Friday, May 31, 2019

2020 Mercedes GLB

As expected, the production version of the small GLB SUV will look exactly like the concept we saw just a while ago.
At least the body, without the concept's macho bits.

Without the big tires and off-road trim, it looks a lot like the GLC. Not at all the small squared off SUV many expected.
It is actually quite soft looking.

Things are getting quite crowded. With a new GLA coming out soon as well...

More pix of the new Mercedes GLB HERE.

2020 Cadillac CT5 V Video!

Now let's look at the all-new CT5 V.

the CT5 does have quite a nice profile. And great sporty proportions. Except for that terrible fake rear side window.

Which pretty much ends up ruining everything. It is really too bad.

Cadillac should have also made the car a proper hatchback like the great Escala concept.

The car would have been quite a standout. But no...

What do you think?

CT4 V against ATS V

It looks like the CT4 is actually not an all-new model. ( I flipped the ATS pic to match the CT4)
At all.
Proportions look exactly the same as the ATS. And more!

Only the sheet metal is new. It seems they have actually used the same car. Glass area looks exactly the same.
Why??? Why even bother?
The ATS was not a good seller to begin with. I test drove one a few years ago and thought it was a fine car.
But that rear seat was so small it was unusable. From these pictures, it is hard to imagine the CT4 has a roomier interior than the ATS. Which means the ATS's main problem was never resolved.
What makes them think the CT4 would be more popular???

This is what VW just did with the "new" 2020 Passat. The same car with some new sheet metal. Sure, at least, unlike VW, Cadillac put a new interior.
But this is a Cadillac. Not a VW. Cadillac should not cut so many corners.

If the Mercedes A-Class sedan starts at $32 500, the CT4 really needs to be under $30 000 to have any chance to survive...

Big changes are really needed at Cadillac. Or these could be the last new Cadillacs ever.
This is really sad...

2020 Volvo S90

I guess it is time for the Volvo S90 to get a few mid-cycle changes.
The 2020 model is on top. And all I can see is a new bumper and lower grille.
The grille itself is a bit different but that might be a sporty trim.

Otherwise, good to see nothing has been ruined...

2020 Chevrolet Corvette C8 illustration

I usually don't post C8 Corvette illustrations since there seems to be a new one every day. Showing the same thing over and over.
But I think this one is interesting and quite different.
For once, it doesn't show any side window behind the door.
(Which, if there are any, have so far always been covered in the prototypes.)

And it uses a 2 tone color combo. Which could be interesting.
Otherwise, the front end seems way too long (when compared to the actual thing in the bottom pic)

Interesting to see what people think the new Corvette will be.

Personally, I don't think the Corvette should have switched to a more expensive mid-engine layout.
There are already rumors of a base price of over $70 000.
Sure, it is still cheaper than a 911. But it is a  $15 000 price bump over the current car.

One of the points of the Corvette was to be "relatively affordable"...
And easy to live with. I never got to drive the current model, but I drove the previous generation twice.
And I was surprised how easy it was to live with. And comfortable.
With plenty of room for two people and their stuff. Even in the Convertible.

Cadillac CT4-V

 In another weird move, Cadillac has also unveiled the V version of their all-new CT4 compact sedan.
Before the actual CT4!

I guess they wanted today to be a "V" day or something...

As far as the design goes, I do like this CT4 better than the CT5. Still, I don't really think it is such an improvement over the ATS. Which looked just fine.
Plus, the ATS was not a success for Cadillac (Although I seem to see plenty of used ones around in L.A)
They sold 10 860 of them last year. (just a few more than the much more expensive CT6)
I am not sure what would make people buy this over the ATS...

I think it will only work if priced right. (Which means thousands less than the ATS.)

As far as the V model, the ATS was powered by a Turbo V6 with 464HP.
Which is pretty fantastic.

While this new CT4 V gets a 2.7 Liter 4 cylinder with 320HP!
That's right, 320!

Again, this is nothing like the previous model.
Just like the new CT5 V, this CT4 V seems to lower the bar by quite a bit.
Again, they have said more powerful models are on the way.
Which would mean a whole new range of V models? From "slightly more powerful than the base models" to Crazyy power". maybe?

I am not sure why Cadillac is pursuing the "sports car" thing. They should concentrate on luxury.
Have one or two crazy V models is OK.
But trying to create a whole sportysub-brandd is a waste or resource and money in my opinion.

It seems that for now, Lincoln understand much better the meaning of "american luxury"...

The top picture is the interior of the CT4.
While the bottom one is the CT5.
They are almost the same...

And none of them is that much better than the cars they replace.

Cadillac CT-5 V

 After driving a CTS-V for a whole week a little while ago, I, of course, became a huge fan of that car.
This is why the announcement of the all-new V version of the CT-5 sedan is such a letdown.

Not only because of the specs. Which are pretty terrible, for a "V".
The CTS V had AWD with a fantastic V8 with 640HP. Which is crazy, And that is the point of the car.
the new CT5 V has a twin-turbo V6 with 355HP.
That,s right, 355!
That same engine makes over 400HP in the CT6! Why only 355 in the V?
NOT USING THE 404HP version they already have makes zero sense.

On top of it, there is no way the new car can match the presence and powerful look of the previous one (grey car above)

While I am sure the new CT5 V is a very nice car, it is not a true "V".
For some reason, GM people have already said a more powerful model is coming up soon.
Which means they might be trying to turn "V" into some kind of a sporty sub-brand.
With more than one model for each line.

I really think this is a very wrong move for Cadillac. that money should be spent on much better design.
that black plastic trim behind the rear door still looks cheap no matter what...

Thursday, May 30, 2019

2020 Lexus RX

 It looks like Lexus is finally simplifying their designs a bit (just a tiny bit)
The revised 2020 model is in the top picture. And although the changes are very subtle, they make that front end look a lot cleaner. Gone is that weirdo small triangular shape in the bumper. The grille seems a bit smaller. The super heavy chrome line at the bottom is mostly gone. A simpler headlight design. Etc..

The rear design is also mostly the same.
But the bumper and light designs are also simplified for a cleaner look.

Inside it now has a larger touch screen.

I think they did a good job. It is very subtle but is an improvement, and a step in the right direction.
One of simpler, less brutal and more cohesive designs with fewer unnecessary lines.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

2020 Kia Seltos Vs- 2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer

The "squarish small SUV with a floating roof" club is now accepting new members. 
The Hyundai Venue is another one. But smaller.

It looks like the new Chevrolet and Kia are about the same size. the front doors and windshield are actually almost the same. making them feel related although they are not. 

It will be quite an interesting battle...

(more pictures of the all-new Kia Seltos HERE)

2021 Buick Encore GX

While the new Trailblazer is most certainly replacing the Trax, this new Encore GX is NOT replacing the Encore.
Which is weird.  Buick says:
"The Encore GX will be positioned between the smaller Encore and the larger Envision and Enclave models"
The current Encore is old (It came out in 2012!)
I actually think this is better looking than both the Encore and Envision. And pretty much the right size for 4 or 5 people.
Most buyers will think this is "all they need".
I think this will steal sales from the other models. 

Apparently, Buick is still mentioning the regular Encore so there must be a new one on the way.
Buick has been showing some journalists a prototype of a compact "Crossover Coupe".
I think this is exactly the same car as China is getting as the new regular Encore.

This is the new "regular" Encore for the Chinese market.
I bet this is what we will be getting as well as the Encore replacement.
It must be that so-called "Crossover coupe" they have secretly shown to the press.

And it does look quite nice...

Buick is only around because of their huge success in China where they sell about 5 times more cars than in the US.
And they don't have Opel anymore to get new models from.

So it really makes sense we will be getting the exact same stuff as they get over there.
(Except for some Chinese specific stuff like the GL8 or Excelle.)

As for our new Encore GX, no specs from GM yet. But since it is larger than the Encore I would expect the usual GM 2.0 Liter.

GM really needs to start offering hybrids or plug-in hybrids in their popular models.
Really... The new Escape has a huge advantage over any of these.

2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer

Quite a surprise today. I just didn't expect it so early. 

It does look quite nice and very current. it reminds me a bit of the new Hyundai Venue.
GM has not provided any official specs yet, but this is replacing the Trax.
So I guess this will compete with the HR-V, CX-3 and the Hyundai Kona I just drove.

1971 Lincoln Coupe Drive

My friend Chris bought an old Lincoln Coupe a few years ago.

I finally got to take a short ride in it.

What a weird time machine this is... Such an old fashion idea of luxury.

The feeling of that huge hood in front of you. The only way you get this now is in a huge SUV.

(Which sits way too high to feel luxurious.)

The old Lincoln is low. And everything feels way too soft and too heavy.

But at the same time, it is great and truly comfortable. Over 45 years later, it does feel very special...

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Audi E-Tron GT patent picture shows the same design as the concept.

Great to see that not everyone is teasing us with crazy concept cars that will never make it into production.

While I understand the "concept" version of the Audi E-Tron GT was a slightly revised version of the actual production car, it is still good to see.
(production car is on top)

The gorgeous E-Tron GT concept was no tease. It was the real thing we will see next year.

I think this is a sedan and not a hatchback. Which is really too bad. (The Porsche version is also a sedan)
But the previous E-Tron Sportback was a hatch. Let's hope that also makes it into production...

Current CR-V Vs. the next one

Yes, the shape will be very similar to the current one.
(Just like the current one is actually very similar to the previous one...)

it looks like it will follow Honda's upcoming design trend of "simpler and fewer lines".
Which we saw on the current Insight. And will see on the next Fit.

2021 Honda CR-V

Looks like the new 2021 Honda CR-V won't be too much of a design revolution.
Of course. And why should it be? With over 379 000 of them sold last year, it is Honda's most popular model in the US. (Next was the Civic with over 325 000)

So this will be a very safe redesign. From these spy shots, we can already see the flat top of the grille.
Like the current Accord.
And, while the rear side window camouflage makes it look like the current model, it seems that the next time around, that window might go down to the tail lights. ( I have a feeling)

The next new Honda we will see soon if the new 2020 Fit. Which should be really interesting. 
And even under camouflage already looks much better than the current version.

Which means the new CR-V will probably make its debut sometime next year. 

2020 BMW X1. (No-one is safe from that huge grille)

 That's right. It seems no BMW model is safe from the ugly/vulgar huge chrome grille.
Not even the small X1 Crossover (This will really destroy the sportier X2...)

They even added more chrome to the whole front end while they were at it (2020 one on top)

 Not that many changes for the rear . Only lights it seems...

Tiny changes inside (new on top)
A larger screen. Now not integrated at all to the dash (The previous one was at least pretending to)

I guess this Chrome frenzy at BMW is a way to make sure buyers can show off their cars even more.
Since, I guess, more chrome still means "more expensive" to some people.
Maybe an oversized chrome grille on a small car is a way to make sure your neighbors know you bought a luxury brand?

So weird. And so backward...

They will finally offer a plug-in hybrid of the X1 next year (At least in Europe and China).
Which only gets about 30 miles of EV range. Which isn't that great, especially for a "luxury" brand.
Since the Chevy Volt was getting almost 55 miles years ago. And the Honda Clarity is getting almost 50.

Hyundai Kona test drive

The Hyundai Kona is a very nice looking small crossover.
The only thing I am not crazy about would be the big grille (but I never like them), or the busy rear bumper black plastic part that includes the lights.
(These lights could have been included in the ones right above...)

Otherwise, it has a wonderful personality. And the new color, Sunset Orange, that came with my test car really makes the small Hyundai stand out.

Things are a bit more conservative inside. But still very nice.
Everything is where it is supposed to be. The infotainment is very easy to figure out and use.
The "pretend stick shift" automatic shifter looks good. And everything feels solid.

While the upgraded stereo sounded quite good, it was lacking in bass quite a bit.
As easy fix was turning the bass adjustment all the way up. (Which works, but is kind of strange to do...)

While the screen works well, its plastic housing looks a bit cheap when compared to most of the competition. It has a bit of an aftermarket look to it.

The door handle design is really nice and simple (The overall shape includes the speakers)
But the hande itself is plastic. Which is rather strange since most cars these days have metal handles...

The rubbery texture covering the lower dash looks and feels great. And adds a bit of originality to the interior. A nice touch...

The rear seat is pretty roomy.
This is much more comfortable than the Mazda CX-3 back seat.
There is plenty of room for 2 adults back there.

The Kona's 1.6 Liter Turbo is a very quiet small engine. (Even when cold in the morning.)
It even idles so silently that it is sometimes hard to tell it is even on.

And whenever you push it a bit, it always sounds refined.
Although with turbo power and torque you really almost never need to "push it".
The Kona has plenty of power available all the time. More than most people will ever want.
There is still a "sport" mode if you need more punch. But I found it really unnecessary.

The steering has a nice feel to it. Precise and not too light.
The transmission is smooth and easy to downshift.
And the suspension strikes a nice balance between ride and handling. It is not quite as smooth as the Honda HR-V, but almost.
And much, much nicer than the skateboard like ride of the CX-3.

The Kona FWD is rated at 28/32MPG.

I did get 28 in the city. Even 30.
But I never was able to get anything less than 40MPG on the freeway. I even got close to 45 many times.
Cruising at the speed limit or slightly above.
(Which is better than the CTV equipped and much less powerful HR-V)

I am actually wondering why it only gets an official rating of 32MPG...

This is a very punchy engine. And this kind of MPG is quite amazing for such a fun car to drive.

As you can see above (click to enlarge), the loaded Ultimate version of the Kona is pretty much the same price as the loaded HR-V and CX-3. (So there is, as usual, no price competition between similar cars anymore)
While its interior is a little bit less refined than the Mazda or Honda, the Kona is a more engaging and fun drive than both. While getting great gas mileage.
It is a comfortable car around town or on the freeway. 

It ultimately felt sportier than the MAZDA CX-3. With a really nice steering feel and even more power. 
A comfortable ride and better MPG.
Plus, the Hyundai infotainment system is light years ahead of the Mazda's.

The Kona is definitely the best sporty pick of its class.