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Todd Lassa: GM and Ford's rear-wheel-drive strategies

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Todd Lassa, in an editorial for Motor Trend, has given his opinion for GM and Ford's rear-wheel-drive strategies. He makes product suggestions for Cadillac, Buick, Pontiac, and Chevrolet. See if you agree. For a direct link, click here.

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I am soooooo sick of the "RWD means LESS interior space" stereotype.

There's only ONE FWD car that I have experienced that DOES not have a

driveshaft hump, XP's '67 Cadillac Eldorado has a completely FLAT floor.

Due to its BOF design this is possible, but today's pepsi-can unibody

$h!boxes NEED the driveshaft (exhaust) hump in the middle of the floor

to help strengthen the floorboards, and by extension torsial ridgidity.

So that's ONE car, that has been off the market since 1970, that has a

SLIGHT advantage in terms of interior space due to its FWD.

HOw about the other 471,278,506 modern FWD cars that have their

front wheels set SO damn far back in the wheelbase their wheel well is

actually EATING up 60% of the footwell?!

FWD cars suck in terms of packaging, but the dumb masses once again

just eat up the bull&#036;h&#33; misnomers like ice cream on a hot day. <_<

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I am soooooo sick of the "RWD means LESS interior space" stereotype.

There's only ONE FWD car that I have experienced that DOES not have a

driveshaft hump, XP's '67 Cadillac Eldorado has a completely FLAT floor.

Due to its BOF design this is possible, but today's pepsi-can unibody

&#036;h&#33;boxes NEED the driveshaft (exhaust) hump in the middle of the floor

to help strengthen the floorboards, and by extension torsial ridgidity.

So that's ONE car, that has been off the market since 1970, that has a

SLIGHT advantage in terms of interior space due to its FWD.

HOw about the other 471,278,506 modern FWD cars that have their

front wheels set SO damn far back in the wheelbase their wheel well is

actually EATING up 60% of the footwell?!

FWD cars suck in terms of packaging, but the dumb masses once again

just eat up the bull&#036;h&#33; misnomers like ice cream on a hot day. <_<

Your speculation is worse than the very people who make blanket statements about RWD cars.

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What part of my post was speculation??? Please do tell.

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What part of my post was speculation??? Please do tell.

You assume FWD sucks in terms of packaging in the same way the "dumb masses" assume RWD sucks in terms of packaging. The truth of the matter is that there are poor packaging examples and good packaging examples for both layouts.

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concise and valid points. things that have already been discussed. best case scenario is GM sees more and more of these reports and thier hands are forced.

the argument is made in favor of zeta, noting the great engineering and overall great car G8 is. specifically, fuel mileage is barely less than Malibu, by only 1 mpg!! so hopefully the incomprehensibles at GM read this. and my own words as well.

zeta has full size room with a relatively smaller footprint [it's 4 inches shorter than Impala!!], great full-size segment fuel economy potentially a class leader in that regard, and it's a great car that offers so so much in the form of G8

as the G8 gains popularity, which hopefully will be extreme, we will see more of these kinds of articles pointing out the truth to GM.

Anyone notice by the time of Malibu's intro, plenty more reviewers had press cars to start the media bombardment? Does it cost money to get cars in the hands of reviewers? This is where the marketing budget needs to go for this car, it's a fabulous car that needs to receive the attention of at least as many reviewers as Malibu did upon intro.

For reference G8 gas mileage is at 15/24 for the V8. 17/26 is what the V6 Malibu gets compared to 17/25 for the G8 V6. Even V8 gas mileage is relatively good; precedence for this engine is to be able to get up to 30 mpg on highway stretches.

Edited by turbo200
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The bump in the floor on most FWD cars is a passageway for the exhaust so it doesn't get ripped off the car, or require the car to sit an extra 6" off the ground. It's also far more subtle than a driveshaft hump.

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and with that, the G8's backseat was easily the most comfortable I've ever found in a GM car! no bias, just the truth.

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and with that, the G8's backseat was easily the most comfortable I've ever found in a GM car! no bias, just the truth.

Agreed, the G8 rear seat is phenomenal, best GM has to offer. Tons of space and comfortable.

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GM needs more rear drive stuff, they have tons of front wheel drive cars already. CAFE isn't an excuse, they can get the same mileage from rear drive, and they can make rear drive cars with light hybrids or diesels if they need to. Lassa is right about making cars under 195 inches long. Rear drive cars don't need to be 210 inches long and weigh 4300 pounds like a Town car. Size is what hurts mileage, not the drive wheels. Lassa is also right about Mercury being near death and Ford and Lincoln being too poor to come up with anything. I predict Mercury dies off, and Lincoln continues with it's dressed up Fords and adds the Mariner.

I don't like Lassa's Cadillac plan. If the DTS/STS replacement is 203+ inches long and $40,000-$50,000, that's a geezer-mobile. If the 3-series is the #1 seller in the segment, (both US and worldwide) and the C-class, A4 are a couple inches bigger, why would the Alpha Cadillac be smaller than a 3-series. It should be 180-182 inches long. I don't like his engine choices either, a high revving 4-banger for the Alpha and a Chevy small block V8 for the big car. I'd be fine with an updated version of the DI turbo 4 from the Solstice GXP as the base BTS engine, but they need a V6 also.

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Agreed, the G8 rear seat is phenomenal, best GM has to offer. Tons of space and comfortable.

MAGNUM, 300, VERY COMFY REAR SEATS. 120 inch wb tho

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Malibu's 17/26 isn't exactly class-leading. Accord V6 is 19/29 and Camry V6 is 19/28.

In terms of packaging (although not sportiness), a better comparison is Avalon 19/28 vs G8 V6 17/25.

Avalon has 268hp and 3495 pounds. G8 has 256hp and weighs 3885 pounds. From a power-to-weight ratio basis the Avalon actually seems sportier on paper while getting better gas mileage and offering a cushier ride. How ironic. The G8 is cheaper and has a bigger trunk though.

For reference G8 gas mileage is at 15/24 for the V8. 17/26 is what the V6 Malibu gets compared to 17/25 for the G8 V6. Even V8 gas mileage is relatively good; precedence for this engine is to be able to get up to 30 mpg on highway stretches.
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Malibu's 17/26 isn't exactly class-leading. Accord V6 is 19/29 and Camry V6 is 19/28.

In terms of packaging (although not sportiness), a better comparison is Avalon 19/28 vs G8 V6 17/25.

Avalon has 268hp and 3495 pounds. G8 has 256hp and weighs 3885 pounds. From a power-to-weight ratio basis the Avalon actually seems sportier on paper while getting better gas mileage and offering a cushier ride. How ironic. The G8 is cheaper and has a bigger trunk though.

I'm tellin' you.....GM's weight problem with their cars is gonna bite them in the ass one day........just look at what it does to performance. Remember the recent sport/luxury sedan comparo in C&D....?

In order to match the go-power of the base-engine 328i sedan, you have to go all the way up to the 3.6L DI version of the CTS......

(That being said.....I don't think it's that much of a drivetrain issue either......meaning RWD versus FWD......)

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So...

Basically, we get RWD cars for 10 more years, then all the fun stops?!?!?

How about GM and Ford puts their engineering hats on and engineer the automobile to a better future so that we can buy something more than a piece of &#036;h&#33; Aveo or Corsa circa 2020.

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They do need to solve the weight problem, it hurts acceleration, breaking, handling and gas mileage. It ranges from the Solstice and Cobalt, to the Vue to the Enclave.

The Malibu V6 mileage is so-so, it carries over into the bigger and heavier G8. Toyota's and Honda's V6 engines are pretty efficient, if the engine has 300-400 pounds less to pull, it is going to get better mileage. It would be nice to see a smaller V6 with DI that can make 250 hp but get better mileage than the 3.6.

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So...

Basically, we get RWD cars for 10 more years, then all the fun stops?!?!?

How about GM and Ford puts their engineering hats on and engineer the automobile to a better future so that we can buy something more than a piece of &#036;h&#33; Aveo or Corsa circa 2020.

The Silverado is rear drive and will still be around then. Otherwise, BMW and Mercedes will have rear wheel drive.

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Malibu's 17/26 isn't exactly class-leading. Accord V6 is 19/29 and Camry V6 is 19/28.

In terms of packaging (although not sportiness), a better comparison is Avalon 19/28 vs G8 V6 17/25.

Avalon has 268hp and 3495 pounds. G8 has 256hp and weighs 3885 pounds. From a power-to-weight ratio basis the Avalon actually seems sportier on paper while getting better gas mileage and offering a cushier ride. How ironic. The G8 is cheaper and has a bigger trunk though.

I wasn't making the point that G8 V6 or any GM V6 is class leading. For the G8, the mileage figure is great considering the fact that the major argument against RWD has been the fuel economy issue, and G8 wholly disproves this. I'm not saying GM's cars aren't heavy either. We work with what we have.

I'd be willing to bet $500 the G8 has a sportier feel, tighter steering, tighter suspension, and perhaps more nimble or at least more tossable feel and actually numers wise will perform slightly better in handling tests than the Avalon. The Avalon is no where near the main competition, that competes with a Buick. Because you try to paint the Avalon as a better performer than G8 I have to say all this, I'm also skeptical dimmensions wise Avalon is near as large as G8 inside. Is Avalon even rated as a full-size car?

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The Silverado is rear drive and will still be around then.

Boring...it's a 5000lb truck. Hopefully GM will still have RWD cars, at least for Cadillac.

Otherwise, BMW and Mercedes will have rear wheel drive.

As will Infiniti and Lexus... and Jaguar if they are still around.

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The EPA classifies both cars as "Large" and both have 107 cubic ft of interior space. The driveshaft tunnel in the rear seat is slightly more intrusive in the G8 than Avalon. As I wrote before, the G8 trunk is larger.

While we're comparing the two I just have to say that owning a G8 will be a little more painful at tire replacement time. Even the all season tires found standard on the V6 are about twice as expensive as those on the Avalon (comparing OEM to OEM).

And if you get the summer tire package you can expect to pay even more while getting less treadwear and more expense during the winter as you then have to buy snow tires. These performance tires lend little increase in driving enjoyment for 99% of daily driving while increasing headaches (literally w/noise!) 100%. I made this mistake with a BMW based on looks alone. I'll never do it again.

Because you try to paint the Avalon as a better performer than G8 I have to say all this, I'm also skeptical dimmensions wise Avalon is near as large as G8 inside. Is Avalon even rated as a full-size car?
Edited by buyacargetacheck
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The EPA classifies both cars as "Large" and both have 107 cubic ft of interior space. The driveshaft tunnel in the rear seat is slightly more intrusive in the G8 than Avalon. As I wrote before, the G8 trunk is larger.

I'd compare the Avalon to the Lucerne or Sable...it's more of a large, cushy Buick-style cruiser than the G8. The G8's only domestic competitor is the Charger, and for the imports, maybe the '09 Maxima? (yes, the Maxima is FWD, but it's a largish, cheap sport sedan...no RWD equivalents in the non-premium brands that I can think of).

Edited by moltar
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precisely, the G8 is athletic in a way no Avalon can claim. the virtue in its balance and good looks along are enough to sway this buyer. I was never and will never be in the avalon target audience though.

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Words and phrases like "athletic" or "driving machine" or "made for the driver" are meaningless in real-world driving, especially here in LA where you can easily spend more than half a commute in stop and go traffic and the rest dodging potholes (as you well know). But, buying decisions (as the ad men and PR mavens know) are based heavily on perception. "Athletic" is really about how you view yourself rather than the actual empirical abilities of the car. Psychology.

Speaking of actual abilities, be prepared to get dusted at the 405 onramps by grandpa in his Avalon.

precisely, the G8 is athletic in a way no Avalon can claim. the virtue in its balance...
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Words and phrases like "athletic" or "driving machine" or "made for the driver" are meaningless in real-world driving, especially here in LA where you can easily spend more than half a commute in stop and go traffic and the rest dodging potholes (as you well know). But, buying decisions (as the ad men and PR mavens know) are based heavily on perception. "Athletic" is really about how you view yourself rather than the actual empirical abilities of the car. Psychology.

Speaking of actual abilities, be prepared to get dusted at the 405 onramps by grandpa in his Avalon.

eh. gramps drives like a gramps, that's why he owns an Avalon. I dust him in my hybrid, in fact with gas prices and traffic the way it is today, I usually dust most people, bent on being conservative. but that's neither here nor there.

I don't think it meaningless when more than half of LA's roads are of the twisting kind. It's ultimately in the hands of the driver, and thier own psychology, what they like to do while they drive. I have a good time in my hybrid, and I do it in the confines of safe driving in heavy traffic conditions. [Of course there are those tortorous drives where and stop and go feels like it should be a system automatically programmed into your car].

Of course buying decisions are heavily based on perception. The Avalon buyer will think he's making a safe, economical, reliable choice. The G8 buyers will think he's buying the extrovert, the looker, the performance car.

I disagree with your stance. Athletic is a sense you get from a car's design to its innards, just like luxurious is a sense you get from a car. It all depends on what defines you most that attracts you to the car. Design is the first indicator of this trait, and the drive completes it. Example: salesman A says you want luxury sir? let's go look at this large, comfortable Lexus LS sedan that imparts luxury and expense.

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Zeta, and by extension the G8, are absolutely perfect for me in size and configuration. This is the sort of car I will always want to buy. Town cars and Avalons alike need not apply.

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eh. gramps drives like a gramps, that's why he owns an Avalon. I dust him in my hybrid, in fact with gas prices and traffic the way it is today, I usually dust most people, bent on being conservative. but that's neither here nor there.

I don't think it meaningless when more than half of LA's roads are of the twisting kind. It's ultimately in the hands of the driver, and thier own psychology, what they like to do while they drive. I have a good time in my hybrid, and I do it in the confines of safe driving in heavy traffic conditions. [Of course there are those tortorous drives where and stop and go feels like it should be a system automatically programmed into your car].

Of course buying decisions are heavily based on perception. The Avalon buyer will think he's making a safe, economical, reliable choice. The G8 buyers will think he's buying the extrovert, the looker, the performance car.

I disagree with your stance. Athletic is a sense you get from a car's design to its innards, just like luxurious is a sense you get from a car. It all depends on what defines you most that attracts you to the car. Design is the first indicator of this trait, and the drive completes it. Example: salesman A says you want luxury sir? let's go look at this large, comfortable Lexus LS sedan that imparts luxury and expense.

Your guys' argument is academic at best.

Someone looking seriously at a Toyota (any Toyota) is very unlikely to go into a Pontiac showroom........and anyone seriously considering a G8 is not going to be remotely interested in seeing an Avalon.....

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