Tuesday, June 30, 2009

2012 BMW 3 series?

Just another illustration.
There will be plenty of them coming up within the next couple of years.

It does look nice and realistic. But nothing amazing, really. Just like the current one. it's OK.
The coupe looks so much better than the sedan.

Mazda MX2 coming up???

Auto Express seems to think a "smaller than Miata" convertible is coming from Mazda within a couple of years.
I find it hard to believe.

After test driving the MX5 a few times, I really cannot imagine anything smaller. Especially inside.


Finally some official pictures. And we see the interior too.

It's actually not that bad. And much, much better than the horrific looking X3. (But what isn't...)
At least in Europe the engine offered include a 2.3 Liter Diesel and a 2.8 Liter.

More later....

Monday, June 29, 2009

Mazda Miata Test Drive

I did drive a version of the Miata last year, before the "facelift", as they say.
The new look is nice, but I still prefer the previous front end. It just looked more natural, and simpler.
The rest of the car is pretty much the same.
The Miata has always been a great looking car, and this one is no exception.

The interior is pretty much the same as before.
They finally added a plug for your iPod. And you can also get a new tan interior, at least with the leather option.
But still, all surfaces are hard plastics. It's well put together, and looks OK, but a bit of a let down.

The stereo on the Grand Touring model sounds excellent. The seats are the same, supportive and comfortable.

The ride is still too stiff for every day driving on bad streets. Which most of them are in L.A...
At least with the Grand Touring model and the Sport option. ( The only one Mazda had available)
I really think there is no need for such a stiff ride. I drive to work, see my friends and get stuff. Basically, like 99% of people.
I do not drive on the track.
The car is low and pretty wide for its size, so it'll handle fine without a stiff ride.
The steering seems to be much improved from the car I drove last year. It now feels much more secure at freeway speed. The previous one was very twitchy. It is still very firm, but the car seems more planted on the road .
The engine has plenty of power for the car. But it is still pretty rough and noisy to me.
I guess most people don't complain about it. I know it's a sporty car, but the noise doesn't sound very refined.
Most readers like to complain about how crude the Solstice was. But after driving both, I liked the GTP Turbo engine better.
None of these will win smoothness award, but I thought the Pontiac was more in tune with the car it was in.
The Miata does look like a more refined car, while the noisy engine sends another message.
My car was a 6 speed manual. With no complains.
The clutch isn't very forgiving, but OK.

Like I said, the Miata looks more refined than it is.
The engine is noisy and not that smooth, the transmission feels like what you'd find in a sports car. Although I still see the Miata as a "sporty" car only.
Driving long distances can be really tiring. Noise with the top up is almost worse than when it's down.
I guess the hard top option is well worth the extra money.
Plus the ride is stiff for a daily driver.
And I do usually prefer a firm ride. (The 370 is fine with me)

The thing is, with the death of the Solstice and Sky, the Miata is pretty much the only game in town if you want an affordable 2 seater convertible. (until the VW comes out)
I would recommend avoiding the sport suspension and really look into the hard top option before you buy.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

2010 Hyundai Sonata

More blurry pictures.
Better ones to come real soon.

And again, a good looking car. Especially considering the competition in the US.

2010 BMW X1

New picture from the brochure.
Showing again a rather dist jointed design...

All new Citroen C3

The C3 is a very popular car in Europe.
This all new redesigned model does look more upscale and even more modern than the current one.
We probably will never see Citroen in the US again, so if you want to see this car, you'll have to go to Europe.

Chery QQme

Weird name for a weird car.
And it pretty much looks exactly the same as the concept they did in 2005.
Many people will this design weird and clunky. I actually like it.
For a Chinese car, it doesn't look like anything else. A true original.

Sure, it's not for everyone. Just like the Mini Cooper or the New Beetle.
Power comes from a 1.3 Liter engine.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

5 door Mini coming up?

The the upcoming SUV, but a regular 5 door version of the Mini.
It would basically use the same body as the SUV but with the coupe's smaller grille and hood.
And of course, it would be lower and FWD.

Why not...

Fiat 500CC Video

Friday, June 26, 2009

2010 Saab 9-5

These pictures are supposed to be the real thing.
But I'm not sure.
The wagon almost looks, well... too good to be true.
Seems that the real thing would be more upright and less dramatic.
But it does look great on this picture.

We'll see....

New honda CRX coming up???

And it would be called the CRZ.
And be very similar to the concept we've seen before.
It will basically be a sportier coupe version of the new Insight.

Finally, a sporty Hybrid. That could be a really nice and fun car.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

2010 Lexus GX

This picture shows the Toyota Prado version. Which is and will be sold here as the Lexus GX.
Just the evolution of a boring design from boring to... More boring....

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Ford Fiesta Sedan

The new sedan version of the Fiesta went on sale in China.
It will be the most popular version when it goes on sale in the US.
Not nearly as cool looking as the hatchback, but nicer than our current Focus.

Although that back end seems really high....

Audi A5 Sportback

Almost naked this time.
And it's really not that exciting, is it...
Looks more like a hatch version of the A4 than an A5.

We're not missing much by not having it in the US.
We'll get the larger A7.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Chevrolet Sail

So far the Sail is mainly for the Chinese market.
But it does look like some new Aveo of some sort to me.
So we might actually get this over here one way or another.

I'm sure the "new GM" will try to import any small car they make and see what sticks.
This looks like it came out about 10 years ago.
Pretty much like most compact sedans out there....

Upcoming small electric Renault coming up?

Renault will be showing a few "green" cars at the next Frankfurt auto show.
One of them would be this tiny 3 seater that could compete with the Smart and Toyota iQ.
It is fully electric with a range of about 100 miles. Not much, but plenty for a strictly city car.

We'll see if Nissan later considers bringing this over here. To also compete with the Smart and iQ (from Scion in the US)

R.I.P: Karamann

the legendary company is yet another victim of the economy.
They were mostly known for the stunning looking Karmann Ghia cars produced between 1955 and 1974.
But later they were mostly designing tops for convertibles and manufacturing cars for other brands.
Like the Megane CC, Audi A4 convertible, VW Cabrio, Mercedes CLK and the Chrysler Crossfire.

They will be missed...

Monday, June 22, 2009

Fiat 500 CC coming. Here..

The convertible version is scheduled to come over to the US as well as the regular coupe.
When production starts in Mexico a little bit over a year from now.
Good news for those who want to drive something original with tons of personality.
By then, a new version of the new Beetle will be just about a year away.

2.4 Liter for the new Buick Lacrosse

GM announced today that the base engine for the 2010 Lacrosse will be their new 2.4 Liter with 182hp.
They are hoping to get 30MPG HWY with this engine.
Unfortunately, the smaller engine will only be available in the base model.
Although they might change their mind later like they did with the Malibu.

3.0 Liter and 3.6 Liter V6s are still available or standard of the other versions.
Audi is on a similar path and won't even offer a V6 on the A4 anymore, at least in the US.
It looks like even near luxury car buyers are warming up to the idea that a good 4 cylinder engine is just fine.

We do live in a country where the speed limit is mostly 65 and a gallon of gas is pretty much over $3 now....

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Yesterday's Fiesta: The 1970 Ford Pinto

One of the very first commercial for what was to be the first small Ford in the US.
40 years later we will be getting the all new Fiesta.

Friday, June 19, 2009

First Fiats/Alfas in the US

Fiat said it will start building the 500 and the Panda in Mexico for the US market. (Panda becoming a Jeep) in 2011.
The Alfa Romeo MiTo will be built in the US alongside a small Dodge Hornet based on the same platform.

They also mentioned that the next Sebring (as well as the next Liberty and Caliber) will be based on Fiat's C platform.
The current stunning looking Lancia Delta is based on the same platform.

I think 2011 is a long time. The current 2nd generation Panda came out in 2003. Maybe they mean to say the one will get in 2011 will be a 3rd generation, other wise Jeep will be getting an 8 year old design.

What do you think?
Good news?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Buick Regal

Just thought I would refresh everyone's memory with these pictures of the Chinese version of the Opel Insignia, the Buick Regal.
Now that Buick US is officially calling it the Regal Concept in the US.
It does look like we will get this car over here.

Buick Regal Concept???

That's just what these new Buick print ads are mentioning. They should the whole new Buick line up, including the new gorgeous Lacrosse.
But also what they call the "Regal Concept".
We all now the new Regal is a version of the Opel Insignia sold in China.

No matter what, it's good to know that the Insignia will end up over here.
There have been many rumors about the Regal/Insignia ending up over here as an entry level Buick model.
Now this is almost sure....