Category Archives: Chevrolet

2018 Chevrolet Bolt EV

2018 Chevrolet Bolt EV
By Phil Shuyler

Living with an electric car no longer has to feel limiting. For years, electric vehicles came with no emissions, but they did come with range anxiety. That feeling of running out of juice nearly goes away with cars like the Chevrolet Bolt EV. It still may be difficult to go on long road trips with the Bolt, but everyday driving, commutes to work and trips to the grocery store have never been easier.

The Bolt EV has a range of 238 miles per charge. That means many people may only have to charge the car a 2-3 times per week. And with more businesses and office buildings offering EV charging stations, finding a place to plug-in is easier than ever. The 238 mile range could also mean you never have to charge away from home, making the cost of ownership even lower.

Driving

Currently, the Bolt EV has the longest range of any EV without a Tesla badge. It drives smoothand comfortable and has good power, even at higher speeds. That’s a big plus as a downside to many EVs has been the lack of high speed torque. It even has a Sport mode if you really feel like burning some kWs.

Some available safety features include lane keep assist, collision alert, rear cross traffic alert and electronic stability control.

Exterior

As they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I personally like the Bolt EV’s exterior styling more than that of its EV competitors. It feels tall and has a large greenhouse that provides excellent visibility. The Cajun Red color of our test car is probably our least favorite of the available colors, which include Arctic Blue, Mosaic Black, Nightfall Gray, Summit White, Kinetic Blue and Orange Burst.

Interior

Of all EVs on the market, I like the interior of the Bolt EV the most. It feels open, bright and technologically advanced. There’s some attractive accent lighting and a great use of contrasting colors with a variety of textures. In the center of the dash is a large 10.2” infotainment screen that provides a wealth of information. It also combines with the available Bose audio system to pump sound through 7 speakers. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility comes standard and 4G LTE Wi-Fi is available.

To keep you comfortable, it’s available with heated seats, a heated steering wheel, wireless phone charging, and ample front and rear legroom. The cargo capacity is also respectable and quite functional at 56.6 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down.

The 8” LCD Driver Information Center (aka instrument cluster) is crisp, uses bright colors and contains a wide variety of information. You can also customize the display from Classic to Modern and Enhanced Visual Modes.

While on the go, the my Chevrolet Mobile App allows you to remote start the vehicle, lock or unlock doors, monitor charge status and find charging stations. Being connected to your car through your phone is one of those things that you don’t think you need, but once you have it, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it.

Pricing for the 2018 Chevrolet Bolt EV starts at $36,620 for the LT and tops out around $44,000 for a fully loaded Premier trim. Those prices are before any tax incentives, so be sure to check for available state and federal incentives if you’re considering the Bolt or any electric vehicle.

Some big news in the industry is the announcement of the 2019 Hyundai Kona EV, which will have an EPA estimated 250 miles of range. That’s going to be a prime competitor for the Bolt EV when it goes on sale later in 2018. For now, it’s hard not to be tempted by the bowtie’s EV.

2018 Chevrolet Cruze

2018 Chevrolet Cruze

By Phil Shuyler

Get ready world, the 2018 Chevrolet Cruze hatchback now comes with an optional diesel engine. Not only that, but it’s available with an automatic transmission or a manual. The styling of the Cruze may not blow you away, but overall it hits the sweet spot for many by having a conservative yet visually appealing exterior.

Powertrains

The 2018 Cruze is available with a 1.4L turbocharged I-4 variable valve timing (VVT) direct injection engine, or a 1.6L turbodiesel. The I-4 provides 153 horsepower and 177 lb-ft of torque, while the turbo diesel has just 137 horsepower, but boasts 240 lb-ft of torque. That torque number is key for those wanting a zippier driving experience.

Both engines are extremely efficient, with the diesel achieving up to 52 mpg on the highway with the manual transmission. We averaged around 40 mpg with mixed city and highway driving, which is right where it should be. The gasoline engine tops out at 40 mpg with the sedan and an automatic transmission.

Speaking of transmissions, there are 3 available for the Cruze. A 6-speed manual (for both the gasoline and diesel engines), a 6-speed automatic (for the 1.4L gas engine), and a 9-speed automatic (for the 1.6L diesel engine). The manual gear shifter looks a little different than most, with an oblong tapered shape that fits well in your hand.

Driving

On the road, the power of the diesel engine has more power than you’d think, however with that power comes a bit of torque steer. There’s also a fair amount of turbo lag if you put your foot down at a stoplight. Stopping at stoplights may be inevitable, but stopping at the gas station doesn’t have to be. The diesel engine can go up to 700 miles on a single tank of fuel (depending on your driving of course), which is impressive and much higher than most vehicles.

Interior

The inside of the Cruze is simple and functional, and overall esthetically pleasing. There aren’t many buttons on the center stack, which gives it a nice and clean look. A 7” screen is standard, and an 8” screen is available and includes navigation. Both screen sizes include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. The seats are comfortable, even on longer trips, and both front and rear seats can be heated on higher trim levels. A power driver’s seat is also available.

For those wanting to spruce up their ride, wireless charging, a heated steering wheel, and a sunroof are all optional, as are 15”, 16” or 18” wheels. You also have the option for remote start, an excellent addition for those living in cold weather climates.

Safety

Standard safety equipment includes 10 total airbags, a rearview camera, bluetooth connectivity, daytime running lights, and a Teen Driver mode. Optional safety gear includes
a Following Distance Indicator, Forward Collision Alert, Lane Departure Warning and Lane Keep Assist, Rear Park Assist, Side Blind Zone Alert, and Rear Cross-Traffic Alert.

The 2018 Chevrolet Cruze starts at $17,850 for the gasoline sedan model and $22,695 for the diesel. The hatchback body style adds a couple thousand more to the price tag.

2018 Chevrolet Silverado Anniversary Pickup

2018 Chevy pickup celebrates 100 years of heritage, with special badges and programs. Popular item is vintage bowtie logo for pickup. Inside, cab is big, quiet and comfortable. First truck was introduced in 1918.
Photos by CHEVROLET

Chevy celebrates truck centennial with special edition

2018 marks the 100th anniversary of the first production Chevrolet truck. A century and more than 85 million trucks later, Chevrolet has become one of the most recognizable brands in the world. To celebrate the Chevy Trucks Centennial, the brand is honoring the owners who have made Chevy Trucks a part of their lives for the past century with a celebration featuring two new Special Edition trucks, the national rollout of the Truck Legends customer loyalty program and more.

To see how far the trucks have come over the years, this week road-tested a new Silverado High Country 4WD crew-cab pickup. It is the best-driving pickup from Chevy that I’ve ever tested. With double-cab pricing that starts at $28,085 and MPG estimates ranging from 18-mpg to 24-mpg, it gets high marks for towing and hauling. This truck even offers WiFi and GPS navigation – features that were the stuff of science fiction when the first Chevy trucks hit the road 100 years ago.

The 1918 Chevrolet One-Ton truck was powered by a four-cylinder engine rated at 36 horsepower. Its top speed was 25 mph. Today, there are three engine choices and a range of models, cab sizes, and bed choices.

“The Chevy Trucks Centennial is a huge milestone for us, and is equally important to our customers,” said Sandor Piszar, Chevrolet Trucks Advertising and Marketing director. “That’s why we are celebrating 100 years of Chevy Trucks. It’s important that we share this celebration with our loyal customers who have helped us achieve this accomplishment.”

From the beginning, Chevrolet Trucks has focused on making the best possible vehicle to meet every customer’s needs. After building specialized trucks to serve its factory, Chevrolet introduced its first trucks to customers in 1918. They included the half-ton Light Delivery and the 1918 One-Ton truck. Both were offered with an open chassis behind the windshield that allowed customers to choose between purchasing or building a specialized body for their vocation.

A century later, customer choice continues to drive Chevy Trucks. Chevrolet is still the only manufacturer to offer customers a three-truck portfolio — featuring the Colorado, Silverado and Silverado HD — and a full line of special editions, giving customers more options for the perfect truck to fit their needs and personal style.

The latest additions to the Chevrolet Trucks portfolio of special editions, the 2018 Silverado and Colorado Centennial Editions feature design elements inspired by Chevy Trucks throughout history, including a distinctive Centennial Blue paint color and exclusive heritage bowtie emblems and 100 year badges inspired by colors and design cues found on early Chevrolet Trucks.

“The Silverado and Colorado Centennial Editions are a result of collaboration between Chevrolet Design, Engineering and Marketing, to commemorate the history of Chevy Trucks,” said Rich Scheer, Chevrolet Trucks director of Exterior Design. “Both vehicles offer our most enthusiastic fans a way to demonstrate their love for Chevy Trucks and celebrate the Chevy Trucks Centennial with us.”

For more information, see your local Chevrolet dealer or visit Chevrolet.com

Test Drive by Vince Bodiford

2018 Chevrolet Traverse

The 2018 Chevrolet Traverse is noticeably longer than prior model, inside easily accommodates third row passengers. Chevrolet Photo.

Newly styled and longer model ‘hits the sweet spot’

Introduced earlier this year and arriving at dealer showrooms now, the all-new Chevrolet Traverse fits nicely between the smaller Equinox and the full-size Tahoe. It’s in that medium-sized “sweet spot” for many SUVs, and this one offers great fuel economy and an available third row seat – all in a package that starts at $30,975.

Wrapped in bold and refined styling, the redesigned Traverse offers technologies to help keep passengers of all ages and lifestyles comfortable and connected. For our test drive this week, the Traverse spoiled us with comfort and content. Traverse delivered nicely with great third-row legroom, maximum cargo room and passenger volume.

“The all-new Traverse offers the ultimate in style and convenience for the segment, with the versatility customers need and a thoughtful, spacious design they’ll love,” said Alan Batey, president of GM North America and brand chief, Global Chevrolet. “It’s the midsize SUV designed to help keep you safe, comfortable and connected.”

The 2018 Traverse is the fourth updated crossover or SUV from Chevrolet within a year, joining the Trax, Bolt EV and 2018 Equinox, further strengthening the brand’s crossover and SUV lineup. Traverse estimated fuel economy ranges from 18-mpg to 27-mpg.

“Nobody in the industry offers a broader, fresher lineup of SUVs and crossovers than Chevrolet,” said Batey. “From the all-electric Bolt EV to America’s longest-running nameplate, Suburban, we’ve got something for every customer and lifestyle.”

The 2018 Traverse has a new look inspired by Chevrolet’s full-size SUVs, with purposeful proportions complemented by premium cues such as chrome accents, LED signature lighting and available D-Optic LED headlamps.
Chevrolet is adding two new trim levels for the 2018 Traverse — the sporty RS and luxurious High Country — to offer customers more choices for a personalized appearance.

The new RS package includes unique, blacked-out exterior cues with a black chrome grille, black bowtie, 20-inch wheels and more.

The High Country trim features premium content and technology, including a unique interior trim featuring Loft Brown leather appointments with suede accents, 20-inch polished wheels, High Country badging, D-Optic headlamps, standard twin-clutch AWD and power-fold third row seats.

“The all-new Traverse blends Chevrolet’s characteristic SUV cues with capability and refinement,” said John Cafaro, executive director, Global Chevrolet Design. “Inside and out, it offers style with a purpose.”

With available seating for up to eight and a longer wheelbase than the prior model, the Traverse has few peers when it comes to capacity and roominess. In fact, the new Traverse offer best-in-class passenger volume as well as max cargo room, while greater storage options and larger bins throughout the ergonomically optimized cabin are designed to enhance convenience and versatility.

We found that loading the Traverse is a breeze with a new Chevrolet bowtie logo lamp feature illuminating the ground to show where drivers need to place a foot to activate the available hands-free power liftgate. This is super cool.

A new 3.6L V-6 and nine-speed automatic transmission (tested) form the standard propulsion system, expected to offer nearly 10 percent more horsepower than the current model and a GM-estimated 25 mpg highway (FWD). The combination also supports an estimated 5,000-pound trailering capacity when properly equipped.

Sporting the new RS trim, the Traverse will exclusively feature a 2.0L turbocharged engine that provides a unique driving experience, with more maximum torque than the V-6. It is also paired with the nine-speed automatic transmission.

Both engines feature new intelligent stop/start technology that determines the best times for fuel-saving engine-stop events, based on a variety of driving factors. New Traction Mode Select is standard on all models and allows the driver to make real-time adjustments to the vehicle’s driving mode to account for varying road conditions.

Overall, this test drive revealed a strong contender in the mid-size SUV segment, and there is clear distinction between this and the Equinox and the Tahoe.

For more information, see your local Chevrolet dealer or visit Chevrolet.com

2016 Chevrolet Volt Premier Hatchback A Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle (1138)

Overview: This is the 2016 Chevrolet Volt Premier Hatchback plug-in hybrid. Well the Volt has survived the market changes over recent years, but I’m guessing it has more to do with the Subsidies Electric vehicles are subject to rather than because of consumer acceptance. In the meantime since 2013 the Avalanche, Aveo, Aveo5 and HHR are no longer made.

You may recall past discussions of how electric vehicles are not a new thing. At the turn of the 20th Century Electric cars were made and had about a 100 mile range. Electric cars today do no better. Hybrids however are new technology products and like this Volt are far better than all electric.

You also may know that I would never own an All Electric vehicle. They simply are not perfected. In the meantime this Volt is the best option. Fuel economy is wonderful with 106 mpg combined electric and gas engine. Gas only delivers 42 mpg which is quite good. It is a win-win combination and one you can live with.

All electric cars like the Tesla is, in my opinion, are a disaster and not recommended.

When it comes to new power plant options I’m more impressed with the Hydrogen powered engines. I believe Hydrogen will have as good a chance of replacing Gasoline engines as All Electric cars could. If there is a miraculous breakthrough in better storage batteries everything could change. But I’m more excited with the fact consumers can produce hydrogen fuel at home or anywhere. In the mid-1970s gas stations were cut in half and more adjustment nearly 50 years later is likely. Perhaps someday they would be totally eliminated if Hydrogen and / or Electric becomes the primary source of energy for our cars.

General Information: It is assembled in Detroit, MI, USA. Classification is Compact. Cars from Chevrolet: Camaro, City Express, Colorado, Corvette, Cruze, Equinox, Express / Cargo van, Impala, Malibu, Silverado 15, 25 and 3500, Sonic, Spark, SS, Suburban, Tahoe, Traverse, Trax and Volt.

Opinion and Observation – Automotive Innovation Reviewed:

History: 1948 – Daimler Mercedes Benz introduced Electric Windows; 1940 – First car to have air conditioning was a 1940 Packard; 1938 – Buick introduced turn signals; 1929 – First car radio introduced; 1923 – First Supercharger Ferdinand Porsche, Stuttgart, Germany; 1920 – Power steering invented by Francis Davis; 1903 – Windshield wipers patented; 1885 – first patent for seat belts; 1901 – invention of disc brakes by British inventor Frederick William Lanchester; 1901 – New York first state to require license plates that were called “Number Plates”. France did it in 1893; 1898 – First drive shaft invented by Louis Renault; 1890 – Canadian Thomas Ahearn invented the first electric car heater.

Handling & Performance: In 2013 I reported I could travel 35-38 miles on battery only. In 2016 I found I was getting about 50 miles. There are settings in this new model to use electric only, hold electric and use engine only or the default Normal setting is a combination where the engine would engage when electric is exhausted.

So if you commute around 40 miles and can plug in at work maximum MPG can be achieved. Of course, if work is only 20 miles from home, this car makes even more sense. A full charge takes about 4.5 hours at 240 volts and 13 hours for 120 volt service (12 amps).

Styling: Very pretty design. I like it a lot and could see myself owning this car.

Fit and Finish: Very good.

Cost: After looking at a Tesla for $100-150,000, Volt make much better sense. Volt is a very efficient low cost transportation option. Cars like Tesla are more about snob appeal. For me, the major advantage to the Volt is comfort appeal, knowing that I wouldn’t get stuck for hours for re-charging. I was always stressed over planning and constant worry about how far I would be able to travel between charges. Thus All-electric becomes very expensive and Volt becomes the better choice..

Conveniences and comfort: The Volt is eligible for single occupancy HOV lane Access in California and that is worth the price of admission for many. . . especially in places like Los Angeles.

Consumer Recommendation: You do the math, but based on a compact at about $20,000 that gets around 40 MPG and this Volt at $39,000, even if it gets 106 MPG, could be a break-even cost. Keep in mind there is a cost to the electricity used at home. In Los Angeles and other cities that allow single Diamond Lane access for cars like this Volt it can be a great benefit.

Options that I recommend include blind zone alert with lane departure alert and rear cross traffic alert.

Recognized Competition:

Chevrolet Volt $39,000, Ford Fusion Energi $37,000, Lincoln MKZ $36,000, Lexus LS $42,000, Nissan LEAF $30,000, BMW i3 $47,000.

Good News: Attractive styling, hatchback convenience, comfortable commuter with combined 106 mpg efficient.

Bad News: ?

Standard Equipment: 1.5 liter internal combustion engine, Electric Drive unit, Lithium Ion battery propulsion, front and knee front seats, side curtain and seat mounted airbags, 4-wheel ABS disc brake system, LATCH child system, thert deterrent systrem, stability control with traction control, remote keyless entry with remote start, power door locks with lockout protection, tire pressure monitor, keyless access, rear vision camera, automatic parking assist, front and rear park assist, 17” aluminum wheels, heated power mirrors with manual fold, rear window defroster, vairable intermittent wipers, climate control air conditioning, tilt and telescopic steering wheel, Leather wrapped heated steering wheel with controls, display screens, cruise control, leather appointed heated front and rear seats, 60/40 split fold rear seat, power windows, cargo cover, Mylink radio with XM and 8” screen, front bucket seats, Apple Carplay capability, wireless device charging, Bose 8-speaker audio, OnStar with automatic crash response, Navigation, two USB ports and auxilary input port, Bluetooth hands free.

Gas Stats:

$2.79/ Gal avg. April 24, 2016

www.fueleconomy.gov

for more information.

42 MPG Gas Only and 106 Combined City and Highway MPG

Pricing: MSRP $37,520.

2003 Chevrolet Trailblazer (454)

Overview:

This week I had the opportunity of taking a 2003 Chevrolet TrailBlazer to Sequoia National Park for a week of hiking the beautiful mountains of Mineral King, California. What a contrast from the high tech of the city to the low tech of the High Sierra in this great country.

But I brought the high tech with me in this Trail Blazer equipped with OnStar Satellite communications and my Casio watch with altimeter, barometer, compass and temperature. I know, what will they think of next, eh? Ok, I didn’t have a GPS but that’s next. I wish my dialup worked as well but that’s another story.

Back to OnStar for a minute. I’m always amazed to be able to push one button and talk to someone in North Carolina, in this case, and get my exact position and the weather report for our hike. My cell phone didn’t work, but my TrailBlazer gave me the comfort to know I could reach help if I needed it.

General Info:

Parts – USA

Assembly – Moraine, Ohio, and EXT version from Oklahoma City, OK, USA

Class:  – Special Purpose

Cars: – Astro, Avalanche, Blazer, Cavalier, Corvette, Express, Impala, Malibu, Monte Carlo,     S10 Pickup, Silverado 1500,2500, 2500 HD & 3500, SSR, Suburban, Tahoe, Tracker,     Trail Blazer & Venture.

    

Box styling G-Class Mercedes                    Benz Honda’s box version – Element.

Handling & Performance:

The premium ride suspension package works well and it got a real test on the twists and turns and rugged road. It was noticeably comfortable. The last time I tested this car was in Portland on its roll out along with the Chevrolet Avalanche. The advanced technology inline six-cylinder engine is smooth and quiet and powerful. There were four of us and all our baggage and food for a week for eighteen. I figured we hauled about 1000 pounds of people and gear between the inside and the roof rack.

Styling:

The look and feel is just my taste and I like the tail light change this year. I’m sorry folks I’m turned off by the square box designs hitting the highway recently with the likes of Honda Element or the Mercedes Benz G-Class.

Fit and Finish:

Very good.

Conveniences:

The most convenient thing about this Chevy is that, like most American made cars, you can count on “User Friendly” easy to operate feature controls. That is not true of many European and Japanese cars with controls more difficult than they need to be. The child locks for the rear doors is good although I must admit it took a while to discover why one door would work and the other wouldn’t. I kept looking for the control on the dash. Well dah dad, the control is manual on the door. Ok son I knew that…

But it did seem to me that if you want to keep children from opening the door, it should be both.

The rear window on the lift gate lifts up but when you lift the entire gate things can fall out. Splat! Yes, the spaghetti sauce jar had worked lose from its bag and rolled out when I lifted the gate. On a positive note, if any door or rear opening is ajar, you get a warning light on the instrument panel, which was helpful at least once.

Cost:

The prices have crept up on American cars as they have successfully competed with foreign automakers. But one has to wonder if that doesn’t have something to do with the cross ownership or marriage of several of the world’s auto manufacturers.

Consumer Recommendation:

This has to be in your search for an SUV in this price range. Of the competition listed I have to tell you this TrailBlazer will stand out.

The Competition:

Chevrolet TrailBlazer $27-36,000, Dodge Durango $27-39,000, Ford Expedition $32-42,000, Honda Passport $23-31,000, Jeep Grand Cherokee $27-39,000, Mitsubishi Montero Sport $23-33,000, Nissan Pathfinder $27-34,000, Toyota 4Runner $27-36,000.

Good News:

Comfortable, powerful, great handling, roomy, great turning radius due to the inline 6 cylinder engine, over 6,000 lbs of towing power.

Bad News:

Liftgate can lead to trouble, lacks a third seat.

Standard Equipment:

Inline six cylinder engine, 4-speed auto trans, Autotrac 4-wheel drive, dual zone air conditioning, front and rear stabilizer bars, power steering, premium ride suspension package, 16 inch aluminum wheels, Hydroformed frame structure, power heated mirrors, dual air bags, 4-wheel ABS disc brakes, rear child security door locks, stereo radio with CD player, tinted glass, open liftgate warning, 8-way driver power seat, folding second row seat, cruise control, leather wrapped steering wheel, remote keyless entry, theft deterrent system.

Gas Stats:

15 City and 21 Highway MPG.

Pricing:

MSRP $31,645.

2013 Chevrolet Volt (977)

Overview: 

This week we’re looking at the 2013 Chevrolet Volt because in all fairness, it deserves another look since 2011.

The last look in this column discussed an automotive engineers view of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) investigation into battery fires in the Chevrolet Volt.  But this is one of the most important cars ever built by General Motors or any company. The fire problem was caused by an internal defect in the battery pack.

It is important to mention buy my take is that this is a lot to do about nothing when you consider the growth of the industry for over the past 100 plus years. There have always been glitches in design and they always get fixed.

As for this innovative transportation energy source vehicle, the sales have been relatively few, which is understandable, since it’s a $40,000 Compact car that is nearly experimental. Clearly, the Volt is an example of GM creativity that comes to us from great experience, and GM has always been a company known for excellence over the years.

 

General Information: 

It is assembled in Detroit, MI. Classification is Compact.

Cars from Chevrolet:

Avalanche, Aveo, Aveo5, Camaro, Colorado, Corvette, Cruze, Equinox, Express / Cargo van, HHR, Impala, Malibu / hybrid, Silverado 15,25 and 3500 and Hybrid, Sonic, Spark, Suburban, Tahoe / Hybrid, Traverse and Volt.

 

Opinion and Observation – Automotive Innovation:

History: 1948 – Daimler Mercedes Benz introduced Electric Windows; 1940 – First car to have air conditioning was a 1940 Packard; 1938 – Buick introduced turn signals; 1929 – First car radio introduced; 1923 – First Supercharger Ferdinand Porsche, Stuttgart, Germany; 1920 – Power steering invented by Francis Davis; 1903 – Windshield wipers patented; 1885 – first patent for seat belts; 1901 – invention of disc brakes by British inventor Frederick William Lanchester; 1901 – New York first state to require license plates that were called “Number Plates”. France did it in 1893;

1898 – First drive shaft invented by Louis Renault; 1890 – Canadian Thomas Ahearn invented the first electric car heater;

Handling & Performance:

I found with a full charge I could travel 35-38 miles before the engine kicked in. It is clear to me that if you live within 40 miles of work and can plug in at the office you will indeed get the maximum MPG and this can be an inexpensive car to operate. Of course, if work is only 20 miles from home, this car makes even more sense. A full charge takes about 4 hours, but I found it was better when left plugged in all night.

It has an 8 year 100,000 mile battery and Voltec Component warranty and 5 year power train warranty.

Styling:

I like the look and always found others agreed that it is attractive.

Fit and Finish:

Very good.

Cost:

Not so good. This is where the Volt falls down a bit. I’m guessing that those I’ve discussed this with are correct in thinking the price is high because of the huge development cost. I understand  GM doesn’t have any choice in selling at this price because no one can take a loss on every car sold.

Conveniences and comfort:

The Volt is eligible for single occupancy HOV land Access in California and New York and that is worth the price of admission for many, if of course, you live in either of those states.

Consumer Recommendation:

Although it does what it says it does as far as the economics of operation, the cost to purchase initially will take much of the advantage of operations away. Consider how long it will take to make up the difference in cost to buy compared to almost any other compact car with only an internal combustion engine. You do the math based on a compact at $20,000 that gets 40 MPG and this Volt at $40,000 even if it gets 80 MPG. I believe few will be able to justify the extra cost  of the Volt…  unless of course you are related to Al Gore or buy his BS about our duty to the environment while he represents a huge carbon footprint for his part.

Recognized Competition:

Chevrolet Volt $39,000, Ford Focus $39,000, Honda Fit EV $37,000, Nissan LEAF $29,000.

Good News:

Nice looking, comfortable commuter that is VERY efficient to operate if your commute is less than 20 miles.

Bad News:

Cost overall is hard to justify.

Standard Equipment:

1.4 liter internal combustion engine, Electric Drive unit, Lithium Ion battery propulsion, front, side roof rail airbags, 4-wheel ABS disc brake system, LATCH child system, thert deterrent and alarm, stability control with traction control, remote keyless entry with remote start, power door locks with lockout protection, tire pressure monitor, keyless access, heated power mirrors, rear defroster, 17” aluminum painter wheels, Mylink radio with XM and 7” screen and 6 speakers, climate control, tilt and telescoping steering wheel with radio controls, efficiency display screens, cruise control, front bucket seats, rear 40/40 split folding seatback, power windows, USB port and Bluetooth hands free.

Gas Stats:

$3.79/ Gal avg. May 12, 2013

www.fueleconomy.gov

for more information.

37 MPG Gas Only and 98 MPG Electric only / Combined City and Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $39,145.
Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@atthewheel.com

2011 Chevrolet Volt (880)

Overview: 

This week we’re looking at the 2011 Chevrolet Volt from the eyes of one of my publishers, Vincent Bodiford. Together we have owned newspapers in Colorado and Texas and now he publishes several papers in California.

Herewith is Vince’s take on the new Volt.

The 2011 Chevrolet Volt is a true long-range electric car. When Chevrolet was founded 100-years ago, cars were fueled by diesel, gasoline, steam and electric power. Gasoline eventually beat out all other fuels, but today the electric car is making a comeback.

Electricity reappeared at first in our modern hybrids – then pure-electric short-range cars. Chevrolet has bridged the endurance gap with the game-changing Volt, which runs entirely on battery-supplied electricity. When the battery runs down, a small gasoline engine starts and turns a generator, making all the electricity needed to run the motors and the systems. It’s a brilliant automotive execution of a the very same thing that makes railroad locomotives move – diesel engines turn generators to make electricity that turns the electric motors.

Solid as a freight-train and as luxurious as European sedan, the 2011 Chevrolet Volt has establishing an entirely new segment of long-range all-electric cars. The five-door, four-passenger Volt is not a hybrid – it’s a one-of-a-kind, all-electrically driven car with a range of up to 379 miles.

Handling & Performance:

The Chevrolet Volt is powered by the Voltec propulsion system, which is a 16-kWh lithium-ion battery pack and electric drive unit that provide pure electric range between 25 and 50 miles, depending on terrain, driving techniques and temperature. The 1.4L gasoline-powered engine extends the range up to an additional 344 miles on a full tank of fuel. Driving the Volt on our Freeways, we averaged about 40 miles battery range, and well over 100-mpg blended fuel economy (it sipped just 7-gallons of fuel in a week).

Driving the Volt proves electric driving can be spirited. Even though it’s a bit heavy, it easily reaches a top speed of 100-mph. At low speeds, the electric drive unit’s excellent low speed torque of 273 lb.-ft. takes it from zero-to-60 in less than 9-seconds and the quarter mile in less than 17-seconds.

Charging the Volt’s battery is simple, and can be done through 120V conventional household electrical outlet, or through a dedicated 240V charging station. The car is rechargeable in about four hours using a 240V outlet. It’s compatible with Charge-Point, and it can be charged for free at over 75 Chevrolet dealers in California.

Styling:

Futuristic in styling and technology, the Volt is bold and sleek, the performance-oriented stance conveys its electrically driven capabilities, and it looks like an upscale, midsize sport sedan. When you look at this car, it’s very technical and refined in its execution, with lots of interrelating surfaces that bring clean, crisp edges and creases.

Inside, the Volt offers the space, comfort, convenience and safety features that you expect in a premium five-door sedan – including storage compartments and 40/40 rear-folding seats. The Volt seems to express a new era of Chevrolet, with a cabin that is striking and innovative, including a front and rear dual cockpit design.

Fit and Finish:

Cost: 

Pricing starts at $32,780. which takes into account a $7,500. tax credit. Our fully-equipped test car was priced at $43,390., which included $2,390. in options, including premium trim package.

Conveniences and comfort:

There is much more technology inside the Volt than its electric propulsion system. It contains virtually every modern high-tech innovation – including high-res displays, and the ability to monitor and control vehicle functions remotely. It’s packed with GPS Navigation, Bose XM-premium sound, OnStar, Bluetooth and iPod connectivity, and OnStar’s Mylink mobile app, that lets you engage with the Volt functions using a smart phone.

Consumer Recommendation:

Volt’s warranty is comprehensive but not easy to understand – including 3-year/36-K miles bumper-to-bumper, 5-year/100-K miles gasoline powertrain and roadside assistance, 8-years/100-K miles battery warranty, and 6-year corrosion protection.

Recognized Competition:

Chevrolet Volt $40,000, Chevrolet Malibu Hyrbid n/a, Ford Fusion Hybrid $29,000, Honda Civic Hybrid $24,000, Honda Insight $18,000, Infiniti M Hybrid $54,000, Lexus CT 200h $29,000, Nissan Altima Hybrid $27,000, Nissan LEAF $33,000, Toyota Camry Hybrid $27,000.

Good News:

Even though it is technically a hybrid with a gas engine it really is all electric propulsion and fuel economy is about 90 mpg., as opposed to a hybrid that gets more like 40 mpg. However the difference in cost of the Volt will require over 10 years to break even as compared to a Hyrbid that gets about 40 mpg.

Bad News:

There are limited recharging sites but like anything, users will find out where all are. The cost is high, but there is a tax credit available that reduces the differential or added cost of the Hybrid competition.

Standard Equipment:

1.4 liter 149 horsepower 4-cylinder engine, continuously variable transmission, air conditioning, power windows & locks, seating for 4, CD Player, NAV system, front and side airbags, SBS brake system, traction control, stability control.

Gas Stats:

$3.55/ Gal avg. August 18, 2011

www.fueleconomy.gov

for more information.

95 City and 90 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $26,500.

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@atthewheel.com
Copyright © 2011 – An Automotive Love Affair

2013 Chevrolet Traverse AWD LTZ (959)

Overview: 

This week we’re looking at the 2013 Chevrolet Traverse AWD LTZ Standard SUV… that is made in the USA.

General Information:

Parts from the US / Canada 77%, Other 23%. It is assembled in Lansing, MI U.S.A., Classification is Standard SUV. Cars from Chevrolet: Avalanche, Aveo, Aveo5, Camaro, Colorado, Corvette, Cruze, Equinox, Express / Cargo van, HHR, Impala, Malibu / hybrid, Silverado 15,25 and 3500 and Hybrid, Sonic, Spark, Suburban, Tahoe / Hybrid, Traverse and Volt.

Opinions and Observations:

Highway protocol – as we all know there are a varying number of lanes on our freeways including Diamond, #1, #2, #3 … etc. #1 is  the fast or far left lane before the Diamond Lane. Each lane to the right is for slower traffic and it makes total sense since you need to slow as you are getting ready to exit the freeway or use those lanes as you enter and merge with traffic.

Apparently some folks got their drivers license somewhere other than where I got mine, and don’t appear to understand the protocol of the highway. I’m assuming those who don’t get it are in fact licensed to drive. But I could be wrong. Either they are ignorant of the rules of the highway or simply rude if they insist on driving in the wrong lane. The easiest indicator of whether you are in the correct lane or not is when you see traffic in the slower lane passing you, cutting you off to show their displeasure at you not observing the rules. Perhaps you should be in the slower lane. Glenn puts it this way – many are self appointed police and must slow traffic so they obstruct others from maintaining the general desired flow of traffic, which may be higher speed than they think is correct. In other words their rights for the use of the highway trump others.

Some days I am not in a hurry and want to slow down and relax a bit. So that is ok as long as I do it in a slower lane.

We, the people, employ and pay salaries and benefits of the CHP in California. I have to ask a simple question. Where are you when those drivers obstruct the flow of traffic? We all know that it is the stopping and starting and braking and swerving and changing lanes that we associate with accidents. In the interest of “Protecting and Serving” don’t you think you could warn those folks when you are patrolling that they should move over if they are causing others frustration that leads to accidents? That would be a great “Service” and it is what we pay you for. Is it too much to ask?

Alert:

(According to Triple A)

Watch this video from Fox Business News. If your CAR IS OLDER THAN 2012 Avoid using the new E15 Gas in your car. It is just starting to show up at gas stations and can cause damage.

http://video.foxbusiness.com/v/2000862202001/

Handling & Performance:

Larger SUV than I need, which is to say others do need larger and more passenger capacity. Son Mike has 5 kids and has a large SUV. Buy what fits your need.

This is a Standard size so in the middle of the SUV market. Handling will be a less convenient. I have a large Ford F350 4-door (big) truck and it takes up 1 and a half parking spaces at the Mall. Not real convenient but then when you need to haul a ton of stuff or a 5th wheel a MINI Cooper just won’t work.

Lots of power with a 3.6 liter V6. Nice.

Styling:

I like it, but I like ‘em all. Even the ugly one’s have something to offer. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, right?

Fit and Finish:

Very good.

Cost:

In line with all the competition noted here.

Conveniences and comfort:

More than I need, but I’m a pretty simple guy. I even like crank style roll up windows and radio’s with knobs to select the station and volume control – and mechanical push buttons.

Consumer Recommendation:

Way too many to choose from but to pare it down… Hyundai and Kia (sister companies) are a great buy. But if you need a foo foo badge and will trade it for several thousand dollars you do have a choice.

Recognized Competition:

Chevrolet Traverse $42,000, Acura MDX $43,000, BMW X5 $48,000, Buick Enclave $38,000, Cadillac SRX $37,000, Dodge Durango $32,000, Dodge Journey $26,000, Ford Edge $33,000, Ford Explorer $35,000, Ford Flex $35,000, GMC Acadia $42,000, Honda Pilot $41,000, Hyundai Santa Fe $26,000, Hyundai Veracruz $36,000, Jeep Grand Cherokee $40,000, Kia Sorento $27,000, Land Rover $36,000, Lexus Rx350 $41,000, Lincoln MKT $47,000, Mazda CX-9 $34,000, Mercedes-Benz M-Class $49,000, Toyota Highlander $36,000, Toyota Highlander Hybrid $40,000.

Good News:

Great utility, comfy, lots of conveniences and high quality safety features.

Bad News:

Consumes more gas than I care to pay for.

Standard Equipment:

3.6 liter direct injection 288 HP V-6 engine with 6-speed auto trans, brake assist and hill start, 6-months OnStar service, remote keyless entry, front side and side curtain airbags, child security lock, engine immobilizer and theft deterrent system, rear vision camera, side blind spot alerts, stability control and traction control, anti lock brake system, tire pressure monitor, 7 passenger seating, 2nd row captain’s chairs and 3rd row split bench seat, power 8-way front seats, memory setting for driver, power windows, climate control, leather seating first and 2nd rows, cruise control, heated and cooled front seats, tilt and telescopic steering column, leather wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, rear seat audio controls, Bose audio system with Sirius XM/ HD, USB,

Gas Stats:

$3.57 / Gal avg.  Jan. 18, 2013

www.fueleconomy.gov

For more information.

16 City and 23 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $42,425.

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@atthewheel.com

2012 Chevrolet Volt (899)

Overview: 

This week we’re looking again at the 2012 Chevrolet Volt from another point of view: readers know one of my colleagues is automotive engineer Merkel Weiss and no one is more qualified and knowledgeable about the industry. Herewith is a counter point of view on the Chevrolet Volt as it relates to recent issues with the Battery Pack resulting in Fires from crash tests.

                                                               This past week, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) opened an investigation into battery fires in the Chevrolet Volt, one of the most important cars ever built by General Motors. Important because the Volt takes a fresh technologically innovative approach to electric car design. The car is actually a type of electric/hybrid vehicle in which the electric motor runs the vehicle, powered by a battery pack of Lithium-ion batteries supplied by South Korea’s LG Chem Ltd. When the charge is low, a gasoline engine starts to recharge the battery pack on board. The gasoline engine does not directly power the car, except through the battery pack. This makes it very difficult to assess an equivalent miles per gallon figure for the car, even though it does, at least to some indirect extent, run on gasoline.

My take is that it is intended to be the platform from which GM launches their assault on the coming Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFÉ) regulations which currently require some 54.5 mpg by 2025. I’d estimate that even a Cadillac CTS-V Coupe performance car could achieve an equivalent 50 mpg in the EPA city cycle.

The Volt scored quite well in side impact testing at NHTSA. The wrecked car was then examined and stored. Some three weeks later, the car caught fire from within the battery pack so NHTSA engineers tried the test sequence three more times, and on two of these occasions the car caught fire again. Seeing a repeat of the condition that can only be called an internal defect in the battery pack, they issued a safety investigation notice.

General Motors’ immediate response was that the car was completely safe, but if anyone was not satisfied, GM would buy back the car. Sales are relatively few, which is understandable, since it’s a $40,000 Compact car that is nearly experimental. Clearly, the Volt is the most recent GM innovation in a company known for innovation over the years. In recent years, however, GM seems to have fallen behind world standards in engineering and design. Example: most of the world’s prestige brands incorporate direct cylinder fuel injection to their engines in order to keep the cylinder to cylinder combustion as consistent as possible, thereby reducing the exhaust pollution and hence emissions controls necessary to keep the engine within compliance.

You may know the name Tesla, the auto maker, who also has a battery powered car, based on a Lotus Elise, that has a mid-ship battery pack. The car is made by a Silicon Valley company familiar with computer construction where battery packs can sometimes catch fire. Tesla took steps to be confident that the batteries wouldn’t overheat, by incorporating a cooling system that runs around and through the battery pack permitting temperature control. Admittedly, the Tesla Roadster costs $100,000, but I submit that $40K is also a lot of money for the Volt. The point here is that the design engineers at Tesla saw a problem and they designed a system to address that problem and GM did not.

Mary Barra, GM’s global product development chief, says If we have to do something, we will.“There are a few avenues that we think could increase the robustness for this specific condition, and We understand one of the very important premises of the Volt is the EV driving range and we plan to protect that,”

Volt is the most innovative product GM has made since the days of the Chevrolet Corvair, Oldsmobile Toronado, Chevrolet Citation, Pontiac Fiero, and Saturn SL1. It’s a good product for GM, America, and for the industry in general. And while this is a new car, it’s been GMs past history to put their design problems on the street and let the public be their development engineers. Eventually the problems would be fixed alright, but after a time of evaluation, retest, and corrective action.

GM’s market share has slowly eroded from 48.3% in the 1960s to the current level of about 19.3%. Product design flaws may have a lot to do with that decline.

Editors note:

Mr. Weiss makes good points and that may give some reason for you to look twice at GM products. However, the decline in market share has more to do with a global supply of auto products in a “Free Market” giving us cars from countries emerging from the ‘stone age’. And while those countries sell an ever growing number of cars, GM continues to be “Innovative” as Merkel notes.

GM has been putting all their eggs in the Hydrogen powered ‘basket’. It would appear they have realized the challenges of Hydrogen fuel is prohibiting the sale of those 21stCentury cars. Thus it made it necessary to launch some practical innovation while engineers figure out how to make Hydrogen powered cars work. Their Hydrogen car was named the “High Wire” and I test drove it seven years ago at Dodger Stadium in Southern California. My review was with much hope that GM would make it a commercial home run in 5 years as they estimated back then.

I suggest you can’t give up on American ingenuity and GM may yet re-immerge like a Phoenix rising from the ashes and regain their rightful place as the leader in the automotive industry.

Recognized Competition:

Chevrolet Volt $40,000, Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid $ n/a, Ford Fusion Hybrid $29,000, Honda Civic Hybrid $26,000, Honda Insight $20,000, Infiniti M Hybrid $54,000, Lexus CT 200h $29,000, Nissan Altima Hybrid $27,000, Nissan Leaf $33,000, Toyota Camry Hybrid $27,000.

Gas Stats:

$3.51/ Gal avg. December 10, 2011

www.fueleconomy.gov

for more information.

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@atthewheel.com
Copyright © 2011 – An Automotive Love Affair