Thursday, December 18, 2014

2015 Mustang drive.

  A couple of days ago, I got the chance to drive a few versions of the new 2015 Mustang.
Invited by Ford.

This was a really fun day.


First, I have to say the new Mustang looks really nice in person. Very muscular, sporty, yet more refined than before.
(I still think there would be nothing wrong with it being a hatchback, but that's just me...)
And it is still pretty big. 

The weirdest looking thing, to me, are these small vents on the hood of the V8 versions.
Not sure if they are really functional, since previous models never had that.
It actually looks a bit weird from the driver's point of view.


 Inside, things are quite nice. And more refined than before. Sure, it is still a bit shiny for my taste.
But at the same time, nicely retro.
The shifter is much smaller, and less "cartoony" looking than before.
Trims and plastics are great.

 A very nice soft plastic/stiches finish is part of the premium interior option.
 The manual shifter is actually a bit small. If almost feels weird at first. (And actually hard to really show how small it is/feels on a picture) Note the "non premium" console.

 The base model does have cheaper/harder plastics. And a cheesy carbon fiber looking finish on the dash, instead of metal.
The "premium" option is a must. Really.

As for the drive.
The 1st car I drove was a V8 automatic. Which is quite fantastic.
The main difference with the previous model, is of course, the well advertised all new suspension.
The car now behave more like a modern model.
But also, gone is the "retro charm" of that old fashion live axle.

Everything feels really solid. The ride is firm yet very comfortable.

I also tried the 6 speed manual. Which was very refined and easy to shift.
But the Automatic now has a "manual" option, which actually helps. Since in normal mode, it is still reluctant to downshift.

Things changed when I drove the new 2.3 Liter Ecoboost.
That car was equipped with a sport package.
The harder suspension is really way too hard for every day driving. It's just too much.
I would make sure to skip it at all cost, unless you plan to take the car on a track. A lot.
The tires were also way noisier on the freeway.
Not the best combo for everyday driving.

Also, that model did not have the Premium interior option. Which actually makes a big difference.
Without it, there is a lot more black plastic switches on the console. The material on the doors is now hard instead of soft. Gone is the stitching on the dash, etc...

The new 2.3 Liter Ecoboost is great. With plenty of power, a silent idle and making refined sounds all the time.
But in the end, it isn't that special. It makes the Mustang sound and feel more like any other coupe on the market.

Basically, the V8 is what makes this car special.

The new 2015 Mustang is a great improvement on the previous model. Which was already really nice. (in V8 form)
Basically, this is a really nice car. And the Ecoboost is much more refined than the "almost fleet only" tractor like V6.

But still, no matter what, that V8 feels and sounds fantastic...



Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Acura NSX Teaser Video


Finally!

We will see the real production mddl at the Detroit Auto show next month.
Which will be exactly 3 full years after they showed us the concept car. Three years of teasing!

Actually, good for them for actually producing the car.
Even if we all know what it will look like.
I guess it won't look weird on the road. Or even new since we've seen it in pictures for 3 years.



Tuesday, December 16, 2014

VW Passat 1.8 Test Drive.

I must say, the current Passat does look good. Yes, not as modern as the "all new for 2015" Euro model. But it does look like a classy ride.

It is conservative looking, in a good way. Unlike the Camry, which is looking almost weird these days.
It seems like a design that will still look just fine 10 years from now.


Same thing goes for the interior. Yes, it is quite a boring design when compared to the competition.
Like the Fusion or Optima. But it is not ugly. And the wood trim in my SEL model improves things a lot.

One thing that still drives me crazy, is the VW proprietary plug for the phone or iPod.
The cable is always too short. And you need an adapted if you have anything else than an iPhone 3 or 4.
Why not a regular USB plug??? (What the hell??)

The back seat is still amazingly roomy. It's pretty much a full size car back there.

Same goes for the trunk.


The big news for 2015 is the new smaller 1.8 Liter engine. Which replaced the old 2.5 Liter in everything VW was using it. (Like the Beetle and the Jetta.)
It does work fine is the smaller Jetta, but how is it in the larger Passat?
(After all, 1.8 Liter is pretty small for such a large car.)

Well, it works great. It is quiet, smooth, and power is great past 2000RPM.
Which is most of the time.
The 6 speed auto is just fine. The steering is still a bit on the light side. Especially for a "German" car.

But the whole thing is quiet, comfortable and there is always plenty of power.

The main reason for downsizing the engine is better gas mileage.
I was able to get 24 MPG in the city. But like any turbo, when you're having fun, things do get worse.
In this case, the average in the city dropped to around 20MPG.

For 2015, the VW Passat is a better choice than before.
The new 1.8 Liter Turbo engine provides great power. And it is quiet and refined.
You also get almost 40MPG on the freeway. Which is not that much less than the more expensive Diesel model. (Which is rated at 42MPG but actually gets around 50 in real life)

VW will show a revised version of the Passat in just a few months (Or maybe even before) for the 2016 model year.
Frankly, the car doesn't really need anything outside. But it could benefit from a more modern dashboard.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Infiniti Q60 "Concept"

They've already told us that this new concept will be "really, really" close to the real thing.
So it's pretty much one of these fake concepts. You know, the ones that are actually a regular car, with tiny rear view mirrors, larger wheels and more aggressive front ends.

So far it looks really good.
The "old" G37 coupe was always a nice looking car. And a decent alternative to the German competition.


Laziest redesign ever: 2016 Audi Q7



 This what we get after 9 years.
A big A3 hatchback.

And it doesn't even look like an SUV or a crossover anymore. Just a slightly bloated wagon.
I mean, it was expected. As Audi has been doing this for years. Using the same design for everything.
Still, their current and upcoming models are just squared off versions of what we've seen for years.
It's never new. And it's getting sad...

And from what I saw with their Concept at the L.A show, the future looks like more of the same.

While the designers were asleep, it looks like the engineers actually did work. The new Q7 is about 700 pounds lighter tun before. And an all new Diesel Plugin Hybrid version will be available.
(But probably at such a premium price that it will be ridiculous to get one...)

Goodbye, "old" Q7. You will be missed...

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

SAAB saved! Again.






I do think Saab deserves to be saved. (I don't really understand all the hate going around)
As far as I am concerned, the more brands the better.

I mean, looks at these guys above. This is still a good looking bunch. (Except that illustration of the Phoenix platform based future 9-3. Bottom pic)

Now it looks like Indian company Mahindra is about to acquire the brand. And its current parent company NEVS. (Who was not able to produce more than a few of the old 9-3 sedans...)

Mahindra was already trying to get Saab a couple of years ago. Before that, they also went for Aston Martin, Jaguar and Land Rover.

The question is, what are they going to build?
The gorgeous 9-5 and the 9-4X were GM based. And GM didn't allow the new owners to produce them. The "next" weird looking 9-3 looks like the only thing on the drawing board so far. (Sedan and convertible)
And there is also the (huge) problem of trusting a brand that almost died so many times within the last few years...

What do you think?

Hyundai i20 Coupe




 We don't get the i20 here. So this isn't for us. (Over here, we get the Accent instead...)
Mostly for Europe where it competes with models like the Ford Fiesta and VW Polo.
So this is a "sportier" version of the 4 door they introduced earlier.

And I think it does look quite nice.
Unlike the Elantra Coupe, this looks so much better than the 4 door it is based on.

But with engines from 84 to 100HP, it only "looks" sporty. So far...
This is the 4 door version.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Mercedes GLE "Coupe"



 Sure it's a coupe. Not!
This is yet another 4 door car called "coupe". So weird that now it has become wrong to call things by their name. By what they really are.
This is an AWD Hatchback.

Apparently, since there is an E in its name, it is related to the E Class.
So it basically could look a lot like a raised hatchback version of the next E Class coming out next year.
the interior is also different from the current E Class sedan. So this also could be the dashboard of the next E Class.

Of course, there will be an AMG version also. With a 3.0 Liter V6 Turbo with over 360HP.
This is what the GLE reminds me of.
Except these were called by their real names. The coupe had 2 doors. And the wagon was... a wagon.

These guys were so ahead of their time.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Opel Karl (Official pix)




Now we can really see what it looks like.
Which is... Not that great. Really.
And not German looking at all in my opinion. While the Adam seems very original, this could be from Hyundai or Toyota.

I also hear it will be built in Korea anyway.
So it's not THAT German...

Engines include a 3 cylinder with 75hp.
On sale next summer in Europe.

I wonder if this will also end up here as the Spark, since it looks pretty much the same size.

2016/17 VW Passat CC?

Frankly, I can't really imagine VW coming up with such a cool and aggressive design.
At least not before 2030.

But this illustration does look really cool.
We'll have to see what the real thing will look like.



All new Opel Karl


The Karl is supposed to replace the tiny Agila next year. And there won't be any Euro Chevy version anymore. Since now they don't have Chevrolet in Europe anymore (What a stupid idea that was in the first place anyway...)
We are not supposed to get this since a new Spark is on its way. (Which means Opel has now 2 cars smaller than the Spark!)


But let's talk about that name. Really. A Karl???
It started last year with the Adam. (Named after founder Adam Opel)
So now we have another model named after his son!
Makes you wonder what's next.

Carl Von Opel (Full name with correct spelling) had 4 brothers.
So we could very well see new car names like the Opel Wilhelm, Opel Heinrich, Opel Ludwig. And my favorite, the Opel Fritz!
Replacing the Insignia, Corsa, Astra and Cascada.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Something you don't see every day...

Especially one looking as perfect as this one.
On my way home...

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Mercedes CLA Shooting Brake





This is yet another wagon we won't be getting in the US.
As Mercedes is making more money selling us the GLA. So again, no car based wagon for us.

Just as we are not getting the new C-Class wagon either. Instead, we will be getting the all new C-Class based GLC next year. Which will replace the GLK.

Less truck regulations and higher profits help all these guys push SUVs in the US market.