Wednesday, November 30, 2011

VW GTI test Drive coming up.


Driving a GTI for a week.
One with DSG, sunroof and Navigation.

I'll answer any questions you might have about it.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

VW Cross Coupe Concept





Let's just hope this is not just a concept.
It does look pretty production ready to me. Especially some of the interior, like the dashboard and the doors.

The Concept part is the Plug-In Hybrid technology.

They say it is "smaller than the Tiguan but longer than the Golf". So it looks like this isn't the new Tiguan, but instead something all new. Like maybe VW's equivalent of the Audi Q3.

We'll see if it turns out in showrooms or not. And if it does, it might still not come over here...

Who knows.

Monday, November 28, 2011

2013 Subaru BRZ



First official pictures of the Toyota clone.

It is really too bad they chose not to spend money into redesigning more of the car.
This is back from the old GM, Ford Chrysler days.
Back when a Mercury was just a Ford with more chrome.

Really sad....

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Toyota GT 86




Finally official pictures of the all new Toyota RWD sports car.
After bout 34 years of spy shots, concepts and various teaser shots.

And it looks pretty good. At least on these pictures.
Also much better than the Subaru version (concept) I saw at the Auto Show last week.

I just think it's too bad Toyota chose to sell it as a Scion in the US.
I am not sure what image Scion is now trying to project, but its not great.

It is powered by a Subaru 2.0 Liter flat four engine with 197hp. At least the European version pictured here.
6 speed manual or Automatic are both available.

More very soon on what could be the most exciting Toyota model in years....

Friday, November 25, 2011

R.I.P: Maybach


After years of poor sales, everyone was wondering how long the brand would last.
Now we know.
Mercedes will kill it of in a bout a year.
Just by the time the new S Class comes out.
A super fancy/expensive version of the redesigned large sedan is supposed to replace the Maybach.
Which it wont really.
The Maybach was pretty much the price of a Rolls, starting at around $380 000.
A loaded S Class is still "only" about $170 000.

It was one of the biggest mistake I have seen in years.
It just looked like a big S Class to begin with. If you're going to charge that much cash for a car, it better not look like anything else costing less than half the price.
Plus there was no name recognition whatsoever. In a market where it was competing with legends like Rolls Royce and Bentley.

A big mistake doomed from the beginning.

But. Still very nice cars, and maybe quite a good deal on the used car market now....

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

2013 Porsche 911 Cabriolet




This turns out exactly like expected.

Which, I think, is a good thing. The classic shape remains.
This is exactly how a 911 Cabriolet should look like.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Some small interior thoughts from the L.A Auto show


One of the big news there is the all new Honda CR-V.
I am not as critical as many about the design.
I think it does exactly what it is supposed to do. Which is keep the CR-V faithfuls in the Honda family.

But... Once you step inside, you are greeted with the hardest and cheapest looking plastics in the industry.
Quite a disappointment.
Especially on a car that isn't that cheap, really.
I would say that, quality wise, this is not up to what most of the competition is offering .

On the other end, the much cheaper 2012 Kia Rio was a good surprise.

Sure, the plastics are also of the hard kind. But we are talking about a much cheaper car. Grain and texture are much better. And things aren't as shinny as in the CR-V.
Plus there are a couple of really interesting looking touches here and there.
It is really one of the nicest looking interior in the segment.


Another great interior is the new Range Rover Evoque.

Of course, it is an expensive car.
But it manages to surprise with interesting shapes and a choice of great materials and colors.
It is original and modern as well as classy and refined.

---

I have to say that my favorite was the all new 2013 Ford Escape.

And I wasn't expecting it.
Sure, just like in the pictures, it does look a bit busy and over designed. But the plastics used are some of the best I have seen in that price range and higher.
And the glass panel roof is fantastic.

Everything you tough feels and looks solid.
This is quite a high quality interior for a car that will no doubt be very popular.
Not only it is centuries ahead of the old Escape. It is a giant leap above the new CR-V.

Other small, more general notes about the show:

-Both the new Mazda CX-5 and Subaru BTS are some of the most boring cars I have ever seen.
-The Buick Verano has a surprisingly nice interior.
-The back seat of the Volt is shockingly small.
-The Fiat 500 Abarth is one aggressive looking small car.

New Audi A1 Sportback





Basically an A1 with 2 more doors.

And it still looks really good.
Shares the same nice interior with its 3 door counterpart, and engines too.

One other thing they both share: they won't be sold in the US.
I saw the A1 in Europe a few months ago, and it's not that tiny at all. It would be a great fit here.

I guess they don't want to go any smaller or cheaper than the A3 in the US.

Too bad....

2013 Lincoln MKS




Another case of a new grille trying to turn things around.

And a few small changes in the rear as well. And more inside.

The MKS seems like a nice car. But it is just invisible.
Plus, try to convince anyone under 80 to buy a Lincoln. Good luck.

Ford needs to spend some money into advertising. Or even letting people know that Lincoln is still around, a least.

2013 Lincoln MKT



I am not sure that just a new grille will do it for the MKT.

It seems that most people just don't like the design.
I'm fine with it, but most people are not.

A slightly redesigned front grille and other minute changes are not really going to set sales on fire.

Not sure what they are thinking here...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

2012 Honda CR-V




Finally official pictures of the new CR-V.

I think it looks fine. A bit more upscale than the outgoing model, especially inside.
It will do a great job at keeping existing customers. And that's pretty much all they need, the CR-V being so popular already.

Powertain is not really improved,using the familiar 2.4 Liter with 185hp. Which is actually enough for most buyers.

No novelties like a 6 speed auto or glass roof. Five speed and an old fashion sunroof instead.

2012 Hyundai Azera




We have seen pictures of this car as the new Grandeur for the Korean market. So no big surprises today.

Still, a very nice looking car. With tons of stuff standard. Powered by a 293hp 3.3 Liter V6.

Here are some more details:

- All-new second generation Azera with Fluidic Sculpture design
- Powered by a new Lambda II 3.3-liter Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI) engine and in-house six-speed automatic transmission
- Horsepower: 293 at 6400 RPM
- Best-in-class combined 23 mpg
- Better combined fuel efficiency than Nissan Maxima, Ford Taurus, Lexus ES350 and Buick LaCrosse V6
- Best-in-class specific output
- Nine standard airbags – includes knee airbag
- Impact-reducing front seat system
- Standard VSM, ESC, TCS, ABS with Brake Assist and EBD
- Best-in-class head and leg room for front-seat passengers
- Standard 18-inch alloy wheels and optional 19-inch alloy wheels
- HID Xenon headlights with LED accents
- Segment-exclusive standard navigation system with rearview camera
- Standard leather interior with heated front and rear seats
- Bluetooth® hands-free phone system with voice recognition
- Standard Blue Link telematics platform
- Segment-first manual side window sunshades
- Ventilated front seats

2013 Cadillac XTS




I haven't seen it in person yet, but this new Cadillac does look pretty modern and impressive to me.
And I don't think FWD or AWD is a problem for most people who will consider this car.
The XTS is not intended to compete with BMW.

They could have offered a bit more than 300hp with the 3.6 Liter V6 though.

Here are some of the highlights:


-Advanced Haldex all-wheel-drive system with electronically controlled limited-slip differential
-Magnetic Ride Control, rear air suspension, HiPer Strut front suspension and Brembo brakes - all standard
-Standard 19-inch wheels and available 20-inch wheels
-Direct-injected 3.6L V-6 with lightweight features, including integrated cylinder heads/exhaust manifolds
-Capless fuel tank filler for easier, cleaner refueling
-Folding rear-seat headrests that enhance rear visibility
-Safety Alert Seat that vibrates to alert the driver
-Intervening braking system that lessens or avoids potential collisions
-Short- and long-range radar systems that support:
-Adaptive Cruise Control
-Front and Rear Automatic Brakes
-Rear Cross Traffic Alert.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

2013 Ford Escape






With one of the most modern crossover/SUV design around, the Escape finally makes it into the 21 Century.

It is all new and will also replace the Kuga in Europe.
Compared to the previous Escape, this one looks like a space ship. But it is really very close to the previous European Kuga.

Powered by Ford's EcoBoost engines. The 2.0 Liter version is predicted to produce more torque than the V6 in the Toyota Rav4, and 237hp.
A smaller 1.6 Liter with 173hp will be available as well.
A revised version of the "old" 2.5 Liter is the base engine.

So far it all looks and sounds great. A wonderful match for the 2012 CRV, as well as the Tucson and Sportage.

Just wonder where is the new Rav4...

2012 Fiat 500 Abarth (USA)




More pictures of the US version of the 500 Abarth.
More aggressive and more powerful Turbo version of the now familiar Fiat 500.
The engine is the big news here, with 160hp. Quite a lot for a car that is much lighter than the Mini Cooper S.

2013 Ford Mustang





No big changes here. New more aggressive front end, cleaner rear lights etc...
I just don't think the Mustang is that exciting anymore.
The interior is still shockingly cheap to me, every time I seat in one.

At least they keep the steering wheel interesting, unlike Chevrolet who switch to the boring one from the Cruze for the Camaro.