Category Archive:

French Concepts: Renault, Peugeot, Citroen

0

Though none of these entries are planned for sale in the North American market, each brought something interesting to the show this year. Renault looks to refine a new approach to the luxury segment, as conservative as the Avantime was not, and Citroen and Peugeot explore alternative powertrains in large luxury coupe-looking sedans.
Renault Nepta
Renault is not expected to build this two-door, four-seat vehicle, though its headlights and grille could appear on future Renaults. Also of interest is the powertrain, a 3.5L twin-turbo V6 delivering 420HP through a seven-speed automatic transmission. The V6 is an evolution of Nissan’s VQ engine family and it is likely that a seven-speed automatic will find its way into Nissan and Renault model lines sooner rather than later.

Ren_07_Nepta_b.jpg

Peugeot 908RC
Definitely one of the best-looking products in all four Paris show halls, the 908RC previews the styling direction for the next iteration of Peugeot flagship, 608. As with Nepta, there’s something interesting about the powertrain. In this case, the 700HP 5.5L V12 diesel is due to be used in Peugeot’s next Le Mans attempt. If Audi can do it, why can’t Peugeot?
Peu_07_908RC_Cncpt_1.jpg

Citroen C-Metisse
Aside from the terrifically deep red paint, which looked far better in person than in photos, this concept felt overdone. Instead of predicting Citroen styling, however, the star is under the hood. Citroen is looking to have a diesel-hybrid in their range in 2010, and the C-Metisse (and Metisse means hybrid in French, by the way) sported a 208HP 3.0L V6 diesel with electric motors supporting it. The motors were at the rear wheels, and good for 20HP each.
Cit_06_Metisse_Cncpt_2.jpg


Continue Reading

Dodge Avenger Gets European Reveal

0

At this year’s Paris Motor Show (public days are early October 2006, after a press preview in late September), Dodge will reveal the direction for its next-generation Stratus, a sedan sized for the European D-segment and North American mid-size market. Ahead of the official launch, Dodge released teaser information and photos, and VehicleVoice and AutoPacific are here to share them with you. (Since publication, we’ve added photos we took at the Paris reveal to the stock pictures initially posted.)

Dod_08_Avenger_Cncpt_8.jpg

When the production version arrives, which is expected in spring 2007 in the States and summer or fall in Europe, it will continue the North American Dodge Stratus’ relationship to the Chrysler Sebring. This means production continues in Sterling Heights, Michigan, and the platform is the Chrysler Group’s new D platform, which borrows much from the Dodge Caliber and Jeep Patriot and Compass.
Dod_08_Avenger_show_2.jpg

Avenger Name Replaces Stratus
Naming this concept Avenger all but confirms that long-standing rumors about dropping the Stratus name in favor of Avenger are true. This 2006 near-production model has little to do with the 2003 Avenger concept (remember this?), but picks up cues from all over the current Dodge car lineup (Magnum, Charger, Caliber). The result we hope looks better in person than in these initial photos, which are not particularly flattering. But it does look very much like its Charger sedan stablemate.
Chrysler’s new Sebring goes on sale in October 2006 and shares a platform, powertrains, and assembly space with the new mid-size Dodge, no matter what the name. The Sebring offers the new global 152HP 2.0L and 172HP 2.4L I4s, an updated 182HP 2.7L V6, a 235HP 3.5L V6, and a 2.0L diesel, depending on market. The diesel and 2.0L gasoline I4 are offered in international markets only. North America gets the 2.4L I4 and both V6 units. Dodge is likely to offer the same lineup. Dodge is working to create a space for themselves in Europe, and whether called Avenger or Stratus, this D-segment sedan is part of the mix.
Dod_08_Avenger_Cncpt_2.jpg


Continue Reading

Volkswagen iroc – Next Scirocco – VW Gets Revival Bug

0

Volkswagen has revealed their latest concept car, the Iroc. Dressed in Viper Green metallic paint, a color pulled from the 1976 Scirocco range, the model is our first look at the direction Volkswagen will go in developing a new-century Scirocco, as well as new take on the evolution of the VW corporate face and the company’s intent to use grille shape to differentiate models. Volkswagen had already confirmed a Scirocco revival for the 2009MY. We don’t know if VW needs another hot hatch, with the GTI admirably filling that role, but it could make for an interesting proposition.

VW_09_Scirocco_06Iroc_6.jpg

While Chevrolet and Dodge race to revive storied muscle cars from the late 1960s and early 1970s, VW is planning to revive the Scirocco coupe. The first Scirocco was introduced thirty-three years ago, and was designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro.
VW_09_Scirocco_06Iroc_3.jpg

The Iroc is a three-door hatchback with a coupe-like stance, a long roof, and a steeper rear window; the result is optimized interior space wrapped in a sporty appearance. A pillars are hidden behind an unusually wide windshield. The concept looks to revive the idea of the first Scirocco rather than an idealized version of its specific form. The first formula was a front-drive, performance-oriented, four-seat sports coupe. There is seating for four and room for weekend luggage.
VW_09_Scirocco_06Iroc_2.jpg

The concept shown held VW’s new TSI gasoline four-cylinder, available in Europe but not yet offered in the States, though the U.S.-spec car could offer a V6 instead. The 1.4L DOHC 16v I4 engine gets diesel fuel economy from gasoline, and VW is developing this engine in several outputs and levels of assist, ranging from 150HP to 210HP. The TSI, or twincharger, engine employs both turbo and supercharging to maximize output from a small, fuel-efficient engine. The transmission, of course, is the VW-Audi DSG automated manual. As was true of the first Scirocco, the version due to arrive Stateside for 2009MY will be based on the most recent Golf platform.


Continue Reading

It's Official: Chevrolet Camaro Returns

0

As had been widely anticipated, today at a series of annual management briefings in Traverse City, Michigan, GM head Rick Wagoner announced that the Camaro returns to Chevrolet dealerships in late 2008. He also promised that it will look nearly identical to the concept, which wowed Camaro enthusiasts at its reveal at the 2006 Detroit auto show this past January. Of course the Camaro enthusiasts were strategically planted by Chevrolet at the auto show stand… but that’s alright. It was a hoot!

Chv_09_Camaro_annc_bl_2.jpg

Camaro sales will start the first quarter of 2009, with production in late 2008. That should give plenty of time for all you Camaro enthusiasts to start saving and preparing for your next car.
The Camaro will retain its rear-wheel-drive traditional configuration and be offered with V6 and V8 engines, with both manual and automatic transmissions on hand. The “fuel economy” engine will be the V6 – with 275-horsepower no less.
Dodge Challenger – Low Investment Coupe from Chrysler’s RWD Platform
The other pony car concept from this year’s Detroit show, the Dodge Challenger, was confirmed forproduction in June. (Click here for our story.) Dodge will beat Chevy to market by a few months, having promised sales in late 2008.
Market May Be Thinner Than Expected if Mustang Can Keep on the Pressure
Timing of Challenger and Camaro give the latest version of the Mustang four to five years’ head start. Given the freshening of the Mustang at about the same time as the Challenger and Camaro introductions, plus the plethora of Mustang special models over the years, Ford may have done a pretty good job siphoning off prospective buyers for the General Motors and Chrysler pony cars.


Continue Reading

Opel Antara: First Images Released

2

Your First Look at the 2008 Saturn Vue
General Motors is wisely pairing Saturn and Opel brands to help revive Saturn at a minimal cost, as well as getting Opel a couple of new products just as efficiently. This strategy is being implemented with several new models for 2007 and 2008 model year. We’ve already reported on the Saturn Aura, which borrows from Opel sedans in Europe, and the Saturn Sky, which was takes cues from an Opel concept and shares more than a passing resemblance to the new Opel GT. Next to come to market will be the Saturn Vue and Opel Antara.
These four-door, car-based SUVs were previewed by a concept called the Opel Antara GTC at the 2005 Frankfurt auto show and called the Saturn PreVue at the 2006 New York auto show. Differences between the Saturn concept and the Opel concept were found in the badge; both even sported the same 212HP four-cylinder diesel and six-speed automatic powerplant. Opel will get the production version first, just as they showed the concept first. The Opel Antara goes on sale by the end of the 2006 and gets a formal introduction at the 2006 Paris auto show this September. Ahead of the show introduction, however, Opel has released intial photos. AutoPacific and VehicleVoice are happy to bring them to you.

Opel_07_Antara_bl_front.jpg

The 2007 Opel Antara should give us a remarkably accurate peek at the 2008 Saturn Vue. A contemporary and attractive family look is shaping up for Saturn, which the updated Vue should complement nicely, and the inspiration by Opel may prove to be a very smart decision and wise allocation of resources. These two brands can share themes and products more easily than GM’s North American brands. As there is no intention of bringing the Opel brand to the States or Saturn to Europe, there is no need to be concerned with cannibalization of one another’s sales.


Continue Reading

Scion FUSE and the Future

Styling Exercise Takes Sport Coupe in a New Direction
At the 2006 New York auto show, Scion showed a new take on the sports coupe concept, melding a small coupe body with a silhouette vaguely reminiscent of the Chrysler 300. As with other New York introductions, AutoPacific and VehicleVoice correspondents were on hand. The FUSE has a high beltline that seems to rise as your eyes travel the length of the vehicle. Though the FUSE deck is nowhere near as pronounced as that on the 300 and FUSE sports a much shorter nose, FUSE reminded us of what the 300 might look like if you just chopped a large section of the middle of the 300 out.

Scion_Fuse_bl_show-1.jpg

Scion described the FUSE as a styling exercise. Its purpose at auto shows is to evaluate consumer and public reaction to the exterior shape as well as the cool tricks it plays inside. We may well see a shape along these lines in the Scion range at the end of the decade, or we may not. We found the blend of tall sedan silhouette, short nose, that the rear quarter panel hints there is a trunk instead of a tailgate, and that there very little of a traditional sporty coupe in its presence or profile created an intriguing package.
Scion_Fuse_bl_show-2.jpg


Continue Reading

Acura Gives Peek at 2007 MDX SUV

1

MD-X Concept and 2007 RDX Share Center Stage.
Acura used its time at the 2006 New York auto show to tease the journalists in the audience with a concept of its upcoming MD-X SUV and to formally introduce its 2007 RDX The RDX goes on sale in summer 2006 and the 2007 MDX goes on sale in fall 2006. VehicleVoice and AutoPacific contributors were on hand when the new Acura SUV lineup was first displayed. The RDX has been seen at several auto shows prior to New York, but this was the first glimpse we have had of the MDX.

Acu_07_MD-XCncpt_bl_f342.jpg

MD-X Concept
The new MDX goes on sale this fall with a more athletic and aggressive look, though there were several comments made that the rear three-quarter, with its sharply raked D-pillar, has more than a passing resemblance to the new Audi Q7. We’ll leave that to you to decide. The MDX was also developed on the theme of taking a sports sedan image and merging it with SUV interior volume and utility.
Acu_07_MD-XCncpt_bl_f341.jpg

Acu_07_MD-XCncpt_bl_side.jpg

We do know the MDX will continue to be offered only with a V6, and though its technical details were not revealed, it is reasonable to expect output to at least match the RL’s 290HP. The longer wheelbase and wider track of the concept will likely translate into production as well, though no official specifications were given. It will also get Acura’s Super Handling AWD system and at least as much standard equipment as the RDX. Track-tuned at the Nurburgring, Acura promises outstanding performance and handling characteristics.
Acu_07_MD-XCncpt_bl_rear.jpg


Continue Reading

Acura Shows Off 2007 RDX SUV

0

2007 RDX Share Center Stage with MD-X Concept at New York
Acura used its time at the 2006 New York auto show to formally introduce its 2007 RDX, which goes on sale in summer 2006 and tease us with a near-production-but-still-concept version of the 2007 MDX (on sale in fall). VehicleVoice and AutoPacific contributors were on hand when the new Acura SUV lineup went on display.

Acu_07_RDX_bl_show.jpg

RDX Brings Acura a Small SUV
This vehicle comes to market wearing the name RDX, similar to the RD-X concept cars of 2005 and of 2002. At the 2006 Detroit auto show a near-production model was shown, followed by the production car at the 2006 New York auto show in April. Sales begin in summer 2006. The first two RD-X concepts explored the needs of what Acura calls active urban professionals, with the 2005 concept more realistic than the first. The 2006 Detroit concept was clearly the closest of all. The philosophy is to combine sports sedan performance with the utility of an SUV, in theory more akin to a smaller Infiniti FX than to a Toyota RAV4, and has the BMW X3 in its sights.


Continue Reading

Honda Element Goes Urban

0

New York’s SC Prototype Previews New Version of 2007 Element
On sale in fall 2006 is a special Element, previewed by the SC Prototype on Honda‘s stand at the 2006 New York auto show. While the standard Element focuses on its ability to haul stuff and people to the beach and back, the SC is about looking cool in the city. The SC loses the Element’s body cladding (gaining a dramatic, metallic copper paint on all sheetmetal) and also loses three inches in ride height, resulting in a lower, more aggressive stance. This aggressive stance is complemented with a custom front bumper, projector-beam headlights, large twenty-one-inch alloy wheels, custom grille, and a slightly lowered roofline.

Hon_07_ElementSC_Proto_bl_sh_2.jpg

VehicleVoice and AutoPacific correspondents were there for the reveal, as we were the rest of this year’s New York show. Honda successfully brought the Element from the beach to the city, and we only hope the production car actually offers twenty-one-inch wheels and tires! In particular, lowering the Element and dropping the plastic body panels bring a sharper, more stylish look to the box. The standard Element is all about practical, but the SC wants to be the center of attention.

Sign Me Up:
This urbanization of the Element is an interesting move away from Honda’s initial “Dorm Room on Wheels” concept that resonated not only with young buyers but with more mature buyers as well. The median age of Element buyers is in their upper forties – somewhat embarrassing for Honda as they were seriously targeting GenY buyers. Oh well, guess you can’t prevent an old fart from buying your vehicle if they really feel young at heart. This SC prototype has real potential young and old.


Continue Reading

Nissan GT-R On Its Way to Dealerships – Out of Video Games

0

Nissan GT-R Comes to the States
Video racing games and word-of-mouth have elevated prior generations of the Nissan Skyline GT-R to iconic status, though the entry has not yet been offered in the States. This finally changes with the new GT-R. Though Nissan looked long and hard at bringing the GT-R to the States through the Infiniti channel, tradition won out. At the 2006 New York auto show, Nissan announced the 2009 Nissan GT-R will arrive in North American Nissan dealers in spring 2008. A concept version was shown at the 2005 Tokyo Motor Show. AutoPacific and VehicleVoice correspondents were there to see it, and here’s how it looked on Nissan’s home-turf stand.

Nis_09_GT-R_05Proto_bl_f34.jpg

GT-R Was Almost an Infiniti
Before the announcement, speculation reported the car as both a Nissan and an Infiniti. The primary benefit for putting the car in the hands of Infiniti dealers was the luxury brand experience and that Infiniti dealers are better-equipped to deal with customers looking for a relatively expensive, high-end sports car. Nissan has the 350Z, which comes with a base price just above $40,000 when the convertible is selected. The production GT-R is likely to play in a price range closer to Chevrolet Corvette and Dodge Viper.
Nis_09_GT-R_05Proto_bl_side.jpg

Based on the same platform that spawned the Nissan 350Z, Infiniti G35, and Infiniti FX SUV, the GT-R promises to capable of taking on the likes of the Lexus SC430 and Cadillac XLR. Styling is distinct from the G35/Skyline to help enable dramatically different positioning.
Nis_09_GT-R_05Proto_bl_r34.jpg


Continue Reading

Follow VehicleVoice

RSS Feed   Facebook   Twitter

2018 NVSS

2018 New Vehicle Satisfaction Survey
By Invitation Only


Start Survey

Membership

Join

Recent Winners

Sid P., Washington - $100
Ken G., Nevada - $100
Brad T., Wisconsin - $100
Tom M., Virginia - $100
Kathy F., New Jersey - $100
John M., Massachusetts - $100
Mike M., California - $100
Carol R., Texas - $100
James D., Georgia - $100
Martha B., New Jersey - $100
Kerry B., Pennsylvania - $100

What is VehicleVoice?

About Vehicle Voice