While going for green products at the grocery store may cost you more money than you’re prepared to spend, going green with vehicles is actually a way for drivers to pinch pennies. And with the added satisfaction of having served mother earth, it’s time for you to take seriously these green tricks:
Add a solar roof.
While you may not find your solar car that dependable during cloudy days, but you can actually tap the sun’s help by installing solar panel systems on your existing hybrid’s roof. While the cost of solar roof installations does not come cheap, you’re increasing your car’s fuel economy by 29 percent with the help of this add-on. These solar panels gather sunlight and then convert it into electricity enough to let your hybrid run for 20 miles each day, while on electric mode.
Go for vegetable-based fuels.
The beauty of vegetable-based fuels (aside from the salivating aroma of French fries) is that you do not have to modify your diesel engine. Your existing diesel engine can use biodiesels and with more gas stations offering biodiesel, going for vegetable-based fuels is actually a convenient choice. But before you start scouring for stations which offer biodiesel, know which grade is compatible for use with your engine to avoid voiding your car’s OEM warranty. Conversion kits are also available, so you can use vegetable oil without having to go to pump.
Because your car’s fuel efficiency decreases as your car’s weight increases, make sure to eliminate any dead weight. Before you go to the extremes, think in terms of golf clubs which you’ve been stashing at the back of your car since last week and sandbags. If you don’t use your roof rack that often, uninstalling it will lighten up your vehicle considerably.
Keep the sun out of your car.
While your roof might welcome the sunlight with open solar panels, your cabin should stay as cool as possible. Relying on the air conditioning system to counteract the heat will rob your engine of power and cause lower fuel efficiency. Sun reflectors are effective in keeping temperatures down and you from feeling uncomfortably hot, for the next ten minutes or so, after you stepped inside your car.
Never miss a tune-up.
Tune-ups and oil changes are routine tasks when it comes to car maintenance. While their importance is underestimated, failing to adhere to a regular schedule can result in engine problems. Synthetic oils are more durable than the traditional, offsetting the effects of a missed oil change. Of course, try as much as possible to have regular oil changes and tune-ups. Steven Anton shares the best info about cars. Visit his site, http://www.autofairhonda.com/index.htm
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Categories: Gear Grinding Tags:
How far can the concept of a personal urban commuter go? Pretty far if you ask anyone at Segway. So far there is reportedly over 1,200 police stations around the world presently use the Segway as a means of easing the walk intense patrols of officers. They’ll tell you it is an awesome and efficient energy saver for them in particular.
But for the rest of us it has a limited purpose. The Segway is too heavy to lug onto a bus and too bulky for a subway during rush hour. And unless you’re path to work is fully accessible by wheelchair from your front door to work it’s not likely going to serve much purpose. The Segway can do a lot of things but it can’t climb stairs.
This is the Jetsons Movement. The effortless future where we don’t really use our legs for much beyond maybe getting out of bed and stepping onto out Personal Urban Mobilizer. This is not going to help the growing obesity epidemic in America. Walking is good. Which is the reason I don’t really see the success of the Segway moving beyond the police and security industry. And neither do Segway judging by the look of their concepts.
Segway has been working on a two seat version of their mobilizer. It will be called the P.U.M.A. and its actually pretty cool if you can put your ego aside for a moment. It would be purely for urban commuting. For those people who insist on, or have to drive their own vehicle to commute. It’s really not such a bad idea. Cars as we know them are getting smaller anyway. And instead of having a second vehicle, having a much smaller and far less expensive form of transportation would be ideal.
Fully electric personal commuting vehicles certainly would go a along way in reserving energy and space in the city and likely reduce stress of the daily commute remarkably. Especially when they come loaded with all the active driving assists available, like vehicle sensory and active cruise control. And as we move ever closer to roadways with built in inductive charging systems the idea of a fully electric transporter is all that much more attractive.
This will happen. We may not be too enthused about the whole idea but future generations will find things like personal transporters an after thought to their daily lives. And it really makes sense. In fact when they watch movies were there are brutal traffic jams and a bunch of gas guzzling cars sitting there spewing toxins into the air around them, our grandchildren will only shake their heads at our foolishness and ask each other what we could possibly have been thinking.
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When we look into the future of 2016 Cars and newer it appears as if Porsche is about to lower their brow a little. They intend to produce a model of their sportster known as the 550. It will snappy little mid-engine coupe. It’s for all those Porsche lovers out there who want their car but don’t want to break the bank to make it happen. The 2016 Porsche 550 will be less expensive, but it’s still a Porsche mind you, so don’t expect s basement bargain. And you have time to save for one because it’s not coming until 2016
The parent Volkswagen Group are planning three rear and mid engine two seater roadsters for release between 2016 and 2020. The others are going to be a VW version based on the 2008 BlueSport Concept and an Audi R4 as a downscaled version of their R8.
Volkswagen had plans for these cars to come out a little sooner but with the volatile European market over the past few years things were wisely put on hold. Porsche recognizes it has to adapt its strategy to the cooling of the market. Which includes curbing its production ambitions for a little and then introducing a more affordable Porsche roadster to widen its possible demographic.
There’s no set word on when this program, known as Project Mimo for mittelmotor or mid-engine, has truly been green lit. But it is being suggested by Porsche that work has indeed begun and that the Audi R4 may even go on sale as early as 2014 in Europe and 2015 for the USA. An educated guess would place the Volkswagen BlueSport and the 2016 Porsche 550 model availability on schedule for late 2015 or early 2016.
It’s encouraging to see industry leaders adjusting their approach and recognizing the changes in international economic climate. And every little move they make will certainly help the global economy that much more. There’s no word on what the price tag will be set at for these coming models but we’re promised they’re more affordable than previous models. And they have to do this because Companies such as Nissan and Toyota are planning small sports cars for production over the next decade that will certainly give the elite car companies a run for their money. And we all know that failure to adapt means sure death for any company. Markets change, people’s interests change and so do their needs and priorities. And certainly there are enough wealthy people in the world who have come to realize that lavish and excessive car purchases may be a thing of the past given the fragility of the dollars worth these days and uncertainty of its future.
And if all that means you’re slightly higher than average Joe can buy himself a Porsche 550 come 2016, well that’s good news for many of us.
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So Volkswagen wants to make a return of the classic and legendary bus from the 60’s synonymous with the hippy movement and hot boxing extraordinaire. I’m all for it. Call me an old timer or a nostalgic fool, but I’m all for anything retro that harkens back to the phenomenal and ground breaking designs of the late 60’ and early 70’s. Not the disco era, that can go suck a duck.
This is nothing new from Volkswagen. They’ve been talking about this for a good 20 years or more until the idea was killed completely for no apparent reason. There is more reason to make this happen than to not. There is a massive emotional nostalgia attached to the original VW mini bus. And an infusion of emotion is exactly what Volkswagen needs in its present snorefest line. Volkswagen is showing signs that its roots are stirring and that they’re looking to their passion for car designing again. Back in the day it was a total fluke that the German’s stumbled on by producing not one but two vehicles that would gain legendary and iconic status. Because in a truly German move, their intention was simply to produce a tough, reliable and inexpensive vehicle. And that also happened to be exactly the kind of car most young kids in the late sixties and early 70’s needed. Add a little psychedelic music and a lot of weed smoking and LSD dropping and you have a prolific subculture with unshakable nostalgic roots based on memories around a car.
Beyond aesthetics the 2013 Volkswagen Microbus doesn’t have much in common with its predecessor. But for most that won’t matter. If there’s one thing people are not going to miss it’s the clattered thunder of the old Volkswagen engine. Instead will be a far quieter and more efficient turbo charged four cylinder that will come in gas and diesel options. And in true hippy spirit there are rumors of a hybrid as well. The new 2013 Volkswagen MicroBus will be built on the same platform as the Jetta and Passat and will be front engine and front wheel drive. Volkswagen intends to target competitors like the Honda Odyssey, Nissan Quest and the Toyota Sienna.
The only foreseeable issue is that it will be built in Europe. And for as much credit given to a corporation for resisting the urge to outsouce their production to a much cheaper country, all that added cost will only get handed down to the consumer. And that translates to likely a rather hefty price range around $40,000. And that’s a lot of coin to pay for nostalgia.
We can expect to see the new Volkswagen MicroBus sometime in the fall of 2013 or early 2014. And you can guarantee they will be rolling in the streets finished in airbrushed flowers and peace signs.
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Everything just keeps getting smaller in Japan. That includes the new plans for the Nissan Mini Z sports car. They will be downsizing it in measurements and in weight and using a smaller engine. The whole idea is to base the new Z model on the Juke platform. Which means all wheel drive and a 1.6 liter 190 horse power engine. Turbo charged of course. They feel the key to success is to simplify the car and make it lighter.
It sounds odd, basing a sports car, the Z model no less, on the platform of a crossover like the Juke. But remember, a platform is just a platform. Nissan plans on giving the Subaru BRZ and its sister cars, the Scion FRS and Toyota 86 GT, a serious run for its money. We can rely on Nissan to do this right. They’ve a long tradition of making a damn fine sports car for some time now. As it stands it would have 10 less horsepower than its competitors but Nissan will likely address that before production. Don’t be shocked if it has some kind of hybrid version with added horsepower from an electric engine. The Subaru and Scion may still be superior in the handling department however. Nissan does want to pay attention to the design details or it might just end up being another sporty hatch as opposed to being a rightful descendant of the legendary Z model sports coupe.
Where Nissan plans on really cutting the legs out from under the Scion and Subaru competitors is by building on the existing Juke platform. The money saved by the strategy will allow Nissan to charge as much as 10 percent less for the new Nissan Mini Z compared to its counterparts. That translates to a price tag of around $22,000. The crap news is that the mini Z will only be debuting in China. This is because the new mini Z was developed as a joint effort between Nissan’s Japanese and Chinese units. Japan and Europe will be getting a limited number of the car, but so far there is no real plans to introduce the Mini-Z to the U.S. but there’s no reason to fret. If there’s a market to be taken advantage of Nissan will likely make good on it. And the market for affordable sports cars is massive in North America. Besides, the previous Z models all sold remarkably in North America and it only stands to reason that fact will remain a strong reason to bring this newNissan Mini Z to our shores.
We might just have to be a little patient for it.
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The future just got five years closer. According to Ford anyway. There has been a great deal of Nanny Technology sneaking its way into cars the past year or two. And for most of us that just doesn’t feel right. We like to be in control of our vehicles. We take pride in our ability to drive and we like it just fine. But allow me to be the devil’s advocate for a moment. Just hear me out.
Hand down with no argument the worst experience in driving is the commute for urban dwellers. Simply put it sucks. Remember the movie Falling Down, how it started in a traffic jam and Michael Douglas just got out of his car and abandoned it. That’s how we all feel. There is one solid fact we can’t escape. That being that most drivers suck. They’re timid and nervous. They have no concept how to merge and make bad decisions in a panic. Those two factors alone can cause an enormous traffic jams that back up for miles.
Well it seems this technology is slowly being implemented into production cars to ease us into the idea that maybe at least for our daily city commute we should think about releasing control and letting a computer take care of the drive. Technology such as Blind Spot alert and Lane Change alerts. There’s Traffic Jam assist and Adaptive Cruise Control and even Active Park Assist. All these elements are taking the burden of pressure off the driver and are designed to perform these operations as efficiently and expediently as possible. And in theory it all translates into reduced less delays and shorter commutes and even reduced fuel and energy consumption. Extreme tech cars are a vision of easier effortless travel. And the skeptic in us all still questions if it possible.
Take a look at Traffic Jam Assist and Adaptive Cruise Control.
Ford did a study and claims the results were telling. Apparently if only one in four cars were equipped with Traffic Jam Assist travel times are reduced by 37.5% and delays are reduced by 20%. That means if you’re average commute time on the freeway is 60 minutes, with Traffic Jam Assist be only 38 minutes. This is because adaptive cruise control, or ACC, automatically paces to the car ahead without the continual brake and gas and brake cycle. And we all know that stop and go traffic sucks. It’s frustrating and stressful. How it works is ACC keeps pace by utilizing a forward radar and mirror-mounted camera. The Lane Keep Assist maintains the car in its lane by using the camera in the mirror. Electric power steering is implemented because it’s better for remote or computer control than mechanical power steering. All car operations are guided by the Traffic Jam Assist black box. There are sonar units for blind spot detection and cross traffic alerts, which are cars crossing behind when reversing. When you combine all these driver assists you wind up with a car that’s able to guide itself during predictable, low-speed conditions.
According to Ford Traffic Jam Assist can reduce cars cutting each other off since ACC maintains a tighter following distance than a driver would. This reduces the space between cars and opportunities to cut lanes. But the entire time the driver is in control and if they wish they recover full control again by actively turning the wheel or pressing the pedals.
Ford has openly admitted this technology only works in vehicle traffic only situations. Meaning a freeway or city street with no bicycle pedestrian traffic. But Park Assist utilizes all the same mirrors and laser readers to guide a car into a perfectly executed parallel park.
So many of us find all this talk of extreme tech carss laughable, but we certainly know there are too many drivers out there who find the simplest of maneuvers to be challenging and often fold under the pressure. And having our own personal completely automated vehicle sure beats the alternative of squeezing into a public transit every day.
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For the year 2013 there will be a few hundred different car models that will grace dozens of showrooms all over the world, but we’re going to focus on the ones over here in the US. The Big Three will be focusing on what’s hot, and what’s going to peak the interests of millions of drivers who are looking for a new ride to get into. Primarily, Dodge has an idea for the masses that just might inspire the financial flood gates to open. In 2013 Dodge will be introducing a revamped version of their Dart. It will be dubbed the 2013 Dodge Dart GTS.
The Dart was introduced towards the tail end of 2010 as a sport compact car that would be direct rivals with the Corolla, Civic, Focus, and Cruze. For the most part it’s working, and Dodge is not complaining about the rave reviews about the Dart. Its peppy little engine, and sinister looking lines have kept drivers of all ages buzzing about the Dart. So, with that in mind, Dodge decided to fiddle with the Dart to make it that much better. The way they did this was bundling the Dart with some Mopar performance goodies. Did I forget to mention that it was Mopar’s 75th Anniversary? Well apparently it was an awesome idea to intertwine Mopar & Dart for the 2013 model, and the melding of the minds spawned a Dart that will definitely give everyone a run for their money.
The 2013 Dodge Dart GTS will be adorned with Mopar visual and performance accessories. This total kit comes in two stages. Stage 1, is primarily about the good looks of the Dart. Accentuating the curves by adding new Matte Black lower chin spoilers, side sills, canards, rear diffuser, and topping off the cake is a Carbon Fiber hood with full functioning air scoop. Stage 2, is about the power, and control for this hot ride. The Mopar kit will include a low pressure Cat-back exhaust that adds more torque to the motor, modified intake that takes full advantage of that menacing hood scoop, and a few more undisclosed items, that any grown man would love to get his hands on. The combination of these item will bring the standard 2.4L engine to a very respectable 210hp & 185lb ft. of torque. All this mated to 6spd manual transmission, and you are set to tear up the streets.
So, as I mentioned earlier that 2013 will be the year to behold. With so many new compact car models coming out, it will be anybody’s guess on who will come out on top. Chevy has the Cruze Kids coming out to play, while Nissan, Toyota, & Honda are to busy to pay attention. And that leaves the Focus. I don’t know, the Big Three seem to have their eyes locked on each other, and if a battle is going to ensue, may the best team win. Ding! Ding!
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Yes it has the name of a Disney movie and it can be said it’s every bit as cute and charming. The 2013 Volkswagen Up! Is economical and surprisingly roomy. The car measures 139.4 inches long and 95.3 inches wide. Its wheels are pushed out to the corners as far as possible, which not only makes the car a little bigger but makes for creates great space for passengers and cargo alike.
In the trunk is nine cubic feet available for cargo. That space jumps to number 34 with the rear seats folded. There is decent headroom in the back, which is a lot to be said considering most cars the size of the Up! Are considered torture chambers in the rear seat. In the front the driver and passenger are spoiled with quite bit of leg room to stretch out. The car feels fairly plastic inside but they designed well. Besides with the price tag no one seems to be complaining. There’s an inventive and convenient nav system in the Up! That can be removed as a hand held device for finding your way around the city.
For now the Up! is available with two similar naturally aspirated 1.0-liter three cylinders. The base level model has 60 hp at 5000 rpm and the more powerful option, for lack of a better term, is making 75 hp at 6200 rpm. Around the city or town both engines feel much the same but you feel the 15 hp difference when you give it more gas.
Either way you’re looking at a 0 to 60 mph acceleration take around 12.4 seconds, and the 60 hp motor is even slower at 13.6 seconds. Top speeds are peaking on the engines at 107 and 99 mph. But this is a car designed for short runs about town and nothing more. If joy riding is to be had the joy is in a nice casual ride enjoying the scenery. Which means you’ll get about 36 mpg. The power is managed to the front wheels by means of a somewhat lacking five-speed manual transmission. We’re told a single clutch automatic will be coming soon after launch.
What will make people happy is that there’s a sportier version promised down the line. Including a sport suspension and a turbocharged 1.0 liter. Also other trim options will come like a five-door and an all-electric model.
This is a fun little car that appears to be getting more fun in the future. We have a natural aversion to small cars here in north America but that is slowly changing. People are realizing for running around town or commuting to work a small car fits the bill perfectly and its also a cheap and economically viable option for a second car. And the more the idea catches on the more likely we’ll see cars such as the 2013 Volkswagen Up! Until then gas keeps going up and the roads keep getting more congested.
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So Lexus has been extremely cheeky about their new LS model. Only to reveal a car that is mostly average considering today’s market climate. Really it’s just a more muscular and sporty version of the F-Sport model of the Lexus halo sedan. All their evasiveness and mystery and holding back any photos of the 2013 Lexus LS seems pretty damn anti-climactic now after seeing it. Sure it’s a handsome car, but so far it’s much ado about nothing really.
The big buzz right now is over some leaked information about a navigation screen measuring a 12 or possible 14 inches! Oh god the excitement! Please contain yourself people! It’s all pretty confusing and a lot of hype if you ask me. Last I heard the only time something measuring 12 to 14 inches was of any remarkable concern was if it was dangling between the legs of a porn star. Only in the world of luxury sedans could this be news worthy. So really, lets move on. Call me cynical, and perhaps its just my mood today, but I think we’re putting way to much stock in the aesthetic appeal of a car here. Because Lexus has revealed absolutely no other information to write about. Nothing to tell you. Nada. Bupkis. We can only speculate that it may or may not be equipped with the 4.6 liter V6. And according to trend there will probably be a hybrid version.
Not sure what Lexus is up to here. Yes, they make a comfortable luxury sedan and they do it very well. But really to make such a big deal out of this car is not helping their image. Not that its going to damage it either. It’s been about as exciting and uneventful as revealing a new brand of toilet paper. Gilligan’s Island reruns are more interesting than this. Don’t get me wrong. I like Lexus and I respect the cars they offer for their worth. But all this business over a luxury vehicle they’ve given us nothing but a few paltry photos of is nothing short of disappointing and boring.
All we can hope is that in the future there will be something, anything, remotely interesting to tell you about the 2013 Lexus LS in the future.
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Jeep appears to be making a leap of faith in the coming years. As of 2014 the Liberty will be completely re-approached and branded. It looks nothing like any Jeep you’ve ever seen before. This is Jeep reaching out to a broader demographic and it might very well work for them. It is a radical departure from traditional Jeep designs. At first glance one would think it’s a cousin of an Alpha Romeo or an even more distant relative of the Porsche Cayenne. The 2014 Jeep Liberty is such an extreme crossover that it comes dangerously close to looking like an over jacked car and not so much like an SUV. It’s important Jeep takes this new approach because, for as decent as the Liberty has sold, it’s also fallen behind under the pressure of its direct competitors like the Nissan Xterra, Chevrolet Equinox, Ford Escape, Ford Explorer, Honda CR-V and the Toyota RAV4.
There’s only so much we know about the 2014 Liberty. Such as it will be equipped with a 3.6 liter V6 and a nine speed transmission. But expect a Multi-Air equipped 4 cylinder and a possible turbo charged option as well. Somewhere in there Jeep is hoping to have a car available in 4 trim levels and managing 31mpg. That is about the extent of what we know. That and some pictures of the mystery model obscured in car dressing like a car version of Michael Jackson’s children. As of mid august the Jeep Liberty production line as we know it will be shut down for retooling for the new model. As of March or April of 2013 the production lined will be rebooted into action. We know it will be coming in the latter half of 2013 and that it will likely have a price tag of around $24,000. And by way of disclaimer this is pure speculation, but we might also want to be prepared to see a possible hybrid version available as well. It’s a serious trend these days and one likely to make a lasting impression on automakers.
It’s a bold but necessary step for Jeep. Getting away from the utilitarian aspect of their traditional designs, those block shapes we’ve come to know and love, is a smart move and opens up the way for an added demographic it seems Jeep so badly needs. The rebranding is going as far as dropping the Liberty name if we’re to believe reports. Right now the entire project is codenamed KL. Which I suppose is better than KY.