News Column

iPhone 5 Won't Fit Some Car Systems, Plus Other Auto News

Sept. 17, 2012

David Thomas, Chris Woodyard and Jennifer Geiger, USA TODAY and,

Apple's iPhone 5, which goes on sale later this month, may make some car systems outdated.

It has a new connector that replaces the 30-pin connector currently used on Apple mobile products. But some cars from Hyundai and Kia to BMW and Audi have special cables or cradles designed specifically for the current design.

You can buy an adapter from Apple that will allow the new smartphone to work with some of these now outdated systems. But the $29 adapter is rather large and will likely make cradles sized for the previous models impossible to use as intended.

Hyundai spokesman Jim Trainor said some Hyundai models now work with iPhones without a special cable, but for models that do, he says an adapter will be needed for full iPhone 5 integration.

Enclave price up $2,000

Buick has boosted the sticker price for its refreshed 2013 Enclave large crossover by $2,000.

The 2013, on sale soon, will start at $39,270, including $825 shipping.

Buick says the refreshed Enclave comes with more standard equipment for the higher price, including LED-accented head- and taillights, an upgraded interior and GM's new multimedia system, IntelliLink. Also standard are a new center air bag for front-row passengers, a backup camera and a rear parking-assist system.

A Leather Group increases the price to $43,285 and includes leather, heated front seats with memory seat settings and Side Blind Zone Alert with Cross Traffic Alert. A Premium Group runs the price to $46,450 and includes articulating headlamps, a Bose audio system, cooled front seats and power-folding side mirrors. Stand-alone options: all-wheel drive ($2,000), navigation ($795 to $1,540).

Bulletproof cars lighter

Just as Kevlar created modern, lighter bulletproof vests, the armored car industry is using new laminates that make secure vehicles lighter and don't require bank-vault-thick doors.

A company that modifies vehicles to be bullet or bomb resistant, International Armoring in Centerville, Utah, has developed a material called Armormax 3.9 that it says is 70% lighter than steel armor. It says Armormax, which has been tested against weapons from pistols to high-powered rifles, allows armor on everyday cars, not just giant SUVs.

"The vehicles were not designed to be armored, so reducing the added weight is critical to maintain the original performance," CEO Mark Burton says.

Chevy's Spark for cities

You probably wouldn't want to drive it coast-to-coast, but the tiny new Chevrolet Spark is hard to beat for fun and practicality in the city.

The 84-horsepower, 1.25-liter, four-cylinder engine is still a tad noisy even after more sound-deadening was added for the U.S.

But in driving around Los Angeles, Drive On found it to be fun, with excellent handling, a sharp turning radius and great headroom for its size.

The four-door hatchback, designed and built by GM's South Korea unit, is about the size of a Fiat 500, a key rival. Chevy also thinks it will go head-to-head against the smaller Smart ForTwo and Toyota Scion iQ.

The smallest Chevy, sold worldwide and on sale in the U.S. for a month, offers only four-speed automatic or five-speed manual because it's not expected to be used on long freeway treks where overdrive gears are handy, says Jim Federico, GM's global small vehicles chief.

Gas mileage ratings are 32 miles per gallon in the city, 38 highway with manual, 28/37 with automatic.

It's also Chevy's cheapest car at a base of $12,995 with shipping, and topping out at about $17,000. Yet, even on the cheapie, you get standard AC, power windows and locks, and an OnStar communications system, for instance.

Source: Copyright USA TODAY 2012