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2020 Lexus RX Improves Its Multimedia System

lexus rx interior1

If you were one of those disappointed by Lexus for its confusing infotainment system on the present Lexus RX, you’ll be happy to know that the car’s 2020 model will greatly improve on this user experience. The new model’s infotainment system now has a touchscreen and smartphone integration, two key features that were lacking in the present model.

The most controversial parts of the Lexus’ multimedia system were the touchpad and the mouse-like interface that were overly sensitive and lacking intuitiveness. In fact, when infotainment systems were talked about, Lexus’ multimedia system ranked last, especially when compared to the likes of FCA’s Uconnect system.

Thankfully, the 2020 Lexus RX is now coming with a touchscreen. This means the user has more control over the features of the multimedia system. The screen now responds in a timely manner. It has minimal lag. It’s powerful enough that it doesn’t get bogged down even if you input too many commands at once. You can still use the touchpad but that is now optional.

Today, if your car doesn’t have smartphone integration, you are losing on a whole lot of consumer experience. The 2020 Lexus RX is the first model in the brand’s lineup to carry both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. When the car was revealed, Lexus presented two cars—one that’s compatible with Apple and another one that works with the Android system.

Apple CarPlay covers the entire 12.3-inch touchscreen while Android Auto uses only half so you can still use the other half of the space for widgets. Android said they’ll have an update this summer to fix this issue so Android users have to deal with this layout for now.

Lexus still didn’t change the tiny icons despite it being a touchscreen already. This makes it harder for the driver to see the icons and click on them. And since the layout hasn’t changed, it means there is still no dedicated home button. Drivers have to depend on the buttons perched above the touchpad.

These are minor problems, though, and drivers can easily get used to them. The best news is Lexus heard your grievances and decided to act on them.

Cars With Driver-Assist Tech Cost More To Repair

mercedes driver assist

Remember those driver-assist tech options that you oh-so willingly agreed to when you bought your car? Well, it looks like they are going to cost you more in terms of repair and maintenance. A study by the AAA found out that the average cost of repairing those fancy cameras and sensors was about twice that of cars without them.

To determine this, the organization examined three 2018 model-year cars with a large amount of safety assist systems: the Nissan Rogue, the Toyota Camry, and the Ford F-150. They also researched the costs of the parts and the costs to properly install these systems. These two aspects are expensive because the components are pricey by themselves and the installation has to take more time because of the sensitivity of the systems thus, there are more labor costs.

It is significant to install and calibrate the systems properly so they can perform their functions well. Sensors and cameras ended up costing anywhere between $500 and $2,050 each.

That amount is only for one type of sensor. If your car has plenty of safety systems, it will likely have different sensors all in the same areas. This means that a simple fender bender can cost you dramatically. A light tap at the front can damage your ultrasonic parking sensors ($500 to $1,030), the front camera for your parking screen ($500 to $1,100), and radar sensors for adaptive cruise control ($900 to $1,300).

Windshields with sensors behind the glass are naturally more expensive, too. The windshields, after all, have to meet higher standards for clarity to ensure that the cameras will get to see through them. In the event of a damage, you will also have to recalibrate those components, which the AAA said could cost $1,200 to $1,600.

Of course, these are not meant to dissuade you from signing up for a lot of these safety tech features. In many cases, these systems can prevent fender benders, collisions, and many more. The features are worthwhile, but be prepared in case the systems get damaged.


Full Self-Driving Option Removed From Tesla’s Configurator


Prior to October 19, Tesla still had an item listed as “Full Self-Driving Capability” on its online configurator. It was offered as an option for its buyers. However, after that date, the feature was no longer among the choices.

According to reports, the Full Self-Driving option has been removed from the electric vehicle maker’s configurator indefinitely. The feature added $3,000 to $5,000 to the cars it was fitted on.

What was unusual about the option though was that Tesla didn’t have the technology yet. The company only promised that the feature will only be activated once the system was ready. For short, it was a pre-order scheme ensuring those who purchased the add-on that they will be the first to get it when it rolled out.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk addressed the issue in one of his Tweets saying, “Also available off menu for a week. Was causing too much confusion.”

We’re wondering why it took Tesla so long to realize that selling the Full Self-Driving feature before they even had the technology would be confusing for customers. The option has been in their configurator since 2016. Therefore, many people have already been baited into buying the non-existent item.

In fact, some buyers who paid for the feature were livid. A number of them even sued the company. They alleged that they were deceived into purchasing a feature that didn’t exist.

Despite that, Tesla continues to assure their buyers that they are still developing the Full Self-Driving system. But the company failed to give a timeframe for its release.

So far, there are no talks about a possible refund for the complaining customers. And, for sure, the removal of the feature in the configurator just added to the worries of the people who already paid for it.

2019 Nissan Titan Gets New Infotainment And Audio System

2019 Nissan Titan

Since its recent redesign, the Nissan Titan and the Nissan Titan XD remained unchanged but for the model year 2019, the trucks are getting mild updates that will make them more comfortable to drive with passengers receiving the bulk of the benefits.

Previously, only a 5.0-inch touchscreen came as standard to all models. It’s now a 7.0-inch touchscreen and the Titan will also get the Apple CarPlay and the Android Auto as standard for the first time. The trucks will also feature an additional USB media port, and two USB-A charge ports have been added to the PRO-4X, SL, and Platinum Reserve trims.

Nissan Titan

For the audio system, Nissan will give drivers the chance to get a new Fender audio system with a 485-watt, nine channel amplifier. It will come standard on the Titan Crew Cab SL, SL Midnight Edition, and Platinum Reserve, and optional on the Crew Cab and King Cab PRO-4X.

On the XD, the Fender audio system is standard on the Crew Cab SL and Platinum grades and optional on the PRO-4X Crew Cab and King Cab. The audio system has 12 speakers, except on the King Cab trim which has only 10.

There are two paint colors that have been added to the exterior choices: Moab Sunset and Midnight Pine. There’s the Rear Door Alert, too. The system reminds drivers to check their backseats before leaving the car lest they forgot something. This feature is now standard on King Cab and Crew Cab versions of both the Titan and Titan XD.

Both trucks are still offering the same 5.6-liter V8 engine while the XD adds another with its 5.0-liter V8 turbodiesel. There was a rumor way back that Nissan plans to add a V6 engine option to the lineup, but there’s still no word if the offer of a smaller engine still stands.

The 2019 Nissan Titan and Titan XD will go on sale this fall.

Mazda6 Finally Gets Apple CarPlay And Android Auto

apple carplay for mazda6

How annoying is it that Mazda6 owners will only get to enjoy the latest in technology today? For years, Mazda fans have been cajoling the brand to pre-install Apple CarPlay and Android Auto in their cars. At the New York Auto Show last March, the Japanese company announced their plans to add Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support to the latest Mazda6.

Today, Mazda announced that the two smartphone support systems will be available nationwide to Mazda6 owners starting in September. But to those who have already purchased the 2018 Mazda6, the support would have to be installed in September. Those who will buy the car will get theirs pre-installed.

Those who own a Mazda6 other than the base Sport trim, Apply CarPlay and Android Auto will be available as a no-cost, dealer-installed upgrade. All you have to do is bring your cars to the local dealerships and they should install a more powerful 2.1-amp USB port. This will also reduce the charging time.

The installation will take two hours, no more than the time you allow for the car’s regular maintenance checkup. But starting November, the Mazda6 will come with both phone-mirroring systems pre-installed.

The interior of the refreshed Mazda6 Signature is very impressive, and car enthusiasts have raved about the luxury, comfort, and elegance of the car’s cabin. But when it comes to the infotainment system, Mazda leaves nothing to be desired. The lack of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto makes the car feel ancient. It is a big disappointment to Mazda fans everywhere.

Even if Mazda did not choose to pre-install the systems, they should at least be offered as an option. This update finally fixes that issue though sadly, Mazda6 is the only car in the automaker’s lineup scheduled to receive it. All the other cars will remain lacking Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.


3 Cool Things We Like About The New 2019 BMW 8 Series

bmw 8-series (5)

There have been rumors for years that a new BMW 8 Series is in the works but it’s not until we got to see one that we truly believed them. BMW is in dire need of something to throw against the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, which is already far ahead of the 7 Series.

The 8 Series will sit on top of the BMW hierarchy, making it a worthy opponent of the S-Class. As such, it comes packed with amazing technology and state-of-the-art equipment.

Laser Light Tech

bmw 8-series (3)

It’s the thinnest headlights ever seen on a car. The Laser Light Tech was first developed with the i8 Concept and then introduced in the 7 Series and the new X5. It looks like the new 8 Series is having it, too.

Why are we surprised? What set these pair of headlights apart are blue accents inside and the fact that each lamp has the chinkiest eyes. The Laser Light Tech uses 30 percent less energy, but it allows the light to shine 10 times brighter compared to LED lights. It can illuminate up to 600 meters of the road ahead.

Glass Gear Lever

bmw 8-series (4)

Owing to the fact that the interior of the new 8 Series is on top of its class, BMW added another element that would truly amaze buyers. The glass gear lever for the eight-speed Steptronic Sport transmission has an illuminated number 8 inside the glass casing, adding an exclusivity to an interior that already screams money. You could also add the glass casing on the iDrive controller, the start/stop button, and the volume knob.

Digital Key

bmw 8-series (1)

BMW promised drivers that they would not have to carry a physical key every time they have to open and start the car. They made true to their promise. The Digital Key was revealed during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

There’s an installed BMW Connected app for smartphones. The app would communicate with the car via NFC (near-field communication). The driver would be able to lock, unlock, and even start the car (when placing the phone on a charging pad).


Apple CarPlay Is Finally Getting Google Maps And Waze

apple carplay

Here’s the thing, Apple, no one likes Apple Maps. It is terrible and it confuses rather than helps. But news is coming in that you are now getting Google Maps and Waze to work on the Apple CarPlay. That’s great. Thank you. It is about time we stop putting our smartphones on the dashboard, on the cup holder, in front of the aircon vents, or let the front passenger hold it where we can see Google Maps or Waze. It is unsafe and it defeats the purpose of having the Apple CarPlay in our cars.

The latest iOS 12 update will finally bring Google Maps and Waze to the Apple CarPlay. These apps’ superior traffic reporting data, re-routing information, and general direction capabilities will now be available right on your car’s main display screen. It’s a safe way to navigate and use the technology provided by our cars.

Google Maps and Waze are also more superior than OEM integrated navigation systems. What’s great about these two apps is the comprehensive address and points-of-interest searches, accurate traffic reporting (since it collects information from users), and it offers multiple routes based on travel time. Waze, in particular, alerts the users about the presence of traffic officers, speed cameras, and police speed traps.

Like many smartphone apps (and unlike the integrated Apple Maps in the car’s system), the functions of the Google Map and Waze diminish when you don’t have service.

This step is a small but important advancement for Apple as the company tries to take over the vehicles’ main dashboard and increase the presence and usefulness of the Apple CarPlay.

iPhone users won’t get the Waze and Google Map working on their cars right away because the iOS 12, which will bring these two apps, won’t be available until fall. The new operating system will be compatible with iPhone 5s up to the latest models. It will also work on the sixth-generation iPod touch devices and a number of iPad models.

2019 Hyundai Ioniq Gets New Safety, Infotainment Tech


There will be new safety and infotainment technology for the new lineup of the 2019 Hyundai Ioniq. There will be more voice-recognition features and standard remote charge management for electric and plug-in hybrid models.

The models will get navigation capabilities, including an enhanced, natural-language, server-based voice recognition with a new search database that can detect the locations of charging stations. Some of the new available features are driver attention alert, high-beam assist, and automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection. These are standard for the SEL trim, which also included lane-keep assist and adaptive cruise control.

To be able to make all of these promises come true, Hyundai had to partner with ChargePoint, which operates more than 32,000 charging locations. What they’ll do is provide Ioniq owners access cards and the ability to locate charging stations through the MyHyundai/Blue Link mobile app. The Ioniq electric and PHEV models will come with Blue Link, Google, and Alexa, which will enable the drivers to monitor the charging schedules even when they are not in the car. The tech would also notify the drivers of possible savings they can get during off-peak hours when electricity prices are down.

There are three variants of the Ioniq—the Hybrid, the Electric, and the Plug-In Hybrid.

The Hybrid has a 58 mpg rating from the 1.6-liter direct-injected engine, 32-kilowatt electric motor and 1.56 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery. The Electric variant has 136 mpge rating and can go 124 miles from one charge. The power comes from its 28.0 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery. The Plug-In Hybrid, on the other hand, offers 29 miles of uninterrupted driving for electric power. It uses a 1.6-liter direct-injected Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder mated to a six-speed dual-clutch transmission, a 44.5 kW electric motor, and 8.9 kWh battery.

Pricing hasn’t been announced yet for the 2019 model, though it will be available starting this summer.


All Honda Cars Starting 2022 Will Have Honda Sensing Safety

honda sensing

Starting 2022, all Honda models will be equipped with the Honda Sensing Safety, a suite of features that will make it easier and safer for drivers to navigate and manage the brand’s cars. Though it is a long way from now, it’s nice to know that the Japanese automaker is making strides to make accessibility to safe cars a priority.

Right now, there is over one million vehicles in the United States fitted with the Honda Sensing Safety. That number is going to pale in comparison to Honda’s plans to have the system a standard equipment for all its vehicles starting 2022.

The Honda Sensing Safety system offers a suite of advanced safety and driver-assisted technologies that will supposedly make it easier and safer for Honda owners to drive their cars. The system includes quite a huge number of safety tech features, including a collision mitigation braking system (CMBS) that can apply brake pressure when an unavoidable collision is sensed.

It also has the lane keeping assist (LKAS), adaptive cruise control (ACC), and road departure mitigation (RDM), all of which assist the drivers in adjusting steering and braking if and when the cars cross detected lanes without signaling.

Henio Arcangeli Jr., senior vice president of the American Honda Automobile Division, said in a statement that Honda’s dream is to create a “collision-free mobile society.” The Honda Sensing Safety will play a critical and pivotal role in order to achieve that dream. Honda’s unofficial target is to reduce the number of collisions in the next three to four years.

The safety suite is now standard on only a handful of Honda models— 2018 Clarity Plug-in Hybrid, 2018 Clarity Fuel Cell, 2017 Clarity Electric, 2018 Accord, and 2018 Accord Hybrid. It will also come standard on the 2019 Insight Hybrid. Honda Sensing Safety is only available as an option for the Fit, Civic, CR-V, Pilot, Odyssey, and Ridgeline.

Top 3 Features of the Mercedes-Benz CLS Launched at LA Auto Show

Der neue Mercedes-Benz CLS: Das Original in dritter Generation

Mercedes-Benz just launched a new addition to its dream cars in the form of the all-new CLS. The Mercedes-Benz CLS is classified as a four-door coupe and it is currently in its third generation series.

1. Design

The CLS sits between the mid-range E-Class luxury car and Mercedes’ flagship S-Class. What makes the car distinct from its close four-door siblings is its fastback roofline that is also reminiscent of the E-Class Coupe.

The new CLS features a major overhaul in its design compared to its predecessor. The new model has smoother surfaces in its hood, boot lid and side panels, thanks to its less prominent body lines and more curvaceous corners. The other noticeable changes include the sharper lights and diamond grille styling.

The interior of the car carries many high-end design elements from the E-Class. Among them are the circular air vents and widescreen digital displays. The vents are visually enhanced by their illuminated background.

The third-gen CLS gets a new seat design exclusively made for its range. The car can hold up to five occupants, including the driver.

2. Technology

The new Mercedes-Benz CLS has no shortage in tech features that help improve its comfort, safety and driving performance. In addition to its digital cockpit, the auto has ambient lighting system to set the mood of its occupants. Optional is the Energizing comfort control that manages the heating, massage, climate and musical theme of the vehicle.

Then, its safety and navigation are enhanced by the advanced elements found in the S-Class like the Active Brake Assist, Lane Keeping Assist, ATTENTION ASSIST, Speed Limit Assist and the occupant protection system PRE-SAFE. More advanced features are provided by the optional Driving Assistance and Driving Assistance Plus packages of Mercedes.

3. Engine

At launch, the CLS comes with a six-cylinder engine in three trims. The CLS 350 d 4MATIC has 286 hp. The CLS 400 d 4MATIC has 340 hp. The CLS d 450 4MATIC has 367 hp plus 22 hp coming from its EQ Boost.

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