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Auto blogMon, 21 Jan 2013 16:05:00 EST
Judging by your continued enthusiastic response to configurator notices, dear reader, you enjoy speccing out new cars as much as we do. Better still, there tends to be even more ways to personalize, configure and bloat theoretical MSRPs on full-size trucks as there are with more ordinary passenger cars. In addition to trim level, engine and transmission choices, truck buyers usually have to specify items like cab configuration, bed length, number of driven axles, tow packages, gear ratios and all sorts of bits and bobs.
That's why we're pleased to see the DIY specification utility for the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado come alive so soon after this week's Detroit Auto Show debut. While the configurator lacks pricing (General Motors hasn't announced numbers yet) and full options, you can still spec out your half-ton rig, and even print it out or email it to your friends. Beyond the configurator, the new model-specific site is pretty cool, too, with various videos and closer looks at the truck's new features.
The new Chevrolet pickup range won't be on dealer lots until sometime this summer, so whether you're a building contractor, an avid sportsman or just a guy or gal that loves full-size trucks, you might want to check out the link below to keep your appetite whetted. If you're more of a Sierra fan, well, it looks like you're going to have to wait a while - GMC hasn't updated its site yet.
Consumer Reports criticizes small turbo engines for misleading performance, fuel economy claims [w/video]Tue, 05 Feb 2013 10:13:00 EST
Consumer Reports has taken aim at at small-displacement, forced-induction engines, saying the powerplants don't manage to deliver on automaker fuel economy claims. Manufacturers have long held that smaller, turbocharged engines pack all power of their larger displacement cousins with significantly better fuel economy, but the research organization says that despite scoring high EPA economy numbers, the engines are no better than conventional drivetrains in both categories. Jake Fisher, director of automotive testing for Consumer Reports, says the forced induction options "are often slower and less fuel efficient than larger four and six-cylinder engines."
Specifically, CR calls out the new Ford Fusion equipped with the automaker's Ecoboost 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine. The institute's researchers found the engine, which is a $795 option over the base 2.5-liter four-cylinder, fails to match competitors in acceleration and served up 25 miles per gallon in testing, putting the sedan dead last among other midsize options.
The Chevrolet Cruze, Hyundai Sonata Turbo and Ford Escape 2.0T all got dinged for the same troubles, though Consumer Reports has found the turbo 2.0-liter four-cylinder in the BMW 328i does deliver on its promises. You can check out the full press release below. You can also read the full study on the Consumer Reports site, or scroll down for a short video recap.
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?