Monday, May 23, 2016

New Peugeot 3008



This looks pretty cute.
I mean, not very simple. There are a lot of lines. Within what is basically a very conservative silhouette .
And a bit too many plastic chrome pieces everywhere for my taste.
( I had seen that on some recent Renault models while I was in Europe last year)

These chrome trim bits end up looking pretty cheap in person.

But at least, the whole thing is trying to be original.
Especially inside.

They're is a slight change we might see this in the US. Since Peugeot will be using some of its new models as part of a ride sharing program in the US. (to "test" the market)

Thursday, May 19, 2016

The shape of things to come...



Or not. Who knows, really.

I thought I would jut repost these. From what we have seen the Civic hatchback seems pretty realistic.
Not sure where BMW will go with the actual i5.
And Volvo definitely should build this coupe version of the gorgeous S90 sedan.
But I think the new small sedan/crossovers previewed by the 40.1 and 40.2 concepts will be their priorities.
At least for now.

So there...

The future of the Genesis brand


They are basically following Infiniti, more or less.
Coming up with a whole new brand based on a separate RWD platform.

The big G90 is already out. That's the one almost nobody will actually buy.
(As not many people are ready to spend over $60 000 in a Korean car in the US.)

The G80 is basically a slightly revised Hyundai Genesis sedan for 2017.
Which also has not sold in high numbers.

The small sedan might have a better chance. Since the Lexus IS sells pretty well. And it will be competing in a more popular segment.

And, of course, they will sell plenty of the SUVs. Just because...
They will come in 2 sizes. Pretty small, and pretty big.

I guess everyone else has a coupe so they will offer one too.

I think they might have a chance, if they undercut the competition.
Just like Lexus did when they started in the US.

But they do need some amazing design to stand out.
And they have shown some really cool concepts already. But Hyundai has a sad history of having production models that are never influenced by their great concepts.


We'll see....


New Buick GL8 Minivan

Another "for China only" Buick.

The GL8 minivan has been around for about 16 years.
The current generation came out in 2010. So it is time for a new one.

The one pictured above will follow the trend of replacing the V6 with a 2.0 Liter Turbo.
And of course, it's not coming over here.
Unless Chrysler sells millions of the all new Pacifica and everyone, all of a sudden, has to have a Minivan.
In that case, I am sure GM will gladly import a few of these...

Just as a bit of extra info. This is the current one.
Which is still quite good looking.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Got a write-up in Jalopnik

Back in 2009!!
I never check these things and just found out today. Over 6 years later.
How weird. If I only knew.

It doesn't really matter, as I still feel good about it.
And wanted to say thanks to Mr. Hardigree. Who might or might not even work there anymore.

Volvo Concept 40.2



Now this is the "regular" hatchback compact model.
And it also looks really original. Again, very Volvo like.
Without looking like a small S90.
And it is still a hatchback.
With a few SUV design cues. Like that black arches around the wheels.

This would really stand out if they kept the changes to a minimum for the production model.
Something really modern and different. Quite the opposite of what BMW is doing with the 1 series sedan. Which is doing its best to just look like a 3 series.

Volvo seems to be doing great these days. And that's not all.
They still have a new XC60 and S60 sedan coming out...

I will post interior pix as soon as I can find some.

Volvo Concept 40.1



This is basically a concept version of the upcoming small XC40 SUV.

And I think it looks great already.
Hard to tell what will be left of this for the production model.
(The XC90 was toned down a lot from the concept)
But this does look almost production ready.

It looks like a Volvo without being a copy of its larger siblings. Which is great.
Something BMW, Audi and Mercedes could learn from. (Especially Audi)

I guess this will do battle with the Audi A3, BMW X1/X3 and Mercedes CLA.
As well as the all new Infiniti QX30.

The all new Volvo will be offered with regular engines (Probably the new 3 cylinder turbo they've been talking about)
As well as plug-in Hybrid and all electric versions.

Good to see someone doing something original in the luxury segment. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

2017 Buick Lacrosse price


So far, we only know the base price, which is $32 990.
Or about $1000 more than the outgoing model.

But that base model for 2016 was really "basic". The 2017 comes standard with a 305HP V6 and Apple CarPlay.
While this seems to be quite a deal compared to other near luxury sedans, it is still pretty basic.
Things like leather seats are still an option.
While the Lexus ES is the most obvious competition, it is priced at around $ 39 000.

But the redesigned Kia Codenza might also be quite a competitor.

Sure, it doesn't have the Lexus reputation for quality and reliability. But the Buick doesn't either.
The Kia looks really good, has about the same power as the Buick. And it comes with an 8 speed automatic. And could be quite a bit cheaper when similarly equipped.


It seems like a shrinking segment of the market. So these large semi luxury sedans might be the last of their breeds...
At least for a while.

Renault Kwid crash test



Think you'd like to buy a Renault Kwid?
Well, first, you can't. Unless you live in India.

Maybe you live in Europe and thought this would make a really cool small Dacia model.
Or here in the US, maybe Nissan could import it and finally make your dream of a $6000 Nissan come true.
None of these will happen.
For your own good.





Here is what happens when the Kwid crashes at 39MPH: you die.

So once again, poor people get screwed. Nobody is asking for a Volvo safety standard here.
But you would think Renault would make this at least as safe as the cars they sell in Europe.
The Kwid actually got a ZERO star rating in theses tests.

So basically, Indian drivers are getting screwed by the car makers, as well as their own government who isn't asking for better safety standards.
( I bet without any regulations we still wouldn't have seat belts here)

Of course, right after the results, Renault has said they have been working on a revised model that will get better results.
Which means they know they are selling death traps.

(To be fair to Renault, other cheap cars were tested and also got a zero star rating.
They are from Suzuki, Hyundai and India's own Mahindra)

Everyone knows there might be problems when you buy something as soon as it came out.
But it looks like being an early adopter in India could actually cost your your life.

This is really sad.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Chevrolet Camaro test drive.



 Let me start by saying that yellow is really not a color I would ever get on a car.
(The one pictured here is actually called "Bright Yellow"...)

Besides the color, I was still able to appreciate the design. The new Camaro does look great in person.
A perfect blend of retro cues and a very modern design. Even futuristic from some angles.

I think it looks better than the current Mustang. Which never grew 100% on me.

By the way, here is what the yellow looks like at night. Parked in a street.
At least it's easy to find your car.


 The interior is a huge improvement over the last generation.
The model I was driving was a "2LT Coupe". With the RS package.
So it was loaded. With pretty much anything you can think of, except a sunroof.
It even has cooling seats and a heating steering wheel.

The lower vents might seem strange at first but they work great.
The seats are very comfortable.
The screen is a bit tilted down which is weird at first. (Most other new GM cars seem to have that)
I guess it is to avoid reflections from the sun. But I wouldn't worry about that in the Camaro.
As the windows are even slimmer than before, so not much sun will get in there. Ever.

 The Bose system sounds excellent. Much nicer than in most other cars.

BUT.... There is still a problem between GM and the iPhone.
I wrote before about my frustrating experience with CarPlay in the Volt.
And guess what, same thing here. It just only works when it wants to.

It does recognize the phone.. always. But only the first few playlists.
Switching to the regular MyLink system is a bit better. But often doesn't recognize individual songs within the lists. Reading "playlist empty".

So you end up listening to radio. A lot.
Or, other times it works perfect.

Which is really, really bad and frustrating.
 As I mentioned before, visibility up front is limited. Sure, you don't need to see the sky in order to drive.
But it is something that takes a bit of time to get used to.

Looking to your right, the tiny rear side window does provide a bit of help.
 But not so much from the other side. Looking left from the driver seat is a bit of a challenge.
I guess that's what the electronic blind spot monitor is for...
 Even with tiny rear windows, your rear seat passengers won't feel so chlostrophobic after all.
Since they won't be able to sit back there in the first place.

I can't image adults of any size fitting back there.
It's mostly for car seats or dogs.
 The model I was driving had a 335HP 3.6 Liter V6 (a $1495 option).
With an 8 speed automatic (another $1495 option)

While it has plenty of power all the time, it sounded more like a 4 cylinder. (Which was fine, but felt kind of weird)
It has a high pitch exhaust that made me wonder if it was really a V6 at first.

I also wasn't a big fan of the exhaust note. ( I have seen a few other reviews where people loved it, but not me)
My car had a $895 Dual mode exhaust system option. So that might have been it.
It gave me a choice between Stealth and Sport. And I couldn't really tell any difference.

Same thing for the driving modes. Touring or Sport.
I could only feel a very slight change in the steering feel.

The steering is actually one of the best part of the car.
It feels just about perfect. With plenty of feel.

I could feel small vibrations in the seat at idle. At the same time the engine was whisper quiet when not pushed. (Until that exhaust starts up...)

 The suspension was very firm but always comfortable. Even with the big 20inch run flat tires.
(It was better than the Jetta GLI I had the previous week.)

The whole car feels like a tank. A very solid ride.
It actually drives more like a European car than what most people would expect of an American muscle car.
The 8 speed automatic is great.
It doesn't take much to get it to downshift at all.
And it is always super smooth.

The Camaro V6 is rated at 19/28MPG.
I can tell you that, just like with any big V6, it is not possible to actually get 19 in the city.
Trying hard, I could only get 17. Which is not bad at all for a 335HP engine.

But I easily got 32MPG on the highway.



I really enjoyed my week with the new Camaro.

Again, I wouldn't get yellow. (a $395 option by the way)
And I would skip some of the options my car had. Like the $895 Dual Exhaust.
Or even the RS package. ($1950). I know the wheels do look great. But I am not a fan of spoilers. 
$2000 isn't cheap for these wheels. And a bunch of other stuff you could do without.

If you get this car with the 2.0 Liter and a 6 speed. It is under $30 000.
Still a very well equipped car with Bose and leather.
The one option I would get is the sunroof. Which would help a lot in this car.

The new Camaro is a very nice car and a very engaging drive. 
If a bit flashy. Even in this "non V8" form.

The Mustang is still a bit more subtle.
And like most people will tell you, more livable on a daily basis.
Visibility is better. The trunk is easier to use. The back seat is a little bit roomier.
And the whole thing doesn't have that tank/cave feel to it when you drive it.

It all comes down to personal preferences really.
I cannot wait to try other versions. I am really curious about the 2.0 Liter Turbo.
And the convertible.






Here is the official window sticker for the car I was driving. So you can click on it and see all the prices and options.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

2017 Audi A5

Wow... How sad is this.

An official teaser from Audi, showing a camouflage prototype of the "all new" A5.

And, of course, it looks like the same car as the one we have now.
Just like the A4, it will be a slightly squared off version of the current model.
With the new A4 terrible interior. Which is much worse than it was before.

The current A5 interior is still very, very nice.

I always wonder why car makers use pictures of their camouflaged prototypes as teasers.
Since we have seen much better pictures of that car already...

Friday, May 13, 2016

2017/18 VW Jetta?

Another Chinese car toy leak.
And it does look like this could be our next Jetta.

A similar sized model called the lamando has been on sale in China for a while.
It is based on the same platform as the current Golf (Our Jetta is based on an older platform)
So this seems to be a logical move for VW.

US and China already share the same Passat.
Now it looks like we are going to share the same Jetta.

The European market is basically no existent for the Jetta. I think the Golf outsells it by 18 to one or something like that.
But that kind of super conservative sedan is popular in China. And the US.

So basically, we might be getting a model designed for China and made in Mexico.

As far as the design is concerned, it barely looks more modern than the current car.
The Chinese version was introduced almost 2 years ago already.
So by the time it comes over here it won't be that new anymore.

Which I guess is why VW designs such conservative cars. If it takes forever to launch them in various markets, that can't really be trendy.

But, as I mentioned in my Jetta GLI review, these designs age pretty well. The current Jetta still looks nice.

So why not....

Thursday, May 12, 2016

New Volvo Concept coming up

As early as next week.
Which is a surprise.

This looks production ready to me. So it might be one of these "fake concepts" that is just the production model with bigger wheels and a bunch of crazy details.

Not sure what it is, but there have been rumors of a small XC40 SUV for a while now.
This would be the first mold based on their all new compact platform.
So it would actually make business sense to come out with the SUV version first.

An all new V40 is also due. (And its Cross Country counterpart) But they just released a face lifted version of that car.

So basically, it must be the XC40.
Unless... New XC60?

What do you think?


Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Chevrolet Avalanche wannabe: 2017 Silverado High Desert pack



You just know that with all these pick up truck sales going up, GM must regret not having a new version of the Avalanche.
(Which was discontinued when the current Silverado came out)

So there is it: a new option pack. Which turns the current Silverado into an "Almost Avalanche".
And why not.
It doesn't look bad.

Here is the official claim:
"The High Desert package blends the capability and utility of Silverado, with the refinement and luxury of Suburban".
Which does sound like a lot of PR BS to me.

As after having driven both, I can tell you that the Suburban is not really more refined or luxurious than the Silverado.
But hey, that's marketing for you...

2017 Chevrolet Cavalier


No, it's not actually coming back.
Well, it is. But in China only.

The new Cavalier is smaller and cheaper than the Cruze. It is powered by a small 1.5 Liter engine.
And I am sure Chevrolet is not interested in another small sedan for its us portfolio.

From what we can see on these pictures, it will not be missed.
Unlike the new Mazda CX4, this is something I do not wish to see in the streets. Ever.

The good news is, we won't.

2016/2017 Fiat 500 Abarth


Just like the regular 500 did a few months ago, the Abarth version gets a few modifications.
It's even more aggressive looking now.

Not sure what that is coming over to the US. I would say for the 2017 model year.
But we are still waiting for the revised "regular" 500.
So who knows...


Lexus LC




Just a few new pictures. (Or at least they are new to me since I haven't seen them before)
This particular one is the Hybrid version.

While it does look great even in red. (Most pictures of the LC are of the red one)
In a more "regular" color it looks really fantastic.

Even the Lexus grille everyone loves to hate works here.
It just feels part of the whole thing. A lot has to do with the lines at the edge of the headlights matching the meeting the smaller part of the grille. All these lines got where they are supped to.
Unlike most other Lexus models.
(I simple thing done wrong most of the time.)

I actually cannot wait to see this. And I know there will be plenty of them around here in L.A
Lexus has already hinted it might be priced slightly bellow the BMW 6 series.
(As it should be, really)

So they're not pulling an Acura on us. Who priced the NSX like an Aston Martin.

This is what an expensive car should look like.