2015 Kia K900

NEWPORT COAST, Calif., – Even though its sales were down four percent last year, Kia has been wildly successful in this market. Undeterred by a bit of a slide in sales; the Korean automaker continues its long term strategy in the U.S. market which can be summed up in one word – growth.
During the last three years the automaker has watched the luxury market fragment. Traditional luxury brands moving down market and many main stream brands moving up market has opened a gap in Kia’s view and the automaker brought us to the West Coast to test drive its latest offering to fill the hole that it says has opened up in the luxury market.
The question for Kia is will Americans pay $66,400 for the 2015 Kia K900 luxury sedan that is new to the market segment and, what’s more, is the product of brand that has just recently shed its image as the manufacturer of inexpensive automobiles.
In a phrase, the K900 offers enough to entice independent minded consumers to take a look when it goes on sale this spring. Of course, Kia brought the top of the line K900 VIP. But first let’s look at how the K900 looked. With a wheel-base of almost 120-inches, it was a sizable car with 19-inch wheels.
It sported Kia’s signature grille, it had a swept greenhouse, understated cut lines along the doors, high rear deck and the sheet metal was taunt. The car had the same hereditary silhouette that adorns the Kia Optima and the recently introduced Kia Cadenza.
And in Kia’s tradition of offering more for less, the K900 had LED adaptive headlights as well as LED taillights. The only normal illuminative bulbs were the backup lights. The power trunk was standard, so was the heated automatic dimming sideview mirrors. Kia designers also sweated the small stuff like the chrome tipped dual exhaust mimicking the shape of the taillights.
The car’s adaptive cruise control could bring it to halt and the four-caliper brakes could and did stop the car quickly.
But on any automobile in the luxury realm it is all about what’s under the hood. Kia brought the V8 powered K900 here. Producing 420 horsepower, the 5.0 liter engine made 376 pound-feet of torque and it was mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission that was developed in-house. A 3.8-liter V6 will be available later this year.
The V8 was impressive. However, it did work hard getting up and over some of the hills. But during the driver change we had neglected to take it out of sport mode which made the steering heavier and moved the shift points up the rev band. In other words, the car held gears longer. Once we put it back in normal mode the K900 moved through the hills here without effort as a 400 plus horsepower luxury sedan should. There was also an ECO mode that moved the shift points down the rev band but we didn’t bother with that.
The engine was quiet, gear selection was buttery smooth and acceleration was effortless. Through the twist and turns of the mountainous roads here, the K900’s chassis remained stiff no doubt because of the use of high and ultra-high strength steel. The norm, the car featured a five-link suspension fore and aft which kept it level in all forms of driving.
About the only thing Kia should tweak on the K900 is that suspension. It should be just a tad stiffer in the sense of spring and or shock absorber compression to give the car a more substantive feel. Basically, sedans in this class have a more solid ride not because they weigh more than the K900’s 4,555 lbs. but because the suspension gives them an air of solidity.
Still, as an automobile stylist said years ago, luxury is conveyed in the interior of a vehicle and in this area the K900 measured up nicely as well. Though a leather-wrapped steering wheel is standard, our test vehicle had a heated wood veneer steering wheel. The interior was swathed in white Napa leather and ambient interior lighting was standard across the model line. Wood trim is either walnut or poplar.
Kia even upgraded the audio system on the K900. The 900 watt Lexicon system featured 17 speakers in 16 locations. It had a 12 channel amp and the rich surround sound clarity was augmented by a subwoofer.
A 12-way driver’s seat is standard but a 16-way power seat featuring power headrests and cushion extender will be available when the car goes on sale. Of course, the front seats were heated and cooled. The VIP package included rear climate controls, heated and cooled rear seats with power recline and lumbar support and head rest adjustability.
The 2015 Kia K900 is sound luxury sedan. The question is can the Korean automaker get luxury car buyers to consider this car. The advertising and marketing effort will have to be rifle shot accurate.

Centrifugal Blower Fan and DC Motor Controller: Designed and Manufactured With Excellence

Electric Motor Solutions Today fabricates and distributes regular and ritual motors along with associated power equipment parts. Our strength lies in our worldwide loyalty to provide premier quality parts and service for Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs). It supplies motor, power transmission and fan parts universally with automated and computerized products. Electric Motor Solutions Today provides range of motors and machines including Centrifugal Blower Fans and DC Motor Control along with solutions.

Centrifugal Blower Fans

It is an automatic device for rotating or other gases as these fans augment the speed of air stream with the rotating impellers and it uses the kinetic energy by rotating blades which in turn leads to exhaustive movement against the resistance caused by vessel, dampers and other components. Centrifugal fans boost the speed of air drastically, altering the direction designed for the airflow. It is robust, quiet, reliable, and competent of operating over a wide range of conditions. Main parts of a centrifugal fan consist of Fan Housing, Impellers, Inlet and outlet ducts, Drive Shaft. Drive mechanism, etc. It will create a cool and healthy atmosphere for your workers in the industry. It is tried and tested after conducting vibration and bearing analysis of blower fans to offer you the best product at rational price.

DC Motor Control

If you’re building a robot or other scientific automated gadget, you will need to drive DC motors forwards and backwards. It is a tool or group of devices that serves to direct in some predetermined manner to achieve the desired performance of an electric motor.

A DC motor controller includes manual as well as automatic means for starting and stopping the motor, selecting and regulating the speed, and protecting against overloads and faults. As it is rightly said that magnet poles repels and unlike magnetic poles attracts to each others and this philosophy is revived with DC motor control. You can always experiment with our machines as these are most accountable and dependable for your process.

Electric Motor Solutions Today aims to design, manufacture and distribute motor and power transmission products that are uneven and able to fix the wear and tear of the everyday demands in order to provide a lasting value in the industry. Their partners are professionals from China manufacturing products and services to work as a team to assemble the motor products of the best value to you possible. These motors and parts are built with utmost care and according to the customer specifications. You will not get disappoint with the differential characteristics of machines engineered with latest technology to meet your demand and save your surplus labor and cost.

The Finest Motorcycle Models for You

Do you enjoy action and excitement? In that case you definitely adore extreme sporting activities and possibly perform it in your free time, or as a professional. Driving a motorbike is one of the most risky and intriguing activities. If you do not have a great impulse, then this is not suitable for you. There are lots of folks who love biking and driving at high speed simply because this can offer you some amazing emotions that you simply can not express. If you wish to practice it as a professional, you could join a team, have some tutorials, and go with various contests and rallies. The more you’ll learn about driving a bike, the more you will like it, and will definitely become dependent on it. If you wish to get your personal motorbike, you need to search for the greatest model. There are numerous particulars and you must think of yourself when making this choice.

It would be nice to get motorcycle specs and analyze the good points and disadvantages of a particular type. There are lots of brand names and companies and it’s not so simple to select the perfect product for you. I will recommend you to purchase a complete database with motorcycle specs. You could do this online on this web site. Here you will have the possibility to get the complete list of models from 1980 to 2013. It is a huge listing with a lot of information for every model. You must have it if you really like motorbikes and are enthusiastic about these matters. You’ll have a great understanding of the brand names, producers, different types of motorbike issues. Each model introduced there has 70 specs that will demonstrate the complete situation of a model. Obviously you will get the images of every model. This really is the most precious collection of motorcycles that you just can’t neglect it.

This is the best reference where you can learn the motorcycle specs and particulars. You could assist your friends find their preferred model, if they also want to acquire one. The collection costs 150 us dollars, which isn’t so high-priced for this sort of treasure. You may do your transaction with PayPal and obtain the catalogue on your personal computer. You will surely be enthusiastic about your purchase, and will spend your first days enjoying the listing. Honda, Suzuki, Fiat are only few models that you will watch there. Don’t hesitate.

Chevrolet Is a Fastest-Selling Car Model

If you know about the witch automobile brands is fastest in the market service? You have found that Chevrolet automobile brand recently the fastest-selling car in the market. If you prefer a unique awesome looking car, then you should definitely choose the Chevrolet automotive brands. There have a good service quality, features, and engine quality as compare to other automotive brand.

New Chevrolet cars Portland has a different types of brands have emerged providing regular to luxury types of cars and automobiles. The performance of the Chevrolet car is good as compare to other. Chevrolet cars in Portland are the very old and reliable car brand. If you move back in the olden times of Portland, many imperial people were appreciating the Chevrolet cars. Recently Chevrolet has invented the many cars in the Portland car market, according to the rising trend and requirement. The car has an incomparable unbelievable plan with outstanding loveliness and stylishness that makes it in equilibrium with international principles. The Chevrolet brand rapidly captured the imagination of the car loving neighborhood because of its trustworthiness and routine. Handling and fuel monetary classification were also attractive factors of the brand name. Chevy Service and Repair Department Milwaukie is a combine of the approach, comfort, authority & knowledge and all these ingredients make the car tastiest and elegant. The material used in the making of this car is more mechanically advanced and makes driving a delightful and wonderful. It is associated with the trust and luxury. The car is equipped with the Sequential Electronic Fuel Injection system.

Chevy Service and Repair Department Milwaukie is a Comfort and Convenience. It provides a proper service when your automotive brand is in warranty periods. The internal district of the Chevrolet models is expected to be rather spacious, and made of enormous superiority materials. Chevrolet cars are truthfully at the split second amongst the most good-looking and groundbreaking cars in the universal marketplace. They are tremendously comfortable cars. They have an extremely exceptional olden times and standpoint. Chevrolet is one of the dependable, faithful and trustworthy brands serving Milwaukie with excellence models. Chevy service in Milwaukee has a variety of options of cars that range as of financial & fuel efficiency for fast & athletic automobiles. The Chevrolet is leaving to be kept up for the opposition while they give financial and environmentally cars. There are various cars available which is never less than wonders. These cars are having unbelievable lives of engines and also of the outstanding engines. Cars are obtainable in many nice-looking models. These cars are obtainable in the marketplace. There are plentiful luxury cars out there in the automobile advertise, but there is nothing fairly like a Chevrolet automotive brand. Genuine Chevrolet auto parts are made special to fit you create and mock-up of the car. Most aftermarket items are designed to fit a broad variety of car makes and models, so they may necessitate modification for a proper fit and the variety of accessories, stylish looks, wealthy interiors and reassure level obtainable by Chevrolet is pure brilliance.

Domestic CL72 Honda pickup, delivery and initial troubleshooting/repairs

DAY ONE: I met with the seller at 3:30, loaded the bike up and headed out returning home by 4PM. The wonky transmission symptoms had really peaked my interest and I couldn’t resist tearing right into the clutch cover as soon as it was off the truck. … Spoiler alert! I had the clutch apart and back together and out for a test ride by 6PM. It really DOES have 4 gears after all… no engine case splitting required!

What was discovered, in detail, is that the clutch was a stock 5-plate clutch as seen on any CB/CL77 from 1965-onwards and it showed signs of being “stuck” for awhile in its life. The steel plates had a light coating of rust/friction material and the friction plates were glazed and shiny. The clutch springs had a bit of yellow paint on them and were not the dreaded -275-810 racing clutch springs. The springs were replaced with a new set that seemed to be the same tension and length.

The splined end of the shift shaft was twisted slightly and bent off to one side, causing the shift lever to rub against the clutch cover boss around the shift shaft seal area. This binding friction prevented the shift arm, located inside the engine behind the clutch assembly, from selecting the next gear, unless the shift lever was manually moved with some force.

With the clutch and primary chain out of the way, the shift drum end could be accessed to allow manual shifting of the gears and observing the shift arm following the drum detents. There were no obvious defects in the shift mechanism, so all that was needed was to replace the shift shaft assembly with a good used item from my spares.

In removing the clutch cover, the outer oil filter cover must be removed first. The cover came out with the shaft firmly attached. Closer inspection revealed that the previous mechanic had failed to notice the position of the shaft locating pin when the cover was installed. The pin needs to be in the 11 to 12 o’clock position so it can nestle into the recess machined in the cover shaft boss. What happened was that the pin was driven into the cover shaft boss, wedging it into the soft aluminum. Fortunately, the cover wasn’t cracked and once the shaft was removed the pin position was corrected and the cover installed easily.

There were signs of some kind of non-hardening gasket cement used atop the decaying clutch cover gasket. The old gasket was scraped off and the cover surface cleaned of the old cement before the cover was installed.

The seller mentioned that the choke mechanism was not functioning correctly. Raising the lever would close the choke, but pulling the lever down didn’t draw the choke links back into the open position. Inspection showed that the soldered arm joint had failed, allowing the lever arm to float around loosely instead of directly affecting the choke links.

The engine fires up on NO CHOKE and the idle speed screws did nothing to affect the idle speed in the way of lowering it to normal 1200 rpms. This raises a big RED FLAG to me, which generally is the result of the slides being installed backwards. The engine stumbled at part throttle off-idle and the idle speed screw’s inabilities to affect the engine all lead to the same conclusion… carburetor slides are reversed. That’s an investigation for tomorrow’s work to reveal whether I am correct or not.

DAY TWO – A look under the hood – 8:15 start time.

After removing the seat, the flasher relay assembly was noted, mounted just behind the battery. The rear fuel tank mounting bolt had a big stylized “S” on the head, which I believe belonged to a Suzuki at one time. With the rear of the fuel tank loosened up, there was enough room to access the carburetor tops to assess the condition of the slides, needle positions and to determine if they were reversed or not. Despite my “seat of the pants” evaluation of the carburetion slide issues, the day before, they came out of the carburetor bodies in the correct order, after all! However, the right side slide was dragging out and resisted being reinstalled without force. So the next order of business was to remove the right side carburetor for repairs. Once removed, there were some scratches and bore wear consistent with a warped carburetor body, however there was more to it than that. After de-burring the carb body, the slide still resisted an easy insertion. Closer inspection showed some burrs on the edges of the slide, right where someone had probably used a screwdriver to help raise a stuck slide after years of sitting with old gas in the carburetor. A little use of a smooth file on the edges of the slide allowed it to drop right into the carburetor body with little effort. New o-rings were needed, which brought up another issue with the Honda parts listings concerning the o-ring sizes for both the 250 and 305s…

16173-253-004 is shown as the original part number for the carburetor flange side of the CL72 (or CB72). The 250cc carburetor insulator o-ring is 91302-PF0-003, incorrectly shown as 28.5MM on some sites, but other listings show them correctly as 91302-PF0-003 with 26.9X2.4mm dimensions. The 253 code part supersedes to the PF0 item now. I used two of the PF0 parts on both the insulator and carburetor flange, which fit perfectly, as they should on a 22mm bore carburetor. Many Honda sites are showing the PF0 o-rings fitting the CB77s too, which have 26mmm throat sizes and 25-26mm insulators. The correct o-rings for the 305-sized carburetor and insulator parts are sized 29×2.4mm under the 16173-260-004 part number, which allows for the diameter of the o-ring groove size on the larger bodies. Obviously, you can’t use a 26.9mm o-ring on a 26mm bore carburetor and they sure don’t stretch far enough to fit into a 29mm groove. Someone, somewhere, needs to address this issue and make corrections. Honda, are you listening?

That, of course, was not the only finding that was affecting the high-idle condition. A static check of the ignition timing revealed that the ignition timing had been set at the 45-degree full advance mark, NOT at the F mark, which is about 5 degrees before TDC. A look at the points set showed them to be the Daiichi- brand copies for Dreams, which have repeatedly been proven NOT to fit, in place of the standard Denso parts. Typically, upon installation to the point plate, the whole plate must be retarded as far as the slots will allow, then the gap lowered to minimum levels in order for the ignition timing to line up with the F mark timing stamp. One of the point screws was stripped, to add more frustration to the equation. A good screw was pirated from a used CB77 point plate and it had enough clean threads to hold the contact arm securely.

With the timing set, the carburetor slide free to raise and drop, the bike fired up quickly and settled into an even cadence at an acceptable idle speed. I also noted that the fuel tank was nearly empty, which contributed to the cutting-out experienced during the previous day’s transmission repair test drive. Additionally, the air filters were modified by removing the old paper element and gluing some filter foam to the remaining filter body frames. The frames were apparently soldered together at some point, but are now coming apart at the seams, so a new set of filters is on the parts list now, as are the connector tubes to replace the cracked originals.

Addressing the high-effort clutch pull problem required removal of the kickstarter cover (after removing two of the footpeg bolts on the right side). The clutch lifter arm angle was above horizontal and the wear inside the clutch adjuster gave about 3/8” of sideplay/slack between the two parts. When the clutch adjuster threads are worn that far, much of the clutch lever motion is used up just taking up the looseness in between the parts, before there is an actual rotary motion of the lifter arm to act upon the end of the clutch pushrod tip. Installing a new clutch adjuster reduced the slack to about a millimeter, restoring the rotational motion to act upon the pushrod. With the cover reinstalled, the clutch lever range of motion increased and the lever effort was cut by more than half. Another success for the day, but there is a lot more work to be done!

By 10AM, it was time to break off wrenching on the CL72 to allow for a 100-mile round trip to Oceanside, CA, so a 1966 CB77 could be acquired and returned to Rancho del Honda, but that’s another story!

Bill “MrHonda” Silver

Why We Are the Number One Choice in Orlando for Your Car’s Paint

Welcome to car painting ORLANDO where we strive for the best service and happy customers. We have been a leading business in our area for over five years now. We don’t just make sure that you are pleased with our work but so impressed that you would refer all your friends to us. We take pride in all the work we do and our ORLANDO car paint shops only uses quality paint.

Don’t worry you wont have to be looking for paint streaks, our painters are great at what they do we wet sand and buff your car so when you come to pick your car up it will look like glass, well unless you’re getting something like matte paint. No matter what car you are driving if it is from the 70’s or brand new we treat it as if it was our own car. With over 5,000 cars under our belt we have been around the painting world for a while and here in Orlando it is a very busy city so no one has time to drop off their car and leave it somewhere for a month, so we guarantee a speedy paint job but not to the point to where quality is distorted. When the painters are in the booth there are no distractions it is just them, the car, and the paint and there whole attention is focused on your car.

So when you drop off your car with us expect to be impressed.Thanks for taking the time to check us out, I know in today’s busy lifestyle it’s hard to find the time to drop off your car to get painted. The good news now is that we don’t procrastinate when it comes to painting, we get things done. For the best auto paint Orlando can offer at a reasonable time frame with no unwanted delays we are your number one choice. Just go to the contact us page send us an email with your car year make and model and the color you would like it painted and we will sent you a pretty close estimate, then if you like our prices come in and we will give you an exact quote based on if there is any body damage, like dents or rust. We don’t believe in just painting a car and not fixing the dents because it is our reputation on the line and we want your car to look like it just rolled out of the factory.

A lot of our work is done on higher end cars but that doesn’t mean we give no value or lesser value to any other cars. We like to see cars as equals since when we are done with cars they look and are worth much more with a beautiful paint job, But to us we want the best possible outcome with every car and that would be a huge smile on our customers face when they see their car. Our painters even have their associate’s degree in painting and mixing paints so finding the right color for you will be no problem, unless you can’t decide because you like them all. In general we see ourselves as one of the top painting shops in Orlando, we would say the best but we don’t want to sound over confident even though that is how we feel with hundreds of happy customers. We would love for you to be another happy client not to benefit us but we do it for the pleasure in seeing happy customers at the end of the day.

How to Find Vehicle Dealers for the Perfect Mid-Year Sales Offers

Buying brand new, used or pre-owned Honda car ought not to be as bad as numerous shoppers make it. Of course, it can be fun. The perfect way to get a good Mid-Year Honda deal is to do your homework.

Every year, one of the perfect times to purchase a new or certified used vehicle is to go shopping on the mid- times of the year to locate the good deals vehicle dealers are putting out. But, if you have never bought a vehicle during the mid year, you might be a bit impatient as to how to maximize your possibilities of finding a car you will be happy with. The article will offer a lot of advices toward helping you locate vehicle dealer choices for the perfect mid-year times sales offers, no matter which type of vehicle you are interested in.

  • The first and foremost the most common way of finding Honda dealers to find the perfect mid-year time Honda Accord Sales offers is to just browse your magazines, newspapers, and public advertisements. It is where you are likely to locate the most deals and offers, and it will not take you some time to do so. Every day, newspapers are filled to the brim with ads for all kinds of things, including vehicles that are going on sale.
  • If you live in Cathedral City area that has numerous papers to browse through, take your time to pull a paper copy of all of them. Any Honda dealer worth their deals will have an advertisement in the papers, and once you locate a few that you like, and start searching for your Honda sales. When it comes to the dealing process, take the new paper copy in with you.
  • A second way to find Honda dealers for the best sales of the mid-year time is to turn on your TV. Around this time, the advertisements will be on every TV channel for every sorts of vehicle sale you could be interested in. At that time, when you driving in your vehicle, keep the FM Radio tuned to stations that play these kinds of advertisements.
  • A third way to locate which Honda dealers are offering the perfect Honda mid-year sales of their online new or used car inventory is to browse the internet. It is quickly becoming a good way among younger shopper for finding all type of information. You can take avail of the internet world no matter how old or young you are, simply hunt with your postcode or place and search for vehicle sales in that area.
  • A fourth approach is just to go for a drive around city. The success you will need to this approach will depend on how close you are to a metro area, as the large metro areas will have more vehicle dealers to take advantage that more shoppers are around.

Test-drive: 2014 Scion FR-S

You already know what references the 86 badges on the fenders of the Scion FR-S make not only to its JDM counterpart, the Toyota 86, but ultimately to its ancestor, the iconic AE86 Toyota Corolla that has drifted into motorsports, anime DVDs, and the hearts and minds of import car enthusiasts nearly 30 years after the fact.

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You’re aware that Toyota petitioned Fuji Heavy Industries, the parent company of Subaru (about 17% of which Toyota owns anyway), to build them a small, lightweight, and nimble rear-wheel-drive sports car with a short wheelbase and low center of gravity in hopes of rekindling the fire that the AE86 Corolla first ignited. Subaru said “Yes, but only if we get our own version.” That explains not only the existence of the nearly identical Subaru BRZ, but also the Subaru stampings on the fenders and on the underside of the trunk lid of the FR-S.

You’re also well-versed on the FA20 engine under the hood of the FR-S. It’s also from Subaru, with horizontally-opposed cylinders of square dimensions: 86mm bore and 86mm stroke (nudge, nudge). That equates to 2.0L of displacement, and 200hp and 151 ft-lbs of torque. You’ve also studied Toyota’s D-4S fuel injection system, with four port injectors in the intake runners for everyday, low RPM situations, and four direct injectors in the cylinder heads that come to life when you feel like taking it up to the 7400rpm redline.

You know all that because you, like me, have been following this car ever since the rumors began surfacing about it years ago. You, too, have lamented the overcomplicated and disconnected modern automobile, and you’ve dreamed about getting behind the wheel of a car like the FR-S, grabbing 1st gear, dropping the clutch pedal, and taking off for the nearest winding road to remind yourself of the continued existence of what is nowadays an ever more elusive phenomenon: the simple joy of driving.

So, then, your gut reaction would probably be the same as mine when I heard the characteristic “tink-tink-thunk” of an automatic transmission being put into Park as the press fleet driver delivered a Raven Black Scion FR-S to me.

“My test drive is ruined,” I fumed. Here, sitting right in front of me, was a car that I believed was going to be one of the most fun and engaging cars I would ever drive, and the part that was the most fun and engaging of all wasn’t there.

I had been given a barrel of monkeys with no monkeys in it.

Thus, I decided to punish this FR-S for its torque-converting ways by assigning to it a week of the most arduous labor with which a sports car can ever be assigned: basic, mundane transportation. It did nothing but run me on errands, slog through rush hour traffic, and pick up groceries.

Further fueled by the injustice that had been done, I also began nitpicking all the imperfections of the car that I didn’t like. I griped about the small trunk and how it should have been designed as a hatchback. I laughed at the sheer pointlessness of the back seat. I scratched my head at the redundancy of the gauge cluster, which has both a needle speedometer to the left and a digital speedometer in the tachometer, and I became increasingly agitated with the oversensitive weight sensor that would sound the seat belt chime if I so much as put my phone in the passenger seat.

However, as the weekend approached and my initial knee-jerk reaction had taken its course, I began to realize my prejudice against this car simply because of the type of transmission it had. Along my daily commute, I decided to pull on the downshift paddle a couple of times, and as soon as I did, I was in 2nd gear at 5500rpm, and the engine noise that gets directed into the cabin via a tube off the intake grew a lot louder, as if the car was saying “About time!”

Impressed by the responsiveness of the downshifts, I found myself wanting to make up for the time lost improperly testing the car. So I scheduled myself a weekend of exploring some of the more rural roads in Florida to give this automatic FR-S a chance to show me what it could really do.

That Sunday afternoon, I found myself on a road full of long, fast sweepers. I pushed the VSC button to deactivate the traction control and switch the stability control to Sport mode (this also quickens the throttle response) and I shoved the shifter to the left to put the transmission in Manual mode. I downshifted into 3rd and, this time, I consciously took in how fast the gearchanges actually happened. In less than a second, the transmission downshifted two gears, the engine revved up in perfect correspondence with the newly selected gear, and the torque converter fully locked back up, ready for me to get back into the throttle… and it happened without any jerking or unintended engine braking. The transmission is an Aisin unit from a Lexus IS250, and it’s been specially tuned for the FR-S for quick response and efficient power delivery. The manual mode is also really manual mode: the engine will just bounce off of the rev limiter until you tell the transmission to upshift.

Now, a lot of Internet commenters will tell you the FT86 triplets are slow, that they should have had 100 more horsepower, that they should have had a turbo, yada, yada, yada. But if you keep the FA20 above 5000rpm and keep your foot in the throttle, you’ll be surprised how fast you’ll be able to get yourself going. There is a midrange lull between 3500rpm and the magical 5000rpm as a result of the transition between port injection and direct injection, and straight-line acceleration isn’t much to brag about on paper: my test car needed 7.3 seconds to get to 60mph, and 15.6 seconds and 90mph to complete the quarter mile. But on a twisting two-lane back road, and with a bit of skill in maintaining momentum, the FR-S has more than enough power for a very exhilarating driving experience.

Speaking of exhilarating, the FR-S’s most notable difference from the BRZ is its greater tendency to oversteer. The spring rate is slightly softer on the FR-S, and therefore it requires a bit more alertness if you’re pushing it to the limit, especially if you’ve held the VSC button down until all electronic driver assistance is completely turned off. Further accentuating the FR-S’s squirminess are the Michelin Primacy tires, which can also be found on a Prius. They were deliberately chosen to allow the car to move around a bit rather than to be epoxied to the road, and that’s the reason behind the 0.89g lateral acceleration figure; that’s not bad, but the FR-S’s chassis is definitely capable of more. At the same time, however, it’s stable and forgiving. It will certainly reward the skilled driver very graciously, but it will also teach the ropes to the new kid on the block as well.

In fact, I’m convinced that the engine and suspension R&D departments reached the horsepower figure in congruence, because the FR-S has just enough power to keep you moving through the corner at the right speed, not so much that you’ll pay dearly for just a slight miscalculation.

But my favorite part of the FR-S by far was the steering. It’s electrically assisted, but only enough to be civilized and no more. It’s nearly overloaded with feedback, and the 13:1 ratio in the steering rack, combined with the small and meaty steering wheel, is so capable of anticipating your next move, you’ll swear it was developed by the NSA.

What’s more, as my weekend adventure and my spirited test drive with an automatic FR-S came to a close, I began noticing other things I liked about the car as well. The driver’s seating position, for example, is absolutely perfect. In cars as small as the FR-S, I usually find myself with a decent amount of headroom, but very little legroom. In a sports car, I’d rather have the opposite, and that is precisely what the FR-S gave me. There wasn’t a surplus of headroom for me, but I had surprising amounts of room for my legs. That made me more comfortable, and in a car that focuses on the driving experience, that kind of comfort is imperative. I also appreciated the simplicity of the dash, with nothing other that the stereo (which was excellent; after all, this is a Scion) and simple mechanical knobs for the HVAC system.

So, as the press fleet driver put the FR-S into Drive when he picked it up after the test drive was over, I realized I was not only impressed, but I was surprised. I was surprised because I was impressed with an automatic sports car. My gut reaction was unfounded, and even with a torque converter, the FR-S is unequivocally worthy of being called a spiritual successor to the AE86 Corolla.

There were monkeys in the barrel after all. They weren’t the breed I was expecting, but they were there, and they were just as fun.

Apple’s CarPlay system is essentially iOS for your cars’ touchscreen

If you use an Apple iPhone, iPad or Mac computer, your next car purchase may be Apple equipped.
In case you haven’t heard, Apple announced that leading automakers are introducing CarPlay software in their vehicle line-ups.

Apple’s CarPlay is essentially iOS for your car’s touchscreen, an LCD screen that comes with virtually all new cars.

CarPlay software is an intuitive way, says Apple, to make calls, use MAPS, listen to music and access messages with just a word or a touch.

Apple says users can easily control CarPlay from the car’s native interface or just push-and-hold the voice control button on the steering wheel to activate Siri without taking your eyes off the road.

Vehicles from Ferrari, Mercedes, Volvo will premiere CarPlay on 2014 debuting cars. Down the road, BMW Group, GM, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar, Land Rover, Kia, Mitsubishi, Nissan, PSA Peugeot Citroen, Subaru, Suzuki and Toyota will also include it in their new vehicle offerings.

According to Greg Joswiak, Apple’s vice president of iPhone and iOS product marketing, “iPhone users always want their content at their fingertips and CarPlay lets them use their phone in the car with minimal distraction. CarPlay brings your car and iPhone together for a thoughtful experience by letting drivers focus on driving while also tapping into everything they want to do with their iPhone.”

CarPlay will work like this: Once your iPhone is connected to a vehicle, Siri helps access your contacts, make calls, return missed calls, or listen to voicemail messages. When incoming messages or
Notifications arrive, Siri provides an eyes-free experience by responding to requests through voice commands, by reading drivers’ messages and letting them dictate responses, or simply make a call.

The system will make driving directions more intuitive by working with Maps to anticipate destinations based on recent trips via contacts, emails or texts. It will also provide routing instructions, traffic conditions and ETA. You’ll be able to ask Siri and receive spoken turn-by-turn directions, along with Maps, which will appear on the car’s built-in display.

In addition, CarPlay gives driver’s access to all of their music, podcasts, audiobooks and iTunes Radio with easy navigation through listening choices from the car’s built-in controls, or by simply asking Siri to pull up what you want to hear.

The system will support select third-party audio apps including Spotify and iHeartRadio so you can listen to your favorite radio services or sports broadcast apps while driving.

Apple’s CarPlay is available as an update to iOS7 and works with Lightning enabled iPhones including the iPhone 5s, 5c and S models. CarPlay will be available in select cars this year.

Some of CarPlay’s capabilities are already available in certain vehicles but they’re not as extensive. While this technology is nice, you have to have an Apple phone for it to be compatible. It seems like this is a slick way for Apple to sell more iPhones if the new car owners have Android devices – and particularly since Samsung is breathing down Apples’ neck in sales.

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