Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Tesla Model S price



It will start at $57 000 when it becomes available in about a year from now.
Although the price does not include the $7500 tax credit, it also does not include the 300 miles battery.
You only get 160 miles out of the base model.
To get the 300 miles version, you'll have to get the "Signature Series" model (sounds like an old Lincoln from the 70's) for $77 000

There is an "in-between" model for $67 000 with a 230 miles range.
So basically, it's about $10 000 each time you add about 70 miles to the battery range. Quite a lot of money.

It kind of reminds me of Apple products, where you pay more for the 32gig iPod than the basic 8 gig one.

The first year will only see production of the top of the range model.
And this will be only 5000 units for the 1st year.

They expect to produce 20 000 units every year after 2012.

Monday, March 07, 2011

2013 Toyota Corola


Maybe, maybe not.
I dont think Toyota will come up with a "must have" design for the next version.
So this could be close.
The current, slightly revised, model is about the most horrible looking compact sedan on the road.
They need something . Anything....

2012 Toyota RAV4?


This is just another idea of what the next RAV 4could look like.

But, unfortunately or not, I think the picture I posted a few days ago of the "Next RAV4" is actually the real thing.
And this looks very different.

Who knows....

2012/13 Nissan Sentra


Not sure if this illustration id close to the real thing or not.
It doesn't look much more modern than the current, aging model.

Let's hope they do something special with the next Sentra. Mayb even drop the horrible name.

The competition has been heating up in the compact sedan segments.
Almost anything available now is more desirable than the poor Sentra.

they need something that stands out, a job that seems increasingly difficult.

Brilliance A4 Sedan


It's called A4, but it looks like a BMW ripoff: a new Chinese sedan is born!

Brilliance is a BMW partner in China and builds the 3 and 5 series for them locally.
But this is... Well.

Not a BMW...

2012 Chevrolet Colorado


The forgotten child is getting a new skin next year.

GM will show an all new version of the "not so compact" pick up truck at the Bangkok Motor Show .

While Ford has already said the new Ranger won't make it to the US, we're still not 100% sure about what GM might do with the Colorado.
At least from this picture, it seems much more stylish than the current model.

Maybe $4 a gallon gas will bring this over here sooner than later...

2013 Lexus IS


This is just an illustration, but does show an evolution of the current design.
Which is probably what the next IS will be.

Not words yet on the real thing. The current model came out in 2005.
Most of its competition has been redesigned since. Although I think it still looks pretty good.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Mazda2 Test Drive



-THE LOOK.
I personally think the Mazda2 is a really nice looking car.
It is a simpler design than the larger Mazda3, and doesn't seem to be as controversial.

The green color of my test car was pretty obnoxious. And I usually do like green, just.. Not that green.
Unfortunately, being a low end car for Mazda, they only offer 6 colors.
And the interior is black, no matter what.


The interior is very well laid out and put together.
The doors feel solid when you close them.
It is roomy front and back. Actually at least as roomy in the back than the larger Mazda3.

My car was the Touring version, which includes an upgraded 6 speaker stereo that sounded really good.
It has an iPod jack, but no USB.
I really recommend the Touring over the base model. It includes a better looking cloth interior, the better sound system and alloy wheels. As well as a leather steering wheel with radio controls.
But don't look for leather, navigation or even a sunroof.
None of these are available in the US.

One thing that bugged me was the lack of armrest. Especially on an automatic car.
Plus, everything you leave in the console is exposed. Which means every time you leave the car, you'll have to shove stuff into the glove compartment, or take it with you.



-THE DRIVE.
.Ride.
The ride is very firm.
I call it sporty, some could describe is as uncomfortable.
It's a matter of taste.

No matter what, it is never too rough.

.Steering.
It is also pretty firm, with a good feel. Which is a big part of how fun to drive the car is .
The cars feels great to drive at any speed.

.Engine.
The little 1.5 Liter produces "only" 100hp, but it does feel pretty peppy. Especially around town where there is really no lack of power.
Even with the 4 speed auto which does a good job of keeping up with traffic.
It is not the smoothest but it is just fine.
You hear it when you push it, but it doesn't sound bad.

You do need to push it to pass on the freeway, as the 4 speed auto is sometime reluctant to downshift.

It is rated at 27 City and 33 HWY.
I had to problem getting 30 in the city and even 40 on the freeway.
I think a 5 or 6 speed auto would go a long way to get even better mileage.


-SO???

I really liked the Mazda2. Just like pretty much anyone else who has written about it, it seems.

I will really try to test drive the 5 speed manual version (which somehow isn't available right now in the local press fleet...)
Which should be even more fun.
But I wouldn't dismiss the automatic. It is still a very nice and easy car to drive.

There isn't that much competition yet in the US in this market. Besides the Versa.
But it will change, very soon.
Cars like the Nissan March, new Kia Rio, Accent etc... are coming .

Still, the Mazda2 offers a sporty and attractive option.
And, unlike a Versa, it is fun to drive as well as good looking.




Here are some of the versions we don't get in the US.

Like a 3 door version.
Or a sedan, which seems to look much better than the Fiesta sedan.
And the leather option.

2013 Toyota Corolla Hatchback/Auris



The curent Auris is basically a hatchback version of the Corolla, for the European market.
With a much better interior than what were getting over here.

The next version is due in 2012 as a 2013 Model.
And this time, we might also be getting the hatchback version in the US.
Which will allow Toyota to better compete with the new Focus, Elantra etc...
A hybrid version will be offered in Europe. Not sure if it will make it over here.

This is the current Auris for the European market.
As you can see, it still looks 1000 times better than out Corolla.

What could have been: 1960 4 door Cadillac Convertible



Apparently, they were really thinking about it.
Going so far as to actually building at least one fully functioning model.

I guess something didn't work after all.
It wasn't meant to be.....

Friday, March 04, 2011

2012/13 Toyota RAV4


Not sure exactly.
But this is supposed to be what the next RAV 4 will look like.
A giant leap from the current aging design. With even some small trace of the FT86 concept .

The next RAV4 will also get an EV version, thanks to the partnership with Tesla.
A hybrid is scheduled as well. Basically matching what Ford is doing.
And getting ready for that $5 a gallon coming up sooner or later....

Thursday, March 03, 2011

2012 Kia K9



This will be "the big Kia" coming out next year.

Scheduled to use the V8 engine from the Genesis.

A sketch of it was presented to the press last year, now we are seeing the first prototypes on the road.

Not sure this will really work outside of Korea. But that's also what I thought of the Genesis, and it seems to be doing OK.
So.

We'll see....

2012 Honda CRV


Just an illustration of what it could look like.

I guess it is as realistic as anything else. Why not.

Hond hasn't designed anything original for a while, plus, the current CRV has been a giant hit for them.
So they might just "pull a 2012 Civic" trick on us.
Where the 2012 is all new, but looks like the old one.

Who knows...

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

More pictures of the 2012 Kia Rio




This should do really well against the competition.
We'll have to wait to see what kind of engines it will get in the US.
So far, foreign markets get the choice of a new 1.2 Liter Turbo, a 1.4 Liter . As well as a 1.4 or 1.1 Liter Diesel.

Looks like the Mazda 2 might have some serious competition coming up.

Mazda Minagi Concept




Pretty much what we'll see later as the CX-5.

A nice looking compact SUV, but not better than some, like the Sportage.

Plus, it will be toned down a bit.

We'll see...

Saab Phoenix Concept



Well, this is NOT the next 9-3.
That's for sure.

I was hoping we'd get a clearer message from Saab, as to their new design direction. This is pretty messy.
And could be a bunch of other things, not just a Saab.

We'll see what parts, if any, actually translate into a production model later....

Toyota FT-6=86 Concept part 2




This is supposed to be pretty much the production car we'll see later this year.
Except for all the ugly overdone tuner bits.

Under all the skirts, spoilers and general vulgarity, there might actually be a nice looking car.

We;ll see when the real thing comes out....

Toyota Yaris Hybrid.



This is still called a concept.
Based on the all new 2012 Yaris, it looks pretty good. Especially with these large 18 inch wheels, which Toyota will never use on a production Hybrid.
It will compete with the new Honda Fit hybrid around the world.
No word yet if we are getting this in the US as part of the new Yaris lineup for 2012...