Tag Archives: Toys

2018 Hyundai Sonata Release Date, Price and Specs

Way back when I was a teenager, I went to prom in a Hyundai. I got a little bit of flack from some of my friends for not joining them in a fancy-pants limo, but my date and I decided to splurge on a nice dinner and share the embarrassment of showing up at the social event of the year in a cheap Korean import.

Oh, how times have changed. The 2018 Hyundai Sonata is something my 17-year-old self would be proud to prom in. It’s been redesigned for its eighth generation, with new technology, sheet metal, suspension components and transmission.

2018 Hyundai Sonata

The Sonata has revised suspension and steering for 2018. Oh, and it looks pretty darn fine!


Emme Hall/Roadshow

The Sonata, Hyundai’s mid-size sedan, slots in between the budget Elantra and the luxury-focused, although recently dropped in the US, Azera. It’s available in SE, SEL, Sport and Limited trim with a naturally aspirated 2.4-liter engine, but I spent my time in the more powerful 2.0-liter turbocharged four cylinder engine, which is only available in the Sport and Limited trims.

Every trim level of the new Sonata comes standard with Blind Spot Detection, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Lane Change Assistant. A new lane keep assist technology is standard on the Limited 2.0T trim, and available on the SEL and Limited trims. The system gently steers the car back into the lane if you drift outside the markers without signaling. It’s so gentle it’s tough to feel it working, yet it slides the car back into proper position on the road.

2018 Hyundai Sonata

Blind spot detection and lane keeping assist can be turned on or off, depending on the driver’s preference.


Hyundai

Hyundai’s adaptive cruise control functions well in stop-and-go traffic, bringing the Sonata to a full stop behind a lead car and taking off again after a brief pause. This feature, as well as emergency automatic braking, has the same availability as the lane keep assist technology. If you want driver’s aids standard you should look at sedans from Honda, which makes these features standard on all trims save for the base model. Toyota does one better, offering this technology standard across all trim lines of the new 2018 Camry

Hyundai’s excellent Blue Link infotainment system is displayed on a 7-inch touchscreen standard, although an 8-inch screen is optional. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, but the former was somewhat glitchy for me. At first Apple CarPlay would only read incoming text messages through my phone, not the car’s speakers. However, after plugging and unplugging the phone, the problem fixed itself.

Regardless, Blue Link is pretty slick, with a customizable home screen and an optional navigation system that includes Google local search. One box destination entry lets you easily find addresses or points-of-interest.

There are a few little tech touches that make the Sonata stand out from the crowd. Qi wireless charging is standard on the Limited 2.0T trim and available on Limited. All but the SE trim have a second-row USB charge port standard.

Turbo powered

Although the 2.0-liter turbocharged four cylinder engine is the same as in 2017, making 245 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque, the eight-speed automatic transmission is all new. But Hyundai didn’t stop there, revising the rear suspension and steering system to improve responsiveness and handling. I spent my drive time on the twisty roads of Southern California and found the Sonata to be a spry little sedan. In fact, it may even surpass my beloved Mazda6 for driving enjoyment.

How can that be? Not only is the Mazda6 way down on horsepower, but the Sonata’s responsive automatic transmission is great at gear selection. It’s eager to downshift on corner exits and holds the revs for sometime, even when driving in Comfort mode. Switch to Sport and the transmission holds them for slightly longer and shifts even quicker. There are paddle shifters if you want to get down and dirty, but left to its own devices this new transmission is one of the sportiest I’ve encountered in a while. So much for Zoom Zoom.

2018 Hyundai Sonata

Eco mode isn’t an exercise in frustration, either. Sure, it upshifts quicker for better gas mileage, earning 26 miles per gallon combined in the 2.0T, but it’s far from annoying. It will downshift easily for passing and when accelerating from a dead stop, so that it’s tough to tell the difference between Comfort and Eco mode. The naturally aspirated 2.4-liter engine takes a huge hit in power, down to 185 horsepower and 178 pound-feet of torque and mated to the six-speed automatic transmission from 2017. I didn’t get to sample this combination, but presumably the smaller power output and older transmission would put quite a damper on the fun.

The recalibrated steering offers quick inputs and a good on-center feel. There is no torque steer, even upon heavy acceleration from a dead stop and I didn’t notice any understeer while flinging the sedan through the twisties. Very impressive, Hyundai.

2018 Hyundai Sonata

A new soft-touch button in the rear Hyundai logo opens the trunk.


Emme Hall/Roadshow

For 2018, the Sonata gets a new aggressive front end, with what the Korean automaker is calling a “cascading grille.” LED daytime running lights are now standard on the 2.0T trims and the available LED headlights with dynamic bending light are larger than last year, bringing even more emphasis to the new grille. 

In the rear, the available LED taillights are trimmer for 2018 and the license plate has been moved lower, bringing an uninterrupted, smooth line from the top of the trunk lid to the bumper. A soft-touch button in the center Hyundai logo opens the trunk. It’s pretty cool.

The 2018 Hyundai Sonata starts at $22,050 for the base SE, but my top of the line Limited 2.0T moves that entry point up to $32,450. Although the driver’s aids aren’t available on all trim lines, it’s a fun and affordable sedan that I really want to spend some more time in. The 2018 Hyundai Sonata will be available this summer.

CNET accepts multi-day vehicle loans from manufacturers in order to provide scored editorial reviews. All scored vehicle reviews are completed on our turf and on our terms. However, for this feature, travel costs were covered by the manufacturer. This is common in the auto industry, as it’s far more economical to ship journalists to cars than to ship cars to journalists. The judgments and opinions of CNET’s editorial team are our own and we do not accept paid editorial content.

Article source: https://www.cnet.com/roadshow/auto/2018-hyundai-sonata/#ftag=CAD7f780fb

Audi’s 25th Hour is a self-driving car test lab

Find the best hybrids on the market!

Hybrid technology can be applied to any type of car, and the best show the most significant fuel economy improvements over a similar gasoline-only car.

Article source: https://www.cnet.com/roadshow/pictures/audi-25th-hour-self-driving-car-test-lab/#ftag=CAD7f780fb

Taking silver place in Chevy’s heavy duty truck

Find the best hybrids on the market!

Hybrid technology can be applied to any type of car, and the best show the most significant fuel economy improvements over a similar gasoline-only car.

Article source: https://www.cnet.com/roadshow/pictures/taking-silver-place-in-chevys-heavy-duty-truck/#ftag=CAD7f780fb

2017 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 Release Date, Price and Specs

I skeptically looked at the trailer hooked up to the 2017 Chevrolet Silverado 2500, loaded with a 7,000-pound John Deere skid-steer mini-dozer. The 18-foot trailer was almost as long as the 20-foot heavy-duty pickup truck towing it. This might be a bad idea, I thought.

I’ve towed a fair bit, but light loads, usually under 5,000 pounds. The Silverado 2500, with its available 6.6-liter Duramax turbodiesel V8, puts out 910 pound-feet of torque, more than enough to pull the nearly 10,000 pounds I’d be dragging behind me, but what about shifting or, more importantly, stopping?

I needn’t have worried. Tow/Haul mode, activated by pushing a button at the end of the steering column mounted shifter, keeps the transmission from hunting gears, so the engine speed remains nice and high for maximum grunt. When I pressed the diesel exhaust brake button on the center stack, the engine did plenty of braking on its own. Add to that the Silverado’s integrated braking system, which engages the truck and trailer brakes at the same time. No fishtailing, no panic stops, easy peasy.

2017 Chevrolet Silverado HD

Large loads require large trucks. 


Chevrolet

The Chevrolet Silverado 2500 and 3500 are Chevy’s heavy-duty pickup trucks. Both are available in the base work truck WT, mid LT and LTZ, and the top-end High Country trims. You can also get either in two- or four-wheel drive with a variety of cab and bed sizes. They come standard with a 6.0-liter gas-powered V8 engine, and both are available with a fifth-wheel gooseneck trailering package.

So what’s the difference? The Silverado 3500 is a bit bigger all around and comes with the option of dual rear wheels, all in the quest for more towing and payload capabilities. Here’s a handy chart outlining the capabilities of the two trucks when equipped with the available turbodiesel engine.

Those numbers are much higher than those for the Nissan Titan, Nissan Titan XD and Toyota Tundra, but you could give both the Ram 2500/3500 as well as the Ford F-250/350 a handicap of a Chevrolet Spark or two before the Silverados catch up.

I spent most of my time at a Chevrolet-sponsored press drive in Illinois in the Silverado 2500 before driving it to another event in Des Moines, Iowa. While the truck towed like a dream, tracking straight with hardly a peep from the diesel engine coming into the cabin, the truck lacks some of the driver’s aids that make driving a large truck and trailer so much easier.

For example, the Silverado has no blind-spot monitoring. Keep in mind this is a truck that, depending on cab and bed size, can be up to 21 and a half feet long. Add an 18- or 20- or even 30-foot trailer, and blind-spot monitoring becomes a must-have. The Ford F-250 has it, and it even covers the length of the trailer to boot.

2017 Chevrolet Silverado HD

Adaptive cruise control is noticeably absent as well. While it’s understandable one would not want the truck to control braking and acceleration when hauling heavy loads, there are plenty of times drivers will just be, you know, driving. Having the option of the truck following a lead car at a predetermined distance should at least be available.

There isn’t a 360-degree camera to help when parking this big guy, but there are five different camera systems available as accessories from the dealer. And when it comes to backing up a trailer, well you’re on your own there too. The cameras can help but there isn’t anything like the Trailer Guidance system found on the Ford F-250, which gives steering guidance for those that need it.

A $450 Driver Alert Package adds lane departure warning to help keep you from drifting out of the lane without signaling. However, instead of an automatic steering or brake input to get the truck back in line, the Silverado gives an audible and visual alert and sends a buzz to the safety seat to say, “Yo, pay attention!” Yep, your butt gets a warning when you mess up.

The Likable MyLink

The Chevy MyLink infotainment system comes standard on an 8-inch touchscreen on all but the WT trim, which gets a basic audio system on a 4.2-inch screen. I’ve always liked Chevy’s dashboard technology as it’s intuitive, offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot and Teen Driver, which keeps track of new drivers’ antics behind the wheel and serves up a report card for parents.

2017 Chevrolet Silverado HD

There is 6.6-liters of pure diesel pulling power under that hood.


Chevrolet

Take away the trailer and the Silverado heavy duty truck makes a serviceable runaround. On my 3-hour road trip through the heartland of America, I found the Silverado to be a bit jumpy in the rear, as most heavy duty pick ups are. If you’re looking for something a bit smoother, try the Ram 2500 with its rear coil-over suspension. The Silverado’s steering feels precise, and while my driving was on the interstate, the truck exhibited minimal body roll on cloverleaf on-ramps. 

The big news is the Duramax turbodiesel, which adds more horsepower and torque to the 2016 model year diesel output. Now pumping out 445 horsepower and 910 pound-feet of torque, it’s got better numbers than the Cummins 6.7-liter diesel in the Ram 2500, but is just about right in line with the 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel in the Ford F-250. Power delivery is smooth and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t chirp my rear wheels a few times when the light turned green.

Keeping the exhaust brake on even when not towing meant I could almost give up the brake pedal altogether and just let the engine slow itself down. The six-speed Allison automatic transmission doesn’t call attention to itself, never searching for the correct gear or upshifting too quickly.

And the powerplant is just so darn quiet! Gone is the loud diesel rattle making its way into the large and comfortable cockpit. Instead, driver and passengers can have a deep conversation about the world’s problems, all without yelling. Well, at least without yelling to be heard.

But, that diesel engine comes with one whopper of a price: $10,665. Chevrolet includes a few extra goodies in the Duramax Plus Package, like the LTZ Plus Package with power adjustable pedals, park assist and a heated steering wheel. Also included is navigation and the engine exhaust brake. When you add that package to my fully-loaded crew cab LTZ tester, the total options cost $18,520 and the final price is a whopping $71,090 including destination.

If you’re the kind of person who doesn’t care for driver’s aids like adaptive cruise control and blind-spot monitoring, the 2017 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 and 3500 are a good choice, depending on how much you need to tow. Other heavy-duty trucks from the likes of Ford and Ram can haul more, but the Chevrolet stacks up well in terms of driveability, comfort and infotainment technology.

CNET accepts multi-day vehicle loans from manufacturers in order to provide scored editorial reviews. All scored vehicle reviews are completed on our turf and on our terms. However, for this feature, travel costs were covered by the manufacturer. This is common in the auto industry, as it’s far more economical to ship journalists to cars than to ship cars to journalists. The judgments and opinions of CNET’s editorial team are our own and we do not accept paid editorial content.

Article source: https://www.cnet.com/roadshow/auto/2017-chevrolet-silverado-hd/#ftag=CAD7f780fb

Hunting for parking costs US $73B per year, study finds

Time is money, which means hunting for a parking space in an urban center is like watching dollars fly out the window. But did you realize that hunting for spaces is costing our country billions each year?

Searching for parking costs Americans $73 billion per year, according to a new study from Inrix Research, which combined data from a recent survey with its parking database that covers more than 100,000 locations across 8,700 cities. On average, a single US driver spends 17 hours searching for parking at a cost of $345 per driver.

Portland parking disputes spread through social mediaEnlarge Image

There’s nothing more fun than whipping out a set of opera glasses to read the tiny text on the four signs telling you what to do.


Portland Press Herald/Getty Images

That amounts to about $20.80 per hour spent. This figure accounts for a number of costs including wasted fuel, additional vehicle emissions as well as wasted time.

Inrix also took its data and broke it down by city. New Yorkers have it worse than anyone else, spending approximately 107 hours per driver per year hunting for spaces, at a per-driver cost of $2,243. Los Angeles isn’t that far behind, with an average time spent of 85 hours at a cost of $1,785 per driver. All the way down in 10th place is Detroit, at 35 hours per driver per year and $731 wasted per driver.

The study also uncovered some other interesting tidbits. American drivers add an average of 13 extra hours to meters each year, in an attempt to avoid parking tickets. Across the top 10 urban centers in the US, that amounts to more than $20 billion spent to stay out of the meter maid’s grasp. NYC and LA also have the highest number of parking tickets per driver per year, so clearly that strategy isn’t working as well as one might hope.

Thankfully, there are solutions on the way. Bosch’s community parking system relies on ultrasonic sensors detecting open spaces as cars drive by, feeding that info into a network that can then point drivers toward an open space. Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs built Flow, which is a smart-city data aggregation platform that could monitor traffic and parking situations in real time, which could relay parking info to a cloud similar to Bosch’s. 

Article source: https://www.cnet.com/roadshow/news/hunting-for-parking-costs-us-73b-per-year-study-finds/#ftag=CAD7f780fb

Audi’s new A8 offers proper hands-off autonomy in traffic

The 2019 Audi A8 is packed to its Alcantara headliner with leading-edge tech that brings us closer to self-driving cars than ever before. According to the German automaker, the A8 will be the first production car in the world to include lidar technology, which Audi says is integral to offering full-fledged Level 3 autonomy. That is, the ability for the car to completely drive itself in limited circumstances.

Of course, that optional functionality comes within a specific set of operating parameters. Dubbed AI Traffic Jam Assist, the system works at speeds of up to 37 miles an hour on roads with a physical barrier between the car and oncoming traffic. Practically speaking, this means usage will be limited to freeways, as when commuting during rush-hour traffic.

We’ve seen semi-autonomous tech like this before in other cars, right? Not exactly. Essentially, all of today’s competing systems are Level 2, placing a strict — and generally short — time limit on how long you can go hands-off, typically triggering audible chimes and instrument cluster warnings urging the driver to retake control. If the driver fails to respond, such systems disable themselves, effective forcing the driver into compliance.

2019 Audi A8Enlarge Image

Audi’s new A8 takes us further down the road to self-driving cars than ever before.


Chris Paukert/Roadshow

As I learned during a roundtable media event at the A8’s introduction in Barcelona on Tuesday, this BMW 7 Series and Mercedes-Benz S-Class rival doesn’t do that — at least under certain conditions. If a traffic jam has you rubber-banding along the freeway at low speeds, the 2019 A8 will let you stay hands-off the entire time, so you’re free to check on your kids in the back seat, play a game on your phone, or even watch TV on the center display. 

Of course, if the road ahead clears and traffic accelerates beyond Traffic Jam Assist’s 37-mph threshold, the system will audibly and visually alert the driver to retake control, giving him or her a 10-second window to get with the program. Should they fail to do so, the car will begin slowing down, eventually coming to a full stop within its lane, engaging its four-way flashers to warn other motorists, and its vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2X) connected-car tech will report the car is stopped. Finally, the A8’s telematics system will also signal Audi’s Online Roadside Assistance center to call the vehicle to see if anything is wrong.

How confident is Audi in its Traffic Jam Assist hardware? According to Alex Vukotich, Audi’s head of automated driving, “it’s meant to be a Level 3 System, so the driver can really relax, can do something else. He doesn’t have to be in charge of observing what the system is doing, the system will do everything.” 

2019 Audi A8 sensor networkEnlarge Image

Traffic Jam Assist fuses lidar, camera, short- and long-range radar and ultrasonic sensor data.


Audi

Dr. Peter Mertens, Audi’s head of technical development goes a step further, noting that when Traffic Jam Assist is active, “There is no shared responsibility. So when the car drives autonomously, it is responsible.” I asked Martens and Vukotich if that means Audi assumes full legal culpability in that operating condition, and they both nodded and said “Yes.”

That last bit feels like a significant milestone in the industry’s march to self driving. Some time ago, Volvo stated that it would assume legal responsibility for when its cars are operating fully autonomously, but it hasn’t put such hardware in full production yet — it’s presently still evaluating its tech in Sweden using its Drive Me test fleet.

However, just because the new Audi A8 is built with semi-autonomous capabilities doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be able to order it when the car goes on sale in North America next year. At the moment, when it comes to developing self-driving tech, including things like AI Traffic Jam Assist and the A8’s out-of-car remote parking assistant, automakers are outpacing the legal framework their vehicles will be forced to operate within. 

2019 Audi A8

Governments around the globe — including those of the US and Canada — are hammering out legislation that will determine what is legal for automakers to offer. According to an Audi release, “The introduction of the Audi AI traffic jam pilot means the statutory framework will need to be clarified in each individual market, along with the country-specific definition of the application and testing of the system…Audi will therefore be adopting a step-by-step approach to the introduction of the traffic jam pilot in production models.” Of course, It’s entirely possible that such bureaucratic issues will be resolved in time for the A8 to launch with this tech in America, but even then, I wouldn’t bet on Uncle Sam simultaneously allowing Audi owners to watch “Game of Thrones” in the driver’s seat, even if the A8 is capable of it.

Audi’s headlong push into Level 3 autonomy comes as many in the industry are fretting over “the handoff” — that moment when semi-autonomous systems turn driving back over to the human in the front seat. Some automakers and technology companies like Alphabet’s Waymo have resolved to simply skip L3 altogether and move straight to L4 and beyond, where essentially all facets of driving are controlled by the car at all times and all speeds.

Either way, as evidenced by this new Audi A8 and Cadillac’s nearly here Super Cruise system, it’s quite clear that the auto industry is comfortable pushing the accelerator on self-driving tech. However, it’s not yet clear whether the world’s governments are ready to do the same. Perhaps just as importantly, it likewise remains to be seen how eager buyers will be to experience, trust and pay for this tech, too. 

Article source: https://www.cnet.com/roadshow/news/audis-new-a8-is-designed-to-let-you-play-candy-crush-in-rush-hour-traffic-safely/#ftag=CAD7f780fb