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By on May 8, 2021

connected vehicle

Connected vehicle sales will grow 20 percent in 2021, with a 10.4 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) between 2020-2026 according to ABI Research, a tech market advisory group.

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By on May 7, 2021

Today’s Rare Ride marks the third time we’ve featured a Pontiac Sunbird in this series. The first Sunbird was from 1978 and presented itself as the Safari Wagon. But that was just a renamed Astre and not a real Sunbird. The second Sunbird we saw was a convertible with a 2000 in its name, a J-body from a time of naming turmoil at Pontiac.

In contrast, the Sunbird we have here is the original: An economical and optionally luxurious car that debuted in the Seventies without a confused identity. Your author’s never seen one in real life.

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By on May 7, 2021

Tread Lightly!

Tread Lightly!, with the help of partners and volunteers, cleared 11 miles of tamarisk from Hey Joe Canyon, an off-road trail in Moab, Utah. The Easter Jeep Safari stewardship project was completed during the event. Read More >

By on May 7, 2021

Back in January, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said he remained confident that his company would be able to deliver a self-driving vehicle exceeding the capabilities of an average human pilot by the end of 2021. But this has become a tired excuse used almost reflexively by automakers for years, making the inevitable shifting of the goalpost so predictable that nobody even bothers to get upset anymore. Being lied to is just part of everyday living and the automotive sector is just one droplet in the overflowing bathtub of mendacity.

Unfortunately, organizations continue making the mistake of expecting to be given the benefit of the doubt as they continue repeating the same fables. We know they’re working on solid-state batteries and autonomous cars, but they’re hitched to these unrealistic expectations and completely fabricated timelines that draw our focus while they engage in slimier practices on the sly. While holding them accountable is often easier said than done, catching them in a lie is usually fairly simple. For example, the California Department of Motor Vehicles accidentally called out Tesla on the full self-driving (FSD) beta it’s been testing with employees.  Read More >

By on May 7, 2021

2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

I was cruising along Interstate 55 somewhere southwest of Chicago when I came upon a Mercedes SUV that was continually adjusting speed. Annoyed by someone who couldn’t maintain a constant speed in the passing lane, I dipped the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette I was driving into the right lane and tried to carefully weave my way through scattered traffic and work my way past the schlub.

It was only as I leisurely passed by that I saw the raised smartphone camera. Even in the dark of night, the C8 Corvette stands out, and I was now a temporary celebrity, about to be put into someone’s camera roll – or posted to their social-media accounts – whether I liked it or not.

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By on May 7, 2021

Woven Planet

Toyota’s Woven Planet Holdings has acquired Level 5, Lyft’s self-driving unit. Woven Planet’s deal brings scientists, software engineers, and researchers together as one.

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By on May 6, 2021

best wheel locks

On occasion, it must seem like the architects of this series think danger and the nation’s criminals lurk around every corner. We’ve brought you Club-style theft prevention, bumper guards, and now wheel locks. Good job we balance it out with the likes of work gloves, tire shine, and floor jacks.

Wheel locks are sold by the aftermarket and every single new car dealership in which your author has ever stepped foot. When asked for a pricing breakdown of a new car, there is invariably a ridiculous line item reading ‘wheel locks’ or something similar, ranging in price from $50 to in excess of a c-note.

Bin that and get yer own, we say. Most options of on this list are less than half the price of what the Junior in the business office is trying to sell you. Just be sure you’re buying ones that are of the correct overall length and proper thread size. We’ve thrown in a few parking-style wheel locks for good measure as well but do note that none of these things guarantee security. If someone’s bent on taking your wheels, they probably will.

By on May 6, 2021

A recent report from The Intercept has confirmed some of our biggest fears about connected vehicles. Apparently, U.S. Customs And Border Protection (CBP) has struck a deal with Swedish mobile forensics and data extraction firm MSAB for hardware that allows the government to not only siphon up vehicle data but also use it as a backdoor to access the information on your phone.

While this shouldn’t be all that surprising in an America that’s seen the Patriot Act pave the way for all sorts of government spying, the arrangement represents another item in a toolbox that’s frequently used against regular citizens. CBP is alleged to have spent $456,073 on a series of vehicle forensic kits manufactured inside the United States by Berla. Internal documents suggest that the system was unique and of great interest to the U.S. government, with a multitude of potential applications pertaining to automotive data. But what surprised us was just how much information carmakers thought their products needed to keep tabs on and how that plays into this.  Read More >

By on May 6, 2021

Praetorian

Torsus’ Praetorian, heavy-duty, off-road 4X4 buses, has announced a number of technical advances. These rugged off-road buses are made to cross some of the most inhospitable terrains on earth.

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By on May 6, 2021

After months of seeing factories idled, it seems that the global semiconductor shortage has encouraged the automotive sector to rethink some production strategies. Numerous brands have opted to strip vehicles of specific features to help offset the ever-worsening chip problem, occasionally supplanting them with older hardware.

Well, well, well. It looks like the push into electromobility hasn’t gone quite as planned and the industry has come crawling back to analog in some cases. Though it would be premature to break out the campaign and declare the old ways superior for all time. The resurgence of analog hardware is likely to be short-lived, ending the second the semiconductor shortage lets up. As much as your author wants to believe the industry will learn a lesson about not putting all your eggs in one basket, it didn’t seem to in the last century and is unlikely to come around during this one.  Read More >

By on May 6, 2021

2020 Toyota RAV4 TRD Off-Road

If I told you a popular crossover that had good on-road manners got an off-road treatment, you’d probably think those manners would become a bit rougher around the edges.

In the case of the 2020 Toyota RAV4 TRD Off-Road, you’d be mostly wrong.

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By on May 5, 2021

Ford is introducing a new trim level for the Explorer, targeting both outdoorsy types and those who desperately want to be but only manage to spend a couple of weekends at Kampgrounds of America.

The 2021 Ford Explorer Timberline delivers a mix of visual accouterments and practical components that should actually make the SUV better off-road.

Don’t expect it to keep pace with a Raptor pickup, however. Despite the Timberline’s menacing new grille, skid plates, unique 18-inch wheels, and Bridgestone Dueler all-terrain tires, it’s not a Baja buggy waiting to be jumped off the next sand dune — though it may be the best option for Explorer shoppers who don’t want to spend oodles on aftermarket parts.   Read More >

By on May 5, 2021

BMW art

BMW art cars debuted today, using artificial intelligence (AI) software to generate new works of art. In conjunction with Frieze New York, the fair takes place in Manhattan from May 5 – 9, 2021.

Frieze New York has works of art from over 60 galleries, mainly located in New York. A viewing room with over 160 exhibitors runs through May 14, bringing together galleries worldwide, and audiences who can’t travel.

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By on May 5, 2021

On Tuesday, Nissan Motor Co. announced that it would be selling its shares of Daimler AG. The Japanese firm owns about 1.5 percent of Germany’s oldest automaker and the move is something many were predicting after Renault did the same in March.

Nissan’s offloading will mimic its partners and likewise use an accelerated bookbuild offer that basically means dumping shares as quickly as possible with help from an underwriter. Investors were to expect shares to be priced around 69.85 euros apiece, netting the automaker at least $1.2 billion if everything goes smoothly.  Read More >

By on May 5, 2021

2020 Honda CR-V HybridThe term “soft roader” is often thrown around as a pejorative aimed at crossovers, particularly ones that have some limited off-road ability but don’t look particularly rugged and/or are just not likely to be used for anything other than family-hauling duty.

Hear me out for a sec, though: What if it’s not OK for a crossover to be a soft-roader, but actually desirable?

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