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You ever hear someone say, “Eh it was good, but it wasn’t great.”? That really doesn’t tell you anything about the thing you were asking about. Consider asking a friend about a new restaurant and they say that phrase to you, it would drive you mad because your friend hasn’t given you a clear indication of where they stand. Well I’m about to commit this sin with the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado Z71. I think the Colorado is a good truck, but not a great one. Now before you start screaming at your screen and writing angry comments, I will explain what I mean.

 

The Colorado has been on sale in a number of market for a few years now, but only arrived in North America last year. This was due to General Motors making a number of changes to get it sellable in the U.S. Market. For example, the exterior of the worldwide Colorado is very different to the one sold in the U.S. The Colorado’s front fascia sold in other markets looks likes it was taken off the Equinox, while the NA-Spec Colorado gets a front fascia thats more akin to the Silverado with longer split grilles and a set of different bumpers and lights. Otherwise, the rest of the NA-Spec truck is the same with a somewhat rounded cab shape and various bed sizes. My tester was equipped with smaller 5’2” box which means you’ll have to do a couple more loads. There is a s 6’2” box available if you want something bigger. Also, my Colorado boasted the Z71 package, which nets you Z71 decals on the rear fenders and a set of 17-inch alloy wheels.

 


2015 Chevrolet Colorado Z71 Crew Cab 15


Another big change between the Colorado sold here and elsewhere is inside. The two models boast different dashboard layouts for their specific markets. In the case of the North American model, Chevrolet took some ideas from the Silverado and implemented them into the Colorado. Controls are within easy reach of the driver and passenger and the truck boasts a lot features that you would not expect on a midsize only a few years ago. My particular tester came equipped with heated seats, Chevrolet MyLink with Navigation, Automatic Climate Control, Trip Computer, and Bluetooth. Chevrolet MyLink stills has a fair amount of problems with slowness, responding when pressed, and causing my iPod to crash constantly.

 

Seats in the Z71 are a combination of leather and cloth. I found the front seats to provide good support, but I also found that getting the right position took quite awhile. Either I was too far away to reach the steering wheel and pedals comfortably, or my knees would be touching the underside of the steering column. Maybe some power adjustments or smoother manual adjustments would help out here. Back seat space is quite good when it comes to headroom. Legroom is a different story as it's small to nonexistent dependent on how tall the person sitting up front is. It should also be noted that the rear seats can either be flipped up to access a storage shelf or flipped down to provide added cargo space.

 

For thoughts on powertrain and handling, see the next page.


 

Power for the Colorado comes from either a 2.5L four-cylinder or a 3.6L DI V6. There is a Duramax four-cylinder diesel that will be arriving for the 2016 model year. For my tester, it boasted the 3.6 V6 with 305 horsepower and 269 pound-feet. This comes paired up with a six-speed automatic and a four-wheel drive system. This engine is the weak link in the Colorado. Most truck engines whether they are a V6 or V8 have their torque right in the low-end of the rpm band. The Colorado V6’s torque is towards the higher end of the rpm, meaning you have to give the V6 some revs to get it moving. The six-speed automatic is smooth in around town and expressway driving. But I found it to be a bit slow when I pressed on the accelerator to make a pass. Fuel economy is rated at 17 City/24 Highway/20 Combined. I got an average of 18.2 MPG.

 


2015 Chevrolet Colorado Z71 Crew Cab 12


On the ride front, the Colorado is quite good. Compared to the Nissan Frontier and Toyota Tacoma, the Colorado delivers a comfortable ride with many bumps and harshness not making it inside the cabin. Also, wind and engine noise were mostly nonexistent. The Colorado also earned bonus points for how maneuverable it was thanks to the small size.

 

Aside from the engine, there is one other sticking point for the Colorado and that happens to price. My tester as shown here came with an as-tested price of $36,710. That’s quite a lot of money for a midsize truck, especially considering the average price of a full-size truck is only $4,000 more or so.

 

So lets go back to the beginning of this review where I said the the Colorado is a good truck, but not a great one. There are lot of things to like about Colorado; its distinctive looks, feature list, ride, and maneuverability. But there are a fair number of items that leave a black eye on the Colorado such as the V6, MyLink, and the price. It leaves the Colorado in this interesting middle ground where it's better than the competition, but not quite as good as it should be. For now, that is enough for GM as the Colorado is more modern than its contemporaries. But I wonder down the road, will this be enough?

 

Disclaimer: Chevrolet Provided the Colorado, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas

 

 

Year: 2015
Make: Chevrolet
Model: Colorado
Trim: Z71 4WD Crew Cab
Engine: 3.6L SIDI DOHC VVT V6
Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, Four-Wheel Drive
Horsepower @ RPM: 305 @ 6800
Torque @ RPM: 269 @ 4000
Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined -17/24/20
Curb Weight: 4,380 lbs
Location of Manufacture: Wentzville, MO
Base Price: $34,115
As Tested Price: $36,710 (Includes $875.00 Destination Charge)

 

Options:
Bose Audio System - $500.00
Chevrolet MyLink - $495.00
Spray-On Bedliner - $475.00
Trailering Equipment Package - $250.00


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I think your price evaluation actually supports the Colorado. Your $36k test truck was LOADED. It had 4WD, Z71 pkg, V6, audio upgrade, and whatever else you said. A Silverado Z71, 4WD, crewcab/shortbox starts at $43,500 with cloth seats and 4 inch touch screen. Sure there are discounts. Say you can get $5,000 off. You still have a more expensive truck with less standard equipment.

 

It's also going to get less real world fuel economy and be more difficult to park and maneuver as a daily driver.

 

You can get a V6 Colorado for much less if you can live without the Z71 package or 4WD. Depends on your needs and your wallet, but this truck even loaded with options still makes a serious case for itself.

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I've seen the truck in it's base form, and it still looks pretty good! 

 

Though still to close in price to the full size price....

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I would price out a fullsize with the same options and configuration of our Colorado.  i can GUARANTEE you are looking at a price premium of at leaast 10k more.  In my drive i had no problem with the powertrain and I drive a V8 04 Dakota everyday. 

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I would price out a fullsize with the same options and configuration of our Colorado.  i can GUARANTEE you are looking at a price premium of at leaast 10k more.  In my drive i had no problem with the powertrain and I drive a V8 04 Dakota everyday. 

 

That is a legitimate point. But I think you could argue with some of the deals you can get on full-size trucks from time to time, you're in the ball park of my as-tested Colorado price.

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"only $4,000 more"

 

I dont like arguments when they are presented in this fashion..." for only an x amount more"...

 

Financing @ 0% interest...keep in mind...0% interest...

At $4000..that is an extra $333.33/month for a year.

At $4000..that is an extra $66/month for 5 years....

 

Sure...that does not sound like much...an extra $66/month...for 5 years...but that is the equivalent an extra tank of gas for the month for the next 5 years.

 

That is a week's groceries of nothing but the good food...you know...the junk food...chips and chocolate bars and stuff for the kids...for the next...5 years.

 

That is a dinner and a movie for you and a date each month...for the next 5 years...

 

That is an oil change, rotation of tires and switching from winter to summer tires, and some other maintenance of the vehicle for the year...for the next 5 years...at which $66/month is roughly $800/year...which covers easily the regular maintenance of the vehicle for the year. Or a good chunk of it at least...

 

$4000...that is a plane ticket to a Caribbean Paradise Island plus hotel and food...for 2 weeks...for 2 people...

 

$4000...that is a nice emergency amount of money for when your washing machine and refrigerator bust on you....and if you have a wife and kids....you know that this scenario WILL happen...and the Fridge usually breaks 2 months AFTER the washing machine breaks...well...with that $4000 that was not spent on the Silverado...now buys you both appliances and there is no sweating about it...

 

So yeah...$4000 is a good chunk of change...where one could put that $4000 to good use if one does not need a bigger rig than a Colorado...so why buy the bigger Silverado and waste that $4000...instead of giving it to Mary Barra...why dont YOU use it...put that $4000 to good use...for YOUR own use...retirement fund or just to bet it all on black at the Roulette table...

Edited by oldshurst442
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Agreed that the 4.3L would pair nicely with the Colorado. Maybe in the refresh we'll see that and an 8-speed, or perhaps the new 335 hp LGX V6 if GM is totally sold on DOHC for this application.

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The Z71 has cloth and leatherette upholstery.  There is no leather in a Colorado Z71.  I love my truck, an LT extended cab 4X4 w/3.6.

Edited by ocnblu

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Lol, not as good as it should be?? Should it emit gold from it's tail pipe and be able to be fueled by water or something?

 

How one could say this isn't a great truck is beyond me. This truck completely rewrites the book for this segment. It took a market that was stagnant and stale and breathed fresh life into it by offering modern powertrains, options, and technologies. It beats the Tacoma is literally EVERY single measurable aspect. Better ride, better handling, better brakes, better content, better power, better mileage, better noise levels, better refinement. All for the same price. How exactly can you take issue with THAT??

 

People need to stop comparing it to full-size trucks. Isn't competition isn't full-size trucks, it's other MIDSIZE trucks. It's like dissing a Corolla because a similarly equipped Camry is only 4K more. And dissing it because an Avalon is only 5K more. And dissing it because a GS is only 7K more. It's a stupid argument. This truck exists for a very specific reason, to fulfill a very specific role. And it does so spectacularly. If that, combined with the fact it completely up-ended this segment and reinvigorated it doesn't define a great vehicle, Idk what does.

 

Also, if you're going to argue price, let's be realistic about it. A similarly equipped Silverado is $12,000 more than a Colorado. Without incentives, you aren't coming anywhere NEAR a 4K price difference. Even when they are at their best, you're still likely to be a minimum of 5-6 grand off. That's not exactly chump change. When interest is figured in, that's $100+ more a month. Tell someone 100-120 dollars a month difference in payment isn't a big deal..... 

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Lol, not as good as it should be?? Should it emit gold from it's tail pipe and be able to be fueled by water or something?

 

How one could say this isn't a great truck is beyond me. This truck completely rewrites the book for this segment. It took a market that was stagnant and stale and breathed fresh life into it by offering modern powertrains, options, and technologies. It beats the Tacoma is literally EVERY single measurable aspect. Better ride, better handling, better brakes, better content, better power, better mileage, better noise levels, better refinement. All for the same price. How exactly can you take issue with THAT??

 

People need to stop comparing it to full-size trucks. Isn't competition isn't full-size trucks, it's other MIDSIZE trucks. It's like dissing a Corolla because a similarly equipped Camry is only 4K more. And dissing it because an Avalon is only 5K more. And dissing it because a GS is only 7K more. It's a stupid argument. This truck exists for a very specific reason, to fulfill a very specific role. And it does so spectacularly. If that, combined with the fact it completely up-ended this segment and reinvigorated it doesn't define a great vehicle, Idk what does.

 

Also, if you're going to argue price, let's be realistic about it. A similarly equipped Silverado is $12,000 more than a Colorado. Without incentives, you aren't coming anywhere NEAR a 4K price difference. Even when they are at their best, you're still likely to be a minimum of 5-6 grand off. That's not exactly chump change. When interest is figured in, that's $100+ more a month. Tell someone 100-120 dollars a month difference in payment isn't a big deal..... 

 

Very nicely stated, Frisky Dingo  :D

 

Four months in and I'm still loving my '15 Canyon Crew Cab SLT Long Bed 4WD.  For those of you that have been around a while, you know my ultimate truck is the GMC Sierra.  But as stated above, $100/$120 more per month was the deal killer for me.  So far the wife, who by the way is against pickup trucks for people like me who don't NEED a truck but WANT a truck, is very much in love with my Canyon too.  Have had adults ride in the back seat several times with no major complaints, and my kids (4 & 9 years old) love the Canyon.  I'm glad to have saved myself the $100+ more in payment over a Sierra, but that doesn't mean I still don't want one eventually  :lol:

Edited by GMTruckGuy74

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i wanted a new colorado badly, but when it came down to it the price as optioned was 37k. i worked with the dealer, as we buy nearly every vehicle we own from them, and we just couldnt get close enough to where i wanted to be. the dealer is great and his motto is i want you to be happy whether its a purchase from me or elsewhere. I ended up with a 2014 jeep unlimited. it fit my needs better and the price was more comfortable for me. granted i kept my 04 colorado because a jeep just isnt a truck no matter what, but ultimately, like stated above, the price was the deal breaker and i am sure its the same way for most. In fact at that dealership they have early model 1500's going for what they have the colorados listed for. we are talking 4x4 crew cabs here. they may be LT's but a full size v8 pickup for the same price is hard to turn down...

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I guess it's about as hard to turn down as a well-equipped 335i M Sport for a stripper 528i. Or a Ford Fusion 2.0T Titanium for a Taurus SE. Wranglers drive like $h! compared to a Tacoma even, let alone a Colorado.

 

I'll never understand people's obsession with getting a car that is larger at the expense of features and comfort just to avoid spending similar money on a 'lesser' model. 8 years in the car business, and it's one of the dumbest things I've ever seen, and it happens regularly.

Edited by Frisky Dingo
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I guess it's about as hard to turn down as a well-equipped 335i M Sport for a stripper 528i. Or a Ford Fusion 2.0T Titanium for a Taurus SE. Wranglers drive like $h! compared to a Tacoma even, let alone a Colorado.

 

I'll never understand people's obsession with getting a car that is larger at the expense of features and comfort just to avoid spending similar money on a 'lesser' model. 8 years in the car business, and it's one of the dumbest things I've ever seen, and it happens regularly.

Yup Frisky.

Sometimes we are on the same page...other times...well...lets just say what Boris the Animal always says.

 

Anyway+there+is+obviously+no+point+in+ar

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i test drove a new colorado, ive owned a previous gen 04 colorado since new, and between the 3 its the jeep for me. the steering and handling of the jeep and the new colorado are on par with each other to me, granted i didnt wail on the colorado like i have the jeep cause, you know, i didnt own it. comparing the 2014 unlimited to the 04 z71 colorado i have isnt even fair so i wont do that. im averaging 18-19 mpg's with the jeep which is close to the real world colorado mpg's.

 

as far as the other point i am very much willing to sacrifice creature comforts for a more capable truck. higher torque, higher towing capacity and more room for the same price or less at the expense of say heated seats, touch screen nav, and bluetooth yadda yadda? yeah, i wont shed a tear cause to me i buy trucks to "truck". less to go wrong or fix down the road. I guess im just one of the old hold outs that truck is for work. now if you are talking cars and performance like the bmw analogy, then no you are right thats dumb, but at the end of the day the monthly payment a budget allows is usually what will dictate a purchase.

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i test drove a new colorado, ive owned a previous gen 04 colorado since new, and between the 3 its the jeep for me. the steering and handling of the jeep and the new colorado are on par with each other to me, granted i didnt wail on the colorado like i have the jeep cause, you know, i didnt own it. comparing the 2014 unlimited to the 04 z71 colorado i have isnt even fair so i wont do that. im averaging 18-19 mpg's with the jeep which is close to the real world colorado mpg's.

 

as far as the other point i am very much willing to sacrifice creature comforts for a more capable truck. higher torque, higher towing capacity and more room for the same price or less at the expense of say heated seats, touch screen nav, and bluetooth yadda yadda? yeah, i wont shed a tear cause to me i buy trucks to "truck". less to go wrong or fix down the road. I guess im just one of the old hold outs that truck is for work. now if you are talking cars and performance like the bmw analogy, then no you are right thats dumb, but at the end of the day the monthly payment a budget allows is usually what will dictate a purchase.

 

Fair enough, but my point is that most people have no use for the things a Silverado does better than a Colorado. It had more torque, but it's no quicker. It pulls more, but most people don't tow with their trucks. It's larger, but most people don't need the extra room. I just don't get the appeal of having more of the things you'll never use, but less of the things you will. To each their own, I suppose.

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i test drove a new colorado, ive owned a previous gen 04 colorado since new, and between the 3 its the jeep for me. the steering and handling of the jeep and the new colorado are on par with each other to me, granted i didnt wail on the colorado like i have the jeep cause, you know, i didnt own it. comparing the 2014 unlimited to the 04 z71 colorado i have isnt even fair so i wont do that. im averaging 18-19 mpg's with the jeep which is close to the real world colorado mpg's.

 

as far as the other point i am very much willing to sacrifice creature comforts for a more capable truck. higher torque, higher towing capacity and more room for the same price or less at the expense of say heated seats, touch screen nav, and bluetooth yadda yadda? yeah, i wont shed a tear cause to me i buy trucks to "truck". less to go wrong or fix down the road. I guess im just one of the old hold outs that truck is for work. now if you are talking cars and performance like the bmw analogy, then no you are right thats dumb, but at the end of the day the monthly payment a budget allows is usually what will dictate a purchase.

 

Fair enough, but my point is that most people have no use for the things a Silverado does better than a Colorado. It had more torque, but it's no quicker. It pulls more, but most people don't tow with their trucks. It's larger, but most people don't need the extra room. I just don't get the appeal of having more of the things you'll never use, but less of the things you will. To each their own, I suppose.

 

 

you have a very valid point, i'll not argue that. it is dumb to forgo nicer amenities for the sake of having bigger if you arent going to take advantage of the trade off. i feel like a lot of times im one of the last bastions of seeing a truck for work instead of a second vehicle. i'd hate to pay premium money and tear something up. my ideal truck is still bench vinyl seat, vinyl floor, crew 4wd. heheh i guess thats why my '62 scout 80 and wrangler with power nothing and a 6sp appeal to me so much! trust me if i could have made it work within my budget that rain forest green metallic z71 crew cab colly would be hanging out in my garage for sure!  

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      The Atlas isn’t far behind in handling. Volkswagen’s suspension turning helps keep body roll in check and makes the crossover feel smaller than it actually is. The only weak point is the steering which feels somewhat light when turning. Ride quality is slightly better than the CX-9 as Atlas feels like riding on a magic carpet when driving on bumpy roads. Some of this can be attributed to smaller wheels. There is slightly more wind noise coming inside the cabin.
      Value
      It would be unfair to directly compare these two crossovers due to the large gap in price. Instead, I will be comparing them with the other’s similar trim.
      The 2018 Volkswagen Atlas SE with Technology begins at $35,690 for the 2.0T FWD. With destination, my test car came to $36,615, The Technology adds a lot of desirable features such as three-zone climate control, adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring with rear-cross traffic alert, forward collision warning, and lane departure alert. The Mazda CX-9 Touring is slightly less expensive at $35,995 with destination and matches the Atlas on standard features, including all of the safety kit. But we’re giving the Atlas the slight edge as you do get more space for not that much more money.
      Over at the CX-9, the Grand Touring AWD begins at $42,270. With a couple of options including the Soul Red paint, the as-tested price came to $43,905. The comparable Atlas V6 SEL with 4Motion is only $30 more expensive when you factor in destination. Both come closely matched in terms of equipment with the only differences being the Grand Touring has navigation, while the SEL comes with a panoramic sunroof. This one is a draw as it will come down whether space or luxury is more important to you.
      Verdict
      Coming in second is the Mazda CX-9. It may have the sharpest exterior in the class, a premium interior that could embarrass some luxury cars, and pleasing driving characteristics. But ultimately, the CX-9 falls down on the key thing buyers want; space. It trails most everyone in passenger and cargo space. That is ultimately the price you pay for all of the positives listed. 
      For a first attempt, Volkswagen knocked it out of the park with the Atlas. It is a bit sluggish when leaving a stop and doesn’t have as luxurious of an interior as the CX-9. But Volkswagen gave the Atlas one of the largest interiors of the class, a chassis that balances a smooth ride with excellent body control, impressive fuel economy, and a price that won’t break the bank.
      Both of these crossovers are impressive and worthy of being at the top of the consideration list. But at the end of the day, the Atlas does the three-row crossover better than the CX-9.
      Disclaimer: Mazda and Volkswagen Provided the Vehicles, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2018
      Make: Mazda
      Model: CX-9
      Trim: Grand Touring AWD
      Engine: Turbocharged 2.5L Skyactiv-G Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 227 @ 5,000 (Regular), 250 @ 5,000 (Premium)
      Torque @ RPM: 310 @ 2,000 rpm
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 20/26/23
      Curb Weight: 4,361 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Hiroshima, Japan
      Base Price: $42,470
      As Tested Price: $43,905 (Includes $940.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Soul Red Metallic - $595.00
      Cargo Mat - $100.00
      Year: 2018
      Make: Volkswagen
      Model: Atlas
      Trim: 2.0T SE w/Technology
      Engine: Turbocharged 2.0L DOHC 16-Valve TSI Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 235 @ 4,500
      Torque @ RPM: 258 @ 1,600
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 22/26/24
      Curb Weight: 4,222 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Chattanooga, TN
      Base Price: $35,690
      As Tested Price: $36,615 (Includes $925.00 Destination Charge)
      Options: N/A

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      The three-row full-size crossover has taken the place of large SUVs as the vehicle of choice for growing families. Crossovers offer the tall ride height and large space, but not at the cost of fuel economy and ride quality. Recently, I spent a week in the 2018 Mazda CX-9 and Volkswagen Atlas. These two models could not be any different; one is focused on providing driving enjoyment, while the other is concerned about providing enough space for cargo and passengers. Trying to determine which one was the best would prove to be a difficult task.
      Exterior
      There is no contest between these two when it comes to design as the CX-9 blows the Atlas out of the water. The overall look balances aggressive and elegance traits. For the front, Mazda has angled the clip to give off a sporting profile while a large grille and a set of slim headlights accentuate this. Move around to the side and you’ll notice the CX-9 has quite a long front end and the rear roof pillars are angled slightly forward. These design cues help make the CX-9 look slightly smaller than it actually is.
      Someone once described a Volkswagen vehicle as “looking like a bit of a square, but a posh square.” That’s how I would sum up the Atlas’ design; it is basically a box on wheels. There are some nice touches such as the LED headlights that come standard on all models and chunky fenders. The 18-inch alloy wheels that come with the SE w/Technology look somewhat small on the Atlas, but that is likely due to the large size of the vehicle.
      Interior
      The Atlas’ interior very much follows the ideals of the exterior, which are uncomplicated and utilitarian. While it does fall flat when compared to the CX-9’s luxury design, Volkswagen nails the ergonomics. Most of the controls are within easy reach of driver and passenger. One touch that I really like is the climate control slightly angled upward. Not only does this make it easier to reach, but you can quickly glance down to see the current settings. There is only a small amount of soft-touch material used throughout the Atlas’ interior, the rest being made up of hard plastics. While that is slightly disappointing as other crossovers are adding more soft-touch materials, Volkswagen knows that kids are quite rough to vehicles.
      If there is one benefit to Volkswagen’s plain styling on the outside, it is the massive interior. I haven’t been in such a spacious three-row crossover since the last GM Lambda I drove. Beginning with the third-row, I found that my 5’9” frame actually fit with only my knees just touching the rear of the second-row. Moving the second row slightly forward allows for a little more legroom. Getting in and out of the third-row is very easy as the second-row tilts and moves forward, providing a wide space. This particular tester came with a second-row bench seat. A set of captain chairs are available as an option on SE and above. Sitting back here felt like I was in a limousine with abundant head and legroom. The seats slide and recline which allows passengers to find that right position. The only downside to both rear rows is there isn’t enough padding for long trips. For the front seat, the driver gets a ten-way power seat while the passenger makes do with only a power recline and manual adjustments. No complaints about comfort as the Atlas’ front seats had the right amount of padding and firmness for any trip length.
      The cargo area is quite huge. With all seats up, the Atlas offers 20.6 cubic feet of space. This increases to 55.5 cubic feet when the third-row is folded and 96.8 cubic feet with both rows folded. Only the new Chevrolet Traverse beats the Atlas with measurements of 23, 58.1, and 98.2 cubic feet.
      As a way to differentiate itself from other automakers, Mazda is trying to become more premium. This is clearly evident in the CX-9’s interior. The dash is beautiful with contouring used throughout, and a mixture of brushed aluminum and soft-touch plastics with a grain texture. If I were to cover up the Mazda badge on the steering wheel and ask you to identify the brand, you might think it was from a German automaker. Ergonomics aren’t quite as good as the Atlas as you have to reach for certain controls like those for the climate system.
      The CX-9’s front seats don’t feel quite as spacious when compared to the Atlas with a narrow cockpit and the rakish exterior are to blame. Still, most drivers should be able to find a position that works. The seats themselves have a sporting edge with increased side bolstering and firm cushions. I found the seats to be quite comfortable and didn’t have issues of not having enough support. Moving to the second row, Mazda only offers a bench seat configuration. This is disappointing considering all of the CX-9’s competitors offer captain chairs as an option. There is more than enough legroom for most passengers, but those six-feet and above will find headroom to be a bit tight. Getting into the third-row is slightly tough. Like the Atlas, the CX-9’s second row slides and tilts to allow access. But space is noticeably smaller and does require some gymnastics to pass through. Once seated, I found it to be quite cramped with little head and legroom. This is best reserved for small kids.
      Cargo area is another weak point to the CX-9. With both back seats up, there is only 14.4 cubic feet. This puts it behind most of the competition aside from the GMC Acadia which has 12.8. It doesn’t get any better when the seats are folded. With the third-row down, the CX-9 has 38.2 cubic feet. Fold down the second-row and it expands to 71.2 cubic feet. To use the GMC Acadia again, it offers 41.7 cubic feet when the third-row is folded and rises to 79 with both rows. Keep in mind, the Acadia is about six inches shorter than the CX-9.
      Infotainment
      All CX-9’s come equipped with the Mazda Connect infotainment system. The base Sport comes with a 7-inch touchscreen, while the Touring and above use a larger 8-inch screen. A rotary knob and set of redundant buttons on the center console control the system. Using Mazda Connect is a bit of a mixed bag. The interface is beginning to look a bit dated with the use of dark colors and a dull screen. Trying to use the touchscreen is an exercise in frustration as it is not easy to tell which parts are touch-enabled and not. On the upside, moving around Mazda Connect is a breeze when using the knob and buttons. Currently, Mazda doesn’t offer Apple CarPlay or Android Auto compatibility. Thankfully, this is being remedied with the 2019 model as Touring models and above will come with both.
      For the Atlas, Volkswagen offers three different systems. A 6.5-inch touchscreen is standard on the S. Moving up to either the SE, SE w/Technology, or SEL nets you an 8-inch screen. The top line SEL Premium adds navigation to the 8-inch system. All of the systems feature Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. The current Volkswagen system is one of the easiest to use thanks in part to intuitive menu structure and quick responses. Moving through menus or presets is easy as the system reacts to the swiping gesture like you would do on your smartphone. There are a couple of downsides to the Volkswagen system. One is there is no haptic feedback when pressing the shortcut buttons on either side of the screen. Also, the glass surface becomes littered with fingerprints very quickly. 
      I did have an issue with the system when trying to use Apple CarPlay. At times, applications such as Spotify would freeze up. I could exit out to the CarPlay interface, but was unable to get the apps unfrozen until I shut the vehicle off. After resetting my iPhone, this problem went away. This leaves me wondering how much of this problem was with my phone and not the infotainment system.
      Powertrain
      Both of these crossovers are equipped with turbocharged four-cylinder engines. The CX-9 has a 2.5L producing either 227 or 250 (on premium fuel) horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. The Atlas has a 2.0L producing 235 horsepower and 258 pound-feet. An optional 3.6L V6 with 276 horsepower is available for the Atlas. For the Mazda, power is routed to a six-speed automatic and the choice of front or all-wheel drive. The Volkswagen makes do with an eight-speed automatic and front-wheel drive only. If you want AWD, you need the V6.
      Thanks to its higher torque figure, the CX-9 leaves the Atlas in the dust. There is barely any lag coming from the turbo-four. Instead, it delivers a linear throttle response and a steady stream of power.  NVH levels are noticeably quieter than the Atlas’ turbo-four. The six-speed automatic delivers seamless shifts and is quick to downshift when you need extra power such as merging.
      The turbo-four in the Atlas seems slightly overwhelmed at first. When leaving a stop, I found that there was a fair amount of turbo-lag. This is only exacerbated if the stop-start system is turned on. Once the turbo was spooling, the four-cylinder did a surprising job of moving the 4,222 pound Atlas with no issue. Stab the throttle and the engine comes into life, delivering a smooth and constant stream of power. The eight-speed automatic provided quick and smooth shifts, although it was sometimes hesitant to downshift when more power was called for.
      Fuel Economy
      Both of these models are close in fuel economy. EPA says the CX-9 AWD should return 20 City/26 Highway/23 Combined, while the Atlas 2.0T will get 22/26/24. During the week, the CX-9 returned 22.5 mpg in mostly city driving and the Atlas got 27.3 mpg with a 60/40 mix of highway and city driving. The eight-speed transmission in the Atlas makes a huge difference.
      Ride & Handling
      The CX-9 is clearly the driver’s choice. On a winding road, the crossover feels quite nimble thanks to a well-tuned suspension. There is a slight amount of body roll due to the tall ride height, but nothing that will sway your confidence. Steering has some heft when turning and feels quite responsive. Despite the firm suspension, the CX-9’s ride is supple enough to iron out most bumps. Only large imperfections and bumps would make their way inside. Barely any wind and road noise made it inside the cabin.
      The Atlas isn’t far behind in handling. Volkswagen’s suspension turning helps keep body roll in check and makes the crossover feel smaller than it actually is. The only weak point is the steering which feels somewhat light when turning. Ride quality is slightly better than the CX-9 as Atlas feels like riding on a magic carpet when driving on bumpy roads. Some of this can be attributed to smaller wheels. There is slightly more wind noise coming inside the cabin.
      Value
      It would be unfair to directly compare these two crossovers due to the large gap in price. Instead, I will be comparing them with the other’s similar trim.
      The 2018 Volkswagen Atlas SE with Technology begins at $35,690 for the 2.0T FWD. With destination, my test car came to $36,615, The Technology adds a lot of desirable features such as three-zone climate control, adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring with rear-cross traffic alert, forward collision warning, and lane departure alert. The Mazda CX-9 Touring is slightly less expensive at $35,995 with destination and matches the Atlas on standard features, including all of the safety kit. But we’re giving the Atlas the slight edge as you do get more space for not that much more money.
      Over at the CX-9, the Grand Touring AWD begins at $42,270. With a couple of options including the Soul Red paint, the as-tested price came to $43,905. The comparable Atlas V6 SEL with 4Motion is only $30 more expensive when you factor in destination. Both come closely matched in terms of equipment with the only differences being the Grand Touring has navigation, while the SEL comes with a panoramic sunroof. This one is a draw as it will come down whether space or luxury is more important to you.
      Verdict
      Coming in second is the Mazda CX-9. It may have the sharpest exterior in the class, a premium interior that could embarrass some luxury cars, and pleasing driving characteristics. But ultimately, the CX-9 falls down on the key thing buyers want; space. It trails most everyone in passenger and cargo space. That is ultimately the price you pay for all of the positives listed. 
      For a first attempt, Volkswagen knocked it out of the park with the Atlas. It is a bit sluggish when leaving a stop and doesn’t have as luxurious of an interior as the CX-9. But Volkswagen gave the Atlas one of the largest interiors of the class, a chassis that balances a smooth ride with excellent body control, impressive fuel economy, and a price that won’t break the bank.
      Both of these crossovers are impressive and worthy of being at the top of the consideration list. But at the end of the day, the Atlas does the three-row crossover better than the CX-9.
      Disclaimer: Mazda and Volkswagen Provided the Vehicles, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2018
      Make: Mazda
      Model: CX-9
      Trim: Grand Touring AWD
      Engine: Turbocharged 2.5L Skyactiv-G Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 227 @ 5,000 (Regular), 250 @ 5,000 (Premium)
      Torque @ RPM: 310 @ 2,000 rpm
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 20/26/23
      Curb Weight: 4,361 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Hiroshima, Japan
      Base Price: $42,470
      As Tested Price: $43,905 (Includes $940.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Soul Red Metallic - $595.00
      Cargo Mat - $100.00
      Year: 2018
      Make: Volkswagen
      Model: Atlas
      Trim: 2.0T SE w/Technology
      Engine: Turbocharged 2.0L DOHC 16-Valve TSI Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 235 @ 4,500
      Torque @ RPM: 258 @ 1,600
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 22/26/24
      Curb Weight: 4,222 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Chattanooga, TN
      Base Price: $35,690
      As Tested Price: $36,615 (Includes $925.00 Destination Charge)
      Options: N/A
    • By William Maley
      Chevrolet is expanding the availability of the 6.2L V8 for the Tahoe and Suburban through a new special edition.
      The 2019 Tahoe and Suburban Premier Plus brings forth the 420 horsepower V8 engine, along with a 10-speed automatic and the Magnetic Ride Control suspension. To set it apart from other trims, the Premier Plus adds some special luxury touches such as two-tone black and mahogany interior, heated and ventilated seats, heads-up display, chrome power steps, and 22-inch wheels.
      “Our customers have shown strong demand for both Tahoe and Suburban with the 6.2L V-8 option. Thirty-six percent of all Chevy full-size SUV special edition models are now sold with this engine. Premier Plus gives both Suburban and Tahoe customers another option to choose from with several added premium touches,” said Sandor Piszar, Chevrolet’s head of truck marketing and advertising in a statement.
      The Premier Plus models are quite pricey. The Tahoe Premier Plus begins at $75,395, and the Suburban Premier Plus kicks off at $78,195 - prices include a $1,295 destination charge. Production begins later this summer.
      Source: Chevrolet
      CHEVROLET INTRODUCES TAHOE AND SUBURBAN PREMIER PLUS SPECIAL EDITIONS
      DETROIT — Due to customer demand, Chevrolet is expanding the availability of the 6.2L V-8 engine within its full-size SUV lineup by introducing the Tahoe and Suburban Premier Plus special editions.   
      The 6.2L V-8 was first made available in the Chevy full-size SUV lineup on the 2018 Tahoe RST 6.2L Performance Package. The engine recently debuted on the 2019 Suburban RST 6.2L Performance Package, which is now on sale at Chevrolet dealerships nationwide.
      All Premier Plus edition Chevy full-size SUVs, as well as RST Premier models with the optional 6.2L Performance Package, also feature Magnetic Ride Control with performance calibration and a Hydra-Matic 10-speed automatic transmission.
      “Our customers have shown strong demand for both Tahoe and Suburban with the 6.2L V-8 option,” said Sandor Piszar, director of Chevrolet Trucks Marketing and Advertising. “Thirty-six percent of all Chevy full-size SUV special edition models are now sold with this engine. Premier Plus gives both Suburban and Tahoe customers another option to choose from with several added premium touches.”
      The 2019 Tahoe and Suburban Premier Plus editions feature a unique interior with heated and ventilated Black/Mahogany-colored leather-appointed front seats against a Jet Black trim surround. This premium two-tone interior and 22-inch polished wheels make their first appearance in Chevy’s full-size SUV lineup with the Premier Plus special editions.
      Other features include gold Chevrolet “bowtie” logos, chrome nameplate badging, a head-up display and 8-inch diagonal cluster, cross rails, chrome power steps and exhaust tip and a Chevrolet-branded cargo organizer.
      Connectivity is provided by a standard 4G LTE Wi-Fi1 hotspot, and the Premier Plus package includes a 12-month data plan.
      The available 6.2L V-8 is capable of 420 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque. The engine delivers three state-of-the-art technologies — direct injection, Active Fuel Management and continuously variable valve timing — to make the most of power, torque and efficiency across a broad range of operating conditions.
      The 10-speed automatic transmission offers smaller steps between each ratio to maximize engine power under acceleration. With a wide 7.39 overall gear ratio spread and lower numerical top gear ratio, the transmission also reduces engine revolutions at highway speeds.
      Magnetic Ride Control is an active suspension that “reads” the road every millisecond, triggering damping changes in the electronically controlled shock absorbers in as few as 10-15 milliseconds. As a result, the suspension delivers improved body-motion control during cornering and a more comfortable ride while cruising.
      The 2019 Chevrolet Tahoe Premier Plus will start with an MSRP of $74,100 plus a $1,295 destination charge, while the 2019 Chevrolet Suburban Premier Plus will start at $76,900 with a $1,295 destination charge. (MSRP excludes tax, title, license, dealer fees and optional equipment.)
      Both Premier Plus full-size SUVs are also available to Costco members at GM supplier pricing with a $4,500 Costco member incentive2. Costco Gold Star and Business Members who purchase the vehicle through participating dealers and complete a Costco Auto Program survey are also eligible for a $300 Costco Cash Card, while Executive Members are eligible for a $700 Costco Cash Card.
      The exclusive Costco member value package is only available on 5,000 vehicles. Costco offer is not compatible with any other GM incentives. To qualify, customers must be a member by Oct. 1, 2018, and take delivery between, Oct. 2, 2018, and Jan. 2, 2019.

      The 2019 Tahoe and Suburban Premier Plus can be ordered from Chevrolet dealers now, with production beginning in mid-August.

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      Chevrolet is expanding the availability of the 6.2L V8 for the Tahoe and Suburban through a new special edition.
      The 2019 Tahoe and Suburban Premier Plus brings forth the 420 horsepower V8 engine, along with a 10-speed automatic and the Magnetic Ride Control suspension. To set it apart from other trims, the Premier Plus adds some special luxury touches such as two-tone black and mahogany interior, heated and ventilated seats, heads-up display, chrome power steps, and 22-inch wheels.
      “Our customers have shown strong demand for both Tahoe and Suburban with the 6.2L V-8 option. Thirty-six percent of all Chevy full-size SUV special edition models are now sold with this engine. Premier Plus gives both Suburban and Tahoe customers another option to choose from with several added premium touches,” said Sandor Piszar, Chevrolet’s head of truck marketing and advertising in a statement.
      The Premier Plus models are quite pricey. The Tahoe Premier Plus begins at $75,395, and the Suburban Premier Plus kicks off at $78,195 - prices include a $1,295 destination charge. Production begins later this summer.
      Source: Chevrolet
      CHEVROLET INTRODUCES TAHOE AND SUBURBAN PREMIER PLUS SPECIAL EDITIONS
      DETROIT — Due to customer demand, Chevrolet is expanding the availability of the 6.2L V-8 engine within its full-size SUV lineup by introducing the Tahoe and Suburban Premier Plus special editions.   
      The 6.2L V-8 was first made available in the Chevy full-size SUV lineup on the 2018 Tahoe RST 6.2L Performance Package. The engine recently debuted on the 2019 Suburban RST 6.2L Performance Package, which is now on sale at Chevrolet dealerships nationwide.
      All Premier Plus edition Chevy full-size SUVs, as well as RST Premier models with the optional 6.2L Performance Package, also feature Magnetic Ride Control with performance calibration and a Hydra-Matic 10-speed automatic transmission.
      “Our customers have shown strong demand for both Tahoe and Suburban with the 6.2L V-8 option,” said Sandor Piszar, director of Chevrolet Trucks Marketing and Advertising. “Thirty-six percent of all Chevy full-size SUV special edition models are now sold with this engine. Premier Plus gives both Suburban and Tahoe customers another option to choose from with several added premium touches.”
      The 2019 Tahoe and Suburban Premier Plus editions feature a unique interior with heated and ventilated Black/Mahogany-colored leather-appointed front seats against a Jet Black trim surround. This premium two-tone interior and 22-inch polished wheels make their first appearance in Chevy’s full-size SUV lineup with the Premier Plus special editions.
      Other features include gold Chevrolet “bowtie” logos, chrome nameplate badging, a head-up display and 8-inch diagonal cluster, cross rails, chrome power steps and exhaust tip and a Chevrolet-branded cargo organizer.
      Connectivity is provided by a standard 4G LTE Wi-Fi1 hotspot, and the Premier Plus package includes a 12-month data plan.
      The available 6.2L V-8 is capable of 420 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque. The engine delivers three state-of-the-art technologies — direct injection, Active Fuel Management and continuously variable valve timing — to make the most of power, torque and efficiency across a broad range of operating conditions.
      The 10-speed automatic transmission offers smaller steps between each ratio to maximize engine power under acceleration. With a wide 7.39 overall gear ratio spread and lower numerical top gear ratio, the transmission also reduces engine revolutions at highway speeds.
      Magnetic Ride Control is an active suspension that “reads” the road every millisecond, triggering damping changes in the electronically controlled shock absorbers in as few as 10-15 milliseconds. As a result, the suspension delivers improved body-motion control during cornering and a more comfortable ride while cruising.
      The 2019 Chevrolet Tahoe Premier Plus will start with an MSRP of $74,100 plus a $1,295 destination charge, while the 2019 Chevrolet Suburban Premier Plus will start at $76,900 with a $1,295 destination charge. (MSRP excludes tax, title, license, dealer fees and optional equipment.)
      Both Premier Plus full-size SUVs are also available to Costco members at GM supplier pricing with a $4,500 Costco member incentive2. Costco Gold Star and Business Members who purchase the vehicle through participating dealers and complete a Costco Auto Program survey are also eligible for a $300 Costco Cash Card, while Executive Members are eligible for a $700 Costco Cash Card.
      The exclusive Costco member value package is only available on 5,000 vehicles. Costco offer is not compatible with any other GM incentives. To qualify, customers must be a member by Oct. 1, 2018, and take delivery between, Oct. 2, 2018, and Jan. 2, 2019.

      The 2019 Tahoe and Suburban Premier Plus can be ordered from Chevrolet dealers now, with production beginning in mid-August.
    • By William Maley
      Yesterday, we brought forth some spy photos of a new GMC subcompact crossover. At the time, we couldn't be certain to this as the two mules caught were under a lot of camouflage. But today we are confident in this as a fresh set of spy photos have come in revealing next Buick Encore and Chevrolet Trax.
      Both of the mules seen in the photos were caught testing on General Motors' proving grounds outside of Detroit. The Encore appears to be taking the evolutionary approach with its redesign. There is still the rounded shape and rising glass on the rear doors. A similar grille design to the Regal is up front. Chevrolet is taking a more drastic approach with the next Trax. The frumpy styling of the current model is out and a design inspired by the new Blazer is in. We can make out the split headlight arrangement and a large grille for the front. Other details that jump out include a wide hood and sharp corners.
      Its unclear whether or not both models will still use Gamma-2 or transition to the VSS-S architecture.
      Source: Autoblog, Motor1

      View full article
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