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Hyundai Veracruz and GMC Acadia Win AutoPacific 2008 Vehicle Satisfaction Award in the Large Crossover SUV Segment

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The Hyundai Veracruz was top-ranked in the Large Crossover SUV Segment in the 2008 Vehicle Satisfaction Awards. Scoring high for Safety Features and a Feeling of Safety While Driving, the Veracruz also did a good job of mixing style with substance. But for Veracruz owners, the Hyundai’s 100,000-mile warranty cemented the victory.
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The GMC Acadia was in the top rank in the Large Crossover SUV Segment of the 2008 Vehicle Satisfaction Awards, winning owners over with its Exterior Styling, Overall Seating Capacity and Safety. It also scored better in Overall Owner Satisfaction than its stablemate, the Saturn Outlook.

Posted in: Awards, GMC, Hyundai

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GMC Denali XT: Redefining a GMC Truck?

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At this year’s 2008 Chicago Auto Show, GMC is showing off a dramatic new four-door pickup concept. What’s interesting about this truck is not its four doors, or even its hybrid powertrain, which is GM’s two-mode system made E85 capable for the first time and uses a new direct-injection small-block 4.9L V8. What’s interesting is that it sits on a platform related to the upcoming Pontiac G8 and Chevrolet Camaro. As a design study for future GMC products, this truck is a home run.

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That’s right, this is a rear-drive unitbody car platform, developed primarily by Holden in Australia (in fact Holden lead the design and construction of the Denali XT). Down Under, Holden has been selling, with terrific success, four-door Crewman and two-door Ute trucks for years. In today’s climate and increased pressure to build vehicles delivering better fuel economy, lower emissions, and power, GM is exploring unitbody trucks for the States. (Act II is expected to be a two-door Pontiac G8 ST at the 2008 New York auto show; the Pontiac may already be approved for production.)
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GMC may find themselves with the right product concept at the right time here. Consumers who don’t really need the full towing and off-road capability of a traditional truck SUV are very happy with car-based versions. Despite the mixed response to the Honda Ridgeline, which is both expensive and less attractive than this Denali XT, the idea may apply to pickup trucks as well. Work-truck needs ensure unitbody pickups aren’t likely to take over the pickup market as thoroughly as they did the SUV market, but there may be room for a product such as this.
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GMC Sierra 2500 Wins AutoPacific 2007 Ideal Vehicle Award for Large Heavy-Duty Pickup:

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The new GMT900 GMC Sierra Heavy Duty Pickup is the Ideal vehicle in this workhorse class. The Sierra is highly rated for its tough-looking exterior styling and handling. In a class that appreciates the General Motors Duramax diesel and Allison 6-speed automatic transmission, Sierra gets high marks for power and acceleration. Wheel and tire size and appearance rate a bit low and might be an aftermarket opportunity, however.


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GMC Canyon Wins AutoPacific 2007 Ideal Vehicle Award for Compact Pickup:

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Owner ratings give the GMC Canyon a win as the Ideal Compact Pickup. GMC designers and engineers have provided a vehicle that has the styling, size, passenger space, power, acceleration and technology GMC buyers in this class require.


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2007 Motorist Choice Awards Announced

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The Motorist Choice Award is in its second year and is a collaboration between AutoPacific and IntelliChoice.com. AutoPacific, widely known for its industry expertise and research, and IntelliChoice, known for its comprehensive cost of ownership information, designed the Motorist Choice Award to help consumers identify the most satisfying cars and trucks that are also the least expensive to own.
Using data from AutoPacific’s national Vehicle Satisfaction research and the IntelliChoice Best Overall Value information, AutoPacific and IntelliChoice have developed a unique tool that can be used by consumers to help them sort through the myriad of choices in today’s automotive marketplace.
Here are the 2007 Winners of the 25 individual segment awards:
SEGMENT – Winner
Aspirational Luxury Car – Lexus IS
Compact Car – Mazda3
Compact Crossover SUV – Chevrolet HHR
Compact Pickup – Toyota Tacoma
Compact Sport Utility/ORV – Toyota Tacoma
Economy Car – Honda Fit
Image Compact Car – Volkswagen GTi
Large Car – Toyota Avalon
Large Heavy Duty Pickup – Chevrolet Silverado HD
Large Light Duty Pickup – Chevrolet Silverado 1500
Large Luxury Car – Cadillac DTS
Large Sport Utility – GMC Yukon XL
Luxury Crossover SUV – Acura MDX
Luxury Mid-Size Car – Nissan Maxima
Luxury Sport Utility – Land Rover Range Rover Sport
Mid-Size Car – Volkswagen Jetta
Mid-Size Crossover SUV – Honda CR-V
Mid-Size Sport Utility – Toyota 4Runner
Minivan – Honda Odyssey
Premium Luxury Car – Lexus LS
Premium Mid-Size Car – Nissan Altima
Premium Mid-Size Crossover SUV – Nissan Murano
Premium Sports Car – Lexus SC
Sports Car – Porsche Boxster
Sporty Car – Scion tC
The press release can be found below the fold.
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GMC Yukon XL – Wins 2007 AutoPacific Motorist Choice Large Sport Utility

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AutoPacific Take on GMC Yukon XL Win – The all-new Yukon XL wins the Large Sport Utility Motorist Choice Award®. It is owners’ ratings of reliability, feeling safe while driving, power and acceleration that make the GMC Yukon XL a class act. For a vehicle the size of the Yukon XL it also has strong ratings for being fun to drive with high scores for braking and handling. The overall quality and brand reputation contribute to the class win while owners praise the visibility and seating capacity.
IntelliChoice take on GMC Yukon XL win – The GMC Yukon XL’s strong retained value helped propel it to the top of the 2007 Motorist Choice Award.

Posted in: Awards, GMC

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GMC Yukon XL Wins AutoPacific 2007 Vehicle Satisfaction Award for Large Sport Utility

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GMC Yukon XL Wins AutoPacific 2007 Vehicle Satisfaction Award for Large Sport Utility Vehicles:
“The Yukon XL is part of GM’s new GMT900 big truck program. A traditional Large SUV with body-on-frame construction and powered by large V8 engines, the Yukon XL is capable of the toughest towing and hauling duties that a SUV can be called upon to do,” says AutoPacific president George Peterson. “Yukon XL owners rated their Large SUV highly for Power/Acceleration, and Durability (both traditional Yukon XL strengths), and Overall Quality. Perhaps just as important, the only area where the Yukon XL was rated significantly below the segment average was Cupholder Design and Size. Pretty impressive, given that there are 46 attributes measured!”


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2008 Buick Enclave – Top Line GM Lambda Crossover SUV

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General Motors has now completed the launch of its Lambda platform Large Crossover SUVs. The Lambda platform includes vehicles from Saturn – the Outlook, GMC – the Acadia (not ARcadia) and Buick – the Enclave). Eventually, a Chevrolet version will be added as well.
These are the landmark vehicles that represent the end of the classic body-on-frame V8 powered SUV. They are that good.
I just returned from a driving event for the recently introduced Buick Enclave in St. Louis, Missouri. When I got into the office there was a Saturn Outlook in the parking lot for the AutoPacific and VehicleVoice staff to evaluate. Great opportunity for a back to back comparison of two Lambda crossovers. This story will concentrate on the Enclave – a future story will showcase the Outlook.

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Buick Enclave – First Drive
First, lets talk about the Buick. This is a vehicle that I have been waiting to drive for two years now. I think I have been to three events where Enclave was a featured subject, but this was the first opportunity I have had to drive it. Why was I looking forward to the Enclave? From my perspective it is a good size, has expressive styling inside and out, and is an example of the latest General Motors platform architecture.
Was it what I was expecting? Yeah, I guess so. First, I had to calibrate myself to the fact that the Enclave is a BUICK and what General Motors was attempting to achieve when they developed the vehicle. They wanted a vehicle with Buick ambiance – expressive, upscale styling inside and out. They wanted a spacious crossover capable of seating seven or eight passengers in three rows of seats. It was to have excellent ergonomics and be very pleasant to drive. It was to be very quiet. Check the boxes and the Lambda design and development team appears to have achieved their objectives.
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2007 Saturn Outlook – Lambda Crossover SUV

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The Saturn Outlook is a large Crossover SUV based on the General Motors’ Lambda platform. The Lambda platform is shared with the Buick Enclave and GMC Acadia and also with an upcoming Chevrolet large Crossover.

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Has GM Nailed Crossover SUV Execution?
First, you might be asking “what is a Crossover SUV”? For years, we at VehicleVoice have been avoiding using the “crossover” word because, frankly, our research shows that consumers are not yet using the term widely. In our eyes, an SUV is an SUV is an SUV. Our chief industry oracle, Jim Hall, always referred to Crossovers as “mongrelhalfbreedbastards”. But, with vehicles like the Outlook hitting the market we’ve decided to use the Crossover moniker.
Basically, a Crossover SUV takes the basic SUV theme and civilizes it. SUV drivers have for decades been asking for more maneuverable, more economical, more easy to live with SUVs. Crossover SUVs are the answer and the GM Lambda vehicles are the latest examples of Crossover SUV design and execution. We think GM has pretty well nailed it.
Pricing Makes Outlook a Persuasive Proposition
The Saturn Outlook XR that we evaluated is a mid-priced model listing at about $33,250. When you check the boxes you really want – like all wheel drive and a navigation system the price slips over $41,000. When you check ALL the boxes and add a moonroof and rear seat entertainment system you can touch $45,000. For a Saturn!
While you might think that is a high price, the base, base, base price of the FWD Outlook XE (the lower model) is about $28,000 including destination. This puts it mid-way between the base price of a Ford Explorer and Expedition. Given that Outlook is about the size of a Chevrolet Tahoe – priced about $4,000 more with a V8, the Saturn looks like a good deal.


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2007 GMC Sierra 1500 4×4 Crew Cab SLT – Every Good Cowboy Needs a Good Horse

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American icons like the Statue of Liberty or John Wayne conjure up images of patriotism and true grit. But the Statue of Liberty was a gift from the people of France, John Wayne’s real name is Marion Morrison and this is an automotive web site. So, that leaves us with things like John Deere and the new GMT900 trucks from General Motors, which have a long history, heritage and iconic status.
AutoPacific and VehicleVoice staffers have been evaluating a 2007 GMC Sierra with a list price of $47,135… WOW! Looking at the LA Times this weekend, I saw some full size half ton pickups offered in the mid-teens. Let’s see if there is enough “product” in the Sierra we are evaluating to justify the price.

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Sheet Metal
With the 2007 Chevrolet Silverado roping in Motor Trend’s Truck of the Year we thought it would be interesting to saddle break the 2007 GMC Sierra; the Silverado’s supposedly more ‘posh’ counterpart. If we start with the exterior of the truck we notice that the overall styling is ‘boxier’ than that of the GMT800. The fender flares are no longer plastic/composite extensions stuck on with double-sided tape and a couple screws; they are integrated into the sheet metal of the fenders. Gaps between body panels, headlamps, grills, bumpers, etc., are much improved over the last generation.


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