- The Washington Times - Friday, January 30, 2009


There is no mistaking the CTS for anything but a contemporary Cadillac. Signature exterior cues include vertically oriented “light pipes” and horizontal spline lines. The CTS strikes a sporting stance with a wide track, communicating a dramatic presence.

CTS’ athletic form is characterized by sculpted fenders with side air extractors. An UltraView double sunroof is available, spanning the front and rear seats. The CTS’ interior emphasizes technical precision with elegant, handcrafted details.

The standard 3.6-liter V-6 produces 263 horsepower and 253 foot-pounds of torque. The engine is matched with fuel-saving six-speed transmissions: an Aisin six-speed manual or an electronically controlled Hydra-Matic six-speed automatic.

Direct injection technology helps the CTS offer more power while maintaining fuel economy and lowering emissions. It delivers fuel more precisely to increase the efficiency of combustion. This means less fuel is consumed and lower emissions created. The 2009 CTS runs on less-expensive regular unleaded gasoline.

Base model estimated mpg: 18 city/26 highway

Estimated starting price: $35,555


Dramatic design and technology drove Cadillac Escalade to the top of the large luxury SUV category in terms of image and sales. In 2009, Escalade extends that leadership thanks to a new ultra-luxury platinum edition with even more segment-first technologies.

The 2009 Escalade Platinum becomes one of the most technically advanced SUVs with the additions of segment-first LED headlamps and the world’s fastest-acting suspension, magnetic ride control.

Escalade offers the most complete lineup in the luxury SUV category with three distinct body styles. The standard Escalade is joined by the extended “maximum passenger and cargo space” ESV model, as well as the innovative EXT model. The EXT model features a reconfigurable cargo bed, including the segment-exclusive midgate, which enables the rear compartment to flex between passenger and cargo space.

The Escalade lineup delivers the most powerful, efficient luxury SUVs in the segment, led by a 6.2-liter all-aluminum V-8 engine delivering 403 horsepower and 417 foot-pounds of torque. The 6.2-liter engine has been revised to run using E85 ethanol, making it a flex-fuel vehicle for the first time.

Enhancements for 2009 reinforce the Escalade’s position as a leader with integrated features designed to bolster comfort, convenience and safety. Some of the new features include side blind zone alert and XM Satellite Radio with real-time traffic reports.

Base model estimated mpg: 12 city/19 highway

Estimated starting price: $60,755


The Cadillac XLR roadster enters 2009 with a revised model lineup that is focused on more dramatic design, technology and craftsmanship.

Cadillac’s retractable hardtop roadster features new color choices, revised interior trim and enhanced electronics for 2009 - and only the finest editions of the XLR will be offered: The luxurious XLR Platinum and the high-performance XLR-V.

The XLR Platinum is equipped with a 320-horsepower 4.6-liter Northstar V-8 VVT. The XLR-V is powered with a 443-horsepower 4.4-liter Northstar V-8 supercharged engine.

Changes for 2009 include an improved version of magnetic ride control system and amenities such as a heated steering wheel. XLR’s advanced technologies also include adaptive forward lighting that enable the headlamps to swivel in concert with vehicle steering; a head-up display; StabiliTrak; heated and cooled seats; keyless access with push-button start; and DVD navigation and entertainment.

The 2009 XLR includes a new front fascia, new rear fascia and new side fender vents. Also new is hand-cut and sewn leather used on the upper instrument panel. This hand-stitched and wrapped leather lends tailored elegance to the cabin, representing Cadillac’s new approach to modern and elegant interior craftsmanship.

Base model estimated mpg: 15 city/24 highway

Estimated starting price: $83,530


Chevy Avalanche is the most flexible utility vehicle, combining the passenger-comfort attributes of an SUV with the cargo capability of a truck. It features segment-leading fuel economy and flex-fuel capability; a sharp, precise driving feel; interior refinement, and notable quietness - it also has a maximum towing capacity of 8,100 pounds.

Avalanche’s efficiency is enhanced in 2009 with the new, fuel-saving six-speed automatic transmission. It helps deliver improved highway fuel mileage by incorporating two overdrive gears (fifth and sixth gears) that allow the engine to operate at a lower speed on the highway. The lower engine speed also contributes to a quieter passenger environment.

The Avalanche is available in LS, LT and LTZ models, with two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive. The standard powertrain includes an efficient 5.3-liter V-8 with active fuel management technology that seamlessly switches from eight-cylinder to four-cylinder operation to save fuel. A 6.0-liter V-8 engine with active fuel management and variable valve timing is also available. Several of Avalanche’s engines are flex-fuel capable, meaning they can run on E85 ethanol-based fuel.

Avalanche’s flexibility enables it to function as an SUV, truck or both, thanks to the exclusive midgate. The midgate opens to extend the cargo-carrying capability from the cargo bed’s 5-foot-3-inch length to 8 feet 2 inches.

Base model estimated mpg: 14 city/20 highway

Estimated starting price: $35,205


The Aveo5’s signature “tall car” design boasts smooth lines and short front and rear overhangs that give it a bold personality. It was conceived for maximum versatility and practicality.

New exterior styling for 2009 includes a front-end design that leaves no doubt that the Aveo5 is a contemporary Chevy. Signature Malibu-inspired upper and lower grilles are flanked by sweeping headlamps that give this small car big attitude. At the rear, a lower fascia insert and roof-mounted spoiler complete the sporty look.

The Aveo5 has a standard rear wiper and washer and 60/40 flip-and-fold seats.

Aveo5’s cabin reflects youthful refinement. Its generous dimensions offer ample interior space capable of accommodating passengers more than 6 feet tall in each of the five seating positions. A combination of sound-dampening technologies and aerodynamics provides a quiet and comfortable ride, even at higher speeds.

Powering the Aveo5 is GM’s sophisticated 16-valve four-cylinder engine. This 1.6-liter Ecotec engine features variable valve timing for optimal power and fuel efficiency. It is rated at 106 horsepower and 107 foot-pounds of torque. A smooth-shifting, five-speed manual transmission is standard and an Aisin four-speed automatic is available.

Base model estimated mpg: 27 city/34 highway

Estimated starting price: $12,120


Chevy’s midsize Colorado pickup enters 2009 with a host of performance enhancements, including a new, 5.3-liter V-8 engine option and new brake system. These features, along with the return of the ZQ8 sport suspension and a new family of stylish wheels, increase the Colorado’s capability and refreshes its stylish appearance.

Colorado’s new 5.3-liter V-8 is available on extended cab and crew cab models. It pumps out 300 horsepower and delivers 320 foot-pounds of robust torque for a maximum towing capacity of 6,000 pounds. Effortless highway driving also is an attribute of the new V-8, enabling zero-to-60 mph performance of under 7 seconds.

A revised fuel control module helps most 2009 Colorado models equipped with the 2.9-liter and 3.7-liter engines achieve better fuel economy than previous models.

Colorado receives a new brake system that delivers greater stopping power and an improved brake pedal feel. StabiliTrak stability control is standard.

Colorado is available in regular cab, extended cab and crew cab configurations, as well as 2-wheel and four-wheel drive. It can seat up to six. Standard features include rack-and-pinion steering, XM Satellite Radio, intermittent wipers, air conditioning, tilt steering wheel, cruise control and folding outside mirrors.

Base model estimated mpg: 18 city/24 highway

Estimated starting price: $16,905


Powerful and efficient Ecotec engines are at the heart of the HHR. They provide good performance, value and convenience. Variable valve timing added to the base 2.2-liter Ecotec engine for 2009 enables more efficient performance, along with an increase in horsepower from 149 to 155. This enhances the HHR’s fuel economy, giving it a driving range of approximately 500 miles.

Also new for 2009, the HHR’s 2.2-liter and 2.4-liter Ecotec engines are flex-fuel capable. The HHR brings a turbocharged dose of thrills unmatched in the segment. For ‘09, the GM Performance Division has combined the SS’s DNA with the unique HHR Panel to create a limited-edition HHR Panel SS.

The HHR SS is a high-performance vehicle like no other. Features such as “no-lift shift” and other driver-selectable performance modes help it achieve zero-to-60 mph performance in 6.3 seconds. A new SS performance package debuts in 2009 and includes Brembo four-piston front-brake calipers and a limited-slip differential.

In addition to the new HHR Panel SS model, variable valve timing for the 2.2-liter engine and E85 flex-fuel capability for the 2.2-liter and 2.4-liter engines, new technology and safety features highlight the cross-lineup changes for 2009, as well as the inclusion of some previously optional equipment as standard.

Base model estimated mpg: 22 city/32 highway

Estimated starting price: $18,590


The 2009 Malibu is offered in several well-equipped trim levels: LS, LT and LTZ - all with standard head curtain side air bags and front-seat thorax air bags, as well as available convenience features including remote vehicle starting.

The 2.4-liter engine is rated at 169 horsepower. With its strong stance and bold proportions, the Malibu has a profile that reinforces its substantial feel. Clean, pure lines and wheels pushed to the corners, as well as a visually lower, yet longer, greenhouse and a shorter deck suggest motion, agility and attitude.

The integrated, flowing instrument panel features a Chevrolet-signature dual-cockpit design, with prominent gauges backlit in blue, and metallic or wood-grain accents.

Malibu’s strong structure serves as the foundation for an exceptionally quiet environment. Along with the robust chassis, which minimizes vibration and noise, the body construction uses noise-reducing materials, such as liquid spray-on sound deadener, laminated steel and composite wheel liners to deliver one the segment’s quietest, most refined driving experiences.

A family of 17- and 18-inch wheels is offered with Malibu, all tailored with a tight wheel-to-body relationship.

Base model estimated mpg: 22 city/23 highway

Estimated starting price: $21,395


The 2009 Chevrolet Silverado is not only the strongest ever offered by Chevrolet, but it also delivers segment-topping fuel economy.

For 2009, Silverado’s fuel economy advantage is enhanced with a new six-speed automatic that is paired with V-8 engines (except the 4.8-liter). Also, a new 6.2-liter V-8 with variable valve timing and E85 flex-fuel capability is offered on crew cab models; it is rated at 403 horsepower.

Silverado’s new Hydra-Matic 6L08 six-speed automatic transmission rolls out on models equipped with 5.3-, 6.0- and 6.2-liter engines. It debuts in the crew cab and migrates to regular cab and extended cab models with the 5.3-liter and 6.0-liter engines (except extended cab/short box 5-foot 8-inch configurations).

The six-speed helps achieve better fuel efficiency on the highway through lower “cruising” rpm - less fuel is used with the lower engine speed.

The Silverado lineup is built on GM’s robust full-size truck architecture. It supports a smooth ride and confident handling while delivering segment-leading capability and power. A lineup of powerful small-block V-8 engines complements the stronger chassis to deliver a confident towing capacity of 10,700 pounds (extended cab with 6.0-liter and enhanced trailering package).

Base model estimated mpg: 15 city/20 highway

Estimated starting price: $26,135


The 2009 Chevrolet Traverse is an expressively styled, well-equipped crossover that gives customers people-hauling and cargo-carrying capability typically found in larger SUVs - all delivered with better-than-expected efficiency, thanks to a new 3.6-liter V-6 with direct injection technology.

The all-new 2009 Traverse is offered in LS, LT and LTZ models, in front-wheel and all-wheel drive. Features include a towing capacity of 5,200 pounds; four-wheel independent suspension system; StabiliTrak; 17-, 18- and 20-inch wheels; and a second-row smart-slide seat for easy access to the third-row seats.

Taut body lines and minimal overhangs convey the image of a smaller vehicle, reinforcing the Traverse’s feeling of a large vehicle that drives smaller, while tight tolerances between body components emphasize a highly precise build quality.

The Traverse’s interior can be configured for seven or eight adults, including two front bucket seats, a 60/40-split second-row bench (three passengers) or two second-row captain’s chairs (two passengers), and a 60/40-split third-row bench seat.

Base model estimated mpg: 17 city/24 highway

Estimated starting price: $28,990


In addition to striking design and a refined interior, the 2009 Chrysler 300 offers improved fuel economy while providing more performance from a new HEMI V-8 engine.

The all-wheel-drive 300 models are equipped with active transfer case and front-axle disconnect. The unique system seamlessly transitions between rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive with no driver intervention.

The 2009 Chrysler 300C features the new-generation 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 engine with a five-speed automatic that produces 360 horsepower and 389 foot-pounds of torque. The 5.7-liter HEMI continues to offer a fuel-saving multi-displacement system. MDS turns off the fuel consumption in four of the cylinders when V-8 power is not needed, improving fuel economy by as much as 20 percent.

The 2009 Chrysler 300 Limited and 300C feature a comfort-tuned suspension for a smoother ride. For a sport-tuned suspension, the Chrysler 300C Heritage offers the same performance steering, suspension and shocks as the Dodge Charger Daytona R/T.

On the interior, classic styling cues of the Chrysler 300C have been extended to the entire lineup for 2009, including chrome door spears, chrome center-console spears and cup-holder rings, chrome instrument panel trim rings and satin silver instrument panel bezels.

Base model estimated mpg: 18 city/26 highway

Estimated starting price: $26,665


The new 2009 Chrysler Aspen HEMI Hybrid offers performance, utility, capability and vastly improved fuel economy.

Offered in the Aspen for the first time is Chrysler’s two-mode, full-hybrid system, developed in partnership with General Motors, Mercedes-Benz and BMW. It delivers a two-mode full-hybrid system by integrating automatic-transmission technology with a patented hybrid-electric drive system.

In electric-only operation, the engine is shut off, with the vehicle moving under electric-only power at low speed. The result is a significant reduction in fuel consumption in heavy stop-and-go traffic. Combined with fuel-saving multi-displacement system technology, the two-mode hybrid technology delivers an overall improvement of more than 25 percent in fuel economy; up to a 40 percent improvement in the city.

The second mode is used at highway speeds. In addition to electric assist, the second mode provides full power from the 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 when conditions demand it, such as when passing, pulling a trailer or climbing a steep grade.

A 300-volt battery pack provides electric power for the system and is designed to fit in the Aspen without compromising passenger space.

Base model estimated mpg: 19 city/20 highway

Estimated starting price: $44,770


The 2009 Chrysler PT Cruiser’s styling and flexible interior set it apart in the specialty car segment. It is a dramatic alternative to the sea of sameness.

With two 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine options - including a turbocharged model with exhilarating performance - the PT Cruiser blends the comfort and convenience of an SUV with the efficiency of a small car.

PT Cruiser features the face of Chrysler, with a winged badge. The Limited model features chrome accents on the grille. Headlamps have a scalloped bottom edge.

A body-color spoiler on the liftgate improves aerodynamics. A rear liftgate provides easy access to the PT Cruiser’s flexible interior. With the fold/tumble/removable seats and the available fold-flat front passenger seat and movable rear shelf, the interior can be configured 160 different ways.

The instrument panel features large gauges, standard compass and temperature displays, flush-shutoff rotating air vents, and a signature Chrysler analog clock.

Base model estimated mpg: 21 city/26 highway

Estimated starting price: $17,250

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