Latest NHTSA Crash Tests Yield Mixed Results

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Of a dozen 2013 and 2014 models vying for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's five-star safety club in the latest round of testing, less than half made the cut. NHTSA's crash tests examine vehicles' safety performance in frontal and side collisions, as well as roof strength in rollover accidents.

Both the 2014 Buick Regal with eAssist and Verano front-wheel-drive sedans made the grade. The Regal received fours in both frontal and rollover ratings and a five in side-collision tests for an overall score of five. The Verano, also finishing with an overall score of five, received fives in both frontal and side collisions, and a four in rollover tests.

By Matt Schmitz | September 17, 2013 | Comments (6)

Chevrolet, GMC Pack USB Ports Into 2014 Pickups

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With USB ports now commonplace in new cars, trucks and SUVs, it didn't take long for engineers to realize more is better. The 2014 GMC Sierra SLT 1500 and Chevrolet Silverado LTZ 1500 we recently tested each had five USB inputs for charging cellphones, music players, tablets, cameras, toy helicopters or whatever else has a battery and USB charging capabilities. The base trucks have two USB ports each.

The trucks' USB locations are divvied into a group of three ports below the climate controls, and the remaining two are in the center console. Not only are there five inputs, but a Chevrolet representative says all five can read devices as well as charge them. Often extra USB ports are merely charging docks and aren't capable of reading a device for music.

By Joe Bruzek | September 9, 2013 | Comments (0)

Ford F-250 Nabs Most-Stolen Title From Cadillac Escalade

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For the first time in a decade, the Cadillac Escalade does not rank as thieves' favorite target, according to the Highway Loss Data Institute's analysis. The dubious distinction now belongs to the Ford F-250 — specifically four-wheel-drive, crew-cab versions of the pickup truck — which is six times more likely to get stolen than the average vehicle. Large pickups and SUVs continued to be targeted at higher rates than other vehicles.

In the Escalade's fall from first to No. 6, the HLDI cited waning popularity and improved antitheft technology, including a steering-column lock and an alarm that sounds when the vehicle's incline changes, along with a standard ignition immobilizer. But it's not all good news for the Escalade. Although its theft rate dipped by 50% from figures reported three years ago, four-wheel-drive versions of the luxury SUV still were stolen 4.5 times more than the average vehicle. The average insurance loss payment was $6,508 compared with nearly $12,000 previously.

By Matt Schmitz | July 9, 2013 | Comments (0)

PickupTrucks.com Light-Duty Challenge Puts Newest Trucks to the Test

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Ram, Chevrolet and GMC recently redesigned their light-duty trucks, and Ford’s F-150 underwent a well-received overhaul prior to that heating up the extremely important segment. PickupTrucks.com teamed up with Popular Mechanics to test all six players in the segment to see which one claims bragging rights as the top truck.

PickupTrucks.com’s 2013 Light-Duty Challenge

By David Thomas | June 17, 2013 | Comments (2)

Most-Watched Videos of the Week

PickupTrucks.com Editor Mark Williams' first impressions of the 2014 GMC Sierra hauled straight to the top of our most-watched videos list this week, besting debuts by both the 2014 Acura RLX luxury sedan and 2013 Toyota Corolla S compact sedan. Williams recently got to test the new Sierra at a driving event just north of Santa Barbara, Calif., where he got a trailer-towing crash course hauling his own overnight accommodations for the trip, a 23-foot Airstream trailer. Check out what else was popular:

1. 2014 GMC Sierra First Drive
2. 2014 Acura RLX
3. 2013 Toyota Corolla S

4. 2013 Ram HD First Drive and Impressions
5. 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee
By Matt Schmitz | June 15, 2013 | Comments (0)

GM Expands Safety Alert Seat to 2014 Sierra Lineup

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Sometimes drivers need a little kick in the pants to keep them focused on the road — literally. GM's Safety Alert Seat does just that. The system, which sends subtle vibrations through the seat bottom cushion to alert the driver to potential road hazards, will be optional on the 2014 GMC Sierra

The Safety Alert Seat works with other safety systems such as rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning and forward collision alert systems. For example, when the lane departure system detects lane wandering without a turn signal, it sends a pulse to the left or right side of the driver's seat.

GM says the new Sierra, which goes on sale this summer, has "available advanced active safety features never offered to full-size pickup truck owners." We first tested the Safety Alert Seat on the Cadillac SRX crossover; it's also available on the ATS sedan. According to GMC spokeswoman Kelly Wysocki, the Chevrolet Silverado will get the system as well; she couldn't comment on its availability in other GM vehicles, however.

To read about Cars.com editor Kristin Varela's experiences with the system in the SRX, click here.

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By Jennifer Geiger | April 30, 2013 | Comments (0)

PickupTrucks.com: GM Releases 2014 Silverado, Sierra Specs

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Cars.com's sister site PickupTrucks.com notes that GM's announcement of performance specifications on its new half-ton pickups follows the automaker's tendency to feed us only morsels of info at a time. There's still plenty to chew on for those hungry for the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra now that testing is completed on a new 5.3-liter V-8, one of three optional engines. According to reported figures, the half-tons will lead their pickup pack in fuel economy, payload and towing capacity — while preliminary pricing shows modest increases and in some cases none at all.

Check out PickupTrucks.com for the details.

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By Matt Schmitz | April 1, 2013 | Comments (1)

Insurance Study Finds GMC Sierra 1500 Best for Safety

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A new study of insurance rates for injury protection and medical payments ranked the GMC Sierra 1500 pickup truck highest for occupant injury protection. The Fiat 500 ranks lowest.

Insure.com studied prevailing insurance rates across hundreds of ZIP codes from six major auto-insurance carriers: Allstate, Farmers, Geico, Nationwide, Progressive and State Farm. The firm analyzed premiums for injury coverage, including provisions for uninsured motorists and lost wages, on more than 750 new cars.

Besides the GMC Sierra 1500 (SLE/SLT/Work Truck), the best rates came from the Porsche Cayenne, GMC Yukon (SLT/Denali), GMC Sierra 2500 (SLE only) and GMC Terrain (SLE1 only) — all trucks or SUVs. On the other end, multiple trim levels of the Fiat 500 and 500c (cabrio) rated worst among injury-protection rates. The Kia Rio5 (LX/SX), Toyota Corolla (L only), Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart and Mercedes-Benz CL600 joined the small Fiat among the worst cars for injury-related insurance rates. Four of those five are compact or subcompact, and three of them start under $17,500.
By Kelsey Mays | January 29, 2013 | Comments (0)

Most-Watched Videos of the Week

In the 2013 BMW M5 video, Cars.com reviewer Joe Bruzek notes the high-performance sedan's class-consistent "big engine, big brakes, big wheels." The video put up commensurately big numbers, landing in the top spot among the most watched of the week. That knocked previous champ, the $26,000 Midsize Sedan Showdown video, to No. 3 while PickupTrucks.com's peek at Chevy's and GMC's new heavy-duty trucks for 2014 held its ground in second place. Check out the M5 video above and see which others were popular this week:

By Matt Schmitz | January 12, 2013 | Comments (0)

2013 Detroit Auto Show: What To Expect

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As what is widely regarded as the most important U.S. auto show of the year opens next week in Detroit, an automotive icon returns to the claim the spotlight.

The 2014 Chevrolet Corvette is poised to be the star among the more than 50 production and concept vehicles slated to debut at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The show runs Jan. 19-27 — with press, industry and charity preview events on Monday-Jan. 18 — at downtown Detroit's Cobo Center. Last year's NAIAS attracted nearly 771,000 people, according to organizers.

Sunday night's press debut of the seventh-generation Corvette is hotly anticipated, and for nearly the past three months Chevy has done much to fan the flames, teasing us with tidbits of information and blink-and-you-missed-it video images. The automaker has disclosed that the new 'Vette will have a new 6.2-liter V-8 engine that's good for 450 horsepower and a zero-to-60-mph time of less than four seconds — all while improving on its 2013 predecessor's 26 mpg; Chevy also has said the 2014 model's aerodynamics were designed with Corvette's years of racing in the American Le Mans Series in mind.

Check back for full coverage of the 2013 Detroit auto show. Until then, here are the vehicles we know about now:

By Matt Schmitz | January 10, 2013 | Comments (2)

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