Tag Archives: 2013

2013 Honda Fit EV

Is the 2013 Honda Fit EV a better ride than a golf cart? CNET’s Brian Cooley test drives the all-electric Fit and checks the tech.

CNET Car Tech

Highest rated tech cars of 2013 (CNET On Cars, Episode 32)

Highest rated tech cars of 2013 (CNET On Cars, Episode 32)


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In this episode:

  • We revisit the Bugatti Veyron in California’s Wine Country
  • Tour many of the same roads where we shot the Veyron video
  • Top 5 high tech cars of 2013, according to CNET review scores
  • Another look at alcohol interlock technology to prevent drunk driving

After you watch out Car Tech 101 on hemi engines… [Read more]


Car Tech: An automotive blog from CNET

Experiencing the future of transportation at Ceatec 2013

(Credit: Tim Stevens/CNET)

While crazy, conceptual gadgets are always a highlight at Japan’s Ceatec, some of the most interesting devices at recent iterations of the show featured something unusual: wheels. While Japan’s Tokyo Motor Show has always been a haven for tech-riddled concept machines, many companies are choosing to show off their forward-thinking rides at Ceatec, which takes place a few weeks earlier and is frequented by virtually every major Japanese company in the technology space.

(Credit: Tim Stevens/CNET)

In 2013 it was the auto companies taking up more space than any other. Even Sony’s massive booth paled in comparison to the sprawling driving loop Nissan used to demonstrate its Autonomous Drive Vehicle — an all-electric Leaf wizened up and able to navigate roads by itself. The company showed a similar concept last year, a Leaf that could park itself and had cameras that an owner could connect to remotely should the alarm go off. This year’s, th… [Read more]


Car Tech: An automotive blog from CNET

First Drive: 2013 Kia Sorento

The 2014 Kia Sorento is one of the larger models of compact crossover utility vehicles (CUV). Kia appeals to car buyers with relatively low prices, eye-catching modern styles, and cars packed with desirable standard features. The 2014 Sorento is the best-selling model of Kia’s entire lineup. With its sleek, somewhat conservative external design, three trim levels (LX, EX, and SX), and choices between 4- or 6-cylinder engines and front- or all-wheel drive, the Sorento appeals to both active younger singles and small families. The LX and EX trims come standard with five-passenger seating, with an optional 50/50 split folding 3rd row. This seven-seat capacity is standard on the LX V6 and the SX trims.

2013 Ford C-Max Energi moonlights as an electric car

For those not ready to jump feet-first into the electric-vehicle pool, the 2013 Ford C-Max Energi offers a toe-dipping experience, a chance to check the water temperature before committing to the deep dive. And after experiencing the C-Max Energi, any reservations about electric cars should be erased.

The C-Max Energi is a variant of Ford’s C-Max Hybrid, a funky European-derived car abounding in sheer practicality. In our testing, the C-Max Hybrid achieved consistent low-40s fuel economy, while offering a large amount of versatile interior space.

Due to a larger lithium ion battery pack, the C-Max Energi sacrifices some of its cargo area, but gains the ability to drive under pure electric power for 21 miles, according to Ford.

The EPA estimates the C-Max Energi at 44 mpg city, 41 mpg highway, and 100 mpg equivalent, the last number based on it being driven under electric power. After a week of testing, my fuel economy in the C-Max Energi came to 58.2 mpg.

And that mileage observation is almost completely useless.

2013 Ford C-Max Energi plugs in for maximum mileage (pictures)

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Connected features abound in the 2013 BMW 750Li

The 2013 BMW 750Li may seem like the perfect luxury car, but it did not organize my financial portfolio for me. Nor did it shine my shoes. It did not even bother to buy me a winning lottery ticket. But those are about the only services it failed to perform.

The 750Li overwhelmed me with everything it did offer, from driving modes to connected features. It delivered on BMW’s reputation for excellent handling and served as a superbly comfortable freeway cruiser. It abounds with tech from stem to stern, improving its fuel economy and entertaining the driver’s every whim.

Among its few faults, the combination of the turbocharged, direct-injected 4.4-liter V-8 and the eight-speed automatic transmission could not deliver linear acceleration. The idle-stop feature, which shuts down the engine during traffic stops, might annoy a few, but it is easily switched off and makes for an essential part of BMW’s fuel efficiency strategy.

2013 BMW 750Li adds data-driven features (pictures)

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2013 BMW X1 combines versatile form with great function

BMW has attempted to sidestep the dreaded “W word” in marketing and designing the 2013 X1 xDrive28i that recently rolled into the Car Tech garage, but have no qualms about it, the X1 is a wagon. Granted, it’s a tall wagon that perhaps skirts the lower boundaries of what could be considered a crossover, but, even with the slightly increased ground clearance of a crossover, everyone who approached me about the X1 while I was out for a spin referred to the vehicle as a big blue wagon. So, I’ll be referring to it as a wagon for the duration of this review, BMW’s nomenclature be damned.

There are advantages, of course, to the X1′s straddling of the wagon-crossover divide. The higher-than-your-average-wagon seating position gives a more commanding view of the road. And the taller roofline of the hatchback form lends increased headroom to the 40/20/40-split rear bench seats, which fold flat to open up a rather spacious storage area. You won’t be able to help your friend move a couch with the X1, but it may be possible to fit a few pieces of flat-packed IKEA furniture behind the front seats.

BMW’s smallest crossover is a canyon carver (pictures)

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Honda adding ‘Eyes Free’ Siri integration in some 2013 cars

(Credit: Apple)

Automaker Honda today said it plans to integrate Apple’s Siri voice assistant in some of its upcoming Honda and Acura vehicles.

On the list is the 2013 Honda Accord, and two Acura models, the 2013 RDX and ILX.

The feature in question is Siri’s “Eyes Free” mode, a way to use Apple’s iOS voice assistant without having to rely on visual cues, or interact with on-screen menus. The functionality, which was introduced at last year’s WWDC, works over Bluetooth and connects through Honda’s HandsFreeLink setup just like other mobile phones.

From Apple’s own description:

With the Eyes Free feature, ask Siri to call people, select and play music, hear and compose text messages, use Maps and get directions, read your notifications, find calendar information, add reminders, and more.

Honda is the latest company to offer integration with Apple’s software. Last November Chevrolet announced plans to include the feature in its Spark and Sonic automobiles.

Siri is now available on all of Apple’s portable products, short of some iPod models, and its Mac computers. The feature requires an active Internet connection t… [Read more]

Car Tech: An automotive blog from CNET

Efficiency is key at the 2013 Detroit auto show (roundup)

The 2013 North American International Auto Show–simply, the Detroit auto show for those familiar–was the stage for quite a few debuts that ran the gamut of vehicle types, classes, and feasibility. Chevrolet pulled the wraps off of the next great American supercar, a dueling pair of luxury sedans were debuted by Infiniti and Lexus, Ford showed off a very thinly veiled look at the future of one of the best selling vehicles in the world, and glossy concept sedans and crossovers could be found around every corner.

Among this wide range of vehicles, one theme was shared: fuel efficiency. Of course, it’s no surprise that the next generation of vehicles will need to sip less fuel than the last, but we found the variety of fuel-saving techniques for these concepts and production cars to be almost as interesting as the cars themselves. We’ve rounded up a few highlight below:

Ford Atlas Concept

(Credit: Josh Miller/CNET)

Ford Atlas concept Giving us an early peek at the future of the Ford F-Series pickup, the Atlas concept doesn’t deviate much from Ford’s established formula–it doesn’t have to, Ford’s large pickups are among the best selling vehicles of all time. Rather than focus on more muscle, the automaker has taken a look at improving efficiency wi… [Read more]

Car Tech: An automotive blog from CNET

2013 Toyota Avalon charges Qi-enabled phones without wires

Drivers will be able to charge their Qi compatible phone by simply placing it on the Avalon's console.

(Credit: Toyota)

People have been modding wireless inductive phone chargers into their car since the Palm Pre and its magnetic Touchstone, but Toyota claims today to be the first automaker to offer the tech with its announcement that the 2013 Toyota Avalon would be available with Qi wireless charging.

Specifically, the Qi wireless charging will be available as part of the 2013 Avalon Limited’s and Hybrid Limited’s $ 1,750 Technology package, so you’ll also want to make sure that you’re interested in the radar cruise control, pre-collision system and automatic high beams that also come as part of that package before checking that option box. It would be nice to see the Qi charger broken out into a less expensive option, as it doesn’t seem like it really has anything to do with the features that it is bundled with. (While I’m making tech wishes, it would really be nice to see this relatively inexpensive tech just be made standard on th… [Read more]

Car Tech: An automotive blog from CNET