Naughty or Nice: Multimedia Systems

Automakers have the challenge of integrating the latest multimedia devices and their massive capabilities into new cars. It’s no easy feat when advanced functions like streaming Bluetooth audio, voice recognition and Pandora internet radio are part of the package. Of the systems that aim to do it all, some have succeeded while others are still a work in progress.

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By Joe Bruzek | December 22, 2011 | Comments (3)

Naughty or Nice: Attention Grabbers

The two cars that get the nod here have already been highlighted or lowlighted in our 12 days of year-end remembrances.

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Being an automotive journalist can be cool. I still remember pulling out of the parking garage across from headquarters in a bright orange Dodge Challenger right when it had gone on sale and being chased by a grown man - a large one - half a block screaming, "Where did you get one!"

This year we had similar experiences, but nothing quite that colorful.

By David Thomas | December 21, 2011 | Comments (2)

Naughty or Nice: Headlights

Designers and engineers have a tough task when combining headlight styling and function. The lights must look good as the focal point of the car’s front design, but the driver still needs to see the road. Here are two examples of the opposite ends of the lighting spectrum. 
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By Joe Bruzek | December 20, 2011 | Comments (12)

Naughty or Nice: Shifters

A proper shifter inspires confidence in the overall driving experience by adding precision to the transmission’s operation. Manual transmission shifters may automatically come to mind as potential culprits when done wrong, but automatic transmissions can drop the ball in similar ways even without a manual clutch to get in the way.
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By Joe Bruzek | December 19, 2011 | Comments (3)

Naughty or Nice: Ergonomics


What good is a touch-screen if it’s out of arm’s reach or a radio volume knob positioned on the far side from the driver? Poor ergonomics make for frustrated drivers. Well-designed ergonomics offer comfort and ease of use while taking advantage of the technology in today's new cars. Some automakers have nailed this execution, while others leave us scratching our heads: Why should it take more than one step to turn on the heated seats?
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By Joe Bruzek | December 16, 2011 | Comments (10)

Naughty or Nice: Front Seats


What one driver finds comfortable in a front seat, another may deride as sitting on lumpy coal. Seat comfort is different for everybody, though features like center armrests and tilt/telescoping steering wheels help drivers dial into the comfort zone. We’d like to see those features in every car, but we’re not there yet.
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By Joe Bruzek | December 15, 2011 | Comments (1)

Naughty or Nice: Hotly Anticipated New Models


The process of seeing new cars evolve from sketches to concepts to production cars on sale creates anticipation and excitement over the months and years it takes to release or redesign a car. Driving these cars for the first time can quickly confirm our high hopes, or squash them flat like the chances of getting an unaltered “Han shot first” Blu-ray version of “Star Wars” this holiday season.
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By Joe Bruzek | December 14, 2011 | Comments (6)

Naughty or Nice: Steering Wheels

The steering wheel is an important piece of a car’s success or failure. It is, after all, what drivers interact with the most, whether commuting to work or sawing away on a racetrack. A great steering wheel combines a natural-feeling grip with a stylish layout and technology functions to complete the overall experience. It's not as easy to design one as you might think.
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By Joe Bruzek | December 13, 2011 | Comments (14)

Naughty or Nice: Ultra-Luxury Cars


Most folks would jump for joy to find a car worth six figures in their driveway, but reality doesn't always live up to celebrity culture. As we experienced this year, a car decked out in ultra-luxury features from top to tire isn't always what it's cracked up to be.

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By David Thomas | December 12, 2011 | Comments (3)

Naughty or Nice: Eye-Catching Designs

When we think of good and bad, we often think about looks ... at least when it comes to cars. Some automakers have had strings of success lately, like Kia, while others have made us scratch our heads routinely; Honda comes to mind.

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If you glance at the two cars above and don't know which one we'd recommend for a joyous holiday, you may need to have your eyes checked. But please keep reading, just in case.

By David Thomas | December 9, 2011 | Comments (11)

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