Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Opel GT

Well.. Nothing new here.
This is what they said it would be. A Saturn Sky with an Opel badge.
But it's good to see, for once, a desirable American car able to cross the Atlantic under a European brand.

We usually see the opposite...

2007 Chevrolet Avalanche

Nothing unexpected.

Just the same previous idea applied to the new platform...

For those who really want to make the new Crown Prince a happy man...

Euro Focus in the US

Ford recently hinted they might actually change their mind and bring the European Focus over here.
That would be good news. But...

It has already been on sale since early 2005. It would be over 2 years old by the time they actually bring it over here.
(You're right, that kind of concern never stopped VW...)

And will they make it cheaper to keep the price down, or are they willing to sell it for a bit more?
Would it compete too much with the Mazda3 ? Which underneath is the same car...
Will the price be to close to the Fusion?

I guess they'll have to answer all these questions, and that might take forever....

What do you think?
Would any of you consider the Euro Focus?
Should they do it?

Should it me a Mercury?

2007 Lexus ES350

Here it is.
The all new Lexus ES.
You can even see the glass roof option on this one.
There is nothing new here. It looks like a blend of all other Lexus designs, plus maybe a bit of Acura RL in the front....
The interior is now "less weird" than the current version. The weirdess seems to have migrated inside the car.
Where the console adopts a strange look, going all the way into the top of the dash.

I thought they got rid of the "red wood" look a while ago, I guess it's back...

It actually looks exactly like what it is supposed to: a smaller LS. because that's what it is.

It even looks more expensive than the GS series.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Alfa Brera Spider

Again, first official pictures of a new Alfa. The all new Spider. This is the one that should bring them back to the US.

They also should use Dustin Hoffman and the Graduate soundtrack in the commercial...

(Hoffman did an Audi commercial last year, so why not...)

Alfa Romeo 159 Wagon

Just a couple of official pictures of the new wagon from Alfa.
At least as good looking as any other European wagon.

Again, let's hope Alfa comes back over here.

Fiat 500/Trepiuno

This looks like a small phone picture of the upcoming new Fiat 500 based on the Trepiuno concept.
The new 500 is rumored to ue the same platform as the next Ford Ka.

We'll never see either over here...

Sunday, January 29, 2006

VW Jetta test drive.

  • Click on the picture to see the "Jetta Movie".

    The previous Jetta was a well loved car in the US. Its shape made sure it didn't look like the Japanese competition. It had its own take on the compact sedan.

    Not anymore...
    The new model looks like a blend of other designs, mostly Japanese. To me, it looks like a cross between the TSX and the Corolla. Who would have thought someone would ever be inspired by the Corolla...

    Inside, everything seems to be well put together. Everything looks and feels solid.
    But it has to be the most boring interior design I have seen in years. There is nothing that is remotely interesting to look at.
    And it already looks dated to me.
    The rear view mirror for example, looks like it came from a Pep Boy store. It is that generic.
    Everything you need is there. It just looks like it was designed by a robot, with no human input whatsoever.

    What else about the interior?
    The doors are solid, but you have to push really hard to open them all the way.
    And the "power seat" is actually half manual, half power. (In my model at least)
    The seats are very firm. Borderline hard.
    But the back seat is much roomier than before.

    I also noticed quite a bit of exposed metal from the door, visible inside the car.
    It just gives you the feeling that "something isn't quite finished here"...

    How does it drive?
    The first thing you hear is the new 2.5 Liter 5 cylinder engine. It has more power than the old 2 Liter it replaces, but that's about it.
    It is the roughest, most unrefined sounding engine I've heard in years. (The old 2.0 was quieter and more refined) Any other car in that price range has a much better sounding engine. (the weird thing is that it is almost silent at idle)
    The Mazda 2.3 Liter for instance, is a jewel compared to this.

    Once you get going, you don't hear the engine that much anymore. Because it is covered by such a loud road noise!
    On the freeway, it is really noisy and tiring. There is even quite a bit of wind rush from the A pillars.
    Something most manufacturers have fixed years ago...

    The steering is pretty heavy, but it has a strange robotic feel to it. And it is pretty hard to keep it straight on long freeway drives. It is very sensitive in the center.

    After a few days, I must say I almost got used to the hard seats, and the steering.
    But the suspension is just too stiff for a "family car" . And the Jetta isn't that sporty anyway. So way bother?

    One thing I never got used to was the amount of noise. Most of the time, it sounded like some insulation was missing.

    The Jetta cannot compete with the more polished Japanese competition. And it doesn't look different anymore.
    So I don't see the point of this car.
    The one attraction might be their "around $200 a month lease".
    That is a good payment for a brand new car.

    But you can also get an Altima, Camry or Accord for similar lease payments. All much better cars.

    It you like it rough and noisy (and probably unreliable), go for it. Get one.
    But if you want the best for your money. Get something else.
    The MSRP on my car was almost $24 000. (sunroof, auto and semi power seats).

    The Ford Fusion I drove a few weeks ago was light years ahead of the Jetta. And much better looking. For that price, it was loaded with almost every options, including a V6.

    It is amazing to me how such a huge car maker, can be so far behind most others. I hear the new Passat is also noisy on the road. And that car can top $40 000.
    VW seems completely out of touch with what the market requires.

    On a side note, I am now testing a base Chrysler 300. It costs around $24 000 too. (no options though...)
    A Rolls Royce compared to the Jetta.

    Friday, January 27, 2006

    More 2007 Expedition photos

    For those who were wondering about the interior.
    It turns out looking really nice. But I think it is a bit too close to the Land Rover LR3 and even the Range Rover.

    It looks good, but why put a Rover look inside a Ford truck.
    What happen to the Range Rover "exclusivity"???

    Other news? Not sure. Besides the front, I can't see much outside. They do now offer a 6 speed auto.
    So you might be able to get a whoping 13 mpg now!

    So go ahead, treat yourself and make the new Saudi Crown Prince a happy man...

    2007 Ford Expedition

    Looks like it's not "all new".
    Outside at least, only the front seems to have been redesigned.
    Inside, who knows...

    But it looks pretty weak compared to the "really all new" Tahoe. The Chevrolet looks much more refined that this toy like truck.
    And an all new Sequoia is far behind...

    New Volvo S80

    These are not illustration. And they are not the current model either.

    The first official photos of the all new S80 show a car that looks pretty much the same as the old one.

    I will repeat myself (again).
    But this looks like the same mistake Ford did with the Jaguar XJ in 2004. All new, but looking the same.
    That is not the way to bring new people in the showrooms.

    And that's what Volvo needs.

    But... The car does look nice and upscale. With a good looking interior that looks like a cross between the current S80 and the S40.
    And on top of the old 5 cylinder, they now offer a new 3.2 6 cylinder engine and a V8.
    The 6 might just be the all new inline 6 that will be used in the new Jaguar S Type.

    And it would be a good idea to put it in the X type as well.

    Thursday, January 26, 2006

    Mega Tundra

    Just one more Tundra picture.
    This seems to be the largest one yet, a 4 door with long bed.
    This time they seem very serious.

    I remember when the Camry was dismissed as a poor attempt to a front wheel drive sedan.
    But by the 3rd generation, it took over the country.

    I think this 3rd generation large truck will be quite successful in the US as well. It would be a big mistake to dismiss it.

    Peugeot 407 Convertible

    Well.. Not quite yet.

    This is a prototype built by Heuliez, who is already making the tops for other Peugeot convertibles.
    But this time, they're trying to adapt the Hardtop convertible concept to a 4 door car.

    I'll say it looks really nice. You can tell there is major structural modifications behind the front seat. And some of it looks a bit weird.
    But I see it as a first try. Imagine the possibilities.
    And a great idea...

    VW CrossPolo

    I still think this is the car VW needs in the US.
    Not the new Jetta, which is already behind the competition (My test drive is coming soon).
    Or the overpriced Passat.
    They need a small, inexpensive "cool" car.
    Something that stands out from the Japanese and Korean offerings in the US . (Unlike the Jetta)
    That's what a VW should be.

    Bring this over right now.

    Peugeot 207 SW wagon

    The previous model was pretty modern already. But they managed to make this one even better.

    It is basically a longer, slick wagon type, version of the all new 207.
    One more we'll never see...

    Wednesday, January 25, 2006

    New Mazda MPV

    As we know now, this is not for us.
    Fist picture I see of it in the streets, and it looks pretty nice.

    But "our" Mazda will be the CX-9. Based on the Ford Edge with a similar V6.
    From the pictures I've seen, the CX-9 doesn't look that much different than the new CX-7.
    Just longer.
    I hope I'm wrong...

    Skoda Roomster

    Skoda showed this crazy looking little wagon as a concept a couple of years ago, but the production model is now ready.

    Maybe Skoda is just what VW needs in the US.
    They could even sell this as a VW over here.
    Who desparately needs something cool and fun.
    And.. Gas prices are going up again.

    The market for these little things isn't going to shrink.

    Tuesday, January 24, 2006

    2007 Mazda3

    They are making a few revisions to the Mazda very soon.
    I don't know much more than that...
    It looks like the car on the picture has wheels similar to the recently revised Mazda 6.
    I really like the current wheels. Much better than these.

    Not an improvement...

    Detroit's worse nightmare.

    That's what the all new 2007 Toyota Tundra might turn out to be.

    I posted a picture of it a few days ago. But these are still blurry spy shots of more versions.
    2 and 4 doors. As well as this Avalanche type truck.Unless this is just a fake looking camouflage.
    Two V8s of 4.7 Liter and 5.7 Liter will be offered. And they are also talking of a 6 speed Auto.

    It looks like this time, Toyota will take no prisoners.
    But the large pick up truck market is very conservative, and a lot of buyers will never consider a foreign truck.
    These people will always come back to a Ford or a Chevy.

    This is the most profitable share of the market for Detroit. And Toyota will not stop until they win...

    2007 Volvo S60

    Is it really worth it???
    I cannot tell the difference with the current one
    It is not a new design, but one of these lame "facelifts".

    Save your money...

    Alfa Romeo Spyder

    Already in the streets. Kind of...

    Only a couple of parts are painted blue, but the rest is the production car.
    Let's hope this one finally comes over here.

    I also noticed a weird looking black car in the 1st picture, accross the street....

    Should Alfa return to the US, would any of you actually buy one?
    I think they should follow what Audi did when they made a "comeback" after their 80's problems in the US.
    They priced the new A4 lower than Mercedes and BMW. ( It is now creaping back up).

    Alfa needs to be cheaper than the Germans if they want to overcome they crappy reputation they aquired the last time they were over here.