Thursday, November 15, 2018

2020 Toyota Corolla Sedan (US)

These are the first official pictures of the all-new Corolla sedan for the US.

The L, LE and XLE versions will get the familiar 1.8 Liter engine with 139HP.
While the SE and XSE will be getting the 2.0 Liter from the hatchback with 169HP.

The 1.8 Liter models get 16-inch wheels while the 2.0 Liter get 18 inches.

So far it does look OK. But as usual, the all-new Mazda3 might be an amazing competition. For both the sedan and hatchback.

2020 Toyota Corolla (Chinese market)

And now for the actual Corolla Sedan, not the Levin.
Although this is still the Chinese Market model, with a different bumper than the car teased a few days ago.
So I guess the US version will still be a bit different. Although the profile and rear end could be exactly the same. ( I mean how many versions of the same car can they offer???)

2020 Toyota Levin/Corolla

The new Corolla sedan and its "Levin" cousin are being unveiled in China today.
As you can see on the first picture, the front end (bumper/grille part) of this Chinese market Levin version is actually not the same as the Corolla teaser Toyota released a couple of days ago. (HERE)

So the rear end of our Corolla could also be a bit different. We will know very soon since the Corolla will be shown tonight as well...

2020 Honda Passport teaser Vs. Acura RDX

I know, it is way too early to compare these two.
And the Passport teaser shot above doesn't show that much.
But I still think these two could be related since it would be too costly to have 2 different platforms for similar sized models.

Someone was questioning on a previous why there is even a need for a new model between the CR-V and Pilot.
But that is what the new Chevrolet Blazer is (Between Equinox and Traverse)
The Nissan Murano (Between Rogue and Pathfinder)
The Ford Edge, (Between Escape and Explorer) etc...

They just want things to be " all SUVs all the time" now...
The Passport will be the Honda Accord of SUVs. 

2020 Honda Passport teaser

The all-new Passport will be unveiled on the 27th. Making its Auto Show debut in Los Angeles the next day.
As expected, it will be positioned between the CR-V and the Pilot. And will seat 5.
(Which sounds a lot like a Honda version of the Acura RDX)

The Passport was designed, developed and will be built in the US.

I think the RDX is one of the best SUVs available today, so a more affordable Honda cousin sounds great.
I can't wait to see this...

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

2020 Jeep Gladiator

 It took Jeep 15 years to finally come up with a pickup version of the Jeep Wrangler.
The Gladiator is finally almost here.

And it looks exactly like what it is: a pickup truck version of the Wrangler.
Which is perfect. This will probably be an instant best seller for Jeep.
Unless they price it way too high. (The current Wrangler already starts at around $31 000.
Which is much more than the Chevrolet Colorado or Ford Ranger...)
 Here are some of the official specs.

And here is the 2005 Concept.
The one everybody told Chrysler to build ASAP. But they never did...

I guess better late than never...

Head over HERE for more pictures and info on the new Jeep Gladiator.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Chevrolet FNR "CarryAll"

I guess with a name like "Carry All" this thing must have 3 rows of seats.

This new FNR is, so far, for the Chinese market.
It is hard to tell if this (distorted due to perspective) picture shows a concept or a production car.
My guess is a concept since I can't see any door handles.
But it also looks very production ready.

It seems to follow the style of the all-new Chevrolet Orlando (also for the Chinese market only)
But larger.

I guess this is an "all SUVs all the time" schedule for Chevrolet in China.
While they seem to be pushing tons of new SUVs in that market, they still offer sedans. Like the Malibu and Cruze. 

New Toyota Corolla Sedan teaser

The new teaser shows the new sedan version will have a different front end from the hatchback.
Which consists mainly of a different bumper/grille plastic section. (Metal parts and headlights seem the same)

The logo has also moved north to the small part in front of the hood.

All new Aston Martin DBX SUV.

Of course, this is the final insult. Another blasphemous move from a luxury brand.

But after seeing how much money Porsche, Lamborghini, Bentley and even Rolls Royce are making selling SUVs, who can blame them, really.
Money seems to be the only drive these days. 

At least it looks a bit weird. Which could end up being a little bit interesting and have some personality?

These are official pictures from Aston Martin, show the DBX prototype do what future owners will never do: get it dirty in the mud.

I guess the next one to fall is Ferarri...

2020 Mazda3

 Even though the all-new Mazda3 appears to be yet another modern and attractive design from Mazda, it is actually toned down a lot from the Kai concept.
Which, I guess, was inevitable. But a bit too bad.

Still, compared to the current Golf (and probably the next one), the new Corolla hatchback, Civic hatchback etc...
It will probably be one of the best looking compact car in the business. Again.

Same thing inside. While the concept was really original, the production version has changed just enough to be much more mundane.
The screen integration is not as cool as the concept was. At all.
But again, when compared to most of its competition, this is probably one of the best out there.

We will see the whole car in just a few days. And I will be at the Los Angeles auto show to report.

See all the spy shots of the new 2020 Mazda 3 hatchback over HERE

2020 Ford Maverick?

Looks like Ford might pick the name "Maverick" for their new small SUV.
Which until now was known by its nickname "baby Bronco".

The new model will be positioned below the Escape. (Which is also all-new next year)

Why not. I guess this looks like it could appeal to people who are into that old fashion SUV look. Like the old Jeep Cherokee.
The new RAV4 is also more trucky looking, without being a truck. So maybe that's a trend these days.

Seems like Ford will be trying to offer every kind of SUV possible. Some more car like, some trucky looking, and some EVs.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Where Malibu's fancy cars end up during the fire...

Looks like quite a bit of these fancy, expensive cars ended up on the parking lot of Duke's on PCH.
Duke's is not technically open during the fires, but they did let people park cars on their lots, away from their burning homes.
(People were also bringing their horses there)

I guess at least the ones pictured here will be saved...

(Photos by my friend Greg)

2020 Hyundai Palisade

Here is the first official photo of Hyundai's new "big SUV". Which will replace the long wheelbase version o the previous Santa Fe. But also move upmarket, apparently. (Why not make even more money)

From the side, this looks very much like a GM product to me. For some reason.
Upfront, it is basically a bigger Santa Fe with more bits and chrome.

The Palisade is basically the Kia Telluride's cousin. ( I guess that means the Kia will be revealed later)

Here is what the new Palisade is based on: the Grandmaster Concept.

And yes, the Grandmaster should have become a Genesis SUV. Not a Hyundai.
Since the new luxury brand is in desperate need of one...

Sunday, November 11, 2018

2019 Mazda CX-5 Turbo Signature

The already loaded Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring starts at $31 445 for 2019.
The new Turbo version starts at $34 870 for the even better equipped "Grand Touring reserve" model.
The pictures above show the new "Signature" top of the line model. Priced at $36 890.

Not cheap. But the non-turbo Grand Touring I had the pleasure to test drive a while ago was already a great car.
Much nicer than the competition.

The Signature model is actually priced pretty similarly to a Honda CR-V Touring.
A loaded Subaru Forester is above $37 000!

I would say this super loaded CX-5 Signature could actually compete with the Acura RDX.
Which starts at less than a  $1000 more. (Although at this price pount, Acura gives you a 10 speed auto and a full glass roof. )

I will try to get one to drive as soon as possible.

(You can check all the 2019 CX-5 pricing HERE)

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Cadillac Escalade Review

There is no hiding the massive size of the Cadillac Escalade.
And I guess it is actually part of its appeal for many.

But the now familiar design is actually very nice and subtle. Especially compared to the previous version.
Sure there is a still a huge grille, but it is finished in a satin look, instead of chrome.
And the whole thing, at least to me, looks much simpler and classier than its GMC Yukon cousin.

Even though this is basically the same car as the Chevrolet Suburban and Yukon XL, at least GM gave the Cadillac a redesigned interior.
Which looks a lot like the CTS and XTS. Which also means it is of a previous generation Cadillac interior design.

Everything inside feels expensive and solid. And looks much nicer than the Yukon and Suburban. But I would say it still lags behind a similarly price Range Rover. Which does feel very special.

The Platinium version I had came with a center console cooler. Although it sounds like a good idea, it takes the whole console space. (At least you can turn it off if you need to put other stuff in there, like a camera)
And it doesn't actually cool that much. And of course, it only works when the car is on.
The glove compartment is ridiculously tiny for such a huge vehicule.

Of course, it carries over the column shifter from the much cheaper GM full size pick up trucks. Which, also antiquated, works just fine.
But it really takes away the from "high end luxury" feel the Escalade is trying so hard to convey.

(The next generation model will have a console mounted shifter)

The Platinum version comes with a massage system for the front seats.
It works quite well once you master the settings. But I also think it is quite distracting for the driver.
(Freeway speed butt massage can be quite a puzling experience...)

All the seats are very roomy of course. Altough the rear seats are all fixed. Thet cannot be moved forward or backward.
Access to the 3rd row is pretty easy.

Because of the "entertainment system," this particular version only comes with a regular sunroof.
Another old fashion detail.

And of course, there is a huge amount of trunk space. Notice how much there is left even with the 2nd row still up.

Basically, the Escalade drives exactly the same as its Chevrolet and GMC Cousins.

I couldn't really tell a difference from the new"magnetic ride control".
And I am not sure it is activated in both the default "Tour" and  "Sport" modes.

In "Tour", it just drives like a fancy truck. Sure it is quiet and seems to be comfortable at first.
But you quickly realize it is always moving around. With constant left and right motions. And doesn't really absorb bumps well at all. Again, just like most trucks. It is actually not really a comfortable ride.

But "Sport" actually changes things quite a bit. The steering is much nicer and not as vague.
And the whole thing doesn't move and jiggle as much.

After trying the "Sport" mode, I pretty much left it on all week.

I tried the self-parking featured, and it works great.
It actually figures out if you are driving by a parking space long enough for the beast. Then alerts you.
And at a push of a button, takes over. But only the steering part. You still have to control accelerator and brakes.
It is actually a great feature for this kind of car.

The huge 6.2 Liter actually shakes the whole car for a second every time you start it in the morning.
I am sure "big truck" people and Harley riders might enjoy it. Not sure people expecting a high-end luxury ride from their $100 000 do...

The Escalade ESV AWD is rated at 14/21MPG.
I averaged exactly 14 around town (While trying hard) But got around 23/24 on the freeway.
Which is actually not so bad for such a huge machine ( I remember getting 23 HWY years ago with a much smaller Infiniti FX35)

The Cadillac Escalade doesn't really replace a true luxury sedan.
Even though it seems to be doing so for many people.

 It is quite a high step up to get inside.
Which is actually pretty hard for older people.
It is never as quiet or comfortable as a similarly priced luxury car. (or most cars)
And it uses way more gas.

Just like the Suburban or Yukon, it only makes sense if you really need that much cargo space. Or towing something huge.
(Which I am sure, only about 1% of owners do)

I think the LWB Range Rover is its toughest competition. Since it is really a luxury machine, not based on a much cheaper pick-up truck.
(But I am also pretty sure the Cadillac is much more reliable.)

At over $101 000, my test model was crazy expensive.
A totally loaded Suburban, with more than 90% of what you get in the Escalade is over $25 000 less.
I am not sure the different interior design and Cadillac name are worth that much extra.
But I guess it does to a lot of people since Cadillac has sold 35 000 of the last year.

A brand new Cadillac XT7 (Another stupid name)  SUV is due out very soon. Based on a platform similar to the Buick Enclave.
The Enclave is a wonderful SUV. Quiet, comfortable and super well finished.
If the Cadillac version turns out even better, the XT7 should be on the top of the luxury SUV food chain.
And will appeal to a much wider audience than the Escalade. While providing about 80% of its utility for most people. And, at a much lower price.

For Escalade fans, there is an all-new one coming next year too.

The Cadillac Escalade is extravagant. But anything at this price is anyway.