Category: Product Reviews

By on December 14, 2020

White Remains Top Vehicle Color Globally According to Axalta

 

Axalta released its 68th Global Automotive Color Popularity Report today, and it said 81 percent of vehicles are white, black, gray or silver. White at 38 percent is the most frequently purchased automotive color worldwide and has been for 10 years consecutively. Black remains at 19 percent year-over-year and is a luxury vehicle favorite. Gray, at 15 percent, is up two percent and is at a 10-year high. Meanwhile, silver is in decline in all regions, now at just nine percent. This shift from silver to gray in many markets is its perception as a more modern and luxurious color.

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By on December 9, 2020

The Alliance for Automotive Innovation (AAI) has managed to stall enforcement of a ballot measure recently passed in Massachusetts that expands access to data related to vehicle maintenance and repair. Last week, the relatively new lobbying/trade group asked a U.S. district court for a temporary order that would bar implementation of the state’s new right-to-repair rules aimed at giving vehicle owners more direct control of their private data and independent repair shops a fighting chance of staying in business. But the state’s attorney general has already decided that the rules are invalid until after federal cases have been decided.

The decision represents another victory for giant, multinational corporations at the expense of disgusting citizens interested in controlling their personal information and small business owners who have had it easy for far too long.

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By on December 4, 2020

2021 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Widebody shown in Gold Rush exterior paint color.

Lo and behold, a year after the Dodge product planners cooked up the gold paint scheme for the 50th-anniversary limited edition of the Challenger, we have an encore. The metallic color will reappear on the 2021 Challenger T/A, T/A 392, SRT Hellcat, and SRT Hellcat Redeye.

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By on November 16, 2020

Over the last few months, the automotive industry has been feeding the media a steady stream of materials about how great electric vehicles are. Your author even spent an hour last week on a press call where a famous German automaker attempted to educate us on how to use the cost of ownership over 10 years to help readers rationalize buying them over something requiring gasoline. While that should stay something about how the industry sees our relationship, it also seems to indicate it’s preparing an EV offensive in North America or has next to nothing up its sleeve for the remainder of 2020.

Of course, these are the legacy manufacturers we’re discussing, EV startups walk a slightly different path. Awash with more investment funding that seems reasonable, they’re in the midst of setting up factories so they can begin production of largely hypothetical products. There are also logistical questions that need handling, including figuring out who will be fixing EVs when nobody seems interesting selling them using the dealership model.

Over the weekend, Rivian explained how it planned on handling repairs. Though, if you thought it would be more complicated than copying a page from the Tesla playbook, you’re going to be disappointed.

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By on November 5, 2020

Independent repair shops and aftermarket parts retailers have been pitted against major automakers and their dealer networks in Massachusetts for years. The state has served as the primary battleground for right-to-repair legislation that would permit/prohibit customers and independent entities from working on or modifying vehicles. However, a major victory came on Tuesday after voters overwhelmingly approved a ballot measure updating existing right-to-repair laws to give vehicle owners and small shops better access to vehicle data typically reserved for industry giants.

The resulting decision gives consumers substantially more control over what’s done with the data being harvested by the industry (often without their knowledge) and frees up their options on who to go to when their vehicle needs fixing.

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By on July 23, 2020

While the summer months are normally the perfect time to take a road trip, New York has mandated that any jaunts out of state require a 14-day quarantine upon return — and any location one might want to visit on a lark has a strong likelihood of being closed to visitors.

Seems like a lot of hassle with very little payoff for yours truly, so I’ve been escaping into old films and television shows before they’re cancelled for being offensive. Video games have also become a staple of the modern pandemic lifestyle and, if you read my review of the Ford Simulator franchise, you’ll recall that my tastes skew toward terrible, automotive-themed DOS programs from the late 1980s.

Today’s entry is actually pretty decent, however — or at least it would have been at the time of its release. Read More >

By on April 24, 2019

best power inverters

From time to time, TTAC will highlight automotive products we think may be of interest to our community. Plus, posts like this help to keep the lights on around here. Learn more about how this works.


Take a quick look around the place where you are seated. Chances are there are several items that require electricity, most of which you can take along in a car. Your smartphone, the laptop, coffee pot … ok, maybe not the last one.

To address the demand for electrons, car maker have been busying themselves stuffing their machines with USB ports and 120V “household” outlets of various juice and amperage. Not every car gets it right, with some offering up only a single USB port to placate the yowling masses or placing the convenient outlet in a wholly inconvenient location.

Or, simply, your ride is old enough not to have any of these gee-whiz conveniences. Those of us choosing to roll around in a 1989 Lincoln Mark VII will find it difficult to plug in, as will gearheads who take their cherry 1970 Chevy Chevelle to the local car show. Even the lucky sods with a Integra Type R in their garage must do without mobile power.

Power inverters have been around for years, long before smartphones were surgically attached to us all, but back then they were largely the domain of people who spent a lot of time on the road and needed a jolt of power for preparing something to eat or powering up their (at the time) enormous laptop. Today, with all hands looking for a place to plug in—and not all cars providing the tools to do so—we thought it a good idea to round up a few examples of the best power inverters.

Just don’t brew coffee on the interstate, okay?

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By on October 23, 2018

 

tire saleYou already saw our feature on the tire sale at TireRack on Goodyear winter tires, but it’s looking like the online superstore has a bunch of ways to earn some solid cashback between now and the end of the month. Covering everything from winter and all terrain tires to more basic all-seasons, the deals include options from Michelin, Continental, Yokohama, Cooper, Dick Cepek, Firestone, Khumo, and Pirelli. Click through the links below for a closer look at the various promos out there and how to qualify.

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By on August 24, 2017

Baby Driver Subaru, Image: Working Title Films, via IMCDB

What’s the difference between art and modern art, between Michelangelo and Mondrian? The best way I know to explain it is this: Modern art requires a deep grounding in a particular context. Modern art is reactive. It assumes you know the history and that you’re capable of seeing how it reacts to, and interacts with, that history. To put it kindly, modern art is a continuation of the dialogue between artist and critic in an era where all of the technical problems of perspective, representation, and accuracy have long been solved. To put it less than kindly, modern art is a tiresome insider’s joke where you pay handsomely to be in on the gag.

To some degree, this is a natural consequence of any mature art form, whether it is painting, rock music, or motion pictures. All of the original ideas have long since been discovered and comprehensively realized in film, so any new movie has to make a choice: Do you approach your chosen genre wholeheartedly and with a craftsman’s intent, like Michael Mann did in “Heat,” or do you spend the whole time winking at the audience, as Matthew Vaughn does in “Kingsman”? In other words, do you create art, or do you create modern art?

In the case of “Baby Driver,” I suspect that the viewer’s opinion on this matter will depend almost entirely on his (or her) age.

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By on May 16, 2017

Tires

General Motors has announced it will choose “sustainable natural rubber” for the 49 million tires it buys each year. The automaker claims it is establishing a set of buying principals to ensure sustainably harvested materials and is encouraging other automakers to follow suit in a bid to reduce deforestation.

It won’t suddenly make driving your Chevrolet good for the environment, but it should give drivers bragging rights — allowing them to claim their tires killed fewer critters before even getting the opportunity to run any over.

However, environmental smugness is occasionally warranted. With tire manufactures representing 75 percent of the natural rubber market (according to the World Wildlife Fund), an overall shift toward sustainability would provide a measurable impact on deforestation. But what is General Motors getting out of this move and what will the price of environmental awareness be? Read More >

By on May 5, 2017

Advent LDWS100

If there’s anything we’ve learned with this project, it’s something we should have already known but tend to forget: Most projects turn out bigger than first imagined, and some are so large as to be either impossible, or not such a good idea after all — at least for those without the proper tools or knowledge.

Such was the case when we went to install the Advent LDWS100 Advanced Driving Assistance System. This is not to say the Advent isn’t a good device. Or to say that it is. It’s simply to say that we couldn’t get it working, so we don’t know.

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By on May 1, 2017

hondata-2017-honda-civic

Honda’s new Civic is a heck of a car, even if the styling is polarizing. But it’s not a performance car like Civics of old, where mixing and matching engine and transmissions from other models could yield a very quick ride with a stratospheric redline. Enthusiasts are anxiously awaiting the Si and Type-R trims, which promise plenty of power — but what of those who already have a car, or need features the high-performance cars don’t have?

Enter Hondata, the firm that’s been tuning Honda engine management systems for years. It’s been the industry leader for those looking to do those engine swaps, and has developed software and devices to add performance to the factory ECU.

Recently, Hondata released its FlashPro for the newest Civic powered by the 1.5-liter turbo engine, and I had a chance to drive a Hondata-tuned 2017 Civic.

Even stock, the new turbo Civic is faster in the quarter-mile than the previous-generation Civic Si, so the extra performance should be impressive.

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By on April 6, 2017

Hopkins nVision Backup Sensor Kit

If you’re looking for some electronic assistance backing your car but don’t want to mess with installing a rearview camera, a backup sensor system might be the solution.

Consisting of ultrasonic sensors mounted at the rear of the vehicle and connected to an audible alarm inside the car, a sensor system gives you a warning when you’re getting close to something behind you, typically growing more urgent as you get closer.

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By on April 6, 2017

Pyle PLCM7500 Backup Camera Kit

There’s no question a rearview camera can add a measure of convenience to the business of backing up and increase your margin of safety. Studies have shown a rear camera makes it easier to see small children, pets, or obstacles behind your vehicle that might be otherwise invisible using just your mirrors or looking out the rear window. And that goes double for pickups and other tall vehicles, which can have a blind spot as long as 50 feet to the rear. Adding a rearview camera can also make it easier to see and hook up a trailer. 

Many new cars have backup cameras, and it’ll be mandatory equipment by the 2018 model year. For those of us without, the aftermarket offers plenty of choices. 

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By on March 30, 2017

Schumacher X114 Compact Inverter

If you’re looking for an inexpensive power inverter and don’t want to sacrifice a cup holder or other interior real estate, the Schumacher X114 might be just the ticket — as long as you don’t mind a bit of noise with your power. 

Capable of putting out 140 watts of continuous power, the X114 has more than enough juice to drive a laptop or other small electronic device. To that end, it comes equipped with one 120V receptacle, and a 2-amp USB outlet for charging a phone, music player, or most anything else that can be charged via USB. 

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