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2016 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 drive review

Not just a smoke machine


I was assigned the Cadillac ATS-V Coupe for the weekend. When I arrived in the parking garage and discovered that it was equipped with an automatic, I ran upstairs for another set of keys and discovered those of a Chevrolet Z06 convertible, also equipped with an automatic. I hadn’t really spent time in an Aisin eight-speed-equipped Z06 since shortly after the car’s launch, and you know, V8.

As you know, the current king of Corvette hill is a monster. With 650 hp and 650 lb-ft, it will readily turn tires to smoke under normal conditions. (When the air temperature drops, those big rear tires tend to behave like the solid-plastic rear tires of a big wheel, so be careful out there.) It’s not just a smoke machine though; the Z06 will take you around your chosen racetrack faster than just about anything with blinkers, provided it stays cool. Depending on who you ask, it may or may not stay cool in certain on-track situations.

First Drive

2016 Chevrolet Colorado Duramax


Diesel just can’t catch a break. It took decades for Americans to forget about those ’70s and ’80s soot-spewing clatter machines and start believing diesel could be quiet, smooth and most importantly, clean. But just as diesel was enjoying a renaissance -- Dieselgate blankets the technology’s image in a dark, noxious cloud of deceit.

It’s an ugly scandal, but there are signs diesel’s reputation hasn’t been permanently scarred. According to a survey conducted by automotive consulting firm AutoPacific, while 80 percent of responders thought the VW scandal was a “big deal,” only 8 percent believed it would lead to diesel’s death in the U.S.

Chevrolet hopes the misconduct won’t affect the sales of its new Colorado diesel when the pickup goes on sale this fall.

2016 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray review notes

All the right moves


ROAD TEST EDITOR JAKE LINGEMAN: I said this on my last Corvette drive, but damn, this car is good. This one is $70K, but you could easily knock it down to $65,000 or so. For that you get 455 hp, 460 lb-ft and a power-to-weight ratio that rivals many supercars. And it’s just a blast to drive.

The suede-covered, seven-speed manual is easy and smooth to row. The throws aren’t super short, but I had no trouble banging through them quickly. Clutch weight is a little light, and takes some getting used to, but the catch point is nice and small. The stock brakes are great, and pedal travel is short -- by the time I was an inch in, I had already scrubbed a good amount of speed. The pedals are close enough for good heel-toe action.

The rest of the cabin is fine. I had a tough time finding a good seating position for some reason. I didn’t get enough lower back support. Everything is adjustable, including the bolsters, so I don’t understand why. Side-to-side motion was kept in check, though. I think the upgraded competition seats might be better. The armrests are in a comfortable spot, the radio is reachable and the top is easy to pop. Three levers unlock the targa, and then it’s just a matter of picking it up and getting it into the trunk. It was a little unwieldy, and I’d be concerned if an elderly person was handling my painted roof, but I was able to slip it into the trunk without too much pain. Love a targa, don’t like a convertible.

2015 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

2015 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 coupe review notes

Strong mechanicals, weak interior


ROAD TEST EDITOR JAKE LINGEMAN: So cheap! I’ve been driving a lot of expensive machinery lately, leading me to debate the merits of $100,000-$200,000 super- and sports cars, but getting back in this Camaro for a fourth or fifth time? It reminds me why I love America. Just less than 600 hp for just less than $60K -- are you kidding me?

It can be driven all day long, too. In comfort mode, it just bumbles along, absorbing all but the biggest of potholes. I drove one of our racing guys home and even he remarked on how comfortable it is over our crumbling roads. Even in sport mode, it’s still completely livable for an enthusiast.

It steps on the scales with more than 4,000 pounds, which is obviously a lot. Gas mileage isn’t great, but that mass is what helps it feel so smooth and planted on the road.

Of course, if you want to lighten things up a bit, just smash the throttle and this car will slip-n-slide up into third gear. Steering on the throttle is easy, and a quick retraction brings everything back in line. The brakes feel great for standard steelies.

2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LTZ Crew Cab

Long-term wrapup

2014 Chevrolet Silverado


I’m standing on the deck of a Ranger Z520 bass boat in Beaver Lake, Ark., and Captain Blake Smith is hugging me. Then he’s yelling, “Thank you Lord!” and dropping to his knees, and pointing to the sky and yelling, “Thank you Jesus!” In my right hand is a net, and in the net, there’s largemouth bass so pregnant it looks like it might start shooting bass caviar all over the boat’s rubber floors at any moment.

In the waning moments of the first day of the Fishing League Worldwide Beaver Lake professional bass-fishing tournament, Captain Smith had been a fish short of his five-fish limit, staring down the possibility that he and his young family had made the trip from sunny Lakeland, Fla., to drizzly Arkansas for nothing. Then, he flipped a white spinner bait that looked like a small Alexander Calder mobile into some brush and the water exploded and he started yelling about a net. Then he was on his way to pocketing $4,000 for finishing 61st out of 154. The winner, Matt Arey, took home $125,000.

2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Convertible review notes

A Ferrari killer at half the price


ROAD TEST EDITOR JAKE LINGEMAN: I’ve been waiting to drive this car for a few months now, and I have to say it’s nearly everything I expected, except for the eight-speed auto, but I’ll get to that in a second.

From the outside, this Z06 is about as wild as they come. Screaming yellow paint, black wheels and stripes, the back end looks like a KISS mask to me. I love the wickerbill spoiler. It looks like a race car. As for the overall styling of the C7, I’m not completely sold, but this Z06 with Z07 package is the best it can look. It has to be a cop magnet though. Who are they going to pull over, the beige Camry doing 84 mph or a yellow ‘Vette?

Inside, it’s as good an interior as we’ve seen in the model. The stitching looks clean and straight, the gaps are consistent, if a little wide, and all the center console and glove box doors close smoothly.

I love the seats, they offer great support, both laterally and front to back, and they have lots of adjustment to get that perfect driving position. The nav and radio setup are easy to learn and easy to use.

2015 Chevrolet Camaro SS Coupe review


EDITOR WES RAYNAL: With the new Camaro right around the corner, it’s good to get in this one. Subtle it ain’t. Fire it up and it settles into a beautiful gurgle/idle. Run it up through the gears and it just howls, and there’s a cool pop-pop when you lift. I could sit and listen to this crackling V8 all day long. In fact I’d be happy just sitting and listening to it idle for cryin’ out loud. The sound is outstanding, there is the slightest rough idle and a wee bit of backfiring during shifts.

The 420 lb-ft means I could basically stick it in third or fourth and leave it there for the bulk of my around-town driving. It’s that flexible. That of course makes it easy to drive a manual around town, but this one isn’t bad anyway -- in fact, I found clutch takeup and engagement surprisingly light and direct. The power coming on smoothly through the rev range helps as well.

The car feels a bit heavy, because it is. Nearly 4,000 pounds seems high to me. The engine and eager rock-solid chassis make up for a lot of it, but the overall feel is weighty, particularly going into a corner with a little oomph, where the car will understeer some -- but don’t worry, grip is excellent. The ride is actually quite pleasant (a nice surprise) and the steering isn’t bad, either. It’s predictable, quick and decently weighted. It’s an easy car to drive.

The 2014 Chevy Silverado 1500 LTZ Z71 comes out of the gate with a new front grille and headlight assembly.

Long-term 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LTZ Crew Cab third-quarter update


 Funny how an opinion on a truck (or a car) can drift by the season, month or week. For instance, our long-term 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LTZ Crew Cab received nothing but praise in its first six months in our fleet.

“The truck feels as tight, smooth and solid as the day it arrived,” said one editor.

A few months later, we’re debating the necessity of the crew cab configuration and deciding if we could live with the likable Colorado midsizer instead. That’s the thing about pickup trucks; they’re always useful, until they’re not.

“And where do I end up?” asked one editor, rhetorically. “Frickin’ IKEA, a flat-pack paradise that only exists because some Svenn or Bjorn couldn’t fit a fully assembled table into his Saab 96

The available 6.2L EcoTec3 V-8 is the most powerful engine offered in any light-duty pickup, with 420 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque.

2015 Chevrolet Silverado High Country review notes


ROAD TEST EDITOR JONATHAN WONG: Things are better in High Country… at least if you prefer your 2015 Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck to be packed with some extra standard features, additional chrome exterior jewelry, and an exclusive saddle-brown interior color scheme. When we awarded the Chevy Silverado our Best of the Best Truck award for 2014, we had a High Country model for testing. A year later and after spending a couple of days with another example, it’s pretty to easy to see why we gave this truck the nod.

A couple of weeks ago, we had a new Ford F-150 in the office, and it was a nice truck. The aluminum body panels to save weight are big news for the Ford, but in terms of refinement in the ride quality and the interior, it wasn’t a quantum leap ahead of the old truck. Instead it just felt like an update with small improvements. It was familiar and felt like an F-series truck, which isn’t a bad thing, because the Ford remains the sales king in the segment.

The 2014 Chevy Silverado 1500 LTZ Z71 comes out of the gate with a new front grille and headlight assembly.

Long-term 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LTZ Z71 second-quarter update


For such a car-crazy crew, we sure love our trucks. And when you’re talking about one as unimpeachable as our long-term Chevrolet Silverado, we prize it as much as anything in our roller-cabinet toolbox.Ironically, that’s the reason behind the drop in miles logged during the truck’s second quarter in our stead. Where the Silverado eclipsed 7,000 miles in the first three months, we barely hit 12,000 through the first half of the year, deploying our favorite tool more frequently but for jobs much closer to home.The shorter drives also account for the slight drop in fuel economy, with our average dipping to just 16.1 mpg.Several staffers had hauling duties for which nothing else in our fleet would do: fetching a pinball machine; picking up a couch, washing machine and dryer; carting a few loads of lumber from the local home-improvement store. Another Autoweek editor had need to tow, as he says, a “stricken motorcycle home on a rented U-Haul trailer. The truck didn’t seem to notice.”

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