Tahoe:

2009 Chevrolet Tahoe: Motorist Choice Award Winner

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Chv_07_TahoeLTZ_10 copy.jpg“Chevrolet’s Tahoe takes the Motorist Choice Award in the Large SUV segment, after winning AutoPacific’s 2009 Vehicle Satisfaction Award. Owners appreciate its reputation for reliability/durability and its wide array of safety features provide a strong feeling of driving safety, all complemented by highly rated driver’s seat comfort and driver?s forward visibility.” — AutoPacific
“The Tahoe has the lowest fuel, insurance, and maintenance in the segment as well as ranking first in the AutoPacific survey.” — IntelliChoice
Owner Satisfaction Highlights
* Reliable/Dependable
* Overall Quality
* Safety Features/Feeling Safe While Driving
* Driver’s Visibility
* Seat Comfort and Seating Capacity
Cost-of-Ownership Strengths
* Lowest Fuel Costs
* Lowest Insurance Costs
* Lowest Maintenance Costs


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2009 Chevrolet Tahoe Wins AutoPacific's Vehicle Satisfaction Award for Large SUV

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2009_ChevyTahoe.jpgThe Chevrolet Tahoe is the Vehicle Satisfaction Award winner in the Large Sport Utility Vehicle segment. In addition to the Tahoe’s traditional virtues, Tahoe owners rate their new vehicle highly in some unexpected areas, perhaps reflecting the availability of the high technology Two-Mode Hybrid model. The Tahoe rates tops in its segment with respect to:
• Value for the money
• Exterior and interior styling
• Ride and handling
• Durability
• Safety features and a feeling of safety while driving
• Instrument layout and audio system performance
• Innovative technology
• Environmental friendliness, and fuel economy


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Exhaust Note #31: Goodbye, TrailBlazer and Envoy!

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Oh, and Saab 9-7X, too
Last week was full of horrible sales results. The worst single month of sales since February 1993, in fact. In the midst of abysmal sales and the brouhaha to get the financial sector bailout passed, for better or worse, General Motors said production of the GMC Envoy and Chevrolet TrailBlazer will end in December 2008. This is two years earlier than once planned, though not much earlier than many guessed. Are you sad? Saying goodbye to a truly American vehicle?

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2009 GMC Envoy Denali: The end of the line.

We’re not, really. The TrailBlazer and Envoy have come to their logical end, not for being badly drawn or executed products, but because the General’s offerings today are better suited for real life. Envoy sales for 2008 are down 44.1% and TrailBlazer down 36.9%. In a tough economic situation where leasing and credit are more difficult to get and buyers seem perfectly happy to delay big-ticket purchases, why continue them for another year?
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2009 Chevrolet TrailBlazer SS: Will you miss the 390HP stompin’ SS? Or just move on to a Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT-8?


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Two-Mode Hybrid: Simpler than the stupid Internet would have you believe.

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Hokay, so. We’re talking about hybrids this week here at the VehicleVoice Interntronic Webblargh. Saving gas (and gas money) is a subject near and dear to my heart, as the more patient and visionary among you may have gathered from last week’s slightly garbled missive. This time around, let’s talk about the two-mode hybrid system that George liked so much on the Yukon earlier this week. Development of this particular system was a joint project between BMW, General Motors, Daimler, and Chrysler.

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That guy from Futurama approves


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Audi Q7 – An Industry Benchmark Beyond Its Interior

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Is Q7 the Benchmark the Industry Expects?
Audi has always been a technology innovator ranging from making full-time all-wheel-drive available across its range decades ago to the first application of an aluminum spaceframe for a production model. In recent years, Audi has been a benchmark in the execution of its interiors. Tasteful, elegant, functional… Audi interior could not be matched by anyone including BMW and Mercedes. Well, can the Q7 achieve benchmark status with its interior and move beyond that with its overall product excellence? Let’s find out.
Ever since the 1996 Audi A4 appeared, Audi’s have garnered a reputation of having the best executed interiors in the business. The company has more than earned this reputation over the last decade with each new model being better designed and better built than the version that preceded it. Over the last three years, the company has taken cost out of interiors of its volume models, but to Audi’s credit this has been done in a fashion that has proven to be all but unnoticeable to the customer and many competitors as well.
Audi NOT a Fast Follower Into SUV Market
One area where Audi hasn’t been at the forefront of the industry is the Sport Utility Vehicle market. While archrivals BMW and Mercedes were chasing down and defining the concept of the German premium nameplate SUV Audi decided to take another, far more timid direction… the SUV-trimmed station wagon. Audi’s Allroad was essentially an A6 wagon with a smattering of the cosmetic trimmings of an SUV. Overfenders, gray cladding and bumpers, air suspension for increased ground clearance and a few bits of aluminum at the front and rear to give the illusion of scrape guards was the limit of the company’s venture into the lucrative and exploding luxury SUV market. By using the same formula pioneered by Subaru when it dressed up its Legacy wagon with some SUV fluff and created the original Outback, Audi effectively stayed out of the X5-ML-RX 300-MDX battle but did so at the expense of total volume.

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2007 Ford Expedition and Expedition EL

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With Ford and GM easily dominating the full-size SUV segment and both companies offering heavily revised and improved entries for the 2007 model year, it is a good time to be a large-SUV buyer. Beyond the updates to Expedition and the GM lineup (GMC Yukon/Yukon XL, Cadillac Escalade and Escalade ESV, Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban), Chrysler joins the fray with the Aspen and change is in the wind for the Toyota Sequoia soon as well. Though the sheer number of people buying full-size SUVs is shrinking in the current climate of fuel-cost concerns and an uncertain economy, there are still customers whose lives demand the level of utility that can only be found in a vehicle this large, and these buyers have lots of new toys to pick from this fall.
Ford has released much of the information on the new Expedition, which reaches showrooms in fall 2006 in two lengths. With the 2007MY, Ford buyers can go from Escape to Edge to Explorer to Expedition to Expedition XL in their search for their own “just right” sized SUV.

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VehicleVoice contributor and AutoPacific president George Peterson has had considerable experience with the Ford Expedition, having leased four in a row until he decided he was in a rut. Will the new Expedition be enough of a change to get him out of his CAR and back into an SUV? Time will tell.


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GMT900 SUVs Miss Important Feature

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General Motors is getting ready to launch its new GMT900 SUVs. This lineup includes the Chevrolet Tahoe, Chevrolet Suburban, GMC Yukon, GMC Yukon XL, Cadillac Escalade and Cadillac Escalade ESV. The shorter versions will be launched in the 1st Quarter 2006 as 2007 model year vehicles. The long wheelbase Suburban, et. al. will be launched in March or April.
Early reviews of the GMT900 provided in Burbank, California (GM’s California Design Studio) and Warren, Michigan (GM’s Design HQ) prove that the GMT900s are an excellent piece of work. While they do not look too much different from their predecessors, they have wider front and rear track and larger tires and wheels. This gives the GM SUVs a very purposeful stance avoiding the undertired appearance some past GM vehicles have had. At the same time, the more prominent tires and wheels actually make the vehicles look slightly smaller even though they aren’t.

Lack of Fold Flat 3rd Row a Major Omission

To keep these comments focused on what we want to observe, lets change the order a bit.
The most glaring omission in the GMT900 SUVs is the lack of a 3rd row seat that folds flat into the floor like the Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator and now the Ford Explorer and Mercury Mountaineer. The key to the Ford system is the use of an independent rear suspension that allows the rear floor to be dropped several inches providing space for the seat to fold flat. GM’s GMT900 management said they “couldn’t break Ford’s code” and it appeared that they were thinking Ford adopted IRS more for ride and handling than for interior package. WRONG. The key all along was the rear seat package.
The resulting seating package is very similar to the GMT800 SUVs. The seats, when folded, rest on top of the floor obstructing the load area of the vehicle.
GM also claimed their research showed that SUV buyers wanted a power folding 2nd row seat more than they wanted a flat folding, power operated 3rd row seat. According to ex-GM researchers who shall remain anonymous, GM’s research actually showed a strong preference for “a seat like in the Expedition in a body like the Suburban”. The real reason, of course, is investment. The expenditures for the combination of IRS and fold flat 3rd row seat has variously been quoted as $165 million or $300 million. Either number would cause a product planner to pause and clearly these very important features were pipped – not easily.


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