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Chevrolet reveals details on SS

Chevrolet enthusiasts have been waiting 16 years for another high-performance rear-wheel-drive sedan to get excited about.

The wait is over with the announcement of the 2014 Chevrolet SS.

Power is derived from the LS3 Chevrolet 6.2L V8, the same engine being used for the 2013 Corvette. Expect an output of 415 horsepower and 415 lb-ft of torque -- only 35 less than the power and torque rated on the 'Vette.

The SS will come with a six-speed automatic transmission with manual mode that can be controlled by TAPshift paddles on either side of the steering wheel. Acceleration from 0-60 mph is roughly five seconds, putting it in the upper tier among sedans.

Suspension is low and sporty, utilizing a MacPherson strut front and multi-link independent rear suspension combination; electronic power steering; Brembo brakes with ventilated, 355-mm rotors and two-piece, four-piston front calipers; and 19-inch forged aluminum wheels.

Front-rear weight distribution is 50/50, allowing for greater handling.

"From every angle, the Chevrolet SS says power and performance," John Cafaro, design director for Chevrolet passenger cars and small crossovers, said in a news release.

"The combination of an aggressive rear-wheel drive stance and body-side attitude with the right balance of detail and refinement inside and out are the perfect home for Chevrolet's V-8 performance package."

The 2014 Chevrolet SS is to be available late this year.

2013 Hyundai hybrid finally arrives

While most 2013 model-year vehicles went on sale in 2012, the gas-electric hybrid version of Hyundai's popular Sonata family sedan (and its Kia Optima Hybrid counterpart) had yet to arrive. But finally, Hyundai has released details of the updated 2013 version.

The "big" news is a more powerful 47 kW lithium polymer battery pack. In addition to some other hardware and software tweaks, Hyundai says the U.S. models' fuel-economy estimates go up two miles per gallon for a combined city and highway 38 miles per U.S. gallon (no word on Transport Canada numbers yet). As well, the 2013 Sonata Hybrid's battery pack is smaller, freeing up some extra room in the Sonata's trunk.

Expect to receive similar 2013 model-year news on the mechanically identical Kia Optima Hybrid shortly.

Chrysler brings back Cherokee

The grapevine was right, Chrysler is bringing back the Jeep Cherokee.

The mid-size SUV that'll be called Cherokee -- slotted below the Grand Cherokee in the lineup -- will be unveiled at the New York International Auto Show this month as a 2014 model.

Chrysler says Cherokee will be built at its Jeep factory in Toledo, Ohio and will go on sale the third quarter this year.

Cherokee, a boxy and sturdy utility with off-road credibility, was the brand's well-known SUV for more than two decades until it was replaced by Liberty in starting in the 2002 model year (Chrysler, confusingly, also sold the Liberty under the Cherokee name elsewhere in the world).

Now the pendulum swings back, and Cherokee will supplant the Liberty in North America.

No specifics on power, size, price, mileage, but the automaker says it will be a no compromise vehicle and will have mileage improvements of more than 45 per cent vs. the current Liberty.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 15, 2013 E8

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