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Temporary Solution to Buggy UConnect Update

Kamil Kaluski February 13, 2018 Featured, Jeep Reviews

Yesterday, the walking obscure car encyclopedia of man, Jason Torchinsky at Jalopnik, reported about an over-the-air update to FCA’s UConnect system. The update went out on Friday, right before all the FCA software engineers packed-up and left the office for the weekend. Unfortunately the forced update introduced an amazingly annoying bug into many of the newer vehicles – the whole UConnect infotainment system would reboot approximately every minute. 

This is a big issue because the UConnect system is more than just a radio. The touchscreen controls audio sources, phone and other Bluetooth connections, climate system, navigation, and even heated seats. Most importantly, the backup camera image is displayed on that screen. When the system is in the process of being rebooted none of that works. Once it’s finally up and running, everything can be accessed but for less than a minute, until the vicious reboot cycle starts up again. 

I currently happen to be reviewing Jeep’s amazing 707-horsepower Grand Cherokee Trackhawk which received this update. Like on so many other vehicles, this Jeep has the rebooting problem. Let me tell ya, it is extremely annoying, even on this ridiculously powerful and fun-to-drive vehicle. The system gets stuck while changing Sirius radio stations. Using Apple CarPlay is pretty much impossible. USB ports lose power, and obviously connection, when the system is rebooting. The biggest problem I have noticed is backing up, as the camera simply does not display during the reversing process. We all have come rely on these as the rear visibility in many new cars isn’t great, so this is a safety issue. 

But there is a solution…

UPDATE: FCA pushed a new update. The system no longer reboots itself but the SiriusXM Travel Link no longer works, upsetting the three people who actually used it. 

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Top Gear season 25 premieres on March 3rd

Kamil Kaluski February 8, 2018 Top Gear

After some teasing (one, two), BBC America finally announced the date for the premiere of Top Gear season 25. Matt LeBlanc, Chris Harris, Rory Reid, and The Stig will come at you on Saturday, March 3 at 10:30pm EST, on BBC America. But it gets better, the following day, Sunday March 4, Top Gear will air its second episode in its regular weekly time slot, Sundays at 8:00pm. 

Because teasing is what they do, another quick video previewing the upcoming season was shown. I personally liked last season quite a lot, so I have high expectations for this. 

Quick Spin: 2018 Dodge Challenger GT All-Wheel Drive

Last year, when the all-wheel-drive Dodge Challenger was first launched, the good folks at FCA invited me to snow-covered race track to hoon that thing. And the damn thing proved to be shockingly good in snow, even with stock all-season tires on. It went, it stopped, and it turned while wagging its huge butt around course.

But outside of the track, there was no snow that day. It was January’s warm spell that lasted exactly for the week that Dodge was showing its first AWD pony car to the press. And, to be honest, I am always a bit skeptical about how a vehicle I have never driven before behaves on a track that was purposely set up for me to drive on. I’ve seen cute ‘utes do the three-wheel motion on big dirt mound only to be sliding all over the place in a trace of snow.

But now, I year later, I get to drive this big all-wheel-drive boat on a snowy day…

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Ford teases the new Ranger Raptor

Kamil Kaluski February 7, 2018 The News!

The Ford Ranger was just recently introduced at the Detroit auto show, but Ford is already, and rightfully, teasing us with a Raptor version. And I mean teasing us, because right away they say that this 2-liter diesel-powered Raptor isn’t for the North American market. Whut!?

Put your torches and pitch forks down for a second. Ford showed the Ranger to the rest of the world before showing us to its home market, first. And that strategy makes sense because why introduce a product in its biggest market first, right?

Wait. No, it doesn’t make sense. What makes sense is the marketing. They will tease us with it for a bit, create some hype, and then unveil it at some auto show in all its glory.

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If luxury and performance brands made vans…

Kamil Kaluski February 5, 2018 All Things Hoon

There used to be a time when luxury vehicles were pretty much nothing but large sedans or equally large coupes. Those days are over. Today even Bentley and Lamborghini have SUVs and Rolls-Royce will have one soon. Mercedes-Benz has two SUVs that cost over $100,000 and go beyond $200,000. If your budget is slightly lower, say between $70,000 and $90,000 there are more SUVs available than I can name here.

But it gets crazier! The new luxury vehicle trend is… pickup trucks. A loaded Ford F150 has massaging ventilated seats, a panoramic sunroof, and an engine from the Ford GT (close enough). The huge F-450 with all the bells and whistles stickers around $100,000 and has more room than some Maybach driven by a Wall Street wanker. The world has gone nuts. 

But there is one area of the market that’s hasn’t been explored – luxury cargo vans! And my luxury, I mean branded by luxury brands such as Lexus, Audi, Porsche, or Alfa Romeo, parent companies of which already offer basic vans. 

Aksyonov Nikita, a Russian graphic artist from Saint Petersburg, sees that market heading in that direction. And let’s be honest, vans are more functional and more comfortable than SUVs or pickup. He is a step ahead of OEM designers with a few amazing van concepts. Let’s take a look…

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Encyclopedia Hoonatica: Bigger Numbers are Smaller Cars

In the days of alphanumeric vehicle names, automakers typically setup their model lineup so that the bigger number represents the bigger, better, pricier car. There hasn’t been a better example of that than the BMW lineup of the 1990s. The 3-series was a small sedan for yuppies. The 5-series was the bigger sedan designed with mid-career manager in mind. And finally there was the 7-series, a proper luxury sedan reserved for directors.

Even their subsequent numbering placed the models in specific hierarchy that reflected their price and power. The 318i got all the jeers for its tepid acceleration whereas the 325i was the proper small sport sedan. But a 525i was just driven by someone who wanted a bigger vehicle than the 3-series. Serious drivers stepped up to the 540i and its V8. Likewise, the 750i with the V12 separated the successful entrepreneur from the corporate ladder climber in the 740i.

But not all companies, or brands, follow this logic. Take Hummer for instance. H1 was the original uncompromised military based beast purchased by the nouveau riche. GM then figured out that there many people who would love a Hummer but can’t afford the H1 it or find uncomfortable. So the GMT-800-based H2 was born. The followed that up with an even smaller H3 which was based on the GMT-355 compact pickup platform.

Your Hoonatian topic for today is makes, brands, or models with numerical names where the smaller number represents a bigger, more powerful, or more expensive model.

The Caveats (there are always caveats):

  • Specific higher performance versions of pedestrian cars don’t count, such as the BMW M2 being pricier and more powerful than the 530i.
  • One-off models don’t count as well, such as the M1 being superior to the M3. I think BMW regrets calling it the M1, anyway. 
  • The model distinction has to be clear, for example: A loaded 340i will cost more than a base 520i, but that doesn’t meet the requirement.
  • Models of the same brand that are vastly different from one another such as the Mazda MX-5 being pricier than the Mazda6. Apples-to-apples, sedans-to-sedans, coupes-to-coupes, please.
  • Open to all vehicles, even planes, bicycles, or horse carriages. 

Difficulty: 2 out of 8, the bigger the effort, the smaller the prize.

How This Works: Read the comments first and don’t post duplicates! Bonus points for adding photos.

Image Sources: My twitter feed, by my pal Joey. 

Top Gear Teases a Great Season

Kamil Kaluski January 31, 2018 Top Gear

Earlier we have seen a quick preview of the upcoming season 25 of Top Gear. You know Top Gear, the original motoring show from the UK, now hosted by two Brits and an American – Matt LeBlanc, Chris Harris, and Rory Reid. Well, BBC America, where the show will air this spring, is giving us another, longer, tease of the upcoming six-episode season. But they still have not mentioned when it will premier – perhaps they will let us know when they show us the next teaser. 

Based on the preview and our memories of season 24, this relatively short season promises to be good. The crew is set to build the world’s fastest tractor, surely Joey Tribbiani’s idea. They will also attempt to land a NASA research plane in a muscle car, for some reason, among other high speed high-jinx. The season was filmed in Japan, United States, Italy and the UK. There will celebrity guests, typical studio chit-chat, and The Stig! 

Hooniverse Asks: How about some Pinewood Derby racer suggestions?

Kamil Kaluski January 30, 2018 Hooniverse Asks

I was somewhat deprived as a child. For some reason I did not do many of the things that my kids are doing now. One of those things was building a Pinewood Derby racer. Last night my daughter came home from her Girl Scout meeting with a piece of wood, some nails, and four wheels. “Dad, we have to make a race car!” she said excitingly. 

“Cool! Yeah! Let’s do it, sweetie” I answered with a fake smile and equally fake excitment. I have no idea what I was in for but F*** it, I’ve made real™ “race cars”©, how hard could this be?

So, hoons and hoonetts, this is where you come in. I need design ideas, although I first asked my daughter for that, but I am sure she can persuaded into something Hoon-worthy. Then I need to know any kind of cheats that exist out there. I am in it to win it and winners never lose and losers never cheat (or something like that). So help me out!

But I, err…, I mean my daughter, might be more interested in something that looks cool. The really fast seem to look like a door wedge. I’m thinking that a Land Rover Defender or a Jeep Wrangler would be cool. 

Also, anyone who is into woodworking, and it really good at it, in Boston, northern New Jersey, or in between?  

Last Call: Long Wheel Base Edition

Kamil Kaluski January 25, 2018 Last Call

Before pickup trucks were available with every luxury option and feature car gods ever created, those wanting a luxury pickup had to improvise. 

Last Call indicates the end of Hooniverse’s broadcast day.  It’s meant to be an open forum for anyone and anything. Thread jacking is not only accepted, it’s encouraged.

Image: Facebook.com/CytrynGumiak

Gran Turismo Sport update adds ten new cars

Kamil Kaluski January 25, 2018 The News!

Sony just announced a January 2018 update to the Gran Turismo Sport. The package will include ten new cars, an addition of the Autodromo Nazionale Monza track, and new GT League events. The list of the ten new interesting cars is below. Unfortunately while they are in fact interesting, none are really new. The most interesting one to me is the McLaren F1. From the new events, the F150 Raptor Survival sounds cool. 

Check out Sony’s preview video below, all the cars, and events. 
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