Buick updates tech in 2014 LaCrosse

When Buick updated its LaCrosse model with its mild hybrid system, eAssist, and the IntelliLink infotainment system for the 2012 model year, the car was the most technically advanced Buick available. Rather than rest on its laurels, Buick gives the model new internal tech features for a 2014 model year update, including a new LED panel in the instrument cluster.

The 2014 LaCrosse model will feature the same drivetrain options as before, a 2.4-liter four-cylinder aided by a 15-horsepower electric motor or a more traditional 3.6-liter V-6 with direct injection.

The look gets refreshed slightly with new LED … Read more

GM opening cars up for app development

LAS VEGAS--On the same day that Ford announced its Sync AppLink developer program, GM came out with its own take, announcing it would make APIs and other resources available so developers can build apps for the car.

GM announced a new Web site, http://developer.gm.com/, where developers will be able to download the SDK for its new app framework. It also demonstrated integration with iHeart Radio, TuneIn, Slacker, and The Weather Channel on the new framework.

GM plans on offering the new framework in some 2014 model year vehicles, which could come out as early as this summer. … Read more

Five hybrid cars: The newest gas-electric fuel-sippers

Hybrid drive systems in modern cars store what would otherwise be wasted kinetic energy from braking, making it available to supplement the work of the gasoline engine. These hybrid cars get much better fuel economy than their gasoline-only equivalents, and, due to regenerative braking, reduce brake pad wear. Although the Prius is the hybrid poster car, many other types of hybrid cars exist today, meeting the American buyers' variety of needs.

Here are five of the latest hybrids hitting the market. … Read more

Camaro leads the way for Chevy app, nav integration

When we saw demonstrations of Chevy's MyLink system last year, it looked like the company finally had a solid competitor to Ford Sync. MyLink not only offered advanced voice command over phones and MP3 players, but also integrated smartphone apps.

However, as we saw in the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu, Chevy hadn't built a MyLink head unit that was compatible with a navigation system. The result: buyers had to choose between having advanced voice command or onboard navigation.

The 2013 Camaro seems to solve that little problem.… Read more

The hybrid premium: How much more does a hybrid car cost?

Ever since hybrids became popular, with the second generation of the Toyota Prius, the question arose of whether the fuel savings justified a hybrid car's higher price. The extra expense for a hybrid car has been called the hybrid premium.

The extra cost for a hybrid car comes from the additional equipment in the driveline. Along with the gas engine, hybrid cars have an electric propulsion motor, a high-voltage battery pack, and a power control module, this latter component determining how to feed electric power into the drive system.

Now, with many automakers offering some type of hybrid car, … Read more

New Buick LaCrosse makes hybrid standard

Luxury car makers usually insist that you need massive amounts of V-8 horsepower to motivate your leather and wood trimmed executive sedan. Some drivers may crave that kind of power, but many are content to cruise at the speed limit while considering whether pork bellies would be a good investment.

Buick built its new LaCrosse for that second class of driver. Its four-cylinder engine may seem meager, but at 2.4 liters and using direct injection, it gives the full-size sedan reasonable power. Buick enhances that power with a small electric motor, not powerful enough to drive the wheels on … Read more

GM's Lansing, Mich., plant meets Energy Star standards

General Motors isn't just interested in building energy-efficient vehicles; the company now says its Lansing Delta Township Assembly Plant is the company's first U.S. facility to become Energy Star certified. This means the plant has met strict energy performance levels set by the EPA from 2010 to 2011.

The Michigan plant, which builds the Buick Enclave, GMC Acadia, and Chevrolet Traverse, was designed to meet the optimum energy efficiency in heating, ventilation, and air conditioning without using steam, the company said in a press release.

The plant, which opened in 2006, has energy and water conservation features … Read more

GM invests $325 million in Warren, Mich. plant

General Motors' latest investment will provide tools and equipment to support production of future electric vehicle components. The company announced on Friday that it will invest $325 million in its Warren, Mich., plant and create or retain 418 jobs.

The plant's current 679 employees produce transmissions for the Chevrolet Traverse, Buick Enclave and GMC Acadia crossovers and the Chevrolet Malibu sedan.

The 2.1-million-square-foot plant, equivalent to the area of 15 city blocks, produced more than 338,000 transmissions in 2010, the company said in a press release.

"This investment in the future recognizes the excellent work force … Read more

2012 Buick Verano to start at $23,470

The 2012 Buick Verano small luxury sedan, which will roll into showrooms later this year, will have a starting price of $23,470 including $885 in destination charges.

The 2012 Verano was announced at the Detroit auto show in January.

"Verano is a great new addition to Buick because it expands the brand's reach," Tony DiSalle, U.S. vice president of Buick Marketing said in a press release. "With Verano, we're inviting new customers into the Buick family, giving us the opportunity and privilege of building longtime Buick loyalty."

The Verano will compete with … Read more

2012 Buick Regal with eAssist to start at $29,530, Regal GS at $35,310

Buick just announced pricing on the 2012 Regal with eAssist, and the sportier 2012 Regal GS.

The Regal with eAssist will start at $29,530. The eAssist system is actually a $2,000 option on the Regal base model, mated to a 2.4L Ecotec engine. According to Buick, the base model without eAssist will continue to be available along with the 2.0L turbo.

The Regal GS will start at $35,310. Both prices include $860 in destination charges.

"Regal with eAssist and Regal GS offer distinct advantages to midsize luxury sport sedan customers," Tony DiSalle, U.… Read more