Episode 792 – Audi A1 Quattro, Tesla Model S Specs, Mercedes and Honda Begin Exports From China

December 21st, 2011 at 12:00pm

Runtime: 8:34

Audi will introduce an all-wheel-drive, limited-edition version of the A1 which goes on sale next year, but not in the U.S. Pricing and a few technical details on the Tesla Model S have finally been released. Mercedes just started exporting the E-Class out of China and Honda is exporting Fits built in China to Canada. All that and more, plus John answers your questions and comments in the “You Said It!” segment.

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This is Autoline Daily for December 21. And here’s the latest news in the wonderful world of the automobile.

It’s a simple recipe. Cram a really powerful engine into a really small car. Audi is ratcheting up the fun factor by introducing an all-wheel-drive, limited-edition version of the A1. Under the hood is a 252 horsepower 2.0-liter turbo. It should sprint from a standstill to 100 kilometers an hour in 5.7 seconds. Audi is only building 333 A1 quattros. They go on sale in the second-half of next year, but not in the U.S. of A.

And Audi is getting a new chief designer. Wolfgang Egger, the current Head of Audi Group Design, is taking over Stefan Sielaff’s position as the head of Audi Brand Design. Sielaff will lead the interior-design department for the Volkswagen Group.

Pricing and a few technical details on the Tesla Model S have finally been released. Four “trim” levels so-to-speak will be offered. The base version with a 160-mile range goes for $57,400. Step up to one with a 230-mile capacity and it’ll set you back $67,400. A Model S that can go 300 miles on a single charge costs 10 grand more than that. The performance version – with the same 300-mile range – is $87,400. It’s important to note, these prices INCLUDE the $7,500 federal tax credit.

A few days ago Lexus teased its Detroit-bound concept car, the Lf-Lc. We got a lovely shot of this its headlamp. Now “Road & Track” magazine leaked the whole magilla on the internet. This is a sexy-looking two-door, and it clearly wears Lexus’ new design theme. I, for one, cannot wait to see it in person.

LONGER USED-CAR LOANS (subscription required)
We saw it happen in the new-car side of the business, now it’s happening on the used side. Car loans are getting longer and longer, all with the goal of lowering the cost of monthly payments for car buyers. And that’s because of sky-high prices for used cars. Ward’s reports that five-year used car loans are on the way.

Now that Saab filed for bankruptcy, it’s suspending warranty coverage on its vehicles in North America. The cars will be sold “as is.” Saab is also suspending all existing warranty claims.

But . . . GM is stepping up to the plate . . . sort of. The General will honor warranties on Saabs sold by GM in the U.S. and Canada . . . as long as the vehicle was bought before February 2010.

A few weeks back we reported that BMW started exporting long-wheel-base versions of the 5 Series out of China. Now Mercedes just started exporting the E-Class out of China. And now, the New York Times reports that Honda just started exporting Fits built in China to Canada. The strength of the yen is forcing Honda to build more vehicles outside of Japan but the company doesn’t plan to sell Chinese-made Fits in the U.S. The exports to Canada could just be temporary. Honda plans to open a new plant in Mexico to build Fits for the U.S. and will likely sell those in Canada as well.

Coming up next, it’s time for You Said It!

And now it’s time for some of your feedback.

john787 seems to think it’s GM’s fault that Saab will be liquidated. “I think we all really know why Saab could not raise the cash it needed to stay in business. GM did not want to transfer its intellectual property. You could say Saab found the cash, but GM was not willing to follow through.”

John, why would General Motors turn its intellectual property over to two Chinese competitors? I bet GM’s joint venture partners in China, SAIC and Wuling were the ones warning them not to do it.

Chuck Grenci saw I got a chance to drive the new Malibu and says, “So how’s the new Malibu, John? I know, gag order (but I will be interested in your thoughts though when you are allowed to share).

Chuck, none of the Malibu information or driving impressions are embargoed. I really liked the car. I’m especially impressed that at 70 miles an hour the engine is only turning 1500 RPM. That makes it especially quiet and comfortable to drive.

Scott M. saw our story on brand impressions in China and had a correction. “Point of clarification. In China the ubiquitous black Audi sedans (usually the A6) seen especially in Beijing and Shanghai, are not driven by government officials. They are riding in the back seat. These officials have personal drivers for their cars.”

Scott, you’re right.  Of course we should not have implied those guys were actually driving their own cars.

Cwolf says, “Lincoln creates new ad agency? What a yawner! They have nothing to promote except new colors. For now I suggest Lincoln dealers keep putting used cars in the showroom because the floor would be bare without them.”

Cwolf, wait until you see the new MKZ. That is the first of the truly new Lincolns. You’ll see it sometime early next year, and then let me know what you think of where Lincoln might be headed.

012345 has a question about how we go about judging for the North American Car Of The Year. “Do the new technology systems, like MyFord Touch and others have much influence in the car-of-the-year nominations? How do you judge something that has nothing to do with gas mileage or ride comfort or the general build quality of a car?”

012345, you bet that figures into the judging, or at least my judging. I believe you have to look at the car, or truck, as a total package. And if customers have a problem with a car, to the point that the manufacturer has to rush out a fix, you bet that figures into my judging of who has come out with the best new car this year.

Triumphtr779 asks “Is it just me or is that Chevy Sonic just an overhyped Aveo, which itself is a gussied up Daewoo. I used to drive a 2011 Aveo at my previous job. It was just god awful. For the Sonic to receive so much hype, GM would have had to remake the Aveo from the ground up.”

Well, Truimphtr, that’s exactly what they did. It’s new from the ground up, and I would now rate it as the best subcompact car I’ve ever driven, at least when equipped with the 1.4-liter turbo engine and six-speed manual.

TylerBrandonHardwick has a question about our own Craig Cole. He asks, “John, why does Craig look like someone from the Sims?”

TylerBrandonHardwick, Craig is a Sim! Can’t you tell that his image is computer generated? Around here, Craig’s nickname is CG.

Thanks for all your questions and comments, we love going through them.

And that wraps up today’s report, thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.

Thanks to our Partners for embedding Autoline Daily on their websites: Autoblog and WardsAuto.com

85 Comments to “Episode 792 – Audi A1 Quattro, Tesla Model S Specs, Mercedes and Honda Begin Exports From China”

  1. Autos101 Says:

    John Mc ELroy:

    You forgot to mention a major assumption in these Rosy Scenario Tesla S Range figures:

    Tesla assumed in every one of them a ridiculously low speed of 55 MPH!!!

    You can bet that at 75 and 85 MPH, these ranges will be 80 and not 160 miles, and 150 and not 300 miles for the most expensive versions.

    And in real life conditions, they will be even smaller.

    Tesla=SAAB II.

  2. MikeB Says:

    Your comment about the Tesla prices including the $7,500 incentive is incorrect. You need to subtract that from the prices you reported. Tesla’s website does that.


  3. HtG Says:

    So, you voted for the Sonic over the Focus in the NACTOY competition, John?

    How do you feel about the Pontiac Aztek being numbered numero uno as worst car ever by InsideLine? Hasn’t Heisenberg raised its profile even a tiny bootybump? (ask Ben and Craig what I just said, if you have to)

  4. pedro fernandez Says:

    TTAC reports that Cruze sales have fallen flat while Civic with all its well-earned criticism, has forged ahead along with the aging Corolla, I guess more people read and believe CR and JD Power than we give them credit for. The last thong new car buyers want is a trouble-prone vehicle, for that save money and buy a used one.

  5. jesse Says:

    There’s a SONIC hatchback in the mall up here.18,xxx sticker price.There are several cars in that nitch that are lower priced or equally priced and offer much more car then a small hatchback 5 door!All with equal or better warranty’s and no union stigma or BK stigma for that matter.How much less would this car be without having to cater to the union muscle??

  6. pedro fernandez Says:

    #4 And that is exactly why these new breed of subcompacts are not selling very well, their price drives people away into “more” car for similar dough, it started with the Fiesta and it’s going down the line where even the former affordable Rio/Accent twins are up in the $18k figure. I predict the cheaper, competitive Versa will pick up in sales.

  7. HtG Says:

    Bloomberg reports on the dangers of Lithium Ion batteries to aviation. It seems cargoes of these batteries get lit, a bit.


    Anybody here been following the Apple recall of some old iPods? They’ll give you a new one. Couldn’t imagine why.

  8. tj Martin Says:


    Well John you forgot one other bit or two of TESLA trivia in lauding the arrival of the new TESLA ;

    #1 Every TESLA built so far has had that Spontaneous Combustion issue , as well as to date not a single road test by any magazine etc being able to be completed with less than three TESLA’s as they keep breaking down

    #2 One again it’ll take Government kickbacks , compliments of the US tax payer to sell the things , not to mention the $500,000,000 we’ve already dumped into Musk’s Masquerade

    #3 Once again Elon Musk has failed to deliver on his promise of a ‘ Reasonably Priced ‘ E/V , jobs etc .

    #4 TESLA stock has been tanking for weeks on end , the company having been severely Downgraded !

    @ Autos101 – In truth calling TESLA the new SAAB II is being way too kind towards TESLA and a bit insulting to SAAB’s distant past


    How nice to know that so many are voting for a re-badged DaeWoo as the NACOTY . What’s next ? Re-badged Geely’s ?

    Trucks that aren’t Trucks . Cars that do not bear consideration

    Jalopnik is right . The NOCTY’s are a major joke . Beyond laughable and beyond any hope of belief .

    Just Say No next year John !

  9. Autos101 Says:

    TJ: I agree re not calling Tesla SAAB II.

    I meant of course the new, bankrupt SAAB, not the SAAB back when its models were not rebadged GMs, Opels and Lancias for $10k more.

  10. tj Martin Says:

    TESLA = 21st Century DeLorean

    Now there’s a comparison I can live with . The only difference being now its us ( US Tax Payer ) that’s taking it in the shorts , rather than the Irish .

  11. tj Martin Says:

    #8 +1

  12. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The cheapest Fit you can get with cruise control is about $18K, MSRP. People buy these smaller cars because they like the cars. You always get a better buy in larger cars, if you buy cars “by the pound.”

    As far as Sonic, I like the hatchback. To me, it looks good, and with the 1.4 turbo-manual trans, it has a great power train. That is, of course, if it is reliable, and it’s too early to know.

  13. C-Tech Says:

    The Sonic is a nice car and the LTZ version is really nice, however the price tags do give you sticker shock for the category they compete in. I wonder if the dealers are offering some serious discounts.

  14. pedro fernandez Says:

    #11 Kit I give you 3 to 1 that reliability will NOT be good in this Sonic, specially the first year or two, too many things going against it. BTW to me and most experts, Fit is in a category all by itself. It keeps placing first in every comparison I read.

  15. Autos101 Says:

    From an e-mail review I just got.

    S400 Hybrid Vs S350 BLUETEC DIESEL vcs S550 V-8

    Somehow it consoles me for driving a thirsty V8 vs the 730d IF it was ever imported (which would get 30+ HWY vs my 22-23 actual MPG:

    “I drove the S350 BlueTec not long after trying out the S400 Hybrid. Personally, I was more of a fan of the hybrid, though. The S400 has more horsepower, and the sensation of driving the already near-silent car under electric power feels super smooth and stealthy. For my money, though, I’d buy the S350, even though the two versions are only several hundred dollars apart in price.

    If I’m buying either the S400 or S350 over the S550, part of the focus is on fuel efficiency. The diesel S-Class achieves 21/31 miles per gallon, while the hybrid only gets 19/25. If I own this car along with others, this is going to be the one I take on longer drives, where highway mileage is more important.

    And what a great road-trip car this would make. The seats are super comfortable, and the Drive-Dynamic seats offer active bolstering and various massage settings. With the night view assist, driving through the night is a little easier. Plus, it’s hard to beat the amount of space and quality materials inside the S-Class. They really do afford a lot of comfort.

    —John Beltz Snyder, Production Editor

    John has the right idea here. The S350 is the more fuel-efficient ride, and it’s considerably smoother than the hybrid S-Class. That being said, I wouldn’t want this diesel anymore than I’d want the S400 Hybrid. No, give me the good ole’ V-8-powered S550 instead.

    As good as the S350 was, I never really felt like I was driving an S-Class. That diesel exhaust note and the short-lived punch (relative to the brawny V-8) of the 3.5-liter oil-burner never put me in the mindset of driving a very high-end luxury sedan. Yes, you still get the beautiful interior found in ever S-Class, and the available options are excellent, but without that traditional V-8 powerplant, this vehicle never felt quite right to me.

    Finally, if I’m spending over $100,000 for a full-size luxury sedan, odds are I can afford some extra dino juice. The S550’s rating of 16 and 21 miles per gallon aren’t great, but the sacrifice for the powerful feeling of a V-8 S-Class is totally worth it.”

  16. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Yeah, the Fit still wins comparison tests, including a recent one by C & D. Sonic was second in that one, followed by Yaris, Accent, Rio, and Versa.

  17. pedro fernandez Says:

    I wonder what Honda can do in a few months to correct some of the complains about the new Civic, it’s simply not enough time to make significant changes, even for a powerful and rich entity like Honda, too many suppliers, variants etc involved. Perhaps in the good ole days when most was done in-house, not now. After all, the Pilot and Odyssey still rank on top in their segments. The next Accord will be the most important new models for them in decades.

  18. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I like the looks of the current Accord, but it seems to have more cabin noise than most of the competition, and the interior is, well, underwhelming, but it is not alone on that count. It will be interesting to see how they do with the next Accord.

  19. Autos101 Says:


    Honda can very easily fix the DREADFUL cheapo interior of the new CIvic.

    That’s basically what Macaroni Castro did with the Sebring-200 (plus some good ads) and its sales doubled! With no expensive changes in the mechanicals.

  20. Lex Says:

    The Demise of SAAB may mean that Opel can acquire additional assets in Europe for GM.
    Once upon a time, Saturn’s were rebadged Opels.
    So why not rebadge the remaining SAAB’s as Opels in Europe, and ship the remaining unsold SAAB’s in North America to Opel in Europe. This way GM can save face with all those current and past SAAB owners.

    What are GM’s Plan for Opel? Will Opel simply become the European Brand selling rebadged Buick’s and Chevy’s? Does Opel have a presents in China or the Far East?

  21. Autos101 Says:

    The problem with the current Accord is not noise. If you want tomb quiet, buy a Buick or a Lexus, whichever is worse. Accords were always much livelier than Camrys too, and much more fun to drive.

    The problem with the current Accord is its obesity and large size, and also the ugly, heavy front grille. From other sides it looks great.

  22. pedro fernandez Says:

    Agree A101, but it is more than the cheapo interior that plagues the Civic, handling for one thing and just then whole driving experience compared to the previous version, one thing they could do is eliminate that 2 tier speedo layout that almost 100% of the people don’t care for.

  23. Autos101 Says:

    I remember renting a Focus back in summer 03, and next day in Denver I rent a Camry.

    The Focus was dreadful, and it rented almost for as much as the Camry (on a weekday, $71 vs $77).

    The Camry was much better, but because it is so quiet, I would go 100 MPH and not even realize it.

  24. Autos101 Says:

    21: Handling may be expensive to fix. Hondas used to have great double wishbone suspensions but later they dropped them due to cost.

    The interior should be fixed at low cost, including the gauges.

    The idea in Macaroni-Castro’s Sebring update was to improve what the buyer sees and not fix the more expensive stuff underneath.

  25. pedro fernandez Says:

    Supposedly the new Accord will be based on the smaller version available in all parts of the world except here, It will be interesting to see if people will be willing to buy a smaller mid size sedan for the same price of a Camry.

  26. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I just read a couple AW people’s reports on the S350 diesel, and they seemed to like it. I suspect I would like it too. Still, if I were to spend $100K on a car, I would probably be willing to feed the S550.

    Regarding M-B, they are going to have a car that sounds interesting to me, an E-Class diesel hybrid. It will have a 2.1 liter 4 cylinder diesel, and 27 hp motor. The battery will be small, 0.8 KWH, smaller than a Prius battery. It will be interesting to see what mpg it returns, but it should be really good.

  27. Kit Gerhart Says:

    “What are GM’s Plan for Opel? Will Opel simply become the European Brand selling rebadged Buick’s and Chevy’s? Does Opel have a presents in China or the Far East?”

    Most of what Opel (Vauxhall in the UK) have are designed for Europe, with a few, like Buick Regal, being restyled and re-badged for other markets.

  28. Kit Gerhart Says:

    “The problem with the current Accord is not noise.”

    For some people it is. I know two people who bought Camrys over Accords, the main reason being that the Camry was quieter. These particular people probably didn’t care that the Accord handles better.

    The dealer was not a factor here. The same dealer, (in Indiana) sells Toyota, Honda, and Ford.

  29. Autos101 Says:

    The E class (non-hybrid) diesel is getting too expensive ‘as tested’, up to $68k. I bet adding a hybrid will make it go into current S class territory.

    BMW has a 7 series active hybrid nobody buys at high six figures, because it also offers what it calls the 740iL (which is really a 730iL, with a 3 lt I6 turbo) which gets far better MPG overall than the stupid Hybrid at… $40k less. Only Al Gore would buy the Active Hybrid 7, and I bet not with his own $.

  30. Autos101 Says:

    Kit Gerhart Says:
    December 21st, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    “The problem with the current Accord is not noise.”

    For some people it is.

    As I said already, these people should never bother with an Accord, or even a Civic or Fit, which I bet are even noisier, and buy the BUICK or the Lexus-Camry they need.

    I would recommend the Buick because it looks so much BETTER (!) than the Neew Camry from the exterior, and you will save a few bucks too. In addition, these “surveys” used to say that Buicks are far more reliable than people give them credit for.

  31. pedro fernandez Says:

    I think Honda is being foolish by not quieting their cars, along with their better handling, they could be the poor man’s German sports sedan alternative, BMW, MB and Audi are doing it, why can’t Honda follow suit.

  32. Autos101 Says:

    Once more, with feeling:

    SOmebody would get the idea reading the posts here that Hondas are annoyingly noisy.

    Again, if you want quiet, go buy a Buick or a Camry or, even better, a Lexus LS460 (not a Camry clone!).

    Even $100,000+ BMWs and Mercedes’ are NOT quiet.

    I bet even the MINI is not quiet.

    Drivers want to be IN TOUCH with the external world. It provides valuable info about what their car is doing, over what it is going etc.

  33. Autos101 Says:

    As for Honda being foolish, it sure was not because some wanted their cars to be more isolated from the road, but for destroying the ACURA brand with dozens of excremental models, most Honda clones, only MUCH uglier.

  34. Autos101 Says:

    OK, I got curious so I went to Car and Driver to read what they got to say about the Accord, which (once again) made their 10 best cars (you can bet the Camry did not…LOL)

    “The four-cylinder Accord proves that when Honda plays to its strengths, it is better than anyone at producing vehicles with a supernaturally fine balance of attributes.

    That this is still true while Honda is widely acknowledged to have lost some of its product magic puts the all-around excellence of the four-cylinder Accord in stark relief.

    This is a big sedan (without a sunroof, roomy enough to reside in the EPA’s Large Sedan category) that’s lighter on its feet than many sports coupes you could mention.

    The primary controls are so perfectly matched to each other that this not-exactly-sporty-looking sedan can traipse along the tightrope of your favorite back road with precision and utter predictability.

    It will return 33 mpg on the highway; a well-equipped EX version costs just one nice dinner more than $25,000 (a little more for the coupe); and it’s a more natural heel-and-toe enabler than most sports cars.

    That’s an unparalleled breadth of talent and goodness. Unlike in years past, the V-6–powered Accords do not share in this 10Best prize. Competitors, ­notably the V-6 VW Passat, play a more convincing premium-family-car riff.

    Whether this Accord becomes the guiding light for the future of ?Honda or is simply a star that hasn’t quite extinguished yet, we don’t know. For now, it shines as brilliantly as ever.”

    THE END.

  35. Kit Gerhart Says:

    “I bet even the MINI is not quiet.”

    You are right there, especially since they use run-flat tires which produce lots of road noise.

  36. Kit Gerhart Says:

    For Honda, with the next Accord, it depends on whether they want to hold on to their position of noisiest, but most enthusiast-oriented car in the pack, or if they want to go for the lead. They have done well, usually being one of the top three selling cars in the U.S., but if they want to overtake Camry, or even keep from slipping further, they might want to go in a different direction. We shall see.

  37. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Just looked up some year-to-date sales numbers, and Accord has slipped a lot from where they once were. In addition to Camry, they were outsold by Altima and Fusion.

  38. pedro fernandez Says:

    As stupid as it may seem , lots of people perceive quietness with quality and all things being equal, they will buy a quiet car over a noisier one, the latest stuff out of Germany is indeed very quiet, MB even uses double pane glass to keep out noise in the S class, recent test reviews of various new models point out how quiet the interiors have become, even the new Chrysler products, I would call that making a strong effort to making their cars as quiet as possible.

  39. pedro fernandez Says:

    Going small is a very risky step, look at the critically acclaimed Kizachi, I’ve seen 2 only since they came out. They just don’t sell at all and I believe their being smaller than its competitors, has a lot to do with this.

  40. pedro fernandez Says:

    Here is how Honda makes a successful new Accord: make them handle like the Accords of 10 yrs ago, make them nimble, peppy and good on gas and use high quality interior materials, oh and add some sound insulation, it ain’t that expensive.

  41. pedro fernandez Says:

    From Yahoo auto: a guy wins a new Lambo and promptly crashes it, he should have taken a few proper driving lessons before he ever got behind the wheel. This seems to be happening a lot lately, or maybe it’s just being reported more often.

  42. Autos101 Says:

    No car can be all things to all people.

    The Accord EXCELS in what it does, and if you read the Car and Driver praises CAREFULLY, you would understand.

    For others, there are always the Buicks and the Lexuses and the Camrys.

    But it is only in this forum (and I read DOZENS of articles every day) did I see SUCH a HUGE FAT DEAL being made of the Accord’s alleged “noise”.

    I find it LUDICROUS to believe that the Accord is the “noisiest” car, as one wrote. I bet many others are far more noisy as one would EXPECT, cars with smaller engines, noisy tires, and much less sound insulation. Like that coffee maker the YARIS for example.

    I posted Car and Driver’s full text in quotes, with no changes.

    SO why don’t you do the SAME and post some serious automotive Source’s review that makes SUCH a fuss about the Accorrd’s noise?

  43. pedro fernandez Says:

    I don’t see anyone here calling the Accord the “noisiest” car, that would be ludicrous. I and only I have the “noisiest” car in the world and I’m not about to give up that tittle. I do remember riding in a new Accord circa 2007 and found it to be not too quiet. It dose not mean that it was low quality or rode badly or any such thing, it simply had a sound level not comparable to cars of that class.

  44. Kit Gerhart Says:

    “I find it LUDICROUS to believe that the Accord is the “noisiest” car, as one wrote.”

    If your talking about me, I obviously meant that it is “noisiest in its class” which consists of Camry, Accord, Fusion, Malibu, and Sonata. Pretty much everyone from Consumer Reports to Road and Track agrees on that, especially in regard to road noise. I’m not going to quote multiple articles. You can look them up if you want.

    Yes, some people don’t care about it, and the present Accord is a very well rounded car. I understand why C & D puts Accord on its ten best list. It drives well, is roomy, and, unlike some of the newer cars out there, it has simple, intuitive controls.

    Won’t you agree, though, that it might be saying something when Accord has gone from the best selling car in its class, to 4th. place year-to-date through November?

  45. Chuck Grenci Says:

    What, no kudos to GM for honoring the warranty for (when Saab was under it’s wing); I think that was a very above board thing to do (when they didn’t have to). Just saying; (and no, I don’t know all the details) but it sounded like the right thing to do.

  46. Kit Gerhart Says:

    It was the “right thing to do” for GM to honor the SAAB warranties, but it was also a good business decision. I doubt that any SAAB owner would ever consider buying a GM car, if the warranty was not honored, and their car broke during what would have been the warranty period.

  47. pedro fernandez Says:

    Announcing the SAAB “as is” sale, can you imagine buying a new car with no warranty?, what the heck are they gonna do with the remaining stock? I guess you’ll have to buy an additional warranty like the ones you see advertised on TV. or we’ll see Saab all over car rental agencies or government fleets.

  48. Kit Gerhart Says:

    They might have to sell them for half price, or less. I can see a few people buying them under those conditions.

  49. Aliisdad Says:

    Wow, especially interesting comments, today..
    One of the letters was on Lincoln…I think they blew it when they did not continue to build on the LS of maybe 10 years or so ago…It was the first time that an American car company really hit the design “spot-on”, and if they had then worked on the mechanics, Lincoln would have had a chance…It is disappointing to see how really bad they look, now…Gross Ugly!!!
    Too bad about SAAB, but I wonder if this might actually be the time to buy one…Repair work could be done at a GM shop since the latter models were pretty much all GM…As far as no warranty, how often do you really use the warranty on a new car these days for anything major….AND based on my experience with domestic companies, they don’t really honor warranties much anyway (remember my stories on the POS Dodge that I traded before a year)…Most simple repairs are not that costly, and you are rolling the dice on larger repairs, I know, but if the savings on the price is good it might be worth it…Might be a great way to go!!

  50. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The LS was a nice car, but a little too “generic” in styling. It was to Lincoln what the CTS is to Cadillac now, a rear-drive car that kind of competed with mid-level BMW and Benz. Does Ford even have a platform on which to build a car like that now, with Jaguar gone from the fold, and the Aussie Falcon almost gone? The Aussie platform might be to “low tech” anyway, for a car in that class.

    The new MKZ will be interesting. I kind of like the current one, in hybrid guise, but not enough to buy one. The “brand premium” over the Fusion is not too great, if you sort out the differences in standard equipment.

  51. Andrew Charles Says:

    It seems I keep having to tell people the new Sonic is not a gussied up Daewoo. For the new model GM ditched the Daewoo underpinnings and switched to the Fiat-GM CSC platform, shared with the Fiat Punto, Alfa Romeo MiTo and Opel Corsa. Although much of the work was done by GM Korea, the lead engineers were from Opel’s small-car team already familiar with the CSC platform and who will also be responsible for the next Opel Corsa. For the new platform it gets a whole new body designation. The old Daewoo Kalos-based Aveo was a T-body (a designation going back to the old T-body Astra and the Daewoo-built Pontiac Lemans). The new Opel-based Sonic is now a J-body (with only a few useable letters GM recycles body designations—the Cruze and Verano revive the P-body designation of the first fwd Malibu).

  52. tj Martin Says:

    @ Andrew Charles

    Hmmmn . You really believe that ehh ?

    Lets see. A Daewoo platform ….. that is used by FIAT….. that was not in fact developed by OPEL but rather used by them as well ( which is on the skids at this very moment ) …… developed in fact BY Daewoo …. suddenly isn’t a Daewoo ….. when GM uses it for their ( sub) Sonic

    Come on AC ! I KNOW you’re smarter than that ! Or is there some magic trick in GM’s little satchel we’re not aware of ?

    A Daewoo by any other name … is but a Daewoo just the same

    So get your lineage straight

    Daewoo Platform – used by Opel – borrowed by FIAT – first becoming the Chevy Aveo ….. slightly modified ( look it up ) … now the Chevy Sonic

    All based on …… the Daewoo GAMMA platform … not the T .. the Sonic being the GAMMA II . But a Daewoo never the less

    e.g Badge Engineered DAEWOO !

    End of argument !

  53. tj Martin Says:

    A M-B 350 diesel …. or a 400 Hybrid ……. in a car of the S-Class’s caliber …… is in all truth

    An Oxymoron !


  54. Kit Gerhart Says:

    They’ve been selling S-Class diesels forever, just not in the U.S. How is the S350 Bluetec an oxymoron?

  55. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Whoever designed the Sonic, and on whatever platform, the Sonic has no similarity whatever to the Aveo, except for having four wheels, with the front ones driven. Sonic competes well with the best in its class, at least in the U.S. market. Read the C & D comparison, where Sonic finished second only to Fit. Better yet, drive a Sonic, preferably with the 1.4 turbo and 6-speed manual.

  56. tj Martin Says:

    @ Autos101

    Owning a M-B GLK as I do , with 20″ wheels I can tell you first hand the GLK is quieter than any of the cars being discussed today ( Accord , Camry , Buick etc ) by a country mile

    Its also quieter than every other car ( SRX FX35/45 X3 etc ) as well

    As far as ranking the cars in todays discussion

    Toyota Camry ….. #1
    Honda Accord ……#2

    Everything else being a very very distant third , fourth etc

  57. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Sounds like the new Sonic is a nice package (no matter who built it). Time will tell (about reliability) but the reviews are positive (so far) and it does good things. A corollary might be: As much as I’m not a Hyundai Sonata fan, I have to admit it is a winner in the marketplace (so a turnaround model(s) isn’t anywhere out of the question for any maker). Give the Sonic its due (until proven otherwise). Or if not, giving it, its due, lay off the unsubstantiated negative comments (or not, but you don’t earn any respect with derogatory comments without merit).

  58. tj Martin Says:


    Aveo = Daewoo GAMMA platform

    Sonic = Daewoo GAMMA II platform …which is a slightly modified version of the GAMMA 1

    Therefore , regardless and in spite of GM’s hype and Smoke & Mirrors …. the Sonic is the Aveo II


    # 56 … sentence 2 should of read ‘ quieter than every other car in its class ( SRX……… ‘

  59. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Sorry, I should have said no similarity whatever to Aveo “in how it drives and performs.”

  60. tj Martin Says:


    Buying an S-Class with anything less than the V8 says ….

    Cheap ! and unable to afford the better engine .

    Or pretentious ( in the case of the Hybrid ) and too concerned about others opinions of you .

    350D’s in an E or a C-Class ? Perfectly acceptable

    In the S-class ? Tacky .

  61. tj Martin Says:

    # 59

    That may or may not be true . Without having driven …. or even seen a ( sub) Sonic , thats a claim I can neither affirm or deny

  62. pedro fernandez Says:

    This new Sonic reminds me of the Frankenstein monster, made of parts from all over the place.

  63. HtG Says:

    Sonic is pretty good looking in the flesh. Body panels are detailed and come together well at the seams. It’s no Aveo.

    All today’s comments on loud Hondas are falling on deaf ears over hear. That’s because my Civic is LOUD. Huh? Whatcha say? You can hear and feel the tires going over pavement; clearly sensing changes in texture. The engine makes noise. Drive on the highway for too long and it does get tiring. Once, I even wore earplugs between NY and DC.

    But then of course there’s the Miata. What? Whadya say? Driving this thing you hear everything going on around you which does make me feel a little safer. Now when I get in a quiet car, the silence is frightening. Would not have quessed it. Huh?

  64. pedro fernandez Says:

    #63 I got you beat, besides the noise, I’ve also got the vibrations, one hour in this car and it will dislodge any kidney stone (s) you may have stuck in there. I should charge a fee for this.

  65. HtG Says:

    lol, Pedro

  66. Dave Says:

    I think the Model S looks pretty neat, and I love all the tech features it has. If I had $80,000 to spend on a car I might even take a serious look at it. But sadly that’s a little out of my budget. It’s also a tough sell when compared to the 2012 Camry Hybrid which can be fully loaded with pretty much the same options, still averages 40 MPG, can be purchased tomorrow from a dealer down the street who will probably still be there next decade, for under $35,000.

  67. pedro fernandez Says:

    Just read the article on why Honda is revamping the Civic so quickly and one of the CR complaints is that it has a “choppy ride”. Well I just hope they don’t give it a mushy Corolla/Elantra ride instead it should be more like Focus/Mazda 3,

  68. cwolf Says:

    Everyone wonders about reliability when a new car hits the market,but as it stands,I’ll take the Sonic over a Fit in a heart beat. Until you drive both for comparison,I guess you really are saying you know nothing about the car. And to think the union is the cause for the higher price for the Sonic is total non-sense. Many workers accepted an agreement for wages as low a $9/hr! Furthermore,the workers(actual percentages unknown) are sub-contracted out to a company other than GM. Jessie,you gotta understand the UAW isn’t what it used to be nor realize they are wage comparative with the other transplants.

  69. pedro fernandez Says:

    cwolf are you saying that car experts and the auto media don’t know what the hell they’re doing? Every single article I’ve read puts Fit ahead of all competitors in that class, I’m no Honda fan, but facts are facts, even then I would buy the Yaris, over the Fit due to economic reasons.

  70. cwolf Says:

    pedro,I like the Fit a lot and often drive or ride in my friends car to many a ball game. The Sonic is quieter,more comfortable,a more pleasant interior and,IMO,has more controlled handling. Yes,I have to disagree with the media because I think they over- evaluate these little cars beyond this type of buyers expectations and purposes,unless you are a hot rod teen.

  71. pedro fernandez Says:

    Well, when it comes to small cars like these, you need to have versatility, economy and reliability as well, the one thing the Fit is lagging behind is in noise, yes siree, it seems that Honda places little emphasis on sound isolation except for the Odyssey van, Sonic as nice as it is, needs to prove itself in the reliability dept. since this drive train is the same as the Cruze which has had issues, the jury is still out. Hey don’t get me wrong, I wish them well, America needs to build a world class subcompact.

  72. Jesse W. Henry Says:

    #50 Kit Gerhart

    Regarding a platform for a new Lincoln LS. I believe that the current Mustang rides on a reworked and cheapened up version of the DEW98 LS platform. They could always stretch the next Mustang platform out to fit four doors with lots of added legroom and have a good car.

    Maybe justify the higher price of the Lincoln with aluminum body panels and suspension parts to help keep the four door Lincoln close in weight to the two door Mustang. Add far better interior materials and offer the base Lincoln with the V8 engine and offer the GT500 engine as an option. Not sure just a thought.

  73. cwolf Says:

    Hey,pedro,I understand and share the same curiousities. We seek the media to find the answers to them and,more often than not,take their word as gospel. But,as an example of other medias,remind yourself who is the main sponsor of ALD,then reflect if you can recall any negativity towards them when evaluated. Use the written word only as a guide. And your preference of the Yaris over the Fit should indicate to you that the many things you have read are generalizations and from examinations which may be (or not) unintensionally tainted.
    This is why I am more inclined to have more trust in what we regulars have to say from our own experiences than what we read. I respect your input.

  74. Kit Gerhart Says:

    “350D’s in an E or a C-Class ? Perfectly acceptable
    In the S-class ? Tacky .”

    That is only in America, land of conspicuous waste. Many diesel S-Class cars are sold in the rest of the world, and they work fine. According the M-B UK site, an S350 Bluetec does 0-62 mph in 7.1 seconds. While that’s not as quick as some cars, it is 2 seconds quicker than my MINI, which is plenty quick enough. The top speed of the S350 Bluetec is an electronically limited 155 mph, which is plenty fast enough.

    Yeah, if you want to show the kid next to you in a Mustang GT that you can almost stay up with him, the S550 would be nice, but that is not what the S-Class is about in most of the world. It’s about comfort, quietness, and elegance.

  75. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I’d think any new LS should have independent rear suspension, rather than the straight axle of the Mustang, but the Mustang platform should work as a starting point for a new Lincoln to compete with the Europeans and Cadillac. Maybe IRS is already in the works, though.

  76. wheelstand Says:

    John, just finished watching episode 792. Regarding 012345′s question: “Do infotainment systems and other technical advancements figure into the judging of the NAC/TY awards”?, and your answer was “absolutely”, then why wasn’t the 2011 F150 in the truck category with the ecoboost engine!??! The candidates that are listed barely qualify as SUVs!! You and your fellow journalist can hand out the award, but DON’T EVEN think about calling them TRUCKS!!

  77. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The F150 probably wasn’t even eligible, since it is not a new model. The current F150 has been around since 2009, and the turbo V6 and new V8 were used for 2011.

  78. Autos101 Says:

    Outside the US, Mercs and BMWs are offered with a full array of engines.

    Germans in particular usually get the base engines, despite the no-speed-limit Autobahns, because they are far more cheap to buy AND economical to run.

    It is AMAZING the extent of DIESEL penetration in Merc but especially in BMW which did not have the Diesel tradition that Merc has.

    And why stop at the V8? Especially in the US, where fuel is dirt cheap at $3-4 compared to Europe’s $7-8, why not get the ultimate, the V-12?

    The late great David Davis wrote once that everybody should experience driving a V12 once in their lives.

    (Don’t remember if he also said one should own one long term too. The MPG is far worse than the V8s, probably a 750iL or 760 iL would get 16 HWY vs the 22-25, depending on no of gears, the 740-745 get.)

  79. Autos101 Says:

    I have thought about my next csar being a V12. 750is and 760is (late models too) are far more affordable used than their $150k new prices. You can get a 5-7 yr old 760iL with less than 70k miles for about $20-$25k!

    And some of these V12s (if not all) have been used in several recent and current Rolls Royces too (as well as the 7 platform, all Rollses are based on it)

  80. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The V12 car I’ve thought would be cool to drive would be the BMW 850, with a manual transmission. I suspect it would show the smoothness at low rpm of having lots of cylinders more than an automatic ever could.

  81. Autos101 Says:

    the 850 is way too old now, the interior will be too 80s-early 90s and it may even lack important safety systems I have in the 740

    but also the v12 of the 850 makes less HP than even the current I6!!

  82. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The thing that would make the 850 interesting would be experiencing the extra smoothness of 12 cylinders, and with a manual transmission. Yeah, it would not be a very good car compared to the newer stuff. I’m sure it is very thirsty, but without commensurate performance.

  83. pedro fernandez Says:

    Have you guys seen the Youtube video of a V6 Mustang with its speed limiter removed, don’t try that at home!!

  84. Autos101 Says:

    I remember test-driving an 89 Mustang convertible 5.0 back in summer 91 in the Wash DC area.

    What an utter piece of junk that was! It must have had a million degrees of freedom!

    I bet its engineers did not even know how to SPELL “Body Rigidity”

  85. pedro fernandez Says:

    The Stang,, for the last decades, has been one of the most reliable American cars around. Compared to the other FWD crap produced in the 80′s and 90′s. Stang, F series, Crown Vics and Rangers have been Ford’s most reliable products all this time.