Monthly Archives: July 2013

All new Chevy Impala and Range Rover Sport (CNET On Cars, Episode 22)

Episode 22, All new Chevy Impala and Range Rover Sport

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Lots of new product this week: The (dramatically) new 2014 Chevy Impala and the equally new Range Rover Sport. I tested the Impala personally and I came away liking it a lot, but feeling it has a bit of the old car’s DNA. Maybe when the Chevy SS comes along it will be a “driver’s Impala”, as much of an oxymoron as that has traditionally been. That said, the new Impala is a major step out o… [Read more]

    




Car Tech: An automotive blog from CNET

Chevy sedan shakes off rental-car stigma

“You’re driving an Impala this week, eh? Yeah, I rented one of those on my last vacation/business trip/etc.,” said everyone I ran into (not like that) when testing the 2014 Chevrolet Impala LT2 this week. It seems that everyone I know has rented one, but no one actually knows anyone that owns one. This experience is anecdotal, of course, but it certainly isn’t a good thing for the classic American nameplate.

For 2014, the Impala reaches the market with a new look and a new high-tech message that I think is a big step in the right direction. There’s nothing dull about the the Impala’s new angry face and the muscular proportions inject the nameplate with a healthy dose of machismo that’s been missing since the Impala was neutered switched to a FF platform back in 2000.

Parked side-by-side at a local strip mall, the 2014 Impala is more memorable than the Camry or Accord, more menacing than the Mazda6 and Taurus. Stylistically speaking, this comeback is off to a very good start.

New generation MyLink infotainment Dating back to 1958, the Impala is Chevrolet’s second-oldest nameplate (preceded only by the Corvette), so I find it amusing that it is the model that ushers in the newest generation of Chevrolet’s MyLink infotainment technology.

This 8-inch touch-screen cabin tech package checks many of the right boxes where connectivity and customization are concerned and even leaves a lot of room for expansion down the line. For example, the icons… [Read more]

    




Car Tech: An automotive blog from CNET

2014 Kia Forte: First Drive

The Forte was Kia’s attempt to face stiff competition in the sub-compact category, particularly the Honda Civic.  As much as the Forte resembles much of its own and more popular genetic breed, the popularity of the Hyunda Elantra racked up to 200,000 units last year in 2013 while the Forte lagged back of expected sales number.  These catalytic sales figure was a clear signal to Hyundai that it was time to erase the white boards and re-think the overall design of the Kia Forte.

Flexsmart FM transmitter takes two steps forward, one back

FM transmission is pretty old tech. Feed the transmitter an audio source and set it to broadcast on an open FM frequency. Then tune into that frequency on a nearby radio and enjoy your wireless music.

It’s simple, old radio tech, but the FCC imposes limits on how strong these transmitters can broadcast their wireless signals. That doesn’t leave much room for improvement. Perhaps that’s why, despite a fresh coat of paint and tweaks in tuning sensitivity, the new GoGroove FlexSmart X3 doesn’t feel head-and-shoulders better than the FlexSmart X2 that I reviewed over two years ago.

But just a few months ago, I was praising another GoGroove FM transmitter for exceeding my expectations for the category, so perhaps the X3 will wow me yet.

Design The new Flexsmart X3 model has a new, white design that looks sleeker and more compact than the previous X2 model. Break out your tape measure, though, and you’ll see that the overall dimensions haven’t really changed much. The glossy white-and-gray plastic reminds me of a classic iDevice and should stick out quite a bit in pretty much any vehicle interior. A darker option would be nice.

It doesn’t just look slicker; the X3 also streamlines its interface by integrating the call answer and end buttons into the black plastic that shields the red LCD tuning display. Gone also is the control knob that … [Read more]

    




Car Tech: An automotive blog from CNET

Google to profit from self-driving cars by decade’s end — analyst

One of Google's driverless cars.

(Credit: Google)

Google stands to rev up substantial revenue from self-driving cars.

The search giant is likely to gain whether it creates the hardware for self-driving cars or simply license the necessary software to automakers, Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster said in an investors note released Tuesday. Either way, revenue from this burgeoning sector should start to ramp up for Google before the decade is over.

“We believe the utility of reducing auto deaths and idle time in traffic add up to a $ 200+ billion opportunity in autonomous vehicle technology,” Munster said. And the analyst sees Google as the “best positioned Internet company over the next ten years” to profit from the technology.

Related stories

2013 test gallery

2013 C-MAX Hybrid

850-hp Jaguar C-X75 hybrid supercar struts its speed

The C-X75's stunning rear end. Catch it if you can.

(Credit: Jaguar Land Rover)

With a name fit for a “Star Wars” droid, the Jaguar C-X75 boasts some out-of-this-world looks and seriously sexy specs. Jaguar engineers combined a 1.6-liter turbo supercharged four-cylinder engine (that delivers 502 horsepower) with two electric motors (390 horsepower) for a total output that exceeds 850 horsepower.

When the car’s at a complete standstill, racers cranking the C-X75′s seven-speed manual transmission can achieve 0-100 mph in less than six seconds. If that’s not fast enough for you, the theoretical top speed of 220 mph should set you straight, or at least put you in the next county quite quickly. The C-X75′s carbon composite chassis undoubtedly assists in creating a very light footprint.


Drop-dead, deliciously crushworthy cars (pictures)

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2013 Ford Explorer Sport Review

Most people would describe the Ford Explorer as a rugged heavy duty SUV.  When the all new explorer was unveiled two years ago, it didn’t take long at all to disprove this statement.  The most recent Explorer is a modernized 7-seater cross over SUV that offers a composed ride quality of a sedan coupled with all-weather capability.

Since then, Ford has continually tweaked and improved the Ford Explorer for the past two years, earning its spot as one of the most technologically advanced cross-over SUV’s on the market to date.

BMW 135is: The most “BMW” of them all? (CNET On Cars, Episode 21)

Episode 21, BMW 135i: The most ‘BMW’ of them all?

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I remember when the first BMW 320i ( E21) hit U.S. shores, hitting U.S. roads when I was in high school. It forever changed my idea of what a sporty car could and should be and did the same for much of the world’s car-buying public. Today’s 1 Series is the nearest thing to the 320i and I approached it that way when we got our hands on a 135is on the road and on the track. Turns out it may be BMW’s best car if you had your head spun around by the 320i back in the day.

You may know… [Read more]

    




Car Tech: An automotive blog from CNET

The 135is proves BMW can still make a sports car

The 2013 BMW 135is restored my faith in “The Ultimate Driving Machine.” Many years ago, I owned a 325is, of the E30 generation, which taught me what BMW was all about. But over the last few years, coinciding with the launch of the X6, the brand seemed to take a turn for the mundane, turning out cars tuned for the mass market rather than enthusiasts. After driving a particularly placid 3-series, I was beginning to fear the worst.

Now, the little 135is convinced me that BMW still knows how to make a sports car.

Despite the 1-series being BMW’s smallest, entry level car, it can be one of the most potent, and the best street performer in the lineup. At just over 14 feet long, the 135is comes to the U.S. in a coupe format, and includes two smallish rear seats. The Europeans also get a really nice-looking hatchback version, which BMW refuses to import.

The 135i, boasting BMW’s excellent direct injected and turbocharged 3-liter six-cylinder engine, was already a little rocket. The addition of the “s” to the model name, something BMW has done occasionally through the decades, turns the car into a tuned-up street racer, with acceleration that won’t quit and an exhaust note that will get your attention.

[Read more]
    




Car Tech: An automotive blog from CNET