BMW, Cars, International News

Next-gen BMW 2 Series Coupé to stay rear-wheel drive


The arrival of the F44 BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé has added further complication to the 2 Series line-up, which currently has the rear-wheel drive Coupé, as well as front-wheel drive models like the Active Tourer and Gran Tourer MPV.

But amidst all the confusion, 2 Series product manager Gernot Stuhl said the Coupé model will go on as a rear-wheel drive model in the future, and the high-performance M2 will crown the range, Autocar reports.

The F44 2 Series Gran Coupé is a front-wheel drive model using the same FAAR platform as the F40 1 Series, and the range-topping GC is the M235i powered by the same B48 2.0 litre four-cylinder engine as the F40 M135i. BMW M won’t be making full-blown M versions of the M135i and M235i, with Stuhl saying that “there’s not much missing” in terms of driving dynamics.

In fact, BMW M president Markus Flasch said the front-wheel drive platform is not suitable for high-performance M. As it is, the 2.0 litre engine in the M135i, M235i Gran Coupé, and X2 M35i is the Bavarian company’s most powerful four-cylinder engine, making 306 PS and 450 Nm of torque. This also means BMW will not have a direct rival to the W177 Mercedes-AMG A 45 S 4Matic.

The good news is, Stuhl said “there will still be a hardcore BMW M2 for those that want it” when the next-generation 2 Series comes along. He did not reveal any technical details, but said “if you feel you need a compact car with more than 300 hp, there will be an offering for you in the BMW range.”

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Recreation/Autos

Monthly Update for September 2019 – 2017 Honda CR-V Long-Term Road Test


2017 Honda CR-V: Monthly Update for September 2019

by Will Kaufman, Content Strategist and News Editor

Where Did We Drive It?

Do you like fun facts? Josh Sadlier, director of content strategy (and my boss), likes fun facts. After all, he went to Harvard. So if you want one of Josh’s Fun Facts about the fifth-generation Honda CR-V, read this update! I’m going to bury it at the end so you don’t have a choice but to soak in all the other sweet content on offer.

That other sweet content mostly revolves around the touchscreen’s ongoing meltdown. You know, the kind of thing you might want to read about if you’re considering buying a CR-V.

What Kind of Fuel Economy Did It Get?
High drama! Our 2017 Honda CR-V’s fuel economy edged down one-tenth in September to 27.5 mpg. Life in traffic + turbocharged motor + climate-change-induced heat waves = bad juju for fuel economy.

Over our years with the CR-V, individual months have lived up to (or exceeded) the combined EPA estimate of 30 mpg. Just this month we averaged 31.9 mpg over a 323-mile tank. For the most part, though, L.A. has proved a tough eco-nut for the CR-V to crack.

Average lifetime mpg: 27.5
EPA mpg rating: 30 combined (28 city/34 highway)
Best fill mpg: 38.9
Best range: 425.5 miles
Current odometer: 38,192 miles

Maintenance and Upkeep
None.

Logbook Highlights

Technology
“The screen freaked out again. While running errands over the weekend, the CR-V’s entertainment screen had ‘an episode,’ let’s say. It would randomly choose options and rapidly switch between brightness modes all by itself. It was as if someone was quickly tapping the lower-left section of the screen.

“This behavior continued until I power-cycled the car. It’s extremely frustrating because it essentially makes the screen useless until you stop and restart the car. Looking back at earlier comments, we experienced this issue throughout 2018 and once in 2019.” — Carlos Lago, manager, feature content

“Update on the screen freak-out: It’s no longer happening. The touchscreen is operating as intended — for now. The only hiccup I experience is the occasional Android Auto crash, but I don’t know if it’s my phone or the car. It’s annoying, sure, but a quick physical reconnect seems to fix it.” — Carlos Lago

“Touchscreen weirdness continues, but it’s never the same thing twice. I’ve yet to experience the phantom brightness switching again, but Android Auto continues to crash at random. It remains an easy fix — unplug and plug it back in — but it’s annoying nevertheless. Occasionally the screen doesn’t acknowledge inputs, but this tends to go away after a restart. The most frustrating part of all this is that it’s not repeatable, so a dealer won’t take care of it.” — Carlos Lago

“Touchscreen weirdness, Part XXII: I was listening to satellite radio on my drive into work, and the touchscreen would only let me select preset stations. The channel up/down arrows wouldn’t work. Then a new twist: The screen just blacked out a couple of times, but the music was still playing and eventually the screen came back.

“I turned to the great Google machine, and it’s a problem that more than a few drivers have had — it’s even inspired a few YouTube videos. A few of the drivers on a thread at the CR-V Owners Club site said they experienced the blackouts while using Apple CarPlay, but that wasn’t the case here and Carlos had the problem when he was using Android. This glitch is just a case of all-around touchscreen funkiness.” — Kathleen Clonts, copy chief

Miscellaneous
“A surprising fact about the CR-V is that it hasn’t grown much since its debut in the ’90s. Nose to tail, the current CR-V is only 3 inches longer than the original. That’s great news for drivers because it means the CR-V remains eminently maneuverable in tight spots. It drives and parks like a compact car, yet its cavernous interior gives it the versatility of a midsize SUV. No wonder Honda can’t make enough of these things.” — Josh Sadlier, director, content strategy



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2021 Rolls-Royce Ghost spy shots


Get ready for a second generation of the Rolls-Royce Ghost, a car you’d buy if you’re filthy rich but not an all-out baller.

Prototypes for a redesigned version of Rolls-Royce’s entry-level sedan have been spotted ahead of an expected debut in late 2020 or early the following year. We should see it arrive as a 2021 model.

The prototypes reveal the British marque is going with an evolutionary look for its new Ghost, just as it did with the redesign of its Phantom flagship for 2018.

2021 Rolls-Royce Ghost spy shots – Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

There’s some extra curvature in the body, especially along the top of the front fenders. The design also appears to be wider and lower than the current Ghost, lending the new car a more imposing stance. The length looks to be similar to the current model, meaning a total length of about 212 inches and a wheelbase of about 130 inches.

While the exterior doesn’t change much, underneath is a new platform. It’s an aluminum spaceframe design exclusive to Rolls-Royce and so far we’ve seen it in the Phantom and Cullinan lines. Beyond the Ghost, the platform should also spawn redesigned versions of the Wraith and Dawn two-doors.

Power should come from the same 6.75-liter twin-turbocharged V-12 fitted to the Phantom and Cullinan. The smooth operator generates 563 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque, the latter as low as 1,700 rpm. Mated to an 8-speed automatic and driving the rear wheels, the V-12 should hustle the Ghost to 60 mph in well under 5.0 seconds and to a governed top speed of 155 mph.

2021 Rolls-Royce Ghost spy shots - Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

2021 Rolls-Royce Ghost spy shots – Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

No doubt there will be some impressive suspension wizardry to keep occupants comfy, even on the harshest of roads. Self-leveling air suspension and advanced chassis management to control roll and suspension stiffness should be fitted.

Naturally, the interior will offer ultimate luxury. But there will be tech, too. These should include features such as a surround-view camera system, night vision, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warnings, cross-traffic alerts, lane departure warnings, a wi-fi hotspot and a head-up display.

Stay tuned for updates as development continues.



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Daimler recalling some Mercedes EQC electric cars over a single bolt

FRANKFURT — Daimler is recalling some new Mercedes-Benz EQC electric cars because of a potentially defective bolt in the differential, the company said on Tuesday.

Daimler AG has determined that on certain EQC vehicles the bolt in the front axle differential transmission might not meet durability specifications. Thus, it cannot be ruled out, that the bolt breaks over lifetime,” the carmaker said.

The fault could interrupt torque transmission to the front axle, leading to a vehicle stall. Additionally, if parts of the broken bolt become lodged within the differential transmission, this might affect the ability to control the vehicle, increasing the risk of a crash, Daimler said.

German industry publication kfz betrieb, which initially reported details of the recall, said 1,700 vehicles were targeted. Daimler declined to comment on the number of vehicles affected.

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Audi, Audi A4, BMW, BMW 330, BMW 330 2019, BMW 330 2020, Chevrolet, Chevrolet Malibu, Ford, Ford Fusion, Honda, Honda Accord, hyundai, Hyundai Sonata, Kia, Kia Optima, Lexus, Lexus ES 350, Mazda, Mazda Mazda6, Mercedes-Benz, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Nissan, Nissan Altima, Nissan Maxima, Subaru, subaru outback, Tesla, Tesla Model 3, Toyota, Toyota Camry

IIHS Testing Finds Pedestrian Detection Systems Vary Widely in Crash Protection | News from Cars.com



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IIHS pedestrian crash system testing

IIHS images

Pedestrian crash-prevention systems with automatic braking on 16 mid-size cars vary widely in their ability to detect and avoid hitting people in the street, according to the latest round of testing by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Related: Which SUVs Have the Best Pedestrian Detection Systems?

But results overall were fairly positive. Four luxury and two mainstream mid-size cars and wagons got the top rating, called superior (out of superior, advanced, basic or none), for pedestrian crash prevention. Another six cars rated a notch lower, at advanced. Four non-luxury cars, however, earned only a basic rating or got no credit at all. Here are the 16 (some have two scores because they offer both standard and optional systems):

Vehicles Rated Superior

  • 2019 Audi A4 (standard system)
  • 2019-20 BMW 3 Series (standard)
  • 2020 Subaru Outback (standard)
  • 2019-20 Mercedes-Benz C-Class (optional upgraded system)
  • 2019-20 Nissan Maxima (optional for 2019, standard for 2020)
  • 2019 Volvo S60 (standard)

Vehicles Rated Advanced

  • 2019-20 BMW 3 Series (optional upgraded system — yes, worse than the base system)
  • 2019-20 Honda Accord (standard)
  • 2019-20 Lexus ES 350 (standard)
  • 2019 Mazda 6 (standard)
  • 2019-20 Nissan Altima (optional)
  • 2019-20 Tesla Model 3 (standard)
  • 2019-20 Toyota Camry (standard)

Vehicles Rated Basic

  • 2019-20 Chevrolet Malibu (optional camera-only system)
  • 2019-20 Chevrolet Malibu (optional camera and radar system)
  • 2019-20 Mercedes-Benz C-Class (standard system)

No Credit

  • 2019-20 Ford Fusion (standard system)
  • 2019 Hyundai Sonata (optional)
  • 2019 Kia Optima (optional)

More Cars Have Pedestrian Systems Standard

IIHS is ramping up testing of pedestrian protection, having earlier tested a batch of SUVs. The vast majority of automakers have agreed to make automatic emergency braking standard by 2022, and they’re increasingly upgrading such systems to detect and automatically brake for pedestrians, not just other vehicles. According to IIHS, about two-thirds of front crash systems offered on 2019 model-year vehicles have pedestrian detection. In many cases, these systems now are standard.

“Pedestrians are the most vulnerable road users, so it’s encouraging that pedestrian crash prevention systems are standard equipment in 12 out of the 16 mid-size cars we tested, including five out of six superior-rated systems,” said IIHS President David Harkey in a statement. The agency will factor pedestrian detection into its overall testing for Top Safety Pick and Top Safety Pick Plus awards beginning with the 2020 model year, spokesman Russ Rader has told Cars.com. It began testing pedestrian detection in February.

Halloween Is Scariest Day for Pedestrians

IIHS notes that its latest results come just ahead of Halloween, which is consistently the deadliest day for U.S. pedestrians. That’s thanks in part to trick-or-treaters and, we suspect, increasingly partying adults in awkward costumes. IIHS claims that from 2013 to 2017, the two deadliest days for pedestrians on average were Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 (after midnight on Halloween). Citing its own study of federal crash data, IIHS notes that annual pedestrian fatalities had increased markedly since a 2009 low. More than 6,000 pedestrians were killed in 2018, up 53 percent since 2009, according to the agency.

How Cars Were Tested

Most frontal crash systems use one or two cameras, in some cases augmented by radar sensors, to look for objects ahead. Vehicle software now can detect pedestrians as well as vehicles, and in some cases identify bicycles or animals. If a collision is imminent, the system alerts the driver and can hit the brakes to prevent or mitigate a crash.

IIHS tests three scenarios with dummies: an adult stepping into the street ahead of a vehicle with an unobstructed view, a child darting into the street from behind two parked cars, and an adult pedestrian near the side of the road facing away from traffic. The first two tests are done at 12 and 25 mph; the pedestrian near the side of the road is tested at 25 and 37 mph. In each test, the system has 1 or 2 seconds to stop the car to avoid the pedestrian. The tests are done in daylight on dry pavement. IIHS notes that such systems might not perform as well at night, but it says a vehicle with lights rated well in the agency’s headlight evaluations should be able to spot pedestrians.

The six superior-rated vehicles slowed dramatically in IIHS tests, in most cases avoiding the dummy or greatly reducing the risk of severe injury. Notably, the mainstream Nissan Maxima’s system avoided the pedestrian in all tests. Advanced-rated systems also achieved major speed reductions, though less consistently. The basic-rated systems failed to do so in one or more tests, while those that earn no credit failed in multiple scenarios. For example, the Ford Fusion, which got no credit, didn’t slow down at all for the simulated child darting into the street and slowed only slightly for the adult stepping into the street.

“The child dashing out from behind parked cars is a very challenging test,” said Harkey. “But it’s fitting that it was one of the main things that separated the top systems from the rest of the pack, since that is certainly a frightening scenario on Halloween or any day.”

More From Cars.com:

Cars.com’s Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with Cars.com’s long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don’t accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of Cars.com’s advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.




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2019 Ram 1500, General Chat, Industry Insights

Is the RAM Pickup Set to Dethrone the Chevrolet Silverado as the #2 Selling Vehicle in the United States? – The CarGurus Blog


Since 1980, the Chevrolet Silverado has consistently outsold the RAM Pickup. However, the story is changing. Calendar year to date (CYTD) through May 2019, RAM has outsold the Chevrolet Silverado by more than 21,000 units.

And on CarGurus in June, we saw increased shopper interest in RAM and a dip in interest in the Chevrolet Silverado.

With June OEM sales numbers set to be released tomorrow, we expect to see the trend continue. So, what’s driving the gap? One of the main factors is the launch of the legacy RAM Classic trim.

RAM Is Winning on Affordability and Technology

Affordability has been a major issue in the pickup truck
segment. For instance, the 2019 RAM 1500’s average MSRP is now above $50,000, and the Chevrolet Silverado 1500’s average MSRP is just below $50,000. The higher price comes with new technology, including a 5-inch Uconnect touchscreen standard for RAM and the option of a 12-inch screen, which rivals the tablet found in Tesla’s Model S.

RAM’s solution to the affordability problem is to keep its
previous-generation vehicle, now called the RAM Classic, and price it lower than other new trucks. The RAM Classic trim’s average MSRP sits just above $40,000. While the Classic lacks some of the new technology, engine offerings, and towing capabilities of the new RAM, its relative affordability appeals to price-sensitive
consumers who are willing to make those tradeoffs.

By making both the new RAM 1500 and the RAM Classic
available, RAM addresses two different segments: those buying for technology and safety, and those buying for value.

Who Will End the Year as the Second-Best-Selling Vehicle in the US?

Looking at the historic sales seasonality of both the RAM
and Silverado, both sell over 60% of their volume from June through December. However, with RAM’s 21,000-unit lead through the end of May, the Chevrolet Silverado may have a difficult time closing the gap by the end of the year. That means for the first time, the RAM 1500 will end the year as the second best-selling vehicle in the United States.

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Tentrax Tailgater Trailer Is About To Upgrade Your Pre-Game Party

We feature all kinds of cool motorhomes and recreational vehicles in the digital halls of Motor1.com. We love camping, overlanding, vanlife, you name it. We also love tailgating, and we know there are plenty of folks who love taking the camper to the stadium for some in-depth home-away-from-home partying. That’s why this particular creation from a company called Tentrax caught our attention, because it’s not a big camper. In fact, it’s not a camper at all.

 

It’s called the Tentrax Tailgater, and it’s basically an all-in-one party built into a tiny towable package. The small single-axle trailer rides on full-size tires and is made of fiberglass so it shouldn’t be a problem for pretty much anything to tow. As the Facebook post explains, it contains a large cooler with a drain, not to mention an integrated tap to quickly access your favorite tailgating beverage. When you get hungry, a pull-out kitchen with a sink, small refrigerator, and workspace is available as well.

The cool Tailgaiter is also equipped with electrical power and offers a mount for a flat-screen TV under the trailer’s folding lid. The mount can accommodate a screen up to 65 inches, and to make sure everyone can hear what’s happening, a sound system is also built into the trick trailer. Judging from what we see in the photos, about the only thing missing is a couch to kick back on.

Tentrax offers a modest line of small trailers for both camping and cargo, and a quick look at the company’s website suggests they have a particular fondness for overlanding. As such, this new Tailgater appears to be based on current designs and is slated for a launch sometime in 2020. As for price, nothing is mentioned at this point but the company’s cargo hauler – the least expensive trailer Tentrax offers – lists online for $3,995.



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Cars, Local News, Perodua

Perodua invests RM7m to outsource old model parts production – Kancil, Kelisa, Viva, first-gen Myvi


We always think of car plants as production centres for new cars and their parts, but rarely spare a thought for parts for discontinued models. Somebody’s got to make them, and they take up space and capacity. Perodua has now done something about it, by outsourcing the function.

Malaysia’s market leader says that it is centralising parts production for past models with the launch of a new press stamping machine at its supplier IQM in Tanjung Malim today. Perodua says that the move is one of its initiatives to help expand their vendors’ business and capabilities, bringing them one step closer to becoming global automotive suppliers.

Perodua made a RM7 million investment on the machine, including its transportation and installation. The 1,600 metric tonne hydraulic press stamping machine will produce body parts such as bonnets, side outer panels, rear quarter panels, fenders, doors and roofs for past old models such as the first-gen Myvi, Viva, Kelisa and even the Kancil. The dies required to make the parts have also been moved to IQM.

It’s win-win. For Perodua, this frees up much-needed factory space, simplifies the entire operation, reduces lead time and cost, and makes it easier to monitor production under one roof. Perodua also assists IQM in terms of skill transfer and training where past model parts production is concerned.

“Perodua’s decision to centralise past model parts production at IQM is four-pronged. One, we want to continue supporting owners of our past models with quality, quick and affordable parts through our body and paint business, because as long as you own a Perodua vehicle – old or new – we will always be there for you,” said Perodua president and CEO Datuk Zainal Abidin Ahmad.

“Two, we are committed to empowering all 135 of our Malaysian suppliers, not just by buying from them but helping to develop them via skill and technology transfers. Three, it represents our commitment to the nation and its economy by helping to boost the competitiveness of the Malaysian automotive eco-system. Finally, it represents our commitment to ourselves. To keep improving our quality and efficiency so that Perodua can be a better and leaner company moving forward,” he added.

Since rolling out the first Kancil in 1994, Perodua has sold over 3.7 million cars in Malaysia and currently, a third of the demand for Perodua parts is for past models.

On the topic of vendors, business from Perodua is vital. With all its current models having over 90% local parts content, the Rawang-based carmaker is the biggest buyer of automotive components in the country, having spent RM4.5 billion on parts so far this year out of an earmarked RM5.4 billion for the whole of 2019.

IQM has been a Perodua supplier since 2002. It currently does metal stamping, body assembly parts and brake tube components to P2. The company started making Viva parts when production of the model ceased in 2014, and early last year it began producing parts for the second-generation Myvi on a dedicated new line. For owners of discontinued models, this is reassuring news.

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Recreation/Autos

Monthly Update for August 2019 – 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV Long-Term Road Test


2017 Chevrolet Bolt: Monthly Update for August 2019

by Rex Tokeshi-Torres, Vehicle Testing Technician

At a Glance:

• We drove 1,105 miles in August
• Long road trip up to Fresno
• More daily commuting
• Steering wheel click and clicks some more
• The pain with EV charging
• 2020 Chevrolet Bolt gets more range — we have different thoughts

Where Did We Drive It?
The long-term 2017 Chevrolet Bolt had its lowest miles recorded since April at 1,105. That’s still up from the 846-mile average from the previous three months of January through March. The roughly 265-mile one-way trip to Fresno can account for a big chunk of that distance in one day of travel — even though that had its own snags, as you can read below.

From there, it’s commuting duties! Yay for consistency!

What Kind of Fuel Economy Did It Get?
Our average lifetime mpg keeps getting better. I know 0.1 kWh/100 miles doesn’t seem like a lot, but that means we’re using less energy per 100 miles of use. It has been much of the same for the Bolt — even with a long road trip to Fresno toward the end of the month. Keep charging forward, little Bolt.

Average lifetime mpg: 25.8 kWh/100 miles
EPA consumption rating: 28 kWh/100 miles combined
Best fill consumption: 18 kWh/100 miles (187.4 mpge)
Best range: 334.3 miles
Current odometer: 30,775 miles

Maintenance and Upkeep
None.

Logbook Highlights

Interior
“Chevrolet has announced that the 2020 Bolt is getting an increase in range to an estimated 259 miles. That’s certainly welcome. But I’d guess that most of us at Edmunds would gladly keep the original 238-mile range if we could instead get some improvements in interior quality and seat comfort for 2020.” — Brent Romans, senior editor

Performance
“I drove our Bolt from the Edmunds home office in Los Angeles to my home in Fresno, California. It’s about 235 miles one way. In theory, our Bolt has just enough range to make it. But I’ve spent enough time with the car to know that open highway driving (at least in California with its 70-plus mph speeds) is fairly inefficient for an EV. As such, this trip requires a stop midway to recharge at a DC fast charger.

“Doing this can be a little dicey. Here’s an example: I had planned my route to stop at a ChargePoint charger in Bakersfield. I’ve used this charger before, even though it’s not very convenient. (It’s about a 10-minute drive off the highway.) Alas, when I got there I realized the charger wasn’t working. Argh! I hadn’t bothered to check the ChargePoint app. If I had done that, I would have likely noticed the charger was down. But since I didn’t, I had to sit there and figure out how to make it to another charger.

“The next closest ChargePoint station, according to the app’s map, was about a 15-minute drive away. With about 50% battery left, I left the dead charger and drove to the next one. The location seemed a little odd because when I got there I realized I was right next to a Harley-Davidson dealership. Huh. It turned out that the dealership had just installed a charger to support Harley’s new electric LiveWire bike. I went inside the dealership to ask about the charger’s status and met the general manager. He said that they had just installed the charger, and it had never been used!

“Thankfully, they were cool with me using it. I plugged in and went inside to check out the bikes for about 20 minutes. After that, I got in the Bolt. It was then that I noticed that it wasn’t charging very quickly. Most DC fast charging stations I’ve encountered in California are rated to provide 50 kW of power, though they usually put out a max of around 40 kW. This one at the Harley dealership was only providing about 17 kW, according to the Bolt’s charging readout. Another ‘argh!’ It was going to take a long time to get enough juice to finish my drive.

“I decided to go to a third charging station, this time an EVgo-brand station in a Walmart parking lot, which was another 20 minutes away. Thankfully, I had enough driving range to make it there. When I arrived, one of the two fast charging stations was taken up by a Nissan Leaf. Fortunately, the other was free. But even then, it was tricky. By now it was late in the day, and the setting sun was washing out the station’s touchscreen, which already seemed like it wasn’t working all that great. I could barely see where to touch the screen to activate the charger. After a few minutes of trying to shield off the sun, I finally got the thing working.

2017 Chevrolet Bolt

“Overall, it was just a big hassle. You’d never have these problems with a gas-powered car (barring some sort of significant power outage that rendered all the gas stations inoperable). It also points to Tesla’s huge advantage with its Supercharger network.

“I really like EVs, and I think they’re great for around-town driving. But taking long trips on unfamiliar routes requires faith and patience.” — Brent Romans

Miscellaneous
“One of my coworkers wrote a comment a few months ago that our Bolt’s steering wheel column makes an occasional clicking sound when turning the wheel. I definitely noticed this issue as well. I wouldn’t call it annoying, but it does reduce my confidence a little in Chevy’s workmanship.” — Brent Romans



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