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Honda Insight, Toyota Prius, Engine, Alternative Fuels, Diesel, Hybrid Cars, Coupe, Hatchback, Sedan
Feb 25, 2004 (1:51 pm)
is easily the best-styled car from the 90s. I am surprised to see people arguing this...that car still knocks my socks off after 5 years. I think car mag editors pretty much universally agree with this. And yes, I think it is more striking than the PT.
I would like to see GM save all the money they spent developing the rather useless SSR, and put it into really good engineering on the mainstream models they actually have to sell. Chevy already has Corvette, and the new one looks awesome, performs awesome, why have two halo cars? Can you imagine how the Malibus and Grand Prix of this world could be if that money had been spent tightening their QC, improving the interiors with better parts and style, and making them much more mechanically reliable and long-lived? THAT would be the way for GM to stop the slide and have all its 1970s customers back by 2015.
In the meantime, the new Prius' unanticipated heavy demand has me thinking that HSD in the Toyota utes could well take off in the market as well, and hybrid might just consolidate its beachhead on our shores. If so, we will certainly see hybrid applications before 2010 that will increase power (with incremental fuel economy improvements) rather than just save gas, and that could be a very good thing. It would be the first time in 20 years that has happened.
Gas has gone up about 25 cents a gallon since mid-January where I live. There will come a point where people care more about fuel economy in the vehicles they buy, although we have not reached that point yet.
#109 of 504 I guess I just don't see all the hoopla...
Feb 25, 2004 (2:05 pm)
over something that bears a striking resemblance to the mouse attached to my computer. It also looks an awful lot like a stubby Chrysler Thunderbolt. I guess what I'm saying is that I just don't see anything new or revolutionary in the TT's style. It's clean, and there's nothing really wrong with it, but if you take a fresh bar of soap and one that's been used for awhile, sit one on top of the other in the shower, you'll get the same basic shape after awhile.
As for the hybrid thing, well gas has shot up a good deal in these parts, too, maybe about 25 cents a gallon, as well. I really felt it last nite when it cost me about $36 to fill up my NYer, although I did treat the sucker to Premium. I dunno if I'd ever get into a hybrid, because I don't think I really drive enough anymore to really see a cost benefit. Maybe though, as time goes on and the cost of the technology goes down, and they start putting the technology in bigger, more mainstream-looking vehicles.
Feb 25, 2004 (2:10 pm)
TT's influence was mostly on the interiors, not exteriors. Quick, can you name one sporty compact that does *not* have imitation Audi aluminum trim?
The TT single handedely changed the trend from wood (plood actually) to brushed aluminum/metal or some imitation.
Even the F150 has it, and it's easily the best truck interior out there.
It may not have been the first ever, but it certainly popularized metal interior trim. Funny thing is I think the TT's influence is greatly understated here.
Feb 25, 2004 (3:26 pm)
that flat silver satin-y crap they spray on the plastics, like what they used to do on stereo equipment back in the 80's, before the black look came into style, or real brushed metal, like what's in my Grandad's '85 Silverado?
I used to have a computer mouse here at work that had that silver satin junk on it. That stuff wears off with light speed.
Feb 25, 2004 (3:36 pm)
I'm quite aware of what you cited. The demise of the Thunderbird is a blow to Ford's prestige and morale, but it hardly makes a dent in its profit outlook or prospects for recovery.
As for your statement regarding the Freestyle - please learn the difference between a fact and a prediction. Your statement, "The Freestyle will bomb!" is not a fact, it's a prediction.
The Freestyle has received good reviews in every publication I've read, and it was attracting lots of attention at the Harrisburg Auto Show. It's entering the one of the hottest segments of the market with handsome styling and a competitive price. That bodes well for the Freestyle's prospects, but neither one of us will know for sure until they start rolling off the assembly lines in Chicago. Which they aren't scheduled to do until later this summer.
Why, exactly should the F-150 "be held seperate from any corporate turnaround?" Because it hurts your case? While its success is irrelevant to how the public views Ford's CARS, it is extremely important to Ford's corporate future. It brings home a large percentage of the company's profits. It's central to any corporate turnaround effort. Fortunately, not only is it selling well, but the public is buying the upper-level, higher-profit models in larger-than-anticipated numbers, further helping Ford.
The Focus will receive a nice facelift and new engines for the 2005 models, which debut this spring. Consumer Reports reported a huge drop in problems from the 2001 models to the 2002 models (the head of Consumer Reports testing remarked it was one of the greatest year-to-year improvements he'd ever witnessed for a vehicle), and has recommended it based on the even better 2003 and 2004 models.
It still offers great driving dynamics, a roomy interior, a wide selection of models and, for 2005, new engines and a new look. So I'd refrain from shoveling dirt on its grave just yet.
Feb 25, 2004 (4:27 pm)
Very few cars of the last 25 years created the media racket of the Audi TT. Maybe nothing like it since the 1965 Mustang.
It's probably hard to appreciate because the design is actually pretty old now. Almost ten years since its debut, so our eyes are really not so impressed anymore. You'd have to line it up with 1994 cars to get the full impact I think. It was very startling and bold at the time.
I wish an American company could pull something like that out of the hat right now. I don't mean LOOKING like a TT, that's pretty passe by now, but something that would inspire other companies to copy it. With or without Hemi, I don't care. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and good free PR, too!
Feb 26, 2004 (10:25 am)
Yup Andre, the cheap imitation stuff scratches easily. Gimme flat, matte black trim, any day. If it scratches you can just buff it out.
Audi uses the real stuff, at least. A friend of mine bought a Boxster and you should have seen the prices on the trim appearance packages - I'm talking $5-6 grand!
#115 of 504 On a slightly more modest scale
Feb 26, 2004 (11:20 am)
(but only barely so) I think the Altima sets the standard for family sedans. Would that the other carmakers would follow their example. (Unfortunately, it appears to be a difficult model to follow, judging by Nissan's own Maxima).
Feb 26, 2004 (11:42 am)
Dunno, I think the outside looks OK but the Altezzas didn't catch on and will soon look dated. The interior just got an overhaul, so I don't think we can call it the standard.
Right now I think the Mazda6 probably sets the styling standard for the mid-sizers.
#117 of 504 You mean "Altima"???
Feb 26, 2004 (11:50 am)
The ALtezza is Toyota's predecessor to the IS300.
And while I like the Mazda, I still think the Altima's combination of elegance, smoothness and visual excitement still sets the standard. (My opinion, of course (whose else would I have?!!)