Thursday, September 17, 2020

2021 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross: let's try again...

 


It looks like Mitsubishi will try to smooth out the Eclipse Cross design a bit for 2021.

It came out 3 years ago, so I guess it is time for that mandatory "mid-cycle refresh". The Eclipse Cross has not been a hit so far. They could not even sell 20 000 of them last year. Which is really bad, especially in a "Crossover crazy" market like the one we have these days.

maybe it's the blasphemous use of the "Eclipse" name. The design? The "almost forgotten" Mitsubishi brand? Or all of the above.

Either way, Mitsubishi will try to do something about the design at least. Apparently, a plug-in hybrid version will be available. Which should help make it stand out. Since, so far, none of its competition has that option, at least in the US. Unless they keep the new powertrain away from the US for some stupid reason...

I do wish them well.





All-new VW Taos: is it the Chinese Tharu?

 






As I mentioned earlier, this "new small VW SUV for the US" looks a lot like the Chinese Tharu.

Which is OK I guess, since it looks just like a small Tiguan. The Tharu came out in 2018, so I guess a facelift is scheduled for 2021 and that's the one we will be getting. 

The North American model will be called the Taos and built in Mexico. No word about specs yet. But I would assume the 1.4 Liter Turbo from the Jetta would be a good bet.

At 175 inches long, the Tharu is about 5 inches longer than a Honda HR-V. 3 inches longer than a Nissan Rogue sport and even a couple of inches longer than the Mazda-CX-30.

It'll play the same game as the Tiguan in its segment. Basically, offering a larger/roomier model for the price of the competition (or even less).

As you can see in the last pic, the interior of the Tharu is [retty decent. Since VW doesn't really modify their interiors for mid-cycle refreshes, I would expect the Taos to look very close to this...


What do you think? (VW seems to be the last player to enter the sub-compact SUV segment in the US. 

Will this work?


Wednesday, September 16, 2020

 

Just one last small teaser before we see the real thing. 

I mean, we have seen so many pix already, there won't be any surprises.

Hopefully, we should find out about US specs. and timing. I've heard it might be on sale before the US factory is ready to produce it, with early units being imported from Europe .

Also, the pricing will be very important. As this will compete directly with the all-new Nissan Ariya. The Nissan does look great. While this seems to be just OK.

Nissan also has many years of EV experience. While VW is actually more famous (at least in the US0 for its multitude of electric problems (on top of dieselgate) It might be a tough battle for them over here...


Let's take a drive...


 Yesterday I decided to drive up the coast. As you can see in the video, the full effects of climate change are on display here. While it is not nearly as bad as in San Francisco, it has been like this for days. (You can also see the ashes on the hood of the car I was driving)

Still, driving up to Malibu is always a pleasure, even if I can't really stop at my favorite places along the way. Passing the old Thelma Todd Cafe, the Reel Inn, the Getty Villa, Duke's. And where Jim Rockford used to park is trailer... (1st season)

You can watch the video HERE.


Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Z Proto Vs. 370Z:


Of course, the next Z/Proto Concept is a new design. But as you can see above, the car is not all new.
Not only it rides on a 'modified' platform of the current car, but there are also a few similar parts.
The side front windows look to be exactly the same on both cars. Same with the A-pillar.
I haven't checked from the front but I bet the windshield could be the same too.

The shape/angle of the hatch, the position of the exhaust, etc...

VW did this with the 2020 Passat. Which has all-new body panels on the same platform. (But they didn't bother with the interior much) Ford has been doing if forever on tons of models.
I can't blame Nissan for not spending the money on an all-new platform and structure for this car. Since no matter what, it won't be a huge seller.
The fact that it looks so new and different is a compliment to the design team.

Great job!

Nissan "Z-Proto": close to the real thing.







Although it looks really nice, there seems to be nothing surprising about this new "Z Proto". 
Also, after all these years, this is still 'just' a concept. Something that seems popular these days. (Like the Jeep Grand Wagoneer and others)

At least the good news is there will be a new Z very soon.
Powered by a V6 Turbo and a 6-speed manual. 
This is a very nice and clean retro-futuristic design. Although who know show the real thing will look like. (This looks very production ready)
The concept is about 5 inches longer than the current model.

Apparently, this is based on the current platform. This will not be an all-new car. Which is OK, since they won't be selling that many in our current market.

The interior is a bit bland. With a weird mix of rounded and square shapes. Even though it looks different. if feels a lot like the current 370Z.

No official specs (Except "twin-turbo V6 and 6 speed". And no dates or pricing yet...

So far, Nissan has done a much better job with this than Toyota with the new Supra. I just saw a couple of them this week, and they look like a tortured mess in the flesh. This is much nicer and closer to what the original Z was. And a real Nissan.

New Honda EV Concept: next HR-V preview

 

Honda has released a teaser for an all new EV concept, and it does look familiar, doesn't it...


The new teaser shows a concept version of the all-new HR-V for the Chinese market. China also has an XR-V, which is basically the HR-V with different lights and other details.

The concept will be an EV, which means an EV version of the next HR-V is in the cards. At least for some markets. 

The 2022 HR-V photos I have been posting for a couple of days were, unlike all the "know-it-all" were commenting, in fact, a Honda. ("Absolutely NOT a Honda product", "non-Honda-Esque grille" etc...)

 Our HR-V might have a few small differences, but it will basically be the same car. Or very close to it. 


Monday, September 14, 2020

2021 Hyundai Tucson: this is it!









 I have to say, there is nothing disappointing in these pictures. the all-new Hyundai Tucson for 2021 has a tricking and modern design. And what looks like a fantastic interior for its class. Really, this is one of the best interior designs around.

Hyundai seems to be making a big push in Europe with this new model. Mentioning it will be built locally. And offer both Hybrid and plug-in Hybrid versions on top of the regular gas models.
A manual transmission will also be offered in Europe!

Apparently, the US version will be a 2022 model, on sale early next year. And the Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid versions are coming over here as well.
The main engine in the US will be the 2.5 Liter with 187HP. While the 1.6 Liter Turbo will be used on the Hybrid/Plug-in hybrid versions. With up to 227HP.






2021 Jaguar F-Pace: small & big changes.

                                             





                                             
                                             
                                             




Jaguar's first SUV is getting some changes after about 5 years. Which is actually quite a while for a "mid-cycle refresh".

The changes up front are minimal. The rear end does look newer. And nicer. 

But inside, things seem to be all new. And 1000% better than before. Recent Jaguar interiors have been so sad and disappointing. Like the XE, and especially the XF sedan. The F-Pace was actually a bit of a step up from the other two.

But this is a giant improvement. (It also would look even better with wood trim.) This is a truly modern and upscale interior now. With a much larger screen well integrated into the design.

Engines re familiar, with a 2.0 Liter with 246HP. And 2 versions of the 3.0 Liter V6 turbo with 335HP or 395HP. AWD is standard and comes with 8-speed auto.

So nothing really new here...

It is great to see Jaguar becoming, again, a very nice alternative to the usual German offerings. 




2022 Honda HR-V: another picture


 As mentioned before, this IS the next-generation Honda HR-V.

Not the Chinese Avencier model, and not an Infiniti. As some have suggested.

This new version is slightly longer than before (by almost 2 inches). It will be, again, powered by a 1.5 Liter engine. And some markets (hopefully the US) will get a Hybrid option. A fully electric version is also planned for later. 

From this, and previous photos we have seen, it seems to be a total departure from the current model. At least visually. 

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Cadillac XT6 Test Drive


The Cadillac XT6 is one of these cars (crossover/SUVs etc...) that does look much better in real life.

I was really disappointed with the photos I had seen when it came out. And I have seen very few on the road to actually realize it is quite good looking in the flesh. It is not very original, but it does remind me of a classic German design, with straight lines. A design that would be elegant and tasteful for years to come. Something many German cars don't have anymore...

Its problem is that it doesn't stand out at all. And no one associate Cadillac with "invisible".




The inside of my loaded Premium Luxury version had very nice high-quality materials. But as soon as you get in, you realize it is the exact same interior as the XT5. A model that came out almost 5 years ago.

So nothing here is very exciting, or new. Cadillac keeps pushing that odd-looking trim on the dash and doors. Instead of something more current like open-pore wood.

And the 8-inch screen seems a bit small by today's standards. I really think Cadillac should have at the very least redesigned the whole dashboard for this all-new model.


One great thing about Cadillac's infotainment system is the scrolling wheel on the center console. Which lets you scroll through all your music playlists very quickly.


My car as equipped with 14 Bose speakers option. And this is a great sound system.




The interior is very roomy, front and back. And the 3rd row is ok for shorter people or kids. But not as roomy as the Chevrolet Traverse. That is because, for some odd reason, this big Cadillac Crossover is based on the same platform as the smaller XT5 and Chevy Blazer. NOT the longer one used on the Traverse of Enclave.

So it is basically a 3 row, longer XT5. And not a Cadillac version of the Enclave/Traverse. 


The XT6 uses GM's popular 3.6 Liter V6 with a 9-speed auto. And the whole thing is smooth, quiet and has plenty of power all the time. I know Cadillac has been criticized for not offering more power like Lincon does in the Aviator. But it is really not needed. Very few people would ever need more power in a vehicule like this one. 



The ride is, as expected, very smooth. And the steering is light.

This is basically the new version of what the old Cadillacs were. Smooth, quiet, and comfortable. A modern large Cadillac wagon.

It is not nearly as enjoyable to drive as the great CT6 sedan. But that's what people wat these days...



The XT6 is rated at 17/24MPG. While it was tough to get 17 around town (more like 15/16) I had no problem getting around 30MPG on freeway trips. Which is excellent.

The Cadillac XT6 is a very nice 3 row crossover. But I am afraid it might not be enough. Cadillac came late in the game and didn't come up with anything special. The biggest drwaback is th e5 year old interior. (Which was nothing special 5 years ago)
They need to rething the interior all together and design something similar to the striking 2021 Escalade.

the price is also, in my opinion, a problem. After checking, I realized it is only a couple thousand more than the XT5. Which is OK. But with a $53 000 starting price ($71 000 for my loaded test car) it competes with the Audi Q7, Volvo XC90, and others. 
I would even think a loaded Kia Telluride could be included in there. For a lot less money, it does feel more special.

The XT6 is good, but it does need to be special. As all Cadillacs should be.



Friday, September 11, 2020

Tesla will export Model 3 from China


 Tesla started building the popular Model 3 in China a few months ago. These cars are only sold in the Chinese market. Basically, what all other car manufacturers have been doing for decades.

Until a few years ago, no one building cars in China was selling them in Europe or the US. That changes a few years ago with Chinese made Volvos being sold here and in Europe. Also with GM selling Chinese made Buick Envisions and the Plug-in version of the Cadillac CT-6 in the US.

Now, we learn that Tesla will not wait for the European factory to produce cars, and will ship Chinese made units to Europe later next year. 

Not only to Europe, but Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore. I guess the US factory is just too busy. And the German one will be strictly for European deliveries.

Of course, a Model 3 built-in China has to cost a bit less than the one built in the US. Or eventually, Germany. I am actually surprised to see how many cars Tesla has been able to deliver so far, with only the California factory and its tent. 

Could we eventually see some of the Chinese built Teslas in the US? Or the ones from Germany?

It seems the Freemont factory, as well as the upcoming Texas one, could be enough to feed the Chinese market, but who knows... Larger profit margins are very tempting.

 

2022 Honda HR-V: more pictures



I know many don't seem to believe it, (which isn't good news for Honda) but this IS the next generation HR-V, coming sometime next year as a 2022 model.

As many noticed, it seems a bit longer than the current one. With a much more slanted rear window.
The current model is very roomy. Especially in the back where legroom is comparable to much larger models. From these pictures, it doesn't look like that would change, and the headroom doesn't seem compromised either. But that sharper slant could reduce cargo space. 
So far, that shape doesn't look like an improvement. The squared-off silhouette could end up a bit more like a truck, which I am not sure HR-V customers have been asking for.
The side windows are also much narrower than before. 

This could end up trying too hard to be something else...



 

Lucid Gravity SUV: a few more pictures






Lucid is being smart by showing the world (and especially investors) that they are working on more than one model. Especially an expensive sedan. Since the market for these is quite limited.

They did explain t=other modes will be based on versions of the same platform, which will end up saving costs.

The Gravity SUV shown above is of course an early prototype version. The Air sedan will start production early next year, hopefully. With the most expensive versions available first. The basic $80 000 version won't be built until sometime in 2022.

Which means this SUV could be unveiled by the end of 2021 and start actual production in late 2022 or 2023. Who really knows...

And again, this could be even more expensive than the Air. that means 'crazy prices'!