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Ok, maybe this is an excellent example of how a reader brings their own expectations/biases to stuff they read. Frankly, neither example seems all that biased - in fact they aren't terribly negative reviews.

So the GP article is framed around the notion that the car is slowly evolving. Well, it's a very similar platform to the outgoing car, with freshened styling, an updated motor and some extra features. It's not so much a new car as a reskin of the old GP. So, not surprisingly, it has much of the characteristics of the old car. It's agressive looking. It's powerful and out-accelerates the competition. It handles well, but is a little numb and harsh.

The biggest knock seems to be it's expensive (unless I needed the room or really was focused on acceleration, I don't think I'd pick the GP over a 325 or A4). And though the interior is better looking, it's still not up to par for the price.

Christ, the Altima gets knocked on it's interior fittings in almost every review. There isn't some kind of conspiracy here.

The article also notes:

"Barman, a round of drinks for the engineers who have so artfully tuned StabiliTrak Sport. The system quietly and unobtrusively works individual calipers to keep the car on course with minimal power-killing throttle intervention. Without the twinkle of the dashboard indicator light, you might never know it’s saving your hide. In that respect, StabiliTrak Sport deftly outsmarts the jumpy, heavy-handed stability computers fitted to more pricey rides from Mercedes, BMW, and Lexus."

So, it recognizes that the GP is in fact a benchmark in this area - over cars that are even more expensive.

In the second article, the Caddy won the comparison!

I honestly don't know what you take away from these articles. I read them and think "hey, GM cars are really improving. Cadillacs are once again benchmarks in some classes. GM's mainline cars are becoming more competitive. They may not be totally there yet, but they are certainly getting better."
 

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So Tone, what you really boil down GM's problem is allowing pre-production cars to be used for testing purposes?
I was on Autoweek today and if you read the review of the Monte Carlo SS. The interior is picked on again, one reviewer stated it is a good interior for a GM product but still not up to imports standards, the reviewers were surprised by how good the Monte Carlo drove.
Look at the Ten Best List from C/D? Do you agree with the decisions made by C/D editors? Or rather how they arrived at their decisions.
The writers seem to like RWD, hp, torque, and quality but they make exceptions on the RWD for Honda, Toyota, Nissan but not for GM. More issues are made over quality of interiors between GM and the imports. I drive both and still can't see what the major differences between a GM interior is and a Toyota?
 

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Comparing a vehicle to a "crocodile, snail, or squid" can never be mistaken as praise. The preamble to the actual dynamic review of the car basically gives the reader the mental image of the Grand Prix being much like a squid: A large, ugly, slimy, tentacled beast of the deep. If you continue reading, you then can kind of make out in the writer's backhanded way that the GP is actually a decent car. But then, just to make sure the comparison isn't forgotten, he ends the article with the squid/snail comment.

What kind of writing is that? Totally unacceptable under any circumstance, Domestic, Import or otherwise.
 

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Well put Smallblock, the writers express bias with how the preamble to the article. Often compliments are made in a backhanded way.
 

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Originally posted by Canuck@Dec 18 2003, 06:52 PM
1. So Tone, what you really boil down GM's problem is allowing pre-production cars to be used for testing purposes?

2. Look at the Ten Best List from C/D? Do you agree with the decisions made by C/D editors? Or rather how they arrived at their decisions. The writers seem to like RWD, hp, torque, and quality but they make exceptions on the RWD for Honda, Toyota, Nissan but not for GM. More issues are made over quality of interiors between GM and the imports. I drive both and still can't see what the major differences between a GM interior is and a Toyota?
1. I'm not sure what you mean by this. I assume you mean comments about the interior.

I have driven a number of GM cars (not the GP, so I can't comment on that) and generally the design/materials doesn't seem to be up to the standards of the best in class. It's not that they rattle or anything anymore - the quality in terms of assembly seems quite good. I guess we are getting into the very subjective issue of style. GM interiors tend to have a lot of pieces - they have lots of cut lines in the dash and the parts don't look particularly finely crafted. The best of the Japanese are better at this - the Accords I've sat in feel "crafted" - there are few seams in the dash, the controls operate with percision. They still look quite bland though. The best are VW and Audi, whose interiors right now seem to be the benchmark. From what I've seen Ford is catching up - the interior of the new upline F150 would look right at home in a Lincoln.

As with anything as subjective as this, it's open to opinions. But VW has amply demonstrated that the market is willing to pay a premium for a car with a premium-feeling interior. Many, including GM, are trying to emulate that. To many buyers, though, the lack of "premiumness" of, say the Impala, doesn't matter very much and is more than offset by the value pricing the car offers.

2. Well, my driving is limited to cars I can get my hands on - I'm not an automotive journalist or anything. So, I haven't driven everything on the 10 best list. I've driven a couple of Focui and were quite impressed with them - in fact I might have bought one if they hadn't been so recalled during the first couple of years. I've also driven a number of BMWs and they really are very, very impressive. You say the writers seem to like RWD, hp, torque, and quality - I don't think that's quite it. C&D, Automobile and Road and Track seem to favour balanced cars - ones that do a lot of things well. They put a high premium on cars that are very responsive and "talk" to the driver - the kind of quality that goes beyond the numbers and makes a car fun to drive. So, it makes perfect sense that something like the S2000 would make the list. It also makes perfect sense the Corvette woud make it - the C5 does many things well and it pretty much the best sports car for the money available.

Do I agree with these magazine's priorities - yes. If I didn't, I wouldn't read them. A few GM cars do quite well by these standards - the Vette and the CTS for example. The cheaper GM cars are getting there - but don't seem to be quite there yet. Yet, they still offer a lot of other qualities in terms of power, standard equipment and price which can make them very desirable choices for a lot of drivers.

The magazines are simply comparing cars to others in their class. The "bias" of the magazine (balance and fun-to-drive over raw numbers) is apparent. It's pretty easy to read these magazines and figure out whether the car being tested is of interest to you - which is kind of the whole point. If you don't find the interior of a car C&D tests unappealing and are interested in, say the smooth power and torque of a supercharged 3800 and the class leading stability control, couldn't you figure out by reading the C&D article that you should take a close look at the new GP?

Again, I'm just a guy who likes cars and reads a lot of car magazines. I don't walk away thinking that GM builds crap cars based on what I've read. I do come away thinking the GM builds a lot of mainstream cars that probably wouldn't appeal to me (again, Corvette, F-bodies, CTS excepted) but are good values in their classes for people looking for power, features and price.
 

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I fail to see how the Pontiac Grand Prix was abused in this review. And as for the SRX review....

"the SRX succeeds by not faltering badly at any task. It is the best combination of a satisfying driving experience and utility"

"a stellar powertrain performance "

"The SRX’s suspension...strikes a pleasant balance between comfort and sport...the SRX is fluid through the twisty stuff"

"Its throttle and brake pedals are ideally tuned for smooth operation"

"And did we mention that the SRX’s cargo space is the only one here that’s significantly larger than that of the full-size station wagons we tested back in 1999?"

Okay....where was the bad stuff? Perhaps you folks expect them to write glowing reports on the Cadillac and trash the other three? C&D was equally harsh on all of the while pointing out the good parts. A Cadillac beat a Porsche and highly capable competition from Volkswagen and Infiniti...with NO handicaps. If this is the best you can come up with, you've not persuaded me that there's any anti-"Big 3" conspiracy.

If you have better examples, I have magazines at home...give me issues and articles in the other magazines. I'll read them from the paper copies.
 

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Hudson,

Just a few quotes from the C&D article on the GP.

"Now, the 2004 Grand Prix romps into showrooms with basically the same cast-iron 3800 V-6, basically the same strut suspension, and basically the same Pollyanna mission to serve as GM’s bargain BMW. "

So, what the writer is saying here is that the competition isn't using the same DOHC aluminum engines and struts? Or is it that the GP hasn't been improved? It's this type of insinuation that puts the reader into a negative mind set before the actual review starts.

And just as a note on the engine, GM has taken a known workhorse from the early years and made it into a surprisingly good engine that actually has a powerband that actually includes the lower rev range. It has even more improvements in the new GP.


The thing is, as with many articles about American cars, the reader is predisposed by the writer to dislike the vehicle before the review even starts. Then just to make shure that the reader isn't swayed toward actually thinking that the car is reasonably good, they throw in backhanded comments like "(and at GM there is always a discount)" and "What does the Grand Prix GTP have to offer against those? How about more registered trademarks for the dollar?". Fact is that pretty much everyone is discounting in some way. And why is it that when GM shows off it's innovations (all those cute little trademarks) suddenly it's all advertising? It's just the same old journalistic slanted view.

I guess in closing, my biggest problem with the media isn't that they say "American cars are crap". It's the backhanded comments that are notably absent from foreign reviews. If the reader thinks that the milk is sour before he/she has a taste, it will always taste a little sour.
 

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In the first sentence quoted by Hudson, there is a decidedly pessimistic view being displayed:

"The SRX succeeds by not faltering badly at any task. It is the best combination of a satisfying driving experience and utility"

Is there a better way of saying a vehicle is performing well other than it doesn’t "falter badly"? Instead of pointing out that is doesn’t falter badly, couldn’t you say that it performed well at each task? When trying to praise a vehicle, why would you display such a passive aggressive approach? Could it be that the fact that the Cadillac bested its foreign rivals be leaving a bad taste in the point-out-every-fault-in-the-American-built-winner automotive writer?
 

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The SRX comment is a compliment: it's not bad at anything...but not necessarily outstanding at anything. This type of comment usually accompanies any winner of this type of comparison. The winner is rarely great at everything, but good at everything and not awful at anything. You guys are reading too much into this.

As for the Grand Prix comments, which of those comments are false? Is the V6 less than 40 years old? Is the suspension more than an upgrade of the previous one?

If you're comparing the Grand Prix to the Camry or Accord, you can use these comments as "bad mouthing" the Pontiac since Toyota and Honda upgrade their cars every four years but keep the platforms around forever (although both have been redone fairly recently). If you're comparing the Grand Prix to a BMW (which GM would like buyers and media to do), the comments have more weight. BMW completely rebuilds its platforms every seven years while the Grand Prix's platform can trace its roots to 1988. BMW's engines are highly regarded for their power and smoothness while the 3.8L is thought of as a workhorse...reliable and fuel efficient, but not a modern powerplant.

None of these things are bashing...it's all in context. Would you rank the Grand Prix competitively with a BMW?

And everyone knows that you can negotiate very well on price at a GM dealer when it's much more difficult to haggle at a BMW or Honda or Toyota dealer.

Do these writers have to avoid any potentially negative comment for you guys to think that they're not "Big 3 bashing?" Wouldn't kissing up to GM be WORSE than pointing out their cars' flaws?
 

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I see, so GM advertises the fact that the GP outperforms the M3 and suddenly that's the car that the GP competes against. A FWD sedan running head to head against a RWD coupe/sedan. The GP should be compared to it's direct competition, that would be the Altima, Intrepid, and Taurus for example.

But as far as the suspension and drivetrain go...Yes the 3.8L has been around for 40 years. But it's far from the NVH nightmare that it was originally. When GM chose to update the block and add the balanceshaft, it was basically a new engine. Add to that the fact that there are still ongoing improvements since 97 (like drive by wire) and the engine is far from outdated. It is an American architecture V6. The suspension is much the same architecture but has been retuned for the improved chassis. Same old same old? I could say the same for the strut front/semitrailing rear suspension on the BMW. Just because the architecture is the same doesn't mean that nothing's changed.

I'll not argue that the GP is a direct compeditor to BMW's 3 series. The issue here is that the media is predisposed to nitpick the American brands while turning a blind eye to the shortfalls of the foreign brands and it's not limited to GM.
 

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My admiration for GM has changed over the years. I used to get ticked when the monthly rags bashed GM products, too. These days, though, I think I know where they come from...

There's two faces of GM. The first is the once-proud GM, with all its heritage and design leadership from much of the 20th century. I'm happy, proud and respectful around this GM. I'll defend it vigorously.

The second GM reflects the people who've guided the company over the past 20 years, particularly those who influence what hits the pavement. That's really what GM is, you know.. it's a bunch of people designing and building cars, like it always has been. When I think of this GM as it is today, I get angry, annoyed, let down. Noting a few exceptions, I think about people in the company who have little passion or knowledge of the automobile, don't know about GM's heritage, and are losing the company.

Only a few years ago, I bought GM vehicles I wasn't even passionate about, out of my respect for the "historical" GM. Lately, I've become more aware that faint praise for undeserving vehicles is not a salute to the '57 Chevys and Bill Mitchells of yore, but a show of respect and support for those guiding the company today. I realize that uninspiring GM cars of the present are not offspring of the good old days, but mere creations of a group of average folks living in Motown. These people have my support, but in no way have my respect. In fact, they're letting me down. There's not a single GM offering below $30 grand that I consider "gotta have" or even "would like to have" ... and unfortunately, like many people, my car budget is capped at about $30K.

I'm holding out hope that the next few years will bring change -- there are a few bright lights on the horizon -- but many of us faithful have been looking for this "around the corner renaissance" for the past 20 years... I think some of the magazine editors have a hard time shedding many so years of let down.
 

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I'm holding out hope that the next few years will bring change -- there are a few bright lights on the horizon -- but many of us faithful have been looking for this "around the corner renaissance" for the past 20 years... I think some of the magazine editors have a hard time shedding many so years of let down.
Drive them. Drive the 2004 Malibu, and the 2004 Malibu MAXX. Even drive the Impala SS... even though newcartestdrive.com slammed it for its interior, they loved the ride/drive and the performance. Drive the Monte Carlo Supercharged SS, which was reviewed on Autoweek.com. The drivers disagreed on the interiors, but agreed on the car itself. Drive the Colorado, and drive the stuff that comes out.

Also, read more reviews than just Car and Driver (I'm sure you do). You'll see that C&D is insular in the sea of overwhelming approval fo the '04 Malibu.

Then post your own opinions here. When you take your test drives, evaluate the salespeople as well. Find out if they're GM certified, and let us know.

Ghrankenstein
 

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Originally posted by markform+Dec 24 2003, 01:36 AM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (markform @ Dec 24 2003, 01:36 AM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> <!--QuoteBegin-GTOGuy@Dec 22 2003, 04:24 PM
"The SRX succeeds by not faltering badly at any task. It is the best combination of a satisfying driving experience and utility"

AUTO WRITER TRANSLATION: :D

We're amazed this particular Cadillac, on this particular occasion - failed to really bomb. As a result of this fluke, it barely eeked by the natural winners from Lexus, Porsche and Volkswagen.

Therefore, all you lemmings and geeks who don't know squat about cars - can continue to buy our stupid magazine and read our worthless, biased opinions. [/b][/quote]
Alt Translation:

Yes, we know the winner didn't actually win many categories. It isn't the fastest. It doesn't have the most grip. It isn't the least expensive.

But it's competitive in all these areas, making it the best overall choice.

Don't bother writing us letters whining that the Infinity is quicker in acceleration or is cooler looking. We know. But the Caddy is the best overall choice, especially if you actually have to live with it everyday.

In fact, C&D said as much a paragraph earlier: "Interior space is the only category in which the SRX soundly defeated the others." Which provides the context for the statement up for debate: ":Otherwise, the SRX succeeds by not faltering badly at any task. It is the best combination of a satisfying driving experience and utility."

Sometimes the reader brings as much of his/her own biases to what they read as the writer does!
 

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The Impala SS isn't bad from a performance side...I was surprised that I liked it. The Malibu is no longer a rental car...but it's not a Camry or Accord competitor either. And as for the Pontiac vs BMW argument....it's GM's intention that they would compete with each other, not mine.
 

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personaly, GM is stupid to pair Pontaic with BMW. BMW is a lux car maker, and should be getting a wedgy from Caddy. Let pontiac take on infinity and acura. Both of them seem to be a sport-influenced group so that should be Pontaics target. And Pontiac could have them beat
Vibe Gt vs RSX-S
G6 vs G20 vs TSX
GTO vs G35 coupe
GTP vs I/G35 sedan vs TL
Bonni vs RL's and Q/M45's

give or take, thats how I see it.
 

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Yeah, I don't know what the "Pontiac BMW" will be that Cadillac isn't already trying to be. I know GM would love to let Pontiac take on BMW and move Cadillac even higher on the food chain... but this seems a bit optimistic to me.
 

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The Mali' actually beat the Camry in a recent M/T comparison.

I think the future(5-10yrs?) Pontiacs will prove to be a competitor to the BMW with a lower price point and the same general direction in what a the vehicle presents to the buyer. Admittedly, they must move to more RWD vehicles but I think with the GTO leading the way and Solstice to follow, they may be able to compete. Understand that I am not saying every vehicle must be better than the BMW equivelant and there are going to be those that simply want a BMW. It must, however, appeal to the same buyer's performance intentions and style preference but offer it a lower price and with near identical quality.

Of course the mere mention of this will undoubtedly inspire nay-sayying but that is exactly what has happened in the case of the Japanese automakers targeting the rest of the world. They were a big joke and now they are big competition.

This I believe is necessary if Cadillac is to be the standard. If, and this is a big IF, Pontiac is in competition with BMW at some point and Cadillac is percieved as greater than Pontiac, it is thus greater than BMW. This must be so in order to be the "standard". It must do so by surpassing its competition including MB and all others. This would leave a large gap below cadillac in both the luxury and performance fronts. Buick and Pontiac will fill these.

If anyone says it can't be done......well......we will see. It as hell isn't going to happen overnight or maybe even in the next 10 years.
 

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well, I just dont see that happening. I have always invisioned BMW and MB to be at the same level of lux. With the AMG series from MB, they are now starting to kick BMW's arse up and down the track, and that E55!! OMG! Forget about CTS-V fighting the M5, the E55 has now taken the flag. Hey... look at this.. CTS V, M5 and E55... all of them have 5 in there name? V=roman numeral. Humm... 5 is the performance number i guess? Man, things are getting weird.

Anyway, BMW and MB i thi nk are the target for Caddy. Buick has lexus, and Pontiac has infinity and acura and Chevy and Saturn can wipe out the rest. BMW's still has Rolls, and MB has maybac so a Caddy sixteen would be a great car for thoes 2 lines. I just thought of something. Well, all the lux car makers have gone and looked for a more luxo car company to buy like is stated before. BMW has Rolls, and MB has Maybac from yesteryear and VW has Bently... Maybe GM will take the name Duesenburg? They were an American car company!! The super 300k american lux car will have the Duesenburg name on it!! hehehe just a thought.
 
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