The Truth About Cars » Chevrolet http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Mon, 26 Jan 2015 14:20:21 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Chevrolet http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/reviews/chevrolet/ Carlypso: PHEVs To Reach 1 Percent Market Share In Q1 2015 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/carlypso-phevs-reach-1-percent-market-share-q1-2015/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/carlypso-phevs-reach-1-percent-market-share-q1-2015/#comments Mon, 26 Jan 2015 11:00:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=988434 By the end of Q1 2015, PHEVs are expected to take 1 percent of the overall U.S. domestic market despite fuel prices continuing their downward spiral. Online used-car resell agent Carlypso reports that while just over 50 percent of U.S. new-car sales are focused on light-duty pickups, falling fuel prices haven’t done much to boost […]

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By the end of Q1 2015, PHEVs are expected to take 1 percent of the overall U.S. domestic market despite fuel prices continuing their downward spiral.

Online used-car resell agent Carlypso reports that while just over 50 percent of U.S. new-car sales are focused on light-duty pickups, falling fuel prices haven’t done much to boost sales during the January 2013 – December 2014 period from whence the report collected its data, based on a sample of 16.3 million units.

The report also looked at over 28 million car sales in the same period, finding that PHEVs and EVs like the Nissan Leaf, Chevrolet Volt and BMW i3 made up 217,217 — or 0.86 percent — of said sales. In December 2014 alone, the Leaf, Volt, i3 and Tesla Model S collectively made up over 70 percent of U.S. PHEV/EV sales, despite the average price at the pump hitting $2.43/gallon that month; the current average is $2.05/gallon, down $1.23 from a year ago.

Carlypso co-founder Nicholas Hinrichsen says the findings show that consumers aren’t changing their behavior with the pump, opting to buy whatever they want as far as features and branding are concerned. He added that a vehicle’s value and demand isn’t going to change with the oil market either, advising consumers to let investors worry about how much West Texas Intermediate will go for per barrel.

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Review: 2015 Chevrolet Spark LT http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/review-2015-chevrolet-spark-lt/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/review-2015-chevrolet-spark-lt/#comments Tue, 20 Jan 2015 18:09:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=985554 How the mighty have fallen. I don’t mean General Motors, which once literally made the earth tremble from its world-war-winning industrial prowess but which has now effectively given up on the idea of engineering a small car in the United States. Nor do I mean Gibson Guitar, operator of the Beale Street Custom Shop pictured […]

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How the mighty have fallen. I don’t mean General Motors, which once literally made the earth tremble from its world-war-winning industrial prowess but which has now effectively given up on the idea of engineering a small car in the United States. Nor do I mean Gibson Guitar, operator of the Beale Street Custom Shop pictured above, which has struggled to effectively counter an exceptionally negative media and web-forum general opinion of its heavily-revised 2015 lineup.

I just mean me, myself, and I, that sort of thing.

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Experienced TTAC readers will remember this photo location from another of your humble author’s long-distance road tests, namely Fleetwood Talisman Part Two. It goes without saying that the Talisman, a Detroit-engineered behemoth from the Cretaceous Era of GM full-sizers, was at home on the American highway, and I found that it made the trip from Nashville to Memphis with diffident ease. I remember the trip fondly, not least because I never drove that stretch of road again.

As fate would have it, however, last week I found myself once again making plans to drive from Nashville to Memphis via Franklin, TN. I’d managed to get an interview for an upcoming R&T feature scheduled for the morning after the closure of the Detroit Auto Show. Just getting from Allen Park, MI to home then to the Columbus airport in time required no small amount of luck, not least because I spent over an hour doing some guitar shopping at a pawnshop on 8 Mile before heading south. When I landed at BNA, however, I knew my luck had run out. My naive decision to select “Manager’s Choice” on my Hertz rental reservation form meant that the manager of the Nashville Airport Hertz could make the “choice” to screw me over by giving me a Chevy Spark for a 450-mile highway roadtrip.

My first impression of the Spark was: it looks like a toad that’s in the process of being vertically squished by transparent Lexan panels. My second impression was more positive: it’s possible for, ahem, full-sized people to actually fit in the thing comfortably. Like the one-class-up Honda Fit and like pretty much every other car globally in the sub-sub-compact segment, the Spark creates space by having the passengers sit upright. That’s how you get this much space in something that isn’t much wider or taller than a 1979 Civic. The seating position combines with the relatively low door glass to create a surprisingly CUV-like perspective on the world. The FR-S or Miata driver next to you seems to be sitting a foot lower than you are, and the Camry driver’s at a lesser but not entirely nonexistent disadvantage.

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As a result of the unusual proportions, the Spark drives very differently from a traditional subcompact. You’re sitting very close to the front wheels without even the suggestion of a bonnet ahead, and the paper-thin doors have virtually no tumblehome whatsoever. The net effect is a sensation of being in a driving simulator, since there’s obviously not much car around you. For most of the developed world, the “supermini” and its box-on-wheels proportioning is old news, but here in the United States the Spark is still new enough to, uh, shock.

With a few exceptions, a Spark with its rear seats up should be able to hold everything you’re allowed to carry onto an airliner. The cargo area is wide and tall but not deep. The passenger space in those rear seats is fine for smaller people or shorter distances, though I cannot “sit behind myself” with any comfort. One minor bit of admirable packaging is the cupholder molded into what would be the center rear seat of a wider automobile.

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The “motorcycle” instrument cluster is cheap-looking enough to be at home in any Nineties Suzuki bike, but the LCD screen packs a remarkable amount of information that includes what in a Spark is a very important piece of information: distance to empty. The fuel tank is just 9.2 gallons, making fillups frequent.

Those fillups will be more frequent than you’d expect if your Spark-enabled travel plans include a freeway. I-40 between Nashville and Memphis is reasonably hilly and speeds of 80-85mph are common. It’s fair to say that with just 84 horsepower to push approximately 2300 pounds, the Spark doesn’t shine here. However, the new-for-last-year CVT helps quite a bit. Acceleration to freeway speeds is safely adequate, with a quarter-mile in the eighteen-second range. The little Chevrolet’s aerodynamic profile doesn’t help here, though there is surprisingly little wind noise at speed given the barn-door shape of the thing. Nor is fuel economy particularly spectacular in real-world usage; I obtained a rough 33mpg overall on a trip that was eighty percent freeway driving.

Compared to the Aveo I drove five years ago, the Spark might well have been an S-Class in its highway demeanor even though it’s from the size class below. I didn’t push the needle above 85mph but it seemed like there was a little bit of power left even at that speed. Around town, the CVT enables a surprising amount of low-end shove. It’s possible to compete with some pickups trucks and four-cylinder economy cars from stoplight to stoplight, although something like a modern Ecoboost Fiesta will whip the Spark six ways to Sunday in that situation.

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LT Sparks get this snazzy radio-and-Bluetooth media center that most emphatically does not have a CD player. If you’re coming to this from an Audi S8 or a Burmester-equipped Porsche, you’ll be horrified by the sound quality, but if you’ve been driving an old Pontiac around you’ll be thrilled. Given that Spark customers are more likely doing the latter, this is fine. With that said, the system isn’t really loud enough to cover up the wind and road noise, particularly above 70mph. Used as a speakerphone, the sound system is better at speaking than listening. I found myself switching to my handset more often during drives than I would in, say, a Camry.

I can’t believe that we’ve gotten all the way to the end of this review without mentioning handling. It’s okay. There you go. A Fiesta or Mazda2 is far better to drive than this Spark will ever be, for the same reason the Spark whips them on interior space: packaging. With a center of gravity this high, on 155/55R15 wheels, there’s just too much potential tipover for pushing the limit to ever seem like a good idea. Encouraged by a fellow racer around a long on-ramp in Memphis, I experimented with trail-braking and lift-throttle oversteer.

Kids, just don’t do it.

The ECS intervenes early and often in the Spark. That’s for a good reason: keeping the roof off the ground. I’d be slightly worried about any genuine evasive maneuvers at freeway speeds, honestly. It’s best to drive the Spark the way you’d drive a Jeep Wrangler: with plenty of room around you at all times. The brakes,

If you don’t care about handling or power, the Spark delivers something much closer to a “real car” experience than the more conventional entries in the class. While I haven’t driven this car back to back with a Mirage, it’s my belief that the Spark is simply superior as a real-world operational proposition. There’s more room, a better driving position, and enough NVH control to make it livable.

Price as tested was $15,920. You can’t get this much equipment — the Spark includes power locks and cruise control in this trim — for this much money anywhere else. While I’d personally rather have a Hyundai Accent with less equipment, or even the mythical slightly-used-Civic-going-for-75-percent-of-original-MSRP that the Internet recommends to all car shoppers without ten million dollars saved for early retirement, the Spark is more than fit for purpose. Even if that purpose includes occasional freeway driving. It’s no Cadillac, to be sure, but neither is it a Chevette.

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NAIAS 2015: Chevrolet, GMC Add Paint & Chrome Packages To Silverado, Canyon http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/naias-2015-chevrolet-gmc-add-paint-chrome-packages-silverado-canyon/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/naias-2015-chevrolet-gmc-add-paint-chrome-packages-silverado-canyon/#comments Tue, 13 Jan 2015 20:00:11 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=981817 Nissan, Ford, Toyota and Ram, even Hyundai, brought a lot to the truck party at this year’s Detroit Auto Show. So, what did General Motors contribute to the buffet? Paint and chrome packages for the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Canyon. AutoGuide reports Chevrolet is offering a “Custom Sport” package for the 2016 Silverado LT and […]

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Nissan, Ford, Toyota and Ram, even Hyundai, brought a lot to the truck party at this year’s Detroit Auto Show. So, what did General Motors contribute to the buffet?

Paint and chrome packages for the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Canyon.

AutoGuide reports Chevrolet is offering a “Custom Sport” package for the 2016 Silverado LT and LTZ. Said trim consists of body color-matching bumpers and chrome-accented grille/surround. Chrome door handles, mirror caps, side molding and 20-inch wheels complete the package, expected to retail between $1,950 and $2,950.

GMC, meanwhile, introduced the “Nightfall” package for Canyon SLE crew-cab buyers, which throws black paint all over the body. Polished exhaust tips, 18-inch wheels, automatic climate control, and remote start make up the rest of the offering. No price was mentioned at this time.

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NAIAS 2015: Chevrolet Bolt EV Debuts http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/naias-2015-chevrolet-bolt-ev-debuts/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/naias-2015-chevrolet-bolt-ev-debuts/#comments Mon, 12 Jan 2015 15:00:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=977977 For those saddened that the second-gen Chevrolet Volt looks more like a regular car than it did in its first incarnation, the Bolt EV is the next best thing in quirky green vehicle looks [Live photos now available – CA]. The $30,000 EV crossover concept boasts a range of 200 miles, though no specific powertrain […]

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For those saddened that the second-gen Chevrolet Volt looks more like a regular car than it did in its first incarnation, the Bolt EV is the next best thing in quirky green vehicle looks [Live photos now available – CA].

The $30,000 EV crossover concept boasts a range of 200 miles, though no specific powertrain was mentioned during the unveiling. DC fast-charging is supported.

Meanwhile, drivers can select from a range of modes based on their situation, whether its the long slog to the office park, or a weekend on the backroads. The modes adjust ride height, accelerator pedal mapping and suspension.

The design itself eliminates front and rear overhangs, which in turn makes for a spacious environment inside. Aluminum, magnesium, carbon fiber and woven mesh knock the Bolt EV’s weight down to ensure its 200-mile range is achievable, with aero aids also contributing to the concept’s range.

The Bolt EV also has a smartphone app, dubbed Bolt EV Connect. Functions include the use of your smartphone as a key fob, ride-sharing management, and automatic park-and-retrieval, which allows the Bolt EV to park itself, then return to the driver autonomously.

Date of arrival for a production version of the Bolt EV may be as early as 2017, a year after the similarly priced Tesla Model 3 is expected to hit showrooms.

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NAIAS 2015: A Clearer View For The 2016 Chevrolet Volt http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/naias-2015-clearer-view-2016-chevrolet-volt/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/naias-2015-clearer-view-2016-chevrolet-volt/#comments Mon, 12 Jan 2015 06:15:39 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=977329 Fuzzy photos from the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show are one thing, official photos of the 2016 Chevrolet Volt are definitely another [Live photos now available – CA]. The second-gen five-passenger PHEV gets its motivation from a 1.5-liter DOHC I4 paired up with two electric motors that are 12 percent more efficient and 100 pounds lighter […]

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Fuzzy photos from the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show are one thing, official photos of the 2016 Chevrolet Volt are definitely another [Live photos now available – CA].

The second-gen five-passenger PHEV gets its motivation from a 1.5-liter DOHC I4 paired up with two electric motors that are 12 percent more efficient and 100 pounds lighter than the first-gen’s single motor unit. Electrical power comes from a new 18.4 kWh battery pack composed of 192 cells — 96 less than the previous pack — with weight reduced by 21 pounds. Zero to 30 is achieved in 2.6 seconds, while nought to 60 arrives in 8.4 seconds.

Charging can now be set to exclusively occur at home via GPS, where owners can arrange 120V charging levels (either eight amps or 12), have charging occur immediately or at another time, and set a departure time for every day of the week. The settings only need to be entered once, and the Volt will default to those settings upon arrival at the home garage, which should take 13 hours at 12 amps; 240V charging reduces the time to 4.5 hours.

Range is 50 miles on electric-only driving, 420 miles when the 1.5-liter is in play. Fuel economy is 41 mpg, jumping to 102 mpg-e with the electric motors.

Other features include: Chevrolet MyLink; rearview camera; increased use of high-strength steel throughout the body; on-demand energy rengeneration; illuminated charging port; and a redesigned portable 120V cord.

The 2016 Volt is set to arrive in showrooms during H2 2015.

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Owner-Built Engine Program For Corvette Z06 Returns http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/owner-built-engine-program-corvette-z06-returns/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/owner-built-engine-program-corvette-z06-returns/#comments Thu, 08 Jan 2015 12:00:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=973569 Buying a new Corvette Z06 soon? Would you like to build its engine? Chevrolet has a plan to make that happen, if you got the cash and the time. Beginning in March, new Z06 owners will have the opportunity to participate in Chevrolet’s resumed Engine Build Experience. The $5,000 option — code PBC, for Bowling […]

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Buying a new Corvette Z06 soon? Would you like to build its engine? Chevrolet has a plan to make that happen, if you got the cash and the time.

Beginning in March, new Z06 owners will have the opportunity to participate in Chevrolet’s resumed Engine Build Experience. The $5,000 option — code PBC, for Bowling Green Assembly’s Performance Build Center, where the build will occur — allows owners to spend an entire day building the Z06’s supercharged 6.2-liter LT4 under supervision by a PBC engine assembly tech. A personalized plaque on the engine and photographs of the day complete the package.

That said, the engine won’t necessarily be placed in the owner’s Z06 right away. Corvette product manager Harlan Charles says the owner-built engines will take its place in line with the rest of the engines, flowing into “the scheduling process for vehicle assembly, which depends on a number of logistical variables.”

Those who don’t mind the wait and want to spend more time in Bowling Green, Ky. can also check-off option R8C, which allows owners to pick up their completed Z06 at the National Corvette Museum across the street from Bowling Green Assembly.

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Benson: Ram ProMaster City Portfolio Could Expand Via Demand http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/benson-ram-promaster-city-portfolio-expand-via-demand/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/benson-ram-promaster-city-portfolio-expand-via-demand/#comments Tue, 30 Dec 2014 14:00:45 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=969937 Right now, one can pick up a new Ram ProMaster City for catering tacos and installing cable down Flower Shop Lane. If that’s not enough, however, Ram might soon have a few more tricks up its sleeve. According to Edmunds, Ram commercial truck operations chief Joe Benson says consumer demand could increase the current ProMaster […]

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Right now, one can pick up a new Ram ProMaster City for catering tacos and installing cable down Flower Shop Lane. If that’s not enough, however, Ram might soon have a few more tricks up its sleeve.

According to Edmunds, Ram commercial truck operations chief Joe Benson says consumer demand could increase the current ProMaster City portfolio beyond the two-passenger commercial panel van and five-passenger people carrier. Possibilities include diesel power, shorter wheelbases, seven-passenger models, a taller panel van, and a pickup variant with drop-down sides for easy cargo-box access.

Regarding the overall picture for Flower Shop Lane, Benson believes combined U.S. sales could climb to 100,000 by 2016, compared to the predicted 50,000 units sold in 2014. The increased demand is likely to come from Chevrolet Astro and GMC Safari owners looking to replace their aging units with those from not only Ram, but Ford, Chevrolet and Nissan.

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GM Files For ‘Crossvolt’ Name For Possible Volt-Based CUV http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/gm-files-crossvolt-name-possible-volt-based-cuv/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/gm-files-crossvolt-name-possible-volt-based-cuv/#comments Mon, 29 Dec 2014 11:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=969225 Over four years ago, Chevrolet introduced a Volt-based crossover concept that hinted at the style the brand would have crossed someday, had not the resources been diverted to the Cadillac ELR. That day might now be sooner than never. Fox News reports General Motors made a new filing for the trademark Crossvolt in August of […]

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Over four years ago, Chevrolet introduced a Volt-based crossover concept that hinted at the style the brand would have crossed someday, had not the resources been diverted to the Cadillac ELR.

That day might now be sooner than never.

Fox News reports General Motors made a new filing for the trademark Crossvolt in August of this year, abandoning a previous filing made in 2011 that the current application — published for opposition just before Christmas — duplicates.

As for the Volt-based crossover that could end up wearing the nameplate, a mule based on the Orlando was spotted last year among a handful of Volts undergoing testing, a hint that a second model based on the upcoming Volt set to bow at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show is in the works.

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Capsule Comparison: 2015 Dodge Charger SRT 392 Vs. 2014 Chevrolet SS http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/capsule-comparison-2015-dodge-charger-srt-392-vs-2014-chevrolet-ss-2/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/capsule-comparison-2015-dodge-charger-srt-392-vs-2014-chevrolet-ss-2/#comments Mon, 22 Dec 2014 18:16:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=964130 (Please accept my apologies for this long-ago-promised and painfully overdue comparison. -DK) With the demise of the Chrysler 300 SRT, Americans are limited to two choices for a domestic sports sedan. And neither of them are built in America. The Chevrolet SS, as we all know, is built in Port Elizabeth, Australia. Based on the […]

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(Please accept my apologies for this long-ago-promised and painfully overdue comparison. -DK)

With the demise of the Chrysler 300 SRT, Americans are limited to two choices for a domestic sports sedan. And neither of them are built in America.

The Chevrolet SS, as we all know, is built in Port Elizabeth, Australia. Based on the Holden VE Commodore, the SS gets the best of what Holden has to offer: a rear-drive Zeta platform, an LS3 V8 engine and styling that many find to be far too restrained and understated – to me, that’s a big part of the appeal.

When Bark M drove this car a year ago (to help kick off our Reader Ride Review program), he was diplomatically lukewarm about the car, praising the small-block V8 and the 7/10ths handling prowess, while criticizing the car’s balky gearbox and Bridgestone Potenza RE050 tires. I was dumbstruck. As a big fan of the Pontiac G8 (and Australian rear-drive sedans), I wanted to believe that Bark’s impressions of the SS were colored by the fact that he drives a Boss 302 on a daily basis. It turns out he was right.

While GM nominally describes the SS as a limited production sports sedan, it’s easy to understand why sales of this car are in the toilet, marketing support or no marketing support. The G8 was a brilliant last stand from a dying brand when it was introduced in 2009. Driving the SS today just shows how the competition has moved on.

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Yes, the interior with the big MyLink touch screen and the heads-up display is a vast improvement over the old G8. There’s lots of space for passengers both fore and aft. Flimsy paddles aside, everything is high quality, pleasing to the touch and sufficiently upscale – if you can ignore the bright red “SS” emblems stitched into the seats. The trunk is made for an Australian family, which is to say, it’s huge.

I wanted to like this car so, so badly, but the driving experience fell utterly flat. Yes, you get big thrust and a nice small-block soundtrack from the LS3 (finally a proper LS, unlike the 6.0 mill in the old G8). A naturally aspirated V8 is fast becoming an endangered species, and this is one of the best. But the transmission can’t keep pace.

Nor could the rest of the car, for that matter. On the winding backroads around Summit Point Raceway, the SS just didn’t feel that special. At a hair under 4000 lbs, it’s lighter than the Charger SRT, but you’d never know it. The SS isn’t as buttoned-down in turns as the Charger, while the uncommunicative steering doesn’t flatter the car’s size or heft. In the brilliant shade of metallic black, the SS seemed to be the closest thing available to an old moonshiner’s hot-rod. It also drove like one too.

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If you want the top-performing American sports sedan, you’ll have to opt for the Charger SRT 392, which is actually built in Brampton, Ontario, Canada. It’s not as elegant as the SS, though I bet that many people will prefer its more aggressive looks. The new for 2015 restyling tones down some of the overly-aggro snout on the outgoing car, but there’s no mistaking it for the V6 SXT you’ll find on the Avis lot.

At nearly 4400 lbs and just under 200 inches long, the Charger is, as they’d say in the Antipodes, “a big fucker”. The lighter SS makes do with less power  – 6.2L and 415 horsepower versus the Charger’s 6.4L and 485 horsepower -, but the seemingly minor differences are deceptive on paper. Sort of like how there is but a mere millimeter difference between a 9mm and a 10mm handgun cartridge, but one is used by police forces while the other can stop a grizzly dead in its tracks.

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The SRT V8 is not as refined or as smooth as the storied LS3, but the extra output, combined with the utterly brilliant 8-speed automatic means that the Charger 392 has the Chevrolet beat hands down for aural drama and straight line performance. The soundtrack is a masterpiece of pyrotechnic sounds that mimics the AMG 6.2L V8s NASCAR-esque notes, and the engine is as strong between 60 and 100 mph as it is from a dig. If that weren’t enough, the 2015 SRT adds the Hellcat’s massive Brembo brakes (15.4 inch rotors up front, 13.8 inches in the back) and a whole suite of adjustable driving modes for the suspension, throttle, gearbox and traction control. There’s also an updated interior with better materials and the excellent UConnect/Alpine stereo system – I concur with Baruth when he says it might be the best mainstream audio system in the business.

With the SS getting a 6-speed manual and an updated suspension for 2015, a rematch is only fair. But driving the two cars back to back opened my eyes to the possibility that, aside from CAFE and a shrinking market for full-size cars, there’s a reason we’ve never gotten the Commodore as a mainstream Chevrolet product: it’s just not good enough to compete. Right now, FCA has the full-size rear-drive mainstream sedan segment all to itself, and its sales are still strong, even after all these years. For an Americanized-Commodore to steal sales away from the LX cars – and the Taurus, and Avalon and Azera and the Impala- it would have to be extraordinarily compelling. Right now, I can’t say that about the SS, no matter how much I like the idea of it.

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Detroit 2015: Next-Gen Chevy Volt To Gain Corvette Styling Cues http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/detroit-2015-next-gen-chevy-volt-gain-corvette-styling-cues/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/detroit-2015-next-gen-chevy-volt-gain-corvette-styling-cues/#comments Mon, 22 Dec 2014 12:00:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=963834 Can you see a C7-era Chevrolet Corvette in that new Volt’s face? There’s a reason for that. Autoblog reports the second-gen PHEV will be taking some styling cues from the Corvette Stingray, including the latter’s taut hood lines and hexagonal tail lamps, as part of a new design strategy to link Chevrolet’s next-gen models — […]

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Chevy-Volt-Teaser

Can you see a C7-era Chevrolet Corvette in that new Volt’s face? There’s a reason for that.

Autoblog reports the second-gen PHEV will be taking some styling cues from the Corvette Stingray, including the latter’s taut hood lines and hexagonal tail lamps, as part of a new design strategy to link Chevrolet’s next-gen models — including the Cruze and Malibu — to the seventh-generation Corvette.

Returning to the Volt, the PHEV will also sport the regenerative-braking system currently generating power for the Cadillac ELR. The system allows the driver to adjust the amount of energy recovered as the situation calls for it.

Other expected changes for the new Volt include a 1.5-liter four-pot, longer electric-only range, more power — thanks to the addition of a second electric motor — and a larger battery.

The PHEV — sans dancing hipsters — will roll down the ramp January 12, 2015 during the 2015 Detroit Auto Show.

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GM Replacing Keys In 2014-15 Trucks, SUVs Due To Ignition Issues http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/gm-replacing-keys-2014-15-trucks-suvs-due-ignition-issues/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/gm-replacing-keys-2014-15-trucks-suvs-due-ignition-issues/#comments Mon, 08 Dec 2014 14:00:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=956898 Own a new Chevrolet or GMC truck? You might be getting a new set of keys. Automotive News reports owners of 2014-2015 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500 pickups, as well as 2015 Chevrolet Suburban and Tahoe and GMC Yukon and Yukon XL SUVs without keyless start will need to come in to have […]

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2014 Chevrolet Silverado Crew Cab Z71

Own a new Chevrolet or GMC truck? You might be getting a new set of keys.

Automotive News reports owners of 2014-2015 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500 pickups, as well as 2015 Chevrolet Suburban and Tahoe and GMC Yukon and Yukon XL SUVs without keyless start will need to come in to have the keys replaced. Per the bulletin issued by General Motors:

Some customers may comment that if the tilt steering column is in the full-up position and the shift lever is moved between gears, the shift lever contacts the head of the ignition key. Some contact force may rotate the ignition key and shut the engine off. When this condition occurs, the brake pedal was applied.

The keys are already available, as the automaker made the fix in February of this year. The bulletin requires dealers to issue the new key to customers who bought their vehicles prior to the change, and complain of the issue as noted.

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NHTSA: GM Has Enough Parts To Repair All Affected By February 2014 Ignition Recall http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/nhtsa-gm-enough-parts-repair-affected-february-2014-ignition-recall/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/nhtsa-gm-enough-parts-repair-affected-february-2014-ignition-recall/#comments Wed, 03 Dec 2014 12:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=955009 Do you or yours happen to own one of the models affected by the February 2014 General Motors ignition switch recall? The automaker finally has a replacement ready at your convenience. AutoGuide reports the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration posted a notice stating GM has all of the parts needed to repair every one of […]

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Do you or yours happen to own one of the models affected by the February 2014 General Motors ignition switch recall? The automaker finally has a replacement ready at your convenience.

AutoGuide reports the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration posted a notice stating GM has all of the parts needed to repair every one of the 2.66 million vehicles covered by the recall, and is urging owners to bring their vehicles in as soon as possible. GM added that it will help owners schedule repairs after work and on weekends, with the procedure to take 90 minutes.

Presently, approximately 1 million units still need to come in, with the automaker proclaiming 60 percent of all vehicles under the original recall have been fixed. The vehicles in question are the 2003-2007 Saturn Ion, 2005-2010 Chevrolet Cobalt, 2006-2011 Chevrolet HHR, 2006-2010 Pontiac Solstice, 2007-2010 Pontiac G5, and 2007-2011 Saturn Sky.

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2015 Chevrolet SS Now Available With Six-Speed Manual http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/2015-chevrolet-ss-now-available-six-speed-manual/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/2015-chevrolet-ss-now-available-six-speed-manual/#comments Thu, 27 Nov 2014 12:00:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=951913 Wanted a Chevrolet SS, but wanted to row your own? Your ship has arrived. AutoGuide reports the 2015 SS can be had with either a six-speed auto or, new for this year, a six-speed manual. Either option won’t add onto the $46,740 base price, with the only costly options being the $900 sunroof and the […]

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Wanted a Chevrolet SS, but wanted to row your own? Your ship has arrived.

AutoGuide reports the 2015 SS can be had with either a six-speed auto or, new for this year, a six-speed manual. Either option won’t add onto the $46,740 base price, with the only costly options being the $900 sunroof and the $500 full-size spare. Leather seating and Chevrolet’s MyLink system are standard.

Out back, the manual comes with a 3.70 gear ratio, more aggressive than the 3.27 paired with the auto. Power to the back comes from a 6.2-liter V8 delivering the same figure for horsepower and torque: 415.

Annual production of the SS is limited to 2,500, a run that will likely cease when Holden closes its last Australian factory in 2017.

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GM Discloses More Fatalities, Faces Questions Amid Email Revelation http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/gm-discloses-fatalities-faces-questions-amid-email-revelation/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/gm-discloses-fatalities-faces-questions-amid-email-revelation/#comments Wed, 12 Nov 2014 14:00:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=944553 General Motors disclosed more deaths linked to the February 2014 ignition switch recall in its quarterly report to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, but more headaches await the automaker as the spotlight focuses on CEO Mary Barra’s actual role in the recall in the first place. According to Automotive News, GM reported 47 deaths […]

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General Motors headquarters in Detroit, Michigan

General Motors disclosed more deaths linked to the February 2014 ignition switch recall in its quarterly report to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, but more headaches await the automaker as the spotlight focuses on CEO Mary Barra’s actual role in the recall in the first place.

According to Automotive News, GM reported 47 deaths and 614 injuries linked to the ignition switch at the center of the recall. The breakdown this quarter is as follows:

  • Chevrolet Cobalt: 302 injuries, 26 deaths
  • Chevrolet HHR: 122 injuries, five deaths
  • Saturn Ion: 56 injuries, seven deaths

The overall total linked to the ignition issue thus far comes to 975 crashes, 1,101 injuries and 69 deaths, most occurring within the past several years.

As for the recall, the recently revealed email exchange between GM and supplier Delphi in December 2013 over a parts order of 500,000 switches — two months prior to the recall action — further showed the communication breakdown that has kept the automaker and those affected by its actions in the spotlight for most of this year. The emails weren’t a part of the Valukas report, and would have remained unknown to all but the attorneys fighting the automaker in class-action cases if a judge ruled in favor of keeping the documents confidential.

Regarding where Barra was, she and other senior GM brass all maintain that they didn’t know about the seriousness at-hand until the end of January. Barra had been the company’s executive vice president of product development, purchasing and supply chain prior to becoming CEO January 15. Further, the exchange was between mid-level employees — specifically a contract employee named Sarah Missentzis — and the supplier, suggesting that Barra still wasn’t told about the problem due to where she was in the chain of command.

That said, the automaker still had a responsibility to alert consumers to, at minimum, unload their keyrings to prevent the slipping issues affecting the switches, according to attorney Robert Hilliard, the attorney who fought to have the emails go public:

Part of the recall was to tell customers to take weight off the key chain. Why delay telling customers that?

For its part, GM said the emails were “further confirmation” that its reporting system “needed reform,” an issue that the automaker has gone to great pains to correct, per representative Alan Adler.

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GM To Lay Off 510 Employees In Two Separate Actions http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/gm-lay-510-employees-two-separate-actions/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/gm-lay-510-employees-two-separate-actions/#comments Wed, 12 Nov 2014 13:00:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=944513 A total of 510 employees will be laid-off beginning in January, the result of two separate actions linked to production and inventory concerns. According to Automotive News, the majority — 350 employees — come from the Lansing Grand River Assembly plant in Lansing, Mich., where the Cadillac ATS and CTS are assembled. The cut comes […]

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2015 Cadillac ATSs at Lansing Grand River Assembly

A total of 510 employees will be laid-off beginning in January, the result of two separate actions linked to production and inventory concerns.

According to Automotive News, the majority — 350 employees — come from the Lansing Grand River Assembly plant in Lansing, Mich., where the Cadillac ATS and CTS are assembled. The cut comes from the loss of a second shift at the plant, a planned cut in production as part of Cadillac president Johan de Nysschen’s promise to make his brand more exclusive, and to allow excess inventory to be sold off.

A second shift is expected to return when GM begins production of the next-gen Chevrolet Camaro — based upon the same platform underpinning the two Cadillacs — between the end of 2015 and the start of 2016. In the meantime, GM plans to relocate some of the 350 to one of its two nearby plants.

Closer to Detroit, Detroit Free Press says the remaining 160 employees at Lake Orion Assembly in Orion Township, Mich. will have their positions permanently phased-out starting in January. The plant is slowing down production of the Buick Verano and Chevrolet Sonic to meet projected sales. Representative Chris Bonelli says the process will conclude by the end of 2015, but the number of workers ultimately laid-off “could be reduced by planned retirements and general attrition.”

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Man U’s Finest Ignore Chevy’s Offering For Their Own Rides http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/man-us-finest-ignore-chevys-offering-rides/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/man-us-finest-ignore-chevys-offering-rides/#comments Wed, 05 Nov 2014 11:00:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=940913 Chevrolet may be sponsoring football club Manchester United (while also pulling out of the European market), but it doesn’t mean the footballers are interested in what their sponsors are selling. The Daily Mail (yes, I know – CA) reports the 15 Chevrolets delivered to the club back in April — including Camaros and Corvette Stingrays […]

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Chevrolet may be sponsoring football club Manchester United (while also pulling out of the European market), but it doesn’t mean the footballers are interested in what their sponsors are selling.

The Daily Mail (yes, I know – CA) reports the 15 Chevrolets delivered to the club back in April — including Camaros and Corvette Stingrays — haven’t been driven in anger or on the high street by any of the players on the team. A source stated the cars, when not sleeping in the Carrington Training Centre’s parking lot, were only driven by the training ground staff.

Instead, the team roll up in more European fare: Man U captain Wayne Rooney waves the Union Jack proudly in his “Overfinch” Range Rover, midfielder Marouane Fellani opts for the Teutonic precision of his Mercedes SUV, and striker Robin van Persie pulls up for practice in a Porsche 911. Only team manager Louis van Gaal drives a Chevy — a Captiva, to be exact — but that belongs to him.

Though a Chevrolet representative stated the players were under no obligation to drive any of the 15 vehicles delivered — the rep called the provision a “voluntary drive programme” — the move isn’t likely sitting well with the brand, who paid £350 million ($560 million USD) in 2012 to sponsor the team over seven years.

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2016 Chevrolet Volt Won’t Need Premium To Move http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/2016-chevrolet-volt-wont-need-premium-move/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/2016-chevrolet-volt-wont-need-premium-move/#comments Thu, 30 Oct 2014 10:00:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=938105 When customers arrive to pick up the 2016 Chevrolet Volt late next year, they won’t need to spend money on premium when it eventually comes time to fill the tank. AutoblogGreen reports the 1.5-liter engine taking the place of the outgoing 1.4-liter unit will be more than happy with regular gasoline. Volt chief engineer Andrew […]

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When customers arrive to pick up the 2016 Chevrolet Volt late next year, they won’t need to spend money on premium when it eventually comes time to fill the tank.

AutoblogGreen reports the 1.5-liter engine taking the place of the outgoing 1.4-liter unit will be more than happy with regular gasoline. Volt chief engineer Andrew Farah explained the move was on the suggestion from consumers who didn’t want to pay more for gas than they thought necessary:

The ability to use regular unleaded was based directly on customer feedback. Since the range extender is an all-new engine, it was optimized to use regular unleaded at the outset. Using regular fuel will not have effect on vehicle acceleration or other performance factors.

The new engine is a part of a new global family of engines — ranging in size from 1 to 1.5 liters — and is quieter and more powerful than the mill extending the range of the current Volt.

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2016 Chevrolet Volt To Have More Power From Stem To Stern http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/2016-chevrolet-volt-power-stem-stern/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/2016-chevrolet-volt-power-stem-stern/#comments Wed, 29 Oct 2014 12:00:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=937794 The Chevrolet Volt came into this world through a combination of engineering, design, and a twee song/interpretive dance number. The second-generation PHEV, due out of Detroit late next year, plans to aim a bit higher than its quirky beginnings. Automotive News reports the new Volt will have a clean-sheet Voltec drive unit that is 100 […]

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2016-Chevrolet-Volt-Teaser

The Chevrolet Volt came into this world through a combination of engineering, design, and a twee song/interpretive dance number.

The second-generation PHEV, due out of Detroit late next year, plans to aim a bit higher than its quirky beginnings.

Automotive News reports the new Volt will have a clean-sheet Voltec drive unit that is 100 pounds lighter than current, and will deliver 20 percent improved acceleration for blasting off the line at your local drag strip, thanks to two electric motors doing the grunt work instead of one.

Speaking of motors, the main four-pot range extender will gain in size for 2016, jumping from 1.4 to 1.5 liters. The new engine is part of a family of small engines — ranging from 1 to 1.5 liters — that will be used throughout General Motors’ global portfolio.

Holding the electricity will be a new battery pack with larger cells and a 20 percent increase in storage capacity. Cell count falls from 288 in the outgoing pack, to 192 in the upcoming unit.

As far range and MPGs are concerned, GM will announce those figures when the new Volt — sans the aforementioned twee song-and-dance number — rolls down the ramp at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show.

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NHTSA Issues Urgent Recall For Takata-Equipped Vehicles In Humid Climes http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/nhtsa-issues-urgent-recall-takata-equipped-vehicles-humid-climes/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/nhtsa-issues-urgent-recall-takata-equipped-vehicles-humid-climes/#comments Tue, 21 Oct 2014 13:00:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=934178 If you happen to own certain BMW, General Motors, Honda, Toyota, Mazda and Nissan vehicles, and reside in a humid climate, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is urging you to take it in for repairs linked to the Takata airbags installed. Though the agency didn’t explain exactly the need for urgency, the airbags made […]

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Takata Airbag Cutaway

If you happen to own certain BMW, General Motors, Honda, Toyota, Mazda and Nissan vehicles, and reside in a humid climate, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is urging you to take it in for repairs linked to the Takata airbags installed.

Though the agency didn’t explain exactly the need for urgency, the airbags made by Takata have been linked to humidity-related failures, where upon detonation, metal shrapnel would be sprayed into the cabin, injuring or killing all within.

Owners of the following affected vehicles may need to bring their vehicles in for repairs if they call Florida, Puerto Rico, Guam, Saipan, American Samoa, Virgin Islands or Hawaii home:

Toyota: 778,177 total number of vehicles potentially affected
2002 – 2004 Lexus SC
2003 – 2004 Toyota Corolla
2003 – 2004 Toyota Corolla Matrix
2002 – 2004 Toyota Sequoia
2003 – 2004 Toyota Tundra
2003 – 2004 Pontiac Vibe

Honda: 2,803,214 total number of potentially affected vehicles
2001 – 2007 Honda Accord (4 cyl)
2001 – 2002 Honda Accord (6 cyl)
2001 – 2005 Honda Civic
2002 – 2006 Honda CR-V
2003 – 2011 Honda Element
2002 – 2004 Honda Odyssey
2003 -2007 Honda Pilot
2006 Honda Ridgeline
2003 – 2006 Acura MDX
2002 -2003 Acura TL/CL

Nissan: 437,712 total number of potentially affected vehicles
2001 2003 Nissan Maxima
2001 – 2003 Nissan Pathfinder
2002 – 2003 Nissan Sentra
2001 – 2003 Infiniti I30/I35
2002 – 2003 Infiniti QX4
2003 Infiniti FX

Mazda: 18,050 total number of potentially affected vehicles
2003 – 2004 Mazda6
2004 Mazda RX-8

BMW: 573,935 total number of potentially affected vehicles
2000 – 2005 3 Series Sedan
2000 – 2006 3 Series Coupe
2000 – 2005 3 Series Sports Wagon
2000 – 2006 3 Series Convertible
2001 – 2006 M3 Coupe
2001 – 2006 M3 Convertible

General Motors: 133,221 total number potentially affected vehicles
2002 – 2003 Buick LeSabre
2002 – 2003 Buick Rendezvous
2002 – 2003 Cadillac DeVille
2002 – 2003 Chevrolet Trailblazer
2002 – 2003 Chevrolet Impala
2002 – 2003 Chevrolet Monte Carlo
2002 – 2003 Chevrolet Venture
2002 – 2003 GMC Envoy
2002 – 2003 GMC Envoy XL
2002 – 2003 Oldsmobile Aurora
2002 – 2003 Oldsmobile Bravada
2002 – 2003 Oldsmobile Silhouette
2002 – 2003 Pontiac Bonneville
2002 – 2003 Pontiac Montana

Recall letters are being sent out to affected owners, who can also look up their VIN through SaferCar.gov to determine if their vehicle is under recall.

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Rental Review :2013 Chevrolet Cruze LT/RS http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/rental-review-2013-chevrolet-cruze-ltrs/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/rental-review-2013-chevrolet-cruze-ltrs/#comments Tue, 21 Oct 2014 12:30:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=933994 This was supposed to be a rental racetrack review. The plan was to to challenge Watkins Glen with Daewoo GM Korea Chevrolet’s well-received not-so-compact sedan, letting the 1.4L turbo engine drag us from Turn One to the Bus Stop under full throttle before putting the brakes up on a pinball table and giving them the […]

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This was supposed to be a rental racetrack review. The plan was to to challenge Watkins Glen with Daewoo GM Korea Chevrolet’s well-received not-so-compact sedan, letting the 1.4L turbo engine drag us from Turn One to the Bus Stop under full throttle before putting the brakes up on a pinball table and giving them the ol’ Jodie Foster* in preparation for the Outer Loop. This would be excellent practice for me and brother Bark as we prepared for AER’s first race at the Glen and it would also reveal quite a bit about the dynamic character of the “RS” package, which in time-honored RS fashion is entirely cosmetic in nature.

Alas, it was not to be. We’d have to be content with 1,222 miles in just 72 hours. So what’s this? Another Cruze review like this one and this one and this one? Not quite, because this time around I’d managed to rent something that wasn’t rental-spec at all.

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To begin with, this Cruze had a sunroof! I can vividly remember the last time I got a rental car with an optional sunroof; it was 1996, in Los Angeles, and the car in question was an oddball Mercury Sable LS with partial-leather seats and the 24-valve Duratec. Rental agencies are so sunroof-averse that their resale operations will actually install one for you if you insist on it. I would trust an aftermarket sunroof installed by Enterprise Car Sales about as far as I would trust a Chinese condom with incomprehensible characters all over it and a weird cartoon drawing of something halfway between a sunflower and Mikhail Gorbachev’s birthmark.

No, wait, hold on, I’d trust the aftermarket sunroof less, because every aftermarket sunroof I’ve ever tried has leaked and every… you don’t want to hear about this stuff, do you? Our proven market research shows that TTAC readers mostly want to hear about small-sample reliability data extrapolated beyond any possible reason. I feel confident, therefore, in saying that because nothing went wrong with this Cruze during my seventy-two hours with the car nothing will ever go wrong with any of them, ever.

The funny thing is that I would trust a Cruze to hold up. I’ve now put about five thousand miles on at least seven different Cruzes and I’ve never seen anything that raised my eyebrows. Insofar as the manufacture and distribution of vehicles that are reliable and durable in the long term is the very thing that made Toyota’s reputation in this country, I have to wonder how many people will consider GM in the future because they’ve been exposed to a high-mileage Cruze that still looks and drives like a new-ish car.

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Which this one certainly did, even with an odometer that rolled 40,000 during my trip. The interior was a significant upgrade on the poverty chic of the last high-mileage Cruze I drove, in a rather impressive combination of chocolate brown soft-touch plastic and cream leather. Between that and the full touchscreen MyLink system fitted to this example, I started to think I was in a bit of an entry-luxury car. There was no noticeable wear on any surface. The seats look like I wish the seats on my 49,000-mile Boxster S Anniversary looked — free of cracking or shiny spots — yet I’m willing to bet hard cash that, unlike my Boxster, this Cruze hasn’t been garaged indoors its entire life and lovingly treated to Lexol cleaner and conditioner every month or so.

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For much of the weekend, the Cruze was asked to ferry three people plus my RainSong JM1000 in the passenger compartment, a task it accomplished without difficulty but also without much legroom. It’s not a small car in most respects but I can’t imagine that anybody in Korea actually gets chauffeured in their Lacettis; there’d be no point to the exercise. Might as well get driven around in a ’76 Celica with the seat shoved all the way back.

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The upgraded front seats in this example remain short in the bolster and curiously undersized as a whole. They’re like 9/10ths scale seats, Smokey Yunick specials to make the rest of the interior feel bigger. As a result, I found myself bracing my right leg against the center console, where it rolled the temperature control to “hotter than balls” every time I shifted my knee. The sound system in this LT/RS was tinny and oddly short on bass; it also sounded noticeably worse through the AUX input than with a compact disc. Even though the compact disc in question was Mumford and Sons’ “Babel”.

“I cannot stand this,” one passenger moaned, switching the stereo back to “Aux”.

“Is this ‘Kirk Whalum Plays The Babyface Songbook’?” Bark inquired.

“Well,” I replied, “I heard you like jazz.” My previous long-distance drives in the Cruze have been in the cheapo 1.8-liter Ecotec models, but this one is the 1.4L turbo. This is what it’s good at: creating the impression of a much bigger, more powerful, smoothly confident engine at full throttle; pulling small hills without a triple downshift; returning 33.8mpg over 400 miles of freeway usage. This is what it’s not good at: full-throttle acceleration; long hills where the relatively flat torque curve cannot disguise the fact that you’re asking a 1.4L engine to motivate something about the curb weight of an old BMW 733i; making reassuring noises at idle and after shutoff instead of horrible thermal clacking and cracking.

The numbers are close between the two available Cruze engines but assuming the smaller-displacement turbo mill isn’t a hand grenade waiting to happen I’d take it every single time. Combined with the heavy but self-assured steering and dynamics that come standard in every Cruze the effect is sort of like the cheapo BMW F80 variants in many ways. It certainly feels at home on the freeway. In limited backroad driving around the Glen, the Cruze RS proved to be unenthusiastic but capable at moderate cornering speeds.

Unfortunately for me, a previous renter had already treated this Chevy’s brakes with profound disrespect, so every touch of the middle pedal resulted in the kind of shuddering that is more typically the precursor to an exploding Space Shuttle. It got to the point that I chose to use the kinda-Tiptronic as a brake on long hills, a choice neither appreciated nor endured with much grace by the slow-witted six-speed automatic.

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No doubt about it, after the first day or so this review will be read mostly by potential used-Cruze buyers relying on search engines to bring them unbiased opinions on the vehicle. So to those readers, I give you a Cruze Checklist. If you want:

* High-quality materials and workmanship, with the exception of the ignition switch
* Quiet freeway ride
* Good but not spectacular fuel economy
* Reasonable front-seat comfort
* Decent trunk space

then the Cruze is for you. If you want

* Speed, power, excitement
* Maximum efficiency
* Rear seat space
* The best sound system and Bluetooth integration possible
* The smallest possible footprint for urban parking or storage

then you’ll want to avoid the Cruze, because it has none of those things.

Four years ago, I wrote of the Cruze, “It’s well-positioned against the Civic and Corolla. I believe that it beats both of those cars in significant, measurable ways.” The Civic is refreshed and the Corolla is new since then, but I remain pretty steadfast about that statement. The Cruze has a lot of the common decency that was once the particular excellence of the post-1979 GM A-body sedans. Staid-looking, over-serious, unrelentingly unsentimental about things like sportiness and space efficiency, the Cruze continues to deliver what most Americans actually want in a small sedan, as opposed to what they tell people they want.

This RS version with all the gingerbread is worth seeking out in the used market. The question is: if these cars continue to hold up and perform well, will they still be a bargain? Maybe they’d be a bargain even at a higher price, assuming they don’t have any racetrack time on them.

Which reminds me: The reason I didn’t track the Cruze was simplicity itself. During my overnight drive to the Glen, I pulled in at a truck stop to get two hours of rest. It’s rare for me to be able to sleep more than about ninety minutes in a car without cramping or experiencing pain from all the places I’ve been cut up or broken a bone in the past. Imagine my surprise when I woke five hours later, too late to catch the morning street-car practice. So that’s the Cruze: too relaxing to be thrilling. Even with an “RS” badge.

* In all good conscience, I cannot toss off a joke in reference to The Accused without including a counterpoint — JB

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Reuss: New Chevrolet EV In The Pipeline http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/reuss-new-chevrolet-ev-pipeline/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/reuss-new-chevrolet-ev-pipeline/#comments Mon, 13 Oct 2014 12:00:38 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=930274 Looking to broaden Chevrolet’s green horizons, General Motors global product overlord Mark Reuss says a new EV is in the works, one that will join the Spark EV and the Volt. And just as TTAC reported earlier this year, the new vehicle will be based on the Chevrolet Sonic. Automotive News reports the vehicle will likely be […]

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Looking to broaden Chevrolet’s green horizons, General Motors global product overlord Mark Reuss says a new EV is in the works, one that will join the Spark EV and the Volt. And just as TTAC reported earlier this year, the new vehicle will be based on the Chevrolet Sonic.

Automotive News reports the vehicle will likely be based upon the B-segment Sonic, have a range of 200 miles, and will become a part of the Bow Tie’s model portfolio by 2017 at the earliest, all according to two individuals close to the source. Reuss, for his part, didn’t disclose more than the fact the vehicle will soon exist.

The EV may have been in development for some time: prior to his departure for greener groves in 2013, then-CEO Dan Akerson said GM was working on a vehicle that would deliver 200 miles of travel on a single charge.

As for where it might be sold, the Spark EV is currently available only in California and Oregon, though the brand’s customers around the country would like to put the electric subcompact in their garages, per Reuss.

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GM Puts Stop-Delivery Order On Colorado, Canyon Twins http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/gm-puts-stop-delivery-order-colorado-canyon-twins/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/gm-puts-stop-delivery-order-colorado-canyon-twins/#comments Mon, 06 Oct 2014 11:00:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=926401 If you ordered one of General Motors’ new mid-size pickups, your delivery may be a bit late, thanks to an airbag recall. Automotive News reports dealers received a note last week from GM informing them that the automaker had notified the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of an “upcoming safety and noncompliance recall” involving the […]

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Chevrolet Colorados + Car Carrier

If you ordered one of General Motors’ new mid-size pickups, your delivery may be a bit late, thanks to an airbag recall.

Automotive News reports dealers received a note last week from GM informing them that the automaker had notified the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of an “upcoming safety and noncompliance recall” involving the driver’s side airbag connection being incorrectly wired while the Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon twins were on the assembly line:

This condition will cause the driver-side airbags to not function as designed and may adversely affect the crash performance of the driver-side airbags.

GM says it will deliver a software update to its dealerships “in the next few days,” allowing service techs to reprogram the affected airbag’s sensing and diagnostic module prior to delivery. That said, most of the affected are either at the Wentzville, Mo. assembly plant, in transit, or unsold on the lot.

Speaking of sales of the twins, the automaker reported 36 Colorados and 11 Canyons heading for the old dirt road to the beer-fueled barnyard disco in September.

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Valet Mode Data Recorder In 2015 Corvettes Could Bring Legal Trouble For Some http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/valet-mode-data-recorder-2015-corvettes-bring-legal-trouble/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/valet-mode-data-recorder-2015-corvettes-bring-legal-trouble/#comments Tue, 30 Sep 2014 10:00:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=921601 Not too long ago, General Motors brought comfort to many a new 2015 Corvette Stingray owner with a feature that would do for them what teddy-bear cams did for concerned parents, recording audio, video and vehicle data when the key was given to the valet. Alas, the spyware could land the owner in legal hot […]

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Not too long ago, General Motors brought comfort to many a new 2015 Corvette Stingray owner with a feature that would do for them what teddy-bear cams did for concerned parents, recording audio, video and vehicle data when the key was given to the valet. Alas, the spyware could land the owner in legal hot water in a dozen states, to say the least.

Automotive News reports GM and Chevrolet will send a software update in October to address the problems that could await owners in two-party states — California, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Washington — were the data recorder used without the consent of the valet. The automaker also notified dealers to inform their customers to not use the system until the update goes through.

The proposed fix could include removing audio recording from the feature, adding a warning informing valets that they’re being recorded, or another method under consideration.

Another notification, signed by GM senior vice president for global quality and customer experience Alicia Boler-Davis, instructs customers to refrain from using the valet mode, or to inform the valet they would be recorded upon taking the car, and to “obtain their consent.”

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Chevrolet, Honda Give CNG Passenger Cars Another Chance http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/chevrolet-honda-give-cng-passenger-cars-another-chance/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/chevrolet-honda-give-cng-passenger-cars-another-chance/#comments Fri, 19 Sep 2014 13:00:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=915178 Aside from a few trucks, some taxis and a fair number of buses, natural gas doesn’t receive a lot of play in the alternative energy game in comparison to darlings such as electric power and hydrogen. Despite this condition, Chevrolet and Honda are both ready to push natural gas onto commuters and efficiency-minded consumers alike. […]

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Aside from a few trucks, some taxis and a fair number of buses, natural gas doesn’t receive a lot of play in the alternative energy game in comparison to darlings such as electric power and hydrogen. Despite this condition, Chevrolet and Honda are both ready to push natural gas onto commuters and efficiency-minded consumers alike.

The Detroit News reports Honda recently introduced a new generation of its Civic Natural Gas model, featuring amenities like heated leather seats and premium sound systems the previous model lacked. Chevrolet, on the other hand, plans to bring a dual-fuel Impala to the party in a few months, being able to use either CNG or gasoline depending on the situation.

Though both brands are willing to give CNG passenger cars another shot, not too many others are as willing. Most automakers believe there’s no money or demand to be found in the alternative fuel, legislators are too focused on the in-crowd of energy solutions, and environmentalists are playing the long game instead of being in the present.

As for the vehicles themselves, both models will come straight from the factory with the same warranties as their gasoline-powered siblings, with the expectation of greater confidence in CNG from the consumer as a result. The Civic and Impala will likely drum up competition among other CNG vehicle manufacturers for the first time in a decade, as well.

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GM Mid-Size Twins Best Similarly Equipped Full-Size Pickups In Fuel Economy http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/gm-mid-size-twins-best-similarly-equipped-full-size-pickups-fuel-economy/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/gm-mid-size-twins-best-similarly-equipped-full-size-pickups-fuel-economy/#comments Thu, 04 Sep 2014 12:00:38 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=906401 As full-size pickups do their best to eke out as much fuel economy as possible, the upcoming Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon are set to deliver a combined 21 mpg once they leave the lot for the road. Autoblog reports the GM twin mid-sizers will net owners 18 mpg in the city and 26 mpg […]

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2015 Chevrolet Colorado + GMC Canyon

As full-size pickups do their best to eke out as much fuel economy as possible, the upcoming Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon are set to deliver a combined 21 mpg once they leave the lot for the road.

Autoblog reports the GM twin mid-sizers will net owners 18 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway in two-wheel drive models equipped with a six-speed auto mated to the 305-horsepower 3.6-liter direct-injection V6. For comparison, a Ram 1500 4×2 with the Pentastar 3.6-liter V6 sending power to the back through an eight-speed auto offers a rating of 17/20/25; the outgoing Ford F-150 4×2 with its 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 and six-speed auto delivers 16/18/22 mpg; and the Chevrolet Silverado C15 4×2 brings 18/20/24 mpg through its larger 4.3-liter V6 and six-speed auto.

Those wanting all four wheels to do the climbing up that hill will find the Colorado’s and Canyon’s ratings falling to 17/20/24 mpg, though they still best the Silverado K15 4×4 (17/20/22), Ford F-150 4×4 (15/17/21) and Ram 1500 4×4 (16/19/23).

As for trucks closer in size to the duo, Jalopnik subsidiary Truck Yeah says the two-wheel drive models are more than able to throw down against the Nissan Frontier 4×2 (16/18/22 mpg) and Toyota Tacoma 4×2 (17/19/21 mpg).

GM adds that a 2.8-liter Duramax is in the offing for 2016, with figures ready for perusing closer to launch time.

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