Saturday, April 22, 2017

Toyota Hiace in L.A

Just thought I would post this (Why not...)

I was at USC today, and saw this. (Another guy had noticed it too)
You know, when the corner of your eye catches something different?

This looked slightly odd. Turns out it is a Toyota Hiace, not sold in the US.
But it has Mexican plates.
It think it looks pretty nice. For what it is. A refreshingly simple design from Toyota.

Seems like our Mexican neighbors are getting a lot of cars we don't get. I also saw both Peugeots and Renaults around L. A with Mexican plates in the past few years...

VW Jetta GLI test drive

 Since the current generation came out back in 2010, it is now a very familiar shape.
It was never super modern to begin with, but it has aged really well.
The GLI with its great looking 18 inch wheels does looks really sharp.

 The interior is also 7 years old.

The dash board is now made of a softer plastic. And some piano black pastic covers many areas.
The steering wheel was changed.
Otherwise, things are.. Well. 7 years old.

So depending on how you see it, it is either "out dated" or "classic".

 For once, my test car came with the standard 6 speed manual. Which is great.
This is really the way to go with the VW 2.0 Liter Turbo.
Since the 6 speed DSG always ends up feeling weird in one way or another. The 6 speed is the right choice.

Sure, the engine is still a bit gravely sounding. Especially when cold.
But at least there is no DSG lag. Or weird behavior at low speed or in reverse.
The manual his also a pleasure to use.

MPG is rated at 23/33. I got about 24 around town, but had no problem hitting 38 on the freeway.
So, as with most VWs, gas mileage is better than the official numbers.

The steering is excellent. If a little bit light for a sporty car. But since the Jetta GLI is not as punchy as the GTI, it seems just fine for this car.

The Jetta GLI is a fun to drive, roomy car. About as roomy as many mid sized cars out there.
It's actually one of the best things about the Jetta.
It also has that super solid feel VWs have. That most Asian cars do still do not have.

The drive is sporty. But not as much as the GTI.

It's not as punchy. The ride is of course firm. Which is fine.
Except for the rear passengers. Over bad roads (Like that 405 FWY north of the airport...), people in the back seat will be pretty miserable.

So the Jetta GLI is still a very nice car.
Too bad that in 7 years VW didn't find the time (or the money) to get us a new interior.
Now it is really behind its Golf cousin.

And its main problem the days would be the new competition.
Mainly from the new Hyundai Elantra Sport. Which has been getting some great reviews. (I am trying to get on to test drive)
While costing thousands less.
And a new Honda Civic Si is just around the corner!

Friday, April 21, 2017

The 2018 Lexus NX new face.

I guess. There are some differences.

But this is so slight, I'm not even sure current owners will notice. This is pretty ridiculous.
I mean I know the "mid cycle facelift" is some kind of a tradition in the car business.

But really. In this particular case: why bother????

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Honda CR-V Hybrid coming to the US.

When asked about their plans to add hybrid versions to all their SUVS, here is what the Honda guys were saying at the Shanghai Auto Sho:
"CR-V is a logical part of that, and we will announce timing for the US at a later date"
That's PR BS code for " it's coming to America".

Not sure yet if it will be coming from China or not. (The CR-V for the US is built in Ohio)

Apparently, it uses the same powertrain as the Honda Accord Hybrid.
That car has 212hp. And gets 49mpg in the city and 47mpg Hwy.
Which is really good.
Since the CR-V is actually about the same weight, we could see almost similar numbers for the SUV.

Which would put it ahead of anyone else in that segment.
Where a Nissan Rogue Hybrid only gets 33/35.
The Toyota RAV-4 Hybrid gets 34/30.

Only the smaller Kia Niro gets a better 52/49. But again, it is smaller...

This would be a great move for Honda in the US. If priced right that is....
Which means, it might have to be imported from China in order to be affordable.
Not something crazy like $5000 over the regular one....

Who knows....

2018 Genesis G80 Sport

I am not really interested in the sport version of that Genesis G80 sedan, to tell you the truth.

But actually fascinated by that horrible plastic cover for the front radar.
It's that rectangular piece of plastic behind the grille.

The one that doesn't match the rest of the grille.
The one that still has chrome on it instead of black.
The one that sticks out like a sore thumb.

I guess they thought they would save a few bucks by using the same parts for all models.
Except the "Sport" has a blacked out grille.

And this starts at over $55 000!


New 5 seater Honda SUV coming out soon?

This is the latest rumors.
From a lot of different sites. (Not sure where it started).

Many call it a shorter 5 seater version of the Pilot.
The scary part of this is the fact they already have a 5 seater SUV above the CR-V. In China.
It is called the Avancier. And it is one of the worst Honda design ever.

Just look at these:

I posted about the Avancier before. (HERE and HERE)

Back when I though this thing would never make it to the US.
But now, of course Honda wants to add another SUV. Who doesn't?
And this one is already being made, it's ready to go!

I just hope someone at Honda will wake up and realize this is an atrocity.
The US needs something better, simpler. Just a little above horrible would be great.

I have to admit the interior is actually quite nice.
Maybe too much fake wood though...

But it would fit above the CR-V.

Let's hope Honda will do the right thing and keep the Avancier overseas.
As it is quite a disgusting site the way it is now.

But, I have to say. Most people do get used to almost anything.
Even horrible designs...

More pictures of the Chinese Hyundai iX35

Not sure what else to say than : please keep it over there.

The shape is kind of weird and old looking.
That huge chrome grille is the epitome of vulgarity.

This needs to never make it over here.
And let's hope this isn't Hyundai's new "design language" for their upcoming SUVs....

2018 Acura TLX LWB

The long version is (obviously) the red one at the bottom.

Acura has not said how much longer is the Chinese version. But it does look quite different.
Much more so than on the Volvo S90, where it's hard to see the LWB difference from outside.
This one does alter the roof design quite a bit.

I am starting to think it might not be a bad idea for Acura to sell this over here.
I remember when Infiniti did that with the Q70.
(not sure if it worked for them or not, since that car isn't popular anyway...)

But it seems to work for Volvo with the S60 LWB sold here as the S60 Inscription.
(Which starts at about $3000 more than the base model.)
And now, the only S90 sedan available in the US is the LWB , which is standard for 2018.

It's not like Acura has a super popular sedan above the TLX or something.
It's not like if they were selling us a great luxury sedan called the "Legend" or anything....

I'd say let's make the LWB standard on the TLX and claim more room than any of the competition.
Why not?

What do you think?

2018 Buick regal sedan for China

 This is the sedan version of the new Opel Insignia.
The one most people (including myself), predicted would become the US version.
Instead, as we now know, we are only getting the hatchback and wagon version.

This the hatchback (For Europe and the US)
As you can see, GM did a great job at "hiding" it.
As it looks pretty much the same as the sedan.

If they do look so much the same, I just wonder who would ever pick the far less practical sedan version???

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

All new Hyundai iX35 for China

There is an all new ix35 from Hyundai. But this is apparently for the Chinese market only.
In the past, the ix35 was pretty much the same car as the Tucson.
And it still is. At least in Europe.

So I am not sure if this is a preview of the next Tucson. Which would be kind of early since the current model came out only about 2 years ago.
Or maybe, Hyundai realized the ix35 was too modern and slick for the Chinese market.
And they had to pronto redesign something blocky and old looking? With a super chromy grille?
Just for China?


Chevrolet Fnr-X Concept

The new Fnr-X ( can you believe "fnr" actually stands for "find new roads"!!)
is a really nice looking design.
At first I was wondering why this didn't become the new Equinox??

Then I read it is a plug-in Hybrid.
So it might very well be based on the Volt.
An SUV based on the Volt would be a great idea for Chevrolet.
As the Volt is still ahead of pretty much every other plug-in hybrid cars on the market as far as EV range goes.
Even if they lose a few EV miles to the heavier SUV shape, they will still be ahead of anyone.

I bet a design close to this on the Volt platform would sell great.

What do you think???

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Toyota "Fengchao Fun" Concept

Fun... Okay....

This is supposed to be a preview for an upcoming Toyota sedan for the Chinese market.
It is also based on the US Camry platform.

But it doesn't really look like the Camry to me. At all.
I just wonder if this might also be a preview of the next Avalon.
Since the Avalon is also based on the Camry. Why not.

More on this soon....

2018 Opel/Vauxhall Grandland X

This is the second Opel SUV in just a few months. And just like the smaller Crossland X, it is based on a common Opel/Peugeot platform.
This larger one is also being used for the Peugeot 3008 and the all new Citroen C5 Aircross. 

Of the 3 cousins, this is the most boring. It's not ugly, but just pretty invisible.
Citroen did a fantastic job with their version.
While the Peugeot is just overdone for my taste.

This is also the first Opel/Vauxhall to come out under the new Peugeot ownership.
Which makes you wonder. Do they really need 3 versions of the same car? (4 including Vauxhall)
At around the same price?

At least here GMC is priced higher than Chevy. And Buick sits on top of the shared platforms.
But Peugeot and Opel are about the same price (Citroen is usually cheaper)

I still don't get the point of that buy out.
And Vauxhall is 100% redundant ... Has been for many years since they are 100% Opel's.

Jeep Yuntu Concept

Well, that ends up looking like a pure concept.
Nothing more. Not like a realistic preview of anything coming up soon.
Though the one thing they need is a new Grand Cherokee. Not just more and more power squeezed into  it.

But let's enjoy what's good. And this looks fine and modern...

VW ID Cross Concept

Another EV concept from the VW group.
And it looks similar to the other two from Audi and Skoda. A raised up 4 door hatchback.
And again, the same 500km range on one charge.

I guess why not. The more the better?
At least they all look good.
But, while the Audi version looks pretty much production ready, this does not. At all.

Even the cheesy official pix with the fake lens flare don't look real.
They are also mentioning a 2020 date for "what might be seen".
So that doesn't mean a production version of this. Unlike the Audi concept.

At least they are moving away from diesel. Even murdering regular gas engines on their way...

Mercedes A Class Sedan Concept

So this is supposed to show us Mercedes's brand new design direction.
I don't get it...

I don't see anything new here. At all.
It's not ugly at all. It's even nice. But not new.

It is a blend of what they already have. From the back it looks like a mix of CLA and C-Class.
And the front has a big AMG grille. (With a super cheap looking huge black plastic trim)

Plus, they already have the CLA based on the A class. No matter what their marketing geniuses call it, the CLA is a 4 door sedan.
So I am not sure where this will fit. Bellow the CLA?

I mean these 3 cars (CLA, A Sedan and C sedan) are pretty much the same size.
Offering 3 compact sedans in an SUV world seems like a huge overkill.

On a more exciting note, this platform will also be used for a sportier coupe and a convertible.
A cheaper (or anything less than the $50 000 C-Class Convertible) Mercedes Convertible would be great...

Audi enron Sportback concept

This has to be one of Audi's best design ever.
It really seems to look great from any angle. Including inside.

Audi claims a production version will be on sale in 2019, and will have a 500km EV range. (About 311 miles) Which does sound great.
Specs are similar to the Skoda Vision E Concept and the VW ID Cross concept.
So they are probably basically all the same car, with their own designs.

I wonder what happened to Audi's TT of road concept they had a couple of years ago. A raised up 4 door hatchback version of the TT. Which looked quite nice.
This new Etron looks about the same size. But I have to say, much more modern.

Let's hope they don't mess it up too much between now and 2019...