Are you the person Lincoln wants in its new car? (CNET On Cars, Ep. 106)
Cooley On Cars
Resurrecting a classic.
Genius or foolish?
Getting the most important set of drivers to love autonomy.
And my top five car technologies that are close but not quite there yet.
It's time to check the tech.
We see cars differently.
We love them on the road, and under the hood, but also check the tech, and.
And are known for telling it like it is.
Ugly is included at no extra cost.
The good, the bad, the bottom line, this is CNET On Cars.
Welcome to CNET On Cars, the show all about high tech cars and modern driving, I'm Brian Cooley.
I recall being at a dinner with Ford Executives a few years ago when Hau Tai Tang, then the Mustang engineering boss Leaned over to me and said, if the Continental were to come back, what do you think it should be like?
Now that's an interesting question.
Because you're talking about reviving one of the maybe ten truly iconic American cars in history in all of it's fabulous slab-sided glory.
We no longer have to speculate because it's here.
Let's take a look at the all new 2017 Lincoln Continental and check the tech.
Now obviously, the new Continental is nowhere near as distinctive as the old Kennedy Lincolns.
You can't do that anymore.
Regulations and realities have put car design into a much more smaller box.
That said, I belive there's a styling triumph going on here because you are looking at, effectively, a long wheel based cabin car that doesn't really look like it to my eye.
And that matters because I think any sedan over 40 grand where you ever hear the phrase let me move my seat up for you, has failed.
I mean the Continental's rear seat leg room is outstanding.
I'm sitting behind a seat adjusted for me.
So you got a 6'2 in the front, you got a 6'2 guy in the back and everybody's happy.
Now I can't say the same for the head room.
As you can see Of course we do have the panoramic group that brings things down a little but, I'm not crazy about that.
We do have optimal rear seats in this car as well, that have recline, massage and of course the chauffeur buttons up here so I can move this unoccupied seat up because I'm back here and the driver is up there.
Guess what market that's aimed at?
Now, speaking of door handles, all the releases inside the Continental are these electric buttons down here.
In case of an outage, the driver's got a mechanical backup lever.
Everybody else here has got to pray that the power's not out because of a fire.
These are the optional 30 way adjustable.
I'm not kidding, look at those buttons over there on the door.
I don't know if I'd ever figure these out, to be honest.
Luckily you got presets.
So if you happen to get them set up right after a year of ownership, just save it and never touch it again, you also have 24 way seats below these 10 way seats below those, it's [UNKNOWN] in this car.
Sort of a very chromy [UNKNOWN] Mercedes look meets Audi architecture but with also a few hints and cues of Volvo like on these [UNKNOWN] rings around some knobs though Has none of the Swede's restraint.
Now in terms of the head unit, I like SYNC3.
I have ever since it came out, and this is a nice rendition of it.
Colors are tuned to the car and all, but in general the more I use automotive OEM head units, the more I don't want any of them.
My phone platform knows me better and does voice better.
Showing results for find the nearest place for pizza.
Luckily>> We have Android auto on car placed support in here.>> Now the instrument panel is also all LCD as you see.
Which is rapidly becoming the vogue in any car over about 40 grand.
You can go traditional gauge which I like.
Or you can also go to some really avant guard layouts that almost don't look like an automotive dashboard.
But they say credibly they want to inform but not overwhelm.
And I salute that.
Now, once you pushed the button to start your new Lincoln.
The first that greets on me is this shifter arrangement.
There's just something wrong about having your drive controls like that Look and feel identical.
It requires you use some frontal cortex as you change gears and drive modes, and that should instead be solely doable by lizard brain.
I bet they change that by the 2018s.
Once underway you immediately realize, yep, that's the 3.0 liter twin turbo, 400 horse and 400 Is outstandingly well delivered in this car.
Six speed automatic is nothing exotic but when you're in regular drive mode the shifts are absolutely subtle and smooth I like that.
Downmarket from our engine is a 2.7 litre twin turbo V6 doing 335 horse.
Below that, counterintuitively, is the biggest engine, the 3.7 litre non-turbo V6 with a full 95 less horsepower than our car.
Now both of those are available in front wheel drive or all wheel drive, and by the way, the MPG difference between the three power trains is almost nil.
When you go to sport mode, things are different.
The car will hold gears longer, shifts are tighter and faster, and if you select, it will also tighten up the suspension, which brings me to my next gripe, if you don't firm up the suspension with those settings This car kind of porpoises a lot, I was surprised by that in this day and age.
If you leave it in comfort mode you kind of get the nose and the **** alternating top altitude a little too much.
That 400 pounds and 400 horse are handled nicely by that all wheel drive you can see there, if you've got an all-wheel drive vehicle, which also includes rear wheel torque.
Vectoring, pretty sophisticated.
By the way, self parking is not that uncommon these days, but what I think is interesting is not how well the car parks but how well it identifies a spot, and this car was really good about that.
If you go to this control here on the wheel, you can see a number.
Choices for driver assistance.
None of which are ground breaking, but just about everything is in here including full automatic emergency braking down to complete brake force.
Now the highest benefit or the biggest challenge of this new Continental is the new part.
Folks the recall the Continental's heyday, they're all dead by now or so old that Ford really doesn't this car to be seen with them driving it.
It's not as they try to relaunch the Lincoln brand with more vitality in youth.
I know there are those that say, you can't go back.
Now, for about 45,6, you can get into one of these new continentals, but not this new continental.
Ours is pretty loaded.
The base car's gonna have a 3.7 liter non-turbo, naturally aspirated V6 And front wheel drive.
Now Lincoln's been doing OK lately.
Their sales were up 7% on cars in 2016, while Ford's, in comparison, were off about 14% as I recall.
And their loyalty to this brand is also improving.
Now the cynical hard eyed analyst might say none of that matters.
This car is built for China, and any sales in the U.S. are basically gravy.
Whatever the strategy may be, they've really done something here that has a unique flavor and stands out in a sea of competitors, few of which are American.
If you want a full dive on the new Continental, head on over to TheRoadShow.com.
Now, as we talk about autonomous driving, which we do a lot on this show, it ranges in levels, from current adaptive cruise control, to a future car that might not even have a wheel and pedals.
But, along the way, it's not just about engineering what the car will do But engineering the mind of the consumer who has to embrace it.
That means you've got to appeal to the smarter driver.
Ever notice how carmakers show you the future of autonomy by portraying young, hip urbanites driving such cars behind the now not so necessary wheel?
But that might not be the right approach.
Maybe to get the most benefits out of autonomy, job one should be selling it to the senior driver.
A recent survey by the AAA Foundation found it all starts to go to hell behind the wheel right around your mid-60s.
That's when your number of accidents per mile go up.
Your number of injuries per mile go up.
Fatalities per mile also go up.
So it makes sense that maybe you push it to the older drivers first before you start hawking it to the young taste maker urbanites who value things like an espresso machine in the dash.
But here's the problem, you can't sell autonomy to an audience that doesn't want it.
Do the senior drivers care MIT's age lab, take a look at this.
They served aid over 3,000 car owners in 2016, including a third of them over the age of 65.
Older drivers like the idea of a partial of fully self driving car that is much as they like a surly teenage grandkid.
They do lighten up however when you start to talk about driver.
And anything less than driver assist, they're also not crazy about.
So this is a Goldilocks story.
[NOISE] Okay so if older drivers are leery of self-driving cars, can we get them into Rideshare as their skills begin to fade?
Ride sharing appeals to just 22% of people 65-74 and a real paltry 16% of those over 74.
Compare that to 56% of 25-34 who like the idea of Uber and Lyft.
None of this advanced driver assist tech is gonna make a difference if the driver doesn't understand then use it.
MIT found that most drivers say they learned the tech in their car by reading the manual, imagine that, or just poking at the buttons until it does something.
Ask those same people how they prefer to learn their car's tech, and the owner's manual's still number one.
But followed by having the car teach them or going on YouTube.
And again cut that data for the older driver and they fall back pretty hard on the Owner's Manual.
So you know what, that crappy, dusty [UNKNOWN] used to be done a little better.
So bottom line, if your folks are starting to get a little squirrely behind the wheel.
You need to be looking now at the advanced driver assist that are on the market already.
That's the good news.
There's no waiting for some autonomous future.
Automatic emergency braking, lane keep that's active, ditto for blind spot tech.
That triumvirate can make a big difference and I'm pretty sure they're gonna be okay with it.
When I come back, your emails including how your hi-tech parking brake can become a prison and why Porsches fetch so damn much money when CNET on Cars rolls on.
Okay, let's get to your email.
I've got a varied bag this week.
First one comes in from Alex L., he's in Toronto.
He asks, why do Porsche 911s seem to have next to no depreciation It almost begs the question, he asks, why anybody would buy an M3 or M4 or a C63 AMG.
Better badge, similar performance, longer lifespan and better lower overall cost is how sees 911 versus some of the other guys.
Now First of all, them's fighting words.
But I'm not gonna get into the middle of this, Alex.
[LAUGH] You're not drawing me into this.
But I will look at the values of these cars and not try and rank which one is better than the other.
Let's use the numbers from alg.
ALG one of the absolute bibles in terms of car depreciation.
First, two year residuals where you might see a common lease return.
Mercedes F550, known as one of the kings of the money losers, has only 53% left after two years.
Followed by M4 Coupe, C63 Coupe 911 Turbo, S and base 911, like with that S class, let's throw in a Honda CR-V as an industry benchmark on the other end.
Now let's look at six year residuals, that S class is down to a quarter of it's original sticker.
Not too much different for the M4, C63 gets better.
You're into the 30s with 911s and, of course our benchmark CR-V is close to half.
So there is a healthier residual on the 911s.
But it's not night and day.
It's not life changing money.
Although I agree with you, the impression around 911s is that they are like a gold mine, an investment from day one, even on a new one.
First of all, let's take a look at what's going on here.
Porsche is really good about having a savvy pipeline.
They know what cars to make.
And they all sell.
They have tight to nonexistent inventories on certain models.
They just don't have a lot of float but they are trying to move with promotional pricing.
That does wonders for your residual.
Then you've got idea that the classic 911s have been on a tear.
That's a nice halo for modern 911s though it's not really directly connected but halo's a big deal in the car business.
This is a car you buy because you want, not because you need it.
Nobody needs a 911.
As a result, you're more likely to pay whatever the going rate is.
Look at the price of these cars.
They start at 100 now.
That's amazing, if you think about it.
And finally, the 911 truly can be said to be a car that occupies a class of 1.
If you want a 911 There is really only a 911 in terms of the whole package and that also makes it valuable upfront and valuable at the back side in terms of residuals.
Okay the next email comes in from [UNKNOWN] who is in Malaysia and he says, my mum just bought a Honda HR-V equipped with an electronic parking brake.
I am worried that one day if the battery is dead how she'll release the electronic parking brake?
Is there some sort of emergency release by foot or hand that he's wondering if he just hasn't spotted.
This is an interesting question.
Now electronic parking brakes used to be very exotic on the traditional sort of luxury and high tech cars.
Now they've become pretty common.
I'd say they've hit critical mass.
I'd say more than half the cars that we get in.
Are gonna have an EPV on them these days, and not a foot pedal or a pull-up hand break in the console as we saw for so many years.
Now, a big part of why they're doing this is because it frees up space, not just in the console, for things people want more like cup holders, but also in the guts of the car.
There's no cable running under the console and out to a couple of pulleys and back to some caliper levers on the brakes.
All that stuff goes away.
You just basically have wires, which take up very little room.
Another nice benefit of EPB that carmakers like is that the thing never feels like it needs adjustment.
You know how sometimes your hand brake will come up too far as the pads wear and it needs adjustment?
That's not a great consumer feeling.
It's not a satisfaction scoring sort of thing.
So when you have an electronic break that always feel the same That's a nice sort of a consumer interface.
Here is the bottom line to answer your question.
When the battery is dead the car isn't moving that's how electronic parking brakes work.
They have to have some power to release those actuators and give the car to role again.
That means you need to have either a jumper cable to another car.
Or one of these little portable jumpers that have become all the rage lately.
Just keep that in the car.
Or you've got to call a tow truck to apply power to unlock the brakes to even tow the car somewhere.
It's called out in your HRV owner's manual, even though it's in a small box that you might have missed.
And confirmed to us by Honda.
Coming up, more of your emails.
Asking why some car's brakes are here.
Or here and one that leads me to a top five when CNET OnCars returns.
Okay, next email comes in from Hi, who say, I have a question regarding how and why car makers decide where to place the brake calibers on their vehicles.
You see them all the time through alloy wheels, and they're never quite in the same place as another car.
Some place them at nine o' clock, he notices.
Some at 11 o' clock.
Is there a strategic reason behind this?
This or does it just have to do with packaging based on suspension and such?
Well Hy, you're on to the right thing.
Now, where brake calipers and the pads within them live on the rotor, does not have an effect on how well they break.
Breaking is based on the size of the rotor and its diameter.
It's based on the size of the pad.
It's based on the number of pistons that are pressing on the pad to get really good force.
The amount of the rotor that passes under pad in one rotation is called swept area, and swept area is kind of the key formula they use to figure out how much breaking a caliper can do on a given rotor in an actual car on the road.
Enough of that, let's take a look at why they put them in different places around the rotor, since obviously, it doesn't matter to breaking performance.
What they do or try to do is make sure they clear suspension parts like you're mentioning.
The brake is part of unsprung mass, it's part of the wheel, and all the part around it there, the tire.
And that stuff moves up and down and as it moves it doesn't want to collide with suspension pieces, obviously, that might be in the area.
Secondly, they do take a look at packaging around the body, putting the caliber where it can move and not bang into inner fender well, for example.
Another consideration is cooling.
Placing that California plates where it gets a nice flow of air which certainly assist with cooling the caliber as well as cooling what is typically today a sandwich construction ventilated rotor or disk in the middle.
And finally, they do wanna put it where it maybe won't get quite as much water and dirt being thrown up into the thing constantly mile after mile.
Because that's not good for the mechanism.
Although, brakes are pretty tough And the whole assembly of rotor, pad, and caliper tends to shed just about anything pretty quickly, but they do it for packaging, not for brake effectiveness.
Okay our last email for this show comes in from Howard B from Minnesota and he starts off with a quote from legendary coach John Wooden.
Although there is no progress without change, not all change is progress.
Howard goes on to say he just bought a 17 BMW 330i, looking forward to the tech within it, but he was surprised he said to find some of the technologies were not helpful.
They were annoying, or required behavior modification on his part.
Since you and your staff have spent a lot of time around all sorts of new cars and tech, you have probably seen many of them that have made you scratch your head.
And ask why instead of saying wow.
Well Howard, your question is [LAUGH] That opens up a whole lot of possibilities.
My mind starts to reel.
I think your question deserves that just a few bullets on the screen.
I think we gotta do a top 5 on this one.
Whirl wash in a lot of amazing technologies in cars these days.
Much of it, transformational, and a lot of it crap.
Not when the ideas aren't good, but a lot of it's got a little ways to go, to be ready for primetime.
So let's take a look at my top 5 list of in car tech that is not ready to come out to the oven yet There is so many that came to mind.
I'm actually gonna give you a bonus, so I'll start number six and that would be so called keyless access.
Now let me get this right, car keys have become bigger, heavier, required batteries, and are far more expensive to replace.
All so we can carry them around and not ever touch them?
That's not keyless access.
That's something weird.
Keyless access needs to progress soon to be something based on our phones clearly but with a backup path that might be biometric on the outside of the car as long as it still has power.
Or to be honest we're still gonna need the flat metal key for when the thing is completely dead, and I just got to get in.
Number five are all these new [UNKNOWN] ways of changing the gear you're in.
We're getting knob, we're getting push button, we're getting all these things at a little more.
Nuanced than the old PRNDL lever, now I got it the old lever with the linkage wastes a lot of valuable interior space, but some of these new ways of doing the same thing require me to think a little too much.
And looked and confirmed.
They're too subtle, something like reverse or park or drive has high stakes around it.
It should be something I can positively engage with a little muscle memory and feel alone.
Number four is a technology that I have great for just not too crazy about it right now, and that is the head up.
In most cases it varies somewhere between useless and obvious.
We haven't got the full fruition here yet.
Now coming soon, look for cars like the new Lexus LS and even the new Camry to push the boundaries on the size of a head-up display.
That'll be one big march forward.
The next wave will start to borrow techniques from augmented reality.
Allowing indications that augmentation to be in contextual location on the windshield.
In other words they'll see or they should be to tell about what I'm seeing outside the glass.
Won't be long from now when the windshield is doing more than keeping out just birds and rain.
Number three is current lane departure technology which a little bit of lane departure.
You know how sometimes it'll beep at you, with a beep that sounds like every other beep.
Or it'll prevent you from making a lane change that you do wanna make.
You just didn't feel like turning on the turn signal.
These systems have to get better about scanning the traffic around you, not just the line.
And what kind of a line you're crossing, what color?
How many of them are there?
What's it's Startedness.
Also, I think gaze detection has to fold in here pretty soon, so the vehicle can start to understand, What am I looking at and thinking, as I make that lane change?
Do I want to do that?
Or am I actually asleep?
Number two gets my goat all the time.
It's Auto Start/Stop technology.
One day we're gonna look back at this and say who the hell came up with that idea?
Even in some very pricy cars you'll find this and it makes the car feel like you're driving a wet dog after a bath, shakes the whole thing from nose to tail.
Now it does work, it does save fuel and reduce emissions.
But there's gotta be a better way, and that will come with increased hybridization.
So cars will do their single digit speeds under electric motor, and then while they're underway very, very transparently refire the combustion engine.
[NOISE] Now before I take you to El Sucko Numero Uno, here is one that definitely is not in that list Automatic emergency braking.
I think it's the biggest innovation in safety since the air bag, anti lock brakes, and stability control, and the feds agree.
That's why they've gotten car makers to basically go wall to wall on this in just a few short years.
Now, yes, it does have some false positives from time to time and it's not gonna catch every instance where you should brake, And don't know it, but there's almost no downside.
It's almost always a [UNKNOWN] to safety.
This one's sharp.
[SOUND] The number one half-baked technology in cars today has to be that center stack interface.
Car makers and their suppliers still think they're pretty good at this, and basically they're not.
Now here's the thing, they make you dig through menus to do simple things or use stilted voice command that makes you ponder, what is the difference between idiot, imbecile, and moron.
It's in your dash one way or the another.
This is what Apple and Google do so well.
They always will.
They're better at UI and they know me better then you will.
Now I get it carmakers.
You don't like them very much cuz they're trying to steal the relationship between you and the buyers of your cars, but there's gotta be a middle ground somewhere where you can both harvest me.
And all I ask is don't make me dig through a menu so I can turn up the navigation prompts.
[SOUND] Thanks for watching.
Hope you enjoyed this episode.
Keep those emails coming.
Hit me on a new email address though, Cooley@theroadshow.com.
That's part of our continued integration to CNet's flagship auto site.
And I'll see you the next time we check the tape.
What do payload and towing ratings mean in the real world?
Measuring your car's brakes to tell if you need a brake job
How Porsche E-fuel aims to make gas engine cars as clean as electric...
Will you recognize the gas station of the future?
Electric trucks are the hottest kind of electric car
Why your car's windshield is the next high-tech frontier
See the new emergency flasher lights for cars
New car destination fees have soared in the last 10 years
The tech you may not have noticed in your car
Why catalytic converters are being stolen and what you can do...