Saturday, May 10, 2014

1971 Ford Mustang

 For some reason, I've always really liked the design of the 1971 Mustang. the Fastback version.
(Wich remained pretty much the same until 1973)
I just love that simple, straight line from the top of the windshield all the way to the end of the car.

Sure, it was a "big 1970's" car. But I don't care. ( I actually like many 70's designs...)
It was the last one before the Pinto based small Mustang 2 that everyone hates.

Here are some of the earlier prototypes for the 71 redesign.
I think the production car ended up better, for once.

Car weekend: Bob's Big Boy

Friday nights+Bob's Big Boy= Tons of cool cars.

Car weekend: Ford "Ecoboost Drive"

So I got invited to this "Ecoboost Event" thing a few weeks ago.
 I thought I would bring along a good friend of mine, and drive a few Fords for a day.

It turned out to be quite an interesting experience....
As Ford is trying to educate people about their Turbo engines and how they compete.

 First, they had us compare the Honda CRV to the Escape.
I have to say, comparing both was a bit unfair since the Escape was equipped with the top of the line 2.0 Liter engine with 240hp.
While the CRV is only available with a 2.4 Liter engine which compares more to Ford's 1.6 Liter Turbo.

But the difference was still amazing. The interior of the CRV is amazingly bad.
Every surface feels hard and cheap. Some weird trim across the dash seems to imitate wood. In a strange "grey plastic" way.
It is just very disappointing all around.

 While the Escape interior is another story all together. It feels like a premium car everywhere. (And one that was design in this century.)

As for the drive, the 2.0 Liter Turbo was obviously quicker. But the handling, ride etc... Everything felt so much better in the Escape. The difference is quite amazing.
It basically feels like a German car (Which is is since it is, and also sold in Europe as the Ford Kuga)

The difference is quite drastic and makes you wonder why anyone would get the Honda after driving both.
This is where reputation comes in. As millions equal Honda with "super reliable". Which is mostly right.
Still. I, myself, would rather drive something much more engaging and fun.
 Then they got us into a Camry V6.
The Camry is what it is supposed to be. Quiet, smooth and comfortable.
But that also means very soft steering and suspension.

The worst part is the interior. With maybe the worst looking fake wood in the business. And, in the XLE, it is everywhere.
It makes for a quite vulgar looking interior. Plus the shape of everything is very blocky and looks like a dozen designers were involved. And never talked to each other...
 On the other hand, the Fusion's interior is great. Very modern and simple. It is what a modern family car should be.

I have driven the Fusion before and reported on it earlier.
I still think this is an amazing car. With one of the best steering feel I have experienced.
It is as quiet as the Camry, at least as fast (With a much smaller engine) and as comfortable.
But all this in a much more modern and well design package.

And, unlike its Lincoln cousin, the MKZ, the radio still has a couple of normal round dials. Which actually makes a big difference in daily life.

 A cool surprise was the all new 2015 Transit connect.
It is not as cute as the 1st generation. But you can now order a longer passenger version. And load it up with tons of options like a glass roof, navigation, leather etc...
It is also available with the excellent 1.6 Liter Turbo. So it has much more power than the Nissan NV 220 I drove a few months ago.
This is actually a really cool alternative to a giant Minivan. As it does seat 7 when needed.

Later in the day we drove the Energi versions of the C-Max and Fusion.
As you can see, the battery pack eats up a huge part of the trunk. Which is really too bad.

But like other EVs, the drive and power delivery are fantastic.
Both get about 20 miles on a charge. Which is less than the Volt. But unlike the Volt, when the batteries are empty, they become regular Hybrids (The Volt becomes a regular gas car then).
So you still get at least 45/50MPG.
And the C-Max's interior is so much nicer than the one in the Prius V .
Same story here, the Prius was much slower and softer. While the C-Max was a much more engaging drive while being every bit as comfortable.

At the end of the day, we got to drive the Fiesta ST.
I do not have any pictures of this, unfortunately, since my friend and I were just too busy having fun driving.
All I can say it that it was the most fun driving I've had in a long time.
The ST is simply an amazing toy.

I know this isn't much to write about, but it was a short day. I thought I would share my quick thoughts anyway...

Thursday, May 08, 2014

VW Polo Based SUV coming up

And why not.
Why not have an SUV version of every single model you produce.

This is an illustration of what a production version of the T-Roc concept could look like.
And it would be based on the next generation Polo.

Since we are scheduled to get the next Polo in the US, I would assume this one will be coming over as well.

This small SUV market will be exploding in the US very soon. Seems that the Juke has had the market for itself.
But it will be soon joined by the Honda HR-V, Ford Ecosport and Chevrolet Trax.

So, again, VW will be late to the party.
As they have been with the upcoming 7 seater Passat based crossover...

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Fiat 500X

 These pictures were taken at the assembly plant for the new Jeep Renegade (Which you can see in the BG in the lower pic) and the Fiat 500X. As both cars share the same structure.

This is a picture that has been around for a while. Looks like it was taken at some dealer meeting.
And it does look very similar to the assembly plant cars above.
So there you go. The new Fiat 500X Crossover/SUV thing.

It will not only compete with the Juke/Honda HR-V, but also the new Renegade.
At least they do look very different .

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

VW Golf Sportsvan

This is basically a larger Golf. The previous generation was sold in Europe as the Golf Plus.
(Which we never got over here)

So it is what the C-Max is to the Ford Focus. Except I do think this looks better than the C-Max.
It is based on the new Golf and uses similar engines.
But this is yet another VW we are not getting in the US...

I think there could be a market for this in the US, if priced right.

What do you think?

FIAT's future plans.

Today Fiat revealed its 5 year plan for the whole company.
Some of the news are:
-SRT is now back to Dodge. (Which is great, and means they won't be killing Dodge anytime soon...)
-Dodge will not be getting the next Minivan
-The next Chrysler Minivan will get a plug-in hybrid version
-Dodge will get a midsize car in 2 years, as well as a smaller B segment car.

But the biggest news is the huge 7 billion investment in Alfa Romeo.
With all new RWD platforms and Ferrari engines for the top models.

Above is a schedule of all upcoming models for the brand.
This photo was also part of the presentation.
It does kind of look like the Opel Insignia/Buick Regal. But this is from Fiat...

So this could be the upcoming mid sized Alfa. Maybe....
What do you think?

RAM ProMaster City

 We all knew it was coming. The US version of the compact Fiat Doblo van.
It will compete with the Nissan NV and Ford Transit here in the US.

The small Nissan is pretty bare. (You can't even order side windows in the US.)
While you can turn the new Transit into a true family van with options like a glass roof and turbo engine.

Not sure what the new RAM will be like. Something in between?

Here is the Fiat version.

Something you don't see every day.

Was following this on the freeway the other day. The freeway!

Have no idea what it is. Any thoughts???

Monday, May 05, 2014

2015/16 Chevrolet Sonic

Looks like the Sonic is getting a new face for next year.

Nothing drastic. But quite a bit less original. The quad round headlights are gone. Now replaced by something we've already seen on the new Cruze (The "real" new one for China)

So I guess that one is the slightly "new face of Chevrolet".

I actually never saw many Sonics around. It seems a bit squeezed between the Spark and the Cruze.
(But somehow they still managed to sell 85 646 units last year in the US

2016 VW Jetta CC?

These are patent designs for the production version of the Midsize Coupe Concept we saw just a few days ago.
So it does look like it is coming out really soon.
Which means it is NOT the next Jetta. Since it just got some (minute) changes for the 2015 model year.

So I guess this could maybe squeeze between the Jetta and Passat.
But why???

Tat 1990s looking interior doesn't look that much more upscale than the Jetta. And certainly not better than the new Golf...

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Something you don't see every day...

 The good old Pontiac Fiero from the mid eighties.
(Before the "sporty' GT model came out)

I always thought they looked nice. And in modern traffic, it still looked good.
But.... I almost never see any around anymore.

Here is how they used to sell it. Like a sports car.
But with a standard 2.5 Liter engine and around 90hp, it was anything but a sports car.
(Although a year later the GT V6 was introduced.)

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Next VW Passat

This IS the next Passat, but which one?

At first, it seems to be the new version of the European model. Which has been testing for a while.
But these pictures are from China.
Where they sell the same version as we have in the US.

This also looks to be a LWB version.
So maybe China will witch to a long version of the European model instead?

VW US has told us to expect a quite extensive refresh for next year. But this looks much too different to just be a "refresh".

No matter what it is, it's not very exciting. As the interior doesn't look that much better than the current US Passat....

Monday, April 28, 2014

All new VW Sedan. Coupe. Thing...

 That didn't take long. We've just seen the "Mid Sized Coupe Concept" a few days ago. And here are the 1st shots of the production version.
And surprise, they are the same car. (!) What VW tried to pass for a concept was basically the production car with bigger wheels.
While it just looked conservative as a concept, the production version looks like a 10 year old design. At best.

That interior looks like it could have been in the previous generation Jetta. Or the Passat from 12 years ago.
There is just NOTHING new here. It's almost weird...

Not sure if this is still supposed to be above the current Jetta. Or eventually replacing it.
(It sure does NOT look very premium...)

This shows such arrogance from VW.

These are pix of the concept. Just as a reminder. Sure, red and shiny does look a bit better....

Ford testing Fiesta....

A new engine?
Mule for the next one?

What do you think???