Today on Motoring Monday we take an up close look at the all-new 2016 Chevrolet Camaro, see which crossover SUV’s scored best on the latest IIHS crash tests, and we even have something new from the Ford Mustang.
2016 Chevrolet Camaro
Over the weekend the all-new 2016 Chevrolet Camaro was unveiled in Detroit, giving Mustang and Challenger their newest race-day rival.
The new Camaro brings evolutionary styling much in the same way BMW or Audi move from one to the next. The big news here is a 200 pound weight reduction as well as a footprint which comes in slightly smaller than before.
Performance should be up with three available engines. A new base level 2.0 liter turbocharged four-cylinder has 275 horsepower while the mid-range gets an all-new 3.6 liter V6 with 335 horsepower.
Top of the range is the 6.2 liter V8 in the Camaro SS with 455 horsepower. All three engines can be had with a six-speed manual or a new eight-speed automatic transmission.
An all-new interior continues Camaro’s design themes from before but gets a lot of new technology including an available 8-inch high-definition instrument cluster center screen, customizable with all kinds of information sets.
The center stack gets a large 8-inch infotainment touchscreen plus some slick air vents with HVAC controls integrated into their rotary rings. There’s also a new LED ambient lighting system with 24 different colors than can fade and transition.
Suspension while all-new continues to be a dual pivot MacPherson strut arrangement up front and a five-link independent rear, all of which have increased use of aluminum for weight savings and better transitional responses on the track.
To see our detailed extended play look at the all-new 2016 Chevrolet Camaro, click on the link below in the information section.
2016 Ford Mustang California Special
While the new 2016 Camaro is grabbing all the attention this week, Ford did announce that the popular California Special GT/CS Mustang would return for 2016.
With production ofthe 2016 Mustang starting soon, Ford’s pony car will get new standard features, option packages and the SYNC 3 infotainment system.
Mustang loyalists will look forward, literally to the new hood mounted turn signal indicators reminiscent of the 1967-1968 models which will now come on the Mustang GT.
The big news however is the return of the GT/CS or California Special package which has lots of exterior visuals including hood and side stripes, a new grille with offset tri-bar pony logo, a black rear-deck spoiler and special faux gas cap emblem.
The turn signal hood vents are highlighted in black as are the side mirrors and tail lamps. Black 19-inch wheels and a black front splitter are added down low.
Inside is a unique upholstery set comprised of black leather with Miko suede inserts, red contrast stitching and lots of logos. This theme continues to special door panel inserts and carpeting. And as you’d expect, there’s a special dash plaque and unique aluminum trim.
While performance and suspension remain largely the same, popping the hood of the GT/CS will reveal a strut tower brace that says California Special.
The GT/CS package can be had on both 2016 Mustang GT Premium fastback and convertible and will be at dealers later this year.
IIHS Crash Crossover Crash Tests
When it comes to safety, our go-to source for crash data here at TestDrivenTV is the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. And this week, their latest round of small-offset tests on crossovers is making big news.
Mid-size crossovers from several brands were tested with some making news for their stellar performance in the brutal small-offset crash test, while others not so good.
The 2015 Nissan Murano earned a Top Safety Pick+ with its performance of structural integrity but control of the dummy. The seat belts and air-bags worked well together to offer up the best protection in addition to the structural performance.
Ford’s venerable Flex crossover also performed at the top of the class with an acceptable score in the small-offset crash. It earned a Top Safety Pick rating only since it’s not available with the latest crash prevention systems.
Jeep Wrangler buyers will be impressed that it too scored exceptionally well in the small-offset crash test. It’s shape and design played well into the 25% width fixed barrier, for the most part taking a glancing blow.
Because the Wrangler scored not so well in other tests like side impact, it wasn’t eligible for Top Safety Pick. Glory for Jeep was short lived however as the smaller Cherokee received a marginal rating on the small-offset test.
Its structure and restraints failed to control the dummy’s movements such to prevent severe injuries. The Dodge Durango also earned a marginal rating for most of the same reasons, a structure that allows the passenger cell to compress.
For a complete rundown of all these tests and additional models, log onto IIHS.org
In our test drives this week, we spent time behind the wheel of the best selling five-door sub-compact car in America, the Honda Fit.
All-new for 2015, the Honda Fit is the least expensive and smallest model offered from the brand, powered by a 1.5 liter engine and either a six-speed manual transmission or CVT.
Our fully loaded EX-L with Navigation sported leather interior, a myriad of interior features expected and even some unexpected like the LaneWatch system.
While driving the Fit was a quality experience, the Fit most impressed with its versatility features like its Magic Seat which folds upward for a tall cargo area or fully flat for a wide open space. Virtually anything….can fit.
You can see our full and detailed review of the 2015 Honda Fit by clicking the link below or logging onto our website at TestDrivenTV.
Reality Check: Volvo South Carolina Plant
After the sale of Volvo to Chinese auto manufacturer Geely, and then the following announcement of their first plants in China, the sky’s falling crowd cried that Volvo was gonna pack up move China for good.
Well if realty matters they might find the Volvo’s announcement this week of a brand-new $500 million-dollar assembly plant to be built in Berkeley County, South Carolina somewhat comforting.
With an initial capacity to build up to 100,000 cars per year the new factory to be located just outside of Charleston, South Carolina, will build a variety of Volvo models both for sales in the U.S but also for export markets.
Construction on the new plant will will begin late this year with the first vehicles expected to roll off the assembly line in 2018. It will be the first plant for Volvo in North America. Even Ford Motor Company never went that far.
What models will be built at the South Carolina plant hasn’t yet been announced, but we can expect something based on their new platform architecture that would enable several different models to roll off the same line.
Volvo says the factory will employ about 2,000 people at first with up to 4,000 people in the long term. That would be American people. So there!
Now it’s time for our Money Shot where we take this weeks hottest photo from the automotive news and we show it to ya!
On Friday, BMW will unveil their latest bright shiny thing, 3.0 CSL Hommage. A tribute to the legendary 1970’s BMW 3.0 CSL, it has a wide body, over the top spoiler and an extremely light-weighted interior. We’ll see it soon at Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este. The question is will we see it at our local BMW dealer.