During a short drive in the all-new Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicle, I began to wonder if its creators had discovered the secret to perpetual motion.
When I pulled off the lot, the screen readout indicated the maximum range that day, before a plug-in recharge was needed, would be a maximum of 244 kilometres. A full battery might have pushed the upper limit to 383 kilometres but what the range promised would be more than enough for my jaunt.
If I were heavy footed then I might be lucky to reach 169 kilometres; that would be embarrassing. The number 207 shone brightly through the spokes of the steering wheel. It was the more realistic range based on normal driving style and conditions.
And it offered an irresistible challenge to this competitive son of a gun! – Within a couple of minutes, it fell to 205; mind you the car had motored three clicks. When you lift your foot off the accelerator the car slows smoothly and regenerates electricity to top up the battery. Get the timing right and no more than a touch on the brake is necessary until you close in on the car ahead at the light. One pedal driving – almost!
This was going to be fun. By the time I’d clocked 10 kilometres, the readout had jumped to 209 – more range than when I set out. Cool. Maybe that 244 mark was not so optimistic. Stop and go traffic across town brought me down to earth, so to speak. My 25-kilometre drive came to an end at the recharging station opposite Granville Island Market in Vancouver. Didn’t need to plug it in but f
ree juice is free juice.
No sooner was I out of the car when a guy leapt from the other side of the road, narrowly missing a meet with one of those gas guzzling gas-electric hybrid powered taxi cabs. Just kidding. About it being a gas guzzler that is.
He wanted to know whether I would recommend the crossover-like vehicle. I proudly told him the display should really show a remaining range of 182, not the 190 he saw. Told him that if he couldn’t afford the $42,895 (plus taxes) sticker price (less a $5,000 point of purchase rebate from the Clean Energy Vehicles program) he could enter to win one at the Vancouver International Auto Show (March 28-April 2). Check it out on vancouverinternationalautoshow.com/bolt.
For the record, the gas economy equivalency is 1.8/2.1 L.100km (city/hwy). Green credentials intact, yours truly shopped and returned to drop a bag or two in the surprisingly generous space that lies beneath the rear hatch. Now for a stretch on the freeway, that would surely deplete the battery.
Well, it did and at a faster rate as I sped by some surprised faces at 100 klicks. The Bolt is similar in appearance to many cute utes on the road today but it’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing. The electric power launches the small five door family car at a rate rarely seen off track. In less than seven seconds the needle is closing in on 100 km/h.
The Bolt is loaded with what every family wants in terms of safety equipment and entertainment systems. Available active safety features including Side Blind Zone Alert, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Forward Collision Alert and Forward Pedestrian Alert.
Stronger, bigger yet lighter: don’t call latest generation Chevy Malibu plain
“The all-new Volt delivers a total driving range of up to 675 kilometres.”
LOS ANGELES, California.
This is the second time the Volt has won the award, the first time being when it debuted in 2010 as a 2011 model. Green Car Journal praised the Volt’s increased range, all-new propulsion system and bold design.
“Chevrolet’s all-new Volt is a milestone, building on an already-technologically advanced ‘green’ car and delivering what buyers have longed for, including an impressive 53-mile (85 kms) driving range on a single charge,” said Ron Cogan, editor and publisher of Green Car Journal and CarsOfChange.com.
“A visually appealing design, increased five-passenger seating, and an array of on-board electronics combine with the Volt’s inherent efficiencies to make the 2016 Chevrolet Volt a real winner,” Cogan said.
The all-new Volt delivers a total driving range of up to 675 kilometres. Combined with EPA-estimated fuel economy of 5.6 L/100kms highway, Chevrolet expects owners to travel 1,600 kilometres between gasoline fill-ups.
“Chevrolet is all about bringing affordable electrification to our customers, and that is exactly what we did with the Volt” said Steve Majoros, Chevrolet marketing director. “For Volt to stand out in Green Car’s evaluation, it reaffirms Chevrolet’s commitment to being a leader in electrification.”
According to independent surveys, Volt owners are the most satisfied in the industry, and 70 percent of those owners are new to General Motors.
The Green Car of the Year award is determined by an 11-member panel, and is based on fuel efficiency, Environmental Protection Agency and California Air Resources Board certifications, performance and affordability. The other finalists were the Audi A3 e-tron, Honda Civic, Hyundai Sonata and Toyota Prius.
“GM Canada continues to play an important role in the sixth-generation of the Chevy Camaro.”
The sixth-generation Chevrolet Camaro made its Canadian debut today at the 17th Annual St. Catharines Powertrain Show & Shine event in front of hundreds of Camaro owners and GM Powertrain fans.
The popular annual event is open to all “GM Powered” vehicles and includes a tour of the St. Catharines Powertrain facility, allowing Camaro owners and fans to see firsthand how an LT1 V-8 engine is assembled.
“We’re proud that GM Canada continues to play an important role in the sixth-generation of the Chevy Camaro, with the LT1 V-8 small-block engine being built right here at St. Catharines Powertrain,” said Steve Carlisle, president and managing director, General Motors of Canada. “Everything about the 2016 Camaro is focused on a fun, engaging driving experience, and the Canadian built V8 at the heart of the SS model delivers on that promise.”
The Camaro powertrain lineup includes an Ecotec 2.0L turbo, a next-generation 3.6L V-6 and the LT1 6.2L V-8. The new 2.0L turbo delivers the most efficient Camaro ever, with SAE-certified 275 hp (205 kW) and 295 lb-ft of torque (400 Nm) – and has a GM estimated fuel consumption rating of 7.8 L/100km highway and 0-96 km/h (60mph) acceleration well under 6 seconds.
The 3.6L offers an SAE-certified 335 horsepower (250 kW), giving it the segment’s highest specific output of any naturally aspirated V-6, while the LT1 is certified at 455 horsepower (339 kW) and 455 lb-ft of torque (617 Nm) – for the most powerful Camaro SS ever. The new engines are matched with six-speed manual transmissions and all-new eight-speed automatic transmissions.
Contact the writer at keith [dot] morgan [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca
“The Transformers edition is by far the best-recognized Camaro of all time and a sure-fire future collectible…”
As we await the arrival of the sixth generation Chevy Camaro, let us look back at some favorite Camaros from each generation.
Rob Sass is the vice-president of content for Hagerty Insurance. Hagerty is the world’s leading specialist provider of classic car and boat insurance. Learn more at hagerty.ca
“The new Nissan Titan offers a roomy interior that rivals the other popular full-size trucks on the market today.”
Truck lovers could fill an afternoon running a careful eye over the new trucks at the Vancouver auto show.
Here are my five picks for special attention:
2015 Chevrolet Colorado
The all-new design is turning heads all across Canada. This mid-size truck fills a void here. Still expected to work as hard as a full-size truck, the Colorado can tow more than 3,039 kilograms (6700 lbs) a 2.5L I-4 engine is standard with an optional 3.6L V6 with a six speed automatic transmission. This truck includes all the modern day technologies including 4g LTE hotspot with WI-FI connection through OnStar, which provides service for seven devices.
Base price: $21,695.
2015 Ford F150
The combination of a body made of aluminum body and high strength steel in its frame make this truck up to 317 KG (700 lbs) lighter. This truck was inspired by Ford’s concept vehicle, the Atlas. It has 11 new class-exclusive features, including 360-degree camera view, integrated loading ramps stowed in the pickup bed, 400-watt power outlets inside the cab, LED headlights and side view mirror spotlights, and remote tailgate release. There are four engine choices, the 3.5L Ti-VCT V6, 2.7L EcoBoost, 5.0 Ti-VCT V8, and the 3.5L EcoBoost.
The 3.7L V6 delivers 282 horsepower and 253 lb-ft of torque. The 2.7L V6 has 325 horsepower and 375 lb-ft of torque. The 5.0 V8 has 385 horsepower with 387 lb-ft of torque and the 3.5L V6 is pushing 282 horsepower and 253 lb-ft of torque. These are all capable engines depending on your requirements.
Base price: $24,899
2015 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel
It is the only light duty diesel available here. It has a 3.0 L V6 Diesel engine with a torqueflite eight speed transmission. Not only will it give you 420-pound feet of torque and plenty of towing capabilities, it will also reduce CO2 emissions and runs on B20 Biodiesel. Many trims are available from work-truck-ready to full luxury. This truck has something for every buyer.
Base price: $31,140
2015 GMC 3500HD Denali
It is a beast. This truck is built to pull with 10,251 KG (22,600 lbs) of trailer towing capacity. The 6.6L V8 turbo engine delivers 397 hp and 765 lb ft of torque and is paired with a 1000 series Allison transmission. With interior upgrades such as triple door seals, hydraulic powertrain and body mounts, 12 way power adjustable bucket seats, heated leather wrapped steering wheel and a Bose sound system you can operate this beast and still feel comfortable doing so.
Base price: $67,305
2015 Nissan Titan
This Titan can tow up to 4309 kg (9,500lbs) thanks to 385 lb-ft of torque from its 5.6 L DOHC 32 valve V8 engine producing 317 hp at 5,200 rpm.
If off-road driving is part of your plans then the Titan is ready. With the Prox-4x package you get heavy duty skid plates protect the oil pan, fuel tank, transfer case and lower radiator. The 4WD system utilizes a shift on the fly two-speed transfer case, which allows you to 4WD at a moment’s notice. Low range can be selected when the terrain requires it. The electronic locking rear differential is ready at a flip of a switch giving much need traction on slippery surfaces. Rancho performance shocks are available with the off-road package. The new Nissan Titan offers a roomy interior that rivals the other popular full-size trucks on the market today.
Base price: $40,498
“It is understood that a Z06 Corvette should be fast but this new model is also very precise and rewards even the average driver with a level of confidence and ability to go fast, that defies belief.”
Nevada is nice this time of year, especially when it includes thundering around Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch in the all-new 650hp Corvette Z06.
For those that are not aware, the Z06 factory order code was a secret code available, on a word of mouth basis, back in 1963 for pure driving enthusiasts to get a faster and more capable race-ready car. The Z06 factory spec was resurrected in 2001 and has evolved ever since to now represent a separate line in the Corvette Stingray family. In fact the Z06 has separate badging and an entirely different look. To confuse things, there is even a more aggressive model or sub-model called the Z07 but it is sold as a Z06. Confusing I know.
As great as it is getting to drive a potent, rear wheel drive rocket on the track, the chance to rub shoulders with the people who make the car is just as exciting. Tadge Juechter is the Chief Engineer of the new Corvette Stingray and he told me that the already capable, 450hp base Stingray was intentionally designed to handle the more powerful Z06 package but the look of the Z06 is different and functional. As Juechter explains, “you get the wider body work, you get the custom quarter air inlet duck with fifty percent more air flow.” He went on to say “that’s the main secret with this car, you’ve got a lot of energy going in, how do you get that thermal energy out? So you’ve got bigger coolers everywhere, more flow, the aerodynamics are much more intense”. So all the parts that make the Z06 and Z07 more menacing, from the wider body to the additional spoilers and air intakes are functional.
Along with getting to drive as fast as my skills would allow, there were also a few hours on the street getting to test the livability of the Z06. This was a big part of the design challenge. Juechter states “You can use them as daily drivers, you can use them as a long distance tourer, the seat comfort is good over long periods of time and you can also hammer it on the racetrack everyday.”
The new Z06 really is a car without compromising comfort. The manual transmission is easy to shift, the clutch is light and the car is very easy to use, even in stop-and-go traffic. The secret is the magnetic ride control that makes adjustments to the shocks to smooth out larger bumps. The seats are supportive and the dash is futuristic. The previous buyers of the Z06 told Chevrolet that, yes they wanted a fast car but also the modern comforts, and this car has everything from navigation to a standard removable Targa top, even an available automatic transmission.
It is understood that a Z06 Corvette should be fast but this new model is also very precise and rewards even the average driver with a level of confidence and ability to go fast, that defies belief. Juechter explains how this was achieved. “We use the technology, either in the tire construction, or the electronic differential, magnetic selective ride, it all comes together in the performance envelope but make it very accessible to normal driver’s, so people of average talent can go very fast”. And fast I went. Driving both the Z06 with a manual or the new 8-speed automatic is a jolt of adrenaline that should be bottled and sold. The howl from the 650hp 6.2L supercharged V8 is a sweet sound from inside the car and even more threatening outside the car. The traction is uncanny and the cornering grip unshaken due to massive Michelin tires and race ready Michelin Cup tires on the Z07 trim. The brakes are very surefooted even lap after lap. What is fun is using the manual transmission with re-matching, letting the car automatically blip the throttle of downshifts.
The top dog is the Z07 package that includes ceramic brakes, the competition tires, more aerodynamic effects and a forty percent stiffer ride. This is the car to get if you are a track rat or take part in weekend club events.
But with roughly eighty five percent of Corvette buyers driving exclusively on the road, the Z06 offers the perfect balance of on-road livability with the extra punch for a little fun, the styling is also a major plus. The automatic is very quick on the track and opens up the Z06 to a new set of buyers but the 7-speed manual is so easy to live with, I’d stick with the stick.
The price isn’t cheap but it is a bargain in the supercar world. Starting at $85,095 and topping out at $96,915 for the Z06, or an additional $8795 for the Z07 package.
Power: 650hp from a supercharged 6.2L V8
Fill-up: 15.7L/10.6L/100km (city/highway)
Sticker price: $85,095
“Heck, even funnyman Jerry Seinfeld couldn’t miss the Acura NSX reveal as he sat in the front row awaiting its presence…”
Within moments of pulling out of a parking lot in the 2015 Cadillac CTS 3.6L AWD, its pristine crimson coat was soiled by the elements. And of course, salt, dirt, grime and all that isn’t amazing about winter in Toronto.
Nevertheless, its smooth and comfortable ride didn’t disappoint along the arduous and incredibly four-plus-hour drive to Detroit, Michigan for the 2015 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS.)
I would soon trade in the coziness of heated leather seats – and steering wheel – for a pair of not-so-cozy leather shoes and roam the showfloor to check out what’s hot, cool and what sparkles amidst the industry’s top cars. It would only make sense to start with Cadillac’s latest offering when it comes to their “V” series cars.
At the Los Angeles Auto Show in late 2014, we met the ATS-V – the smaller brother of the mid-sized four-door I drove to Motown. Now, get ready for a performance sedan that will knock your socks off.
Arriving late in the summer of 2015, the 2016 Cadillac CTS-V is ready to take on its German competitors (like the BMW M5 and Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG) with a whopping 640 horsepower and 630 lb-ft of torque.
The all-new third generation sedan is the most power-endowed product the brand has ever created.
But aside from power, you’ll have the luxury of the third generation Magnetic Ride Control to not only blast you through the corners with grace and poise, but with the comfort of being able to drive it around town, or between cities/countries without sacrificing an enjoyable ride. Road or track, I’ll take this one for a spin any day.
Perhaps one of the most anticipated reveals of the last few years from the Japanese automaker, Acura, comes in the form of the NSX. The acronym, which stands for New Sports eXperience, rolled out onto the stage to a frenzy of flashes from the crowd. Heck, even funnyman, Jerry Seinfeld, couldn’t miss the reveal as he sat in the front row awaiting its presence.
While pricing hasn’t been released yet, it’ll likely be north of $150K.
But, for that price, you get a vehicle that not only delivers gargantuan power, but one that is hybridized thanks to an all-new power unit. That unit is a twin-turbocharged, 75-degree DOHC V6 engine with a 9-speed dual clutch transmission (DCT) and three-electric motor Sport Hybrid system. Not to mention Acura’s Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD), so it’s a perfect supercar for all seasons.
Speaking of electric motors, Chevrolet gave us a preview of the 2016 Volt. With a longer EV range and a lighter body, not to mention a new design, this plug-in hybrid is sure to win even more hearts over. Highlights include an EV range of up to 80 km, a new two-motor drive unit, which is now up to 12 percent more efficient and 45 kg (100 lb) lighter than the first-generation drive unit, and a new 1.5L range extender, designed to use regular unleaded fuel, offering a GM-estimated combined fuel consumption rating of 5.7L/100km.
Lexus NXB Concept Bike
Completely changing gears, atop one of Lexus’ sparking vehicle at their stand was a concept bike that caught my eye. Not only because it was totally out of place at an auto show, but also because it looks so cool. NXB stands for Neo Xtreme Bike and comes with a Lexus original carbon frame, carbon wheels and a KYB inverted suspension up front. Even if it never is ridden, I still like the idea of a zero-emissions commute on something as interesting as this concept.
Chevrolet Bolt EV Concept
For a zero emissions commute that doesn’t require muscles but rather a motor, the Chevrolet Bolt EV Concept is another step in the brand’s commitment to the electrification of automobiles.
It’s still a concept, but it embodies the philosophy of giving drivers over 300 kilometres of range out of one charge, without charging a premium for it.
The concept’s technological prowess can be linked with an App in which you can control various vehicular functions like starting the car from your smartphone. Additionally, it even incorporates the concept of automatic park-and-retrieval technology, which enables the driver to exit the vehicle and tell the Bolt EV concept to park itself – and when errands are completed, the Bolt EV concept can be summoned to return to the owner’s location. Sounds ideal to me!
“The cargo area of the Traverse offered both dogs plenty of space for each to do their own thing; stretch out, curl up, look out the window, chew quietly on toys.”
“More Canadians go for GMC and the US loves Chevrolet, the complete reverse…”
The all-new 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe is part of a full suite of large trucks from General Motors. These range from the Chevy Tahoe and Suburban, the GMC Yukon and Denali and the Cadillac Escalade. Something of interest is the preference Canadians have for the GMC brand over the Chevrolet trucks, which are the most popular in the United States. More Canadians go for GMC and the US loves Chevrolet, the complete reverse. Regardless, all of these GM trucks represent the majority of full-size truck sales in Canada. GM kind of has a lock on big vehicles able to move a large family, tow a trailer and now do it with much greater efficiency. These are all based on the award winning full-size Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickup trucks that arrived in 2014. GM has taken much of what made those some of the most comfortable vehicles to drive and baked it into the Tahoe and others.
In the Chevrolet family the Tahoe is the short wheelbase version and the Suburban is the longer wheelbase model, with much more cargo space behind the third row of seats. Some might find the new design direction from GM to be a bit too slab-sided, with squarer edges and boxy shapes but I prefer the modern take on the classic design. The Tahoe sits very high off the ground so the power side step is a wonderful addition along with a power tailgate and backup camera. How did we ever live without these amenities before? The biggest change is the front lighting package GM has used on this Chevrolet. LED daytime running lights make a statement and the monster grille with the big Chevrolet bowtie looks rough and ready.
One of the biggest changes in the full-size pickup trucks is the level of refinement and ride quality and this has migrated into this Tahoe, the cabin is quiet and refined. This is done through a number of advancements; one of the biggest is the way the doors wrap into the roof to help shut out road and wind noise. The next big advantage is the attention to detail in the front cabin. There is a big screen, front and centre, with easy to use and access rotary dials and switches. There are USB plugs along with regular power outlets just under the radio and more USB plugs inside the glove box and yet another behind the radio screen that slides up and away to reveal a hidden compartment. The back seats have an available flip and fold feature that automatically lowers or raises the second and third row of seats. What is surprising is the lack of cargo space behind the third row when it is in use, the bigger Suburban might be the way to go for really large families.
The two-wheel drive Tahoe is the value leader in the GM line of full-size trucks, starting at $51,900– the GMC comes with a $2000 premium over the Chevy. Yes, this is an expensive vehicle but keep in mind that towing is a big reason why people purchase such big trucks. With a towing capacity of 3856kg (8500 lbs.) in two-wheel drive trim and 3765 (8300 lbs.) with four wheel drive, the Tahoe is up to the task of towing most pleasure boats and family campers with ease. The Tahoe uses the same 355hp 5.3L V8 engine found in the full-size pickup trucks. It uses direct injection technology and has the ability to switch off half of the cylinders to help save fuel. There is a small indicator light on the instrument cluster that tells the driver when the engine is running on just 4-cylinders. This helps the driver feather the throttle to keep the engine in this fuel saving mode as long as possible. When more power is needed, the engine automatically reverts to all eight cylinders for maximum power. These tricks help improve city fuel economy by seven percent and highway consumption by ten percent.
The Tahoe tested was the top LTZ trim with the magnetic ride control, the same system used in the Corvette Stingray. This system monitors the road condition up to 1000 times per second and adjusts the shock absorbers up to 100 times per second to improve ride and handling. This along with the smooth engine and quiet ride makes the Tahoe feel like a big, luxury sedan. It is no wonder that people who have these big trucks love them. One thing to consider when choosing which truck to buy is the available engine. The GMC Denali and Cadillac Escalade trucks have a larger 6.2L V8, which is much quicker and more capable. This Tahoe is just part of the full-line of trucks from GM that dominate the market, and for good reason. These are well-designed, well-made and supremely comfortable vehicles for a large family.
Power: 5.3L V8 with 355hp
Fill-up: 14.9L/10.1L/100km (city/highway)
Sticker price: $51,900-$71,150