Wednesday, March 29, 2017

What do YOU drive?



I haven't done this for a while ( I used to...)

But I'd like to know what car you drive.
All of you. Any of you.

What car, what brand, what year. What are you driving these days?

New SsangYong Rexton: we're not missing anything.



 The SsangYong SUV brand from Korea has, for many years, been the proud recipient of the "Worst looking designs in the world" award.
They do, somehow, actually sell some SUVs in Europe. But thank God, these things never landed in the US.

Have a look at their latest creation.
There is just nothing to say.
It is just "Chinese design" bad. And that interior....

In 2017, it all seems like a bad joke.
As an added bonus to the joke, this one above is the current model!
And yes. Looking 100 times better. Not great, but much better.

Upcoming larger Alfa Romeo SUV



These are, of course just illustrations.
From someone who is guessing what Alfa's next SUV might look like. 

I think they look great.

It's no secret Alfa (like everyone else), is coming up with more SUV.s
One smaller than the Stelvio, and one larger.

That same longer platform is supposed to also be used for the replacement models for the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger.
If such cars ever see the light of day... ( I don't think they ever will)

So it looks like ALFA will now be an "almost all" SUV company.
Let's hope the stretched platform will also turn up in that 5 series fighter they've been talking about for years...




2018 Jeep Wrangler


The new one is on top (obviously...)

Looks like they really were afraid to change anything.
Which is great news for the hardcore fans I guess.

The rest of us will have to wait a few more years to see real 21st Century designs of the classic Jeep.

Which is fine. It's actually good to know there is still something that retro out there.
Expect maybe more efficient engines. More modern transmissions, etc....
And the usual modern electronics.

By the way, if you want to read and see more about the next Wrangler, head over HERE.
Truly a remarkable gold mine of info about the next Wrangler...

And HERE for the pix of the 2 door version I saw last year.

Toyota FT-4X Concept teaser

This is interesting since there are rumors it could be a concept of the next Fj Cruiser.

I am not a truck person, but I've always liked the FJ-Cruiser. Maybe just because of its retro/almost cartoony design.
Plus I have a couple of friends who own them and love them.

For a while, sales weren't strong enough for Toyota. The future looked pretty bleak for the FJ and an eventual replacement. (The FJ "died" in 2014)
But these days, anything that says "truck" sells.
So it makes sense to bring it back from the dead.

Let's just hope it looks as much fun as the first one.


Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Introducing: The Changan, from China




I guess this one could be seen as a Ford Explorer copy/clone?

With a little bit of everything else mixed in.



2018 Nissan Leaf



These all new pictures of a camouflaged 2018 Nissan Leaf show us how far the production model will be from the IDS Concept from 2015.
Most of us had hopes for something much sleeker for the 2nd generation.
I guess not.

On these pictures, the next leaf looks about 1.5% more exciting than the current model.
Still pretty lumpy.
The new Chevrolet Bolt seems to much more modern.
Plus that 238 miles range. Which will be very hard to beat by Nissan.

I guess we will have to wait a little while longer. We should see the real thing in the fall.

Autoweek has many more pictures of the next Leaf HERE.



2018 BMW 6 series (Or 8?)

Everyone seems to think these recent coupe prototypes from BMW are of a new 8 series.
I really don't think so.

Since the "regular" 6 series is due for a redesign pretty soon.
Unless they just want to call the new 6 an 8. And charge much more for it.
And why not...

I just think that if there is an 8 series, it would be much larger. More like an S-class coupe.
This still looks the same size as a 6 series coupe.

Just for yourselves and tall me what you think.
All the pictures are HERE.

2018 Mercedes S-Class sedan


It's time for the usual mid-cycle "very small changes" for the S-Class.
So here they are. (The top picture is the new 2018 model)

The headlight design is still very, very busy. And much too big . (Lots of empty space it seems)
Although the lower bumper seems a bit cleaner.

Otherwise, the interior now gets one giant screen, like the E-Class and a new steering wheel.

Plus a bunch of other technical stuff only Mercedes nerds will care about...

2018 Acura TLX teaser

Well. Of course.
Now that they are in love with their new grille design, they have to put it on everything.

So the TLX is next.

Acuras are good cars. They are just not pretty anymore.
And these stupid names don't help. At least the old ones did have a little bit of personality.

As for the grille, I actually think it is worse than the previous one everyone hated.
It just screams "old" to me. And uninspired.

It's really too bad.
It is pretty close to this picture from my previous post.

Again, a really good car in search of a good design. And a personality.

How about firing a few people over there?


Monday, March 27, 2017

Chrysler near death. Again....



I know, it has happened before. many times.

But check out the Chrysler.com main page.

-All you see is the Chrysler 200. Which is already dead.
They stopped building it a while ago. But it's still there...

They still managed to sell 57 294 of them last year.
And 178 000 the year before! (That's what some advertising money does...)
No bad at all.  Then, Marchionne announced he hated the car and was
stopping production.

-The Chrysler 300 sedan. The current generation came out in 2011.
So it's already 6 years old. Most of the competition has been redesigned.
From what Chrysler is saying, a new one (If that ever happens) is still a couple of years away.
They sold about 53 000 of them last year. (Which isn't bad l for that segment)


-The pacifica Minivan. Gas and Hybrid versions.
The one bright spot. Showing Chrysler can still compete in one segment.

So they basically have only 2 models.

I don't really know any other main stream brand with only 2 models for sale currently.
Mitsubishi maybe?

What is going on???
I thought the original idea of blending Chrysler for the US market and Lancia for Europe was pretty good.
But no. That idea got killed.
Just like any new product. (Except the minivan)


What do you think?

Have you heard of any new product for Chrysler???
Maybe Peugeot should buy it and sell us Opels and Peugeots under the Chrysler name?


2018 Chevrolet Traverse BurlappVideo



The new Traverse is looking pretty good in this VIDEO.

Really much nicer than the terrible looking Honda Pilot (That poor thing never looked good...)



It does have a bit of the Suburban/Tahoe look to it.

Which could be a good thing.

And really, this looks roomy enough for anyone. It could, and should, steal sales from the larger truck based SUVs.



Unless you need to tow a small house, there is really no need for something truck based anymore.

Again, HERE is the new 2018 Chevrolet Traverse Video.






Sunday, March 26, 2017

New Opel Corsa still testing???



Is the new Corsa still testing???

Weird since the head of PSA has just announced it will switch to a new PSA platform. And the one that had been testing had been put on hold


Weird....



Another Illustration of the upcoming 2018 Volvo XC40

Again, not the real thing yet.
Just another illustration done from a picture of last year's concept.

I thought I'd post it, since this one shows the "hidden" rear door handles.
Similar to the concept.

I think it's a feature that is really part of the design. And they will keep it on the production car.

But really, who knows....

Saturday, March 25, 2017

2018 Volvo XC40

 Looks like the all new XC40 Compact SUV from Volvo is ready to go.

It also looks like it will be very close to the concept we saw last year.
Which is a good thing. Since it was a pretty original design, compared to other small SUVs around.

HERE are more pictures of it testing in the snow.

 These are just illustrations. From last year's concept. And they do look great.

But... I still think they will keep the "hidden" rear door handle the concept had.
I think Volvo is fooling everyone by putting fake ones on the prototypes driving around.
Like on this one.

The front and rear door handles don't seem to align properly.
I think the rear door handles are part of the rear doors. Like on the concepts.
And others, like the Nissan Juke.


Here is the concept. With the hidden rear door handles. On top of the door. Close to the roof.


Nissan Altima test drive coming up.

Nissan sent me an Altima for the week.

I did drive one about 3 years ago. So I'll see what's new.
Besides the obvious: new front end design.

My model is a pretty loaded SL model. With the popular 2.5 Liter engine.

Of course, this post and the actual review will drive the Nissan fan boys crazy (Or is it just one lonely guy...)
So expect reading a lot of comments explaining how Nissan is the "best car ever".
"the competition cannot catch up", "Nissan is Got", "Nissan rules" etc...

Get ready for the Nissan nuts to come out.
(maybe the super lonely "Toyota hater" guy could chime in as well...)

Ford Fiesta Active "BurlappVideo"





Here is the best way to discover the all new Ford Fiesta Active: A new Burlapp Video (TM)



I think the new Fiesta looks really good. And the Active version is really cute.

Something Ford should really consider offering it in the US.



But I read somewhere they are thinking off not bringing the new Fiesta in the US at all.

Which would be sad. It seems it has been a good seller here so far.

(Still almost 50 000 sold in the US last year...While Honda sold 56 000 units of the new Fit)



I think this "Active" version could work really well in the US.



What do you think?




Friday, March 24, 2017

VW GTI test drive.



 The current GTI came out in Europe since late 2012. (Later in the US)
So the design is very familiar.
Basically still an evolution, after all these years, of the original 1970's Guigiaro Golf design.
It still looks very nice after 5 years.

(the model I tested was a 2017 model, not the revised one for 2018)
Compared to Asian hatchbacks we mostly get here in the US, it still has a refreshing simple look and personality.


       




 Same thing inside. It is quite roomy everywhere.
Everything is super solid and well put together. (The doors feel amazingly solid)
And everything looks and feels like a high end car. This is really as nice (or nicer) as an Audi.

The model I had was a loaded SE. So it came with pretty much everything.
Including the always great Fender stereo.
Now with Apple CarPlay . Which works great.


 The best part of the hatch is this.

A super roomy small car that can fit tons of stuff inside. Without getting an SUV.


 I was still surprised by a few things missing. This SE being the loaded model.
Like the rear view mirror. With its old fashion manual switch.
 Or the "power seat". Which still requires mostly manual adjustments.
Come on.... In 2017, a power seat should not have any manual adjustment at all in a $33 000 car...

 I tried the custom drive settings.
I left the steering in the "sport" position. The "normal" setting is too light for a sporty car.
I think the Sport should be the setting in Normal. Sport should be even sportier.

Otherwise there isn't that much of a difference in other settings.
Especially "engine sound". Where I really couldn't tell any difference.

 The storage space under the center armrest is, let's say, limited.

 The drive is, very sporty.
Which totally fits the GTI personality. I mean, it's how it should be.

Like I mentioned earlier, I wish the steering had a bit more weight to it.
But it does feel great.

The suspension is very firm, which is fine.

The 2.0 Liter is still not as smooth or refined as most others.
It still feels like a quiet diesel at idle. Most of the time.
Otherwise, it is super punshy. You really have to watch it past 2500 RPM. There is just a huge rush of power.

Which is just great fun. But that fun is actually quite limited in real life.
I mean besides freeway onramps, where could you actually drive like this on a regular basis?

Gas mileage is rated at 24City and 32HWY.
I got about 22 in the City. And had no problem getting 35HWY.



 I still don't like the DSG transmission.
It has gotten better. (It doesn't feel like the car is stalling when stopping, anymore)
But in D mode it isn't very willing to downshift.

The best way to use it is the "fake manual" mode. Where you up or down shift yourself.
It works much better this way. With a super quick response.
But the way to go in the GTI would be to get the proper manual.

The worst part of the DSG is still when trying to park uphill. In reverse, sometimes, the car just refuses to move. It raves up, but doesn't move. Like if in neutral. Then it does.
It happened more than once and it really disturbing.

In normal D mode, there is a general lag in acceleration. Which gets a bit better when shifting manually.
And is probably much easier to control with a proper manual.

Brakes are very strong. But can be pretty abrupt.
It takes a while to figure out how to stop smoothly.

 The GTI is still one of the most fun you could have driving.
Sure, it's a bit quirky. Which is actually fine.
It all comes out as "personality".

It is wonderful in the city, but also a great highway driver. With tons of room.
For my taste, I would rather have the 6 speed manual.
And also the cool plaid seats from the base model.
 (But. I don't think the Fender stereo is even an option on the base car....)



Here is the details of the car I was driving for a week.

Click on the Pix. It gets bigger. 

Final prototype Tesla Model 3 video!

 Elon Musk tweeted an all new, very short, video of a "final" version of a Tesla Model 3 prototype testing.

So, pretty much, what you see is what you'll get.
There doesn't seem to be many changes to the early versions we saw last year.
The front end has not been redesigned, or so it seems.
Musk mentioned the trunk opening was being redone. It's hard to tell from this video.

He also said the interior were a work in progress.
From the picture above, (and the video), it looks the same.


Here is the early prototype interior. Which, we were told, was not final.

You can see the video HERE. On my Twitter page. 

What do you think?