Newly ar­rived GM mod­els spark­ing sales

Winnipeg Free Press - Section E - - AUTOS -

LO­CAL Gen­eral Mo­tors deal­er­ships have re­cently wel­comed the all-new Spark and the com­pletely re­designed 2013 Mal­ibu to their show­rooms, and they’re re­ally ex­cited about the new mod­els’ mar­ket prospects.

The Mal­ibu is the most re­cent ar­rival, hav­ing come in just two weeks ago. It’s a lit­tle shorter than its pre­de­ces­sor but makes up for that by be­ing a lit­tle wider. And the seats have been re­designed for greater com­fort on long-dis­tance drives.

“The 2013 Mal­ibu is a beau­ti­ful car,” said Ryan Pastet­nik, Jim Gau­thier Chevro­let’s gen­eral sales man­ager.

The model’s ECOTEC 2.4L four­cylin­der, 182-hp engine is made more en­ergy-ef­fi­cient with eAs­sist tech­nol­ogy, which fea­tures re­gen­er­a­tive brak­ing. This cap­tures power nor­mally lost dur­ing coast­ing or brak­ing, con­verts it to elec­tric­ity and stores it for when it’s needed, help­ing keep the lithium-ion bat­tery charged.

When the car is stopped, it au­to­mat­i­cally switches from us­ing gas to en­ergy from the lithium-ion bat­tery. The 15-kilo­watt mo­tor-gen­er­a­tor unit brings the engine to a smooth stop and pre­pares it for a seam­less start when the brake pedal is re­leased.

The re­sult is 11.3 litres per 100 kilo­me­tres in city driv­ing and up to 7.3 on the high­way.

Pastet­nik notes the top-end LTZ mod­els have 2.5-litre en­gines that pro­duce 197 hp. and come with Ca­maro­like LED tail­lights and vi­brant twotone leather in­te­rior op­tions. Other op­tions for the 2013 Mal­ibu in­clude Chevro­let’s MyLink infotainment sys­tem (which comes with a sev­eninch touch screen and lets pas­sen­gers stream mu­sic via Blue­tooth or USB), a re­verse cam­era and re­mote engine start.

The base-model Mal­ibu starts at $26,495 (in­clud­ing freight and PDI).

The Chevy Spark is GM’s new en­try in the mini-car mar­ket. What sets the Spark apart from its com­pe­ti­tion, Pastet­nik said, is that it comes with “tons” of stan­dard equip­ment. The model runs on a 1.2L I-4 engine with vari­able valve tim­ing — which helps make the engine more ef­fi­cient — and a fivespeed man­ual trans­mis­sion. There’s also an avail­able four-speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion.

Pastet­nik added that there are a lot of new vi­brant retro colours from which to choose such as green, pink and orange.

The Spark starts at $14,995 (in­clud­ing freight and pdi). Pastet­nik noted that GM is the only man­u­fac­turer of­fer­ing re­bates and zero-per-cent fi­nanc­ing.

“The Spark is catch­ing on very well,” he added. New Ford Es­cape also in show­rooms Ford deal­ers also have a new model in stock to at­tract the driv­ing pub­lic. The 2013 Es­cape ar­rived at lo­cal deal­ers in July.

Birch­wood Key­stone Ford sales rep James Fo­ord said the re­designed 2013 SUV/cross­over is pow­ered by a choice of en­gines — a 2.5L 168-hp 4-cylin­der, a 1.6L 173-hp 4-cylin­der turbo and a 2.0L 237-hp four-cylin­der turbo. A six-speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion is now stan­dard with all three en­gines whether you opt for front- or four­wheel drive.

The new model is both larger and heav­ier than its pre­de­ces­sor and is 20-per-cent more fuel-ef­fi­cient.

Dur­ing a walka­round, Fo­ord pointed out the new Es­cape’s ex­tra trunk space (which can be in­creased by lay­ing the rear seats down flat) and power lift gate, which can be op­er­ated by a switch on the dash, the key fob or a hatch re­lease han­dle. There is also a non-contact mo­tion sen­sor (for those who don’t opt for the tow pack­age) that ac­ti­vates the power-open­ing fea­ture af­ter de­tect­ing a foot swing a few inches un­der the rear bumper (as long as the per­son ap­proach­ing is hold­ing the fob).

Fo­ord also noted the op­tional au­to­matic par­al­lel-park­ing fea­ture that helps steer the Es­cape into the park­ing space. The op­tion is in­cluded in a Tech­nol­ogy Pack­age that also pro­vides blind-spot warn­ing, rain-sens­ing wipers, front and rear ob­ject sen­sors and panoramic backup cam­era.

Other new fea­tures this year are a 110-volt plug-in in the back (the 2012 model had only a 20-volt plug-in), a cap­less fuel sys­tem that pre­vents any gas leak­age, heated seats with five dif­fer­ent tem­per­a­ture set­tings and the op­tional MyFord Touch in­for­ma­tion cen­tre.

The 2013 Ford Es­cape ranges in price from just over $23,000 for the base S model to just un­der $40,000 for the top-of-the-line Ti­ta­nium 4WD model.

A 2013 Mal­ibu (left) and 2013 Ford Es­cape.

Gau­thier Chev used-car man­ager Jim Mann Bax­ter with a new GM Spark.

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