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Ferries, Fragility, and The (Volt-Shaped) Future

The Chevy Volt.

Ah yes. The very embodiment of the Obama Administration’s public appeasement after GM’s bailout in 2008. For years thereafter, the Volt wrapped itself in the untouchable US flag and became a symbol of innovation, risk-taking, and taxpayer dollars. But now the dust has settled and the car is here: for sale at your local dealership, miles away from the world of partisan bickering, if not public relations spin. It’s been four long years since we were promised a revolution. Has the wait been worth it?

Much like the President, I had high, but not foolishly untempered expectations of this American. With its 16-kWh battery and 60km all-EV range, Chevy claims the Volt will ferry 78% of us to work and back without a single drop of Alberta’s famous bitumen. Of course, since it only seats four people, each family will need their own, but you get the idea. General Motors, the profligate statue of American excess, couldn’t (or wouldn’t) offer us complete freedom from oil. Not quite. For those “once-in-a-whiles” – those fishing trips, those trips to the farm, and those trips to the mountains – there’s an 83hp 1.4L “range-extender” (read: engine).

As an igloo-dwelling urbanite with no plug-in at home or office, the Volt isn’t for me. But that just makes its forbidden fruit that much sweeter. While in Vancouver recently, accompanying my fiancée on a “continuing education” getaway (not as miserable as it sounds), I sipped the extended-range-electric nectar and indulged in a “once-in-a-while”. But enough quotation marks.

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What Does The 2012 Buick Verano Mean For GM? [Review]

By Peter Dushenski @carenvy

What does this compact car mean for Buick, a company renowned for staid near-luxury and burdened by associations to bailouts? It means that Buick has succeeded.

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From Einsteinian Relativity To GM Luxury [Comparison Test]

By Peter Dushenski

Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. THAT’S relativity.

Einstein’s famous quote is perhaps more familiar than his scientific theories. It’s certainly more digestible. His contributions to physics, and by extension philosophy, are so out there that they’re tough to swallow even today, a century on. Time dilation has to be the mother of them all. It states that time and therefore reality are relative to the observer.

It also turns out that whether reality is being experienced at speeds approaching that of light or just in terms of the very earthly notion of luxury, the theory holds true. It’s all relative. If you’re reading this on your MacBook Air at the hippest new Third Wave coffee shop, then your idea of luxury is very different from the 585 million Sub-Saharan Africans without electricity. See? Relevant and gratitude-inducing.

So if we agree that luxuries are relative, it seems natural to wonder how three of GM’s most notable luxury brands compare, relatively speaking. Not only to each other, but to their notable competition. So let’s take a look at two of the newest, most prominent, and successful offerings from The General: the 2012 Buick Regal eAssist and the 2012 Cadillac SRX Premium Collection AWD, to see how they match up with an odd Swedo-luxury wagon of yesteryear: the 2008 Saab 9-5 2.3t Wagon.

This is far from a “fair” comparison – as if the world were ever fair – the spread in price, utility, and features is significant if not silly, but it’ll still be interesting to see how a car made in Sweden, a car made in Canada (but previously in Germany), and a car made in Michigan compare in terms of luxury, particularly since they all come from the same parent company.

Disclaimer: This is a very CarEnvy-esque test.

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The BIG Business of Cars, an Editorial

by Lucas Elke

In 2008, when the Canadian and United States governments announced a $17.4 billion USD bailout plan for their respective auto sectors, many people were furious.  Why would the government provide handouts to help save companies who simply produce cars? Then, when the governments responded to the criticism their answer was annoyingly simple: “These companies are too big and too important to lose”. Well, that simple response got me thinking (albeit three years late) – “Just how big and important are these auto manufacturers?” After a bit of research, I found out.

The answer: Absolutely huge!

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2011 GMC Sierra Denali 2500 HD – Road Trip To Winnipeg Avoids Poker Tables

It started off tongue-in-cheek.

It was a joke between Dave and I. “We should go on a trip”, he demurely proposed at one of the High Holidays this past fall. It sounded like a reasonable enough idea; Dave and I, once bosom pals, hadn’t seen much of each other since he moved to Saskatoon for a job 9 months earlier.

His pitch: Fly to Vegas. “Uhhh, I’m not convinced…” I replied. I figured that Vegas was the last place in the world that two former poker addicts, who supported each others’ habits for a destructive number of years, should travel. It would be like giving Charlie Sheen a pound of fluffy Colombian snow and telling him to use it responsibly.

Plan B: I would drive 600 km from Edmonton to Saskatoon, sleep on Dave’s couch, we’d drive 800 km to Winnipeg the next day, sleep on his friend Jess’ couch for 3 nights, then back to Saskatoon for a visit with Dave’s couch, before heading back to Edmonton the following morning. This pie-in-the-sky idea was supposedly a way for us to relive our glory days, minus the poker.

And then it actually happened.

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Want An Extra $100 Towards Your New A4 or TSX purchase? Test Drive a Suzuki!

2010-suzuki-kizashi-2-450x310So, you’ve decided. The Audi A4 or Acura TSX is good enough to get your hard earned dough. You’ve got the deal you want, the spec’d model you want and are ready to pull the plug. The next step? Visit a Suzuki showroom.

If you do, Suzuki will give you $100 just for test driving its new Kizashi sedan. They are apparently so confident that they will sway you from your sport luxury sedan purchase that they will “put their money where their mouth is”. Even if you still end up buying the Audi or the Acura within ten days of the test drive, they will still honour the $100.

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Geely Almost Proud New Swedish Car Company Owners

Ford is apparently pretty serious about finding a new home for Volvo—so serious, in fact, that it seems a tentative agreement has now been reached between it and “preferred bidder” Geely, of the People’s Republic of China. More after the jump.

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Is Saab Done?

saab_crash_27_04_05 As we all know, GM’s been anxious to get rid of Saab for some time. The Swedish car manufacturer has been hemorrhaging dollars and Swedish crowns since GM took it over. A deal had almost come through when Koenigsegg, backed by the Chinese company BAIC, made what seemed a fairly solid bid. However, that’s now fallen through as well…and currently, no one else is in line waiting for a swipe at the Saab piñata.

Does this mean Saab’s done? Follow the jump for more info.

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