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. Fri, 24 Apr 2015 17:35:21 +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 Chevrolet Sonic’s U.S. Subcompact Market Share Is Plunging – Started Near The Top Now It’s Here http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/chevrolet-sonics-u-s-subcompact-market-share-plunging-started-near-top-now/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/chevrolet-sonics-u-s-subcompact-market-share-plunging-started-near-top-now/#comments Fri, 24 Apr 2015 14:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1053129 GM’s share of America’s subcompact segment fell below 10% in the first-quarter of 2015 as Chevrolet Sonic volume tumbled 53%, year-over-year. As a whole, the subcompact category is in decline in early 2015, but a large part of the category’s 9% drop can be attributed to the Sonic. Sales of the Sonic decreased by nearly […]

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Chevrolet Sonic sales chart

GM’s share of America’s subcompact segment fell below 10% in the first-quarter of 2015 as Chevrolet Sonic volume tumbled 53%, year-over-year.

As a whole, the subcompact category is in decline in early 2015, but a large part of the category’s 9% drop can be attributed to the Sonic. Sales of the Sonic decreased by nearly 13,000 units over the last three months.

The Sonic ranked as the second-best-selling subcompact in the United States through the first three months of 2014, a position it held at this stage of 2013 and in each of the last three calendar years.

But through the first three months of 2015, the Sonic is America’s fifth-best-selling subcompact, 25,683 sales back of the top-selling Nissan Versa, a vehicle it trailed by fewer than 11,000 units at this stage in 2014.

In 2014’s first-quarter, the Sonic’s market share climbed to 19% thanks to a 4124-unit improvement year-over-year. A market share drop of nearly ten percentage points just one year later is a shock to GM’s small car system.

2015 Chevrolet Sonic lineup

Chevrolet Spark sales are down 5% this year. Chevrolet Cruze volume is off by 7%. Overall Chevrolet car sales are down 17%. Likewise, General Motors car volume in the U.S. is down 17%, a 45,487-unit deficit (year-over-year) that’s been erased by a 21% surge in light trucks, including a 48,046-unit increase among pickup trucks.

GM has known for quite some time that demand for the Sonic was way below previous expectations. Automotive News reported three months ago that Sonic production at the Orion plant in Michigan would be suspended to clear out a Sonic glut.

But it’s taking a while. At the beginning of this month, GM had a 160-day supply of Sonics. That’s well down from the 258-day supply one month earlier, but still well in excess of the 59-day average across the industry.

Meanwhile, the Sonic isn’t the only subcompact suffering from a downturn. The aging Ford Fiesta is down 22% this year. Kia Rio volume has plunged 37%. The Mazda 2, in a replacement phase, is down 94%. But none of those holes are as large as the one left by the dramatically less popular Sonic, without which the subcompact category would be up 1% in early 2015.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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General Motors Doing Well In Midsize Truck Segment, Success May Not Last http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/general-motors-well-midsize-truck-segment-success-may-not-last/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/general-motors-well-midsize-truck-segment-success-may-not-last/#comments Thu, 23 Apr 2015 18:00:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1052369 General Motors’ return to the midsize truck segment has done wonders for the automaker and the market, but skeptics aren’t sure how long that will last. Ever since the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon twins left for the showroom last fall, the segment has grown to over 2 percent of the overall U.S. new-vehicle market […]

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2015 Chevrolet Colorado front side 2

General Motors’ return to the midsize truck segment has done wonders for the automaker and the market, but skeptics aren’t sure how long that will last.

Ever since the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon twins left for the showroom last fall, the segment has grown to over 2 percent of the overall U.S. new-vehicle market from 1.4 percent last summer, Reuters reports. Industry execs add that as many as 500,000 midsize pickups could be sold this year, double what was sold in 2014.

However, IHS Automotive analyst Tom Libby found that 9 out of 10 Colorado and Canyon owners traded in other GM cars and trucks for the smaller pickups, with over 16 percent coming from ownership of Chevrolet Silverados and GMC Sierras alone. Libby warns this could be a sign of undercutting of sales of models with higher margins.

GM execs and dealers, on the other hand, are happy with the midsize twins. GM President Dan Ammann called the duo a “very good investment,” while GMC’s director of marketing, Rich Latek, says the midsize segment as a whole is “a sleeper segment with huge opportunity.” AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson adds the Colorado and Canyon happen to have been the right trucks to come at the right time to give the segment a shot in the arm.

The party may not last for the duo, though. LMC Automotive notes that the segment would hold at 2 percent for this year, then slip back down by 2020. Meanwhile, the twins would fizzle out from projected sales of 74,000 for the Colorado and 29,500 for the Canyon this year, falling 8.4 percent and 21 percent over the next five years.

[Photo credit: Blake Z. Rong/The Truth About Cars]

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Suzuki Recalls 2M Amid Reports Of Smoking Ignitions http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/suzuki-recalls-2m-amid-reports-smoking-ignitions/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/suzuki-recalls-2m-amid-reports-smoking-ignitions/#comments Wed, 22 Apr 2015 22:00:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1051009 Suzuki is recalling a record 2 million vehicles to replace ignition switches amid reports of smoke and fumes being emitted from the part. The recall adds 1,873,000 vehicles to the 168,000 previously recalled late last month, Reuters reports. Both figures apply to nine models made in Japan, including the Chevrolet Cruze, Mazda AZ-Wagon, Mazda Carol, […]

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2003 Suzuki Wagon R

Suzuki is recalling a record 2 million vehicles to replace ignition switches amid reports of smoke and fumes being emitted from the part.

The recall adds 1,873,000 vehicles to the 168,000 previously recalled late last month, Reuters reports. Both figures apply to nine models made in Japan, including the Chevrolet Cruze, Mazda AZ-Wagon, Mazda Carol, and Suzuki’s own Alto, Wagon R and Swift. The recall for the latter three covers vehicles built between 1998 and 2009.

Another 133,700 models in the new recall were sold overseas in Australia and Europe, including the aforementioned Swift, Alto and Cruze.

Thus far, 67 reports of smoking switches have been reported, including 18 in police cars. The reports have all come from Japan.

[Photo credit: Kuha455405/Wikipedia]

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Junkyard Find: 1986 Chevrolet Spectrum http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/junkyard-find-1986-chevrolet-spectrum/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/junkyard-find-1986-chevrolet-spectrum/#comments Wed, 15 Apr 2015 13:00:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1042738 Even as GM was selling Suzuki Cultuses badged as Chevrolets and Daewoo LeManses badged as Pontiacs, your friendly Chevy showroom offered Isuzu Geminis with Chevrolet badges (a decade later, you could get an Opel Omega with Cadillac badges, but that’s another story). A few years back, we saw this 1989 Spectrum, which came with both […]

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10 - 1986 Chevrolet Spectrum Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinEven as GM was selling Suzuki Cultuses badged as Chevrolets and Daewoo LeManses badged as Pontiacs, your friendly Chevy showroom offered Isuzu Geminis with Chevrolet badges (a decade later, you could get an Opel Omega with Cadillac badges, but that’s another story). A few years back, we saw this 1989 Spectrum, which came with both Chevrolet and Geo branding, but today’s Junkyard Find came from the era prior to GM’s creation of the soon-to-be-defunct Geo brand.
05 - 1986 Chevrolet Spectrum Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinThese cars were more or less invisible back in the 1980s, and they remain invisible today. This doesn’t stop Craigslist sellers from claiming to have Geo “barn finds,” of course.
04 - 1986 Chevrolet Spectrum Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinThis one sat outdoors for a long time before its final tow-truck ride.
16 - 1986 Chevrolet Spectrum Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinJust 76,000 miles. If you’re the president of the Chevrolet Spectrum Owner’s Club and you’re reading this in 2057, understand that we early-21st-century Americans just didn’t understand how rare and valuable these cars really were. Sorry about that!
02 - 1986 Chevrolet Spectrum Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinPower by Isuzu.

I was 20 years old when this ad came out. I don’t remember it, but I’m sure I would have been horrified by the idea of “Spectrumality.”

I’ll bet the media launch for this car was what press-car-killin’ car writer Jay Lamm refers to as a “tents and corn dogs affair.”

01 - 1986 Chevrolet Spectrum Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1986 Chevrolet Spectrum Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1986 Chevrolet Spectrum Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1986 Chevrolet Spectrum Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1986 Chevrolet Spectrum Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1986 Chevrolet Spectrum Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1986 Chevrolet Spectrum Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1986 Chevrolet Spectrum Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1986 Chevrolet Spectrum Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1986 Chevrolet Spectrum Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1986 Chevrolet Spectrum Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1986 Chevrolet Spectrum Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1986 Chevrolet Spectrum Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1986 Chevrolet Spectrum Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1986 Chevrolet Spectrum Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1986 Chevrolet Spectrum Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 17 - 1986 Chevrolet Spectrum Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 18 - 1986 Chevrolet Spectrum Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin

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Chevrolet Spark EV Sees Price Drop, Bonus Cash For Base Model http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/chevrolet-spark-ev-sees-price-drop-bonus-cash-base-model/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/chevrolet-spark-ev-sees-price-drop-bonus-cash-base-model/#comments Wed, 15 Apr 2015 11:00:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1044706 In the market for a 2015 Chevrolet Spark EV? Your wallet will still feel heavy after signing off on the paperwork for the base model. Chevrolet announced the price for the base Spark EV 1LT will be cut down $1,500 to $25,995, while leasing the EV gets an $80 drop to $139/month for 39 months […]

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2014 Chevrolet Spark EV Exterior-003

In the market for a 2015 Chevrolet Spark EV? Your wallet will still feel heavy after signing off on the paperwork for the base model.

Chevrolet announced the price for the base Spark EV 1LT will be cut down $1,500 to $25,995, while leasing the EV gets an $80 drop to $139/month for 39 months with no money down upon signing; the down payment was $999.

In addition to the new lease and purchase figures, the brand is also throwing bonus cash on the hood, the amount varying depending on which of the three states — California, Maryland (as of this summer), Oregon — one happens to reside. The California bonus comes to $1,000 in addition to the state’s $2,500 rebate, while Oregonians receive $3,500 outright, and those in Maryland gain $1,200 on top of the state’s $2,300 excise tax exemption.

With the price cuts, bonus cash, state incentives, and the $7,500 federal tax credit, one could drive away from the lot having paid just $14,995 for the pleasure of bouncing around from the office park to the coffee shop and bakery in a vehicle meant to help General Motors come into compliance with fleet economy standards.

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Quote Of The Day: Chevrolet Volt, One Generation On http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/quote-day-chevrolet-volt-one-generation/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/quote-day-chevrolet-volt-one-generation/#comments Thu, 09 Apr 2015 18:21:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1041593 “When someone thinks of an electric vehicle, they don’t think of Chevrolet; they think Toyota or Tesla.” -Jamaal McCoy, general manager of Findlay Chevrolet in Las Vegas, quoted by the Wall Street Journal. When the Chevrolet Volt launched at the start of the decade, the plan was to sell 70,000 units annually, with talk of […]

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A Volt from the blue...

“When someone thinks of an electric vehicle, they don’t think of Chevrolet; they think Toyota or Tesla.”

-Jamaal McCoy, general manager of Findlay Chevrolet in Las Vegas, quoted by the Wall Street Journal.

When the Chevrolet Volt launched at the start of the decade, the plan was to sell 70,000 units annually, with talk of selling as many as 120,000 units in later years. Now, the Volt is ending product of its first generation with roughly 70,000 units total finding their way off the showroom lots.

The next Volt will be a more advanced car, with a better drivetrain and seating for 5. From a qualitative perspective, the Volt is now better positioned to suceed in the marketplace. Unfortunately, it is being introduced in the midst of record low energy prices, and a market that is heavily favoring trucks and SUVs – the kind of vehicles that the Volt was intended to displace in America’s auto market.

 

 

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Junkyard Find: 1976 Chevrolet Monte Carlo http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/junkyard-find-1976-chevrolet-monte-carlo/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/junkyard-find-1976-chevrolet-monte-carlo/#comments Thu, 09 Apr 2015 13:00:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1041017 Examples of the rear-wheel-drive Chevy Monte Carlo have held their value pretty well, especially the A-body-based 1970-1977 ones. Even a fairly rough one can be worth restoring, particularly in Southern California, and so I don’t see many of these cars during my travels to the wrecking yards of the Golden State. Here’s a very rough […]

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08 - 1976 Chevrolet Monte Carlo Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinExamples of the rear-wheel-drive Chevy Monte Carlo have held their value pretty well, especially the A-body-based 1970-1977 ones. Even a fairly rough one can be worth restoring, particularly in Southern California, and so I don’t see many of these cars during my travels to the wrecking yards of the Golden State. Here’s a very rough ’76 that I spotted in Los Angeles while visiting Cheech & Chong movie locations in a ’15 Ford Transit van.
12 - 1976 Chevrolet Monte Carlo Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinGood things never happen when you scrape off a vinyl top and then drive the car that way.
09 - 1976 Chevrolet Monte Carlo Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinThese cars make excellent lowriders, but to get this car into proper condition for nice paint and interior would have cost about three times the value of the finished result.
04 - 1976 Chevrolet Monte Carlo Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinI’m not sure what the junkyard symbolism of the ace of clubs could be.

Endorsed by this Canadian yacht designer.

Yes, Canadians were crazy about the Malaise Monte.

Makes you look rich!

05 - 1976 Chevrolet Monte Carlo Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1976 Chevrolet Monte Carlo Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1976 Chevrolet Monte Carlo Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1976 Chevrolet Monte Carlo Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1976 Chevrolet Monte Carlo Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1976 Chevrolet Monte Carlo Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1976 Chevrolet Monte Carlo Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1976 Chevrolet Monte Carlo Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1976 Chevrolet Monte Carlo Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1976 Chevrolet Monte Carlo Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1976 Chevrolet Monte Carlo Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1976 Chevrolet Monte Carlo Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1976 Chevrolet Monte Carlo Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin

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Here’s Why an Electric Car Could Be the Best First Car http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/heres-electric-car-best-first-car/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/heres-electric-car-best-first-car/#comments Tue, 07 Apr 2015 12:37:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1039377 Across the country, thousands of high school students will be completing their sophomore year of high school. Many of them are about to turn 16. Many of them want a car. Many of them have activities like after-school sports, community service, SAT test prep, chess club, and possibly even a job. Many of them have […]

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2015 Chevrolet Spark EV

Across the country, thousands of high school students will be completing their sophomore year of high school. Many of them are about to turn 16. Many of them want a car. Many of them have activities like after-school sports, community service, SAT test prep, chess club, and possibly even a job. Many of them have parents who have become tired of driving their kids everywhere and want to spend some time towards their own pursuits. Many of those parents are worried about the costs and responsibility of their kids having a car. Many of those parents are afraid at the places their children could go without their knowledge with a car.

Well, parents of America, I have a solution: Lease an electric vehicle for your teenage son or daughter. Most parents will either hand their kids down a car or buy them something brand-new. Usually, the new car is a Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, Hyundai Elantra, anything from Scion, and so on. Something safe, fuel-efficient, reasonably priced and something to take to college. A hand-me-down vehicle could be an old truck, old minivan, a 10+ year old car which gets very good fuel mileage, or maybe an old Volvo. But you have to pay for gas, insurance, maintenance (which gets seriously expensive on Volvos), as well as car payments if you buy a new car.

By the way, I stress the leasing part since some teenagers tend to move far away from their parents for college. Some of these campuses might not be car-friendly either, especially for undergraduate students. In cases like those, buying an electric vehicle probably won’t be the best option, since you might not want an extra car in the driveway that nobody is using.

Now, many of you might think it’s a bad idea to for a teenager to have a new electric car. It might be easy for them to sneak out of the house, for instance. Or it could be easy for them to sneak back into the house when it’s past curfew. It might be too expensive because you’re getting them a new car. You might believe on principle that a teenager shouldn’t have access to a new car. You might receive some criticism from your friends, neighbors, and coworkers for getting a teenager a new car. You also believe that range anxiety might not be the best thing for a teenager to handle.

However I, a 24-year-old car enthusiast whose first car was a MkV Volkswagen Jetta 2.0T (in hindsight, it shouldn’t have been), think an electric vehicle is an excellent starter car for a teenager. In that vein, I’ve come up with three reasons about why getting a teenager an electric car is a viable option.

  1. There’s actually a radius to where they can travel.

Most electric cars on the market have a range of 80 to 100 miles on a full charge. That isn’t very far, especially when traveling round-trip to the city from the suburbs. Now, as a parent, there might be range anxiety and you would hate your child to run out of battery in the middle of a busy road. But considering most electric vehicles have a range of at least 70 miles on a full charge, that’s more than enough range for a teenager’s typical day. Other than the usual drive to school and back, there’s still range for going to the mall, traveling to a friend’s house for a project, going to where they do community service, or drive to an after-school job.

For most parents, it minimizes the chances that their children will take unexpected “detours,” unless that particular destination has a quick charging station present. Some parents will complain that the “silence” of an electric vehicle will permit the kids to sneak out of the house, but unless their destination is within 15 miles round-trip, they may have some trouble getting to that full charge for the following morning. That range will also teach them responsibility when it comes to planning trips, since how they travel depends on whether they’ve charged it or not. At most, school will be 25 miles away (I actually know people who travel that far to get to high school), so the car has to be charged every night. (And in some states, electric vehicles get to travel in the HOV lane, so no more driving the school carpool!) It’ll be a bad day if he or she forgot to plug in the car. In addition, when going to activities that fall outside the daily routine, they’ll have to plan their trips and check whether there are places to charge nearby.

  1. The costs of ownership are reasonable.

Thankfully, there won’t be an extra car to add to the gasoline costs for the month. If the electric car is replacing a vehicle that could barely achieve 20 miles per gallon, leasing an electric vehicle could be more cost effective than handing down an old pickup. For example, the FIAT 500e, though available in California and Oregon only, has an advertised lease rate of $139 a month for 36 months with $1,999 down including the first lease payment and a 36,000 mile limit. Even a base model Nissan Leaf, which is more widely available, has a lease rate of $199 a month for 36 months with $2,399 due at signing including the first lease payment with a 36,000 mile limit. Without including taxes, insurance, maintenance and charging cost, that’s around $10,000 for three years of ownership of a car with a warranty and one that you can give back (with a $395 disposition fee).

Also, money is saved from all that gas you or your high school student doesn’t have to buy. Going on fueleconomy.gov, for most electric vehicles it costs under $1 to travel 25 miles. While the average 2015 vehicles gets 24 miles per gallon, on average, gas varies between $2 and $3.50, the $3+ mark being achieved thanks to California and Hawaii. The website estimates that most EV operators will spend between $500 and $600 on “fuel cost” for 15,000 miles per year.

Additionally, insurance costs tend to be less for an electric vehicle compared to a similarly priced gas vehicle. One study showed that on average driver’s saved $200 per year on insurance when they switched to electric. Considering how much a family’s car insurance shoots up when a teenage driver is added, the reduction in annual insurance premiums will be welcomed. Overall, if it comes to less than $5,000 a year to have your teenager driving, getting an electric vehicle might be a good car.

  1. Electric vehicles are safe.

No, I’m not thinking of the Tesla Model S and its exceptional crash test rating when I wrote the above. Electric vehicles like the Spark EV and Focus Electric are Top Safety Picks by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety. The Leaf and 500e, which will undoubtedly be considered, don’t achieve that distinction due to their “Poor” rating in the small overlap front crash test. (But from 2013-2014 the Leaf was a Top Safety Pick before inclusion of the front overlap crash test.) However, electric vehicles are just as safe as normal new vehicles that are popular with teenagers such as the Toyota Corolla, Hyundai Accent, Chevrolet Sonic, Audi A4, and the Scion xD or xB.

Compare that to a 10+ year-old hand-me-down Accord, Maxima, or Jeep, which probably don’t come close to 2015 safety standards. Moreover, when the speed question comes up, most electric vehicles have a difficult time staying above 80 miles per hour, and even then, staying at those speeds quickly depletes the battery. As a result, there’s an incentive to stay at reasonable speeds. Leasing an electric vehicle means you won’t take a big hit if the car is totaled, too. Most lease agreements should have gap insurance (and seriously, ensure you have the gap coverage when leasing the car) for making up the difference in value that the insurance company will pay out.

So there you have it. The answers to most of your concerns of giving a car to your teenager. They’ll probably stay within 50 miles of the house or face being stranded. After all, most teenagers don’t have to drive over 100 miles a day over 90% of the time. They’ll learn responsibility in planning their trips. It could be the most cost effective solution at a cost of under $5,000 a year. And most importantly for parents, they’ll be safe if they get into an accident. And while the only detriment is that they could sneak out of the house, you know they won’t get far. Sometimes range anxiety helps.

Satish Kondapavulur is a writer for Clunkerture, where about a fifth of the articles are about old cars and where his one-time LeMons racing dreams came to an end once he realized it was impossible to run a Ferrari Mondial. If his first car had been electric, he’s fairly certain he would’ve created an autocross course from the streets in his neighborhood.  

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Capsule Review: Chevrolet Spark EV http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/capsule-review-chevrolet-spark-ev/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/capsule-review-chevrolet-spark-ev/#comments Thu, 02 Apr 2015 14:00:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1034073 There comes a moment when it’s time to try something new. Like switching to an iPhone after using a Nexus and promptly learning that the iPhone can bend. Or wearing a mechanical watch rather than a quartz watch, only for it to stop ticking after it was on a nightstand for the weekend. Moving to […]

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IMG_20150309_160118

There comes a moment when it’s time to try something new. Like switching to an iPhone after using a Nexus and promptly learning that the iPhone can bend. Or wearing a mechanical watch rather than a quartz watch, only for it to stop ticking after it was on a nightstand for the weekend. Moving to a house from an apartment and dealing with the perils of home ownership, such as property taxes, having to clean gutters, and the inability to have the building manager fix the broken kitchen faucet. My trying something new involved testing an electric vehicle for a week.

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After all, I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, home to Tesla Motors and ZAP (the hard-core TTAC B&B should know them; there’s even a road test on here of their cars from way back when), and home to dinner parties with prolonged debates about whether electric car ownership is worthwhile. “What if you’re coming home from work and you forgot your phone? You’ll run out of charge retrieving the phone and then there’s no way of getting home.” an attendee might say, while his counterpart might reply, “Well, I’ve saved hundreds of dollars on gas and I haven’t had to visit a gas station. And are these chips and dip vegan?” Since I get asked the electric car question a lot as the “car guy” among my friends, I decided once and for all to test an electric car.

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To live out my electric car experience, Chevrolet had a Spark EV available in the Northern California press fleet, which was delivered to me with 301 miles on the odometer. 55 of those miles involved delivering the car to my driveway from the press car place. So I was effectively testing a brand-new car. Additionally, it should be noted at this point of the review that most of the country cannot buy the Spark EV. It’s only sold in California and Oregon, where the metropolitan areas tend to have a more developed electric vehicle infrastructure. As a result, this review applies to less than fifteen percent of the population, so those of you not within a 10-hour drive of San Francisco don’t have to care as much.

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The first thing I did when I got the Spark was test the performance of the car using the 22 miles of range it arrived with. Its performance was surprisingly good thanks to the torque from the electric motor. It could go from 0-60 miles per hour in around seven seconds, which is on par with most six-cylinder midsize sedans. Chevrolet also got the suspension tuning very right, making the Spark quite fun to drive at low speeds. There’s even a “Sport” button which sharpens up throttle response. With this car, it’s actually possible to create an autocross course around your housing development, and have actual fun doing it, without waking up the neighbors. Just make sure there isn’t too much tire squeal.

Secondly, since spirited driving tends to use up much of the battery, I needed to ensure I could charge it at home. Now, to make electric car ownership worthwhile, it helps to have a 240V outlet in your home to ensure your electric vehicle charges faster. Usually, an electric car can go from empty to fully-charged in one night (usually within 8 hours) with the 240V setup. Thankfully I had the means to “improvise” a home charging facility for the Spark with the 120V outlet that came with the Spark. However, most homes have 120V outlets, which is what my house had. With a 120V setup, it usually takes about 12 to 18 hours to go from empty to a full charge.

Regarding styling, the Spark EV more or less looks like any other Chevy Spark on the road. For me, that’s not necessarily a good thing, as many people will believe your car is a lot cheaper than it actually is. Most people will also believe that you’ll be driving a rental car. I had the fortune to have a Jaguar XF Sport in the driveway before I got the Spark EV, and most of my neighbors did a double take when passing by and noticing the red Spark in place of the XF. Personally, I don’t think homeowners’ associations will tolerate a Spark EV in the driveway.

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Inside, the Spark is airy and has plenty of visibility. It is a narrow car though, with the potential to rub shoulders with your front passenger and the rear seat only accommodating two people, but there is plenty of headroom. The trunk only has enough space for two airplane carry-ons. My test car had the “leatherette” (I consider it vinyl) seats that I didn’t like, largely because of how the material felt and I didn’t like sitting in them after the car had been out in the sun. Personally, I’d try to get cloth seats, but that involves “downgrading” to the 1LT trim level for around $400 less, though the steering wheel won’t be leather-wrapped.

On the highway, the Spark had no trouble keeping up with other cars or getting up to speed quickly. However, you will definitely hear the road noise at speeds above 45 mph. If you’re driving on the highway in periods of low traffic with speeds of 65 to 70 miles per hour, you will hate being in the car. I tried to turn up the stereo to compensate for all that road noise, but it didn’t help things and added to the noise pollution. As a result, the Spark EV is a car you’ll prefer in traffic jams and off-highway environments.

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I have to admit I didn’t use OnStar with the car (the OnStar Turn-by-Turn navigation is free for 3 years), so I don’t know if it’s a viable alternative to an actual navigation system. To get navigation maps projected onto the dashboard screen, Chevrolet MyLink can connect to your smartphone and garner the necessary information using the BringGo app. Downloading and installing the app on my smartphone would have been $50 so I didn’t try it out.

As for the money saved on fuel costs by buying the Spark, the car’s Monroney sticker states that it’s possible to save $8,500 in fuel costs over 5 years compared to the average new vehicle which gets 24 mpg and costs $11,000 to fuel over five years. The $8,500 figure comes from driving 15,000 miles per year at 12 cents per kilowatt-hour. On the other hand, when researching potential cost savings on FuelEconomy.gov, the website gives me an estimate of $5,250 saved over five years, but that’s based on “45% highway, 55% city driving, 15,000 annual miles and current fuel prices.” I’m assuming the Monroney value estimates the price of gas becoming higher with time while the FuelEconomy.gov number tends to fluctuate. But only you can estimate how much money you can save based on your driving habits and knowledge of local charging stations.

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When I had to ensure the Spark had a full battery, I fully charged the Spark EV at my house twice during the week I had it, and the electric bill only went up $10 compared to the same period last year. I’m not quite sure if the Spark contributed the extra money to the electric bill, but I did charge it during peak usage hours once, which may have contributed to the total. Also, many of my local hangouts had charging stations where I could park and charge the car for free for a limit of 2 or 3 hours. As a result, I largely didn’t have to pay for the car’s electricity when running errands. (On a side note, the Plugshare app came in handy when finding charging stations.)

Also, my test car had the “fast provisions” charging capability option, it enables the Spark EV to recharge 80 percent of the battery within 20 minutes utilizing the SAE Combo DC fast charging stations. Unfortunately, there were no SAE Combo DC fast chargers near me to sample. Nevertheless, having one of these nearby will help tremendously with range anxiety, especially if your daily commute is more than 60 miles round-trip.

The MSRP of my test car was $28,785 (before the $7,500 tax credit), with the sole option being the $750 “fast provisions” charging capability and an $825 destination charge. It also includes two years of maintenance. At that price point, Nissan has the Leaf which starts at $29,860 including destination, Ford has the Focus EV at $29,995 with destination, and FIAT’s 500e at $31,800. With the $7,500 federal tax credit and a California tax credit of $2,500, the Spark EV can easily come in below $20,000. (Unfortunately, Oregon doesn’t offer an electric vehicle tax credit.) Furthermore, the Spark EV’s lease rates are reasonable and close to the lease rates of the aforementioned electric vehicles, though their advertised leases are for 36,000 miles. On Chevrolet’s website, the current offer is $176 a month (plus taxes and fees) with $0 due at signing for a 3 year, 30,000 mile lease.

All in all, if you’re among the fifteen percent of the American population considering the Spark EV, I would advise buying it as strictly a commuting and errands car. It would make the perfect second or third vehicle if fuel costs are getting out of hand, you drive around 50 miles every day, and you would like to minimize trips to the gas station. With its $176 per month lease deal with $0 due at signing, the Spark EV is worth thinking about if considering a Leaf, the lease rate of which doesn’t come close. Even if you plan to buy an electric car, the Spark is a good candidate as the net price can go below $20,000 with the federal and California tax rebates.

And if you don’t live in California and Oregon and you’re still considering the Spark, come to nice and sunny California and make a vacation out of test driving the Spark EV. Though be wary of any dinner party invites you come across if you tell people your reason for visiting California. The menu has a good chance of being completely vegan.

Satish Kondapavulur is a writer for Clunkerture, where about a fifth of the articles are about old cars and where his one-time LeMons racing dreams came to an end once he realized it was impossible to run a Ferrari Mondial. He also learned that it’s surprisingly easy to sneak up behind people in an electric car, especially cyclists. 

 

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Junkyard Find: 1988 Chevrolet Nova Sedan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/junkyard-find-1988-chevrolet-nova-sedan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/junkyard-find-1988-chevrolet-nova-sedan/#comments Thu, 02 Apr 2015 13:00:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1037009 For reasons that trolly shouters on both extremes of the American politico-socio-automotive spectrum know to be the truth, the exact same workers at the Fremont Assembly plant who couldn’t hammer together a decent-quality Buick Regal or GMC C/K— no matter how many Mickey’s Big Mouths they guzzled in some South Hayward parking lot before their […]

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10 - 1988 Chevrolet Nova Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinFor reasons that trolly shouters on both extremes of the American politico-socio-automotive spectrum know to be the truth, the exact same workers at the Fremont Assembly plant who couldn’t hammer together a decent-quality Buick Regal or GMC C/K— no matter how many Mickey’s Big Mouths they guzzled in some South Hayward parking lot before their shifts— suddenly became capable of building rebadged Corollas that were every bit as good as the ones made by their Japanese counterparts, once the plant became NUMMI (nowadays they build Teslas there). Of course, each of you knows that this is due to (insert damning indictment of those dupes who believe Wrong Things here) with a touch of (insert bilious tirade that sounds the alarm about Some Evil Conspiracy here), and to provide ammunition for your arguments I present this 1988 Chevrolet-badged AE82 Toyota Sprinter aka Corolla.
08 - 1988 Chevrolet Nova Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThese cars are not uncommon in self-service wrecking yards nowadays, especially in California. In this series, we’ve seen this ’87 sedan and this ’87 hatchback, and now we’ve got today’s final-year-of-production (before it became the Geo Prizm) Nova, which I spotted in a Denver yard a few months back.
04 - 1988 Chevrolet Nova Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin244,816 miles, which is impressive even by 2015 standards. Sure, they probably weren’t very exciting miles, but nobody bought a NUMMI Nova for adventure.
07 - 1988 Chevrolet Nova Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe good old 4A engine family, which went into Coronas, Corollas, MR2s, Celicas, Sprinters, and so forth, all the way into the late 1990s. Some 4As made great power, but the 4A-LC was more about longevity and fuel economy.

Brought to you by Chevrolet and Toyota.

You can get an American car and a foreign car!

Of course, the Japanese version was much more sexy.

01 - 1988 Chevrolet Nova Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1988 Chevrolet Nova Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1988 Chevrolet Nova Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1988 Chevrolet Nova Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1988 Chevrolet Nova Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1988 Chevrolet Nova Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1988 Chevrolet Nova Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1988 Chevrolet Nova Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1988 Chevrolet Nova Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1988 Chevrolet Nova Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1988 Chevrolet Nova Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1988 Chevrolet Nova Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1988 Chevrolet Nova Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1988 Chevrolet Nova Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1988 Chevrolet Nova Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1988 Chevrolet Nova Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

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New York 2015: Chevrolet Spark Revealed http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/new-york-2015-chevrolet-spark-revealed/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/new-york-2015-chevrolet-spark-revealed/#comments Thu, 02 Apr 2015 12:22:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1037289 What does a 16 percent boost in power bring for the Chevrolet Spark? Erm…not too much. The newest Spark, based on the Opel Karl, now packs a 1.4-liter 4-cylinder making 98 horsepower. A 5-speed manual or CVT are available. The spark is expected to return 40 mpg while also offering advanced features like a 7-inch touch screen, Forward […]

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2016 Chevrolet Spark

What does a 16 percent boost in power bring for the Chevrolet Spark? Erm…not too much.

The newest Spark, based on the Opel Karl, now packs a 1.4-liter 4-cylinder making 98 horsepower. A 5-speed manual or CVT are available. The spark is expected to return 40 mpg while also offering advanced features like a 7-inch touch screen, Forward Collision Alert, Lane Departure Warning and Side Blind Spot Alert.

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New York 2015: Chevrolet Malibu Revealed http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/new-york-2015-chevrolet-malibu-revealed/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/new-york-2015-chevrolet-malibu-revealed/#comments Wed, 01 Apr 2015 05:11:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1034689 Well, it’s, uh…different. The new ‘Bu loses 300 lbs, gains a 1.5L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine making 160 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. The 2.0T sticks around, with 250 hp, 258 torques and an 8-speed gearbox. Apparently, the new hybrid will be both quicker than the 1.5L engine while getting 45 mpg combined on the EPA test. […]

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Well, it’s, uh…different.

The new ‘Bu loses 300 lbs, gains a 1.5L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine making 160 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. The 2.0T sticks around, with 250 hp, 258 torques and an 8-speed gearbox. Apparently, the new hybrid will be both quicker than the 1.5L engine while getting 45 mpg combined on the EPA test. And yes, there’s more rear legroom.

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2015 Chevrolet Colorado: Reviewed! http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/2015-chevrolet-colorado-reviewed/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/2015-chevrolet-colorado-reviewed/#comments Tue, 31 Mar 2015 20:00:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1033177 The Chevrolet Colorado is a good little truck, certainly sturdy enough, leading me to believe that it is a capable enabler of various human endeavors that involve catapulting, hurtling, or generally straining one’s body across hill, dale, snow-capped extremity and Ace Hardware parking lot alike. But its obvious novelty—one that so enraptured a certain publication’s staff […]

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2015 Chevrolet Colorado front side 1

The Chevrolet Colorado is a good little truck, certainly sturdy enough, leading me to believe that it is a capable enabler of various human endeavors that involve catapulting, hurtling, or generally straining one’s body across hill, dale, snow-capped extremity and Ace Hardware parking lot alike.

But its obvious novelty—one that so enraptured a certain publication’s staff to bestow it a pair of calipers that will hardly strain the Colorado’s 1500lb-plus payload—lies in its rejection of the idea that every pickup truck must be the approximate size of a Normandy landing craft.

That’s right—our cars are creeping ever so bigger, ever so clumsier, and if all cars must expand then trucks must do so exponentially, until comes the day when a Silverado rear-ends a Ram, causing Santa Monica to fall into the ocean. But we can do good to admit, even against American exceptionalism, that not every man, woman, and child needs a full-sized truck. (Are those black helicopters I’m hearing?) Until the day that we stop believing in the weirdness of the front-drive mini-truck, a Southern Hemisphere vestige as bizarre as cuy chactao and the Plymouth Scamp, this conveyance in Red Rock Metallic is exactly what some of us deserve: a vehicle that can’t haul as much, can’t tow as much, can’t be ordered with High Country leather the color and texture of your grandfather’s elbows—but something so refreshing that it snaps us awake from thinking that every new pickup needs to be bigger, squarer, more chrome-laden, more ready for ramming than the last hulking beast it replaces.

And yet, the Colorado still manages to dwarf a jellybean F-150 from the Clinton administration—that tenth-generation F-150, has a 10-inch shorter wheelbase and length in its smallest configuration than even the shortest Colorado. Think about that.

Long truck is long.

Long truck is long.

Meanwhile the Colorado seems to defy spatial logic. It looks enormously long but feels small; it feels narrow but it’s hamstring stretching tall; it’s long and narrow and tall but it drives with surprising nimbleness. Yes, even this four-doored long-box. (Remember when such trucks only belonged to railroad companies?) Those coming out of a full-sized Silverado will find little culture shock within its cabin, which is scaled down, sure, narrower now, but never snug and never cramped.

I didn’t get a chance to take the Colorado off-road, or to Colorado, or even to the nearest Canyon. Instead, I drove it around Los Angeles, committing occasional errands, then a sprint up the 101 Highway to a stupendously lavish hotel where the valets asked excitedly not about what I would be driving but about what I was.

The 3.6-liter V6 is a stout little engine, usually relaxed—but ask it firmly and it’ll muster up 305 horsepower with enthusiasm and a nice noise. The six-speed automatic transmission takes some time and a lot of throttle to react, but when on the move it’s plenty smooth. Brakes are very controllable and very powerful, and the accurate and evenly weighted steering isn’t just pretty good, for a truck—it’s pretty good, period. Body motions are nicely reduced to the occasional rumble and jostling, reinforcing the feeling that it’s Like A Bob Seger Song.

Plenty of USB ports! Switchgear feels reassuringly imbued with quality.

Plenty of USB ports! Switchgear feels reassuringly imbued with quality.

Inside, it’s a quiet place to be. Nice and roomy. MyLink dominates the center console, same as in your Impala, y’know—all square buttons and sharp gradients, homely but effective. The flat, two-color gauges are easy to read but also gravely stark. Seats are firm like a doctor’s waiting room, while the rear bottom cushions flip up to stash various unmentionables, just like the Silverado’s. The leather-wrapped steering wheel is terrific to behold.

The rear benches flip up, but clearly not in this photo.

The rear benches flip up, but clearly not in this photo.

Praise to Corvette for its trick temperature gauges, an idea so neat it’s trickled down to every Chevy product, with a retrofit for the 1987 Celebrity Eurosport VR available sometime next Monday—evidently the same people who design showerheads figured out the Colorado’s automatic climate control, because the temperature swings wildly from the ass-freezing cold to Florida-esque mugginess within a single knob click.

The Colorado starts at a hair over $20,000. Which is good. Because the one I tested was nearly twice that—and for $38,870 you get sweet darkened five-spoke wheels ($1,000), leather seats ($950), MyLink ($495), lane departure and frontal collision warnings ($395, and remember, the life you save could be mine), and another thousand-dollar luxury package, which means the aforementioned touchy automatic controls and chrome bits. Humans love shiny things, and pick-em-up truckers even more so.

Sure is shiny!

Sure is shiny. And handsome. But also shiny.

Macho posturing aside, the Colorado is far more accessible than any full-sized truck out there—small enough for a city, even one with four-lane boulevards, yet big enough to trick you into seeming invincible. Chevrolet’s marketing department imagines armies of scruffy young men in artfully cuffed denim and Target Merona plaid shirts staining their pits as they heave entire REI storefronts into the back, giving hardly a worry to the optional factory spray-in bedliner, before cranking the Black Keys through the seven-speaker Bose audio system (a $495 option!) and setting off to reclaim their manliness in lofty and Walden-esque ways, or at least tubing at Mt. Baldy. I don’t disagree with any of that. I know I’ve certainly helped load plenty of tents into tiny pickups during my time with Boy Scout Troop 227 of Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, before heading off to summer camp and bounding down dirt roads at McRae-aping speeds while passing branches play drum solos off the A-pillars. Big trucks lumber, small trucks bound.

That would make a pretty good bumper sticker. Get me Chevrolet’s marketing department.

2015 Chevrolet Colorado front side 2

“The new Colorado: guaranteed to fit into 65% of Los Angeles parking garages!”

We imagine such possibilities of vehicles like the Chevrolet Colorado, the Nissan Frontier, the Toyota Tacoma—both of which are getting upgraded, soon enough—and, of course, it may be the nostalgia portion of my mind that remembers the 2001 Nissan Xterra of my childhood that enabled so many trips, so many adventures, so many ideas of taking the next off-ramp from the 101 and winding up thoroughly and wonderfully lost, so far away from water. Is it a truck, or a call to arms? The easy-access Colorado carries forth a go-get-‘em lifestyle that that sneakily guilts us into getting off our asses, to take up mountain biking or drywall installation.

Which makes sense—because pickup truck.

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Next Chevrolet Camaro Loses 200 Lbs In Time For Summer http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/next-chevrolet-camaro-loses-200-lbs-time-summer/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/next-chevrolet-camaro-loses-200-lbs-time-summer/#comments Mon, 30 Mar 2015 22:01:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1033121   The next Chevrolet Camaro is set to lose 200 lbs thanks to a variety of light weighting techniques. While a Chevrolet press release provided a number of granular details (ooh, a new dashboard support beam saves 9 lbs!!), the real savings likely come from a move to the newer, smaller and lighter Alpha platform […]

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2016-Camaro

 

The next Chevrolet Camaro is set to lose 200 lbs thanks to a variety of light weighting techniques.

While a Chevrolet press release provided a number of granular details (ooh, a new dashboard support beam saves 9 lbs!!), the real savings likely come from a move to the newer, smaller and lighter Alpha platform shared with the Cadillac ATS, rather than the Zeta platform meant for full-sized Holdens.

Based on current curb weights, the newest, lightest Camaro probably checks in at around 3,500 lbs. We’ll know the full story on may 16th when the new Camaro makes its debut.

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Capsule Review: 2015 Chevrolet Malibu LTZ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/capsule-review-2015-chevrolet-malibu-ltz/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/capsule-review-2015-chevrolet-malibu-ltz/#comments Thu, 26 Mar 2015 20:35:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1029937 The Malibu was pretty good. It looked good. It drove nicely enough. It sold in decent numbers. But that was between 2008 and 2012. • U.S. Market Price As Tested: $33,380 • Horsepower: 196 @ 6300 rpm • Torque: 191 lb-ft @ 4400 rpm • Observed Fuel Economy: 23.5 mpg The 2013 Malibu wasn’t so […]

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2015 Chevrolet Malibu Butte RedThe Malibu was pretty good. It looked good. It drove nicely enough. It sold in decent numbers.

But that was between 2008 and 2012.


• U.S. Market Price As Tested: $33,380

• Horsepower: 196 @ 6300 rpm

• Torque: 191 lb-ft @ 4400 rpm

• Observed Fuel Economy: 23.5 mpg


The 2013 Malibu wasn’t so great. It didn’t look good. It didn’t drive so nicely. It wasn’t very pleasant inside. It didn’t sell so well.

But with the speed of a cat lover furiously favouriting tweets of bathing felines, GM refreshed the Malibu for the 2014 model year. Verdict: the refresh was inadequate.

GM deserves credit, and I’m not even kidding, for understanding that the 2013 Malibu wasn’t good enough, and even more brownie points for realizing that the updated 2014/2015 Malibu is unsatisfactory, too. GM will therefore introduce a new Malibu for model year 2016, fast-forwarding to the next generation with all due haste in a market that sees Honda Accords and Toyota Camrys linger for at least five years.

2015 Chevrolet Malibu rearI’ll be honest, I didn’t think the 2015 Chevrolet Malibu LTZ loaned to me for a week from GM Canada was a bad car, not at all. I don’t say that because, as some would suggest, “There’s no such thing as a bad car in 2015,” but rather because a CAD $35,810 midsize sedan is likely a half-decent place to spend time in 2015. This is not a Mitsubishi Mirage. Nor is it a 2007 Chevrolet Malibu.

But there are big issues. Combined, the issues led me to believe that most intermediate cars in 2015 are better than the Malibu in most ways.

The 2016 Malibu must not suffer the same fate.

2015 Chevrolet Malibu LTZIn order to make the current Malibu more fuel-efficient – the base 2012 Malibu was rated at 22/33 mpg, this car is 25/36 – a stop-start system was put in place to stop all the idle guzzling. That’s fine, or it would be, but the stop-start system in the Malibu is the worst I’ve encountered. Stop-start systems are supposed to reignite the engine mellifluously, even surreptitiously. In the 2015 Malibu, in order to pull away from an intersection when the light turns green, the car cranks up as though it’s the first time on a winter’s morning in Winnipeg. This needs to be fixed for MY2016.

The 196-horsepower 2.5L-four-cylinder isn’t a great powerplant aside from its diseased stop-start system. Coarse above 4000 rpm, also known as 2300 rpm shy of the 2.5L’s power peak, the 2.5L causes the Malibu to feel slower than it actually is because you won’t want to rev it and it doesn’t want to rev.

2015 Chevrolet Malibu LTZ interiorOh, but of course you can upgrade the powerplant to GM’s 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder (63 extra horsepower and a hefty 295 lb-ft of torque), and at this price point, why haven’t you? Forego some of the LTZ’s features in favour of an LT with the proper engine and the Malibu erases one of its key faults.

A different engine won’t dramatically alter the ride and handling, and that’s not the end of the world. The Malibu doesn’t ride poorly, but there is some stiffness that lacks a commensurate return in handling agility and precision. Honda’s Accord and the Mazda 6 also transmit impacts into the cabin, but they pay dividends on a back road. When pushed, the Malibu fees larger to drive than it really is. Nevertheless, in mundane driving, the light steering and surprisingly responsive and progressive brakes cause no offense.

2015 Chevrolet Malibu rear seatOffense may well be taken by people behind the driver, however, not just inside the Malibu but in the vehicle abaft. Subjectively speaking, the front end of the Malibu is handsome, but the rear is cartoonish and heavy-handed, thus causing the driver of the car behind you to avert his eyes. As for rearward occupants, scalloped front seats introduced for 2014 offered little noticeable improvement for rear seat passengers. A massive centre hump severely restricts three-across comfort. There may be no Malibu demerit more egregious than its compact car-like rear cabin.

Up front, the interior is laid out effectively, but we had some annoying moments with Chevrolet’s MyLink, an experience that didn’t occur during the prior week with a Buick LaCrosse. Turning the knob to cycle through satellite radio stations periodically accomplished nothing, but then a glance back at the screen a moment or two later revealed an intense scrolling, presumably caused by what I perceived to be my unsuccessful attempt at scanning through the list of channels. Overall, the system continues to be sufficiently intuitive but was persistently laggy in this car.

2015 Chevrolet Malibu interior storageIt all adds up to an undesirable machine, a transportation device that is unlikely to cause undue harm but struggles to do its job as effectively as its rivals. Still, I’d argue that a devoted GM buyer doesn’t need to look outside the Chevy showroom. A Cruze, particularly a loaded one that’ll still cost thousands less than this Malibu test specimen, does a faithful impersonation of a big car in dynamic terms. The Cruze’s interior is only 5% smaller. And if big car space is truly required, a V6-engined Impala is only slightly more costly than this specific Malibu. Forget the Malibu LTZ’s features: space is luxury.

Or you could just wait. As we’ve come to learn, there’s always a new Malibu around the corner.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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2016 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid Pulling From Volt Playbook http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/2016-chevrolet-malibu-hybrid-pulling-volt-playbook/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/2016-chevrolet-malibu-hybrid-pulling-volt-playbook/#comments Thu, 26 Mar 2015 14:00:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1029809 Pulling a few pages from the Volt playbook, Chevrolet will offer a “strong hybrid” version of the 2016 Malibu set to bow in New York next week. Power for the Malibu Hybrid comes from a 1.8-liter direct-injection four-cylinder paired with a modified two-motor drive unit from the 2016 Volt meant to aid the engine during […]

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2016 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid Lithium-Ion Battery System, 1.8L En

Pulling a few pages from the Volt playbook, Chevrolet will offer a “strong hybrid” version of the 2016 Malibu set to bow in New York next week.

Power for the Malibu Hybrid comes from a 1.8-liter direct-injection four-cylinder paired with a modified two-motor drive unit from the 2016 Volt meant to aid the engine during acceleration. Total horsepower comes to 182, and its estimated combined mileage is projected to be 45 mpg. Electric power comes from an 80-cell lithium-ion pack providing 1.5 kWh to the hybrid system, which can allow the Malibu to travel up to 55 mph on electric-only travel.

The gasoline engine is also Chevrolet’s first to have exhaust gas heat recovery, improving fuel economy and engine warm up as well as providing heat to the cabin. Further fuel economy improves come from exhaust gas recirculation, while its regenerative braking system — also shared with the 2016 Volt — helps maintain charge in the pack

The hybrid will leave Kansas City, Kan. for showrooms next spring.

2016 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid Lithium-Ion Battery System, 1.8L En 2016 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid 1.8L Engine and Drive Unit 2016 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid Lithium-Ion Battery System

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General Motors Will Build Next-Gen Chevrolet Cruze In Mexico http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/general-motors-will-build-next-gen-chevrolet-cruze-mexico/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/general-motors-will-build-next-gen-chevrolet-cruze-mexico/#comments Mon, 23 Mar 2015 23:14:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1027977 General Motors is re-jigging its assembly footprint for the Chevrolet Cruze, adding assembly at a Mexican facility as other plants, like Australia, wave goodbye to GM’s global small car. According to Reuters, GM’s facility in Ramos Arizpe, Mexico joins Lordstown, Ohio and China as the third plant that will build the next-generation Cruze. Under the terms of […]

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chevrolet-cruze-china-12-660x303

General Motors is re-jigging its assembly footprint for the Chevrolet Cruze, adding assembly at a Mexican facility as other plants, like Australia, wave goodbye to GM’s global small car.

According to Reuters, GM’s facility in Ramos Arizpe, Mexico joins Lordstown, Ohio and China as the third plant that will build the next-generation Cruze. Under the terms of a deal reached last year, GM will reportedly build the Cruze in South Korea starting in 2017. Mexican production of the Cruze will be primarily for the domestic market.

GM’s decision to pull out of Russia will likely leave that market without a locally built Cruze, while the end of production in Australia will do the same for the Holden-badged version. That leaves Brazil, Thailand, India, Khazakstan and Vietnam as potential assembly locations – or sites that could get cut.

 

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Report: ‘Hundreds’ Of Recalled New Vehicles Sold Without Prior Repairs http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/report-hundreds-recalled-new-vehicles-sold-without-prior-repairs/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/report-hundreds-recalled-new-vehicles-sold-without-prior-repairs/#comments Fri, 20 Mar 2015 13:00:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1025769 In an investigative segment on ABC’s “Good Morning America” Thursday, ABC News purchased a vehicle under recall from a dealer who had not repaired it. Automotive News reports the vehicle, a 2014 Chevrolet Silverado, was purchased by an undercover producer from Hawthorne Chevrolet in Hawthorne, N.J. The truck was under recall for a potential risk […]

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2014 Chevrolet Silverado Crew Cab Z71

In an investigative segment on ABC’s “Good Morning America” Thursday, ABC News purchased a vehicle under recall from a dealer who had not repaired it.

Automotive News reports the vehicle, a 2014 Chevrolet Silverado, was purchased by an undercover producer from Hawthorne Chevrolet in Hawthorne, N.J. The truck was under recall for a potential risk of rolling away while the transmission was in neutral, as well as the possibility for the transfer case to switch to neutral while being driven, leading to loss of power and an increased crash risk.

The recall, issued in June 2014, affected 467,000 2014 and 2015 Chevrolet and GMC Silverados, Suburbans, Tahoes, Sierras, Yukons and Yukon XLs. Per General Motors, 86 percent of the trucks and SUVs — 402,000 units — have been repaired thus far. The Silverado purchased by ABC News was not among them, however, in violation of federal law that requires dealerships to repair vehicles with a safety defect, including those under recall, prior to delivery.

GM representative Alan Adler said his employer spoke with Hawthorne after the segment aired, stating that no disciplinary action is planned. Adler added that while the incident occurred at a Chevrolet dealership with a GM product, such incidents aren’t exclusive to the automaker. ABC confirmed this in its report, having found “hundreds” of new cars from various manufacturers in New York and New Jersey that were under recall, but were not repaired prior to sale.

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GM Retaining Current Malibu, Cruze As Fleet Specials, Diesel Dead For 2016 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/gm-retaining-current-malibu-cruze-fleet-specials-diesel-dead-2016/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/gm-retaining-current-malibu-cruze-fleet-specials-diesel-dead-2016/#comments Thu, 19 Mar 2015 11:54:03 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1025193 Although all-new versions of the Chevrolet Cruze and Malibu are set to debut by the end of the year, GM will retain the current versions as fleet-only vehicles, dubbed the “Cruze Limited” and “Malibu Limited”. While the Malibu Limited will be available in LS, LT and LTZ trims, the lone powertrain will be the 2.5L […]

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2014-Chevy-Cruze-Diesel-46-mpg. Photo courtesy AutoGuide.com

Although all-new versions of the Chevrolet Cruze and Malibu are set to debut by the end of the year, GM will retain the current versions as fleet-only vehicles, dubbed the “Cruze Limited” and “Malibu Limited”.

While the Malibu Limited will be available in LS, LT and LTZ trims, the lone powertrain will be the 2.5L I4. The Cruze will drop the diesel variant, but retain the “Eco” version, as well as the manual transmission option.

med_gallery_51_2_61213 med_gallery_51_2_38143

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Sixth-Gen Chevrolet Camaro To Be Revealed Mid-May In Detroit http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/sixth-gen-chevrolet-camaro-revealed-mid-may-detroit/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/sixth-gen-chevrolet-camaro-revealed-mid-may-detroit/#comments Tue, 17 Mar 2015 11:00:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1023905 Want to see the sixth-gen Chevrolet Camaro? You’ll have to wait until mid-May, when Chevrolet reveals the vehicle in Detroit. The brand is inviting 1,000 fans to witness the unveiling in Belle Isle, which also includes a meet-and-greet with those behind the new Camaro, Camaro-only parking for owners, hot laps in a 2015 Z/28 around […]

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CamaroSix-Badge

Want to see the sixth-gen Chevrolet Camaro? You’ll have to wait until mid-May, when Chevrolet reveals the vehicle in Detroit.

The brand is inviting 1,000 fans to witness the unveiling in Belle Isle, which also includes a meet-and-greet with those behind the new Camaro, Camaro-only parking for owners, hot laps in a 2015 Z/28 around the course that will host the Belle Isle Grand Prix in late May, and a display of vehicles from nearly 50 years of the car’s existence.

The catch? One must register online to attend the free event, with priority given to Camaro owners.

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Juechter: No Mid-Engine Corvette Exists http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/juechter-no-mid-engine-corvette-exists/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/juechter-no-mid-engine-corvette-exists/#comments Mon, 16 Mar 2015 14:00:39 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1023209 Aside from IMSA’s Daytona Prototype class, dreams of a mid-engine Corvette will remain as such according to the icon’s chief engineer. AutoGuide reports Tadge Juechter said as much when interviewed during an episode of “Autoline After Hours,” when the engineer was asked about the rumored “Zora” mid-engine Corvette meant to challenge the Ferrari 488 GTB […]

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Roar Before the Rolex 24

Aside from IMSA’s Daytona Prototype class, dreams of a mid-engine Corvette will remain as such according to the icon’s chief engineer.

AutoGuide reports Tadge Juechter said as much when interviewed during an episode of “Autoline After Hours,” when the engineer was asked about the rumored “Zora” mid-engine Corvette meant to challenge the Ferrari 488 GTB and Lamborghini Huracan:

I’ll have to check that out, because I know no such car exists.

Juechter did say General Motors thought about moving the engine to a mid-rear configuration with the C7, but ultimately declined when doing so meant “sacrificing too much everyday driving comfort.”

The possibility for such a beast may still be there — if our experience with the upcoming 2017 Ford GT is anything to go by — but for now, the closest anyone will get to that unicorn is through an IMSA Driver Membership.

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General Motors Cutting Back 100K-Mile Powertrain Warranty http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/general-motors-cutting-back-100k-mile-powertrain-warranty/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/general-motors-cutting-back-100k-mile-powertrain-warranty/#comments Fri, 13 Mar 2015 12:00:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1021025 Due to lack of interest, General Motors is cutting back its 100,000-mile/five-year powertrain warranty for 2016 Chevrolet and GMC models. Automotive News reports the new warranty will cover the powertrain for up to five years or 60,000 miles, with courtesy transportation and roadside assistance still available for the period. The new standard matches those of […]

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Silverado-Custom-Sport-4

Due to lack of interest, General Motors is cutting back its 100,000-mile/five-year powertrain warranty for 2016 Chevrolet and GMC models.

Automotive News reports the new warranty will cover the powertrain for up to five years or 60,000 miles, with courtesy transportation and roadside assistance still available for the period. The new standard matches those of Toyota, Ford and Honda. The coverage’s two-year free maintenance scheme will also be cut from four free visits for oil changes, tire rotations et al to just two.

Though the original extended warranty was meant to give consumers more confidence in GM products when first introduced for the 2007 model year, the memo sent out to dealers this week stated the following:

Through research, we have determined that when purchasing a new vehicle, included maintenance and warranty rank low on the list of reasons why consumers consider a particular brand over another. As a result, we have benchmarked our competitors, reviewed our current offerings and have concluded the following modifications to align closely with our customers’ needs and expectations.

Only the Chevrolet Volt will retain the 100,000-mile powertrain warranty for its battery pack and drive unit; Buick’s and Cadillac’s six-year/70,000 warranty will remain unchanged, as well.

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Junkyard Find: 1989 Chevrolet Celebrity Eurosport Sedan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/junkyard-find-1989-chevrolet-celebrity-eurosport-sedan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/junkyard-find-1989-chevrolet-celebrity-eurosport-sedan/#comments Thu, 12 Mar 2015 13:00:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1020529 Since we had a 1989 General Motors Junkyard Find yesterday, let’s look at another 1989 GM car today. The Chevrolet Celebrity, sold for the 1982 through 1990 model years, was one of those cars that disappeared from our memories without much of a trace. The Celebrity wasn’t as spectacularly bad as the Chevy Citation and […]

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16 - 1989 Chevrolet Celebrity Eurosport Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSince we had a 1989 General Motors Junkyard Find yesterday, let’s look at another 1989 GM car today. The Chevrolet Celebrity, sold for the 1982 through 1990 model years, was one of those cars that disappeared from our memories without much of a trace. The Celebrity wasn’t as spectacularly bad as the Chevy Citation and its corporate siblings, but nobody loved it (except for these guys) and most examples were fed into the cold steel jaws of The Crusher before the 1990s were over. Here’s an example from the sedan’s final year of production.
01 - 1989 Chevrolet Celebrity Eurosport Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Eurosport package got you black window trim and an allegedly stiffer suspension. My parents— loyal buy-American Midwesterners who wanted to stick with Detroit cars— bought an ’85 Celebrity Eurosport new, and that car was the last Detroit machine they’d ever purchase. Coming on the heels of a particularly miserable Ford Granada, the unreliable, unpleasant-to-drive Celebrity forced them into the waiting arms of Honda and Toyota, where they have remained ever since. Repeat this process with a tens of millions of Americans like my parents during the 1970s and 1980s and it’s easy to see how GM’s image ended up in such a deep sinkhole for so long.
09 - 1989 Chevrolet Celebrity Eurosport Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin85 mph speedometers were no longer required in 1989, but some cars kept them.


For people who have grown up… without growing old.


Successful businessman “J.B.” knows that the ’89 Celebrity is actually a display of wealth, power, and good taste.

01 - 1989 Chevrolet Celebrity Eurosport Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1989 Chevrolet Celebrity Eurosport Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1989 Chevrolet Celebrity Eurosport Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1989 Chevrolet Celebrity Eurosport Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1989 Chevrolet Celebrity Eurosport Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1989 Chevrolet Celebrity Eurosport Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1989 Chevrolet Celebrity Eurosport Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1989 Chevrolet Celebrity Eurosport Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1989 Chevrolet Celebrity Eurosport Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 17 - 1989 Chevrolet Celebrity Eurosport Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 18 - 1989 Chevrolet Celebrity Eurosport Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 19 - 1989 Chevrolet Celebrity Eurosport Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 20 - 1989 Chevrolet Celebrity Eurosport Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 21 - 1989 Chevrolet Celebrity Eurosport Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

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NYIAS 2015: 2016 Chevrolet Malibu Teased Again Prior To Show http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/nyias-2015-2016-chevrolet-malibu-teased-prior-show/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/nyias-2015-2016-chevrolet-malibu-teased-prior-show/#comments Thu, 12 Mar 2015 12:00:02 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1020433 It was teased earlier, and now the 2016 Chevrolet Malibu is teased again, this time in anti-spy camo. AutoGuide reports the photo above shows the new Malibu undergoing wind-tunnel testing, part of the vehicle’s overall 1.5-million-mile stress test. General Motors adds that the new model will lose 300 pounds and gain 4 inches in its […]

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The all-new 2016 Chevrolet Malibu spent thousands of hours fine

It was teased earlier, and now the 2016 Chevrolet Malibu is teased again, this time in anti-spy camo.

AutoGuide reports the photo above shows the new Malibu undergoing wind-tunnel testing, part of the vehicle’s overall 1.5-million-mile stress test. General Motors adds that the new model will lose 300 pounds and gain 4 inches in its wheelbase, while the steep rear roofline is meant to help the Malibu fare better against its contemporaries.

The 2016 Malibu will make its debut April 1 at the 2015 New York Auto Show.

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Reuss: Low Priority For Ford Raptor Competitor http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/reuss-low-priority-ford-raptor-competitor/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/reuss-low-priority-ford-raptor-competitor/#comments Mon, 09 Mar 2015 14:00:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1018018 Will there be a Silverado or Sierra ready to battle the Ford Raptor in Baja Valley anytime soon? Not quite, according to General Motors. Edmunds says GM doesn’t have current plans to build a Raptor competitor, despite speculation that Chevrolet and GMC are working on such a beast as of this writing. The brands themselves […]

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17FordRaptor_04_HR

Will there be a Silverado or Sierra ready to battle the Ford Raptor in Baja Valley anytime soon? Not quite, according to General Motors.

Edmunds says GM doesn’t have current plans to build a Raptor competitor, despite speculation that Chevrolet and GMC are working on such a beast as of this writing. The brands themselves also won’t confirm if the “Badlands” name filed in February with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is meant for a high-performance full-size off-road pickup.

Per GM global product development boss Mark Reuss, his company has the capital and a lot of priorties on the table, of which a Chevy/GMC Raptor is among the lowest in priority. Reuss added that he would not rule out such a thing, citing the Colorado ZR2 concept from the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show as where GM may go if it so chose.

Meanwhile, Buick-GMC vice president Duncan Aldred had this to say about the “Badlands” name:

When you are looking at terms, or names and phrases, the first thing you do, even if it is a speck of an idea, you trademark the name because it can become a legal mine field. If someone says, “I like that,” you generally go for it and work out if you might use it later. We’ve probably got hundreds, if not thousands, of names (we) don’t use.

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