Thursday, July 31, 2008

Prius photos and illustrations

These "blue" illustrations published a while ago now seem pretty accurate.
Just compare them the the covered prototype...

More Ford Ka pictures

Pretty nice and modern.

But I really think the interior is just over done.
There is just way too much going on there.

Videos of the new Chevrolet Camaro

It's alive!
And well.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Pontiac GXP drive coming up

I've been wanting to drive the Solstice ever since it came out.
No I'm driving a Manual GXP turbo (as you know)

I will report more on it later.
If you have any questions, anything you want to know about the car, please ask me.
I have it for a week.

So far:

It looks great.
The ride is firm and smooth. Almost perfect.
It looks great.
The engine sounds and feels really nice.
It looks great.
The interior has plenty of cheap plastics.
It feels super solid.

And it looks great...

The one I drove is about $29 000. But cars direct seems to have it for less than $27 000.
And they have the loaded no-turbo auto with everything for a bit over $23 000.
Pretty amazing prices.

Next Renault Espace Illustration

Not sure, but it does look like a realistic idea.
Why not...

All new Acura NSX

Still just an illustration. And a weird one.
Looks like there is something wrong with the perspective somewhere...
And what an uninspired design...

Some people are already talking about over 600hp from a 5.5 Liter V10.

That's crazy if you ask me. I just don't see the market for this. It has to be just a few cars.
Money would be better spent on better looking TSX , TL and RL models...Right?

2010 Prius

With tons of camouflage on it..
Still, you can tell it'll be quite a bit slicker than the current model.
It is supposed to also be roomier, look more upscale and get better mileage.
A solar battery roof is rumored to be an option.

More at the Detroit show...

How good is GM's 2.0 Liter turbo?

With rising gas prices, GM will be using this engine more and more.
They have been testing it in the Pontiac G8. As well as the new Camaro.

So I will be driving this engine for the next week. I'll report on how smooth it is.
Refined or not.

And it it's ready for big sedan duty or not.
Would it be a good alternative to a large 3.5 Liter V6?

More later...

VW Voyage

Not for us.
This is basically the sedan version of the new Brazilian VW Gol.

We are still supposed to get a version of the next Polo in the US....

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Next Ford C-Max

When Ford claims they want to build the European C-max in the US, they are actually talking about the next version. Same with the Euro Focus.
These cars won't appear before 2010.
Here is an illustration of what the next C-Max might look like.
In my opinion, anything will be an improvement over the current model. I really like most Euro Fords, but the C-Max is one of the most anonymous cars on the road...

All new Ford Ka

Based on the same platform as the Fiat 500.

It looks nice and modern, but, like the new Twingo, not nearly as original as the previous model.
These small cars are actually getting more conservative with each redesign...

There might still be a chance to see this here. Some day....

Return of Datsun

Not really.
This is just a student project.

But the idea of using Datsun as an extra brand to compete with Scion has been out there for a while.

New Geely SUV

Coming out in about a year.
About the size of a CRV with a 1.8 or 2.0 liter engine. 2.2 Liter diesel will also be available.

So if Chinese Geey finally decides to sell cars in Europe or the US, we might even see it for real...

Monday, July 28, 2008

Q5 in Malibu

What a headline.
This was sent by a reader named Nick Longo.

it has regular California plates. I just didn't know it was on sale yet. Or is it???

Mystery car

Not sure what that is .
Looks like it was taken in Korean, but I'm not sure which Hyundai or Kia it could be....
Any idea?

Sunday, July 27, 2008

2009 Toyota Yaris

Now official, the US does get the 5 door version.

But that "sporty" package looks pretty assy.
And where's the sunroof???

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Diesel Saab Convertible test drive

We've all seen the Convertible from Saab. And the Euro Diesel model just looks the same.
The engine I had was a smallish 1.9 Liter but with 180hp.
It was more than enough for the car. It felt quick at pretty much all speed.
And even smooth, past 30mph. And silent at freeway cruising.

Like I said before, the interior looks really nice. And most plastics are of good quality, except for small details. But in general, a BMW interior does have a higher quality feel that this.
Everything feels solid (Except the turn signal and wiper switch), but somehow it doesn't translate in a very high end look.

The seats are frankly amazing. And you notice it right away. After 4 or 5 hours of driving, your back never hurts.
They are suportive yet very comfortable. Just about perfect.
And the back is fine for most adults.

Unlike the Pontiac G6 I was driving a few weeks before, the interior part of the top is very well finished.
The light color gives the whole interior a more open feeling.

The silver plastic finish on the steering wheel just doesn't work for me.
I'm not sure who thought this looked sporty. The material just looks too cheap to even remind you of metal.
The one they use on the console around the shifter is much more convincing. I couldn't really tell if that was metal or not.
The one on the wheel doesn't even match....

The drive was great.
When you first start the engine, there is no mistake, it's a diesel all right. Which still feels weird to hear what I still think of as a "tractor sound" on an upscale and refined car like this one.
But once you get going, it goes away and the engine does feel pretty smooth.
I only felt a lag from the turbo once or twice. Just a little bit.
The ride is firm yet very smooth. Maybe too much for a sporty car. But this isn't really one.

So, would I convert to diesel????
Where I was in Europe, diesel and gas are now about the same price, diesel still being just a bit cheaper. It used to be about a third less than gas people told me.
In the US, diesel seems to be about $1 more a gallon than regular. So it doesn't really seem worth it.
The noise trade off is actually a big one for me, if doing a lot of city driving.

But.... I did average 35MPG on my trip. Which was about 60% highway.
Pretty amazing. The G6 averaged about 18mpg. Granted that was mostly city. So you might push it to 22 or 24 with more freeway. Still.
And the Saab was also driven faster.

So you do your own math. Is it worth it or not.
And how much more expensive will diesel car be in the US.
I heard the new Jetta diesel qualifies for a $1300 tax break.

Most manufacturers will be selling diesels over here next year. Nissan, Honda, BMW to name a few.
I just think it might not be as successful as they hope.
Hybrids using cheaper regular gas might still be the way to go for those trying to save gas money in the US....

Or a nice 4 cylinder engine that gets over 30MPG in the city.

How about that crazy idea???

New car web magazine

I think this is great.
It looks fantastic. A true Internet magazine.
Pictures, videos etc... All in one.
I think this might be the beginning of the end for paper monthly car magazines.

Click on the title to see the whole thing

Opel Insignia Introduction

At the London Auto Show.
The second video is in German, but it shows the really nice looking interior.
From what I've seen in spy shots, it seems that the Saturn version will be pretty much the same car.

Let's hope.

Friday, July 25, 2008


I just have to apoligize.

I just posted this picture from the Comicon because I'm just in love.
I don't even know who that is, but there is a car in the picture, so...Why the hell not.

Click on the title for the whole story.
I didn't even read it myself...

Mercedes CLA?????

Is Mercedes really thinking about a CLS type 4 door coupe based on the new C Class???

Why not? But the real question is: why?

Is the Passat CC such a threat?

Next Hyundai i20 testing in Europe

I know. It's cheap shot.
I don't know what happened. Maybe it just ran out of gas.
Or was towed for parking in the wrong spot.

It just looks funny to me...

Is "Drunk" the new "Cool"

At the London Auto show???

Kia Soul and Forte video

Unfair fight

Just like in real life...

This was done at about 40mph.
The new Fiat 500 is crushed by the big and heavy Audi Q7.

Sad to see.

More pictures of the new Camaro

Thursday, July 24, 2008

More "Euro Fords in the US" news.

Ford has confirmed today that production of the Expedition/Navigator beasts will move away from the Louisville plant (To Kentucky), allowing Louisville to produce small Euro Fords for the US.
But that production won't start until 2011.
Which means... This what they told us a while ago when they said the next generation Focus will be the same for Europe and the US.
So that's no real turnaround, is it.

Here is some of the vague official PR BS from Ford's CEO:
“We continue to take fast and decisive action implementing our plan and responding to the rapidly changing business environment”
“Ford is moving aggressively using our global product strengths to introduce additional smaller vehicles in North America and to provide outstanding fuel economy with every new product.”

All we know for sure is that the new small car will be based on the C-car platform.
Which again, could just mean the next Focus.

Meanwhile, the next Explorer will be car based and get 25% better fuel economy.
That's for 2010.

Geely in the US by 2009???

Another crazy claim from a Chinese manufacturer.

With no dealers ,yet, in this country, they are still claiming they will be selling us their FC-2 model in 2009. As well as in Europe.

They also mention a $14 500 price. Which would also destroy them over here. There are so many choices for that price. All from established car makers with much, much better reputations.

We'll see...

All new US Passat replacement in 2011?

That is a new rumor from China.
Yes, China.

VW and its Chinese partner Shanghai VW are working on a new mid sized car to replace the Passat over there.
The Chinese press reports the new car is about the size of a Camry.
They also claim the new model will be built in VW's US plant by 2011 to replace the Passat in North America.

So we might end up with an American built, Chinese/German car over here...

Kia Soul in the streets

Still looks great to me.
That will be a major threat to Scion when it reaches the US next April.

All new Acura TL pictures

I don't know.

To me, this is still trying way too hard to be different. But in a cheap way. Basically using weird details in what is mostly a pretty boring shape.
Maybe it does look better in real life.

Remember a couple of months ago when we heard about this car from a dealer meeting. The one where they were describing what they saw as "stunning".......