Thursday, October 31, 2013

2015 VW Polo

These are just illustrations, of course.
But the next Polo is scheduled to be sold in the US for the 1st time So it is interesting to see what it could be.
It will be a good thing for VW to offer a smaller and cheaper car than the Golf over here.

Looks like the new front end from recent concepts will become VWs new face across the board...

Porsche Macan

These pix are from the German magazine AutoMotor ind Sport.
And they don't look real to me.

The front bumper especially looks like it is still a Photoshop illustration. As it doesn't match the official sketches we have seen so far.

The real thing is coming out very soon and I will be at the Los Angeles Auto show to report on it.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

2014 VW Passat Sport

Not available yet. But later in the 2014 model year, VW will offer a new Sprt version of the Passat with the new 1.8 Liter turbo.
So far the changes appear to be only cosmetic. Black roof, mirrors, new wheels, new interior trim etc...
I think it all looks really nice. (Although the black roof is a little stupid without a real panorama style glass sunroof.)

But the new trim inside is much better than the cheap and sad looking fake metal they have now. And quite a bit classier than the super fake looking wood trim on higher end models.

This might help the Passat a bit.  As it is not a very exciting car to drive, and the competition is getting better and better, quickly.

Subaru Levorg Concept

Let's hope they find another name for the production version.
"Levorg" sounds like a bad early 80's science fiction movie.

Not sure if this is the concept version of the next Outback. Or the larger, Japan only Exiga. Which seats 7.

We'll see...

A few more pix of the all new Mercedes C-Class

Still looking really, really good.
More than ever, a small S-Class.

Looks like a hit for Mercedes.

2014 Nissan Altima Test Drive.

 Yes. I did drive a 2013 Altima just a few months ago. So this is very familiar.
This time my test car is an SV model with no options. For a total of $24 970 including Destination Charges.
In my opinion, the Altima is still one of the best looking mid sized sedan out there.

 The interior is very nice. Especially in this tan/black combo.
A very peaceful place to be on  long trip, or stuck in city traffic.
It is also surprisingly roomy in the back. Almost as much as the Passat.
(Speaking of the Passat, the Altima's interior makes the VW feel like a car from the 90's.)

Plastics are mostly soft everywhere. The seats are very comfortable. And the base radio sounded really good.

 The main problem I had previously with the Altima, was the weird feeling from the engine/transmission at around 1500 RPM. It almost flet like it was going to stall all the time.
Which really bothered me.

For 2014, it looks like the problem has been solved. The CVT now works great.
Keeping the engine smooth and quiet almost all the time.
The car is also quieter this year. So much that it is now one of the quietest sedan around.

 The CVT has a Ds position. I usually don't bother much with these. But in this case, it works great.

It actually mimics quick shifting. And it really works. Pushing the engine to about 4000RPM when needed. (Although by that time, the 2.5 Liter isn't that smooth and quiet anymore...)
And it is super responsive.

After a couple of days, I would just leave the car in that Ds position all the time.
And I didn't really see any penalty in gas mileage.
Nissan is proud to advertise 38MPG on the Highway.
I am not sure why as it seems almost impossible to get less than 40 or 42. I even got it up to 45.

Around town, it is pretty much impossible to achieve the official number which is 27.
It is more like 23/24. Which is fine for a car this size.

The Altima is a car I would recommend now more than ever. It is smoother and quieter than last year.
Small running changes that do make a difference.

At $25 000, it is already good deal.
But as we speak, CarsDirect prices the 2014 Altima SV at less that $21 000. Which is now an amazing price.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

2015 Mercedes C Class

I must say that I really thought this was a pic of the 2014 S Class at first.
This looks quite upscale. A cross between the S class and the CLA.

Much more very soon....

Monday, October 28, 2013

2015 Ford Mustang illustrations

Looks like car And Driver magazine commissioned a few CGI illustrations of the next Mustang.

Let's just hope they are wrong.
I think these are horrible. The whole thing looks like a Chinese copy of the current car.

The base engine should be an "updated" version of the current V6. (Let's hope it sounds a bit more civilized) with 300HP.
For about $600 extra you will be able to order a 310HP version of a turbo 2.4Liter.
And of course, the good old 5.0 V8 will return for about $1900 extra. With 430HP.

The 2015 Mustang should start at $24 000.

Kia K900 US

This is the 1st official picture of the US version. The big Kia is based on the Hyundai Equus.
But it seems like a much better looking alternative.
Unlike the Equus, the Kia will be available with a V6 as a base engine. A V8 will still be an option.

It will make its debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show next month. 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

2015 Mini Cooper S

Another small teaser. Showcasing the new LED lights. (Why aren't these full circles???)

The Cooper S will feature an all new 2.0 Liter Turbo engine.

2015 Kia Sedona

Instead of giving us a production version of the super modern KV7 Concept from 3 years ago, we will get this.
Looking OK. But just another minivan.

The original concept. What a difference...

2015 Kia Sorento

Kia is already testing the next Sorento.
It has been one of their most successful model in the US. So the redesign is quite a big deal.

It already looks a bit sleeker than the current model.

BMW 2 series

 Much nicer official pictures of the new small coupe from BMW.
But even with the good light, it still doesn't really look more modern than the outgoing 1 series coupe.
Which is too bad. even the sunroof is still a small old fashion one.
Why even bother redesigning something???
A nice interior.
Which is the same as the redesigned 1 series hatchback introduced in Europe a couple of years ago. (bottom pic). So nothing really "new".

2015 Audi A3 sedan: $29 900.

Which in the US is the same price as the Mercedes CLS.

For that price you get a 1.8 Liter Turbo engine. Same as the 2014 Jetta/Beetle/Passat.
So nothing really premium here.
As an option you can step up to the 2.0 Liter Turbo. Or the TDI. (Again, just like the Jetta)
Or even a hight output version of the 2.0 Turbo in the S3 model.

The base car comes with a panoramic glass sunroof, leather seats and bi-xenon headlights.
No manual in sight, anywhere. As the only transmission for the US is the 6 speed S-tronic.

No bad. But the car itself looks like something that came out 15 years ago.
At least the CLA seems much more modern looking and different than most other Mercedes sedans.
The A3 is just another invisible Audi Sedan.

Maybe I'm old fashion, but I still think an Audi should be cheaper than a Mercedes. Especially one using the same engine as a $19 000 Jetta.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Chinese Ford Escort

 I guess the current Focus is way too crazy looking for the Chines market?
These patent designs show that Ford will indue introduce a more conservative alternative for that local market. Using the old "escort" name.

This is the concept we saw last year. As you can see, the production design above stays very close.

It is a nice looking car. Better than many other compacts we have over here (Like the poor Sentra...)

More pix (and video) of the new Honda S660 Concept

I think this is one of the best looking car Honda has come up to in years.
Like someone said here: "a real Honda".

Let's hope this translates well into production. The main issue being the top. And how to fit one...

Here is a really cool video explaining Honda's history of small sporty cars. And where the S660 comes from.
But also giving quite a bit of info about the upcoming production model.

2015 Hyundai Genesis

Looking much better in the official renderings than the long lens spy shots from a few days ago.

This could turn out to be quite nice. If not original....

Honda S660

A nice looking sporty Honda for a change.
Something cute.

The S660 will enter production next year. So far this is for Japan only. Powered by a tiny 3 cylinder engine (The 660cc).
Who knows, maybe they'll find a way to squeeze a larger engine for overseas.
Or come up with a slightly larger model and really compete with the Miata.