OK, so you you can't remotely drive a BMW with a phone like James Bond does in "Tomorrow Never Dies," but there are plenty of real apps that will let you take control of your car and its tech with little more than your smartphone and a data connection. From beaming destinations to your Toyota's navigation system with Entune to remotely unlocking your doors with GM's OnStar RemoteLink, we've rounded up a few of the best car-controlling apps. … Read more
When shopping for a new car, the old questions remain relevant. Does it have enough seats for my family and friends? Are the seats comfortable? Will it suit all the uses for which I need it? Does it get good fuel economy? Is it safe?
However, there are many new tech features available that can make your drives more comfortable, keep you out of traffic jams, and prevent accidents. In addition, there are different drivetrain options that can save you a lot of money, depending on your lifestyle.
In this guide, we will let you know what features you can … Read more
Each year, Green Car Journal names its Green Car of the Year at the Los Angeles Auto Show. For the upcoming award, the field has narrowed down to five contenders, each using technology to achieve high fuel economy.
Here are this year's nominees:
Dodge Dart Aero Ford C-MAX Ford Fusion Mazda CX-5 SkyActiv Toyota Prius C
The Aero version of the new Dodge Dart uses aerodynamic components, low rolling resistance tires, and a grille shutter to get 41 mpg highway from its turbocharged 1.4-liter engine. However, its combined city/highway fuel economy is only 32 mpg.
Ford gains … Read more
Even if you have a dashboard display showing what's behind your car when you back up, it's hard to be 100 percent sure you won't hit something. Or someone. That's why researchers at Japan's Keio University are working on a system that makes the back seat invisible, so to speak.
From the driver's perspective, the back of a car, in this case a Prius, is transparent, thus eliminating blind spots that could conceal hazards. The system is called the "see-through Prius" and it's being showcased this month at the 2012 Digital Content Expo in Tokyo. … Read more
Hybrid drive systems in modern cars store what would otherwise be wasted kinetic energy from braking, making it available to supplement the work of the gasoline engine. These hybrid cars get much better fuel economy than their gasoline-only equivalents, and, due to regenerative braking, reduce brake pad wear. Although the Prius is the hybrid poster car, many other types of hybrid cars exist today, meeting the American buyers' variety of needs.
Here are five of the latest hybrids hitting the market. … Read more
Internal combustion cars dominated the last century, but led to pollution and unpleasant foreign entanglements due to oil imports. Electric cars solve both of these problems through much greater efficiency and the multitude of means by which electricity is generated. The cars reviewed here look to be the first generation of the kind of vehicle that will dominate the new century. All of them are pricey compared with gasoline-fueled equivalents, but they cost considerably less for both electricity and maintenance. … Read more
When I took the wheel of the Toyota RAV4 EV during an event in Los Angeles, two things stuck out: a Prius shifter on the console and the all-digital instrument cluster. Clearly, this SUV would not be a typical RAV4. That feeling was accentuated when pushing the start button produced a silent system check, the car booting up, as opposed to the crank of an internal combustion engine.
The exterior of the RAV4 EV also offered a few clues to the nature of its drivetrain, not least of which were the EV and Electric logos on all sides. By comparison, the lack of a large front grille seemed almost subtle.
One cue that few would notice without a spec sheet was the LED low-beam headlights, tucked away in their casings next to standard projector high beams. Toyota made a smart move here, reducing energy usage of the low beams, while reducing costs on the high beams, which get less use.
Toyota has had an excellent run with the Prius, making it the most popular hybrid in the country. Now Ford will attempt to supplant the Prius' position with the new C-Max Hybrid and C-Max Energi, dedicated hybrids that can boast similar specs.
The Prius faced competition from the Honda Insight previously, and handily trashed it, so Ford will be challenging a tested competitor. Previously, Ford put its Fusion Hybrid up against the Toyota Camry Hybrid, but this is the first time Ford has brought out a dedicated hybrid, a characteristic that has helped the Prius maintain its position.… Read more
You only need to look at a smartphone to realize the usefulness of an Internet connection in a car. And the advent of smartphones is playing a big part in getting automakers to integrate connected features. People used to looking up an address on a smartphone can now do it right in their car's dashboard, and save that address to the navigation system. Other apps that can come in handy on the road, as deemed by these automakers, bring up Internet radio, social networking, and dinner reservations.… Read more
I wasn't sure what to expect when we got the Tacoma in -- we don't review trucks very often and have no idea what we're doing when we take them off-road. But I approach the Tacoma Baja Edition like I do every car: As an everyday ride with some special talents.
The head unit in the Tacoma is more limited than what Toyota is capable of -- in fact, it only offers Bing search and Pandora radio apps, not the full complement of Entune apps like OpenTable and MovieTickets.com. Disappointing and, I feel, an ill-advised segmentation … Read more