2011 Chevrolet Silverado LTZ 4X4 Crew Cab

2011 Silverado 2500 4WD LTZ

2011 Silverado 2500 4WD LTZ

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If “they” say fifty is the new thirty, then I’m saying three quarter ton and one ton trucks are the new Cadillac’s. When was the last time you rode in your friend’s big truck? I remember a Chevrolet ¾ ton truck from the seventies. It’s not hard to remember. There was practically nothing in the cab except a steering wheel, an AM radio, tuned to KTBB of course and the handles that operated the little triangular windows for air flow. That’s it, no leather, no A/C, no power anything. And the guys who drove them beat them to death. They would constantly overload them. You could see them going through town, grills pointed toward the sky, trailer hitches dragging the ground, spit stains down the side.

Wow, what a difference a few decades can make. Hell, I even saw one of these slicked out rides trying to fit through the drive thru at Starbucks. Really, Starbucks? But, hey, that’s o.k. with me. I’m a modern man. I understand complex grooming issues not even considered by nineteen seventies guy. So, why can’t I drive a truck that rides as easy as a Caddy and has more flair than Randy “The Macho Man” Savage. I can and I would.

The 2011 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 4WD LTZ Crew Cab…even the name is large, is absolutely cozy to drive. With everything from remote start to illuminated vanity mirrors to steering wheel controls the Silverado is as nice to drive as it is to look at.

silverado interior

silverado interior


But, the star of the show is the Duramax 6.6L V8 Turbo Diesel mated to the Allison 6-speed Automatic – transmission. This set up provided 15MPG in the city and around twenty one the highway. Considering it weighs about the same as a small dump truck I find this amazing. It’s like marrying the nice girl only to find out she has a touch of the naughty. The Duramax is a $7,195.00 option but, this is a truck with a base price of forty thousand dollars. What’s even more impressive is the almost 800LBFT of torque. I’m not sure but this has to be the secret of the awesome city mileage.
The styling is rugged and right. The only thing I would change is the camper style mirrors. They make it hard to go through the drive through at Starbucks. Yea, that Starbuck’s reference earlier was about me. There, that feels better. Parking, as expected was a bigger challenge than finding a good music station on terrestrial radio. There were times I had no choice but to take up two parking places. Without the rear back-up mirrors I would still be parked somewhere.
And last but not least. It’s a truck guys. You need to be able to load and unload it. So, could you please make the bed about 18 inches lower? If I had to pick up a load of landscaping rocks I would have to crawl in and out of the bed constantly to finish. There’s got to be a better way.

Overall the Chevy with the big name and the footprint to match was off the chart enjoyable to drive. Knowing you can drive over or pull up anything you want is a feeling you have to experience. The price as tested for the Silverado was $57,199.00. That’s a payment as big as Texas but, everything is bigger in Texas. Now, Austin needs to get on-board and make the parking places larger.

I’m Lonnie Johnson and this is this week’s review sponsored by Stewart’s Donnybrook Automotive. Stop by and see Gary today. I’m very proud to have them sponsor these reviews and hope you will give them a chance to earn your business. At the corner of Donnybrook and Troup

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2011 Kia Optima Turbo

2011 Kia Optima Turbo

2011 Kia Optima Turbo

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Every year at least one of the cars I review takes me by surprise and delivers everything I need in a car. Notice I didn’t say want. Want is too speculative and since I’m not in the oil and gas business I rarely speculate.

Take the 2011 Kia Optima 2.0 turbo. I’ve noticed the Korean brands making a Schwarkophian charge on the Japanese and American car makers for some time. The first to make the charge was Hyundai in the early twenty first century. I should have paid more attention to the automotive revolution in Korea. The 2011 Kia Optima offers class matching and in many cases class winning horsepower and creature comforts.

The only thing I found myself questioning about the car is a chrome strip following the roof line. It looks more out of place than Gene Simmons at a marriage counselor. Except for that minor design flaw the newest version of the Optima is an absolute show stopper.

Starting with the front end. The front fascia has the familiar Kia tiger front with sunken driving lights that make for a very aggressive appearance. The lines on the Optima are sharp. A machined look gives the impression the Optima could slice through the air and the wheels look like they could turn 90 degrees and be used as turbines to actually lift the Kia into flight. Note to Kia, I did not try this.

From the captains chair the Optima offers what looks to be a more European experience. The Korean’s are known to load their cars with more gadgets than Neverland and the 2.0 turbo is no different. Starting with Sirius Traffic the interior offers heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats, and a heated steering wheel. The sound system was easy to work and sounded great. I would have moved the USB port to another location. It sits just at the bottom of the center stack. Finishing off the amenities is a very user friendly navigation system.

My favorite part of the car lies under the hood. The 2.0 turbo is one second faster, zero to sixty than the Honda Accord with the V-6. It’s 274HP makes driving as fun as a rain storm in Texas. I found the car had very little turbo lag and the six-speed auto seemed to let the engine live in the “useful” rpm range. Just in case you might not be ready to trust an all new power-plant Kia offers a 10 year 100,000 mile warranty to alleviate your fears.

Don’t forget the mileage 24 city and 35 highway. I averaged 26 miles per gallon and I drove the car to have fun. If you haven’t looked at the Kia brand it’s time to. Just remember to ask for a turbo.

Finally, goodbye to Ryan Dunn, the Jackass star (my favorite). Ryan died while driving his highly modified Porsche GT3 into the woods. The crash was horrendous and reminds me of how delicate life is. While many will say he got what he deserved I would say those people are wrong. Just as Ryan was wrong to drink and drive. Not only Ryan lost his life in that tragic accident but the life of another man was lost. Look. Don’t drink and drive. Don’t competition drive on the street. It’s a death trap as Ryan found out. Ryan,thanks for all of the gut busting laughs you provided for millions and may you rest in peace. I can just imagine Ryan trying to prank St. Peter.

I’m Lonnie Johnson and this is this week’s review sponsored by Stewart’s Donnybrook Automotive. Stop by and see Gary today. I’m very proud to have them sponsor these reviews and hope you will give them a chance to earn your business. At the corner of Donnybrook and Troup Stewart’s Donnybrook Automotive offers what I think is the last full service station on the planet. You won’t find a more enhanced, enjoyable atmosphere anywhere in Tyler.

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2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe

2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe

2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe

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Last week will stand out in my mind for several years to come. First of all, my hometown Dallas Maverick’s beat LeBrick and the hated Miami Heat in six games. The final game was viewed with my dad, my brother and my seven year-old son who was sporting his black belt he had earned earlier in the week.

For a guy you would think the week couldn’t get much better, right? Wrong! I was able to spend the week going to each event in the 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe. Think plush Corvette. The CTS-V turned more heads than an intelligent remark made by Paris Hilton.

For starters, it was the first Caddy I’ve ever seen with what my twenty-one year old brother calls “Murdered out” wheels. This term I learned, stands for completely blacked out rims. Think about it for a moment. All black competition wheels on a Cadillac. Strangely, they didn’t look bad at all. The car is silver with black wheels. It actually looks more like a race car than the Z06 does. The front of the CTS Coupe is both sinister and sophisticated at the same time. With more angles than a Bernie Maddoff scheme and smoother than Rep. Wiener’s shaved torso, it announces to everyone that this car is here to compete. The great thing is you can compete in relative comfort .

Make no mistake there are 556 angry ponies at the tip of your foot. The great thing is when you don’t need this stable of discontent to perform the CTS-V drives like your grandma’s Cadillac. Of course the ride is not quite as smooth and it is a lot harder to access the back seat. The hilarious thing about this is once you actually get past the front Recaros the back seat offers ample room for anyone under six-feet tall. If you’re bigger than that you will need to impose your will on the smaller guy or girl and force them into the back. There is tons of leg room but, no headroom at all. The funny thing is, no one cared. You don’t buy this car for the back seat anymore than you buy that new 50” flat screen because you need it.

The interior of the CTS-V is just amazing. The Recaro seats are extremely comfortable and supportive. They offer bolstering to keep you in place under “fun” conditions. They are heated and cooled. The cooling is something I really appreciated in this current Texas heat wave. The gauges are easy to read and can be configured to any set-up you desire. The ride is quiet and plush. The CTS-V I was in was a six-speed. Think about that for a minute…a six speed…Caddy. Probably would have made a great moonshine runner. As odd as it was swimming through the gears, the stick made it worth the trouble/fun. My only complaint here was the clutch. It seemed to engage a little high for my taste and several folks stalled it the first time they got behind the wheel.

The mileage is Horrendous! I spent about a hundred bucks on premium fuel for the trip to Dallas and back to Tyler. That’s the second reason I can’t buy this car. The first is the $70,000.00 dollar price tag.

Look, you don’t buy this car if you can’t afford the payment or the fuel cost. But, if you can, I would. Although I did tell my friends it is more like a luxury Camaro Z28 than a luxury Corvette, I loved being in the cockpit flying low to Dallas to see Miami lose the BIG ONE. I’m now taking my talents to…well, back to work.

I’m Lonnie Johnson and this is this week’s review sponsored by Stewart’s Donnybrook Automotive. Stop by and see Gary today. I’m very proud to have them sponsor these reviews and hope you will give them a chance to earn your business. At the corner of Donnybrook and Troup Stewart’s Donnybrook Automotive offers what I think is the last full service station on the planet. You won’t find a more enhanced, enjoyable atmosphere anywhere in

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