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Old 3rd May 2006, 17:07   #1
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Default First Impressions - Chevrolet Lumina SS

Its been about 10 days since I bought the baby and a week since I've been driving her around, so here are the first impressions:


Point and shoot. Thats the engine experience in a nutshell. There is a small rider here - preferably point at a spot closer to the horizon.

Turn the key and you're greeted with a 'whoosh' before the engine settles down to a malevolent purr. I still havent figured out this 'whoosh' part. There is a very tiny hint of the beast that lies beyond the dashboard that shows up on the steering at idle. Very reassuring.

After that, things get real simple - find some road and crush that throttle to the ground. Immensely satisfying, especially after a frustrating day at work. The engine is smooth and the power delivery is scary. VERY scary. I once hit 180+ kmph between two closely-spaced traffic signals in the city...that should give you an idea of how fast this thing rockets from standstill.

Should you want things to get a bit livelier, press the little button that says 'PWR' next to the gear lever. Its a 'Powershift' option that shifts gears much faster, and moves the looney needle from 'ridiculous' to 'ludicruous'. The autobox itself is quite nice - there is NO hesitation/gap between gears. They could've given us a 5-speed auto, though.

I'm still learning to control this thing. For the record, the vehicle shifts into 4th gear at about 205 kmph. 3rd came up somewhere around 160. At 120 kmph, the tacho shows a startling similarity to what my Dicor shows - 2,200 rpm. However, the similarity ends there - let us not insult the Chevy anymore. Or give the Safari any ideas.

And the engine roar is to die for - it transforms from a quiet, smooth 'commuter' to a full-blown growl at the touch of the right foot. I havent heard the exhaust.


The car is pretty big inside with plenty of space for you to loll around in. I'm not sure of the back seats - I dont think the rear space is proportionate to the size of the vehicle. A bit like the Scorpio there, maybe. Enough space, still.

The black and orange (!!!) fabric seems more than a bit sissy on a vehicle of this sort. Plastics are of good quality and the padded dash feels good, even if it is in sombre black. Like any self-respecting american/aussie car there are plenty of cup-holders around, big enough to hold Burger King's XXL Coke cups. I dont go to Burger King - I'm veggie - but my son does, so he should know.

There is plenty of the 'new car' smell around despite this being a used car with 20k kms on the odo. This leads me to believe that the dealers are given some sort of secret spray to splash around inside cars before delivery - how else can this happen? Its the same smell as inside the brand new Chevy that I test drove the other day.

The front seats are huge. I mean so huge that they're uncomfortable. The Mondy's seats are among the best I've used (along with Safari) and after those this was a huge disappointment. The backrest is too big and the seat itself is too short - there simply isnt enough thigh support. I havent found a comfortable position on my seats yet, despite the 6-way electrical adjustments on it + lumbar support. The headrests dont have any horizontal adjustment, which makes it less user friendly than the Mondeo.

Rearward view is bad, and is made worse by the huge spoiler in the back.

ORVMs are not glare-resistant.

The doors dont auto-lock when you turn the key (even my Safari does that!)

And the handbrake lever is placed on the far outside of the centre console, as if it were meant only for use by the front passenger.

Enough cribs! Suffice to say that despite decent quality levels there is plenty of room - for improvement.


Shiny black paint - still scratchless - makes the car look really evil, especially with those low-set headlamps. People move away from the fast lane, even if I am not clipping - there must be something menacing about those looks. It helps that this car is usually driven by crazy arab boys - nobody will want to linger on your path, unless its another crazy arab boy.

Panel gaps are wider than the Jap cars, but still tolerable. Just tolerable, because there's plenty of wind noise inside upwards of 160kmph. This car could do with the Azera's triple-beading door seals.

The rear of the car is IMHO set too high, with the spoiler making it look still higher. It does give the car that 'crouching before the leap' look, though.

Overall, the car looks good. Very good.


The first thing that I did as soon as I got the car was to turn traction control off, and I have now relaid many sections of the highway between home and work with rubber by now.

After the Mondeo's high-speed dynamics, this one feels disconnected. Its too softly sprung for a 'sports sedan' and there's very little feedback from the road at high speeds, which is really bad. A light steering makes things worse. All this would have been perfectly fine and even considered 'luxurious' on a normal executive sedan, but on a vehicle with a crazy engine like this one its a definite NO NO. I need those stiffer springs recommended by Psycho. The fact that this is rear wheel drive also makes it tail-happy, something that I need to get used to at high speeds.

The vehicle is capable of ridiculous speeds, but the ludicruous suspension doesnt inspire confidence at those speeds. I'm being a bit harsh here because its quite tolerable really - it just doesnt fit this car, though.

Braking is another trip to the house of horrors. The pedals seem to work only in the last centimetre or two before it meets metal. When it works, it does its job well and stops the vehicle in a neat straight line even from 200 kmph. However the lack of feel earlier in its journey downwards can be disconcerting if you're driving this car for the first time.

Overall, I'd say its a fantastic buy. So much horsepower for so little money, so much acceleration in so little time. However, there's also 'so much fuel vapourized in so little time', 'so little roadgrip at so high speeds' and 'so little braking for so much pedal travel' to live with.

Dont drive this car in a bad mood, though.

Last edited by Steeroid : 3rd May 2006 at 17:10.
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Old 3rd May 2006, 17:30   #2
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Almost 500 bhp and a rear wheel drive-perfect receipe for DRIFTING!!
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Old 3rd May 2006, 17:45   #3
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Steeroid. Nice writeup

It's time for you to replace that pony little Smart in your Avtar. You have two beast to one pony.
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Old 3rd May 2006, 18:24   #4
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Well this writeup brings out one simple point that there might not be perfection everywhere, but right where you need it most to get a smile on your face

Enjoy the ride man
( dont forget to upgrade the following : Brakes, Rubber & Rims, Suspension )
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Old 3rd May 2006, 18:35   #5
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congrats man for your new ride... how about some pics
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Old 4th May 2006, 00:51   #6
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Thanks for your impression on the lumina. please post some pics and enjoy your ride. nice avatar(crazy arab boy??)

Last edited by spdfreak : 4th May 2006 at 01:06.
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Old 4th May 2006, 01:26   #7
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nice one there, bhai...congrats, and enjoy your new ride. and yes, as some of us pointed out- upload the damn pics, yaar...reading your review is sniffing at fried saffron and ghee; enough with the appetizers, where's the main course? aah, hunger pangs....
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Old 4th May 2006, 01:38   #8
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U have earned the envy of many a tbhp'ians Steer! Some more pics would be real nice. Man, almost makes me wanna emigrate to Dubai!!!
Btw, i was a privvy to the conversation u had with psycho when u were hunting for a muscle car... so makes me feel more connected to your experience.

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Old 4th May 2006, 06:24   #9
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Good review on your car.
Enjoy every moment of your possession and drive safely.
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Old 4th May 2006, 11:51   #10
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The avatar is from Dune, isn't it?
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Old 4th May 2006, 11:54   #11
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Originally Posted by v1p3r
The avatar is from Dune, isn't it?
Nope this is from the Lumina "Engineered for the Middle East" campaign - the picture is actually a Lumina in an Arab headress - the "eyes" are the headlamps of the car. I took a scan of the print ad and turned it into an Avatar.
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Old 4th May 2006, 12:28   #12
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nice avatar!!!......post some pic of your new drive....a pic is worth a thousand words!
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Old 4th May 2006, 12:30   #13
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Waiting for the pics Steeroid. I envy you man, you got a few parts of my signature, the "manual" and "affordable" (for me) parts being absent . And a great writeup too.
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Old 4th May 2006, 12:31   #14
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Wowee, you are one lucky dude. From what I have heard about the roads there, I think I need to visit!
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Old 4th May 2006, 12:44   #15
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where are the pics ....
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