2017 Buick Envision

2017 Buick Envision

Episode 3624
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

Premium and luxury marks like all brands have seen sedan sales fall as crossovers and SUV’s gobble up more and more market share. What to do?  Well, by all means, give the people what they want. Thus, one century old car brand has added yet another crossover to their line-up. Only this one comes with a trans-pacific twist.

The 2017 Buick Envision adds a 3rd arrow to Buick’s crossover quiver, fitting neatly between the much smaller Encore and the much larger Enclave. This middle-child takes aim at the likes of Acura RDX and Lincoln MKC, with plenty of room for adults in all five seating positions. 

Addressing the “Made in China” elephant in the room, we saw nothing to give consumers concern. If you’re a rival brand however, you might be a little worried with what Buick has been able to pull off.  Is quality on par with Lexus? Well not quite, but darn close, and all design and development work took place here in the U.S.

On the road it feels competent enough, better than expected really; and while there aren’t any actual bells or whistles inside, there are more than enough up-to-date features. 

Feel and placement of controls is more Euro-inspired than domestic, there’s a very comprehensive instrument panel with configurable TFT screen, and full connectivity from Buick’s IntelliLink. 

The dash is dressed in lots of faux-wood, but it looks good and is well-integrated. Certainly better than some of the bland treatments we’ve seen lately. 

Available safety features include GM’s Safety Alert Seat, Surround Vision, and Front Automatic Braking which we found to work perfectly every time, always braking late and hard just shy of our barrier.    

Even lesser trims are very well equipped with 8.0-inch touchscreen, heated seats, and a programmable-height power lift gate. 

While smooth, ride quality is more Chevrolet-firm than Lexus-plush; and the seats are a little harder than we’d like, but are adequate for the long haul. 

As for hauling, rear seats fold almost fully flat with just the pull of the cargo area-mounted levers. Everything seemed a little stiff in operation, but we weren’t sure if that was a build quality issue, or things just needing to get broken in a little.

Max cargo is 57.3 cubic-ft.; and there’s a very good 26.9 with the rear seats up. 

The only noise and vibration issue we’ll note is that this particular Envision allowed a little more noise and wind rustle into the cabin than others we’ve driven.

Standard engine is a 197-horsepower naturally aspirated 2.5-liter I4 in front-wheel-drive models. The upgrade is a 2.0-liter turbo I4 that makes 252-horsepower and 260 lb-ft. of torque and comes with all-wheel-drive. Both work through a 6-speed automatic. 

Both engines also offer adequate power and operate quietly; but the 2.0-liter is especially peppy, and was our choice for track work. 

There, it felt very strong off the line, feeling like all torque is available right from the get-go. A slight bit of tire chirp and we were off to a quick 0-60 of 7.0-seconds flat. 

Progressing down the track, automatic shifts were very smooth, but also slow; making our ¼-mile time 15.3-seconds at 92 miles-per-hour.

We battled typical understeer through our cone course; and when pushed too hard, onboard computers launched a fun-killing jab of the brakes to reel you in. 

Kept just shy of its limits however, the Envision feels very composed and easy to place where you want it. Steering was actually heavier than expected, with better feel than most in this class. Body roll was present, but far from excessive. 

Braking was quite good too. 110-feet was our short stopping distance from 60, with above average stability, and an easy to modulate pedal. 

Exterior design is frankly rather beautiful, with a smooth shape and hefty proportions; while body lines are very pronounced. Standard wheels are 18s, though most trims ride on 19s. 

Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 20-City, 26-Highway, and 22-Combined. For an Energy Impact Score of 15.0-barrels on yearly oil consumption with 6.6-tons of CO2 emissions. 

Base, Preferred, and Essence trims come with the 2.5-liter, starting at $34,990, to which you can add all-wheel-drive. Premium trims, with the 2.0-liter are all-wheel-drive only, and start at $43,245.  

While we were clearly impressed with the Envision, it’s actually hard to imagine any luxurious crossover not being a hit at this point and time. And, Buick has already been successful with the Encore and Enclave crossovers. So, we think the 2017 Buick Envision will be as well. After all, it is the very definition of giving the people exactly what they want.  

Specifications

  • Engine: 2.0 liter turbo I4
  • Horsepower: 252
  • Torque: 260 lb-ft.
  • 0-60 mph: 7.0 seconds
  • 1/4 mile: 15.3 seconds @ 92 mph
  • EPA: 20 mpg city / 26 mpg highway,
  • Energy Impact: 15.0 barrels of oil/yr
  • CO2 Emissions: 6.6 tons/yr
2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT 1

2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT

It’s An SUV On A Track, Deal With It

Episode 4325
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

When we started testing cars 43-years ago, hot rod SUVs like this Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT were not on our radar. Back in those days, utility vehicles were trucks and Porsches were cars. But times have changed, and the only place to make sense of it all is at a racetrack, so hop in and join us for some high-performance haulin’.

Now, most would say the high-performance SUV is a relatively new phenomenon, but we’ve been testing them for over 30-years now, going back to the GMC Typhoon. If you don’t remember that one, we’d suggest Googling it, purely for the nostalgia of it, as this 2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT is on a totally different level.

This SUV is an SUV in shape only, as a lot of its hardware as well as the driving experience are much more akin to a pure sports car… ah la the 911.

Starting with the Coupe version of Porsche’s largest SUV, which benefits from a mid-cycle styling refresh for ’24, the Turbo GT adds a carbon-fiber roof, big wing with side planes, rear diffuser, and a sport exhaust system with titanium tailpipes.

2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT Dead Front
2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT 1/4 Front
2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT Profile
2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT 3/4 Rear
2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT Dead Rear
2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT Exhaust
2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT Carbon Fiber Roof
2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT Engine
2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT Badge
2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT Badge 2
2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT Dead Front2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT 1/4 Front2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT Profile2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT 3/4 Rear2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT Dead Rear2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT Exhaust2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT Carbon Fiber Roof2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT Engine2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT Badge2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT Badge 2

Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control is also included, making body-roll almost non-existent; and with the help of a new two-valve air suspension setup it was all traction all the time through the high-speed turns of Savannah’s Roebling Road Raceway. Though unlike last gen, if you’re aggressive enough with the throttle, you can get the rear to step out on you a little. Rear-axle steering is also included and the best praise we could heap on steering feel and feedback through corners is that it feels like a Porsche.

Tires are also wider than before: 315/35 Pirelli P Zeros in back, mounted on 22-inch GT Design wheels. The brakes behind are comprised of enormous carbon-ceramic composite discs with monster yellow calipers…

…and they truly were impressive on track, hauling this 5,000-pound, luxury-minded performance utility down from triple-digit speeds lap after lap without wavering.

This SUV is an SUV in shape only, as a lot of its hardware as well as the driving experience are much more akin to a pure sports car... ah la the 911.

Equally impressive is the powerplant that initiates those high speeds, Porsche’s 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 which cranks out 19 horsepower over last year for a total of 650; torque output remains the same, at 626 lb-ft. All-wheel drive is standard, as is an 8-speed automatic trans, which helps the Turbo GT get up to speed in a hurry; 3.1-seconds to 60, to be exact. That’s a couple of tenths slower than the first-gen Turbo GT we tested 2 years ago, but we’ll chalk that up to testing that one on a well-prepped drag strip versus this trip down Roebling Road’s slippery front straightaway on a 40-degree day. And it gained time back quickly, as our 11.3-second quarter-mile time was only a tenth slower, finishing at 124 mph.

Other notable changes for ’24 include a new dash and control layout for the interior. The highlight is a new 12.6-inch curved digital gauge display; it’s joined by a central touchscreen that sits higher up and is nestled into the dash more than before.

2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT Dash
2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT Front Seat
2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT Cluster
2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT Climate Controls
2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT Center Display
2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT Rear Seat
2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT Trunk
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No more actual shifter in the console, as it’s been replaced with Porsche’s toggle switch gear sector which resides on the dash to the left of the touchscreen. That means a new console layout with additional storage space and new controls. While none of that helps lower lap times, it all provides a much more useful and better overall environment than before, for that time spent behind the wheel commuting or just sitting in traffic.

Front and rear seats are comfortable yet sporty feeling; and while it does do a lot of SUV-like things pretty well, the coupe body shape does limit rear cargo capacity to 20.3 cubic feet, expanding to 52.4 with rear seatbacks folded; and the central-mounted exhaust does negate adding a tow hitch.

No matter how you look at it, the Cayenne Turbo GT is an insane vehicle, but it also comes with an insane price tag, starting at $197,950. So essentially, that’s six-figures worth of high-performance hardware jammed into an already impressively capable standard Cayenne… an SUV made much better with comprehensive updates front to back for all ’24 Porsche Cayennes.

It easily remains the standard bearer for luxury-minded utility vehicles, evidenced by recently earning our Drivers’ Choice Award for Best Luxury Utility. But it’s this 2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT that really impresses the most as the ultimate track-focused SUV money can buy. You may not need it, but you know you want it!

Specifications

  • Engine: 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8
  • Horsepower: 650
  • 0-60 mph: 3.1-seconds
  • Starting Price: $197,950
  • Transmission: 8-speed automatic
  • Torque: 625 lb-ft.
  • 1/4 Mile: 11.3-seconds at 124 mph
2024 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 2

2024 Chevrolet Corvette Z06

Bringing Supercar Performance To The Street…American Style

Episode 4324
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

What happens when you let enthusiasts and engineers worry less about tradition and allow them to do what they do best? You get cars like this Chevrolet Corvette Z06. What happens when GM let’s us borrow one for a few days? That’s what we’re about to find out!

While the Z06 package first became an option for the Chevrolet Corvette back in 1963, it wasn’t until the C5 that it describe the ultimate track-focused ‘Vette. And while since then every Z06 has gotten more extreme, if we were plotting things out on a graph, this is where the line of performance progression goes from a steady incline to almost vertical. Yes, the latest C8 Z06 is all that.

It starts with a brand new LT6 5.5-liter DOHC V8 that outputs 670-horsepower and delivers 460 lb-ft. of torque. It sounds great too, the very aggressive nature of its flat-plane crank design has it sounding, and feeling like it’s trying to shake its way out of the engine bay unless you unleash some of its furry.

This dual-cammer featured a dry-sump design from the get-go and is more racing engine than souped-up small block, being developed originally for the C8.R race car.

2024 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Front
2024 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Rear
2024 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Dead Front Wide
2024 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Dead Front Close
2024 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Fascia
2024 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Wheel
2024 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Profil
2024 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Dead Rear
2024 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Badge
2024 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Front2024 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Rear2024 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Dead Front Wide2024 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Dead Front Close2024 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Fascia2024 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Wheel2024 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Profil2024 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Dead Rear2024 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Badge

It made short work of Roebling Road Raceway’s long front straight, able to reach 160 by the end of it. With Hellcats no longer rolling off the assembly line, this is easily our new favorite V8.

But, as you can imagine, Chevy has done much more than just plop a bigger motor into its rear-midship engine bay, which was easier to do since they didn’t have to worry about anyone seeing over it. They’ve addressed just about every part of the car to ensure it puts that power to best use for coming out of corners like few other cars on the street.

That includes upgrades for the short/long arm double wishbone suspension setup that can be further enhanced with an available Z07 Performance Package that adds more aggressive tuning for Magnetic Ride Control, and Michelin Sport Cup 2R tires. Which can be mounted on 20 and 21-inch carbon fiber wheels with carbon ceramic brakes nestled behind.

It all translated into more grip than a semi’s worth of industrial strength Velcro through Roebling’s 9-turns.

With Hellcats no longer rolling off the assembly line, this is easily our new favorite V8.

Like most Corvettes, the Z06 can be as wild or mild of an experience as you care to make it but will most likely be the fastest car to show up at most track days. Yet, the same magnetic dampers that void all body roll on the track, provide an almost plush ride quality for the drive home, though not quite as plush as the standard Corvette.

We’re struggling to find something non-fan boy to say; sure the 8-speed dual-clutch gearbox doesn’t deliver shifts with the brutality of some exotics, but really, they’re just as fast, and the shifts are much smoother.

Believe it or not, almost all the body is unique. So, rather than just tacking on some fender flares, Chevy made the entire car wider to cover the 345 rear tires, yet keep the same uniform look in place.

The optional Carbon Fiber Aero Package adds a front splitter, rocker extensions, front dive planes, and a huge rear wing. We’re not sure if the multi-level nature of that rear wing was done for functional or aesthetic reasons, but it doesn’t block your rearview, and that is much appreciated.

2024 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Dash
2024 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Seats
2024 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Shifter
2024 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Frunk
2024 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Engine
2024 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Dash2024 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Seats2024 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Shifter2024 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Frunk2024 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Engine

We always talk about torque being more important than horsepower when it comes to acceleration, and the Z06 works with almost 200 fewer lb-ft. of torque than horsepower, but you sure wouldn’t know it when you mash the throttle.

Easy to use programmable launch control allows you to dial in your preferred RPM for launching; we found 4,500 was just about perfect for Roebling’s front straight, allowing for just a tiny bit of slip before rocketing us to 60 on a 40 degree day in just 2.6-seconds.

Power continues to pour on hard as the engine quickly hits its 8,600 RPM redline, and gear changes happen often. The sound inside the cabin in intense, and when the ¼-mile came to an end in 10.7-seconds at 130 miles-per-hour, it felt like it was just getting started.

Government Fuel Economy Ratings are a low 12-City, 19-Highway, and 14-Combined.

For the Z06 there are 3 LZ pricing points to land on, starting at $114,395; but you can go with the top-of-the-line Z06, add 50-grand worth of options, and still come out half the price of anything you can compare it to.

Call us home teamers all you want, but America’s only exotic does it yet again, not only is it the best Corvette ever, but it is also easily one of the greatest American cars of all time, arriving at a particularly poignant time culturally as we mourn the potential loss of internal combustion engines altogether. So, come for the spectacular engine and stay for the complete performance package, and experience, that is the Chevrolet Corvette Z06.

Specifications

  • Engine: 5.5-liter V8
  • Horsepower: 670
  • 0-60 mph: 2.6 seconds
  • EPA: 12 City | 19 Highway | 14 Combined
  • Transmission: 8-speed dual clutch auto
  • Torque: 460 lb-ft.
  • 1/4 Mile: 10.7-seconds at 130 mph