Monday, March 31, 2014

2015/16 Chevrolet Cruze

This is obviously a Chinese version of the next Chevrolet Cruze.
But it also match perfectly every single spy shot I have seen of the next US Cruze.
So I would think they are the same car.

Not sure why this is not covered at all, and has all the logos on it. Kind of weird since the new Cruze hasn't been announced yet.

Also, I have seen (and posted here) spy photos of a "China only" updated version of the current model. Which this is not.
So it looks like they would be selling both over there.

I must say I am a little disappointed by this new model. At least from these pictures.
It doesn't seem better than the current one. Different, but not really better....
Or even remotely original.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Something you don't see every day...

This was at a shop in Glendale. A few days ago.
Not sure what is going on there. Obviously an Eldorado, with a pick up truck bed... And 6 wheels!

Just wonder if it is old, or in the process of being built.

Next time I drive by (on my way to the great Golden Road Brewery), I will stop and ask.

2015 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport

The Santa Fe is getting a few changes for 2015.
And by looking at these pictures, I mean VERY FEW.

the white car is the "new" one. All I can see is new mirrors and LED lights up front.
Not sure what else is in store for the US model.

The Santa Fe still looks great and I really think there was no need whatsoever for this...

Friday, March 28, 2014

Ford Transit Van testing in the US

 This is the US version of Ford's replacement for the aging (To say the least) E series van.

It is basically the same as the one sold in Europe.
Which is a bit sad to me. As I never liked the look of these European delivery vans. They just always look too tall and narrow.

But now even the Dodge ones (now ram) are replaced by the "skinny and tall" Fiat versions.

It seems GM's Express is the last of its kind.
Unless it gets replaced by the new Opel version we saw a few weeks ago.

This is the death of the American Van...
Here is the Euro version, shown at the Detroit show.
As you can see, the US one seems to be exactly the same.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

2016 Mazda Miata

There are a few rumors about the all new Miata showing up at the New York auto show next month.

Mazda is indeed planning a 25 Anniversary celebration at the show. But no one knows if the new model will be there or not.
Some say they will only show the new chassis. (Who cares)

It would be really nice to see the all new model. As it has been referred to as "best design ever" by some Mazda people.
So expectations are really high.

But I had also heard previously that the car wouldn't be shown before next year.
They did have a deal with Fiat to share the platform with an all new Alfa Romeo model.
Since it seems that might not be happening anymore, it could be that Mazda just decided to show the car early.
Who knows.

This illustration above is OK. But not really the "best design ever" I am now waiting for...

2015 Toyota Camry coming up soon.

The revised Camry will be officially shown on April 16th.

So far, the only official word is " will challenge conventional expectations of mid-cycle model change".
So that would mean quite a bit more than the usual "new headlights and bumpers".
(It is also what is being said about the 2015 Jetta and 2016 Passat)

Being a mid-cycle refresh, the profile won't change much.
But we could be seeing a whole new front, rear and interior. And maybe new engines? (2.0 Liter Turbo?)

No matter what, the Camry is still the best selling car in the US, so Toyota won't be going nuts with crazy styling.

What would you like to see in the 2015 Camry?

2015/16 Subaru Legacy STI?

Not sure yet. But there could be a sportier version of the all new Legacy on the way.
With a rumored 300HP engine.
Right now, the top engine is the 3.6 Liter V6.

So not sure if they would even offer an STI version in the US or not.

Seems to me that it would be a car that Subaru fans would love. But others wouldn't even care about...

2015 Chrysler 200 MPG

The base 2.4 model is officially rated at 23/36MPG.
While the V6 gets 19/32.
(These are for the FWD versions.)

Not the best numbers but still very good.
These "official" numbers don't mean that much anyway. Since all mid sized sedans seem to be getting similar results in real world driving.
I usually get more than the official number on the freeway, and a bit less around town.
And never get over 18 around town with  big V6 like the 3.6 Liter in the Chrysler.

On another note, I was told that the 200 EV pictures I posted a while ago are actually of the Plug-In Hybrid upcoming version. Not a pure EV.
And after seeing the new 200 in the streets, I can say it looks  less like a Ford Fusion in the Flesh.

But most reviews I have seen still complain about the 9 speed auto (Which I think is a stupid idea in the 1st place)
And about the base 2.4 Liter still not being as smooth as the competition. Which could be bad for the 200 since they expect this engine to be in over 70% of the cars sold.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

2015 Mustang Convertible Video

This new video explains the new top designs. Also compares it to the current model.

The only think that seems a bit strange, is that it still has a latch. Only one, which is better.
But still. The current Beetle convertible top is fully automatic.
Even in the base model which costs about $5000 less than the Mustang convertible.

So the new Mustang top is better. But not that great....

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

All new SportWagen R coming up.

The new Wagon version of the Golf will be getting the R treatment. Soon.

Which could be quite interesting. Since the new Golf R is making 290HP.
The R is coming over to the US. But who knows about the wagon.
We are getting the regular wagon here powered by the new 1.8 Liter Turbo and the 150HP 2.0 Diesel.

Should they send us the R version?
Is there even a market for this here?

Ford Everest "Concept"

The Everest is a Ranger based SUV that has been available in a bunch of foreign markets for years. Many years.
So it is time for a redesign.

Still not car based. The Everest could be seen as "What the Explorer could shave been" if it kept its truck roots.

So far no words on US sales, but it is pretty unlikely.
Since it would be hard to squeeze this between the Escape, Edge and Explorer...

But it does look pretty nice.

What do you think?  Should Ford bring this one over here?

Monday, March 24, 2014

2015 Subaru Outback?

Could be... I guess.
It is always a jacked up wagon version of whatever the current Legacy is.
So why not this.

The current one seems popular but quite vulgar looking. In my opinion.

I prefer the previous version. Which seemed much more like a wagon and didn't try so hard to look like a truck.

2015 Nissan Murano Teaser

We can't see much.
But the final design should look very close to the Resonance Concept from last year.

Which could make the new Murano stand out from the new Rogue and Pathfinder.

The Murano is now in a similar situation than the Maxima. Their little brothers (Rogue/Altima) are getting so good and popular, they seem to be getting lost.

Both Maxima and Murano are expected to get quite striking designs.

2015 Hyundai Sonata

 In my opinion, this is a big step backward.

It looks like a more boring version of the current model.
It doesn't look new (although most "new" cars don't these days...).

It looks like it came out before the current model.
Same thing inside.

I don't get it. The Sonata is a big hit for Hyundai. And the current design pretty much put them on the map as far as mid sized sedans are concerned.
I don't understand why they would now come up with this.
While the current model was one of the most modern looking sedan, this is now one of the most conservative.
I guess they see the Camry and Passat as competition now. Instead of more modern cars like the Fusion or Chrysler 200.

This one is for the old people.
So similar and yet, older looking.

The new 2015 model is the white one on top.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Chrysler 200 EV

Or at least plug-in Hybrid.
But that wouldn't explain the lack of exhaust pipes. Or the fact that they are so obviously blocked...

I witnessed the car myself and it is 100% quiet when driving. No engine noise.

So it does look like Chrysler is working on an electric version of the new 200. Or at least, using the 200 to test a new electric powertrain.

What do you think?

Thursday, March 20, 2014

VW Jetta 1.8Turbo Test Drive

The design is the same for 2014. Nothing seems to have changed.
Which seems a bit weird. Since there is a "mid cycle refresh" due very soon.
Strange they didn't wait a few months to introduce the new engine and new look together...

Its current design can be described as boring. Or classic. Depending on your taste.
I think it is a bit of both. It looks fine for most people. And should age pretty well.

The interior is also the same. ( I hear the "refresh" will come with a new dash. Mimicking the 2015 Golf). It is both boring and quite cheap.

The model I tested was an "SE W/Connectivity". Which did NOT include the newer soft plastic dash some Jetta models now have.
So it is hard and quite cheap looking. Everywhere.
(Although I thought the window switches on the pic above looked quite nice. Actually better than in the Cadillac ATS I drove a few weeks ago)

The main thing about the Jetta interior is still space. Lots of it. Especially in the back where it is roomier than many mid sized sedans.

The steering wheel does look and feel great though. As does the manual shifter.
Doors feel OK when you close them. But nothing special.
The stereo in this model sounded fine. (But nothing like the higher end Fender system)
So the engine is all new. A small 1.8 Liter Turbo, replacing the big 2.5 Liter.
And just like it's 2.0 Liter big brother, it is a little rough idling when cold. (Although much better than the 2.0 Liter engine with its diesel like sound.)
The 1.8 seems in general smoother and quieter than the 2.0.
But not much more than the old 2.5.

The difference is in the power delivery. By 2000RPM, there is a very satisfying rush of power the old 2.5 Liter never had. And it feels quite sporty.
The steering also feels better, a bit firmer than before. Which goes great with the new engine.

Otherwise, the ride is still very solid and smooth. The Jetta is just a very comfortable car in general.
It does feel like a more upscale car to drive.

Besides the added power, the main attraction here is better gas mileage.
It is rated at 26/36. I got 28 in the city. And quite amazingly, had no problem getting 43 on the freeway.
These numbers are not only better than the old engine, but are getting pretty close to the diesel version.
Which is rated at 30/42. (Although I did get 32/50 in my test drive last year)

My test car was priced at $20 420.
Or about $3000 less than the similarly equipped TDI version.
The TDI also uses more expensive diesel.

I think the 2014 Jetta with the new 1.8 Turbo feels much more German than before.
It is a fast, solid , roomy comfortable car.
With the new engine and revised suspension/steering it should really be on everyone's list when looking for a compact sedan.
I just think it is actually bad news for the TDI. (I don't think the $3000 difference is worth it anymore.)

But. I would really recommend waiting for the 2015 model. (Which should be introduced next month). It will get a new front end and rear lights. And probably a revised interior as well.

Which it really, really needs.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Something you don't see every day...

A real Rolls Royce. (Not the current tank looking one)

It still looks great, expensive and classy. Always great to see one of these around.

2016 Bentley SUV

Yes they are actually going to make an SUV.

They showed us the EXP 9F Concept back in 2012. Which was one of the worst designs I have ever seen.
(It looked like a drunk teenager's idea of a bentley SUV.)

Now they have released the 1st picture of the production model.
And it already looks much better.

Let's hope the rest of the body has been redesigned as well...

Monday, March 17, 2014

Next Renault Espace

The Initiale Paris Concept from last year was obviously a preview of the new Espace.

But as you can see, it has been toned down quite a bit for production.
The proportions are quite different, and much less aggressive.
It actually looks more like a minivan with regular doors now.

I really liked the look of the concept.
Maybe an AWD version will come later. With larger wheels and some of the off road look of the concept.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Another pic of the 2016 Ford Taurus mule.

Now some people are saying this is a mule for Lincoln. Since the large MKS is soon due for a redesign.

Not sure... The horizontal grille behind the camo doesn't really say Lincoln.
Unless this is also part of the camouflage and the real grille is behind the whole thing.
(But then, why even test that)

Is Lincoln is again redesigning the front end of their cars??? Horizontal this time.

Or it is just plain and simple the next Taurus...

Only one thing is 100% sure: It is NOT a Mercury.

Friday, March 14, 2014

2015 Hyundai Sonata Interior (Update: it's NOT)

The top picture is the all new Sonata.
The bottom is the new Genesis.

They look really similar.
 I guess the "flat dash" look is Hyundai's new black.

Let's hope they aren't trying to pull "an Audi" on us. With one design of different sizes for every car they make.
That would be too bad...

UPDATE: The top picture does NOT match the official sketch (bellow) at all.
So it is probably not the new Sonata interior.

2016 Ford Taurus !

Of course this is just a test mule, and not the final design.

Still, it does show quite different proportions than the current model. Lower, wider.
From what we have seen recently with other Ford designs, this could be quite a looker.
Looks like a really attractive large sedan is taking shaper here.

It will go head to head against the next Nissan Maxima. Itself expected to look quite modern too.

I have more on this and will post it very soon.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

All new Datsun Sedan

 This is basically the sedan version of the "Go" hatchback we have seen before.

And it will be one of the ugliest car produced on this planet.
This "official sketch" doesn't even try to make it look good. This is how bad the design is.

The new sedan isn't a big surprise, since it was already caught testing in Russia a few weeks ago.
Here it is, in all its glory.

Sure, it will be cheap. Very cheap.
Still. Cheap shouldn't be that ugly.

I guess this would be for people who have never had a car before.

It is kind of sad to see Nissan reviving the Datsun name to sell crappy cars.

2015 Hyundai Sonata

Leaking more and more. Which means we will see official pictures very soon.
Looking fine. But the more I see it, the more conservative it looks.
It also looks a lot (a lot!) like the new 2015 Subaru Legacy.
Although the Hyundai seems a bit more dynamic.

These two will be hard to tell what they are when seen from the rear view mirror...

More pictures of the 2015 Mercedes C-Class

What an amazing looking interior.
A near perfect blend of modern and luxury.

Not sure exactly how much the new C-Class will be. But it seems to be a huge step up from the new CLA. I sat in a few CLA models and can honestly say that they are nice, but nothing special.
Interior quality is fine, but not better than most cheaper mid sized cars .
This, on the other hand, looks very special and upscale.

Sure, it does look a lot like the S-Class. But I don't see it as a bad thing.
A small Mercedes that looks like the big $100 000 one is still better than the big Audi A8 being a clone of the much cheaper A4.