Showing posts with label chevrolet. Show all posts
Showing posts with label chevrolet. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Chevrolet Cruze test drive


 The all new Cruze is a really nice looking car in the flesh.

I was a little underwhelmed when I first sat in one at the Auto show. I thought it was just OK.
But this top of the line Premier model I had for a week was much nicer.
And much more upscale looking.

The design isn't breaking any grounds (lots of people see a lot of the previous Civic in it), but it is pleasant from any angle.


 Inside, what they call "Jet black/Kalahari" combo looks great.
And there isn't too much of that fake metal trim that most car have. It's mostly a piano black finish.
(Which looks nice but is also a magnet for finger prints...)

The only details I didn't like was the small metal trim bits left. They are just way too shiny, still.
Most car makers now are using a more satin finish which gives the cabin a more upscale look.
I know it's a detail...

Overall the new interior looks great. Everything seems very well made and solid.
Everything is where it is supposed to be.
AND, this is the first GM car I've had in a long time where CarPlay worked flawlessly with my iPhone.


The 6 speaker stereo sounds good. But not great. ( I guess that's what the extra cost Bose system is for)

 The back seat has plenty of room.
It's not "Jetta Huge", but it's really fine. And roomier than most premium compacts from BMW and Mercedes.

 As you can see, the 110Volt plug in the back makes for a perfect road trip.


 The first thing I noticed was how quiet the engine is.
The new 1.4 Turbo is always quiet and smooth. No matter how I pushed it. When you hear it, it sounds very refined.
And there is always plenty of power for all uses.

The new Cruze comes with a Stop/Start system. It works all the time when the A/C is off.
(When it's on, it only works a few times.)

It is pretty much invisible with A/C off. Only a very slight shutter in the steering wheel.
It works very quickly and there is really no delay. So it doesn't affect normal driving at all.
I could feel it a tiny bit more when the A/C was on.


 The steering is a bit light for my taste. Off center feeling can be a little loose.
But it's no worse than most modern cars. They all mostly feel like a video game in that regard...


 The drive is smooth and quiet, pretty much all the time.
It really feels like a more expensive car. And makes you wonder why anyone would spend more money on a mid-size car.

I really enjoyed my week with the new Cruze.
Comparing it to the other compact I drove a few weeks ago, the Nissan Sentra, this is light years ahead.
The Sentra's seats are some of the worst I've even sat in. While the ones in the new Chevrolet are very comfortable.
The Cruze is so much more refined. It also drives much better and even gets much better gas mileage.

The Cruze is rated at 30/40. (For some reason other models of the Cruze are rated at 42HWY. But not the Premier)
I got around 45 on the Highway.
But "only" 28 around town.
These are great numbers.
( I got 23/38 with the "CVT Sentra".)

So, yes. I would definitely recommend the new Chevrolet Cruze for anyone looking for a very nice compact sedan.
It does everything very well.
As far as style, it kind of fits in between the super conservative Jetta and the over styled Civic.

Which might just be what people really like.

I can't wait to drive the all new Hatchback version soon.
And there is also a Diesel version coming up.
Here are all the specs of the car I had for a week.
You can click on it . See what happens....

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Chevrolet Avalanche wannabe: 2017 Silverado High Desert pack



You just know that with all these pick up truck sales going up, GM must regret not having a new version of the Avalanche.
(Which was discontinued when the current Silverado came out)

So there is it: a new option pack. Which turns the current Silverado into an "Almost Avalanche".
And why not.
It doesn't look bad.

Here is the official claim:
"The High Desert package blends the capability and utility of Silverado, with the refinement and luxury of Suburban".
Which does sound like a lot of PR BS to me.

As after having driven both, I can tell you that the Suburban is not really more refined or luxurious than the Silverado.
But hey, that's marketing for you...

2017 Chevrolet Cavalier


No, it's not actually coming back.
Well, it is. But in China only.

The new Cavalier is smaller and cheaper than the Cruze. It is powered by a small 1.5 Liter engine.
And I am sure Chevrolet is not interested in another small sedan for its us portfolio.

From what we can see on these pictures, it will not be missed.
Unlike the new Mazda CX4, this is something I do not wish to see in the streets. Ever.

The good news is, we won't.

Monday, May 02, 2016

2017 BMW i3


It pretty much looks the same.
Except maybe, the dark wood finish inside, which I haven't seen before?

And, finally, the large sunroof will be available in the US. (It was only available last year as part of some limited edition series)

The big news is the new battery.
It now gets a 115 miles range.
Much better than the 81 miles from the current version.
But really, still behind the best. In just a few months, the cheaper Chevrolet Bolt will be available with a range of over 200 miles.
It is also a "short while roomy" hatchback.

I really like the i3 though. It drives great, and the new range is a bonus. Plus the range extender is still available which adds about 95 miles using gas.
And the availability of that giant sunroof makes it more attractive. (Neither the Volt of the Bolt offer a sunroof option. )

Currently, the i3 is quite expensive. As it starts at $42 400 before  incentives.

BUT... They do offer a really good deal on the lease, which starts at $319 a month.
And $349 for the one with the range extender.

While the Volt is almost $10 000 less. The official lease offer right now is $299 a month.
So only $50 less than an i3 with range extender.

Sure, much longer range etc... But basically a BMW for only $50 a month more than a Chevy.

What do you think?



Tuesday, March 22, 2016

2017 Chevrolet Colorado

Just got this so I thought I'd share.

(I'm not even sure if this is the US version or not. Really...)

I drove the Colorado a few months ago and was pretty impressed. Except for the anemic V6, it drives great. (I guess the diesel option fixes that)

So it's good to see GM keeping it fresh.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Malibu Hybrid; 47MPG (46HWY)


A pretty amazing figure for quite a large car.
It uses a version of the Volt power train, with a larger 1.8 Liter engine. And obviously, no pure EV mode.
Although, apparently, it can still reach 50MPH before the engine starts. (With a very light foot I bet)

That compares very well to its competition:
- Fusion Hybrid: 44/41
-Sonata Hybrid: 40/44

The Hybrid starts at $27 770. Not such a good deal when compared to the other choices:

-Fusion Hybrid: $25 675
-Sonata Hybrid: $26 000.

And it is also about $3800 more than the "regular" Malibu LT.
Which gets 24/34MPG. So again, you'll have to save over $3800 to make it worth it...



Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Chevrolet Volt test drive. Part Three


 Here are a few more observations about the new Volt, after driving it for a full week.

I do like the design a lot. Even though I do understand people who miss the more original 1st generation.
It is a little bit blender, but still very modern.
More so than most other compacts out there. And, it is still a hatchback. But looking more like a 4 door coupe now.
it is really slick looking. And has a more upscale feel and look to it.

 Inside, the first thing you notice is the new screen.
The first thing I wanted to do with it is angle it more toward me. But it's not adjustable.
(So don't ever try that. I'm begging you!)

So it lays a bit flatter than it should. But it's actually fine, and not much of a problem to get used to.
Plus, it is quite large and very sharp. And perfectly positioned above everything else on the dash.

The shiny bits have more of a satin finish now. Which is much nicer, and again, more upscale.
The plastics are hard, but everything does look and feel very solid.
(Except the super cheap feeling and sounding turn signal stalk)

The doors still have that heavy feel to them, which I like.

 There is enough room for 4 adults. As you can see. There is a seatbelt for a 3rd human in the back seat, but I cannot imagine how legs would even fit.


 The one thing still missing, is a sunroof. Or some kind of glass panel. At least as an option.
As the roof is pretty low.
GM still gives the "weigh excuse". Which I don't buy. (The new Hyundai ionia will offer a sunroof)

The Bose stereo sounded very good. Although, like most Bose car systems lately, it wasn't very loud.

Overall, I loved my week with the new Volt.
It feels as solid and sporty as the old one.
But it is much quieter when the all new gas engine comes on.
And when it does, power seems to be almost the same as in the EV mode.
The ride is very comfortable, and the car feels super solid over any surface.
The steering is really nice, a little bit on the heavy side, which is a welcome change from most other cars.

As I mentioned before, I got 56 miles out of a full charge (it is rated at 53)
And my gas mileage when the battery was empty was 46 on the freeway and 42 in the city.
Which is, again, better than the official numbers.

I think the Volt is the best way to get into an EV right now.
As a range of almost 60 miles of pure EV is plenty for most people.
Plus, once it's empty, you end up with a very comfortable, quick car that gets great mileage anyway.
It is truly the best of both worlds.
Until we can charge a 300 miles battery everywhere in 15 minutes, the Volt is the best option.
(The Model S is still a rich guy's toy)






BUT....
There is one thing that drove me crazy, most of the time.
As you can see, the stereo system had a lot of trouble recognizing songs from my phone.
As most playlists showed "empty".

When switching to Apple CarPlay, things were different.
But NOT better. As  playlists after the letter "B" were non existent.
Using a different phone, different cables, restarting the phone never fixed the problem.
It would work one time, and nothing a few minutes later, etc..

I checked various forums online, and it looks like quite a few people have that problem.

A few of the solutions included upgrading to the latest version of iOS.
( I did have iOS 9 already)
And, weirdly enough, getting rid of the Pandora app.
I did all these, but it was too late to really check it.
It was working the last evening I had the car.

After mentioning this to GM, they decided to send me another Volt for a few days in a couple of weeks.
Which is really nice.

So I will check this again.
I hate to be picky, but the car is , in general,  my favorite place to listen to music. And I do want to make sure this isn't a general issue with this otherwise great car.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Chevrolet Volt test drive. Part one.

 I got the Volt yesterday. For a week.
It had an EV range of 45 miles when delivered to me. (Not the full 53 I was hoping for...)

Still, plenty for a few day-drives.
I was curious about the gas mileage when the car is not in EV mode.
So I used the "hold" mode, which saves "the juice" for later. A very cool feature.

 As you can see. For these few miles, MPG was very impressive.
But I also noticed that it did use some of that juice. By the end of the day, in the "hold" mode, my total EV range was only about 39 miles...
(The picture above was taken today, after charging)



At the end of the day, I plugged it in. At a regular 120 outlet. So technically, it should take about 13 hrs to get a full charge.
Which I didn't need since it still said "39".

But, about 13hrs later, I was still at "just"  49 miles. Not the 53 miles advertised for the full charge.
Maybe that plug at the lot where I parked the car was defective? Or something else...
Who knows.

 
 The rear hatch is really big. And quite heavy.
But the inside cover is just a rather flimsy cloth sheet. Unlike the solid stuff found in most other hatchbacks. Maybe to save weight?
 Someone was asking me about rear legroom. so here it is.
I am 5'11" and drive pretty far from the steering wheel, and that's what's left behind me.
Which isn't bad. Technically, the new Volt has a bit more rear legroom.

And here is what it looks like whith an actual super good looking human.

Someone was also asking about visibility. 
And I was mentioning the rather high position of the rear window.
So this is what it looks like when you turn around. 

Not that you really need to, since it comes with a back up camera.

So far there is plenty of power all the time. If you drive in a relaxed manner, the engine almost never comes on during normal city driving.
And when it does, it is much quieter than before. It just seems to be far away...

Next, I will try to compare MPG when the battery is completely empty.
And, of course, check the actual range of the full EV mode.


Thursday, December 10, 2015

2016 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid price


The all new Malibu hybrid will start at $28 645.
Not that cheap. But it is not available as a base model.
Only as a well equipped LT model. Which then makes it "only" about $2700 more than the
regular non-hybrid Malibu LT.

It does get amazing mileage for a mid size car. (It is now larger than ever)
It is rated at 48 MPG city and 45 HWY

So let's compare it to the competition:

-Camry hybrid.   $27 000. 43City/39HWY
-Accord Hybrid  $29 300. 50city/45HWY
-Fusion Hybrid    $26 000. 47city/41HWY
-Jetta Hybrid       $31 100. 45city/45HWY
-Sonata Hybrid   $26 000. 40city/44 HWY

A few notes about these:
- The Fusion is cheaper. But that is for a very basic model. So it comes up to about the same as the Malibu with a few options to match.
-The idiots at VW have no clue what to do with the Jetta Hybrid.
I test drove it a while ago, and thought it was a great car. It used to be around $26 000. The next year they bumped it up to over $28 000.
Now its only available as a SEL Premium loaded model for over $31 000.
Amazing how these people are unable to market a good car in the largest market in the world for hybrids...
-Once again, the Sonata (Even though it is brand new), is far behind in the hybrid game...

So the new Malibu seems really well priced. And, a plus for me, it does offer that cool double sunroof option. It also looks really good in person, inside and out.



Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Chevrolet Trax test drive


 The little Trax is pretty familiar by now.
I remember back when GM didn't want to sell it in the US. (For a while it was sold in Europe and Canada. While the US was only getting the Buick Encore version)

But with a bunch of newcomers like the Honda HR-V and Mazda CX-3, GM needed something cheaper than the Encore in that segment.

I do like the look of the Trax. It reminds me of a little bulldog. And I actually got nice comments from strangers about the "Orange Rock Metallic" color.




 Inside, everything is just fine. Simple and well laid out.

The version I had for a week was an LT FWD. So seats didn't have leather.
But the vinyl/cloth combo looked good. And they were very comfortable.

The Bose stereo (part of the well worth $1400 Sun & Sound package) sounded great.

 The only thing I really hated inside was the stupid placement of the USB plug.
Inside the top glove compartment. So you either cannot see your phone. Or you have to leave the compartment open for the wire.
Pretty bad.

Maybe things will be better once Apple Car Play is offered on the Trax. (Or just move the USB to the console!)
 The back seat is pretty much what you'd except in a compact.
It's actually fine for most people.
 A roomy truck is what you get.
 On the road, the first thing I noticed, was a pretty bad case of the "video game style steering feel".
I guess most people don't mind anymore. Since it reminds them of the games they play all day.

I still have a problem with it...(Maybe because I don't play video games...)

But, as usual. I did get used to it. Kind of.
The Trax is very easy to drive. The engine feels pretty "peppy". At least around town.
And I never had problems on the freeway.

The ride is always very comfortable. The car feels really solid on any road. (Although the doors feel a bit tiny when you close them)
The whole thing was also very quiet all the time.

The Trax is rated at 26City/34HWY. After a week of driving I did get 26 in the city.
But had no problem getting 39 average on the freeway.
I really enjoyed driving the Trax for a week.
It feels like the right car for the right price. At least the one I got.

Mine was an LT FWD with the "LT Plus package" and the previously mentioned "Sun & Sound package". For a total of $25 215.

I'd say this is really a good price for a nice car with a sunroof and great Bose stereo system.
It's no sports car but it doesn't pretend to be.
I never felt it was too slow.
It is comfortable and quiet. And gets really good mileage for a small SUV. And it does have a nice, friendly personality to it.

The Honda HR-V seems like the more conservative choice in that segment.
But the new Mazda CX-3 is the one to watch.
As a top of the line Grand Touring model is about the same price as the Trax I was driving.
And it includes GPS, Sunroof, Bose and leather.

So, I do recommend the Trax. If you can get a good deal on it.


Monday, November 16, 2015

2017 Chevrolet Cruze Hatchback


Chevrolet was selling a hatchback version of the previous (Still current I guess)  Cruze compact in Europe.
It was never sold in the US.
But GM has mentioned many times that the new model will get a hatchback as well. And it will make it to the US.
Quite an easy decision since Chevrolet stopped selling cars in Europe altogether.
And the new hatch was probably already designed and ready to go.

On top of that, it seems that everyone is now selling compact hatchbacks here. Even the new Civic will be available as a hatch next year.

The new Cruze hatchback should be officially unveiled during the first quarter of 2016.
Which could mean the New York Auto show.

 GM is also saying a Diesel version of the new Cruze is still on schedule for the US.
(Which could pick up some of these sales VW is missing on the Jetta...)

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Chevrolet Silverado Test Drive


 Last year, I test drove the 4 door version of this truck. It was a loaded "High Country" model, costing over $52 000.

This one, a "1500 2WD" starts at a much more reasonable (And more "truck like") $26 000.
Mine had a few options, like a Spray On bed liner, 4.2 Inch color screen, Trailing Equipment.
Mut mostly a $1445 "Black out edition" package. ("Big Black")
For a total of $31 400. (Including a very expensive $1195 Destination charge)
 As you can see, it is big. Very big. And high, very high.

And that Black out package gives it quite a menacing look.
A look that, I must say, was quite popular among most of my friends. (especially the ladies)

The bed is really roomy, with a heavy gate (This is not for girl scouts).
The whole thing would make John Wayne look effeminate.

 Inside, things are pretty simple. As expected.
Which is just fine. Everything is well put together and feels really solid.
The small screen is not the best, but again, just fine for this. It even includes a welcome back up camera.
The stereo sounded surprisingly good.
 There is not much storage behind the seats. Just a small space.
The armrest folds up to reveal a 3rd middle seat. With a real seat belt!
Nothing like the ones from the 70's with the old fashion "airplane style" seat belts.

 Even in this base model, the doors have a really nice finish.
The drive in this particular model is, well... Very, very truck like.
Very different than the smooth "High country" model I drove last year.
(It is also much higher)

It is quite smooth on a flat stretch of highway. But as soon as the road isn't perfect, watch out.
It is a constant mix of shaking, shuddering and jumping around. The suspension basically absorbs nothing. It can actually be quite scary at times.


The 6 transmission is super smooth and very responsive.
The big 4.3 Liter V6 works quite well in this truck. It is so quiet and smooth I thought it was a V8.
It also has enough power. And is rated at 18/24MPG.
I was only able to get about 16/17 around town. (Which is still fine)
But easily got 27 on the freeway.
Which seems really good for such a giant.

It might not be comfortable, but it sure is quiet. Amazingly quiet, at all time.
I would even say, "Lexus quiet".

After almost getting used to the super rough ride, I really enjoyed my week with the big truck.

Sure, I have zero need for this.
But this is a really nice vehicle for people who need a truck.
It is not that expensive. It feels like it will last forever. Mileage isn't that bad.
The back up camera helps a lot with parking (Although I still couldn't fit in any Trader Joe's parking lots around my area...)
So why not?

And. As you can see. This is the best place to have a picnic under the stars with a good friend...