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

Your chance to win* an iPad Air 2 and BlueDriver OBD2 Sensor

The BlueDriver pairs with your smartphone or, if you’re the lucky winner, a top-end iPad Air 2!

Car-diagnostic gizmos have been around forever, but only recently have they gotten smart — by which I mean pairing with mobile devices so you can do cool stuff right in your car, instead of having to schlep the gizmo back to your PC, connect a USB cable, download the data and so on.

Indeed, whether you’re a car junkie who wants to know anything and everything about what’s happening under the hood or you’ve got a check-engine light you want to diagnose (or clear) without a trip to the mechanic, have I got the contest for you.

Let’s call it the Lucky Lemur Giveaway. Just for answering a simple question (and voting in a simple poll), one lucky lemur — er, grand-prize winner — will walk away with the following:

Combined value of all this booty: just over $1,000. In addition to the big winner, nine smaller winners will score one very awesome BlueDriver. (That’s not faux praise; check out the user reviews at Amazon. This thing is really a pro-level tool.)

Sound good? To enter, all you have to do is hit the comments and explain how you’d use the BlueDriver. Voting in our poll would be nice, too. Full contest rules and requirements are listed below.

Oh, and what’s with the iPad? That’s for checking out the BlueDriver’s data in style, of course.

*How to enter for your chance to win:

  • Register as a CNET user (by clicking Join CNET in the top-right corner of the page). If you’re already registered, there’s no need to register again — you just need to be logged in.
  • Go to the bottom of my blog post, click Show Comments, then answer this question: “How do you intend to use your BlueDriver scanner?” Then click Post Comment.
  • Leave only one comment. You may enter for this specific giveaway only once. If you enter more than one comment, you will be automatically disqualified. The winners will be chosen randomly.
  • If you are chosen, you will be notified via email. The winner must respond within three days of the end of the sweepstakes. If you do not respond within that period, another winner will be chosen.
  • Entries can be submitted until Friday, March 27 at 11:59pm PST.

Some legalese: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Open to legal residents of the US, 18 older, and a Registered User of Void where prohibited. Ends at 11:59 PM PT on 03/27/15. See rules for details.

Bonus deal: One of my favorite smartwatches is on sale! Today only, and while supplies last, Best Buy has the Martian Notifier for $69.99 shipped (plus tax), in your choice of white, red or black. The Notifier lives up to its name by giving you wrist-buzzing notifications for calls, text messages, alarms and the like. Battery life rocks (nearly two weeks, in my experience), and it works with both Android and iOS devices. This is the watch I wear daily, just sayin’.

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Master Chief Motorcycle Helmet preorders for $525 + free shipping

Mobile Tech Giveaway

We are giving away a smartwatch and more

From smartwatches to virtual-reality gadgets, enter for a chance to win* top-notch mobile devices.

I want one

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Range Rover Sport SVR: XCAR quick drive

Is Land Rover’s SVO division’s first car enough to win new fans?
Land Rover

Very few people need a 2.3 tonne car that’ll hit 62 mph in 4.7 seconds, reach 162 mph and scale a mountain without breaking a sweat. The people who have such specifications on a list entitled ‘need’ are probably few in number, but there will be many who have those things on a list marked ‘want’.

It turns out that if you give some of the UK’s best automotive engineers the task of making a brilliant car more brilliant, you end up with something very interesting indeed. The RRS SVR is the first SVR car, which makes it something of a showcase for SVO’s mad skills.

2016 Range Rover Sport SVR in pictures
See full gallery





There will be three strings to SVO’s main bow — performance (SVR), off-road (Land Rover only SVX) and luxury (no name yet, but SVL’s a good bet, no?) — and each will have their own attributes. SVR-badged cars will be lighter, exclusively all-wheel-drive and come with more power and better aero. They will be the ultimate evolution of whatever car they’re based on.

The SVR looks a little different from the standard car, not for car park bragging rights, but for real reasons. Where the fog lights usually sit on a Sport there’s now a whacking great air intake. It’s not for show, but to keep the car cool and presumably, from catching fire. They help cool the front of the brakes, while the rear is cooled by a carbon fibre air scoop. Far from being purely cosmetic, the spoiler at the back actually aids the car’s progress.

Quad exhausts make the SVR stand out from the rest of the range.
Land Rover

SVO wanted to make a performance car that makes drivers feel good about themselves, as well as making those they pass feel bad for not owning one. But it’s less road-legal racer and more comfy continent-crusher with added track kudos. It was, for a spell, the fastest SUV around the ring.

When you start ‘er up, the 542bhp, 502lb ft V8 — the same one you find in a Jaguar F-Type R — makes its presence known. Unlike the F-Type, though, it can be quiet. If you press the ‘loud’ button in the cabin it’ll bark and shout as loud as you like, but keep that unpressed and it’ll be rather quiet. I prefer to keep it in ‘HEAR ME ROAR’ mode because I’m that kinda guy…

Its pace matches the noise. Pop the car into ‘dynamic’ and use your right foot to see the road miraculously turn to a blur. You’re gently pressed back into your sports seat and thrown down the road. The ride can get a little wobbly on gross country roads but otherwise remains pleasant. The noise that accompanies your ride compliments it nicely.

Dynamic mode does the ‘usual’ things to the car, so expect an angrier gearbox, throttle and steering. Not that any of them need to be tweaked from their normal modes – poke the angry bear and it’ll shout loudly enough for 99% of people. That said, just because it doesn’t need to be there, I’m rather glad it is.

Wet track? Not a problem.
Land Rover

It handles far better than you or I can actually drive it – SVO wants it to flatter the driver and it certainly does that. I did find the steering a bit light (even in mentalist mode), but I’m happy to concede that I’m just quite strange when it comes to steering weights. Its gearbox is smooth and when you change up in ‘sport’ mode it makes the exhaust bark — another nice touch.

Now, the Range Rover Sport SVR is a Range Rover, so you’d expect it to be good off-road. I had a go around a short course and it tackled it all with no problems at all. Hill Descent Control meant I could point it down a hill and let it get me to the bottom without incident — the 22-inch road tyres tackled mud without complaint and the whole thing made me feel very much like an explorer. I fear, though, that the challenges I showed the SVR will be the greatest it’ll ever face.

Sports seats may work for some, but they can be a bit hard.
Land Rover

There are some things I didn’t think were brilliant, of course. For instance, the infotainment set-up is ageing and the sports seats up front aren’t all that comfortable. I worry that the kind of person who buys an SVR will only do so to show how much they can afford, rather than because they know what it is.

SVO’s work on the RRS has been staggering – I genuinely thought it would be difficult to make the standard car better than it already is, yet SVO managed to do it. It feels every inch the Range Rover, but it has a hint of angriness to it. You won’t ever need to use its full capability, but you’ll probably want to every day. A full XCAR feature on the SVR will come in due time.

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On the road: 2015 Tesla Model S P85D

CNET On Cars: On the road: 2015 Tesla Model S P85D

5:55 /
March 17, 2015

The new Tesla Model S P85D has dual motors and autonomous drive features. Brian Cooley drives it and checks the tech.

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2015 Tesla Model S P85D: Electric to excess! (CNET On Cars, Episode 61)

iTunes (HD) | iTunes (SD) | iTunes (HQ)

RSS (HD) | RSS (SD) | RSS (HQ)

In this episode:

  • Tesla’s latest Model S gives us more of what we never knew we needed!
  • Smarter Driver: Those swivelling headlights and what they accomplish.
  • Car Tech 101: Headlines about hacks have us entering a new era of automotive risk.
  • Top 5: Tech-powered reasons to buy a new car.
  • Octane Explained in this past Car Tech 101.

As always, email me your thoughts, suggestions and comments.

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We can’t look away from the 2015 Lexus RC F Sport (pictures)

We’re giving away awesome fitness tech

This mobile fitness gear will whip you into shape before you know it.

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