Wednesday, February 29, 2012

2013 Buick Enclave

After the GMC Acadia, it's up to the Buick version to get some changes.
Not an all new car of course, but we can expect a new interior as well as redesign front and rear ends.

Looks like an already good car is getting better....

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Jaguar XF Sportbrake

Here are the first official pictures.
Although the black plastic panels around the c pillars do look 100 times better than on the XJ, it seems they might still seem cheap in the flesh.
We'll see.
It looks like it is a design feature they fell in live with and couldn't wait to implement on other models.
Not sure why. It still looks horrible on the XJ.

This will do battle with wagons version of the 5 series, A6 and E Class in Europe mostly. And not in the US....

Kia K9

These are the first official pictures of the all new "Big Kia" sedan.
the name K9 is for the Korean market only.
Kia mentions that the name for export markets will be revealed later.
Which means we might be getting this.

Here is the official PR BS about the car:
"K9 is our first rear-wheel drive large sedan, created without compromise in its design, driving performance and new technologies. K9 sets a whole new level of standards and values in the large sedan segment, and its design will be another Kia demonstration of our brand's power to surprise the world."

Chevrolet Cruze Wagon

Just another new picture from GM.
We have seen the car a few days ago already. Now we get to see a slightly revised front end as well.
While the new front will make it on our version as well, don't count on ever seeing the wagon in the US.
Just like the Ford Focus wagon, this one is not for us.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Metropolis II

A very nice work from artist Chris Burden at LACMA in Los Angeles.
You can click on the title for more info.

It is really something to see if you are in the area...

Kia K9

The big Kia is out. Almost.
At least showing itself a bit more every day it seems.
On this picture, you can really tell it is related to the Hyundai Genesis sedan.

Again, not for us.

Volvo V40

First official pictures of the new compact Volvo.
And it does look great. Already much better than the BMW 1 or the upcoming Audi A3.
A 2 door version is supposed to be coming next, and maybe a sedan as well.

Engines will range from 1.6 to 2.0 Liter in size. So much smaller than the 2.5 Liter currently offered in the C30.
Let's just hope this makes it to the US. Soon...

2013 Jaguar XF Sportbrake

We finally see the real thing, and it turns out to look more original that I thought.
The blacked out rear pillars look nice on a hatchback. Much better than on the larger XJ sedan, where they do not belong.

Unfortunately, this isn't for the US. Unless they change their mind later....

Friday, February 24, 2012

2013 Dodge Dart caught testing in Los Angeles

Still testing?

It is going on sale soon, you can even price one online already. (It almost tops $30 000 with all the options!)

I am just wondering if they might just be testing their new upcoming 9 speed Auto from ZF.
Which is supposed to be available in 2013.
Or maybe... Some hybrid version?

Why not.

(Thanks to Nick for this picture)

2013 Mercedes A Class

This is rumored to be official.
Although it still looks like an illustration to me.

Real or not, it's pretty much what we've been seeing for a while now.
Not much of a surprise anymore.

More, many more pictures of the real thing in just a few days.

Range Rover Evoque convertible

That's quite a surprise. I had no idea this was coming up.

I do like the new Evoque a lot, but this, somehow, looks a lot cheaper.
Not sure why.
It does look 100 times better than the weird Murano convertible.
And might not be that much more expensive.
The topless Murano starts at about $45 000. While the base Evoque Coupe is about $43 000.
If you figure a $5000 premium for the convertible, the Range Rover could be just a few thousands more than the Nissan.

But who knows, they might just go nuts and charge $60 000 for it. Why not...

Thursday, February 23, 2012

2013 Mercedes A Class

Just a little teaser before we finally see the whole thing in just a few days.

It seems we have seen the exterior many times already, so this is a little more original.
And for the 1st time, coming to the US.

Hyundai i30 Wagon

The Euro i30 hatchback will soon be available as a wagon.
It is about 7.5 inches longer than the regular hatchback version.
As you know, the i30 will be available here as the Elantra GT, so I am sure plenty of people will be thinking about this wagon coming over to the US.
I just don't think it will.

Ford has decided not to offer the Focus wagon over here. Same thing with GM and the Cruze wagon.
So I don't think Hyundai will do it either. Too bad...

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Another picture of the new Lexus ES for 2013

Just thought I'd share.
A bit more details.

Let's hope the official pics are better, much better.

2013 Audi A3

Following the old Audi recipe of "let's make the new one look like the old one".

I am sure the differences are more obvious in the flesh. Or with other colors where the new chrome window surround could add a more upscale touch.
Still. No surprises here. At all.
A nice looking car with no style.

Again, this is the 2 door version which is not due in the US.
Instead, we should be getting the 4 door hatch and the new 4 door sedan.

All new Volvo V40

These are, finally, the first official pictures of the new Volvo V40.
And it does look really good.
Already so much more modern than what we can expect from Audi with the new A3.

Engines will range from 1.6 to 2.0 Liter in size.
No info on US availability yet.

And look at that giant glass roof panel.

2013 Lexus ES

Many people love to hate the ES.
Maybe because it is still based on the Camry, or maybe it is targeted to an older demographic.
The truth is, the ES has always been a strong seller for Lexus.
And it looks like they are using the same recipe for the next one. Camry based, soft lines.

It does look pretty upscale. And the new Lexus face works much better here than on the new GS.
The 250 model pictured here will not be sold in the US, as we are getting the 350, using the same V6 as the 2012 Camry.
A Hybrid is also expected for our market.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Ford Tourneo Custom Concept

This would usually be of no interest to me.
Some Euro delivery Van gets a redesign.
It this case, the next version of the popular Ford Transit.

But there has been rumors about the next Euro transit and our Econoline merging soon.
So this could very well end up being sold here as a replacement for the aging Econoline.
Finally giving Ford a modern offering in the US in this segment.

So far they are calling this a concept, but it is pretty much what the next Transit will look like.

Also, not to be confused with the much smaller "Transit Connect", sold in the us.

2013 Range Rover

This illustration does look a bit different from the spy shots we have seen around for the past few months.
It also makes the Range Rover a bit too long.

Let's hope the next one looks better. And brings a bit of that retro look the Ranger Rover Sports has.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Something you don't see every day...

The old Volvo P1800.
Somewhere in Hollywood.

The same one Roger Moore was driving in "The Saint" TV series.

Corvette test drive Video

Chevrolet Corvette Test Drive

We've all seen it before. There isn't anything really new about the current model.
An all new one is due next year, so the 2012 Corvette looks very familiar.
I do like the design, even though I think it is time for the Corvette to stand out more. Way more.
And from what I've seen so far, the next one will probably look like an evolution of the current design.Again...

Even though it's been out for years, it does get looks. Which I was surprised.
The only think I really didn't like was the optional dark wheels on my test car. ( I would save the $350)

The interior is also familiar, of course.
Many people seem to hate it. I think it is just fine.
Everything feels solid and well put together, the leather dash is a nice touch. And the Carbon fiber finish on the console looks fine.
It doesn't look like a Porsche or an Audi R8, that's for sure. But it is also much cheaper.
The trunk space is fine for a sports car. Except when you use it to store the removable roof panel.
After that there is only a small space behind the seats available for storage.
But that roof panel is well worth it. It really turns the car into a convertible in just about a minute.


-Ride and steering.
The ride is actually very comfortable. Even when you switch it to the "sport" mode.
Which doesn't seem to firm things up that much.
You do seat very low, of course, and the view from the big hood up front can be quite daunting for those of us used to smaller sporty cars. But that's a big part of the Corvette personality, I think.

The steering feels great. Actually lighter than you would expect. And very accurate.

I just wish the steering wheel itself didn't remind me of the $24000 Pontiac Solstice it came from...

With 430hp from a giant 6.2 Liter V8 engine, there is pretty much always a lot of power.
Something most people will never use on a daily basis.
I know this will seem like blasphemy just mentioning it, but a smaller engine might do just fine. This is 2012 after all.
You can get great performance and kick in the pants feel with a smaller more modern powertrain.
But I guess the Corvette isn't about that...
The car is rated at 16/26MPG.
I got between 16 and 18 in the City. Which is actually really good. Comparable or better than most V6s would get.
And a hair over 27 on the highway.

The 6 speed manual is easy and fun to operate. Except when it forces you to go from 1st to 3rd every time you rev the engine a little.
Which is a pain.I have to say.
Manuals are for people who don't like a car to tell them when to change gear, so I really don't see the point of that annoying feature.
Which I also experienced in the V8 Camaro.


The Corvette is a fun car to drive, there is no doubt about that.
Even my daily driving, going to work, running errands brought a smile on my face every time. And I didn't ned to go fast to have a good time.
I just think it needs a more striking design. Maybe something retro.
These early ones from the 50's and 60's were so amazing looking. (Watch the one Mike Hammer drives in "Kiss Me Deadly")

The Corvette starts at just under $50 000, but mine was about $63 000.
The new Porsche 911 starts at $80 000.

So the Corvette could be seen as a great value. But it's personality isn't for everyone.