Binalong Bay and the Detroit Auto Show

Binalong Bay

Greetings from home, which is not where I’m supposed to be. We booked a cottage up in Tasmania’s most beautiful beachside location – Binalong Bay – only to be thwarted by an over-eager smoke detector that went off at will. All night. For no reason.

Sleep deprived and very grumpy, we demanded a refund and headed home.

This shot really, really doesn’t do Binalong any justice whatsoever. The light was fading and so were the colors. The water is actually the most vivid blue you’ve ever seen.


As I’m back earlier than planned, it’s given me a chance to look over the new vehicles shown at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show. The coverage has been widespread and it’s been interesting to watch the various reactions to some of the new vehicles…..

Lincoln MKZlink

  • Auto Extremist – Outstanding.
  • TTAC – Kick’s the ATS’s butt.
  • Jalopnik – looks like John Wilkes Booth.
  • Swadeology – Attractive rear but otherwise, no.

Chevy Code 130link

  • Auto Extremist – GM’s blatant take on the 130M
  • Jalopnik – Someone shoot me
  • Swadeology – I agree with both. Confirms why I simply dislike almost everything GM do.

Chevy Sonic RSlink

  • Autoblog – The hot hatch [that] enthusiasts have been waiting for (yes they wrote this, seriously, about what is essentially a 140hp Daewoo)
  • Swadeology – I don’t think the VW GTI or the RS Megane would be too worried.

Dodge Dartlink

  • Jalopnik – A hot rear end.
  • Autoextremist – Fiat/Chrysler believe they can do no wrong.
  • Swadeology – I’m worried about where this Alfa/Chrysler thing is going but if it keeps Alfa alive then OK, as long as you don’t screw it up, Sergio!

Ford Fusionlink

  • Autoextremist – A home run
  • Swadeology – Mitsubishi lamps, Aston grille, but yes, it does look like a main street winner

Hyundai Genesis Coupelink

Swadeology – genuine big horsepower now. I’m not moving over to them, but between this and the Veloster Turbo, the Koreans are compelling me to use the word interesting twice in one week.


Of course, your thoughts on the standouts from Detroit would be more than welcome in comments. Also, your verdict as to who covered the show with the most wit, the most insight, and the most whining about other journalists/bloggers getting treated better than them.


Until then, just one more shot from Binalong Bay…..

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  1. The only car I have eyes for this year, anywhere, is the Jaguar XF Sportbrake that is due to be revealed soon. I hope they bring it to Australia, having ignored this island with the X-Type wagon. Having said that, whether it would be suitable for the lifestyle I lead over here, with plenty of use of unsealed roads etc. is another matter.

  2. The Lincoln MKZ looks great…. except for the ‘Dame Edna’s glasses ‘ grille.

    (although that fits in about right with the typical Lincoln buyers demographics)

  3. Swadeology – I’m worried about where this Alfa/Chrysler thing is going but if it keeps Alfa alive then OK, as long as you don’t screw it up, Sergio!

    You and me both! Just hope they (Fiat/Chrysler) don’t go down the same route as they have with Lancia! Yyuuuuuuchhh!

    The Ford looks like a remodelled Mondeo. the rest just don’t do it for me.

  4. My takes from online photos of the big debuts:

    Lincoln MKZ
    VERY disappointing. Who is Lincoln’s target demographic for this new style? I’m guessing they (like Buick) are aiming at becoming the new Lexus (soft, creamy) as Lexus tries to become unlike itself and just another BMW variant like every other make (Audi, MB, Infiniti, Caddy, etc). Looks OK from some angles, terrible and slightly bizarre from others with an interior motif that looks Lexus 1998. Until we know what motor/handling is like, who can say more otherwise?

    Cadillac ATS
    I was looking forward to this, and it does look like it’ll be a great driver at a great price, but the styling was a bit more, um, ah, delicate, more feminine than I was anticipating. More like a C-Class than a 3-series. I’m also not sure how I feel about the smoothing of the distinctive hard edged Caddy look until I see it on the road. But I’ll definitely need to check the anticipated V-series of this next year as a possible replacement for my Turbo-X.

    Chevy Youth Concepts
    I disliked both of these and felt they completely lacked originality… Auto show cotton candy, they’ll be forgotten by everyone the day the show ends…

    Dodge Dart
    I think this looks great inside and out. Modern, yet harking back to the Neon of the past while linking the Charger of today. I can’t wait to see it on the road and if sharing Alfa engineering with Dodge helps to rationalize Alfa, who can complain?

    Ford Fusion
    I’m not feeling awed like everyone else. It looks somewhat plump and bloated to me, less taut somehow than the much larger Taurus. I’ll need to see it on the road. It’s unquestionably more interesting than the Camry, Accord, et al, but I don’t think it moves the needle that much more visually than the Sonata and Optima. Again, need to see it. I respect and admire Fords recent designs in and out, but they don’t speak to me and like MB’s recent efforts, strike me as fussy…

    Acura NSX
    I again don’t get the heaps of praise being heaved at this. Looks like supercar design 101, cribbed from at least 2-3 other cars. As a replacement for one of the great Japanese designs of all time, I’m unmoved, and the lack of any reference to the previous car in the design shows how little about heritage or history those companies have.

    Lexus Coupe
    Easily the most impressive design at the show in my mind, but lets see how this translates (if at all) to mainstream models.

    My $0.02.

    1. Interesting thoughts on the NSX. Supercar 101 is about right. Looks good, but doesn’t look to break any ground at all.

      The ATS is only interesting for me insofar as brand design language goes. Should different model within a brand look (at least a little) different, or should they be like those old Russian dolls – a big one, a slightly smaller one that looks the same, a slightly smaller one that looks the same……

      Both Caddy and Buick seem to be doing the Russian doll thing.

  5. Lincoln – This brand is a guilty pleasure for me (and for North Korean dictators, evidently). Their mandate should be to push the boundaries of style and equipment as far as they can. Unfortunately, the brand hit its peak in the early 1960s. I hope that Ford realizes that “me-too” Lincolns have done much worse than almost any conceivable alternative. The MKZ (wth? Lincolns need real names…) looks OK, but it just doesn’t have the presence that it could. They need to make a statement, not an apology.

    Chevy – Two second-rate copies of other brands’ successes from Chevy. What else is new?

    Dodge – Not a great looking car, reminds me of competitors’ previous-gen models. I would have liked it much better with hidden rear door handles like the Giulietta. The three engine choices are going to confuse buyers. Do you want horsepower, or torque, or the same horsepower with less torque, or more horsepower and less torque, or almost the same torque, but at higher revs? (“wait, come back, we haven’t gone through the 18 trim packages and three transmissions yet…”).

    Fusion – Aston should sue. The again, maybe this is the motivation A-M needs. They’ve been designing the same car over and over again for the past 15 years.

    Hyundai – They are doing what every other generalist car maker claimed was impossible: good design, solid mechanicals, good value, and year-on-year improvements. It’s almost as-if they believe that their financial results will improve as long as their cars improve. Neat concept.

    Vince Burlapp ( almost always has the best coverage. He says in one sentence what other writers almost say in a thousand words. Plus, he’s into normal cars, not “premium/luxury/performance” cars.

  6. None of those really do much for me, but I do have to say that Hyundai is offering a lot of value for the money and constantly improving their cars. If they ever make them fun to drive, they may be on to something.

    There is something strange looking, though, about the grill on that Genesis coupe. It looks like somebody punched it in the chops and gave it a fat lip.

  7. Definitely agreed that the Koreans are starting to make rather interesting cars. But I would still not consider an Asian car.

    Btw. Swade, nice little blog you’ve got here, mate. 🙂 Missed you during the past year.

  8. The Dodge Dart was a good selling car here in the US. If they can
    assure everyone that the car and the engines are as unkillable as the
    original (its not just Fiat with the dart name on it) I think it will attract a lot of older US buyers. Add bolt on performance parts mortals can buy and it could get exciting.

  9. US cars still aren’t my pair of shoes.

    The Fusion/Mondeo has interesting looks, and as five door it could be an interesting car, but it has the same boring Instrument cluster as the V60 hybrid 🙁

    Hyunday still looks too Asian to me, and the interior of the Genesis coupe looks cheap !!!!