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Monday, July 04, 2022

2023 MG Mulan: a look inside...

We've seen a bit of the new MG Mulan before. But this is the first time we get to see the interior. And it does seem quite nice. Sure, the usual screens. But the overall design is pretty clean and simple.

This is a compact EV, which will probably compete in Europe with the VW ID.3 (not sold here). 
It is the same size as a Golf or ID.3. 

MG has big plans for the Mulan in Europe. And I think it looks the part. As it does seem like a recent European design. MG sold about 22 000 in Europe last year. With OK but mostly super boring-looking designs. This could double their numbers in no time...


Sunday, July 03, 2022

2023 Honda HR-V: test drive coming up...

 I will be driving the all-new 2023 Honda HR-V for a week. As usual, I will try to answer any questions you might have.

- So far, (After just a few minutes) the new Nordic Forest color looks even better in person (Although the interior is all-black in my test car, a light grey/black combo is available)

- Interior is actually better than the Civic.

- Doors sound like an expensive luxury car when you close them.

- The sound system is very nice, even though it's the 8 speaker system from other Hondas. (Not the Bose) Already 10 times better than the 2022 CR-V Touring I had a few days ago. 

Saturday, July 02, 2022

2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6: more photos of the US version...

Hyundai just released official photos of the all-new 2023 Ioniq 6 electric sedan, and we've already seen the US version in spy shots.
Now we get to see what it looks like in white. And I hate to say, but it doesn't look that great.
The white emphasizes the new amber turn signals and side markers. And all that black plastic trim looks like quite a mess on the white car.

That black trim line across the whole front end still doesn't really work for me. Especially on white.


2020 Gas Enpulse Concept: coming soon...

Chinese manufacturer GAC introduced the Enpulse concept bak in 2020.
Now we are getting some info about a production version coming soon (bottom pic)

Apparently, this will be another millionaire toy priced at over $150 000. At least it's not another SUV.
And still a bit cheaper than the upcoming (maybe) Tesla Roadster with similar specs.

The car at the bottom doesn't seem to be a convertible like the concept was. Or maybe it's some kind of removable hard top?

At least, its pretty interesting. Even if out of reach for most of us...


Honda CR-V: test drive...

Somehow, Honda gave me the opportunity to drive the CR-V for a week. I say "somehow", because the current CR-V is at the end of its life. A brand new redesigned 2023 model is coming out in just a few weeks. 
But, I had never driven the current CR-V before. And since it is one of the best-selling vehicles in the US, I was always curious about it. 

With over 360 000 sold last year, this 6-year-old model is still a huge hit for Honda. These things are literally everywhere you look. Which is kind of a strange feeling. Driving the exact same thing everyone else seems to be driving...

I was driving a loaded Touring AWD model costing a bit over $37 800 including destination.
Not cheap...

The familiar interior still looks pretty good after 6 years. Everything feels very solid with quality materials.
Except for the rather strange wood trim that has a weird orangy satin finish.

A few things do remind you this is something that came out in 2016.
Like the smallish infotainment screen with a huge black bezel around. (That space could house a much larger useable screen area)
The super clunky (and noisy) shifter. 
The old-timey button for the trip odometer reset.
The slow interface.
This actually feels more like buying a very nice used car than a brand new one.

But I also realize all these issues will be fixed in the 2023 model.

To me, the worst part of the current CR-V interior is the sound system.
It is a 9-speaker unit. And one of the worst sounding I have ever experienced. I am not a bass nut, but this system doesn't have any. First time ever I had to crank the base all the way up. And it was still just OK.
It is also not very loud at all. Overall, it is shockingly bad, especially in a "top of the line" $38 000 model. The excellent Bose system in the 2022 Civic Touring is 100 times better than this.

Of course, I do realize, again,  this will probably be fixed in the upcoming 2023 model which will most likely use the same system as the Civic.

Even in the Touring model, the center armrest isn't adjustable. And there is a strange open area underneath it. Where you can't really leave anything since it is always exposed.

There is a lot of room in the back and cargo area. The floor is almost as flat as in an EV. Which is very nice. ( I could fit all of my cherished Disco Balls)

The CR-V's ride is very comfortable. Especially on the freeway. The car feels very solid and well planted on the road. In true Honda fashion, the steering is much better than most other crossovers this size.

The CVT remains the main issue. Zapping most of the 1.5 Liter Turbo and basically, deciding how fast you will be going.

On the other side, the CR-V is rated at 28/34MPG. Which is pretty much what I got (28/36)
Not bad at all for a very roomy non-hybrid SUV.

The CR-V is still a great choice. Although it is getting a bit old in some ways. Plus, the fact that a brand new one is coming out very soon doesn't help.
The 2023 model will be based on the same platform and will use the same powertrain. 
It will fix all the small issues I have with the current one (Except the CVT)

Which makes the current 2022 model a pretty tough sale. Especially in current times. Dealers won't have the new one for a long so and they'll be hard to get for quite a while. And there will be crazy mark-ups from these crooks.

Used ones are still a bit cheaper, and basically the same as a new 2022 model. (Just saw 2018 Touring for $32 000 on CarMax...)


Friday, July 01, 2022

2025 BMW 3 series: early illustration...

 Yes, that's really early. And it probably won't keep the exact same grille as the current 4 series either. No matter what the est of the car looks like.

Apparently, the next generation 3 series EV will be built in Mexico for the North American market. As well as Hungary for Europe. The US is also scheduled to get both the sedan and wagon versions of the new i3 (name of the upcoming electric 3 series)

But really, who knows...

2023 Ford Fusion Active: new illustrations...

While pretty nice, these illustrations of the upcoming Ford Fusion Active don't really seem to match the spy shots of the real thing.

I really like the idea of a Subaru Outback type wagon instead of "another SUV". 
But the prototype's shape does look more like an SUV. (bottom pic)

Rumors about the Fusion morphing into an AWD wagon have been around for a few years. The illustration above is from 2018!
4 years later, Ford is testing something that looks like it could be an Edge replacement. It is also rumored to be mainly for the Chinese market. Although it has also been seen testing in the US (like the one above).

Thursday, June 30, 2022

Chevrolet Bolt EUV: test drive...

Even though the newer Bolt EUV resembles the regular Bolt, it does have its own design. 
The EUV is over 6 inches longer and has a 3 inches longer wheelbase than the regular Bolt. 

The version I drove is a loaded model that included a Sound and Sun package as well as Supercruise for around $44 000. (more on the current pricing later)

The interior of the EUV is basically the same as the regular Bolt. Except you can get the leather option in a very attractive 2-tone grey, instead of just black. (only on the Premier model though)
Any other version of the Bolt or Bolt EUV is a black-only affair inside. Which is sad...

The added length is mostly used for a roomier back seat. The Bolt is already a roomy compact, but the EUV's rear seat has more legroom than many mid-sized cars. The rear seats are also heated!

The Bose system is excellent. I thought it was a bit better than in the Bolt but it seems both cars use the same system. 
This and the panoramic sunroof are well worth the money.
(no sunroof available on the Bolt)

More length also means you can fit longer objects in the cargo when you lower the back seats. This really makes for a credible alternative to a small SUV. (If you don't need AWD)

With such similar specs and platforms, the EUV drives almost the same as the Bolt. The steering feels a little bit less artificial, which is great.
But I didn't notice it rode smoother even with 3 inches added to the wheelbase. Both the Bolt and EUV ride a little bit on the firm side. While always being very comfortable.

I did try the Super Cruise a few times. A couple of times it took a few tries to actually engage. And then, it worked!
No surprises. But really, it's something I'm not interested in at all. I  have personally no need for this and would save the $2 000.
But it's really good for GM to offer it to people who want it. I guess?

I was able to get more than the official numbers from the Bolt's battery during my test drive. The larger EUV model is rated at 247 miles instead of 259 for the Bolt.
And yet, as you can see, I had around 45 miles left after reaching 247 on a full charge.
Which means 300 miles could be possible. (Although you really would need to charge it before)
I did more freeway driving than with the Bolt (about 40%) and did use the one-pedal driving more often.

Again, I do not have a 240v charger where I live. After the 1st day of driving, I did charge it on the 110V available in my driveway. Which gave me around 40 miles overnight. (to a full charge) Actually more than most people will need every day.
This means I wouldn't absolutely need to have a 240 charger installed. Add a few miles every night from the 110 plug and use a fast charger in the neighborhood before a longer trip?
Why not?

Right before I test drove the EUV, GM announced drastic price reductions for the Bolt and Bolt EUV.

The reduced price takes effect for the 2023 model year. But is available right now on the 2022 models featured on the Chevy site. After current rebates (to match the new 2023 price), the 2022 Bolt EUV like the one I was driving is now priced at $ 37 785. Or $2200 less if you don't get the supercruise.

At around $35 000 for a loaded super roomy compact hatchback, the Bolt EUV is a great deal. 
While GM doesn't qualify for federal tax incentives anymore, the Bolt and Bolt EUV do qualify for many state rebate programs. 
In my state, I checked and would qualify for over $4500. This would put the loaded Bolt EUV at around $30 000. Now competing directly with gas-powered comparable vehicles.

The main difference between the Bolt and EUV, besides the slightly larger size, is the availability of a super large sunroof. And the gray interior. Both would make me pick the EUV. 
But if you're fine with an all-black interior and don't want a sunroof, you can even save $2000 more!

With the new pricing, the Bolt EUV is one of the best cars for the money available today. 
It is a very roomy, very quiet, fast, solid, and super well-equipped hatchback. (loaded model)
There's no problem to charge it, even on a 110 plug, for most people. And the sensation you get from being truly free from greedy gas companies is amazing. 

Although this is still a terrible time to buy a car. Due to a worldwide parts shortage. And it might be for another year or so. Official lease pricing on the Bolt a couple of years ago was under $200 a month (A friend of mine even got one for $125/month and $1000 down)
Deals like this would make a Bolt lease payment cheaper than buying gas. 

There are no good lease deals on the Bolt available these days. But they will come back. Although gas will probably never get that much cheaper...
The Bolt and Bolt EUV aren't the future anymore. They are what people should drive today.


2023 Buick Envista: a look inside...

We've already seen the all-new Buick Envista fully uncovered a few weeks ago.
Now we get to see its modern and clean-looking interior. Or at least, some of it.

So far, the Envista is a Chinese market model. Powered by a 1.5 Liter Turbo engine. Although the design is inspired by the Electra X Concept, the Envista is not an EV.

This could make a nice Buick Encore replacement in the US. maybe something in-between the $25 000 Encore GS and the $32 000 Envision? The coupe-like shape could also attract a different audience.



2023/24 Kia Seltos: early mid-cycle refresh...


Just in time to compete with the new, larger Honda HR-V, the Kia Seltos is getting some changes.

I've always thought the front end was way too busy for a small crossover. Unfortunately, the new one, while different, doesn't really seem much better. There's still a lot going on.

The rear end has also been modified. With lights that try very hard to make the whole thing more angular. I just think it ends up looking cheaper than before.

It's a different story inside. Where the revised interior seems much better. With a very well-integrated double screen instead of the "thick iPad stuck on a dashboard" look of the previous version. 
This is a very nice update.

Unfortunately, the exterior now looks a bit older than the previous version At least to me. 
It still will not stand out among the many HR-Vs and Corolla Cross out there. 

2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6: the US version...

The black car above shows what the US model of the new Ioniq 6 sedan will look like. 

You can see the mandatory side markets front and back. 
The front ones are in a weird place, ahead of the wheel arch.
Hyundai did a much better job on the Ioniq 5, where the front side markers are incorporated into the front light unit. And it looks like they could have done the same thing on the Ioniq 6. Weird...

Otherwise,  both versions look the same to me...


Tuesday, June 28, 2022

2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6: first look videos...

Here are a few of the many videos available on Youtube about the new 2023 Hyundai Ioniq sedan.
Showing the car inside and out (but not the trunk)

It does seem quite large in person. I really love the interior door panel design. But the center console with its blah grey plastic might look and feel cheap in person.

And again, Hyundai shows the really cool drawer-style glove compartment. Something that is also in the Ioniq 5. Except in the US version, for some weird and unexplained reason...
That interior does seem really roomy in general.

This will no doubt look quite impressive in person. 

VinFast e34: caught in the US...

The e34 is a small EV launched by WinFast late last year in its home market of Vietnam. A reader just sent me these photos of a prototype taken in Michigan.

As you can see, it is the exact same car as the one in the official shots.
It looks OK. A bit bloated and boring like the larger VF8.
Interestingly, the VF8 used to be called the e35. This new e34 retains the old naming convention. They don't call it the VF 4 (At least not outside of the US) ...

The 3 SUVs above are the ones VinFast claims will be sold in the US after the launch of the VF8 and larger VF9.
They all adopt the new names. As VF7, VF6, and VF5.
I just wonder why the e34 was caught testing in the US? And why they never showed it.

Maybe it will be a VF4 in our market? All three above aren't out yet. And their designs look much more modern than VinFast previous models like the e34 and e35 (now VF8)
I guess this could compete in the low-end EV market against the Chevrolet Bolt. 
It would have to be really cheap since VinFast makes you lease the batteries on top of the price of the car. (something that could be their downfall in the US)
And the e34 is rated at only 190 miles in the local test cycle. Which means probably even less by the EPA.

Again, unless they cal sell this for about $20 000 or less, it'll have a lot of trouble competing with the Bolt in the US. (Although that cute little VF5 with a 250 miles battery could be really cool)

Good luck.

(Thanks to Emiliano for the pix!)