Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com
November 21, 2013
It was eleven months ago that I had the chance to see the new Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra in person. At the time I wrote that the new trucks were a major improvement, but I had concerns that General Motors didn't do enough when compared to what Ram and Ford had announced at the time. Well, I get to find out if my worries are justified or not because I have a 2014 GMC Sierra Crew Cab for a week.
On the day it was dropped off, my house had no power thanks to high winds that roared through the night before. It turns out the Sierra was a blessing in disguise as it had seven USB ports, a 120 Volt outlet, and number of power outlets. Because of this, I was able to charge my computer, phone, iPod, and external battery till the power came back on. Thank you GMC.
Aside from the charging station, the new Sierra has a lot going for it. I'm really liking the looks of it, especially in Stealth Grey paint color on my tester. It really brings out certain parts of the Sierra's design such as the flared fenders and large grille. The interior is also impressing me, with much nicer materials and being very comfortable. My only concern at the moment is GMC's IntelliLink which showed signs of sluggishness.
As for what's under the hood, it happens to be the 5.3L EcoTec V8, what most Sierras and Silverados will come with. It produces 355 horsepower and 388 pound-feet of torque. Paired with a six-speed automatic and four-wheel drive, the 5.3 is more than adequate. Driving around briefly, the 5.3 was able to get the Sierra moving with no sweat.
As for the ride, it does feel smoother than the 2012 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 I drove last year.
I'll have my complete thoughts on the Sierra 1500 here in a few weeks. If you guys have any questions, leave a comment and I'll do my best to answer them.
William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.
Since the second-generation Chrysler 300 was introduced in 2011, I've been wanting to get my hands on one. I had many chances to take one out for a spin and every time, I missed it. When Chrysler did the launch of the SRT Tour back in 2011, they had a 300 SRT8 available for drives. I unfortunately missed out on driving it. Then at the 2012 MAMA Spring Rally, the new 300 Luxury Series was there and missed that too. Fast forward to this week and a 2013 Chrysler 300S arrived at my house. I knew couldn't squander this chance as I had done time and time again.
The 300S is the step up from the standard 300 and starts at $33,145. My test car is equipped with the 3.6L Pentastar V6, eight-speed automatic, and three option packages (SafetyTec, Light Group, and UConnect) bringing the as-tested price to $37,925* (includes a $995 destination charge).
The Chrysler 300 is one of those vehicles that have presence and the S model only amplifies that. A dark silver color and the twenty-inch aluminum wheels takes the 300S to another level. Also taking the 300Z to another level is the 3.6L V6. While most 300s equipped with the 3.6 come with 292 horsepower and 260 pound-feet, S models get eight extra horses and four more pound-feet to torque. This is due to a sports tuned exhaust and cold-air induction system. During my first 15 minutes, I was shocked by how much power the 3.6 had available on tap and how smooth the eight-speed automatic is. The ride was surprisingly comfortable during my short drive, although I'll see how it fares on the freeway in the coming week.
Also impressing me is Chrysler's UConnect system. A large 8.4-inch touchscreen houses the system and its a breeze to use. The touch points to move around are large and the system is very snappy. The Beats audio system seems to producing very good system, but I will need to spend some more time with it before make any conclusions.
Complaints? I have a couple. The 300 has possibly the worst rear visibility in a vehicle I have tested. I'm very thankful my tester has blind-spot monitoring and a backup camera. The other lies with interior as its too black. Black leather, black dashboard, and a black headliner. Needs some contrasting colors on the double.
For now, I'm going to revel in the fact that I have driven a 300. Stay tuned for the review.
There are times when I think I have seen it all as an automotive writer, and then something happens that makes me realize that I haven't. Case in point, I had two Equuss (or is it Equui?) pull up to my residence. One was white and the other happened to be black (the model seen here). It was just odd coincidence to have two of the same models at the same time. Sadly I wasn't able to get a picture of it.
But lets move on to the Equus I have in for review this week. The Equus as seen here is the Signature which is the starter model in the lineup and comes with a pricetag of $61,000. Add in destination and you're looking at the as-tested price of $61,920. For that price, you are getting a lot of luxury car.
The exterior is well, kind of boring. I like it, but for some people they maybe want some excitement in the design. There is a little S-Class in the rear and the nineteen-inch turbine wheels add a nice touch of class.
Inside, the Equus is as comfortable and mostly well laid out as I remembered in my first drive. I say mostly since I had look for a few moments for the brightness adjustment and realize there are a lot of buttons scattered around. It took a moment or so to find it.
Taking the Equus out for a brief spin, I remember how much I loved the soft ride in my first drive and that still continues. I loved the 5.0L Tau V8 and eight-speed automatic were smooth as butter. What I wasn't too keen in my brief drive was the steering as it felt rubbery to me. Now I know a big luxury sedan is supposed to be relaxing, but I was hoping for somewhat smoother steering.
Once I got back from my brief drive, I realize that the next seven days are going to be quite interesting. Stay tuned for the review.
I would like to lodge a complaint with you concerning one part of the 2013 Cadillac SRX AWD Performance Collection model I'm driving this week. The part or should I say parts I'm referring to is the seats as they are uncomfortable, feeling like concrete blocks wrapped in leather. Seats in a luxury crossover should not feel like this at all. What they should feel like is something soft, like a pillow. Just the right amount of give in the seat to give comfort and support for a passenger.
I do hope you take the time and address the problem with SRX.
Staff Writer - Cheers & Gears
Has it really been close to two years since we last had a Cadillac SRX in for review? Yes it has. This was around the time when the SRX came with two different engines and a somewhat decent interior. Flash forward to 2013 and the SRX has undergone many changes. There is a new front end, revised interior, and only one engine.
That brings me to the vehicle that took the place of the Malibu Turbo yesterday, a 2013 Cadillac SRX AWD Performance Collection. This is the midlevel model in the SRX lineup and came nicely loaded for its as tested price of $49,085. The only option was Black Ice Metallic paint for $495.00. Everything else from the panoramic sunroof, CUE, eight-way adjustable seats for driver and passenger, and number of other features are all standard.
Much like the Malibu Turbo, I will update every day (or close to it) with some thoughts, opinions, and behind the scenes look at the review.
Author's Note: Sorry for not updating this within the past couple of days. Have been busy with Geneva Motor Show coverage (which you can check out here.) I'm combining days three and four here. Five and six will be the same. - WM
They say its the little things that can make or break a car. In the case of the Malibu Turbo that is very true. There are items in the Malibu that I'm impressed with and some that I'm not. I thought I would highlight two of them.
I'll start with the good thing and it begins with the Malibu Turbo's exterior. As I said in my Malibu Eco review, I really liked the shape of the new Malibu. The new Turbo takes the shape adds some minor touches such as new grille inserts, chrome trim, and optional nineteen-inch wheels really make it stand out even more.
Now for the disappointment and that is the six-speed automatic. While most of the time the automatic is very smooth and knows what gear to go into, there are times when the transmission isn't sure what gear to go into and goes hunting. This is very evident when slowing down or needing to make a pass and is very annoying.
Welcome to day two of the Test Diaries on the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu LTZ Turbo. If you're wondering what is the test diaries and/or want to learn more about the Chevrolet Malibu LTZ Turbo, check out Day 1 here.
Lets dig into the Malibu Turbo's engine. Chevrolet's decision to go with a turbo-four instead of V6 isn't that surprising. Most automakers (except for Honda, Nissan, and Toyota) have gone with the turbo-four since it provides the punch of a six without the fuel economy penalties. Whether that comes to fruition or not is something I'll be keeping a close eye during my time.
The engine is a turbocharged 2.0L Ecotec four-cylinder producing 259 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. The engine is shared with the Cadillac ATS and not the Buick Regal/Verano Turbo or Regal GS. Those Buicks stick with an older Opel turbo engine.
I wasn't quite sure what to expect when I first got into the Malibu Turbo. I was thinking the engine would be somewhat noisy and there would be some, but not a lot of turbo lag. Thankfully, the 2.0L turbo isn't very noisy at all. I think it could be one of the quietest engines I have driven. There is some turbo lag, but its very minimal. Once out of the lag, the 2.0L packs quite the punch and could fool some people into thinking you're driving a bigger engine due to how smooth the powerband is. Well done GM.
That's it for this entry, stay tuned for day three.
I'm trying something new here with the blog portion on Cheers & Gears with the vehicles I get the chance to review. I going to keep up a diary of sorts for every vehicle that I get in. This will not be taking the place of the interactive review, nor the full/quick reviews. Instead, this will be addendum of sorts; some of my thoughts, behind the scenes look at what goes on, or a number of other things.
With that out of the way, it's time to introduce the first vehicle that will take part in this; the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu LTZ Turbo. Anyone who remembers the last time I had 2013 Malibu knows I wasn't really impressed. Most of it comes from the Malibu being the Eco model, the launch model for the new Malibu. I found the powertrain to be lacking in fuel economy and the stop/start system only started. There was also the problem of rear seat space in the Eco, something GM will be fixing in the 2014 model.
Now I'm in the other extreme of the Malibu lineup, the new Turbo model. The Turbo engine in question is the 2.0L EcoTech four-cylinder producing 259 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. All of that power goes through six-speed automatic down to the front wheels.
Much like the Malibu Eco, the LTZ Turbo has almost the same positive and negative points as the Eco.
Good Looking Exterior
Back Seat Space
There's another minus that I discovered when the Malibu LTZ Turbo was dropped off on Friday morning: the pricetag. The base LTZ Turbo starts at $29,700. The test car I have is loaded with such things as navigation, nine-speaker Pioneer sound system, push-button start, nineteen-inch alloy wheels, lane departure warning, and a few other features stickers at $34,595* (includes $810.00 destination charge). My eyes popped out my head when seeing that.
I'll be writing more about the Malibu Turbo as my time goes on, so stay tuned.