The current truck market is hot – the combined competence of my recent spate of pickup loaners can attest to that. You can also tell from the significant efforts (and development dollars) truck makers have been throwing at these “cash cows” over just the last year. The GM twins, the Chevy version of which you see before you, were brand new for 2014. Ford recently introduced an all-new 2015 F-series at the Detroit show, photos of which can be seen further down our front page. The RAM models received a light freshening, and a six-cylinder diesel was introduced for the light-duty 1500 model – a combination capable of achieving 28 mpg on the highway, a feat considered decent even by small sedan standards not so long ago. The Toyota Tundra, which I sampled a few months ago, also benefited from a significant revamp for 2014, and to take on the stalwart Tacoma ‘tweener, GM is bringing the like-sized Colorado and Canyon twins back from the dead for 2015. It doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to see that the pickup market is back with a vengeance, and there’s plenty of room for manufacturers to line their shareholders’ pockets. Nothing wrong with that.
Tag - Chevy
It’s hard to believe, but the Lambda platform architecture that underpins the GMC Acadia Denali tester seen here is now more than seven years old. As part of the product onslaught that kicked off GM’s current renaissance era, the Lambda (also recognizable as the Chevy Traverse, Buick Enclave and now-defunct Saturn Outlook) was ushered in just before two other heavy-hitters of the General’s new quality image: the 2008 Chevy Malibu and 2008 Cadillac CTS.
As a young car enthusiast, I bought into the notion that there were certain vehicles that I was obligated to hate, lest my “car guy card” be stripped forcefully from my still-timid grasp. The list changed depending on what branch of car culture I found myself exploring at the time, but there was always an established pecking order. And since most of my early exposure was to fans of European and Asian import brands, I believed from the very start that there was no self-inflicted punishment more severe than the purchase and possession of a domestic vehicle.
Baffling as it is in a country where $4.00 per gallon gasoline is the norm, pickup trucks are increasingly called upon to serve double duty as both mobile workstations or tow rigs, and family haulers. Look no further than the rise to prominence of four-door crew cab body styles over the last fifteen-odd years – I’d wager the “crew” that occupies these crew cabs more often consists of a wife and kids than four flannel-clad roughnecks. Even as modern haulers become more and more gadget-laden and luxurious, fuel economy continues to rise. EcoBoost Fords and the high-feature naturally aspirated V6s powering the latest RAM and GM base trucks get fuel efficiency figures that would rival most full-size sedans from just a few years ago.
The family sedan – a uniquely American automotive mainstay that has spent the last decade or more on the back burner during the rise of the crossover – is experiencing a massive resurgence. Almost every key player in the midsize segment has been comprehensively revamped within the last model year or two, and the large sedan segment is equally fresh. In 2012, a new Toyota Avalon and Hyundai Azera hit the market, and the new Kia Cadenza will start reaching showrooms around this writing. Domestic competition is fresh as well: the Taurus got a nip and tuck for 2013, and a new Chrysler 300 special edition gets rolled out seemingly monthly. Now, a brand new Impala will join the full size fray for the 2014 model year.
Chevrolet has released the second teaser for the all-new 2014 Corvette ahead of its reveal at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show (also called the North American International Auto Show depending on who you ask) on 1/13/2013. The second trailer reveals the new digital gauge package in the 2014 Corvette and gives a little insight to the importance technology played in the development of the 7th generation Corvette. We’ll be live on the ground in Detroit for the reveal in January and can’t wait to see the 2014 Corvette in the flesh!
“I Speak for the Trees” contributor Charlie Lawton has returned to S:S:L with a review of the Chevy Volt. Part II to follow.
by Charlie Lawton
Every once in a while, as I get older, something about our everyday world circa 2011 just blows my mind. It’s as if my inner twelve year old, who’s permanently stuck in 1990, peeks out into 2011 through my adult eyes, sees what the future has brought us, and just totally geeks out. For example, not long ago, I took a picture of a Tesla Roadster with my iPhone. It was a pretty ordinary thing to do, but I thought, “Holy damn. I just took a picture of an electric sports car with a phone that has a camera, an internet connection, a processor five times faster than the one in my first computer, and a navigation system. This is the future.” And I think it blew my mind precisely because it was such an ordinary, commonplace thing, because in 2011, tiny pocket-size supercomputers are everywhere. It’s a mild flavor of future shock, the disorientation people feel in the face of rapid technological and social change.
I started feeling a similar mix of emotions as I stood in line one warm March afternoon outside the Denver Convention Center, waiting to drive a 2011 Chevrolet Volt. The Denver Auto Show was in full swing, and many of the manufacturers had test-drive events to show off the latest metal. Over at the GM tent, they had Equinoxes, Camaros, Cruzes, and Volts to drive. I’d been reading about the Volt for months, so I immediately went over to check it out.
by Byron Hurd
The pilot episode of “The Wire” opens with a scene between Baltimore City homicide detective Jimmy McNulty and a young eyewitness sitting on a stoop, overlooking a murder scene. The victim was shot after running away with the pot from a dice game. The witness explains that the victim, “Snot Boogie,” would come to the game every week and let the pot get thick, then pull a snatch and grab. Normally, the other players would chase him down and kick his ass for trying to make off with the cash, but this week somebody got tired of the routine and shot poor Snot Boogie dead. McNulty is puzzled, and asks the witness why they continued to allow Snot Boogie to play if he always ran off with the money. The witness looks at McNulty and then back at the body, then says, matter-of-factly, “You got to. This is America, man.”
We here at S:S:L have always been huge fans of the Corvette Z06 and have said that the Z06 is the best track car of the entire Corvette lineup. The folks at Chevy have taken an already incredible track car and made it even better with the 2011 Corvette Z06 Carbon Limited Edition. Limited to just 500 units, the Z06 Carbon is sure to sell out quickly to both track junkies and collectors alike.
To improve on the standard Z06, Chevy has fitted the Z06 Carbon with Brembo carbon ceramic brakes (first seen on the ZR1), black 20-spoke wheels, magnetic selective ride control, and enhanced cooling. The Z06 Carbon also features black headlight buckets and mirrors, a ZR1 style rear spoiler, carbon fiber hood, and carbon fiber splitter/rockers.
If you aren’t one of the lucky 500 to pick up a Z06 Carbon, Chevy will be offering the Z07 performance package on the standard Z06 which includes all the upgraded mechanical goodies that the Z06 Carbon has. The carbon fiber goodies will be available through the optional CFZ package.
No pricing has been announced yet, but deliveries are expected to begin this summer.