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    Cheers & Gears Weekend Edition - November 24, 2012



    William Maley

    Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com

    November 24, 2012

    (Note: The weekend edition is back from its long vacation, mostly due to me being busy with other things. Sorry about that. Anyways, enjoy. -WM)

    Everyday, I go through a number of stories that I will post on Cheers & Gears. However, a good number of stories that I have picked out don’t make it onto the page during the week and either get posted next week or never.

    That’s where the the Cheers & Gears’ Weekend Edition comes in. Its where the stories that gotten forgotten about during the week get their due. In this third edition, we’ll be covering,

    • Buick Considers A Big Change
    • The Least Stolen Vehicle Is..
    • Quick Hits
    • and more..

    Next: Buick's Possible Big Change


    General Motors Considering To Overhaul Buick’s Badge

    Buick has been undergoing many changes to try find its own identity and place in the General Motors family for the past few years, and there could be a big change coming.

    General Motors’ North America President Mark Reuss told a group of journalists that the Buick tri-shield emblem could be getting a facelift in the very near future. Reuss didn't go into any specifics as to what changes or why the change is happening.

    gallery_10485_491_634550.png

    One of the possible reasons for the emblem change is to help shed Buick’s image of being the vehicle that your grandparents drove. The current tri-shield emblem has been in use for more than 50 years. Though in the 70’s, Buick incorporated a hawk into the emblem. The hawk would last around ten years before being phased out for the tri-shield. Each of the shields on the current emblem represents the LeSabre, Invicta, and Electra models. All of those models listed also have something in common; Buick doesn't build them anymore and that is another possible reason as to why GM is considering a move.

    “There’s people who can look at the badge of a car and know exactly what they are and what time period they’re from,” said Jeremy Dimick, curator of collections at Sloan Longway’s Alfred P. Sloan Museum and Buick Gallery in Flint, Mich. “You look at the car and know it’s a Buick for sure. Any future logo you would think would retain components of that. The brand identity is so wrapped up in that.”

    Another possible reason as to why GM is considering a change to Buick’s emblem deals with China. Last month, Buick sold 60,510 vehicles in China, up 7.7% from the same time last year. To put this into perspective, Buick sold 13,384 vehicles in the U.S., almost a quarter of vehicles sold in China. Buick also accounted for 24% of GM sales in China last month as well.

    "I don't really know what benefit it will be unless they're thinking they will capture even more of the Chinese market by doing this," said Peter De Lorenzo, former auto industry marketing executive who now writes at Autoextremist.com.

    Source: Detroit Free Press

    Next: The Least Stolen Vehicle Is...


    Don’t Want To Have Your Car Stolen? Buy and Own A Prius

    Besides being the most popular hybrid, Toyota’s Prius is the least stolen vehicle in the U.S. according to a new report.

    The report from the National Insurance Crime Bureau finds that one out of 606 2008-2010 Toyota Prius models have been stolen, compared to the average automotive theft rate of one out of 78 models.

    The report cites one of the key reasons the Prius is the least stolen is due to the lack of shared parts with other Toyota models.

    gallery_10485_491_383294.png

    “It’s a one-model car; the parts on it won’t fit anything else but a Prius. If you use a Camry, for instance, the engine might fit in another car. On a Prius, the engine is so different because they’re hybrid,” said John Abounader, executive director of the International Association of Auto Theft Investigators.

    California was the leader with the most stolen Prius models, with 1,062 vehicles. Not surprisingly since the Prius is the best-selling vehicle in the state. Florida was second with 127 vehicles and New York took third with 111 vehicles.

    The National Insurance Crime Bureau’s report also says that 96.7% of Prius models stolen are returned to owners.

    Source: Bloomberg

    Next: Audi Sportcars Rumors


    Rumorpile: A Lightweight Audi TT and A Diesel Supercar

    Autocar has two very juicy rumors dealing with Audi and sports cars.

    Rumor #1 deals with Audi possibly working a lightweight version of the next-generation TT. Autocar has learned from Audi’s development boss, Wolfgang Durheimer the company is working on a TT with a target weight of 1,000 kg curb weight (about 2,200 lbs). Sources say the this TT will use a combination of steel, aluminium and carbonfiber to pull this off. Other changes to this TT include a roll cage and a five-cylinder engine.

    “The TT is an icon car for Audi and has a very interesting future,” said Durheimer.

    The management will decide if this model will be green-lit or not sometime next week.

    Rumor #2 deals with return of a diesel supercar. At the 2008 Detroit Auto Show, Audi unveiled the R8 V12 TDI concept. Producing 493 HP and 738 lb-ft of torque, it was the wet dream many auto enthusiasts had wished for. Originally rumored to make production, the model was to be shelved for the R8 e-tron electric supercar.

    gallery_10485_491_523620.png

    Earlier this year, Audi put the R8 e-tron on hold to be reviewed by Durheimer to see if the project would go forward or not. Now, it appears Audi has pulled the diesel supercar off from the shelf.

    Autocar reports that the diesel supercar could be named the R10, use a diesel V8 instead of the V12 due to weight, and a carbonfiber monocoque.

    Source: Autocar, 2

    Next: Quick Hits and Random Links


    Quick Hits:

    Coming to an L.A. Auto Show, the Jaguar XFR-S. Jaguar says the XFR-S is the fastest and most powerful sedan the company has ever produced. The only other detail Jaguar has said is that 200 XFR-S will be coming to the states.

    We’ll have more on the XFR-S next week during the L.A. Auto Show

    - Jaguar USA

    Last year at the L.A. Auto Show, Subaru showed off the BRZ STi concept which featured an aggressive body kit and a huge rear spoiler. Almost a year after the showing, Auto Express reports that Subaru will introduce a production model sometime next Spring in Japan. The U.S. and Europe will follow sometime there after.

    The BRZ STi will come with an aggressive body kit and more power thanks to a tweaked intake and improved exhaust. No turbos or superchargers will be seen. We don’t know if there are any changes to suspension or steering, but we wouldn’t be surprised if there are.

    - Auto Express

    The Bentley EXP 9 F concept SUV has a got a name. Automobile reports Bentley has given the new SUV the name of Falcon. Other than that, Automobile says the Bentley has been given the green light while other models like the Lamborghini Urus SUV is still on hold.

    - Automobile

    Random Links:

    (Author’s note: Random links is something new I’m trying out in this edition. This is a collection of articles I come across during the week when looking for news that I thought I would share. Let me know what you think. -WM)

    Motor Trend’s Editor-at-Large does a post mortem on the 2013 Car of the Year winner.

    - Shock Therapy: Is America Ready for an Electric Car of the Year?

    Jamie Kitman on Car Talk gives a debrief on Hurricane Sandy and some thoughts on what to do.

    - Escape from New York: Notes on Disaster Preparedness

    Staying on Sandy for a moment: Escaping the wrath of Sandy in a Kia Sorento

    - Real-World Review: Fleeing Hurricane Sandy Across 8 States In a Rented 2012 Kia Sorento

    Car Magazine South Africa’s Editor wonders about the wagons

    - Estate Of The Nation

    Should we focus less on top speed and more acceleration?

    - We Should End This Obsession With Top Speed

    #Shameless Plug: A guest post I did talking about one of not talked about key roles that play into reviews.

    - Your Turn: Time

    William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.

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      Interior:
      Unfortunately, both the Cascada and Camaro fall on their face when it comes to the interior for different reasons.
      In the case of the Cascada, it features the dash from the outgoing Verano and Encore. This reveals that the Cascada is older despite what Buick may have you think. For example, the center stack is laden with buttons and it will take you a few moments to find the specific one you’re looking for. Not helping is the Cascada using GM’s last-generation infotainment system. While the system is easy to use, the interface is looking very dated. It would have been nice if Buick could have slipped in the dash from the updated Encore into the Cascade, but that would have likely introduced more problems than solutions.
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      Step into the 2016 Camaro Convertible’s interior and you’ll find the same retro ideas from the previous model such as the shape of the dash and circular vents. But Chevrolet improved the overall usability of the Camaro’s interior. For example, the retro-inspired engine information gauges that were placed ahead of the shifter in the previous generation are gone. In its place are a set of air vents that also control the temperature of the climate control system. 
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      Powertrain:
      Power for the Buick Cascada comes from a turbocharged 1.6L four-cylinder with 200 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a six-speed automatic. The figures are impressive for this engine. But drop it into the Cascada and it is quite disappointing. Performance is very lethargic as the engine has to overcome the nearly two tons of Cascada. It feels like an eternity getting up to speed and you’ll find yourself putting the pedal to the floor to get the vehicle moving at a sufficient rate. EPA figures for the Cascada stand at 20 City/27 Highway/23 Combined. My average for the week landed at 21 mpg. 
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      Price:
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      Verdict:
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      But when you drop the tops in both models, you forget all about the issues. Instead, you begin to take in the sky and rush of the wind. This makes you remember why you bought a convertible, to enjoy the feeling of openness. It is only when you put the top back up that makes you wonder if you can live with the issues. In the case of the Cascada, the answer is no. The Camaro is a maybe.
       
       
      Disclaimer: General Motors Provided the Cascada and Camaro; Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2016
      Make: Buick
      Model: Cascada
      Trim: Premium
      Engine: Turbocharged 1.6L SIDI DOHC with VVT
      Driveline: Front-Wheel Drive, Six-Speed Automatic
      Horsepower @ RPM: 200 @ 5,500
      Torque @ RPM: 207 @ 1,800 - 4,500, 221 @ 2,200 - 4,000 (with overboost)
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 20/27/23
      Curb Weight: 3,979 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Gliwice, Poland
      Base Price: $36,065
      As Tested Price: $37,385 (Includes $925.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Deep Sky Metallic - $395.00
      Year: 2016
      Make: Chevrolet
      Model: Camaro Convertible
      Trim: SS
      Engine: 6.2L VVT DI V8
      Driveline: Rear-Wheel Drive, Eight-Speed Automatic
      Horsepower @ RPM: 455 @ 6,000
      Torque @ RPM: 455 @ 4,400
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 17/28/20
      Curb Weight: 3,966 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Lansing, MI
      Base Price: $48,300
      As Tested Price: $54,075 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Magnetic Ride Control - $1,695.00
      Eight-Speed Automatic - $1,495.00
      Dual-Mode Exhaust - $895.00
      Chevrolet MyLink with Navigation - $495.00
      20" 5-Split Spoke Aluminum Wheels - $200.00

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      Summertime means something different for everyone. For some, it’s time to enjoy the sunshine and warm weather. For others, it is the time to take that trip you have been thinking about for awhile. If you’re an automotive writer like myself, summertime means convertible season. The feeling of having the roof down and enjoying the expanded view of the sky is something quite special. This summer saw two of GM’s latest convertibles roll into the Cheers & Gears’ Detroit garage, the new Buick Cascada and recently redesigned Chevrolet Camaro SS convertible. How did these two droptops fare in the summer heat?
      Exterior:
      There is no denying the Opel/Vauxhall roots of the Buick Cascada as it is just basically the Cascada sold in Europe with Buick basing. But that isn’t a bad thing since the Cascada is handsome for the most part. The front features a new grille design and headlights with LED accents. The side profile reveals short overhangs for the front and rear. These overhangs make the side look somewhat oddly proportioned. A set 20-inch wheels come standard. Around back, a long chrome bar runs along the trunk lid into the taillights. 
      On the opposite end is the Chevrolet Camaro. If you’re looking for something quiet and doesn’t bring attention, then maybe you should pass on it. Redesigned last year, Chevrolet retained the Camaro’s basic profile with its sharp lines and rounded corners. But major work was done on the front and rear ends. The front features a narrow top grille and slim headlights. A massive grille sits underneath between a set of deep cuts into the front bumper. The back has been cleaned up with a new trunk lid design, rectangular headlights, and quad-exhaust tips. 
      One item both the Cascada and Camaro share is a fabric top. Putting the top down or up takes under 20 seconds for both vehicles. With the tops down, both vehicles look quite good. But put the tops up and the Cascada is the better looking of the two. I can’t put my finger as to why, but I think it deals with how the Cascada has a little bit more glass than the Camaro. 
      Interior:
      Unfortunately, both the Cascada and Camaro fall on their face when it comes to the interior for different reasons.
      In the case of the Cascada, it features the dash from the outgoing Verano and Encore. This reveals that the Cascada is older despite what Buick may have you think. For example, the center stack is laden with buttons and it will take you a few moments to find the specific one you’re looking for. Not helping is the Cascada using GM’s last-generation infotainment system. While the system is easy to use, the interface is looking very dated. It would have been nice if Buick could have slipped in the dash from the updated Encore into the Cascade, but that would have likely introduced more problems than solutions.
      On the upside, the Cascada’s interior is well-built and features decent quality materials. A fair amount of dash and door panels feature some soft touch material. The front seats are comfortable for short and long distance trips. Power adjustments for the driver’s seat make it easy to find a position that works. One touch Buick deserves applause for is the seat belt presenter. The front seat belts are nestled away when the Cascada is turned off to make it easier to get in and out of the back seat. But when you start it up, the presenter extends for both the driver and passenger to buckle in. The back seat provides enough space for kids or small adults. Taller folks like myself will find minimal legroom. With the top up, anyone sitting back here will feel very confined. With the top down, this feeling goes away. 
      Step into the 2016 Camaro Convertible’s interior and you’ll find the same retro ideas from the previous model such as the shape of the dash and circular vents. But Chevrolet improved the overall usability of the Camaro’s interior. For example, the retro-inspired engine information gauges that were placed ahead of the shifter in the previous generation are gone. In its place are a set of air vents that also control the temperature of the climate control system. 
      Our tester featured the optional Chevrolet MyLink system with navigation. We know we’re beating a dead horse with our complaints with MyLink such as a slow response when going from various screens and recognizing devices plugged into the USB ports. But you would think that GM would maybe issue an update or something by now to fix some of these issues? Like other Chevrolet models we have driven this year, the Camaro’s MyLink system comes with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility. We tried CarPlay and found it to be easier to use than most automaker’s infotainment systems. But, we had issues with apps crashing and the system not always recognizing our phone.
      The front bucket seats are quite comfortable and will hold you in if you decide to tackle that special road aggressively. A set of power adjustments makes it easy for anyone to find a comfortable position. The back seat is best reserved for small kids or extra storage as legroom is nonexistent. You would think that the Camaro Convertible wouldn’t feel as claustrophobic as the coupe since you can put the top down, but it isn’t. Sitting in the Camaro convertible with the top down, I felt like I was being contained in a small box. Blame the high belt line for this.
      Powertrain:
      Power for the Buick Cascada comes from a turbocharged 1.6L four-cylinder with 200 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a six-speed automatic. The figures are impressive for this engine. But drop it into the Cascada and it is quite disappointing. Performance is very lethargic as the engine has to overcome the nearly two tons of Cascada. It feels like an eternity getting up to speed and you’ll find yourself putting the pedal to the floor to get the vehicle moving at a sufficient rate. EPA figures for the Cascada stand at 20 City/27 Highway/23 Combined. My average for the week landed at 21 mpg. 
      The Camaro’s engine lineup includes a 3.6L V6, turbocharged 2.0L four, and our SS tester’s 6.2L V8. The V8 pumps out 455 horsepower and 455 pound-feet of torque. We had the optional eight-speed automatic, but you can get a six-speed manual. The V8 makes the Camaro Convertible stupidly fun. I found myself wanting to roll down the window at a stop light to tell the vehicle next to me “let me play you the song of my people” before stomping on the accelerator and having the V8 roar into life as the light turns green. The engine will pin you in your seat if you floor it and there is a never-ending stream of power throughout the rev range. A nice touch is the optional dual-mode exhaust system that only amplifies the noises of the V8. The eight-speed automatic is ofine around town and on the highway but stumbles somewhat in enthusiastic driving where it takes a moment to downshift when slowing down. Fuel economy for the Camaro SS Convertible stands at 17 City/28 Highway/20 Combined. I got about 19 mpg during my week-long test.
      Ride & Handling:
      Describing the ride and handling characteristics of the Cascada can be summed up in one word; smooth. Buick’s engineers tuned the Cascada’s suspension to deliver an almost magic carpet ride. Even with a set of twenty-inch wheels as standard equipment, the Cascada is able to deal with rough roads with no issues. Around corners, the Cascada feels planted and body roll is kept in check. But don’t plan on doing anything enthusiastic with it. The steering is a little bit too light for it. Drive it like a relaxed cruiser and you’ll enjoy it. Wind buffeting is minimal with either the windows rolled up or down.
      The Camaro Convertible is shocking as to how well it handles. Part of this comes down to optional Magnetic Ride Control (MRC) system which limits body roll. Chevrolet engineers also worked on improving the structural rigidity of the Camaro. The combination makes the convertible just as good as the coupe in corners. Direction change is fast and there is plenty of grip coming from the meaty tires. Where the Camaro Convertible falters is the ride quality. The SS comes with a set of twenty-inch wheels. While they do look sharp, it makes for a somewhat unbearable ride. Bumps of any size are clearly transmitted to those sitting inside. MRC does its best to provide a comfortable ride, but it might be worth considering going down to a smaller wheel to improve the ride. Wind buffeting is kept in check with the windows up or down.
      Price:
      The 2016 Buick Cascada starts at $33,065 for the base model. Our up-level Premium starts at $36,065 and comes to an as-tested price of $37,385 thanks to the vehicle being finished in an optional blue color. You really don’t get much in terms of additional features when compared to the base Cascada aside from some additional safety features - front and rear parking sensors, lane departure warning, and forward collision alert - and automatic wipers. Also for that amount of cash, you could with the Audi A3 cabriolet which offers a slightly more premium interior. But you would lose out on the larger back seat of the Cascada. You would be better off with the base Cascada.
      If you have your heart set on a Camaro Convertible, be ready to shell out the cash. The 2016 Camaro 2SS Convertible carries a base sticker of $48,300 - $6,005 more expensive than the coupe. Add on the list of options fitted to our tester such as the eight-speed automatic, magnetic ride control, and dual-mode exhaust system and you’ll end up with an as-tested price of $54,075. I’ll give you a moment to pick yourself up from the floor due to the price shock. The Camaro is nice car all-around, but is it really worth dropping $54,000?! We’re not so sure. 
      Verdict:
      Both of vehicles have issues that don’t make them as appealing. The Cascada’s engine either needs to be kicked to the curb or head off to the gym to get a bit more power. It would nice if Buick could also figure how to put in the dash from the updated Encore into the Cascada, although that might prove to be an engineering nightmare and something that would be better suited for the next-generation model. The Camaro Convertible’s price tag will make a number of people and their bank accounts cry. Also for being a convertible, the Camaro still feels as claustrophobic as the coupe.
      But when you drop the tops in both models, you forget all about the issues. Instead, you begin to take in the sky and rush of the wind. This makes you remember why you bought a convertible, to enjoy the feeling of openness. It is only when you put the top back up that makes you wonder if you can live with the issues. In the case of the Cascada, the answer is no. The Camaro is a maybe.
       
       
      Disclaimer: General Motors Provided the Cascada and Camaro; Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2016
      Make: Buick
      Model: Cascada
      Trim: Premium
      Engine: Turbocharged 1.6L SIDI DOHC with VVT
      Driveline: Front-Wheel Drive, Six-Speed Automatic
      Horsepower @ RPM: 200 @ 5,500
      Torque @ RPM: 207 @ 1,800 - 4,500, 221 @ 2,200 - 4,000 (with overboost)
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 20/27/23
      Curb Weight: 3,979 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Gliwice, Poland
      Base Price: $36,065
      As Tested Price: $37,385 (Includes $925.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Deep Sky Metallic - $395.00
      Year: 2016
      Make: Chevrolet
      Model: Camaro Convertible
      Trim: SS
      Engine: 6.2L VVT DI V8
      Driveline: Rear-Wheel Drive, Eight-Speed Automatic
      Horsepower @ RPM: 455 @ 6,000
      Torque @ RPM: 455 @ 4,400
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 17/28/20
      Curb Weight: 3,966 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Lansing, MI
      Base Price: $48,300
      As Tested Price: $54,075 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Magnetic Ride Control - $1,695.00
      Eight-Speed Automatic - $1,495.00
      Dual-Mode Exhaust - $895.00
      Chevrolet MyLink with Navigation - $495.00
      20" 5-Split Spoke Aluminum Wheels - $200.00
    • By William Maley
      The Buick Enclave and Chevrolet Traverse are well past their sell-by-date. GM knows this and will be introducing new versions of both within the next year. We haven't seen any spy shots of either model, til today.
      Autoblog published some spy shots of the next-generation Buick Enclave undergoing some hot-weather testing in Death Valley. From the shots, it looks like Buick will be retaining the shape of the current model. Although, it looks like the roofline has changed somewhat towards the back. We can pick out the new grille that we first saw on the new LaCrosse along with a set of LED running lights.
      The Enclave is expected to use a stretched version of the Chi platform that currently underpins the new GMC Acadia.
      Source: Autoblog

      View full article
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