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.
‘‘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.