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What's New - June 2005

Sun, 05 Jun 2005 00:00:00 -0700Mercedes-Benz Bionic concept

The Bionic showcases the potential of bionics for automobile development, and is inspired by the boxfish(!) In DaimlerChrysler's words: "Despite its boxy, cube-shaped body, this tropical fish is in fact outstandingly streamlined and therefore represents an aerodynamic ideal".

This 4240mm long car that seats four has a Cd value of just 0.19 which, in combination with light-weight construction and an advanced diesel powertrain, gives 20% lower fuel consumption and up to 80% lower nitrogen oxide emissions. This reduction in NO2 is achieved by spraying 'AdBlue', an aqueous urea solution, into the exhaust system in precisely metered quantities to convert the nitrogen oxides into harmless nitrogen and water, so even if it looks like it should, it shouldn't smell fishy...

Proton Savvy

The Savvy replaces the Proton Wira / Persona that was a mildly modified version of the Mitsubishi Mirage / Colt of 1989 that this Malaysian car company has been producing since 1998.

Designed and engineered in the UK by Proton-owned Lotus, the Savvy will compete in Asian and European markets with cars such as the Hyundai Picanto.

The car promises leading performance and handling in its class with a 1.2 litre 74hp engine and, in the words of Proton Group Chief Executive Officer Tengku Tan Sri Mahaleel Tengku Ariff, "it's not a sports car nor does it look like a Lotus, but certain elements have been engineered into the car that'll give you a taste of what it's like to drive one of the world's best handling vehicles."


SsangYong Kyron

The Kyron is a new SUV from the Korean company Ssangyong, just launched in its domestic market and set for a European debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September.

The car is based on the same platform as the Rexton, and looks likely to be a replacement for the Musso that was originally designed by Ken Greenley. Like the Rexton and Musso, the Kyron has a previous generation Mercedes-Benz powertrain.

Honda Step

The Japanese market Honda Step has just been announced. Based on the concept 'Fun-derful Mover', the new Step WGN offers next-generation utility in a comfortable vehicle that's fun to drive and fun to use.

The new Step WGN is built on Honda's unique low-floor, low-centre-of-gravity platform, and offers the same interior height as the previous model. However, the vehicle's centre of gravity is 40mm lower and floor height 60mm lower. Reductions in vehicle height of 75mm and in vehicle length of 45mm make the Step WGN more compact and give it enhanced drivability.

The design has been optimized for improved visibility, with low and unobtrusive instrument panel, low windshield wipers, large triangular vent windows, and specially positioned door mirrors. Two large covered storage compartments have been added to the upper instrument panel. For the first time in a production passenger minivan, wood floor panelling is an option for the second- and third-row seat areas.

Front and rear lower skirts, tailgate spoiler, and dark chrome headlight sub-reflectors for the sporty models further accent the Step WGN's low centre of gravity and premium appearance.


Nissan Serena

Nissan have just announced the new Serena in Japan. The exterior is designed around the themes of 'active' and 'spacious' and features large side windows rendered with a distinctive, step-like spur character line and a modern-looking cubic body form that conveys a feeling of stability, whilst the interior is designed around the themes of 'active' and 'roomy', with a bright, open ambience thanks to the large windows, low waistline and expansive-looking instrument panel.

The Serena's interior is among the roomiest in its class. When configured for maximum cargo carrying capacity, the large cargo area accommodates four mountain bikes and has a large-capacity underfloor compartment capable of holding items such as golf bags. The Serena comes with a wide variety of convenience features, including a car interphone system and a rear-seat entertainment system comprising a 9-inch LCD display and a DVD-video player for rear-seat passengers.

Suzuki Escudo / Vitara

The Escudo or Vitara was introduced in 1988, and this third generation version was previewed as the Concept-X2 at the New York Auto Show earlier this year.

The car features unibody construction combined wtih ladder-frame chassis for a better on-road performance, a new full-time four-wheel drive system with locking central differential and all-independent suspension around. There are two engines: a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder petrol, capable of 107 kW (145 PS), and a 2.7-liter V6 petrol engine capable of 135 kW (184 PS). Renault-sourced diesel engines will follow for European markets. Transmission options include five-speed-manual, four-speed auto, and a five-speed auto on the larger engines.

Standard equipment includes high-intensity discharge headlamps, satellite navigation, electronic stability program, ABS with EBD, front dual airbags, side curtain airbag, and ISOFIX child seat fixings.

Key dimensions: length: 4390mm width: 1810mm height: 1695 mm wheelbase: 2640 mm.