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Best and Worst GM Cars

Thu, Apr 7 2022

Oh yes, because we just love receiving angry letters from devoted Pontiac Grand Am enthusiasts, we have decided to go there. Based on a heated group Slack conversation, the topic came up about the best and worst GM cars. First of all time, and then those currently on sale, and then just mostly a rambling discussion of Oldsmobiles our parents and grandparents owned (or engineered). Eventually, three of us made the video above. Like it? Maybe we can make more. Many awesome GM cars are definitely going unmentioned here, so please let us know your bests and worsts in the comments below. Mostly, it's important to note that this post largely exists as a vehicle for delivering the above video that dives far deeper into GM's greatest hits and biggest flops, specifically those from the 1980s and 1990s. What you'll find below is a collection of our editors identifying a best current and best-of-all-time choice, plus a worst current and worst-of-all-time choice. Comprehensive it is not, but again, comments. -Senior Editor James Riswick Best Current GM Vehicle Chevrolet Corvette We were flying by the seats of our pants a bit in this first outing and my notes were similarly extemporaneous. When it came time to tie it all together on camera, I failed spectacularly. Thank the maker for text, because this gives me the opportunity to perhaps slightly better explain my convoluted reasoning. I chose the C8 Corvette because it's simply overwhelmingly good, and it's merely the baseline from which this generation of Corvette will be expanded.  While the Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing (more on that in a minute) is an amazing snapshot of GM's current performance standing and its little sibling so enraptured me that I went out and bought one, their existence is fleeting. Corvette will live on; forced-induction Cadillac sport sedans, not so much. So while all three are amazing machines when viewed in a vacuum, the Corvette stands above them as both a reflection of GM's current performance credentials and a signpost of what is to come. So, given the choice between the C8 and the 5V-Blackwing right now, I'd choose the C8. In 10 years, when the Blackwing is no longer in production and Corvette is in its 9th generation? Well, that might be a different story. Now, just pretend I said something even remotely that coherent when we get to the part of the video where I try to make an argument for the 5-V Blackwing as best GM car I've ever driven. Or just laugh at me while I ramble incoherently.

Junkyard Gem: 1980 Chevrolet LUV Mikado

Sat, Oct 9 2021

During the 1970s and into the 1980s, each member of the Detroit Big Three imported Japanese small pickups and sold them with Ford (Mazda Proceed), Dodge/Plymouth (Mitsubishi Forte), or Chevrolet (Isuzu Faster) badges here. Ford developed the Ranger and killed the Courier for 1983 (though Americans could still buy the Mazda-badged version all the way through 1993), while The General axed the LUV after the S-10 debuted in the 1982 model year. Isuzu sold the same truck as the P'up through 1987, though, and we might as well follow up our recent P'up Junkyard Gem with its LUV predecessor. LUV stood for Light Utility Vehicle, and I've managed to spot a handful in the boneyards over the years. This one now resides in a yard in northeastern Colorado. The Mikado trim package included striped seat upholstery and a sporty steering wheel, plus these cool dash badges. As far as I can tell, no LUV Mikado advertising featured any Gilbert and Sullivan tunes. This one is fairly rusty for Front Range Colorado, and it has endured a bed swap from some other small truck. The engine is the 75-horse Isuzu 1.8-liter. Members of this engine family went into everything from Chevy Chevettes to Isuzu Troopers in the United States. Very unusually for a small pickup during the Malaise Era, this one has a luxurious automatic transmission. Acceleration must have been a leisurely affair in this truck. Air conditioning? Unheard of! Someone stuck every one of their lunchtime apple stickers on the driver's door. After 41 years of work, this truck is done. Come on strong in a LUV of your own!

McLaren, Koenigsegg, Toyota, Ford, Dodge and Corvette Lego kits announced for 2021

Tue, May 4 2021

Lego has announced a slew of car-themed sets for 2021. The six kits comprise nine vehicles and fall under the brick pusher's Speed Champion line of official OEM-licensed kits. News of their arrival comes from German toy retailer JB Spielwaren's pre-order listings, which show three single-car sets and three dual-car sets of matched marques. Starting with the McLaren Elva roadster, the kit consists of 263 pieces and is finished in blue. It seems to have a difficult time capturing the curves of the real-life Elva, but there's only so much you can do with a bunch of plastic blocks. Lego has made several other McLaren kits before, including the Senna, 720S, and a more advanced Senna GTR for the Technics line. Next up is the Koenigsegg Jesko, made up of 280 pieces and finished in white. Though the real-life Jesko is still curvy, this kit does a better job of replicating its aggressive maw, vents and cantilevered rear wing. Rounding out the single-car sets is the 299-piece Toyota GR Supra in yellow. This marks the first time Toyota has lent their license to Lego. Again, it struggles a bit to represent the curvy Supra, relying on printed details like logos and headlights to identify. On the other hand, the Chevrolet two-car does a stupendous job with the 1968 Corvette. The C3 is instantly recognizable as such. The C8-R race car it's paired with suffers from the same issues as some of the previous cars, though. The set contains 512 pieces, and funnily enough the C8 driver has short hair while the C3 driver sports a period-correct wavy mane. The next set is a 627-piece Mopar-themed pair, including a purple (Plum Crazy?) 1970 Dodge Challenger T/A and an SRT top fuel dragster. The race car is spot on, but the Challenger was probably tough to make given the width restrictions. It looks a couple of pegs too narrow compared to the wide proportions of the real deal. Last but not least, the Ford set contains a Bronco R and Ford GT Heritage Edition. Consisting of 660 pieces, the set does an excellent job of representing both cars. The GT looks faithful in its Gulf livery, and the Bronco R looks more like a real Bronco than the actual Bronco R race truck. All in all, it's always fun to see more Lego sets with real cars, and we're glad to see more manufacturers added to the roster. The single-car sets are recommended for ages 7 and up, while the double-car sets have an 8 years and up rating. Price in U.S.

Junkyard Gem: 2005 Chevrolet Aveo LS Sedan

Sun, Jun 14 2020

The story of Daewoo in North America took some interesting plot turns over the decades. First we had the 1988-1993 Pontiac LeMans, a rebadged Daewoo LeMans. A bit later, Daewoo began selling cars under its own nameplate here, with the Lanos, Nubira, and Leganza available for the 1999-2002 model years. Then Daewoo fled the continent and left warranty service of those cars in the hands of Manny, Moe, and Jack. With GM taking over Daewoo Motors after Daewoo's bankruptcy, we got some Daewoos with Suzuki badges here the Verona and the Reno— while Chevrolet began selling the South Korean-built Daewoo Kalos as the Aveo for the 2004 model year. This car may not be a gem in the sense that you would want to own one, but it's a gem of automotive history and thus deserves its place in this series (especially because it's one of the rare 5-speed cars sold here). Many (maybe even most) of these cars ended up in the hands of rental-car companies and other fleet users, but we can tell from the three-pedal setup that this car went to a non-fleet buyer. We've had a couple of these cars compete in the 24 Hours of Lemons, where I work as a dignified and respected race official, and they've been amazingly quick on a road course in the hands of good drivers. Power came from this 103-horsepower Opel-designed four displacing 1.6 liters. The Nubira and Lanos got versions of this engine on these shores, too. The LS was the top trim level for the Aveo in 2004, so this car got air conditioning and a halfway decent audio system (by 2004 standards). The seat fabric is industrial-grade stuff, which would have held up well under the steady drip and/or torrents of bodily fluids coating the interiors of rental cars. The 2004 Aveo LS started at $12,045, which comes to about $16,675 in 2020 dollars, so it was a lot of commuter-appliance for the price. The following generation of this car became the Chevrolet Sonic, beginning with the 2012 model year. You can still buy a new Sonic, and the inflation-adjusted price is nearly identical to that of the original Aveo… though you might want to move fast if you really want one, because Daewoo stopped selling the Kalos in South Korea not long ago. If you want the rarest member of the Aveo family available in North America, find yourself a hen's-teeth Pontiac G3, the short-lived Pontiac-badged version. Speaking of the G3, here's the way it broke the hearts of gas pumps around the world.

GM isn't liable for punitive damages in ignition switch cases

Wed, Nov 20 2019

NEW YORK A federal appeals court said General Motors is not liable for punitive damages over accidents that occurred after its 2009 bankruptcy and involved vehicles it produced earlier, including vehicles with faulty ignition switches. The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan said on Tuesday that the automaker did not agree to contractually assume liability for punitive damages as part of its federally-backed Chapter 11 reorganization. GM filed for bankruptcy in June 2009, and its best assets were transferred to a new Detroit-based company with the same name. The other assets and many liabilities stayed with "Old GM," which is also known as Motors Liquidation Co. Tuesday's 3-0 decision may help GM reduce its ultimate exposure in nationwide litigation over defective ignition switches in several Chevrolet, Pontiac and Saturn models. It is also a defeat for drivers involved in post-bankruptcy accidents, including those who collided with older GM vehicles driven by others, as well as their law firms. The ignition switch defect could cause engine stalls and keep airbags from deploying, and has been linked to 124 deaths. A lawyer for the drivers and their law firms did not immediately respond to requests for comment. GM had no comment. Circuit Judge Dennis Jacobs said GM's agreement to acquire assets "free and clear" of most liabilities excused it from punitive damages claims for Old GM's conduct. He also noted that the judge who oversaw the bankruptcy concluded that the new company could not be liable for claims that the "deeply insolvent" Old GM would never have paid. The decision upheld a May 2018 ruling by U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman in Manhattan, who oversees the ignition switch litigation. Drivers have sought a variety of damages in that litigation, including for declining resale values. GM has recalled more than 2.6 million vehicles since 2014 over ignition switch problems. It has also paid more than $2.6 billion in related penalties and settlements, including $900 million to settle a U.S. Department of Justice criminal case. The case is In re: Motors Liquidation Co, 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 18-1940. Government/Legal Chevrolet Pontiac Saturn Safety gm ignition switch

Before Chevrolet's Redline, there was the Saturn Red Line

Thu, Feb 9 2017

While Chevy rolls out Redline special editions across more of the lineup at this year's Chicago Auto Show, we've been eating some 'member berries and started thinking about the last time GM used the term. Back in 2004, Saturn rolled out Red Line (two words) editions of the Ion and Vue. The lineup was joined by the Sky Red Line in 2007, and the second-generation Vue kept the tradition going in 2008. This was in the heady days of the mid-2000s, before the financial crisis and GM's bankruptcy reorganization that saw the end of Saturn. The press release headline for the 2008 Sky is now cringe-worthy: "Hot-selling Sky helps drive Saturn product renaissance." Performance lineups were the hot new thing, as automakers attempted to cash in on the tuner trend popularized by The Fast and the Furious. Chevy had SS models, Pontiac had GXP, and Saturn had Red Line. Across the Detroit Metro area, Dodge had a slew of SRT models, and Ford's Special Vehicle Team brought us the SVT Lightning pickup, the SVT Focus, and a smattering of hopped-up Mustangs. The performance cred of Red Line models varied from car to car. The Ion Red Line shared the same engine as the original Chevy Cobalt SS, a 205-horsepower supercharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder, 65 hp more than stock. Car and Driver tested one with a 0-to-60-mph time of 6.1 seconds and said the Ion "tears down the wall that has separated enthusiasts from the Saturn brand for so long." The Vue Red Line, meanwhile, came with the same optional Honda-sourced 3.5-liter V6 you could get in the regular Vue, and added a stiffer, lower suspension, bigger wheels with more aggressive rubber, and recalibrated steering assist. When the Vue was redesigned for the 2008 model year, the Vue Red Line was a similar proposition. The engine was now from GM, and up 7 horsepower to 257, but you could get it in both Red Line and XE trim. Aside from the tire and suspension upgrades, Red Line models now came with a unique front fascia and rear exhaust cutouts. The most exciting Red Line, of course, was the high-performance version of the Sky roadster, which shared underpinnings with its Pontiac Solstice twin. This model came with GM's hot 2.0-liter Ecotec Turbo, good for 260 horsepower. The extra power was crucial in covering up the Sky's unfortunate manual gearbox ratios, which left the non-turbo model aching for torque in lower gears. As we all know, Saturn was taken by the grim reaper in 2009 after an attempt to sell the brand to the Penske Group.

Body shop manager stole over $500,000 worth of government trucks and parts

Fri, Jan 27 2017

The US Department of Justice announced yesterday that the manager of a collision and restoration business in Virginia admitted he helped misappropriate and sell vehicles and parts from the State Department. Specifically, he sold 12 Chevrolet Suburbans, a Hummer, and $7,500 worth of tires and wheels. He pled guilty to charges to commit theft of government property and wire fraud. He will likely see 18 to 20 months in prison, a fine of $4,000 to $40,000, and has already agreed to pay restitution of $416,020 and asset forfeiture of the same amount. According to the Department of Justice, the body shop manager, James Ratcliffe, worked with the owner of the business and a State Department official, both unnamed, to obtain the property. It started with the wheels and tires, which were delivered and sold on two occasions, one in 2011 and another in 2012. The trucks came later, and were sold throughout 2011 and 2013. Ratcliffe and the shop owner kept most of the profits, and shared some of the leftovers with the government official. In addition to the vehicles that were sold, the government official also gave Ratcliffe a pair of Suburbans for his own personal use. The Department of Justice estimated the total value of the SUVs at $96,400. In total, the group misappropriated $512,420 worth of property. Related Video:

2017 North American Car, Truck, and Utility of the Year entries announced

Wed, Jul 6 2016

Over 40 vehicles will compete for the 2017 North American Car, Truck, and Utility of the Year awards. If that name looks a little strange, it's because the competition added a third category. In years past, pickup trucks, crossovers, SUVs, commercial vans, and minivans competed for the same award. That's why there were occasionally weird comparisons, like last year's competition between the Volvo XC90 and Nissan Titan XD. The new format separates pickups and commercial vans into the truck contest and CUVs, SUVs, and minivans into the utility competition. A complete list of eligible vehicles is below, but here are a few highlights. For one, the entire list of entries has a luxurious lean. Of the 43 vehicles, nearly half of them are from premium brands. There are two eligible Bentleys the Bentayga and Mulsanne – the Rolls-Royce Dawn, Jaguar F-Pace, Audi Q7, and the Mercedes-Benz GLS-, E-, and S-Class Maybach. The performance ranks are lofty, too, with the Audi R8, Acura NSX, Alfa Romeo Giulia, Mercedes SL- and SLC-Class, Porsche 718, and F-150 Raptor. The mainstream entries are just as comprehensive. From the Chrysler Pacifica to the Chevrolet Cruze to the Fiat 124 Spider to the Mitsubishi Mirage, NACTOY has covered an enormous price range with this year's contestants. Of course, these are only the eligible vehicles. They'll need to run through three rounds of judging, starting in September at NACTOY's traditional Hell, MI, test drive. The Canadian and American journalists involved in the judging will announce this year's nine finalists – three in each category – on December 6. Cars Acura NSX Alfa Romeo Giulia Audi A4 Audi R8 Bentley Mulsanne Buick Cascada Buick LaCrosse Cadillac CT6 Chevrolet Bolt Chevrolet Cruze Fiat 124 Genesis G90 Hyundai Elantra Infiniti Q60 Jaguar XE Kia Cadenza Lincoln Continental Mercedes-Benz E-Class sedan Mercedes-Benz S550 Maybach Mercedes-Benz SL-Class Mercedes-Benz SLC-Class Mini Clubman Mitsubishi Mirage/G4 Porsche 718 Boxster and Cayman Rolls-Royce Dawn Toyota Prius Prime Volvo S90 SUVs Audi Q7 Bentley Bentayga Buick Envision Cadillac XT5 Chrysler Pacifica GMC Acadia Infiniti QX30 Kia Sportage Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class Jaguar F-Pace Mazda CX-9 Nissan Armada Trucks Ford F-Series Super Duty pickups Ford F-150 Raptor Honda Ridgeline Nissan Titan half-ton Related Video: Featured Gallery Bentley Bentayga View 23 Photos News Source: Automotive News - sub.

NHTSA, IIHS, and 20 automakers to make auto braking standard by 2022

Thu, Mar 17 2016

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and virtually every automaker in the US domestic market have announced a pact to make automatic emergency braking standard by 2022. Here's the full rundown of companies involved: BMW, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar Land Rover, Kia, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru, Tesla, Toyota, Volkswagen, and Volvo (not to mention the brands that fall under each automaker's respective umbrella). Like we reported yesterday, AEB will be as ubiquitous in the future as traction and stability control are today. But the thing to note here is that this is not a governmental mandate. It's truly an agreement between automakers and the government, a fact that NHTSA claims will lead to widespread adoption three years sooner than a formal rule. That fact in itself should prevent up to 28,000 crashes and 12,000 injuries. The agreement will come into effect in two waves. For the majority of vehicles on the road those with gross vehicle weights below 8,500 pounds – AEB will need to be standard equipment by September 1, 2022. Vehicles between 8,501 and 10,000 pounds will have an extra three years to offer AEB. "It's an exciting time for vehicle safety. By proactively making emergency braking systems standard equipment on their vehicles, these 20 automakers will help prevent thousands of crashes and save lives," said Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx said in an official statement. "It's a win for safety and a win for consumers." Read on for the official press release from NHTSA. Related Video: U.S. DOT and IIHS announce historic commitment of 20 automakers to make automatic emergency braking standard on new vehicles McLEAN, Va. – The U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety announced today a historic commitment by 20 automakers representing more than 99 percent of the U.S. auto market to make automatic emergency braking a standard feature on virtually all new cars no later than NHTSA's 2022 reporting year, which begins Sept 1, 2022. Automakers making the commitment are Audi, BMW, FCA US LLC, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar Land Rover, Kia, Maserati, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi Motors, Nissan, Porsche, Subaru, Tesla Motors Inc., Toyota, Volkswagen and Volvo Car USA.

Question of the Day: What's the most irritating car name?

Wed, Mar 9 2016

You hear a lot about how the Chevrolet Nova was a sales flop in Mexico because "No va" means "it doesn't go" in Spanish; in fact, the Nova sold pretty well south of the border, and in any case most Spanish-speakers know that "Nova" means "new" in Latin and Portuguese. However, General Motors doesn't deserve to be let off the hook for bad car names, because the Oldsmobile Achieva no doubt inspired by the excruciating "coffee achievers" ads of the 1980s— scrapes the biggest fingernails down the screechiest chalkboard in the US-market car-name world. That is, unless you think Daihatsu's incomprehensible choice of Charade was worse. Meanwhile, Japanese car buyers could get machines with cool names like Mazda Bongo Friendee or Honda Life Dunk. It's just not fair! So, what car name drives you the craziest? Related Video: Auto News Design/Style Chevrolet Honda Mazda Daihatsu Automotive History questions car names