Mid-Week mo­tor­ing

The Tribune (NZ) - - FRONT PAGE -

RANGER RANGES AHEAD

A record year for new ve­hi­cle sales saw more than 134,000 new ve­hi­cles reg­is­tered, mak­ing 2015 the high­est for new reg­is­tra­tions in New Zealand’s his­tory. Toy­ota recorded the high­est num­ber of reg­is­tra­tions for the 28th con­sec­u­tive year, ex­ceed­ing 26,000.

Holden and Ford were se­cond and third, with the Ford Ranger best com­mer­cial ve­hi­cle and also the top sell­ing model over­all, mak­ing it the first com­mer­cial ve­hi­cle to out­sell a pas­sen­ger ve­hi­cle. Com­mer­cial ve­hi­cle reg­is­tra­tions were up 6.6 per cent on 2014 and pas­sen­ger ve­hi­cle reg­is­tra­tions were up 4.9 per cent.

Take a Corvette, cross it with the Bat­mo­bile, and presto, the Fara­day Fu­ture Zero1. De­scribed as ‘‘a car of con­cepts rather than a con­cept car’’ the low-pro­file, waist-high all-elec­tric ve­hi­cle un­veiled at this month’s Las Ve­gas Con­sumer Elec­tron­ics Show (CES), has also been called ‘‘an ex­treme tablet on wheels’’.

Fea­tures in­clude the abil­ity to pro­ject im­ages on the road much like a ‘‘dig­i­tal co-pi­lot’’, a smart phone dock in the steer­ing wheel, tun­nels below the car to fun­nel air, a sin­gle strip grin­ning curve head­light, and a de­signed hor­i­zon­tal crease along its sides dubbed the ‘‘UFO’’ line, to sig­nal the car was oth­er­worldly.

CAR AS PA

Elec­tronic in­te­gra­tion of ve­hi­cles is com­ing. Jan­uary’s Las Ve­gas CES also re­vealed a new range of tech­nolo­gies to per­son­alise and in­te­grate the car with life­style.

Among them is an award-win­ning tex­turised hap­tic touch­screen from Bosch that means driv­ers can read and op­er­ate the screen by feel, mak­ing it eas­ier to op­er­ate in­fo­tain­ment ap­pli­ca­tions such as nav­i­ga­tion, ra­dio, and smart­phone func­tions, with­out hav­ing to take their eyes off the road.

Con­nected in­fo­tain­ment will let driv­ers nav­i­gate through traf­fic while ac­cess­ing on­line ser­vices and smart­phone apps us­ing ges­tures and speech. With a ‘‘smart home’’ con­nec­tion, house­hold heat­ing, cook­ing and se­cu­rity sys­tems can also be op­er­ated from the con­sole.

Cloud-base con­nec­tiv­ity will warn driv­ers of safety haz­ards, such as other ve­hi­cles trav­el­ling the wrong way. A smart­phone app will also en­able au­to­matic garag­ing or street­side park­ing. Bosch says the aim is to turn the car into the driver’s per­sonal as­sis­tant.

CAR GAMES

‘‘Are we there yet?’’ The an­swer to this per­sis­tently painful ques­tion on long car trips is as sim­ple as driv­ers hav­ing a cou­ple of silly car games up their sleeves.

Re­mem­ber ‘‘Spotto’’ or ‘‘Bingo’’? Be­fore em­bark­ing on hol­i­day, make your own bingo cards with road­side or scenic themes, print them off and hand them out at strate­gic in­ter­vals dur­ing the jour­ney. Or, have pa­per or card on board with a few pens or mark­ers, and have your pas­sen­gers draw their own cards, and then swap them with each other to play. There could even be an app for this. Prizes for the win­ner are up to you.

There’s also: ‘‘Hey! Let’s play a new game and see who can stay quiet the long­est’’. The ‘‘quiet game’’, as it is known, is inevitably doomed to fail­ure af­ter am­at­ter of sec­onds. Not rec­om­mended.

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