Detroit Blues - Chevrolet Orlando LTZ by Jeremy Clarkson

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Detroit Blues - Chevrolet Orlando LTZ by Jeremy Clarkson

Beitragvon nullkommasechs » Di 10. Jan 2012, 19:20

DETROIT BLUES - Drive this Chevy to the levee - and leave it there, says Clarkson.

We're told that between Christmas and the new year, 8 billion British people have defied the troublesome economy and between them, spent £70 trillion on mildly discounted products in the sales. This sounds like good news. But if you examine the pictures of those rampaging around Oxford Street you will notice quite quickly that every single one of them is Chinese.
The Chinese love a bargain. But what they love even more than that is a brand name. I was in Beijing last month and was told, time and time again, that local produce had no appeal at all to the country's new rich. They wanted Tommy Hilfiger and Prada and Ray-Ban. And if they can get these badges at the lowest possible prices - well, that's got to be worth the cost of a return ticket to Heathrow.

That's what you need these days to survive out there on the high street: a name that's known. Because a name that's known is a name that can be trusted. Fairy Journeyman HoneyWasp perfume may be excellent and good value but it cuts no ice with a bottle bearing the Chanel legend.
It's not just the Chinese, either. I have a friend who dresses in quite the most hideous cloths you have ever seen. They look like they have been made either as a joke or by someone who is deliberately stupid. But when I explain this to him, he always points to the label and say's, with a hurt tremor in his voice: "But it's Dolce & Gabbana."

I guess I'm just as bad really. I only buy Ray-ban sunglasses and Sony televisions. Not because l know they're the best but because the names have a Ready brek aura of comfort blanket warmth about them. And don't claim you're immune. Because l bet you'd rather do business with a man called Victor than a man called Vince.
In the world of cars, a brand name is everything. While in China l drove a car called a Trumpchi. Want one? Of course you don't, because who's behind it? What's it made from? And where? I could tell you that it's hewn from a gold bar, costs 6p and runs on water and you'd say "How intriguing" as you wrote the cheque out to Volkswagen.
You know where you are with a Volkswagen and you're right. Every day thousands of engineers work to the best of their abilities to make sure that every single car they made uphold's the company reputation for durability and safety. Protecting the brand name: it's everything.

Unless you are running General Motors. Protecting all the brands it controls is nowhere near as important as making any damm thing to keep the bankruptcy wolf from eating the company's front door. Which explains the Chevrolet Orlando LTZ in which l endured a mercifully brief drive recently.
Louis Chevrolet was born in Switzerland and after a brief spell in Canada arrived in America where he drove racing cars for Fiat and made road cars for himself. Fairly soon, though, he sold his car company to GM and went off to have fun. In 1929 he lost every cent he had made in the stock market crash and ended up in Detroit working on the Chevrolet production line. That was sad, but worse was to come...
Because today, he is six feet under the ground in Indianapolis, spinning wildly at the Orlando people carrier that bears both his name and the stylised Swiss flag badge that he designed. The company he founded has always had one eye on the budget performance. This was its guiding principle as far back as the 1930's when it offered the cheapest six-cylinder car in the world.

In the 1950's it came up with the plastic Corvette and in the 1960s it was among the first companies in the world to fit a production car with a turbocharger. But all the while, it was plugging away with its small block V8, The mainstay of blue-collar speed. The heart that pumped the Camaro and the Nova SS into the worlds consciousness. This is what we think about when we think of Chevrolet. Men with tattoos and their hats on back to front, whooping wildly as their thunderous and wondrous machines skittle off the line in a shuddering roar of smoke, axle tramp and more smoke. Not sophisticated. But nice.
But, we are told, there is no place this sort of thing in a country full of Al Gore, windmills, rising oil prices and Mexican pool cleaners whose houses are now worthless.
And to make matters worse Chevrolet has always been run by the Flat Earth Society. The company may have been founded by a Swiss but nobody followed in his footsteps ever had an atlas. To them, the world started at Los Angeles and ended at Boston. They didn't sell cars outside America because, as far as they were concerned, it was the 50 states... and then some jungle.

Well, they've had a wake up call now and what they've done is panic. Instead of sitting down and thinking: "right, we must protect the brand with a range of fun, fast, quintessentially American cars that we must sell in places such as Englandland and the People's Republic of Japanland" they've run around like headless chickens, being chased from pillar to post by clueless government wallahs who want a return on the bailout cash now.
"Now!!! D'you hear?"
The result is the Orlando. Built in South Korea from the same platform that props up the Vauxhall Astra, it is a 151/2ft, seven seater people carrier of monumental awfulness:
We start with the seats. Yes there are seven but there is no one alive today that could fit in any of the five in the back. And there is no boot at all, unless you fold the two rearmost chairs into the floor. Its hopeless.

But it's not as bad as the engine. For the first mile, l was absolutely sure it was a diesel but then l noticed the rev counter read to 6,000. Dear God in heaven, l thought. This ailing cement mixer is running out of petrol. It's a 1.8-litre four-cylinder unit that does nothing well. Even movement is a struggle. I was staggered to notice the car was fitted with traction control. Why? That's like fitting traction control to a chest freezer.
On top of the lack of power, it's also thirsty, unrefined and sounds like a wounded whale. And none of that should surprise you. Because asking a Chevy engineer to design you a four-cylinder engine is like asking a man in a burger van to poach you a halibut. It's still cooking, but it's not the sort of cooking he's used to.
I should say at this point that the prices are quite low. The LTZ model is just £18,310, which doesn't sound to bad. But if you want any colour other than white, you must pay an extra £410, and if you want sat nab, then that's another £765. What are they thinking of? Why fit traction control, which is unnecessary, and make us pay more for a road map, which is?
Handling? that's terrible. The ride? Terrible. Seat Comfort? Terrible. And finished off on the inside with a range of plastics that feel like Cellophane.
Some people may buy this car so they can tell their friends they have a Chevrolet. They won't buy another.

Clarkson's Verdict
Rated:One Star

The only Chevy thing about this is the badge!
Quelle: blueoval, The Times
The Times, 01.01.2012
nullkommasechs - ohne 451, ohne LED, ohne Carlsson. Ohne Scheiß.
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von Anzeige » Di 10. Jan 2012, 19:20


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