New Flagship Showroom in London for Volkswagen

Volkswagen have just built a fantastic new showroom west of London in Brentford, Essex. The building is environmentally friendly, with a hanging vertical garden which is watered by rain which is collected from the room and also boasts an array of solar panels.

Volkswagen showroom essex

The state of the art facility has four floors with room for over 90 cars. This includes 28 spaces in the repair shop for servicing vehicles on the ground floor. There are also sales floors for new cars and used vehicles. There are video walls where customers can see features of the vehicles in great detail as well as touchscreens where customers can browse the range of used cars available to buy throughout the UK. Wi-fi facilities also enable customers to use their own mobile devices in the showroom.

The director of Volkswagen UK, Alex Smith has explained that having this large retail site in such a prominent location in the UK shows how committed Volkswagen are to growth in the UK. It demonstrates their strength now and that they aim to continue to grow in the future. The retail site employs 70 staff includes sales, after sales and service staff and is located just off the A4 on Capital Interchange Way.

Air Pollution Inside Cars

Studies show that indoor air pollution can be more fatal than what people breathe in outside their vehicles. In fact, these studies show that heat and ultraviolet (UV) light may trigger the release of some harmful chemicals inside cars, some of which are linked to birth defects, impaired learning, liver toxicity, and premature births among other serious health risks. Such chemicals are found in the car’s seat cushions, armrests, floor coverings, and other plastic parts, which are then easily inhaled through contact with dust by anyone inside the vehicle.

Fortunately, there are a number of ways to prevent or lessen the risks. People can roll down their car windows while being stuck in traffic. Not only will this lessen the temperature inside the car on a blazing, summer’s day, but it will also promote enough ventilation as well as promote proper circulation of air. Parking under shady areas and using sun visors and reflectors can also prevent the triggering of these harmful chemicals.

Moreover, governments are calling on car manufacturers to use alternative materials for car furnishings. Since a car is considered a chemical reactor even before turning on the ignition, using safer and friendlier materials will greatly help keep people healthy even when inside them.

Recognize an Automatic Transmission in Trouble

A car is much like a human being.  Both will begin to display hints that show they are having internal problems.  Sometimes if people are not aware of what those hints are, they may end up having to pay for running expensive tests, taking outrageously costly medicine, or even undergoing pricey procedures.  This is very similar to what happens when a car is not running at its optimum level.

Those who have had to replace their transmission know all to well that the cost is many times more than the current value of the car.  Transmissions will show signs that they are in trouble long before it is too late to fix them.  If you are not familiar with these signs, you are running the risk of facing a financially devastating problem in the future.  It is always more cost effective to repair it than replace it.

What You May Observe When an Automatic Transmission Needs Repairs

Leaks, Wetness, and Stains–Start by checking underneath your car to look for the telltale wet spots, apparent leaks, and dry stains found on the ground.  Of course, anytime you observe any type of leak in your car, there is always a problem and if you see red stains, the leak is usually stemming from the transmission.  If you only find a few drops, go ahead and get the car to the mechanic’s before the problem gets worse–and it will!  What is not urgent at the moment will become urgent in the future.

Dropping Fluid Levels–If you have looked underneath your car and do not see any leakage but you have noticed a drop in fluid levels, chances are you have an internal leak, which means you need to hightail it to the mechanic’s as soon as possible.  Glance at your transmission fluid; it should be red.  If it is cloudy in color, muddy in color, or smells “burnt,” it is time for a transmission flush.

Vibrations, Dragging, and Stuttering–Any time you shift gears and notice a vibration, drag, or stutter, this is a sign of transmission trouble around the corner.  You may have a minor issue such as low fluid or a major issue liked worn or damaged transmission cables.

Noise–A smooth running transmission is a transmission that is in good repair.  There should never be any grinding or whining sounds coming from beneath the car’s floorboards.  If so, you might need to address a gear or valve problem, which is serious.

Extreme Temperatures–Any time your transmission is overheating, you have an ugly problem on your hands.  When a transmission overheats, it means that you have completely missed the early signs of trouble and are now stuck making costly replacements.  You will have to get your car serviced and will have no other cheaper choice to make.  The mechanic will many times find a transmission problem such as these–oil cooler restriction or a damaged solenoid.  And hopefully, the entire transmission will not need to be replaced.

Alternative Fuel for Vehicles–Pros and Cons

Every hot button issue in society and the government will always be controversial.  Everyone has their own opinion and list of pros and cons they want to discuss.  And this is no different in regards to the issue of operating vehicles with alternative fuel sources.  However, the subject still remains divided down the middle between supporters and naysayers.  So the only way for you to make up your mind on the subject is by learning about the facts and forming your own opinion.

The Pros

First of all, alternative sources of fuel burns cleaner than fossil-based gasoline, which makes alternative fuel better for the planet.  Environmental impact is also an important issue on the “discussion table” since the world is currently facing problems like global warming and oil spills.  This is why alternative fuel is being explored; people are looking for ways to head these problems off at the pass.  Alternative fuel decreases the release of negative pollutants into the air and the water.

Another positive aspect of alternative fuel is the fact that it gives drivers increased gas mileage than its fossil-based fuel counterpart.  In hybrid cars, drivers can bump up their miles per gallon by at least 20% after a period of regular alternative fuel use.  And with the high gas prices drivers are paying, this fuel more than pays for itself.

Because the government wants people to cut down on their pollution output, they are offering consumers tax incentives for purchasing alternative fuel vehicles.  They realize that there are many positive points to using this type of fuel, causing them to find ways to entice consumers to switch over.  If you buy one, not only will you be helping the environment, but also getting a tax break.

The Cons

Even though alternative fuel seems like a wonderful idea, there are some negative aspects too.  While there might be less cons than pros, consumers still need to know them in order to make an informed decision.  For starters, vehicles that use alternative fuel are usually more costly than ones that run on gasoline.  And although the government provides tax incentives for alternative fuel vehicle owners, the retail price for these vehicles ranges anywhere between 10%-40% more than their gasoline vehicle rivals.

Another downside to the alternative fuel market is that these energy sources are not in as big of a supply as traditional vehicles.  Even though some places offer E85 fuel, which is 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline, it is simply not as readily available to the public as the gasoline found at every fuel station.  This means that those people who are determined to use E85 in their cars must many times drive a great distance just to get gas.

Even though society can debate the negatives and positives of alternative fuel for vehicles until they run out of breath, your personal opinion will come down to how committed you are to the environment as well as what you feel you are capable of doing to hinder the terrible effects caused by released gasoline byproducts.

Flying car Flies Off the Shelves

A car manufacturing company have managed to get approval for their flying car from US aviation officials and it has already had orders despite not yet having been manufactured. The car is called a Terrafugia Transition and it looks like an ordinary car and can drive on the roads but can also take off and fly when at a suitable location.

The car was designed as a light sport aircraft and therefore needed to be under 1.320lb in order to fit this FAA classification. Unfortunately this was impossible because when used as a car it needed such a lot of safety equipment such as air bags and roll cage, which made it heavy. However, it has been given special exemption and is allowed to be flown despite being 120lb over the minimum weight limit for this vehicle classification. This classification means that it only needs 20 hours of flying time so the licences are easy to obtain.

Terrafugia Transition

The car is a two seater and can be driven on a road and reaches reasonable speeds and 30mpg. When it is required to fly, its wings can be folded down and the propeller switched on and  it is ready to go. It will need a runway or long stretch of flat ground to take off, like a normal small plane. In the air it can reach 115mph and cover 460 miles as well as being able to carry 450 lb, so a great way to beat that traffic jam and if the flight is too turbulent or visibility so poor it is forced to land, then it can just be driven home again.

The car plane is not cheap and once it goes on sale it is expected to cost £130,000. The manufacturers are pleased with the response they have had so far as they have already had 70 orders.

Getting a car insurance quote

Nowadays, it is as important as ever to make sure that your car insurance is up to date. There are many reasons for this, including the fact that car insurance is required by the law for you to drive. If you do not have it, than several consequences can ensue. You can get pulled over, only to have your car impounded, you could get slapped with some hefty legal fines, or worst of all – you could get caught personally liable for an accident that you caused requiring others to seek medical attention. Auto Insurance Quote is very important for this one reason…. They are good because they let you know how much you need to set aside for Auto Insurance Rates in your area. Once you know this, than you can get the automobile coverage you need by skimping out in other areas, because trust me… skimping out on your Automobile Insurance is NOT the way to go, for more than one reason.

So, get an auto insurance quote today. You might not think you can afford it, but you MUST do what you can to get it! If this means canceling your cell phone, so be it… you need to be covered, period. So take the leap, find a good auto insurance rate that you can afford, and protect yourself from the financial ruin and liability that can ensue after a car accident. I mean, come on… isn’t the car accident enough to worry about? Why set yourself up to crawl out of one mess, only to walk into another? Get auto insurance, get protected, and get on with your life!

Cheap Auto Insurance for Your Teen, or Maybe Not!

Have you received the quotes to insure your teen driver and felt your jaw drop when faced with hikes of up to 96%?  This hike may be alarming, but you are in the same position as thousands of parents across the country when their teen prepares to take the wheel in the family car. So you may well be wondering – why the hike? Continue reading Cheap Auto Insurance for Your Teen, or Maybe Not!

10 Best Engines Of 2009

WARD`s 10 best engines of 2009:

•  Audi AG: 2.0L TFSI turbocharged DOHC I-4 (A4 Avant)
•  BMW AG: 3.0L turbocharged DOHC I-6 (135i Coupe)
•  BMW AG: 3.0L DOHC I-6 Turbodiesel (335d)
•  Chrysler LLC: 5.7L Hemi OHV V-8 (Dodge Ram/Challenger R/T)
•  Ford Motor Co.: 2.5L DOHC I-4 HEV (Escape Hybrid)
•  General Motors Corp.: 3.6L DOHC V-6 (Cadillac CTS)
•  Honda Motor Co. Ltd.: 3.5L SOHC V-6 (Accord Coupe)
•  Hyundai Motor Co. Ltd.: 4.6L DOHC V-8 (Genesis)
•  Toyota Motor Corp.: 3.5L DOHC V-6 (Lexus IS 350)
•  Volkswagen AG: 2.0L SOHC I-4 Turbodiesel (Jetta TDI)

Key points:

Nissan’s ubiquitous VQ, which up to this point, was the only engine series that had made Ward’s Ten Best ever since the list’s inception in 1995, is conspicuously absent. That’s a big deal. Also note a couple of turbodiesel engines, one in BMW’s favored inline-six configuration and one that powers VW’s Jetta TDI.

Source: Ward’s Auto

PRESS RELEASE:

Ward’s Announces 2009 10 Best Engines Winners

SOUTHFIELD, MI – Amid plummeting vehicle sales, thousands of job losses, an economy officially in recession and pleas for federal assistance, a handful of auto makers have cause to celebrate.

Ward’s Automotive Group announces its 2009 10 Best Engines list, which reflects the diversity of powertrains that will play a role in reshaping America’s automotive landscape.

Selected by Ward’s editors, the 2009 list marks the 15th year for the Ward’s 10 Best Engines program, the North American auto industry’s only awards honoring powertrain excellence and considered by many to be the “Oscars” for automotive engines.

The winners for 2008 (engine and tested vehicle):

* Audi AG: 2.0L TFSI turbocharged DOHC I-4 (A4 Avant)
* BMW AG: 3.0L turbocharged DOHC I-6 (135i Coupe)
* BMW AG: 3.0L DOHC I-6 Turbodiesel (335d)
* Chrysler LLC: 5.7L Hemi OHV V-8 (Dodge Ram/Challenger R/T)
* Ford Motor Co.: 2.5L DOHC I-4 HEV (Escape Hybrid)
* General Motors Corp.: 3.6L DOHC V-6 (Cadillac CTS)
* Honda Motor Co. Ltd.: 3.5L SOHC V-6 (Accord Coupe)
* Hyundai Motor Co. Ltd.: 4.6L DOHC V-8 (Genesis)
* Toyota Motor Corp.: 3.5L DOHC V-6 (Lexus IS 350)
* Volkswagen AG: 2.0L SOHC I-4 Turbodiesel (Jetta TDI)

Awards to be presented during Detroit auto show in January.

“A decade ago, few consumers in the U.S. paid serious attention to hybrids or diesels. This year, they have to, if they don’t want to be pinched the next time fuel hits $4 a gallon,” says Tom Murphy, executive editor of Ward’s AutoWorld magazine.”The diesels from VW and BMW and the Ford Escape Hybrid all got better than 30 mpg (7.8 L/100 km) during our testing, and often they topped 40 mpg (5.8 L/100 km),” he says. “And the diesels meet the strictest emissions regulations in the world. If Americans want to find a vehicle that consumes less fuel and is fun to drive, our list is a great place to start.”

Among the winners is Ford Motor Co.’s redesigned 2.5L 4-cyl. hybrid-electric powertrain, which motivated President and CEO Alan Mulally’s Escape Hybrid cross/utility vehicle to and from Washington D.C. for federal-aid talks, makes the cut.

During Ward’s testing, the front-wheel-drive HEV managed to easily surpass the federal fuel-economy rating of 34/31 city/highway mpg (6.9-7.5 L/100 km).

BMW AG’s new 3.0L inline 6-cyl. turbodiesel scores a slot on the list in its first year available in the U.S. Joined by the auto maker’s twin-turbocharged and direct-injected gasoline I-6 engine, which returns for the third year, the diesel employs a sequential twin-turbocharger system that provides the 335d sedan with impressive fuel economy and a stunning 425 lb.-ft. (576 Nm) of torque.

Volkswagen AG joins the clean-diesel party this year, as well, with its new 2.0L 4-cyl. turbodiesel powering the Jetta TDI sedan. Fun to drive and frugal at the pump, the TDI is an affordable and entertaining alternative to many larger gasoline and hybrid-electric powertrains.

Hyundai Motor Co. Ltd. appears for the first time on Ward’s 10 Best Engines list with its all-new Tau 4.6L DOHC V-8. Introduced in the new Genesis luxury sedan, the engine’s velvety power delivery, competitive performance and attainable price epitomize the Korean auto maker’s drive for world-class engineering.
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Ward’s 10 Best Engines

Chrysler LLC’s venerable 5.7L Hemi V-8 returns to the rankings with added refinement, power and variable-valvetrain and induction technology. Its guttural roar and low-end grunt serves double duty this year in the all-new Dodge Challenger R/T and Ram pickup.

Toyota Motor Corp. scores its fourth consecutive 10 Best Engines win with its Lexus 3.5L DOHC V-6, a brilliant design that employs a unique, combination direct- and port-injection fueling system that helps generate 306 hp and 277 lb.-ft. (376 Nm) of torque.

General Motors Corp. and Honda Motor Co. Ltd. also make return appearances with their high-volume V-6 engines exemplifying practicality balanced with precision engineering.

GM’s high-feature 3.6L V-6 with direct-gasoline injection returns for the second time. Tested in the Cadillac CTS, yet flexible enough to proliferate through the auto maker’s CUVs, the advanced V-6 makes a hardy 304 hp on regular gasoline.

Honda underscores its longstanding reputation for great engines with the encore performance of its 3.5L SOHC V-6 in the Accord lineup. Merging exceptional performance with reasonable fuel economy, the engine employs advanced cylinder deactivation in the sedan and engaging power delivery in the coupe.

Audi AG’s 2.0L TFSI turbocharged 4-cyl., freshly revamped with 211 hp and a mighty 258 lb.-ft. (350 Nm) of torque for the all-new A4, rounds out the list with a fourth-consecutive 10 Best Engines placing as one of the best all-around turbo-4s on the market.

This year, six Ward’s editors nominated 32 different engines for the Ward’s 10 Best Engines competition. The nominee list consists of the 2008 winners as well as all-new or significantly improved engines.

Over a nearly 2-month period, the editors evaluated and scored each engine against all others in a number of objective and subjective parameters. Each engine must be available in a regular-production U.S.-specification model on sale no later than first-quarter 2009, in a vehicle priced no more than $54,000, a price cap indexed to the average cost of a new vehicle.

The awards will be given at a Jan. 14 ceremony in Detroit during the North American International Auto Show.

Complete stories about the 10 Best Engines will be featured soon on WardsAuto.com and in upcoming issues of Ward’s AutoWorld magazine and Ward’s Engine & Vehicle Technology Update newsletter.

Ward’s 10 Best Engines is a copyright of Penton Media Inc. Commercial references to the program and/or awards are prohibited without prior permission of Ward’s Automotive Group.

Cadillac Unveils Sleeker SRX

General Motors Corp. is counting on the 2010 Cadillac SRX crossover vehicle to lure luxury car buyers with new design and performance features.The redesigned vehicle was unveiled Sunday and is set to go on display at the 2009 North American International Auto Show in Detroit later this month. It replaces the SRX model first launched in 2004.

2010_cadillac_srx_03

To help compete with better-selling rivals like the Lexus RX, Acura MDX, and the BMW X3 and X5, the SRX’s designers took elements from other Cadillac models and melded them into this one. The new SRX looks faster than its boxy predecessor, with a curving roofline and a more rounded nose that still retains an aggressive look. “For GM, it’s our most aggressive brand,” said Clay Dean, GM’s global director for Cadillac design. “We want to appeal to people that set the trends.”

2010 Cadillac SRX Crossover

Cadillac put more energy into improving the interior quality and exterior design of the car, Dean said. A 3-liter direct-injection V-6 engine comes standard, with the option for a 2.8-liter turbocharged V-6. Although fuel economy testing wasn’t complete, GM estimates highway miles per gallon will fall in the mid-20s. Cadillac has a strong following among luxury car buyers, and the brand remains an important one for GM.

2010 Cadillac SRX Crossover

Cadillac sales fell 24 percent in the first 11 months of 2008, about on par with U.S. light truck and SUV sales overall. The automaker sold nearly 148,000 Cadillacs in January through November, including about 14,800 SRXs. But Toyota Motor Corp.’s Lexus division sold five times as many RXs. The 2010 SRX is expected to be in showrooms in mid-2009. Pricing hasn’t been announced. The public got its first peek of the SRX at a California auto charity event in August. The model is one of three launches GM has planned for the Detroit show that starts next week. There’s a new Chevrolet Equinox crossover that the automaker unveiled in December, and a redesigned 2010 Buick LaCrosse sedan will make its debut.

Ultimate Aero EV

Well, you can’t accuse Shelby SuperCars of setting its sights too low. Having secured the title of World’s Fastest Production Car with the 255mph Ultimate Aero last summer – and announcing a 270mph version will arrive this year – the American manufacturer is now promising to build the world’s quickest electric car.It’ll be called the Ultimate Aero EV (for Electric Vehicle), and in every way it sounds a bit too good to be true.
scc-ultimate-aero-ev-01
SSC says it has developed its own scalable electric powertrain that will produce power outputs ranging from 200bhp to – ready for this? – 1200bhp. Bear in mind that the just-announced Tesla Roadster Sport develops 288bhp. While the 1000bhp-plus powertrains will be reserved for commercial and military vehicles (SSC plans to sell the technology to other vehicle manufacturers), the Aero EV will have to do with 500bhp and 821lb ft of torque of lovely electric power, courtesy of twin three-phase AC motors.

scc-ultimate-aero-ev-02

The powertrain will weigh in at just 90kg and, says SSC, recharge in just 10 minutes on a standard 110 volt power outlet. That charge will be good for a 200 mile range. Too good to be true.SSC says that the Aero EV will begin testing next month, and should be unveiled in production form by the summer – just in time for a shot at the World’s Fastest Electric Car crown. We’d be skeptical, but SSC has proven already that when it sets out to achieve something ridiculous, it might well succeed.

ultimate-aero-ev

Well, you can’t accuse Shelby SuperCars of setting its sights too low. Having secured the title of World’s Fastest Production Car with the 255mph Ultimate Aero last summer – and announcing a 270mph version will arrive this year – the American manufacturer is now promising to build the world’s quickest electric car.