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.