Monday, June 30, 2008

New Beetle convertible test drive

After over a week driving the New Beetle convertible, I've grown to love it.
This is one solid convertible. No rattles or squeaks anywhere.
The only problem in that area would be the windows. They are much taller than most convertibles and they do tend to rattle if you drive on really rough roads. When they're up.
Otherwise the car itself feels like a small tank.

The engine is really much better than the old 2.0 Liter. I didn't actually mind the smaller and older motor when I first drove this car a few years back. But this one is much smoother and the added power feels great.
The transmission also feels smoother than before. Somehow. It is now almost impossible to feel any of the shifting.
The downside of it is that it is also a bit harder to get it to downshift. But the added torque of the engine mostly makes up for this.

The ride is also a bit firmer. Due to the standard 17 inch wheels on the SE model.
There are now only 2 models. The S with a manual top, and the SE with everything.
So if you want an automatic with a manual top, you're out of luck.
Leather seats? Not any more.

The interior is pretty much the same. And it still looks great to me. The whole console area is new.
And the SE comes with a leather on steering wheel, but not on the seats.
The standard vinyl (leatherette) looks like leather anyway. So why not...

The new Beetle Convertible SE is a great drive. Now with enough power for most.
And the engine is as smooth and quiet as many V6s.

Plus, it looks like nothing else.

More later....

New Bond Film

Where we'll get to see the new Ford Ka....

Stallone selling Gol

Yes, Silverster Stallone is pitching the new VW Gol in a Brazilian commercial.
And he didn't even learned his line in Portuguese. He had to be dubbed....

Sunday, June 29, 2008

More Mazda 3 photos

They do look pretty real.

But it also looks more like a concept than a production model.

We'll see....

Nissan/Chery Murano???

This picture was taken outside a Chery factory.

A Nissan Murano with both Nissan and Chery badges.

What do you make of that?

Saturday, June 28, 2008

New Honda City

The "old" city was mostly a trunk version of the Fit.
This one looks like it has more of its own design.

Do you think Honda should sell this "smaller than Civic" sedan over here????

New face for the C4

It's pretty hard to tell really...

Here is my movie from last year.
A drive in the C4....

New Burlapp ride???

Just for my European trip.

I will be driving a Saab Cabrio TTiD for a few days while over there.
It'll be very interesting to drive a Diesel.

Last time I was there I was driven in a few. The most impressive to me was a Peugeot 607 Diesel.
It took me a while to realize it was a diesel.

I'm also curious to see how it feels in a convertible (as you know, I've been driving a few in the past few weeks).

Next Saab 9-3???

Why not.

It looks nice. Much more original than the current version has ever been.
Current Saabs are mostly older models that looked very conservative even when they came out.

Time doesn't help....

Friday, June 27, 2008

Another Mazda 3 rendering

Another good one.
It seems that no matter what, the next 3 will be a really good looking car.

Good timing too.

Pontiac G6 Convertible video

I had the chance to drive the G6 convertible for a few days and liked it.
It's not a perfect car, but a really pleasant drive.

It is pretty roomy, looks really good (If you don't get the tacky Chrome package), has a super smooth ride and quiet engine.

But there were a couple of strange noises I was never able to get rid of (As I mentioned before)
And that is something that would have to be fixed.
The trunk is useless when the top is down. The storage area is under the top, with no access to it.

Over a week I averaged 18mpg in mostly city driving. Not really bad but not great.
And no better than the 430hp Corvette I was driving before.

The steering is nice and firm. It might be too firm for some people. Especially considering the super smooth ride.

I would definitely check out the G6 if you are in the market for a convertible around $30 000.
But I might also wait until the 6 speed auto/3.5 Liter V6 becomes available.

That should be sometime next year...

Next Mazda3 ?

I reader sent me these.
Not sure if this is the real deal or not. It sure looks realistic.
Actually more like a concept version of the next 3.

This would be a great update of the current design.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

13 in a Smart!

Is that really wrong????

Nissan Z

Is that it?
The new Z? For sure?

That looks pretty real to me. But I'm not sure....

Audi A1 Convertible

At least what Auto Express thinks it will look like.
A concept version is supposed to be shown late next year.
So this isn't for next week....

Chubby nerd checks out the new Maxima

Acura/Honda NSX

The next NSX is finally around the corner.
It's been quite a while.
This Auto Express illustration looks pretty close to the prototype testing in the video .

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Suzuki Equator

Not sure this is great timing.
instead of importing some of the great small car they sell overseas (like the Swift) they decided to rebadge a Nissan pick up truck.

I just paid $4.71 a gallon for regular last week...

Best Face Book day so far.

Chinese Buick La Crosse

The next La Crosse for the Chinese market will just be a re badged Opel Insignia. With a Buick grille.
This is NOT the one we're getting here.
The new US La Crosse will have its own, and much more distinctive, design.

The Insignia will be our Saturn Aura.

Automotive Monogamy

What an interesting and charming site.
Pretty much the opposite of what we're doing here, concentrating on what will be instead of appreciating what is.

Click on the title to see more.

2009 Chevrolet "Chevy"

Don't be scared.
This is NOT the sub Cobalt they are talking about for the US.

This is just a refresh of the old Opel Corsa for the Mexican market...

Burlapp driving an Opel.

I am going to europe in a couple of weeks.
And I might just be getting an Opel to test drive while I am there.

I thought a good idea would be to test of of their diesel engines. Diesel seems to be making a come back in the US with manufacturers like Nissan, Honda, Mercedes and BMW offering that option soon.
GM sells tons of diesels in europe through Opel.

I am also interested in the new Corsa. What else should I consider?
I don't think the Insignia will be available yet. Too bad...

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Land Rover Ventura

Coming before 2012.
The new Ventura will be based on the Freelander.
It will basically be a 7 seater Freelander. (LR2 in the US).
With a revised exterior and interior.

With Hummer going down the toilet, I'm not sure how bright the future is for Land Rover.
Looks like Ford got rid of it just in time.

Although they do offer all their models with a diesel option. In Europe.

Land Rover Ventura

Coming before 2012.
The new Ventura will be based on the Freelander.
It will basically be a 7 seater Freelander. (HR2 in the US).
With a revised exterior and interior.

With Hummer going down the toilet, I'm not sure how bright the future is for Land Rover.
Looks like Ford got rid of it just in time.

Although they do offer all their models with a diesel option. In Europe.

New VW Gol

The Gol has been a popular model for VW. In Brazil.

I can't help but wondering if the new one will end up over here in one form or another. VW is looking for something cheaper than the $17 000 Rabbit to sell in the US.
The could modify this a bit with a new front and improve the interior....
Unless the UP! is what we'll get...
Who knows....

2009 Maxima prices

-$29 290 for the S.
-$31 990 for the SV.

Both come with the 3.5 Liter V6 and CVT.
EPA is 19/26. Good but not great. The "old" maxima was rated at 19/25. During a week drive a couple of years ago , I got about 15mpg in mostly city driving. And I never pushed the car.

It looks like a good deal compared to the infiniti G35. But is it compared to the competition?

Monday, June 23, 2008

2009 Acura TL

Looks like a cross between the current model and the new TSX.

And you know it will be getting "the Grille". That belt buckle wannabe...

Too bad...

More if you click on the title.

Nissan small RWD coupe

More (bad) illustrations of what the upcoming small Nissan coupe could look like.
An Infiniti version will also be offered.
Let's hope the final products turn out to be just a bit more original than these illustrations.

There are now rumors about a Hybrid powertrain.
Could be interesting....

Chrysler 300 Hybrid

Chrysler is seriously considering offering a Hybrid version of the next generation 300.
Due out in about a year.

That's a great idea. If matted to a V6. And not to a V8 Hemi like in the (DOA) Hybrid Durango.
A hybrid with a small V6 getting 30mpg in the city would be a great way to go to keep the large American sedan alive.

New Kia Spectra

Just another teaser from Kia.

I'm sure this will look fine.
At least, better than the Corolla.
And with high gas prices, good timing as well.

New Lexus RX

Doesn't seem to be that different.
More or less a similar design. I guess it looks a bit sleeker and lower.

Click on the title for more.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

2010 Saab 9-5

This illustration seems pretty realistic.
So why not...

Hummer deals

Just in time for a $5 a gallon gas in the summer.
The H2 and H3 carry between $4000 and $6000 rebates. Plus whatever deal you can get from your desperate local Hummer dealer.
You can lease an H3 for $299 a month.

GM is getting closer and closer to get rid of the brand by selling it.
Dealers are getting scared. They are now stuck with these fake off road tracks they had to install for test drives.

What an amazing and pretty quick turn around...

So if you need to tow your house, there are plenty of good deals right now.

Most memorable movie cars

Which is yours???

Click on the title for more...

Audi A7 Convertible

From Auto Express we get these illustrations of what the new "4 door coupe" from Audi could look like.
And it seems a convertible version is in the works as well.
This would be quite an amazing engineering feast if it really looked like that...

I just don't think so...

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Small Nissan Coupe coming up.

It's been a rumor for years and years. The return of Nissan to the small RWD coupe.

It seems that the new model would share a lot of its platform with the new 370Z.
But the engine would be a 4 cylinder. They are now talking about a small 1.6 Liter with a turbo getting up to 225hp.
Not bad.

We'll see ...

Alfa miTo Video

More competition for the Mini Cooper.
The all new small Alfa would look great in the US too...

Camaro in the streets

Supposedly caught during the filming of a TV show.

We can see the final headlight designs and the SS logo.

I also hear that GM is planning on offering 2 V6 engines in the car. another stupid idea they already did with the G6.
The base model would get a 3.5 Liter with about 220hp and the uplevel would get the 3.5 Liter with 300hp.
Not sure why...

Friday, June 20, 2008

Electric Smart for 2010

The head of Daimler, Dieter Zetsche (remember him? The one who got promoted after ruining Chrysler) announced they will have an electric version of the Smart for 2010. And by then, the more efficient Ion batteries should be available.

I think the Smart is the perfect car to go electric. It makes much more sense than the regular one.
He also said another electric car will be sold under the Mercedes name.
That will probably be a version of the redesigned A class. For Europe only.

Lancia Delta Commercial

Featuring Richard Gere.
I guess US has beens are still famous in Europe years after their careers take a dive in the US.

I just wish I was there when they shot the Hollywood scenes.
Not to see Gere, but the Lancia.

Ay Caramba!!!

This was taken a few minutes ago at Universal City.
For my non US readers, that's about 44.5 degrees.

As you can see, still driving the new Beetle. But the top stays up for now.

So far I am really impressed with the engine. It is smooth, quiet and powerful.
Amazing considering I didn't really like it last year when I drove the new Jetta.

In this car, it feels and sounds great.

More later....