x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

This week in Motoring: 'Eleanor' to fetch huge price at auction

Plus Hyundai Elantra wins top American award, a Volkswagen that drives on sand and sea, Toyota specs upgrade and Brits aim to break two-wheeled speed record with jet engine.

The Aqua is stylish, eco-friendly and very adaptable. Courtesy of Volkswagen
The Aqua is stylish, eco-friendly and very adaptable. Courtesy of Volkswagen

Elantra wins US car award

Hyundai is continuing on the path to international acceptance and acclaim after its 2012 Elantra was named North American Car of the Year this week.

A jury of 50 independent North American motoring journalists evaluated each of the new cars introduced last year and chose the 2012 Hyundai Elantra as the winner.

The award, which marks Hyundai's second time winning the accolade after the Genesis was named Car of the Year in 2009, was announced at a news conference at the Detroit Motor Show.

Hyundai is fast becoming the mainstream car to beat, ahead of rivals Toyota and GM, with its Elantra, Sonata and new Veloster all gaining praise for their design, high-standard base specifications and low cost.

"Elantra speaks to the success of our recipe of bold design and great fuel economy," said John Krafcik, president and chief executive of Hyundai Motor America. "In a year with some truly breakthrough competitors, we are honoured that the jury recognises Elantra's far-reaching impact on the industry."

More than 50 new vehicles were considered by judges.


Chinese man designs all-terrain vehicle that works like a hovercraft

With so many choices of vehicle out there it can be difficult to determine what's the right car for you.

But in a country with cities by the sea, smooth tarmac on the roads and sand everywhere, this Chinese inventor's creation would surely be top of many people's lists.

Created for a competition run by Volkswagen, the all-terrain Aqua is designed to work on roads, sand, water and even ice.

Designed by 21-year-old Yuhan Zhang, the Aqua has a top speed of 100kph and works like a hovercraft, utilising four air bags that help it move seamlessly between different surfaces. The sleek car also emits zero emissions as its two motors are powered by a hydrogen fuel cell.

"There is no better form of transport than an air cushion vehicle because it travels equally well over land, ice and water," Mr Zhang told Britain's Daily Mail. "I hope Aqua will become an affordable supercar that is available to the general public one day."

The competition asked designers to come up with a "Chinese off-road vehicle".

Aqua is based on technology that is already available.


Toyota in 2012 specification update

Toyota has announced it is to upgrade the specification on several of its models this year.

Toyota Touch & Go leads the Japanese car maker's enhancements that will appear in the RAV4, as well as its Auris and Verso models, with no increase to the on-the-road price.

The new interactive infotainment system uses the central 6.1-inch touch-screen for audio and satellite navigation control.

The system also provides advanced Bluetooth for hands-free phone use, phone book downloads and music streaming - and there is a USB port for connecting digital music players such as iPods.

If drivers register with Toyota online they will gain access to a range of useful information such as fuel prices, weather reports and parking information, accessed using Google local search, together with applications downloads and upgrades. The package also includes a rear-view camera for safer and easier parking.

In addition, new alloy wheels will be available on the 2012 RAV4 XTR and SR models, with 17 and 18 inches wheels featuring a dark anthracite finish.

The XTR grade also gains a smart entry and start system for keyless vehicle locking/unlocking and engine start-up.


Eleanor, the famous film car, set to sell for Dh570,000 at auction

A movie car called Eleanor is to go under the hammer for as much as Dh570,000 today at a COYS auction in Birmingham, England.

The star of the original 1974 Gone in 60 Seconds film was undoubtedly the 1973 Ford Mustang Mach 1 so, when it came to the 2000 remake starring Nicholas Cage, another Mustang was the obvious choice.

Famed Hot Rod illustrator Steve Stanford was enlisted to create a 1967 Mustang GT500 and former Boyd Coddington designer Chip Foose was hired by the production company to turn Stanford's work into a reality.

Among the car's many new features are wings with new, wider wheel arches, a bonnet with a prominent bulge, a deep front valance and side skirts, a spoiler incorporated into the boot lid and a distinctive billet grille.

Twelve cars were built, five of which were stunt cars that didn't survive filming. The car being sold is one of the very small number that remain.


Brits aim to break motorcycle speed record with jet engine

A new vehicle developed in Britain aims to become the first jet-powered bike to break the motorcycle speed record.

Richard Brown's British Jet Reaction is planning on beating the current record holder, the Ack Attack Streamliner, which hit 605kph in 2010 using two Suzuki bike engines.

Jet Reaction is using a 930kW helicopter engine and has repurposed it to produce thrust.

Brown believes his jet bike can reach speeds of up to 724kph, a belief that will be put to the test this month before a UK trial in March.

Cars and boats regularly use jet engines to attempt speed records but, until now, they have been deemed too heavy for use with motorcycles. Every motorcycle to have cracked the record so far has used conventional internal combustion engines.

Brown missed beating the land speed record in 1999 using a jet bike so is hopeful he can become a record holder next year.