Wednesday, January 28, 2015

2016 Buick LaCrosse

The LaCrosse will be all new for 2016.
And here are some pictures of the interior. Which already looks quite nice and modern.
I still like the current model. I think the design and interior held up quite well over the years.

From what I've seen of spy shots, the new exterior will be much slicker.  While the redesigned interior seems classy and elegant. Actually reminds me quite a bit of a production version of the Avenir Concept interior
Here is the Avenir. Of course, it seems much nicer.
But you can see many similarities with the next LaCrosse interior.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

2016 Fiat 500

I had read somewhere a while ago that it would be "all new" for 2017.
Which, I guess is wrong, since they are getting this "refresh" ready for later this year.

Which will include revised front and rear end, but especially a new interior (At least the dashboard)
As you can see, there will be room for a screen. Which means a proper GPS option will be available.

I guess that means an all new one is at least 3 years away now.
Quite a long time. Even though we've had the car for just a few years in the US. It has been on sale in Europe since 2007!

2016/17 Mercedes E.Class

This is just an illustration.
But it looks pretty realistic. Since it blends a bunch of current Mercedes designs into one.

And it does look really good. Quite stylish for the E Class.

We should see the real thing before the end of the year.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Next Alfa-Romeo sedan

I think these look great.
But trey are just illustrations. Not the real thing (Although that won'd stop some people from discussing them as if they were the actual car...)

The official date is June 24th.
Only then, will we know how good looking the replacement for the Alfa 159 is.
Not sure of the name yet either. Although I am sure "Giulia" is being considered.

And of course, we are already getting crazy numbers from Fiat bossman Sergio Marchionne.
Like 400 000 sales a year by 2018. 150 000 of these in the US alone.

Let's put this in perspective:
-So far, the whole brand has sold less than 55 000 cars in Europe in 2014.
( I am not sure anyone has ever almost quadruple sales in 3 or 4 years before...)
-Back in 2011, he had predicted 50 000 sales of the 500 in the US. It actually sold about 19 000 that year. And is still under 35 000 units for 2014.

Don't get me wrong, I cannot wait for Alfa to return in the US with a mainstream model.
And I also can't wait to see something with style competing with German bricks like the 3 series and A4.
I just think quoting these crazy numbers help the brand in any way...

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Renault Scala and Pulse

Yes, Renault.
NOT Nissan.

But these look pretty familiar. Since the white car is basically a Nissan Versa sedan with a Renault front end.
And the Pulse hatchback is a Nissan Micra. (Which is not sold in the US, but in Europe and Canada)

The front ends are different than the Nissan versions, but don't really look like anything from Renault either.

These are for the Indian market.

I just wonder if some Renault products could ever end up in the US as Nissans. Ever....

Wednesday, January 21, 2015


Yes, I know... "BYD Tang".
And yes, it does look a lot like a weird version of the Lexus RX. With a bit of everything else thrown in there.

But let's get past the name. (As well as some design elements). And take a look at the specs:

-2.0 Liter Engine with 205HP
-2 electric motors with 150HP each.
-505 HP total!!!
-531 lb ft of torque!!!
-117MPG !!!!

I repeat:
-505HP and 117MPG!

It all sounds crazy. On top of it all, the price. Starting at the equivalent of $48 000.
Before local incentives.
Which right now, in China, would bring the actual cost down to around $35 000.

Imagine that...
A $35 000 SUV with 505HP that gets 117MPG.
Again, it sounds pretty crazy and unreal.

The Warren Buffet backed Chinese company will introduced other plug-in SUVS in 2015. Named  Song and Yuan. A third one named Ming will follow later.

I mean, if Warren Buffet's company owns part of it, it can't be that bad. Right?

I can't wait for someone to actually drive this thing and report on it....

The crowd funding of "Burlapp trip to China" starts right now!

Next Audi Q5?

This was sent to me. As the next (2016/17?) Q5.
Not sure.

It could be. As the Q5 is due for a redesign pretty soon. ( I think right after the next A4 sedan)

So who knows.

What do you think?

2015 VW GTI Test Drive

I must say, sometimes I wish the Golf/GTI was a bit more futuristic. After all, we are in 2015.
But every time they redesign it, they seem to keep the personality of the original version, designed by Giugiaro back in the 70's.
And I actually really like that.

So it is quite modern, but still 100% Golf. And like all other generations, it will still look good when the next one comes out.
And again, the GTI just looks like a sporty Golf. Which is what it always has been.

Inside, things are getting better with each redesign. Just when you though the Golf/GTI had pretty much the highest quality interior in the segment, VW finds a way to do something even better.

The quality in the new GTI is just above anything else in its class.
Just like outside, there is nothing futuristic here.
Just high end materials everywhere. One of the most satisfying sounding door around.
And everything feels super solid and well made.

But I have to say, if rear seat room is a priority, get the Jetta GLI instead. The GTI is OK, but much smaller back there.

The front seats are fantastic. Reminding me of the ones in the old "New Beetle" Turbo S.
They hold you tight no matter what. But watch out for the larger frames. I am pretty thin, and I don't think everyone would actually fit comfortably in them...

The trunk is fine. There is plenty of room. And just like the rest of the car, it is very well finished.

The new giant sunroof is great. But they got rid of the cool "wheel" control they have been using for years. The "sliding thingy" isn't really an improvement, in my opinion...
VW still refuses to use real USB cables for the stereo system. So, again, you're tuck with what they give you.
That cable in my test car came a bit loose after a few days. So it was kind of a pain not being able to replace it quickly with a regular USB...
Otherwise, the Fender should system is still one of the best available. And probably, the best one at this price.

The drive is pretty fantastic.

The 1st thing I noticed was how much better the DSG is. It doesn't feel like it's going to stall when you stop. And 1st gear behavior is much smoother than before.
The lag I used to notice isn't there anymore either.

(Although the downshifting is still a bit too abrupt when slowing down.)

The steering is super precise. But could still be a little bit heavier (Especially in "Sport" mode)
The suspension is really firm. Not too hard, but it might be a bit much for some people.
Although, I must say, if you want a softer cruiser, get the regular Golf.

The engine does sound a bit noisier than other similar 2.0 Liter Turbo from GM or Ford.
But only when cold. Once warmed up, things are very quiet and super smooth.
Acceleration is simply amazing. And almost scary when using the Sport Mode.
Freeway onramps became as much fun as a Disneyland ride. Every time.

You just want to drive it fast, all the time. (Which could end up being costly...)

It is rated at 25City/33Highway.
I got about 26 in the city. But got an amazing 42 on the freeway. Without even trying hard.

It seems that VW is always showing HWY ratings much bellow what you actually get. (Especially their Diesel ones where I never could get under 50MPG on the FWY while the official rating is about 42)
Really strange...

The GTI is a great ride.

It is one car you can have fun driving every day. And you can take your friends and their stuff when you want to. It might just be the most practical "Funmobile" around.

It looks quite upscale and feels like a more expensive car.
Although the 2015 GTI starts at around $26 000, my car was an "SE w/Performance" model.
Which was $29 095. (Plus destination)
Including the DSG and a performance package for $1495.

It had the giant sunroof and the amazing Fender stereo. But no GPS.

I think I would save on the performance package and the DSG myself.

It really was tough to give the car back after a week. That pretty much sums it all up...

2016 Honda Pilot

Already looking much better than the current model.

We should see the whole thing in just a few weeks since the unveiling will take place on Feb12th.

On a side note, I remember a few years ago, getting emails from one of the designers of the current version. After I did a post on how boring I thought the design was.
This guy became angrier with each email, finally threatening to "kick my ass" if he ever saw me.

Let's see what happens this time around...

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

2016 Chinese Buick Excelle

The Excelle is basically our Verano for the Chinese market.
Both are versions of the Opel Astra Sedan. Which is scheduled to be all new this year.

So far it just looks too close to the current car. There is  really nothing new.
The stunning Avenir Concept from the Detroit Show showed a new grille design for Buick.
But it looks like the Excelle/Verano won't be getting it. Yet...

Friday, January 16, 2015

Let's play: "Spot the Chevys"

This is what Chevrolet was showing a few days ago in Detroit.
We can see the 2016 Camaro on the right.

But what are the others?
Apparently, these would be the next Cruze, Spark and also the all new Malibu.
Where? And what else?

What do you think?

Ford Mondeo Hatchback

Now the European Mondeo and US Fusion are pretty much the same cars.
Which is great. The new Fusion is really one of the best driving car in its class.
And it looks great.

But....   I would love to see the hatchback version over here.
Even though I know it won't happen. Since "Americans don't buy hatchbacks".
Of course they don't. No one is buying the Focus, or even the Audi A7 or even the Tesla model S.

And with that glass roof option!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

2016 BMW 1 series

 This is a car we are not getting.

Pictured here is the 3 door model. As you can see, most of the changes are the usual BMW's "new bumpers and lights and don't even ask for more since this isn't all new".
(Although the rear lights are really different this time.)
Inside the biggest change seems to be a larger screen.

These are now available with the 3 cylinder engine from the new Mini Cooper in the base models.

Here is the current model.
The front was weirder. But maybe also cleaner and more modern than the new one. Which now tries to look like the 2 series coupe we have here.

Next Alfa Romeo sedan

There is no official name yet for Alfa's upcoming all new sedan.
It will pretty much replace the 159 which stopped being produced in 2011.
But they could also call it Giulia.

All we know is that it will use a new RWD platform.
Engines should include a 2.0 Liter Turbo (Which could produce up to 330hp)
and a 2.9 Liter V6 Turbo. (Mostly from Maserati)

And apparently now, the car could be shown as early as the end of June.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

2015 GTI Test Drive coming up.

I just got this for a week. So if you have any questions...

So far, the "new" version of VW's 2.0 Liter still sounds a bit "Diesely" to me. Something I actually get used to after a while. (But why? Since other car makers can produce much quieter and smoother 2.0 Liter engines)

And, of course, it has the DSG automatic. I really would prefer a manual in a car like this...

More pictures of the new 2016 Lincoln MKX

I still think this looks really good.

But again, still almost a year away. Since it is scheduled for "Fall 2015".

Standard engine is a 300HP 3.7 Liter V6.
A Turbo 330HP 2.7 Liter V6 is an option.
Both use a 6 speed automatic. (Not that modern by today's standards)

Monday, January 12, 2015

2016 Acura NSX


The real thing.

 So now, this is almost not news anymore since it is basically the same design we have seen since 2012.
That's 3 years.
Sure, it does look nice. But not new. And not original.

I am sure it is a great car to drive. It has a new V6 combined with 3 electric motors (!), and they are claiming over 550HP.
All that good stuff.

But I have to say that, at least on these pictures, the interior looks pretty plasticky and rather cheap.
Of course, the assy red leather doesn't help. (That always makes everything look like plastic anyway...)
And then, there is the price. "Around $150 000".
Yes. Which is over $30 000 more than the Audi R8 and about $20 000 more than the Porsche 911 GT3. Even Aston Martin has a cheaper model! (By almost $20 000!)
Insane. (Now that interior looks REALLY cheap)

I cannot really imagine people getting the Acura instead.
This will only be for the few who want to drive "something different".

No matter how good it is, a Honda sports car priced above a high end Porsche will have a very tough time and extremely limited appeal.

Good luck!

Chevrolet Bolt Concept

Another concept that looks like it's "ready to go".
But who knows.

At least outside, everything looks production ready to me.
They are claiming "more than 200 miles range" and a price of around $30 000.
The range would match the upcoming Tesla model III while being cheaper.

Although I don't really see both cars competing against each other anyway. The Tesla will go after the 3 series while this would appeal more to Prius or C-Max owners.

Let's hope the production model looks the same. And that we don't have to wait to long for this.

Revised BMW 1 series

The current 1 series Hatchback is not sold in the US.
But the 2 series coupe we are getting is basically a 1 series with a trunk.

This shows new lights for the 1 series. So I guess it is safe to say these changes will also end up in our 2 series later in the year.


2016 Chevrolet Volt

I must say I am a bit disappointed. At least from these pictures.
It doesn't really look better or more modern than the current model to me. More like a cross between the 1st generation and  Honda Civic.
It has lost something...

They now claim a 50 miles range for the EV mode. Which is only10 miles more than the current one. I was really expecting better. Like maybe 60 or 70 miles.
The new 1.5 Liter engine/generator gets a 41 MPG average rating. Which is fine.
It also seats 5.

But still no sunroof... I really was expecting a bit more for an all new 2nd generation.