Thursday, August 14, 2014

R.I.P: Hyundai Elantra Coupe

The coupe version of the Elantra will not return for 2015.
Due to poor sales.

Of course!
A coupe should be more than a 2 door sedan.
It should have more style and look better than the sedan version. Or at least, be different.

Honda seems to be doing it right. Both the Civic coupe and Accord coupe have their own design.
And do not look like 2 door versions of the sedans that are based on.

A coupe with no more style than a sedan is really useless. And a lazy way to design a car...

Monday, August 11, 2014

2015 Mazda MX-5 Miata

 There is a new Miata coming. In just a few days now.
And this is the 1st teaser for it.
Which looks like.. A Miata.

Expect the new model to be lighter and especially, more efficient with SkyActiv technology.

Here are pictures of the real thing, in the streets. Still camouflaged, and we can't see the front end.

Again, it looks like the new Miata might look a lot like all the other ones.
Which is good.

2015 Kia Sorento

Nothing except these 3 pictures yet.

It does look a bit larger. And more upscale.

The Sorento has been a big hit for Kia, with over 105 000 sold last year. If they can keep prices at similar levels, this could even be more popular.

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Nissan Sentra Test Drive

 The Sentra is one of these cars you really don't notice around.
Actually, just like most compact sedans, Like the Civic, Corolla etc...
So I must admit, I wasn't too exited to be getting one for a whole week.

It looks fine. Nothing original or ugly either. Pretty much like a smaller Altima.

 Same thing inside. There is nothing wrong. But also nothing you remember.

Everything is well finished. (The doors feel surprisingly solid when you close them.)
It is comfortable and pleasant.
(Although, for my taste, there is just too much fake wood everywhere.)
The Bose stereo in my test car (SL) sounded very good. (Although not as goos as VW's Fender system.)
The one thing that bothered me was the seating position. Which in its lowest setting, still felt too high for me.
 At first, it really felt like a "gutless wonder". The combination of 130 engine and CVT transmission isn't going to be much fun.
But once you give up on going fast. You realize how smooth and quiet everything is.

Like... Like a car for old people.
This was almost a revelation. The Sentra works great as a car for older people looking for a compact sedan.
Everything is better when you don't push it.
Even the fake wood makes sense now! Even the higher seating position.

So after a couple of days, I started seeing the car for what it really is.
Very quiet, smooth, solid. Nothing looks or feels too modern.

They might not want to say it, but the Sentra is a perfect car for older people.
(Which is at odd with their TV adds)

It's more like a small Camry. It does everything very well. If you're not trying to push it.

So in that sense, I have to give it credit. A conservative car for an older, more conservative crowd.
With just enough tech so older folks won't feel too "out of the loop".

(It would be interesting to find out what the actual demographic for this car is.)

My SL test car was pretty loaded, except for leather seats. And it was still just $22 630.
Including sunroof, Nav, Bose etc...

This is really good. Pretty much the same as a base Altima. For a car that is still roomy enough for most people.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

2016 Chevrolet Volt

The all new 2016 Volt will be presented at the upcoming 2015 Detroit Auto Show in January.
Sooner than I thought, actually.
(Since the new Cruze was pushed back a year, I thought this one was too.)

Looks a bit rounder from this angle.

I do like the Volt. It is quite a fun sporty drive in EV mode.

But some things need to improve. Like a quieter, smaller, more fuel efficient gas engine.
A sunroof. More upscale interior.
And of course, more range. GM has been working on a 200 miles EV car for a while.
I just wonder if this technology could end up in the next Volt or another "EV only" model.
Even if the can "just" squeeze 100 miles out of the batteries, it would be quite a car.

What would you like to see in the next Volt?

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Tesla Model 3

This looks to me like a "lazy" illustration.
I really hope the new smaller tesla will look a bit more different than the Model S.

It is still at least 2 years away. And we really don't know much about it.
200 miles range, $35 000 base price and about 20% smaller than the Model S.

200 miles range doesn't seem that great for something that will come out in a t least 2 years.
It looks like by then even the cheaper Leaf will be getting close to that.

2016 Kia Sorento

This is, of course, just a teaser image from Kia.
But it does look really good.

And pretty original for once. Trying to be a bit different.

The Sorento has been a big hit for Kia so far. It won't take much to keep it going strong.
Glad ( I mean blad) to see they are still taking some chances and aren't just copying the current one. (At least inside)

Monday, August 04, 2014

Something you don't see every day...

I actually took this a few years ago.
With my "old" phone...

This was in Burbank. And I wonder if it's still there.

Sunday, August 03, 2014

3rd Generation Audi TT starts production

At Gyor, Hungary.

Where they already build the A3 sedan and Convertible.
So it's coming soon...

For the 1st time, i noticed how much more modern the "squared off" design looks.
It gives Audi a bit more personality. (Good thing since this is pretty much the same front end we will see in all of their models from now on.)

For a second, I thought this was the next A4, or A5...

Saturday, August 02, 2014

New Opel Concept coming up.

This is an official teaser from Opel for the upcoming Moscow Auto Show.

Doesn't look like a production car. Or maybe it is?
But the next new Opel will be the Astra, which is a hatchback.

My bet is a concept version of the next Insignia (Our Buick Regal) No matter what, we will find out sons since the show opens its door on August 27th.

What do you think?

Friday, August 01, 2014

2015 Hyundai i20

The i20 basically competes with cars like the Ford Fiesta, VW Polo etc... In Europe and other countries.

Here in the US, we get the Accent.
A cheap looking small sedan that competes mostly with the Nissan Versa.
I guess this could go against the Nissan Versa Note.

Since Hyundai is already selling us the Elantra GT, which is another European model, the 120 might actually end up over here one day...

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Jaguar XE

 This is actually the first official picture of the all new Jaguar XE sedan.
Which will compete directly with the BMW 3 series, Mercedes C-Class, Audi A4 and Kia Rio.

It is RWD and will be powered by an all new 2.0 Liter Turbo as well as a 3.0 Liter V6.
No matter what the XE looks like, I am pretty sure it won't look as good as the B99 Bertone Concept from 2011.

Although I must say I am surprised that the grille looks so similar...

2015/16 Fiat Bravo

Not sure if this is real or not.
But the Bravo compact is due for a redesign soon.

And, even though "Fiat is back" in the US. We probably will never get the Bravo.
(Since Fiat seems to thing we only deserve models that have the name 500 in them.)

Unless they add round headlights and call it the "Fiat 500 Bravo", we won't see it over here...

2015 Mercedes C-Class prices.

It will start at $38 400 for the base C300.
But like the GLA, this "base" model is only available early next year.
If you want a new C-Class right now (August 25th), you'll have to spend $40 400 for the C300 4MATIC.
Or $48 590 for the V6 C400 4MATIC.

Just like with BMW, these names don't mean anything anymore.

With the C300, you are NOT getting a 3.0 Liter engine.
You are getting a 2.0 Liter with 241HP.

And you are NOT getting a 4.0 Liter with the C400, you are getting a 3.0 Liter with 329HP.

(I guess some marketing genius thinks calling a car C200 sounds cheap...)

The new model is about $6000 more than the "old" one. Which is quite a jump.
Actually making sense for them since it allows more room for the new CLA.
But it is also about $6000 more than a base 3 series from BMW. And even more compared to a base Audi A4.

So Mercedes isn't trying to compete on pricing. Looks like they are positioning themselves at the top.

(Which I think they should...)

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Mercedes prices all new GLA SUV

It will start at $31 300. Or $1400 more than the CLA sedan it is based on.
Which is a really good price.

After sitting in both, I can tell you that the GLA is much roomier, especially in the back.
It's basically a better looking hatchback version of the sedan.

It comes standard with Power lift gate, Chrome roof rails (who cares) memory seats.

But the base model won't be available until early 2015.
If you want one now (or next month that is), you'll have to get the GLA250 4Matic (AWD) for $33 300.
And the AMG version will set you back $48 300.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

2015 Land Rover Discovery Sport

Land Rover has just released official pictures of a camouflaged prototype of their new SUV.
So we can actually see the whole shape.
And where the seats are. They also mentioned that, in the UK, it will offer 7 seats.

From the picture above, it looks like these last 2 seats are about an inch from the hatch.
It doesn't look like adults can actually fit back there.
So this will probably not be offered here.

This is supposed to compete directly with the all new Mercedes GLK.

We should see the whole thing really soon since it will be introduced next month.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

VW CC Test Drive.

 Even though it has been around for over 6 years now, the CC still looks great.
I have been curious about this car for a while, and was really happy to finally get to drive one for a week.

Unfortunately, my test car was the "R-Line" model. Which doesn't really add anything to improve the performance.
But its specific lumber pretty much ruins the front end of the car.
And the whole thing in white doesn't look too exciting ...
 It might just be a detail for most, but the 1st thing I noticed is how low the car was. For a sedan.
You notice it even before entering the car, as the door handles are really low. I had to reach down.
Which is really strange for a sedan.
Its like eating at a table that is too low...
 Inside, well... It's even older than outside. Since the CC inherited the "old" Passat dashboard.
So it is pretty much a 9 year old interior.
It was already conservative back then. Now it really starts showing its age.
 The back seat is actually roomier than I was expecting.
 A few things that bugged me after a week. About that "old" interior:

-The B pillar is just so wide. It creates a major blind spot when you're looking over your shoulder.
 -The display looks old fashion and cheap. It is both low rez and tiny compared to anything else out there (Except the cheapest Nissan models )

 -The key. Not a key but not a push button either. Also old fashion. (Or just plain old.)

 -Another annoyance is the placement of the Phone/iPod wire.
Inside the glove compartment. Which makes zero sense .

Also making zero sense is the absence of USB plug. (Just like in any other VWs)
So you need an adapter for anything that isn't an iPhone 4 or 4S.

 As far as driving...

Well, the 2.0 Liter and DSG has never been my favorite ( actually one of the worse combo out there).
But over the years, VW has improved it a lot.
The new version of their 2.0 Liter Turbo is much nicer. And the improved DSG does behave better as well.

But in the CC, you get the old stuff.
The combination of Turbo lag and slow to respond DSG is as horrible as it can be.

The engine still has that "quiet diesel" sound when cold (The newer version is much better)
It always feels like it starts in 2nd. (Not sure it actually does, but it sure feels like it)
So there's no power at first.
You can try S mode, but you'll end up being stuck in 4th gear at 80MPH. With the engine doing 3000RPM. (Not the best for gas mileage)

The worst part of the driving experience is in stop and go traffic. Where the car always feels like it is going to stall when slowing down to a stop. Or starting up slowly.
It is just a pain. And it happens every single time.

Something I actually never got used to .

Otherwise, it is really quiet when cruising. Feels super solid.
But the steering is still too light (something common to recent VW models) even though it is quite precise.
It is rated at 22/31 MPG.
I observed 24/35 over a week of driving.

My test car was $34 990. Which, in my opinion, is quite expensive for what it is.
Sure, it looks great. But it lacks a rear view camera, doesn't come with VW's great Fender stereo, etc...

And that old version of the DSG really kills any fun out of driving.

Here is the "regular" front end.
Which fits the rest of the car so much better...

Friday, July 25, 2014

2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe

Nothing new really.
Just some new pictures from GM.

I really think the ATS will work better as a coupe.
After test driving one for a week a few months ago, I was surprised how unusable was the rear seat, and the tiny rear doors.
So things won't be much worse with 2 doors, plus it does look a bit better.

It is still pretty boring and really does not stand out in any way.
But at least the proportions seem a bit better to me.

I can't help but remembering the first generation CTS. Which was a car that did stand out in a crowd. With a simple and modern design for its time.
Since, Cadillac has been busy adding lines, chrome and details everywhere.

It's just too bad...

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

2015 Porsche Cayenne

Not all new. But as you can see, new front and rear ends.

And looking really good.
This freshens things up without ruining anything.

In the US we will be getting this in 4 versions.
Cayenne Diesel, Turbo, S and the new Cayenne S E-Hybrid.

Good job.

Monday, July 21, 2014

2015 Buick Envision

This is the so called "Chinese Market version".
That's what they usually say when something doesn't look great.

Then, a few months later, it lands in the US, pretty much the same.

So this is basically the Buick version of the redesigned Chevrolet Equinox.
At least in China, the Buck version is powered by the usual 2.0 Liter Turbo.

This doesn't look horrible. But not great either.
That big grille is getting old. It needs to be modernized a bit. Quite a bit.
And from the back, it looks like it could be anything, from anyone...

Better pix coming really soon.