It takes quite a bit to get a bunch of jaded members of the automotive media truly excited and I can say that without a doubt the launch of the 2013 SRT Viper flat out electrified the crowd. I have had the privilege of attending quite a few press launches and this is the first and only one I can remember that gave me goose bumps. The new Viper managed to be more than 640 horsepower and 600 ft/lbs of torque, it evoked raw emotion and the embodiment of all that is great about passion for the automobile. Nothing captured it better than Ralph Gilles (President and CEO of Chrysler’s SRT division) moment while pulling the Viper on to the turntable. In the video after the break you can see him dipping his head to clear his eyes.
The Prius C? I could own one. And to think that I once disparaged the average Prius owner as a dork, or worse! Not entirely without reason, mind you. The original Prius was undeniably dorky in appearance, a kind of bizarre science project lacking in automotive virility or style. It was the kind of car you’d drive only if you didn’t like cars, and dorks don’t like cars. I’d have never owned a Prius back then. But now I would. Well, I might. What changed? The Prius itself, for one thing. The family has grown to four members: the original liftback Prius; the Prius V, a pleasant wagon version; the plug-in Prius; and now, the brand-new miniaturized version, the C. I’ve changed, too, having become something of an armchair expert on these cars after test-driving all iterations, close relatives in disguise. Like many others who initially disparaged the Prius, I’ve come, albeit grudgingly, to admire its efficiency, packaging, reliability, and, of course, fuel economy—real-world fuel economy, that is, not the vaporous fantasies of PR departments. Plus, the newer models just look better; there’s more design esthetic there.
Today, many smartphones have cameras that are as good as point-and-shoots were only a year or two ago. In the automotive world the same thing is going to become both a battle ground and an enormous problem. The battle is going to be to include more and more converged systems. Think about the concept of having a cellular internet connected car just a few years ago. The issue is going to become how to allow these systems to age gracefully. Think about it, the super advanced navigation system in your new car? Think about how it is going to feel in five years, let alone ten.
It seems like just yesterday that our long term Ford F-150 Ecoboost FX4 SuperCrew hit the 5000 mile mark. Here we are with a truck that has rolled past the 10,000 mile mark. Since our last update, we have had our first service, been through one warranty repair and have seen fuel economy fall off from the first report. We are still looking to demo some products for the truck and are interested in your questions and comments. Read on for all the news and use the comments to let us know what you would like to see.
Fuel efficient compact cars are a hot segment right now. After having been largely neglected by domestic automakers for the last decade, cars like the Ford Focus, Chevrolet Cruze and upcoming Dodge Dart are now offering US consumers thoroughly modern small cars, with up-to-date in-vehicle technology and efficient powertrains delivering up to 40 MPG highway. The Ford Focus was all new for 2011 in the US, after having languished on an aging platform that was introduced in the late 1990s as a 2000 model year vehicle.
If you have ever had the chance to use a car with ten year old navigation you know that in car electronics do not age gracefully. For those who have not, think about attempting to use a ten year old smart phone. Even the most bleeding edge technology that is available today will be antiquated in the not too distant future. The question that remains is what should manufacturers do to help mitigate this problem? Yesterday, GM released a new in-car infotainment system that will be able to remain up to date by keeping the brains of the system out of the car. Read on to find out how.
We are officially a week away from the New York Auto Show and the pre-show news has started to flow in force. One of the items that caught our attention is all of the in-car technology news that Cadillac has been readying for their upcoming models. Both the new ATS and XTS are going to be available with a stack of technology that could potentially vault them back into a leadership position in the industry (from the brand’s current position that is anything but a leadership one). Read on for new on just some of the features that are going to be available and stay tuned for in-depth coverage from the NYC show as we have some one-on-one time planned with GM.
It took me a week of banging my head on the steering wheel, but I think I finally figured out how to express my feelings about a modern Honda. Hondas are like BlackBerry smartphones. They are reliable, sturdy, and feel a bit stuck in the past. If you really need to get your e-mail and you need the highest grade of security pick the Honda. If you’re interested in embracing the future? Lets hope that Honda has some rapid innovation up their sleeves. The 2012 Honda Fit Sport does everything a car needs to do. It does these essential car activities very well and I am convinced that it will keep doing them for years to come. My concern is that in the market today it seems like the competition is innovating faster and bringing more exciting products to market.