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Top Ten Things I Learned Reviewing Automobiles in 2013 27
Dec
Posted by Chris Brewer in 2013 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 S, 2014 Chevrolet Corvette, 2014 Corvette Stingray, Auto Addiction, Automotive, BMW M3, BMW M3 Lime Rock Park Edition, Cadillac CTS, Chevrolet Volt, convertible, Corvette Stingray, Porsche-911, Scion FR-S, Scion tC, Stingray, Technical, Toyota Avalon, Toyota Avalon Hybrid, Toyota Sienna, Volt on 12 27th, 2013
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1. Although a few buttons on the steering wheel are convenient, more than six is confusing and makes you feel like you are riding around in one of those hover chairs in the second half of Wall-E.

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2014 Cadillac CTS 3.6L Performance Collection Review and Test Drive

 

 

2. Speaking of…a contrasting-color-stitched-leather-wrapped-ergonomic-racing-inspired steering wheel may not make the car drive any faster or handle any better, but it sure feels like it does.

2014 Scion tC

Toyota Returns to the Spirit of the 70′s Import Sports Car: The 2014 Scion tC

 

 

3. While illuminated shift knobs look cool, they are not a necessary upgrade. On the other hand, radar or assisted cruise control is totally worth the extra cash.

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2013 Toyota Avalon Limited Hybrid Review and Test Drive

 

 

4. Nobody cares about gas mileage on the first day of a week-long car review. Everybody cares about gas mileage on the sixth day.

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2013 Chevy Volt Quick Driving Impressions

 

 

5. You do not always get what you pay for. There are cars that cost less than $30k that I would rather own and drive than many that I have driven that cost $60k plus. 

2013 Scion FR-S 10 Series

First Drive: 2013 Scion FR-S Review – Hype Approved

 

 

6. The more fun a car is to drive, the less chance you have of getting a ticket for being on your smart phone.

2013-bmw-m3-lime-rock-park-edition-front-22013 BMW M3 Lime Rock Park Edition Review and Test Drive

 

7. Although I am a standard transmission kind of guy, many of the new automatics are simply amazing. I do not care if you are a professional rally driver, no one can shift as quickly and efficiently as the PDK automated manual transmission in the 2013 Porsche 911 Carrera S.

2013-porsche-911-c4s-dashboard2013 Porche 911 Carrera 4s Cabriolet Driving Impressions

 

8. Even though it probably will not get any thumbs up at the traffic light, the Toyota Sienna mini-van is a nice way to drive your entire family around town or on long trips.

 

9. Driving the new 2014 Corvette Stingray makes you proud to be an American.

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2014 Chevrolet Corvette C7 Stingray Quick Spin & First Impressions

 

10. If your ten-year-old daughter tells you that there is no back seat, it does not matter what the manufacturer claims, those seat belts are simply there to hold groceries in place under hard braking.

2013-porsche-911-c4s-interior2013 Porche 911 Carrera 4s Cabriolet Driving Impressions



2013 Chevrolet Volt Quick Driving Impressions 18
Jul
Posted by Malcolm Hogan in Automotive, Chevrolet, Chevrolet Volt, Chevy Volt, Electric, hybrid, Test Drives, Volt on 07 18th, 2013
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The new 2013 Chevrolet Volt carries on its efficient duties with the addition of a few new features that add to its versatile and innovative electrified platform. The new 2013 Volt also continues its substantial compliance on the road much like any other midsized or compact sedan virtually streamlining its electric powertrain and gasoline engine generator.

The public has learned much about the Chevy Volt recently where its image is getting more polished each year with slight improvements. The saying goes that it can only get better and Chevrolet has done just that, made the Volt even better even when pitted against its mainstream competition.

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The 2013 Chevrolet Volt receives a new Hold feature adding to the Sport, Normal and Mountain drive modes. The new Hold feature basically holds the battery charge and only utilizes power generated from the 1.4-liter gasoline engine stored in a temporary battery buffer. Essentially, using the Hold feature will allow you to retain all of the wall-charged energy in the new 16.5 kWh lithium-ion battery pack. Previous year Volts included just a 16.0 kWh battery. The new slightly higher capacity boosts the range to an average of 38 total miles solely on a full electric charge. Adding to the total range is the Volt’s ability to utilize the batteries hi-tech-controlled buffer where power is generated from its gasoline engine fed by a 9.3 gallon gas tank.

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My drive in the new 2013 Chevrolet Volt consisted of a nice mix of highway and densely populated city driving with relatively light traffic. I was able to muster out a total of 43 miles from a fully-charged battery. In all 43 miles I used the air-conditioner and lights as my drive approached sunset. The normal drive mode was used about half of my drive while the other half sport drive mode appeased me most. I took special note to the sport mode advancing the throttle position for a bit more response, something enthusiasts would take pleasure in. The over-night charge (est. 10.5 hours) before my drive used the one of the new selectable charge modes in the faster 12 amps mode vs. the reduced 8 amps mode.  Of course using the updated 120-volt wall-charger I noticed a much cooler plug when compared to my review of the 2012 and 2011 model-year Volts.

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Some have demonstrated more than 50 miles on a single full charge in the new Volt exclusively using the battery charge capacity. General Motors claims users will see on average of 38 miles on a full charge. As you can imagine, that figure can sway greatly dependent on driving conditions and usage of power accessories such as the climate control. After depleting the battery charge, or using the hold feature exclusively, you will expect to get an average of 37 mpg. I saw just that during my drive with my best figure being 45 mpg and worst coming in at 32 mpg. The 32 mpg figure was due to driving up a few tall bridges and driving ‘slightly above’ posted interstate speed limits. Amazingly, there is a exponential diminishing return when you start to approach 80 mph and eventually topping out at the Volt’s 101 mph electronically controlled top speed. Of course, I found its top speed while on a closed course I was able to use for half an hour. What an experience having this extended range electric vehicle out on a closed course.

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The ride quality of the new 2013 Chevy Volt seemed to be a bit more compliant than previous years. I attempted to find additional information on any spring rate or damper changes but could not confirm any definitive data. With that said, the 2013 Chevy Volt rides great for its weight and feels well-balanced. Though, the ultra-efficient low-rolling-resistant tires are prone to screeching at any moderate to hard turn-in exhibiting an abundance of understeer at the mercy of stability control working overtime.

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The instant torque from the electric motor, a full 273 ft-lbs. available from a start, really makes the Volt come to life especially in the mix of heavy traffic and highway cruising. Over-all power produced from the electric motor is only 149 horsepower but really rests on its torque figure to get things in motion. You may not win many drag races but you sure can get a jump off of the line and out of the hole with ease having an all-electric platform to propel the vehicle.

Concluding the new features added for the 2013 Volt is a new lane-departure and forward collision warning system. Of course potential California Volt owners can now rejoice due to the Volt receiving a low-emissions package so they may legally travel in the carpool lanes no matter how many occupants are in the vehicle.

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The new 2013 Chevrolet Volt is a factual marvel no matter how you want to slice its innovative drivetrain, complex vehicle management programming all combined to make it a seamless driving experience. The lofty initial pricetag starting at $39,149 before the $7,500 tax credit is probably one of the unattractive aspects of the Volt. Though, adding in the tax credit makes all of the difference in the world for the true economical-minded. With that in mind, the Volt, for some, could very well be a good value and foundational emergence into the future of what is to come from extended –range electric and alternative power vehicles. The as-tested price of my loaded test vehicle came in at $45,540 including a $850 destination charge. Still, a definite a winner in my book… after the tax credit.

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Copyright: 2013 AutomotiveAddicts.com

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Price: Base Volt $39,145 As-Tested $45,540 *without $7,500 federal tax credit
  • Engine/Motor: 1.4-liter 4-cylinder (acting generator) & 2-motor electric – 149 horsepower 273 pounds-feet torque (instantaneous)
  • Drive: FWD (Front-Wheel-Drive)
  • Wheelbase: 105.7in.
  • Total length: 177.1in.
  • Total width: 70.4in.
  • Total height: 56.6in.
  • Track: f/r-61.2/62.1in.
  • Headroom: f/r-37.8/36.0in.
  • Legroom: f/r-42.1/34.1in.
  • MPG est.: 95 mpg city/93 mpg highway – *all contingent on a charged battery – AutomotiveAddicts.com fully-depleted battery estimates: 41 mpg city/37 mpg highway
  • Fuel tank: 9.3 gallons
  • 0-60mph: 8.9 seconds
  • EPA cargo volume: 10.6 cu.ft.
  • Curb Weight: 3,781


2012 Chevrolet Volt Review & Test Drive 7
Dec
Posted by Malcolm Hogan in 2012 Chevy Volt, Automotive, Chevrolet, Chevrolet Volt, Chevy Volt, Electric, featured, hybrid, Test Drives, Volt on 12 7th, 2011

The all-new 2012 Chevrolet Volt has entered into its second year of production remaining mostly unchanged with the exception of a few tweaks. Having been on American roads for a year now, the new Volt continues to be among most fuel efficient cars on the market.

The debate continues on whether the Volt is a verifiable hybrid, electric car or just what some of the more car-centric techie folks refer to as a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. Either way, the Volt has embarked on a lonely road. This very road is well-traveled if you are one of the lucky owners of General Motor’s most technologically advanced vehicle yet.

I reviewed the 2011 Chevrolet Volt earlier this year with a clear open mind spilling copious amounts of data. This year, after many breakthrough but friendly debates with other automotive journalists, I start to come to an understandable conclusion of the Volt’s long-term effectiveness and general perception from the public. The new Chevrolet Volt is a well-built 4-passenger plug-in hybrid electric vehicle in a class of its own that anyone can drive and appreciate.

The all-new 2012 Chevrolet Volt enters into its second production year carrying over the same design but adding new standard features such as an updated keyless ignition/entry system. The new keyless entry system adds front door buttons for quick keyless unlocking and locking. Other changes include putting the previously standard (for 2011) Navigation and Bose stereo system packages on the options list. I also took note to a traction control disable button on the roof panel which could not be found on the 2011 model.

If you are not all familiar with the Chevrolet Volt, then it can be easily understood if you think of it as an electric vehicle with a gas-powered generator that keeps electricity pumping when the battery becomes depleted. Although the Volt is a much more complex object, to the driver everything is simplified to the point that you can jump in and drive to any destination that a paved road will take you. In other words, if you are in within 300 miles of a gas station, then you will have no issues reaching your destination as fast as you can legally drive.

On the flip side of things, the new Volt can be used solely as an electric car giving drivers a range of 25 to 50 miles on a fully charged battery without using a drop of gasoline. Once the battery power is 70% depleted, the small 1.4-liter four-cylinder gas engine kicks in as a power source for the electric motor.

I found my new 2012 Volt, after depleting the usable battery range, still kicking over to battery power under low-speed conditions. Most times, such as when stopping at a stop light, the engine kicks off to save gas much like a hybrid would. The major difference in the electric motor drivetrain in the Volt versus a hybrid is the Volt’s 111 kilowatt 149 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque electric motor powering the front wheels. The robust electric motor handles all of the duty of propelling the 3,781 pound vehicle. The internal-combustion gas powered engine does not provide power to the wheels except under rare high-speed conditions through planetary gear-set.

Aside from educating consumers on how the Chevrolet Volt operates, you must know that Chevrolet has created a perfect blend between a hybrid and electric car. The new 2012 Chevy Volt takes the best of both worlds and masks hard-working components under sleek sheet metal and driver information displays.

The all-new 2012 Chevrolet Volt has a relaxed ride where the suspension seems to be a bit on the soft side. Power output comes on instantly, hence the instant 273 ft-lbs. of torque available from the electric motor. This gives the Volt an edge when power is immediately demanded. Unfortunately, with only 149 horsepower, the power seems to flatten out as you reach cruising speeds at full throttle. Of course the Volt is no drag racing machine by any means, but it could benefit from a bit more horsepower to keep that burst of power momentum going. The Volt’s handling abilities are predictable and over-all the vehicle feels somewhat balanced. Braking, off-braking and deceleration engagement feels like any other gas-powered vehicle with a torque converter and automatic transmission. General Motors went over the Volt’s power management and control system with a fine tooth comb that it gives a driver an experience not much different from other cars.

As far as any new software updates, the new 2012 Chevrolet Volt does not drive different from the previous 2011 model year. If GM made any changes in power management, they are unnoticeable. I did notice that the electric range seemed to have improved slightly where I was able to get 39 miles from a full charge versus the 2011 Volt’s test of 34 miles earlier this year with similar driving conditions.

On the inside things are ultra quiet until the slight buzzing hum of the 4-cylinder engine kicks in when charging power is needed. It is a rather odd feeling when you cruise at highway speeds and the gas engine is mostly out-of-sync with the position of the gas pedal. If you ever demand acceleration power, don’t be alarmed to hear an abrupt acceleration of the gas engine attempting to recuperate used battery energy.

When the new Volt is running exclusively off of battery power, things tend to get quiet to the point that pedestrians may not hear the Volt creeping up on them in a parking lot. For that reason, GM has a dedicated “horn twiddle” or what is called a pedestrian friendly alert. Essentially the alert, accessed by a button on the turn-signal stalk, softly chirps the horn as to not startle pedestrians but instead cautiously warn them of your presence. On the older 2011 Volt, the pedestrian alert was activated together with the headlight flasher instead of being a separate function found in the new 2012 model.

The new 2012 Chevrolet Volt’s interior remains mostly unchanged. The touch-sensitive center-stack buttons look to be larger than the 2011 model but still take a while to get used to even if you are a pro at using your iPhone or other touch device. Simply put, you will end up at some point and time mistakenly pressing buttons. The audible button feedback is a necessity as it is a confirmation of the touch-sensitive buttons being depressed.

The four seating configuration is fine for 4 adults but do not expect to have left-over space to for more than 4 large bags in the rear hatch. The leather bucket seats offer excellent support. The padding for the seats is a bit on the thin side but remain to be comfy enough for a 300-plus mile trip.

The new 2012 Chevy Volt gives the driver enough viable data to make on-the-fly driving style adjustments for the sake of conserving battery power. One can even put the A/C or heat into an ECO mode to conserve energy. Basically all vehicle equipment runs off of the main battery’s power so every bit of energy conservation adds to your electric range provided you have charged the Volt beforehand.

Estimated charging times can be accessed at anytime for either the supplied 120 volt portable charger cord or via an optional 240 volt station charger. Charging times for the standard 120 volt charger take about 9 hours while the optional $490 240 volt station charger takes only 4 hours.

Owning a new 2012 Chevrolet Volt will put you in a league of your own in knowing that you get on average of 93 mpg. That figure is attainable if you factor in several full charges. On gas alone you will expect to get about 37 mpg, which was precisely my figure for around town gas-only driving. However, I did manage to considerably lessen my mpg figure to about 32 mpg following a several abrupt stops and starts just as an inquisitive test.

Modestly priced at a base price of $39,145 you get a fairly good deal if you consider the $7,500 tax incentive for the purchase of the Volt. My test vehicle was fully loaded with Bose audio, hard-drive based Navigation, heated leather seats up front and review camera/park assist. The as-tested price of my 2012 Chevrolet Volt came in at $45,170.

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Copyright: 2011 AutomotiveAddicts.com

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Price: Base Volt $39,145 As-Tested $43,485 *without $7,500 federal tax credit
  • Engine/Motor: 1.4-liter 4-cylinder (acting generator) & 2-motor electric – 149 horsepower 273 pounds-feet torque (instantaneous)
  • Drive: FWD (Front-Wheel-Drive)
  • Wheelbase: 105.7in.
  • Total length: 177.1in.
  • Total width: 70.4in.
  • Total height: 56.6in.
  • Track: f/r-61.2/62.1in.
  • Headroom: f/r-37.8/36.0in.
  • Legroom: f/r-42.1/34.1in.
  • MPG est.: 95 mpg city/93 mpg highway – *all contingent on a charged battery – AutomotiveAddicts.com fully-depleted battery estimates: 41 mpg city/37 mpg highway
  • Fuel tank: 9.3 gallons
  • 0-60mph: 8.9 seconds
  • EPA cargo volume: 10.6 cu.ft.
  • Curb Weight: 3,781


First Lot of 350 Chevy Volts Heads for US Dealerships 16
Dec
Posted by Alex Ion in Automotive News, Chevy, Detroit Public Schools, electric vehicle, ev, Green Auto, Volt on 12 16th, 2010

So the Chevy Volts have started reaching for the dealerships.  Though it might take time till next year for a full roll out,  the first lot of 350 Volt EVs has hit the road to dealerships in California, Texas, Washington DC and New York.

Apart from this development, we also hear that the  first retail Volt has been auctioned off for $225,000.

Though the details of the first bidder have not yet been made public, GM has said that the proceeds of the auction will go to the Detroit Public Schools Foundation to support math and science education.

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The roll-out of the Volts to dealerships marks an important day in the history of electric vehicles, and for Chevrolet in particular. Hope to see more Volts hitting the tarmac soon.



Volt/Ampera Next-gen Offerings to Add More Appeal 8
Dec
Posted by Alex Ion in Ampera, Astra, Automotive News, Chevrolet, crossover vehicles, electric cars, GM, Upcoming Events, Volt, Volt/Ampera on 12 8th, 2010

With the unveiling of the next-generation Chevrolet Volt (Opel / Vauxhall Ampera) soon, General Motors plans to bombard the auto world with a significant extended-range offensive.

The spectacular demand that is in place for the Volt/Ampera has caused the company to slow down on adding more variants.

With the next-generation launches, the company will be able to add more production facilities that will enable them to introduce a sub-brand of the Volt/Ampera. This move will introduce three models to the market – an Astra-sized hatchback, a bigger version of the current Volt/Ampera and a crossover.

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Officials at GM say that the new cars coming out as next generation variants will definitely be cheaper and simultaneously offer a longer electric range. Pricing is also likely to become even more competitive with governments in many countries offering incentives for electric vehicles.

(Via WCF)



Chevrolet Brings On Best Battery Warranty Ever 16
Jul
Posted by Alex Ion in Automotive News, battery, battery warranty, Chevrolet, Chevrolet Volt, Volt on 07 16th, 2010

General Motors brand Chevrolet has announced the most comprehensive battery warranty ever by an automaker. It offers an 8-year, 100,000 mile (160,000 km) warranty on the battery for the Chevy Volt model. The key part of the warranty is that it will cover all 161 parts of the Volt power-pack. The warranty is transferable to new owners of the vehicle free of charge.

The Chevy Volt is an extended-range, all-electric vehicle. Powered by an electric motor producing 112 kW (150 bhp) and 273 lb-ft (370 Nm), the car can run up to 40 miles (65 km) on electrical power alone. After this distance is covered, a small gasoline engine kicks in, which serves as a generator to charge the 16-kWh lithium-ion battery and extend the range to about 340 miles (547 km).

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Sources at the company say the Volt’s battery has been performing exceptionally and they are keen to show the trust they have in its excellence. The Volt is to go into production later this year and will be on sale in the U.S. and Europe in 2011.

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Vauxhall Ampera teams up with supermodel Erin O’Connor for London showcase 1
Jul
Posted by Alex Ion in Ampera, Automotive News, Chevrolet Volt, Erin OConner, London, Vauxhall Ampera, Volt on 07 1st, 2010

Vauxhall Ampera, called the Chevrolet Volt outside Europe, has lined up for release in London. Endorsed by supermodel Erin O’Connor, the showcasing of the car in the UK capital comes as part of the Vauxhall Ampera’s promotional campaign.

To be officially released in 2012, the Vauxhall Ampera arrived in London for the promotional event after a tour across UK. Supermodel Erin O’Connor provided the perfect star value to the event as she appeared donning an exclusive outfit dubbed ‘Eric Electric’.

The dress, designed by British fashion icon William Tempest, featured more than 1,000 dazzling lights and Swarovski crystals. Apart from standing by the new Vauxhall Ampera, she also went ahead and made public her thoughts on championing the green cause that the Vauxhall Ampera aims to promote. Calling the Vauxhall Ampera a leap in the right direction, she said she is a “real supporter when it comes to helping the environment.”







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