A Hamburger and a 2014 Corvette Stingray

I‘ve never owned a sports car, but if I did, I expect it would’ve been a Chevrolet Corvette. For years Chevrolet has built the Corvette to be the go-to choice for someone looking to get a high-performance car at a reasonable price. There’s only so many cars in this class which you can buy for under $80,000 that look fast and act the part.

The 2014 Chevrolet Corvette C7 Stingray is one of them.

I was given the Corvette C7 Stingray (now on referred to as the Corvette) for one night to put it’s through the paces, at least, as much as I felt comfortable to. Let me get this off my chest: there is more car – more raw power here – than anyone would ever need.

Despite being taunted several times at red lights by fellow drivers, I never attempted to race anyone. The truth is, I didn’t need to. With a car like this, both myself and the other driver knows deep down that if we did – it wouldn’t be much of a contest.

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Off the line in 1st gear, I was able to achieve speeds over 100km/h. In 2nd I was well over 150.

However, I did want to take the Corvette out to the open road and get some welcome attention, so I headed to Half-Moon, my favorite burger joint in Manitoba. Not only is Half-Moon known for their burgers, but it’s also a hotspot for vintage hot-rods and car enthusiasts (AKA the type of people who’d appreciate a Corvette).

It was tedious driving through the city in anticipation of hitting the clear roads of the highway. This bright red Corvette was outfitted with a 7-speed manual transmission including rev-matching, a feature that makes down-shifting a thing of beauty.

As with my previous experiences driving mid-tier 5-speed transmissions, I expected to merge onto the highway (down-shifting to 2/3rd gear) and open up the accelerator eventually settling on a cruising speed in the final gear.

Not the Corvette.

Off the line in first, I was able to achieve speeds over 100km/h. In second I was well over 150 – and as much as I wanted to continue – I couldn’t see what 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7th gear had to hold.

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The truth is, the Corvette is a blast to drive.

Just sitting in the driver’s seat and grasping the shifter was enough to get my blood pumping. It makes sense why I so often see people 50 years and above purchase a Corvette. One: they can afford it, and two: it’s the type of car that makes you feel young.

I pulled up to Half-Moon with sweaty hands and wind-blown hair (did I mention I had the top down this entire time)? As one should do with this car, I pulled around back and parked in the rear parking lot far from the potential risk of door dings and scratches.

As I sat down and chomped on a juicy burger from Half-Moon, staring at the beautiful red Corvette that lay in the parking lot in front of me, I had a fleeting thought: “I should drive away and never come back.” But after another juicy bite I reconsidered – after all – the food in prison wouldn’t taste near this good.

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Big, Bold and Beautiful

VIA Winnipeg Free Press: One million years from now, archeologists will unearth the most popular breed of SUV that ever graced the globe.

Whole herds of Chevrolet Suburbans, Tahoes and GMC Yukons will be dug up, dusted off and defined as a signature of our brief time on Earth. Heck, if they find the keys to one of these big SUVs, it might even start.

Fully refreshed for 2015, America’s favourite full-size SUV — and loved by the RCMP, OPP and FBI — has been refashioned from the frame up.

Gone are those stupid, lift-out third-row seats that not only took up space elsewhere when removed but had the potential to topple anyone who lifted them out because they were heavier than a La-Z-Boy recliner. The new third-row seats fold almost flat with the touch of a button, creating a cave inside that — I kid you not — could carry home a couch.

Indeed, the love for this full-sized SUV comes largely from big families, even for those who believe eight is not enough, because up to nine can easily fit into one of the XL models, which stretch 20 inches longer than a standard Yukon or Tahoe.

Even with all three rows of seats in place, there’s room in the XL for two or more hockey bags behind the third row. Plus, a neat hideaway area under the cargo deck could stow enough Coke Zero, licorice and chips to keep all the hamsters happy for days.

Total cargo room in the XL, with all seats folded, is 121 cubic feet — 94.7 cubic feet in non-XL models. That’s huge. Missing at the very back, however, is ample cargo light.

Something else missing from the Yukon, Suburban and Tahoe, especially the Denali versions: noise. Laminated windshield and front-door glass, along with enough cabin insulation to make Mike Holmes proud, has made these SUVs appreciably quiet. The side mirrors, despite being small, do give off some turbulence, but little else can be heard while cruising, allowing the Bose stereo to do a good job of delivering quality sound.

While the new electric steering lacks the kind of feedback in a Mercedes GL or Toyota Sequoia, it tracks well and is responsive enough. And the ride quality more than makes up for the damped feel in the heated steering wheel.

Thank GM’s next-generation Magnetic Ride Control (available on the LTZ and Denali) for making the suspension firm yet forgiving. Enter a sweeping bend with some speed and the expected lean fails to arrive. Bumps and broken pavement are chewed up by the reworked suspension and, unbeknownst to the driver, spit back out.

No, it’s no Lotus, but it doesn’t feel like an overloaded Chinese coal barge either, even if it hasn’t lost any weight from the use of an aluminum hood, tailgate and front control arms. There’s a manoeuverability that belies the great amount of mass.

The Denali XL, in particular, doesn’t feel as long as a locomotive, even if the rig’s squared proportions might look the part. Coupled with some much-needed stiffening of the boxed frame and new body mounts, GM’s new full-sized SUVs are as easy to drive as they are enjoyable.

New seats proved seriously comfy, and there are enough power outlets and USB ports inside to run a small casino.

The 6.2-litre V-8 in the Denali models, with 420 horsepower and rated at 460 pound-feet of torque, doles out power the way Taylor Swift exudes charm. Hydraulic engine mounts smooth out torque delivery in a noticeable way, leaving no coarseness, even under full throttle.

The direct-injection V-8 does an excellent job of hustling 6,000 pounds about, and it sounds good, too. Of course, it’s not miserly with fuel, even if the 6.2L engine can run on four cylinders when all eight are not needed, but a highway rating of 11.4 L/100 km is nothing to be ashamed about, nor is the 16.2 city rating outrageous. In fact, those are figures we normally see in many pickup trucks.

Unfortunately, the 6.2L is only available in the more expensive Yukon Denali models, leaving the smaller, but more efficient, 5.3-litre V-8 with 355 horsepower and 383 lb.-ft. of torque to do the lion’s share of hauling in other models.

This engine, along with the EcoTec3 version in the GMC Sierra and Chevy Silverado, is obviously not as robust as the bigger V-8, but nonetheless feels suited for muscling these big brutes up the mountain with a bunch of snowboarders in the back. The 5.3L can even tow slightly more than the 6.2L, giving the standard-wheelbase Yukon a tow rating of 8,200 pounds for 4WD versions.

Regardless of engine choice, all Yukons, Suburbans and Tahoes employ a Hydra-matic six-speed automatic transmission. While not as quick as a German double-clutch gearbox, this six speed — still controlled by an old-school stalk on the steering column — comes with grade braking and a tow/haul mode that works well. On a twisty mountain road through northern California, the transmission shifted quickly and imperceptibly at a variety of speeds, and the stalk does free up space in the centre console.

That console, elegantly designed to sweep into controls that are easy to see and operate, contains a large cubby under the armrest and a secret cubby behind the eight-inch colour touchscreen. Complete with USB port, it makes it the perfect spot to hide a Garmin, iPhone or other valuable item.

The new exteriors for each model look fresh and attractive. A strong crease along the side of the Yukon ties neatly with the headlamps, and the rear gate has been cleaned up with a wiper that tucks under a high-mount spoiler. Wheels come in 18-, 20- and 22-inch diameters. Projector headlamps, LED lighting and HIDs on Denali and LTZ models bring a higher level of sophistication to these SUVs, which don’t share a single piece of sheet metal with their truck siblings.

The 2015 Yukon, Tahoe and Suburban get a suite of new safety devices and should be harder to steal, thanks to enhanced security features. Along with everything else on these full-size SUVs, that will make the RCMP just as happy as the families who choose one.

Prices starts at $49,155 for 2WD Tahoe models and climb to more than $70,000 for Suburban 4WD models, with the Denali commanding a premium above that.

This article was originally posted on the Winnipeg Free Press.


Welcome to Birchwood Auto Spa

We are pleased to announce the launch of our very own Birchwood Auto Spa. We are proudly located in the Birchwood Truck Centre.

We started with humble beginnings – a lone wash bay stall in the old Saturn store. As years went by and the Saturn store turned into the Birchwood Chevrolet GMC Truck Store, our small one bay area eventually consumed the entire service area. Our service grew as well. 

We are proud to offer Rhino Lining spray in bed liners, as well as: undercoating, rust modules, paint protection and interior protection under our Protection Packages. We also offer car wash packages and full scale detail packages to make your car looking as new as possible.

At Birchwood Auto Spa, we strive for nothing but excellence. We put our seal of approval on every job no matter how small. Book an appointment online and let us pamper your ride!

For information on our services or to book an appointment online, drop by our site at


The Importance of Cleaning Your Car During Winter

As we come to the end of winter (we hope), answer this one question for us: how dirty is your car?

Don’t worry, you aren’t alone.

Winter wreaks havoc on all cars in Winnipeg. Everything from salt to slush can cause your car to look like it just went through a mud bath.

Leaving this winter ‘grime’ on your car for a long period of time has a forever-lasting negative effect on the appearance of your car.

When winter finally does come to an end and all the snow melts, your car won’t have the same factory-shine it did before.

What can you do to ensure you car retains it’s original shine? Here are a few tips:

  • Wash your car regularly
  • When washing your car, ensure you wipe all standing water with a cloth to prevent freezing
  • Choose a car wash that offers underbody cleaning, which prevents salt from reeking havoc on the frame of your vehicle
  • Take extra care when scraping ice off of your car – it can easily cause scratches and chips in your paint job

If you’re in need of a ‘winter-clean’ to get your car looking fresh again, visit us at Birchwood Auto Spa.

Book online now using this link and save 10%:



Finding a Sasquatch (and a Good Deal) at Birchwood Chevy

Some people would say finding a good deal from a car dealership who will take care of you after the purchase is harder than finding a Sasquatch in 11.6 million acres of Washington State forestland.

Now, don’t let that get you down. With a little research and common sense you can find all the information you need to increase your odds of success.

For example, if you wanted to find a Bigfoot you’d want to look in areas containing plentiful resources it would need to survive, such as food and water. Forests are home to many animals a Bigfoot could trap and many wild berries for he/she to munch on between meals.

However, if you really wanted to find a Bigfoot, you’d want to look near a stream or lake. A Bigfoot needs water to survive and so does its prey. Coincidentally, there is a large man-made lake at Pointe West AutoPark, directly in front of Birchwood Chevy Buick GMC.

Fact: Bigfoot footprints have been found and reported for over seventy years.

It’s common knowledge Sasquatch’s are nocturnal, which is why they are rarely seen during the day and most sightings are at dusk or dawn. Birchwood Chevy Buick GMC is open from 9 am until 9 pm Monday and Tuesday, yet there has never been a documented Bigfoot encounter during business hours. Coincidence? Maybe, but what isn’t a coincidence is Birchwood Chevy sells the most used cars every month in Winnipeg and is the only Dealership with the First Price, Best Price Guarantee.

To find a Bigfoot, it would be a good idea to learn how they communicate with each other. It will help you differentiate the noises between a Bigfoot and say, a bear. Sometimes a Bigfoot will just bang rocks together or knock on a tree, otherwise known as ‘tree knocks’, to communicate to another nearby Bigfoot.

However, when they are separated, they are known to have a howl like no other identified species. Sudden howls and “joyous screams” have been reported coming from Point West AutoPark from time to time over the last three years, but each time they were investigated, the noises were found to come from a Birchwood Chevy Buick GMC customer who had just won a Brand New car, a trip to the Super Bowl, mortgage payments for a year, or $10,000.00 cash – something Birchwood Chevy Buick GMC does multiple times every year. It sounds like they really do it up well for their customers.

I hope it makes sense now, that with the right information and a little common sense, you can find what you’re looking for no matter what it is. And if you want to find the perfect deal from a team who will take care of you while making it fun, during and after the sale, the ‘squatchiest’ dealership around, Birchwood Chevy Buick GMC is a great place to start looking.

You never know what else you may run into …


If you have any questions about Bigfoot or the Chevrolet, Buick and GMC lineup, you can contact Dave Peterson by email.