Wednesday, May 31, 2006

2007 BMW X5

Still just an illustration.
But pretty close to the real thing....

2007 Toyota Corolla.

2007 Subaru Outback

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

2007 "Euro" Corolla Interior

Sorry about the grainy pics, but I thought it might be of some interest anyway.
And usually, the interior design does not change much from Europe to the US.

As you can see, this one actually looks like it is a Japanese version. But the pictures are of the Hatchback model, which most people would refer to as the Euro Corolla.

I will post more pictures of the exterior later. They should put to rest the idea of a Scion model based on this car.
Some people thought the logo looked like a Scion logo on the previous pics.

Keep checking...

Nissan Presage

Nissan just revised their US minivan in order to make it a bit more conservative and boost sale.
I wonder if they should just send over this new Presage model.
It uses the same 3.5 Liter engine, and actually looks more like a minivan version of the Murano.

Would this one work better here?

2007 Toyota Solara

Just a few minor tweaks for the Camry based coupe. (Sport model pictured here)
A slightly new front end, LED rear lights, a standard MP3 plug inside with bluetooth option.

Strangely enough they didn't upgrade the car to the new 3.5 Liter engine used in the new Camry.
The Solara still uses the same 3.3 Liter V6.
Toyota is saving an amazing $1000 on each 3.5 liter compared to the "old" 3.3 Liter.
So I guess they really were unable to fit the new engine in there otherwise they would have done it...

The Solara will be replace for the 2009 model year by an all new model, still based on the Camry.
Probably a hard top convertible.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Hyundai Accent test drive

Cars like the Hyundai Accent are very important.
They are, for many people, their first new car. The big hope that, finally, their car trouble days are over.
For many, it will be the first time they make a car payment over a few years.
In other words, a first big financial commitment.

A few weeks ago I had a chance to drive some of the Accent competition: the Chevy Aveo sedan.
And I was surprised how nice it was to drive.

The Accent is everything I liked about the Aveo, and more...

First, I think the exterior is very well designed. It looks modern enough. Clean and very well put together.
If you prefer hatchback, Kia will sell you almost the same car under the Rio name. As a sedan or a hatch.

Once you get inside, the door feels really solid and sturdy when you close it. It might not be much, but it gives you a good feeling about the car's quality, right away.
Inside it also looks very clean, elegant and again, well put together.
Although, upon further examination, you find there is no soft touch plastic in sight. But again, we are in a car that starts at around $12 000.
At least it all looks good and sturdy.

The cloth covering the seats is the "depressing type" . A bit rough to the touch. It would be nice to have something smoother and softer. And a little bit "happier" to look at....

Once you start, like all small engines, it isn't that quiet or smooth. But that changes very quickly.
And as soon as the car is warmed up, the motor sounds and feels great. Very smooth and almsot always quiet. Unless you really push it. Which is a waste if time anyway.
The car is better driven quietly. But the small 1.6 Liter and its 110 horses are up to most everything you need.
And the 4 speed auto is extra smooth.
I have been driving a few cars with "only" 4 gears lately, and I am always surprised how I never really miss the 5th or even 6th gear in daily driving...

The steering has just a little bit of that weird "nintendo game" feeling to it. But it is very smooth and accurate. Much better than the more expensive Jetta. And, unlike the VW, it doesn't require constant attention on the freeway.
Talking about freeway, the Accent is very smooth and quiet at speed above 80mph.
Just a little bit of wind noise creeps in at above 75. But again, much less than in the Jetta.

Just like the Aveo, I was surprised how smooth and solid the ride is. The car feels like a tank over bad bumps, and the ride is similar to much larger cars.

What I would change:
-The cloth interior with something smoother and nicer looking.
-The headrest are a bit too far back.
-The seats are just a bit too firm, but they do have great low back support.

But I really like everything else.
It is not that cheap. My car (without any power accessories) was around $14 300. But you can find them for about $2000 less.
If I were buying one, I would definitley spend the extra $700 or so for the Package #3 which includes power windows and locks as well as alloy wheels.

Is this better than a good used car?
A hard question. The main advantage is the warranty. 5 years on the whole thing and 10 years on the power train.
A new car does buy you piece of mind (at least it should).

And, I did get about 36mpg in mixed driving over a few days.
Not that far behind what people atually get from a hybrid...

If you are in the market for a small car, you must give the Accent (and its Rio cousin) serious consideration.
And it has a much better safety record than the Aveo, which did extremely bad in european crash tests.

It is a well made, comfortable, quiet, thrifly and nice looking small car. It will give you that good feeling you get when you just spent your money on something that is worth what they're asking for.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

2007 Euro Corolla

Keep in mind, these are actual pictures of the car, not illustrations.
It seems to look much better than the sedan version.

But is it modern enough to compete in the European market?

More later, including "grainy" interior photos...

Next Toyota Crown

At least from these illustration, it looks like Toyota might go after the Mercedes CLS with the redesigned Crown sedan.
The Crown shares a lot with our Lexus GS model, so it could never make it over here.
It's kind of too bad.
it would make a great Avalon...

Subaru Legacy

Just a few more pictures of the "revised" Legacy.
It seems that they did get rid of the wood inside...

Friday, May 26, 2006

2007 Toyota Corolla.

Not much better from that angle, is it?

Again, our US model might have different lights. And that might be it...

2007 Chrysler Sebring

Now we can finally see what the front end looks like.
These are big headlights...

I only saw the interior of a base model in person, and it looked far behind the quality that most of the competition offers.
Maybe they want to make that up by offering more style.

2007 Toyota Corolla.

This is the first picture of the new Corolla for 2007.
It might be a Japanese version of the sedan.
But it should be very very close to the one we'll get in the US.
The current Asian sedan and the US model are almost the same cars, except for the lights and some details.
And this is really nothing special. It even seem more boring than the current one.
A big disappointment.

No words on US engines yet. The rest of the world will get a choice of 1.5 Liter and 1.8 Liter.

I will post much more soon. Keep checking...

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Alfa 149

I think this is just an illustration. But a good one.
This would make a very nice upscale compact in the US as well, even if it looks half this good.
If Alfa has any success selling more expensive cars in the US, maybe we'll get something like this...

2008/09 Toyota Prius

The Prius just received a few minor updates for 2006.
But an all new one in on the way.

The new hybrid system will still use a 1.5 Liter engine, but Toyota insiders claim an amazing figure: 95 MPG!!!
Even it these numbers are (Like the current model's official numbers) inflated, that might still mean at least 70MPG in real life driving.

If this is true, it would put Toyota way ahead of any competition. (although the all new Fit hybrid will get pretty close)

This illustration shows an evolutionary design. But I think Toyota will actually come up with something much more different.
And with a 95MPG claim, it might even become a hit in Europe, where the current model doesn't really get better numbers than many Diesel cars...

BMW Z4 Coupe

I don't think it is so bad. It's weird looking, but I do like hatchbacks.
Although the Z4 might not have been the best design to turn into a hatch.

But the real question is:
Is there really a market for this???

New Citroen Picasso

This one looks to be the real thing..

The 2nd generation Picasso should be at the September Paris Auto Show.
Another cool and futuristic thing we'll never see around here.
It makes the Mazda 5 look really old...

New Mazda 6

We've all seen the picturs of the test mules for the past few weeks.
And this illustration seems to be a pretty good prediction.

Based on the same platform as the Ford Fusion, the new 6 is larger and roomier than the current one.
And with a lot more style.

BMW Future

This is what is planned for the next few years at BMW.
As you can see, a new Z8 is in the works.
So here is an illustration of what it might look like...

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

2007 Honda Stream

Just like the CRV, a new Civic based Stream is due next year or so.

It is not sure yet if if it will make it to the US. (Some people at Honda really want to)
This illustration shows some similarities to the 2007 CRV, which kind of make some sense...

2007 Euro Corolla

That already looks much better than previous illustrations.
There is hope.

But again, not for us. We'll get a trunk...

2007 Santa Fe

No official pricing yet but they are talking of "around $24 000".
I guess that would be the base model with a 2.7 Liter V6.

It goes officially on sale June 1st. Although some dealers might actually get them before...

I am surprised they haven't announced an official price yet.

Revised Legacy/Outback

This is a 2007 model for japan.
But not sure yet if it will come her as a 2007 or 2008. (I don't see why this would be a 2008...)

They didn't really need to change anything, but it does make it a bit more aggressive.
I hope the Outback interior keeps the wood & metal finish it has now.

At least they didn't put the Tribeca nose on it...

More LR2 pictures

Read the original LR2 post below...

2007 Honda CRV

New illustration from Japan.
And it does match the other ones I published before.
But let's hope that front end gets simplified a bit...

Land Rover LR2

Sorry folks, I was asked to remove these pictures by "the Man" himself...
These photos are all over the net so I guess the Ford lawyers will be buzy for a while...
Here is how they did it:

" Land Rover takes policing
and enforcement of its intellectual property rights very seriously.

Land Rover has recently discovered that the operator and/or registrant of
the domain name THEHOLLYWOODEXTRA.COM (the “Infringing Website”) is blatantly
violating Land Rover’s intellectual property rights by posting copyrighted
images of the Land Rover LR2.
The Infringing Website displays images, taken directly from Land
Rover’s own internal website. Land Rover’s website is protected by
copyright law and may not be reproduced, in whole or in part, without the
express written authorization of Land Rover. A representative list of the
addresses within the web site where Land Rover’s copyrighted images, texts
and designs appear is attached hereto as Exhibit A.
The violation of Land Rover’s copyrights is causing, and will continue to
cause Land Rover to suffer injury as long as the website remains
operational. Should you have any questions concerning Land Rover’s position
in this matter, please do not hesitate to contact me. "

They actually seem like nice peolpe and nobody here wants to "piss off the Ford motors Company"...

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

2007 Chrysler Sebring convertible

Don't be fooled by the thin roof camouflage. This is indeed a hardtop convertible just like the Pontiac G6.

This should be a really good looking car.
Engines will include the 2.7 Liter V6 from the current version as well as the 3.5 Liter V6 from the 300.

If they keep the price below the G6, this should be great...

2007 Kia Amanti

Just a few more shots of the revised large Kia.
Just remember that Kia is supposed to be the Sporty side of Hyundai when you look at these.

At least, the black interior replaces the acres of fake wood with a classy looking piano black finish.

Jiangling Fenshan

At least the dsign was done in Italy.
So this won't be as bad as many Chinese cars.

I guess it might work as a (much) cheaper alternative to the Metrix.
We'll never know...