Archive for April, 2012
Scion’s professional drift racer, Ken Gushi, was on hand during the Scion FR-S press preview to show us the capabilities of the company’s new rear-wheel-drive performance car. As part of the program, journalists were put in the passenger seat for a lesson in drifting as Gushi gracefully flung the car around a wet skidpad. I gotta tell you, Ken makes it look easy. Under his care, the FR-S carved wide arcs and made smooth transitions from one opposite-lock drift to the next as if it were grasped by the hand of God. During his slides, he made constant minor adjustments to the steering, accelerator, and brakes to keep the car on its magical sideways trajectory.
Most people don’t know that there is a unifying intersection in the metric system. Not by accident, one cubic centimeter of water weighs one gram. That’s probably mineral-free distilled water, but you get the point—there’s a connection between how we measure lines and how we measure mass.
My No. 2 Pet Peeve: Control Layouts
Before roof pillars got thicker, thus escalating “visibility” to my No. 1 pet peeve, control layouts headed my list of automotive annoyances.
Carmakers are no strangers to event sponsorships. Most luxury makers have reached out to golf enthusiasts by working with the PGA and LPGA, and Kia has rather famously embraced the NBA. Looking outside the box, some makers latch on to more peripheral activities. For 2012, Mini became the official sponsor of Table Tennis Canada (TTCAN).
I recently tested three versions of the 2012 Kia Optima, and I noticed in each one that the vehicle-information display, between the speedometer and tachometer, contains a little picture of the car. The image is always displayed and, curiously, varies with model: a profile view in one, a rear-three-quarter angle in another, a front aspect in the third.
As we enter the two-month season known as the NBA Playoffs, we’re bound to see plenty of the new Buick LaCrosse commercial starring Shaquille O’Neal. In the ad, Shaq easily (seemingly) slides his 7-foot-1, 325-pound body into the front seat of his LaCrosse, a car that he says offers him “full-size luxury.”
I was traipsing into the office this morning when a 2012 Hyundai Accent hatchback parked in our building’s lot caused me to do a double take. Run-of-the-mill subcompacts usually don’t cause me to break stride, but . . . man, the wheels on this car looked TINY! I couldn’t help myself. I crouched down for a closer look at a sidewall: 175/70R14. Wow. Fourteen-inch wheels. I forgot those still existed!
Where have you gone, David Hasselhoff? Detroit turns its lonely (electronic) eyes to you.
Cadillac is road-testing a system designed to automatically steer, brake, and keep a car centered in a lane. In other words, drive itself. General Motors’ luxury-car division calls this system “Super Cruise” and says it could find its way to showrooms by the middle of this decade.
We’re not making this stuff up. But somebody did. In the Eighties. For a television show. They called it KITT.