Thursday, June 30, 2022

Chevrolet Bolt EUV: test drive...

Even though the newer Bolt EUV resembles the regular Bolt, it does have its own design. 
The EUV is over 6 inches longer and has a 3 inches longer wheelbase than the regular Bolt. 

The version I drove is a loaded model that included a Sound and Sun package as well as Supercruise for around $44 000. (more on the current pricing later)

The interior of the EUV is basically the same as the regular Bolt. Except you can get the leather option in a very attractive 2-tone grey, instead of just black. (only on the Premier model though)
Any other version of the Bolt or Bolt EUV is a black-only affair inside. Which is sad...

The added length is mostly used for a roomier back seat. The Bolt is already a roomy compact, but the EUV's rear seat has more legroom than many mid-sized cars. The rear seats are also heated!

The Bose system is excellent. I thought it was a bit better than in the Bolt but it seems both cars use the same system. 
This and the panoramic sunroof are well worth the money.
(no sunroof available on the Bolt)

More length also means you can fit longer objects in the cargo when you lower the back seats. This really makes for a credible alternative to a small SUV. (If you don't need AWD)

With such similar specs and platforms, the EUV drives almost the same as the Bolt. The steering feels a little bit less artificial, which is great.
But I didn't notice it rode smoother even with 3 inches added to the wheelbase. Both the Bolt and EUV ride a little bit on the firm side. While always being very comfortable.

I did try the Super Cruise a few times. A couple of times it took a few tries to actually engage. And then, it worked!
No surprises. But really, it's something I'm not interested in at all. I  have personally no need for this and would save the $2 000.
But it's really good for GM to offer it to people who want it. I guess?

I was able to get more than the official numbers from the Bolt's battery during my test drive. The larger EUV model is rated at 247 miles instead of 259 for the Bolt.
And yet, as you can see, I had around 45 miles left after reaching 247 on a full charge.
Which means 300 miles could be possible. (Although you really would need to charge it before)
I did more freeway driving than with the Bolt (about 40%) and did use the one-pedal driving more often.

Again, I do not have a 240v charger where I live. After the 1st day of driving, I did charge it on the 110V available in my driveway. Which gave me around 40 miles overnight. (to a full charge) Actually more than most people will need every day.
This means I wouldn't absolutely need to have a 240 charger installed. Add a few miles every night from the 110 plug and use a fast charger in the neighborhood before a longer trip?
Why not?

Right before I test drove the EUV, GM announced drastic price reductions for the Bolt and Bolt EUV.

The reduced price takes effect for the 2023 model year. But is available right now on the 2022 models featured on the Chevy site. After current rebates (to match the new 2023 price), the 2022 Bolt EUV like the one I was driving is now priced at $ 37 785. Or $2200 less if you don't get the supercruise.

At around $35 000 for a loaded super roomy compact hatchback, the Bolt EUV is a great deal. 
While GM doesn't qualify for federal tax incentives anymore, the Bolt and Bolt EUV do qualify for many state rebate programs. 
In my state, I checked and would qualify for over $4500. This would put the loaded Bolt EUV at around $30 000. Now competing directly with gas-powered comparable vehicles.

The main difference between the Bolt and EUV, besides the slightly larger size, is the availability of a super large sunroof. And the gray interior. Both would make me pick the EUV. 
But if you're fine with an all-black interior and don't want a sunroof, you can even save $2000 more!

With the new pricing, the Bolt EUV is one of the best cars for the money available today. 
It is a very roomy, very quiet, fast, solid, and super well-equipped hatchback. (loaded model)
There's no problem to charge it, even on a 110 plug, for most people. And the sensation you get from being truly free from greedy gas companies is amazing. 

Although this is still a terrible time to buy a car. Due to a worldwide parts shortage. And it might be for another year or so. Official lease pricing on the Bolt a couple of years ago was under $200 a month (A friend of mine even got one for $125/month and $1000 down)
Deals like this would make a Bolt lease payment cheaper than buying gas. 

There are no good lease deals on the Bolt available these days. But they will come back. Although gas will probably never get that much cheaper...
The Bolt and Bolt EUV aren't the future anymore. They are what people should drive today.


2023 Buick Envista: a look inside...

We've already seen the all-new Buick Envista fully uncovered a few weeks ago.
Now we get to see its modern and clean-looking interior. Or at least, some of it.

So far, the Envista is a Chinese market model. Powered by a 1.5 Liter Turbo engine. Although the design is inspired by the Electra X Concept, the Envista is not an EV.

This could make a nice Buick Encore replacement in the US. maybe something in-between the $25 000 Encore GS and the $32 000 Envision? The coupe-like shape could also attract a different audience.



2023/24 Kia Seltos: early mid-cycle refresh...


Just in time to compete with the new, larger Honda HR-V, the Kia Seltos is getting some changes.

I've always thought the front end was way too busy for a small crossover. Unfortunately, the new one, while different, doesn't really seem much better. There's still a lot going on.

The rear end has also been modified. With lights that try very hard to make the whole thing more angular. I just think it ends up looking cheaper than before.

It's a different story inside. Where the revised interior seems much better. With a very well-integrated double screen instead of the "thick iPad stuck on a dashboard" look of the previous version. 
This is a very nice update.

Unfortunately, the exterior now looks a bit older than the previous version At least to me. 
It still will not stand out among the many HR-Vs and Corolla Cross out there. 

2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6: the US version...

The black car above shows what the US model of the new Ioniq 6 sedan will look like. 

You can see the mandatory side markets front and back. 
The front ones are in a weird place, ahead of the wheel arch.
Hyundai did a much better job on the Ioniq 5, where the front side markers are incorporated into the front light unit. And it looks like they could have done the same thing on the Ioniq 6. Weird...

Otherwise,  both versions look the same to me...


Tuesday, June 28, 2022

2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6: first look videos...

Here are a few of the many videos available on Youtube about the new 2023 Hyundai Ioniq sedan.
Showing the car inside and out (but not the trunk)

It does seem quite large in person. I really love the interior door panel design. But the center console with its blah grey plastic might look and feel cheap in person.

And again, Hyundai shows the really cool drawer-style glove compartment. Something that is also in the Ioniq 5. Except in the US version, for some weird and unexplained reason...
That interior does seem really roomy in general.

This will no doubt look quite impressive in person. 

VinFast e34: caught in the US...

The e34 is a small EV launched by WinFast late last year in its home market of Vietnam. A reader just sent me these photos of a prototype taken in Michigan.

As you can see, it is the exact same car as the one in the official shots.
It looks OK. A bit bloated and boring like the larger VF8.
Interestingly, the VF8 used to be called the e35. This new e34 retains the old naming convention. They don't call it the VF 4 (At least not outside of the US) ...

The 3 SUVs above are the ones VinFast claims will be sold in the US after the launch of the VF8 and larger VF9.
They all adopt the new names. As VF7, VF6, and VF5.
I just wonder why the e34 was caught testing in the US? And why they never showed it.

Maybe it will be a VF4 in our market? All three above aren't out yet. And their designs look much more modern than VinFast previous models like the e34 and e35 (now VF8)
I guess this could compete in the low-end EV market against the Chevrolet Bolt. 
It would have to be really cheap since VinFast makes you lease the batteries on top of the price of the car. (something that could be their downfall in the US)
And the e34 is rated at only 190 miles in the local test cycle. Which means probably even less by the EPA.

Again, unless they cal sell this for about $20 000 or less, it'll have a lot of trouble competing with the Bolt in the US. (Although that cute little VF5 with a 250 miles battery could be really cool)

Good luck.

(Thanks to Emiliano for the pix!)


Honda Civic Hybrid: not for us yet...

Honda is currently launching the new Civic Hatchback Hybrid in Europe.

It uses a 2.0 Liter engine (Similar to the discontinued Insight) and gets a bit above 50MPG in the Euro cycle. Wich doesn't seem better than the 55City/40HWY Insight. And barely better than the 48MPG combined of the larger Accord.

Maybe that's why Honda US hasn't announced when the Civic Hybrid would be coming over here. During my test drive of the Touring Sedan, I got up to 50MPG on the freeway. (32 around town). 

And I averaged almost 50MPG in the Accord hybrid. They need a Civic Hybrid to average at least 55MPG. Maybe that's what they're working on? Or they'll just "forget about it" and push the new Accord Hybrid instead as their one Hybrid sedan in the US?

Who knows....


2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6: this is it...

After all the spy shots and illustrations we've seen, it is actually weird to see the real thing. The 2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6 ends up looking a bit weird to me.

Of course, no one was expecting the fantastic Prophecy concept to translate to production without major changes. Still. At least in these early photos, the Ioniq 6 looks quite busy. Although the profile view is still quite striking. But the very angular trim bits on the lower bumpers are in sharp contrast with the very soft shapes of the rest of the design. There s a lot of unnecessary black trim everywhere. I think the super angular stuff on the bumpers works better on the Ioniq 5. 

We had seen the interior before as well. And it looks fine. The photo above shows the Korean market rear view cameras that will not be available in the US. These side screens won't be there either. The interior is a mixed bag as well. Maybe other photos will look better. It just seems designed by different teams. The console doesn't seem to belong in the same car...

At last, the Tesla Model 3 has its first real competitor. Which is good news. 

More on this very soon. The official unveiling is still over two weeks away.

(Thanks to a reader for these photos!)

Monday, June 27, 2022

2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6: best teaser so far...

This new teaser finally shows one of the most mysterious parts of the new  Hyundai Ioniq 6: the front end.
Which looks very different from the original Prophecy concept. And not as smooth.
The production car seems much more aggressive. 
Not sure why this black plastic strip is for. There could be a light under there. But why?
And the lower bumper spoiler looks like something out of Star Wars. 

I guess by the July 14th launch date, we'll have seen the whole thing. Bits by bits...

VW ID.Aero Concept: live photos...

The new ID.Aero concept looks OK in VW's official photos. But it seems a bit of a letdown in these live photos. Something not very modern at all. And again, a sedan/hatchback version of that wagon concept we saw 3 years ago. So it's not even a new design at all.

Is this for older people who want an electric car? At least, it is a pretty clean design. 

2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6: new teaser...

 Hyundai has released another teaser for the upcoming Ioniq 6 electric sedan.

Again, nothing we haven't really seen in the spy shots. And again, this is looking quite good so far...

Sunday, June 26, 2022

2023 VW ID.Aero: new photos...

 As you can see in these new photos, the upcoming VW ID. Aero is basically a sedan version of the 2019 ID Space Vizzion wagon concept.

A nice-looking sedan, but after 3 years, the basic design is actually pretty conservative. It looks like something that could have been out for a few years already. The wagon version would still look a bit more modern IMO.

I guess this will appeal to sedan buyers who want an EV without showing off. Which is fine. And will probably be quite popular. This will not only compete directly with the Tesla Model 3. But also the upcoming (and more polarizing) Hyundai Ioniq 6 sedan.

The ID.Aero will be sold in China first but is also scheduled for the US and Europe. 

More info and pix very, very soon.