Search The Virtual Driver
Tagged for Your Convenience
1940 Ford Coupe 1961 F1 season 2012 Dodge Charger SRT8 2012 Ford Explorer 2012 Jeep Wrangler 2012 Toyota Camry 2012 VW Beetle 2012 VW Passat 2013 Chevys 2013 Ford Explorer 2013 Ford Focus Electric 2013 Ford Fusion review 2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 2013 Hyundai Sonata SE 2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo 2013 Infiniti JX AWD 2013 Lexus ES 350 2013 Lexus GS 2013 Mercedes GLK350 2013 NAIAS 2013 Nissan Altima 2014 Audi R18 e-tron quattro 2014 Detroit Auto Show 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee 2014 Kia Forte 2014 Kia Soul road test 2014 Lexus IS 2014 Mazda CX-5 crossover 2014 Mazda3 2014 Mercedes S-Class 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage 2014 NAIAS 2014 Toyota Corolla 2014 Toyota Corolla S 2014 Toyota Highlander 2015 Camaro 2015 Chrysler 200 2015 Ford F-150 2015 Ford Mustang 2015 Hyundai Sonata 2015 Lincoln Navigator 2015 Mini Cooper 2015 Mustang 2015 Porsche Cayenne 2015 Toyota Camry 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans affordable carbon fiber airbag technology Alan Mulally Alfa Romeo Alfa Romeo 4C ALMS AMG SLS E-Cell AP Racing Radi-CAL ArmorAll AROnline Aston Martin Atlanta Motorsport Park Audi Audi bicycle Audi R18 Austin Powers Autocade automotive porn automotive safety systems Avro Vulcan barn finds Battle of Britain Beverly Rae Kimes Big Bang Theory BMW BMW 2 Series Active Tourer BMW 3 Series BMW i3 BMW i8 BMW i8 luggage BMW M4 video BMW X4 BMW1 Series Bob Lutz BorgWarner Breitling watches Brembo British Motor Heritage Bryce Hoffman Buick Regal GS Buick Verano Cadillac ATS Cadillac CTS Cadillac CTS-V Cadillac CUE Cadillac XTS CAFE standards Camaro Z28 Camaro ZL1 Car Spy book Carroll Shelby Cars in Context Television Cars in Context TV Caterham Caterham Seven Center for Automotive Research CES Chevy Cruze diesel Chevy Sonic Chevy Volt Chicago Auto Show China Auto 2012 Chip Foose Chrysler Clarion C-Max Hybrid CNG Cobra Jet Mustang Controlled Power Technologies Corvette C7 Corvette C8 Corvette sinkhole Craftsman CTX tractors Dale Jr Dallara GP2 hillclimb Dan Gurney Dan Wheldon De Lorean Derek Warwick Detroit Auto Show Detroit Electric diesel engine Dodge Dodge Avenger Dodge Challenger Dodge Dart GT domestic energy donuts drag racing DRB-Hicom driver alert Ducati 899 Panigale Ducati Monster Ducati Museum Ducati Testastretta Eagle GB Eddie Rickenbacker Edsel Ford electric bike electric vehicles EPA Evanta F-150 SuperCrew federal bureaucracy Federal-Mogul Ferrari Ferrari dog kennels Ferrari F12 FEV Fiat 500 Abarth Fiat 500 furniture Fiat-Chrysler Ford Ford BoxLink Ford Edge Ford Explorer Sport Ford F-150 EcoBoost Ford F-150 Tremor Ford Fiesta ST Ford Focus ST Ford Fusion Ford GT Ford Mustang Ford S-Max Ford Transit Connect Formula One Formula One rules Forza Motorsport Fq hybrid braking Frankfurt Motor Show Geneva Motor Show Global RallyCross GM GM recalls Goodwood Festival of Speed Group Lotus HANS device Harley-Davidson Harley-Davidson Breakout Harley-Davidson LiveWire Harley-Davidson Seventy-Two Harley-Davidson SuperLow Harley-Davidson Switchback healthcare Honda ATVs Honda endurance engine Honda motorcycles HondaJet Husqvarna hybrids Hyundai Hyundai Accent Hyundai Elantra Hyundai Elantra GT Hyundai Genesis Hyundai Genesis Coupe Hyundai Veloster Indianapolis Motor Speedway Indy 500 IndyCar Infiniti Infiniti Q50 Infiniti QX56 inflatable child seat J.D. Power and Associates Jabuar Jaguar Jaguar C-X16 Jaguar E-Type Jaguar F-Type Jaguar luggage Jaguar XE Jaguar XJL Jeep Cherokee Jeep concepts jet prropulsion Jim Clark John Krafcik Kia Forte Koup SX Kia Rio Kia Sorento Kia Soul Lamborghini Land Rover LR2 Le Mans lead-acid batteries Lexus ES350 Lexus GS350 F Sport Lexus LS LExus LX 570 Lexus RC 350 Lexus RC F Lincoln MKC Lincoln MKX Lincoln MKZ Lincoln Motor Company Lingenfelter Lola LMP1 Lotus Lotus SUV Luca Montezemolo Lucire Lyonheart K Maserati Tipo 250F replica matte-finish film Mazda Mazda chair Mazda2 McLaren McLaren MP4-12C Spider McLaren P1 McLaren P1 interior Mercedes Mercedes 4Matic Mercedes CLA Mercedes comic book Mercedes diesel pistons Mercedes GL Mercedes GLA Mercedes pickup trucks Mercedes van Mercedes-AMG Mercedes-AMG GT Mercedes-Benz furniture metal matrix composite brakes MG wrist watch Michael Schumacher Mike Hawthorn Mini Mini Countryman Mini Coupe Mini Roadster Mini Vision Mitsubishi Mopar shaker hood muscle cars MyFord Touch NAIAS nanoslide coating NASCAR NASCAR heating scandal New York Auto Show Niki Lauda Nissan BladeGlider Nissan Leaf Nissan Pathfinder Nissan Skyline history Nissan Smart mirror Nissan Versa Note Nnissan Quest Nurburgring OnStar FMV Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance Peter Wright Peugeot 108 Pininfarina Pocket Classics Pope Benedict XVI Porsche 917 Porsche 918 Spyder Porsche 919 steering wheel Porsche 988 Porsche P1 EV Porsche Panamera powertrain technology Prius c Prius v racing Ram Ram 1500 Ram ProMaster Ram Promaster City Range Rover rebuildable batteries Renault F1 engine Renault Twingo restomod Ricardo Engineering road repair funds Roger Penske Rolls Royce Bespoke Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Ross Brawn Rush movie Saab safety technology Santa SBU V3 Scion FR-S Sir Malcolm Campbell Siri smart spare tires Speed sport sedans Sportster Subaru BRZ Subaru Forester Suzuki SX4 Team Lotus TechShop The Aresenal of Democracy touchpad technology Tour de France Toyota Toyota 4Runner Toyota iRoad Toyota Prius c Toyota Tacoma Toyota Tundra Toyota Venza Toyota VenzaMcLaren MP4-12C Tracks novel Triumph Speed Triple TRW TRW touchpad U.S. Air Force Museum UAW Udvar-Hazy Center unionization vaporware Vehreo fabric Visteon Volkswagen Volvo Volvo Drive-E Volvo S60 R-Design Volvo XC90 VW VW Beetle Convertible VW Beetle TDI VW Golf VW GTI VW Jetta Hybrid VW MQB VW Passat TDI VW Touareg TDI VW troubles winter driving Xcar video XPEL Yamaha anime Zenos E10
Friday
Feb072014

February 2014

February 21, 2014: The fallout from the vote rejecting UAW representation at VW’s Chattanooga plant continues. A stunning rebuke to what seemed like a sure thing, the vote promises to have long term repercussions here and in Germany, and suggests VW’s plan to sell 800,000 cars in the U.S. by 2018 is in serious trouble. Next month’s Geneva Motor Show, among other reveals, will see the launch of three new small cars. The first is Renault’s rear-engined Twingo, a car that shares its structure and powertrain with the next smart. Peugeot announced its new 108 just before selling a stake in the 204 year-old company to China’s Donfeng. And BMW pulled the wraps off the production version of its 2 Series Active Tourer, the company’s first volume front-driver; a car that may prove snowballs don’t melt in Hell. Al Vinikour, meanwhile, takes a literal look back at the lowly rearview mirror, while Honda pulls the covers off four new motorcycle offerings for 2014.

 

 

February 7, 2014: Volvo gambled big on its modular Drive-E family of engines, but are they strong and

frugal enough to compete in the sports sedan segment? Porsche’s first electric, the Egger-Lohner C.2 Phaeton makes its way to the Porsche Museum in unrestored condition. Sir Malcolm Campbell’s Sunbeam land speed record car, on the other hand, arrives at Britain’s National Motor Museum fresh from a major restoration. We drive Lincoln’s MKZ sedan, but come away wondering what the Lincoln brand means. Mercedes introduces a new family van, the V-Class, but don’t expect it to come to the U.S. Bentley expands its home furnishings collection. And Al Vinikour speaks his mind about people who don’t use turn signals properly.

 

 

Friday
Jan102014

January 2014

January 24, 2014: Ford made a big splash at the 2014 Detroit show with the first public showing for the 2015 Mustang, and a launch pad for the most radical pickup ever. Though the aluminum-bodied F-150 drew most of the attention, it wasn’t the only thing on display. Chrysler unveiled the new 200S and 200C, Kia and Toyota showed automotive vaporware, and more. After the show, Lincoln launched an updated version of its Navigator SUV that raises more questions about the brand’s future direction than it answers. Confusion also reigned when the rules changes for the 2014 Formula One season were released. We doubt even Sheldon Cooper of TV’s Big Bang Theory would fully understand the revisions. Finally, one thing Al Vinikour understands is professionalism. That’s why he’s written a piece on the unsung heroes of the highway.

 

January 10, 2014: Just after Christmas, Hyundai management decided that John Krafcik, President and CEO of Hyundai Motor America had to go. It was sold as a planned changing of the guard, but was there more to it? Speaking of new faces, a few recently broke cover. Lamborghini pulls the covers off its Huracán, the replacement for the very successful Gallardo. Lotus, meanwhile, shows the oddly named Elise S Cup R, it’s entry-level track car. Elsewhere, Mercedes and Pebble Tech are working together to make your car’s systems part of your smart watch. Chevrolet announced the vehicles it will launch with OnStar 4G LTE, and Harman launched three technologies at this year’s CES. All are interesting. Undoubtedly, not all are Edward Snowden approved. This week we review Ford’s C-Max Hybrid, a small “multi-activity vehicle” that, oddly, has us pining for the Ford Escape! VW pulls the wraps off its Passat BlueMotion Concept, a large sedan powered by a 1.4-liter gasoline engine. Lexus explains how its RC Coupe gets a red that is so vibrant (and expensive to repair), while Al Vinikour alternately praises and curses keyless entry systems over their convenience and foibles.

 

Friday
Dec132013

December 2013

December 27, 2013: We at The Virtual Driver hope that you and yours had a very Merry Christmas. For those who think their cars don’t have enough high tech onboard already, we’ve got a treat for you. After discussions with the folks at FEV and Ricardo Engineering, we lay out the changes you can expect by 2025 as automakers struggle to meet the 54.5 mpg Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards. Forget Hemis and think four-cylinder full-size pickups. On the lighter side, Toyota recently introduced the 2014 Highlander crossover to the press, and we were there for the reveal and drive. Is it everything Toyota hoped it would be? You be the judge as we take a First Run in the mid-size SUV. Finally, we bribed, er, convinced Al Vinikour to produce a Tirade for this last issue of the year, and he delivered. However, now that we’ve read it, we’re a bit perplexed by his grasp of “new” technology…

 

December 13, 2013: In our younger days, we were fascinated by the PBS/BBC series Connections. In it

historian James Burke showed how changes in technology led to advances in sometimes seemingly unrelated areas. Our own look at the automotive stairsteps of safety delves into major advances that helped create big leaps in safety, many of which are older than you think. Hybrids are all the rage, but what kind of hybrid? Is it a micro-hybrid, parallel hybrid, serial hybrid or something else entirely? We have the answer, presented in language that doesn’t leave you with glazed-over eyes. On a lighter note, XPEL has introduced a new film that will protect your car’s body while eliminating the swirl marks and light scratches that often make these films a short-term solution. And our own connection to a bygone era, Al Vinikour waxes lyrical about vehicular complexity and its effect on underhood real estate.

 

December 5, 2013: A special day deserves an entry of its own for this was the day that Ford pulled the covers off the 2015 Mustang. It was a global launch because the Mustang, for the first time in its 50-year history, will be a global car. But can it ever have the power and poise of the original? Click here to see.

 

Friday
Nov012013

November 2013

November 29, 2013: Ross Brawn is out at Mercedes, rumors abound about new F1 competition rules, and Luca di Montezemolo confirms Ferrari special status. Is Formula One all it seems… or less? Speaking of money, if you have a lot of spare change lying around, check out some of the items at this week’s Historic’s at Brooklands auction. If that’s too rich, you can shop BMW’s 2014 gift collection. Or, if a vacation is in your future, check out what you can rent from Hertz in the Netherlands. Honda’s 2014 Valkyrie breaks cover, BMW Motorad pulls the wraps off its 2014 K 1600 GTL, and Reevu introduces a heads up display system in its helmets. Jaguar Land Rover announces a partnership with Intel for infotainment R&D. We test the 2014 Ford Fiesta SE and come away impressed with the improvements, but not much else. Plus, in the spirit of the holidays, our own Al Vinikour creates his own drinking and driving public service announcement.

 

November 19,2013: Friend and colleague Keith Adams was at the U.K. launch of the new Mini earlier this week, and we asked the editor and creator of AROnline if he would write a few words about the event for us. He did, and we present them here. When you're done reading his post, go one over to AROnline for a fascinating tour through the histories of Austin, Rover and companies and cars that made up the once vibrant British car industry. But be forewarned: Keith's site is addictive.

 

November 15, 2013: We start off this week with a simple question: Does any automaker have the “testicular fortitude” necessary to capture the youth market? Maybe not. Nissan takes a shot at a battery-powered sports car, and comes up with a DeltaWing for the road. Thankfully, its mid-size Altima sedan is much less radical and much more suited to its intended buyer’s needs. Brembo builds carbon ceramic brakes for the Camaro Z28. Hyundai releases plans to sell crate motors through authorized dealers. Classic Motor Cars in England stretches a Jaguar E-Type for a lanky American customer. Caterham’s new e-bikes and motorcycle causes Chris Sawyer to reminisce about failed plans for Lotus motorcycles. Harley-Davidson introduces a pair of global street bikes. BMW unleashes a road going version of the S 1000 RR. A 1911 Vulcan comes out of its former owner’s front hallway and goes off to auction. Lincoln unveils the 2015 Lincoln MKC compact crossover. Ford builds a new Ka for emerging markets. Chrysler takes a deep breath of CNG storage. And Al Vinikour takes aim at the miscreants who make ignition switches so difficult to use.

 

November 1, 2013: We borrowed a Passat TDI from Volkswagen, and drove from Michigan to Virginia to see how far it would go on a tank. The answer might surprise you. Eager to decrease emissions and increase

 fuel economy, Volvo is launching its Drive-E family of engines. The 2.0-liter fours will replace Volvo’s current crop of fours, fives, sixes and V8s. AP Racing has a new line of brake calipers and kits built around its racing technology. The new line of Radi-CAL brake calipers is the first foray into the aftermarket and factory performance market for the English firm’s race-bred braking systems. Honda’s HondaJet is in production, with the first saleable unit nearing completion pending full FAA approval. Meanwhile, Honda U.K. is sending its “Mean Mower” to the SEMA show, its first foray outside the U.K. While there, it might just harass Chrysler’s and Fiat’s latest SEMA concepts. Unfortunately, its trip Stateside means it will miss this weekend’s Veteran Car Run that reunites three early 1900s Napier race cars. Should all that travel prove exhausting, we’ve got a Fiat 500-based sofa that fits the bill for your rest and recreation needs. That’s if you can Al off the couch. He’s been leafing through automotive porn, and dreaming about the cars he wants to add to his virtual collection.