrification. Second, word has it that there are more restored 1950s American cars in Sweden than in the United States. Do consider that the U.S. has a population of around 325 million, while Sweden is home to only 10 million people.

It’s actually more of a greaser subculture, as it also includes a 1950s American pop culture. It goes by the name Raggare, and it’s associated mainly with middle-aged men who enjoy meeting and showing off their retro American cars. It also has to do with the fact that Swedish people enjoy one of the highest average income in Europe, which comes in handy when importing and restoring old American cars.

“I also discovered a garage full of 1970s pickup trucks and quite a few 1950s Buicks and Chevys”

And trust me, everything you heard about Raggare is true. Despite being a Scandinavian country that loves Volvos and station wagons, Sweden is packed with American classics. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the chance to take any photos, but I spotted quite a few on the highways around Stockholm, including an old F-150 truck towing a 1970 Mustang that needed a serious makeover. I also discovered a garage full of 1970s pickup trucks and vans and quite a few Buicks and Chevys from the 1950s. But it was late in the evening, and my phone camera doesn’t take darkness too kindly.

All I have is a photo of a more recent Buick Roadmaster woody, but if you ever travel to Sweden, be on the lookout for old American gems among all those station wagons.


Sweden Is the Land of Station Wagons and Old American Cars - image 763749

PostHeaderIcon Looking Abroad: Norway Sees Electric Vehicles Overtaking Gas-Powered Vehicles

Norway is known for the Fjords, Scandinavian architecture, and the Northern Lights. Now it can also lay claim to the title of being the most prominent country in the world for electric and hybrid cars. According to data retrieved by the Norwegian Road Federation, hybrids and pure electric cars accounted for 52 percent of all new car sales in 2017, an increase of 12 percent from its 40-percent share in 2016.


2016 Tesla Model X - image 648879
“Sales of pure electric cars like the Tesla Model X also increased to 21 percent in 2017, a nice increase from 16 percent the year before.”

It’s not surprising to see hybrids and electric cars getting embraced by Norwegian motorists. The Norwegian government has been proactive in championing electric cars compared to their gas-powered counterparts. It’s even taken steps to make it easier for citizens to own EVs, including exempting the cars from taxes and road tolls and providing free parking and charging to EV owners.

These incentives have helped turn Norway into the runaway leader in the national share of electric cars. “No one else is close,” OFC chief Oeyvind Solberg Thorsen told Reuters. “For the first time, we have a fossil fuel market share below 50 percent.”

Even if you take hybrids out of the question, Norway’s electric car sales rose to an impressive 39 percent, an increase of 10 percent from where it stood in 2016 and well ahead of second-place Netherlands, which saw a 6.4-percent increase in electric car sales. Likewise, sales of pure electric cars like the Tesla Model X also increased to 21 percent in 2017, a nice increase from 16 percent the year before. Given the country’s goal of reducing sales of gas-powered vehicles by 2025, expect Norway to continue leading the world in national shares of electric cars.

References


2018 Nissan Leaf - image 729722

Read more electric car news.


maker logos - image 756364

Read more Europe news.

PostHeaderIcon Suzuki Swift Sport

Introduced in 2000 as the Suzuki Ignis, the Swift was redesigned in 2004 and again in 2010 when the third-generation model was launched. In 2017, Suzuki brought the fourth-generation into the spotlight with the company’s brand-new design language, which debuted on the slightly bigger Baleno. Unveiled for the European market at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show, the new Swift received its higher-performance Sport version a few months later, at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show.

Developed as a higher performance version aimed at similar offerings from Volkswagen and Ford, the Swift Sport has been around since 2005. The recipe was pretty much simple and revolved mostly around a slightly more powerful engine and a few chassis tweaks. Unlike hot-hatches like the Volkswagen Polo GTI and Ford Fiesta ST, the Swift Sport didn’t really stand out in the lineup styling-wise. But this changes with the new hatchback, which gained a more individual appearance and even a range of unique features. Let’s find out more about that in the review below.

Continue reading to learn more about the Suzuki Swift Sport.

Exterior


2018 Suzuki Swift Sport - image 731181
“The grille is flanked by larger fog lamp housings, while the splitter below adds a touch of aggressiveness to the bumper”

Modern and sportier than ever, the new Swift is surprisingly aggressive in its Sport trim. Especially when compared to the outgoing model, which was… well… very boring. The new Swift also has a rather unique look, mostly because its styling blends European design features with Japanese Kei car elements. As I said before, I can’t stand a very serious, mature hatchback that draws too many cues from a sedan, and Suzuki read my mind with the new Swift Sport.

So what makes it different compared to the standard model?

First up, there a larger grille up front. Like most sports-trimmed models, it features a honeycomb mesh and a more aggressive frame. The black horizontal bar that separates the upper section from the one that trickles into the bumper is also unique to this model. The grille is flanked by larger fog lamp housings, while the splitter below adds a touch of aggressiveness to the bumper. The latter is made from a plastic that mimics carbon-fiber in a very authentic way. Sure, it’s not the real deal and this may be a turn off for most enthusiasts, but I think it’s a nice touch on an affordable car.


2018 Suzuki Swift Sport - image 732005
“Around back, there's a diffuser-like element made from fake carbon-fiber and a pair of large exhaust pipes”

The Swift’s profile is already appealing to look at in standard guise, but the fake carbon skirts and the bespoke, thin-spoke 17-inch wheels further enhance the muscular beltline and the roof that “floats” on blacked-out pillars. Around back, there’s a new diffuser-like element made from the same fake carbon and a pair of large exhaust pipes. The sporty look is rounded off by a black-colored spoiler atop the tailgate.

Seven exterior colors are available for the Swift Sport, including three new hues. Six of them are taken from the standard Swift palette and include Burning Red Pearl Metallic, Speedy Blue Metallic, Pure White Pearl, Premium Silver Metallic, Mineral Grey Metallic, and Super Black Pearl. The red and blue were introduced with the new Swift. Finally, there’s Champion Yellow, a color inspired by the color scheme of the Suzuki Works rally car from the Junior World Rally Championship.

Interior


2018 Suzuki Swift Sport - image 731183
“Arguably the most noticeable new features are the bright red accents on the dashboard, center console, and door panels”

The interior doesn’t stand out as much as the exterior, but it’s no surprise that the layout is identical to that in the standard model. Thankfully, Suzuki did add a few extra features, so it’s safe to say that the Sport’s cabin is somewhat unique.

Arguably the most noticeable new features are the bright red accents on the dashboard, center console, and door panels. These add-ons not only add a splash of color to the overall black interior — which I’m not a big fan of, by the way — but also give the car a more upscale look. The instrument cluster also features red accents, especially in the rev counter gauge. And speaking of that, the Swift Sport comes with new boost and oil temperature gauges.

In front of the instrument cluster there’s a flat-bottom steering wheel wrapped in dimpled leather for a more secure grip. The wheel is actually more of a mild D shape, so it’s not overly aggressive, but it adds a touch of sportiness to the cabin, while the standard leather puts it closer to the competition.


2018 Suzuki Swift Sport - image 732017
“In front of the instrument cluster there's a flat-bottom steering wheel wrapped in dimpled leather for a more secure grip”

Speaking of higher quality materials, the Swift Sport package also includes piano black accents, red cross-stitching, satin finish for various elements, a chromed gear shift knob, and alloy sports pedals. Finally, it has semi-bucket front seats that provide enhanced support for spirited driving. The Bluetooth-compatible Smartphone Linkage Display Audio Display*unit with the seven-inch touchscreen and a SD Card 3D-map navigation is standard equipment.

On top of all of the Sport-spec features above, you will benefit from all the new stuff in the new, third-generation Swift. Highlights include air conditioning, DAB radio, four speakers, rear privacy glass, and a rear-view camera. The new Swift also benefits from increased roominess. There’s almost an inch of extra head clearance, more legroom for rear passengers, as well as 25-percent more luggage space.

Drivetrain


2018 Suzuki Swift Sport - image 731184
“Powered by a 1.4-liter, Boosterjet engine, the Swift Sport is rated at 138 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque”

Powered by the company’s relatively new 1.4-liter, Boosterjet engine, the Swift Sport is rated at 138 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque. That’s an eight-horsepower and 50-pound-feet increase over the outgoing model. It’s pretty decent for a new-generation car, but it’s also significantly off compared to what you get with the Volkswagen Polo GTi and Ford Fiesta ST, both of which deliver almost 200 horsepower.

Needless to say, Suzuki’s claim that the Swift Sport delivers hot-hatch performance isn’t exactly true. Still, with a curb weight of only 970 kg and a revised suspension system, the Swift Sport is a solid option if you don’t want to pay Volkswagen or Ford premiums.

Not only 80 kg lighter than the outgoing model, the new Swift Sport also uses a new turbocharger that helps the engine produce impressive torque from low in the rev range, while the small displacement and direct fuel injection system optimizes fuel consumption. The old 6-speed manual transmission has been enhanced, with retuned actuating force providing improved shift smoothness and increased driver feedback.


2018 Suzuki Swift Sport - image 731179
“In the suspension department, the Swift Sport continues to use Monroe shock absorbers front and rear”

In the suspension department, the Swift Sport continues to use Monroe shock absorbers front and rear, but the chassis received numerous upgrades compared to the standard model. The wheel hub and wheel bearings have been made into a single unit, and the width between the bearings has been expanded, which results in a 15-percent increase in camber rigidity during cornering.

The rear suspension was also specifically designed to ensure superior stability. The trailing arm was developed exclusively for this model to minimize deformation during cornering. Finally, toe rigidity has been improved by 1.4 times compared to its predecessor, and camber rigidity is higher by a factor of nearly three. All told, expect the new Swift Sport to be the sportiest iteration of the hatchback ever made.

Prices


2018 Suzuki Swift Sport - image 732007

2018 Suzuki Swift Sport - image 732003

Pricing for the new Swift Sport isn’t yet available, but it’s safe to assume that it will cost more than the range-topping SZ5 trim of the standard model, priced from £14,499. It should also cost less than the new Volkswagen Polo GTI and Ford Fiesta ST, which are expected to start from around £19,000 to £20,000. All told, look for a sticker set around £17,000 to £18,000. For reference, the base model starts from £10,999.

Competition

Volkswagen Polo GTI


2018 Volkswagen Polo GTI - image 731370

2018 Volkswagen Polo GTI - image 731371

One of the most popular subcompact hot-hatches in Europe, the Polo GTI was redesigned for the 2018 model year. Now benefiting from the sportier, more angular looks of the new Polo (heavily based on the latest Golf), the new GTI sports a range of unique design features, including red detailing on the front grille, a diffuser-like element around back, and special wheels. The cabin is by far the most appealing in this niche thanks to its clean, high-tech looks and premium market features. Under the hood, the old 1.8-liter four-cylinder was replaced with a 2.0-liter unit, making the Polo GTI the hot-hatch with the biggest engine in this comparison. The four-banger generates 197 horsepower and 240 pound-feet, a small upgrade over the outgoing model that puts it on par with the Fiesta ST, but below the Yaris GRMN. Obviously, it’s significantly more powerful than the Swift Sport. As far as performance goes, it’s as quick as the Fiesta ST with a 0-to-62 mph time of 6.7 seconds, but it’s slower than the Yaris. Top speed is rated at 146 mph, the highest in this niche. Pricing is not yet available as of this writing, but it should start from around £20,000 in the U.K..

Read our full review of the Volkswagen Polo GTI.

Ford Fiesta ST


2018 Ford Fiesta ST - image 706952

2018 Ford Fiesta ST - image 706953

Also redesigned for 2018, the Fiesta ST is also of the evolutionary variety, but unlike the Polo GTI, it sports a few more significant changes. Up front, the new grille is reminiscent of the larger Focus, while the bumper is decidedly more aggressive. But it’s the boasts the biggest change, in the form of horizontal taillights instead of the previous model’s vertical units. The Fiesta ST is pretty different under the hood too, as Ford ditched the four-cylinder in favor of a three-pot. But while small, the turbocharged, 1.5-liter unit cranks out a solid 197 horsepower and 214 pound-feet of torque, which makes the Fiesta ST just a quick as the Polo GTI from 0 to 62 mph. Top speed, on the other hand, is lower at 130 mph, but hey, the overall package is better when compared to the Swift Sport. Pricing is likely to start from around £19,000 in the United Kingdom.

Read our full review of the Ford Fiesta ST

Toyota Yaris GRMN


Gather Round Hot-Hatch Fans, Toyota Will Unveil a 210-HP Yaris Soon - image 701697

Gather Round Hot-Hatch Fans, Toyota Will Unveil a 210-HP Yaris Soon - image 701696

Launched at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show, the Yaris GRMN is Toyota’s first high-performance hatchback and the company’s first rival for the popular Polo GTI and Fiesta ST. Also heavily based on the standard model design-wise, the GRMN stands out by means of a more complex aerodynamic package and race-inspired wheels and rear diffuser. While not overly aggressive, it still looks as if it could give the competition a run for its money by exterior design alone. Performance-wise it actually quite appealing. Using a supercharged (an exclusive feature in this segment), 1.8-liter four-cylinder rated at 212 horsepower, the Yaris GRMN hits 62 mph in only 6.3 seconds. On the other hand, its cabin is nowhere near as fancy as the Polo’s and lacks many of Volkswagen’s latest features. Pricing is also somewhat of an issue, as it is set at £26,295, at least £6,000 more than what the Polo GTI, Fiesta ST, and Swift Sport are expected to fetch.

Read our full review of the Toyota Yaris GRMN.

Conclusion


New Suzuki Swift Puts On Aggressive Suit In Frankfurt - image 731176

The Suzuki Swift Sport has been the underdog of the performance-oriented supermini market ever since it was introduced back in 2005. And that’s not going to change very soon because it’s very difficult to compete against the already established Volkswagen Polo GTI and Ford Fiesta ST. And these two cars are not only more popular in most markets, but also come with better equipment lines. The latest Polo GTI was also moved higher on the premium ladder, so Suzuki is again at least one step behind. But the new Swift Sport is a significantly better car than the outgoing model and this is a big deal given all the issues the Japanese automaker is facing nowadays. Not only more powerful and quicker, the new Swift Sport is actually sportier on the outside. Its exclusive features make quite the big difference and the Swift is finally on par with the competition when it comes to range-topping trims. Sure, you don’t get the performance you can buy from Volkswagen and Ford, but the Swift Sport is a cute, little but souped-up bug that’s powerful enough to give you some thrills. And it should be a bit more affordable to take home.

  • Leave it
    • Not as powerful as the competition
    • Tough competition

References

Suzuki Swift


2017 Suzuki Swift - image 699505

Read our full review on the Suzuki Swift.


2015 Suzuki Ignis Trail Concept - image 649064

Read more Suzuki news.

PostHeaderIcon Volkswagen Polo GTI

Volkswagen’s most iconic model after legendary Beetle, the Golf became a performance hatchback all the way back in 1976, only two years after the nameplate was introduced. A popular model since day one, the Golf GTI inspired Volkswagen to design a higher performance version of the smaller Polo too. Although the first Polo GTi didn’t arrive until 1995, the model can trace its roots back to the first-generation G40 version. Following a limited-edition introduction in the 1990s, the GTI has become a regular member of the Polo family, and 2017 brought the latest-generation hatch into the spotlight.

Launched at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show, the latest Polo GTI is based on the latest, sixth-generation subcompact, also unveiled in 2017. Built on a new platform, it uses an updated design language based on the latest Golf and a redesigned interior that moves the new Polo into a higher class, closer to the premium market. More importantly, the new GTI gained a 2.0-liter engine instead of the old, 1.8-liter unit. On the flipside, if you were expecting a new Polo GTI with significantly more power, you’ll probably be a bit disappointed. But more about that in the review below.

Continue reading to learn more about the upcoming Volkswagen Polo GTi.

PostHeaderIcon The Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE Apparently Can’t Be Sold In Europe

Part of what makes the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1 LE such a potent piece of machinery is that it’s bleeding in aerodynamic equipment. Compare to the “standard’ ZL1, the 1LE version looks and performs like it’s from a completely different planet altogether. And yet, it is this very feature of the Camaro ZL1 1LE that has made it impossible to own in Europe. That’s because according to Motor Trend, Chevrolet can’t sell the ZL1 1LE in that region because the dive planes in the car violate Europe’s pedestrian safety laws.

It may sound trivial to ban a car because of one piece of aerodynamic component, but the way those dive plans, or canards, stretch out does make you wonder if they can clip a pedestrian who’s standing a little to close to the car when it drives by. Then again, Chevrolet itself can’t just take out those dive planes just so it can sell the car in Europe. They play an important role in enhancing the Camaro ZL1 1 LE’s aerodynamic capabilities, not the least of which is its ability to work with the splitter and the carbon fiber wing to create as much as 300 pounds of downforce at speeds of 155 mph. Without the dive plans, the Camaro ZL1 1LE is effectively comprised of the very features that make it the most track-capable Camaro ever created. Tough luck then to our European friends, although it does feel like a little bit of fair play considering that we were shut out of getting cars like the Ford Focus RS and Honda Civic Type R for so long.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

PostHeaderIcon 2017 Blancpain 24 Hours of Spa – Race Report

The 69th running of the epic Spa 24 Hours was as much a battle between the world’s top brands as it was one between top teams in a race that was marked, like last year, by multiple penalties which shaped the finishing order as well as some scary shunts. The Spa 24 Hours, a staple in the world of endurance racing, has been around for just about as much as the 24 Hours of Le Mans and, in recent years, it has seen a constant growth since becoming the blue riband event of the Blancpain GT Endurance Cup. The SRO-sanctioned series is also flourishing and now, the Spa 24 Hours, is also part of the Intercontinental GT Cup (alongside the Bathurst 12 Hours and others) and the Blancpain GT combined leaderboard which brings together the Endurance Cup and the Sprint Cup leaderboards.

This meant that none was fazed when a 63-strong entry list was presented, which comprised of Pro entries, Pro-Am, Am, and National entries. The designations are basically using the FIA-approved driver licensing system where the Pros are the Platinum and Gold-rated drivers while the Ams are the Silver and Bronze-rated ones. The National category is an addition to the usual GT3-only classes which aims to bring lower tier machinery to Spa, such as the Porsche 991 Cup, the Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo or the Ferrari 488 Challenge. This year, only two Porsches made up the National class.

Continue reading for the full story.

PostHeaderIcon Why Tesla Has Chosen Netherlands For Its New Factory?

The Dutch are absolutely crazy about Teslas. Not only is the country home to Tesla’s first European manufacturing facility, but last year, the Amsterdam airport bought a whole fleet of Model S taxis – 167 of them, to be exact. Now, Tesla has just further expanded its presence in the Netherlands by opening a second factory in Tilburg. This city was already home to the first factory, but now there is a second. This new plant will employ 180 workers and will add 50,000 square meters to the manufacturing space that Tesla has in Europe.

While the Dutch do seem to love Tesla, this love wasn’t the reason for choosing Tilburg by itself. The small city is centrally located and a crossroads of sorts for both highways and rails. Tesla says that it can have a shipment of cars or parts to anywhere in Europe within 12 hours. And since the Tilburg plants are only for final assembly, the proximity to the Rotterdam port is also an important factor, as ships will be bringing in parts from the U.S. The Dutch government has also been making some serious efforts to improve its green image, and there were no doubt some tax breaks involved in the decision to build in Tilburg.

Continue reading for the full story.


PostHeaderIcon Why Tesla Has Chosen Netherlands For Its New Factory?

The Dutch are absolutely crazy about Teslas. Not only is the country home to Tesla’s first European manufacturing facility, but last year, the Amsterdam airport bought a whole fleet of Model S taxis – 167 of them, to be exact. Now, Tesla has just further expanded its presence in the Netherlands by opening a second factory in Tilburg. This city was already home to the first factory, but now there is a second. This new plant will employ 180 workers and will add 50,000 square meters to the manufacturing space that Tesla has in Europe.

While the Dutch do seem to love Tesla, this love wasn’t the reason for choosing Tilburg by itself. The small city is centrally located and a crossroads of sorts for both highways and rails. Tesla says that it can have a shipment of cars or parts to anywhere in Europe within 12 hours. And since the Tilburg plants are only for final assembly, the proximity to the Rotterdam port is also an important factor, as ships will be bringing in parts from the U.S. The Dutch government has also been making some serious efforts to improve its green image, and there were no doubt some tax breaks involved in the decision to build in Tilburg.

Continue reading for the full story.


PostHeaderIcon Cadillac Plans To Offer Full Range Of Cars In Europe

Cadillac is launching a new assault in Europe that will include an expanded model lineup, right-hand drive, new diesel engines and a new flagship sedan that will sit above the 2016 Cadillac CT6. GM president Dan Ammann confirmed the new strategy to Autocar and said the new approach in Europe will take advantage of its current position as a niche brand in the continent and will include “exceptional service.”

General Motors’ luxury arm has been pretty much phoning it in to Europe over the last few years, and currently only offers the 2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe and 2014 Cadillac ATS Sedan, 2015 Cadillac CTS, 2014 Cadillac SRX and the 2015 Cadillac Escalade, which couldn’t be less appropriate for narrow European streets. What’s more, Cadillac only offers left-hand-drive cars in the U.K., where cars on lots have reportedly been collecting dust. Cadillac is banking that a new right-hand-drive option, expanded lineup and improved service network will help move a few more units in Europe.

Continue reading for the full story.


PostHeaderIcon Renault Talisman

Renault has unveiled details around its new Talisman sedan, the replacement for the slow-to-sell Laguna, and it promises a sculpted exterior, upscale interior appointments, and a wide range of efficient engine options. The Talisman is not a new name, but rather a carryover originally used for a vehicle sold exclusively in the Chinese market. Conversely, this new model is slated for release in Europe later this year (sorry U.S. and U.K. customers, but you won’t be seeing it arrive on your shores).

Renault hopes the Talisman will enter the high-end market and outdo the Germans with a superior, premium-quality model. Part of the strategy is the basic, universal styling and large cabin space. There’s also a range of trim levels and equipment specs to choose from, giving customers a variety of options when considering this French alternative to a segment traditionally dominated by Bavarians. 

Will the Talisman conjure up the charm Renault needs to win over buyers, or is it all smoke and mirrors?

Updated 09/24/2015: We’ve added a series of new photos we took at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show. Find them in the “Pictures” tab.

Continue reading to learn more about the Renault Talisman.


PostHeaderIcon Nissan X-Trail

The third-generation Nissan X-Trail is here, and it shucks the old rough-stuff demeanor in favor of paved utility, with a sleeker, more streamlined and stylish appearance, tons of technology and safety features, and an efficient diesel drivetrain. The Nissan says the new model “combines Nissan’s 4×4 heritage with fresh ideas and technologies inspired by the brand’s ground-breaking crossover models.” However, even though it still comes with available AWD, its ability to conquer anything in the dirt is questionable.

All told, the new X-Trail is clearly aimed at meeting the needs of a wide variety of folks, rather than those individuals who spend their weekends winching up mud-splattered crevasses. The updates are designed with an eye to roughing it in the daily to-and-fro, not the great outdoors.

But that’s ok, despite the slight misnomer. The X-Trail is one of Nissan’s best-sellers, and that position will likely get a boost thanks to this new refresh.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2015 Nissan X-Trail.

Nissan X-Trail originally appeared on topspeed.com on Friday, 1 May 2015 15:00 EST.

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PostHeaderIcon Donkervoort D8 GTO Bare Naked Carbon Edition

Dutch sports-car manufacturer Donkervoort has unveiled a new special edition of its D8 GTO, and it boasts a curb weight under 1,500 pounds, hits 60 mph under three seconds, and looks like Darth Vader’s personal track transport. It’s called the Bare Naked Carbon edition, and it’s an even more insane take on the high-end street-legal circuit machines we’ve seen from the automaker in the past. 

While Donkervoort has used carbon fiber extensively in previous models, the Bare Naked edition is almost purely composed of the composite material. It’s the kind of direction you’d expect from Donkervoort, given the company’s obsession with cutting weight and simplifying design. Only the best bits for creating low lap times remain on the car, each done with meticulous attention to detail. It’s the sort of philosophy that redefines the meaning of superfluous.

For over 36 years, Donkervoort has been hand-building cars with the ethos of “no nonsense and no compromise.” So what’s that mean when aerospace-grade carbon fiber is treated like common printer paper? Read on the find out.

Continue reading to learn more about the Donkervoort D8 GTO Bare Naked Carbon Edition.

Donkervoort D8 GTO Bare Naked Carbon Edition originally appeared on topspeed.com on Thursday, 23 April 2015 16:00 EST.

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PostHeaderIcon Aston Martin Lagonda Taraf Now Available In Europe

Introduced a few months ago in Dubai, the Lagonda Taraf, Aston Martin’s first production vehicle to wear the iconic name in nearly 30 years, made its European debut at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show. The Taraf’s European launch comes as a surprise, as the British initially announced the sedan would be available in the Middle East only. It turns out Aston Martin decided to broaden the Taraf’s availability to mainland Europe, the United Kingdom, South Africa, Hong Kong, and Singapore at the request of Andy Palmer, who became the company’s new CEO in 2014.

“Opening up the Lagonda Taraf to an increased number of customers around the world was a high priority for me as soon as I joined Aston Martin late last year. I wanted to be able to offer this exceptional saloon to the potential owners from around the globe who have been enquiring about it, and I’m very happy that we have been able to expand the Lagonda proposition,” Palmer said in a statement.

Although Aston Martin has yet to announce when the sedan will go on sale, it did mention the Taraf has been re-engineered to become available with either left- or right-hand drive. Unfortunately, the Brits have no plans to bring it to the U.S. Only 200 examples will be made, with pricing expected to start from around the equivalent of $450,000. In fact, due to the highly bespoke nature of the car, the Taraf could fetch in excess of $600,000, which would make it pricier than a fully specced Rolls-Royce Phantom.

Continue reading to learn more about the Aston Martin Lagonda Taraf.

Aston Martin Lagonda Taraf Now Available In Europe originally appeared on topspeed.com on Friday, 6 March 2015 10:00 EST.

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