Tuesday, April 26, 2011

GMC Terrain test drive coming up

As some of you have guessed, I am driving a GMC Terrain this week.
So if you have any questions, go ahead...

Opel/Vauxhall Astra Coupe

These are the official pictures of the Astra Coupe.
And it is quite a stunning looking car.

I am still hoping this might somehow end up over here as a sporty Buick Verano Coupe.
But I am also not holding my breath.

More on this car soon...

Monday, April 25, 2011

2012 Kia Rio sedan

I am really not a fan of small sedans.
But if you are going to add a trunk to a hatchback design, this is how it should be done.
Unlike the poor Fiesta sedan.

Another really good design from Kia and Peter Schreyer.

Fiat Freemont video

Not a Dodge.
And not really a Fiat.

The first Fiat by Dodge, ever.

I am not sure the American blocky look of a 3 year old Dodge design will work in Europe, competing with more modern looking cars.
it's not horrible looking. Just a bit old and non descript.
Pretty much everything a modern Fiat should not be.

We"ll see....

Friday, April 22, 2011

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

2011 Jaguar XF

Subtle changes, but it does make it better.
And closer to the original concept from a few years ago.

Small changes inside include a new steering wheel and other details.

There is now a new 2.2 Liter diesel engine with 188hp available.
Although that probably won't be making the trip over to the US anytime soon....

2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco

Just like with the Cruze, the new Malibu will be available as a new "Eco" model.It will be rated at 26 City and a quite amazing 38 highway.
It uses GM's eAssist system.

Here is more from GM:

- First Chevrolet with new fuel-saving eAssist™ technology
- Estimated fuel economy of 26 city / 38 highway
- Uses own energy to recharge the battery and doesn't use gas when stopped
- New exterior shape and features such as active grille shutters to enhance fuel economy
- As many as 550 miles of driving range between fill-ups

The Malibu ECO is a smart choice for customers who want excellent fuel economy without the price premium of popular hybrid sedans," said Rick Scheidt, vice president of Chevrolet marketing. "The Malibu ECO's 38-mpg highway estimate is comparable with those hybrids.

Malibu's eAssist system uses a state-of-the-art lithium-ion battery and an electric motor-generator to enable regenerative braking electric assist and start-stop functionality. It is efficiently sized, weighing only 65 pounds (29 kg).

2012 Nissan Versa

I had some hope for this after seeing the overseas Tiida Hatchback version.
But this sedan is horrible. In so many ways.
The interior is ghastly to say the least.

Looks like the Versa will retain its "Ugliest car in the US market" crown for a while.

I am sure more upscale versions of the hatchback are better. But the one picture here is horrible.
Even for the $11 000 asking price.

The smaller 1.6 liter engine gets 30MPG in the city, but only 37 on the highway. Which is less than larger cars like the Elantra or Focus.

2012 Subaru Impreza

What a disappointment this turned out to be.
Especially after last year's concept.

This now looks older than anything else on the market. They went for a "small Legacy" look.
Which is really not a good thing.

And the hatchback is especially bad. Someone here was noticing similarities to the Caliber, and they're right.

The interior does look like a step forward, if the quality is there.

I just don't know how they could think this is fine. Who signed off on this???

2012 Kia Soul

Just a few changes most people won't notice. Which is good. The Soul still looks great and they didn't ruin it.

It gets a bit more power, but the main change is the availability of 6 speed transmissions, manual or automatic.
Which should be great news for fuel economy.

I also see a Navigation system in the new interior. More good news.

This is the current model.

2012 Kia Rio Sedan

Finally, pictures of the car we'll be getting in the US.
Which does look exactly like a sedan version of the great looking hatchback that was unveiled a few weeks ago in Europe.

The new Rio family looks to be a formidable threat to the Ford Fiesta.
And will probably be a little cheaper too.

This is the new Kia K2 sedan. That many of us thought was the Rio sedan.
Based on the Rio, it has its own design and much cheaper interior.

The K2 is not for the US.

2012 Chevrolet Malibu

From the Shanghai Auto Show.

This gives us a better idea of what the car will actually look like in the streets I think.

The first thing I noticed was how subtle the rear lights are. They don't seem to stick out as much as on the GM pictures.
Or maybe the Chinese market is getting a slightly different version (?)...

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Interesting 2012 Beetle wheel designs

The 17 inch "Circle" and 18 inch "Disc" design both bring a bit of a retro touch to the redesigned Beetle.
(especially the smaller Circle ones)

Interesting choices for those who truly want to drive a car that reminds them of the original model.

I saw the Disc models on the convertible I saw last year, and they really look quite original, with the center part being chrome.

2013 Ford Taurus.

Wait, what? 2013???

Not sure why they would release this so early. What happened to 2012?

The changes don't really improve the car.
I test drove the Taurus last year and wasn't very impressed at all in the 1st place.
The car didn't feel as fast as it should, and it felt pretty cheap in many places. the doors especially felt like I was driving a $12000 car.
The Buick LaCrosse is superior in every way.

Not the SHO version has a weird open gap of a mouth that doesn't look good at all.

The big news is the availability of the 2.0 Liter Turbo as an option. Which could help MPG numbers.


Citroen DS5 Video

What a production car can look like in the 21st Century...

Subaru should take a clue from these guys.

Infiniti JX

Infiniti is basically getting ready to compete with the Audi Q7.
This all new Crossover will be able to seat 7.
Not sure yet what it is based on ( A good bet is the G sedan, like most of their cars).
But it might come with engines ranging from 2.0 Liters to 3.0 Liters.
(From names they have already trademarked earlier).
Which means, it wouldn't be that large.

We'll see a concept version within days, and the production model this fall.

Subaru XV Concept

take away the few Concept bits, and what you've got here is the Outback version of the next Impreza Hatchback.

Which is a bit sad, really.

The sedan they showed us a few days ago is very boring. And this, while being a bit better, doesn't seem to be able to blend the general blockiness of the car with the more rounded shape of a hatchback.

Quite a mess.

The interior seems light years away from the super cheap looking one in the current version though...

2012 Nissan Versa/Tiida

With its new design, we can finally welcome the Versa to the 21st Century.
Some markets will get the 188 engine from the Juke.
Not sure yet what the US Versa will be getting under the hood. But it should be similar to the familiar 108hp it is getting now.

This makes the Sentra look even older.

Monday, April 18, 2011

2012 Honda Civic arrives at dealers

I really can't see the improvement over the previous model.
No matter how many pictures I see of the new one.

A blocky, cheaper looking version of the 2011 model is all I can see.

Maybe it just looks amazing in person. Who knows....

Volvo Concept Universe

It does look quite disturbing at first.
Especially from the front.

Which could be a good thing. At least it looks different.

The rest of the car seems to be flowing much better.

Some people at Volvo would like to see a large sedan competing with the S Class and 7 series. Mainly the Chinese owners.
While the new CEO has denied such a car is coming soon.

We'll see who wins....
Inside, it offers nothing new besides the usual "everything looks like it's floating" concept interiors.

2013 Chevrolet Malibu

After all this time, we finally get to see the whole thing.
Looking pretty nice, but I still like the design of the current car better. Like I said before.

The interior does seem much more upscale and modern. Although I am never a fan of wood trim, and these pictures show too much of it.
Maybe other versions (This seems like the LTZ) do without the cheezy stuff.

This looks ready to compete with the best.
But new Accord and especially Camry are around the corner.

Here are some of the official words from GM:

"All-new exterior designed to stand out around the world

All-new, dual-cockpit interior with more room, more quietness, more premium materials and content, and greater craftsmanship

All-new, fuel-efficient, 2.5L four-cylinder Ecotec engine with next-generation six-speed automatic powertrain

All-new ride and handling package engineered for best-in-class performance

An all-new Ecotec 2.5L dual overhead cam, four-cylinder engine with direct injection leads Malibu's engine lineup in North America. It is expected to be one of the most efficient of its size in the market. New features include enhanced authority continuously variable valve timing, variable-displacement oil pump and electronic thermostat that save fuel, while delivering V-6-like performance. It is estimated the engine will be SAE-certified at more than 190 horsepower (141 kW) and 180 lb.-ft. of torque (245 Nm). The new engine has noise-reducing features such as a cast exhaust manifold, steel crank, low-noise timing chain and direct mount accessories that contribute to a quiet-cabin experience."