Tuesday, November 30, 2010

2014 Porsche Cajun


The "smaller-than-Cayenne" Porsche SUV was approved by the company.
So we will see it for 2014.

I guess it will be another hit for the brand.
First the Cayenne, hated by the purist, became a best seller.

Then the Panamera, again, hated by the faithful, is now the best selling Porsche.

There is no reason to stop the madness I guess. Why not a full size pick up truck next...

But in all fairness, I was really impressed by the Panamera when I sat in a couple of them last year.
And I think the new Cayenne looks really nice.

But... I am no Porsche purist....

2012 Hyundai Veloster



Although there are still just illustrations, they give us a pretty good idea of the final production model.
We will only have to wait a few weeks to see pictures of the real thing anyway now...

This car seems really promising to me.
And maybe what the new Honda CR-Z could, or should have been.
It will be powered by a 1.6 Liter engine good for 140hp while getting at least 40MPG HWY.
A turbo version with 200hp is rumored for later.

Some prototypes have been spotted with a cool glass top. Which is not offered in the US version of the CR-Z.

Plus, not being a hybrid, it will also be cheaper.

I can't wait to see the real thing...

2012 Roewe 750



The Roewe 750 and its cousin the MG5 will be redesigned for the next year.
This seems to be yet another good looking design from the Chinese brand.


This is the current version of the Roewe 750., which came out in 2006.
It is basically a Chinese made version of the old Rover 75.


And this is the original Rover 75 version.
Which was produced in England from 1999 to 2005.
Then bankruptcy.. Then Chinese ownership, and new Roewe name...

More pictures of the new Audi A6




Looking at these, it's even more difficult to tell if it is the new one or not.
Predictably, it does look like a cross between the previous A6 and the current A4.

Why don't they even try to give it its own personality?
At least a little bit.....

All new Audi A6




The current A 6 is still a really nice looking car, but pretty invisible.
The new one will be a very nice looking car that will still be invisible.

The interior seems to be very similar to the A7. No surprises here. But the exterior doesn't seem to have much of the striking presence of the hatchback.
At least it'll be cheaper.

I think in this segment, it does look much better than the E class (but what doesn't), but the new 5 series looks very nice in person.
We'll see.....

All new Honda brio




Honda is still calling it a "concept".
But it is pretty much the production version of the concept they showed earlier this year at the New Dheli auto show.
The car will be competing with their super compacts like the Nissan March.
Since we are getting the small Nissan in the US soon, I just wonder if the brio will end up in the US as well...

This is the earlier prototype.
It has changed quite a bit for production....

Monday, November 29, 2010

New Buick GL8 pictures





These new pictures do show quite a nice looking minivan.
One that seems more than a match for the Town and Country, but also pretty much all the new competition from Honda, Toyota and Nissan.

Maybe it's time fro GM to grab a slice of that minivan market.

For now, this is still a China only model.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

More pictures of the all new Hyundai Azera



And looking really good.

Hyundai's image seems to be improving every day.
This could have a real chance to work in the US, finally.
Against the Taurus, Maxima and LaCrosse.

All new BMW 6 series convertible video


Looking great, and expensive.
But really. Not looking more modern than the current one.

All new Saab 9-5 SportCombi


With all the fuss about the whole brand almost dying, we almost forgot about the wagon version of the 9-5.

This could still be an illustration, but it seems pretty real to me.
And looking great. Even more like a Saab than the sedan.

I guess Saab is concentrating on the 9-4X launch, and put this one on the back burner...

The big news will be the all new 9-3 to be revealed at the end of next year.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

2012 Chevrolet Cruze hatchback.



GM is out testing the new Hatchback version of the Chevrolet Cruze.

And, of course, it does look very similar to the so called "concept" they showed at the Paris Auto Show just a little while ago.

So far, GM claims the hatchback version is only for Europe and Australia.
They might change their tune once sell numbers of the 2012 Focus hatch come out.
I really think the Focus hatch will be very popular in the US. The 5 door Fiesta already is.

It would be a bad move for GM to keep the 5 door Cruze out of the US market.

What am I driving this week?

Friday, November 26, 2010

2012 BMW 1 series Coupe and Convertible


Next year, Europe will be getting an all new 1 series.
As 3 and 5 door hatchbacks.

But the coupe and convertible models, which came out a while after the current hatch versions, will stick around.
So they are getting very mild revisions for the new year, while the hatchbacks will be all new.

I wish BMW would sell the new hatchbacks over here.
The Audi A 3 seems to be doing OK in the US.
Even Lexus has decided to sell the new CT200h in the US.

But with new regulations, it might just be a matter of time until we see the small BMWS over here. With smaller engines too.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Nissan Maxima test drive



-THE LOOK.

After almost 3 years on the market, the current Maxima is still a very good looking car.
Unlike the previous generation, it doesn't look like a big Altima anymore.

But a big problem remains, as the Maxima is the same size as the current Altima.
The Maxima is smaller than its competition like the Lacrosse and the Taurus. So the same question remains, why not get a loaded Altima for less money...




-THE INTERIOR.

I really like the interior of the Maxima. It does a good job at mixing a luxury feel with a few sporty touches.
Like the really good looking metal finish on the dashboard.

Overall I think the interior looks more modern and upscale than the Infiniti G37's.
And plastics seemed of better quality since I last drove a Maxima last year.

My test car did not have GPS. Which is not a good thing for a $37 000 car.
And the control screen was not a touch screen, which felt a little cheap in a world where pretty much everything else, from phones to cameras, use them.
The optional Bose sound system sounded really good, but the connection with the iPod would cut on and off at times, which became quite annoying.
And there was some weird electrical gremlin that turned one of the stereo control on the steering wheel into the horn button.

Kind of a strange feeling to hear a honk when you're changing playlists...

The back seat is very roomy, but not as much as in the Buick Lacrosse.



-THE DRIVE.

.Ride.
My test car had the sport package which includes a sport suspension and 19 inch wheels.
The ride was just a little bit firm, but very smooth.
And actually not very sporty.
I think the Lacrosse does a better job at getting a smoother ride, and yet a sportier feeling.

.Steering.
The steering was very accurate, but much too light for a sport sedan. More in tune with a luxury car.
Again, the Lacrosse feels much sportier.

But at least, there was no such thing as torque steer when pushing the car.
A huge improvement from the previous generation.

.Engine.

The 3.5 Liter is very familiar to anyone who has driven a Nissan or Infiniti in the past few years.
It is always very smooth, quiet and powerful.
But in this case, I did noticed a very slight, but still annoying, vibration through the steering wheel between 1000 and 2000 RPM.

It made the whole thing feel a little less refined than the competition.

The CVT was again superb. One of the most responsive transmission in this particular application.
Instant power, all the time.

The big Nissan is rated at 19 City and 26 HWY.
I managed to get 22 in the city and 30 on the freeway.
Better numbers than the sticker's, but also better numbers than the last one I drove.
Which was strange since I pretty much take all the cars I test drive through the same routes in and around Los Angeles.



-SO???

The Maxima is a fine large sedan.
But I would not call it a sport sedan.

It might be weird for some to admit, but we now live in a world where the Buick Lacrosse is a sportier, and more satisfying drive, than the Nissan Maxima.
Who would have thought...

And there is no denying that the 3.5L V6 Altima remains a strong competition to the Maxima.
A loaded V6 Altima (with Navigation) is about $5000 cheaper.

The next big Nissan needs to become something else. Either even larger, or one of these slick 4 door coupes.

Right now I would rate it above the new Taurus, but below the Lacrosse.
And a new Hyundai Azera is coming out soon.

Speaking of Hyundai, a better equipped Genesis sedan (Including GPS), is only about $1000 more.

The world is moving fast around the Maxima...

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

2012 Hyundai Accent hatchback



The new Accent is coming out soon after the new year in the US.
Looks like a hatch version won't be too far behind.

Competing with the Mazda2 and the new Nissan March, I guess...

2012 Mazda Miata


There are big changes in store for the next Miata.
They are talking about a lighter car, with more power and much more efficient engines .

All good news.

Landwind CV9 Euro NCAP Crash Test



This small Chinese minivan gets only 2 stars.
A better score than what they used to get a couple of years ago.
But still. Much worse than the average car tested.

They have started selling the CV9 Minivan a few months ago in the Netherlands. Where it costs almost half the price of an Opel Zafira.


This is the same test, 5 years ago, with the Opel Zafira.
Quite a difference.
5 years ago!

An all new Zafira is due very soon.

New MG3




The new MG 3 looks ready to fight with small European cars like the Ford Fiesta.
At least in China. And maybe Europe if it makes it over there.

I still think the "New MG" is the one Chinese brand that could really have a chance in the US.

2011 Opel Corsa



The little Corsa gets revised for the new year.
Just a few changes to keep it fresh, and a bit more aggressive.
I think it does work.
No matter what, the Corsa is one of the nicest looking small car in Europe.
In the "old Saturn" days, just a couple of years ago, Bob Lutz had mentioned that the next Corsa would be sold in the US.
Without Saturn around, I am not sure what US GM brand would sell such a small car. Chevy has its hands full with a new Aveo, and this would be too small for Buick.

I guess it'll never happen.

This is the current model.

2012 Hyundai Azera




The all new Azera seems to already have much more style than the rather boring Genesis sedan.

And quite a serious competition to established cars like the Buick Lacrosse, Nissan Maxima and Ford Taurus.

We will see much more really soon, so stay tuned...