GM has been promising us for years an answer to the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla, the two cars that dominate the compact car market. Its latest contestant has been the Korean-designed Chevrolet Cobalt. Does the Cobalt have what it takes to go up against these perennial champions? Let’s find out..
HOW DOES IT LOOK? At a first glance, the Cobalt looks like what it actually is, an appliance. At a second glance, it still looks like an appliance. We understand that it’s in the nature of cars in this segment to look generic so that they may appeal to a very wide demographic, but the Civic — with its spaceship look — does so in a appealing manner. Even the undeniably boring-looking Corolla looks more inspiring than the Cobalt. This is a shame because styling is an important factor when buyers shop for cars. And for this reason, the Cobalt gets a STRIKE ONE.
HOW IS IT INSIDE? Step inside the Cobalt and things don’t get any better. That is, it looks cold, plain and uninspired. The monotone grayish/black color scheme doesn’t help the cause, nor does the plain, flat look of the dashboard. Hard plastic adorns the whole interior. The few soft plastics acutally manage to look cheaper than the hard plastics found in the some the competition. The only redeeming feature is the simple layout of the controls, but that’s not enough to ward-off a STRIKE TWO.
HOW DOES IT DRIVE? The 2.2 Liter engine in the Cobalt LS I drove was fairly smooth. Gear changes were virtually unnoticeable. Although the ride itself was smooth, it was fairly noisy, especially at high speeds. Every bump was heard and often felt. The plain-Jane Toyota Corolla, by comparison, had a more isolated interior. The Honda Civic offers more steering feedback.
GM did try to give the Cobalt more space at a lower price than the Corolla or a Civic, but the price difference isn’t really that much. Plus, the cheaper Hyundai Accent is about as roomy. The Cobalt is a competent small car, but in the end, it poses little threat to the Civic and Corolla, which feel more expensive and better built. Luckily GM’s latest “experiment” is on its way out. Let’s hope that its successor, the Chevy Cruze, gives the two Japaneses and Korean competition a better run for their money.
New, 2018 Chevrolet Traverse Gets RS Treatment, Turbo Engine
The Chevrolet Traverse lineup has received a sportier touch in the form of the new Traverse RS.
Unveiled at the 2018 Chicago Auto Show, the Traverse RS is the first Traverse to get a turbocharged engine, one that makes 257 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. The engine is mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission that helps the three-row, seven-passenger crossover deliver an expected EPA fuel economy rating of 20 mpg in city driving and 26 mpg on the highway.
The RS treatment appears to be more of an appearance and comfort package than it is a performance-focused one, adding blacked-out exterior trim and such standard equipment as HID headlamps, active shutters, an eight-inch infotainment system, heated seats, Bose audio, and unique 20-inch dark wheels. It doesn’t come with all-wheel drive, nor does it have it as an option.
The Chevrolet Traverse RS is currently available in the United States with a $43,095 MSRP (including freight).
New, 2019 Chevy Corvette ZR1 Sets Lap Record At VIR, Crushes Ford GT
The all-new, 2019 Corvette ZR1 coupe, with its ridiculous performance figures, screams “record-beater,” so it comes as no surprise that it set a production-car lap record on the 4.1-mile Grand Course West at Virginia International Raceway (VIR) with a time of 2:37.25.
VIR is a technical and challenging circuit that’s often dubbed the Nürburgring of America. The previous record-holder, the Ford GT (2:40.02), unseated the Dodge Viper ACR (2:38.62) to become king of the track, a title it didn’t hold on to for long.
The only updates to the record-setting Corvette ZR1 were the addition of a harness bar and track seats with five-point harnesses. Everything else, including the eight-speed automatic transmission and the ZTK Performance Package that adds the adjustable carbon-fiber High Wing, a front splitter with carbon-fiber end caps, Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires, and specific chassis and Magnetic Ride Control tuning, either come standard or are part of the production car’s options list.
Of course, we would be remiss not to mention what powers the 2019 edition of this beast — a supercharged LT5 6.2L V8 that produces 755 horsepower and 715 lb-ft. of torque. Paired with the aforementioned eight-speed, it allows the American supercar to teleport from 0 to 60 mph (96 km/h) in approximately 2.8 seconds before hitting a top speed of over 210 mph (338 km/h)!
Mark Reuss, executive vice president, Global Product Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain, stated:
“The Corvette ZR1’s lap record at VIR, arguably America’s most challenging road course, is a testament to its supercar status. On the racetrack, the ZR1 can compete with any supercar — at any price.”
The 2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 coupe starts at $119,995 in the United States, while the ZR1 convertible kicks off at $123,995.
New, 2019 Chevy Silverado Debuts With Diesel Engine, 450-lbs Lighter
It’s hard to believe Chevrolet has been making trucks for over 100 years. To celebrate the centennial of Chevy Trucks, General Motors made the public unveiling of the all-new, 2018 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 at the 2018 North American International Auto Show.
This is a clean-sheet design for the new Silverado, and GM brought its A-game. Compared to its predecessor, the truck is notably lighter; roomier all around and more comfortable; more practical and versatile; more fuel-efficient; safer; and, to our eyes, more attractive inside and out.
When Ford went mostly all-aluminum for its latest F-150, many expected GM to do the same for its next half-tonne. It didn’t, choosing instead to stick with old-fashioned steel for its fixed panels and frame. Only “Swing” panels — anything on a hinge, such as the doors, hood and tailgate — are all-aluminum.
The new Silverado is slightly bigger than the old model, boasting a longer wheelbase and slightly increased overall length. Some of that extra room went to the bed, which is now a multi-piece configuration that opens up more than six inches of lateral bed space wall-to-wall, giving the Silverado’s short box more raw volume (63 cubic feet) than even the standard-length beds of the F-150 and Ram 1500 — up to 20 percent more, in fact.
Larger cutouts in the class-exclusive CornerStep bumpers provide better accommodation for steel-toed boots, while an available 120-volt power outlet and LED task lighting make the cargo bed even more useful. As a first, there is also an available a power up / down tailgate that can be operated from the key fob, interior button or by hand.
Despite the larger size, the 2019 Silverado manages to be 450 pounds (204 kg) lighter, an impressive weight reduction considering its still mostly made out of steel. Buyers will have the choice of six engine and transmission combinations, including a new 5.3L and 6.2L V8, as well as a new 3.0L six-cylinder turbo-diesel.
The 3.0L diesel and 6.2L V8 are mated to a new 10-speed automatic transmission that GM co-developed with Ford, while the 5.3L V8 and base engine (likely a V6) will make due with the existing six-speed auto.
Inside the cab, the redesigned Silverado offers more interior volume thanks to the increased length, with crew-cab models now having 3 inches more rear-seat legroom than before. Chevrolet promises improved refinement, higher quality materials and, of course, the latest safety and convenience tech, including Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and 4G LTE Wi-Fi connections.
General Motors will release full specs, pricing and sales date at a later date. Until then, what do you think about the all-new, 2019 Chevrolet Silverado?