New Device Aims to Stop Teen Texting and Driving
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says teens are six times more likely to crash while dialing a cellphone and 23 times more likely to crash while texting. Reaction times become similar to those of a 70-year-old who drives without a cellphone. Parents have a new tool to fight this, but it works best for teens with Android — not Apple — smartphones.
Insurance company Esurance introduced a new program this week called DriveSafe that monitors teens' driving habits. DriveSafe includes a telematics device that installs into the onboard diagnostics port on any vehicle built after 1996 except hybrids and electric vehicles. Parents then download the DriveSafe app on teens' smartphones, and the app can track driving habits via Bluetooth and lock out certain functions while the car is moving.
It also can alert parents to risky habits like accelerating too quickly, braking hard, driving past curfew, driving too far from home or speeding. And talk about speeding: Esurance's online overview depicts an alert that one teen reached 79 mph on a 25 mph zone of San Francisco's Arguello Boulevard. (He's so grounded.)
You'd think such alerts would raise insurance rates, but Esurance promises the data will not affect anything. In fact, the company claims it never sees the data; a third party hosts the information collected, which "will never be shared with Esurance."
Parents can block certain smartphone functions while the car is moving such as use of social media apps, text messaging, email or web browsing, but still allow teens to receive calls from Mom and Dad, dial 911 or access Bluetooth hands-free functions.
If teens try to remove the telematics device, it triggers a notification to parents. Still, it's unclear what happens if a teen removes the app, disables Bluetooth or turns his phone off. Esurance spokesman Danny Miller did not return our request for comment.
DriveSafe works with Android smartphones, as well as some Windows and BlackBerry devices. It works with iPhones, too, but the devices "do not support restriction of phone functionality," so all that happens is teens see a home-screen message to avoid using their cellphones while they drive. We suspect that's little deterrent when Becky texts all those details of her date with Jordan last night.
DriveSafe is free for parents with teens on their Esurance policies in 39 states. The insurer does not cover Alaska, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Vermont and Wyoming; Massachusetts and Pennsylvania have opted out.
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2014 Volkswagen Jetta: Family Review Checklist
The 2014 Volkswagen Jetta is a lot of car for not a lot of money. My test car, the Jetta GLI, and its $25,075 price tag reminded me that my family and I don't need a whole lot of razzle-dazzle in a car to be happy.
That's not to say the Jetta GLI doesn't have a few things to keep life interesting. With its 210-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and standard six-speed manual transmission, I zipped around all day long and enjoyed almost every minute of it. This engine and transmission pairing thrilled me with a fun driving experience and kept me from noticing the features that were missing in this compact sedan.
With the manual transmission, the Jetta GLI gets an EPA-estimated 23/33/26 mpg city/highway/combined. If you step up to the optional dual-clutch automatic transmission, the fuel economy drops to 23/29/25 mpg. The Jetta GLI uses premium gasoline.
For a compact sedan, the Jetta has great passenger room, and my family of four, including two growing school-age kids, fit comfortably in it. In the backseat, I was constantly surprised at the legroom for the kids even when the front seats were adjusted to fit me and my husband. The Jetta has 38.1 inches of rear legroom , beating the Honda Civic (36.2), the Mazda3 sedan (35.8) and the Ford Focus (33.2).
The rear bench seat was deep enough to accommodate rear-facing child-safety seats without issue. There are two sets of easy-to-use lower Latch anchors, and three tether anchors are found on the rear shelf behind the head restraints. The only headache will come with kids in booster seats who might struggle when using the recessed seat belt buckles.
One big hiccup for my family was we barely managed to fit my son's large hockey bag and stick into the trunk, despite the pass-through. The trunk opening was almost too small for a giant bag. Once we got the bag past the opening, we found that there was lots of room. The Jetta has a 15.5-cubic-foot trunk. Once again, it beats its competitors such as the Civic (12.5 cubic feet), Mazda3 sedan (12.4) and Focus (13.2). Should you need more cargo space, the 60/40-split rear seats can be folded with the pull of levers in the trunk.
The touch-screen stereo system is intuitive to use. Otherwise, there's little technology to wrestle with in the Jetta GLI. Buttons and knobs control the car's climate; it's refreshing to keep things simple. My test car didn't have heated seats or a sunroof — features I prefer to have. While I missed the heated seats, the lack of a sunroof didn't faze me one bit.
The 2014 Jetta GLI excels in teaching a lesson of less is more or at least less isn't so bad in this family-friendly car.
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Volkswagen Jetta GLI Celebrates 30 Years With Special Edition
Volkswagen's high-performance Jetta GLI has been around since 1984 when Volkswagen swapped go-fast goodies from its GTI cars into the Jetta body. To commemorate 30 years, Volkswagen is introducing an Edition 30 package on the 2014 GLI in early 2014.
Today's GLI features a 210-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 120 more ponies than the original's 90 hp. A sports suspension, 17- or 18-inch wheels, upgraded brakes, six-speed manual transmission and available six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission make up the remainder of the GLI's sports package. Sports seats and sports pedals decorate the interior.
Edition 30 bumps the content up slightly with mostly appearance add-ons like the "Laguna" 18-inch wheels, red trim on the front grille, rear spoiler and Edition 30 badging. The inside features leatherette seats with red accents, red contrast stitching throughout, carbon-fiber inlays and Edition 30 badges. Edition 30s will be available in four exterior colors: Deep Black Metallic, Pure White, Tornado Red and Reflex Silver Metallic.
The Edition 30 will be available in two packages, one with navigation and one without. Opting for the navigation package also adds keyless access with push-button start, a rearview camera, high-intensity discharge headlights and an adaptive front lighting system. Pricing will be announced closer to the on-sale date, though regular GLIs currently start at $25,075 with an $820 destination charge and increase to $29,315 for a GLI Autobahn with navigation.
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2014 Dodge Durango: Car Seat Check
Dodge has a hit with its updated-for- 2014 Durango ; sales of the three-row crossover continue to soar, and after spending some time inside the Durango, it's not hard to see why. The Durango excelled in our Car Seat Check; its spacious cabin and easy-breezy Latch anchors should make this vehicle appealing to large families.
How many car seats fit in the second row? Two
How many car seats fit in the third row? Two
What We Like
The second row's captain's chairs make it easy for kids to scoot to the third row; the chairs also tumble forward with ease, and the opening to the third row is adult-sized; watch out for a relatively tall step-in, however.
The second row's two sets of Latch anchors are exposed and easy to use.
Both rows' tether anchors were also easy to use, but there are several cargo hooks nearby. Parents should be careful not to connect the tether anchor to a cargo hook.
Despite fixed head restraints, the booster and forward-facing convertible seats fit well and installed easily in the second and third rows.
There was plenty of room for both the infant seat and the rear-facing convertible; neither seat impacted the front-passenger's legroom.
What We Don't
There are no Latch anchors in the third row.
The second row's buckles are on short bases and sink into the seat cushion. This could cause the booster to sit on top of them, and kids might have trouble grasping the short stalks.
A: Plenty of room for the car seat and the child; doesn't impact driver or front-passenger legroom. Easy to find and connect to Latch and tether anchors. No fit issues involving head restraint or seat contouring. Easy access to the third row.
B: Plenty of room. One fit or connection issue. Some problems accessing third row when available.
C: Marginal room. Two fit or connection issues. Difficult to access third row when available.
D: Insufficient room. Two or more fit or connection issues.
F: Does not fit or is unsafe.
About Cars.com's Car Seat Checks
Editors Jennifer Geiger and Jennifer Newman are certified child safety seat installation technicians.
For the Car Seat Check, we use a Graco SnugRide 30 infant-safety seat, a Britax Roundabout convertible seat and Graco TurboBooster seat. The front seats are adjusted for a 6-foot driver and a 5-foot-8 passenger. The three child seats are installed in the second row. The booster seat sits behind the driver's seat, and the infant and convertible seats are installed behind the front passenger seat.
We also install the forward-facing convertible in the second row's middle seat with the booster and infant seat in the outboard seats to see if three car seats will fit; a child sitting in the booster seat must be able to reach the seat belt buckle. If there's a third row, we install the booster seat and a forward-facing convertible. To learn more about how we conduct our Car Seat Checks, go here .
Parents should also remember that they can use the Latch system or a seat belt to install a car seat.
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2014 Lamborghini Huracán LP 610-4: First Look
Aston Martin DB9, Ferrari 458 Italia
Looks like: A quad-headlight, less-vented sibling to the Aventador
Drivetrain: 610-hp, 5.2-liter V-10 with seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission; all-wheel drive
Hits dealerships: Spring 2014
Witness the successor to Lamborghini's Gallardo , whose 10-year lifespan saw the most production of any single model — with 14,022 cars built — from the Italian exotic-car maker. Dubbed the Huracán LP 610-4, the new baby Lambo slots beneath the Aventador to take on the Ferrari 458 Italia and Aston Martin DB9 .
The Huracán takes its name from a Spanish bull, not an epic windstorm or University of Miami sports. Lamborghini says it will combine performance with drivability; the brand will unveil the car in more than 130 private events worldwide beginning in January, followed by a public unveiling at the Geneva International Motor Show in March 2014.
Similar to the Aventador's headlights, the Huracán has piped LEDs that complete a sort of lightning-bolt merge below the LED headlights. It wouldn't be a proper Lambo without massive air intakes, which engulf any semblance of a front bumper. Long, low and wide, the Huracán draws a virtually continuous line up the hood to the windshield. The roofline hurtles past the cabin toward an abrupt ending just past the rear fender, but fewer vents pockmark the side than on the chiseled Aventador. It's a familiar profile for Lamborghini faithful and one that only the Italian automaker pulls off.
Where the Gallardo employed an aluminum frame, the Huracán's chassis uses aluminum and carbon fiber. Overall dry weight (no fluids or fuel, as opposed to curb weight) is 3,128 pounds. That's up just 19 pounds versus the all-wheel-drive 560-horsepower Gallardo LP 560-4. It's 86 pounds more than both the rear-drive Gallardo LP 550-2 and the Ferrari 458 Italia (all specs compared in dry weight). The 458, like most Huracán competitors, employs rear-wheel drive.
From the stacked instrument hood to the protrusions that house air vents, the cockpit emphasizes severity. It's futuristic, but the future is sterile and businesslike — the sort of interior you'd expect in the Batmobile. Even the Aventador's cabin seems warmer.
In the Huracán, a 12.3-inch screen takes the place of traditional gauges; it can show everything from a tachometer to navigation and multimedia screens. The seats have Nappa leather, and Alcantara simulated suede appears to run the length of the doors. Behind the steering wheel are massive paddle shifters that extend nearly to the top of the rim.
Under the Hood
As its name implies, the Huracán LP 610-4's 5.2-liter V-10 makes 610 hp, up 50 hp versus the Gallardo LP 560-4. Multiple injection points — both direct and indirect, Lamborghini says — help power and efficiency. Torque stands at 413 pounds-feet, up 15 pounds-feet from the Gallardo LP 560-4's V-10.
Stop-start technology helps gas mileage, which comes to 12.5 liters per 100 kilometers in combined European consumption cycles. That's an improvement over the current Gallardo LP 560-4's 13.7 liters per 100 kilometers, which equates to 15 or 16 mpg in U.S. EPA numbers with the manual or automatic transmission, respectively.
There's no word of a stick shift anymore. Power meets all four wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic, and Lamborghini says the Huracán hits 62 mph in a blazing 3.2 seconds. That's much quicker than the Gallardo LP 560-4 (3.7 seconds with the automatic), and it rips past the DB9 (4.6 seconds). Ferrari says the 458 Italia hits 62 mph in less than 3.4 seconds but provides no specific figure.
Drivers can switch the Huracán between three driving modes — Strada, Sport and Corsa — which affect engine response, sound levels, all-wheel-drive power distribution and intervention from the electronic stability system. Variable-ratio steering and an adaptive suspension are both optional, and the driving modes affect them, too.
It's unclear whether Lamborghini will offer rear-drive or convertible (Spyder) versions of the Huracán, but given that both existed for the Gallardo, it's a safe bet we'll see a Huracán Spyder at some point.
An electronic stability system is standard. The antilock brakes employ standard carbon-ceramic hardware.
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