Friday, April 12, 2013

Fiat 500 Electric priced.

Official price starts at $32 500.
But with federal ,  California credits and other rebates (from Fiat), actual price could be under $21 000. Which is pretty amazing for an all electric car.
Even more attractive is the $199 a month lease. With only $999 down.
That is the same price as the regular 500 lease!

I think leasing is the way to go for electric car, as the technology is constantly improving.
Being able to get the all electric model for the same payments as the base gas car is quite amazing.

Sure. the Nissan Leaf is available for the same payments. With a slightly higher down payment of $1999. But it has 4 doors and is roomier than the Fiat.
But the 500 is far more fun to drive , and it does offer a Sunroof .

Fiat claims the 500e is equipped like the Lounge version. Which includes leather and Bose stereo.
Navigation is standard on the 500e.

Range is said to be 87 miles. Again, pretty similar to the Leaf.

I am a big fan of electric cars, and this is great news.

Fiat Viaggio Video

The Viaggio is Fiat's version of our Dodge Dart.

It's pretty much a chromed Dart.

This Chinese commercial is so serious and obnoxious, it ends up kind of funny, in a ridiculous way.
And then, just annoying and boring...

Seems they are trying to sell the Fiat sedan as some kind of a luxury car. Showing lots of leather being touched by a half naked woman.
I guess whatever sells...

2015 BMW Z2

Of course, this is just an illustration.

The current Z4 is so expensive (over $10 000 more than the previous generation).
I am sure there is room for something cheaper in the line up.
Another convertible couldn't hurt.

After coming up with so many SUV's it would be nice to see a sporty BMW once in a while...

Thursday, April 11, 2013

2013 Nissan Pathfinder test Drive Coming up...

Just got a new Pathfinder for a week and will be reviewing it soon.
The new Pathfinder is not a truck anymore and is the cousin of the Infiniti JX35. (Now called the QX60)
So far... As smooth as the Infiniti version. But the interior is a few steps cheaper feeling and looking.
Which, I guess, is how it should be... (Lots of hard plastics around)

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Infiniti M37 Test Drive

We have all seen the M37. It's not new.
I drove the V8 version a while ago. And actually came out pretty impressed. Such a fast car. But it was also about $75 000. A price range with some amazing competition.

This time, the V6 version is of course a lot less. Starting at around $48 000.
Which could seem attractive compared a $54 000 BMW 535, or a $51 000 Mercedes E350, the $51 000 Audi A6 V6 and the $50 000 Jaguar XF V6.

But the M design, although just about 3 years old, looks invisible.
Nobody knows what it is. It could pass for a Lexus, Acura or even a big Nissan.
The other cars mentioned earlier are obvious. With a strong and clear image.

The Infiniti M has a sort of generic big Japanese car design.
Although I must say, the white pearl color on my test car didn't help in that regard .

Inside, things are very, very nice. Everything feels very solid. Plastics are of the best quality everywhere.
The car is very roomy front and back. Everything feels very solid and upscale.

The Bose stereo sounds great.
Although it is very hard to tell which version was in my test car. Since it had both the "Deluxe Touring package", which comes with a 16 speaker system.
And the "Premium Package", which comes with a 10 speaker system....
Really weird...

In my opinion, the big "faux pas" in the interior is the horrible airbrushed looking wood trim.
No matter how real the "Japanese ash wood trim" is (it even has "Genuine silver powder accents"!), it looks really tacky.

Another thing is the sunroof. Not only it is pretty small. But it is too far back. There is no way the front passengers will ever enjoy the benefits of it. This is a common  Nissan mistake.
I was actually surprised how fast and sporty the car was. Not much slower than the V8.

The M37 is rated at 18MPG City and 26 HWY.
No matter how slow I was driving, I was never able to get 18 in the city. the best I got was 16.
Which is actually OK for a big V6 with 330HP.
But I did get 30 MPG on the freeway. Without any problems.
Which is good news.

The bad news is that the ride quality, which is very, very stiff. My car came with the "performance tire and wheel package" which included really good looking 20 inch wheels.  For $1600.
They look great, but the ride does suffer. A lot...
Other brands seem to be able to use wheels that big and keep a nice ride. Somehow, Infiniti has not figured that out.
Which, on a luxury car, is a problem.

These wheels also disturb the steering. Which is affected by every single bump on the road. Driving on bad surfaces can be quite a handful...
Which again, might be OK in a Nissan Z, but not in a $62 000 luxury car.

Which brings us to the price again.
Yes, with all these packages, (Safety, Technology, Deluxe, Premium, Performance), the car was
$61 845.

Sure, you can get away with not ordering a couple of options and keep the price in the mid 50s.
But the point is, the Infiniti M is pretty much the same price as its European competition.
There is only about $2000 to $3000 difference.
Which is not good

As Infiniti does not have the same image as all the other brands mentioned earlier. At these prices, right or wrong, image does matter. It should still be much cheaper...

Citroen Wild Rubis Concept

What a stupid name. Really....

Besides that, this is pretty much what the new top of the line Citroen will look like.
Whether they call it a DS or not.

I guess they finally gave up on trying to sell a large luxury sedan. The last one was the C6 and it was pretty much a flop. Which is too bad. Seems like everywhere, all  luxury car buyers want is boring stuff.

Let's hope they'll have more luck with a luxury SUV/Crossover.

It's really too bad there is no real successor to the DS and the CX anymore...

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Goodbye Fisker?

Fisker is rumored to be filling for bankruptcy later this week.

Very sad. I always enjoy seeing one of these gorgeous cars around.
The convertible concept and smaller Atlantic sedan were also great looking designs.
Cars that now may never see the light of day...

2014 Maserati Ghibli

The Quatroporte's little brother is finally here.

All we know so far is that 2 turbocharged V6 engines will be available. (One is the Euro only Diesel)
And it has an 8 speed Automatic.
RWD is standard and a new "Q4" AWD system will be an option.

Monday, April 08, 2013

2015 VW Phaeton

VW claims the next version of the Phaeton will be cheaper, and available in the US.
I'd say it would have to be a lot cheaper to have a chance...

In 2005 they sold only 820 of them. Hyundai sold almost 4000 units of the Equus last year in the US.
The Equus is not sold from a luxury brand, but it is cheaper than the Phaeton ever was in the US.

Not sure why they want to keep trying, when they already have Audi selling luxury cars.
What is the point????

Unless they turn it into some kind of "Super Passat". A big car for about $40 000. Like the Avalon is to the Camry.

2015 Hyundai Sonata?

Looks like it to me. Hyundai has already mentioned that the design of the next generation will be an evolution of the current car. Which is still very popular.

So this look like it could be it.

What do you think?

2014/15 VW Jetta CC

This rumor has been around for years now. About a coupe like CC version of the Jetta.
Just like the Passat CC, it would be a bit more expensive than the regular Jetta sedan, not as roomy and much better looking.

Not sure if there is really a market for this. But it seems that VW is willing to try it out.
And this new illustration is pretty realistic.

Renault Twin'Z Concept

 Behind all the crazy light show and horrible neon colors, you can see that Renault is finally trying to channel the personality of the original Renault 5 from the 70's. The small car known as the LeCar here in the US.
There has been years of rumors about this.
This is the 1st official look at Renault's attempt to compete with other retro-modern designs like the 500, Mini and Beetle.

A production version of this might end up as the next generation Twingo, or Clio.

And, no. There will not be a new LeCar for the US...

Saturday, April 06, 2013

More pictures of the new Renault Captur

The Captur is based on the Clio. Which uses the Renault/Nissan B platform.
Seen in various Nissan models as well. Like the Cube, Versa and Juke.

So it is basically a European cousin of the Juke.
It still looks really modern. Without the "disturbing" style of the Juke, which I have to say, isn't for everyone.

Since the next Nissan Rogue and Renault Qashqai are supposed to share the same design for the next generation, I wonder if this gives us an early look at the next Juke.

Detroit Electric back from the dead.

The old Electric car only brand was in business from 1907 until 1939.
It has now been revived to produce an all-new electric sports car, the SP:01.

Which is great news.
Especially the week Fisker has laid off most of its employees and hired bankruptcy lawyers...

As you can see, the SP:01 is yet another electric car based off a Lotus. Just like the Tesla was.
This one will set you back at least $135 000.

The cool novelty is that it is available with a manual transmission!
0 to 60 is achieved in 3.7 seconds. Range is 180 miles and the car can be charged in a little over 4 hours.
It starts production (limited to 999 units) in August.

To me, the best news isn't a $135 000 electric car. But the announcement of:
"A new family of all-electric production cars, including two other high-performance models that will enter production by the end of 2014."
And: "a sub-$50 000 family sedan by the end of next year". 

Which means they are doing things much faster than Tesla. Which took years to come out with the Model S. And is still years away from producing a car for under $50 000.

I am just posting these pics of the new (ish) Proton Sedan FYI.

Proton is linked to Detroit Electric. Just like Lotus is. Since Albert Lam, the CEO of Detroit Electric is from Lotus. Which is owned by Proton.
As you can see, they are using the Lotus Elise for the SP:01.
So they might use a Proton model as the base for their upcoming sedan.
Let's hope not.

As the one pictured above could maybe compete with the Civic. It would hardly make a compelling "sub-$50 000 sedan". Or "high performance model"...

We'll see....

Friday, April 05, 2013

Infiniti M37 test drive coming up.

I am now driving the M37 for a few more days.
If you have any questions.

So far... It is very fast. Solid and quiet. Superb interior finish.
But what a rough ride for a luxury car. And that horrible airbrushed looking wood trim is still not working for me. At all.
It ruins what is otherwise a great interior.

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Something you don't see every day...

A Chevrolet Caprice. The one GM is NOT selling in the US. The one which is pretty much a Chevy version of the Holden.
In Burbank!
No manufacturer's plate. Everything regular.

Not sure how that person got the car...

2014 Fiat 500XL

If you need more room than the 5 seater 500L, don't worry. The even longer XL 7 seater version is coming out soon.
Although not in the US.
The next 500 we will see will be the small Crossover version.

BMW Concept X4

This is pretty much the production version right here. Just like they did a while ago with the 4 Series concept.
It looks really nice. At first, is seems just like a small X6. But there are quite a few differences .
This also seems nicer looking to me than the recently released 3 Series GT hatchback. 

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

New GM Pick-up truck coming....

The new model will be sold as a Chevrolet and GMC. And it is coming to the US late 2014.

An all new Colorado has been on sale in other country since last year.
But it might not be what we will be getting here in the US.

Here is what Mark Reuss fro GM has said so far about it:

"The new Chevy midsize pickup will be aimed at the lifestyle pickup buyer. The GMC version will be aimed at fleet buyers and small business owners.
There is a new opportunity to gain market share with the new midsize trucks that will be larger than the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon.
This is going to be a new truck, a new size of truck with a new set of powertrains in those trucks"
It will be larger than a Toyota Tacoma".

So at first it looks like these trucks will not be the Colorado sold overseas.
The new Colorado is almost 5 inches longer than the new one. Which might be what they mean by "Larger than the Colorado".
And a few inches longer than a Tacoma. Although the double ca version of the Toyota is longer.

So it looks like GM might have something all new for the US. Although the Overseas Colorado is only about 10 inches shorter than the equivalent Silverado.
Is it worth it?
Should they go for the "compact" market instead?

New Mitsubishi Galant coming up

This is the Concept ZT we saw back in 2007. That's a while.
Since, nothing. No new Galant.

Now Mitsubishi claims the Galant sedan will be back in the US soon. (As well as a larger SUV)
This design is now 6 years old.
Mitsubishi will need something amazing to be able to compete in the US market again.

They put no effort in their last Galant. And the new Mirage has "fail" written all over it. Offering nothing more than slightly better mileage, over the competition.

Good luck...