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2014 Chevy Impala Fires on All Four Cylinders

A big car with a small appetite for fuel.

by on Jun.10, 2013

Despite its size, the 2014 Chevy Impala's new 2.5-liter I-4 can deliver up to 31 mpg Highway.

Long known – and largely ignored – for its bland, forgettable styling and driving manners only a rental car customer could appreciate, General Motors delivered a real surprise with the redesigned 2014 Chevrolet impala.

As we discovered during our first drive of the sedan earlier this year, the new Impala is not just stylish and well-equipped but also a lot of fun to drive, not something you might expect from a 3,800-pound, full-size 4-door.  Of course, it helped that the launch version of the Impala featured a peppy 3.6-liter V-6 turning out 305 horsepower and 264 pound-feet through a 6-speed automatic transmission.

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In decades past, that might have been precisely what the market wanted, but not in an era of $4-a-gallon gas.  Even big sedans like Impala now need to offer something smaller and more fuel-efficient under the hood. And the good news is the 2014 Chevy Impala has just the option, a new 2.5-liter inline-four that’s also matched up to a six-speed automatic.

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First Drive: 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Turbo

(Turbo) power to the people.

by on Oct.05, 2012

Chevrolet aims to take on the dominant Japanese with the all-new 2013 Malibu.

With a slew of new models heading for the showrooms, the midsize passenger car segment has turned into the auto industry’s most fiercely contested battlegroud. Nobody’s knocked off the Camry yet but gone are the days when all Toyota – or rival Honda — had to do to win the contest for customers was show up with something new every few years.

Once dominant in the midsize market, General Motors has spent years several decades trying to crack the code without really scoring. But after driving the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu with a 2-liter turbocharged engine, capable of producing 259 horsepower and 260 foot pounds of torque, it’s pretty clear GM’s persistence is finally paying dividends.

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For those who might be confused about Chevrolet’s strategy, the GM brand introduced an “Eco” version of the completely redesigned Malibu at the beginning of the year, adapting the eAssist mild hybrid technology first used on the Buick line, as well as aerodynamic tricks such as active grille shutters, to maximize mileage. As we get into the more traditional new model-year, Chevy is rolling out the rest of the Malibu line-up.

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First Look: 2013 Chevrolet Traverse

A family resemblance.

by on Mar.29, 2012

The design of the 2013 Chevrolet Traverse update picks up familial cues from the new Chevy Malibu.

Chevrolet will continue its total brand remake with a pair of important introductions at the upcoming New York Auto Show.  While we’ll have to wait a week for a closer look at the new Impala sedan, the biggest of the General Motors brands invited a handful of reporters in for a sneak peek at the updated 2013 Chevy Traverse.

As brand boss Chris Perry lifted the covers it was readily apparent that the new, 3-row crossover shares more than a passing resemblance to the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu, the Traverse sharing the midsize sedan’s new face, including the lower-profile headlamps and three-bar grille.  The liftgate has also been updated and results in a more appealing, if a bit more conventional crossover-style rear end.

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The interior, meanwhile, is more refined and lavishly finished.  But what may appeal just as much to the sort of families who need an 8-seater is the long-list of standard and optional safety features offered on the 2013 Chevy Traverse.  That includes blind spot detection, rear cross-traffic alert – and the world’s first front-center airbag, designed to reduce injuries in the event of a side-impact collision.

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First Drive: 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco

GM’s midsize gets a mild hybrid mileage boost.

by on Dec.19, 2011

Chevrolet will got to market first with the new 2013 Malibu Eco model.

There was a time, not all that many years ago, when General Motors owned the American midsize market.  But a procession of poorly designed and executed products all but ensured that the Japanese would take command – products like the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry today dominating the critical market segment.

The General began to signal its intent to regain its once-lofty position with the launch of an all-new Chevrolet Malibu in 2008 – the domestic sedan going on to win kudos as North American Car of the Year.  Now, Chevy hopes to ramp things up a couple more notches with the launch of the next-generation Malibu.

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We headed to Austin, Texas to spend some time in the new midsize sedan – or, more precisely, in the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco.  That’s the “mild” hybrid version that will be coming to market in the coming months, with the mainstream version to follow some months later once its all-new 4-cylinder engine is ready for production.

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GM Gives Sneak Peek at Chevy Spark

Maker takes aim with Chevy’s smallest offering ever.

by on Nov.14, 2011

Chevrolet takes aim at the minicar segment with its new Spark hatchback.

For a company that long ignored the passenger car market – especially the econocar segment –Chevrolet is making a big push with an assortment of offerings that can be described as small, smaller and, with the upcoming launch of the Chevy Spark, smallest.

The new microcar is the tiniest ever to grace the line-up of General Motors’ largest brand.  But the automaker is intent on winning over buyers in a segment that it believes will be growing rapidly in the years ahead.

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The challenge will be to convince buyers that the 2013 Chevrolet Spark is more than just a basic econobox, and that it has the features and styling of better-known competitors like the Honda Fit, Hyundai Accent and Toyota Yaris, and even smaller city cars.

GM will officially unwrap the 2013 Chevy Spark at the L.A. Auto Show later this week.  It will roll into showrooms early next year to flesh out a line-up of small cars that already includes the unexpectedly popular Cruze compact and new Sonic subcompact.

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First Drive: 2011 Chevrolet Traverse

Competent but uninspiring.

by on Jun.03, 2011

Our reviewer calls the 2011 Chevrolet Traverse competent but uninspiring.

Competence may be a virtue, but not necessarily at the expense of personality.

This is the lesson of the 2011 Chevrolet Traverse, a perfectly capable crossover SUV that inspires nothing of note in those who look at it or drive it.

That’s not necessarily bad, there’s no soccer parent stigma associated with minivans, for example. The Traverse is a fine-looking vehicle, in the way that an Abercrombie & Fitch model looks good and generic.

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The only problem with the Traverse’s inoffensive styling is that the two domestic three-row crossovers sold by Chevy’s Detroit rivals—the redesigned Ford Explorer and the also redesigned Dodge Durango—stand out more in a crowd. Even one of the other GM Lambda-based crossovers that share this platform offers more styling verve—the Buick Enclave (while the similar GMC Acadia is also a bit plain-jane).

Of course, sartorial concerns are but one reason to purchase a vehicle in this class, and only the hippest parents on the block are really worried about what the Joneses will think. The rest are looking for utility, practicality, value, and fuel economy. If the driving dynamics happen to offer some personality, well, that’s a bonus.

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GM Recalls 150,000 Chevy Cruze Sedans

Focus is potential steering problem.

by on May.05, 2011

Chevy recalls the new Cruze.

General Motors, which is hoping to crack the long Japanese stranglehold on the small car market, has suffered a potentially setback, the maker announcing it will recall 150,000 of its Chevrolet Cruze sedans.

The maker says it needs to inspect the vehicles to ensure their intermediate steering shaft covers were properly installed.

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Meanwhile, about 120,000 of the vehicles will also be inspected due to the possibility of a problem with the installation of their automatic transmission linkage.

The vehicles, all from the 2011 model-year, were produced at the GM assembly plant in Lordstown, Ohio.

GM says it has no reports of any accidents or injuries connected with the problems and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has no reports or consumer complaints on file.

Nonetheless, the news is a setback for GM, which has been hoping to use the Cruze as part of its campaign to regain a presence in the passenger car market, especially in smaller, more fuel-efficient segments.

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2013 Chevrolet Malibu Gets Shanghai Welcome

Maker plans global roll-out for classic American model.

by on Apr.19, 2011

The 2013 Chevy Malibu noses into Shanghai

The Chevrolet Malibu got a Shanghai send-off, this week, marking a significant shift in strategy for not just that most American of mid-size sedans but for the Chevy brand itself.

The top-selling passenger car for the largest General Motors division, the Malibu will undergo a significant update for 2013, just three years after it was named North American Car of the Year.

The new version of the sedan will borrow some key styling cues from the wildly popular Chevrolet Camaro, including a more sculpted, coke bottle-style shape, while the interior will be larger and significantly more refined, more in line with cabin benchmark Audi.  Meanwhile, the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu will deliver improved fuel economy, company officials noted.

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But one of the most significant changes has nothing to do with the features or content of the 2013 sedan.  The outgoing Malibu is sold in just 20 countries, mostly in various parts of the Americas, North and South.  Going forward, it will be offered in more than 100 national markets, reflecting the ongoing transformation of Chevrolet into a global, rather than U.S.-defined brand.

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First Look: 2013 Chevrolet Malibu

GM inadvertently leaks its own secret.

by on Apr.14, 2011

Whoops, you weren't supposed to see that.

It’s been said that there are few secrets in Detroit, a town that has, historically, leaked like the proverbial sieve.  And General Motors certainly proved that point when it inadvertently let a sneak peek of the next-generation Chevrolet Malibu appear on its media website today.

Ironically, the maker had intended to run the classic teaser campaign, first showing off a shot of the rear taillights and, for this morning, sending out a release with an image of the midsize sedan’s new radio face – which, it revealed, articulates up or down to reveal hidden, illuminated 6-inch storage compartment.

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But the above image, which we first spotted on Autoblog.com, tells a much more complete story.

The look should be familiar to fans of the Malibu, which took honors as North American Car of the Year in 2008.  There’s a somewhat update version of the bowtie grille, accented by new multi-element headlamps that wrap into the fenders.

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First Look: Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

Heating up the pony car wars with the fastest Camaro ever.

by on Feb.09, 2011

Chevrolet rolls out the fastest, most powerful Camaro ever , the 2012 ZL1, at the Chicago Auto Show.

Chevy is adding a little more muscle to the pony car wars by bringing back the once-formidable Camaro ZL1.

The General Motors division rocked the market when its reborn Camaro outsold the Ford Mustang, last year, for the first time in a quarter century.  But GM officials admit it won’t be easy to keep that momentum going – not without broadening the Camaro line-up.

The long-delayed Chevrolet Camaro Convertible is about to go on sale.  (For a review, Click Here.) Now comes the 2012 Chevy Camaro ZL1, which is making its debut at the Chicago Auto Show.

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Ed Welburn, GM’s vice president of design, recalled how the original Camaro ZL1 became an instant classic when it first appeared in the late 1960s.  The hope is to repeat that success with the new car.

“The 2012 ZL1 will be the most technically advanced Camaro every built by GM,” Welburn said, during the GM press conference.  “The new ZL1 continues the momentum of Camaro, propelling it into an entirely new realm of leading-edge performance technology,” added Welburn, who said the car will be rolling into Chevy showrooms next January.

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