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Geneva Motor Show

10 Interesting Facts About Land Rover’s Range Rover Velar



New Range Rover Velar

Land Rover has a new Range Rover in town and it is fancy, very fancy.

Now, why does a company with a lineup of so many crossover and SUVs need another one, you’re probably wondering? The answer? Why not?

Utilities vehicles are the new craze, and Land Rover is primed to capitalize on their popularity with a new family member that it promises “offers levels of luxury, refinement and all-terrain capability never before seen in the mid-size SUV segment.”

That said, here are 10 interesting facts about the new Range Rover Velar that you should know.

The first Range Rover SUV

1. What’s in a Name?

The name Velar harks back to the earliest days of the Range Rover. In fact, it precedes the brand.

When Land Rover was cooking up the Range Rover brand in the late 1960s, ‘Velar’ was given to its very first prototypes as a codename.

As for , the word ‘Velar’ is the first-person singular present indicative of the Latin verb velare, which means to hide or veil. Considering Land Rover kept the new Velar a secret just mere weeks before the SUV’s reveal makes it a very suitable moniker.

New Range Rover Velar, front

2. A Purposeful Middle Child

The main reason for the Velar’s existence is to fill void between the rather small Evoque and large Range Rover Sport in terms of size, features and, of course, price. It measures 4,803mm (189 in.) long, 1,930mm (76 in.) wide and 1,665mm (65.5 in.) tall, and has a wheelbase of 2,874mm (113.1 in.).

In other words, the mid-size Range Rover Velar is for those who find the Evoque to be too small and the Range Rover Sport too big.

Land Rover clearly won’t stop until every inch of the SUV market is covered.

New Range Rover Velar side
Range Rover Sport


3. Sharing is Caring

The Velar is the second crossover to be built on Jaguar Land Rover’s modular Lightweight Aluminum Architecture, which is also used by the Jaguar F-Pace crossover (pictured above). In fact, it has the same wheelbase as the former.

That means it shares engine, transmissions and other technologies with the two Jaguar models.

New Range Rover Velar, style

4. Immaculate Design Inside and Out

Just look at the Range Rover Velar — how could anyone not find it attractive? “Modern elegance with a touch of glamour” is how its designers describe it. Do you agree?

The Velar borrows many styling cues from Range Rover’s latest models but manages to look sleeker, more athletic and more stately. It must be the extra rakish roof, rounder edges and softer lines.

The designers also managed to deliver a more visually exquisite interior than either the Evoque or Range Rover Sport. The materials appear higher-quality, and the layout looks more high-tech.

New Range Rover Velar, interior design

5. Spiffy Interior Controls and Tech

Speaking of high-tech interior, the Velar introduces two ultra-wide 10-inch touch screens on the center console, an upper one for the so-called “Touch Pro Duo” infotainment system and a lower one that incorporates three physical knobs for the temperature, navigation settings, and terrain response system.

It looks slicker and more futuristic than the massive touchscreen Tesla uses in its car. The infotainment setup features an Intel quad core processor, high-speed 60GB solid-state drive and ultra-fast Ethernet network.

The Velar showcases the direction Land Rover Range Rover will take with all its future interiors, especially for the next-generation Evoque and Range Rover Sport.

New Range Rover Velar interior materials

6. No Leather Here…

I can’t seem to pull myself away from the interior, but this is a very interesting fact… Would you be surprised if we told you that, as a premium SUV, the Velar doesn’t offer real leather while all its competitors do? Is that a bad thing?

The seats are appointed and other parts of the cabin in a non-leather, Dapple Grey material that was jointly developed with , Europe’s leading manufacturer of high-quality design textiles.

Frankly, it looks just as good, if not better, than leather and suits the Velar very well. We imagine it also lasts longer.

New Range Rover Velar, off-roading

7. Not Only Beautiful, But Also Rugged

Don’t be fooled by the Velar’s clean look — it was designed to be as capable on pave urban streets as in the rugged outdoors.

“The incredibly lightweight and stiff aluminium-intensive body structure works together with a double-wishbone front- and Integral Link rear suspension to provide the perfect basis for agile handling, exceptional ride comfort and outstanding refinement.”

So versatile is the Velar, in fact, that it comes standard with all-wheel drive and Land Rover’s suite of off-road technologies, including the Terrain Response system and Hill Descent Control (HDC). That’s something we can’t say about the competition.

New Range Rover Velar, driving

8. Many Engines to Choose From

In Europe, the Range Rover Velar will be offered with a large selection of engines, including a 2.0-liter four-cylinder diesel unit with outputs of either 180PS and 240PS, a 3.0-liter V6 diesel that makes 300PS, and a pair of petrol units — one a 250PS 2.0L unit and the other a 380PS 3.0L V6.

North Americans will have the option of two gasoline engines — a 247hp 2.0-liter turbocharged four and a 380hp 3.0-liter supercharged V6 — and a 180hp 2.0-liter diesel.

Also interesting to know is that all engines are mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission developed by ZF. Velar models equipped with the turbo four can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph (96 km/h) in 6.4 seconds, while those with the supercharged V6 complete the sprint in a hastier 5.3 seconds. Top speed is capped at 155 mph (249 km/h).

Porsche Macan Turbo performance-package

9. Tough Competition

Despite being slighter bigger, the Ranger Rover Velar’s chief competitors include the Porsche Macan (pictured above), Audi Q5, and even platform-mate Jaguar F-Pace.

The Macan and likely the Q5 will likely beat it in the fun-to-drive category, but few are crazy enough to take them off-road like they would a Velar.

Range Rover Velar grille, logo

10. A lot of Promise

The Velar seems to hit a sweet spot in the SUV market and is critical to reviving parent company Jaguar Land Rover’s profitability following its rapid expansion since by Indian carmaker Tata Motors from Ford Motor back in 2008.

With a sleek exterior; lush, high-tech interior; and versatility, we think it will have little problem finding buyers. The question is “would you buy one and choose it over the competition if you had the money?”

Did you find these facts about the Range Rover Velar interesting? Did we miss anything? Share your impressions in the comments below.

Geneva Motor Show

Kia Rio GT-Line Brings More Attitude To Rio Lineup



New Kia Rio GT-Line hatchback

Kia has injected a dose of attitude in its Rio subcompact hatchback, giving us the Kia Rio GT-Line.

As a slightly sportier version of the Rio, the new Kia Rio GT-Line further expands Kia’s lineup of GT models in Europe, which includes the Sportage GT , Picanto GT and Sorento GT. It features a gloss-black and chrome ‘tiger-nose’ grille, standard LED daytime running lights, ‘ice-cube’ LED fog lamps, chrome window trim, unique 17-inch alloy wheels, twin exhaust tips, and a gloss black roof spoiler.

Inside, one finds a new ‘D-cut’ leather steering wheel and seats finished in a combination of black synthetic leather and cloth with contrast grey stitching, new metallic trim on the door switches and gear lever, and a new carbon fiber effect finish on the dashboard.

The Rio GT is powered by a 1.0L three-cylinder engine mated to a six-speed manual transmission, producing 118 horsepower and 126 lb-ft. of torque. That’s not quite as much as you’d find in the similarly-sized Ford Fiesta ST, VW Polo GTI and Renault Clio RS, but it is an improvement.

It is also offered with the regular Rio’s 1.25- or 1.4-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder engines, but they pack less power — 83 and 98 hp, respectively — and are paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

The Kia Rio GT goes on sale in Europe in spring 2018. It remains to be seen whether Kia will offer a proper performance version of the little hatchback.

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Geneva Motor Show

8 Interesting Facts About the Updated, 2017 Toyota Yaris / Yaris GRMN



2017 Toyota Yaris GRMN

Of all the new or updated vehicles that were unveiled at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show, the 2017 Toyota Yaris would have easily been among the least exciting if not for the introduction a new performance variant. Even so, as a vehicle for the pragmatic-minded, it can never be ignored.

Despite its size, the small hatchback is a bigger deal for Toyota than you might have realized, more so in hyper-competitive Europe than in North America. As such, quite a lot of effort was put into its long overdue refresh.

Learn more — here are eight interesting facts about the significantly updated, 2017 Toyota Yaris subcompact car…

2017 Toyota Yaris lineup

1. What is It?

This is not an all-new Yaris. Rather, it is the third-generation model that first went on sale in 2011, having aimed at improving its competitiveness.

The updated Yaris is the result of a 90-million-Euro investment that granted it some 900 new or redesigned parts. It competes in the subcompact segment — the heart of Europe’s car market — against other popular hatchbacks like the Ford Fiesta, Volkswagen Polo, Renault Clio, and Opel Corsa.

Toyota offers both a patrol-powered and an electrified hybrid versions of its small hatchback.

Toyota Yaris production

2. Important Global Car

Though not a big deal in North America, where there is a strong distaste for everything small (Canada to a lesser extent), the third-gen Yaris has been a big seller in Western Europe, where it has continued to increase its share of the B-segment (supermini) market since its launch, with over 208,000 units sold in 2016 alone.

The Yaris has been manufactured at Toyota Motor Manufacturing France’s Valenciennes factory since 2001 and is exported around the world, including Africa, North America and the Middle East. Production passed the three million mark in 2016.

Interestingly, nearly 40 percent of all third-gen Yaris sold in Europe are of the hybrid version.

2017 Toyota Yaris exterior design

3. More Interesting Design

As a car that prioritizes practicality and fuel efficiency, the updated Yaris isn’t going to set anyone’s pants on fire. Even so, it is more aggressive than before, featuring a bolder front fascia with new headlights and a catamaran-shaped bumper. The rear end sports a new horizontal tail lamps that stretch into the hatch.

Ten different colors are now offered, while the even more thrifty Yaris hybrid comes standard with 16-inch alloy wheels, the largest set you can get.

2017 Toyota Yaris interior

4. Quieter, More Modern Interior

Toyota’s engineers have made the interior of the Yaris more user-friendly and modern. Every trim level except for the base model now comes with a thin-film transistor (TFT) information screen embedded in the instrument cluster, while new upholsteries, colours and trim details heighten its overall appeal.

The Yaris Hybrid is also quieter inside, largely thanks to tweaks made to the engine and exhaust system.

2017 Toyota Yaris back engine

5. Brand-New Engine

Speaking of engine, as part of its comprehensive update, the 2017 Yaris benefits from a brand-new, 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine that replaces the previous model’s 1.3-liter unit. The small powerplant produces 111 horsepower and 100 pound-feet of torque, allowing the hatchback to accelerate from 0 to 96 km/h (60 mph) in 11 seconds flat, almost a full second faster than before.

Power is transferred to the front wheels by a five-speed manual transmission or an optional four-speed automatic (talk about ancient tech…).

2017 Toyota Yaris GRMN collage

6. Meet the Yaris GRMN, the Hot Family Member

And there is the new Yaris GRMN, the hottest member of the Yaris family…

GRMN stands for “Gazoo Racing Masters of the Nürburgring”. As with just about anything with “Nürburgring”, the Yaris GRMN is a performance machine and is inspired by Toyota’s return to the FIA World Rally Championship. It is the Yaris of choice for those who place driving exhilaration above all else, competing against other hot rods like the Ford Fiesta ST, Opel Corsa PC, Volkswagen Polo GTI, and Renault Clio RS.

The Yaris GRMN’s performance enhancements include a supercharged, 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that produces more than 210 horsepower, a six-speed manual transmission that routes torque through a Torsen limited-slip differential, a revised suspension system and, of course, bigger brakes.

It is visually distinguished from the lesser Yaris models by a more muscular sheetmetal characterized by unique front and rear bumpers, a rear diffuser, a black spoiler, center-mounted tailpipe and 17-inch BBS wheels.

Inside, it sports specially-designed front seats, a steering wheel that’s shared with the GT86 sports car, and aluminum-covered pedals.

7. Better Safety Out of the Box

To provide driver and passengers more peace of mind, Toyota has made its suite of safety features (Safety Sense) standard on every Yaris trim.

The package includes a Pre-Collision System with Autonomous Emergency Braking, Automatic High Beam, Lane Departure Alert and Road Sign Assist.

2017 Toyota Yaris GRMN, front (2)

8. Just in Time for Summer

The updated, 2017 Toyota Yaris and new Yaris GRMN go on sale in Europe in the first half of 2017, while the arrives a few months later. It will be interesting to see if Toyota follows Ford’s footsteps and offer its performance-tuned hot hatch in the United States and Canada.

Considering that the Toyota GT86 is the only sports car it has in its product portfolio, the brand is seriously lacking the fun factor, especially when compared to many of its competitors, which have fully-fledged performance divisions.

Regardless, with the introduction of the Yaris GRMN, the Yaris lineup is no longer a complete bore.

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What Do You Think?

Did Toyota do enough with the updated, 2017 Toyota Yaris? Did you find our eight facts about the little hatchback interesting, and would you choose the Yaris GRMN over, say, a Fiesta ST?

Share your thoughts in the comments below, and also check out our 8 Fun Facts About The New, 2018 Ford Fiesta ST.


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Geneva Motor Show

9 Interesting Facts About the New Volkswagen Arteon



New Volkswagen Arteon four-door coupe

At the 2017 Geneva Motor Show, Volkswagen unveiled the Arteon, a new four-door coupe that’s supposed to be the embodiment of everything the company stands for.

Volkswagen has lofty goals for the Arteon, not in terms of sales volume but rather with what it could do for the brand’s perception. It should help lend some credibility to the company’s claim of being something more than a standard mass-market brand the likes of Honda and Toyota.

Let’s see what exactly it has to offer — here are nine interesting facts about the all-new, 2018 Volkswagen Arteon…

2018 VW Arteon in city

1. What is it? Who is it for?

Accurately previewed by the that bowed at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show, the VW Arteon is a five-seat, four-door coupe described as an “avant-garde gran turismo” that sits above the current Passat in the Volkswagen brand’s lineup. It is aimed directly at style-conscious, well-off customers who appreciate everything VW stands for: balanced ride and handling that’s engaging, lively engines, and high-quality workmanship and materials.

The Arteon in fact replaces the CC four-door coupe and is bigger than the Passat on which it is based. However, it’s more than a gussied-up Passat, with Volkswagen upping the premium ante to a point where it isn’t afraid to label its new flagship sedan as a direct competitor of top-notch premium four-door coupes like the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe, Audi A5 Sportback and Mercedes-Benz CLS.

Is the company being over-ambitious?

Volkswagen Arteon name

2. Meaning of Arteon

Interesting fact: the name ‘Arteon’ is a neologism that combines the words “art” and “eon.” According to Volkswagen, it means “supreme deity”.

The use of ‘Arteon’ is a departure form the naming strategy used for the company’s other vehicles, which have generally been inspired by tangible, real world things like winds (Scirocco, Golf, Passat), goddesses (Eos), and even an ethic group from the Sahara Desert (Touareg).

Does the name suite the car?

2018 VW Arteon, design

2. Best-Looking Volkswagen?

There is no question that the new Volkswagen Arteon is a very attractive car with its sweeping styling, sharp creases, and sleek coupe-like profile, a fact that has won it praise from quite a few .

A new style of radiator grille nearly spans its entire width and is flanked by a set of LED headlights that give it’s a piercing look out front, while flared wheel arches and distinctive rear haunches provide a sporty contrast to an otherwise elegant exterior.

It’s fair to say the transition from concept to production was a success. Would you say the Arteon is currently the best-looking Volkswagen? Better looking than the Audi A5 Sportback even?

New, 2018 VW Arteon, interior

3. Familiar, More Luxurious and High-Tech Interior

With its avant-garde exterior, you would think the new Arteon would have an equally-interesting interior. Nope! What we get instead is typical VW — more specifically, a dashboard design and layout that’s almost identical to the Passat’s.

It’s not the most exciting interior out there, but you can be assured that the material quality and overall craftsmanship is better than the Passat or any other lesser VW.

The Arteon also boasts a few more advanced features, including an Active Info Display (called “Volkswagen Digital Cockpit” in North America), a new Discover Pro infotainment system with 9.2-inch glass screen and gesture controls, a head-up display, and ambient lighting.

New, 2018 VW Arteon cargo

4. More Practical Thant the Passat

Although its features four-door coup that generally sacrifices interior space for aesthetic appeal, the Arteon actually manages to be more practical than the Passat, thanks to a large rear hatch that can swallow four cubic feet (113 liters) of more cargo.

Overall storage area stands at approximately 20 cubic feet (563 liters) with the rear seats up and up to 55 cubic feet (1557 liters) when folded flat.

New, 2018 VW Arteon engine

5. Choose Your Engine

At launch, the 2018 Arteon will be available with six engines worldwide, three of which are petrol units and the other three diesels. Output ranges from 148 horsepower (150PS) to 276hp (280PS).

A seven-speed DSG automatic transmission and a six-speed manual is offered, though only the seven-speed DSG will be available in some markets like North America.

New, 2018 VW Arteon driving

6. Front- and All-Wheel Drive

While front-wheel drive is standard on base models, the most potent patrol and diesel models come with Volkswagen’s 4MOTION all-wheel drive system out of the box, offering better traction on difficult roads.

I would like mine with all-wheel drive, please.

New, 2018-VW-Arteon driving

7. Wide Range of Driver Assistance Systems

As expected of Volkswagen’s flagship sedan, the 2018 Arteon offers a wide range of driver assistance systems, including the latest generation of the company’s adaptive cruise control, predictive cornering lights, Emergency Assist, Lane Assist, and Proactive occupant protection.

The Emergency Assist can even steer the car steer and brake the car into the hard should if necessary.

Simply put, the Arteon is among the safest Volkswagens you can buy.

VW Arteon vs Audi A5 Sportback

8. Affordable German Luxury

If you want a new Audi A5 Sportback but can’t stomach the price premium that the Audi badge commands, you should give a very hard look at the Volkswagen Arteon.

The fact that both Volkswagen and Audi are part of the Volkswagen Group means they share technologies, with the Arteon offering just about everything the A5 Sportback does in terms of luxury amenities, drivetrains and safety features.

Just don’t call the Arteon the poor man’s A5 Sportback… Volkswagen will be mad.

What Do You Think?

Did you find our nine facts about the new, 2018 Volkswagen Arteon interesting? From what you’ve learned about it, do you think it is a suitable successor to the VW CC and worthy enough to challenge the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe, Audi A5 Sportback and Mercedes-Benz CLS?

Share your thoughts in the comments below, and also check out our eight fun facts about the new Honda Civic Type R hot hatch, the fastest and most powerful Civic Honda has ever made.

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