Final Dodge Challenger SRT Demon and Viper Sell for $1 Million

Motortrend News Feed - 3 hours 34 min ago

Dodge is officially closing the chapter on two muscle cars, the Challenger SRT Demon and Viper. The final Demon and Viper sold as a pair at the Barrett-Jackson Northeast Auction last weekend for $1 million.

The Demon ended production at the Brampton Assembly Plant in Ontario, Canada this May. Available for a single model year, the Demon was available in limited numbers, with 3,000 copies for the U.S. and 300 for Canada. The Viper was hand-built in Michigan at the Conner Avenue Assembly Plant that closed last August. In 2016, Dodge had sold only 630 copies.

After leaving their respective factories, the two final models received a matching paint job called Viper Red. The final Viper commemorates the first-generation Viper RT/10 with its red exterior and black interior, which includes black Alcantara leather seats. The model also features carbon fiber accents on the exterior and a unique VIN badge on the instrument panel.

With the two cars, Dodge auctioned off a total of 1,485 hp. The Demon has the power advantage, offering 840 hp and 770 lb-ft of torque from its 6.2-liter HEMI Hellcat V-8. The Viper packs a 8.4-liter V-10 rated at 645 hp and 600 lb-ft of torque.

The $1 million selling price was the highest during the four-day Barrett-Jackson auction at Mohegan Sun in Connecticut. All proceeds from the sale of the two cars benefit the United Way.

Source: FCA

The post Final Dodge Challenger SRT Demon and Viper Sell for $1 Million appeared first on Motor Trend.

Categories: Property

Car-share expansion, Electric VW bests Pikes Peak record, Tesla whistleblower: What's New @ The Car Connection

The Car Connection News Feed - 5 hours 5 min ago
Car2Go becomes Chicago's first park anywhere car-share Car2Go said Friday that it's coming to Chicago, meaning that one of America's densest cities will finally have a car-share that lets members stash vehicles on city streets. Trump escalates trade war talks, threatens 20 percent tariffs on imported cars President Donald Trump didn't back down...
Categories: Property

Letwin Review calls for more homes to be released

Property Week News Feed - 6 hours 46 min ago
Housebuilders have faced criticism by Sir Oliver Letwin for failing to offer a wider choice of homes for purchase and rent on large sites to speed up the release of new houses to the market, following his review into the gap between planning permissions granted and homes delivered.
Categories: Property

Network Homes, L&Q and Clarion call for increased investment in modular

Property Week News Feed - 7 hours 22 min ago
A new report commissioned by Network Homes, L&Q and Clarion has called on housing associations and Homes England to make offsite construction a priority through the promotion of joint ventures.
Categories: Property

Cerebus Capital refinances Quorum Business Park with BlackRock loan

Property Week News Feed - 7 hours 32 min ago
BlackRock Real Assets has provided a £20m first mortgage loan to Cerberus Capital Management to refinance eight of the 15 buildings that comprise the Quorum Business Park near Newcastle.
Categories: Property

New investment duo for Cluttons

Property Week News Feed - 8 hours 16 sec ago
Cluttons has announced two new appointments to expand its investment team as part of strategic growth plans for the UK market.
Categories: Property

CCLA completes on £36m Leeds office buy

Property Week News Feed - 8 hours 33 min ago
Evans Property Group has completed the sale of One Park Row in Leeds city centre to investment manager CCLA for £35.6m, reflecting an initial yield of 4.43%.
Categories: Property

DWS buys £240m office at IQL Stratford

Property Week News Feed - 9 hours 16 min ago
DWS has bought a 278,000 sq ft office at International Quarter London from Lendlease and LCR for £240m.
Categories: Property

Bailie Gifford signs Edinburgh pre-let

Property Week News Feed - 10 hours 9 min ago
Investment management firm Bailie Gifford has pre-let all 60,000 sq ft of office space at Chris Stewart Group (CSG) and Hines’ 20 West Register Street in Edinburgh.
Categories: Property

Jack Wills takes Sheffield shed

Property Week News Feed - 10 hours 15 min ago
British clothing brand Jack Wills has leased a new 390,000 sq ft warehouse at Clearbell Capital’s Parkway Works in Sheffield.
Categories: Property

Countrywide unveils capital restructure after profits plunge

Property Week News Feed - 10 hours 42 min ago
Shares in estate agent giant Countrywide have plunged after the group announced plans to raise fresh equity and issued a profit warning.
Categories: Property

Car Compare: 2018 Nissan Kicks and 2018 Kia Soul

Motortrend News Feed - 11 hours 34 min ago

An attractive SUV-like design and affordable pricing has propelled the Kia Soul to the top of the automaker’s sales charts for years. But before you drive away in a new Soul with a color-contrasting roof, consider the Nissan Kicks. Both tall-roofed hatchbacks have relatively spacious interiors and call themselves SUVs yet don’t offer all-wheel drive. The two cars are also incredibly affordable for new cars, with base prices well under $20,000.

Keep reading to find out how they match up in a few categories.

Go Ahead, Customize It—Advantage: Tie

The Kia Soul and Nissan Kicks elevate themselves above most cheap cars with their availability of two-tone paint jobs. Grab a mid-level Soul in the Plus trim and Kia offers a $400 package with white exterior paint over red side-view mirrors and roof, or red over black. Nissan offers similar packages with pricing from $150 to $545 for red over black, gray over orange, orange over black, and the blue over white of our tester that reminded a couple people of police cars.

For a more dedicated customizer, Nissan offers the Color Studio, offering a number of exterior and interior parts that are orderable in different colors.

MPG—Advantage: Kicks Read our 2018 Nissan Kicks First Test review here.

With just 125 hp and a low curb weight, the 2018 Nissan Kicks is one of the most efficient sub-$25,000 cars available today. With an EPA-rating of 31/36 mpg city/highway, it easily beats all three engines of the Kia Soul (besides the electric option). The non-EV Souls with automatic transmissions get 25-26/30-31 mpg, meaning the most efficient Soul is getting on the highway what the Kicks manages in the city. Because of the Kicks’ small 10.8-gallon fuel tank, however, the Soul stretches one tank of gas farther on a long highway road trip.

Outta My Way—Advantage: Soul

The tradeoff for the Kicks’ excellent EPA-rated fuel economy is a Motor-Trend tested 0–60 mph time of 9.7 seconds. In normal driving, the Kicks is easy to drive, but if the ability to quickly pass other cars is important to you, consider the Soul Plus or Exclaim. Skip past the base Soul’s 130 hp engine to the 161-hp Plus model for a 0–60 time of about 8.3 seconds. Move up to the $23,795 Soul Exclaim for a more fun-to-drive experience and 201 hp.

Safety—Advantage: Tie

This is a tough category to evaluate, as the NHTSA and IIHS tell us that the 2018 Nissan Kicks isn’t currently on their safety-testing schedule. However, Nissan offers automatic emergency braking on every Kicks, down to the basiest of base models.

It’s a different story at Kia. Although the automaker’s automatic emergency braking system performed well in IIHS tests, it’s only available on the Soul Plus with a couple packages that bring the car’s cost to $27,295. The Kia makes up ground with its five-star overall NHTSA safety rating (out of a possible five stars) as well as the fact that it was positively rated in almost every IIHS safety test.

Ooooh, Look at That!—Advantage: Soul

When it comes to premium features that surprise and delight, the Nissan Kicks and Kia Soul both have cool options. At Nissan, the Bose sound system with two speakers inside the driver’s headrest so impressed features editor Scott Evans that he said the system sounded better than what you get in a $180,000 Bentley Bentayga. That’s genuinely cool, but when it comes to features no one needs on a small hatchback, how about color-changing speakers that pulsate to the beat of your music? Or a panoramic sunroof, heated steering wheel, and power front seats? If you can extend your budget past $25,000, the Kia offers a number of interesting options.

But What If I Have a Tight Budget?—Advantage: Kicks

This is a close one, but we’ll give the nod to the Nissan. For $18,965, the base Kicks S includes automatic emergency braking, a rearview camera, and a 7.0-inch touchscreen. With the Kia, start by asking yourself whether you’re ready to buy a new car in 2018 without a rearview camera. If not, a base-model Soul with an automatic transmission and a rearview camera comes with the Convenience package that also adds Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, and a 7.0-inch touchscreen display. For that content—and, of course, Kia’s 5-year/60,000-mile basic warranty—the MSRP is $19,895. Not bad, but consider all the money you’ll save with the Kicks’ superior fuel economy (click on “Personalize” on this EPA page), and the Kicks comes out ahead.

So, Which One?

Although I prefer the Kia’s styling, considering how much time I spend in bumper-to-bumper traffic, I would prefer the Kicks’ fuel economy to the Soul’s better acceleration with its two top gas engines. If I had $25,000-$28,000 to spend, I’d probably get a loaded Soul Plus, which includes an impressive number of features—including a few the Kicks doesn’t offer at any price, including heated rear seats, a panoramic sunroof, adaptive cruise control, and power front seats. If my budget were tighter than that, I’d take a much closer look at the Kicks.

The post Car Compare: 2018 Nissan Kicks and 2018 Kia Soul appeared first on Motor Trend.

Categories: Property

2018 Nissan Kicks SR First Test: Trusting the Right Numbers

Motortrend News Feed - 11 hours 34 min ago

If you think 125 hp isn’t enough grunt for a subcompact crossover like the 2018 Nissan Kicks, take a step back to see the bigger (or smaller) picture. With an as-tested curb weight of just 2,643 pounds, the affordable Kicks is far lighter and more efficient than its competitors. Whether you consider the Kicks a crossover-wannabe hatchback or a genuine entry-level crossover, the Nissan is compelling for the right type of buyer. We tested a loaded $22,630 Kicks SR to determine just how competitive a 125 hp Kicks could possibly be compared to other sub-$25,000 subcompact crossovers and hatchbacks.

Although the 2018 Nissan Kicks isn’t currently on the safety-testing schedule of the NHTSA or IIHS, we appreciate that automatic emergency braking is standard on every trim.

Like the popular Kia Soul and bonkers Toyota C-HR, the Kicks doesn’t offer all-wheel drive—so if you live in the Snow Belt, you’ll want to buy winter tires. With the charming Juke gone from Nissan’s lineup, the Kicks is the automaker’s entry-level crossover. When the Rogue Sport is too expensive and the Versa Note doesn’t satisfy your need for SUV-like styling, Nissan hopes you’ll consider the Kicks. All Kicks trims are powered by a 125-hp 1.6-liter naturally aspirated I-4 with 115 lb-ft of torque. That’s less horsepower than almost all of the Nissan’s competitors, but the Kicks’ lighter weight puts the car back in the race.

A 0–60 mph time of 9.7 seconds will sound lazy to those who haven’t driven some of the Kicks’ front-drive competition. A 2015 Chevrolet Trax got to 60 in 9.3 seconds, but the 2018 C-HR took 10.3 seconds, and the three-cylinder 2018 Ford EcoSport made it to 60 in a noisy 10.7 seconds. On the road, the Kicks’ standard CVT makes the Nissan feel a little jumpy at first if you apply too much throttle, after which it eventually gets you to the speed you want. As with most vehicles in this class—the Kia Soul and Mazda CX-3 are two exceptions—passing takes time and planning. Around town, the CVT provides the smooth shift-less performance for which the automatic transmission is known, but it does simulate gear shifts if you’re driving aggressively. No paddle shifters or Sport transmission mode are available, but the Low gear on the shift stalk comes in handy when you want to slow down using engine braking instead of the actual brakes.

The engine makes noise when you’re hustling, but the tires keep surprisingly quiet around curves. The Kicks never feels like it wants to play, but the steering is well-weighted and, as we noted in our First Drive review, there’s some steering feel relative to the competition. On our figure-eight test, which tracks driving characteristics such as acceleration, braking, cornering, and the transitions between them, the 2018 Kicks SR turned in a time of 28.4 seconds at 0.56 g (average), performance that’s on par with the C-HR, Trax, and EcoSport. About the Kicks, road test editor Chris Walton said that turn-in is crisp, and that “there’s good balance with a whiff of understeer. Steering actually has some feel and heft to in on the skidpad.” A 2015 Kia Soul with the mid-level 2.0-liter I-4, however, blows away the Kicks in acceleration (8.3 seconds to 60) and figure-eight testing, taking 27.9 seconds and holding on at 0.75 g (average).

The 2018 Nissan Kicks SR completed 60–0 mph braking in 126 feet. That’s a little on the long side, but still class-competitive.

What no new Kia Soul can offer is EPA-rated fuel economy anywhere near the Kicks. In fact, the Kicks’ 31/36 mpg city/highway beats every crossover or crossover-like hatch in this price range. And although the Kicks’ on-paper rear-seat legroom and cargo specs won’t impress, check it out in person—it might feel more spacious than you expect, even if the rear doors don’t open as conveniently wide as the HR-V. Another point for the HR-V: Unlike the Honda, the Kicks’ rear headrests don’t slide out of the way when they’re not being used, compromising visibility. Otherwise, the Kicks benefits from decent sightlines front and rear.

Although the HR-V has a suspension on the harsher side, the Kicks’ suspension provides excellent ride quality over harsh pavement. You shouldn’t need to brace yourself over every road imperfection or freeway expansion joint—though you’ll probably hear them. Inside, our 2018 Kicks SR tester looked impressively decked-out for a $22,630 car. Sure, the door panels are mostly hard black plastic, but there are positive spots, too. Most vehicles at this price won’t offer the Kicks’ 7.0-inch instrument cluster display included on Kicks SVs and SRs (complete with a tire pressure monitoring system with readouts for every tire), or the leather-like material on the passenger side of the dash and the similar material on either side of the center console. Four control knobs (volume, tuning, air temperature, and air flow level) keep things straightforward, though I wish the center-stack touchscreen was mounted higher for better visibility. The Kicks lacks a covered center console storage area, but the driver does get an armrest on the right side. In back, it’d be cool if rear-seat passengers had a central armrest that folds out of the middle rear seat … but did we mention the Kicks starts at just $18,965?

Pricing is key to understanding the Kicks’ appeal. A base 2018 Kicks S still has automatic emergency braking, a rearview camera, a CVT (make sure to add an automatic transmission to your online builds of subcompacts offering a manual transmission) and a 7.0-inch touchscreen display. Features editor Scott Evans suggests in our First Drive review of the Kicks to go for the mid-grade SV model, which adds Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, 17-inch alloy wheels (instead of the S’ 16-inch steel wheels with covers), a proximity key with push-button start, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, and that 7.0-inch instrument cluster display. For $20,665—if you consider the Kicks a front-drive crossover—it’s a great value for the money.

Personally, I would go one level up, spending $600 more for the SR trim. The Kicks SR gets a leather-wrapped steering wheel, LED low-beam headlights, and Nissan’s version of a surround-view multi-camera visibility system. If you’ve ever pulled into a parking space and wondered whether you should pull up a couple more feet or whether you’re centered in the space, this system can help. The SR costs $21,265, and if you really want to splurge, a $1,000 Premium package adds leatherette seats and the superb Bose sound system with two speakers in the driver’s headrest (our tester added to that total a neat $150 two-tone paint job and $215 floor mats).

Let’s be honest, no one needs a crossover-like vehicle such as the Kicks; you want it. If you’re looking to save some money, Nissan offers cheaper and more basic A-to-B transportation in the form of the Versa Note hatch and Sentra sedan. But if you want a bit more design personality, and far better interior style and finish, the Kicks is worth investigating.

At $21,265, a Kicks SR comes in around $2,000 cheaper than a front-drive, automatic-transmission Honda HR-V EX, another spacious option that looks more like a crossover. At least for the 2018 model year, however, the Honda lacks LED headlights and automatic emergency braking, but does offer all-wheel drive and an electric parking brake with the very convenient auto-brake-hold feature. The other car to consider is the Kia Soul. If its sub-par fuel economy doesn’t bother you, the front-drive-only Soul also offers cool exterior customization options, and is much quicker with its mid-level engine.

Then again, maybe you don’t care about quick acceleration. Maybe your current car has a Sport mode you touched once, and that was by accident as you reached for something else. If you fall in that camp and don’t need all-wheel drive, the ultra-efficient Kicks is no slower than the average subcompact crossover, and offers a ton of content for not a ton of money.

Also considering the Kia Soul? Find out how the Kicks matches up to the Soul right here. 2018 Nissan Kicks SR BASE PRICE $21,265 PRICE AS TESTED $22,630 VEHICLE LAYOUT Front-engine, FWD, 5-pass, 4-door hatchback ENGINE 1.6L/125-hp/115-lb-ft DOHC 16-valve I-4 TRANSMISSION Cont variable auto CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST) 2,643 lb (61/39%) WHEELBASE 103.1 in LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 169.1 x 69.3 x 62.4 in 0-60 MPH 9.7 sec QUARTER MILE 17.5 sec @ 79.3 mph BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 126 ft LATERAL ACCELERATION 0.83 g (avg) MT FIGURE EIGHT 28.4 sec @ 0.56 g (avg) EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON 31/36/33 mpg ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY 109/94 kW-hrs/100 miles CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 0.59 lb/mile

The post 2018 Nissan Kicks SR First Test: Trusting the Right Numbers appeared first on Motor Trend.

Categories: Property

Soho House-backed Arena 8 takes West End space

Property Week News Feed - 12 hours 5 min ago
A fitness group backed by senior figures from Soho House Group has signed for space at 65 Kingsway in London’s West End, Property Week can reveal.
Categories: Property

Terra Firma eyes IWG takeover

Property Week News Feed - 12 hours 6 min ago
Office space provider IWG has confirmed it has received a takeover bid from private equity company Terra Firma.
Categories: Property

LXi sells two care homes and buys Stobart industrial scheme

Property Week News Feed - 12 hours 43 min ago
LXi REIT has sold two care homes in Leicestershire to a UK pension fund for £19m.
Categories: Property

Car2Go becomes Chicago's first park anywhere car-share

The Car Connection News Feed - Sat, 06/23/2018 - 13:00
Car2Go said Friday that it's coming to Chicago, meaning that one of America's densest cities will finally have a car-share that lets members stash vehicles on city streets. While Zipcar, Getaround, and GM's Maven all operate in Chicago, those services require members to park cars in designated parking spots. The Chicago City Council voted in March...
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2018 Acura MDX Sport Hybrid First Test: Hat Trick

Motortrend News Feed - Sat, 06/23/2018 - 09:00

“What does the SH stand for?” a curious woman asked while loading groceries into her newish Explorer, referencing the “SHAWD” badging on my Acura’s tailgate. “Super handling,” I responded. After a pause and a slightly confused look on her face, she replied, “But it’s a big SUV, why would anyone want that? … And [is it] even worth the extra money?” she asked. Two fantastic questions about the 2018 Acura MDX Sport Hybrid. After spending several days in the three-row premium hybrid crossover, I can tell you exactly why someone would opt for a big hybrid SUV with a so-called “super handling” all-wheel-drive system.

Powering the MDX Sport Hybrid is a powertrain consisting of a 3.0-liter V-6 producing 257 hp and 218 lb-ft of torque, a seven-speed twin-clutch transmission, and three electric motors powered by a 1.3 kWh battery pack. The largest of the three motors is housed in the transmission and makes 47 hp and the other two are located at the rear (where you would normally find the axles and differential on non-hybrid AWD models), each can power their own wheel separately. The system’s total power output comes to 321 hp and 289 lb-ft, topping the regular MDX’s rating of 290 hp and 267 lb-ft from its 3.5-liter V-6. A similar system—originally derived from the NSX hybrid supercar—can be found on the RLX Sport Hybrid sedan.

Where this particular Acura excels most is in around-town driving. The four-mode drive system, which is standard on the Sport Hybrid, is to thank for that. When cruising in traffic or in parking lots, Comfort mode provides all the ride comfort most need, and the hybrid system does a good job of using just the electric motors at slow speeds—as long as you don’t stab the throttle—and during steady highway cruising. With a mostly charged battery pack and feathering the throttle, I was able to get the MDX to 25 mph on all-electric power when driving through parking lots and streets with low speed limits. When the gasoline engine kicks in, the transition is sometimes not noticeable if the road is slightly rough.

Normal mode provides a good balance of ride comfort and handling by slightly stiffening the suspension and increasing steering weight and throttle response. Sport mode significantly stiffens the suspension, further increases throttle response, and makes the steering feel heavier. Sport+ mode entertainingly keeps the electric motors on, providing full power during takeoff. Sport+ mode also adjusts throttle response and transmission shifts for maximum performance, while the active suspension flattens the crossover during rapid steering changes and maneuvers. The SH-AWD’s torque vectoring capability is also maximized. We found most three-row crossover buyers would likely most  enjoy the crossover’s handling dynamics in Normal mode. Testing director Kim Reynolds wished the SH-AWD system would react sooner during hard cornering but still said, “This is fun and way better performing (subjectively) than the vast majority of SUVs.”

But most folks buy a hybrid for improved gas mileage, not sporty drive modes. So how much better is fuel economy with the MDX hybrid compared to the non-hybrid model with all-wheel drive? On the highway, the gasoline engine is running most of the time so EPA-rated fuel economy is only improved by 1 mpg to 27 mpg—carrying an extra 238 pounds doesn’t help the hybrid, either. City driving is where the difference is significant. The non-hybrid MDX AWD is rated between 18-19 mpg (depending on whether engine start/stop is equipped) but the Sport Hybrid takes that figure to 26 mpg, almost matching the highway rating. Because both MDX models use the same-size gas tank, the total driving range is also extended to 526 miles over the non-hybrid’s 410-429 miles (based on 45 percent highway and 55 percent city driving). Using that city/highway driving ratio and an expectation of 15,000 miles a year, the EPA says that MDX AWD drivers will spend $450 more on gasoline annually than MDX Sport Hybrid buyers (personalize those values for yourself at the EPA’s site here). Considering the $1,540 premium for the base Sport Hybrid Technology trim over the same trim in the all-wheel-drive non-hybrid MDX, that’s not a bad deal for buyers considering a $50,000+ premium crossover.

In comparison, the Lexus RX 450hL premium three-row rival edges the MDX with a 29/28 mpg rating, while the smaller and similarly priced Volvo XC60 T8 plug-in hybrid does 26/28 mpg when in hybrid mode and can run on all-electric power for up to 17 miles on a full battery.

Some buyers assume hybrids are slow and not fun to drive, but that is not the case with the MDX Sport Hybrid. The extra power from the hybrid powertrain is evident during acceleration. During Motor Trend instrumented testing, the hybrid performed slightly better than the regular MDX, hitting 60 mph in 6.0 seconds compared to the non-hybrid hitting the mark in 6.2 seconds (the two-row RX 450h took 7.0 seconds and the XC60 T8 took 5.4 seconds). In the quarter-mile, the hybrid took 14.6 seconds at 95.2 mph, just beating the non-hybrid’s run of 14.7 seconds at 94.6 mph. Test driver Chris Walton was surprised by the hybrid SUV’s quickness and described the upshifts as smooth. During normal driving, the hybrid system provides plenty of power whenever needed and the twin-clutch transmission is quick and smooth.

Our figure-eight handling course runs were almost identical; the non-hybrid’s 27.0-second run just beat the hybrid’s 27.2 seconds (both averaged 0.65 g). Both variants stopped from 60 mph in a respectable 121 feet but with the hybrid, Walton noted a “big delay between jumping on the pedal and actual slowing.” Additionally, as with most hybrids, the brakes feel a little mushy but still stop well.

In case you’re worried that the hybrid system will impede on interior room, don’t. Designers packaged the MDX Sport Hybrid to have the same cargo and passenger room as the regular MDX while offering more than some competitors—the small battery pack plays a part in that. Behind the third row, the Sport Hybrid offers 15.0 cubic feet of cargo space, 38.4 cubic feet with the third row folded down, and 68.4 with second and third rows folded. The RX 450hL can hold 7.5 cubic feet of cargo behind the third row, 23.0 behind the second row, and a maximum of 58.5 cubic feet behind the front seats. The two-row XC60 T8 measures at 21.1 cubic feet behind the second row and 49.3 with it folded down. The MDX also beats both in passenger volume as well.

Inside, Acura redesigned the MDX’s dual-screen multimedia interface with a new lower touchscreen that is now capacitive and quicker to respond. More intuitive menus and command structures were added as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration—smart feature additions considering we haven’t always been fans of Acura infotainment systems in the past. The interior is quiet, too.

Our tester came in the highest Advanced trim that includes 20-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, LED fog lights, LED puddle lights, perforated premium leather-trimmed seats, heated and ventilated 10-way power front seats, a heated steering wheel, tri-zone automatic climate control, a premium audio system, a navigation system, heated second-row captain’s chairs with a center console, second-row sunshades, a top 8.0-inch screen, a bottom 7.0-inch touchscreen, and a slew of safety features.

The standard AcuraWatch package of driver-assist safety features consists of adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking with collision warning, lane keep assist with lane departure warning, and road departure mitigating. The Advanced trim also gets a surround-view camera system, and blind-spot monitoring with rear-cross traffic alert. In IIHS crash testing, the Acura, Lexus, and Volvo crossovers all performed well—all are considered 2018 Top Safety Picks. NHTSA gave the 2018 MDX Sport Hybrid its highest overall rating of five stars. Although the long-wheelbase RX 450hL has yet to be tested, the regular-wheelbase 2018 RX 450h also received five stars. The 2018 XC60 has yet to be crash-tested by the NHTSA.

The Acura MDX Sport Hybrid has a lot going for it, but the crossover does lack in some areas. Even though the multimedia system is easy to use, the dual-screen interface looks aged as does the navigation map, instrument panel, and center stack. The second-row seats are a little firm and the two-seat third row should be reserved for kids only (I made the mistake of trying to fit my 6-foot self back there). I wish a head-up display, more interior ambient lighting, and a power-folding third row were offered. The adaptive cruise control system works like a charm but the lane centering system is not as advanced as some and will ping pong between lanes without substantial driver input—somewhat defeating the purpose of the system. The MDX also blends in with other large crossovers; it doesn’t have a distinctive look, but our tester’s black wheels did look cool.

The MDX Sport Hybrid is a relative value considering the Advance trim’s sticker price of $59,145. The only other trim for the hybrid is a base trim that includes the Technology package, and starts at $53,095. The RX 450hL starts at $51,645 but you miss out on Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a navigation system, a heated steering wheel, power-folding mirrors, and blind-spot monitoring with rear-cross traffic alert. The smaller Volvo XC60 T8 Plug-in has more power and an all-electric driving range but has a starting price of $53,895.

Not everyone will understand the point of a sporty, efficient hybridized luxury crossover, and that’s fine. But some drivers will appreciate a crossover that visits the gas pump less often, even if the hybrid system costs more, enjoy driving on quiet and clean all-electric power, and have fun with a multi-driving-mode crossover with the instant power response of electric motors. Personally, I would gladly pay the $1,540 premium for the Sport Hybrid version of the MDX.

2018 Acura MDX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD (Advance) BASE PRICE $59,145 PRICE AS TESTED $59,145 VEHICLE LAYOUT Front-engine, AWD, 6-pass, 4-door SUV ENGINE 3.0L/257-hp/218-lb-ft SOHC 24-valve V-6 plus 47-hp/109-bl-ft central and (36+36)-hp/(54+54)-lb-ft dual rear electric motors; 321 hp/289 lb-ft combined TRANSMISSION 7-speed twin-clutch auto CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST) 4,460 lb (57/43%) WHEELBASE 111.0 in LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 196.2 x 77.7 x 67.4 in 0-60 MPH 6.0 sec QUARTER MILE 14.6 sec @ 95.2 mph BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 121 ft LATERAL ACCELERATION 0.83 g (avg) MT FIGURE EIGHT 27.2 sec @ 0.65 g (avg) EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON 26/27/27 mpg ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY 130/125 kW-hrs/100 miles CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 0.73 lb/mile

The post 2018 Acura MDX Sport Hybrid First Test: Hat Trick appeared first on Motor Trend.

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Refreshing or Revolting: 2019 Volvo S60

Motortrend News Feed - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 22:00

The last-generation Volvo S60 has been around since the 2011 model year and was refreshed for 2014. In today’s market, that is a long time. But the Swedish automaker has been hard at work redesigning the rest of its lineup, saving the S60 for last. With the release of the V60 wagon, we had an idea of how the S60 would look, and like the rest of Volvo’s redesigned lineup, it’s a major improvement over the previous version. The redesigned S60 enters a highly competitive segment that includes premium rivals such as the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, BMW 3 Series, and Audi A4.

Looking at the front of the car, the new thinner and sharper-looking headlights with the ubiquitous Thor’s Hammer LED daytime running lights lend a much better look than the previous rounded headlights. The larger-looking grille with a chrome surround and sleeker front bumper are also improvements over the previous S60.

The new S60’s hood is longer, and the front overhang has been shortened. The trunk is also longer and with more rear overhang. All this creates a longer and sportier stance when compared to the outgoing model. The body lines are more defined, creating a sharper, less rounded look.

In the rear, the new S60 takes many cues from the S90, including the C-shaped taillights that look much more modern when compared to the former S60’s taillights. Make and model badging stays in the same area, the rear bumper and lower valance appear thinner, and the bright exhaust outlets now have a more rectangular shape. Overall, the rear end looks sportier and more premium.

It’s pretty remarkable how Volvo has transformed the S60’s interior from “Is that from 2006?” to one of the most impressive in the segment. The standard 8.0-inch digital cluster is crisp and can be upgraded to a larger 12.3-inch unit. The former instrument panel is partially digital and not nearly as good looking. The infotainment screen on the old S60 is small, recessed, and with a dated resolution, but the new S60 has a tablet-style 9.0-inch touchscreen with swipe and pinch-to-zoom capability. The A/C vents in the outgoing S60 are bland and not much to look at. Adopting air vents from other Volvo models, the new S60’s vents are simple yet stylish with a metallic center slit and knob that almost resembles the front of an airplane on its side. Thankfully, the center stack of the new S60 loses the myriad of buttons (including the old number pad) for the previously mentioned 9.0-inch touchscreen and a handful of buttons below it. The interior materials, as well as the overall design, are a huge step in the right direction for the new Volvo S60.

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The post Refreshing or Revolting: 2019 Volvo S60 appeared first on Motor Trend.

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Modified Volkswagen Jetta Will Attempt Bonneville Speed Record

Motortrend News Feed - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 21:00

Volkswagen will attempt to set a class record at Bonneville Speed Week with a modified Jetta. To beat the BGC/G record, it will have to go faster than 208.472 mph.

The Bonneville car is based on the 2019 Jetta, which has been completely redesigned. It receives a host of upgrades from stock, including a lowered suspension, limited-slip differential, and special wheels and tires that can handle the Salt Flats in Wendover, Utah.

It also receives a modified version of the automaker’s 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder engine. VW says the model previews the powertrain that will debut on the Jetta GLI performance model. The GTI is also expected to get the 2.0-liter four-cylinder.

Inside, the Bonneville Jetta is fitted with a roll cage, racing seat, harness, and fire suppression system. It also has a pair of parachutes that can slow it down if needed.

Bonneville preparation specialists THR Manufacturing, based in California, helped bring this special Jetta to life. The exterior graphics were the work of Volkswagen’s Design Center in California. Director Reto Brun said in a statement, “We wish the team luck as they attempt to make this the fastest Jetta—and the fastest production-based Volkswagen—ever seen!”

We won’t have to wait long to see if the Jetta can take the crown. Bonneville Speed Week takes place August 11-17.

Source: Volkswagen

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