Camaro: The Affordable Sports Car

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A shiny new Camaro pulls up next to you at a red light. The sun reflects off the freshly polished paint. You watch it shake from the idling engine and think, “I only wish that I could afford a car like that.”

Sports cars are dream cars. The cars people can only imagine driving and think they’ll never have the money to purchase. It has been this way for the longest time. However, all of that is starting to change, and that’s all thanks to Chevrolet.

Chevy is known for the top notch Corvette which is often compared to the upscale Porsches and Audis on the market. This is a car that could be considered more exotic than the average sports car. Then there’s the Camaro; Chevy’s answer to the Mustang and the Challenger.  According to Greg Fink with GM Authority.com, the Camaro has outsold the Mustang and the Challenger for the last four months and is in the running to snatch up sports car of the year.

General Motors is revealing a brand new generation of sports car that is more affordable for the average consumer. The base model of the newest Camaro is going for as low as the mid $20,000s. If you follow this link http://goo.gl/c4Hsdw   you will see that our Hudsonville location is offering Camaros starting at $23,389.

When compared to Chargers and Challengers offered at local dealerships, the Camaro is priced significantly lower than its Dodge counterparts. The Mustang is at a more comparable price to the Camaro; however, the Camaro gives you more horsepower for your money. It’s no secret that more power means more money. When you’re in the hunt for a muscle car, you want something strong and the Camaro does just that for a wallet-friendly price.

With the 2016 model right around the corner, the Camaro is going to continue to be a more affordable (mid $20,000 for the base model) and roomier alternative to the Corvette.

The Chevy Camaro shows no sign of slowing down.

Photo Credit:

Abdullah AlBargan

Gearing Up for Classics & Camaro’s 2012 at Todd Wenzel Chevy

ImageWe are making final preparations for our third annual car show at our Chevy store and it’s going to be another great event! We’re expecting even more classic cars and hot rod’s to be on display, and can’t wait to see how many friends from our local Camaro and Corvette clubs join us. The afternoon engine rev is definitely going to require ear plugs this year!

So, we just have to decide what to serve everyone for lunch. Two years ago we had an array of footlong subs. Last year, we had amazing Asian-fusion tacos from a local food truck. Given our current options, we know lunch will be delicious, but are curious if you’ve attended other shows that have served a lunch that really impressed you.

There is still time to register your vehicle online at www.toddwenzel.com. And although the show doesn’t officially start until 9:00 a.m., you are welcome to arrive early to park your vehicle.

If you’ve never attended a car show at Todd Wenzel, take a look at our video from Classics & Camaros 2011. We hope to see you on the 14th!

Introducing the Todd Wenzel Platinum Program!

When you drive a Todd Wenzel vehicle, we want you to have a premium experience. That’s why we are excited to announce that starting today, all new and certified used vehicle buyers will be automatically enrolled in our brand new Todd Wenzel Platinum Program! This program offers our customers a buying and ownership experience unlike any other dealership in West Michigan. The exclusive benefits include:

  • FREE vehicle detail by appointment every time your vehicle is in service.
  • FREE service pickup and delivery within a 50 mile radius of our dealership.
  • New loaner vehicle available by reservation with any service appointment.
  • $19.95 oil changes for as long as you own your vehicle.
  • Exclusive promotions and special offers reserved only for our Platinum VIP customers.
  • Lowest Price Guaranteed – find a better price on a new or certified used vehicle and we’ll beat it.
  • Guaranteed highest trade-in value – we will give you more for your trade-in than any other dealer.
  • Rebate Protection – if GM increases their rebate offer within 30 days of your purchase, we will credit the difference to you.
  • FREE Certified Vehicle Maintenance Plan on every certified used vehicle. This two-year/30,000 mile standard vehicle maintenance plan includes oil changes based on your vehicles Oil Life Monitor System, tire rotations and Multi Point Vehicle Inspection. Plus a comprehensive 12-month/12,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty.

Are you ready to be treated like a VIP? Visit Todd Wenzel Chevrolet in Hudsonville or Todd Wenzel Buick GMC in Grand Rapids!

The Volt Experience – week 3 and 4

In the final two weeks of our experiment, Ric and Leandro share their observations through written and video journals. Ric has definitely adjusted his driving style when he’s behind the wheel and Leandro is pleasantly surprised by the creature comforts the Volt affords. After a month of running on electric power and saving big at the pump, they regrettably return the vehicle to Todd Wenzel Chevrolet. Thank you Ric and Leandro, for sharing your Volt Experience with us!

From Ric
A favorite feature of the Volt is the touch screen display over the central console.  It is VERY EASY to change or select any display feature available, but I find myself changing very little while focusing on my driving.

I have virtually retrained my driving style to eliminate “jack rabbit starts” and screeching halts at braking.  I find myself taking it a bit more easy in my overall driving habits, particularly due to the fact that every move I make is shown in simple graphics on the display screen.  I feel a bit guilty if I am wasting energy by flooring the gas pedal or pumping on the brakes rather than downshifting into “low” for slowing or going through curves or when cornerning.

On my continued trips out of town for court appearances or meetings, the Volt consistently pleases me…a two hour trip to the east side of the state costs just a few dollars in gas and electricity…a far cry from the $100 plus fill up cost of my Mercedes SUV, diesel powered and very expensive to operate.  I have not forgotten to turn off the car when parking since my first mistake during week number 2.

We have had continued mild weather, and there has not been enough snowfall to coat the roads, at least in West Michigan. I was looking forward to seeing how the Volt handles on snowy roads. Entering into my final week of the Volt Experience, I might get a chance to see how it handles in the snow.

Trips to the mall and to various retail outlets over the past week after Thanksgiving has given me a lot of opportunities for short trips, always on electric power. The Volt still draws stares and comments from fellow drivers and shoppers. It’s with a sense of pride and environmental responsibility that I have enjoyed this unique vehicle for the past month.

This past Sunday afternoon, we went to Squires Tree Farm in Rockford for a Christmas tree. Not wanting to mess up the spacious interior with pine needles or the roof with pine pitch, a friend accompanied us and we put our tree in the back of his GMC pick up truck. Two 7 foot Frasier fir Christmas trees were gulped up in the spacious truck bed, and I was glad that we did not try to use the Volt as a truck. But for shopping trips and lots of packages, whether to Costco or to Macys, the Volt has an amazing amount of cargo space, plus room for additional passengers, or one lucky Scottish Terrior named Barney who loves the ride!

The battery problems are dealt with by GM with a buy-back program, but in a recent Grand Rapids Press article, one featured owner has no plans of returning the vehicle. If I were an owner at this point rather than driving the Volt as a demo, I would most certainly stick with the Volt. It’s been a great experience.

From Leandro
For a month I drove the Volt from Grand Rapids to GVSU in Allendale. In the beginning I was quite nervous because I did not understand the fact that the car would stop running on battery power and switch to electricity generated by gas after 36 miles. That happened the first time I drove it and it went so smoothly I almost did not realize it. I find many people like the design of the Volt, as I got lots of compliments from people at GVSU and while driving around Grand Rapids. I feel fortunate for having had the opportunity of driving the car of the future.

The overall experience could not have been better. While I was driving it I felt secure. It did not take me long to figure out how the car works, because it shares similarities with my other car, a Chevy Equinox. It is really cool to drive and you feel you are not contaminating the planet! The Volt hardly makes any noise when it’s running on battery power, and when it switches to gas there is a vibration, but it’s minimal.

The navigation system is nice, and so is the sound of the stereo. The touch screen has the same logic of my iPad, so it is quite handy. The car has two digital screens, but only one is touchable. I thought that issue was going to be somehow distracting, but that did not happen at all.

I was concerned to hear about the battery issues, but our experience was without issue. The car worked as promised 100%. It is a great car to travel in…I drove pretty fast regularly and I did not feel the Volt was any slower than other cars. Of course, as an electric car, it takes a couple of seconds longer to increase the speed, but nothing considerable at all.

The interior space is great, and there is room for 4 adults. The electronic system is also great, for example you can program the car to heat up the seats every time you start the car. The graphics of the screens are tasteful and sleek, which is exiting to watch. I would buy it no question at all!

The Volt Experience – Week 2

Week 2 of the Volt Experience has our driver enjoying his electric vehicle and avoiding the pump!

Week Two:

Routine trips around Grand Rapids challenged me to keep the battery charged as I tried to avoid gassing up.
My daily commute to my office 3 miles from my home resulted in a nearly seamless electricity experience.
I always thought it humorous to see the Volt in my garage each morning, orange 110v power cord plugged in and fully recharged each morning. I’m not sure why it looked so funny other than it’s such a novel sight to see a car plugged into an electric source.

Just a normal workday for Ric. The Volt got him to a live interview on legal topics for the Fox 17 Morning Show.

The weather stayed unseasonably warm, no threats of snow and very little icy roads through the week. The Volt continues to handle well and continues to impress me with it’s silent ride, consistent power, and overall great transportation consistency. When the battery runs out of charge and the gas engine takes over, it is imperceptable and seemless. I rarely notice when the change-over takes place unless I remind myself to look at the graphic display showing power usage. The overall mileage averages about 140 mpg which is unheard of.

The Volt Experience – Week 1

Ric Roane at Todd Wenzel Chevrolet with the Volt he's driving for the next 30 days as part of the Volt Experience

Ric Roane, friend of our dealership and attorney in Grand Rapids, has parked his personal vehicle for the next 30 days to participate in the Volt Experience. We’ve asked him to put the Chevy Volt to the test – to complete missions around the city – and report his stories, observations, photos and videos.

Read on to see how week one with the Volt proves to be a pleasant surprise for Rick…

Day One

Picked up the 2012 Chevy Volt at Todd Wenzel Chevrolet in Hudsonville. After an hour orientation with Bob and I think I can operate this complex vehicle. I’m quite excited.  Driving carefully away from the dealership, the control and video panel displays my every move and habit…no more jack rabbit starts or slamming on of brakes. The battery is fully charged and has a capacity of 35 miles. It’s about 30 miles to my house, and I decide to take the expressway rather than surface roads. Pulling onto the e-way, the car has great power and pick up as I merge into traffic. I set the cruise control at 65 miles and cars whiz past me, but I happily drive on electricity the whole way home. Bit by bit, the battery gauge shows depletion and I pull off at my regular exit. My nightly routine usually includes a stop at the grocery store on the way home for just the right item for dinner. I pull into the Family Fare parking lot, dash in for a few things, and come back out to the Volt, gleaming black under the florescent lights of the parking lot. The gauge shows 2 miles of battery life left, and I am one mile from home. I pull into the garage and shut the car down at 1 mile remaining. Using the handy 110v power cord, I plug the Volt into my wall outlet for the night. One display feature tells me that the car will be fully charged by 8 am on 110, or by midnight on 240v which I do not have (yet). What a ride!!!

Ric's Volt, looking sharp under the lights at Family Fare

Day Two

Eight a.m. and it’s time to leave for my three mile one way commute to work. Sure enough, the battery has fully charged and is ready to go. I drive down Fulton Street into downtown. The Volt handles beautifully, giving power when needed. I am re-learning how to drive, using the low gear for slowing down, cornering and coming to stop lights. I park in the Ellis lot at my office in the Warner/Fifth Third buidling and wish that I could plug the car in to an EV charging station as I work all day. Something to put on my to do list…ask Mike Ellis to insltall an EV Charging Station in the parking garage.

Day Three

I have a two day seminar in Plymouth, MI, a 141 mile drive away. I carpool with one co-worker, and she is fascinated by the technology and the concept of a green drive across the Motor State…I called ahead to the conference center asking if they have an EV Charging Station on premises. They do not, but suggested that I fill out a suggestion card and leave it for their management. I ask politely when are they going to get into the 21st Century…The back cargo space has enough room for two suitcases, two briefcases, and two suit bags, with plenty of room to spare. Of course, we are on gasoline power most of the way to Plymouth.

Day Four

I grab three conference attendees and we head out for dinner after a day long conference.  We drive through the neighborhoods into the commercial district of Livonia, and park at Mitchell’s Seafood restaurant. The Volt is the only in the crowded lot. The valet attendant is fascinated by the car, and it gets a lot of additional stares from other diners. After dinner, we head back to the conference center. The temperature has dropped dramatically and I turn on the defroster and heat and the car warms us up in about 1 minute.

Day Five

Conference ends at noon and we head back to GR on gasoline power. I am becoming more familiar with the features, and particularly enjoy the display of power usage and the navigational system which is light years ahead of the Nav system in my 5 year old Mercedes SUV.

Day Six

Sunday and the weather is 60. We did yard work and left the car in the garage all day long.  Fully charged but we drove nowhere all day. That was a really green day!

Day Seven

Roadtrip to Court in Charlevoix. Smooth on the expressway, great mileage, gas power the whole way. I stopped to refuel and spent $28.00 for a 9 gallon of premium. A far cry cheaper than filling the 27 gallon tank on the Mercedes SUV with Diesel which topped $4.19 a gallon this week. I parked the car at the lot at the courthouse, and 3 hours later came out and the car was running. It is so quiet that somehow I forgot to turn it off and it sat there, running in silence all that time. Dumb, but it worked out.

Where will Ric and the Volt show up next? What are his favorite features? Stay tuned for more updates from Ric and his Volt Experience!

October is Storm Chasers Month at Todd Wenzel GMC!

As the official vehicle partner for the Dominator Team from the Discovery Channel series, Storm Chasers, we thought October was a great time to celebrate our partnership, our vehicles, and the debut of the new season!

Throughout the month, Todd Wenzel GMC will feature contests, giveaways and events with Reed Timmer and Chris Chittick – founders of TornadoVideos.net and stars of the popular TV show.

If you’re a fan of the show,  you’ll appreciate the opportunity to interact with Timmer and Chittick on our social networks, including Facebook (facebook.com/toddwenzelautomotive) and Twitter (@toddwenzelauto).

Every Monday, Timmer will post a question on our Facebook page about the previous night’s episode. The first 5 correct answers will win an autographed 2012 calendar that features stunning photos of the teams’ extreme tornado intercepts. Plus, Timmer and Chittick will host a Q&A event on our Facebook page on October 20 at 11:00 a.m. EST, giving fans the opportunity to post questions directly to the storm chasers. The top five questions – as chosen by Timmer – will receive an autographed copy of his new book release, “Into The Storm”.

In addition, we are holding a special Drive a Dominator Test Drive Promotion. And while you won’t need to drive our Yukon’s into extreme storms to gauge performance, when you test drive it, or any new Todd Wenzel GMC vehicle, you will be entered to WIN a 32” flat screen TV!

Finally when you lease or purchase a 2011 or 2012 GMC Yukon Denali or Yukon Denali XL – the brawn behind the extreme storm chasing vehicle, Dominator 2 – you will receive a special gift from Todd Wenzel.

The month-long campaign will culminate on November 14, when we host a special open house event  with Reed Timmer and the entire TVN team as they bring the Dominator 2 to Todd Wenzel GMC!

For additional information and event updates, please visit our website or Facebook page.