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The Latest News And Reviews
Throughout The Car Industry

Categories: Technology

Safe Supercar: Lexus LFA To Sport Inflatable Seat Belts

On: Thu, Dec 9, 2010 at 5:44PM | By: Chris Weiss

Safe Supercar: Lexus LFA To Sport Inflatable Seat Belts test 1-1

Usually we look to supercars for huge engines, unbelievable top speeds, and sheer, tire-scorching performance. Not safety innovations or interior options. But buyers of the $375,000 Lexus LFA will find those latter qualities with their purchase. The Japanese luxury arm of Toyota will offer inflatable seat belts in its supercar beginning with the 2012 model year.

Fiat May Sell Methane Powered Cars To U.S. Market

On: Thu, Dec 9, 2010 at 10:56AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Fiat May Sell Methane Powered Cars To U.S. Market test 1-1

The topic of fully electric automobiles is becoming more and more popular today, as various manufacturing companies have started marketing new electric vehicle products. While hybrids and EVs are becoming more prevalent in the marketplace, the use of natural gas to propel vehicles is relatively unheard of. This is something Fiat is determined to change.

2010 Tampa International Auto Show: The Best from Japan And Europe

On: Thu, Dec 9, 2010 at 10:20AM | By: John Welch

2011 Toyota Sienna test 2

Thursday morning brings us more images from the 2010 Tampa International Auto Show. Today we feature various Toyotas', Hondas', Acuras', Subarus', BMWs', Volvos' and Mercedes-Benzeses. The shape and lay out of the Tampa Convention Center compromises picture taking, but we have done our best for you. Check out the fantastic corral of Infiniti's, possibly our most pleasant surprise. Not much to report from Honda. The updated Accord Coupe is more interesting then its CR-Z stablemate, even though the CR-Z is brand new, and all gee-whiz hybridized. This is a car that needs an immediate reboot- it does not live up to the hype.

Mercedes, BMW and MINI were all crammed into floor space that was woefully inadequate, limiting our ability to get good shots. Not much was missed here, as none of these brands presented anything especially new or exciting. Same with Subaru. We raved about the then-new Legacy last year, but it has not aged well. The cartoony styling is bulbous in all the wrong places; the Leggy's attractive interior might not be enough to overcome its unfortunate outer skin. Good thing it packs a turbo flat-four, a manual option, and All Wheel Drive. Who honestly cares what it looks like from behind the wheel? I for one, it's embarrassingly unattractive.

Venture inside the post to see just what I'm on about (sic)  . . .

GM Sees Big Future in EN-V Commuter; People With Taste Disagree

On: Wed, Dec 8, 2010 at 9:56AM | By: Chris Weiss

GM Sees Big Future in EN-V Commuter; People With Taste Disagree test 1-1

GM is currently hard at work on a vehicle that won't so much rival other cars and trucks as it will public transportation. The automaker believes that its EN-V is the perfect solution for urban commuting where space, traffic, and pollution are factors that argue against more traditional vehicles. GM is hoping that the future of urban driving will look a lot like its "Electric Networked Vehicle."


Nissan Leaf Wins European Car of the Year

On: Wed, Dec 1, 2010 at 5:35PM | By: Chris Weiss

Nissan Leaf Wins European Car of the Year  test 1-1

The Nissan Leaf may have lost to its #1 rival (Chevy Volt, for those that haven't been watching) in Car of the Year awards from Motor Trend and the Green Car Journal, but across the Atlantic, Nissan is officially king. The Leaf took home "European Car of the Year," an award decided upon by a who's who of Europe's automotive journalists, 58 journalists from 23 countries, if you want to get technical. The Leaf has finally one-upped the Volt, but unfortunately, it's in a market far from any of the planned launch markets in the U.S. And since the Volt isn't scheduled for European launch (not as the "Volt" anyway), and wasn't in the running in the competition, it wasn't quite a head-to-head victory.

Consumers Invited To Participate In Designing New Toyota Technology

On: Mon, Nov 29, 2010 at 10:20AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Consumers Invited To Participate In Designing New Toyota Technology test 1-1

Toyota Motor Co., USA, Inc. announced its new brand campaign, “Ideas for Good,” a unique initiative centered on what the company has been doing for many years—designing new automotive technology with the goal to benefit society in the non-automotive realm. The campaign invites consumers to share their own ideas to improve quality of life beyond the automotive world.

The “Ideas for Good” initiative asks consumers to propose new possibilities for Toyota technologies, and share ideas on how to find new, non-automotive applications for five distinct Toyota technologies that will benefit society.

GM and Ford Will Rank in Top 10 of Best Performing Platforms

On: Fri, Nov 26, 2010 at 11:46AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

GM and Ford Will Rank in Top 10 of Best Performing Platforms test 1-1

GM and Ford Motor Company are two automakers on track to build some of the top performing platforms in the world. Both automakers have designed global car platforms that will be the structural base for their top vehicles throughout 2015 model year, according to Daniel Chang, consultant from AT Kearney. The top platform in the world is currently Toyota’s Camry platform. None of Detroit’s Big Three automakers are on the list of the top 10 performing platforms in world-wide auto sales. But all that is about to change; in 2015 Ford’s Focus platform is projected to take 3rd place worldwide followed by GM’s Cruze platform which will be number 4.

Development of new platforms can cost automakers millions of dollars and several years to build. High sales of cars such as the Focus can generate the capital it will take for U.S. automakers to stay competitive in the world-wide market.

Nissan LEAF Rated At 99 MPG, Without . . . any . . . gallons . . .

On: Tue, Nov 23, 2010 at 11:19AM | By: John Welch

Nissan LEAF Rated At 99 MPG, Without . . . any . . . gallons . . . test 1-1

Even though the Nissan Leaf is a completely Electric Vehicle, using no gasoline or oil to motivate itself, the Environmental Protection Agency still had to come up with a fuel economy rating. They don't trust that we are smart enough to understand "One hundred miles per charge" so the EPA got out their slide-rules and came up with an equation that would turn "miles per charge" into "miles per gallon". During the course of their research, the EPA made a few determinations about that Leaf that are contradictory to Nissan's description of their electric darling.

Nissan has stated that the Leaf is good for 100 miles on a full charge, but, like most electric cars, (I'm lookin' at you Tesla,) it appears the advertised range is a little optimistic. The EPA figures the Leaf will travel an average of 73 miles on a single charge, not the original figure, but impressive none the less.

Cadillac Aera Wins LA Auto Show Design Challenge

On: Mon, Nov 22, 2010 at 10:14AM | By: Chris Weiss

Cadillac Aera Wins LA Auto Show Design Challenge test 1-1

Capping off what must be one of the best weeks in GM history, Cadillac's design team took home the Design Challenge prize at the LA Auto Show. The team entered a polymer-skinned, mono-formed alloy frame concept known as the Aera.

The goal of the 7th annual Design Challenge was to create a vehicle that weighed no more than 1000 pounds and was able to transport four passengers comfortably and efficiently. GM joined more than half a dozen competitors that included Mercedes-Benz, Nissan and Volvo. Cadillac actually tied with the Smart 454 for first place. Both vehicles met the requirements of the competition while truly exemplifying their brands.

Nissan Ellure Unveiled at L.A. Auto Show

On: Fri, Nov 19, 2010 at 11:09AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Nissan Ellure Unveiled at L.A. Auto Show test 1-1

A world premiere sedan from Nissan at the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show, the Nissan Ellure Concept uses a 2.5-liter supercharged 4-cylinder engine with Intelligent Dual Clutch Control (one motor/two clutch design with lithium-ion battery), a 25 kW electric motor, matched with an Xtronic CVT and front-wheel drive. The Nissan Ellure Concept, being described in a recent press release as “engagingly seductive,” and “simple yet provocative,” uses an independent suspension, regenerative braking, and advanced drive-by-wire electric/hydraulic steering. So far, its performance statistics have not been released.

Google Designs Cars That Drive Themselves

On: Thu, Nov 18, 2010 at 12:07PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Google Designs Cars That Drive Themselves test 1-1

Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University have recently joined forces with Google to build a fleet of robotic vehicles that can literally drive themselves. The vehicles have already negotiated traffic for 140,000 miles with absoluelty no human intervention.

Google is exploring the possibilities of cars that can make complex decisions using artificial intelligence software to navigate themselves. Seven vehicles have traveled over 1,000 miles each in just a weekend without any intervention from a driver. Of course, there are drivers behind the wheel prepared to take over if necessary. There is also a technician passenger present to ensure that the navigation system is working properly, but so far the vehicles have done all the driving, even on steep hills with sharp switchbacks.