We look at a real swagger wagon from Toyota, find some cool-looking Honda hybrids, sit in a new supercar from McLaren, and drive the lowest tech car we've seen this year.Subscribe with iTunes (audio) Subscribe with iTunes (video) Subscribe with RSS (audio) Subscribe with RSS (video) EPISODE 192 SHOW NOTES
Rounding the corner leading to Honda's booth at the 2010 SEMA Show in Las Vegas, I was a bit taken aback as I suddenly found myself confronted with the largest gathering of modified CR-Zs I'd ever seen, 12 in total. Heck, considering that the CR-Z has only been available for a handful of months, this was the largest gathering of any CR-Zs I'd ever seen. Most of these examples were built by third parties, but at the center of Honda's presentation was a trio of special compact hybrids built by Honda itself: a 2011 CR-Z equipped … Read more
Correction: We incorrectly reported that the Consumer Reports survey predicted the 2011 Chrysler Town & Country would rank as the least reliable car. In fact, Consumer Reports predicts that the 2011 Audi A6 3.0T will be the least reliable car for that model year. Chrysler brand vehicle are predicted to be the least reliable overall. We have changed the photo at the top of this blog to reflect our correction.
Consumer Reports published predictions for reliability of 2011 vehicle models based on what car owners told it of previous model year performance. Consumer Reports' survey asked 1.3 million … Read more
Today, a Ford press release crossed my desk with an interesting tidbit about the sales figures for its new Ford Fiesta. It turns out that the majority of buyers have chosen the five-door hatchback body style over the more conventional four-door model. Apparently, someone at Ford thought this was newsworthy, but for me, it was sort of a no-brainer: the five-door was always the better car in my eyes. But that got me to thinking, "What is it with Americans and hatchbacks?"
We're big fans of hatchbacks here at CNET Car Tech, particularly those of the hot … Read more
Japan's three largest automakers are making a push to extend their alternative-fuel power train offerings in the next two years.
Toyota Motor will bring two electric and six hybrid-electric models to market in the next 24 months, including a plug-in Toyota Prius. Lexus will move into entry-luxury with the CT 200h hybrid hatchback in 2011.
Nissan Motor will launch the all-electric Nissan Leaf sedan in five markets in December. Infiniti will introduce the M35h hybrid next spring and an all-electric four-seater in late 2012 or early 2013.
Honda Motor engineers are working on a hybrid platform for such large … Read more
Honda threw a big party, spanning five blocks, in Times Square yesterday to celebrate the launch of the all-new CR-Z sport hybrid coupe.
Honda ran 3D footage of the CR-Z on the Times Square HD Spectacolor screen (on Broadway between 46th and 47th Streets). Several CR-Z models were on hand and hip-hop trio, N.E.R.D. played to a crowd of 250,000.
The Honda CR-Z and CR-Z EX sport hybrid coupe went on sale August 24 with a starting price of $19,200.
The CR-Z is powered by a 1.5-liter i-VTEC four-cylinder engine with a six-speed manual … Read more
The much-anticipated 2011 Acadia Denali began production today at the Lansing Delta Township Assembly Plant in Lansing, Mich.
The $43,220, crossover SUV sports a Denali chrome honeycomb grille and monochromatic exterior. The new lineup includes two new exterior colors: cyber gray metallic and gray green metallic.
The Acadia will ride on 20-inch two-tone chrome-clad wheels and will feature high-intensity discharge headlamps, chrome interior accents, head-up display, heated and cooled driver and passenger seats, eight-way power driver seat, six standard air bags, and OnStar 9.0.
A preferred package is available on SL models, which includes Bluetooth, body-color moldings, leather-wrapped … Read more
Japan has added another soldier to its humanoid robot army following last year's fembot supermodel. The HRP-4 is the latest edition in the state-backed humanoid project. It's leaner, lighter, and can balance itself with yogic ease.
Developed by bridge builder Kawada Industries and the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), the HRP-4 can stand on one leg, track faces and objects, and respond to voice commands.
HRP-4 sports a RoboCop look, but it's more C-3PO. Designed under the theme of a "slim athlete," it weighs a mere 86 pounds including battery. That's about 9 pounds less than its sister bot HRP-4C, which made waves last year modeling a dress at a bridal fashion show in Osaka, as well as Japan Fashion Week in Tokyo.
HRP-4 stands nearly 5 feet tall and has 34 moving joints, with seven in each arm, as well as fingers than can move more precisely than earlier HRP models. Each arm has a load capacity of about 1 pound.
All joint motors are less than 80 watts for design safety. A compact notebook computer can be installed in HRP-4's back to increase onboard data processing.
Kawada and AIST have previously shown off how HRP bots can be useful around the house, wielding power tools and pouring drinks. The HRP-2 Promet has been shown walking on uneven terrain and even helping install wall paneling.
The video below shows HRP-4 introducing itself, showing off some moves and tracking a man's face (it stands on one leg at around 4:25). … Read more
Honda's just unveiled a hybrid version of its funny-looking Jazz supermini, making it the first manufacturer to create a hybrid in this class.
The Jazz hybrid will borrow most of the propulsion gubbins from its Honda Insight big brother. This consists of an 87bhp 1.3-litre i-VTEC engine lovingly affixed to a 14bhp electric motor, as well as a nickel metal hydride battery pack that'll drive the vehicle in electric-only mode--but only under "some medium and low speed conditions."
Honda has yet to release final fuel consumption and CO2 emissions figures for the Jazz hybrid, set … Read more
Hydrogen is considered by many to be the perfect fuel: it emits zero tailpipe emissions and doesn't require an outlet or hours to recharge a battery. But because it's energy intensive, derived from nonrenewable resources, and is expensive to produce and transport, don't expect to find it at the pump anytime soon. Unless you're in Italy.
Acta, a clean energy company in Italy, has developed a commercial system for using solar energy to convert water to hydrogen at a fueling station. It recently signed a framework agreement with filling station forecourt equipment installation company Girelli Bruni … Read more