Engine:3.6L V6 24V GDI DOHC
VIN (Vehicle Identification Number): 1G4GF5G30EF246105
Stock Num: 14B27
Model: LaCrosse Premium 2
Options: Drive Type: FWD
Number of Doors: 4 Doors
1845 N State St, North Vernon, Indiana, United States
NO DOC FEE NO TIRE TAX INVOICE MINUS ALL FACTORY REBATES!
There are many vehicles we'd consider taking racing. Even on a cross-country rally as punishing as the Dakar. But a Buick Encore? That's not one that would enter our motorsports-based consciousness. Yet it's basically what General Motors is entering in the South American rally raid this year, and you're looking at it.
Unveiled at the Moscow Motor Show, this rally machine is based on (or at least billed as) an Opel Mokka - the name that GM's European brand applies to the vehicle Americans know as the Encore, Buick's subcompact crossover. Only it's obviously been extensively modified. It's got a ten-inch raised suspension, a 137-gallon fuel tank, carbon-fiber bodywork and... hold on, we're sure we're missing something here. Oh, right: a 6.2-liter V8 kicking out 340 horsepower and 487 pound-feet of torque to all four wheels through a six-speed sequential gearbox.
In other words, this is not the same Encore (or Mokka) you can pick up at your local Buick, Opel or Vauxhall dealership. It's not even close. It's not even recognizable as such, really. It was unveiled alongside a more sedate Opel Mokka Moscow Edition and a slew of other local debuts for the Opel brand that you can read more about in the (translated and original) Russian press release below.
As Buick currently claws and scratches its way back into relevance to compete against luxury brands like Lexus and Acura, it's hard to believe that not too long ago, the brand had a car that was mentioned in the same breath as Corvette, Lamborghini and Ferrari. That car? None other than the Buick Grand National. All black with a turbocharged V6 and some of the quickest acceleration of its time, the Grand National, in today's standards, is along the lines of a 2013 Shelby GT500 with both cars essentially being a working man's supercar.
The last Grand National rolled off the assembly line in Flint, MI on December 11, 1987, and to mark the silver anniversary of that somber occasion, Black Air is a documentary of the Grand National from the perspective of the enthusiast, the collector, the media and even from those at General Motors responsible for creating such a sinister legend. Like the car itself, Andrew Filippone Jr. shoots the documentary in a raw fashion, and it definitely helps to show why a low-volume muscle car from the 1980s is still the object of obsession for many automotive enthusiasts to this day.
The Consumer Reports Annual Auto Reliability Survey (right) is out, and the top two spots look much the same as last year's list with Lexus and Toyota in first and second place, respectively. However, there are some major shakeups for 2014, with Acura plunging eight spots from third in 2013 to 11th this year, and Mazda replaces it on the lowest step of the podium. Honda and Audi round out the top five. This year's list includes six Japanese brands in the top 10, two Europeans, one America and one Korean.
Acura isn't the only one taking a tumble, though. Infiniti is the biggest loser this year by dropping 14 spots to 20th place. Other big losses come from Mercedes-Benz with an 11-place fall to 24th, and GMC, which declines 10 positions to 19th.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, it's not traditional mechanical bugs hauling down these automaker's reliability scores. Instead, pesky problems with infotainment systems are taking a series toll on the rankings. According to Consumer Reports, complaints about "in-car electronics" were the most grumbled about element in new cars. Problem areas included things like unresponsive touchscreens, issues pairing phones and multi-use controllers that refused to work right.