Honda timing belt recall, Rear-wheel-drive woes, Ford's electrification strategy: What's New @ The Car Connection

The Car Connection News Feed - Mon, 04/29/2019 - 15:30
94K Acura, Honda vehicles will get new timing belts as part of recall About 94,000 Honda and Acura crossover SUVs, minivans, pickup trucks, and sedans are subject to a recall to replace potentially defective timing belts. The defect could cause engines to stall if the belts fail. Study: Americans spend 18 days in their car per year, forge close...
Categories: Property

Frogmore takes stake in King & Co development portfolio

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 04/29/2019 - 13:16
Frogmore Capital has acquired a 20% stake in strategic land specialist King & Co’s residential development portfolio.
Categories: Property

Can a Tesla Model S Go 400 Miles On a Single Charge?

Motortrend News Feed - Mon, 04/29/2019 - 13:00

Getting 400 miles out of one tank of gas or diesel is not a big deal; most hybrids can easily get into the 500-mile range and diesel SUVs with 20- to 30-gallon tanks can hit 600-700 miles between fill-ups. But for electric vehicles, the 400-mile range frontier is a big deal.

Tesla has long been the production EV range champ, with a dual-motor Tesla Model S, equipped with a 100-kW-hr battery, capable of driving 335 miles on a single charge. Last week, Tesla released an updated version of the Model S that promises 370 miles of range. But is that really the limit?

We had the exclusive opportunity to drive this updated Tesla Model S from the Tesla factory in Fremont, California, to the company’s design center in Hawthorne, California—a trip that normally requires a stop at a charging station somewhere in between. Yet, after 359 miles of nonstop driving, our intrepid team pulled into Tesla Design with 11 percent charge left on the battery, and a stated range of 41 miles. So is 400 miles actually possible? And just how do you drive that long without stopping for a break? Watch the video above to find out.

The post Can a Tesla Model S Go 400 Miles On a Single Charge? appeared first on Motortrend.

Categories: Property

Find Out Why the Ram Heavy Duty Is the Ultimate Luxury Hauler

Motortrend News Feed - Mon, 04/29/2019 - 13:00

Purists may bristle at the idea, but today’s truck customers are looking for technology and creature comforts in addition to hauling capability. This is even true in the workhorse heavy duty segment. Ram has taken note and delivered a thoroughly luxurious HD for the 2019 model year. Check out the video for eight reasons why the Ram Heavy Duty is well suited for modern truck buyers.

Peek inside the cabin, and you may be surprised to see it is as posh as the interior of the Ram 1500 that won the 2019 MotorTrend Truck of the Year award. Different trims boast special design details, including unique stitching and real wood accents. On Laramie and Longhorn trucks, you’ll find 100 percent leather seats. Being a pickup, function is key, and you could argue the cabin is more skillfully laid out than those of rivals. You can store a laptop in the multiconfigurable center console, and a 12.0-inch touchscreen is available. Rear-seat passengers will likely forget they’re in a pickup, thanks to the gobs of legroom and the available ultra-luxurious reclining seats.

Any good heavy-duty truck will have excellent towing capability. As we noted in our recent First Test, the diesel Ram HD towed effortlessly up the rigorous California Grapevine climb. The gas-powered model offers 17,580 pounds on the 2500 and 18,210 pounds on the 3500, but step up to the diesel 3500 dually, and you’re looking at a maximum of 35,100 pounds. This capability puts it ahead of the game until the 2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD arrives this summer with a maximum 35,500 pounds. Payload is also impressive on the Ram HD, topping out at 7,680 pounds with the gas-powered 3500.

Does Ram have what it takes to go against Ford and Chevrolet in this increasingly competitive segment? We think the answer is yes, thanks to its impeccable interior, impressive towing capability, and max 1,000 lb-ft of torque.

The post Find Out Why the Ram Heavy Duty Is the Ultimate Luxury Hauler appeared first on Motortrend.

Categories: Property

93k Acura, Honda vehicles will get new timing belts as part of recall

The Car Connection News Feed - Mon, 04/29/2019 - 12:51
About 94,000 Honda and Acura crossover SUVs, minivans, pickup trucks, and sedans are subject to a recall to replace potentially defective timing belts. The defect could cause engines to stall if the belts fail. Documents filed with the NHTSA published on Thursday said that the recall covers 2018-2019 Acura MDX and Honda Pilot models and 2019 Acura...
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Flash Meet: We Invite Subscribers to Check Out the Nissan R390 at MT HQ

Motortrend News Feed - Mon, 04/29/2019 - 12:00

It’s Monday morning at MotorTrend’s headquarters in El Segundo, California, and the Nissan R390 GT1 road car is rolling into the photo studio. There’s a strong emphasis on the Nissan because this car is one of one, and it’s here for a special gathering with MotorTrend video-on-demand subscribers and influencers. At the top of our guest list is Hiroshi Tamura, also known as “Mr. GT-R,” who’s here to talk about Nissan’s performance heritage and the GT-R’s 50th anniversary. But the party doesn’t stop there; just outside the photo studio there are about a dozen special Skyline GT-Rs—from R32s to a “Hakosuka”—brought out by our enthusiast friends and passionate subscribers.

Our guests not only got to ask Tamura-san all their burning questions about GT-Rs past and present, they also got to interact with American actor Sung Kang from the Fast and Furious franchise; Cody Walker, CEO of Reach out World Wide (ROWW); and Chilean Redbull BMX rider Coco Zurita. Car aficionado Sean Lee, who brought his unique R32-generation Nissan Skyline, shared his experience on Instagram, saying this was “Probably one of the coolest Mondays a car guy can ever have.” For a few hours, subscribers were able to ogle the R390 GT1 while sipping a cappuccino and talking to MotorTrend editors and car fanatics. The day concluded with a tour of the MotorTrend office and the laborious task of parking the R390 inside the office.

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The father of the GTR and 370Z. Mr. Hiroshi Tamura san. Always good to see you. Thank you for what you have given us ???? #NissanGTR #NissanZ

A post shared by Cody Walker (@codybwalker) on Apr 23, 2019 at 2:33pm PDT

Having the Nissan R390 GT1 for one week in our office is as special as it gets. The car is visiting the U.S. and has been on display at the Petersen Automotive Museum, but made a quick trip down La Cienega Boulevard to visit our office before it goes back to its home at the Nissan Heritage Garage in Zama, Japan. With its 3.4-liter twin-turbo V-8 engine, the R390 GT1 produces 550 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque, enough to get from 0-60 mph in 3.9 seconds—which was insanely quick in 1998, when the car debuted.

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It was awesome to see the #R390GT1 car at #MotorTrend yesterday before it goes back to Japan. #1of1 #nissan #racingheritage

A post shared by Cody Walker (@codybwalker) on Apr 23, 2019 at 9:41am PDT

Given those impressive numbers, you might be wondering why Nissan only built one R390 road car. Like many automakers involved in sports car racing in the mid- to late-‘90s, Nissan exploited a loophole in the GT1-class regulations that essentially allowed it to compete with a purpose-built race car as long as it was based on a road-going “production” car. Thus, Nissan built one street-legal version of the R390 GT1 to satisfy homologation rules so that it could race the mechanically identical race car version at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1997 and 1998. Today, the road car is in the care of the talented people and content creators at MotorTrend Group, sitting directly across from the Kurtis Sport Car that appeared on the cover of MotorTrend’s very first issue in September 1949.

Tamura-san’s visit couldn’t have been timed better. Last week, he revealed the new Nissan GT-R Nismo at the New York auto show, which was shown next to the GT-R 50th Anniversary Edition, celebrating the golden jubilee of the high-performance model. Although the chief product specialist of the GT-R, 370Z, and Nismo was tight-lipped about the next-generation GT-R, MotorTrend subscribers got to ask him questions and enjoyed hearing about his experiences developing Nissan’s performance models. Tamura-san also signed the center console of an R32 Skyline belonging to renowned car photographer Larry Chen.

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It was so cool to hang out with Mr. GT-R himself yesterday at the @motortrend GT-R meet. I met Hiroshi Tamura for the first time back in 2007 at the Tokyo Auto show during the debut of the R35 GTR. He was kind enough to sign the center console on my R32 GT-R. He has been with Nissan since 1984. Talk about the epitome of JDM coolness. #hoonigan #motortrend #nissangtr #nissan #lifeofchen #nightnight #hooniganautofocus #autofocuslarrychen #autofocus #skyline #skylinegtr #r32 #r32gtr #sirplease

A post shared by Larry Chen (@larry_chen_foto) on Apr 23, 2019 at 4:09pm PDT

But if the R390 is a critical player in Nissan’s performance heritage, the Skyline has a history like no other. The Hakosuka GT-R was a small, lightweight car launched in the late ‘60s whose name comes from the Japanese words hako (boxy) and suka (an abbreviation of Skyline). It was the first Nissan to carry the GT-R badge, and with a 2.0-liter inline-six engine designed by the engineers at Prince Motor Company (the brand that actually started the GT-R), the Hakosuka produced 160 hp and 133 lb-ft of torque. It proved to be a monster on the track, as it won 52 races during its first three years of production. On the other hand, the R32 Skyline GT-R debuted in 1989 with all-wheel drive and an inline-six rated at 280 hp (though only because of the gentleman’s agreement among Japanese automakers). Like the Hakosuka, the R32 participaed in many races, including the Japanese Touring Car Championship, where it won 29 consecutive races in four seasons.

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It was so cool to see the R390 GT1 and the new R35 GTR in one place. #motortrend #nissan #nissangtr #r390 #r35 #gtr #gt1 #r390gt1 #hoonigan #hooniganautofocus #autofocuslarrychen #autofocus #lifeofchen #sirplease

A post shared by Larry Chen (@larry_chen_foto) on Apr 25, 2019 at 3:53am PDT

But why did we put on this event? To use Angus MacKenzie’s wise words, “Because we can.” Because being part of the best team in the business allows us to create experiences like these for our fans—those who support and follow MotorTrend as it evolves beyond the pages of the magazine. But perhaps most importantly, we’re able to do this thanks to followers like you, who log on to MotorTrend and not only read and watch our content, but also share your experiences. Just on our Instagram profile, we got over 1 million impressions thanks to the 38 stories that social media guru Carol Ngo posted over the course of five hours, and that’s not counting the pictures and videos that subscribers and influencers shared on their personal accounts.

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What a way to start the week. Thanks to Nissan and Motortrend for hosting this event and able us to see the ultra rare 1 of 1 Nissan r390 gt1. This year marks the 50th year anniversary of gtr and z car. Nissan is really flexing their muscle by showing the calsonic r32 and r33 LM and 73 kenmeri. Today it’s this. To make this event sweeter they also invited my good friend and father of GTR and the Z Mr. Hiroshi Tamura san to do some q and a. I love this small intimate group of car enthusiast. Probably one of the coolest Monday a car guys can ever have. Again thank you everyone in Nissan for doing this, such a honor to be invited. #puristgroup #purists #nissan #r390 #r32 #r35 #nismo #gt1 #skyline #motortrend

A post shared by sean lee (@seanlee768) on Apr 22, 2019 at 8:44pm PDT

Given the great relationships that we have with manufacturers, we’re able to bring crazy ideas from concept to reality. Big thanks to Nissan and its hard-working public relations team for allowing us to have one of their most precious heritage cars in our office for a week and for bringing Tamura-san along. This was the first of many experiences we will have in the future—and though a great amount of planning goes into creating experiences like this, we’re thrilled for what the next gathering will bring. Stay tuned.

The post Flash Meet: We Invite Subscribers to Check Out the Nissan R390 at MT HQ appeared first on Motortrend.

Categories: Property

Chancerygate specs in Scotland

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 04/29/2019 - 09:57
Industrial developer Chancerygate has started work on its first ever speculative development in Scotland.
Categories: Property

British Land launches new flexible space concept

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 04/29/2019 - 09:54
British Land has launched a new flexible workspace concept called Storey Club.
Categories: Property

7 Ways the 2018 Honda Civic Type R is a FWD Performance Star

Motortrend News Feed - Mon, 04/29/2019 - 09:00

Living with our long-term 2018 Honda Civic Type R every day, we tend to forget just how special it is. The car manages to put 306 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque through its front tires and somehow remains an incongruously friendly commuter or road tripper capable of returning up to 35 mpg.

Here’s a short list of its front-wheel-drive production car performance bona fides.

‘Ring Record

The Civic Type R holds the front-wheel-drive lap record at the Nürburgring’s Nordschleife circuit (7:43.8).

FWD Winner

In our testing, it also holds the FWD lap record at Laguna Seca (1:44.22), as well as Streets of Willow (1:25.07).

Figure-Eight Master

The Civic Type R holds the FWD lap record on our figure-eight test (24.3 sec).


The Civic Type R’s 99-foot stop from 60 mph is the shortest for front-wheel-drive cars we’ve tested.

So Grippy

Capable of 1.01 g in lateral acceleration, the Civic Type R is the grippiest front driver MT has tested.

How Quick?

At 5.4 seconds to 60 mph, the Civic Type R is the quickest FWD car on our clock.

With a Quarter-Mile Time of…

Its 13.7-second quarter-mile E.T. and 105.9-mph trap speed are also tops for front-wheel-drive cars we’ve tested.

Until something else comes along to knock the mighty Civic Type R off this throne, it is the best-performing front-drive car there is … or ever was.

More on our long-term Civic Type R here:

The post 7 Ways the 2018 Honda Civic Type R is a FWD Performance Star appeared first on Motortrend.

Categories: Property

2018 Ford F-150: 5 Things to Know About Our Long-Term Truck

Motortrend News Feed - Mon, 04/29/2019 - 09:00

Our long-term Ford F-150 joined #MTGarage shortly after being crowned our 2018 Truck of the Year. Configuring our F-150 was no easy task due to the mind-boggling array of powertrains, trim levels, body styles, and options, but here are a few standout features found on our award-winning truck.

Strong V-6 Pulls Like a V-8

The F-150’s twin-turbo 2.7-liter six-cylinder engine impressed us at TOTY testing, and it continues to do so the more we live with it. With 325 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque, our truck rarely feels underpowered, including the time we towed a 6,280-pound Airstream camper trailer. Sure, the 5.0-liter V-8 sounds great and tows more weight, but the 2.7-liter EcoBoost should suit most buyers.

SuperCab with Rear-Hinged Back Doors

Our truck features the SuperCab body style with a smaller rear passenger area and half-sized back doors that are rear-hinged. This allows wide-open access to the back seats, making it a breeze to load people and cargo. With decent legroom, the SuperCab is an attractive alternative for those who don’t need the roomy SuperCrew and its full-sized rear compartment.

Lariat Trim Is Fancy

We opted for the F-150 Lariat trim, which sits in between the XLT and King Ranch models. The Lariat features a few notable goodies including a B&O audio system, leather seats, heated and ventilated front seats, and a power-sliding rear window.

Functional Truck Bed

Our truck’s 6.5-foot bed is spacious and packed with clever features. The LED lighting is bright, the spray-in bedliner has been durable, and tie-down hooks are strategically placed. We also opted for side steps that retract and sit just ahead of the rear wheels, which is helpful for accessing cargo in front of the bed. We’re also happy with the hard tonneau cover that lets us securely store cargo in the bed.

Yes, There Is a Sport Mode

The F-150’s multiple drive modes calibrate powertrain performance at the push of a button. Sport mode, for example, sharpens throttle response, and Eco mode smooths things out in the name of efficiency. Mud/Snow mode adjusts throttle and traction control calibrations and is surprisingly effective while driving in the white stuff.

Read more about our 2018 Ford F-150 Lariat:

The post 2018 Ford F-150: 5 Things to Know About Our Long-Term Truck appeared first on Motortrend.

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2018 Chrysler Pacifica: 7 Reasons Why I’d Get It Over a Crossover

Motortrend News Feed - Mon, 04/29/2019 - 09:00

As a new dad, I occasionally get questions from fellow dads and dads-to-be about what car is best for a growing family. Three-row crossovers like the Honda Pilot and Subaru Ascent are often the first to get thrown around. “Those are great choices,” I’d say. “But have you considered a minivan?” That suggestion is usually met with a mix of skepticism and disgust. I once belonged to the “never a minivan” camp, too, so I get it. But that was before I drove the Chrysler Pacifica. And after living with our long-term 2018 Chrysler Pacifica Limited for a few months now, I can honestly say I’m not opposed to the idea of being a minivan dad.

Here are seven reasons why I’d pick the Pacifica over a three-row crossover.

Sliding Doors: They’re Just So Handy

Having a wide opening to the rear seats is incredibly useful when you’re trying to install a car seat, and the Pacifica’s dual sliding doors offer two easy ways to access the rear cabin. They’re also lifesavers when you’re parked in a tight spot that would otherwise limit how much you could open a hinged door.

Easy Access to the Third Row

Although eight-passenger seating with a removable second-row center seat is available, the Pacifica comes standard with a seven-passenger capacity and two middle captain’s chairs. Granted, some three-row crossovers can be had with captain’s chairs, too, but having a wide aisle between them combined with the ingress and egress benefits of the sliding doors makes the minivan hard to beat when it comes to third-row access.

Stow ’n Go Seats

By far, the Pacifica’s most useful feature has been its Stow ’n Go seats, which fold both rows of seats flat beneath the floor. Need to help a friend move? Drop all the rear seats to gain a cavernous 140.5 cubic feet of cargo room. Need a flat surface to change a diaper? Simply fold one of the captain’s chairs down for a makeshift changing table.

Carlike Ride and Handling

When the Chrysler Pacifica first came out, its surprisingly buttoned-down driving dynamics shocked many of the judges in our Car of the Year program. Since then, the Honda Odyssey has arrived on the scene offering similarly good road manners, but the Pacifica is still the minivan to beat. It even bested the Camaro of crossovers, the Chevrolet Blazer, to win our tournament-style March Mayhem comparison test.

A Slick Infotainment System

There are some fantastic infotainment systems out there these days, but I’m particularly fond of our Pacifica’s 8.4-inch Uconnect touchscreen system. The display is sharp and responds quickly to inputs, and it’s easy to navigate the various menus. Some of the functions, like the camera and some climate control buttons, are only accessible through the touchscreen, but you get used to them after a while. Whenever I’m reviewing a vehicle’s infotainment system, the Pacifica’s is one of the benchmarks I measure it against.

Rear Entertainment

Rear entertainment is another feature commonly available on large crossovers and other minivans. I think the Pacifica just does it better. With two flip-up screens embedded in the backs of the front bucket seats, each second-row passenger can have their own personal entertainment experience, whether they want to plug in an Xbox or stream content from their (compatible) mobile device using MirrorLink. If you’re sitting in the back of a rear-entertainment-equipped Pacifica, you should never be bored. But if you do get tired of binging Paw Patrol, you can always challenge your neighbor to one of the system’s built-in road trip games.

Stow ’n Vac

Having an onboard vacuum cleaner has been helpful at times, but it’s not a feature I couldn’t live without. Still, you won’t find a vacuum offered on any three-row crossovers. Even the Honda Odyssey, which started the trend, doesn’t have a better vacuum. Unlike the Odyssey’s HondaVAC, which locates the hose in the cargo area, the available Stow ’n Vac system is conveniently placed closer to the middle of the vehicle, just behind the passenger-side second-row seat. From here, the hose can reach the front seats as well as the back (though it’s easier with the hose extension that stores in the rear).

Read more about our long-term 2018 Chrysler Pacifica:

The post 2018 Chrysler Pacifica: 7 Reasons Why I’d Get It Over a Crossover appeared first on Motortrend.

Categories: Property

2019 Toyota Prius vs. 2019 Honda Insight: Third Time Is the Charmer

Motortrend News Feed - Mon, 04/29/2019 - 09:00

I’ve hardly driven 100 feet out of our parking lot before I’m already talking to myself: “Wow, this thing’s steering and brakes feel worlds better than the Prius.”

I’ve just belted into the Toyota’s archnemesis—Honda’s latest Insight Touring—having dashed over here from the Prius Limited I’d just parked. It’s 9:30 p.m., and the night is just beginning.

I prefer doing nighttime comparison testing. As folks settle into bed, roads become a distraction-free test loop of rapid-fire stop signs and traffic lights, surface changes and lumpy railroad tracks, freeway acceleration and lane changes. All your key everyday questions answered in a compact, nonstop 15 minutes. But the key—importantly—is to repeat it. Again and again until neither car has anything left to tell you. By midnight, the cars are finally starting to repeat their stories, and I stop. Which one to take home? I search my pockets for both sets of keys, lock the Prius, and move my stuff into the Insight.

This is going to need a little explanation.

The Prius and Insight—Toyota’s and Honda’s halo hybrids—have clashed before. Or at least their nameplates have, as their previous two skirmishes have actually been repeated first-time encounters. As Toyota has been methodically maturing the Prius over the years, Honda has thrown completely different conceptions of the Insight at the wall to see if anything sticks. So far, nothing has.

The original Prius was a dowdy, snub-nosed sedan powered by something called Hybrid Synergy Drive, which ultimately turned out to be the blueprint for the hybrid era’s best technology. The contemporary Insight couldn’t have been more different: a streamlined, two-seat aluminum capsule propelled by Honda’s smart but simpler Integrated Motor Assist. Nowadays, it’s an interesting collectible.

Toyota’s next edition unveiled its polarizing Prius silhouette, while its third edition refined the recipe and even spawned a mini litter of Prius variants (the smaller C and bigger V). This is when Honda re-entered the ring with its second shot at the Insight—an unfortunate Prius on the cheap. It was a lozenge-shaped, four-door, five-seat hatchback with not quite the Prius’ fuel economy and not quite the Prius’ interior packaging; it didn’t have the Prius’ MSRP, either. In retrospect, it was a crafty tactic doomed by a numbingly dull actual car. It is not an interesting collectible.

However, for various reasons, the favorable winds at the Prius’ back have been subsiding. Its salad days of being green-cred catnip for the climate-concerned have wilted. Gas prices dropped and stabilized (although they’ve recently crept back above $4 a gallon in Los Angeles). Hybrid technology is now widespread; say “hybrid,” and not everybody automatically shouts back “Prius” anymore.

Surprisingly, Toyota openly admits that the new Japanese-market Prius AWD-e is now in the U.S. to rake for new takers in the frosty parts of the county, but its RAV4 Hybrid is destined to be its new, best-selling hybrid. So with even the Prius struggling—and the sedan segment in general fighting for its life—this is a truly terrible moment for Honda to create a new Insight based on (you guessed it) a sedan.

The current 10th-generation Civic is the Insight’s origin. Visually, Honda has warmed and resculpted the Civic’s modeling clay for a Gen Z audience. Besides the hybrid drivetrain, there are sharpened lines, upmarket connectivity features, and pricing that’s just enough below the base Accord to leave some monthly pocket change for student loans.

Parked beside each other, beneath the light of the lot’s lampposts, the Prius and Insight seem about the same size. But the tape measure shows the Insight is 3.6 inches longer and 2.3 inches wider; the Prius is 2.3 inches taller. That last number might make you wonder about headroom, but my 6-foot-1 frame still fits perfectly fine in the front and rear rows of both cars, so honestly, don’t worry about it. The official front legroom dimensions report as identical, but particularly long-legged drivers may find the Prius’ seat tracks extend farther beyond this official measuring point.

Speaking of which, both cars’ rear kneeroom left a comfortable inch (behind a comfortable driving position for myself). But getting out of both back seats requires similar gymnastics—retract your feet, swivel around, and, yeah, you dip your head slightly as you rise.

Psychologically, the Prius’ interior has a sense of everything being slightly puffed, making the rear seats feel fractionally more confining. And although a greater percentage of the Honda’s cabin is wrapped in soft-touch materials, the Prius puts cush where it counts with seat surfaces that have a tender, soft-squish feel that’s subtly more pleasing.

Let’s step around to each car’s rear to pop open their hatches and trunklids. (Uber/Lyft drivers, click your pens to start taking notes.) The footprint of the Prius’ load floor is larger, and its hatchback allows items to be stacked taller if you remove or unhook the cargo cover. There’s no such flexibility with the Insight’s trunk. Another plus: The Prius’ yawning hatch makes tossing in suitcases a cinch; you’ll have to thread them into the Insight’s shallower trunklid opening. Drop their rear seat backs, though, and the tables turn a bit. (This part matters less for ride-hail drivers than couples going to Ikea or away on long weekends.) The Honda’s seats fold flatter, though both create a step up to a plateau that’s a snag when you’re sliding in long boxes.

Although both cars ignite their powertrains with the push of a button, the acoustical theatrics and obtuse logic of the Prius Limited’s 11.6-inch touchscreen just about ruins the car for me. As a silly soundtrack starts playing, 24 interminable seconds pass from the starter button press to the screen’s accessibility (for instance, being able to change the fan speed). And the soap-opera Muzak doesn’t end when you switch the car off—it carries on again and doesn’t pause when you open the door. Frankly, whenever anybody was standing close by in a parking lot, I’d just sit there and wait for it to finish, to remove the possibility of proximity embarrassment as I got out.

At first tap, the Prius’ big screen seems like a lower-resolution, mini version of the Tesla’s. It’s not. Let’s say it has some peculiar rules. Sometimes you have to rotary swipe through icons to get where you want; other functions are masked beneath obtuse layers. To test whether my befuddlement was just me, I deployed the Device-Savvy Kid Test (DSKT): I timed my 13-year-old son, who’s never seen either car’s interface before, as he tried to change the Prius’ temperature and fan speed. For 19.8 seconds, he stared and mistapped before solving the riddle. Next challenge: “Let’s listen to the Beatles channel on SiriusXM.” He cracked his knuckles and did it in 21.1 seconds.

By contrast, the Insight’s screen fires up in 12.0 seconds and shuts down in less than 1.0. I don’t know whether his recognizing its similarity to the swipeable iPhone interface counts as cheating, but the DSKT temp/fan-change was a quicker 18.5 seconds, and the zero-to-Beatles time dropped to a fast 5.0 seconds. The Insight’s interface is a promising blend of physical and virtual controls. Personally, I’d go for a lower-trim Prius (and the simpler screen) just to avoid the upmarket version’s hassle.

As for the user interface of everything that’s not a screen in the middle of the dash, your thoughts on the cars’ interiors will probably depend on which of the 16 Myers–Briggs personality types you are. Do you perceive the Insight’s interior as dully conventional or tastefully familiar? Is the Prius modern-edgy or wacko-ugly? As a purely functional matter, I grew to prefer the Prius’ high-positioned, dash-center speed display (always visible whereas the Insight’s was often blocked by the steering wheel). And the Prius’ easy-to-master toggle shifter is quickly stirred without ever needing a single glance down. Conversely, despite the Insight shifter’s distinctively shaped buttons, I was always distracted by a glance down at it anyway.

Let’s get ready to drive, then. Reaching around the steering wheels to press both cars’ start buttons brings some electrical hums and illuminates their instrument displays in the dark night.

Explaining the differences between Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive and Honda’s two-motor system can easily sprawl into a dissertation along the lines of Immanuel Kant’s transcendental idealism against Arthur Schopenhauer’s philosophical pessimism.

Here’s my “Dilbert” cartoon version. Prius: Its front wheels are always powered by its primary 71-hp electric motor, with its 91-hp 1.8-liter engine able to combine forces with it at any speed through a complicated whirligig mechanism. And sometimes the contraption also weaves in a second electric motor that’s either a starter motor or, at other times, a generator. If a bathroom scale could measure horsepower instead of weight, all these different power-making parts would peak at 121 hp.

Real MPG
Acquiring Emissions Analytics’ EQUA Real MPG numbers isn’t simple. The instrumentation we use allows precise testing on a lengthy course in the real world (an approach that’s become popular in the wake of Dieselgate). At the rear, the total mass of exhaust gas is measured, with a small percentage passed to an analyzer in the back seat. Although the car’s combined mpg are close to the EPA’s numbers, our city and highway results were flipped, with highway being the larger number. As cars burn less fuel, it’s becoming trickier to measure.

Insight? Its front wheels are powered by a 129-hp electric motor that initially moves the car as an EV. But press the accelerator further, and its 107-hp 1.5-liter engine fires up to spin a generator to keep the motor fed. At even higher speeds, the engine more efficiently mechanically clutches to the wheels through a single gear ratio. Put all this stuff on that same scale, and it tops out at 152 hp. As I creep out of the parking lot, the Insight’s engine alights so subtly that it’s almost undetectable—whereas the Prius’ raises a sudden, thrummy noise.

If you check the specs, those 121 and 152 numbers sensibly align with the cars’ respective 9.8- and 7.4-second 0–60 times. But they certainly don’t jibe with my subjective impressions on my test loop, where the Prius feels much, much friskier when you dab the pedal off the line. Why? That aforementioned planetary whirligig allows its engine to more quickly inject the power it does have.

The same thing happens with steering turn-in: The Prius bites sooner. If you’re hammering around quickly (as road test editor Chris Walton did around our figure-eight course), its peak lateral grip is almost humorously high. Who’d imagine a Prius cornering at 0.9 g? That’s better than a Fiat 124 Spider, Mercedes-AMG GLE 43, or a Jaguar XF S Sportbrake, for you doubters out there. By contrast, the Insight steers with a slightly wooden feel off center, but after that it’s deliciously linear with an intuitive buildup of effort.

If things were head to head right now, the Honda’s handling and braking behavior sets the Insight apart. Twisting into a corner, that sweet steering feel is accompanied by well-damped, one-piece body motion—whereas the Prius felt like a collection of parts with a common destination. Ride quality? The Honda absorbed the railroad tracks like a ShamWow, though it tended to heave more on freeway undulations.

Step into its brakes, and the Insight’s pedal feels linear and predictable (and ultimately stops the car in 14 fewer feet, too). Honda also delivers on its Gen Z driving-aid promises: At 70 mph on the freeway, its adaptive cruise control (set to its closest gap) provides an acceptable 115-foot following distance. By contrast, the Toyota’s 129-foot 70-mph following distance is painfully cautious, and it brakes awkwardly behind slowing traffic. To be honest, I wouldn’t even use it.

The Insight’s one big quirk, though, is its engine noise when it climbs any kind of grade. At just enough incline, the engine suddenly dials up its volume, stepping from 67.0 dBA to 71.1 (at 70 mph); the Prius gets louder, too, of course (rising from 67.2 dBA to 68.4), but because it winds its volume knob slowly, your reaction is like the slowly boiling frog. You don’t notice it’s happening.

Prius locked, I move my gear into the Insight and head off down Interstate 405. At $29,110, the Insight is $4,020 cheaper than the similarly trimmed Prius, and its 51-mpg EPA city mileage is, in truth, insignificantly less than the Prius’ 54.

I don’t mean to erase their differences, but when you get to efficiency numbers as high as these, the extra fuel burned per mile is very, very small (for instance, at the Insight’s 45-mpg highway number, it consumes only 0.2 more gallons per 100 miles than the Prius and its 50 mpg).

For sure, the Prius remains the go-to car for ride-hail jockeys. I’ll point again at its cargo volume, hatchback opening, and responsiveness in traffic. But after 20 years and two foul balls with its first two editions, for everyday commuters like us, it appears Honda engineers finally saw the relationship of cause and effect and delivered the Insight we wanted and needed.

2019 Honda Insight Hybrid Touring 2019 Toyota Prius Hybrid Limited DRIVETRAIN LAYOUT Front-engine, FWD Front-engine, FWD ENGINE TYPE I-4, alum block/head + permanent-magnet AC synchronous electric motor Atkinson cycle I-4, alum block/head + permanent-magnet AC synchronous electric motor VALVETRAIN DOHC, 4 valves/cyl DOHC, 4 valves/cyl DISPLACEMENT 91.4 cu in/1,498 cc 109.7 cu in/1,797 cc COMPRESSION RATIO 13.5:1 13.0:1 POWER (SAE NET) 107 hp @ 6,000 rpm (gas), plus 129 hp (elec); 152 hp combined 96 hp @ 5,200 rpm (gas), plus 71 hp (elec); 121 hp combined TORQUE (SAE NET) 99 lb-ft @ 5,000 rpm, plus 197 lb-ft (elec) 105 lb-ft @ 3,600 rpm (gas), plus 120 lb-ft (elec) REDLINE Not indicated (6,600-rpm limit) Not indicated WEIGHT TO POWER 20.1 lb/hp 25.6 lb/hp TRANSMISSION 1-speed automatic Cont variable auto AXLE/FINAL-DRIVE RATIO 3.42:1/8.39:1 (elec), 2.75:1 (gas) 3.48:1/2.83:1 SUSPENSION, FRONT; REAR Struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar; multilink, coil springs, anti-roll bar Struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar; multilink, coil springs, anti-roll bar STEERING RATIO 12.6:1 13.4:1 TURNS LOCK-TO-LOCK 2.5 2.8 BRAKES, F; R 11.1-in vented disc; 10.2-in disc, ABS 10.0-in vented disc; 10.2-in disc, ABS WHEELS 7.0 x 17-in, cast aluminum 6.5 x 15-in cast aluminum TIRES 215/50R17 91H (M+S) Continental ProContact TX 195/65R15 91S (M+S) Bridgestone Ecopia EP422 Plus DIMENSIONS WHEELBASE 106.3 in 106.3 in TRACK, F/R 60.9/61.6 in 59.4/59.8 in LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 183.6 x 71.6 x 55.6 in 180.0 x 69.3 x 57.9 in TURNING CIRCLE 35.7 ft 35.4 ft CURB WEIGHT 3,058 lb 3,101 lb WEIGHT DIST, F/R 61/39% 61/39% SEATING CAPACITY 5 5 HEADROOM, F/R 37.5/36.6 in 39.4/37.4 in LEGROOM, F/R 42.3/37.4 in 42.3/33.4 in SHOULDER ROOM, F/R 56.9/55.0 in 55.0/53.0 in CARGO VOLUME 14.7 cu ft 27.4 cu ft TEST DATA ACCELERATION TO MPH 0-30 2.6 sec 3.2 sec 0-40 3.8 4.9 0-50 5.4 7.2 0-60 7.4 9.8 0-70 9.9 13.1 0-80 13.2 17.4 PASSING, 45-65 MPH 4.0 5.4 QUARTER MILE 15.9 sec @ 86.8 mph 17.4 sec @ 79.8 mph BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 117 ft 131 ft LATERAL ACCELERATION 0.84 g (avg) 0.90 g (avg) MT FIGURE EIGHT 27.0 sec @ 0.63 g (avg) 26.3 sec @ 0.64 g (avg) TOP-GEAR REVS @ 60 MPH NA rpm NA rpm CONSUMER INFO BASE PRICE $29,110 $33,130 PRICE AS TESTED $29,110 $34,786 STABILITY/TRACTION CONTROL Yes/Yes Yes/Yes AIRBAGS 6: Dual front, front side, f/r curtain 8: Dual front, front side, f/r curtain, driver knee, front passenger thigh BASIC WARRANTY 3 yrs/36,000 miles 3 yrs/36,000 miles POWERTRAIN WARRANTY 5 yrs/60,000 miles (8 yrs/100,000 miles, hybrid components) 5 yrs/60,000 miles (8 yrs/100,000 miles, hybrid components) ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE 3 yrs/36,000 miles 2 yrs/Unlimited miles FUEL CAPACITY 10.6 gal + 1.10 kW-h Lithium-ion battery 11.3 gal + 0.75 kW-h Lithium-ion battery REAL MPG, CITY/HWY/COMB 44.6/57.5/49.6 mpg 50.0/54.7/52.0 mpg EPA CITY/HWY/COMB ECON 51/45/48 mpg 54/50/52 mpg ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY 66/75 kW-hrs/100 miles 62/67 kW-hrs/100 miles CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 0.40 lb/mile 0.37 lb/mile RECOMMENDED FUEL Unleaded regular Unleaded regular

The post 2019 Toyota Prius vs. 2019 Honda Insight: Third Time Is the Charmer appeared first on Motortrend.

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