Sunday, July 31, 2022

Honda Ridgeline: test drive...

By now, the Honda Ridgeline is a pretty familiar sight, even though it's not the most popular truck. But the current generation has been around for over 6 years.
Over these years, Honda has been trying really hard to make it look more like an old fashion "real" pick-up truck. Or at least, what truck buyers seem to want. With a larger grille and a more macho look.
It seems to actually work since sales went up the last year to over 41 000 units (from around 32 000 in 2020)
But it still looks pretty anonymous. Which could also mean timeless in a generic kind of way...

The interior is of very high quality. With soft plastics almost everywhere. This is basically the exact same interior used in the Pilot and Passport. 
Everything is logical, works well, and feels very solid.

But it does look quite dated. Which would actually be OK if Honda had updated the infotainment system.
Unfortunately, that system looks and feels really old. It's amazing to see how much better these things have become in just 6 years.
The screen is very slow and laggy. The whole thing looks like it was designed in the 90s. (Just look at that old-timey phone logo!) And, even though you have 5 little dots at the bottom of the screen, there is only one page of "apps". The other 4 are empty.
At least there's Apple Car play...

It's just not great at all. And basically, way behind any of its competition.

Another "retro" touch is the pedal-activated hand break. Something I haven't seen in a long time...

The back seat is very roomy and comfortable. And Honda's "trunk in a bed" feature is great. And can also be used as a cooler for parties. 

The Honda Ridgeline is very comfortable and quiet on the road. More like an SUV than a truck.
And the big old 3.5 Liter V6 is always super smooth, quiet, and refined.

The steering is very light and doesn't have much feel. It almost seems a bit loose off center. Which could appeal to truck buyers.
The Ridgeline is rated at 18/24MPG. I got about 16 around town, at best. But almost 29 otherwise. 

While the Ridgeline is easily the best driving pick-up available, that doesn't seem to matter to truck buyers.
And "regular" mid-sized trucks like the Chevrolet Colorado are getting more and more refined.

I am just not sure who it is for. For people who don't want a real truck, the trucky design just doesn't work. (The new Hyundai Santa Cruz would be a better choice)
And truck buyers don't seem to care about a super smooth ride and the most refined engine available.

Add the $47 000 price as tested, and it's even less appealing. (You can probably find plenty of used ones)
Plus, that old interface is really behind anything else available today.

The Ridgeline isn't just fighting the Santa Fe these days, but the redesigned Frontier as well.
And especially the all-new Chevrolet Colorado. Which will soon be joined by its GMC cousin.
And the redesigned Ford Ranger.
While we've all seen spy shots of the next-generation Pilot, there haven't been prototypes of the next Ridgeline (The Passport will probably be replaced by the new Prologue)

I hate to say, but I just can't see brighter days ahead for the Ridgeline...


Friday, July 29, 2022

2023 Ford Explorer: Chinese changes...


The Ford Explorer is getting some pretty major changes for the new model year. In China.

The new front end is really awkward and seems to zap any personality the Explorer had before. Not sure what they were thinking there...

Things are even worse inside. Where the ridiculous-looking wide screen that starts above the console and goes all the way across the passenger side of the dashboard.

I am not the biggest fan of the current Explorer, but at least, the US version is, so far, much nicer and coherent looking.
Let's hope these changes stay in China. 

2023 Chevrolet Seeker: out in China...

The 2023 Chevrolet Seeker is a new small Chevrolet crossover for the Chinese market.

Looking really decent, inside and out, it would be nice to see it over here. We know there is a new ICE Equinoix coming over pretty soon. And I think the Seeker would make a great new Equinox.
The Seeker is about 4 inches shorter than the current Equinox. Which means it could also maybe replace the old Trax instead?

Who knows...


Thursday, July 28, 2022

2023/24 Jeep Jeepster: new photo...


We've seen the tiny new electric Jeep just a few days ago, and here it is again.

Looking as production ready as ever. I really hope this is coming over here. An affordable cute EV with personality could be a big hit in the US. Depending on the price, 220 miles or so would be acceptable. If charging is fast enough.

But as I mentioned earlier, this isn't based on a new platform. And would need to be updated to get an acceptable range in the US.

Again. There is still hope...

2023 Chevrolet Colorado: oficial pix...


Chevrolet has just released photos of the all-new redesigned Colorado pick-up for 2023.

A much nicer-looking pick-up inside and out. With a more squared-off design, it resembles a bit the new Nissan Frontier. 

Engines are now all different versions of the 2.7 Liter Turbo motor. Both the V6 and diesel options are gone. 
It is now also only available as a crew cab and short bed model.

Ths new interior is finally up to date. the previous generation interior had seriously aged a lot in the past few years. The new Colorado is also based on a new platform. 
The large screens you see on the pix above are also standard on all versions. 

The 2023 Colorado will be available early next year.

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

2024 Honda Prologue: new video teaser...

This is quite interesting. This new video shows the design process for the upcoming Honda Prologue electric SUV.
Of course, since it is based on the 2024 Chevrolet Blazer EV, proportions were probably already dictated before the Honda designers started working on it.

Still, it looks like they did a great job coming up with a very different-looking vehicle. One with its own personality.

Mini Aceman Concept: re-inventing the Mini...

The new Aceman concept is a preview of an upcoming new Mini model.
Something in between the regular Mini and the larger Countryman.

While I still think a proper Mini should have round headlights, I do like this new design. Even the headlights. It is a much nicer-looking "SUV/Crossover" shape than the current Countryman.
It also looks better than what we have seen of the new 2023 Mini EV in China. (at least the Aceman doesn't have the weirdo tail lights seen on the prototype)
But the interior is very, very similar to the prototype caught last year.
At 159.4 inches it is small. But not that small.
Since it's only about 2 inches shorter than the 1st generation Countryman. (The second generation is about 8 inches longer)
Being an EV, it's also probably roomier than the old Countryman. 

The interior is also trying to redefine the Mini personality. By being as simple as it can be. maybe a bit too much?
Not sure what will stay in the production model, but the super simple seats look a bit cheap. And no armrests.
And the rear bench reminds me of the old Nissan Cube.
Again, very simple. But not the most comfortable.

At least, it looks like Mini will be trying something new with the Aceman. There are plenty of fun design touches. (Although using the Union Jack everywhere is a bit much)

The 2023 Mini EV will use a new platform, different from the next-generation Mini. And will be produced in China.
I guess the Aceman will be based on that same platform.


Tuesday, July 26, 2022

2024Honda Prologue: new spy shots...

We already knew the new Honda Prologue would use GM's Ultium platform. What we see in these new spy shots of the Honda electric SUV, is a very close relation to the recently introduced Chevrolet Blazer EV.
Sure, the wavy bodywork of the Chevy is replaced by a much more conservative Honda wrapper. But you can tell that underneath, these two will basically be the same cars.
Although Honda will probably offer FWD and AWD, but not RWD like the GM version.

It will be interesting to see how it will be priced next to the Chevrolet. (The 2024 Blazer EV will start at  $45 000 for the 247 miles of range 1LT model)
The Honda will still qualify for the $7500 tax credit. Which could bring it down to about the price of a Honda Passport. Or even less.

This is probably why we haven't heard of a next-generation passport. We've seen prototypes of the Pilot, but nothing about the Passport.


Monday, July 25, 2022

Changan Shenlan SL03: new Model 3 competitor...

This new model from Changan (A new brand by Huawei and CATL) is one of many new Tesla Model 3 competitors in China. 

You can see that vague "Model 3-like shape". That big tablet, the glass roof. It's all there.  But the SL03 adds a second screen in front of the driver. And a proper hatchback with what looks like a huge cargo area.
Interestingly, it isn't just an EV. As a PHEV model is available. Powered by a 1.5 Liter engine. And a pretty fantastic claim of 125 miles of EV-only range.
The PHEV version starts at around $25 000 in China. 

The EV model has a range of 320 miles in the optimistic Chinese test cycle and a price range of around $27 000 to $32 000. Which sounds quite amazing for what you get. Even if the real range is less than 300 miles.

The top-of-the-line version is actually a Hydrogen model for over $100 000. (Kinda crazy...)

A well-equipped Electric sedan for around $32 000 sounds pretty good to me. Sure, it's a bit busier looking than a Tesla, but $27 000 to $32 000. 
Not $47 000 to start...


2023 Hyundai Grandeur : a look inside...

This is another look at the retro-futuristic interior of the upcoming next-generation 2023 Hyundai Grandeur.

Quite interesting to see what can be done by going back to the first generation, then pushing it forward into the future.

It would be quite interesting to see Toyota do the same thing with the original Cressida. (instead of the weirdo 2023 Crown). This will probably be the last of its kind the large, yet affordable, near-luxury sedan from a mon-luxury brand. It will probably become the Ioniq 8 or so in just a few years. Still, this could be yet another really interesting Hyundai design.


Sunday, July 24, 2022

2024 Chevrolet Blazer SS: new video...

Watch the all-new 2024 Chevrolet Blaser EV in action.

Feature here in this official video is the top-of-the-line SS model. 

Saturday, July 23, 2022

2023 MG4: already shipping to Europe...

Chinese manufacturer SAIC just started shipping the all-new MG-4 EV to Europe. The car is supposed to go on sale in September. (Called: Mulan" in its home market)

It will mostly compete with the VW ID.3. Although it will also battle other affordable EVs that are not necessarily based on a brand new dedicated EV platform. 
Like those from Stellantis and others.

The MG brand is growing very fast in Europe, and the new MG4 will be quite a threat.
So far, MG offers a few models. None of them look great. I really think the MG 4 is a new beginning for them in Europe.
But they have been doing great, even without the new model. 
They sold a little over 14 000 cars on the old continent in 2019. And over 25 000 in 2020.
That more than doubled last year with 54 000 units. And they are on their way to doubling that number in 2022!

These are quite amazing numbers. I wonder if the MG name is still remembered in Europe (Even though git's not the same company at all)
At least, it looks like they're using the same old logo, which is cool...
I also wonder if they'll ever try to sell their cars in the US.