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The Latest News And Reviews
Throughout The Car Industry

Categories: Technology

2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee To Share Fiat Diesel

On: Fri, Jan 6, 2012 at 11:20AM | By: Chris Salamone

2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee test 2

You can forget about Cummings, in 2013 the Jeep Grand Cherokee will share diesel tech from Chrysler’s Italian counterpart. As usual, this particular diesel engine is already in use in the European variant of the Grand Cherokee and will be coming to America a few years late. On the up side, however, 1100 jobs will be added to the Jefferson North assembly plant in Detroit and Fiat’s 3.0-liter V6 turbo diesel is already widely regarded as a solid performer – with efficiency to boot.

In Europe, the CRD engine produces 237 horsepower and 410 lb.-ft. of torque while sipping a mere 22.8 mpg in the city and 32.7 mpg on the highway. Combined economy is currently 28.3 mpg.

But don’t expect every Euro-spec Grand Cherokee Diesel model to return home. A new 3.0-liter CRD is currently offered in Europe as a low power version – sacrificing performance for efficiency – which survives on 187 horsepower. Considering North America’s lukewarm acceptance of diesel engines, we feel comfortable predicting that a wide Grand Cherokee diesel lineup is unlikely, especially featuring ‘low power’ options. Whatever those are.

Cheeky Double-Deckers Return To Square Mile

On: Tue, Jan 3, 2012 at 12:23PM | By: Chris Salamone

New Routemaster test 2

Back in 2005 the charismatic red double-decker buses of yore were removed from the streets, and simultaneously replaced by post-apocalypse reminiscent modern articulated buses (aka bendy buses). Indeed, anyone who has spent some time driving in a large city like London will tell you the world has surely ended if a 60 ft. bus has become a practical public transportation solution – nevermind those bi-articulated monsters which peak around 82 feet of double trailer insanity.

Fortunately, however, London’s current Mayor, Boris Johnson, committed to replace bendy buses with a transit vehicle Londoners would warmly welcome: an all-new, greatly improved hybrid diesel-electric red double-decker.

OnStar To Showcase 4G Technologies Like Video Chat

On: Thu, Dec 29, 2011 at 5:28PM | By: Chris Weiss

OnStar To Showcase 4G Technologies Like Video Chat test 2

At last year's Consumer Electronics Show, GM's OnStar unveiled a new level of in-vehicle technologies developed in cooperation with Verizon. The platform, which was equipped to a Buick LaCrosse research vehicle, utilized Verizon's 4G LTE mobile network to deliver all kinds of advanced technological in-vehicle functions like remote monitoring, home monitoring and video chat. At this year's CES show, OnStar will show the latest evolution of its system.

Japanese Smart Seats Could Prevent Theft

On: Thu, Dec 29, 2011 at 11:30AM | By: Chris Weiss

Japanese Smart Seats Could Prevent Theft test 2

Researchers in Japan have designed an interesting new type of anti-theft device for vehicles. The specially designed driver seat is capable of recognizing its owner and cutting off the ignition if a foreign...um..backside is present.

Developed at the Advanced Institute of Industrial Technology in Tokyo, the seats, which we'll call smart seats, incorporate a series of 360 pressure sensors that are capable of recognizing the size and shape of the owner. Data from the sensors is sent to the cloud where an external computer analyzes it. If the profile matches the rightful owner, the car starts. If the profile doesn't match, the car doesn't start.


Chevy Malibu Eco: A Hybrid, Hybrid?

On: Thu, Dec 22, 2011 at 4:46PM | By: Lou Ruggieri

Chevy Malibu Eco: A Hybrid, Hybrid? test 2

Truth be told, when you look at the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco with eAssist, it doesn't look like anything special. Same old Malibu, blah blah blah. That's not to say it's a bad looking car, but to enthusiasts, the Malibu is what it is - a company car. Chevy plans on the Malibu being its first global offering in the year ahead, and with that in mind, the GM guys went out of their way to make a version of the Malibu that has drawn our attention.

To your average enthusiast, a hybrid (outside of the exotic Porsche 918 Spyder hybrid) is nothing more than a harbinger of death for our beloved internal combustion engines. While some see a decrease in oil consumption, we see a decrease in performance and driving enjoyment. Well, it seems that the guys over at Chevy are enthusiasts, with an eye for the future. The Malibu Eco is a sedan that starts with a gasoline powered engine (thankfully), and then utilizes a small electric motor powered by a 115-volt lithium-ion battery. Now, that probably sounds pretty familiar by now, but instead of using a tiny 98-horsepower motor like the Prius, the Malibu uses a legitimate 150-horsepower 2.4-liter inline four cylinder engine to begin with, making the Eco a legitimate sedan even in the non-hybrid segment.

Nissan Seat Technology Keeps You Awake And Alert

On: Tue, Dec 20, 2011 at 10:01AM | By: Chris Weiss

Nissan Seat Technology Keeps You Awake And Alert test 2

Anyone that's ever taken a road trip knows that staying awake on a long drive gets difficult after a while. There's a lot of boring, monotonous country out there and driving through it for hours on end is bound to make you yawn and blink a little more frequently than usual. Of course, falling asleep at the wheel isn't an option and sometimes you have to just chug caffeine, blast freezing outside air onto your face, slap yourself and otherwise power through. Nissan believes that it has yet another solution: fatigue-reducing seats.

Ward's Picks 10 Best Engines, Direct Injection Dominates

On: Mon, Dec 19, 2011 at 4:57PM | By: Chris Weiss

Ward's Picks 10 Best Engines, Direct Injection Dominates test 2

There are all kinds of factors that go into a car-buying decision, but perhaps none so elemental as the car's engine. What good is a car if its engine is unreliable, clunky, inefficient, prone to breakdown, etc.? Ward's recognizes the key importance of a vehicle's engine and annually releases a list of its 10 Best picks. On the surface, consumers would probably be more interested in a list of best cars, but given the importance of the engine, it's quite informative to identify what the experts consider the elite of the elite.

This year's list represents the 18th annual best-engine list from Ward's. The list awards engines that are affordable for most consumers (vehicle priced below $55,000), integrate well into their respective vehicles, boost horsepower and torque, and offer a good sound.

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.

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.

2012 Mazda 3 With Skyactiv Technology: The End Of Cars As We Know Them?

On: Thu, Dec 15, 2011 at 2:49PM | By: Lou Ruggieri

2012 Mazda 3 With Skyactiv Technology test 2

Skyactiv Technology. When I first heard the term, I immediately thought that Google had finally invented the modern-day version of Skynet and we were all going to be privy to the short-term benefits of artificial intelligence... That is until it realized we were too dangerous to be in charge of our own lives and tried to take over the world. Upon further investigation, that is apparently not what Skyactiv technology is. Nope, as it turns out Skyactiv is just kind of an umbrella marketing term that doesn't actually describe too much about the 2012 Mazda 3. Make no mistake either, it's not 'Mazda 3 Skyactiv' or 'Skyactiv Mazda 3', no, it's just Mazda 3 with Skyactiv technology.  

So what exactly is this Skyactiv stuff? Well, strangely enough this quirky term actually refers not to some gimmicky tunes-itself-to-a-station-it-likes radio junk, but to advancements in engine technology. The 2.0-liter four cylinder in the new Mazda 3 is quite the phenom. Although it looks tiny, this mighty-mini-motor uses direct-injection and has a mind-blowing 12:1 compression ratio -- a number that only race motors were running not too many years ago. Both horsepower and torque have gone up from last year, though not to racecar numbers at 155 ponies and 148 lb.-ft., because both low and mid-range torque numbers are up too combine with the fact that the 3 only weighs in at 2,872 pounds, the Mazda 3 feels extremely quick and nimble through the corners and off the line.

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.