Wednesday, March 31, 2010

New VW Polo Sedan

No surprises here.
They just added a trunk to the new Polo.

And it does look very similar to spy pictures of the next Jetta we've been seeing for a while.
So they might be related after all.
I always thought the Jetta could shrink a bit from the current model. To better compete with cars like the Civic and Mazda3.

A "4 door Polo" named Jetta could work...

2011 Kia Sportage US

Here are the official pictures of the US version of the all new Sportage.

I still think it looks fantastic. Not only compared to the previous model, but compared to anything else out there in its class.

Two models will be offered, LX and EX, and they will be both powered by the 2.4 Liter with 176hp
(The same smooth engine I am driving this week in the Forte SX)
6 speed manual or automatic are available on all versions.

The LX includes 16 inch wheels, cloth seats, power doors and locks, USB audio and Bluetooth.
The EX adds 18 inch wheels, more chrome, power seat, leather steering wheel and shift knob and a cooled glove compartment.

Options for the LX include 17 inch wheels and GPS.
While on the EX, you can order leather seats, rear sensors and a glass roof.

A 2.0L turbo engine (similar to the newly released Sonata Turbo) will become an option sometime after launch.

This all sounds really good...

2011 Acura TSX Wagon

Or "Sport Wagon". "Wagon" being treated as a dirty word.

No surprises here. 
Basically a Euro Accord wagon with an Acura grille.
With a 5 speed auto and the smaller 2.4 Liter only. No V6 and no manual.

2011 Hyundai Sonata Turbo

-2.0 Liter engine with 274hp
-22MPG City/34MPG Hwy

I'm all for squeezing more power from a smaller engine. And 34MPG is a good reason to do it.
It seems that Hyundai chose to stay pretty subtel with its turbo model.
So it doesn't look like they'll market it like a sports sedan. (no manual available) More like an upgrade to the regular model.

Here is what they say:

The 2.0-liter turbocharged GDI four-cylinder engine in the 2011 Sonata produces 274 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 269 lb-ft of torque from 1800-4500 rpm with regular fuel. The Sonata 2.0T will deliver 22 mpg city and 34 mpg highway (preliminary estimates). Hyundai's turbocharged engine features a twin-scroll turbocharger that when combined with the GDI system results in instantaneous power delivery. Twin-scroll turbochargers have traditionally been used on more expensive high performance engines, but as with GDI, Hyundai has chosen once again to apply this efficient technology in high volume to its most popular model.

The 2.0T engine will be available on the SE and Limited trim level, with the 2.0T Limited getting additional upgrades, including:
- Panoramic sunroof
- 18-inch hyper silver alloy wheels
- Dual exhaust system
- Steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters

2011 Scion Tc: It's all new.

It does have a tiny bit of the Fuse Concept in the profile. Just a tiny bit.
Otherwise, Scion has, again, come up with a super boring design for what could have been a great car.
Not out yet, and already looking a bit dated...

The interior seems much nicer and upscale than the current model. But again, only available in black cloth. No choice.
Engine is new the 2.5 Liter with 180hp. Nothing special.

That's pretty much the whole story: nothing special. 
When it should be. That's why Scion was created in the 1st place: to be special.

How quickly they forget...

2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

-EV Mode up to 62mph.
-37MPG City/39MPG Hwy

No price yet.

It doesn't get a 41MPG City rating like the Fusion, but it does a bit better on the Hwy. So in real life driving, it'll be pretty much a wash.
And much better than the Camry Hybrid.

Plus, the Sonata looks 100 times better than the aging Fusion, especially inside.
And I am sure it will be cheaper too.

Another winner for Hyundai...

2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid

Getting 41MPG City and 36HWY. 
Much better numbers than the Lexus 250h.

But somehow, Ford decided against making the hybrid version look a bit special.
I think this is a mistake. Most people who buy hybrids want others to know they are driving a hybrid.
This looks like the regular MKZ, which most people have never seen anyway.

No pricing yet. But it should be cheaper than the $35 000 Lexus. 
Which means, not much more than the base MKZ.

Good news.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Nissan Leaf to cost just $20 280, in California

It does sound pretty amazing.
But we have here an additional $5000 rebate.

A pretty amazing deal if you ask me, for any well equipped car with navigation.
But don't ask me how the US tax system works. If you're getting the credit right away or not.
Call your tax guy...

Here are the words from the Los Angeles Times:

"There's a federal tax credit of $7,500 for electric vehicles. And Californians are eligible for an additional $5,000 rebate through the state Air Resources Board.

That will lower the base price for the standard Leaf, in California, to $20,280.

Those who choose to lease rather than buy the Leaf will also benefit from government incentives.

According to Nissan, the monthly lease on the car will be $349, but in California an Air Resources Board rebate will reduce it to less than $200."

2011 Scion Tc

I'll say it's about time. A new Tc. Finally.

2010 is the 6th model year for the coupe.
Which I always thought looked rather boring.

A great idea on paper: a 2 door hatchback with standard glass roof and the Camry engine.
I really was waiting for this one.
But then, it actually came out. And looked like if it had already been out for 5 years...

So a new one is really welcome.
Same idea.
Now with the newer 2.5 Liter and 18 inch wheels.

But is it really "new"? Or "all new"?

Toyota has already been using words like "all new" and "2nd generation" to describe the 2011 model.
But from these pictures (Taken from a promo video), it looks like it could just be a "facelift", with a new front and rear. Maybe a new interior...
What they need is an all new car. With much more style and personality than the current one.

We'll see...

2011 Nissan Quest

Looking very much like the 2008 Forum concept. ( In white)

A good thing. I had the chance to sit inside the Forum, and it was a stunning looking car in person.
Let's hope they kept the production version close enough.

2011 seems like a great year for Minivans, with all new ones from Toyota, Honda and now Nissan.

$25 280 for the Nissan Leaf

That's actually after the $7500 federal tax credit.
MSRP for the car is $ 32 780.
Or you can lease it for $349 a month.

I think these are great prices. For a car that, like it or not, is truly a milestone in the automotive history.

After the tax credit, it is actually a great price for any car. The base model even includes Navigation and Bluetooth.

The big drawback is the 100 miles range. But it still would make a perfect 2nd car for someone who doesn't work too far from where they live.
Most people I know never drive more than 50 miles a day anyway.

This is definitely not a car for everyone, but I am sure it will sell out no matter what.

Here is more from Nissan:

Nissan North America, Inc. (NNA) today announced U.S. pricing for the 2011 Nissan LEAF electric vehicle, which becomes available for purchase or lease at Nissan dealers in select markets in December and nationwide in 2011. Nissan will begin taking consumer reservations for the Nissan LEAF April 20.

Including the $7,500 federal tax credit for which the Nissan LEAF will be fully eligible, the consumer's after-tax net value of the vehicle will be $25,280. The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price *(MSRP) for the 2011 all-electric, zero-emission Nissan LEAF is $32,780, which includes three years of roadside assistance. Additionally, there is an array of state and local incentives that may further defray the costs and increase the benefits of owning and charging a Nissan LEAF – such as a $5,000 statewide tax rebate in California; a $5,000 tax credit in Georgia; a $1,500 tax credit in Oregon; and carpool-lane access in some states, including California.

As a result of aggressive pricing and the availability of the $7,500 federal tax credit whose benefit is immediately included, Nissan will be able to offer a monthly lease payment beginning at $349, not including state or local incentives, which could further reduce the net cost of the Nissan LEAF.

"Imagine the possibility of never needing to go to a gas station again. Or of paying less than $3 for 100 miles behind the wheel. Or of creating zero emissions while driving," said Brian Carolin, senior vice president, Sales and Marketing, NNA. "Nissan leads the industry by offering the first affordable, zero-emission vehicle for the mass market. Nissan LEAF truly is in a class by itself."

The vehicle at the SV trim level is well-equipped with a variety of standard features, including an advanced navigation system and Internet/smart phone connectivity to the vehicle, enabling pre-heat/pre-cool and charging control. Nissan LEAF is equipped with energy-efficient LED headlights and makes extensive use of recycled and recyclable materials, such as seat fabric, instrument panel materials, and front- and rear-bumper fascias. Other standard amenities include Bluetooth connectivity; Intelligent-key with push button start; Sirius/XM satellite radio capabilities and roadside assistance. Safety features include vehicle dynamic control (stability control), traction control and six airbags. The SL trim level, available for an additional $940 (MSRP), adds features including rearview monitor, solar panel spoiler, fog lights, and automatic headlights.

2011 Hyundai Accent???

I guess it is. Or is it the Elantra?
The Elantra is due for a redesign first.
Who knows...

Even though Hyundais are becoming very stylish, they do start looking the same....

Monday, March 29, 2010

2012/13 Mercedes B Class sedan

That is probably pretty close to what the sedan version of the next B Class could look like.
The new B Class itself will be based on last year's concept.

The sedan would be the most popular version in the US, below the current C Class.

Why not.
It would compete with the Acura TSX and the upcoming Audi A3 sedan in the US.

Volvo going to China, is Maybach next?

The crazy rumor of the day...

Chinese car maker BYD would be interested in buying Maybach from Mercedes.

What a stupid idea the Maybach was in the 1st place. After BMW and VW got Rolls-Royce and Bentley a few years ago, Mercedes just had to have a super high end brand of their own.

And then, they just designed a disproportionate car that just looked like a bigger S Class.

Whenever I see one of these, it just doesn't look that expensive. It's just looks weird, even a little bit vulgar.
The opposite of the all new Bentley Mulsanne.

It's no secret the whole thing is a failure (Just like their ownership of Chrysler)
So now, it's just a matter of admitting to the failure, which might take a while.

But BYD is waiting :"As soon as Daimler are ready to abandon a brand, BYD will reach out to buy it”. Says a source close to the deal.

Mercedes CLS wagon coming up.

Apparently, Mercedes is seriously considering a wagon version of the upcoming, redesigned CLS sedan.
So what started as a "4 door coupe" will now be a wagon as well...

It might even be presented at the upcoming Chinese Auto Show.

What I have seen so far of the next CLS doesn't look nearly as good as the current model.

We'll see...

2011 Audi A7

Caught, testing in Europe.

Everything I have seen about this car looks good.
Basically, a hatchback version of the next A6. And much better looking than the new hatch version of the BMW 5 series.

Next Chrysler 300 to come early...

Chrysler is now getting ready to launch the new sedan this November, instead of later in 2011.

They are truly desperate for anything new.
The new Grand Cherokee coming out in May will be their 1st new car in a long while.
But SUVs aren't the most popular things anymore.

Since the above pictures were released from Chrysler a few months ago, the front end has been redesigned. As well as some other minor exterior elements.
So the final design could be better than what we see here.

The all new 3.6 L V6 will be the main engine offered. It already makes 280hp in the Grand Cherokee.
At one point, they were also considering a hybrid version. But I haven't heard about that one for a while...

I wish them luck...

2011 Hyundai Veloster

I just noticed something on these spy shots of the upcoming Veloster compact coupe.
The door on the passenger side is shorter. Hiding a "3rd" door behind it. 
The passenger side seems to be coming with a system similar to the Mini Clubman. Or the old Saturn coupe.  Something the concept didn't have. (red car)

I think these fake 3rd doors are actually a good idea. Broadening the appeal of a 2 door car.

Hyundai claims the final design is 70 to 80% similar to the concept.

We'll see about that...

2011 Infiniti QX56

Just when I start getting used to the new Infiniti "M" design, they come up with this...

The new Nissan Patrol based SUV has to be one of the ugliest design ever.

Plus, with its 5.6 Liter 400hp V8, it's everything the current market is craving, right?

Let's hope we won't see too much of these around when it comes out...

More pictures of the 2011 Hyundai Elantra

As we know, it will look like a mini Sonata, which I think is a good thing.
But that interior looks like it was designed by Klingons.

We'll see...

2011 Chevrolet Cruze RS and Eco interior pictures.

Not much difference. The seats are even the same, except for the leather.

It's also funny they choose to display the Eco version with a stick shift, and the sporty RS with an automatic.

(The Eco gets its 40mpg rating when equiped with a manual transmission only.)

2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid

Lincoln will unveil a hybrid version of the MKZ in a few days for the New York auto show.

This is pretty much a no brainer. There is already hybrid versions of the Fusion and Milan, which are basically the same car.
And a great idea.

Ford charges almost $5000 more for the Hybrid version in the Fusion, so this could come in at around $39 000. Which is just too much. Way more than the Lexus HS250.
But the Lincoln already starts at $34 000.
We'll see if Ford comes up with a really aggressive pricing on this.

It should be no more than $35 000...

Cadillac CTS-V Wagon

The 556hp beast will soon be available in a wagon design.
A pretty amazing car no doubt.

But really, they can't expect to sell many of these. I have seen only one of the regular CTS wagon on the road. This super powerful (And expensive) version will have even more limited appeal.

I guess it's "an image thing"...