Friday, May 31, 2013

2014 Chevrolet Malibu

It looks like most of the changes are up front. The rear of the car looks the same to me...
The new front looks a bit more aggressive. And not as bland as the new Impala.

Inside, it's hard to say. The wood trim seems a bit more realistic. 
Engines include the new version of the great 2.0 liter turbo, also used in the 2014 Buick Regal.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

2014 BMW X5

Here it is. First official pix of the all new X5. As usual, looking pretty much like the old X5...
Or, now more than ever, a big X3.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Infiniti FX37 Test Drive

 The Infiniti FX is a familiar face. The current version has been out for exactly 5 years. 
The front end was redesigned for 2012.
The design has aged pretty well in my opinion. It still looks upscale yet sporty.

 Everything feels solid and very well put together inside. But it has aged quite a bit more than the exterior. Even though all materials are 1st rate, it just lacks something. It feels “old Infiniti”. Nothing as modern as the all-new Q50.

It just doesn’t really seem like a $54 000 car in there. It has become a bit boring…
The seats are very comfortable. It is roomy enough in the back as well.
The 11-speaker Bose stereo in my test car sounded fine, but nothing amazing.
And the annoying “High speed warning 25 miles from your location” warning welcomes you every time you start the car. No matter where I was, there were some high winds exactly 25 miles away… (That feature was turned off quickly…)

The drive is a mixed bag. The engine is the smooth and powerful 325HP Nissan V6.
But in this case, it sounds very much like in the Nissan Z. Which is great in a Z, but feels out of place in a $54 000 Luxury SUV. 
You just always hear it. And after a while, it does become annoying. Because you know, you’re not driving a sports car.

The 7-speed transmission is pretty smooth, but slow to react most of the time. Which doesn’t match at all the sporty sounds of the engine.

The steering would be fine. A bit twitchy, like most Infiniti models. But the super hard 21 tires ruin everything. It becomes really hard to control the car most of the time, except when the road is perfectly flat. The whole thing feels pretty unrefined. More like an old fashion muscle car than an expensive SUV. It just becomes quite a handful to drive....

The tires are also noisy. And contribute to a very harsh ride. A hard ride on an SUV doesn’t make things feel sporty at all. I’m not sure what they are going for here…

The FX37 is rated at 16/22MPG. It was impossible to get over 15 in the city.
Although I did get 25 on the freeway. Thanks to the new 7-speed auto.

The FX37 is a bit of an odd car. Infiniti is pushing the sporty side of things a bit too much.
It is very powerful but the transmission isn’t sporty at all. Yet the “Z like ride” is really out of place in a car like this.

 I am sure the standard model with smaller wheels is a much better choice.
Which reminds me of reviews complaining of the same thing (Ride too rough with the larger tires) when the 1st generation was out. So they don’t seem to listen, or be able to improve things.

I think my $54 000 AWD “Special Edition” was just too expensive. Priced too close to the more prestigious European competition.  

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Fisker: The new Saab???

Fisker has become the new Saab. Will it die? Will someone save it at the last minute?
Chinese companies involved, etc....
Same thing we were talking about with Saab a few years ago.

Now we hear that Chinese company Wanxiang is teaming up with Bob Lutz's VL Automotive in order to make a bid for Fisker.
Wnaxiang apparently now owns A123 Battery Systems which used to provide batteries for Fisker.
And Lutz's new company already offers a version of the Fisker Karma fitted with a GM V8 engine.
So that would seem like a good match to save the company. (They "just" need to repay the federal loan before they can do anything...)

In my opinion, anything that can be done to keep these gorgeous cars on the road is a great idea. So there...

Chevrolet Spark EV price

The all new electric version of the Spark has just been officially priced at $27 500. Before the $7500 federal tax credit. There is also an additional credit in California which brings the price to $17 500. Quite amazing...
I drove the Spark a few months ago and really liked it. The EV has more power and should feel even better to drive.
GM also claims you can charge it to 80% of capacity in about 20 minutes! Full capacity being about 82 miles, that means you could get about 65 miles on a 20 minute charge.

Good times for electric cars!

Fiat 500L Prices

The all new small Fiat 4 door will start at $19 100 for the base "Pop" model in the US.

This includes what you'd expect, like air, power windows. But also Bluetooth, a 5 inch display and the 1.4 Liter Turbo engine. So, not a bad deal.
A 6 speed manual is also standard.

The "Trekking" version pictured here starts at $21 200.
While the top of the line Lounge model starts at $24 200.

 This could be quite a fun alternative to super boring cars from the Corolla/Civic crowd...

Friday, May 24, 2013

2014 Mazda 3 ?

Still looks like an illustration to me. But also seems to match all the spy shots of the car.
So, if it's not real, it is probably pretty close.

The next 3 should be quite a good looking car...

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Something you don't see every day: Kia K9

Also named Quoris in some markets...
But this one says "K9" on it, so I guess thi s is a Korean model. Caught in Hollywood on the 101 freeway.
Not sure if Kia is ready to sell the big RWD sedan over here, but this is the 2nd one I see around. I saw a silver one pull into a restaurant parking lot a few months ago.

2014 Toyota Corolla teaser

Small teaser so far. The real thing comes out in a couple of weeks.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

2014 BMW 5 Series

It's time for the 5 series useless and almost invisible changes. At least it doesn't ruin anything.
Especially on the hatchback GT version where the new tail lights look a lot better.
Otherwise, it's mostly more chrome here and there. I guess this will appeal better to the Chinese market...

A new model for the US is the 535D. The 3.0 Liter diesel produces 255HP and 413 lb-ft of torque. Which should be quite fun to drive. 

Friday, May 17, 2013

Next Audi A4/A6 ?

This was sent to me as an illustration for the next A6.

But the next sedan Audi will redesign is the A4. So I am not really sure what this is supposed to be.
My guess would be the next A4.
Although as we know, they will pretty much have the same lines in different sizes, as usual...

It was just the 2014 XC60...

The teaser we've been seeing from Volvo for the past few days.
Just the XC60 they already showed us a while ago.
Nothing new....

Thanks Volvo!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

NOT a BMW: Chinese Jinbei Haixing X30 Van

This is quite amazing.
Jinbei Haixing is a subsidiary of Brilliance. Which is BMW's partner in China.
So they just think it's OK to splatter BMW details all over their assy X30 van, I guess.

The grille, headlights, fog lights. There is even a BMW feel in the tail lights.
And look at the lettering used in the back.

They are ripping off their own business partner!

Volvo teaser video

Here is the official video teaser from Volvo.
Still hard to tell what it is...

We'll know soon enough since the reveal is tomorrow.

"Small overlap" test results: Scary...

Pretty bad results for everyone here. Except Mitsubishi and Subaru.

I am also surprised that this type of crash represents only 25% of injuries. It would seem that most crashes don't involve the whole front end...

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

New Volvo teaser. What is it???

 So Volvo just released this thing. Which will be unveiled in just a few days. But what is it?
 Sharpening the picture doesn't help much...
Most people seem to think this is just the 2014 XC60 pictured above. The one with a new front end.

But the teaser does look a bit different up front. And the rear quarter window doesn't seem to have the exact same shape.
Does it look big enough to be the all new XC90?

What do you think???

2014 S-Class: the back seat.

I have to say this is pretty sumptuous. Or borderline ridiculous, depending how you see it....

Finally the real thing: 2014 mercedes S-Class

Here it is. Real and better pictures of the all new big Mercedes sedan.
Which is pretty bland and to me, doesn't look more modern than the current one. Which I always liked.

Remember when the S-Class would stand out because it looks so modern and different?
 Like the 1st one actually called the S Class. That came out in 1972.
You can still see many of them around. And many were used as "rich bad guys" cars in 70's TV shows.
That car looked so modern and different than what came before it.

Not anymore....

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Another picture of the 2014 Mercedes S-Class

Being transported in a plane.

We've pretty much seen the whole thing now.... All we need is better pictures of it.

BYD e6. Taxi only in the US

BYD has decided not to sell its all electric e6 model to consumers in the US after all.
But, it will be available as a Taxi. So we will see them around.

The range of 186 miles seems really good and could work for a Taxi, I guess.
The claim to be concentrating on building their electric buses for the US market. In the new Cafifornia desert factory.

2014 Chevrolet City Express

It took them a while, but GM will finally have some competition for the Ford transit Connect.
Even if it isn't a Chevy at all, but a Mexican built Nissan NV200 with a Chevrolet front end.
The whole thing is not nearly as attractive or cure as the Ford.

A bit sad that GM cannot find its own thing to compete. As even the little Opel Combo in Europe is actually a Fiat with an Opel grille.

I guess they do save money that way...

Monday, May 13, 2013

Audi Q3 now considered for the US.

After claiming it would never happen, Audi is saying they would like to bring the compact Q3 to the US.
I guess they were just waiting to see how the BMW X1 was doing before committing...

The Q3 is based on the same platform as the VW Tiguan. In Europe is is offered with the regular 2.0 Liter Turbo or the TDI 2.0 engine.
7 speed S-tronic would be the only transmission offered in the US, of course.

Why not. If BMW can sell the X1 here, why not this.
It just looks like any other Audi model out there. And for some reason, it seems to be what people want...

2014 Peugeot 308

An all new French competition for the Golf. And it looks really nice.
Not as overdone as some other recent Peugeot models I've seen.

The interior seems almost futuristic. It's like a Golf with style.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Some more leaked pictures of the 2014 Mercedes S-Class

This time, from the official brochure. Looking really luxurious. Now that they don't have Maybach anymore, I guess they went all out.
An even more luxurious, and longer, version will follow next year. Maybe badged the 600. Just like in the old days...