Thursday, March 31, 2011

2012 Chevrolet Malibu




Finally an official look on the all new Chevrolet mid sized sedan.
Which will replace our current malibu in the US and Canada.
But also the Chevrolet Epica around the rest of the world.

And no more V6.
Engines will match the ones found in the Buick Regal.

So far, it seems to look good. I still really like the current design and think it still looks good and modern.
And the current model is still one of my favorite mid size choice.

Now there is tougher competition than 4 years ago, when the Malibu's adversaries were mostly the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry and Nissan Altima.
The Hyundai Sonata, Kia Optima and the Ford Fusion are now all very popular choices as well.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

2012 honda Civic video


It's not really horrible.

But I still prefer the current version of the Civic sedan.
Especially after 5 years...
Not sure this will cut it against the newest competition like the 2012 Ford Focus, Hyundai Elantra or the new Chevrolet Cruze.
This might be for Honda fans only.

"All Diesel" for the new Mazda BT-50 Pick up truck


It is based on the new Ford Ranger, but has it's own design and interior.

And it will be available with a choice of 2 engines. Both Diesels.

The smaller one is a 2.2 Liter unit with 110hp. Replacing the current less powerful 2.5 Liter.
The big news seems to be the all new 3.2 Liter 5 cylinder with 147hp. Replacing a 3.0 Liter unit.

But, just like the new Ranger, the BT-50 will not be sold in the US.

It is for overseas where it will compete with the all new Colorado from GM, as well as the VW Amarok.

And, yes, the new Ranger...

I really think there could be a market in the US for an efficient Diesel only compact truck. It doesn't look that small, and torque is abundant.
It might not be for everyone, but it doesn't need to be.

Most Mazdas aren't anyway...

Porsche Panamera Turbo S



-550 hp
-0 to 60 in 3.6 seconds.
-$173 000

Which is about $40 000 more than the 500hp Turbo model.

I guess you must really love the Panamera to spend close to $200 000 on one.

I think the car does look really impressive in person.
But at this price, you could also consider a Bentley or Aston Martin. Both much more special cars than a Porsche.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

BMW X1 VS.Brilliance A3


At first I thought the new Chinese SUV could just be a rebadged X1.
Which could make some sense, since Brilliance is scheduled to manufacture the X1 for BMW in 2012. And they already build the 3 and 5 series for the Chinese market.

But no...

If you look at the 2 cars, the BMW being on top, they are quite different.
Look at where the door handles are, the space between the front wheel and the front door etc...
Not the same car...

Just a close copy, design and built with 0% shame involved...

All new Brilliance A3 SUV





Another copy from Brilliance in China.
This time it seems to be a total rip off the new BMW X1. Although Brilliance does build BMW cars for the Chinese market.
And the name A3 is also a slap in the face to Audi.

Last week we had the Buick copy called the A4, now the A3.

I wonder what's next. Their version of Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Mercedes or Ford models????

Seems that anything is up for grabs...

Mitsubishi Lancer ES test drive coming up.


Some of you have guessed it.
I have been driving a Lancer. An ES version with no option.

Just to see what you get for your $17 000.
(So far, not much...)

I'll answer any question you might have.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Chery A6 CC





They previewed this car as a concept back in 2007.
The red car was caught testing over a year ago.It was also spotted in England back in 2009.

The yellow car now carries a new name, "Rich". Which is a new sub-brand from Chery.
Including the cheezy Bentley like logo.

I just wonder what went wrong in the development of this car. 4 years is quite a long time.
And the production car looks exactly the same as the concept.

Now they are saying again that the production model will be out soon.

This is what concept looked like in 2007.
Still a good looking car that hasn't aged much.
Thanks to its Bertone design.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

2012 Honda Civic Sedan. Chinese version.



This is not one of these Chinese copy of a Japanese car.
This is the real Honda Civic sedan.
Slightly revised for the Chinese market.

They added the goofy lights on the trunk in the back. Just like they did last year on the Accord sedan in the US.

Not sure who told them that looked good....

Saturday, March 26, 2011

What am I driving this week?

Nissan Juke test drive.



-THE LOOK.
Well. It is controversial to say the least.

When I saw the concept car, I was pretty stunned that Nissan actually chose to turn it inot a production car.
Sure, a small powerful SUV type car could be cool.
But the concept looked rather.. shocking.

And when I saw the first pictures of the real thing I pretty much hated it.
Then.. It kind of grew on me.

After driving one for a week. It really grew on me. Most of my friends still hate the front end.
But I think overall, the car has a "cute bulldog" personality to it.
And I actually do like it.

Although I still understand people who don't.

So there you go. I guess it's just one of these cars that "isn't for everyone".
Which is actually a good thing....







-THE INTERIOR.
I think the interior does look great.
My test car had a black cloth, but my choice would be the grey/black leather combo.

Everything is solid and very well put together. And it looks modern and original.
One cool trick, that I have never seen before, is that some of the controls on the console are shared between Climate and Stereo. The same switch can have 2 different functions.

The stereo on my test unit was a 6 speaker upgrade that came as part of the $800 navigation package.
A great deal . And it sounded really good, with flawless touch screen control for the iPod.
Except the iPod will be exposed so you have to take it with you, or hide it somewhere when you leave the car.

And there is no locking storage available. The console is full of holes, but nothing can ever be covered. So you really can't leave anything behind. Except for what you can fit into the glove compartment.




The back seat is pretty roomy.
And the trunk space is really good.
And great when you fold the back seat.

-THE DRIVE.

.Ride.
The ride is firm. As expected from a sporty little car.
But it is always smooth enough and comfortable.

And the ride is quiet around town and on the freeway.

.Steering.

The steering has a good natural feel. But it feels a little light for a sporty model.
I guess this would be my complain with most cars these days. Steerings are getting lighter and lighter...

.Engine.

The engine is one of the most interesting part of the package.
Nissan chose to use a small 1.6 Liter unit with a turbo to produce 188hp.
Which sounds like a good idea. After all it is more power than the larger 2.5 Liter in the Altima with its 175hp.
But there is a catch. Actually a few catches.

First, there is almost no power before you reach about 2500RPM. Which means you pretty much have to floor it when you start.
Then the Turbo kicks in..

Even though Nissan claims the Turbo provides the full 177 ft-lbs or torque at 2000 RPM, there seem to be almost no power before 2500RPM.
Then it provides that old fashion Turbo kick.
Which might be more manageable with the available manual, but my test car had the CVT.
Which is fine. But it doesn't seem to fit with the Turbo engine at all.

Second, the Juke is rated at 27 MPG city and 32 HWY.
I was never able to get 27 in the City, no mater how slow I was driving. The best I got was 24.
But I did get a bit over 32 on the HWY.

I am actually not sure of the advantage of this little Turbo engine over the larger 2.5 Liter unit.



-SO???

The Juke was a pleasure to drive. I had fun every time I was behind the wheel.
Even though things could be even more fun with a better and smoother power delivery from the turbo.
Which I think could be at least partially solved by choosing the manual transmission.

The interior is a fun a pleasant place to be, and I did get used to the design.

Pricing is a bit strange, as my SV test version's sticker was almost $23 000. Including the navigation package.
But a loaded SL model is less than $500 more and includes leather heated seats and more.

I would really recommend the Juke, for those who can get past the stupid name. And don't mind the design.
But I would also advise anyone to test the manual as well as the CVT.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Kia K9


Just another picture of the upcoming big Kia.
Shaping up to be quite a good looking car.

I just wonder what happened to K7/Costanza in the US.

Maybe they figured they don't really need anything larger than the new Optima over here.
That would probably mean no K9 for us either....

We'll see...

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

New VW Polo for China



I weird model I have never seen before.
It seems to be exclusive to the Chinese market.

This "New Polo" doesn't seem to be related to the much better looking European model.
It looks a bit like a shrunken version of the previous VW Jetta.

This is the European model of the Polo sedan.
Which , actually, would make a nice addition to the US lineup as well.
Right under the new $16 000 Jetta.
Why not....

Fiat 500 Convertible coming to New York




Fiat will introduce the US version of the 500 CC next month at the New York Auto Show.
They claim it will go on sale shortly after.
I haven't seen the coupe anywhere yet.

The CC version is not really a full convertible as it retains the sides of the car.
But as you can see, this is what the original was like too.

Except now, the top is electric.

Another fun car in our streets.

2012 Nissan Versa



Looking much better than the current 80's looking model.

But it still doesn't look as modern to me as the Mazda2. Or the next Kia Rio.

At least it is an improvement.
We'll see...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Holden Cruze Hatchbak




The slightly revised version of the Chevrolet Cruze is now built in Australia for the local market.
Changes mostly amount to new bumper designs.
The big news is the all new hatchback version. Also built locally.

It looks even better on these pictures (although I prefer the US grille). And I still hope GM can find it in their heart to bring this version over here.
The Chevrolet Cruze is a very good car that deserves to offer more choices. Like a hatchback.

Or, again, a sporty coupe....

Monday, March 21, 2011

Brilliance A4 Sedan




Brilliance is mostly known for 2 things: Producing BMW cars for the Chinese market, and for these horrific looking crash test videos we saw when they tried to sell their BS6 model in Europe.

Now they are copying the new Buick Verano and using an Audi name.

Chevrolet Colorado Concept Truck





The new Colorado pick up truck was just revealed at the Bangkok Auto Show.
As a concept.

One of these "Concepts" that end up being the production car.
As you can see, there are just a few concept bits.

GM seems more open than Ford to sell their new Compact Pick Up in the US.
So we might very well see versions of this over here sometime next year....