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The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
10. (TIE) 3-Series Hybrid, Mercedes E400 Hybrid, Infiniti M35h, Buick LaCrosse/Regal eAssist: 29 mpg
Who is to say that luxury car buyers aren’t affected by high gas prices? If you want to drive in comfort, style, and have the latest high tech goodies in a car, you shouldn’t have to pay more at the pump for it. Here are our picks for the top 10 most fuel friendly luxury cars, ranked in order of their combined city/highway mpg numbers.
Quite a few luxury cars hit the 29 mpg mark combined. The most impressive of the bunch is the Buick LaCrosse, which manage to get solid fuel economy, despite its bigger size. The Infiniti, Mercedes and BMW vehicles make do with a high-power pairing of a six-cylinder engine and an electric motor, which gives the end result of over 300-hp.
The Buicks use a mild hybrid system called eAssist which pairs a 2.4L four-cylinder engine with a conventional automatic, and a compact lithium ion battery to get its impressive fuel economy numbers.
Top 10 Large Sedans With the Greatest Range
There’s something magical about going on a road trip. Whether it’s the allure of visiting a far-flung destination or just the call of the highway, piling into a car and eating up miles satiates mankind’s wanderlust.
Of course some vehicles are better for long-distance drives than others. A quiet interior, comfortable seats and smooth ride are prerequisites, but plentiful cup holders and storage spaces for snacks can’t hurt, either.
In a lot of ways large sedans were tailor-made for cross-country trips. They’re roomy, relatively efficient and don’t beat you up like a race-prepared Miata. Last week we examined 10 such cars, ranking them based on trunk space. This week we’re comparing those same four-doors but focusing on driving range.
We took each car’s EPA highway fuel-economy rating and multiplied it by the total gallons of fuel in their respective tanks to arrive at a maximum possible range. So, which of these full-figured cars is the ultimate bladder-buster? Click ahead to find out!
Top 10 Large Sedans With The Biggest Trunks
America is the land of the free and the home of large sedans. With miles and miles of miles and miles, drivers don’t have to contend with congested urban parking or dreadful highway traffic like their European counterparts. We’re free to relax and stretch our legs clear across the continent if we so desire.
U.S. Interstates and two-lane back roads were the breeding ground for a unique automotive species: the large sedan. Spacious, comfortable and smooth, Detroit’s Big Three created the original recipe for these highway cruisers, but foreign automakers have a thing or two to say about how to prepare them.
Trunk space is one of the most important metrics to examine when comparing big four-door cars. How many golf bags can be crammed into a cargo hold? What about suitcases for a weekend road trip to Atlantic City? People need to know! Here’s a list of the Top 10 large sedans ranked in order of trunk volume.
Now that the legendary Shaquille O’Neal has retired from playing NBA basketball, the giant has become a natural fit for television commercials. His latest endorsement — the Buick LaCrosse which shows it has plenty of room even for a giant like Shaq.
The commercial, titled the “Oh Effect”, was shot in Pasadena, Calif. and has Shaq and his 325-lb frame highlighting what very few might know about the Buick LaCrosse. Features of the vehicle include its 36-mpg highway fuel economy courtesy of eAssist, a “light electrification” system which utilizes a lithium-ion battery system and electric motor-generator to enable regenerative braking capability and of course, its roominess.
As Shaq says in the commercial, he enjoys the Buick LaCrosse because he hes “shoes that are bigger than a hybrid…and are more stylish.”
The ad was directed by the infamous Erich Joiner whose past creations include the “Got Milk?” campaign. The Buick LaCrosse commercials starring Shaq will air during the NCAA Final Four tournament.
Watch a behind-the-scenes on the new Buick LaCrosse ad after the break.
Making its way on the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Top Safety Pick for 2012 is the all-new Buick Verano. This raises General Motors IIHS Top Safety Pick award count to 14 in 2012 – not too shabby.
Equipped with 10 standard air bags, the Verano came out with a good score in the IIHS tests for front and side crash tests, roof strength test, and rear impact test. The Verano also features standard electronic stability control, which the IIHS requires for Top Safety Pick designation.
“GM set a goal that every new product would be designed to meet or exceed the third-party metrics that IIHS and others use to communicate crash worthiness to consumers,” said Gay Kent, GM executive director of Vehicle Safety. “We are now seeing the results from that commitment.”
Of the GM vehicles that made it to IIHS’s 2012 Top Safety Pick award list, 13 models had previously qualified for the 2011 award. These vehicles were carried over to 2012 because its structure is substantially the same as the IIHS tested for 2011. Carrying over for 2012 awards are the Buick LaCrosse, Regal and Enclave; the Chevrolet Cruze, Sonic, Volt, Equinox, Malibu and Traverse; the Cadillac CTS (sedan) and SRX, and GMC Terrain and Acadia.
After growing rumors that the Buick Regal GS might be joined by a larger sporty sibling, GM has finally gone on the record and quashed any notion of a LaCrosse Gran Sport model.
Given that the upcoming Cadillac XTS (which shares architecture with the LaCrosse) was slated to receive a version of GM’s twin-turbo V6, it was a logical step, say some to place a version of this motor in the Buick.
That said, with the LaCrosse having already received more power for the 2012 model year, in the shape of the 303 hp LFX 3.6-liter bent six engine, perhaps the idea of a GS model with a turbo motor seems a bit superfluous, at least for the time being. Further adding to that notion is the recently unveiled LaCrosse GL concept (shown above), which hints that the plans for Buick’s largest new generation car are slanted more towards luxury than performance (it’s certainly been that way in the past, even during the T-Type era).
That said, General Motors plans to revamp the LaCrosse for the 2014 model year, so it will be interesting to see if a Gran Sport model makes the cut sometime after then. For now however, if you fancy the idea of a twin-turbo V6 premium sedan from General Motors, your best bet will likely be the XTS.
[Source: GM Inside News]
As is happening across the General Motor’s lineup, the Buick LaCrosse is getting a powertrain update. The previous 3.6-liter V6 is being replaced with a new LFX mill which will be available at no-additional-cost on select trim levels instead of the standard 2.4L four-cylinder engine with eAssist. The new engine features variable valve timing and will crank out 303-hp on the front-wheel drive LaCrosse (an all-wheel drive version will also be available). This is up 23-hp. Torque also goes up, by 5 lb-ft to 264 lb-ft without affecting fuel efficiency, allowing the LaCrosse to retain a 17 mpg city and 27 mpg highway rating.
“The changes we’ve made to the 3.6L V-6 represent greater refinements to an already well-balanced package,” said Tom Sutter, global V-6 chief engineer. “We are using the latest designs, lighter-weight components and enhancements to improve the engine’s performance, efficiency and durability.”
This new V6 will use several light weight components to help maintain optimal fuel efficiency while boosting horsepower. The new fuel pump and isolated fuel rail will make the car quieter during operation and the direct injection will also allow for a reduction of emissions. Buick has made the engine greener particularly with cold starts, where hydrocarbon emissions have have been reduced by twenty-five percent because of upgraded fuel equipment.
The 2012 Buick LaCrosse will start at $29,960 plus an $860 destination charge, when it goes on sale later this year. The eAssist, which features a 2.4L four-cylinder and a mild-hybrid system, is priced identically to a V6 powered model, but can get 37 mpg on the highway, an impressive figure for such a large car.
Fuel economy in the city is estimated at 25 mpg, helped in part by regenerative braking and a start-stop system (the latter will be standard on all 2012 LaCrosse models), as well as low rolling-resistance tires, a 6-speed automatic gearbox and special aerodynamic modifications. The hybrid motor itself can produce 15 horsepower and 79 lb-ft of torque on its own.
On the downside, trunk space for the eAssist is reduced due to the trunk-mounted hybrid components, and weight is up by 65 pounds.
General Motors is recalling 10,179 Buick Lacrosse sedans and Cadillac SRX crossovers due to a fault defroster. The problem is actually a software glitch rather than a physical defect, but one that prevents the unit from properly clearing the windshield.
Should the windshield fail to be clear, visibility problems could arise and result in a crash. While GM claims that they haven’t heard of any accidents or injuries related to the issue, they will fix the problem free of charge. Only a third of the affected vehicles are said to be in customers hands, and the majority (around 8,000) are said to be SRXs.
[Source: Detroit News]
It’s not too hard to remember the days when Buick was the butt of jokes, with many suggesting that Buick be killed off during the General Motors bankruptcy in 2008, rather than Pontiac.
In a few short years, the fortunes of Buick have reversed spectacularly, and the brand is now the second most popular luxury car maker after BMW. Only the new X3 helped push BMW over Buick, and the margin was only 800 units. In 2010, Lexus was the number one luxury car maker and outsold Buick by a 70,000 unit margin. An article at the KickingTires blog also analyzes a number of other factors, including an undesirable product supply and slow vehicle turnover for Lexus and increased conquest sales for Buick.
General Motors will reportedly unveil a Buick Regal Hybrid at the Chicago Auto Show that uses similar eAssist technology seen on the its Lacrosse stablemate.
With the Lacrosse capable of returning 25 mpg in the city and 37 mpg on the highway, a 25 percent boost in fuel economy. eAssist also provides an extra 15 horsepower and 79 lb-ft of torque to GM’s 182 horsepower and 172 lb-ft 2.4L 4-cylinder. While the Lacrosse has eAssist as standard, the Regal’s Hybrid model will likely be a flagship, along with the upcoming Regal GS for customers who want something a bit spicier.
[Source: Ward's Auto]
For more information on the Buick Regal, such as specifications, news, prices, safety information and more, please see http://www.regalforums.com/.
These spy shots of a purported 2012 Buick Lacrosse GS struck us as a tad strange, but hey, GM did make a Cadillac CTS-V Wagon, so why not do another niche performance luxury vehicle?
The most obvious visual difference are the Opel Insignia OPC wheels, which make the Lacrosse’s dowdy sheetmetal look pretty mean. The rotors and calipers are supposedly larger than stock, giving us hope that this is the real deal and not a GM employee vehicle customized by someone with good taste.
No word on engine choices, but with the demise of the Cadillac SRX Turbo, maybe GM’s supply of 2.8L V6 twin turbo engines will head to Buick. We can only hope.
The Buick Regal will get GM’s eAssist mild hybrid system next year, according to rumors on GM Inside News. The eAssist system will debut on the Buick Lacrosse 4-cylinder, an engine shared with the Regal. It is also expected to appear on thew upcoming Chevrolet Malibu, though eAssist is expected to remain exclusive on Buick products for some time.
GM formerly offered a mild hybrid system on the Chevrolet Malibu, Saturn Aura and Saturn Vue, but the models enjoyed limited popularity and a brief production run. The eAssist system is designed to use a much more powerful battery pack and other technologies derived from the Chevrolet Volt.
General Motors is looking to expand the Buick lineup to between 6 or 7 vehicles from its current 4. Buick is looking to add product as it attempts to lure buyers away from import luxury brands and attract a much younger audience as it shed its image as a car for retirees.
Among the products Buick is looking to introduce are the Chevrolet Cruze-based Verano compact, a hybrid version of the Lacrosse and a small crossover below the Enclave. Buick is also reportedly looking at introducing a full-size rear-drive sedan that may revive the Park Avenue nameplate.
The decision to jettison the Pontiac nameplate over Buick, which was perceived as a brand thats customer base was literally dying off, but Buick’s incredibly strong image in China, as well as their infusion of new product has led many to feel that the General made a smart choice.
[Source: Automotive News]
We still have more than half of 2009 to go and already the list of 2010 North American Car & Truck of the Year nominees have been picked. That’s because the list is essentially a list of every new model for 2010.
Nominated for car of the year are: the Audi S4, BMW Z4, BMW 335d, BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo, Buick LaCrosse, Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon, Chevrolet Camaro, Ford Fusion, Ford Fusion Hybrid, Ford Mustang, For Mustang GT500, Ford Taurus, Ford Taurus SHO, Honda Insight, Hyundai Genesis Coupe, Kia Forte, Kia Soul, Lexus HS250h, Lotus Evora, Mazda3, MazdaSpeed3, Mercedes E-Class, Nissan Cube, Nissan 370Z, Porsche Panamera, Subaru Legacy, Suzuki Kizashi, Toyota Prius, Volkswagen Golf, Volkswagen Golf TDI.
The 2010 North American Truck of the Year list is only slightly shorter and includes: the Acura ZDX, BMw X5 xDrive 35d, Cadillac SRX, Chevrolet Equinox, Ford Transit Connect, GMC Terrain, Honda Crosstour, Land Rover LR4, Lincoln MKT, Subaru Outback, Toyota 4Runner and Volvo XC60.
Many off these vehicles have yet to be officially released and some (like the Honda Crosstour) haven’t even been officially named yet.
Jurors will now begin the lengthy process of making a short list, with the final winners chosen at the 2010 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
Last year’s winners were the Hyundai Genesis and the Ford F-150.
Want to know where a car is made? Look at the VIN.
The All-American Impala: Made in Canada
During President Obama’s press conference last week when he announced that Chrylser would file for Chapter 11, he asked Americans that if they were looking to buy a car, to look at American cars. The “buy American” philosophy drew harsh criticism from the American International Automobile Dealers Association (AIADA), which pointed out that buying American doesn’t necessarily mean buying a car from an American brand.
“AIADA objects to President Obama’s ‘buy American’ solution for the auto sector,” AIADA President Cody Lusk said in a statement. “In today’s globalized economy ‘buying American’ can mean anything from buying a Chevy Avalanche built by Mexican workers in Silao, Mexico to buying a Toyota Camry built by Americans in Georgetown, Kentucky.”
On that note, there is one way to tell exactly which country a car is manufactured in – the VIN number. That’s right, that odd 17-digit sequence of numbers and letters found on the dash under the windshield (and in numerous other places on a vehicle) holds the key to a vehicle’s country of origin.
Many VIN numbers, actually start with a letter. Those that start with a “J” are built in Japan and those with a “K” are from Korea. Most of the rest, however, aren’t so intuitive. VINs that start with a “W” are from Germany, while an “S” signifies England. Swedish cars get a “Y.”
The United States, Canada and Mexico all use a number system, with American-made cars using a VIN that starts with the number 1, while Canadian-made cars use a 2 and Mexican made cars use a 3.
The number of American vehicles made outside the U.S. is actually quite significant, while many “foreign” cars are built in American. In fact, one of America’s best-selling vehicles (and one that is also typically American) is actually built in Canada – the Chevy Impala.
Other made-in-Canada cars include the Buick Lacrosse, Chrysler 300, Dodge Challenger, Dodge Charger, Ford Flex, Lincoln MKX, Lincoln Town Car, Mercury Grand Marquis and the new 2010 Chevrolet Camaro.
Made-in Mexico cars include the Ford Fusion, Mercury Milan and Chevrolet HHR. And as for the the Chevy Aveo sub-compact, it comes from Korea.
On the flip-side, there are plenty of Japanese (and even some German) vehicles built in the U.S. of A. Some of the most significant include the high volume Honda Accord and Toyota Camry, while the Honda Element and Toyota Avalon are also U.S. products. Nissan builds several models in the United States while BMW manufactures the Z4 as well as the X5 and X6 in South Carolina.
… The more you know…
[Source: La Times]