In an environmentally touchy age when David Lee Roth goes nuts over a little dust in the air
and the new 2007 Toyota Camry offers an in-dash ionizer
, it just follows suit that America's favorite scent, the new-car smell, is toxic
. Have you noticed how hard it is to keep the windshield of a new car really clean? Those newly minted interior plastics off-gas all kinds of vapors on to the inside of the glass--mmm, breathe deep.
As you might expect, Volvo has the cleanest interiors
. Oh, and by the way, the PC you're reading this from right now is also toxic. . . .
I'm a big believer in navigation systems with live traffic data; the feature makes them at least vaguely worthy of their $2,000-plus price tags. XM's NavTraffic will soon cover nine more metro areas: Cincinnati, Cleveland, Denver, Milwaukee, Portland, Providence, Sacramento, San Antonio, and Wilmington, Delaware. Denver needs it the most, since the average commuter there wastes 51 hours a year sitting in traffic. . . .
Cadillac gets its first hybrid late next year when the Escalade goes green, using the same dual-mode hybrid system we recently saw fitted to a Tahoe
. The hybrid 'Lade will also have cylinder deactivation to reach fuel savings promised to be around 25 percent, putting it at up to 30mpg. By the way, this is the hybrid drivetrain that GM developed with BMW and DaimlerChrysler. The Toyota Prius created some strange bedfellows. . . .
There's an interesting AP piece on fast-food drive-thru technology
--not that our fat bottoms and polluted veins need easier access to the stuff. I envision a time when your in-dash computer can download a McDonald's or a Burger King app, allowing you to browse and preorder from their full-color menu on your dashboard LCD, then just hitting a button to transmit the order to the restaurant as you pull in its driveway. . . .
Right now, my new favorite OEM sound system is the $7,000 Bang & Olufsen rig being shown off in the 2006 Audi S8
. Yeah, it sounds incredible, but so does the THX system in the new Lincoln Zephyr
. B&O scores extra points with motorized pop-up tweeters, industrial-chic spun-aluminum speaker grilles, and speaker cabinets in the doors that make sure all the sound is aimed inside the car, not equally toward the outside of the car, as with most car speakers. . . .
What's the hottest tech at 12-volt shops these days?
Are you worried about the toxicity of your car's interior?
magazine says it's a tie between satellite radio and security systems with remote start. On the other end of the scale, mobile video systems were cooling off hard going into this past holiday season. . . .
I'm intrigued by an XM radio adapter from Terk: The XM Direct RDS
uses FM mod to get audio into your OEM car stereo--nothing clever about that--but it also uses RDS to feed XM text to your radio display, including the song title, the channel name, and so on. Radio broadcasters' Luddite tendencies kept them from figuring out RDS, so it's nice to see someone