Tuesday, February 28, 2006

2006.5 Kia Optima

On these pictures, the new Kia looks like a great car.
The interior seems much better than the Sonata. Although a lot depends on the quality of the "plastic aluminum" trim.

The V6 is a bit smaller, it is still a 2.7 Liter.
But it should be plenty for most buyers.

And at around $23 000 for a loaded EX V6 model with leather and sunroof, it seems to be an amazing deal.

Right now, you can get at least $3000 off a new Sonata.
So if you can wait a few months, the new loaded Optima might go for around $19 000.

Quite an amazing deal compared to the Japanese competition.

2007 Volvo S80

New pictures just came out.
A very nice and expensive looking car.

But I still think to most people, it looks exactly like the old one.
Not to people like us, who are obsessed with cars.
But people who are actually buying them.

If they didn't like the previous one, they're not going to like this one...

Monday, February 27, 2006

2007 Honda CRV ?

Here is a picture of the interior of that prototype.
I know, we can't see much. But it does look quite different than the RDX shown last month at the Detroit show.
Which is why I think it might just be the CRV.
Besides, this is testing in Germany. Where the RDX won't be sold.
Not that they only test cars in countries where they sell them...

Here is the RDX interior.
The top of the dash is very flat and square.
The CRV is just different.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

2007 Mercedes CL

The new CL should be coming out really soon.
So this might be the last illustration we see of it before the real thing.

I think it looks really nice, and pretty close to all the spy shots we've seen of the car.

2007 Honda CRV

The slanted roof on this picture does remind me of the illustrations that have been posted around the web for the past few months.
I really don't think it is the RDX. It would be easy enough to check with pictures of the actual RDX concept....

I will post other pictures later.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Cool 1970's

The good old 70's.
Back when GM had no shame about selling the same car under different brand.

Now that they are thinking of doing the same thing all over again, with the Cobalt/G5.
Let's remember their other small coupe from the 70's.

They sold it as the Chevrolet Monza, the Buick Skyhawk and the Pontiac Sunbird.
And it was actually a very nice design. It looked very much like the Opel Manta from the same decade.

The Chevy version came out in 1975 to replace the Vega. And was itself replaced by the Cavalier in 1981.
Then everything became square and boring....

Ford Mustang Convertible test drive

I finally got to drive a Mustang.
I must say it is one of my favorite current design.
The model I drove was a V6 Convertible. I didn't get to drive a coupe yet. And I am not really interested in the V8.
I'm sure it's great. And everyone and their brothers have tested it.
But most people still buy the V6 Automatic....

I really liked the interior the second I sat in.
It is a bit plasticky, but it has so much personality, that you just forgive a touch of hard plastic here and there.
And it is very well put together.

The shifter looks great. And the console has a simple clean look. The radio (optional MP3 6 disc changer) sounds great.

The aluminum finish on the dash is a must get option.

When I 1st started the engine I noticed it sounded a bit rough. That's what I keep reading about the big 4.0 V6.
But it quickly got much quieter once the engine warmed up.
The top is easy to lower. Although you have to work 2 latches. (The new Beetle for exemple has only one) But they are much smoother than in the Sebring.

The visibility is fine.
But it does have this old fashion "big car small interior" feel...

Once under way, you notice a pretty loud exhaust noise. And after a while, it get pretty annoying.
Because it doesn't sound good. It sounds like one of these fake sport car sound.
Is it to cover the rough engine noise?
I couldn't tell because the exhaust was always louder than the engine. So everything I heard always came from behind me.
And after a while, it just grew really tired of the constant noise.

The ride is pretty firm, but that is expected. And the steering is great, so are the brakes.

But despite 200 hp, the engine didn't feel that powerful. The car felt really heavy, and not that fast.
It would be OK, but the exhaust noise keeps reminding you that this is supposed to be a sports car. Well..

I also noticed quite a bit of shake over bumps. Not so much as in the PT Cruiser convertible. But much more than the new Beetle. And that usually doesn't get better with age.

The car actually gave me mixed feelings. I love the way it looks, and drives.
But the cheap exhaust noise and the shaking would make me think twice if I wanted to get one.

But I wouldn't advise anyone against it.
If the noise doesn't bother you, and you get use to the small shakes. It could be your car.

And it does look great, inside and out.

One small note.
I wish they made the 17 inch GT wheels available on the V6 (without having to order the Pony package).
The V6 wheels look pretty cheap, and complicated to me.
You can get the dealer to do that, but they'll charge whatever they want for it.
And that's usually too much...

Friday, February 24, 2006

2007 Honda CRV

Just like clockwork, a new CRV arrives a year after a new Civic.

You can't tell much from this picture, but I will try to post more soon.

Even more Chinese Lacrosse

I say ditch our US model.

Put a great interior in the Pontiac G6, and sell this Buick over here.
These 2 cars would be good enough to take on the Camry.
GM could do it, if they really want to....

And who would have thought that GM would end up selling better cars to the Chinese.

Chinese Buick Lacrosse interior

Isn't it nice?

Form the amount of wood, I would guess it is based on a Daewoo.
Who cares really.
It does look like what a smaller Buick should look like.
It would make a nice competition to the new Camry XLE.

Chinese Buick Lacrosse

Yes. this is, so far, for the Chinese market only.
Don't let the Lacrosse name fool you. This car is not related to our US model. It is smaller and the avaialble engines are a 2.4Liter and a 3.0 Liter V6.
But what is it based on?
It's hard to tell isn't it?

The closest thing to it seems to be the upcoming Saturn Aura, based on an Opel.
So I think this is actually an Opel based Chinese Buick.

And it looks like it would be a better fit to do battle against the Accord/Camry crowd over here, that the US Lacrosse...

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Buick Enclave concept

Just a few more pictures of the new Buick SUV.
From the spy pictures, it looks like the production will be exacty what we see here.
Just some details might change.

What a great looking interior. Maybe a little too much wood for my taste, but that's just me.
If this doesn't put Buick back on the map, nothing will...

Honda Civic Type R

The type R is supposed to be the ultimate Civic. One we never get....

I am not sure yet of what kind of engine goes into this. It might actually just be the 200hp from the Si. But I'm not sure.

What is interesting is to see the 2 door design.
There are still rumors out there that a version on the 2 door Euro Civic might come over here to replace the small Acura.

So, imagine this without the wings, skirts etc... And maybe you're looking at the next RSX...

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Honda Fit Hybrid?

Honda has denied the rumor before.
But it's back.

They might actually have a Fit Hybrid ready next year.
And it would sell for about $12 000, at least in Japan.

If it came to the US, it would be, by far, the cheapest hybrid available here.

I think it would be a great idea. A cheap, roomy, well made car that could get well over 50mpg.
What's not to like?

Saab Aero X Concept

The Saabscene site has posted new pictures of the new Saab Concept.

From these angles, it does look much more original than previously thought.

It actually reminds me of the old Bertone Testudo concept.

Just like the Bertone car, the Aero X will stay a concept. I can't imagine Saab putting out a car that amazing looking on the roads any time soon....

Ford Focus Convertible

These are the 1st official shots of the all new convertible Euro Focus.
Pretty much the same as the concept from last year. (except for the back )

Still, a very nice looking car we'll never get.
And I thought the US was the world's largest market for convertibles?

2007 BMW 3 Series Coupe

This one was just caught in the streets.

Nothing new really.
Same as usual: a 2 door version of the sedan. Nothing more, nothing less...

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

What could have been: 1971 Cadillac Shooting Break

Remember the Eldorado?
The big Cadillac coupe.

Seems that GM, at one point, thought it was a good idea to turn that car into a 2 door wagon.

Here are pictures of the prototype . I don't think the idea went any further than this clay model.
Too bad. I think it looks great.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Saab Aero X Concept

In the next few days, Saab will introduce this 2 seater concept powered by a 400 hp V6.

My question is why?
Seems like a good looking car. But if produced, it looks like a $40 000 car, at least.
Does Saab really need another slow selling model?

I though they were thinking of reviving the Sonett name with a 2 door coupe based on the Solstice/Sky platform?
That would make mode sense.

And by the way, don't they need a few sedans that people would actually want to buy?

I'll file this one in the "what the Hell are they thinking about" category...

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Ford S-Max and Galaxy

Seems I was wrong in my previous S Max post.

There seem to be 2 models.
The S Max looks smaller and sportier, while the Galaxy is more square and seems a bit larger.
It looks like the S Max seats 5 while the Galaxy seats 7.

Could anyone confirm this?

New Toyota Supra

Just another illustration of what the next Supra may look like.

Seems like a few ideas a floating around.
Will it be a 2 seater sports car, like the Z.
A 2+2 like the G35 Coupe.
Or a convertible.

They might also offer 2 versions, like the Z.

What do you think?