Daily Archives: October 22, 2012

Crave giveaway: Cowon Auto Capsule AC1 dashboard camera

The AC1 only has one button and one indicator light, which changes colors to indicate status.

(Credit: Antuan Goodwin/CNET )

Congrats to Jean F. of Gainesville, Fla., for scoring a Crux360 iPad case with Bluetooth keyboard in last week’s giveaway.

Do a lot of driving? You and your car (and your insurance company) will love this week’s freebie, a Cowon Auto Capsule AC1 dashboard camera.

The 2-megapixel cam with a 16:9 wide screen records and stores high-resolution 1,280×720-pixel high-definition footage in real time at 30 frames per second. When the device’s internal accelerometer detects a shock, it automatically captures a video clip (“see, a Tasmanian devil really did dash in front of me!”). The 15 seconds of cached video preceding the event and the 15 seconds following are stored on the microSD card as a 30-second AVI file.

Related story

The petite device measures about 4 inches long and 1.5 inches deep. In his four-star review of the product, CNET Car Tech editor Antuan Goodwin says the pill-shaped Cowon Auto Capsule AC1 is so simple to use it requires almost no interaction fro… [Read more]

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2013 Ford Escape Review

Ford has been gluing bits and pieces onto their existing vehicle platform on the Ford Escape for quite a while until now.  A quick glimpse at some of the new features ensures plenty of excitement as to what the new Escape has to offer.

The all new Ford Escape has direct inheritance from the European Cross-over SUV model, Ford Kuga.  The influence of European styling is immediately noticeable.  Compared to previous year models, the all new Escape expands its base chassis dimensions, resulting in increased inside cabin space and sleeker looks from the outside.  Other features newly added to the all new Ford Escape include more easily accessible rear fold-down seats, MyFord Touch media and navigation system, and higher grade materials used in the interior.

The all new Ford Escape only offers three different flavors of 4-cylinder engines as trim level choices go.  The base model comes with a  2.5 liter engine producing 168 hp, or the more popular model with a turbo-charged 1.6 liter engine bumping up the power output to 178 horsepower.  For the more demanding drivers who want better acceleration and power, Ford also offers the higher model of the Escape with its engine producing 240 horsepower.

The base price for each trim model for the Ford Escape is attractive, but when adding all the nifty features and options, the sum can quickly add up towards earning a spot in one of the most expensive cross-over SUV’s in its class.  Nevertheless, if the heavier price tag is not a conflict, the Escape with all the custom added features make it an excellent choice for a cross-over SUv.

The all new Ford Escape can be purchased in four different trim levels: S, SE, SEL and Titanium.

The S trim model comes with 17-inch steel wheels, blind-spot indicators located on side mirror, MyKey parental controls, full power accessories, cruise control, air-conditioning, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player and auxiliary audio jack.

The upgraded SE model comes equipped with a turbocharged engine boosting output power by 10hp compared to the S model, color-keyed mirrors/door handles, foglamps, 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, keyless entry keypad, privacy tinted glass, a four-inch multifunction screen, the Sync system, reclining rear seats, satellite radio and steering-wheel audio controls.

The higher SEL supplies heated side view mirrors, single-touch button control for all windows, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, MyFord Touch media control, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, interior ambient lighting, an eight-way power driver seat (with power lumbar), heated front seats and an upgraded, nine-speaker sound system.

Finally, the top of the line Titanium model adds a more powerful engine with 240 hp output, 19-inch wheels, remote start, keyless ignition/entry, ambient lighting, upgraded leather upholstery and the Sony audio system.

All models are equipped with a standard six-speed automatic transmission   The four-cylinder power train engine is by all means, not fast; and in some cases, underpowered.  Power delivery is sufficient for daily city driving, but merging and changing lanes on the highway can be frustrating due to excessive lag in the Eco-boost turbo system.  The fuel economy estimates for the 2.5 liter engine are 22 mpg city/31 mpg highway and combined average at 25 mpg.  The 1.6 EcoBoost with front-wheel drive results in 23 city/33 highway.  finally, the 2.0 EcoBoost with front-wheel drive rates 22/30/25. The All-wheel-drive versions rate deducts 1 to 2 mpg.

The interior space of the Ford Escape is much to praise for.  The cabin space is lined with soft and high quality leather upholstery with all climate and media controls conveniently placed.  There is excellent noise dampening to reduce the amount of wind and unwanted engine noise into the cabin space.  the MyFord touch adds a nice complement to the Escape with the amount of features available, but the overall user interface is a little unresponsive compared to other touch screen infotainment systems.

The overall ride quality of the Ford Escape is very comfortable and easy to drive.  It feels light and nimble, yet has the ability to handle corners fairly well.  The power train and gear shifts are very smooth and quiet.  The higher center of gravity does induce some body roll, but is well managed by the power train control system.  The only downside on our drive impression is climbing up steep hills or merging lanes.  Excessive turbo lag and insufficient power capability of the 1.6 liter engine model reviewed requires a heavy put on the accelerator pedal high power demands from the engine.  Consumers who want the extra punch in better acceleration and power output delivery will have to upgrade to the higher end trim model with the 240 hp turbocharged Eco boost.