Monday, November 30, 2009

US Small Buick sedan

The US will get its own version of the Chinese Excelle.
Which is basically an Open Astra with a Buick grille.
A recipe that seems to be working with the new Regal (an Insignia with an Opel grille)
The Excelle is so far only a hatchback, in China.

The US market is scheduled to get the sedan version pictured here.
No word on a date yet. But I bet it won't be that long after the new Regal.
It will most likely be powered by a 1.6 Liter Turbo .

Not sure if the US is really ready for such a small Buick. GM seems to think so...

2011 Audi A8 video

Another sedan nobody will ever notice.

When will anyone design something striking we must have? All big expensive sedans look like old people cars.
They all look fine, and I'm sure they are great to drive. But could they just look like something more interesting?

It's almost 2010!!!!

Here is what they have to say:

- Lightweight and yet ultra-strong aluminum body with ASF design
- Flowing design, full LED headlights on request

Interior and controls
- Luxurious interior with newly developed, spacious styling
- Craftsman-level workmanship, emotionally charged interior lighting
- Advanced MMI operating system, MMI touch navigation system with pioneering operating concept
- Seats with optional ventilation and massage functions, luxurious individual rear seats optional

- New Audi pre sense safety system for avoiding accidents and for minimizing their consequences

Infotainment and driver assistance systems
- Navigation system of the next generation closely networked with the assistance systems; high-end audio systems and online services
- Night vision assistant with pedestrian marking, adaptive cruise control with stop & go feature and advanced driver assistance systems

- One gasoline engine, with direct fuel injection and 273 kW (372 hp)
- Consumption improved by 15 percent with enhanced performance
- New 8-speed tiptronic as standard, shift-by-wire control
- Standard quattro all-wheel drive, optional sport differential

- Lightweight wheel suspension, balanced axle load distribution
- Audi drive select driving dynamic system including standard adaptive air suspension and adaptive damping, optional dynamic steering "

All new Audi A8

An amazing car for sure. But still the "old geezer"Audi...

2010 Hyundai Azera

I guess they felt they had to do something. With an all new Sonata coming out, they didn't want to leave the larger and more expensive Azera behind.
They should have...

I do like the Azera, for what it is. A sort of Korean Avalon. But that new melted front end is pretty horrendous.
I guess the big Hyundai will become even more invisible than ever after the new Sonata comes out and gets all the attention...

More 2011 US Ford Fiesta photos

Still looking good.
Although the sedan is really trying a bit too hard to please the American taste for more chrome.

2011 Samsung SM5

The big sedan from Renault's Korean unit is finally being redesigned.
The current model is based on the Japanese market Nissan Teana.
Quite a nice car. ( I actually saw one up close in Europe last year). But the Teana was the cousin to our previous generation Maxima. A car introduced in Japan in 2003...
The next one will be based on the current Renault laguna model. Except it will have a proper trunk instead of the Laguna's hatchback.

As you can see on these pictures from Autoweek, it is a pretty nice looking car. Much nicer than it's Renault cousin. (On the bottom pictures)

If the Penske/GM deal had happened, this could have been sold her as a large Saturn. Maybe replacing the current Aura.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Finally! A great V6 engine for the 2011 Mustang.

-3.7 Liter
-30 MPG Hwy
-6 speed auto or manual

This is what the Mustang needed all along.
A great looking car with a decent interior and tons of personality. All at a good price.

A Performance option package will be available as well.
Who needs a V8?

Here is the official word:

" The 2011 Ford Mustang puts 305 high-performance horses in the hands of V-6 coupe buyers with a new all-aluminum dual-overhead cam (DOHC) engine that delivers a projected 30 mpg on the highway with a six-speed automatic transmission and fun for drivers on nearly every road.

For 2011, Mustang's new 3.7-liter Duratec 24-valve V-6 uses advanced engineering to deliver its power and economy: Twin Independent Variable Camshaft Timing (Ti-VCT) adjusts the valvetrain in microseconds. Aluminum construction means light weight. It's an engine designed to crank out torque down low, rev to 7,000 rpm and deliver the mechanical music sports coupe lovers crave everywhere in between.

"Mustang is completely transformed with this new engine," said Derrick Kuzak, group vice president, Global Product Development. "Everything people love about the car is still there and now under the hood is a V-6 engine that uses premium technology to deliver the power, the feel, the fuel efficiency, even the sound of the best sports coupes in the world.

Extra horsepower and refined engine operation will be the most noticeable features to new 2011 Mustang 3.7-liter V-6 buyers while projected class-leading fuel economy, also a standard feature, offers an additional bonus. The numbers speak for themselves:
• 19 mpg city/30 highway with six-speed automatic transmission, up from 16 mpg city/ 24 highway on the 2010 model with automatic – a 25 percent improvement over 2010
• 18 mpg city/29 highway with six-speed manual transmission, up from 18 mpg city/26 highway on the 2010 model with manual

To reinforce the sporty nature of the 2011 Mustang, all V-6 models will come standard with new instrument cluster graphics, including a speedometer that reads up to 160 mph and a tachometer that reads to 8,000 rpm, reflecting the free-revving style of the new engine.

Additional lightweight soundproofing measures help filter unpleasant, high-frequency noises while tuned intake and dual exhaust add the sounds Mustang buyers relish.

Occupants also benefit from new door seals and a rear wheel arch liner that reduce road noise for a quieter, more enjoyable drive, all with minimal weight gain compared to the 2010 model."

What is this car???

2011 US version of the Chevrolet Cruze

After being sold pretty much everywhere else. Here is the official US version of the Cruze.
But wait. It is still almost a year away!
The exterior is fine, but the interior seems great.

By that time a new Civic will be just around the corner. And a new Focus might even be out.

Here is what GM has to say for themselves:

- Popular global car refined for America
- Expected segment-best fuel economy – up to 40 mpg highway – with new family of small-displacement engines, including Ecotec 1.4L I-4 turbo
- Progressive design with exceptional levels of refinement, quietness and build quality
- More spacious interior and greater cargo room than Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla
- Ten standard air bags help make it one of the safest cars in its class
- Built at Lordstown, Ohio assembly plant
- On sale in third quarter of 2010
- Five-year/100,000-mile powertain warranty – the best coverage in America

"The Cruze also affirms Chevrolet's commitment to building refined, fuel-efficient vehicles, with new, small-displacement four-cylinder engines. It is expected to deliver segment-leading fuel economy with a new Ecotec 1.4L I-4 turbo with variable valve timing – including up to 40 mpg on the highway with a high-efficiency model.

"Cruze is already a hit across Europe and Asia; and now, it's coming to America to challenge the status quo," said Brent Dewar, GM Vice President, Chevrolet Global brand. "Along with the Volt electric vehicle, Cruze is the latest tangible example of how Chevrolet is working on exciting products that range from gas-friendly to gas-free."

Leveraging Chevrolet's design and engineering talent in Asia, Europe and North America, the Cruze brings to market a progressive, globally influenced design complemented by exceptional levels of quietness, quality and attention to detail – from precise tolerances between body panels to the use of premium materials throughout the interior.

"The amenities, quietness and roominess you expect in larger cars are what the Cruze delivers," said Margaret Brooks, Chevrolet product marketing manager. "This is a car that will shake up the compact segment, with a more spacious interior and more cargo room than the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla."

Cruze goes on sale in the U.S. in the third quarter of 2010 but has already logged more than 4 million miles in quality and durability testing worldwide, making it one of the most real world-tested GM products prior to a U.S. launch. The U.S. and Canadian versions of the Cruze will be built in Lordstown, Ohio, where $350 million was invested for their production."

2011/12 US Ford Fiesta

These are the 1st pictures of the US version of the Ford Fiesta.
You can see the sedan has a different grille. Which is OK.
The 3 door hatch might still appear later.

Here is a pic of the Euro version to compare.
I think Ford did a great job with the US model. Incorporating it better with the rest of their lineup.
Although the chrome on the side of the bumper might be a bit much, a bit too bright with some colors.

I will be reporting on the real thing next week from the Auto Show.

2011 BMW 6 series convertible video

It will no doubt be a really good looking car.
I still like the current version a lot. Even with the big trunk.
If the new Z4 is any indication, the next 6 should be pretty impressive.

It seems that BMW has chosen to keep a canvas top for the convertible version. Or not?
It could just be a piece of camouflage.

Who knows...

Chevrolet Spark on sale in Europe

Where it is one of the cheapest cars on the market, starting at under 10 000 Euros in some countries.(Including all taxes)

This would compete here with cars like the Nissan Versa. As far as I am concerned, it wouldn't be that hard to make a better car than the Versa for the same price. At least the Spark seems interesting.

Friday, November 27, 2009

2012 Small Mitsubishi SUV?

This is what I was told. But it really doesn't match the spy shots I have seen of their upcoming compact crossover.
So maybe it is a replacement for the Outlander?

Who knows...

Any idea?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

2011 Kia Costanza video

The big new Kia will be available to us in the middle of next year...

Toyota only gets 3 stars in the latest Euro NCAP tests

For the Urban Cruiser, sold in the US through Scion.
Not a great result.

Compare it to the Chevrolet Cruze . Getting the full 5 stars.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Mitsubishi i in the US?

Mitsubishi is actually thinking about bringing over the tiny iCar in the US.
Maybe with a "larger' 1.0 Liter engine. ( It currently uses a smaller 660 CC engine)
It has been on sale in Japan since 2006, but still looks really original.
And compared to the Smart, it seats 4.

Here is an interesting test drive of the version sold in England.

So why not.
Price could be expected to start at around $12 000.

Would you consider one?

Revised VW Tiguan

The top picture is the "new" version.
Appearing in China this week. It will be the one we're are getting here next year.
They didn't even change the shape of the headlights, just the bumper and the grille.
A cheap makeover...

With only a bit less than 9 000 units sold in the US for the first 8 months of the year, it's really not a big hit.
At least over here. Where the Nissan Rogue has sold over 54 000 units in the same period.
Even the outdated X Terra sold about 10 000 units.

Not sure a new bumper will help much...

Koenigsegg will NOT buy Saab...

After "all that". They've decided not to buy it.
Most of us thought it was almost a done deal. I guess not...

Here is how they explain it:

"The time factor has always been critical for our strategy to breathe new life into the company".
Whatever that "lawyer dictated statement" means.

It basically means Saab is in big trouble. GM is said to make a decision soon.
Who knows, they might decide to keep it, just like they did with Opel just a few days ago.

At least they didn't say they'd srcap it right away. Like they did when the Saturn deal went south.

2011 VW Passat

Not for us.
The plan is to quit selling the Passat in the US once the new "US only" sedan is ready. Which would be around the same time the Passat gets revised.
But I guess we are getting the new Jetta first.

Better pictures of the new Kia Costanza


The 1st all new (Although based on the Roewe 550 sedan) MG model in about 14 years will be actually sold outside of China.
It seems that England would be the 1st foreign market for the car. Where the new MG might even be built about a year after its Chinese launch.
Will they ever sell it in the rest of Europe? Even the US???

2011 Kia Cadenza

Here are pictures of the "non-Korean" version of the new Big Kia.
Known as the K7 in its home market.

It still looks really good. And they even offer a glass roof.
It will be offered with 2.4L, 2.7L or 3.5 L engines.

But I suspect only the larger 3.5 Liter V6 will be available here. To better compete with the Avalon and Maxima crowd.

Monday, November 23, 2009

New 2011 BMW 5 series video

2010 Buck Excelle

Finally some official photos of the Chinese Opel Astra.
The sedan version will come out later.