Saturday, July 30, 2011

Buick Regal Turbo test drive.

I think the Regal is one of the best looking sedan available today.
I even like it better than the original Opel Insignia. There are only small changes, mostly the grille and logos.
But I think our version does look better.

From any angle, the car looks very modern. It does make most of its competition look quite boring.

And it continues inside.
Everything feels and looks great. Most plastics are soft, everything feels very solid and well put together.
I really liked the piano piano black trim that came with my black interior test car.
Looking much better than the wood trim included with the beige interior.

The only detail I had a problem with was the chrome shifter surrounding. Which was just too shinny .
But that's just me....

My test car had pretty much every option available.
The premium speaker system worked great. And so did the Navigation system.


.Ride and steering.

The ride is excellent.
It is a bit firm, but always comfortable. Even with the optional 19 inch wheels.
My car came with the "Interactive Ride Control" system. Which allows you to select a "Sport" setting for the ride, transmission and steering. Or any one or two of the three.
Which is a great idea. On paper.

On the road, there is not enough difference between the "Touring" setting and "Sport".
And it goes back to normal each time you start the car.
I liked the sport setting better, so I had to set it to sport every time. It's just a bit annoying.

I did notice a small difference in the steering and ride, but it is pretty small.
I think, at least on the Turbo model, the Sport setting could be much sportier. With a much firmer steering and suspension.

.Engine and transmission.

The transmission is usually really smooth. Except for a couple of times at low speed where things just got a little rougher.
Again, there wasn't much of a difference in the "sport" setting.

The engine is smooth and quiet, but of course, not as much as a V6. So the big question is: is it worth replacing a regular V6 with a smaller 4 cylinder Turbo?

It depends.

The 2.0 Liter turbo is rated at 18/28.
I observed 18/32 in my week long drive.
So there isn't such an advantage over a similar V6.
I drove an Infiniti G25 recently (test drive coming up), and I got 18/31.
With a 2.5 Liter V6 producing about the same horsepower.

Sure, the turbo is punshier with an earlier torque delivery. But I am not sure there is that much of an advantage...

I really enjoyed driving the Buick Regal Turbo for a week.
The car looks great, feels very solid. It is very comfortable, easy to drive.
And actually fun.

But I can say all these things about the LaCrosse as well. And the Lacrosse is actually sportier.
And feels even more solid than the Regal.
So the Regal knows it's place I guess. It is smaller and cheaper. And even though it is really good, it isn't as good as the LaCrosse.

I hear about a few small improvements coming up for the new year. Including a new GPS system and even more sound insulation.
Small things that will make the car even better.
A hybrid model, similar to the new Lacrosse eAssist is also in the cards.

I have no hesitation recomending the car to anyone looking for something that looks and feels special.
I think it's biggest competition in the US would come from the Acura TSX and the Audi A4. And also, even if it is RWD, the Infiniti G25.
My loaded Regal Turbo was $35 185.

A loaded 2.4 L TSX is $33 600
A loaded A4 is $37 500
Infiniti G25 is priced at $34 300. But you cannot get a premium stereo or GPS.

So pricing of the Regal is inline with its competition. Which might be a bit much.
A most people might still prefer an Audi for the same price...

1977 Chrysler Cordoba commercial

I must say, after watching this. I want one!

Friday, July 29, 2011

2012/13 Hyundai Santa Fe

Still pretty much covered in camouflage.

But you can tell it will look like the Tucson's big brother that it is.

Not sure yet if the V6 engine will return. Or if, like in the Sonata, they will only offer 4 cylinder engines.

We'll see...

Toyota Mark-X Zio see in Los Angeles

A reader just sent me these pictures of the Toyota Crossover taken around Los Angeles.
This prototype was seen a few weeks ago testing in Death Valley.
Not sure why they are testing it over here.
The Marx-X Zio has been on sale in Japan since 2007. They were rumors at the time it could end up here as a Lexus.
Instead, we got the Venza, as a Toyota.

I also hear rumors that the one testing around here was a Hydrogen version. Not sure why...

Here is the one sold in Japan.
You can see how similar the cars are.

Again, not sure why Toyota would add this to their US line up. Which already has the Venza and Highlander.
Plus, it's been out for about 4 years already.
Maybe a test mule for the next version???

What do you think?

2012 Mercedes B-Class Interior

These are the 1st interior pictures of the all new B-Class hatchback.

I must say, it is quite an improvement over the current model. It does look quite upscale.
Interesting choices of textures as well. Although it is a bit weird to see nothing where a shifter used to be.

We'll see the whole thing very soon.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

2012 Infiniti JX

Another teaser shot.
We'll see a few more of these before the reveal of the whole car.

Which won't be much of a surprise by then...

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

2012 Hyundai Grandeur/Azera video

This is not the US version, but the Korean market Grandeur is pretty much the same car we'll be getting over here in a few months.
It does look quite impressive in this video.

I think this is the death of the Toyota Avalon. And serious competition to the Maxima, Taurus and LaCrosse.

2012 Hyundai Azera

I was wondering what had happened to the new Azera.

Hyundai has already shown the local Korean version called the Grandeur, a while back.

They have now announced that we will see the new US Azera at the upcoming Los Angeles auto show.
Now I wonder if the Kia K7/Cadenza will also end up in the US at a later date...

2012 Kia Tam

More pictures of the tiny new Cube like thing coming up from Kia.
Which looks smaller than the Cube or the Soul. In fact, too small for us...

This has been testing for a while now, so we should be seeing official pictures really soon.

Monday, July 25, 2011

2012 Toyota Camry

I guess this looks like the Australian version. Which is a bit different than the one sold over here.

Still, even though I am sure it is a good car, it might not be enough this time around.
With more modern designs from Kia and Hyundai, the new Camry might find life more difficult in the US.

And, as far as the more conservative market goes, the all new Malibu is also around the corner.
I also just saw the new Passat for myself, and it does look classy in person.

Not sure where the new Camry will fit with all this new competition.
I am sure they still will have tons of repeat buyers no matter what. Maybe that's still enough...

2012 Honda Pilot and Ridgeline

Yes, just like most, I am surprised to see the Ridgeline is still around.

I don't hate it, just surprised. It's not like I see one every day. Or every week. Or even every month...
They even added a sportier RT version for the new year.

The Pilot is still ugly to me. But I won't say much more after being threatened by the designer for saying how ugly the interior was when the current generation came out.
Yes, I did received Emails daring me to a fist fight from the guy who designed it and works at Honda's Torance design studio.

But that was a while ago.
And more chrome don't really fix things.

I must say, I don't see many of these around either.

2012 Honda CRV

it seems that Honda could show a Concept version of the CRV first.
Just like they did with the Civic and others. Where, what they call a concept, is really just the production car with slightly larger wheel and some accessories.
No one knows why they even bother doing that. Over and over....

No matter what, this will be quite a good looking CRV.
Let's hope the interior follows the exterior with more style as well.
Engine is supposed to be the same 2.4 Liter with a little bit more power.
Which if just fine for the CRV.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

2012 Lexus GS

Still tons of camouflage. Even some inside.

But it doesn't look too bad actually.

The interior seems to be more in line with the CT200 h than other Lexus models.
Which is also fine.

We'll see much more, very soon.

Friday, July 22, 2011

2012 Infiniti JX

There will be a few more of these before we get to see the real thing.
Infiniti will release a total of 7 teaser pics before the car is shown to the public.

It is still looking good to me. I think this should do well in the US at least.
Using the 3.7 Liter V6, and maybe the Hybrid from the new M sedan as well.
Why not....

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

What could have been: Saab 9-6

These are pictures taken at the Saab museum.
Of the Saab that almost was: The Subaru Tribeca based 9-6. A 3 door version was also considered.
It came from the same part of the corporate brain that had the idea for the Saab 9-2. Which was nothing more than a Subaru Impreza with a Saab nose.

I have to say, the Tribeca doesn't look that bad as a Saab. And I think both Saab and Subaru should appeal to people who want something different.
But putting a new nose on a car is just not enough (The interiors are the same)

These are pictures of the Subaru.
The top one is the revised version, for 2008.
At the bottom is the original profile. Which was more original...

2012 Roewe 750

Just another spy picture of the Chinese sedan replacing the current aging model that started life in Europe as a Rover.
It seems like it could look pretty nice. Even though the grille has some "Honda Accord" feel to it...

Monday, July 18, 2011

What could have been: 1970/71 Ford Pinto

This is what the Ford Pinto could have looked like.
More like a coupe, instead of the hatchback/fastback design it ended up with.

Or maybe they were thinking of offering 2 different versions, like with the Mustang.

This is what the production version ended up like.
Which, I think, was actually more modern and original than the coupe like design.

2012 Honda CRV

Looks like an illustration.
But it does match the spy photos that we saw a while ago.
Interesting to see the front end on the top car.

It looks like the new CRV will be just fine. It doesn't need to be much better than the current one to be a huge hit.
What it does need is a better interior with better storage.

And maybe get away from the dreadful "Honda beige" and "Honda grey" interiors.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Production of the 2012 Beetle has started.

At the Puebla plant, and the first ones are on their way to the US.

At first, only the "Black Turbo Launch edition" will be available in September.
But soon after, all other versions will be coming over.

VW has yet to announce pricing and availability for the 2.0 Liter Diesel TDI version....
So this one might take a while.
And the convertible is coming next year as well.

2012 Mercedes B-Class

We will see much better pictures soon. Very soon.
But for now, that's all I've got.

We do get to see the new interior for the first time. And it seems to be a step up from the current generation. At least it looks more upscale.

We should finally see the B-Class in the US sometime next year.

Friday, July 15, 2011

2012 Fiat Panda

The current Panda has been around in Europe since 2003.
So it's is time for a new one. Really..
Since Fiat is not linked to Chrysler, we can only wonder if this will ever end up over here.
Or when.

I guess Dodge might be able to use a small car this size in order to meet new regulations in the next few years.
Why not?