Impatient Camaro driver clips oncoming Volvo

camaro

A number of years ago, I remember reading a Q & A with then Sgt. Cam Woolley, when someone asked when it was ok to pass on a rural road. The not so obvious answer was that on a single yellow line, one can pass provided it is safe to do so. Then there were the obvious dotted line discussions and the fact that you may never, ever pass on a double yellow line. Common sense that one.

When that double yellow is on a twisty canyon road, it shouldn’t take a brain surgeon to figure out that you should stay in your own lane, even if there is a local turtle ahead of you. Last weekend in California, a current generation Chevy Camaro driver felt that the law and common sense didn’t apply to him. #becausecamara ya know.

Reddit user humanwire was out for a drive and had a couple of cameras on board.

Went out this Saturday to hit up my favorite canyon road with some friends, but it ended up being closed once we got there. Hesitantly, we decided to give a Malibu canyon road (Decker Canyon, aka Route 23) a try on the way back, so the whole day wasn’t a complete waste.
I was quickly reminded why I don’t like driving on Malibu canyon roads, and why I head out much further away from Los Angeles for some frisky driving.
A group of three cars came barreling up behind us; a black Comaro, a red Mazdaspeed 3, and a black M3, unable to wait a second for a turnout.

Completely ruined the fun mood of the trip, and my friends and I turned around almost immediately so we wouldn’t be associated with that group. Wouldn’t want a CHP call to go out including us with that group.
Too many dickhead drivers. Too much traffic. Too many police patrols. Less than stellar roads (not all of them).

Pony car boy gets fed up with idling along behind a slowpoke in a Ford Explorer, and decides to pull out and pass, on a blind corner. He actually clips a Volvo that was headed in the opposite direction. Things could have very easily been a deadly incident, so everyone involved were very lucky.

Here’s to hoping that the local police get hold of this and track the moron down.

Source: YouTube via Reddit

On board at Interlagos in a V8 powered Chevy Sonic

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When most North Americans think of the term stock cars, we tend to think of NASCAR style taxi cab racing. In Brazil however, the cars used for the Stock Car racing series are V8 powered silhouette racers that are more like Aussie V8 Supercars.

Likewise, when we think of a Chevrolet Sonic, what comes to mind is a diminutive five door sub-compact car.

Things in Brazil are just a bit different than they are here.

Ozz Negri, usually a driver for Michael Shank Racing in the Tudor United SportsCar Championship, made a trip to his home country over the weekend to take part in a race at the Interlagos Formula 1 track. Negri, at the wheel of a beastly sounding Sonic, finished in P14 out of 33 starters. Mid-pack may not be so bad when you consider that the field contained names like Rubens Barichello, Nelson Piquet Jr., Raphael Matos, Bruno Senna, Antonio Pizzonia and Ricardo Zonta among others.

The folks at RACER set up a GoPro in Negri’s Chevy for a lap.

Source: RACER via YouTube
Image Source: Vickie Miller via Twitter

15 Seconds With: 2014 Chevrolet Trax

trax

We all have certain needs when choosing a new car. Some need space, while others need something that sips fuel. Then of course there are those of us who just want to go fast. The Chevy Trax offers those a bit of utility for those who need it, but want it in a package that is easy to manage around town. While I prefer something with a manual transmission and with a bit more power, I found myself grinning like a fool just about every time I drove Chevrolet’s tiny tripper.

The biggest shame is that our U.S. readers can’t buy one, as this puppy is Canada only.

Danica goes green for St Pattie’s Day

In case you live under a rock, today is St. Patrick’s day. Today is also Saturday, which means there is a NASCAR Nationwide Series race this afternoon. Combine the two and there will be a lot of green beer being consumed at Bristol. The marketing team at JR Motorsports decided to have a bit of fun with Danica Patrick‘s Go Daddy Chevy in honour of the day too.

The #7 Impala has been sprayed with the same metallic green as the 2010 Camaro, and adorned with shamrocks and a Happy St. Patrick’s Day message. Obviously, the team is hoping the luck of the Irish will rub off on their St Patrick.

We’ve got video and images of the car after the break.

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Review: 2012 Chevy Tahoe

I remember it like it was yesterday. I was a teenager, working at a high-end audio store in tony Old Greenwich, Connecticut, and all of a sudden this quiet downtown formally filled with Volvo’s, BMW’s and the like were suddenly replaced with wealthy stay at home mom’s wielding 2-1/2 ton V-8 full-size Chevy Tahoes. Walking across the street on my lunch break for my favorite hamburger had become a risky proposition. But that was twenty years ago. Fast forward to the present, where I tell my friend at GM I am headed to Pennsylvania with my wife and son in tow for an early Christmas, and I’m going to need something that can haul cargo. GM promptly answered that a 2012 Chevy Tahoe LTZ would be at my disposal.

The Tahoe in its current state has been around since 2007, and has remained true to what it is-a full-size SUV. Yet Chevy has managed to keep the Tahoe looking fresh with clean, crisp lines, and a no-fuss exterior. Finished in Silver Ice Metallic complimented with 20″ polished alloys, the Tahoe looked smart and well-proportioned.

Inside, the Tahoe proved to be a quiet retreat from the maddening traffic we faced just skirting New York City. The quality of trim, fit and finish were both excellent. While not well-bolstered, the seats were very comfortable over the long haul. Chevy’s Nav/infotainment touchscreen was a cinch to use, and we appreciated the quality of the Bose audio for Christmas songs. With the three of us, the Tahoe was a joy to be in, but there was a problem. It being Christmas, we had our own gifts to haul down, and we would need to have seating as well. Not a problem for such a huge SUV you say?

Allow me to explain. Our top-spec Tahoe LTZ seats two up front, with two captain’s chairs in the second row, and a third row that Chevy claims will fit three people. The third row is removable, but because the two front rows had seating for four, I knew I had to keep all three rows. That said, the Tahoe’s cargo bed was loaded to the hilt with the third row folded up, just for a weekend trip. Once in Pennsylvania, with five passengers in this massive SUV could barely contain our grocery shopping. My wife who stands at a towering 5′ tall sat in the third row and was not at all comfortable. For all it’s size, the Tahoe just seemed impossibly impractical for what I needed.

Our Tahoe was powered by a 5.3L V-8 rated at 320hp, paired to a six-speed automatic. With an estimated average EPA fuel economy of 17 MPG the Tahoe is one thirsty girl, but in spite of its truck-heritage, the Tahoe is actually an exceptionally refined ride. The towing limit on the Tahoe was 7,200lbs. Our LTZ had standard Autoride suspension, which I am sure helped, but the truth is the Tahoe was a cinch to eat up mile after mile of interstate. Passing power was never a problem, the V-8 ready and waiting. Yes, the steering feel was dead on arrival in terms of feel, but that’s what you expect on a large SUV. With my wife and son nodding off, I was simply astonished at how the Tahoe remained completely composed as I sliced through traffic.

Our Tahoe LTZ was well equipped, with leather seats that were heated and cooled up front, heated steering wheel, XM Radio, Navigation, three-zone climate control, and power liftgate. Our Tahoe was optioned with the Sun & Entertainment Package, which added rear seat DVD entertainment and sunroof, heavy duty cooling package and trailer brake controller for a total of $59,135USD including delivery.

On our return trip to Connecticut, the Tahoe was positively exceptional, but for nearly $60k there are better options out there for the average family. But if you need to tow, go off-road, and haul folks the Chevy Tahoe more than fits the bill.

Chevy shows Korean Miray concept in The D

For any gearhead worth his or her salt, concept cars are pretty much the most exciting part of going to any auto show. It doesn’t even matter if they have been shown before, all that matters is that we get to dream about what could be.

The good folks at Chevrolet know this, which is why they brought the Miray concept to Detroit. While it shared little or anything in common with anything else in the Chevy booth, the concept, which was originally shown in Seoul last year, drew onlookers even during the media preview. The drop dead sexy machine has design cues very loosely based on Chevy heritage while motivation is of the gas/electric hybrid variety.

Behold to glitter of the Miray after the break, along with a video from the folks at Sick Rides.
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Chevy shows the Wonder Twins at Detroit

As some of the traditional imports work their tails off to capture the youth market, General Motors has their work cut out for them as they try to capture some of the younger demographic. Rather than attempt to decide for the public what format the masses want, The General launched 2 distinctly different concept cars wearing the Chevy Bowtie at Detroit.

One, the Code 130R is a rear wheel drive, four seat coupe that looks like a mashup between Chevy’s big boy Camaro and the ever so popular BMW 1 Series. The other is a 3 door hatch that looks more like a Chevy-fied Mitsu Eclipse than anything else on the road. Like the Eclipse, the Tru 140S would be a front wheel drive layout.

Both cars look great, but my nod goes to the Code 130R as the most likely candidate to steal some thunder from the upcoming Toyota / Subaru twins.

Check out the full press release and a gallery of both cars after the break.
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Review: 2012 Chevrolet Volt

Being a car journalist, anyone who knows me well is used to the fact that I’m driving a different car every week. So when I pick up my five year old son, he always asks what kind of car we have when I show up in something new. I tell him it’s a Chevy Volt-it’s a car I can drive on electric power and plug in to charge, or drive on gas. The concept sort of blew his mind. My friends and family are pretty jaded about the constant comings and goings of press cars, but I can honestly say that no other car I have driven in the past three years has received the level of interest the Chevy Volt has.

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, the Volt is a revolutionary car for Chevy. The Volt promises the best of both worlds-decent range electric use, and the assurance that a gas engine is there when the juice runs out. The concept of a hybrid vehicle is fully accepted, but with the Volt, Chevy has raised the concept to a new level. And what everyone wanted to know was how is it to live with the Volt? When I test a car for The Garage, that car is my only means of transportation for an entire week. It has to do it all. So how was it? Read on….

To start, the Volt manages to look futuristic and slick. The only other Chevy as slippery as the Volt is the Corvette. Some detractors have called the Volt a dressed up Cruze, a claim I feel is baseless. Instead, the Volt looks the part of a contemporary, cutting edge car but does not suffer the geek factor that plagues the Toyota Prius and Honda Insight. The Volt presents itself as a more masculine car, yet with greater attention to detail. There is a tasteful use of chrome, and the piano black trim on the roof and window surrounds is a refreshingly different touch. The Volt has essentially schooled the Prius and Insight that you can set yourself apart as being modern and different without looking like a tool.

As for being modern, step inside the Volt and toss out your idea of a conventional gauge cluster. Facing you are two crystal clear, easy to read LCD screens. While it is certainly different from what you see in most cars, the Volt’s display is very easy to read and understand. All information regarding speed, range on electric and gas is simple to comprehend. Chevy deserves a round of applause for going unconventional yet so user friendly. The rest of the interior? Well, it’s not bad. But it is no where near the level of quality one should expect at this price point. Once the novelty of the LCD screens wears off, you are left with what is essentially just an average interior. While our test Volt had was loaded to the hilt, I was incredulous that the seats were manually adjustable-power seats aren’t even an option. The center-stack console is awash in touch-sensitive, but featureless ‘buttons’. Cutting edge, maybe, but easy and intuitive? Not so much. Because of the battery pack, the rear seat has only two bucket seats, and it’s a bit on the small side. While the Volt is a hatchback, again, the battery takes a huge bite out of the cargo area. Worse is that there is no separation from the cargo area to the rear seats. Chevy doesn’t even offer a proper means of covering the hatch area. Our Volt had a black cloth/tarp thing to conceal belongings in the hatch area. Inexcusable, Chevy, even the cheapest hatches on the market do better than this.

What separates the Volt from virtually anything on the road is its drivetrain. So, how does the Volt work? Let’s start with the battery, which is a 5′ 6″ 435lb T-shaped lithium ion battery pack, supplying power to a 111 kW electric drive, or the equivalent to 149hp. When electric power is depleted, a 1.4L gas engine kicks in that operates the car’s electric drive system. As exotic and otherwordly as all this tech sounds, the Volt is like driving any other car, with the absence of engine noise. The Volt feels torquey off the line, but this is no sport sedan. Rather, the Volt will have no trouble keeping up in traffic. Again, for what it is, the Volt feels very much like an ordinary car. I found it surprising how quickly I got accustomed to just the sound of rolling tires and wind noise, and the utter absence of internal combustion as I rolled along.

But the big question is, what is it like to live with a Chevy Volt? It’s actually pretty simple. The Volt comes with a plug that can fit any 120v outlet. So, if I wanted to charge the Volt, I simply parked her in my driveway, opened the Volt’s charger door with a push of a button, plugged it in to an outlet in my house, and could see the car was being charged. Chevy equips the Volt with a charger kit to connect car to outlet via a 20′ cord.  On a 120 volt outlet, Chevy says it will take about 10 hours to charge the battery. Upgrade to 240 volts and charging time is cut to four hours. During my week with the Volt, I charged it overnight three times. Each time, the Volt promised, and provided around 30 miles of electric drive. And during that week, I never left town. At best I’ll say I drove about one mile with the gas engine on. Talking about gas mileage on a Volt is virtually impossible, because it depends entirely on how you use it.

It’s no news that the Volt has not met Chevy’s expectations. The all-electric Nissan Leaf outsells it 2:1, which simply amazes me. Chevy has come up with excuses, but the most damning thing to the Volt was the report of batteries catching fire after a side-impact crash. This only happened under testing, and no actual Volt buyer has been affected. Chevy has contended that the Volt is safe, and the problem would have been avoided if the batteries had been depleted. GM offered loaner cars to Volt owners who were concerned. Today, GM also offered Volt owners the option to bring their car to their local dealership for reinforcements to the steel containing the batteries. Of the 8,000 Volts sold to date, only 250 owners returned their cars.

The Chevrolet Volt is at once a revolution and an enigma at once. The bad press is not helping matters. The price of the Volt is doing it no favors either. A base Volt has an MSRP of $39,145USD. Our test car was fully loaded with GPS Navigation, Premium Package which added leather, heated seats, rear camera and parking sensors, chromed wheels and Bose audio for a whopping $46,165USD.  With the US Federal Government offering a $7,500 tax break, that lessens the price to $38,665. Has the Volt met GM’s expectations? No. Are they losing money on each one they sell? Likely. But the Volt is a good car. If you were willing to stand in line at an Apple store before you even knew what an iPod, iPhone, or iPad was, then the Chevy Volt is the automotive equivalent.

 

Chevy Discontinues HHR

Conspicuous by its absence from Chevy’s 2012 line of crossovers, the HHR has been dropped. The HHR (Heritage High Roof) first arrived as a 2006 model, and was left largely unchanged through its lifespan. Enthusiasts may recall the HHR SS introduced as a 2008, a neat little hot rod boasting a 2.0L turbo four rated at 260hp, a five-speed manual and racy bodywork. The HHR SS was dropped after 2010. Apart from that model, the HHR was a fairly unremarkable, but capable vehicle.

Personally, it is a car I am not sad to see go the way of the dodo. Chevy, as a brand, is moving forward with interesting new product, and the HHR was a reminder of Chevy’s recent misguided past. Spurred by the raging initial success of the Chrysler PT Cruiser, and with no original idea of their own, Chevy poached the guy who designed the PT Cruiser and charged him with designing basically the same car, but this time drawing inspiration from the 1949 Chevy Suburban. And he did just that, but by the time the HHR arrived, the PT Cruiser was in its sixth year of production, and the hype had long since faded. While the HHR did outlast the PT, such a retro design left little or no room for the HHR to evolve. The Chevy of today was smart to let the HHR quietly die.