Login to your account
Not a member? Register now.

Subscribe To The Blog:

Follow Us

Auto Industry News
And Car Reviews

Volkswagen Nils Concept: Frankfurt Preview

On: Tue, Sep 6, 2011 at 3:11PM | By: Chris Weiss

Volkswagen Nils Concept: Frankfurt Preview  test 2

It looks like the VW group is going to have two levels of ultra-compact, urban-maneuvering EVs on display at the Frankfurt Motor Show. We've already seen a bunch of the Audi Urban Concept, and now Volkswagen's revealed a concept of its own: it's called Nils.

Clearly developed in conjunction with the Audi model, the VW Nils features similar elements like the narrow, freestanding wheels. Unlike the Audi, though, the Volkswagen gets even smaller by eliminating the passenger—the Nils is a personal pod designed for a party of one. It also trades the unique slide-back door-roof for a pair of gullwings.

Built atop an aluminum spaceframe, the Nils weighs a mere 1,000 pounds and is powered by a small motor and 5.3 kWh battery pack. Volkswagen calls it a demonstration of "minimalist mobility." The engine pushes the car a total of up to 40 miles and speeds up to 80 mph, so it could foreseeably do some brief stints on the highway, though that's clearly not what it's aimed at. It takes two hours to recharge the battery.

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.

Volvo's Game Changer, Or The First AWD Diesel Plug-In Hybrid

On: Tue, Sep 6, 2011 at 1:09PM | By: Chris Salamone

Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid test 2

Volvo is a company synonymous with safety, AWD, and perhaps the geometric square. In 2012, Volvo will also be known for an entirely new achievement: the first practical plug-in hybrid. Just as Chevy plans to release the Volt, which features both a short range electric motor and the long term benefits of an internal combustion engine, Volvo is looking toward the future to blend technologies from plug-in hybrids and diesels alike in their latest V60.

To date, all mass-produced hybrid vehicles are powered by unleaded fuel. This is primarily because of the differences associated with starting diesel engines versus starting an electric motor. Diesels require oil pressure and usually some warm-up time. This newest V60 manages to meet that challenge with some kind of mechanical voodoo—allowing oil-pressure to build while the driver releases the brake and presses the start button.

Curing A Bad Idle

On: Tue, Sep 6, 2011 at 10:18AM | By: Peter C Sessler

Curing A Bad Idle test 2

Let’s start by saying that there’s little one can do to fix an engine with a bad idle these days because of all the electronics that govern idle speed. The way an engine management system works is really quite simple, very much like your home computer.

On a car, the Central Processing Unit (CPU) uses sensors to receive information, such as engine speed, temperature, throttle position, airflow, exhaust gas content, and so forth. From the information gathered, the CPU then instructs other electronics, called actuators, such as fuel injectors, the ignition module, EGR valve, idle speed motor, and others to perform accordingly. So, in my home computer, when I press the letter "p" on the keyboard (the sensor), the CPU thinks about it a bit and then tells the monitor to display (actuator) the letter “p”.

In the same way, if I step on the gas pedal (a really big "sensor"), the computer gathers all the information from the various other sensors, and then tells the fuel injectors to squirt more gas into the engine and thus the engine accelerates.


More Juice Behind Porsche Mid-Level Supercar

On: Tue, Sep 6, 2011 at 9:16AM | By: Chris Weiss

More Juice Behind Porsche Mid-Level Supercar test 2

The term "mid-level" supercar may be a complete oxymoron, but it's the best term we can think of to describe cars like the Ferrari 458 Italia and Lamborghini Gallardo. These cars have pedigrees that're too refined to be called mere "sports cars—and "mid-level sports car"? Perish the thought. However, these cars sit in the middle of the market both within their own brand and in the greater market. So "mid-level" supercar just fits.

Rumors are back that Porsche will be aiming at some of those competitors in launching a supercar between the 911 line and the upcoming 918 Spyder.

How To Change A Flat Tire

On: Mon, Sep 5, 2011 at 9:21AM | By: Peter C Sessler

How To Change A Flat Tire test 2

Today, we’ll take a look at another car-owning basic. It seems pretty simple to do, yet it can be very dangerous. It’s easy to get overconfident here, because it doesn’t seem to take a lot of mechanical ability.

There are two ways you can get a flat. The first is when you’re driving along. Suddenly, you’ll hear a progressively louder thump-thump sound and, quite likely, the car will begin to shake. Most people instinctively slow down and pull over to the side of the road. More dangerous is when you have a blow-out; that’s when the tire loses air pressure all at once. Depending on how fast you’re going, it’s very possible to lose control.

Air Bag Basics

On: Sun, Sep 4, 2011 at 10:48AM | By: Peter C Sessler

Air Bag Basics test 2

Air bags aren’t generally considered to be within the realm of the typical do-it-yourselfer (and rightly so), but of course, if you’ve got the right tools and manuals, anything is possible.

A typical air bag system consists of several sensors located at various places within a car’s structure along with the air bag itself. All cars today have two front air bags, but their application has now proliferated with many makers offering or including side air bags (mounted in the sides of the seat or door panels), side air bag “curtains” mounted on the side of the interior roof panel, and there are even rear seat bags available as well.

A typical system has sensors located at the front fenders and other locations which measure shock, deceleration, and so forth. When activated, they send a signal to the air bag which then initiates a fairly violent explosion to inflate the bag. Early air bags detonated within 1/25th of a second or 250 mph. In order for air bags to detonate, several or all sensors have to be activated.

In case the battery cables break during an accident, air bag systems have backup power sources which supply the necessary power to detonate the air bags. So if you’re thinking of removing the relevant fuse from the system to deactivate the air bags in your car—don’t. To deactivate the air bags a deactivation procedure, listed in shop manuals, has to be followed.

2012 Nissan Maxima Is the Latest Price Hold

On: Sat, Sep 3, 2011 at 11:28AM | By: Chris Weiss

2012 Nissan Maxima Is the Latest Price Hold test 2

Japanese brands sure are reluctant to increase prices this year. Honda held pricing on its Accord; Toyota is selling the Camry for less than its 2011 equivalent; and now Nissan is placing a price hold on the Maxima. Both the 2012 Maxima 3.5 S and 3.5 SV are offered at the same price as their 2011 equivalents. And they get a few upgrades to boot.

The 2012 Maxima 3.5 S will start at $31, 750 and the Maxima 3.5 SV will start at $34, 450. Those prices are before a $760 destination charge. Both models are powered by a 290-hp 3.5-liter V-6 engine and Xtronic CVT transmission with available paddle shifters.

Don't You Just...

On: Sat, Sep 3, 2011 at 11:14AM | By: Peter C Sessler

Don't You Just... test 2

Don’t you just hate it when someone rushes into your lane from a side street and then slows to a crawl?

Don’t you just hate it when you’re stuck behind some loud, jacked-up, beat-up pick-up truck spewing noxious fumes?

Don’t you just hate it when you see a trooper’s lights come on behind you?

Don’t you just love it when, as you move over to stop, he quickly passes you to get that guy in the jacked-up, beat-up pick-up truck?

Engine Flushing - Does It Work?

On: Sat, Sep 3, 2011 at 8:48AM | By: Peter C Sessler

Engine Flushing - Does It Work? test 2

This subject has been getting more and more attention these days—it is internal engine cleaning, better known as flushing. This is being promoted by the quick oil-change people, among others, with the advice that if you clean out the engine of accumulated sludge, deposits, and other yucky stuff, it will run better and hopefully longer. Is this effective or not?

As usual, when it comes to things automotive, the answer is both yes and no.

Chevy's Calming New Commericals (Video)

On: Fri, Sep 2, 2011 at 5:24PM | By: David Walter

Chevy's Calming New Commericals test 2

A couple weeks ago, we showed you the funny, new Dodge Durango commercials and Nissan’s “we’re back now” ads a week later. Now Chevy has a few new commercials for its Silverado and Tahoe. But unlike Dodge and Nissan’s which rely heavily on narration and comparing themselves to other car makers, Chevrolet’s new commercials are the exact opposite—not a single word spoken or rival company belittled.

According to Autoblog, the new Silverado and Tahoe ads will air mostly on The Outdoor Channel which makes complete sense once you watch them. They feature the soothing sounds of nature, the warm glow of sunrise, camouflaged good-ol’ boys… and, of course, Chevy trucks.

Admittedly, I’m not much of a hunter or fisherman, but even I can appreciate these ads. In 30 seconds, they provide that calming beauty of becoming one with nature experienced by waking up super early and sitting in a tree stand all day without waking up super early and sitting in a tree stand all day (sorry, hunters).

All three companies’ commercials—in my opinion—are marketing money well spent, but it’s nice to take a break from the mudslinging and name-calling and let the product tell its own story.

Read on to watch the videos.