Monday, February 29, 2016

2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia

This is the "regular" 2.0 Liter Turbo version.
Not the crazy Quadrifoglio one with 505HP that no one will buy.

The one above is the one we'll actually see in the streets.
The same 2.0 Liter Turbo will be available in a bunch of versions, from 180HP all the way to 330HP.

I think it looks a lot better than the Quadrifoglio.
Not amazing, but pretty nice.
The question is, is it nice enough to get people out of their A4 and 3 series...

All new VW Phideon

That is quite a surprise...

An all new VW sedan. Positioned between the Passat and the "aging" Phaeton.
For now, this is mostly for the Chinese market.
Although it is presented at the Geneva auto show.

Here are the official words from VW. Trying to explain the car:
" This innovative and luxurious four door car is positioned above the Passat, and thus in the premium segment"... Okay...
Wait, there is more:
"This avant-garde model, designed in Europe for our style-conscious Chinese customers, was born"

It is said to have the new face of upcoming VW sedans, and, wait for this ... has a  "Powerful rear section"
Now, THAT has to be the best "PR BS" quote ever...

Even with all these fancy descriptions, it just looks like a big 2011 Jetta with a stupid name...

2017 Mercedes C-Class Cabriolet

 Another great looking Mercedes!

I really like the C-Class coupe. As it really does seem like a smaller S-Class coupe, especially in the flesh.
And it inherit the great interior of the sedan.
So, this is perfect. I think it might be one of the best looking convertible available. With that same great interior. What's not to love!

As you can see, the rear seat is just OK. But actually fine by convertible standards.
Even the sedan versions doesn't have that much room back there anyway. So this is fine.

Engines are pretty much the same as the coupe.
A 9 speed auto will be the transmission.

No news on pricing yet... But the Sedan starts at about $39 000.
While the new coupe isn't available in the US yet. (The old one started at $39 500)
So this won't be under $45 000.
But it seems like a great alternative to the aging, and not much larger, E Class convertible.
Which starts at over $62 000!

Subaru XV Crosstrek Concept

 Just like the Crosstrek is a jacked up version of the current Impreza hatchback, this is based on the Impreza Concept we saw last year.
So, still no production model.

Subaru should hurry things up a bit. These concepts look fine, but are getting more and more conservative every month.
By the time they get around to the production version, they will look old.
Still, the car pictured above
As a reminder, this is last year's concept.
Looking fine. Much more modern and elegant than the current Impreza.
But in a year or two, it'll look pretty old and boring...

Unless no one else redesigns their cars. 

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Aston Martin DB11

 Once again, Aston Martin does not disappoint.
This is a stunning looking car. As it should be.

Not sure about the specs yet, but we are talking about a 5.4 Liter V12. So, plenty of power.
And cachet.

They took a few chances with the design, like their version of the currently popular "floating roof".
But it seems to be working.

A true Aston Martin for the 21st Century.
Looking at this picture, I can't help wondering about this non existent front bumper.
I mean, the hood part sticks out more than the lower "bumper" part.
Have regulations changed that much?

Same thing with the rear where the trunk opening seems to stick out further than than the rest of the car. (Which I have seen in countless SUVs over here. And even some hatchbacks)

So they don't need any bumpers anymore?

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Chevrolet Volt test Drive. Part two.

 Just a few notes for now.
Small observations after a few days of driving.

So far, the most annoying thing, to me, is the super cheap turn signal stalk.
First, I don't remember it was bad at all in the 1st generation. ( If I remember well, it was the same as in the Cruze and other GM cars.) It felt really solid. Back then.
Now, not so much. A bit of cost cutting in a bad spot. (Where you can feel and hear it...)

I also had to reconnect the blutooth a couple of times the 1st few days.
Annoying, but it doesn't seem to be happening anymore. So that's fine.

While using Apple Car play, the system only recognized a few of my playlists.( up to the letter "C")
Also annoying. But again, it happened only a couple of times and seems to have fixed itself. For now.

I drove all the way until the charge was empty, and, as you can see, I got 56 miles .
3 more than the official numbers. And I wasn't even trying at all.

This is great. Over 55 miles actually allows for plenty of driving around town.
Once it was empty, the Volt returned an average of 46MPG on the freeway.
Again,  a really good number, and better than the official figure of 42MPG.

Today and tomorrow I will again, be driving strictly on the "non EV" mode.
See what the gas mileage will be around town.

Basically, I love the new Volt. I know it isn't as original as the 1st one.
But the longer range and the quieter engine make up for it.

Stay tuned for more...

Friday, February 26, 2016

2017 Honda Civic Hatchback

We are supposed to see a "concept" version of the new Civic hatchback at the Geneva auto show, very soon. (which will have some over sporty bits and stuff)
But this is supposed to be the production version for the US.
Still looking quite nice. And ready to do battle with the aging Ford Focus over here.

Although, that "Honda seal of quality" has been tarnished a bit with a recall of all 2016 Civic sedans due to possible engine failure. Which is pretty bad...

A hatchback version of the new Elantra is also due out pretty soon.
And the new Cruze hatchback looks to be a serious contender.

Still, it's good to finally see the Civic Hatch back in the US...

(Thanks for this to a reader from Torrance)

2017 Toyota C-HR

 After a few years of showing us cool concepts (even one as a Scion), Toyota is finally showing the production version of the small C-HR SUV/crossover thingy.

Of course, development of this started back when the Nissan Juke was the only game in town. And it shows.
Since, we now have more more tasteful design available in that segment. Like the Fiat 500X, Honda HR-V or Mazda CX3.

So I think this will still be mainly a Juke competitor.
The main attraction here will be the Hybrid power train.
It is smaller than the all new Kia Niro, but could still compete against it.

I guess it might use the power train from the tiny Prius C. Or an updated version of it.
It might actually be killing the Prius C. Since Toyota has been saying they don't see much future for a whole Prius family anymore.
And the new Hybrid version of the Rav4 could very well replace the Prius V.

Here is what it looks like ext to the 2 previous concepts versions.

Even without the big wheels, it's been toned down. Way down...
It looks quite heavy and clumsy now...

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Chevrolet Volt test drive. Part one.

 I got the Volt yesterday. For a week.
It had an EV range of 45 miles when delivered to me. (Not the full 53 I was hoping for...)

Still, plenty for a few day-drives.
I was curious about the gas mileage when the car is not in EV mode.
So I used the "hold" mode, which saves "the juice" for later. A very cool feature.

 As you can see. For these few miles, MPG was very impressive.
But I also noticed that it did use some of that juice. By the end of the day, in the "hold" mode, my total EV range was only about 39 miles...
(The picture above was taken today, after charging)

At the end of the day, I plugged it in. At a regular 120 outlet. So technically, it should take about 13 hrs to get a full charge.
Which I didn't need since it still said "39".

But, about 13hrs later, I was still at "just"  49 miles. Not the 53 miles advertised for the full charge.
Maybe that plug at the lot where I parked the car was defective? Or something else...
Who knows.

 The rear hatch is really big. And quite heavy.
But the inside cover is just a rather flimsy cloth sheet. Unlike the solid stuff found in most other hatchbacks. Maybe to save weight?
 Someone was asking me about rear legroom. so here it is.
I am 5'11" and drive pretty far from the steering wheel, and that's what's left behind me.
Which isn't bad. Technically, the new Volt has a bit more rear legroom.

And here is what it looks like whith an actual super good looking human.

Someone was also asking about visibility. 
And I was mentioning the rather high position of the rear window.
So this is what it looks like when you turn around. 

Not that you really need to, since it comes with a back up camera.

So far there is plenty of power all the time. If you drive in a relaxed manner, the engine almost never comes on during normal city driving.
And when it does, it is much quieter than before. It just seems to be far away...

Next, I will try to compare MPG when the battery is completely empty.
And, of course, check the actual range of the full EV mode.

2017 Acura MDX

So far, the MDX has always looked pretty boring. And bloated.
This teaser sketch shows the next one might be quite different.
And with, finally, a new grille.
(It took Honda so many years to admit they had a grille design nobody liked.)

It looks quite busy, but could also be pretty interesting.

We will see the whole thing at the upcoming New York auto show.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

New Chevrolet Volt test drive coming up...

Just got it. For a whole week.
Haven't driven it yet.

So go ahead if you guys have any questions.
I was a big fan of the previous one, so I cannot wait to drive the new one.

Monday, February 22, 2016

2017 Hyundai Ioniq EV

Apparently, the "pure electric" version of the all new Hyundai Ioniq will be getting a 105 Miles range.
Which puts is well bellow the all new Chevrolet Bolt.
But on par with the new version of the Leaf which is rated at 107 Miles.

The 105 miles rating is from the Korean version, so things might slightly change for our US model.

The Ioniq will also be available as a regular Hybrid and a plug-in model.

All new Renault Scenic

Another really good looking Renault.
Looking almost futuristic. But at the same time, much mrs substantial than previous versions.

This will compete in a hot segment in Europe.
One that almost doesn't exist here. Except maybe for the Ford C-Cmax.

It could be a cool idea for Nisssan to get this over here.
It wouldn't be that hard to compete with the lame looking C-Max with this.
Why not?

Renault Megane Estate

Another really good wagon from Europe.
But this time, unlike the Volvo V90, we are not getting it.

The new Megane is a great looking "Golf size" hatchback. And the wagon version doesn't disappoint either.

Nissan has recently mentioned something about our next Sentra being offered here as a Hatchback.
Maybe it's time to bring this Megane over here as the next Sentra.
And the wagon too!

I guess not. Instead, we'll probably see the Euro "much-lamer-than-the-Megane" Nissan Pulsar hatch merge with the Sentra.
While in reality, they should all merge with the Megane...

Friday, February 19, 2016

2017 Maserati Levante

About zero surprise here.
As it just looks like raised up hatchback version of the Ghibli sedan.

No specs have been released yet. Except it will be available with gas and diesel engines.(duh...)
And an 8 speed auto.

It doesn't really look better, or as good as many other SUVs out there.
I think the current Cayenne looks better than this. (And there's a brand new one on its way!)

New Volvo V90 video

No old guys
No fake presidents
No talking

Just a great looking car in a great looking environment.
Just enough to make you want one.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Something you don't see every day.

That would be "rain". The thing we really don't see every day over here.

And when it rains, something magical happens in my neighborhood: new, weird cars appear.
Yesterday alone I saw this old Citroen DS and the rare "last Saab 9-5".

I can't wait to see what the next rainy day will bring...

2016 Ford Ranger

No, we're still not getting this.

Of course, Ford might be afraid to compete with it's own "giant cash cow" F-150.
But Chevy did it with the Colorado, and it seems to be working for them.

This Ranger came out a few years ago, but got some changes for this year, and still looks really good. Of course they would sell here. The land of pick-up trucks.
We might be getting the next generation, but why wait??

It comes with a 200HP 3.2 Liter 5 cylinder engine. Or a 2.2 Liter Diesel with 130 or 160HP.

Oh well....

2017 Volvo V90

Another great looking wagon!
And this time, we will be getting it in the US!

It looks fantastic, has the same amazing interior as the S90 sedan. A glass roof.
And even a plug-in hybrid option with a 30 miles EV range.
This could be the perfect family luxury car.

As it looks so much nicer than the blocky XC90.

Not sure about pricing yet, but the "more expensive" XC90 starts at around $45 000.
So maybe this would start at around $40 000?
Which would be a very decent price. Considering the other options in that segment.
The Mercedes E Class wagon starts at around $61 000 (Although AWD is standard in the US)
And the smaller Audi Allroad (An A4 wagon) is over $43 000 (AWD as well)

On another note. To Volvo:
How about better picture of your great looking cars?!

Same thing when they unveiled the S90 sedan.
Grey cars in boring pictures!