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.

Nissan Altima test drive coming up.

Nissan sent me an Altima for the week.

I did drive one about 3 years ago. So I'll see what's new.
Besides the obvious: new front end design.

My model is a pretty loaded SL model. With the popular 2.5 Liter engine.

Of course, this post and the actual review will drive the Nissan fan boys crazy (Or is it just one lonely guy...)
So expect reading a lot of comments explaining how Nissan is the "best car ever".
"the competition cannot catch up", "Nissan is Got", "Nissan rules" etc...

Get ready for the Nissan nuts to come out.
(maybe the super lonely "Toyota hater" guy could chime in as well...)

Ford Fiesta Active "BurlappVideo"

Here is the best way to discover the all new Ford Fiesta Active: A new Burlapp Video (TM)

I think the new Fiesta looks really good. And the Active version is really cute.

Something Ford should really consider offering it in the US.

But I read somewhere they are thinking off not bringing the new Fiesta in the US at all.

Which would be sad. It seems it has been a good seller here so far.

(Still almost 50 000 sold in the US last year...While Honda sold 56 000 units of the new Fit)

I think this "Active" version could work really well in the US.

What do you think?

Friday, March 24, 2017

VW GTI test drive.

 The current GTI came out in Europe since late 2012. (Later in the US)
So the design is very familiar.
Basically still an evolution, after all these years, of the original 1970's Guigiaro Golf design.
It still looks very nice after 5 years.

(the model I tested was a 2017 model, not the revised one for 2018)
Compared to Asian hatchbacks we mostly get here in the US, it still has a refreshing simple look and personality.


 Same thing inside. It is quite roomy everywhere.
Everything is super solid and well put together. (The doors feel amazingly solid)
And everything looks and feels like a high end car. This is really as nice (or nicer) as an Audi.

The model I had was a loaded SE. So it came with pretty much everything.
Including the always great Fender stereo.
Now with Apple CarPlay . Which works great.

 The best part of the hatch is this.

A super roomy small car that can fit tons of stuff inside. Without getting an SUV.

 I was still surprised by a few things missing. This SE being the loaded model.
Like the rear view mirror. With its old fashion manual switch.
 Or the "power seat". Which still requires mostly manual adjustments.
Come on.... In 2017, a power seat should not have any manual adjustment at all in a $33 000 car...

 I tried the custom drive settings.
I left the steering in the "sport" position. The "normal" setting is too light for a sporty car.
I think the Sport should be the setting in Normal. Sport should be even sportier.

Otherwise there isn't that much of a difference in other settings.
Especially "engine sound". Where I really couldn't tell any difference.

 The storage space under the center armrest is, let's say, limited.

 The drive is, very sporty.
Which totally fits the GTI personality. I mean, it's how it should be.

Like I mentioned earlier, I wish the steering had a bit more weight to it.
But it does feel great.

The suspension is very firm, which is fine.

The 2.0 Liter is still not as smooth or refined as most others.
It still feels like a quiet diesel at idle. Most of the time.
Otherwise, it is super punshy. You really have to watch it past 2500 RPM. There is just a huge rush of power.

Which is just great fun. But that fun is actually quite limited in real life.
I mean besides freeway onramps, where could you actually drive like this on a regular basis?

Gas mileage is rated at 24City and 32HWY.
I got about 22 in the City. And had no problem getting 35HWY.

 I still don't like the DSG transmission.
It has gotten better. (It doesn't feel like the car is stalling when stopping, anymore)
But in D mode it isn't very willing to downshift.

The best way to use it is the "fake manual" mode. Where you up or down shift yourself.
It works much better this way. With a super quick response.
But the way to go in the GTI would be to get the proper manual.

The worst part of the DSG is still when trying to park uphill. In reverse, sometimes, the car just refuses to move. It raves up, but doesn't move. Like if in neutral. Then it does.
It happened more than once and it really disturbing.

In normal D mode, there is a general lag in acceleration. Which gets a bit better when shifting manually.
And is probably much easier to control with a proper manual.

Brakes are very strong. But can be pretty abrupt.
It takes a but to stop smoothly.

 The GTI is still one of the most fun you could have driving.
Sure, it's a bit quirky. Which is actually fine.
It all comes out as "personality".

It is wonderful in the city, but also a great highway driver. With tons of room.
For my taste, I would rather have the 6 speed manual.
And also the cool plaid seats from the base model.
 (But. I don't think the Fender stereo is even an option on the base car....)

Here is the details of the car I was driving for a week.

Click on the Pix. It gets bigger. 

Final prototype Tesla Model 3 video!

 Elon Musk tweeted an all new, very short, video of a "final" version of a Tesla Model 3 prototype testing.

So, pretty much, what you see is what you'll get.
There doesn't seem to be many changes to the early versions we saw last year.
The front end has not been redesigned, or so it seems.
Musk mentioned the trunk opening was being redone. It's hard to tell from this video.

He also said the interior were a work in progress.
From the picture above, (and the video), it looks the same.

Here is the early prototype interior. Which, we were told, was not final.

You can see the video HERE. On my Twitter page. 

What do you think?

2017 Toyota Vios

Just a few more pix of the new Vios hatchback for the Chinese market.

Not so bad for a basic car.
Powered by a 1.3 Liter or 1.5 Liter.

So nothing very special. But it doesn't look bad, especially compared to other recent Toyota designs.
I even think it looks a bit better than our Yaris...

2018 Bentley Continental GT

Bentley has been testing the next generation Continental Gt coupe for a while now.
The convertible version too.

And they have been pretty smart and effective with their camouflage.
As the next model looks to have very different proportions than the first 2 generations.,
it seems much lower and wider.
Like a longer version of the EXP10 from 2015.
The same design was used a few weeks ago for the EXP12 convertible.

Let's hope these two gorgeous designs were a preview of the next Continental GT coupe and convertible.

Here are these two concepts.
If you can look closely at the prototype pictures HERE you can see a lot of these concepts.

I love the first generation Continental GT.
But not the current one. Which is just a poor copy of the previous design.
I especially don't like the horribly cheap looking rectangular tail lights gently seems to be using on everything these days.
These concepts replace them with a really cool oval LED design.

It just looks great...

Head over HERE for all the pix of the prototype testing in the snow. 

2018 Toyota Sienna SE

I mean really.

Look at this. The "sporty' SE version now has 90's looking clear tail lights!
I guess they are trying to conjure memories of the old 1st generation Lexus IS?
Or RX?

I had no idea this was still a thing for some people...
This looks like cheapo after market stuff.
(The whole thing does actually)

On another note. I just learned from a reader with "inside knowledge" that Toyota is indeed preparing an all new Sienna for 2019 or 2020.
So I guess they didn't really abandoned that segment. Just fort the next 2 or 3 years...

Thursday, March 23, 2017

2018 Honda Odyssey BurlappVideo

All that talk about the revised "made ugly" 2018 Toyota Sienna made me revisit the all new 2018 Odyssey from Honda.
Which I thought looked weird when it was unveiled .
But next to the now "old and weird" Sienna, the Honda looks really good.

Much more upscale outside. The lines don't appear too weird on this video.
The interior is shown with the usual "sad Honda dark grey" interior.
But that's a matter a color, trim. And personal taste.

Take a look and tell me if I'm wrong ( an impossibility)

Not as modern and slick as the Pacifica. But still a really good job.
from people who obviously want to stay in the Minivan business and know it takes some effort.

What happened to the Alfa Romeo Giulia Coupe???

Before the Geneva auto show, there were rumors everywhere about an all new Giulia Coupe being unveiled at the show. (HEREHERE and HERE. But also HEREHERETHERE. And even OVER HERE and OVER THERE. And many more)
But nothing.... What happened?

It was a weird rumor to begin with, I know. Since they are really concentrating more on SUVs, and maybe a larger sedan.
Still, where is it????

Any idea?

2018 Toyota Vios FS

That looks a lot like a hatchback version of the car I posted about earlier.
The one HERE. The new Toyota Yaris sedan for China.

This looks a bit better. The front end seems less tortured.

Someone had mentioned in the comments that it is not related to the Yaris sold in the US and Europe.
It does look very different, even a bit larger. 

2018 Rolls Royce Cullinan

This is just an illustration, but it does match the spy shots we have seen before.
And it does look pretty sad.

I mean this has zero personality or class.
Just a super generic shape with a Rolls front end.

Let's just hope the real Cullinan ends up a bit better than this.

I actually prefer a previous illustration that I posted a while ago.
Some grainy picture for sure, but it looked just a tiny bit better than this.
HERE it is...

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Buick Regal Tour-X annoying video

You know these annoying YouTube videos made from a single picture?
They are not real videos, and they are super annoying.

Well, I just made one. With a better version of the 2018  Buick Regal wagon pic that was sent to me.
And I added super weird/annoying/boring "music" (If you can call it that)

So there it is, enjoy!

2018 Mercedes GLE interior

The bottom picture shows the current E Class sedan.
Above is the upcoming E Class based GLE.

As you can see, they will use a very similar dashboard.
Just like the E-Class coupe does. Only difference in the coupe/convertible are the vents.
Same thing here, where they will become square.

And of course, the console will be more "truck like", as you can see. 
With built in handles that will never be used by 99% of its owners since it will never see any rough roads...

2018 Toyota Sienna

The Sienna is the car Toyota refuses to redesign.
(This and the Prius V I guess...)

The current generation is now 7 years old, and all it is getting for the new year is a few changes.
Like this horrible new front end that doesn't fit at all the rest of the car.
It's like they are forcing it to look like an Avalon. 

It's not working. At all.
And now they include the ugly lower side rockers as standard.
Because it looks "sporty" I guess.

Inside, nothing new either. Except minor updates to the entertainment system.

This is what the Sienna looks now.

There is really nothing wrong with it. It looks just fine for a minivan.

It looks like Toyota is preparing to maybe exit the segment. Pulling a "Crown Victoria" on the Sienna isn't the best news.
Everything else is newer. Or just "new". Like the Odyssey. 
And the Pacifica looks great and has had really good reviews so far.

This is doomed.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

It's raining here in Hollywood.
Not much to do except watching something.

And the best things to watch are all the world famous BurlappVideos on one place.

So HERE. On my BurlappCar YouTube Channel.

2018 Infiniti QX50

Nothing all new here, since it is pretty much the same thing as the concept we saw last year.
Which is just fine. At least, unlike Subaru, they try to keep pretty close to what they tease us with.

But, it this enough?
I mean it looks pretty tame. Very generic.
I also now that anything labeled SUV or Crossover sells. No matter who makes it. So it has that going for it.
Otherwise, I'm not even sure where the whole Infiniti brand is going.

Their most popular model should be the Q50 sedan. The current QX50 is way to old. (It started life as the EX back in 2007!) 
Even though it is in a hot segment. They have been way too slow to redesign it.

Their Q50 sedan is a good car. Also in a pretty hot segment competing with the 3 series, A4, C class etc...
They sold 44 007 of them last year.
Doesn't sound too bad right? Until you find out BMW sold over 70 000 3 series (over 142 000 back in 2014)
Mercedes also sold over 77 000 C Class sedans in 2016.

As for the Q50?
They sold under 17 000 of them last year.
While BMW sold over 44 000 X3s, and almost 30 000 X1s.
And let's not forget the Lexus NX. Which pretty much beats everyone with over 54 800 sales in 2016.

I thought the all new QX30 would be more popular. I think it does look great, inside and out.
In just 5 months on the market last year, they sold only 2259 of them. 
Things are picking up a little bit with 3572 sold so far in 2017. 
Not sure it will ever reach the 25 000 units Mercedes sells of its close cousin, the GLA. 

Infiniti does need something.
I am not sure a plain looking Crossover is enough....

If you must see more pictures of the all new QX50, HERE they are.

2018 Subaru Viziv production version

The top picture is the production prototype.

Looks like congratulations are in order for Subaru.
They have done what many thought was impossible: make the Viziv concept even more boring.

Look at the headlights!
Gone is the 1% of originality the concept had.

I was at the L.A show for the unveiling of the concept. No one stayed after the PR BS speech.
No one was interested in it, or cared in any way.
It just looks like a giant/bloated Forester.
I guess this is strictly for the extreme Subaru fans. The ones who won't even look at anything else.

Head over HERE for more pictures and info. If you dare.

2018 VW Polo

Just though we could compare what we have seen so far of the all new 2018 VW Polo (white car), and the current one.
It looks like VWs are getting flatter. In general.

I mean, that's what happened to the current Jetta when you compare it to the previous one. It seems lower and wider.

There is nothing really modern about the next Polo. As far as we can see.
Just another super conservative looking hatchback.
At least it does seem a bit more upscale. Although I am not sure that is what people want in that segment. maybe in Europe, where it could attract people who can't afford a Golf?
But in general, it seems that a small Hatchback should be a little more fun.

The new Fiesta is. Even the current one is more modern than this.