Dodge Rampage Concept

Dodge's Rampage concept seems to have everything that the typical Dodge truck buyer is looking for: massive size, a stylish yet aggressive look and a 5.7 liter HEMI engine. But Dodge says that it designed the Rampage to appeal to those "non-traditional" pick-up buyers.

Huh? This looks like a traditional (albeit very stylized) pick-up. What's so different about it? We'll tell ya...

Traditional truck guys are going to be shocked by this, but this Rampage is basically a truck-shaped car. Not only does the Rampage utilize unibody construction and have an independent rear suspension, it is - gasp - front wheel drive!!

Yes, this brawny and rugged Dodge is a front wheel drive car... er... truck. After reading the concept behind this concept, this drivetrain layout makes sense. You see, Dodge wanted to build a vehicle that possessed the utility of a truck but had the cabin comfort and room of a passenger car. Yeah, we know... that idea basically describes a minivan, but minivans aren't cool -- trucks are, and so Dodge went with the truck theme.

Actually... now that we think about it, this Rampage is a close cousin of the minivan. Take a look at how the doors of this thing open!

In case you couldn't tell from the picture above, the rear door slides backwards -- much like the back door of a minivan. Still, the interior of this Rampage is much cooler than that of most kid haulers. The interior of the Rampage is designed to be "rugged and athletic" (Dodge's words), so it uses a special urethane material for the seating surfaces and has a rubberized floor. Styling touches come courtesy of a raised center console/gauge cluster and exposed metal pieces.

Here's another nod to Dodge's minivan heritage: you know how Dodge touts its trademarked Stow 'n Go seating in its minivan commercials? Well, this Stow 'n Go system finds a home in the Rampage. Not only do the rear seats fold down into the floor, the front passenger seat does as well. You can fit a whole lotta crap in this thing!

Versatility is the key feature of the Rampage, as not only do all passenger seats fold flat to the floor, the "wall" that separates the cabin from the truck bed also folds flat, increasing useable cargo area even more. Not only that, but the rear lift gate can extend and fold down to a 117 degree angle, which transforms the rear gate into a ramp. It's as if this truck/minivan was designed to haul motorcycles or something...

As cool as this concept is, it's only a concept for now. Will Dodge ever build something like this? We doubt it. We don't think people would shell out serious cash for a front wheel drive HEMI-powered truck/minivan/crossover. If Dodge does decide to make one of these, however, we're first in line for the first test drive.
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Kia Magentis replacement still nameless; new engine confirmed

Kia’s marketing department has yet to decide on what to call the Magentis replacement, due to debut at the Paris motor show in October.

The nameplate ‘Optima’, which is the U.S name, won’t be used in Europe, so an all-new name is likely. Company insiders were originally debating between ‘K5’, as it’s known in South Korea and ‘Optima’.

Name decision aside, well-placed Kia sources have revealed that a downsized 1.2 litre turbo petrol engine will be one of the engine choices, producing 150bhp.

The newcomer is longer, wider and lower and sits on a longer wheelbase than the Magentis. This has drastically increased both cabin and luggage space. Kia admits that the Magentis will never likely to be a major seller in Europe, but believes the mid-sized saloon segment is one in which it must compete in, as a volume manufacturer. However, the real demand for the car will come from the U.S and South Korea, where its enhanced styling and dynamics should hold appeal for buyers.

The same well-placed source also revealed that an estate version of the car will be built. When asked about this body style, chief designer Peter Schreyer said, “I would love to do station wagon and coupé versions of the car. The station wagon would only really work for Europe but the coupé would work in the U.S.”

When the car arrives in the UK mid-2011, it will arrive with a range of petrol and diesel engines and transmissions. Luxury amenities like heated steering wheel, bi-xenon headlamps, keyless entry and ventilated front & rear seats will unlikely be available in the UK, however, do expect a panoramic glass sunroof, heated front seats with leather interior, 18" alloy wheels, auto-dimming rear-view mirror to be standard on certain grades. Prices will increase to around £20,000 from the current £18,995.
ReadmoreKia Magentis replacement still nameless; new engine confirmed

Mitsubishi to share ASX/RVR with PSA

Mitsubishi has reached an agreement to share the ASX/RVR with Peugeot-Citroën.

While details are limited, the Peugeot and Citroën models will be launched in early 2012 in Europe. They will feature unique styling and available in both front an all-wheel drive. The deal has benefits for both companies: PSA gets an already-developed vehicle for a growing market segment, while Mitsubishi benefits from economies of scale resulting from the 100,000 extra cars it expects to make for Citroen and Peugeot each year.

Power will be provided by PSA’s 1.6 HDi diesel engine with 110bhp and 177 lb-ft (240 Nm) of torque. With front-wheel drive, the engine is expected to return 60.1mpg/4.7l km combined while emitting 123g/km.

Mitsubishi's ASX in FWD with the firms all-new 1.8 DiD engine will account for majority of UK sales when it goes on sale 1st July. In the mean while, if you want to win an all-new ASX 1.6.
ReadmoreMitsubishi to share ASX/RVR with PSA

2011 Nissan Rogue facelift

Nissan has given its compact SUV, the Rogue a mid-cycle facelift. The revised Rogue features new styling changes and equipment upgrades.

Externally, the 2011 Rogue gets a remodelled grille and a more pronounced front bumper, different front and rear spoilers, chrome side door mouldings, new front and rear tyre caps, plus new alloy wheel.

Due to new low rolling resistance tyres and an under-body cover, fuel economy of the same 2.5 litre 170bhp petrol engine, linked to a XTronic CVT, has improved fuel economy by 1mpg for both Highway driving (FWD models) and City (AWD models). The new EPA estimates are 22/28mpg City/Highway for the FWD Rogue and 22/26mpg City/Highway for the AWD model.

For the 2011 model year, the Rogue will be offered in two trim levels, S and SL, along with the special edition Rogue S Krom that comes with a exclusive front grille and rear fascia, centre-exit sport-tuned exhaust and 18” alloy wheels.

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GM - Hybrids push up prices for non-hybrid cars, Toyota disagrees

GM vice-chairman, Bob Lutz believes that the high costs involved in building hybrid vehicles is pushing up the price of non-hybrid cars.

'GM will lose money on hybrids,' he said. 'We will continue to build them - and the cost will be spread across other cars.'

Lutz also said he thinks hybrid cars will never make up more than 10% of the U.S market. In the UK, hybrids make up 0.8% of car sales, according to figures from the SMMT. GM will start to sell its first extended-range electric vehicle, the Chevrolet Volt, next year.

Toyota – the biggest maker of hybrids – disagrees with GM's stance on such cars.

A spokesman said: 'We will strive to make a million hybrids a year and as we achieve economies of scale, hybrid prices will come down. Hybrid vehicles are more complex, so there is a premium over non-hybrid vehicles, but we believe the overall cost of ownership, with the lower running costs, outweigh the initial purchase costs over non-hybrid cars.'
ReadmoreGM - Hybrids push up prices for non-hybrid cars, Toyota disagrees