Honda generated a lot of excitement last year when it announced the 2010 Insight, a new dedicated hybrid. Could it unseat Toyota's Prius from the hybrid throne? But Toyota wasn't about to let this upstart go unchallenged, announcing an update to the current generation Prius, which has been in production since 2004. We got to see both production vehicles at the 2009 Detroit Auto Show, and set them against each other in a series of photos. Will the Insight bring fresh thinking to the hybrid space? Will Toyota sit on its laurels, or give the Prius the update … Read more
I had the opportunity to spend a few hours driving a 2010 Honda Insight on city streets and backroads of Carefree, Ariz., a suburb of Phoenix, when it was introduced to the automotive media last month.
Driving the 2010 Honda Insight is a bit different from driving any other CVT-equipped car. Regenerative braking is noticeable on deceleration, allowing less use of the antilock disc/drum hydraulic brakes. There are also two new features on the Insight not found in other cars--EcoAssist and Econ mode.
With 98 horsepower, developed fairly high in the rev range at 5,800rpm, and 123 pound-feet … Read more
Hinted at for a while, and shown in prototype form at the Los Angeles Auto Show in late November, the second-generation Honda Insight was formally introduced at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit on January 11. The embargo date has passed, and now it can be told: we saw and drove it in Phoenix a month ago.
As the Civic has gotten bigger and moved a bit upscale, Honda has needed to fill its old place in the lineup. The Fit does that quite well, at least for people looking for a sportier than average small gasoline-only hatchback. … Read more
Lexus' timing couldn't be better as it releases an economy luxury car during the current economic troubles. The once wealthy who find themselves in straitened circumstances can still toodle around in a Lexus. The HS 250h is a dedicated hybrid--there is no gasoline equivalent in the Lexus lineup, making it a first for the automaker. The proportions and power train come close to the Camry, and the styling is hardly what we would call refined, but the cabin features the latest Lexus gadgets, including a new interface controller, hard-drive-based navigation, and natural language voice command system.
Elsewhere, editor Wayne Cunningham has covered the new styling and cabin features of the 2010 Lexus RX 350 and RX 450h. So I'll comment on the drivetrain and chassis changes.
Let's just say that, at Lexus, "The Relentless Pursuit of Perfection" is not merely advertising hype.
Lexus has obviously been doing something right with its RX, as the midsize luxury crossover is its most-popular vehicle, and the one that defines the midsize luxury crossover segment. But there was room for improvement in both the chassis and powertrain departments. The two previous generations had suspension tunings best-described … Read more
Although automakers face tough times, Detroit is still alive and kicking, with several new launches set for the 2009 auto show. Honda and Toyota duke it out with their respective hybrid vehicles, while GM shows off a new direction for Chevrolet. Ford has an impressive new muscle car, plus its stable of hybrids and high-tech luxury Lincoln cars.
Although the Toyota Prius got all the hybrid hoopla, Lexus showed that a hybrid could be powerful and luxurious with the RX hybrid SUV. That model launched as the RX 400h in 2005, and now gets a much-needed update for the 2010 model year. At Lexus' preview for the car, we got to drive it over mountain roads and spend some serious time trying out the new cabin tech.
The new model is called the RX 450h, as Lexus bumps up the gas engine from 3.3-liters to a 3.5-liter V-6. And, like the original model, that engine is complemented by a full hybrid system, with electric motors that can power the car. With newer battery technology, Lexus was able to make the RX 450h's nickel-metal hydride battery pack, which sits under the rear seat, a little smaller. As with the old version, the gas engine and one motor/generator drive the front wheels. Option it up to all-wheel-drive, and a second motor/generator gets added to power the rear wheels.
We took a sport-trimmed model on a drive over twisty mountain roads in Northern California, and found a lot of improvement. Where the steering on the RX 400h was extremely light, even at speed, Lexus returned the electric-power steering to give more resistance in the RX 450h. Coming through a tight corner at speed, the steering wheel offers much more feedback. The tires were singing in the turns, but the sport-tuned suspension kept the car reasonably flat. Of course, there is a trade-off in that the ride didn't feel as soft as with the RX 400h. Lexus changed the suspension pretty radically in the rear of the RX, taking out the strut towers in favor of a double-wishbone. This new suspension leads to a firmer ride and increases the cargo area. … Read more
Hyundai protects buyers who lose their jobs; December's another disaster for car sales; "solar Prius" may be a crock; and sit down for a beer with Wayne, Antuan, and Brian.Listen now: Download today's podcast SHOW NOTES
This free password and key generator is about as bare-bones as it gets. Its simplicity will appeal to novice users, but more experienced users are going to want more options.
WPA Key/Password Generator has a very plain user interface, but it's clean and professional. The program uses numbered steps to guide users through the generation process. First, you select to generate either a WPA key or a password. Second, you select from three strengths (Good, Better, Best) that differ based on the number of characters that you want. The third, and final, step is to click the Generate … Read more
One of the many laptops being announced at CES this week is the Toshiba Qosmio X305-Q725. It will offer the same bells and whistles of recent X305s, except that its primary drive will consist of a 64GB solid state drive, while the secondary drive will be the standard spindle-based 320GB SATA hard disk drive. This hybrid solution will not only boost performance on an already beast of a machine but will also help with its typically lackluster battery life--as with most gaming laptops--not by much, but it's something.
Here's a quick look at the specifications:Intel Core 2 … Read more