Tuesday, April 30, 2013

2014/15 Mercedes C-Class

Now that the S Class is almost out, the next one for MErcedes is the redesigned C Class.
This illustration shows what it could look like.
And it is probably close to the real thing. Since it looks like a small S Class...

the new C Class will be a bit larger than the current model. A new Diesel model will be available in the US. As the redesigned Coupe and an all new convertible model.

2014 Mercedes S-Class

Finally the 1st official picture of the exterior of the all new S Class.
And that's it for now.....

Sunday, April 28, 2013

What happened to this guy???

This fram was taken from a CBS piece on GM, back in 2009!

At the time, people speculated it was the clay model for a "smaller than Enclave" Buick SUV.
It does look like a Buick. But it's not the small Encore that just came out.

I just wonder if it is something that has ben dropped entirely. Or still not out yet....

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Just when you thought it couldn't get uglier: 2014 Toyota 4 Runner

 I mean really. Look at the front end!
It looks like a bad photoshop from a 12 year old. I don't really know what to say. It's quite amazing.
Inside it looks like the cheapo fake metal trim was replaced by glossy black plastic. Which is an improvement. Let's hope this is a new trend at Toyota/Lexus.
Otherwise, no changes.

This is what the current one looks like.
I always thought it was really ugly until today...

Friday, April 26, 2013

2014 Chevrolet Corvette price.

It will start at $52 000. Or just $1400 more than the previous model.

So again, the Corvette is a good deal. An even better one now, since the car looks much better. Has a much nicer/higher quality interior, and even more power with the new 6.2 Liter V8.

GM also claims it will be getting 30MPG on the freeway, vs 26MPG for the current model.
Which is quite amazing for a 450hp car.

It comes standard with a new 7 speed manual, rear view camera and Bose sound system.
Other models are the 2LT for $56 205. And 3LT for $60 000. With a few more stand alone options available as well.
Again, pretty good for such a car.

The new convertible costs $5000 more.

The problem is not the car. The current one is already nice and the new one is supposed to be much better.
It's the image. I am not sure the new car will do much to change this. No matter how good it is.
Mostly old guys are driving Corvettes.  I am not sure anyone shopping for a Boxter or a Z4 will step into a Chevy dealership.

Which is too bad....

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Fiat 500L 7 seater

Fiat will soon add a 7 seater version of the new 500L.
Not sure what the name will be. maybe 500XL?

But it is not coming over to the US. We are getting a small SUV instead.

The cute 500 is starting to get really, really ugly. The longer it gets....

Alfa Romeo 6C

Apparently, Alfa is getting both a new sedan and a coupe based on the all new Maserati Ghibli.
So these would be expensive Alfas...

The pix above show what the coupe could look like. The cars would compete with cars like the Audi A5 and other luxury mid sizes sedans. Both sedan and coupe could be named 6C

This is all good. But what I am really waiting for is the all new Miata based convertible. And the new smaller sedan. More affordable things we might actually see in greater numbers.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

VW Passat TDI test drive coming up.

I have driven the Passat Diesel before
But this time, my test car is equipped with a 6 speed manual. Which makes it a rare find amongst mid sized sedans.
AndI will try to take another trip to the desert later in the week. To really appreciate the diesel's amazing freeway range.

So far... I forgot how boring the interior of the US Passat is. Really. After being in the new Malibu for a week, this is almost depressing.

The grey doesn't help I guess...

Live Pix of the Geely Emgrand KC Concept

This seems even better looking in person.
Quite amazing for a Chinese company. Although this is after all, a European design.

It would even make a really nice "Next Volvo S80"...

Buick Riviera Concept

 Another good looking concept. One that will, again, just stay a concept. As I don't think Buick is actually planning a coupe.
Which is really too bad.

This is the PR BS that came with it:
"The new Riviera offers a preview of Buick's future design language"...

Here is the other Riviera concept. From 2007.
They also were saying this:
"A concept car designed to showcase Buick's new global design direction".

6 years later, I don't see much of the Lacrosse, Regal or Enclave in this...
And still, no coupe....

Spark EV with 82 miles range rated at 119MPGe

I don't really care about these new MPGe ratings for electric cars.
What matters most to buyers is the range.
Even though 82 miles isn't that much, it is better than the leaf which is rated at 73 miles.
they both take about 7 hours to recharge at 240.

The new Fiat 500 electric has a slightly better range at 87 miles.

GM hasn't announced pricing yet, but it should by "under $25 000" after incentives.
So, more than the $21 000 Fiat.

The Spark EV also gives you more power than the gas model, at 130. With an amazing 400 pounds-feet of torque!
Which should result in quite a fun car to drive.

And now it's alive!

Through computer animation....

Chevrolet Malibu test drive.

  The previous generation Malibu was one of my favorite mid sized sedan.
So I was really looking forward to driving this new version.
Which finally happened this week. The model I got was the 2LZ Turbo.
(The turbo replaces the V6 in the new Malibu.)

Although I still think the previous one looked much better, the current Malibu is still a good-looking sedan.
 It might not be as striking as the Kia Optima or Fords new Fusion, but in my opinion, it looks better than the current Camry or Accord. And these cars are still best sellers.

 I must say, the 19 Inch wheels on my test car (which oddly enough come as part of the $1350 “Electronic & entertainment” package…) are the best looking wheels I have seen in years.

The new Malibu has a great interior. 
With very nice shapes and interesting design elements all around. The soft plastics are of highest quality everywhere you look and touch.

The back seat is more comfortable than it looks. As it looks really flat. But not as roomy as in the previous version.
Which is really weird, and not an improvement.

This soft texture covering the dashboard and top of the doors in one of the most interesting I have seen in a while. With the stitching, it looks a feels great.

 The only details I really didn’t’ like in the interior were the amount of plasti-chrome trim.
There is just too much of it and it looks cheap. What is wrong with a more satin/brushed aluminum finish?

And that horrific looking fake wood. Which is the worst of its kind I’ve seen in years.

It’s time to retire crap like this. They already use very nice black and grey trim around the console. There is no need for the fake wood.

As usual, the 2.0 Liter Turbo is super smooth and quiet. Something VW could learn from as their 2.0 Turbo still sounds like a diesel.

Mileage is rated at 21City/30Hwy.
I got 32Hwy but I can tell you it is impossible to get 21 in the city no matter how slow you drive.
The best I got was 17. Which is just a fraction less than what I got a few months ago with the Buick Regal (Which was a manual)
So it doesn’t seem like such an advantage over a regular V6 actually.

It is quick and responsive all the time. Just like in the Regal, it is a pleasure to drive.

The steering is also great. And not too light. Which is getting rare in a world of feather light steerings.

The suspension, even with the large 19-inch wheels, is firm, of course, but always very comfortable. Something Nissan could learn from…

The whole car reminds me of a smaller Buck Lacrosse. Which, of course, is natural, since they both share a similar platform. Even the doors sound the same when you close them. Both have this European driving feel that puts them above most Japanese sedan.

My test car started at $29 700, but was loaded up to $34 600. With everything you can think of.
Which seems pretty expensive. Until you compare it to the loaded Camry or Accord for $34 200. So it is in the ballpark. Except the Chevy still has a smaller backseat.

I really enjoyed driving the new Malibu and would no hesitate recommending it to anyone looking for a family car.
For most people, the standard 2.5 Liter will be enough power, and cheaper. 

But I would also recommend waiting for the 2014 Model. Coming out really, really soon. It will have a new front end (that still won’t make it as good looking as the previous one), and it rumored to get a roomier back seat.
And maybe the chrome and plastiwood will be replaced too….

PS: I have been told that the stalling problem I had with the car was due to bad or wrong gas. As they filled it up right before it was delivered to me.

I will follow up on that and keep you posted.

Coolest car I've seen in years: Toyota ME.We Concept

Once in a while, there is a car that makes you want what you really don't need.
This is it.

To me, this is the best concept I have seen in years. A real 'concept". Offering not only a new design but also new ideas.
Design in Europe by Toyota's local design studio in partnership with creative designer Jean Marie Massaud.
It is all electric with a motor for each wheel. So it can be 2 or 4 wheel drive.

I'm not holding my breath, but this would be a huge thing for Toyota if they decided to build something close.
It could but Scion back on track....

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Honda Jade

 There's a decent looking Honda. After all the crap we've seen for the past few days, this is pretty refreshing.
Not sure what it is based on, but it looks like it could make a nice addition to the US Civic line.
Unfortunately, the jade is for China only. At least for now.
This is the Concept S from last year. The Jade is the production version of this.
And for once, the production model looks 100 times better than this horrific concept.

So there might be hope for some of the concepts we've seen this year after all...

Toyota Yudong Shuangquing 2

This is one of the concepts Toyota is showing this week in China.
But, besides the concept-like front end, this looks like a production car.
In fact, it looks like the next Corolla. Similar to some of the spy pix we saw a few weeks ago.

I think this would make a decent Corolla in the US.
I don't expect Toyota's next compact to look futuristic.
But the front end has a bit of "new Avalon" in it. And the rest is just fine.

What do you think?

All new Toyota Yaris

Again, this is just for the Chinese market.
Apparently the previous model was a bit of a flop over there. And overpriced.

Toyota has big hopes for this new one. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

Hyundai Mistra

This is the all new "China only" mid sized sedan from Hyundai.
Quite a bit more conservative than our Sonata, or the European i40.
It is about 4 inches shorter than our Sonata. And just a bit shorter than the i40.

No other news on this so far.

It seems that more and more manufacturers come up with specific cars for the Chinese market.
Which is normal.
 But I keep help wondering if in a few years, these designs will just be pushed onto other markets as well.
As the Chinese market is still growing and growing, the US and Europe could become just an afterthought.
The "old" markets will be such a small portion of the sales, cars designed for China might become global models in a few years...

Great Wall in the US for 2015 ???

That's what they claim. Chinese car maker Great Walls now claims they will enter the US market in 2015, with an SUV.
They also say that SUV might be built in the US.

Which would be ironic. Chinese products built here in the USA.

We'll see, as Chinese car makers have claimed to enter the US market many times before over the past few years.

And so far, Great Wall designs have been some of the crappiest. Except maybe for this new Haval H7 SUV they just unveiled a couple of days ago. The one I posted here last week. 

Geely KC Concept

This is one good looking Chinese car. So far just a concept.

Geely owns Volvo, and I am pretty sure their new vice president of design, Peter Horbury, has something to do with this.
Since he came from Volvo and Ford.