Monday, April 30, 2007

Guess what car this is....

I would have never guessed.
And it's not some obscure brand from India or Turkey either...

New Mini Convertible

This picture came a dealer website.
Then, of course, it was all around the world in various sites and blogs in a bout 5 minutes.
But later, Mini officially claimed that no official picture of the car exist, yet.

So you be the judge.

It looks real to me. And if it isn't, the real thing will look exactly like that anyway...
The new Convertible is based on the redesigned 2007 Mini, of course.

Chrysler Aspen Hybrid

I wasn't expecting much from a Hybrid Hemi.
But they claim a 40% improvement in the city!

That sounds pretty amazing.

Read more
  • HERE
  • Ford Transit

    There were talks, a few months ago, about bringing the Transit over here.
    A good idea.
    Ford has just relased some improvements and new diesel engines, in Europe.

    Read all about it
  • HERE
  • Roewe 750 in Europe

    Chinese/Korean car maker SsangYong (better known for its disturbing looking SUVs) will sell the "Chinese Rover" in Europe starting in 2009.

    So they also could, later, sell the MG version, the MG7, and even more models like the smaller Roewe 450.

    "Toyota's Smart"

    Toyota will show their new super mini at the Frankfurt auto show. The car should be going on sale in the Summer 2008.
    And oddly enough, it might end up in the US as well.
    That is if the Smart does faily well. I guess Toyota is watching how the Smart does in the US.

    There are rumors about the design being based on the Endo concept from 2 years ago (Pictured here)

    Sunday, April 29, 2007

    2008 Saab 9.3

  • HERE
  • for the whole thing from "Automotorsport"

    The current 9.3 will live for a couple of years before an all new model.
    I like the convertible version a lot. And these are really nice improvements.
    The interior will stay the same, it was upgraded for 2007.
    The V6 could get around 290hp.

    I think the new front ends gives it a much stronger personality, and gives the car a better chance to fight the new 3 series.

    Mercedes M.Class Diesel Hybrid coming up???

    Very interesting article from,
  • HERE

  • From what they say, Mercedes is thinking of putting a new Bluetech diesel engine, with an electric motor in the M-Class.
    That coud get a much higher MPG than the Lexus RX hybrid.
    Diesel and Electric together, that has to beat the pretty bad numbers the RX400h is getting in real life driving.
    I hear most owners average just 23mpg.
    I am actually driving an RX 350 right now, and averaging 17 to 19mpg. (Review coming later, if you have any questions...)

    This is hardly worth the $3500 extra they are charging for it...

    It's official!

    This IS a clay model for the production2009 Camaro.
    And boy were they right when they claimed it was going to be very close to the concept...

    Here is the official word on the pic:

    "A full-scale production clay model of the 2009 Chevrolet Camaro starts to take shape at GM's Warren, Michigan, Design Center, Rear Wheel Drive Performance Studio, behind GM Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner (center), and GM Vice-Chairmen Bob Lutz (left) and Fritz Henderson (right)"

    2009 Dodge Challenger

    It's alive!

    Photo taken inside the Canadian factory.
    Most likely a test mule being built. The regular production hasn't started yet.

    Check out and their new line of
    2009 Dodge
    Challenger Parts

    Future Chevrolet

    This picture is a crop from a PR shot inside the Chevrolet design center.
    So this is something they are working on.

    I think it is the Cobalt replacement. It looks like a small Camaro and I think that's what they'll do.
    But who am I really....

    What do you think???

    Production Camaro????

    I am talking about the car on top, the one behind GM's big suits.
    (The bottom one is the concept).
    There might be a few differences... Are they?

    Bob Lutz has said the production car would look almost exactly like the concept.
    And they will even offer wheels almost as big on some V8 models.

    So maybe this is it.....

    Saturday, April 28, 2007

    Riviera Concept with babe!

    Thanks to Autoblog, we can see what the good looking Riviera concept looks like next to a good loking human female.

    Always good to know...

    New Toyota Sienna (?)

    This is a Toyota. A minivan.
    So I guess it really could be the next Sienna. It is due next year, based on the 2007 Camry platform.
    We can't tell much from the picture, really...

    But I think, it could really hurt the new (and quite ugly) Chrysler minivans...
    No matter what's under the cardboard, it couldn't as as bad as the new Town and Country.

    2008 Saturn Astra video

    It's alive!

    And what a good looking compact.
    Not much on this video to see actually. But the car does look good...

    Mazda2 Video

    I think we are supposed to get this one over here.
    As well as its close cousin, the Ford Fiesta.

    Nissan Qashqai commercial

    For Europe only.

    Cool commercial.

    Hyundai Veracruz video

    I know, it's not really new.
    But I haven't seen one yet.

    It does seem pretty close to the Lexus RX. For cheaper.
    If you buy it.
    But I am not sure their lease is actually cheaper than the RX.
    Which you can get for under $400 a month.

    Peugeot 308

    Almost 2 months ahead of schedule, the all new 308 is caught on the freeway, without any camouflage on it.
    It does look really nice and modern.

    We'll never see one...

    Friday, April 27, 2007

    2008 Malibu video

    Apparently, the all new Malibu has been delayed.
    So I am not sure when it's actually coming out.
    But if you can't wait, and must see this thing in action, this is it.

    A boring video footage of a slow moving car.
    Let's hope the real thing is a bit more exciting.

    Thursday, April 26, 2007

    Evo VS STI

    Back against each other.

    Toyota Blade video

    Maybe our Metrix replacement next year.

    New Corolla video

    Not ours.
    Just the new Japanese version that came out last year.

    And we won't ge the wagon pictured here either...

    2008 Corvette

    The Corvette is one of these GM cars in need of a much better interior.
    I guess we'll have to wait another year for that.

    The 2008 model interior is pretty much the same as the cheap looking one they have today.
    They just added some colors. Like the PT Cruiser or the Beetle.

    I don't think it is an improvement.

    The Corvette is a good looking car (always has been) and an American icon. It deserves beter.

    Subaru Killer

    Mitsubishi is still calling this a "study".
    Everbody else calls it the Evo X.
    And it looks much better than the recently introduced Subaru WRX.
    A much more grown up and elegant design.

    No specs yet.

    Wednesday, April 25, 2007

    Solara replacement???

    Toyota will replace the Solara Coupe and Convertible with an all new model after the 2008 model year.
    I hear the new car would be a production version of the FSC Concept from a couple of years ago.
    This picture is supposed to be that car.

    The only info I have is that is is based on the Camry and uses similar powertrains.
    I might be wrong. But then again, who else would be right...

    It could also be the next RX. Although it seems a bit low for that...

    This is just a picture of the FSC concept.
    So we can all remember what it looks like.

    More soon...

    Fiat 500 in the US???

    Sergio Marchionne, Fiat's big boss, mentioned this week that the all new 500 could be sold in the US within 2 or 3 years!

    Let's hope this time he's right.
    Fiat's been teasing us with a "US return" for Alfa Romeo for the past decade.

    They could sell the cars through Maserati dealers, or open their own, like BMW did for Mini.

    If it worked for the Mini Cooper, Iand think it could work for the 500. A convertible is coming up as well.
    So far, no other Fiat model is being considerd for the US

    More Allion pictures

    I know, I know.. Not the most exciting car in the world.
    But hey, at least nobody else has these pictures. (most of them)

    And what am I gonna talk about anyway....

    Tuesday, April 24, 2007

    New Toyota Allion

    The Allion is the Avensis Japanese cousin.
    They share a lot, but have their own design. The Scion TC is also based in the same platform.
    So if the Allion is new, you know a new Avensis and Tc are on their way...

    It looks as boring as any other recent Toyota sedan. But the interior seems to be a bit better than out Camry.
    In Japan, engines offered will be :
    -1.5 Liter 110hp
    -1.8 Liter
    -2.0 Liter 158hp

    More pictures later.

    New Audi S5 Video

    This time it's in the streets.
    By itself....

    Looking great.

    2008 Toyota Corolla?

    Sure looks like it, doesn't it?

    I guess our final version should be pretty close to this. Or exactly the same...

    Monday, April 23, 2007

    Brilliance in the US?

    Chinese ca maker Brilliance claims they will be selling cars in the US as soon as late this year or early 2008!

    That sounds pretty crazy considering they would need to set up a whole dealer network before selling car number one.
    Maybe they're actually working on it, who knows...

    No Scirocco for the US

    The next VW coupe will be based on the Iroc concept from last year.
    But VW has announced it will not be sold in the US.

    How long do you think it will take them until they cave from the pressure?
    Once it is released in Europe, it will be featured in every single US car magazines.
    And people will want it.
    And VW will cave.

    So I bet you we'll end up getting it.
    3 or 4 years late. As usual with VW...

    Sunday, April 22, 2007

    The Burlapp Passat test drive.

    Let me start by a quick reminder. Last year I test drove the new Jetta and really didn't like it.
    So I wasn't 100% sold on this new Passat.
    I had test driven the old one (Look it up on the "classic" site,
    And I wasn't too crazy about it either. The 1.8 Liter Turbo had horrible lag and was actually pretty dangerous in even normal driving situations.
    But I liked the ride and interior of the car.
    I have to say, the new one still looks classy, and is still showing a different personality when compared to the Japanese mid sized sedans.
    Unlike the Jetta, it doesn't look like a Japanese car.
    I think that's a big plus for people who, well...Don't want a Japanese car.

    Inside, it also does not look and feel like a Japanese car.
    I do like the Camry and new Altima interiors, but this has a very different personality to it.
    Some people complain the materials don't look and feel as good as on the previous version, but I didn't really see that.
    Everything inside has a high quality feel to it. And the doors sound like a bank safe when you close them.
    The dashboard is set pretty low. Kind of what Honda used to do. And the front seats are very roomy. They also, even on this basic vinyl covered model, look really upscale.
    The tracks for the front seats go really far back.
    The rear seat area is also very roomy. Overall, the car seems a bit larger inside than the Camry or Altima. But I didn't measure anything, so who knows really.

    The trunk is pretty huge, but most cars that size have a big trunk.
    I'd say you can squeeze at least to adult bodies in there.
    And it is well finished too. Something the Chrysler 300 needs help with...

    Just a detail, but again, VW has chosen to install the cheapest looking rear view mirror.
    Same as in the Jetta. But here, it stands out quite a bit more, in such a nice interior.
    You can find more upscale looking ones at Pep Boys...

    Now let's drive.

    Behind the wheel, the dashboard isn't very deep. Which gives the impression of being pretty close to the windshield. Not really a problem, just different.
    And as I said before, it is pretty low, so visibility is great.

    The first think I noticed was the absolute lack of turbo lag.
    It is quite amazing. It is never there.
    And just like other VW 4 cylinder engines, this one has what I would call a double personality.
    It is "Lexus quiet" when you idle, or cruise. But it does get a bit loud, and even coarse when you push it. Even just a little.
    But it's not nearly as bad as the 2.5 Liter inline 5 in the Jetta.
    But I have to say, it does get much better once the engine is warm.
    That's just me. Others might just say it sounds sporty.
    But it is not as smooth as a Toyota 2.4. And it is not a match for a good V6.
    Especially the Nissan 3.5.

    But it is very fast.
    I was quite amazed how fast the car was. You get to over 80 mph on the freeway in no time.
    In that respect, the car does feel at least as quick as a V6.
    The full power is available right away, no waiting, and it feels amazing.
    But if you push it, you'd better hold on. The steering felt a bit overwhelmed under hard acceleration.
    But it is a lot of fun.

    The ride is very smooth. But never too soft. It is still a German car.
    The transmission is as good as they get. Super smooth and quick to downshift.

    Some people hate it, but I really like the interior lighting from VW.

    The door design is one of the most original I have seen in a midsize sedan.
    Also classy and very well put together.

    One small thing. The clock is only visible to the driver.
    I am not sure why anybody would try to keep the exact time a secret from the passengers.
    Unless you're on a date, and she's getting bored...

    I have to say, I really liked driving the Passat for a few days.
    It felt very solid (although not like a BMW or Mercedes), comfortable, classy and very quick.
    Steering, suspension and transmission worked and felt great.
    It was very quiet on the freeway. I couldn't hear any road noise.
    But suspension wasn't as quiet. I could hear every bump I didn't feel...
    As I said before, around town, the engine seems to get smoother and quieter as it warms up.

    The big problem with VW/Audi has been a horrible reliability record.
    With numerous electric and electronic problems.
    Consumer Report has given the new Passat an "Average" rating for reliability.
    Which is good. The average car is quite reliable.
    The V6 was, somehow, much worse.

    The car I drove was priced at $24 900.
    Carsdirect has them for $21 800.

    A Camry LE 2.4 costs $20, 600
    Carsdirect has them for $18 000

    An Altima S costs $21 900
    Carsdirect has them for $19 600.

    So no matter what, you'll pay a premium of at least $2000 or more for the Passat.
    Is it worth it?

    To me, the VW was more fun to drive than any of these other cars. Including Accord and Mazda6.
    And the ride was at least as good as the Camry.
    I also liked the VW interior better.
    And also, it does look different. You're not driving what everyone else is driving.
    But the premium does not translate into better resale value. Quite the opposite.
    And long term reliability would still not be as good as the other cars.
    But maybe it will...

    There is a lot to like about the Passat and I would recommend it.
    If the car turns out to be reliable and you keep it for over 5 or 6 years, resale value is less of a problem .

    Things are a a bit different with a lease.
    In that case, you don't care about resale value, and the car is always under warranty.
    Here are some figures available today:
    -Passat Auto lease: $249/month for 36 months
    -Altima S Auto lease: $249/month for 36 months
    -Maxima Lease: $299/month for 24 months.

    Altima and Passat are available at the same price.
    For $50 more a month you can get the Maxima with the great 3,5 Liter V6. But the one I drove last year didn't even come close to the Passat.
    I wouldn't consider it.

    Chery A6 coupe concept

    I have to say, I don't care who makes it or where it comes from. This looks great.
    They did get some help from designers at the Bertone studio in Italy.