Thursday, July 31, 2014

Jaguar XE

 This is actually the first official picture of the all new Jaguar XE sedan.
Which will compete directly with the BMW 3 series, Mercedes C-Class, Audi A4 and Kia Rio.

It is RWD and will be powered by an all new 2.0 Liter Turbo as well as a 3.0 Liter V6.
No matter what the XE looks like, I am pretty sure it won't look as good as the B99 Bertone Concept from 2011.

Although I must say I am surprised that the grille looks so similar...

2015/16 Fiat Bravo

Not sure if this is real or not.
But the Bravo compact is due for a redesign soon.

And, even though "Fiat is back" in the US. We probably will never get the Bravo.
(Since Fiat seems to thing we only deserve models that have the name 500 in them.)

Unless they add round headlights and call it the "Fiat 500 Bravo", we won't see it over here...

2015 Mercedes C-Class prices.

It will start at $38 400 for the base C300.
But like the GLA, this "base" model is only available early next year.
If you want a new C-Class right now (August 25th), you'll have to spend $40 400 for the C300 4MATIC.
Or $48 590 for the V6 C400 4MATIC.

Just like with BMW, these names don't mean anything anymore.

With the C300, you are NOT getting a 3.0 Liter engine.
You are getting a 2.0 Liter with 241HP.

And you are NOT getting a 4.0 Liter with the C400, you are getting a 3.0 Liter with 329HP.

(I guess some marketing genius thinks calling a car C200 sounds cheap...)

The new model is about $6000 more than the "old" one. Which is quite a jump.
Actually making sense for them since it allows more room for the new CLA.
But it is also about $6000 more than a base 3 series from BMW. And even more compared to a base Audi A4.

So Mercedes isn't trying to compete on pricing. Looks like they are positioning themselves at the top.

(Which I think they should...)

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Mercedes prices all new GLA SUV

It will start at $31 300. Or $1400 more than the CLA sedan it is based on.
Which is a really good price.

After sitting in both, I can tell you that the GLA is much roomier, especially in the back.
It's basically a better looking hatchback version of the sedan.

It comes standard with Power lift gate, Chrome roof rails (who cares) memory seats.

But the base model won't be available until early 2015.
If you want one now (or next month that is), you'll have to get the GLA250 4Matic (AWD) for $33 300.
And the AMG version will set you back $48 300.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

2015 Land Rover Discovery Sport

Land Rover has just released official pictures of a camouflaged prototype of their new SUV.
So we can actually see the whole shape.
And where the seats are. They also mentioned that, in the UK, it will offer 7 seats.

From the picture above, it looks like these last 2 seats are about an inch from the hatch.
It doesn't look like adults can actually fit back there.
So this will probably not be offered here.

This is supposed to compete directly with the all new Mercedes GLK.

We should see the whole thing really soon since it will be introduced next month.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

VW CC Test Drive.

 Even though it has been around for over 6 years now, the CC still looks great.
I have been curious about this car for a while, and was really happy to finally get to drive one for a week.

Unfortunately, my test car was the "R-Line" model. Which doesn't really add anything to improve the performance.
But its specific lumber pretty much ruins the front end of the car.
And the whole thing in white doesn't look too exciting ...
 It might just be a detail for most, but the 1st thing I noticed is how low the car was. For a sedan.
You notice it even before entering the car, as the door handles are really low. I had to reach down.
Which is really strange for a sedan.
Its like eating at a table that is too low...
 Inside, well... It's even older than outside. Since the CC inherited the "old" Passat dashboard.
So it is pretty much a 9 year old interior.
It was already conservative back then. Now it really starts showing its age.
 The back seat is actually roomier than I was expecting.
 A few things that bugged me after a week. About that "old" interior:

-The B pillar is just so wide. It creates a major blind spot when you're looking over your shoulder.
 -The display looks old fashion and cheap. It is both low rez and tiny compared to anything else out there (Except the cheapest Nissan models )

 -The key. Not a key but not a push button either. Also old fashion. (Or just plain old.)

 -Another annoyance is the placement of the Phone/iPod wire.
Inside the glove compartment. Which makes zero sense .

Also making zero sense is the absence of USB plug. (Just like in any other VWs)
So you need an adapter for anything that isn't an iPhone 4 or 4S.

 As far as driving...

Well, the 2.0 Liter and DSG has never been my favorite ( actually one of the worse combo out there).
But over the years, VW has improved it a lot.
The new version of their 2.0 Liter Turbo is much nicer. And the improved DSG does behave better as well.

But in the CC, you get the old stuff.
The combination of Turbo lag and slow to respond DSG is as horrible as it can be.

The engine still has that "quiet diesel" sound when cold (The newer version is much better)
It always feels like it starts in 2nd. (Not sure it actually does, but it sure feels like it)
So there's no power at first.
You can try S mode, but you'll end up being stuck in 4th gear at 80MPH. With the engine doing 3000RPM. (Not the best for gas mileage)

The worst part of the driving experience is in stop and go traffic. Where the car always feels like it is going to stall when slowing down to a stop. Or starting up slowly.
It is just a pain. And it happens every single time.

Something I actually never got used to .

Otherwise, it is really quiet when cruising. Feels super solid.
But the steering is still too light (something common to recent VW models) even though it is quite precise.
It is rated at 22/31 MPG.
I observed 24/35 over a week of driving.

My test car was $34 990. Which, in my opinion, is quite expensive for what it is.
Sure, it looks great. But it lacks a rear view camera, doesn't come with VW's great Fender stereo, etc...

And that old version of the DSG really kills any fun out of driving.

Here is the "regular" front end.
Which fits the rest of the car so much better...

Friday, July 25, 2014

2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe

Nothing new really.
Just some new pictures from GM.

I really think the ATS will work better as a coupe.
After test driving one for a week a few months ago, I was surprised how unusable was the rear seat, and the tiny rear doors.
So things won't be much worse with 2 doors, plus it does look a bit better.

It is still pretty boring and really does not stand out in any way.
But at least the proportions seem a bit better to me.

I can't help but remembering the first generation CTS. Which was a car that did stand out in a crowd. With a simple and modern design for its time.
Since, Cadillac has been busy adding lines, chrome and details everywhere.

It's just too bad...

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

2015 Porsche Cayenne

Not all new. But as you can see, new front and rear ends.

And looking really good.
This freshens things up without ruining anything.

In the US we will be getting this in 4 versions.
Cayenne Diesel, Turbo, S and the new Cayenne S E-Hybrid.

Good job.

Monday, July 21, 2014

2015 Buick Envision

This is the so called "Chinese Market version".
That's what they usually say when something doesn't look great.

Then, a few months later, it lands in the US, pretty much the same.

So this is basically the Buick version of the redesigned Chevrolet Equinox.
At least in China, the Buck version is powered by the usual 2.0 Liter Turbo.

This doesn't look horrible. But not great either.
That big grille is getting old. It needs to be modernized a bit. Quite a bit.
And from the back, it looks like it could be anything, from anyone...

Better pix coming really soon.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Lexus LF-LC Concept approved for production.

And apparently, it will be very close to the concept (pictured above). About 90% close.

I think this is great news. The LF-LC is quite stunning. This would make a great model for Lexus to go against the 6 series or S Class coupe. ( I guess that's was the "old" SC was anyway.)

We should see the real thing by 2016.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

2016 Alfa Romeo Giulia

This, of course, is just an illustration.
As we really knows what Alfa's next mid size sedan will look like.

It was, for a while, rumored to be based on the new Chrysler 200 platform. But now it looks like Alfa will be getting its own RWD platform instead.
Which is a good thing.

The new mid size sedan might be their most important model yet. Since it will compete with the Audi A4, C-Class, 3 Series and Volvo S60. And the all new Jaguar XE.
Quite a crowd. Unlike the new 4C, this could sell in real numbers.

And I really wouldn't mind if it ended up looking like the illustration above, or close to it...

More pictures of the new 2015 Mazda2

These are better pictures of the all new Mazda2.
And what a great looking little car, inside and out.

Amazingly enough, Mazda has already started building them in Japan today.

No word on the US engine.
But it will probably be the same as the 1.5 Liter used in Japan.
Although we will not be getting the more powerful 1.5 Diesel version here.

If there is one thing.... I haven't seen any pictures of the car with a sunroof. This is something that was missing on the previous version.
Seems that Mazda doesn't care much for sunroofs. Since the 3 and 6 only have that old fashion small one as an option. (No modern glass roofs anywhere in their line up...)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

2015 Mazda2

Looking really cute. Pretty much exactly like a smaller Mazda3.
(I guess that's what everyone is doing now. One design for all...)

Interior seems to be a big step forward. More upscale than the current model.
And much better than the Fiesta.  (Although I still think the Fiesta hatchback looks great.
Maybe even better than this.)

Power should come from a new 1.5 Liter engine. An all new 1.5 Liter Diesel will also be offered. But not in the US. (Where Mazda has still not introduced the Mazda6 Diesel. Which was scheduled for last year here.)

2015 Smart ForTwo and ForFour

 So they are all new and still look like Smart cars.
And at the same time, more like regular cars. Inside and out.

No news yet about engines. But to me, these should all be electric.
There are many roomier cars getting better MGPs around. So these need to be different.

So far, it seems that only the 2 door has been approved for the US.
Which is a huge mistake. The 4 door could actually compete with many more cars.