Click here for more coverage of the 2014 Chevrolet Cruze Turbo Diesel.
At the 2013 Chicago Auto Show, General Motors introduced the 2014 Chevrolet Cruze Turbo Diesel—the company’s first diesel-fueled passenger car in the U.S. in more than 30 years. Today, GM declared that the 2.0-liter 4-cylinder Cruze TD has been EPA estimated at 46 mpg highway, which trumps fuel-economy estimates for non-hybrid passenger cars, including all competing diesels.
The Cruze Turbo Diesel will go head-to-head with the Volkswagen Jetta TDI, the only other diesel compact (along with the Jetta SportWagen TDI) offered on the U.S. market. The Jetta TDI gets an estimated 30 city/42 highway. While Jetta TDI shoppers can choose between a 6-speed manual or 6-speed dual-clutch automated-manual transmission (which behaves like an automatic), Cruze TD shoppers will be offered one transmission, a 6-speed automatic.
The diesel-powered Chevy has a tough act to follow, as Volkswagen is an industry leader when it comes to diesel-powered cars. The Cruze Turbo Diesel, which has been successful overseas, will be available in select U.S. markets this spring, and then will go nationwide. Keep checking back for Consumer Guide’s coverage of the 2014 Chevrolet Cruze Turbo Diesel.
Kia unveiled a concept vehicle at the 2013 Chicago Auto show called the Cross GT. Similar in stature to the Kia Sorento midsize SUV, the Cross GT concept is a larger-size crossover that may indicate Kia’s intentions to offer a bigger and more premium-scale SUV. Based on Kia’s GT concept that debuted in 2011, the Cross GT has a longer wheelbase and more aggressive styling.
With the addition of all-wheel drive, the Cross GT is motivated by a 400-horsepower 3.8-liter V6 engine paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission. Aesthetically, Kia’s use of a swoopy silhouette and a low roofline attempt to convey more sophistication than one might associate with the brand. This is further amplified by the addition of rear “suicide” doors and the use of higher-grade interior materials, said to be inspired by equestrian saddles. Leaning toward the more environmentally friendly side, the leather seating is tanned with vegetable oil, natural dyes, and no harsh chemicals.
CG Says: With the Cross GT concept, Kia is attempting to show its interest in moving the brand upwards on the spectrum of near-luxury vehicles. We welcome the idea and hope that it can closely compete with similarly sized entries from Chevrolet (Traverse) and Dodge (Durango).
At the 2013 Chicago Auto Show today, Kia unveiled the 2014 Forte hatchback. Expected to go on sale in late 2013, the Forte offers two trim levels and two engine choices. The base EX is fitted with a 173-horsepower 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine that’s paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission. The sportier SX comes with a 201-horsepower 1.6-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that mates with a 6-speed manual transmission, although a 6-speed automatic is available with steering-wheel mounted paddle shifters.
The new Forte will boast more standard safety and technology features. Standard on the base EX is a rearview camera, Bluetooth connectivity, satellite radio, a tilt and telescopic steering column, power windows, and LED headlights.
The sport-themed SX kicks the exterior styling up a notch with dual chrome exhaust tips, LED tail lights, a larger grille opening with black gloss inserts, and faux carbon-fiber on the lower front fascia and rear valance. Alloy pedals are added to the SX along with upholstery that sports a carbon-fiber look. On the performance front, Kia is adding a sport suspension to improve handling. Pricing won’t be announced until the third quarter of this year.
If you’ve ever experienced the nightmare of vehicle theft, you may have unintentionally done one of the following things to contribute to it. However, many times the theft is completely out of the car owner’s control. We assume that no one actually wants to have their car stolen, so the information below can be understood as more of a guideline for how not to get your vehicle taken from you.
Consumer Guide was recently introduced to Cadillac’s new infotainment system, the Cadillac User Experience, which is making its debut in the new-for-2013 XTS and ATS. Here are 5 things that we think are noteworthy about CUE:
1. Simple Layout
Four conventional buttons supplement the 8-inch LCD touchscreen, located in the center of the car’s main interface. The home screen has customizable shortcuts with large icons, giving it a clean-looking design.
2. Easy to Use
A lot of infotainment systems can be confusing or irritating, but CUE seems to be more refined and intuitive. Its minimalistic layout removes a lot of common frustrations by adding a drop-screen menu in all screens, making it virtually impossible to get lost in menus upon menus. Natural speech recognition is also featured. Cadillac claims that it does not require a set list of commands in order for the system to respond to you properly.
The 12.3-inch LCD cluster display behind the steering wheel features dynamic graphics, which categorize the vehicle’s data into various themes such as fuel, navigation, and vehicle speed. The live map impresses with its 3D view, allowing you to see digital landmarks and buildings ahead of your route. After 15 seconds, proximity sensors fade the information that you’re not using (on the main 8-inch screen), but they reappear once your hand nears the screen again.
Last week wrapped up Chicago’s second annual Techweek, a trade show held in the city’s storied Merchandise Mart building. Joining the fray were Chevrolet, Verizon, and OnStar. Together, they showed off a Chevy Volt concept vehicle that incorporates Verizon’s 4G LTE network and OnStar’s telematics system.
Demonstrations showed how content streaming and sharing (music, games, videos) can take place inside the vehicle—delivered to rear passengers through their own screens—from either a home computer or a cloud storage system. Also, passengers could conduct Skype video-chatting sessions from inside the car with those same individual screens. In the concept vehicle, Samsung tablets were attached to the back of the front-seat headrests. Although they were independent of one another, they could still be controlled by the driver from the vehicle’s main interface system.
Man, and I thought it was cool when we installed a car phone into my family’s minivan in the early 1990s.
If you have a long commute to and from work, it could be taking a much greater toll on you than you might think.
With data provided by College@Home, an organization that allows students to browse a free collection of courseware, we would like to share their graph. It offers a combination of visuals and stats that show how the number of hours we spend sitting in traffic every day is directly related to a variety of negative effects on our health and emotions.
“We thought it would be interesting to create data visualization on this topic, since so many of us can relate to it in our daily lives,” explained Jen Rhee from College@Home.
So check out this graph if you feel that sitting in traffic is sucking the life out of you—because it actually might be. I always knew I was becoming much more of a b—- (I mean, more crabby), and now I have proof as to why!
Up until last week, I had never driven a brand-new car (pause for reaction). I’ve been a passenger in plenty of new cars, but the opportunity to actually drive one myself did not arise until recently, when I was able to test drive CG’s long-term 2012 Honda Civic EX-L sedan.
The only cars that I had ever previously driven were all products of the ’90s. To state the obvious, the differences between cars made in the past couple of years vs. any car that is 10-plus years old are vast. For me personally, experiencing the differences was somewhat shocking considering I went from one day driving a car that is so dated it has a cassette-tape player to driving one the next day that has Bluetooth streaming capabilities (among other high-tech features).
The technological differences between my own car and CG’s long-term Civic EX-L were definitely the first I noticed. Having never used a navigation system prior, let alone a navigation system that absorbs some of the car’s audio functions, I thought I was going to have some trouble getting acclimated. However, I was able to figure out most of the basic functions before I left the parking lot of the office—although the somewhat dull sensitivity of the Civic’s touchscreen annoyed me from the get-go. I was more so surprised, actually. I guess I’ve been spoiled living in an era of smartphones and tablets that have touchscreens that respond instantly to light tapping.
I recently wrote “Living on the Edge with My 200,000-Mile 300M,” about how the 13-year-old car that I drive to work every day will soon see 200,000 miles on its odometer. I also stated that the fuel-economy numbers that I get are extremely low. But it seems that some readers took issue with this, with claims that I must not have properly maintained my vehicle over the years, and as a result have become plagued with horrible gas mileage. Therefore, I now feel compelled to set the record straight on a few things. So let’s crunch some numbers.
Back in the day, the EPA first rated a new 1999 Chrysler 300M at 18 mpg city/27 mpg highway with a combined mileage of 21. In 2012, 13 years later, the EPA rates the 1999 300M at 16/24 mpg with a combined rating of 19. Factor in individual driving conditions with, let’s say, 90 percent city and about 10 percent highway, and the EPA suggests a 1999 300M will see between 13 and 17 mpg. Those conditions, my friends, are the epitome of my daily commute. Toeing the brake pedal on I-94 during rush hour, day in and day out, partly through Chicago’s Loop vicinity does not make for the greatest of fuel economy.
With a lengthy commute to the CG headquarters every day—31.4 miles each way—I do my fair share of driving, to say the least. Avoiding peak rush-hour times has become my number one hobby, and I have become quite well known by several different gas station attendants near the office and near my home in the ’burbs. I’m such a showoff, I know.
But as I continue to drive 314 miles to and from work per week—setting aside any additional miles for miscellaneous things like errand running—the odometer on my 1999 Chrysler 300M grows closer and closer to 200,000 miles (!).
Stories about cars that are capable of reaching 200,000 miles are scattered throughout the news. This is considered a positive thing, but I am more ambivalent. Am I grateful that my car has lasted this long? Yes, definitely. Do I think it’s only a matter of time before I get stranded on the highway? Absolutely.