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2008 Chevrolet Equinox Sport: Finally, Some Power!

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During the third quarter of 2007, Chevrolet dealers will get an Equinox with some power-oriented bragging rights, none too late with the base 185HP V6 Equinox has been suffering with so far. The Equinox Sport will be among the vehicles GM shows off to the public at the Detroit auto show next month. Most of Equinox’s competition can boast output in the 240 to 265HP range, in top-end versions if not base models. While the base V6 is adequate, enthusiastic drivers are sure to appreciate the extra oomph. Chevy’s ad guys will likely also appreciate being able to advertise a competitive number, even if it’s not the best in segment.

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The 2008MY Equinox Sport model brings GM’s 263HP 3.6L DOHC 24v V6 with a six-speed automatic to the line. This V6 is quickly going being added across the GM landscape, and is the only engine the related Suzuki XL7 offers (though Suzuki gets the 250HP version). The Sport also gets a lowered and revised suspension with eighteen-inch wheels and tires, but drops the roof rack in standard form. Visual cues to its more aggressive nature include body color in the grille and in the rear accent above the license plate; these are both chrome on the standard Equinox (view image). The lower front and rear fascias add brushed metal trapezoidal air inlets (front) and exhaust outlets (rear).
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Inside, there will be new seats with more supportive side bolsters, leather-wrapped steering wheel, and a J-gate shifter to better operate the self-shift tap-up, tap-down feature. Ordering the Sport moves the Multi-Flex seating system, remote start, and XM radio from optional to standard compared with the regular Equinox. Pricing will be announced closer to launch.
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Blowing Off the Lot – the Hot Sellers

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Since we have identified the vehicles that have the longest days supply, we have been asked to show which vehicles have the shortest days supply. Which vehicles are so hot they just blow off the dealer’s lot? As with the slower moving vehicles where we arbitrarily cut off the days supply at 150 days, here we are using 50 days as the cut off point. The details are shown “below the fold”


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Stuck to the Dealer's Floor – Inventory Numbers Tell the Story

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Which cars and trucks are planted to the dealer’s floor? In other words, which vehicles take the longest to sell? Who cars? Why does it matter, anyway?
Well, while it may not seem that important to you, it’s critically important to the industry s a whole… from the manufacturese, component suppliers, dealers and quite a few financial institutions. First, if you know the time it takes to sell a vehicle, you know how much it is dragging on the dealer’s floorplanning costs. Floorplanning is the term for the amount it costs the dealer to finance the a vehicle in inventory waiting to be sold. If a vehicle has been hanging around for weeks, he’ll be more likely to deal aggressively to get rid of it. Also, vehicles that have high days supply may be less popular. From that perspective, they may be the ones you want to stay away from.


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Ten Worst Cars for 2006 – Truth About Cars

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OK, on this one VehicleVoice is just the messenger. The Truth About Cars website has taken it on itself to identify the ten worst cars and trucks sold in the USA in 2006. Not really sure what their credentials are, but here is their press release… When we feel like commenting, see our notes following the press release writeup.
The Truth About Cars Website Names Its Ten Worst Automobiles for 2006
November 8, 2006 – PROVIDENCE, R.I.: The Truth About Cars website (TTAC) has revealed the ten winners of its first annual “Ten Worst Automobiles Today” awards. According to the site’s readers, the very worst vehicles sold in America today are… GM’s minivans.
For voting purposes, TTAC lumped all four of GM’s virtually identical people movers together: the Chevrolet Uplander, Saturn Relay, Buick Terraza and Pontiac SV6.
In his description of the “winner,” reviewer William C. Montgomery slated GM’s minivans for their “antique engineering, woeful looks, cancerous effect on not one but four GM brands and their abject inability to hold a candle to their foreign-owned competition.” In terms of dreadful driving dynamics, contemptible aesthetics and torturous ergonomics, no other vehicles sold in America can compete with these ridiculously-named ‘Crossover Sport Vans.'”
The automotive website’s readers voted the new Jeep Compass America’s second worst vehicle: a lackluster vehicle that betrays its storied brand’s heritage. According to TTAC’s description, it’s an “ugly, gangly, underpowered, mud-aversive half-breed” that “staggers into the light, turning all who see it– or heaven forbid buy it– into grotesque, bobble-headed morons.” The Compass “stomps all over Jeep’s reputation as America’s purveyor of authentic off-road vehicles.”
The rest of TTAC’s Ten Worst are the Jeep Compass (2), Buick Rendezvous (3), Chrysler Aspen (4), Hummer H2 (5), Chevrolet Monte Carlo (6), Subaru B9 Tribeca (7), Saab 9-7x (8), Lincoln Mark LT (9) and Chevrolet Aveo (10). Capsule reviews are below.
To create the list, The Truth About Cars asked its 40k daily readers to nominate the worst vehicles for sale in the United States during the 2006 calendar year. A selection committee comprised of ten TTAC writers selected 20 finalists from the readers’ nominations. Finalists were chosen for their crimes against aesthetics, engineering, ergonomics, driving dynamics and/or brand authenticity. The final ten “winners” were chosen by readers via an electronic poll.
Site publisher Robert Farago said his team created The Ten Worst awards as an antidote to the annual “love ins” provided by the mainstream automotive media. “The profusion of ‘best of’ automotive awards reflects the fact that the manufacturer-sponsored magazines and websites can’t tell it like it is,” Farago said. “TTAC is the home of take-no-prisoners automotive journalism. Our Ten Worst list says we’re not afraid to tell the truth about cars.”


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2007 Nissan Sentra – Sentra in the City

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AutoPacific and VehicleVoice had the opportunity to evaluate the all new 2007 Nissan Sentra on the roads East of San Francisco Bay. The all new Sentra competes with the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, Mazda3, Ford Focus and Chevrolet Cobalt. For 2007, every major dimension has been expanded to meet American tastes.

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For the Record
Global development effort between Nissan and Renault. Delayed by about a year after bombing in USA product clinics. Went back to the drawing board to get it right.
Built at Nissan’s Aguascalientes Plant in Mexico: Plant underwent a $800 million upgrade to accommodate all new Sentra and all new Versa. 350,000 units per year capacity.
On sale October 12, 2006.
Target Customer: Echo Boomers – Generation Y between the ages of 18 and 29. Sentra needs to serve many purposes – going out with friends, carrying a bike, taking road trips, buying furniture at IKEA.
Strives to be Compact Class Benchmark
No longer a compact car aimed at the lowest common denominator customer, the new Sentra strives to be the benchmark of its class when it goes on sale October 12, 2006. While the Sentra slots into the Nissan car lineup above the all new Versa (which actually is larger in some dimensions) and below the all new Altima, the Sentra has grown over its predecessor in wheelbase (+5.9-inches), overall length (+2.3-inches), overall width (+3.2-inches) and overall height (+4.0-inches). Now the “compact” Sentra nudges the Mainstream Mid-Size Car in basic dimensions.
The Sentra has substantially more passenger volume than Civic, Corolla, Mazda3 and Cobalt. Similarly, it has a large cargo volume only slightly topped by Corolla and Cobalt.
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Is the Sky the Limit? – The 2007 GM Collection

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General Motors hosted a two-day event in sunny Southern California showcasing quite a few of their 2007 makes and models. The event kicked off with a press conference at Saturn of Temecula with the first day’s events focusing on Saturn’s new lineup, followed by a ride and drive down to San Diego. Choices for the drive included the new Saturn Sky, Aura, and Vue. The second day of the event featured a broader spectrum of GM’s lineup ranging from a turbo charged Saab 9-5 to a Mid-Duty GMC Top-Kick towing a boat touting GM’s Vortec engine. With a handful of GM vehicles poised to attack the autocross course or engage in a ‘truck-pull’, at the end of the day the tough part would be deciding which models were the most note worthy.
I was at the event as VehicleVoice contributor and AutoPacific analyst.

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An obvious choice at the top of the list was the Saturn Sky, which breaks from the conservative styling cues typically found on every vehicle bearing the Saturn marque. With its more aggressive lines, pronounced fender peaks and menacing front end the Sky definitely makes a bold statement. Many may liken it to a miniature Corvette or GM’s version of Mazda’s MX-5 (Miata), but not many will call it boring.


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Chevrolet Silverado 1500 – Wins Motorist's Choice Full-Size Pickup 4WD 1/2 Ton

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AutoPacific Take on Silverado Win –
Chevrolet Silverado 1500 is the top rated Full Size Light Duty Pickup with its win driven primarily by owner ratings of how easy it is to use. Silverado’s strengths include its ease of getting in and out, driver’s visibility, instrument layout and easy to use audio system. Its exterior size appears to be in the sweet spot among Full Size Pickups.
IntelliChoice Analysis – Always a strong competitor in the Full Size truck market, as well as within IntelliChoice’s annual “Best Overall Value of the Year” contest, the Silverado was a BOVY winner in 2005. Over 5 years, IntelliChoice rates the Silverado 1500’s Cost of Ownership to be just over $38,000, over $3000 less than comparable vehicles in it’s class.


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Chevrolet Silverado 2500 – Wins Motorist's Choice Full-Size Pickup 2WD 3/4 Ton (Also a 2006 VSA winner)

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AutoPacific Take on Chevrolet Silverado 2500 Win – The Chevrolet Silverado 2500 tops the 3/4 Ton Heavy Duty Full Size Pickup class. Not only did it win the Motorist’s Choice Award®, it also won AutoPacific’s 2006 Vehicle Satisfaction Award®. The Silverado 2500 achieves this performance with its strong image for reliability, durability and dependability. Among Heavy Duty Pickups Silverado owners give kudos for Fun to Drive including: power and acceleration, braking and handling.
IntelliChoice Analysis – What else can be said about this perennial workhorse of the industry? It is a reliable and powerful tool of the American economy. The Silverado 2500 was a BOVY winner in 2005, and over 5 years, IntelliChoice rates the 2006 Silverado 2500’s Cost of Ownership to be $39,611, over $1700 less than comparable vehicles in it’s class.


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Chevrolet Corvette – Wins Motorist's Choice Sports Car (Also a 2006 VSA winner)

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AutoPacific Take on Corvette’s Win – The Chevrolet Corvette wins the first Motorist’s Choice Award® for Sports Cars. It also won top honors among Sports Cars in AutoPacific’s 2006 Vehicle Satisfaction Award®. Corvette’s strong image and vehicle reputation are reinforced by great Fun to Drive attributes like power, acceleration and handling.
IntelliChoice Analysis – The Corvette, with plenty of horsepower on tap, is a true American “Triple Crown” winner. Not only a Motorist’s Choice and Vehicle Satisfaction winner, but also a repeat 2006 “Best Overall Value of the Year” winner. 5 year ownership costs are equally amazing at just $45,510, well over $6000 below it’s nearest competitor. The Chevrolet Corvette, as much fun to drive as it is to own!


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Chevrolet Avalanche 2500 4×4 – Wins Motorist's Choice Full-Size Pickup 4×4 3/4 Ton

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AutoPacific Take on the Win by the Chevrolet Avalanche 2500 4×4 – The transformer of pickup trucks, the Chevrolet Avalanche, scoops up a Motorist’s Choice award in the 3/4 Ton 4X4 segment. Owners rate the tough truck at the top of its class. Its Vortec® engines and versatility keep this full size pickup at the front of the pack.
IntelliChoice Analysis – IntelliChoice rates the Avalanche 2500 4X4 Cost of Ownership at just $48,906 over 5 years. Owners of the four-wheel-drive multi-tool keep factoring in the benefits, which more than outweigh the costs.


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