Thursday, June 30, 2005

2006 Ford Fusion details

I must say I am a bit disapointed by the light interior. (no wonder all the previous press stuff was showing the black one...)
The fake wood is similar to the one used in the F150 truck and it looks like crap!

The overall color is that kind of beige, not cream, that japanese cars used 10 years ago.
Not too classy.
And the console details reveals... Well.. Not much. Just the usual. Nothing more than what every other mid sized sedan in the US has to offer.

2006 Saab 9.5

Once again: What the hell???

I thought at first these were fake. But I don't think they are.
The front headlights surrounds look like some kind of camouflage, but I think it is actually a weird metal finish.
The new front end actually looks very nice, and should be on all Saabs.

But the poor old 9.5 needs a complete redesign. A real one, and fast...

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

S Class details

This is a nice one. That door design, with the super nice aluminum finish and wood looks very classy and futuristic at the same time.

This is the nightmare.
Having to go to the computer screen to use the radio.
They copied that form the dreadfull BMW iDrive system. A horrible idea...

Notice how easy it is for that guy to use the computer mouse/wheel thingy...While the car is parked!!!!
What happens if you change your mind about the temperature, or what you're listening to, while you are driving!

These computerized systems are insane.
There was nothing wrong with a few dials on the console! Also, notice that ugly hump the screen requires to "fit" that screen on top of the dash. And the lower part of it is just a BMW 7 series rip off. Amazing.

The should ask Lexus, Acura and Infiniti for some advice... Fast.

2006 Saab 9.5

Why even bother...

That car looked outdated when it came out!
So years later, no one even knows it is still around.
New (and even older looking) tail lights, even a revised front end or new interior bits aren't going to boost the sales.

A complete waste of money...

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Ford SAV production

The SAV concept introduced a few months ago will go into production at the end of this year.
It will be replacing the aging Ford Galaxy minivan in Europe. And they might call it the D Max.
Because it is a size larger than the Focus based C Max. Duh...
It should be really close to this concept, except for the wheels and bumper. We'll know more in September.

Another one we won't see over here.
Let Ford get the Fairlane to replace their Freestyle Minivan. And Mercury should get this!!!

If they are really serious about saving the brand, that is...

Monday, June 27, 2005

Saturn Signum?

How about it?
A "wagon" version of the upcoming Aura. That would be nice and I bet would work too.
Without spending too much money, GM could have a great looking 5 door version of the new Saturn.
Think of it as a smaller, more civilized version of the Dodge magnum...

Saturday, June 25, 2005

2006 Mercury Milan price

The Milan will start at $18 995. $1000 more than the ford cousin, the Fusion.
I am not sure what equipment you get for the extra $1000. But that price does includes delivery.
What you get is actually an even better looking car than the Fusion. And the similar interior is a bit more upscale, thanks to aluminum or wood finish.
Too bad Ford has been destroying the Mercury name for the past few decades. Almost no one in the market for a family car would even set foot in a Mercurey dealer.
They have a lot of work to do to make sure people even know that car exists.
Some even think the Mercury brand died years ago!
But if they can manage to offer a cheap lease, comparable to the $199/month Nissan offers on the Altima, that could be a great choice. And you don't have to care about resale value.( which would have to be pretty crapy).

(OK... It's been in the 90's all week. Time to go to the beach!)

2006 Mazda 6

These are pictures of the japanese version of the Mazda6. But the subtle changes will appear here before the fall.
The black lacker finish, similar to the RX8, gives the interior a touch of class. And makes the whole thing look more expensive.
A great car gets even better.
I hope they are now offering a 5 speed automatic with the great 2.3 Liter engine. The old 4 speed doesn't cut it anymore in 2006!

Thursday, June 23, 2005

2006 Ford Fusion price

The all new Fusion will start at $17 995 in the US.

That is a great price for a really good looking car!
It is based on the Mazda6. And even uses the same engines.
I drove a 6 for a few days last month (more on that later) and I loved it.
The 2.3 Liter was smooth and quiet, and had enough power for everyday use.
It was really a nice drive.

I can't wait for the new Ford. At this price, it is better than the new Sonata from Hyundai.
You can even get a 5 speed automatic with the small engine on the Ford (not the Hyundai).
And the interior is light years ahead of the Korean car...

Mitsubishi L 200

In this country, where trucks almost outsell cars, you would think every car maker would try to offer everything they have in that segment.
Mitsubishi's idea is to sell a slightly redesigned version of the Dodge Dakota. I just drove a Dakota for a couple of days, and that is not something I would be proud of using as a base for another truck. (more on that one when I get around to write a full review).
They have this really cool looking, and smaller, pick up truck. Unfortunatly, it is, for now, only sold in Thailand.
There might be hope if there is a demand.
For my taste, this is the best looking prduction pick up around. The only thing that came even close was a Nissan Concept from a few years ago.
The interior looks at least as good as other Japanese compact offerings.
And these have all gone up in size. There must be a market for a true compact truck. Mazda is trying the "true" minivan with the Mazda5. (now that the Honda Odyssey has grown to the size of a whale...)

I really think Mitsubishi should jump on this one, by pricing it below the others. And bring the diesel over here too.
It is time.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Alfa Romeo 159

Nothing brand new. We've seen it before.
But I just wanted to take another look at what we're missing in the US. Because GM and Fiat couldn't get their acts together.

So what we have instead, is the new 3 series... This new Alfa looks so much better. They could have been the new Audi in the US.
Remember when the 1st A4 came out? Their reputation (over here) was crap. Because of that 60 minute show.
So they came out with a great car, for far less money than BMW and Mercedes.
They are now almost as expensive as these other guys.
Alfa could now have that position in the US market.

BMW execs should send a big fat gift basket to the Fiat/GM morons who couldn't agree on bringing Alfa cars over here...

Clio 3 details

This is one well thought out small car.
What a difference with the cheap stuff we get over here. We have our pick of small, uninspired Korean cars. Or the old Focus, which has now the ugliest and cheapest interior on the market.
This small Renault's interior is better than almost anything sold over here. Including much more expensive mid sized cars!
The new Clio would be welcome here. Or anywhere for that matter.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

2006 S Class

On these official pictures, the new S class looks pretty nice.
Mercedes has done a much better job than BMW at modernizing their designs.
This car is still classy and tasteful. I can't say the same about the 7 series.
Most new BMWs are clumzy tortured designs. This is modern, but still very elegant.

It is just too bad about the very old looking interior. It even reminds me of the 1980's Lincoln continental dash. With even a bit of the BMW 7 series.
There are 2 different shapes sitting on top of it. And they don't really go together.

I guess for less money, the CLS has a much more striking personality. And a great interior.

But what do I care, really. So few of us will even get to ever actually drive one. It doesn't really matter.

2006 Audi Q7

Nothing new here.
But the Touareg/Cayenne based Audi SUV is getting closer to production.
They are already filming commercial in north America. And It is hard to tell if it's in the US or Canada. Most of these "generic down town areas" look the same.

Looks like they are pushing the "on road qualities" of the car.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Mercedes S class

A better picture of the all new S Class for 2006.
Looks like they didn't listen to anyone and went ahead with their version of the iDrive systme from BMW.
Nobody prefers using a computer mouse onstead of simple buttons when they drive.
This is an insane trend.
And the overall interior design looks no better than a Buick from the 80's! (upcoming Buicks are actually much more modern than this). What's going on there???
Without a shifter on the console, it looks like they can't went to put a flat bench seat in there...

I don't like the current S Class interior, but this is a huge step backward, without being retro...

Fiat Piccolo Bello

Kind of a weird surprise from Fiat.
They're supposed to have their new version of the 500 (Trepiuno) out pretty soon. But I guess, even that isn't small enough.
So this super small Picollo is supposed to compete with the redesigned Smart Fortwo coming out sometime next year.
But the Fiat can seat 4. And it has a tiny 3 cylinder gas or diesel engine just above the rear wheels.

I am kind of suspicious about these 2 "photos" anyway. One is kind of fuzzy, the other one really sharp. So they might just be someone's idea of what a Mocro Fiat should look like. Who knows these days...

I wonder is every brand in Europe will eventually offer cars of that size...

Thursday, June 16, 2005

2006 Chrysler PT Cruiser

I have to admit, the PT Cruiser has been one of my favorite cars since it came out. Even before!
I couldn't believe Chrysler could actually produce such a cool looking car.
I almost bought one, after all the "dealer gouging craze" that is...
The 2006 revision doesn't bring anything great outside. New lights anf bumpers don't really make a new car.
The big news are inside. And I am not sure if I like it yet. The interior was never bad. But I guess after about 5 years, it is time for something different..
To me, the big news is (finally) the availability of a light colored interior. Instead of dark brown or even black.
They also claim the 2006 is much quiter than before. A welcome improvement.

I wonder if all this will be enought to get current PT owners to not switch to the Chvey HHR. The HHR is roomier ind does have a better engine. Plus, it is really all new.

New renault Clio

We also saw this car before. But these are officials.
And it is a big step from the current Clio.
I had the chance(or not) to ride in a Clio a couple of years ago, and was surprised how cheap everything looked and felt!
This one looks to be much, much better.
The interior seems fantastic for the size and price. Much better than the competition anyway.
The new Clio is based on the Renault/Nissan B platform. Which we won't get, unless the new "smaller than Sentra" Nissan is based on it...

Subaru Impreza/WRX

Nothing brand new, we already saw this new front end a few weeks ago. But these are the official pictures.
And, as you can see, the interior gets only very minor changes. Which brings the question: why bother???

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

2006 VW Cabrio testing

So far so good. It does look like the concept from last year.
Which it should.
(the concept is the bottom picture)
We'll know for sure in September. And it should be over here next spring.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

The better choice

This is one cool car from GM. And, I think, a much better choice than the revised Saturn Vue.
Much cheaper too. A loaded one should be around $20 000. And that's before the unavoidable rebates.
And it doesn't pretend to be an SUV either. It is basically a more modern, roomier and better PT Cruiser.
The GM 2.4 Liter engine is much, much better than the Chrysler engine. And the Astra/Cobalt platform is decades ahead of the old modyfied Neon one.
After seating in one last January, I just can't wait to see them on the road.

2006 Saturn Vue

I must say, that interior is a huge step forward from the 2005 model. At least in pictures. (and these are very nice pictures)
But that front end is a nightmare. They even ruined the look of the "Red Line" sport model, with another version of that horrible front!
Who else can design 2 of the ugliest front ends on ONE car!?!?!?!