Monday, June 17, 2013

Foreign cars in their foreign lands...

I was lucky to spend a few days in Europe recently, and noticed a few cars.

 The Golf Cabrio seems to be the most popular Convertible I saw over there. Much more so than the Beetle, or any other convertible for that matter. And it is pretty new.
I must say, it looks really good in person.

 This one I expected to be popular. The tiny VW Up!. 4 and 2 door models are very common over there. Not as small as I though, but the interior is really basic.

 The cute Audi A1 is also easy to find. Still looking really good after a few years on the road.

I didn't take this picture, obviously, but the small Daihatsu Terios was the car I saw the most during my few days in Greece. A friend of mine also owned one so I got to ride in it.
The small 1.5 Liter engine seemed to struggle at freeway speed. But it was pretty roomy considering the small size. And actually fine for an inexpensive SUV. (Starting at around 18 000 Euros over there)
Looking pretty good too.

2014/15 VW Canyon?

According to some rumors, VW is getting an all new small SUV ready. Something that would slot right under the Tiguan (Itself being redesigned soon)
But still larger than the Up! based tiny Taigun.
While the Taigun might be too small for the US, the Canyon could very well make it over here.

It would be based on the next generation Polo. And would start at under $20 000.

Mercedes SL wagon


Not really. But yes...
Coachbuilder Studio Torino is putting a CLS Shooting Brake type rear end to the SL convertible.

I guess there might be enough people in the world willing to pay the extra money for that...

Saturday, June 15, 2013

2014 Citroen Grand Picasso


Funny how people in Europe keep seeing new Citroens around. Before they come out, with no camouflage.
This is the long version of the all new C4 Picasso that just came out.



Friday, June 14, 2013

Is Dodge dying?

-
The future doesn't look too bright for Dodge.

There has been no words about new models.

 -The Avenger is going away next year. There is a replacement for its Chrysler 200 cousin, but nothing so far for Dodge.
-Chrysler/Fiat has already announced there will be only one version of their next Minivan. Which will almost certainly go to Chrysler.
-It has already lost all its truck line to the new Ram Truck brand.
-The new Viper is sold under the new SRT brand, it's not a Dodge anymore.
-Yes, there is a new redesigned Challenger coming soon. But it will probably also be sold under the SRT brand, as a Barracuda.

Put all these news together and you have no future for the Dodge brand.
I think Fiat made the decision years ago. They're just not ready to announce it yet.



How about other colors on the new 4 Series?



Sure... Looking a bit better now.
But it still, amazingly boring with almost no personality at all.

Amazing how the Audi A5, which is already pretty conservative, looks so much more modern than this.
And the A5 came out in 2007!


2014 BMW 4-Series



Just as predicted, nothing more than a 2 door 3 series.

If they gave it a new name. you'd think they could make it just a little different. Maybe a new dashboard??
Looks like the 4 series name is just a trick to raise prices.
At least Audi made the A5 coupe different from the A4 sedan it is based on...

I am sure this will look fine in real life. In a better color. With a small chrome line around the windows. And a classier color inside.
Who at BMW picked this interior color combo to represent the car???
This is the 1st impression we get of an all new model, and they pick the most vulgar color they offer...


Thursday, June 13, 2013

2014 Nissan Versa Note pricing


 The versa Note will replace the old Versa hatchback. Overseas, it is known as just the "Note".
What we are getting here in the US will be a cheapo version of the Note.

The base model will start at $14 000. Or about $1500 less than the Honda Fit.
The "S Plus CVT" model will be $15 240.
While the top of the line SV model will cost $16 000.
SL and SL Tech packages are available for $1700 and $800.

The base model is about $700 cheaper than the old Versa Hatchback.

All models are powered by the same 1.6 Liter engine, and rated at 31/40MPG when equipped with the CVT.

This is the Note. The more upscale one sold overseas. With a nicer interior and available glass roof.

Alfa Romeo 4C video


Watch the car being built.

After seeing this, you get why this will not be an affordable small sports car.
There is a rumor of a $78 000 asking price in the US.

Quite a lot. Much more than the new $53 000 Porsche Cayman. Which seems to be its main competition.
But also , with only 1200 units shipped here, much more exclusive.

Death Valley VWs

This was sent to me and taken just a few days ago.

VW is testing in Death Valley. Obviously nothing all new. Although I notice slightly different wheels on the Jetta GLI.
I guess on the Passat and Beetle, it must be the new 1.8 Liter Turbo, which will replace the 2.5 Liter soon.
Not sure what on the GLI, since I think the revised 210hp 2.0 Liter Turbo is already out, at least on the Beetle Turbo.

2014 Cadillac CTS price

The all new, larger, CTS will start at $46 025.
For the base model powered by a 2.0 Liter Turbo with 272HP.

About $6000 more than the current model.

Since it now compete with larger and more expensive cars like the $50 000 BMS 5 series, $53 000 Mercedes E class, $49 000 Infiniti M37 or the $47 500 Lexus GS.
Only the Audi A6 is a bit cheaper starting at under $45 000. But that car comes with a 2.0 Turbo with only 211HP (Yes, really...)

The Vsport version powered by the new V6 Turbo with 420HP will start at $60 000.




Lincoln MKZ quick drive

 I attended a Lincoln event a few days ago, and was able to drive the all new MKZ for a bit.
So I though I'd share my feelings about the car. Even though this is not a full test drive.
That will come later as I will have access to the car for a few days.

The model I was the most interested in was the Hybrid.
First, I have to say the car looks very nice in person. It does look quite upscale and very modern. Much more so than a Lexus ES.
 The giant opening roof does make the rear of the car look heavy and awkward when opened all the way.
But since you are inside the car, it is something you'll never actually see.






Inside, things are really modern, and a bit futuristic. Which is how it should be in 2013.

Everything feels really solid and well put together.
But, the overall feel is still a bit close to the cheaper Ford Fusion.

I was not able to check gas mileage so I won't comment on that. I know most test drivers are not able to achieve the official MPG numbers. I will figure this out when I get to drive the car for a few days.

The ride is very comfortable. The steering feels precise.

The thing I noticed the most was the switch from electric to gas. The engine isn't that quiet around town. Pretty much like a Prius.
The CVT was a bit annoying and slow to react, again, like the Prius.

These are just a few quick observations. But I do think the car deserves more attention than what it is getting.

Lincoln is facing an tough time trying to convince people to even step into its showrooms.

Cadillac and Buick did it, so there might be hope...



Wednesday, June 12, 2013

2014 Nissan Terrano

 Nissan will sell its own version of the Renault/Dacia Duster as the Terrano, in some markets.
Including India, where the Duster is already sold as a Renault.

I have seen the Duster in Europe, and it looks quite nice in person. And pretty cheap too. As it starts at around 12 000 Euros in some markets.
It would make a great Xterra replacement here in the US. Where it would be cheaper than the Rogue.




Rolls Royce Wraith video


Seems nicer in this video than in pictures. Especially the interior.

I still think the design might turn off many. As it tries hard to be modern, but never elegant.
Quite heavy handed, like most modern "German" Rolls...

2014 Opel Insignia Wagon


I just posted this because I always liked the Insignia wagon. And wished GM had sold it in the US as the Regal wagon.
But they never did, and won't....

I think it's just too bad. Buick doesn't have a crossover between the Encore and the Enclave. So there would be room for a really nice looking mid sized wagon like this one.

2014 Opel Insignia



 No surprises here. The changes to the European Opel match the ones we've seen on the 2014 Buick Regal. Since they are the same car.

Pretty funny to see the update in the US before, since this is essentially a German car.

I still remember the days when many of us wished GM and Ford would sell their European models here.
Now we have the updated Insignia, as well as the new Fusion/Mondeo before the Europeans...

Just as a quick reminder, here is the 2014 Regal.

Friday, June 07, 2013

2014 Toyota Corolla






Finally, a new Corolla....

And it looks like.. a Corolla. really. Just a few years more modern than the car it replaces.
Design never seem to matter to the Corolla, since people around the world  buy them for other reasons.
Toyota describes the new design as "Iconic Dynamism". (Isn't that amazing...)

Engine seems to be the same, or at least similar. A 1.8 Liter with 132hp.
A new 140HP ECO version of that engine will get over 40MPG.
CVT is a new addition, while a 4 speed auto (yes!) still comes with the base model.
LED headlights and Bluetooth are standard.

As you can see, there is still an "S" model. (The red car) . S for sporty. The old fashion sporty. Which means only a small spoiler and black wheels. Not more power.
And you also get an assy looking chrome line around the grille that looks like a line sticker from PetBoys.

We will see millions of these in the next few years.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

2014 Nissan Micra



A few years ago, Nissan had mentioned we would be getting the Micra in the US. I guess they changed their minds, since it never came over here.
The ugly Versa is selling so well that they might not need a smaller, cheaper and better looking alternative.
In Europe, it is the 3rd best selling Nisan, behind the Qashqai and the Juke.

Looks like the front end is new, with more chrome. LED lights in the back. And a new dash inside.
Powered by a 1.2 Liter 3 cylinder engine with 98hp. And, of course, a CVT.

2014 Chevrolet SS price

The new Chevy sedan will cost $44 470 loaded. With the only options being a $900 sunroof and a $500 full size spare tire (?!?!).

A lot of money to spend at a Chevrolet dealership. Sure, it is just a bit less expensive than similar Chrysler 300 SRT or Dodge Charger SRT.
And they also predict only 3000 to 5000 sales a year, so they don't really care.

I can't even see that many people interested, for what is basically a refreshed 7 year old design....

Monday, June 03, 2013

Ford Ecosport in the US?



So far the official word is: " We certainly have the ability. We're studying very, very closely".
From Jim Farley at Ford.

I think the Ecosport makes a lot of sense in the US. If they can sell the Fiesta, why not a Fiesta based crossover.. Really.
The Ecosprt is usually powered by the same 1.0 3 cylinder Turbo with 120hp soon to be used in the US Fiesta. (A 2.0 Liter version is also available in some markets.)

The new Escape isn't that small, I think there is plenty of room for something smaller and cheaper.
The Ecosport is only one inch smaller than the new Buick Encore.