Thursday, November 30, 2006

Auto show#1. Tale of 2 Sebrings

Well, I saw the new Sebring in person today.

2 of them were there, a "base" Touring model and a loaded Limited.
The Touring had the horrible grey cloth interior Chrysler has used in many of their cars lately.
And it is as awful as in the other cars.
The cloth, the grey, the whole thing looks very cheap indeed.
But the Limited had the cream leather and it does improve a lot. Hard to explain. I guess this particular interior design looks much better in a cream color. And with leather.

The back window is very small with a big blind spot.
Something a hardtop convertible shouldn't have.

As you can see, I got a picture of the soft top version. From a picture. The actual car wasn't there.
But it almost looks better than the hardtop...

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

More Altima coupe photos

I still like it.
Although I don't like these wheels.
The design is too busy and they look small on the car.

Saturn Aura greenline

What a disappointment this one is.
he hybrid system in it doesn't allow for the car to run on the electric motor alone. Unlike the Camry or Altima.
So gas mileage will only be rated at 25 city and 36 Hwy.
A regular Camry gets 24 and 33. And it costs thousands less than this Aura Hybrid (Which will go for around $23 000)

Sure it is less than the other mid sized hybrid out there, but the mileage sucks.
What is the point of this really?
I would call this a pathetic attempt to get on the hybrid bandwagon...

By the way, I sat in a couple of Auras this past week end.
first impression was great. A pretty impressive looking car in person. Inside, it does look a bit busy and the fake wood seems to be everywhere.
But even that isn't that bad.
Things get worse when you start grabbing things. The door armrest feels very, very cheap and actually almost came apart when I was just pulling it a bit. The center console also feels very cheap and shaky.
And doors don't feel solid when you close them.
I must say I was very disappointed.

On another note, I just sat in a 2007 Altima today and that was quite the opposite experience.
Even the cloth looks and feels great. Impeccable fit and finish. Everything feels solid well made.
And the interior is really a nice place to be.
What a nice car...

Dr.Phil look alike introduces the new Sebring

Just a quick picture of a Chrysler suit introducing the new convertible.
Don't really care what the speech really was. They all introduce their new models as the second coming.

I think the "old" one still looks very good compare to this.

Acura sedan concept

I just don't know what to say.. Really.

This is supposed to maybe show us the design direction for the next RL.

New Saturn Vue

Another attractive offering from Saturn.

As expected, it looks like the Opel version introduced earlier.
Except, at least on this version, most of the dark grey trim on the lower body is painted.
Engines are similar to the Aura.
Which means a 3.5 Liter V6 as well as the new 3.6 Liter V6 with 250hp.
A 2.4 Liter 4 with 164hp is also available in the base model.
Prices will be higher than the current model, but it should provide GM with a great competitor to the RAV4 and CRV crowd.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Now let's go inside.

Maybe it is just the color, but on these pictures, the interior looks much better than the sedans pictures I've seen before.
I actually saw a Sebring sedan last week end, but the sad grey interior didn't do much for me.
The light color shows more what they were going for with the interior design. And it's not bad.
At least, it doesn't really look like anything else.

The back seat finally gets a couple of headrests.
And they say even the soft top latches automatically now.

Now from the back...

The new Sebring convertible does look better when you can't see the freaky front headlights...

The luggage space seems almost decent for a hardtop convertible.
Chrysler now has a new way to measure volume: golfbags.
they claim you can store 4 golfbags with the top up, and 2 with the top down.

The one thing I noticed is how small the rear window is. That's one of the main points about not having a soft top. A hardtop is supposed to give you a much larger rear window.
I guess not...

Nissan Sentra SE-R Spec V

This is what Nissan says:
"The last great component of the new 2007 Sentra SE-R is price. We a’re targeting a price of around $20,000 for the Sentra SE-R Spec V ,– which means 200 horsepower for $20K ,– which we believe makes SE-R Spec V one of the best values in the sport compact segment"
The regular SE-R will be only offered with a CVT.No manual.
It uses the normal version of the 2.5 Liter engine with 177hp.

I guess these are actually 2 versions of the same car. The Auto with 177hp and the manual with 200hp.
Might not be a bad idea...

2008 Nissan Altima coupe

Even though the top picture doesn't look that great, this might be a really good looking car in person.

Unfortunately, it only goes on sale next summer.
engines are the same as the sedan.
2.5 Liter cars will get 16 inch wheels while the V6 get 17 inch.
Models will be: 2.5 S 6MT, 2.5 S CVT, 3.5 SE 6MT, 3.5 SE CVT.

The coupe is 7 inches shorter than the sedan, along with a shorter wheelbase by 4 inches.
It is also not as tall, by 2.5 inches.

Equipment and options seem to mirror the sedan.

It will compete directly with the Accord coupe, which should also be all new around the same time.

But Toyota will be on the Solara's last year in production. I hear another car based on the Camry will kind of replace it.
Let's hope it is another coupe. or a hardtop convertible.
It would be strange for Toyota to be absent from this market.

2008 Escape Hybrid

Same thing, greener...

The powertrain has been revised so the transition between the electric motor and the gas engine is now smoother.
Otherwise, it isn't really a second generation engine.

And the engines in the "regular" Escape are also the same as before.

2008 Ford Escape

An early 2008 which goes on sale ..Early 2007...

Yes, the body panels are mostly new. Which is hard to see on the pictures.
The interior is of course similar to the Mariner we saw before.
On these pictures, at least, it looks even cheaper than the mercury.
The console looks... Well.. Cheap.

At least the iPod plug is now standard.

Let's hope it looks and feels better in the flesh.
I will find out later this week and let you know.

New Chrysler Sebring convertible

And it has a hardtop convertible.
Although there will be a cheaper soft top version available in the US.
The hardtop comes standard with a remote.

European markets will get a diesel option.
Here we'll get the same engines as the sedan.
Same goes for the options, like the hardrive stereo and the heated cupholders.

The convertible is actually 3 inches longer than the sedan.

Too bad no changes were made to the front end. But convertible always look at least decent, and this one does seem a lot better to me than the sedan.
Or maybe it's just because I like convertible....

VW Tiguan Concept

Take out the oversized wheels and some other bits, and there you have it: the small VW SUV we've been talking about for... A long while.
They say the US model will have a V6.
Competition for this one in the US will be tough.
Seems like everyone has a "small car based SUV". And many of them are pretty good looking and very reliable, at the same time.
Something VW still needs to figure out.

The design doesn't really bring anything new to the table either.
But at least, it does say VW better than the Jetta...

Monday, November 27, 2006

Giugiaro Mustang

Of course, it is just a concept.
And it's a bit crazy. And weird. Sure, it's an Italian concept car.

Nothing else to say really, just enjoy...

2008 Buick Enclave (Production version)

Pretty much exacly the same thing as what we saw last year.

I think it still looks very nice, and very much like what a Buick should be.
The interior is still a bit busy, with tons of, I guess, fake wood.
But a large, car based, 7 passenger SUV with a standard V6 with 275hp for about $28500 is pretty good.
The main competition to this one comes from Luxury car brands like Acura or Lexus.
For a lot more money.
Sure, it doesn't seam to have some of the latest gadgets like keyless entry or bluetooth.
But its main problem will be its name: Buick.

Not many people under 70 would even consider the brand when shopping for this kind of car.
They will go to the local Acura 10 times before they can even think of stepping into a Buick showroom.
Right or wrong, that's just the way it is.

But if a model can same a brand, it's generally an SUV.
And this one, at least on paper, seems like a good one.

Ford Explorer Hydrogen

350 miles on a single fill up.
That's what they claim.

But they also say:
“We believe hydrogen may become a viable motor fuel in the long-term,” said Gerhard Schmidt, vice president, Research & Advanced Engineering, Ford Motor Company. “With these technology demonstration vehicles, Ford continues to lead the way in the development of hydrogen technology.”

So I am not sure what this mean. Are they really 100% behind this, or is it just another PR move to prove how green they are.
Usually in Detroit, "long term" means never.

I think the new Hybrid Fusion and 2008 Escape are bigger news as far as normal humans are concerned...

2008 Nissan GT R

The legendary GT R will return in late 2007.
And for the 1st time, will go on sale in the US.
Depending on pricing, it could go directly against the Corvette.

They are already talking about at least 450hp! And it looks pretty good to.
Almost exactly the same as the last concept they showed us.
I am not sure if this will be sold here as a Nissan or Infiniti. (they keep going back and forth).
That would also influence US pricing.