THE GOODS : The Right Way Home Made Easy


Computer navigational systems for cars have been available for several years, but they are separate screens in boxes--like visual Thomas Guides--that attach to the dashboard.

This spring Acura will introduce the first in-dash system on its new luxury sedan, the Acura RL. It will be available only in California this year but is expected to be on line for the East Coast in 1997.

The Acura Navigation System offers on-screen guidance to destinations on a 6-inch touch screen with a series of control buttons or with voice instructions. In response to a route chosen, a computerized voice might say, “Proceed to onramp of the 110 north” or “in one-half mile, exit freeway on the right.”


The new navigation system, developed jointly by Honda R & D Japan and Honda R & D America, uses the Global Positioning System satellites, electrogyros and state-of-the-art software to tell drivers their exact position at all times and the best route to their destination.

The system features detailed maps of streets, highways and freeways in most metropolitan areas and can provide information and routing to hospitals, restaurants, hotels, parks, museums, ATMs, schools, shopping centers and other points of interest.

It will have an estimated cost of $2,000 as an option on the Acura RL.


Fully Loaded: Beverly Hills Motoring Accessories, which offers many high-tech modifications of the GM line of large sport utility vehicles, really knows how to soup up cars.

For the Suburban, Tahoe and Yukon, there are many electronic gadgets to choose from:

A fax machine ($1,495) that is built into the armrest between the seats so it folds up and can’t be seen; a five- or eight-inch TV/VCR/CD and video game unit ($1,495 to $14,000 if you want digital surround sound) in the back of headrests or mounted on the interior roof; Sony GPS Navigational system ($3,295) on the dashboard.

There also are combination refrigerator/heating box units for cold drinks or to keep food warm. The leather-covered model for the back of the vehicle is $200 to $400; a special console one between the front seats is $995.

For more information, call Beverly Hills Motoring Accessories, (310) 657-4800.


Vanity Fare: Car buyers soon will have a new tool to help them select car colors, window tints, alloy wheels, trim or special tops--things that always are hard to choose unless one sees them on the vehicle.


The new TransPort Styling Kiosk is an interactive computerized system that allows buyers simply to touch the screen and see how a car would look with various accessories. The TransPort kiosk was developed by Royce Rumsey of Newport Beach, director of research and development for Bandai America, the company that brought the Power Rangers to the world.

TransPort Styling Kiosks are beginning to appear nationwide in auto dealerships and wheel and tire stores. Locally, Allen Cadillac in Laguna Niguel has installed one. The kiosks can be leased or purchased by retailers.

For wheel and tire stores, TransPort is designing a computer database of more than 1,500 cars--about 80% of the cars and trucks made since 1989. For information, contact TransPort Group Ltd., (800) 447-7078.