Wednesday, November 30, 2005

2007 Toyota Corolla.



Sorry for the poor quality. But I think these new shots give a little bit more info about the front end of the next Corolla.

Looks like the lights are following the new Camry trend.

2007 Nissan maxima




These are not pictures of the Maxima, but the Nissan Teana, the Japanese equivalent of the US Maxima.

From new spy shots of the revised 2007 Maxima, we can tell Nissan is making it look more like the Teana. They will redesign the front end (looking more like the Teana), the rear lights/bumper, and give it an "all new interior".
It seems they want to step away from the sport sedan, and get closer to actual luxury and compete head on with the Avalon and Azera.

I think it is a good move. After a week long drive, I can tell you the current model is anything but a sport sedan. It is a fast car. But the Nintendo steering and loose feel in the front end aren't cutting it. And it doesn't have that solid feel cars like the Acura TL have.

About the "all new interior"...
They should just put the Teana interior (pictured here) in the Maxima. It looks fantastic, and luxurious. More than a match for the Avalon and Azera.

The Bizarro world!!!






The Essen show in Germany is pretty much a European Sema.
With even a few minor official introductions.

But what it actually is, is a weird mixture of after market parts, cartoonish cars, science fiction, dragsters, a bad acid trip and babes....

And it is still open for a few more days...

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Daihatsu Esse





I thought I saw this shape before...
It's the old Renault 5 from 1972!
I knew it. Except I think the Renault still looks better, after more than 30 years.

The 5 became a huge success in Europe, and eventually reaching the US as the "Le Car".(that was one stupid name)
Renault came out with the 2 door first. A shure way to fail in Europe where "nobody buys 2 door cars".
They proved everybody wrong, and even came out with the 4 door version later...

Homage or copy? You tell me.

New Kia sedan



This car has been seen around for a few months. But a new picture just showed up, without any camouflage.
It shows a 5 door hatchback, smaller than the Optima, but larger than the Spectra.
Maybe the new Carens, a model we don't (yet) get over here.

It seems to look nice and modern, and could fit nicely against cars like the Mazda3 over here.

But I don't really get the Hyundai/Kia strategy. All their models seem to overlap, with no big presonality differences.
It's not like one is sporty while the other is luxurious. Or modern vs conservative. You could pretty much switch badges on any of them...

New Ford Expedition



It looks like Ford isn't ready to answer the 2007 Tahoe challenge with an all new truck. At least from these pictures.
Next year's Expedition might just have to do with a new front end, and maybe a revised interior.
That might mean the same thing for the Navigator...

Are they falling behind, or are they just sinking less money into a shrinking segment???
Any of you see something I don't from these pictures?

Monday, November 28, 2005

Hyundai Accent Hybrid



After the Sonata, Azera and Santa Fe, Hyundai is almost ready to seel the Hybrid version of their new Accent.

A very interesting car.
From these pictures, it looks like they didn't want to add a lot of fancy features like an expensive video screen etc... Just like Toyota claims it will do with the Camry Hybrid.
So the price shoulnd't be that much higher than the regular Accent, which starts at around $10 000.
Imagine a Hybrid car for well under $15000.

But Hyndai has also mentioned they will build a pretty limited number of these (maybe under 10 000 a year) to test the market.
I hope they have the resources to boost that output fast.

Looks like another winner for the Korean brand...

White Santa Fe in the wild.






I think if a car looks good in white, it's a good looking car. White can't hide anything, and it usually makes everything boring.
I must say the new Santa fe looks very nice, even in white.

All the expected details are there too. Air conditioned console compartment, adjustable rear seat backs etc...
And the finish of the interior looks to be on par with the best.

All we need to know now is the actual price. Which should be somewhere between the Sonata and the Azera.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Rare bird.


That's right, a Camry wagon from the previous generation.
It was sold in some European countries. But never in the US.
Is is kind of weird to see the wagon rear end on such a familiar face, isn't it?

New renault Alpine




Renault is thinking about reviving the legendary Alpine name for a new sports car based on the Nissan Z.

These pictures of the Takhion concept show what might be one of the design direction for the project. Or should they go with a retro design, inspired by the classic Alpine from the 60's?

If they can't compete in the luxury car segment with the Vel Satis, I am not sure they could actually go against Porsche with this.... Same problem, people are buying a name.

Maybe Alpine would actually help in that regard.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Suzuki SX4



This is the Suzuki clone of the new Fiat SUV.
But we are supposed to get this one in the US.

Engines in Europe include a 107hp and a 120hp Diesel.
Let's hope something just a little bit bigger makes it over here. (how about the 2.2 Liter from the Cobalt...)

I liked the design of the Fiat, and the same goes for the Suzuki.
It is refreshing to see the option of a small SUV in the US. With everything getting larger and larger.
It might be a cool,roomy and modern alternative to smaller cars like the Focus or Mazda3..

It goes on sale inn Europe in March 2006.

Unloved: the AMC Gremlin

The Gremlin came out in April 1970.
If you look at its famous profile, you can see that quite a few modern cars are now using the weird side window design the small AMC pioneered over 35 years ago...(Murano, 2007 RAV4 to name a few)
The Gremlin was based on the Hornet. A regular 2 and 4 door sedan. And at a starting price of just under $2000, it sold pretty well too.
The name died in 1978, but the car re-appeared as the "Spirit" in 1979. Basically, a redesgined Gremlin.

Engines included a 2.0 Liter from Audi (!) and the old AMC 232 Six.
The car might not have been the best ever, but the design was really ahead of its time...






That last picture is of a Gremlin 5 AMX GT. Quite a mouthfull for a concept...

Ford 4-Track Concept



Not sure what this is...
They just released the new Sort Track, and this looks pretty much the same.
But I think this is actually a preview of the next Ranger. After all these years...

It looks OK, but nothing better than any other "compact" pick up truck out there... And it's not even out yet...

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Pontiac G2


GM sells a version of the Daewoo Matiz in Mexico as a Pontiac. The G2 Matiz.
It's kind of funny and cute to see the Pontiac badge on such a small car...



Less cute ( and not funny at all...) are the result from crash tests in Europe.

Over there the same car is known as the Chevrolet Matiz.
Out of 15 cars recently tested, the Matiz got the worse score. Even compared with other small cars.

Officials claim a "small chance of survival" in a moderate speed crash (!!!)

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

2007 Toyota Camry







Better and better pictures are coming out...

For my taste, the interior seems to be the best of all "boring midsized sedans" out there.
And I think the exterior will look much better in person.

The standard engine is supposed to have just a bit more power with 168hp. Which is plenty for most drivers.

Alfa Romeo Spyder


Not sure if this is an illustration or not. But it does look like the pictures of the car that were on the web a few weeks ago.

One weird thing.. It is based on the Brera coupe. It wears a Pininfarina badge on the side, but the Brera is a Giugiaro design. Maybe Pininfarina is responsible for the convertible, but would they take credit for the whole thing?

Mazda CX9

.....Photos removed.....


The smaller CX7 isn't out yet, and we already have a preview of the larger CX9. Which will replace the MPV in the US.

The CX7 is supposed to be based on the same platform as the Ford Edge, but will be powered by a 2.3 Liter Turbo engine.
And the CX9 is said to be based on a longer version of that platform. And might use the new Ford 3.5 Liter V6.
The CX9 will offer 3 rows of seats.

But I've read somewhere that the CX 7 was actually based on a longer Mazda3 platform. It would almost maked sense, using the 2.3 Liter and all.
Now, what do I know....

Anyone here knows for sure????

Fiat Sedici SUV




These are also the first official pictures of the new small SUV from Fiat and Suzuki.
And the Suzuki version is supposed to make it over here.

Don't be fooled by the wide angle lens on these pictures, this thing is pretty tiny. Almost a foot shorter than a Mazda3 Hatchback!

The largest engine in Europe is a 1.9Liter with 120hp.
Not sure which one we'll get here yet....

I am sure there is a market in the US for a sub $20 000 well designed small SUV. But I'm not sure Suzuki is the right brand for it. They spend almost no money letting people know they even exist. No one knows about their cars. And I have yet to read a good review about their new Vitara...

2007 Hyundai Santa Fe








Finally, these are official pictures of the all new Santa Fe.
This is the Korean version. The one sold in North America will be built in the US, just like the Sonata.

So far, we've heard the base engine will be a newer version of the 2.7 Liter V6. With a 3.3 Lier from the Sonata available in the mid level, and standard on the Limited.
I see the main competition for this as the Toyota Highlander. And the Toyota will be al new next fall.

But the Santa Fe looks very good, and prices should be pretty low. Lower than the Highlander.