Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Nissan Quest

The Quest joins the Toyota Sienna and Honda Odyssey to make a trio of new full-sized minivans at the 2010 LA auto show. The Quest appears, both from the outside – and gives the impression – inside, of being the largest of the three.

The previous generation Quest featured an undulating shoulder line, replaced on this new model by two key flowing lines on the body sides, one of which wraps around from the hood surface.

The interior has space for at least seven full size adults. The IP combines aesthetic cues from Nissan's 370Z, while the shifter and switchgear are incorporated in a drum-like center console, allowing an uninterrupted floor.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Dodge Charger

The new Dodge Charger is longer, lower and wider than the model it replaces, but offers even more performance from its 5.7-liter Hemi V8, which now belts out 470bhp and the standard 2.7-liter Pentastar V6 also offers 292bhp and better economy.

Although based on the previous models' platform, the car has been significantly reworked to enhance its driving dynamics with all-new suspension settings, but it also wears bolder sheet-metal.

The interior, benchmarked against European models, features soft touch plastics, a single piece molding for the dash and better colors throughout the range. Ralph Gilles amused those gathered at the press conference by relaying that he has banished the "rat fur gray" color from the repertoire.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Hyundai Elantra

Hyundai is set to add another vehicle to its list of successes: the new Elantra, which was revealed at the LA auto show this year.

Created by principal designer Cedric d'Andre, the Elantra was the last car conceived under the direction of Hyundai's former design boss, Joel Piaskowski. The new car shares the 'fluidic sculpture' design theme of its larger sibling, the Sonata and has an impressively low 0.28Cd.

Inside, the flowing, sculptural design theme is continued on the doors, the IP and the center stack. Wave-like perforations in the door panels and on the leather seats demonstrate an attention to detail that we're unused to at this level.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Dodge Avenger

The 2011 Dodge Avenger has allegedly been reengineered from the ground up. But in terms of styling, you’d be hard pressed to spot the difference.

Dodge says that it has imparted a plethora of changes to the mid-sized sedan, with the exterior gaining cleaner and more aggressive lines. Taking in the front of the car, a new, more sculpted front face accompanies the signature Dodge 'split crosshair' grille as well as lower bumper revisions. Elsewhere, the rear bumper has also been revised to suit the cars' more sporting intentions, whilst new light pods front and rear round out the exterior changes.

As with all of Chrysler’s products for 2011, the predominate focus has been on upping the interior quality of its cars. Therefore, once again, the biggest changes for 2011 are found on the inside of the Avenger with an interior benchmarked against European rivals. Utilizing more tactile materials, a new instrument panel, bezels, gauge faces and an all-new multifunction steering wheel, Dodge aims to transform the outgoing model's interior.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Chrysler 200

With a name change and heavily revised exterior, you could be fooled into thinking that the 200 represents an all-new car. But Chrysler’s new mid-sized sedan is little more than a heavily revised Sebring.

The exterior retains the same side profile as the existing model, albeit with tighter definition to the details. The car sports a new face, incorporating the signature grille and accompanied by new projector headlamps, whilst the Crossfire-esque ribbed bonnet has been dropped in favor of a smoother item to complement the overall cleaner surfaces of the car. Around the back, new LED clusters accompany a new, higher rear deck, whilst a revised bumper detail incorporates a black rear diffuser for a more sporting look.

Inside, the 200's updates are in-line with its platform sibling, the Dodge Avenger. Chrysler has tried to ensure that the interior is able to compete with European rivals in terms of quality and equipment. As a result, this is where we see the most significant changes over the Sebring. Also new are a revised instrument panel, bezels, gauge face and a more ergonomic steering wheel to complete the interior revisions.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Honda Brio

Honda revealed the Brio prototype at the Thailand International Motor Show earlier this week. Conceived as a commuter vehicle for use in urban areas, the new Brio follows the New Small concept the Japanese automaker unveiled at Auto Expo 2010 in New Delhi.

Slated to be introduced in Thailand and India next year, the Brio aims to further Honda's "man maximum, machine minimum" concept. Measuring in at 3610mm long, 1680mm high and 1475 mm wide, the car's compact exterior dimensions are paired with an efficiently packaged interior to ensure sufficient cabin space.

Honda will develop unique versions for Thailand and India to reflect different customer needs in those markets. The company has also said it will leverage the resources it has cultivated through its motorcycle business and utilize local sourcing of parts and materials such as sheet steel.

The first Brio models will be launched in Thailand in March 2011.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Audi A6

Audi today unveiled the new A6, the fourth generation of the its D-segment sedan. Measuring 4920mm long, 1870mm wide, and 1460mm tall, the new A6 is shorter and lower – but wider – than its predecessor, and has a longer, 2910mm wheelbase. The new car also features lighter body panels and improved powertrains.

The new A6's design undeniably lends itself to the Audi family. The familiar shape of the old A6 is still present, but the car has been thoroughly reworked. The obligatory Audi LED lighting has also been revised inside the more angular and aggressive headlights, that frame a more upright and prominent grille. The middle flank of the car is virtually untouched between generations, retaining the prominent shoulder and feature lines. Around the rear, the car gains a more squared-off trunk and rear deck, in keeping with Audi's current design language.

The interior of the A6 is a formal affair, with Audi's superlative perceived quality and attention to detail present in abundance. According to Audi, 'the salient element is the "wrap-around" dash inlay', that encircles the driver and the front seat passenger. The curved dash panels form just part of an interior with immaculate attention to detail, with a clear, succinct dial binnacle and detailed switchgear providing a quality feel.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Rinspeed Bamboo

Set to debut at the 2011 Geneva motor show, the Bamboo is Rinspeed's latest concept, offering some insight into the creative mind of CEO Frank M. Rinderknecht. Somewhat tame in appearance to previous concepts, the Bamboo urges that 'anyone not blinded by horsepower orgies, chrome tinsel and top-speed frenzy should take a closer look'.

The exterior of the car is said to evoke feelings and memories of the South of France in the sixties. Its clean, uncluttered minimal bodywork features very little detail other than the taught shoulder line that falls into the rear light cluster. The semi-covered rear arch and lack of front grille are, by Rinspeed's own admission, resemblant of a 'grown-up golf cart'.

The Bamboo, as the name suggests, makes extensive use of the material throughout the interior. The seats and many other interior features are made from a bamboo fiber, whilst the simplistic styling of the exterior is likely to be carried over to the interior.

The electric Bamboo concept measures in at 3889mm long, with a wheelbase of just over 2000mm, suggesting that interior space is generous. Rinspeed says the 54Kw motor delivers sprightly performance whilst offering a 105km range.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Chrysler 300C

The Detroit Motor Show will see Chrysler unveil its 2011 300C. Whilst benefiting from an extensive exterior refresh, the platform on which it is based remains unchanged, meaning that this 2011 model is little more than a face-lifted variant of the car that joined us in 2004.

The exterior of the 300C loses some of its forbearer's sinister styling; its imposing face has been substituted in favor of a softer, more rounded style, intersected only by the muscular wheel arches. The large Bentley-esque grille of the original has been reduced in size and is now framed by smaller lights that encase more intricate details. In side profile at least, the high shoulder line, weighty C-pillar and relatively narrow DLO remain to retain the familiar silhouette. The rear of the car has also undergone a mild redesign, receiving obligatory LED lighting in more upright and defined clusters, while the rear bumper sports a more sculpted look.

Inside, the car follows in the footsteps of the smaller 200 and aims to offer a more upmarket feel. Plusher and more tactile materials are used in abundance and the dash receives major alterations to accommodate a larger LCD monitor that forms the main focal point for the interior. A clearer dial binnacle and extensive use of softer leathers round out the interior updates.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Mini Paceman

Mini has revealed initial photos of a new concept that will be unveiled at the forthcoming NAIAS in Detroit. Essentially a two-door variant of the Countryman, the Paceman concept retains the Mini family appearance from the front - the familiar chrome-ringed headlights frame the three-slat grille - but the Paceman sports a more defined and angular hood to emphasize its face.

It is in side profile, however, that the biggest distinction can be made between the Paceman and the Countryman. Larger diameter wheels, wheelarches and side skirts add an element of aggression to the design. The roof and pillar arrangement are arguably the strongest elements of the new vehicle: the more aggressive and sloping roof meets at a wide C-pillar to create a more dynamic profile. The rear lights are also new, positioned at the outer edges of the rear in an attempt to emphasize the new car's wider track.

Though the company has yet to reveal photographs of the Paceman concept's interior, we expect the predominant focus to be on the oversized speedo and distinctive minimal dash, as with all Mini interiors. The center console that becomes a central rail will also be carried over from the Mini Countryman, while individual sculpted rear seats that share a singular backrest create a fully contoured passenger support, cocooning the rear occupants.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

GMC Sierra

The GMC Sierra HD concept is a study into combining heavy-duty truck capabilities with a more believable off-road performance. Set to debut at the forthcoming NAIAS in Detroit, the concept adopts a purposeful stance with its wide track and tall profile. The major focal point of the truck is the large grille that extends down into the skid plate, which dominates the front end.

The boxy yet purposeful LED headlights sit neatly between the large grille and the bulbous arches, beneath which are large diameter off-road tires. The angular and taught exterior plays a unique trick in lending itself to cloaking the size of the truck, while also accentuating the proportions and masculinity of its design. The bed of the Sierra features a 'circuit board' protective cover and houses a 110v power outlet and air compressor in either rear fender.

The interior of the Sierra HD concept mirrors the simplistic and masculine exterior appearance, whilst being interspersed with luxury. Premium fittings, such as an integrated 80gb internal hard drive, two-tone grey leather seats and a steering wheel complimented by 'carbon-fiber' effect leather, adorn the cabin, while accessing the interior is made easier by the inclusion of power-assisted side steps that swing down to aid ingress and egress.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Nissan Sunny

Nissan is reviving its famous Sunny nameplate for a new entrant to the burgeoning Chinese C-segment sedan market. The car will then go on global sale across 170 countries, under different names dependant of territory.

At 4,426mm long, 1,695mm wide, with a 2,600mm wheelbase, the Sunny is thoroughly conventional in its dimensions, yet there has obviously been a conscious effort to imbue this three-box sedan with a more monobox aesthetic, following on from the Nissan Ellure concept. Hints of the innovative LA concept car can also be spotted in its grille-dominated DRG, arcing DLO and high, short rear deck, created by pulling back the C-pillar. However these appear to be styling cues rather than true architectural innovations.

Inside, the Sunny's Micra/March roots are far easier to spot, with a familiar IP architecture and the inclusion of its smaller sibling's donut-like HVAC controls. The Sunny's emphasis is clearly on rear-seat comfort, its long wheelbase offering more than average leg room, while rear passengers are also treated to a separate HVAC system.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Kia KV7

Kia is clearly keen to grab the last of 2010's headlines by releasing this teaser render of its upcoming concept, the KV7, due to be unveiled at the Detroit auto show.

The large crossover appears to preview a replacement for the Korean manufacturer's Borrego. While the exterior's clamshell tailgate, muscular wheel arches and Ford Explorer-aping lamp graphics (from this view, at least) may be directly relative to a production model, it's unlikely that the rear gullwing door openings will make the transition.

Its interior features lime-colored captain's chairs in the front and middle rows, a wooden floor covering and an IP that neatly mirrors Kia's 'tiger face' grille.