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    Review: 2015 Cadillac CTS VSport


    • Cadillac To Other Automakers: You've Been Put On Notice

    Cadillac has changed a lot during the past decade and a half. Once considered the brand that old folks would buy for their comfort and plushness, Cadillac has grown into a real competitor for the Germans. To see how the brand became a threat, all you need to do look at the CTS. The first and second-generation CTS models showed real promise as Cadillac got the handling and design characteristics right. But there was always something lacking that kept it a few rungs down, whether it be the interior, drivetrain, or something else. Enter the third-generation CTS and Cadillac appears to have taken the lessons it learned from past models, along with a lot of development work to get to this point. Is it a real threat? We spent some time in the CTS VSport model to find out.

     

    In terms of design, the current CTS is toned-down when compared to the last-generation model. There is a fair amount of sharp lines and angles throughout the body, but it doesn’t quite have that shock and awe look that the previous CTS had. Instead, the current CTS’ design is much more fluid and complete. Every panel and line seems to flow and makes the model seem like it was sculpted from a block of steel, not bits and pieces. The only downside to CTS’ design is the rear end as it looks like it was done at the last minute and doesn’t seem to fit in with the rest of the vehicle.

     

    Cadillac has also gotten the details right with the CTS. Little things such as LED lighting, headlights that extend into the front fenders, rear spoiler, and chrome exhaust ports. A set of nineteen-inch wheels adds some aggression for the VSport.

     


    2015 Cadillac CTS VSport 9


    Step inside the CTS’ interior and it's clear to see that Cadillac finally understands how to craft a luxury interior. The last-generation model featured a modern-looking interior, but it was let down by questionable material choices. Cadillac finally has both in the CTS. The interior is meant to be an intimate experience with the dashboard flowing into the door panels and high window sills. Swaths of leather are paired with real aluminum and wood trim. This might be one of the best interiors in the midsize luxury sedan class.

     

    The CTS VSport gets a set of leather seats with extra bolstering to keep you in place when you decide to play. Whenever you decide to stop playing around, you’ll find the seats provide excellent support and comfort for long distances. The back seat may seem small when compared to competitors, but it’s a different story when you sit back there. Even for taller passengers, the rear seat provides more than enough head and legroom.

     

    Infotainment duties are handled by CUE (Cadillac User Experience) and it sadly hasn’t gotten any better. The capacitive touch buttons still don’t always recognize a finger press and you’ll need to hit them a few times for a response. The system is slow to respond to simple tasks such as changing a station or bringing up the navigation. I know criticizing CUE is now at the ‘kicking the dead horse level’, but this is a key part of the vehicle. If it doesn’t work smoothly, you’re going to lose people who are interested in the car.

     


    2015 Cadillac CTS VSport 7


     

    For power, the CTS VSport employs a twin-turbo 3.6L V6 with 420 horsepower and 430 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. The engine is quite a revelation when you first take it out. It feels more like a V8 in how eager the engine is to get up to speed. Cadillac says 90 percent of the torque is available between 2,500 to 5,500 rpm, giving the engine strong power in most driving conditions. It shows as the CTS VSport was eager to get up to speed at a rapid rate. Also, the engine had a lot of power in reserve for times when it was called on. The eight-speed automatic performed fast gear changes.

     

    Fuel economy for the CTS VSport is rated at 16 City/24 Highway/18 Combined. I saw an average of 20.1 MPG in mostly city driving.

     

    Aside from the twin-turbo engine, the VSport boasts some other goodies. There is a sports-tuned suspension with GM’s Magnetic Ride Control system, electronic limited-slip differential, and a set of performance tires. This combination makes the CTS VSport one of, if not the best handling sedan in the class. Put the vehicle into Sport and it hunkers down onto the road. Body motions are nonexistent when cornering and the steering provides excellent feel and weight. When you’re not horsing around and just doing the daily grind, the CTS is a pleasant and comfortable place. Put the CTS VSport into Comfort and suspension will soften to glide over most bumps. Road and wind noise are kept to levels that are considered to be silent.

     

    Cadillac has a real world-beater on their hands with the CTS. In VSport form, the CTS gives all of the midsize luxury sedans a real run for their money in terms of handling and power. The CTS also boasts one of the nicest interiors and unique exteriors in the class. CUE is still a problem for the CTS and Cadillac need to address this system ASAP.

     

    But there are still some issues for Cadillac as a whole. Perceptions of the brand still linger and the dealership experience still doesn’t quite match what you might find other luxury automakers.

     

    So while the CTS is now at a point where it can be considered best-in-class, the rest of Cadillac needs to catch up.

     

    Disclaimer: Cadillac Provided the CTS VSport, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas

     

     

    Year: 2015
    Make: Cadillac
    Model: CTS
    Trim: VSport
    Engine: 3.6L Twin-Turbo V6
    Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Rear-Wheel Drive
    Horsepower @ RPM: 420 @ 5,750
    Torque @ RPM: 430 @ 3,500 - 4,500
    Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 16/24/18
    Curb Weight: 3,952 lbs
    Location of Manufacture: Lansing, MI
    Base Price: $59,340
    As Tested Price: $60,435 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)

     

    Options:
    Performance Brake Linings - $100.00

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    Awesome right up, I agree with everything you have posted about the CTS. They have a world class car, now the dealerships need to step up to make the rest of the experience world class leading.

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    The one thing GM has done totally ass backwards on the CTS is trim level pricing. A midlevel N/A V6 model costs as much as a V-Sport. That's idiotic. I can see the top trim doing that, because then the equivalent V-Sport is $10k higher.

     

    Cadillac needs to get their pricing strategy under control. A base CTS V6 shouldn't cost $54,000. Especially now that CT6 pricing has been revealed at just a hair more with standard AWD.

     

    Just for reference:

     

    ATS base pricing:

    2.0T - $36,240 (Standard)

    3.6L - $42,335 (Luxury)

     

    CTS base pricing:

    2.0T - $46,555 (Standard)

    3.6L - $54,280 (Luxury)

    3.6T - $60,950 (V-Sport Base)

     

    CT6 base pricing:

    2.0T RWD - $54,490 (Standard)

    3.6L AWD - $56,490 (Standard)

    3.0T AWD - $65,390 (Luxury)

     

    Now why in the world is the CTS 2.0T Standard and V6 Luxury $10,000 to 12,000 more than the exact same ATS trims? Cut that in half and things make a lot more sense. Why does the CT6 2.0T RWD base model even exist? What person spending that kind of money can't finance that additional $2000 for a V6 + AWD? What business case is there for a full size luxury car stripper model?

    Edited by cp-the-nerd
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    Question William. Was this CTS using the updated CUE system that was supposed to be much more responsive and snappy?

     

    That's tough to say. It didn't feel more responsive to me during the week I had it.

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    The one thing GM has done totally ass backwards on the CTS is trim level pricing. A midlevel N/A V6 model costs as much as a V-Sport. That's idiotic. I can see the top trim doing that, because then the equivalent V-Sport is $10k higher.

     

    Cadillac needs to get their pricing strategy under control. A base CTS V6 shouldn't cost $54,000. Especially now that CT6 pricing has been revealed at just a hair more with standard AWD.

     

    Just for reference:

     

    ATS base pricing:

    2.0T - $36,240 (Standard)

    3.6L - $42,335 (Luxury)

     

    CTS base pricing:

    2.0T - $46,555 (Standard)

    3.6L - $54,280 (Luxury)

    3.6T - $60,950 (V-Sport Base)

     

    CT6 base pricing:

    2.0T RWD - $54,490 (Standard)

    3.6L AWD - $56,490 (Standard)

    3.0T AWD - $65,390 (Luxury)

     

    Now why in the world is the CTS 2.0T Standard and V6 Luxury $10,000 to 12,000 more than the exact same ATS trims? Cut that in half and things make a lot more sense. Why does the CT6 2.0T RWD base model even exist? What person spending that kind of money can't finance that additional $2000 for a V6 + AWD? What business case is there for a full size luxury car stripper model?

     

    That what something I was going to address in the review, but I thought it would be better as an Afterthoughts piece since I go in a bit deeper. I agree, Cadillac needs to rethink the pricing structure to give the CTS some breathing space.

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    Question William. Was this CTS using the updated CUE system that was supposed to be much more responsive and snappy?

     

    That's tough to say. It didn't feel more responsive to me during the week I had it.

     

    Maybe it's for the 2016 models. It's bummer if they don't have that worked out yet otherwise. Of course, the more sensible solution is physical buttons. All that touchscreen non sense would drive me bonkers.

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    The C.U.E. updates are only for 2016+ models.   The update includes large hardware upgrades so it is not backwards compatible with earlier years.

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    The C.U.E. updates are only for 2016+ models.   The update includes large hardware upgrades so it is not backwards compatible with earlier years.

    GM should look at if the hardware can plug in and work with older auto's I am sure many people would love to buy a new NAV system for their older auto's. If I could figure out how to put in the current NAV that is in the SRX into my Trailblazer I would as it is a very nice system. 

     

    Then again, that is what the 3rd party manufactures are for.

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    The CTS pricing is bizarre, and combine that with the overlap of CT6 plus overlap with XTS.  XTS and CT6 have a lot of price overlap too.  So Cadillac has 3 sedans all overlapping in some regard, in a crossover heavy market.  

     

    Product planning is not a quick fix, they can't pull 2 more crossovers out of thin air for 2017 model year.  However they can sort out options, trim packages and pricing on their sedans.  I think if they want to be a performance brand they could make the 3.6 V6 base on the CTS and CT6, at least then a $47 CTS has a 335 hp V6 base so there is some performance value there.  Make the turbo V6s mid-level, and you can change the content on trim levels to separate the cars more.

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    The CTS pricing is bizarre, and combine that with the overlap of CT6 plus overlap with XTS.  XTS and CT6 have a lot of price overlap too.  So Cadillac has 3 sedans all overlapping in some regard, in a crossover heavy market.  

     

    Product planning is not a quick fix, they can't pull 2 more crossovers out of thin air for 2017 model year.  However they can sort out options, trim packages and pricing on their sedans.  I think if they want to be a performance brand they could make the 3.6 V6 base on the CTS and CT6, at least then a $47 CTS has a 335 hp V6 base so there is some performance value there.  Make the turbo V6s mid-level, and you can change the content on trim levels to separate the cars more.

    The XTS is on the way out, hence the existence of the CT6 that replaces it. Now, the only pricing gripe I have is with the CT6 2.0L being only $2K cheaper than the 3.6L. Personally I would just dump the 2.0L because I can't fathom anyone choosing a 4 banger when the V6 is only $2K more. 

    Edited by surreal1272
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    But the XTS is still here like 3 more model years.  So there is still an overlap problem for a while, and the XTS has a base V6, the other 2 do not.  It is just weird how they planned their sedans.  

     

    But at any rate, a challenge for Cadillac (and other luxury makers) is to get people to buy sedans.  Cadillac makes a good handling, fun to drive sedan, yet no one buys it.  And GM, Ford Toyota, etc are selling $40-50,000 crossovers and SUVs.  The average new car price is like $34k.  So people are out there spending money on vehicles, Cadillac has to convince more people to look at and ATS, or CTS.  I don't think it is as simple as try to steal sales from the German sedan buyers, I think they have to get people to think why pay $45k on some Ford or Chevy crossover when they can get a Cadillac instead.  Some how they need to make sedans cool again, because the crossover is killing the sedan.

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    The C.U.E. updates are only for 2016+ models.   The update includes large hardware upgrades so it is not backwards compatible with earlier years.

    GM should look at if the hardware can plug in and work with older auto's I am sure many people would love to buy a new NAV system for their older auto's. If I could figure out how to put in the current NAV that is in the SRX into my Trailblazer I would as it is a very nice system. 

     

    Then again, that is what the 3rd party manufactures are for.

     

     

     

    http://www.radio-upgrade.com

     

    http://www.sonicelectronix.com/cat_i466_factory-radio-improvement.html

     

    http://www.oemautopartsco.com/collections/ram-navigation

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    The CTS pricing is bizarre, and combine that with the overlap of CT6 plus overlap with XTS.  XTS and CT6 have a lot of price overlap too.  So Cadillac has 3 sedans all overlapping in some regard, in a crossover heavy market.  

     

    Product planning is not a quick fix, they can't pull 2 more crossovers out of thin air for 2017 model year.  However they can sort out options, trim packages and pricing on their sedans.  I think if they want to be a performance brand they could make the 3.6 V6 base on the CTS and CT6, at least then a $47 CTS has a 335 hp V6 base so there is some performance value there.  Make the turbo V6s mid-level, and you can change the content on trim levels to separate the cars more.

    Interesting as you have totally also described MB and BMW with all their crazy cross over of models and packages. So based on this, Cadillac has nailed the German Driving Machine of Luxury.

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    The C.U.E. updates are only for 2016+ models.   The update includes large hardware upgrades so it is not backwards compatible with earlier years.

    GM should look at if the hardware can plug in and work with older auto's I am sure many people would love to buy a new NAV system for their older auto's. If I could figure out how to put in the current NAV that is in the SRX into my Trailblazer I would as it is a very nice system. 

     

    Then again, that is what the 3rd party manufactures are for.

     

     

     

    http://www.radio-upgrade.com

     

    http://www.sonicelectronix.com/cat_i466_factory-radio-improvement.html

     

    http://www.oemautopartsco.com/collections/ram-navigation

     

    Thanks for the pointers, sadly they do not offer any 2008 Trailblazer nav upgrades. Will have to see what Car Toys has or keep looking around.

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    The CTS pricing is bizarre, and combine that with the overlap of CT6 plus overlap with XTS.  XTS and CT6 have a lot of price overlap too.  So Cadillac has 3 sedans all overlapping in some regard, in a crossover heavy market.  

     

    Product planning is not a quick fix, they can't pull 2 more crossovers out of thin air for 2017 model year.  However they can sort out options, trim packages and pricing on their sedans.  I think if they want to be a performance brand they could make the 3.6 V6 base on the CTS and CT6, at least then a $47 CTS has a 335 hp V6 base so there is some performance value there.  Make the turbo V6s mid-level, and you can change the content on trim levels to separate the cars more.

    Interesting as you have totally also described MB and BMW with all their crazy cross over of models and packages. So based on this, Cadillac has nailed the German Driving Machine of Luxury.

     

    BMW and Mercedes don't put 3 sedans in the same segment.  There is overlap with the 6-series gran coupe and 7-series, but the closest Mercedes comes is E-class and CLS, but one is a sedan, one is coupe-look, and the CLS was V8 only until a couple years ago.  BMW has too many 4-door coupe and SUV coupes that aren't really any different than the main product, but that is like having an ATS sedan, coupe, wagon, convertible.  It is multiple body styles of one product which makes sense. 

     

    The German way is take one platform and build several models on it.  Cadillac has Alpha, Epsilon, and Omega sedans all in the $50-60k segment and 1 crossover on a different chassis.    They are sedan heavy in a crossover market, and they don't have convertibles, or sports cars or the low volume halo models that most luxury brands have.  Hard to build an imagine without the hottest body style or an attention grabber product.  If not for the Escalade Cadillac would be dead right now, and luckily for them gas prices are the lowest since 2007 right now, so they can still sell those.  

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    All that refinement and power, yet CUE's still worse than a $35 Wal*Mart tablet. 

     

    YOU NAILED IT GM!

     

    Well it's no worse than some recently launched Ford/Lincoln models not being upgrade-able to Sync 3.

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    This model CTS is a lickable car. Lick the headlights.. I reccommend it highly, as uhh well let's just say it's an informed opinion.

     

    I mean, the cars in this segment, for the most part are pretty even on specs and stuffs.

     

    I mean in MT's Head2Head with the GS F Sport, they gave the GS credit for feeling just as nimble and they liked the interior a bit more, even though it was massively down on power...but similar in price. Chalk it up to the CTS being a base V Sport versus a loaded GS F.

     

    Anyways, I drool over this car, and even better I have a mental model of a poster of it in the back of my head and my desktop wallpaper every so often changes to a very pretty pic of this car.

     

    When I decide to finally splurge against my own self-imposed poverty thug life, this is a car that I would love to own.

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    All that refinement and power, yet CUE's still worse than a $35 Wal*Mart tablet.

    YOU NAILED IT GM!

    Well it's no worse than some recently launched Ford/Lincoln models not being upgrade-able to Sync 3.

    I don't doubt it. But Cadillac's a few tiers above either brand.

    CUE was supposed to be a breath of fresh air, better than all the other horrid systems, yet it's become an all-encompassing punchline for horrid systems everywhere.

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    Yeah, CUE still needs to improvement, but Cadillac has everything else pretty much on point.

     

    Now just get the pricing in line and make good on promise of more VSports and iterative improvements to interior trims choices, and they'll be more reasons than ever to get a Cadillac.

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    I thought the new system for Android and apple phones would replace CUE next year. So is this the 2017 models sold in 2016 or what?

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    I thought the new system for Android and apple phones would replace CUE next year. So is this the 2017 models sold in 2016 or what?

     

    Apply Car Play and Android Auto do not replace the infotainment system, they are add-ons for it. All Cadillacs with NewCUE have both.

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      Source: IMSA
    • By ccap41
      " It's a golden autumn morning in rural upstate New York. Backpacked kids wait by mailboxes for the school bus. I'm driving through pockets of valley mist to New York state's most famous racing circuit, to witness the shakedown testing of a race car so top-secret, it's still wrapped in camouflage.
      After a 14-year absence, Cadillac is readying its return to endurance racing. The last time the American automaker competed in top-level prototype racing was 2002, when the ill-fated Northstar LMP finished 9th at Le Mans. Audi's dominant R8 prototype notched its third consecutive victory at the Circuit de la Sarthe that year.
      Wayne Taylor and Max Angelelli were co-drivers in that final Cadillac attempt at Le Mans. They'll both be at the track today. Taylor, 60, has graduated from the driver's seat to run Wayne Taylor Racing, the principal team partner in Cadillac's new motorsports endeavor; Angelelli, 49, shares co-driving duties with Taylor's sons Ricky, 26, and Jordan, 24.
      All four will be responsible for the imminent future of Cadillac endurance racing, in a program that tasks itself with making top-level sports car racing engaging and relatable again. I'm here to learn if Cadillac, and the series itself, can cut it.
      The camouflaged Caddy you see here is officially known as the DPi-V.R. It's built to IMSA's new Daytona Prototype international (DPi) formula, to compete in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship starting in 2017.
      Think of DPi as an effort to make top-level prototype racing a little more interesting, and relatable, for casual race fans. The cars share a chassis with the LMP2 prototypes that compete in the FIA World Endurance Championship and the 24 Hours of Le Mans, built by one of four approved constructors—Dallara, Onroak Automotive, ORECA or Riley/Multimatic. ..."
      http://www.roadandtrack.com/motorsports/news/a31697/cadillac-dpi-v-r-exclusive-photos/
       




    • By William Maley
      When I go back and look at the various Kia Optimas I have driven for Cheers & Gears, there has been one variant that I haven’t driven, the 2.0L turbo-four. But this changed back over the summer when a 2016 Kia Optima SXL came into the Cheers & Gears’ Detroit bureau for a week-long evaluation. The SXL serves as the Optima’s flagship trim with more premium materials and the turbo-four.
      As I mentioned in my Optima EX review from earlier this year, the redesigned Optima looks familiar to the previous model. But that isn’t a bad thing per say. It is still as sharp looking as the previous model and the changes done such as a new trunk lid, LED taillights, a smaller grille, and reshaped headlights. The SXL takes it a step further with a set of 18-inch alloy wheels, Turbo badging on the fender vents, and a little bit more chrome. Finished in a dark blue, the Optima SXL is damn good looking midsize sedan. You won’t find many differences in the SXL’s interior compared to other Optima’s. The key one is the seats being wrapped Nappa leather with a quilted pattern. If I am being honest, I can’t really tell difference between the Nappa leather and the standard leather used on other Kia models.  But what I can tell the difference with is the materials used in the SXL’s interior. Kia swaps the soft-touch plastic used on the dash and door panels for stitched leatherette. This is to give the impression that you’re in something more expensive and it works very well. The Optima SXL’s backseat is slightly tighter than the one found in the Optima EX. Why? The SXL comes with a panoramic sunroof as standard, which eats into headroom. Let’s talk about the engine. The SXL features a 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder with 245 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a six-speed automatic. Leaving a stop, it takes a moment for the engine to fully wake up and you can’t help but wonder where is the power. At first, I thought this new 2.0L developed a bad case of turbo-lag. But I soon realized that it was a lazy throttle that was causing this issue. This is something we have been noticing in recent Hyundai and Kia models equipped with the turbo engine. Once you get over the lazy throttle, the engine moves the Optima with some authority. Merging onto a freeway or making a pass is no problem as the turbo quickly spools up and gives the necessary thrust. It doesn’t hurt the engine is very refined. EPA fuel economy figures stand at 22 City/32 Highway/25 Combined. I achieved a not too shabby 26.1 mpg average for the week. One of my biggest complaints about the last Optima I drove was the uncomfortable ride. The tuning on the EX model let in more bumps and road imperfections inside than what I was expecting. To my surprise, the SXL featured a more comfortable ride. Despite featuring larger wheels, the SXL was able to iron out most bumps and imperfections. I can’t explain why there is a vast difference in terms of ride quality between the two trims at this time. The SXL does retain the sharp handling that we liked in the Optima EX. Body motions are kept in check and the steering provides a nice heft when turning. Some will lament that the steering doesn’t have the same feel as something like the Mazda6, but this has to be Kia’s best effort yet.  The Optima SXL begins at $35,790 and that includes every option available on the Optima as standard equipment - 18-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control, heated and ventilated front seats, a Harman/Kardon audio system, navigation, blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, surround view camera system, and much more. Some might balk at the price. But considering what the SXL brings to the table, along with its improved ride quality, it is very much worth the price. Plus, you might be able to work out a deal to where you’ll be able to cut the price. We’ve seen dealers cutting about $2,000 to $4,000 off Optima SXLs in an effort improve sales of the midsize sedan. Who knows, you might be able to get one of best equipped and decent driving midsize sedans at a surprising price. Disclaimer: Kia Provided the Optima SXL, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2016
      Make: Kia
      Model: Optima
      Trim: SXL
      Engine: Turbocharged 2.0L DOHC Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 245 @ 6,000
      Torque @ RPM: 260 @ 1,350-4,000 
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 22/32/25
      Curb Weight: 3,594 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: West Point, Georgia
      Base Price: $35,790
      As Tested Price: $36,615 (Includes $825.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      N/A

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