The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on October 13, 1996 · Page 83
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 83

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Salina, Kansas
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Sunday, October 13, 1996
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Page 83
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Exclusive Preview: New Domestic Cars and Trucks Tracer coupe with a more powerful 16- valve engine will arrive a year from now. MYSTIQUE—Although it's not gaining the same popularity as Ford's Contour, the Mercury twin Mystique continues into '97 unchanged, except now there's Dark Pumice Jigsaw fabric inside the new Spree appearance package. Come on. Who names these things? SABLE—Linkage revisions allow a lighter touch on the throttle of the 24- valve 3.0-liter V-6. COUGAR XR7—You can get 30th- anniversary floor mats in the new Anniversary Edition, but they're a nylon blend that wasn't around 30 years ago. Rear drum brakes were phased out in 1996. GRAND MARQUIS—Last year, an upset reader called to tell us that mentioning the continuing unavailability of a "de Sade" package is unfair to Mercury. We're humbled. Like the Town Car, this big sedan gets reworked steering gear. VILLAGER—The optional side paint stripes are gone. MOUNTAINEER—Introduced last spring, the Mountaineer is based on the Ford Explorer, but it has a 4.9-liter V-8 and a four-speed automatic transmission as standard, and it comes as either a rear- driver or a full-time four-wheel-driver. Unlike the Explorer, there is no low range in the transfer case. OLDSMOBILE ACHIEVA—The traction control gets a telltale instrument-panel light. CUTLASS—The ancient Ciera is replaced by the new Cutlass, which is a mid-size sedan similar to Chevy's new Malibu, and is not to be mistaken for the larger, front-drive Cutlass Supreme sedan that's been around since 1987. Standard is the 160-hp 3.1-liter pushrod V-6 that's optional on the Chevy model. CUTLASS SUPREME—This bigger sedan loses its roaring 3.4-liter twin-cam V-6 and is expected to be replaced by the '98 Intrigue in spring 1997. INTRIGUE—Similar to the new Buick Century and Pontiac Grand Prix sedans, the Intrigue will be introduced next spring as a '98 model. It will be powered by the 3.4-liter twin-cam V-6 recently dropped from the departing Cutlass Supreme. EIGHTY EIGHT/LS/LSS—The more conservative Eighty Eight gets three overhead entry and exit assist handles; the sportier LS version gets a new center console and a floor-mounted shifter. The even sportier LSS gets some transmission refinements plus a higher final-drive ratio for quicker starts. REGENCY—The Regency replaces the big Ninety Eight, Oldsmobile's flagship for more than 50 years. "This is the last Buick we will sell," says Olds general manager John Rock. Whitewalls and a chrome grille carry over to the new Regency. The 205-hp 3.8-liter V-6 carries over from the Ninety Eight, too, as does a four-speed automatic transmission. AURORA—Bigger brakes slow this high-tech cruiser, which also gets—surprise!—an Oldsmobile badge in addition to its Aurora badge. SILHOUETTE—Similar to the Chevrolet Venture, with three trim levels: base, GL, and GLS. BRAVADA—Rear disc brakes and improved anti-lock hardware make the '97 standard-equipment list, and an optional electric sunroof is added. PLYMOUTH NEON—See Dodge Neon. BREEZE—This sedan remains a low- line version of the Dodge Stratus and the Chrysler Cirrus. PROWLER—Expected to go on sale in November, the hot-rod Prowler is a two- seat, rear-drive roadster powered by the 24-valve 3.5-liter V-6 you'll find in uplev- el Intrepids, Visions, and Concordes. A four-speed automatic with Chrysler's AutoStick shifter puts power to monstrous 20-inch rear wheels, which are held by unequal-length control arms. Smaller 17- inch front wheels with cycle fenders are suspended by coil-over shocks. VOYAGER—See Dodge Caravan, but add the Rallye appearance package of the short-wheelbase model to the long- wheelbase version. P O N T I A C SUNFIRE—The convertible trades its three-speed automatic transmission for a four-speeder. GRAND AM—No big changes for '97. GRAND PRIX—The all-new sport sedan comes as a two- or four-door model. Neither loses anything in this multi-use compromise. The Grand Prix get the thorough reworking of the similar Buick LeSabre, the big Pontiac does get GM's new magnetic steering-assist system. FIREBIRD—V-8 convertibles now get the option of the Ram Air induction system that adds power. The W68 appearance package—including racier-looking ground-effects body pieces—is optional on base Firebird coupes and convertibles. TRANS SPORT—See Chevrolet Venture and Oldsmobile Silhouette. Then add a Montana appearance package, but don't think it's faster just because it's named after the least-speed- restrictive state in the nation. The Trans Sport, available in two lengths, still shares the 180-hp 3.4-liter pushrod V-6 of its sister minis. The Montana version, however, gets a firmer suspension. is related to Buick's Century and Oldsmobile's Intrigue and is powered by the 160-hp 3.1-liter V-6 that you'll find in the Chevy Lumina. Optional is a 195-hp rendition of the 3.8-liter V-6 from the Bonneville, or the 240-hp supercharged version of that engine. All engines power a revised four-speed automatic transmission. Larger brakes are standard; and magnetically assisted, variable-effort steering is optional. The interior is similar to the Bonneville's, and the new body is two inches longer, sitting on a wheelbase that is three inches longer. Track is also two inches wider, although width only grows 0.8 inch. BONNEVILLE—Although it doesn't SATURN SEDAN—New engine mounts reduce noise and vibration. COUPE—The two-door is updated for 1997 to share the 102-inch wheelbase that the sedan got last year. The SCI and the SC2 now share the same plastic-polymer body panels. The SC2's front anti-roll bar is thicker than the SCl's, Both have more legroom. WAGON—Gets the same upgrades as the sedan. GM EV1—Saturn dealers in the Southwest will lease the parent corporation's first electric car, at a capitalized cost of $35,000. • I2A

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