Drive Type: C4 automatic
Model: Model A
Trim: 1931 Slant Windshield Model A Ford
Hawkins, Texas, United States
Maybe so. The online retailer and digital media monolith recently announced the Amazon Cloud Player, an application for Ford Sync that allows users to stream media from their Amazon Cloud account directly to a Ford vehicle. This foray into automotive technology got the minds at Gigaom.com thinking about what could be next for Amazon. As Kevin Fitchard writes, the logical step is to make audio versions of your Kindle library selections available in your car. As he points out, Amazon has already laid the groundwork for such a move.
Amazon pulled the sheets back on Whispersync for Voice last year. The tech pairs ebooks with an Audible book for a small extra fee, allowing users to either read along with a narrator or switch between audio and text versions on command. Fitchard says it wouldn't be some great leap to apply the same principles to a car, where voice recognition software would allow users to pause or select chapters without ever taking their eyes off of the road.
It all sounds just fine to us, but Amazon hasn't said a thing about such a move. Still, we wouldn't be surprised to see the company come down this road in the near future just the same.
Consumer Reports has released its 2014 Car Brand Report Cards, with Lexus again reigning at the top and doing so with the same industry-topping score of 79 that it registered in last year's Report Cards. This year, the institute credited its lineup for being "usually quiet, comfortable, and fuel-efficient," noting it's the only brand on the list "to achieve an excellent average overall reliability score." The Car Brand Report Cars list is meant to rank the best all-around vehicles based on CR testing and reliability results tallied by subscribers it surveyed. Each brand included must have sufficient test and reliability data for at least three models, a standard which left out 11 marques including Fiat, Jaguar, Land Rover and Porsche.
This 2014 Brand Report Cars edition is the first of a new format in which sub-brands have been broken out from their parent brands, with Acura using this year to move up the leaderboard into second place with a score of 75 for its "reliable, well-finished and somewhat sporty models." The top three was rounded out by Audi, climbing from eighth to third by scoring a 74 for "well-crafted interiors, nice handling and good gas mileage." Audi scored highest in the road-test portion, its improved reliability aiding its rise. The top nine was completed by Subaru, Toyota, Mazda, Honda, Infiniti and Mercedes-Benz.
Ford and Jeep weighed in at the other end of the rankings, Jeep taking the lowest overall score in the road tests and hampered by "a mix of spotty reliability." Ford was sunk by reliability issues with its MyFord Touch infotainment system which consumers found troublesome enough to negate its cars earning "solid test scores" for being "very nice to drive." Perhaps the rumored switch from Microsoft to Blackberry's QNX for the next generation SYNC will help them out. Cadillac's score also took a hit for infotainment reasons after it was the leading US brand last year, the CUE system in the XTS dragging Cadillac to the bottom of all General Motors brands.
Ford's European operations are celebrating a milestone of sorts as the Mondeo, the Blue Oval's bread-and-butter D-segment sedan in the old country, celebrates its 20th anniversary. The mid-sizer, which was sold in the US for a short time as the Contour, has been a far more popular vehicle in Europe - even receiving regular praise from one Jeremy Clarkson.
Narrated by Cockney actor Ray Winstone, the video goes through the Mondeo's years and how it's evolved from 1993 to the as-yet-unreleased fifth-generation model, which is essentially the same as the Ford Fusion that's sold in America. Take a look below for the full video from Ford of Europe.