Saturday, July 31, 2010

Buick Lacrosse video.

What could have been: 1971 Buick Riviera




Just when you thought the early 70's Riviera was one of the best looking GM cars ever, here is a picture of what it could have been.
Even better.

The early concept pictured in the B&W picture above is pretty stunning. And much more elegant than the production car ended up being.
Still, the 1971 Riviera is one of my favorite designs ever.

Even great designs could have been better...

Friday, July 30, 2010

2011 Nissan Rogue




I didn't know the Rogue was due for an update, but here it is.

And the small changes do improve the car a lot. Not just the chrome bits.
The small changes up front make the car look more solid and upscale than before.
A good thing, since I think the Rogue is a really good choice for a small SUV.

Here is what it looks now.
The front end always had a rubbery look to me, for some strange reason...

Thursday, July 29, 2010

What could have been: Cadillac Seville


This is yet another version of an Opel based Cadillac Seville.
The one I posted a few days ago was a regular sedan style.
This looks like a fastback, which was not available on the Opel.

GM finally decided to used a modified US chassis for the car instead of reworking an Opel, which would have cost even more.
In this case at least, it looks like saving money was the right thing to do.
The first Seville turned out great.

But the idea of a fastback design did end up in the second generation.

2011 VW Passat


This still looks like an illustration.
But the real thing won't be too far from this.

In the US, the Passat is supposed to be replaced by the roomier and cheaper new mid sized sedan.
A "VW made here, just for us".

We'll see what that looks like....

2012 Nissan Versa



The new Versa is already being tested.
And from the illustration above, it looks like it might adopt some of the melted look from its cousin the Nissan Leaf.
Not sure that's a good thing.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Chevrolet Volt priced at $41 000


No big surprise here.

Except for those who were expecting a surprising low price...

But at $350 a month, the lease is much more attractive. Which is similar to what Nissan is asking for the Leaf.
But the Leaf can only do 100 miles on a charge.

But I think the main competition will still come from the Toyota Prius.
And right now, you can lease a Prius Level 2 for $199 a month.
Sure, the Volt will be better equiped than the base Prius.

No matter what, I think the lease is the way to go for the Volt. $350 a month is a great deal for a $41 000 car.

2011 Ford Explorer details





This all looks really good.
And better than almost anything comparable.

I just hope it doesn't steal to many sales from the Flex, which is a great car.

New Nissan March/Micra sedan?



Nissan is testing a new small sedan based on the March hatchback.
Pretty much the equivalent of the Yaris sedan, I guess.

Just wondering if it might be replacing the Versa over here.
Even though the March is a bit smaller.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Audi A7 video

More Audi A7 pictures





I love the hatchback design. But where is the glass roof?

And does it really need that much wood inside?
I thought Audis were a bit more subtle than that.
This is almost vulgar...

2011 Ford Explorer video



It's alive...

Buick GL8 Minivan



So far, the GL8 is for the Chinese market only.
But that's what they used to say about the Regal when it first came out.

And the top picture was taken in the US...

It looks pretty much inline with the recent offerings from Toyota and Honda.

Should Buick get back into the Minivan market over here?

2011 Jeep Wrangler interior



Looks like Chrysler is on a fast track to redesign pretty much all of its interiors for the next year.
(As requested, I also posted a picture of the current interior.
The top picture is the new one.)

The bigger news will be on the Town & Country, which faces new competition from everyone, and the Sebring.
I still think it'll take much more than a new interior for the Sebring to pick up sales others than rental fleets.

I guess it's better than nothing at all...

On another note, I find strange that we never hear about the next 300. It's been rumored to be "around the corner" for a while.
While we've seen the Volt and Cruze for years, the Next 300 is nowhere.

2011 Ford Explorer






Not such a big surprise after seeing so many spy pics for so long.

Finally, a modern Explorer.
Gone is the old "trucky truck", with that 70's wagon driving experience.

It now looks like a cross between the Flex and the next Focus.

Big news also come from the engines.
No more V8.

The standard engine is now the modern 3.5 Liter V6, also used in the Taurus. With 262hp.
A new 2.0 Liter Turbo with 237hp is an option.
In this engine, maximum torque of 250 pound-feet is available at 1750 RPM. Which is pretty much right away.

Now that most people are getting out of their SUV,s is it too late for the Explorer?
Or could they repeat the success of the 1st one?

Sunday, July 25, 2010

What am I drivng???

2011 Audi A7




Finally.
After all these years of seeing spy pictures, this is the real thing.

And basically, a hatchback version of the next A6.

A very good looking car, but we've seen it so much already.
And it looks very similar to the hatchback version of the A5. (Which I have seen in Europe and looks quire amazing in the flesh)

Unlike the A5 hatch, the A7 will be sold in the US.

My guess is that it will be priced above the regular A6.
Not cheap....

Saturday, July 24, 2010

What could have been: 1979 Ford LTD


Ford designers were very proud of the new generation Mustang that was coming out in 1979.
So much, that back in 1978, there were actually thinking of making the redesigned (and smaller) LTD sedan look like a 4 door Mustang.

The 1979 Mustang turned out looking great, and it would have been a good idea.

Instead, the LTD turned out like this.
Another big, square late 70's car.
It could have had more style....

Friday, July 23, 2010

What could have been: Cadillac Seville



By the early 70's, GM was seriously thinking about competing with import with a smaller Cadillac model. Which became the 1st generation Seville in 1975.
One idea was to base the car on the German Opel Record/Diplomat, that came out in 1972 in Europe, and was never sold in the US.
It would have just been a rebadged Opel, with a new front, rear and modified interior.
And it was already an import!

It's pretty much what Buick is now doing with the Regal/Opel Insignia.


This is what the Opel Rekord looked like from 1972 to 1977.
Hardly a Cadillac.

Thank God GM made the right move and the Seville was never a rebadged Opel.
As it turned out, the reworked X platform used in the final car (from the Nova) was cheaper than reworking the Opel for the US...

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Buick Lacrosse CXS Test Drive




-HOW IT LOOKS.

I think the new Lacrosse looks great.
Sure, it does have a kind of old fashion American car look to it. Unlike the new Taurus, which does look more European to me.
But I do like the Buick design, not trying to be anything it's not.

Seems like Buick is going after Lexus, more than BMW or Mercedes (which would be a Job for Cadillac).
And the Lacrosse does remind you a bit of the Lexus GS. But with more personality.






-HOW IT IS INSIDE.
The interior of the Lacrosse also looks great.
It has a luxurious and modern feel to it.
Not as modern as the console and dashboard of the new Taurus, but much more luxurious.
The whole interior has a more upscale feel than the Ford.

My test car was pretty much loaded, except for a sunroof.
The seats were very comfortable, but somehow, I couldn't get the lumbar support to work.

The doors felt much more solid than the ones in the Taurus. It had that super solid sound usually associated with expensive European cars.

The back seat was very roomy. And the fit and finish of everything was great.

The 11 speaker stereo sounded great, of course. But it did have problems recognizing my iPod a couple of times.
It would just disconnect, sometime in the middle of a song.
It could have been a bad wire...

As you can see on the picture above, it does also have the cool blue light on the doors at night.
Something that looks great in the Camaro as well.
A small thing, but It makes the whole interior a little bit more special and interesting in the dark.




-HOW IT DRIVES.

-Ride

The ride is more like a smooth European car. It is always smooth and luxurious, but never too soft.
I would say it is perfect for this kind of car.
Plus, the Lacrosse handles great in curves. Something that was kind of a surprise, considering how smooth the ride is.

It is really a pleasure to drive, even fast.

-Steering

The steering was very accurate and just firm enough, again, more like a luxurious European car than a Lexus.




-Engine

The 3.6 V6 used in many other GM cars is always smooth, quiet and powerful.
In the Lacrosse as well. There is always plenty of power all the time.

The car is rated at 17 city and 27 HWY.
I matched the numbers in strictly city driving, but did get almost 32 HWY. Which, I think, is as good as it gets for a powerful V6.




-SO???

I would not hesitate to recommend the Buick Lacrosse.
Finally, an American car that beats Lexus at its own game.
It is more fun to drive than the Lexus ES, yet rides at least as well and in almost total silence.

It does feel more European than most US cars I have driven. Which is great.

The CSX starts at about $33 000. My car was $36 700. Quite a bit of change.
But it is still almost $4000 less than a similar Lexus ES.

I personally would pick the Buick over the Lexus any day .