CES 2014 will showcase the near future of driving

Auto shows make great places to see the cars coming to showrooms in the next year, but CES shows how we will be driving by 2020. Automakers and suppliers are participating in CES 2014 to show off their latest tech concepts, designed to make driving safer and easier than ever.

At CES 2013, both Lexus and Audi made important announcements about their efforts to develop autonomous vehicles. While those efforts have not come to dealers yet, Audi will be demonstrating its test vehicles at CES, showing how the future car will drop off its passengers, then go find a parking … Read more

Toyota Highlander gets even more family-friendly for 2014

With a generous loadout of safety features, innovative technologies like Driver Easy Speak, and a thrifty Hybrid power train option, the 2014 Toyota Highlander may be the ultimate mom-mobile.

The slightly enlarged seven-passenger crossover debuts for the 2014 model year with a laundry list of new features, including a revision of the automaker's Entune dashboard app interface, a suspension and chassis that have been retuned and refined for a quieter, more comfortable ride, and a new look that blends the trapezoidal grille and eagle-eyed headlamps of the automaker's Tundra and Sequoia with a dash of Lexus-inspired finesse. It'… Read more

Uber teams up with GM, Toyota to get more cars on the road

Uber began testing a financial program Monday that aims to reduce the car payments of its drivers through a partnership with auto manufacturers and banks.

The on-demand car company said it now has 100,000 drivers and "millions" of customers, with full-time drivers giving $100,000 worth of rides each year. But, it needs more cars.

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick said the company is growing quickly -- 20 percent per month in the last two months -- and it wants to make sure there are enough cars for its system. The aim is to get "hundreds of … Read more

Are super-compact EVs the ride of the future?

TOKYO -- How would you fancy riding around in something that can go 30 miles on a charge and costs around $1?

Super-compact electric vehicles have been on roads in Japan for a while, and more models are coming out as major automakers experiment with architecture and features.

Some look like golf carts or even the gas-powered tricycle mopeds commonly used for pizza and other deliveries in densely populated Japanese cities. … Read more

Can more power make the Lotus Elise better?

Lotus has been turning out the Elise since 1996. It's still praised as being dynamically brilliant, too. Try finding another 17-year-old car that's not only still being produced, but isn't criticized for being outdated...

Its first incarnation was Lotus all over. It was light, stripped-out and low-powered, but it was an astonishing car to drive. It was everything a Lotus was supposed to be and was instantly adored.

The second generation built on the first's success: it was better-looking, a touch faster, and still wonderful to drive. Partway through its life it was given Toyota engines … Read more

Toyotas can't deal with spiders

I always thought car manufacturers thought of everything.

They realize you might live in a hot or a cold climate. They know that some people drive more roughly than others.

However, it seems that Toyota's designers hadn't quite accounted for spiders.

According to CNN Money, 870,000 Toyotas are being recalled because if spiders get inside and weave a web, passengers might have an interesting pattern imprinted on their faces, when the airbag suddenly deploys for no apparent reason.

Here is the explanation: spiderwebs can, on occasion, actually block drainage tubes connected to the air conditioning condenser. Coincidentally, … Read more

No electrics among Green Car of the Year finalists

Every year at the Los Angeles Auto Show, Green Car Journal announces the winner of its Green Car of the Year award. As a teaser to this year's announcement on November 21, the publication released its list of five finalists for the prize.

This year's finalists are:

Audi A6 TDI BMW 328d Honda Accord Mazda3 Toyota Corolla

The Audi A6 and the BMW 328d represent diesel-fueled cars, a technology that has improved quite a bit in cleaner emissions and general drivability. Green Car Journal includes the Honda Accord for its new direct injection engine and hybrid variant. The … Read more

Toyota Corolla update shows nice styling, connected tech

The Corolla model has been around so long that it's easy to take for granted, and Toyota's slow, five-year product cycling means you might have even forgotten the company was still making this compact sedan. But the 2014 Toyota Corolla comes out with some nice styling, new cabin electronics, and a push toward 40 mpg fuel efficiency.

Because of the model's ubiquity, I wasn't looking forward to getting behind the wheel, but when this 2014 Corolla showed up at CNET's garage, I was immediately won over by its exterior design. Echoing the styling of the … Read more

The ToyARTa Hilux has a new home and I couldn't be happier.

XCAR crew cars, as I've mentioned before, are driven long distances, parked in odd places and are used as mobile trashcans. They lead a hard life, but ferry the (almost permanently knackered) crew to, from, and around locations. We love them for what they do.

The ToyARTa was a special crew car. It's one of the things I'm most proud of having a hand in creating. It's not an epic sweeping video with a silly supercar. No, it's a Toyota Hilux with a custom wrap on it. And it was awesome.

Toyota kindly agreed to … Read more

Toyota rolling out near-autonomous cars in five years

The race toward autonomous vehicles appears to be picking up steam. Nissan set 2020 as the year it would put autonomous cars on the road, and now Toyota is laying out specifics on autonomous car technologies it will put into production "in the mid-2010s," according to a press release.

Toyota calls its core autonomous car technology Automated Highway Driving Assist (AHDA), noting that it consists of two new features, Cooperative-Adaptive Cruise Control and Lane Trace Control.

Adaptive cruise control systems have been in production vehicles for a number of years. Using radar or stereoscopic cameras, these systems detect … Read more