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Auto blogMon, 11 Feb 2013 10:00:00 EST
The formula of Top Gear Korea is seemingly about the same as it is everywhere else in the world, including the flagship British original: involve interesting cars in fantastical situations with charismatic hosts. That prescription has proved to be pretty reliable over the years, and has lead to some truly memorable and exciting pieces of television.
Something like that was undoubtedly what the Korean producers were after when they lined up this segment - a drag race between a Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 and an AH1 Cobra military helicopter. The planners almost certainly did not expect the filming of the segment to go quite as wrong as it actually did, with the helicopter actually crashing into the dirt after the "drag race" had been completed. Thankfully, we're told that no one was seriously injured in the crash, but the footage, in the video below, is pretty damn chilling to watch, nevertheless.
A couple weeks ago, we watched a Chevrolet Silverado get dominated by a Dodge Ram Heavy Duty in a fullsize pickup tug-of-war, but in that truck's defense, Chevy's Vortec gas engine was no match for the torquey Cummins turbo diesel. For our next round of vehicular tug-of-war, a Duramax-powered Silverado HD takes on Volkswagen Touareg V10 TDI.
Now, on paper, putting the Duramax V8's 365 horsepower and 660 pound-feet of torque up against the V10's 310 hp and 553 lb-ft looks like an easy win for the Bowtie, but unfortunately, this battle has a similar result as the Dodge versus Chevy video, with the Silverado smoking its tires trying to move forward as it gets pulled backwards. Put another way: YouTube 2, Chevy Silverado 0.
It just goes to show, though, that big tires, bolt-on fender flares and goofy smoke stacks don't improve your towing abilities. Besides, what did the Silverado driver expect when the Touareg V10 TDI has towed a Boeing 747 in the past?
According to a letter from General Motors to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, flaws in the build process of the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu have led to the recall of 8,519 cars. Units built between December 6, 2011 and January 15, 2013 may have been assembled with rear suspension cradles that had insufficient torque applied to certain bolts. That out-of-spec assembly could lead to issues ranging from slight noises to a loss of vehicle control.
The problem was first noticed in December of last year by a GM test fleet driver and eventually tracked back to the improperly torqued bolts on the suspension cradle assembled through July 2012 by a supplier located not too far from the Malibu's Detroit/Hamtramck Assembly Plant. Since an official NHTSA recall notice has not been issued yet, it isn't clear whether or not Detroit-built Malibus were the only ones affected (the 2013 Malibu is also built at GM's Fairfax Assembly Plant in Kansas City, Kansas). Dealers will fix the problem by inspecting vehicles for proper torque specs, retightening if not within specs and, in some cases, perform a rear-wheel alignment.