Ford tackles fear of the dark

Ford night driving

A fear of the dark is a human phobia going back thousands of years, if experts can be believed, originating with our cave-dwelling ancestors who feared animal attacks after the sun set.

Not much has changed today – many people (of all ages) still feel that primeval fear when darkness falls, even if it usually concerns other people rather than sabre-toothed tigers. For some, that fear solidifies when they get behind the wheel, worrying about night blindness, hitting pedestrians or getting into an accident.

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Cash ain’t always king

A lot of new technology is about making life much simpler, but also has the side effect of making us lazier. We can video chat with friends without getting out of bed, print our photographs without leaving the house, while smartphone access to a world of information from our pockets removes the need to think for ourselves or retain too much information.

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Pothole alert

Potholes

Potholes are the driver’s bane – at best uncomfortable, at worst a recipe for a broken wheel or axle. In some parts of the country, roads have more potholes than smooth surface, as the local council either forgets their existence or simply flings a shovelful of gravel into the hole every couple of years.

And it’s not just a uniquely Irish problem. Bad road surfaces contribute to more than a third of all accidents every year across Europe, and in Britain local authorities receive a pothole damage-related claim every 17 minutes, with an average claim of €508.

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It’s official: Kia’s Stinger GT

2018 Stinger

If you’re thinking about changing your wheels and you’re in the hunt for something powerful and sporty, you probably won’t look for a Kia. Granted the South Korean firm has come on leaps and bounds in recent years (style wise at least), much like Hyundai or Skoda, but it’s more of a family brand than anything else. Until now.

Technically we’ve known about the Kia Stinger GT (not to be confused with the Grand Theft Auto version) for a few years now, but Kia has officially debuted its efforts at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, a very tasty rear wheel drive, four door saloon, which looks like a combination of an Audi, Jaguar and just a little pinch of Maserati.

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The 88 Tauri smartphone – grab the bull by the horns

Image via lamborghinimobile.com

Fancy owning something from Lamborghini, but don’t want to fork out for a Gallardo?

For the low price of $6,000* you can get your hands on the new 88 Tauri smartphone from Tonino Lamborghini. And we thought the iPhone was expensive.

It actually seems like the 88 Tauri has some decent specs. According to Hi Tech Mail, a Russian technology site, it will come with a 5-inch 1080p screen, two cameras (20 and 8 megapixels respectively, not to mention a 3,400 mAh battery.

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Follow that ghost

jlr_urbanwindscreen_followmeghostcar-and-transparent-pillars_01_LowResWe love companies that take video game concepts and introduce them to the real world. Like Jaguar, for example – a few months back they announced they were developing a virtual windscreen.

The eggheads at Jaguar are at it again; this time it’s a ‘follow me ghost car’, a virtual projection of a car which basically shows you where to go. One of the first things we thought of when we saw it is the AI opponents in the likes of the Gran Turismo videogames. Though increased safety is the idea behind the new technology, you just know someone’s going to try to fiddle with the mechanics, and turn the ghost guide into a racing opponent.

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Driven: the Jeep Cherokee

Jeep_1935_FS

The iconic Jeep brand has its roots in World War II. As war raged in Europe, the US military realised that it required an update for its reconnaissance vehicles, and invited 135 manufacturers to submit their ideas. From this competition, a design from Willys-Overland Quad prevailed, and soon became known as the Jeep, though it’s still uncertain exactly why – some people believe it was named after the popular Popeye cartoon character Eugene the Jeep.

Whatever the reason, it was a success, and more than half a million were produced for action. The name was trademarked by the company after the war, and was first turned into an off-road vehicle for farmers, swiftly followed by a civilian version. The rest, as they say, was history, and in the following years, the recognisable brand has remained the same at least in spirit, and Jeep has become a by-word for 4x4s or SUVs in Ireland.

Redesign

Jeep_1929_FSLooking at the new Cherokee, which comes after a ten year hiatus, you sense a coming together of past and present. The iconic front grille is still there, but has been pulled over the bonnet somewhat; the boxier shape and simple headlamps replaced by flowing curves and aggressive daytime running lights. Stitched into the leather steering wheel which features voice activation control is the phrase ‘Since 1941’. It’s all very nostalgic, but not over-the-top. It’s likely a divisive overhaul in the looks department, but you really need to see it in the flesh before you make up your mind.

Jeep haven’t been the biggest sellers on this side of the pond, but they’re hugely popular in the US, similar in some way to the success of Land Rover here and moreso in the UK. My test version was the Limited 2.0L turbo diesel with FWD and 138hp, married to a six speed manual gearbox. You can also get 4×4 versions of the Cherokee with either 140hp (six speed) or 170hp (nine speed auto). Once you get behind the wheel, you’ll quickly realise that it’s a car built for comfort rather than performance. Max speed is 187, 0-100km/h takes 10.9 seconds (which, to be honest, feels a little sluggish). It’s good for overtaking, but you won’t be winning any drag races (if that’s your thing).

Annual road tax is €280, given CO2 emissions of 139g/km, and we averaged a combined 6.5L/100km (43mpg) which isn’t bad for the class, and better than rivals from BMW or Volvo. In 4×4 models, the Cherokee has a rear axle disconnect feature – basically speaking you don’t expend as much energy when you’re not using all four wheels leading to better fuel consumption, and the car does the switching for you.

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