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Ford Mustang: 2019 Motor Trend Car of the Year Contender

Motortrend News Feed - Mon, 11/05/2018 - 09:00

WE LIKE The sound, styling, and acceleration

WE DON’T LIKE How it handles, price-value equation

Not many vehicles have the visceral feel of the Mustang GT.

Both the Bullitt and convertible versions we tested are powered by Ford’s famous 5.0, each tuned to deliver its own unique and vicious roar. Chris Theodore waxed nostalgic: “I swear the Bullitt’s exhaust note exactly matches the soundtrack from the movie.” In the convertible, you don’t need to put the top down to enjoy the V-8’s burble; it’s loud enough for everyone in the area to enjoy—or scorn.

You don’t need to drive the new Bullitt edition hard to enjoy it—rowing the stick shift at a normal pace is far more pleasurable than one would expect. And the convertible’s optional 10-speed automatic quickly snaps through the gears under full load.

The engine’s robust power output makes both models straight-line brutes, but things change when the road starts to twist. On the winding track, the Mustangs fell apart with poor body control and a rear end that has a mind of its own. As Angus MacKenzie puts it, “both [the Bullitt] and the convertible feel clumsy with heavy-handed nanny interventions when driven hard. Switch everything off, and both cars are very hard to balance, very easy to spin.” Mark Rechtin had the convertible collapse into limp-home mode in less than two laps of the circuit.

Although the Bullitt is engineered as a back-road blaster, “the ride on this car is just so awful,” Christian Seabaugh said. “It’s choppy and rough, even on perfectly smooth pavement.”

When taking their handling manners into account, along with some chintzy interior components and $50,000-plus price tags, our pair of Mustangs don’t excel in enough of our criteria.

READ ABOUT 2019 SUV OF THE YEAR CONTENDERS:

2019 Ford Mustang GT (Convertible) Bullitt Base Price/As tested $45,850/$56,725 $47,590/$51,385 Power (SAE net) 460 hp @ 7,000 rpm* 480 hp @ 7,000 rpm* Torque (SAE net) 420 lb-ft @ 4,600 rpm* 420 lb-ft @ 4,600 rpm* Accel, 0-60 mph 4.2 sec 4.6 sec Quarter-mile 12.5 sec @ 114.5 mph 12.9 sec @ 112.5 mph Braking, 60-0 mph 111 ft 105 ft Lateral Acceleration 0.96 g (avg) 0.98 g (avg) MT Figure Eight 24.3 sec @ 0.82 g (avg) 24.3 sec @ 0.81 g (avg) EPA City/Hwy/Comb 15/24/18 mpg* 15/24/18 mpg* Vehicle Layout Front-engine, RWD, 4-pass, 2-door convertible Front-engine, RWD, 4-pass, 2-door coupe Engine/Transmission 5.0L DOHC 32-valve V-8/10-speed automatic 5.0L DOHC 32-valve V-8/6-speed manual Curb Weight (F/R Dist) 4,038 lb (53/47%) 3,866 lb (54/46%) Wheelbase 107.1 in 107.1 in Length x Width x Height 188.5 x 75.4 x 54.9 in 188.5 x 75.4 x 54.3 in Energy Cons, City/Hwy 225/140 kW-hrs/100 miles 225/140 kW-hrs/100 miles CO2 Emissions, Comb 1.08 lb/mile 1.08 lb/mile * Engine output tested on Premium fuel, EPA results tested on Regular

The post Ford Mustang: 2019 Motor Trend Car of the Year Contender appeared first on Motor Trend.

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Hyundai Elantra: 2019 Motor Trend Car of the Year Contender

Motortrend News Feed - Mon, 11/05/2018 - 09:00

WE LIKE Precise steering, excellent lane centering

WE DON’T LIKE Jack-o-lantern face, powertrain vibes

The Hyundai Group has made astonishing progress in the past decade-plus. Once backhandedly dubbed “cheap and cheerful,” its economy cars like this Elantra are cross-shopped against benchmarks such as the Civic and Corolla on their essential merits—not because they offer more stuff and crazy warranty coverage for way less money.

Hyundai is also differentiating its platform-sharing products better, as Christian Seabaugh noted when comparing the Elantra to its Kia cousin: “The Forte’s steering felt heavy and vague, but I found the Elantra’s light and fairly accurate.” Hyundai also wins on the transmission front for sticking with a six-speed while Kia awkwardly learns to program its first CVT.

Of course, just as better differentiation gives, it also taketh away, and many judges agreed the Forte looks better inside and out. The Elantra’s interior, though well laid out, uses materials that are shiny and hard. But the roomy rear seat drew praise.

When considering the Elantra against the benchmarks, its performance and powertrain refinement come up short. At 9.0 seconds to 60 mph, our Elantra is 0.4 to 1.2 seconds slower than the price-competitive 2.0-liter Civic and Mazda3 sedans we’ve tested while roughly matching the Mazda’s fuel economy and surrendering an mpg or two to Honda. Hyundai’s Atkinson-cycle Nu engine also spins with a coarser grain than the Honda and Mazda engines. Then again, Hyundai has the confidence to let you set the cruise control up to 110 mph.

During the group critique, Jonny Lieberman summed it up: “What’s Korean for ‘average?’ Because this car is middle-of-the-road in every way. Equal parts ordinary and good enough. Not a bad car but one I doubt I’ll ever think about again.”

READ ABOUT 2019 SUV OF THE YEAR CONTENDERS:

2019 Hyundai Elantra Limited Base Price/As tested $23,485/$26,960 Power (SAE net) 147 hp @ 6,200 rpm Torque (SAE net) 132 lb-ft @ 4,500 rpm Accel, 0-60 mph 9.0 sec Quarter-mile 16.8 sec @ 84.5 mph Braking, 60-0 mph 125 ft Lateral Acceleration 0.83 g (avg) MT Figure Eight 27.7 sec @ 0.60 g (avg) EPA City/Hwy/Comb 28/37/32 mpg Vehicle Layout Front-engine, FWD, 5-pass, 4-door sedan Engine/Transmission 2.0L Atkinson-cycle DOHC 16-valve I-4/6-speed automatic Curb Weight (F/R Dist) 2,969 lb (61/39%) Wheelbase 106.3 in Length x Width x Height 181.9 x 70.9 x 56.5 in Energy Cons, City/Hwy 120/91 kW-hrs/100 miles CO2 Emissions, Comb 0.62 lb/mile

The post Hyundai Elantra: 2019 Motor Trend Car of the Year Contender appeared first on Motor Trend.

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Nissan Altima: 2019 Motor Trend Car of the Year Contender

Motortrend News Feed - Mon, 11/05/2018 - 09:00

WE LIKE ProPilot Assist system, good equipment levels on base car

WE DON’T LIKE Lifeless chassis, noisy engine and suspension, dull CVT

The Altima’s exterior design walks a fine line between edgy and parody. It mostly carries it off, though Chris Theodore dubbed it “a watered-down version of the concept car.” That said, the grille execution is the most emphatic take yet on the Nissan bucktooth graphic and gives the Altima a stronger road presence than its predecessor.

The interior is relatively generic 21st century Japanese, but some of the materials choices, notably the fabric on the rear of the front seats, betray obvious cost-cutting.

This is the first Altima available with all-wheel drive, but the system can only be ordered with the base 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, so it doesn’t make the car any more entertaining to drive. In the Altima, AWD is more about all-weather traction than performance—which feels more leaden than the test numbers suggest. Nissan’s revolutionary VC-T variable-compression engine seems more at home in the Altima than it does in the Infiniti QX50; it delivers decent thrust and drivability, but the CVT transmission sucks the life out of it.

The chassis is lifeless and slow to respond to driver inputs, and it doesn’t even deliver decent ride quality and refinement by way of compensation. The Honda Accord leaves the Altima in its wake, but value-seeking buyers (and rental fleets) will love the Nissan’s standard equipment levels. But beware, pricing climbs rapidly.

“I was really hoping for some newfound sophistication in this generation of Altima,” Chris Walton said. “It looks better and has the new variable-compression engine, and the ProPilot Assist system is highly effective. But the doors still sound hollow, the suspension’s impact harshness is deplorable, and the price isn’t competitive.”

READ ABOUT 2019 SUV OF THE YEAR CONTENDERS:

2019 Nissan Altima SV AWD Platinum VC-Turbo Edition One Base Price/As tested $30,175/$30,315 $36,645/$36,645 Power (SAE net) 188 hp @ 6,000 rpm 248 hp @ 5,600 rpm Torque (SAE net) 180 lb-ft @ 3,600 rpm 280 lb-ft @ 1,600 rpm Accel, 0-60 mph 7.4 sec 6.1 sec Quarter-mile 15.7 sec @ 90.2 mph 14.6 sec @ 97.4 mph Braking, 60-0 mph 119 ft 118 ft Lateral Acceleration 0.84 g (avg) 0.86 g (avg) MT Figure Eight 27.7 sec @ 0.61 g (avg) 26.3 sec @ 0.68 g (avg) EPA City/Hwy/Comb 26/36/30 mpg 25/34/29 mpg Vehicle Layout Front-engine, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door sedan Front-engine, FWD, 5-pass, 4-door sedan Engine/Transmission 2.5L DOHC 16-valve I-4/Cont variable auto 2.0L turbo DOHC 16-valve I-4/Cont variable auto Curb Weight (F/R Dist) 3,412 lb (59/41%) 3,441 lb (61/39%) Wheelbase 111.2 in 111.2 in Length x Width x Height 192.9 x 72.9 x 57.3 in 192.9 x 72.9 x 56.9 in Energy Cons, City/Hwy 130/94 kW-hrs/100 miles 135/99 kW-hrs/100 miles CO2 Emissions, Comb 0.65 lb/mile 0.68 lb/mile

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Categories: Property

Cording secures debut deal for new £400m PRS fund

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 11/05/2018 - 08:57
Cording Real Estate Group has agreed to forward fund a £50m build-to-rent led regeneration project in Leicester as the first deal for its new £400m private rented sector fund.
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Brexit hurts UK cities in European ranking

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 11/05/2018 - 00:00
Only Istanbul and Moscow fare worse than London in a ranking of the real estate investment prospects of European cities, as the UK capital drops two places from its position last year.
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OakNorth funds £20.7m Manchester resi scheme

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 11/05/2018 - 00:00
OakNorth has agreed a £20.7m loan to develop 387 new homes in Manchester.
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Hyundai Accent: 2019 Motor Trend Car of the Year Contender

Motortrend News Feed - Sun, 11/04/2018 - 08:00

WE LIKE Style and feature content

WE DON’T LIKE Lethargic, forgettable performance, dull interior

The Accent arrived with great expectations, having already seen two of its platform mates earn finalist nods in their respective OTY bids (this year’s Kona SUV and last year’s Kia Rio).

And the Accent drew kudos during the tire-kicking phase for successfully downsizing Hyundai’s handsome sedan language and proportions. Our Limited model’s roster of standard features also impressed, with heated seats, keyless entry and start, and a bright 7.0-inch color infotainment screen prepped for both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto with voice control of Bluetooth devices.

But once we got it out on the road, the Accent started to disappoint. It loafs to 60 mph in an inexplicably lazy 9.6 seconds. Last year’s Rio was nearly a second quicker with the same powertrain and essentially the same weight. In the Hyundai application, the engine also sounded coarse—when it could be heard over the noisy HVAC blower fan. And the fuel economy is only decent for the segment.

Mark Rechtin found the handling to be “predictable,” and Ed Loh described it as “forgettable—bad news if your name is Accent,” though the consensus was that it’s probably sufficient for the basic econobox segment.

Inside, although some praised the checkered seat fabric inserts, Alisa Priddle opined that “Hyundai didn’t make the savvy choices Kia made when spending minimal resources on the interior. While the Rio was a surprise and delight, the Accent feels like the entry-level model that it is.”

Angus MacKenzie captured our opinion best: “The Accent is one of those resolutely middle-of-the-road small cars that you forget about almost as soon as you stepped out of it.”

READ ABOUT 2019 SUV OF THE YEAR CONTENDERS:

2019 Hyundai Accent Base Price/As tested $15,880/$20,090 Power (SAE net) 130 hp @ 6,300 rpm Torque (SAE net) 119 lb-ft @ 4,850 rpm Accel, 0-60 mph 9.6 sec Quarter-mile 17.2 sec @ 81.9 mph Braking, 60-0 mph 122 ft Lateral Acceleration 0.81 g (avg) MT Figure Eight 28.0 sec @ 0.59 g (avg) EPA City/Hwy/Comb 28/38/32 mpg Vehicle Layout Front-engine, FWD, 5-pass, 4-door sedan Engine/Transmission 1.6L DOHC 16-valve I-4/6-speed automatic Curb Weight (F/R Dist) 2,679 lb (61/39%) Wheelbase 101.6 in Length x Width x Height 172.6 x 68.1 x 57.1 in Energy Cons, City/Hwy 120/89 kW-hrs/100 miles CO2 Emissions, Comb 0.61 lb/mile

The post Hyundai Accent: 2019 Motor Trend Car of the Year Contender appeared first on Motor Trend.

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2019 Car of the Year Introduction: Going Down Swinging

Motortrend News Feed - Sun, 11/04/2018 - 08:00

The world has changed a lot since we awarded our first Car of the Year calipers to Cadillac in 1949. Cars went from being the dominant form of transport to simply an option among SUVs, pickups, mass transit, and, yes, those annoying electric scooters that litter America’s sidewalks.

Much ink has been spilled lamenting the death of the traditional car and the rise of alternative forms of transport, but if this year’s field proves anything, it’s that if the passenger car is under siege, it’s not going down without a fight.

Battling for this year’s honor are 20 vehicles with 36 variants representing sedans, wagons, whatever a four-door coupe is, and a minivan. They come from automakers with headquarters and factories around the globe—South Korean hatchbacks from Mexico, Swedish sedans from South Carolina, even an American van from Spain—signs showing the reality of a global economy despite ever-changing nationalist trade sentiments.

These vehicles are as diverse in purpose as they are in manufacture. This year’s field is notable in how many luxury and compact vehicles are competing. Despite the segments’ waning popularity, Audi, Buick, Genesis, Mercedes-Benz, and Volvo launched new premium sedans and wagons this year to make the most of the smaller share of cars being sold. On the other end of the spectrum, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, and Toyota each launched diverse takes on small cars that prove you don’t need to spend big bucks to get high fuel economy, performance, or style.

Following a week of by-the-book instrumented testing, it’s time for more anecdotal evaluations. Keeping our six criteria—Advancement in Design, Efficiency, Engineering Excellence, Performance of Intended Function, Safety, and Value—in mind, our judges spend two 14-hour days determining what isn’t Car of the Year.

Our criteria are important here. A hypothetical sport coupe that turns like the Titanic on Hyundai’s winding track isn’t successfully performing its intended function; a luxury sedan with rear seats that rattle on the molar-jarring special surfaces section doesn’t demonstrate excellence in engineering.

Following those sun-soaked desert days, we separate the pretenders from the contenders. In the end of this brutal culling, we had just six vehicles we felt most lived up to our criteria.

Although other outlets might stop there and pat themselves on the back for a job well done, we alone have the guts and methodological rigor to keep going to crown a singular champion.

We pack up at the proving ground and take what’s left of our field into the darkest of nights—west on State Route 58 to the high-desert town of Tehachapi. The weight of this awesome responsibility begins to build.

Over the following days, we drive each of our finalists over our now tried-and-true 27.6-mile drive loop—the ultimate crucible. The diverse conditions and road surfaces it contains perfectly mimic all of the conditions the average North American driver can expect to face in the real world on any given day. Every stop sign is approached and departed the same way to test low-speed transmission shift shock. Every lane keeping system is activated on the same stretch of poorly marked road to see if those semi-autonomous systems are ready for prime time. And that off-angle railroad crossing that jolts the suspension must be hit at the exact same speed by each vehicle. You get the idea. Our process may be pedantic, but it’s necessary to test for the faults that would drive a vehicle owner batty after months of ownership.

After our finalist field has been properly evaluated, a healthy debate ensues. At the end of our energetic deliberations (with a secret ballot to ensure no forceful personalities could sway a show of hands), we have not only crowned our 2019 Car of the Year but also proven that, 70 years after our first Car of the Year award, the traditional passenger car is still alive and kicking.

Where we Tested

Whenever we tell people what we do, invariably their thoughts go to fast cars, smoky burnouts, and tire-shredding drifts. And yeah, we do have our fun, but the key behind any of our tests— especially when it comes to the Of the Year program—is a very basic scientific principle: reproducibility. Here’s how we ensure it at Car of the Year.

1. High-Speed Oval

With its 120-mph speed limit, the oval allows us to test a contender’s highway acceleration and passing performance, wind and road noise levels, stability, and active safety measures such as radar cruise control and lane keep assist. Meanwhile, the rough road section perfectly mimics the surfaces of California’s I-5, I-105, I-110, and I-405.

2. Winding Track

More of a collection of great roads than an actual track, the winding track nevertheless allows us to test a vehicle’s dynamic performance at low- and high-limit speeds as it relates to our criteria.

3. Straight Stability/Special Surfaces

Here we primarily use the multiple special surfaces lanes, allowing us to test a contender’s ride and build quality over various low- and high-impact bumps.

4. Vehicle Dynamics Area

This asphalt lake is where we stage, evaluate exterior and interior design, test features, and put our contenders through their paces on the figure eight.

Real-world Testing 1. Tehachapi Boulevard

Low-speed stop-start driving tests transmission calibration, throttle and brake tip-in, low-speed ride, and visibility.

2. Tehachapi–Willow Springs Road

Broken pavement tests tire noise suppression and whether NVH is transmitted into the body structure.

3. Tehachapi–Willow Springs Road summit

A sustained climb tests torque and transmission response; a sustained descent tests cruise-control effectiveness.

4. Cameron Road

A canyon road with mid-corner elevation changes induces major transient loads, ideal for testing steering, chassis balance, and body control.

5. Rail Crossing 1

A sharp bump at 10 mph tests suspension effectiveness.

6. Freeway

Patched and broken concrete induces tire noise and high-frequency vibrations. Smooth asphalt tests ride quality in a commuting situation. The freeway stretch also allows for testing of cruise control, passive and active safety systems, semi-autonomous driving, and passing power.

7. Rail Crossing 2

An angled crossing induces twisting loads for a good assessment of chassis rigidity.

READ ABOUT 2019 SUV OF THE YEAR CONTENDERS:

The post 2019 Car of the Year Introduction: Going Down Swinging appeared first on Motor Trend.

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Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class: 2019 Motor Trend Car of the Year Contender

Motortrend News Feed - Sun, 11/04/2018 - 08:00

WE LIKE Punchy new high-tech straight-six

WE DON’T LIKE Poor chassis tune, body resonances on poor surfaces

First, the good news about the Mercedes CLS: Daimler’s new straight-six engine—with its mild-hybrid integrated starter-generator, 48-volt electrics, and electric anti-lag compressor —is smooth and punchy. And the interior drips with the latest Mercedes-Benz tech, wrapped in expensive eye candy shared with the S-Class and E-Class.

Now the bad news: The smooth-shouldered exterior doesn’t have the striking presence or elegant beauty of the Audi A7. And the body structure feels underdone, with booming resonances from the rear of the cabin evident on some surfaces. “It seems like development wasn’t finished before it was put into production,” a surprised and disappointed Chris Theodore said.

Worse, the CLS chassis is a mess. The CLS 450 4Matic is blighted by massive power understeer and less-than-precise body control. And the AMG 53 may be the most disappointing AMG car ever. Although it’s more buttoned-down than the CLS 450, the extra grunt AMG dialed into the new I-6 merely amplifies the chassis’ flaws. Understeer is dogged, relentless, and unending on corner exit unless you’re super careful with the throttle. Low-performance tires don’t help; hard braking results in instant ABS intervention and the corner arriving quicker than you expected.

Chris Walton was stunned: “With all the technology and style one would expect but without the sophisticated ride or expected polish, the CLS 450 doesn’t meet the self-set standards of Mercedes-Benz.”

Jonny Lieberman further summarized: “The CLS should be Mercedes’ design leader. It should drip whatever the German equivalent of sex appeal is, and it should drive 20 percent better than an E-Class. This car fails on all accounts. It looks like a blob and frankly doesn’t drive much better than a blob.”

READ ABOUT 2019 SUV OF THE YEAR CONTENDERS:

2019 Mercedes CLS-Class Benz 450 4Matic AMG 53 Turbo 4Matic+ Base Price/As tested $75,000 (est)/$98,500 (est) $85,000 (est)/$115,000 (est) Power (SAE net) 362 hp @ 5,500 rpm (gas)/21 hp (elec)/362 hp (comb) 429 hp @ 6,100 rpm (gas)/21 hp (elec)/429 hp (comb) Torque (SAE net) 369 lb-ft @ 1,600 rpm/184 lb-ft (elec)/369 lb-ft (comb) 384 lb-ft @ 1,800 rpm (gas)/184 lb-ft (elec)/384 lb-ft (comb) Accel, 0-60 mph 4.9 sec 4.1 sec Quarter-mile 13.4 sec @ 103.5 mph 12.7 sec @ 109.0 mph Braking, 60-0 mph 117 ft 115 ft Lateral Acceleration 0.90 g (avg) 0.90 g (avg) MT Figure Eight 25.8 sec @ 0.72 g (avg) 25.4 sec @ 0.74 g (avg) EPA City/Hwy/Comb Not yet rated Not yet rated Vehicle Layout Front-engine, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door sedan Front-engine, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door sedan Engine/Transmission 3.0L turbo DOHC 24-valve I-6 plus elec motor/9-speed automatic 3.0L turbo DOHC 24-valve I-6 plus elec motor/9-speed twin-clutch auto Curb Weight (F/R Dist) 4,406 lb (54/46%) 4,474 lb (54/46%) Wheelbase 115.7 in 115.7 in Length x Width x Height 196.4 x 74.4 x 55.3 in 196.9 x 74.4 x 56.0 in Energy Cons, City/Hwy Not yet rated Not yet rated CO2 Emissions, Comb Not yet rated Not yet rated

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Toyota Corolla Hatchback: 2019 Motor Trend Car of the Year Contender

Motortrend News Feed - Sun, 11/04/2018 - 08:00

WE LIKE Driving dynamics, the upscale interior

WE DON’T LIKE Small rear seats, tiny cargo area

Most judges agreed on one thing: This is the best-driving Corolla in a long time.

When pushing the Corolla Hatchback on the winding track, the responsive and solid chassis kept asking for more. Rhetorically, we ask when was the last time you could drift a Corolla? Ed Loh attributed the Corolla’s improved dynamics to “the Akio effect,” in tribute to the automaker’s CEO. “The chassis is solid, and you can chuck it into corners,” Christian Seabaugh noted. But is it the equal of the Hyundai Veloster? Alisa Priddle thinks not.

The interior’s upscale feel also stood out—uncommon at this price point. One judge described it as a “mini-Lexus.” Another called it “Avalon-like.” The digital instrument panel screen is large and sharp, and plenty of soft-touch materials cover the dashboard and door panels. Front-seat comfort was so impressive (on the SE model) that Jonny Lieberman said, “The seats are soft to the point that I believe they are part of the suspension.”

As much as we liked the front cabin, everything behind it is a bust. Chris Theodore noted that Toyota put the most money between the A- and B-pillars, thus leaving the rear seats small and barren. Adults won’t enjoy being crammed back there. The cargo area expands to 23.3 cubic feet with the rear seats down, about half of what the Veloster offers. More sound dampening also would be appreciated, as the coarse-sounding engine roars in the cabin.

Regardless, many will like the hatchback’s sporty styling. It’s an improvement over the Corolla iM it replaces. Furthermore, it’s worlds better than the current and dated Corolla sedan—unless, of course, you need a back seat.

READ ABOUT 2019 SUV OF THE YEAR CONTENDERS:

2019 Toyota Corolla SE XSE Base Price/As tested $20,910/$21,958 $25,010/$27,823 Power (SAE net) 168 hp @ 6,600 rpm 168 hp @ 6,600 rpm Torque (SAE net) 151 lb-ft @ 4,800 rpm 151 lb-ft @ 4,800 rpm Accel, 0-60 mph 7.4 sec 8.6 sec Quarter-mile 15.8 sec @ 88.4 mph 16.5 sec @ 85.9 mph Braking, 60-0 mph 135 ft 129 ft Lateral Acceleration 0.80 g (avg) 0.80 g (avg) MT Figure Eight 27.9 sec @ 0.60 g (avg) 28.1 sec @ 0.59 g (avg) EPA City/Hwy/Comb 28/37/31 mpg 30/38/33 mpg Vehicle Layout Front-engine, FWD, 5-pass, 4-door hatchback Front-engine, FWD, 5-pass, 4-door hatchback Engine/Transmission 2.0L DOHC 16-valve I-4/6-speed manual 2.0L DOHC 16-valve I-4/Cont variable auto Curb Weight (F/R Dist) 2,961 lb (60/40%) 3,106 lb (61/39%) Wheelbase 103.9 in 103.9 in Length x Width x Height 169.9 x 69.9 x 57.1 in 169.9 x 69.9 x 57.1 in Energy Cons, City/Hwy 120/91 kW-hrs/100 miles 112/89 kW-hrs/100 miles CO2 Emissions, Comb 0.62 lb/mile 0.59 lb/mile

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Honda Clarity: 2019 Motor Trend Car of the Year Contender

Motortrend News Feed - Sun, 11/04/2018 - 08:00

WE LIKE Battery-engine integration, good ride, luxe interior

WE DON’T LIKE Questionable exterior styling, body roll

The Clarity, Honda’s test bed for next-gen fuel economy solutions, is about the same size as an Accord but rides on a bespoke platform. Although it’s offered in fuel cell, battery-electric, and plug-in hybrid variants, Honda only provided us with the latter.

Honda seems to follow Toyota’s design aesthetic for alternative fuels: If you want to save the world, we’re going to make sure you stand out. As we found, though, it’s not always in a good way.

“It may have the profile of a Citroen SM, but none of the lines or surfaces make sense,” Chris Theodore said, adding this caveat: “The interior trim is light, airy, and somewhat futuristic. Rear-seat legroom is generous, and there’s plenty of storage.”

Angus MacKenzie described the interior as “restrained, upscale, almost elegant, with well-considered materials choices.” The sweet Alcantara suede inlay on the center console sweeps into the detailing for both front and rear doors. Neat touches include phone pockets for back-seat occupants. But the lack of lumbar support and a last-gen infotainment interface (good luck finding the USB port, and why no volume knob?) hold it back.

While a plug-in hybrid isn’t meant for hard driving, Frank Markus gibed, “Having a ‘sport’ button leads me to believe that the car might be able to go around a turn without screaming in agony.”

During more routine driving, this plug-in hybrid fares well against the Chevrolet Volt—though its 47 miles of battery range falls short against its Detroit foe. “Ride is spectacular,” Zach Gale said. “It feels quicker than 7.5 seconds to 60. And at $37,495, this one is not much more than loaded midsize sedans.”

READ ABOUT 2019 SUV OF THE YEAR CONTENDERS:

2018 Honda Clarity (PHEV) Base Price/As tested $34,295/$37,495 Power (SAE net) 103 hp @ 5,500 rpm (gas)/181 hp (elec)/212 hp (comb) Torque (SAE net) 99 lb-ft @ 5,000 rpm (gas)/232 lb-ft (elec) Accel, 0-60 mph 7.5 sec Quarter-mile 15.9 sec @ 87.9 mph Braking, 60-0 mph 131 ft Lateral Acceleration 0.78 g (avg) MT Figure Eight 27.9 sec @ 0.61 g (avg) EPA City/Hwy/Comb 44/40/42 mpg, 110 mpg-e Vehicle Layout Front-engine, FWD, 5-pass, 4-door sedan Engine/Transmission 1.5L Atkinson-cycle DOHC 16-valve I-4 plus front electric motor/Cont variable auto Curb Weight (F/R Dist) 4,043 lb (57/43%) Wheelbase 108.3 in Length x Width x Height 192.7 x 58.2 x 73.9 in Energy Cons, City/Hwy 77/84 kW-hrs/100 miles CO2 Emissions, Comb 0.46 lb/mile

The post Honda Clarity: 2019 Motor Trend Car of the Year Contender appeared first on Motor Trend.

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2019 Kia Rio

The Car Connection News Feed - Sat, 11/03/2018 - 10:00
The 2019 Kia Rio proves that simple is better when it comes to compact cars. This year, choosing a 2019 Rio is even simpler: Kia trimmed the Rio lineup in half, meaning color is the only thing most shoppers will need to pick. The Rio earns 5.2 out of 10 on our scale for its bucks-up feel at a low price. This year’s slimmed-down lineup to LX...
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The Ford, Chevy, and Mopar Show Cars of SEMA 2018

Motortrend News Feed - Sat, 11/03/2018 - 09:00

After a week of crazy, modified vehicles and wacky concepts at the Las Vegas Convention Center, another SEMA Show is in the books. It’s estimated that 170,000 people visited Las Vegas for SEMA, and we believe that figure after wading through the rivers of attendees that inundated the halls of the convention center.

Automakers use SEMA to show off their upcoming products, and although we didn’t see anything too crazy this year, there was still plenty of interesting sheetmetal to see from the OEMs. Ford had the biggest stand out of the Detroit Big Three, and they devoted a lot of that space to the new 2019 Ranger pickup, with seven concepts equipped with performance parts and accessories. Chevy surprised everyone with the eCOPO Camaro Concept, an entirely electric Camaro drag racer that delivers more than 700 hp and 600 lb-ft of torque. Not satisfied with the 840 hp from the Demon engine, Mopar took the covers off its Hellephant crate engine, which delivers an insane 1,000 hp and 950 lb-ft of torque.

Here’s a look at the best show cars from Ford, Chevy, and FCA at this year’s SEMA Show.

Chevrolet eCOPO Camaro concept 2019 Chevrolet Camaro SS Shock Ringbrothers Chevrolet K5 Blazer 2019 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison 2019 Ford Edge ST by Blood Type Racing LGE CTS Ford Expedition Classic Tucci Designs Big Adventures Ford EcoSport Hot Wheels Ford F-Series 1977 Ford F-150 Hoonitruck 2019 Ford Ranger Concepts 2019 Ford GT Carbon Series Bojix Design, Cobra Jet, and Corruptt Ford Mustangs Ford F-Series Concepts Assorted Dodge Challengers Jeeps, Jeeps, and more Jeeps Vintage Plymouth Love The Best of the Rest

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Toyota RAV4: 2019 Motor Trend SUV of the Year Contender

Motortrend News Feed - Sat, 11/03/2018 - 08:00

WE LIKE Apple CarPlay availability, hybrid model returns

WE DON’T LIKE “Angry” front styling not for everyone

The stakes couldn’t be higher for the redesigned Toyota RAV4, the hottest seller in the popular compact crossover segment. And Toyota went bold with the fifth-generation model.

Editor’s Note: Toyota has set an embargo of November 20 for driving impressions. Please check back at that time for more on the RAV4.

Riding on a new platform, the 2019 RAV4 boasts a 1.2-inch-longer wheelbase and promises a rear seat that’s just as impressively spacious as that of the outgoing crossover. The updated model’s 2.5-liter engine will likely make just over 200 hp (like the Camry’s), and the automatic transmission has changed from six to eight speeds.

With the RAV4 hybrid’s return, Toyota remains one of just two automakers to offer such a variant in this class. Aside from quicker acceleration, Toyota says the hybrid in XSE form is the best-handling model in the lineup.

No matter whether you choose the RAV4 XSE, Adventure, or other trims, Toyota offers a surprising amount of visual differentiation between models. All 2019 RAV4s come with a full package of safety tech that includes automatic emergency braking, lane departure alert with steering assist, and adaptive cruise control that will continue to function down to 0 mph.

The 7.0-inch touchscreen and standard Apple CarPlay will probably prove more useful on a day-to-day basis (an 8.0-inch screen is available). Although Android Auto isn’t yet part of the package at any price, offering CarPlay on a screen mounted high on the dash is a step in the right direction.

Check this page on or after November 20 for driving impressions on the 2019 Toyota RAV4.

READ ABOUT 2019 SUV OF THE YEAR CONTENDERS:

 

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Nissan Kicks: 2019 Motor Trend SUV of the Year Contender

Motortrend News Feed - Sat, 11/03/2018 - 08:00

WE LIKE Strong value, clever interior, kickin’ stereo

WE DON’T LIKE No AWD, seat comfort, noisy at speed

With only 125 hp under its hood, the Nissan Kicks is deceptively quick on the road and on the track. Its low curb weight makes it nimble, but it lacks the performance and speed to make it a budget Mini Countryman. Still, it makes a strong value play.

Its CVT behaves better than those in previous Nissans we’ve driven, but it still struggles to respond quickly to throttle commands and suffers from sluggish simulated shifts.

With a price tag of just over $23,000, the Kicks SR with the Premium package comes with cool details such as orange stitching throughout the cabin and a terrific Bose sound system with two speakers located in the driver’s headrest. However, there were complaints about the seating position and uncomfortable lumbar support.

Our biggest complaint? The fact that the Kicks is marketed as an SUV but lacks AWD. Although it surprisingly didn’t get stuck on the sand of the Power Sports track, it struggled to go up the sand hill.

On-road, the amount of wind noise, road noise, and tire noise is nearly deafening, Mark Rechtin noted. “But that’s OK—you just crank up the awesome Bose stereo, and everything is cool.”

It’s a great deal for Sun Belters looking to buy a first new car that doesn’t feel cheap. With a stylish design, smartphone-friendly technology, and an affordable price, Nissan has come up with the right formula to market to millennial buyers.

“It’s not quick, but it’s good enough, and it goes off-road better than some of the AWD cars here,” Scott Evans said. “It has tons of rear-seat and cargo space for the class. This is a really solid pick.”

READ ABOUT 2019 SUV OF THE YEAR CONTENDERS:

2018 Nissan Kicks SR Base Price/As tested $21,285/$23,045 Power (SAE net) 125 hp @ 5,800 rpm Torque (SAE net) 115 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm Accel, 0-60 mph 9.9 sec Quarter-mile 17.6 sec @ 77.9 mph Braking, 60-0 mph 133 ft Lateral Acceleration 0.77 g (avg) MT Figure Eight 29.2 sec @ 0.55 g (avg) EPA City/Hwy/Comb 31/36/33 mpg Vehicle Layout Front-engine, FWD, 5-pass, 4-door SUV Engine/Transmission 1.6L DOHC 16-valve I-4/ Cont variable auto Curb Weight (F/R Dist) 2,670 lb (61/39%) Wheelbase 103.1 in Length x Width x Height 169.1 x 69.3 x 62.4 in Energy Cons, City/Hwy 109/94 kW-hrs/100 miles CO2 Emissions, Comb 0.59 lb/mile

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Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross: 2019 Motor Trend SUV of the Year Contender

Motortrend News Feed - Sat, 11/03/2018 - 08:00

WE LIKE Second-row space, decent materials, long warranty

WE DON’T LIKE Underpowered engine, sloppy handling, clunky infotainment system

The Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross is acceptable.

Yes, this compact SUV is as bland and underwhelming as that previous sentence implies.

Sure, the rear seats are spacious, even for adults. Cabin materials are better than expected from a budget-minded brand. And Mitsubishi’s five-year/60,000-mile basic and 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranties are among the longest in the industry.

But everything else about the Eclipse Cross fails to impress. Nearly everyone panned the Eclipse Cross for its sloppy handling and tires that squealed excessively on the winding road course. Its muddy suspension seemingly was tuned neither for comfort nor performance.

The 1.5-liter turbo I-4 was severely underpowered, and Gordon Dickie found the CVT wasn’t responsive when you put your right foot to the firewall—making the Ferrariesque paddle shifters a mockery. To add insult to injury, the Eclipse Cross was the only AWD-equipped vehicle to get stuck on the silty portion of the off-road course. Christian Seabaugh noted that although the all-wheel-drive system did a fine job routing power around, the Eclipse Cross didn’t have enough guts to get out on its own.

Inside, the seats were uncomfortable, storage space was scarce, and the bizarre horizontal split rear window impedes vision.

And for a vehicle likely marketed to millennials, its infotainment system is awful. Angus MacKenzie thought the touchpad looked glued on, and Frank Markus and Mark Rechtin declared Mitsubishi’s latest graphical user interface one of the industry’s worst. The lack of knobs and buttons made the system a hassle to use. The touchpad was slow to respond and unintuitive, the touchscreen hard to reach from the driver’s seat.

Ultimately, the Eclipse Cross is an improvement, but it still lags behind rivals.

READ ABOUT 2019 SUV OF THE YEAR CONTENDERS:

2019 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross SEL S-AWC Base Price/As tested $29,190/$32,610 Power (SAE net) 152 hp @ 5,500 rpm Torque (SAE net) 184 lb-ft @ 2,000 rpm Accel, 0-60 mph 9.6 sec Quarter-mile 17.3 sec @ 78.9 mph Braking, 60-0 mph 129 ft Lateral Acceleration 0.74 g (avg) MT Figure Eight 29.0 sec @ 0.56 g (avg) EPA City/Hwy/Comb 25/26/25 mpg Vehicle Layout Front-engine, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door SUV Engine/Transmission 1.5L turbo DOHC 16-valve I-4/ Cont variable auto Curb Weight (F/R Dist) 3,575 lb (58/42%) Wheelbase 105.1 in Length x Width x Height 173.4 x 71.1 x 66.5 in Energy Cons, City/Hwy 135/130 kW-hrs/100 miles CO2 Emissions, Comb 0.76 lb/mile

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BMW X4: 2019 Motor Trend SUV of the Year Contender

Motortrend News Feed - Sat, 11/03/2018 - 08:00

WE LIKE Potent acceleration, sporty handling

WE DON’T LIKE Rough ride, lack of rear visibility and cargo capacity

The 2019 BMW X4 was a rather controversial entry this year. Most judges admired its dynamic feel, but a disappointed Gordon Dickie found the X4’s performance not at the caliber of past performance-minded BMWs.

The X4 M40i’s 3.0-liter turbo I-6 is a sweetheart, providing strong acceleration and linear power delivery while emitting an exuberant exhaust note. The eight-speed automatic shifts quickly and smoothly in all modes, allowing you to exit corners explosively thanks to the car’s prodigious torque and all-wheel-drive grip. It’s a rare sub-5-second 0–60 rocket that pins you to your seat and eagerly puts your driver’s license at risk.

The hunchbacked fun machine lost ground when it came to comfort; a number of judges declared the suspension too harsh, even in Comfort mode. Scott Evans got tossed around too much over rough pavement, and Christian Seabaugh likened the rough ride to getting punched repeatedly in the kidneys.

Although we may be more accustomed to the X4’s fastback roofline, its exterior still didn’t get much love. Frank Markus didn’t see the new design as an improvement, and Evans unfavorably compared it to a lifted sedan. The car’s silhouette also earned criticism for compromising rear visibility and significantly reducing cargo capacity versus the X3. Although rear-seat space is slightly more generous than that of the prior generation, ingress and egress remain challenging, and the rear seats’ low hip-point and infringing roofline might trigger claustrophobes.

Regardless of the extra passenger room, the X4 is a compromised vehicle; it sacrifices practicality and comfort in favor of driving well and standing out. As Markus noted: “What price fashion? 2Much.”

READ ABOUT 2019 SUV OF THE YEAR CONTENDERS:

2019 BMW X4 M40i Base Price/As tested $61,445/$69,170 Power (SAE net) 355 hp @ 5,500 rpm Torque (SAE net) 365 lb-ft @ 1,520 rpm Accel, 0-60 mph 4.8 sec Quarter-mile 13.4 sec @ 103.1 mph Braking, 60-0 mph 109 ft Lateral Acceleration 0.89 g (avg) MT Figure Eight 25.6 sec @ 0.73 g (avg) EPA City/Hwy/Comb 20/27/23 mpg Vehicle Layout Front-engine, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door SUV Engine/Transmission 3.0L turbo DOHC 24-valve I-6 /8-speed automatic Curb Weight (F/R Dist) 4,280 lb (51/49%) Wheelbase 112.7 in Length x Width x Height 187.5 x 76.3 x 63.8 in Energy Cons, City/Hwy 169/125 kW-hrs/100 miles CO2 Emissions, Comb 0.86 lb/mile

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Cadillac XT4: 2019 Motor Trend SUV of the Year Contender

Motortrend News Feed - Sat, 11/03/2018 - 08:00

WE LIKE Finally a Cadillac entry-level CUV, cool taillights

WE DON’T LIKE Forgettable dynamics, subpar interior

The XT4 crossover fills the empty entry-luxury spot in Cadillac’s lineup, but we struggled to find enough Cadillac or luxury here.

It’s not entirely clear in what segment the luxury CUV competes, as the XT4 is pricier and longer than the BMW X1 and Mercedes-Benz GLA yet shorter, less expensive, and less powerful than the Infiniti QX50 and BMW X3.

“The XT4 is yet another tweener Cadillac that attempts to chart its own course in a high-volume premium vehicle segment and ends up lost in the weeds,” Angus MacKenzie said.

No matter what you compare the XT4 to, our judges revealed a few issues. The unrefined nine-speed transmission sometimes lazes along in a higher gear instead of making the most of the coarse, grainy 237-hp turbo-four.

The XT4 failed to distinguish itself on the road, too, with Kim Reynolds describing its track behavior as “quite ordinary.” The XT4 doesn’t try to be sporty, but it doesn’t succeed in being plush, either. It rides an anonymous middle line.

“It seemed to steer, brake, accelerate, and corner in a fairly average manner,” Frank Markus said. “Nothing stood out as exceptional.”

The XT4’s interior also failed to impress. Small windows reduce outward visibility, and the center high-mounted stop lamp reduces the already compromised view out the back. To compete with the German brands, Cadillac also must master the details and replace the XT4’s cheap-feeling leather, GM parts bin buttons and switches, and mismatched fonts. Unfortunately, Christian Seabaugh noted, “It feels rough around the edges and unrefined.”

We’d like to see higher-quality effort from a luxury crossover whose driving experience doesn’t match its as-tested price tag.

READ ABOUT 2019 SUV OF THE YEAR CONTENDERS:

2019 Cadillac XT4 2.0T AWD Base Price/As tested $37,295/$56,835 Power (SAE net) 237 hp @ 5,000 rpm Torque (SAE net) 258 lb-ft @ 1,500 rpm Accel, 0-60 mph 7.5 sec Quarter-mile 15.8 sec @ 89.4 mph Braking, 60-0 mph 126 ft Lateral Acceleration 0.81 g (avg) MT Figure Eight 27.6 sec @ 0.61 g (avg) EPA City/Hwy/Comb 22/29/24 mpg Vehicle Layout Front-engine, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door SUV Engine/Transmission 2.0L turbo DOHC 16-valve I-4 /9-speed automatic Curb Weight (F/R Dist) 3,971 lb (58/42%) Wheelbase 109.4 in Length x Width x Height 181.1 x 74.1 x 63.2 in Energy Cons, City/Hwy 153/116 kW-hrs/100 miles CO2 Emissions, Comb 0.79 lb/mile

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13 Wild and Wacky Cars and Trucks From the 2018 SEMA Show

Motortrend News Feed - Fri, 11/02/2018 - 23:00

Every year, SEMA leaves us impressed with the wide variety of modified vehicles we see—from trucks to lowriders, sports cars to UTVs, and everything in between. While every builder adds their own personal touch to their SEMA vehicle, some take their builds in unorthodox directions. Below are just 13 examples of the wild and wacky vehicles you can only see at SEMA.

Dodge Truck by Dudes Fab Shop

What started life as a Dodge Ram heavy-duty truck was transformed into something else entirely. Not only has this truck been lifted about 3 feet off the ground, its suspension has been completely retooled. We’re not sure how much of this truck is stock other than the body panels, but it caught the eye of many an attendee. For more on this truck’s transformation, check out its owner’s Instagram account.

Polaris “Sling-Ray” by FLO AirRide

If you can’t afford a C7 Chevy Corvette but have a surplus of creativity and fabrication skills, you could build something like FLO AirRide’s Sling-Ray. As you might’ve guessed from the name, the Sling-Ray is based on a Polaris Slingshot, which has been stripped down, given a second rear wheel, and enveloped by a wire frame exoskeleton meant to look like a Corvette. The result is actually pretty cool-looking and unique. And if anyone challenges you thinking you’re still four-cylinder-powered, they’ll be surprised to learn there’s actually a supercharged V-8 under the “hood.”

Richline Motorsports Truck

If you like the combination of golden wheels with a red body, this is your truck. Equipped with Sord Shocks, Bodyguard bumpers, and off-road tires, this F-Series truck is ready for any terrain, even if it never ventures it off-road.

The truck to its left probably started life as a Silverado heavy-duty, and besides getting a fancy suspension and bigger wheels, it’s equipped with two LED strips that should keep the road bright at night. These two lifted trucks aren’t for everyone, but we can appreciate the work that went into building them.

Polaris Dagor by Line-X

If you’ve ever driven a side-by-side, you may have thought the simple yet capable 4×4 vehicle would be perfect in a military application—if only it were just a bit bigger. The folks at Polaris had the same thought, which is why they developed the 14.8-foot-long Dagor. Normally only available to military, this Dagor was customized by spray-on bedliner company Line-X for last year’s SEMA Show. The Dagor may be a common sight on the battlefields of the future, but today it’s pretty wild to see a jumbo-sized side-by-side.

Jeep Wrangler on Forgiato wheels

With its similar Transformers­-esque Fab Fours front end, this Jeep reminds us of ARod’s Wrangler made by West Coast Customs. Except this one is slightly less menacing in white with pink accents. Riding on huge wheels, this Wrangler has a Warn winch to get it out of tricky off-road situations.

Tracked Chevrolet HD by David Fischer and Kelderman

Kelderman is known for manufacturing air suspensions, bumpers, and grilles for heavy-duty trucks, but for this year’s SEMA Show it took things one step further. First of all, the wheels were substituted with Wold Fabrication tracks and the truck has been significantly lifted. This is probably the ultimate truck for the snow, as it can also carry two snowmobiles on top of its bed.

Dodge Power Wagon by BRAAP Werks

Kelderman had a little competition in the tracked vehicle category this year. Although BRAAP doesn’t really modify cars or trucks, the company went big for SEMA with this Power Wagon diesel. Riding on snow tracks and Fox shocks, this Power Wagon is ready to go anywhere and rescue anyone with its Warn winch at the front. The trail should still be quite visible at night thanks to the two LED strips it has by the radiator grille and on top of the cabin.

Vibrant Performance 1970 Pontiac Firebird

Though it may look like a vintage Pontiac from afar, this slammed wide-body Firebird is built around a custom tube frame chassis. The builder brings together the golden age of the Trans-Am racing series with its current incarnation by remagining one of its most iconic competitors as a modern silhouette racer. We love the mid-front-mounted V-8 with its fancy side-exit headers.

Chevy-Swapped Volvo TP21

If you’re wondering what you’re looking at, you’re not alone. This is a Volvo TP21 “Sugga,” a military version of the 1950s Volvo PV800 series. Originally powered by a 90-hp inline-six, this rig has been upgraded with a Chevy big-block V-8 and a beefy set of Toyo Mud/Terrain off-road tires. If you want to stand out on the trails, this is certainly one way to do it.

1931 Ford Model A Race Truck

Built by Mike Burroughs of Stanceworks, this Model A pickup truck isn’t your average hot rod project. Powered by a supercharged Coyote V-8, the truck features a racing-inspired pushrod and bell crank rear suspension and rides on centerlock IMSA sports car prototype wheels wrapped in Michelin Motorsport rain slicks. Unexpected? Yes. Incredible? Also yes.

Ferrari-Powered “Corruptt” Ford Mustang

The sky’s the limit when it comes to engine swap choices for a 1968 Ford Mustang, and this builder shot for the moon by choosing a twin-turbocharged Ferrari 4.3-liter V-8 originally sourced from an F430. The setup is said to make around 700 hp, which should be plenty to make this pony gallop like a true prancing horse.

Welder Up Iron Worker Truck

If you love vintage tools, then this build from Las Vegas-based garage Welder Up is for you. Built as a tribute to the iron workers of yesteryear, this custom truck carries with it an antique drill press, anvil, vice, and even an old generator. The attention to detail is stunning, and if you want to watch the build from start to finish, you can tune in to “Vegas Rat Rods” on Discovery.

Tinman II Kustoms Diesel Rat Rod “Wild Torquey”

Rat rods have become a common sight at SEMA in recent years. But it’s less common to see one towing a custom pickup truck on a gooseneck trailer. Where would one hook up such a trailer on a vehicle like this, you ask? Why, through the roof, of course. It’s unclear how the 1931 Chevy’s structure has been upgraded to handle such a heavy load, but the engine should at least be up to the task. “Wild Torquey” is powered by a 12-valve Cummins turbodiesel engine.

 

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Refreshing or Revolting: BMW 8 Series Convertible vs. Mercedes S-Class Cabriolet

Motortrend News Feed - Fri, 11/02/2018 - 22:58

For a long time, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class was a sales winner, essentially the flagship to end all flagships. This week, BMW introduced a convertible version of its flagship BMW 8 Series that will compete against the big Benz, albeit indirectly. While the two models serve different purposes, they share the same goal of presenting customers with the most luxurious drop-top experience available from their respective brands. And they’re both stunning. But which one is the most visually compelling?

The BMW 8 Series convertible benefits from the automaker’s latest design language. The single-piece frame reinterprets the classic kidney grille design. The grille’s hexagonal frame widens toward the bottom and has a three-dimensional effect. BMW says the model has the slimmest headlights of any of its models to date. The S-Class cabriolet may be slightly older than the 8 Series, and it’s more of a grand tourer than a sports car, but it’s still looking good. It has thicker headlights, which Mercedes offers with optional Swarovski crystal accents. The front end looks quite different based on the trim you choose; AMG models feature vertical lines in the grille and bold lower vents while other models feature a diamond-pin grille and a more subdued overall look.

 

On the side profiles of both models, you’ll find dramatic character lines. There is a vent just behind the front wheel on the BMW, adding extra visual interest. You may notice the Mercedes is significantly longer; it measures 198.9 inches in length compared to the BMW’s 191.2 inches. The Mercedes is also taller at 56.2 inches compared to 53 inches, and it has a wider wheelbase (115.9 compared to 111.1).

In the rear, the 8 Series has narrow taillights and sharper creases in the sheet metal. Once again, the S-Class looks different depending on whether you opt for the standard or AMG model. A chrome bar connects the taillights.

Peeking inside, both the S-Class and 8 Series feature large digital instrument clusters and a large center touchscreen. In the Mercedes, these units are combined into one huge screen. The BMW feels more cluttered with buttons just below the center screen and near the shifter. The interior of the S-Class adopts a circular theme, from the digital instrument cluster dials to the air vents and shape of the dashboard. Meanwhile, the 8 Series favors rectangular shapes.

Which drop-top would you crown the style winner: the 8 Series or the S-Class? Let us know on Facebook.

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