Saturday, February 28, 2009

All new VW Polo


Revealed early by one of the posters outside the Geneva auto show.
It's kind of funny...

We are supposed to finally get the Polo in the US. So this is the new sub-Rabbit VW model for us as well.
Competing in a new segment for VW. One they should never have left in the first place: the small affordable car.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Next Citroen C3


This looks pretty real to me, but I'm not sure.

The C3 is a nice looking small car. And the next one seems to be an even more modern version.
But I've heard many times of so many reliability problems. Especially with the "Pluriel" models.

Let's hope improvements in that area are the main changes for the new model.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

SAAB stopped all production today.


Saab has stopped all production earlier today.
Mainly because they owe so much money to the Swedish customs agency.
So they basically can't "move" their cars until their dept is paid.
It is a sad day for the legendary car maker.

I hope they can find a way out of this mess. Saab is a great brand. It's not for everyone, but that's the point.

We'll see...

2012 Holden Volt


Gm is trying to get the most of their huge investment into the Chevy Volt.
And who can blame them.

After an Opel version, there will now be an Australian Holden version.
And from this picture, it looks like a total clone of our Chevrolet one.. Except for the badges.

For once, I think this is not a bad idea. If that's what it takes to get people into an mostly electric powered car, why not.

Toyota iQ 1.3 Liter


Until now, the only engine available in this tiny Toyota was a smaller 1.0 Liter 3 cylinder engine.
The new 99HP 4 cylinder is rumored to get an even better gas mileage, well over 50MPG.

It is still rumored to end up over here as a new Scion model.

New MG6


This upcoming MG is based on the Chinese "Roewe" 550 that came out last year.
The Roewe is already a good looking car. But this sportier version look even better.

Parent company SAIC plans to sell 45000 Roewe cars this year and just 10000 of the MG version.
They claim this will make it in Europe as well.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Chevrolet Saturn???


At least from this, it looks like some people at GM are not ready to kill the Sky yet.
Good news.
I don't care who sells it, I just hope the Sky finds a home after GM kills Saturn.
It would indeed make a great Chevrolet.
Pontiac already has the Solstice, and I really don't see this as a Buick....

Let's hope this is true.

Thanks to a reader for this.

Kia Number 3 Concept



This looks really nice.
And much more European than any Japanese designs. Kia seems to be really serious about the European market.

I hear the production model won't be that different. Except trims and of course, the roof.

I just hope they can find it in their heart to bring this over here too. Competing her with the Fiesta.

All new Toyota Verso


We won't get it.
We don't get the Verso.
It is based on the European version of the Corolla, the Auris hatchback.



As you can see here, the Verso is NOT a Matrix or even a Vibe.
It has it's own design.

Nissan NV200 Production version




As you can see, this will be available in both passenger and cargo version.
At fist, it seemed larger than the Ford Transit Connect we're getting over here soon.
But they mention a 1.6 Liter engine with 106hp!
So it can't be that big...

Monday, February 23, 2009

Next jaguar XJ


The next "Big Jag" is supposed to be more like one of these '4 door coupe" than a regular looking sedan.
So it might end up looking pretty similar to the new Aston Martin sedan.
No matter what, I am pretty sure it will look really nice.

Thanks to a reader for this.

Only 1000 Genesis Coupes for Europe


Hyundai is planing to sell only 1000 Genesis coupes per year in Europe.
I hear it is so they can bypass some expensive regulations.

They will just use it as a "boutique" car to build up their image. The only model offered will be the 2.0 Turbo (because, you know, gas is crazy expensive over there...)

They are also talking about a 25 000 Euros price. (That would be over $ 35 0000. Compare that to our $22 000 base price over here).
Still a lot cheaper than the 38 000 Euros Nissan is charging for the 350Z...

Lexgen MPV




The Yulon car company from Taiwan has decided to come up with their own brand. After building cars for Nissan since 1953.
The new van will be powered by a 2.2 Liter Turbo .

That doesn't sound too bad. And it looks really modern.
Actually much more so than most minivans we have here in the US.
The interior looks much more 21st century than anything Chrysler has done in that segment.

Fiat 500CC


From the inside.
And it still doesn't feel like a real convertible to me.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Tesla Model S Sedan


Just another teaser, but we can see by brightening up the picture that it will be one stunning looking 4 door.
It should start at or under $60 000.

And at that price, could compete with quite a few cars on the market.

I can't wait to see more.

Nissan Murano Test Drive coming up


Some of you guessed it right...

The one I am driving this week is a 2WD SL model.
Don't be shy if you have any questions.

Hollywood treasure


Saw this last night, on Silver Lake Blvd.
I have never seen this in the US before, an old Renault 4. I guess from the 60's or 70's. Who knows.

I just wonder how it ended up over here....

Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart Test Drive


This is really not the type of car I would drive on a regular basis.
The super sporty type small sedan isn't really my thing. I like a sporty car to have only 2 doors myself.
But I had the opportunity to drive this Mitsubishi for a whole week, so why not.

The Ralliart costs $27 185. You could easily get one for at least $3000 less.
Mine did not have the Recaro Sport Package which includes the Recaro seats, but also a better stereo. For almost $2500!


_HOW IT LOOKS.

Well,I was really surprised to like the design. I haven't seen many Lancers around (who has), but it is a very nice looking small sedan. The hood scoops on the Ralliart look great. But the "big wing in the back" looks goofy and vulgar. Like all large spoilers.
And believe it or not, I did get noticed driving this around. But most people thought it was the EVO model...



_HOW IT IS INSIDE.
The interior is quite roomy for a car this size. The driving position is great. The steering wheel and the shifter look really nice.
The seats look cheap, but they are comfortable and do a good job at keeping you in them when you drive fast. I'm not sure I'd spend $2500 for the Recaro seats. But the black regular cloth does have quite a rental car look to it.
It's too bad.
And by the way, the stereo sounded really good, and I wouldn't spend the extra money on the Recaro package for the sound system alone.
But instead of a regular iPod plug, it comes with the "old fashion" stereo jacks. What a weird choice.
So you need another cable to play your MP3s...


-HOW IT DRIVES.

-Ride.
Surprisingly, the ride is always comfortable. It is very firm, like it should be, but never feels harsh.
Plus the car feels very solid over even the worse roads.

-Steering.
Like expected. Quite firm and very direct. I thought at first there was quite a dead spot off center, but either I was wrong, or I just got used to it. Either way, it is a lot of fun. And the small leather steering wheel feels and looks great.


-Engine.
This and the 2.0 Liter Turbo from GM make me feel this is a great combo for most cars.
This things sounds and feels like it's ready to go. All the time. Like an angry dog you're keeping on a leash.
The engine always sounds sporty, but refined.

But I must say, there isn't much going on below 3000RPM. They claim it comes on earlier, but really, it's pretty slow until 2500RPM. But past 3000, and the beast is almost scary. A great feeling.
But the GM engine has more power all the time, and no lag to speak of.

-Transmission.
I was expecting a manual. But strangely enough, the Rallyart only comes with an automatic. Which seems really weird to me.
But once you get used to the idea, it is a great transmission. Always eager to downshift. And up shifting very, very fast.
It really holds the gears when you put it in the Sport Mode. And you can feel and hear every downshift as well.
This is the sportiest Automatic I've driven.
Mileage is OK, but not great. Strictly city driving will get about 18MPG while I was able to reach 28 cruising at the speed limit on the freeway.
Not good for a small sedan, but really decent for such a sporty ride.



-SO?

I really enjoyed my week with the Ralliart. I just wished they'd put this engine in a sportier looking coupe. Like the next (smaller) Eclipse.
This is a great car that will provide thrills every time you drive it.
And that is something less and less cars can do...

What am I driving now?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Rolls Royce 200EX.




This is pretty much the "small" Rolls that will be coming out soon.
Based on the new 7 series BMW but using a new V12 engine.
The "big" Phantom resales for $340 000. So this should be quite a bit cheaper. But still at least twice the price of a 7 series.

Is it worth it???

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

R.I.P Saturn


The Saturn brand should be gone in 2011.
No new product will come out after the current one run out.

This is just too bad.

I have been driving a few Saturns lately and I can tell you they are as good or better than most cars out there.
Like most people, I was underwhelmed by the Vue hybrid. But the "real hybrid" two mode version was on its way.
And the Aura is one of the best family sedan I have driven lately.

Dealers are trying to take it over and use it as a distribution network for foreign cars.
Of course, most people are thinking of Chinese cars.
But how about using it to sell European cars. You know, these brans we don't get. Like Peugeot, Citroen or others...

But it seems that Chinese brands like Chery or Roewe would love to take advantage of the existing dealer network.

What do you think?

2010 Hyundai Equus


Just another picture.
Where it now appears very overdone to me.
Almost vulgar....


Thanks to a reader for this one.

Hyundai Equus interior


This time its the real thing.
It looks pretty much like anything else in this class.
With plenty of wood, in the old 1990's Korean car tradition...

But it doesn't look much worse . Conservative, all fashion. Just like a big Lexus.

2010/11 Dodge Charger


I've always thought the current Charger is one of the ugliest sedans on the market today.
The next one doesn't look like such an improvement.
This will compete with the all new Taurus. And a new Impala is on its way.
This Charger already looks old.

Good luck....

Hyunday HED-6 Concept



Seems like a cross between a Ford Kuga and a Nissan Murano.

Let's hope they keep most of it when this becomes the next Tucson.

Hyundai has a pretty bad track record about that. Showing off really good concept and watering them down for production...

2010 Kia Sorento


Another invisible car.
This time the Sorento is car based, and get the option of the 2.4 Liter 4 cylinder engine.
A V6 will still be available.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Cadillac CTS Coupe


This is the 1st official picture of the production version.
And it is really close to last year's concept.
The only engine available at launch seems to be the 3.6 Liter V6. Listed on GM's "2009-2014 Restructuring Plan" as The "powertrain with the best economy".

Meaning there won't be anything smaller available, at least for a while.

2010 Chrysler 300


That one looks nice to me. For some reason.
Sure, it does copy the current model. And it doesn't seem to push anything.
But it does feel a bit more upscale. While retaining an aggressive personality.

I wonder if GM will uncover that much tomorrow or later today, as part of their presentation....

2010 Jeep Grand Cherokee


This is taken from Chrysler's "Restructuring Plan for Long Term Viability" brochure they are showing to Congress in order to get more money.
The good news is that we get to see what the new car based Grand Cherokee will look like. The bad news is, it doesn't seem to look that great.
After all these Jeep concepts over the past years, they still come up with what is a pretty boring production design. Copying the current model.
That front end alone looks like about 12 designers worked on it while never talking to each other...

It will be available for the 1st time as a 7 seater.

All new Hyundai Equus



The 1st official picture of the "super big" Genesis based Hyundai sedan.

It doesn't look much worse than a Lexus LS, really.
Most of these big sedans are not interesting to look at anyway. So this fits the bill.

All new Mercedes E Class Coupe




Finally the real thing. After years of spy shots...

I think it looks much better and classier than the sedan. Even though most of the lines are similar.
It's just too bad about that blocky interior. It just doesn't fit the rest of the car.