Episode 788 – Opel on the Rocks, Marchionne Expects Big Profits in 2012, Farewell Cologne V-6

December 15th, 2011 at 12:00pm

Runtime: 6:55

Opel has been struggling for some time now, but it looks like the situation will get worse before it gets better.  Sergio Marchionne says he expects Fiat and Chrysler to post a $3 billion operating profit in 2012.  Tomorrow, the final Cologne V-6 will be installed in the last Ford Ranger pickup.  All that and more, plus guest host Christie Schweinsberg from WardsAuto fills us in on the winners of their annual 10 Best Engines List.

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Welcome to another episode of Autoline Daily, for Thursday, the 15th of December, 2011. You know the drill . . . I’m Christie Schweinsberg from WardsAuto.com. If the airlines cooperate, John will be back for tomorrow’s show. Anyway, on with the news!

Opel has been struggling for some time now. GM just restructured the company’s management in order to turn things around, but it looks like the situation will get worse before it gets better. According to Reuters, GM says Opel’s operating profit could fall by about 1 billion euros next year. The company expects to sell about 100,000 fewer vehicles in 2012 than it originally forecast.

While things are looking bleak for Opel, things at Chrysler and Fiat are a much different story. CEO Sergio Marchionne says he expects to post a $3 billion operating profit in 2012. And thanks to new labor deals with Fiat’s unions in Italy, the company expects to post a trading profit of up to $2.6 billion.

Nissan is looking to expand its operations in Mexico. The Wall Street Journal reports the company is looking to build another plant south of the border; it already has two in the country. Capacity of the new plant would be 200,000 units, a figure that could be increased over time. Another plant in the country would help Nissan reach its goal of hitting 10 percent market share in the U.S.

Slowly but surely, carmakers are revealing bits and pieces of what they’ll be unveiling at the Detroit Auto Show next month. GM is making some news today with two of its divisions: Buick and Cadillac. The tri-shield brand is ready to showcase a new compact crossover vehicle called the Encore. All we know about this 2013 model is that it seats five and will come with signature Buick features, like “Quiet Tuning.” It’s hard to glean much else from the ONE teaser shot released. C’mon guys, WE WANT MORE!

Next up, Cadillac. For months now the wreath and crest has carefully released information about its new compact sports sedan, the ATS. Today, GM finally gave us some meat to go with our potatoes . . . information on the car’s powertrains. The ATS will offer three different engines: a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter four-cylinder, a direct-injected 2.0-liter turbo with an “estimated” 270 horsepower, and a 3.6-liter V-6. All pretty familiar. The company is proud to boast how the turbo-four trounces its rivals in specific output, delivering an “estimated” 135 horsepower per liter. We look forward to the ATS’s formal debut next month.

The Ford Ranger has reached the end of the line, but it’s not the only thing that’s motoring off into the sunset. Tomorrow, the final Cologne V-6 will be installed into the last of these trucks. The engine has served the company well for nearly five decades! This workhorse has been on active duty in a variety of products ranging from the Mercury Capri and Bobcat, to the Ford Pinto, Mustang II and Aerostar van. It’s been offered in overhead-valve and overhead-cam configurations, and in numerous sizes. Some 25 million have been made! It was built in Germany – that’s where it gets its name from – but during the Explorer craze of the mid ‘90s demand was so high blocks were cast in Ford’s Windsor plant, shipped to Deutschland for machining and assembly, then sent back to America!

Bob Fascetti, Ford’s Director, Global Engine Engineering had this to say about the venerable engine:

“When you think of classic Ford engines of the last 50 years, the 289, the 427 and 5.0-liter probably come to mind first. But the Cologne V6 deserves to be right up there with the very best of the best engines we’ve ever built. That engine has done everything we’ve asked it to. If I had to pick a successor to the Cologne V6, I’d say it’s the new 1.0-liter EcoBoost engine, which is built in the same plant and, just like the Cologne V6, will be sold all over the world.”

Farewell Cologne V-6, we hardly knew ye.

Speaking of motors . . . on the 10th day of Christmas Ward’s Auto gave to me . . . a Best Engines List! Learn more about this year’s winners right after the break . . .

Ward’s just wrapped our annual 10-Best Engines testing and I think we arrived at yet another fun, interesting and balanced list.

We have engines in pricey vehicles, engines in inexpensive vehicles, engines that prioritize fuel economy as well as ones that satiate appetites for pure driving pleasure.

In that last category the Ford Mustang Boss 302’s V-8, the “Five-Oh,” fits the bill, churning out a retro and ridiculous 444 horsepower. But we also liked its modern amenities such as twin-independent variable camshaft timing.

In the slightly less ludicrous category, we have the 300-horsepower, silky smooth BMW 3.0-liter inline six from the 335i, and the 310-hp Audi 3.0-liter supercharged V-6. We tested the latter in the A6 but it’s important to note that, like so many engines on our list, the V-6 is omnipresent, available too in the A7, Q7 and hybrids from sister brands Porsche and Volkswagen.

Also seeing a win this year, and getting wide use, is Hyundai/Kia’s new 1.6-liter gasoline-direct-injected four-cylinder. We tested the mill in the Hyundai Accent and Kia Soul, but it’s also available in the Kia Rio and Hyundai Veloster.

My colleagues found the 1.6-liter in the Accent lively when mated to that car’s six-speed manual. And, even though the Soul’s optional stop-start system wasn’t every judge’s cup of tea, I really liked averaging 36 mpg on 50-mile-per-hour surface roads. That’s impressive considering the last Soul, which had a non-GDI 1.6, barely mustered 30 real-world miles per gallon.

While a number of winners prioritize fuel economy, such as the technology-rich Infiniti M35h hybrid, with an electric motor and two clutches that replace a torque converter, I’m bummed about one that got away: the Chevy Volt.

We scored the Volt well but some of my colleagues couldn’t get over the fiery headlines, and GM’s possible redesign of the battery pack.

Last I checked no Volt owner had so much as singed eyebrows. Sorry fellas, but, as John McLaughlin would say, “Wrong!”

And that’s the exciting conclusion of today’s newscast. I’m Christie Schweinsberg from WardsAuto. Thanks for watching, listening, downloading and participating. Make sure you check out Autoline After Hours tonight. The LIVE show kicks off at 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Peter De Lorenzo is hosting. Hell’ be joined by Todd Lassa of Motor Trend and Scott Burgess from The Detroit News. They’ll talk about China’s import tariffs, Acura’s new products and the NTSB’s proposed ban on electronic devices . . . so make sure you watch it!

Anyway, thanks again, I’ll see you next time.

Thanks to our Partners for embedding Autoline Daily on their websites: Autoblog and WardsAuto.com

68 Comments to “Episode 788 – Opel on the Rocks, Marchionne Expects Big Profits in 2012, Farewell Cologne V-6”

  1. pedro fernandez Says:

    Are we referring to the electric motor or to the generator motor in the Volt? or a combination of both? I’m confused, BTW while Sergio is predicting booming times for Chrysler/Fiat in 2012, I am predicting filing Chapter 13.

  2. Autos101 Says:

    Clueless Fanatic Christie Opines Again:

    “In that last category the Ford Mustang Boss 302’s V-8, the “Five-Oh,” fits the bill, churning out a retro and ridiculous 444 horsepower. But we also liked its modern amenities such as twin-independent variable camshaft timing.

    In the slightly less ludicrous category, we have the 300-horsepower, silky smooth BMW 3.0-liter inline six from the 335…”

    “ludicrous” for whom? For pinheaded Mary Kay “Salespersons”? Then I agree, they can do with 75 HP easily.

  3. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The Volt engine was on Wards’ 2011 list, and they described it as “TwinPort electric Hybrid,” so I think they called the whole system an “engine.”

  4. pedro fernandez Says:

    Well then, the Prius power-train deserves that honor, it is not only very efficient, it has more than proven it’s reliability in years and years of use world-wide. ps, no fires.

  5. HtG Says:

    A1, settle this for me. When an engine has big power like the Boss, how much push does the driver really get because the computer is keeping things safe? Aren’t drivers mostly imagining 400+hp?

  6. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Here’s Ward’s 2012 complete “best engines” list

    3.0L TFSI Supercharged DOHC V-6 (Audi A6)
    2.0L N20 Turbocharged DOHC I-4 (BMW Z4/528i)
    3.0L N55 Turbocharged DOHC I-6 (BMW 335i coupe)
    3.6L Pentastar DOHC V-6 (Chrysler 300S/Jeep Wrangler)
    2.0L EcoBoost DOHC I-4 (Ford Edge)
    5.0L DOHC V-8 (Ford Mustang Boss 302)
    2.0L Turbocharged DOHC I-4 (Buick Regal GS)
    1.6L DOHC I-4 (Hyundai Accent/Kia Soul)
    2.0L Skyactiv DOHC I-4 (Mazda3)
    3.5L DOHC V-6 HEV (Infiniti M35h)

    All but three are direct injection, and there is no naturally aspirated BMW six. It looks like the Ward’s jury mostly likes “new” stuff, and force-fed engines.

  7. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The Prius power train was on their list for 2010, the first year for the Gen III car.

    It seems like the “repeats” on there list are mostly BMW sixes, and various VW/Audi engines. I remember the VW 1.8 turbo being on the list multiple times, as with their 2.0 turbo, and now the supercharged 3 liter V6.

  8. G.A.Branigan Says:

    Christy McNuggetz,clueless airhead.What a waste of time.John Mc needs to improve his selection for guest hosts.Airhead should know that the BOSS 302 is extremely fuel efficient for a high performance engine and doesn’t suffer the gashog tax either.

  9. pedro fernandez Says:

    Not one single Honda or Toyota engine in there, what???? Are we supposed to believe they also lost their engineering mojo, not just their styling, and I guess durability or reliability means nothing anymore, funny how drifters and tuners will go through the trouble of importing used Japanese market engines to put in their customs and Wards doesn’t seem to think they’re any good, this is BS

  10. Ron Paris Says:

    There oughta be a law that says you can’t call yourself an “auto journalist” if you can’t pronounce Porsche properly. Geeesh!

  11. Autos101 Says:


    You raise a very good point.

    (at which point you may suspect I don’t know the answer, like politicians when you ask them sth and they start their reply with “this is an excellent question”)

    It depends of course on the RPM. 500 HP at 12,000 RPM is not good on a long trip unless you are Beethoven (the deaf one)

    As far as the computer, you can usually deactivate these chips at a cost of $100-150. My main ride has an official 282 HP (a 4.4 lt V8) and well over 300 lbft torque, and a younger colleague told me I could go above 300 HP at a cost of $150, but I did not bother. I also did not tamper with the speed limiter (a low 128 MPH)

    My secondary ride has exactly 75 HP, which is fully adequate around town given the car’s tiny 1,875 lbs! Less than your Miata, and it is a 3-dr hatch with a 1.3 lt 4, that has sat 5 in fair comfort! And real 44 MPG HWY. I assume Christie would approve..lol. This tiny car has been in the Sunbelt and with low miles it looks like new even tho its a 91-92 model!

  12. Autos101 Says:

    These turbo fours seem to have impressive HP, the Caddy one has 270 from a 2-lt, almost the same HP I get from my ’98 4.4 lt V8… at much better MPG

    But it’s really not the same… I bet that turbo will not have the cat’s purr of the V8 when I leisurely drive it off my driveway, nor the lion’s roar when I go up a long, steep grade in the interstate in a hurry…

    “Give me the Luxuries of Life, and I’ll gladly ignore the necessities.”

    –Frank Lloyd Wright. (from memory, above, they used to have it in Rolls Corniche ads)

  13. Autos101 Says:

    The question for the Turbos would be reliability, though. Many believe that normally aspirated engines are far more reliable than the turbos.

  14. Autos101 Says:

    The Ward’s list always used to have at least one Honda and one BMW engine. Both companies emphasize that they are “MOTOR” companies (the M in BMW is Motoren). Another similarity which makes their cars fun to drive is their rich Motorcycle Heritage.

  15. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I thought that too. The Ward’s list, at least recently, has been based completely on performance or “newness,” not on expected reliability over a lot of miles.

  16. Autos101 Says:

    Christie is right on the big MPG improvement start-stop systems offer. In Europe, even the cheapo “Dumb” offers it, and when you have it even the “Dumb” with the gas engine gets great MPG-as long as you don’t need the deactivated A/C.

    But in the US few Start-stop options are offered, first because of cost, and second because of no benefit EPA MPG-wise (the geniuses at the EPA found a way to not appreciate the benefit of start-stop in their voo-doo MPG calculations)

  17. pedro fernandez Says:

    I predict that the stop/start feature will lead to violence and death as the systems get old and start to malfunction. Over here, they want to kill you if you take a millisecond to move after the light turns green.

  18. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The 2006-2009 Ward’s lists had the Toyota 3.5 V6. The ’04 list had the Gen II Prius power train. It’s surprising how years have no Honda engines, though. There is always a BMW six, though.

    Anyway, you can find their “10 best engines” back to 1995, along with their selections of “10 best engines of the 20th century at:


  19. dcars Says:

    Re#1, I think US Fiat could be in a lot trouble next year, my guess is they will consolidate the New Fiat dealerships into the Chrysler dealerships. Christy’s throwing our the first punches with the Volt comments! I see we already have a few comments!

  20. Kit Gerhart Says:

    It looks like that link didn’t work right, but if you want to see the lists for all years, google “wards 10 best engines” and you find it quickly.

  21. buzzerd Says:

    Pedro it’s the best 2012 engine list not what’s been the best engine in the last 10yrs list so not durability doesn’t matter as you wouldn’t know that for years to come. Also we get it you don’t like the volt, time to move on.

  22. Autos101 Says:

    Start-stop systems have been around in millions of vehicles in Europe and elsewhere for several years now (well before 2009, when a friend got a start-stop Smart and claimed he saved $100 a week in gas over his 530 he drove around town before that.

    I never read any reports of any problems. There is no delay in starting from lights etc. Human delays are far greater than any mechanical ones.

  23. BOB LONGMATE Says:



  24. Autos101 Says:





    Ford Focus
    Hyundai Elantra
    Volkswagen Passat

    (of course I vote for the Passat Diesel. I bet the “journalists” vote for the Focus)


    BMW X3
    Honda CR-V
    Land Rover Range Rover Evoque

    (I vote for the X3. I bet the jury votes for the Emasculated cheap thrills Evoque.)

  25. Autos101 Says:


    U mean Oil Lubricated and Water cooled? Why would you cool with oil?

  26. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I haven’t had a trouble with my 22 year old Chrysler 2.5 turbo, but it doesn’t have many miles. Also, it’s a very “mild” turbo, with 150hp out of 2.5 liters.

    With some turbo engines, they are increasing the power by 50% or more, and almost doubling the peak torque, on engines that may not have been originally designed to take the higher loads. In those cases, the engine itself becomes less reliable, even if the turbocharger doesn’t fail.

  27. Kit Gerhart Says:

    That sounds like my old van. The bearing are lubricated with engine oil, and the seals are cooled with engine coolant.

    By “electronic assist,” do you mean the Ford turbos have an electric water and/or oil pump to cool the turbo for a while after you shut the engine off?

  28. HtG Says:

    Seeing as we’ve ‘degenerated’ into chatting about engine longevity, here’s a piece from the LATimes on how the state is trying to get people to stop changing their oil every 3000miles. You don’t need to.


  29. T. Bejma Says:


    The LNF (2.0L Turbo DI) engine has been around since 2007 (Solstice) and 2008 (Cobalt SS) and has proven to be very reliable, both stock and in drag racing where some have gotten it up to 1,000hp. It is currently in the wonderful Regal GS.

  30. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Speaking of that engine, would it physically fit in a Sonic without difficulty? That would be a cool car, if they could keep torque steer under control.

  31. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I hope they succeed in convincing people. If GM says to change it at 7K, and BMW says to change it at 15K, I doubt that it needs to be changed at 3K. That is just the very successful marketing that has been done by oil change shops for decades.

  32. buzzerd Says:

    @HtG good luck with that, I think it will take another decade or so to convince people of the 3000 mile myth.

  33. Autos101 Says:

    28: the States couldn’t care less if the owner’s engines are potentially damaged, so they tell them not to change oil every 3,000 to reduce the amounts of oil dumped or recycled.

    It is not just a function or miles, nor can it be a function of time only.

    For most driving conditions and engines, 3,000 is of course way, way too low. Especially if you use far more expensive pure synthetic oil (not even a blend), as I always did on my 4.4 lt V8.

    In my situation, with multiple cars and low miles driven per car, I sometimes have a car that does less than 3,000 miles a year. I don’t change the oil just because a year (or 6 months, or whatever old wive’s tale you got there) has passed.

    Non-synthetic oil changes are dirt cheap, $20 or less for most cars. But synthetics are 4 times as expensive, or more.

  34. T. Bejma Says:


    It seems like it would fit in the Sonic (definitely need to get rid of those rear drums for that update), it’s a pretty compact motor (I have the Supercharged version in my Cobalt SS). As far as torque steer, mine has virtually none! Equal length halfshafts eliminate it. That would be a ROCKET! I’d be happy if they just put it into the Cruze (and made it a coupe!)! ;-)

  35. Autos101 Says:

    BMW says to change it every 15k? not in my ’98!

    My car computer has an oil indicator which, i assumed based on time, miles driven and viscosity etc in the oil, goes from a display of five green windows to none, then a yellow window, and then a red window when its overdue, and red happens usually after a year and 5,000 miles, even with synthetic. I changed the oil last February and still have 4 green windows today.

  36. Autos101 Says:

    For SOME people, they SHOULD change the oil every 3,000 miles, if the driving conditions are harsh enough. As I wrote above, it is RIDICULOUS to base the oil change on JUST that ONE variable, the miles.

  37. Autos101 Says:

    And if you do a COST BENEFIT analysis, even when I have to shell $100 or more for a synthetic oil change, is it worth the risk causing a multi-$1000 failure in the Engine by not replacing it sooner? NO. and FIVE TIMES NO if you use cheap regular oil and a $20 or less oil change.

    That’s being penny wise and pound foolish.

  38. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I have two cars that do about 500 miles a year, but get completely warmed up every time I run them. I change the oil every two or three years, and everything is fine.

    A few years ago, a pilot friend sent some of my oil to a lab that analyzes oil from aircraft engines, and they said it was in excellent condition. I don’t know what all they check, but I think it is both for particles, etc., and for chemical issues, like acidity.

  39. Kit Gerhart Says:

    They say 15K or once a year, whichever comes first, for my MINI and a friends Z3. That is with synthetic oil, though.

  40. HtG Says:

    33 I also turn a jaundiced eye when the state says I don’t need to do something like change my oil. For the record, I follow the OEM manual, even though the helpful dealer still leaves me a tag telling me to be back real soon now, hear?

  41. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Yeah, if you have mostly very short trips, and in cold weather, you should probably change it more often than 3K. That was really the case with pre-fuel injection engines that would run sloppy rich while choking, etc., and get unburned gas and crap in the crank case.

  42. Autos101 Says:

    I once took a ride to the local airport in a Chrysler Minivan (the ‘captain’s chairs in the middle row were lousy despite the leather, BTW, narrow and uncomforable), and the driver told me that he changes the oil every WEEK. Did he do more than 3,000 miles a week? I don’t remember, but if he did not, I am sure he did not need to change it under these driving conditions!

  43. Kit Gerhart Says:

    A little surprisingly, the Toyota dealer where I got my Prius actually has the factory recommended interval on the sticker they put on the window. They say to rotate the tires at 6 months or 5000 miles, and change the (synthetic) oil once a year or 10,000 miles.

    I’ve had dealers put “3000 mile” stickers on the windshield, even when the manufacturer says more miles than that, or says “use the readout on the computer.”

  44. Autos101 Says:

    “Kit Gerhart Says:
    December 15th, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    I have two cars that do about 500 miles a year, but get completely warmed up every time I run them. I change the oil every two or three years, and everything is fine.”

    I have done so recently with our 21 year old 91 civic hatch 5-sp, I changed it with a synthetic blend at a Shell station and it was about $80, after 3 years and about 5k miles.

  45. Autos101 Says:

    The dicsount oil places always put ridiculous “3 month-3,000 mile” stickers. I of course ignore them or remove them, but there is still a residual worry when i go more than a year without a change.

  46. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Yeah, I kind of worried, with my low mile cars, even though I figured everything was alright, given that I never run them without warming them up completely. I quit worrying, after having my three year old oil analyzed that time.

  47. Brett Says:

    The odds that Christie Schweinsberg wrote one word of the copy she presented today is infintesimal. All this carping but never a peep over some of the wince-worthy stuff Peter D says…

    “cool with oil” – yeah. It’s been sprayed on the underside of pistons from the big end of con rods for decades to cool the combustion face of the piston. While, admittedly they are surely lubricating the turbo with engine oil, it is also being used to cool the bearing as well. I find no fault with Bob’s statement to that regard.

  48. Aliisdad Says:

    #25… I don’t know anything about the EcoBoost engine, but oil can play a role in cooling as well as lubricating…
    On the oil change issue, I was a 3K guy for years and years, but I now think about twice that is good with dino oil; however, with synthetic once a year under normal driving…Having both old and newer cars, I think there is a difference in how often they need to be changed…
    OK..Here’s another question!! What do you guys think is the best oil to use, or is there really any difference?? I usually am a Castrol dino or Mobil 1 synthetic user…In fact, I once had a sports car that was driven hard during the summer months, but seldom during the winter, so I used synthetic during the “driving season” for increased wear protection; but used dino for winter since it tends to stay on internal parts longer…Anyway, what oils do you use?? Also, any opinion on gas while we are asking…I prefer Chevron or Shell…

  49. Autos101 Says:

    I believe a gas of a given octane is about the same regardless of who makes it. Like Aspirin, its the same chemical formula if Bayer makes it and charges you an arm and a leg, or a chain store where 1,000 aspirin are $5!

    Same with synthetic oils, i assume they are all equivalent and interchangeable.

  50. Charles Domanski Says:

    I run Amsoil in my truck and car. The truck might get about 1500 miles a year, and the car about 5000, or 6000 miles a year. The last time I changed the oil and filters in the truck was three years ago, and I still don’t have a problem running either engine 10,000 miles or more between oil and filter changes. My truck is a Dodge Ram 1500 4×4 Sport with the 5.9 and the automatic. It has just about every option I could get on it when I bought it brand new in late 2000. The car is a 2005 Neon SXT with about 30,000 miles on it. And I change the oil and filter once a year. No problems at all. I have not had to take either vehicle back to the dealer for any problems except when I put the wrong locking gas cap on the truck. The check engine light cam on. The dealer took off the gas cap, and put on the correct locking cap. No problems after that. The truck has 57,000 miles on it. I use Amsoil full synthetic transmission fluid, Differential fluid and transfer case fluid. The only thing I am having trouble with now is rust. Of course I live in Michigan. The rust capital of the world. But I am not complaining. The rust is my own fault for letting the truck sit for eight months without driving it at all. I found out you cant do that. And as far as reliable engines go, I doubt if any engine today will run as long as the old slant six. My son had a Duster with one and the whole car was nothing but rust EVERYWHERE,even the sub frames. When I told him he had to get rid of the thing before it falls apart on the freeway, he beat the living crap out of it on the way to a junk yard and no way could he hurt that engine. It had over four hundred thousand miles on it at the time.

  51. GPL Says:

    You can get your oil analyzed by this lab for $25.


  52. cwolf Says:

    Gas and oils pretty much all share the same parameters as they exit the refinery,but the additives that each maker uses to differenciate one from the other makes a difference. Many a year ago I assisted my thermo lab grad student teacher on his project paid for by the area Sunoco refinery. The data showed the more detergents in an oil the more contaminates were accounted for exponencially as temp. and time progressed. And of course some types countered this effect by adding a different additive(and several others for other effects,such as wear,minimizing temps,stablizers)to make the usefullness of the product more linear and to their particular standards. Gas is much the same as oils. For me,Speedway gas does well,but Shell gas with that new oxygen(sounds like)additive does poorly in my Milan. Synthetics were not born at the time,so I can’t say how additives affects them.

  53. cwolf Says:

    Something you may not have known: Shortly after high school,I worked for a Shell distributor.On rare ocasions I had to drive a tanker to Toledo for a load of gas. The guy manning the valves hit a button to inject all the Shell additives as I was filling. The trucker on the other side was from Mobile or Exxon,and got a charge of that special blend. Pretty cool…huh?

  54. GPL Says:

    Some recommended reading.


  55. Andrew Charles Says:

    The 2.0 L Family II engine may not fit in the Gamma-platform Sonic. While some competitors (Renault, SEAT) have dropped big (relatively) 2.0 L engines in performance subcompacts, GM has not used anything larger than the more-compact 1.8 L Family 1, and in recent years has used a turbocharged 1.6 L Family 1 in the Corsa for performance (over 200 hp on 100-octane fuel). Since GM is now using the same European engines as the Corsa the Sonic is based on, the 1.6 Turbo is likely choice if GM decides to pump up the Sonic before the 1.5 L GDI Turbo “new small” engine arrives.

  56. Aliisdad Says:

    #53… That confirms a story confirms a story that my uncle told about when he drove a tanker truck..Sounds like there is a difference in gasolines, but it is only in the additives given each brand…I have always wondered about this since gasoline is shipped in bulk pipelines that would mix any possible differences…Thanks

  57. GPL Says:

    #56…and from a coworker whose father worked for one of those bulk pipelines – same base goes in every truck, but a mixer injected the proprietary “add pack” that made it the branded fuel.

  58. cwolf Says:

    @T Bejma: If’n yer look’in in: I might consider splurging on an ATS for my work car but need to know about the tires. I’m mot really a fan of tires smaller than a 50 series. IMO,anything with a lower profile does.nt wear well,most noisey after 15K miles,and touring tires remain rather rare. An even worse set-up for me would be like the tires on a Merc230. It has a larger/wider tire on the rear than on the front. My friend,having one,reminded me the tires can’t be rotated as normal. When the ATS arrives,perhaps we could take a review ride together and see how our opinions compare.

  59. Kit Gerhart Says:

    ” I doubt if any engine today will run as long as the old slant six.”

    My parents and I have had slant sixes, and the one problem they had was with the exhaust manifolds cracking. They had a very low torque spec for the studs attaching the manifolds, to allow the manifolds to “slip” on the head as the headed and cooled, but the long, kind of skinny exhaust manifold still tended to break in a couple places.

    In Indiana, like Michigan, with the magatons of salt on the roads, most Valiants and Darts died from rust, not from the engines wearing out or blowing up.

  60. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I’ve always used Pennzoil, Castrol, and Valvoline dino oil when I’ve changed it myself. So far, I’m on “free” oil changes at the dealer for my cars with synthetic, and I’m not sure what they use.

  61. Autos101 Says:

    I just read a review of the new 2012 or 13 Malibu Eco by the excellent Michael Karesh.

    He, as well as I, noticed the very chunky, poor looking overhangs both front and rear.

    As it turns out, instead of INcreasing the wheelbase from the current edition, somehow the geniuses at GM went back to their bad old ways… they REDUCED the wheelbase by a WHOPPING (not to say insanely idiotic!) 4.5 inches, RUINING interior room, esp in the rear!

    WHY in the world did the fools do that??? TO save a few measly bucks? BAD Old GM all over again!!!

    If you have not looked at this closely, do so and you will realize how BAD these cars with long lengths and very short wheelbases look.

  62. Autos101 Says:

    the review and the pics of the overhangs in 61 can be found in “thetruthaboutcars.com”

  63. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The Cologne V6 was a “work horse” for Ford for many years, but it belonged in a Mahindra pickup, more than in a Mustang where is was used until very recently. Still, the engine had a long, and successful run, both in pushrod and OHC versions.

  64. Kit Gerhart Says:

    With the shorter wheelbase, the new Malibu will have about the same wheelbase as Camry, and Camry seems to do ok.

    Anyway, from the TTAC article, it sounds like Malibu will be best-in-class, or nearly so, for quietness, and very good in cabin decor, but, not surprisingly, the “e-assist” mild hybrid won’t come close to Camry or Fusion hybrids in mpg.

    It looks like the best way to buy the new Malibu will be with the basic 2.5 engine. It will probably be about $2K cheaper than the mild hybrid, will have more trunk space, and will be quiet with a soft ride, for people who want that.

  65. Autos101 Says:

    64: No it does not.

    These cars look TERRIBLE. They should take a look at the 5 series, the E class and even the most recent A6 to see how a car should look like. If you don’t get it, there is little I can do.

  66. Autos101 Says:

    These above sedans have similar lengths to the Malibu Eco (the camry is shorter overall and its overhangs don’t look as bad as the Malibu’s), but vastly longer wheelbases.

    As a rule of thumb, a 190″ car should have at least 112 ” wheelbase, a 195 should h ave 115″, and a true luxury vehicle of 200″-205″ should have 120-126″ wheelbase (like the S class or the 7)

    They look and drive SO much better, and of course they have so much better and useful room inside.

    A long car with a short wheelbase looks RIDICULOUS,

    like a Morbidly obese mother-in-law with tiny feet and shoes…LOL

  67. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Well, aesthetics of cars, as with other things, are in the eye of the beholder. Most of the comments on AW about the appearance of the new Malibu were positive. Also, I suspect a lot of people like the looks of that other car pictured in the TTAC Malibu article, 8 foot rear overhang and all.

    It looks like the new Malibu traded some rear seat space for trunk space, while your “7″ and some other cars do the opposite. Different people, and car companies, have different priorities.

  68. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I should have said, the “other car” pictured is a ’61 Coupe de Ville.