Though not perfect, Cadillac’s Super Cruise ‘hands free’ semi-autonomous system works as intended

Two years doesn’t seem like a long time. However, in that period since Cadillac was forced to push back the release of its Super Cruise system, the automotive market has been flooded with driver assistance features and semi-autonomous systems that have all but made the hype around it dwindle. Even after a tragedy and major lawsuit stemming from the misinterpretation of its name, Tesla’s Autopilot still reigns supreme, as improvements to the software continue to be made, giving its fanboys plenty to smile about. Despite all the hoopla surrounding Autopilot though, Tesla has made it clear that the system still requires drivers’ hands on the steering wheel as an immediate backup plan should something go wrong. For those who think this is pettiness, there are plenty of YouTube videos to justify Tesla’s request. Super Cruise on the other hand now marks the first system an automaker itself has designated “hands-free.” With its debut finally here and luxury buyers/tech junkies still contemplating whether the hefty investment is worth it, I can personally attest to at least one thing: it works as advertised. After a full two-day road trip using Cadillac’s answer to self-driving technology, I became well acquainted with Super Cruise. Behind the wheel of a 2018 CT6, I joined a long convoy for a drive that took us from New York City down to Washington D.C., then across Western Pennsylvania up to Cleveland. It might seem like an excessive amount of driving, especially after Nissan’s recent ProPilot demonstration was nothing more than a loop around Manhattan, but I honestly can’t complain. On a drive route largely consisting of interstate highways, Super Cruise did most of the work. The long trip was part of Cadillac’s cross-country promotion of the long-awaited feature. As members of the first wave, multiple media reps were given a premier look at the next Continue Reading

Ratings and Review: Subaru’s outstanding 2017 Outback is the automotive antidote to the wintertime blues

Full Car Details More Reviews As a Michigan native, I know winter weather. First-hand experience with ice storms, blizzards, drifting snow, howling wind, sub-zero temperatures, and shoveling heavy wet piles of frozen precipitation helps to explain why I now call Los Angeles home. It also helps to explain why I recommend the Subaru Outback to just about anyone who will listen – especially if they live where the weather is more often frightful than delightful. When the Subaru Outback debuted for 1995, it was nothing more than a paint treatment applied to a Legacy station wagon. In 1996, Subaru lifted the suspension, added oversized fog lights, installed white-letter tires, and “invented” the crossover SUV* by resurrecting a recipe first used by American Motors Corporation for its Eagle lineup. At the time, I lived in Colorado, just embarking upon a career as an automotive journalist. My co-worker and I took a 1996 Outback into the mountains west of the city, pitting it against the immensely popular Ford Explorer and abusing the car in the way that only a young, irresponsible, clueless car enthusiast can. I don’t recall now which vehicle won that head-to-head comparison test, but each iteration of this Subaru since that original model debuted has impressed me. Now, for 2017, the Indiana-built Subaru Outback is even better, thanks to a new Touring trim level with yummy Java Brown leather. Additionally, the Touring model receives an exclusive heated steering wheel and several exterior and interior styling enhancements. For this test, I requested the new Touring trim paired with the optional 3.6-liter 6-cylinder engine. The price came to $39,070, including the destination charge, which represents value in comparison to other 5-passenger, midsize crossover SUVs. * Subaru shares this distinction with Toyota, which introduced the original RAV4 for the 1996 model year. Continue Reading

A Ford Mustang painted like a fighter-jet is just one of our top automotive picks for this Fourth of July

The Fourth of July is a great excuse to fire up the grill, load up the cooler, and get the engine revving in an all-American car or truck. For some automotive fans this means a classic car dripping in chrome and with towering rear wings. Others might prefer something sportier, a hunkered down performance machine that is itching to race. Then again, if you’re feeling cutting-edge, an electric-powered luxury sedan could be the best conveyance to get you to your beach house. RELATED: MOST AMERICAN CARS RANKED We’ve dived into our archives, and done some debating, to bring you the ultimate July 4th-approved cars and trucks from past and present. Ford Motor Company This special-edition Mustang GT, painted to match the USAF Thunderbirds, is set to be auctioned for charity. Ford Mustang You can’t go wrong when betting on the original ‘pony car.’ Ford created an entirely new genre of high-performance machinery when it introduced the Mustang for the 1964½ model year. Sales went soaring faster than a bottle rocket – Ford sold more than one million Mustangs in less than 2 years. Despite a few ignominious models throughout its long history, the current ‘Stang has regained all its former glory. And you can’t get much better than an American muscle car painted to look like a U.S. Air Force Thunderbird fighter-jet. The 2014 Mustang pictured here is one-of-a-kind, and due to be auctioned for charity during the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) AirVenture meet in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, on August 1.   Chevrolet The 1972 Chevrolet Corvette had amazing lines and loads of power. American sports cars don't get much better than this. Chevrolet Corvette As “America’s sports car,” the Chevrolet Corvette has been burning rubber and waving the stars and stripes since it was introduced back in 1953. While the original Vette had plenty of panache, its anemic inline-6 certainly Continue Reading

June auto sales cruise past analysts’ expectations to  notch fastest sales pace since November 2007

Ford and General Motors racked up bigger-than-expected sales in June as Americans snapped up new cars at the fastest pace in about five years. GM sales surged 6.5% to post the company’s best June since 2008, before the economic downturn that drove it into bankruptcy. Ford’s sales climbed 13.4%, and Chrysler’s 8% gain met analysts’ expectations. The industrywide annual sales rate hit 15.9 million in June, the quickest clip since November 2007, according to That topped analysts’ forecasts for 15.4 million. A steady, if tentative, rebound in the economy, easier access to credit, and a drive to replace clunkers that Americans held onto during the lean days of the recession has been helping accelerate vehicle sales. “We’ve got a vehicle fleet that’s almost 11 years old,” George Magliano, senior economist with IHS Automotive, told the Daily News. “The cars are either wearing out or becoming too expensive to keep on the road and people want to buy more fuel-efficient vehicles.” An improving housing market also fueled sales of pickup trucks again during the month. Sales of Ford’s F-150 pickup jumped 25%. GM sold about a third more Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups, and Chrysler sold 24% more of its Ram full-size pickup. All three big Japanese automakers also posted surprisingly strong results. Monthly sales for both Toyota and Honda rose 10%, while Nissan’s sales rose 13%. With News Wire Services Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Driverless car cruises the streets of Berlin; ‘Will be much safer than human drivers’

BERLIN-- It can talk, see, drive and no longer needs a human being to control it by remote. The car of the future - completely computer-controlled - is on the streets of Berlin.All summer, researchers from the city's Free University have been testing the automobile around the German capital.The vehicle maneuvers through traffic on its own using a sophisticated combination of devices, including a computer, electronics and a precision satellite navigation system in the trunk, a camera in the front, and laser scanners on the roof and around the front and rear bumpers."The vehicle can recognize other cars on the road, pedestrians, buildings and trees up to 70 meters (yards) around it and even see if the traffic lights ahead are red or green and react accordingly," Raul Rojas, the head of the university's research group for artificial intelligence, told reporters at a presentation Friday."In fact, the car's recognition and reaction to its environment is much faster than a human being's reaction."The scientists have worked on their research car, a Volkswagen Passat worth euro400,000 ($551,800) with lots of built-in special technology, for four years.Several other groups have also been working on such technology recently, notably Google, which has been testing a robotic Toyota Prius in Nevada."There's a big trend for completely computer-controlled cars - many companies and research centers in several countries are working on it and it is hard to say, who's got the most-developed vehicle at the moment," Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer, a professor for automotive economics at the University of Duisburg-Essen, told The Associated Press on Tuesday.Dudenhoeffer estimated that with the technology advances, it could only take another decade for the fully automatic cars to start becoming available for consumers. "Even today's cars are often partially computer-controlled, for example when it comes to parking or emergency brakes."However, he said, that besides the technological issues, the Continue Reading

Dream Cruise 101: From drag racing to drive-in movies

Start your engines and clear your calendars, Dream Cruise week is around the corner, and from Woodward Avenue to Toledo, the region will host more events than ever before.Cruise Day is Aug. 20, but the fun for fans of great automotive design and engineering begins the weekend before. Classic cars of all ages and brands will fill Woodward and its adjacent parking areas the evening of Aug. 13, weather permitting. Expect car lovers to crowd the sidewalks, fill restaurant window seats and balconies and line up dozens deep at every ice cream parlor on the avenue every night for a week.Here’s a list of some spots worth your attention:The Dream Cruise ends Saturday night, but Sunday has plenty to offer, including Mustang Memories at Ford World Headquarters on Michigan Avenue in Dearborn. The world’s largest Mustang club puts on a stellar show. More than 900 vehicles are expected included historic and seldom-seen cars and owners. 8 a.m.-5 p.m.American Motors’ heritage will live on in a show at Livonia’s Greenmead Historical Park, 8 Mile and Newburgh roads, 8 a.m.-5:45 p.m. Contact Mark Phelan: 313-222-6731 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @mark_phelan. Continue Reading

Woodward Dream Cruise Events

  City of Berkley Friday, August 18:6:00 PM – 9:00 PM: Kids' Inflatable Zone at 12 Mile Road & Tyler.6:00 PM – 9:00 PM: DTE Energy featuring games, prizes and FUN! at 12 Mile Road & Griffith south.6:00 PM – 9:00 PM: Food Court at 12 Mile Road & Robina south and the Downtown Business District.6:30 PM – 7:30 PM: Berkley’s Classic Car Parade at 12 Mile Rd between Coolidge and Greenfield. Classic Car Parade Parking for viewing parade of cars, behind the Berkley Theater at Robina.7:30 PM – 9:00 PM: Tri-Community Coalition Street Dance at 12Mile Road & Griffith, north.7:30 PM – 11:00 PM: Live Entertainment Friday-Saturday, August 18-19:Official Woodward Dream Cruise Merchandise Tent locations at 12 Mile Rd at Robina. Woodward at 12 Mile Rd, Robina, Catalpa and Columbia.104.3 WOMC Broadcast Tower at Westborn Market Saturday, August 19:11:00 AM - 7:30 PM: Free Parking Shuttle Bus, Downtown Berkley City of Birmingham Saturday, August 19:9:00 AM – 7:00 PM: Birmingham Cruise Classic Car Show9:00AM – 11:00AM – 104.3 WOMC Live Broadcast with Bobby & Stacey in the Morning from the AAA Building on Woodward.7:00 PM – 9:00 PM: WXYZ-TV Live Broadcast adjacent to the 555 building.1:00 PM – 3:00 PM: 104.3 WOMC Live Broadcast at Old Woodward and Lincoln.1:00 PM – 7:00 PM: 104.3 WOMC Live entertainment stage at Old Woodward and Lincoln.  Bloomfield Township Saturday, August 19 @ 36600 Woodward:9:00 AM – 500 PM: Bloomfield Township Classic Car Show and Bill Wells Car Club Classic.  City of Ferndale August 17, 18 & 19: West Nine Mile Rock’n Live Entertainment Stage Thursday, August 17: West Nine Mile Ford Motor Company6:00 PM – 9:00 PM: “Dream Cruise Road Show”, a PBS Channel 56 production. Thursday, August Continue Reading

Cameron Diaz wrecks car in U.K. with Tom Cruise, flags down help on set of British auto show

Cameron Diaz could have used a knight in shining armor on Thursday when she wrecked her car in a high-speed race against Knight and Day co-star Tom Cruise. The stars were filming British automotive show Top Gear and competing in a race to see which one could get around the track fastest, London's Daily Mail reported. The segment is a regular feature on the show, called "Star In A Reasonably-Priced Car." "That was the gag: massive A-list celebrities finding themselves shoehorned into the kind of car they'd normally never be seen dead in," explains Top Gear's website. Diaz, who was put in a snazzy red Kia for the challenge, was given some quick training before taking off around the track. But the motor in her car stopped functioning and the gear box began making a terrible noise, so the actress had to stop and flag down help. It turns out the Charlie's Angels star didn't quite have a handle on how to handle the car's clutch, according to the Daily Mail. A driving expert quickly came to Diaz's rescue, and the actress's car was repaired by on-set mechanics. Cruise was also on hand on Thursday, to the great pleasure of the show's creators. "It's fair to say, we've never, ever had two bigger guests and for the pas week the air in the office has been alive with a sort of sweaty-palmed excitement," they wrote on the Top Gear website. Diaz and Cruise, in town to promote their new film Knight and Day, cleaned up and attended the flashy premiere in London's Leicester Square on Thursday evening. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Clutter-free cruising

In the early 1900s, Mercedes created meticulously hand-painted buggies with exquisite leather interiors and details that included built-in candle-holders, fully equipped bars and megaphones for talking with the drivers. Several buggies were engineered with seats facing backward (and footsteps to get into them), called "mother-in-law" seats. If there was built-in storage, it was most likely a wicker picnic basket. So how do we create more car space? I talked to the experts at California Closets for some solutions. Following, a five-step plan: 1. Sort and Clean Take everything out of the car, including car seats, music and miscellaneous items stored in the glove box and door pockets. Don't forget the trunk and cargo area. Organize the rest of the items into three piles: stuff you use all of the time, things you use occasionally and items you might need in an emergency. Whatever doesn't fall into these categories should be stored in your home or garage. 2. Evaluate Ask yourself, "How do I use my car?" Are you a salesperson traveling with a trunkload of samples, a mom with two toddlers in car seats or a Realtor squiring prospective clients from property to property? Do you make a lot of short trips, or are long journeys the norm? 3. Prioritize Go through your three piles and prioritize the most important items in each group. Pay attention to duplicates. For example, it's good to have an emergency blanket, but three may be too many. Then ask yourself those hard questions. Do you really need 25 CDs in your car? 4. Contain Loose objects in the car lead to disorganization and mess. They can also create a real danger in the event of a sudden stop or a crash. Automotive accessory shops offer a variety of cargo containers and organizers for every part of the car, from roof-rack boxes, CD-storage visors and trunk bins to net pockets for the backs of passenger seats. To reduce garbage clutter and make the car easier to clean, attach a small trash bag to the back of one of the Continue Reading


A 22-YEAR-OLD Florida woman has gone missing from a cruise ship sailing along the Italian coast - making her the fourth person to vanish from a Royal Caribbean liner in the last year. Elizabeth Galeana of Naples, Fla., was last seen about 12:30 a.m. Tuesday when she went to sleep in her parents' stateroom, according to Royal Caribbean. Her sister reported her missing hours later. The luxury liner, Voyage of the Seas, was sailing to Naples, Italy, from the port of Civitavecchia. Searches of the ship were fruitless, and Royal Caribbean handed out pictures of Galeana to the passengers. It alerted the U.S. and Italian Coast Guards, the FBI, the U.S. Consulate in Naples and the Naples police. FBI spokesman William Carter said that when someone on a cruise line that does business in the U.S. vanishes, "we would send agents out to look into it to determine if there's any foul play involved." The Italian Coast Guard conducted sea and air searches, but suspended those efforts. "Our thoughts and prayers are with this woman and her family," said Adam Goldstein, president of Royal Caribbean International. A woman who answered the phone at the Galeana family's Michigan vacation home yesterday declined to comment. Galeana's father, Frank Galeana, is the founder of the Galeana Automotive Group, which controls a string of car dealerships in Florida, Michigan and South Carolina. The Naples Daily News reported the family owns a $6 million home in Naples and that Elizabeth Galeana bought a $315,000 home last July. The family company also owns a stock car racing team. More than a dozen people have disappeared from cruise ships since 2004. Daniel DiPiero, 21, of Canfield, Ohio, fell overboard and was lost after partying with friends aboard a Bahamas-bound Royal Caribbean ship in May. Last December, Canadian Jill Begora, 59, vanished from Royal Caribbean's Jewel of the Seas in what authorities said may have been a suicide. George Smith, 26, of Greenwich, Conn., Continue Reading