Fall is here, with the changing of the leaves, cooling temperatures, and auto show season right around the corner. As the year comes to a close, we understand that your time becomes more strained and valuable. This week brought us some surprising news, with Honda kicking off the week by announcing prices on the all-new 2014 Accord Hybrid. Tuesday saw the 2014 Jeep Cherokee launch getting pushed back even further, while Wednesday found a lawsuit filed against the Department of Transportation. Thursday we got a glimpse of the all-new 2015 Chevrolet Silverado HD and 2015 GMC Sierra HD, and Friday continues the trend of new trucks with Chevrolet’s two new concepts. Since we don’t expect you to read every word of everything we have to say every week, we’ve gathered the top five stories of the week and given them to you in a short-read version to fit into your busy day.
Monday, September 23
Honda started off the week by announcing the pricing on the all-new 2014 Accord Hybrid. For just $29,946, you could drive away in a new hybrid, but is that price a little high? Coming in three different model levels, the new 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid delivers an array of standard and optional features to fit almost all budgets. However, looking at just the top-of-the-line Touring model with its starting price of $35,695, we think that may be cutting it a little too close to the price of the Accord Plug-in. Honda has priced its latest hybrid almost $2,000 more than the next hybrid in the class, the 2014 Ford Fusion Hybrid, but just because it may be more fuel efficient, we’ll wait to see if the newest Accord model is worth its price tag when we get behind the wheel.
Tuesday, September 24
It seems like the new 2014 Jeep Cherokee can’t catch a break. Once again, the launch for this all-new vehicle has been pushed back, this time thanks to more complications with the new nine-speed automatic transmission. Previously, the Cherokee was delayed due to fit and finish issues, followed by transmission issues. All was supposedly worked out, but Chrysler announced a further delay as around 1,000 vehicles still had transmission issues that needed to be addressed. Thanks to this production suspension, over 500 workers were temporarily laid off, while many others had their jobs reassigned. Although the suspension was expected to last only two weeks, by press time Jeep is saying that it has fixed the issue. However, it’s possible more problems could pop up in the future.
Wednesday, September 25
In a strange turn of events, the U.S. Department of Transportation is being sued by consumer advocacy groups for lack of backup cameras in select models. While most automakers have made this a standard feature, there are some who have yet to adopt this technology more fully in their lineups. In concurrence with this lawsuit, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has now officially put backup cameras on its list of recommended items to be made mandatory for all 2015 models. However, as the majority of the automotive industry has already implemented these changes, it doesn’t make much sense that the Consumer Union is taking this action and getting lawyers involved.
Thursday, September 26
We recently got a glimpse of the new 2015 Chevrolet Silverado HD and GMC Sierra HD, and while there are definitely some changes between the current 2014 Silverado and Sierra, there are some aspects of both that have stayed the same. Both look like their current HD models feature the same 6.0-liter Vortec V-8 engine. The exterior and interior of the 2015 Chevrolet Silverado HD and GMC Sierra HD are all-new, featuring a rear bumper stem, IntelliLink/MyLink infotainment systems, integrated trailer brake controls, and more storage space. Hill descent control, hydraulic body mounts, and asymmetrical leaf springs have also been added to improve the performance of both heavy-duty trucks. So what do we make of all this? They’re better than they need to be and will offer good competition to Ford and Ram.
Friday, September 27
Rounding out the week is Chevrolet with the introduction of its two latest concepts based off the 2014 Silverado, the Volunteer Firefighter and Black Ops. Both vehicles have targeted extreme preparedness in relation to their designs, and the Firefighter received special input from the National Volunteer Fire Council. Each truck was specially outfitted with features pertaining to their tasks, and the Firefighter concept seems very suited as a first responder vehicle, while the Black Ops concept seems out of place. It was designed to look sinister, with special body armor and custom paint job, but it just ends up looking like a big black truck. Would you want to show up on a covert ops mission in such a loud and large truck? Chevy seems to think so.