Fast Lane: Ford Fiesta gets Active

The Fiesta Active crossover.
The Fiesta Active crossover.PHOTO: FORD
V12 Vantage V600
Aston Martin-owned Lagonda has released first sketches of its sport utility vehicle.
Aston Martin-owned Lagonda has released first sketches of its sport utility vehicle.PHOTO: LAGONDA
Zoe Long Range
The sixth-generation BMW M5 Competition has been unveiled.
The sixth-generation BMW M5 Competition has been unveiled.PHOTO: BMW
Niro EV
Porsche 919 Hybrid Evo (right) and the Porsche 956 C (left).
Porsche 919 Hybrid Evo (right) and the Porsche 956 C (left).PHOTO: PORSCHE
Mini Hatch

Ford Fiesta gets Active

The Fiesta Active crossover is to Ford what the CrossPolo is to Volkswagen.

Boasting a rugged exterior with additional cladding, unique alloy wheels and roof rails, the Ford Fiesta Active has a slightly higher ground clearance than the Fiesta hatch. It comes with Normal, Eco and Slippery Drive modes, with power delivered by a 1-litre turbo petrol or 1.5-litre turbodiesel.

Aston Martin V8 Vantage V600 reborn

Aston Martin's 1998 V8 Vantage V600 breathes again in a limited-run customer commission V12 Vantage V600. With just seven coupes and seven roadsters, the V12 Vantage V600 is equipped with a 600hp naturally aspirated V12 mated to a seven-speed manual gearbox. Inspired by the original V8 Vantage V600, the car is underpinned by the previous-generation VH Vantage.

Aston Martin's Lagonda to debut electric SUV

Aston Martin-owned Lagonda has released first sketches of its sport utility vehicle, which will be launched in 2021. The car will be the first luxury electric SUV, with a sleek design that is close to the Vision Concept revealed at this year's Geneva Motor Show. With it, the only high-end marques without an SUV line-up are Ferrari and McLaren.

Renault Zoe Long Range can save drivers almost $2,200 a year

Renault has launched its third electric car model here - the Zoe Long Range. The battery-powered subcompact hatch has a rated range of 400km on a full charge and a real-world range of 300km.

Priced at $139,999, the car promises to offer annual savings of nearly $2,200 in the form of lower running cost and maintenance.

The Zoe follows the Kangoo ZE commercial van and the Fluence ZE family sedan. Renault says many electric models, including a sport utility vehicle, will follow, but has ruled out hydrogen fuel-cell options.

A more powerful BMW M5 Competition

The sixth-generation BMW M5 Competition has been unveiled. Powered by a 4.4-litre V8 producing 625hp channelled to all wheels via an eight-speed M Steptronic transmission, the M5 Competition comes with additional aerodynamics, changes to the chassis and tuning, and interior design updates.

Peak torque of 750Nm is available over a wider rev range, allowing the car to hit 100kmh in 3.3 seconds and top speed is regulated at 250kmh.

Safer driving for Volvo cars and trucks

Volvo Trucks is introducing a cloud-based service, Connected Safety, which allows Volvo trucks and cars to automatically alert one another to hazardous traffic situations. The passenger-car version of Connected Safety was launched by Volvo Cars in 2016.

With the service, trucks and cars will be able to alert one another to potential hazards. This is possible because the two companies share safety-related data between their respective clouds. Connected Safety was developed to send out alerts to nearby vehicles connected to the service whenever a driver activates the hazard warning lights.

Volvo Trucks will initially introduce Connected Safety on new trucks in Sweden and Norway, where both Volvo Trucks and Volvo Cars account for a significant proportion of annual new-vehicle registrations.

Kia Niro EV to be unveiled at Paris Motor Show in September

Kia claims its first electric car, the Niro EV, will deliver a range of up to 380km.

To be officially unveiled at the Paris Motor Show in September, the car offers the same practicality of its combustion-engined siblings and is based on the Niro EV Concept.

The Niro EV is powered by a next-generation electric vehicle powertrain. Equipped with a 64kWh or 39.2kWh lithium-polymer battery pack, the Niro EV will be able to drive 380km or 240km respectively. The car may make a guest appearance at the Singapore Motor Show in January.

Porsche 919 Hybrid Evo and 956 C take Nurburgring

Just before the Nurburgring 24-hour race is flagged off today, Porsche will present a legendary couple to the expected crowd of 200,000 spectators: Timo Bernhard and Hans-Joachim Stuck will take the Porsche 919 Hybrid Evo and the Porsche 956 C respectively on a show run around the famous Nordschleife.

The 919 Hybrid - the Le Mans and FIA World Endurance Championship winning car of 2015, 2016 and last year - meets the prototype that won all titles in the World Sportscar Championship from 1982 to 1984 and still holds the outright Nordschleife track record. Just like the 956, the Porsche 919 Hybrid was the most innovative racing car of its time. The 1 Le Mans Prototype class is powered by a 2-litre turbocharged V4 paired with a lithium-ion energy recovery system.

Mini celebrates royal wedding

Mini will mark the wedding of Britain's Prince Harry and American actress Meghan Markle with a one-off Mini Hatch. The car will be donated to one of the couple's chosen charities.

After the wedding on May 19, this one-of-a-kind Mini will be handed over to The Children's HIV Association for public auction. The car is finished in crystal white, with silver-blue accent strips and a black band that wraps around the car.

Fastest street-legal Volkswagen Golf

Volkswagen will soon offer a Golf GTI TCR, a super hatch packing 290hp and a front axle locking differential. A road version of the 350hp TCR race series Golf GTI, it will be the fastest street-legal Golf, peaking at 264kmh. The car will be launched at the end of the year.

For city driving, it has 370Nm of torque from 1,600rpm, which is comparable with the Golf R's 380Nm from 1,850rpm. There is, however, no indication that it will be available in Singapore.

More men than women fall asleep while driving

One in six drivers has fallen asleep at the wheel, according to a new SmartWitness survey in Britain. A further 42 per cent have admitted driving while they felt drowsy and were in danger of nodding off. Almost half of those surveyed said they had been a danger to themselves or other road users as a result of tired driving at some point since passing their test. The problem is worse among men than women, with just 10 per cent of women having fallen asleep, compared with almost a quarter of men.

Christopher Tan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 12, 2018, with the headline 'Fast Lane'. Subscribe