Friday, September 30, 2011

2012 Chrysler Ypsilon




This is one of these new "For England only" Chryslers.
Fiat has decided not to sell Lancias over there. Instead. rebadging the Italian models as Chryslers.

A bit weird, but why not.
The smallest model is the new Chrysler Ypsilon, know as the Lancia Ypsilon in the rest of Europe.
It is based on the same platform used for the Fiat 500 and Ford Ka.

It does look kind of cute from some angles. Not sure if a car that small could make it as a Chrysler in the US though....

2012 Citroen C4 Aircross



This new Citroen is actually a version of the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport. Known is Europe as the ASX.

I must say, the Europeans have done quite a job turning the boring looking Mitsubishi into something much more interesting and modern.
No pictures of the interior yet. The ASX is as boring inside as it is outside. Let's hope Citroen got to at least redesign the dashboard.


This is the Mitsubishi ASX.
Similar to our Outlander Sport.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

2013 Ford Fusion/Mondeo



These illustrations do resemble the spy shots we have seen for the past few months.
So it could be pretty close. Or not.... It is still early.

Once this is for sure, the next Fusion will look 100 times better than the current one which looked pretty dated when it came out.
I know it is a popular car, and does drive well. But I never liked the design much. Especially the interior.

This looks very promising.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

2013 BMW 3 series coupe


This illustration is probably close to the real thing.

We have already seen most of the new 3 series sedan for 2013. This looks like a mix of it and the new 6 series.
Not a big improvement over the current good looking coupe if you ask me...

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

2012 Skoda Citigo





As you can see, it didn't take Skoda too long to get their own version of the all new VW Up!

Specs are similar as well. With a 1.0 Liter engine with 60 or 75hp.

Skoda is supposed to be a cheaper brand than VW, so the Citigo should be even cheaper than the Up!
But somehow, the little Skoda does look more upscale to me than the VW. Not sure also what the deal is selling such similar cars.
I wonder if Seat will be getting a version of this too....

Monday, September 26, 2011

2012 Subaru Impreza



These pictures were sent to me by a reader from NYC, Marcin.

As you can see, the new Impreza doesn't seem to look much better "in the flesh".
One of the blockiest and most boring design I have seen in years.
Looking rather cheap too.

I will file this one under "what were they thinking?". Same folder I used for the previous generation a few years ago...

A few more pictures of the all new Hyundai Eon



Again, this tiny Hundai is mostly for the Indian market where it will compete with the Tata Nano.
A small 800 cc engine powers it.

I think they did quite a good job, considering price and size restrictions.
Especially with the interior. Which seems vastly superior to the Nano.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Toyota's new fake engine noise on Prius


It does make sense. Making sure people can hear a Hybrid coming.
The noise they came up with sounds like a car from a Science Fiction movies from the 60's, which is actually pretty cool.

I just hope you can't hear it from inside the car. Which could become truly annoying after a while...

Saturday, September 24, 2011

2012 Hyundai Eon




These are real pictures of the all new super small Hyundai. I had posted official sketches earlier.
As far as I can tell, the Eon is not a replacement for the i10 sold in Europe. It is even smaller and cheaper.
Power will come from a new 3 cylinder engine.

This is, so far, mostly for the Indian Market.

Friday, September 23, 2011

2012 Nissan Versa test drive



-LOOKS.
The Nissan Versa has never been the best looking car around. I think the previous generation was actually the worst looking car in the US. (But that's just me... And a few others)

The all new model does improve things a bit.
For 2012, the hatchback version still retains the old design. It will be new for next year.

It does look like it's trying very hard to not look cheap. But the tiny wheels, odd proportions betray its $11 000 starting price.



-INSIDE
The interior is also an improvement over the last generation.
Even if all the plastics are still hard and cheap, they, at least, got rid of the ghastly fake wood trim from last year.
The interior is still very roomy.
Especially in the back, where there is more leg room than most cars costing twice as much.
The radio on my SL model sounded very good. It included iPod integration. Although the iPod would stay exposed. And there is no armrest where you could hide it.
I think that at least the "$4000 more than base SL model" would get an armrest.
No lights for the vanity mirrors either. A GPS system is available for about $700 extra. Which is a good price.

-THE DRIVE

.Ride
The new Versa has a very comfortable and solid ride.
This and the roomy back seat are the main qualities of the car.

.Steering.
Like most new inexpensive cars, the steering feels pretty artificial. But it is actually fine and precise once you get used to it.
It could be much worse.

.Engine.
The small 1.6 Liter is mostly quiet, unless you try to push it.
The CVT is trying hard to keep things under 2000rpm most of the time. And when you push it, it gets a bit noisy, but not much else.
Acceleration is very leisurely at best. But again, it doesn't pretend to be anything else.
The CVT works very well around town. As long as you don't really push it.
You're fine as long as you keep everything lazy.
If you need to have fun while driving a $15 000 car, a Mazda2 or Fiat 500 are much better choices. But with far less room.

The new Versa sedan is rated at 30/38 MPG.
I got 28/44 in my weekly drive. Which is pretty good for such a roomy car.

-SO???

The new Versa is the most popular car in its category.
It seems to be a car many people love to hate. But many others love to buy.

If you want something inexpensive, very roomy and quiet. This is it.
If you are looking for some fun, it isn't.

But again, it doesn't really pretend to be fun.

I do have a problem with its pricing. The base model starts at $11 000.
The SL version I drove was a bit over $15 000. And there isn't $4000 worth of equipment in there.
Mostly alloy wheels,CVT, better stereo, cloth etc...

So no matter how many people hate this car, sale numbers prove Nissan right. Year after year....

Thursday, September 22, 2011

2012 Honda CRV "Concept"


Not much here to see. Especially after seeing the patent pictures of the production model yesterday.
Bigger wheels, more aggressive bumper etc... Otherwise it is the regular 2012 model, not a real concept car.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

2012 Honda CRV



The CRV has been popular in the US for many years.
This all new design should keep that trend.

I drove the current CRV and always thought it was a very nice car. Except for the interior. But that's a matter of taste.
I am sure the new one drives even a bit better, get better fuel economy etc...

So this will be pretty much everywhere by next year.

Monday, September 19, 2011

2012 Hyundai Eon




The tiny Eon will be Hyundai's cheapest car.
It is going on sale in India in a bout a month. Where it will compete with the Tata nano, while not being as cheap.

This is a tiny car, we are talking about a small 800CC engine producing 56hp.

Needless to say, this will not be sold in the US.

New shameless clones from China






I had never heard of the "Sichuan Yema" brand before.
But here are 3 of their new models recently introduced.
We can all recognize the original designs. Shamelessly stollen by this pathetic car company.

Just when you though some original stuff was coming out of China, mainly from MG/Roewe.

Still a long, long way to go.....

Friday, September 16, 2011

2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe


Not sure if this new front end makes the car better looking or not.
It's not as simple as before. And maybe resemble the rest of the cheaper Hyundai models a bit too much.

The Genesis coupe is a great car no matter what. I am now curious to see what they came up with for the interior...

Thursday, September 15, 2011

2012 Nissan Versa test drive coming up


I really don't know how any of you could have guess what car I was driving from the obscure picture I posted earlier. But you did.

So yes, I am currently driving the newly redesigned Versa sedan. And will answer any questions you might have about the car.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

What am I driving this week?

2012 Toyota Avensis




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The current Avensis has been out in Europe for 3 years and Toyota has decided to give it a mid cycle refresh.
It works. With few changes the car looks better, more modern and aggressive.

And, this 3 year old design still looks much better than our all new 2012 Camry. Inside and out!

It's a shame Toyota hasn't decided to merge the Avensis and Camry into one car. I know the Avensis is a smaller car ( by about 6 inches.)
Still... It would make sense to me to stretch this car just a bit and do what others do. Sell the same model in Europe and the US.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

More pictures of the all new Hyundai i30






In my opinion, this is much better than the new Euro Civic.
And it does have quite a European feel to it that could help it become more popular there.

Hyundai is saying they are still "committed" to offer over here a "touting" version of the Elantra.
The previous Touring sold in the US was the wagon version of the previous Euro i30.
I haven't heard of a wagon for this new 2012 model. So we might be getting this exact car instead as the Elantra Touring next year.
This would be great competition to the Focus and Mazda3 in the US.
And something Toyota and Honda seem to have abandoned in our market.

More pictures of the all new Honda Euro Civic






While it does look much better than the sad looking sedan we are getting in the US, it still doesn't look as good to me as the previous version.
Especially the interior. Which, just like the US version, seems to be a step back.
It is also sad to notice that even in Europe, Honda keep offering the brown/dark beige combo for its interiors. Instead of a more modern and classier tan/black. Or all tan.

Anything but the dreadful brown/dark beige from the 80's....