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The Car Connection News Feed: Lyft adds 911 call button, other app features in new rider-safety push

The Top Zones - Sat, 05/25/2019 - 10:00
Lyft passengers will be able to dial 911 directly from the ride-sharing company's smartphone application. The company said Tuesday the in-app emergency service contact is one of several ways it aims to boost rider safety. Using the 911 feature within the Lyft app provides a police dispatcher crucial information such as exact location and the...
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Motortrend News Feed: MotorTrend Testing: How Much Times Have Changed in 10 Years

The Top Zones - Sat, 05/25/2019 - 08:00

We test cars … trucks, SUVs, hatchbacks, vans, and even a few three-wheelers. This is what sets MotorTrend apart from bloggers, Vloggers, and influencers. We do the things others cannot do and have been testing vehicles for nearly 70 years.

As we approach our 70th anniversary, we decided to take a snapshot of how many vehicles we’ve tested over the past 10 model years. In that period, we’ve tested 2,454 vehicles including 391 coupes, 812 sedans, 635 SUVs, and 163 trucks. Interestingly, average curb weight from 2009 to 2019 has increased from 3,909 pounds to 4,060 yet average fuel economy (from 2012 after the EPA revised its testing methods) has increased from 22/29 city/highway mpg to 25/31 mpg.

Coupes

In the past decade, the number of coupes we tested peaked at a high of 48 tested in 2010 to just 11 halfway through 2019. In 2010, it seems like every other print-magazine cover featured some combination of Camaros, Mustangs, and Corvettes.

Coupes Tested by Year Sedans

Meanwhile, sedan tests peaked in 2012 with 105—and the first appearance of the Tesla Model S. We’ve only tested 42 four-doors so far this year.

Sedans Tested by Year SUVs

As expected, the number of SUVs we have tested has been on a steady climb. Last year was huge with nearly 90 going to our test track. It’s no wonder then, that more SUVs than cars compete in their respective “…of the Year” contests these days.

SUVs tested by year Trucks

Finally, the number of trucks tested has bounced around over the past decade. It’s interesting to note there was a spike in gasoline prices that started in 2011 and carried on until it eased up in 2015.

Trucks Tested by Year

In the coming months, we’ll bring you more interesting looks at our testing over the years. You never know what the data will reveal about what we drive and what drives us.

Read MotorTrend First Test reviews here.

The post MotorTrend Testing: How Much Times Have Changed in 10 Years appeared first on Motortrend.

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Motortrend News Feed: Mazda3 Through the Years: The Evolution of an Enthusiast Favorite

The Top Zones - Sat, 05/25/2019 - 08:00

Mazda has long had a reputation for building vehicles that are fun to drive. From the Miata to the CX-5, Mazdas have historically offered higher levels of engagement compared to their rivals. Since its introduction in the early 2000s, the Mazda3 has been a compelling choice for driving enthusiasts; a compact sedan or hatchback that offered sporty handling and communicative steering in a class not known for driving excitement.

Carrying the torch as the successor to the Protégé (which replaced the 323), the Mazda3 offered a compelling blend of affordability, fun, well-built interior and versatility. When it first arrived for the 2004 model year, we praised it for its confidence-inspiring driving dynamics. “This isn’t distressed merchandise you must settle for; it’s a right-size rocket you’ll want to drive,” we said back in 2004. There was even a 263-hp Mazdaspeed3 variant complete with a six-speed manual to lure in enthusiasts looking for the hottest of hot hatches.

Now in its fourth generation, the Mazda3 remains one of the most engaging compact cars you can buy and is now available with all-wheel drive. However, it’s no longer alone; Hyundai and Kia have sporty versions of the Elantra and Forte, the Honda Civic has gotten its mojo back, and the Toyota Corolla’s handling has improved in a bid to shed its merely-an-appliance image. The fourth-generation Mazda3 recently went on sale, and it points the model in a new direction that’s consistent with Mazda’s premium ambitions. Take a look at how the Mazda3 has evolved through the years in the photo galleries below.

2004-2008 Mazda3

2009-2013 Mazda3

2014-2018 Mazda3

2019 Mazda3

The post Mazda3 Through the Years: The Evolution of an Enthusiast Favorite appeared first on Motortrend.

Categories: The Top Zones

Motortrend News Feed: New Hints From BMW, Toyota Suggest the Supra Could Get a Manual

The Top Zones - Fri, 05/24/2019 - 20:37

Enthusiasts are divided on whether the 2020 Toyota Supra’s BMW bones are a sacrilege or a nonissue. Regardless, the pairing means that what one brand says about their own car might expose interesting details about the future of the other.

A recent press release covering updates to BMW’s European models announced the entry-level Z4 sDrive 20i will come standard with a six-speed manual gearbox. Right now, the Euro-spec base Z4 is the only variant to offer a stick, but who knows? With enough demand a manual could make its way to inline-six equipped cars, too.

We won’t waste words further explaining the Supra’s similarities to the Z4. Earlier this year we learned the 2.0-liter turbo-four shared between the entry-level Supra and Z4 overseas earned emissions certification in the United States. At the time, Toyota told us that BMW sought certification to explore a “variety of uses” but the Japanese automaker wasn’t planning on offering a four-cylinder in the Supra here—at least not initially. Given the evidence we have for an I-4 Supra potentially coming to the U.S., and the fact that the four-cylinder Z4 is getting the aforementioned six-speed manual in Europe, we had to wonder if a row-your-own-option might be in the A90’s future.

We asked Toyota if BMW’s announcement meant anything for the Supra, and a spokesperson had this to say:

“We may have heard a time or two (or more) that there’s a desire for a manual transmission in the Supra. However, we’re confident in the performance of the current setup… We feel it’s the optimal combination for the U.S. market at this time and we’re anxious for customers to drive the new Supra and experience it for themselves. We’ll be sure to check back into the conversation at that time and see what people have to say.”

Seems like Toyota’s thinking about it at least as much as we are.

Toyota isn’t wrong about the Supra’s current engine-transmission combo. When we drove it we loved the lightning-quick shifts and faultless programming from its eight-speed automatic. Still, for a car so focused on driver involvement, it seems like a mistake not to offer it with a stick. We think the hint from BMW makes that possibility more likely than ever. Not to mention, we’d be happy to see a third pedal in the North American Z4’s footwell, too.

The post New Hints From BMW, Toyota Suggest the Supra Could Get a Manual appeared first on Motortrend.

Categories: The Top Zones

Motortrend News Feed: BMW Just Reincarnated a Long-Lost, 50-Year-Old Concept Car

The Top Zones - Fri, 05/24/2019 - 18:43

BMW has a long history of debuting concept cars at Villa d’Este, and an even longer tradition of collaborating with Italian coachbuilders. Those ties go back as early as the 1930s, when the Bavarian carmaker commissioned Carrozzeria Touring to build the BMW 328 Mille Miglia.

In a slight detour from tradition, the Munich brand’s one-off debut at this year’s Villa d’Este Concorso d’Eleganza isn’t a futuristic reinterpretation, but rather a recreation of a long-lost sedan concept that was unveiled at the 1970 Geneva Motor Show. The idea for the angular (and inscrutably named) original Garmisch concept came from design boss man Nuccio Bertone himself, who assigned the task of penning the midsize coupe to none other than Marcello Gandini, the man who essentially invented wedge design through such stunners as the Lancia Stratos Zero concept, the Alfa Romeo 33 Carabo prototype, and the Lamborghini Miura and Countach.

Using a BMW 2002tii as a starting point, Gandini and his team spent four months re-sculpting shapes and shifting proportions to create the coupe, which was named after a once-glamorous Italian ski town that also happens to be geographically close to Munich. The concept was pure Gandini, with his signature touches embedded throughout, from the Dino 308 GT4’s linear tail to the Lamborghini Marzal–inspired honeycomb mesh over the rear windows. Those elements carry over to the re-creation, as do the square, glass-covered headlamps framed a positively futuristic depiction of BMW’s familiar kidney grilles, and the avant-garde touches inside, including a clean horizontal dashboard panel bisected by a vertical radio and ventilation controls. Folding out of a tray is a gargantuan letterboxed vanity mirror for the passenger. Take that, multimedia screens.

Because the original concept car has never been recovered, BMW design head Adrian van Hooydonk approached Gandini in summer of 2018 for permission to piece together the puzzle of the Garmisch. Using historical photos, drawings, and 80-year-old Gandini’s recollection of how the pieces fit together, BMW Group Design and BMW Classic created a 3D rendering, then a full-scale model. The final product was produced in Turin, where the original was also built.

We’ll take it as a positive sign that BMW is taking a moment to reexamine its design past and embrace a potentially polarizing concept car. It may not have been the most outlandish or influential design, but the Garmisch represented an important link between the hugely successful 2002 series and the E12 5-series that would see its exterior co-penned by Gandini under design director Paul Bracq. Taking a moment to recognize past successes is, after all, key to building a compelling future.

The post BMW Just Reincarnated a Long-Lost, 50-Year-Old Concept Car appeared first on Motortrend.

Categories: The Top Zones

Property Week News Feed: Almacantar markets Southbank Place offices

The Top Zones - Fri, 05/24/2019 - 16:45
Almacantar has put its Southbank Place office buildings on the market for around £875m.
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Motortrend News Feed: Top 10 Greatest American Cars of All Time

The Top Zones - Fri, 05/24/2019 - 15:40

In honor of Memorial Day, we’re bringing back this 2015 story on the greatest American cars of all time. Did your favorite make the list?

America may not have invented the automobile. That honor goes to German engineer Karl Benz and his Patent Motorwagen of 1886. But America quickly made the automobile its own. By 1904 the United States led the world in automobile sales and production, and by 1913 80 percent of all the cars made in the world were made right here. American automakers — there were 253 of them active in 1908 alone — were pioneering new technologies and new vehicles at an astonishing rate.

So as we celebrate the Fourth of July, why not celebrate the 10 greatest American cars of all time? You can define greatness is many ways, but these are all automobiles that were hugely influential in terms of their technology, design, engineering, and their impact on society and popular culture. These are machines that changed our world.

There are other cars that are perhaps equally deserving of inclusion on this list. So let the arguments begin. If you think we’ve missed an all-time great, let us know.

Ford Model T

 

Henry Ford’s Model T was produced for 19 years, from 1908 to 1927, and almost 15 million were made, with prices falling from $825 to $260 by 1925 as Ford refined the mass-production process. But the Model T was more than just a car. It put America on wheels and so changed the way Americans worked, the way they lived, and the way they played. Shopping malls, motels, planned suburbs with affordable housing, well-paid manufacturing jobs, and an emerging middle class eager to enjoy the perks of prosperity — this was modern, 20th-century America, and the Model T helped create it all.

Ford Model 18

Launched in 1932, the Ford Model 18 was the first mass-market car in the world with a V-8 engine, and created a paradigm for American cars that continues to this day. In the 1930s Ford V-8s were prized for their performance — gangster John Dillinger wrote to thank Henry Ford for building “as fast and sturdy a car as you did” — and after World War II they formed the backbone of the nascent hot rod movement, being cheap, plentiful, and easy to modify for extra performance. With ’32 Fords still regarded as the most desirable of all hot rods, this is a car that’s remained a pop-culture icon for more than 80 years.

Duesenberg Model SJ

Also launched in 1932, the Duesenberg Model SJ was the antithesis of the cheap and cheerful Fords and Chevys most Americans drove through the depths of the Depression. The Duesenberg SJ was, simply, a hand-built, money-no-object supercar, the 1930s equivalent of a Bugatti Veyron. With their twin-cam, four valves per cylinder, supercharged straight-eight engines, Duesenberg SJs were said to be capable of 104 mph in second gear and 140 mph in top; in 1934 a lightweight roadster averaged 135 mph for 24 hours on the Bonneville Salt Flats. Just 36 SJs were built between 1932 and 1935. Gary Cooper and Clark Gable owned the only two short-wheelbase SSJ Duesenbergs ever built.

Jeep MB

“The Jeep, the Dakota airplane, and the landing craft were the three tools that won the war,” claimed Dwight D. Eisenhower, Allied Supreme Commander during World War II. More than 700,000 Jeeps had been built by the war’s end, giving Allied troops overwhelming superiority of movement on the ground. Post-war, the tough, nimble, go-anywhere Jeep enjoyed a second, more peaceful career as a recreational vehicle, establishing the nexus between capability, style, and functionality that still underpins 21st-century car buyers’ love affair with crossover vehicles. The Jeep is the car that saved democracy. And it was the seminal SUV.

Oldsmobile “Rocket” 88

 

Rock ’n’ roll began with a song about a car: Elvis Presley was still driving a gravel truck when 19-year-old Ike Turner walked into a tiny studio owned by Sam Phillips in Memphis in 1951 and recorded “Rocket 88,” a paean to the fastest American sedan you could buy at the time, the Oldsmobile 88 powered by the 135-hp Rocket V-8 engine. Launched in 1949, the Rocket-powered 88 was America’s first muscle car, proving almost unbeatable in stock car racing through 1951. The record “Rocket 88” was an unexpected hit, and the royalties enabled Phillips to start Sun Records, the label that gave musicians such as B.B. King, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, and, of course, Elvis their starts.

Chevrolet Corvette

 

Making its debut in 1953, the Corvette is 10 years older than Porsche’s 911, and every bit as iconic. Like the Rolling Stones, the Corvette has had a patchy track record — the asthmatic 165-hp C3 of the mid-’70s is the equivalent of disco-era Mick and Keef phoning it in. But when it’s been good, the Corvette has been breathtaking. The beautiful Bill Mitchell-designed C2 Sting Rays, particularly the fuel-injected 327s with four-speed manual transmissions, were arguably better cars than contemporary E-type Jaguars, while today’s 650-hp Z06 is a true high-performance sports car with leading-edge technology and performance equaling that of rivals costing two or three times the price.

Ford Mustang

 

The Ford Mustang not only created a new automotive genre — the ponycar — but was also one of the first cars designed for a specific demographic. When Ford’s Lee Iacocca realized the first wave of baby boomers were coming of driving age, and that they would want to drive something very different from the big, soft land yachts their parents loved, product planner Hal Sperlich proposed wrapping mundane Falcon mechanicals in sporty sheetmetal. The Mustang proved an overnight sensation, with more than 1 million sold in the first 18 months of production. But performance that truly matched the style wasn’t really unlocked until the Shelby GT350 appeared in 1965, establishing the formula that has kept the Mustang alive for more than 50 years

Ford GT

 

Henry Ford II thought he had a deal. Nine months of negotiation were over, and on July 4, 1963, he was planning to be in Maranello, Italy, signing a $10 million deal with Enzo Ferrari that would give Ford Motor Company a half share in the storied Italian sports car maker. A Ferrari-Ford sports car was already being planned, with an Italian V-12 engine in an American chassis. But the deal never happened — Enzo Ferrari pulled out at the last minute. An enraged Henry then authorized the development of the Ford GT40, with the express goal of humiliating Enzo’s blood-red racers in the Le Mans 24 Hour race. Which it did, convincingly, in 1966.

Chrysler Minivan

Others had toyed with the concept, notably VW’s Microbus of the ’60s and Lancia’s 1978 Megagamma, but it was Lee Iacocca and Hal Sperlich — the same team who’d made the Mustang happen at Ford 20 years earlier — who at Chrysler in 1983 revealed the perfect combination of size, seating, and drivability that came to define a new segment-busting family vehicle, the minivan. Within a decade almost every mainstream automaker offered a minivan in the U.S., making traditional station wagons obsolete. The segment has declined in recent years, but the basic formula established by Chrysler remains the definitive one: front drive, sliding side doors, and a highly flexible seating package for seven or eight passengers.

Tesla Model S

 

The mere fact the Tesla Model S exists at all is a testament to innovation and entrepreneurship, the very qualities that made the American automobile industry the largest, richest, and most powerful in the world. We’ve not yet become a nation of bankers or burger-flippers. America can still make things. Great things. But what marks the Tesla Model S as one of the all-time great American cars is that it has single-handedly changed the tenor of the conversation about electric vehicles. The Model S made electric cars cool for auto enthusiasts. How? It’s good-looking and quick. In fact, with 0-60 mph taking just 3.2 seconds, it is the quickest American sedan ever built. And in an exclusive story, we attempted to drive an updated Model S from San Francisco to Los Angeles on one charge. Read about it here.

The post Top 10 Greatest American Cars of All Time appeared first on Motortrend.

Categories: The Top Zones

The Car Connection News Feed: The Car Connection's Most Researched Cars of 2019

The Top Zones - Fri, 05/24/2019 - 15:30
We the people of the carbuying public, in order to find a more perfect vehicle, shall be heard. Millions of our readers spoke last year and said: “We want a crossover.” We hear you. Last year, the most researched vehicles on The Car Connection—by a wide margin—were tall-riding SUVs and crossovers. DON'T MISS: The Car...
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Property Week News Feed: BidX1 appoints Horgan as Europe MD

The Top Zones - Fri, 05/24/2019 - 15:17
Online property trading platform BidX1 has appointed Johnny Horgan as its managing director of Europe to oversee its international expansion.
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The Car Connection News Feed: 19K Honda, Acura models recalled for the second time to fix airbag inflators

The Top Zones - Fri, 05/24/2019 - 14:35
Honda and Acura recalled about 19,000 sedans, coupes, hatchbacks, and crossover SUVs to replace passenger-side airbag inflators that may have been installed improperly during an earlier recall. DON'T MISS: 119K 2019 Honda CR-V crossover SUVs recalled to fix airbags Each car was previously recalled due to defective airbag inflators made by...
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Property Week News Feed: KanAm buys Standard Life Aberdeen HQ in Edinburgh

The Top Zones - Thu, 05/23/2019 - 08:32
KanAm Grund Group has acquired Standard Life Aberdeen’s headquarters in Edinburgh for a price believed to be around £130m.
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Property Week News Feed: LondonMetric agrees £415m deal to buy A&J Mucklow

The Top Zones - Thu, 05/23/2019 - 08:15
LondonMetric Property has agreed a deal to buy A&J Mucklow for £414.7m.
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Property Week News Feed: Multinational firms on hunt for Thames Valley office space

The Top Zones - Wed, 05/22/2019 - 23:00
Companies including Maersk and Mattel seek more than 200,000 sq ft in total around Slough and Maidenhead
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Property Week News Feed: GPE looks to tap into flexible and co-working office boom

The Top Zones - Wed, 05/22/2019 - 23:00
Great Portland Estates (GPE) is set to more than double the space it dedicates to flexible office use.
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Property Week News Feed: New prime resi portal launches in London

The Top Zones - Wed, 05/22/2019 - 23:00
Backed by Vartika Mittal-Goenka, Vyomm offers a discreet ‘off-market’ zone
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Property Week News Feed: Thackeray sells luxury Chelsea flats to private buyer for £20m

The Top Zones - Wed, 05/22/2019 - 23:00
The Thackeray Estate has sold the freehold of its luxury Chelsea residential building, One Brompton, to a private Asian buyer for more than £20m.
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Property Week News Feed: Savills to offer bumper 161 lots at its upcoming auction

The Top Zones - Wed, 05/22/2019 - 23:00
Auction house’s largest catalogue so far this year features high proportion of Greater London properties
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Property Week News Feed: Purpose-built resi investment to hit £146bn by 2025

The Top Zones - Wed, 05/22/2019 - 18:34
Investment into the UK student accommodation, investment-grade private rented sector and senior living rental sectors is expected to reach £146bn by 2025, rising from £87.3bn in 2019, according to Knight Frank.
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Property Week News Feed: Vivid buys Bargate Homes to boost housebuilding volumes

The Top Zones - Wed, 05/22/2019 - 17:35
Affordable housing provider Vivid has acquired fellow residential developer Bargate Homes to boost its activity in the South.
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The Car Connection News Feed: 2019 VW GTI earns Top Safety Pick award

The Top Zones - Wed, 05/22/2019 - 17:00
The sporty 2019 Volkswagen GTI hatchback earned top marks in the latest IIHS crash tests and qualified for the organization's top award when equipped with extra-cost headlights and collision-prevention gear. The 2019 GTI earned "Good" ratings in every crash test, save for an "Acceptable" in the passenger-side small overlap front test. Those score...
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