Property

Symmetry Park first phase receives planning consent

Property Week News Feed - Wed, 04/14/2021 - 15:56
Tritax Symmetry, Tritax Big Box’s dedicated logistics development company, has secured detailed planning permission for the first phase of Symmetry Park in Rugby, comprising 320,000 sq ft of logistics accommodation.
Categories: Property

Tokoro Capital secures 60% LTC debt facility for Paris office

Property Week News Feed - Wed, 04/14/2021 - 15:44
Real estate investment manager Tokoro Capital, set up by Sanjay Sethi and Max Bassadone, has closed a 60% loan-to-cost senior investment loan from pbb Deutsche Pfandbriefbank.
Categories: Property

1969 Icon BR Ford Bronco New School First Drive: Icon Builds The Bronco Ford Won’t

Motortrend News Feed - Wed, 04/14/2021 - 15:30

It’s the wheels and tires that really give it away. Even the casual car fan will recognize they’re not even close to original. Serious car fans will notice a bunch of other tells, like the modern LED headlights, the blocky painted steel bumpers, and the “Icon” badging in place of the iconic Ford lettering and Bronco badge on the grille and fenders. It takes a serious Ford Bronco fan to notice the front turn signals are the wrong shape, the spare tire is on the wrong side, and all the chrome is gone.

Spotting all of Icon CEO and chief designer Jonathan Ward’s changes is half the fun of an Icon vehicle. Even when he isn’t trying to be particularly subtle, his style tends toward enhancing the original design, not throwing it out.

When it comes to the Icon BR series of classic Ford Broncos, though, you’ve got options. The rig you see here is a 1969 Icon BR Ford Bronco New School, and it’s the way Ward has been doing them from the start. Because some customers wanted a more subtle, more original look but the same world-class craftsmanship, there’s also the Old School series that’s much harder to spot as a custom. Most of the tells I listed above don’t apply.

Either way your taste takes you, there’s no shortage of the trademark Icon upgrades. Under the hood is a 460-hp Ford Coyote 5.0-liter V-8 and your choice of a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic. From there, a twin-stick Atlas II transfer case and Currie axles based on the Dana 44 front and 60 rear handle the twist. Controlling the axles are Fox shocks with coilover springs and adjustable anti-roll bars. All of that is bolted to an Art Morrison chassis and topped by your choice of body style, be it full-roof hard top, full-roof soft top, half-cab pickup, or a Roadster with no doors and only a bikini soft top. Each body is stripped bare and repainted with a marine-grade primer the body shop hates for how hard it is to sand, then painted any color you want. Ward strongly discourages modern flat paint finishes on Old School Broncos, but for a New School like this one, go nuts.

Not just with the paint, either. Go nuts. Ward builds his Broncos to be used like Broncos. Those Currie axles are loaded with ARB air-locking differentials for serious crawling, if you’re willing to risk the paint job. Those are 33-inch BFGoodrich KO2s on the Icon billet aluminum wheels, and that’s a proper Warn 9.5 Ti winch integrated into the front bumper. The Atlas transfer case is good for an 87:1 crawl ratio in low gear, better than a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon. These things aren’t made to be trailer queens.

They don’t drive like old trucks, either. Even with this New School Bronco’s anti-roll bars in their softest setting for better off-road ride and articulation, this thing drives as well as a brand-new Wrangler. Around here, off-road parks tend to be in the mountains, and cruising out the winding roads to get there was actually fun in its own right. Despite the soft setup, the body doesn’t lean nearly as much as you’d expect looking at it. All the leaning it does is measured and well controlled, making the Bronco feel confident and sure-footed on the road.

Not tipping over in the first sharp bend is only one part of the equation. Big Brembo disc brakes front and rear take orders from a Wilwood dual-circuit master cylinder that provides excellent pedal feel and immediate engagement. Nothing puts a driver’s mind at ease—especially in an old truck—like good brakes, and these are great brakes.

You want great brakes when your rig has, at minimum, more than double the original horsepower. The vintage 220-hp 302-cubic-inch (4.9-liter) Windsor V-8 this particular truck came from the factory with was no doubt a massive improvement over the standard 105-hp 170-cubic-inch (2.8-liter) I-6 and more than enough for the original chassis, but damn if the 460 hp provided by the modern Coyote V-8 doesn’t feel just right today. It feels like this engine and this truck were designed for each other—it matches up that well. It has plenty of power for showing off, ripping onto the freeway, and passing slowpokes. Plenty to put a smile on your face, but not so much the truck feels overpowered and unwieldy.

That power is accompanied by the ideal soundtrack, an unmistakable Ford V-8 rumble that eschews the Mustang’s scream at high rpm for a mellower sound befitting a truck. This truck having a manual, you get to decide how much you want to hear of any particular rpm range, and you’ll want to. The shifter is ridiculously long and mounted up close to the dash, as befits an old truck. The throws are inevitably long, but the action is surprisingly precise and the gears easy to find. Even with my short legs, comfortably reaching all the odd-numbered gears requires sitting up on the pedals and steering wheel, just like in an old truck, but one that’s more satisfying to drive than a modern manual transmission Wrangler.

Although the shifter looks the part, it’s a lot easier to spot the Icon parts inside the Bronco than out. The steel center console looks too modern to be original, and a peek under the lid reveals the touchscreen navigation and entertainment system. The steering wheel is an Icon piece, but it looks like it could be a vintage aftermarket part if not for the Icon lizard mascot in the center of the horn button. Similarly, the machined billet knobs on the dash that control the wipers, fan, headlights, and temperature look like they could be vintage, but they aren’t. Same for the stainless steel trim pieces. The marine-grade Chilewich carpeting and seat covers are cut and trimmed in ways such things weren’t done in the ’60s, but the real giveaway is the gauges. Although they’re fitted in the same hard-to-see spot as the originals (to the left of the steering column), they’re obviously modern.

All those pieces are great, but as always, it’s the little touches that make an Icon. The grille, the subtle trim rings around the taillights, the exterior door handles, door mirrors, and interior window cranks are machined from solid aluminum. It’s a ridiculous amount of over-engineering, but boy, do they feel substantial in your hands. What’s more, the windows are electric. The cranks actually only move an inch and actuate hidden switches. Double-tap the driver’s window crank to control the passenger’s window.

Then there are the bits borrowed from the similarly over-engineered world of aviation. The sun visors are built of sturdier stuff than any you’ve ever seen in an automobile, because they were designed for jets. The little spotlights that protrude from either end of the dash came from a Russian MiG fighter jet.

As always, parts and craftsmanship of this caliber don’t come cheap or anything close to it. A full hardtop like this starts at a cool $207,000, and this particular one came in at $260,000 all said and done. As with any Icon build, though, the sky’s the limit if you want to customize. Just get your order in now, because there’s currently a multi-year wait on new builds. Not many can afford them, but among those who can, these things are popular, and it’s easy to see why. At least selling my house would actually buy me one of these, unlike Ward’s even more impressive Derelict models.

The post 1969 Icon BR Ford Bronco New School First Drive: Icon Builds The Bronco Ford Won’t appeared first on MotorTrend.

Categories: Property

Cluttons appoints new head of project and building consultancy

Property Week News Feed - Wed, 04/14/2021 - 15:16
Property consultancy Cluttons has hired Robert Burke to head its project management and building consultancy teams.
Categories: Property

CBRE placed on £470m Sheffield regen scheme

Property Week News Feed - Wed, 04/14/2021 - 15:15
CBRE’s retail team has been appointed by Sheffield City Council and Queensberry as sole leasing agents on the Heart of the City scheme, a £470m regeneration project designed to transform Sheffield city centre.
Categories: Property

LandAid launches two summer fundraising events

Property Week News Feed - Wed, 04/14/2021 - 15:12
LandAid has launched two virtual fundraising events for this summer to raise funds for local youth homelessness charities.
Categories: Property

2022 Honda Civic Sedan First Look: Small Car Royalty, Redesigned

Motortrend News Feed - Wed, 04/14/2021 - 14:00

This is it, Honda fans: Here’s your first official look at the all-new 2022 Honda Civic sedan. In place of the industry-standard teaser that features a backlit silhouette or just a slice of the headlight framed against inky darkness, Honda bucks the trend with a full front three-quarter glimpse of its newest bread-and-butter compact sedan.

Keen Honda enthusiasts know this isn’t really our first look at the new 11th-generation sedan. The lovely dark orange 2022 Honda Civic Sedan Prototype shown at the end of last year (and which is pictured below and in the gallery) gave us an eyeful of what to expect from the Civic’s sheetmetal; a sketched rendering is all we got regarding the small car’s cockpit design, however.

That said, Honda was careful to bill the prototype as a preview and not a verbatim production car, so it’s best seen as a conglomeration of stylistic touches that will be available on a range of different trims and editions of the 2022 Civic. So, think of the orange car as the forthcoming 2022 Honda Civic’s “greatest hits.”

Well, maybe not all of the future Civic variants, as Honda already confirmed there will be a Type R based on the 11th-gen, along with an Si and a hatchback. For now, this production-ready red sedan reveals the 2022 Civic in four-door Touring specification, complete with premium-looking contrast wheels.

There are subtle differences in the front fascia when compared to the prototype, but it appears the orange car was a faithful first look. It’s a largely handsome design, especially when parked next to the alien-like origami angles of the outgoing Civic, and it appears more as a scaled-down interpretation of the larger Accord than a sleeker version of the prior generation.

There’s good stuff under the new skin, too. Honda confirmed the new Civic’s bones are retained from the outgoing car, with significant improvements in torsional rigidity and handling. The current Civic remains one of the sharpest compacts to drive in any body style or trim, so we expect the new car to be dynamite to drive.

There’s still no look at the cabin but based on the sketches provided at the prototype’s debut, it’s shaping up to be one of the segment’s cleanest and most modern interiors. Look for the inside to reflect the mature aesthetic of the outside, with less angularity and more horizontal surfaces.

Excited? Us, too. For your first full look at the new 2022 Honda Civic, check back here on April 28 when Honda pulls off the cover completely.

The post 2022 Honda Civic Sedan First Look: Small Car Royalty, Redesigned appeared first on MotorTrend.

Categories: Property

2022 Mazda MX-30 preview

The Car Connection News Feed - Wed, 04/14/2021 - 14:00
What kind of vehicle is the 2022 Mazda MX-30? What does it compare to? The MX-30 is Mazda’s first battery-powered car to be sold in the U.S. Available in Japan and Europe already, the small five-seat hatchback compares to electric vehicles like the Kia Niro EV, Mini Cooper SE, and Hyundai Kona Electric. Is the 2022 Mazda MX-30 a good car?...
Categories: Property

2022 Honda Civic preview

The Car Connection News Feed - Wed, 04/14/2021 - 14:00
What kind of vehicle is the 2022 Honda Civic? What does it compare to? The 2022 Honda Civic is a compact car that will be in sedan and hatchback body styles. The sedan will be available as a sportier Si model and the hatchback will offer a high-performance Type R. The 11th-generation Civic will not come as a coupe. Other compacts that come as a...
Categories: Property

2022 Kia Carnival First Drive Review: So Long, Sedona

Motortrend News Feed - Wed, 04/14/2021 - 13:00

Drop the fantasy for a moment. As much as we’d all love to project the rough-and-tumble, outdoorsy ruggedness associated with the deep-voiced sales pitches in SUV ads, how often are you really tackling anything more challenging than a gravel parking lot or a dusty fire road?

Buyers in need of three-row seating but who won’t capitalize on the off-road Sporting aspect of a sport utility vehicle can get loads more utility out of a less ostentatious, less understood class of vehicle. The clever buyer shops for a minivan—or as Kia is calling it, a multipurpose vehicle (MPV). As much as we love the SUV of the year–winning Kia Telluride, the new 2022 Kia Carnival MPV could be a smarter fit for most families.

What Is It?

 

If you haven’t heard of the Carnival, you’re not alone. Kia introduced it as a new nameplate for 2022 to replace its Sedona minivan, which Kia has sold in the U.S. since the 2002 model year.

The Carnival rides on a lighter, stronger platform than the outgoing Sedona and features boxy, SUV-inspired sheetmetal reminiscent of newer Kia designs, including the Telluride, Seltos, and Sorento. (A neighbor even asked if it was an SUV or a minivan, which surely would thrill Kia’s designers.) This is also the first model to don the newly redesigned Kia badge.

Cavernous Cargo Carrying

The Carnival is more spacious than the van it replaces, too. With 40.2 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third-row bench, it has 6.3 cubic feet more cargo volume than the old Sedona and at least 6.7 cubes more than any other current minivan. Stowing the third-row seats is easily doable with one hand via a chunky handle on the back of the seat, and with the seats folded, the load floor is completely flat.

Space behind the second row is class-competitive but a few cubes behind a comparable Honda Odyssey or Chrysler Pacifica. The Carnival’s second-row seats are removable (in all models save the range-topping SX Prestige), a feature the Sedona didn’t offer. To do so, lift a lever under the back side of the seat and fold the seat forward; removal requires no more than average adult strength, but the awkward shape means it may be wise to enlist the help of a partner.

Those planning to frequently swap between using the maximum space behind the first row and using the second-row seats may be better off with Chrysler Pacifica’s Stow ’n Go solution rather than wrangling the second-row seats into and out of the Carnival. Once they’re removed, however, not only does the Kia have more space behind the first row than any other minivan, but its cargo volume also measures larger than that of the colossal Chevrolet Suburban (145.1 versus 144.7 cubic feet).

Cargo Space behind third-/second-/first-row seats (cu. ft.) 2022 Kia Carnival 40.2 / 86.9 / 145.1 2021 Toyota Sienna 33.5 / 75.2 / 101.0 2021 Honda Odyssey 32.8 / 89.2 / 144.9 2021 Chrysler Pacifica 32.3 / 87.5 / 140.5 2021 Kia Sedona 33.9 / 78.4 / 142.0 Three Roomy Rows of Seating

But don’t go thinking the Carnival is just a cargo van stand-in. The new MPV can be ordered in seven- and eight-passenger configurations, both with ample legroom in all three rows. Third-row access is near effortless with a one-hand pull of a handle beneath the second-row armrest that folds and slides the seat forward; older kids will have no problem operating it themselves. Third-row legroom matches the Pacifica and is a couple inches behind the Sienna and the Odyssey. A 6-foot-1 passenger has just enough legroom in the way back, but their head likely will be brushing the ceiling. Also, the rearmost windows border on claustrophobia-inducingly small.

The second row is really where it’s at. Beyond the 40.5 inches of legroom, its neat aspect comes with the SX Prestige and its “VIP” second-row seat. The Prestige swaps out the standard second-row bench for two leather-lined, heated, and cooled lounges that are more comfortable than the furniture in most living rooms. You can slide them way back, to make room for the Prestige’s party trick: full recline with power-extendable legrests. Friends compared them to the plush recliners in upscale movie theaters. At $47,275, the Carnival SX Prestige is pricey, but it’s less than other top-spec minivans. And it easily represents the most luxurious rear seating experience in any car under $50,000.

Up front, there’s an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system featuring Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard, but that’s only on the base model. All other trims showcase a huge 12.3-inch display that’s set high on the dash to keep your eyes near the road. Through the infotainment screen, the driver or front passenger can access the cabin camera and the intercom (standard on EX and above), which allow parents up front to talk to and keep an eye on kids in the back without turning around.

Living with the Kia Carnival

For the most part, it all comes together as a well-executed people mover.

There are six USB charging ports in the car (eight with the rear seat entertainment displays) plus two three-prong household outlets and two 12-volt power outlets. Including the wireless charging pad that’s standard on EX trims and higher, it’s possible to charge as many as 13 devices at once. The Carnival has 11 cupholders, too—no matter how many people you pack into this thing, no phone need go uncharged and no cup or juicebox unheld.

The interior design is just as handsome as the bodywork. Kia integrates metal-look trim throughout the cabin, and leatherette upholstery is standard on the EX and SX. Especially with the Prestige trim’s dual 12.3-inch front displays, the cabin gives off real Mercedes-Benz vibes. That said, the metallic trim can cause dangerous glare for the driver in the wrong light. What’s more, Kia’s overreliance on capacitive-touch buttons for HVAC and infotainment controls can be frustrating, as they lack tactile feedback and can be tough to find without taking your eyes off the road.

SX trims and above include dual 10.1-inch displays as part of a rear entertainment system. The displays feature preinstalled apps for streaming Netflix, Youtube, and Twitch, and there’s a kids mode with graphics by Pinkfong, the South Korean children’s educational empire behind last year’s Baby Shark phenomenon. Factor in the HDMI, USB, and wireless device–mirroring capabilities, and the entertainment prospects are vast.

The rear entertainment displays are not perfect, however. Streaming content through any of the preinstalled apps requires connecting the system to a paired smartphone’s Wi-Fi hot spot because unlike its competitors, the Carnival does not include one. In an effort to treat the Carnival as a mobile office for an afternoon, we were also frustrated to find the HDMI input produced a fuzzy, low-res image and too much lag to accurately use a cursor, though Kia insists the examples we drove were pre-production units and this could change.

Kia Carnival Driving Impressions

The biggest surprise from our time with the Carnival? How well it drives.

Kia has developed a new 3.5-liter naturally aspirated V-6 for the Carnival. With 290 hp and 262 lb-ft, it’s the most powerful engine in the segment and is tied for the most torque. Paired with a smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic that is rarely caught in the wrong gear, the engine provides ample acceleration. The Carnival is also rated to tow 3,500 pounds, which is typical for this class.

Vans like this need to ride well, too, and this Kia achieves that. The combination of relatively soft springs and tires with plenty of sidewall delivers a plushness that won’t wake the baby in the back seat if you hit a pothole. More impressive, though, the Carnival exhibits next to no body roll and minimal secondary ride motions. It’s genuinely fun to drive. And when you’re just on a highway slog, Kia’s lane centering and adaptive cruise control systems are among the best in the business.

That Highway Driving Assist is part of a generous collection of driver assist active safety tech. Automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, lane centering, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, driver attention warning, and rear occupant alert are all standard, even on the base model. The EX trim adds front parking sensors and Highway Driving Assist adaptive cruise control; the SX gains auto rear braking and an (invaluable) high-res 360-degree camera system; and the SX Prestige boasts a blind-spot camera feed in its 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster.

Our only complaint about the mechanicals is the lack of choice. With the new Sienna debuting with a hybrid-only powertrain and Chrysler offering a plug-in hybrid Pacifica, some buyers will be dismayed by the Carnival’s 22 mpg combined fuel economy rating. (Queried about the lack of a hybrid offering for the Carnival, a Kia representative said, “Be on the lookout for what’s in store.”) Drivers in colder climates may also be lured away by Chrysler and Toyota’s available AWD—the Carnival is FWD only.

The Verdict

We mentioned earlier that Kia is marketing the Carnival as an MPV, a multipurpose vehicle. Nothing wrong with that; it can manage stand-in duty as a comfortable road tripper, an executive luxury limo, or even a full-blown cargo hauler.

But consider the Carnival’s strengths: smooth ride; thoughtful, family-friendly features; intuitive tech; and a vast, high-quality cabin. Lean in to the stereotype, Kia. The Carnival is an excellent modern minivan.

2022 Kia Carnival PRICE $33,275-$47,275 (est) LAYOUT Front- engine, FWD, 7-8-pass, 4-door  van ENGINE 3.5L/290-hp/262-lb-ft DOHC 24-valve V-6 TRANSMISSION 8-speed auto CURB WEIGHT 4,750 lb (mfr) WHEELBASE 121.7 in L x W x H 203.0 x 78.5 x 68.5 in 0-60 MPH 6.5-7.5 sec (MT est) EPA FUEL ECON 190/26/22 mpg ENERGY CONSUMPTION, CITY/HWY 117/130 kW-hrs/100 miles (est) CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 0.90 lb/mile (est) ON SALE Currently

The post 2022 Kia Carnival First Drive Review: So Long, Sedona appeared first on MotorTrend.

Categories: Property

AMC Networks International to move into Fora Soho

Property Week News Feed - Wed, 04/14/2021 - 12:30
Entertainment company AMC Networks International has taken the fourth floor of flexible space Fora Soho as its new London HQ.
Categories: Property

Habinteg appoints Nick Apetroaie as CEO

Property Week News Feed - Wed, 04/14/2021 - 12:27
Habinteg Housing Association has appointed Nick Apetroaie as the new chief executive, replacing Sheron Carter.
Categories: Property

Curchod & Co acquires London Clancy

Property Week News Feed - Wed, 04/14/2021 - 12:25
Surrey-based commercial property firm Curchod & Co has acquired Hampshire-based firm London Clancy in a bid to expand its South East operations.
Categories: Property

Whitbread to open two central London Premier Inns

Property Week News Feed - Wed, 04/14/2021 - 12:08
Hospitality operator Whitbread is preparing to open two new Premier Inn hotels in Soho and Shoreditch, in central London.
Categories: Property

NewRiver mulls pub portfolio IPO

Property Week News Feed - Wed, 04/14/2021 - 12:04
NewRiver is considering a potential initial public offering (IPO) of Hawthorn, its portfolio of over 700 pubs across the UK
Categories: Property

2021 Lexus IS300 AWD First Test: Doesn’t Drive a Day Over Seven Years Old

Motortrend News Feed - Wed, 04/14/2021 - 12:00

If Lexus had its way, you wouldn’t think too hard about the 2021 Lexus IS300 AWD. The automaker’s media push surrounding the latest changes to its perennial compact sport sedan would have you believe a new schnozz, rump, touchscreen, and behind-the-scenes upgrades to its chassis constitutes an all-new ground-up redesign and not a simple midcycle refresh. In a way, Lexus is correct—this isn’t a midcycle refresh. Or rather, it shouldn’t be; that shiny new 2021 Lexus IS gleaming on dealer lots might wear a significant nip/tuck, but this year marks the second-gen IS’ seventh year of production—the time for a true midcycle refresh was three years ago.

Seven years. Usually, all-new models begin to show their age around the three- or four-year mark; at five or six model years, we start to moan and groan, no matter how much we liked the car when the design was wrapper-fresh. Annoying? Well, we certainly find our shares of peas under Nappa leather seat cushions, but unless extensive market research and strong sales dictate it ain’t broke—like Subaru’s latest copy-paste generation jump for the current Forester and Outback—consumers start to notice as you inch closer to the decade mark.

Of course, most consumers are not as picky as us car dorks. There is usually no Goldilocks moment in the buying—or leasing—process, and though some might notice some outdated portions of the interior, the average buyer likely won’t recognize the IS’ age-related quirks that bug us the most. They won’t care about the revamped chassis and shockingly old powertrains. For most, the new IS’ biggest selling point is the revised infotainment system that—joy of joys—is now operated via touchscreen.

Ancient Powertrains, Modern Performance

But goodness, those powertrains—they need to book an appointment with the great bench dyno in the sky, having stuck around in some cases since the late 2000s. The 2021 IS300 AWD we tested carries one of the weirder and more archaic options available within the IS family; a 3.5-liter V-6 routs power through a six-speed automatic transmission and into an all-wheel-drive system. It’s the same engine that powers the IS350 that sits a rung up from the IS300 range, only it’s significantly detuned from the IS350’s 311 hp and 280 lb-ft, putting out a lower 260 hp and 236 lb-ft in an attempt to match the standard rear-wheel-drive IS300’s 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4’s 241 hp and 258 lb-ft.

Weird, right? Lexus apparently found it most cost effective to simply cut power on the 3.5-liter rather than to modify the AWD system to match the 2.0-liter. It gets even weirder; cutting 51 hp and 34 lb-ft did little to slow the IS300 AWD’s performance from the more powerful eight-speed IS350. The IS300 AWD buzzed from 0 to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds on its way to a quarter-mile finish in 14.3 seconds, matching the rear-wheel-drive 2021 IS350 F Sport to 60 mph and losing the dragstrip sprint by 0.1 second. Wait, what?

A Tale of Two Transmissions

A close study of the acceleration charts calls into question the degree of “detuning” that really happened on our test car’s engine. The all-wheel-drive traction off the line gives the IS300 a clear advantage below 20 mph, but the fact that the IS 350 isn’t able to clearly pull ahead until about 70 mph despite gearing that’s about 9 to 11 percent shorter in the first three gears, and a weight-to-power advantage of 2.8 pounds per horsepower (12.2 versus 15.0) suggests those engine output figures are seriously “conservative.” If they all run as strong as this one, there’s no significant penalty to pay if you pick the lower-spec AWD IS—at least, if you don’t have a line of credit to support the purchase and subsequent care and feeding of the forthcoming V-8-powered IS500.

Old engine, but modern(ish) performance. That 5.7-second sprint and the quarter-mile time are just a few tenths slower than both the equivalent BMW 330i xDrive and the rear-wheel-drive Mercedes-Benz C300. More surprising still—all of those segment mates pack torque-rich turbocharged four-cylinders and sharper automatic transmissions.

Quick enough, but the V-6’s power delivery is predictably peakier than the aforementioned turbo-fours, requiring high revs when wringing it out down a country road. The six-speed isn’t a quick shot, but shifts are smooth during day-to-day driving and not recalcitrant when abused in manual shifting mode, operated by either the shifter or the wheel-mounted paddles.

Some Chassis Chatter

Although it left the powertrains unchanged, Lexus fettled the IS’ chassis to bring it more in line with the far more modern platforms that underpin its competitors. No mean feat, as you can directly trace the roots of the IS300’s Toyota New N platform back to 2005. So, to shake off 18 years of dust, Lexus stiffened the IS’ body structure, adding extra reinforcement to the radiator side supports, more weld points for the front-side-member, and reworked portions of the C-pillars and roof.

The suspension and weight reduction were a particular point of focus, with new coil springs that are 20 percent lighter than the standard setup on the prior IS, along with new A-arms forged from aluminum that are 18 percent lighter than the prior set of steel A-arms. Beyond the lightened hardware, a set of Toyota’s much-hyped swing-valve shocks are slotted into the IS, improving ride comfort and rebound control.

The result is a wizened sport sedan that’s surprisingly good to spank down a canyon—or around our figure-eight test loop. In the hands of our capable hotshot and road test editor Chris Walton, the IS300 AWD cut through the aforementioned figure -eight in 25.9 seconds at an average of 0.70 g, which whups that BMW 330i xDrive by 0.7 second and 0.04 g. The surprises don’t stop there; against a 2020 Alfa Romeo Giulia Q4 that we tested last year, the supposedly dowdy Lexus bests the driver’s favorite Italian by 0.8 second and 0.04 g. Line up the Lexus, Bimmer, and Alfa on the skidpad, and the IS300 AWD’s 0.88-g average falls to the Bimmer’s 0.91-g average but stomps the Alfa Romeo’s 0.84-g average. All this without the hotter IS350 F-Sport’s optional adjustable dampers, Torsen limited-slip rear diff, and summer tires. Piloti, meet mouth.

The Lexus IS300 AWD is (Good) Road Worthy

Dynamically, we have little to complain about, other than some nebulous brake feel. “Really comes off the corner very well, and with the all-wheel drive, you can just flatfoot it,” Walton notes. “The pedal is a bit squishy, so it’s hard to know how far off the brake pedal you need to be while trail-braking. The steering weight is nice, and the balance on the skidpad is tremendous.”

Out on the viciously squiggled roads that snake through the Santa Monica Mountains above Malibu, the IS300 AWD continued to surprise. Brake fade is the enemy of many a car up on Malibu roads, and it’s not just from excessive braking; most stability and traction control systems on the market today are brake actuated and overenthusiastic, meaning even without brake input from the driver, the calipers are working overtime to keep you shiny side up. Of course, this means the more you push, the more it wicks away your stopping power—even if you’re not being rambunctious.

The result is a soft pedal and some concerning pedal travel. On roads as challenging and tight as those found between California canyons, this happens to even some of the IS’ stouter competitors—but not the IS300 AWD. With traction control turned off but stability kept on, the IS’ brakes were not significantly worse for wear after a few laps of our road test loops. Although the best 60–0-mph stopping distance we recorded at the test track was a mostly average 117 feet, the brakes remained unroasted by the time we called it quits on our road test.

Overall, the IS is a pleasantly neutral sport sedan. Steering is artificial but well weighted enough, and the front end is surprisingly grippy despite the all-wheel-drive setup. Turn-in is quick-ish, and poise from the revised suspension is noticeable; it’s no IS F, but for an occasional blast up to the family’s mountain cabin, the IS300 AWD at least won’t leave you bored out of your mind.

New Lexus IS300—Better Interior, Same Weird Packaging

So, it has the sport sedan creds, but we’re less enthused about interior packaging. We can forgive the dated center console with the weird, pseudo-gated shiftgate and touch-capacitive slide controls for the air conditioning temperature. Lexus’ obnoxious touchpad-operated infotainment gets a reluctant pass as well thanks to the choice of two different-sized touchscreens that both include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

The IS AWD’s driveline hump continues to be unforgivable, and for some, likely a deal breaker. Jutting out from the side of the center transmission tunnel is a large, rounded hump that houses  the power-takeoff for the all-wheel-drive system. It intrudes into the driver’s footwell; for this 5-foot-11 author, my right calf rested lightly on the lump, so we expect it will force taller drivers to angle their legs to the left slightly. Not good.

Tech and toy accoutrement is well enough for those in the front, with two USB ports under the armrest, an optional Mark Levinson sound system, and optional heated and ventilated seats, though the lack of available wireless charging is noted. If you’re in the back, leg- and headroom are passable, but you’re riding steerage for the most part; aside from two center vents, there are no door pockets, heated seats, USB ports, or—get this—cupholders. Yup, not even in the fold-down center armrest. Curiously, a rear-window sunshade can be extended and retracted by the driver so, uh, enjoy?

If you couldn’t guess, color us pleasantly surprised by the 2021 Lexus IS300 AWD. It’s undeniably still the old IS we’ve known since 2014, but it’s nicer to drive, better to operate, pleasant to look at, and as equipped at $47,975, not a bad buy. Just make sure your rear passengers don’t bring Big Gulps with them on road trips.

SPECIFICATIONS 2021 Lexus IS300 AWD BASE PRICE $42,075 PRICE AS TESTED $48,025 VEHICLE LAYOUT Front-engine, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door sedan ENGINE 3.5L/260-hp/236-lb-ft DOHC 24-valve V-6 TRANSMISSION 6-speed automatic CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST) 3,887 lb (55/45%) WHEELBASE 110.2 in LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 185.4 x 72.4 x 56.7 in 0-60 MPH 5.7 sec QUARTER MILE 14.3 sec @ 97.6 mph BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 117 ft LATERAL ACCELERATION 0.88 g (avg) MT FIGURE EIGHT 25.9 sec @ 0.70 g (avg) EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON 19/26/22 mpg ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY 177/130 kWh/100 miles CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 0.90 lb/mile

The post 2021 Lexus IS300 AWD First Test: Doesn’t Drive a Day Over Seven Years Old appeared first on MotorTrend.

Categories: Property

Q4 2020 rebound for SME housebuilder lending

Property Week News Feed - Wed, 04/14/2021 - 12:00
The lending market for SME housebuilders rebounded in Q4 2020 after dropping 30% year on year in Q2, data from a real estate finance advisor has revealed.
Categories: Property

Ford’s BlueCruise Has Autopilot and Super Cruise in Its Crosshairs

Motortrend News Feed - Wed, 04/14/2021 - 11:00

Ford’s forthcoming Level 2 hands-free driving-assist system is abandoning the Active Drive Assist moniker in favor of something with a little more flair. Meet BlueCruise, the Blue Oval’s answer to similar Level 2 setups from the likes of Tesla (Autopilot) and General Motors (Super Cruise).

Ford’s system is due to make its consumer debut in the second half of the year on 2021 F-150 and Mustang Mach-E models sporting the brand’s Co-Pilot360 Active 2.0 Prep package. Owners of these vehicles can soon spend $600 for an over-the-air software update that activates a three-year subscription to BlueCruise, which affords hands-free driving on more than 100,000 miles of (divided) highways throughout the United States and Canada.

At the moment, Ford fits Co-Pilot360 Active 2.0 Prep package-equipped F-150 and Mustang Mach-E models strictly with the hardware needed to get BlueCruise working, however, the Blue Oval plans to soon begin installing the hands-free driving-assist system’s software at the factory, as well. Currently, the company includes the hardware-only Co-Pilot360 Active 2.0 Prep package as standard equipment on 2021 Ford F-150 Limited and 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E CA Route 1, Premium, and First Edition trims. The Prep package is also available as a $995 option on 2021 Ford F-150 Lariat, King Ranch, and Platinum trims. It’s also included in the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E Select trim’s $2,600 Comfort and Technology package.

Once BlueCruise is enabled, though, Ford promises the hands-free driving-assist setup benefits from an intuitive interface. Whereas GM’s Super Cruise uses steering-wheel-mounted lights to let the driver know the state of the hands-free system, Ford’s BlueCruise uses the instrument cluster screen, which relies on text and blue graphics to let the driver know if hands-free driving can commence (or if it needs to conclude).

A driver-facing camera, meanwhile, keeps an eye on the driver’s gaze—even when the driver is wearing sunglasses—and hand position to make sure the individual behind the wheel is ready to take back control of the vehicle if necessary. For what it’s worth, Ford’s marketing manager for Co-Pilot 360, Karen Sullivan, assured members of the media that BlueCruise’s driver-attention data “only stays in the camera,” as opposed to getting sent elsewhere.

Ford plans to continuously improve upon BlueCruise, too, with additional over-the-air updates that ought to add future features such as lane change assist and predictive speed functions, as well as revisions to the system’s maps that will include more BlueCruise-compatible roads. While users will not be able to use BlueCruise while towing, Ford’s engineering supervisor for Co-Pilot 360, Michael Kane, implied future updates could address this issue.

Look for Ford to expand BlueCruise to other models in its lineup in the coming years. We also expect the technology to find its way to Ford’s luxury brand, Lincoln, albeit under a different name.

The post Ford’s BlueCruise Has Autopilot and Super Cruise in Its Crosshairs appeared first on MotorTrend.

Categories: Property

GPE rental collections at highest level since pandemic began

Property Week News Feed - Wed, 04/14/2021 - 08:52
Great Portland Estates (GPE) has collected 82% of March quarter rents, more than in all four previous quarters.
Categories: Property

Retail continues to drag on British Land rent collections

Property Week News Feed - Wed, 04/14/2021 - 08:42
British Land has collected 76% of March quarter rents so far, with only just over half of retail tenants paying on time.
Categories: Property

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