Review: 2014 Chevrolet Silverado

2014 Chevrolet Silverado High CountryStereotyping. It’s an ugly habit of us humans, and as much as we show disdain when we see others engaging in this behavior, we’re all guilty of the same. A couple of weeks ago my family was sitting outside a four star restaurant in Florida waiting for our table. We got up for a minute to take a selfie of the three of us, my wife’s purse and bag still on the bench we had just gotten up from. In an instant, an impeccably dressed family of four descends upon our bench, with our belongings on it. I hear them talking to each other. They were French. My reaction? I thought to myself “Typical French arrogant bastards. They think they are so much better than us.”

That was not very nice of me. I personally do not know any French people. I just buy into the stereotype. To flip that around, I often hear ‘Oh, typical American’, which usually means lazy and stupid, or a myriad of things. It’s never meant as a compliment. And if you judge Americans by what cars we buy, well, the numbers tell a story. Of the top ten best selling vehicles in America in 2013, three of them were full-size pick-up trucks. So, yes, we are as a nation, collectively in love with the pick-up truck.

It’s almost strange that in the five years I have been reviewing cars for The Garage, this is only the second pick up truck I have ever had. The trunk in question is the all-new 2014 Chevy Silverado. The competition is cut-throat for full-size trucks, and with its F-150, Ford has owned the sales crown for years, with Chevy’s Silverado coming in at second place. The highlights for the new Silverado are a lighter curb weight, new base V-6 engine, and an improved interior. The aesthetics of the Silverado definitely look up to date, but this is first and foremost a vehicle designed with utility in mind.
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Classic Player’s Challenge Racing in the rain

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Few who were around to experience the Player’s GM Challenge will argue that there has never been a more exciting racing series in North America. The cars were stout, fast and came out of a showroom. The drivers were talented, fast and tenacious. The fans were drunk and rabid.

As the series took place from the late Eighties to early Nineties, before the age of digital cameras, there is a sad lack of media material available from the series. Hopefully, more fans will start scanning their old photos soon.

Through a friend on Facebook, I just came across this fantastic (for the era) in car video from a race at Shannonville in the rain. The driver is not identified. Do you know who is driving this machine?

Update: Canadian racing legend and top competitor in the series, Ron Fellows, has weighed in on the video. Ron believes that this is one of the Motomaster cars, which he drove himself at Shannonville in 1987. That was a dry race, so Fellows thinks this is David Empringham in the ’88 race.

Impatient Camaro driver clips oncoming Volvo

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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

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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.

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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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