Tag Archives: Chevy

Chevy Equinox Update

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May 2013 I took delivery of a brand new Chevy Equinox.  Front wheel drive, V-6, 2LT trim level, tow package installed.   At this point it has passed 32,000 miles.
Let me give you the run down… About every 2800 miles its been getting oil changes and tire rotations done by Dealerships.  And by that I mean Marine Chevy in Jacksonville.  At 8,000 miles it needed a new battery which was replaced under warranty.  That’s been the only issue.  And really not all that big a deal.
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The little SUV has performed admirably.  Turning in great fuel economy… Far better than I would have expected. Better even than the 4 Cylinder versions are reporting.  Thanks to GM’s fantastic engine. Direct injection, a smarter transmission, gobs of power at the low end… The engine never really has to work hard.  Unless you ask it to.  And when you do, it delivers.  It has a lot of torque steer that you have to physically wrestle with, so hold on with both hands before you hammer it. And when you do, the car springs to life with a quickness and agility that’s unexpected. This makes my little SUV feel more like a Hot Hatch.   A very heavy, but powerful, big hot hatch.
As soon as you let off the gas again, the EQ is back to it’s normal sedate nature.  It cruises well, quietly and composed even at high interstate velocity.  Feeling solid and connected, it’s easy to gobble up miles with comfortable adjustable and heated seats.  Pretty luxurious stuff to this guy.
The touch screen is large and more responsive than most others I’ve played with.  Easy to navigate.  Syncing phones is easy as well… And the hands free calling works very well.  As does running music from the phone.  The only thing it doesn’t do is Navigation.  Which is crazy… Chevy not putting navigation in a car at this price level is just retarded. There’s also no update feature with this system.  You can update it with a USB, but there isn’t any updates for it.
Climate control is excellent with a very cold AC and a heater that you can bake a cake with.  It comes up to temp fast and cools down fast… Really once you set it to the temp you want, you can just ignore it… The system will handle the rest.
Remote Starter.  Remote hatch/rear door opening and close. Backup Camera. Alarm.  It doesn’t lack features… Save for Navigation.
The EQ is a handsome car too. I think they look good… But it could get a little more bravado in the wheels and tires department, maybe a little lift.
I think it just may be the best vehicle GM makes.  Its also the only vehicle GM hasn’t had a recall on that I’m aware of.  GM just did everything right on it… Save for the lack of Navigation.  The only problem really is the lack of personality.  Its a very Vanilla car. Its one that is easily forgotten.  It’s like the proverbial Nice Guy.  What it needs… Is a dark side.  A tattoo, a Honey Badger snear, and a pair of boots.  But even then it would probably still be too clean cut and polite about everything.

America’s greatest car.

Let me ask you guys a question.  What is America’s greatest car?  What car is the icon of all that is America?  Maybe we should ask those that don’t live in the USA… What car do they see in the American Dream?  The symbol of the United State…  The 4 wheel statue at the top of the flag pole.  Eh, who cares what Jeremy Clarkson thinks… This is our car we’re talking about.  America’s car.  What is that car to us?

Is it the Mustang?

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The Mustang is now 50 years old.   And it’s been mostly a good 50 years.  Never mind the Mustang II years… 1973 to 1978… Those were terrible years and I am not convinced anything good came out of those years.  Interestingly, ’73 to ’78 were the very same years as the run of Kojak.  Telly Savalas may have single handedly saved The 70’s, I’m not sure, but it sure wasn’t the Mustang II.  Side note, according to the Wiki, Consumer Reports recommended the Gremlin over the Mustang II.  Ouch.  That stings.

Maybe America’s Car is the Corvette.

Ferrari and Lambo can go back to Italy.
Ferrari and Lambo can go back to Italy.

The Corvette is now well over that 50 year mark.  It too has a long and storied history marred by that awkward time through the 70’s.   But overall, the Corvette weathered that storm and really never forgot what it was quite like the Mustang.   The 2015 Corvett’s styling is brilliant… it blends hallmarks over everything the Corvette always was, with everything the Mad Men at Chevy want the Corvette to be. Then they put in the best interior that the Corvette has ever had.  The best seats, the best dash layout, the best cockpit area… It’s the promise of the Corvette finally fulfilled.  Driving one, just for a few minutes, tells you that the Corvette has finally arrived.  For it to be any better than this – It will have to run on a Mr Fusion and fly.

Both the Mustang and the Corvette share one thing in common for me.  I never really wanted one until the 2015 Model year for both the cars.  If you look at the development of these cars, you see a progression of development, with both cars getting better with every year… but 2015 marks what is probably the pinnacle for both platforms.    Maybe overall the Mustang had a lead.  Especially in 1968… Because of one man.  No, not Carroll Shelby*.  But Steve McQueen.

Bullitt_mustang

I think overall this is what saved the Mustang through those lean 70’s years.  That and the fact there really were not a lot of good options during that time anyway.
In 2004 is when Ford started taking the Mustang seriously though.  That’s when Carroll Shelby came into the scene, bringing with him the Cobra packages.  Mustangs all the sudden became something more than just a habit for Ford.  It became a real thing again.  Something that they could actually show some pride in.  They had gone past the Fox Bodies – which really were not all that bad – into that newer clam shell topped car that was just… not all that inspiring. They were like a place holder car until Shelby bolted in an Awesome kit.    Come on, Ford’s Special Vehicle Team couldn’t do anything with it… The best work that they had done in some time before or since with any car was the Contour.  When automotive journalists compare the SVT Contour to a BMW M3, that really says something.  Too bad nobody paid attention to those journalists.  Come on, SVT’s biggest idea for the Mustang was a 4 cylinder turbo.  They should have put that in the Contour and supercharged the Mustang.  Or something. I will give them credit for the Lightning… because that was awesome… and the Raptor… because that was even more awesome.  But without Shelby, the SVT guys were just lost.

Okay, now here’s the thing though… America’s best selling car isn’t a car.  According to AutoBlog, the top 10 vehicles sold doesn’t even have an American car in the list.   You see that the #1 rig is the Ford F-150, and #2 is the Chevy Silverado.   It’s been said that Ford sells about 6 F-150’s every Minute.  But best selling doesn’t necessarily mean best vehicle.  Motor Trend (my favorite American’ Auto-Rag) named the Ram 1500 as the Truck of the Year for 2014.    I have to say, that’s a good choice.  I drove a Ram 1500 from Vernal, Utah to Las Vegas, Nevada and I have to say… it was incredibly comfortable and incredibly smooth.  It was a joy to drive.  And that was, what, a 2012 model?  The newer ones have got nothing but better.  I especially love the storage boxes above the wheel wells along the sides of the beds.  That’s smart.  And the fact that you can get 28 MPG’s on the highway – thats’ incredible.

More than Car Guys – Truck Guys can get seriously argumentative over who has the best truck.  Ford – Chevy – Dodge – Toyota… They battle like the families in Game of Thrones.   I’ll let you guys decide which Family is which Brand.  For me, there is something wrong with Ford F-150 that I can’t put my finger on.  Maybe it’s the looks.  I HATE the look of these new F-150’s.  They look like they were designed by Mayan-Cylon Architects.  That’s not a good look for a truck.  I’m not a fan of the dual turbo V-6… Ford’s EcoBoost.  Sure, it’s popular and guys that have it love them.  But I’d rather have the 5.0 Liter…   Now, the Ford’s 5.0 is said to put out more power than the 5.3 Liter Chevy V-8, but the Chevy’s has Cylinder Deactivation for more efficient highway driving.  When trying out both trucks, I really can’t feel a difference.

As I have mentioned before, I do like the Chevy interior better than the Ford’s.   The Ford’s feel like you are flying in Coach Class by the Emergency Exit.  You might have plenty of leg room, but you don’t really want to be there.  The Chevy’s is more comfortable, with a better layout all around.  So I think between the two I’d take the Chevy**.

Overall, in my opinion, America’s Car for 2014 is the Chevy Silverado.

*The fact that Dodge locked up Shelby to merely gussy up some ulgy hatchbacks is something America should never forgive Dodge for.

**Actually most likely I’d take the new 2015 Chevy Colorado.  With a V-6 of course.  For economy reasons.  This is a class of Truck that Ford has ignored for some time now.   But that’s another topic.    But if I was rich and could just buy whatever I wanted – The Silverado High Country edition with that 6.2 liter engine… Just because.

Armchair Quarterbacking: Chevrolet. Part 1.

I’m going to run through all the major automakers in a series.  Since I’m driving a Chevy and my last cage before it was a Chevy, it only seems right.  So, let’s start at the bottom.

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The 2014 Spark.  The Spark is designed to be an entry level city car.  Small, and economical… It’s a cheap car.  There are some comfort upgrades, but not many.  For what it is, it’s designed very well.  This is the spiritual successor to the Metro.  My wife bought one and we actually had it for a great many years.  That was a good solid little car and I would expect this to fill that nitch… so I understand the Spark. New for 2014 though is a new CVT automatic transmission.   That version is a total dog that gives up fuel economy, speed, acceleration, and makes the car feel a lot cheaper than it is.  Don’t get the CVT version.  Get the 5 speed Manual.  The car will be more fun and you’ll get more out of it.  And it will probably last a lot longer as well.
Here’s what Chevy needs to do with the Spark.  They need a Hot Hatch.  The Automotive Journalists like to compare the Spark to the Fiat 500.  Not the hotter Abarth version of the 500, just the base 500.  The Spark is better looking, with a better ride and a better interior.    Chevy needs to drop some Turbo into the Spark and call it the Hot Spark.   It needs some more energy.   It doesn’t have  a lot of room for bigger brakes, but some cross drilled rotors will help.  Body Paint the calipers on that.  Give it some aggressive suspension.  While doing that, give it some race styled wheels and some sticky rubber.  Offer the Hot Spark only in a 5 speed manual.   Have some fun with it.  Oh, and one last thing.  Put the Dash back onto the Dash and not the Steering Column.  The way it is now is kinda just stupid.  The half analog and half digital dash configuration… Just go all digital and call it good.  Please?

chevy_sonic

 

The Chevy Sonic is basically the bigger brother to the Spark.  Everything I said about the Spark can be applied to the Sonic.  The Sonic is slightly more expensive, slightly bigger, but not too much and it’s in fact “Just Right”.  I was initially thinking that the Sonic would be comparable to the Ford Focus or the VW Golf…  Unfortunately it isn’t.  It competes closer to the lesser Ford Fiesta, or a Dodge Dart.  There is a turbo version, but the 1.4 liter engine they put the turbo on is just not quite enough.  At least the Sonic is built in the United States, so I do like that.  A lot. Which means I like the Sonic a lot more than the Spark.  The Turbo version comes with a snarlier Borla exhaust.  This lets the Sonic make the right sounds, but it still isn’t making the right moves.  I think this is just a much nicer car all around than the Spark.
Again, there needs to be an angry version.  The Turbo doesn’t do enough for it because there just isn’t enough engine under it to make a lot of difference.  It also has that half analog and half digital type dash that the Sonic has – which really irritates me a great deal.  Give it an all digital dash.  Or a GTI style analog dash.   I have to say I really like the way the Sonic looks.  Chevy needs to up the trim levels into an SS version and really knock on the VW GTI, Focus ST doors.  Chevy – you can do it.  And it would be completely awesome.

Given the differences between the Spark and the Sonic… I’d just drop the Spark all together.  We don’t need to import a South Korean car to compete with the  Made in the USA Sonic.   The base versions of the Sonic and Spark are only like 2000 difference.  You can make the difference by dropping features to cheapen the Sonic down to Spark levels, and adding enough to really make the Sonic what it wants to be.  A Hot Hatch.

chevy-cruze

The Cruze is a solid little car.  It’s what the Chevy Cavalier used to be… Something for Rental Agencies, Municipal and Corporate Fleets, and Pencil Necks.   It’s a good looking car, for what it is.  It looks like it could be sporty.  It looks like it could compete with a Civic or Corolla or an Altima from 10 years ago.   It’s not a bad car and it’s very economical.  There’s a diesel version that’s new…  which will make this a great economical option for that want to just blend into the background… be one of the masses.  This is the anonymity for the Meek and Mild.  These are cars for Eunuchs and Librarians.   There is no sex appeal at all.  The Cruze is what replaced the Cobalt.  Which was a car that had a lot of spirit.  I really liked the Cobalt.  The Cruze though…  doesn’t have any of that spirit… none of the moxie.  It’s rather sad.  What makes it even more sad is that in other markets, there is a hatch version which actually looks badass.
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Not bad, eh?  Too bad… You can’t have one.  Which is a shame, because it really takes the Cruze up a notch.  Now here’s the thing… Chevy could amp the Cruze up if they wanted.  Add the Super tag to the Sonic and add it to the Cruze.   The Super Sonic and the Super Cruze.  Yes, SS versions.  The DNA is there.   Throw twin turbos on the Diesel (instead of the one small one) and slap a Duramax tag on there and give it a monster exhaust note.  With some good torque under the Diesel Cruze  it would have some machismo as well as good economy.  The Cruze doesn’t have to be a Bean Counter’s Ride.   Sure, have the versions that are all about being economical.  But give it some versions that EARN that BOWTIE BADGE.

The Malibu.  I’m not even going to post an image of the Malibu.  Drop the Malibu.  Just get rid of it.  Why?  Because you can have trim options of the Cruze that go up and the Impala that could go down that could overlap the Malibu and be done with it.  Maybe I’m biased… But I’ve always hated the Malibu.  I’ve hated the name, I’ve hated every time I’ve ridden in one, and every time I’ve driven one.  It makes the Cruze look like the good looking sister.   Just make the Malibu go away.  It really doesn’t fill any nitch.  It’s like that weird looking Ginger in the Butterfinger commercial.

I’m just not comfortable with that.

Chevrolet-impala

The Chevy Impala.  I love this car.  It’s one of my very favorite cars for 2014.  I could happily have one and drive it for the rest of my life.  I love it that much.   The Impala has been a name plate second only to the Camaro and Corvette in terms of Chevy Iconic Heritage… Because there has been some ultimate badass Impalas in Chevy’s history.
But the new Impala isn’t one of those.  It’s good though.  It’s very good.  Now, let’s take a quick look at the Caddy CTS Vsport.  Linking you here to a simple review from C&D.   The CTS Vsport and the Impala have the same base engine.  It’s the same engine that is in my Equinox.   It’s a good engine.  It’s a great engine for an entry level Impala.  But the CTS Vsport throws in twin turbochargers that bumps the power from just over 300 horses, to an impressive 420 angry warhorses.   The Impala needs this as an option.  And here’s why they should do this…
Chevy brought out the Camaro Z/28 for 2015 and in doing so they threw caution to the wind and said “screw it” to all conventional thinking.  They gave the Z/28 EVERYTHING they could.  From suspension and brakes to engine and transmission.  They crossed all the lines and turned a Muscle Car into what everyone dreams a muscle car could be.  It fulfilled the muscle car promise.  They didn’t care if it stepped on Corvette toes.  Screw it, they said.  Let the Corvette stand on its own merit.  No protected territory here.
Chevy needs to do that to the Impala and bring out an SS version.  Because every Car Guy is waiting for that.   So what if it steps on the toes of the Chevy SS… Let that car be it’s own thing – We’re talking about the freaking Chevy Impala here and that means something to a lot of people.   The Impala badge isn’t ready to retire to a Golf Course.  Not with this American Resurrection of the Muscle Car Era.

As far as the Chevy SS goes.  How come a factory Supercharger is not an option?  Where is the hood scoop and the Supercharger?  The Chevy SS is a car without Tradition.  Calling it just the “SS” I think was rather stupid.  Chevy’s history is that the SS was a Trim Level and not a Name Plate.  This was a Mistake.  People know what an Impala SS is… or a Chevelle SS.   But just as SS?  Where’s the Tradition?  Where’s the Heritage?  It’s just out from the wild blue, here’s a rebadged Pontiac.   That’s just wrong.  The SS needs to be rebadged as the Chevelle.  Think I’m wrong?  Take a look at this.

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Look at that!  That’s the history Chevy should have touched on when they brought out the “SS”.  Give it the standard package that it has now… All Muscle Car… that’s good.  That’s the Chevelle.  Now add the SS badge to the new 2015 Chevelle and throw in a Supercharger.  And just for some fun – Hood Pins.  Because screw the Dodge Challenger, that’s why.  Freaking fake-ass Shaker hood scoop.  Give the Chevelle SS a real one.  The Commercial for it would be simple.  A tire scorching, mushroom cloud burnout for 60 seconds.  That’s it.  No spoken words… at the end of the commercial zoom in to the bowtie.  Done.

The Camaro – Keep it going, Chevy.  I want a turbo version though.  And I really do think you should drop all the V-6 versions unless they are turbocharged.  There should be no Mild versions of a Camaro.  Leave the watered down V-6 options for Dodge.  Every Camaro should be filled with hot sauce.

The Corvette – keep doing what you are doing.  You finally hit the nail on the head.

Coming up in Part 2, we’ll look at Chevy’s line of SUV’s and Trucks.

Designs

Looking at the newest Fords and Chevy’s one thing is clear… Ford is slipping.   Ford is concentrating on making everything look like generic Aston Martins.  Including the new 2015 Mustang.  Now, I’m really digging the new Mustang.  A lot.  I mean… a lot…  Love it.  But when all the cars are starting to look the same way… it waters the Ford brand down.

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Chevy is doing much the same with all their cars… The Cruze, the Malibu, the SS… they all look the same from the front.  This is disappointing.   Honestly, it’s hard to tell them apart on the street.  Save for the Camaro and the Corvette.. They all look they came out of the OctoMom.  I’m not saying that they look bad individually… But when you walk around a Dealership… It’s a shallow gene-pool.  It’s like the same guy just phoned in the designs.

2014-chevy-Volt
Making everything in your brand look the same… isn’t making it all look like Family.  It makes everything look Inbred.  This may have worked for British Royals through the middle ages… but it doesn’t work for me.  I don’t know about you.  What do you guys think about that?
I think where designs have really taken off, is with the interiors.

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The New Chevy

I’ve taken no small amount of flak for my 2013 Chevy Equinox.  But let me point out some thing.  The Feds no longer own any GM stocks.  It’s all been sold, and all monies borrowed from the Feds have been repaid.  So you can stop with the Government Motors bullshit. It’s over and that line is tired.  If you are going to remain a hater – at least be a creative one. Okay?  At least make yourself entertaining.  Come on, I drive an Equinox.  I can use all the entertainment I can get.

2013_chevrolet_equinox_fwd_4dr_lt_w1lt_98283563796885367
That’s what I drive. V-6, 300+ horses, dual exhausts, alloy wheels, and all the charisma you need to stay solidly locked in The Friend Zone.

Don’t get me wrong – the EQ is a great little station wagon (if you ask the local constabulary) or SUV (if you ask Chevy and Motor Trend) that gets good mileage, has enough juice for it’s purposes, cruises the free way and back roads quite well… and it is quiet and comfortable and has some very excellent luxury features that I truly appreciate from my previous vehicle’s complete lack of luxury.

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510 CC’s of Desert Racing Fury – Truly a badass machine. Luxury Items – Hand Guards, Electric Starter, And a seat hard enough to hammer forge Katanas over.
Man… I miss that bike!

 

 

Well, it did have hand guards.  And an electric starter.  Rode that thing last winter.  Sure it was badass and hard core… but to be honest, a freaking Utah Winter?  What the hell was I thinking?  I was not right in the head.  This winter?  The EQ is a godsend.  Heated Seats.  Used to laugh at those.  They are, as I found out, completely wonderful.  And a touch screen XM infotainment system is fantastic.  Back Up Camera – awesome.  And it’s a handsome looking Cross-Ute.  It is one of the top selling Mid Sized Ute’s on the market, for good reason.  It’s totally competent in everything.  I do like it.  But it’s boring.  Boring in the same way that Nice Guys always end up in The Friend Zone.  It’s lacking Sex Appeal.  Bravado.  Machismo.  Passion.  Chevy has a few cars that have stepped up in the Testosterone Department.

One word:  Badass.
One word: Badass.

The latest Gen of the Camaro is a solid looking muscle car.  It’s badass on the inside, outside, under the hood, from the front, and from the back.  It’s a badass car.  It looks badass.  It sounds badass.  It is – badass.  It also attracts Cop Eye like Democrats to Tax Dollars.  While it has all the fun features a muscle car needs, it doesn’t quite have the level of comfort that I want.  I want a bit more visibility and a bit lower profile when driving past the local law dogs looking to make quota. I need less Cop Eye yet I don’t want to give up the cojones, if you know what I mean.  Something more balanced.   And something that doesn’t get you into that Mustang vs Camaro back and forth trash talk I find irritating.  That, and I think I would prefer the new 2015 Mustang anyways. But that’s not what I need either.  Because both of these cars lack something else I need.  A Back Seat.  No, I mean a Real back seat.  Not that I’d be in it, but I have sons who are as tall as I am, one as Big as I am, and I need to be able to carry at least 3 of them.    That means I need a full sized sedan, with 4 doors.

Now, who makes a Full Sized Sedan that has Cojones?  There is the Dodge Charger.  There is BMW’s 5 Series.  There is the Mercedes – I can’t even afford to look at those. And there is Audi, and we have a couple from Japan.  There is the Chrysler 300 SRT  And there is the Ford… no… wait… Ford doesn’t have anything.  And Cadillac’s CTS-V (or VSport). Sticking Domestic Market, the Axis Powers are out.  Sorry Germany. Sorry Japan.  That leaves the Chrysler… Which is far too expensive.  So is Cadillac.  So those guys are out.  So really that leave it down to the Dodge Charger… the Cop Car of Choice for the last few years.   And this guy…

chevyss
Now we’re talking.

The Chevy SS.  Here’s why I like it… no… LOVE IT.  I would take this car over everything else… Even the more expensive or Axis options.  For one, it’s got Cajones.  It’s a muscle car though and through.  Yet it’s wearing a button down collar shirt and a suit jacket.  Even has a bow tie.  With jeans and sneakers.  I like that.  Far less Cop Eye, and it’s going to give the Dodge Charger a run for it’s money in LE Agency Sales soon.  In fact, it’s looks have been compared to the Malibu – a Rental Fleet standard.  This is actually an advantage.  It’s automotive camouflage.  It’s a Sleeper.  A Q Ship.  I can go fast, and then when there are cops about, I can slow down and get back with traffic and blend right in.  Inside, the SS has the luxury items I have grown to appreciate.  And it has good visibility all the way around.  You can drive this car every day.  You can live with it.  It’s not a Weekend Only track car. It’s a family car.  With Cajones.  I really think Chevy has a home run here.  Pontiac had to too with the G8, but Pontiac had one critical flaw… It was a freaking Pontiac and I hate Pontiacs.  Put that red arrow head badge on something and you’ve ruined it for me.  Yes, everyone likes to point out that it’s really a Holden – great – I’m glad you can regurgitate the oft-repeated obvious.  However since Chevy owns Holden – It’s still Chevy through and through, so suck it.  The interior is all Chevy with their new styling that I find very attractive.  They have been putting out nicer interiors than any other Domestic and most Foreign.  I’ve been in some new cars and their interiors feel like they were from 15 years ago but with an iPad glued to the dash.

Here’s the thing, and you can argue amongst yourselves about this… Unlike other companies that took Government Bail Out Money – General Motors actually put it to good use and have transformed the company.  They are making good cars now. Look at what they were making before… Crap.  It was all crap.  I hated everything Chevy was making that wasn’t a Truck.  Now look at them… Well, don’t look at the Volt.  But look at everything else. They look good.  They run good.  They are are making solid cars now.  Hell, even the Malibu is a decent – albeit coma-inspiring – car.

Now look at S&W.  Under the Clinton Administration S&W signed a contract with the Department of Urban Housing.  I’m not going to go into that, you can read about that here.  Or Google it all up all on your own.  The fallout of this was that all True Patriots gave S&W the middle finger.  I did too.  Just like GM.  Yeah, I was hating on GM too… which was not hard to do because like I said before – I already did.  Save for the trucks.  Okay, back to S&W… When S&W was brought back to All American Ownership after that DUH Contract SNAFU, they needed to seek forgiveness from the American Gun Owners.  They did this and brought out the S&W .500 Magnum.  Because – forgive me for using this phrase – “Because ‘Merica”.  They made the Biggest Baddest Handgun on the planet.  And then they made the .460 because they decided to make something actually usable on that big beautiful frame.  Then they brought out their 1911’s.  And even redid the SIGMA into something actually good – the M&P.  And then they brought out their AR-15’s.  They brought out things that the American Shooter loves.  And it wasn’t a half assed job – they put effort into them – They were making Good Stuff.

Chevy, “The Heartbeat of America” is doing the same thing.  Like S&W they have taken their lumps.  They have learned their lesson.  And they are making Good Stuff… and they deserve our forgiveness.   GM employs a lot of American.  Chevy employs a lot of good people.  I know some of them.  They like their Guns and they dislike Obama as much as we do.  They could use our support.  Especially since they are making some great vehicles.

I do not even need to go there with the new Corvette Stingray.  Because – Damn.

Ferrari and Lambo can go back to Italy.
Ferrari and Lambo can go back to Italy.

 

2013 Chevy Equinox 2LT V6 FWD

As some of you know, I’ve taken off the motorcycle helmet and enjoyed the luxury of a four wheeled cage.  The requirements of my cage were complicated.  I needed to pull a trailer not just across country, but over the Rocky Mountains.  It had to have enough room inside to help in a move across country.  Clothes and “Stuff” for 3 people going One Way.   So I was thinking, “Truck” with such things as “Big” and “Four by Four”.  Then I took into consideration that once I reach my destination, those requirements were no longer required.  With a new career change and a new area of operation, I would have a whole new set of requirements.  Fuel Economy.  No need for all wheel drive, because it rarely every snows here in the winter.  Long Range Comfort.  The ability to get up and haul ass was wanted as well.  Throw in the requirement of being able to stow some large rifle cases when needed and my vehicle selection options started fall off the table.   I didn’t need four wheel drive anymore.  So no truck…  but I needed more room than a 2013 Camaro, which was a consideration.  Also, I hate getting pulled over, so I wanted something that would be “Road Stealth”.  Meaning a cop’s eyes just glaze over it as I slide past at 10 over.

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You guys remember my previous considerations.  And this one is a bit different.  The Equinox was the winner.  Smooth, good power delivery, and in the 2LT trim package, well appointed with the features I wanted.  This vehicle was purchased from Gus Paulos in West Valley, Utah.  If you are thinking about a Chevy – That’s the place to go.  The General Manager this a Rock Star, and you can tell him George, The Mad Ogre, Hill sent you.  They went out of the way to get the Trailer Hitch installed for me late on a Friday Evening…  Two Thumbs Up.  They did a great job.

Remote everything.  Even remote lift gate opening, which is a feature I didn’t really care about but now that I have it, will insist all future vehicles have.  XM, Sat, Blue Tooth, all that.  Back Up Camera, which is amazing now that I’ve gotten used to it.  Touch screen to control all of the tech.   Driving across country, I played Larry Correia’s SPELLBOUND book through Audible on my phone, through the stereo via Blue Tooth.  We also listened to STARSHIP TROOPERS, and a book called RED SHIRTS by the same author as Old Man’s War.  Great books, btw.  Made the drive across our vast nation very enjoyable.  The ride quality, comfort, and smooth ride, made the long trip easy… even pulling a trailer.  The 300 + Horse V-6 Engine was never labored in it’s task.  MPG were a consistent, 20 MPG’s while pulling the High Drag trailer.  And with the smallish 18 gallon fuel tank, stops to refuel were more frequent than I’d like.   However once that trailer was disconnected, something happened.

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Look at that read out.  That’s an average for 50 Miles.  Not just a down hill with a tail wind situation.  And I was cruising at a set 60 MPH.  31.4 Average, with a top average of 35… in a V-6 SUV with no hybrid stuff going on.  I don’t care who you are, that’s damn good.  (I’ve had motorcycles that didn’t get that good of mileage!)  And since where I’m at, 55 MPH is the top speed anywhere, these numbers are suiting me just fine.  To get these numbers, the engine is not down tuned, or leaned out.  It’s got power.  When you romp on it, you feel all those ponies start bucking and you move out.  When you do that though, hold on.  Torque Steer comes into effect big time, and you are going to have to fight that.  But when you do, and you get used to it, you can get solid launches and roll on passing power.  I find that the car is never lacking on power.  And all of this is with the AC blasting.  Because I found that I really love a cold AC.

Handling is good.  It’s no sports car, being a Cross-Ute.  But it’s no slouch either.  It handles far better than any truck I’ve ever driven, or larger SUV.  And it handles better than the peers in it’s category.

I like the looks of it.  It’s a clean design.  Aerodynamically, it’s slippery.  To the eye, if find it an attractive little Crossover SUV.  I love the look of the interior.  It’s got fantastic cloth seats, well vented so you don’t feel sweaty when it gets hot out and the AC hasn’t wound up yet.  Looking at any detail or area of the car, it’s just good looking. Handsome, but with out any raw sex appeal of a sportier vehicle that will make a cop look at you with scrutiny.  And come on, I’m a Motorcyclist, if I wanted raw performance and sex appeal, I’d jump on two wheels instead of four.

It’s easy to park.  Being as smallish as it is for an SUV, I can park it anywhere without being cramped.  It’s turning radius isn’t the best out there, but it’s better than most.  Really it does nothing outstanding but then again it does everything well.  It’s very Competent.  Consistently Competent.  Because those vehicles that do some things spectacularly well, do other things shockingly poorly.  This car just does everything well.  Price on this vehicle was 31,000 dollars.  Which puts it much less than other considerations with this vehicles features.  Such as the Jeep.  I see no reason for another 10-20 thousand just to have a badge that says Jeep. And realistically, I’m never going to go Rock Crawling again, so I just don’t care about the Trail Rated thing.  If I need something Trail Rated, I’ll use an ATV.  Value-wise, I think the EQ has been a home run.

The only vehicle I’d put against the EQ would be the Ford Edge… Another great looking Cross-Ute.  However the Edge isn’t going to give you the MPG returns the EQ can give you.   After getting to know the EQ, I’ve come to love it.  It’s probably the smartest vehicle I’ve ever had.

Bad news, Volt fans.

GM has killed production of the Chevy Volt.  The car that is completely useless, slow, underpowered, handles like an iceberg, and has the range of a Punt.

And GM blames the Media.  Uh huh.

Here’s the thing… It’s actually not a bad looking little car.  Much better looking that a Prius.  I bet the Volt would actually sell and do fairly well if they made a version of the Volt that was powered by a simple little eco-friendly 4 cylinder gas or diesel engine.

 

Tango Uniform Truck.

Many of you know my old Chevy truck. It’s a 2500 Scotsdale four by four, with an extended cab. It’s been all over with multiple trips to Vegas and has carted around four of those who contribute to Concealed Carry Magazine. It’s been a great truck and I am very fond of it. My wife is even more taken with it. She enjoys the strong engine and capacity to haul pretty much anything.
Unfortunately the old War Wagon is on it’s last legs and othe thing could go Tang Uniform at any time now. It’s now leaking oil from multiple locations, smoking, overheating, and running like total crap now. I’m not sure what the problem is… But it’s more than what I want to deal with right now.
I have the chance to buy a Toyota Forerunner… If my check from the publisher is what I hope it is. Then my Bride can have her baby blue Explorer back and I’ll have a rig to drive through winter. Driving the Chevy back and forth to work every day isn’t going to happen. Especially since it doesn’t have a heater anymore. I think if I get this Toyota, I’m going to do something with it…
Check certain engine parts, check mileage per gallon, try to measure just how good the rig is running. Then do a full Slipstream treatment on it. A long term test. See if Slipstream has solid benefits like what we think it has. The Chevy is just too beaten down to be a good test mule.