Through its first six years, Chevrolet's Lumina was a half-step behind the midsize sedan establishment-Ford Taurus, Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, Mazda 626, Nissan Altima and Mitsubishi Galant. But with its first major redesign, the Lumina has closed the gap. The '95 Lumina employs the same basic chassis as its predecessor-in fact, the wheelbase is identical-but it sports all-new sheet metal, a redesigned interior and extensive suspension revisions. The net is a car that's much more in step with its competitors, and perhaps even ahead in a couple of important areas-particularly the all-important dollar-value category. The new line of Lumina sedans starts at $15,995, a price that includes a $525 destination charge. Compare that with a Camry, for example, and Lumina's got the advantage by a substantial margin. The Lumina's base price also undercuts the basic Ford Taurus', though not by as much. And that basic Lumina. is no stripped down loss-leader. All Luminas include air conditioning, an AM/FM radio, power locks, automatic transmission and an anti-theft system as standard equipment. We test-drove a Lumina LS, which is the upscale trim level for the sedan portion of the family. (Chevrolet has revived the Monte Carlo name for the Lumina coupes: the Monte Carlo LS and the hot-rod Monte Carlo Z34.) In addition to the standard features of the basic Lurnina, our LS included anti-lock brakes (ABS), low-speed traction control, power windows, power mirrors, a remote keyless entry system and a premium CD system. Our LS was powered by General Motors' corporate 3100 3. 1 -liter V6, which replaces the previous 3.1-liter V6 and puts an additional 20 hp under the hood. This is now the base Lumina engine there are no four-cylinder engines left in the line-up and the most powerful Lumina engine continues to be the 210-hp, 3.4-liter V6, a $960 option. All Luminas include a four-speed automatic transmission with overdrive as standard equipment, the latest generation of GM's computer-controlled automatics that coordinate engine and shift management for nearly seamless operation.
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