Friday, June 29, 2012

Jaguar F-Type


They are showing off a little bit more of the new F-Type this week end.
Looks like we might even get a look at the interior.

So far, it looks great. even with all the crappy looking camouflage.
Even has a more Jaguar feel and look than last year's C-X16 concept.

I can't wait.

Mercedes CLS Shooting Brake




After a 4 door coupe, now a 4 door Shooting Brake.
Which is basically a hatchback version, or a wagon, of the 4 door.

This is pretty much the car we saw as a concept over 2 years ago. So there is absolutely no surprises here.
It's also too bad the CLS, 4 or 5 door, isn't getting the glass roof treatment. It would look great on the hatchback.


This is the original concept.
So we've seen that shape for a while now...

Thursday, June 28, 2012

More pictures of the all new Mitsubishi Outlander





Sure, it does look a bit better than the current one. Although its design was never what was wrong with it, really.
The super cheap interior, tiny doors, horrible CVT etc... This is what needs to be fixed.

The new one is very generic and even more boring inside where it could be anything from any other brand.
This is the model sold in Europe, so we'll have to wait a bit to see what will be the changes for the US.
One thing we won't get for sure is the 2.2 Liter Diesel with 150 hp.
We might end up with the 2.0 Liter with 150hp with a 6 speed auto.
Not the stick pictured here.

I really don't think this will be enough for Mitsubishi in the US. It doesn't turn heads, doesn't have a great reputation for quality or.. Anything for that matter.

They needed something that stands out, and the new Outlander isn't it...

More pictures of the Cadillac ATS






New "action" shots of the small Cadillac sedan.
Not sure if these look better, or if I am just getting used to the design. But I kind of like it. A bit more.
Still, I wish the front grille wasn't so.. Soft and boring...

But the profile seems fine. And the interior as well.

From these shots it also looks like t would look much better with even thinner headlights.

They just didn't push it enough....

2013 Chevrolet Spin





Yep. Everything screams "cheap". the tiny wheels, the lack of radio, the 80's looking cloth inside.
Everything.

This Chevrolet is not for the US but mostly Brazil. Where there must be a need for super cheap transportation for 7.

Still, they could have made it a bit more attractive.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

2013 Toyota Avalon Hybrid


That was kind of a surprise.
Although the all new Avalon is still offered with the good old 3.5 Liter V6, there is now a new Hybrid choice.
With a 2.5 Liter engine with 200hp. A similar set up is used in the current Camry.

But the Avalon is a big car, and a big car that will get 40MPG City. And 39HWY.
A 40MPG large sedan is quite amazing and something we couldn't imagine a few years ago.

The V6 is rated at 21 city and 31 hwy. Still fine. But the hybrid almost doubles the city figure.
Which is quite amazing...

Jaguar F-Type teaser video.


Yes, technically, the car appears in the video.
But it is so fast you can't see it. Or even grab a frame from it.

We'll just have to wait a little longer to actually see it.
I can't wait for this car. Finally a smaller jag convertible to compete with the Boxter, Z4 and SLK.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Acura RLX Concept video


One of the best videos I have seen, for one of the most boring looking car ever.

This car will never be noticed like it is in this short film.
Only paid extras would turn their heads when it drives by.

There is absolutely nothing new, nothing that stands out, nothing that says "buy me instead of another car".

Again, it is sad to see what the Legend has become after 25 years....

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Nissan Leaf test Drive. Part two.


I had to return the leaf after a few days. And I must say, I was sad to see it go.
It is a great little car to drive.
Not as sporty or fast as the Volt, but it has its own quiet personality.
A light, but precise, steering, and a super smooth ride will please most.
And although it feels solid, it doesn't have the same heavy feel as the Volt. Which I prefer.
But it is also based on the same platform as the new Versa. Which is cheaper than the Volt/Cruze one.

The interior has almost everything you need.
No leather in my car, but that is an option for 2013. As well as a dark interior color. (But no sunroof.)

I was just fine with the light grey cloth.
The interior design is simple and quite futuristic. And everything is very well put together.

Back seat is quite roomy, a bit more so that the Volt.

Unlike the Volt which has a "Sport" mode, the Leaf has an "eco" mode. Which is pretty much unusable.
It is a stupid gimmick that turns the car into a slug. So slow that I felt it was unable to keep up with any realistic traffic condition and could even be dangerous.
And from the computer reading, it looks like the gain would only be less than 10 miles per full charge.
It also seems that using the climate control will cost you about 10 miles on the full charge.

I only charged the car once during my few days of driving. I was down to 9 miles when I did.
And the overnight charge on a regular 115 volt outlet put me back to 85 miles the next morning. Not quite full, but fine.

The Leaf really feels like something special when you drive it. It is literally like driving the future.
And Nissan has done an amazing job at making sure it feels like a normal car.
Much more so than the Prius.
It has plenty of power (except when using the "eco" mode)
And it is very comfortable at all time.

The main problem is,, of course, the limited range.
It makes a great second car to go to work . But you just have to plan everything else. Gone are the "let's take a drive up the coast" spontaneous moments.
But again, this is the first of its kind. Once the range gets to be 300 miles and you can charge it at a station in 15 minutes, the gas engine will be dead.

For most people, I would still recommend the Volt over the Leaf. Even though the lease is about $100 more a month.
The Volt can be your only car. And it feels more like a driver's car.

But the Leaf is the future. Now.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

All new Acura RLX



These are images of the new RL replacement for next year.
I guess they think adding an "X" to the name makes it more modern.
Because the "new" design is not. Really not.

It looks like a combo of at least 12 cars. And could win the price of most generic looking car ever made.
What a disgrace compared to the original Legend. Who would have guessed things would become that bad.

I know most cars in the segment are boring too, like the new Lexus GS. Which t is a lame excuse for mediocre design.

I wish them luck....

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Nissan Leaf test Drive. Part one.




The Leaf instantly feels like something special.
After the Volt, this is my second experience with an electric car.
And I must say, I love the smooth gliding feeling the electric motor provides. Plus, the added bonus of the " Driving the future" feeling.

The driving position id about perfect. Not too high but not too low.
It doesn't feel as sporty as the Volt. More like a luxurious compact ride.
The interior does have more hard plastics than the Volt. But everything still feels solid and well put together.

The steering is lighter too, but seems to fit the car just fine.
It is just very pleasant to drive around. And more like a "normal " car than a Prius..

It does get noticed. ( I had a long talk with the Frolic Room Door man after parking the car right in front of the historical Hollywood bar).

So far so good.
The car was delivered with 86 miles left on the battery. But after driving about 15 miles , the "available range" says 88.

OK by me...

Chevrolet Cruze Wagon





Just a few new pictures GM released of the wagon version of the popular Cruze.
Which is still not for us. But they said the same about the Diesel. Which is coming over here sometime next year.
As well as the new front end.


Looks like they made a few changes inside as well.
The current version is above.

The Cruse is a really good car and deserves GM to really push it in the US.
Where it is much more popular than in Europe.

Monday, June 18, 2012

2013 Kia Sorento



It's official now.

And still not a big improvement. Change for the sake of change.
Which is OK, I guess.

Interior pix coming up soon.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Huh???


Took this picture in my neighborhood last night.
And it's not the fist time I see it in the past few days.
It seems that, at least for now, diesel is cheaper than regular.

When most of the time, it seems to be about 50 cents more per gallon.

Go figure...

Nissan Leaf test drive coming up


I will be getting a Leaf for a few days. Starting tomorrow.

And will be reporting on it as often as I can.
A very special car.

Will answer any questions you might have.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Kia Sorento



Just a few changes for the next year.
Not really an improvement, I think.

Kia Ceed Coupe


The new Ceed is out in Europe. And the sedan version is coming over here as the new Forte.

This future 2 door version is for Europe only. Although a US Coupe could be based on it.

Let's hope Kia follows Hyundai and decides to add the hatchback versions to the next Forte line up in the US as well.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

VW Passat Test Drive. Part three.


I had to return the Passat TDI yesterday, but not before taking it for a few drives on the freeway.
Where the diesel really shines.
My gas mileage was between around 53 and 58MPG. Quite amazing.
And far better than the official numbers. And similar to what I got last year with the Golf TDI.

I have no idea why these official numbers are so low when almost everyone does much better...

City driving returned 30 MPG. Pretty much what was expected.


Still, it is not a perfect car. There are some cheap bits in the interior. Like this horrendous looking rear view mirror.
In general, the whole thing doesn't feel as good and high quality as the previous Euro Passat.

But, it is also thousands of dollars cheaper. I guess we get what we pay for....


Also, the touch screen was never able to control my iPod. Pretty annoying. Since there was no USB connection to be found in the car.

The Passat TDI is a very punchy drive. Especially when the DSG is in the sport mode.
It's just too bad about that DSG. In the D setting, it just zaps too much power. Again, probably starting in 2nd most of the time.

The DSG is just a bad idea for an automatic. In every model I have tried it.

The Passat might be the roomiest car in its class. Otherwise it doesn't really offer anything special.
Unless you pick the diesel, which is both a sportier option, and a much more frugal one than the base model.

Buick Verano Turbo



Coming soon with 250hp. And a 6 speed manual will be available (If you can ever find one one).

It seems that Buick has decided to really push the Verano, instead of the better Regal.
The larger Regal Turbo has "only" 220hp. (Although it may also use the 250hp engine next year.)

The Verano is fine, but nothing special.
I enjoyed driving the Regal much more.
And the larger car's design is much more modern.

Plus, I don't see much difference with the regular Verano. Except for a small added spoiler in the back.

Friday, June 08, 2012

2013 Chevrolet Volt



As we know, GM has just announced a few small changes for the 2013 Volt.
Among them, a 3 miles improvement for the all electric mode. Not much, but fine...

Worse are the design changes they made to the car. No more black roof or rear hatch trim.
Both of which helped the Volt be a little different.

And the worst of all, as far as I am concerned, is inside where the really cool Black/Tan combo is not available anymore.
(The one I had in my test car a few weeks ago)
Now it seems an all beige interior option replaced it.
Looks like even the steering wheel is beige.

This is a backward move for GM. And it does feel like the old GM where they used to make design changes nobody was asking for. Instead of actually improving the car.

Go figure...

My advice: if you like the Volt, get a 2012 while they last.

2013 Nissan Altima starts production


The second assembly line for the all new Altima started just a couple of days ago in Missouri.
The car is also being built in Tennessee.

Looks like Nissan has big hopes for the new Altima.

I am scheduled to test drive one in a few weeks, which should be interesting to compare with the Passat I have this week.