As General Motors enters its new generation, we are still testing vehicles designed and produced in its former life. The brand may have been resurrected, but much of what consumers will see over the next few years are the same products GM has been delivering – which is to say that while there are many bright spots in the lineup, there are still areas that need a bit of attention. We recently spent time in the new Cadillac Escalade Hybrid, and not just any old Escalade Hybrid but the new Platinum edition truck.
My relationship with the new fullsize GM hybrids continues to be a love/hate one. I love the fuel savings and cleaner emissions delivered by these “green beasts,” but I hate that consumers still cannot get an SUV for less than 50 grand. I also hate the acceleration/deceleration whine produced by the transmission/generator unit while operating in electric mode at low speeds, but then, this is the tradeoff for new technology. The good news is, these new trucks see a 40 percent fuel economy improvement in city driving thanks to GMs two-mode hybrid powertrain.
The Ford Taurus – the car that changed America’s view of the family sedan – is all-new for 2010 and ready to take on the world’s best, with an upscale new design, enhanced driving dynamics, class-leading technologies and competitive pricing.
Maxima is back. The 2009 Nissan Maxima marks a return to the longtime Nissan flagship sedan’s roots as a commanding four-door sports car – a vehicle that is unique in both appearance and driving feel, with renewed relevance for today’s active and ambitious sedan buyers.
The Ford Edge crossover utility vehicle paved the way to a new segment for Big Blue Oval to compete. The big story for 2009 is the new Edge Sport model, aimed at customers who want a fresher, hipper look – a more personalized vehicle.
Despite all of the news coming out of Detroit recently, the rest of the automotive world is pretty much “business as usual.” Case in point, Lexus recently rolled out a pair of new models to the automotive press – a convertible version of IS sport sedan and a new entry-luxury hybrid sedan.
As fuel prices reached all-time highs late last summer, Kia found itself introducing its newest vehicle to the American market at the worst possible time. Another big SUV into a market already overcrowded, with consumer buying trends heading in different directions. Fast forward to spring 2009, and as the U.S. prepares for vacation season amidst much lower fuel prices – but an uncertain economy – Kia once again finds itself facing challenging issues selling the new truck.
Quite often I am asked “What happens when you get a vehicle you don’t like”? Well, here goes. It has been very rare that I could not find it in my heart to enjoy something about the wide array of vehicles I have tested over the years. Each one of them seems to “speak” to me in a different way. Some through their luxury – others their fun factor. Lately, many have shone through the technological advancements in the marketplace. And then Volkswagen sends me the Routan minivan.
The wait is over. The trilogy, complete. Chevy Camaro is back – and back in a big way. After a seven-year hiatus, the new Chevrolet Camaro has (finally) returned to dealer showrooms, and thanks to the good folks over at Freedom Chevrolet in Southwest Dallas, I was able to spend some quality time with the new musclecar sporting the regal bowtie.
Large, rear-wheel-drive American sedans still hold a place in consumer’s hearts judging by how many times I am asked my opinions on cars such as the Dodge Charger. I find quite a few folks, especially those with families, with the Charger on their list of possibilities when researching a new automobile.
Year after year, the Chevrolet Corvette has been one of the most sought-after vehicles in the automotive press fleets. And, year after year, the car still continues to win praises and accolades.
Last year I wrote about the Jaguar XKR convertible as one of the cars I love the most on – appropriately – Valentine’s Day. This year I find folks green with envy as I enjoy the 2009 model on (wait for it) St. Patrick’s Day, as well as the first day of Spring.
As if straight out of a “Pimp My Ride” episode on TV, General Motors is offering its compact pickup trucks with a fullsize V-8 powerplant under the hood, complete with a factory warranty and fully-intact fenders and hood.
Traverse, the name chosen for General Motor’s latest new people mover, refers to the verb and not the city in upstate Michigan where many of these vehicles will undoubtedly be headed each summer.
The 2009 XF from Jaguar – the new midsize luxury sedan-in-coupe-clothing that replaced both S- and X-type models last year – quickly became one of my favorite new cars, and my recent test of the supercharged version of the new cat only solidifies my stance.
My relationship with the new fullsize GM hybrid SUVs continues to be a love/hate one. I love the fuel savings and cleaner emissions delivered by these “green beasts,” but I hate that consumers still cannot get one for less than 50 grand.
In a field already so overcrowded it can make ones head spin just trying to keep up, what’s one more model to further challenge for consumer dollars in the crossover utility vehicle segment? Volkswagen of America recently launched its all-new and highly anticipated compact sport utility vehicle Tiguan. Staying true to Volkswagen’s autobahn heritage, the Tiguan is truly the “GTI of compact sport utility vehicles.”
I never really took notice of the benchmark status of Highlander until recent new model introduction events held by competitor automakers. More and more I heard the name “Highlander” included in their marketing and technical presentations when reciting segment target data.
This week’s Wednesday Walkaround takes place on a brisk 15 degree (F) day in Dearborn, Mich. as we check out the all-new 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid. (Click on the image for video) UPDATED with review!
“Military Intelligence” seems to have been the poster child for oxymoron for as long as I can remember. Since entering automotive journalism prior to the end of the last millennium I have had extreme difficulty using the words “Lexus” and “performance” to describe each other as well. Not anymore. Seriously … stop laughing. While Lexus has been giving the European luxury sedan segment fits for the past couple of decades, they have won many battles but fell short of winning the war. This may change things. Toyota’s luxury division has unleashed a new weapon – codename “F” – in hopes…
This week’s Wednesday Walkaround features a look at the all-new 2009 Toyota Venza. Is it a car? Is it an SUV? Is it the new Camry station wagon?