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Cooley On Cars
2015 Honda CR-V: Revised, but not ruined (CNET On Cars, Episode 69)Brian Cooley delves into the secret sauce of the latest Honda CR-V, shows you some techie headlight upgrades for your old auto, and (barely) takes a look at invisible cars.
Honda's CRV, 20 years on, what did they just change? Forget your flying car, your invisible car is coming first. And the top five car makers in the world. It's time to check the tech. [BLANK_AUDIO] We see cars differently. We love them on the road And under the hood. But also check the tech, and are known for telling it like it is. Ugly is included at no extra costs. The good, the bad, the bottom line, this is CNET On Cars. [MUSIC] Welcome to CNET On Cars, the show all about high-tech cars and modern driving. I'm Brian Cooley. Well the Honda CR-V is just about the most humble car we've ever featured at the top of our show. But it deserved this slot. As it celebrates 20 years, it is currently the best-selling compact crossover in the US market. And that is saying something. For 15, they gave the vehicle a pretty good refresh. A little different look outside, whole lot of new tech under the sheet metal. Let's drive a 2015 touring with all wheel drive, and in root beer brown, and check the tech. [SOUND] Now, as you can see, to be sure they didn't do major surgery on this latest CRV, but enough to make it spottable. Take a look at the front face. It no longer has these kind of fussy three chrome bars of the outgoing model. Now it looks more like a Civic and it's a little more aggressive or sporty looking. Out back they got rid of this kinda goofy smile-like feature line, straightened it out. In general, the car looks a little more macho, a little more [UNKNOWN]. [MUSIC] Now, inside One of the first things you'll notice is a new set of head units that are the big 7-inch touchscreen type. This is the high end one in this vehicle. I've never been a big fan of Honda navigation. As you know, it's a clunky interface. It's poorly rendered. Since Honda locks out lots of inputs while the car is moving, and has no control on the upper handwriting pad, you better love their voice rack. I often don't. Go to nearest Chinese restaurant. Pardon, you're command was heard. Basically, they can't put any bins in this car that holds razor blades, cyanide, or a gun. If you'd use or all three after you try to figure out what Mode you can be in to issue what voice command. Luckily, you've now got a new option, at least on your iOS device. For 60 bucks you can download and install this Honda Link navigation app, which is cloud connected. You can enter addresses. Addresses via voice skier in one phrase. it's fundamentally better than this. You've also got a new Aha app in here that runs from the phone, shows up on the dash as does the nav. Now, to get what's on the phone on the dash you need to get a $100 cable kit that they sell, which is a combination of USB and HDMI From your iOS device, no Android yet, to get that on the screen. That is a horsey expensive mess. But here's what they call their MID, their Multi Information Display. This button on the wheel takes you through a few helper screens that allows you to split things up. Put entertainment away up there, while you focus on nav down here, is a common scenario. When it comes to your media sources, you got the usual, plus nice touches include Pandora integrated here, HD radio, you now have two USB ports in the console. Beyond entertainment, your drive control in this vehicle are going to be a one-choice only CVT gearbox, and you've got a sport mode here as a gear position, not as an overall powertrain modifier. There's no sport button, for example. Beyond that, all of this is nestled in one of the nicer looking cabins in its class. This is a mature, quality feel for not much money. [MUSIC] And if you thought Mazda SkyActive was a stupid name for an engine try EarthDreams. What does that mean? Well it means different things in different Honda engines. In this one it means they've introduced direct injection and reduced the friction of the internal moving parts. The results are good. 185 horsepower same as last year but it comes at a lower rpm. And 181 pound-feet of torque. That's 11% better than last year, while the MPG went up 4 city, and up 3 highway. That means 26 city, 33 highway through this all wheel drive powertrain with now, a CVT, continuously variable transmission. That's also new in this year's CRV. [MUSIC] Now a CRV is not a high performance vehicle. Power though is adequate. I don't have any problem with it. And clearly that additional torque and lowe RPM ceiling for max horsepower are helping. And an awful lot of kind of a crappy engine note coming through the engine bay. Even though they supposedly put a lot more sound insulation in, they could add some more. To go along with that grating engine. Engine sound coming in is a rather grating ride quality. And it's been improved they tell me from the last generation, but it could use some more. It's a nervous ride. It can be fatiguing. You feel every crack in the pavement unless the pavement's really nice. This transmission is CVT. I give a lot of these knocks. This is a real nice one. I didn't even know was a CVT when I first drove the car. I always drive these cars knowing nothing about them to try and feel them without preconception. I thought this had a standard automatic, which is high praise for a CVT. No paddles or any other nonsense, as I showed you earlier. It's a straightforward drivetrain. There's also no settings for the all wheel drive It's just there, and it's working. Now all new on the CRV this time around are driver assist technologies. Like lane keep warning, and active lane keep assist. You hit a button right here on the right side of the wheel, and this guy's gonna steer itself within the lane lines. And it's actually really aggressive. In fact, it's kind of eerie to me, driving the car and feel how How hard it's pushing the wheel when it wants to keep you in the middle of the lane. The various adaptive drive technologies take over in a patchwork of speeds. Lane Keep tech works from 45 to 90 miles an hour. Forward collision braking up to about 62 miles an hour. And Adaptive Cruise only above 22 miles an hour. So it can't handle a really congested freeway map. Still this is a lot of pseudo self driving tech for an inexpensive little compact crossover. And one of the most useful driver assist technologies is this one. I hit the right signal, and there's a camera over there in the right hand mirror that gives me this excellent view on the dash. To see if I'm about to cut off someone, like a cyclist over there or whatever's on my right side. That's one of the best visual technologies in a car today. I don't know why no one else does it, unless you guys have it tied up with a back [MUSIC] Our CR-V is a touring model, so it's got just about all the bells and whistles included base. That's about $32,500. If you want all wheel drive, it's $1,250 more. There are a couple of dealer installed options you might want. Remote start, and some rear sonar to augment your rear camera. All in, we're looking at about $34,700 is about as Hard as you can push one of these. Overall, as you can see, Honda has not changed the mission or the role of the CRV. They just made it nicer all around. Under the hood you're getting better power and more MPG. Inside the cabin a better attempt at cabin tech, though still a work in progress. And the adaptive driver assist tech is all new in This vehicle. If you liked the CR-V before, there's more to like about it now. It's basically grown up market a bit. [SOUND] [MUSIC] Find the full review on the CR-V the new 15 at cars.cnet.com. Well a lacks tether is ither something you know all about or have never used depending on whether you're a parent or not. They're those hooks that live in the back seat of your car for lashing down child seats. But it turns out a lot of them don't do their job very well. The first review of them by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is out and we're gonna explain why so many fall down on the job for the smarter driver when C-Net On Cars returns. [MUSIC] [BLANK_AUDIO] [MUSIC] LATCH, lower anchors and tethers for children. The special child seat connectors you're supposed to use to secure your kid's car seat, not the seat belt. They've been required on new cars in the US. Since September 2002. But of 102 cars just reviewed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, three were found to have good latch tethers. The rest, not so much. Parents shouldn't have to struggle to install a child restraint. Latches meant to simplify the process, but it doesn't always succeed. It's not that poor rated latch tethers aren't safe and solid, it's that they aren't easy to use. And in the practical world, that's tantamount to a lack of safety. Too often they're hard to connect right, parents get it wrong. The FED's say three out of four times. So the IIHS set these five simple criteria for a latch to be considered good. Lower anchors not buried more than three-quarters of an inch down in the seat. At least a 54 degree angle of approach as you're trying to connect to the lower anchor Less than 40 lbs of force required to attach a connector. Upper anchors on the rear shelf or no more than 15% of the way down the seat back on an SUV or a truck for example. And no other connectors should be near the latch tether that could be confused for it. Some vehicles make it a challenge to find the tethering. Anchor. In this Toyota Sienna, which gets a poor rating, this is the tether anchor. It would be easy to get confused by other hardware. The three tested vehicles that nailed all five were the BMW 5 series, the Mercedes GL SUV, and Volkswagen's Passat. But that doesn't meant you can shop with confidence by brand. Other tested Mercedes only scored acceptable. All other tested BMWs, marginal. And VW's Jetta, poor. It pays to double check that you know how to fasten the latch tethers in your car, even if they're not very good. And if you have kids and are shopping for a new car, make sure you know which ones make using this technology. Less of a pain in the latch. [MUSIC] Welcome back CNet ONCARS. Coming to you from our home at the Marine club house at the Mount Tam Motor Club just north of the Golden Gate Bridge. Well, most of us some time ago gave up on the idea of the flying car. But amazing us in it's place is the coming invisible car Car. And this is not entirely science fiction. At least parts of your car may be see-through some time soon. Makes for a fascinating Car Tech 101. [MUSIC] Mercedes got some buzz a few years ago with a car wrapped in LEDs on one side and cameras on the other, passing through a live image Image that created this illusion of invisibility. But that was just a promotional stunt. Check out Nissan's rear-view mirror, that uses a back-facing image to feed an image that is free of rear seats, body pillars or the heads of back Seat passengers. Why isn't every car doing this already? [MUSIC] Jaguar's looking forward in its current work to develop interior pillars that are upholstered in flexible display material and that's fed by exterior cameras. No more losing pedestrians in those ever thickening pillars these days. [MUSIC] The cameras are the easy part And judging by what LG has been showing lately, the screens may be as well. Jaguar's sibling land rover is developing a full-width HUD that could fill the lower part of the windshield with an image from chin-mounted cameras, seemingly rendering the engine bay empty and see-through. Beyond off road precision, imagine the reduction in things run over in garages. Samsung isn't in the truck business, yet, but they think their displays should be on the backs of them. Connected to cameras on the front to give the car behind a view through the giant thing. Making that judgement to pass or not more based on knowledge and less on prayer. [MUSIC] And Mini, and Qualcomm are working on augmented reality glasses that would do more than that usual display of information in your field of vision. Turn to look over your shoulder to park, and suddenly your eyes are on extension cords. Having to look like a house fly is, perhaps, a small price to pay to avoid curbing your nice alloys. [MUSIC] In a moment, better headlights on your older car and top five carmakers, when CNET On Cars returns. [MUSIC] [BLANK_AUDIO] [MUSIC] It's been a while since the last Honda Civic type R bowed out. From 1997 to 2010 it was the poster child of low cost, high tech, naturally aspirated tunery. Now in 2015, it's back. This time, it's got turbo. It's a Honda Civic. It's a shopping cart, but it goes quickly. Buy more from the XCAR team of CNET UK at cnet.com/xcar. Welcome back to CNET On Cars. I'm Brian Cooley. That part of the show we take one of your emails, and this time it comes in from Jamie M. He's got a headlight question. He says, Thank you very much for covering the topic of Halogen, HID, and LED bulbs in the past. I was wondering if you knew of any resources, or techniques to improve the lighting on cars that are Too old, or just don't have the option for HID or LED lamps. Well, interesting question Jimmy with about four or five answers to it. Let me start with this idea of HID cuz everyone's talking about that these days. Those are those bright white, almost blue white headlights you see on most modern cars. If your car doesn't have them You can possibly get an adapter kit like this that will let you install those bulbs. And you have to have a car that has removable bulb modules and once you do that, this grafts on new bulbs that are HID and these little ballasts you see in here that are going to step up your car's 12 volt To thousands of volts that are required to get that bulb fired and that's why it's so bright. I've never seen a brand name of one of these, I'm not even sure how to pronounce that, but there's a ton of them out there on Amazon and different shopping sites. They're not terribly expensive, but shopper beware. In terms of LED headlights, those are really the latest and as far as I know that's a factory installed technology right now. There might be an add-on kit out there, but I'm not sure how, it's gotta actually match the mold and shape of the headlight module. That's why it tends to come from the factory. Now the exception to all this is if you just want LED bulbs as opposed to a true LED headlamp assembly You can get old school LED headlights now for vintage cars. Or LED bulbs that pop into the lamp of a more modern car, replacing either a halogen or HID you got in there now. But remember, this gives you LED bulbs, not a complete headlamp designed to take advantage of LED. Now much simpler than going to HID, and the results will be a little less, is to just make sure you've got a good halogen sealed beam if your car's of that age. You didn't say how old your car was. Sylvania and the other guys make these retrofit headlights. That are sealed beams. You can't take the bulb out but they do have a halogen bulb inside. Instead of one of the more yellowy incandescents from back in the day. You just pop these in put the plug on that's it. This is like a five minute upgrade. Now if your car is new enough to have replaceable bulbs instead of a seal beam like that Make sure you've got some good quality bulbs, and these are also a quick retrofit. It's the same process as changing a burned bulb. You just put in one that's got a little brighter, whiter light, and you can look this up on the application chart of any of the companies that make these. Like Phillips in this case and several others down at the auto parts store. By the way, upgrade these in pairs so you don't have different kinds of light coming off each side of your car. Now, if you've got a vintage car, like 70s or earlier and you wanna upgrade the lights. Consider putting in European headlights I'm not sure these are strictly legal, even today, in the US. But I've got them in a few of my cars, and there are not a lot of complaints. Here's one from Cibie, for example, one of the legendary French headlight manufacturers. The Europeans, back then, always had better headlights, because they had a different cutoff pattern. And they just threw more light. These modules can drop into a standard five or seven inch round headlight port, that you have on your car now. But it's not a sealed beam, you pop in a nice light bulb here in the back. Kind of like modern headlights, which tend to give off better light. Combined with this better cutoff and beam pattern. And you're gonna get a lot more satisfying throw on the road. Most important, For any older car, I would suggest that you make sure the headlights are running through a relay to the battery. Let me show you on this old Alfa. Now on almost all older cars, here's what they do that isn't really cool. Power comes from the battery, works its way over here to the fuse box then from the headlamp fuse goes over to the headlight switch, that switch then sends it on back up here to the headlight. That's a lot of run of wire, which tends to be not the heaviest wire. So it gets overheated by having a lot of current running through it. It's just asking for trouble. What you do when you relay your headlights, is run the power from the battery directly to the headlight in the shortest possible run using a relay. A relay is just an electrically controlled switch. It does what your headlight switch does, but does it electrically. So your headlight switch now, all it's doing is turning the relay on and off. That requires very little current, just a tiny little amount. While the hard work is all done locally up here. And you're not sending all this headlight current all over the car to get there. The key benefits here are brighter lights, more consistent headlights that are less likely to be interrupted by things like tapping on your break. It's also less likely to have overheating, fraying, old wired than cause failure, or a fire. It takes a few hours to do if you know a little bit about automotive wiring. If not, an independent shop can knock it out for probably a couple hundred bucks. We've had requests from several of you to cover cars that aren't sold in the US market, namely French Mention Chinese brand cars, and we're working on that. But in the meantime, as we were crunching some of the numbers around that plan, we noticed that there's a good top five to be told. Top 5 world automakers. Not auto makes, automakers. [MUSIC] Number five, the Hyundai-Kia Group., 8 million cars sold, up 7% year on year. Now, Hyundai-Kia's been a huge growth story for several years. Taking its solid place as a member of the big five. Their portfolio of car brands is perhaps the simplest on today's list. Basically, Hyundai and Kia But they are part of perhaps the most diversified family conglomerate in our list. It includes steel, shipping, machine tools, finance, aerospace, and their original industry construction. Number 4, Renault-Nissan. 8.5 million up to 2.5%. These two formed a tight partnership back in 1999 Under it are Nissan, Renault, Infiniti, Dacia, Lada, and important stake in AvtoVAZ in Russia, and a partnership with Daimler that will soon produce the first Mercedes pickup truck. Nope, not coming to the US. Here, Mercedes is seen strictly as a luxury brand, never as a taxi or a truck. Now we enter the tight race Between the global big three. Number three, General Motors, 9.9 Million up 2%. GM was number one for over 75 years. But it's the only car maker now to have slid a spot on this list. From number two in 2013 to it's current number three. And now, not because its sales dropped, but because number two grew even. Then faster. GM is huge beyond it's American brands in Chevy and Cadillac, for example, they have Holden in Australia, Opel and Vauxhall in Europe, ten different car making operations in China, which is also where Buick does most of it's sales. Number two, the Volkswagen group 10.14 million, up 4% last year. And crossing the 10 million line for the first time in company history. They've been talking about soon being the world's biggest automaker. Now if the VW Group succeeds, it would do so with the wildest portfolio in the entire big five VW, Audi, Porsche ,Bently, Lambrogeni, Seat, Skoda. Skania trucks, Ducati bikes a big slice of Suzuki and two joint ventures in china. Its ownership is also rather interesting [UNKNOWN] Largely split between Porsche, and the government of Lower Saxony. Don't ask. [SOUND] Before I get to the number one, where are all these cars made? According to the numbers of the International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufactures, China makes the biggest slice of the worlds 85 million cars, followed by the US, Japan, Germany, and South Korea. Oh, by the way, take out commercial vehicles And the US drops from number two to number four. The biggest car maker in the world, is Toyota. 10.23 million up 2.5%. Tight race at the top as you can see. But Toyota has nudged out VW so far for number one. Using its namesake brand, along with Lexus. Scion, Hino trucks ram ZBs in china. Majority control of Daihatsu they've got a stake in Fuji heavy industries that's Subaru as well as a peice of Izuzu. The interesting story to watch at the top of 2016 is will Toyota drop to number 2 and VW go to the top spot for the first time? So far mid-year VoltsWagon is ahead by 82000 cars. Thanks for watching. I hope you enjoyed this episode. Dont forget to look for us on your favorite streaming platform we're probably there as well as on c/net on cars.com. And keep those emails coming. That's email@example.com This is our show, we build it together. I'll see you next time we check the texts. [BLANK_AUDIO] [MUSIC] [SOUND]