PULL QUOTE: “There was a parade of new sport/crossover utes from virtually all manufacturers, all scrambling to get a share of this hot market segment.”

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Keith Morgan picks five trendy faves from Ford, Infinity, Lincoln, Hyundai and Chevy at the L.A. International auto show

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I hear a new version of the electric VW Golf could have an astonishing range of 300 kms.

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Chevrolet promised to offer the first affordable electric vehicle with up to 320 kilometres of range.

That promise will not only be met but also exceeded when the 2017 Bolt EV goes on sale later this year. With the vehicle’s US EPA-estimated range of 383 kilometres, owners can expect to go beyond their average daily driving needs — with plenty of range to spare — in the 2017 Bolt EV when charging regularly.

“Chevrolet showed the world the production version Bolt EV earlier this year and in a few short months we’ve moved from that vision to a reality,” said GM North America President Alan Batey. “The Bolt EV is a game changer for the electric car segment and it will start to become available at (US) Chevrolet dealerships later this year.”

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV
2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV
2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV
2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV
2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV
2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV

Batey says Bolt EV buyers won’t be able to find a better value for an all-electric, thrill-inducing ride offering plenty of range, cargo space, technology and safety features that make the Bolt EV a great package for any driver.

“While range is important, we knew Bolt EV owners would want more — more space and more power — and the Bolt EV delivers,” said Bolt EV Chief Engineer Josh Tavel. “Our team took special pride in optimizing every aspect of this vehicle, especially its impressive range and ride dynamics.”

The manufacturer’s suggested retail price has been set at $42,795 plus a $1,600 destination freight charge. Pricing could be in the low 30s (plus the freight charge), after provincial incentives are applied to the purchase price.

“Value is a hallmark for Chevrolet and the pricing of the Bolt EV proves we’re serious about delivering the first affordable EV with plenty of range for our customers,” said Batey.
Bolt EV buyers will find range, cargo space, technology and safety features standard in a vehicle that has crossover proportions. The DC fast charging provision and the tire inflator kit are standard equipment.

The base LT trim starts at $42,795 and comes with standard features that include, among others, Regen on Demand™ steering wheel paddle, rear vision camera, 10.2” diagonal colour touch-screen and MICHELIN™ Self-sealing tires. The top trim Premier includes all LT equipment plus additional standard features such as leather-appointed seats, front and rear heated seats, surround camera and rear camera mirror. The Bolt EV will be arriving at Canadian dealerships in early 2017.

keith [dot] morgan [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca

All-new 2016 Volt with extended range, offers up to 80 kilometres of pure electric driving on a full charge then the onboard gas-powered generator kicks in.

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The comfort of the SS sport seats, a rumbling 6.2-litre, V8 and the glory of air conditioning eliminates the discomfort of the Sunshine State’s clammy atmosphere.
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16MustangGT-

2016 Ford Mustang GT

When it comes to Google searches for cars, Canadians differ considerably from their American cousins.

The search engine company has just released its top ten lists for all manner of topics but the auto searches topped Driveway’s interest list.

The Ford Mustang topped the Canadian charts and the top selling F-Series truck the Escape and the Focus joined it. Google suggests the Mustang topped the list because it was the best-selling sports car last year and it features a complete redesign.

While Ford dominated in the Great White North, Chevrolet vehicles were Googled more down south. Four feature in the top ten with the Chevrolet Malibu at the top followed by the Silverado truck in second place, the Camaro at four and the Colorado truck in eighth place. The Corvette was in fourth place in Canada and the Camaro sixth.

The Chevrolet Malibu is an enduring classic that helped launch the midsize sedan segment more than 50 years ago. It drives into the future with an all-new 2016 model engineered to offer more efficiency, connectivity and advanced safety features than ever – all with a brand-new, progressive design.

The Chevrolet Malibu is an enduring classic that helped launch the midsize sedan segment more than 50 years ago. It drives into the future with an all-new 2016 model engineered to offer more efficiency, connectivity and advanced safety features than ever – all with a brand-new, progressive design.

The Honda Civic, top in car sales here, was number two in Canadian searches.

Mainstream, domestically produced vehicles dominate both sides of the border. Interestingly, the BMW 3 Series made it into the top 15 for the first time. Google says it is a rare event for a luxury vehicle. People Googling cars have usually made their short list and are looking to buy in many cases. However, the trend from which BMW benefitted follows greater interest by Canadians in luxury brands. Luxury searches on Google are up 18 per cent in 2015.

The world’s two largest manufacturers, Toyota and Volkswagen didn’t make the Canadian list but the Toyota Tacoma truck made it to three in the US.

keith [dot] morgan [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca

“The all-new Volt delivers a total driving range of up to 675 kilometres.”

2016 Chevrolet Volt

LOS ANGELES, California.

The new generation 2016 Chevrolet Volt has been awarded Green Car of the Year award from Green Car Journal at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

This is the second time the Volt has won the award, the first time being when it debuted in 2010 as a 2011 model. Green Car Journal praised the Volt’s increased range, all-new propulsion system and bold design.

“Chevrolet’s all-new Volt is a milestone, building on an already-technologically advanced ‘green’ car and delivering what buyers have longed for, including an impressive 53-mile (85 kms) driving range on a single charge,” said Ron Cogan, editor and publisher of Green Car Journal and CarsOfChange.com.

“A visually appealing design, increased five-passenger seating, and an array of on-board electronics combine with the Volt’s inherent efficiencies to make the 2016 Chevrolet Volt a real winner,” Cogan said.

The all-new Volt delivers a total driving range of up to 675 kilometres. Combined with EPA-estimated fuel economy of 5.6 L/100kms highway, Chevrolet expects owners to travel 1,600 kilometres between gasoline fill-ups.

“Chevrolet is all about bringing affordable electrification to our customers, and that is exactly what we did with the Volt” said Steve Majoros, Chevrolet marketing director. “For Volt to stand out in Green Car’s evaluation, it reaffirms Chevrolet’s commitment to being a leader in electrification.”

According to independent surveys, Volt owners are the most satisfied in the industry, and 70 percent of those owners are new to General Motors.

The Green Car of the Year award is determined by an 11-member panel, and is based on fuel efficiency, Environmental Protection Agency and California Air Resources Board certifications, performance and affordability. The other finalists were the Audi A3 e-tron, Honda Civic, Hyundai Sonata and Toyota Prius.

The Transformers edition is by far the best-recognized Camaro of all time and a sure-fire future collectible…”

2002 Camaro SS 35th Anniversary
2002 Camaro SS 35th Anniversary
1970 Camaro Z/28
1970 Camaro Z/28
1979 Camaro Z/28
1979 Camaro Z/28
1968 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 (photo courtesy of Rich Niewiroski Jr.)
1968 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 (photo courtesy of Rich Niewiroski Jr.)
1982 Camaro Z/28 Pace Car Replica (photo courtesy of Anders Svensson)
1982 Camaro Z/28 Pace Car Replica (photo courtesy of Anders Svensson)
1990 Camaro IROC- Z convertible (photo courtesy of Sicnag)
1990 Camaro IROC- Z convertible (photo courtesy of Sicnag)
2010 Transformers Special Edition Camaro (photo courtesy of Sicnag)
2010 Transformers Special Edition Camaro (photo courtesy of Sicnag)

As we await the arrival of the sixth generation Chevy Camaro, let us look back at some favorite Camaros from each generation.

FIRST GENERATION

  1. 1967 Yenko Camaro – Don Yenko essentially ran a kick-ass speed shop out of his family’s decades-old Cannonsburg, Pa., Chevrolet dealership. Yenko replaced the car’s factory 396 V-8 with a Corvette L-72 427 that put out well over 400 gross horsepower. They went on to become among the most feared and (later) the most valuable muscle cars from the first golden age of automotive performance.
  2. 1968 Camaro Z/28 – If the big-block Yenko Camaro was a straight-line drag strip specialist, the Z/28 was the first-gen Camaro that you wanted to take on a road course. Its small-block 302-ci engine was essentially a 327 block with the crankshaft from the old 283 V-8. It made for one of the most entertaining and rev-happy pushrod V-8s of all time.

SECOND GENERATION

  1. 1970 Camaro Z/28 – The all-new second generation Camaro bowed for the 1970 model year complete with a fastback design and some styling cues borrowed from one of the best, the Ferrari 250 Short-Wheelbase Berlinetta of 1964 (Camaro would appropriate the name “Berlinetta” too, but we’re getting ahead of ourselves). The new car was an even better performer.
  2. 1979 Camaro Z/28 – The 1979 Z/28 looked fantastic with a new front spoiler and NACA duct hood. And while 175 hp doesn’t sound like a lot, the early 1970s change from SAE gross to net horsepower made it look worse than it was. The 1979 Z/28 remained a sharp handling and by-no-means slow car. Values have roughly doubled in the last five years.

THIRD GENERATION

  1. 1982 Camaro Z/28 Indy Pace Car – The ’82 pace car wasn’t about performance as much as looks. Nice examples are rare, but when they do show up, they are bargains, trading for well under $13,000.
  2. 1990 Camaro IROC- Z convertible – One of the biggest things to happen was the introduction of the first convertible since 1969 (courtesy of American Sunroof Corporation) just in time for the Camaro’s 20th anniversary. Fantastic examples still trade for under $20,000.

FOURTH GENERATION

  1. 1997 Camaro SS LT4 30th Anniversary SLP coupe – SLP Engineering (which stands for “Street Legal Performance”) followed the Yenko formula of 30 years earlier and grabbed one of the hottest Corvette engines (in this case the 1996 Grand Sport LT4).  With wheel, tire and suspension upgrades to go with the balanced and blueprinted 330-hp LT4, the car cost about $18,000 more than the next hottest SS Camaro of the same model year. Buy one today for 50 grand.
  2. 2002 Camaro SS 35th Anniversary convertible – The F-body went out of production in 2002 (by then it was being produced only in GM’s Sainte-Thérèse, Quebec, plant) but at least it went out with a bang—the 325-hp SS went like stink.

FIFTH GENERATION

  1. 2010 Transformers Special Edition Camaro – Brilliantly announced at the 2009 San Diego Comic-Con, fewer than 2,000 were produced exclusively in Rally Yellow with black stripes and Autobot badges that were strategically placed. The Transformers edition is by far the best-recognized Camaro of all time and a sure-fire future collectible.
  2. 2014 Camaro Z/28  Like the original Z/28 that cleaned up on road courses in the SCCA Trans Am series, the new Z/28 has track star written all over it. With extra-careful attention paid to light weight and aerodynamics, the car is able to put to good use on the track its huge Brembo brakes, Pirelli P Zero tires on 19” wheels and 500-hp, 7-litre V8- (that’s 427 cubic inches to Chevy big block fans).

Rob Sass is the vice-president of content for Hagerty Insurance. Hagerty is the world’s leading specialist provider of classic car and boat insurance. Learn more at hagerty.ca

“Low mileage first generation Miatas amazingly still trade for under 10 grand in its 25th year; it’s doubtful those prices will hold steady for its 50th.”

1955 Chevrolet Bel Air
1955 Chevrolet Bel Air
1955 Ford Thunderbird (photo courtesy of Brewbooks)
1955 Ford Thunderbird (photo courtesy of Brewbooks)
1955 Chrysler C-300 (photo courtesy of valder137)
1955 Chrysler C-300 (photo courtesy of valder137)
First Generation Mazda Miata
First Generation Mazda Miata
1975 Porsche 911 Turbo (photo courtesy of FotoSleuth)
1975 Porsche 911 Turbo (photo courtesy of FotoSleuth)

 

2015 follows 2014 and 2013 as particularly rich years for automotive milestones – here are five automotive anniversaries.

1955 Ford Thunderbird: The Corvette may have been the first post-war American two-seater from one of the Big Three, but it was the Thunderbird that was the most popular. In fact, after a disappointing first two model years, Chevy was considering killing the Corvette until the runaway popularity of the 1955 T-Bird made them reconsider. Made famous in George Lucas’ film, “American Graffiti,” the 1955-57 two-seater “baby birds” remain the most collectible T-Birds. Happy 60th.

1955 Chevrolet Bel Air: The 1955-57 Bel Air is probably the quintessential American collectible car, and it introduced another American milestone — the Chevy small-block V-8. The brainchild of Chevrolet chief engineer Ed Cole, the small block was relatively light, easy to service and expandable — from its original 265 cubic inches up to the ubiquitous 350 and beyond. The Bel Air was just the car to showcase the new overhead-valve V-8.

Mazda Miata: This one makes a lot of us feel old: The Miata is 25. Introduced in late 1989 as a 1990 model, for all intents and purposes, it was a British roadster that wouldn’t leak oil in your garage, or decide not to start below freezing or spontaneously set its dash on fire (not necessarily in that order). Mazda took all the good that we remember from British roadsters (they allegedly dissected several of one of the best, the Lotus Elan) — from sharp handling to a smooth short-throw gearbox — and added five speeds a modern twin-cam engine as well as a beautifully designed manual convertible top. Low mileage first generation Miatas amazingly still trade for under 10 grand in its 25th year; it’s doubtful those prices will hold steady for its 50th.

1955 Chrysler 300: The first of the “letter series” 300s was originally just known as the “300,” although it was succeeded by the 300B, 300C, etc. A gorgeous pillarless coupe that was really only built to go racing in NASCAR, it was powered by a 331-cubic-inch Hemi V-8 and was capable of nearly 130 mph, an amazing figure for the day. Just a few more than 1,700 were built, but it was the inspiration for the sensational sedan introduced by Chrysler in 2005. Happy 60th to the original 300 and happy 10th to the reboot.

1975 Porsche 911 Turbo: The mid-1970s were the dark ages of automotive performance, taking on the moniker “The Malaise Era,” which is known for low compression, emission controls and generally excruciating dullness. The Germans didn’t get that memo and, building on years of racing experience using exhaust-driven turbochargers, Porsche introduced the outlandish 911 Turbo Carrera, otherwise known by the internal project number “930.” Porsche used nearly as crude a setup as the turbo employed by the Corvair a decade earlier, and early 930s were very much an on-off proposition with turbo lag aplenty. But with 0-60 times of around five seconds, the 930 would put most muscle cars to shame. Many owners got caught by surprise by boost coming on while entering a corner — lift off the gas or brake and the rear-engine weight bias plus physics would take care of the rest. A fair number of dentists and pro athletes wrapped 930s around trees. The 40th anniversary has been preceded by a dramatic upswing in 930 prices.

Rob Sass is the vice-president of content for Hagerty Insurance. Hagerty is the world’s leading specialist provider of classic car and boat insurance. Learn more at hagerty.ca.

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