Tuesday, May 31, 2011

More pictures of the Audi Q3





I have to say, I like it.

I think it looks better than the Q5. Inside and out.
The Q5 always looked pretty generic to me. And it doesn't seem to have one of these great Audi interiors.

This is pretty cute, and seems roomy enough.
It could be a nice step up from someone moving up from a CRV, or similar.

The Q5 starts at around $35 000 here. This could be maybe around $30 000, or a bit less.
I think it could work.

But so far, the Q3 isn't in the card for the US lineup.

AToo bad...

2012/13 BMW 3 series GT


Still, just another illustration.
But there won't be many surprises when the new 3 series comes out early next year.
And the GT will just be a hatchback version of the sedan.

It might work better than the 5 series GT which looks too heavy and bloated.
Will compete in Europe with the Audi A5 Sportback. Which does look great.

And with the 5 series GT flop in the US, we might not even see it here at all...

2012 Kia K9


Another photo of the upcoming big "Genesis based" Kia sedan.

This will probably not make it into the US. We haven't even seen the smaller K7 (Cadenza) yet.

We'll see...

Monday, May 30, 2011

Buick Verano


Just a new picture of the all new small Opel Astra based small Buick. Outside. (From a recent event in Baltimore)

It might actually look pretty good in real life.
I saw a few Astras last time I was in Europe, and they do look really good. So an "Astra with a trunck" could still be an attractive car.

We'll see...

Sunday, May 29, 2011

2012 Hyindai Elantra coupe



The Elantra is one of the best looking compact sedan on the market.
And it already seems very popular too. They seem to be everywhere.

The upcoming coupe might be another nail in the 2012 Civic coffin.
The new Civic hasn't been getting great reviews so far.
That's on top of the fact that the new designs looks even older than the previous generation, and the interior feels much cheaper than before.

These spy pics do look a bit different than the one i posted a while ago, so we'll have to see what the real thing looks like when it comes out...

Mercedes SLS AMG Roadster





The stunning retro futuristic Mercedes is now offered as a convertible.
Quite a looker.

Sure, you do miss the cool Gullwing doors from the coupe. So it is not as original.
But still...

Specs are similar to the coupe, with a 6.3 Liter V8 with 563hp and a 7 speed auto.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

2012 Nissan Versa




Looking pretty bad in real life too.
Sure, nothing looks great with blacked out sticker and no wheel covers.
But still.
It looks too tall and odd.

But I guess not worse than the current model, which has been a good seller for Nissan.

Ford Fiesta ST


Just an illustration so far, but the 200hp version of the small Fiesta is coming up.
Using an Ecoboost Turbo version of the 1.6 Liter engine.

It does sound like a fun car.

More pictures of the all new Chevrolet Sonic





A few people got to drive the new Sonic in Indiana yesterday.
Here are some pictures.

I almost forgot about the Sonic.
It does look quite interesting, and the available 1.4 Liter Turbo, which works fine in the Cruze, should be an even better match for the smaller Sonic.
And quite a good performer too.

More on the Sonic as soon as I can get my hands on one....

2012 Toyota Camry


Hidden behind one of the weirdest camouflage I have ever seen.

Don't expect anything drastic though. I really don't think the new Camry will try to push the envelope like the recent Kia and Hyundai models.
They are, instead, focusing on keeping the hundreds of thousands who keep buying Camrys year after year.
Competing more with the 2012 Malibu.
No matter what people say about it, the Camry is still a big hit for Toyota. So no big surprises for the next one.

2012 VW Up/Lupo


The all new small "UP" model from VW will end up replacing the aging Lupo in some markets.
Not sure what it'll be called here.

This illustration gives us an idea of what the production version will look like.
It' seems pretty close to the latest concept seen a while ago.

2012 Scion FR-S


Testing in Germany.
Like everything else these days...

Not sure if it is indeed the Scion/Toyota or the Subaru version. Both have been caught testing and they don't look that different from each other.

No matter what, it'll be nice to get 2 new small RWD coupe, hopefully starting at around $20 000.
There isn't that much competition out there right now.
The Hyundai Veloster isn one. Although FWD. And maybe a Turbo version of the CR-Z.
That's about it...

Friday, May 27, 2011

2012 Hyundai Santa Fe




With all these new Hyundai models in the past couple of years, I was wondering about the good old Santa Fe.

Well, the next one looks pretty much ready to come out.

Next year will see the all new Santa Fe.
Just wondering of it'll keep the V6, or, like the Sonata, will rely on 4 cylinder engines only.

We'll see...

Thursday, May 26, 2011

All new 2012 VW Passat Prices


The all new model will now start at $19 995. (Plus destination).
Which, for the first time, provides VW with a real competitor to the Accord/Camry crowd in the US.

This was achieved by turning the Passat in a big Jetta. The "real" Passat is still available in Europe.
The one we are now getting here is based on a stretched Jetta platform.

The base price includes the 2.5 Liter engine with a manual transmission.
A loaded 2.5 SEL starts at $30 665.
The TDI Diesel starts at $26 765. Or $32 965 for the SEL TDI. Which is a bit over $2000 more than the non diesel.

The top of the line VR6 SEL will be priced at $33 720.

For exemple, a loaded XLE Camry 2.5L is about $30 000. So the Passat is now competitive, at least in price.

I will be reporting on how it drives as soons as I get one for a week.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Audi does it right




Unlike BMW.

How to come up with a good looking wagon, a great looking hatchback.
All from a conservative looking sedan....

2012/13 Mercedes CLS Shooting Brake


Fancy, and old fashion, name for "wagon".

The new CLS is quite a good looking car (although I still do prefer the previous version), so this wagon version could be one of the best looking of its kind. Ever.

BMW 5 series GT :"Disappointing"


Really?

What a surprise!
Turns out the ugliest BMW ever isn't selling well. Who would have thought????

They expected to find between 4000 and 8000 buyers a year for the heavy handed and clumbsy looking hatchback.
First year sales were about 2800, and on its way to around 2100 for this year.

I do love hatchbacks, don't get me wrong. Audi has shown how a luxury hatch should look like with their stunning A7. And the smaller A5 Sportsback.
But the 5 series GT is one odd and heavy looking beast. Pretty much every one was wondering what BMW was thinking when they introduced it.

I guess that means we might be getting the good looking new wagon over here after all....

2012 Peugeot 309


The redesigned 308 compact from Peugeot will, as usual, get a new name.
It could be 309, but also 301.

It does look pretty modern. Even compared to other good looking European compacts like the Astra or the new Focus.
But we'll never see one. Unless some of us travel to Europe next year...

Sunday, May 22, 2011

What am I driving this week?

40 years ago....






I guess the "Big VW" is now the much more conservative Passat.
The cool Volvo P1800 is the C30.

But Fiat doesn't have a convertible anymore. (Except the 500)
Citroen does not have anything like the SM either.
And the Celica died in 2006. (although the upcoming Scion RWD Coupe will carry that torch...)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Chevrolet Traverse Test Drive.



-HOW IT LOOKS.
I always thought the Traverse was quite a good looking crossover.
You can tell it is related to the Buick Enclave, but it has its own design and personality.
A simple, more understated design. Which is exactly what it should be compared to the Buick.

And the 20 inch wheels on my test car looked great.


-HOW IT IS INSIDE.

At first, the interior seemed just fine to me.
I especially liked the tan/black leather combo. Which is one of my favorite interior color.
The seats are comfortable. Very roomy, front and back.




But after a little while, I started noticing how cheap things felt.
There is no soft plastic anywhere, except on the armrests. The dash, doors and console are all covered with cheap and shiny material.
It might be passable in a $16 000 Jetta, but not in my $42 000 test car.
The materials in almost any other GM cars are better.

This feels and looks more like "old GM", like the Cobalt than the new Cruze, where the plastics feel and look much better than this.

The stereo is one of these Bose system that just sounds OK, not great.
I have noticed that in many other cars too. Bose seem to be riding on their reputation more than actual sound quality. At least for car systems...

And there are a few things missing, at least for the price.
Like remote entry, or even a USB plug for the iPod.

And even though my car had a DVD player for the back seat, it didn't have a sunroof or a GPS. All for $42 665...

-HOW IT DRIVES.

.Ride/Steering

The traverse is one of the smoothest and comfortable car I have driven in a long time. It does ride like a luxury car, and always feels very solid, no matter how bad the road gets.
The steering is very accurate with good on center feel. It is not to light. And has a really good feel.

.Engine/transmission

The engine is much better than the 3.0 Liter used in the smaller Terrain.
There is always enough power, and it is always smooth and quiet.

The transmission always does a great job, and can be pretty responsive when you need it to be. Again, quite the opposite of what I experienced with the V6 Terrain.

The AWD V6 Traverse is rated at 16/23 MPG
I was never abel to get 16 in the city. The best I got was 13.
But I did get 23 on the HWY. Which isn't much either....


-SO???

The Traverse faces stiff competition, mainly from the Mazda CX-9. Which is a great car.
It has a much better interior. And I got 15/26 MPG in the AWD version I tested last year.
It was also about $2500 less but included a sunroof and GPS.

The Traverse also faces competition from its cousin, the Buick Enclave.
Which is actually just a few thousands more, and also has a much better interior.

The traverse is a good car, but in desperate need of a much better interior.
I also think it is overpriced next to the competition.

Friday, May 20, 2011

2012 Mercedes ML


Looking like an SUV version of the boxy E Class.
Sure, it does look a bit better than the GLK, but that's not saying much.

The current model still looks good, and better than this.

We'll see when they release actual pictures, but the one above does seem to match every spy shot I have seen of the car....

Thursday, May 19, 2011

New 20120 MG5



As you can guess, this will fit under the MG6 and the small MG3.
The MG 6 just started production in England a few weeks ago.

The interior on this prototype looks really nice. Far better than almost anything else from China.
It looks like MG might become the 1st Chinese manufacturer to really become a contender in Europe. Some day....