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GM cars: No refund needed - mostly


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NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- When General Motors announced its new money back guarantee Thursday many people no doubt envisioned the automaker's Detroit headquarters buried under a mountain of returned Chevys and Buicks.

But judging from the latest crop of vehicles, that nightmare probably won't happen.

For the most part, GM has much to be proud of. The company has indeed produced cars that can compete with the rest of the industry, as Bob Lutz said when he unveiled the money-back guarantee.

But to be clear, GM's entire line-up cannot stand up to any carmakers' products anywhere in the world. There are still a few dogs among GM's current offering and even more that are just OK. They pass muster, if you don't compare them too critically to competitors.

But today's trimmed down GM -- consisting of just Chevrolet GMC, Buick and Cadillac -- has a surprising number of genuinely outstanding vehicles that more than bear comparison with the world's best.

Really. We're not kidding.

Simply put: With few exceptions, GM models that were first introduced or substantially redesigned for the 2007 model year or later are outstanding.

Beyond that, the more recently a car was introduced, the better it is.

That's a good sign for things to come. GM has finally learned to compete and it's still improving.

A change for the better. Over the course of a few years, GM's interiors have gone from "Ew!" to "Wow!" Get it in the right colors -- not gray -- and the Chevrolet Malibu's dashboard is lovely to just sit and look at with its broadly arching lines and contrasting upper and lower portions.

The interior on the 2010 Buick LaCrosse is better still. It even glows with a soft blue shade at night, highlighting its contours.

But beyond the merely cosmetic improvement, the biggest surprise is the ride quality, road feel and sound of GM's most recent products.

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