Jonathan Braman was driving with his family in a Tesla Model X this last week when it was plowed into by a clueless clod piloting a gargantuan GMC Yukon. The SUV ran a red light (can you say “distracted driving,” boys and girls?”) and sheared off most of the Tesla’s right front corner before coming to a stop.
One of the biggest questions facing the compact truck market is pricing, and GM has answered with the starting MSRP for the 2015 Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon. The 2015 Chevy Colorado will start at $20,100 plus a $895 destination fee, while the 2015 GMC Canyon starts at $20,995, plus a $925 destination.
The $895 difference between the Chevy and GMC grant you 16-inch alloy wheels, LED running lights, and a four-way power driver’s seat. The base price is for the extended cab model with the 2.5 liter inline four-cylinder engine; pricing for the V6 and diesel models haven’t been offered yet, though the top-of-the-line GMC Canyon $36,950 with four-wheel drive, a crew cab, and the more powerful V6.
What really matters here, however, is how the Colorado and Canyon stand up to the Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra. The full-size Silverado starts at $25,575, while the Sierra sets you back $26,075. So you’re talking about a 20% difference in price between the smaller and bigger trucks, which leaves some room for options in the budget. However, this doesn’t take into account GM’s often-generous truck incentives.
For example, right now, there are between $750 and $3,500 in incentives on the just-released 2014 Chevy Silverado. Of course GM will likely incenticize the Colorado and Canyon too, and most competitors are pricing their products in the same general area, but with much older products.
With GM offering the first fresh compact truck in close to a decade, it could steal a big chunk of this dwindling market…and perhaps even give it some new life as well. It might not have the market to itself for long though, with a new Ford Ranger caught testing on US roads.
Truck owners looking for a cheaper alternative to diesel can have it for a $9,500 premium on Chevy and GMC heavy-duty pickups. GM figures you can save about $2,000 a year using CNG twice as much as gasoline, which means it’ll take just five years (or about 100,000 CNG-powered miles) to recoup the cost. Worth it?
That depends entirely on where you live. Some areas of the country are inundated with publicly-accessible CNG filling stations; other places don’t have a CNG station within hundreds of miles. Of course you’ll have to sacrifice some power if you choose to run the cheaper fuel. On gasoline, the 6.0 liter V8 is good for 360 horsepower and 380 ft-lbs of torque, but running CNG it churns out just 301 horsepower and 333 ft-lbs of torque.
Having begun production back in 2012, GM is sticking with its long-term cost analysis for its CNG vehicles. To get the kinds of savings GM claims, you’ll have to drive an average of 27,000 miles a year, more than twice the national average, and 19,500 of those miles must be on CNG fuel alone. For major fleet operators, these numbers are definitely attainable. For the average guy looking to save a few bucks though, this truck would require over a decade of driving to make any sort of financial sense. Much of the cost is tied up in the expensive fuel tanks, and while companies have made efforts to produce better storage options, these are still years away from making an impact.
For those wanting a CNG van instead of a pickup, the CNG system will cost a bit more, starting at $10,825 for a three-tank system and $12,090 for the four-tank system. So far, no word on the rumored Chevy Impala CNG either, though Ford is said to be working on a small fleet of CNG vehicles as well.
Nobody ever said going green would be cheap, and unless you own a fleet of these trucks, you’ll have a long time to wait before seeing any real savings.
GM’s full-size pickups got huge makeovers last year, with smoother fascias, tighter panel gaps, and aerodynamic chin spoilers collaborating both to give the trucks better fuel economy ratings and fresher, more upscale appearances. The next thing GM did to get our attention was introduce a full-sizer that was both CNG and ethanol capable, effectively liberating GM customers from the grip of foreign oil to the point that they could drive their three-quarter ton rigs up to 600 miles on just 6 gallons of petroleum gasoline.
Short of GM pulling off the same trick with a physics-busting, quantum-powered EV, what more could we reasonably ask for from the General’s Chevy Silverado / GMC Sierra HD twins?
For starters, we could ask for some serious, Grade-A amenities, and the decidedly upscale Denali versions of the 2014 GMC Sierra HD trucks have all the posh gear and plush leather bits you might expect to find in a $79,000 Cadillac or even more hideously expensive Bentley Continental, plus a few more tricks up its truck sleeves. Tricks like GM’s own, fully-functional Pandora app, which I coo’ed over during my Chevy Colorado “deep dive” last week.
Take a look at the new for 2014 GMC Sierra HD trucks in the photo gallery, below, then let us know what you think of GM’s Flex-fuel, Bi-Fuel light truck contenders in the comments section at the bottom of the page.
Photos courtesy of GMC.
The American compact truck market has been largely dead for years, but all that changed with the recent introduction of the new, 2015 GMC Canyon (show here) and Chevy Colorado twins. The new trucks promised a roomier interior than the outgoing models, as well more modern chassis, improved pulling power, and- for the first time since 1983- an American compact pickup truck with diesel power.
The thing is, that diesel’s not just a marketing gimmick. The new 2015 GMC Canyon and Chevy Colorados are serious, big-boy trucks in person, and seem closer in size to the 1992-1996 Ford F-150s than, say, a Ranger.
The GMC Canyon debuted in extended-cab and crew cab iterations at this year’s Detroit Auto Show, and the good people at GM gave us a ton of great photos of the new 2015 GMC Canyon to share with you, below. Take a look at what the new GMC has to offer, ask yourself if you’d buy a GMC Syclone version, then let us know if the GMC is truck enough to take the money you’d saved up for that UK Ford Ranger comments section at the bottom of this page. Enjoy!
2015 GMC Canyon | Exterior
2015 GMC Canyon | Interior
2015 GMC Canyon | Size Comparison
Photos courtesy of GM/GMC.
Diesel-powered vehicles have gained a lot of U.S. sales momentum in 2013, and the number of available diesel models from automakers is set to double next year. Joining GM’s lineup are all-new mid-size pickups, the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon, both of which are in line to get small four-cylinder diesel engines a year after their 2014 launch.
This is great news following the disappointment of Nissan’s decision to fit the Titan full-size pickup with a 5.0 liter diesel V8, rather than the 2.8 liter four-banger it was working on with Cummins. While Chrysler will offer a 3.0 liter EcoDiesel V6 in the Ram 1500 pickup, with the death of the Dodge Dakota and Ford Ranger, America has lacked a small-truck option.
That leaves the market wide open for GM and its global mid-size pickup architecture, which in every other country is powered by either a 2.5 liter or 2.8 liter Duramax diesel engine. A four-cylinder diesel engine offers buyers better fuel economy and plenty of torque for 99% of jobs the average American DIYer needs to do. The larger 2.8 liter diesel offers 180 horsepower and 346 ft-lbs of torque when mated to a six-speed automatic, and could be good for up to 30 mpg. That’s what I’m talking about.
With executives refusing to bring the global Ford Ranger to the American market, and Chrysler largely ignoring the mid-size truck market, only the Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier are left to fight for very few buyers. Ford doesn’t even think Americans will buy diesels. Fewer buyers were fighting for fewer products, and it became a self-fulfilling prophecy of sorts, and the mid-size truck market is all but dead and buried.
Yet a small diesel engine that offers professional-grade torque with car-like fuel economy would doubtlessly lure full-size truck buyers from other brands into GM showrooms, something GM is banking on. Maybe it will serve as a wakeup call to other automakers too that small diesel pickups are the way to go. It’s definitely on my “do-want” list, and I even have a few years to start saving my pennies.
Source: Automotive News
This story about Cruise Automation was first published by CleanTechnica
GM’s self-driving car development unit, Cruise Automation, gave a number of media figures rides through the crowded downtown San Francisco metropolitan area on Tuesday, giving us a chance to check in on the state of the company’s tech.
So, how did the GM/Cruise self-driving car do on its first media demonstration (non-employees riding in the car)? During the Reuters trip at least, quite well, with the driver only having to take over once — after the car waited for over a minute behind a taco truck where customers were ordering lunch (the driver disengaged simply to move things along, not because of there being any danger).
Notably, though, the system was very cautious — as most competitor systems are as well — with bicyclists approaching from the opposite direction leading to the vehicle slowly down to a crawl, for instance.
Reuters provides more: “A self-driving General Motors Co Bolt slowly drove more than two miles through crowded San Francisco streets in its media debut on Tuesday, but double-parked cars and orange traffic cones tripped up the computer driver, and a taco truck stumped the machine.
“… During a roughly 15-minute ride in a busy area of San Francisco over a 2.2 mile (3.5km) trip, the Cruise-enhanced electric Bolt carrying a Reuters journalist encountered 117 people, 4 bikes, and 129 cars, according to the car’s sensors.
“The car, never moving more than 20 miles per hour, navigated urban traffic, a tram line, construction zones, pedestrians crossing streets, and many double-parked vehicles. Urban environments are as much as 46 times more complex than suburban areas, Cruise CEO Kyle Vogt said.
“‘Looking for a clear path’ screens facing the driver and passengers read several times during the trip, when the car stopped next to some traffic cones or behind double-parked vehicles. After pauses, it restarted and passed the obstacles by itself.”
While that may not sound too impressive to some people, if a self-driving car can travel through downtown San Francisco safely, then it can function in the vast majority of the wealthier cities of the world.
I should probably be clear here — I fully acknowledge that self-driving cars may well never be able to handle the chaotic traffic of many of India’s larger cities, or the tiny and winding medieval streets of some European city centers, or for that matter, areas that are essentially off-road … but that’s not the point. When most people are talking about the rollout of self-driving cars, they are talking about wealthy cities with well maintained road systems — where self-driving taxis stand to make operators and manufacturers quite a lot of money.
THE CAR LIST WAS LAST UPDATED 25AUG2017
Welcome to the first installment of what is going to be a new, ongoing series of articles about The Car List, which is a list that I came up with to help friends, family members, and co-workers who asked me a question. The same question. Over and over and over again. That question being, of course: What car should I buy?
The way it works is pretty simple. You think about what kind of car you’re looking for, then refer to the list in descending order.
For example: imagine that you find yourself saying, “I want to buy a Mini Cooper S. What car should I buy?” You should buy a Mini Cooper S. Yes, it’s number 24 on the list, but no one ranked between 1 and 23 makes a Mini Cooper, do they? Life is short. Be happy. The Mini Cooper S is the car you should buy.
Next, imagine yourself saying, “I want a safe, reliable SUV with a prestige nameplate, and I have to have a V8 engine. What car should I buy?” You should look to the list. When you do, you’ll see Honda and Acura “tied” at number 1. Unfortunately, neither Honda or Acura offers a vehicle that meets your criteria, so you keep going down the list. Volvo is at number 2. Volvo makes a safe, reliable SUV with with a prestige nameplate, but there’s no V8 option. Lexus is number 3, and that’s where you’ll find the 2018 Lexus GX. It’s a safe, reliable SUV with a prestige nameplate and a V8 engine. The Lexus GX is the car you should buy.
Now, granted, this is an opinion piece. That’s true. This is a well-thought-out opinion piece, though, and The Car List has spent several weeks “in beta” with the help of people like Charis Michelsen and Chris DeMorro. Smarter people than me, in other words.
So, with all those disclaimers and explainers in place, here it is.
The Car List
- Honda | Acura
- Toyota | Lotus
- Nissan | Infiniti
- Ford | Lincoln
- Audi | Lamborghini
- Buick | GMC
- Mercedes | Smart
- Volkswagen | Porsche | Bentley
- Hyundai | Kia
- Chevrolet | Cadillac
- BMW | Rolls Royce
- Ferrari | Maserati
- Chrysler | Dodge | Jeep
- Alfa Romeo
- Jaguar | Land Rover
- Aston Martin
We’ll be using The Car List in the coming months to help answer the “What car should I buy?” question as much as possible, and we welcome your questions, comments, and even challenges to the list as time goes on. You might also have noticed, at the very beginning of this article, the words, “THE CAR LIST WAS LAST UPDATED”, followed by a date. That’s because The Car List is intended to be a living document, with changes being made as car lines improve or decline, brands are bought and sold, or even disappear entirely.
In the meantime, see if you can spot your favorite car brand(s) in The Car List ranking, above, and let us know what you think of their ranking in the comments section at the bottom of the page.
Original content from Gas 2.
What is an “American-made car?” If it comes from GM, Ford, or Chrysler, does that make it “American?” Truth to tell, in the era of globalization, it’s hard to say. Cars can be assembled in America from parts made in Canada or Mexico or any other country on earth. That shiny new Belchfire 5000 in your driveway may look like an American car, but how do you really know? Many people are curious about the upcoming Tesla Model 3. How “American made” will it be?
Every year, the Kogod School of Business at American University studies the US car market and ranks all the cars sold in America according to how “made in America” they really are. Its finding are based on 7 criteria:
- Profit Margin: Where the automaker’s global headquarters is located
- Labor: Where the car is assembled
- Research and Development: Where did it take place
- Inventory, Capital, and Other Expenses: Location of assembly
- Engine and Transmission: Location of production
- Body, Interior, Chassis, Electrical, and Other: Location of production
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration AALA “Domestic Content” Score
The results of its 2916 study are revealing. Large trucks and SUVs tend to have the highest domestic content. The Buick Enclave/Chevrolet Traverse/GMC Arcadia triplets were first with a rating of 90%, followed closely by the Ford F-150 at 85%. The Honda Accord is the first sedan in the group. It was rated 81%. The Toyota Camry comes in at 78.5%.
“What a wonderful world it will be. What a glorious time to be free.” That’s how Steely Dan paid tribute to the future and the International Geophysical Year in 1976. Today, the future has caught up with us and it is a world where everyone is connected to the internet all the time, especially if we have a car with a built in WiFi hotspot. We can take selfies of ourselves pumping gas, eating a cheeseburger, or changing a diaper and share them with the world in less time than it take to type this sentence. How glorious is that?
More and more of today’s car come with WiFi hotspots built in so we can stay in touch with Twitter, SnapChat, Facebook, and Instagram while we drive. As cars take on more of the responsibility for driving, we will have more and more time to watch videos, check our e-mail, and preen for our ever adoring fans — if we are connected. But how much will all this wonderful connectivity cost us?
Recently, Jill Ciminillo, automotive editor for CNYCentral, a news site for central New York state, made a survey of the plans offered by several manufacturers and cell phone providers. Her advice? Try before you buy.
General Motors offers a 4G LTE hotspot in its Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick, and GMC vehicles. In 2016, GM customers downloaded more than 4 million gigabytes of data — nearly double the total of the previous year. It partners with AT&T for the wireless connection to its cars. It can cost as little as $5 for one day of connectivity. A 10 gigabyte plan costs $40 a month. Current AT&T customers can add their car to their existing mobile sharing plan for $10 a month.
Volvo, BMW, and Audi also use AT&T. Plan prices are the same as they are for GM customers. Fiat Chrysler links up with Sprint for 3G connectivity. Daily, weekly, and monthly prices are $9.99, $19.99, and $49.99 respectively. Mercedes partners with Verizon. A 4G LTE hotspot is free for the first three months, $18 a month thereafter.
Ciminillo says not all plans work everywhere. Sprint coverage is great in Chicago, she notes, but may be less successful in LA where AT&T and Verizon are the dominant companies. During a recent roadtrip from Chicago to Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, she was able to work online easily all the way from the back seat of a Chevy Malibu. Her husband, who prefers a PC and Android equipment, was unable to connect during the same trip. In the end, he reverted to using the hotspot on his phone.
Having tested 4G LTE hotspots in a Volvo S90 and a Chrysler Pacifica, she says the system in the Malibu is best. The ones in Volvo and the Chrysler were “glitchy,” she says. Her best advice is, when taking a test drive, check out how well the available hotspot works for you and your mobile devices at the same time. If there is a free trial available, take advantage of it and see if the service meets your needs and expectations before signing up for any long term commitment.
Originally published on CleanTechnica.
Since our first article on the subject garnered a lot of interest and discussion, it seems worth providing some more details on what happened, an excerpt from a first-hand account from the driver, and some new pictures.
As was clear in the pictures posted in the first article, the Tesla Model S in question clearly had some damage on its side, in addition to the damage on the back from the 40-ton semi-truck (the vehicle’s weight rating sticker was seen by the Model S driver) — this is apparently because the Model S was launched into the Ford Fusion in front of it, then pushed into the center divide, and it then collided with another car in the neighboring lane.
So, 4 vehicles were involved in the collisions, and the Model S hit every one of them.
The driver of the Tesla Model S, Mike Gardner, commented in a discussion with The Drive that the Model S may well have saved his life — that if he had been driving one of his or his wife’s sports cars, he wouldn’t still be living.
Before getting into that more, though, it should be noted here that the Model S in question was not outfitted with the optional rear-facing seats and the additional rear-structural integrity that is installed with them. It was just a normal Tesla Model S.
Now, here are some particularly good bits from the article by The Drive:
“Gardner credits his survival in part to the Tesla itself. ‘I’d be dead,’ said Gardner from his home in Fresno, Calif. Had he been in either his or his wife’s sports car, he says, he doesn’t think he would have survived. If it were his ¾-ton GMC truck taking the hit, he guesses he would have lived, but been seriously injured.
“He was able to walk away from this wreck with only minor whiplash and tightness in his shoulders and lower back, he contends, because of the Model S’s structural integrity and 1,200-lb. flat battery pack that likely prevented the truck’s grill from intruding into the vehicle.
“Gardner estimates that the heavily loaded truck was traveling between 35 mph and 40 mph when it rear-ended his sedan. The crash caused the two vehicles to overlap, and required two-trucks on each end to pull the two apart. When Gardner examined the damage, he found that his Tesla had ripped out the entire bottom of the trucker’s vehicle. The Volvo’s oil was dripping into the Model S’s trunk.”
So, about the comments made by some in original article that the tractor trailer didn’t seem to take much damage … take a look at this pic:
It’s clear that the tractor trailer didn’t just cut through the Model S like butter, like some have claimed.
Also, interestingly, the interior of the vehicle remained serenely “unscathed,” as seen here:
So, what’s the takeaway of all this? It’s clear that our first article on the subject was on the money — the Tesla Model S is a very “safe” car, and the high build quality may well have saved the driver’s life in this case.
Which leads to this final comment from the driver: “When I got home, my wife said we need to order Teslas for everybody else in the family… I told her I’d been thinking the same thing on the way home.”
Reprinted with permission.
Here’s a headline for anyone who wants to see cars and trucks become more fuel efficient with fewer emissions. In the General Motors annual report, the company announced “our profitability is dependent upon the success of full-size pickup trucks and SUVs.” The General is fired up financially because sales of its mammoth Chevrolet Suburban SUV were up a stunning 86% in October. Sales of the slightly less portly Tahoe were up 81%, while the Yukon XL climbed 27%.
In the premium “in your face large luxobarge” category, sales of the Cadillac Escalade rose 9.2% while sales of Ford’s Expedition and Navigator fell. According to the Automotive News Data Center, sales of full size SUVs in general were up 4.9% overall. As a result, General Motors claimed 45% of the large SUV market in October, which must have Mary Barra and her merry minions dancing in the boardroom.
A GM spokesman said the large increase was due to more sales to commercial fleets and government buyers, which typically bring higher margins than rental company business. What? Avis and Hertz can buy cars for less than the government that bailed GM out just a few years ago? How’s that for “your tax dollars at work,” people? Fleet sales were only part of the story, though. Retail sales of large SUV vehicles rose 33% and accounted for 68% of their total volume.
These large vehicles are enormously profitable for manufacturers. The profit margins on a large SUV can top 20%, according to Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas. The average transaction price in October for a Chevrolet or GMC full size SUV was $56,630, according to GM. That figure is down from $59,100 last year at this time because dealers are discounting 2016 vehicles to make room for the 2017 models.
Tesla’s reliability as a manufacturer is ranked for the first time in 2016 by Consumer Reports. This is the first year in which Tesla has marketed two different models — the Model S sedan and the Model X SUV — long enough for customers to provide CR with reliability data. Tesla debuted on the annual rankings of 28 manufacturers in 25th place — one above Dodge and one below GMC. Earlier this year, Jalopnik gave the Model X the supreme insult, comparing its build quality to that of Jaguar before Ford bought the company and slowly made improvements. For a while, Jaguar suffered some of the lowest customer satisfaction ratings of any major manufacturer in the history of the auto business.
Tesla’s newest car, the Model X, has suffered from poor build quality since the very beginning. Tesla has somehow made a virtue of over-promising and under-delivering. The Model X was two years late going into production. The first dozen Model X cars were literally hand built one-offs delivered at a massively overhyped introduction event just hours before a deadline set by Elon Musk was set to expire. They were reserved for company officials, major investors, and other glitterati but the cars didn’t actually start rolling off the line in anything like normal production volume until more than 6 months later.
The Washington Post reports, “The Model X, which first rolled out to drivers last year and now starts at $74,000, was panned by drivers frustrated by problems with doors, locks, latches, power equipment, in-car electronics and the climate system. It ranked last for reliability among a dozen luxury mid-sized SUVs.” Uh, oh. That’s not good.
In response, a Tesla spokesperson told CNBC, the company is committed to “making the world’s most reliable cars.” The statement continues, “The amount of issues we’ve addressed with Model X has fallen by 92% in the last 12 months, a reflection of our ability to make continuous improvements and react quickly. This commitment is one of the reasons why Tesla won AutoPacific’s highest vehicle satisfaction award in 2016.”
Blame it on hubris. The signature characteristic of the Model X is its first in the world falcon wing rear doors. They are there because Elon Musk hates the sliding doors found on most minivans. He wanted a new solution, something that would make it easy to access the second and third row seats. When you work for Elon, you either turn his dreams into reality or you go to work someplace else. Those falcon wing doors have been the cause of most of the complaints about the Model X but there have been plenty of others, including interior trim bits that fall off and automatic front doors that close unexpectedly on the driver’s legs.
Jake Fisher, Consumer Reports’ director of automotive testing, says, “The Model X has a long way to go. It’s the sixth least reliable vehicle in our survey, and there are some monumental challenges with that vehicle. It’s unclear whether they will get the falcon wing doors right ever.” Tesla has instituted a number of software upgrades intended to fix the issues with the falcon wing doors, but it is almost three years since Elon first decreed that the Model X would feature those doors. Fisher may be right. Falcon wing doors may forever be an albatross around Elon Musk’s neck.
The good news? Consumer Reports has raised its reliability rating of the Model S sedan from below average to average. Yay!
The Chevrolet Equinox is a hugely important product for the bow tie brand. It outsells every other offering in the lineup except the Sierra 1500 pickup truck. Chevy sells more Equinox vehicles than Buick sells vehicles, so changing things up for the popular SUV is fraught with danger. No company likes to mess with success, but sales of the current generation Equinox — first introduced in 2010 — are down almost 15% this year.
Last week, Chevrolet took the wraps off the new 2018 Equinox to reveal a much revised vehicle that leverages the power of 4. It is 4 inches shorter, 400 pounds lighter, and comes only with turbocharged 4 cylinder engines — 1.5 liter and 2.0 liter gas engine and a 1.6 liter diesel. This will make the 4th vehicle GM offers with a turbo-diesel engine in the US market. It already makes a diesel available to buyers of the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon mid-sized pickup trucks and will bring a diesel powered Chevy Cruze to market shortly.
EPA ratings for the three engine choices are not yet available, but Chevrolet estimates highway nunbers for the 1.5 liter gas engine at 31 mpg, the 2.0 liter gas engine at 28 mpg, and the 1.6 liter diesel at 40 mpg. A 6 speed automatic transmission is standard except for the 2.0 liter engine. It will be mated to a 9 speed automatic. Front wheel drive is standard. All wheel drive is an option. The system will disconnect the drive to the rear wheels under certain circumstances to boost fuel economy.