Employing complex scientific formulas and methodologies probably best described as "Whatever we felt like choosing," Automobile has named its All-Stars for the 2013 model year. The 11 vehicles earned their trophies for being "the best and most significant" offerings to the mag's staff and contributors, and while we were surprised to see a couple of them on the list, none of them were shocking. In no particular order, they are:
Random notes: The least expensive vehicle on the list was the Ford Focus at $16,995 however, it was the $24,495 Focus ST that was actually driven; the least expensive vehicle as-tested, when such indication was given, was the $28,265 BRZ; the most expensive vehicle as-tested was the $75,615 Porsche Boxster S, hurdling the price of the A7 by nearly $4,000; the greatest disparity between base and as-tested price was the Ram, from the $24,395 skin-and-bones truck to the $54,335 Laramie Longhorn Crew Cab; the GTI was viewed through the history of its birthplace, Wolfsburg.
There you have it. Head on over to Automobile for the full story and the adventures they created to test each winner.
It may not look radically different on the outside, but the Chevrolet Silverado pickup has been completely redesigned and significantly upgraded for 2014. A new chassis, updated powertrain technology with several mileage-enhancing measures, and a plusher interior promise to keep this cash cow competitive. We recently had the opportunity to drive a new LTZ crew-cab, and we liked it.
On the road, the Silverado's cabin stays impressively quiet, with sound levels closer to what you'd expect from a luxury sedan rather than a big pickup. The ride was another pleasant surprise, compliant and controlled even riding on the optional 20-inch tires. GM didn't go in for rear coil springs, as Chrysler did with the Ram, but the Silverado's two-stage leaf springs don't seem to hurt it any. The steering is responsive, linear, and appropriately weighted. Even brake-pedal feel, something that's hard to get right in a body-on-frame truck, was quite good on the LTZ.
The base engine is a new 285-hp, 4.3-liter V6, but the volume leader will be a 355-hp, 5.3-liter V8, which is how the truck we drove was equipped. Top-spec versions get the more-powerful 6.2-liter V8. The engines each have direct injection, variable-valve timing, and cylinder deactivation, and all are mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.
As is the trend across the industry, power steering is electrically assisted. Advanced safety features, such as lane-departure and forward-collision warning systems, are optional. The 8-inch MyLink infotainment touch screen dominates the center dash. It facilitates connectivity of all types and doubles as a large, colorful display screen for the rearview camera.
Cabin materials are much more substantial and attractive than previously. Some toggle switches are stylish yet large enough to be operated wearing work gloves. The tailgate has an optional damping mechanism, like the Nissan Titan and Toyota Tundra, so it lowers gently rather than dropping like a rock.
Overall, our brief experience with the 2014 Silverado tells us that GM has taken a good truck and made it better. This is good for truck buyers and vital for GM, as the Silverado and its GMC Sierra twin will be dueling with a newly freshened Ram and upcoming redesigned Ford F-150. The new Silverado goes on sale in June.
When it comes to fleet vehicles, the Chevrolet Impala definitely plays an important role for General Motors, and it looks like GM is hard at work developing the next-gen Impala for bulk-buying businesses. The Motoring Journal recently spotted a handful of Impalas testing in Colorado with minor camouflage, but upon closer inspection, these appear to be test mules for a new compressed natural gas (CNG) model - a powertrain combination far more likely to find favor with fleet buyers than everyday consumers.
Aside from the obvious "CNG" stickers affixed to the decklid, these cars also have different exhaust outlets than what we saw on the V6-equipped Impalas during our first drive of the sedan back in March. Images also show under the hood with a different engine cover and plenty of exposed wiring as the CNG system continues testing. There was also an electrical connector poking out of the front fascia, and at least one of the sedans had a receiver-style trailer hitch.
During the launch of the 2014 Impala, Chevrolet said that it is looking to flip the current fleet-to-retail from 70:30 to a more profitable and resale-friendly 30:70 ratio, and this new CNG Impala could be a good way to retain some of that 30-percent fleet business. We reached out to GM for word on when a CNG Impala might arrive, and received this response:
We do offer a CNG van and a bi-fuel pickup truck, but still studying the demand for CNG powered passenger cars. Infrastructure is a consideration for anyone buying these types of vehicles. Unfortunately, there's nothing to announce today on this front.
Our best guess is that it could debut for the 2015 model year, since the ninth-generation model is carrying over for fleet-only sales as the 2014 Impala Limited.
Automotive News reports the European automotive market has posted first gain in 19 months. Germany and Spain helped push the swell thanks to higher-than-average consumer confidence, though the EU saw registrations jump two percent overall compared to the prior year. In April, buyers took home 1.08 million new vehicles, up from 1.06 million during the same month in 2012. Analysts are hoping the news is the first sign of a legitimate recovery for a region that has suffered some of the slowest auto sales in 20 years. Even so, the market continues to suffer - four-month sales are down 7 percent to 4.18 million units.
Peugeot-Citroen saw its sales fall off by 10 percent last month. Ford and General Motors both posted declines of 0.6 percent and four percent respectively, with Chevrolet suffering through a 28-percent decline last month. There were winners in the region, however. Mercedes-Benz sales increased by 13 percent while Volkswagen registrations jumped by around 9 percent. Sales were particularly strong in the United Kingdom, Spain and Germany.
It's been a while since Chevrolet offered its Corvette with green paint - well over a decade, in fact. We've known for a while that the new C7 Stingray would be available in Lime Rock Green, but haven't seen it up until now in anything but the antiseptic studio shots offered up on the Corvette's configurator. Well, we can now cross it off the list - at least online - as the first production example has been caught on video at the Lone Star Classic Corvette show by the folks at NCM Insurance.
According to CorvetteBlogger, the last production model to feature such verdant paint dates to 2001, when Chevy offered its sports car in Dark Bowling Green Metallic. But when we think of Vettes in this color spectrum, we tend to think of the Polo Green C4, a deep shade this paint reminds us of. This particular Stingray is fitted with the Z51 performance package, along with the 3LT Brownstone interior. As we think Z51-equipped cars tend to look better in darker shades (which better integrate/disguise the package's additional ductwork), this Lime Rock Green looks pretty good to our eyes.
We haven't seen new green sports cars in some time - perhaps cars like this C7 and the British Racing Green Metallic 2014 Jaguar F-Type will kickstart a revival. What do you think, does the C7 look good in green? Check out the video below and then have your say in Comments.
Acura NSX, 2014 Chevy Silverado, Lamborghini Egoista and Urus, Jeep CEO Mike Manley interview, Ugly Horse update
Episode #333 of the Autoblog Podcast is here, and this week, Dan Roth, Zach Bowman and Steven Ewing talk about the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado, the Lamborghini Egoista concept and the apparent production greenlight for the Lamborghini Urus, the forthcoming Acura NSX, an interview with Jeep CEO Mike Manley and an update on Zach's Project Ugly Horse. We also address lots of your questions and comments, and for those of you who hung with us live on our UStream channel, thanks for taking the time. You can follow along after the jump with our Q&A. Thanks for listening!
Runtime:01:50:29Get the podcast:
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