Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Toyotas and GMs...

So Toyota has done a great job on it's new Corolla... it's a good looking car, can get better fuel economy than a Cruze diesel and it even has rear disc brakes on the S trim now!  So all new means all better?

Maybe... but maybe not.  The car uses some cheaper components in order to keep costs down.  Now this doesn't mean the Corolla wont be a capable compact... and it certainly doesn't mean that this Toyota wont be on the road 20 something years from now like other offerings from the Big T.  However, perhaps that's why the car isn't performing as well as it could in it's crash tests.  In the front off-set collision test, it only got a second from the bottom "marginal" rating.  

Toyota's been in the cross-hairs since usurping GM as the world's largest automaker.  There was that crazy acceleration issue and a large number of recalls (even my Pontiac G5 had its Toyota sourced steering column recalled).

I guess this is what happens when you get to the top of the heap, you have no where to go but down.  In order to continue growing, you have to sell more units and/or increase profit margins.  In order to that you have to push costs down in order to reduce MRSPs... and Toyota has a reputation for running their production as lean as possible, so I guess they have to cut corners somewhere and this may be the result.  That being said, I'm sure they'll pull up their socks on this one.

On a more cheerful note, I just got caught up on the latest and greatest CTS.  The V-Sport looks amazing.  Too much awesome?  Get the old man version: XTS V-Sport!

Hopefully Cadillac will dial in some consistency with how they name these things... I've seen V-Sport, Vsport and pain old V.

I'm also, personally, looking forward to the new AWD Regal.  Europe has had an AWD option on the Insignia for years, so it's about time we did too!  It should add some enhanced driving dynamics (and unfortunately weight) since it's going to be coupled to a new version of the 2.0L turbo, putting out some extra horses.  Too bad about the Regal GS though, since it's does end up sharing this engine and therefore losing about 15 or so horses in the deal.  Check out the latest Regal against the latest Lacrosse in some 0-60 shenanigans on TFLcar

As someone who's driveway is full of old GM product, I'm very impressed with what the General has been putting out lately.  Certainly there are still some compromises in their products, but compared to the state of affairs three years ago, they've come a long, long way.

This is actually a good time to put in a plug for the last generation Impala.  It was the last remaining obvious "Old GM" sedan on the market.  But I have to tell you, as basic as it was, there was something about it that I just loved.  For 2012 and 2013, they even put in a decent power train with the 3.6L/6-speed auto combo.  The 50-80 mph pull on that thing was excellent for such a crappy car.  If you aren't into how your car looks and don't mind sloppy handling and seas of hard plastic, think about picking up a used one as your next "B" car.  LT models with steering wheel controls, dual climate control, remote start, etc. can be had with very low mileage in the $15K range around where I am.

 And yes, I have driven one and yes, I did enjoy it.  With heavy, terrible guilt...   

If you need more convincing check out this excellent article from Jack Baruth on The Truth About Cars.  

Of course then you have to live with the fact that on paper every other sedan in the world made at the same time was "better".  But to hell with it, 300 horsepower can make up for a lot of old platform technology and bland styling.

That's all for me this time!


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