Look-a-like: Audi Q5 and…

The new Audi Q5, as is pretty common with cars from the German automaker, got a bit of a mixed reception. Some people are tired of Audi cars always looking like updated version of the previous generation, rather than all-out new designs. Others, myself included, appreciate the new model’s tauter lines, good proportions, fine detailing, and most importantly the front view which is much better resolved than either on the old Q5 or the larger Q7. And it’s from the front that the new Audi looks a lot like another car that made its market debut a little bit earlier than it did…

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Look-a-like: Seat Ateca and…

When the Seat Ateca came out I remember being disappointed – the car is by no means bad-looking, but I felt it should have been much more adventurous than it turned out. By taking design cues from the Leon and stretching them over a more upright, formal crossover body the Ateca lost a lot of what made its hatchback sister model so handsome and attractive. But what really killed me is that that the Ateca looks less like a stablemate to the Leon, but rather more like a smaller, 5-seat version of…

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US sales: February 2017, models

After discussing the US auto brand sales ranking for February, let’s zoom in on the models.

It may only be February, but there is a clear picture emerging as to how the Top 10 will look like in 2017. As always, the top Top 3 is occupied by the domestic large pickups  – in February Ram Pickup stumbled a bit, registering an uncharacteristically low growth rate of 1.3%, while Chevrolet Silverado recovered from a poor performance to record a growth rate of 17.1%. Next follow the compact crossovers – in some months, such as in February, the Top 4-6 positions will be occupied exclusively by such models. Of those the Nissan Rogue is emerging as the top performer, once again gaining over 50% in sales compared to the year prior, and placing 4th for only the second time in its history. The new Honda CR-V is gaining sales nicely, as is the Ford Escape which was facelifted early in 2016; less so the Toyota RAV4, whose relative under-performance combined with continued sales decline for its Corolla and Camry stablemates results in Toyota being shut out of the Top 6 for the second month in a row. It is a similar story for the other top brands and their compact and mid-sized mainstream offerings – Nissan saw sales fall for both the Sentra and the Altima, as did Honda for the Civic and Accord, though the brand that should really despair is Ford, with both the Focus and Fusion losing over 30% in sales compared to Feb’16, or Chevrolet, whose Malibu lost over 40% in sales (though the Cruze did gain 18.2%).

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Geneva Autoshow 2017: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly: supercars and concept cars

The Geneva Auto Show in the beginning of March is very likely to be the place with the highest density of supercars and concept cars in Europe at that moment. Even the smallest manufacturers, tuners and designers make it to the showfloor each year to show off their latest creations and try to steal some of the limelight from the major brands. That leads to an interesting mix that caters to everyone, from mainstream mass-production to hyperexclusive, from realistic to futuristic, and of eyepoppingly beautiful to eyewateringly unsightly. All this contrast means everyone must have an opinion, love it, hate it, or totally indifferent. We also loved a few, but not all of them. Here are a the ones that stirred us the most, be it in a good or a bad way.

Ferrari 812 Superfast

Bart: hot

2017-Geneva_Auto_Show-Ferrari_812_SuperfastIs it an extensive facelift of the F12 or a completely new model? Ferrari wants you to believe the latter and has given the model a new name. And although the overall proportions and silhouette are very similar to the F12, the aerodynamics and engine are completely overhauled. At 800hp and 718Nm (529 lb.-ft), the engine is Ferrari’s most powerful V12 engine ever built. Displacement grew to 6,5 liters which means it has an output of 123hp per liter, the highest of any non-hybrid, naturally aspirated production engine ever made. The aerodynamics are another awesome feature of the 812 Superfast, as Ferrari strives to create downforce without using additional wings. There are a number of gaps in the front and side of the bodywork to create additional downforce, reduce drag or cooling purposes. Some are even equipped with active flaps to change the airflow through or under the car to fulfill different purposes at different speeds. The Ferrari mid/front engined V12 has always been the showcase of what the brand is capable of, but this time I watched in awe when they explained the aerodynamics and performance of the 812 Superfast.… Continue Reading …

Look-a-like: Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross and…

Imagine you’re a car company on the brink. There was a time that you produced some great cars, but that was decades ago, so no one really remembers that. So you decide that you need to be bold, and rather than build another “me too” hatchback you design a bold mainstream crossover will put your name back on the map. Hell, you’re desperate for success, so you even decide to resurrect the nameplate from the most-loved sports car from your past. And since you’re already started copying to ensure the new model’s success, you figure “ah, what the hell, I should crib parts of the car’s styling from a car renowned for its looks”. You do some quick research into the most frequently Googled car name and you come up with the perfect inspiration!

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Geneva Autoshow 2017: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly production cars, part 2

After discussing the Alpine A110, DS7 Crossback, Ford Fiesta, Kia Picanto, Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross and Opel/Vauxhall Crossland X in part 1, we’ll continue with the second bunch of Geneva launches. Let us know what you think and vote for your favorites below!

Opel/Vauxhall Insignia

Bart: hot

2017-Geneva_Auto_Show-Opel_Insignia_Grand_SportSee, they do now how to design a great looking car at Opel/Vauxhall, as the new Insignia proves. Wow, this thing looks more capable then ever to steal each and every one of those 12 private sales annually from the Passat. The rest of the sales in this segment are corporate orders from leasing companies, some of which limit their client’s choices, which means even if the Insignia is the better (and better looking) car, not everyone who wants one will be able to get it. Too bad, because its low and wide proportions and almost coupe-like roofline of the hatchback absolutely make this one of the best looking cars in the segment, right up there with or maybe even ahead of the Renault Talisman and miles ahead of the dull Passat and already long-in-the-tooth Mondeo. Who could’ve said that of an Opel just a few years ago? The Americans are drooling over this thing to make it Stateside again as the Buick Regal (including the Wagon) and that’s actually pretty impressive for a brand that’s been known as a maker of uninspired middle-of-the-road cars for decades.… Continue Reading …

US sales: February 2017, brands

Car sales in 2017 so far look like they won’t be able to match the record set in 2016 – for the second month in a row the market recorded a slight decline in sales compared to last year, with February sales falling by 0.8% to 1,332,176 units. 

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Poll: how well will the Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid do in the US?

Yesterday Hyundai announced that the Ioniq Hybrid will cost around $23,000 when it goes on sale in the US, which makes it some $2,000 cheaper than its main competitor, Toyota Prius. In addition, the Hyundai can claim to be considerably more efficient than the Toyota, at least on paper, promising 58 mpg combined to the latter’s 52 mpg. So far things look promising for the Hyundai, but can it really succeed where the likes of Honda Insight failed?

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Upcoming DS7 Crossback [w/ poll]

Photo courtesy of Worldscoop

This post is a bit unusual in that it is a “3 in 1”. First, it’s a scoop of the new upcoming mid-sized SUV from the DS brand, rumored to be called the DS7 Crossback. Second, I thought it would be a good opportunity to ask our readers about whether they think the carmaker is on the right track, both with this model and more broadly for the DS brand as a whole. And finally, I just could not help thinking the car reminds me two others that have come before it…

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Look-a-like: Hyundai i30 / Elantra GT and…

When the latest Hyundai i30 / Elantra Sport was revealed at the Paris Auto Show in the fall of 2016, I was more than a little bit disappointed. After all, the previous generation marked a big improvement over what came before, bringing a confident, dynamic style that made it one of the most attractive hatchbacks on the market. The latest model goes for a completely different look, trying to be sophisticated and solid-looking in a bid to emulate the VW Golf’s appeal, but to these eyes at least it falls quite short of achieving that. That said, even I have to admit that from the rear the car is rather attractive, in that it reminds me of one of my favorite designs, even if the similarity is more in concept than the detailed execution.

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