Thursday, June 30, 2011

2012 Range Rover Evoque Price.




The 5 door Front Wheel Drive model will start at $44 000 in the US.

You can get the 3 door model for $1000 more. They call it a "coupe". That way they can charge more for it.

Not sure what comes standard. It seems pricey if you compare it to the $36 000 LR2.
I guess that's "only" a Land Rover.

But much more less than the $60 000 Range Rover Sport.

At least it looks great, inside and out. I saw it in person last year, and it really seems very nice.
The first truly 21st century looking Range Rover.

2012/13 Toyota Yaris 3 door.


The 3 door Yaris has always been pretty popular in the US. Always being sold alongside the 4 door sedan.
They added the 5 door model much later, at least over here.
So it just makes sense to see a 3 door version of the new generation.

Still... At least in the design department, this is no match to the all new Kia Rio. 5 and 3 doors...

2012 Honda CR-V


Still pretty covered, so we can't see much yet.

This one was caught in China. Where the current one is very popular.
Looks like the US and China will be the main markets for the new Honda SUV. Again.

Coming here this fall.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

2012 Euro Honda Civic



These are still just illustrations. But they show a design that is very different, and much more aggressive than the current generation.
The Euro Civic has always looked much more modern than the sedan we have over here.
And, at least on these illustrations, it looks very different. The spy shots we've seen so far showed a car that looked a lot like the current one.
But it could be close, who knows. The prototypes driving around still have quite a bit of camouflage on them.


This is the current model in Europe. The equivalent of our previous generation.
And it still looks great. And a million times better than our "all new" 2012 Civic.

Maybe they could find it in their heart to bring this over here as an entry level Acura.
Why not? We're already getting the Euro Accord sedan and wagon as the TSX...

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

What am I driving this week?

Mercedes A-Class sedan?



It is said we are finally getting the next A Class in the US.
It might be the sedan version, and not the hatchback. At least at first.

Which will be competing directly with the new Audi A3 sedan. This illustration doesn't look that impressive.

We'll see...

Toyota Liva commercial


The Liva is mostly for the Indian market.
Which is reflected in this new commercial.

Interesting to see how car are presented in other countries.
This makes it look like the most fun you could ever have.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid test drive.



-HOW IT LOOKS.
The Hybrid version of the Tahoe pretty much looks the same as the regular model that came out in 2007.
Which is to say, pretty nice for a truck.

The front end has been revised a bit since, with deeper front spoiler on the Hybrid. And different wheels.
Plus, of course, huge "Hybrid" logos.

It does have a much more refined look than the previous generation. And after 4 years, it still looks good.


-HOW IT IS INSIDE.
I remember thinking the new Tahoe had one of the best GM interiors, back when it came out.

It still looks fine. But most plastics are still hard to the touch. And most new GM interiors are better now.
It now has more of a 90's GM feel to it. And it lacks some of the conveniences many cars have these days.

Like auto up windows. Telescopic steering wheel. Or keyless ignition.
Some people might say it's OK in a truck. A truck doesn't have to be a luxury car.
Which is true. But my test model was about $56 000. Quite an expensive truck...

The Tahoe is very roomy, front and back. And even the 3 row is fine.

It is still one of these cars where you have to choose between filling it up with people, or stuff.
With the 3 rows up, there isn't much room for anything in the trunk.

I guess that's why they have the even longer Suburban...

Not being used to driving big trucks, it felt like quite a climb to get into the seats. My shorter friends really had trouble.

One thing I don't get is the column shifter.

I know it is part of the "truck experience" (for some), but in a car with no bench seat, there is just no reason for it.
The huge center console has plenty of room for a shifter there.
Plus, it does block the way to the stereo system from the driver seat. It just sticks out way too much.

Even the Ford F-150 Pick-up truck offers a more modern shifter on the console...

-HOW IT DRIVES.

.Ride and steering.

The Tahoe rides great. Sure, it still feels a little trucky. There is always a little bit of motion, but it is very comfortable.
The steering is light, but very precise and always feels really good.

.Engine.

This is the main course. How does the Hybrid perform?

I have to say this is one of the quietest car I have ever driven. It sounds great at any speed. Whenever you can actually hear anything that it. It is an extremely refined powertrain.
I was able to reach about 25MPH on electric alone. Which isn't bad for such a heavy beast.
The engine is so quiet, it is hard to tell when it is actually on.

GM claims 20 MPG in the city and 23 HWY.
I got 20/26. Which is a bit better.

And actually really good for something that size. Or even smaller.
These are better numbers than what I got in the Infiniti FX, EX, GMC Terrain. And I did better in the city than a Kia Sportage.

I would say the gas mileage in pretty amazing for what it is. A big truck capable of carrying 7 people in total comfort.


-SO???

The Tahoe Hybrid is like a guilty pleasure. I almost hate admitting I enjoyed it. But I did.
And pretty much everyone who got to ride with me in my week long test.

It is really big, but very easy to drive. And the gas mileage is actually good.

But... It is quite pricey. My loaded 4WD model was $56 540. Sure, you could save a couple of thousands by skipping the 4WD.
Still...

It now faces some competition from the VW Touareg Hybrid. Sure the $60 000 VW is even more expensive, and does not seat as many people.
But most might not need to. And the interior refinement of the new Touareg is pretty much unmatched for the price.

"Cars direct" has about $4000 off on the Tahoe Hybrid right now. Plus, the Hybrid is actually less than $2000 more than a loaded LTZ model. Which only gets 15/21 MPG
It is really a great truck, even for people who are not used to trucks.
I enjoyed driving it much more than the Traverse.

I think the next generation might address all the small shortcomings of the current model. And be even more efficient.

Yet another spy pic of the new 2012 Hyundai Elantra Coupe

Peugeot 308 Sedan




Another modern hatchback that will look horrendous as a sedan.

We don't have to worry about it really, as it won't make it over here. Like all Peugeots.

So far, this is strictly for the Chinese market. Where they also seem to like sedans...

The bottom picture is the regular European hatchback model.
You can see how, on the sedan, they even changed the front and to make it more conservative and attractive to local geezers.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

2012 Lexus GS


Still lots of camouflage, so it's hard to see if it will look much better than the current model.
Which, I think, still looks very nice.

I just hope it doesn't look too much like the scary LF-Gh concept.
That would be pretty tragic, and would give Lexus the worst looking car in the segment.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

All new 2012 Mercedes M Class video


Some British guy telling us how great it is...

It still looks pretty boring to me. Although I really like the interior color combo on this video, the interior is also super conservative.

I guess they do know their audience...

2012 Hyundai Elantra Coupe.


Another picture of the upcoming competition to the Civic coupe.
And that's pretty much it so far.
There is no Cruze coupe, or Focus coupe, or Jetta coupe, so far.

So Hyundai might be getting a big slice of the compact coupe market when this car comes out.

Another dark day for Saab.


Which now announced they will not be able to pay their employees.

That doesn't sound good.
I don't think too many people at Saab are willing to work for free.

A few days ago, it looked like they had secure cash from 2 Chinese companies.
Problem is, they need money right now to pay suppliers in order to keep the assembly lines going. And now they can't even pay their workers.

Looks like Spyker might have misjudged how complicated and expensive it was going to be to run a company like Saab.

I like Saabs, and have wonderful memories driving them. I would be very sad to see them go....

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

2012 Kia Tam



Another Kia we won't be seeing here.

This would be just too small. Much smaller than the Soul.
And of course, even though it could end up pretty cool looking. It's not nearly as good looking as the illustration released recently.
Super tiny wheels do that to a car...

Who knows, maybe when gas hits over $5 a gallon, everyone will change their minds...

More pictures of the all new Citroen DS5







What a great looking car.
Even without the super cheezy lighting effect of these official pictures, I bet it looks stunning.

This is the kind of modern personality Saab and Subaru should be going after.
Let's face it, these guys will never sell as many cars as Toyota.
They should instead cater to people who want something different. Like they used to.
Something nobody else has the guts to do.

Except, I guess, Citroen.

I'm curious to see if this car will be popular in Europe. I am sure they could be quite pricey, which means competing with more established German brands.

2013 Mitsubishi Evo


another illustration, so who know what it will look like.

But Road and Track reports that the Evo is not dead.
And the new version would be powered by a Hybrid system, paired with a 1.6 Liter Turbo engine.

Why not?

We still need fun cars around. I just wish they also looked more fun. So far it's just been tricked out versions of the boring Lancer.

How about its own design, for once.

2012 Kia K9





The top picture is obviously just an illustration.
The others are prototypes of the real car.
As far as we know, it is based on the Hyundai Genesis.
And probably not for the US. Since we're not even getting the smaller (but larger than Optima) K7.

Too bad. Maybe they're not ready to move up from the Optima yet. At least in the US...

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

2013 Chevrolet Corvette?


This is just an illustration.
Inspired by the concept we saw a couple of years ago. About which GM then said it was not the next Corvette, so who knows...

I personally think the next Corvette should go retro.
They have so many old designs to be inspired by.
It just doesn't seem to have the edge it needs in a modern design. Somehow...

Maybe it could be smaller too. It is still this old fashion american icon that only older guys seem to be interested in.
I think it's time for them to appeal to a larger audience.
A smaller retro design with tons of personality could be good for the Corvette. It worked for the Mustang and Camaro.

What do you think???

All new Kia Rio 3 door.


Not sure we'll be getting this one over here. We usually don't seem to get 3 door versions of small hatchbacks.
We don't get the 3 door Fiesta for instance.

Who knows. This could be another great looking design from Kia.
After seeing the 5 door for myself, I can say the new Rio is the best looking car in its class. At least in the US.

Monday, June 20, 2011

More pictures of the Fiat Freemont





Which is just a Dodge Journey with a new front end.
Mostly.

But it is kind of fun to see a Dodge interior with a Fiat logo, and a stick shift. Who would have though just a few years ago.

It would be nice if they could find a way to sell the diesel version over here. Could be good competition to the VW Jetta Wagon TDI.

On related news, I hear the Fiat diesel in the Jeep Grand Cherokee, already offered in Europe, has great chances to be an option in the US soon.
It is getting good reviews in Europe so far...

2012 Mini Coupe Prices


It will start at $22 000 for the Cooper Coupe with 121hp.

The Cooper S goes for $25 300 and the 208 hp John Cooper Works will cost $31 900.

This seems to be about $700 more than the regular hatchback.

But also means that the convertible version might start at around $27 000. Or about $3000 more than a more powerful, and RWD Mazda Miata.

2012 Mini Coupe





The weirdest looking Mini so far.
We finally get to see pictures of the production model.

Just a few weeks after we saw spy shots of the next generation Mini. Which means this will be based on the "old" version.
Why not wait a bit???
It's not like the world couldn't wait another minute for an awkward looking 2 seater version of the Mini...

Engines are the same as on the other versions. So expect rough and noisy. Which actually might fit better in a sportier Coupe.

Not sure what is the competition is for this car. But the upcoming convertible version will target the Miata.