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Chevy and GMC trucks get CNG option pricing

04/18/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Trucks/Pickups, Commercial Trucks, Chevrolet, GMC, Special/Limited Editions

2015 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD CNG at the 2014 Chicago Auto Show, front three-quarter view

Chevrolet and GMC have clued us in to pricing of the bi-fuel option for the 2015 Silverado and Sierra 2500HD CNG and 3500HD CNG pickups: it starts at $9,500; we're still missing the rest of the pricing inferred by the word "starts," however. If you remember from the Chicago Auto Show introduction, the 6.0-liter V8 puts out 360 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque when drinking gas, 301 hp and 333 lb-ft when inhaling CNG.

Chevrolet figures that a bi-fuel Silverado HD is worth $2,000 in savings if driven 19,500 miles on CNG and 7,500 miles on gasoline in the span of a year, a recoup rate easily attainable to high-mileage fleet owners. It can be specced on double- and crew-cab pickups with single rear wheels, not on dualies.

The 2015 Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana short-wheelbase passenger and cargo vans also get CNG options, starting at $10,825 for the three-tank system, and $12,090 for the four-tank system that can only be had on the cargo hauler. You'll find a bit more info on all of the permutations in the press release below.

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J.D. Power customer survey of dealers counts Cadillac, Buick as big winners

04/15/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Audi, Buick, Cadillac, GMC, Lexus, Volkswagen

2014 Cadillac CTS, front three-quarter view

Cadillac and Buick have taken the trophies in J.D. Power's latest Customer Service Index Study examining satisfaction with dealer service. Surveying more than 90,000 owners and lessees of 2009-2013 model-year cars, the study found that those with pre-paid maintenance packages were ten percent more likely to buy their next car from the same brand.

Dealer satisfaction scores have improved overall, Cadillac nabbed the luxury segment ahead of Audi and Lexus, taking the crown that Lexus held last year. Buick keeps the mass-market dealer satisfaction win in the family, finishing ahead of Volkswagen and last year's winner GMC. The study also found that service department use of tablets increased customer satisfaction, as did "best practices" like "providing helpful advice." Who knew?

You can find details on those and more findings in the press release below.

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Ward's releases 10 Best Interiors list for 2014

04/11/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Chevrolet, Chrysler, GMC, Hyundai, Jeep, Kia, Mazda, Mercedes Benz, Rolls Royce, Volkswagen

Mercedes-Benz S-Class

While we're still a ways off from the automotive awards season proper, where things like North American Car and Truck of the Year, Motor Trend's Car of the Year and Car and Driver's Ten Best are named, that doesn't mean there aren't trophies being handed out to deserving automakers. Ward's 10 Best Interiors being one of them.

As the name might imply, the magazine focuses on the very best interior treatments in the US market. Whereas some awards purposely exclude extreme, high-dollar offerings, Ward's considers them - the only requirement is that a vehicle has a "new or significantly redesigned interior."

Ward's offered up the list of winners in simple, alphabetical order, and it only seems fair to do the same:

  • 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray ($71,960)
  • 2015 Chrysler 200C ($31,470)
  • 2014 GMC Sierra Denali ($56,685)
  • 2014 Hyundai Equus Ultimate ($68,920)
  • 2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited ($37,525)
  • 2014 Kia Soul+ ($24,010)
  • 2014 Mazda3 ($30,415)
  • 2014 Mercedes-Benz S550 ($122,895)
  • 2014 Rolls-Royce Wraith ($372,800)
  • 2015 Volkswagen GTI (est. $30,695)
We'll admit to being surprised by a pair of these - the Kia Soul and Jeep Cherokee - while the rest make a fair amount of sense. What's most remarkable is the huge range of prices, from the $24,010 Kia to the $372,800 Rolls-Royce.

What do you think of Ward's findings? Do you agree? Are there any vehicles that should be included in this list? Post your thoughts down in Comments.

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Honda, Mercedes top KBB brand image awards [w/video]

04/10/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Car Buying, Buick, Chevrolet, Ford, GMC, Honda, Jaguar, Kia, Lexus, Mercedes Benz, MINI, Porsche

ECONOMY

Kelley Blue Book has announced the winners of its 2014 Brand Image Awards, which look at brands with "attributes that capture the attention and enthusiasm" of customers in the market for a new car.

The award is divided up into luxury brands and everyone else non-luxury brands, with a number of sub-awards in each group. There's also a single award for truck brands. Taking the crown for the best everyman brand (for the second year in a row) is Honda, while Mercedes-Benz was the king of the luxury brackets. Ford, meanwhile, had the best image among pickup buyers.

Honda was also named the most trusted brand among shoppers, while Kia, GMC, Mini and Chevrolet also snagged awards for value, refinement, performance and styling, respectively. Secondary winners in the luxury ranks include Lexus, Buick, Porsche and Jaguar. Mercedes was also named the most refined luxury brand.

"The classic saying 'perception is reality' falls true with the Kelley Blue Book Brand Image Awards, as more than 12,000 in-market new-car shoppers have voiced their opinions about today's automakers," said Hwei-Lin Oetken, vice president of market intelligence for KBB. "With strong marketing communications coming from auto manufacturers and dealers, and the increased importance of peer reviews and ratings, consumers today are more influenced than ever to take interest in a brand, ultimately affecting their vehicle purchase decisions."

Take a look below for KBB's video recap of this year's awards, as well as a press release detailing the winning attributes of each brand.

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GM midsize SUVs lead IIHS safety tests, Honda Pilot disappoints [w/videos]

04/09/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: SUVs, Safety, Videos, Chevrolet, Ford, GM, GMC, Honda, Jeep, Kia, Mazda, Toyota

2014 Chevrolet Equinox

General Motors finally has something to celebrate about. The 2014 Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain aced the latest round of small overlap front crash tests by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety among nine midsize SUVs, and they both scored a Top Safety Pick+ accolade. However, Honda, Mazda and Kia fared badly with their entries earning Poor ratings in the Overall safety category.

The Equinox and Terrain were the only vehicles among those tested to score Good ratings in every category of IIHS testing. The group praised updates to 2014 models that strengthened the front structure and door-hinge pillars, which helped keep the dummy's movement in check.

The Toyota Highlander was actually tested in December 2013 but results were included in the recent test. It also scored Top Safety Pick+ rating but received only Acceptable results in the organization's Overall, Structure and Restraints and Kinematics categories. To earn the award, a vehicle must have Good or Acceptable scores, plus offer some form of front crash prevention technology.

The Jeep Grand Cherokee, Toyota 4Runner and Ford Explorer all received Marginal scores in the Overall category, and the Kia Sorrento, Mazda CX-9 and Honda Pilot had Poor scores. The Pilot showed one of the worst examples of intrusion into the cockpit in the test when the parking brake pedal moved inward more than 16 inches, and the steering column moved over 5 inches to the right.

The new small overlap front crash test replicates a collision where 25 percent of the front end strikes a barrier at 40 miles per hour. It focuses a lot of energy into a small area, which makes it a very difficult test of a vehicle's integrity. Scroll down to see videos from each of the crash tests and read the full results.

Continue reading GM midsize SUVs lead IIHS safety tests, Honda Pilot disappoints [w/videos]

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GM recall woes continue with 662,000 pickup trucks and Cruze sedans [UPDATE]

03/30/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Sedans/Saloons, SUVs, Trucks/Pickups, Government/Legal, Recalls/TSBs, Safety, Chevrolet, GM, GMC

2015 Chevy Silverado

UPDATE: This story has been amended from its originally published version to include new information including a Cruze recall press release and a quote from General Motors.

General Motors can't seem to get its name out of the "bad news" column. Two more recalls were announced late Friday evening that will see The General calling in 490,200 fullsize pickup trucks and SUVs, along with 172,000 Chevrolet Cruze models.

For those keeping track, General Motors has issued recalls for an alarming 4.8 million vehicles so far since last month.

The Chevy Silverado 1500, Tahoe and Suburban, GMC Sierra 1500 and Yukon models from the 2014 and 2015 model years are being recalled for a flaw in their transmissions wherein loose oil cooler lines may cause a fire. The automaker said in a statement (see below) that it knows of three incidents of loose transmission lines causing problems, but no injuries. We can't confirm whether it was this transmission issue that caused the widely publicized blaze that consumed a 2015 GMC Yukon that was being test driven in California.

We had heard previously from GM that it had issued a stop-sale on Chevy Cruze models equipped with the 1.4-liter turbocharged engine, and now there's an apparent recall to match that stop-sale against. A total of 172,000 cars from the 2013 and 2014 model years will be recalled to replace half shafts that could fracture while driving. Several dozen shafts have separated, according to GM, but there have been no crashes or injuries associated with those failures. The stop-sale has since been lifted, meaning compact car shoppers can add the Cruze back to their potential test-drive lists, should they so desire. Of those Cruze models covered under this new safety campaign, some 2,500 examples are actually re-recalled models, that is, vehicles that were previously recalled and repaired with suspect halfshafts.

The new recalls are being seen by some as GM working to clear its slate of recall-related items ahead of next week's government hearings on the automaker's massive ignition-switch issue. GM spokesman Alan Adler tells Autoblog, "As Mary Barra said, customers are our compass and we have redoubled our efforts to ensure their confidence and peace of mind."

You can find the official recall statements from GM below for more information.

Continue reading GM recall woes continue with 662,000 pickup trucks and Cruze sedans [UPDATE]

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GM recall woes continue with 662,000 pickups trucks and Cruze sedans [UPDATE]

03/29/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Sedans/Saloons, SUVs, Trucks/Pickups, Government/Legal, Recalls/TSBs, Safety, Chevrolet, GM, GMC

2015 Chevy Silverado

UPDATE: This story has been amended from its originally published version to include new information including a Cruze recall press release and a quote from General Motors.

General Motors can't seem to get its name out of the "bad news" column. Two more recalls were announced late Friday evening that will see The General calling in 490,200 fullsize pickup trucks and SUVs, along with 172,000 Chevrolet Cruze models.

For those keeping track, General Motors has issued recalls for an alarming 4.8 million vehicles so far since last month.

The Chevy Silverado 1500, Tahoe and Suburban, GMC Sierra 1500 and Yukon models from the 2014 and 2015 model years are being recalled for a flaw in their transmissions wherein loose oil cooler lines may cause a fire. The automaker said in a statement (see below) that it knows of three incidents of loose transmission lines causing problems, but no injuries. We can't confirm whether it was this transmission issue that caused the widely publicized blaze that consumed a 2015 GMC Yukon that was being test driven in California.

We had heard previously from GM that it had issued a stop-sale on Chevy Cruze models equipped with the 1.4-liter turbocharged engine, and now there's an apparent recall to match that stop-sale against. A total of 172,000 cars from the 2013 and 2014 model years will be recalled to replace half shafts that could fracture while driving. Several dozen shafts have separated, according to GM, but there have been no crashes or injuries associated with those failures. The stop-sale has since been lifted, meaning compact car shoppers can add the Cruze back to their potential test-drive lists, should they so desire. Of those Cruze models covered under this new safety campaign, some 2,500 examples are actually re-recalled models, that is, vehicles that were previously recalled and repaired with suspect halfshafts.

The new recalls are being seen by some as GM working to clear its slate of recall-related items ahead of next week's government hearings on the automaker's massive ignition-switch issue. GM spokesman Alan Adler tells Autoblog, "As Mary Barra said, customers are our compass and we have redoubled our efforts to ensure their confidence and peace of mind."

You can find the official recall statements from GM below for more information.

Continue reading GM recall woes continue with 662,000 pickups trucks and Cruze sedans [UPDATE]

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GM recall woes continue with 662,000 pickups trucks and Cruze sedans

03/29/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Sedans/Saloons, SUVs, Trucks/Pickups, Government/Legal, Recalls/TSBs, Safety, Chevrolet, GM, GMC

2015 Chevy Silverado

General Motors can't seem to get its name out of the "bad news" column. Two more recalls were announced late Friday evening that will see The General calling in 490,200 fullsize pickup trucks and SUVs, along with 172,000 Chevrolet Cruze models.

For those keeping track, General Motors has issued recalls for an alarming 4.8 million vehicles so far since last month.

The Chevy Silverado 1500, Tahoe and Suburban, GMC Sierra 1500 and Yukon models from the 2014 and 2015 model years are being recalled for a flaw in their transmissions wherein loose oil cooler lines may cause a fire. The automaker said in a statement (see below) that it knows of three incidents of loose transmission lines causing problems, but no injuries. We can't confirm whether it was this transmission issue that caused the widely publicized blaze that consumed a 2015 GMC Yukon that was being test driven in California.

We had heard previously from GM that it had issued a stop-sale on Chevy Cruze models equipped with the 1.4-liter turbocharged engine, and now there's an apparent recall to match that stop-sale against. A total of 172,000 cars from the 2013 and 2014 model years will be recalled to replace half shafts that could fracture while driving. Several dozen shafts have separated, according to GM, but there have been no crashes or injuries associated with those failures. The stop-sale has since been lifted, meaning compact car shoppers can add the Cruze back to their potential test-drive lists, should they so desire.

You can find a statement from GM below regarding the recall of its trucks and SUVs. We've reached out to the automaker for comment regarding the recalls, and we'll be sure to update this story as soon as we hear back.

Continue reading GM recall woes continue with 662,000 pickups trucks and Cruze sedans

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2015 GMC Yukon Denali

03/25/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: SUVs, GM, GMC, Luxury, Quick Spin

2015 GMC Yukon XL Denali

Automotive enthusiasts often wonder aloud - ourselves included - why General Motors would choose to keep GMC while sending Pontiac (and Saturn, and even Oldsmobile before it) into the great automotive graveyard in the sky. The answer, as is so often the case, is profit. It's much easier for GM to rake in money hand over fist by rejiggering the trucks, crossovers and SUVs that it would already be developing for Chevrolet and making them a bit more luxurious and *ahem* "Professional Grade" with new grilles, badges and unique packaging for GMC.

While it may sound like we're being cynical, we totally approve of GM's fullsize SUV strategy. The least-expensive way to get into the fold is with the Chevrolet Tahoe, which starts at $45,595 with a 5.3-liter V8 engine and a cloth interior. Bumping that same Chevy to LTZ trim and its $59,995 sticker price lands a much nicer leather-clad interior and more techno-bells and whistles than you can shake a stick at. But it still looks like a Tahoe, and it still comes with the smaller 5.3-liter engine. Or, you could do what we'd do: Walk into your GMC dealer and take a look at the Yukon Denali. Here's why.

Driving Notes

  • The 2015 GMC Yukon wears a starting sticker price of $62,680. That's a difference of $2,685 over the Tahoe LTZ. You get quite a bit for that bit of coin, which is a pretty small percentage of the truck's total cost.
  • Of course, it's stupidly easy to raise the Denali's starting price to stratospheric levels. A Touring Package for $4,110 includes an excellent head-up display, loud and proud 20-inch wheels in chrome, a power sunroof, rear-seat entertainment and an enhanced security system. That last bit is noteworthy because these big SUVs are frequent targets of thieves. Power-retractable side steps cost $1,745 and aren't really necessary for most body types, but adaptive cruise control and automatic braking assist for $1,695 may be more desirable.
  • Besides the styling, which we'll get to in a moment, the most obvious benefit brought by the Yukon Denali is its standard 6.2-liter V8 engine. Its 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque is an immediately noticeable improvement over the Tahoe's 5.3-liter and its 355 hp and 383 lb-ft, especially when taking off from a dead stop or when passing on the highway.
  • While the six-speed automatic transmission is tried-and-true, it's two gears shy of current market leaders. That said, its deficiency is less apparent when mated to the Yukon Denali's 6.2 than the 5.3 of the Tahoe.
  • As you'd expect, the bigger engine in the Denali carries an efficiency penalty at the pump. With ratings of 15 miles per gallon in the city and 21 on the highway, the two-wheel-drive Denali's deficit sits at one mpg city and two highway. Not insignificant, but then again, neither is the extra power.
  • As a staff, we universally prefer the Yukon's looks to the Tahoe's, and, while we still find the Denali trim overtly blingy, we feel the treatment works better on the fullsize trucks and SUVs better than on smaller crossovers. If you want to go full bling, wait for the Cadillac Escalade and be prepared to open your wallet significantly further.
  • Inside, the Denali buyer will be coddled with heated and cooled seats sewn in supple leather. Instead of a traditional analog gauge cluster, GMC has fitted the Yukon Denali with a customizable LCD with three distinct themes. Each of them can be customized to include information relevant to the driver. Couple that with the standard eight-inch screen in the center stack and its MyLink infotainment system, and you'll have plenty of doodads to play with.
  • As you'd expect, there's a ton of room inside the Yukon Denali. A maximum of 94.7 cubic feet is available with all seats folded down, or you can pile in seven or eight occupants (depending on whether you chose second-row buckets or a bench). Need more space? No problem; the Denali is also available as an XL that's a full 20 inches longer. Either way, the truck's max tow rating stands at 8,300 pounds, which is more than any three-row crossover or minivan can tug along.
  • Even with those heavy-duty ratings, the Yukon Denali is about as serene an automotive conveyance as you'll find at this price. It's extremely quiet, with effective aero tuning, sound-deadening glass and active noise cancellation technology effectively drowning out the outside din and making conversation among all rows of passengers an easy affair.
  • With standard magnetic ride control, the 2015 Yukon Denali is supremely composed on the road, belying its massive 5,533-pound curb weight by feeling almost light on its feet at highway speeds. Steering is light at slow speeds, yet it firms up well as the pace increases.
  • Basically, what we have here is the middle child in GM's fullsize SUV portfolio. It's nicer than the Tahoe and standard Yukon, but not as far into luxo-barge territory as the Cadillac Escalade. Call us Goldilocks if you must, but if it were our own hard-earned money on the line, this GMC would be the just-right body-on-frame 'ute we'd be most interested in driving.
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2015 GMC Yukon erupts into flames during Anaheim test drive [w/video]

03/24/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: SUVs, Recalls/TSBs, GM, GMC, Luxury

GMC Yukon fire

A 2015 GMC Yukon burst into flames while on a test drive in Anaheim, CA on Sunday after smoke filled the cabin. Residents of the neighborhood where the driver abandoned the redesigned Yukon reported hearing a series of small explosions (likely the tires, based on the video), according to a report from KTLA and The Los Angeles Times.

No one was injured in the incident, which The Times reports occurred after a possible oil or fluid leak. As you can see in the image above, the Yukon was engulfed in flames, although the Anaheim Fire Department was able to put out the blaze in about 15 minutes.

"We're very lucky that no one got hurt, and it was in an area that... was safe," Lt. Tim Schmidt of the Anaheim Police Department told KTLA reporters. "If there was any place that was going to be safe, it would be this area. It's very open. It worked out for us."

"Everyone kept thinking: Is it going to explode one more time? Because it looked like the gas tank was still there, intact," Sergio Luna, one of the witnesses, told KTLA. "So that was the big fear: If it does go off, what's going to happen?"

The news of a new model catching fire comes on the heels of a massive and controversial recall for General Motors, which has faced criticism for failing to recall over one million vehicles due to faulty ignition switches.

GM is aware of the fire and is set to dispatch a field team to analyze the destroyed SUV "very soon," according to GM's Alan Adler. Adler added that it's too soon to know much of anything - the fire, after all, did only happen yesterday - but it's hoped that the field team being dispatched will have answers as soon as possible. We'll be sure to stay with this story and update you as more information becomes available. Scroll down for the full news report from KTLA.

Continue reading 2015 GMC Yukon erupts into flames during Anaheim test drive [w/video]

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