The Truth About Cars » chicago auto show The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Wed, 23 Jul 2014 18:25:17 +0000 en-US hourly 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 (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 » chicago auto show The Chicago Auto Show Wayback Machine Wed, 26 Feb 2014 02:24:23 +0000 Cars037

Courtesy of TTAC reader Bryan comes these photos from the 1989, 1990 and 1991 Chicago Auto Shows. A truly glorious era of cigarette advertising in motorsports, interesting concepts from Mitsubishis, plastic paneled import fighters and a body-on-frame small block sedan crowned as Car of the Year. Cars may get 5-stars in a crash test, 30 mpg on a highway and put down low 14 second quarter mile times for $25,000, but that doesn’t mean we can’t lament how much more soulful they used to be.

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BMW Uses Olympics, Chicago Auto Show to Market i Series in U.S., Offers Loaners to Offset Range Anxiety Mon, 10 Feb 2014 12:30:12 +0000

Click here to view the embedded video.

BMW has reportedly spent billions of dollars so far on developing various aspects of its carbon fiber intensive and electric powered i series of cars. The Bavarian automaker obviously wants to get that money back and more so it is now using high profile events to launch the i subbrand in North America, including buying ads during the opening ceremony and other broadcasts from the Winter Olympics currently being held in Sochi, Russia. The first of three ads that BMW will be running during the NBC network’s coverage of the Olympic games is called “Hello Future” and uses a 1964 recording of futurist Arthur C. Clarke to promote the $136,000 i8 hybrid super car. A second ad for the i8 is called “Sighting“, showing people’s reaction to first seeing the car. The more mass market $41,300 i3 is being sold with “SHHH“, depicting a teenager using his father’s silent i3 to sneak a nighttime joyride with a girl he’s trying to impress. He gets the girl but dad has been tracking the car with BMW’s i remote app.

The Winter Olympics have some of the biggest television audiences of the year. The Chicago Auto Show has the biggest attendance of any car show in North America. The i3 and i8 were also a major focus of BMW’s display and press conference at the Chicago show. Journalists clambered all over and inside the i3, complete with production stickers on its hemp paneled doors, that was on the show floor.

The i8 is going on sale later this year and while it isn’t quite in production like the i3 is, by now BMW has enough preproduction and validation models made that instead of the charcoal grey i8 that they showed in Detroit, at Chicago’s McCormick Place a gleaming pearl white i8 coupe was behind glass barriers next to the i3.

While the i8 is more of a plug-in hybrid, the i3, even with its gasoline-powered range extender, has still compelled BMW to come up with a rather novel solution to range anxiety. Buyers of the i3 can reserve the use of conventional gasoline or diesel-powered loaner cars should they need one for a long distance trip.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

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Chicago 2014: Deep Dive with the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado Thu, 06 Feb 2014 10:54:11 +0000 2015 Chevy Colorado | Gas 2

A few short hours ago, I was in McCormick Place with a handful of auto journalists and GM’s 2015 Chevy Colorado team. It was a lucky break- a last-minute invitation to meet with some GM brass before the hectic onslaught of the 2014 Chicago Auto Show’s press days and ask them the questions that my fellow alt-fuel/cleantech gear heads wanted answers to.

So, here it is: the 2015 Chevy Colorado, in the 72 dpi digitized flesh and packed with some seriously trick goodies. Will this (and its GMC Canyon twin) be enough to reclaim the compact truck throne, however? You’d better believe it- the Colorado is that good!


2015 Chevy Colorado: the Look

Make no mistake, this is one seriously good-looking trucklet. Chevy’s 2015 Colorado is a true mid-sizer, but the look is more F-150-fighter than Nissan Frontier. Size-wise, more than one of my fellow deep-divers commented that “it’s the perfect size”, and I think it’s just short enough to make a reasonable case for having one in Chicago.

Chevy Colorado Z71

Chevy Colorado Z71

Chevy Colorado Z71

As you take a look at the photos of the Z71 off-roader version of the Colorado, look at the soft, velvety look of the black plastics and the crisp inner workings of the headlight. This is a far cry from the old S-10 EXtreme and its “generic level 2″ plastics.

Chevy Colorado Z71

Chevy Colorado Z71


2015 Chevy Colorado: the Cockpit

Inside, the truck’s 2015 MyLink infotainment system is decidedly more Chevy Sonic than Chevy Cruze, and that is a very good thing. All the buttons were logically labeled, there didn’t seem to be any of the convoluted “touch screen + button + more screen-touching” command sequences that made me loathe the Cruze’s MyLink. It had another neat trick, as well: a fully-functional Pandora app.

Is that game-changer? I’m much more excited about my Pandora stations than I am about XM/Sirius, so- yes? Just pretend you can already hear my blasting Shakira and Ke$ha as loud as the Chevy Colorado’s speakers will let me.

Chevy Colorado Interior

Chevy Colorado Interior

Chevy Colorado Interior

Chevy Colorado Interior


2015 Chevy Colorado: Seating

The biggest complaint anyone ever had about a compact pickup (think old Chevy S-10, 90s-00s Ford Ranger, etc.) wasn’t that they weren’t capable enough, it’s that getting in and out of the things was always a pain. It was a pain when I was 23, and it would be a bigger pain today, more than a decade later. I’d never climb over a front seat to get into a side-facing jumper again, and- in a truck that’s the size of the new 2015 Chevy Colorado, I won’t have to.

Ingress and egress seems straight-forward enough. You just open the solidly-mounted, triple-sealed doors, climb into the quality-feeling vinyl/cloth seats, and shut the door with a satisfying, Mercedes C-Class level “whooomp”. Actually, open the door and slam it shut a few more times. It is a hugely satisfying feeling that was totally absent in my 1991 GMC Jimmy, even with the rose-colored lenses of nostalgia firmly in place.






The 2015 Chevy Colorado has a cleverly adjustable seatbelt that adjusts at the shoulder AND at the hip. More comfortable belts are more likely to be worn, so this is a huge step towards 100% adoption of belts- especially out in rural ‘Murica where the Big Gulp comes in more than one size of early-onset diabetes.



2015 Chevy Colorado: the Tough Questions

I hate to tell you this, guys- but I didn’t get the scoop on the 2015 Chevy Colorado’s EPA fuel economy. I can’t tell you what the EPA numbers on the 2016 diesel will be, either. I also couldn’t tell you if the truck is E15 or E20 compatible, because the GM engineer on hand (a lovely, polite woman who I mistook for another journalist, despite the Riot Grrl leanings of my youth) didn’t know. I also couldn’t tell you if GM plans to include the Colorado in its CNG fleet plans, but I was told, wink-wink, nudge-nudge style, to expect a bi-fuel announcement from GM soon.

A few things I did find out? The upcoming V6 version of the 2015 Chevy Colorado- which uses the same 3.6 liter VVT V6 engine used in Cadillacs and Buicks …



… and that, in truck duty, the V6 is expected to be able to haul up to 6700 lbs (!?). That’s more than enough to safely haul any number of RVs, fishing boats, and (dare I say it?) race cars- and the Colorados will be available with fully integrated receiver hitches and easy-to-access wiring for 4 and 7 pin connectors.

So, that’s something- no? What do you guys think? Am I right in thinking Chevy’s hit a home run with this new 2015 Colorado, or do you think Nissan and Dodge will out-Darwin it with their 28 MPG full-size diesel half-tons? Let us know what you think in the comments, below. Enjoy!


Originally posted to Jo’s other site, Gas 2.

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Ken Lingenfelter: New LT1 Engine A Challenge for Tuners Mon, 11 Feb 2013 13:30:02 +0000 Elteeone - photo courtesy of Cars In Depth

General Motors’ powertrain engineers have undoubtedly demonstrated with the LS family of V8 engines that pushrods still have a place in the 21st century. As successful and popular as the LS has been, I don’t think it’s much of stretch to assume that the new LT1 V8 in the all new seventh generation Corvette will eventually replace the LS engine in its various permutations and applications. The LT1, still a cam in block engine, and still with Ed Cole’s 4.40 inch bore centers, adds direct injection to the Small Block Chevy heritage. The LS family has also been popular as crate motors, used by customizers and high performance enthusiasts as well as with a small industry of companies that specialize in high performance GM products. While you can buy a LS from General Motors with up to 638 horsepower, if that just doesn’t satisfy your need for speed, companies like Callaway, Lingenfelter and Hennessey have shown that the LS engine’s basic architecture is capable of putting out almost twice that power. After talking with Ken Lingenfelter about the new Corvette, I wonder, though, just how tuner-friendly the new LT1 will be.

I ran into Lingenfelter in front of the Classic Car Club of America’s display at the Chicago Auto Show. Ken’s a noted collector of Corvettes and other performance cars who took over Lingenfelter Performance Engineering when his cousin, John, who started LPE, was killed in a car wreck. Ken’s a car guy’s car guy and I see him at tons of car events around the Detroit area, as an exhibitor, as a vendor and as an attendee.  A while back he graciously gave me access to shoot 3D photos and video of his collection. He was in Chicago to show some LPE massaged cars, including a very nicely done ’67ish StingRay body on a C6 Corvette chassis with Lingenfelter power, built by Karls Kustom Corvette .

Alex Dykes’ posted some nice pics of the cutaways at the Chicago Auto Show. They’re fine photographs but you haven’t seen cutaways until you’ve seen them in 3D. Talk about engine porn! To view in 3D without glasses, cross your eyes slightly so that your right eye is looking at the left image and vice versa. Then relax your eyes similar to when using a pair of binoculars, and a stable third, 3D image will fuse in the middle of the other two images. You might have to move closer or farther from the screen for the ideal distance

When I asked Lingenfelter if LPE has had a chance to work on the LT1 yet, he told me that GM’s been rather close to the vest with the new engine. He also said since the LT1 is the first time that GM has used direct injection in their V8 engine family, there’s going to be a learning curve for the tuners. One thing he said, though, may not bode well for 1,000+ HP LTs. Lingenfelter said that engines are designed with performance limits. Think of the way that Formula One used to use “hand grenade” qualifying engines, motors built to make crazy power but not last longer than a few laps. According to Lingenfelter, the production versions of the LS engine still leave a lot of room for performance improvement, they’re nowhere near the limits of the performance envelope. From what he’s learned about the new LT1, Lingenfelter fears that the motor, which has the highest specific output of any GM engine ever, 450 HP and 450 lb-ft of torque from 6.2 liters of displacement, may be closer to the limits of its performance envelope in production form than the LS. No doubt the LT1′s architecture can handle the 600 or 700 HP that the eventual ZR1 edition of the C7 will have, but 700 HP is commonplace in the LS tuning world and Lingenfelter is concerned that they may not be able to wring much more than that out of the new Corvette engine.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can dig deeper at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks – RJS

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Chicago Auto Show: Best cutaways of the show Fri, 08 Feb 2013 22:06:20 +0000

What is the best part of a modern auto show? It’s not the constant running from one press release to another. It certainly isn’t fighting your way to the front of the throng to get some blurry photos of the latest sports car. It isn’t even the airport-grade lunches and cheap booze. No, it’s the cutaways. Nowhere else will you find the sheer quantity and quality of mechanical cutaways as an auto show. There are engine cutaways, transmission cutaways, and cutaways of entire vehicles. Click past the jump to see 28 of our favorites from the Chicago Auto Show.

IMG_3113 IMG_3114 IMG_3115 IMG_3116 IMG_3117 IMG_3118 IMG_3127 IMG_3128 IMG_3129 IMG_3155 IMG_3156 IMG_3157 IMG_3158 IMG_3159 IMG_3160 IMG_3161 IMG_3162 IMG_3163 IMG_3164 IMG_3165 IMG_3166 IMG_3187 IMG_3188 IMG_3189 IMG_3190 IMG_3191 IMG_3192 IMG_3193 Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail ]]> 20
Chicago Auto Show: The Highlights Fri, 08 Feb 2013 16:34:53 +0000

With the Chicago Auto Show behind us, automakers readying new trim levels and minor engine revisions will have to wait until next year’s Chicago Auto Show, which – aside from wordy Internet press releases – has become the official place for such unveilings.

Pitched as a mini Detroit Auto Show but really more like a major Des Moines Auto Show, Chicago gives journalists yet another venue to mooch free alcohol off mid-level automotive PR grunts who aren’t yet senior enough to skip it.  Fortunately for you senior PR folks – and anyone else who didn’t get the pleasure of Chicago in February – I’ve covered everything you need to know.

The only big news in Chicago was the debut of a redesigned 2014 Toyota Tundra.  This is Toyota’s fourth-generation full-size pickup, expected to record around a tenth of domestic rivals’ sales no matter how many ads Toyota runs explaining that it’s built in San Antonio.

Volkswagen upheld the Chicago show’s reputation by releasing both new trim levels and engine revisions, keeping actual new products tightly wrapped until New York.  Some highlights of the VW display:

  • A Wiz Khalifa-inspired Beetle, called the GSR because it stands for “Yellow Black Racer” in German.  Truly.  Assuming the Pittsburgh Pirates buy one to drive around the warning track during the seventh inning stretch with a t-shirt cannon sticking out the sunroof, VW still has to find a home for 3,499 of these, since production is “limited” to 3,500.
  •  Speaking of premature runout models, the Beetle Convertible is adding an R-Line model for 2013.  With little else to cover, journalists oohed and aahed over its aluminum shift knob while mooching free alcohol off mid-level automotive PR grunts.
  • Best of all, the Jetta GLI and Beetle Turbo received an entire press kit worth of engine upgrades.  Net gain: 10 horsepower and 0 pound-feet.  I sure hope they upgraded the brakes.  But I’d have to read the press kit to find out.

Nissan’s big play this year was releasing NISMO versions of models that either already offer NISMO versions, or have no business offering NISMO versions.  Witness the NISMO Juke, which could only have resulted from a competition between design and engineering on what could grow more: the horsepower or the fenders.  Exact power isn’t known, but it’s safe to say the designers won.

But to Nissan, Chicago wasn’t all about performance and big fenders.  They also released a cargo version of New York City’s next taxi, disappointing anyone who thought they’d be spared the sight of the ghastly van by living outside the Tri-State area.

Vans were also a hot topic over at Ram, where Fiat showed off a rebadged Ducato cargo van to be sold here as the Ram Promaster.  This benefitted Ford most, as white-haired journalists typically found pestering Ford PR about the Panther’s return for the eleventh auto show in a row were instead seen at the Chrysler display waxing nostalgic about the Ram Van.

Chevrolet released its Cruze Diesel, which – after years of planning and development – matches the Jetta Diesel in every way, yet costs $3,000 more.  Reached for comment, Chevrolet probably would’ve said: “Give it six months.  You’ll find the three grand in the trunk.”

Interestingly, Kia brought a concept car to Chicago, apparently disregarding the strongly-worded memo reminding automakers to stick to trim levels and engine revisions.  Called the Cross GT, it would fill the hole created when Kia cancelled the Borrego, which was purchased by at least 40 people, of which only 27 were Kia employees.  Peter Schreyer couldn’t be reached for comment, as he was too busy fulfilling the duties of his latest promotion to President of South Korea.

And that was the Chicago Auto Show.  If you live in Chicagoland and want to attend, I strongly encourage it.  How else will you find out about the latest trim levels?

Doug DeMuro operates He’s owned an E63 AMG wagon, roadtripped across the US in a Lotus without air conditioning, and posted a six-minute laptime on the Circuit de Monaco in a rented Ford Fiesta.  One year after becoming Porsche Cars North America’s youngest manager, he quit to become a writer.  His parents are very disappointed.

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Chicago Auto Show: 2014 Nissan NV200 Fri, 08 Feb 2013 16:21:18 +0000  

 If the Transit Connect isn’t your bag but you’re looking for a small cargo carrier (or a New York Taxi), Nissan is finally bringing their NV200 to the USA. The small cargo hauler has been on sale in Japan and Europe since 2009 but due to the success of the Transit Connect Nissan has decided to bring it our way. What do you need to know? Click past the jump to find out.

The NV200 is based on the same platform as the Cube and Versa but stretched for American cargo duty. This means the vehicle has car-like ride aspirations, a 2.0L gasoline engine and, you guessed it, a continuously variable transmission. Nissan kept the MacPherson struts up front but swapped the torsion beam setup in the rear for commercial-style leaf springs to bring the payload capacity up to 1,500lbs. Note that an official cargo carrying capacity has yet to be announced.

Nissan tells us that a standard 40×48 inch pallet can be accommodated in the rear, and thanks to doors that fold flat with the sides of the van you shouldn’t have too much trouble getting a forklift in there to do the lifting. Just make sure it’s not a heavy pallet. Cargo carrying is helped by a load floor that is flat all the way to the front, a notable change from the Transit Connect that has a load floor higher than the passenger floor. This means it will be more practical to remove the front passenger seat in the NV for more hauling room.

Interior bits come from a variety of Nissan products with a unique dashboard and Nissan’s low cost nav system can be added as an option. The last, and perhaps most important thing to keep in mind is the engine. The 2.0L four is borrowed from the Sentra but Nissan hasn’t released power numbers yet. Some are suggesting that we should expect it to be detuned for cargo duty to around 135HP, but I hope they are wrong. Also not clear is whether the NV200 will be getting the newer CVT with 2-speed gearset which broadens the ratio spread of the CVT.

2014 Nissan NV200 Cargo Van 2014 Nissan NV200 Cargo Van-1 2014 Nissan NV200 Cargo Van-3 2014 Nissan NV200 Cargo Van-4 2014 Nissan NV200 Cargo Van-5 2014 Nissan NV200 Cargo Van-6 2014 Nissan NV200 Cargo Van-7


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Chicago Auto Show: 2014 Ford Transit Connect Wagon Fri, 08 Feb 2013 15:50:11 +0000

If you were an early adopter of Ford’s compact cargo hauler, news of the 2014 Transit Connect may upset you. Rather than letting the old baby-Transit languish in America like Ford did once upon a time with thee Focus, the new Euro van is coming to America later this year. With new engines, new transmissions and a corporate grille, should you put your purchase on hold?

In a word: yes. The new Transit Connect isn’t just more stylish than its predecessor, it comes with a host of improvements for people and cargo hauling alike. Payload remains somewhat low at 1,600lbs but cargo room is up thanks to an extended wheelbase model. Ford is even tossing in their 6.5 inch version of MyFord Touch.

If people carrying is your goal, that extended model will now haul 7 passengers and Ford improved interior parts quality. While the last Transit connect was slathered in hard Euro plastics, the 2014 model borrows from Ford’s Focus, Escape and Fiesta parts bins. The result is a mini-van that looks like one of the family and finally doesn’t have any painted metal showing on the inside.

Under the hood Ford is using a naturally aspirated 2.5L four cylinder or a force-fed 1.6L four borrowed from the Escape and Fusion. Assuming the 1.6L doesn’t get recalled, the boosted four’s broad torque range coupled with Ford’s 6-speed automatic should improve the Connect’s performance on the road. Ford is claiming the combo will also be good for 30MPG on the highway which is impressive for a commercial vehicle, as long as they can meet their claim.

2014 Ford Transit Connect Wagon 2014 Ford Transit Connect Wagon-1 2014 Ford Transit Connect Wagon-2 2014 Ford Transit Connect Wagon-3 2014 Ford Transit Connect Wagon-4 2014 Ford Transit Connect Wagon-5 2014 Ford Transit Connect Wagon-6 Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail


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Chicago Auto Show: 2014 Cadillac ELR Thu, 07 Feb 2013 23:39:17 +0000

TTAC writers will stoop to any trick to get access to cars. This may be my last post at TTAC because I bribed my way into the ELR and may be removed for ethics violations (a Diet Pepsi was involved.) Fresh off its début in Detroit the ELR may be old news, but since none of the TTAC staff had seen one in the metal, I knew my duty.

Is it a “Cadillac Volt?”  Yes. But what that means is thankfully different now that GM seems to be shunning badge engineering. So it’s a Volt with a different body, different interior, different infotainment systems, a more powerful motor and plenty of tweaks, so it’s not really a Volt at all.

What do you need to know?

It’s a two-door, two-plus-two coupé that places style and efficiency on the same high pedestal. Power is up from 149HP to 207 while torque takes a more modest increase from 273 to 295. Cadillac hasn’t released any weight numbers but we were told that the weight would be largely the same as the Volt since the battery pack is essentially the same. The ELR seems to focus more on handling than economy with wide 245-width rubber all the way around on 20 inch rims.

Did you sit in it?

That’s where the soda bribe came in. The interior is oddly enough the best that Cadillac has made yet. It shares the steering wheel design with the XTS and ATS but the cheap plastic airbag cover is replaced by a leather/suede version. The dashboard is full of angles as you would expect from Cadillac but the materials choices are higher than expected for the most part. As often happens things get a bit less harmonious down on the center console but on the whole it’s a marked improvement.

Cadillac hasn’t announced the important things like sale dates or pricing yet, but you can be sure with wide rubber and a lead foot that the ELR won’t have the same range or economy as the Volt. Does that matter? No. This is what GM should have built first, luxury buyers are more likely to want to pay for gasoline/electric novelty.

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Chicago Auto Show: 2014 Fiat 500L Thu, 07 Feb 2013 23:21:46 +0000

What happens when foreigners have been in America for a few years? They start getting fat like Americans. And so it is with the 2014 Fat 500L which has gained mass, two doors and a plumper overall visage. We found a red model strutting its chunky stuff at the back of the Chicago Auto Show For some reason we weren’t allowed inside, but we were able to caress it through the open windows.

Fiat kept referring to the 500L as some sort of MINI Clubman competitor, but I tend to think only shoppers of the Countryman CUV will be looking at the larger Fiat. On the outside the 500L looks slightly overinflated with suspicious looking bulges everywhere. The inside is a different story however with interior bits that put MINI to shame. Not that they are overly luxurious but MINI’s parts bin is a hard plastic wonderland.

Fiat says the 500L will be front wheel drive only for the moment, although the rumor mill indicates the platform has been designed with AWD in mind. The same 1.4L turbo engine from the 500 Abarth is found under the hood giving the baby crossover 160HP and 184lb-ft of twist. Also on board is a 6-speed manual or Fiat’s dual dry clutch transmission. Infotainment options are also taking a step in the right direction bringing Chrysler’s slick uConnect system to an optional 6.5-inch touch scree in the dash. I spent some time playing with the display system and it looks to be better in my opinion than MINI’s rendition of iDrive and light-years ahead of what’s in the current 500. So far, nobody is talking pricing.

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Chicago Auto Show: 2014 RAM ProMaster Cargo Van Thu, 07 Feb 2013 20:26:55 +0000  

Car guys with a commercial leaning seem to usually wax poetic about the old Dodge Ram vans. Chrysler’s four speed automatic transmission may not have been the most reliable cog-swapper ever built, but the 318 engine will run forever. Chrysler gave up on the van market in the middle of the last decade to focus on getting raped by Mercedes other projects. Enter the 2014 ProMaster.

Dodge’s, er, I mean RAM’s new full-sized cargo van is a thinly disguised Fiat Ducato from Europe. Rather than a complete redesign on the same theme for the American market like Ford did with the Transit van, Fiat and Chrysler have decided to keep the changes to a minimum. This of course means the ProMaster is a front wheel drive van. Yes, you heard that right, front wheel drive. This means you won’t find a V8 under the RAM’s tiny hood, instead you’ll find Chrysler’s latest 280HP 3.6L V6 engine or a Fiat 3.0L four-cylinder turbo diesel. The diesel is rated for 174H and 295lb-ft of torque. Sending power to the ground is a heavy-duty version of the 6-seed transaxle from Chrysler’s minivans with the V6, or a 6-speed Fiat “automated manual” transmission if you decide to burn oil.

RAM is claiming that the ProMaster is capable of an impressive 5,145lb cargo capacity and a towing rating of 5,100lbs when properly equipped. While some may scoff at the FWD design (and I wonder what a fully loaded van on a steep hill will be like), the benefits may outweigh the concerns. RAM is claiming best-in-class fuel economy, smallest turning circle (36 feet), largest cargo hold, lowest step-in height, lowest load floor and tallest ceiling height. Trying to allay some fears RAM is tossing in a 5 year 100,000 mile powertrain warranty and 10,000 mile or 18,000 mile oil change intervals depending on your engine choice. There is of course some uConnect love, plenty of European Fiat parts going on inside, Brembo brakes (I took a double-take as well) and the uncertainty of reliability and pricing. Commercial shoppers look like they are in for some tough decision-making in 2014.

All the other details: Pricing hasn’t been announced. It will be built in Saltillo Mexico. The diesel uses urea. Yes, t does look a little funky in person.

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Chicago Auto Show: 2014 Chevrolet Impala Thu, 07 Feb 2013 18:56:05 +0000
So you want a Cadillac XTS but think the price tag is too dear? Chevrolet has an answer with the 2014 Impala, the Caddy’s kissing cousin. By all appearances, the main-stream model is the more attractive and sensible model as well. In between stuffing my maw with leftover breakfast muffins and a Kia sponsored mimosa I tripped across Chevy’s full-size sedan. No, this isn’t the RWD Chevy we’ve longed for, this is Malibu to the max.

The Impala isn’t vastly different from the rest of the Chevy lineup in style, but on first glance it seems to have pulled the best styling cues from Chevy’s design bag and placed them all on one car. GM had two top-of-the-line Impala LTZ models on display (complete with booth babes) and one cloth-seat equipped model for our perusal. In addition to the cohesive design, the Impala doesn’t come off strangely proportioned like the Cadillac XTS did when we last reviewed it.

 I still don’t understand why Chevy is going premium when Buick exists, but that’s a story for another time. Despite the logic of the lineup, the Impala wears the best Chevy interior in terms of quality. All the interiors on display dripped with stitched pleather, plenty of cow-hide and lots of convincing faux-wood trim. As nice as the new Toyota Avalon on display next door was, the Impala beat it in terms of style, feel and parts quality. Whoda thunk that? How does it drive? You’ll have to wait or the Truth About That for a while.

Shoppers will find GM’s 2.4L Ecotec engine with eAssist from Buick’s lineup, GM’s new 2.5L 195hp four-pot or the ubiquitous 3.6L 303HP V6. There will be no fire-breathing Taurus SHO competitor we’re told. Pity.

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Chicago Auto Show: Ford Transit 250 Thu, 07 Feb 2013 17:47:36 +0000

Ford’s commercial booth is very quiet at the Chicago Auto Show despite having on display the biggest news in commercial vehicles at the show. OK, so a new cargo van isn’t that exciting, I’ll give you that. While Ford had their cargo hauler locked, I was able to get a few impressions.

First off, my GOD the Transit looks like a hungy animal from the front. Second impression? This thing is huge.  A quick look at the frame display Ford had on the show floor appears to dash any hopes of finding a V8 under the hood of the transit for a while at least, there just isn’t any room. On the bright side it looks like engine serviceability will improve somewhat thanks to the smaller and shorter engines.

The new Transit appears to have a very low load floor for an (as labeled) 3/4 ton van. In side it also appears that Ford ripped the shifter and gauge cluster out of the current generation Focus while the infotainment options appear to come from the new Fiesta. By the looks of the screen you can bet MyFord Touch will be on offer instead of the cumbersome and awkward mini-computer system that Ford was selling in the Transit Connect for a while. Size wise the Transit appears to compete head on with the likes of the Sprinter and forthcoming RAM van.

2014 Ford Transit T-Series 2014 Ford Transit T-Series-1 2014 Ford Transit T-Series-2 2014 Ford Transit T-Series-3 2014 Ford Transit T-Series-4 2014 Ford Transit T-Series-5 2014 Ford Transit T-Series-6 Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail ]]> 42
Chicago Auto Show: 2014 Nissan Nismo Thu, 07 Feb 2013 17:37:18 +0000  

 Nissan’s motorsports division doesn’t think it has enough brand awareness in America. To counter this perception, Nissan tossed out a few NISMO (NISsan MOtorsports) models at the Chicago Auto Show. First up we have the Juke NISMO which is Nissan’s oddly shaped small crossover vehicle. The NISMO treatment makes the Juke look even more conspicuous on American roads with shapes and styles never before seen on a production vehicle. Whatever you do, don’t look up Juke in the Urban Dictionary while at work.

Thankfully the NISMO package isn’t just a styling exercise, Nissan also tosses in some cabin upgrades, faux-suede trim and a power boost. The same 1.6L engine is found under the funky hood but now cranks out 197HP and 184 lb-ft of torque. The CVT and 5-speed manual remain the only transmission options and of course AWD can be had for a price. While this is a far cry from the fire-breathing Juke R, it may help you escape the hoards of villagers with pitchforks.

Far more attractive is the Nissan 370Z NISMO gets extensive braking, suspension and styling tweaks in addition to a 350HP version of Nissan’s 3.7L V6 engine. Nissan promises improved downforce and even more fun out on the track. That should just about compensate for the extra 6.2 inches in length the NISMO Z brings to your garage. (Thank the re-tweaked front end for that.)

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Chicago Auto Show: 2014 Kia Forte 5-Door Thu, 07 Feb 2013 17:09:41 +0000


Kia has officially entered the traditional hot hatch market today at the Chicago Auto Show with the 2014 Kia Forte 5-door. Based on, you guessed it, the redesigned Kia Forte sedan, the four-door-plus-hatch seems to have Volkswagen’s Golf in its sights with an optional 1.6L direct-injection turbocharged engine good for 201 horsepower. Kia has yet to release full details but with 201 ponies and a curb weight likely to be under 3,000lbs, it should give VW a run for their Euros.

Kia seems to have heard the complaints of hard interior plastics and the model on the show floor is a definite improvement over the first Forte. Kia is also throwing in their revised UVO infotainment systems that seem to look Ford SYNC without the glitches. It may be hard to notice in the pictures, but Kia decided to give the 5-door a more aggressive bumper cover, smaller grille and large lower air intake for a sportier look than the sedan.

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Chicago Auto Show: 2014 Kia Cadenza Thu, 07 Feb 2013 17:06:05 +0000

Kia slipped their new Cadenza sedan into their booth in Chicago. Our launch invitation apparently got lost in the mail because this is the first time a TTAC writer has seen one in the flesh. Based on the Hyindai Azera the Cadenza isn’t the RWD Kia flagship so any have been drooling over. Instead it is one step up from the Optima and the only way to get a V6 under the hood of your Kia sedan. Fit and finish looked excellent and the sedan certainly strikes an unexpectedly elegant pose at Kia’s booth. I hit up the Kia PR folks for a tester and they have promised to deliver, check back for a review when that happens. In the meantime, click past the jump for the gallery.

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If You’ve Got 115 Years To Spare, The Chevrolet Cruze Diesel Makes Sense Thu, 07 Feb 2013 16:11:09 +0000  

Some rough, back of the napkin calculations based on available information suggest that the Chevrolet Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel has a break-even point fit for Methuselah

Rather than blindly buy into the “rah-rah Europe” hype that surrounds so much of the diesel discourse, we decided to analyze just what kind of cost savings can be had by picking the diesel over an equivalent Cruze 2LT with the 1.4L Ecotec turbo engine. For argument’s sake, we used TrueCar’s formula of driving 15,000 miles per year, though we used Chicago, IL as our sample for gas and diesel prices. The lowest prices found on GasBuddy was $3.50 for regular and $3.80 for diesel respectively.

Since city and combined figures haven’t been announced yet for the Cruze diesel, I decided to only use the highway figures for a similarly equipped 2LT . As the calculations show, the Cruze diesel does use a smaller quantity of fuel annually, but that’s offset by the price premium one is required to pay for diesel. The significant delta in the MSRP of the two vehicles is another blow against the oil-burning Cruze. With a mere $22 in annual fuel savings and a $2,550 price gap, it would take over a century -roughly 115 years – for a potential owner to “break even” on the Cruze diesel.

GM has only released the highway mpg figure (42 mpg) so far. But even if one repeats the exercise using the Jetta TDI’s fuel economy numbers (30/42/34 mpg) for the Cruze diesel, it would still take roughly a decade to break even and save about $255 annually over a gasoline Cruze. Green cars aren’t necessarily about the financial proposition (see: Toyota Prius for the best example), but the Cruze diesel is attempting to lure away extremely loyal buyers in a niche segment with very low opportunities for “green status signalling” (i.e. letting everyone know you’re saving baby polar bears via your consumption choices, ala the Prius). In light of all this, it seems that the Cruze Diesel is facing a dim future of slow sales and plenty of cash on the hood to help move them.

Edit: The data is in the photo gallery below, but commenter redav created this chart as well showing the cost-per-mile breakdown.


Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail 2014-chevrolet-cruze-diesel. Photo courtesy cruzetable


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Diesel Citroen With Brembo Brakes Debuts At Chicago Auto Show Thu, 07 Feb 2013 06:05:21 +0000

Behold, the Citroen Jumper…err, the Fiat Ducato. Ok, it’s the Ram Promaster. Instead of the Mercedes-based Sprinter, this is the new commercial van from Chrysler. It can be equipped with a Pentastar V6 or a 3.0L diesel four-cylinder. It has two-piston Brembo brakes and, horror of horrors, it’s front-drive. I’m not sure that really makes a difference, but somebody will doubtlessly criticize Ram for importing a “wrong-wheel-drive” commercial van.

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Chevrolet Cruze Diesel: Where’s The Value Proposition? Thu, 07 Feb 2013 05:55:23 +0000

In a few hours, we’ll have live shots of the Chevrolet Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel (what a mouthful), but in the mean time, here’s a preview of the long awaited oil-burning Chevy.

The heart of the diesel Cruze is a 2.0L 148 horsepower engine that puts out 258 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy is expected to ape the Cruze Eco, at 42 mpg highway, though the diesel Cruze costs $25,685 – $1,845 more than a TDI Jetta and $4,000 more than a base Cruze Eco with an automatic transmission. While the diesel is available in the higher-spec 2LT trim level, it’s hard to justify another $4,000 just to get things like disc brakes and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.

Apparently, Chevrolet isn’t targeting Cruze buyers, but buyers of Volkswagen TDI cars. But Chevrolet is only offering an automatic gearbox, and TDI drivers are one of the few demographics that tend to buy manuals in any significant numbers. Furthermore, how many Veedub diehards will give up their beloved brand and its Euro-snob appeal for a Bowtie-brand Cruze?

GM will launch the Cruze diesel in select markets first, similar to the Volt, with sales occurring first in markets that are considered to be more diesel friendly.

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Kia Track’ster Gets 250 Horsepower, AWD: 2012 Chicago Auto Show Wed, 08 Feb 2012 17:27:44 +0000

Subtract two doors and a back seat from the Kia Soul and add a 250 horsepower and all-wheel drive and you have the Kia Track’ster concept. The initial sketches of the Track’ster were pretty underwhelming, but this car looks much better in photographs. A one inch longer wheelbase and a Brembo brake system with 14 inch rotors up front, 13.6 inches in the back and a combination of 6 and 4 piston brake calipers (front and rear) add to the Track’ster’s spec sheet. Instead of the rear seats, there’s a compartment for spare tires and safety gear like helmets.

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GMC Acadia Live On The Floor Wed, 08 Feb 2012 15:57:08 +0000

2011 was the best sales year yet for the Acadia. No explanations were offered for this surprising statistic, but GMC was happy to talk about the “class-leading fuel economy”, center airbag, and LED headlamps…

The 288-hp direct-injection V6 which debuted in the Traverse continues here in the Acadia, matched to a revised transmission. The “ColorTouch” audio system is standard. The Denali, which reportedly accounts for about one in three Acadias sold, adds a full raft of luxury items to go with its eye-wateringly noveau appearance package

Photography courtesy Matt Fink

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2013 Ford Shelby GT500 Convertible Good For “Only” 155 MPH: 2012 Chicago Auto Show Wed, 08 Feb 2012 15:45:47 +0000

Hang on to your hairplugs. The 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 has the same 650 horsepower supercharged 5.8L V8 making 600 lb-ft of torque. But unlike the 200 mph coupe, the ‘vert will only top out at 155 mph. The vert does get 6-piston Brembo brakes, a carbon fiber driveshaft, an upgraded clutch, electronically adjustable Bilstein shocks and a Motley Crue Greatest Hits CD in the Shaker audio system.

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2013 GMC Acadia: 2012 Chicago Auto Show Wed, 08 Feb 2012 15:39:38 +0000

The 2013 GMC Acadia gets a pretty mild update, with cosmetic changes playing the biggest role here. A new “center airbag”, which inflates via the right side of the driver’s seat (to protect passengers from an opposite-side impact) is also featured. The two changes are not quite the major redesign that was expected. We’ll have live shots later in the day.

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2013 Hyundai Elantra GT Is Our i30: 2012 Chicago Auto Show Wed, 08 Feb 2012 05:59:16 +0000

The last time we got an Elantra GT was in the early 2000s, when Hyundai brought over a quirky five-door that resembled the Mazda6 hatchback more than the re-badged Hyundai i30 you see here. Now dubbed the Elantra GT (rather than the Elantra Touring of the previous i30), the Mazda3 and Subaru Impreza just got a new challenger in the 5-door compact segment.

The 148 horsepower 1.8L 4-cylinder makes 148 horsepower and returns 28/39 mpg for a 32 mpg combined average. This beats the Impreza and matches the Mazda3 SkyActiv (though a forthcoming review will show that while Jack Baruth managed to match the Elantra’s EPA figures, my Mazda3 didn’t hit its mark). Of the two sedans, the Mazda3 is the better driving car, but the i30′s European roots will hopefully translate into solid driving dynamics.

The Hyundai takes the cake for styling, and will probably have a nicer interior. In addition to the usual Elantra content, there’s a refrigerated glovebox, a feature also seen on the Dodge Caliber.

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2013 Hyundai Elantra Coupe Missed The 40 MPG Mark: 2012 Chicago Auto Show Wed, 08 Feb 2012 05:59:14 +0000

With 39 mpg highway and 33 mpg combined, the 2013 Hyundai Elantra coupe may not get the same gas mileage as its sedan brother, but it injects a new entrant into a very slim field of compact, affordable two-door cars.

Classified as a mid-size car (as opposed to the compact Honda Civic and Kia Forte two-doors), the familiar 148 horsepower 4-cylinder engine and 6-speed transmissions are available, along with Bluetooth and an iPod dock. Two trim levels, the GS and SE are available, but only leather and 17 inch wheels can be had on the SE. A technology package adds a 7 inch screen, a back-up camera, push-to-start and a better stereo. The SE also gets an upgraded suspension which should hopefully liven up the Elantra’s mundane driving dynamics.

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