Here's a look at our favorites. Infotainment upgrades
Ford is once again upgrading its MyFord Touch and MyLincoln Touch infotainment systems. Now on version 3.5, Ford will be mailing out USB drives to owners starting this month through the end of January. The update will bring new functionality said to improve voice recognition.
Kia will also be upgrading their UVO system to version 2.0. New telematics called "eServices" will offer up vehicle diagnostics, 911 connect, and a parking location reminder, and will be included on the refreshed 2014 Sorrento and later on the redesigned 2014 Forte. The only caveat is that, for now, the system is only compatible with iPhones.
Finally, Chevy announced two surprises. Their upgraded Chevy MyLink system will go into the new 2014 Impala. Much like Cadillac's CUE, the new MyLink has a capacitive touch screen with a very similar layout, but Chevy says MyLink will be even more customizable. In addition to capacitive touch, the new MyLink will have hard buttons and knobs to control certain functions. We'll bring you more after we get our hands on the new system.
Diesels take center stage
We told you that diesel was worth watching. Now the company with the winning LeMans diesel prototype is bringing four new diesel models to the U.S., something many auto journalists and enthusiasts have been asking for for years.
Audi announced that they will bring their 3.0-liter TDI engines to the U.S. in the A6, A7, and A8 sedans along with the Q5 SUV. The fuel improvements are said to be up to 30 percent over their gasoline-powered siblings, all while offering 240 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque. Audi says the new diesel engine has a ton of improvements and is significantly different from those offered just three years ago. It took a lot of research to bring the diesels over, given strict U.S. emissions standards, but we applaud Audi for doing so.
Chrysler's first U.S. electric vehicle comes by way of the Fiat 500e. Fiat's small, yet stylish 500 was fitted with a 24 kWh battery pack powering a 111 horsepower, 147 pound-foot torque motor. These numbers should be more than adequate for the lightweight microcar. Range is estimated at "more than 80 miles," but Fiat says even greater range is possible.
We have to say, we're fans of this little car. It's fun to drive, has a premium interior and can navigate the tight streets and small spaces found in urban driving environments. And, given the continued increase in EV infrastructure, the 500e could be a compelling purchase for those who don't travel long distances on their daily commutes.