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The Latest News And Reviews
Throughout The Car Industry

Categories: Technology

Toyota Ku:Rin Sets Record For Compressed Air Vehicle

On: Wed, Sep 28, 2011 at 4:58PM | By: Chris Weiss

Toyota Ku:Rin Sets Record For Compressed Air Vehicle test 2

Looking at the Ku:Rin, I thought to myself that it looks like the type of streamliner that you'd see out on the Bonneville Salt Flats. Actually, first I thought "What the hell is that colon doing in the middle of the car's name, and am I going to have to write that every time?!" Then I thought that it looks like a streamliner.

Well, I was both right and wrong. The Ku:Rin is indeed a world-record breaking car, but its record is a modest 80 mph. Because it runs on a unique fuel: air compression.

2012 Rubicon Set To Wrangle Up Some New Customers!

On: Wed, Sep 14, 2011 at 4:01PM | By: Lou Ruggieri

2012 Rubicon Set To Wrangle Up Some New Customers! test 2

Under normal circumstances, we automotive writers are supposed to stay enthusiastic, but still impartial to most of the vehicles we cover. Emotion in our writing is good, but it is still supposed to retain a semblance of unbiased wording. However, I will tell you that when I saw what Jeep did with the 2012 Wrangler, I began to grin from ear-to-ear and decided that I had to have one in the very near future.

Having spent many of my childhood years damn near sideways in the passenger seat of more than one late 1970's Jeep CJ, I have always had a soft-spot for those go-anywhere, do-anything four wheel drives. The Wrangler has gone through many iterations since my first encounter with it, but the 2012 model—specifically the Rubicon variant—is quite possibly the best Wrangler to be produced, ever.

Engines Get Smaller: Ford's One-Liter Three-Cylinder To Debut On 2012 Focus

On: Wed, Sep 14, 2011 at 12:05PM | By: Chris Weiss

Engines Get Smaller: Ford's One-Liter Three-Cylinder To Debut on 2012 Focus test 2

Ford has announced the availability of its next great efficient engine—the 1.0-liter Ecoboost I-3. Ford will officially drop a cylinder in the European-spec 2012 Focus, which will go on sale next year.

The I-3 engine was first seen on Ford's Start concept at the Beijing Auto Show last year. Despite losing a cylinder and dropping displacement down to a mere liter, Ford says that the turbocharged, direct injected Ecoboost I-3 will offer output comparable to a 1.6-liter I-4 while delivering the predictable bump in fuel economy. The new engine will come in 99-hp with five-speed manual and 118-hp with six-speed automatic varieties.

Once Upon A Tune-Up

On: Tue, Sep 13, 2011 at 3:14PM | By: Peter C Sessler

Once Upon A Tune-Up test 2

Once upon a time, cars needed a tune-up every 12,000 miles or so. That provided a lot of business for the local dealer and service stations. The process was somewhat complex as well. The points and condenser in the distributor needed to be changed, or, at the very least adjusted, as did the spark plugs. Then the timing had to be reset. As 99 percent of all cars had carburetors, those devices needed some attention as well.

It should also be remembered that cars weren't able to last as long as cars today do. After 50-60,000 miles, it was expected that some oil burning should occur and it was highly unusual for anyone to keep a car for 100,000 miles or more.

Well, oil technology has changed all that and electronic controls have reduced the need for that ever-frequent tune-up.


Lighting The Way

On: Sat, Sep 10, 2011 at 9:04AM | By: Peter C Sessler

Lighting The Way test 2

Drivers that want to see better at night have several options. Let’s take a look at what’s available:

Sealed-beam headlights: There are two types available, tungsten and halogen. Of the two, tungsten is worse, but very cheap. You’ll find these on older cars. The main problem with old-style sealed beams is that they produce a very dim, unfocused beam of light that doesn’t have much range and also doesn’t produce much light on the sides of the road. In addition, backglare, which occurs when it’s snowing, raining or foggy, can cause accidents. Halogen sealed beams are only marginally better, producing a brighter, white light.

New App Simplifies Navigation For GM's OnStar System

On: Tue, Sep 6, 2011 at 2:25PM | By: Chris Weiss

New App Simplifies Navigation For GM's On Star System  test 2

Researching and navigating to your destination just got a little easier for GM owners—at least those GM owners whose cars are equipped with OnStar. GM has a brand-new app that makes identifying a destination and programming it into your car more seamless than ever.

A new function of the OnStar RemoteLink app lets OnStar users find addresses via Android and iPhone devices and then send them wirelessly to the navigation system. So instead of having to research the address on your phone and then punch it into the GPS—or wading through the points of interest just hoping the destination you need is listed—you can find the address and zap it with one simplified process. The app lets you store up to five addresses, which can be accessed via voice command.

Ford Previews Evos Concept

On: Fri, Sep 2, 2011 at 9:17AM | By: Chris Weiss

Ford Previews Evos Concept  test 2

Ford teased its Frankfurt appearance last week with a short presser about four new designs that it will reveal at the show. One of those was described as a "major new design concept." This week, the Blue Oval revealed what that new design concept is: the radical Evos Concept.

Let's just not set ourselves up for disappointment. Despite looking better than pretty much every Ford in the current line, the Evos won't be making it to production. Derrick Kuzak, group vice president of Global Product Development made that quite clear in the press release: "... you will never see this car on the road..."

That's a damn shame, because we would love to see a sporty Ford sedan with quad gullwing doors on the road. That's right, the Evos features gullwings in front and back, providing a wide, inviting entry. Those gullwings are one of the first signs that this isn't your ordinary four-seater. From there, the Evos doesn't disappoint.

Next Bio-Fuel: Old Newspapers

On: Thu, Sep 1, 2011 at 2:09PM | By: Chris Weiss

Next Bio-Fuel: Old Newspapers test 2

A group of scientists from Tulane University has made an interesting discovery. Their research has identified a way of making fuel from one of the most readily available types of waste around—old newspapers.

Newspapers come out every day in towns across the world. They never stop. Newspaper, newspaper, newspaper. Back when I used to read a hard copy of the paper on a regular basis, I used to quickly pile up newspapers until I was drowning in them. Dirty, inky, tattered piles of old newspaper just cluttering my living room, kitchen, bedroom...

Sure, there's recycling. But at one point, the local recycling authority required that you tie newspapers up with string to a certain thickness—who the hell wants to do that?!! Instead, they went in the garbage or just piled up in the corner.

So, though I no longer buy newspapers regularly, I find this news to be pretty exciting. Not only is it a great new way of recycling old newspapers, it provides a cleaner form of fuel to boot. That's like green squared.

Hybrid VS. Conventional Cars

On: Tue, Aug 30, 2011 at 1:52PM | By: Peter C Sessler

Hybrid VS Convetional Cars test 2

Hybrid cars have definitely made a dent in the sales of new cars. More and more people are evaluating whether they should buy one or at least, look at one before they buy. The reason is obvious. With gasoline prices rising this year, conventional cars are really starting to become too expensive, especially trucks and SUVs. You can save money with a hybrid car, but you have to be careful.

Hybrid cars stand out because they get much better mileage. Compared to a regular car, you can save substantially in fuel costs with a hybrid. For example, the Toyota Prius, the best-selling hybrid car, has an estimated 51/48 mpg. Compare that with the highest mpg from a regular car and you’ll see that the Prius is ahead. What about cost? Yes, you may pay extra for your hybrid up front, but you can recoup the gap in gasoline savings later. The hybrid can put you into the plus when compared to a conventional car when you reach the break-even point on the fuel cost.

Synthetic Oils - Are They For You?

On: Tue, Aug 30, 2011 at 10:19AM | By: Peter C Sessler

Synthetic Oils - Are They For You? test 2

You’ve probably heard a lot about synthetic oils, good and bad. Still, there are things you should consider, before you decide which is better for your car – conventional or synthetic oil. First, now every manufacturer offers their synthetic oil version and existing brands have been reformulated and improved. There are more synthetic blends around, too. The blends are supposed to bridge the gap between true synthetics and regular oils, in terms of price and performance.

There are lots of reasons why you should consider synthetics.

Ford Focus Electric Gets Greener With Solar Charging

On: Mon, Aug 29, 2011 at 4:31PM | By: Chris Weiss

Ford Focus Electric Gets Greener With Solar Charging test 2

Despite the fact that studies—like this one from the Department of Energy's Alternative Fuels and Advanced Vehicle Data Center—have shown that the overall emissions of electric vehicles are less than gas-powered vehicles, the sentiment about electric vehicles not being clean because they rely on dirty, dirty electricity still prevails. Well, Ford is attacking that sentiment head-on with a new solar-charging option for the 2012 Focus Electric.

The Focus Electric, which will be giving the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt some competition when it starts hitting dealers in select markets later this year, has gotten a little greener. Ford announced recently that it will offer a solar-charging option with the compact. The 2.5 kW solar option, offered in conjunction with SunPower, hooks up to your home via a solar roof panel and provides enough juice for about 1,000 miles worth of Focus Electric driving per month. It will provide up to 3,000 kWh per year.

So, if you choose this option and average less than 1,000 miles per month, you won't be taking a drop of juice from the power grid. And then you can officially tell all those EV naysayers to shove it—shove it good.