Quick Spin: 2013 Chevrolet Camaro SS Hot Wheels Edition

Filed under: Coupe, Performance, Chevrolet, Toys/Games, Quick Spins

2013 Chevy Camaro Hot Wheels Special Edition - parked in front of Toys R Us store

Pairing your car, truck or SUV with another brand is a tried-and-true method to create the sort of positive association that sells vehicles, or at least gives them an attractive new look and higher margins. Ford knows this, having paired the Explorer and rugged apparel brand Eddie Bauer in the ’90s with great success, and the F-150 with iconic motorcycle maker Harley-Davidson since 2000 (that partnership, however, has ended with the 2012 model year).

Not every partnership is geared towards making a vehicle appear more macho, though. The Fiat 500 by Gucci, for instance, matches the cute Cinquecento with a high fashion icon (something Cadillac tried back in 1979), and Lexus has a history of Coach Edition models that came with higher grade leather and matching luggage. Indeed, this 2013 Chevy Camaro Hot Wheels Special Edition isn’t even the only pairing of toy and car, another example being the recent Call of Duty MW3 and Black Ops editions of the Jeep Wrangler. It isn’t even the only Camaro co-branded with a toy – the 2012 Transformers Edition with Bumblebee paint job preceded it.

Pairing your automobile with something sold inside a Toys R Us, however, can be tricky. Fashion and apparel brands have more universal appeal among adult buyers than, for instance, the latest first-person-shooter video game. Partnering with a brand that markets primarily to children can also communicate the wrong thing about the person who buys such a vehicle – that he or she has a Peter Pan syndrome, not wanting to grow up, buy that sensible sedan and get on with life like the rest of us. Then again, buying a Hot Wheels Special Edition Camaro could just mean you remember the fun side of life and have the extra disposable income to show it.

Driving Notes

  • The Hot Wheels Special Edition options package is a $6,995 question that needs answering when ordering your Camaro 2LT (V6) or 2SS (V8) coupe or convertible. The package includes Kinetic Blue metallic paint; 21-inch black aluminum wheels with red striping; the Camaro’s RS appearance package; Hot Wheels badging, decals and embroidery; premium floor mats and a painted engine cover. Nothing here makes the car go quicker, turn better or stop shorter, which is fine, as the Camaro’s got plenty of other packages and models that do that. This test car was also equipped with the optional dual-mode performance exhaust for $895 and navigation system for $795, bringing its out-the-door price minus tax to $45,720.
  • In creating this Hot Wheels Special Edition model, Chevy designers have done a good job walking the fine line between attention-grabbing aesthetics and gratuitously over-the-top looks. The Kinetic Blue paint pops, but not nearly as much as some other Camaro colors (remember Synergy Green?). The design of the wheels is a matter of taste, and they appear neatly inspired by their 1:64 scale counterparts, but no one will guess this is a Hot Wheels car by wheels alone. What will tip them off is the badging, which includes Hot Wheels logos on the grill, front fenders and the rear. I wouldn’t mind if that badge count were halved, but wouldn’t dare touch the wide single matte black stripe or subtle blue flames on the rear fenders. The red striping on the wheels that’s mirrored around the grille and headlights is another subtle and appealing design touch.
  • I was less fond of this Camaro’s interior, which sports huge Hot Wheels logos embroidered in the seat backs, large logos on the side sill plates and an eency-weency logo embedded in the bottom of the steering wheel. The branding message while entering the vehicle is a bit obnoxious that way. Speaking of the wheel, General Motors needs to move on to a new tiller design. We’ve seen seen this one for years in everything down to the lowly Sonic, which makes grasping it in a $45k special edition Camaro feel less than special. Also, this was my first experience with a navigation system in the Camaro, and while the MyLink system Chevy uses is fine enough, its application in this pony car’s interior is a miss. More physical buttons to navigate the system, or more clearly marked ones, would help.
  • What you’re ultimately buying with a Camaro like this is a burnout machine. While other models, particularly ones with the 1LE package and the top-shelf ZL1, are engineered specifically to expand the Camaro’s handling envelope, this Hot Wheels model is basically an SS with wheels an inch larger in diameter than you could otherwise order. It feels neither particularly spry nor nimble when turning, which isn’t helped by the Camaro’s now-trademark tank-slit outward visibility. Not knowing the exact location of the car’s front corners while carrying that much inertia made me feel less-than-confident while cornering, so I gravitated more towards having fun in a straight line. My colleagues in the industry appeared to agree judging by the amount of tread left on the car’s rear tires upon arrival.
  • And what a performance the Camaro gives when getting on the gas. The 6.2-liter V8 producing 426 horsepower and 420 foot-pounds of torque is everything an American muscle car’s engine should be. The optional dual-mode exhaust was a gloriously guttural flute through which to play the motor’s music, and I often found myself throttle-goosing for encores of the performance. Power is available everywhere in every gear, and the six-speed manual transmission was not at all a bear to operate around town. It feels stout enough to handle the engine’s fury at full bore, but the engagements are smooth and the pedal isn’t too firm.
  • Would I buy one? The Hot Wheels Special Edition model is a limited edition, and Chevy has said when they’re gone, they’re gone. We don’t know if all have been sold yet, but you can still build one using the configurator on Chevy’s website, which suggests they are still available. Regardless, my answer would be no, this isn’t the Camaro I would buy myself. As special editions go, I like its aesthetics a lot and a few less badges and logos would get me even more on board, though on some level, taht defeats the point of co-branding. But if you’re a parent with a kid who collects Hot Wheels and feel a mid-life crisis is coming on, could there be a more perfect purchase than this?

2013 Chevrolet Camaro SS Hot Wheels Edition originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 29 Jul 2013 14:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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First Drive: 2014 Chevrolet Spark EV [w/video]

Filed under: Budget, Hatchback, Chevrolet, First Drives, Electric

Side Effects May Include Grinning and Tire Chirping

2014 Chevrolet Spark EV

For anyone who has yet to experience the joys of indoor go-karting, you’re missing out. Electric karts race around the inside of former big-box retail establishments, warehouses and the like delivering more excitement than you typically get from those rickety old concession karts powered by lawnmower engines. Since we can’t afford anything wearing a Tesla badge, these usually come to mind when someone mentions an electric vehicle that’s fun. After driving the 2014 Chevrolet Spark, though, our mental association might just be out of date.

Thanks to their instant torque, an EV being a hoot to drive shouldn’t come as a complete surprise, but Chevy’s all-new Spark EV is making its bid to rise to the top of this growing class, a field that includes the Fiat 500e, Mitsubishi i-Miev, Nissan Leaf, Scion iQ EV and Smart Fortwo ED, and it’s doing so with more torque, better efficiency and a lower price. With a name like “Spark,” it would be easy to assume that this small car was conceived with an EV model in mind from the beginning, but that’s not the case.

Even entering its third generation in 2009 (the first two weren’t sold in North America), General Motors admitted that the Spark was not designed with an EV drivetrain in mind. Just four years later, though, the Spark EV is hitting America’s roads – in California and Oregon – so we headed to scenic Portland, OR to check out Chevy’s new battery electric vehicle (BEV) and the first EV for General Motors since the controversial EV1.

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2014 Chevrolet Spark EV [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 22 Jul 2013 11:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: GM sales chief Batey to be named global head of Chevrolet

Filed under: Europe, Chevrolet, GM, Middle East, Russia, South America

Alan Batey, General Motors executiveThe Wall Street Journal is reporting that General Motors is on the verge of naming current US sales chief, Alan Batey, as the new global head of the Chevrolet brand. Batey has been accruing relevant international experience with GM for quite some time now, holding executive management positions in Europe, Korea, the Middle East and the US before getting this latest nod as Chevy’s global leader.

It was Batey who helped to launch the automaker’s “Find New Roads” campaign in February during his stint as Chevy’s interim marketing chief. That tag line, chosen in part for its ease of translation into multiple languages, is currently being rolled out globally.

Batey’s appointment also comes in front of a major product offensive for Chevy, both at home and abroad. The automaker has plans to launch some 13 new or updated vehicles in the US this year, along with 12 more in global markets. Escalating sales in China, Brazil and elsewhere in Latin America have helped to cement a need for Batey’s new gig. According to the WSJ, Batey has decried the regional-based strategy that Chevy has used across the world so far, saying, “That’s over. From now on we will operate as one.”

Bringing cohesion to Chevy models, technology and dealers across the world will be no mean feat, we’re certain. High on the list of Batey’s tasks will be right-sizing the relationship between Chevy and the slightly upmarket Opel brand in Europe, as well as expanding the company’s reach in booming markets like China, Russia and Thailand.

GM sales chief Batey to be named global head of Chevrolet originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 24 Jun 2013 11:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Official: 2012 Chevrolet Camaro 45th Anniversary Edition shows off at Indy

2012 Chevrolet Camaro 45th Anniversary Edition – Click above for high-res image gallery

General Motors officially unveiled the 2012 Chevrolet Camaro 45th Anniversary Edition to a crowd of dealers and enthusiasts on the eve of the Indianapolis 500. The droptop muscle car boasts a slew of tweaks that are destined to eventually make their way to the greater Camaro lineup, including new soft-touch materials on the dash, a new steering wheel that’s not ridiculous to use, and a few suspension changes. GM tells us that SS models will be equipped with the new FE4 suspension package, born from the development the upcoming Camaro ZL1. V6 Camaros will now pack 323 horsepower, a gain of 11 over the 2011 model-year cars.

GM will produce the Camaro 45th Anniversary Edition to meet demand, so there should be plenty to go around. In addition to the interior and mechanical adjustments, the car wears special logos on the fenders, seat backs, door sills, steering wheel and dash to separate it from the rest of the Camaro stable. Pricing will be available closer to the convertible’s fall launch date. Hit the jump for the full press blast.

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2012 Chevrolet Camaro 45th Anniversary Edition shows off at Indy originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 29 May 2011 09:55:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: Tour the LAPD’s new Chevrolet Caprice PPV with Translogic

Filed under: Sedan, Government/Legal, Safety, Technology, Videos, Chevrolet, Police/Emergency

Chevrolet Caprice PPV

Chevrolet Caprice PPV – Click above to watch video after the jump

By now, you’ve probably committed every detail of the new generation of police cruisers to memory. With so many potential successors to the Ford Crown Victoria throne, it pays to know exactly which models to look out for on the road, especially if you dabble in extra-legal speeds. The guys from Translogic recently got the chance to get up close and personal with the new Chevrolet Caprice PPV courtesy of a tour by the Los Angeles Police Department. Along with getting the full scoop on what the vehicle has to offer in terms of officer and criminal comfort, we’re also introduced to some of the killer tech on board the new cruiser.

Officers are now treated to an easy-to-navigate touch screen that handles everything from HVAC controls to advanced crime-fighting tech. License-plate recognition software combines two front-mounted cameras with a criminal database to alert officers of potentially threatening drivers and an additional super-sensitive infrared camera can even detect a perpetrator’s footsteps at night. Go go gadget awesome.

Hit the jump to check out the video for yourself.

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Tour the LAPD’s new Chevrolet Caprice PPV with Translogic originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 24 May 2011 12:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Patina’d 2010 Chevrolet Camaro headed to Power Tour

Filed under: Aftermarket, Classics, Coupe, Performance, Chevrolet

2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS

Bill Rombauts and his buddy Dave Sherer have taken the patina’d rat rod look to new heights, applying the rust-first philosophy to a 2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS. Before going all Father Time on the paint job, the two spent close to $100,000 giving the car as much go as it has show.

Underneath all that affected rust and thinning paint lives a worked-over Kenne Bell supercharged 485-cubic-inch V8 based on a GM Performance Parts block. Before the addition of the blown 485, the Chevrolet was pumping out in the neighborhood of 650 rear-wheel-horsepower and tripping the lights in around 11 seconds through the quarter mile. Now, Sherer and Rombauts are looking for the 10-second range, and won’t say what kind of power the car makes.

Say what you will about the decision to make a brand-new Camaro look like it’s 30 years old, but you definitely can’t argue with this thing’s gusto. With prodigious power, a $100K mod list and a paint scheme some might call ugly, it’s also guaranteed to make a stir on Power Tour 2011. To make that goal a reality, Rombauts and Sherer are looking for sponsors to get their car to and from the Tour.

Patina’d 2010 Chevrolet Camaro headed to Power Tour originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 17 May 2011 18:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Chevrolet Volt assembly plant to get largest solar array in MI

Filed under: Plants/Manufacturing, GM

Solar installation at GM Detroit-Hamtramck plant
General Motors is adding a photovoltaic array to the roof of its Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant. The facility’s new solar panels will help offset the energy consumed when producing Chevy Volts. GM has partnered with DTE Energy on the planned 516-kilowatt installation, which will cover 264,000 square feet on six acres of land. In addition to the solar array, further energy-saving measures like automated equipment shutdown, more efficient lighting, and upgrades to more energy-efficient assembly tools will be implemented.

DTE Energy is putting $3 million of its own money into the GM partnership as part of its SolarCurrents program. This initiative aims to install 15 megawatts of solar power systems in Southeast Michigan, and the hope is that large-scale, highly-visible projects like the Detroit-Hamtramck plant will drive more demand for renewable energy in Michigan. Press release posted after the jump.

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Chevrolet Volt assembly plant to get largest solar array in MI originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 14 May 2011 16:03:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: Steam Whistle Brewery’s electric 1958 Chevrolet Apache

Filed under: Classics, Truck, Etc., Videos, Work, Chevrolet, Canada, Electric

1958 Chevrolet Apache

Steam Whistle Brewing electric 1958 Chevrolet Apache – Click above to watchvideo after the jump

Steam Whistle Brewing is known for three things: making high-quality pilsner beer, a green-sensitive ethos and an awesome collection of ’50s, ’60s and ’70s American iron to haul their wares around. The latest addition to their stable is this very green 1958 Chevrolet Apache. The truck was originally motivated by the omnipresent General Motors small-block V8, but for a company with an eco-friendly mindset, that wasn’t going to cut it for long.

Instead, the guys at Steam Whistle teamed up with some local Vancouver, Canada mechanics and restorers to replace the truck’s fossil fuel-chugging guts with a brushless AC motor turning out an incredible 465 lb.-ft. of torque. That kind of motivation means this thing can ferry bedloads of brew to destinations all around Vancouver by day and then cruise the strip and shred tires with the best of them at night. The best part is Steam Whistle’s high-voltage Apache is nearly 100-percent carbon neutral, thanks to wind-generated charging. Click past the jump to see videos of the truck in action.

[Source: YouTube/Steam Whistle via Carscoop | Image: Carscoop]

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Video: Steam Whistle Brewery’s electric 1958 Chevrolet Apache originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 23 Apr 2011 20:02:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: Steam Whistle Brewery’s electric 1958 Chevrolet Apache

Filed under: Classics, Truck, Etc., Videos, Work, Chevrolet, Canada, Electric

1958 Chevrolet Apache

Steam Whistle Brewing electric 1958 Chevrolet Apache – Click above to watchvideo after the jump

Steam Whistle Brewing is known for three things: making high-quality pilsner beer, a green-sensitive ethos and an awesome collection of ’50s, ’60s and ’70s American iron to haul their wares around. The latest addition to their stable is this very green 1958 Chevrolet Apache. The truck was originally motivated by the omnipresent General Motors small-block V8, but for a company with an eco-friendly mindset, that wasn’t going to cut it for long.

Instead, the guys at Steam Whistle teamed up with some local Vancouver, Canada mechanics and restorers to replace the truck’s fossil fuel-chugging guts with a brushless AC motor turning out an incredible 465 lb.-ft. of torque. That kind of motivation means this thing can ferry bedloads of brew to destinations all around Vancouver by day and then cruise the strip and shred tires with the best of them at night. The best part is Steam Whistle’s high-voltage Apache is nearly 100-percent carbon neutral, thanks to wind-generated charging. Click past the jump to see videos of the truck in action.

[Source: YouTube/Steam Whistle via Carscoop | Image: Carscoop]

Continue reading Video: Steam Whistle Brewery’s electric 1958 Chevrolet Apache

Video: Steam Whistle Brewery’s electric 1958 Chevrolet Apache originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 23 Apr 2011 20:02:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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New York 2011: Chevrolet Sonic’s Z-Spec accessories add illusion of sportiness

Filed under: New York Auto Show, Budget, Hatchback, Chevrolet, GM

2012 Chevrolet Sonic Z-Spec

2012 Chevrolet Sonic Z-Spec – Click above for high-res image gallery

Extra spoilers and lower side skirts can look cool, but if the car doesn’t have any sort of augmented performance, it all seems pointless. Still, for those who want to give the appearance of being quick, Chevrolet will offer a line of Z-Spec dealer-installed accessories for its upcoming 2012 Sonic.

Chevrolet chose to debut its dot matrix-wrapped Sonic here at this year’s New York Auto Show, sporting a set of 17-inch painted alloys and a ground effects package. Why anyone would willingly choose such a visually awkward wrap is beyond us, but remember, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

No performance upgrades are presently available in the Z-Spec line, but customers will be able to roll the cost of the visual accessories into their monthly car payments at purchase time. See the not-so-fast sporty Sonic for yourself in our high-res gallery below.

Gallery: 2012 Chevrolet Sonic Z-Spec: New York 2011

Gallery: 2012 Chevrolet Sonic with Z-Spec accessories

2012 Chevrolet Sonic with Z-Spec accessories

Live photos copyright (C)2011 Drew Phillips / AOL

New York 2011: Chevrolet Sonic’s Z-Spec accessories add illusion of sportiness originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 21 Apr 2011 16:41:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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