Poll: your Top 5 disappointments from Detroit

After Kriss’ list of his Top 5 disappointments from the North American International Auto Show (Detroit 2016 to you and me), now it’s time for you to tell us – what do you think were the Top 5 disappointments?

Also, if you haven’t yet voted, let us know what were your Top 5 cars.… Continue Reading …

Detroit 2016: the Disappointments

1.    Honda Ridgeline

Echoing Bart’s article, I really can’t imagine what Honda was thinking when it designed the new Ridgeline. It looks like a pick-up version of the Pilot SUV, a yummy-mummy favorite, but surely the target audience is on the exact end of the spectrum?

2017-Honda_Ridgeline-left-front

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Poll: your Top 5 cars from Detroit

After Kriss’ list of his Top 5 cars from the North American International Auto Show (Detroit 2016 to you and me), now it’s time for you to tell us – what do you think were the Top 5 cars that made their debut at the auto show?… Continue Reading …

Detroit 2016: Top 5

1.  Chrysler Pacifica

A huge return to form for Chrysler, not only in terms of styling but in terms of innovation: it’s the world’s first plug-in minivan. Looks good enough to lure some people away from their family SUVs.

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Lincoln Continental: missed opportunity

Unlike Lexus, which changed only a few minor details when turning the LF-LC concept car into the LC500 production vehicle, Lincoln has watered down the cool and sexy Continental Concept from the New York Auto Show last year. That doesn’t mean the production version is ugly or dull, it’s still one of the best looking Lincolns of the last decade, but I can’t help feeling a bit let down by the final design. Maybe it just looks better in dark colors and the white of the press images doesn’t really help it, but you’d think the marketing folks would figure that out themselves, wouldn’t you?

Lincoln_Continental-2017

Take for example the rear fenders: the Continental Concept had pronounced shoulders, giving it a bit of a rear-wheel drive look. The flared fenders have been flattened and straightened out in the production version, which makes the Continental looks less energetic and less powerful. It also seems like the C-pillar flows into the rear quarter more smoothly in the concept than in the final version.… Continue Reading …

Honda Ridgeline: the feminine pick-up truck

2017-Honda_Ridgeline-left-rear

Honda introduced the second generation Ridgeline mid-sized pick-up truck at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, which is launched at the perfect moment as the US mid-sized pick-up segment is booming thanks to the rebirth of the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon, the new generation Toyota Tacoma and hopefully later this year a new Nissan Frontier (a.k.a. Navara or NP300 in other parts of the world). That would mean all entrants in this segment, which appeared to have been forgotten just a few years ago, will be less than 3 years old by the end of this year. And then there are rumors that Ford may re-enter the segment with a new Ranger (and Bronco!) as well, so exciting times indeed.

The first generation Honda Ridgeline stood out from the crowd both technically and aesthetically and hasn’t really been a huge sales success in North America, peaking at 50.000 US sales in 2006 but quickly dropping to 10.000-18.000 annual sales. But Honda clearly thought that the odd exterior design with the high rear side-panels must have been one of the main stumbling blocks, as the brand has opted for a more straightforward design, not to call it plain dull in a time when the competition is putting some flair into their mid-sized trucks.… Continue Reading …

New Japanese luxury coupes: Lexus LC & Infiniti Q60

Lexus_LC-right-front-banner

The two Japanese luxury brands Lexus and Infiniti stole the show at the North American International Auto Show with sexy production versions of their new luxury sports coupes, and both stunned the audience by looking surprisingly similar to their concept versions. That’s always a good thing, because concept cars are usually sexy, futuristic and out-of-this-world, but then often the resulting production version is no more than a watered down, compromised and ordinary rehash with all the things that made the concept so sexy removed. Ask Subaru, they know all about this strategy.

Infiniti_Q60-side-banner

None of that disappointment with these two, as both have a low, wide look and an aggressive appearance, the Lexus LC clearly even more so than the Infiniti Q60. Lexus has designed a wild looking, widebody coupe with angular lines, a mesh spindle grille, grey detailing around the triangular headlights, and droopy Prius-style rear lights. The Infiniti Q60 is less extreme, but not less sexy with its low grille and long, wide nose and a muscular shoulder line above the rear wheels, ending in a wide rear end.… Continue Reading …

In real life: 007’s Aston Martin DB10

Aston_Martin_DB10-James_Bond_007-Spectre-right-front-lowJames Bond’s latest episode Spectre is currently breaking all box office records, and besides Daniel Craig and Bond-girls Monica Bellucci and Léa Seydoux, one of the stars of the movie is the specially developed Aston Martin DB10. The factory has produced only 10 of these Special Editions, of which 7 have been destroyed during the making of the movie. Of the 3 surviving models, one is making a promotional Tour of Europe, and I got to see it in real life when it visited on of the Aston Martin dealerships in The Netherlands. Check out the photo gallery below:… Continue Reading …

Top Tokyo Motor Show concepts

1.    Mazda RX-Vision

Mazda’s, ahem, vision for a future sports model made RX fanboys giddy at a prospect of the return of the beloved Wankel-powered coupe, made others salivate at the RX-Vision’s sexy, Aston-esque looks, and made me wonder whether Mazda can afford to muck about with Wankel technology in an era when emissions and fuel consumption, always the engine’s weak spots, are more important then ever.

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IAA Frankfurt report: Concept cars

Audi e-tron quattro Concept

Audi e-tron quattro

The Audi e-tron quattro Concept previews the Tesla Model X-rivalling Audi Q6, which will be presented in early 2018. It uses the power of three electric motors; one drives the front axle, the other acts on the rear axle. Total output is 435 hp and in boost mode it can mobilize up to 500 hp and 800 Nm torque. It accelerates from standstill to 100 km/h in 4.6 seconds, while its electronically governed top speed is 210 km/h. The battery’s capacity of 95 kWh should enable a range of more than 500 kilometers. With its length of 4.88 metres, width of 1.93 metres and height of 1.54 metres, it fits between the Audi Q5 and Audi Q7, and its luggage capacity is 615 litres.

Bugatti Vision Gran Turismo Concept

The Vision GranTurismo showcases Bugatti’s new design language and previews the Chiron, which should debut at the Geneva Motor Show next spring, although the Volkswagen emissions scandal could delay the new ‘Chiron’ hypercar.

Bugatti Vision Gran Turismo

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