Thursday, March 31, 2005

A Chery!

That IS a picture of an actual Chery car from China.
Chery is the Chinese brand we are supposed to get in the US in a couple of years.

This one is powered by a 2.0 or a 2.4 Liter engine.
Not sure what it is based on. It seems that, so far, Chery has been pretty good at copying other brand.
Until they got sued by GM that is...

The US importer claims a sedan competing with the Audi A4 will be available for around $20 000!
And a coupe going after the Mercedes CLK (that's right!) would go for $19 000!!!

These claims seem highly unrealistic. Unless the Chinese manufacturer is using some kind of alien technology so far unknown to the rest of the human race...

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Nissan Note?

Nissan has said for a while they want to offer something cheaper and smaller than the Sentra.
They used to hint at the next generation Cube.
But recently, they claimed that no decision has been made and they are looking at a couple of options.
I am sure this all new Note is one of them. And it would make sense.
A small roomy 5 seat hatch for well under $15000 sounds pretty good.

But... The next Cube should look pretty amazing...

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Slow news day...

New $10 000 Kia Rio on its way to help lonely guys around the globe.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

New Volvo???

Yes. But which one is it?
Not a coupe or an SUV.
Not a wagon.
Not a convertible.

It can only be the next S80. Supposely available with 6 and 8 cylinder engines to better compete in the US market.
The 6 might even be the all new engine Ford is getting ready for Volvo and Jaguar.
We'll see...

Friday, March 25, 2005

Suzuki X2

Another SUV! Really...
Do we need that?
This time it is Suzuki's turn to redesign their old Grand Vitara.
It uses a V6 with 185hp and a 5 speed auto.
Sounds like a clone or cousin to the Saturn Vue and Chevy Equinox. But they claim it is a lader frame, and also a unibody construction. It is usually either, or, but not both....

It looks OK, but not really special. Just ... Another SUV...

Thursday, March 24, 2005

2006 Hyundai Azera

That's pretty much the US version of the new "Grandeur" shown last month in Geneva.
Interior seems the same .
But, wait a minute.. Look at the front end. What happened to the grille????

That's right, they changed it for the US market!! (The top one).
The Grandeur is not a great looking car, but it is fine. With that over sized, over chromed grille, the whole front end becomes vulgar, and frankly, quite ugly to me.
You would think they 'd move away from this. Or keep the big grille for the Korean market.
They even added more chrome on the bumper to match it. Do they really think the US customer has such bad taste?

I just don't get this...

2006 Hyundai Accent

The more cheap cars, the better.
Not everyone can spend $30 000 on a nice car. Often not even $20 000.
The current Accent starts at around $10 000! And this new one should not be that much more.

Considering the price, it looks pretty nice. Still on the boring side of things, but it doesn't look that cheap anymore.
And the interior seems pleasant enought. You can tell it shares some interior bits with the new Kia Rio.

These "cheap" new cars make a better case for buying new, versus a $10 000 used car. Especially with that 10 year warranty.
One of the main advantage of an all new car.
And who wouldn't pay extra for that intoxicating "new car smell"...

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Who bites the dust???

Rumors have been flying this week about GM getting rid of another brand.maybe even two!
After years of designing the wrong cars for the market, they think the answer to their problems is to dump the legendary brands they acquired.
It seems unthinkable, but they might actually do it again. Who would have thought they'd get rid of Oldsmobile, instead of making cars people actually want to buy???
All I know is that Chevrolet and Cadillac are safe.
Let's see about the others:

Buick ? I don't really think so. It seems they are really spending some money on that brand lately.
But they were talking of canceling the RWD cars they were planning for Buick. And after the new Lucerne, what's next???
Nobody really knows. The new sedan was supposed to replace the Park Avenue.

Or Saturn?
That brand was created to compete with import at a time when Chevy and Pontiac were putting out crap.
But the new Chevy Cobalt and Pontiac G6 seem to be able to do the job.
And their new models don't even have the famous "dent resistent body panels" that made the brand special. So why have Saturn???
How about the 2 concept they just showed us though...They might never see the light of day.

They just teased us whith Coupe and Convertible versions of the new G6.
But on the other side, the Torrant is just a cheap re-badged Chevy. And what's after the G6???
Is anything actually planed? A G8 sedan?
They already annouced that the Firebird would not return.
Is that a hint?

My money is on GMC.
All they produce are Chevy truck clones. There is no reason for that brand to even exist if they don't have their own designs.

Lexus IS 350

Just a short note on that new Lexus IS again.
And to see one more time how great the interior looks!
I mean, compare this to the all new 3 series.
And the BMW guys still don't see this as a threat.

Good luck with that one...

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

2006 Jeep Commander

Well... I've pretty much said everything I thought about this crap.
It does look a little bit "better" than on the previous shots.
But I think that's because I like that color better.
It is butt ugly.
A truck can be macho and well designed at the same time. I think the Hummer H2 does exactly that.
I don't like it, but it is a good design.
They should have made a "retro" version of the old Grand Wagonner.
It would have been much better than this. Or just produce last year's concept.

This is ugly, old (not retro) and cheap looking crap. And there are no excuses for it.

Mustang Cobra

I am usually not that into sport cars. But I do like the new Mustang.
And this all new Shelby Cobra version looks even more retro than the GT. And more modern at the same time.
They just did a fantastic job!
It will use a 5.4Liter V8 with over 450hp!
All this for under $40000. Not cheap, but not bad for so much power in such a cool design...

Fox kills Lupo?

Looks like the small Brazilain made VW Fox will be replacing the Lupo in Europe.
The Fox has been slightly revised this year. (front, rear, interior. The usual...)
This allows them to keep the price down to under 9000 Euros.

But with a 1.4 Liter engine and just 55hp, the $11000 Fox is definitely NOT for us...

That's the "old" Lupo.
Makes the Fox look pretty modern doesn't it?

Brilliance in Germany

First, these 2 pictures show us that the new Brilliance is actually just a revised version of the model presented about 2 years ago. (the dark one on top is the "old" one). It was designed by Giugiaro. Now wonder it looks so good.

Second, it has been anounced that germany has an imorter. And they are ready to bring the cars over before year's end!
That seems a bit quick to me.
The first engines available in Germany would be the 2.0 and 2.4 Liters. With a new 1.8 liter next year.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Brilliance !

That's the name of the company that just came out with this pretty good looking mid sized sedan.
A Chinese company!

Not the one we're getting in the US in the next couple of years, that one is "Chery".
But if that's any indication of what to expect, the future looks bright!

This looks as good as anything in the business. And for a lot cheaper.
I think Hyundai and Kia has to been watching this VERY closely.
This car is already better looking than the new (yet to be on sale) Sonata!!!

Seems like the Chinese sense of design is much more modern that the Korean's. It took these guys a long, long time to get out of that over chromed look they like so much.
And the Chinese seem much more influenced by more modern European designs.

More new Passat details

That still looks a little weird and overdone to me...

Even without the "all wood" steering wheel, there is still just too much of that wood on the flat looking dashboard.
It still reminds me of some Korean car somehow... It looks very nicely done and all, but...
I guess I still like the current model's interior and was expecting something really great.

Oh well...

Chrysler 300 4 door convertible.

Well... Maybe.
This was made by ASC. The company who, amomg others, is responsible for the Solara convertible.
They found a way to convert almost any large 4 door sedan into a 4 door convertible. And they claim the car is at least as solid as the sedan version. And as safe!
ASC is also talking about possibilities for the Cadillac STS, Fors 500 and Toyota Avalon.
Who ever would be interested.
That is one great idea!!!!
The conversion works perfectly on the 300. Even if it has to become a 4 seater with a smaller trunk.
Chrysler has not appoved this for production, and ASC claims it would take about 2 years to do so.

This could bring back the time when families were buying convertibles as their main cars!

Sunday, March 20, 2005

2006 Chevrolet Malibu SS

This is the new "sport" version of the non sporty (and pretty ugly) Malibu.
The new front end helps a bit. But the overall design is so dated (even though it is only a couple of years old) that even the great looking 18inch wheels can't do much.
The engine is the same that the one available in the much better looking Pontac G6.
The new 3.9Liter V6 with 240 hp.
More than enough really, but still with an ancient 4 speed auto!
Is it too much to ask, in 2005, to get at least 5 forward gears in a modern car, from the largest car maker in the world???

I guess it is...

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Lada 110

This is the best "shameless copy job" from Russia since the Tupolev 144 copied the Concorde supersonic airplane back in the early 70's!
They are now obviously after the Ford Focus. Even their company logo !
Ladas have been sold in western Europe for years, as cheap transportation. Kind of like early Korean cars here back in the 80's.
They were then, based on even older Fiat models.
I am not sure what this one is based on, but it has the usual 1.6 Liter engine. And actually, it does look a bit more modern than our old US only Ford Focus...

This is the old Lada. In production for decades!
Based on a 1960's Fiat model.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Next Sentra Concept?

Nissan will show this sport concept at the New York auto show.
And I think this might just be a preview of the next Sentra, A.K.A Sunny in Japan.

Just imagine the same design without the "crazy" concept touches like the spoilers, side skirts, mirrors etc...
This would mean the Sentra replacement (whatever the name ends up being) could be a hatchback. And might be available in a 3 door version as well as a sedan, or even a 5 door hatchback.
That would be a welcome change from the horrible sedan we have now.
And a nice alternative to the Civic/Corolla.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

All new Jaguar

This is supposed to be a concept car that will be introduced later this year.

But "insiders" claim this is actually a "close to production" preview of the model replacing the small X Type in 2007. (They might not even keep that name).
As you can see, there isn't much in common with the X type.
It is also rumored to be rear wheel drive. Maybe based on a shorter S type platform. And they are also working on an inline 6 cilynder engine.

That would make a great car!

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

2006 Impala

This is really not a bad looking car.
If you are in the market for a roomy sedan, you could do much worse. Like getting the current Impala.
It seems like GM has paid attention to the details, finally.

That light interior looks much better than the dark one I saw at the auto show.
With a good proven V6, or a V8, this looks to be a decent, and cheaper, alternative to the new Avalon. Maybe even a high end Camry. Some of the details like the window switches even look like the Camry's!
And the exterior design has a kind of "big Camry" feel to it. That's OK to me.

If you don't care much about resale, that is... That problem will take many years, and good models, to fix...