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2016 GMC Sierra 1500 Crew Cab SLT 4WD

GMC Sierra strong, powerful, luxurious, roomy …sierra1a

No matter the TV truck commercials, be they for Chevy, or its cousin GMC, if you have a bear chasing you you’ll pick ANY big ol’ pickup you can haul your tushie into and away from the beast.

Ah, but there’s the joke, any quarter-ton pickup you buy will be strong and powerful. However, will it be as luxurious and roomy as a fine luxury sedan? That’s what a lot of truck buyers want these days as trucks have become the family wagon. That’s why the top-end of the truck market continues to expand. Take the tested GMC Sierra Crew Cab SLT.

Continue reading 2016 GMC Sierra 1500 Crew Cab SLT 4WD

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2014 Cadillac CTS Vsport

 

CTS Vsport kicks butt on the sport luxury sedan frontcady1

Cadillac is beyond just being back, it’s now about kickin’ butt and takin’ numbers.

First, unlike most sporty luxury brands, Cadillacs now exude style. The new CTS is the beauty queen of luxury sport sedans leaving others only to compete for Miss Congeniality.

CTS’s well chiseled profile with long, wide hood and big mouthy grille give it some panache. But those vertical taillights that carry over from previous models, some dating back to the 1960s, plus the big headlights that extend back into the slender fenders give it an athletic presence – think pro athlete in a fitted Ralph Lauren suit.

Beyond the edgy styling that catches a potential buyer’s eye, Cadillac continues to deliver performance and luxury in equal doses.

cady2The tested CTS Vsport, the top-level model, now boasts a 420-horse twin-turbo V6. The 3.6-liter unit earns a torque rating of 430 that reportedly pushes the rear-drive sedan to 60 mph in 4.6 seconds. Power is readily available and smoothly delivered with Caddy’s first 8-speed automatic, which offers a manual mode and steering wheel mounted paddle shifters.

Ride is comfortable too with GM’s magnetic ride control and a performance suspension that provides a firm, well-controlled ride. Plus CTS offers four driving modes, selected via a switch on the console between the front seats. Touring is for everyday driving and smoothes the ride while offering responsive steering. This would do for most of us 90-95% of the time. Continue reading 2014 Cadillac CTS Vsport

2014 Chevrolet Impala 2LT

New Chevy Impala brings GM all the way back

Originally I thought Chevrolet’s Cruze signaled that the giant automaker was back, back to its 1960s world of innovative, high-value, handsomely styled vehicles. Cruze may have been the beginning, but Impala really says that Chevy has arrived.

Sleek and modern, the new Impala is a looker!
Sleek and modern, the new Impala is a looker!

Since 1958 Impala has told folks that their neighbors have arrived, financially. It was pretty much the top of the line Chevy for a family. Oh sure, there was the Corvette, but that was for single guys or mid-life crisis guys. Impala was a loaded family sedan with a bit of styling flair, and sometimes even a sporty edge.
The 2014 Impala is all that in today’s crowded large sedan marketplace, but unlike many previous attempts to catch the competition, this Impala is top-shelf and maybe even a step or two ahead of some competitors.

Styling is crisp and attractive with a fastback style rear window and C pillar to give the car’s profile a swept back look. Folks noticed, and that’s not something Chevy has heard often in the past four decades. People weren’t sure what it was, asking if it were a Lexus and one suggested a Jaguar. Well, it does look inviting and muscular in profile with a clean nose and tail.

SavageOnWheels.com, car reviews, Subaru, Subaru ForesterUnder the hood? The tested 2LT model packs a 3.6-liter, direct-injection V6 that provides 305 horsepower and is linked to a smooth-shifting 6-speed automatic. Torque is strong and the car will dance up to highway speeds quickly and efficiently. There is a tad of engine noise, just enough to let you know Impala means business. Continue reading 2014 Chevrolet Impala 2LT

2013 Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring AWD

Sporty looks, but handling falls short

I’ve always liked Mazda vehicles because they look and drive a little sportier than most brands that us average middle class folks can afford.

mazda1That’s why I’m disappointed with the new Mazda CX-9, the large sport-utility/crossover I just tested. It only delivers on half the equation. It still looks a bit sportier than its competition, models like the boxy Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander, but handling wasn’t up to Mazda standards.

My dark metallic gray CX-9 did have a new grille, less smiley and cartoonish than the previous model, but with a nose that still looks sleeker in profile than most large crossovers, sort of a tall sport wagon look. And its interior feels high-brow and is well finished. Plus this was the Grand Touring with all-wheel-drive, so it was loaded with electronic goodies.

But here’s the deal. I expect more responsive steering from a Mazda and, sorry to say, this just felt like other large sport-utes or crossovers. Steering is extremely light, but not as responsive as I felt in the last CX-9 I drove. It feels a bit vague with more wheel play than I had expected from past experience. That leads to a bit of lane wander on the highway. Continue reading 2013 Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring AWD