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Property Week News Feed: USS and PfP form £330m PRS JV

The Top Zones - 5 hours 37 min ago
Universities Superannuation Scheme and Places for People have formed a £330m joint venture to invest in the PRS sector.
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Motortrend News Feed: 2018 Ford F-150 XL Diesel Commercial Truck First Test

The Top Zones - 7 hours 18 min ago

The diesel variants of Ford’s F-150 XL and XLT are available only to commercial fleet buyers. Equipped with the 3.0-liter Power Stroke turbodiesel engine, these trims will not show up at a Ford dealer unless you have a Fleet Identification Number (FIN). You should also know that the diesel engine carries a $2,400 premium over the price of the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6, the engine that’s closest to the diesel’s towing numbers. That’s not cheap.

The biggest benefit, however, is in fuel economy. We just ran our Real MPG tests, and our XL 4×2 SuperCab tester got 22.9/34.3/27.0 mpg city/highway/combined. Those are terrific figures when compared to the 3.5-liter gasoline work truck, which delivers 18/25/21 mpg, according to the EPA. But is the benefit worth the extra money?

That’s a question that might require a bit of math. With national average fuel prices at $2.96/gallon for regular fuel and $3.17/gallon for diesel, it will take 188,000 highway miles (at 30 mpg) to pay back the $2,400 premium an XL fleet buyer will pay for a Power Stroke engine over the cost of a base 2WD 3.5L EcoBoost (at 25 mpg on the highway) with the equivalent towing capacity. However, Ford claims that if you tow a 10,000-pound trailer, that mileage is reduced to 37,600.

If you want a diesel XL or XLT but you don’t have a FIN, you should wait until one of these fleet trucks heads to the used market.

On the highway, the XL feels smooth with decent power coming out of the 3.0-liter V-6 turbodiesel. The 10-speed transmission, however, doesn’t feel as gentle as it does when paired to the gas engines, especially at low speeds. What impressed me is how quiet the diesel engine is—even in the work truck, where the amount of sound-deadening materials is far less than with higher-end trims.

Depending on your needs and mileage traveled, a diesel truck might be better in the long run. However, if you turn over your fleet every three years or so, you might not be able to amortize that premium price. Keep track of fuel-price trends and your timeline before you buy.

Learn more about the 2018 Ford F-150 Power Stroke diesel right here 2018 Ford F-150 XL 4×2 Power Stroke (SuperCab) 2018 Ford F-150 Platinum 4×4 Power Stroke (SuperCrew) BASE PRICE $38,180 $62,305 PRICE AS TESTED $41,730 $66,985 VEHICLE LAYOUT Front-engine, RWD, 6-pass, 4-door truck Front-engine, 4WD, 5-pass, 4-door truck ENGINE 3.0L/250-hp/440-lb-ft turbodiesel DOHC 24-valve V-6 3.0L/250-hp/440-lb-ft turbodiesel DOHC 24-valve V-6 TRANSMISSION 10-speed automatic 10-speed automatic CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST) 4,982 lb (58/42%) 5,647 lb (58/42%) WHEELBASE 145.0 in 145.0 in LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 231.9 x 79.9 x 75.5 in 231.9 x 79.9 x 77.2 in 0-60 MPH 7.1 sec 7.8 sec QUARTER MILE 15.6 sec @ 88.9 mph 16.1 sec @ 84.3 mph BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 124 ft 118 ft LATERAL ACCELERATION 0.73 g (avg) 0.77 g (avg) MT FIGURE EIGHT 28.2 sec @ 0.60 g (avg) 27.9 sec @ 0.61 g (avg) REAL MPG, CITY/HWY/COMB 22.9/34.3/27.0 mpg 20.9/28.6/23.8 mpg EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON 21/30/24 mpg (MT est) 20/29/23 mpg (MT est) ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY 180/126 kW-hrs/100 miles (MT est) 189/130 kW-hrs/100 miles (MT est) CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 0.91 lb/mile (MT est) 0.95 lb/mile (MT est)

The post 2018 Ford F-150 XL Diesel Commercial Truck First Test appeared first on Motor Trend.

Categories: The Top Zones

Motortrend News Feed: 2018 Ford F-150 Diesel First Test: Knowing Your Audience

The Top Zones - 7 hours 18 min ago

I know better. Driving from Las Vegas to Los Angeles on a Sunday afternoon is a circle of hell unto itself. After three days of touring wide-open interstates and empty state highways in Colorado and Utah, the soul-crushing, back-to-reality traffic leaving Las Vegas was an unwelcome end to a wonderful road trip. Thing is, I wasn’t nearly as frustrated or exasperated with it as I normally would be. The easy-riding F-150 Power Stroke diesel gets a lot of credit for that.

Normally, a pickup wouldn’t be my first choice for a 1,300-mile, five-state road trip. But it makes perfect sense.

Read about the 2018 Ford F-150 XL Power Stroke diesel commercial truck right here

Back in 2014, we set about updating our Truck of the Year competition to better represent what you, the truck buyer, want and expect from your rig. One part of that was collecting market research from multiple sources on buyer priorities and how people actually use their trucks. One of the biggest takeaways: Light-duty truck owners tend to think of their trucks more like big cars than traditional trucks—but they buy more capability than they need, just in case.

You could see it right across the data. Although heavy-duty buyers list towing and payload as top priorities, light-duty buyers tend to look for comfort, quietness, technology, maneuverability, fuel economy, power, and sportiness more than outright capability. It’s reflected in how they use their trucks: A solid majority of light-duty buyers never take their truck off-road, and only a small majority tow. Of those who tow, less than half tow once or more a month, and virtually all of them tow less than 8,000 pounds. (People who tow more than 8,000 pounds regularly buy heavy-duties.)

Despite this, towing and hauling regularly figure into the light-duty truck-buying mindset. Trucks are the ultimate “just in case” vehicles, and nothing puts the mind at ease like knowing your truck can safely tow and haul way more than you intend and go farther off-road than you will. On top of that, light-duty truck buyers want to know that when they do load it down, the truck won’t feel overburdened.

This research, which all truck manufacturers routinely conduct, is at the heart of the new Ford F-150 Power Stroke diesel’s performance. After carefully watching the trend-setting Ram EcoDiesel’s performance in the market the past few years, Ford knew which metrics mattered most in the bid to claim class leadership. More horsepower and torque was a given (it’s 10 hp and 20 lb-ft ahead of the last-gen Ram), but so, too, was fuel economy. Ram set a new benchmark for all pickups with an EPA-rated 27 mpg highway across the board, and Ford wasn’t going to let that mark stand. The F-150 diesel gets an EPA-rated 30 mpg highway on a 4×2 truck and 25 mpg highway on a 4×4, an incredible achievement for a class of vehicle whose fuel economy numbers were stuck in the mid-teens less than a decade ago.

That’s no test lab trickery. Over the course of our road trip, an XL-trim 4×2 self-reported 27.7 mpg, and a nearly 700-pound-heavier Platinum 4×4 self-reported 23.7 mpg. To be sure, we hooked both trucks up to our EQUA Real MPG equipment. The XL returned 22.9/34.3/27.0 city/highway/combined mpg and the Platinum 20.9/28.6/23.8 mpg city/highway/combined, all handily beating Ford’s estimates.

On top of that, the F-150 Power Stroke wallops the last-gen Ram EcoDiesel in a straight line. EcoDiesels we tested needed between 8.6 and 8.9 seconds to hit 60 mph with their eight-speed autos, but the Power Strokes and their new 10-speed autos took only 7.1 to 7.8 seconds. A big factor in this is the aluminum F-150’s 450- to 1,000-pound weight advantage. Heck, the F-150 Power Stroke is quicker than the base model F-150’s 3.3-liter V-6 (7.6 seconds) and nearly as quick as the optional 2.7-liter twin-turbo EcoBoost (7.0 seconds). Our only performance testing quibble was a Platinum brake pedal that felt long and squishy; the XL’s was nice and firm.

New engine aside, the F-150 is the same great truck we unanimously voted our 2018 Truck of the Year. It won that accolade by correcting all the little deficiencies that had kept the previous iteration out of the winner’s circle. A better transmission, improved steering feel, stronger crash-test scores, a more intuitive information/entertainment system, and an interior worthy of the price tag (especially if you throw in heated and cooled massage seats on the Platinum) add up to a fantastic long-distance cruiser and delightful daily driver.

Unfortunately, in fitting the diesel, Ford also introduced a pair of new deficiencies. I suspect it all comes back to the unintended consequences of market research. The first issue involves a clunkiness in the transmission that’s unique to the diesel models. It’s most noticeable at low speeds and when towing. For example, sitting in traffic in fourth gear turning roughly 1,000 rpm at 20 mph, every time I touched the throttle or took my foot off of it, there was a shunt in the driveline. Gear changes at low speed also tended to be a bit rough for an otherwise smooth transmission.

What’s the cause of all this? Ford has the torque converter locking up at a very low engine speed to help reach that best-in-class fuel economy. Unlocked torque converters are a drag on the engine but also do a better job of absorbing drivetrain lash.

The second issue involves towing at freeway speeds. Around town and getting up to 50 mph, the torquey diesel feels stout with 6,500 pounds on the hitch (less than 60 percent of its 11,400-pound max tow rating). Out on the highway, however, it runs out of breath. Passing with a trailer requires a good, long runup, and going uphill means putting your foot on the floor just to maintain speed. The truck downshifts until the revs come up to 3,000—and that’s where it sits until the road levels out again.

Towing isn’t about speed, of course, but as noted, light-duty truck buyers don’t want their trucks to feel stressed when towing and like to have more capability than they need. If you opt for one of the EcoBoost engines or the V-8 instead, you’ll have top-end power even when towing. Even the slower Ram EcoDiesel pulls harder while towing at freeway speeds.

Could Ford have tuned the F-150 Power Stroke for more power while towing? Sure, but it would hurt its crucial fuel economy score. For what it’s worth, Ford claims the F-150 Power Stroke will get much better fuel economy while towing than a gas-powered truck pulling the same trailer. Thankfully, it’s all weight-dependent anyway and isn’t a problem when you’re hauling rather than towing, as the payload rating is just 2,020 pounds, not enough to stress the engine.

Other top priorities of light-duty truck buyers are price and value for the money. You can only get the Power Stroke on the Lariat trim level or higher—putting its base price at $46,410. (Commercial fleet buyers can get the diesel on any trim level as a $5,000 option.) By contrast, a 2.7-liter EcoBoost is a $995 option on any trim level, and it gets up to 26 mpg highway per the EPA. You’ll need to rack up the miles or frequently use the diesel’s added towing capacity to make up the $3,000 difference. And if you’re going to do that much towing, a base-model F-250 can be had with its massive turbodiesel V-8 for just less than $44,000.

Ford knows its customers. For most F-150 drivers, the new Power Stroke is a torquey, comfortable cruiser that’ll go 700 miles between fuel stops with the smallest tank option. It’s a great truck, as long as you don’t come expecting an F-250 diesel in an F-150 package.

2018 Ford F-150 XL 4×2 Power Stroke (SuperCab) 2018 Ford F-150 Platinum 4×4 Power Stroke (SuperCrew) BASE PRICE $38,180 $62,305 PRICE AS TESTED $41,730 $66,985 VEHICLE LAYOUT Front-engine, RWD, 6-pass, 4-door truck Front-engine, 4WD, 5-pass, 4-door truck ENGINE 3.0L/250-hp/440-lb-ft turbodiesel DOHC 24-valve V-6 3.0L/250-hp/440-lb-ft turbodiesel DOHC 24-valve V-6 TRANSMISSION 10-speed automatic 10-speed automatic CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST) 4,982 lb (58/42%) 5,647 lb (58/42%) WHEELBASE 145.0 in 145.0 in LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 231.9 x 79.9 x 75.5 in 231.9 x 79.9 x 77.2 in 0-60 MPH 7.1 sec 7.8 sec QUARTER MILE 15.6 sec @ 88.9 mph 16.1 sec @ 84.3 mph BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 124 ft 118 ft LATERAL ACCELERATION 0.73 g (avg) 0.77 g (avg) MT FIGURE EIGHT 28.2 sec @ 0.60 g (avg) 27.9 sec @ 0.61 g (avg) REAL MPG, CITY/HWY/COMB 22.9/34.3/27.0 mpg 20.9/28.6/23.8 mpg EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON 21/30/24 mpg (MT est) 20/29/23 mpg (MT est) ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY 180/126 kW-hrs/100 miles (MT est) 189/130 kW-hrs/100 miles (MT est) CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 0.91 lb/mile (MT est) 0.95 lb/mile (MT est)

The post 2018 Ford F-150 Diesel First Test: Knowing Your Audience appeared first on Motor Trend.

Categories: The Top Zones

Property Week News Feed: Warehouse REIT posts maiden results

The Top Zones - 7 hours 30 min ago
Warehouse REIT, the AIM-listed specialist warehouse investor, has revealed its maiden results since floating last September.
Categories: The Top Zones

Property Week News Feed: Schroder REIT reveals annual leap in NAV and profit

The Top Zones - 7 hours 41 min ago
Schroder Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) has posted a 6.4% rise in net asset value (NAV) and a 48% leap in profit in its annual results.
Categories: The Top Zones

Property Week News Feed: Shaftesbury delivers upbeat interim results

The Top Zones - 7 hours 51 min ago
Shaftesbury has reported a rise in net asset value (NAV) and profit for the first half of its financial year.
Categories: The Top Zones

Property Week News Feed: FTSE hits record high on the back of weakened pound

The Top Zones - 7 hours 59 min ago
The FTSE 100 had a record breaking day on Monday reaching an intra-day high of 7868 points, buoyed by a fall in the pound.
Categories: The Top Zones

The Car Connection News Feed: 2018 Toyota Mirai

The Top Zones - Mon, 05/21/2018 - 21:46
The 2018 Toyota Mirai is a four-seat mid-size four-door sedan powered entirely by hydrogen, making it the company’s only full zero-emission vehicle. It’s sold only in areas of California where hydrogen fueling stations exist (about three dozen as of January 2018), so it’s limited to travel within the radius of that network. The...
Categories: The Top Zones

The Car Connection News Feed: 2018 Toyota Camry

The Top Zones - Mon, 05/21/2018 - 21:45
The 2018 Toyota Camry is one of the most popular cars on the planet, and a bestselling sedan in the U.S. for decades. In an effort to banish the Camry’s bland image, Toyota gave the latest generation a more expressive design, used a more sophisticated suspension to improve driving and handling, and delivered better fuel efficiency than any...
Categories: The Top Zones

The Car Connection News Feed: 2018 Toyota 86

The Top Zones - Mon, 05/21/2018 - 21:39
The 2018 Toyota 86 has a heritage look, inside and out. Its power output is a throwback too, but that doesn’t bother us much. The 2018 86 earns a 6.3 on our overall scale thanks to its performance and features. (Read more about how we rate cars.) This year, the 86 gets two new trim levels that add some creature comforts and exterior accents...
Categories: The Top Zones

Property Week News Feed: 12x3 boxing club opens at Paddington Central

The Top Zones - Mon, 05/21/2018 - 09:17
Premium boxing club 12x3 has opened its second gym at British Land’s Paddington Central scheme.
Categories: The Top Zones

Property Week News Feed: LEO takes final space at Park House

The Top Zones - Mon, 05/21/2018 - 09:12
Serviced office provider London Executive Offices (LEO) has taken nearly 32,000 sq ft of space at Park House on Oxford Street.
Categories: The Top Zones

Property Week News Feed: M&G snaps up £100m portfolio from Mountpark

The Top Zones - Mon, 05/21/2018 - 08:38
Mountpark Logistics EU has sold a portfolio of assets to M&G Real Estate for around £100m.
Categories: The Top Zones

Motortrend News Feed: 2019 Ram 1500 Laramie 5.7L First Test Review

The Top Zones - Mon, 05/21/2018 - 08:00

Ram has long been the disrupter in the half-ton pickup market. Without the burden of holding on to the sales throne and free of the pressure of toppling the longtime sales king, Ram has been blessed with the opportunity to regularly disrupt the pickup segment. Back in 1994, the then-Dodge Ram 1500 changed the game by ditching the traditional boxy pickup styling in favor of mini-big-rig sheetmetal, which proved immensely popular with buyers. Ford and Chevrolet soon followed suit. In the mid-2000s, it started offering a luxury trim level. Not long after, GM and Ford both had luxury trucks, too. In 2013 and 2014, Ram upped the game again, presenting the first pickup with an automatic with more than six speeds and then delivering a light-duty diesel engine. It took a few years, but Ford and GM copied Ram’s homework there, as well.

This is all a long, roundabout way of saying that despite Ram’s perennial third-place finish in the sales race, it has long led the way. Where Ram goes, the industry follows. Problem is, with the 2019 Ram 1500 Crew Cab Laramie Hemi short-bed I’ve been testing, driving feels far more evolutionary than it does revolutionary.

That’s not to say that the fifth-generation Ram 1500 is missing anything. A quick rundown of the spec sheet shows that the updated 1500 is still the pickup we know and love. Underneath the sharp (still mostly steel) sheetmetal is a strengthened platform that’s both lighter and stronger than before, helping to boost payload and towing capacity to 2,300 and 12,750 pounds, respectively. (It’s worth noting that payload and towing capacity can vary widely based on body style, trim, and equipment levels.) The 2019 1500 is available with a smaller Quad Cab or a larger Crew Cab, with a bed length of 5-foot-7 or 6-foot-4. Our Laramie tester had a Crew Cab and short bed.

Under the hood, the Ram 1500 sports a variety of familiar engines, many now augmented by an electric motor for a little extra low-end power and a fuel efficiency bump (those variants are dubbed eTorque). Our midlevel Laramie tester was powered by one of the few non-mild hybrid powertrains Ram offers on the rehashed 1500, with a carryover Hemi 5.7-liter V-8 good for 395 hp and 410 lb-ft of torque. As in all of the 2019 Ram 1500s, the engine is mated to an eight-speed automatic. Rear-wheel drive is standard, but our truck was equipped with optional four-wheel drive.

Despite the carryover powertrain, the 2019 Ram 1500 steadily improves on the previous generation’s performance at the track. This is likely thanks to the crash diet Ram engineers put the new 1500 on. Weighing 328 pounds less than an identically specced 2013 Ram 1500 Laramie 4×4 we tested a few years back, the newer Ram accelerated from 0 to 60 mph in 6.1 seconds and went through the quarter mile in 14.7 seconds at 93.7 mph. That’s a notable improvement over the old Ram, which needed 7.0 seconds to hit 60 mph and 15.5 seconds to cross the quarter-mile marker at 87.7 mph. The 2019 Ram 1500 handles better, too; it lapped the figure eight in 28.6 seconds at an average 0.60 g, besting the 2013 model’s 29.1 seconds at 0.58 g. Just about the only measurable places the new Ram doesn’t improve on are braking and fuel efficiency; the 2019 1500 Laramie ties the 2013 1500 Laramie’s 122-foot 60–0 brake performance and also matches its 15/21/27 mpg city/highway/combined EPA rating.

Arguably Ram’s biggest engineering challenge with the 2019 1500 was simply improving on the old model. The 2018 1500 was so nice to drive on the road that there really wasn’t a ton of room left for improvement—yet Ram managed to pull it off. The single greatest improvement in how the Ram 1500 drives on the road is in the way it rides, which was already comfortable. The 2019 1500 now rides like a big SUV in the best way possible. Even without the optional air suspension, the Ram floats over bumps big and small without any impact harshness or gut jiggle. Only on the biggest bumps do you get secondary body motions, but even those are dispatched fairly quickly.

The 1500’s steering is SUV-like, as well. Despite a touch of wander when driving straight at highway speeds, the Ram’s electric power steering system is low-effort and accurate. This platform will be an excellent jumping-off point for Jeep’s upcoming Wagoneer.

The Hemi V-8 remains powerful and more than capable of handling whatever task you throw at it. At the same time, one is left with the impression that it’d rather just loaf around below 2,000 rpm. I suspect the transmission is the issue. Ram tuned the latest version of its eight-speed automatic to get to eighth gear and stay there. The transmission upshifts quickly and smoothly, but when you kick down the throttle to pass slow traffic, there’s a noticeable hesitation before it responds. The transmission makes this nearly 400-hp pickup feel slower than it is.

The interior is the place where Ram made the biggest improvements. Not only is the cabin bank-vault quiet, but there are also noticeable upgrades to both interior quality and fit and finish. Gone are the hard plastics and janky switchgear; in their place are thick, soft leather and high-quality satin-finished plastics and metal accents. Although our tester wasn’t equipped with the new 12.0-inch infotainment screen, the standard CarPlay-compatible 8.4-inch Uconnect infotainment screen features a high-resolution display, an intuitive interface, and snappy response. The cabin itself is quite comfortable, with more than enough space to shuttle four adults—five in a pinch—without issue.

Prices for the base 2019 Ram 1500 start at $33,340. Throw down $42,335 for the 1500 Laramie, and you’ll get leather upholstery, heated and cooled front seats, and an Alpine stereo system, among other things. Our 1500 Laramie 4×4 tester was well equipped, with 20-inch wheels, the Level 1 Equipment package (which includes driver-assist features like blind-spot monitoring), plus some other options, for an as-tested price of $55,430.

Although the 2019 Ram 1500 may not be the disrupter the previous-generation pickup was, there’s no doubt that it’s a solid step forward for the brand. Besides, with the electrified eTorque engine soon expected to roll off the production line, that disruption we’ve been waiting for could be just around the corner.

2019 Ram 1500 Laramie 4×4 (CrewCab) BASE PRICE $46,890 PRICE AS TESTED $55,430 VEHICLE LAYOUT Front-engine, 4WD, 5-pass, 4-door truck ENGINE 5.7L/395-hp/410-lb-ft OHV 16-valve V-8 TRANSMISSION 8-speed automatic CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST) 5,515 lb (58/42%) WHEELBASE 140.5 in LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 228.9 x 82.1 x 77.7 in 0-60 MPH 6.1 sec QUARTER MILE 14.7 sec @ 93.7 mph BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 122 ft LATERAL ACCELERATION 0.74 g (avg) MT FIGURE EIGHT 28.6 sec @ 0.60 g (avg) EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON 15/21/17 mpg ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY 225/160 kW-hrs/100 miles CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 1.13 lb/mile

The post 2019 Ram 1500 Laramie 5.7L First Test Review appeared first on Motor Trend.

Categories: The Top Zones

Property Week News Feed: LXi Reit posts confident maiden results

The Top Zones - Mon, 05/21/2018 - 07:50
LXi Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) has exceeded several targets in its first annual results since listing on the London Stock Exchange in February last year.
Categories: The Top Zones

Property Week News Feed: Carpetright price jumps 26.57% on share issuance

The Top Zones - Mon, 05/21/2018 - 07:08
Carpetright shares rocketed 26.57% on Friday as the beleaguered company launched a £60m share placing as part of the rescue package which will also see it close 92 stores.
Categories: The Top Zones

Property Week News Feed: McKay posts strong annual results

The Top Zones - Mon, 05/21/2018 - 07:02
McKay Securities has posted a 6.3% hike in net asset value for the year, as the value of its portfolio reached a record high.
Categories: The Top Zones

Motortrend News Feed: 2019 Hyundai Veloster First Drive: Grand Funk

The Top Zones - Mon, 05/21/2018 - 04:01

Full disclosure: I’ve always had a special place in my heart for the Hyundai Veloster. Back in my Chrysler days, I proposed the same kooky asymmetrical door layout for the original Neon. Seeing my rejected idea survive for a second generation as “normal” coupes and sedans are canceled is sweet validation. Discovering that the new car is as fun to drive as it still is funky to look at is even sweeter icing.

Hyundai has deftly matured the 2019 Veloster without altering its kid-at-heart essence. Dimensionally it’s 0.8 inch longer and 0.4 inch wider on the same wheelbase. By not changing the height, the roof slopes more steeply, but savvy packaging adds 0.6 inch of headroom, and seats-up cargo space balloons from 15.5 cubic feet to a CUV-ish 19.9 cubes. And although the stylists have resculpted the flanks, revised the nose, added LED jewelry, and applied the latest aerodynamic tricks like air curtains at the front and rear tires, nobody will mistake this rig for anything but a Veloster.

Under the redecorated skin are myriad improvements to better align the Veloster’s dynamics with its sporty looks. By exchanging some spot welds for 397 feet of adhesive tape, the body structure’s torsional rigidity improves by 27.8 percent. By increasing the high-strength steel content to 52 percent, enough weight is saved to mostly cover the added equipment.

To this stronger foundation are bolted lots of new Elantra and Kona bits, including a fully independent rear suspension to replace the humble twist-beam. In front, the steering rack moves closer to the axle centerline to improve steering precision and reduce toe-change during braking, aluminum knuckles save 5.3 pounds per corner, and the lower control arms are reconfigured to improve both lateral stiffness and ride isolation. Standard Michelin Pilot Sport 4 summer tires on R-Spec models promise to slash autocross lap times.

In the engine room, there’s a brand “Nu” 2.0-liter base engine that delivers 15 more horses and 12 more lb-ft than the 1.6-liter Gamma mill it replaces (for 147 and 132 total). Six-speed transmission choices include a manual and a torque-converter automatic replacing the old car’s dry-dual-clutch transmission. Torque multiplication from the converter allows 18 percent taller gearing in first with roughly equivalent launch feel, but it costs some fuel economy. Despite Atkinson-cycle engine efficiency, the EPA combined ratings drop by 1 mpg with the automatic, 2 mpg with the manual.

The top-spec turbo engine is unchanged, though its automatic option is now a seven-speed DCT (up from six). Interestingly, although the gears are all more closely spaced in the seven speed, the overall ratio spread is smaller than in the former six-speed. Happily, turbo fuel economy increases by 1 EPA combined mpg with either transmission.

I sampled every powertrain variant except the 2.0-liter manual, exploring traffic-free roller-coaster roads in the Texas hill country. The experience shaved 30 years off this grizzled veteran’s automotive mindset.

If you were a little kid longing to drive your cool neighbor’s Mitsubishi Eclipse turbo, Acura Integra GS-R, or Toyota Celica GT-S, the Veloster Turbo R-Spec is those cars for these times. It delivers every bit as much performance, personality, and swagger as those coupes did in their day, adding 21st century tech like Normal/Sport driving modes, engine sound enhancement (which can be turned off!), and a bright, reconfigurable head-up display for monitoring the tach. Worthy of special mention is the B&M Racing machined aluminum shifter and linkage, which feels great in the hand and operates with Honda/Mazda precision.

If the handling feels like the boss of BMW M’s dynamics team came to work for Hyundai/Kia, that’s because he did—developing this car as the basis for Hyundai North America’s first all-out performance model, the Veloster N, due this September. The R-Spec is a rung down from that one, but its body-motion control is exemplary, it steers with linear precision (and slightly artificial feel), and it hangs on in corners at least as well as any Civic Si or Focus ST, yet its ride is remarkably supple (like a BMW’s). Brake pedal modulation and heel-toe proximity to the throttle are both top-notch, as well. More linear, less turbo-lumpy power delivery is my only wish.

Step up to the Turbo Ultimate package with the 7DCT tranny, and the gear ratios allow high-rpm second-gear cornering in the tightest Texas hairpins with a paddle flick into the heart of the torque band in third. Sport mode orders multiple early automatic downshifts when slowing for a curve. This model’s Nexen N Priz AH8 tires lack the ultimate stick of the PS4s, but they scrub without squealing, and front-to-rear roll balance means adept drivers won’t be frustrated by understeer. Ultimate cars also get a handsome asymmetrical black and white interior.

After spending 150 miles in Turbos, the 2.0 feels noticeably slower, though in Sport mode it does its gol-dangedest to deliver at least 60 percent of the driving joy. The engine’s song at high revs is sweet. Wide-open throttle runs are smooth, but part-throttle hill climbs can result in upshifts that take the engine out of its powerband, resulting in busy gear changes. Compared to the twin-clutch unit, paddle shifts happen slower and 3–2 downshifts seemed to be rejected more frequently, but having the paddles is great. Hyundai expects half of buyers to take the 2.0-liter; those folks won’t be disappointed.

Saving the best news for last: pricing. The Veloster opens at $19,385 with standard 7.0-inch CarPlay/Android Auto display, automatic emergency braking, and lane keep assist. The Turbo R-Spec starts at $23,785, and a fully loaded Turbo with the Ultimate package and DCT costs $29,035. Fun fact: That’s at or below the inflation-adjusted prices of a late-’90s Eclipse GT, Integra GS-R, or Celica GT-S. And that third door to let your pals come and go from the back seat? Priceless.

2019 Hyundai Veloster BASE PRICE $19,385-$26,285 VEHICLE LAYOUT Front-engine, FWD, 4-pass, 3-door hatchback ENGINES 2.0L/147-hp/132-lb-ft Atkinson cycle DOHC 16-valve I-4; 1.6L/201-hp/195-lb-ft turbocharged DOHC 16-valve I-4 TRANSMISSIONS 6-speed manual, 6-speed auto, 7-speed twin-clutch auto CURB WEIGHT 2,700-3,000 lb (mfr) WHEELBASE 104.3 in LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT 166.9 x 70.9 x 55.1 in 0-60 MPH 6.8-8.7 sec (MT est) EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON 25-28/33-34/28-30 mpg ENERGY CONSUMPTION, CITY/HWY 120-135/99-102 kW-hrs/100 miles CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 0.64-0.69 lb/mile ON SALE IN U.S. Currently

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The Car Connection News Feed: 2019 Hyundai Veloster

The Top Zones - Mon, 05/21/2018 - 04:01
The 2019 Hyundai Veloster gives asymmetry a second chance. It’d have been easy to drop the sporty Veloster hatchback from the lineup, as crossovers take over the Hyundai brand. But the Veloster brings in buyers who might find a Civic Coupe alluring, or a VW Golf enticing. It’d have been even easier to add a fourth door to the 2019...
Categories: The Top Zones

Motortrend News Feed: Reinventing the Wheel – Technologue

The Top Zones - Sun, 05/20/2018 - 08:00

Electric motors are round. Wheels are round. It’s a pretty natural impulse to combine the two. No lesser automotive luminary than Dr. Ferdinand Porsche did it first, inventing the wheel-hub motor in 1897. He mounted two of them to his front-driven battery-electric prototype “Lohner-Porsche.” Three years later he invented the gas-electric hybrid by fitting four hub motors to his elaborate four-ton “Mixte” coach. The one tiny rub: Those 14-hp motors weighed around 320 pounds. Each.

Modern materials and engineering have enabled dramatic improvements. For about seven years, Protean Electric has been selling a 100-hp hub motor that weighs just 68 pounds. So why do all volume-produced EVs still mount their motors inboard? To minimize unsprung weight for optimal ride quality.

Enter Silicon Valley inventor and serial startup founder Marcus Hays and co-inventor Scott Streeter. They wondered if it might be possible to develop a wheel and motor system that weighed no more than a conventional aluminum wheel. As folks in their neighborhood so often do, Hays, Streeter, and the Orbis Wheels team looked to disrupt as many paradigms as possible. Without the gear reduction of a body-mounted motor, a hub motor needs high torque to act through the 1-foot lever arm from the hub to the contact patch. Wheels then need hefty structure to transmit these acceleration, braking,
and cornering forces between the hub and the rim.

Hays’ radical solution: do away with the hub entirely and power the rim.

Mass, cost, and rotational inertia instantly plunge with this approach. Mounting the motor so that it drives a rim-mounted ring gear (via a small pinion shaft) lowers the required torque to get the wheel spinning. It also greatly increases the electric motor’s top speed. And guess what? Motors wound for high rpm instead of high torque, like those on a drone copter, can deliver the same power as high-torque motors using vastly less copper and hence weighing one-twentieth as much. Bam—a cost- and weight-savings twofer.

How does a hubless wheel connect to the car? Traditional suspension links attach to a carrier that supports the motor, brake caliper, and a triangular wheel-bearing system. The car’s weight bears on two pairs of rollers located at the 5 and 7 o’clock positions on the rim; a third set at 12 o’clock keeps the wheel from tilting. The inner and outer bearing race surfaces on the rim are angled to transmit side forces when cornering, and PTFE anodizing of the aluminum rim and Delrin rollers negates the need for lubrication. Hays says his 9.5-by-20-inch prototype Civic Type R rear wheels (below) exhibit one-fifth the dynamic friction and 13 percent less rotational inertia than Honda’s wheel. Covers and seals are expected to exclude debris, and typical air-cooled automotive-grade DC motors are tolerant of occasional, temporary submersion in water. I worry about those bearings and am eager to study the durability-testing results once Orbis fits motors to the Civic wheels.

EXPLODED The motor and pinion (left) engage ring gears (right); the stationary cover at far right ducts cooling air to a brake disc.

Another ring-wheel benefit is that a large-diameter brake rotor positioned out nearer the tire contact patch greatly reduces the required brake force. That means less heat is generated and thus brake components can be smaller and lighter. Between this and the friction reduction, Orbis thinks this tech makes nondriven Orbis wheels ideal for F1 and Formula E.

Orbis installed small ring wheels powered by skateboard motors on a Chinese Dongfang electric scooter. Each weighs 20.6 pounds versus the stock wheel/motor’s 42.1 pounds. Performance and energy consumption were nearly identical, but Orbis’ gear drive is a tad noisier—64 dB versus 61. With batteries downsized for equivalent range and performance, the 2WD scooter weighs 100 pounds less than the original.

Cake icing: Hays reckons the cost of a ring-wheel-driven powertrain could be 25 percent less than that of a conventional EV. Orbis seeks to license the technology, assisting with prototype design and development. It has civilian and military projects ongoing—and if we’re lucky, a kit to add 140 hp and 232 lb-ft of electric drift inducement to the rear of a Civic Type R.

Read more by Frank Markus here:

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Categories: The Top Zones