Auto News

Watch These Hackjob Mechanics Replace a Toyota SUV’s Brake Pads With iPhones

Russia is a land of vodka, jet fighter-powered BMWs, and apparently, brake pads made out of iPhones.

This bad idea comes to you courtesy of Russian YouTube channel Garage 54, which is known for vehicle mods that’d make any redneck American proud. Think rubber chicken exhausts, tires filled with concrete, and other experiments of an equally hazardous, but even more amusing nature. It was only a matter of time before they started playing with questionable brake mods, and they decided there was no better way to compromise a car’s most critical safety system than by jamming SEO-friendly iPhones into a Toyota SUV’s brakes.

They popped the wheels off the Toyota, partially disassembled the brakes, and wedged the pads back in to ensure that pressure on the iPhones was as evenly distributed as possible. They then reassembled the brakes, locked the axles, and gave their new, horrible brake job a test, shearing the screen off at least one phone in the process. Destruction for everyone’s amusement being the point, they bolted the wheels on, and commenced brake tests inside their shop.

Surprisingly, an iPhone holds up to the frictional forces of a few panic stops, though obviously, it’s not as much the abrasion as it is the pressure that busts the phones. When the mechanics of Garage 54 pried the phones back out, they found them totally inoperable, their cases and interiors destroyed.

What did we learn from this exercise? Aside from the fact that you can kinda use an iPhone as a makeshift brake pad, a whole lotta nothing. They didn’t grind the phones down enough to puncture their lithium-ion batteries, which would make for a real show, but also be pretty dangerous. Just ask Tesla about the risks of a flaming lithium-ion battery.

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Car Reviews

Volvo Updates S90, V90 With New Look, Mild Hybrid

Much of Volvo’s lineup includes some type of electrified powertrain option — from the all-electric XC40 SUV to plug-in options and mild-hybrid setups — and now the automaker is expanding the technology to the V90 Cross Country wagon.

Related: New Volvos After 2019 Will Be Hybrid or Electric

Volvo began rolling out its mild-hybrid powertrain in the 2020 XC90 large SUV, followed by the XC60 compact SUV, and the V90 Cross Country will use the same system. According to Volvo, the models’ 48-volt mild-hybrid powertrain and kinetic energy recovery braking system offers drivers up to 15% fuel savings and emissions reductions in real-world driving.

Other updates to the V90 and S90 include a new lower front bumper, new spoiler design and new foglights. V90 and V90 Cross Country models also wear a new light design in back with full LED-powered signature lighting.

Inside, there’s a new available Bowers & Wilkins audio system, as well as wireless charging and updated USB-C ports. Volvo also said the tailored wool-blend seats first introduced on the XC90 are now available on all 90 and 60 models, as well as a leather-free interior option, which is available on the top trim of each.

No word yet on when the new models are coming. Volvo announced the updates to the S90 and V90 in a global news release but said only that the refreshed models will be available in many markets.

More From

  • All-Electric 2021 XC40 Recharges Volvo’s Future
  • Volvo Amps Up 2020 XC90 With Mild-Hybrid Version
  • Volvo Gets Serious About Electrifying Polestar
  • Find Your Next Car’s Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with’s long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don’t accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of’s advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.

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Car Reviews

Porsche Opens Europe's Most Powerful Fast-Charging Park

Twelve 350 kW CCS DC fast chargers for all and an additional six for internal use.

This week Porsche opened a new fast-charging park in Leipzig, Germany, called “Europe’s most powerful” one.

According to the German manufacturer, the total capacity of the facility is 7 MW.

“This means that Porsche Leipzig currently has Europe’s most powerful rapid-charging park, which is operated entirely with electricity from renewable energy sources.”

There are currently six internal fast chargers (350 kW each we guess), as well as 12 publicly available DC chargers (350 kW each) and four 22 kW AC stands, available at the customer center – “running seven days a week, around the clock and for customers of all vehicle brands”.

Porsche Taycan charging

Through the end of March 2020, the charging site will be available free of charge to all users (non-Porsche EVs, too). Then: “payment will be made using the mobility providers’ standard charging cards, according to their respective conditions”.

Gerd Rupp, Chairman of the Board of Management of Porsche Leipzig GmbH said:

“The new charging park between the number 9, 14 and 38 motorways will significantly enrich the charging infrastructure in central Germany. Electric and hybrid vehicles of all brands are welcome. We are pleased that with the new charging park we can offer an attractive charging option for electric vehicle owners in Leipzig and the surrounding area, as well as transit passengers.”

Gallery: Porsche Taycan charging

4 Photos

“The user-friendliness of the charging park is remarkable: during waiting times, charging customers can use the services of the Porsche Customer Centre, including a historical vehicle exhibition and shop. They can also book a range of driving experiences available at the Leipzig circuit.”

Jens Walther, Head of Sales and Marketing at Porsche Leipzig said:

“We want to make charging with electricity at Porsche an experience.”

The interesting thing is that Porsche developed and produces the chargers on its own, through the Porsche Engineering division.

“The rapid Porsche Turbo Charger charging point was developed by Porsche Engineering and sets new standards in terms of charging time: depending on the vehicle model, up to 100 kilometres can be charged in just five minutes. All vehicles with a so-called Combined Charging System connection (CCS2) can use the fast charging function. Visitors who want to charge their vehicle at Porsche can reach the charging station at the customer centre via the visitor gate in Porschestrasse near the Leipzig-Nord motorway exit.”

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Daniel Ricciardo praises Mercedes for continued innovation

Daniel Ricciardo has praised Mercedes for continuing to raise the bar in Formula 1 during pre-season testing.

The dual-axis steering (DAS) system raised plenty of eyebrows up and down the Formula 1 paddock after it was debuted on Thursday by Lewis Hamilton and the conversations regarding it have not stopped since.

Ricciardo, though, could only take his proverbial hat off to the consecutive six-time double World Champions as they continue to push the boundaries of the sport despite year upon year of continued success.

“Hats off to them because they have been dominant this whole turbo era yet they are still the ones pushing everyone else,” Ricciardo told F1 TV.

“It should be us and everyone else pushing them and they’re not getting complacent.

“And I think that’s why they’ve been so dominant.

“So they’re setting an example right now and as a competitor, I certainly respect that. And it’s good for everyone to see how far they’re willing to go.”

“I think everyone up until now, I’ve never heard of a system that talked about, so I don’t think maybe anyone had really thought about it.

“I don’t want to say anyone, but probably not many people talked about that.

“So I don’t know if it was ever a conversation had, but I’m sure the conversation’s happening in every team right now.”

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Mattia Binotto 'not as optimistic' as 2019, Ferrari pace concerns

Mattia Binotto has revealed concerns over Ferrari’s pace in testing and is “not as optimistic” as he was at this stage in 2019.

Ferrari are usually the ones pumping up the hype machine with headline times in pre-season testing, but they have stayed firmly off the radar on the fastest lap timesheet so far with the Scuderia posting a best time of 1:18.154 – quicker than only Williams and Haas.

Whether the concern is actually genuine or whether Ferrari are taking a page out of Mercedes’ old playbook by praising their rivals and downplaying themselves remains to be seen.

But that is stance that Binotto took when talking to the press during the final day of the first winter test.

“Looking at the delta pace and eventually what we may assess in terms of fuel load, which you never know in terms of engine modes, etc – looking at the picture relative to ourselves, I think we are not as fast as they are,” Binotto told reporters at a media session in Barcelona.

“I’m not as optimistic as last year. The others are faster than us at the moment I believe.

“How much faster I think it’s really difficult to judge.

“We will go through all the data in the next days. But I don’t think we are as fast as them at the moment.

“Do we have any concerns? Certainly yes, when you are not as fast as you would like to be. But I think it’s really too early stage to define them and to understand.

“So these three days for us have been very important because at least we have collected all the data now to have a clear picture and better understanding. What will be even more important is to make sure that we are developing the car in the right direction.

“Having said that, it’s a very long season, 22 races potentially, so I think there will be time as well to recover eventually.

“But let’s wait for next week and let’s wait for Australia before to assess what’s the true performance of everybody.”

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First F1 test finishes in Barcelona with a Mercedes 1-2

The first F1 test of the 2020 season is in the books with Valtteri Bottas heading a Mercedes 1-2 at the top of the timesheet.

Valtteri Bottas upped the ante during Friday’s morning session with the softest C5 tyres strapped on, setting an eye-catching 1:15.732 which is the quickest time of testing so far and half a second quicker than the quickest time of 2019 testing from Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.

Lewis Hamilton took over driving duties in the afternoon session and also tried the C5 compound on for size, but a mistake on his hot lap ensured he would finish 0.784 seconds behind his team-mate.

The final day of the first test saw the red flags waved on four occasions at the Circuit de Catalunya. On-track stoppages in the morning for Vettel and Williams’ Nicholas Latifi were followed by further stops in the afternoon for Haas’ Kevin Magnussen and Daniel Ricciardo in the Renault.

Magnussen, after taking over from Romain Grosjean, could only complete four laps before a right rear puncture forced him into a big spin at Turn 9.

That was game and testing over for Haas with two-and-a-half hours of the afternoon session remaining.

It also looked like Renault would have to abruptly end their running, too, when a mechanical issue relating to the RS20 engine brought Ricciardo to a grinding halt.

Hello darkness my old friend…#F1

— Planet F1 (@Planet_F1) February 21, 2020

However, he was able to return to the track within the final hour and improve from P14 to P7 as the sun set in Barcelona. His team-mate Esteban Ocon occupied P3 following a productive morning stint.

Lance Stroll popped his pink Mercedes in the lofty heights of P4 and was followed on the leaderboard by AlphaTauri’s Daniil Kvyat and Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi. The latter finishing the day as the lap leader with a whopping 150+ laps under his belt.

Max Verstappen, P8, and Alex Albon, P10, also combined to take Red Bull beyond the 150-lap mark as they continued to quietly go about their business.

Pierre Gasly was also in the top 10 mix, with Carlos Sainz and Grosjean just outside.

And then you will finally get to one Sebastian Vettel down in P13. After an enforced engine change kept him out of action for a few hours, he returned to the track in the afternoon and thankfully ran without any further complications.

McLaren’s Lando Norris, P14, also spent a lot of time in the garage on Friday afternoon before a late flurry of action.

The second and final three-day pre-season test before the season opener in Australia is on Wednesday, February 26, starting at 9am local time.

Day 3 timesheet:

Day 3 timesheet:

1 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:15.732 65 C5
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes +0.784 73 C5
3 Esteban Ocon Renault +1.370 76 C4
4 Lance Stroll Racing Point +1.606 116 C4
5 Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri +1.695 62 C4
6 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Racing +1.737 152 C5
15 Daniel Ricciardo Renault +1.84293 C4
8 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing +1.904 86 C2
9 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri +2.051 59 C2
10 Alexander Albon Red Bull Racing +2.422 83 C2
11 Carlos Sainz McLaren +2.542 76 C2
12 Romain Grosjean Haas F1 Team +2.648 48 C3
13 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari +2.652 100 C3
14 Lando Norris McLaren +2.745 41 49 C3
15 Nicholas Latifi Williams +3.272 72 C3
16 Kevin Magnussen Haas F1 Team +3.977 4 C2

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Car Reviews

Seeking cheap new cars, Czinger American hypercar debuts, best winter plug-in vehicles: What’s New @ The Car Connection

Where have all the $20,000 cars gone?

If you’re looking for an inexpensive new car, you might have missed your window. The number of new vehicles that start below $20,000 is at a low point, and it appears to be getting worse.  

Review update: The 2020 Volvo S60 looks more expensive than it is

Redesigned for 2019, the 2020 Volvo S60 rolls into the new decade with a swagger built on sophisticated style, advanced safety, and easy-to-use technology. 

2020 Tesla Model X review

The 2020 Tesla Model X all-electric three-row crossover is the largest vehicle in the automaker’s stable. Despite its showy falcon-wing rear doors, the Model X has plenty of redeeming features including its space, efficiency, and performance.

From Motor Authority:

Czinger 21C

Czinger 21C revealed with flat-plane V-8, 3 electric motors, and 1,233 horsepower

There’s a new hypercar contender in town, and its name is Czinger 21C. The stunning piece of machinery is the creation of Los Angeles-based startup Czinger Vehicles, and it was revealed Friday ahead of a world debut on March 3 at the Geneva International Motor Show.

2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI teased ahead of Geneva auto show

Both the Golf GTI and Golf R have already been spied in prototype form and, at next month’s Geneva International Motor Show, the covers will come off the Golf GTI. The reveal of the Golf R is expected to follow in the summer before both models arrive at dealers late in the year as 2021 models.

Updated Maserati Quattroporte and Levante to enter production in July

Maserati’s long march toward full electrification commences in April with the introduction of an updated Ghibli boasting a plug-in hybrid powertrain. Maserati will then look to introduce similarly updated versions of the Quattroporte and Levante, which will enter production at their respective plants in Turin, Italy, in July, meaning we should see them arrive for the 2021 model year.

From Green Car Reports:

2018 Tesla Model X

Snow set: The best plug-in hybrids and EVs for winter driving

Plug-in vehicles make up a much larger portion of the market in California than in the rest of the nation. And yet many EVs and plug-in hybrids are able enough to take on serious winter driving in Snow Belt states—where getting through the white stuff is an everyday thing, not just something you encounter on the last few miles to the ski slopes. 

Jaguar Land Rover reveals electric “concept platform” for future urban mobility

Jaguar Land Rover may be know for the sleek F-Type sports car and rugged Range Rover SUV, but the British automaker’s latest concept car is something completely different.

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Car Reviews

Where have all the $20,000 cars gone?

If you’re looking for an inexpensive new car, you might have missed your window. The number of new vehicles that start below $20,000 is at a low point, and it appears to be getting worse. 

“As automakers have abandoned that space (of new vehicles under $20,000), sales have basically dried up completely,” Tyson Jominy, VP of data and analytics at J.D. Power, said in an interview. 

Ford and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles no longer sell a vehicle for under $20,000, Henry Payne reported in The Detroit News on Feb. 13. Of the domestic automakers, only Chevy has two vehicles priced under $20,000 in the Sonic and Spark, which are both on life support and soon go out of production. Small sedan sales account for only 4% of the market, according to Payne. 

Up until three years ago, 20% of new passenger vehicle sales were vehicles priced under $20,000. It was such a recurring phenomenon, it was simply referred to as 20/20, Jominy said. Now that number is about 13 percent. And it’s only getting worse, as the average transaction price (ATP) of all new passenger vehicles climbs to just under $40,000. 

This industry shift particularly affects young and first-time buyers.

“If millennials had affordability problems, Gen Z has it even worse,” Jominy said, citing an impending multigenerational contraction in the auto industry.

One beneficiary of this trend is Asian automakers, who still offer entry-level vehicles in both small sedans and the more popular small crossovers. The new 2020 Hyundai Venue small crossover joins the Kia Soul and Nissan Kicks as crossovers that start under $20,000 including destination. The forthcoming 2021 Kia Seltos and 2021 Chevy Trailblazer are expected to join the pack. 

The preference for crossovers overshadows the fact there are plenty of entry-level cars under $20,000, such as the Honda Fit, Mitsubishi Mirage, Kia Rio, Kia Forte, Nissan Versa, Hyundai Accent, Toyota Yaris, Volkswagen Jetta, and Subaru Impreza.

Offering these vehicles cushions these automakers from an economic downturn.

For consumers, a cushion against high price points is the abundance of gently used vehicles that could take the place of new entry-level models. 

“There were a record number of off-lease cars coming back last year, which means a large supply of lightly used vehicles,” Jominy said. 

Vehicles that are three years old offer many of the safety and convenience technology of a new car, as well as fresh styling and efficient powertrains, but sell for about half of what they cost new, according to Jon Linkov in Consumer Reports. So a shopper with a $20,000 budget can shop for a vehicle that started near the ATP just three years ago.    

Still, as the industry rides a wave of strong sales years, new car prices can’t keep escalating, Jominy warns. 

“New cars cannot be a rich person’s sport,” he said. “We’re losing that younger generation of new car buyer.”

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Car Reviews

Hot Wheels Is Making a Remote-Controlled Tesla Cybertruck

Hot Wheels announced today it will sell two remote-controlled scale-model versions of Tesla’s highly anticipated Cybertruck. Buyers will be able to choose between a smaller 1:64 scale or a bigger 1:10 scale truck, each sporting that same radical design and a handful of neat features.

The smaller car is built to the same scale as a normal three-inch Hot Wheels car. It has two driven wheels and two drive modes: Chill or Sport. It recharges by plugging into the included controller, and will cost $20.

Thanks to its size, the bigger Cybertruck has a bit more included features. It too has Chill and Sport driving modes, but for this version, all four wheels are driven. According to Hot Wheels, it can hit a top speed of 25 mph thanks to its 9.9-volt, 3300 mAh battery. There are working headlights and taillights, a tonneau cover, and a telescoping tailgate that can fold into a ramp. The exterior plastic body is removable, allowing a peek into the interior. It’s priced at $400.

Pre-orders for both trucks are open now, with first deliveries expected in December 2020. If you have a Tesla fan in your life, this might be the perfect gift for the upcoming holiday season.

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Car Reviews

10 Biggest News Stories of the Month: Hyundai Palisade, Veloster N, Ram 1500 Aim to Be Best

What do the Hyundai Palisade, Hyundai Veloster N and Ram 1500 all have in common besides being motorized vehicles from mass-market brands sold in the U.S.? They all earned’s highest honor this year for being best in their respective categories — and they’re all featured among our most popular news articles of the past month. Chief among them was funky, fast, three-door cheap-speed champ the Veloster N hot hatch, which took home the Most Fun-to-Drive Car of the Year prize in our Best of 2020 awards lineup and, subsequently, the No. 1 spot on our most-read-stories list below.

Related: 10 Biggest Pickup Truck Stories of the Year: 2020 Toyota Tundra Freezes Out Chevy, Ford, Ram Trucks

Sitting comfortably at No. 2, meanwhile, was our story on’s 2020 Luxury Car of the Year, which this year went to the Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn/Limited. A pickup truck earned an award for best “luxury car”? We’ll forgive you if you’re left scratching your head — but if you ever sat in the Laramie Longhorn/Limited lap of luxury, you might just find yourself itching to indulge yourself with one.

And finishing at No. 4 among all other coverage during the first month of the new decade was our overall Best of 2020 winner, the all-around-awesome Hyundai Palisade SUV. As has been our practice since the start of Barack Obama’s second term in the White House, once the Palisade earned our top prize, we turned around and bought one for our long-term test-car fleet to drive for a year and will immerse ourselves in the ownership experience, reporting our findings along the way. You can follow along here all year with that coverage — much of which will likely wind up on future editions of our top 10 stories list in the months to come.

Rounding out this month’s top five were a pair of our rapid-fire rundowns of all the things we like, and likewise like less, about a given vehicle. At No. 3 is the 2020 Ford Escape Hybrid, boasting smooth hybrid power, nimble handling and good gas mileage, but an annoying all-wheel-drive surcharge and resistant regenerative brakes. And in fifth place was the 2020 Lincoln Corsair, which treats occupants to a well-controlled ride, a quiet and classy cabin, and plenty o’ power, but gets points deducted for a slow-rowing transmission, overeager adaptive cruise control and so-so-sized multimedia touchscreen.

Meanwhile, you can still get your fair share of coverage on the 2020 Mazda CX-30, Toyota Highlander, Honda Ridgeline and Hyundai Sonata in the No. 6 through 10 spots — so now’s not the time to go halfsies. Here are the top 10 news stories readers couldn’t get enough of in the past month:

1. 2020 Most Fun-to-Drive Car of the Year

2. 2020 Luxury Car of the Year 

3. 2020 Ford Escape Hybrid: 7 Things We Like and 2 Things We Don’t

4. 2020 Best of the Year

5. 2020 Lincoln Corsair: 8 Things We Like (and 3 Not So Much)

6. 2020 Toyota Highlander: Everything You Need to Know

7. What’s the Best New-Car Deal for January 2020?

8. 2020 Mazda CX-30: 5 Things We Like and 3 Not So Much

9. 2020 Honda Ridgeline: Which Should You Buy, 2019 or 2020?

10. 2020 Hyundai Sonata: 8 Things We Like (and 3 Not So Much)’s Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with’s long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don’t accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of’s advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.

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