Want to Add Built-In Nav to Your Used GM Vehicle? There’s an App for That

Motortrend News Feed - Mon, 04/12/2021 - 23:34

For those who duct tape their phones to the dash to use an app for navigation directions (or plop their phones in the cupholder) because their vehicle does not have a built-in navigation system, General Motors is offering a better solution.

Starting April 30, GM will roll out a new app called Maps+ for about 900,000 customers with vehicles purchased in the last few years that could use a navigational upgrade.

Maps+ incorporates navigation with apps like Marketplace and personal assistant Alexa to offer a more cohesive experience where drivers have a host of connected services at their fingertips. They can plan their day by finding the stores or destinations they want, get the directions, know the speed limit at any point in the journey and other pertinent information like finding gas stations or parking spots to run a day’s errands seamlessly while listening to a favorite podcast.

Give Customers What They Want

Deborah Wahl, GM’s chief marketing officer, told a Reuters conference that 62 percent of customers say they want an integrated nav map. The ability to update existing vehicles only adds to their value and improves their ownership experience, Wahl says. And it is not a one-time thing; over-the-air updates can be used to continue to upgrade a vehicle over its lifetime. And the beauty of it is it does not require new hardware and can be adapted for use with vehicles of assorted dash and screen layouts and electrical systems.

Maps+ will be available for owners of compatible Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac vehicles dating back to the 2018 model year. It will be offered as part of a Connected Services plan. GM did not break out the cost of the subscription plan required, but it will be run through OnStar Connected Services, the automaker’s data connection that powers onboard 4G LTE-fed WiFi, remote vehicle services (remote start your car or keep tabs on it via a smartphone app), and more. OnStar Connected plans that currently offer the connected navigation function currently run between $14.99 per month and $24.99 per month. Eligible vehicle owners will be notified when their vehicle is eligible for Maps+.

Of course, just using your phone is free—not to mention pairing it via a cable to those GM vehicles that offer Apple CarPlay or Android Auto integration, which allows nav apps such as Google Maps, Apple Maps, and Waze to be beamed onto your vehicle’s touchscreen, much like a native, onboard system. So, if you must have built-in nav, at least GM is supporting constant updates via the app.

Hummer Went Hollywood

Other interesting tidbits from Wahl: the high-production videos used to introduce the 2022 GMC Hummer EV pickup truck and the 2024 GMC Hummer EV SUV electric vehicles to the public were the most-watched launches GM has done to date. Their success means GM will continue to incorporate an entertainment focus in the future to introduce new vehicles and highlight their features.

GM spent about $1 billion less than usual on advertising in 2020. Wahl would not say how much GM will spend this year but said the company plans to return to pre-pandemic spending levels when the world returns to normal activities.

A lesson learned from the pandemic: speed is of the essence. If the company can quickly retool a plant to make ventilators, it can quickly develop marketing strategies and ad campaigns.

The post Want to Add Built-In Nav to Your Used GM Vehicle? There’s an App for That appeared first on MotorTrend.

Categories: Property

Hold the Tip: Meet Domino’s Autonomous Pizza Delivery Robot

Motortrend News Feed - Mon, 04/12/2021 - 22:30

Ever feel like the pizza delivery person is judging your life choices? “Two large pies—is anyone else home?” Or, “Really? A $2 tip?” Maybe you just don’t like interacting with other people, hence the pizza delivery order in the first place. Rather than dealing with a restaurant’s worth of potential interactions, you’ll work up the courage for a single meeting with a delivery driver. Has Domino’s Pizza got the solution for you: A pizza delivery robot.

Yes, the robots have come for your pizza delivery jobs, but before you rise up with pitchforks raised, put down that lighter and the molotov cocktail and, instead, relax. The R2, the self-driving pizza bot made by Nuro, is only being pressed into service in Houston, Texas. For now, at least.

Keep in mind, Domino’s has been living at the bleeding edge of pizza-delivery tech for the past few years, notably with its DXP pizza delivery vehicle (based on the previous-generation Chevy Spark hatchback) and more recently with Carside Delivery, a contactless pandemic-related pizza-pickup method in which Domino’s franchise workers drop pizzas in your trunk or cargo area.

The Nuro pizza delivery bot is somewhat unique among a developing class of autonomous vehicles, some of which have been testing for the past few years in various locales around the country. It’s claimed to be “the first completely autonomous [occupantless] on-road delivery vehicle with a regulatory approval by the U.S. Department of Transportation.” What that means is that Nuro was able to get the department to ignore some of its safety regulations, all of which were written under the assumption a vehicle would have humans on board. No need for belts or a windshield when, well, there is no one riding in a Nuro. Don’t laugh. Nuro had to seek out exemptions to more arcane regulations than you might imagine just to make the R2 possible.

Domino’s isn’t Nuro’s only dance partner, either, as the startup has worked with Kroger on delivering groceries autonomously, too. So, while this will be the Nuro R2’s first experience commercially delivering pizzas (albeit only in Houston, from a single Domino’s location), it likely won’t be its last. Nuro has partnered with Michigan-based firm Roush (yes, that Roush, which also modifies Ford Mustangs and F-150s), as Roush is actually a manufacturer and a supplier.

The Nuro R2 is small and can travel on public roads at speeds of up to 25 mph. It is a little under four feet wide, a smidge over six feet tall, and casts a shadow nine feet long. It is powered by a 31-kWh battery and features a full array of sensors capable of mapping out 360 degrees of its surroundings (including 360-degree overlapping camera feeds, thermal imaging, lidar, short and long-range radar, microphones, and short-range ultrasonic sensors).

Want to see it in person doing its thing?

You’ll only be able to order autonomously delivered pizzas from the Domino’s store in Woodland Heights, and only via the Domino’s website … and at specific times on certain days. You must opt into having your order delivered by the Nuro bot, and even then, you must be “selected” for the privilege. Those lucky enough to get a shot at R2 delivery will then be given text-message updates on the bot’s progress, along with a special PIN for retrieving their order from the R2 robot when it arrives. (The cargo lives behind a PIN-protected door.) Enter the PIN on the vehicle’s touchscreen, and the door will open so you can grab your pie. The future is now, and now we are suddenly hungry for pizza.

The post Hold the Tip: Meet Domino’s Autonomous Pizza Delivery Robot appeared first on MotorTrend.

Categories: Property

2022 Lexus ES Sedan Getting a Refresh, Will Debut in Shanghai

Motortrend News Feed - Mon, 04/12/2021 - 20:55

Lexus is teasing the upcoming 2022 Lexus ES, one of the company’s dwindling luxury sedan offerings with the recent death of the GS. And it’s right on the heels of the introduction of the 2021 Lexus ES250 AWD, which introduced all-wheel-drive to the heretofore front-drive model range—part of a glut of AWD sedans trying to stay relevant in an SUV-frenzied market.

The good news is that the 2022 ES will largely resemble its highly attractive 2021 variant—the teaser shows that the rear end is essentially unchanged, while the front will get lightly restyled headlights—but that’s also the bad news. This isn’t going to be a heavy refresh.

If you like the 2021 ES, that’s perfectly fine. It’s a bargain compared to its flashier competitors, such as the Genesis G80 and Volvo S90, and its reputations for quality and reliability are unimpeachable. Related to the roomy Toyota Avalon, the ES’s interior is spacious enough that you can stretch out in the front or back. The unusual gauge cluster hood adds some flavor to what’s otherwise a competent but staid luxury car dashboard. And the optional AWD powertrain pairs four-cylinder economy with a price that matches the front-drive-only V-6 models. And don’t forget the ES 300h hybrid model, which is even quieter and obviously more efficient.

The ES has always emphasized serenity and comfort, and the 2021 version is no exception—and even with the death of the sportier GS, we don’t see that changing for 2022. Whatever the changes entail, we’ll find out on April 18 in Shanghai.

The post 2022 Lexus ES Sedan Getting a Refresh, Will Debut in Shanghai appeared first on MotorTrend.

Categories: Property

Bucking the Blue Oval: Standalone Ford Bronco Stores Are Likely Coming

Motortrend News Feed - Mon, 04/12/2021 - 19:00

With the pandemic, various delays, and waiting lists, it’s a little hard to imagine what a “normal” dealership experience might be like for customers of the Ford Bronco and Bronco SportAutomotive News reports that these SUVs’ buyers might be in for a different sort of consumer experience once the pandemic passes. Ford dealers are already working to set the Bronco siblings apart, literally, from other Ford models with standalone retail stores. And Ford itself is keen on the idea, generating renderings at dealers’ request.

The aesthetic can best be described as “outdoor clothing retailer”. This is certainly no accident, and the spaces appear to include raw-looking materials such as wood and concrete. According to a statement provided to AN from Ford, the company wants to focus on the vehicle and not the infrastructure, As such, the standalone Bronco store is not a mandate and dealers can incorporate it into their current showrooms or buildings. That said, according to the report, dealers that build out these Bronco stores could get even more Broncos to sell.

This squares well with Ford’s existing branding strategy, as exemplified by the vehicle itself. In the case of both the Bronco and Bronco Sport, Ford fits the SUV’s front ends with the word “BRONCO” in big, bold letters. Ford badging, meanwhile, is relegated to the rear. The association between Ford and Bronco is implicit, in one sense, so there’s little risk of confusion for a vehicle with such an ingrained history and iconic status among enthusiasts. The Mustang, now a family of vehicles including the all-electric Mustang Mach-E, is Ford’s other experiment in branding … and there are reportedly more sub-brands from Ford coming.

Luckily for Bronco, the Bronco Sport is closer to its big sibling’s core identity than the Mustang Mach-E is to the run-of-the-mill Mustang. Will standalone Bronco stores help cement the connection between the big Bronco, the smaller Bronco Sport, and future variants such as the upcoming Bronco pickup? It certainly can’t hurt.

The post Bucking the Blue Oval: Standalone Ford Bronco Stores Are Likely Coming appeared first on MotorTrend.

Categories: Property

Some Ford Mustang Mach-Es Are Bricking Despite Full Charge

Motortrend News Feed - Mon, 04/12/2021 - 18:01

When you keep your EV plugged in, you expect it to be ready to go when it is charged, right? Unfortunately, that is not the case for some owners whose Ford Mustang Mach-Es were built on or before February 3, 2021. As reported by The Verge, the Mach-E’s software does not allow the SUV’s onboard 12-volt battery to be charged while the bigger, primary drive battery pack is being charged. Wait, huh?

Yep—even some EVs have onboard 12-volt batteries for starting and powering accessories when the car is off, just like conventional internal-combustion vehicles do. This means there is a remote possibility that, if that 12-volt battery dies, an electric vehicle cannot be started—again, just like a gas-fed automobile—because that smaller battery handles the circuitry for powering the vehicle up, unlocking the doors, and so on.

Such is the case for the Ford Mustang Mach-E, though the problem is exaggerated by the buggy factory software, which isn’t topping off the 12-volt properly while the SUV is plugged in and charging its larger lithium-ion battery pack. Adding to this inconvenience, an over-the-air software update will not be ready until “later this year,” so affected Mach-Es will need to be taken to an EV-certified Ford dealer for a software fix.

Here is how the relationship between the 12-volt battery and the primary high-voltage lithium-ion battery pack that mainly powers the electric drive motors is supposed to work:

Without an alternator that charges the 12-volt when the engine is running (because, well, no engine), an EV will direct energy from the big battery pack to the 12-volt. The wonderful thing is, this can happen at all times, even when the EV is not running, as long as there is enough juice in the big pack. (The control module would stop this process to prevent the high-voltage reaching too low a state of charge and possibly sustaining damage as a result.) So, while you should drive or start up a gas-fed car at least once or twice a month to keep the 12-volt battery charged, in an EV, the 12-volt can theoretically help itself to energy from the high-voltage pack whenever it needs to.

Affected Mustang Mach-Es, according to the NHTSA service bulletin Ford initiated, the powertrain control module (PCM)’s programming is preventing the 12-volt battery from sipping energy from the big pack while the high-voltage battery itself is sipping energy from the grid. In simpler terms: Even when plugged in and charging up its big battery, the Mach-E isn’t keeping the 12-volt topped off.

If or when the 12-volt battery discharges, it lacks the juice to power up the electronics to turn the car on. Thus, owners are left with Mach-Es in “deep sleep” mode. Before you ask, yes, it is possible to jump-start an EV’s 12-volt battery—just like in your gas-fed ride!—but since the Mach-E’s 12-volt battery is hidden within the front trunk, the process is tedious. You first must jump the electric front trunk (frunk) release just to gain access; then you can jump the 12-volt.

Given how the Mustang Mach-E is capable of receiving over-the-air (OTA) updates wirelessly, in theory, Ford could quickly and painlessly fix the software problem the way Tesla is known to do. However, during the Mach-E’s initial rollout, Ford told MotorTrend that OTA capability was not secure enough and would not be introduced until “later this year.” While Ford is able to build an electric SUV comparable to Tesla’s offering and excel in hardware build quality, it still needs to catch up on software side.

A simple hardware change could have also avoided this outcome—Hyundai, for example, includes a “12V BATT RESET” button on its Ioniq EV hatchback’s dashboard that delivers an on-demand jump start to the 12-volt battery, a handy feature to have in case the onboard computer takes a dive.

In any event, while inconvenient, the Mach-E’s little charging problem belies the automaker’s noble push for data security. It is a good sign that Ford understands the importance of cybersecurity isn’t rushing to deploy the Mach-E’s OTA update feature until it’s ready for prime time, even in the face of a prime use case for those updates.

The post Some Ford Mustang Mach-Es Are Bricking Despite Full Charge appeared first on MotorTrend.

Categories: Property

Three floors at 1 Finsbury Square hit the market

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 04/12/2021 - 16:39
Catella APAM has appointed Knight Frank and Squarebrook to market three floors at 1 Finsbury Square being vacated by Verisk Analytics Inc.
Categories: Property

Courier Media takes pre-let at HKR Hoxton

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 04/12/2021 - 16:37
Courier Media has taken a 5,500 sq ft pre-let at mixed-use east London building HKR Hoxton.
Categories: Property

Big Love: How and Why Europeans Import U.S. Pickup Trucks

Motortrend News Feed - Mon, 04/12/2021 - 16:30

Few modern vehicles practically chant “U-S-A! U-S-A!” as aggressively as a full-size pickup. Still, even America’s best-selling vehicle, the Ford F-150, is sold only in a few places outside of the good ol’ United States of America—officially that is. Blame the higher fuel costs, smaller streets, and greater rates of taxation of other countries. The reality is the template of full-size trucks simply does not translate into volume sales in most markets.

This doesn’t mean those across the pond can’t get import a full-size truck to their shores if they really want one. While Ford might not want to cannibalize sales from its popular Ranger in foreign markets, other automakers have no such small pickups whose sales it needs to protect. No surprise, then, that a brisk business has sprung up around importing another full-size pickup luminary to Europe: the Ram 1500. Thanks to partnerships with local sales outlets, Dodge and Ram sales grew in Europe by nearly 50 percent in 2020.

What’s it like to import a full-size pickup from its American stronghold to countries where Ram 1500s and Chevy Silverados are more exotic than Ferraris and Lamborghinis? And why are Europeans so keen on piloting these enormous land barges through some of the world’s oldest and narrowest roads?

Full-Size Fantasy

It would be wrong to think that the denizens of Germany, Britain, the Netherlands, and other European countries are living in some kind of truckless void. There are many smaller pickups, and pickup-like SUVs offered for sale in these countries, but these offerings hail from a distinctly more utilitarian side of the spectrum. Forget the leather-lined luxury cruisers found on U.S. dealer lots, as these mid-size models skew toward the basic with limited amenities, easy-to-clean interiors, and modest turbodiesel engines designed to skirt registration costs and offer plentiful torque.

Attempts to gussy up these midsize models have typically been met with indifference (witness the failure of the Mercedes-Benz X-Class). These smaller trucks occupy an important part of the landscape, but their appeal has traditionally been as commercial workhorses, not daily drivers. Nor do European truck owners use their rigs specifically to tow, as wagons, hatchbacks, and compact SUVs are far more often deputized for duty hauling utility trailers and camping caravans.

While some contractors do embrace U.S. metal for their increased cargo capacity and heavy-duty tow ratings, the love showered on brutishly large import pickups usually stems not from need but want. American trucks are valued for their brash personalities, over-the-top capability, and perceived luxury, factors which mainstream European buyers have rejected in their own market but deep-pocketed free-thinkers are willing to pay a considerable premium for. This doesn’t just include the initial purchase price, as owners must pay thousand each year in various taxes and registration fees brought about by their imported pickups’ massive shadows and big engines (the latter of which also makes for some expensive fuel bills).

Euro Spec

The process of actually buying a Ram 1500 overseas starts with a visit to an official importer. For Stellantis that’s AEC Europe, which also covers imports of the Dodge Challenger coupe, Charger sedan, and Durango SUV. With 400 sales locations, AEC claims to cover every country in the European Union. It has partnered with Stellantis (previously FCA) since 2011.

The company’s role goes above and beyond what one would typically expect from an import outfit in America. Not only does AEC convert every vehicle it sells to European standards (this includes lighting, emissions, country-specific weight restrictions, and other safety concerns), but it also provides a replacement warranty (via a third party, CarGarantie) that steps in to fill the gap of the voided factory coverage due to the vehicle’s exportation.

It’s largely a plug-and-play process for buyers, who don’t have to deal with any additional inspections or conversions from their respective license bureaus once they’ve picked up their Ram. If you want a custom order, however, be prepared to wait: AEC is willing to work with buyers on individual options and equipment, but it can be a slow process compared to simply choosing from one of its already-imported and warehoused models.

While Ram trucks have proven to be the most popular full-size pickup to import to Europe (thanks in large part to AEC’s reach), it’s certainly not the only option available. Smaller operations, such as AMT American Trucks, provide a full line-up of American-sourced trucks for import, including Ford, Chevrolet, and GMC models. While AMT American Trucks is based in Rotterdam, Netherlands, it will deliver vehicles homologated to meet the specific requirements of several different European counties.

AMT American Trucks also offers a service that can help reduce an owner’s registration burden by increasing the gross vehicle weight rating of specific models to help their big American pickup qualify as a commercial vehicle (this comes with specific tax breaks in some jurisdictions). The company will even add or remove seats, as necessary, to flirt with the letter of the law for buyers eager to reduce the financial impact of owning one of these massive models.

Drive to be Different

Full-size truck sales still account for a small number of overall new vehicle sales in Europe. This makes sense, given these big trucks were never really designed to navigate Europe’s narrow streets.

Still, the heart wants what the heart wants. Just as thousands of Americans yearn for impractical right-hand drive JDM vans and kei cars, many Europeans simply want to drive something that’s outside of their continent’s norms. At least if a European full-size truck buyer can’t find a place to park, they can always just drive off the beaten path and make their own parking space. Try doing that in an Autozam AZ-1.

The post Big Love: How and Why Europeans Import U.S. Pickup Trucks appeared first on MotorTrend.

Categories: Property

Wrangler or 4Runner, 2021 VW Arteon rocks, a hybrid pioneer revisited: What's New @ The Car Connection

The Car Connection News Feed - Mon, 04/12/2021 - 16:05
2021 Jeep Wrangler vs. 2021 Toyota 4Runner: Compare SUVs The two boxy off-roaders square off in our competition; which one is best for you? 2015 Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon recalled again for power steering issue GM's smaller pickups have flawed steering; recall begins soon. 2021 Ford Explorer review The venerable three-row Explorer SUV from...
Categories: Property

Man Group holds first closing of housing fund

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 04/12/2021 - 15:58
Investment manager Man Group has held the first closing of a £400m housing fund.
Categories: Property

Huckletree signs up Colart for White City workspace

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 04/12/2021 - 15:50
Flexible workspace provider Huckletree has signed art materials business Colart to take 4,400 sq ft at its flagship workspace centre in White City, west London.
Categories: Property

Hemstock hired to drive Midlands industrial growth at Prologis

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 04/12/2021 - 15:48
Prologis has hired James Hemstock to help drive its growth in the Midlands industrial market.
Categories: Property

2015 Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon recalled again for power steering issue

The Car Connection News Feed - Mon, 04/12/2021 - 15:00
GM has expanded an earlier recall of the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado and 2015 GMC Canyon mid-size pickup trucks, the NHTSA announced Monday. A poor electrical connection subject to corrosion in the power steering system can cause the affected vehicles to lose power steering assist and make steering more difficult for the driver. Drivers can still...
Categories: Property

Shawbrook Bank to launch buy-to-let tech platform

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 04/12/2021 - 14:38
Specialist lender Shawbrook Bank is set to launch a digital platform that can complete a buy-to-let mortgage just seven working days after receiving the application in principle.
Categories: Property

Shawbrook Bank launches buy-to-let tech platform

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 04/12/2021 - 14:38
Specialist lender Shawbrook Bank has launched a digital platform that can complete a buy-to-let mortgage just seven working days after receiving the application in principle.
Categories: Property

OakNorth and Ask Partners complete £22m loan for office conversion

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 04/12/2021 - 13:30
ASK Partners and OakNorth Bank have completed a £22m investment loan to fund an office conversion in the West Midlands.
Categories: Property

OakNorth and Ask Partners complete £22m for office conversion

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 04/12/2021 - 13:30
ASK Partners and OakNorth Bank have completed a £22m investment loan to fund an office conversion in the West Midlands.
Categories: Property

2021 Lexus LX570 Review: Overdressed for Off-Roading

Motortrend News Feed - Mon, 04/12/2021 - 13:00

The Toyota Land Cruiser is dead. Long live the Lexus LX570. Should anybody miss America’s Most Expensive Toyota? Should we rightfully be singing hosannas because this snazzy Lexus version only costs $995 more to start (or even $1,335 less than the last Land Cruiser Heritage Edition we sampled)? Maybe not.

Is the Lexus LX570 Luxurious Enough?

Luxury has been liberally applied to this gussied Toyota Land Cruiser in the form of shiny zebrano-like walnut wood veneers, red perforated semi-aniline leather seats, and lovely stitched materials adorning the dash, door uppers, and center console. And yet the legacy architecture hamstrings the LX570 with old-fashioned artifacts like the small, low-resolution info screen between the analog dials and the generations-old infotainment display that still doesn’t support Apple CarPlay or Android Auto and must be controlled by that somewhat cantankerous joystick/mouse haptic user interface. There is a nice color head-up display as a modern touch, but there is no lane centering, just departure warning. Even the CD player seems quaint at this point. Oh, and because it still uses a mechanical shift lever instead of an electronic one, you don’t get the under-console stowage most new SUVs offer nowadays.

Is the Lexus LX570 Too Capable?

All the luxury trappings seem entirely at odds with this truck’s impressive capability, and we fret that this will dissuade owners from ever utilizing its many incredible features. Like the turn-circle-tightening inside-rear brake locker, the center differential lock, the four different off-road modes, and the high-clearance height-adjustable suspension. Features like these, along with Toyota’s legendary durability, have made the Land Cruiser the vehicle of choice for United Nations Blue Helmet brigades and wild-game tour operators around the world. This impressive set of features totally inspired us to take a recent Midnight Black Metallic Land Cruiser Heritage Edition out to a local off-road park for muddin’ and rock-crawling. But when this Onyx Black LX570 arrived, it seemed too shiny and pretty to risk marring the paint with a branch stripe or getting mud on the carpets. That’s why this gear is just vastly more at home in a Toyota that it is in a Lexus. Then again, we get that the bill of materials adds up to a more Lexus-like sticker price, so the Toyota is being discontinued in the U.S. at the end of 2021 and now 99.5 percent of these vehicles sold from here on out will likely never tiptoe off the pavement until the third owner replaces the front bumper with a high-clearance, high-strength steel piece.

Laughable Third Row Now Optional!

Gigantic, three-ton SUVs should be able to comfortably carry adults in all three rows, but now Lexus is alone in the full-size luxury three-row market as it soldiers on with a live-axle rear suspension and the high floor that design dictates. In addition to robbing third-row passengers of a recessed footwell, this rig’s floor is so high you can’t even fold the seat down into it. Instead, the third bench splits and folds up against the sides of the cargo hold, robbing space and visibility. The good news is that nowadays you can order a two-row Lexus LX570 and save yourself $5,000. (There is no option for captain’s chairs in the middle row with this configuration, however.)

Environmentalists Rank LX570 Second Worst!

It may not shock you to learn that, a site that rates vehicles on their environmental friendliness, crowned our current reigning Truck of the Year, the 702-hp supercharged Ram TRX, the “Meanest” of all models available in the U.S. with a score on their proprietary Environmental Damage Index of 2.80 and a Green Score of 22. It utterly shocked us to find the Lexus LX570 in second place on that list with an EDX of 2.41 and a Green Score of 27. For reference, at the other end of the spectrum, the Hyundai Ioniq Electric ranked as Greenest, scoring 0.60 and 70.

That EDX number is an interesting one that represents the dollar cost per mile in environmental damage of operating the vehicle over an assumed 150,000-mile useful life. The figure incorporates not only the regulated pollutants generated while driving (using EPA test results), but also the lifetime environmental effect of manufacturing and disposing of it, as well as from the production and distribution of the fuel it uses. The environmental cost attributable to CO2 on average now accounts for 80 percent of the EDX costs attributable to driving the vehicles, while vehicle curb weight is the determining factor for calculating manufacturing and disposal cost estimates. So the double whammy of an EPA rating of 12/16/14 mpg city/highway/combined and a curb weight of 6,000 pounds is what landed the LX570 in second-to-last place (for the record, a slightly better 12/17/14-mpg EPA rating earned the Toyota Land Cruiser a two-position advantage, with an EDX of 2.32 and Green Score of 28). Among the luxury three-row SUV competitive set, the Lincoln Navigator ranks Greenest with an EDX of 1.98 and Green Score of 33, though it appears the Escalade diesel has yet to be ranked.

Should I Buy a Lexus LX570?

Buyers who have risen through the automotive price ranks in the Toyota/Lexus family may find a familiar comfort in the LX570 that they’d never get in a Lincoln Navigator, a GMC Yukon Denali, or Cadillac Escalade (but might possibly in an Infiniti QX80). The size, shape, and feedback of all the various controls just scream Toyota—in a very good way. But it’s hard for us to picture an objective buyer sampling all these jumbotron luxe-UVs and picking the Lexus. Unless maybe they’re UN Blue Helmet veterans…

2021 Lexus LX 570 BASE PRICE $88,025 VEHICLE LAYOUT Front-engine, 4WD, 5-8-pass, 4-door SUV ENGINE 5.7L/383-hp/403-lb-ft DOHC 32-valve V-8 TRANSMISSION 8-speed automatic CURB WEIGHT 6,000 lb (mfr) WHEELBASE 112.2 in LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 200.0 x 78.0 x 75.2 in 0-60 MPH 7.0 sec (MT est) EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON 12/16/14 mpg ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY 281/211 kW-hrs/100 miles CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 1.43 lb/mile

The post 2021 Lexus LX570 Review: Overdressed for Off-Roading appeared first on MotorTrend.

Categories: Property

What’s the Best 2021 Ford Explorer Trim? Here’s Our Guide

Motortrend News Feed - Mon, 04/12/2021 - 13:00

Perhaps one of the most recognizable three-row SUVs on the road, the Ford Explorer is an originator among family-focused crossovers. It’s been in continuous production for over 30 years, becoming a best-seller in Ford’s lineup. Some kids who grew up riding in the back of an Explorer are now ready for the driver’s seat, with their own youngsters sitting behind.

Yet in its current form, introduced for the 2020 model year, the Explorer isn’t great. It feels cheap, poorly packaged, and outdated already. Despite a price cut for 2021, it’s still more expensive than some higher-rated competitors.

Nevertheless, the 2021 Explorer range is diverse, ranging from no-frills to sporty to near-luxurious. Here are the differences and what to expect from the 2021 Ford Explorer trim levels.

2021 Ford Explorer Pros and Cons

The entry-level Explorer (simply badged “Explorer”) is powered by a 2.3-liter turbocharged I-4 engine. Like all 2021 Explorers, it uses a 10-speed automatic transmission. RWD is standard, and AWD is optional. EPA-rated fuel economy for Explorer models with this engine is 21/28 mpg city/highway with RWD and 20/27 mpg for AWD models.

On the base Explorer, exterior details include LED headlights and taillights, 18-inch silver-painted wheels (a different trim is shown here), and a power-operated liftgate. All the windows behind the B-pillars have a privacy tint. A few details give away that this is the cost-saving model. It’s only offered in white, black, silver, or gray, and all have plain black plastic door handles and side mirror caps.

Inside, the Explorer is configured in a seven-seat setup: two seats up front, a three-across bench in the middle, and two seats in the far back. The front two are power adjustable, and all are covered in cloth upholstery. Three-zone automatic climate control is standard, and overhead reading lights are provided in each row. Up front, there’s an 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen and 6.5-inch gauge cluster display, with USB ports between the seats. Ford’s Co-Pilot360 driver-assist suite includes automatic emergency braking, lane-keep assist, automatic high-beams, and rear cross-traffic alert.

Starting at about $34,000, the 2021 Explorer is priced slightly higher than some other three-row SUV competitors. But its rear-drive underpinnings give it a different—that is, more fun—feeling from behind the wheel. Still, features and appointments remain basic in this trim.

2021 Ford Explorer XLT Pros and Cons

Moving up to the XLT trim adds styling details, conveniences, and niceties. Outside, the wheels remain 18-inchers, but they have a different design and a bright-painted finish. The headlights get distinctive LED accents, and chrome trim snazzes up the grille and lower doors. Blue and brown are among the additional available paint colors. The door handles are body colored, and although the side mirror caps remain black plastic, they gain defrosters and puddle lights. Black roof rails are added.

Inside the Explorer XLT, second-row captain’s chairs are fitted for a six-passenger configuration; a three-across bench is available. In either case, two USB ports are added to the second row. Although cloth upholstery remains, the front seats are heated. Hands-free keyless entry with push-button start makes getting going easier.

At just over $36,000 to start, the 2021 Explorer XLT adds everyday conveniences that help justify the price increase over the base trim. Its exterior styling upgrades make the Explorer look that much better.

2021 Ford Explorer Limited Pros and Cons

In comparison to the trims above, the Explorer Limited seems luxurious. The higher trim’s exterior gains a fully chrome-finished grille, with LED foglights below. Additional chrome detailing is added to the door handles and dual exhaust tips. The side mirrors gain turn signal repeaters and power-folding functionality. Wheel size increases to 20 inches for more street presence. The acoustically laminated front door windows help keep things quiet.

There are more changes inside the Explorer Limited. The six-passenger seating is covered in perforated leather upholstery. For easier access to the third row, the second-row captain’s chairs get a one-touch fold function—they’re heated, too. Up front, the driver gets to grip a heated steering wheel, and both front seats gain ventilation. Other touches include interior ambient lighting, second-row window shades, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.

Technology is upgraded in the Limited trim. A 12-speaker premium audio system is fitted, and the infotainment suite is loaded with built-in navigation. The Ford Co-Pilot360+ system adds adaptive cruise control and front parking sensors, supplemented by a 360-degree parking camera. There’s a wireless charging pad between the front seats.

With prices starting at about $46,000, the Limited trim marks a significant price hike. It’s also the least-expensive Explorer trim that’s offered with a hybrid powertrain, which joins a 3.3-liter V-6 to an electric motor for improved fuel efficiency and driving range—27/28 mpg and over 500 miles of combined city/highway driving with RWD, and 23/26 mpg and over 460 miles with AWD. The Explorer Hybrid feels strong and offers good integration between the gasoline and electric power sources.  The hybrid costs nearly $5,000 more than the regular 2021 Explorer Limited. Either way, it’s a lot for an Explorer, but some may justify it because of the trim’s extensive list of upgrades.

2021 Ford Explorer ST Pros and Cons

Ford has long used ST to denote its sportiest vehicles, and that’s no different with the Explorer. The 2021 Explorer ST packs a twin-turbo V-6 engine, which spins the 20-inch wheels. Although the standard ST is AWD, the new Enthusiast ST variant added this year is RWD only, yet no less powerful. Exterior details are blacked out, like the headlights and taillights, door handle inserts, and grille. On the hood, “Explorer” is spelled out in big black letters. Quad exhaust outlets signal the performance intent. Motion activation for the power tailgate adds cargo convenience, and the driver’s-side mirror is auto-dimming.

Inside the Explorer ST, features are similar to the Limited trim. Key differences include power-folding third-row seats and leather upholstery with ST-specific stitching and embossing. The semi-autonomous parking system could reduce the likelihood of curbing those sporty wheels. A big, tablet-like 10.1-inch infotainment touchscreen becomes optionally available on the ST trim and above. It’s part of the Premium Technology package, which also adds a 14-speaker audio setup and massaging front seats.

The Explorer ST drives pretty well and essentially has only one competitor in the three-row SUV segment: the V-8 powered and more fun-to-drive 2021 Dodge Durango SRT. But the ST’s performance increase comes at a price. Starting at just under $50,000 in Enthusiast ST spec and slightly below $55,000 for the full-on ST, it’s priced above some luxury three-row SUVs. It outperforms some of those, too, but it’s still a Ford Explorer.

2021 Ford Explorer King Ranch Pros and Cons

New for 2021 is the Explorer King Ranch, which has appointments similar to the leather-lined luxury pickup trucks bearing the same designation. The new Explorer trim’s exterior gets some unique details, like its grille finish, 20-inch wheels, and a few King Ranch logos.

The King Ranch trim is really all about its interior. Leather is finished in an attractive two-tone brown scheme with special perforation and stitching patterns. Open-pore wood trim lends a natural ambiance. Other features and niceties are borrowed from the Explorer Limited trim.

The twin-turbo V-6 is under the hood, with rear-wheel drive standard and AWD optional. Prices start at under $54,000, representing a surprisingly luxurious interior experience within a commonplace SUV.

2021 Ford Explorer Platinum Pros and Cons

At the top of the 2021 Explorer range is the Platinum trim, which has several unique details to convey its upscale status. It rolls on 21-inch wheels and has satin silver finishing on the grille, doors, door handles, roof rails, and tailgate. The headlights gain curve-adaptive functionality.

Illuminated door sills provide an upscale welcome to the front row. Past those, the cabin of the Explorer Platinum is dressed up with unique two-tone perforated leather upholstery, wood trim, and a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster display. Under the hood is the twin-turbo V-6; RWD is newly standard for 2021 while AWD becomes an option. In the ST model, this powertrain makes the Explorer downright quick, but the Platinum trim avoids the ST’s available high-performance brakes, which feel more like an on/off switch. Also new for 2021 is the availability of the plug-in hybrid powertrain on the Platinum trim. Prices begin at about $53,000 for RWD, or $57,000 for AWD with the twin-turbo V-6. The new Explorer Platinum hybrid model starts at just over $53,000. Regardless, the Explorer Platinum is nice but not enough to be worth the extra expense.

Which 2021 Ford Explorer Trim Level Is the Best?

The Ford Explorer has earned its best-selling reputation on being a practical, three-row family SUV. Yet in its current form, the SUV is outclassed by segment competitors. Choosing a higher-end trim level adds upscale appointments, but at that point there are options worth exploring in the luxury three-row SUV segment—like the mechanically related and similarly priced Lincoln Aviator. That’s why we suggest the 2021 Explorer XLT trim. It provides core three-row SUV functionality, along with more everyday conveniences than the base-trim Explorer. At the same time its under-$40,000 starting price makes it relatively attainable. If you’re set on a 2021 Explorer, the XLT trim strikes a good balance between practicality and price.

The post What’s the Best 2021 Ford Explorer Trim? Here’s Our Guide appeared first on MotorTrend.

Categories: Property

Retirement Villages Group unveils £2bn development programme

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 04/12/2021 - 12:08
Retirement Villages Group (RVG) has announced a £2bn investment boost to drive forward its latest sites West Byfleet and Chester and more than 40 other new sites across the UK.
Categories: Property