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Buying A Car Based On Its "Tech"?

Sun May 20, 2012 2:05 pm

Just watched two car reviews, the first two shown at this link:

http://cnettv.cnet.com/2012-dodge-charger-r/9742-1_53-50124812.html

The reviewer (Brian Cooley) savages the Austin Martin for many reasons especially its "tech", yet likes the Charger's "tech" a lot. "Tech" seems to refer to anything electronic in the car, especially the user-facing controls as well as features such as sat nav, but also things like electronically controlled engines, gearboxes and suspensions.

Of course the series is called "Car Tech", so the focus is understandable.

In the Austin Martin review Brian says AM doesn't understand that tech is not a gimmick, it's central to the product, and I strongly agree with that. He thinks the user-facing controls and the gearbox are crap!

I think tech can make or break a car, and here's one example of it.

Also the Charger R/T example is one where a company I would not think of for tech (Dodge) actually drew my interest, until I learned it had some pretty frustrating driving dynamics (too heavy, not very responsive).

I know we have a lot of auto fans here, and many are purists. I love classic cars, watch classic car TV shows and go to classic car events, and I'd love to have a classic GTO for a weekender, but when push comes to shove I'm not going to be buying a car whose most advanced tech is an AM radio.

I also know poorly integrated tech can come across as gimmicky, but well integrated tech makes a huge difference to me for the hour+ I spend in the car every working day.

So, how much do you weigh the car's "tech" into your car buying decisions?
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Dreadnought
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RE: Buying A Car Based On Its "Tech"?

Sun May 20, 2012 2:38 pm

Quoting Revelation (Thread starter):
The reviewer (Brian Cooley) savages the Austin Martin

What the hell is an Austin Martin?

As far as the tech is concerned, the gimmick factor is always an attraction. I rented a car a few weeks ago where the stereo would automatically link up via bluetooth with your Iphone, not only for phone functions but your music library as well. I think that's really cool, but would I choose that car vs another to buy? Probably not. I'd weigh my purchase towards handling, safety, performance in snow.
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Superfly
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RE: Buying A Car Based On Its "Tech"?

Sun May 20, 2012 2:55 pm

Quoting Revelation (Thread starter):
So, how much do you weigh the car's "tech" into your car buying decisions?

It was a HUGE deciding factor when I bought my 1987 Chrysler Lebaon convertible.
All electronic instrument panel with electronic voice alert system.
Just look at all of that state of the art technology; digital trip computer, all electronic gauge system, climate control with microprocessor and diagram of the vehicle which shows where the problems occur.
AM/FM cassette & CD combo. I can cue up a tape while listening to a CD or the radio. Joystick balance control.
All of this with rich Corinthian Leather, classic walnut woodgrain panel inserts in a small, front drive, turbocharged convertible with concealed headlights and chrome grille. This car was a total chick-magnet too - when it ran....














Watch this demonstration of the electronic system.
This is from Dodge Daytona which used the same exact instrument panel as my Lebaron.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=onsJ9i2p3yE&feature=related


Just look at how futuristic and state of the art Chrysler was in the 1980s.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=snjDG6EP414

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=67rEM5UMX1Y

Quoting Revelation (Thread starter):
I'd love to have a classic GTO for a weekender, but when push comes to shove I'm not going to be buying a car whose most advanced tech is an AM radio.

All GTOs sold after 1965 had available stereo 8track players - much more sophisticated then the AM radio.
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RE: Buying A Car Based On Its "Tech"?

Sun May 20, 2012 2:59 pm

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 1):
What the hell is an Austin Martin?

A brain fart, of course. Thanks, I think, for pointing it out.

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 1):
I think that's really cool, but would I choose that car vs another to buy? Probably not. I'd weigh my purchase towards handling, safety, performance in snow.

Your post did make me think a bit more.

For me:
a) Safety? Pretty much a given these days, no?
b) Snow? Not too much of a factor. I live in New England but don't really have to go out till the roads are plowed
c) Handling? Pretty high on my list of factors.

Being taller than average, I'd say physical comfort is probably the primary factor - I ain't gonna buy it if I don't fit into it well.

Driving qualities (handling, responsiveness, etc) and expected reliability are next.

Then, styling and tech features are next.

I suppose all of the above are qualifying factors, because I won't buy a car till I'm satisfied with all of the above.
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kingairta
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RE: Buying A Car Based On Its "Tech"?

Sun May 20, 2012 11:27 pm

For me "tech" is a bonus. Not a deciding factor. First it must fit my needs. Second it has to be able to get out of its own way. I don't want to feel like I'm going to get ran over merging on the highway. Third is styling. I don't care if it is the latest and greatest in tech as long as what ever it has it does well.

For example for years and still to this day GM is hounded for using pushrod V8s when all the latest and greatest use DOHCs. The pushrod motors maybe old "tech" but they perform brilliantly none the less.
 
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RE: Buying A Car Based On Its "Tech"?

Mon May 21, 2012 12:47 am

Quoting Superfly (Reply 2):
All electronic instrument panel with electronic voice alert system.

I watched the demo you posted - way cool!

Quoting Superfly (Reply 2):
CD

Must have cost a lot in '87. I think I bought my first home CD player in '85 and I remember it costing a lot.

Quoting Superfly (Reply 2):
total chick-magnet

Yep, that car looks pretty hot.

Quoting Superfly (Reply 2):
when it ran....

You can't have it all, eh?

What kinds of things broke on it?

Did you have the turbo?
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BMI727
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RE: Buying A Car Based On Its "Tech"?

Mon May 21, 2012 1:28 am

Quoting Revelation (Thread starter):
"Tech" seems to refer to anything electronic in the car

Another word for it is "weight."

Quoting Revelation (Thread starter):
I learned it had some pretty frustrating driving dynamics (too heavy, not very responsive)

Not least because of all the crap stuffed inside.

Quoting Revelation (Thread starter):
but when push comes to shove I'm not going to be buying a car whose most advanced tech is an AM radio.

I would. Keyless entry is probably the biggest modern car convenience I really like. Any other tech I need resides in my pocket so I don't need the weight and complication of any more junk being hardwired into the car.

Quoting Superfly (Reply 2):
Just look at how futuristic and state of the art Chrysler was in the 1980s.

But now it just looks dated and silly.
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RE: Buying A Car Based On Its "Tech"?

Mon May 21, 2012 1:52 am

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 6):
But now it just looks dated and silly.

True, it does look very dated now - but that was the way things were in those days, where even a Subaru had about 50,000,000 buttons, the idea being to appear high-tech.

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 6):
Keyless entry is probably the biggest modern car convenience I really like.

Agreed. Some others that are worthwhile:

- BMW Connected Drive system, with smart-phone app integration - can do many things like unlock the car from the phone, useful if you locked the keys inside but have your phone with you, flash the lights from the phone, sound the horn, have the car read out email or text messages to you, and various other sorts of useful things like weather information -operator assistance for finding facilities or locations, which is then programmed automatically into the sat-nav. You can even have it show your car location on Google maps in the application.

This is excellent technology. Others have done that emergency services integration before, but not all the rest of the stuff.

I think you can even use the smart-phone app to program the car to start the air-con automatically at a certain time before you get into the car - in case it might be very cold or very hot outside. Neat!

If you are in a minor accident or witness an accident, you can press the emergency button and the call goes through to an operator who can organise emergency services to go to the location. Or if the car itself has been in an accident, emergency services will be sent automatically, since the system will automatically raise the alert itself. This is very beneficial technology.

- keyless trunk-lid opening, as in the new Mercedes SL. Provided you have you key with you, just wave your foot under the bumper-bar of the car and the trunk-lid will open for you, handsfree. Very useful if you have your arms full of grocery bags or other stuff.

[Edited 2012-05-20 18:54:51]
 
Superfly
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RE: Buying A Car Based On Its "Tech"?

Mon May 21, 2012 6:21 am

Quoting Revelation (Reply 5):
Must have cost a lot in '87.

I had the original sticker and it sold for $20,230 in April of 1987.
The CD/Cassette combo came from a 1999 Dodge Caravan and mounted in perfectly. The wire harness plugs and mountings were exactly the same and matched the rest of the instrument panel. The stereo cavity for all Chysler/Dodge/Plymouths are exactly the same from 1981 till 2005. It took only 5 minutes to do the swap. Since it's still a factory unit, it's considered stock.

Quoting Revelation (Reply 5):
Yep, that car looks pretty hot.

That's why I bought it. I needed a smaller fuel efficient alternative to my 1977 Lincoln because I was commuting between San Francisco and San Jose a lot for work. My job at the time required me to drive a lot as well. I didn't want a boring 4-cylinder like a Honda or Toyota. I wanted a small 4-cylinder that had a lot of character and so I narrowed my choice down to a Chrysler Lebaron convertible or an Oldsmobile Cutlass convertible. When I took the Lebaron for a test drive and the car started talking to me, I just HAD to buy it!
It was like a mini-Mark V with all the features of a new Mark VIII or Eldorado plus being a convertible.

Quoting Revelation (Reply 5):
You can't have it all, eh?

What kinds of things broke on it?

Just about everything!
Transmission, drive axle, frame broke from turning a corner too fast, heads had to be replaced, water pump, starter and radiators had to be replaced often, fuel filters and injectors clogged frequently.
Ironically all of the fancy, digital electronic features worked perfectly all the time. The turbocharger never gave any problems. The paint held up perfectly as well. Still had the original shiny clear-coat when I sold it. Mainly because the car was in the shop our parked in my garage when it wasn't running.

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 6):
Another word for it is "weight."
Quoting BMI727 (Reply 6):
But now it just looks dated and silly.

...and so do tailfins on Cadillacs from the 1950s but many car enthusiast love them. People just don't have an appreciation for cars of the 1980s or even the late 1970s either. Yes it's dated but the young girls I took out where impressed by it.
By the way, here is a hilarious article that involves the 1987 Chrysler Lebaron convertible;

http://www.theonion.com/articles/aft...y-figured-out-how-to-impres,11226/
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L-188
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RE: Buying A Car Based On Its "Tech"?

Mon May 21, 2012 7:02 am

I tried to avoid tech when I bought my truck.

Manual door locks, hand cranked windows, no A/C, no self dimming lights, cassette deck.

You knw what, on that truck I have never had any "Tech" break!
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Superfly
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RE: Buying A Car Based On Its "Tech"?

Mon May 21, 2012 7:44 am

Quoting L-188 (Reply 9):
I tried to avoid tech when I bought my truck.

Trucks should always be low-tech.



This is pretty cool.
Speak & Spell VS The 1986 Chrysler New Yorker along with other high-tech cars of the 1980s.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rR0Of...playnext=1&list=PL4AD56E141DA018D4

Quoting Revelation (Reply 5):
Must have cost a lot in '87.

I'll be darned. The Canadian Lebaron had a CD player offered in 1987 but it isn't listed in the US brochure until 1989.
BTW, that's Celine Dion in this ad.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1gGnXFuHyNE


From 1984-1988, Chrysler offered a talking Woody!  Wow!
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Kiwirob
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RE: Buying A Car Based On Its "Tech"?

Mon May 21, 2012 10:29 am

Quoting Superfly (Reply 8):
Just about everything!
Transmission, drive axle, frame broke from turning a corner too fast, heads had to be replaced, water pump, starter and radiators had to be replaced often, fuel filters and injectors clogged frequently.

You probably would have had a much cheaper and better car if you'd bought

Quoting Superfly (Reply 8):
4-cylinder like a Honda or Toyota

I would have taken a Prelude, Legend Coupe, Celica or Supra over that Chrysler POS any day of the week and had trouble free fun motoring.

A girl friends dad had a Legend Coupe, it was a very nice car, smooth, quiet, fast, lots of bells and whistles plus it never broke down.

 
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RE: Buying A Car Based On Its "Tech"?

Mon May 21, 2012 1:15 pm

Tech played a role in my wife buying her current car (a 2007 Chrysler Sebring Touring) - it came with "MyGig" which featured an integrated GPS system with traffic updates, Bluetooth pairing to your cell phone, a CD/DVD player, Sirius satellite radio, and a hard drive you could burn CDs to and have them available electronically. It all sounds great - in theory. Problems with that system include:

1) Map updates for the GPS are $200ish and will sometimes reset the entire system causing you to lose any and all content on the hard drive. As a result my wife has refused to get the map updates so the GPS is woefully out of date. You also can't use the keyboard interface while in motion. That's a sound idea but what about placing some sort of sensor in there so that when the passenger seat is occupied you can use it? I can understand not wanting the driver to input stuff while the car's moving, but the passenger? Oh and the traffic updates were tied to Sirius...you got a year of that before you had to pay a separate Sirius traffic fee. It burns her that you can buy a decent quality Garmin WITH lifetime traffic AND lifetime maps for the same price as one single map update to her car.

2) The Bluetooth pairing doesn't work with all phones. It worked with the phone she first had when she bought the car. Then her next phone, a Samsung Moment, didn't work well with it. Now her current phone, a Samsung Epic, works fine with it.

3) The DVD player sounds like a good idea - hey it's a long trip and if she's driving I can watch a movie, right? Nope. Again...won't display while the car's in motion. You can hear dialogue/music/whatever but not see what's playing.

4) Sirius has worked fine for the most part, but starting around the first of this year she had issues...Sirius is unusable now and she has to "get by" on the hard drive content and her radio. She may need all the Sirius hardware replaced which could cost a pretty penny.

5) Again the hard drive sounds like a good idea but it won't burn all content and you also can't update file names so if the system doesn't recognize a certain CD it'll dump it in as "Untitled Disc." It'd be great if you could change it, name the tracks, etc....but you can't. There are now about five discs worth of "untitled discs" on the hard drive.

Given all that I wouldn't shy away from *some* tech but I think I'd tend to shy away from integrated systems like this if I could.
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RE: Buying A Car Based On Its "Tech"?

Mon May 21, 2012 2:27 pm

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 6):
Another word for it is "weight."

Personally I don't think much of the two tons of weight the Charger R/T has comes from the "tech", which if done reasonably would add the weight of a laptop or two.

BTW do you have that electric starter motor "tech" on your current ride, or do you hand crank it to save the weight?

Quoting garnetpalmetto (Reply 12):
It burns her that you can buy a decent quality Garmin WITH lifetime traffic AND lifetime maps for the same price as one single map update to her car.

Yep, it is a big issue the car makers have to deal with: the "tech" ages more rapidly than does the rest of the car. The ones that solve this problem best will have a leg up on the others.

In my case, even though my car was the first year of a new generation of the model, I looked at the nav and knew it was already unacceptably dated, so I passed on it and saved myself $2000.

Currently I use my cell phone for both navigation and radio functions using the phone's internet connection, as well as it also being a phone, of course. The physical integration is far from ideal: I have a cradle stuck under the mirror with power and audio cables hanging down, but it's really the best solution for me. I hate monthly fees, so one fee is a lot better than two or three, and I get a new phone every year or two so the display tech stays current.
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flanker
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RE: Buying A Car Based On Its "Tech"?

Mon May 21, 2012 2:48 pm

The only tech that matters is the good old Quattro
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Charles79
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RE: Buying A Car Based On Its "Tech"?

Mon May 21, 2012 3:25 pm

Quoting Revelation (Thread starter):
So, how much do you weigh the car's "tech" into your car buying decisions?

For me it would depend on how the specific "tech" would fit my needs and if I can afford it...such as:

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 6):
Keyless entry is probably the biggest modern car convenience I really like.

I would add to that list traction and stability controls, ABS, power windows/locks, sunroof, and parking sensors. Another new technology I have sampled in a few cars and really like is called "Hill Assist"; it is a system for manual transmission cars that applies the brakes for a few seconds while you engage first when the car is on a hill, thus avoiding that momentary backwards roll that you experience while your feet are on the clutch and gas pedal at the same time.

Other than that, I'm really leery of cramming too much technology in a car, particularly if said technology is in its first generation. I used to drive a VW Golf in basic trim that even had manual windows and that car was solidly reliable - thanks in part, I think, to the lack of electronic gizmos that are often so prone to fail.

Quoting Superfly (Reply 2):
This car was a total chick-magnet too - when it ran....

I've said it before, when I was a teenager I had a crush on the 1990 Chrysler Imperial (if such a thing can be had for an automobile!). I was bummed to learn years later that unfortunately those cars were as reliable as a Jaguar with Lucas electronics. A shame that their beauty wasn't matched by dependable mechanicals.
 
photopilot
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RE: Buying A Car Based On Its "Tech"?

Mon May 21, 2012 4:10 pm

Quoting cpd (Reply 7):
have the car read out email or text messages to you

Another excuse for "Distracted Driving" and having drivers pay even less attention to the task at hand.... driving.

Quoting cpd (Reply 7):
I think you can even use the smart-phone app to program the car to start the air-con automatically at a certain time before you get into the car - in case it might be very cold or very hot outside. Neat!

Wasting how much fuel and causing how much air pollution in the process? And before you get started, I come out in the winter and it's -20 to -30C sometimes and I still don't pre-heat my car.

Quoting Charles79 (Reply 15):
I would add to that list traction and stability controls, ABS, power windows/locks, sunroof, and parking sensors. Another new technology I have sampled in a few cars and really like is called "Hill Assist"; it is a system for manual transmission cars that applies the brakes for a few seconds while you engage first when the car is on a hill, thus avoiding that momentary backwards roll that you experience while your feet are on the clutch and gas pedal at the same time.

- Sorry, but all traction and stability controls do is let a non-talented or untrained driver get in way over his/her head and drive faster than the real conditions warrant.
- All ABS does is let a non-trained driver follow the "slam the brakes and hang on" approach to driving instead of training them to modulate the brakes and steer around the problem.
- Parking sensors? Please, don't make me laugh any harder. Hell, now they're promoting the new Ford Focus as completely automated parallel parking by itself. Whatever happened to driver skills? Can't wait till the first time the system malfunctions and dents the car foreward or behind. The product-liability lawyers are going to get rich on that one.
- Hill Assist? Guess someone never learned how to use three pedals with two feet at the same time. It's called heel & toe for those who can't figure it out. The car should never roll back, hill or not and a properly trained driver should be able to accomplish this without tech support or they really IMHO aren't a good driver.

For me, give me a good driver's car, a 5 or 6 speed manual tranny, close-set pedals for H&T, and a properly trained driver........... But we'll leave the abysmal state of driver training for another thread.
 
Kiwirob
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RE: Buying A Car Based On Its "Tech"?

Mon May 21, 2012 4:48 pm

Quoting photopilot (Reply 16):
- Hill Assist? Guess someone never learned how to use three pedals with two feet at the same time.

It's also called riding the clutch, I'd rather have hill hold thanks.
 
Superfly
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RE: Buying A Car Based On Its "Tech"?

Mon May 21, 2012 5:36 pm

Quoting Charles79 (Reply 15):
I've said it before, when I was a teenager I had a crush on the 1990 Chrysler Imperial (if such a thing can be had for an automobile!). I was bummed to learn years later that unfortunately those cars were as reliable as a Jaguar with Lucas electronics. A shame that their beauty wasn't matched by dependable mechanicals.

Agreed.
There were a lot of great looking cars dressed up on that cheap K-car platform. The devil was in the details.
Luckily repairs were never expensive. Parts were cheap and the car was easy to work on. Just very inconvenient and unreliable. The Leyland era Jaguars were unreliable and expensive.

Quoting photopilot (Reply 16):
- Sorry, but all traction and stability controls do is let a non-talented or untrained driver get in way over his/her head and drive faster than the real conditions warrant.

True.
Just go along I-5 between Sacramento and Reno during a snow storm or icy conditions. All the vehicles sliding off the road and in to the ditches are the newer vehicles with the latest and greatest traction control features.
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RE: Buying A Car Based On Its "Tech"?

Mon May 21, 2012 5:47 pm

Quoting photopilot (Reply 16):
All ABS does is let a non-trained driver follow the "slam the brakes and hang on" approach to driving instead of training them to modulate the brakes and steer around the problem.

1) The point of it all is that the computer can modulate the brakes better and faster than you can.

2) Do you really know anyone who does the "slam the brakes and hang on" approach to driving? I've driven with many many others and have never seen anyone abuse ABS this way, since ABS kicking in is usually a pretty noisy and dramatic thing. If you do know such folks, I strongly suggest you not ride with them.
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Kiwirob
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RE: Buying A Car Based On Its "Tech"?

Mon May 21, 2012 5:51 pm

Quoting Superfly (Reply 18):
Just go along I-5 between Sacramento and Reno during a snow storm or icy conditions. All the vehicles sliding off the road and in to the ditches are the newer vehicles with the latest and greatest traction control features.

Which I don't believe for a second, the cars I see going off the road around here are mostly older cars, our local paper loves printing pictures of cars off the road, it's incredibly rare for it to be a new car. I've been saved myself a couple of times when hitting black ice by anti skid control, it works, had I not had it I would have been off the road.
 
Charles79
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RE: Buying A Car Based On Its "Tech"?

Mon May 21, 2012 5:55 pm

Quoting Superfly (Reply 18):
All the vehicles sliding off the road and in to the ditches are the newer vehicles with the latest and greatest traction control features.

Traction and stability controls were never meant to replace driving skills...it is another tool to assist you, not meant to replace the driver. I think what you see on the road is not the direct result of the existence of traction controls, rather it is the sad state of driving training today combined with drivers relying on the aids to compensate (not complement) their lack of skills.

Quoting photopilot (Reply 16):
For me, give me a good driver's car, a 5 or 6 speed manual tranny, close-set pedals for H&T, and a properly trained driver...........

Ouch, did I hit a nerve?  

Sir, these are all driver aids that make driving safer. Even the most experienced drivers in Formula 1, DTM, WRC, BTCC, etc, all make mistakes and are caught off guard at some point in their driving careers. I agree that the driving training (at least here in the US) leaves a lot to be desired but, as a scientist, I always appreciate any new technology that assists you in the task of safely transiting the road. Note how I didn't mention any technology that distracts from the driving (such as DVD players, radio systems, navigations, cell phone adapters, etc).

And yes, even though I can parallel park quite well, having the parking sensors makes the job that much easier, particularly if you are driving a rental car which you don't know very well.
 
photopilot
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RE: Buying A Car Based On Its "Tech"?

Mon May 21, 2012 6:08 pm

Quoting KiwiRob (Reply 17):
Quoting photopilot (Reply 16):- Hill Assist? Guess someone never learned how to use three pedals with two feet at the same time.

It's also called riding the clutch, I'd rather have hill hold thanks.

Thanks for the comment. Nice to know you've just proved my point that you don't knows how to heel-and-toe a manual transmission car, as so many don't.
There's absolutely no "riding the clutch" involved. One keeps their left foot solely for letting the clutch up as normal, and uses the right foot to BOTH release the brake AND apply the throttle at the same time. With practice, this can be done smoothly and there is no rolling back.
By the way, "riding the clutch" by definition is when someone is on a hill using only the clutch and gas to keep the car stationary. You can usually spot this because the car is rocking back and forth while the driver waits for the light to change. Keep it up long enough and you'll even smell the clutch overheating.
 
Superfly
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RE: Buying A Car Based On Its "Tech"?

Mon May 21, 2012 6:11 pm

Quoting Charles79 (Reply 21):
Traction and stability controls were never meant to replace driving skills...

  
Exactly!

Quoting Revelation (Reply 19):
2) Do you really know anyone who does the "slam the brakes and hang on" approach to driving? I've driven with many many others and have never seen anyone abuse ABS this way, since ABS kicking in is usually a pretty noisy and dramatic thing. If you do know such folks, I strongly suggest you not ride with them.

I have a friend back in the US who drives like that. I always insist on driving when we go somewhere. He is a very nervous person and panics all the time. He's been rear-ended many times as a result.
Bring back the Concorde
 
BMI727
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RE: Buying A Car Based On Its "Tech"?

Mon May 21, 2012 8:05 pm

Quoting Revelation (Reply 13):
BTW do you have that electric starter motor "tech" on your current ride, or do you hand crank it to save the weight?

A lot of these things are worthwhile. Crumple zones and airbags are nice. ABS too. But I don't need navigation in my car, I have that in my pocket. Same with a lot of the communications gimmickry. And how long before we start removing CD players from cars?

Quoting Charles79 (Reply 15):
power windows/locks

I don't count that since it was common before I was born. My parents had one car with manual windows.

Quoting Charles79 (Reply 15):
sunroof,

I don't like sunroofs. One more thing to break, adds weight/reduces stiffness, and most importantly for me, they usually cut into headroom.

Quoting Charles79 (Reply 15):
and parking sensors.

I've never felt the need to have them. My grandparent's car has them and they seem to mostly ignore it.

Quoting Charles79 (Reply 15):
Another new technology I have sampled in a few cars and really like is called "Hill Assist"; it is a system for manual transmission cars that applies the brakes for a few seconds while you engage first when the car is on a hill,

That's really important as the decreasing prominence of manual transmissions means other drivers are less considerate and pull up right behind cars as if trying to see what radio station they are listening to.

Quoting Charles79 (Reply 15):
Other than that, I'm really leery of cramming too much technology in a car, particularly if said technology is in its first generation.

I'm not saying less, just what is there has to be genuinely useful. A screen in the car showing me the same Google map I can see on my phone is not useful.

Quoting photopilot (Reply 16):
Wasting how much fuel and causing how much air pollution in the process?

No one says you have to use it. I would probably burn a few more drops of gas to be more comfortable during extreme seasons.

Quoting photopilot (Reply 16):
- Sorry, but all traction and stability controls do is let a non-talented or untrained driver get in way over his/her head and drive faster than the real conditions warrant.

That's a fundamentally dumb argument. If a driver can drive a certain speed and not cross the line, then it is not faster than real conditions warrant. There is no problem raising the limits of a car and allowing people to get closer to the limits via electronic aids. Stability control allows drivers to bump up against the limits without getting in way over their head. Before Porsche 911 drivers would back into a hedge, but now stability control kicks in, reminds the driver that the limit has been reached, and they go on their way.

Quoting photopilot (Reply 16):
- All ABS does is let a non-trained driver follow the "slam the brakes and hang on" approach to driving instead of training them to modulate the brakes and steer around the problem.

Duh. That's the point. In a situation where the driver needs to stop in the shortest possible distance, it should be easy for any driver to get the best stopping performance. Why make the solution harder than it is, other than to feed your sense of superiority?

Quoting KiwiRob (Reply 17):
It's also called riding the clutch, I'd rather have hill hold thanks.

There's no major downside to hill hold. I mean I could start an engine by manually cranking it too, but what does that prove? New isn't always better, but there's no reason to be a Luddite just to try and prove how cool you are.
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RE: Buying A Car Based On Its "Tech"?

Mon May 21, 2012 10:31 pm

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 24):
There is no problem raising the limits of a car and allowing people to get closer to the limits via electronic aids.

The problem is, you simply CANNOT raise the limits of the car. The limits of traction are solely controlled by the tyres and the contact patch. Once the tyres have reached their slip angle and used up all available traction, all the electronic aids in the world won't help.

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 24):
Stability control allows drivers to bump up against the limits without getting in way over their head.

If you're driving in snow, ice or rain and you've reached the point that the electronics are the only thing keeping you on the road, you're already using 99.999%s of the available traction. Do you really want to tell us that you'd consider it safe to be bumping at the limits of control and that's ok? That's an accident looking for a place to happen.

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 24):
There's no major downside to hill hold. I mean I could start an engine by manually cranking it too, but what does that prove? New isn't always better, but there's no reason to be a Luddite just to try and prove how cool you are.

The only real downside to hill hold is what do you do when you don't have it? I've driven rental cars all over the world and for the most part, other than North America, you'll likely get a manual transmission car. I've yet to rent a single one of them with hill hold. If you're actually going to bother to learn to drive a manual tranny, wouldn't you at least think it prudent to learn how to drive it well? Or is half-trained good enough for you? Sort of like having a pilot who can program the auto-land into the computer, but lacks the skills to actually land the plane manually if necessary. Scarey thought.
 
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RE: Buying A Car Based On Its "Tech"?

Mon May 21, 2012 11:18 pm

Quoting photopilot (Reply 25):
If you're actually going to bother to learn to drive a manual tranny, wouldn't you at least think it prudent to learn how to drive it well? Or is half-trained good enough for you? Sort of like having a pilot who can program the auto-land into the computer, but lacks the skills to actually land the plane manually if necessary. Scarey thought.

Are you really(!) comparing the case where someone might be sloppy on their shifting and may stall their car and hold up traffic, or may slip and contact someone's bumper at oh five miles an hour or so to a pilot who does not have the skills to land a plane manually? Many single engine light aircraft land somewhere in the 60-80 mph range, commercial jets easily twice that and up, which is a lot more energy to get rid of compared to someone who might not meet your standard of proficiency with the manual transmission.
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RE: Buying A Car Based On Its "Tech"?

Mon May 21, 2012 11:18 pm

Quoting photopilot (Reply 16):
For me, give me a good driver's car, a 5 or 6 speed manual tranny, close-set pedals for H&T, and a properly trained driver........... But we'll leave the abysmal state of driver training for another thread.
Quoting photopilot (Reply 22):
There's absolutely no "riding the clutch" involved. One keeps their left foot solely for letting the clutch up as normal, and uses the right foot to BOTH release the brake AND apply the throttle at the same time. With practice, this can be done smoothly and there is no rolling back.

It's not necessarily the training. For instance, my recently-decesased uncle used to drive a standard till he had an injury that would make it very difficult to do what you described. He got himself an automatic and drove conservatively enough so his physical issues weren't a safety issue, and I felt safer riding with him than many others.

Quoting Superfly (Reply 23):
I have a friend back in the US who drives like that. I always insist on driving when we go somewhere. He is a very nervous person and panics all the time. He's been rear-ended many times as a result.

Yep, I'd never ride with someone like that driving.
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BMI727
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RE: Buying A Car Based On Its "Tech"?

Tue May 22, 2012 1:48 am

Quoting photopilot (Reply 25):
Once the tyres have reached their slip angle and used up all available traction, all the electronic aids in the world won't help.

That's true if you were to, say, hit a large patch of ice and all the tires completely lose all traction all at the same time. Then Newton is the only thing driving. The problem with your overly simplistic analysis is that that particular situation rarely happens.

Where traction control and advanced powertrains (think Acura's SH-AWD) shine is that they can vary braking and torque between wheels on the fly to cope with a situation where one or more tires have traction and others do not. Not only can they accomplish this much faster than any human driver, but doing what these systems do would be impossible without four brake pedals and four accelerator pedals.

Quoting photopilot (Reply 25):
If you're driving in snow, ice or rain and you've reached the point that the electronics are the only thing keeping you on the road, you're already using 99.999%s of the available traction.

First of all, that's wrong. Virtually all stability control systems have multiple settings that the driver can choose with varying levels and thresholds for intervention. It's highly unlikely that someone driving in snow, ice or rain will have their system in "performance" or "sport" mode. Secondly, it's far better to be using 99.999% of traction than crossing the line.

Drivers are going to do stupid things from time to time. It's better if they live to tell about it.

Quoting photopilot (Reply 25):
I've driven rental cars all over the world and for the most part, other than North America, you'll likely get a manual transmission car.

...unless of course you ask for and get an automatic, which while not standard in other countries, is certainly possible. If dented bodywork and premature clutch jobs were such a problem, you'd see rental car companies either not offering manual or getting cars with hill hold. The fact that they don't have it would indicate that drivers who are accustomed to hill hold are either sufficiently rare or figure out normal transmissions fast enough to not be a problem.
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RE: Buying A Car Based On Its "Tech"?

Tue May 22, 2012 2:04 am

Quoting photopilot (Reply 16):
Wasting how much fuel and causing how much air pollution in the process? And before you get started, I come out in the winter and it's -20 to -30C sometimes and I still don't pre-heat my car.

Since you objected to it so vehemently, if I want to waste fuel, then I'll waste fuel.   Otherwise - it's not a feature I'd use either.

Quoting photopilot (Reply 16):
Another excuse for "Distracted Driving" and having drivers pay even less attention to the task at hand.... driving.

Don't forget to ban radios, and talking passengers too. Better still, ban passengers completely. I don't suppose you ever listen to the radio while driving, or have a passenger talk to you while driving.  Wink Anyhow, l'm going to avoid responding further to this.  Wink You have your views, I have mine, we both won't change our views - so we can leave it at that for the better of keeping the thread civilised.

[Edited 2012-05-21 19:14:43]
 
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RE: Buying A Car Based On Its "Tech"?

Tue May 22, 2012 2:30 am

Quoting cpd (Reply 29):
Don't forget to ban radios, and talking passengers too. Better still, ban passengers completely. I don't suppose you ever listen to the radio while driving, or have a passenger talk to you while driving.

That's called a motorcycle.
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RE: Buying A Car Based On Its "Tech"?

Tue May 22, 2012 2:39 am

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 24):
Duh. That's the point. In a situation where the driver needs to stop in the shortest possible distance, it should be easy for any driver to get the best stopping performance.

False. ABS was never about the shortest stopping distance. As a matter of fact, the never dying myth of ABS decreasing the stopping distance is extremely dangerous, since under certain circumstances the stopping distance may be actually longer with ABS. The purpose of ABS is to maintain control over the car while braking. So one can avoid the obstacle instead of hitting it. Another problem with the ABS is that many people somehow can't distinguish between "best braking action under current conditions" and "best braking action". That may lead to some very nasty surprises...
That said, I'm not against ABS (or other driving aids for that matter). Quite the contrary. It's an excellent helper for a driver who knows how to use it. But "slam and hold" isn't the proper way.

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 24):
That's really important as the decreasing prominence of manual transmissions means other drivers are less considerate and pull up right behind cars as if trying to see what radio station they are listening to.

Why? It's very simple. If you have a car with this stupid North American pedal configuration, you can always do what photopilot suggests:

Quoting photopilot (Reply 16):
It's called heel & toe for those who can't figure it out.

Those who can't do it can help themselves with the handbrake.
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RE: Buying A Car Based On Its "Tech"?

Tue May 22, 2012 3:34 am

Quoting WildcatYXU (Reply 31):
As a matter of fact, the never dying myth of ABS decreasing the stopping distance is extremely dangerous,

In many situations, it isn't a myth at all.

http://www.nhtsa.gov/Research/Light+...stems+(ABS)+Research+Program#task4

Quoting WildcatYXU (Reply 31):
since under certain circumstances the stopping distance may be actually longer with ABS.

That's why a lot of vehicles helpfully include a "snow" or "gravel" mode in the traction control. (Which usually does more than just change the stability control settings)
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RE: Buying A Car Based On Its "Tech"?

Tue May 22, 2012 6:40 am

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 24):
adds weight/reduces stiffness,

Does it reduce stiffness in a body on frame designed car?

Quoting Charles79 (Reply 21):
even though I can parallel park quite well, having the parking sensors makes the job that much easier, particularly if you are driving a rental car which you don't know very well.

If they made boxy cars, that wouldn't be necessary. Cars today are round blobs and you can't see the edge. Even though my car is very long, it's easy to fit in to a tight place because it's boxy and you can see the edges.
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