Monday, February 28, 2022

2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid: differences...







It seems Toyota is selling different versions of the new Corolla Cross Hybrid around the globe.
The white car in the 2nd pic is the South African version. While you can see the Chinese model in other photos.
The Hybrid is coming to the US in October We will probably be getting the one that is similar to the South African market model. Which means it'll look the same as the regular Corolla Cross.

As you can see, in both versions, the rear seat doesn't fold flat at all. I guess this is to make room for batteries.
This is really strange since other hybrids these days don't have that packaging problem at all. Except for eh Jeep Ranger 4XE which is a PHEV with a larger battery.

I just wonder if this will be fixed for the US version.




 

Sunday, February 27, 2022

Kia EV6: Just say no. For now...





We all know this is the worst time to buy or even lease a new car. Chips and parts shortages are turning the car buying experience into a worse nightmare than it already was.
Dealers just don't have enough cars on the lots and many of them are charging huge markups.
A friend of mine was quoted $45 000 for a Nissan Kicks!!!. Infiniti dealers charging bogus "Covid Fees" to allow you to return a car from a lease etc...

Apparently, it is the same thing with leasing. Like most of you, I am on Facebook and bombarded with ads. But this one from a local Kia dealer stood out. Usually, they don't mention a price. Or they do mention"MSRP". Which is not what they actually will charge once you get there.

At least this Carson Kia dealer is upfront with the crazy prices.
They offer an insane $864 a month lease for the new Kia EV6 Wind.
The RWD Wind is priced at $47 000 and the AWD version is $50 900.
Which is much cheaper than a Tesla Model Y which starts at $59 000.
And that is basically the point of the Kia EV6.
Kia trying to compete with the Model Y at a cheaper price point.
Otherwise, the vast majority of people will just get the Tesla. That's just how it is...

But, as you can see, the local lease price is $214 more than a Tesla Model Y! With the same down payment. (bottom photo)

These dealers don't care at all about the brand they are selling. They just want to make a quick buck. While Hyundai/Kia is trying very hard to get very competitive products are very competitive prices.
Hyundai even complained to their dealers by sending this:
" We are writing this now because with great regularity our customers around the country are voicing displeasure with certain practices which, if left unchecked, will have a negative impact on the health of our brand".
The dealer system has to be revised. We should be able to get a car directly from the manufacturer at full MSRP. Just like Tesla. And what Saturn was doing years ago.

I would not buy a Tesla myself. But you have to admit, the much better experience of not having anything to do with a dealer, and saving $214 a month for a much more expensive car with one of the best resale values around is a huge plus. 
Unless you enjoy that rare feeling of getting ripped off...

Has anyone here been through a good car buying experience in the last year?





 

Saturday, February 26, 2022

2023 Honda CR-V: new illustrations...




These new illustrations of the 2023 Honda CR-V are obviously inspired by the patent designs we saw just a few days ago. And quite realistic.
many have mentioned it looks like the European HR-V that came out last year.
But it actually looks a lot like the upcoming, next-generation Honda Pilot (bottom pic)

This year will be quite a busy one for Honda. First with a brand new HR-V, then the super popular CR-V and the Pilot.
Which will probably spawn a brand new Passport later.

And there will probably squeeze a new-generation Accord in there as well...

 

Friday, February 25, 2022

Toyota Crown: coming to the US soon?



There are a few weird things about this.

The photo above shows (supposedly) what's coming to the US from Toyota. 
We've already seen everything. Except for the Corolla GR and Corolla Cross Hybrid. 
But we know these are coming to our market.

The question mark is the Crown. As the Toyota Crown is a large RWD sedan that has never been sold in the US. The current generation came out in 2018 and a new generation is indeed rumored to be coming out soon.
The Camry and Corolla still sell very well for Toyota (313,795 and 223,215 sold last year)
But I cannot imagine Toyota adding another large sedan to their US lineup. 
The Avalon sold only about 18 000 units last year. It is obvious that Toyota has enough sedans in the US with the Corolla and Camry.

The illustration above also shows some kind of a raised-up AWD sedan as the next Crown.
I guess the idea could be to offer a raised AWD sedan above the Camry to replace the slow-selling Avalon over here???

None of it makes much sense. I thought they might use the name "Crown" as a new trim for one of their US models. But the list above just says "Crown". 
This is all very strange. 

What do you think?



 

Maxus H90: when the Lexus grille is just not big enough...

 




This has to be the largest chrome grille I have seen on any car. The new Maxus G90 is a Chinese minivan. 

There isn't much else to say...


Cadillac Celestiq: new illustration...









The illustration above looks really good. And gives us hope for a really great new luxury electric sedan from Cadillac.
Except it doesn't match the teasers GM released last year. The front end in the teasers is different. With the light units going all the way to trim below the hood. And the photo from the top shows the same rear lights as the ones in the Lyriq. Actually, the whole shape on that view looks exactly like the Lyriq.

Which is not a good sign. While the Lyriq is fine, the new sedan should really be more different than a lowered SUV.
Maybe GM did show the Lyric on the photo?

I guess the new sedan will probably cost more than the SUV it is based on. At some point, Cadillac was talking about a top-of-the-line EV costing over $100 000. Which I think would be a mistake.
But something about $10 000 more than the Lyriq to start would really have a chance.
A $70 000 (to start)  alternative to the Tesla Model S, Lucid Air, and Mercedes EQS could have a chance.

 

2023/24 VW Tiguan: new illustration

 



I'm not sure what VW is actually doing with the Tiguan. Since, after over 6 years, we haven't seen a prototype of the next generation yet.

But this new illustration shows us what it could look like. Whenever it comes out. If it ever does. Since VW is on a fast track to electrification. My guess is the next one will be the same car with new body panels. One last ICE compact SUV from them... The only thing I've heard is there will now be only one size. Unlike the current generation offered as a 5 and 7 seater versions in Europe (While  teh US is only getting the larger one)


Thursday, February 24, 2022

2023/24 Chevrolet Equinox: which one?

 



Things will be getting confusing soon with the Chevrolet Equinox.
On one hand, it is supposed to be redesigned. We have seen spy shots of it a few months ago. Which will be the 2023 or 2024 model.
On the other hand, an all-new electric model called the Equinox EV is also coming out in the fall of 2023. And will start at an amazingly low $30 000 before incentives. Which will in fact make it cheaper than the regular Equinox.
It is a bit hard to tell if the spy shot above is the EV or not. It could be.

Or not...

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

2023 Honda HR-V: new spy shots...





These new spy shots of the US version of the 2023 Honda HR-V match the recent official teasers we have seen.
Except the photos were obviously not taken in the US. Which means Honda could add the new model to their Japanese lineup as well. Although they already have a new HR-V, similar to the one sold in Europe.
I guess this would be a slightly larger model over there.

Over here, the new HR-V is rumored to be available with a hybrid option on top of the regular 1.5 Liter model. 




These are some of the photos I posted of the new HR-V a few months ago. This is the US version caught testing in California. 
 

2023 Hyundai Grandeur: new interior illustration...

 


This illustration from HITEKRO shows us what a retro-inspired interior would look like in the upcoming 7th generation Grandeur sedan.

We have seen the exterior many times, although still camouflaged. As well as many illustrations.  But so far, it is inspired by the retro "Heritage series Grandeur" concept we saw last year. Which means the interior could probably be very close to this cool illustration.

Again, I really like this trend. I think this would be great for EVs. Since electric platforms lead to more design freedom. 



This is what I want to see as Ford's next EV.

I guess an electric version of that new Grandeur could be the closest thing...

VW ID Buzz: a look inside. And video test drives...



The all-new EV version of the classic Microbus (The new ID Buzz) is finally just around the corner.
Many journalists have been invited by VW to drive the new van in Spain. 
All the videos below show how careful VW was during these "test drives". The dashboard could not be shown, except for what's needed to actually drive (steering wheel and screens)
Although we do get a glimpse of the cool dash with wood trim on the photo above.

And a super-stiff VW Suit was riding along in the passenger suit. 

Still, these videos are quite promising. They only show the short wheelbase 5 seater version of the van.
The US will only get a longer version scheduled to be unveiled next month.
















MG Cyber E: new video teaser...



I was just mentioning the upcoming MG Cyber E Crossover/SUV/Hatchback thing, just last week. With patent and spy photos.
Now we have a video teaser of the real thing. And what we can see so far looks really good.

MG has been selling cars in Europe again for over 10 years. And growth has been quite impressive. From a total of just 374 cars back in 2009 to 54 000 last year.
This new model is expected to grow the total number to 120 000. 
Which is totally believable.


Their current offerings in Europe aren't that fantastic right now. Although they are almost all EVs, except for one PHEV. They all look pretty blah except the newer Marvel R. 
All of them look a bit generic. But as you can see, this next model just looks pretty fantastic.

But this new lower, sportier and much more modern looking model is just what they need to increase sales in Europe.
I have to add that something like this would also be welcome here.
The only really affordable EVs in North America are the Chevy Bolt and Nissan Leaf. 
One is plagued with battery problems and the other is saddled with aging tech.

We are mostly left with the $34 000 Kona EV. (And hopefully, the next Kia Niro EV will be priced lower than the current $40 000)

We really need more choices in the lower price range. I guess the upcoming $30 000 Chevy Equinox EV could end up getting a huge part of the market.

Still, that little MG does look pretty good...

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

GMC Hummer EV sighting: not good...





I saw this yesterday in front of my car. I didn't know there were out. I guess it must be a press car or something. (Although it did have temporary plates)

All I can say is that it looks pretty horrible. And "ghastly" doesn't begin to describe it. It just looks lumpy and weirdly proportioned. And just so cheezy. I mean, that name "Hummer" in the first place. This should have been just "GMC". Is there anyone out there who really wants to spend over $100 000 Hummer in 2022? (Except the usual few super-rich douchebags?)

The new Silverado EV is basically the same thing. With a much less offensive design. An upscale GMC version would have been just fine...


 

2023 Mazda CX-50: pricing and all the info you need...






I personally think the new CX-50 is much nicer looking than the CX-5. Which is still a very nice Crossover, but it's getting a bit old now... The CX-50 looks newer and the proportions feel a bit more dynamic.
Not only it is obviously going after Subaru, but I think the CX-5 could be in trouble.



A high-end Meridian edition is coming out later. As well as a hybrid model, using a Toyota powertrain. (That probably means the one from the RAV-4)
There seems to be a huge premium for the Turbo versions. Around $4000/5000. It looks like they don't really want you to actually buy the turbo. Similar to what Toyota has been doing with the Camry V6 for many years.

Here are details on all the models available:

CX-50 2.5 S Package - Eight-speaker audio system, wireless Apple CarPlayTM, and Android AutoTM integration, Mazda ConnectTM Infotainment system, two USB ports, remote keyless entry with push-button start, a 7-inch TFT LCD instrument panel display, among many other standard features. - 17-inch Gray Metallic alloy wheels, LED headlights, rear roof spoiler, body-colored power side-view mirrors with LED turn signal indicators, and dual exhaust outlets. 

CX-50 2.5 S Select Package - Dual-zone automatic climate control and rear passenger vents, leather-wrapped shifter and steering wheel LED interior lighting, 40/60 split-folding rear seat, 10.25-inch color center display with HD RadioTM and two additional USB inputs in rear console. The 2.5 S Select also comes standard with black metallic 17-inch alloy wheels and tinted privacy glass.

 CX-50 2.5 S Preferred Package - Heated side-view mirrors and windshield wipers, front and rear center armrest with storage, power rear liftgate with programmable height adjustment, eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat with power lumbar support, and heated front seats.

 CX-50 2.5 S Preferred Plus Package - Power-sliding panoramic moonroof. CX-50 2.5 S Premium Package - Bose® 12-speaker premium audio system with Centerpoint® and AudioPilot®, SiriusXM satellite radio with three-month trial subscription2, roof-mounted shark-fin antenna, auto-dimming rearview mirror with Homelink®, six-way power-adjustable front passenger seat, leather seating surfaces in black or terracotta. Two-position driver seat memory, premium trim inserts with camel stitching on black interior, and orange stitching on the terracotta interior. 

 CX-50 2.5 S Premium Plus Package - 20-inch aluminum-alloy wheels with machine-cut black metallic accent and automatic power-folding side-view mirrors. Ventilated front seats and full-color Active Driving Display projected on the windshield. 

 CX-50 2.5 Turbo Package - Like all CX-50s, the Turbo packages also come standard with the i-Activ AWD system with Mi-Drive with Sport and Off-road modes, however Towing mode is exclusive to the Turbo. Towing capacity increases to 3,500 pounds on all Turbo packages, up from 2,000 pounds on 2.5 S packages. Steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters to enhance the Mazda performance experience from the driver's seat. Exclusive exterior design elements include unique Turbo badging, larger exhaust pipes, LED taillights, and an Adaptive LED front lighting system with LED auto-leveling headlights. 

 CX-50 2.5 Turbo Premium Package - Bose® 12-speaker premium audio system with Centerpoint® and AudioPilot®, SiriusXM satellite radio with three-month trial subscription2, active driving display, heated steering wheel, and ventilated front seats. 

 CX-50 2.5 Turbo Premium Plus Package - Frameless, auto-dimming rearview mirror with Homelink®, heated rear seats, wireless phone charger in the center console, Mazda Navigation System and Active Driving Display with traffic sign recognition projected on the windshield. 

 CX-50 2.5 Turbo Meridian Edition - Exclusive 18-inch alloy wheels with all-terrain tires, side rocker garnish and headlight garnish, distinctive hood graphics, and a host of outdoor-specific accessories.

Good to see you can get the Panoramic roof without leather. But you still need leather seats to access the 12 speaker Bose... 


2023 Audi Q9: new illustrations...



We have seen spy shots of this large upcoming Audi SUV for the Chinese market before. 
For some reason, many are speculating this Q9 will just be an Audi version of the VW Atlas. (sold in China as the VW Teramont)
The spy photos we have seen don't really look like an Atlas, but these illustrations are imagining what an Audi version of the Atlas would look like. And well, it looks like something that shouldn't exist.
Adding an Audi grille and front end to a 5-year-old super boring VW SUV design does not make an Audi.
Even in China, Audi already has plenty of SUVs of all sizes. I am not sure why this cheap-looking "Q9" would offer over the super luxurious Q8. Except for more room? That's what the Q7 is for.

It is obvious Audi is testing a large SUV for the Chinese market, but I really don't think it will be an Atlas with a few Audi pits added.

At least let's hope not. 


 

2024 VW Beetle: new illustration...



There seem to be more and more rumors about an electric version of the Beetle being in the works at VW.

And of course, it would be an EV part of the new I.D family. Which would be great. The illustration above shows what a retro-looking design would look like with 4 doors. And I think it looks really good.

Much better than some others we've seen. Of course, now that the Chinese company ORA is making their own retro Beetle "inspired" EV, VW seems to be talking a bit more about a possible next-generation Beetle. Which, no matter what, is good news.

At least to me, since I've always been a huge fan of the bug...
 

2023/24 GMC Acadia: new spy shot...



This spy shot of the next-generation GMC Acadia does look a lot like the current one.
It does seem a bit longer. You can see the rear doors intruding a bit less over the rear wheel. But otherwise, it does look very close.
It looks like this next generation will share its slightly longer platform with the Chevrolet Traverse and Buick Enclave. (The current model rides on a shorter version of that platform)

Let's hope the chrome grille, which already increased in size a couple of years ago, will be toned down a bit. As it is really getting ridiculously vulgar...

You can see a few more pix of the next Acadia at GM-TRUCKS.com
 

Ford Ranger Raptor: official pix...





The new Raptor is of course the performance version of the new generation Ford Ranger we saw a few months ago.
The version shown above is the "global" model. The US Ranger Raptor will come to the US later this year. (I guess right after the "regular" new Ranger.

This "mini-Raptor" is powered by a 3.0 Liter Turbo V6 that only makes 288HP. At least in Europe.
The US is supposed to get a much more powerful version with almost 400HP. Since it's already producing 400HP in the Explorer ST.

Otherwise, I think this Raptor version could have been a little more aggressive-looking. 
Maybe the US will also get some visual changes too. 

On a related note, I am getting a GMC Canyon AT4 for a week. If anyone has any questions about it.
The Canyon/Colorado are scheduled to get new designs very soon. So this will be a kind of a "goodbye test drive". Why not...

Mazda CX-60: new teaser video...


Even though we have seen how unoriginal it will look outside, the new Mazda CX-60 will sure look quite upscale inside.
We can't see much on the video, it somehow reminds me a bit of the MX-30 interior already. Or maybe it's just the color.

As previously mentioned, we will not b getting the CX-60 in the US. We are getting the "larger" CX-70. Which might look 100% different, or almost exactly the same. 
Another strange and expensive move from Mazda...

Monday, February 21, 2022

2023/2 Hyundai Kona: new illustration...


 This is the first time I see an illustration of the upcoming second-generation Hyundai Kona.

From the spy shots we've already seen, it looks like it could be close. Or not. recent Hyundai and Kia models have been pretty hard to guess. Which is a good thing and shows how original their designs are. 

I test drove the current generation twice. (including the EV). And though it was a very nice compact crossover. With a great powertrain (gas version). Except for its pretty drab "grey everything" interior. Which I'm sure will be rectified for the next generation.


Sunday, February 20, 2022

2023 Honda CR-V: this is it...




We've all seen the next generation CR-V last year in numerous spy shots of prototypes driving around (bottom pic)

Now we get to see the final design in this new patent illustration. Which, of course, matches exactly the prototype.

As expected, it is a more conservative design. Similar to what they did with the 2022 Civic sedan. Which will probably keep the CR-V popular. By not offending anyone. Except the few who were expecting something a bit more original or even more modern than the current one.

Engines are expected to be the same as the current generation. This means the good old 1.5 Liter Turbo with a Hybrid option. Unfortunately, this also means the CVT will be the only transmission available, again.

 I haven't heard of a PHEV coming anytime soon. Which is too bad. 

As you can see, this is a very different design than the upcoming 2023 HR-V. The new CR-V is trying to look a bit more like the larger Pilot. While the HR-V seems to be its own thing. 

No info on when we'll see this, but it should be after the HR-V. Since Honda has already teased the smaller model. With over 361 000 of them sold last year, a new generation CR-V is a huge deal for Honda.

 

ORA Punk Cat: new interior photos...

 



Although we have seen the new VW Beetle "inspired" ORA Punk Cat before, these new photos are our best look at the interior.
Unless you were able to catch a very short glimpse of it in the video I posted a while ago.

Sure, it's very shiny in there. And the passenger screen is a crazy and distracting new trend. But I still really like the super retro vibe.
This is really something VW should have done themselves. But they didn't. I am glad someone did. Our serious world always needs a Beetle around. No matter who makes it.

I can't wait to read about actual road tests about this car. And would love to see it sold in Europe, right where VW doesn't want it.