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The Latest News And Reviews
Throughout The Car Industry

Categories: Car News

The End Is Nigh: Google Patents Autonomous Driving

On: Fri, Dec 16, 2011 at 5:11PM | By: Chris Salamone

Google Autonomous Car Team test 2

Motoring fans everywhere have witnessed a slow degradation of the driving experience for years. 6-speed manual transmissions have shifted to something entirely less exciting, the CVT, and the road-feel of yesterday’s vehicles has become a mere afterthought on the pillow-top suspensions of today. And yet, the savvy tycoons at Google have claimed yet another aspect of the automotive industry – this time chipping away at the very essence of what makes driving fun.

Originally filed May 11 of this year, the USPTO just recently awarded Google patent #8,078,349 which specifically claims ownership of certain events where a mixed-mode car can transition from a human driver to an autonomous mode.

Luxury Leg Race: Audi Set To Pass Mercedes For First Time

On: Fri, Dec 16, 2011 at 3:33PM | By: Chris Weiss

Luxury Leg Race: Audi Set To Pass Mercedes For First Time test 2

Growing up, I recall the major European luxury race always appeared to be between BMW and Mercedes. You'd see plenty of these cars around and each brand had clearly won its fair share of loyal customers in the US.

Audi, on the other hand, always seemed like a distant brand. To be honest, I thought it was a Swedish brand for the longest time because it was about as obscure as Saab. The only reason I knew it was a luxury car is because the only person that I knew that drove one was my friend's father who happened to be a doctor. Other than that, it just seemed like a somewhat boring European car.

Granted that's just one person's impression, but Audi has long been the third German luxury automaker, lagging behind BMW and Mercedes in terms of global sales. But not for long.

2013 Ford Fusion Super Tease Via 'Augmented Reality'

On: Fri, Dec 16, 2011 at 12:27PM | By: Chris Salamone

2013 Ford Fusion App test 2

Up until now, fans would have had to actually download Ford’s latest Fusion app to glimpse into the vehicle’s future. But for those of us without an Android or iOS device or the motivation to download a teaser app, ahem, this might have been a challenging task. Ford has thought through the dilemma and produced a promotional video for the Fusion’s promotional launch – or a teaser video for a teaser app. Regardless of how you might feel, Ford’s new Fusion reveal app allows excited fans to slowly worship the upcoming 2013 Fusion day-by-day up until the car’s official unveiling in January and Ford’s video does a great job of making something, which sounds entirely hokey, actually exciting.

Interestingly, Ford has opted to label the experience ‘augmented reality’ – as if apps were anything else. Snide commentary aside, the Fusion app launches by the grit and determination of the app’s consumer. Players must find and capture a Ford logo with their respective device’s camera. Then, the logo initiates a Pokémon-reminiscent startup featuring virtual images, music choices, and a series of unlocking worlds which reveal various stages of the Fusion itself. Gotta catch ‘em all.

2013 Viper Won't Be A Dodge

On: Fri, Dec 16, 2011 at 11:13AM | By: Chris Weiss

2013 Viper Won't Be A Dodge test 2

It's been a tumultuous couple of years at Chrysler. The company was in some deep trouble about two years ago, pulled out of the depths with the help of US government and Fiat investment, and has been on a mission to get things right in its second life. One of the major moves that Chrysler has done under Fiat rule is better delineate and define its individual brands. Now that strategy takes a drastic turn.

If you really think about it, Chrysler has been the most poorly defined auto group in the US, possibly the world.


Ford Employees To Begin Beta Testing MyFord Touch Updates

On: Thu, Dec 15, 2011 at 1:37PM | By: Chris Weiss

Ford Employees To Begin Beta Testing MyFord Touch Updates test 2

Ford is taking complaints about its MyFord Touch system pretty seriously. We don't blame them since the advanced infotainment system was a great headline when it first debuted, but has proven less attractive in actual everyday use. 

Ford announced last month that it will soon release MyFord Touch updates that it believes addresses the main consumer complaints and makes the system more user friendly. Before releasing those updates to consumers, Ford is sending a group of 1,000 employees out to test them.

MINI Reveals Countryman JCW, The Uber-CUV

On: Thu, Dec 15, 2011 at 9:56AM | By: Chris Salamone

2012 MINI Countryman JCW test 2

While reviews of MINI’s most controversial model have rated the Countryman from great to confusing, the company has seen fit to bring their performance-oriented badge to the Countryman’s offbeat exterior. And so, a back roads-friendly John Cooper Works was born.

MINI has just released the first official teaser images associated with the Countryman JCW, to be sold as a 2012 model. Perhaps channeling the pseudo-utility of Ford’s F-150 Raptor, the Countryman JCW should comfortably dominate modest soft road terrains with all the quick handling and pizzazz you’d expect from a proper MINI JCW.

Nissan Juke Nismo Could Hit Market in 2013

On: Wed, Dec 14, 2011 at 4:57PM | By: Chris Weiss

Nissan Juke Nismo Could Hit Market in 2013 test 1-1

It's pretty clear that Nissan really wants to build a hot hatch version of the Juke crossover. First, it stimulated wild dreams with the radical but for-show-only Juke R concept in Frankfurt. Then it showed the more realistic Juke Nismo Concept at the Tokyo Motor Show and announced that Nismo will have a greater role in building performance road models.

So, we'd have to assume that unless the reaction to the Juke Nismo was horrible or a business case proves elusive, Nissan will be building some type of high-performance, Nismo-engineered Juke. According to reports, the model hasn't been given the go-ahead yet, but should get a green or red light within a few months.

F-150 Claims Motor Trend's Coveted Truck Of The Year

On: Tue, Dec 13, 2011 at 1:14PM | By: Chris Salamone

2012 F-150 test 2

Many awards are handed out in the automotive industry. But in the United States none is more desired, more lusted for, than Motor Trend’s Truck of the Year. This is because trucks represent an enormous revenue stream in the American car manufacturing biz – and a veritable ‘thumbs up’ from Motor Trend creates something like divine support in revving up sales volume.

But, make no mistake. The 2012 Ford F-150 is one serious contender, a truck capable of handling enormous challenges time and time again.

For 2012, truck buyers can expect a few new F-150 features. A 36-gallon fuel tank has been added to the 4x4 F-150 EcoBoost, which allows up to 756 miles of driving range and extremely wallet-unfriendly stops at the pump. The Lariat, King Ranch, Harley-Davison, and Platinum models receive a two-speed 4x4 system designed to improve all-weather traction. Hill Start Assist, meant to prevent rolling stops, make San Francisco a less horrifying road trip prospect. And, of course, Ford is happy to point out that the 2012 F-150 once again carries a best-in-class payload capacity of 3,120 lbs.

Down To The Wire: Chevy Volt Edges Out Nissan Leaf For Second Straight Month

On: Tue, Dec 13, 2011 at 10:06AM | By: Chris Weiss

Down To The Wire: Chevy Volt Edges Out Nissan Leaf For Second Straight Mont test 2

The Nissan Leaf may have dominated during the meat of the year, but the Chevy Volt is picking up its sales pace when it matters most. The Volt outsold the Leaf in November, leading to its second straight monthly lead. However, it will likely be too little too late for the Volt, as the Leaf leads by nearly 2,000 sales on the year.

Chevy sold 1,139 units in November, a slight increase from the 1,108 that it sold in October. Nissan, on the other hand, sold only 672 Leafs in November, a slide from the 849 that it sold last month.

Jaguar Going Smaller Engines, Four-Wheel Drive

On: Mon, Dec 12, 2011 at 5:12PM | By: Chris Weiss

Jaguar Going Smaller Engines, Four-Wheel Drive test 2

A growing trend for big-engined luxury cars is smaller engines that use turbocharging to offer better fuel economy but similar output and performance. Jaguar is the latest automaker that will employ this strategy. Expect to see some very different Jag powertrains over the next few years.

Despite making all kinds of headlines with hybrids like the C-X75 and C-X16, Jaguar is not planning to put much emphasis on hybrid technology. The cat sees hybrid powertrains as an expensive option that makes the most sense in performance-boosting terms.

Chevy Volt Tops Customer Satisfaction

On: Fri, Dec 9, 2011 at 3:14PM | By: Chris Weiss

Chevy Volt Tops Customer Satisfaction test 2

In its first year, the Chevy Volt has already earned all kinds of awards, including World Green Car of the Year and North American Car of the Year. And it's not done yet. While not necessarily as prestigious as industry awards selected by top journalists, Chevy recently took home honors that should prove to be more valuable to the Volt's overall success: customer satisfaction.

In Consumer Reports' customer satisfaction survey, the Chevy Volt pushed perfection, taking home the very top spot.