The popularity of truck-based SUVs slumped when gas prices first spiked last decade, and never recovered. Filling their places in America's driveways came a new legion of vehicles offering similar practicality, but smaller and more economical. Termed crossovers, these vehicles come with independent suspensions for a more comfortable ride and better handling. And although they may not be as rugged as their predecessors, the five here feature all-wheel drive for extra grip when the going gets slippery. … Read more
LAS VEGAS--As hints leaked that both Lexus and Audi would be showing autonomous cars at CES 2013, no less a publication than the Wall Street Journal hyped the story. However, those expecting to see cars driving themselves around the Las Vegas Convention Center were disappointed. This trend had no gas.
Lexus burst the bubble with a surprisingly short press conference. The company brought two of its LS sedans on stage, one of them fitted with sensors and processors to research advanced safety features. Lexus vice president Mark Templin described the company's research as focused on safety, which could be … Read more
LAS VEGAS--Yesterday CNET reported on Audi's announcement of its concept Q7 featuring 3D Audio at CES 2013. Today I got to listen to it.
How do you describe an audio experience? Inside the Q7, the first word that came to my mind was "bigger." In standard, 2D mode, the audio sounded excellent, mostly due to the Bang & Olufsen hardware making up this system. Having driven to many Bang & Olufsen-equipped cars, I did not detect any degradation in the standard audio.
However, when I switched the stereo to 3D mode, the audio seemed to rise up … Read more
LAS VEGAS--We're huge fans of Audi's Bang & Olufsen ultra-premium audio system, but the automaker is kicking things up another notch at CES 2013 with the announcement that it is developing a 3D Sound system in partnership with audio giants B&O and Fraunhofer IIS.
The automaker will be demonstrating the 3D Sound technology in its booth at the CES 2013 in an Audi Q7 playing a version of the "Iron Man 3" trailer with a sound mix that should highlight the system's abilities. The 3D Sound system features 23 speakers, each of which … Read more
LAS VEGAS--At its press conference at CES 2013, Audi didn't just vaguely announce that it was working on developing self-driving cars. Rather, the automaker boasted that is about to begin autonomous car testing on public roads in Nevada.
Ricky Hudi, head of electronics development for Audi, told us that the automaker is the first automaker to attain a license for testing self-driving cars in the state of Nevada and that it has begun testing automated driving and parking. Audi may be the first automaker granted this license, but it's still second behind Google -- the recipient of the … Read more
Get ready to see more cars on the road without a driver behind the wheel.
Toyota and Audi will demonstrate autonomous-driving features next week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, according to The Wall Street Journal. The Japanese automaker posted a five-second preview video that shows one of its luxury brand Lexus vehicles loaded with various sensors and carrying the caption, "Lexus advanced active safety research vehicle is leading the industry into a new automated era."
An Audi representative also told the Journal that it would be demonstrating similar capabilities at CES 2013, including the ability … Read more
2012 Tesla Model S Our choice for CNET Tech Car of the Year goes to the 2012 Tesla Model S, a car that shows superb technology throughout while also challenging our conceptions of how a car should work. Most people know the Model S for its electric drivetrain, which not only gives it tremendous acceleration, but also the best range among current production electric cars. Compared with an internal combustion engine, the Tesla's electric motor delivers magnitudes of better energy efficiency. The EPA estimates the cost of electricity for a year of driving at $700, about 25 percent of the cost for gasoline in an equivalent luxury sedan.
Beyond its efficiency, the Model S modernizes the whole idea of a car's cabin. Tesla streamlined the entire process of getting into the car and setting off, taking out steps that have become anachronistic. A big touch screen handles all in-cabin functions, eliminating the need for an array of buttons across the dashboard. A 3G data connection feeds the infotainment functions, providing maps, destination search, and music, similar to what we have become used to with our personal electronics.
The Model S went up against the Audi S5, BMW 640i Gran Coupe, Ford Focus Electric, and Toyota Prius C, a formidable field nominated for technical excellence in drivetrain and cabin. The BMW proved popular with our jury, and we liked how the Focus Electric drove, but the Model S trumped the others with its innovative approach and capabilities.
As 2012 rolls to a close, we look back at the cars we've reviewed over the last year to see which rise to the level of Tech Car of the Year. Numerous feasible electric cars launched this year, and two made our nominees list. Audi and BMW continued their slugfest in cabin, driver assistance, and performance tech, and we picked representative sample models from each. Also slipping in is the new Toyota Prius C hatchback, showing off Toyota's venerable hybrid drivetrain and its latest app integration.
Please let us know which car you think should be the 2012 Tech Car of the Year in our poll, and discuss it in the comments. Our CNET jury will place their votes, and we will announce the winner on December 19. … Read more
The automotive presence at CES 2013 looks to be stronger than ever, with an array of aftermarket and GPS companies joined by some of the leading tech pioneers among automakers. In addition, equipment suppliers such as Nvidia, Intel, and Freescale show off their latest automotive-oriented chips.
Big iron Both Ford and Audi will run major press conferences at the Mandalay Bay. During last week's Los Angeles Auto Show, a Ford spokesman told us to expect big tech announcements at CES without being specific on what they were. We expect Ford to show off the latest iteration of its MyFord Touch … Read more
Ever since 2009, Audi has been showing off enticing electric cars under the E-tron name, its brand for any electrified power train. I finally got to drive one during a green industry conference in San Francisco, but it was a far cry from the original sporty-looking E-tron concept. However, the A3 E-tron looks a lot more like a car that Audi would put into production.… Read more