For diesel fans in the U.S., it must seem like Christmas. Audi has been heavily marketing its diesel engines, and other automakers have joined the bandwagon. The surge in diesel passenger car availability comes from customer interest in high mileage vehicles, and new technologies that clean diesel emissions. Diesels do particularly well on the highway, so if your commute involves a lot of medium- to high-speed driving over long distances, check out these cars to see if one fits your needs. … Read more
San Francisco's dense traffic, poorly timed traffic lights, and hills cause just about any car's fuel economy to plummet like a 1930s Wall Street stockbroker. Even the vaunted diesel efficiency of the 2014 Audi Q5 TDI suffered, the trip computer showing an average as low as 15 mpg while I drove it around town.
However, that same average leaped to over 34 mpg as I cruised down the freeway, my first hint that the Q5 TDI would offer a host of seeming contradictions.
The Q5, Audi's small crossover, hit the streets in 2009, and besides some engine … Read more
When one of the lead actors in your film is too muscly to fit into any car remotely fast or furious, you have to wonder whether the franchise may have strayed from what it originally stood for.
It was with some hesitation, although in retrospect not enough, that I sat down to watch "Fast and Furious 6," which is now available to Blu-ray and DVD. I was, and am, a fan of the first in the series: the story of an undercover cop embedded in the world of illegal street racing trying to get the bottom of a … Read more
Mercedes' S-Class was one of the first high-tech cars, laden with electronics and smart systems back as far as the '80s. But in recent years, it stood out less in terms of technology because competitors offered as much...and then more. With the arrival of an all-new S-Class for the 2014 model year, Mercedes fights back and at the same time takes steps to reduce the car's image as an old man's ride. As you watch the video, note … Read more
Some years ago, colleagues and I had an informal discussion about what would be the perfect car from an automotive journalist's perspective. It would have to be a wagon, because we all appreciate utility combined with carlike maneuverability. A diesel engine made the requirements list for superior fuel economy. And it would also need a manual transmission, because we all liked the engagement of driving stick.
Well, our dream car is made real in the 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen TDI.
Volkswagen's Jetta Sportwagen TDI holds a rare place in the U.S. market, being only one of two … Read more
Cruising down the freeway at 65 mph in light traffic, the electroluminescent lettering of the 2014 Chevrolet Cruze Diesel began making remarkable claims, showing an average of over 50 mpg. Well over. I could see that it was going to take some time to move the fuel gauge needle off full.
This particular screen wasn't the typical trip computer, but Chevy's Eco screen, which recorded the best average over 50 miles. This screen turned driving into a game, trying to record the best average. Chevy should enable an online ladder where drivers can compare and compete.
That high … Read more
So you like the new Volkswagen Beetle, but you wish it were a bit more fuel efficient?
If so, you should stay tuned to next week's Chicago Auto Show because that's where VW will be debuting its new 2013 Beetle TDI.
As the name suggests, this new Beetle variant will be powered by one of Volkswagen's TDI engines--and no, unfortunately it's not that TDI engine. The Beetle TDI's power train is essentially a cut-and-paste of the engine that lives beneath the bonnet of the 2012 Golf TDI and 2012 Jetta TDI. The much-loved 2.0-liter … Read more
Pop quiz, tough guy: How do you make VW/Audi's direct-injected, turbodiesel engines better? If you answered "add another turbo," then congratulations. You're now ready to work for Audi's R&D department!
Okay, so I'm sure that Audi's engineers are a bit more qualified than that, but "adding another turbo" is exactly what they did with the advent of the new BiTDI 3.0 V-6 engine. The new engine, which will find its way under the hood of diesel-powered A6 and A7 Sportback models in the U.K. market, features … Read more
Starting last week, cartoonist Richard Stevens III released a free PDF of "Pocket Sweeties," his first book from the comic, on the occasion of his 35th birthday. The result is a PDF that's not locked within the digital rights management wrapper that constrains the typical e-book.
The 2003 book features some of the comic strips' earliest episodes, mixing up the themes of robots and romance and rendered with Stevens' carefully constructed coarsely … Read more
We made it about halfway back from Los Angeles before the fuel light came on.
It was CNET's annual road trip to the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show, and the 2012 Mercedes-Benz ML350 Bluetec we had chosen for the drive had already traveled the 380 miles between San Francisco and Los Angeles once. Short of it getting much better fuel economy in real world driving than the EPA estimates, we knew it wouldn't make it all the way back.
But it was still worth the attempt.
On our freeway run, 70-ish mph up the middle of California on … Read more