2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB250 revealed: Room for seven

The Car Connection News Feed - Tue, 06/11/2019 - 03:00
About a third of new Mercedes-Benz vehicles sold aren’t cars at all. They’re crossover SUVs, and it’s hard to imagine that Mercedes could have expected it when its M-Class hit the road about two decades ago. The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB250 that bowed Monday expands the automaker’s current crossover SUV lineup to six models...
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Lego Forza? Details on Forza Horizon’s New Expansion

Motortrend News Feed - Mon, 06/10/2019 - 22:45

Modern building materials have gotten so complex. Sure, extensive use of carbon fiber and aluminum can keep weight down without sacrificing body rigidity, but wouldn’t it be fun if building materials were less expensive and more accessible to the masses? Perhaps small-Danish-building-block-accessible?

We got a look at the newest Forza expansion during Xbox’s E3 2019 presentation this weekend: Forza Horizon 4 Lego Speed Champions. The $19.99 expansion welcomes players into a unique Lego-themed world including a blocky city, a brick-built airport runway perfect for drag racing, and fields of plastic Lego flowers to bomb across in your Lego 1967 Mini Cooper S Rally. Alongside the Mini, the launch trailer gives us a peek at driveable Lego versions of the Ferrari F40 Competizione and FH4’s cover car, the McLaren Senna.

We’ve seen our fair share of Lego video games—Star Wars, Harry Potter, Indiana Jones—but none have tried bringing to life our four-wheeled favorites. More than once I’ve found myself wondering how a life-size Legomobile would compare to its gas-powered equivalent. Does a nubby, low-poly exterior have a negative effect on aerodynamics? Are the stickers perfectly applied or a little crooked? When I crash it, will it dent and deform like a normal car or explode into hundreds of individual bricks?

The digital world of Forza Horizon 4 could be the best place to find out. Forza’s team has two product lines these days; track-only Forza Motorsport games lean toward the simulation side of things and the newer Forza Horizon franchise pairs open-world, arcade-style racing with a music festival theme. This fourth installment feels like a big automotive toy box so it makes sense to add some, well, toys.

Lego’s Speed Champions collection has been running since 2014 and it’s the first car-themed Lego line to feature multiple OEM partners. In addition to the aforementioned trio of cars confirmed for FH4, Speed Champions has released brick-made versions of some of our favorite modern and vintage race cars, supercars, pony cars, and rally cars. No word on exactly how many drivable models exist in the FH4 expansion, but we won’t have to wait long to find out. Forza Horizon 4 Lego Speed Champions releases June 13 for Xbox One and PC.

The post Lego Forza? Details on Forza Horizon’s New Expansion appeared first on MotorTrend.

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Recalls Hit Jaguar I-Pace and Audi E-Tron

Motortrend News Feed - Mon, 06/10/2019 - 22:07

Jaguar and Audi recently introduced electric vehicles that will fight Tesla in the increasingly competitive EV market: the Jaguar I-Pace and Audi E-Tron. But these technologically advanced models aren’t immune to teething problems. Each of the two Tesla-fighters is now subject to a recall. Keep reading for details on the recalls affecting these premium electric vehicles.


Jaguar I-Pace

The Problem: This Tesla Model X-competitor is under recall for a potential issue involving the regenerative braking system. If the electrical regenerative braking system fails, drivers could experience an increased delay in deceleration after pressing on the brakes, according to documents filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The Fix: Jaguar will notify owners of the recall, which is expected to begin on July 1. Dealers will update the software to reduce the braking delay, free of charge.

Number of Vehicles Potentially Affected: The recall covers 3,083 vehicles from the 2019 and 2020 model years.


Audi E-Tron

The Problem: Because of a potentially faulty seal, moisture may enter the battery compartment on certain E-Tron vehicles. This could lead to a short circuit, or in extreme cases, a “thermal event,” Audi says. No incidents have been reported related to this recall, although there have been five instances of a battery fault light coming on due to moisture. Audi says that E-Tron vehicles that are not affected by the recall will remain available for delivery.

The Fix: Audi will contact customers to inform them of the recall. The repair is expected to be available in August.

Drivers are eligible for a free service loaner for the next 6-8 weeks, plus an $800 cash card. The service package is now free, and drivers who paid for it when they purchased the car can get their money back.

Number of Vehicles Potentially Affected: The recall affects a total of 1,644 vehicles. Of these, approximately 540 have been delivered to customers.

Source: Audi, Jaguar, NHTSA

The post Recalls Hit Jaguar I-Pace and Audi E-Tron appeared first on MotorTrend.

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2020 Ford Shelby Mustang GT500 vs. GT350: How They’re Different

Motortrend News Feed - Mon, 06/10/2019 - 21:18

Horses and snakes don’t play well together in nature, but on a racetrack they’re a legendary pairing. Ford Mustangs adorned with a Shelby Cobra badge are purpose-built to chase after and take down lap times. The GT350 and upcoming GT500 are the most performance-oriented Mustangs ever, but looking beyond the coiled snake in their grilles shows key differences that give each car its own distinct character.

Heavy Rotation


The GT350 and GT500 both have 5.2-liter V-8s, but don’t let that fool you into thinking the engines are similar. The GT350’s is equipped with a flat-plane crankshaft, a differentiator that completely alters its function. A flat-plane crankshaft has 180 degrees of rotation between crank throws, alternating the firing order between each cylinder bank. This improves airflow through the engine; as one side fires the other evacuates gasses in its exhaust manifold, reducing backpressure. The effect is an engine that breathes more freely and revs more readily. However, this side-to-side firing order produces vibrations that can make a car less comfortable on the street and can even stress the engine internals with large-displacement engines. The GT350 uses a special harmonic balancer to help smooth things out.

The GT500’s engine uses a more common cross-plane crankshaft design. It has 90 degrees of rotation between crank throws; those smaller intervals produce more regular firing. However, since the firing order is unevenly spaced between cylinder banks, heavy counterweights are required to balance out vibrations. Those add rotating mass, making cross-plane engines less free-revving and responsive. Still, the tighter firing provides smoother power delivery and improved torque, especially at low rpm—not to mention that unmistakable V-8 sound.


Further distinguishing the engines is the fact that the GT350’s is naturally aspirated, while the GT500’s will be supercharged. We’ve waxed poetic about how the GT350’s 526 hp and 429 lb-ft of torque are delivered near its 8,200-rpm redline. That sky-high limit is enabled by its lightweight flat-plane crank and contributes to the car’s purpose as a track tool.

Meanwhile, the GT500 is supercharged for better low-end torque, as that’s what the GT500 is known for. Ford hasn’t revealed the 2020 GT500’s power figures, so far only saying it will make more than 700 hp and 600 lb-ft. We’ll relay exact power figures as soon as Ford discloses them, but given what we know about supercharged cross-plane V-8s, it will have a different, more muscular character than the GT350.


Behind two very different engines are two very different transmissions. The GT350 has a six-speed manual, allowing complete driver control befitting of the car’s track orientation. The GT500 loses a pedal but gains a gear. A Mustang-first seven-speed dual-clutch transmission provides near-instantaneous shifts, so there’s no loss of power whether lapping a road course or tearing down a drag strip.


Airflow—both over and through the car—is more of a focus on the GT500 than the GT350. That’s apparent when you compare the two cars’ front ends. The GT500’s has double the open area of the GT350, as well as a metal mesh grille that’s thinner and blocks air less than the GT350’s injection-molded plastic piece (the GT350’s grille opening actually shrunk for 2019 to reduce the front-end lift produced by surplus air getting trapped under the hood). The extra air needed to feed the GT500’s six heat exchangers exits through ducts in the wheel arches and the 6.03-square-foot vent in the carbon-fiber hood—compare that to the little slit in the GT350’s engine cover.

For 2019, the GT350 gained a new rear wing that’s shared with the standard GT500. With an optional Gurney flap, it produces up to 281 pounds of downforce. However, the GT500’s available Carbon Fiber Track Package fits the car with the adjustable wing straight off the Mustang GT4 race car, which pushes the rear end into the ground with 550 pounds of downforce. Dive planes on the front bumper help keep the nose planted.

Body and Chassis

Park the cars next to each other and you’ll see that the GT500 has broader shoulders than the GT350. That’s due to the composite front fenders Ford developed specifically for the car, necessary to cover the wider front tires, which as standard are Michelin Pilot Sport 4S. Opting for the Carbon Fiber Track Package, however, adds 20-inch carbon-fiber wheels (0.5 inch wider in the rear) wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires. Ultra-light carbon-fiber 19-inch wheels are standard on the GT350R. Regardless, the GT350 has 15.5-inch front Brembo brake rotors, clamped by six-piston calipers. Those grow to 16.5 inches in the GT500, representing a 20-percent increase in swept area. Both Mustangs ride on magnetic dampers, albeit with different tunes depending on the car and how they’re equipped. No matter the case, Ford’s super-‘Stangs are the best of the breed.

The post 2020 Ford Shelby Mustang GT500 vs. GT350: How They’re Different appeared first on MotorTrend.

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FCA recalls 295K Ram 1500 pickup trucks over safety software problem

The Car Connection News Feed - Mon, 06/10/2019 - 15:35
The 2019 Ram 1500 is subject to a new recall to update software that could disable the airbags and seat belt pretensioners. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles said last week that 295,981 Ram 1500 pickups are part of the recall. The recall also affects the 2020 Ram 1500, but only 26 have been built and are included. None of them are at dealerships yet...
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2020 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel Boasts 480 LB-FT, HUGE Towing Capacity

Motortrend News Feed - Mon, 06/10/2019 - 15:00

It’s Ram vs. Ford vs. Chevy all over again, diesel-style. The 2020 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel bursts back onto the full-size diesel truck scene with some impressive-on-paper numbers. Those who go for Ram’s diesel truck will get higher torque and a higher towing capacity compared to any of its rivals, but that’s not the full story.

Ram was first with a non-heavy-duty diesel truck, and we liked it so much that, thanks in large part to that powerplant, the 1500 became our 2014 Truck of the Year. Now Ram’s got competition. Ford makes a diesel variant of its best-selling F-150, and the 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 will offer a diesel, too. The 2020 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel packs a built-in-Italy 260-hp 3.0-liter turbodiesel V-6 under its enormous hood, with 480 lb-ft of torque routed through an eight-speed automatic. That compares well to Ford’s 3.0-liter turbodiesel V-6 with 250 hp and 440 lb-ft of torque, routed through a 10-speed automatic.

As for Chevy, the 2020 Silverado 1500 diesel is rated at 277 hp and 460 lb-ft, from a 3.0-liter inline-six that’s mated to a 10-speed automatic. So the 2020 Ram 1500 diesel looks good on paper, especially with its 12,560-pound class-leading towing capacity. But a lot can be hiding behind impressive numbers. When MotorTrend drives and actually tests the 2020 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel, will we notice the way the automaker has minimized NVH, or might we find—as we did with the F-150 diesel at last year’s Truck of the Year competition—that the truck suffers when it’s attached to a trailer? Considering the Ram 1500 has earned the MotorTrend Truck of the Year award three of the last seven years, we have high hopes.

When you’re between big jobs, you might appreciate the Ram’s improved fuel economy. The automaker is keeping that card close to its chest, but plans to leapfrog Ford, which currently offers a rear-drive version of the F-150 diesel achieving an EPA-rated 22/30 mpg city/highway.

If the number you’re interested in starts with a $, know that 2020 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel pricing won’t be revealed until closer to when the truck goes on sale in the last few months of 2019. But Ram does tell us that the updated EcoDiesel engine will be offered across the lineup, from Tradesman—a trim that already won a MotorTrend comparison—to Rebel. As with other 2020 Ram 1500s, the diesel version will be offered with an air suspension. When the 2019 Ram 1500 became our 2019 Truck of the Year, we praised the coil-spring and air suspensions. None of that, however, is a guarantee of future success with this updated 2020 truck. For that, you can count on MotorTrend to review and test the 2020 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel and its competitors.

The post 2020 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel Boasts 480 LB-FT, HUGE Towing Capacity appeared first on MotorTrend.

Categories: Property

Highest office floor of No1 Spinningfields becomes available to let

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 06/10/2019 - 13:19
The highest office floor of Manchester’s No1 Spinningfields is available to let after plans to turn it into a business lounge were shelved.
Categories: Property

Schroders abandons plans for business lounge at No1 Spinningfields

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 06/10/2019 - 13:19
Schroder Real Estate has shelved plans to turn the highest floor of Manchester’s No1 Spinningfields into a business lounge and decided to market it as office space instead.
Categories: Property

Fortwell lends £26m to care operator

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 06/10/2019 - 12:48
Fortwell Capital has written development and refinancing loans totalling £26m for residential care developer and operator Macc Group.
Categories: Property

IIHS: Toyota, Subaru top for child car seat ease of use

The Car Connection News Feed - Mon, 06/10/2019 - 12:20
Toyota and Subaru earned top marks from the IIHS for the way their cars can handle child seats. The insurance industry-funded safety body said the two Japanese brands tied for the most "Good+" ratings, which is the highest ranking a vehicle can earn on the federal government's hardware scale. Overall, the industry has improved vastly since the...
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British Land secures five brands to Plymouth leisure scheme

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 06/10/2019 - 12:15
British Land has secured five lettings totalling 32,000 sq ft at its Drake Circus Leisure scheme in Plymouth.
Categories: Property

Impact buys trio of care homes for £20m

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 06/10/2019 - 11:53
Impact Healthcare REIT has exchanged contracts to buy three care homes for £20.2m.
Categories: Property

Toyota, Subaru to collaborate on electric car underpinnings

The Car Connection News Feed - Mon, 06/10/2019 - 11:00
Toyota and Subaru said last week that they will collaborate on an all-wheel-drive electric car. Toyota will supply its electrification vehicle know-how, while Subaru will be responsible for engineering an all-wheel-drive system for the platform. DON'T MISS: 2019 Toyota RAV4 vs. 2019 Subaru Forester: Compare Cars The two automakers will eventually...
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First Base plans £175m scheme in Bristol

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 06/10/2019 - 09:46
Mixed-use developer First Base has acquired Soapworks in Bristol and plans to build a new £175m district.
Categories: Property

2019 Volkswagen Arteon Interior Review: 6 Key Details

Motortrend News Feed - Mon, 06/10/2019 - 09:03

If you’re looking for a car more versatile than a typical sedan but don’t want a crossover, your choices are limited, especially if it must be stylish. That leaves you to look at hatchbacks and wagons, and thankfully the ones still available in North America aren’t all staid and vanilla. Despite its svelte, low-slung appearance, the 2019 Volkswagen Arteon is surprisingly versatile. Clever packaging means the Arteon pleases the head and the heart. Here are some of the key details that make the 2019 Arteon a great package.

Read our 2019 Volkswagen Arteon First Test right here!

Ready for Hauling

Open the 2019 Volkswagen Arteon’s hatch, and you’ll immediately see that this Teutonic beauty has an interior that’s been carved to provide as much usable space as possible. With 27.2 cubic feet with all seats in place and 55.0 cubic feet with the second row folded, the Arteon has crossover-rivaling cargo capacity. (Different measurement formulas for crossover and hatchback cargo room make direct comparisons of the numbers difficult, but a subjective assessment confirms there’s no shortage of space.) A low lift-over height also makes loading and unloading cargo less of a hassle.

Comfortable Accommodations

The Arteon’s front bucket seats offer a nice balance of support and comfort. On a winding road, the seats hold you in place well and keep you from sliding around too much. When you’re commuting, the soft padding coddles you and helps you stay refreshed on long freeway slogs. Rear-seat occupants also have plenty of legroom to stretch out, and there’s enough headroom that only the tallest of adults will have issues.

I Can See (Out the Windows)!

A large greenhouse in a swoopy four-door? Why, yes! Even with a side profile this sleek, visibility out of the car is excellent. The windows are surprisingly large, making the car’s cabin feel airy and open, something you can’t always say about coupelike sedans and hatchbacks.

Almost Luxurious

Most pieces of the 2019 Volkswagen Arteon’s interior feel substantial, from the super-squishy dash to the door panels. Unfortunately, cost cutting prevents the Arteon’s interior from punching above its weight. All the blank buttons around the shifter (even on the range-topping SEL Premium trim) and the knobs that clearly came out of a Jetta or Golf detract from the cabin’s overall ambiance. The door panels and touchpoints in the rear also feel less substantial than the ones up front.

Mostly Quiet

Plenty of sound-deadening material keeps the Arteon’s interior from getting too noisy on the highway. That changes if you opt for the larger 19-inch alloy wheels, which create more road and tire noise on uneven pavement. (VW also offers 20-inch wheels for maximum curb appeal.)

Tech Without Intimidation

Unlike some German luxury brands, Volkswagen’s multimedia system puts user-friendliness first (there’s no big learning curve). The touch-sensitive buttons flanking the 8.0-inch touchscreen are responsive while the knobs keep things familiar. There’s even a cool feature that once your hand gets close to the touchscreen, the submenus automatically pop up. Minimalism remains the prominent theme in the 2019 Volkswagen Arteon’s interior. Even with the available Digital Cockpit system, the tech inside the Arteon remains user-friendly. No touchpads or mouselike controllers to send you into a fit of rage here.

The post 2019 Volkswagen Arteon Interior Review: 6 Key Details appeared first on MotorTrend.

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Are the Best BMWs Now Super-Sized SUVs? – The Lohdown

Motortrend News Feed - Mon, 06/10/2019 - 09:02

Just prior to shipping the August 2019 print issue, the only two BMWs I had recently driven were the X7 and X5—both all-new for 2019.

I had only a brief lunchtime spin in the supersized X7, in which I took five colleagues to a local pho joint and was able to use all three rows. My co-workers handle different parts of the business at the MotorTrend Group, from business intelligence to operations to ad sales, so they were excited to experience a brand-new BMW.

“Do you like it?” they hollered from the back. “How does it drive?”

“It’s really … big,” I said, struggling to find words describe the 5,300-pound, 203.3-inch-long (0.6 inch shy of a Chevy Tahoe), $100,000 (as tested), leather-swaddled behemoth.

I spent a lot more time in the X5: a full three-day road trip from Los Angeles to the Sacramento area, ripping along the I-5 and Route 99, five-and-a-half hours each way. More wheel time meant more time to be impressed, particularly by the X5’s balance. It proved sporty yet smooth on the road, tech-laden but not overwhelming, and cushy but not at the expense of genuine utility. BMW’s ability to balance ride and handling is the stuff of legend, but the new X5’s fullness in other areas shows the depth and experience the company has gained since it built its first SUV 20 years ago.

The 3 Series is going on 44 years (a year older than your humble scribe) and spans seven generations, and I wish I could say it held the same charm as that X5. I was as shocked as you might be after I heard the results of our latest comparison tests, so I had to see for myself.

What I discovered after a night in the 3 Series will surprise no one of a particular life stage. Middle age is a bitch, right? Pants are tighter than you’d like, breath is shorter, sweat comes quicker, things now creak that never did before. Wait, what was I saying?

Ah, right. Ever see an old picture of yourself and remember how it used to be? Or look in the mirror and just sigh? That’s kind of how it is with the new 3 Series. It’s a perfectly fine sport sedan—just not the class standout it has been in years past.

In truth, it’s been a few since we’ve lauded the 3 Series or any of its variants as God’s own chariot. The performances of the last M3 and M4 variants at Best Driver’s Car were spotty, at best, though I’ve heard amazing things about the Z4, M2 Competition, M850, and M8. We’re pulling a couple for BDC 2019 and look forward to sampling their wares.

Maybe the best BMWs are now super-sized SUVs. If so, good for them; the timing is right, and BMW will reap well-deserved rewards the world over. But at the expense of what? A fading Ultimate Driving Machine moniker? Or maybe what we need is for BMW’s performance division to step up and show us that the M on the back of coming 3 Series variants stands for something more than middle-aged.

BMW fanboys, I welcome your tweets @edloh.

More from Ed Loh:

The post Are the Best BMWs Now Super-Sized SUVs? – The Lohdown appeared first on MotorTrend.

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Here are the Safest Small Cars in 2019

Motortrend News Feed - Mon, 06/10/2019 - 09:00

Just because your car is small doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice safety. Thanks to technological advancements, small cars are safer than ever. We’ve combed through test results from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) to see which models have the best crash test ratings and collision prevention technologies.

In order for a vehicle to get the Top Safety Pick+ rating from the IIHS, it must get a Good score in all crash tests, a Good headlight rating, and an Advanced or Superior rating in front crash prevention. The second highest rating, Top Safety Pick, requires a Good rating in nearly every category, with the exception of the passenger-side small overlap front test and the headlight test. In both these categories, the vehicles may earn an Acceptable rating. Top Safety Picks must also score an Advanced or Superior rating in the front crash prevention test.

All entries on this list have earned either a four- or five-star overall rating from NHTSA, in combination with either a Top Safety Pick or Top Safety Pick+ designation from IIHS. We have excluded models that have not been rated by both safety agencies. It’s important to also keep in mind that IIHS only tests mainstream vehicles, prioritizing those with high sales numbers. With that said, here are all the small cars that are regarded highly by both organizations.

Honda Insight

NHTSA Overall Rating: 5 Stars
IIHS: Top Safety Pick+

The Honda Insight gets you a nearly complete package; it’s fuel-efficient, comfortable, and it’s not a slug. But did you also know it’s one of the safest small cars? Not only did it ace the NHTSA tests, it also got a perfect score across the board in the IIHS’ categories including front crash prevention where it avoided low- and high-speed collisions. All variants of the 2019 Honda Insight come standard with Honda Sensing, a suite of active driver assistance features that includes automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning, lane keeping assist, and adaptive cruise control.

Kia Forte

NHTSA Overall Rating: 4 Stars
IIHS: Top Safety Pick+

One of the strongest values in the compact segment, the 2019 Kia Forte puts safety to the forefront with every model coming standard with front crash prevention technologies. It received high marks from NHTSA; however, its IIHS test result had one caveat: Only models with LED headlights get to qualify for the 2019 Top Safety Pick+ rating because the standard halogen headlights received the lowest rating, which is Poor.


NHTSA Overall Rating: 5 Stars
IIHS: Top Safety Pick

A compact car beloved by enthusiasts for its agile, responsive handling, the 2019 Mazda3 also gets high marks on the safety front. Both body styles get solid scores from NHTSA and IIHS on the crashworthiness and front crash prevention tests. However, it stumbled on IIHS’ headlight test, achieving only an Acceptable rating, which kept it from getting the coveted Top Safety Pick+ designation.

Hyundai Elantra

NHTSA Overall Rating: 4 Stars
IIHS: Top Safety Pick+

Don’t let its angry looks fool you. The 2019 Hyundai Elantra remains a great all-around compact sedan that appeals to a wide range of tastes. While it has solid safety ratings, its IIHS test results reveal one small downside: Only models equipped with LED headlights (Sport and Limited trims only) qualify for the 2019 Top Safety Pick+ rating because the SE, SEL, Value Edition, and Eco grades all have the standard halogen headlights that are rated Poor. All but the base SE trim come standard with a long list of active driver assistance features including lane keeping assist, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, forward collision warning, and automatic emergency braking.

Toyota Prius

NHTSA Overall Rating: 5 Stars
IIHS: Top Safety Pick

Legendary for its fuel efficiency (and spaceship-like looks), the Toyota Prius also knows how to keep you safe. All models come standard with Toyota Safety Sense P, which bundles together automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, lane keeping assist, automatic high beams, and adaptive cruise control. In IIHS testing, the Prius misses the coveted Top Safety Pick+ award because it was only able to get an Acceptable rating on the headlights and passenger-side small overlap front test.

Volkswagen Golf GTI

NHTSA Overall Rating: 5 Stars
IIHS: Top Safety Pick

The Volkswagen Golf GTI pairs great handling with power and practicality. On the safety front, the GTI just misses the IIHS’ coveted Top Safety Pick+ rating because it received an Acceptable headlight rating with the optional LED headlights and a Poor rating when equipped with the standard halogen units on the base S trim. It also performs Acceptable in the passenger-side small overlap front test.

Subaru Impreza

NHTSA Overall Rating: 5 Stars
IIHS: Top Safety Pick+

With standard all-wheel drive, the Subaru Impreza gives you four-season practicality in hatchback or sedan flavors. The Subaru Impreza also got perfect scores on the IIHS and NHTSA evaluations when equipped with the EyeSight driver assistance suite. Caveats? Only the Limited trim is eligible for the Top Safety Pick+ rating because it’s the only one with adaptive LED headlights that get a Good rating. Other trims with the halogen units got a Marginal score.

Kia Soul (2019)

NHTSA Overall Rating: 5 Stars
IIHS: Top Safety Pick

Funky and full of character, the Kia Soul keeps the party going by looking out for you. The boxy little hatchback scored well in NHTSA’s testing but had some minor setbacks in the IIHS’ evaluations. In the passenger-side small overlap front test, the Kia Soul only received an Acceptable rating, and on the headlights test, only examples equipped with HID headlights got a Good score while others were rated Poor. Its collision prevention tech is also limited only to the Plus (+) trim, which is the only model available with features like automatic emergency braking and forward collision warning, both of which are part of the Primo Lit package.

Hyundai Elantra GT

NHTSA Overall Rating: 4 Stars
IIHS: Top Safety Pick

The 2019 Hyundai Elantra GT only shares its name with its sedan counterpart because it’s essentially the European-market i30 hatchback. The Elantra GT earns IIHS’ second highest award and performs well in NHTSA’s tests. But like the Elantra sedan, its score in the IIHS’ headlight test means not all models are rated equally. Only cars with LED headlights and automatic high beams (N-Line with Tech package) received the Acceptable rating while those without it got a rating of Marginal. The standard headlights on the Elantra GT got a Poor rating. Additionally, the N-Line with the Tech package is the only model with forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and pedestrian detection. Still, if you’re looking for a C-segment hatch, the Elantra GT is a great option that provides excellent safety when properly equipped.

Toyota Corolla Hatchback

NHTSA Overall Rating: 5 Stars
IIHS: Top Safety Pick

No longer vanilla, the Toyota Corolla gets a much needed infusion of style and improved driving dynamics with the hatchback offering the most distinctive look. Although LED headlights come standard, the Corolla misses the IIHS’ Top Safety Pick+ rating due to the headlight test. Models with adaptive headlights (available only on the XSE trim) get an Acceptable rating while the rest receive a Marginal score. However, solid crash ratings from both agencies make the Corolla hatch a compelling choice.

The post Here are the Safest Small Cars in 2019 appeared first on MotorTrend.

Categories: Property

2019 Honda Passport: Why I’d Buy It – Alex Leanse

Motortrend News Feed - Mon, 06/10/2019 - 09:00

“What SUV should I buy?” It’s a question consumers ask themselves every day, but what would associate online editor Alex Leanse drive? Keep reading for the answer, and see other editors’ picks here.

I wouldn’t buy an SUV if it weren’t for bicycles. See, I’m an avid cyclist and as much as I want a daily that’s quick, fun, and small, I need something that’ll take me and my two-wheeled whip to a trailhead. My car needs to fit a bike inside, where it’s safely ensconced away from being smashed on a bike rack in a rear-end collision. That’s basically my only requirement—the flexibility of my single status, and the constraints of my journalist salary (I love my job, I swear), mean I don’t need or can get much else.

That’s why I’d buy a Honda Passport. Honda revived the nameplate to add an in-betweener to their crossover lineup. It’s smaller than the Pilot family hauler but more capable than the CR-V soft-roader—perhaps perfectly targeted at active outdoorsy millennials like myself. Well played, Honda, I’ve taken the bait. Now where can your Passport take me?

For my Passport I’d choose entry-level Sport trim, because it’s approachable at $31,990, and it has everything I need. Like all trims, the Sport includes the Honda Sensing driver assist suite, which bundles adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, and lane keep assist. It also gets a neat-o digital gauge cluster that shows information like speed, revs, fuel range, and all-wheel drive status. What the Sport doesn’t get is Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, for which I’d have to find $4,420 to move up to the EX-L trim. That adds niceties like a bigger touchscreen, heated seats, moonroof, and power tailgate. But for my needs, a magnetic phone mount on the dash seems like a better value.

Installed across the range is a 280 hp, 262-lb-ft 3.5 liter V-6. That’s solid output; if it works in the big Pilot it should be enough to move the Passport. It gets a nine-speed automatic, compared to the Pilot’s six-speed and CR-V’s CVT (say CR-V CVT five times fast). Front-wheel drive is standard, but all-wheel drive is a $1,900 option I’d spring for. With snow, mud, and sand traction modes, plus decent approach and departure angles, it seems Honda baked real off-road readiness into the Passport. Using it to explore trails sounds fun.

The Passport seats five, boasting best-in-class interior volume of 115.9 cubic feet. It has 41.2 cubic feet of cargo area behind the second row, but I’d usually have the rear seats folded, which expands space to 77.9 bicycle-friendly cubes. Also appealing is the secret storage compartment beneath the cargo floor. It’s a 2.5 cubic foot cubby that Honda press photos show holding bike helmets and water bottles—the brand really knows its target market.

Look, the Passport isn’t my dream car—far from it. But I love riding as much as I do driving, and for that reason I need an SUV. It would keep me happy enough with its strong engine and Honda reliability, or maybe it would get me into off roading. For its capability, features, and potential, I pick the Passport. I’ll take mine in Black Forest Pearl paint, please.

Other SUVs I’d consider: Mazda CX-5, Volkswagen Golf Alltrack

The post 2019 Honda Passport: Why I’d Buy It – Alex Leanse appeared first on MotorTrend.

Categories: Property

BMW 3 Series vs. Alfa Romeo Giulia Comparison: Which Is the Ultimate Driving Machine?

Motortrend News Feed - Mon, 06/10/2019 - 09:00

For decades, the BMW 3 Series was the epitome of the luxury sport sedan. Its great handling, punchy power, and dynamic ride made it the leader of its class. “Ultimate Driving Machine” was more uncontested truth than mere advertising slogan.

But the Bavarian brand took a left turn with the previous generation, which lacked the emotion and precision that so defined the 3 Series of yore. Other brands—like Alfa Romeo—used that misstep to jump in the game, creating exciting machines that made up for the BMW’s shortcomings. Now in its seventh generation, the 2019 BMW 330i is facing stiff competition.

With the Giulia, the Italian brand created one of the best sport sedans in the market. We liked it so much that we named it Car of the Year in 2018, mostly for reintroducing the world to the concept of thrilling driving dynamics in sedan form. In a recent comparison, the Quadrifoglio was superior on Streets of Willow, staying ahead of the Tesla Model 3 Performance and Jaguar I-Pace. With that in mind, we asked ourselves, if we are evaluating solely from the perspective of spirited driving, can the 3 Series retake the best-driving sport sedan title from the Alfa Romeo Giulia?

For this comparison we wanted to stay around the $50,000 cap, but BMW sent us a 330i with the M Sport package ($5,000), Track Handling package ($2,450), Drivers Assistance Pro package ($1,700), Premium package ($2,800), and Executive package ($2,100), which increased its price to a hefty $59,920. Equipped with a 2.0-liter turbo-four engine, the 330i develops a punchy 255 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque and is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission that sends the power to the rear wheels.

Our long-term 2018 Alfa Romeo Giulia Q2 is powered by a 2.0-liter turbo-four engine that sends 280 hp and 306 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels via an eight-speed automatic. Equipped with the Ti Sport RWD package ($2,500), Driver Assistance Static package ($650), Driver Assist Dynamic Plus package ($1,500), and Ti Sport Performance package ($1,200), the Giulia carries a wallet-friendlier price tag of $51,635.

Both cars have 19-inch wheels, sport-tuned suspension, paddle shifters, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (though in the 3 Series it’s an option included in the Premium package). The Bimmer includes Eco Pro, Comfort, and Sport driving modes, while the Giulia comes with Natural, Dynamic, and All-Weather modes.

Driving and handling

Driving the 3 Series on the hilly and twisty canyon roads above Malibu, testing director Kim Reynolds found himself feeling almost every other bump, ripple, and pebble, and not in a good way. “Its ride is odd, finding annoying bumps without the commensurate handling composure payoff,” he said. Road test editor Chris Walton agreed, adding that the aforementioned packages were to blame for the stiff ride.

Not everything is bad news for the Bavarian model, though. Its punchy engine adds a good amount of character, though the turbo lag can be noticeable when passing on the freeway. Derek Powell, a guest judge in this comparison, described the transmission’s shifts as “intuitive and crisp,” and he enjoyed the bite of the M Sport brakes.

Because the 3 Series dominated the segment for decades, perhaps we were expecting too much from BMW. But for the brand that created the Ultimate Driving Machine slogan, you can’t expect less. The 3 Series behaved differently as we engaged Sport mode, making the steering a tad stiffer and raising the volume of the exhaust. Powell disliked the digital amplification of the exhaust note in Sport mode. “It’s another instance of BMW telling you that the car is sporty rather than delivering the experience.”

How would the 330i compare against the Genesis G70 and Tesla Model 3? Find out here.

Counter these impressions with the inherent Italian passion of the Alfa. We found the Giulia’s ride and handling superior to the BMW’s. “Alfa absolutely cracked the ride/handling code,” Walton said. The steering is well balanced, and the suspension is firm enough to feel sporty yet comfortable when you want it.

Whether you’re tearing through the back roads to the grocery store or gliding along the boulevards on your way home, the Alfa will deliver the driving pleasure we expect from a sport sedan. Its engine feels torquey for a four-cylinder, though there’s a similar bit of lag when you tromp the gas pedal from a stop. “Once underway, the eight-speed always seems to have the right gear on tap and is quick to downshift,” Powell said. Reynolds complained that it was hard to predict how the pedal would react.

And although the Italian gallant is a couple of years longer in the tooth than the just-redesiged BMW, the Alfa does a lot of things right. When driven in Dynamic mode, the car doesn’t beat you up. It simply moves with composure and swiftness. The Giulia feels natural, an extension of your corporeal form. “It’s just so good in many different ways,” Walton said. “And in the ways it doesn’t quite measure up, it really doesn’t matter to me.


Each model offers a different approach to its interior. BMW’s feels more modern; it has a nicely integrated 8.8-inch touchscreen with the latest iDrive infotainment system. The all-digital instrument panel blends well with the rest of the cabin, and we applaud the attention to detail on some of the trims—like the iDrive knob being located in the center console and the quality of the materials around the air vents. The blue stitching on the seats, door panels, and dash adds character to the cabin. it feels even more elegant at night when the ambient lighting is visible. But the large number of buttons on the dash and the steering wheel made us wish for a simpler cabin.

Although we applaud the use of the all-digital instrument panel and love the way the colors change with the drive mode, the navigation map’s graphics leave something to be desired. We prefer Audi’s Virtual Cockpit, which includes satellite images and great resolution. BMW could take a page from Audi’s book in this regard.

Alfa’s take on interiors is quite different from its Bavarian counterpart’s. The Giulia’s infotainment screen is completely embedded in the dash, but it lacks a touchscreen; the only way to control the infotainment system is through the massive knob in the center console. Although the system has simplified menus, it’s just quicker to get around using a touchscreen.

Speaking of simplicity, we appreciated the Alfa’s sparse interior layout: The only buttons are the HVAC controls. However, we’d like a quicker workaround to change the radio station; it takes time to get used to the sole knob to control the audio. “It’s not overly complicated, and it’s old-school in a way—it’s definitely not showy like the BMW,” Powell said. “But you know what? I don’t care. It gets the job done.”

We prefer the Alfa’s seats, which provide more lateral support than the BMW’s, and Reynolds also preferred the Italian’s driving position. But we had different opinions on its second row. Whereas Walton described the Alfa’s back seat as “the best of the bunch by a mile,” Reynolds and I had problems with the headroom, as both of our heads brushed the headliner. The dual-pane sunroof gives back-seat passengers a nice experience, though. We all agreed on the new 3 Series’ great interior space, including good legroom and headroom even for rear passengers.


As brands equip their cars with the latest tech, there was a strong contrast between the 3 Series’ and the Alfa’s approach. The BMW uses a virtual assistant that’s activated by simply saying, “Hey, BMW.” And you can ask for anything—from directions to your destination to help finding a nearby parking spot. You can use your smartphone to unlock and start the 3 Series, and it also does a great job parking itself in parallel or perpendicular spots with the touch of a button. Gesture controls can change the audio system’s volume or skip or repeat a song.

Our Alfa, on the other hand, doesn’t have any of these technologies, though that’s not a deal breaker. “The infotainment is also decidedly low-tech—but really, it offers everything I need,” Powell said. Given that the Alfa arrived a couple of years earlier than the 3 Series, its technology isn’t as advanced as BMW’s—you still have to park it manually and will have to carry the key in your pocket.

With the Wi-Fi hot spot, the 3 Series lets you use Apple CarPlay wirelessly, though there were a couple of times when my iPhone had trouble connecting to the system, leaving me with no CarPlay. On the other hand, you’ll need a USB cord to use CarPlay in the Alfa, though it can be complicated to use given the lack of a touchscreen.


With safety technologies evolving every day, both Alfa and BMW are trying to pack the newest techs in their cars. BMW’s Active Guard comes standard on the 3 Series and includes front collision warning, automatic city collision mitigation, and lane departure warning. But the Active Driving Assistant Pro, which is part of the Driver’s Assistance Pro package, includes adaptive cruise control and lane keep assist with traffic jam assist. I tried this system in our loop, and it did a great job of keeping the car centered on its lane while driving on city streets. I thought the distance between the car in front was a bit too much, though, as other cars kept cutting me off. On the freeway, the system did a better job staying closer to the car in front and keeping the car centered in its lane.

The Alfa’s Driver Assist Dynamic Plus package includes forward collision warning, lane departure warning, and adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go functionality. This last feature worked very well, with Reynolds saying it was second to only Tesla’s Autopilot. “It has close following gaps, accelerates hard, brakes hard, and rarely gives up and throws emergency braking into your lap,” Reynolds said. “But its steering assist is only lane departure warning, so it’s of little use.” We hope Alfa adds lane departure mitigation in the midcycle refresh of the Giulia, which should be shown soon.

Final verdict

Both cars offer different approaches with the same goal in mind: to be the best sport sedan. We appreciate the changes BMW made to the 3 Series to deliver a better ride and improve the dynamics over the last model, but the competition did its homework in the years BMW was looking the other way. The Giulia still keeps its promise of making drivers happy, as it transmits emotion while being a natural player.

With new players in the game, BMW must examine how and why the competition has surpassed its 3 Series in ways implausible a few years ago. To us, the Alf Romeo Giulia is simply a better driver’s car. The Alfa is “the best, most satisfying, most visceral sport sedan—even in this lower-rung version,” Reynolds said. “It’s the modern 3 Series.”

Second Place

BMW 3 Series

First Place

Alfa Romeo Giulia

2018 Alfa Romeo Giulia Q2 2019 BMW 330i DRIVETRAIN LAYOUT Front-engine, RWD Front-engine, RWD ENGINE TYPE Turbocharged I-4, alum block/head Turbocharged I-4, alum block/head VALVETRAIN SOHC, 4 valves/cyl DOHC, 4 valves/cyl DISPLACEMENT 121.6 cu in/1,993 cc 121.9 cu in/1,998 cc COMPRESSION RATIO 10.0:1 10.2:1 POWER (SAE NET) 280 hp @ 5,200 rpm 255 hp @ 5,000 rpm TORQUE (SAE NET) 306 lb-ft @ 2,000 rpm 295 lb-ft @ 1,550 rpm REDLINE 5,500 rpm 6,500 rpm WEIGHT TO POWER 12.9 lb/hp 14.3 lb/hp TRANSMISSION 8-speed automatic 8-speed automatic AXLE/FINAL-DRIVE RATIO 3.15:1/2.02:1 2.81:1/1.80:1 SUSPENSION, FRONT; REAR Multilink, coil springs, adj shocks, anti-roll bar; multilink, coil springs, adj shocks, anti-roll bar Struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar; multilink, coil springs, anti-roll bar STEERING RATIO 11.8:1 13.2:1 TURNS LOCK-TO-LOCK 2.4 2.2 BRAKES, F; R 13.0-in vented disc; 12.5-in vented disc, ABS 13.7-in 2-pc vented disc; 13.6-in 2-pc vented disc, ABS WHEELS, F;R 8.0 x 19-in cast aluminum 8.0 x 19-in; 8.5 x 19-in, cast aluminum TIRES, F;R 225/40R19 89W; 255/35R19 92W Pirelli P Zero AR 225/40R19 93Y; 255/35R19 96Y Michelin Pilot Sport 4S DIMENSIONS WHEELBASE 111.0 in 112.2 in TRACK, F/R 61.3/64.0 in 62.3/62.9 in LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 182.6 x 73.7 x 56.5 in 185.7 x 71.9 x 56.4 in TURNING CIRCLE 35.4 ft 37.4 ft CURB WEIGHT 3,600 lb 3,646 lb WEIGHT DIST, F/R 50/50% 51/49% SEATING CAPACITY 5 5 HEADROOM, F/R 38.6/37.6 in 38.7/37.6 in LEGROOM, F/R 42.4/35.1 in 42.0/35.2 in SHOULDER ROOM, F/R 56.1/53.6 in 56.0/54.6 in CARGO VOLUME 13.4 cu ft 17.0 cu ft TEST DATA ACCELERATION TO MPH 0-30 1.7 sec 1.9 sec 0-40 2.6 2.8 0-50 3.8 4.0 0-60 5.2 5.4 0-70 6.8 7.0 0-80 8.6 9.1 0-90 10.9 11.6 0-100 13.6 14.6 0-100-0 18.6 18.6 PASSING, 45-65 MPH 2.7 2.8 QUARTER MILE 13.8 sec @ 100.6 mph 14.0 sec @ 98.1 mph BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 110 ft 103 ft LATERAL ACCELERATION 0.91 g (avg) 0.95 g (avg) MT FIGURE EIGHT 25.6 sec @ 0.71 g (avg) 25.2 sec @ 0.73 g (avg) TOP-GEAR REVS @ 60 MPH 1,600 rpm 1,300 rpm CONSUMER INFO BASE PRICE $41,440 $41,245 PRICE AS TESTED $51,635 $59,920 STABILITY/TRACTION CONTROL Yes/Yes Yes/Yes AIRBAGS 8: Dual front, front side, f/r curtain, front knee 8: Dual front, front side, f/r curtain, front knee BASIC WARRANTY 4 yrs/50,000 miles 4 yrs/50,000 miles POWERTRAIN WARRANTY 4 yrs/50,000 miles 4 yrs/50,000 miles ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE 4 yrs/Unlimited miles 4 yrs/Unlimited miles FUEL CAPACITY 15.3 gal 15.6 gal EPA CITY/HWY/COMB ECON 24/33/27 mpg 26/36/30 mpg ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY 140/102 kW-hrs/100 miles 130/94 kWh/100 miles CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 0.71 lb/mile 0.65 lb/mile RECOMMENDED FUEL Unleaded premium Unleaded premium

The post BMW 3 Series vs. Alfa Romeo Giulia Comparison: Which Is the Ultimate Driving Machine? appeared first on MotorTrend.

Categories: Property

MJ Gleeson boss quits in row over pay and succession

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 06/10/2019 - 08:45
The chief executive of housebuilder MJ Gleeson has left with immediate effect following a boardroom bust-up over his pay and succession planning.
Categories: Property