Smart introduced the second generation of its Smart ForTwo car in Germany last night. This version of the car will be sold in the U.S. beginning in the first quarter of 2008. Smart upped the crash protection to comply with U.S. government standards, and gave the little car a range of more powerful engines. With 1-liter and 3-cylinders, these engines pump out 61 horsepower, 71 horsepower, and 84 horsepower. Not exactly stunning amounts of power considering current cars sold in the U.S., but the ForTwo isn't exactly a big car, either. It's designed to seat … Read more
This is a perfect stocking stuffer, especially in preparation for late-night holiday festivities. The "Drive Alert Master" from Maplin Electronics is an over-the-ear device that's designed to keep you awake no matter how much cheap champagne was served at your company party.
It works like this: If your head suddenly drops forward while you're behind the wheel, the Alert Master sounds a loud beep just to make sure you're not nodding off. The contraption seems a little bulky for the ear, but it's not meant to be a fashion statement, and Shiny Shiny says … Read more
General Motors is has developed an alternative alternative vehicle. The Los Angeles Times is reporting today that GM has developed a prototype of a new kind of electric car that uses an internal combustion engine solely as an electric generator. Scheduled to be unveiled early next year, the car will run on rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that will be supplemented by electricity generated from an onboard gasoline- or diesel-powered motor when the charge runs low.
According to the Times, the car would require charging on a daily basis with each charge delivering a range of 20 to 30 miles, after which … Read more
Thanks to a new line of Segways, you can look like a dork on the links. We got used to seeing the original, but when you add a golf bag, scorecard holder and other duffer essentials, it just looks wrong.
But like its predecessor, the Segway x2 Golf apparently is efficient despite its asthetic shortcomings. The new model, which Gizmag says will debut at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort in Naples, Florida, cut at least an hour off the usual round of 18 holes in early trials. That leaves more time for apres-fairway cocktails, which we always endorse.
"I worked hard. And if you work hard, you get the goodies."
The gentleman who famously said that, the star of The Great Escape, Bullitt and Le Mans, was possibly referring to his extensive collection of cars and bikes.
Steve McQueen's widow is auctioning off several of those goodies Saturday at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, Calif., via Bonhams & Butterfields. Rumor has it that several collectors and celebrities are going to "fight like hell" to get them.
Following our reviews of DaimlerChrysler's Mercedes R350 and Chrysler Pacifica, we just got hold of Cadillac's offering in the SUV/station wagon/minivan segment, the SRX. We just took receipt of a gleaming, fully-loaded silver review model this afternoon, and lost no time taking it for a quick spin around the sunny streets of San Francisco. Inside, the SRX has many of the upscale appointments of the 2007 Cadillac Escalade we reviewed earlier this year: leather and burled-wood trim; touch-screen navigation; and CD/MP3/WMA/DVD in-dash multimedia head unit with auxiliary input jack. A couple of the … Read more
Volkswagen has designed a programmable electronic bumper sticker that enables drivers to communicate real-time messages to other road users. A product of VW's Electronics Research Laboratory in California, the electrophoretic displays make use of a thin foil membrane that can be programmed to show messages and pictures that reflect a driver's mood at any given time. At the moment, the application is specific to VW's Chameleon concept car, but designers tell us they're looking into other automotive applications for the technology. The picture VW sent us shows a display wishing other road users to "Have … Read more
To me, the classic Volvo is a boxy wagon; not very pretty, but reliable and safe. These cars have been treading America's roads for decades. The Volvo XC90 is like the traditional wagon, except bigger in every respect. It's as if Volvo's engineers had the design of the latest wagon up in their CAD program, and simply scaled it up 150 percent, then hit Save As, and named it XC90.
The XC90 we just got in for review, though a bit big for a crowded urban environment such as San Francisco, feels very practical. The cabin isn'… Read more
In some cars, installing a new stereo requires cutting large holes in the dashboard. In others, you simply slide the previous stereo out and drop a new one in. That's the difference between cars that follow standards, such as including DIN slots in the dashboard, and cars with extensively factory-customized controls. SEMA, a show devoted to all the neat things you can add to your car, has a vested interest in automakers taking the standardized approach. It gives awards every year for the cars that are most friendly to aftermarket customization.
Whenever I fly international, I look for an airline that offers movies and games on demand. Vizualogic's VMOD offers a similar system for cars. VMOD, which won first prize in the Best Mobile Electronics category at SEMA last week, is a computer designed for installation in a car. It has an Intel Celeron M CPU and a 40GB hard drive, which can be loaded with movies, music, and games (or Excel and PowerPoint, if you're that much of a workaholic). VMOD includes interface software and can be plugged into rear seat entertainment systems, such as headrest DVD players … Read more