By: Mark Bono
Rumors have been swirling around about GM’s half-ton trucks gaining an eight-speed automatic transmission for the 2015 model year. We were let down after the release of the 2015 Order Guide for the Silverado and Sierra did not contain any mention of them gaining GM’s new eight-speed automatic. We naturally thought the full-size twins will be soldiering on for another year with the six-speed automatic transmission.
Today though we have received two pictures from an anonymous source confirming that the 2015 full-size trucks will be getting the new eight-speed transmission with a catch….. Just like when GM transitioned from the four-speed automatic to the six-speed automatic back in 2008, the top engine will the only one gaining the new transmission. The 4.3 liter V-6 and 5.3 liter V-8 will soldier on with the six-speed automatic while the 6.2 liter V-8 will be paired with the new eight-speed transmission.
GM offers the 6.2-liter V-8 in Double and Crew Cab half-tons with the max trailering package, Silverado High Country and Sierra Denali. In all half-ton applicaitons the engine generates 420 horsepower and 460 foot-pounds of torque.
The new eight speed is apparently the 8L90, which recently debuted in the 2015 Corvette Z06 and will be offered in the 2015 Corvette Stingray as well. The EcoTec3 6.2 liter V-8 in the half-tons is a derivative of the 6.2-liter V-8 that powers the Corvette Stingray. Although no details are known, we can likely expect incremental increases in both performance and fuel economy thanks to the two new cogs.
By Jeremy Korzeniewski
This, ladies and gentlemen, is the 2015 Kia Sedona. The automaker is sticking firm with its convictions in the minivan segment, but it’s hedging its bets, saying the Sedona’s “CUV-like styling and proportions offer all of the functional convenience of the segment while defying its design limitations.”
The 2015 Sedona can be configured to seat either seven or eight occupants, and its size specifications put it right at or near the top of its class in most categories, including leg room. Kia says this is the final piece of the styling puzzle that started when design director Peter Schreyer took the helm of the Korean company’s studio. We certainly see some masculine cues, especially with its high belt line and relatively small windows. We think the end result is pretty attractive though it falls clearly in minivan territory, you’re welcome to draw your own conclusions after scrolling through the image gallery above.
Kia promises the new Sedona will provide “an element of desire” with “improved driving dynamics” to go along with all that room inside. To that end, the new Sedona’s chassis is reportedly 36-percent stiffer than the best of its competition, due to a body shell crafted from 76-percent high-strength steel. Kia expects a five-star safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, though the van has yet to be crash tested.
We’ll have to wait a bit before we can test Kia’s claims of driving enjoyment, which is often lacking in the minivan segment, but we’re at least sure to enjoy the Sedona’s 3.3-liter V6 and its 276 horsepower and 248 pound-feet of torque, routed through a six-speed automatic transmission to the front wheels. Again, those specifications are right in line with class leaders.
Kia’s latest UVO technology will be included, which will come with a new Kia App Store that we look forward to hearing more about, and there are extras for both the Apple and Google ecosystems. A cooled glove box is helpful in this segment, as are USB ports for charging and household-style outlets. We’re also pleased that Kia has fitted the minivan with a Surround View Monitor to help parking and maneuvering in tight spaces.
By Brandon Turkus
We imagine the conversation among Chevrolet’s product planners that led to a greenlight for a US-spec Chevrolet Trax went something like this: “Hey, the Buick Encore is selling like mad. It’s proven that people love subcompact crossovers. Quick, let’s import a vehicle from Canada.”
Okay, so it probably didn’t go quite like that, but it seems logical that the US arrival of the Trax – which has been on sale in the Great White North and other markets since late 2012 – had a lot to do with the success of the Encore. Couple that with the impending arrival of the Renegade, and perhaps Chevy sees a market ripe for small crossoverization.
When the Trax arrives in the US market at some unspecified future date (probably early 2015), it will have a fair amount in common with the Encore, with which it shares a platform. Underhood, the same 1.4-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder will send power to either the front or to all four wheels while producing 138 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque. It’s good to see this engine gain another assignment, as it’s already impressed in both the Cruze and Sonic. A six-speed automatic will be the sole gearbox.
In the cabin, the Encore and the Trax share identical measurements, meaning that passengers in both the front and back should have a reasonable amount of space. Not surprisingly, the Chevy’s cabin materials don’t look quite as nice as its tri-shielded cousin, although this sort of difference between Chevy and Buick is to be expected. What the Trax does have going for it, though, is a wealth of technology. Chevy MyLink, Siri Eyes Free and OnStar 4G LTE will all be available for customers to take advantage of.
As for its exterior, it’s kind of like someone fired a shrink ray at the Equinox. It’s clean and attractive, although we’d have liked a bit more visual panache, like the Sonic. Sixteen-inch wheels are standard on the lower two trim levels (LS and LT), while the top-flight LTZ is fitted with a set of 18-inch hoops.