2020 Volvo V60 Cross Country First Drive: Swedish Fish

Motortrend News Feed - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 09:00

While an Arctic chill shut things down in Michigan, we headed to the Arctic Circle for comparative warmth. And while Americans continue to unabatedly love SUVs and crossovers, we were in northern Sweden because, to our great joy, Volvo continues to make wagons. Delicious dichotomies.

We flew to Lulea, Sweden, to get behind the wheel of the 2020 Volvo V60 Cross County, a hiked-up wagon for those who want their daily driver to double as a toy in the wild with all-wheel drive, hill descent control, extra ground clearance, and lots of room for gear and other playthings.

Volvo is on an upswing with a string of beautifully styled vehicles on new architectures that leave the old partnership with Ford far in the rearview mirror. In addition to SUVs or crossovers, the Swedish brand remains committed to cars, including even lower-volume wagons, in the U.S.

American demand for wagons is so low that Volvo dealers don’t stock them in all sizes—you have to order the larger V90 online. But the midsize V60 is in a sweet spot, and dealers will have it and its Cross Country cousin shipped from Torslanda, Sweden, and in stock.

The Cross Country, being more rugged and closer to the almighty crossover, is expected to outsell the regular V60 4:1. Dealers will start taking orders in March for delivery in July. Pricing has not been announced, but expect the rugged wagon to start in the $45,000 range.

Return of the V60 Cross Country

Volvo last offered a V60 Cross Country for the 2018 model year. There was a conventional 2019 V60 but no Cross Country.

So for the return of the V60 Cross Country for 2020, we packed our long johns and fur-rimmed hats and headed to a fairy tale land of ice and snow to test its mettle. Temperatures were in the -17 degree Fahrenheit range just south of the Arctic Circle. Ironically back home in the U.S., Detroit was registering -11, nearby Chicago was -23, and parts of Minnesota registered an eye-popping -48 courtesy of a Polar Vortex that brought frigid air down from Canada.

For northern Sweden, icy temperatures are the norm, which resulted in ice so thick on the Gulf of Bothnia this year that when we attempted to measure it, the depth exceeded the normal 32-inch measuring tool and we were left to guess how much deeper it went. The Gulf, which stretches to neighboring Finland, and other frozen bodies of water served as ice roads and handling courses for our two days of frozen fun with the newest Cross Country.

We had a fleet of T5 AWD models with the turbocharged version of the 2.0-liter engine in all Volvos. It generates 250 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. The U.S. will only get the T5 powertrain with an eight-speed automatic transmission, but we found the power to be more than adequate.

Our T5 was outfitted with Michelin X-Ice North studded tires. Ice caught in the wheels created an imbalance that made it hard to really gauge the vehicle’s on-road manners. But they should not differ much from the V60 wagon that MotorTrend found to be more relaxed than a BMW 3 Series wagon, with little urgency and often seeking more power than the transmission is delivering. It shines in Comfort mode. The 60-series has left behind the old Ford EUCD architecture and has joined the 90-series on Volvo’s global Scalable Product Architecture.

Clear That Snowbank

Much of our evaluation was centered on how well the wagon handles snow and ice. The Cross Country has almost 8.3 inches of ground clearance compared with 5.8 inches on the regular wagon. Some of that comes from bigger wheels (we were on 235/45R19); the rest is from the raised chassis. A track extender allowed Volvo to set the wheels about 1.2 inches wider. The wheelbase remains the same as the regular V60.

The Cross Country has 8 percent softer spring rates to prioritize comfort over rough roads. It has a control-arm front suspension, but where bigger brother V90 Cross Country has rear air suspension, V60 Cross Country gets a transverse composite leaf spring at the rear axle, which kept the cruising comfortable in all conditions. The electric power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering was tuned to match the elevated chassis and made both control and drifting easy tasks. Although we were on 19-inch wheels, the Cross Country is also available with 18s and 20s in Europe.

All-wheel drive is standard on the Cross Country. No buttons to push; it’s an updated version of the fifth-generation BorgWarner (formerly Haldex) system. The improvements largely reduced weight and cost while making it more fuel efficient.

Reindeer Alert

We were warned of the region’s ample moose and reindeer population—a perfect way to test the vehicle’s large animal mitigation system, which warns of large, often-antlered creatures at the side of the road and automatically brakes if a collision is deemed imminent. Alas, no such sightings occurred on our drive. We had to simulate sudden lane change maneuvers with cones on a frozen sea. The only reindeer was on our plate. In Scandinavia it’s the prevalent protein source and is consumed with a lovely gravy and spoonfuls of lingonberries to juice up the lean meat.

City Safety is the umbrella term for Volvo’s standard collision avoidance systems. Pilot Assist provides steering, braking, and accelerating assistance as part of the adaptive cruise control and lane keep assist systems.

On a 1.2-mile handling track on pure ice, we did laps with traction control engaged to feel the back end try to slide out, only to be forcibly—but not abruptly—pulled back into line again and again and again. Volvo takes its reputation for safety very seriously.

Then we tuned the Swedish nanny off and got to really play. The takeaway: Wagons are an incredibly fun body style to drift. The long back end acts as the tail wanting to wag the dog. But the vehicle is also adept at transitioning from one curve to the next with a little throttle and hands working to resist overcompensating and spinning into the snowbanks lining the course.

An obstacle course built of ice and snow showcased hill descent control, which kicks in automatically when in Off-Road mode to control the wagon down a steep hill while the pedals are foot-free. It’s notable how quiet the Volvo system is. Many competitors have noisy descent control akin to tennis players grunting to telegraph the effort involved. Similarly, the hill start assist is seamless in its ability to stop, hold in place, and continue on up the hill with no action needed by the driver. Snow obstacles twisted the long body of the wagon and left no marks while giant snowbanks created a faux halfpipe and showed how well the tires can keep a heavily tilted vehicle from toppling over.

Just Cross Country

There are no Momentum or Inscription or R-Design trims to choose from—it’s just Cross Country. Our evaluation vehicles were white with a black interior and attractive metallic trim to brighten it up. Volvo has become known for its open-pore woods, but designers also developed an edgier and more modern ambience with the careful use of metals and leathers with pearl stitching. The seats are darn comfortable, too.

A personal gripe: USB ports hidden in the covered console you have to open to access. Given the inability of society to part with devices, new vehicles should offer easily accessible and exposed outlets and a spot to rest the charging phone. Volvo did design slats into the cupholder section to stand up two phones, so Brownie points for that. And infotainment is via the Sensus system with its large screen and often-slow-to-load software.

Many luxury vehicles have a single setting to heat the steering wheel, but the V60 Cross Country has three. Birthed in a cold nation, Volvo understands the value of heat. I dare you to stay on the highest setting for a lengthy drive. There are also three degrees of heated seats.

Cross Country variants date back to the original 1997–2000 Volvo V70 XC, followed by a second-generation V70 XC in 2001, and a third generation debuted in 2008. The introduction of a V90 Cross Country for the 2017 model year marked the fourth generation, made possible by the flexibility of the new architecture.

V60 T8 teaser

We also spent a little time in the V60 T8 with Volvo’s plug-in hybrid Twin Engine powertrain providing all-wheel drive. Global T8 production is not scheduled to begin until the spring of 2020, and at this point there are no plans to sell it in North America. Volvo is taking a deliberate wait-and-see attitude to gauge demand for the V60 overall. The U.S. could get the T6 plug-in hybrid instead of the T8, but again, no green lights yet.

The T8 we drove briefly had Nokian Hakkapeliitta 8 studded tires and the telltale grabby brakes of a hybrid. The plug-in felt heavier and not as spirited to drive. Nor is its battery-only range groundbreaking at only 27 miles, though it beats the XC90’s 19 miles on electricity alone. Push a button for permanent all-wheel drive to be engaged with the help of the gas engine augmenting the electric motor already supplying power to the rear wheels.

At the Lulea University of Technology, a research project classifies different types of snow. It is this focus on elements that forged a car like the V60 Cross Country. We can now attest to its abilities in harsh conditions and look forward to spending more time with it on regular tires, in regular conditions, and on regular roads.

2020 Volvo V60 Cross Country BASE PRICE $45,000 (est) VEHICLE LAYOUT Front-engine, AWD 5-pass, 4-door wagon ENGINES 2.0L/250-hp/258-lb-ft turbocharged DOHC 16-valve I-4 TRANSMISSION 8-speed automatic CURB WEIGHT 4,000-4,150 lb (mfr) WHEELBASE 113.2 in LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT 188.3 x 72.8 x 59.0 in 0-60 MPH 7.0 sec (MT est) EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON Not yet rated ON SALE IN U.S. July 2019

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Categories: Property

Segro seeks £450m to fund new development

Property Week News Feed - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 08:20
Segro has launched a £450m share issue to fund its development pipeline.
Categories: Property

The 2020 Kia Soul EV Has a Range of 243 Miles

Motortrend News Feed - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 01:30

Kia recently showed off the newly redesigned third-generation Soul, and one of the most interesting changes had to do with the fully electric version. Using a 64-kWh lithium-ion battery borrowed from the Hyundai Kona EV, the Soul EV promised to pair boxy practicality with electric efficiency. But until today, we still didn’t know what kind of range the Soul EV would offer.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the 2020 Kia Soul EV has a total range of 243 miles. That works out to a fuel economy rating of 127/101/114 MPGe (city/highway/combined), as well as an estimated $3,250 in savings over the course of five years, by the EPA’s estimates.

But most likely due to the Soul’s less aerodynamic styling, its corporate cousin the Hyundai Kona EV actually manages to squeeze a longer range out of the same battery pack. The Kona EV earned a 258-mile range rating from the EPA back in August. But as we found in our 2019 SUV of the Year test, the Kona EV’s longer range comes at the expense of cargo capacity and rear passenger comfort.

And even though the 2020 Soul EV’s range comes up a bit short compared to the Kona EV, it’s still a huge improvement over the outgoing version. When Kia last updated the previous-generation Soul EV, its 30-kWh battery only provided a 111-mile range. Its motor was also only good for 109 hp and 210 lb-ft of torque. The 2020 Soul EV, on the other hand, gives you 201 horsepower and 291 lb-ft of torque, likely making it quite a bit quicker.

Source: EPA

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Categories: Property

Goodman’s record industrial land buy

Property Week News Feed - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 00:00
Industrial developer Goodman Group has acquired a 9.5-acre site in Park Royal, west London, in partnership with the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and APG for around £70m – in what is by far the biggest ever UK industrial land acquisition in terms of price per acre.
Categories: Property

Prime logistics take-up soars to second-highest-ever level

Property Week News Feed - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 00:00
Prime logistics warehouses posted the second-strongest occupier take-up figures ever in 2018, according to Gerald Eve data shared exclusively with Property Week.
Categories: Property

Bellway buys former school for resi scheme

Property Week News Feed - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 00:00
Developer plans to build 183 homes on former boarding school site in Sussex
Categories: Property

Canal trust buys Midlands scheme

Property Week News Feed - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 00:00
The Canal & River Trust has bought two warehouses totalling 283,000 sq ft in Cannock, West Midlands, for £28m.
Categories: Property

Carter Jonas poaches six surveyors from GL Hearn

Property Week News Feed - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 00:00
Six development surveyors have left GL Hearn to join Carter Jonas’s planning and development team.
Categories: Property

Hyundai to Debut Tiny Crossover at New York Auto Show

Motortrend News Feed - Thu, 02/14/2019 - 23:30

Hyundai will use the New York auto show to unveil a tiny addition to the lineup, a crossover smaller than the Kona, and it will be sold in the U.S.

The A-segment crossover will go on sale later this year. While the larger B-segment Hyundai Kona is on the sportier side and well-contented, the smaller A-segment vehicle will have a more traditional body style but will not look like a mainstream utility vehicle.

“It’s smaller and it’s distinctively different than Kona,” said SangYup Lee, head of the Hyundai Global Design Center in Namyang, Korea, in an interview with MotorTrend.

Being so small, there are limitations to design because it must be functional space. Lee said it has a “very very distinctive two box area. So imagine Kona as a really fast profile, distinctive, iconic character to it, but this one is almost very boxy, bold, bull-doggy character.”

The A-segment vehicle will be more entry level, for an even younger buyer than the Kona. It will not sit on the same platform as the Kona.

“We see it as a niche market,” said Lee said, confirming it will be offered in North America, a market that has not had much of an appetite for such small cars—think Fiat 500. But Lee thinks there is demand for such a small car, and it represents an opportunity for growth. The market has a lot of players in the mainstream utility segments from compact to full-size, but the A-segment is white space where Hyundai can be more ambitious and create its own niche market, he said.

“We want to be ambitious with CUVs,” he said. For years, Hyundai lacked a full complement of crossovers—relying on Tucson and Santa Fe—and its car-centric lineup cost it sales and the jobs of a couple U.S. CEOs who oversaw the automaker during the sales downturn.

The lineup has grown with the addition of new nameplates at both ends of the spectrum: the small subcompact Kona and Kona EV as well as the large three-row, eight-passenger Palisade coming this summer. There is also the Nexo fuel cell vehicle. Genesis will add its first SUV, the GV80, this year.

The Hyundai Kona is pictured above.

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Categories: Property

Apple’s Autonomous Cars Require a Lot of Human Intervention

Motortrend News Feed - Thu, 02/14/2019 - 23:30

California’s Department of Motor Vehicles released its annual report outlining how frequently humans had to take over driving responsibilities from each company’s autonomous prototypes while testing on public roads. As you might expect, if you measure the number of miles per disengagement, Google’s Waymo is at the top. But you might not expect Apple to be at the bottom of the list…the very bottom of the list.

Bloomberg reports that Waymo’s prototypes were able to travel 11,000 miles between disengagements, with GM’s Cruise coming in a distant second with 5,200 miles. And Apple? Apple’s autonomous prototypes clocked in at an incredibly brief 1.1 miles per disengagement. That means Waymo’s vehicles travel 10,000 times farther than Apple’s before encountering a situation they couldn’t handle without human help.

To be fair, miles per disengagement isn’t the only metric that matters when it comes to developing autonomous technology. A mile of highway driving is a lot less difficult than a mile of city driving, and you’ll probably see a lot more disengagements in poor weather testing than you will when it’s clear and sunny. One company may have different standards than another for deciding how much risk it’s willing to take to avoid disengagements. But the fact that Apple’s prototypes have been disengaging every mile is still concerning.

The news coincides with Apple’s decision last month to lay off 200 people working on its self-driving car project, known internally as Project Titan. It’s also a great reminder that autonomous cars still have a way to go before they enter the mainstream.

Source: Bloomberg

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Categories: Property

Tesla Launches Dog Mode and Sentry Mode Across Lineup

Motortrend News Feed - Thu, 02/14/2019 - 22:00

Tesla is rolling out a new advanced alarm system called Sentry Mode, as well as new protection for pets left in the vehicle called Dog Mode, which sets a comfortable cabin temperature while the car’s owner is away.

Sentry Mode might just be what the Viper alarms of the 1970s and ’80s would have become had they been updated by the likes of Tesla CEO Elon Musk. The system continuously monitors the vehicle’s surrounding environment when it’s left unattended. It starts with a “standby” state, which uses the vehicle’s external cameras to watch for potential threats, the automaker says. It moves itself into “alert” status if there is a “minimal” threat, whereby a message on the vehicle’s huge center touchscreen warns onlookers that the cameras are recording.

If the threat escalates to the likes of a broken window, the alarm activates, the brightness of the center display is cranked up, and the audio system plays music at maximum volume, while the owner is alerted on his or her mobile app. The owner can download a video recording of the incident remotely. The video recording begins 10 minutes before the incident, provided the owner has inserted a formatted USB drive into the car before enabling Sentry Mode.

Tesla began adding Sentry Mode to its owners’ vehicles beginning Wednesday via over-the-air updates, according to a press release.

Introducing Dog Mode: set a cabin temperature to keep your dog comfortable while letting passersby know they don't need to worry

— Tesla (@Tesla) February 14, 2019

Tesla’s huge center screen also is key to its new Dog Mode, which the company announced on Twitter. Dog Mode sets a cabin temperature that keeps the owners’ pets comfy when the driver makes a stop and leaves the car. The center screen lets any concerned passersby know the pets are safe with messages like “My owner will be back soon” while prominently displaying the interior temperature.

Dog Mode also is being added to all Teslas via wireless update.

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Categories: Property

The 2020 Kia Telluride Gets up to 20/26 MPG

Motortrend News Feed - Thu, 02/14/2019 - 21:00

Fuel economy numbers for the 2020 Kia Telluride has cropped up on the EPA’s website. Kia’s new large crossover is rated 20/26/23 mpg city/highway/combined, when paired with front-wheel drive.

That rating is in line with key competitors. The 2019 Honda Pilot tops out at 20/27/23 mpg, while the Highlander gets 21/27/23 mpg when paired with a V-6. The Telluride comes standard with a 3.8-liter V-6 engine making 291 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque. Power is routed through an eight-speed automatic transmission.

The Telluride performs better than comparable versions of the Chevrolet Traverse and Volkswagen Atlas. When paired with a V-6, the Traverse tops out at 18/27/21 mpg while the Atlas gets 17/24/19 mpg. These two crossovers are on target with the Telluride when they are paired with four-cylinder engines.

When equipped with all-wheel drive, the Telluride dips to 19/24/21 mpg. That’s slightly lower than the Pilot (19/26/22) and Highlander (20/27/23). But the rating is higher than the Traverse (17/25/20) and Atlas (17/23/19).

The Telluride is expected to arrive with limited availability this spring. Prices will start at $32,735 on the base model, although the top trim will go for $42,535. In the summer, Hyundai will introduce its own three-row competitor, the Palisade. Both three rows share the same basic architecture and drivetrains. Fuel economy ratings for the Palisade haven’t been announced on the EPA’s website, so we will keep our eyes peeled.


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Categories: Property

2019 Ram 1500 Classic Warlock Takes It Back to 1976

Motortrend News Feed - Thu, 02/14/2019 - 20:15

Back in 1976, Dodge introduced the Warlock Macho Power Wagon as part of its “Adult Toys” line. According to the original press release, the Warlock could “fill today’s need for ‘fun trucking'” thanks to its “bucket seats, decorative striping, fancy wheels and tires, and real oak sideboards.” Today, Ram announced the Warlock Macho Power Wagon is back in the form of the 2019 Ram 1500 Classic Warlock.

Starting with the Ram 1500 Classic, the previous-generation truck that Ram still sells, the Warlock gets the old Ram Rebel’s grille, 20-inch black aluminum wheels, powder-coated bumpers, a 1-inch lift, black fender flares, and LED foglights and taillights. Ram then added blacked-out badges, tow hooks, upgraded rear shocks, and big Warlock decals. And while it doesn’t come standard, a sport hood is also available.

Inside, you get gray cloth upholstery, parking assist, and the Luxury Group package. Heated seats, a larger touchscreen with a navigation system, side steps, and a spray-in bed liner are all optional. The Warlock can be ordered with a 305-hp V-6 or 395-hp V-8 in 4×2 or 4×4 configurations. Quad cab and crew cab versions will both be offered, each with your choice of 10 paint colors.

The Warlock will go on sale next month with a base price of $37,040 including destination.

Source: Ram

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Categories: Property

Detroit-built self-driving delivery vehicles put to the test in China

The Car Connection News Feed - Thu, 02/14/2019 - 18:30
Detroit-based Quadrobot is ready to take its self-driving mail delivery vehicle on the road. The startup company told The Detroit Free Press Sunday that it has plans to begin tests in China, and locally in Michigan, later this year with its Quadrobot U1. The tiny vehicle boasts an all-wheel-drive system, four-wheel steering, and sits on a...
Categories: Property

Bentley Bentayga Speed Can Hit 190 MPH

Motortrend News Feed - Thu, 02/14/2019 - 17:48

Three years after introducing the Bentayga, Bentley is announcing full details on the hotted-up Speed version. The Bentley Bentayga Speed makes more power than the regular model, although not as much as we had expected from previous reports. It also has a higher top speed, which Bentley says is enough to make it the world’s fastest production SUV.

The 6.0-liter W-12 engine in the Speed makes 626 hp and 664 lb-ft of torque. Last month, Autocar first broke news of the new variant, although it predicted 650 hp. According to Bentley, the extra 26 ponies will be enough to hit 62 mph in 3.9 seconds. Power is routed through an eight-speed automatic transmission. Top speed comes in at 306 km/h (190 mph), putting it just a sliver ahead of the Lamborghini Urus at 305 km/h (189.5 mph). That’s despite the fact the Urus makes 641 hp.

The Speed is available with the largest and most powerful ceramic brakes Bentley has ever used. Not only do they have a maximum braking torque of 4,425 lb-ft, but they save more than 44 pounds compared to iron brakes and they can withstand temperatures up to 1,832 degrees Fahrenheit.

To differentiate the Speed visually, Bentley has given the lights dark tinting in the front and rear. The automaker also gives the dark treatment to the bumper and radiator grilles. The front and rear bumper splitters are body-colored, and there is a new tailgate spoiler. Finishing off the look are 22-inch wheels, as well as Speed badges on the doors.

The Bentley Bentayga Speed will debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March. It goes on sale globally later this year.

Source: Bentley

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Categories: Property

Honda Ridgeline recalled for fuel pump that may crack when exposed to car wash soap

The Car Connection News Feed - Thu, 02/14/2019 - 15:35
Keeping a car clean is usually a good thing, but not when it comes to certain Honda Ridgeline pickup trucks. The Honda pickup is subject to a new recall to rectify a faulty fuel pump that could crack when exposed to certain car-wash detergents. The recall approved by the NHTSa this week covers 106,683 affected Ridgelines from the 2017-2019 model...
Categories: Property

Ford truck recall, New JLR engine, Washington state's EV push: What's New @ The Car Connection

The Car Connection News Feed - Thu, 02/14/2019 - 15:30
1.5M Ford F-150 pickup trucks recalled over transmission problem Ford Motor Company said Wednesday that it will recall about 1.3 million full-size pickup trucks in the U.S. to fix a software issue that could cause their automatic transmissions to abruptly downshift. The recall affects 2011-2013 Ford F-150 pickup trucks built with 6-speed automatic...
Categories: Property

​Oxbridge will need around 2.5 sq ft worth of new lab space

Property Week News Feed - Thu, 02/14/2019 - 13:36
Cambridge and Oxford will need around 2.5m sq ft worth of new lab space to accommodate the next five years of growth, according to research from property consultancy Bidwells.
Categories: Property

​Oxbrdige will need around 2.5 sq ft worth of new lab space

Property Week News Feed - Thu, 02/14/2019 - 13:36
Cambridge and Oxford will need around 2.5m sq ft worth of new lab space to accommodate the next five years of growth, according to research from property consultancy Bidwells.
Categories: Property

​JCRA hires Marshall to strengthen debt advisory offering

Property Week News Feed - Thu, 02/14/2019 - 13:29
JCRA has appointed Simon Marshall as a director within its real estate division as the firm looks to boost its presence within the debt advisory sector.
Categories: Property