Sunday, October 31, 2010

Fiat 500 5 door?



Not too sure, but it could be.
There has been rumors of a 5 door version of the 500, especially for the US market.
Which, including the convertible, would give Fiat 3 body styles available within the 1st year in the US.

Or.. It could also be the redesigned Lancia Ypsilon...
Which isn't as exiting.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

2013 VW Golf



These illustrations seem to be pretty realistic.
Never expect anything totally new for a new Golf.

It always end up being an evolution of the current design, so these make sense.

A slightly more modern version of what is on sale now.

2013 VW Jetta Wagon


The car currently sold in the US as the Jetta wagon is actually a wagon version of the Golf.

The new 2011 Jetta is a different car based on a different chassis. They don't even have the same interior anymore.

So in time, maybe for the 2013 model year, the new Jetta will be getting a new wagon version.
Which could look pretty close to this illustration.

Friday, October 29, 2010

2013 Porsche Cajun



This is, so far, just an illustration.

But there will be a smaller Porsche SUV called Cajun coming out within the next 2 years.
It is rumored to be a 2 door and powered by a twinturbo 3.0 Liter V6 good for about 350hp.
I am sure they will eventually offer a 4 door version, if they want to sell any...

Not sure what size this will be, or how small. But it could be competing with the new Land rover Evoque, which will also be available with 2 or 4 doors.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

2011 Kia Sportage test drive coming up.


Most of you were right.
I am driving the new Sportage.

Will report on it in a few days, and answer any questions you might have meanwhile...

2012/13 Volvo C30


The C30 will be available as a 3 and 5 door when it is redesigned a little bit over a year from now.

I've always liked the current design, and I hope the new one looks better than this illustration.
Or maybe at least the 3 door.

But this will be a good move for Volvo, especially in Europe where it will be able to compete better with the VW Golf.
Which will also be redesigned by then.

2011/12 Hyundai Veloster


Interesting picture in another color than white.
Plus, you can see a glass panel roof.

This could be a really nice car. A 2 door hatchback with one door longer than the other for rear seat access, a glass roof, hatch, a modern design...
It could turn out to be what the CR-Z was supposed to be...

2011 Dodge Avenger




Again, a huge improvement inside.
This now looks like a great place to be.
The old interior was one of the worst in the industry. Amazing they could change it that much.

I also noticed the door is similar to the open door picture we saw of the new Chrysler 200. I wonder if the interiors will be the same...

But outside it is still a nightmare. The front end, the whole thing screams cheap and dated.
I don't think the new V6 and the great interior will save this car.

it's time for Chrysler to bring over some of these great Italian designers, pronto...

2011 Dodge Grand Caravan




An important model for Chrysler.
The Dodge Minivan has always been one of their best sellers.

And for 2011, it gets what most other Chrysler/Dodge models are getting: New front, rear, new interior and the new 3.6 Liter V6.
Nothing all new.
But the interior, like in all these "new" 2011 Chryslers, is a huge improvement.
Unfortunately, the shifter is still in the weirdest of places, top right from the steering wheel.
Maybe it's OK for Minivan drivers, who knows...

This is more good news from Chrysler.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

2012 Hyundai Azera



The big FWD Hyundai has been a flop in the US so far.
Mostly, I'm sure, because it is .. well.. a Hyundai.

But now, with the Genesis selling pretty well, and the $58 000 Equus coming out, maybe more buyers will be willing to take another look at the redesigned Azera next year.
It will compete mostly with the Lexus ES, but also the Buick LaCrosse. S well as the Taurus, Maxima etc...

Life will still be tough...

Cadillac SLS to get 2.0 Turbo!



In China.
Over here, the SLS has been in the news a few days ago by not offering the V8 anymore.
Only the 3.6 Liter V6 is available in the US for 2011.

But in China, the SLS sells quite well. It is also assembled locally.
It also received an all new interior a couple of years ago. A much better one than the horrible choice we still have here in the US.
And for the new year, a 264hp Version of GM's great 2.0 Liter Turbo will be available.

I loved this engine in the Solstice I drove a couple of years ago.
A less powerful version is available in the new Regal.

So.. A 4 cylinder Cadillac. This time, in a big one.

I think GM should spread this engine around.
Ford has been very successful in marketing their similar 2.0 L Turbo by just calling it Ecoboost and advertising it.

Time for GM to wake up. Again...

Chevrolet Volt Commercial


Big surprise, instead of showing more of the car, they decided to wave the flag.
Maybe trying to guilt "Americans into buying American."

The Volt is probably really good and deserves to be sold on its own merit.

A tacky commercial with a lame tagline at the end (Chevy runs deep).
Even the small typeface looks cheap.

Let's hope they do better next time...

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Monday, October 25, 2010

2011 Buick GL8





So far, the all new Buick Minivan is for China only.


It looks like GM is just waiting to see what happens to the new Odyssey and Sienna to maybe make a move in the US.
I just was a couple of new Odysseys on the road, and this Buick already seems to look much better and more upscale.

I bet it's just a matter of time until we see this one in the US....

2011 VW Jetta S Test Drive



-HOW IT LOOKS.
Well, it is quite conservative. Many expected something more original from VW for the all new Jetta.
But in real life, it does look pretty upscale. Almost Audi like.
And the front end in particular, has a sort of very modern simplicity to it that looks really good.

The plastic wheel covers do look cheap, but this is a base $16 000 model. Most other cars in the size/price range offer the same.




-HOW IT IS INSIDE.
The interior of the new Jetta has been the subject of many criticisms.
The new model is cheaper than the previous version, and VW did cut costs in many areas. And interior materials is one of them.

So plastics do not feel as soft and upscale as in the previous Jetta, or the current Golf/Jetta wagon.
But to be fair, it is not as bad as many reviewers have said.

The dashboard and doors are now covered in hard plastics, but it is the case in many other cars costing about $16 000, or even more.
Doors feel very solid when you close them, and everything inside feels solid and well put together.

The non leather steering wheel does feel a bit cheap and grainy to the touch. But again, no more than others.
The main thing I missed in the Jetta S is an armrest. Especially in the Automatic version.
There isn't any covered storage area in the console.

The seats are firm and very comfortable.
The standard stereo was just adequate. But it did have an iPod plug.


The car is longer than before and it shows in the back seat.
It is about as roomy as a mid sized car back there. Which makes the "cheaper" Jetta a good alternative to more expensive models.
The trunk is also huge.

-HOW IT DRIVES.

-Ride.
The ride is one of the best I've experienced in a car under $20 000.
It really rides like a much more expensive car. It feels solid, slightly firm and very smooth at the same time.
A very German feel. Which is great.

-Steering.
The steering is also a bit firmer than most of the competition. A bit firmer than the Golf too.
But always smooth and accurate.
In combination with the solid ride, it gives the new Jetta an expensive car feel.

-Engine.
The base S model is the most controversial of the new Jettas. Because it uses the old 2.0 Liter engine, which was not offered in the previous model.
It was the base engine 2 generations ago. And I had no idea it was still in production.
It is a bit of a let down. And it still only produces 115hp. Less than anything that size.

I am not sure how much VW is saving by not using the vastly superior 2.5 liter (standard in other models) in the base version. I guess they wanted that $16 000 base price at any cost.

The engine is actually pretty smooth. As long as you don't push it.
But there is really no power, or almost, until about 3000rpm. So you do have to push it to just take off.
Once up to speed, it does cruise very quietly.

So if you plan on driving slowly pretty much all the time, the 2.0 L might be OK. Otherwise, it will be a constant source of frustration. Especially since the 6 speed automatic refuses to downshift unless you really put your foot down.
A manual might be a much better experience.


-SO?

I really liked driving the new Jetta for a week. But the car really deserves the better 2.5 Liter engine, and a few more things inside.
Like an armrest, leather steering wheel etc...
All of this, and much more, is available in other versions.

For this price you can get a Kia Forte EX, which is not a base model.
It has a better stereo, a much better and powerful engine and is better equipped than the Jetta S.

I do like the German feel of the Jetta over the Forte, but most people might not notice.

I do like the new Jetta quite a bit. But the old 2.0 Liter will a tough sell for most.

I will be driving an SEL version in a few weeks and will be reporting on what should be a much better car.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

More pictures of the next Kia Rio




Looking more like a small Optima than a small Forte.

It looks like the small inexpensive car segment will be flourishing in the US next year with plenty of new models like the new Yaris, Rio, Accent, Nissan March etc...

New Opel Zafira



These new illustrations give us a very realistic look at what the next Zafira will look like.
Competing in the same segment as the new Ford Grand C-max, it seems to look much better.
The Ford has a weird bloated look. The new Opel seems much sportier.

The Grand C-Max is coming to the US next year. Curious to see if GM will bring the Opel over as well.
Maybe as a Buick.

Beautiful Burbank




Never ceases to impress....

Thursday, October 21, 2010

2013 full electric VW Bora



The "new Bora" is a Chinese VW model, not sold in Europe or north America.
VW is working on a full electric version of the new sedan.

I know VW is actively working on full electric cars, as well as more hybrid.
I heard it directly from someone at VW, when I got to see the new 2012 Beetle a few months ago.


This is what the "regular" Bora looks like.
A familiar, yet a bit different, VW look...

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

2012 Nissan Versa sedan


Caught in China where it will be called Sunny.
Again, using 1.6 Liter or 1.8 Liter engines.

And looking about 1000 times better than the current model. Even with all the camouflage on it.

2011 Dodge Journey



I must say, Chrysler wasn't lying when they promised us better interiors.
The revised Journey only seems to be getting a new grille outside.
But the interior seems to be a giant improvement on what they have now.
And of course, the new 3.6 V6 is offered.


Here is the current model.
You can see how bad the interior looks compared to the new one.
Great job.