Monday, April 30, 2018

More pictures of the new 2019 Toyota Corolla hatchback

This seems to be very nice for what it is. A modern, rather unassuming and simple compact hatchback.

I am also glad to see the hatchback returning as simply "Corolla hatchback".
And , to see a company that doesn't give up on cars. This is a regular hatchback, without some fake raised up SUV look like the Focus Active will be.
The white leather/grey cloth seems pretty upscale for a Corolla.
Too bad for the ridiculous looking tablet on the dash. But at least, the rest of the interior seems pretty simple and well designed. (Unlike the new Focus)

Let's hope this becomes a hit in the US and proves Ford wrong for abandoning regular hatchbacks, and cars in general.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Honda Accord for the Chinese market

As you know, I am test driving the new Honda Accord this week. 
And I noticed a few things about the Chinese market Accord Honda is not offering in the US.

First, a very nice brown/black interior combo. Sure, the Accord already offers 3 interior color choices, which is more than most cars these days. But that brown is also pretty nice.

Second, a really cool oversized sunroof. We only get a (voice size) regular sunroof here.
This is something Toyota does offer in the Camry and I think it would be a great addition to the Accord as well.

Why not?

New Hyundai LaFesta

So far, the all new LaFesta sedan is a Chinese market product only.
And we don't know much about it.
It is powered by a 1.6 Liter Turbo with a 7 speed automatic.

Although it is a pure fastback design, it doesn't appear to be an actual hatchback.
The front end looks slightly inspired by the recent Le Fil Rouge concept we just saw recently.

The rest of the car seems pretty nice looking. This would be a nice update for the Elantra.
Or is it large enough to be the next Sonata??? (Since an all new Sonata is due pretty soon...)

Either way, I think this is a pretty nice design. One that should be a hatchback.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Subaru Crosstrek Vs. Ford Focus Active

 Just though I would do a quick comparison of these two cars. Since they will no doubt be compared by potential buyers when the new Focus comes out.
The Ford is sleeker and lower. More like an actual car.
While, I think, Subaru did a better job at turning the Impreza hatchback into an SUV.

I think things are really a matter of taste here.

Not so inside.

The Ford's interior is no match for the Crosstrek.
Sure, the picture of the Subaru is a top of the line model with leather. Still, except for the seats, all Crosstrek models have a similar interior.
And it looks much nicer and more upscale than the poor Focus.
It really looks like a class above.

The Crosstrek starts at around $22 000. Including AWD.
The current Focus hatchback is only about $1500 less. And the 2019 might be more.

I really don't think this will work at all for Ford. And I suspect this is just what they want.
They will be able to claim no one wants anything but SUVs and trucks...

And, as I mention before, this will be quite a disaster for them. (no one else is abandoning the car business) It will only end up helping the competition.

Honda Accord test drive coming up.

I am very happy to report that I just took delivery of a shiny new Honda Accord.
As usual, I will drive it for a week, and tell you all about it.

It is a loaded Touting model with the 2.0 Liter Turbo and a 10 speed automatic.

Feel free to ask me anything you would like to know about it.

2019 Ford Focus active: Ford's last new car in the US

Except for the next generation Mustang, this will be the last time Ford introduces a non-SUV model in the US.
It will go on sale here in a bout a year, and will be manufactured in China.

They are ending production of the current Focus next month. (Which means there will be no new Focus available in the US for about a year)
For some weird reason, the Fiesta will be built for another year. The redesigned model has been on sale in Europe for a while and of course isn't coming here.
( I just wonder who would ever buy a Fiesta between now and next year...)
The Taurus production will end in March 2019.
(Again, who will buy one now???)

We are not getting any other versions of the new Focus. Just the raised up "fake SUV" Active model.
While it looks like a Subaru Crosstrek, there is no word of AWD being available, ever.
So this will probably a FWD only car.
(Another big mistake)

As far as engines, Europe is getting 1.0 Liter, 1.5 Liter and  2.0 Liter engines.

While I think the Focus Active looks cute, I am not sure it will really work. Especially without AWD.
It will be compared with the Crosstrek, since it looks a lot like it.
And that interior is really not looking great...

What do you think?

Thursday, April 26, 2018

2019 Ford Explorer teaser

Here is a new 2019 Explorer teaser from China. (Top picture)

Compared to the real thing driving around camouflaged. And to the new Lincoln Aviator, based on the same platform.
We all pretty much agree that the Lincoln looks great.
A cheaper Ford version of that design could be quite a hit for Ford.

Buick Enclave Avenir test drive

The Buick Enclave is really a very nice looking SUV. It is quite large, but doesn't look "heavy",
and has plenty of nice flowing lines.
In my opinion, this is one of the best looking large SUV you can get. (It looks like a fashion model next to the Audi Q7...)

Same thing inside. Everything looks great and feels very solid. There are plenty of soft touch materials everywhere. The wood looks good. So does the satin metal finish.

The seats are very comfortable. The Bose stereo sounds great.
The only thing I didn't like was the electronic shifter. It is very similar to what BMW uses.
And it is just stupidly confusing. And never gets really intuitive . ( Although I would guess it does after a while...)

 Seating is great everywhere. And even the 3rd row is quite roomy.

 There is still plenty of space left even with the 3rd row up. And there is a nice, and quite roomy, hidden compartment under the trunk floor.

 One of the first things you notice is how smooth and quiet the ride is. It is really a big part of what makes the Enclave feel so luxurious.
But it never feels lumpy like the Nissan Pathfinder.

It is also one of the quietest car I have driven. The engine is almost never heard.
Even when you push it, there is just a tiny bit of a sporty exhaust noise that actually sounds great.

 The 9 speed transmission always seems in the right gear. And is always willing to downshift when you want to.
The steering is also much nicer than the previous Enclave.
It actually does have some feel to it. And firms up very nicely on the freeway.

 The Enclave 3.6 Liter is rated at 18/26 MPG.
I almost got 18 in the city, but not quite.
Which is not unusual. After all, this is a big SUV powered by a large 3.6 Liter V6 with 310HP.
So about 16/17 in the city isn't bad at all considering.

But I did get 30MPG on the freeway, with 4 people on board. Which is really good.

My week with the Enclave was great. 
It was the perfect traveling companion through the beautiful California desert. And a true luxury SUV.
Quiet, solid, smooth and full of luxury features. 

As you can see bellow, my loaded Avenir FWD was a bit above $57 000. Not cheap at all.
But a base Audi Q7 is about $53 000. (AWD with a smaller 2.0 Liter engine)

The Enclave Avenir's main competition might actually be the "non-Avenir" versions.
You can get a loaded premium with the Dual sunroof (and almost everything else the Avenir offers) for under $53 000.
Which is a much better deal. I am not sure the few Avenir cosmetic bits are actually worth the $4000 extra.

Whatever model you get, the Buick Enclave will pamper you in a luxury cocoon atmosphere. 

Here are all the pricing details of the Buck Enclave Avenir I was driving (Just click on the picture)