Note: In 2013, Ford is still struggling with glitches and consumer complaints regarding its MyFord Touch interface control system, available in all of its cars and SUVs as well as the Ford F-Series. Presented here is a MyFord Touch-related article from August 2011 that we feel is still relevant today.
On the day that Google used high-tech graphics to honor Lucille Ball’s 100th birthday, auto-technology expert Jason Vieau had a lot of esplainin’ to do about MyFord Touch.
The controversial interface control system is so sophisticated, and has generated so much consumer frustration, that Ford dealerships have begun to stage technology workshops to explain it all. Arlington Heights (Illinois) Ford held two of them on the morning of Saturday, August 6, 2011.
Seven Ford customers, all in their 50s or older, arrived for the 10:30 tutoring session. Don Lane, a white-haired grandfather originally from Georgia, knew he had a lot to learn about the MyFord Touch system in his new Ford Edge. “It’s a bit overwhelming, to be honest with you,” he said.
On a humid, overcast morning, Vieau invited Lane into a Ford Explorer that would remain parked in the lot (with the air conditioning on, thank God) throughout the training session. Bruce Smith, a bespectacled 50-something who would take detailed notes with his pen and paper, climbed into the back seat with me.
For Eric, renting a Lamborghini from Imagine Lifestyles in Miami was a transforming experience.
“I felt like I had gone from a regular Joe to Joe DiMaggio!” he beamed.
As a sales rep, Eric certainly couldn’t afford to buy a Lamborghini Gallardo LP-560 coupe, but he could afford to rent one for a day. After plunking down $1,500, and getting a driving tutorial from Imagine Lifestyles co-CEO Ryan Safady, Eric took the wheel.
“When I first sat in this beautiful piece of Italian machinery, I got bit of a rush—nervousness and, well, a lot of excitement,” he recalled. “I drove off and the adventure began.
“I drove around for a while before taking it home. I wanted to get used to how the car handled, and I decided to see what it felt like to go fast—not just any kind of fast, Lamborghini fast. Imagine going on a roller coaster for the first time: You feel the adrenaline, the excitement, and when you come to a stop, a bit lightheaded. Well, that’s exactly what it felt like.”
It’s the Earth lover’s dream-come-true: an electric car that’s powered by the sun!
In late 2011, SunPower announced partnerships with Ford and Nissan regarding the Ford Focus Electric and Nissan Leaf. A year and a half later, a small number of these electric car owners are pursuing this option. Some believe that it not only makes sense for the environment, it could actually make sense for them financially.
On the homes of Focus Electric and Leaf owners, SunPower is able to install solar energy systems that involve approximately 150 square feet of solar panels. Each system is able to generate enough electricity to power an electric car. SunPower stated that each 2.5-kilowatt system produces about 3,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity per year, which they claim would be enough juice to power a Focus Electric for 12,000 miles and a Leaf for 10,000 miles.
Pick your favorite.
1) Audi and BMW Play Chess
2) Saw It at the Mall and Couldn’t Resist
3) Quintuple Your Fun
4) I Love You More Than My Wife
5) World’s Meanest Mom
Through their logos, many automakers have created a dazzling world of wonder. In logo land, you’ll discover roman gods, prancing horses, and mystical beasts—as well as religious themes such as the Holy Trinity and the Christian Crusades. It’s a universe of stars and planets, ships and rockets, diamonds and domination. One emblem, which is simply a crooked letter, symbolizes a trustworthy handshake.
Disappointingly, such companies as Volkswagen (whose symbol is VW) and Ford (Ford) have refused to join in the fun. But many of the other logos have fascinating meanings. Let’s explore. . . .
The Acura logo plays with our minds a little. Most observers think the logo is a stylized letter A, for Acura, just like Honda’s logo is a stylized H for Honda. But according to Honda (Acura’s parent company), the image is a caliper, a design instrument used for measuring thickness.
The Alfa Romeo badge pays tribute to its home city, Milan, Italy. It features the city’s coat of arms, which symbolizes Milan’s two ruling families during medieval times. On the left is a red cross, a Christian symbol of heraldry that represents the right of a person to bear arms. On the right, a serpent devours a human being, interpreted by some as a Muslim—that is, the enemy of the Christians during the Crusades.
Recently, Chevrolet officials announced they were in the midst of an aggressive new-product rollout across the globe, with 25 new or significantly redesigned vehicles. One of them is the Chevrolet Malibu, which will get a freshening for 2014 just one model year after being redesigned.
Today, General Motors announced seven upgrades to the popular midsize car. They include . . .
Revised front-end appearance. GM says that the front-end appearance is “influenced by the all-new Impala” and meant to create a more cohesive look across Chevy’s sedan lineup. Below are side-by-side pics of the 2013 and 2014 Malibus, and underneath is the 2014 Malibu compared to the 2014 Impala.
In 1963, Betty Friedan authored the landmark book The Feminine Mystique, which explored the “problem with no name.” That problem would eventually be called sexism.
We’re guessing that the folks in the Volkswagen advertising department hadn’t put Friedan’s book on their reading list.
At the time, VW’s “Think Small” advertising campaign, which promoted the Beetle, was wildly successful. It would earn kudos from Ad Age as the best campaign of the 20th century. But this ad belongs in the historical trashcan.
The ad copy begins: “Women are soft and gentle, but they hit things. If your wife hits something in a Volkswagen, it doesn’t hurt you very much.”
The ad copy means that it doesn’t hurt your wallet, because “VW parts are easy to replace” and “interchangeable”—hence, inexpensive. “Which means your wife isn’t limited to fender smashing,” the copy continues. “She can jab the hood. Graze the door. Or bump off the bumper. It may make you furious, but it won’t make you poor.”
This ad appeared in U.S. newspapers in the fall of 1964. Imagine the fury if it came out today?
When Saad Chehab, president and CEO of the Chrysler Brand, spoke at a press event recently, he described the Chrysler 300 as “kind of like a chameleon.” The automaker has taken what once was considered an “old man’s car” and tried to transform it into a ride for a wide spectrum of individuals.
For model-year 2011, Chrysler installed the Beats By Dr. Dre sound system into the 300S, hoping to appeal to the hip-hop crowd. For 2012 came the 300 SRT8, whose 470-horsepower 6.4-liter V8 held loads of appeal for car enthusiasts. For 2013, Chrysler has tried to expand the 300′s reach even further with three new editions: the Glacier Edition (all-wheel drive; unique interior), the Motown Edition (lots of brightwork; black and white interior, like a piano), and the 300C John Varvatos Limited Edition. With these three editions, the “chameleon” 300 targets, respectively, snowbelt drivers, old-school music lovers, and the fashionably conscious.
Note: See Consumer Guide Automotive’s detailed review of the 2013 Ford C-MAX Hybrid.
I got into the Ford C-MAX Hybrid this weekend, and a number of things caught my attention—good and bad.
Most impressively, C-MAX is remarkably sprightly for a hybrid. It’s quick off the line, and power delivery is strong and smooth. Moreover, it has plenty of juice for merging and passing. The 2.0-liter 4-cylinder/CVT powertrain is the same one that’s in the Ford Fusion Hybrid, which we’ve also lauded. Honestly, this powerplant feels nothing like the fussy, wussy hybrid engines of a few years back. It actually feels like a normally aspirated V6.
In more than 200 miles of driving, my Consumer Guide colleagues and I have averaged around 34 mpg in the C-MAX. That’s awesome for a car with such “go,” but it’s alarmingly low for a vehicle that is EPA rated at 47 mpg city/47 highway. We’re not the first to call out this discrepancy. In fact, it’s become a national story, and in April C-MAX Hybrid and Fusion Hybrid owners in Pennsylvania sued Ford for false mileage claims.
Well, maybe it doesn’t look quite like Yogi Bear, but from this angle the steering wheel with the speedometer and tachometer look like the face of an old-time cartoon character. Felix the Cat? Something. This design faux pas reminds me of the smiley face front grille on some of the Mazdas a couple years back.
Jokes aside, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class has long been one of the finest cars in the world, and the hands-down favorite of Consumer Guide Publisher Tom Appel. Today, Mercedes revealed photos of the 2014 version, the first time the car has been redesigned since 2007.
Regarding the redesign, Mercedes CEO Dieter Zetsche stated that “our aspirations were ‘the best or nothing’ in every respect.” Yet not surprisingly, exterior styling was only modestly changed. The S-Class is slightly wider and boasts a larger grille. The car’s driver-assistance packages include 30 features, including 11 that are new or significantly enhanced.
Keep following the Daily Drive and Consumer Guide Automotive for more details on the 2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class. In the meantime, enjoy the photographs (and try not to giggle).