Tuesday, June 27, 2017

2018 Infiniti QX80


 A reader just sent me these. The new Infiniti QX80. (Thanks!)

 Infiniti has already announced it would be based on the current model's platform.
That's code word for "not all new". Or "just a few new bits".

And it looks like what it is.
The body seems to the same as the current model. The front and rear ends look like the concept.
Otherwise, it is the exact same truck it's been for years.
I guess they figure it's enough to compete with the all new Navigator?
And a new Escalade that is less than 2 years away.

Looks like Infiniti isn't expecting much from the QX80. They just want to make sure they have something big and expensive to offer....

 Here is the concept. Which did have an all new body.

And here is the current model.
As you can see, the "next" one is the same with the concept front end. Pretty much...
(I mean even the rear view mirrors are the same!)

Monday, June 26, 2017

Is this the next Nissan Frontier??


I am being told this could very well be the next Frontier for the US.
Not sure.

One thing is sure though, the Frontier is past due for a redesign.
The current model is almost 13 years old. I mean really...

A new generation came out in 2014. But not in the US.
Called the Navara in Europe and other countries, it is also the base for a Renault pick up truck.
As well as the upcoming Mercedes X Class. (So it can't be that crappy...)

The truck above does look pretty crappy I must say. Feels like something from 15 or 20 years ago...



Here is the current European Navara. 

2018 Seat Arona




Nothing earth shattering.
Yet, I am sure this will be everywhere in Europe very soon.
A tiny VW Polo based SUV from their cheaper sister brand Seat.

That's at least the 3rd one in that category in just a few days! After the Hyundai Kona and Kia Stonic.
And more to come! Since VW and Skoda will probably get their own versions soon.

Engines include a 1.0 Liter with 115HP, or a 1.5 Liter with 150HP.

2017 Geely GC9




This is not all new. The GC9 won Chinese Car of the year for 2016 already.
But from what I hear, it wasn't widely available.
And this is a "slightly revised for 2017" version.

I think this is a really good looking sedan. Like a better looking Toyota Avalon.
It is based the Volvo S60. And designed by Peter Horbury from Volvo

2018 BMW X3





Again, this is strictly for BMW fans.
I really don't think it will bring people into the "BMW family".
If you didn't want an X3 before, this isn't going to change your mind.
This should be mostly repeat buyers. People who end up at the dealer after the lease is up, and see the new one on the lot.
They sold over 44 000 of these X3s last year alone (VS about 32 000 the year before)

So repeat buyers might just be enough.




New larger Fiat SUV coming up???

Not sure.
As this grainy picture could be anything...

But I am being told it could be a "larger than 500X" all new SUV/Crossover for Fiat.
Something that would compete better with the CR-V or Mazda CX-5.
Why not.

I guess it would be good for Fiat to get new products. Anything really.
The 500 is so old now. Without a redesign in sight.

The 500L is pretty much a big flop, at least in the US.
The 500X seems to become a little more popular here. At least where I live. (Although 11 712 units sold last year is pretty pathetic)

Maybe something larger will help?

I think some love and care for the brand would help.
Something Mr.Marchionne isn't willing to do. At all...

Maybe they need someone who actually likes cars ? ( a crazy idea)

Sunday, June 25, 2017

2019 Ford Escape Energi

This is a prototype mule of the next generation Escape.
Due out for the 2019 Model year. Right after the next generation Focus.
Both models, as well as a brand new Ford EV, will share the same platform.

What you see here, is the Plug-in Hybrid version of the next generation Escape.
The next generation Plug-in models from Ford are expected to have a much better range than the "20 something" currently seen in the Fusion.

I wonder if these will end up being made in China as well....


2019 Mazda RX9

New rumors about the next Mazda RX. The RX9.
Mazda did say a while ago there was no such car in the near future.

But there are now new rumors. About a concept version being shown in Japan before the end of the year.
And possible both a coupe and convertible production models scheduled for 2019.
with up to almost 450HP.

The bad news is: they are talking about a $70 000 car.

I just hope this is all wrong. This kind of price would be a terrible mistake.
Mazda has been doing great so far, but a $70 000 RX9 would be a joke.

If they want to go back into the sporty coupe, it should be under $40 000.

I hear the next Nissan Z will hold the base price to what it is now (about $32 000)  or even under.


I really don't need someone to come out with another cool car I can't afford...

All new 2018/19 Volvo V60


The next V60 looks a lot like a smaller V90. Which is great!

That great design is a smaller, less expensive package can only be good news.

It looks like the particular prototype was caught testing that stupid self driving tech everyone is trying so hard to rush to the market.
(Which I just hate..)

At least, this crap won't be standard for years, and we won't have to use it  if we don't want to.
For a while...

So far, this is looking good!

2018 Smart EV




Smart has announced a while ago that now, starting with the 2018 model year, they will be a 100% EV brand in the US.
I actually think thy should have done this a long time ago.
Somehow, the Smart has always looked like an electric car.

I know a lot of people love to hate the Smart (I guess if some people have to hate something... It might as well be some car)
But I've always kind of liked it. I have never driven one. I'he heard the earlier ones were pretty tough drives.
But I also hear the new ones are much nicer.

Sure, they are not cheap. But you can't really beat that amount of style. And, of course, these main problem is that everyone who wanted one has bought one already.
And the shortcomings of such a tiny car on our wide US roads probably prevent a lot of repeat customers..

Still, I think the all EV witch is a great idea.
It also makes it the only electric convertible you can buy in the US.

it will go on sale in the US in December.
But sadly, there is only a 100 miles range. (Charging time is 2.5 hours. Which is good)
Although in the case of the Smart, it might work. Since few people would take it on a long road trip anyway...

It is expected to start at around $23 000 before tax credits.
Which would make it about $13 000 where I live.
It's really not bad....




Now if Smart could really get they act together, they would find a way to import the 4 door ForFour version over here as well.
Which basically is a Renault Twingo with a Smart design.
A 4 door would have a much wider appeal in the US.

And they is already an EV version as well!


German "top 15" car sales for 2017. So far.

I thought it could be interesting to see what are the most popular cars in Germany.
Since, here, we mostly get their luxury models. Except for VW.

Surprised to see the Passat in second place. It's a rather large car for Europe. Had no idea it was that popular.
Also the C-Class. I thought the smaller cheaper A-Class would be more popular.

As you would expect, it's mostly German brands. Very few foreign brands seem to be able to crack the top 15 list....

Saturday, June 24, 2017

2018 Peugeot 505




 I think these are just illustrations.
(I posted them next to actual spy shots of the new Peugeot sedan so we can compare.)

All I would say is: let's hope this is not the real thing!
It has a weird 90's vibe to it. It just looks old an uninspired.
But also does match most of what we see in the actual prototypes.

Peugeot does need something. It really lacks the feel they had in "the old days" when Pininfarina was designing most of them.
This is just a super boring design with weird aggressive details.
Their new designs, like the 3008 SUV, suffer the same problems.

Maybe t's time for a new "design direction" at Peugeot.
Or get back some Italian designers.

2019 Toyota Avalon

Hard to tell what under all that camouflage.
But so far, the general shape and silhouette is very similar to the current car.
Even though this will be all new, based on the 2018 Camry platform.

I was really thinking Toyota might actually drop the Avalon.
It has always been squeezed between the Camry and the Lexus ES. and now the Camry is even larger and roomier...

But, they did sell over 48000 of them last year!
Which is quite amazing.
And the Hybrid version is really unique in the segment. Based on the all new Camry Hybrid, this should even get better.

All the pictures of the new Avalon prototypes can be seen HERE.

2018 BMW X3



Yes, this is the all new model for 2018.
Hard to tell, I know.  I think basically, only current owners will be able to know.

This is, again, the same thing over and over again.

And now the interior feels more like a Chinese copy of a BMW than the real thing.
And look at that ghastly front end. It looks like the work of 12 designers who never talked to each other.

Besides the hardcore BMW fans, I am not sure who would end up getting that. With all that new competition from Mercedes, Audi Volvo etc...

Friday, June 23, 2017

New BMW 5 series quick drive.


 After the 3 and 4 series, I got the chance to try out the all new 5 series.
A larger and even more expensive model.

Yet, as you can see, it looks 100% invisible. To most people, it looks like the previous model. Or "a BMW" . Of course. (And that's why people buy them...)
Nothing ugly. And nothing unexpected, since that's the BMW (and Audi) way these days....


 The only interesting line in the design is this one. That wraps around the rear side window.


 The interior is quite nicer than the 3/4 series. It is really a step up in quality and looks.
(Although, for my taste, I still prefer the Volvo S90 interior design. By a lot.)

Itjust feels very familiar and quite busy. And although it is better than the 3/4 Series, it still doesn't feel like a car of this price. (My test car started at about $58 000, and was actually over $68 000 after options!)

 For such an expensive car, rear leg room is just OK. Nothing great.
I would say less than a Jetta.
And much less than a Passat.

Something I also notice was the sound of the doors when you close them. I expected that super solid German car feel and sound.
Nothing like it. Again, the Passat feels much more solid.

 The drive is pretty much the same as the 3 series, but in a larger package.

So it feels even less sporty and more luxurious.
A super smooth ride, plenty of power. The lag from the 6 cylinder is still there (Now really not acceptable for $68 000).
The steering still feels a bit too light. Again, precise but more like a luxury car than an "ultimate driving machine".

Driving the 3 and 4 series, I really thought these cars were overpriced.
That is also the case with the new 5 series. Even more so.

It does drive very nice, but I can't imagine anything else at that price not driving nice.
I test drove a few Infiniti models in the past, and these were also very nice drives. For less money.
Now they also have Genesis to compete with .

I have to say, I had a well equipped Passat a while back for a week. And even though it can be criticized for its boring design inside and out, it is a very nice drive. And much roomier than the 5 series.
I would even say that the vast majority of people would think it is about as nice as this 5 series.
And if feels more solid on top of it.
For less than half the price!


None of this will matter to most BMW buyers. Since most of them won't even consider anything else.

But if you are a bit more open minded, drive a few cars before you spend around $80 000 for this one.
Really.
They won't have a BMW logo and you might even have to explain what they are.
Of course, if impressing friends and neighbors is the main consideration, I would say the BMW wins over Infiniti, Lexus, Genesis and others.





Let's meet again the new (Chinese) Ford Taurus.







Why not.
Since our next Focus will be made in China, I was wondering if Ford was rethinking the idea of offering the new Taurus in the US.

Yes, the "old" Taurus is still on sale in the US. At a starting price of $27 345.
(About $1000 less than its closest competitor, the Chevrolet Impala. )
And amazingly enough, they sold over 44 000 of them last year!

Not bad for a car most people think is discontinued.

So really, why not bring the Chinese made one over here?
The Chinese made Buick Envision is on its way to about 45 000 sales in the US for 2017.
So I guess that's a number where they do make money.

Sure, the large sedan market is shrinking. But 44 000 units is 44 000 units.
An all new model would also probably sell more. For at least a year or two.

I guess one way or another, most cars we buy will end up being made in China. Like everything else.

This might actually push car makers to sell us models that don't have to be super popular here, since they already makes such a profit on them in China?

Could this, in a weird way, bring back niche models?