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. Tue, 21 Oct 2014 18:05:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 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 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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Piston Slap: The E-Z Out for My BMW, Minivan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/piston-slap-7/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/piston-slap-7/#comments Mon, 13 Oct 2014 12:19:00 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=929906 TTAC regular psarhjinian writes: I just bought a E46 3-Series that needs some care (hey, it was cheap!) and snapped off both bolts holding the alternator to (I think) the oil filter housing. I’ve gotten the alernator off, but the last inch-or-so of the threaded section of one bolt is broken off. Thank you, BMW for […]

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Gotcha! (photo courtesy: http://f30.bimmerpost.com/)

TTAC regular psarhjinian writes:

I just bought a E46 3-Series that needs some care (hey, it was cheap!) and snapped off both bolts holding the alternator to (I think) the oil filter housing. I’ve gotten the alernator off, but the last inch-or-so of the threaded section of one bolt is broken off. Thank you, BMW for using steel bolts in an aluminum block.

Question one: What’s the best method for getting these out? I might be able to back them out with a reversing bit, but there isn’t a lot of clearance (can’t centre-punch it; it’s not a clean break) and I would really, really not like to take the OFH off.

Same car, second question: these things leak PS fluid like crazy out of the reservoir (“they all do that”, but I’m replacing the reservoir and hoses anyway, and the clamps BMW uses just suck…). Combined with a hole in the fender and a prior owner who lived on a dirt rural road, this has created a mini Tar Sands in the engine compartment. What’s the best way to clean out an engine bay when you live in a rental and don’t have a outside water tap? I don’t want to take the car to a carwash and pressure-washer-blast it for fear of making things worse.

Third question: on my wife’s Pontiac Montana (2007) there’s an awful, junky rattling from the front driver’s side over even small bumps, and stretches of bad pavement sound like the van is going to shed parts, and if I rock the car side-to-side I can hear a clink/clank from the wheelwell. Since I need one working car, I need to keep downtime to a minimum and can’t go on a fishing expedition. Where should I be looking and what should I replace?

Sajeev answers:

The best way? It’s via screw extractor (aka E-Z Out) but that’s really the hard way: LSX-FTW swap is the far smarter route.  Sure, it’s more expensive and far more labor intensive.  But you’ll never have to curse BMW for their poor choice in fasteners, hose clamps, and everything else that nickel and dimes you at the E46’s age.  And when the engine is out, you go right ahead and get some shop towels, soak them in engine degreaser and wear some rubber gloves.

Only slightly joking, considering your follow-up email…

psarhjinian added:

Question 1: had to take the oil filter off, tried to use an easy-out on the bolt. Broke the easy-out inside the bolt. Local machine shops won’t touch it and a new OFH is going to be cheaper. So that’s that question answered, dammit.

Question 2: Let’s say that getting the PS reservoir off has made even more of a mess, so this applies.

Question 3: Still here.

Sajeev concludes:

Question 1: Getting a replacement junkyard part is often the best move (time and value-wise, even for BMW spec spares), even if a machine shop would take your money for the work. This isn’t a Cord 812 or something, there are plenty of spares lying around.

Question 2: Don’t worry, take it to the coin-op car wash and use their engine cleaner.  If you are really worried about your rubber lines, electrical connections, etc check the BMW’s “weak spots” that a power washer could get. Then cover them up with a plastic baggie.  Modern cars lack distributors, I don’t see a problem if you refrain from shooting every little thing with high pressure water.  If you are super paranoid, take a can of compressed air to shoot at the spark plug wires/ignition wiring plugs if the BMW doesn’t immediately fire up after being washed.

Question 3: Could be several things, but this seems to suggest worn strut mounts.  The replacements are dirt cheap, but don’t buy until you are sure that’s the problem.  A clean bill of health via mechanic’s diagnostic fee is worth the peace of mind, if you don’t trust your eyeballs when you remove the wheels and look for yourself.

 

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice. 

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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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Canadian General Motors Plant Hit By Wildcat Strike http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/canadian-general-motors-plant-hit-wildcat-strike/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/canadian-general-motors-plant-hit-wildcat-strike/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 14:44:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=921418 A wildcat strike at GM’s CAMI plant briefly shut down the assembly plant where the GMC Terrain and Chevrolet Equinox are produced. The strike lasted a mere 2.5 hours. According to the QMI news agency “…a worker at the plant said the incident started in the morning when [a worker] was raising a concern with a […]

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A wildcat strike at GM’s CAMI plant briefly shut down the assembly plant where the GMC Terrain and Chevrolet Equinox are produced.

The strike lasted a mere 2.5 hours. According to the QMI news agency

“…a worker at the plant said the incident started in the morning when [a worker] was raising a concern with a plant supervisor and was ordered to leave the plant along with another union official.

The worker said the walkout affected production at the plant which is running at capacity with three shifts, six days a week.”

The worker in question, Mike van Boekel, is the unit chairperson for Unifor Local 88. He told QMI that as part of the terms of the settlement, he has been asked not to speak about the incident.

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GM, Isuzu Back In LUV http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/gm-isuzu-back-in-luv/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/gm-isuzu-back-in-luv/#comments Fri, 26 Sep 2014 13:40:46 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=920154 Isuzu and GM agreed to develop a next-generation mid-size pickup for world markets, though Canada and the United States will get their own distinct model under the terms of the agreement. Although GM has held as much of 49 percent of Isuzu’s equity, the tie-up was wound down in 2006. The two companies have a […]

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Isuzu and GM agreed to develop a next-generation mid-size pickup for world markets, though Canada and the United States will get their own distinct model under the terms of the agreement.

Although GM has held as much of 49 percent of Isuzu’s equity, the tie-up was wound down in 2006. The two companies have a long history of collaboration on trucks, starting with the Chevrolet LUV and continuing through the current Isuzu D-Max, which shares a significant amount of technology with the current GM mid-size trucks.

The next-generation truck will be important for markets like Thailand and Australia, where mid-size pickups play a role akin to America’s full-size trucks.

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The Impala or Nothing http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/impala-nothing/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/impala-nothing/#comments Thu, 25 Sep 2014 16:36:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=918642   This could be the 2nd coolest Chevrolet Impala ever featured on TTAC. We all know Murlee Martin’s Impala from Hell is the first. There just one problem with that; this car is not really a Chevrolet Impala. What you are looking at is a 1967 GMC (General Motors Continental) Impala. In fact, prior to […]

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Courtesy of Bill Grow

Courtesy of Bill Grow

This could be the 2nd coolest Chevrolet Impala ever featured on TTAC. We all know Murlee Martin’s Impala from Hell is the first. There just one problem with that; this car is not really a Chevrolet Impala. What you are looking at is a 1967 GMC (General Motors Continental) Impala. In fact, prior to March of this year, this particular Impala had never once turned a wheel on US soil.

This Impala was born in Canada as a complete knockdown vehicle, also known as a CKD. From our friends in the frozen north, it was transported in pieces to the GM plant in Antwerp, Belgium where it was assembled in December of 1967.

Courtesy of Bill Grow

Courtesy of Bill Grow

 

GMs history with Europe dates back to 1923 when the first assembly factory was established in Copenhagen. Their second plant was in Antwerp, initially in an Abby then moving to a cycle stadium to meet demand. After WWII, this plant would assemble just over 78,000 “Chevrolets.” In 1967, they assembled just under 1,500 Impalas, Novas and even Camaros. These were sold in the Baltics and Eastern Europe.

Courtesy of Bill Grow

Courtesy of Bill Grow

This particular Impala started life Lemon Yellow and after its birth, its exact course through time is unknown. In 1995 Gabor Varga, a Hungarian Pilot purchased it. Gabor did all of his own work on the Impala and kept it all original, aside from a new paintjob. As the current owner points out “The continent she was on changed more than she did over the last 50 years.”

 

Courtesy of Bill Grow

Courtesy of Bill Grow

The current owner, Bill Grow purchased the car from Gabor in 2013. A military contractor, he was living in Hungary at the time;

 “I was driving a 1987 Lada 2103 in Hungary and for the first time in our lives, we were making enough money that my wife and I were “living the good life” which means my automotive ADD was in full swing. 
 In town, at a local car dealership was a black Mazda RX-8.  I hounded my wife for weeks on end until she finally gave in.  She was going to visit her grandmother in Buffalo, New York for her 80th birthday (her grandmother’s birthday, not my wife’s) and her exact quote was “Bill, if you’re going to go spend our money on a stupid boy car, you’d better do it now BEFORE we start having kids” (she was not yet pregnant with our first, but he wasn’t far off).
 The RX-8 ended up selling exactly 30-minutes before I could get to the dealership.  Having nothing else on the lot, or in town, of any interest I started searching the Hungarian Auto Trader (hasznaltauto.hu) and just kind of went down the list:
- Porsche
- Jaguar
- RX-7
- BMW
- …
- …
- Chevrolet
 
Chevrolet?  Well heck, I never thought about that!  Man, I used to cut out the featured vehicles out of my Super Chevy magazines when I was a kid, glue them to cardboard, and hang them on my wall like posters.  How cool would it be to buy on here?”

 

A search for the previously mentioned Camaros and Novas turned up nothing. There was a single Chevelle with body damage, then a single listing for an Impala. He made contact with Gabor, despite speaking very little Hungarian and Gabor speaking no English, they managed to communicate just fine. As Bill said “You learn quickly that when it comes to cars you really don’t need to say anything.  We did the usual pointing and grunting, tire kicking, toe digging and test-driving that usually goes on when buying a new car.”

Bill continues “So I loved the car right away.  Forget the fact that it took up a Hungarian lane and a half, forget the fact that you couldn’t park it ANYWHERE, forget the fact that gas was $8 a gallon out there ($2 a liter), and forget the fact that I had no idea how I was going to get a car seat (for all our future children) into a car with no seatbelts, I was absolutely smitten with this old Impala!”

Paying in cash required several trips to the ATM and a phone call to the bank to up the daily limit. Then came the operations and ownership briefing. For this Bill had a translator;

 He was going over the fine points of Impala ownership with me. Things like:
- No power steering
- Don’t downshift up hills; it has a powerful engine (a 250 inline six is HUGE in Hungary where the average “large” displacement engine is 2-liters)
- etc etc etc.
He began telling me things I already knew, but I let him talk anyways.  He figured since I was “young” I wouldn’t know things like
- Pump the gas before you turn the key
- Expect a small hesitation with large throttle inputs
It was mid-sentence:  “When the vehicle has sat for a long period of time…’”he started “… Uh, how often do you plan on driving it?’
“Every day.” I replied.
He jumped out of the drivers seat (with me still in the door way) and I swear it was all he could do to keep from hugging me.  He passed the keys to my right hand by means of the heartiest handshake I’ve ever been handed.  I swear he was jumping up and down as he did it.  The guy was just so happy, and I was too.  I know what it’s like letting go of your “baby” and I was now reasonably sure he was happy with his choice of buyers.

Then, the Impala’s new adventures began. There was a trip to Italy with Grandparents, mother and mother in-law; 6 people side by side with their entire luggage. They were cheered by motorcyclists and swarmed by friendly but curious police. The first trip onto the Air Base resulted in a delay for an “inspection.” This apparently required the attention of every guard on base, in addition to officers and any passerby who happened to come through;

 “How big of an engine?”
“Its a 4-point-two liter” (“roar” of surprise)
“How fast does it go?”
“I don’t know, it’s hard to get it up to speed on these roads” (roar of approval)
 
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So why is this Impala so cool? Well in addition to an old school bar speedometer that read in KPH, I’ll let Bill explain;

 Because she survived.  There are so many so called “better” vehicles that have been wrecked, rusted out, raced out, abused, molested to death, or just “lost to time” and this “little engine that could” survived.  For some reason THIS car survived being “last years model”, it got past just being “old”, she neighbored the Yugoslav wars, made it through a gas crisis (or two!), recessions, the ’80s, low-riders, hip-hop, Daytons, hydraulics, sub-woofers, and the Pro-Stock/Pro-Street trends.  THIS car.  Not some SS model or a “Four-oh-nine”, not some car with “all the options”, not a “power-glide”, not a convertible, THIS one.  No gimmicks, no climate controlled bubble, no “never seen the rain”, no “one owner”, and she was never put in a museum.  It was all just spit, blood, and elbow grease (and probably a lot of Hungarian swear words).  She just happened to pick the exact right chain of “previous owners” who happened to pass her to the right “prospective buyers” enough times that she’s made it 48 years.  Can you imagine?  It just goes to show, time really is a brutal test.  You never really know what’s going to make the grade.

After moving his family and the Impala to Washington State, the Impala almost had to go. It wouldn’t fit in the garage of their new house. After a failed E-Bay action and a Craigslist debacle, Bill received permission to keep the old gal and made a few structural modifications to the garage ensured the Impala will be with him for a while.

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Which is good, because after all this mighty Impala has endured, it would be a shame to see it go the route of the Impala from the Hungarian film “Uveg Tigris”

Forward to 1:19:00 if you have the stomach.

Click here to view the embedded video.

“Vagy Impala, Vagy Semmi” (The Impala or Nothing)

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Bark’s Bites: Let’s Play TTAC Fantasy Garage! http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/barks-bites-lets-play-ttac-fantasy-garage/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/barks-bites-lets-play-ttac-fantasy-garage/#comments Mon, 22 Sep 2014 13:00:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=915874 All across America, every Sunday (and Monday…and Thursday, I guess), men and women glue their eyes to television screens to watch the National Football League’s latest public relations gaffe teams and players duel on the gridiron. However, the popularity of these games often has nothing to do with the teams playing or the cities/states they […]

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All across America, every Sunday (and Monday…and Thursday, I guess), men and women glue their eyes to television screens to watch the National Football League’s latest public relations gaffe teams and players duel on the gridiron. However, the popularity of these games often has nothing to do with the teams playing or the cities/states they represent.

It’s all about Fantasy Football, man! That’s right, people who’ve never played or coached a single down of competitive football in their lives can live vicariously through the players that they picked for their weekly lineups. In fact, people often are faced with the dilemma of rooting against their favorite teams so that they can get fantasy points.

So what if we could take the game that is responsible for the highest rated show on television and make it all about what we care about—cars? Of COURSE we can!

The way many fantasy leagues work is that they have a dollar amount assigned to each player, and teams can only spend up to the pre-determined “salary cap” for their league. For example, you might really want Peyton Manning, but your team salary cap is $100M and Manning would count $25M, so it might behoove you to choose Russell Wilson, who only counts $600K against the cap.

So let’s play Fantasy Garage! The average price of a new car in the United States is $32K, so we’ll use that as our number for figuring out our salary cap—nine classifications x $32K=$288,000. Use MSRP, not market pricing. We’ll use market segment classifications, and you’ll need to pick a car for each classification without going over the cap to create the “best” garage you can. You must pick a car that can be bought new for the 2014 or 2015 model years.

The classifications are (examples in parentheses):

Two-seater sports car (MX-5, Boxster, F-Type, Z4, Corvette)

Four-seater sports/pony car (Camaro, Mustang, Challenger)

Subcompact (B segment—Fiesta, Fit, Sonic, Versa)

Compact (C segment—Cruze, Focus, Civic, Sentra, 2 series)

Mid-size (D segment—Accord, Camry, Altima, 3 series)

Full-size (E segment—300, Taurus, Impala, A6)

Small CUV/SUV (CX-5, Escape, X3, Equinox)

Mid-size CUV/SUV (Grand Cherokee, Explorer, Highlander, Q7)

Pickup Truck (all sizes—Canyon, Silverado, F-150, RAM 1500, Tundra, Titan)

Here’s my version—see if you can beat me (it’s all subjective but I’m the final judge).

Two-seater: 2015 Mazda MX-5 sport ($24,765)

Four-seater: 2015 Ford Mustang GT Performance Pack ($35,420)

Sub-compact: 2015 Ford Fiesta ST w/Recaro package ($23,235)

Compact: 2015 VW Golf GTI Autobahn ($30,415)

Mid-size: 2015 BMW 435i ($49,950)—or the 335i variety if you insist on playing by the rules.

Full-size: 2015 Chevrolet Impala 2LT ($31,110)

Small SUV/CUV: 2015 Mazda CX-5 Touring AWD ($26,215)

Midsize SUV/CUV: 2014 Ford Flex SEL AWD ($32,495)

Pickup Truck: 2015 GMC Canyon SLE All-Terrain Package ($33,195)

Did it! My Salary Cap number is $286,800, giving me $1200 of room to spare in case my Fiesta transmission blows.

All right, now it’s your turn—quibble with my picks and make your own. Remember, pick one car for every category, and you cannot go over $288,000. Go!

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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 Already Adding Third Shift At Mid-Size Truck Plant http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/gm-already-adding-third-shift-mid-size-truck-plant/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/gm-already-adding-third-shift-mid-size-truck-plant/#comments Wed, 17 Sep 2014 16:04:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=913754 GM’s new mid-size pickup trucks aren’t even on sale yet, but the auto maker is already preparing to add a third shift at its Wentzville, Missouri assembly plant, which will result in 750 additional jobs. The third shift will come online in early 2015. GM claims to have received as many as 30,000 dealer orders […]

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GM’s new mid-size pickup trucks aren’t even on sale yet, but the auto maker is already preparing to add a third shift at its Wentzville, Missouri assembly plant, which will result in 750 additional jobs.

The third shift will come online in early 2015. GM claims to have received as many as 30,000 dealer orders for the mid-sizers so far – whether they end up in customer hands without major incentives or discounts is a whole other matter.

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Generating Content http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/generating-content/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/generating-content/#comments Tue, 16 Sep 2014 14:16:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=913042 A heretofore unknown publication dubbed Gadget Review published a video outlining  “How to Charge BMW’s i3 Electric Car in a Desert (or Any Where)” using a Honda generator. I’m sure that somebody somewhere thought that this would be a great concept for “shareable” content (including the part where the host attempts to run the generator […]

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Click here to view the embedded video.

A heretofore unknown publication dubbed Gadget Review published a video outlining  “How to Charge BMW’s i3 Electric Car in a Desert (or Any Where)” using a Honda generator. I’m sure that somebody somewhere thought that this would be a great concept for “shareable” content (including the part where the host attempts to run the generator inside the vehicle). The actual idea didn’t yield a ton of juice for the i3’s battery, but the idea of using generators to assist EV charging isn’t entirely unknown.

Long before the Chevrolet Volt, GM’s EV experimented were far cruder, and involved, you guessed it, Honda generators rigged to battery packs as an ersatz range extender. According to a former GM engineer and friend of TTAC, the generator would kick in as the batteries depleted themselves, allowing the prototype vehicle (a Geo Storm) to recharge the batteries and make its way home. “Some of those guys ended up working on the EV1 and are still at GM,” he told us. “I bet that’s where the inspiration for the Volt came from.”

This begs the question – why not just get the i3’s optional from the get-go, and avoid this problem altogether?

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Super Piston Slap: Thrifty Texans Trump Tailgate Theft? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/super-piston-slap-thrifty-texans-trump-tailgate-theft/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/super-piston-slap-thrifty-texans-trump-tailgate-theft/#comments Sat, 06 Sep 2014 12:39:43 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=907985   Yesterday’s post on Texas Tailgate Theft definitely struck a nerve with this Native Texan, especially the NCIB’s Quote: “Since a tailgate theft takes just seconds to accomplish, consumers might consider using an after-market security device, such as a hinge lock to thwart criminals.” Yeah, not quite… Yup, a hose clamp…well not just a hose […]

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(photo courtesy: hardworkingtrucks.com)

Yesterday’s post on Texas Tailgate Theft definitely struck a nerve with this Native Texan, especially the NCIB’s Quote:

“Since a tailgate theft takes just seconds to accomplish, consumers might consider using an after-market security device, such as a hinge lock to thwart criminals.”

Yeah, not quite…

photo 1

Just a little trip to my local Home Depot.

Yup, a hose clamp…well not just a hose clamp, but that’s for later.

Thanks to TTAC commentator, Editor in Chief of another blog and all around nice guy, Mr. Lyndon Johnson (yes, really) for planting this seed in my mind. He posted a photo on Facebook of a rusty hose clamp around the tailgate hinge of his Ranger. It instantly made sense: even if you don’t have a few of these rattling around, why the hell wouldn’t you spend $3 for these?

tailgate

Hose Clamp PROS: Cheap, easy to install, readily available and slows down a would-be thief to the point they’ll look for another tailgate to swipe. And its an extra measure of protection, even if you have a lock in your tailgate release handle. (As they aren’t too hard to punch out with a screwdriver, too.)

(photo courtesy: pickupspecialities.com)

Hose Clamp CONS: The expensive-ish aftermarket alternatives are more theft resistant. And the clamps are kinda ghetto-trashy ugly, if you care about those Vellum Venom type of design hang ups.

Here’s how to narrow the gap between the clamp and the lock: level the playing field with a bit of silicone adhesive.  You know, the stuff you already have in your garage.

photo 2

It’s not rocket science: coat the screw head and clamp’s threads in the stuff. It’s an extra level of complication, and as the night photo shows, a bit more complicated to comprehend. It’ll certainly drive a thief nuts trying to scrape that crap off.

Only to then need to unscrew the clamp. And finally lather-rinse-repeat on the other side. Or just leave my rig alone, find another Texan not wise to the hose clamp + silicone trick.

Now you know what I know: what say you Best and Brightest? Should all truckers spend $3-4 on this anti-theft modification?

 

 

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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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Los Angeles Chevrolet Dealer Charging Six-Figures For 2014 Camaro Z/28 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/los-angeles-chevrolet-dealer-charging-six-figures-2014-camaro-z28/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/los-angeles-chevrolet-dealer-charging-six-figures-2014-camaro-z28/#comments Wed, 03 Sep 2014 11:00:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=905657 A 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 would set you back at least $75,000 MSRP were you to head over to your nearest dealership. One Los Angeles dealership, however, is charging a steeper price of admission for the honor of destroying everyone at Willow Springs and Irwindale. Jalopnik subsidiary Car Buying says Felix Chevrolet has a black-on-black […]

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A 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 would set you back at least $75,000 MSRP were you to head over to your nearest dealership. One Los Angeles dealership, however, is charging a steeper price of admission for the honor of destroying everyone at Willow Springs and Irwindale.

Jalopnik subsidiary Car Buying says Felix Chevrolet has a black-on-black 2014 model for the reasonable price of $106,165, a markup of just over $30,000. Though someone in Beverly Hills — or Justin Bieber — may be more than willing to pay that particular toll, the blog found a dealership 40 minutes away in Santa Ana charging $76,645 for a black-on-black Z/28 on its floor. Since Disneyland is nearby, the lucky owner can used the $30,000 they would have spent in L.A. to buy quite a few passes and souvenirs.

Other dealerships whose prices are in the five-figures include Good Chevrolet near Seattle ($86,150); Schumacher Chevrolet near New York ($74,995); and — with the lowest price of all dealerships in the United States — Lorenzo Bomnin Chevrolet in Miami ($66,999).

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Capsule Review: 2014 Chevrolet Traverse LT AWD http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/capsule-review-2014-chevrolet-traverse-lt-awd/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/capsule-review-2014-chevrolet-traverse-lt-awd/#comments Mon, 01 Sep 2014 12:00:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=902794 My, haven’t you matured. You’re a few years removed from realizing that a society’s population must grow if it is to thrive over the long haul. Yet instead of traditional government tactics like recruiting doctors from the other side of the Atlantic and engineers from the other side of the Pacific, you made the hilarious […]

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2014 Chevrolet Traverse LT AWDMy, haven’t you matured.

You’re a few years removed from realizing that a society’s population must grow if it is to thrive over the long haul. Yet instead of traditional government tactics like recruiting doctors from the other side of the Atlantic and engineers from the other side of the Pacific, you made the hilarious decision to utilize an in-house solution.

You’ve expanded the population all right. By way of the womb.

Child number one brought with him a surprising amount of stuff. Child number two takes up a lot of space, as well. But it’s the third and fourth kids that suddenly made the first bungalow and the first CR-V seem so very small.

Odds are, you’re not about to buy a minivan.

In July, Americans registered 46,519 new minivans. The Ford Explorer, Toyota Highlander, Honda Pilot, Nissan Pathfinder, and Dodge Durango combined for 53,467 sales. (Another 12,649 sales were generated by premium three-row crossovers from Acura, BMW, Infiniti, and Audi.)

And then there are the very popular Lambda platform crossovers from General Motors. Of the three, the Chevrolet Traverse stands out as the most likely minivan comparison tool because of its lower base price: $31,870 for an LS front-wheel-drive Traverse, $34,745 to add all-wheel-drive, $40,565 for an AWD Traverse 2LT with rear seat entertainment.

2014 Chevrolet Traverse LT AWD profileOn paper, none of the three three-row crossovers which sell more often than the Traverse in the United States encourage as favourable a comparison with the ultimate family vehicle, the minivan. The Traverse offers greater available cargo space behind the third row, second row, and first row than the Ford Explorer, Toyota Highlander, and Honda Pilot.

Not much wonder. The Traverse is 6.6 inches longer than the Explorer, 12.6 inches longer than the Highlander, and 12.3 inches longer than the Pilot. It’s longer than the Dodge Grand Caravan, as well, and comes within three-tenths of an inch of stretching as far as the Chevrolet Tahoe from bumper to bumper.

Traverses can also tow in quite a truck-like fashion, with a maximum rating of 5200 pounds, slightly more than the Explorer and Highlander; 700 pounds more than the Pilot.

The Traverse is more.

But as we know, less is actually sometimes more, and bigger is not always better.

2014 Chevrolet Traverse LT rearThe third row in the Traverse that GM Canada sent our way in August is more challenging to access than the third row in the Nissan Pathfinder, in part because of the Traverse’s flimsy second row levers. It’s roomy enough back there for typical third row occupants, but the seats themselves are torturous little items, hard and flat afterthoughts in what should be a contemporary minivan alternative.

Second row passengers are granted more space and comfort. Our test Traverse didn’t have the expansive glass roof, however, so one glance up reveals a fuzzy headliner. (One look around also reveals great deal of unfortunate grey-beige.)

For the driver and front passenger, there’s no arguing with the comfort level in highway cruise mode. This is a huge cabin with very adjustable seats. But almost all of the controls felt as though they were mounted too low, particularly in comparison to the very intelligent design of the latest Toyota Highlander’s cabin, where the screen is mounted high, a shelf holds items you want to easily grab hold of, and a massive centre bin swallows the lunch order for a family of eight.

GM’s MyLink is still slow, a trait which was admittedly exacerbated by the fact that during the Traverse’s stay, I also spent time with a Tesla Model S’s fast-acting touchscreen.

It’s not that there are any great complaints regarding the Traverse’s on-road behaviour. The ride quality could be slightly firmer, just enough to remove a hint of float. There’s something to be said for the way a modern near-5000-pound high-rider can handle. If 3000-pound sedans had made these kinds of advances over the last 15 years we’d be in awe. Even the brakes offer real bite, and the 281-horsepower 3.6L/6-speed automatic combo never struggles to adequately motivate the Traverse. More low-down torque would be appreciated, as thoroughly wringing out the V6 to locate that adequate motivation feels somewhat out of character for this not-a-minivan.

2014 Chevrolet Traverse LT AWD interiorIn fact, the most significant dynamic issue isn’t found under the hood or near the wheels, it’s in the cabin. The steering wheel is pencil-thin, as if GM is saying, “You were never going to have fun piloting this behemoth, so we’ve made sure the steering wheel reminds you of the least sporting Oldsmobile you’ve ever driven.”

So the Traverse is vast, it doesn’t need to be expensive, and it remains surprisingly composed in motion. It nevertheless feels like a product designed as a Saturn Outlook for an introduction in late 2006. That was a while ago.

There’s a cheapness to the often-touched interior parts that’s out of keeping with the huge cabin quality increases we’ve seen over the last seven years. That roughness around the edges – from the gravelly second row seat operation to the crude operation of the driver’s armrest and a sliding panel in the centre console – would disappoint in a vehicle of any price.

Even with the 2013 redesign, the Traverse looks like a bloated second-generation Hyundai Santa Fe, which wasn’t ugly, but isn’t exactly current.

Although the fuel economy our Traverse achieved during a mostly low-speed week on the highway easily beat its EPA ratings, the all-wheel-drive Traverse is rated at 16 mpg in the city. The Pathfinder is rated at 19; the Highlander and stretched Santa Fe at 18. Consuming between 12% and 19% more fuel in city driving isn’t a way of winning friends, nor will it positively influence buyers.

The Traverse is undeniably showing signs of age. That it remains relatively competitive is perhaps a symbol of some level of inherent goodness. It may also relate to the idea that, for many family car buyers, bigger is simply better. Though you may frequently have doubts about how accurately that maxim applies to the size of your own family.

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Another Bad Sign For Oshawa As GM Moves Chevrolet Equinox To Mexico http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/another-bad-sign-oshawa-gm-moves-chevrolet-equinox-mexico/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/another-bad-sign-oshawa-gm-moves-chevrolet-equinox-mexico/#comments Fri, 29 Aug 2014 14:38:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=903322 News that GM will be sending some production of the Chevrolet Equinox to their Ramos Arizpe, Mexico plant passed without much fanfare – GM’s PR machine was much more interested in touting the move of the Cadillac SRX to Spring Hill, Tennessee. While the Equinox’s move to Mexico will backfill capacity at that plant, it […]

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News that GM will be sending some production of the Chevrolet Equinox to their Ramos Arizpe, Mexico plant passed without much fanfare – GM’s PR machine was much more interested in touting the move of the Cadillac SRX to Spring Hill, Tennessee. While the Equinox’s move to Mexico will backfill capacity at that plant, it spells another blow for the future of GM’s Oshawa, Ontario plant.

The Equinox (and its GMC Terrain twin) is primarily built at GM’s CAMI plant in Ingersoll, Ontario. Currently overflow production is handled by Oshawa and Spring Hill. For the next generation, Ingersoll and Ramos Arizpe were in direct competition for the new crossovers, with Ingersoll eventually winning out.

The Theta crossovers (as the Equinox and Terrain are known internally) have been a big success for GM, necessitating the overflow production at two sites. But with the move to Mexico, it’s merely another bad sign for Oshawa, which has had a succession of product moving away from the plant, and absolutely nothing in the way of investment announcements or product commitments.

At this rate, Oshawa’s closing in 2016 (when GM’s bailout-related obligations to the Canadian government expire) is almost a certainty.

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Even With Embargos, Russia Gets A Better Chevrolet Crossover http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/even-embargos-russia-gets-better-chevrolet-crossover/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/even-embargos-russia-gets-better-chevrolet-crossover/#comments Wed, 27 Aug 2014 18:54:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=901746 The recent round of trade embargos might have hurt Russia’s new vehicle market, but there’s no question that they’ve gotten the better deal when it comes to a small Chevrolet crossover. Somehow, we ended up with the Chevrolet Trax, while Russians get this, the Chevrolet Niva. The current Chevrolet Niva is based on the venerable […]

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The recent round of trade embargos might have hurt Russia’s new vehicle market, but there’s no question that they’ve gotten the better deal when it comes to a small Chevrolet crossover.

Somehow, we ended up with the Chevrolet Trax, while Russians get this, the Chevrolet Niva. The current Chevrolet Niva is based on the venerable Lada Niva off-roader, arguably the zenith of Soviet-era automotive ingenuity. Even with the relatively new bodywork of the existing model, the Niva still uses the same taiga-tough underpinnings that are also incredibly simple to repair. If anyone reads Russian, you can let us know what kind of changes are being planned for the next-generation car.

CAFE, safety standards and a whole other host of issues will likely make a body-on-frame Lada-based small off-roader a total non-starter for America. Like the Thai-market Trailblazer, it’s probably better off admired from afar.

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Chinese-Market Chevrolet Cruze Makes Showroom Debut http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/chinese-market-chevrolet-cruze-makes-showroom-debut/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/chinese-market-chevrolet-cruze-makes-showroom-debut/#comments Tue, 26 Aug 2014 11:00:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=899546 As of Monday, the Chinese-market 2015 Chevrolet Cruze has gone on sale. CarNewsChina reports the Shanghai-GM-built compact sedan, ranging in price from ¥109,900 to ¥169,900 ($17,800 – $27,600 USD), is aimed at the Kia K4, Citroën C4L et al in the premium local market. The previous Cruze will continue on as the Cruze Classic, and […]

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As of Monday, the Chinese-market 2015 Chevrolet Cruze has gone on sale.

CarNewsChina reports the Shanghai-GM-built compact sedan, ranging in price from ¥109,900 to ¥169,900 ($17,800 – $27,600 USD), is aimed at the Kia K4, Citroën C4L et al in the premium local market. The previous Cruze will continue on as the Cruze Classic, and will be marketed like its North American cousin as a low-cost model.

On-board the new Cruze, a 1.5-liter with 112 horsepower/108 lb-ft. of torque or 1.4-liter turbo with 148 horses/173 lb-ft. of torque will send power to the front through either a five- or six-speed manual, six-speed automatic or seven-speed DSG depending on engine chosen. GM’s MyLink 2.0 infotainment system is also available, accessible via the Cruze’s 8-inch touchscreen.

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Crapwagon Outtake: It Doesn’t Get Much Cheaper Than This http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/crapwagon-outtake-doesnt-get-much-cheaper/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/crapwagon-outtake-doesnt-get-much-cheaper/#comments Mon, 25 Aug 2014 19:52:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=899362 I have an unnatural aversion to two-door cars. Jack’s Accord V6 Coupe would, in my eyes, be perfect if it were only a sedan. Give me an Audi S4 or a BMW M3 over their coupe siblings, no matter how attractive the lines. Ok, maybe I’d take an S5. I’d much prefer a 4-door GTI […]

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I have an unnatural aversion to two-door cars. Jack’s Accord V6 Coupe would, in my eyes, be perfect if it were only a sedan. Give me an Audi S4 or a BMW M3 over their coupe siblings, no matter how attractive the lines. Ok, maybe I’d take an S5. I’d much prefer a 4-door GTI to the three door variant, and I’m glad that our Fiesta ST has a set of rear entry ports. Most people didn’t feel that way when it came to the Chevrolet Cobalt SS.

Even six years on, no front-drive car has been able to touch the Cobalt SS for outright, front-drive performance. Today’s Focus ST, making 250 horsepower is considered brawny for its class. The Cobalt SS was besting those numbers in 2008, making 260 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque.

A GM-sanctioned Stage 1 power kit can boost output to 290 horsepower and 340 lb-ft for a mere $500. Every review, from magazine journalists to friends who have owned them, is full of praise for their outright speed and front-drive dynamics. It steers, stops and goes brilliantly.

But the rest of the car is still a pre-bankruptcy GM, and the interior is as unpleasant as the car is fast. The example shown above has 131,000 miles on it, and costs $5370 (USD). From a pure horsepower per dollar standpoint, that is absolutely unbeatable. I wish it had fewer miles on it, but with a one year production run of about 500 units, finding any sedan is going to be tough. Even so, I don’t think I’d pull the trigger. Maybe if I were 17 and looking for the absolute fastest car I could afford with the meager earnings from my summer job. But those days, like the days of high-performance compact Chevys, are long gone.

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The Chevrolet Impala’s Decline Isn’t Recent http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/897346/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/897346/#comments Fri, 22 Aug 2014 12:55:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=897346 We knew the Chevrolet Impala was going to suffer, volume-wise, with the introduction of the tenth-generation model. No matter how positive its review was in Consumer Reports, no matter how attractive its front end, GM insisted they weren’t going to chase fleet sales. Moreover, the car’s more upmarket positioning and the slow death of its […]

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2014 Chevrolet ImpalaWe knew the Chevrolet Impala was going to suffer, volume-wise, with the introduction of the tenth-generation model.

No matter how positive its review was in Consumer Reports, no matter how attractive its front end, GM insisted they weren’t going to chase fleet sales. Moreover, the car’s more upmarket positioning and the slow death of its category weren’t going to produce improved sales.

Perhaps what some didn’t realize, however, was that the Impala’s decline was long since underway.

In 2007, when the U.S. auto market was last clicking along at the rate it is now, General Motors sold more than 300,000 Impalas. As the market crashed two years later, falling 35% compared with 2007, 2009 sales of the Impala had fallen 47%. A slight improvement in 2010 was followed up by consecutive declines in 2011, 2012, and 2013.

After averaging more than 278,000 annual U.S. Impala sales between 2003 and 2007, the Impala has averaged fewer than 165,000 annual U.S. sales (including an estimate for 151,000 sales in 2014) since 2010.

We’re quick to point to the loss of numerous brands to help explain much of GM’s lost market share over the last decade. 27.5% of the new vehicles sold in 2004 were GM products; GM’s market share through the first seven months of 2014 is down to 17.8%. (GM’s four current brands owned 22.9% of the U.S. market in 2004.)

16.8% of the GM vehicles sold in 2004 were Hummers, Oldsmobiles, Pontiacs, Saturns, and Saabs. Of the 3.78 million vehicles sold by GM in 2004 by brands that still exist today, 7.7% were Impalas.

Only 5.1% of the new vehicles sold by GM this year have been Impalas. Is the loss of nearly 783,000 Hummer, Oldsmobile, Pontiac, Saturn and Saab sales meaningful? Undoubtedly, that loss is significant, at least from a strictly volume perspective, if not a profit-centric one.

Also significant: the loss of 140,000 Impala sales.

Yet what can GM do when they build a vastly improved car and send that car into a gauntlet that’s choking off the Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger, Ford Taurus, Hyundai Azera, and Toyota Avalon, all of which have seen their sales decline on a year-over-year basis in 2014?

Chrysler sold more than 120,000 300s in 2007 and will struggle to crest the 50K barrier in 2014. Taurus sales climbed to a seven-year high in 2013, but 70,000 total sales is about the max for 2014. Hyundai won’t likely sell much more than 9000 Azeras in 2014, having sold 21,948 in pre-Genesis 2007. Toyota averaged nearly 86,000 annual Avalon sales in the three-year period ending in 2007 but the Avalon isn’t likely to top 70,000 in 2014.

The Impala is suffering from a contagious disease, one that’s long been making its way through the whole category. In 2012 PR parlance, it’s gone viral. Consumers want their upmarket cars to wear upmarket badges. They may also not want their upmarket cars to actually be cars.

So does GM’s car division look to the Malibu for solace? In some ways, yes. Chevrolet has sold more than 200,000 Malibus in each of the last three years, having not previously done so since 2005. Malibu volume is down 5% in 2014.

In 2013, Chevrolet compact car volume (248,224 Cruzes) climbed to the highest level since 2003, when 256,550 Cavaliers were sold. Cruze sales are up 4.5% in 2014, although they’ve tumbled in each of the last two months after surging in May. Never were more than 68,085 Aveos sold in a single calendar year, but Chevrolet sold 85,646 Sonics in 2013. Sonic sales are up 11.5% in 2014 in a subcompact category that’s risen less than 3%.

GM would presumably prefer to sell 300,000 Impalas with or without a Sonic increase. But those days are gone.

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Ford, Chevrolet Begin Labor Day Battle Weeks Early http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/ford-chevrolet-begin-labor-day-battle-weeks-early/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/ford-chevrolet-begin-labor-day-battle-weeks-early/#comments Tue, 19 Aug 2014 13:00:24 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=895386 Hold onto your wallets: Ford and Chevrolet are getting the jump on Labor Day sales weeks in advance of what most consider the end of the summer season. Automotive News reports the two brands are bringing their A games to the showroom, ranging from 0 percent financing for 72 months across most of their respective […]

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Ford Labor Day Sale 2014

Hold onto your wallets: Ford and Chevrolet are getting the jump on Labor Day sales weeks in advance of what most consider the end of the summer season.

Automotive News reports the two brands are bringing their A games to the showroom, ranging from 0 percent financing for 72 months across most of their respective lines, to Chevrolet offering deferred payments for the first 90 days for select models. Rather than wait until closer to Labor Day, however, Ford launched the first attack back in late July; Chevrolet kicked off its campaign last week.

The end game? Regain lost ground in sales from the first half of 2014. Ford lost 1 percent of its share of the market, dropping to 14.8 percent in comparison to 2013. Meanwhile, Chevrolet fell from 12.9 percent to 12.5 percent in the same period comparison.

Other combatants in the end-of-summer sales battle include Toyota offering 0 percent APR for 60 months on a handful of models, Nissan presenting 0 percent between 36 and 72 months depending on the model chosen, and Dodge giving buyers 90-day deferments on 2014 and 2015 models through Labor Day weekend.

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Chevrolet’s Sonic EV Will Be An Ultra-Low Volume Compliance Car http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/chevrolets-sonic-ev-will-ultra-low-volume-compliance-car/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/chevrolets-sonic-ev-will-ultra-low-volume-compliance-car/#comments Mon, 18 Aug 2014 16:40:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=894386 Last month, TTAC broke the news that GM was working on an American-made EV based on the Chevrolet Sonic, and that such a car would be a “compliance car”, used to meet certain regulatory mandates. Now, we have more information on the Sonic EV, including an idea of just how low-volume it will be. John Voelcker […]

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2014-Chevrolet-Spark-EV-Drivetrain-550x366

Last month, TTAC broke the news that GM was working on an American-made EV based on the Chevrolet Sonic, and that such a car would be a “compliance car”, used to meet certain regulatory mandates. Now, we have more information on the Sonic EV, including an idea of just how low-volume it will be.

John Voelcker of Green Car Reports (and one of the leading authorities on EV technology) is reporting that the Sonic EV will have a total production run of just 1,800 units. This is a shockingly small number, even for limited-run EVs, but the nature of the Sonic EV isn’t intended to be a successor to the Volt, or an extension of this strategy.

Instead, the Sonic EV is a play for regulatory credits by GM, which has calculated that the expense of doing a limited run EV built in the United States is worth it, since the credits they will ostensibly earn can allow them to offset other, more profligate vehicles in their lineup, like full-size pickup trucks and SUVs.

Currently, GM offers the Spark EV as well, but that model is built in South Korea, with American-made battery components. With a range of just 82 miles, the Spark will lag the Sonic’s rumored 200-mile range, though the $30,000 will be a fair bit pricier.

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2016 Chevrolet Volt Will Debut At Next Edition of NAIAS http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/2016-chevrolet-volt-will-debut-next-edition-naias/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/2016-chevrolet-volt-will-debut-next-edition-naias/#comments Thu, 07 Aug 2014 16:57:35 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=883777   The first teaser shot of the Chevrolet Volt has emerged, with the car debuting at the 2015 North American International Auto Show. GM is investing nearly $450 million into production facilities for the next-gen Volt, which will remain at GM’s Hamtramck plant. The investment will be split between the plant and GM’s battery facility in […]

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2016-Chevrolet-Volt-Teaser   The first teaser shot of the Chevrolet Volt has emerged, with the car debuting at the 2015 North American International Auto Show. GM is investing nearly $450 million into production facilities for the next-gen Volt, which will remain at GM’s Hamtramck plant. The investment will be split between the plant and GM’s battery facility in Brownston Township, which will assemble a next-generation battery that should pack greater range than the current Volt’s 38 mile electric-only range.

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General Motors Prepares To Enter Diesel Car, Light-Duty Pickup Games http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/general-motors-prepares-enter-diesel-car-light-duty-pickup-games/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/general-motors-prepares-enter-diesel-car-light-duty-pickup-games/#comments Wed, 06 Aug 2014 13:00:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=883258 General Motors has few diesel-powered wares at the moment, but with the U.S. diesel market expected to hit 10 percent of the overall market by 2020, GM wants as much as it can get. Automotive News reports GM vice president of global powertrain Steve Kiefer announced his employer’s diesel plans before those in attendance at […]

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2014-chevrolet-cruze-diesel-front-three-quarters

General Motors has few diesel-powered wares at the moment, but with the U.S. diesel market expected to hit 10 percent of the overall market by 2020, GM wants as much as it can get.

Automotive News reports GM vice president of global powertrain Steve Kiefer announced his employer’s diesel plans before those in attendance at the 2014 Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City, Mich., proclaiming the current Chevrolet Cruze “will be the first of many diesel-powered passenger cars General Motors will offer in the United States.”

Meanwhile, the Duramax V8 offered in GM’s heavy-duty pickups will soon be joined by a 2.8-liter four-pot under the bonnets of the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon midsize pickups. Beyond this, Kiefer hints that torque will be the driving factor on where more diesels will go. Thus, light-duty versions of the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra may receive diesel engines to compete against the likes of the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel and the upcoming Ford F-150 SFE.

Kiefer concludes by stating GM will introduce more diesel power into the market “as appropriate and as the market accepts them.”

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