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Auto blogSun, 21 Sep 2014 17:50:00 EST
Back in April, General Motors launched an investigation into braking issues affecting the 2014 Chevy Impala. Now there's a recall of both the Impala and the Cadillac XTS with which it shares its Epsilon II platform.
The issue apparently revolves around the electronic parking brake, which may not properly disengage. As a result, the rear brake pads could rub the rotor even while the vehicle is in motion, causing "significant heat, smoke and sparks." The earlier investigation had been launched following a complaint regarding the forward collision avoidance system, which is now either appears to have been unrelated or possibly a symptom of this larger issue.
The recall affects 2013-15 XTS models manufactured between February 14, 2012, and August 22, 2014, as well as 2014-15 Impalas manufactured between January 15, 2013, and August 22, 2014. The total number of affected vehicles reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration comes to precisely 132,921 units, while The Detroit News reports a higher total of 205,000 units - the difference potentially coming down to the scope within the US and more broadly across North America. Dealers will contact owners to update the software in order to fix the problem.
When Don Butler made the surprising decision to leave his post as Cadillac's VP of global strategic development, it was a surprise. Citing a desire to "recalibrate, reassess my priorities" in that August announcement, it wasn't entirely clear where Butler - a virtual General Motors lifer after spending nearly 30 years with the company - would end up. Turns out he took a trip to Dearborn.
Butler has taken a position in the newly created position of Executive Director of Connected Vehicles and Services at Ford, where he'll be responsible for the Blue Oval's global connectivity strategy. "Not only does Don understand the connected car landscape, but probably just as important, he understands customer expectations," said Raj Nair, who, as Group Vice President of Global Product Development, is Butler's new boss. "Having a leader with technology experience both inside and outside the industry is a rare combination - we're excited to have Don join our team."
As Ford has received its fair share of flak for the sometimes recalcitrant MyFord Touch infotainment system and its Sync voice-controls, it appears that Butler has his work cut out for him.
The Dodge Dart, Cadillac XTS and Lincoln MKS all failed to earn a "Recommended" rating from Consumer Reports. When it came to the compact Dart, the organization's testers thought the vehicle offered a quiet cabin, solid-feeling chassis and nimble suspension, but the new model ultimately fell short of the coveted rating due to powertrain issues. The institute's reviewers found the base 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine to be underpowered and noted "drivability issues" when the available turbocharged 1.4-liter four was paired with the optional dual-clutch transmission (some of our editors disliked it paired with the six-speed manual). CR also dinged the latter powerplant for sounding "raspy." For what it's worth, we think the forced-induction engine offers an excellent and playful exhaust note, but that's just us.
As for the XTS, CR lauded the car for its luxurious cabin, but the vehicle's experience was dulled by its finicky CUE infotainment interface. Overall, the big Cadillac scored much higher than its cross-town rival from Lincoln. While testers found the American luxury sedan to offer a quiet ride and quality fit and finish, they felt the MKS delivered a "cramped driving position, ungainly handling, uncomposed ride, and limited visibility." Ouch. At the end of the day, both cars fell short of rivals from Japan, Germany and Korea. Check out the full press release below with more details, along with CR's musings on the Chevrolet Spark and Lexus ES.