07-20-17

David Purdy CorvetteDavid Purdy's Corvette has a new decal for this weekend's Cannonball Rally.
The event will run over the weekend and features three different tiers of
difficulty, ranging from 500 miles to 2,500 miles.

By Michael Chen, The Nugget - Organizer David Purdy wants to make one thing clear about this weekend's inaugural Cannonball Corvette Rally.

"It's not a race.  It's about having fun, getting your car out of the garage," says Purdy, who is president of Bobcaygeon-based web development company Turn Key Web Solutions.

"The one thing I don't enjoy is going to a hot parking lot and standing around all day with my car."

The event features different tiers of racing ranging from a "light edition" 500-mile rally on Saturday to a 2,500-mile rally that runs from Tuesday to Saturday.  The event has different routes for Northern and Southern Ontario, with the 500-mile Northern route ranging from Bobcaygeon to Bancroft, with a stop in North Bay.  The 1000-mile route goes as far as Pickering.

Purdy has previously organized more than 80 motorcycle rides under the Cannonball Ride banner.  "I do all the layout, I do all the legwork.  It's just about finding like-minded people who actually enjoy getting out and driving," he says, adding that his motorcycle rides now average 8,000 to 10,000 riders per event.  "My plan next year is to have eight car rallies coming out weekend after weekend."

For Purdy, these events are an outlet for him to pursue his own passions.  "I'm not about making money.  It's just about going out and having some fun because, if I didn't do it, it wouldn't happen," he says.  "If someone else had done it, I wouldn't need to do it!"

Purdy says the free rally will require drivers to stop at various car dealerships to pick up business cards.  Participants start from the closest dealership to their home and end when they arrive back home with all the cards.

Purdy expects anywhere from 300 to 500 cars at the event.

 

Find out more at www.cannon-ballcorvetterally.ca

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06-22-17

DEDICATED OFF-ROADER DOESN’T GIVE UP MANY MANNERS FOR THE ASPHALT

Colorado

By Costa Mouzouris, Driving.ca - The engineers at Chevrolet are a sneaky bunch.  They needed an excuse to get out of the office and have some off-road fun, so they conceived a plan that allowed them to participate in several off-road rallies across the U.S., and on the company's dime, no less.  They disguised these thinly veiled recreational diversions as "engineering tests" and headed out to renowned off-road parks and trails across the States, where they proceeded to cross deserts, climb rocks, wade through deep mud, plow through sand dunes and snake along tight, technical trails.  Their excuse was the 2017 Colorado ZR2.

These tests were done in conjunction with Multimatic, the automotive engineering firm based in Markham, Ontario, which helped develop the ZR2's suspension components, and it's the resulting DSSV (Dynamic Suspensions Spool Valve) suspension that contributes significantly to the ZR2's off-road ability.

Perhaps best known lately for manufacturing the Ford GT, Multimatic also builds suspension dampers mostly for motorsports applications, which can be found in cars competing in Formula One, DTM, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Indy Lights, and the list goes on.  Chevy's first collaboration with Multimatic came with the 2014 Camaro Z/28.

Peek under the ZR2's fenders and you'll see blue and gold anodized, aluminum-bodied shock absorbers that resemble premium aftermarket items rather than OEM parts.  These shocks incorporate Multimatic's DSSV damping technology, which features position-sensitive damping that varies the damping rate depending on how far the wheels travel, while external reservoirs enhance cooling.  Barring any external damage, the shocks are designed to last the life of the vehicle.

You can't just bolt on a set of Multimatics to a regular Colorado though, because new control arms provide more wheel travel.  Wheel track has also been widened by 8.8 centimetres, while ride height has increased by 5 cm.

Other off-road-enhancing features include electrically locking differentials, 31-inch Goodyear Duratrac tires on 17-inch wheels and an abundant application of skid plates to protect the undercarriage.  The added off-road equipment has dropped payload by about 300 to 1,100 pounds (135 to 500 kilograms), while towing capacity is 5,000 lbs (2,268 kg).

Visually the ZR2's most striking feature is the front bumper, which has cut-outs that expose the front tires, giving the pickup an aggressive stance, while providing additional clearance when rock climbing.

Powertrains are shared with other Colorado models (except the base 2.5-litre gasoline four).  The standard engine in the $44,215US ZR2 is the 3.6-L V6 that claims 308 horsepower and 275 pound-feet of torque, mated to an eight-speed automatic.  For an additional $4,090US, you can get the 2.8-L turbodiesel four, which claims 181 hp and 369 lb-ft and powers the wheels through a six-speed auto.  Initial numbers put combined fuel consumption at 13 L/100 km for the gasoline engine and 10.7 L for the diesel.

Despite the added ride height, it's easy to climb into the cab, where you'll find the familiar Colorado cockpit, the biggest difference being the added buttons in the centre stack that lock the differentials.  Interior amenities include heated front seats, wireless phone charging, an eight-inch touch-screen infotainment system with MyLink, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, 4G LTE on-board Wi-Fi, a rear-view camera, and sliding rear window.

Other standard features include keyless entry, automatic cruise control, a spray-on bed liner, damped tailgate operation, a full-sized spare mounted on a matching aluminum wheel, and a trailer package that includes a hitch, seven-pin connector and a trailer-brake controller.

Since the emphasis is on off-road driving, our test drive includes a high-speed closed course that emulates desert racing, and an off-road loop that takes us to Bangs Canyon and the Tabegauche Trail just outside of Grand Junction, where we perform some serious low-speed rock crawling.

The high-speed course is laid out on sand and hard-packed dirt, and includes tight bends, higher-speed sweepers, and several jumps.  Approaching one of the jumps at about 70 km/h launches the ZR2 into the air, with all four wheels dangling from the chassis.  Anticipating a hard landing I brace for a body-jolting impact only to be greeted by a surprisingly cushy touchdown.  The added suspension travel combines with the shocks' position-sensitive damping to soak up the landings without bottoming, while allowing excellent straight-line stability upon touchdown.  Even higher speeds over these jumps result in equally soft landings, a true testament to all of the engineers' "testing" done before the ZR2 hit production.

The rock-crawling portion of the test drive is equally impressive, especially since our hosts did not drop tire pressures from standard for convenience.  With the transfer case switched to 4 Low and both differentials locked, the ZR2 treads effortlessly over some impressive geological features, including rather tall stone steps.  While it's impressive to see pictures of trucks driving over obstacles with one wheel high in the air, the truth is that this is more a demonstration of electronic torque management than actual off-road capability.  The ZR2 negotiates the extreme step course without ever getting a wheel in the air.

Aside from its taller stance, there are no concessions made in ride quality on the road.  The ZR2 is remarkably composed and quiet, with only a faint howl coming from the aggressively treaded tires.

The collaboration between Chevy and Multimatic has proven that you really don't have to give up everyday comfort to be able to take serious weekend forays deep into the woods.  It's also smaller and capable of squeezing into tighter spaces than the full-sized Ford Raptor.

Of course, if you're not serious about off roading, you really don't need the ZR2; you can spec the Z71 with the V6 or the diesel (starting at about $37,000) and save several thousand dollars.  But if you spend weekends on the trails with your off-roading buddies, the ZR2 can climb rocks and handle the toughest trails along with the most capable competition, and even among modified custom jobs, right off the showroom floor.

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05-31-17

Corvette Z06

By James Bergeron - It was a Monday, around 11am, my phone rings and I answer it - "Hello?"

"Is this James?"

"Yes."

"Would you like to drive the Z06 on Wednesday?"

"Does a pig roll in sh-- YES!"

Two days later, I walk into Jim Tubman Chevrolet on Bank Street in Ottawa, tell the receptionist my name; they hand me a key and say, "Have fun."  I take a quick walk around what can only be referred to from now on as "The Beast".

The 2017 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 is the most powerful production GM vehicle ever produced, powered by a 6.2-litre V8 engine that wasn't powerful enough so they bolted a supercharger to it and upped the ante to 650 hp and 650 lb-ft of torque.  The window sticker is just as big as the brakes, staring me right in the face: $120,690.

That's a lot of cheddar and they just threw me the keys ... Who am I to question them?

I hop in, fire up the car drive off the lot and give 'er down Hunt Club Road.  I stop at the red light with authority as the massive ceramic brake rotors haul The Beast to a stop.  I'm sitting there, looking at the leather stitched dash and I spot this older lady waving.  I give her a thumbs up, she goes nuts.  "NICE CAR!" she exclaims.

As I'm contemplating life at the lights, I think to myself, holy geez I have no license plates on this thing, no paperwork to prove I should be driving it, nothing.  Welp ... Today I live dangerously I guess - just as the light turns green and I give the lady a show.

The Z06 starts at a very reasonable (cough) $93,045.  For that you get the 650/650 engine, the seven-speed manual transmission with overdrive and a bunch of other stuff like climate control and radio, leather seats - meh, stuff you probably won't care much about in a car like this.  The model I tested though, as mentioned, was $120K and it also included the following optional features, which sweetened the deal even further.

The "biggest" feature package was the 3LZ package, which for $9,865 added: navigation, front vision camera, performance data recorder, leather-wrapped interior, front sport bucket seats, memory seats, Bose stereo system and more.  Performance-wise, my tester was sporting the massive ceramic brake roots for $8,625 and competition sport bucket seats for $2,295.

The Corvette is no longer a parts bin interior with a huge engine attached to it.  GM has really stepped up their game and have designed a quality interior that is luxurious and purposeful - and dare I say world-class?  The previously mentioned leather-stitched dash, leather centre console and of course leather seating make the Z06 stand out.  The ergonomics are perfect not only for high-performance driving, but even just cruising in the city, I found the seating comfortable, with everything at perfect reach.

The trunk space is surprisingly large for a sports car, heck, nearly a supercar at this rate, making the Corvette a very practical vehicle for everyday duty if you so wish.

Of course all the latest tech is there, and it's easy to use - GM's newer infotainment systems seem to get better every year.  Responsive, intuitive with a display that's bright and high-quality.  The z06 offers forward, side and rear cameras, so that you can park The Beast without scratching it.

Behind the nav screen is a secret hidden compartment where you can store some valuables or place your phone with the provided USB connection for Apple CarPlay.

As nice as the interior is, and as mean and cool the exterior looks, the heart of The Beast is the biggest story here.  Push the start button and the power that this 6.2L V8 engine provides is immediately obvious.  At idle there is a lot of rumble from the exhaust, a little shake in the chassis and a lot of excitement from the driver.  Rev up the engine to hear the throaty quad exhaust note, and the car shakes from side to side as the 650 lb-ft of torque try to rip the engine out of the chassis.

By default the car starts in Eco driving mode, which offers the oh-so-hated skip-shift function, going from first to fourth gear on gentle starts in order to save some fuel.  Although it is a widely panned "feature", The Beast has so much torque that even when it forced the shift to fourth gear, had I not noticed the gigantic "4" displayed in the gauge cluster, I wouldn't have noticed it was happening.

In fact there is so much torque I mistakenly left the dealer lot in third gear without stalling or slipping the clutch!  That was also proof to me how tight the gears are together first gear, oddly, has more of a throw left than expected, most likely due to that seventh gear in the box.

With the manual transmission The Best is capable of 0-100km/h run in 3.2 seconds, and boy does it ever feel like it.  Mash the throttle - carefully or you'll quickly slip the tires and end up sideways - and the car launches forward with authority and the exhaust roars to life as the exhaust baffles open up to let it sing in sport mode.

This truly is the best Corvette GM has ever built.  It has all the pieces to make it a well-refined road-going production race car.  If you want to stand out you will be noticed in this car, and you will enjoy every minute you have behind the wheel or simply standing beside it admiring it.  Despite the answer seemingly always "Miata" when someone is in search of their next sports car, I have to disagree and say the answer is "Z06".

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mm_gal_item_c2_b60c_img_resize_img_stage__0

By Andrew McCredit, Driving.ca - GM better add some more shelves to its trophy case.

The Chevrolet Bolt is the winner of the 2017 Canadian Green Car Award, presented at the Green Living Show in the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

A panel of 13 top Canadian automotive journalists selected the Bolt, a groundbreaking electric vehicle with a 383-kilometre range, from among six category winners as the vehicle that best combines environmental benefits and mass-market appeal.

The other category winners include the Chevrolet Volt (Plug-in Hybrid), the Hyundai Ioniq (Conventional Hybrid), the Honda Civic (Efficient Internal Combustion), Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid (Efficient Three-Row Family Vehicle) and the Jaguar XE 2.0D (Fun Car).

Andrew Horsman, executive director of Ontario Tire Stewardship, which recycles 95 per cent of Ontario's tires into a variety of useful and valuable products, presented the trophy to Matthew Stokes, assistant brand manager for Chevrolet Canada.

"It's a true honour for Chevrolet to be recognized with the Canadian Green Car Award for the second year in a row, with Volt in 2016, and now the game-changing Bolt EV in 2017," Stokes said.  "Chevrolet is committed to innovation and electrification and we are proud to sell more plug-in electric vehicles in Canada than any other brand.

According to Eric Novak of EnviroDad.com, the Award's Co-Creator and member of the Steering Committee, the Bolt EV was the clear choice of the judging panel, receiving 11 of 13 first-place votes from among the six category winners.

"Our list of category winners this year was exceptional, however in the end our judges felt that the Chevrolet Bolt EV, with its game-changing range and competitive price point, was most deserving of being named overall winner," Novak said, adding the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid was the only other vehicle to garner first-place votes.

Ford's Fusion Hybrid won the inaugural 2013 Canadian Green Car Award, followed in 2014 by the Honda Accord Hybrid, the Kia Soul EV in 2015 and, last year, the Chevrolet Volt.

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04-13-17

WHAT MAKES THE NEW CAMARO MORE ENTERTAINING TO DRIVE THAN A 3 SERIES

2016-Chevrolet-Camaro-SS-vs-2016-BMW-340i-side-profile

REVELATION:  A CHEVY THAT'S BETTER THAN A BMW

By Angus MacKenzie, Motor Trend -  Here's a sentence I never thought I'd write:  The Chevrolet Camaro is better, more entertaining car to drive than a BMW 3 Series.  In more than 30 years of testing cars I have experienced several moments of dazzling, crystalline revelation: that the original Mazda Miata was the most sublimely, delicately, intuitively tactile sports car ever built; that underneath the seductive scarlet curves of a Ferrari 348 lurked a sulky, evil-tempered bunny-boiler; and that the Ford Raptor was one of the most original performance vehicle concepts from a mainstream automaker, an entertaining and engaging ride that was also uniquely and uncompromisingly American.

This one, though, was totally unexpected.

That's partly because I'd have never thought of driving Chevy's ponycar and BMW's iconic sport sedan back-to-back, over the same roads.  It is, after all, not an obvious comparison test; no one will ever cross-shop these cars.  However, the 2016 Camaro SS and BMW 340i were both contenders in this year's Car of the Year competition, and I just happened to drive one immediately after the other during our testing.  Then I went and drove them each again, just to make sure I wasn't imagining things.

I wasn't.  In terms of pure driver appeal, the 455-hp, naturally aspirated, 6.2-liter, V-8-powered, six-speed-manual Camaro simply outclassed the 320-hp, turbocharged, 3.0-liter, I-6 powered, six-speed-manual BMW.  The Chevy had more tactile and communicative steering, crisper throttle response, better brake feel, superior high-speed body control, and sweeter chassis balance.  It danced around the handling track, feeling remarkably light on its feet.  Turn-in response was quick and authoritative, and with all the electronic nannies off, it could drift through corners with Ken Block confidence levels.  I got out of the Camaro grinning.  When I exited the BMW?  Not so much.

Let's be clear:  The updated F30 3 Series, with revised front suspension and redesigned electric power steering for 2016, is a decent sport sedan.  But in the context of four decades of 3 Series evolution, there's something deeply elemental missing in this latest iteration.  From the long throw of the six-speed shifter to its heavy, gluey steering, the 340i lacks the insouciant precision that was once a hallmark of even base 3 Series sedans.  A lot of the fundamental BMW goodness is still there, but it's as if the whole lot has been dipped in molasses.  It's still quick, capable, and chuckable, but compared with the Chevy, the BMW demands bigger inputs from the driver when you want it to play.  You have to work harder at having fun in it.

I first drove a Camaro back in 1989, and was appalled by the unmitigated awfulness of the experience.  Going up Angeles Crest Highway, the engine wheezed like an old man on a StairMaster, and the brakes caught fire - literally - on the way back down.  It rattled and squeaked and shimmied and shook, and judging by the heaving, wallowing, corkscrewing motions through corners the body structure had all the torsional rigidity of overcooked linguine.

The previous-generation Camaro, which debuted in 2009 and was built off the Zeta architecture shared with the Australian-designed Holden Commodore, was a much more coherent vehicle.  But it weighed too much and the chassis was initially blighted by understeer for some inexplicable reason, especially given the Commodore's generally sound dynamics.  The Camaro's journey from 1989 to 2009 to 2016 has therefore been truly remarkable, and not just in terms of its engineering execution:  This is a car whose whole raison d'être has been transformed.

In 2016 the BMW 3 Series has hit middle age and it feels it.  The Chevy Camaro, by contrast, has been reborn.

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04-13-17

CHEVROLET BOLT EV WINS 2017 CANADIAN GREEN CAR AWARD

Bolt
By General Motors, Toronto - The Chevrolet Bolt EV was recognized today with the 2017 Canadian Green Car Award at the Green Living Show.  This is the second consecutive Car of the Year win for Chevrolet, after the Volt took home the award in 2016.

The Bolt EV, winner of this year's Zero Emission category, was selected by a panel of top  Canadian automotive journalists from among six category winners as the vehicle that best combines environmental benefits and mass-market appeal.  This year, the 2017 Chevrolet Volt won in the Plug-in Hybrid category.

The Canadian Green Car Awards recognizes vehicles, widely available in Canada, that combine impressive environmental attributes with strong mass-market appeal.  The assessments included criteria, such as fuel consumption, emissions and price, as well as the judges' evaluations of performance, driving experience, value, features and "green" qualities.

QUOTING:

"It's a true honour for Chevrolet to be recognized again with the Canadian Green Car Award, with Volt in 2016 and now the game-changing Bolt EV in 2017", said Matthew Stokes, assistant brand manager, Chevrolet in Canada.  "Chevrolet is committed to innovation and electrification and we are proud to sell more plug-in electric vehicles in Canada than any other brand."

2017 BOLT EV BACKGROUND:

The Chevrolet Bolt EV is on sale now in Canadian dealers and set the range benchmark for an affordable EV capable of going the distance by delivering up to 383 kilometres on a full charge.  Bolt EV starts at a manufacturer's suggested retail price of $42,795 (plus $1,600 freight charge and $100 air conditioning tax), but excludes tax, title, license and dealer fees.  In Ontario, pricing can be as low as $30,406 after the eligible Ontario provincial incentive of $12,389.

About The Green Living Show

The Green Living Show is Canada's largest consumer show dedicated to simple solutions for leading a healthy and sustainable lifestyle.  This three-day event offers inspiration for all ages and features influential speakers; eco home, cottage and garden design; local and organic food and wine tastings; health, wellness and yoga pavilions; eco fashion and green beauty makeovers; electric and hybrid car test drives; nature exhibits and fun activities for the entire family.

About the Canadian Green Car Award

The Canadian Green Car Award is Canada's premier award recognizing vehicles with the greatest potential for environmental benefits.  The Award is an independent program developed by automotive journalists Eric Novak, Michael Bettencourt and Peter Gorrie, who comprise its steering committee.  The Award recognizes vehicles, widely available in Canada, that offer both impressive environmental attributes and strong mass-market appeal, since any product can have a significant impact only if it sells in large numbers.

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03-02-17

THE CHEVY TAHOE ISN’T WITHOUT FLAWS, BUT IT’S STILL ONE OF THE BEST BRIDGES BETWEEN SUVS AND PICKUP TRUCKS

2017 Tahoe

By Clayton Seams, Driving.ca - It was one of those blizzards where the snow mimics the view outside the Millennium Falcon as it goes warp speed and the stars blur.  The ditch was lined with cars less fortunate, and the worried voice on the radio urged people to stay off the roads if at all possible.  Hitched behind me was 5,000 pounds (2,270 kilograms) worth of double-axle trailer and muscle car.

There wasn't a place in the world I'd rather be.  That's because my lucky behind was plopped in the driver's seat of a 2017 Chevrolet Tahoe LTZ.  Not only was said behind heated by the comfy leather seat, but far underneath that seat sat a capable 4WD system, self-leveling rear air suspension and a torque 5.3-litre V8 to power it all.  I don't like towing trailers in the snow, but if you had to do it, this is one of the best choices.

This kind of foul-weather, heavy-hauling worst-case-scenario is where the massive Tahoe excels.  It feels cumbersome on tiny city streets, like an elephant being walked on a leash through a living room.  It has a remarkably small turning circle for its size and the sight lines over the dashboard are good, but thanks to the high belt line and small rear window, reverse parking is a graceless manoeuvre that involves squinting out the rear window and shamelessly relying on the rear-view camera, hoping that there are no unseen obstacles.  This is not an easy vehicle to park.

The Tahoe is happiest on the highway, there the six-speed automatic allows the V8 to chug along at a whiff over 1,500 rpm.  The ride on the highway is superb for something with a 10,000-pound towing capacity, and the sound insulation is better than many luxury cars.

Of course, that should almost be expected as the fully loaded tester costs a luxurious $82,900.  Loading up a Tahoe with this many options gets you close to the price neighbourhood of the GMC Yukon Denali, with its superior 6.2-litre V8 and eight-speed automatic transmission.  But the interior of the Tahoe LTZ is sumptuously appointed with nearly flawless attention to ergonomics, and all cheap plastics are well hidden from the driver's normal view.  The premium Bose sound system is impressive and the interior is littered with USB ports.  Yes, it's a lot of money but it feels like every penny of it.

You're going to need a lot of money to fuel this thing, too.  Driving like an absolute saint at a steady 105 km/h, the big Tahoe achieved a mere 13.8 L/100km.  When towing a 2,270-kg trailer, the mileage dropped to a truly dismal 21.4 L/100km.

My own 1999 Suburban averages 12.4 L/100 km on the highway and returns about 23.5 L/100km when towing a 2,270-kg trailer.  I know the 2017 Tahoe makes much more power and has 4WD, but that's not a huge improvement for an 18-year gap.

I grew up in a Chevrolet Suburban household.  My father owned in succession a 1975, 1983 and a 1999 Suburban, the latter of which I bought from him and still own and drive today.  After an entire life spent riding in the back of Suburbans, which are just long-wheelbase Tahoes, I've always though the newer models felt smaller inside despite growing outwardly.

Compared to a 1998 Tahoe, the 2017 model is 11.2 centimetres longer and 9.4 cm wider.  The two are within 1.5 cm of each other in height, and yet the 2017 model has a 22 percent smaller cargo area than the 1998 model.  Stronger pillars for rollover protection and more airbags have exacted their toll on interior space.

Part of the problem lies with the third-row seats.  They have an ingenious (and very entertaining) motor system that allows them to fold flat at the touch of a button.  The seats fold, but at the cost of a low, flat loading floor.  A removable third-row seat would offer better flexibility between seating capacity and cargo space.

The Tahoe is a flawed creation, but it remains one of the best bridges between a full-size pickup and an SUV.  It offers real-truck towing capacity, 4WD and extremely comfortable seating for seven.  I'd like to see more efficient interior packaging, but otherwise the Tahoe impresses on all fronts.

Pros:  Excellent interior materials, real truck-spec capabilities.

Cons:  Fuel use, interior volume, giant chrome wheels make ride more harsh than it needs to be.

Value for money:  Good

What I would change:  Smaller chrome wheels, removable third-row seat

How I would spec it:  Fully loaded LTZ trim with 4WD and that great maroon paint.

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2017 Cruze Diesel

By General Motors of Canada, Oshawa, ON - The 2017 Cruze Diesel Sedan offers a highway fuel consumption rating of 4.5 L/100km - the best of any non-hybrid vehicle in North America.

"The Cruze Diesel Sedan combines best-in-class fuel efficiency and fun-to-drive performance into a vehicle that offers compact car drivers yet another innovative alternative fuel option from Chevrolet," said Shane Peever, brand manager, Chevrolet Cars in Canada.  "With its unparalleled fuel consumption rating, the Cruze Diesel delivers durability and torque in a package that suits our customers' diverse lifestyles and driving habits."

The 2017 Cruze Diesel Sedan features a new Ecotec 1.6-liter inline four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine offering an SAE-certified 137 horsepower (102 kW) and what is expected to be segment-leading 240 lb-ft of torque (325 Nm).  Cruze Diesel passed all stringent U.S. environmental standards and validation, including Tier 3 Bin 125 emissions standards.

Buyers will be able to option their Cruze Diesel Sedans with either a standard six-speed manual or a new, optional Hydra-Matic nine-speed automatic transmission that includes fuel-saving stop/start technology.

In addition to its segment-leading 4.5 L/100km highway fuel consumption rating, Cruze Diesel with the six-speed manual delivers a city rating of 7.7 L/100km resulting in a 6.3 L/100km combined.  Cruze Diesel with the nine-speed automatic achieves a rating of 7.6 L/100km city, 5.0 L/100km highway and 6.4 L/100km combined.

A suite of connectivity features complements the Cruze Diesel Sedan's inherent efficiency.  These include standard OnStar with 4G LTE connectivity and built-in Wi-Fi hotspot as well as standard Android Auto and Apply CarPlay compatibility through Chevrolet MyLink*.

Pricing for the 2017 Cruze Diesel Sedan starts at $24,195 plus a $1,600 destination freight charge.  The Cruze Diesel Hatch will follow later this year as a 2018 model.

*Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are products of Apple and Google and their terms and privacy statements apply.  Requires a compatible mobile device, active OnStar service and data plan.  4G LTE service available in select markets.  Visit onstar.com for coverage map, details and system limitations.  Visit onstar.ca for coverage map, details and system limitations.  Data plans provided by AT&T.

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01-30-17

2017 CHEVROLET SONIC RS: BRINGING THE YOUNGER CROWD TO CHEVROLET

Chevrolet introduces the  2017 Sonic– a more expressive, sporty take on the brand’s fun-to-drive small car. The 2017 Sonic delivers a new design, more technology and more active safety coming Fall 2016.  

By Driving.ca - There are days when the gap between my Baby Boomer generation and those of the Millennial crowd becomes a gulf.  It's not as though I'm talking about truly important issues such as jobs with futures or affordable housing, but something as simple as what constitutes a good, inexpensive, fun-to-drive car.

The catalyst for my bewilderment is the suitably affordable ($17,845 to start, with a 1.8-litre four-cylinder engine and a five-speed manual transmission), sporty-looking Chevrolet Sonic RS.  It's a nice, subcompact four-door hatchback, a body style that was very familiar to me when I was a 20-something.  Chevy acknowledges that the Sonic brings new, younger customers to the brand, "almost 20 per cent of them younger than 35" and the Sonic is "one of Chevrolet's top vehicles for first-time new buyers."

All well and good, I have no beef with that statement.  The subcompact segment, like most of the automobile side of things, is in a decline, thanks to the overwhelming popularity of crossovers and SUVs.  And the Sonic is in tough competition with the likes of Hyundai's segment-leading Accent, plus the Honda Fit, Toyota Yaris, Kia Rio and Nissan Versa, not to mention a couple of others.  It needs a hook to yank it out of the pack of also-rans and into the spotlight.

Now, being a gearhead, I thought maybe performance could be that hook; it worked for my group of scofflaw friends when I was just getting started in the work world.  After all, the RS nomenclature (which used to stand for Rally Sport when used on early Camaros) could indicate something beyond the norm.  And, to be fair, it's not like the Sonic is particularly deficient under the hood; the 138-horsepower turbocharged 1.4-litre four-cylinder (same engine as found in the larger Cruze) is as good as, if not better than, the Chevy's main competition.  Still there are possibilities not being exploited here (more on this later).

But with the redesigned 2017 model, Chevrolet downplays the RS's potential sportiness, instead highlighting "big technologies" such as a new MyLink system with segment-exclusive Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, as well as 4G LTE with Wi-Fi hot spot and a seven-inch infotainment system designed to support the latest "connectivity technologies."

Sounds like a recipe for distracted riving to me.  Put the phone down, kids, and have some fun with the car.  Or is "connecting" what counts as excitement these days?

It's not as though the RS has an econo-car sadness to it.  Au contraire, there's a distinct athletic vibe, accentuated by an aggressive stance from all four 17-inch wheels being pushed out at the corners.  The RS package itself includes such dress-up items as front fog lamps, sporty rocker mouldings, rear spoiler, RS lettering, piano black accented instrument panel, flat-bottom three-spoke leather-wrapped steering wheel with contrasting stitching, and carpeted front and rear deluxe floor mats.

Then there are the car's overall changes for 2017, including the redesigned hood, front and rear fascia, and new projector-beam headlamps with LED daytime running lights.  The tester's optional Arctic Blue Metallic paint doesn't hurt either.  In short, if GM decided to turn the Sonic into a bit of a pocket rocket - like Ford did in creating the Fiesta ST - it already has something to work with.

Now, being a dedicated three-pedal guy, I'd start with a good manual box.  But the higher level ($21,795) RS Premier trim (as opposed to the base LT) only comes with a six-speed automatic with manual shift ability - a pity, really.  As a slushbox, the transmission is fine; as a manual it's second only to GM's skip-shift (first-to-fourth) performance tranny for annoyance.  There are no paddle shifters or even a fore/aft motion of the gear lever to up- or downshift.  Instead, GM uses a thumb-actuated toggle on the side of the lever to move through the gears - peachy if you're doing drag-race starts off the line, but completely unhelpful in a twisty road setting.

And zipping along back roads is clearly within the Sonic RS's purview.  It comes with verve and little body roll; it might feel even faster in the turns if the front seats had just a teensy bit more bolstering to them.  There's excellent weight to the steering and good communication with the road.  On the other hand, the RS's ride is on the firm side; bumps, potholes, frost heaves and railway tracks are not to be toyed with.  Considering the car's budget-based roots and its short wheelbase, this shouldn't come as a surprise.

As for the RS's as-tested sticker of $23,085, it would be well in reason to consider a move up to a larger compact-sized hatchback, such as the Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra GT or Mazda3.  However, while you would clearly gain more rear-seat legroom, such a move would likely be to a base or possibly mid-level model.

In Premier trim, the Sonic RS is quite comfortably equipped.  Push-button start, remote keyless entry, air conditioning, heated front seats, power driver's seat, power sunroof, cruise control and more are all standard.  On the safety side, stability and traction control systems are also part of the deal.  Other than $495 for the bright blue paint job, the only option added was the $695 Driver Confidence package, which includes forward-collision alert, lane-departure warning and rear park assist.

To make more of a statement among the subcompact competition, the RS's 1.4-L Turbo would benefit from a power boost.  It wouldn't have to be as extreme as the hot hatch Fiesta ST's astounding 197 hp; just an extra 15 to 20 ponies to match its superior handling dynamics.  That's unlikely to happen - sigh! - but even as it sits now, the Sonic RS stands out as a genuinely fun and efficient ride, perky and sporty.  If I were a budget-constrained Millennial in the market for my first new set of wheels, I'd take a long look at this one.

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NACTOY-Logo-620x414

DETROIT - Chevrolet Bolt EV is the 2017 North American Car of the Year.

The Bolt EV's recognition marks the fourth time in four years that Chevrolet has received the North American Car of the Year or Truck of the Year award, following the Corvette Stingray and Silverado's wins in 2014 and the Colorado's award in 2015.

"The Bolt EV fulfills Chevrolet's promise to offer an affordable, long-range electric," said Mark Reuss, executive vice president, GM Global Product Development.  "It is a game-changer that is not only a great electric vehicle; it's a great vehicle - period."

Founded in 1994, The NACTOY group is comprised of 60 professional automotive journalists from the United States and Canada who work for magazines, television, radio, newspapers and websites.  NACTOY jurors evaluated dozens of new vehicles that went on sale this year before selecting the Bolt EV as the 2017 Car of the Year.

Offering an EnerGuide-estimated 383 kilometres (238 miles) of range on a full charge, and pricing as low as $31,434 (plus freight), after the eligible Ontario provincial incentive applicable to the base model of the Chevrolet Bolt EV, the Bolt EV adds the title of North American Car of the Year to a growing list of independent accolades.  Motor Trend named the Bolt EV the 2017 Car of the Year and it earned a place on the 2017 Car and Driver 10Best Cars list.  Green Car Journal also heralded the Bolt EV as the Green Car of the Year and Green Car reports named it the Best New Car to Buy.  In Canada, the Bolt EV was recently chosen as Best New Car by The Car Guide / Le Guide de L'Auto.

Standard Bolt EV features include electronic precision shift, Regen on Demand steering wheel paddle and a 10.2-inch-diagonal colour touchscreen.  The top-trim Premier model adds leather-appointed seats, front and rear heated seats, surround vision camera, rear camera mirror and more.

The Bolt EV will initially be available to retail customers in the provinces of BC, Ontario and Quebec with first customer deliveries arriving in early 2017.  Within twelve months of the retail launch, Bolt EV will be available at dealerships nation-wide.

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12-22-16

2017 CHEVROLET CRUZE DIESEL STARTS AT $24,095

2017-Chevrolet-Cruze-media-drive-exterior-026-1024x707

By General Motors, Oshawa, ON - The all-new 2017  Cruze Diesel Sedan will be priced from $24,095, plus a destination freight charge of $1,600 when it goes on sale in Canada at the start of 2017.

"The Cruze offers Canadian customers the only clean diesel engine option in a compact car," said Laura Pacey, brand director, Chevrolet in Canada.  "In addition to innovative safety and technology features, Chevrolet delivers the efficiency and dependability of a diesel engine."

The all-new Cruze diesel sedan offers an exceptional suite of included equipment like the Teen Driver feature, a rear vision camera and heated seats.  Additional standard features include the Chevrolet MyLink radio with a 7-inch-diagonal touch screen, as well as Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility and OnStar 4G LTE with a Wi-Fi hotspot.

Coupled with a 1.6L turbo-diesel engine and standard 6-speed manual or available 9-speed automatic transmission, the Cruze Diesel is fun to drive and gives customers a smooth and quiet cabin experience.  The Cruze Diesel Sedan extends the Cruze lineup and continues to offer exceptional connectivity and a suite of innovative safety technologies.

FAST FACT:  The DEF system of the 2017 Cruze Diesel Sedan was engineered and tested at the Canadian Technical Centre in Oshawa.

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By Lesley Wimbush, Driving.ca - If you want to make a small fortune in horses, start with a big one, so the saying goes.

Most of the horse folks I know are completely obsessed with their four-legged charges to the exclusion of everything else.  Therefore, most of them regard everything in terms of how it will benefit them and their horses.

"Nice truck!"

"Is that yours?"

"You got the tow package on that things?" one asked.  "How much does it tow?"  As tested, this truck will tow up to 13,000 lbs.

"What kinda payload?  Can I put my ATV in it?"  "Yes, unless it weighs more than 2,500 lbs.

"What kind of fuel economy are you getting?"  I recorded numbers as low as 12 L/100 kilometres on the highway, all the way up to 19.7 with a bumper-pull trailer containing a single horse.

"What's it like to tow with?"  Well, unlike the heavy duty Ram, which has a handy rear air suspension, the Silverado doesn't lower to meet the trailer hookup, nor does it have automatic load leveling.  And hooking up isn't nearly as easy as it is with the Ford F-Series' camera technology.  And the Ford wins in trailer backing by a country mile.  But the Silverado boasts trailer sway control, engine braking with tow/haul mode, a trailer brake controller and proactive roll avoidance.

The turbodiesel produces 397 horsepower and 765 pound-feet of torque.  It's a measure of just how crazy the ongoing numbers war between heavy duty trucks has gotten that its output doesn't sound like that much.  With Ram boasting 900 lb-ft and Ford now offering an unbelievable 925, GM was getting left behind.  But it is rebounding quite nicely; when the 2017 Silverado HD arrives next year, its 6.6-L turbodiesel has been tweaked to put out 910 lb-ft, putting it squarely in the middle of the pack.

The current turbodiesel, however, is no slouch.  Despite the truck's immense size, it still manages to blast from zero to 100 km/h in about 7.4 seconds.  For big-truck lovers, the whistling sound of its turbo is quite compelling, although on a number of occasions we noticed a slight diesel smell at idle - unusual in modern trucks.

While the exterior of the 2016 truck carries over from last year, the interiors have received numerous upgrades, reflecting the changing expectations of pickup owners.  Aside from all the plus leather, there are heated and ventilated seats and a heated steering wheel - oh bliss! - plus power adjustable pedals, 4G Wi-Fi and Apple CarPlay connectivity.

There are connection points everywhere throughout the cabin, with four auxiliary jacks, a 110-volt outlet, six USB ports and a wireless smartphone charging pad.  You could work from a Chevy truck if you had to.  I once did.

The centre console is more like carry-on luggage and is voluminous enough to hide by laptop and camera bags.  The huge glovebox boasts double doors, and there are map pockets and cubbies everywhere.  Despite its concession to upgraded technology, the Silverado's engineers were still smart enough to leave the controls ergonomically simple; those big round knobs are easy to operate when wearing work gloves.

The optional rubber floor mats ($165 and installed at the dealer) are another favourite feature.  Even the best run stables are inherently messy, and it's impossible not to track manure, straw and dirt back with you.  Carpet is disastrous in such a truck but these mats hose down easily.

This truck's optional Z71 off-road package also gave it stiffer shocks and more underbody protection for heavy brush or forest roads.  As for the bed, this one featured a rugged spray-in bedliner to protect it while carrying dirty loads or heavy equipment.  Shorter folks like me will appreciate the bumper step.

The engine-braking feature of these big diesel trucks is a marvelous thing for those of us who deal with shifting loads prone to getting upset by jerky braking.  Using the engine to keep a smooth steady progress down a steep grade is not only safer, it also saves wear and tear on brake components.  All the extra technology and luxury features don't come cheap, however.  This Silverado had over $20,000 in options.  That's more than I paid for my first truck.

While it may not have had the attention-seeking factor of a Lamborghini, there's an immense feeling of satisfaction when driving such a capable vehicle.  The Silverado 2500 HD is a serious truck for serious truck owners.

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Cruze Hatchback

SPORTY AND PRACTICAL HATCHBACK IS A
WELCOME ADDITION TO CHEVY'S CRUZE LINEUP

By Graeme Fletcher, Driving.ca - Back in the days of the Cavalier and the Cobalt, Chevrolet was never really viewed as a serious contender in the competitive compact car market.  Times are, indeed, changing.  Today, the Cruze range rides taller after its remake and the addition of an attractive hatchback model.

While the new Cruze Hatchback shares the sedan's 2,700-millimetre wheelbase, the rear-end treatment brings a ride with a lot more presence.  The wraparound tail lights and integrated spoiler emphasize the added flexibility of the fifth door, and as a package it comes together very nicely.  The wish is the RS package be made standard equipment; the bolder body kit, larger rear spoiler and fog lamps give it more visual authority.

The Cruze's cabin is typical Chevrolet.  While I'm not a fan of the fabric inserts on the dashboard, the rest of it comes together well.  In the tester's case, it included the equipment that comes with the True North Edition.  Along with an eight-way power driver's seat and power moonroof comes a better audio system and Chevy's MyLink infotainment system.  It arrives with a larger eight-inch touch screen that gives fast and easy access to all the functions, including phone, music and apps, and it supports both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.  OnStar and a Wi-Fi hot spot are also aboard.  The other half of the North package brings some desirable safety technology; blind-spot monitoring and cross-traffic alert.

Teen Driver is a very cool feature for parents.  It mutes the audio until the seatbelts are buckled, it gives visual and audible warnings when the car is driven over predetermined speed limits and it prevents the key safety items from being turned off; this includes the traction control system, so no more smoky burnouts.  Finally, it gives a report car on how the teen drove.  It is a simple but highly effective bit of technology.  I'm just glad it was not around when I borrowed by father's car!

Move rearward and there is plenty of room for two adult riders.  The legroom is good and there's enough headroom, thanks to the sculpted headliner.  The anomaly is found in the headrest count.  While there are five seatbelts, there are only four headrests.  As such, putting someone in the middle spot when their head and neck will sit above the top of the seatback is not a smart move.

The hatch does bring versatility and space; with the seats upright, there are 700 litres of cargo capacity and 1,336 L with the 60/40-split folding rear seat folded flat.  It also arrives with the needed tie downs and a privacy cover to keep prying eyes off the stuff stored in the back.

At this point, the Cruze hatch arrives with one engine: a 1.4-L turbo-charged four-cylinder.  Its 153 horsepower is good for the segment, but it's the 177 pound-feet of torque at 2,000 rpm that makes the bigger difference.  While there is a very minor bout of turbo lag off the line, once moving the power builds strongly and brings a rewarding turn of speed.  In the end, the hatch canters to 100 km/h in 7.8 seconds, which is up to class standards.

More intriguing is the possibility of diesel power for the Cruze, as GM has hinted at such a model with an all-new nine-speed automatic transmission or a six-speed manual.  The 1.6-L turbodiesel, as used in the Opel Astra in Europe, pushes 160 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque at 1,500 rpm.  Note to GM: Build it and it will sell!

The power reaches the front wheels through either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission.  The temptation is to pick the manual, but in the long run it is the automatic that's the better buy.  It slips through its gears smoothly and it's willing to drop a cog when a burst of speed is called upon.  The hitch is the need to put the shifter in low (L) to take advantage of the manual toggle switch atop the shifter.  The design dissuaded its use totally, and given the sportier thrust of the Cruze hatch, it is an oversight that needs addressing.

Ditto the idle/stop system.  It is one of the smoother systems operationally, but there is no on/off switch.  Ironically, the owner can start the engine remotely and let it pollute as it idles needlessly in the driveway, but the driver cannot defeat the idle/stop system.

The Cruze hatch proved to be light and lithe on its P205/55R16 tires.  While the suspension's design is fairly basic, it gets the job done effectively.  Through a series of switchbacks, the amount of body roll was controlled and the response to steering input was both quick and predictable.  On the flip side, it delivered a comfortable highway ride, soaking up the rougher tarmac.  As such, the tuning serves to deliver the road manners required of a sportier ride without giving up the comfort demanded of a family car.

The Cruze hatchback is a welcome addition to the Chevrolet lineup, as it brings better versatility than its sedan sibling.  Going whole hog can get fairly expensive, but the mid-range LT is right-priced and well worth a look.

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Bolt Motor Trend Car of the YearFOURTH MOTOR TREND AWARD IN THREE YEARS FOR CHEVROLET

By General Motors, Los Angeles - MOTOR TREND has recognized the Chevrolet Bolt EV - the all-new affordable electric vehicle offering an EPA-estimated 238 miles of range on a full charge - as its 2017 Car of the Year®.

The editors based their selection on the Bolt EV's performance in six evaluation categories: advancement in design, engineering excellence, efficiency, safety, value and performance of intended function.

"Chevrolet is the fastest-growing full-line retail brand in the industry thanks to an exceptional vehicle lineup, which includes ground-breaking products like the Bolt EV," said Alan Batey, president of GM North America and Global Chevrolet brand chief.  "Being recognized once again as MOTOR TREND Car of the Year is a great honour for the entire Chevrolet team."

It is the fourth MOTOR TREND award for Chevrolet in three years, with the Camaro recognized as the 2016 Car of the Year and Colorado named the 2015 and 2016 Truck of the Year.

"Chevrolet is on a roll with new and compelling vehicles that have reset the bar for trucks in 2015, trucks and sports cars in 2016, and for 2017, electric cars," said Ed Loh, MOTOR TREND Editor-in-Chief.  "The Bolt EV is certainly a game changing vehicle and we look forward to seeing whether we'll be recognizing another Chevrolet next year in our annual awards."

About Bolt EV

With an EPA-estimated range of 238 miles, Bolt EV owners can expect to go beyond their average daily driving needs with range to spare, when charging regularly.

Standard features include electronic precision shift, Regen on Demand™ steering wheel paddle and 10.2-inch-diagonal color touch screen.  The top-trim Premier model adds leather-appointed seats, front and rear heated seats, Surround Vision, Rear Camera Mirror and more.

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Cruze Hatchback

FIVE-DOOR ADDS A SPORTY OPTION TO THE CHEVY FAMILY

By Michael Accardi, AutoGuide.com - In the perpetual renaissance city of Detroit, Chevrolet has introduced a car it hopes will spark a five-door renaissance in North America: the 2017 Cruze Hatchback.

This marks the first time North American shoppers are offered the Cruze in multiple body shapes, and Chevrolet is hoping the hatch's 47.2 cubic feet of cargo capacity, coupled with the brand's commitment to connectivity, will help introduce the Cruze to a new set of buyers.

The Mexican-made five-door gives the Cruze lineup a functional and sporty-ish choice that the brand hopes will appeal to a more male, more affluent and more urban-centered user base than the sedan.

Further aiding Chevy's drum for new drivers is the addition of a 1.6-liter diesel engine in 2017, which will be available at multiple price points across the Cruze family in the hopes of courting spurned Volkswagen TDI lovers.

Premier shoppers can go one further and opt for the Driver Confidence II Package, which adds IntelliBeam automatic highbeam control, forward collision alert, following distance indicator, and lane departure warning with lane keep assist.

The 153-horsepower 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder carries over from the sedan, as does its 106.3-in wheelbase, the biggest change - besides its new found booty - is an eight-inch shorter overall length, which conspires to change everything.

Inside, the new hatchback posts its most significant gains over the four-door in carrying capacity, dwarfing its sibling by almost double with the seats up, and triple with the seats down.  I was told the sedan and hatch actually share rear doors, as evidenced in the modest headspace gains, but the five-door does add a feeling of airiness along with improved rearward visibility.

The 2017 Chevrolet Cruze Hatchback isn't a car that will make memories in and of itself, but instead, it's a tool that Chevy hopes will offer shoppers the freedom to make new memories wherever the road may take them.

No, it's not a Focus RS, Civic Type R, or even a VW GTI, but that doesn't mean the 2017 Cruze hatch doesn't have plenty of smiles-per-miles potential.  It's just a different type of smile, one that doesn't come from the visceral thrill of driving, but from the warm and fuzzy memories of a time well had.

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img_58182GM HOPES TO BUILD ON WORLDWIDE SUCCESS OF THE CRUZE BY
BRINGING HATCH TO NORTH AMERICA

By Lesley Wimbush, Driving.ca - Chevy's targeting a younger, more ethnically diverse and predominantly male buyer with the new hatchback version of its best-selling compact Cruze - one who's relatively affluent, active and presumably hip, given the carefully crafted image of our surroundings.

A repurposed industrial building in the heart of Detroit is the new home of Third Man Records, the latest project of punked-out blues artist Jack White, an Edward Scissorhands look-alike who got his start here in the Motor City.  Against an Art Deco backdrop of exposed brick and primary colours is an eclectic collection of obscure music paraphernalia, from vintage turntables to Tardis-like wooden recording booths, circa 1960.  Behind the shop is a warehouse-like event space that also houses White's latest foray into musical preservation: a vinyl record pressing plant that will cater to smaller-output indie productions.  Here we're introduced to North America's first hatchback variant of the Cruze (Europe has had one since 2011), surrounded by robotic record presses, steam pipes and a blues-playing acoustic guitar picker, dressed in all black.

"The Cruze has been our best-selling vehicle globally," said Alan Batey, president of GM North America.  "And now, extending the range, here in the U.S. (and Canada), the new hatchback is a really big step."

Interior cabin space is exactly the same as the sedan, with no reduction in head, leg or shoulder room.  The interior is essentially the same as the sedan's, except for the all-important rear cargo space.  Aside from its sportier image, space and versatility are the hatchback's raison d'être.

In comparison to the sedan, which has a trunk space of 419 litres, and rear seats that produce an awkward hump when folded, the hatch offers 523L of cargo room, with a total of 1,189L of flat space with the rear seats down.

As with the sedan, the Cruze hatch offers a torsion-beam axle on the base LT trims, and a Z-link rear setup on Premier models.  Front suspension across the lineup consists of MacPherson struts, coil springs and stabilizer bar.

While the sedan offers three trims - LT, LS and Premier - the hatch is available in only the LT and Premier and is priced at $750 over the sedan.  The base Cruze hatch LT manual starts at $20,595, or $22,045 with automatic.  The Premier is $24,645.

As with the sedan, there are Convenience and Technology packages that build on the standard features, and a True North Edition that also adds the safety technology suite and the eight-inch MyLink touch screen with Apple CarPlay.  There's also an RS appearance package with sport body mouldings, rear spoiler, fog lamps and RS badging.

Safety tech includes lane-keep assist, IntelliBeam, forward-collision alert with following-distance indicator, lane-change alert, rear park assist and rear cross-traffic alert, but there's no adaptive cruise control.  This is available on mid-range Honda Civics and will be offered as standard on all upcoming Corollas, including the sub-$17,000 base models.

Our day was spent in the top-spec Premier True North; features include heated leather seats and steering wheel, and remote push-button start.  Chevy boasts that the Cruze is the "most connected car in its segment," and on top of Apple CarPlay, it also features standard 4G LTE Wi-Fi across the lineup.

There's really no marked difference in handling between the Cruze hatch and its four-door sibling.  The single engine choice is a turbocharged 1.4-L four-cylinder producing 153 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque, mated to a six-speed automatic in upper trim levels.  Performance is adequate, if not invigorating; the transmission is smooth but a set of paddle shifters would add some sparkle.

The Cruze rides smoothly with plenty of composure, and there's very little noise.  But even with the available spring and exhaust performance modes, this isn't a hatch for the boy-racer wannabes.  The steering, a rack-mounted electric setup that reduces parasitic draw from the engine, is nicely weighted but not as communicative as the Golf's.

Those of a more enthusiast bent may want to wait for the diesel variant, which is set to arrive in Canada next spring.  The diesel engine will likely be the 1.6-L CDTI four-cylinder found in the Opel, which produces only 136 hp, but has 236 lb-ft of torque.

"The torque that you get out of this type of diesel, in this type of vehicle - particularly being a Brit - with a manual transmission, that's what I call fun," said Batey.

In addition to the six-speed manual, the diesel Cruze will be available with a new nine-speed automatic.  In this configuration, the Cruze hatch could boast fuel consumption ratings as high as 50 mpg (5.6L/100 km).  The official fuel consumption numbers for the gasoline-powered Cruze hatchback are slightly higher than the four-door, at 8.3/6.4/7.4 (city/highway/combined) for the LT manual, 8.1/6.2/7.3 for the LT automatic, and 8.4/6.4/7.5 for the Premier automatic.

The Chevrolet Cruze hatchback is available in the showroom now.

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Camaro ZL1Unprecedented levels of refinement, track capability and drag-strip performance

Detroit - The 2017 Camaro ZL1 is poised to challenge the most advanced sports coupes in the world in any measure - with unprecedented levels of technology, refinement, track capability and straight-line acceleration.

"The Camaro ZL1 is designed to excel at everything," said Mark Reuss, executive vice president of Global Product Development.  "It's a 2+2 coupe offering incredible performance - acceleration, handling and braking - with the highest levels of technology and perfect chassis damping, making it suitable for everyday driving.  It will compare well to any sports coupe, at any price and in any setting."

Acceleration for the ZL1 is delivered with a new supercharged 6.2L V-8 engine estimated at 640 hp (477 kW), and either a six-speed manual transmission with active rev matching or an all-new 10-speed automatic.  Handling capability starts with the lightweight, stiffer structure of the all-new sixth-Gen Camaro, married with Magnetic Ride suspension and an electronic limited-slip differential.  Standard technologies include Driver Mode Selector, dual-mode exhaust and advanced connectivity features.

The Camaro ZL1 goes on sale late this year.

Designed for performance

Functionality defines the Camaro ZL1's form, with the exterior shaped during more than 100 hours of wind-tunnel testing and on-track validation to improve aerodynamics and cooling for track use.  Accordingly, its exterior elements all play a part in managing airflow over, under and through the ZL1.

"The design supports the Camaro ZL1's exceptional performance and does so with compelling style," said John Mack, Camaro exterior design manager.  "From every angle, the elements coalesce to give the car a purposeful, super aggressive attitude."

The lower grille opening, for example, offers greater airflow compared to the Camaro SS, and the upper grille incorporates a new version of the "flow-tie" open bowtie insignia.  There's also a new hood, with a carbon fiber insert and heat extractor that pulls hot air from the engine compartment.  Additional changes include a larger front splitter, unique rockers, a wing-style rear spoiler and wider front fenders - all tuned to improve aerodynamics for greater high-speed stability.

Inside, there are standard Recaro front seats, along with a sueded flat-bottom steering wheel and shift knob.  Chevrolet's Performance Data Recorder is available.

Fast with finesse

A cohesive suite of performance technologies tailors ZL's performance for street and track.  Features include an updated Magnetic Ride suspension, Performance Traction Management, electronic limited-slip differential, Custom Launch Control and Driver Mode Selector.  It also has a stronger power-to-weight ratio than its predecessor, weighing 90 kilograms less (200 lbs) while offering approximately 60 more horsepower and 80 more pound-feet of torque.

The result is one-of-a-kind driving experience.

"Driving the Camaro ZL1 is best described as "fast with finesse," said Reuss.  "It is beautifully balanced, with perfect damping and isolation for optimal performance and driver confidence in virtually any situation - from the Pacific Coast Highway to Willow Springs to Pomona."

Additional chassis features include:

  • Unique 20-inch forged aluminum wheels with 285/20ZR20 front and 205/30ZR20 rear tires
  • Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar tires with a compound and construction developed exclusively for the Camaro to offer exceptional grip on the track
  • Brembo brakes with six-piston monobloc front calipers - featuring ZL1 logo - and massive, 15.35-inch (390 mm) two-piece front rotors

Supercharged performance and new 10-speed automatic

Underhood, the ZL1 features a supercharged LT4 6.2L V-8 Small Block engine, with intake and exhaust systems tailored for Camaro.  It is rated at an estimated 640 horsepower (477 kW) and 640 lb-ft of torque (868 Nm).

The LT4 is backed by a standard six-speed manual transmission or all-new, available paddle-shift 10-speed automatic.  The 10-speed automatic has 7.39 overall ratio for smaller steps between gears.  It enables the LT4 engine to remain at optimal rpm levels during acceleration, particularly when exiting corners, for quicker laps and lightning-quick responses on both up- and down-shifts.

This is the first Chevrolet application of the new quick-shift 10-speed, with unique calibrations and hardware developed exclusively for the ZL1.  By the end of 2018, GM will introduce the new 10-speed automatic in eight vehicle models.

Finally - and unlike some competitors - there's no need to purchase an optional package to make the ZL1 track ready.  Track capability comes standard with features including an impressive 11 heat exchangers for optimal powertrain cooling.

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2017 SonicFRESH LOOK, SEGMENT-FIRST APPLE CARPLAY/ANDROID
AUTO COMPATIBILITY LEAD CHANGES

Oshawa, Ontario - Chevrolet introduces the 2017 Sonic - a more expressive, sporty take on the brand's fun-to-drive small car.  It offers big technologies such as a new MyLink system with segment-exclusive Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, and a fresh exterior with new LED signature lighting.

The updated styling complements new comfort and convenience features such as an available heated steering wheel and a standard 7-inch-diagonal colour touchscreen for the new MyLink system.  Rear Park Assist is also new, adding to one of the most comprehensive safety packages in the segment.

"This is an important segment for Chevrolet in Canada, especially in key urban markets like Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal where small cars like the Sonic are popular and offer the opportunity for Chevrolet to introduce ourselves to new buyers," said Laura Pacey, brand director, Chevrolet Canada.  "The new styling and features of the 2017 Sonic reinforce its position as a fun, efficient small car with leading technology - all at an affordable price."

Like the new Trax, Sonic brings new, younger customers to the brand, with almost 20 percent of them younger than 35 and is one of Chevrolet's top vehicles for first-time new buyers.

The 2017 Sonic goes on sale this fall, offered in LS, LT and Premier trims on sedan models.  The hatchback returns exclusively in RS guise offered in Lt and Premier trims.  An RS package is also available on the sedan.

Refined design

Sonic's athletic exterior has an entirely new, expressive look echoing the global Chevrolet cues seen on vehicles such as the Cruze, Bolt EV and 2017 Trax.

It is a richer, more detailed design, with the front end featuring a new hood, new front fascia and new lighting elements.  Projector-beam headlamps are standard, along with available LED daytime running lamps.  Likewise, the rear fascia is new.

"With its trademark wheels-at-the-corners stance, the dramatic changes to the Sonic's design give it a even sportier stance and attitude," said Justin Thompson, exterior design manager.

There are also new 15-, 16- and 17-inch wheel designs and four new exterior colours offered in 2017: Orange Burst Metallic, Brimstone, Cajun Red Tintcoat and Arctic Blue Metallic (late availability).

Interior and technology enhancements

Sonic's thoughtful interior retains its focus on delivering comfort, convenience and technology.  A new, detailed gauge cluster incorporating an analog speedometer adds a higher degree of refinement to the cabin, complementing addition new comfort and convenience features.

For 2016, Sonic becomes the first in its segment to offer a power driver's seat.  Additional new features include:

  • Keyless Open and Start
  • Available heated cloth seats with new heated steering wheel
  • RS trim includes RS-logo floor mats, piano black décor, RS-badged flat-bottom steering wheel - with new, red cloth seating available

Also new is a 7-inch-diagonal infotainment system designed to support the latest connectivity technologies, including Apple Car/Play and Android Auto compatibility and 4G LTE with Wi-Fi hotspot.  With the available 4G LTE connection, Sonic provides a Wi-Fi hotspot that allows passengers to connect up to seven compatible devices such as smartphones, laptops and tablets, to high-speed wireless Internet.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility is a subject to their terms, privacy statements and data plan rates, as well as a compatible smartphone.

Safety first

Sonic offers safety features designed to alert drivers to potential crash situations.  Forward Collision Alert and Lane Departure Warning are available active safety features.  Sonic also offers 10 standard air bags, Stabilitrak electronic stability control and an antilock braking system to help provide peace of mind.  Rear Park Assist is new for 2017 and a rearview camera is now standard on all models.

Turbocharged performance

The Sonic's standard Ecotec 1.8L engine is estimated to deliver similar fuel economy numbers for the 2017 model year, however official EPA estimates are not yet available.  Sonic's fun-driving spirit returns with an available Ecotec 1.4L turbo engine, backed by a six-speed automatic or manual transmission.  Rated at 138 horsepower (102 kW).

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02-17-16

2016-chevrolet-trax

By General Motors, Chicago - Building on its early success and the rapid growth of the segment, Chevrolet today introduced the new 2017 Trax - a more expressive take on one of Canada's best-selling small SUVs.

Contemporary design elements, including an all-new front-end appearance, and a new premium interior compose the visual updates, while new available active safety features and a new infotainment system - with available Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility - expand its range of customer-focused technologies.

"In the fastest-growing segment, Chevrolet Trax's momentum is sure to continue with great design enhancements, premium details, and the latest technologies," said Laura Pacey, Brand Director, Chevrolet Canada.  "Features such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility and four new active safety features offer customers more than more competitors - and at an entry-level price."

With sales of 8,095 in 2015 - the Trax is the second-best-selling small SUV in Canada.  It is also ranked in the top three globally, achieving more than 400,000 sales in 73 markets since its launch in late 2012.  China and the United States are its top markets.

In Canada, 64% of Trax's customers who had a trade-in turned in something other than a Chevrolet.  Trax also attracts 65% female customers - the highest percentage in the brand's entire lineup.

"With the Colorado and Trax, Chevrolet and our dealers are able to offer brand-new entries in fast-growing segments, which helps bring new customers to Chevrolet," said Pacey.  "And with other new vehicles such as the Cruze Hatchback and Bolt EV, we will continue to attract new customers to the Chevrolet franchise and continue to grow market share, as we did in 2015."

The 2017 Trax goes on sale this fall, offered in LS, LT and new Premier trims.

Contemporary design

The Trax's fresh, contemporary appearance reflects the modern face of Chevrolet around the globe.  A new grille and headlamps echo the styling elements seen in new Chevrolet models such as the Malibu, Cruze and Volt.

"It's a more sculptural, sophisticated design," said Steve Kim, Chevrolet Trax designer.  "There's also a sporty streak in the new styling that speaks to the Trax's agile, fun-to-drive personality."

The front fascia is all-new and incorporates Chevrolet's new proportioned dual port grille.  New, sleek headlamps flow around the corners and into the front fenders.  Trax LS models feature new halogen reflector headlamps and uplevel LT and new Premier models have halogen projector headlamps with LED signature lighting.  Chrome also accents the outboard fog lamp bezels.

At the rear is a new fascia and dual taillamps, with the Premier model featuring LED signature lighting.  The Premier is also offered with new 18-inch aluminum wheels.

Premium interior

A modified instrument panel is the foundation for the 2017 Trax's premium interior enhancements.  It interprets Chevrolet's signature dual-cockpit design more expressively, with an upper dashboard hood that flows uninterrupted across the panel to enhance the perception of spaciousness.

The redesigned center instrument panel features greater visibility of a new 178 mm (7-inch) diagonal MyLink color touch screen and Galvano chrome trim on the instrument panel and console contribute to the Trax's premium ambiance.  Premier models are offered with contrasting-color instrument panel trim that matches their leatherette seating trim.

"Customers will really notice the elevation in the Trax's interior design and attention to detail," said Kim.  "It's an environment that transcends segment boundaries, offering rich, premium appointments and seamless integration of the technologies they rely on most."

Also new for 2017 is the instrument cluster, which features a new gauge display with prominent analog speedometer and tachometer readouts along with digital displays from the standard driver information center.

Enhanced connectivity

The 2017 Trax offers a new 178 mm (7-inch diagonal infotainment system designed to support the latest connectivity technologies, including available Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility and standard 4G LTE with Wi-Fi hotspot.

With the 4G LTE Connection, Trax allows passengers to connect up to seven personal devices such as smartphones, laptops and tablets, to high-speed wireless Internet.  Keyless Open and Start also add to the Trax's roster of available new technologies.

New active safety features

New active safety features are designed to help alert drivers to potential crash situations.  They are available depending on the model and include:

  • Side Blond Zone Alert
  • Rear Cross Traffic Alert
  • Forward Collision Alert
  • Lane Departure Warning

Additional crash-avoidance technologies include a standard rearview camera.  Trax also features 10 standard air bags.

Turbocharged performance

Returning for 2017 is the Trax's Ecotec 1.4L turbocharged four-cylinder engine, which is backed by a six-speed automatic transmission.  The engine is rated at an SAE-certified 138 horsepower (102 kW) and 148 lb-ft of torque (200 Nm) between 1,850 and 4,900 rpm.

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