Wednesday, May 31, 2017

2018/19 Toyota RAV-4 ?

Not really sure.
But I was sent these as the "next RAV-4".
Even if they are not, I bet the next model will end up looking a lot like this.
Since most compact SUVs look very similar these days...

A couple of year ago, Toyota Exces were claiming the next Rev-4 would be even more popular than the Camry.
Which would be quite an achievement. But, possible.

The Camry still sells in huge numbers. 388 618 last year, and 429 355 in 2015.
With an all new one around the corner, things will even get better t=for the Toyota sedan.

While the RAV-4 sold 352 154 units last year. Its best year ever.  (Up from 315 412 in 2015)
So it would still be quite a jump for the RAV-4 to sell better than the Camry.
But in a couple of years who knows. It IS possible...

Chinese made BMWs coming up.

The Chinese Government has just authorized BMW to export its Chinese made cars (With the Chinese company Brilliance).
I had no idea they actually needed an OK from the Chinese government, but they did.
Cadillac, Buick and Volvo are already selling Chinese made cars in the US.
And the first Chinese built S90 sedans just arrived in Europe a few days ago.

So it's basically just a matter of time until most cars we drive come from China.
Many BMWs are already made in the US, so that "German made" image has been BS for a while now anyway.
In the end, it doesn't really matter.
As long as the cars are well built, I don't really care where they come from.

BMWs are not known for being reliable anyway, so the Chinese made ones might actually be an improvement...

Speaking of BMW, I've had the chance to drive a few of them recently and will post about that very soon.
3 series, 4 series, 5 series and i3.
I was really curious since I had never test driven them.

I had asked myself a few questions, like: is a 3 series really worth about $ 50 000?
Or :is a loaded 5 series worth almost $80 000?

Answers soon.

2018 Toyota Land Cruiser Prado

This is not coming here. Since we don't get the "Land Cruiser Prado" in the US.

But... The Prado is sold here as the Lexus GX.
So I wonder if this monster front end will make it in our local Lexus dealerships.
it wouldn't make any sense since it doesn't have that Lexus grille anymore.
Unless Lexus does get a version with a revised grille?

Who knows.
No matter what, this is one of the most offensive car design in many, many years...

2018 Subaru XV

I remember a few people were asking about this car a while ago.
Called the XV overseas, and the Crosstrek here .

These pictures were sent to me by a reader (Thanks!).
They are part of the Australian official brochure.
So things might be slightly different in the US model. 

The car comes out June 23rd in Australia.
Not sure when it will be on sale over here...

Nissan Pathfinder test drive

 The current Pathfinder came out in 2012. So it's nothing "all new".
It got a few revisions ( new grille etc) for the current 2017 model year.

The 5 year old design holds up pretty well.
It was never a stand out.  And by now, it is pretty much invisible everywhere it goes.
Which is not necessary a bad thing. Especially in the family SUV market.
Where these are very close to being minivans.

 Same thing inside. Things are between just OK and fine. Nothing original but nothing bad.
Everything feels pretty solid and well made.

The infotainment graphics are much improved from a few years ago.
And the standard stereo sounds fine.

 The one I had for a week was a pretty basic SV model. So it had cloth seats.
Which I like a lot. I do wish less cars came with leather. As I still think cloth is more comfortable.

The seats on the Pathfinder are really nice and comfortable. And they have none of that horrible lower bump found on the Sentra seats.

 The second row can be pushed back. Revealing a huge amount of legroom for rear passengers.
And a completely flat floor.

 The trunk is pretty large even with the 3rd row up.
Otherwise, there is a huge cargo space for up to 5 passengers.
 One of the first thing I noticed was how low the opening of the hatch was (The hatch was a manual affair in my SV model)
I am just 5.11 and was always bumping the top of my head.

That manual hatch was also very heavy to open and close
My test car being around $34 500 before options, a power gate should really be standard...
 I was surprised how big the Pathfinder feels when driving.
The steering is actually pretty heavy. And the whole thing almost feels as big as a Tahoe.
It always has kind of a slow, heavy, lumpy feel to it.

It is not agile at all. Basically, this is an old fashion FWD Minivan at heart.

The SV 4WD model I had is rated at 19/26 MPG.
All I can tell you is that it is impossible to get 19MPG around town.
No matter how slow you drive.
I tried...

The best I got was 16.
But I did get 28 on the FWY.

These numbers are actually not horrible for a 284HP SUV than car carry 7 people, really.
 The engine itself is just fine. Although things do get a bit rough when you really push it. For some reason.
Which is weird since the big Nissan V6 is usually super smooth.

The CVT isn't as good as it is on the Maxima (Where it is just great)
It does the job, but it isn't as responsive as it is in the big sedan.
But I guess no one driving the Pathfinder will really notice...

It also behaves really badly/weird when backing up on a hill.
Like if the power was on and off, although you never let your foot off the pedal.
Not sure if that was a defect from my test car or not...

Click on the picture above to read all about my tes car. Specs, prices etc...

The Pathfinder is showing its age next to the newer competition.
After 5 years, it is expected, of course.

It drives more like a Minivan or truck than a modern unibody crossover.

(I am doing my best to get a new VW Atlas for a week. As well as the Mazda CX-9, which I hear is actually the best choice.)

As far as the Pathfinder goes, I think the particular model I had is a bit overpriced.
For $37 000, there is no sunroof or upgraded stereo.
And not even a power lift gate.

But, being an older model, there are plenty of discounts available. 

You can check the Pathfinder for yourself HERE
(And you really can't beat that $259 a month lease for such a large/roomy family car...)

More Saab Zombies from NEVS in China

 I must say, this is not too bad looking, considering the age of that original sedan design. (in came out in 1998!)
As I reported earlier, it is now an EV.
Which couldn't be more fitting for a car that could actually be compared with the Frankenstein monster. (The monster was also powered by electricity)

The wagon looks quite nice.
I always liked the last 9-3 wagon design. ( I even test drove one a few years ago and it was an excellent car)
So an EV version of it still makes sense these days.

NEVS claims over 180 miles on a charge.
These are numbers for the Chinese market. Which would translate in maybe 140 in the US.
Which isn't great.

I do think that wagon with 250 miles range could find a place in the market.
Maybe the next version, next year.

To celebrate the sedan design's 20th anniversary?

Or a "Walking dead" special edition?

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

2018 Audi A8

Amazing how many pictures we have seen so far of the next A8. Which will look so much like the current one.

Which means it won't be ugly. Just invisible. Like the BMW 7 series.
Or the previous A8. And the one before that...

2018 Hyundai Kona

The all new Hyundai Kona has been caught again.
This time in Spain.

And I still think it is looking good. In line with it's market which includes such extroverts as the Nissan Juke and Toyota CH-R. But also Honda HR-V and Mazda CX-3.

All the pictures can be seen HERE.

I predict this will be pretty much everywhere in a few months...

Tesla Model 3 Interior

So far this is our best view of the interior of the new Tesla Model3
And it is really, really simple.

Compared to the 'concept' from last year, the only difference seems to be wood trim.
I remember Lincoln doing that on the old Lincoln Mark VIII interior. When people complained the interior was just not warm enough. They just added wood trim the following year..Same with the last Buick Riviera.

Wood trim is a cheap and quick way to warm up in interior, without real redesigning anything.
In the case of the Model 3, I wonder if that's enough.

I mean some of these cars will cost over $50 000.
And when compared to new interiors from Volvo, for instance, this is way behind....

( I guess that's why Tesla did hire the Volvo interior designer last year)

Monday, May 29, 2017

2018 Mercedes C-Class Interior

 The C-Class is getting a "facelift" for the new year.
it will come with the usual tiny changes. Like new bumpers and slightly revised lights.
As well as the "almost the same" interior.
As you can see in the above picture.

Looks like therein change is the trackpad. (Still not as convenient as a good old touch screen)
The screen doesn't even seem larger than before.
Here is the current interior. the screen looks a little bit more square. Maybe...

2018 Bentley Continental GT

 I've always liked the Continental GT coupe.
Especially the first generation. It is just a great looking car.

The second generation was a bit of a let down. Like a bad Xerox copy of the first one.
But things look like they will be getting better with the 3rd generation coming up really soon. Spy shots show a more aggressive, lower and wider car than the current one.

And the picture above is the first shot (as far as I know) of the all new interior.
Which is, of course, looking just fine.
Just as a reminder, her is a "kinda" similar shot of the current model.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Lexus kills the Ct200h

Well, of course they are.
They want us buying small SUVs. With much larger profit margins.

In 2015, they sold almost 15 000 of them (almost 18 000 the year before)
In 2016, sales went down to 8903.
Of course. Since they have been selling it since April 2011. With almost no changes.
It was based on the previous generation of the Prius.
But there is no Lexus version of the current Prius. So this is basically a 6 year old model.
It's perfectly normal for a 6 year old model to sell less.

Lexus will just claim people didn't want it. the usual thing. Car makers just don't redesign cars forever and then claim these models are not popular.
They sold only 5514 unis of the LS last year. But that car is getting a redesign.
They are not killing the RC coupe either with only 11 165 sold in 2016.

The Ct will be replaced by a small SUV. Probably based on the new Toyota C-HR. So imagine the profit margin on that one...

It's too bad. I actually kind of like the CT. And there seem to be plenty of them in the streets where I live. ( I just saw two this morning)

If you want to find out more about the CT, head over HERE, before go away forever.
I mean, you can lease one for $249 a month. That's a car that is almost $33 000.

A really good deal if you like the car...

Friday, May 26, 2017

2018 Rolls Royce Phantom

 Looks like "more of the same" for the "all new" Rolls Royce Phantom.
Rolls used to actually be very different from one design to another. One the "good old days".
But it looks like  BMW is pulling a BMW on Rolls. So the next generation Phantom will basically look the same current one.
Just like all other BMW designs...

We can't see much of the new interior. ( On top)
I wouldn't expect drastic changes either...

It makes you wonder who would ever actually get the new one.
Since it doesn't stand out.
(Isn't it the point of these cars in the first place???)

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Nissan Kicks caught in Michigan. Replacing Juke in the US next year

 A few units of the Nissan Kicks have been spotted in Michigan in the past few months.
Which means it's coming over here.
Replacing the 7 year old Juke.

Not sure if it will keep the Juke name or not in the US.

I test drove the Juke before and liked it a lot. Especially with the manual. (Since the turbo lag gets pretty annoying with the automatic)

The Kicks has already been on sale in many countries for over a year.
It does look fine, although not as original as the Juke.
It feels like the Juke's more conservative brother.

The Juke is super peppy (once you get past the lag) with its 190HP 1.6 Liter Turbo.
No word on what will power the Kicks yet...

The Juke was really a trend setter. 7 years later, the Kicks will have tons of competition.
The new Hyundai Kona being the most obvious one next year....

2018/19 Jeep 7 seater model (new Grand Cherokee?)

These are patent drawings from Jeep. Of a new 7 seater model.
It could be a production version of the Yuntu concept we saw from China recently.
Or the all new larger Jeep Wagoneer.
Or, also, a longer 7 seater version of the next Grand Cherokee.

 This is all we have so far about the upcoming Wagoneer.
And it doesn't really match the patent drawings...

This is the Chinese concept.
Which, being a concept, is pretty wild looking.
And pretty different from the patent drawings too.

I think the patent fillings actually show the 7 seater Grand Cherokee.
I mean, Fiat is poring tons of money into Jeep these days.
The current Grand Cherokee is 7 years old. Which means a new one should be around the corner.
(But who knows with Crazy Sergio Marchionne keeping designs forever...)

So my vote is for: 2018/19 Grand Cherokee.

What do you think?

BMW 8 series concept

This looks really nice, and quite agressive.
Like I mentioned earlier, I am not sure the production design will be that good (From the spy shots we have all seen of the real thing)
I really like the slanted grille. Something that reminds us of the old BMWs. And something the regular models like the super boring 3, 5 and 7 series could use.

Sure, this is really nice. But so is the all new Lexus LC.