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A Self-Described 'GM Guy' Gets Behind the New Wheels - St. Louis Auto Show

Source: AutoTrader.com
February 1, 2011

David Zagumny, a pharmacist from Grand Rapids, Michigan, is in St. Louis and is – as they say in the industry – ‘in market’. Having been raised in a GM household, he’s partial to the brand, and is seeking to replace his ‘04 Pontiac Grand Prix. And as Mr. Zagumny knows as well as anyone, he won’t be doing it with another new Pontiac.

David and I are in line for General Motors’ test drive program at the St. Louis Auto Show – one of a few carmakers offering behind-the-wheel opportunities (the others are Kia and Toyota). The GM program offers time in several Buick and GMC models, as well as Chevrolet’s Camaro and – through a separate check-in process – Cadillac. David, with son-in-law Ryan, has an interest in driving Chevy’s Cruze, GMC’s Terrain and – if time allows – the Camaro. And he’s open to a motor journalist riding with him.

First up is the Cruze. Compared to the Grand Prix, the Cruze feels smaller (it is), and David’s apprehensive about four-cylinder power. I’m there to absorb, not sell, but I do note that fours seem to be the wave of the future, with Hyundai, Kia and Suzuki recently offering new midsize sedans with nothing but four cylinder power. To be sure, the Cruze’s turbocharged 1.4 liter four seems small, but behind the wheel we think good things can come in small packages.

The around-the-block route does little more than whet an automotive appetite. David wishes for some freeway time, but the convention center’s access to a convenient freeway is limited. The Cruze seems a bit small to David, and the packaging (perhaps) a bit too tight, but there’s no denying the value, with our very well-equipped LTZ test car coming in at under $23K. We’re on, then, to the Terrain.

GMC’s compact crossover is, at first blush, anything but compact. Generous seating inside, combined with generous storage in front of the hatch, makes for a compelling argument. The Terrain is also equipped with a four, but its larger displacement – 2.4 liters – seems more reassuring. It also sports a window sticker approaching $37K, some twenty percent over David’s upper limit.

At the end of two drives (there wasn’t time for the Camaro’s adrenaline rush – or its aftermath), David admitted he “wanted to see what the Terrain felt like on the road. The Cruze might be a little small; the Terrain is very much in contention.” With both a Grand Prix and Saturn at home, David’s keeping the GM faith – along with two discontinued business models.

author photoDAVID BOLDT began his automotive career in BMW and Saab showrooms in the 1980s, and he moved to automotive journalism in 1993. David has written for a variety of regional and national publications, and prior to joining AutoTrader, he managed media relations for a Japanese OEM.

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
A Self-Described 'GM Guy' Gets Behind the New Wheels - St. Louis Auto Show - Autotrader