2021 Toyota RAV4

The Car Connection News Feed - Tue, 12/29/2020 - 15:00
The 2021 Toyota RAV4 compact crossover SUV still has a few tricks up its sleeve. It adds a plug-in hybrid this year, with a twist: the 2021 RAV4 Prime has the quickest acceleration of the lineup. For 2021 the RAV4 Hybrid can be ordered as an XLE Premium, too. The 2021 RAV4 gets a 6.4 TCC Rating but that could rise higher when official safety data...
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Believe It or Not, Chrysler Was Once Detroit’s Most Innovative Automaker

Motortrend News Feed - Tue, 12/29/2020 - 14:00

Think of Chrysler history, and what comes to mind? Probably financial struggles and K-cars. But that wasn’t always Chrysler’s legacy. In the days before Fiat, Daimler, and Lee Iacocca, Chrysler was known as Detroit’s engineering powerhouse, a company that developed technical innovations that were copied quickly by its cross-town rivals. How did Chrysler earn that reputation—and how was it lost?

Chrysler History: Launching With the Industry’s Most Innovative Car

Chrysler established its tech-savvy reputation for innovation with its very first car. At the 1924 New York Auto Show, Walter P. Chrysler unveiled a new car that was regarded as a technological masterpiece. Its 3.3-liter straight-six engine had a then-unheard-of 4.7:1 compression ratio, and it produced 68 horsepower. (For comparison, Ford’s 1928 Model A had a 3.3-liter four-cylinder that produced only 40 hp.) The engine was loaded with innovative features, including pressure lubrication, an oil filter, and a carburetor air filter that doubled as a silencer.

But what made the Chrysler go was no less innovative than what made it stop: The 1924 Chrysler boasted four-wheel hydraulic brakes, this at a time when most cars only had mechanical brakes on two wheels. With its tubular axles and shock absorbers, the Chrysler could be driven at its top speed of 75 mph without soiling one’s jazz trousers.

Chrysler History: The Talent Behind the Innovations

The 1924 Chrysler was not Walter P.’s own work; he was a great businessman rather than a great engineer. Much of the development was done by Carl Breer, Owen Skelton, and Fred Zeder, a trio of engineers known as the Three Musketeers that Walter P. Chrysler brought onboard when he was hired to turn around Willys-Overland. Chrysler took over Maxwell in 1922, and the Three Musketeers followed. When Maxwell was reorganized into Chrysler Corp. in 1925, Zeder was named chief engineer.

Chrysler innovations continued at a rapid pace. In 1925, Zeder developed a vibration damper and rubber engine mounts to reduce vibration. In 1930, Chrysler was the first automaker to adapt the more efficient downdraft carburetor (as opposed to the common updraft carburetor) to a passenger car. In 1931, Skelton developed a new method of mounting the engine to the chassis that aligned its natural rocking axis with its center of gravity, further reducing vibration. The system was called “Floating Power,” and Chrysler advertised the daylights out of it.

Chrysler History: Before the Automatic, Chrysler Automated the Transmission

The 1934 Airflow, sold under the Chrysler and DeSoto brands, was a bit too futuristic for the market, but it did have one rather innovative feature, an automatic overdrive function. With the transmission in second or third gear, the driver could engage overdrive by momentarily lifting off of the accelerator pedal.

A further Chrysler transmission development was Fluid Drive, which replaced the flywheel with a hydraulic coupling (similar to a torque converter but without the torque-multiplying effect). Paired with a conventional manual transmission, it allowed the driver to stop the car and take off again without stepping on the clutch.

Fluid Drive could also be combined with a semi-automatic transmission. The semi-auto had Low and High ranges, each with two speeds. The driver could shift into High range, then start and stop the car without using the clutch. Lifting off of the accelerator at about 20 mph would allow the car to shift to its higher speed range, and flooring the accelerator forced a downshift. The clutch was only necessary for shifting to Low range (for better acceleration) or reverse.

Chrysler History: Key-Starts, Bonded Shoes, and Hemi Heads

World War II redirected much of Chrysler’s attention to the war effort, but by the late 1940s, the innovations were once again pouring out. In 1949, Chrysler introduced bonded brake linings, replacing the rivets that formerly attached linings to shoes and increasing brake life. The 1949 Chrysler was the first car you could start by turning the ignition key rather than pushing a separate button.

In 1951, Chrysler introduced an innovation it still banks on today: The hemispherical cylinder head. Hemi engines were able to extract more power and better fuel economy from the low-octane fuel then available.

Where Chrysler didn’t innovate, it often improved. Packard and Cadillac introduced air conditioning in 1940 and 1941, respectively, but Chrysler’s 1954 Airtemp system was a huge improvement. It was mechanically simpler, more efficient, cooled more quickly, and used outside air rather than recycling air from the cabin. Chrysler introduced the push-button transmission in 1956 and the torsion-bar suspension in 1957. Compared to conventional coil springs, torsion bars saved weight and allowed the steering linkage to be reconfigured for less kick-back.

Chrysler History: The Origins of Cruise Control and the End of Swivel Seats

Chrysler in 1958 introduced the first cruise-control system, called Auto Pilot, which was the brainchild of an independent inventor named Ralph Teetor. Auto Pilot had two modes; the driver would select a desired speed using a dash-mounted dial, and Auto Pilot would push back on the accelerator pedal once the car reached the selected speed. Pushing in the dial would cause Auto Pilot to hold the selected speed automatically.

Chrysler innovated the swiveling seat in 1959, which it later linked to the operation of the doors. Legend has it that a Chrysler executive and his wife were on their way to a society function one evening, and as it was a hot and sticky day in Detroit, the wife had hiked her skirt up above her knees to take advantage of the Airtemp air conditioning. When they arrived at the venue, the valet opened the door before the wife had time to re-arrange her dress. The seat automatically swiveled toward the assembled crowd, and swiveling seats were discontinued soon after.

Chrysler History: Alternators, Unit Bodies, and Turbines

Throughout the 1950s, most cars used DC generators, which were compact but could not produce much of a charge at low engine speeds. AC alternators were more efficient, and were often used on police cars and taxis, but they were also bulky and expensive. Chrysler developed the first practical automotive alternator, which it installed on the strange-looking 1960 Plymouth Valiant and on all Chrysler cars in ’61. Within a few years, alternators became the industry standard.

Chrysler’s first flirtation with unitized (or unibody) construction was the 1934 Airflow, and between 1960-61, all cars save the top-of-the-line Imperial adopted unibody construction. Though this wasn’t an industry first, Chrysler was the first large automaker to widely adopt the unibody, making its cars lighter and less prone to squeaks and rattles.

Chrysler’s best-known innovation of the Jet Age is the turbine engine project, a subject which deserves its own article (if not its own book—we highly recommend Chrysler’s Turbine Car: The Rise and Fall of Detroit’s Coolest Creation by Steve Lehto). Chrysler actually produced its first gas-turbine car in 1954, and Between 1963-66, Chrysler embedded 50 turbine cars with 200 American families. The cars worked well, though fuel economy wasn’t great. Chrysler determined that gas-turbine engines were not well suited to passenger cars, though the company continued experimenting with them until 1979.

Chrysler History: Not All Innovations Were Successful …

Of course, some of Chrysler’s innovations missed the mark. In 1962, Dodge and Plymouth downsized their full-size models and stripped them of fins, chrome, and other 1950s adornment. De-chroming was a good thing, but downsizing came 15 years too early. Dodge and Plymouth developed new full-size cars for 1965, and the shrunken models were repackaged as intermediates.

Many of Chrysler’s later innovations went largely unnoticed. The 1971 Imperial had the industry’s first four-wheel antilock braking system, called SureBrake. (Lincoln’s Sure-Track antilock system was introduced in 1969, but it only worked on the rear brakes.) In 1972, Chrysler introduced electronic ignition for its performance V-8s, making it standard on all of its engines a year later. Electronic ignition replaced the distributor’s wear-prone mechanical breaker points (which opened and closed each time a spark plug was fired) with a magnetic sensor on the distributor shaft. The electronically triggered spark made cars easier to start, increased plug life, and eliminated yearly ignition tune-ups; Ford and GM adopted it soon after.

Chrysler History: End of the Innovation Era?

As the 1970s drew on, Chrysler found itself in deepening financial trouble. Innovation  took a back seat, though there were still a few notable firsts. The 1978 Dodge Omni and Plymouth Horizons were the first American cars to feature a transverse engine as well as a multi-function turn-signal stalk, which integrated wiper/washer and high-beam controls that were previously located on the dash and floor, respectively.

The 1981 K-Cars were not particularly inventive, but their transverse-engine, front-wheel-drive layout would soon be universally adopted. Unfortunately, development at Chrysler seemed to stagnate in the 1980s with an endless series of K-badged front-drivers, but Chrysler did introduce the first turbocharger with a water-cooled bearing housing, the first standard-fit driver’s airbag, and the first integrated child seat.

Chrysler would introduce more innovative cars in the 1990s, most notably the Neon, which introduced new standards of space and performance in compact cars, and the LH sedans with their space-efficient cab-forward architecture. By this time, Chrysler’s roller-coaster finances had become a better-known part of its legacy than its history of technical innovation—but this recap of some of the company’s technical highlights (and keep in mind, this is only a partial list) should remind you why Chrysler was once Detroit’s leading innovator.

Notable Chrysler Innovations

Though not always first, Chrysler was often the first major automaker to adopt new technologies, including:

  • High-compression engine
  • Four-wheel hydraulic brakes
  • Downdraft carburetor
  • Crankshaft vibration damper
  • “Floating Power” engine mounts
  • Automatic overdrive
  • Key-start ignition switch
  • Cruise control
  • Swivel seats
  • Alternator
  • Four-wheel antilock brakes
  • Hall Effect electronic distributor
  • Integrated child seats

The post Believe It or Not, Chrysler Was Once Detroit’s Most Innovative Automaker appeared first on MotorTrend.

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Review update: 2021 Toyota Venza Limited delivers on broken Lexus RX dreams

The Car Connection News Feed - Tue, 12/29/2020 - 13:00
The Venza nameplate returned to the Toyota showroom as a sleek two-row crossover SUV with a hybrid powertrain that looks and feels as much like a Lexus as it does a Toyota. The 2021 Toyota Venza would fit in a Lexus showroom if the Japanese automaker’s luxury division hadn’t gotten ugly with predator front ends. For those who owned or...
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London Square launches affordable arm

Property Week News Feed - Tue, 12/29/2020 - 10:52
Residential developer London Square has launched a new affordable development division called Square Roots.
Categories: Property

Vector Capital debuts on AIM

Property Week News Feed - Tue, 12/29/2020 - 10:02
Commercial lending group Vector Capital has launched on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) of the London Stock Exchange issuing ordinary shares at 0.5p each.
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2021 Porsche 911 Turbo S Pros and Cons Review: Just Shy of Perfection

Motortrend News Feed - Tue, 12/29/2020 - 10:00
  • Absolute magic on a back road
  • Wonderful GT car
  • Insanely quick
  • Magic replaced by cold competency on the track
  • Street tires only

We thought it was gone. Banished. We believed the good people of Stuttgart, with a bit of help from Weissach, had finally cured the Turbo’s one remaining weakness. Charging valiantly into our 2020 Best Driver’s Car field, though, the 2021 Porsche 911 Turbo S revealed that its Achilles’ heel remains.

That one issue, the one that’s deprived 911 Turbos of the past from more than one MotorTrend podium, is the car’s cold, emotionless virtuosity when pushed to the limit. (The 911 Carerra S, last year’s winner, does not have this problem.) It’s a trait that was far more apparent on previous Turbos, showing itself on the road and on the track. With this new 992-generation car, we thought it’d finally been vanquished.

It’s easy to see why we’d think so. In two back-to-back comparisons earlier this year, both the coupe and convertible annihilated their challengers. McLarens and AMGs couldn’t hold a candle to the new Turbo S on the road. And frankly, things weren’t much different this time around. Just a few corners without traffic are all it takes to experience that 911 Turbo magic—the way the car behaves exactly the way you want it to, exactly the way you expect it to, and exactly the way you instruct it to at every moment, so much so you don’t have to consciously think about it. The 911 Turbo S lets you drive by instinct at speeds where other cars demand every bit of your attention.

“It’s the meticulous engineering that makes it so accessible to every driver, regardless of skill,” road test editor Chris Walton said. “Anyone can jump into it and exceed their expected levels—by the second corner, I’m guessing.”

That’s it, we thought. The old 911 Turbo is dead. Long live the new Turbo. Then we drove it on the racetrack, and the last vestiges of the old Turbo showed themselves.

“This car is so perfect it’s anodyne, unobtrusive,” Walton said. “There’s no bother, but no excitement. It’s super capable. It does everything so well that you can’t mess up with this car. It solves everything. It is so uniquely competent.”

Competence doesn’t necessarily stir the soul. “Without a doubt, it’s the best car on Angeles Crest Highway,” senior features editor Jonny Lieberman said, “but on the track my feelings about it went down.”

Interestingly, our actual race car driver had the opposite reaction. “There’s a lot more GT3 stirred into the Turbo S than there used to be in the old days,” Randy Pobst said after hot laps of WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. “I felt so much like the car was an extension of myself. It was just locked into my driving so beautifully.”

Pobst’s inversion of opinion continued on the road: “This car’s only flaw is that it shows no fangs. It’s just so drivable that it rarely challenges. Its performance is at the forefront of the modern sports car fleet, and it’s so refined that it is not as entertaining.”

Either way, everyone felt much of the personality Porsche injected into the 911 Turbo S vaporized at some point in their drive, and it was back to making big numbers in the most efficient manner possible, not the most emotional.

Partly to blame, we think, are the tires. Pirelli P Zeros are great tires, and they do a phenomenal job on the road, even with this kind of power behind them. On the track, though, even Pobst agreed they just don’t have the capability to keep up with this 911. Yes, they’re still pulling a seriously impressive 1.10 lateral g, but there’s no doubt Corsa or Trofeo R tires would lead to faster—and therefore more thrilling—cornering speeds.

Would that be enough to reignite the spark? We think it might. For Porsche’s part, it says Turbo customers haven’t been interested in higher-performance tires, so it doesn’t offer them. Pity.

POWERTRAIN/CHASSIS 2021 Porsche 911 Turbo S DRIVETRAIN LAYOUT Rear-engine, AWD ENGINE TYPE Twin-turbo flat-6, alum block/heads VALVETRAIN DOHC, 4 valves/cyl DISPLACEMENT 228.5 cu in/3,745 cc COMPRESSION RATIO 8.7:1 POWER (SAE NET) 640 hp @ 6,750 rpm TORQUE (SAE NET) 590 lb-ft @ 2,500 rpm REDLINE 7,200 rpm WEIGHT TO POWER 5.7 lb/hp TRANSMISSION 8-speed twin-clutch auto AXLE/FINAL-DRIVE RATIO 3.33:1 (front), 3.02:1 (rear)/1.84:1 SUSPENSION, FRONT; REAR Struts, coil springs, adj shocks, anti-roll bar; multilink, coil springs, adj shocks, anti-roll bar STEERING RATIO 12.5-14.1:1 TURNS LOCK-TO-LOCK 2.4 BRAKES, F; R 16.5-in vented, drilled, carbon-ceramic disc; 15.4-in vented, drilled, carbon-ceramic disc, ABS WHEELS, F;R 9.5 x 20-in; 12.0 x 21-in, forged aluminum TIRES, F;R 255/35R20 93Y; 315/30R21 105Y Pirelli P Zero NA1 DIMENSIONS WHEELBASE 96.5 in TRACK, F/R 62.4/63.0 in LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 178.6 x 74.9 x 50.9 in TURNING CIRCLE 35.8 ft CURB WEIGHT 3,628 lb WEIGHT DIST, F/R 38/62% SEATING CAPACITY 4 HEADROOM, F/R 37.9/32.5 in LEGROOM, F/R 42.2/27.2 in SHOULDER ROOM, F/R 52.6/47.9 in CARGO VOLUME 4.5 (front)/9.3 (rear seat folded) cu ft TEST DATA ACCELERATION TO MPH 0-30 0.9 sec 0-40 1.4 0-50 1.8 0-60 2.3 0-70 3.0 0-80 3.7 0-90 4.5 0-100 5.6 0-100-0 9.3 PASSING, 45-65 MPH 1.0 QUARTER MILE 10.3 sec @ 132.3 mph BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 97 ft LATERAL ACCELERATION 1.10 g (avg) MT FIGURE EIGHT 22.5 sec @ 0.96 g (avg) 2.2-MI ROAD COURSE LAP 92.97 sec TOP-GEAR REVS @ 60 MPH 1,250 rpm CONSUMER INFO BASE PRICE $204,850 PRICE AS TESTED $224,780 STABILITY/TRACTION CONTROL Yes/Yes AIRBAGS 8: Dual front, front side, f/r curtain, front knee BASIC WARRANTY 4 yrs/50,000 miles POWERTRAIN WARRANTY 4 yrs/50,000 miles ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE 4 yrs/50,000 miles FUEL CAPACITY 17.6 gal EPA CITY/HWY/COMB ECON 15/20/17 mpg ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY 225/169 kWh/100 miles CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 1.15 lb/mile RECOMMENDED FUEL Unleaded premium

The post 2021 Porsche 911 Turbo S Pros and Cons Review: Just Shy of Perfection appeared first on MotorTrend.

Categories: Property

Supermarket Income REIT acquires Leicestershire Waitrose

Property Week News Feed - Tue, 12/29/2020 - 09:34
Supermarket Income REIT has bought a Waitrose supermarket in Market Harborough, Leicestershire from Alpha Real Estate for £9.1m.
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2020 Chevrolet Corvette Z51 Pros and Cons Review: Great Bones

Motortrend News Feed - Tue, 12/29/2020 - 09:00

The mid-engine Chevrolet Corvette feels like other exotic cars, which is a new sensation for anyone familiar with the Chevy sports car. Hopping from Ferrari to Lamborghini to Chevy, the Corvette affirms that we made the right choice last year when we named the C8 our 2020 Car of the Year.

Let’s be clear: The mid-engine Corvette Z51 is a car designed around the driver. Yes, it’s easy to look at the strip of Chiclet-sized HVAC control buttons separating the driver from the passenger and make fun. But once you’re actually behind the C8’s funky steering wheel, you’ll realize that the controls you need as the driver are the easiest to get to, and you’ll thank the car gods that they’re physical buttons, not buried in a touchscreen.

The touchpoints are great, too, even the secondary ones. The steering wheel, the big, metal paddle shifters, the metal transmission buttons, and especially the drive mode puck all feel proper, if not pricey.

The single biggest surprise with the Corvette Z51 was the ride quality. Wow. “On the road, I don’t think anything rode as well as the Corvette did in this year’s field, except maybe the Porsche Cayenne,” road test editor Chris Walton said.

I’d argue the ’Vette had a finer ride than the SUV. Yes, it’s that supple. Also, Walton knows I’m right, admitting: “I was hoping I’d get assigned the Corvette for the long drive home.” See?

Aside from being comfy, the powertrain rocks. Pro driver Randy Pobst noted the “fat torque curve with a great low end.”

Large-displacement, naturally aspirated V-8s are lovely things, and they’re getting rarer than manual transmissions—the latter of which the C8 Corvette doesn’t offer. The dual-clutch transmission it does have works great if you leave it in automatic, though I personally much prefer pulling the paddles myself. Speaking of working great, the Corvette hits 30 mph in 1.0 second, the same as the AWD Lamborghini. “Incredible traction on launch,” Pobst said. “Claws out!”

Although it was our COTY winner last year, is it the Best Driver’s Car? Hmm. “I guess this Corvette just left me wanting more,” features editor Scott Evans said.

I should point out that the Chevy and the Porsche 911 Turbo S were the only contenders to arrive on regular summer tires, as opposed to stickier, R-compound meats. So that didn’t help, especially on the track. “Even when I was driving it at my 9/10ths in a mid-engine sports car on a proper track, I was bored,” Walton said. “Honestly, bored.”

Did he really say “bored” twice? Yes, we’re spoiled rotten brats. We know. But Walton felt what he felt. I should point out that when Walton was in the alien blood–colored Chevy, I was gaining on him in the Porsche SUV, so I think he was actually so bored he wasn’t really driving at his 9/10ths. Regardless, his point stands—although the Z51 trim is a fine start, we are eagerly anticipating hotter versions.

“The Corvette is not as impressive as I thought it would be,” editor-in-chief Mark Rechtin said. “Sure, it’s still fast, but it’s just the ‘base’ model, which means just wait for the performance models.”

Bingo. If you look at the Porsche 718, you have to get through the Cayman, Cayman S, and Cayman GTS before you arrive at the GT4. There’s a $25K Mustang rental car lurking underneath the GT500’s extroverted armor. There’s also a (slightly) less powerful rear-wheeldrive Huracán to be had.

This Corvette is just the starting point. We know a much sportier, racier Z06 is coming, as well as the rumor-mill all-star Zora. The C8 Corvette has the bones to win Best Driver’s Car, but it’s not there yet.

POWERTRAIN/CHASSIS 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray DRIVETRAIN LAYOUT Mid-engine, RWD ENGINE TYPE 90-deg V-8, alum block/heads VALVETRAIN OHV, 2 valves/cyl DISPLACEMENT 376.0 cu in/6,162 cc COMPRESSION RATIO 11.5:1 POWER (SAE NET) 495 hp @ 6,450 rpm TORQUE (SAE NET) 470 lb-ft @ 5,150 rpm REDLINE 6,400 rpm WEIGHT TO POWER 7.2 lb/hp TRANSMISSION 8-speed twin-clutch auto AXLE/FINAL-DRIVE RATIO 3.55:1/1.70:1 SUSPENSION, FRONT; REAR Control arms, coil springs, adj shocks, anti-roll bar; multilink, coil springs, adj shocks, anti-roll bar STEERING RATIO 15.7:1 TURNS LOCK-TO-LOCK 2.5 BRAKES, F; R 13.3-in vented disc; 13.8-in vented disc, ABS WHEELS, F;R 8.5 x 19-in; 11.0 x 20-in, cast aluminum TIRES, F;R 245/35R19 89Y; 305/30R20 99Y Michelin Pilot Sport 4S DIMENSIONS WHEELBASE 107.2 in TRACK, F/R 64.9/62.4 in LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 182.3 x 76.1 x 48.6 in TURNING CIRCLE 36.4 ft CURB WEIGHT 3,587 lb WEIGHT DIST, F/R 39/61% SEATING CAPACITY 2 HEADROOM, F/R 37.9 in LEGROOM, F/R 42.8 in SHOULDER ROOM, F/R 54.4 in CARGO VOLUME 4.0 (front)/8.6 (rear) cu ft TEST DATA ACCELERATION TO MPH 0-30 1.0 sec 0-40 1.5 0-50 2.1 0-60 2.8 0-70 3.7 0-80 4.6 0-90 5.8 0-100 7.1 0-100-0 10.8 PASSING, 45-65 MPH 1.4 QUARTER MILE 11.1 sec @ 123.2 mph BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 97 ft LATERAL ACCELERATION 1.04 g (avg) MT FIGURE EIGHT 23.3 sec @ 0.90 g (avg) 2.2-MI ROAD COURSE LAP 97.83 sec TOP-GEAR REVS @ 60 MPH 1,300 rpm CONSUMER INFO BASE PRICE $59,995 PRICE AS TESTED $92,365 STABILITY/TRACTION CONTROL Yes/Yes AIRBAGS 4: Dual front, front side/head BASIC WARRANTY 3 yrs/36,000 miles POWERTRAIN WARRANTY 5 yrs/60,000 miles ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE 5 yrs/60,000 miles FUEL CAPACITY 18.5 gal EPA CITY/HWY/COMB ECON 15/27/19 mpg ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY 225/125 kW-hrs/100 miles CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 1.03 lb/mile RECOMMENDED FUEL Unleaded premium

The post 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Z51 Pros and Cons Review: Great Bones appeared first on MotorTrend.

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The Toyota Land Cruiser Is Dead, Long Live the Toyota Land Cruiser

Motortrend News Feed - Mon, 12/28/2020 - 22:25

When was the last time you saw a Toyota Land Cruiser? You can’t go a block without seeing multiple 4Runners, Highlanders, Tacomas, and RAV4s—or even the occasional Sequoia—but spotting any generation of a Land Cruiser is a rarity. For all its name recognition and iconic history, there just aren’t that many running around the U.S. And after the model-year 2021 iterations are built, there will be no new ones sold in America, at least for a while.

We first heard rumblings of the Land Cruiser’s demise in the States more than a year ago when multiple sources at Toyota hinted to MotorTrend that the Land Cruiser was in trouble. Although at the time Toyota PR officially denied any such possibility existed, the automaker has finally acknowledged that its legendary nameplate is leaving American dealerships soon:

The Toyota Land Cruiser has been a legendary name for more than 60 years. While it will be discontinued in the United States after the 2021 model year, we remain committed to the large SUV segment and will continue to explore future products that celebrate the Land Cruiser’s rich off-road history. We encourage loyal enthusiasts and intrepid adventurers to stay tuned for future developments.

The Toyota Land Cruiser is the company’s longest-running nameplate and has long been revered for its ability to do, well, exactly what it says in its name: cruise the land, no matter the terrain. It’s reliable and comfortable, and has a cult-like following due to its rich heritage and military roots. Older vintage models (like those we recently drove) have proven increasingly popular among collectors, as reflected by the large sums of money now required to acquire a good one.

Today, though, few in the market for a new, highly off-road-capable vehicle gravitate toward a Land Cruiser; there’s simply too much competition in the large SUV segment, and Toyota itself has limited sales by giving the SUV virtually zero marketing support. The most recent Land Cruiser, known as the 200 Series, dates back to the 2008 model year, with just 35,000 sold since in the U.S.—the highest annual sales were in 2008, with 3,801 moved. Availability was definitely a compounding issue for the North American Land Cruiser—global factory capacity for the Land Cruiser can’t be increased without building or retooling a new assembly location, meaning every market fights over the same annual volume—while despite its capability and high levels of luxury, status-obsessed buyers aren’t likely to fork over its lofty base price ($86,780 for 2020) for something wearing a Toyota badge. Heritage can only move so many of these things, after all.

Of course, this isn’t the end for the Land Cruiser elsewhere, as it will continue in other world markets. Toyota’s statement leaves open the possibility of a return sometime in the near future, if not of a vehicle with the LC name perhaps one with its spirit. What that means exactly—maybe the Sequoia gets renamed?—we hope to find out soon. For now, though, the Toyota Land Cruiser is dead. Long live the Toyota Land Cruiser.

The post The Toyota Land Cruiser Is Dead, Long Live the Toyota Land Cruiser appeared first on MotorTrend.

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Fiat down to one model, Camaro delayed, 2021 Hyundai Elantra Hybrid review: What's New @ The Car Connection

The Car Connection News Feed - Mon, 12/28/2020 - 14:45
Fiat kills 124 Spider and 500L crossover, leaving 500X as the last Fiat standing In a pricing announcement for the 2021 500X, Fiat announced that the 124 Spider and 500L won't return for 2021, leaving Fiat with a one-vehicle lineup. GM recalls Chevy Malibu, Buick Regal, Buick Lacrosse for suspension issue GM is recalling 2012-2013 Buick Regal...
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Sadiq Khan proposes levy on developers

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 12/28/2020 - 14:38
The Mayor of London has proposed introducing a levy on developers to raise funds to address building safety issues.
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GM recalls Chevy Malibu, Buick Regal, Buick Lacrosse for suspension issue

The Car Connection News Feed - Mon, 12/28/2020 - 13:36
General Motors is recalling select older model sedans with suspensions that were coated with extra corrosion protection in states where road salt is used to melt ice. The recall encompasses 213,128 vehicles, including the 2012-2013 Buick Regal, 2010-2013 Buick Lacrosse, and 2013 Chevrolet Malibu registered in northern states, the automaker...
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Fiat kills 124 Spider and 500L crossover, leaving 500X as the last Fiat standing

The Car Connection News Feed - Mon, 12/28/2020 - 13:00
After a decade of renewed sales in the U.S., Fiat has pared down its offerings to just one model for the 2021 model year. The Fiat 124 Spider and 500L small crossover won't be coming back, leaving the Fiat 500X as the only new Fiat to be sold for 2021. The small cars join a long and growing list of other small cars not coming back for 2021. The...
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2021 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class

The Car Connection News Feed - Mon, 12/28/2020 - 12:00
What kind of vehicle is the 2021 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class? What does it compare to? The 2021 CLA is a stylish subcompact sedan with a dose of Mercedes-Benz luxury. Compare it to the Audi A3, BMW 2-Series, and Acura ILX, plus the related Mercedes-Benz A-Class. Is the 2021 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class a good car/SUV? The CLA is a fashion-forward version...
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2020 Ferrari F8 Tributo Pros and Cons Review: Thrills and Chills

Motortrend News Feed - Mon, 12/28/2020 - 11:00
  • Missile acceleration
  • Quick cornering
  • Bumpy-road mode
  • Wooden brakes
  • Too-light steering feel
  • Looming snap oversteer

In reviewing the 2020 Ferrari F8 Tributo with proper clarity, there is a need to go back a few years and admit with mild chagrin that our 2017 Best Driver’s Carwinning Ferrari 488 GTB might have been a ringer. This goes beyond Ferrari sending four factory techs to work day and night to be sure everything ran perfectly. (By contrast, Porsche traditionally sends Frank the PR guy, who watches the Italian antics with mild amusement.)

Rather, the 488’s testing numbers we posted were more akin to what the 661-hp GTB would have produced had it been chipped to 800 hp. And well-placed sources with deep connections say that might indeed have been the case. But what’s that the old salts say? “If you ain’t cheatin’, you ain’t tryin’.” It would be far from the first time a manufacturer sent a hot car to a motoring magazine’s shootout. Hey, innocent until proven guilty, right?

2020 Ferrari F8 Tributo: One Scary Stallion

Fast forward to this year’s contest, and witness the 488’s spiritual successor, the F8 Tributo. It’s lighter, and it has more power. But is it faster? Not according to our test numbers, where the old 488 GTB was quicker to 60 mph, neck and neck at the quarter, and quicker around the figure eight with a much higher average g load. Plus, it turned an astonishing 0.6 second quicker lap time around Laguna Seca raceway.

The F8 Tributo had issues, too, the most serious of which being its wooden brakes (not our first experience in a Ferrari) that required a trackside rebuild—an estimated $20,000-plus fix at your neighborhood Ferrari dealer. Then, after an incomplete bedding-in by a Ferrari tech, the F8 had mild-mannered pro racer Randy Pobst swearing a blue streak as he blew through Laguna Seca’s crucial Turn 11 and into the gravel trap.

So what’s the deal with the F8 Tributo? “Intermittent thrills and chills followed by clenched teeth and relief,” road test editor Chris Walton said. “This was the only car that spooked me at Laguna Seca.”

The F8’s super-quick steering ratio, combined with its too-light steering feel, prompted some nervy moments when aiming for the apex. Pobst’s answer: CT-Off mode, where the nannies still deliver a we-got-this reassurance to the driver.

Features editor Scott Evans also took issue with corner-exit traction: “Leaving a tight corner with any gusto felt like dancing on a landmine. The car can’t put the power down when there’s any steering in it. You’re asking for snappy power oversteer. No thanks. This car feels dicey when you push it all the way.”

However, going fast in a straight line to impress your passenger is something the Ferrari missile does very well, senior features editor Jonny Lieberman said, adding that the dual-clutch transmission shifts “like a buttered hummingbird” and that the column-mounted carbon-fiber paddle shifters are a tactile delight.

Once off-track, everyone praised Ferrari’s “bumpy road” driving mode, which turns freeway expansion joints and big rig-induced chop into afterthoughts.

2020 Ferrari F8 Tributo: Quiet Riot

Some judges were underwhelmed by the F8’s rather tame engine and exhaust notes. There was no shrieking, no sound of shredding paper. Just a humdrum thrum. Even during Pobst’s hot laps, the Ferrari didn’t blow up the track’s 92-dB sound meter; the Lamborghini did it in fifth-gear coasting at 60 mph. This impacts the driver, as well, as there is no aural hint that the engine is approaching redline—thank goodness for the shift-alert lights mounted in the steering wheel rim.

And although this exotica comes with an expectedly steep price tag (the F8’s $277,480 base price roared up to $386,288 with options), we couldn’t determine which was the worse price gouging: charging $34,000 for carbon-fiber wheels (also part of a big $18,500 package on the Ford Mustang Shelby GT500—the wheels are made by the same supplier, too) or $4,200 for Apple CarPlay compatibility (a feature that’s baked into the price of a Kia). In looking at the total package, we advise you to do the math.

POWERTRAIN/CHASSIS 2020 Ferrari F8 Tributo DRIVETRAIN LAYOUT Mid-engine, RWD ENGINE TYPE Twin-turbo 90-deg V-8 alum block/heads VALVETRAIN DOHC, 4 valves/cyl DISPLACEMENT 238.1 cu in/3,902 cc COMPRESSION RATIO 9.6:1 POWER (SAE NET) 711 hp @ 7,000 rpm TORQUE (SAE NET) 568 lb-ft @ 3,250 rpm REDLINE 8,000 rpm WEIGHT TO POWER 4.8 lb/hp TRANSMISSION 7-speed twin-clutch auto AXLE/FINAL-DRIVE RATIO 4.38:1/2.81:1 SUSPENSION, FRONT; REAR Control arms, coil springs, adj shocks, anti-roll bar; multilink, coil springs, adj shocks, anti-roll bar STEERING RATIO 11.9:1 TURNS LOCK-TO-LOCK 1.9 BRAKES, F;R 15.7-in vented, drilled, carbon-ceramic disc; 14.2-in vented, drilled, carbon-ceramic disc, ABS WHEELS, F;R 9.0 x 20-in; 11.0 x 20-in, carbon fiber composite TIRES, F;R 245/35R20 95Y; 305/30R20 105Y Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 KR DIMENSIONS WHEELBASE 104.3 in TRACK, F/R 66.0/64.8 in LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 181.5 x 77.9 x 47.5 TURNING CIRCLE 38.7 ft CURB WEIGHT 3,398 lb WEIGHT DIST, F/R 41/59% SEATING CAPACITY 2 HEADROOM NA in LEGROOM NA in SHOULDER ROOM NA in CARGO VOLUME 7.1 cu ft TEST DATA ACCELERATION TO MPH 0-30 1.3 sec 0-40 1.8 0-50 2.3 0-60 2.9 0-70 3.5 0-80 4.2 0-90 4.9 0-100 5.8 0-100-0 9.5 PASSING, 45-65 MPH 1.2 QUARTER MILE 10.5 sec @ 139.3 mph BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 98 ft LATERAL ACCELERATION 1.06 g (avg) MT FIGURE EIGHT 22.8 sec @ 0.93 g (avg) 2.2-MI ROAD COURSE LAP 92.27 sec TOP-GEAR REVS @ 60 MPH 1,250 rpm CONSUMER INFO BASE PRICE $277,480 PRICE AS TESTED $386,288 STABILITY/TRACTION CONTROL Yes/Yes AIRBAGS 4: Dual front, front side/head BASIC WARRANTY 3 yrs/Unlimited miles POWERTRAIN WARRANTY 3 yrs/Unlimited miles ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE 3 yrs/Unlimited miles FUEL CAPACITY 20.6 gal EPA CITY/HWY/COMB ECON 15/19/16 mpg ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY 225/177 kWh/100 miles CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 1.17 lb/mile RECOMMENDED FUEL Unleaded premium

The post 2020 Ferrari F8 Tributo Pros and Cons Review: Thrills and Chills appeared first on MotorTrend.

Categories: Property

Strongest Q4 in over a decade for Edinburgh housing market

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 12/28/2020 - 10:34
Property values in Edinburgh climbed by 1.7% in the three months to December, marking the city’s strongest fourth-quarter performance in over a decade.
Categories: Property

2020 Lamborghini Huracán Evo Pros and Cons Review: More With Less

Motortrend News Feed - Mon, 12/28/2020 - 10:00
  • Amazing engine
  • Absolutely planted
  • Outrageous handling
  • Body structure issues
  • Infotainment UX
  • No room for stuff

The Lamborghini Huracán Evo had somewhat of a chip on its shoulder coming into the 2020 Best Driver’s Competition. See, the Performante version of the Huracán had won it all back in 2018, but that was a fully built, track-focused, special performance edition of a supercar. The Evo? It’s “just” the midcycle refresh of the plain-old entry-level two-door Lambo.

Let’s be honest, the Huracán itself is just a gussied-up Audi R8, right? Sure, when Sant’Agata makes an all-in move with the likes of a Performante, it can win. But just a regular production car? In bocca al lupo. We probably should mention, however, that the Evo does get the Performante’s 630-hp humdinger of a V-10, which screamed loudly enough to break the sound meter at Sonoma Raceway even though we were at Laguna Seca. I kid. A little.

What is the Evo? Essentially, you get Performante levels of straight-line thrust but without the controversial active aerodynamics system called ALA. Why controversial? To sum up years of keyboard warrior YouTube and Instagram comments quickly, if this sort of aero sorcery was so effective, surely the wizards of Formula 1 racing would have thought of it first. Never mind that Lambo holds the patent.

We also had a nice demonstration of what a Performante with the ALA removed performs like. This year, our resident racer Randy Pobst went 2.85 seconds slower per lap in the Evo around Laguna Seca than he did in the Perf: 1:32.85 versus 1:30.00. We asked the Lamborghini representative with us why that would be, and that person plainly said, “The Evo doesn’t have ALA.” Straight from the cavallo’s mouth, people. Also, the Evo has four-wheel steering. The Performante doesn’t.

2020 Lamborghini Huracán Evo: Raging Bull

ALA or not, we like this car. First of all, the Evo drives great. Tearing through the valleys that define California’s Coast and Transverse ranges, the Huracán Evo lulls you into that perfect state of driving bliss. That last part means you’re at peace with the supercar.

“I’ve driven Lambos that were twitchy and itchy,” editor in chief Mark Rechtin said, “but after driving the BDC-winning Huracán Performante a few years back, I learned to trust the raging bull.”

The Evo is identical in that regard. It’s also pretty similar to the Performante on the track. “Tremendous cornering grip, quick turn-in, real quick steering response, but absolutely planted in the back,” Pobst said. Every judge enjoyed and felt confident in the Evo on the street and on the racetrack.

Still, the Huracán Evo isn’t perfect. Pobst somehow got the brakes to fade a little after a few laps, which he chalked up to new pads. Something in the passenger door was loose and rattling over bumps. The bulkhead between the cabin and the engine creaked like an old wood floor when you were entering or exiting a driveway. The iPad-sized touchscreen in the center console is full of indecipherable alien petroglyphs and impossible to use while driving.

2020 Lamborghini Huracán Evo: Taking It by the Horns

Plus, it doesn’t seem to do a whole bunch when you’re parked. If you’re going on a trip, don’t bring a passenger, as the second seat is your luggage compartment. The Huracán Evo was also 0.58 second slower around Laguna Seca than the Ferrari F8 Tributo, though Pobst attributed the twin-turbocharged F8’s lap time to its extra 81 hp and 125 lb-ft of torque.

With the Lamborghini Huracán Evo, the good definitely outweighs the bad. “You can drive it like you stole it, and it’ll be there for you,” road test editor Chris Walton said. “The steering and handling are world-class. It makes all the noise.”

Regardless of where it places in this year’s competition, know that the men and women of Sant’Agata are dead serious about making world-class “super sports cars,” as they insist on calling them. The Evo is the latest in what’s becoming a long line.

POWERTRAIN/CHASSIS 2020 Lamborghini Huracán Evo AWD DRIVETRAIN LAYOUT Mid-engine, AWD ENGINE TYPE 90-deg V-10, alum block/heads VALVETRAIN DOHC, 4 valves/cyl DISPLACEMENT 317.6 cu in/5,204 cc COMPRESSION RATIO 12.7:1 POWER (SAE NET) 630 hp @ 8,000 rpm TORQUE (SAE NET) 443 lb-ft @ 6,500 rpm REDLINE 8,500 rpm WEIGHT TO POWER 5.8 lb/hp TRANSMISSION 7-speed twin-clutch auto AXLE/FINAL-DRIVE RATIO 2.77:1 (front), 2.65:1 (rear)/2.23:1 SUSPENSION, FRONT; REAR Control arms, coil springs, anti-roll bar; multilink, coil springs, anti-roll bar STEERING RATIO 9.0-17.0:1 TURNS LOCK-TO-LOCK 2.2 BRAKES, F;R 15.0-in vented, drilled, carbon-ceramic disc; 14.0-in vented, drilled, carbon-ceramic disc, ABS WHEELS, F;R 8.5 x 20-in; 11.0 x 20-in, forged aluminum TIRES, F;R 245/30R20 90Y; 305/30R20 103Y Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R (L) DIMENSIONS WHEELBASE 103.2 in TRACK, F/R 65.7/63.8 in LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 178.0 x 76.1 x 45.9 in TURNING CIRCLE 37.7 ft CURB WEIGHT 3,645 lb WEIGHT DIST, F/R 43/57% SEATING CAPACITY 2 HEADROOM NA in LEGROOM NA in SHOULDER ROOM NA in CARGO VOLUME 3.5 cu ft TEST DATA ACCELERATION TO MPH 0-30 1.0 sec 0-40 1.5 0-50 1.9 0-60 2.5 0-70 3.2 0-80 4.0 0-90 4.8 0-100 5.9 0-100-0 9.5 PASSING, 45-65 MPH 1.1 QUARTER MILE 10.5 sec @ 132.7 mph BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 93 ft LATERAL ACCELERATION 1.12 g (avg) MT FIGURE EIGHT 22.3 sec @ 0.96 g (avg) 2.2-MI ROAD COURSE LAP 92.85 sec TOP-GEAR REVS @ 60 MPH 2,400 rpm CONSUMER INFO BASE PRICE $267,569 PRICE AS TESTED $312,269 STABILITY/TRACTION CONTROL Yes/Yes AIRBAGS 6: Dual front, front side/head, front knee BASIC WARRANTY 3 yrs/Unlimited miles POWERTRAIN WARRANTY 3 yrs/Unlimited miles ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE 3 yrs/Unlimited miles FUEL CAPACITY 21.9 gal EPA CITY/HWY/COMB ECON 13/18/15 mpg ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY 259/187 kWh/100 miles CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 1.31 lb/mile RECOMMENDED FUEL Unleaded premium

The post 2020 Lamborghini Huracán Evo Pros and Cons Review: More With Less appeared first on MotorTrend.

Categories: Property

Boxing Day blow for retailers

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 12/28/2020 - 09:40
The annual Boxing Day sales bonanza fell flat this year, dealing retailers another blow as much of the UK high street remained closed in the wake of Covid-19 restrictions.
Categories: Property

Brexit deal prompts ‘relief’ in property market

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 12/28/2020 - 08:34
A post-Brexit deal has been agreed between the UK and the EU in an 11th-hour settlement covering £660bn of trade.
Categories: Property

2021 Acura NSX

The Car Connection News Feed - Sun, 12/27/2020 - 12:00
What kind of car is the 2021 Acura NSX? What does it compare to? The 2021 Acura NSX is a supercar, but it’s no ordinary bluster bus. It’s obscure, rare, doesn’t have the usual supercar Italian pedigree—and we adore it. It compares with the Chevy Corvette, Audi R8, and Porsche 911 Turbo, also cars that we adore. Is the 2021...
Categories: Property