Hennessey C7 Corvette Runs 200 MPH on Texas Toll Road

Earlier this month, a Hennessey C7 became the first 2014 Corvette Stingray to break the 200 mph barrier by reaching a maximum speed of 200.6 mph. Piloted by none other than John Hennessy himself, this incredible feat took place on a closed section of the new Grand Parkway toll road located just outside of Houston, Texas. The Hennessey modified Corvette is equipped with their HPE600 upgrade kit in conjunction with a 100 shot of nitrous which combines for a total of 700 horsepower.  As the old saying goes, “everything really is bigger and faster in Texas.”

Hennessey Corvette

Hennessey C7 2014 Corvette Stingray

Be sure to watch the whole video as it’s truly epic around 4:25. For the full story please see the Hennessey site.

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Stocking Stuffers for Drivers and Car Fans

Looking for a little something this Christmas for a family member, friend, or just about anyone who drives a vehicle?  Check out this little handy gadget that can be attached to your key chain, or thrown in a purse.  It’s called Resqme.  In an emergency this gadget can cut your seat belt and break out the safety glass in your windscreen.  Not bad for $10!

RESQME-ALL-COLORS-IMPRINT

This next one might not fit in a stocking, however, if you have an F1 race fan in your family or circle of friends you might want to check out this F1 gear ratio clock.  It uses a genuine race used Renault F1 Gear Ratio. Available from PlanetF1.com for £99.

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Finally, for the kid in all of us, how about building your own Hot Wheels cars from wax.  This kit uses coloured wax sticks and turns them into a moulded vehicle in about 8 mins.  Hours of fun for a son or daughter, or perhaps the parents? Available from Mattel for $49 USD

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2014 Chevy Cruze Clean Diesel Turbo

2014 Chevy Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel

2014 Chevy Cruze Clean Diesel Turbo

September marked the third year anniversary since the Chevy Cruze was introduced in the North American market.  Over the past three years the Cruze has found success in the younger market, being one of the top-selling Chevrolet vehicles to buyers under 25.  In addition, it’s attracting new customers to the Chevy brand, with 40 percent of overall Cruze sales in 2013 being from non-GM owners. GM is hoping to building on this success by recently introducing a turbo diesel to the 2014 Cruze line up.  With a rated fuel efficiency of 4.2L/100 km city and 7.5L/100 km highway, along with a 0-60 mph performance of 8.6 seconds, the 2014 Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel has the potential to bring a whole lot more customers over the Chevy brand.

While diesel passenger vehicles have traditionally been popular in Europe, North Americans have shied away from diesel.  There have been a few exceptions of course, with German automakers such as Volkswagen and Mercedes having a number of diesel offerings.  Recently, however, other automakers are jumping on board with new diesel introductions such as the upcoming Mazda 6 diesel and the diesel version of the Jeep Grand Cherokee. The primary benefits of the diesel engine, namely power and efficiency are seen in the 2014 Chevy Cruze. The new ultra lower sulphur diesel engine has also helped GM overcome the historical issue of higher tailpipe emissions associated with diesel.  As a result the 2014 Cruze is able to meet the strict Tier 2 Bin 5 emission standards.

Cruze 2014_28

The starting price of the 2014 Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel is $24,945.  Our test vehicle also included the Enhanced Safety Package which included rear ultrasonic park assist, rear cross traffic alter and side blind zone alert.  Add to that the striking crystal red tint coat and the convenience package and the total cost of our test vehicle was $28,225. The Cruze comes with a 3 year/60,000 km new vehicle limited warranty and a 5 year/160,000 km power train warranty and roadside assist.

By the numbers:

  • Engine: 2.0L Turbo Charged
  • Transmission: 6 speed automatic
  • Horsepower: 151
  • Torque: 264 lb-ft
  • 
0 to 60 mph: About 8.6 seconds
  • Fuel Efficiency: 7.5L City / 4.2L Highway
  • 
Fuel Tank Capacity: 59 litres
  • Driving Distance on one tank: over 1,100 kms
A small green badge is all that indicates the turbo diesel engine inside

A small green badge is all that indicates the turbo diesel engine inside

Despite a tiny green badge on the rear trunk indicating it’s a diesel you’d be hard pressed to tell the difference between the diesel and gasoline versions of the Cruze just by looking at it.  This is also likely why when this reviewer was filling up the vehicle at the diesel pump of a local gas station two separate concerned drivers warned me that I was filling up my car with diesel.  I politely explained I did know what I was doing and that the car was in fact a turbo diesel, which solicited a few long hard stares at the Cruze. The chrome accents on the fog lights along with the swept back look of the headlights give the Cruze a sophisticated and sporty look which at the same time is backed up by the performance of its diesel engine.

Off the line the Cruze diesel is a rocket, utilizing the 264 lb-ft of torque at its disposal. The Cruze also uses a turbocharging feature called “overboost” which can increase torque to 280 lb-ft for about 10 seconds of stronger acceleration. The boost is especially apparently when entering a highway onramp. The car also feels nimble with a short turning radius and good sight lines along with very little body roll in the corners.  While there is some turbo lag, overall the performance of the diesel engine is impressive.  Unfortunately, the Curze is only offered with an automatic transmission, unlike it’ main rival, the Volkswagen Jetta TDI.

Upon starting the Cruze there is a distinctive diesel engine sound that is throatier than a gasoline engine.  However, once driving it’s very hard to tell the difference in sound emanating from the engine and after a while its easy to forget you are driving a car with a diesel engine.

Technology options in the Cruze are plentiful including the MyLink infotainment system

Technology options in the Cruze are plentiful including the MyLink infotainment system

Entertainment options are plentiful in the Cruze with GMs MyLink infotainment system displayed on a 7 inch touch screen and paired up with a Pioneer premium audio system. Available Sirius satellite radio along with Bluetooth and USB connectivity in addition to available mobile apps means you’re all covered from a technology point of view.  Button placement, from an ergonomic perspective, is also laid out well and is convenient.

The Cruze is a compact car and as a result it does have somewhat limited interior space. For example rear legroom could be larger and installing a rear facing car seat is a challenge, while still providing adequate legroom up front.  This isn’t specific to the Cruze of course, but rather the compact class of car. That’s not the say the space isn’t functional, it is, and GM has done a good job designing the interior to make efficient use of space. In addition, trips to the grocery store, soccer practice or even IKEA can be handled with ease thanks to the plentiful trunk space, along with the 60/40 split fold down rear seats with centre armrest.

Rear legroom is somewhat limited but interior space is well designed

Rear legroom is somewhat limited but interior space is well designed

Competition for the 2014 Cruze Clean Diesel Turbo is similar to that of the gasoline version with key competitors including the Hyundai Elantra, Volkswagen Jetta TDI, Mazda 3, Ford Focus and Nissan Sentra.

Enviable fuel efficiency along with spirited performance and a driving range of over 1,000 kilometres on a single tank of fuel help the 2014 Chevy Cruze Clean Diesel Turbo shake the North American image of what a diesel compact car can be. General Motors has finally come to the table in the North American market with some real competition in the diesel market.  Those looking for a compact car should add the diesel version of the Cruze to their short list we think they will be pleasantly surprised.

Cruze 2014_38

Supercars sing Jingle Bells

With all the recent winter weather here in Toronto, Christmas is certainly in the air.  And with only 8 days left until the big day, we wanted to give you some extra Christmas cheer. So we came across a very cool video that provides both Xmas cheer along with a glimpse of some exotic super cars.  Check out this choral choir of BMWs, Lambos, Ferraris, Formula One cars and Bugattis.

New Lamborghini Gallardo teaser video

Recently, Lamborghini has turned to the world of viral videos to create buzz for its successor to the infamous Gallardo.  To date, two videos in the viral series have been published, both are totally out-of-the-box for a brand like Lamborghini. Kudos to the folks at Lambo for experimenting. With such an iconic brand this type of thing is above and beyond as these cars tend to sell themselves.

Nevertheless, here is the most recent version where the lads from the UK arrive in Bologna, Italy to take the “official” tour at the Lamborghini museum.

As a marketer, I’m not 100% hooked by this creative, but will admit I’m getting a bit curious about the project.

GM announces new CEO

On Tuesday morning, GM named Mary Barra as its new chief executive. With this announcement, Mary will be the first woman to head up a major U.S. car company.

Mary Barra

Mary Barra – (Photo by John F. Martin for General Motors)

She will succeed the current chairman and CEO, Dan Akerson, on January 15. Akerson will leave the company on Jan 15 to spend time with his wife, who is suffering from advanced stage cancer, according to GM.

Since February 2011 Barra has held what many say is the most important job in the company – senior vice president for global product development. She’s in charge of design, engineering and quality of all of GM’s vehicles across the globe and has shepherded most of the company’s recent new vehicle introductions.

Barra has risen through a series of manufacturing, engineering and senior staff positions, and is now in charge of reducing the number of platforms on which GM builds its vehicles. Her father worked as a die maker at GM (Pontiac) for 39 years.

This is great news for GM and the auto world in general.  We wish Mary the best of luck in her new gig!

 

Remembering Paul Walker

With the recent passing of Hollywood actor and legendary car enthusiast Paul Walker many people around the globe have turned their grief into positive action. In doing so, car enthusiasts have coordinated official memorial cruises and meets to create more awareness for the organization Paul Walker helped co-found called Reach Out WorldWide.  Here in Toronto, the local car scene held several Paul Walker Memorial events this past Sunday, December 8th throughout the city.

Team RedlineNorth attended the meet and cruise event at Canadian Tire at Lakeshore and Leslie in Toronto’s southeast organized by local enthusiast Tim Knight. As usual it was well attended and included some very cool rides in spite of the cold December weather. Unfortunately, we did not capture any of our own coverage however, local enthusiast site Automotofoto’s provided some solid coverage.

Paul Walker Memorial

Paul Walker Memorial

Kudos to the Toronto local scene for all coming together to raise awareness for Paul’s charity.

Epic Drifting by Ryan Tuerck

Finally, it looks like Ken Block has some real competition.  Seriously, before everyone jumps all over me I know there are a bunch of other famous drifters in Block’s class like Tanner Foust and Vaughn Gittin Jr.  However, recently, drifter extraordinaire Ryan Tuerck took on an absolutely outrageous road in Oregon.  The epic video takes place on a newly paved mountain winding road and also includes some wicked tandem drifting from fellow drifter Rob Primozich.

Even if you are not into drifting you need to watch this video in full screen mode and with your volume cranked.

2014 Chevrolet Impala LTZ

As promised in our recent review of Chrysler’s 300C sedan, we said we would look at how two of North America’s top sedans stack up against one another. This week we will look at GM’s Chevrolet Impala LTZ.  Redesigned for 2014, the new Impala is built on GM’s Epsilon II front wheel drive platform (shared with the Cadillac XTS) making it larger and much more upscale than the existing model.

Chevrolet Impala

Chevrolet Impala

Chevrolet’s full size flagship sedan is totally new from the ground up, providing a muscular appearance while also providing a nod to both its rich history and Chevy’s modern styling cues. This new Impala represents the 10th generation of one of the industry’s most enduring and iconic nameplates as the first Impala was introduced in 1958.  According to GM’s official press release, the Impala has been America’s best-selling full-size sedan since 2004, with total sales of more than 169,000 in 2012.

Front Seat Interior

Front Seat Interior

Our tester came in the top of the line LTZ trim and comes with a price tag here in Canada of $39,645 MSRP.  At this price you get a host of premium features including:

  • Leather-appointed seating surfaces
  • Heated and ventilated front seats
  • Power 8-way front and passenger seat adjuster
  • 6-speed automatic with overdrive and Driver Shift Control
  • 10 airbags
  • Advanced Safety Package – includes Forward Collision Alert, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Departure Warning and Side Blind Zone Alert
  • 20-inch aluminum wheels with P245/40R20 all-season tires
  • Premium 11-speaker Bose Centerpoint surround sound audio system
  • SiriusXM Satellite Radio
  • Chevrolet’s MyLink system with navigation
  • Rear Vision Camera
  • 3 USB ports
  • Remote vehicle starter system
  • Xenon High-intensity Discharge (HID) headlights
  • LED daytime running lights
  • Dual exhaust system with bright exhaust tips integrated into rear fascia
  • Sunroof – power tilt/sliding glass panel, with sunshade and express-open feature

The new Impala model provides consumers with innovative styling, greater interior spaciousness and a host of advanced technology goodies never available in earlier models.

Back end

Back End Side View

The Impala offers three powertrain choices which include the 3.6L V6, the new Ecotec 2.5L four-cylinder and the Ecotec 2.4L with eAssist. Our tester LTZ model was equipped with the 3.6L V6 engine which is rated at 305 horsepower and 264 lb. ft. of torque. The 3.6L provides the highest horsepower output in this segment from a naturally aspirated V6 engine and translates into a swift 0-60 mph time of only 6.8 seconds. Hence, our tester provided ample power for all types of acceleration requirements in both city and highway driving environments.

As for fuel consumption, GM provides highway numbers of 6.9 L/100 km and city numbers of 11.1L/100 KM for the 3.6L V6.  Over our week, we were a touch above those numbers but quite close overall.

As for comfort and convenience, the Impala LTZ impressed us in several key areas. First, the interior is very well-appointed making it feel far more expensive than its actual price tag.  Beginning with a rich looking instrument cluster that includes a 4.2 inch screen configurable color driver information center and ice-blue lighting which enhance the “upscale” feel of the interior. Second, the chrome trim with “bleed-through” ambient lighting further reinforces the cabin’s sophisticated flair.  On several occasions, both friends and family complimented how great the Impala looked overall.

The interior sound quality with acoustic glass in the windows, extra foam in the body, and added sound deadening material in the floor pan and trunk help create a serene bubble for its occupants.  GM has also recently made great strides in this area with its Buick Verano model.

As for interior space, the Impala brings its “A” game with an overall cargo space of capacity of 532L. It has a cavernous trunk and with the rear seats folded down provides an absolutely immense level of cargo space for the average family.

Backseat

Backseats

These seats give an ultra level of comfort and passenger space equal to that of an airport limo.  Not surprisingly, after our week with the Impala it started to feel like a modern version of Lincoln’s Town Car.  With Ford no longer building the Town Car we may see the airport limousine industry start to leverage the Impala as their future workhorse.

Having the opportunity to experience the Impala LTZ model in a series of different driving scenarios we can confidently say, it straddles both the full-size sedan segment as well as the entry-level luxury segment.

With its new technology, larger size and sportier exterior this new model should be taken seriously by both competitors and consumers.  As well, GM’s Impala pricing brings great value to consumers in this competitive segment as it is slightly lower than some of its competition.

As for our comparison to the Chrysler 300C, it really is not apple to apples as the latter is all wheel drive and the Impala is front wheel drive.  There is also quite a delta between the two sticker prices. However, both cars are equally impressive and have a ton of great qualities.  If you’re looking for a full size sedan this year, these two vehicles should be on your holiday wish list.

Overall, key segment competitors to the Chevy Impala LTZ are the Chrysler 300C as mentioned above, Toyota Avalon, Nissan Maxima, Ford Taurus, Hyundai Genesis and Buick LaCrosse.

Fast and Furious star Paul Walker killed in car crash near L.A.

Paul Walker, 40, died yesterday in a car crash outside L.A.

Paul Walker, 40, died yesterday in a car crash outside L.A.

Sad news today that Fast and Furious star Paul Walker has died. Walker, 40, was a passenger in a Porsche that crashed into a light pole and a tree, and then burst into flames outside L.A yesterday. Both occupants of the vehicle were pronounced dead at the scene.

A native of L.A., Walker rose to prominence in 2001 with the Fast & Furious franchise. He also played a number of small roles as a child actor in the 1980’s, including appearances on Charles in Charge and Who’s the Boss.

Walker was reportedly in the area of the crash to attend a charity event for his organization Reach Out Worldwide. Walker is survived by his 15-year-old daughter.

Source: CBC