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GM’s 2015MY Full Size SUVs

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GM’s 2015MY Full Size SUVs  General Motors has launched its new-for-2015MY full size SUVs.  While you might wonder why they care about launching these behemoths when the segment has fallen at the hands of expensive gasoline, these are mighty profit generators for the General even at relatively low volumes.  Last year, GM launched the pickups upon which these SUVs are based – the Chevrolet Silverado and the GMC Sierra.  When they were launched these pickups were criticized because their styling was so evolutionary from their GMT900 predecessors.  But, it turns out that GM planners and engineers really know their stuff and the pickups have won kudos for their capability.  The Silverado was named the North American Truck of the Year.


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AutoPacific’s 2011 Plug-In Car Supertest

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Without question, one of the most buzzworthy topics surrounding automobiles this year has been plug-in cars.  Issues like fuel price instability, dependence on foreign oil (or oil of any sort!), and the environment have stirred the imaginations of many people.  Could we really rid ourselves of oil-powered transportation?  Could America really free itself of its addiction?  At the very end of last year, the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf went on sale (retailing at $41,000 and $32,780, respectively, minus a $7,500 Federal tax credit), finally bringing plug-in transportation to the masses and, plug-in fans hope, heralding a new era in automotive history.


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2012 Chevrolet Sonic: Another Small Car Done Right

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As I drove the new Sonic, Chevrolet’s replacement for the unloved Aveo, I realized something.  There really are no bad small cars in the marketplace anymore.  The Sonic accelerated with authority.  It was quiet.  It was nimble.  It rode nicely.  It had plenty of creature comforts.  It was even nice to look at.  Truly, being behind the wheel of the Sonic was an entirely agreeable place to be.


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2011 Cadillac Escalade: What Makes for an Award Winner?

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AutoPacific, as a well-respected automotive research firm, uses the voice of real consumers like you, the VehicleVoice panel member, to help automakers make the best possible cars and trucks.  The data that we collect also helps identify what vehicles are most satisfying to their owners, as well as being the closest to their owners’ ideals.  Hence, each year we publish our annual list of AutoPacific Vehicle Satisfaction Award (VSA) winners (most satisfying vehicles in their segments, as rated by owners) and AutoPacific Ideal Vehicle Award (IVA) winners (closest to their owners’ ideals).  These awards highlight what the best vehicles are doing right as reported by their owners, and can serve as a tool to you as the consumer in finding a vehicle that you will be extremely happy with for many years.  Despite the vitriolic rants of the angry and ill-informed, we simply report on what you as the consumer tell us.


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Cadillac Escalade Wins AutoPacific Ideal Vehicle Award for Luxury SUVs

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The Cadillac Escalade is the top ranked Premium SUV in AutoPacific’s 2011 Ideal Vehicle Research.  As the class winner, Escalade owners identify few things they would want changed.  Even the most technology-laden vehicles still have their owners wanting more.  About 30% of Escalade owners want more infotainment technology.  They also want better interior storage and, believe it or not, more cargo space and passenger room.  They most like its size, seat comfort and wheels.  Escalade wins its class over second place Land Rover LR4.    


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2012 Buick Lacrosse eAssist: A Premium Sedan with a Boost in Fuel Economy

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While the upcoming Buick Lacrosse failed to induce any excitement within the automotive enthusiast in me, I was more than a bit impressed by its new fuel-saving powertrain technology: eAssist. Recently, I had a chance to try out the new 2012 LaCrosse with eAssist through various terrains near San Francisco, both city and winding country roads, in order to witness eAssist in action.


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2011 Cadillac CTS-V Wagon: Yes, I’ll Take it Over an Aston

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At first glance, I’m one of those people whose lifestyle is what automotive marketers would deem perfect for a crossover SUV.  I love outdoors activities and often carry a surfboard in my vehicle.  And I have a baby.  Thing is, I also want my vehicle to handle.  I love attacking apexes.  I like sitting low inside a vehicle and feeling connected to the road.  In other words, I love to drive.  That’s why I’m a wagon kind of a guy.  SUVs will carry stuff, but they are rarely optimized for an engaging drive.  Wagons are the perfect sort of vehicle for people who haul things and haul butt.


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2011 Cadillac SRX: A Star in an Increasingly Crowded Class

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Ever since the Lexus RX300 first hit the streets thirteen (!) years ago, the sensibly-sized luxury crossover has been hugely desirable among the upwardly mobile.  Over time, the segment has grown by leaps and bounds, not just in terms of sales but more recently in terms of the sheer number of players.  Over the past couple years, the Europeans joined the fray with the Mercedes-Benz GLK, Audi Q5, and Volvo XC60.  And last year, Cadillac ditched the slow-selling and somewhat cumbersome three-row SRX with the smaller and more pert SRX seen here.  Wait a minute, don’t we Americans always want bigger?  What’s the deal here?


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2011 Chevrolet Cruze: GM Stops Thumbing Its Nose at Compact Cars

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The Detroit Three have for most of the prior half-century treated compact cars with disdain, even disgust at times. They represented loss-making endeavors that they were forced to build only to meet Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) regulations. As a result, the American automakers for years built compact cars with contempt. Vega, Cavalier, Sunbird, ION…all are nameplates synonymous with automotive underachievement.
Even Chevrolet’s Cobalt, while not entirely a bad car, never strove to be best in class; it merely tried to be class competitive. It was conceived during a time when big trucks were the profit center for GM and gas was cheap, so building a great compact car just wasn’t a priority.


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Driving Impressions: 2011 Chevrolet Silverado HD and GMC Sierra HD

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We recently had the opportunity to drive the new 2011 Silverado HD and Sierra HD pickups. They may not look very different, but with an all-new frame and chassis and an improved powertrain these vehicles should be considered all-new.
New and improved is the theme, at least in every aspect except exterior and interior appearance.


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