Mystery Motors

The roads on which we drive upon often look the same, not only the scenery, but also the cars which inhabit them. There are usually a hell of a lot of Fiestas around, Clios, Golfs, it might leave you thinking the car industry is a pretty dull place, full of dodgy secondhand cars, so we thought we would have a look at some of the cars that you see once in a blue moon that make you do a double take, trying to remember if you have seen one before.

Aixam Ecity

I saw an Aixam Ecity on the roads a couple of months ago on a drive from Manchester to Birmingham and it left me puzzled, not only did I not recognise the car itself, but upon closer inspection I couldn’t even recognise the cars badge. It wasn’t until a few days later that I saw a picture of one online that I realised the badge was Aixam and the car was the Ecity. The Ecity hasn’t been received very well at all, it is fully electric, has 4 seats and is powered by a small 13kw electric motor which offers a maximum range of 65 km. It is said to be sluggish and unexciting. They’ve been around since 07, so if you want a deal you will probably be able to get a good price on a second hand Aixam Ecity.

Nissan Figaro

The Nissan Figaro is a different kind of rare to the Ecity, with the Figaro you don’t see them too often as only 20,000 were ever built, and Nissan haven’t made one since 1991. But they really are good looking little cars. I will always remember the Nissan Figaro, someone had one on my parent’s road back when I was little, and I remember thinking it was the crème de la crème of cars and to be fair, at the time, it was! It had air conditioning, a CD player, leather seats and an open roof which was pretty impressive back in 1990.

Volkswagen EOS

This is an odd one, the Volkswagen EOS has been around since 2006, it has the weight of Volkswagen behind it, it looks fantastic, yet it still isn’t a household name in the same way the Polo, Golf or even the Scirocco. It is a coupe model which has a retractable hardtop, and it looks excellent with the roof down. I guess there isn’t a huge demand for convertibles in the UK what with the weather, but still, you would expect to see a fair few more EOS’s knocking about.

Renault ZOE

I am always dubious about cars with human names, it just doesn’t sit well with me. But the Renault ZOE, (despite the fact that it has a girl’s name), is one that has taken my interest. I guess it because it is an electric vehicle, which looks pretty good, and has had some pretty positive reviews, with AutoExpress claiming it is one of the best electric cars yet. It is still relatively new to the UK market so I guess I should give it a little more time.

Proton Gen-2

Another car you don’t see much of is the Proton Gen-2, in fact there is every chance that you haven’t even heard of it. It is a five door hatchback offering from the Malaysian car producer Proton and whilst in writing it sounds like it would be a pretty decent car, it received many mixed reviews with a lot of people slagging off the car’s interior. On the outside I would say the Gen-2 is a little outdated in terms of styling, but at the time it came out in 2004, I can imagine it would have been attractive to many.

Noble M12

Let us end this list with a bang, a bang which comes in the form of the Noble M12! The M12 is a fantastic car, both to look at and to drive, so it really is a mystery that you don’t see more of them about. Obviously, due to the nature and price of the car you wouldn’t expect the roads to be awash with Noble M12’s but I would expect to see them a little more often at least. I remember seeing it featured on one of the first ever episodes of Top Gear, before James May was on the show, Clarkson loved it, and since then, I have too. For a second hand Noble M12 you will be looking at £20,000 to £30,000.

Posted in Fun Feature | Comments Off on Mystery Motors

New Toyota C-HR Concept

At the coming Paris Motor Show we will be introduced to the C-HR Concept from Toyota which is a pretty funny looking SUV that is pitted as a rival for the Nissan Qashqai, though from looking at it you may have expected it to be more of a rival for the Nissan Juke. Looks aside it will possess Toyota’s hybrid powertrain technology. We are guessing it will be a new hybrid petrol/electric technology that will probably be featured in the coming Toyota Prius which is due in 2015.


If you consider the C-HR’s supposed rivals it would make sense for Toyota to develop a four wheel drive powertrain for the C-HR. After seeing some spy shots of the new Toyota Auris, we assume that the C-HR will be part of that family within Toyota slotting in just under the RAV4.

In terms of looks it’s like no other Toyota we’ve seen before, it is incredibly sloped and angular, leaving the windows looking very squinty and focused. The front of the car looks huge though that could be down to the angle of the photo exaggerating the front.


The rear window almost carries on seamlessly from the roof without the angle really changing too much at all. We haven’t seen an indication of the price anywhere as of yet, as the actual production model isn’t expected until 2017. Expected to find out more in the wake of the Paris Motor Show.

Posted in Concepts | Comments Off on New Toyota C-HR Concept

Audi A5’s due in 2016

Spy shots have started surfacing of the new Audi A5 which is set to be launched in 2016. The spy shots have been captured at the Nurburgring in Germany where we expect they are doing some preliminary tests on the model. I’ve always been a fan of Audi so I get pretty excited anytime there are any developments regarding an Audi model, so don’t judge me if you think I’m jumping the gun a bit! But this could be the car for me, I can easily get another few years out of my second hand Audi A3 but by 2016 I would like to think I will be ready for an upgrade, and my sights are very much set on the Audi A5.

The Audi A5 has been around for about 7 years now but if you were to look at the new Audi A5 next to the first, you would probably be shocked by how little it has change in the 7 years it has been produced. The phrase “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” comes to mind. So I imagine there won’t be any major changes to the styling of the car, just a few sneaky tweaks to keep it current, I have read that they will probably give the Audi the new trademark singleframe grille, and larger air intakes to give the car a more aggressive look. But at the end of the day, the A5 isn’t really about its exterior looks, even though it does look great, it’s all about the comfort and executive feeling that the car gives.

No doubt the team responsible for cars like the BMW 4 Series and the Volkswagen Passat will be paying close attention to any developments made with the Audi A5 and it will be interesting to see how they respond.

Posted in Concepts, Engine | Comments Off on Audi A5’s due in 2016

Diesel engine for Insignia and Zafira

The 2014 Paris Motor Show is setting up to be pretty eventful, and Vauxhall have recently announce some of their plans for it. They are going to use the Motor Show to introduce their new 2.0-litre CDTi diesel engine which will be the flagship engine.

The engine will debut in the Zafira Tourer and the Vauxhall Insignia, just to give fans a little more to sink their teeth into, in case they need a little more even after seeing the all new Vauxhall Corsa that is also set to make an appearance.

This new engine packs 168bhp and 400Nm of torque, which means a 5% increase in power and 14% extra torque. Even though this suggests better performance, Vauxhall have said the engine is in line with the Euro 6 emission standards and that fuel consumption CO2 emissions and engine noise have decreased when compared to its 161bhp predecessor. Apparently these improvements are down to a new fuel injection system, re-profiled intake ports and a new combustion chamber.

The engine will be sold in vehicles next year and will be the first of a range of new large diesel engines that are being developed by an engineering team in Russelsheim, North America and Turin. We imagine the engines will be on offer in models other than the Vauxhall Zafira and the Insignia in the future.

Posted in Engine | Comments Off on Diesel engine for Insignia and Zafira