CNET On Cars – 1967 Mercury Cougar: A look back to see how far car tech has come

we go back into the past to really appreciate the cars of the presence explain why it takes so long to get warm on a cold morning and run down the hottest-selling Eevee’s it’s time to check the town pc cars differently she loved them on the road and under the hood but also check the tech and are known for telling it like it is ugly is included at no extra cost the good the bad the bottom line this is C net on cars welcome to see that on cars a show all about high-tech cars and modern driving i’m brian coulis we bring you nearly a hundred of the latest modern high-tech cars every year here at c net and to be honest it’s kind of easy to take for granted how far vehicles have come in terms of power convenience reliability and safety what if this show had been around back in 1967 and the mercury sent us something to review how different would things of that motor trends Car of the Year 467 the back let’s see how lincoln-mercury pronounces Mustang as we drive the all-new Mercury Cougar I check the tech well Mercury’s finally got their Pony car and yes based very much on the mechanicals of the Mustang but you’re never gonna mistake the two on the road in fact the Cougar and the Mustangs share no sheetmetal they have a different wheelbase as well this guy’s 111 inch axle 2 axle the Mustang is 3 inches shorter cougar devotes its extra length to longer more compliant leaf springs and a little more room for the legs in the back other unique identifiers are of course that cougar face what people are already calling the electric shaver front end with standard hidden headlights sequential taillights in the back are standard as well and Ford’s offering an electric sunroof on Cougars the first they’ve ever installed from the factory inside all Cougars is a sporting european-style cockpit you’ve got a three spoke sport wheel this by the way has collapsible impact technology as well as a padded center hub for safety on the left is your speedometer in the main pod on the right the other main pod has not only a fuel gauge but also a temperature gauge and an oil pressure and amp light the center clock is optional climate control includes heaters standard you can delete that if you like air conditioning is optional the turn signal if you order a speed control is going to have a knob on the end of it to actuate and disable it now the entertainment options your entry level rig is going to be an AM radio with full transistorized chassis and five preset buttons step up from there with an AM stereo tape all integral or go-to AM and FM radio but then you lose the tape clever little storage bin down here with a rollup kind of chrome piano top now most Cougars are going to ship with a c3 automatic it’s a three-speed automatic plus reverse with a chrome t-handle shifter right here there’s also a three on the tree manual it’s gonna be pretty rare in the middle is going to be the four-speed four on the floor manual gearbox now the xr7 which we don’t have here would add gauges across the center of the dash here you’ll also get some toggle switches a roof console leather and vinyl upholstery we have all vinyl in this vehicle now speaking of safety the 67 cougar also has a full padded – padded pillar over here and a breakaway rear view mirror headrests remain optional however in that same place you might instead choose to hang a television from the dealer you can get a 9 inch black and white fill khou-tv with custom made hooks that hang right over the back of the seat for your rear seat passengers seat belt includes a tongue side retractor standard on all four positions around the car another big differentiator between cougar and Mustang lies under the hood these guys do not come with any kind of a6 they’re all v8 the most popular is gonna be this one here the 289 two barrel good for 200 horsepower 282 foot-pounds of torque 0 to 60 according to motor trend is about 11 seconds for a car that weighs a tick over 3,000 pounds observed mpg just under 16 you can also get this engine with a dual exhaust a four-barrel carb and a nine point eight to one compression ratio and that gives you 225 horsepower or just go all the way with a

390 cubic inch engine in the cougar GT that’s good for 320 horse lincoln-mercury is not kidding when they say this car has some of that Lincoln fine car touch maybe good marketing copy but it’s actually relatively true and quite a bit quieter car in general it comes out to be a more sedate sounding and a little less hotly sprung Mustang that also means high marks for the base engine this 289 – barrel is a willing runner you really feel that hefty bias toward torque at 282 pounds and because we have the optional a added dealer-installed Shelby style exhaust we get a good note the only sour note in our car is the fact that we do not have the optional power disc brakes we have unassisted four-wheel drums there adequate but coming down a road of uneven pavement and having to make a relatively hard stop you need to hang on and try and guess which way it’s gonna pull okay let’s price our Cougar the base car as I mentioned has a v8 – 289 – barrel and configured thusly we’re just under three thousand dollars now come a number of options emission controls are 50 dollars and 64 cents our automatic transmission just under two hundred and seven dollars power steering 95 that sports consoles fifty-seven dollars we have the AM radio at 60 bucks but I’m intrigued by the AM stereo sonic tape at 180 850 more of that European sports car look for just 84 dollars that gets you the vinyl Oxford roof all in our test car with some of those features but not all of them is 36 50 and change the Cougar lies somewhere between Mustang and Thunderbird it brings a more compliant ride and also a quieter ride thanks to over a hundred pounds more sound deadening than a Mustang it fits somewhere in the range of the person who wants more of a GT than a sports car with that European touch oh by the way for another interesting look at how different the automotive landscape is from 4050 years ago head over to see net on cars comm and check our show notes links for the federal motor vehicle safety standards this is the Bible the federal government puts out that basically tells car makers what they can and can’t do when they design and build cars it’s very interesting to peruse here in the US we take for granted things like government crash test ratings and independent testing and ratings from groups like the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety but those watchdogs aren’t on duty everywhere that’s coming up when CNET on cars continues it’s been years since you could buy a new car in the US without stability control dual front airbags have been required on cars here since 96 and yet there are places in the world right now where new 2015’s are rolling out of the showroom without a single airbag or stability control or even much of a body structure look at how this Indian market Datsun go fails in a crash test the main impact absorbing structure seems to be the driver the Dacia Sandero sold in Europe gets a four star rating a version sold in Brazil last model gear got a 1 star rating as you can imagine they improved it after that because nothing chases dangerous cars out of the marketplace faster than miserable crash rating but who is minding the store globally enter global endcap global new car assessment program the idea is to stitch together crash testing programs in different regions around the world into one global standard to get auto makers to basically have no excuse for offering less safe cars Europe already has Euro endcap Australia and New Zealand have n cap there’s latin end cap china’s CN cap and Bharat end cap under consideration in India but a true global standard will be sought at a major auto safety conference in Brazil this November when the UN will push for global end cap that means all cars worldwide would have common passenger cell strength standards common pedestrian impact protection standards and electronic stability control of course the big problem here is cost that Datsun go we saw earlier cost like 60 100 bucks a Tata Nano is under three thousand some of the safety gear in American cars cost more than that nevermind the price of the car so we’ll watch with keen interest how they sort out that her approach that cost gap at the conference in Brazil in the meantime whatever you drive it pays to double-check that it’s got good crash test safety ratings welcome back to CNN on cars coming to

you from our home at the Mount Tam Motor Club just north of the Golden Gate Bridge blind spot technology whether it’s passive beeps and lights or even active avoidance of someone over your shoulder you don’t see is becoming pretty common in cars but we’re not done yet our blind spot tech works and the way that it should work make for an interesting car Tech 101 blind spot detection systems use sensors that monitor nearby lanes and determine when other vehicles approach or enter a vehicle’s blind spot blind spot check is getting pretty common in fact about three-quarters of all new cars in the 2014 model year at least offered it blind spot technology typically uses radar in the 24 gigahertz or 76 gigahertz bands then they report back to you with either upbeat or a buzz or or some kind of a chime or a light going off somewhere any number of manners to tell you don’t go there but a bit of buzzkill has arisen as groups like the triple-a and highway loss data Institute have found that blind spot tech is good but certainly not perfect sometimes warnings come too late fast closing vehicles may be missed and all those buzzes dings and lights it generates are starting to all sound like other systems so here are some technologies coming to get us to blind-spot 2.0 Infiniti and Mercedes are among pioneers in active blind-spot technology it guides your car back from a misguided lane change that would put you into a car in your blind spot and likely does so faster than you could even sort out what’s flashing and pinging and why Blind Spot Assist can take active measures by applying the brakes on the wheels on the opposite side of the vehicle the vehicle is steered out of the danger zone Subarus lane change assist is a derivative of blind spot tech that warns you if a car is coming up from the rear side at a rate that would result in both of you being in the same place at the same time as you change lanes if you switch lanes or signal to change lanes and lane change assist senses that the approaching vehicle is still there it gives you a flashing warning to further alert you to the vehicles presence further out Jaguar Land Rover is working on a concept of putting display technology in a car’s b-pillars making them virtually transparent so you can see over there where a car alongside might otherwise hide now all car makers buy their blind spot equipment the hardware they put in their cars from one of the same handful of suppliers so it’s not different at that level but the car maker customizes how sensitive it is and how it alerts you all right so three things to look for in that respect how visible are the lights or how audible are the indicators how they choose to alert you big lights or little I see little tiny indicators on this Volkswagen virtually useless some other cars put huge ones here in the a-pillar others will give you tones or beeps others will actually vibrate the wheel where are those lights position are they in a place that naturally makes you think blind spot issue you want to find one that you feel is going to be effective for you and how is the blind spot tech calibrated on the given make and model of car it varies test drive the car does it seem to pick up a car that you really miss or is it warning you about cars that you would obviously see I’ve seen both out there interesting sidenote a paper published by the Society of Automotive Engineers back in 1995 said that if you adjust your side mirrors out further so they are pitched out form you actually would eliminate the blind spot have them this paper says just barely overlap the view you have in your rear-view mirror most of us tilt in our side mirrors a lot so we can see our own car this paper says don’t worry about that kick them out and you’ll actually see everything and on many late-model cars you probably notice the increasing prevalence of these wide-angle regions out toward the far ends of the mirror glass that’s also aimed at helping to eliminate the blind spot wherever you’ve got the mirror pointed in a moment the hottest-selling cars that don’t have an engine when CNET on cars continues you sometimes you don’t need to climb a mountain you don’t need a massive car and you don’t need up the most exquisite luxury sometimes you need a motor that you know will hack a field or two so you don’t mind getting muddy that’s practical and Land Rover has made just that car buy more from the ex car team of CNET UK at cnet.com slash welcome back to see net on cars I’m Brian that point in the show we

take one of your emails this one comes in from I’m on in North Dakota he writes in that he lives in one of the coldest states in the US that’s for sure driving here he says comes with a lot of challenges but there’s one that I think can be overcome easily by car manufacturers a cold interior why do I have to wait twenty minutes he asked in a freezing cold car before any hot air starts coming out of the vents well I’m on this is one of the longest held irritations in modern motoring and it’s been this way for decades here’s why this thing this is called the heater core this is the essential piece of your car’s heater it lives up underneath the dash and it gets hot because coolant from the running engine goes in and out of these pipes does the same coolant that keeps the engine from overheating this coolant makes this coil warm air is blown across it and that heats up your cabin the problem is until the engines warm there’s no hot coolant to send to this thing that’s the delay you’re experiencing and the colder the outside temperature the longer the warm up for the engine as well this kind of system dates back to the late 30s by the way when it was first developed by a car maker called Nash and an appliance maker called Kelvinator so if this resembles a bit the coils in the back of your fridge that’s not really a coincidence and to make matters worse many modern engines are designed to keep their heat to themselves when they’re warming up that way they get their oil and lubricants working faster and they also hit their clean emissions temperature sooner then they start to send coolant out to the heater so that’s not in your favor either now electric cars are a whole different situation there’s no combustion engine so there’s no hot coolant so there’s nothing to come into something like this instead Eevee’s use what is kind of like the heater you might have under your desk at work hot coils heated by electrical current that is going into resistance and then you blow air across it and there’s your heat great idea but that’s not easy to do in a typical combustion engine car because it’s a whole nother system it adds cost it would need a more robust battery heavier gauge wiring very likely a change to a different voltage system we use 12 volts in cars today that’s not really ideal for doing a resistance electrical heater system so none of that’s going happen so it sounds like you need to basically be cold in your car for a few minutes especially in your chilly winters or look at adding an aftermarket remote start kit to your car it’ll give you a new key fob that will start your car as long as it’s an automatic and it’s in park and within range while you’re still in your nice warm home give it a few minutes by the time you go out there and it’s all nice and toasty that’s the biggest allure of remote start tech and a lot of modern cars have it on their standard but if you don’t you can graft it on for a few hundred bucks you can also use an engine block heater that it’s mostly intended to make the engine easier to start but it can aid cabin heat up time a bit as well in our last episode we took a look at the top rated CNET cars from all of 2014 now we’re going to go look at a little different slice of that picture here are the top five best selling electric cars in the market right now we’re gonna rank these guys by their 2014 u.s. full-year sales numbers which by the way amounted to about one and a half percent of all non truck vehicle sales in 2014 and only about a half a percent of all new vehicle sales globally in the same year let’s go number five the Ford Fusion Energi plug-in 11,000 copies or so were sold 19 miles on electric charge and overall 88 mpge now to most eyes this is the best-looking car in the affordable electric world but note it’s a plug-in not a pure battery car now the Focus Electric which is pure battery from Ford would come in a week eighth on our list after the smart electric car that has to hurt number four is Toyota’s Prius plug-in little over 13,000 sold to six miles on a charge but 95 MPGe now the standard Prius that remains the undisputed king of hybrids but this plug-in variant makes a list of V’s but just barely in terms of sales kind of measly evie range that battery does give it killer MPGe although it’s gas MPG is about the same as the regular prius so there’s a whole lot of myth here no wonder it lags for and no wonder Toyota is in hot pursuit of hydrogen right now as its encore for the Prius number three the Tesla Model S little over 17,000 sold 265 miles of range is the big boy in the list eighty nine mpge from that the most lauded car on our list pure battery of course the highest range as well if you have the money and want a pure battery electric car this is your benchmark it’s also the only Eevee from a company whose entire existence rides on EVs going big so all eyes are now on the launch of the more affordable Falcon wing dork Ross / Model X later this year that will make the company more than a one-note tune for the first time in a number of years number two the Chevy Volt little under 19,000 sold gets 38 miles on a charge ninety-eight MPGe

and it is of course not a pure battery car but also a plug-in hybrid of the range extender class with a gas engine that is largely just used as a generator yeah it’s a bit of a complicated story to tell even recent volt TV commercials seem to admit that but these were electric yes it’s a Chevy Volt what are you doing at a gas station the new model we just saw unveiled in Detroit is going to arrive soon with sleeker looks and now a 50 mile electric range on a charge before we hit number one the EVs that sell so slowly you wonder why they’re sold at all include Porsches Panamera S II at least if you buy a Tesla 100,000 gets you an actual electric car this just gets you a hybrid and not the one you’re wealthy greeni friends are impressed by fewer than 900 last year Honda’s a corne plug-in and fit evie both around a measly 400 units sold each year what can I say Honda has never been great at selling anything electrified and the Mitsubishi I mean I forgot they still sold this thing in the US at 196 total units for the year apparently you get as well it looks like a prop from Caddyshack not a real car and that doesn’t really fly in the US the number one Eevee in 2014 by sales was the Nissan Leaf over 30,000 moved out the door it gets 84 miles on a charge and has 114 MPGe the leaf was the sales champ every month of the year except December when Tesla had a spike this is the Eevee to beat a sort of book end in a way to the Model X it’s goofy looking as all get-out and rumor has it Nissan will make the next version look more like a car and perhaps offer a choice of longer range battery packs but that’s not for a year or two so this is the one to look at for a regular budget thanks for watching I hope you enjoyed this episode keep the emails coming it’s on cars at cnet.com I read every one a lot of them make it into the show as well as you’ve noticed and wherever you like to watch video poke around and I’m sure you’ll find us there we’re on all the major platforms and a few that aren’t so major I’ll see you next time we check the tech you