Car Tech: Ep. 137: The end of driving while distracted
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Car Tech: Ep. 137: The end of driving while distracted

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Everyone is saying enough to driving while distracted, Volvo announces a plug-in hybrid while Mini wonders how to charge it, Chrysler gets rid of the book we never read -- but always want, and we go for a ride in a really affordable performance car you wouldn't have taken seriously a few years ago.

[ Music ] ^M00:00:02 >> Everyone this week is saying enough to driving while distracted. Volvo announces a plug in hybrid, while [Inaudible] figures out where are we going to charge these things. Chrysler gets rid of the book that everybody wants, but nobody ever reads, and we go for a ride in a really affordable performance car you would have laughed at 5 or 10 years ago. It's the CNET podcast for September 25. I'm Brian Cooley with Wayne Cunningham, Antuan Goodwin, and this is our second live video edition. That's why it's late. Okay everybody, let's get to the news. Coming up we'll be On the Road with Wayne and Antuan, and also taking some of your e-mails, all three of us will be jumping in on that on a little round table. But first let's get to the news, making the top of it this week. And really, it's been a week for news about distracted driving. Partly because there's a summit coming up next week on the 30th and on the first where the Department of Transportation is going to get just about everyone together. 200 luminaries from industry, from research, from the people who hate cars and think we're all going to be out there killing ourselves. All of those parties coming together, because the head of the DOT says that's it, it's time to get something together on a consensus about driving while distracted. Not just calling, not just texting, not just playing your Media Player on your phone. But the whole thing about personal digital portables and the distraction they've created. This is a watershed thing. This is going to be a very big part of why next year is the year you're going to see driving while distracted stigmatized. I can promise you that. It's the new drunk driving. We haven't been there yet. This is the indication that we're going to get there. And at the same time interesting piece on MSNBC this week, saying that it's funny that a lot of states who are banning or at least making noises about driving while distracted being such a bad thing are the same states that have set up Twitter feeds and even text alerts about traffic conditions. What do they want to do, look at it at your house before you get in the car? It's kind of a waste of an up-to-date alert. So there's an interesting irony there about how some of those services work. And of course in front of this summit coming up in Washington about distraction, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, which is most but not all the big names in car-making, also came out, like Ford did last week, saying oh yeah, we're against driving while distracted as well. We're all for laws that will clamp down on that. Unless it makes consumers spend less money on our technologies that we think solve the problem. That's what Ford was all about last week when they said yes, we're all for stopping driving while distracted, as long as Sync can still be considered a way around that, and people can be encouraged to buy it. So this is the group of auto makers that include BMW, Chrysler, Ford, GM, Jag, Landrover, Mazda, Mercedes, Mitsubishi, Porsche, Toyota, and Volkswagen. Not many notables are not in there. I can see Nissan is not one of those, there's another trade group they're a member of. So you can see everyone's lining up here to posture and see who's going to be the one who's out in front of the parade. But the Department of Transportation is clearly leading it. And another interesting tidbit came out this week. The head of Ford, Alan Mullaly, their CEO, is going to do the main keynote -- not the Microsoft keynote -- but the main keynote at the CES, the Consumer Electronics Show, which is the big tech show every year as you probably know. Comes up in January, top of January. We're always there en masse at CNET. And he's going to be giving the first keynote on the first opening day of the show, after Steve Balmer [Phonetic] does the traditional pre-opening keynote that they've always done. We expect they'll be rolling out some new Sync technology that will allow you to really dictate outgoing text messages, among other things. Right now you can get your texts read to you by Sync and you can reply with a variety of canned responses. But that doesn't really satisfy most people. So they're going to get on their phone and they're really going to do a text reply. Therein lies the rub. So they are going to be talking about some new, much better text -- voice to text, I should say, technology. They've sort of given us a pre-sneak of that, us in the industry. And we expect that to be something that they roll out at the Consumer Electronics Show. So all this news going on this week around driving while distraction -- while distracted. It's clearly becoming a hot button issue, and everyone's getting lined up to look like a hero around it. We also have a lot of news about alternative power trains this week. You know, BMW has been testing a fleet of mini electronic cars. A few hundred of them they're got out there in test market areas. And one of the first things they learned according to their CEO this week in Automotive News is these things are hard to charge. I mean, you can get one of these special chargers that runs off 240 or 220 volts. Hook it up to your dryer circuit is usually what you use in most homes. But the problem is the regulations to get it attached to your home. They point out what it was like in New Jersey for some of the test vehicles that they've got in consumers hands there. It was a nightmare. They had to go through three and four licensing and permit authorities, the building people, there's some utility people, there might be a town or township that has to sign off separately. It took a lot of time. It made the whole process very expensive, adds a lot of cost on top of the box itself, which is you know, less than $2,000. And made it very frustrating. So they said one of the first things they've learned here is not about anything technological, but about getting the permit process smoothed out or consumers are just not going find this interesting. And if you do charge a car off the standard outlet, which requires no permit, that takes a long time. And the electronic car out there now, today, takes basically over night for a full charge on 110 or 120, and that's not really practical for most people. So these high current chargers are important, and if you have to go through a lot of paperwork to get one installed in your home, in your community, that word's going get out and there's going to be a bad stink on plug in hybrids. They know that. They're going to be working on that, and they say it's one of the first major lessons they've learned. Volvo's got a plug in hybrid that they just talked about at the -- as we went into show time today in fact. This is going to be coming out in 2012 they say. First plug in hybrid for Volvo. And it's going to have a Lithium ion battery, and you can imagine. They are not yet speaking, as far as I know, about the exact range on the charge, but they're saying it will handle the transportation needs of 75% of Europeans on electric only -- and never have to go to its gas engine. When it does, though, the combination of electric and diesel, not a gas hybrid on this one, is going to be 7 45 miles. That's pretty stout. That's because the diesel is so efficient at so many of the conditions, and of course the hybrid, and this is going to be offering very low CO2 emissions, of course, which is a very big deal in Europe. Most American consumers don't really care. They're much more interested in their MPG. How does a half a billion dollars move your company forward? You can ask Heinrich Fiskar [Assumed spelling] that pretty soon. He got a $528 million low cost loan from the government toward not the Fiskar Karma, which we've been telling you about which is this Mazarti-looking hybrid that is going to be around $100,000, a little bit less, but instead for a car that they're labelling Project Nina, or Nina, actually, because it's named after one of Columbus's ships -- little piece of trivia for you there. That car will start a little bit under $40,000, they expect, after tax credits. If that sounds familiar, yeah, that's going to be like the Tesla S sedan, which is also trying to come in at around that same price point. And that's where most of this development money is going to go. A little bit of it has been earmarked to get the Karma to market, but it's very mature right now. Most of this 528 million of government low cost loans, that's you and me doing that, is going toward this next, more affordable car. So if you're incensed about us helping to fund development of a car that none of us can afford, it's not really about that. It's about their next generation car that at least some of us could afford. But it's still not exactly a cheap ride. Lotus is know for sports cars and racing cars primarily, or the partnerships they do, they bring sports and performance technology to the fore. But a division of lotus came out with something interesting this week, which is a three sill bar range extender engine. That's like what the Chevy Volt has in it. It has a little gas engine that just runs very leanly, enough to turn a generator, recharge the batteries, which run the electric motors, which actually move the car. And so lotus has said they have now a design out and they're ready to take orders from car makers who want to buy a prepackaged engine and generator combo from Lotus. It's very efficient. This is a 1.2 liter, only 2 valves per cylinder. Because it's not a performance engine. You don't care about things like that. A little single overhead cam with a belt, not even a chain. It's a low cost, simple motor. In fact, they almost cast this thing in one piece. There's no separation between the head and the block. So there's no head gasket to go out. The idea is make it really simple, not wring a lot of performance out of it, but make it an inexpensive thing to manufacture and to run a generator. So they at least believe that the series hybrid or the range extender model like the Chevy Volt has, has some legs or they wouldn't be getting in the business. Interesting number of comments from a conference this week. A lot of the Silicone Valley venture capital guys, the really heavy-duty money guys who fund companies like Google and Yahoo, and all the new start ups like Twitter. They all got together and said uhh, Detroit's dead. It ain't coming back. You can prop it up all you want, it's never coming back in anything that resembles health. And these are guys like Ray Lane [Assumed spelling] over at Kliner Perkins. I believe they backed up Google in the early stage. Cosla [Phonetic] who is a founder of Sun. Now he's a heavy-duty guy over at Cosla ventures. Mark Vandenburg at Vantage Point. These are all guys that know their way around the tech industry. Now I should point out that they're all backing some other kind of alternative car company right now. They're either behind Fiskar or Tesla or some of these other vehicle companies. So they do have a bit of an axe to grind, but these are not stupid guys. And when they talk usually, you know, money follows them. So they're all saying that the Big Three, because of legacy structures of how they're built, their legacy cost with all their employee costs from the past and benefits and all of that, they can never get under that. It was one of the most stark condemnations of the idea of Detroit ever getting healthy again that I think I've read in this entire season of death around Detroit and the economy, it's been hurting it so hard. And they kind of point out the fact that this is an industry that unless you're hitting many millions of units you're just drowning in red ink. These are car companies that cannot deal with smaller scale, and that's one of the things that concerns them. And again, largely because of legacy costs, as well as the fact that they don't necessarily have the best technology. They don't think out of the box, to use that old phrase like a lot of these other companies do. Navagone, little known in the U.S. for navigation, not one of the Big Three. But they have a new piece of software technology in their Navagone GPS devices. It's focused especially on pedestrians. So they call it the last mile. When you get out of your car and you've still got to get to something which is, you know, maybe a few blocks or a mile or two from the nearest place you could park, this GPS won't leave you stranded. It's really optimized toward pedestrian routing, not just routing the car. And it also has a feature there to help you find the parking. So they say they're putting all the beads together on the string, if you will, of really getting somewhere. Not just getting to the nearest parking place near where you're going. Toyota is talking about doing some real futuristic stuff in Japan this week. They're going to roll out what they say is the first onboard system where the car and the road really talk to each other in real life. Now they're still saying it's come soon, but they are saying it's coming out on a current production model, and that it's going to use a network of road side transmitters. So you could be going into a hair pin turn that looks like it's not a hair pin, which could be tricky, and that hair pin turn might have a transmitter in it, telling cars that are so equipped coming up is a real tricky turn, or if it's off camber, or it's one of those off ramps where everybody hits the K rail and you see black marks all over. It's like, how do you tell drivers this is really a nasty turn? This kind of technology would do it. And of course it could also bring in traffic conditions, frozen ice that you can't see, it can relay that to a car. So that's of course the kind of thing you see in Japan first, and they say they're getting there very soon. And Chrysler made a decision that a lot of folks are going to say what took so long, and a lot of folks are going to say that's stupid. They're going to take out the paper manual, the big old thick, owners manual, which has grown to be huge these days, and often dominate your glove box. And instead put a DVD in there, which of course you can't use in the car. So the idea is you better do your research before you get in the car or use a much shorter few-dozen page quick-start guide they're going to put in there. Now that makes a lot of sense. So it's going to force them to make a very short concise mini booklet about the car, which we'd all love to have anyone, and some cars have a good one of those already. But everything in detail is going to be on the DVD. I'm not sure I'm too concerned about that, because this day and age about a third of the user's manual is legal liability stuff. You know, there's like 90 pages on how to use a seatbelt and how to engage the breaks, which I think most of us know how to do. So once you take out all the legal insulation copy, you find of get down to a pretty short manual which hopefully will fit in the quick-start guide. But it's the first car maker we know of to go all DVD, get rid of the big book, and it's starting with all the 010 model years. It's a mid-year thing. Chrysler, Jeep, and Dodge-branded vehicles. So it's across the board. They throw out the usually green washing numbers, saying it will save 30 tons of paper, 20,000 trees. I don't think it's a lot of trees in the overall scope of things, but it's certainly a help. And they're definitely getting some good green headlines for doing that. Let's see what's new in the CNET Car Tech garage. We've got some new cars coming in after our break for Frankfort. By the way, check our Frankfort coverage. We've got a link in the show notes today. Great stuff. Wayne was there all over the floor, lots of great photos and slideshows. I want to thank you for a lot of great traffic to that site, by the way. Coming up, we have the Genisis Coupe with navigation and the Track Pack, we've got that in for additional review, if you've already seen the first review it's going to be the first car we've seen of that type that has the nav and the firmer suspension, and also the automatic transmission. So we've got more to add over our first Genesis review. And we'll be talking about that in just a moment. We've also got a BMW 650i convertible coming in, a 2010. We just had the 2009 in not long ago. We'll see what's new on that. And the Nissan 370 Z Roadster, which is real fresh. Wayne got a sneak-peek on that. Check that out on cars.cnet.com. He had some time in that just a few days ago. And we'll have that in for a full review in just a couple of weeks. So these are some of the cars that are currently on deck. And looking at the fact that two out of the three are convertibles, it's a good thing we're based in California, since we're getting pretty close to fall at this point. No, I think we actually are in fall, officially. Okay, let's get to some of your e-mail and that. We bring in the whole team. We've got Wayne Cunningham here, of course, and Antuan Goodwin to join me on the e-mail that we have such a good flow of every week. And I want to start off with our first one here, guys, which goes back to a topic we had last week which is -- I forget which user it was said my wife's got a Corvette, it was an '07 I think, and the GPS system, the factory GPS has no coverage of Hawaii, and they just got transferred there. I think he was in the military. And he was asking us and Antuan filled us in, it's like, well, you're not going to get it. They're not going to retrograde that, not going to update the DVD. And so here we have a reply from another guy. This is Pedro from Spirit Aerosystems who says I was listening to the podcast, I've got two things I want to say. The first was about the guy with the Corvette who couldn't get the GPS nav system to work. I served five years in Hawaii, I guess he was in the military too, and as a best guess I think that previous caller or e-mailer was stationed on Oahu. You cannot get lost on that island. It's 50 miles by 50 miles, and very few roads to the point that it has basically three major highways, H1, H2, and H3. I drove a beat-up '77 Chevy Nova there, and I never got lost. Well we happen to have a Hawaiian in the house, Mitch Chang who is our producer on CNET Car Tech videos, and engineers our show right here. Mitchell, you're from Hawaii. Is it true, is Oahu impossible to get lost on? >> I mean, here's the thing. Just throughout of this, when I was back there about two weeks ago, my mom who has never left went to do a function and she actually called me On the Road because she couldn't find the place that he was looking for. >> She's from there. >> And she's from there. And so I can see the argument for having a GPS system, because -- and here's the thing. Like, if you're not from Hawaii, all the roads in Hawaii are in Hawaiian names. So it will be equally hard to find a road that you can even pronounce, sometimes. >> That's the biggest difficulty is you can't pronounce the thing. >> Yeah. And so -- >> And you do have a fair number of, you know, pretty rural roads in Hawaii. >> Yeah, you do. >> You don't really find that in the mainland as much. Not around the cities. >> No, but again -- the other person who replied has a good point. If you're going to go to town, if you're going from one place to another, you don't really need it. It's easy to get to the highway, but if you're trying to find some store that's in -- outside. >> And it's not a very big island. So -- >> No. >> So once you get to the other shore you know you went too far. Go the other way. You'll find your way back. All right, the other one that was here that he mentioned, my wife has a Blackberry Pearl with nav system and I don't know what's up with it. The service is intermittent. Why is that? The phone cannot get a lock on nav system satellites, or is it AT&T service can't deliver the maps, which I guess would be over 3G. Either way, it's costing us about $10 a month for a service that basically doesn't work. Antuan, any guesses on what's the problem with a Blackberry Pearl not getting nav. Is satellite or is 3G data more likely a problem. >> Umm, with those kind a of smart phones, it's kind of difficult to know if you're actually using the GPS or if you're using cell phone triangulation. >> Oh right. >> They kind of alternate between whenever system the -- the -- the phone feels like it's getting the best signal. So if they -- it's not getting a direct view of the sky, I mean, which is kind of hard enough even to do with a portable nav device mounted to your windshield, getting a direct view of the sky. Your cell phone is in your hand, it's in your pocket, a lot of times when you're in the car it's like sitting down in your center console. A metal roof between you and the sky. So you're not exactly getting the clearest view of the sky to begin with to get GPS reception. So your phone, what it's going to do is switch over to using either cell phone triangulation or Wi-Fi triangulation, which is hardly accurate -- >> Pretty coarse. >> Yeah. It will get you within a couple of blocks, but I mean -- you really have a hard time locking it down to the exact place and direction that you're heading. >> All right. So the best advice is make sure that this thing is up on the dash where it's got some line of sight through the windshield, hopefully. >> Yeah, a lot of third parties are starting to make suction cups that you can buy a clip for, clip your Blackberry on it. That will also keep you hands-free while you're driving so you won't be looking down in your lap. It will be safer, and you'll probably get a little bit better reception. >> Okay, so try that. That was again -- that came from Pedro, the same guy who was talking about the GPS in Hawaii. So Pedro, try that. The phone, if your wife's using it and kind of keeping it on the seat next to her, it doesn't see the sky. [Inaudible] sky, it can't pick up the GPS readily. Sometimes it can struggle to get some signal on a bounce. But have her put it up on the dash, get one of those suction mounts that Antuan's talking about. It will be safer, and it will hopefully seat sky better. Okay, the next one here comes in for Wayne. It's from Zachary who says love the CNET show. It's the best. Congratulations on your new video version all that, thank you so much. But I was wondering how you guys pick the cars that you review and then put up on the CNET reviews and on CNET TV. And we get this one a lot. What's the secret. >> Yeah, we've got this question before, and there's a couple of -- I mean, we don't get the cars directly from the manufacturers, not usually. Occasionally with some of the manufacturers, they'll ship a car to us directly. But there's a pool of cars that are reserved for journalists, and there is a couple of press, like, companies, in the Bay Area. And all over the country, actually, in different major urban areas. And they maintain these cars for the car companies. So we've got two of these press [Inaudible] companies in the area. One handles, like, BMW, Ford, Hyundai, companies like that. The other one will handle Mercedes Benz, Audi, you know, a range of other companies. And they'll send me an inventory of cars that they currently have in. >> And we all wait for this with baited breath, when Wayne gets the new list. What's he got for us. >> I know. It's like Christmas, actually. It's like going through and I start -- okay, that looks good. I really like the Mercedes Benz C 63 AMG. Okay, I'll -- >> Right next to the Kia Soul -- my God, crap. >> Some cars we kind of have to review too, which -- but you know -- >> We look for the tech in everything, but in some it's easier than others. >> Absolutely. And you know, some of -- you know, BMW will always be high on the list. You know, Fords lately, actually, have been fantastic. >> Yeah. >> So I always try to pick those. You know, but any time there's a car that will seem like it has some sort of tech interest, or if it's a completely new model too. If it's something that we haven't seen, if anybody hasn't seen yet. The Kia Soul is a good example. I mean, that was a completely new model. >> Yeah, that was actually a cool car, because it was new and it had some interesting tech in it. >> Yeah. It's a car we've got to check out. So we all go through the list, send it back to the press plate company, and they'll try to arrange a schedule for us. The only problem is there's a bunch of other journalists around the area that also want these cars. So we don't necessarily get them in the order that we want them. >> Yeah. So when someone has a request, which we get once in a while. The Kia Soul was one, a lot of folks say when are you going to do it. The Hyundai Genesis was another one. When are you going to have it, when are you going to have it, when are you going to have it. We have a lot of those, and it's like we can't really slot them that way. >> Yeah. It's not quite as easy -- and actually, I have sort of a little announcement base -- from here. Got a new -- new schedule in that I haven't sent around to you guys yet. We've got three Lexuses coming in. >> Oh really? >> Yeah. So looking forward to those. >> A plethora of Lexora [Phonetic]. Good. >> The convertible IS. >> Oh nice. >> Antuan's already driven that once. >> That's a pretty cool little car. >> So you guys are getting the early drop on your next cars, even before I am. That's pretty good. All right. So that's how'd we find our cars. We get them through a rolling lottery pool thing that is not totally in our control. So when you ask and request a car and we don't have it right away, it's because it's not totally under our control, it's the way the press, the automotive review system works. All right, we're going to be talking more about the Hyundai Genesis in a minute with Antuan, that's our On the Road this week. Next one here is for Antuan. Mark writes in my stereo in my '97 Nissan Maxima is creating weird distortions and channel-switching, as he describes it. It's the factory system, it's not non-Bose, it's four channel -- I think he means four speakers -- and me and my dad are stumped on this. Any time you turn on the volume -- or turn the volume -- or hit a bump in the road the speakers change in volume and the channels. It goes, like, from front speaker only back to all the speakers, that kind of thing. I was wondering what we can do to fix this issue. Should we take out the stereo and swap in a new one or try to see what's wrong with our current one, Mark. Antuan, what can you do for him? >> Well, it sounds like you've got some loose wires or some frayed wires. Hopefully it's loose wires , because loose wires can be pushed back into their sockets. Basically what you're going to want to do is take the stereo out and try receipting the wiring harness into the back of the head unit itself. Give that a try for a little bit. If that doesn't solve your problems you're going to want to inspect those wires and make sure none of them are frayed. And just exposing the copper -- actual interior of the wire. Because what's happening -- what it sounds like is happening is whenever you hit a bump or whenever you hit the volume you're actually touching the unit with your hand so you're causing it to move around a little bit. And what sounds like what's happening is a couple of your wires may be touching each other or becoming disconnected, or otherwise shorting out -- >> Which could even start a fire, if it was a primary [Inaudible] which it probably isn't, but -- >> It sounds like a it's a speaker wire, looking as if -- there probably won't be a fire. Usually not a lot of power going through those. But it definitely makes everything sound bad. If it is in fact a frayed wire you're either going to want to repair those or replace those. Because if you get a new car stereo you're going to probably be plugging back into those exact same wires. So the problem will still be there. It's a good fix to go ahead and just do. And if you're not comfortable with it just take it to a 12-volt shop. >> And they shouldn't charge much to do that. >> I mean, it's just a check is what it is. >> Best case scenario, you have to wrap some black electrical tape around it. I mean -- >> Yeah. On a '97 I would hope -- it's a factory stereo, so hopefully it hasn't been monkeyed with. Hopefully it's not frayed wires. Because that would be kind of unusual for a car of that -- you know, that recent vintage. It could also be the plugs in the back. Specific if he's in a humid climate, could have been corroded back there. So if you take that radio out, unplug and replug all these multi-pin connectors that are on the back. And look at them. If they're corroded or grimy you can go down to, like, not Radio Shack. They don't sell anything interesting any more. But electronics hobby shop near you. And there's like this contact cleaner, it's this nasty chemical. But it blows a lot of corrosion off of contacts. Plug it back in. To take that radio out -- I'm not sure if this applies your Nissan, but it probably does. Guys, I put a new link in the Google doc, if you can pull that up. And it's a radio removal tool that you might need to pull out that and many other -- basically it's this little tool that's kind of like two prongs that you stick into holes on the side. A lot of Fords have this too. And you push that in to release these little metal catches. And then you can slide the face, the whole head unit out. Without that, it doesn't come out easily. It's kind of an anti theft thing. But you can make one of these. Don't be fooled by buying one of these for 10 bucks. Get a wire coat hanger, cut it to about 8 inches, bend it into a horse shoe, and you've got a radio removal tool. >> Yeah. That's what I used to use. >> So much easier. Instead of buying one of these dumb things. >> All you have to do is pop the clips. That's all you're doing is reaching in there and popping the clips. >> Yeah. So envision them being -- there's these clips that are on the side of the radio behind the face plate, hanging onto the inside of that dim slot. They're hanging on, you can't see them. You've got to get in there and release those. That's why they make these tools. Other cars use more of a flat-looking thing that goes into a slot. >> Well, I mean, I think an older Nissan -- because actually -- I just actually did some work on a Sentra recently. A lot of times you have to actually pop the dash plastic off and the stereo will be held in with a couple of hex bolts. >> Okay, so -- >> Still very easy to do. >> Yeah, that's easy. Just a little more -- a little more parts to take out. But it's not hard. So realizing you have to pop off your face plate. And they make special, like, plastic putty knives, basically. >> Yeah, putty knife or a plastic spade or something like that. >> Yeah. That'll pop that off without gouging the edges? -- >> Or a screwdriver wrapped in tape. >> Oh, good idea. Just wrap it in that same electrical tape you're going to need to fix your wires. >> Yeah. >> So when you're in there you can do that. Okay, we've got one more e-mail before we get to our On the Road segment with Wayne and Antuan. And this is the one that we're going to throw it over to Wayne. It's from Brian, a Hotmail account. He writes in, in all of your Car Tech reviews which is the best car audio, which is the best navigation, which is the best usability -- I think he means interface, that has the best learning Curve and being intuitive. This is like the big question. >> Right. Well actually the end of every year we've been doing our Car Tech awards. And we have several awards for best stereo, best general tech, you know, we kind of cover a lot of this ground in our end of the year, you know, round up of these things in these awards. Of course, you know, if you don't want to wait until the end of the year, and who does, the -- in our ratings, it actually, we really score our -- in our ratings for cars we really weight cabin tech heavily. We rate it even above engine and transmission tech. >> That's our mission here, the whole tech side of things. >> That's our focus. So any car that's rated really highly is going to have good cabin tech. That's just the way the weighting works. And actually if you're looking at our site, you're looking at one of our reviews, you can mouse over the rating and you'll get the breakdown. Because there's three components to that rating. The top component I think we call it comfort in there. And that's actually all the cabin tech. And anything that's, you know, 8 or above is going to be -- >> Really good. >> Pretty good. Yeah. It's going to have nav, it's going to have, you know, really, when we get to 9 level, that's hard drive-based nav, that's a lot of you know, driver-aid features, stuff like that. And then also we have a design sub rating there too. A little less -- little less weight on that. But that also covers usability. How easy it is to find your way around the nav -- the systems in there. And so for example all the old BMWs with old iDrive systems scored terrible in that section. >> That's -- that reflects interface. >> Right. >> And we hated the old iDrive. Everyone did. All right, yeah, so mouse over the stars, the red stars, which is the CNET official editor's rating. The blue stars are users. It's a different thing. Mouse over the red, hover on that. And you get comfort, which we weight less. Right? >> Actually comfort is the highest-weighted one. Because that includes cabin tech. >> Oh that includes cabin tech. Okay, and we have performance, which is the one that's a little more of the routine stuff that we don't focus on quite as much. >> Transmission -- >> Yeah. >> That kind of thing. Handling, suspension. >> And then design is the other one to look at for how things work and how the interface is laid out. >> And of course in the write up we always try to cover how does that stereo sound, how well does the audio system work with an iPod, how well does the navigation system work. >> So we don't have any particular -- we don't keep a running tally of who is the highest-rated nav system or audio rig or interface right now because people don't buy cars really that way, we like to think so. But people don't just say I want the best stereo, what car do I buy. They buy cars for a lot of other reasons that are more, you know, practical and pragmatic than that. But in terms of interpreting the technology, that's the way you read our reviews. That's the way Wayne's got it structured here in terms of really reading the tea leaves of what's in there. And then you can dive down into those three buckets. That's also how we break out the actual review copy is according to those same three buckets that go into the star rating. So that's how you use the CNET Car Tech review and really get down to what you're talking about. Okay folks, time for that great part of the week, every week, when we go On the Road with these two guys, who -- trust me, would raise your pulse if you ever went out with either of them. As we're going to see here. This week we go On the Road in a car that we've actually seen before, as we mentioned earlier. But this time we have one that has all the tech in it, and all the track toys and still not much of a number on the MSRP, which we think is pretty cool. So Wayne and Antuan are going to take us now for a short run in the Hyundai Genesis Coupe with nav and the Track Pack as we go on On the Road. Check it out. >> And so we're talking about the tech here. >> Yeah, I guess we can get back to the tech now that we're going in a straight line. I don't have to hold on for dear life. But this is the first time we've seen Hyundai's new navigation system. It's actually the reason we're testing this car again. And we've got a -- kind of actually it might be a bit of a smallish LCD here in the center stack, full color, touch-screen. >> It's got traffic on it, which is good. But doesn't -- I don't think there's any facility to rip CDs to a hard drive here. So -- >> You know, the resolution doesn't look that great. Pretty good voice command system that we were able to test out earlier, that will allow you to speak proper names of streets. It does a really cool thing where it kind of puts the commands up on screen so for those first few two or three days when you're trying to figure out how to use it, you can always get a little cheat sheet. And then after you learned the command you can just hit a button and say find an address. And it will ask you what city do you want to go to, and you just say it. >> Yeah, they really modernized the audio system too. It's got an iPod integration, which I think might be standard. And this car, being the top of the line, has this Infinity sound system, which has center channel, there's a couple -- a sub woofer in a couple of the speakers on the rear deck, a lot of speakers around us here. We were talking a little bit earlier about the price on this car. >> Yeah. We were saying that it's about 34, 32 -- >> 32, actually. >> 32. And that's for everything. You get the big 3.8 liter engine, you get the navigation system, this is the top of the line Track Pack Genesis. I mean, that's pretty much where you get in the door in Infinity G37. I don't know if you really cross out these cars. I know Hyundai actually said with their own -- in their own materials that they were targeting the G37 as a bench mark. So I'm holding them to their own, you know, their own standard. But that's where you get in the door of a G37. That's before you add anything. That's a stripped-down model. >> I think it's funny too, you know, that you can't actually spend any more on this car. 32,000 is the most you can spend on a Hyundai Genesis Coupe. >> I'm sure I can find a way to spend more. >> Oh yeah. >> Oh yeah, trust me, we can find a way to spend more on it. Just wouldn't be in the factory accessories. All right guys, let's talk about this Genesis Coupe. The price comes to mind right away, right? I mean, this is a pretty scorching deal. >> Yeah. 32,000, and that's with the automatic transmission, which you don't want. >> Right. So take off what, probably a grand? >> Take off a grand for that and -- so bring it down to 31. So that's got your navigation, you've got your Track Pack which is good. I mean, I was actually just out blasting around in that car in the Santa Cruz mountains out here. A lot of great corners and just loving that Track Pack. I mine, that track suspension makes it handle those corners so well. And I was looking at the speedometer as I was taking these corners, and realizing wow, I rarely go this fast around these corners. >> Coming from Wayne, that says something. Believe me. And this time this car we got in that has the technology upgrade on it, Antuan was pointing out, has a G force meter and a fuel economy gauge side by side. >> Actually it's a torque -- it's an -- >> That's right, it's a torque thing and a fuel economy gauge. >> Basically, it's showing you how much torque you have available at any given time. So of course I guess kind of if you've ever seen a dino sheet, you'll know that as your revs go up your torque increases to a certain point. But it's very interesting because it's -- I don't know, it's just kind of weird. Because one of them will go up and the other will go down. >> You can never have both. >> [Inaudible] set it about mid range, and you step on the gas and it will do this number again. It's -- >> I don't know how valuable it is. Because when I was out driving just now, sport driving, I wasn't looking at that. There was no way I was going to be looking at that as I was, you know, looking at the corners ahead, you know, trying to figure out -- [ Multiple voices speaking ] >> -- dipping into the torque, you least want to look at a gauge of torque. >> I think it's cool to have. I mean -- it's like a cool little -- I guess they had to put something there. And rather than filling the whole thing up with a fuel economy gauge, which seems like their other alternative would have been, it's kind of easier -- >> Which would be too green for that car, too nerdy. >> -- look at. >> Yeah. Yeah. The screen Antuan, you thought was a little on the small side. >> It's only 640 by 480 on the resolution. It's really small -- >> But at least they didn't try to make it a big screen. Because that would look worse if it was 9 inches. So at least they kept the real estate small so the dot pitch wasn't too bad. >> It looked a little crappy to me. And it didn't really -- the whites didn't look particularly white. It looked a little yellowish. >> Yeah. Now I thought the -- I thought it had pretty good response. You thought it was kind of sluggish. You thought that the button response was pretty good. >> The actual, like, when you tap the screen response was good. But then you tap the screen and it would take it a second to slide the map over. >> Okay, okay yeah. The processing -- >> It was pulling the data down. >> Yeah, I noticed that with the zoom in and zoom out too. It was a little bit of a pause once you hit that. And I was actually testing the data to figure out if that's actually DVD or hard drive. [ Multiple voices speaking ] >> I think it's Flash-based. >> Really? >> I actually did a little bit of research after we got out of the car and I think it's Flash memory based. [ Multiple voices speaking ] >> Which is cool, but not performing too well. It's cool technology. >> Yeah. Well you know, a bad processor, and this was the problem with Volkswagen for a long time, still kind of is, is they would have these really slow processors. And so the -- they might even have a hard drive-based maps, but they just wouldn't refresh very fast because they've got some cheap graphics processor in there. >> Yeah, couldn't keep up. >> And the maps just don't keep up with where the car is. >> Yeah. We never really know what's causing these systems to run well or badly because it's a combination, like you say, of the CPU, the graphics subsystem, where the data is stored, you know, a whole lot of things are going on in there. And you know, the car makers don't make these systems. They buy them from vendors who do them for them, whether it's Denzo or Clairon or Panasonic and others, Pioneer, who make these systems who never have their name on them. So that's part of the -- part of the difference as well. It's sometimes hard to figure out. This car -- sorry. >> Back to the Genesis Coupe, I was just about to say that that navigation still does have traffic, though. Which is nice. >> Yeah. We saw a little snippet of that in the video. You can overlay a list of the issues, and it will also color the road by condition. >> And I've gotten really to rely on that. It's hard to drive a car without traffic on the nav because you know there's trouble spots and you know, you just kind of want to know about those in advance. Well especially -- because we've been in a lot of cars that have traffic in them, and we get used to it, you know, doing what we do. And anyone who has driven a car with traffic, once you go away from that -- >> You're spoiled. >> You're spoiled. You -- feels like a luxury, if you're listening to us and you've never driven a car that has traffic on the nav. But get used to it a little bit, it's like -- you feel like you're driving blind without it. It's like, I have no idea what's ahead of me. I know where the road is, I don't know what I'm about to drive into unless I turn the radio on and wait for some report that's 15 minutes away. So that's a little bit much. That car sounds really good. >> I was just listening in our recording there, some of that engine sound was coming through. >> Great. >> Yeah. Fantastic with the, you know, the foot on the accelerator, listening to that engine wind up. It's a good, meaty growl. That's the 3.8 liter V6, of course. We haven't driven the 2.4 liter. >> They're not putting that in the press [Inaudible] I wonder why. >> I've actually -- we've driven the 2.0 at the track. >> Did you? I haven't driven -- [ Multiple voices speaking ] >> -- at the track. And -- >> What was it like? >> I mean, it just seemed -- it didn't seem underpowered, but it's pretty much the same experience, but without any torque. >> Interesting. >> The engine -- like, the engine noise, of course, is that turbo transforce [Assumed spelling] kind of whine. But the car still feels strong. It just -- it's just a little gutless at the bottom end. >> Yeah. Just [Inaudible] has to get spooled up. >> It just seems like it just -- they put that car out because they know there's a tuner market of people who are willing -- just ready to tear that 2.0 liter engine apart and -- that's pretty much what it seems like that car is there for. >> Yeah. And that brings the price down. So a lot of the people who couldn't afford it can afford it. I mean, it's cheap enough as it is, but when you go to the 2, with the inline 4, it's a -- what is it, a mid-20s car -- mid -- >> It's pretty cheap. >> I think it starts at 22, actually. >> Yeah. I mean, it's a -- >> [Inaudible] price range at that point. >> It's amazing. That car prints more car than a civic. It prints, like, a substantial car. >> Yeah, yeah. It looks kind of meaty and big. >> It's kind of biggest. >> Yeah. You look at the side, it's not actually -- I was examining it closely, and the -- the proportions -- it actually looks shorter -- I think it's shorter than it looks, actually. >> Yeah. The lines fool you. Looks like you bought up a class in car. Especially if we can compare it reasonably to a Civic SI. It just looks like a different class of car. Civic SI prints inexpensive car. >> I've got to ask you guys. I don't really like the look of that car. The lines -- I don't know, I don't like the lines on it. I don't like that broken belt line down the side -- >> It's a little tortured, I think. >> Yeah. ^M00:36:30 [ Multiple voices speaking ] >> I think it looks better from certain angles. >> Yeah. That's a charitable way to put it. >> And I don't think that angle -- >> That's a nice way to put it, right. Let's go back. Do we have that image of that -- the Hyundai -- we had that up here a little while ago. Let's see if we can -- we go to the Hyundai site, I think we can take a look, because I've got to refresh my mind. I know the lines on it look a little bit busy. >> A lot of stuff going on. >> Yeah. A lot of stuff going on in terms of them trying to make it look hip, I think, and it kind of reminded me -- it replaced the Tiburon [Assumed spelling] didn't it? >> Well, not really. The Tiburon was a front wheel drive. But I guess -- >> All right. But it kind of placed it in their line up, even though it's much more car. Yeah. There it is there. Definitely trying to be a G, isn't it? >> It's got those lines down the hood, which kind of bring in the hood off of the front fenders. >> Yeah, it's almost too much. >> Yeah. >> Yeah. >> Yeah, I think it only just really gets -- >> Beats the hell of the Tiburon. >> Yeah. >> The Tiburon was a little silly-looking car. I mean, I almost -- I wanted to buy one of those, but I don't want to admit that too often. >> I think that -- right before they cancelled it actually looked a little -- it looked good, toward the end, like their engine was not good. They threw that V6 in it that had no power. >> Oh, that's right. I forgot about that. They tried to bail it out at the last minute there. Okay, any other thoughts on the Genesis Coupe? >> Well, one thing I want to point out too, messing around with the technology a little bit more, the cabin tech, this has the really cool new Bluetooth phone system that we've seen in the Kias as well. You pair your phone up to it, it reads your address book, and then you say, you know, call Antuan Goodwin -- >> It just knows. It's Sync -like, in that respect. >> Exactly. Works just like Sync. It will say office, home, or cell. >> Even with my odd-spelled first name. >> I know, because Antuan's not spelled the French way. >> No, it's spelled Spanish. ^M00:38:05 [ Laughter ] >> But the funny thing about this though, and I don't know if this is just a glitch with the iPhone, connecting an iPhone to, like, the Hyundai and the Kia systems. But it does last name first. >> Oh, that's right. I noticed that in the Kia we were testing. >> Yes. So actually with iPhone paired to the system, I'd have to say Goodwin, Antuan. >> Yeah. And if you don't know that it's going to not find the name. >> It will find something approximate. >> Do you have your iPhone Synced to exchange? >> Yeah. I do. >> I think it might be something about -- [ Multiple voices speaking ] >> There's an extra field in Outlook where it's -- what your name is, and what your name is listed as. Then it may be pulling that -- [ Multiple voices speaking ] >> Yeah, it's reading the -- that might be your problem. >> Yeah, it's kind of goofy though. I also noticed another little issue about it today too. I had my -- well, I thought I had my iPhone paired to it. I jumped in the car, hooked the iPhone -- the iPod connector up as well. Driving along, listening to music. Noticed it wasn't actually paired to the Bluetooth system. And so I pulled over because I wanted to get the phone functionality there too. Pulled over, paired it to the Bluetooth system, and then suddenly the music stops. And I'm going like, what, okay. Start messing around with it. Eventually just had to unplug it from the iPod connector, replug it in, music starts, the phone part's paired up. So it worked fine. >> I had a little bit of a bugginess using my Bold, which has H2DP streaming. I paired it with -- under the phone menu, which should pair everything. The media-streaming and the hands-free. We were doing a how-to video on how to do that. And every other time I tried it, it would just do the phone technology and it wouldn't pair the media playback. So I don't know if there's a glitch there, or if we were just doing it too many times in a row and the car got confused. But we do have H2DP stereo wireless Bluetooth streaming in that car also, which I guess is part of that ungraded head unit. I don't think the non-nav car has that. That's real nice, because then you have no cable or wire to worry about. You are just streaming. But you are of course not going to be able to charge your device that way like you would with the iPhone or the iPod cable. The last thing I want to talk about was the transmission on that car. We had an automatic this time. Manual last time. Remember, that car was a real -- it was real hard -- not hard driving, but it was real firm inputs on everything. It was a real track-feeling car, even though it didn't have the Track Pack on it. But I mean, the transmission was really rigid feeling and the power got to the wheels really crisply. Did we lose a lot of that? >> Well you know, actually that car reminded -- I was thinking about it today. That car reminded me a lot of the Corvette. The Corvette has that, you know, excellently-engineered car, but it has that kind of real mechanical feeling to it, where -- >> Real direct. >> Yeah. Real direct. But also very mechanical. Where you get into a Ferrari, and it kind of smooths over all that stuff. >> Yeah. Well it better. >> Yeah. >> That extra 150 grand better go somewhere. >> Yeah. It's kind of just a little more refined experience all around. And the Hyundai Genesis Coupe has that same kind of brutish mechanical -- >> Yeah, you're right. Brutish. That's kind of what it feels like. Real -- kind of like -- almost like an old-school car. >> Yeah. The automatic -- six-speed automatic kind of smooths over that. It's got paddles on the steering wheel so you can manually shift with those. But it's got that torque -- torque converter softness to the shifts which -- it was disappointing. >> Little slippery. >> Yeah. >> Yeah. >> You know, you don't get those -- I mean, I was just wishing for a DSG or something when I was pushing those paddles. >> It's just an automatic. Nothing special. It's not a DSG. It's not even a terribly advanced automatic. They don't brag much about it. They just say it's six-speed automatic with paddles. >> Right. Don't want to push the clutch that's your option. >> I'm glad it's a six-speed automatic and not a five or a four. Can you imagine? >> At that price it could have been a five-speed, and you really couldn't knock them for it. It's like, well all right, the thing came in at 32 tops, so yeah, I would -- cut them some slack. But a six is a relatively advanced automatic these days. It's not an eight. But it's not -- it's no slouch. It's not a stale gearbox. All right folks, so that is one of the latest cars we have in the CNET garage. It's the Hyundai Genesis Coupe with the Track Pack and the navigation rig, which is upgraded from the last Genesis Coupe that we had in. And don't forget like I mentioned we've got a lot of great cars coming in, including two very hot convertibles, the 650i from BMW, the 2010, and we've got the new Nissan 370 Z Roadster. If you want to get a sneak-peak, go check over at cars.cnet.com where Wayne got an early drive on it. But our full review and video are still pending. And that car comes in about a week-and-a-half, two weeks. We'll have that up for you ASAP. That's our show for this week. Remember how to get a hold of us. E-mail is easy. Car Tech at cnet.com, all three of us get that at the same time. Show notes. Car Tech dot cnet.com. It's where you can find all of our past shows. We're all on Twitter. I'm Brian Cooley. B-R-I-A-N C-O-O-L-E-Y -- Antuan is Antgoo -- A-N-T-G-O-O -- don't ask, and Wayne is Waynec_sf on Twitter. We'll see you next week. Thanks.

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