Friday, March 31, 2017

While Chrysler is dying, how is Dodge doing???

Guess what? It's dying too!

Thanks to Sergio "car brand killer" Marchionne.

Look at their line up!
Already 3 out of these cars are dead. They're only selling dealer left overs. The Dart, Grand Caravan and Viper. All dead.

And what's left is in a retirement home. Let's take a look at these poor souls:

- The current Charger came out in 2011. So it's already 6 years old.
(All we've see lately is super powerful muscle car versions with too much power and stupid names.)

The keep floating around rumors about a brand new one using the Alfa Romeo Giulia platform. Maybe in a couple of years
Sure. Right....
Since all development money seems to only go to Jeep and Alfa SUVs, I don't think we'll ever see a new Charger.

- The Challenger is now 9 years old!
Sure, it still looks good. But almost 10 years!
(Also, Ford sells about twice as many Mustangs every year.)

Same thing here. More and more powerful engines. That only very few people will ever want.
Nothing new.
And again, the tease of a new one "soon". They even floated the rumor of a smaller/cheaper Barracuda model coming out soon. Coupe and convertible too!
They even showed prototypes to dealers a while ago.
Of course Sergio will show cool prototypes to dealers and great stuff coming "soon".
A classic con. Otherwise how many would keep a Dodge franchise these days if they knew for sure nothing new is coming...

- The Journey. That poor thing never got really good reviews when it came out.
Back in  2008. Again, almost 10 years old!
Again, no replacement in sight.

-The Durango, that poor guy. This has actually got pretty nice reviews when it came out.
Which is 7 years ago.
I think it still looks good. And with an SUV crazy market you would think it has a chance.
They sold about 68 000 of them last year.
(while Toyota sold over 190 000 Highlanders...)

The whole line up is sad and old. Every single model is about the worst choice you could make in their respective categories.

An only vague rumors about their future.

I will say it again, I think Crazy Sergio is just out to enrich himself and the stock holders. And kill Chrysler and Dodge. Just like he did with Lancia.
Trying desperately to dump the whole thing onto another brand while profits are good and make a few millions.

A sad story...






2018 Buick Regal TourX AWD wagon.

I mean sure, you could look at new pictures of the all new Buck regal TourX wagon OVER THERE.
Why not.
You can even see the new 5 door hatchback sedan version.

But if you really, really want to see what the 2018 Buick Regal TourX AWD wagon will look like...


You need to get OVER HERE.
Or just stare at the picture above for a while....

Or just wait a few days. As the real thing will be unveiled in April.
You get 

2018 Jaguar i-Pace


As you can see, the production model of the I-Pace EV will look almost exactly like the preview concept we saw last year.
Yes, it is a good thing.
Although I really liked the concept in person, I also noticed a lack of personality. Something all Jaguars should have.
But these days, they don't. The worst offenders are the XE and XF. Which, on top of zero personality, have pretty horrible interiors.

The I-PAce concept did look very modern. But not very "Jaguaresque". 
Without the grille, it could be a number of things.

But hey, at least it is a vast improvement. 

And let's hope the production model keeps the great interior of the concept too!

As it was truly modern and luxurious. Again, an amazing change compared to the XE and XF sedans...

They are claiming 400HP and a 220 miles range.
By then, a few cheaper things will get a 220 miles range. The Bolt is already better.
But the Tesla Model3 will match it. And maybe even the next Leaf.

Maybe charging time will be amazingly fast?

More pictures? Head over HERE. They have plenty!

2018 Range Rover Velar BurlappVideo

HERE is the link to this very special Velar video.

The Velar seems to be quite a futuristic vehicle.
And I bet it is pretty striking in the flesh. Everything seems to look so smooth and polished.

I think these will be everywhere in a year or two.

Meanwhile, you either have to see it an an auto show. Or RIGHT HERE.
In the comfort of your own home.
As Vince Burlapp makes things easy for you...


Thursday, March 30, 2017

Nissan Altima test drive



The Nissan Altima has been a very familiar face on our roads.
The current generation came out in 2012. So this is by no mean a new design. ( with a "facelift" for 2016)
But I think it still looks fine.
Kind of squeezed in between more conservative models like the Passat and Sonata, and sleeker ones like the Fusion or Optima.
Soon the all new Camry will be entering the market. And an all new Accord is just around the corner.

But the "aging" Altima is still a very popular choice in the US. With over 307 000 sold last year alone.
So, mid sized sedans are not dead yet...

 My test car was a loaded SL model.
It had a really nice color called "Storm blue". With looked great. Especially with the tan/black interior.


 That interior is also familiar.
And there is really not much wrong with it.

The light interior color is very relaxing. It is just a very nice place to be.
Everything feels solid and tight. (Although not has much as in the Passat.)

And that back seat is really roomy.


Instead of the obvious fake wood finish (Or piano black), it looks like Nissan is trying something else (Like they do in the Murano)
This "kind of woodsy" finish actually matches very nicely the light interior.
While not obviously trying to look like wood.

I think it really works.
At least a new idea.

The seats are very comfortable. Also there is still a bit of a bump in the lower back area. (No matter how you tweak the lumbar support)

But at least, it is a soft bump. Nothing like the horrible Sentra front seats. 

 The Bose stereo is, almost as usual, a bit disappointing. It does sound good, but nothing like what you'd  expect from "Bose".

And the screen is now pretty small (that's where you know the car came out in 2012)
The picture is pretty low-rez. And there is this annoying message.
Every time you plug your phone in. It doesn't matter if you answer "yes' or "no"
It'll be there next time....

I know it's a small thing. But it's annoying.

I also noticed that the air conditioning worked very quietly. Even at full blast.
A nice detail.

 Of course it has a huge trunk.

 The very first thing I noticed (right after driving the GTI for a week) was how I hated the steering feel.
It is one of  the most artificial steering I have ever experienced.
But then, I remember that it is the case in most modern Nissans.
And after just a day or two. I actually almost got used to it....

Still. It has that "fake sporty" feel. Some Honda models have it too.
It is pretty bad. Especially when compared to the Ford Fusion with its remarkable steering feel.

The steering wheel itself is a bit skinny.
And you can feel a bit of vibrations when the engine is cold. Which does disappear when warmed up...


 Other wise, the car is very quiet. The engine itself isn't the smoothest of all, but there is enough power that you never really need to push it.
The ride is very comfortable.
The CVT works great. No weird noises. Or strange behavior.



I think the Altima is still a good choice when shopping for a mid sized sedan.
There is nothing really bad here. But nothing stands out either.

The  Fusion is a much more engaging drive.
The Passat is larger and feels like a tank.

There is a lot of competition. And these days, pretty much all of them are good cars!
Optima, Sonata, Malibu, Camry, Accord, Mazda6. Everyone seems to be in the mid-sized sedan game (Except poor Chrysler...) and everyone seems to be doing it right.

My test car was the loaded 2.5 Liter engine SL. 
It costs over $32 000. Not cheap. But really loaded.
And really, it kind of feels like what luxury sedans were just a few years ago....





Here is the whole story. Right here.
Click on it to open the door to numbers, lists, disclaimers. And more numbers!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

What do YOU drive?



I haven't done this for a while ( I used to...)

But I'd like to know what car you drive.
All of you. Any of you.

What car, what brand, what year. What are you driving these days?

New SsangYong Rexton: we're not missing anything.



 The SsangYong SUV brand from Korea has, for many years, been the proud recipient of the "Worst looking designs in the world" award.
They do, somehow, actually sell some SUVs in Europe. But thank God, these things never landed in the US.

Have a look at their latest creation.
There is just nothing to say.
It is just "Chinese design" bad. And that interior....

In 2017, it all seems like a bad joke.
As an added bonus to the joke, this one above is the current model!
And yes. Looking 100 times better. Not great, but much better.

Upcoming larger Alfa Romeo SUV



These are, of course just illustrations.
From someone who is guessing what Alfa's next SUV might look like. 

I think they look great.

It's no secret Alfa (like everyone else), is coming up with more SUV.s
One smaller than the Stelvio, and one larger.

That same longer platform is supposed to also be used for the replacement models for the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger.
If such cars ever see the light of day... ( I don't think they ever will)

So it looks like ALFA will now be an "almost all" SUV company.
Let's hope the stretched platform will also turn up in that 5 series fighter they've been talking about for years...




2018 Jeep Wrangler


The new one is on top (obviously...)

Looks like they really were afraid to change anything.
Which is great news for the hardcore fans I guess.

The rest of us will have to wait a few more years to see real 21st Century designs of the classic Jeep.

Which is fine. It's actually good to know there is still something that retro out there.
Expect maybe more efficient engines. More modern transmissions, etc....
And the usual modern electronics.

By the way, if you want to read and see more about the next Wrangler, head over HERE.
Truly a remarkable gold mine of info about the next Wrangler...

And HERE for the pix of the 2 door version I saw last year.

Toyota FT-4X Concept teaser

This is interesting since there are rumors it could be a concept of the next Fj Cruiser.

I am not a truck person, but I've always liked the FJ-Cruiser. Maybe just because of its retro/almost cartoony design.
Plus I have a couple of friends who own them and love them.

For a while, sales weren't strong enough for Toyota. The future looked pretty bleak for the FJ and an eventual replacement. (The FJ "died" in 2014)
But these days, anything that says "truck" sells.
So it makes sense to bring it back from the dead.

Let's just hope it looks as much fun as the first one.


Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Introducing: The Changan, from China




I guess this one could be seen as a Ford Explorer copy/clone?

With a little bit of everything else mixed in.



2018 Nissan Leaf



These all new pictures of a camouflaged 2018 Nissan Leaf show us how far the production model will be from the IDS Concept from 2015.
Most of us had hopes for something much sleeker for the 2nd generation.
I guess not.

On these pictures, the next leaf looks about 1.5% more exciting than the current model.
Still pretty lumpy.
The new Chevrolet Bolt seems to much more modern.
Plus that 238 miles range. Which will be very hard to beat by Nissan.

I guess we will have to wait a little while longer. We should see the real thing in the fall.

Autoweek has many more pictures of the next Leaf HERE.



2018 BMW 6 series (Or 8?)

Everyone seems to think these recent coupe prototypes from BMW are of a new 8 series.
I really don't think so.

Since the "regular" 6 series is due for a redesign pretty soon.
Unless they just want to call the new 6 an 8. And charge much more for it.
And why not...

I just think that if there is an 8 series, it would be much larger. More like an S-class coupe.
This still looks the same size as a 6 series coupe.

Just for yourselves and tall me what you think.
All the pictures are HERE.

2018 Mercedes S-Class sedan


It's time for the usual mid-cycle "very small changes" for the S-Class.
So here they are. (The top picture is the new 2018 model)

The headlight design is still very, very busy. And much too big . (Lots of empty space it seems)
Although the lower bumper seems a bit cleaner.

Otherwise, the interior now gets one giant screen, like the E-Class and a new steering wheel.

Plus a bunch of other technical stuff only Mercedes nerds will care about...

2018 Acura TLX teaser

Well. Of course.
Now that they are in love with their new grille design, they have to put it on everything.

So the TLX is next.

Acuras are good cars. They are just not pretty anymore.
And these stupid names don't help. At least the old ones did have a little bit of personality.

As for the grille, I actually think it is worse than the previous one everyone hated.
It just screams "old" to me. And uninspired.

It's really too bad.
It is pretty close to this picture from my previous post.

Again, a really good car in search of a good design. And a personality.

How about firing a few people over there?


Monday, March 27, 2017

Chrysler near death. Again....



I know, it has happened before. many times.

But check out the Chrysler.com main page.

-All you see is the Chrysler 200. Which is already dead.
They stopped building it a while ago. But it's still there...

They still managed to sell 57 294 of them last year.
And 178 000 the year before! (That's what some advertising money does...)
No bad at all.  Then, Marchionne announced he hated the car and was
stopping production.

-The Chrysler 300 sedan. The current generation came out in 2011.
So it's already 6 years old. Most of the competition has been redesigned.
From what Chrysler is saying, a new one (If that ever happens) is still a couple of years away.
They sold about 53 000 of them last year. (Which isn't bad l for that segment)


-The pacifica Minivan. Gas and Hybrid versions.
The one bright spot. Showing Chrysler can still compete in one segment.

So they basically have only 2 models.

I don't really know any other main stream brand with only 2 models for sale currently.
Mitsubishi maybe?

What is going on???
I thought the original idea of blending Chrysler for the US market and Lancia for Europe was pretty good.
But no. That idea got killed.
Just like any new product. (Except the minivan)


What do you think?

Have you heard of any new product for Chrysler???
Maybe Peugeot should buy it and sell us Opels and Peugeots under the Chrysler name?


2018 Chevrolet Traverse BurlappVideo



The new Traverse is looking pretty good in this VIDEO.

Really much nicer than the terrible looking Honda Pilot (That poor thing never looked good...)



It does have a bit of the Suburban/Tahoe look to it.

Which could be a good thing.

And really, this looks roomy enough for anyone. It could, and should, steal sales from the larger truck based SUVs.



Unless you need to tow a small house, there is really no need for something truck based anymore.

Again, HERE is the new 2018 Chevrolet Traverse Video.






Sunday, March 26, 2017

New Opel Corsa still testing???



Is the new Corsa still testing???

Weird since the head of PSA has just announced it will switch to a new PSA platform. And the one that had been testing had been put on hold


Weird....



Another Illustration of the upcoming 2018 Volvo XC40

Again, not the real thing yet.
Just another illustration done from a picture of last year's concept.

I thought I'd post it, since this one shows the "hidden" rear door handles.
Similar to the concept.

I think it's a feature that is really part of the design. And they will keep it on the production car.

But really, who knows....

Saturday, March 25, 2017

2018 Volvo XC40

 Looks like the all new XC40 Compact SUV from Volvo is ready to go.

It also looks like it will be very close to the concept we saw last year.
Which is a good thing. Since it was a pretty original design, compared to other small SUVs around.

HERE are more pictures of it testing in the snow.

 These are just illustrations. From last year's concept. And they do look great.

But... I still think they will keep the "hidden" rear door handle the concept had.
I think Volvo is fooling everyone by putting fake ones on the prototypes driving around.
Like on this one.

The front and rear door handles don't seem to align properly.
I think the rear door handles are part of the rear doors. Like on the concepts.
And others, like the Nissan Juke.


Here is the concept. With the hidden rear door handles. On top of the door. Close to the roof.