Aug 072017
 

Believe it or not, the battle of the bulge (the war with the scale not the German counteroffensive in 1944) affects cars too. Dropping pounds can produce certain challenges for vehicles but in the search for better fuel economy, it’s worth it. Chevrolet took 400 pounds off of the all-new 2018 Equinox and Latino Traffic Report recently attended the launch in Asheville, North Carolina to test drive the redesigned compact sport utility vehicle (SUV). Turns out it has more to brag about than just being lean.

“In a word, crossover customers want one thing, everything. From comfort and connectivity to efficient performance and safety, the all-new 2018 Chevrolet Equinox delivers on all counts,” said Steve Majoros, director of marketing, Chevrolet Cars and Crossovers.

Turbos have been at the heart of Chevy’s approach to fuel economy and it really ramps up with the Equinox, which offers a choice of three—a 1.5-liter, 2.0-liter, and a 1.6-liter turbo diesel (a segment first). This makes the Equinox the first Chevrolet model in North America to use an all-turbocharged, multi-engine powertrain lineup. The 1.5-liter and diesel are matched to a six-speed automatic and the 2.0-liter is matched to a nine-speed automatic transmission.

GM estimates that the highway fuel economy on front wheel drive (FWD) models equipped with the 1.5-liter will reach 32 miles per gallon (mpg) on the highway, 29 mpg with the 2.0-liter, and 40 mpg with the diesel.

For many manufacturers, the compact SUV market is the new sweet spot and Chevrolet is no exception. Equinox sales have reached nearly two million units since its launch and it’s Chevrolet’s top selling SUV and second-best selling vehicle overall, after the Silverado.

An elegant interior complements the new exterior design, particularly on the top trim levels that offer striking color combinations for the leather seating and accents.

Inside, there’s also 3.5 cubic feet of interior volume for a total of up to 63.5 cubic feet of maximum cargo space, this despite a reduction in overall length of 4.7 inches, making it easier to park and maneuver.

This family vehicle is not without safety innovations. A rearview camera is standard on all trims, as well as Teen Driver that allows parents to set controls and review in order to encourage driving habits, even when they are not in the vehicle. The optional and improved Safety Alert seat buzzes the driver’s left or right upper thigh as a warning and the available Rear Seat Reminder pings when the ignition is turned off to remind drivers to check the back seat for children. These and other safety features like a blind spot monitor and rear cross traffic alert are available although only on higher-end trim levels.

The MyLink infotainment system designed to support Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as the OnStar 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, can be matched to a standard seven- or an available eight-inch-diagonal color touchscreen. Other convenience features include cruise control, air conditioning, and keyless start.

Available in L, LS, LT and Premier trim levels, and FWD or all wheel drive combinations, pricing for the next-generation 2018 Equinox will start at $24,525.

 

May 202017
 

More than 25,000 Chevrolet owners route directly to Spanish-speaking advisors when they push the blue button.

Latino Traffic Report has learned that Chevrolet owners are expected to use OnStar’s Spanish-speaking advisor team more in 2017 than any previous year. OnStar has provided Chevrolet owners with a dedicated Spanish language team for more than 10 years to help with everything from directions to emergency services. Last year, more than 1,000 Spanish-speaking Chevrolet drivers pushed the blue OnStar button in the United States every single day, an increase of 30 percent from 2013. Chevrolet already has seen nearly 100,000 blue button presses in the first quarter of 2017 and expects these numbers will continue to climb in 2017.

Spanish-speaking OnStar advisors speak to drivers in all 50 states, with the highest volume of calls from Texas, California, Florida, Illinois and Arizona.

“We understand that not all Chevrolet owners speak English fluently or at all, but we didn’t want that to be an obstacle in providing them with the same service we offer all OnStar customers,” said Terry Inch, executive director of GM’s Global Connected Customer Experience. “As a result, OnStar has a dedicated team of advisors who can help Spanish-speaking customers keep safe, connected and ready for the road ahead.”

Chevrolet owners can have their OnStar requests routed to a Spanish-speaking advisor if they prefer. More than 25,000 Chevrolet owners are currently routed directly to OnStar’s Spanish-speaking advisors when they push the blue button. There are two ways to sign up for Spanish-language assistance. Chevrolet owners can ask a dealer to enroll them at the time of purchase by pressing the blue OnStar button, prompting a welcome call. During that call, the new owner can request that all future blue button presses route straight to the Spanish team. Existing Chevrolet owners with an active OnStar account can also press the blue button and make the request to transfer to a Spanish-speaking advisor on a case-by-case basis or automatically for every call.

“Across the board, our data tells us that Spanish-speaking customers are well-informed when it comes to in-vehicle technology,” Inch said. “In addition to using OnStar core services, we’ve seen that Spanish-speaking customers are likely to use the myChevrolet mobile app to remote start their vehicles, lock their cars and even check their vehicle’s diagnostics.”

The OnStar Basic Plan is available for five years at no charge on all new Chevrolet vehicles. Any Chevrolet owner with a 2011 or newer equipped vehicle can also receive three free years of the Basic Plan by hitting the blue OnStar button and asking for “Three Years on Us.” The Basic Plan includes access to select features in the myChevrolet mobile app, Dealer Maintenance Notification and Advanced Diagnostics.

Dec 282016
 

Chevy press conference during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA Texas 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway. L to R: NASCAR Senior Vice President of Racing Operations Jim Cassidy; Florida A&M University Senior Michael Sanchez; Brigham Young University Senior Joy Kaseke; University of Houston Junior Nicole Dequina; James Madison University Sophomore Rachel Frost; and Chevrolet Program Manager Alba Colon. (HHP/Gregg Ellman)

Latino Traffic Report has learned that the second annual NASCAR Chevrolet Diversity Scholarship Contest winners were recently announced at the Texas Motor Speedway.

Four undergraduate students from across the country were awarded a total of $20,000 in scholarships and treated to a VIP experience at today’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at the AAA Texas 500.

The contest challenged students to identify a technology or innovation within NASCAR, then explain how science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) professionals came to its design in 90-second videos. Video submissions were judged on technical accuracy, creativity and production quality.

Florida A&M University Senior Michael Sanchez autographed the start/finish line on Pit Road at Texas Motor Speedway.

Through this initiative, NASCAR and Chevrolet continue their longstanding commitment to STEM education and promoting opportunities for college students pursuing technology related careers. “This was a pretty eye-opening experience that gave me a different perspective of everything involved in racing … it’s pretty amazing,” said Florida A&M senior and scholarship recipient Michael Sanchez.

“There’s never been a more exciting time to be in the STEM field,” said Ken Barrett, chief diversity officer for General Motors. “At GM, we know diversity is our strength, and having diverse talent in the STEM pipeline keeps both the automotive and racing industries on the cutting edge of innovation.”

Before taking in the AAA Texas 500, the students had the chance to meet with Hendrick Motorsports driver Chase Elliott and Richard Childress Racing driver Ryan Newman, who graduated from Purdue University with an engineering degree. The VIP experience also included: pace car rides, garage and pit road tour, and a meet-and-greet with Chevrolet’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Program Manager Alba Colon.

“Together with Chevrolet, we’re proud to support great talent and recognize these students with a unique, behind-the-scenes NASCAR experience,” said Jim Cassidy, NASCAR senior vice president of racing operations. “We received several impressive submissions and we’re thrilled to see so many students interested in the science and technology behind the sport.”

For more information on the NASCAR Chevrolet Diversity Scholarship Contest, please visit http://chevyscholarship.nascardiversity.com/.

Mar 242016
 
Tundra.TRD(3).crop

Toyota Tundra TRD Pro

Thanks to lower gas prices, the light duty truck market has rebounded—the latest figures in the Wall Street Journal show a year-to-date increase of 9.8 percent, 4.4 percent for pickups. Last year saw many new innovations, including an all-new 5.0-liter Cummins diesel that allows the 2016 Nissan Titan XD to straddle the half-ton and heavy-duty segments in capability. Auto writers were so impressed with it that they named it the Truck of Texas for 2015.

The midsize segment also gained attention with the entry of two new models from GM and a redesigned segment leader from Toyota.

Here’s an overview of the trucks that received test drives in 2015 at Latino Traffic Report.

 

Toyota Tacoma TRD Offroad

2015-11-03 tacoma5Redesigned for 2016, the Tacoma holds the top-selling position in the midsize truck segment. The new version should help keep it there.

Available with two engines, a 2.7-liter four cylinder or a 3.5-liter V6, I drove the latter during the weeklong test drive. Producing 278 horsepower and 265 lbs.–ft. of torque, the V6 also uses Variable Valve Timing with Intelligent Wider Intake for better performance. It was matched to a six-speed automatic but both engines can be matched to manual transmissions.

2015-11-03 Tacoma.storageThe TRD is an off-road model but the Tacoma redesign as a whole emphasizes its improved capability. Maximum towing has increased to 6,800 lbs.

All Tacoma 4×4 models are equipped with 4WDemand part-time four-wheel drive (4WD) with an electronically controlled transfer case and Automatic Limited Slip Differential. The TRD Pro I tested included an off-road tuned suspension equipped with Bilstein shocks. For 2017, Toyota will build a TRD Pro version of the Tacoma.

On the inside, the sport grey heated cloth seats with orange accents also offered additional storage under the back bench that lifts up. The test model arrived in the exclusive Inferno exterior color.

2015-10-31 Tacoma.DashEquipped with the Premium and Technology Package ($2,330), the test model added creature comforts like dual-zone climate control, and safety features like a blind spot monitor.

The Tacoma is built at the Toyota Motor Manufacturing in San Antonio.

Pricing for the 2016 Tacoma starts at $24,200. The as-tested pricing came to $37,610.

GMC Canyon 4WD SLE Long Box

2014-11-19 CanyonWith three new entries, 2015 could be called the year of the midsize truck. The 2015 GMC Canyon is the higher end or premium version to its sibling, the Chevy Colorado.

The two available engines, a 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder and a 3.6-liter V6, also offer the segment’s best highway fuel economy of 27 miles per gallon (mpg) for the 2.5-liter two-wheel drive (2WD) and 26 mpg for 3.6-liter 2WD, when properly equipped. I averaged 20.3 mpg with the 3.6-liter 4WD.

2014-11-19 08.49.06On the inside, the Canyon has a more refined interior, distinguished by premium materials and convenience features like air conditioning, power windows and a rearview camera.

What really makes the Canyon standout, however, is OnStar with 4G LTE and the built-in Wi-Fi hotspot mobile hub, available on all but the base model.

2014-11-19 08.53.03 The beauty of pickups is their configurability and the Canyon’s no exception with three body styles—an extended cab model with a six-foot two-inch bed, a crew cab with a five-foot two-inch bed, and a crew cab with a six-foot two-inch bed. Borrowing from the Sierra, its larger sibling, the Canyon includes the segment-first CornerStep rear bumper design, plus a dampened liftgate.

It adds versatility with thirteen configurable and four stationary tie-down locations throughout the bed for use with available, removable cargo tie-down rings

2014-11-19 08.46.00The maximum payload can reach 1,620 pounds plus it has the segment’s best trailering rating of 7,000 pounds when properly equipped. For 2016, the Canyon offers a segment first 2.8-liter Duramax turbo diesel for added capability—maximum towing climbs to 7,700 lbs. properly equipped.

Pricing for the 2016 Canyon starts at $21,880. The as-tested price that included the All-Terrain Package came to $38,915.

 

Toyota Tundra TRD Pro

2015-08-16 TundraTRDRedesigned in 2014, the Tundra lineup added an off-road model for 2015, the TRD Pro.

The package includes a suspension upgrade that raises the front of the vehicle two inches for a level ride height. While that may help on an off-road course, it makes climbing into the truck tough, especially for the vertically challenged. A grab handle on the driver’s side would help.

2015-08-16 TundraTRD.sideLarger diameter TRD-tuned Bilstein High-Performance shocks further amplify the ride and handling.

Available in three colors, the test model also arrived in the TRD-Pro exclusive shade of Inferno (like the Tacoma TRD Offroad) that begged for a photo against the backdrop of The University of Texas at Austin. It’s brighter than burnt orange but it’ll do.

Sitting on 18-inch TRD black alloy wheels, the TRD’s other unique exterior features include a blacked out grille, bed panel stamping, matte satin black badges, and black headlight bezels.2015-08-19 tundra-dash

The TRD Pro makes its presence known with a loud 5.7-liter V8 accentuated by a dual exhaust system and a maximum towing capacity of 10,000 pounds when properly equipped. The other available V8 on the Tundra is the 4.6-liter i-Force.

The TRD-Pro includes the on-demand, electronically controlled four-wheel drive system to provide 4×2, 4×4 Hi and 4×4 Lo ranges.

2015-08-16 TundraTrDdecalDesigned in Michigan and California, the Tundra’s also built in the USA at Toyota Motor Manufacturing in San Antonio.

Pricing for the 2016 Tundra starts at $31,145. As-tested pricing for the 2015 Tundra TRD Pro, with a couple extra features like a bed mat and center console storage tray, came to $43,159.

 

Sierra Denali 1500 4WD

2015-04-28 gmc.sierra2For GMC, Denali stands for luxury and the Sierra Denali 1500 has the stuff and price tag to prove it.

Technology like front and rear park assist, OnStar, and 4G LTE with a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot are standard on the Sierra Denali.

2015-04-29 gmcsierradashAnother impressive standard technology, magnetic ride control, enhances ride and handling every millisecond, triggering damping changes via electronically controlled shock absorbers.

Convenience features like heated and cooled leather front seats, a heated steering wheel, Bose stereo, an eight-inch-diagonal Customizable Driver Display, and a factory-installed spray-on bed liner add to its premium status.

2015-04-28 17.59.21Design cues on the outside also distinguish the Denali. A unique chrome grille, 20-inch wheels, a polished stainless steel exhaust outlet, projector-style headlamps with LED signature daytime running lights, and body-color front and rear bumpers accentuate the exterior.

With two available V8 engines, a 5.3- and a 6.2-liter, the test model included the latter matched to the eight-speed automatic transmission, new for 2015.

2015-04-28 gmcsierrabedIt should achieve an EPA estimated combined fuel economy of 17 mpg. I managed to get 18.5 mpg. The base model Sierra comes equipped with a 4.3-liter V6 matched to a six-speed transmission.

The Denali may be luxurious but it maintains its capability with a 12,000 maximum tow rating.

Pricing for the 2016 Sierra Denali starts at $52,285. The as-tested price came to $57,820.

 

Chevrolet Silverado High Country 4WD

2015-03-11 chevy.hc.frontIn 2014, Chevrolet introduced a new luxury model to the Silverado lineup, the High Country.

2015-03-11 chevyhcseats1Standard features on Chevrolet’s first premium truck include halogen projector headlamps, along with chrome body side moldings, door handles and mirrors, a chrome grille and 20-inch chrome wheels.

For premium trucks, however, the inside is where you really feel it. The High County includes plush saddle brown leather seats with beige piping and heated and cooled perforated premium leather front bucket seats with High Country logos on the headrests.

Standard technology completes the effect with Chevrolet MyLink connectivity on an eight-inch touch screen, Bose premium audio, and front and rear park assist, an essential feature on a truck.

2015-03-11 09.Chevy.h.count.All High Countries come in a four-door or Crew Cab configuration and 4WD or 2WD, and there is a choice between two bed sizes, five feet eight inches or six feet six inches.

Powered by a choice of two V8s, a 5.3- and 6.2-liter, its capability includes a maximum payload of 2,060 pounds and a 12,000-lb. trailering capacity. I drove the powerful 6.2-liter V8 matched to an eight-speed transmission and averaged 17.5 mpg.

Pricing for the 2016 Silverado High Country starts at $50,935. The as-tested price that included options like a rear-seat entertainment system, sunroof, and Premium package with the Safety Alert Seat came to $59.035.