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Fiat Will Stick to its Niche While it Waits for Electrification

Motortrend News Feed - Thu, 08/08/2019 - 23:38

Fiat doesn’t mind that it’s a niche brand. At least that’s according to Pieter Hogeveen, head marketing executive for Fiat in North America. Since returning Stateside in 2011, Fiat has sold close to 400,000 vehicles. But its annual sales volume has dropped significantly since its reintroduction. That’s mainly due to Fiat only selling small cars and a lack of fresh product. The brand, however, still thinks it can attract new buyers, particularly younger ones. How? By relying on heritage, driving fun, and value.

MotorTrend spoke with Hogeveen at the refreshed 2019 Fiat 500X media drive in Malibu, California, where he outlined the status of Fiat in North America. Even with the Italian marque’s lack of volume, Hogeveen still sees a business case for Fiat in the U.S. “I think if you take a look at our customers and following, there’s a place for unique vehicles in the U.S. market,” he said. With the 500X, Fiat has an entry in one of the fastest growing segments, the subcompact crossover class, and expects it to make up the bulk of sales as utility vehicle demand continues to grow.

Unlike Mini, Fiat intends to preserve its identity as a small car specialist but remain a mainstream brand so it doesn’t price itself out of its market. “We know price and small cars go hand in hand, and we have to make sure we offer value at every price point,” said Hogeveen. “Fiat has always been a value brand, and moving away from that would not make sense.”

We asked Hogeveen whether we’ll see larger vehicles in Fiat’s lineup, and although he couldn’t comment on future product, we’re suspecting that the 500L and 500X are the biggest it’ll offer. What you can expect are more special editions and packages to keep current offerings interesting. However, there’s a fine line between too much and not enough customizability. “People like customization but if you have too many trims you create confusion,” Hogeveen said. The 500X lineup shrunk down to three trims to make it easier for consumers to get exactly what they want but the extensive exterior and interior color palette remains.

The switch to an all turbocharged engine lineup is part of Fiat’s move to offer more engaging vehicles to drive. The refreshed 2019 500X is the final vehicle to receive the update with the new 1.3-liter turbo-four replacing the old 1.4-liter and naturally aspirated 2.4-liter units. Manual transmissions will likely stay in Fiat’s lineup for the foreseeable future because they make up 50 percent of sales for the 500 and 124 Abarth. Hogeveen also revealed that 40 percent of 124 Spiders sold are Abarths, further justifying the case for fun-to-drive vehicles.

As for what’s next, Hogeveen said Fiat is looking closely at industry trends but declined to comment on North America specifically. At the 2019 Geneva auto show, Fiat debuted the all-electric Centoventi Concept, an EV with four removable batteries and a range of 60-300 miles on a charge depending on how many you use.

Last June, FCA’s five-year plan outlined Fiat’s electrified future. The lineup will also focus mainly on the 500 and Panda families, and move the brand to a more premium position in the European market. The next Fiat 500 is expected to debut in 2020 as an EV with its own dedicated platform. A second model, which could revive the Giardiniera name, is expected to follow after.For now, Fiat will stay the course in North America until the electrified new-generation models arrive starting in 2020. We suspect the new 1.3-liter turbo-four could be the last gas-only mill before the transition to electrified powertrains. Seeing as that engine is the basis for the Jeep Renegade plug-in, which is tipped to come to the U.S., we wouldn’t be surprised if that system comes to the U.S. in the 500X, too.

The post Fiat Will Stick to its Niche While it Waits for Electrification appeared first on MotorTrend.

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Nothing's free, 2020 NSX is yellow but not mellow, Tesla will charge more: What's New @ The Car Connection

The Car Connection News Feed - Thu, 08/08/2019 - 16:45
7 ways automakers charge for things now that used to be free For some automakers, every color is free to new buyers—so long as that color is black or white. 2020 GMC Terrain adds automatic braking, active lane control The small crossover from GMC is adding important standard safety features. Base 2020 BMW X5 crossover is coming, will cost...
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Base 2020 BMW X5 crossover is coming, will cost less than $60,000

The Car Connection News Feed - Thu, 08/08/2019 - 16:30
It may not be affordable in a universally accepted way, but a sub-$60,000 BMW X5 is on its way. BMW confirmed that it will offer a 2020 BMW X5 sDrive40i this year that will cost less than $60,000 when it hits dealer lots soon. The base crossover is rear-drive only, while the rest of the lineup is all-wheel drive. The 2020 X5 sDrive40i will feature...
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Packaged Living gets green light for £75m Milton Keynes BTR development

Property Week News Feed - Thu, 08/08/2019 - 16:17
Packaged Living, the Palmer Capital-backed build to rent developer has received planning permission for the £75m development of 294 apartments at Avebury Boulevard and South Fifth Street.
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2020 GMC Terrain adds automatic braking, active lane control

The Car Connection News Feed - Thu, 08/08/2019 - 15:30
The smallest GMC crossover is getting a big safety bump. When it goes on sale this year, the 2020 Terrain will include on every model a suite of active safety features that includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection and active lane control. An optional package available adds adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitors, rear...
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7 ways automakers charge for things now that used to be free

The Car Connection News Feed - Thu, 08/08/2019 - 14:45
Free is in short supply and cheap is running out for new car shoppers nowadays. Occasional new-car shoppers might be surprised to see charges for items that once were included in the cost of a new car. In some cases, those charges are added because few shoppers ask for items that once seemed indispensable to everyday life. In other cases...
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Beasts of Burden: Ford Expedition vs. Chevrolet Tahoe vs. Dodge Durango vs. Toyota Sequoia vs. Nissan Armada

Motortrend News Feed - Thu, 08/08/2019 - 14:37

Buying an enormous SUV? You’ll want to check out this February 2018 comparison of the biggest players in the segment right here.

As Americans, we ask a lot out of our family vehicles. But none exerts itself harder than the full-size, three-row SUV. These seven- and eight-seat SUVs are tasked with shuttling family members to school, jobs, and sports practice during the week. On the weekend, these workhorses support our hobbies—from towing horses or boats on trailers to taking us down remote two-tracks to our favorite hiking or hunting spots. While we play, they work even harder.

Because of the honeydew lists we place upon these big family SUVs, manufacturers build ’em tough. They typically feature big V-8 engines, four-wheel drive, and full-size pickup-based platforms. Given how many jobs we expect these SUVs to do, our testing will ask more of ’em, too. On top of the usual criteria—you know, driving, riding, and handling, plus the ability to comfortably swallow at least seven passengers and their cargo, all without breaking the bank—we’re also going to ask our trucks to tow a trailer loaded with Honda Pioneer side-by-sides and complete a rough-and-tumble off-road obstacle course.

Our invite criteria was pretty simple: three rows of seats inside, a minimum towing capacity of 7,000 pounds, four-wheel drive, and a $65,000 price cap, which, shockingly, is about the average transaction price for this segment.

The SUV most synonymous with this segment is the Chevrolet Tahoe and its extended-length twin, the Suburban. The undisputed segment best-seller, the Tahoe (and the virtually identical GMC Yukon) has been continually improved since the current generation made its debut three years ago. Our 2018 Chevrolet Tahoe 4WD LT started its life as a midlevel model but is loaded with options, including the Z71 Midnight Edition package, which adds off-road tires, an off-road-oriented suspension, a revised front bumper, black paint, and some decals. Our four-wheel-drive Tahoe is powered by the standard 5.3-liter V-8 paired with a six-speed automatic.

It’s tough living in the shadows, but Ford has done its best to ensure the new-for-2018 Expedition gets its chance at the spotlight. Our 2018 Ford Expedition XLT 4×4, like all new Expeditions, is built with lessons learned developing the best-selling, Truck of the Year–winning Ford F-150. Its sleek new sheetmetal is made of aluminum, and under the hood it sports a 3.5-liter twin-turbo V-6 paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission and optional all- or four-wheel drive—our tester is equipped with the latter.

Big full-size SUVs aren’t just an American thing; Toyota has been playing in the segment since 2000 with the Sequoia. Although largely unchanged since it made its debut in 2008, Toyota gave it a handful of updates for the new year. Our 2018 Toyota Sequoia TRD Sport 4×4 is the newest trim level, and it, like the rest of the lineup, gets LED headlights and some infotainment updates this year. Despite the Sequoia’s new nose, under the hood it soldiers on with a 5.7-liter V-8 paired with a six-speed auto and optional four-wheel drive.

Nissan has also been a player in the segment with the Armada. The second-gen Armada just arrived Stateside in 2016, but it has been hiding in plain sight on American streets since 2010 as the Infiniti QX56 (now called the QX80) and globally as the utilitarian Nissan Patrol off-roader. The U.S.-spec Armada is a hodgepodge of the two, sporting the latter’s sheetmetal and the former’s interior and engine, a beastly 5.6-liter V-8 mated to a seven-speed automatic. Our tester is a loaded 2018 Nissan Armada Platinum model equipped with optional four-wheel drive.

And that brings us to our final contender. A Big Test needs to be just that, so to round out our field, we invited an SUV that artfully straddles the line between full-size crossover and full-size SUV. Our 2018 Dodge Durango 4 R/T is just slightly bigger than many midsize crossovers and slightly smaller than these full-size SUVs. (Its wheelbase is actually significantly longer than the Tahoe’s, but it’s about 2 inches shorter in overall length). The only SUV not built in the old-school body-on-frame fashion, our Durango tester features the optional 5.7-liter V-8 sending power through an eight-speed automatic and a four-wheel-drive system borrowed from the Jeep Grand Cherokee.

Ride and Handling

With two weeks of extensive testing to tackle, we kicked things off with our real-world evaluation loop, which includes city streets, highway speed stretches, twisty roads, and sections of asphalt so bad that the county is continually attempting to repave it. Basically, it’s just about everything these SUVs would have to tackle in a given month in a tidy 21-mile stretch of coastal SoCal.

The differences between the five SUVs were readily apparent from the get-go. The Chevrolet Tahoe feels every bit as truckish as the Silverado platform it rides on. Although the Tahoe isn’t the only SUV here riding on a pickup platform (the Sequoia and Expedition ride on ladder frames based on those of the Tundra and the F-150), it’s the only one to use a pickup’s live rear axle, meaning both rear wheels share an axle, and thus any impact felt by one tire also affects the other. At least it swaps the pickup’s leaf springs for better riding coils.

Typically used in pickup trucks because their inherent strength outweighs the ride-quality penalty the design suffers, its appearance in the Tahoe is likely a cost-savings measure that negatively affects its ride and handling. The Tahoe’s rear-axle design makes the SUV feel stiff—though compliant—and busy while going down the road. The optional off-road tires don’t do the Chevy’s steering any favors through corners, either; they trade numb steering feel in favor of aggressive tread for off-road use.

If the Tahoe is on the harsh end of the ride spectrum, then the Nissan Armada is on the soft end. The Armada’s ride is mostly supple and floats over most impacts, only hobby horsing on harsher, repetitive bumps. The soft suspension does, however, mean that the Armada leans a ton through corners, sending unsecured cargo flying as the Nissan rounds bends.

The happiest SUV in corners by far is the Dodge Durango. The steering wheel in our sport-oriented R/T tester is direct and communicative, letting you know what the front tires are up to right up until you push things a little too far and the Dodge eases you back with a hint of gentle understeer. The Durango’s ride is pretty great, too. Although it feels stiffer than the Tahoe, it dispatches bumps in a one-and-done manner. “Definitely the sportiest in the group,” associate road test editor Erick Ayapana said. “Not surprising given it’s the smallest and most nimble of the bunch.”

The Ford falls somewhere between the Dodge and Chevy on the stiff end and Nissan on the soft end of the ride and handling spectrum. Equipped with an optional off-road-oriented package featuring an off-road tire, it suffers from far fewer ride and handling trade-offs than the Tahoe. “It has impressive body control,” associate editor Scott Evans said. “There’s surprisingly little body roll for such a large vehicle, and it rolls over onto the outside wheels smoothly every time.” The Expedition handles pretty well, too, with accurate but not talkative feedback from the wheel.

SUVs in this segment have come a long way on the ride and handling front—something we were all reminded of once we took our first turns in the Toyota Sequoia. The big Toyota has soldiered on without any significant changes for a decade, putting it far behind the rest of the pack in automotive development. The Sequoia’s steering requires constant corrections to stay centered in a straight line. It doesn’t get any better through turns, either. “Driving this reminds me how bad Toyota steering used to be; it’s way overboosted with extremely vague on-center feel,” news editor Alex Nishimoto said. Fortunately for the Toyota, it rides acceptably, though executive editor Mark Rechtin noted that there’s “a lot of side-to-side shudder with a lot of head toss over very minor bumps in the road.”

Performance

The performance formula for SUVs in this class used to be pretty simple: big, lazy V-8 paired with a four- or five-speed transmission. My how things have changed.

The biggest departure from yesteryear can be found under the hood of the new Ford Expedition. Ford ditched its 5.4-liter V-8 late in the previous-generation Expedition’s life in favor of its EcoBoost twin-turbo V-6, and the Blue Oval doubled down on its commitment by pairing the newest version of the EcoBoost V-6, now churning out 375 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque, with a 10-speed automatic transmission. The benefits of the new powertrain coupled with the weight savings of its aluminum body panels mean the Expedition was among the quickest in our test, accelerating from 0 to 60 mph in just 6.2 seconds and needing 14.8 seconds to get through the quarter mile at 91.7 mph. You’ll never miss a V-8 with this engine; it’s responsive and has a big, meaty torque curve. The gearbox is great, too, shifting almost imperceptibly in the background and always choosing the right gear.

The burly Nissan Armada is just a hair quicker than the Expedition. Powered by a Tennessee-built 5.6-liter V-8 making 390 hp and 384 lb-ft of torque and mated to a seven-speed automatic, the Armada ties the Expedition’s 0–60 run and quarter-mile time but is going slightly faster, at 94.0 mph, as it passes by the quarter-mile mark. Although most of us found the Armada’s throttle response to be overly aggressive, we all really liked the Nissan’s powertrain. “The engine is powerful, and it wants you to know it,” Evans said. “And the transmission is smooth and smart.”

The Dodge Durango also does pretty well for itself. Its 5.7-liter V-8 makes 360 hp and 390 lb-ft of torque and is connected to a quick-shifting eight-speed automatic. It’ll hustle from 0 to 60 mph in 6.5 seconds and through the quarter mile just behind the Nissan and Ford, in 14.9 seconds at 93.0 mph. “It’s definitely the sportiest of the group,” Ayapana said. Nishimoto agreed: “The engine pulls hard and sounds great. It gets really throaty when you wring it out, but it’s subdued when you’re driving it normally.”

For a vehicle that’s essentially 10 years old, the Toyota Sequoia’s powertrain is pretty nice. Its 381-hp, 401-lb-ft 5.7-liter V-8 gets the Toyota moving smoothly, if a bit slowly, but kick down a bit into the throttle to get the six-speed auto to downshift, and it’ll scoot. “It sounds good and pulls strong, but when accelerating you can feel the powertrain vibrating the steering wheel,” Ayapana said. Rechtin added: “The engine delivers sufficient power, but shifts take forever. Feels old.” Despite its age, the Toyota can run with the new guys; at the track it accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in 6.8 seconds, and it passes through the quarter mile in 15.2 seconds at 91.6 mph.

Bringing up the rear is the Chevrolet Tahoe. Part of the blame can placed on the Midnight Edition’s all-terrain tires, but the Chevy’s powertrain is equally responsible. The Tahoe’s 5.3-liter V-8 makes 355 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque, the least amount of horsepower and torque in this field, and despite it being the second-lightest SUV here, its power-to-weight ratio is still the worst in the group. It’s not the engine’s fault; the six-speed under acceleration treats gears two through five like Trump treats Tiffany—it avoids them as much as possible. That means less than impressive test results: 0–60 mph comes in 7.9 seconds, and the quarter mile takes 16.2 seconds at 87.9 mph.

With about half of the buyers in this segment towing at least once per year, we also thought it was important to test how well they towed and hauled. We borrowed a trailer with two Honda Pioneer side-by-sides on it (for a total weight of 4,700 pounds) to see how well each handled a load. With the Expedition’s highest rated towing capacity—9,200 pounds—it’s perhaps unsurprising that it was our favorite hauler. It got up to highway speeds quicker than any other SUV and was the most responsive when passing. “It has tons of pulling power on the inclines, and the powertrain does a good job of engine braking on declines,” Ayapana said. The Armada was a close second choice in our towing tests.

Although most buyers will never take any of these SUVs off-road, their ability to tackle a light off-road course (and, well, a huge mud puddle) directly correlates to how well they’ll be able to handle snow, national park trails, dirt roads, and any other unforeseen obstacle. The Expedition and Tahoe, both with off-road packages and tires, hardly blinked in our tests. The Durango, too, was shockingly capable, so long as you mind its ground clearance and low-hanging front bumper. The Nissan and Toyota, on the other hand, were both disappointing. While the three Americans scrambled and crawled through everything we threw at ’em, the two Japanese SUVs struggled a ton, needing four-low in a couple spots. We suspect much of the blame can be placed on crappy street tires, but then again the Durango did just fine.

Efficiency

It’s easy to dismiss fuel economy as irrelevant in this segment, but given that California gas prices are back above three bucks a gallon and with an average fuel tank size of 25.26 gallons in this group, frequent fill-ups will be expensive. Sorting by their EPA combined fuel economy scores, the Ford Expedition, with its 17/22/19 mpg city/highway/combined rating, is the most efficient, followed closely by the Chevy Tahoe and Dodge Durango, with the Armada and Sequoia bringing up the rear. Never content with what The Man tells us, our Emissions Analytics team hooked up their test gear to see how efficient our five SUVs really are, using our Real MPG score. Turns out the feds were right, mostly. Second, fourth, and fifth don’t change, but the Ford and Dodge swap spots. The Durango’s 16.0/25.1/19.1 Real MPG score was the best in the test, and the turbocharged Expedition slipped to third with a 14.6/22.3/17.2 Real MPG score.

Cockpit/Cabin

Given these SUVs’ oft-used status as road-trip cruisers and their day-to-day shuttling duties, passenger comfort is a top consideration in our test. The average commute in the U.S. is 25.4 minutes one way, according to the Census Bureau, and each row of seats is bound to be in use, so we paid special attention to the cabins of each SUV.

There seems to be a difference in how to approach the cabin from each manufacturer. If you want a true luxury experience, you’d seemingly have to look no further than the Nissan Armada. With our Platinum tester featuring swanky burnt orange seats complete with tufted leather door panels, the Armada makes a great first impression. The seats are comfortable, and the first two rows are spacious. Things fall apart from there, though. “This is the most luxurious interior, even if it’s last-gen Infiniti,” Evans said. “Most people won’t know that, but they will notice the tiny black-and-white screen in the cluster, the busy, button-crazy center stack, and the small infotainment screen with dated graphics.” The infotainment system isn’t the only thing leaving us scratching our heads; the Armada’s third row is by far the smallest of the group. Anyone larger than a small child will have their head brushing the low ceiling, headrest digging into their spine, and knees in their chest.

The Tahoe keeps the Armada company when it comes to scant third-row space and comfort (though the Chevy’s is slightly more humane), but is a remarkably well-executed package otherwise. “The Tahoe’s interior is my favorite part about it,” Nishimoto said. “It looks modern, and the materials feel nice for this class. There are plenty of USB ports throughout the cabin and little storage areas, too.” The Chevy also features a snappy Apple CarPlay-friendly infotainment system and a Wi-Fi hot spot to keep everyone occupied on road trips.

The Dodge Durango is the smallest SUV here, but you wouldn’t necessarily know it inside. Due to some impressive packaging wizardry, the Durango’s three rows and cargo areas all sport middle-of-the-pack space while still having city-friendly dimensions. The second row is slightly smaller than the rest of the pack, but it still feels plenty roomy and comes with all the creature comforts you’d expect. The third row is accessed pretty easily and can fit adults in a pinch. We also really liked Dodge’s CarPlay-friendly infotainment system, which is the most feature-rich of the group. There’s still some room for improvement, though. The optional rear-seat entertainment package puts a Blu-ray player in the front center console, which eliminates any storage capability it once had, and the third row is just one of two here without any USB outlets to charge up devices.

Dodge has done an impressive job at keeping the Durango—which made its debut back in 2010—feeling fresh inside, but Toyota hasn’t done the same legwork. Getting into the Sequoia is like stepping into a time machine. It has velour cloth seats straight out of a 2005 Camry, the tacked-on infotainment system requires a reach clear across the cabin to operate, and there’s just a single USB port. Although “sorely lacking in features,” according to Nishimoto, the fundamentals are right. The cabin is downright massive, with plenty of room in all three rows. “You can fit grown-ass men in the third row,” Rechtin said. “The problem is there are no USB ports or anything for kids (or grown-ass men) to occupy themselves with, unless they want to play slug bug.”

The Ford Expedition seems to benefit greatly from being the newest SUV of the bunch—it’s the only one to effectively blend passenger comfort with interior features. The F-150-inspired cabin features huge storage cubbies, plenty of cupholders, and plenty of room for adults and their cargo in all three rows. Both the second and third rows tilt back and recline, and the Ford won praise for how easy it is to access the third row; the second row slides forward and out of the way with a light touch. This being a 21st century SUV, each row of seats gets plenty of power ports, USB outlets, and storage cubbies, and second-row passengers also have the ability to control infotainment functions from the back of the center console. And yes, there’s CarPlay integration.

Safety

There are two ways of looking at safety in this segment—crash test scores and active safety tech. On the former front, we have an incomplete set of data because three-fifths of our field hasn’t been tested yet by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The Tahoe has been tested by NHTSA, scoring four stars out of five overall, and the Durango is rated four stars overall by NHTSA and scored “Good,” the highest possible rating, in most IIHS tests.

On the active safety front, each vehicle here sports some sort of technological measure designed to make you a safer driver, such as blind-spot warning or rearview cameras. Aside from the Ford, whose sole set of supplemental safety tech was limited to blind-spot monitors and a backup camera on our base-level Expedition XLT (forward collision alert, adaptive cruise control, and lane keep assist are available on higher-spec models), most of the other systems functioned without having to think twice about them—a skydiver wouldn’t want to think twice about their parachute, would they? The two minor gripes we had were with the Armada and the Sequoia. The Nissan, which has the most comprehensive safety tech, would regularly slow down in heavy traffic, thanks to its Intelligent Distance Control software. But once the slow traffic cleared, the Armada’s smart-cruise system was scarily poky at getting the Nissan back up to speed. We’d have turned it off, but good luck navigating through the Nissan’s digital instrument cluster in traffic. As for the Toyota, well, its lane keep assist software doesn’t seem to do anything other than mindlessly beep at the driver, prompting all of us to shut it off. A turned-off safety system doesn’t do anybody a lick of good.

Value

Value’s a touchy subject. To some, it’s all about price. To others it’s about features or space. It’s hard to ignore the value proposition of our two cheapest entrants, the $55,535 Toyota Sequoia TRD Sport and the $56,555 Dodge Durango R/T. The former offers up the most interior space for the price, though you get little else for your money. The latter offers up a reasonably roomy interior, plus leather, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, a premium audio system, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.

Although more expensive than both the Dodge and Toyota, we found the $64,220 Ford Expedition XLT offered up the best balance of interior room and creature comforts.

Cost of Ownership

There are a lot of different ways of looking at cost of ownership, so I highly recommend checking out our Intellichoice-sourced chart for the full cost of ownership breakdown. If we focus solely on how much each vehicle will cost to run and maintain over five years, the Tahoe comes out ahead at $25,396 over 60 months, with the Expedition close behind at $25,636. The Toyota and Dodge barely lag behind the Chevy and Ford, but the Nissan handily brings up the rear, its high insurance, fuel, and repair costs giving it a $31,849 cost to owners over the same use period.

2018 Chevrolet Tahoe (LT 4WD) Z71 2018 Dodge Durango 4 R/T 2018 Ford Expedition XLT FX4 2018 Nissan Armada Platinum 4WD 2018 Toyota Sequoia TRD Sport (4WD) AVG STATE FEES $678 $554 $661 $584 $609 DEPRECIATION $32,309 (47%) $26,425 ($46%) $35,299 (52%) $35,959 (54%) $27,518 (47%) FINANCING $6,926 $5,833 $6,899 $6,773 $5,858 INSURANCE $6,343 $7,821 $7,041 $10,011 $6,714 FUEL $8,205 $9,792 $7,974 $10,062 $10,369 MAINTENANCE $2,453 $3,105 $2,271 $3,715 $2,791 REPAIRS $788 $873 $790 $704 $806 5-YEAR COST OF OWNERSHIP $25,393 $27,978 $25,636 $31,848 $27,147 INTELLICHOICE Target Purchase Price $68,520 $57,712 $68,250 $66,989 $57,952 PURCHASE PRICE: Target purchase price includes destination and average applicable state taxes applied to a transaction price between invoice and retail, based on applicable incentives. Conclusion

Ultimately, when it came down to deciding which SUV best balanced overall performance and road manners with packaging, fuel efficiency, and value, our individual rankings largely mirrored one another’s.

Last place goes to the Toyota Sequoia. We all liked how roomy its cabin was, but that’s about it. Everything about the Toyota feels old, from its road manners to its interior design and materials choices. It’s the cheapest truck here, but your money goes a lot further with the rest of the pack.

The Chevrolet and Nissan traded blows for third and fourth place, but ultimately the Tahoe hauled off with the bronze. The majority of us preferred the Armada’s powertrain, ride, and towing ability over the Tahoe’s, but the Chevy’s slightly more usable third row, better infotainment system, and impressive off-road performance—not to mention its higher relative fuel economy and lower cost of ownership—give it the edge. “Like in golf, it’s not about the good shots you hit,” Rechtin said. “It’s about the bad ones. And the Tahoe’s bad shots aren’t nearly as bad as the Armada’s.”

As Evans puts it, our second-place finisher punches way above its weight. (What’s with all the sports analogies?) Despite being the smallest vehicle here, the Dodge Durango still does everything nearly as well as our first-place finisher at a bargain price. The Durango feels both sporty and upscale, it’s efficient, and it’s safe, but its slightly smaller cabin and higher running costs means it just misses out on first place.

The Ford Expedition is a true jack-of-all-trades. It’ll do anything its owner could ever ask of it without breaking a sweat. It expertly balances city and highway drivability with off-road capability and segment-leading tow capacity. It has more room inside than a New York studio apartment, features a modern infotainment system, and is among the most efficient and cheapest SUVs here to run over the long term. Whether working or playing, the Ford Expedition is a game changer in the segment, and it’s our unanimous pick for winner of this Big Test.

5th: Toyota Sequoia TRD Sport 4WD Ten years old and feels every year of it. It’s big and cheap. If that’s all you need, you’ll be OK. But don’t go looking for more here.

4th: Nissan Armada Platinum 4WD Despite its comfortable ride and prompt powertrain, its useless third row, maddeningly complex electronic controls, and high cost of ownership keep it off the podium.

3rd: Chevrolet Tahoe LT 4WD Z71 The best-seller gets by, thanks to its slightly more usable third row, better fuel economy, stronger off-road performance (thanks, tires!), and modern infotainment system.

2nd: Dodge Durango 4 R/T The Durango is getting on in years, but Dodge has kept it fresh. You’ll lack some interior space but gain a great driving experience, nice materials, and a cheap sticker price.

1st: Ford Expedition XLT FX4 4×4 Spacious, smart, comfortable, quick, and efficient, the Expedition does it all well. On-road, off-road, towing, you name it—this is the best in class.

2018 Ford Expedition XLT (4×4) FX4 2018 Dodge Durango 4 R/T 2018 Chevrolet Tahoe (LT 4WD) Z71 DRIVETRAIN LAYOUT Front-engine, 4WD Front-engine, 4WD Front-engine, 4WD ENGINE TYPE Twin-turbo 60-deg V-6, alum block/heads 90-deg V-8, iron block/alum heads 90-deg V-8, alum block/heads VALVETRAIN DOHC, 4 valves/cyl OHV, 2 valves/cyl OHV, 2 valves/cyl DISPLACEMENT 213.4 cu in/3,497 cc 345.0 cu in/5,654 cc 325.2 cu in/5,328 cc COMPRESSION RATIO 10.0:1 10.5:1 11.0:1 POWER (SAE NET) 375 hp @ 5,000 rpm 360 hp @ 5,150 rpm* 355 hp @ 5,600 rpm* TORQUE (SAE NET) 470 lb-ft @ 2,250 rpm 390 lb-ft @ 4,250 rpm* 383 lb-ft @ 4,100 rpm* REDLINE 6,200 rpm 5,900 rpm None displayed (5,800 rpm max eng speed) WEIGHT TO POWER 15.4 lb/hp 15.1 lb/hp 16.1 lb/hp TRANSMISSION 10-speed automatic 8-speed automatic 6-speed automatic AXLE/FINAL-DRIVE/LOW RATIO 3.73:1/2.39:1/2.64:1 3.09:1/2.07:1/2.72:1 3.42:1/2.29:1/4.02:1 SUSPENSION, FRONT; REAR Control arms, coil springs, anti-roll bar; multilink, coil springs, anti-roll bar Control arms, coil springs, anti-roll bar; multilink, coil springs, anti-roll bar Control arms, coil springs, anti-roll bar; live axle, coil springs, anti-roll bar STEERING RATIO 20.5:1 16.7:1 17.3:1 TURNS LOCK-TO-LOCK 3.8 3.2 3.4 BRAKES, F; R 13.8-in vented disc; 13.2-in vented disc, ABS 13.8-in vented disc; 13.0-in vented, disc, ABS 13.0-in vented disc; 13.6-in vented disc, ABS WHEELS 8.5 x 18-in cast aluminum 8.0 x 20-in cast aluminum 8.5 x 18-in cast aluminum TIRES 275/65R18 116T (M+S) Michelin Primacy XC 265/50R20 107T (M+S) Bridgestone Ecopia H/L 422 Plus 265/65R18 114S (M+S) Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac DIMENSIONS WHEELBASE 122.5 in 119.8 in 116.0 in TRACK, F/R 67.6/67.2 in 63.9/64.1 in 68.7/68.7 in LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 210.0 x 79.9 x 76.4 in 201.2 x 75.8 x 72.7 in 203.9 x 80.5 x 74.4 in GROUND CLEARANCE 9.8 in 8.1 in 7.9 in APPRCH/DEPART ANGLE 23.3/21.9 deg 16.3/21.5 deg 15.5/23.2 deg TURNING CIRCLE 41.0 ft 41.0 ft 39.0 ft CURB WEIGHT 5,763 lb 5,433 lb 5,706 lb WEIGHT DIST, F/R 50/50% 52/48% 52/48% TOWING CAPACITY 9,200 lb 7,200 lb 8,400 lb SEATING CAPACITY 8 6 8 HEADROOM, F/M/R 42.0/40.0/37.3 in 39.9/39.8/37.8 in 42.8/38.7/38.1 in LEGROOM, F/M/R 43.9/41.5/36.1 in 40.3/38.6/31.5 in 45.3/39.0/24.8 in SHOULDER ROOM, F/M/R 64.9/64.8/64.2 in 58.5/50.4/50.4 in 64.8/65.1/62.6 in CARGO VOL, BEH 1ST/2ND/3RD 104.6/57.5/19.3 cu ft 84.5/47.7/17.2 cu ft 94.7/51.7/15.3 cu ft TEST DATA ACCELERATION TO MPH 0-30 2.2 sec 2.1 sec 2.9 sec 0-40 3.2 3.3 4.3 0-50 4.5 4.6 6.0 0-60 6.2 6.5 7.9 0-70 8.1 8.5 10.6 0-80 10.7 10.9 13.5 0-90 14.1 13.9 17.0 PASSING, 45-65 MPH 3.3 3.6 4.0 QUARTER MILE 14.8 sec @ 91.7 mph 14.9 sec @ 93.0 mph 16.2 sec @ 87.9 mph 0-60 (TOWING) 12.2 13.5 15.0 PASSING, 45-65 MPH (TOWING) 7.7 8.2 9.3 QUARTER MILE (TOWING) 18.7 sec @ 73.3 mph 19.3 sec @ 71.7 mph 20.4 sec @ 68.0 mph BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 129 ft 127 ft 137 ft LATERAL ACCELERATION 0.76 g (avg) 0.80 g (avg) 0.74 g (avg) MT FIGURE EIGHT 27.6 sec @ 0.62 g (avg) 27.4 sec @ 0.64 g (avg) 28.1 sec @ 0.61 g (avg) TOP-GEAR REVS @ 60 MPH 1,600 rpm 1,400 rpm 1,500 rpm CONSUMER INFO BASE PRICE $55,900 $47,390 $56,875 PRICE AS TESTED $64,220 $56,555 $65,510 STABILITY/TRACTION CONTROL Yes/Yes Yes/Yes Yes/Yes AIRBAGS 6: Dual front, front side, f/r curtain 7: Dual front, front side, f/r curtain, driver knee 7: Dual front, front side, inboard front head, f/r curtain BASIC WARRANTY 3 yrs/36,000 miles 3 yrs/36,000 miles 3 yrs/36,000 miles POWERTRAIN WARRANTY 5 yrs/60,000 miles 5 yrs/60,000 miles 5 yrs/60,000 miles ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE 5 yrs/60,000 miles 5 yrs/60,000 miles 5 yrs/60,000 miles FUEL CAPACITY 23.3 gal 24.6 gal 26.0 gal REAL MPG, CITY/HWY/COMB 14.6/22.3/17.2 mpg 16.0/25.1/19.1 mpg 16.3/22.4/18.6 mpg EPA CITY/HWY/COMB ECON 17/22/19 mpg 14/22/17 mpg 16/22/18 mpg ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY 198/153 kW-hrs/100 miles 241/153 kW-hrs/100 miles 211/153 kW-hrs/100 miles CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 1.02 lb/mile 1.16 lb/mile 1.06 lb/mile RECOMMENDED FUEL Unleaded regular Unleaded mid-grade Unleaded regular 2018 Nissan Armada Platinum 4WD 2018 Toyota Sequoia TRD Sport (4WD) DRIVETRAIN LAYOUT Front-engine, 4WD Front-engine, 4WD ENGINE TYPE 90-deg V-8, alum block/heads 90-deg V-8, alum block/heads VALVETRAIN DOHC, 4 valves/cyl DOHC, 4 valves/cyl DISPLACEMENT 338.8 cu in/5,552 cc 345.6 cu in/5,663 cc COMPRESSION RATIO 11.2:1 10.2:1 POWER (SAE NET) 390 hp @ 5,800 rpm 381 hp @ 5,600 rpm TORQUE (SAE NET) 394 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm 401 lb-ft @ 3,600 rpm REDLINE 6,200 rpm 5,900 rpm WEIGHT TO POWER 15.2 lb/hp 15.6 lb/hp TRANSMISSION 7-speed automatic 6-speed automatic AXLE/FINAL-DRIVE/LOW RATIO 2.94:1/2.28:1/2.77:1 3.91:1/2.30:1/2.62:1 SUSPENSION, FRONT; REAR Control arms, coil springs, anti-roll bar; multilink, coil springs, anti-roll bar Control arms, coil springs, anti-roll bar; multilink, coil springs, anti-roll bar STEERING RATIO 19.6:1 17.3:1 TURNS LOCK-TO-LOCK 3.6 3.7 BRAKES, F; R 13.8-in vented disc; 13.8-in vented disc, ABS 13.9-in vented disc; 13.6-in vented disc, ABS WHEELS 8.0 x 20-in cast aluminum 8.0 x 20-in cast aluminum TIRES 275/60R20 114H (M+S) Bridgestone Dueler H/T 684 II 275/55R20 111H (M+S) Dunlop SP Sport 5000M DIMENSIONS WHEELBASE 121.1 in 122.0 in TRACK, F/R 67.5/67.9 in 67.9/69.1 in LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 208.9 x 79.9 x 75.8 in 205.1 x 79.9 x 74.6 in GROUND CLEARANCE 9.2 in 10.0 in APPRCH/DEPART ANGLE 20.9/22.3 deg 27.0/21.0 deg TURNING CIRCLE 41.3 ft 38.1 ft CURB WEIGHT 5,913 lb 5,935 lb WEIGHT DIST, F/R 52/48% 51/49% TOWING CAPACITY 8,500 lb 7,100 lb SEATING CAPACITY 8 7 HEADROOM, F/M/R 39.8/40.0/36.4 in 38.3/39.25/38.5 in LEGROOM, F/M/R 41.9/41.0/28.4 in 42.5/40.4/35.3 in SHOULDER ROOM, F/M/R 63.8/63.4/60.5 in 66.4/65.6/65.7 in CARGO VOL, BEH 1ST/2ND/3RD 95.4/49.9/16.5 cu ft 126.4/66.6/18.9 cu ft TEST DATA ACCELERATION TO MPH 0-30 2.2 sec 2.3 sec 0-40 3.2 3.6 0-50 4.6 5.1 0-60 6.2 6.8 0-70 8.4 9.0 0-80 10.8 11.6 0-90 13.4 14.6 PASSING, 45-65 MPH 3.4 3.4 QUARTER MILE 14.8 sec @ 94.0 mph 15.2 sec @ 91.6 mph 0-60 (TOWING) 12.1 13.3 PASSING, 45-65 MPH (TOWING) 7.5 7.6 QUARTER MILE (TOWING) 19.0 sec @ 71.8 mph 19.5 sec @ 71.2 mph BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 123 ft 122 ft LATERAL ACCELERATION 0.73 g (avg) 0.78 g (avg) MT FIGURE EIGHT 28.0 sec @ 0.61 g (avg) 27.3 sec @ 0.65 g (avg) TOP-GEAR REVS @ 60 MPH 1,400 rpm 1,600 rpm CONSUMER INFO BASE PRICE $63,385 $55,535 PRICE AS TESTED $63,695 $55,535 STABILITY/TRACTION CONTROL Yes/Yes Yes/Yes AIRBAGS 6: Dual front, front side, f/r curtain 8: Dual front, front side, f/r curtain, front knee BASIC WARRANTY 3 yrs/36,000 miles 3 yrs/36,000 miles POWERTRAIN WARRANTY 5 yrs/60,000 miles 5 yrs/60,000 miles ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE 5 yrs/60,000 miles 2 yrs/Unlimited miles FUEL CAPACITY 26.0 gal 26.4 gal REAL MPG, CITY/HWY/COMB 14.7/20.8/16.9 mpg 14.4/19.8/16.5 mpg EPA CITY/HWY/COMB ECON 13/18/15 mpg 13/17/14 mpg ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY 259/187 kW-hrs/100 miles 259/198 kW-hrs/100 miles CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 1.31 lb/mile 1.33 lb/mile RECOMMENDED FUEL Unleaded regular Unleaded regular

The post Beasts of Burden: Ford Expedition vs. Chevrolet Tahoe vs. Dodge Durango vs. Toyota Sequoia vs. Nissan Armada appeared first on MotorTrend.

Categories: Property

Law firm Kingsley Napley moves to Shoreditch

Property Week News Feed - Thu, 08/08/2019 - 14:07
A seven-storey office building on Bonhill Street in Shoreditch, London, has secured law firm, Kingsley Napley, as its principal tenant.
Categories: Property

Double hire for Arlington

Property Week News Feed - Thu, 08/08/2019 - 14:06
Business space and logistics specialist Arlington has strengthened its team with the appointment of Tim Gardner and George Wilson.
Categories: Property

Convene signs lease for 102,000 sq ft of 22 Bishopsgate

Property Week News Feed - Thu, 08/08/2019 - 12:57
New York flexible workspace provider Convene has signed the lease for its first office in Europe at AXA IM’s 22 Bishopsgate, as tipped by Property Week last year.
Categories: Property

M&G Real Estate buys Edinburgh office building

Property Week News Feed - Thu, 08/08/2019 - 12:44
M&G Real Estate has bought Edinburgh office building Exchange Plaza for £54m on behalf of an international investor.
Categories: Property

Goldman Sachs buys Croxley Park in £400m deal

Property Week News Feed - Thu, 08/08/2019 - 11:31
Goldman Sachs has bought Croxley Park business park from Columbia Threadneedle for a price believed to be around £400m, Property Week can reveal.
Categories: Property

2020 Acura NSX Brings Back Indy Yellow

Motortrend News Feed - Thu, 08/08/2019 - 11:00

Acura’s NSX gets a bold new color option for 2020. The color, Indy Yellow Pearl, pays homage to Spa Yellow, also known as Indy Yellow in some markets, one of two yellows offered on the first-generation NSX.

Yellow was a surprisingly popular choice for first-generation NSX buyers: About 20 percent of all NSXs built between 1997 and 2003 were painted Spa Yellow. The new Indy Yellow Pearl joins Berlina Black as one of two heritage colors offered on the 2020 NSX.

The 2020 NSX is now available for order starting at $159,495. Buyers can also participate in the NSX Insider Experience, which allows them to get up close and personal with their cars during the build process.

The program offers one-on-one tours of facilities in Ohio where the NSX is built, including the Performance Manufacturing Center and the NSX engine assembly room at the Anna Engine Plant. Participants are also given the opportunity for a proving ground track experience in an NSX, guided by a professional driver.

The NSX Insider Experience is offered in six distinct packages with one- and two-day tour options, with prices starting at $2,700.

The post 2020 Acura NSX Brings Back Indy Yellow appeared first on MotorTrend.

Categories: Property

LondonMetric scoops up publisher John Wiley & Sons warehouse for £18m

Property Week News Feed - Thu, 08/08/2019 - 10:04
LondonMetric has purchased a south coast regional distribution warehouse in Bognor Regis for £17.8m, reflecting a NIY of 9.0%.
Categories: Property

Falling transaction volumes and accounting changes hit Savills profits

Property Week News Feed - Thu, 08/08/2019 - 09:29
Savills has reported a 9% fall in underlying profit before tax caused by the implementation of new accountancy rules and the slowdown in transactional volumes in the UK and a number of overseas markets.
Categories: Property

New Crossovers Under $20,000 (Plus Other Cars to Consider)

Motortrend News Feed - Thu, 08/08/2019 - 09:00

You ready for the truth? Very few crossovers start under $20,000. But wait! Before you go, let us show you highlights from new crossovers you can get for around $20,000 (including destination, before incentives). Plus, we’ll reveal a few surprises—cars that deliver part of the subcompact SUV experience you crave for an equally affordable price.

Curious? Let’s dive in.

Nissan Kicks

A debate rages on about what distinguishes an SUV from a hatchback-pretender, but one thing’s for sure: Nissan is going for a crossover look with the front-drive Kicks. Serving as Nissan’s entry-level crossover, the Kicks is more spacious than you think and, unfortunately, louder than you may like. A CVT automatic is standard, but the SR’s available Bose sound system—one we said was better than what you’ll find in an entry-level Bentley SUV—is out of reach.

Feature highlights on a $20,000 Nissan Kicks: Automatic emergency braking, a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system, and three USB ports.

What you don’t get at $20,000: Alloy wheels, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, the awesome extra-cost two-tone paint options on higher trims.

More on cheap SUVs:

Kia Soul

The 2020 Kia Soul picks up where the last-gen model left off, in a gray area between blocky hatchback and small crossover. However you classify this bold four-door, call it affordable. Because for under 20 grand, a base Soul LX comes with a more powerful 147-hp four-cylinder to the Kicks’ 122 hp. Then again, even though the Kia has a longer driving range, the Nissan is more efficient in the city and on the highway. The front-drive-only Kia boasts a higher seating position than you might get in other $20,000 hatchbacks.

Feature highlights on a $20,000 Kia Soul: Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and an available interior color other than black.

What you don’t get at $20,000: Alloy wheels, automatic emergency braking.

Chevrolet Spark Activ

The Spark subcompact hatch is about as far away from SUV as you can get, but if all you really want at this price are SUV-like styling details, the Activ trim could do the trick. We might choose other cars at this price point, but the Spark Activ does come with black cladding all over, tall roof rails, and an advanced four-wheel-drive system inspired by the comparison-winning Chevrolet Colorado. We’re just kidding, of course; the Spark Activ gets front-wheel drive and a raised suspension.

Feature highlights on a $20,000 Chevrolet Spark Activ: Lots of color choices, leatherette seats, alloy wheels, and money in your pocket.

What you don’t get at $20,000: Respect from owners of real SUVs, a spacious interior, more than 98 horsepower.

Subaru Impreza

All-wheel drive at $20,000 (before taxes) is a tough ask, but Subaru is up to that budget challenge. In sedan or hatchback form, the 2019 Impreza compact offers standard all-wheel drive at just $20,000. We hope you don’t mind shifting the car’s standard five-speed manual, however, as the $1,000 CVT automatic pushes the Impreza sedan and hatch above $20,000. Active safety tech including automatic emergency braking is also just out of the budget, but if AWD is a must-have and you can’t swing payments on the mechanically related Crosstrek—a MotorTrend favorite—the Impreza could work.

Feature highlights on a $20,000 Subaru Impreza: Standard AWD, choice of sedan or hatchback body style, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto.

What you don’t get at $20,000: Subaru’s full suite of advanced active safety tech, SUV-like design cues.

Honda Fit

Before the next-gen Honda Fit arrives potentially with a Spark Activ–like trim, the current hatch offers way more space inside for people and stuff than you’d think. The interior is incredibly flexible, and because the 2019 Fit has absolutely no crossover curb appeal, you can get tons of standard equipment under $20,000. Plus, we’re fans of the Fit.

Feature highlights on a $20,000 Honda Fit: An available moonroof, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto on the Fit EX. Or sporty styling on the less expensive Fit Sport.

What you don’t get at $20,000: The Honda HR-V’s crossover styling, the upcoming Fit’s potential improvements.

What Else?

A number of other crossovers and crossover-like cars are available for around $20,000 after some aggressive incentives. The Hyundai Kona, a comparison-winning crossover and SUV of the Year finalist, slips in after a current cashback offer. After some negotiating, the fun but cramped Mazda CX-3 could fit this budget, too. The Ford EcoSport is also in this tiny crossover class, but even with the deals you can get, we wouldn’t recommend it.

New Crossovers Under $20,000 (Plus a Few Others)

The post New Crossovers Under $20,000 (Plus Other Cars to Consider) appeared first on MotorTrend.

Categories: Property

This Custom 1947 Cadillac is Stunning

Motortrend News Feed - Thu, 08/08/2019 - 09:00

Customs are a true exercise in style and balance. Defining that perfect combination is the ultimate key to creating one that’ll be memorable. When referencing design changes, too little can make the car lackluster while too much can ruin the vibe. Finding the ideal fusion of glamour and inventiveness—therein lies the art. Kevin Anderson of Indianapolis, Indiana, is no stranger to the custom world; in fact, he has had a hand in designing and building a number of noteworthy customs over the past few years. When you look at his prior accomplishments, which include a hammered ’50 Merc, ’63 Buick Rivera, and ’36 Ford tail-dragger, it’s easy to see wherein his roots lie.

This article was originally featured on Street Rodder. For more stories like this, check out the HOT ROD Network.

It often takes a series of what-ifs to get artistic ideas flowing. Ask any devoted custom enthusiast, and they’ll tell you it’s the rush of looking at a body style that gets the mind twisting to see what can be applied to its flow in getting started. Having always held a fascination with Cadillac body styles of the ’40s, Kevin began looking at original factory brochures to help shape his vision.

While on countless road trips with good friend Mike Boerema, owner of Gas Axe Garage in Allendale, Michigan, the pair would often discuss cool ideas for potential builds. With the Cadillac project heavy on his mind, Kevin asked if he’d be interested in taking on the project should a suitable candidate be found. Boerema, already well-known for building ultra-traditional hot rods, many of which have graced the pages of STREET RODDER, was more than ready to apply his fabrication skills.

Establishing a proper baseline for creating the car took exhaustive research into the past to review builds of similar styles. There was plenty of influence from the likes of Westergard and Valley Customs on what it would take to breathe new life into comparable designs; however, this particular Cadillac platform had not seen much in the way of customizing. Further exploring proved remarkably there was only one located, a Barris-built Carson-topped ’42/’46 Cadillac convertible. With only three images to draw from, it took the creative efforts of the duo to blend their ideas into the final design to synthesize a proper rendition for the build. Kevin told us the transformation would bring “opulence, sophistication, and beauty” to the table by converting an ugly ducking into a chopped and dropped luxurious Carson-capped coupe.

Sourcing a 1947 Cadillac convertible would prove to be pricey as well as pretty unobtainable, however, there were a number of Series 62 four-door sedans available on the market. Kevin located a low-mile factory original one-owner car for sale at a museum in Minnesota that was thinning the herd. He had Boerema measure a factory convertible along with a four-door to see if the proportional values were close enough to take on the transformation. Fortunately, they were exact. There’s nothing like starting with a clean base so a deal was made, and the car was transported to Gas Axe Garage to start its 14-month reincarnation.

Once the car was disassembled, the spine and all related parts were sent off to be blasted clean. Once back, Boerema made a number of subtle modifications to the frame to support a new slammed stance, which included a substantial C-notch out back, as well as opening up the spring pockets to properly cradle the airbag suspension. Out back the rebuilt factory rearend packing 3.77 gears was set in place along with a custom two-link combined with Air Lift ’bags and Monroe tube shocks. Up front, a restored factory independent suspension was deftly matched to Air Lift ’bags and a ’57 Chevy power steering box to carve a path. When it’s time to drop anchor, a stock master pushes fluid through steel lines to factory binders mounted at each corner. Nothing says class better than a set of original steel wheels, sporting a set of 15-inch-wide Kelsey Tire/Goodyear Super Cushion whites crowned by Cadillac caps.

In 1947, nothing said power and performance better than a Cadillac driveline. Wanting to maintain the tradition, Kevin had Boerema completely refreshed the factory engine, starting with a complete disassembly of the 346ci V-8. The block and complete rotating assembly were massaged to perfection and once again matched to the factory cam. For a smooth getaway the factory cast-iron heads meet the stock intake and Stromberg carb get the job done in style. The goods move through a refreshed factory automatic transmission linked to the original driveshaft sealing the deal.

Taking on the evolution of the body relies on a true visionary working their craft, especially when converting a four-door. To prepare for the job, the body was first stripped clean, revealing a steel shell requiring no restoration work. With a blank canvas and torch in hand, Boerema started the transformation. He began with moving back the B-pillars to accommodate modified 1947 Cadillac Sedanette doors as well as crafting new door frames and vent windows to mirror those of a convertible. From there, the front fender pontoons were welded to the doors, along with the rear fenders being welded to the body. Once completed, Boerema focused on executing a perfectly balanced 5-inch chop, which also incorporated creating a skeleton for the Carson-styled top accenting the complete roofline drop (including suspension) a staggering 17 inches. There was also the exhaustive work in fabricating a convertible-styled windshield frame. Other notable changes include extended-down rear skirts, fabricating custom stainless trim, nosing and decking the body, shaving the door handles, side emblems, and antenna and removing the factory taillights The body was then final gapped and metal finished. From there, the stainless trim as well as grille and bumpers were treated to the shiny tank at Jon Wright’s Custom Chrome Plating in Grafton, Ohio.

With the fabrication work completed, the car was then delivered to Gary Brown of Browns Metal Mods in Port Leyden, New York, to work his magic in getting everything razor sharp and ready for paint. In selecting a color, Kevin wanted something that would add endless allure to the car’s newfound personality. Gary custom blended a House of Kolor Crystal Cadillac Cobalt Blue Candy and laid down a mile-deep coating across the body, bringing it all to life.

Wanting the interior to embody just the right amount of elegance, the stock dash and gauges were retained, complemented by having Dennis Crook of Quality Restorations resize the steering wheel for a better fit, mounted to an ididit tilt column. Kevin then called on Buckskinz Custom Fabrication of Grand Rapids to revamp the living room, starting with reworking the factory bench seat as well as crafting new side panels and headliner accented by stainless spears. Everything was then covered in a traditional pattern with 16 custom-dyed ivory hides from GST AutoLeather accented by brocade inserts and bronze Mercedes-Benz square-weave carpeting. The dramatic padded Carson-styled top was then upholstered using yards of oyster-colored Haartz cloth. Kevin added the final icing with his personally designed crystal door pulls and Cadillac badge emblems. This is one noteworthy custom that’ll be remembered for decades to come, showcasing the talents of everyone involved.

The post This Custom 1947 Cadillac is Stunning appeared first on MotorTrend.

Categories: Property

The 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Shows GM is Thinking Like Porsche – The Big Picture

Motortrend News Feed - Thu, 08/08/2019 - 09:00

Colored seat belts. That’s what caught my eye in the avalanche of C8 Corvette coverage we rolled out on MotorTrend.com last month. Depending on which interior theme you select for your new C8, you can choose seat belts in one of six colors, from basic black to red, yellow, orange, blue, and tan. Hallelujah! I thought. GM is thinking like Porsche. And this is a good thing.

“To boost profit, GM can take another page out of the Porsche playbook by offering a huge range of options and accessories,” Todd Lassa and I wrote in our November 2007 issue cover story, “The Corvette Manifesto,” in which we discussed potential design and development strategies for the C7, then still years away from launch. More than a decade later, GM seems to have finally figured this out.

C8 buyers can choose between 12 exterior colors, six wheel designs, four brake caliper colors, and different types of seats, right out of the box. The C8 configurator is going to look a lot more like that of the Porsche 911’s, which allows buyers to personalize their cars countless ways, including the choice of seat belts in nine colors.

And that’s not counting the powertrain, tire, suspension, brake, and aerodynamic hardware for the faster, more powerful C8s lurking in the wings. Once these models appear, buyers will be led along the C8 Corvette performance curve in much the same way 911 buyers are walked from Carrera to GTS to Turbo to GT2 RS.

The profit bit? Back in 2007 we noted the average Carrera buyer ordered about $8,100 worth of options, an 11 percent uptick over the base price. In 2019, with almost 200 highly profitable options to choose from, that figure is more than $20,000, about 20 percent over base price.

The 911 GTS started life as a marketing concept that packaged together some of the most popular options chosen by 911 Carrera S customers at a slightly discounted price. It’s now a 911 model line in its own right, costing $15,000 more than a standard Carrera S and $13,000 less than a GT3, and it accounts for 20 percent of all 911 sales.

The switch from front- to mid-engine marks a radical step-change for America’s own sports car. But what’s even more radical is the step change in GM’s attitude to attracting buyers for the car: More customizable and configurable than ever, the C8 Corvette is clearly not … a Chevy.

Corvette’s association with the Bow Tie badge has in the past set up certain expectations—in the marketplace and, crucially, within GM—about price, quality, and capability that have been at odds with its mission. For example, I remember asking a GM insider why the company insisted on fitting rock-hard run-flat tires on the C6, tires that amplified its tendency toward heart-stopping snap oversteer in high-speed turns. He merely shrugged and sighed: “Our customers would complain if we fitted tires that wore out after 20,000 miles.”

And when I asked former Corvette chief engineer Tom Wallace whether he’d consider an automated dual-clutch transmission for the C7 (this was in 2007), he replied: “It won’t buy me a quicker 0–60 mph time.” Yeah, but what about a quicker Nürburgring lap time, Tom? I got one of those looks that suggested he thought the average Corvette buyer wouldn’t know the Nürburgring from a hole in the ground.

No more.

The evolution away from that mindset started with cars like the Z06/Z07 and ZR1, Corvettes that offered modern aero, proper high-performance tires, and carbon-ceramic brakes. But the C8 obliterates the tired old boomer-era sacred cows: where the engine sits, how the transmission is shifted, the traction-limiting transverse leaf springs. Instead, it focuses on the fundamentals: making the Corvette a sports car that’s highly aspirational yet still relatively affordable, a sports car that’s modern, relevant, and, thanks to that 6.2-liter V-8 now mounted amidships, still uniquely American.

I love the glory days of Motown, when muscle ran rampant along Woodward Avenue in a haze of high-test and tire smoke, as much as anyone. But it’s refreshing to see a Corvette no longer trapped by history.

More from Angus MacKenzie:

The post The 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Shows GM is Thinking Like Porsche – The Big Picture appeared first on MotorTrend.

Categories: Property

Assura raises £107m in debt via private placement

Property Week News Feed - Thu, 08/08/2019 - 08:45
Healthcare REIT Assura has raised £107m of debt through the issue of privately placed notes with a weighted average interest rate of 2.3%.
Categories: Property

Derwent sells Buckley Building for £103m as NAV and rents edge up

Property Week News Feed - Thu, 08/08/2019 - 08:39
Derwent London has announced the sale of The Buckley Building for £103m alongside half-year results that show steady growth in NAV and rents.
Categories: Property

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