Essentially a luxury version of the Honda Civic, the compact ILX features unique styling inside and out, with added amenities. The interior is posh and comfortable, and the car performs admirably, though (unlike small cars from Europe) it emphasizes comfort over sportiness. A 150-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and five-speed automatic transmission come standard, but those seeking a more-engaging driving experience can instead choose a peppier 201-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder and six-speed manual gearbox. Meanwhile, a Hybrid version shares its gas/electric powertrains with the Civic Hybrid, which means a 1.5-liter engine teams up with an electric motor/generator and a gearless CVT automatic transmission to boast an estimated 39-mpg in city driving. It comes well equipped and includes smartphone connectivity for tech-savvy buyers.
This is essentially a midsize Audi A4 Avant that’s gussied up to look more like a crossover SUV than a station wagon. Think of it as a more upscale alternative to the pioneer in this regard, the Subaru Outback. Still, there’s a lot to like, from the burlier exterior styling touches to the added rear headroom and cargo space and its lusty 211-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine and eight-speed automatic transmission. Audi’s “quattro” all-wheel-drive system is, of course, included. The Allroad offers a generous assortment of high-tech features, including active cruise control, Audi Connect with Google Maps, Audi’s Side Assist blind spot warning and the Audi Drive Select control array that allows a driver to customize the steering effort, transmission shift points and throttle response to afford a more leisurely or sportier ride.
BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe
“Gran Coupe” variants are newly added to the 6 Series line for 2013 as part of the current “four door coupe” craze. Unlike the two-door versions, the Gran Coupe can seat four passengers in some degree of comfort. As with the rest of the line, the 640i comes powered by a sufficiently lively 3.0-liter 315-horsepower turbocharged six-cylinder engine, while the 650i packs a 4.4-liter V8 that generates a quicker 445 horses. A quick-shifting six-speed manual transmission is standard on the 650i, with an eight-speed automatic optional there and standard with the 640i. Handling is sufficiently sporty, with an array of advanced chassis control systems on hand to help the car maintain its poise in even the most demanding situations. Options include both active steering and rear-wheel steering to further improve the car’s stability and cornering abilities.
Both sleek and muscular looking, BMW’s new subcompact crossover SUV is likewise quick and agile. It’s a slightly smaller and less expensive alternative to the automaker’s popular X3. The X1 shares its powertrains with the current-generation 3 Series sedan, which means a choice of a turbocharged four-cylinder with 240 horsepower or a faster 300-horsepower turbo inline-six; the base engine includes a start-stop function to help boost fuel economy by automatically depowering while at idle. An automatic transmission is standard across the line. Included with the six-cylinder 35i and optional with the four-cylinder 28i is BMW’s advanced xDrive all-wheel-drive system that enhances the vehicle’s handling abilities on either wet or dry roads.
The all-new ATS is a compact rear-drive luxury sedan that borrows styling cues from the larger Cadillac CTS and rides on a sophisticated sport suspension system for BMW-like handling. No less than three engines are offered, including 200- and 270-horsepower four-cylinder powerplants and a 3.6-liter V6 that generates a brawny 320 horses. Myriad high-tech safety and convenience features are offered, including a capacitive LCD touch screen that affords multi-touch fingertip control of select functions much like an iPhone or iPad interface.
Replacing both the since-departed STS and DTS in Caddy’s lineup, this all-new large front-drive luxury sedan is truly handsome inside and out. A reasonably fuel-efficient 3.6-liter V6 is the only available engine, but it produces V8-like thrust with an output that’s estimated at 300 horsepower; it’s mated to a smooth shifting six-speed automatic transmission. The XTS borrows its standard Magnetic Ride Control adaptive suspension system from the Cadillac CTS-V to maintain a smooth ride with capable handling; all-wheel-drive is optional for added traction under inclement conditions. A full range of the latest features is available, including collision avoidance and blind spot/lane departure warning, with a unique Safety Alert Seat that gives feedback to the driver from such systems via a vibrating seat cushion.
The diminutive Spark is an attractive and nicely finished four-door “microcar” hatchback. A 1.2-liter four-cylinder engine is estimated to deliver a just-sufficient 84 horsepower, with fuel economy as its main virtue. Chevy says the rear seat can fit two passengers over 6’4″ tall, with over 31 cubic feet of cargo space with the back seatbacks flipped down. The available MyLink infotainment system provides connectivity with smartphones for hands-free calling and Internet radio streaming via the car’s audio system.
The first serious small car contender from Dodge since the Neon is the all-new Dart. With mechanical and design lineage coming from Italy’s Alfa Romeo, it’s a stylish and economical package with a particularly noteworthy interior design that looks and feels like it should be in a more expensive car. There’s a choice of three four-cylinder engines that range from 160- to a lusty 184-horsepower; buyers can opt for a six-speed manual, six-speed automatic or six-speed automated manual transmission. A European-tuned suspension delivers a smooth ride with tenacious handling abilities. The Dart can be customized by an assortment of dealer-installed accessories that include a built-in Wi-Fi hot spot and a wireless charging station for mobile phones. It’s one of the least-expensive models to offer a blind-spot monitoring system for added safety.
Ford C-MAX Hybrid/Energi
The tall-roofed C-Max is a curvaceous compact wagon that maximizes interior room to afford seating for five passengers. The C-Max Hybrid (pictured) augments a 2.0-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine with an electric motor/generator and self-charging lithium-ion battery; it includes an automatic start/stop function for the gas engine to further save fuel. Ford says it will get 47 mpg in combined city/highway driving. It comes well equipped with features like push-button start, a rear-view camera and the Sync and MyFord Touch multimedia control systems. Options include an automatic parallel-parking function and a novel power tailgate that’s operated by simply waving one’s foot under the rear bumper. Meanwhile, the Energi is the plug-in version of that essentially comes with a larger battery that allows it to travel for an estimated 20 miles solely on electric power. Once the battery charge reaches a certain level it operates like a typical hybrid-powered vehicle, with the 2.0-liter gasoline engine doing most of the work. The car can be charged via a standard 120-volt outlet or an optional 240-volt quick-charging station.
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Winter Car Maintenance.
Myself and like many other people hate getting up in the morning when its still dark and cold outside. The ice and cold is just as tough on your car. If not worse as they are outside 24hours a day! Therefore at this time of the year there are more breakdowns than any other. Below are a few winter car maintenance tips which will help prevent a breakdown from happening.
Leave your home 5 minutes earlier to give yourself time to clear ice from your windscreen. Stock up on de-icer and a scraper. Air conditioning can help with clearing mist and ice fast from your cars windows.
Windscreen wash liquid should be topped up regularly with the appropriate concentration. Wiper blades usually have a life expectancy of around a year.If they are older or torn then replace them. Don’t use them on ice as this will damage the blade.
On the occasion that it does snow it is advisable to clear snow from your bonnet, headlights and rear light so that other road users can see you and increase your own visibility.
Anti-freeze comes in a number of different colours each specific for different types of engines. You should regularly make sure your vehicle’s anti-freeze levels are between the max and min marks. Otherwise this could cause damage to your engine. Also check your manual first or dealer for the recommended anti-freeze for your engine.
Flat batteries are one of the most frequent reasons for cars to fail to start. Car batteries now only last for around 5 – 6 years. It is therefore recommended that if your battery is older to replace before winter arrives. Eventually as the battery is continually charged each cell within the battery fails providing the starter motor with less power. When the battery gets to the end of its life and the weather becomes colder the starter motor requires more power to start the engine which the battery is unable to provide.
Winter tyres have been developed to work in temperatures below 7 Degrees Celsius. Most of the UK between December and February has an average temperature below 7C. Winter Tyres have significant safety advantages in wet and icy conditions. They considerably cut breaking distances and increase stability and steering of your car. At just 20mph winter tyres can stop at 57m compared with 68m average for summer tyres.
Any tyre which you decide to use, be it summer or winter tyres should be above the legal limit of 1.6mm. The AA recommend 2mm and preferably 3mm for the winter. The deeper the tread the more water and snow from the ground the tyre can disperse preventing aquaplaning.
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How to make tyres:
Here is information on how to make tyres
es. This is for educational purpose only. Please do not try this at home. Any rubber formulation is a closely guarded secret so please do not write to us to elaborate.
In this example, we will walk through making an automotive tire rubber. Making Tyre rubber is a lot like baking bread. You start with right kind of ingredients, measure twice, mix well, heat properly, and exercise patience. At the end you have a masterpiece worthy of trusting yours and your family’s life on it.
That humble black piece of rubber touching the pavement is actually a scientific rubber marvel. It has to withstand heat from sun, air, and ground, resists wear and tear from abrasion and friction, and at same time stay supple enough to grip the road in arctic to desert condition. And stay strong enough to hold up the weight of your car. And we haven’t even started talking about specialty tyres like racing tyres, run-flat or off-road tyres.
1) Polymers: You start with SBR, EPDM, polybutadine. These synthetic polymers are superior than natural rubber. They are flexible yet strong. They give adhesion yet yields long-life. SBR is the most commonly used polymer for car tires for its relative economy. (Well, it’s the cheapest polymer thus far)
2) Fillers: You add cheaper fillers to expensive polymers. The fillers reinforces the polymers by adding strength and improved mechanical properties. Use carbon black, silica, clay, titanium oxide. When someone does a burn-out or leaves a skid mark, you will notice that it’s a long strip of black patch. You are seeing carbon black. Try using nano-carbon, or nano-titanium oxide and you get to brag you are riding on nano-tyres.
3) Softeners: As the name indicates they control stiffness of the mixture and add increased processability. Use hydrocarbon oil, resins.
4) Antidegradants: It protects against heat, oxygen, ozone… Use para-phenylenediamine. Sometime these are called anti-oxidants, not to be confused with anit-ozonates. It has a side benefit of lubricating the mixture.
5) Curatives: Cures the soft polymers into tough yet elastic compound. Use sulfur, sulfemamides.
6) Activators: They aid curatives to do their job more effectively. Use zinc oxide, stearic acid.
Of course, the modern tires are usually radial in construction (nylon or steel belted) so that’s another layer of science which we will not cover here. Unlike the tires on the family sedan, racing tires aren’t made to last much longer than one tank of gas. Counting practice, qualifying and the race, teams went through as many as 15 sets of tires during the racing weekend at Atlanta, proving again it’s tyres that make the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series go ’round.
“To most teams, Tyres are an expendable commodity,” said Chad Fletcher, marking manager for NASCAR at the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. “It’s the cheapest way to go fast.”
New tyres — sometimes called “stickers” — can turn an average car into a speeding bullet. They provide extra grip that gives a car a quick burst of speed for a couple laps. As the tires wear, they lose grip and lap times fall off.
Goodyear has 19 different compounds, which includes tyres built especially for the left side of the car and tyres built for the right. Drivers are asked to test different compounds to decide on a specific compound for the left- and right-side of the car. Once Goodyear picks a compound, that specific tyre is the only one allowed by NASCAR.
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Tyres For Less – Sydney Region (NSW)
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Canterbury Tyre & Mag Supamart – Melbourne Region (VIC)
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1. LeTourneau L-2350 front-loader – Each pneumatic Tyre weighs 6.8 tonne, is 4m in diameter, 1.8m wide and is covered in chains to extend the life to 12 months. Price: $63,000 each.
2. Caterpillar 797 dump truck – Michelin 59/80R63 XDR are 3.9m in diameter, weigh 5.3 tonnes and replacing a Tyres means you’ll be undoing (and tightening) 47 nuts. Price: $42,500 each.
3. Bugatti Veyron - Michelin Pilot Sport PAX (run flat) 245/690 R520 (front) and 365/710 R540 (rear) Tyres. Made to sustain 406km/h and a brisk 0-300km/h time of less than 14 seconds. Price: $10,000 each.
4. Space shuttle - The main landing gear Tyres are only good for one landing while the smaller nose tyres can do two. The bigger tyres are pumped on nitrogen to 340psi, are rated at 56 tonnes load and 420km/h. Price: $5500.
5.Monster Truck: Made by Goodyear and Firestone to a specific size of 2.6m high and 1.7m wide. The average monster truck team goes through eight tyres a year. Each is hand cut – taking up to 50 hours per Tyre – for specific track conditions and driving style. Price: $2500 each.
6. Boeing 747 - Uses two nose and 16 main tyres with the mains good for about six years with retreading. The tyres weigh 110kg each and have a 1.2m diameter. Price: $2000 each.
7. Formula One – control tyres at 265/55R13 (front) and 325/R13 (rear) last a maximum of 200km and at the end of their useful life are recycled. Teams generally have a minimum of 20 tyres per car on hand. Price:$1500 each.
8.1929 Leyland Lion bus - The pride of the Lincolnshire Road Transport Museum needed new Tyres to celebrate its 50th anniversary. They were specially made in the US. Price: $800 each.
9. Porsche Turbo - rubber choices for the rear include Toyo Proxes R888 at 285/30ZR18 that may last 30,000km if you’re nice. The Tyres suit a range of cars but not Proton S16. Price: $500 each.
10. Tufo Elite Pulse tubular bicycle road tyre – High traction Silane tyre features 10 per cent less rolling resistance than rivals and weighs only 230g. Comes only in black and size 700×22. You’ll need two of these and a bicycle too. Price: $150 each.
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