Daily Archives: August 26, 2013

Insider secrets for taking car photos like a pro (CNET On Cars, Episode 25)

Insider secrets to taking car photos like a pro

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This episode we do something really cool: Take you out on a car photo shoot with renowned auto photographer Michael Alan Ross. After you watch our project with him, go right out and take a few photos of your car. Notice how much better they look than the last ones you took.

I really like our Smarter Driver segment this week: Staged accidents and how to avoid them. You’d be surprised how many wrecks are bogus. We’ll show you the red flags to … [Read more]

    








Car Tech: An automotive blog from CNET

2013 Range Rover First Drive

If Cinderella ever decided to ditch the glass slippers and opt for a pair of mud proof boots, which car would she take to get her around town? We definitely think the Range Rover Evoque would be a strong contender. Not to say that the Evoque is a one of a kind stylish piece of automotive specimen.  It was only after the Germans released their up-scaled miniature SUV’s such as the BMW X3 series and the Audi Q5 before the design crew at Range Rover decided to rethink their own idea of contemporary design.

First Drive: Ford Focus ST

Up till now, the Mustang was the only high performance vehicle offered by Ford in the North American continent. Truth be told, it was only fast in a straight line, and not the most practical every-day car. Over the past few years, Ford has been colonizing the North American market with its affluent European inspired design. With the European continent rich in automotive racing, Ford must also be able to deliver something that’s not just quick quick off the line but fast around the cornehttp://www.driverdose.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=2820&action=editrs and practical as well. The result is the Ford Focus ST.

Just like Toyota’s TRD racing division team responsible for the development of the Celica series well acclaimed LFA supercar, The testing of the ST has been given to the hands of Ford’s SVT (Special Vehicle Team) in North America and designed by Ford’s RS racing division team in Europe. Considering both teams have marked some heavy footprints in the racing history with  masterpieces such as the Ford GT, Shelby and Cobra series, you can expect good things about the ST.

What can I say? The Focus ST was a blast to drive! Its steering feels light and has excellent feedback. On a straight away, the steering is very stable and well damped. When switched to a windy road, it’s responsive and precise. Just like any pitfall of torque steer found in front wheel drive powertrains, torque spikes from throttle blips or hard acceleration causes the vehicle to suffer from torque steer where it tries to straighten out the wheels. Around corners, the electronic power steering adapts great to different road conditions and vehicle speeds, but tends to supervise the vehicle’s trajectory around corners rather than obeying driver control.

Punching the throttle reveals the true identity of the ST.  Power delivery is on demand and smooth with minimal perception of turbo lag.  The clutch feel gives the best of both worlds.  In normal everyday driving, the clutch is very forgiving thanks to the soft spring load but is very capable in snapping through all six gears.  Compared to the Scion FR-S, you do lose the feel and crispness of the raw mechanical clutch feel.

One of the most important aspects of sports car design is the stiffness of the chassis. Losing too much stiffness degrades the overall balance and handling of the vehicle while also confining the level of suspension tuning. Throwing the ST through a corner shows no sign of grip fragility in grip.

Speaking of everyday car, there is none of the Focus taken out of the ST.  It’s interior is elegant and functional.  The Recaro seats do a great job in snugging you into a tight and comfortable pocket to secure your body position throughout corning.  Driving in these seats for longer duration is bearable, but the lack of air circulation can lead to discomfort.  We especially had concerns for larger drivers or passengers fitting into the snug fitted seats.

The Focus ST has been one of the most anticipated cars we have looked forward to all year. Needless to say, it was a spectacular vehicle to drive.  There is no doubt that the ST will be a strong contender in the exciting sports-compact segment.

First Drive: 2013 Nissan Juke Nismo

Out with the old, in with the new.  It’s as if the buttoned down multidisciplinary design team at Nissan have been replaced by a group of youngsters fascinated by anime, samurai swords and arcade games.  That being said, the Juke continues to follow the design trend of the already wacky Nissan Cube while incorporating better functionality, performance and styling.

The overall design is as funky as it gets.  As a matter of fact, we’re surprised it wasn’t featured in Daft Punk’s latest “Get Lucky” music video.  that’s not to say that it’s an eye sore.  The Gundam inspired Nissan Juke has a plethora of eye catching design cues.  Take for example, the bugs eye fog lights and mantis head lights gives off both an impression of automotive youth and creativity.