RSS

Tag Archives: sedan

Straight Eight: 2015 Chevrolet Malibu

2015 Chevrolet Malibu

1. Fun in the run-of-the-mill
Malibu, in southern California, is sexy and sunny. A car named after such a place must be a sleek convertible, right? Nope. It’s a family sedan, and a bland-looking one, but if you can believe it, this is the most interesting-looking Malibu since the mid-1970s.

2015 Chevrolet Malibu

2. Simply motivated
Just as the look is what we expect from a mainstream sedan, so is what’s under the hood. Our test car had the base engine, a 2.5-litre four-cylinder; the only transmission is a six-speed automatic. Ho-hum.

2015 Chevrolet Malibu

3. Good on its feet
But start driving, and you discover there’s a little more to this car than meets the eye. Okay, it’s not exciting, exactly, but the steering is quite good, and the Malibu handles better than I expected it to.

2015 Chevrolet Malibu

4. Self-starter
The 2.5-litre engine has an auto stop/start feature that shuts the engine off at stoplights, to save fuel. In my chilly winter test, it only worked about half the time, typical for this technology in cold weather. When it works, its operation is largely transparent, better than similar systems in some more expensive cars (right, BMW?), and contributed to a respectable fuel consumption average of 10.7 L/100 km.

2015 Chevrolet Malibu

5. Touchy, touchy
Touchscreens are quickly becoming a staple of car interiors. Chevrolet’s version of this technology is called IntelliLink. This one’s better than many, but still doesn’t always respond the first time, which not handy when you’re trying to, you know, drive a car. In fact, the best thing about this touchscreen is the storage compartment hidden behind it.

2015 Chevrolet Malibu

6. Never look back
Small, oddly-shaped side mirrors seem better suited to sparing you the worry of what’s behind you, rather than aiding visibility.

2015 Chevrolet Malibu

7. Put some junk in this trunk
Making up for that, perhaps, is the trunk, large enough to fit (for example) a two-drawer filing cabinet and a printer stand at the same time.

2015 Chevrolet Malibu

8. Identity crisis
A few people asked if it’s fun driving “a cop car.” Nope, that’s the larger Impala, I reminded them. This sedan is good at what it was designed for, but as those cases of mistaken identity illustrate, if you want something that’ll leave a lasting impression, Malibu – the place – is a better bet.

Advertisements
 

Tags: , , ,

What I think: 2015 Chrysler 200C

2015 Chrysler 200Transforming a car that was forgettable (or that you’d maybe wish you could forget about after driving it) into one that looks very promising is one thing; endowing the new car with driving characteristics that live up to those looks is another. Read my full review of a car that’s been transformed for the better—much better—at AutoFocus.ca.

 

Tags: , , , ,

What I think: 2015 Kia K900

2015 Kia K900Consider it fair to say Kia has benefited from the experience of its parent company. Hyundai’s first luxury cars were nice, but not quite good enough to be take seriously, in spite of attractive prices. That’s changed, and now Kia has made its own move in luxury sedan territory with the K900, a good-looking, well-conceived sedan that is a slam-dunk in terms of what you get for the price. Read my full review at TractionLife.com.

 

Tags: , , ,

What I think: 2014 Cadillac CTS V-Sport

2014 cadillac cts v-sport CHASE 001

At one time, the Germans had a lock on the mid-size luxury/sport sedan segment: it just didn’t get better than a BMW 5 Series, an Audi A6, or a Mercedes-Benz E-Class.

It’s a different story now with the recent introduction of the third-generation 2014 Cadillac CTS. Through its first two generations, the CTS was a good car that never quite had what it took to unseat the Germans’ mid-size supremacy. But now, Cadillac has a sedan that could easily convert a loyal German buyer with a car that, simply put, feels pretty German.

I drove a CTS in V-Sport trim, which tacks a couple of turbos onto the available 3.6-litre V6, to create a hot, hot car that is surprisingly easy to live with.

2014 cadillac cts v-sport CHASE 003

Getting big power out of a medium-displacement engine is no stretch any more, thanks to modern turbocharging tech; putting that power in a car that feels as well-suited to the rat race as it does the race track is another matter, and that’s where Cadillac has truly succeeded.

I often scoff at cars with adjustable drivetrain and chassis settings. It seems like a cop-out that lets engineers get around the work of creating a solid all-round car. Too often, none of the available settings do anything just right: either the suspension’s too soft and throttle response too lazy, or the ride becomes uncomfortable and the throttle too touchy. So, credit to Cadillac: the V-Sport includes such a system, and while I find it superfluous as ever, select the “sport” setting and you get a near-perfect balance of ride comfort, handling and, in particular, perfectly-tuned throttle response.

2014 cadillac cts v-sport CHASE 008

Hit the gas, wait out the half-second of turbo lag, and revel in how the car surges forward on a tide of torque. This isn’t the first sedan to do speed well, but it’s the manner in which the car delivers it that’s so impressive. The rear-end squats—just a little—and the car hauls arse against a backdrop of one of the most intoxicating six-cylinder exhaust notes I’ve heard in some time. The V-Sport handles brilliantly as well, thanks in no small part to the adjustable suspension, which limits lean in turns and controls body motions over rough pavement.

It accomplishes all of this with poise—quite a feat, given that this car doesn’t even enjoy the traction benefits of all-wheel drive, usually a requirement for making a high-powered car enjoyable in hard-charging.

2014 cadillac cts v-sport CHASE 006

In a week of enthusiastic city driving—this much power really does corrupt when it feels and sounds this good—my test car averaged better than 15 L/100 km, an impressive number for a 420-horsepower car.

Factor in the $75,000 price tag for my V-Sport tester, and you’re looking a true performance bargain when stacked up against the likes of a BMW 550i, Audi S6 or a Benz E 550 (all of which come standard with all-wheel drive, by the way). Cadillac is doing a lot of things right at the moment, but nothing in its lineup is more right than the CTS V-Sport.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 2, 2014 in Cadillac, What I Think

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,