By on August 16, 2017

1966 Chevrolet Impala in Colorado wrecking yard, air conditioning decal - ©2017 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

Yesterday, Tim Cain reported on the new Chevrolet Tahoe Custom trim, which lowers the point of entry on the Tahoe by $3,750 for 2018. If you’re a nerd and enjoy trim-level discussions like I do, this is an important moment. For the first time since the Tahoe grew to four doors in 1995, you’ll be able to buy a trim lower than the LS.

This new (relatively) low-cost trim is seen by many Internet Car Enthusiasts here at TTAC as the way forward: dispensing with unnecessary options like infotainment, large wheels, and a third row seat that rarely sees use. Seems like a decent enough idea, so let’s take it across the board today.

Which vehicles deserve a cost-cutting trim level?

(Read More…)

By on July 13, 2017

2018 Chevrolet Equinox vs Impala/Cruze/Malibu - Images: GMIn June 2017, General Motors reported 29,182 U.S. sales of its Chevrolet Equinox, the company’s most popular non-truck model in America.

A 49-percent year-over-year improvement made June the best month for the Equinox since May 2015.

Combined with sharp declines from Chevrolet’s three mainline sedans, it also made the Equinox more popular in June than the Chevrolet Cruze, Malibu, and Impala combined.

As if we needed more evidence that Americans want crossovers, not cars. (Read More…)

By on June 5, 2017

1966 Chevrolet Impala in Colorado wrecking yard, LH front view - ©2017 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

I have a lengthy history with a 1965 Chevrolet Impala sedan. So when I checked the online inventory of a local Denver self-service wrecking yard and saw a ’65 Impala sedan there, I headed right over. It turned out that someone had made a data-entry mistake while listing the inventory, and the car is a 1966 model. Still, it’s a very interesting Junkyard Find, so let’s take a closer look. (Read More…)

By on May 11, 2017

2016 Chevrolet Impala Midnight Edition - Image: Chevrolet

We knew General Motors’ strategy for the tenth-generation Chevrolet Impala would be different when the big sedan was launched in 2013. No longer intended to be the fleet queen and a hugely discounted showroom sedan, the tenth-gen Impala moved upmarket.

Consequently, sales decreased, and did so in dramatic fashion. The Impala’s U.S. volume in 2014 was down by more than half compared with 2007 output. Sales continued to fall, with the Impala’s 2016 calendar year result of 97,006 U.S. sales representing the sixth consecutive year of decline.

The Impala’s numbers are getting lower. Much lower. After averaging more than 8,000 monthly Impala sales in 2016 and nearly 10,000 per month as recently as 2015, Impala volume has cratered in early 2017. Only 3,213 Impalas were sold in the United States in April 2017, down 73 percent compared with the Impala’s April average over the last five years.

But don’t assume the scarcity of Impala sales will translate to an abundance of deals at your local Chevrolet dealer. Impalas are thin on the ground, and GM isn’t playing games with incentives. (Read More…)

By on April 21, 2017

2017 Cadillac XTS, Image: © 2017 Charley Baruth

(Everybody say HAYYYYYYY to our guest reviewer du jour, Danger Girl! —jb)

The creaky old 737-300, lacking wi-fi and assigned seating but chock-full of oversized roller luggage, touched down in Queen City at about 9:40 p.m. on a Monday night. My hopes for what I would find in the Charlotte Douglas International Airport Executive Emerald Aisle were about as high as the hopes I’d had when I ran from gate A8 to B15 at BWI, knowing my connecting flight had been boarding for a solid 15 minutes. Which is to say: lower than low. To my surprise, this was not the case at the Executive Emerald Aisle. I’d expected the automotive equivalent of my back-cabin center seat, but this was more like the delightfully unoccupied space on the aisle side of the exit row.

I walked past the Tahoes, the Escalades, and a Cadillac XTS thinking I was in some alternate universe known as the Elite section, or that “Hertz Dream Car” area Jack sometimes rents from. I was looking for the standard 300C, Challenger, or base Mustang to which I’ve become accustomed. An agent happened to walk by me. In an effort to pinch myself and make sure this was really happening, I asked him if the XTS was, in fact, part of the Executive Emerald Aisle. “Sure! Take it!” he said.

Well, alrighty then.

(Read More…)

By on March 7, 2017

Dodge Charger Seward Highway

“It should not be denied… that being footloose has always exhilarated us. It is associated in our minds with escape from history and oppression and law and irksome obligations, with absolute freedom, and the road has always led West.” —Wallace Stegner

Got an unusual question via email the other day. It comes from a young man who will be familiar to you but whom we will not explicitly identify. He was once a writer, once an editor, and now a financier, having achieved escape velocity from this ragged, scuttling business into the security and prestige of grown men’s endeavors. There was a time that he worked for me, and a time that I worked for him. It seems difficult to believe that we met eight full years ago.

Anyway, in the course of our various conversations, this Canadian fellow (we’ll call him “Bo”) happened to mention his upcoming travel plans and his need for some companionship along the way, preferably of the short-term, transaction-oriented variety.

(Read More…)

By on December 19, 2016

Camaro Cash On Hood

(Update: This story has been updated to reflect new information.)

Not since the dark days of the recession has General Motors had so many vehicles clogging its inventory.

Bursting at the seams with unsold cars (but not trucks or SUVs), the automaker will temporarily turn out the lights at five assembly plants and kill off three shifts in order to bring things back into balance. For thousands of workers, that means the kind of extended Christmas holiday you don’t want. (Read More…)

By on August 18, 2016

MISSISSAUGA, Ontario, Canada (May 16, 2014) - An all-new Nissan Micra has returned to the Canadian landscape. This is a fun car, packed with details and more value than what is available in other small cars in the market. Its key attributes were on display in Montreal as the brand hosted a welcome-back event for the car., Image: Nissan Canada

Grits and poutine aren’t the only divisions betwixt us.

Celine Dion and two-year election campaigns aren’t the only factors that enable Europeans to tell us apart.

Catastrophic illness-induced bankruptcy and wait-time-fostering universal healthcare aren’t the only hallmarks of our unique approaches to public policy.

There are wildly divergent vehicular tastes between the United States and Canada, as well. (Read More…)

By on July 12, 2016

2016 Chevrolet Impala V6-008

An anonymous GM employee writes:

I have a field role with General Motors that affords me the luxury of driving (mostly) anything in The General’s portfolio. I can choose from any brand except Cadillac, and can’t drive a Corvette or pickup (because of retail demand and limited supply). I’m 22 with student debt down into the low four digits. GM pays for gas, insurance, and incidentals like oil changes and winter tires because I need a car to do my job. I live in a snow-heavy state where I’m expected to do around 30,000 miles a year for business travel alone. Finally, I switch out cars every four months because that means it remains eligible for new vehicle incentives and programs when it’s sold back to the dealer at a big discount.

Here’s the catch: the vehicle is considered a taxable benefit.

(Read More…)

By on May 17, 2016

lincoln town car cartier

Adam writes:

Hey Bark,

I’m currently driving a car that’s outlasted jobs, girlfriends, friendships, an Obama presidency and a Harper administration. I am rolling in a 1998 Lincoln Town Car Cartier — and boy do I love my ride!

From my pic, you can see “Mitzi” is a well taken care of lady. 446,000 kms later, I still love her as much as I did when I bought her. However, after 18 years, the undercarriage (despite yearly rust proofing, thanks southern Ontario winters) is becoming brittle and I feel like I’m getting repairs on a bi-weekly basis. If not for this being my first car, I would have moved on a long time ago. Aside from heated seats, a gold dash analog clock, a six-CD changer in the trunk and an unmistakable ride, it offers little else (aside from being insanely dependable for most its life).

My question: What should I get next?

(Read More…)

By on May 16, 2016

Chevrolet_Impala. Photo courtesy wikipedia.org

A crime that ends with no one being harmed is a good thing, but a Detroit family spent several agonizing hours waiting to find that out.

Three-month-old Dakota Grimes is back at home after the 2006 Chevrolet Impala she was riding in was stolen from the parking lot of a eastside Detroit convenience store just before 1 a.m. this morning, according to the Detroit Free Press.

(Read More…)

By on April 14, 2016

Bark M. wearing fancy Blue Oval threads, Image: © Bark Jr./The Truth About Cars

Since we’ve been doing these Ask Bark columns at the beginning of the year, I’ve received well over a hundred questions from you, our loyal readers. While I truly want to answer all of them, some of them don’t need a 1,000 word response, so they’ve been languishing in my inbox because I can’t turn them into a full column on their own.

So, today we’ll be doing some quick hits and answering several questions in one column. In other words, here’s your chance to call me an idiot multiple times, which I know that some of you are already quite giddy about.

Let’s get to it.

(Read More…)

By on March 8, 2016

2015 Ford F-150

Steve writes:

Mr. Bark:

My lady lives 650 miles away. Most of the time I fly to see her, but over the past 18 months I have put 40,000 miles on my Ford F-150 due to the odd weekends where it’s too expensive to fly, I can’t board my dog, or I want to do a detour and visit my parents in Arkansas.

What do you think is the best vehicle for frequent, long road trips? There has to be come kind of calculus that will help determine a balance between comfort, economy and longevity, but I keep coming back to my F-150. Also, breaking off the relationship with the lady is not an option.

Thanks,

Steve H.

Thanks for the formal greeting, Mr. Steve. Gosh, so many variables to consider, and less than a thousand words to do it in! Let’s get to it.

(Read More…)

By on December 29, 2015

2016 Chevrolet Impala V6-004

The Impala exists in an odd segment of its own. The full-sized Chevy is one of the largest sedans on sale in America, yet its base engine is only a 2.5-liter four cylinder. Based on the pricing and feature options, the Impala is designed to be a semi-step above the Malibu, yet the number of true competitors the Impala has is extremely small. That’s because GM’s philosophy in the large sedan segment is different from the rest. Most of its competitors have two entries in this segment: one mass-market option and one luxury option. GM, however, slices its pie three ways with the Chevy Impala, Buick LaCrosse and Cadillac XTS.

That puts the Impala in the dubious position of the least expensive option in GM’s full-sized portfolio. It also means the Impala’s full-sized competition narrows to just the Taurus and the Charger. Why? Because the real competitor to the Chrysler 300, Hyundai Azera, Kia Cadenza, Acura RLX and most trims of the Toyota Avalon isn’t the Impala, but the Buick LaCrosse. Meanwhile, top-end trims of the RLX, Cadenza, Azera, Chrysler 300 and Lexus ES cross shop with the Cadillac.

Has GM sliced things just a little bit too fine with the Impala? Let’s find out.

(Read More…)

By on October 21, 2015

2014_Chevrolet-Impala-LTZ-tug-boat

General Motors is getting pickier about where it does business and the products it sells. Could that also translate to where it will build its products in the future?

In a recent piece from Automotive News’ Mike Colias, the trade publication paints a bleak picture for one of General Motors’ longest running nameplates. The subject was Impala and the question was whether the car named after an African antelope, while well received by the automotive press, could survive the guillotine in a market that increasingly prefers crossovers and SUVs over sedans.

“We have a broad portfolio. But how are we going to look at what are the right vehicles to put in the marketplace? We’ll look at what makes sense and what will generate a return,” General Motors CEO Mary Barra told Automotive News earlier this month.

Naturally, Colias brought up Impala, and the reply stopped short of commitment to the car and the segment.

(Read More…)

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