Grainger's rental income increases by a third

Property Week News Feed - Thu, 05/16/2019 - 09:10
Grainger has reported growth in rental income of a third in interim results driven by the growth of its private rented sector (PRS) portfolio and rental growth.
Categories: Property

Toyota Designs the Ultimate Off-Roader … for a Mission on the Moon – Technologue

Motortrend News Feed - Thu, 05/16/2019 - 09:00

Have you been paying attention to the international moon race going on right now? I’d somehow missed the fact that countries ranging from India and Israel to China and Japan all have moon missions underway or imminent.

Yep, Google Israel’s privately funded Beresheet mission, India’s Chandrayaan-2 (complete with lunar rover), and China’s Chang’e-4. That one’s Yutu-2 rover is currently prospecting on the back side of the moon in search of a helium-3 isotope that could potentially power fusion reactors and/or rockets required to reach Mars and beyond.

The mission that caught my attention was Japan’s, because the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (or JAXA, that nation’s NASA) has enlisted Toyota’s help to build a manned rover big enough to make roadkill of those Indian and Chinese Moon-bas (note: this is not its stated mission).

Unlike the dune buggies GM helped engineer for NASA’s Apollo 15, 16, and 17 missions in 1971–72, Toyota’s rover will be a maxivan pressurized to allow two astronauts to work without space suits in between outdoor excursions. The six-wheel-drive EV utilizes in-wheel electric motors powered by a flexible roll-up photovoltaic solar array, a battery, and a fuel cell. That last item is both a Toyota strong suit and a lynchpin of the new rover’s mission. The farthest any NASA rover traveled on its silver-zinc potassium hydroxide battery was 22.3 miles, never venturing more than 3.1 miles (walking distance) from the lander. Toyota’s rover will spend six years traveling 6,200 miles in total (that’s roughly the equatorial circumference of the moon) supporting four manned missions.

Powering the fuel cell will be two replaceable cartridge-tanks carrying 20 kg of hydrogen and 160 kg of oxygen—enough to power roughly 620 miles of presumably round-trip travel to and from a landing craft. I’d expect scheduling and routing to maximize time spent in the moon’s 14-Earth-day sunshine, when solar power contributes mightily to the rover’s life-support and propulsion needs. Toyota hasn’t disclosed power, acceleration, or top speed figures yet, but the record to beat is Eugene Cernan’s: 11.2 mph.

The rover will reposition itself autonomously to meet successive missions (which will bring fresh fuel tanks), probably traveling by “day” and resting in the darkness. Water produced by the fuel cells will be used for drinking—at least initially, there is no plan to electrolyze it and repressurize the oxygen and hydrogen gas, but maybe with a Chinese fusion reactor …

While NASA’s buggies each weighed a scant 463 pounds (on Earth—one-sixth that on the moon) and folded in half to hang in a small cargo hold, Toyota’s will weigh just under 14,000 (Earth-gravity) pounds with a GVWR of 10 tons. Sized to fit in the cargo bay of a modern transport rocket, the concept measures just under 20 feet long on a 15-foot wheelbase, 17 feet wide (measured at the wheels), and over 12 feet tall with about 20 inches of ground clearance. Roughly one-seventh of that exterior envelope is living space—470 cubic feet.

Construction will be “body on frame,” for optimum isolation/protection of the passenger cell and to protect for future reuse/repurposing of the skateboard chassis in support of a lunar outpost. Aluminum and titanium will be used extensively; carbon fiber may be employed if it proves sufficiently resistant to radiation.

Six wheels were chosen over tracks for reliability and serviceability, and the 600/65R28 airless metal “tires” (being designed with Bridgestone’s input) are sized to safely distribute the porky vehicle’s load on the lunar gravel. All propulsion and suspension components are designed to operate “by wire” and wherever possible, free of rubber and fluids that would be difficult to seal and manage in the near absolute vacuum and drastic temperature extremes of the lunar environment.

Toyota and JAXA kicked this project off in May 2018 with a goal of getting a full-scale prototype running in 2022. The target launch date is 2029 with manned missions arriving yearly between 2030 and 2034. It better have good cameras—by then, there could be as many as 10 little unmanned rovers from other countries running around underfoot.

Read more by Frank Markus here:

The post Toyota Designs the Ultimate Off-Roader … for a Mission on the Moon – Technologue appeared first on Motortrend.

Categories: Property

2018 Ram Power Wagon at 20,000 Miles: What I Like and Don’t Like

Motortrend News Feed - Thu, 05/16/2019 - 09:00

Our 2018 Ram 2500 Power Wagon is sadly nearing the end of its yearlong stay with us, and as I emotionally prepare for the beast’s departure, I thought now would be a good time to round up some things I like and don’t like about our Power Wagon that I haven’t covered in the past.

The Good

Cargo Divider/Bed Extender: Pickup trucks live and die by their utility, and I’ve got to say, when it comes to bed extenders and cargo dividers, Ram does it better than anyone. Before I go into why Ram’s cargo area is so good, it’s worthwhile to take a look at what Ford and GM are fitting on their trucks.

Ford fits its F-Series trucks with a bed extender that folds up against the passenger side of the tailgate, but it never truly folds out of the way, eating up your bed space. Chevrolet and GMC use GM’s GearOn hooks for their bed dividers, which limit your placement options, and can’t be stowed out of the way, either.

On the other hand, Ram uses a device that converts from a bed extender to a cargo divider in seconds—and it can be placed nearly anywhere in the bed. On top of that, the extender/divider stows completely out of the way against the front of the truck’s bed when not in use, ensuring you get to use all the space you paid for without having to leave your bed extender/divider in the garage.

Tow Mirrors: I haven’t done a ton of towing with our long-term Power Wagon, but I do appreciate that the Ram’s side mirrors flip up 90 degrees to function as tow mirrors or lie horizontally when not towing.

Ram Boxes: I don’t use the Ram Boxes as much as I thought I would, but on long road trips or on off-road expeditions, they’re indispensable. They let me keep small items locked down and in an easy-to-reach place rather than lose in the cab, or worse, in the bed.

The Bad

Fuel Economy: There’s no getting around it: With a 410-hp 6.4-liter V-8 and a 7,316-pound curb weight, the Power Wagon is a heavyweight. It drinks like one, too. We’ll save the final observed fuel economy calculation for the verdict story, but anecdotally the truck gets about 8-9 mpg around Los Angeles and can go about 230 miles between fill-ups. On the highway, the Ram tends to average about 12 mpg and can just crest 300 miles between fill-ups. (The indicated mpg numbers are about 30 percent higher than our own fuel logs show.) Gassing up isn’t exactly cheap, either, considering the Ram’s thirst for 89 octane and its 26-gallon tank. It comes with the territory, I know, but it’s something worth considering before you make it your daily driver like I have.

Bed Access: I’m not exactly short at 6 feet, but even I have trouble climbing up into the Power Wagon’s bed. The kick-down corner step, now available on the 2019 Ram 1500, is a must-have option for the Power Wagon.

Dealership Experience: I’ve covered this in earlier updates, so I’ll keep it brief here. By and large, the dealership experience at our local Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, and Ram dealer has been terrible. There are certainly a few good eggs at our local dealer, but the service department has generally been unorganized, slow, and at times downright frustrating to deal with. Some of you have shared similar experiences with me about your local FCA dealers over social media, and news editor Alex Nishimoto has also had issues at a different local Chrysler dealer with his long-term Pacifica, so unfortunately it doesn’t seem like an isolated incident.

Room for improvement:

Differential Locks and Anti-Roll Bar Disconnect: The Power Wagon’s front and rear differential locks are controlled by a knob mounted on the center stack. They’re super easy to operate and usually work fine on the first go. Sometimes, though, instead of locking, the differential lock light just flashes, indicating that it isn’t locked. The anti-roll bar disconnect switch, located next to the diff knob, does the same thing on occasion. It can be frustrating because the driver is left to guess why the diffs aren’t locked. I’d love to see Ram incorporate a warning message in the driver information display on the dashboard when this happens on the new Power Wagon.

Read more on our long-term Ram 2500 Power Wagon here:

The post 2018 Ram Power Wagon at 20,000 Miles: What I Like and Don’t Like appeared first on Motortrend.

Categories: Property

Future Cars! 2020 and Beyond

Motortrend News Feed - Thu, 05/16/2019 - 09:00

Car buyers—you’re in for a treat. Because no matter your budget for a new car, the future is bright. The wait is almost over for Corvette fans waiting for a mid-engine layout, but with the Shelby GT500 and new M3 on the way, the Chevy will have some serious sports car company.

And maybe you’ve heard, but our automotive future is electrified. From Fiat to Audi, fully electric cars you might actually want to drive will be here soon (if a Model 3 and the other existing options aren’t your style).

So keep reading for more on future cars headed to a dealership near you.

More on future cars:

WHAT’S NOW Chevrolet Corvette

What’s New: The long-awaited mid-engine Corvette is finally here. After years of rumors, spy shots, leaks, and speculation, Chevrolet will finally peel the camo off this July. When it does, we expect to find a dual-overhead-cam V-8 under the rear glass with a pair of turbochargers driving the rear wheels through a manual or dual-clutch automatic transaxle. Multiple power outputs are expected courtesy of various displacements, with both 4.2-liter and 5.5-liter versions to be fitted. An all-new electrical architecture will feature top-of-the-line sensors and computers for performance and handling enhancement, but you’ll no doubt be able to turn them all off, too. Inside, Chevrolet has gone upscale with a classy, driver-focused interior featuring premium materials and a digital instrument cluster. Although base-model Corvettes will start at about $70,000, higher-performance models will quickly shoot up in price to cover both the development cost and the improvements in technology, performance, and comfort. But they should still remain relatively attainable.

What’s Not: Base cars are expected to employ Chevrolet’s tried-and-true 6.2-liter pushrod V-8. Midrange cars might also employ the supercharged pushrod engine. We predict Chevrolet will continue to offer a removable targa roof that will store in the cargo area.

When: July 18, 2019

How Much: $70,000-$140,000 (est)

Porsche Taycan

What’s New: Everything. For some time now, the highly anticipated first all-electric Porsche sedan has been caught testing, piling up about 1.2 million miles in the process. It’s looking less futuristic than its Mission E concept, but we know an 800-volt system sends power to two electric motors generating a combined 440 kW (590 hp), and that power is sent to all four wheels. Said to be quicker than 3.5 seconds to 60 mph and with more than 300 miles range, the Taycan will be available at the end of this year. Buyers will receive three years of free charging at the 484 Electrify America public stations across the country. Using DC fast charging, up 60 miles of range can be had in just four minutes or roughly 250 miles in about 15 minutes. Some reports indicate the automaker wants to introduce higher-performance variants and a Targa. We can’t wait.

What’s Not: Even EV skeptic (and longtime Porsche test driver/brand ambassador) Walter Röhrl was impressed: “It’s crazy. In all my years of rallying, I’ve never experienced such performance. The Taycan goes so well at such speed, really tremendous. If I had to drive it blindfolded, I would still know immediately that I was sitting in a Porsche.”

When: Late 2019

How Much: $85,000 (est)


What’s New: The 2021 M3 will carry the same 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged inline-six engine as the X3M and X4M crossovers, meaning 473 hp and 442 lb-ft of output (or thereabouts, due to slightly different tuning for a sedan and crossover). That should result in 0–60 acceleration around 3.7 seconds. (Note: The current model tops out at 444 hp on the CS version.) A year or so down the line, the M3 Competition will provide in the neighborhood of 500-plus hp. The new G20 platform rides with 1.6 inches more wheelbase and has a wider track, which might prioritize corner-on-rails stability over quick-twitch handling. The M3 should allow for both RWD and AWD applications. (AWD might be defeatable to RWD if desired, as on the M5.) There is rumor of a “Pure” stripped-down base model with a stick shift (yay!) but slightly less power (sigh).

What’s Not: Some switches, controls, and knobs. It’s a new platform with upgraded engines, even a new infotainment interface.

When: Early 2020

How Much: $68,000 (est)

Ford Mustang Shelby GT500

What’s New: The Shelby GT500 returns for the first time on the sixth-gen Mustang. Using a new engine and some aero enhancements, Ford promises this Mustang can hit 180 mph and that it won’t overheat at the track. This Shelby ought to be easier to lap, too, as it comes standard with a seven-speed twin-clutch automatic. There are no plans for a manual in 2020.

What’s Not: Although it shares its displacement with the GT350’s flat-plane-crank V-8, the Shelby GT500’s 5.2-liter V-8 is a cross-plane design. Between that and the supercharger, Ford claims power and torque have increased from 526 hp and 429 lb-ft in the GT350 to more than 700 hp and 600 lb-ft in the GT500.

When: Late 2019

How Much: $75,000 (est)

Cadillac CT5

What’s New: The CT5 is a new nameplate for Cadillac. This compact sedan replaces the ATS and CTS and is an evolution of Cadillac’s design language. The standard engine is the new 237-hp, 258-lb-ft 2.0-liter twin-scroll turbocharged I-4 that made its first appearance in the CT6 refresh. A modified 335-hp, 400 lb-ft 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6 (smaller turbos) is available and debuts in the CT5. Both are paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission. New rear badging will denote a rounded-off torque figure in Newton-meters. Super Cruise will be added in the second model year. A CT5-V is expected in the future.

What’s Not: It rides on GM’s rear-wheel-drive Alpha platform with some enhancements to the carryover front multilink strut and rear five-link suspension. All-wheel drive will be available on all trim levels.

When: Fall 2019

How Much: $48,000

Volkswagen Golf

What’s New: Volkswagen’s popular hatchback enters its eighth generation and will reportedly grow slightly in size with a few design tweaks. The sporty GTI will allegedly feature a mild hybrid powertrain featuring a 48-volt electrical system that will power the turbocharger to improve low-end boost before the exhaust pressure builds. It’s not yet clear whether the standard non-GTI Golf will return to the U.S. market.

What’s Not: The new Golf will still ride on VW’s MQB platform, though rumors suggest it’s been revised to cut weight.

When: Early 2020

How Much: $23,000 (est)

Maserati Alfieri

What’s New: The Alfieri has been designed from the ground up to be Maserati’s new halo car. It’s available as either a coupe or convertible with three levels of electrification. The EV version featuring three-motor, four-wheel drive and a quick-charging 800-volt battery will top the lineup.

What’s Not: Both the hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions of the Alfieri will use a Ferrari-sourced engine. If that engine is a V-8, it will probably be a version of the 3.8-liter twin-turbo currently found in the Levante GTS.

When: 2020

How Much: $150,000 (est)

Porsche 718 Boxster T/718 Cayman T

What’s New: Following the widely praised “T” prescription that was given to 911 Carrera brethren, the 718 twins will similarly enjoy reduced weight, lowered and further-honed suspension, the Sport Chrono package, and Porsche Torque Vectoring. A six-speed manual is standard; a seven-speed twin-clutch automatic is optional. The 2.0-liter turbocharged flat-four 718 T (likely 300 hp, 280 lb-ft) will slot into the lineup between S and GTS versions in terms of price but surely will be the pointiest 718 available.

What’s Not: Engine output for the States has not yet been finalized, but as in the base car, it’s a 2.0-liter turbo for certain. The Cayman T coupe and Boxster T roadster body lines remain the same; only subtle interior and exterior distinctions are visible.

When: 2020

How Much: $70,000 (est)

Subaru Legacy

What’s New: The Legacy moves over to Subaru’s new Global Platform, which the automaker says is safer, handles better , and maximizes interior volume. An optional 2.4-liter turbocharged flat-four is now available, and the redesigned interior can be had with a large 11.6-inch touchscreen oriented vertically on the dashboard. The EyeSight package of driver assistance technology is now standard, and other driver assist features are available.

What’s Not: A 2.5-liter flat-four engine still serves as the base powertrain, but has been updated with 90 percent new parts and direct injection for the 2020 Legacy.

When: Fall 2019

How Much: $24,000 (est)

Hyundai Elantra

What’s New: After a refresh for 2019, the compact Elantra is back with more updates for 2020. The Elantra will feature a new CVT. Like its cousin, the 2019 Kia Forte, it’s likely to grow in size compared to its predecessor. Expect gains in fuel economy, with the base 2.0-liter engine hitting 41 mpg on the highway.

What’s Not: Although power figures haven’t been released, a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine has been confirmed once again. It’s likely the model will also continue with 1.4- and 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engines.

When: Late 2019

How Much: $18,500 (est)


Aston Martin Vanquish

What’s New: It’s Aston’s take on a Ferrari mid-engine supercar, specifically at the new F8 Tributo revealed at the Geneva Motor Show in March. If it looks anything like the concept and revives the Vanquish name, we’ll be extremely happy. The Vanquish could pack the new V-6 hybrid turbo behind the seats, possibly making north of 700 hp to compete directly with the Tributo. We’ve heard the new model is being developed with the help of Red Bull Racing engineers, so expect the car to have a lot of F1 bits and pieces.

What’s Not: Its name. The name Vanquish has come and gone a couple of times—it was first used from 2001 to 2007 and then again from 2012 to 2018. Aston built a few special editions, but this new supercar will be completely different from anything we’ve seen with the Vanquish badge.

When: 2020

How Much: $350,000 (est)

Alfa Romeo GTV

What’s New: As Alfa’s practical coupe, the GTV will have four seats and a trunk, but that’s where the practicality ends. The front-engine, rear-drive 2+2 is expected to be offered only with an eight-speed automatic transmission, and all-wheel drive will be optional. The high-performance Quadrifoglio model will add an electric motor between the 2.9-liter twin-turbo V-6 and the transmission to boost output to more than 600 hp.

What’s Not: At its core, the GTV is a Giulia coupe. Expect the same turbocharged four-cylinder base engine.

When: 2021

How Much: $45,000 (est)

Audi E-Tron GT

What’s New: Audi’s sexy E-Tron GT sedan will follow the more practical E-Tron SUV to market just a year later but with substantial differences. Electric motors front and rear combine for 590 hp, fed by a 95-kW-hr battery pack with an 800-volt charging system capable of nearly filling the battery in 20 minutes. Range is expected to be similar to the E-Tron SUV’s 204 EPA-estimated miles—but less if you test the estimated 0–60 time of under 3.5 seconds or explore the 149-mph top speed.

What’s Not: Squint a bit, and you can tell it’s a nicely rebodied Porsche Taycan.

When: 2020

How Much: $75,000 (est)

Fiat Centoventi

What’s New: The entire fully modular cheap-EV concept. An underfloor battery rack can carry up to four individual 60-mile battery packs, which can be rented when needed. A fifth optional pack slides out from under the driver’s seat for convenient indoor charging. Body panels are molded in a single color with wraps providing other colors. Further personalization is provided by five choices each of roof styles and colors, bumpers, and wheels.

What’s Not: Fiat’s lifelong mission to bring mobility to the masses, which here drives further innovations like 3-D-printable accessories that mount to a mesh grid of holes in the dash.

When: 2022

How Much: $25,000 (est)

Acura RLX

What’s New: Is bolder better? Acura has tried to answer that question over the years, with mixed results. Love it or hate it, the new RDX benefits from engaging styling borrowed from the Precision concept—and that bold crossover is setting sales records for the brand. That momentum could continue with the RLX’s replacement, a car that may adopt the Precision’s fastback shape (hello, Audi A7). With very little brand equity in the RL or RLX name, the time could be right for a (slightly) bolder flagship four-door from Acura.

What’s Not: Future Acura cabins will be influenced by the Precision Interior concept, like the RDX with its optimally placed infotainment screen and controversial touchpad controller.

When: 2021

How Much: $57,000 (est)

Karma Pininfarina GT Concept

What’s New: The Pininfarina-designed Karma concept car made its debut at the 2019 Shanghai auto show and previews the California-based automaker’s upcoming lineup. Its design language will be a departure from the Revero, but most of the fundamental engineering is unchanged. If public response goes well, the Pininfarina GT could go from one-off concept to production model.

What’s Not: Karma recently announced a partnership with BMW and will license the German automaker’s turbocharged three-cylinder engine for use as a generator in plug-in hybrid vehicles, including the next-generation Revero.

When: 2020

How Much: $100,000 (est)

The post Future Cars! 2020 and Beyond appeared first on Motortrend.

Categories: Property

Lender scuppers WeWork letting in Glasgow

Property Week News Feed - Thu, 05/16/2019 - 00:00
Scottish developer HFD has walked away from a potential letting to WeWork at its 177 Bothwell Street scheme in Glasgow, after its lender Lloyds Bank expressed concerns over the strength of the covenant.
Categories: Property

Lenders scuppers WeWork letting in Glasgow

Property Week News Feed - Thu, 05/16/2019 - 00:00
Scottish developer HFD has walked away from a potential letting to WeWork at its 177 Bothwell Street scheme in Glasgow, after its lender Lloyds Bank expressed concerns over the strength of the covenant.
Categories: Property

Full house: sector's finest celebrated at RESI Awards 2019

Property Week News Feed - Thu, 05/16/2019 - 00:00
More than 1,200 people gathered at the Grosvenor House Hotel on Park Lane this evening for the RESI Awards 2019, which was hosted by comedian Stephen Amos.
Categories: Property

Developer confidence in mayor nose-dives

Property Week News Feed - Thu, 05/16/2019 - 00:00
M3 London Development Barometer shows faith in his policies has waned
Categories: Property

Rural economy expected to outgrow urban areas after Brexit

Property Week News Feed - Thu, 05/16/2019 - 00:00
Economic growth in rural parts of England will marginally outstrip that of purely urban areas following Brexit, the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) has predicted.
Categories: Property

Ex-Colliers chief executive joins resi developer Echlin

Property Week News Feed - Thu, 05/16/2019 - 00:00
Former Colliers International chief executive David Izett has been appointed director at luxury residential development and design firm Echlin.
Categories: Property

Pocket Living set to build homes outside the capital

Property Week News Feed - Thu, 05/16/2019 - 00:00
Residential developer Pocket Living is planning its first schemes outside London.
Categories: Property

Auction House has ‘best ever’ April across its UK network

Property Week News Feed - Thu, 05/16/2019 - 00:00
Auctioneer sells 353 of 447 lots across 40 venues and raises almost £33m in record-breaking month
Categories: Property

The 1,000-Pound Ambition That Became a Real Torque Number For The Ram 3500

Motortrend News Feed - Wed, 05/15/2019 - 23:00

The Ram 3500 with the 6.7-liter turbodiesel I-6 is now on sale. We’ve driven and tested it and had time to process the numbers, but quite frankly we are still gobsmacked by that one insane four-digit number.

The Cummins diesel generates a mind-blowing 1,000 lb-ft of torque as well as 400 horsepower, allowing it to tow 35,100 pounds. (Chevy has since topped that with a Silverado HD that can tow 35,500 pounds.) So when we caught up with Jim Morrison, head of the Ram Brand in North America, we had to know the story behind hitting the big 1,000.

Did it start as a joke? A stretch goal to make engineers laugh and cry at the same time?

The story behind the story is marching orders to engineer the new heavy-duty to be the most capable in the marketplace in terms of payload, power, and torque, Morrison tells us. Torque was the biggie since it also affected payload.

Then something mathematical happened. “To drive the 35,100 pounds of trailer tow,” Morrison says, “when the guys did all the math, they came up with something in the high 900s. It was something like 980 or 985 or something like that. And then we were, ‘OK, we’re that close. We gotta be the first truck to get to 1,000.’”

Initially they thought it was a stretch target, but the team kept working. ‘That’s kind of our approach to life at Ram, just keep working until you get there,” Morrison says.

“It was a little bit of a ‘we made it’ moment when he heard back from the Cummins folks that they had dynoed the first one and we had got that,” Morrison says of the first 1,000 reading. “It was a heroic moment for the truck engineers,” and the proof was on a lot of peoples’ phones in Auburn Hills.

Morrison was as gobsmacked as anyone. “I remember these trucks in the ’80s having 400 lb-ft of torque with the first Cummins engines,” he says. “That was groundbreaking then. We’ve exponentially grown beyond that. We thought having one more digit on our torque was a good way to really emphasize the Cummins power. It was kind of fun to go all the way to 1,000.”

Today I did a burnout in a 2019 Ram 3500 dualie with 1,000 lb-ft of torque while in third gear with 14,900 lbs hooked to the truck via a gooseneck. How was your day?

— Joel Feder (@joelfeder) February 20, 2019

Ram is not the scrappy underdog anymore. Does that make you change your approach?

“We’re the same people, and we still have the same focus on the customer,” Morrison says. Being a truck-only brand helps focus on what buyers want. “Every conversation I have with a heavy-duty customer, somewhere comes up, ‘Yeah, I need more power.’ Whether you are towing a 20,000-pound something or 35,000, it’s nice to have more power.”

Is it harder to make radical changes and take risks now?

The competition didn’t prompt Ram to put a 12-inch screen in the truck, Morrison says, but customers did. They wanted more technology. These aren’t trucks that stay parked until the weekend. They have the technology, safety, and luxury to use every day. “When I started in this business, I used to joke that luxury was a seat belt in a heavy-duty truck. But now I’m talking to customers who say, ‘I have a $100,000 RV that’s got wood floors and granite countertops. Why can’t I have as nice a truck?’ We can do that.” An advanced navigation screen is offered across the lineup because it helps the cross-country trucker find a good meal and avoid traffic. Advanced safety tech when towing a 35,000-pound trailer can save his bacon.

What is next for the Ram 3500?

Ram is starting to sell the heavy-duties now, and the Ram 1500 has been out for a year. The next big thing will come from customers after they have spent some time in the new trucks, Morrison says. “That’s how we learned to get to this level.” Already customers are calling for continued safety, technology, and always more power and capability.

Truck customers traditionally have been fiercely loyal to their brand. Is that changing?

Pickup truck loyalty is hard to break, Morrison admits, but it’s almost politically correct to change brands now. “Everybody will flip cars for 10 cents and SUVs for $10 and trucks never. But now people are coming who want to drive the best truck.” Awards for the Ram 1500, the 2019 MotorTrend Truck of the Year, help. “Customers are paying attention to us at a higher rate than ever before.”

Morrison is encouraged that the Ram 1500 has the highest conquest-to-defection ratio among Ram pickups to date. The new truck is bringing new customers in and the features are keeping them around.

How long will Ram keep selling the Ram Classic?

There are no plans to stop selling the previous-gen Classic yet, and Ram still has a few tricks up its sleeve, like the addition of a $37,040 2019 Ram 1500 Classic Warlock, a limited edition throwback that pays homage to the Dodge Warlock pickup of the late ’70s. The new Warlock sells at a popular price point, about $6,000 less than a new Ram, and has become important for government and fleet sales.

Is Ram working on an electric pickup?

Ram 1500 has standard eTorque on V-6s, and the mild hybrid tech is offered on one of the variants of the Hemi V-8, improving torque, increasing fuel efficiency by 2 mpg, and giving the truck 12,000 pounds of towing capability. As for a pure electric pickup? “I can’t talk about the future,” Morrison says.

How is development coming on a compact or midsize pickup?

A smaller pickup is in FCA’s five-year plan, but Morrison won’t spill any details. On the recent first-quarter earnings call, however, CEO Mike Manley stressed the importance of getting a midsize truck for the Ram brand. But as has been the refrain for the many years that FCA has tried to get a smaller truck on the market, the automaker is struggling with what platform to put it on. Although sharing with the Jeep Gladiator would seem logical, that is not necessarily the route Ram will take. “Being able to find a cost-effective platform in a region where we can build it with low cost and it still being applicable in the market is what they’re struggling with at the moment,” Manley told analysts and media on the call.

The post The 1,000-Pound Ambition That Became a Real Torque Number For The Ram 3500 appeared first on Motortrend.

Categories: Property

2020 Audi A4 First Look: 5 New Features to Look for on the Refreshed Sedan

Motortrend News Feed - Wed, 05/15/2019 - 20:57

The Audi A4 ranks near the top of its class thanks to its advanced cabin technology, excellent build quality, quick acceleration, and solid ride. For 2020, Audi improves on this formula with new features. Read on to learn what’s new on the 2020 Audi A4.


New grille

The hexagonal grille has become wider and flatter. Also notice that the cut line of the hood no longer touches the upper edge of the grille.

New lights

LED headlights come standard on the new A4, although buyers can opt for Matrix LED-style lights like we’ve seen on other models including the A7 and Q8. You’ll find these fancy new lights up front and in the back. Although Audi has only detailed the Euro-spec version as of this writing, expect the U.S. model to feature similar design updates. Full details on the U.S. model are coming later this year, says Audi.

New dimensions

Audi lists the new European-spec A4 as having a length of 187.5 inches. If the U.S. model follows suit, that would mean a 1.4-inch increase in length from the previous model. Unsurprisingly, the wheelbase remains unchanged at 111.0 inches

New touchscreen

On the old A4, the largest center infotainment screen you could get measured 8.3 inches. Now, the new A4 gets a 10.1-inch display. While the previous screen was controlled by a rotary knob, the new screen responds to touch. Thus, the old control knob has been removed from the center console. Audi says the updated MMI system features natural-language voice control so it can better understand phrases used in everyday speech.

New mild hybrid system

Audi is offering six turbocharged engines in Europe. Engines will range in output from 148 hp to 342 hp, and some of the variants will be four-cylinder diesel, four-cylinder TFSI, and V-6 diesel engines. But the most interesting news might be that three of them will feature a new 12-volt mild hybrid system to lower fuel consumption. We don’t know yet if one of those is our U.S.-spec turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder, but it’s a possibility. We’re fairly sure the turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 in the S4 isn’t included in that group, however, as it’s not offered in Europe.

The post 2020 Audi A4 First Look: 5 New Features to Look for on the Refreshed Sedan appeared first on Motortrend.

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How Volvo Plans to Fight Tesla in the EV Game

Motortrend News Feed - Wed, 05/15/2019 - 20:16

Volvo wants to make sure the Volvo and Polestar brands are major players in the electric vehicle space and took some major steps today to make sure that plan never runs out of juice.

The Swedish brand owned by Chinese company Geely announced today it has signed long-term agreements with two major lithium-ion battery makers: CATL of China and LG Chem of South Korea. Unlike Tesla which makes its own batteries at the Gigafactory, Volvo has cemented a steady supply for the next decade as the automotive world races toward electrification.

Volvo has ambitious plans. It raised eyebrows when it announced in 2017 that all new Volvo models launched from 2019 on would have some degree of electrification, mostly hybrids initially. Leadership upped the ante when it announced the goal of fully electric cars making up half its global sales by 2025. Polestar was created as an electric brand. It started with a hybrid but all subsequent models will be electric only.

2021 Polestar 2

“The future of Volvo Cars is electric and we are firmly committed to moving beyond the internal combustion engine,” said Håkan Samuelsson, president and CEO of Volvo Cars. “Today’s agreements with CATL and LG Chem demonstrate how we will reach our ambitious electrification targets.”

All Volvos ride on one of two platforms: the Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) for the smaller 40 series and the Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) for everything else. The new battery deal will cover the current CMA platform including the first electric Volvo, the XC40, which currently has a plug-in hybrid option. The electric XC40 will be built in Ghent, Belgium, where Volvo is building its first battery assembly line. Construction will be done by the end of the year. Also on CMA is the electric Polestar 2 and some models sold by Lynk & Co, also owned by Geely, all of which will be built at a plant in Luqiao, China.

The next generation SPA2 will use the new battery source. That means next-gen 90 and 60 Series vehicles. First up will be the next XC90. Volvo will add XC90 production to its new plant near Charleston, South Carolina, in 2021. The plant currently makes the S60, including plug-in hybrids, and a pure EV is expected  in the future from Volvo’s only North American plant.

Volvo XC90 Twin Engine powertrain

Currently, the U.S. only gets the T8 plug-in hybrid, but in the future we will also receive the T6 Twin Engine that is offered in other markets as part of a mandate to offer a plug-in on every model Volvo produces.

The post How Volvo Plans to Fight Tesla in the EV Game appeared first on Motortrend.

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The 7 Coolest Spy Gadgets on the Aston Martin DB5 Goldfinger Tribute Car

Motortrend News Feed - Wed, 05/15/2019 - 18:38

Last year, Aston Martin announced plans to build 25 new DB5s in partnership with EON Productions, the company that produces the James Bond films. The continuation cars would be built as a tribute to the DB5’s role in the classic Bond flick Goldfinger, and most importantly, would have several functional spy gadgets, just like the original car had in the film. The cars won’t be road-legal, but we can easily see why any car geek and/or movie lover would want one. And even though the Goldfinger DB5s are still being built today, Aston Martin gave us a closer look at the spy gadgets it’s building into each car. Here are seven of the coolest ones currently in development.

Smoke Screen

Not all spy gadgets need to be lethal. Some simply help you escape unseen. On the DB5, that means having a smoke screen system installed in the rear of the car. We’re not sure how effective it would actually be, but by 1960s movie logic, it was genius.

Oil Slick

Again, we’re not sure this particular gadget would be very helpful in 2019. Tires are grippier than they were 50 years ago, and spraying oil on the ground is less likely to cause someone to spin out. But if you’re in a car chase, it can’t hurt to give this taillight-mounted oil slick delivery system a shot.

Revolving Licence Plates

Unlike the first two gadgets, the passage of time hasn’t made this one any less useful. But instead of using it to fool the bad guys, a revolving license plate would make dodging tolls a breeze. It would be very illegal, and you definitely shouldn’t try it, but we can dream, can’t we?

Machine Guns

It doesn’t get much cooler than a pair of machine guns hidden in the front lights of a DB5. And the continuation cars will still have them. Sadly, the twin front machine guns won’t be functional, but seeing them pop out from behind the light housing will probably never get old.

Battering Rams

If you need to drive through a wall or push a bad guy’s car off the road, the DB5’s retractable front and rear battering rams should prove useful. And when you’re a spy, those kinds of things apparently happen all the time. Gotta be prepared, right?

Ejector Seat Button

Sadly, there’s no actual ejector seat. Apparently, that would have been one step too far for Aston Martin. Even though that’s disappointing, considering how litigious people are these days, we understand. But you can at least pretend an ejector seat was included with the button hidden in the DB5’s shifter.

Rear Bullet Shield

If you’re a movie spy, you have to be ready for any car chase to involve the bad guys shooting at your car. So obviously, you need a bullet shield that can pop up and protect your rear window. Sure, it may negatively impact rear visibility, but on a car that isn’t street-legal, it’s not like you’ll have to parallel park with the bullet shield still up.

The post The 7 Coolest Spy Gadgets on the Aston Martin DB5 Goldfinger Tribute Car appeared first on Motortrend.

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Volvo rolls out post-crash checklist for drivers

The Car Connection News Feed - Wed, 05/15/2019 - 18:30
Volvo owners involved in a crash will have immediate support from the automaker. The brand announced Tuesday its Volvo Car Accident Advisor, which delivers an essential checklist to a driver's smartphone if the vehicle detects it has been in a crash. The feature will be available to all 2015.5 and newer Volvo vehicles in the U.S. via the cars'...
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Mini makes its high-value Oxford Edition available to active and retired U.S. military members

The Car Connection News Feed - Wed, 05/15/2019 - 18:30
Active and recently retired U.S. military members are now eligible to purchase the 2019 Mini Cooper Oxford Edition, a high-value trim level previously offered only to students. Mini on Tuesday called its decision to expand Oxford Edition availability as a gesture of appreciation for those who serve in the U.S. armed forces. READ THIS: High-value...
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2020 Toyota 4Runner

The Car Connection News Feed - Wed, 05/15/2019 - 16:10
The 2020 Toyota 4Runner is an SUV that may owe its continued existence to the way the “Jurassic Park” franchise reignited an interest in dinosaurs. The 4Runner’s basic, off-road design makes it a relic compared to car-like crossover SUVs. Beneath its bulky exterior, the 4Runner has a separate frame and a solid rear axle...
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NHTSA hits the brakes, Audi A4 updates, Tesla Model Y strains battery supply: What's New @ The Car Connection

The Car Connection News Feed - Wed, 05/15/2019 - 15:30
NHTSA backtracks, won't mandate brake override systems The NHTSA on Monday said that it doesn't plan to follow through with a promise it made seven years ago to make brake override systems mandatory on new cars, a move applauded by automakers that have already installed the feature. 2019 BMW 8-Series Review The 2019 BMW 8-Series revives a badge...
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