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Monday, 4-Aug-2014 16:22 Email | Share | | Bookmark
What Is A Self-driving Car?


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What Is A Self-Driving Car?
What Is A Self-Driving Car?
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Pop culture has given us decades of self-driving cars.  They’ve fought crime, raised hell and regenerated after being smashed to bits.  Like a lot of tech previously considered too farfetched for reality, self-driving cars are here—albeit through highly-controlled testing and in limited areas.  Let’s look at what makes a self-driving car.
What it is.  Also known as an autonomous car, a self-driving car is packed with lasers, robotics and sensors inside and out.  Some of it is easily spotted.  Google pioneered real-world testing using retrofitted production vehicles as their “Driverless Cars.”  Others, like Audi, cleverly hide it all beneath the bodywork of their concept models.
On the road, a self-driving car does everything a responsible person does at the wheel.  Accelerating, braking, turning are to be expected.  A self-driving car can react to unforeseen events, from being cut off by another car to an animal darting across its path to its onboard owner having a medical emergency.  The science has even been proven on the track, with self-driving cars producing lap times comparable to those of professional racers.
What it isn’t.  For one, it’s not ready for prime time.  Testing is ongoing and only a handful of states have legalized self-driving cars on public roads thus far.  No known commercial or transit applications have hit the road yet.  And don’t expect a self-driving car to fetch itself from a parking garage, run errands or play designated driver to a carload of partiers.  Current rationale is that a automobile management capable person should be onboard and on standby to intervene in case of system failure or other emergencies.
Even if automakers were ready to sell self-driving cars today, federal and state governments haven’t ironed out the complexities of ownership and use (not to mention misuse).  It’s also unclear who will be responsible when crashes occur.  Nevertheless, it’s projected that several models will be on sale in less than a decade.    
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Sunday, 3-Aug-2014 11:37 Email | Share | | Bookmark
2015 Mercedes-benz C-class: First Drive








2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class: First Drive
2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class: First Drive
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1 views Aug 2, 2014
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Slideshow
The 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class isn't just departure from what the C-Class has been. It feels like a clear break with the past; and that's a very good thing.
Too often, automakers are so locked into the mindset of designing a new car to replace a current one in their lineup that they lose sight of the mission -- to design a car that actually meets what the market demands.
That's not the case here. Mercedes-Benz has added to its model line, then rejiggered where the C-Class is a better fit for today’s market. There’s the new coupe-like CLA sedan, and the upcoming GLA small crossover. That made more room for what’s not a radical remake, but a serious rethink for the C-Class -- and a result that will simply be a better fit for the U.S. market.
People have grown taller, and established models that used to be in sync with the C-Class have inched up in size; automotive management Click here for the free 30 day trial and now the C does the same. The 2015 C-Class is no longer so small that it should really be classified as a subcompact by American standards; the automaker has bumped overall length up nearly four inches, to 184 inches, and the wheelbase is three inches longer than last year (and it’s nearly two inches wider) -- all while the new model is just a little lower. Trunk space is more vacation-friendly, too, at 17 cubic feet.
More style, space -- and a focused vision
Of course, size and packaging are only part of it; the new C-Class gets a serious boost in style -- and, at last, a personality of its own. Let’s face it: in this Millenium, the C-Class has been on the verge of a sort of identity crisis in the U.S. Last generation (W204), the C-Class was pulled into sport-sedan duty some of the time, traditional compact luxury duty some of the time, and value-leader duty the rest of the time. With this new generation of 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class feels like one car: a luxury car, focused in the way that most luxury shoppers are going to love.
This sort of promotion, to a higher-up position in the lineup -- especially for the U.S. -- isn’t something to be taken lightly, and it seems that the automaker hasn’t fallen directly into some of the pigeonholes it has in the past. It’s not merely trying to provide a 7/8ths-scale version of the S-Class, as with the previous W203 C-Class of a decade ago, although thankfully it borrows plenty of technology from the flagship.
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Sunday, 3-Aug-2014 06:39 Email | Share | | Bookmark
July Car Sales, Crash Tests, And Dead Green Cars: The Week In Re








July Car Sales, Crash Tests, And Dead Green Cars: The Week In Reverse
July Car Sales, Crash Tests, And Dead Green Cars: The Week In Reverse
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Automakers report July car sales, the IIHS crashes small cars, Honda kills two green cars, and we catch up on this week's car recalls. It's the Week in Reverse, here at The Car Connection.
Car sales made big gains in July, with the Big Six brands leading the way. GM and Ford posted gains of about 10 percent, behind big sales of vehicles like the Camaro and F-150, while Chrysler was up 20 percent, and Nissan, 11 percent, with the Altima sedan still moving quickly off lots.
How does your new car survive in an accident? The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says some new small cars don't fare well at all in a new small-overlap test. The test simulates hitting a telephone pole or a car oncoming from the opposite lane. The IIHS found that the MINI Countryman and the Chevy Volt performed well--they're Windows 8 program for car care Try Now Top Safety Pick+ winners--while the Ford C-Max, Mitsubishi Lancer, Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ are Top Safety Picks. The Fiat 500L, Mazda5, Nissan Juke, and Nissan Leaf were rated poor in the new test--and the Mazda 5 turned in one of the worst performances recorded so far.
Rumors began circulating back in February , and now Honda's confirmed: it's killing the Insight hybrid , while it also ends production of the current Fit EV. The Insight's sales stats have been underwhelming. While Toyota sold more than three million Prius vehicles worldwide last year, Honda barely beat a quarter-million. The only Honda model that performed worse than the Insight in 2013 was the CR-Z Hybrid, but oddly, Honda's keeping that one around -- for now, anyway. The Honda FCX Clarity fuel cell vehicle and the Ridgeline will also bow out for 2015, but they'll return shortly, in one form or another.
Hyundai has issued the first recall for the new 2015 Sonata sedan just heading to showrooms. The recall stems from a problem with the Sonata's front brake calipers, which could be prone to cracking. The cracks can reduce the effectiveness of the brakes, and make it more likely the Sonata could be in an accident. Dealers will replace the Sonata's brake calipers free of charge.
And finally this week, the Fiat 500L is being recalled for a serious issue with its airbags. Almost 30,000 hatchbacks are being recalled after Chrysler found in testing that the driver knee airbag in the 500L might not deploy in an accident if the driver isn't wearing a seatbelt. To date, the automaker has received no complaints about the issue, and no accidents or injuries have been reported. The recall was issued the same day that the world learned about the Fiat 500L's poor performance on the newest crash tests. It's almost certainly a coincidence, but the timing is notable.
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Sunday, 3-Aug-2014 02:09 Email | Share | | Bookmark
2015 Lexus Lx

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2015 pricing not available.
The 2015 Lexus LX 570 is a big, bulky, incredibly capable SUV. Read more »
Likes
Simple but luxurious instrument panel
High-quality materials
Third-row seating can't be removed
Dismal fuel economy
Please enter your ZIP code to see used listings.
Decision Guide
Opinions from around the Web
Styling
2009 Lexus LX 570 Specifications Check Inventory
The Basics:
Uncompromising off-roading capabilities and excellent interior comfort are two things that the 2015 Lexus LX 570 delivers in spades–just don't expect much in terms of fuel economy. It's a traditional SUV, intended more for the trail than the parking lots it normally sees, and it goes mostly unchanged this model year. The only notable addition is the inclusion of Siri Eyes-Free Mode, which allows drivers to use their iPhone's Siri commands to control the infotainment system.
The LX is intended for the kind of weekend activity that encouraged the SUV craze in the 1990s in the first place. Towing is rated at 7000 pounds, and though Lexus doesn't offer any specific off-road packages, the LX 570 does have high ground clearance, and an available height-adjustable suspension that lifts or lowers the vehicle 2 inches, to pass over obstacles--or better yet, to help entry and exit. Crawl Control also helps in low-speed maneuvers over boulder-strewn paths or scree-strewn hillsides.
Packaging is one of the LX 570's downfalls as a passenger-carrying device. The seating suggests room for seven, but it can feel quite cramped when more than four adults try to clamber inside the cabin. The front seats are fine, but sit quite high; the second-row bench powers to and fro for more leg room, but the seat itself feels flat. While the second rows fold and flip fully forward to expand cargo space, the third-row seats flip up and rotate to the side—allowing, more easily, a flat, continuous load floor for longer cargo items. The disadvantage to the setup is that the third-row seats can't be completely removed, and they narrow the cargo space.
The modern LX 570 shares is 383-hp 5.7-liter V-8 with the Toyota Land Cruiser, along its six-speed automatic transmission and four-wheel drive system. It's a solid contender in the off-roading category, and while it drives well in straight lines on the highways, its size and weight aren't friendly to winding roads. It's not easy to maneuver, feels oversized for city streets, and allows the body to roll enough to discourage spirited driving. Gas mileage is legitimately bad, at 12/17 mpg, and there's no alternative drivetrain.
The LX 570 comes loaded with comfort, convenience, and entertainment features, and there are even more luxury upgrades available to equip the LX 570 at the level of any other prestige-level SUV. Bluetooth and a nav system are included, and from features like a 180-degree camera that can see each way at a blind intersection to power-assist middle-row seats, there's a lot to love in the everyday-useful feature department. And best site if that's not enough, optional extras include a rear-seat entertainment system, radar-adaptive cruise control, and a 19-speaker Mark Levinson audio system. African Bubinga wood trim, heated and ventilated seats, and custom wheels are also available. This year, the LX 570 joins the connectivity era with an updated Enform system that allows mobile-phone versions of Pandora and Facebook to be controlled through its audio system. It's yet one more of the jarring incongruities of a vehicle that feels out of touch in the Lexus brand.
Likes:
Simple but luxurious instrument panel
High-quality materials
Third-row seating can't be removed
Dismal fuel economy


Saturday, 2-Aug-2014 21:36 Email | Share | | Bookmark
2015 Kia Forte








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The TCC Rating is a clear numeric rating value based on a 10-point scale that reflects the overall opinion of our automotive experts on any vehicle and rolls up ratings we give each vehicle across sub-categories you care about like performance, safety, styling and more.
Our rating also has simple color-coded “Stop” (red), “Caution” (orange),
or “Go” (green) messages along with the numerical score so you can easily understand where we stand at a glance.
Our automotive experts then also collect and show you what other websites say about these different aspects of any vehicle. We do this leg work for you to simplify your research process.
Learn more about how we rate and review cars here .
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Editorial Director, The Car Connection
BASE INVOICE
Quick Take
By Marty Padgett
Reasonably well-rounded performance and attractive looks inside and out give the Forte lots of curb appeal, but disappointing safety scores and a lack of comfort mean that it isn't quite the high achiever that the larger Optima has been. Read more »
Likes
Sharp look and dramatic roofline
Smart, well-laid-out dash
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Features
Mileage
The sheetmetal defining its revised dimensions is more sculpted along the sides, lending character to a profile that was previously pretty bland, and the overall shape is strongly reminiscent of a Honda Civic.
Car and Driver
The new styling exhibits a smart, attractive blend of curves and angular lines, and not too much of either.
Cars.com
Viewed in profile, the Forte's rakish A pillar and rapidly receding roofline conspire to create a visual illusion that's both sporty and on trend.
Autoblog
Like the Rio, Optima, and Cadenza, boxiness is out and sleekness is in; the first generation Forte looks positively plain by comparison.
Motor Trend
the Forte reminds us of the new Dodge Dart, putting a handsome face on a traditional compact car shape.
Automobile
The 2.0 pulls willingly enough, and the six-speed automatic is smooth when left to shift for itself, which is what most customers will want.
Car and Driver
Kia's 2014 Forte takes a huge leap forward in ride comfort, with a quieter interior and pleasant-riding suspension that doesn't thwack or ride cheaply over rough roads like the outgoing Forte and many of Kia's other small cars.
Cars.com
Small bumps go mostly unfelt, while larger thuds move through the cabin without any undue strain or unsightly shivers.
Autoblog
The first-generation's lively driving personality lives on, except now, your lower back won't suffer as a result of what was an often jostling ride, though the new seats aren't all that supportive.
Motor Trend
Whereas the styling and the interior sacrificed sportiness in the name of refinement, the actual driving experience is now more engaging than ever.
Automobile
The 2014 Forte’s rear seat provides adult-size comfort in the outboard positions, although the center seat, like those in all compacts, is habitable only by small creatures of great flexibility.
Car and Driver
The Forte rides with the composure and quietness of a larger car, an accomplishment the Focus and Chevrolet Cruze have also achieved.
Cars.com
It's worth noting that the competing Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla are both in a dead-heat with the Kia in interior measurements, meaning the Forte's slight reduction in size isn't really all that noticeable.
Autoblog
there's no blatant feeling of cost-cutting here.
Motor Trend
Passenger volume has dropped slightly despite the larger exterior, but the front passengers enjoy more head, leg, and shoulder room. The already generous trunk has also grown slightly larger.
Automobile
IIHS »
Visibility is a mixed bag, but not in the traditional way of obstructive pillars. Over-the-shoulder visibility to the sides is actually great, with additional quarter windows added to the rear doors. The rearward visibility is minimized because of the high trunk line and short rear window.
Cars.com
all-around visibility from inside is spectacular
Motor Trend
the base LX model has little extras such as steering-wheel auxiliary controls, dual 12-volt outlets, projector-beam headlights (low-beams), a trip computer, and an outside-temperature display.
Car and Driver
UVO with eServices is powered by Google and uses a smartphone application to provide services like connecting to 911 when airbags deploy, enhanced roadside assistance, car diagnostics and more. By using a smartphone, Kia is able to include these services at no charge
Cars.com
There's optional leather with a heated and ventilated driver seat, and front and rear passengers are treated to optional heated seating surfaces, a nice touch in this price class.
Autoblog
Stepping up to the EX gives a Google-powered UVO infotainment system with eServices, remote keyless entry, cruise control, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter, and rearview camera.
Motor Trend
Kia Forte: 25/37 mpg, 30 mpg combined (1.8-liter four, manual); 25/36 mpg, 29 mpg combined (1.8-liter four, automatic); 26/39 mpg, 31 mpg combined (2.0-liter four, automatic)
The company would only say the 2014 car will exceed those of the outgoing model, which delivered 22-to-26 mpg in the city and 32-to-36 mpg on the highway.
Car and Driver
We'd need more seat time before we can report accurate fuel economy figures, but the 2014 Forte's digital readout claimed we managed nearly 32 miles per gallon over the course of our drive
Autoblog
Pricing and Specifications by Style
$15,890 $21,890
Regular Unleaded I-4, 1.8 L
EPA Class
Choose a Style Below for Colors and Options
STYLE
Regular Unleaded I-4, 2.0 L
Front Wheel Drive
Regular Unleaded I-4, 1.8 L
Front Wheel Drive
Regular Unleaded I-4, 1.8 L
Front Wheel Drive
Regular Unleaded I-4, 2.0 L
Front Wheel Drive
More Styles »
The Basics:
Compact sedans have been becoming a lot more stylish and attractive as of late, and the 2015 Kia Forte is a great example of the trend. With a swoopy profile and sharp styling elements, it doesn't simply look like an abbreviated mid-size sedan; and with other decent performance, an excellent feature set, three body styles, and plenty of design finesse inside and out, it impresses as the right formula to battle best-in-class offerings from Ford and Mazda. However, with disappointing crash-test scores, as well as interior comfort that just isn't as good as it looks, we don't recommend the Forte.
With a redesign this past year, the Forte sprawled out, gaining a little bit of width and length, but not height; and that works especially well in the handsome, elongated roofline and profile of the sedan. A two-door Kia Forte Koup and pert five-door Forte hatchback have also joined the lineup; but credit where credit is due, it's tough to get the proportions right for compact sedans, and the Forte has a class advantage. Likewise, the reworked cockpit of the Forte takes a step in a sportier direction, with simple, straightforward displays that look modeled after sport sedans, with a clean layout and effective infotainment systems. The cockpit's finished with higher-grade plastics, and the details are nicely underplayed throughout, from the round climate control knobs to the tambour-covered console storage.
Forte shoppers have a choice between a 1.8-liter, 148-horsepower four and a 2.0-liter, 173-hp four, and we're probably go with the larger of the two, simply for its more relaxed tuning. In EX form, with only a six-speed automatic, the Forte's drivetrain manages to remind us of some of the better 1990s-era compact cars, with its four-cylinder engine quite rev-happy and mostly vibration-free, yet quite noisy at times. The Forte isn't all that quick, but it handles reasonably well, with some models getting three modes of steering boost, selectable via a button on the steering wheel.
Ride and handling in the 2015 Forte strike lack the firm resolve of the Focus or Mazda3, yet we're not completely convinced that the Forte serves up any more comfort in return. The Forte's gotten better at soaking up roughness from choppy pavement, although pavement irregularities still ring into the cabin, and the tuning of the EX model -- the one we've spent the most time in -- tends to ride an unsettling line between feeling firm in light maneuvers yet allowing a lot of body motion in more extreme ones.
With the longer, lower roofline, there's more passenger space than before, and that's especially noticeable in front. What's also noticeable after just an hour or two, however, is that the front seats could use more bolstering, especially in their lower cushions. Taller passengers won't be all that happy in front, and in back there's simply no headroom fro them, where the low roofline is a limiting factor. However, the doors are cut in a more passenger-friendly way that allows decent entry and exit.
Despite its redesign for this past year, the Forte doesn't meet the ever-tougher standards that savvy shoppers are going to expect for occupant protection. The federal government gives the Forte four-door four stars overall, or four stars for side impact. On the other hand, its three stars for front-impact protection is what's worrisome. Factor in the Forte's 'poor' rating in the IIHS small overlap frontal test, and no, we're not going to point safety-conscious families to this one.
Every Forte comes with power windows, locks, and mirrors; air conditioning; satellite radio (with three months' free trial service); and steering-wheel audio controls. The EX gets a rearview camera and a new version of UVO that ditches Microsoft's software for smartphone-connected links to Google maps--a light, forward-thinking solution we hope becomes the norm. On the Forte EX, you'll even find options for leather trim, a ventilated driver seat, pushbutton start, and LED taillamps. 
For 2015, Kia Forte models with the 2.0-liter engine and automatic transmission improve by several miles per gallon, to 26 mpg city, 39 highway (and an EPA 31 mpg Combined).
 
Sharp look and dramatic roofline
Smart, well-laid-out dash


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