Friday, April 29, 2016

All new 2017 Fiat 124 Spider pricing.

The new 2 seater Fiat convertible will start at $ 25 000.
They call the base model the Classica.
The Lusso model is $ 27 500.
The Lusso comes with heated leather seats, 17 inch wheels and a bunch of other stuff.

There is an Abarth model available too for $28 200. But it has only 5hp More. (Which sounds ridiculous to me...Why even bother)

All are powered by Fiat's 1.4 Liter Turbo engine with 160HP. (Except the 165HP for the Abarth)
6 speed manual is standard on all models and a 6 speed auto is an option.

The base model is a few hundred dollars cheaper than the base Miata.
But the Lusso is over $2000 less than the Grand Touring Miata.

This all sounds like a pretty good deal to me. The 124 is built at the same plant as the Miata and should be as reliable.
I saw the car a few months ago and sat in it. And I do prefer it to the new Miata.
I never really got used to the current Miata design.
Finding the Fiat much nicer in general. (Even though it is not nearly as fantastic as the old one from the 60's..)

I think this will work wonder for the Fiat brand in the US.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Chinese GAG group to enter US market? (The Marchionne Connection)

 The GAG group in China has been making cars for Fiat for years.
(But also for Honda and Toyota)
Now, with the Chinese market not growing as fast as it once was, they want to expand in the US. (Or so they claim)
And they need help. Who do they call? Their old buddy Sergio Marchionne of course!

Through Fiat/Chrysler dealers, GAG could sell quite a few cars.
And since Marchionne was looking for someone to build the Chrysler 200 and the Dodge Dart, they could start by doing just that.
Chinese built Chryslers and Dodge sedans. (If Dodge lasts long enough)

GAG claims they have already been testing a couple of their models to meet US standards.
So let's see what they have so far.

They mostly sell their own cars under the Trumpchi brand, in China.
( I don't think a Chinese car brand name with the word "Trump" in it would fly over here...)

The one above is the new GA6.
It is just about an inch shorter than the Chrysler 200 and is powered by a 1.6 or 1.8 Liter engine.And And it already looks a bit like the Chrysler 200.
Which would be perfect for Mr.Marchionne who is always looking to save a buck.
Imagine, a Chinese made and designed fake Chrysler with a larger profit margin!

They also have this larger sedan coming up. 
The GA8.
Which actually looks quite nice. ( Do I hear Chrysler 300?)

This will be available with a 2.0 Liter Turbo engine (Like everything else these days)

And of course, they also have a brand new compact SUV coming up. The GS4.
Which also looks just fine.
It could be the next RAV4, or Rogue. Or anything else from anyone else.

So slap a Chrysler or a Dodge grille on it and it would work...(What a cheap way to keep Dodge alive for a few more years)

Of course these guys want to enter the US market and are asking Sergio for help.
Who wouldn't.

I wonder if this is the future of Chrysler.
80% Jeeps. And the rest is Chinese made sedans and small SUVs.

Maybe it is the only natural course of evolution for a small brand that has been lucky to survive so far.
Being tossed around from one owner to another for decades.
It's actually amazing it is still around. 

So maybe that's it. Marchionne would make that deal with GAG.
Which ends up selling tons of cars over here under the Chrysler brand.
The become so big they end up buying Fiat/Chrysler. (With Sergio making tons of money for himself on the deal)

Am I being too dark?
What do you think???

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

VW Jetta GLI Test Drive. Delivery notes

Again, I just got this and will be reporting on it during the week.
And I got lucky. As i is the 6 speed manual version.

There there will be some fun this week!

So far, it does feel a bit less powerful than the GTI (Like someone commented/explained on my previous post)
Shifting is easy and quick.
Steering is still a bit light. There doesn't seem to be much difference between this and the regular Jetta.

More to come.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

2017 Chevrolet Colorado

 This is, so far, not officially the 2017 model for the US.
This was introduced in Brazil for the local market.
But really, it seems just a matter of time until we get the same changes over here.
I mean how many different versions can they have...

The 2017 model is the one on top.
And I think it does look much better. More modern and a bit sportier. Very fitting of a smaller truck.

The interior looks all new. Which is surprising, since it wasn't bad to begin with.
Again, the new one is on top.
(Unless the Brazilian version always had this interior??)

The steering wheel is typical of the one GM does use in Brazil ( I guess no airbag?)
So we wouldn't be getting that anyway.

It's good to see GM updating the small Colorado.
The main complain I have with the current model is the lack of power with the V6.
(This makes me think about asking for a Diesel version for a test drive)

Otherwise it is a good choice for a smaller pick up truck.
And it looks like it might get even better soon...

VW Jetta GLI Test Drive coming up

Just found out I am getting a new Jetta GLI for a week.
Starting tomorrow morning.
Which sounds fun.

I drove a few Jettas before. The last VW I drove was a GTI.
And I was very impressed with it.
The GLI has the same great engine and it should be quite fun.

I just hope it is a 6 speed manual. But it is really rare these days.
Even though some models come with a manual standard, the press fleet cars are usually automatic.
Which is too bad.

Go ahead if you have any questions about the car. The GLI was updated for 2016.
The model I am getting is an "GLI SE". Which starts at around $26 500.

I will start posting stuff about it tomorrow. I swear...

Mercedes E Class "L" = E Class Maybach?

 Mercedes has just introduced a long wheelbase version of the new E Class in China.
For the Chinese market only.

Because of some odd local market taste it seems that every single car maker is offering "long wheelbase" versions of their sedans over there.
The same day, both Jaguar and Audi were showing long versions of the XF and A4.
Which is so strange and pretty much defeats the purpose of an other larger model all together.
I mean who would get a regular A6 when a "long A4" has even more legroom?

And BMW is also doing this with their SUVs!
It really seems like something out of the Bizarro World to me.

But, hey. Just look at that back seat.
Of course it's attractive to people who seat in the back and are driven most of the time. 
But again, with the new E Class already being super luxurious, who would pick a regular S-Class over this?

 Here is what they did. Mercedes did a lot of work on this.
Usually, carmakers design a longer rear door. (Plus roof etc...) But the longer versions don't look that different.
This one does.

Mercedes has been testing this Maybach version of the new E Class for a while now.
Which, as you can see, will basically be the same car as the Chinese E Class "L" model.

So there you go.
Why not sell this to everyone, everywhere...

Acura CDX Interior

I have to admit, they did a fine job making sure the Acura version ends up different and more upscale than the Honda HR-V it is based on. Really.

I mean, sure, you can still tell. Just like the outside of the car.
It seems that most interior parts are new.
It also uses a different, more powerful engine. It has an 8 speed automatic instead of a CVT.
And that super large ugly grille the Honda version doesn't have.

Honda has already said they have no "current" plans to import this to the US.
But you know they will. It's just a matter of time.
Just like Audi was never going to bring us the small Q3.

It's like a drug. They just can't help it. The US market is so hungry for any kind and any size of SUVs.
The temptation for profits is just to great.
Sooner or later, all SUVs end up over here.

Monday, April 25, 2016

2017 Hyundai Accent/Verna

Hyundai has just revealed this Verna "concept" in China.
The Verna is pretty much the same car as our Accent.
So, yes, this is basically the next Hyundai Accent sedan for the US.

And again, it looks like a mini Elantra.
Which isn't a bad thing.

It doesn't look as cheap as, let say, the Nissan Versa sedan. Which is always one of the worst looking car sold in the US.
At least this looks quite decent.

Even though most versions will have a cheap plastic grille and small wheels.

All new 2017 Kia GT

 The GT was a concept back in 2011.
At the time, Kia had said it would become a production model.
As you can see, they have been hard at work.

Of course the production model has been toned down compared to the futuristic concept. But it already looks quite nice and modern, even under all that camouflage.
Kia had claimed it would be competing with the Audi A7, so there could be a hatchback hiding under that black cover.

It doesn't look giant, so I guess it will slot in between the K900 and the new Cadenza?
It is supposed to be a sportier RWD car.
The K900 being this top of the line Mercedes/BMW wannabe.

Here is the concept from 2011.
As you can see, the production version could end up pretty close.
Minus the crazy suicide doors of course.

I am actually quite curious to see how this will turn out...

All new Honda Avancier Video

One of the best example of something "so bad it is great".

This has to be one of the most obnoxious car videos ever.
And the fun part is that it is for one of the worst looking car ever. Which makes it a truly great watch.

The CGI, the soundtrack, the directing, the "madame Tussault inspired" acting.
Everything comes together to created a truly wretched experience.
Something horrible for all senses.

Just like the design of the car, this video is displaying a new low for humanity.
(Or maybe just the car business...)


Sunday, April 24, 2016

2017 Lexus IS

 Well, they did make it crazier looking. Or worse. Even more vulgar than before.
Upfront, everything seems to be bigger, except the headlights.
Bigger grille, bigger vents. More holes.
Just more stuff!

Which doesn't really match the rest of the car, especially the profile.

It seems that things are getting crazy at Lexus.
Not sure who they are trying to sell these to.

It's like old people idea of what young people might like.

 Inside, things look the same to me.
But I am not the world's best "Lexus IS Expert". So...
Here is the current model.
Which now looks pretty tame and gentle next to the 2017 beast.
It almost looks soft...

More pictures of the new Acura CDX

Not as "shiny" in these early official shot.
But still pretty ugly.

Being based on the HR-V it is basically a raised up Honda Fit.
Except now it has 182HP from the turbo 1.5 Liter and an 8 speed auto instead of a CVT.

Still... Fit.

They mention the Mercedes GLA as a competition. A Mercedes!
The GLA is based on the CLA. Itself sharing a lot with the European A and B class models.
Which, while being the cheapest cars Mercedes make, are still not in the same class as a $17 000 Fit.

And again, look at that face!
That grille is ghastly in the first place.
On top of it, it is way too big on that little car!

The whole thing is only ugly, it is also sad.

New Honda Avancier

That's right. Another SUV/Crossover thing from Honda.
Another ugly one.

At least the part where it says "for the Chinese market only" is good news.

The Avancier is a 5 seater that will be priced above the CR-V.
Powered by a new 2.0 Liter Turbo engine. Which will probably find its way under the hood of the next Accord.

There is nothing like this in the US lineup. Where Honda jumps from the CR-V to the 7/8 seater Pilot.
Nissan has the Murano while Toyota offers a 5 seater version of the Highlander.

This looks like a mash up of a bunch of designs from a few other manufacturers.
It has zero personality of its own.
It is so bad it's almost weird...

If the name sounds familiar, it is because Honda did produce a car named Avancier before.
It was a tall wagon based on the Japanese Accord and sold over there from 1999 to 2003.
A bit boring, but not ugly like this poor guy above.

Now, let us all get on our knees and pray for this thing to never make it to the US market.

VW T-Prime GTE Concept

Another stupid (really stupid) name for yet another VW SUV concept.

They've been showing SUV concepts for years and years. The only production result so far is the new Tiguan.
Which is still a year away from being sold in the US (the main SUV market)

This new one is base on the same platform as the new Audi Q7. So it is fair to think it would be a preview of the next VW Touareg.
That expensive VW SUV almost nobody is buying.
(They sold around 7000 of them in the US last year)

The concept looks OK. Much nicer than the "so bland it's offensive" new Q7.
The interior is also much better than the Audi version.
So it might still look just OK in 2 or 3 years, or whenever it actually reaches production.

We are still waiting for the Crossblue 7 seater SUV.
Something VW desperately needs in the US.

And I am afraid that the Crossblue will end up being the SUV version of the US Passat.
It will sell OK the first year, just because it's new. But people will quickly get tired of the super boring and old looking design.
And just like the Passat, it will drop year after year...

Good luck with another $45 000 to $65 000 SUV VW...

2017 Mazda CX-4

Finally, official pictures.
And it does look great!

A pretty amazing design. I mean just look at it.
Inside too!

This seems to be the best rendition of Mazda's new design theme.
The interior isn't as fantastic as the new CX-9, but it's also much less expensive.
And, it is way better than the poor CX-5 it is based on.
A slightly raised up super good looking wagon like this would be super popular in the US.

It is powered by Mazda's usual 2.0 Liter and 2.5 Liter engines.

Mazda is still saying this is only for the Chinese market.
Which would be the worst marketing move of all times.

I bet we will see this in the US sooner than later.

2017 Acura CDX

Even though the new CDX is base on the Honda HR-V, it looks like Honda has been doing quite a redesign job.
They do look look quite different. 
I mean even the hood cut is very different. 
But; let's face it, this is still very ugly.

Acura seems to be very lost. But, as I mentioned before, since everything raised up with a hatchback sells like hit cakes these days, this might very well end up over here too.