Exhaust Notes

Decision Guide


While still in a 'Wild West' phase, data from connected cars brings both serious privacy concerns and a potential breadth of new – and free – services.

By Douglas Newcomb May 20, 2013 7:59AM

Connected Cars. Image by NHTSA.

Privacy concerns, as we've seen with our computer software and mobile devices for the past 20 years, are now affecting car owners.

New cars equipped with cellular and satellite connections are posing some controversial questions, particularly as owners are asked to submit personal info such as their location and driving habits.

As we reported last week, a recent survey by Cisco found that 65 percent of respondents would be either "somewhat willing" or "very willing" to share their driving habits for auto insurance or maintenance discounts. Sixty percent responded similarly when asked if they would share biometric data in order to "personalize security for a vehicle," meaning the ability to access and start a vehicle using fingerprint-scanning, for example.

While consumers have gotten used to sharing personal data – allowing a grocery store to analyze their shopping habits or social media services tracking locations and interests, as just two examples – the car represents a new and powerful attraction to marketers.

But who will own the data, and who stands to benefit?


LR2 replacement set to go on sale next year, will feature '5+2' seating.

By AutoWeek 5 hours ago

Land Rover has taken to using camouflage not only as a means to disguise the prototypes and pre-preduction cars, but also a canvas to give sneak peeks at upcoming cars. And while the recently-revealed Range Rover SVR wore a wrap meant to evoke a lightning bolt, Land Rover is giving the world a preview of the upcoming Discovery Sport by peeling back the camo a bit to give everyone a look inside.

Land Rover has been developing a replacement for the Freelander, which has been called the LR2 in North America since the 2008 version was offered here, and this is it. If you'll recall, the Discovery is no longer called the Discovery in North America as it is in other markets; ours is called the LR4. So the Discovery Sport will be taking over for the LR2 rather than being a spin-off based on the larger LR4.

The company has decided not to offer a smaller if not necessarily sportier version of the LR4, as it did with the three-door version of the 1989 original (don't bother looking for them on eBay, they weren't sold in North America), with the Discovery Sport taking on that role instead. And the upcoming midsize SUV is expected to use a version of the Range Rover Evoque chassis.


Pair will work together to produce high-volume, low-cost batteries for Tesla’s upcoming mass-market Model 3.

By Douglas Newcomb 8 hours ago

Tesla Panasonic Gigafactory agreement. Photo by Panasonic.Another piece of the Tesla Gigafactory puzzle is now in place. But it’s not a complete surprise that the electric automaker’s partner in the massive new battery factory will be Panasonic.

Tesla has made no secret that Panasonic would be involved in its proposed factory to build lithium-ion batteries for the company’s electric vehicles and possibly those of other automakers. But both companies officially announced today that they’ve signed an agreement.

The factory is designed to produce more batteries for significantly less than what they cost now. And this will ideally enable Tesla to price its mass-market electric car, the Model 3, that it hopes to roll out in a few years for $35,000.

According to Tesla, the Gigafactory will require an investment of up to $5 billion. The deal announced today with Panasonic lays out the terms for each partner’s participation and confirmed that the two companies will cooperate on the plant’s operation. Tesla also said that the Gigafactory will create up to 6,500 jobs. Which state will get the plant and those jobs is still to be determined — and a subject of speculation and jockeying by politicians who want the plum Tesla plant.


Advanced safety systems save lives, but ‘will thrash entire industries built on the fact that you crack up your car.’

By Douglas Newcomb Wed 1:28 PM

2013 Ford Fusion Driver Assists. Photo by Ford.Driver assistance systems such as forward-collision prevention that take over steering and braking have been proven to save lives and reduce injuries. But as the technology spreads to more cars and prevents more types of accidents, it also has the potential to save car owners money from collision repairs — and put a major dent in the revenue of auto body shops and other businesses that profit from crashes.

That’s the conclusion of a recent blog post by David P. Carlisle, chairman of the consulting and research firm Carlisle & Company, after analyzing trends and data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The Carlisle analysis took into account four driver assist systems — forward collision warning or prevention, lane departure warning or prevention, blind spot warning and adaptive headlights — and their potential to prevent accidents.

Using IIHS data and the company’s own “mathematical modeling,” Carlisle deduced that 30 percent of all collision repairs could be avoided once the systems become available in all cars. Of course, that could take years. But Carlisle noted that the IIHS's companion research agency, the Highway Loss Data Institute, predicts that approximately 20 percent of all registered vehicles will have forward collision warning systems by 2020. This alone could prevent more than 3 million car crashes — and have a major financial impact on the collision repair industry.


Chevy muscle sedan also adds in-car tech, keeps 415-hp V8.

By AutoWeek Wed 1:02 PM

Chevy's only rear-wheel drive four door sedan, the SS, will be receiving several upgrades for the 2015 model year to compete with the likes of the Dodge Charger and…well, pretty much just the Dodge Charger.

Performance enhancements include the addition of Magnetic Ride control as a standard feature, as well as rear Brembo brakes to complement the already standard front Brembos. Optional for 2015 is a six-speed manual transmission that should have driving enthusiasts (us included) excited. Also optional for the coming year will be OnStar’s 4G LTE connectivity with a built in Wi-Fi hot spot so you can upload your burnout videos to Facebook straight from your car. 

Power will still be dished out from Chevy’s 6.2-liter LS3 V8, making 415 hp and 415 lb-ft of torque. Automatic versions of the SS accelerate to 60 within 5 seconds, and Chevrolet claims that the more aggressive axle ratio (3.70) used with manual transmission models will make for even quicker times.


This rare BMW was the King's personal ride while serving in the Army between 1958 and 1960.

By Clifford Atiyeh Wed 8:56 AM
Elvis Presley's BMW is getting the rock star treatment all over again.

BMW Classic, the automaker's official restoration arm, is bringing the King's 507 roadster back to showroom quality. The red roadster, one of just 254 built between 1955 and 1959, was actually Presley's second 507, or by some accounts, the same car painted red after adoring women wrote their names and numbers all over the  original white body in lipstick.

In either case, Presley was stationed in Germany in the late 1950s as a private in the U.S. Army, but aside from operating a tank and standing guard (where he was again mobbed by hundreds of German fans), the King of Rock 'n' Roll was no ordinary GI. In between his many overseas girlfriends and ability to skirt Army rules as a celebrity, Presley bought one of the most expensive cars at that time. He spotted the 507 in a local dealer after the Porsche 550 Spyder, the other great sports car in which heartthrob actor James Dean famously died, wasn't available.  

Recently acquired James Hull collection features more than 130 Jaguars, which the automaker will use for marketing and preservation.

By James_Tate Wed 8:37 AM

The renowned car collection of British entrepreneur James Hull is a living history of British motoring. Of the 543 vehicles in the Hull collection, a majority of them are British classics, which made it the largest privately-owned British car collection in the world, including more than 130 Jaguar models alone. It seems fitting, then, that Hull would sell his collection to Jaguar Land Rover.


Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) recently announced the purchase of Hull’s vast collection, which will fall under the purview of its new Special Vehicle Operations division. JLR Special Operations — most recently in the news for the announcement of its first production model, a road-going version of Jaguar’s Project 7 concept — wasn’t merely formed to pump out limited-edition, high-performance versions of JLR vehicles. Part of the Special Vehicle Operations mission will be maintaining and restoring classic models. Having the Hull collection in-house immediately makes it a leader in the preservation of British motoring history.


Hull, a dentist who has amassed great British cars from every decade since 1930, was contemplative in remarks about the sale. While the final price was not disclosed, Hull had first offered his collection in May for £100 million ($169 million).


Faulty transmission shift cables could cause 2011-14 models to roll away or stay stuck in park.

By Exhaust Notes Wed 6:29 AM
Hyundai is recalling 883,000 cars in the U.S. and Puerto Rico to fix transmissions that can let the car roll away when parked, according to filings with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The 2011-2014 Sonata has a transmission shift cable that can separate from the gear selector and may cause the actual gear to be different from the gear selected by the driver. For example, the vehicle may not be in park and could roll away -- even if the gear selector is in the park position. Also, the car may not be able to restart if the car shuts down in a drive gear and cannot be shifted out of park, despite the gear selector being able to move.  

Screen uses smartphone-like swiping and other finger-based gesture controls.

By Douglas Newcomb Tue 10:15 AM

If you’2015 Subaru Legacy multi-touch display.ve used a smartphone or tablet, you’ve probably also used multi-touch gesture controls to, say, decrease the scale of a navigation map by pinching the screen or moving the map by swiping it with a finger. It’s a quick, easy and intuitive interface, and one that’s increasingly coming to cars.

Cadillac was the first car brand to use multi-touch control with its CUE system in the XTS, and Tesla also included it as part of the huge in-dash display in the Model S. Now Subaru has added it to the all-new 2015 Legacy and Outback with the navigation option on its seven-inch display.

I tested the multi-touch interface in a 2015 Outback 2.5i Limited equipped with the "Moonroof Package + Keyless Access & Push-Button Start + Navigation System + EyeSight" (the actual name of the option) that costs $2,990. The package also includes a six-speaker audio system, the Starlink smartphone-based infotainment system, SiriusXM satellite radio, USB port/iPod control, and Bluetooth for phone and audio. Plus, it brings the full suite of EyeSight driver assistance systems: adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking and lane-departure warning.

I also consider the multi-touchscreen a driver assist of sorts.



  • Cliff Atiyeh

    Clifford Atiyeh has spent his entire life driving cars he doesn't own. Raised in Volvos, he has grown to love fast, irresponsible vehicles of all kinds. He is the senior news editor at MSN Autos and also reports for Car and Driver, Road & Track, The Boston Globe and other publications.
    In the garage: 21-speed Iron Horse, 2002 Jeep Wrangler X (not his)

  • Doug Newcomb

    Doug Newcomb has covered car technology for over 20 years for outlets ranging from Rolling Stone to Edmunds.com. In 2008, he published his first book, "Car Audio for Dummies" (Wiley). He lives and drives in Hood River, Ore., with his wife and two kids, who share his passion for cars and technology.
    In the garage: 1996 Chevrolet Impala SS, two 1984 Chevrolet Blazers, 2008 Honda CR-V

  • James Tate

    James Tate learned to drive stick at age 13 in a 1988 Land Cruiser - in La Paz, Bolivia. He's since been a mechanic, on a pit crew and has wrenched on every car he's owned since his first 1989 Honda CRX Si (and won't stop until the car is a 1973 Porsche 911 RS). His work has appeared in Car and Driver, Popular Mechanics, Automobile and others.
    In the garage: 1995 Porsche 911 Carrera, 1988 BMW M5

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