Tuesday, December 29, 2009

American Dream: We drive the Interceptor, the full-size sedan that could save Ford

Press the electrically triggered chrome door handle and the door pops open. The sculpted one-piece leather seats are as stiff as the suspension, and you slide onto them as into a Barcelona chair. A 21st-century "shaker" looms in your view, and the rest of the hood is long and upright...you're overlooking a similar expanse of sheetmetal as in a Chrysler 300. Hit the electronic ignition button on the headliner just aft of the header, and the 5.4-liter V-8 fires up with a rumble.

The clutch is a bit heavier than a Mustang GT's, but it releases smoothly and progressively. This big sedan is easy to drive-if you're into low-riders. It bounces along the smooth test road like a candy-colored 1964 Impala on the haunches of its hydraulics. It feels like one good bump could launch it into the air. You shift cleanly into second gear, but that's all she'll show today.

Interceptor. It's just another Ford concept car. A nice piece of eye candy designed to take your attention away from the real horror story playing out in Dearborn amid collapsing sales, massive losses, and a demoralized workforce. Don't you believe it: Even as you read this, Dearborn insiders are sweating the details on a secret plan to radically change the way FoMoCo develops new cars and trucks. And the Interceptor reveals a key part of that plan.

Two things make the Interceptor important: the way it looks and the way it drives. Especially the way it drives. Ignore the fact the Interceptor rolls on a cobbled-together Mustang platform with a nonexistent show-car suspension. It's the thinking behind the car that matters. And the thinking is this: Ford wants an all-new rear-drive sedan for North America by 2011 or 2012.

Not that long ago, rear drive was on life support at Ford. The company had axed the slow-selling Lincoln LS sedan and Ford Thunderbird, both built on the expensive DEW98platform shared with the Jaguar S-Type, and announced the plants building the Lincoln Town Car, Mercury Grand, Marquis, and Ford Crown Victoria would be closed in 2010. Under this scenario (Motor Trend, August 2006), the Mustang would be the only rear-drive Ford car on sale in America by 2011.

Now, under new CEO Alan Mulally, Ford is rethinking rear drive for North America. Insiders say Mulally has looked at what GM has done to reinvent Cadillac, seen the buzz it's generated around new rear-drive cars like the Chevy Camaro, Pontiac G8, and the Chinese-market Buick Park Avenue (all based on the Australian-developed Zeta rear-drive architecture), and asked: "Why can't we do that?"

It's more than just an obvious question. It also addresses a major dilemma for two key Ford products, the Mustang and Ford Australia's Falcon. The Mustang has been a runaway hit for Ford, but by 2011 the platform will have been in production for seven years, and its live rear axle is no match for the sophisticated independent rearends under the newer Camaro and Dodge Challenger. Down in Australia, the Falcon, Ford's rear-drive rival to GM's Holden Commodore, is getting a major overhaul for 2008, but its platform dates back to 1998.

Neither platform has the volume (2006 sales totaled 160,000 Mustangs and 50,000 Falcons and variants) to justify an all-new replacement each. So Mulally has asked for a plan to bring Ford's rear-drive cars together onto a single, global vehicle architecture. That means Mustang and Falcon. And it also means potential replacements for the Lincoln Town Car, Mercury Grand Marquis, and Ford Crown Victoria. Which is where Interceptor comes in.

Read more: Click Here

Source: Motortrend

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

1960's Ford Concept Cars - 1965 Mustang

ALL AMERICAN/National Anthem Mustang Commercial

ROUSH Building Two Propane-Fueled Mustangs for NMRA

For the next season of NMRA competition Roush Performance will be building two propane-fueled Mustangs to compete. The first one being developed is a 2005 Roush Stage 3 Mustang that will be driven by Donnie Bowles with testing going this month. The second one is a 2010 Roush Stage 3 Mustang which will be driven by Susan Roush-McClenaghan, Jack Roush’s daughter. Both propane-fueled Mustangs will use a naturaly aspirated all-aluminum 5.4-liter V-8 that was originally designed for the Ford GT.

For more on these propane-fueled Mustangs check out the press release below.Press Release:

Jack Roush is highly recognized for generating horsepower and performance out of engines. Roush also has a long and successful motorsports history with the first of his numerous championships coming in drag racing. And today, Roush is finding great success in engineering, building and selling alternative fuel vehicles to the fleet markets.

So what do you get when you combine all three of these things? A pair of propane-fueled ROUSH® Mustang drag cars, ready to challenge for the NMRA championship next season.

The drag cars are an offshoot of the kits that ROUSH® Performance uses to convert gasoline-powered Ford pickups and vans to run on clean-burning propane. As a leader in the development of green technologies for the automotive industry, Roush sees several benefits in using propane as a “right here, right now” alternative fuel; he cites facts such as propane is the third most popular motor fuel (behind gasoline and diesel), and there are already more than 12 million propane-fueled vehicles on roads across the world.

On the topic of propane, Roush said, “It’s as American as NASCAR. More than 90 percent of the propane used in the United States is produced in North America, much of it from the U.S. natural gas supply. Propane has so many positive aspects and it is finally getting the recognition it deserves as an alternative fuel. Propane can help to lessen our dependence on foreign oil. Propane can help to clean up our environment. And propane can help to create new ‘Green Collar Jobs’ for displaced auto workers who can return to the lines to build alternative fuel vehicles.”

And as a green fuel, on average propane fleet vehicles reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 19 percent and create 20 percent fewer nitrogen oxides, up to 60 percent less carbon monoxide, and fewer particulate emissions, as compared to gasoline. From an economic standpoint, propane used as a motor fuel can be purchased for about one dollar per gallon with applicable federal incentives.

But, one advantage that propane has, especially in a drag racing application, is that it has an octane rating of 106 (premium unleaded is typically around 93 octane). The first car being developed is a 2005 ROUSH® Stage 3™ Mustang which will be driven by Donnie Bowles and expected to be testing in mid-November. The ROUSH® engineering team is also building a 2010 ROUSH® Stage 3™ Mustang for Susan Roush-McClenaghan which should debut in February. This is Roush’s daughter who is adding the next chapters to her father’s legendary history in drag racing.

McClenaghan finished third in the NMRA Modular Muscle class this year, with Bowles one place higher. In NMCA Open Comp competition, they switched positions with Bowles finishing the season in second and McClenaghan third so both are highly skilled pilots.

Both cars will use an all-aluminum 5.4L, V-8 Ford engine that was originally designed for the Ford GT supercar. This engine will be converted to be naturally-aspirated, the compression ratio will be altered to 12.5:1, and several other changes will be required to run on liquid propane. These include CNC ported cylinder heads, high performance camshaft and valvetrain, and a wet sump lubrication system. All these changes should help this engine generate in excess of 600 horsepower.

Despite popular misconceptions, propane is actually very safe to use as a motor fuel and has a significantly lower flammability than gasoline. It is also good in cool or hot weather making it ideal for motorsports applications.

Bowles car will be on display at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas from November 3-5. It can be seen outside at the Cruisin’ Legends lot with the Ford Mustang corral.

Based in Livonia, Mich., “The Art of Performance Engineering” takes place at ROUSH Performance. To get a look behind the scenes at what goes on at ROUSH and how the vehicles are designed, manufactured and produced logon to www.ROUSHtv.com. For more information see your local ROUSH dealer, visit www.ROUSHperformance.com or telephone toll-free (800) 59-ROUSH. Follow us on Twitter @_ROUSH_ or Facebook at www.Facebook.com/roushperformance

Source: Mustang Heaven

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Dunkel Industries Luxury 4X4 Expedition Truck

Click Here to read more about this Expedition Story in Trucktrend.com, I am sure that you will enjoy it as much as I did.

2011 Ford Fiesta Revealed

Small Is Good

The Ford Motor Company unveiled their 2011 Ford Fiesta at the Los Angeles Auto Show, giving small car fans something to look forward to on the domestic front. The Fiesta, a nameplate that some Americans might recall from decades ago (or more recently if they've traveled to Europe in the last few years, where the Fiesta has been a perennial hit), will go on sale next year.

Not A Carbon Copy of European Model

Despite the fact that the Fiesta has been on sale in Europe and Asia for some time, the 2011 Fiesta for North America is a decidedly different car: the exterior is tweaked and Ford claims there's only a 60% carryover from the European model. Paradoxically, this leaves a lot of enthusiasts wondering (or, hoping) that the U.S. version of the car will be similar to the European model, one that was lauded for its driving character. At this point all signs point to the two being very similar.


Ford claims the new 2011 Fiesta will achieve 40 MPG on the highway, something that will make it a near hybrid competitor (or in some cases, even better than a hybrid). The engine is, not surprisingly, a four-cylinder 1.6 liter. But what is surprising is the six-speed automatic transmission (an expensive and fuel-saving move by Ford), something that helps the Fiesta get that high mileage rating.

Multiple Styles

The Fiesta will be available in two body styles: a four-door sedan and a five-door hatchback. This configuration makes sense for the U.S. market, where smaller three-door cars tend to underperform the rest of the market.

Small But Packed With FeaturesThe interesting part about Ford's strategy for the Fiesta is that the little car will come packed with features. The car comes standard with a very nice LCD display and a push-button start mechanism. Ford' SYNC system (for audio and hands-free controls) is available, as is heated seats, heated side mirrors and a sunroof. That's more than most small cars offer.

Source: Autos AOL

Saturday, December 5, 2009

2012 Ford Grand C-Max

Ford's big Frankfurt show splash triggers the beginning of the new, global Blue Oval. A dozen years ago, the North American Focus launched with hopes we would get a small, C-segment Ford as good as the European one. Instead, it was brought down by recall problems and lacked the European model's constant updates.

The 2011 Focus, which also underpins the C-Max and makes its debut at January's Detroit show, is different. Ford says the '11 Fiesta coming to America will share 60 to 70 percent of its parts worldwide. The '11 Focus and Focus C-Max will score more like 75- to 80-percent common parts. And suppliers to the new Focus will make the same parts and components around the world.

Europe gets both a five-passenger and a new seven-passenger C-Max, while North America is slated just for the seven-passenger C-Max, so far. There's good reason for this: Ford also will update the Escape/Mariner C-segment crossover, a big seller here but not overseas.

The U.S.-bound Focus C-Max looks much like this five-passenger model in a front-three-quarter view, but the seven-passenger model will have minivan-style sliding rear doors. It's more Mazda5 competitor than Chevy Orlando competitor.

Ford isn't talking engines, but an updated version of the current Focus' 2.0-liter four will be standard, and a new 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine will be optional in the Focus/C-Max lineup. A 2.0-liter EcoBoost four could power a hot hatch version of the Focus up to a year after the '10 launch.

Ford says it's growing its North American sub-C/D-class (Fusion/Milan/MKZ) lineup from four models (two- and four-door Focus, Escape, and Mercury Mariner) to nine: four- and five-door '11 Focus (the two-door is being cut), Focus C-Max, the Focus BEV (Ford counts its electric version as a separate car) a C-segment Mercury on the Focus platform and two '11 Fiestas, four- and five-door.

Like General Motors, Ford sees huge growth in sub-C/D cars in the coming decade. Ford and GM are selling much better-equipped compacts and four-cylinder midsize cars at higher transaction prices these days than in the recent past. This is important to Ford's strategy: Popular C-segment cars already sell for the equivalent of $25,000to $30,000 in Europe.

Read more: Motortrend

Friday, November 6, 2009

Review: 1967 Classic Recreations Eleanor Mustang is the real movie deal

1967 "Eleanor" Ford Mustang Shelby GT500

H. B. Halicki was a used car salesman who wanted to make a movie. With a little money, one big idea, and a 1971 Mustang Mach 1, he made Gone in 60 Seconds. And in that particular way that movies, especially '70s movies, can be, it wasn't all that good, but it was awesome. Fast forward to Michael Bay's remake in 2000, and the Mach 1 was replaced by a 1967 Shelby GT500. When we got a call offering us the actual car from that movie for the weekend, we felt obliged to say yes... and then drive it like we stole it. The verdict: Eleanor is the hottest piece of car we've spent a weekend with in quite some time.

To bring up another enduring movie character, do you know why so many people quote Tony Montana? Because he had a way with words, and those words were often right, such as when he said, "First you get the money, then you get the power, then you get the woman." A common shortcut is to swap "the power" part of that equation for "a hot car," and then you can go straight to step three.

There are different kinds of hot, though; more often than not, when a guy buys a car, he's just a guy in a hot car. On rare occasions, and in rare cars, however, the combination of driver and car instantly renders a guy – and everything he touches – hardcore hot. The kind of car that makes people want to call you "Wolf," or "Hawk." The kind of car that makes hot women stand in your vicinity twirling their hair, hoping you know how to combine the words "love" and "dashboard light." The kind of car that is like putting on a cape.

That car is Eleanor.

A 1967 Mustang Fastback isn't enough to pull off that transformation on its own. To go all the way, to ring the bell, you have to go to – of all places – Yukon, Oklahoma. That's where the crew at Classic Recreations will, after you've given them at least $109,000, turn an ordinary Mustang into Nicolas Cage's greatest desire.

The transformation is comprehensive. An in-house 401 c.i. racing engine with aluminum heads goes up front, topped with an aluminum crossflow radiator, two 12-inch cooling fans, Mass Flo fuel injector system, Concept One serpentine belt drive system and ceramic coated headers. Power runs straight back to the rear wheels via a five-speed Tremec TKO manual (or an optional six-speed Tremec, or an automatic, if you're that guy) and Posi-Traction. The base model puts out 535 horsepower. At the other end, the engine has been worked to 770 hp and will relieve you of $189,000. The vintage body is held in check from twisting around all that power with enough bracing to qualify as scaffolding.

Inside, the car is overhauled with new seats bearing five-point harnesses, Classic's in-house gauges, a wood and aluminum steering wheel at the end of a Flaming River column, and the interior treatment from the deluxe versions of 1967 Mustang models. A feature you could not have gotten on your 1967: a NOS system with an "Armed" toggle on the dash and a "Go Baby Go" red button on the shift knob. The decision to add such accelerated go gas eliminated the possibility of a trunk; there is a space back there behind the rear window, but it's occupied by a giant tank of nitrous.

Underneath, the modern mech theme is upheld by a Total Control suspension conversion that puts coilovers and sway bars front and rear. And behind those Classic Recreations wheels are Baer brakes holding fast to slotted and cross-drilled rotors.

Outside is where we had only minor hesitations about a thoroughly beautiful car. We don't fault Classic because it is merely recreating a movie car. The issue is with Eleanor herself. She's a bit... busy. Mainly up front, and only in certain places and from certain angles, we just kept feeling "Hmm, there's a lot going on." We think it's the number of curves and bulges running from the hood bulge down to the lower grille and the twin, center-mounted lamps; that area of arc and shadow is quite a contrast to the otherwise straightforward lines of the car. It's still a hot piece, and call us blasphemers if you like, but we do prefer it to the 1971 Mustang from the original film.

Outside, though, doesn't matter when you get inside, which is our favorite attribute of Eleanor. And our favorite thing about the inside is this: it's simple. Spend a few moments getting locked into your harness, after which you'll realize that there's nothing to do in Eleanor but drive her. The windows are manual. The locks are manual. The climate controls are Mesozoic: heat comes from the engine, the air conditioning isn't worth fiddling with because even with it on, you will sweat in this car. There are no LEDs to adjust the color of. The key is a tiny, flat piece of metal. Compared to today's lumps of plastic, Eleanor's key looks like something you'd open a suitcase with. The only buttons in the entire car are on the stereo.

Stick that little key in the slot on the dash, turn, and unleash a barrage of rambunctious. The dual 2.5-inch pipes running through Spintek mufflers and exiting just behind the doors barely contain the engine's explosions. Eleanor is easily the loudest car we've ever driven – it set off at least two car alarms every time we took it out. So loud that we practically avoided cemeteries out of respect for the dead. So loud that you could turn a corner and see people already looking down the road for you, trying to figure out where to run to escape the bellow. So loud that wholesome, innocent bystanders would shake their heads as you drove by, thinking "That's a bad, bad man."

You damn right.

That sweet, sweet thunder rendered the sole buttons inside the car, on the Panasonic stereo, useless. Don't be fooled by that speaker array, either – it's just for show. Well, not actually, but it might as well be because you've got to have the volume cranked up so high that it feels like your ears are being assaulted on another flank. And that's before you hit the gas. When you do that, forget about hearing anything.

So you turn the stereo off and you play with the gas as often as possible, for the sound and the fact that the 550 horsepower in the car we had makes a 1967 Mustang run like Niagara. We welcomed the chance to stop at any light, not only for the opportunity to take off, but just to get 60 seconds to play with the throttle. Highway cruising is pure ease, and when you drop down a gear and turn the noise up to "Battleship Engine Room," you exercise the pedal and the car bolts. The suspension is on the firm side but not at all uncomfortable, doesn't squat, and only gets snippy with when going over large, sharp bumps.

Yet for all of the changes made to the car, we can't tell you how it drives at the limit. This is the actual car from the movie, and it's owned by Denice Halicki, the widow of the man who made the original film in 1974, H. B. Halicki. She lives in the hills and didn't want to get a workout every time she turned the wheel, so Eleanor is set up to drive somewhat like an old Buick. The power steering boost comes on so strong and so quickly that when you turn the wheel a fraction in either direction, the wheel practically turns itself after that. One finger – no, make that one knuckle – is enough to explore the limits of lock. That meant we couldn't quite tell where the wheels were, so we couldn't get them placed quickly on the twists.

What we could tell from broad sweepers, where you could set the wheel and then test how quickly you could run through the turn, leads us to believe that the car's abilities are also far beyond those of a stock 1967 Mustang. Sure, with no electronic aids, if you get gimme-gimme with the accelerator, especially out of a turn, you are going to have some issues with the back end. But if you refrain from stabbing, put the knife away, and chauffeur with a sound mind, the 275/40 tires out back hold on to the road at speeds we'd be happy with in any modern sports car.

While we would certainly love to find out what Eleanor can really do, we have to admit we'd be more than happy with the limits of the movie car even if it does have Park Avenue steering. It can still do plenty, it's a perfectly raw dog, and the sensations trigger all the right areas of the brain. This is one of the terrifically few cars that can actually make you a star.

Just a few months ago, this particular blogger hadn't driven a Mustang in donkey's years. Now, a new one seems to come every other month, and each one is better than the last. We had to go back before we were born to top the last one, but we're pleased to announce that the streak continues. Eleanor is – ready for it? – our new favorite Mustang. Go, baby, go...

Source: Autoblog

Spy Shots: Unibody 2011 Ford Explorer cometh

2011 Ford Explorer

A 2011 Ford Explorer prototype has begun making runs around Michigan, and although the camo is thick, we're getting out first glimpse of what Ford has in store for its unibody 'ute.

Built on the same platform that underpins the Ford Taurus, Lincoln MKS and – more importantly – Flex, the all-new seven-seater Explorer will trade a bit of off-road prowess and towing capacity for a smoother ride and increased fuel efficiency. Under the hood, expect a choice of Ford's newest EcoBoost engines – the 3.5-liter V6 and a new 2.0-liter inline-four – with the latter possibly mated to an all-new dual-clutch gearbox.

Although the camo obscures most of the design details, the A-pillars and greenhouse are reminiscent of the Flex, although the hatch appears canted slightly inward, with a set of LED taillamps mounted in back. The overall shape is sure to take cues from the Explorer America concept show at the 2008 Detroit Auto Show, and we plan on getting our first look at the production model early next year before production begins at Ford's Louisville, Kentucky plant in late 2010.

Source: Autoblog

Friday, October 2, 2009

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Online Customizer Lets You Build Your Ultimate Dream Virtual Mustang

Have you ever dreamed about your ultimate Mustang? Custom paint, unique wheels. Hood scoop and more? Now it’s easier than ever for lovers of the original pony car to create the virtual Mustang of their dreams. With never-before-used digital technologies, Ford has created a customizer site within the car’s microsite, www.fordvehicles.com/the2010mustang.

The site is meant to reflect what the Ford Mustang is all about: classic design - a design to be redesigned by you - and attitude.

The Mustang customizer site is fun, and it’s also simple to use. Every aspect from choosing parts, changing colors, determining the intensity of your burnout cloud - all interactions are designed to be fluid and easy. There are 239 design elements in the customizer, and visitors can even choose the decals and the environments for their Mustang.

Accessories available include wheels, hoods, spoilers and grilles. Within minutes, vastly different looks can be created. You can build and save up to 10 as desktop wallpaper.

Although there are many customizer sites, the 2010 Ford Mustang customizer sets itself apart, largely because it’s not designed to be a linear build and price experience, like most sites. Ford focused on bringing some fun back into creating the ultimate Mustang.

You can also build your car in community. The community customizer is a multiuser mode that lets four people work on the same Mustang in real time. Chat features create an even more social experience, and the gallery allows submitted Mustangs to be voted on by other users, with the winners displayed each week.

The 2010 Mustang offers more performance and appearance options directly from Ford than ever before. With six accessories available right from the factory floor, 3,012 possible combinations available for order without accessories and 9,224 possible combinations with accessories (not including exterior and interior colors, and SVT),

For those serious about making their custom car a reality, a downloadable PDF offers a detailed list of all the parts used to create that particular Mustang. The PDF is separated into three categories - Ford, aftermarket and concept accessories - and includes links to the applicable sites. The list of parts makes it easy to start a conversation with your local Ford dealer.

When something like this hits in the Mustang community, word travels fast. Mustang enthusiasts have been buzzing with discussion in online forums, and customized Mustangs are even appearing in competitor vehicle forums.

One week after launch, almost 52,000 cars have been built with more than 16,000 of those saved into the site gallery. And more than 30 forums and blogs are sharing their own creations.

Give America’s favorite muscle car your unique spin. Customize your 2010 Ford Mustang by clicking here.

Source: The Ford Story

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Top 11 Driver Distractions

Driven to Distraction

Driving a car is a complex physical and mental operation. Not only does it require coordination and reflexes, it also requires rapid assessment skills and good judgment. Automakers have spent decades making cars easier and safer to drive, installing everything from rearview mirrors to automatic transmissions to cruise control. Despite that, some drivers insist on creating distractions for themselves behind the wheel, most of which have nothing to do with driving, safe or otherwise.

Distraction Causes Crashes

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Virginia Tech Transportation Institute have studied driver behavior, and have categorized some of the causes of accidents in these reports. Their conclusion: "Driver inattention is the leading factor in most crashes and near-crashes."

Just Drive

We've compiled a list of distracting activities that we've witnessed on the road. While we may have been guilty of engaging in a few of these non-driving-related distractions ourselves over the years, we have sworn off all extraneous activities behind the wheel. Our new motto: "Just drive."

Applying Makeup

Ladies, we know that it's impossible to get ready on time in the morning. But please, don't try to put on your mascara in traffic. Not only are you diverting your attention from the road, you're also at risk of looking like a sad clown by the time your get to the office.


Gentlemen, just because that razor is cordless doesn't mean that you should use it everywhere. While you concentrate on getting your sideburns even, traffic has bunched up behind you and you're driving on the shoulder. Shave at home, or wait until you get to work.


We've all done it on a busy day. A quick trip through the drive-through, and before you know it, you're eating a double cheeseburger with one hand, French fries with the other, balancing a soda with your elbow and steering with your knees. Beyond being a recipe for indigestion, eating behind the wheel is unsafe and distracting.


'Great Expectations' is a great book. It was a great book when Charles Dickens finished it in 1861. It will still be a great book after you reach your destination. Don't read behind the wheel. If you must be literary while driving, try audio books. Many of the classics are available for loan at your public library.

Talking on the Phone

"Research shows that driving while using a cell phone can pose a serious cognitive distraction and degrade driver performance," according to NHTSA, Using a hands-free device can reduce distraction, but not eliminate it. In other words, hang up and drive.


The driver in front of you on your morning commute weaves and swerves. You pull alongside, expecting to see an inebriated partier. Instead, a starched and pressed business person pilots the vehicle, while texting with both thumbs on a PDA which rests on the steering wheel. Texting is unsafe at any speed but zero.


One of the first things we learn in driver's ed is proper driving position. So why do so many drivers insist on slouching, reclining, leaning against the door or putting their feet out of the window? Not only is visibility compromised, reaction time is delayed and control is also compromised, so much of the crash protection engineered into the car is defeated. Straighten up and drive right, for your own good.


A little bit of singing is a good thing, even while driving. But we've seen drivers engaging in full-out air guitar rockfests worthy of amphitheater stages, all while driving down a crowded highway. Save the theatrics for Karaoke night, and keep your mind on the road.

Petting the dog, cat, rabbit, bird or lizard

In swanky Beverly Hills, it's not uncommon to see a dog's face peeking out of the driver's window as a car whizzes by on Doheny Drive. The California state legislature even debated a law outlawing pets on drivers' laps. Confine your pet to the back seat or passenger seat. Pets are not immune to crashes, and can even cause them if they are unrestrained in the cabin.

Watching a Movie

In-car entertainment can really make a road trip pass by quickly for the passengers. But we've seen vehicles with LCD screens installed in the dash, in clear view of the driver, blaring video entertainment while the vehicle moves through traffic. Drive-in movies are one thing; a driving movie is something else entirely. Be sure to keep entertainment screens out of the driver's line of sight.

Accessing the Internet

We haven't seen this yet, but it's coming. Chrysler LLC recently announced that it will launch an in-vehicle wireless internet system for its vehicles. According to Chrysler, "'uconnect web' transforms the vehicle into a mobile 'hot spot,' delivering unlimited, reliable and uninterrupted Internet connectivity." The system will be available as a dealer installed accessory for Dodge, Chrysler and Jeep vehicles beginning in August, 2008. Uh-oh!

Source: Autos AOL