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  • William Maley
    William Maley

    Quick Drive: 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid

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      You got minivan in my hybrid! You got hybrid in my minivan!

    Chrysler isn’t the first, let alone the tenth automaker you would think of building a hybrid vehicle. Yet, they stunned the world last year as they introduced a plug-in hybrid version of the new Pacifica minivan. It currently holds the title of being the only full-size hybrid minivan sold in the world. On paper, the Pacifica Hybrid makes a good case for itself. Being able to travel up to 33 miles on electric power alone and returning a combined fuel economy figure of 83 MPGe. But how does it fare in the real world?

    • The Pacifica Hybrid’s powertrain is comprised of a modified version of the 3.6L V6 that runs on the Atkinson cycle for improved efficiency; two electric motors and a 16-kW lithium-ion battery pack. Total output stands at 260 horsepower.
    • Even though the Pacifica Hybrid is about 600 pounds more than the standard model, it doesn’t feel like it. The instant torque from the electric motors moves the van at a very brisk rate when leaving a stop. The gas engine will kick on when the battery is depleted or when more power is needed such as merging onto a highway. The transition between electric and hybrid power is barely noticeable. When the gas engine is on, it has more than enough power to get you moving on your way.
    • An odd omission from the Pacifica Hybrid is being able to switch between electric and hybrid modes like you can do in other PHEVs. The van will automatically do it. This is a bit disappointing as some drivers would like to conserve battery when driving on a highway for example.
    • The key numbers to be aware of are 33 miles and 84 MPGe on electric power, and 32 MPG when running on hybrid power. During my week, I was able to go about 34 miles on electric power alone and saw an average of 32 MPG for the week. Considering how big and heavy this van is, these numbers are quite impressive.
    • Recharging times for the Pacifica Hybrid are 2 hours when plugged into a 240V outlet, or 16 hours for a 120V outlet. FCA is right on the money for the 120V time as it took around 16 hours for the van to be fully recharged. 
    • There isn’t any difference between how the Pacifica Hybrid rides and handles to the standard Pacifica. Both exhibit a smooth ride, no matter the road surface. Going around a corner is not a big deal as body roll is kept very much in check.
    • There are only a few things that separate the Pacifica Hybrid from the standard model. Aside from the charging door, the hybrid gets a different grille and wheel design.
    • While the Pacifica Hybrid is designed to carry families, you would think differently after sitting inside. Our Platinum tester was kitted out with leather on the seats, contrasting stitching, and an abundance of soft-touch materials. This interior gives certain luxury cars a run for their money.
    • No matter where you’re sitting in the Pacifica Hybrid, there is plenty of head and legroom on offer. Comfort is also a major plus point as all of the seats provide excellent support for long trips.
    • One downside to the hybrid powertrain is the loss of the Stow n’ Go seats for the second row. That space is taken up by the large battery pack. At least you can remove the second-row seats, but be prepared to have another person help you as they are heavy. At least the third-row seats do fold into the floor.
    • There isn’t anything different with the 8.4-inch UConnect system aside from the usual screens you would expect on hybrid such as a power diagram. This system is very simple to operate, but the lack of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto leaves us slightly disappointed. Thankfully, this will be addressed with the 2018 model year as both become standard across the Pacifica lineup.
    • We also had the chance to try out UConnect Access. This smartphone application allows you to check on how much charge is left on the battery, set up a charging schedule, trip information, remote lock and start, and vehicle location. While it is nice to have a key information within easy reach, it takes a long time for the application to pull it. We found on average that it took a good minute or two before updated information would arrive.
    • For all of this tech, it comes at a price. The base Pacifica Hybrid Premium rings up at $41,995. Our Platinum tester came to $47,885 with an optional panoramic sunroof. That’s a lot of cash for a minivan, even one with a hybrid powertrain. But with the Platinum, you’re getting everything - navigation, rear-seat entertainment system, heated and ventilated front seats, and a ton of safety equipment. There is also the $7,500 federal tax credit and other incentives from various states that might sway some folks. But those only come into play when it comes time to do taxes.

    Disclaimer: Chrysler Provided the Pacifica Hybrid, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas

    Year: 2017
    Make: Chrysler
    Model: Pacifica Hybrid
    Trim: Platinum
    Engine: 3.6L V6 eHybrid System
    Driveline: eFlite EVT,  Front-Wheel Drive
    Horsepower @ RPM: 260 @ N/A (Combined)
    Torque @ RPM: N/A
    Fuel Economy: Gas + Electric Combined, Gas Combined - 84 MPGe, 32 MPG
    Curb Weight: 4,987 lbs
    Location of Manufacture: Windsor, Ontario
    Base Price: $44,995
    As Tested Price: $47,885 (Includes $1,095.00 Destination Charge)

    Options:
    Tri-Pane Panaromic Sunroof - $1,795

    Edited by William Maley

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    Very cool info, nice job on the writeup, learned some new stuff. Families who like their mini vans should love this.

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    I've seen some video reviews of this, and they are all very positive.  Would be nice if it could go more than 33 miles on pure electric but for such a big vehicle its overall economy numbers and road manners are excellent.  Pretty expensive for what people expect a Chrysler minivan product to cost though, that might be its biggest hurdle.

     

     

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    The electric range and fuel economy numbers are really impressive, but $47k for a Chrysler minivan is a lot, especially when after 2 years these will probably sell for $20k or less on the used market.  Chrysler's depreciate like crazy.

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    nice writeup.

    I have been tracking many things Pacifica as our T&C lease is ending soon, and its been darn close to default that we may get into a Pacifica lease.  The hybrid is attractive to me for same reasons as it would be to many.

    The main downsides to me are the loss of Sto N Go (which even if you only use a time here or there can be a big loss).  The increased weight to me is a concern, although William does speak to that here.  At least heavier equates to better winter traction.  And there are other little things where the hybrid is disadvantaged to the gas version.

    Wishes come true with Apple CarPlay and 4g wifi for 2018.  The Uconnect and touchscreen updates are huge for 2018 as well.  Carplay is 75% of the time buggy and frustrating in my Malibu, but you still get used to using it.  I would not want another car without 4g wifi in car.  We use it a lot, my kid especially loves it and it helps save on the phone data.  The Uconnect in 2017 has been quite problematic and so the updates promise to make things better with that.

    Probably the most frustrated of Pacifica customers have been the hybrid intenders and (few) owners.  Many have ordered them for a year ago or so, and still have never been delivered.  There were stops and starts on the sale, and for long periods you could not buy one.  The technical problems that caused this likely seem to be identified.  But whether you can still can the one your ordered is still a problem.  Many have tried to cancel their orders and that has been an issue too.  Many have sat at a dealership waiting LONG periods of time to get fixed.  I think when we actually see 2018 hybrids it will be a telling moment.  those who have or have driven the hybrid love it...apart from the big teething issues.

    The gas version has had its share of teething problems too.  So the choice is not easy.  pacifica forums has great resources to learn what's up.

    Despite that, i think if you were thinking about getting a 2018, i would not hesitate, and i would get in line to find out when you can get one.  We'll probably go for the gas version; the only other alternatives I am considering are the Traverse or Enclave for 2018 (but those are more $$$$).

    Edited by regfootball

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    4 hours ago, smk4565 said:

    The electric range and fuel economy numbers are really impressive, but $47k for a Chrysler minivan is a lot, especially when after 2 years these will probably sell for $20k or less on the used market.  Chrysler's depreciate like crazy.

    Really? A two year old plug in hybrid that is $47K will sell for $20K? Are you high? I want you to look here at what finished just below the Toyota and above the Honda minivan. 

     

    82847A49-4603-4BDC-8149-797F3EA5872F.png

    Edited by surreal1272
    • Upvote 1

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    21 minutes ago, surreal1272 said:

    Really? A two year old plug in hybrid that is $47K will sell for $20K? Are you high? I want you to look here at what finished just below the Toyota and above the Honda minivan. 

     

    82847A49-4603-4BDC-8149-797F3EA5872F.png

    Regardless of what reviews say, a 5 year old Odyssey or Sienna will still sell for $20k, because it says Honda or Toyota on the front, and people know it will be reliable.  Maybe not 2 years, but give the Pacifica 3 years and they will be under $20k.  Chrysler resale value is abysmal.  There are currently 2015 Town and Country Touring's for $20k on auto trader, those both had a base of $32k.

     

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    toyota reliability is a fallacy-the brand has been recalled so frequently in the last decade they installed revolving service department doors on their dealers. Too many other choices to risk getting burned.

     

    VIa autotrader & my zip, the cheapest Sienna from '14-15 is $18K, and the cheapest T&C is $20K.

    Edited by balthazar
    • Upvote 1

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    10 hours ago, smk4565 said:

    Regardless of what reviews say, a 5 year old Odyssey or Sienna will still sell for $20k, because it says Honda or Toyota on the front, and people know it will be reliable.  Maybe not 2 years, but give the Pacifica 3 years and they will be under $20k.  Chrysler resale value is abysmal.  There are currently 2015 Town and Country Touring's for $20k on auto trader, those both had a base of $32k.

     

    “Regardless of what the reviews say”. Do you hear yourself? You said two years at $20K and you were wrong. Even at three years, you are wrong. Kelly Blue Book has it above the Honda at 36 and 60 months and not being too far behind the Sienna. You are also attempting to compare an older model T&C, which isn’t made anymore, with a much newer and far better Pacifica, so your argument holds no water there either. The Pacifica is night and day better and the value shows for once. This is just another domestic slam by you. The funny thing here is that the Odyssey has a pretty shoddy history in the reliability department so you’re even in the loop on that either. Feel free to reference the many power train issues of the older models that have only recently been addressed.

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    9 hours ago, balthazar said:

    toyota reliability is a fallacy-the brand has been recalled so frequently in the last decade they installed revolving service department doors on their dealers. Too many other choices to risk getting burned.

     

    VIa autotrader & my zip, the cheapest Sienna from '14-15 is $18K, and the cheapest T&C is $20K.

    Like I said, it’s just more domestic slamming bull$h! by him and he cant even admit he was wrong on all fronts.

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    1 hour ago, surreal1272 said:

    “Regardless of what the reviews say”. Do you hear yourself? You said two years at $20K and you were wrong. Even at three years, you are wrong. Kelly Blue Book has it above the Honda at 36 and 60 months and not being too far behind the Sienna. You are also attempting to compare an older model T&C, which isn’t made anymore, with a much newer and far better Pacifica, so your argument holds no water there either. The Pacifica is night and day better and the value shows for once. This is just another domestic slam by you. The funny thing here is that the Odyssey has a pretty shoddy history in the reliability department so you’re even in the loop on that either. Feel free to reference the many power train issues of the older models that have only recently been addressed.

    My dad had a 2001 Odyssey that he put 224,000 miles on, and had fewer repairs and less money spent on that than he did on his 07 Hyundai Entourage or his 2011 Dodge Caravan that he has now.  The Caravan has by far been the least reliable and it only has 70,000 miles on it.  The Odessy had less repairs over 7 years than he has spent in just the past 1 year on the Caravan actually.

    And a trip to auto trader or any car dealership shows Toyotas and Hondas with high resale value, and FCA products on deep discounts.  Even if the Pacifica is a much better vehicle, it is style a Chrysler which in the minds of most people = unreliable.

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    Hondas tend to be decent, but your example is still only anecdotal.

    My buddy's family has a Honda CR-V, I think it's a '16- they all hate driving it. Visibility & servicing are nightmarish. They have a circa '02 Ford-Mazda Tribute, which they are reluctantly parting with come next inspection because of an exhaust manifold leak not worth the cost of the repair. Looking at a CX-5 for a replacement there- not Honda.

    Anecdotal.

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    @smk4565

    Did his automatic transmission fail in his Odyssey?

    Did he have ball joint problems? (that could be only a Quebec thing or any other place where pot holes are a problem)

     

    Because if you say yes to either of those things, especially the first one...and then it becomes hard for me to believe these words from you:

    44 minutes ago, smk4565 said:

    My dad had a 2001 Odyssey that he put 224,000 miles on, and had fewer repairs and less money spent on that than he did on his 07 Hyundai Entourage or his 2011 Dodge Caravan that he has now.  The Caravan has by far been the least reliable and it only has 70,000 miles on it.  The Odessy had less repairs over 7 years than he has spent in just the past 1 year on the Caravan actually.

    Anecdotal:

    Ive had many acquaintances that had automatic transmissions fail in their Odysseys, Accords, TLs and CLs of that time period. Many of those people changed that transmission twice.

    Also...those same autos also had ball joint problems...but so does other makes...pot holes in Quebec resemble mini Yucatan craters in the Spring time.

     

    • Upvote 1

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    38 minutes ago, oldshurst442 said:

    @smk4565

    Did his automatic transmission fail in his Odyssey?

    Did he have ball joint problems? (that could be only a Quebec thing or any other place where pot holes are a problem)

     

    Because if you say yes to either of those things, especially the first one...and then it becomes hard for me to believe these words from you:

    Anecdotal:

    Ive had many acquaintances that had automatic transmissions fail in their Odysseys, Accords, TLs and CLs of that time period. Many of those people changed that transmission twice.

    Also...those same autos also had ball joint problems...but so does other makes...pot holes in Quebec resemble mini Yucatan craters in the Spring time.

     

    The transmission started slipping around 200k miles, I don't think he ever really had it fixed because at that point, why bother.  He is a painter so he commonly carries 1,000 lbs of weight in his van, and does a lot of city driving too, so they are hard miles that he puts on.  I don't think he ever had a ball joint problem, I did replace 2 ball joints on my Mercedes, but that was $480, not the end of the world for a 95,000 mile car, and that is the only suspension related repair as of yet.

    Yes it is one situation and anecdotal, but look at the used car market, and there are a lot of 200,000 mile Hondas and Toyotas selling with some value.  I know 2 people that had an Acura CL, they got about 150-70k miles out of them before the transmission and mechanical issues really started to surface and then they dumped the car.

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    So...all this anecdotal evidence...including a Jalopnik article...

    Who do we believe?

    Who do we believe?

    Who. Do. We. Believe.

    To try to win an internet discussion in trying to outsmart one another to try to convince one another that Honda's transmissions of this era dont self destruct...

    And we even have an admittance of a failed transmission...but at the time of when a car dies of old age anyway...

    Jalopnik's article goes a step further in admitting there was transmission problems...but NOT WITH THIS van...

    Wink Wink...

     

    Un.

    Belieeeee.

    Vaaaa-bull!

     

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    Well there is an example of an Odyssey with 246k miles and still running strong.  I am not a Honda fan, but there are a lot of high milage Hondas out there, so they must do something right.

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    5 minutes ago, smk4565 said:

    Well there is an example of an Odyssey with 246k miles and still running strong.  I am not a Honda fan, but there are a lot of high milage Hondas out there, so they must do something right.

    Yeah...I own a Honda product...they are pretty effing reliable...

    Problem is...The MAJORITY of V6 AUTOMATIC transmissioned Honda products in that era that existed in 1999, 2001, 2002 all the way to what? 2005-2006? erhad HUUUGE deficiencies. CATASTROPHIC failures of the expensive kind...

    I really dont care for the few and far between outliers...

     

    Edited by oldshurst442

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    5 minutes ago, oldshurst442 said:

    Yeah...I own a Honda product...they are pretty effing reliable...

    Problem is...The MAJORITY of V6 AUTOMATIC transmissioned Honda products in that era that existed in 1999, 2001, 2002 all the way to what? 2005-2006? erhad HUUUGE deficiencies. CATASTROPHIC failures of the expensive kind...

    I really dont care for the few and far between outliers...

     

    So don't buy a Honda from that era. 

    Regardless, Odyessy's have good resale value, while Chrysler products do not. 

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    Regardless, resale value is for sheeple...

    I dont buy cars in hopes when my car is 10 years old Ill possibly get 100 bucks more.

    Admittedly that Honda V6 automatics of that era is shyte...what resale do YOU wanna talk about?

    You said it yourself....

    12 minutes ago, smk4565 said:

    So don't buy a Honda from that era. 

    I wont!

    So...that  makes that era of Hondas...with me at least...less than ZERO!!!

    So...where does Chrysler fit in on this then when on agreement, Honda aint perfect and their cars are prone to failure too?

     

    Edited by oldshurst442

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    The issue I had was when you mentioned a 2001 Honda Odyssey trying to use THAT as a reliable Honda product trying to dismiss Chrysler...

    WRONG Honda product is alls Im sayin' to prove that point!

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    Either way, the Pacifica will probably tank in value just like every other FCA product.  So pay $47k now, and in 3 years time, over half that will be gone.   There are 2017 Pacifica Touring-L's on Auto trader right now for $24-25,000 and the MSRP new without options is $34,495.   That is $10,000 lost in 1 year, so I don't think it crazy for me to think a Hybrid will drop down to $20k in 3 years.

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    Jeeps certainly don't "tank" in value and they're FCA products. Challengers also look pretty solid in value.

    But everything drops alarmingly in value, generally speaking, in the first few years. Some high-end luxury sedans end up losing their buyers $60K in 3 years on depreciation alone. Buying anything, automotively, brand new is a losing race.

    Buy what you need/like, or whatever split there pleases you, and that's about the best one can do.

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    16 minutes ago, balthazar said:

    Jeeps certainly don't "tank" in value and they're FCA products. Challengers also look pretty solid in value.

    But everything drops alarmingly in value, generally speaking, in the first few years. Some high-end luxury sedans end up losing their buyers $60K in 3 years on depreciation alone. Buying anything, automotively, brand new is a losing race.

    Buy what you need/like, or whatever split there pleases you, and that's about the best one can do.

    Wranglers hold value, maybe Grand Cherokees, I think Compasses and Renegages will drop faster, but the Jeep brand has appeal so it keeps resale doing fairly well.

    Any expensive car drops in value, unless it is a collectable, because the super rich get a new one every 2 years and the other 99% can't afford those cars.  But I think cost of car ownership is a big reason why these  flying drones and self driving cars will replace about half the cars on the road in 15 years.  People will just quit buying cars because there will be a cheaper, faster way to get around.

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    6 hours ago, smk4565 said:

    My dad had a 2001 Odyssey that he put 224,000 miles on, and had fewer repairs and less money spent on that than he did on his 07 Hyundai Entourage or his 2011 Dodge Caravan that he has now.  The Caravan has by far been the least reliable and it only has 70,000 miles on it.  The Odessy had less repairs over 7 years than he has spent in just the past 1 year on the Caravan actually.

    And a trip to auto trader or any car dealership shows Toyotas and Hondas with high resale value, and FCA products on deep discounts.  Even if the Pacifica is a much better vehicle, it is style a Chrysler which in the minds of most people = unreliable.

    And? Those year Odyssey’s are what I’m mainly referring to. Those years are on every used car avoid list out there so if your dad’s did great, then he is in the minority. Feel free look up the many issues with those. 

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      Torque @ RPM: 282 @ 5,200
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 19/27/22
      Curb Weight: 3,796 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Rüsselsheim Germany
      Base Price: $39,070
      As Tested Price: $43,115 (Includes $925.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Driver Confidence Package #2: $1,690.00
      Sights and Sounds Package: $945.00
      Appearance Package: $485.00

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      Expectation can be a very dangerous thing. You come into something thinking it will blow your mind and more often than not, it comes up short. That’s how I felt during the first few days into a loan of a 2019 Buick Regal GS. What was being presented didn’t match up with my experience. But over the week I had the vehicle, it began to grow on. That isn’t to say some issues need to be addressed.
      At first glance, you might think Buick decided to stick with a sedan shape. But the sloping rear hatch gives away its true identity as a Sportback. This helps give the impression that the Regal is sporty, helped further by short overhangs. By adding small touches such as large front air intakes, GS-specific 19-inch wheels. Brembo front brake calipers finished in Red, and a small lip spoiler, the GS transforms the Regal into looking like a red-blooded sports sedan. 
      The interior sadly doesn’t match up with what is being presented on the outside. While there was some effort to make the GS stand out with faux carbon-fiber trim, special sport seats, and GS badging, it doesn’t quite match with what is being presented outside. Not helping are some cheap plastics littered throughout the Regal GS’ interior. If this was a standard Regal, I may have given it a slight pass. But considering this GS carries a price of almost $43k, it becomes a big issue. The interior does redeem it somewhat with a logical and simple layout. No one had any complaints about whether the controls were confusing or hard to reach.
      Let’s talk about the front seats, The Regal GS comes fitted with racing-style front seat with aggressive side bolstering and faux holes towards the top where the belts for a harness would go into. This design seems more at home in a hardcore Corvette than a Buick. Before you start thinking that the seat design only allows a small group of people to fit, Buick has fitted adjustable bolstering to allow a wide set of body types to sit comfortably. With this and other power adjustments, I was able to find a position that suited me. Over a long drive, the seats were able to provide the right amount of support and comfort.
      The back seats don’t get the same “race car” treatment as the front, but they do offer ample head and legroom for most passengers. Cargo space is quite impressive with 31.5 cubic feet with the seats up and 60.7 when folded. The Kia Stinger I drove back in January pales in comparison with 23.3 and 40.9 cubic feet.
      The Regal GS features an eight-inch touchscreen with the new Buick Infotainment 3 system. As I mentioned in my Silverado/Sierra 1500 review, the new system is worlds better than Intellilink. The interface has been cleaned up with simpler graphics and fonts that are much easier to read. Also seeing noticeable improvements is the overall performance. The system is much faster when bringing up different functions or crunching a route on the optional navigation system. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and OnStar 4G LTE round off the system. 
      With the effort Buick has put in, you might have the feeling that the Regal GS has something special under the hood. That isn’t the case. Under the hood of the GS is GM’s venerable 3.6L V6 with 310 horsepower and 282 pound-feet. While the V6 packs 40 more horsepower than the 2.0L turbo-four from the last-generation model, it is also down 13 pound-feet. This absence becomes apparent when you decide to sprint away from a stoplight or exiting a corner as you need to work the engine to get that rush of power. A numb throttle response doesn’t help. If you resist from attack mode, the V6 reveals a quiet and refined nature. But again, you will need to work the engine when merging or making a pass.
      Before someone shouts “put a turbo on it”, Buick cannot do that as there isn’t enough space in the engine bay due to the design of the platform. We’ve known about this issue since 2016 when Holden was gearing up to launch the Commodore - its version of the OpelVauxhall Insignia.
      The nine-speed automatic transmission goes about its business with unobtrusive shifts when going about your daily errands, but offers up snappy shifts when you decide to get aggressive. A glaring omission on this sports sedan is the lack of paddle shifters. 
      Fuel economy for the 2019 Regal GS is 19 City/27 Highway/22 Combined. I saw an average of 20 during the week. This can likely to be attributed to the test vehicle having under 1,000 miles on the odometer. 
      On paper, the Regal GS’ handling credentials seem top-notch with Continuous Damping Control (CDC) system and a GKN all-wheel drive system featuring a twin-clutch torque-vectoring rear differential. The latter allows a varying amount of power sent to each rear wheel to improve cornering. In the real world, the GS is more Grand Tourer than Gran Sport. While the sedan shows little body roll, its reflexes are slightly muted due to a nearly 3,800 pound curb weight. The steering provides a decent amount of weight when turning, but don’t expect a lot of road feel. What about that AWD system? For the most part, you really won’t notice working unless you decide to push the limits or practice your winter driving skills in a snowy and empty parking lot. 
      Thanks to the CDC system, the Regal GS’ ride is surprisingly smooth. With the vehicle in Tour, the suspension glides over bumps and imperfections. The ride begins to get choppy if you One area that I’m glad Buick is still focusing on is noise isolation. Road and wind noise is almost non-existent. 
      The 2019 Buick Regal GS is a case of expectations being put too high. Despite what the exterior and sports seats of the interior may hint at, this isn’t a sports sedan like a Kia Stinger GT or something from a German luxury brand. But my feelings began to change when I thought of the GS as being more of a grand tourer. It has the ingredients such as a refined powertrain, a suspension that can be altered to provide either a comfortable or sporty ride; and minimizing the amount of outside noise.
      There lies the overall problem with Regal GS as Buick doesn’t quite know what it wants to be. Does it want to be a sport sedan or a luxury sedan with grand tourer tendencies? This confusion will likely cause many people to look at something else which is a big shame.
      How I Would Configure a 2019 Buick Regal GS.
      My particular configuration would be similar to the vehicle tested here with the Driver Confidence Package #2, Sights and Sounds, and Appearance packages. The only change would be adding the White Frost Tricoat color, which adds an additional $1,095 to the price. All together, it comes out to $44,210.
      Alternatives to the 2019 Buick Regal GS:
      Kia Stinger: The big elephant in the room when talking about the Regal GS. For a similar amount of cash, you can step into the base GT model with its 365 horsepower twin-turbo V6 and rear-wheel drive setup (AWD adds $2,200). I came away very impressed with the styling, performance on tap from the V6, and handling prowess. Downsides include the interior design being a bit too minimalist and the ride being a bit rough. Volkswagen Arteon: The other dark horse to the Regal GS. There is no doubt that the Arteon is quite handsome with flowing lines and sleek fastback shape. Having sat in one at the Detroit Auto Show earlier this year, I found it to be very roomy and upscale in terms of the interior materials. I hope to get some time behind the wheel in the near future to see how it measures up in handling. Disclaimer: Buick Provided the Regal GS, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2019
      Make: Buick
      Model: Regal
      Trim: GS
      Engine: 3.6L V6
      Driveline: Nine-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 310 @ 6,800 
      Torque @ RPM: 282 @ 5,200
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 19/27/22
      Curb Weight: 3,796 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Rüsselsheim Germany
      Base Price: $39,070
      As Tested Price: $43,115 (Includes $925.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Driver Confidence Package #2: $1,690.00
      Sights and Sounds Package: $945.00
      Appearance Package: $485.00
    • By Drew Dowdell
      The Dodge Caravan is one of the vehicles that helped saved Chrysler Corporation in the 1980s. Introduced in November 1983, the Caravan, along with the Plymouth Voyager, was based on the K-Car platform championed by Lee Iaccoca.  Chrysler recently re-introduced the Voyager under the Chrysler brand as the low cost entry into the minivan market. The Voyager is a low cost version of the Chrysler Pacifica Minivan that was introduced in 2016.  Dodge continued production of the Grand Caravan as the low-cost model while the Pacifica aims for higher end customers.
      The Voyager, starting at $26,958, will come in three trims, L, LX, and LXi, the last one reserved for fleet buyers. Chrysler has previously taken this two-prong approach of Voyager being the value option and Town & Country being the premium offering during the 2001 - 2007 time frame. Voyager production begins in August 2019 at Chrysler's Windsor Ontario plant and will run alongside the Grand Caravan for now.
      If you're looking for a Grand Caravan, you have some time left.  The Grand Caravan is scheduled to go out of production in May 2020. 

      View full article
    • By Drew Dowdell
      The Dodge Caravan is one of the vehicles that helped saved Chrysler Corporation in the 1980s. Introduced in November 1983, the Caravan, along with the Plymouth Voyager, was based on the K-Car platform championed by Lee Iaccoca.  Chrysler recently re-introduced the Voyager under the Chrysler brand as the low cost entry into the minivan market. The Voyager is a low cost version of the Chrysler Pacifica Minivan that was introduced in 2016.  Dodge continued production of the Grand Caravan as the low-cost model while the Pacifica aims for higher end customers.
      The Voyager, starting at $26,958, will come in three trims, L, LX, and LXi, the last one reserved for fleet buyers. Chrysler has previously taken this two-prong approach of Voyager being the value option and Town & Country being the premium offering during the 2001 - 2007 time frame. Voyager production begins in August 2019 at Chrysler's Windsor Ontario plant and will run alongside the Grand Caravan for now.
      If you're looking for a Grand Caravan, you have some time left.  The Grand Caravan is scheduled to go out of production in May 2020. 
    • By William Maley
      The news about the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra have been constant barrage about how they aren’t doing so well in the sales charts. In fact, Ram has taken second place in overall truck sales from the Silverado. General Motors is quick to point that Ram has been increasing amount of money on the hoods of the 2019 Ram 1500, along with the last-generation model being sold alongside. But could there be more to this slump? What if the new Silverado and Sierra didn’t move the needle as far as the competition?
      The new Silverado and Sierra continue to separate from one another in exterior design. The basic shape may be the same, but it is the details where the two begin to develop their own identities. On the Sierra, it goes for some polarization with its gaping maw of a grille and c-shaped headlights. Chevrolet is a bit more restrained with the Silverado featuring a split bar grille and separate headlight housings. More differences can be seen turning to the side as the Silverado has slightly more pronounced fenders than the Sierra.
      Both trucks arrived in their off-road trims: Trail Boss for the Silverado and AT4 for the Sierra. This is denoted by two-inch lift for the suspension, blacked-out trim pieces, and meaty off-road tires featuring some sharp-looking wheels. I tend not to like off-road models as they go overboard with the “LOOK AT ME” bits placed on it, which I get why a number of buyers absolutely love it. But the Trail Boss and AT4 find that nice point where they look the business without being too shouty about it.
      GMC is also trying to set itself apart in terms of the tailgate. My Sierra AT4 tester came equipped with the MultiPro tailgate which offers “six functions and positions.” They include, 
      Primary Gate (Full Tailgate) Primary Gate Load Stop: Panel that holds longer items in the bed Easy Access: Flip the inner part of the tailgate to allow for better access for items in the bed Step to allow for easy entry and exit from the bed Inner Gate with Load Stop Inner Gate as a work surface You will not find a physical tailgate handle. Instead, there are two buttons that sit between the backup camera. The top button releases the inner gate, while the bottom allows the full tailgate to open. Opening the inner gate wasn’t as smooth as the full tailgate, feeling like it was sticking at points. A lot of this I would attribute to cold temperatures during the week. Despite this issue, having the inner tailgate give way to allow for better access to the bed and a step does give a unique selling point. I do wonder how will this tailgate design hold-up in the long run.
      Moving inside, GM is still focusing on functional and practical aspects. This is evident with the large knobs and buttons controlling various functions, and a comprehensive gauge cluster. But this approach does put both trucks behind the pack in terms of interior design and materials when compared against Ford and Ram. I had to do a double-take getting inside the Silverado for the first time as the dashboard really didn’t change that much aside from the colors and slightly altered buttons. This isn’t helped by some of the material choices which look and feel out of place in trucks that carry price tags that are around the $60,000 mark.
      But the Silverado and Sierra’s interiors do claw some points back in terms of overall comfort. No one will have any issue trying to find a position that works thanks to a generous amount of power seat adjustments and a steering wheel that finally provides tilt-telescope adjustment. Space in the back of crew cabs is massive with loads of head and legroom.
      Both trucks came with an eight-inch screen (lesser trims get by with a seven-inch screen) and new software - Chevrolet Infotainment 3/GMC Infotainment. The interface looks like a simplified version of MyLink/Intellilink with simpler graphics and easier to read fonts. Moving around the system is easy thanks to the simple menu structure and quick responses for any command. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration comes standard. Both trucks were able to find my iPhone 7 Plus and bring up the CarPlay interface within seconds of plugging it in.
      There are four different engines on offer, including a new 2.7L turbo-four. There’s also a turbodiesel V6 that will be arriving for the 2020 model year. Both of my test trucks came with the V8s - Silverado packing a 5.3L and the Sierra using the 6.2L.
      The 5.3L V8 has not been my engine of choice for the last-generation trucks. Not because of the power on offer, but more of the tuning of the throttle pedal. It made the V8 feel very sluggish and would make the driver push further down on the pedal to get it moving a decent clip. Thankfully, GM has addressed this issue and 5.3 now feel likes it has 355 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque. You can lightly press on the accelerator and V8 doesn’t feel artificially overwhelmed. A new eight-speed automatic (standard on higher trims) helps keep the engine right in the sweet spot of power and provides smooth shifts.
      As for the 6.2L V8, it is a monster. With 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet, it moves the Sierra at a surprising rate. Making a pass or merging on to a freeway is no problem as there is an abundance of power waiting to be unleashed. A new ten-speed automatic (jointly developed with Ford) helps keep the engine right in the spot of power. Unless you need or want all of the power, the 5.3 is the engine I would recommend for either truck.
      EPA fuel economy figures for the V8s are 15 City/20 Highway/17 Combined for the 5.3 and 15/19/17 for the 6.2L AT4.  My averages for the week were 16.1 for the 5.3 and 15.2 for the 6.2. 
      Ram is still the gold standard when it comes to ride quality due to its rear coil spring setup. But GM isn’t so far behind with its solid rear axle setup. Most bumps and imperfections become mere ripples. Larger potholes didn’t upset either truck, but I would put that towards the off-road suspension. The standard trucks may bounce around. Handling is quite surprising as both trucks feel agile around bends. Noise isolation, for the most part, is excellent, though the knobby tires fitted to the Trail Boss and AT4 do ruin some of the tranquility.
      My feelings are mixed on the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 1500. GM has either fixed or improved various problems that I have talked about in previous reviews. But it feels GM hasn’t done enough to fully set their trucks apart from the competition. I think this line from my journal says it all.
      “If General Motors wasn’t touting various aspects of these new trucks such as the aluminum body panels or multi-pro tailgate, I would have thought both models went through a dramatic mid-cycle refresh.”
      This could give the full explanation as to why the Silverado and Sierra are currently getting beaten out by Ford and Ram Trucks in the sales chart. Buyers may not see any real changes for both trucks when compared against the competition. GM has been on the offensive, saying to be patient. But that approach may not work and may cause the automaker to draw up some drastic measures.
      That’s the thing about the full-size truck market, you need to show up with the best. Anything less and you’re in danger of losing. 
      How I would configure a 2019 Chevrolet Silverado or GMC Sierra 1500.
      There are two options I would consider with the Silverado. First is the RST. I would order a 4WD crew cab with a short and opt for the 5.3L V8. From there, I would add the Convenience Package with Bucket Seats, Convenience Package II, Safety Package, and Trailering Package. That brings the final price to $52,745 excluding any discounts I could get. Second is the Trail Boss which gets the 5.3L V8 as standard. Options would mirror the RST and bring the final price to $54,285.
      If I was to order a Sierra 1500, then I would start with the SLT Crew Cab 4WD with a short bed. This comes with the 5.3L V8 as standard and I would only add two options; Dark Sky Metallic for $495 and the SLT Premium Plus Package for $6,875. This package combines a number of option packages such as the SLT Preferred Package and the two Driver Alert Packages. The final price comes to $60,460 with a $1,000 discount for ordering Premium Plus Package.
      Alternatives to the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado or GMC Sierra 1500.
      2019 Ram 1500: Ram's redesign on the 1500 has helped make it a real challenger to both Ford and GM. The interior raises the bar of what a truck can be with an impressive design and high-quality material choices. It also boasts an impressive list of safety features such as adaptive cruise control. Ride quality is still class leading. What may put some people off is the styling as it looks a bit plain. 2019 Ford F-150: Bestselling for reason, Ford has constantly improved the F-150 to keep it one step ahead of the competition. It features one of the largest selection of powertrains that help give it some impressive towing numbers. A number of trims also gives buyers different options to build their F-150 the way they want. But Ford trails Ram and GM when it comes ride quality. Disclaimer: General Motors Provided the trucks, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      (*Author's Note: Unfortunately, I lost the window sticker to the GMC Sierra 1500 I drove. I have built the truck as close as possible to my memory to get an approximation on price. -WM)
      Year: 2019
      Make: Chevrolet
      Model: Silverado 1500
      Trim: LT Trail Boss
      Engine: 5.3L VVT DI V8 with Dynamic Fuel Management and Stop/Start
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Four-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 355 @ 5,600
      Torque @ RPM: 383 @ 4,100
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 15/20/17
      Curb Weight: 5,008 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Roanoke, Indiana
      Base Price: $48,300
      As Tested Price: $55,955 (Includes $1,495 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Convenience Package with Bucket Seats - $1,805.00
      Convenience Package II - $1,420.00
      Off-Road Assist Steps - $895.00
      Safety Package I - $890.00
      Bed Protection Package - $635.00
      Trailer Brake Controller - $275.00
      Advanced Trailering Package - $240.00
      Year: 2019
      Make: GMC
      Model: Sierra 1500
      Trim: AT4
      Engine: 6.2L VVT DI V8 with Dynamic Fuel Management and Stop/Start
      Driveline: Ten-Speed Automatic, Four-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 420 @ 5,600 
      Torque @ RPM: 460 @ 4,100
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 15/19/17
      Curb Weight: 5,015 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Roanoke, Indiana
      Base Price: $53,200
      As Tested Price: $64,955 (Includes $1,595 Destination Charge and $500 discount for the AT4 Premium Package)*
      Options:
      Off-Road Performance Package - $4,940
      AT4 Premium Package - $3,100 with a $500 discount
      Technology Package - $1,875
      Driver Alert Package II - $745
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