2020 BMW 2-Series Gran Coupe costs about the same as the two-door, is still not a coupe

The Car Connection News Feed - Wed, 12/04/2019 - 15:50
When it goes on sale next year, base versions of the 2020 BMW 228i xDrive Gran Coupe four-door sedan will cost $38,495, including destination, the automaker announced Wednesday. That's $200 more than a 2020 230i xDrive coupe, which is already on sale, but not related to the upcoming 2-Series. That's because the new Gran Coupe is based on a...
Categories: Property

Buick Regal won't return next year as brand shifts to SUV-heavy lineup

The Car Connection News Feed - Wed, 12/04/2019 - 15:30
The Buick Regal sedan and Regal TourX wagon won't return for 2021, signaling the likely end of Buick's car lineup in the U.S. for now, our colleagues at Motor Authority reported Wednesday. Buick spokesman Stu Fowle confirmed the Regal's demise after model year 2020, which was largely telegraphed by U.S. buyers' increasing preference for crossovers...
Categories: Property

M&G suspends trading in property fund

Property Week News Feed - Wed, 12/04/2019 - 14:36
M&G has suspended trading in its M&G Property Portfolio fund in the face of “unusually high outflows”.
Categories: Property

British Property Federation launches Accelerated Planning Manifesto

Property Week News Feed - Wed, 12/04/2019 - 14:09
The British Property Federation (BPF) is calling on the government to increase resources devoted to planning at the local level in its new Accelerated Planning Manifesto.
Categories: Property

Moda Living gets green light for final Springside phase

Property Week News Feed - Wed, 12/04/2019 - 13:35
Moda Living has been given the green light for the final phase of its Springside build-to-rent development in Edinburgh.
Categories: Property

Grosvenor Group signs on to net-zero carbon commitment

Property Week News Feed - Wed, 12/04/2019 - 13:13
London’s Grosvenor Group has signed a pledge to slash carbon emissions from their buildings to net zero.
Categories: Property

Genting sells freehold of Old Park Lane building for £70m

Property Week News Feed - Wed, 12/04/2019 - 13:10
The freehold interest in the COMO Metropolitan hotel on London’s Park Lane has been bought by DTZ Investors for over £70m.
Categories: Property

Keeping the C8 Corvette a Chevy Comes at a Price, and GM CEO Mary Barra Is OK With That

Motortrend News Feed - Wed, 12/04/2019 - 13:00

It’s not enough that the new mid-engine C8 Corvette had to be a driving and engineering accomplishment; it had to do so at a price that befits the Chevrolet brand.

MotorTrend first reported in August that the car’s impressive $59,995 starting price is only good for the first year, and unless it goes up by $20,000, Chevrolet will continue to lose money on low-trim cars, a senior GM source tells us.

The base price will increase for the 2021 model year. But don’t expect a $20,000 jump. When you wear the Bow Tie, there are expectations of affordability.

We asked Mary Barra, the chairman and CEO of General Motors, if a low starting price can be maintained or if the price is likely to jump, especially if demand is strong.

“It’ll depend on how people content it,” Barra said in an exclusive interview with MotorTrend. The C8 Stingray Z51 3LT we tested for Car of the Year stickered at $88,305.

“What I think is really important is Chevrolet is a home for Corvette and Chevrolet is American, and it’s value, it’s ingenuity,” Barra said. “I think all of that is captured.” Corvette, despite being an iconic sports car, “represents all that Chevrolet means, and part of that is, I think, that it is obtainable. So I think we will work really hard to make sure that we always live true to the Chevrolet brand, which is American, it’s value, it’s ingenuity.”

Did the team debate keeping the front-engine C7 as the affordable entry Corvette and add the C8 as a more premium model?

No, Barra said. “I think as we looked at it, we stepped back, and I think Tadge [Juechter, Corvette chief engineer] probably said it best when he said we had really taken the C7, that architecture style, as far as we could go without going to mid-engine. So it was time, and it was a huge investment, but it was something we really believed in. We believed it was important for the Chevrolet brand, for the Corvette franchise itself.

What about making Corvette its own brand or a subbrand like Ford is doing with Mustang?

“I think you have to be really careful because you have to understand what makes the brand the brand,” Barra told us. “So I’m not going to say never, but I think if General Motors were to ever do anything, we would assess it very, very carefully.

“Corvette means something so special to so many people,” Barra continued. It must be managed carefully because it is so important to its long-term success that it lives up to the name.

In the meantime, Barra is anxious to get the new C8 Corvette, MotorTrend’s 2020 Car of the Year, onto dealer lots. The launch was delayed by a few months because of a protracted strike while GM was negotiating a new four-year labor agreement with the UAW.

“I really think that the Corvette pulls together and represents what the product development and marketing teams are capable of, truly understanding the customer and creating a leading vehicle that’s still affordable,” Barra said. “I can’t wait until they’re in customer hands.”

The post Keeping the C8 Corvette a Chevy Comes at a Price, and GM CEO Mary Barra Is OK With That appeared first on MotorTrend.

Categories: Property

What Is SH-AWD? A Breakdown of the Least Understood Acura Acronym

Motortrend News Feed - Wed, 12/04/2019 - 12:00

What if all-wheel drive could not only improve traction but also enhance dynamic performance? That’s the goal of Acura’s SH-AWD system. What does SH-AWD mean? It’s an acronym for Super Handling All-Wheel Drive. By actively distributing power front to rear and side to side, SH-AWD makes driving on slick surfaces easier and powering through corners more fun.

So what is SH-AWD? Acura has two variations of the system: one for its gas-powered cars, and one for its electrically enhanced hybrids. Both use hardware and software to send power to the wheels that need it most, continually altering distribution depending on the situation. The result is more confidence and control from behind the wheel.

SH-AWD made its debut on the 2004 RL and has gone through multiple iterations since. The current fourth-generation system was integrated into the 2019 RDX, and it’s lighter, faster, and more robust than before. But what is the difference between SH-AWD and AWD? Keep reading to find out.

How SH-AWD Works

Because the majority of SH-AWD Acuras are based on front-engine, front-wheel-drive platforms, power is initially and primarily directed through the transaxle to the front wheels—up to 90 percent when cruising straight at steady speeds. However, a driveshaft also routes power to a rear differential, on its way to the rear wheels.

Within that differential are various gear sets and clutch packs that control the amount of torque the rear wheels receive. Under hard acceleration, sensors detect rearward weight transfer and alter clutch engagement to direct up to 45 percent of power to the rear wheels. This reduces wheelspin and enhances traction for better acceleration.

The differential also controls power balance between the rear wheels—that is to say, it vectors torque. In cornering, 100 percent of the power sent to the rear axle can be directed to the rear outside wheel, helping to push the vehicle forward. The result is an inward yaw moment that gives the feeling of rotation through a corner. This reduces the need for steering input, minimizes under- or oversteer, and allows power to be applied sooner. That’s where SH-AWD gets its so-called “Super Handling” characteristics.

How Hybrid SH-AWD Works

SH-AWD functions differently in Acura hybrids like the MDX and RLX; there’s no mechanical connection between the engine and the rear axle. Instead, each rear wheel is powered by an electric motor. These produce power independently and variably, in effect replacing the differential and clutches found in the mechanical SH-AWD setup. Again, sensors determine how much power is sent to either rear wheel, which still function to push the vehicle forward through a corner with inward yaw.

For the NSX supercar, hybrid SH-AWD works a bit differently—kind of like the standard hybrid system but flipped around and made better. In the NSX, two electric motors power the front wheels, with no mechanical connection to the mid-mounted engine. Augmenting that V-6, however, is a third electric motor that improves its responses and fills in torque as its twin turbochargers spool up. That power is sent through a rear transaxle and differential to the rear wheels. The NSX’s front electric motors pull the car forward while the rear differential distributes the engine’s torque between the rear wheels, providing that “Super Handling” sensation.

Future Acura Cars

Acura is fully committed to SH-AWD and considers it key to enhancing performance across its product range. SH-AWD will boost driving dynamics in Acura’s future products, too—it’s rumored that whatever may come from the Acura Type S concept will feature a version of the system. For now, SH-AWD helps when roads are wet or slippery, or when there’s a string of corners to power through. 

For more on how SH-AWD is different from other systems, check out this official deep dive video from Acura.

The post What Is SH-AWD? A Breakdown of the Least Understood Acura Acronym appeared first on MotorTrend.

Categories: Property

Gerald Eve strengthens Midlands team

Property Week News Feed - Wed, 12/04/2019 - 11:44
Gerald Eve has made three new appointments to its lease consultancy team in its Birmingham office.
Categories: Property

Debenhams in Romford sold for £12m

Property Week News Feed - Wed, 12/04/2019 - 11:41
The Debenhams at 54-72 Market Place in Romford has been sold for £12m to a private Irish buyer.
Categories: Property

Regeneration of 8 Albert Embankment gets the green light

Property Week News Feed - Wed, 12/04/2019 - 11:39
Lambeth Council’s planning applications committee has approved a new mixed-use scheme at 8 Albert Embankment in London.
Categories: Property

Cromwell makes senior appointment

Property Week News Feed - Wed, 12/04/2019 - 10:53
Real estate investor and manager Cromwell Property Group has appointed Nigel Batters as chief financial officer for Europe, starting April 2020.
Categories: Property

Mayor of London calls in £3bn Silvertown scheme

Property Week News Feed - Wed, 12/04/2019 - 10:27
Sadiq Khan has called in the Greater London Authority and Keystone’s £3bn Thameside West scheme, after Newham Council denied it planning permission last month.
Categories: Property

​HBD strengthens team in Scotland

Property Week News Feed - Wed, 12/04/2019 - 09:51
UK developer HBD has announced a new senior hire and a promotion in its Glasgow office as part of its expansion in Scotland.
Categories: Property

The Tesla Cybertruck Has Functionality Problems

Motortrend News Feed - Wed, 12/04/2019 - 09:00

Everyone has thoughts on the way Tesla’s radical Cybertruck looks, but design is purely subjective (and everyone’s already dunked on the Cybertruck anyway), so I’m going to focus instead on functionality, where I have real concerns.

First, outward visibility. The rear window is tiny and most of the time it’ll be completely covered by a roll-up door that apparently makes a huge aerodynamic (read: range) difference. Tesla’s solution is a rear camera. I’ve tried those on many vehicles, and most are awful. Rarely are the resolution, the angle, or the field of vision anything like a normal mirror, and there’s usually little to no way to adjust them. What’s more, they play a trick on your eye, forcing you to reorient your point of view from inside the vehicle to a camera mounted on the back of it, then back again. Beyond that, the big sail panels on the bed and pinched rear door windows will create massive over-the-shoulder blind spots, full stop.

Those sail panels are my real gripe. This thing has Gen-I Ridgeline syndrome. The sail panels are impossible to reach over, so getting anything in or out of the bed means climbing in the back and walking up to the front—and forget about stepping on the tire and climbing over. Whether tools or toys, that’s a massive pain in the ass. Tesla says the sail panels are a key part of the truck’s strength, but other unibody trucks both past and present have gotten along fine without them, casting doubt on that rationale.

Those panels also means there will be far fewer accessories for work or play because you can’t mount them to the bed rails. Outfitters are no doubt thinking about accessories for the Cybertruck, but a lot of them are low-volume companies that aren’t going to spend big on prototyping and developing parts until there are enough Cybertrucks sold to make a solid business case.

You can pretty much forget about the commercial market, though, and that’s a bad idea. A huge portion of truck sales are to fleets and working professionals like contractors, plumbers, welders, and more. Not being able to mount lumber racks to the bed rails is bad enough, but making the bed an integral part of the body means it can’t be removed and replaced with boxes, a flatbed, or other equipment. Strict emissions regulations and high fuel costs in Tesla’s home market of California could make the Cybertruck attractive to a lot of people who use their trucks for work, but not in its present configuration.

On the plus side, the bed does create a nice, rectangular box with no intrusive wheelwell humps. The bed floor, though, will need reworking before it goes into production. Look at the bed of any pickup truck made in the last half century, and you’ll see the floor is wavy, not smooth like the Cybertruck’s. It’s great that you can lay a sheet of plywood or sheetrock flat in the bed of a Cybertruck, but have you ever tried to pick one up when it’s lying flat on a smooth concrete floor? Those little grooves milled into the Cybertruck’s bed floor won’t offer any help getting your fingers under anything heavy, and between the sail panels and the lack of wheelwell humps, there’s no way to go at it except from the tailgate.

All of this doesn’t even address the fact the truck, as currently designed, runs afoul of many federal vehicle regulations. Even if it’s heavy enough to get Class 3 certification (10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight, not great for EV range) and dodge some crash test rules, it’ll still need door mirrors and a complete rework of the taillights. Notice how every other pickup truck (and even work vans) mounts its tail lights to the bed, not the tailgate? That’s not a trend, that’s a law. Tesla’s solution in adding a second set of lights that’s visible when the tailgate is open is clever, but it’s still illegal (this is why the barn doors on the back of a Mini Clubman have cutouts for the fixed taillights).

On all accounts, this fails Truck 101. It matters because the vast majority of truck buyers in the F-150 segment almost never tow and rarely do any serious off-roading. Hauling is the one thing they actually use their trucks for semi-regularly (besides commuting), and the Cybertruck fails that basic need.

In short, you can tell this truck was designed by people who’ve never made one before and only worried about the towing and performance numbers and not the actual use cases. Yes, the Cybertruck is quicker and can tow and haul more than an F-150 on paper, but when it comes time to do truck stuff, you’re still better off with the Ford.

More on the Tesla Cybertruck electric pickup:

The post The Tesla Cybertruck Has Functionality Problems appeared first on MotorTrend.

Categories: Property

Hyundai Kona vs. Fiat 500X: Urban Subcompact SUV Battle

Motortrend News Feed - Wed, 12/04/2019 - 09:00

Subcompact SUVs are the modern iterations of city runabouts. Although a number of affordable models offer raised seating positions and prioritize practicality, others stand out with sportiness and distinctive design. Enter the 2019 Fiat 500X and 2019 Hyundai Kona, two subcompact SUVs with power and presence. Both vehicles promise consumers tidy dimensions and snub traditional-sedan styling, but only one has the substance to back up its cheekiness.

Transcontinental Contenders

Fiat originally introduced the 500X as a 2016 model; it’s the older of the two vehicles here but has had a recent refresh. The old 1.4- and 2.4-liter four-cylinder engines have been replaced by a new 1.3-liter turbocharged unit that makes 177 hp and 210 lb-ft of torque, and all-wheel drive is now standard on all trims. Other changes include reshaped headlights, taillights with body-colored trim embedded inside the light housing, and circle-shaped LED daytime running lights.

The Hyundai Kona is one of the latest entries in the subcompact SUV segment. Built on a new platform, the Kona is available in gas and all-electric versions, the former available with a choice of two four-cylinder engines including our example’s 1.6-liter with 175 hp and 195 lb-ft. Unlike the Fiat, the Hyundai is available in front- or all-wheel-drive configurations with the latter sporting a multilink rear suspension instead of a torsion beam.

The 2020 Fiat 500X adds a new Sport model with body-colored side moldings and dark exterior accents, as well as Sport-specific interior accents. The 2020 500X also offers a black-roof option on all models. On the Road

Once you get past the turbo lag, the 2019 Fiat 500X feels powerful. However, the nine-speed automatic’s slow responses can be infuriating. Mat the accelerator, and it takes too long for it to kick down. Sport mode minimizes the transmission’s hesitation, but it still stumbles if you ask too much of it. The Hyundai Kona accelerates more eagerly because it exhibits less turbo lag. The seven-speed dual-clutch automatic responds and shifts quicker than the Fiat’s nine-speed but lacks the smoothness of a traditional torque-converter-equipped transmission and gets clunky at low speeds. In Sport mode, the gearbox holds gears longer but won’t downshift as you slow down for a turn.

Although neither subcompact SUV rides like a luxury car, you’ll want to be in the Kona over poorly maintained roads. Over big bumps, the 500X feels like the vehicle tiptoes as it gets tossed around, and it jitters and vibrates excessively over  little ruts. There’s also no trade-off when it comes to handling. Between the slow steering, poor body control, and secure but uninspiring handling, the 500X becomes a handful when you need to make quick moves. The steering’s tendency to snap back on center at speeds above 30 mph also adds a feeling of instability when you’re making an emergency maneuver.

The Kona’s suspension may also be stiff, but the Hyundai absorbs road imperfections better. You’ll still feel everything, you just won’t get beat up and tossed around. It also handles better because of its superior body control, and its quicker, more accurate steering that complements its superior chassis tuning. The Kona’s all-wheel-drive system also does more than add traction in bad weather or when accelerating from a stop; it can send power to the rear wheels to help it power out of corners. Both SUVs, however, suffer from plenty of road and wind noise on the highway.


The 500X’s interior looks chic, but its build quality lets it down. The door cards and dash are oddly textured, and the buttons and knobs feel flimsy when you use them, not something you expect from a $35,075 subcompact SUV (models that cost around $30,000 have a similar interior and, at that price, the interior quality could be deemed acceptable). In comparison, the 2019 Hyundai Kona’s dash and door panels are also hard plastics but feel more substantial, and its controls operate with a satisfying level of tactility.

The Fiat 500X and Hyundai Kona both have limited interior space. Both have tight rear seats that can only accommodate passengers for short drives due to the lack of head- and legroom. Cargo capacity is equally unimpressive. The 500X’s rear window angle cuts into the trunk, limiting capacity with the rear seats up. There’s a bit more space in the Kona, but there are better options if maximum cargo space is your top priority.

Both the 2019 Fiat 500X and 2019 Hyundai Kona have user-friendly infotainment systems with responsive touchscreens. The latter also has physical shortcut buttons for improved usability. FCA’s Uconnect interface uses a smaller 7.0-inch touchscreen in the 500X, which is one inch smaller than the optional 8.0-inch unit in the Hyundai Kona. The Fiat’s cartoonish map graphics contribute to its dated feel. The Hyundai gets extra points with its available eight-speaker Infinity audio system, which is crisp and clear compared to the muddled Beats unit in the Fiat.

Both SUVs are available with active driver assistance technologies. However, the Hyundai Kona comes out on top for offering them on all trims. Forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane keeping assist, and driver attention warning are standard across the board. Blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert are standard on the SEL grade and higher, while pedestrian detection is only available on the range-topping Ultimate trim. On the 500X, collision prevention tech is optional on the Trekking and Trekking Plus trims as part of the Driver Assistance and Advanced Driver Assistance option groups.

The way the safety technologies work make the Hyundai Kona a stronger proposition. Its lane keeping assist gently nudges you back with when you get too close to the dividing line or cross into another lane. The system even keeps you centered despite the car’s lack of adaptive cruise control (standard on the 2020 Kona Ultimate). Drift toward another lane in the 500X, and it jerks you back in then ping-pongs you between the lines. Furthermore, its adaptive cruise control system only works above 20 mph and applies excessive braking when the vehicle ahead slows or stops.

So Which is the Better Subcompact SUV?

If you need a vehicle that’s stylish, powerful, and easy to drive, the Fiat 500X and Hyundai Kona fit the bill. However, one of them gives you more substance behind the bold design. With its blend of great road manners, responsive engine, value, and user-friendly tech, the Hyundai Kona gives you more for your buck along with its looks and attitude.

Second Place: 2019 Fiat 500X AWD Trekking Plus

Bubbly looks and a punchy engine are let down by sloppy road manners, a lazy transmission, and—at least on our tester—inconsistent build quality.

First Place: 2019 Hyundai Kona 1.6T AWD Ultimate

With better suspension tuning, the Kona’s turbocharged power and great tech come with a value-oriented price tag.

The 2020 Hyundai Kona Ultimate now includes adaptive cruise control, while the SEL Plus now gets a 4.2-inch color instrument cluster display, wireless device charging, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror with HomeLink. 2019 Hyundai Kona 1.6T AWD (Ultimate) 2019 Fiat 500X AWD (Trekking Plus) BASE PRICE $29,880 $30,690 PRICE AS TESTED $30,005 $35,075 VEHICLE LAYOUT Front-engine, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door SUV Front-engine, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door SUV ENGINE 1.6L/175-hp/195-lb-ft turbo DOHC 16-valve I-4 1.3L/177-hp/210-lb-ft turbo SOHC 16-valve I-4 TRANSMISSION 7-speed twin-clutch auto 9-speed automatic CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST) 3,206 lb (60/40%) 3,396 lb (60/40%) WHEELBASE 102.4 in 101.2 in LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 164.0 x 70.9 x 61.0 in 167.2 x 72.3 x 63.7 in 0-60 MPH 6.6 sec 8.3 sec QUARTER MILE 15.2 sec @ 90.5 mph 16.4 sec @ 85.2 mph BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 119 ft 120 ft LATERAL ACCELERATION 0.88 g (avg) 0.77 g (avg) MT FIGURE EIGHT 26.6 sec @ 0.66 g (avg) 28.5 sec @ 0.58 g (avg) REAL MPG, CITY/HWY/COMB 25.3/36.3/29.2 mpg N/A EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON 26/29/27 mpg 24/30/26 mpg ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY 130/116 kW-hrs/100 miles 140/112 kW-hrs/100 miles CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 0.71 lb/mile 0.74 lb/mile

The post Hyundai Kona vs. Fiat 500X: Urban Subcompact SUV Battle appeared first on MotorTrend.

Categories: Property

Volvo On Call Review: We Try Volvo’s Connected Car App on our S60 Sedan

Motortrend News Feed - Wed, 12/04/2019 - 09:00

As technology becomes more accessible for everyone, new smartphone apps—like Volvo On Call—let us connect even closer with our vehicles. Although the app is free for the first six months, users have to pay $250 for an additional 18 months. I tried it out for a few months in my 2019 Volvo S60. Here are a few things I like and dislike.

A/C Controls and Remote Start

Even when you’re thousands of miles away from your Volvo, you can turn on the A/C or start the engine through the app. With Volvo On Call, you can set up to eight timers for temperature controls, so if you plan to leave your house every morning at 7 a.m., for example, your Volvo can be at your desired interior temperature every morning. I’ve found this feature to be pretty convenient, particularly during the hot summer months. Although you can’t set timers for remote start, you can start the engine remotely up to 15 minutes before you get in; this helps keep the cabin nice and cool (or warm) when you’re about to get going.

Lock or Unlock Doors

This might seem like a normal feature, but it also allows Amazon drivers to access the trunk to drop off your packages. With in-car deliveries, you can use your Volvo as your delivery address, and using a Volvo digital key the delivery car can open your trunk to deliver the package. Although I have not used this feature in the past, I plan on using it before our S60 goes back next summer.


Through Volvo On Call, you can see your car’s location while it’s parked. And in case you forget to lock your car, the app will let you know via a push notification that your Volvo is unlocked.  You can also see other important things like the temperature inside your car and the fuel levels.


Just as we were approaching 10,000 miles, the check engine light came on. What was weird about it is that neither the infotainment system nor Volvo On Call said anything about it. Volvo On Call has a Maintenance tab, and even when the check engine light was on, the app was saying that everything was looking good. A quick visit to the dealer revealed that the S60 needed a replacement of the evaporation pipes, and the dealer replaced them in about two hours at no cost.

Read more about our long-term Volvo S60 T6 Momentum:

The post Volvo On Call Review: We Try Volvo’s Connected Car App on our S60 Sedan appeared first on MotorTrend.

Categories: Property

Long Harbour launches €400m ground lease fund

Property Week News Feed - Wed, 12/04/2019 - 08:19
Long Harbour has launched a €400m (£340m) European ground lease residential and commercial property fund.
Categories: Property

PHP forward funds Eastbourne surgery

Property Week News Feed - Wed, 12/04/2019 - 07:51
Primary Health Properties (PHP) has agreed to provide £8.4m of development funding for a medical centre in Eastbourne, East Sussex.
Categories: Property