Category Archives: General Motors

Chevrolet Welcomes Fall With 2018 Equinox

With the first days of Fall now upon us, Chevrolet has chosen to celebrate the occasion by unveiling the 2018 Equinox.

Visually the Equinox benefits from a major redesign that adds newfound levels of freshness to the design. Wheras the current model featured a more restrained look that 2018 Chevrolet Equinoxwas starting to show its age, this new suit of clothes allows the Equinox to fall in line with its brand mates, and the new design language that Chevrolet is currently using.

The front fascia for example features a two piece radiator grille that is framed by bold chrome trim. Elongated headlights add more 2018 Chevrolet Equinoxboldness to the package, and its side profile benefits from new sculpting. Overall its a look that is much more upscale, and should stand out more versus its bland predecessor.

The interior of the 2018 Equinox has also seen a major overhaul and incorporates many technologies that have made their debut in  other Chevy products including the latest iteration of the MyLink infotainment system as well as better plastics.

It will be interesting to see if base models will ditch the mesh style coverings for the seats, and embrace a more traditional material. Having spent considerable time in the 2012 model that does hauling duty here at the office, it’s very annoying when rogue buttons and snaps snag on the holes.

Meanwhile Chevy engineers have removed 400 lbs of excess weight from the platform, while also shaving four inches of length, which allows the 2018 version to measure in at 183 inches long with width and height ringing in at 75 and 65 inches respectively. This downsizing effort also means that there will no longer be any naturally aspirated engines avalible. Instead, buyers will choose from three diffrent turbocharged four cylinder engines with the Malibu’s 170 horsepower 1.5 liter turbocharged four cylinder serving as the base engine. Most buyers however will gravitate towards the 2.0 liter turbocharged four cylinder which is good for 252 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque.

Lastly buyers can also choose to add a 2.0 liter turbodiesel engine to their Equinox purchase. Chevrolet has never offered a diesel engine before on the Equinox, and the brand freely admitted that the addition of this model was an effort to lure disgruntled TDI owners away from Volkswagen stores. Good for 136 horsepower, the new engine boasts an impressive 40 mpg on the freeway, and aims to be the green Equinox choice.

The diesel engine and the base 1.5 liter engine send their muscle through a six speed automatic transmission with the 2.0 liter featuring a nine speed automatic transmission. Like before front wheel drive is standard fare but can be swapped out for all wheel drive.

Safety was also at the forefront when engineers were developing this latest Equinox. This includes optional equipment such as a surround view camera, forward collision alert, lane keeping assist, and low speed automatic 2018 Chevrolet Equinoxbraking. In addition the 2018 Equinox also features GM’s rear seat reminder technology that sounds audible and visual warnings if a child is left in the back seat. First appearing in the GMC Acadia, the system is part of the company’s ongoing efforts to reduce overheating deaths caused by children being left in hot cars.

Look for the 2018 Equinox to go on sale during the first part of next year with the model covering the auto show circuit prior to its launch. Pricing information will be released closer to its on sale date, but Chevrolet says that the new Equinox will reach 115 global markets by the end of 2017.

Cadillac Unveils Escala Concept

Cadillac is currently in the middle of a sweeping initiative to not only improve its lagging sales figures, but also the brand’s reputation when compared to more established luxury automakers. On that end, Cadillac has unveiled an all new concept vehicle that previews a new flagship offering that will eventually be positioned above the CT6 sedan.

Dubbed the Escala this particular concept is supposed to showcase the next evolution of Cadillac design which will greatly reduce the sharp edges that have come to define current Cadillac models while also retaining the angular theme that has served as a compelling Escalacanvas for Cadillac designers. While we are still chewing on its odd name, the Escala does stand out thanks to a number of new styling elements including vertical lighting that is now complimented with horizontal units, thinner headlights, and new DRL’s that allegedly help the Escala have a “sinister” look which could help add some much needed spice to the lineup.

The Escala’s platform is based on the same platform that also underpins the CT6 but Cadillac engineers have lengthened the platform by five inches while the overall width has also been increased by six inches.In addition, the Escala also features a hatchback-esque profile which is reminiscent of the Audi A7.

“Escala is a concept with two clear objectives. First, Escala is a statement of intent for the next iteration of the Cadillac design language and also technical aspects in development of future Cadillac models,” revealed Cadillac president Johan de Nysschen. “Secondly, Escala builds Cadillac’s aspirational character, signaling the brand’s return to the pinnacle of premium.”

The interior of the Escala also serves as a vivid visual showcase of the future that is in store  for future Cadillac models. Cadillac designers focused on putting technology at the Escala Interiorforefront with three curved OLED screens that are layered in front of the driver. For owners who prefer to spend the majority of their time in the rear seats, Cadillac designers also focused on making the back seat a luxurious place to spend time in with a renewed focus on making the back seat area more relaxing which in turn allows passengers to have greater appreciation for the increased levels of craftsmanship and refinement.

Performance for the concept comes from an all new 4.2 liter twin-turbocharged V8 engine and while it is still initially in the prototype stage, the engine will eventually find its way into future Cadillac models where it could be a key engine for select models, and give Cadillac a fighting chance against models in the performance flagship class.

While Cadillac stopped short of formally revealing whether the Escala has a concrete road map to eventual production, de Nysschen did reveal that there is at least some talk of the idea within the inner confines of Cadillac claiming “Depending on the development of market segment for large luxury sedans, Escala is a potential addition to our existing market plan.

 

GMC Still Considering Wrangler Fighter?

Hummer and its Wrangler chasing HX concept were axed and swept under the rug several when GM went through its bankruptcy. However, a new report reveals that this once shelved idea is possibly gaining newfound life and vigor.

According to a report released by Automotive News several inside sources have revealed that GMC is still considering a body on frame SUV model that would share its DNA and platform with the Canyon and Colorado midsize pickups. The exterior styling is said to embody Hummer cues, and would not be that far off from the HX concept which debuted at the North American International Auto Show back in 2008.

The report also reveals that executives met with dealers last year to gauge interest and feedback on the idea with initial interest being very positive especially for a model that could potentially revive sales.

Low sales figures have been a persistent issue for GMC over the past few years, with the brand suffering a four percent slide in sales during the first half of this year. This is despite the overall boom in  the SUV and CUV segments which have largely helped the wider market grow.

Not suprisingly Jeep sales have continued to soar to new heights, with the off road oriented brand recording a 17 percent surge in sales during the month of June. These figures are quite potent and also represent the sales gap between the two camps.

If GMC does decide to go forward with its Wrangler competitor, look for it to arrive possibly as early as 2020. When it does arrive, it will have quite a challenge on its hands with the Wrangler currently serving as a segment benchmark.

Cadillac Revamps ATS Lineup, Pitches 2.5 Liter Four Cylinder

Amid slumping sales and an increased reliance on costly sales to dump inventory. Cadillac has revealed that it will inject newfound investment into the 2017 ATS in a bold move to improve its relevance amongst luxury buyers.

A key change is found under the hood with the ATS narrowing its engine options for the 2017 model year. The wheezy, underpowered, and unpopular 2.5 liter four cylinder engine has been pitched, and the 2.0 liter turbocharged four cylinder engine will now take its place. Cadillac product planning chief Hampden Tener revealed that the company plans to heavily promote the turbo engine in future advertising.

“We want to emphasize the car’s 2.0 liter turbocharged four cylinder engine and the car’s features while attacking the market on the product side rather than continuing to use costly incentives” stated Tener in a seperate statement.

In addition to the engine change, the rest of the ATS lineup will also see pricing tweaks with all packages having their prices reduced by $650 to $1,100 depending on the model selected. This was revealed in an interview with Automotive News with the company also claiming that each model will recieve upgrades to boost value and desirability.

Cadillac has not released a formal launch date for the 2017 models, but look for that particular information to be revealed closer to their formal launch.

2017 Chevrolet Silverado HD Gains New Hood Scoop, Minor Tweaks

Yesterday GMC teased the 2017 Sierra 2500 Denali HD, and promised that it’s new hood scoop was hiding a surprise for loyal buyers. Not wanting to be left out, Chevrolet has followed suit, with the unveiling of the 2017 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD. Unlike the Sierras apperance, this helps shed some light on what changes are in store for the new model year.

Unfortunately these revisions will not include a new engine, with the aging 6.6 liter Duramax diesel soldiering on for a few more years. But despite its age, the grizzled veteran gains some new moves thanks to a new hood scoop and air intake system that was designed to help The 2017 Chevrolet Silverado HD features an all-new, patented ai

improve airflow to the engine. GM claims that unlike other scoops that dump air indiscriminately into the engine, this one was designed to achieve a ram-air “supercharging effect” which translates into more potent performance benefits.

In addition to the improved air airflow, the system also incorporates an all new system that removes moisture from the charged air which helps maximize the combustion potential of the air fuel mixture.

GM engineers revealed the intricate science behind this simple solution explaining that after the air enters the engine bay, it enters an expansion chamber and then makes a full 180 degree turn before reaching the intake The 2017 Chevrolet Silverado HD features an all-new, patented aichamber. The high centrifugal forces involved in the turn pulls the water molecules out of the air with the resulting water being drained through a valve.

On an ideal day, GM estimates that the scoop will account for 60 percent of the air taken in with the remainder flowing in through an opening in the front fender. That opening can also serve as the sole source of air if the scoop is blocked by ice, mud, or other debris.

Chevrolet is not revealing whether the revised intake system boosts power or not, but it appears that it could help the Duramax unleash its full potential in a wider range of conditions. However, it will not shock us if the intake also allows a few extra ponies to break free from the stable.

It will be interesting to see what this minor revision does for both the Silverado and its GMC badged cousin, but look for more information to be released closer to their respective launches later this year.

GMC Teases 2017 Sierra Denali 2500 HD

GMC has released the first images of the 2017 GMC Sierra Denali 2500 HD revealing that a key change could be in store for its updated workhorse when it eventually makes its way to dealer lots.

The company did not release a detailed description of the truck but did spill the beans on the fully functional hood scoop that allegedly serves as a hint to “what is beneath its bold new appearance.” That statement (albeit a bit cryptic) does appear to hint that a new 2017-GMC-Sierra Denali-2500HD-003engine is lurking under the hood of the updated rig, potentially serving as the successor to the long running but equally long in the tooth 6.6 liter Duramax diesel engine. The Duramax brings 397 horsepower and 765 lb-ft of torque to GM’s current line of HD pickups. However despite its long resume of appearances in both past and current GM models, the engine has also fallen behind newer diesel engines wielded by Ford and Ram with its figures being dwarfed by both the Cummins turbodiesel as well as the Powerstroke diesel V8.

As for the mystery engine, it could feature a new generation of turbocharging technology since the scoop would be feeding air to the hungry turbos inside increasing both power and torque in the process. This would be a stark change from the Duramax which also 2017-GMC-Sierra Denali-2500HD-002uses turbocharging, but does not take in outside air with a hood mounted hood scoop and tends to have more restricted airflow going into it. Look for it to possibly retain the Duramax moniker and arrive with multiple fuel saving features including reduced friction parts and improved weight savings.

GM claims that it will be releasing more information about its 2017 HD truck models “in the coming months” with full details not being revealed until its formal debut. The trucks will presumably begin arriving in dealer lots later this year with the Sierra possibly arriving first. The updated Silverado HD will not be too far behind, and could make its appearance early next year.

Chevrolet Silverado High Desert Blends Capability With Luxury

General Motors has taken the veil off of the Chevrolet Silverado High Desert which is based off off a 2014 SEMA concept that wielded the same moniker.

While the exterior styling does appear to pay tribute to the dearly departed Chevrolet Avalanche at first glance, Chevy claims that it actually High Desertcombines the capability of a Silverado with the luxury and refinement of the Suburban. Case in point is the addition of the Suburban’s Magnetic Ride Control System which adjusts the dampers in the suspension continuously to help the truck navigate varying levels of terrain while also improving ride comfort at the same time. The High Desert also marks the first time that the technology has ever been used on a Silverado which is a plus for buyers looking to standout from the crowd.

However its headline feature is an all new lockable storage system in the bed that helps protect cargo from the harshest of elements. This rugged system was also designed to compliment the standard side storage bins as High Desert 2well as the three piece tonneau cover that eliminates concerns about fit and capability. As a bonus, the truck even comes equipped with a flexible divider that can help accommodate various sizes of cargo.

The High Desert package is avalible on LT LTZ and High Country trim levels. The LT features 20-inch wheels with all season tires, while the other two trims feature bigger 22-inch wheels that are shod with all terrain tires. LTZ and High Country buyers will also appreciate the standard 6.2 liter EcoTec V8 which brings 420 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque to the festivities.

Chevrolet claims that the High Desert will land in dealer lots this fall with pricing and other information being released closer to its official launch. With previous special edition Silverado packages focusing more on styling versus outright hardware upgrades, it’s good to see the High Desert buck this trend and offer buyers a truly unique driving experience.

Buick Verano

Buick Axes Verano, Cites Low Oil Prices As Reason

In a world where lower than expected oil prices are forcing many automakers to rethink their long term sales strategies. Buick has become the latest name on this list with the brand potentially phasing out the Verano compact from the U.S. market.

This  report from Automotive News follows on the heels of the brand unveiling an updated version of the Verano in China late last year in both sedan and hatchback form. At the time it was speculated that the redesigned version could make its way to the U.S. to compete with the CLA as well as the updated ILX sedan. It would’ve also had some lofty shoes to fill with the current generation Verano not only being responsible for jump starting the compact luxury car segment, but also giving Buick a strong seller that has consistently outsold its larger brand mate the Buick Regal.

However low oil prices have effectively eliminated the sales niche that the Verano had when they were on the upswing, and many customers were still hesitant to buy a CUV. The Verano also had the goods to take advantage of the situation thanks to an impressive suite of standard equipment that served to justify the higher price premium that existed between it and the Chevrolet Cruze. In addition to the slide in fuel prices, the Verano is also stuck sharing showroom space with the popular Encore CUV.  As a result, the Verano’s value oriented pricing has actually become a liability with base Veranos sharing the same price as a lightly equipped Encore.  This also translates into a virtually identical list of standard equipment with both models offering rear view cameras, a seven inch touchscreen with Intellilink as well as Bluetooth and other goodies.

Killing the Verano will certainly cost Buick a large share of sales in the entry level luxury car market, but it also shows the high confidence that it has in its lineup of CUVs and their ability to lure customers into Buick-GMC showrooms. AN’s sources were quick to point out that the current generation Verano would survive till at least 2017 before being phased out. Unlike other vehicles, the Buick Verano has always had a special place in the Autoinfoquest office with this author owning a 2013 Verano Turbo model (pictured) that is used for daily driving duties as well as traveling to and from major automotive events.

Analysts Predict Strong Start For Chevrolet Bolt Sales

With Chevrolet preparing for perhaps one of its most important launches ever, the competition between the bow tie brand’s Bolt EV and Tesla’s Model 3 sedan is heating up. This was perhaps most noticeable during the Model 3’s highly anticipated unveiling in March which saw the Silicon Valley based car company garner hundreds of thousands of deposits during the first day. So how important will an edge in this heated battle be for Chevrolet?

Critically important, according to Kelly Blue Book analyst Karl Brauer who predicts that Chevrolet will sell between 30,000 and 80,000 Bolts during its first year on the market. These are ambitious figures for a pure electric vehicle, and the 30,000 unit low end that was forecasted by Brauer is nearly double the low end of other EV offerings currently on the market. The Bolt would also have an advantage in getting out to customers with the model expected to be released in late 2016 before being available nationwide in 2017. The Model 3 in contrast is slated to arrive in late 2017 with the vast majority of early adopters possibly not getting their hands on the car until 2018 and beyond. This late release would give the Bolt an early lead, and also prove to be enticing to fleet managers that want first dibs on a new vehicle for their commercial fleets.

In addition the Bolt could potentially be crowned the king of the EV’s and help score an impressive victory for Detroit while also dealing Tesla a key blow to both its image and prestige among EV buyers. In addition to this image boost, GM can benefit from the improved average fuel economy that the Bolt would provide. This improved figure would allow  the firm to sell more of its profitable pickup trucks and SUVs.

It would be interesting to see what happens if Bolt sales lean towards the higher end of this spectrum especially in regards to the fierce competition between the Bolt and the Model 3. More importantly the battle could turn into a three way affair when Ford’s 200 mile range EV gets involved in the festivities in its own attempt to shake up the EV sales race in Ford’s favor.

Ford F-150 To Gain Performance Upgrades For 2017

The Ford F-150 has seen a recent wave of upgrades over the past several years. The 2015 model year marked the debut of the new model F-150, and its switch to aluminum body panels. 2017 however, will bring much needed upgrades under its lightweight hood with two all new models that will make their respective appearances for the 2017 model year.

The Ford Raptor will be the first of this renewed performance barrage, and will debut an all new 10 speed transmission as well as a tweaked variant of the familiar 3.5 liter twin-turbocharged V6. This engine will also make its appearance in the regular F-150 and will boast improved efficiency numbers. However, don’t expect this engine to knock off the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel which still leads the segment with its 29 mpg freeway rating.

The new 10 speed transmission that will see duty in the Raptor was designed in a rare collaboration with General Motors, and features three overdrive gears, as well as an advanced torque converter with an integrated turbine clutch as well as low friction internal materials. It has also been designed to utilize stop/start technology, and has the ability to automatically skip between gears for maximum engine efficiency though look for that particular feature to mainly be encountered during freeway and city driving. Ford engineers also designed a new internal pump to help maintain pressure in the transmission which is important especially for a unit that boasts 10 gears. The rest of the F-150 lineup will continue to use the familiar six speed automatic transmission though look for that to eventually change in the future with the possible implementation of either an eight or nine speed unit to help it match the Ram 1500 lineup.

The reworked V6 gets a bit more complex for the 2017 model year thanks to the addition of two different fuel injection systems: direct injection and port fuel injection. The engine is good for a healthy 365 horsepower and can run on 87 octane gasoline. The engine can also switch between the two injection systems depending on the driving conditions that it experiences. For example, the engine uses port injection when cold or under low load situations, but can switch to direct injection when it is warm or if extra power is needed for towing or the rare stop light to stop light sprint. Ford’s new V6 program manager Jim Mazuchowski also revealed that it can run both systems at the same time which allows the engine to make full use of its maximum performance potential which is a key asset for towing and cargo hauling duties.