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Old August 25th, 2004, 11:26 AM   #1
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Chevrolet Car Expo @ work today

so along with the free hot dogs I went to checkout the cars too.


2004 Malibu

The 3.5L V6 engine is phsyically very compact (much smaller than any Japanese V6) thanks to the space efficient pushrod architecture. Interior was actually VERY nicely designed. I had plenty of room, and there were no cheap shiny plastics that I could tell. There's nothing about the interior that would stop me from buying one. Best of all, V6 power, but 32 mpg highway.

2004 Equinox

This is the new crossover SUV. I really like the exterior. Materials wise the interior is very nice also and NOTHING like old-school GM "playskool" interiors. It's a bit quirky, though. There's the center mounted shifter, but not detent indicators?? I guess that's on the dash, but that's just sorta weird. Also, the center storage area and armrest is about the weirdest thing I've ever seen. Very odd. And the 8000 rpm tachometer doesn't have a redline, or a red zone, or anything. Looks weird. Maybe it lights up differently when it's running. Overall I liked it and would definitely consider buying one, but I'd rather wait for them to put the new 3.5L (200hp/220tq) or coming 3.9L (240hp/245tq) rather than the 3.4L (170hp/205tq??) that's in there now.

2004 Silverado SS

This thing is sweet. Not as quick as a Dodge Ram SRT-10 or the Ford F-150 Lightning, but it has the extended cab and AWD, so it's a more practical performance truck. Had 20" wheels and a 6.0L Vortec V8 good for 345hp/380tq. Not sure how it performs but a quick check of mags says 0-60 in 6.3s and 1/4 mile in 14.8. Not sure if that's about right, slow, or quick, so who knows. But since it's a small-block chevy, modding potential is near limitless.

Other

They also had a Tahoe, Trailblazer, Impala, and a Cavalier but those are old-school designs (except trailblazer) so I really don't have any interest in those. The new designs are all excellent though.

Oh, one more....

2003 BMW 325i used

I always wondered how well I'd fit in an E46, and I had plenty of room. And this is really a great compliment to GM when I say this, but I just wasn't impressed by the interior of the BMW vs the Chevys they had there. The interior was by no means bad at all, but YES, GM has improved THAT much. One of the salespeople asked me if I wanted to take it for a test drive, but uhhhh....it was a 2.5L auto and I drive a lighter 3.0 manual so I knew I wouldn't be impressed and declined.

From this thread, I've been curious about and steadily learning more about different engine architectures. Since the hood was popped on most of the cars, including the Silverado SS, I decided to take a peek under the hood of the 325i too. According to this site, Inline-6 engines are massive and very inefficient on power vs physical space and weight, which I believe, but wanted to see for myself. Yes, they were right. That mofo is MASSIVE!!! Even at only 2.5L the engine is literally crammed into the 3-series. It's almost solid up against the firewall and there's not even an inch to spare in front - barely a finger gap between the front of the engine and where the front clip begins.

BMW's Inline-6 engine was by far the LARGEST engine there in terms of physical space and probably even weight, despite being only 184hp and 2.5L. The Chevy 3.4/3.5L pushrod V6's were tiny in comparison, and even the huge 6.0L 345hp V8 in the Silverado SS was a TON smaller. I kid you not. Pushrod V engines are incredibly space efficient. Even the 3.0L VQ V6 in my Maxima is "big" physically compared to the GM V6's. This picture helps you to understand a lot, but seeing them in person side by side closes the deal.

Wow! JUST WOW!!


==================

Anyhow, overall I was VERY impressed. Given that the average GM car is now more reliable than the average Nissan, and that they're starting to nip on the heels of Toyota and Honda (link), I'm now very open to purchasing a GM car in the future.


Keep up the great work, Bob Lutz!

When you're done at GM, stop by either Toyota or Honda.
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Old August 25th, 2004, 01:24 PM   #2
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im glad you made those comments about the malibu, ive checked them out and i really have no idea why the mags/media are bashing it. its got solid performance, good looks, and its cheap. i will agree that gm interiors arent SO bad on their new new stuff, but their interiors from the mid 70s to current day cars have literally driven me away from owning anything other than my cimarron (i just love the irony on that car).

im actually surprised to hear you talk about small pushrod engines in a good light tho.. you kinda give the impression of being anti pushrod in reference to family cars.. this is just my impression, keep in mind.

the last time the big car show came through here, the thing that honestly impressed me the most (in the gm area) was the aveo.. i know its not a chevy, but its just striking how much the cavalier sucks when you sit in the aveo. lol. the cavalier should have been put to pasture probly 4 years ago, and the aveo is by no means a standout.. it just brings the cavalier's inadequacy into bright contrast.



not to hijack but i just a day or two ago wrote a post that covers my opinion on the pushrod thing.. which originated as a import vs domestic v6 discussion. not trying to insult anyones ohc engine here, btw..
Quote:
its more about design choices than who builds the 'better' v6.. american v6s usually put their money in the right place.. driveability. and they save a lot of money by not going all out and designing in things people dont need, like a powerband that goes to 7k.

keeping in mind how hp is extrapolated, you have to realize that if you took the peak torque numbers of most low revving american v6s and translated them up to 5500-6500 rpm, theyd be making the same hp as the imports.. so the hp numbers are in significant part about WHERE the power is, and since american v6s tend to keep the powerband low, and easy to get to, they suffer in numbers comparisons to the higher revving import motors.

america can definitely build that kind of motor if it wants to.. lets talk about the old 180-190 hp ho quad 4, a high revving, big numbers 4 cylinder at a time when imports were only just THINKING about trying to bring those kind of things to america.

then lets talk about the 3.4 dohc, somewhat based on the quad 4. it was emissions certified at 281 hp, VERY similar to the 350z's numbers (which are mostly marketing.. the maxima, altima, and 350z, g35's etc etc all put out pretty much the same thing on the dyno), and it was only detuned to 215 because they couldnt warranty any transmission of the time behind it.

this was in 1991, mind you. then the northstar, sorta based on the 3.4, came out in 93, very comparable to say, infiniti's dohc v8 of the time. stil a good motor 11 years later.

and of course, if gm built a modern equivalent of their lt5 (again based on lessons learned from their earlier high revving dohc projects, 2.3, 3.4, 4.6), itd make about 650 hp, in all likelihood. but they decided to stick with their ohv and low rpm powerbands, and really, WHO is complaining?? ls1 vettes and f-bodies with 3k in mods are spanking a huge cross section of more advanced import cars, 1 single cylinder head of which would probly cost 3k.



on a more personal note, lets take the example of my totally underpowered (on paper) 3.3 dynasty. ohv, 12 valves, 5500 rpm redline, 150 hp, 180 torque.

and lets compare it to some of the more modern family car favorites, like the 190 hp 4th gen maxima, the 200 hp 6th gen accord, and the 192hp camry. all have more advanced design and a higher powerband.

now, my dynasty has run a million 16.4s, a lot of 16.3s and a few 16.2s. the times for those cars in similar automatic trim are generally 3-4 tenths and a few mph better than the dynasty.

BUT, ive raced them all and kept right along with them or even had a lead, up til about 70 mph, where they leave me. so yeh, those couple tenths and few mph are all pretty much between 70-87 or whatever they trap..

and in reality, the average driver couldnt care less.

all the cars are within about 200 lbs of each other..

so really, i think its mostly about selling cars.. you have to make things sound more advanced and have bigger numbers over time, or people will think you're resting on your laurels.. so you do it.. even if it doesnt benefit them.

look at dodge's current stratus.. the 2.7 v6 makes great power, considering its size, and up til about a year or two ago the numbers were pretty competitive in its class.. but its not any faster than my dynasty in the 1/4! it weighs about the same, uses the same tranny, geared way lower, 50 more hp, and all it has over me is 4mph?? if they put the current 3.3 in it, itd be a mid 15 car. but they cant do that!! 2.7/200 hp to 3.3/180 hp is a HUGE STEP DOWN!!

right? :P

Last edited by Vigo; August 25th, 2004 at 01:26 PM..
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Old August 25th, 2004, 01:50 PM   #3
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Yeah I come off as being pro-import and anti-domestic, but only because of my 3 year old screen name. I really should change it to something else but I'm too well-known on this one. My next car will probably be a GM with a pushrod V6 or V8.

Nice post, I agree with what you say and having an accessible powerband. But I'd like to see some supporting evidence saying the 3.4L DOHC was good for 281hp. Also, as for the Nissan VQ35DE engines from the Altima all the way up to the Z, they are NOT all the same. There are a few different versions. Sorta like the 3800 Series I vs II vs III. More details here
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Old August 26th, 2004, 12:49 AM   #4
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hey thats the engine comparison pic i used in that other thread

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Old August 26th, 2004, 08:10 AM   #5
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I am going to wait and see how the new 3.9L v6 is going to perform.

If it does well I think I will pick up a G6 GXP in a couple years. Sopposted to have a GXP trim line above the GTP trim according to Spoon. Im not holding my breath tho lol. If no GXp then i might think about the GTP trim but thats a couple years off.

PS. gotta like the Displacement on Demand that is coming out from GM.
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Old August 26th, 2004, 10:23 PM   #6
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heh, i knew id get called on that here.. but i didnt know enough to open my mouth about it, so i played dumb, since they dont care over there anyway.. actually i still dont really know much about the different gens/versions of the vq35 even after reading that thread.

back to your original topic, in respect to the equinox, i cant respect it as a finished, complete package until gm puts something other than the 3.4 in it. did they think noone would notice that the malibu gets the 3.5, and the vue gets the honda motor with 70 more hp on the same platform ?? to me, its a slap in the face from gm and i will be sticking to my ultimately meaningless 'internet boycott' of the equinox until gm changes that.

granted, the 3.5 vue carries a nearly 2k higher pricetag, but the LEAST they could do is put the 3.5 in there, and eventually the 3900 or make the honda motor an option in the meantime..

maybe having a honda motor in a mainstream chevy so to speak wouldnt go over with their clientele.. and it would with saturn because nobody cares?? i dunno.
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Old August 26th, 2004, 10:59 PM   #7
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Sounds like you had a good time . We had a GM Autoshow in Motion down in Miami last year (here) but I was too young to drive any of the cars (have to be 21 or older) . The comparison tests were a bit biased since they had some of the highest version GM's go up against the lowest versions of there competition.

Not sure about them keeping all of there pushrod engines. The new 3.6L VVT DOHC V6 is going into the 2005 Buick LaCrosse. I think it's also going into the Buick Terraza crossover minivan.

LaCrosse: http://www.buick.com/lacrosse/
Terraza: http://www.buick.com/terraza/



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Old August 26th, 2004, 11:15 PM   #8
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The LaCrosse will have the 3800 Series III pushrod as a base engine and then the 3.6L "HF" DOHC VVT V6 on higher trims. The Regal guys are upset about no more supercharged option. The VVT engine will have most of the horsepower of the supercharged engines, but won't come even remotely close to the torque.
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Old August 27th, 2004, 12:26 PM   #9
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heh, 'progress' at work, eh? eh?
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Old August 27th, 2004, 01:11 PM   #10
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yeah, i hear ya. "progress"

all those fancy cams and valves and VVT, and the engine is a helluva lot larger (physical space wise) and more expensive to produce than the last one, yet it's still not as powerful.
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Old August 27th, 2004, 06:51 PM   #11
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mark my words...the push-rob v motors will make a comeback. GMs refusel to let them go was , at this point in time (ahem), a good idea.
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Old August 28th, 2004, 11:17 PM   #12
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if only they would build twin cam pushrods like the concept a few years back... they would be king.

WEight benefits
Cost benefits
space benefits
Twin Cam benefits

its a win win situation
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Old August 29th, 2004, 04:20 PM   #13
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yeh, i think with all the money that goes into making very complicated head castings right now, they could easily put the same money into making a twin in cam ohv setup's valvetrain as light and strong as possible so that noone would know the difference. and of course 3 valve ohv heads need to be put to more use. it would be easy to do if someone would do it.. i think gm will in their next gen of small blocks, but the LS series aint ANYWHERE near done yet, so we'll have to wait and enjoy what they've already given us.
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