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2019 Toyota RAV4: Seven Suggested Refinements to Continue Sales Dominance

Motortrend News Feed - 11 hours 32 min ago

Somehow the aging and objectively forgettable Toyota RAV4 overtook the pretty-new and so-good-it-won-SUVOTY Honda CR-V in the sales race. This may just be due to We’re-dealin’-yer-stealin’ model-clearance incentives, Toyota’s formidable marketing and sales operation, or fleet sales. But can Toyota keep up the momentum when the fifth-generation RAV4 reaches showroom floors soon?

We just spent a bunch of time in the almost-ready 2019 RAV4 redesign. And we feel—despite the fact that the new model is enormously improved over its predecessor—it’s not quite perfect. We hereby humbly propose a short list of mostly easy revisions/fixes to consider between now and the inevitable midcycle refresh that might help the RAV4 defend its high, pointy ground on the sales charts without fleet fire-sales and incentive jiggery-pokery.

Cargo Area Seatback Releases

Folks are forever stuffing SUVs full of long stuff from the big-box DIY stores, and we get crabby when we have to lean them against the bumper and then walk around to each rear side door to fold the seats down. Honda lets us do this from the trunk (and it didn’t even have to tool a new part—the releases are inside-door handles).

Wider-Opening Doors

Why check the doors at 60ish degrees when many other manufacturers’ doors open to 80-plus degrees? Didn’t Toyota’s product planners test the difficulty of buckling a hefty toddler into a regulation child seat through such a skinny door opening?

Sporty Sport Mode

If you’re going to have buttons and shifter positions marked “S” or “Sport,” don’t be a tease about it. Make the transmission hang on to lower gears when we lift off the throttle to bend into a corner. Then the engine can remain in the meaty part of its rev range when we return to the gas. Drive a Mazda CX-5. Or any Porsche PDK. (And we refuse to believe the 1s and 0s used to program this kind of sportiness cost more than your current not-so-sporty 1s and 0s.)

Powertrain Rubber

It’s cool that you’re rigid-mounting the steering rack to the subframe and the subframe to the unibody—this undoubtedly pays handsome dividends in terms of chassis responsiveness. But maybe the powertrain needs a skosh more isolation from all of that, because the vibes felt through the floor and steering-wheel rim harsh our mellow.

Entune-up

The Entune system could respond quicker and more intuitively. Maybe ditch the Entune App entirely whenever you finally prevail in your battle with the Android cabal over digital privacy rights. Once Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are both available, consider using the Entune app to provide a wireless screen mirroring connection, the way apps from BMW and others currently do.

Navigation Disambiguation

One test car on the press launch had its nav system programmed with a destination we were not going to and we were desperate to stop it redirecting us back the way we came. Two veteran journos with decades of experience divining how such things work both found it nigh impossible to cancel said route. The product experts later pointed to an icon with a destination pin and a line through it. We had indeed seen and pressed this well-designed icon, but it then asked, “Do you want to delete these two destinations?” Thinking they had been lovingly programmed in as favorites by our host, we said no. Hint: “Cancel Route Guidance?” is the question the driving public expects to see and respond to in this situation.

Sliding Sun Visors

Don’t make us carry index cards to jam in the window frame when the sun sneaks in behind the visor. However many cents this increasingly ubiquitous feature adds, it’s super worth the investment.

2019 Toyota RAV4 Limited 40

The post 2019 Toyota RAV4: Seven Suggested Refinements to Continue Sales Dominance appeared first on Motor Trend.

Categories: Property

The hospitals that 'never treat patients on time'

BBC Health News Feed - 11 hours 32 min ago
Nearly one in five local hospital services have failed to hit their key waiting time targets for a whole year.
Categories: Health

2019 Toyota RAV4 Photo Gallery

Motortrend News Feed - 11 hours 32 min ago

Although the number of trim levels has actually been reduced from the previous generation, the 2019 Toyota RAV4 is still available in nine trims—and there’s significantly more differentiation between them this time around. With five gas-only models and four hybrid trims to choose from, the new RAV4 can be configured in a number of ways.

Take a look at the gallery below to get an idea of the 2019 Toyota RAV4’s available colors, wheels, and exterior treatments.

2019 Toyota RAV4 XLE Hybrid

2019 Toyota RAV4 XLE

2019 Toyota RAV4 XLE Premium

2019 Toyota RAV4 Limited Hybrid

2019 Toyota RAV4 Limited

2019 Toyota RAV4 Limited 40

2019 Toyota RAV4 XSE Hybrid (Silver Sky Metallic with Midnight Black Metallic Roof)

2019 Toyota RAV4 XSE Hybrid (Blizzard Pearl with Midnight Black Metallic Roof)

2019 Toyota RAV4 Limited, XSE HV, and Adventure

The post 2019 Toyota RAV4 Photo Gallery appeared first on Motor Trend.

Categories: Property

Cardi B Shows Off New York House She Bought for Her Mother

Aces Show Biz News Feed - 11 hours 32 min ago
Through several videos she shared online, the 'Bodak Yellow' hitmaker gives a peek into the two-storey house that makes her childhood dreams come true.
Categories: Celebrity

Asia's 50 Best Restaurants Returns to Macao in 2019

Fine Dining Lovers News Feed - 11 hours 32 min ago
Save the date for Asia's biggest red carpet restaurant awards ceremony, due to be held in March 2019.
Categories: Restaurants

Xbox Makes A Quiet Change That Could Be A Huge Leap Forward For Backward Compatibility

Forbes News Feed - 11 hours 32 min ago
For the first time, Xbox does more than just increase the resolution for a backward compatibility game that's enhanced for the One X. If it can be done for one game, maybe it can be done for others.
Categories: Business

2019 Toyota RAV4 first drive review: Reaching new heights

The Car Connection News Feed - 11 hours 32 min ago
Traffic on California’s winding, tourist-riddled Highway 1 creeps along on a Tuesday morning in November. I’m in a 2019 Toyota RAV4 and I’m stuck behind a wandering Mustang with Nevada plates, almost certainly a rental, and I watch in vain as its occupants snap photos of the Pacific. It’s a slow enough pace for me to...
Categories: Property

BBC Business News Feed: Boots travel insurer faces double investigation

Business Now Mag - 11 hours 48 min ago
A firm called Travel Insurance Facilities is being accused of denying proper care to policyholders.
Categories: Business

Boots travel insurer faces double investigation

BBC Money News Feed - 11 hours 48 min ago
A firm called Travel Insurance Facilities is being accused of denying proper care to policyholders.
Categories: Money

Boots travel insurer faces double investigation

BBC Business News - 11 hours 48 min ago
A firm called Travel Insurance Facilities is being accused of denying proper care to policyholders.
Categories: Business

Boots travel insurer faces double investigation

BBC Business News Feed - 11 hours 48 min ago
A firm called Travel Insurance Facilities is being accused of denying proper care to policyholders.
Categories: Business

Surge in vehicle theft sees insurers pay out record amounts

Auto Express News Feed - 11 hours 50 min ago
News 20 Nov, 2018

Insurers pay out £271m to settle theft claims so far this year, as experts cite keyless theft for spike in incidents

Categories: Cars

Virgin Voyages Has the Best Dining Options at Sea — and It Hasn't Even Launched Yet

Travel and Leisure - 12 hours 17 min ago
<p>Richard Branson is well known for shaking things up. From the record industry, <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/space-astronomy/richard-branson-virgin-galactic-space" target="_blank">space</a> and <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-tips/celebrity-travel/ryan-reynolds-richard-branson-aviation-gin-virgin-atlantic" target="_blank">aviation as we know it</a>, Branson has revolutionized it all. And now, he’s about to make waves in the high seas.</p><p>In May, <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-news/virgin-voyages-cruise-ships-new-sleek-design" target="_blank">Branson revealed his new venture</a>, Virgin Voyages, and all his plans to make cruising cool again. And in July, <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-news/richard-branson-virgin-voyages-cruises-scarlet-lady-ship" target="_blank">he shared</a> just a bit more about the design of the three-ship fleet, which comes with plenty of amenities younger cruisers will love, and that includes the delicious food offerings.</p><img alt="Virgin Voyages - Food/Dining "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1542316517/virgin-voyages-pizza-VVFOOD.jpg?itok=L2ysxd53"><p>As <em><a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-news/virgin-voyages-cruise-ships-new-sleek-design" target="_blank">Travel + Leisure</a></em> previously reported, the ships, which each come with a capacity of 2,700 passengers, will cater exclusively to adults 18 and older. That means the boat won’t come with waterslides or game rooms. Instead, the ships are highly designed art pieces that are as sleek and stylish as some of the world’s finest hotels. And that’s thanks to the fact that the creative collective hired to design them also worked with brands like Ace Hotels, the Standard and the Mondrian.</p><p>And now, we’re learning more about what guests — known as “sailors” — can expect to dine on when the first ship, the Scarlet Lady, sets sail in 2020.</p><p>“We want our eateries to delight and ignite serendipitous experiences for our sailors, so have set out on a mission to capture the spirit of dining in the best cities of the world and bring it to sea,” Tom McAlpin, president and chief executive officer for Virgin Voyages, said in a statement. “Because food is the fuel for our bodies and souls, and we’re Virgin Voyages, naturally it all had to be included within your ticket price.”</p><p>Onboard, guests won’t see a single buffet, and there’s no main dining room in sight. According to Virgin Voyages, there’s also no forced formal wear, no assigned seating, and no assigned dining times. Instead, guests will find a plethora of dining choices at restaurants across the boat that were inspired by restaurants around the globe.</p><p>“When working with the Virgin Voyages team, we were inspired by some of the best dining spots around the world but also had to gaze into what the future of dining would look like to bring the most alluring restaurant concepts to sea,” Executive Chef Brad Farmerie from AvroKO Hospitality Group, shared in the statement. “Each restaurant will not only serve delicious food, they will also have a unique vibe and energy to them to satiate sailor’s hunger for excitement and restoration while on vacation.”</p><p>Dining options include Wake, a 5,866 square foot restaurant at the aft of the ship. Billed as the most glamorous dining option, its set to serve steak and seafood inspired by The Wolseley - London and The Grill - New York.</p><p>For those looking for vegetarian options, they can head to the Razzle Dazzle, which has plenty of plant-based vegetarian and vegan dishes.</p><p>Guests can also try The Test Kitchen, where innovative and avant-garde cuisine abounds, or Geonbae, a Korean BBQ restaurant designed by Soft Room. There’s also Pink Agave, an elevated Mexican restaurant designed by Tom Dixon, and Extra Virgin, the ship’s trattoria serving regionally-inspired Italian foods and more.</p><p>“There’s a Virgin twist on everything you’ll see aboard the Scarlet Lady, which means there will be no stuffy formalities, boring buffets, and no main dining rooms,” Branson said in a statement. Sailors are not going to want to leave our ship after they experience how we’ve designed our restaurants and tasted the dishes we are going to be serving up in 2020.”</p><p>Want to be one of the first people onboard the ship? <a href="https://www.virginvoyages.com/" target="_blank">Virgin Voyages is giving away a cruise </a>for two so you can go try all these tasty bites at sea for yourself. Just don’t forget to invite us as your plus one.</p>
Categories: Travel

The Bizarre Way the Queen Eats Bananas (Video)

Travel and Leisure - 12 hours 31 min ago
<p>If you haven’t come to the conclusion yet that the Queen of England is the <em>most extra</em> person alive, perhaps this story will convince you.</p><p>According to multiple reports, the Queen’s eating and drinking habits are a bit, shall we say, picky. She likes her <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/food-drink/queen-elizabeth-drinks-cocktails-every-day" target="_blank">gin cocktails a very specific way</a> and banned everyone in her family from <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/food-drink/royal-family-banned-food" target="_blank">ever eating shellfish</a> (Sorry, Meghan, no more lobster for you). And now, we’re learning, she loves to eat bananas, but not like a normal person. Instead, she goes full royal and only eats them with a fork and a knife.</p><p>We’ll just let you sit with that and imagine it for a minute.</p><p>This titillating piece of information comes from former royal chef Darren McGrady, who explained in his book, "<a data-ecommerce="true" href="http://www.amazon.co.uk/Eating-Royally-Recipes-Remembrances-Kitchen/dp/1401603211" target="_blank">Eating Royally</a>," that the Queen eats her bananas with utensils to avoid “looking like a monkey.”</p><p>According to <em><a href="https://www.thesun.co.uk/fabulous/7744200/the-queen-knife-fork-eat-bananas-royal-chef-reveals/">The Sun</a></em>, McGrady explained the Queen's preferred method of eating a banana is to cut off both the top and the bottom, then slice through the skin of the banana lengthways. She then takes the banana out and chops it into small pieces, then finally eats it with a fork and knife. And if that just sounds like an insane amount of effort to eat a hand fruit that’s because it is.</p><p>McGrady further explained that bananas are one of the few starchy foods the Queen is happy to eat. Instead, she apparently eats more like a bird, digging into light meals that include grilled fish and vegetables. When the Queen isn’t dining with dignitaries and fellow royals at state dinners, McGrady said, the Queen lives by a "no starch" rule, avoiding "potatoes, rice, or pasta for dinner."</p><p>So, if you ever dine with the Queen just remember to <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/food-drink/one-food-queen-of-england-wont-eat">never ask for garlic</a> or eat with your hands, but do feel free to ask for a <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/food-drink/queen-elizabeth-drinks-cocktails-every-day">fourth cocktail</a>.</p>
Categories: Travel

2019 Ford F-150 Raptor First Drive: Doing it Live

Motortrend News Feed - 12 hours 32 min ago

Even when you’re prepared, things can go wrong off-road. A lot of times, it’s your fault, not the rig’s. It doesn’t know what’s coming. When things do go wrong, there’s no choice but to find a solution, even if you’re making it up as you go along. In showbiz, they call that “doing it live.” The 2019 Ford F-150 Raptor is all about finding little ways to make it easier to do it live.

It starts with Fox Live Valve electronically controlled shock absorbers, the first for a production off-roader. Fox places a solenoid on the shock body connected to a valve, which it can adjust in as little as 40 milliseconds to alter the rate at which oil passes through it. Wide open, the shocks are soft. The more it’s closed, the stiffer the shocks get. Ford suspension engineers say the midway point between full soft and full hard is about where the 2018 model’s fixed dampers match up.

As a baseline, the shocks have three modes: normal, sport, and off-road, which covers the litany of off-road driving modes. It’s not an if-then system, though. The controller, Lincoln’s CCD adaptive damping unit reprogrammed by Ford Performance, constantly watches how you drive, tries to predict the surface you’re on, and adjusts the damping to compensate. For example, if you’re in an off-road mode and you’re heavy on the throttle, the shocks will soften up a bit for when you inevitably hit a big bump at a higher speed than you might’ve intended to. Conversely, when the ride height sensors detect the truck is airborne, as Raptors are wont to be, the shocks stiffen to better absorb the landing.

That bit, I can confirm, works precisely as advertised. Should you find yourself temporarily divorced from the ground in a 2019 F-150 Raptor, the landing is quite gentle. With excellent grip from the meaty BFGs, it’s a drama-free affair. Indeed, that’s how most driving goes with the Raptor. Tearing down a trail in Baja mode, it’s composed and confident, with excellent steering response. The shocks turn every rock and rut into a jostle instead of whiplash, encouraging you to push the truck even harder since clearly you’re not hurting it. Having off-roaded our long-term F-150 with FX4 off-road package this past summer, I can tell you the difference the Raptor’s shocks make in passenger comfort is almost too great to quantify.

When things slow down, Ford’s new Trail Control comes into play. Essentially cruise control for off-roading, it allows you to set an extremely low crawl speed and have the computer work the gas and brakes while you focus on your line and the obstacles around you. It works in any drive mode, any transfer case position, and up to 20 mph. For the off-road beginner, it takes an entire element of driving off your mind and lets you focus on where you’re going. For the pro, it lets you relax a bit on a tedious, low-speed, mildly challenging trail on your way to the good stuff.

Because speeds are low and the computer is fast, it crawls over obstacles the same way you would: gently. When a tire bumps up against a rock you want to crawl over, say, the impact forces the truck to slow down; the computer recognizes this and adds a little power to help you climb. As you reach the top of the rock, your speed increases as the resistance decreases. The computer sees this and pulls power and applies the brakes as needed to maintain your set speed. As a result, you roll slowly off the back side of the rock rather than crashing down. All the while, you’ve never exceeded the super-low speed limit you set, and you look like a veteran off-roader.

But let’s be real: That’s not why you buy a Raptor. It’s long, it’s wide, and it just isn’t at home in a rock garden. This truck is meant for hot, nasty speed on unforgiving terrain. Although Trail Control gives the truck more bandwidth, it doesn’t distract from the primary mission. Expect to see the technology on more four- and all-wheel-drive Fords in the future.

The shocks, of course, assist in said mission with obvious variation in ride quality and body control as you change modes. Also assisting is the final big-ticket item of the 2019 refresh, an optional Recaro seat upgrade with extra bolstering and grippy suede inserts. When you’re expecting to be tossed around while tearing around, they’re a worthwhile investment.

Otherwise, changes to the 2019 Ford F-150 Raptor are limited to cosmetic items such as a carbon-fiber shift lever and new paint and wheel finishes. As with its other products, Ford Performance has opted out of the styling changes the rest of the F-150 line got last year, preferring to spend development dollars on driving tech enhancements instead. Who can argue with that?

2019 Ford F-150 Raptor BASE PRICE $54,350-$57,335 VEHICLE LAYOUT Front-engine, 4WD, 5-pass, 4-door truck ENGINE 3.5L/450-hp/510-lb-ft twin-turbo DOHC 24-valve V-6 TRANSMISSION 10-speed automatic CURB WEIGHT 5,550-5,700 lb (mfr) WHEELBASE 134.2-146.0 in LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT 220.0-231.9 x 86.3 x 78.5 in 0-60 MPH 5.2 sec (MT est) EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON 15/18/16 mpg ENERGY CONSUMPTION, CITY/HWY 225/187 kW-hrs/100 miles CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 1.20 lb/mile ON SALE IN U.S. Currently

The post 2019 Ford F-150 Raptor First Drive: Doing it Live appeared first on Motor Trend.

Categories: Property

Jada Pinkett Smith Admits Parents' Abusive Relationship Plays Part in Her Sobriety

Aces Show Biz News Feed - 12 hours 32 min ago
Sitting down to discuss the topic of domestic violence on 'Red Table Talk', the actress wife of Will Smith further opens up about her own experience dating an aggressive man.
Categories: Celebrity

Next Billion-Dollar Startups: How Two Young Entrepreneurs Used Relentless Online Marketing To Build Away Into A $700M Luggage Brand

Forbes News Feed - 12 hours 32 min ago
Steph Korey and Jen Rubio, alums of the Forbes 30 Under 30, designed the new must-have luggage, promoted it on Instagram and made a fortune.
Categories: Business

The right way to eat corn on the cob

Fine Dining Lovers News Feed - 12 hours 32 min ago
Discover this corn on the cob hack and change the way you eat it forever.
Categories: Restaurants

IOTA - Fulfilling the Promise of Blockchain

Forbes News Feed - 12 hours 32 min ago
We interview David Stonstebo, co-founder of IOTA on this innovative blockchain project. IOTA is arguably one of the major pioneering projects that took the concept of a DLT and implementing it with a different underlying data structure to solve many of the problems with Blockchain.
Categories: Business

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