Monday, November 23, 2020

Cadillac CT5 3.0 test drive.

The Cadillac CT-5 is one of these cars that does look much better in real life. It is a modern and rather simple design. A very good looking sedan with very nice RWD proportions. 

The only let down is the black plastic rear side window. Which, of course, should really be a bit larger and made out of glass.
Although it was harder to notice on my black colored test car. And, IMO, it also should have been a hatchback, like the Escala concept.

At first, I thought the interior looked a lot like the smaller and cheaper CT-4. But it is actually very different. As soon as you get in, it feels like a much more expensive car than the CT4. (My loaded CT5 was only about $3000 more than the CT4-V I was driving a few weeks ago.
Everything feels really solid and well made. 

It also looks really good, especially with the color combo I had. Too bad it came (again) with this carbon-fiber lookalike (or is it real?) finish on the dashboard and doors. It seems every Cadillac has this now (Although I have seen the CT-5 with real wood finish) 

The interior is a great place to be. But in late 2020, its main problem is the recent competition.
Especially the one from the new Genesis G80 sedan. And the fantastic interior of the redesigned 2021 Jaguar XF. When compared to these, the CT-5 is just not up to that level.
Cadillac really needs to revamp all their interiors with a design similar to the new Escalade. 
Which is one of the best and most modern around...
As it is, the CT5 has a very nice interior, but it needs to be more special.

The rear seat is actually surprisingly roomy. And very comfortable. But again, the rear of the center console isn't as upscale as in some of its newer competition.

The model I had for a week was powered by the 3.0 Liter V6 Turbo, which is a $3500 option on all CT5 models (Except the CT5-V). 
With 360HP, there is basically always more power than you need. 

While the 10-speed auto is very responsive, it is also not invisible, at all. While the shifts do feel very smooth, you do hear them quite a bit. As the engine revs up quite a bit with every upshift. And that is in the normal mode, not in sport.
This makes the engine a bit noisy around town, where there is a lot of shifting going on.
It would be fine in Sport mode of course.  But not in the regular mode. As this makes the car feels a bit too sporty for a luxury sedan.
In general, the 3.0 V6 isn't as quiet as it was in the CT6 I test drove last year.

It is still mostly very smooth and quiet, but as I said, the whole thing is a bit sportier than expected. Which, at least to me, doesn't make much sense in the "Premium Luxury" version. Especially when Cadillac offers a "V" version.
This should just be super luxurious...
( I guess this is still the result of previous years under Johan de Nysschen who was trying hard to turn Cadillac into BMW...)

Once on the road, the CT5 is extremely quiet and comfortable.
It has a very nice steering feel. And the suspension soaks up almost all bumps. (But it is still not a magic carpet)

The CT5 V6 is rated at 19/26MPG.
As usual, I did struggle to match the city rating with only 17 to 18MPG. But easily got over 31MPG on the FWY.

The CT5 is a great car to drive and be driven in. 
But the competition isn't resting. At around $37 000 to start, it is priced well under other sedans in its class. (It is even cheaper than the new Acura TLX!)
My loaded car was priced at $56 770. Or around $53 000 with the 2.0 Liter engine. 
Which is still less than the new G80 (the Genesis can also get much more expensive w options) 
And a bit more than a loaded TLX.
And Jaguar lowered the price of the XF to $45 000, with that great interior. 
Otherwise, all of its German competition costs much, much more.

I think the CT5, like most current Cadillacs, is too afraid to just be a luxury car. And is trying too hard to be sporty. Sport should be for the "V" models.  But anything called "Premium Luxury" should just be luxurious. There is nothing wrong with that, especially for a Cadillac.
No one would blame a Cadillac for being focused on Luxury...

As it is the CT5 is a great sedan. It just needs a more spectacular interior, like the Escalade.
I was told at the Escalade event last year (Or was it early 2020?) that it will happen. All Cadillac models will eventually be getting a similar interior. 

Let's hope it comes soon...


2022 Ford Focus: the facelift...


It looks like the "regular" Ford Focus is getting the same revisions we just saw for the "Active" version.
(New car in white)

Again, the main change outside is upfront. While there seems to be nothing new to the rear of the car.
Same story inside. Where it is getting a revised dashboard with a larger screen. That screen sits a bit lower and seems better integrated than before. (slightly...)
Since we don't have the Focus in the US anymore, we should see this interior in an upcoming revision to our Ford Escape.

2022 Kia K7: new illustration...


When compared to the spy shot HERE, this new illustration of the 2022 Kia K7 sedan looks quite realistic.

As mentioned before, the K7 will replace the Cadenza in many markets. But I have to say, things start looking a bit weird in  Kia's design department... This front end is quite something. And not really in a good way.

We have also seen some disturbing illustrations of the upcoming 2022 Kia Sportage as well. (Although prototypes of that one are still heavily covered, and the actual design is anyone's guess so far)

Not sure the blunt, giant fish mouth on the K7 will turn out to be a hit...

What do you think? is this just a case of "too much"?

2022 Genesis G90: inside...


As far as I know, this is the first time we get to see a little bit of the next-generation Genesis G90 interior.
Which, of course, will be dominated by screens, like everything else.
I do like how the current interior integrates the screen. At least on this photo, it looks more like a double screen set up Mercedes has in the current  E-Class and others. 
Which is OK. But not a new look by any means...

Still amazed at how fast Genesis is coming out with brand new models. Within a few months, we are still getting the G70 wagon, their all-new EV, and this. Plus electric versions of a few models like the G80 sedan.

2022 Toyota Tundra: blocky...

It looks like Toyota will go for a 100% blocky/macho look for the new 2022 Tundra pickup truck.
I guess it will be different, at least?

No specs yet, But the new Tundra is expected to be available with a V6 Turbo Hybrid.

Do you think this blunt, almost "lego" look will work? At a time when most other trucks seem to go for a more sophisticated look and feel?


Sunday, November 22, 2020

Ford Focus Active Wagon: a few changes...


The Active version of the current Ford Focus wagon (The generation not sold in the US) is getting a few modifications for the new year. (Bottom pic is the current version)
The main change is the all-new front end. Which, I think, looks much better on this outdoorsy wagon.
Otherwise, it is still very nice looking and really should have been made available in the US, competing with Subaru and the Golf Alltrack.

The interior also gets a revised dashboard. (top photo) As well as a new console (middle photo is current model)
The bottom pic shows the interior of our Escape. As you can see, it shares its dashboard with the European Focus. So there is hope the nicer dash and wider screen could make it over here in our US Escape soon.

New Nissan Note: inside...


Well, I was wrong...

There is another spy shot of the next Nissan Note before the official stuff tomorrow, and here it is. This time we get to see the interior. Which is pretty nice for an inexpensive model (It used to start at under $16 000 when still  on sale in the US)

The Note is usually heavily based on the Versa. Which makes you wonder if this interior design could end up in the Versa over here...

Saturday, November 21, 2020

2021/22 Nissan Note: another spy photo...


Just another picture of the redesigned Nissan Note. This should be the last one before official stuff since it is scheduled to be unveiled in just 2 days.

I think it looks quite nice. Much more angular than the previous generation. We are not scheduled to get this in the US. Since Nissan is probably making much more money by selling us the $19 000 Kicks. While the previous generation "Versa Note" starting at only $15 600 in the US.

2022 Honda Civic hatchback: looking good...


While the regular 2022 Honda Civic sedan design might not be a step forward for many, the new hatchback version will be quite an improvement over the current super busy (gross) design.
And will probably look much nicer than the sedan. While retaining the more upscale look and feel of the next generation.

I am actually very curious about this. And how it will turn out. Also glad to see Honda keeping the hatchback verison in the US. 

Friday, November 20, 2020

All-new Hyundai Mistranslating: new sedan for China


Hyundai will be introducing yet another sedan for the Chinese market. The new Mistra. 
Which seems quite conservative. Almost looking like a small Genesis G90 from some angles. With rear lights a little bit similar to the current Sonata and a grille from the previous one.

Interestingly enough, they will also introduce a full-electric version of the car (bottom pic)

2022 Jeep Compass: improved interior...


This is the Chinese market version of the 2022 Jeep Compass. But similar changes are expected for the US model. At least visually, like the new grille and interior.
The Chinese version uses a 1.3 Liter Turbo engine. Probably the same one uses in the Fiat 500X over here.
Not sure yet if that same engine will make it into the US model or not.

A plug-in hybrid version of the Compass has been available in Europe for a while. Called the Compass 4xe.
It uses a 1.3 Liter engine combined with an electric motor powering the rear wheels for a total of 237HP.
EV range in the European cycle is supposed to be around 30 miles.
Which all sounds really good. And something that should really be offered in the US as well...

2021 Lincoln Nautilus: new dash for the "old guy"...


The Lincoln Nautilus is getting a refresh for the new model year.

Nothing drastic outside. Things seem a little cleaner upfront. The big changes are inside. Where it is getting an all-new interior.  Similar to the current Lincoln interior theme. And very close to the one in the larger Aviator.

I am glad to see Lincoln is spending money on the Nautilus. Besides the great name, it is still a very attractive SUV. And not everyone needs or even wants a larger one like the Aviator. 5 seats are enough for most people.

The Nautilus started life as the second-generation MKX back in late 2015. It became the Nautilus for the 2019 model year. Sales keep going up every year. With 31 711 of them sold last year. While it is far less than the popular Lexus RX (111 036 sold in 2019) it is good for Lincoln. Beating the cheaper and newer Corsair.

Although I am not a fan of the large tablet screen (almost in the way) the new interior is a big improvement. 

Engines are the same as before. A 2.0 Liter with 250HP (which seems to be what everyone else has these days) and a 2.7 Liter Turbo V6 with 335HP. No price yet, but currently, the nautilus starts at about $4000 less than the Lexus RX. 

Thursday, November 19, 2020

2022 Honda Civic: profiles...

Just thought I would compare the new 2022 Honda Civic sedan profile to its competition. As well as the current Civic and Accord.
I think the 3-year-old Accord still looks much better. The new Civic is a bit simpler, but much less expressive IMO.
As for the current Civic, it is a super popular model for Honda. Even though many don't seem to like its design that much...

As for its competition, I think the new Civic sedan does come out as quite conservative. Even more so than the VW Jetta. Again, this type of design might actually look fine many years down th eline and not age as much as others... But is it appealing to the Civic demographic?

What do you think? 
How would you rate these? in what order?