Sunday, July 15, 2018

2019 VW Tharu interior

Yes, so far, this is just a prototype. So that interior is not "all there" yet.
Still, so far this looks pretty bad...

VW has already said we are not getting the T-Roc. But we're not getting the Polo based (slightly smaller)  T-Cross either.
Instead, we are probably getting a US version of the upcoming Tharu for China pictured here.
(Since VW sees Chinese and American tastes as exactly the same)

As a reminder, here is what the Tharu will look like.
Seems like VW is so in love with the Tiguan design, as they are using it over and over.

Not sure what this will compete with, since VW claims the T-Roc and T-Cross are both too small for us.
(Just 5 inches shorter than the New Nissan Kicks)

So we will be getting this instead. A tiny Tiguan with an even cheaper interior...

Friday, July 13, 2018

2020/21 Ford Fusion

Just when we though the Fusion was dead, it isn't really.

Ford has decided to kill the Fusion in the US. But it's sister car in Europe and other countries, the Mondeo, will get a redesign for the 2020 or 2021 model year.
And just like the current Mondeo, Ford will offer a wagon version.
Like the current trend (Regal Tour X) Ford will also offer a raised up version of the wagon, with AWD as an option. Called the Mondeo Active.

So, just like the new Focus, we are only getting this Active version. Which in the US can probably qualify as a truck. (Less regulations and more profits)

The new "Fusion Active" will be competing with the next generation Subaru Outback. And of course, the Buick Regal Tour X in the US.

Not sure where the US version will be built. The Focus Active we are getting here next year will be built in China exclusively.

Here is the current version of the European Mondeo Wagon.

2019 Fiat 500X

The 500X compact SUV is getting a small refresh for the new year. Just like its Jeep Renegade cousin did.
It looks like it is getting the same tail lights the regular 500 got a few years ago.
(For sone reason, the US version of the 500 never got this new design)

Otherwise, small changes up front and a larger screen inside. And for Europe, same new engines as the 2019 Renegade.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Chevrolet Traverse test drive coming up

I am driving a larger SUV this week.
A Chevrolet Traverse. The one I have is a loaded AWD Premier version with the $1845 "redline Edition" package.

So far so good. Things are quiet, smooth and comfortable. The Enclave "cheaper" cousin is of course very similar to the Buick version. Which is a good thing.
A "fun" detail, the Base model of the Traverse is just about $1000 more than the VW Tiguan I drove last week. And that Tiguan did feel like a basic model. Even in its most basic form, the Traverse would be a much, much better way to drive 7 people around...

As usual, I will answer any questions you might have....

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

2019 Chevrolet Blazer driving around

Looking quite nice in real life. Even in white.
The new Blazer seems to be mostly a polarizing design. Many people seem to really like it while many others hate it.
I think it's fine. At least it is trying something. Without ending up as weird as most Lexus SUV designs.

Head over HERE for many more pictures of the new Blazer driving around.
And HERE for official pix. 

2019 Hyundai Elantra

Just a couple more pictures of the "facelifted" Elantra for 2019.
Things look pretty drastically different up front. (So much that it might be now too different from the rest of the car) 

The back end is your usual "new light and bumper" fare. 

Hyundai has mentioned a while ago that each model will have their own design language from now on. I guess this is a first step to make the Elantra look different....

Monday, July 09, 2018

2019 DS 3 Crossback

I guess the DS 3 hatchback will be morphing into a 4 door small SUV thing next year.
(Since everything else does...)

I have seen the DS 3 in my travels in Europe and always think it looks pretty cute.
But this looks way overdone. That front end, the shapes of the headlights. 
All these lines on the side. The fake vents. 

This basically caters more to the ever expending Chinese market now. And its different design taste. I am just not sure if this will be that popular in Europe...

Let's hope the DS brand latest designs doesn't spill over the "regular" Citroen models...

VW Tiguan test drive

The "new" Tiguan is not an ugly car. But I struggle how to describe it. "boring", "generic", "lazy" come to mind.
I guess it is all that...
 It basically looks like these generic cars you see on architectural renderings. Where they make sure vehicles look like nothing specific.

The Tiguan designers did their best to remove any trace of personality. And they succeeded.

Same thing inside. Where, aside from the screen, you could be in a VW from around 10 or 15 years ago.

Again, nothing could be described as "ugly". It's just not as interesting or nice as the previous Tiguan. (Or any of the competition)
It just looks like it was designed by a teenager with a ruler, or a robot.
Not actual humans.

The interior gives out a very boring/old vibe. (I am sure my black vinyl interior test car color didn't help and things could be a little better in a different color combo )

The vinyl seats are pretty flat. Although they feel OK.
Many of the hard plastic bits have cheap feel and look to them (Although there are plenty of nicer soft plastics around too)
The center armrest is also not adjustable...

This is really not in the same league as the Mazda CX-5 interior. (Although it is about the same price)
Or even the Honda CR-V and many others. In my opinion, pretty much any of the competition has a nicer interior.

That center console/shifter looks like the one in all VWs in the past 10 years or so. 

I was really able to test the A/C since we had super hot days here in L.A (up to 117 a few days ago!)
With such heat, the A/C was struggling to cool things down. 

Also, a couple of times, when getting back into the car, the A/C would set itself to 72 (As shown above)
Not 60 where it was before.  
It didn't do it all the time. Just when it felt like it...

The CarPlay screen also gave up. Not the whole screen, only when using CarPlay. The songs were playing, but the screen went black one evening. I restarted the radio, even the car. Nothing worked...
Things were fine the next day. Just weird.

Otherwise I have to stay the standard stereo on the SE model I had sounded great (Except for an annoying small buzz from the front left speaker at times)

Inside the glove compartment. A wild old-timey CD player/flash card reader. (???)

The back seat is roomy enough.
But smaller than in the Jetta.
And the seat itself is pretty flat.

The 3rd row is not that easy to get into, and really uncomfortable for any over the age of 6.

Behind that 3rd row, there isn't much trunk space left.
And there is this weird raised cover. Which makes you think there might be an additional hidden storage underneath .
But no...
Things get better with the 3rd row flat.
But the floor is still pretty high. Making it pretty hard to load heavy items.

Also, that hatch is the heaviest I have ever used. The power feature should really be standard...
(Especially for almost $30 000)
The very first thing I noticed was how crude the engine sounded.
The new version of VW's 2.0 Liter Turbo is one of the worst. (VW seems to keep coming up with new versions of their 2.0 Liter turbo every couple of years or so) And is less powerful than the previous one.

Things really gets rough and noisy as soon as you reach 2000RPM. (like some older 90's car)
Which the 8 speed auto transmission is trying to avoid at all cost.
By mostly refusing to downshift unless you really floor it. And, by then, it gets pretty confused and shifts pretty abruptly.

So as long as you drive slow, keep things under 2000RPM, you'll be OK. Otherwise that drone from the noisy engine will be quite tiresome.
Again, this is much less refined than the competition.

I know people have criticized the new Tiguan for lack of power. I though it was just fine.
(Sure, I had only now or 2 people on board, and it might be a different story when loaded.)

The steering is very light. Too light to have any feel to it. Again, light years behind the Mazda CX-5.
And not what you would expect of a "German" car.
The suspension is not really comfortable. It's not terrible, but not a smooth ride.
And a noisy one. (while most bumps on the road are felt, all of them are heard)

The Tiguan is rated at 22/27 MPG.

I got mostly 18/20 around town. (While being very careful) But had no problem getting 33 on the highway.

I am not really sure who the new Tiguan is for. The previous model was much more engaging in every way.
If you use all the seats, the trunk is just too small for almost anything.
I guess this is mostly for carpooling moms.

The pricing is also a bit strange to me. While the base model starts at $24 500, my SE version was $28 930. (Before optional wheels) That's about $4000 for only a few more things. (And the base cloth looks nicer than the SE's vinyl)

Even though most of the competition starts at around the same price.
They offer a lot more by the time you reach around $29 000.
The CX-5 Grand Touring is $29 645 and comes with a sunroof, leather seats, power hatch, Bose audio etc...
The CR-V EX-L also comes with pretty much the same stuff.

Next to these, that Tiguan SE is pretty bare bone.
It is also noisier, not as nice to drive, and not as comfortable.

If you must get a VW Tiguan, VW still offers the "old" one (but not for long) called the Tiguan Limited.
It only comes with a couple of options. But starts at about $2000 less. Is a nicer car to drive and still has the better and more powerful "old" version of the 2.0 Liter engine.

I have to say, the current Tiguan was a bit of a disappointment.
It seems like a step back from the previous version in almost every way.

If you have never driven any of its competition, and if your quick test drive at the dealership doesn't allow you to push it past 2000RPM, you might like it.
Otherwise, like Hemingway used to say: "life is too short to drive blah..."

Saturday, July 07, 2018

That new Avalon Facebook ad...

Many of you have probably also seen this. It showed up yesterday on may Facebook page. 
I though it was funny how Toyota chooses to advertise that new model.

Obviously concentrating on how gorgeous it is. (Although its design has been pretty universally criticized)
"Beauty", "Style", "Made you look". 

It just seems like they are talking about another car...

2019 Acura ILX

Looks like Acura is giving another refresh to the ILX sedan next year.
The current model came out for the 2012 model year, and still no new one in sight. Instead, it will be getting a new grille and bumper. (Maybe other small things too)

Which is pretty sad. What Acura needs is a real entry level car that can compete in the current market. That car should, of course, be the small CDX SUV sold overseas. 
Not sure why it is still not offered in the US. 

Acura sold less than 20 000 units of the ILX last year. Not sure if that new grille will actually do the trick to spice up these sale numbers...

As a reminder, here is the current ILX From the patent drawings above, it looks like next year's model is going back to a much less aggressive front end.

Friday, July 06, 2018

2019 Hyundai Elantra

I actually had no idea the Elantra was due for such a refresh. It seems pretty major, at least up front.
Where everything seems new. Which even gives the car a different personality.
Not sure these super sharp edges work with the rear of the car. 
It kind of reminds me of what GM (Mostly Pontiac) was doing decades ago. Design some super modern/almost weird front end on their old cars.

The rear is almost new but more subtle. 
What these cars need, like the Sonata, is a more interesting interior. 
From thee pictures, it looks like they have already been building this for a while, so the car should be out pretty soon.

As a reminder, here is the current model.

(Thanks to a reader for most of the new Pix!)

All new Cadillac coupe concept coming up.

This does look very cool.
It also seems larger than the current ATS coupe so it would make a great new coupe based on the next CT5 sedan.
Since it does look like the Escala, with a bit of CT5.

But, from what we can see here, this is probably only a concept. For the upcoming Los Angeles or Detroit auto show.
The headlights are just super thin LEDs. And the rear view mirrors are cameras. 
"I don't think Cadillac is ready to use cameras for side mirrors yet..."

No mater what, please Cadillac, do not call this a CT7. Call it by its name: "Eldorado"!

And also, please don't make it yet another $100 000 coupe like Lexus or BMW.
Make it slightly above the CT6. It should start at maybe $60 000. 

What do you think?

Thursday, July 05, 2018

Audi E-tron Interior

Audi has just revealed a few pictures of the interior of their new E-Tron EV SUV.
It does look like most current Audi SUV interiors. Very busy with plenty of different shapes and materials everywhere...
There are now even more screens. As even the rear view mirrors have been replaced by cameras. 
Which, I am sure, will spread rapidly in many other models. 
Although not sure if the technology (like laser headlights) has been approved yet for the US market. 

I guess this will compete with the Tesla Model X. Just like the Jaguar iPace does. 
At least the Jag looks much more original than the E-tron, which looks like any other Audi SUV out there...

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

VW Tiguan review coming up.

Just got a red VW Tiguan for a week. So I will, as usual, report on it in a few days.

The one I am driving is an FWD SE model. Priced at $28 930.
For a total of $30 280 including destination, 18 inch wheels and fog lamps.

(Which is kind of strange since on the official VW site, the FWD SE is priced at $27 650 before options and destination)

So far?
A noisy engine and a drab interior is what I noticed the most.

As usual, I will try to answer any questions you might have.