2013 Cruze New Car Test Drive
The Pontiac G6 is a midsize car available as sleek two-door coupe, a dramatic folding hardtop convertible, and an attractive four-door sedan. They offer a choice of V6s, and the sedan is available with a four-cylinder engine.
We find the G6 GT models have good road manners even when driven hard, benefits of the long wheelbase and European-designed architecture. This is based on test drives of the G6 GT sedan, GT Convertible, and GXP coupe.
The price point makes the Pontiac G6 a popular choice as a mid-size sedan and we've found it roomy and plush with excellent overall function. The coupe is comfortable and sporty. And for a real open-top experience, the convertible features one of the longest retractable hardtop roofs in production.
The G6 offers some interesting features. It can be started remotely from the comfort of your home by pressing a button on the key fob, a luxury on bitter cold winter mornings or sweltering summer afternoons. A panoramic roof is available on sedans, with panels that slide rearward creating a sunroof large enough for the back seat riders to enjoy an open-air experience.
For 2008, the GTP sedan has been renamed the GXP. It features the same 252-horsepower 3.6-liter V6 engine with variable valve timing and six-speed automatic transmission. Additions for 2008 include a sport-tuned suspension, modified front and rear fascias, dual chrome exhaust tips and a leather interior.
For 2008, OnStar, side airbags and anti-lock brakes are standard equipment on all models. GT and GXP models come with XM Satellite Radio and an auxiliary input jack for iPod and other MP3 players. New 18-inch wheels are available for the GT convertible. A Street Edition is available, with hood scoops and spoiler.
The G6 was designed to offer a strong value among midsize cars, and we think it's an alternative worth considering. We have Australia to thank for the all-new 2008 Pontiac G8. It was designed and is built there by Holden, a division of General Motors, and is sold as the Commodore SS. They've had the time to perfect it.
The G8 is a rear-wheel-drive sedan, Pontiac's first full-size car since the Bonneville was discontinued in 2005. It becomes the Pontiac flagship, being bigger than the mid-size front-wheel-drive G6, and it takes that spot at the top of the line with pride, being a very good car, with no weaknesses. At least not with the V8-engined GT, which Pontiac accurately bills as the most powerful car on the market for under $30,000. But it's not just powerful; there's a wonderful six-speed manual automatic transmission, the ride is comfortable without being soft, and the handling is taut. It all works.
And it looks good: smooth and muscular, with an unmistakably Pontiac nose. The interior is comfortable and tidy, with good instrumentation and a reasonably roomy rear seat. The standard cloth seats are excellent, with good bolstering and lumbar support. Leather is optional. The GT features an 11-speaker Blaupunkt sound system.
Even with 361 horsepower, the G8 GT gets 15 city and 24 highway miles per gallon, on regular fuel. Premium is recommended but not required. When Pontiac measures the horsepower on the dynamometer, guaranteed, they use premium fuel.
It comes with a comprehensive list of safety features, including electronic stability control, curtain airbags, and Onstar.
The V6 G8 uses the same engine that's in the Cadillac CTS. It doesn't rate the same praise as the GT because it doesn't have the V8's power, six-speed transmission or taut suspension or steering. It costs $2400 less, and its highway mileage is only one more mile per gallon, at 17 city and 25 highway.
The GT is the hot setup. The 6.0-liter, 361-horsepower V8 engine, using a six-speed manual automatic transmission, totally changes the car. Starting with the hood scoops, passing through the seat of your pants with the tuned suspension, and ending at the four polished stainless exhaust tips. Inside, it adds dual-zone air conditioning, a leather wrap steering wheel with controls, color LCD display, and six-disc CD with Blaupunkt 11-speaker sound system. True to its long heritage, the Pontiac Grand Prix is a big car promising performance-car excitement. The standard model offers better-than-average performance, while the GXP rolls with V8 thunder.
The Grand Prix is fun to drive in the twisties, yet it's practical. You can stuff a nine-foot kayak inside and still close the trunk, thanks to an optional front passenger seat that folds flat for long loads.
Since its debut in 1962, the Pontiac Grand Prix has been a family-size car with custom-car styling and a performance-car attitude. The first two generations of Grand Prix were big cars, even by 1960s standards. For 1969, the Grand Prix shrank to mid-size, but its theme of dramatic style continues today.
The Grand Prix is a five-passenger, four-door, front-wheel-drive sedan. The current-generation Grand Prix was launched as a 2004 model, and we think it's the best Grand Prix yet. Pontiac added more performance to the lineup with the addition of V8 power for 2006, and detail improvements followed for 2007.
The Grand Prix is powered by a 3.8-liter V6 and comes with a four-speed automatic transmission. The V6 develops 200 horsepower at 5200 rpm and 230 pound-feet of torque at 4000. The V6 gets an EPA-rated City/Highway 18/28 mpg, while meeting SULEV (Super Low Emissions Vehicle) standards in California and the Northeast.
The Grand Prix GXP boasts a 5.3-liter V8 that makes 303 horsepower at 5600 rpm and 323 pound-feet of torque at 4400 rpm. The V8 has GM's Active Fuel Management that deactivates four cylinders under light loads to improve fuel economy. The V8 gets an EPA-rated 16/25 mpg. The four-speed automatic transmission comes with a pair of steering-wheel-mounted paddles for manual shift capability. GXP models also get bigger brakes and an antiskid system. The Pontiac Solstice is a good-looking, two-seat, drop-top sports car that starts under $23,000. Pontiac's little roadster is all about fun, sun and the joy of affordably motoring on the open road. The Solstice is fun and easy to drive and the cockpit is comfortable. Optional StabiliTrak adds safety by helping the driver maintain control.
The Solstice comes standard with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 173 horsepower. It's adequate, though lacking in smoothness at high revs. The base model's windows are hand cranked, and air conditioning costs extra.
The Solstice GXP features a turbocharged four-cylinder that produces 260 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. The GXP comes with more performance and safety hardware along with more convenience features.
For 2008, Pontiac has added some equipment to the base model, including a nicer stereo with XM Satellite Radio and an iPod interface. OnStar is standard, ABS and StabiliTrak are optional. The lined and insulated convertible top that was optional for 2007 comes standard on 2008 models.
2008 Solstice models equipped with the five-speed manual transmission get a new torque beam to isolate noise associated with abrupt torque transfer away from the passenger compartment. The system was originally developed specifically for the added power and torque of the GXP model, but was then extended to all manual transmission models late in the 2007 model year.
We preferred the GXP. The GXP delivers slightly better mileage according to the EPA, and the $5,700 price premium includes features most buyers would want as options on the base model, such as power windows, cruise control, ABS and electronic stability control. The net cost of the high-output engine and other performance-enhancing equipment is about $3,700, and we think it's worth every dime. The GXP engine uses the latest materials and control technology, and it is GM's first in North America with fuel-saving gasoline direct injection.
The Solstice would make a fine daily driver in many locales, though it has no place to put things. The lack of storage space and idiosyncrasies with the convertible top could get old. The lack of luggage space makes the Solstice a poor choice for long trips or airport runs.
Yet cars like this aren't purely about transportation. In many ways, the Solstice is a match for the Mazda MX-5 Miata. The Solstice is a traditional sports car with rear-wheel drive. Measured by objective performance benchmarks, the Solstice GXP can be compared with much more expensive, long-time roadster class stalwarts such as the Porsche Boxster and Audi TT. In practice, the Solstice doesn't offer the handling precision of these other sports cars, nor does it match their refinement, interior quality and general tightness. But we love the styling. The Pontiac Torrent emphasizes a smooth ride and interior versatility. The Torrent is a crossover SUV, meaning it's built more like a car than a truck. The Torrent shares its basic structure with the Chevy Equinox. Torrent comes standard with a V6. It's built on a front-wheel-drive platform, but all-wheel drive is available for winter weather.
We found the Torrent delivers quick acceleration and its styling is restrained, clean and pleasing. Inside, the available leather seats are nice, the premium stereo sounds good, and the low dash offers a good view of the road ahead. The back seat slides and reclines according to your needs for extended leg room or more cargo space.
Options include a clever cargo storage system with handy bins in the floor and wheel wells, plus a lightweight polycarbonate shelf that can be placed in various positions for differing needs; it has hooks for grocery bags and can be configured as a table for tailgate parties. Three 12-volt power outlets come standard. Additional features include four-wheel disc brakes and StabiliTrak electronic stability control, all of which come standard. Dual-stage front airbags for driver and passenger include GM's Passenger Sensing System; and the optional head-curtain side-impact air bags are wired to detect rollovers. A tire pressure monitor is standard. Torrent has earned a five-star (best) rating in federal frontal crash tests.
New for 2008 is a sporty GXP trim boasting a 264-horsepower V6, six-speed automatic transmission, along with sport-tuned steering and suspension components. In addition, changes for 2008 include suspension changes for mainstream Torrents, along with minor equipment changes.
The Torrent also features a remote starter, three new audio systems, one including navigation, as well as two different grades of chrome rims. Porsche has been refining, redesigning and updating the basic shape of the 911 sports car for more than 40 years, with versions such as the removable-roof Targa, the cabriolet (convertible), the four-wheel-drive 4S, the awesome Turbo, and high-performance versions called GT2 and GT3. The engine has gone from a VW-based four-cylinder opposed air-cooled engine in the first 911 to a Porsche-designed, liquid-cooled six-cylinder, twin-turbocharged in some models, but always nestled behind the rear window.
The 2008 Porsche 911 GT2 is the latest model added to the 911 model range, already the broadest ever offered. The addition of the GT2 marks the third time the 911 has been offered in GT2 form.
The 2008 GT2 is the quickest and fastest Porsche 911 ever built, capable of 0-60 mph acceleration times under 3.5 seconds and a top speed of 204 mph.
It also offers race-car agility. But the most amazing thing is there's no down side (other than the price, of course). It's quite easy to live with this car and it could even be a daily driver. That's in a car with performance that would have been competitive at Le Mans not too long ago.
Unlike some other models, like the GT3, which is intended for and homologated for, track racing, the 911 GT2 is a completely equipped, luxury-laden road car that just happens to be lighter, quicker, faster and more agile than the other 911 models.
In essence, the GT2 is a slightly stripped-down 911 Turbo with more power, lightweight components and without all-wheel drive. Its closest competitors in price would be a Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera or an Aston Martin V8 Vantage, both of which it can outrun easily. The GT2 costs a less than the Ferrari F430 and the Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione.
The 911 GT2 comes with a twin-turbocharged 3.6-liter flat six that generates 530 horsepower, 50 hp more than the Turbo, with 505 pound-feet of torque available from just above idle to 4500 rpm, making it extremely flexible and willing in any of its six gears. It gets the extra 50 hp by using its two turbochargers with a very clever new intake system. While most other 911 models are offered with a choice of transmissions, the GT2 is manual only. When the Porsche Cayenne was launched four years ago enthusiasts cried blasphemy. Porsche should not build sport-utilities, they said, Porsche should build sports cars. But buyers won the vote. Cayenne had what they needed in a five-passenger SUV: more cargo space than a sedan, off-highway capability, and impressive towing capacity. They found the Cayenne technologically advanced and remarkably fast, as Porsches are supposed to be. So, they wondered, why all the hand wringing?
Cayenne's balance of style, performance, and sport-utility virtues were compelling, and it quickly became a success story for the small manufacturer of legendary sports cars. When Porsche launched Cayenne as a 2003 model, executives said they hoped to sell 20,000 of the SUVs a year. Clearly, these projections were conservative. Last year, Porsche sold more than 50,000 Cayennes. More than 150,000 have been sold in the past four years. Now, redesigned for 2008, sales of the new version have taken off, and overall Porsche sales in the U.S. hit record levels the summer of 2007. The Cayenne has been a boon for Porsche's financial planning. Its ongoing success smoothes over wildly fluctuating sports car sales, which tend to follow the consumer confidence index. Cayenne's success is helping Porsche do what enthusiasts want: develop and build great sports cars. Enough hand-wringing already.
For 2008, the Porsche Cayenne has been significantly improved, and Porsche is calling it a second-generation version. We can report the driving dynamics of the 2008 Cayenne models are substantially improved over the high bar set by the previous models. This was accomplished by using the latest technology and high-quality engineering and manufacturing. Porsche Stability Management has been enhanced, Dynamic Chassis Control is available, and there's a new Sport mode available for all models and powertrains.
Each of Cayenne's three available engines is bigger and substantially more powerful for 2008. Benefiting from direct fuel injection, each engine is more fuel-efficient, as well, though on the window stickers it's a wash due to more stringent EPA test procedures instituted for all 2008 vehicles.
Grabbing headlines is the 2008 Porsche Cayenne Turbo, boasting 500 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque from its new twin-turbocharged 4.8-liter V8 and capable of propelling this SUV from 0-60 mph in just 5.1 seconds. It's faster and more dynamic than the previous Cayenne Turbo.
But the bigger gain, in our view, is with the entry model, which comes with a new 3.6-liter V6 that produces 290 horsepower and 283 pound-feet of torque, capable of propelling it from 0 to 60 mph in less than 8 seconds (and in 7.5 seconds when equipped with the standard six-speed manual transmission).
The popular Cayenne S gets more power, as well, serving up 385 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque from its new 4.8-liter V8.
More important than the new engines (though less useful for bragging rights) are advances in active safety: An available system called Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control nearly eliminates body roll, or lean, in turns, improving handling, comfort, and active safety, while providing enhanced off-pavement traction. A Cayenne going flat-out through a fast corner with this system looks like it's on rails. A Cayenne without this system struggles to keep up, heeled over and moving around in the turn. Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control includes active anti-roll bars, which are designed to compensate off pavement, as well. All Cayennes come with Porsche Stability Management, Trailer Stability Control, off-road ABS, and other technologies that make drivers look like heroes.
Braking has been improved for 2008. Massive new brakes were developed by Porsche to reduce fade, the tendency of brakes to lose effectiveness in repeated hard use. This is important when descending long mountain grades.
We found the 2008 Porsche Cayenne enjoyable to dri. For 2008, Rolls-Royce has added a significant new model to its range of Phantom sedans and limousines. This one is the first convertible to be built from the ground up since BMW took over Rolls-Royce and built a brand new factory in Goodwood, England, to build them.
It's also the first Rolls-Royce convertible in history to be priced at more than $400,000.
It's a different kind of convertible in terms of design details, closely related to the overall look of the Phantom sedans, but worlds apart in many ways. It is intended to occupy the market segment vacated by the old Corniche line of convertibles, and carries the Phantom name quite deliberately to relate it to the new BMW-run company and erase memories of the old Rolls-Royce.
The Phantom Drophead Coupe comes to market almost intact from the 100EX roadster concept car that the company first showed in the spring of 2004, a car designed to celebrate the company's centennial, using a 9-liter V16 engine. After it was shown around the world, the clamor from customers and the media for a production version of the 100EX was so loud the company went ahead with it. The giant engine didn't survive the transfer to production, but almost every piece of the 100EX concept, inside and out, has made it into the production convertible.
All Phantoms are handbuilt from the ground up around a tremendously strong welded aluminum space frame that is accurate to 0.004 inches in every single dimension. If there were six-star crash ratings for front and side impact, we're sure this car would qualify.
With this ultra-luxury car, the customer buys all the Rolls-Royce hallmarks: hand-built craftsmanship, exclusivity, head-turning style and size, and power aplenty. As for its market competition, well, there simply isn't any. The Chevrolet Cruze is an excellent choice among compact sedans. It offers a long list of standard features and admirable fuel economy, especially with efficient Eco models. Inside, it has a roomy interior with attractive, quality materials, and it has a big trunk. It's an attractive car with relatively conservative, angular styling. A four-door sedan, Cruze seats five, four comfortably.
New for 2013 is Chevrolet's MyLink infotainment system. Standard on all upper-level models, including the 2013 Cruze LTZ and 2013 Cruze Eco, MyLink includes voice recognition technology, Bluetooth streaming audio, and support for Pandora and Gracenote. Two new audio systems also appear on the 2013 Chevrolet Cruze, as well as new options and packages. An optional Enhanced Safety Package for the 2013 Cruze LT features a blind spot alert system, rear cross traffic alert and rear park assist.
Launched as a 2011 model, the Cruze is a front-wheel-drive compact sedan developed jointly by GM tech centers in Asia, Europe and the United States to compete with the stylish Hyundai Elantra, sporty Mazda3, and affordable Kia Forte, as well as the sales-leading compacts, the Honda Civic, Ford Focus and Toyota Corolla.
The styling is conservative, though it's a well-designed, handsome car. Its interior is one of the roomiest in its class, with acceptable space for four adults, and it's also one of the nicest. Its trunk is also one of the largest in a compact sedan.
Cruze is offered with a choice of two four-cylinder engines. The base Cruze LS gets a 1.8-liter inline-4 that makes 138 horsepower and 125 pound-feet of torque. Cruze LT, LTZ and Eco models are powered by a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder good for 138 hp and 148 lb.-ft. of torque. There's a choice of 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic.
Fuel economy is very good from the turbocharged 1.4-liter, at 26/38 mpg with both transmissions. Cruze Eco rates an impressive 28/42 mpg with the manual transmission and 26/39 mpg with the automatic. Fuel economy for the 2013 Chevrolet Cruze with the base 1.8-liter engine is an EPA-rated 25/36 mpg City/Highway with manual transmission and 22/35 mpg with the automatic.
Cruze Eco's high fuel economy rating is thanks in part to its aerodynamic features, including grille vanes that close at highway speeds, which help it slip through the air more easily. It also weighs about 200 pounds less than other Cruze models. Efficiency comes with a price, however, as the Cruze Eco sacrifices performance in the form of slower acceleration, longer stopping distances, and poorer handling compared to the less fuel-friendly Cruze models.
Ride quality is outstanding, and we found the Cruze handles exceptionally well. Its steering is powered by electricity to save fuel. Underway, the steering feels sharp, with decent feel. We enjoyed driving it.
Cruze comes well-equipped with premium features such as a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel. On all trims but the base, the wheels are made of alloy, and are not only lighter than steel, but quieter. While the Cruze starts a segment-appropriate $17,130, a loaded, top-of-the-line LTZ will crack the $26,000 barrier. True, it comes swathed in leather and loaded with technology, but for that kind of money, the alternatives include larger, very nicely equipped midsize sedans. For this reason, we think the midrange Cruze LT hits the sweet spot in this class.
In short, the Chevrolet Cruze deserves to be on the list for anyone shopping for a fuel-efficient economy car.
The G6 sedan comes standard with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine. Standard features on the Special Value model ($18,765) include air conditioning, tilt/telescopic steering wheel, power windows, door locks, andmirrors, stereo with CD player, OnStar, and 16-inch wheels with 215/60R16 tires. The base model ($20,290) adds cruise control, remote keyless entry and 17-inch wheels with 225/50R17 tires.
The GT sedan ($23,100), GT coupe ($23,100), and GT convertible ($30,210) come with a 3.5-liter V6 and. interior upgrades that include a four-way adjustable driver's seat with power height adjustment and a 200-watt Monsoon premium sound system.
The GXP sedan ($26,960) and GXP coupe ($26,755) feature a six-speed automatic transmission, sport-tuned suspension, modified front and rear fascias, dual chrome exhaust tips and a leather interior.
Options include adjustable pedals ($125), remote starter system ($190), and heated front seats ($250). The Preferred Package ($495) includes a cargo net, remote vehicle start, front and rear carpeted floor mats, trunk cargo net, leather-wrapped brake handle and shift knob, steering-wheel mounted audio controls and leather wrapped steering wheel. The Premium Package ($1,475) upgrades with leather-appointed front bucket seats (GT), leather-appointed front bucket seats with two-tone leather inserts (GXP), six-way driver seat adjuster (GT), heated driver and front passenger seats, remote vehicle start system, cargo net, front and rear carpeted floor mats and power adjustable pedals; and a Sun and Sound Package ($1,100), featuring a stereo with six-disc CD changer and power sunroof. Street Edition packages for the GT ($1,590) and GXP ($990) add hood scoops and spoilers.
Safety features that come on all models include driver and passenger frontal and side-impact airbags and ABS with traction control. OnStar is standard on all models, an excellent safety feature thanks to its ability to summon help. The 2008 Pontiac G8 comes in two models, the G8 ($26,910) with a V6 engine, and the G8 GT ($29,310) with a V8.
The V6 engine in the G8 makes 256 horsepower and uses a five-speed automatic with driver shift control. Standard equipment includes air conditioning, cruise control, four-way power front seats, tilt/telescopic steering wheel, lighted visor mirrors, compass in rearview mirror, power windows and locks, AM/FM/CD seven-speaker sound system with auxilary input jack, 18-inch aluminum wheels, fog lights, and tinted glass.
Options include a Comfort and Sound Package ($795), an upgrade to dual-zone A/C and 6CD with MP3 and premium speakers.
The GT adds dual-zone air conditioning, a leather wrapped steering wheel with controls, color LCD, and 6CD with Blaupunkt 11-speaker sound system. That's in addition to the 6.0-liter V8, six-speed transmission, tuned suspension, and special trim. The Premium Package ($1250) includes leather upholstery and heated, six-way power front seats.
Safety equipment includes anti-lock brakes, stability control, traction control, remote vehicle start, driver info center with tire pressure monitor, battery run-down protection; front, side and curtain airbags, and one year of Onstar Safe and Sound, which does not include navigation guidance. The 2008 Pontiac Grand Prix comes in two trim levels: base and top-level GXP. (The mid-range GT model has been discontinued.)
The Grand Prix ($22,210) is well equipped, with air conditioning, cruise control, AM/FM/CD/MP3 stereo, full front floor console, two 12-volt accessory outlets, OnStar, 60/40 split folding rear seats, Pass-Key III security, P225/60 touring tires on 16-inch alloy wheels, a tire inflation monitor, and all the usual power conveniences. ABS ($600) is optional and comes with electronic brake-force distribution (EBD) and advanced traction control; the Security Package adds side curtain airbags, and we recommend this.
Options include a Premium package ($940) with leather upholstery, heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, a fold-flat front passenger seat, and a cargo net. A more elaborate Preferred package ($965) includes power lumbar support, fold-flat front passenger seat, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, redundant audio controls on the steering wheel, driver information center, chrome interior accents, remote vehicle start, a cargo net, and a lighted vanity mirrors and reading lights. The Special Edition ($1,995) adds 17-inch aluminum wheels, stainless exhaust tips, body-color grille and aero extensions all around; while a Sport package ($680) adds fog lamps, stainless exhaust tips, and polished aluminum wheels; and a Custom Accessories Package ($675) combines a unique rear spoiler, front grille inserts, and stainless steel exhaust tips. Polished alloy wheels ($495), the fold-flat front passenger seat ($75), and remote starter ($190) are also available as stand-alones.
The performance-oriented GXP ($29,325) boasts a 5.3-liter transverse-mounted V8 that makes 303 horsepower at 5600 rpm and 323 pound-feet of torque at 4400 rpm. The V8 has GM's Active Fuel Management that deactivates four cylinders under light loads to improve fuel economy. The GXP’s automatic transmission comes with TAPshift (Touch Activated Power), a feature that provides a pair of steering-wheel-Safety features include dual-stage front airbags as standard equipment. Antilock brakes (ABS), electronic brake-force distribution, electronic stability control, and curtain airbags are optional.mounted paddles for manual shift capability. GXP models also get bigger brakes, an antiskid system, leather and suede upholstery, dual-zone climate controls, heated front seats, nine-speaker Monsoon sound system, a head-up instrument display, 255/45WR18 front and 225/50WR18 rear Bridgestone Potenza tires, and polished alloy wheels. Most of the equipment that’s optional on the base model is standard on the GXP. And the suspension is even sportier, with higher spring rates, gas-charged shocks, a nine-millimeter lower ride height, and a larger rear stabilizer bar.
Both models are offered with a sunroof ($895); or a Sun and Sound Package that combines a power sunroof and a 6-CD changer on the GXP ($1,195) plus the Monsoon sound system on the base model ($1,590). XM Satellite Radio ($200) and an engine block heater ($75) are also available. A navigation system is offered on both models, but its price ($1,845-2,540) varies depending on other equipment.Safety features include dual-stage front airbags as standard equipment. Antilock brakes (ABS), electronic brake-force distribution, electronic stability control, and curtain airbags are optional. The Pontiac Solstice ($22,455) is powered by a 173-hp, 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine. It comes standard with five-speed manual transmission, an automatic is optional. Solstice comes standard with hand-cranked windows, manually adjusted outside mirrors and manual door locks; although the driver's seat features a power height adjustment. The glass rear window has a defogger, and the urethane-clad steering wheel has a tilt adjustment. The shift knob wears leather, but seats and door panels are covered in cloth. Tires are generously sized 245/45VR18 Goodyear Eagle RSA all-season radials on 18-inch painted aluminum wheels. The six-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3 stereo includes XM Satellite Radio and an iPod interface. OnStar is standard, along with GM's Driver Information Center. And the acoustic lining for the convertible top is standard.
The Convenience Package ($395) adds cruise control, an enhanced Driver Information Center, and fog lamps. The Preferred Package ($625) includes power windows, door locks and body-colored power outside mirrors, along with remote keyless entry.
The Solstice GXP ($28,135) gets a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine generating 260 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque matched to a five-speed manual transmission. The GXP comes with more standard safety features, including ABS, GM's StabiliTrak skid-management system and a limited-slip differential. The GXP also gets power windows and mirrors, cruise control, audio controls on a leather-wrapped steering wheel, remote keyless entry, fog lamps and polished aluminum wheels. Tires are the same size as the base model's, but are Goodyear Eagle F1 high-performance units.
A five-speed automatic transmission ($925) and air conditioning ($960) are optional on both models. Leather upholstery is available for the Solstice base model ($690) and GXP ($525) and comes as part of the Premium Package, which upgrades the base model with a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls. Audio upgrades include a high-watt Monsoon system with subwoofer ($395). There's also is an in-dash six-CD changer ($295), which retains MP3 capability and a separate input jack. Also available are metallic pedals ($115), a rear spoiler ($275), and carpeted floor mats ($80). The base model can be ordered with polished aluminum ($545) or chrome ($795) wheels.
The Solstice can be ordered with the limited-slip rear differential ($195) and a rock-hard Club Sport suspension ($1,095) for road racing. There's also an SCCA SSB Championship Edition package ($6,235) that combines nearly all available options except automatic transmission and the Club Sport suspension. Appropriately, Championship Edition models are available only in Victory Red.
The Solstice is equipped with the minimum passive safety features required by federal regulations, which means seat belts and dual front dual-stage airbags. Anti-lock brakes ($400) and StabiliTrak ($495) are optional on the base model. A tire pressure monitor has been added as standard equipment for 2008. The 2008 Pontiac Torrent comes with a choice of front-wheel drive ($23,520) or all-wheel drive ($25,145). Torrent is powered by GM's 3.4-liter V6 engine and five-speed automatic transmission. The Pontiac Torrent GXP is also available with a choice of front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. Torrent GXP models come with a 264-horsepower V6 and a six-speed automatic transmission.
Standard equipment includes air conditioning, power windows, AM/FM/CD with six speakers, OnStar satellite service, remote entry and automatic door locks, fog lamps, roof rails, daytime running lights, a rear window wiper, and 16-inch aluminum wheels.
The Preferred Package ($1,750) includes an auto-dimming inside rearview mirror with compass, along with cruise control, leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, six way power for the driver's seat, up-level cloth upholstery, full-width rear cargo net, carpeted front and rear floor mats, and a remote starter. Preferred Package buyers may add leather seating ($845). An optional Security Package ($1,090) combines side curtain airbags (now with rollover sensing). Multiple audio/entertainment choices are available, including a six-disc CD changer with MP3 playback ($135), XM Satellite Radio ($199), a premium seven-speaker sound system ($325), AM/FM/CD/MP3 with navigation ($2,145), and a rear-seat DVD player ($995). The Sun and Sound Package ($1,455) combines a power sunroof with the seven-speaker audio system and six-disc changer. Stand-alone options include cruise control ($175); heated front seats ($250); luggage rack crossbars ($150); engine block heater ($50); trailer package ($350); multi-function cargo panel ($175); and remote starter vehicle prep ($30). Also available are 17-inch aluminum wheels ($295), chrome-clad ($750), or chrome-plated ($850).
Safety features that come standard include four-wheel-disc brakes with ABS, StabiliTrak stability control, a rear child-seat latch system, tire-pressure monitor, and the mandated front airbags. Front-drive Torrents come with traction control as well. The 2008 Porsche 911 GT2 comes only one way, loaded, and ready for battle. Although the GT2 model has been deliberately and carefully lightened for better performance, it has all the standard equipment available on other 911 models, including all the usual power assists, windows, locks, mirrors, seats, air conditioning, cruise control, and an excellent AM/FM/CD/MP3 stereo system. Special high-grip Alcantara upholstery comes standard and is used on the seats, steering wheel and shifter.
Options include the Sport Chrono package ($690) that enables the driver to time laps from inside the car and download the data later, a 325-watt, 7-channel, 13-speaker Bose sound system ($1390), Park Assist ($530), and DVD navigation ($2110).
Safety features include six air bags, ABS, traction control and electronic stability control. The 2008 Porsche Cayenne lineup features three models: Cayenne ($43,400), Cayenne S ($57,900), and Cayenne Turbo ($93,700). All models come standard with full-time all-wheel drive with a high and low range. All come with a six-speed Tiptronic S automatic transmission, though the V6 is also available with a six-speed manual.
Cayenne comes with a 3.6-liter V6 (that produces 290 horsepower, 273 pound-feet of torque). Leather seating with 12-way power adjustment comes standard, along with titanium interior trim; manually controlled climate control with charcoal and micro-particle cabin filtration; heated retractable exterior mirrors; multi-function trip computer; 12-speaker stereo with CD; air conditioned glove compartment; cruise control; insulated laminated privacy glass; Homelink; immobilizer anti-theft alarm; and an electronically latching power tailgate. Optional for 2008 is natural Chestnut Brown leather upholstery in a two-tone combination with black nappa leather.
Cayenne S gets a 4.8-liter V8 (that delivers 385 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque). Cayenne S adds automatic climate control with dual front-passenger settings and a 350-watt, 14-speaker Bose stereo.
Cayenne Turbo features a twin-turbocharged version of the V8 (rated at 500 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque). The Turbo comes standard with an adjustable air suspension with Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM). The Turbo model also upgrades with heated front and rear seats, a power steering wheel adjustment, and park-assist radar warning front and rear. It's equipped with Porsche Communications Management (PCM), a GPS navigation system with integrated telephone and audio controls, and headlights that turn with the steering wheel.
Options include a push-button Sport mode; PASM ($2,990); wood trim packages ($1,385); front and rear park assist ($990); trailer hitch and ball ($630); and 21-inch wheels. Seat upgrades and a full Smooth Leather package that covers everything from grab handles to the center console in hide ($3,040) are available. Porsche Entry and Drive ($995) allows a driver to unlock and start the Cayenne by pulling the door handle and touching the shift lever, while leaving the keys in his pocket or her purse. XM Satellite Radio is available. Features on upper models are available as options on Cayenne and Cayenne S. Porsche's factory customization program allows buyers to order a Cayenne however they want it, limited only by imagination.
Safety features on all models include Porsche Stability Management electronic stability control, traction control, antilock brakes with off-road capability, and Trailer Stability Control. Six airbags come standard: dual-stage front and side-impact airbags for front passengers, and curtain-style head protection airbags on both sides of the cabin. All five seating positions have three-point belts with pretensioners to instantly tighten them and limit stretching on impact. The front belts also have automatic force limiters, reducing potential for belt-related injuries. New for 2008 is a rollover sensor designed to trigger seat belt tensioners and curtain airbags. There will be only on Phantom Drophead Coupe model. The bespoke nature of the car and the factory option list for this car make it a virtual certainty that no two cars will be built alike.
There are nine exterior paint colors, none of which is shared with the Phantom sedan or limousine. The windshield surround and A-pillars can be painted body color, or made of stainless steel, buyer's choice. There are six contrasting hood colors plus stainless steel. There are ten interior leather colors to choose from. The interior veneers include elm, oak, ash burr, mahogany, rosewood, and piano black.
Options are few and expensive. If you want the stainless steel hood, you have to take the teak convertible top cover with it, for a mere $17,000. The 21-inch, nine-spoke wheel and run-flat tire package is $3000. Other than those two packages, the Drophead Coupe comes with every conceivable comfort and convenience item there is, including a Rolls-Royce umbrella hidden away in each of the two front door frames.
The warranty is four years with unlimited mileage. The Phantom Drophead also comes with free full service for four years and unlimited mileage, Rolls-Royce Assist (road side assistance and concierge service) for four years, and a free subscription to Sirius satellite radio for the life of the car.
Safety features include ABS with emergency brake-force distribution, traction control, and electronic stability control. A forward-looking wide-angle TV camera helps the driver see around corners, useful in big-city parking garages. The 2013 Chevrolet Cruze is available in four model levels, with a choice of four-cylinder engines and either a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission. All Cruze models are four-door sedans.
Cruze LS ($17,130) is powered by 1.8-liter inline four delivering 138 horsepower and 125 pound-feet of torque, with a standard 6-speed manual transmission. Standard features include air conditioning, power windows/door locks/mirrors, remote keyless entry, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel with audio controls, six-way manually adjustable driver's seat, 60/40-split folding rear seat, a six-speaker audio system with CD player, Bluetooth phone connectivity, an auxiliary jack, USB port and satellite radio capability. The standard wheels are 16-inch steel.
Cruise 1LT ($18,560) is powered by the turbocharged 1.4-liter engine and comes standard with the 6-speed manual. Additional features include leather-wrapped steering wheel, cruise control, body-color power side mirrors and 16-inch alloy wheels. Cruze 2LT ($21,040) upgrades further to leather upholstery, a six-way power driver seat, heated seats, a 7-inch touch screen with Chevrolet MyLink, a sport-tuned suspension, 17-inch alloy wheels and four-wheel-disc brakes.
Cruze LTZ ($23,550) comes standard with the 6-speed automatic transmission, the contents of the 2LT package including leather upholstery, plus further upgraded interior trim, automatic climate control, keyless ignition, auto-dimming rearview mirror, rear-parking assist, fog lamps, heater mirrors and 18-inch alloy wheels.
Cruze Eco ($19,680) is optimized for fuel economy. It's powered by the 1.4-liter turbocharged engine and is nearly 200 pounds lighter than other Cruze models, with aerodynamic aids that make in slipperier through the air and a smaller gas tank, among other minor changes that save weight. Standard features include air conditioning, cruise control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a 7-inch touchscreen display with Chevrolet MyLink system and 17-inch alloy wheels with low-rolling-resistance tires.
Safety features on all models include stability control, antilock brakes, full-length side curtain airbags, front knee airbags and front and rear side impact airbags. Cruze LS, 1LT and Eco models use a front-disc/rear-drum brake setup. The 2LT and LTZ models use disc brakes on all four wheels. Also standard is OnStar, which includes automatic crash notification, on-demand roadside assistance, remote door unlocking and stolen vehicle assistance. Blind-spot monitoring and cross-traffic alert are optional for all Cruzes except the LS. The 2013 Chevrolet Cruze gets a top five-star safety rating in government crash testing, and a top score of Good from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.