Monthly Archives: March 2014

Targa Florio: The greatest race of all time

The Targa Florio was probably one of the greatest races ever to have taken place. XCAR visits the site where some of the most exciting moments in motor sport history took place.


CNET Car Tech

$10 off refurbished Garmin nuvi 40LM 4.3″ touchscreen GPS at TigerDirect

$ 10 off refurbished Garmin nuvi 40LM 4.3″ touchscreen GPS


CNET Car Tech

Toyota said to aim for low of $30K for fuel cell vehicle

Toyota and Honda are eying 2015 launches of consumer fuel cell vehicles, a source tells Nikkei, adding that prices could go as low as $ 30,000 by the next decade.


CNET Car Tech

$45 off Garmin nuvi 52LM Essential Series 5″ GPS w/ lifetime maps at Best Buy

$ 45 off Garmin nuvi 52LM Essential Series 5″ GPS w/ lifetime maps


CNET Car Tech

Getting dirty in the 2014 Toyota 4Runner 4×4 Trail

Meet the 2014 Toyota 4Runner 4×4 Trail Premium: a simple, old dog that’s learned a few new tricks in this latest generation. On paper, it’s rocking a 12-year-old power-train that’s as dumb as a bag of hammers, but atop those hammers is a bit of high-tech intelligence with an Advanced Traction Control system. At a glance, the chunky dashboard looks like a child’s toy, but powering the infotainment is Toyota’s Web-connected, app-based Entune system. No doubt you’ve already seen the middling star rating above, but I actually enjoyed my week spent with Big Red.

I wasn’t sure what to think of the 4Runner upon accepting delivery, but I soon learned that while it’s not necessarily the most CNET style vehicle to pass through our garage, it’s worth a second (or third) look.

Keeping it simple in the engine roomBeneath the bulging hood and the fake hood scoop, you’ll find Toyota’s 4.0-liter V-6 engine. It’s got no direct injection and no forced induction, but Toyota’s variable valve timing technology does help this 12-year-old engine to output 270 horsepower and 278 pound-feet of torque. That’s decent, but not mind-boggling power.

Behind this grill, you'll find no surprises. The 2014 4Runner features basically the same engine and transmission as the previous generation.

(Credit: Antuan Goodwin/CNET)

Power now flows through the only option, a 5-speed automatic transmission, on i… [Read more]


Car Tech: An automotive blog from CNET

Dealers would do Tesla a disservice

Tesla offers a unique buying experience through its company-owned stores.

(Credit: Getty Images)

Last week, New Jersey informed Tesla it would require the California automaker to only sell cars through licensed in-state dealers, forcing it to stop selling cars through its own stores by April 1. Arizona and Texas have similar rules in place, effectively banning Model S sales in those states.

These state rules may come as a surprise to most people, but they have been on the books for a while. CEO Elon Musk, in a blog post on Tesla’s site, actually defends the intent of these laws. Musk points out how, after an independent dealer built up a business, an automaker might put pressure on the dealer, such as restricting product supply, to force the dealer to sell the business to the automaker. In the same post, Musk complains that now the auto dealers are using the rules to prevent competition from Tesla, which was not the original intent.

In New Jersey and other states currently banning Tesla’s direct sales, Tesla could turn to an in-state licensed dealer to sell its cars, but that would be a bad idea.

Setting the tone When I visited one of the first Tesla stores in downtown San Jose a few years a… [Read more]


Car Tech: An automotive blog from CNET

Volvo cars become road maintenance probes

Traction control hardware in Volvo cars includes sensor data that can be useful to other cars approaching a slippery section of road.

(Credit: Volvo)

Many automakers and governments are developing vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication, which let cars instantly communicate safety information to traffic in the immediate vicinity, but Volvo puts a uniquely Swedish spin on the tech with a new pilot project. Its cars will communicate data from wheel slip sensors to not only alert other cars to icy road conditions, but also to road maintenance authorities.

Volvo announced that 50 cars would participate in the pilot program, and that the “fleet would grow considerably” for next winter. The program is being run in conjunction with the Swedish Transport Administration and the Norwegian Public Roads Administration.

The cars in the program will need to be fitted with a data transceiver, which includes hardware to read sensor information from the vehicle. According to the Volvo’s press release, the cars will communicate over cell towers, sending their data and location to a Volvo data center. That same data center can send alerts to cars in the immediate vicinity warning them about slippery conditions.

This strategy varies from that being [Read more]


Car Tech: An automotive blog from CNET

Ford Fiesta ST is full of thrills

As Subaru will only offer the WRX and STI in sedan formats, the 2014 Ford Fiesta ST may well be the hottest hatchback in the land. In ST form, the little Fiesta subcompact gets 197 horsepower, a suspension affording easy apex rotation, and brakes that shave off just the right amount of speed. Down a twisty track, I reveled in the perfectly responsive steering.

The only thing I found to complain about with the Fiesta ST is that the car just isn’t outrageous enough. The array of bright colors (green envy, race red, and molten orange) don’t quite bring it over the edge. Nor does the sport spoiler hanging over the hatchback.

What Ford really needs to emphasize the car’s ST-ness is something like a turbo gauge on the A-pillar, or a G-meter showing up on the head unit. The standard 17-inch “sparkle silver painted” aluminum wheels don’t have the swagger the Fiesta ST deserves.

2014 Ford Fiesta ST: The hottest hatchback (pictures)

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2014 Toyota Camry Hybrid Sedan | First Drive | Review |

2014 Toyota Camry Hybrid

2014 Toyota Camry Hybrid Overview

There are advantages of being the pioneer of technology.  In the case of the hybrid powertrain first developed back in 2000, Toyota had the lead in the game by solidifying its performance and reliability before competition even surfaced.  During that time, the hybrid powertrain was only available in the Toyota Prius.  The box-like four door semi-hatchback  wasn’t exactly eye catching; but rather, pleased by its practicality and low maintenance costs.

Toyota’s approach was to start small and go big.  The Toyota Prius had been the test bed for its hybrid powertrain for six years until they began porting the design over to its siblings.  But enough about the history, let’s fast forward about a decade and talk about the 2014 Toyota Camry Hybrid.

When it comes to the Toyota Camry, there isn’t much not to like.  The 2014 Toyota Camry features contemporary styling with great visibility and a plethora of room in both the front and rear seats.  It’s also an ideal all-around package with a well balanced dose of handling, acceleration, comfort and quietness in the cabin space.  The lower stock LE and XLE trim models do suffer from lowered quality material.  Fortunately, buyers have the option to upgrade to the Hybrid XLE leather and premium audio package equipped with a moonroof, UltraSuede Seat Surfaces, heated front seats, enlarged 7″ touch panel display audio with navigation, SiriusXM, 10-speaker audio system, blind spot monitor (BSM) and a rear cross-traffic alert system.

Cadillac ELR: More than a souped-up Volt? (CNET On Cars, Episode 37)

Cadillac ELR: More than a souped-up Volt? (CNET On Cars, Episode 37)


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In this episode:

  • Cadillac ELR explored and explained
  • Keeping your dog safe in the car
  • Top 5 apps for the driver

As always, email me your thoughts, suggestions, and comments.

[Read more]


Car Tech: An automotive blog from CNET