A lot of Web sites sell plans and devices purported to boost your car's fuel economy, but the best way to squeeze more miles from the gallon is to change your driving habits. The Fuel Efficiency Adviser won't actually tell you how to drive more economically, but it will give you information that can help change your driving style. Simply plug the Fuel Efficiency Adviser into your ODB II port, present on all cars from 1996 on, and it will show instant fuel economy, how much your current trip is costing, range to empty. It shows many other … Read more
The stock Lexus IS 350 delivers impressive performance, its 3.5-liter V-6 getting it from 0 to 60 mph in 5.6 seconds, while still embodying Lexus luxury. Now you can tune up the handling substantially with Lexus' F Sport accessories from the dealer. A tuned-up luxury car may be a strange idea, but it works for the Mercedes-Benz AMG division. We looked at a 2009 IS 350 loaded with F Sport brakes, suspension components, and exhaust. These components make it a car you can take out to track days, although the harsher ride will take some of the luxury … Read more
We just completed one of the most interesting installations that we've done in awhile. The owner of this brand-new Tesla roadster is a client of the Al & Ed's Autosound location in West Hollywood. The vehicle was in serious need of some mobile audio goodies, and also an update to the interior and some of the trim. The store has done a number of his vehicles over the years, and when he showed up in this all-electric roadster, nobody knew that there were some challenges ahead.
The Tesla is an all-electric roadster capable of 0-to-60 mph times in … Read more
Sometimes its better to give than to receive.
To celebrate its 50th birthday, MINI revisited its younger years and created a Beatles' inspired MINI that will be donated to charity later.
This one-off 2009 MINI Cooper S is based on the 1966 model given to Beatles' guitarist George Harrison, who customized his car with yantras and Sanskrit mantras. The psychedelic car was later featured in The Beatles' film Magical Mystery Tour.
The reinterpreted MINI Cooper S was designed according to the wishes of Olivia Harrison, and she will accept the donation on behalf of Material World Charitable Foundation at MINI … Read more
A fully electric passenger vehicle from Ford is still a couple years away, but in the mean time, Plug-In Motors --a Missouri-based start up-- has been developing the process and technology to convert existing Mustangs and F150 trucks their current conventional powertrain to one that's all-electric.
But the cost of this environmentally conscious move doesn't come cheap. These comprehensive conversions can cost $75,000 for a Mustang or F150 with an 85-mile range or $125,000 for a 200-mile range.
The high price tag is a result of the top-of-the-line components used by Plug-in Motors, says CEO Kurt … Read more
The Camaro just came back, and it's already being modified. This Web video doesn't go into detail, but it shows the results of swapping out the factory muffler with 3-inch Hushpower Pro series race mufflers. Vrroomm!
In-dash navigation continues to be one of the hottest categories in the Al & Ed's stores, and adding a Bluetooth hands-free device is almost automatic with each install. There are a number of vehicles, though, that don't lend themselves well to radio removal, or perhaps the client wants the benefits of navigation and Bluetooth, but likes the factory radio just the way it is. A portable navigation device works, but then one has to deal with suction cups, wires, plugs and that add-on feeling. The SmartMirror from Azentek is a good solution.
The SM450 is a replacement rear-view mirror that also has built-in navigation and Bluetooth. Unlike the "behind the glass" screens available, Azentek wisely provides a separate 4-inch color touch-screen that takes up about 1/3 of the mirror's area. The rest is a standard rear-view with very good optics. It's not much bigger than a factory mirror, but has plenty of usable real estate. The front of the mirror is simply laid out with five buttons. There are Power and Main Menu buttons, and the rest are for the Bluetooth hands-free. Answer, Hang-Up, and Pairing buttons are all easy to use and intuitive.
The screen itself has good brightness, color, and contrast, although it can wash out in bright sunlight. My wife's car is a convertible, so this is more of an issue for her than in most cars, where the mirror lives in relatively shaded surroundings. The touch screen operates easily and the menu system requires little getting used to. There is a built-in speaker for navigation commands and for the hands-free operations. The mirror has a flip-out antenna for acquiring GPS satellites, but also has an external antenna (included) if the vehicle has metalized tint or if the mirror is set back too far to get signal. Two nice features of the nav are a Lane Assistant view, which gives you a good idea about what's happening in freeway merges and turns, and a Text to Speech feature usually found only on the "better" navs. This calls out street names for you, making it easier to get your turns right, especially where street blocks are close together. … Read more
Every once in a while, we get a vehicle in the Car Tech garage that presents great potential, but poor execution. This was the case with the 2009 Subaru Impreza 2.5GT that we took for a spin awhile back.
With DNA that includes traces of WRX and STI and a stout, turbocharged heart, we were quite disappointed with the 2.5GT's performance. We didn't get much relief in the cabin when faced with an extremely limited list of cabin tech options.
Once again, we're unable to leave well enough alone as we set about to right … Read more
Tired of not having enough power points in your vehicle to keep your phone charged, your GPS on, and your DVD/monitor combo playing? Change all that by adding additional 12-volt power outlets to your car.
If you're building a computer into your car, you probably couldn't do much better than Stealth's new LPC-625F for a platform. This mini PC is about the size of a hardback novel, so could be mounted under seats or behind an interior panel. A fanless design means less noise while keeping dust and dirt from getting into the case--the aluminum case works as a heat sink to cool the processor. The LPC-625F uses a 2.5-inch ruggedized hard drive designed to work in mobile environments, and a solid-state hard drive is available for serious shock resistance. The … Read more