Tuesday, June 25, 2019

More on the new 2020 Ford Puma

As we saw earlier, the Puma borrows most of its interior to the 2019 Fiesta.

While the exterior is unique.

It is about an inch longer than the Hyundai Kona. Or about 3 inches shorter than the Honda HR-V.
A perfect size for the US as well.
In Europe, it will be available as an ST sporty trim (pictured here) as well as a luxury Titanium version.

Let's hope the new Puma comes to the US as well. 

2020 Ford Puma

The new Puma looks pretty cute.
It seems like a high riding chunkier version of the current 2019 Ford Fiesta. (The one we don't get in the US)
Which it probably is...

At least in Europe, it will be available with a choice of 2 engines, both Hybrid.
And both using the 1.0 3 cylinder Turbo engine.

Inside it shares its dashboard with the 2019 Fiesta (The Fiesta interior is the bottom picture)

This is the same thing Ford did with the new Escape. Which shares its dashboard with the new 2019 Focus. The one not sold in the US.

A cost-saving measure we can't see in the US since we are not getting new versions of the Fiesta and  Focus anymore.

More on the all-new Puma very soon.

But so far, this seems to be quite attractive.
I guess it would go against the HR-V, CX-3, etc...

2020 Audi Q7

I would call this a very successful mid-cycle refresh.
While not all new, the 2020 Q7 finally looks good. (The current model is the white car)

I was never a fan of the super boring current generation Q7.
But for 2020, the changes are pretty important.
Even inside, where all-new dashboard and console bring the Q7 in line with Audi's more recent models like the A6/7 and Q2/3 and 5.
(I wonder whay they didn't revise the 2020 A4 interior at all. Making the A4 wthe only Audi with the old generation interior...)

Quite a drastic change without redesigning the whole thing.

Monday, June 24, 2019

2020 Land Rover Defender

We finally get to see what the all-new Land Rover Defender will actually look like.

And I think it looks just fine. So far it seems a nice modern rendition of the classic design.
But you know the puriss will hate it. Just like they hated the DC100 concept back in 2011.
Back then, Land Rover answered the concerns by saying it was not a preview of the new Defender.
I think it was actually pretty close...

Here is the DC100. An 8-year-old concept.
It seems to have much more personality than the real thing above.
The production design seems much more generic.
And, in any case, not such an improvement, considering it took them 8 years!

Not sure what is going on with Land Rover/Range Rover/Jaguar these days.
It seems that every week there is a new rumor of the company being for sale.
Promptly followed by a press release saying the opposite.

There were rumored about Peugeot being interested.
Which I think would not be such a bad idea.
They have turned around Opel into a profit-making brand in less than 2 years.
And they don't have a luxury brand SUV specific brands in their portfolio.
Why not...

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Cruising Instagram...

- Interesting early takes on the first generation VW Golf.
(We are so used to the round headlights, these square ones look really strange...)

- If the 1989 Cadillac Solitaire, or something close to it, had gone into production, Cadillac would be so far ahead of where they are now... Everything they have these days, 30 years later, looks at least 30 years older. How sad.

- Subaru XT. back when Subaru wanted their designs to stand out...

Saturday, June 22, 2019

2020 Cadillac XT-5

 Cadillac has made a few small changes to their popular XT-5 for 2020.
At least for the Chinese market. (the US will follow shortly)

And they are hard to tell. The one thing they should have done, to begin with, gives it a proper name.
Like Lincoln did when they updated the MKX to the Nautilus.

But it looks like Cadillac is not ready yet to admit these stupid XT and CT names are a mistake...

Otherwise, it looks like the inside of the grille is the only difference.
They didn't do as much work as they did with the 2019 CT-6 (which now looks fantastic in person)
Too bad...

Even less inside. The 2020 model is on top and it's hard to see anything new. Except for the slightly more upscale looking metalfinished door speakers.
Even the wood trim looks pretty much the same...
They really missed an opportunity here to make the XT-5 look and feel more expensive and luxurious. (that poor center console still looks so plain...)

They sold over 60 000 of them last year. So I guess they might be afraid to change anything...

Friday, June 21, 2019

2020 Audi A3

The next generation, and all new, Audi A3 seems to be just around the corner.
And it does look quite nice.

Even though it still looks like an Audi, this is much more stylish than the current one.
The model pictured here will be a new raised up version. Like VW does with almost all its models in Europe.
But it will only be available with FWD. No Quattro. (And no Allroad name either)
I guess AWD would bring it too close to the Q3 price.

The current A3 hatchback was only available as a plug-in Hybrid in the US. Since Audi decided to concentrate on the sedan for our market. (And then dropped the hatchback from our market all together anyway...)

But who knows, if they can fool people into thinking this is actually a Crossover, it could be popular here too. 
Who knows...

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Hyundai Kona Electric video

Here is a short video I shot last week while driving the Hyundai Kona Electric.

Showing the car, and my drive to Malibu and Ojai.

Let's hope someone enjoys it...

More Fisker SUV teasers

These all look great.
But they also look a lot like a concept car, not a production model.
As there are no cuts for front or rear bumpres at all. (Unless they photoshop them out for the pictures?)

These are also pretty early. As they claim the car will be shown in December.
That's about 6 months away and they have already shown a lot of it...

As a reminder, the main claims about this car are:
- A starting price of under $40 000
- An electric range of up to 300 miles
- Production in 2021

2020 Kia Seltos

 The all new Kia Seltos has been unveiled in India.
Although these pictures show the model for the local market, the US version is not expected to be much differnt.
Except of course, we won't be getting the diesel engine...

It does look fine. Strangely, the official pictures are not really the best.
The front end is quite busy. And there is a lot of added trim everywhere...
I think it looks better with the two tone.

No official pictures of the interior. But so far, the screen doesn't look as cool as in the teaser illustration Kia had released a while ago.
It looks like the sccreen from the Hyundai Kona. With a weird black plstic trim part added to make the whole thing look like one giant super wide screen. But it's not...

I guess we'll have to wait for the US version.
And better pictures.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

2020 Cadillac CT4

So far we have only seen the "V" version of the "all new" Cadillac CT4.

The top picture gives us a look at the regular model.
Which, as expected, is basically the same thing with more chrome bits and slightly smaller wheels.
And no spoiler.

Again, notice how similar the CT4 is to the "discontinued for poor sales" ATS.
The glass parts are exactly the same. Sure, the metal is new as well as the interior.
But it is not an all new car.
It is similar to what Nissan did with the current Leaf.

I do like the design.  But if the ATS was a failure, I can't imagine the CT4 doing much better...

Honda Civic Coupe test drive coming up...

For the next few days, I will be driving a Honda Civic Coupe.

I have never driven the current generation Civic. So this is new for me. And I was really curious, as they seem to be everywhere around here.
It is a very popular car for Honda. With over 325 000 of them sold last year.
And has sold more than the CR-V in the past 3 months!
And good to see a coupe version still alive!

Another proof that the sedan market is far from dead.
It can, in fact, be very healthy if you have the right model.

I have only driven it a little bit, but so far so good.
The engine is amazingly smooth and quiet.
But my top of the line Touring model still has manual seats...
(it should be powered, at least on the Touring version)

As usual, feel free to ask any questions you might have...

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

2020 Peugeot 2008

I always though the current 2008 was a weird mix of "blah" and somehow,"overdone".
(I saw a few of them in Europe over the past few years)

This all new second generation seems to be far less "blah". And much more stylish.
(Although that could also be seen as "overdone"...)

At least it will stand out in a crowd of small SUVs.
The current model is pretty small,  about 5 inches shorter than a Mazda CX-3.
The new generation is supposed to be a bit larger. So about the same size as the Mazda .

That is quite a bit of style for such a small car...
An all electric version will be available with a range of about 190 miles.

Since Peugeot keeps talking about their "eventual" plans to return to the US. I think this would be a really cool choice...

Just as a reminder, this is the current, first generation, version of the Peugeot 2008...

Hyundai Kona EV test drive

 As you can see, the electric version of the Hyundai Kona looks pretty much the same as the gas model.
Except of course, for the front end. Which doesn't have a proper grille.

I actually like the look of the EV much better. Since I am never a fan of big chrome grilles. Especially in small cars.
I think this is much more modern and cleaner design.

 It also mostly uses the same interior. Except for the console and the screen. the console is much more modern.
And similar to the futuristic Hyundai Exo. The larger screen now matches the width of the air vents below it. And the whole thing looks better integrated than the regular version.
the screen also looks much nicer and more upscale. The piano black finish is much better than the dark gray semi/matte plastic of the other versions.

The EV also has cooling seats, which I am not sure the gas one offers.

 The truck is exactly the same size.
Quite an achievement since it has all the batteries underneath.
Just a few years ago, a regular hybrid meant that half of the trunk would be filled with batteries.

 The Kona Electric also drives pretty much the same as the gas version.
It has very nice steering with a good feel to it. The suspension is a bit on the firm side.
but mostly comfortable.
Road noise is OK. It all depends on the road textures. Which means it is not always super quiet.
Something you do notice more since there is no engine noise.

But this is not a luxury car...

 The Kona EV is rated at 258 miles range. My car had been driven about 30 miles when it was delivered to me.
After driving 50 miles, the available range still read about 200 miles.

 I then plugged it in to make sure it was "filled up".
The next morning, the range indicated the 328 miles you see above.
I never drove 328 miles... But I drove over 200. At the end of the day, I still had about 100 miles available.

I understand that the indicated available range can be optimistic at times.
Still, I really think the 258 number is very conservative. I have read other (mostly European) reviews where the test drivers get a much longer range than advertised in various Hyundai and Kia EVs.

I think you should expect at the very least 270 miles

Since it is electric, the Kona EV is also much faster. the Eco mode can actually be used all day long.
The "normal" mode gets pretty fast. And the "sport" is actually maybe too much for this car.
The torque steer becomes very apparent. And it does get a bit annoying.

This is almost a case of too much power for what it is.
This is not meant to be a sports car.

In general, I think EVs can be too powerful. It is like all of a sudden everyone gets to drive a Corvette.
And not everyone is ready for it...

Like all EVs, the Kona Electric is quite expensive.
Although it starts at $ 37 000, my loaded model costs a bot over $44 000.
Which is pretty much in line with the Chevrolet Bolt.
But is also getting dangerously close to a Tesla Model 3.
Sure, for that price, model 3 has a shorter range. But it is a more upscale car, inside and out.

$44 000 is almost $15 000 more than the loaded Ultimate gas version.
In some states, you can still get almost $10 000 Tax incentive. but not for long.

To me, the best way to get an EV right now (it will change) is to lease it.
You can lease a Kona Electric for $369 a month.
These days, you could easily save at least $200 a month in gas money by driving electric.
Which means the Electric version would end up costing you less than the non-EV.
Which is available now for $229 a month.

For less money, you are getting a super fast, super quiet version of the Kona. And no gas.
If you lease it.

Like most electric cars, the Kona is a pleasure to drive.
And one of the best choices around.