Category Archives: Auto, Cars, Trucks, SUVs, Car Gadgets

Range Rover doesn’t compromise with plug-in hybrid

Cameras that make great holiday gifts

Let them start the new year with a step up in photo and video quality from a phone.

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Head for the trail in the Toyota FT-AC Concept

Cameras that make great holiday gifts

Let them start the new year with a step up in photo and video quality from a phone.

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2019 Kia Sorento Release Date, Price and Specs

The third generation of Kia’s Sorento continues the time-honored tradition of the midcycle refresh with a new 2019 model at this year’s LA Auto Show. The update includes a selection of exterior and interior tweaks aimed at refining the design, improving performance and enhancing value. There’s also some new tech inside, so we’ll start with that.

The Sorento’s 630-watt, 10-speaker Harman Kardon stereo system gains new “QuantumLogic” sound processing that takes stereo recordings and redistributes them into a surround soundstage that fills the cabin. Along with the Clari-Fi processing carried over from the previous generation, Kia and Harman Kardon claim this system can breathe life back into digitally compressed recordings.


The new Sorento features styling revisions inside and out.

Kia Motors

The Sorento also gains wireless charging to go along with its excellent UVO tech suite. Stick to a USB connection, however, and you’ll still be able to enjoy Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity.

The Advanced Driver Assistance Systems package is now standard equipment on the Sorento’s upper trim levels (EX and higher). The system now also features a driver alertness monitoring system and lane-keeping assist steering. The latter uses the power steering system to prevent the SUV from unintentionally crossing out of its lane. If a driver activates lane keeping too often, the former system kicks in, encouraging a fatigued or inattentive driver to take a break.

The new features join the front precollision warning system, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring and others held over from the previous model.

Under the hood, the Sorento drops the 2.0-liter turbocharged engine from the lineup, retaining the naturally aspirated 2.4-liter inline-four and 3.3-liter V6 engine options. The 185-horsepower four-banger gets efficiency revisions to its six-speed automatic transmission. Meanwhile, the 290 horsepower V6 is now mated to the eight-speed automatic from the Cadenza sedan. Ideally, that means smoother performance and, hopefully, a few more mpgs.

The cabin gets a makeover too, including a new steering wheel, shifter knob and instrument cluster. The biggest change here is that the third-row folding seats are now standard equipment for all Sorento models.

We’ll expect to learn more about pricing and fuel efficiency closer to next year’s launch. For now, stay tuned to the rest of our coverage of the 2017 LA Auto Show.

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2018 Lexus RX Release Date, Price and Specs

Lexus has been on the receiving end of many a buyer request for a three-row variant of its massively popular RX crossover. Years have gone by without one, but Lexus finally gave the people what they want in the 2018 Lexus RX.

For the first time, Lexus will offer three-row variants of the RX crossover. It’ll be available in both RX 350L and RX 450hL trims, with seating for either six or seven, based on a second row of either captain’s chairs or a bench seat, respectively. In order to accommodate that third row, Lexus extended the RX’s body by 4.3 inches and changed the rear windshield’s angle to be steeper.

No matter what’s in the second row, the seats have been raised slightly over the two-row version in order to create a bit more room for the third row passengers’ feet. Three-zone climate control lets the back row choose its own temperature, and two cup holders ensure everybody has a place to store the junk in their pockets — or a cup of coffee, I guess.

Lexus RX 350LEnlarge Image

It’ll be interesting to see if the RX 350L has an effect on the sales of Lexus’ other three-row crossovers.


The 2018 RX 350L relies on a 3.5-liter V6 putting out 290 horsepower and 263 pound-feet of torque, mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard, but all-wheel drive is available.

If you’re feeling green, there’s also a hybrid variant. The RX 450hL pairs a 3.5-liter V6 to two electric motor-generators, producing a net output of 308 horsepower. All-wheel drive is standard here, and the RX 450hL can drive for short distances on electricity alone.

As with other Lexus models, there is a fair number of standard safety systems built into the 2018 RX. It packs forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane-keep assist, automatic high beams and adaptive cruise control. If that’s not enough, blind spot monitoring is an option, as is a surround-view camera.

You’ll have to pony up some dough for that third row, though. The RX 350L starts at $47,670 with front-wheel drive, and $49,070 with AWD. For comparison’s sake, the two-row 2017 RX 350 starts at $43,220 for FWD and $44,620 for AWD.

embargoed-rx-350l-exterior-three-fourthEnlarge Image

The RX’s look doesn’t change all that much, despite an extra 4 inches of body out back.


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Waymo’s self-driving cars hit 4 million miles

Waymo’s drive toward autonomous cars continues to pick up speed. Alphabet’s automated car division has announced that its development vehicles have eclipsed 4 million self-driven miles on public roads. 

The latest million-mile increment was accumulated in just six months, between May and November. For reference, it took about thrice as long for Waymo to reach its first million miles back in 2015. In other words, the company’s growing fleet of test vehicles is resulting in a hockey-stick development curve.

By comparison, Uber revealed it had reached the 1 million mile marker earlier this fall.


Waymo’s real-world self-driven test miles are accelerating in a hockey-stick growth curve.


In addition to real-world miles, the company said it drove a further 2.5 billion simulated miles last year. Each day those simulations include some 25,000 problematic scenarios. 

In an update posted on Medium, Waymo further disclosed that its vehicles have been subjected to some 20,000 different tests on its private test track, including such seemingly random scenarios as people lying down on skateboards and humans jumping out of canvas bags. 

Roadshow’s own Tim Stevens visited Waymo’s Castle Air Force Base test facility in October and witnessed some of those 20,000 tests. You can read his thoughts here.

Waymo Castle Test

In early November, Waymo announced that some of its fleet of automated Chrysler Pacifica minivans were going completely driverless, with no human drivers as a safety backup. 

Waymo is currently testing in 23 cities in four states: California, Arizona, Washington and Texas. Its focus on the western United States is understandable given its base of operations in California. But as part of its bid to create safe driverless transportation, the company will undoubtedly need to expand its real-world testing efforts eastward to encounter different types of roads — and perhaps most importantly — weather.

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Check out the full Tesla Model 3 owner’s manual online

Very few people have a Tesla Model 3 at the moment, and that number drops to zero if you exclude those close to the company, so you’d think that getting a peek at the owner’s manual would be tough. Apparently, it wasn’t.

InsideEVs brought our attention to an uploaded copy of the Tesla Model 3 owner’s manual. The manual comes from a user of the Tesla Model 3 Owners Club group on Facebook, who phoned Tesla’s roadside assistance to snag a copy of the owner’s manual. Now, it’s online for your viewing pleasure.

It’s not a short read, measuring some 160 pages, but it’s perhaps the best way to get up close and personal with Tesla’s most affordable car to date, even if you don’t plan on buying one in the near future. That said, it bears pointing out that this manual is approximately two months old, so there’s a chance that it’s been revised since this specific version was published.

For some prospective owners, this online manual may be the closest they come to a Model 3 for a while. Tesla only recently opened up the ordering process to non-employee reservation holders, and this comes after CEO Elon Musk pushed back a key production target from the end of this year to the end of Q1 2018. 

Tesla Model 3

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