Saturday, November 30, 2013

2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe illustrations

The all new Coupe version of the ATS will be introduced next month.
Meanwhile, many people have tried to guess what it will look like.
These are just a few samples.
Going from the pretty realistic 2 door sedan idea, to the strange non-Cadillac looking at all. (black one).

My favorite is actually the clay model from GM's design studio. (Bottom pic).
It is weird and fun. I just would love to see it in the streets...

But, from the spy pix we have already seen, it looks like the 2 door sedan approach is the more realistic one.
Let's hope GM surprises up with something more original...

Ford Fusion test Drive

I had the chance to finally drive the Ford Fusion a few days ago. Different versions of it actually.

In person, it is as good looking as in pictures. This is easily one of the best looking sedan around, at any price.
The fact that it is affordable is even better. It does prove that great looking designs do NOT cost more to produce.

 Same thing inside. Modern, simple with very good quality materials. (Very few cheaper hard plastic bits around. Which is fine as this isn't a luxury car.)

Of course, the only problem is still the crappy Microsoft Sync system. Just use it without the voice recognition and it's fine...

 The gauges are great. Again, simple and modern. Easy to read and use.
Back seat is not as roomy as the Passat. But better than the Malibu.
It is just fine.

What is the most amazing about the Fusion is how it drives. Immediately, you notice the steering. Is is so good. In my opinion, it's about as good as a steering gets in a FWD car. Fluid, with plenty of feel. Not to light.
Right there, it feels like a much more expensive car.

The overall driving experience is, of course,  very European . Since it is basically the same car as the European Mondeo. (Finally)
The ride is firm and very comfortable.
The 2.0 Liter Turbo is a great engine and a perfect match for the car. Fast and smooth. (Although maybe not quite as quiet as the GM unit in the Regal and Malibu.)

The smaller 1.6 Liter still has enough power. But it is a little bit rougher and noisier. As expected I guess.
As usual, city MPG with a turbo is actually just OK. I did match the official 22 MPG number.
But I did manage above 34 MPG HWY, a bit better than the 32MPG official.

The Fusion is one of the very best mid sized sedan you can get.
It looks and drives great. I would really recommend it to anyone looking for a family car.

I can actually say, that if I was in the market, this is the car I would get. (With the 2.0 Liter engine.)

This is one version we do not get in the US: The hatchback. Which I think looks great.

We also do not get the panorama glass roof option. ( I guess it would compete with the All Glass Opening roof from the Lincoln MKZ...)

Too bad...

Friday, November 29, 2013

Cadillac ELR

There is no doubt the new Cadillac ELR looks fantastic. From any angle, in any color.
And after sitting in one, I can say the interior is as great as the exterior.

Just like the Chevrolet Volt, it doesn't offer a sunroof.
They also got rid of the hatchback. So even though it looks like one, is has one of the tiniest trunk openings I have ever seen.
The tan interior (pictured here) is the same hue as the one offered in the Volt since last year. More like a beige light brown.
(Not as nice as the tan/black combo the Volt used to offer.)

And the huge flaw is of course the $75 000 price tag.
The fantastic design doesn't cost more to make. The great interior is is not better than the new CTS. Or even the ATS.
And underneath, it is really the same as the $34 000 Volt. (It still uses the "not so quiet 1.4 Liter engine" as generator)
We are talking about a huge $41 000 premium for a better interior and design!

The pricing of this car has to be the weirdest business decision I have heard in years. About any product.

For whatever reason, GM has decided to kill this amazing looking car before it even comes out...

Saab to restart production on Monday!

 Yes they are.
New owner NEVS will actually resume production of the 9-3 sedan next week. It will be sold in Europe and Chine.
As you can see, it has a few small changes outside from the last time we saw a new 9-3, which was 2 1/2 years ago.
They are also considering production of the wagon and convertible as well.

The big mystery is the engine. All we know is that it is a 4 cylinder Turbo from another manufacturer.
(As they cannot use GM parts anymore)
Any ideas???

And of course, an electric version is coming up as well. Since, after all, the full name of the company is "National Electric Vehicles Sweden"...
This is what the 9-3 looked like before. Very similar indeed.

The good news is that they are still working on getting the all new, Phoenix platform based, design out.
Both a sedan and convertible styles are planned.
They are actively working on removing the last 20% GM parts used on the platform.

Once this is done ,we will actually get all new Saabs.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

2015 Hyundai Genesis interior

Seems really nice, so far.
What came out as boring in early grainy pictures seems more "understated" now.
They just didn't go for a flashy look. Which is nice.

This could turn out to be quite a classy car in real life.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

L.A Auto Show: A few small notes.

 From some angles, the all new Lincoln MKC looks a lot like the Audi Q5 it will compete with. Which is not a bad thing, I think.
The Lincoln will start at about $2000 less for the AWD model. But the Lincoln is available as FWD for $34 000. Or about $4000 than the base Q5 (Which has AWD standard)
 The all new Tahoe's interior is not that bad. It IS better than the old one. Materials area fine.
(But the column shifter is still archaic in a 2014 model)
 The all new Corvette interior is not that great. No matter what they say. There is way too much of that grey plastic everywhere... (Or maybe it just doesn't matter once you drive it...)
 The Mercedes CLA/GLA vents are really, really nice. And they feel great, if a little weird. (Like if they are on hydraulics. Really fluid...)
The interior of the all new 2014 Nissan Rogue is nicer than the one in the Pathfinder. Really.
Even the plastics are better. Higher quality.

Sure, it is a bit smaller inside, but not that much.
But a lot cheaper. And you can get the cool panorama sunroof option, which is not available in the Pathfinder.

I think this one will hurt his big brother quite a bit...

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Next Nissan Cube?

At firs tit might look like the small NV200 van. But I drove one recently (review coming up) and it is not it.
The only thing it could be is the next Cube.

I've heard that Nissan might not bring the next version of the Cube over to the US.
Even though sales were down to about 7700 units last year, they peaked at 22 968 back in 2010.

These numbers might not be enough fir another US Cube. Although this picture was indeed taken in the US....

2015 Honda Fit Sedan/City

Just some pictures from the launch in India.
Again, this is, for the 1st time, coming to the US. Where it will compete with the Versa sedan.
It already seems a much, much nicer car than the Nissan.

I think this will actually also hurt the Civic. At least the low end models of the sedan.

More and better pictures very soon...

2015 Hyundai Genesis

We have seen it before, but these are official pictures of the all new Genesis.
Looking much better than the 1st generation.

Engines are similar, with both the 3.8 Liter V6 and 5.0 Liter V8 still being offered. Both with an 8 speed auto.
They say everything is "real" inside. Real wood, real aluminum trim etc...
So far so good.

Its not stunning, but being better than the 1st one, it is still an amazing value.
The current model starts at around $35 000. Much less than the $45 000 Lexus GS.
(I am not including BMW or Mercedes in its competition. As people who buy these cars almost never consider anything else.)

More on this car very soon.

Monday, November 25, 2013

More pictures of the new Honda Civic Tourer

This modern looking wagon is based on the Euro Civic Hatchback. So this is not for us.
Which is too bad.

You would think maybe Acura could use something that stands out in a crowd...

Volvo S60 L

This long version of the good looking S60 is for China only.
Adding over 3 inches to the wheelbase doesn't make the car look weird at all.
But it looks like it makes quite a difference inside.

It has now a slightly longer wheelbase than the S80. While looking much more modern.

2015 Honda Fit Sedan

There was always a sedan version of the Fit. Called the City in most markets.
We just never got it here in the US.

Things will change next year when the sedan version of the new Fit will join the hatchback in the US.
For the 1st time, we will be getting a smaller Honda sedan than the Civic.

While the new Fit is one of the worst design ever, the sedan isn't bad. It seems that, somehow, the lines work much better here.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Next Toyota Camry mule?

This was taken in the Los Angeles area.
It looks like a mule for a "longer than Corolla" sedan. Which would mostly be the Camry.
Although the next Camry isn't due before 2016 at least.

Unless they decided they need an early redesign to better compete?

What do you think?

BMW i3 Quick drive video.

Shot very quickly, with my phone.
So the quality isn't great. But it does give you an idea.

Just thought I would share...

Saturday, November 23, 2013

BMW i3 Quick drive

I had a change to drive BMW’s futuristic i3 as part of a media event a few days ago.
And very much looking forward to experience the “BMW of electric cars”.

By now, we have all seen pictures of the i3. In person, it stands pretty tall. And the whole thing looks really futuristic. Like a car designed for a sci fi movie. But I guess, it is 2013, and it’s about time for some cars to look like they’ve been designed in the 21st century.
The weirdest thing I noticed was how narrow the tires 155/70 look on such large 19-inch wheels.

 Inside, it is pretty amazing. It is like no other car. Seems like the designers were on a mission to rethink the way car interiors look and feel.
Everything is intuitive. Things are where they supposed to be. But everything looks different.
The 2 screens on the dash seem to be floating.

 The optional twin glass panels give the whole interior a more open feel.

 The back seat is roomy. More so than I was expecting since the car is really compact. (It is about 2 inches shorter than a Fiesta hatchback). And access is really easy since there is no B pillar.

 The materials used are also treated very differently. (The wood piece looks especially nice.)  BMW makes a point of showing off the recycled materials throughout the high quality interior.

The trunk is also fine. The floor is a bit high, but that is expected.

As for the drive. It first feels like, well, most other electric cars. Super quite with lots of torque right away. 

But I quickly found out that you don’t need to use the break pedal to slow down. Just lifting your foot off the right pedal slows the car down. Eventually to a full stop. So you basically would only use the actual brake pedal to really stop the car in a hurry. Not in normal driving.
Which is really, really weird. At first.

I quickly got used to it. And found myself driving and stopping with one foot most of the time. So BMW has basically also re invented the way we drive a car. And it does make a lot of sense.
The only problem I would see if for those who own another car. Going back and forth between the i3 and anything else might feel a bit weird.

The steering is very direct. Although it does feel a bit artificial, and not as fluid as I thought it would be.
And the “big yet skinny” tires provide quite a firm ride. Almost too much around town.

The i3 will start at around $41 000. $45 000 when you get the “range extender” 500CC gas engine. It ads about 90 miles to the range. 
Which I think is the way to go. Unless you never plan to travel.
In California these prices will be reduced by around $10 000 after various incentives.

And I think an electric BMW for $30 000 is quite a deal. Even better if they come up with super affordable lease.

I predict long waiting list...