Property

McGregor takes 40,000 sq ft at St. Mowden Park Doncaster

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 02/24/2020 - 17:44
European haulage firm McGregor has taken 40,000 sq ft at St. Mowden Park Doncaster on a three-year lease.
Categories: Property

London Elizabeth hotel launched to market

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 02/24/2020 - 17:26
Savills has brought the London Elizabeth hotel in Lancaster Gate in Bayswater to market.
Categories: Property

Wrangler vs. 4Runner, Mercedes-AMG subscriptions, Tesla Cybertruck suspension; What's New @ The Car Connection

The Car Connection News Feed - Mon, 02/24/2020 - 16:45
2020 Jeep Wrangler vs. 2020 Toyota 4Runner: Compare SUVs The boxy off-roaders square off against each other and aim for weekend warriors with their different takes on old school off-roading. Which one is better for you? Kia Sorento, Sedona recalled for increased fire risk Paperwork filed with federal regulators indicated that an electrical short...
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2020 Jeep Wrangler vs. 2020 Toyota 4Runner: Compare SUVs

The Car Connection News Feed - Mon, 02/24/2020 - 15:30
The 2020 Jeep Wrangler and 2020 Toyota 4Runner are titans of the trail, moguls in the muck, kings or queens of crud. When it must go anywhere and carry up to five adults, there are few vehicles that can match their might. We’d always suggest the Toyota 4Runner or Jeep Wrangler for their tough looks, hardware to match, and creature comforts...
Categories: Property

Kia Sorento, Sedona recalled for increased fire risk

The Car Connection News Feed - Mon, 02/24/2020 - 14:15
Some Kia Sorento crossover SUVs and Kia Sedona minivans are being recalled for a short circuit that could increase the risk of fire even when the engine is off, the automaker announced on Feb. 19. Moisture can enter the anti-lock brake module and result in an electrical short, which can cause an engine compartment fire even when the vehicle is...
Categories: Property

Clockwise Offices opening 25,000 sq ft flex space in Edinburgh’s Leith waterfront

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 02/24/2020 - 14:01
Flexible workspace provider Clockwise Offices is opening a 354-desk location in Edinburgh’s Leith waterfront this spring.
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Motor Fuel Group preparing for £3bn sale

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 02/24/2020 - 13:51
A petrol forecourts operator is sounding out potential buyers for the business in a deal that could be worth up to £3bn.
Categories: Property

Watches of Switzerland expands Knightsbridge store

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 02/24/2020 - 13:42
Watches of Switzerland is to expand its presence on The Knightsbridge Estate by adding 53 Brompton Road to their existing store.
Categories: Property

2020 Land Rover Discovery

The Car Connection News Feed - Mon, 02/24/2020 - 13:00
Don’t let the 2020 Land Rover Discovery’s soft looks and docile on-road demeanor fool you. This four-wheeler is an adept off-roader, if you want it to be. The likable 2020 Discovery is made better this year with newly standard convenience and safety features that, frankly, should have been part of the package last year. We rate it at...
Categories: Property

ABP strikes shed leasing deal in Newport

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 02/24/2020 - 11:38
Howard Tenens Logistics has leased a 145,236 sq ft warehouse at ABP’s Port in Newport, Wales.
Categories: Property

Coalition formed to demand cladding action

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 02/24/2020 - 11:32
Cladding campaigners, residents, property managers and the UK’s largest freeholders have formed an coalition to request a multibillion-pound fund to remediate unsafe buildings.
Categories: Property

Axa forms smart tech partnership on City skyscraper

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 02/24/2020 - 11:18
Axa Investment Management – Real Assets has partnered with the customer app group Smart Spaces at its 1.4m sq ft 22 Bishopsgate scheme, in the City of London.
Categories: Property

Cornish retailer Seasalt gears up for stateside expansion

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 02/24/2020 - 10:51
Cornish fashion brand Seasalt is gearing up for stateside expansion after signing deals with 150 independent fashion boutiques in America.
Categories: Property

Laura Ashley posts pre-tax loss of £4m

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 02/24/2020 - 10:43
Struggling retailer Laura Ashley has reported a pre-tax loss of £4m in the second half of 2019, as it reaches a temporary funding deal with its main shareholder and leading creditor.
Categories: Property

The Restaurant Group set to announce site closures

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 02/24/2020 - 10:39
The Restaurant Group is set to announce site closures of it underperforming restaurant sites.
Categories: Property

LaSalle IM funds Audley retirement scheme

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 02/24/2020 - 09:14
LaSalle Investment Management has agreed a £106m loan facility to finance the development of two retirement villages in the South of England.
Categories: Property

Countrywide and LSL in £470m merger talks

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 02/24/2020 - 09:03
Countrywide and LSL Property Service are in talks over a possible £470m merger that would bring together the UK’s two largest estate agent groups.
Categories: Property

SUVs With the Best Gas Mileage on Sale Now

Motortrend News Feed - Mon, 02/24/2020 - 09:00

SUVs remain hotter than ever, with more models hitting the market seemingly every day. And as more offerings flood the market, fuel efficiency has become even more of a selling point, with consumers paying ever more attention to which SUVs and crossovers get the best gas mileage. Additionally, automakers have been under increasing regulatory pressure to improve the overall fuel efficiency of their SUV lineups as a whole, and as a result have made big strides in the mpg department.

So whether they’re powered by a hybrid, plug-in hybrid, or regular gasoline powertrain, today’s SUVs get far better gas mileage than they did just a few years ago. To give you a sense of what’s out there, we’ve rounded up the newest SUVs and crossovers on the market today with the best mpg ratings. (Note: All numbers are EPA combined estimates, with mpg-e denoting the miles per gallon equivalent for plug-in hybrid models. And yes, we know the Honda CR-V hybrid is coming, but it’s not on sale yet and hasn’t been EPA rated. Next year.)

2020 Hyundai Venue — 32 mpg

Hyundai’s new Venue is just making it to the U.S. market, but the cute subcompact crossover arrives with good fuel economy, delivering 32 mpg combined. The entry-level Venue crossover should be a popular seller for those who want good looks, fewer trips to the gas station, and tremendous value.

2020 Nissan Kicks — 33 mpg

Sharing the same platform as the Nissan Versa sedan, the 2020 Nissan Kicks offers the best gas mileage in the subcompact crossover class. With 33 mpg combined, the Kicks also brings a touch of fun for those behind the wheel, as we’ve learned through extensive wheel time with our long-term Kicks test vehicle.

2020 Volvo XC90 PHEV — 55 mpg-e

The Volvo XC90 is one of our favorite luxury SUVs, boasting great power, nice looks, and plenty of amenities at a relatively attainable price. Besides that, the plug-in hybrid SUV is also one of the most fuel efficient SUVs going, delivering 55 mpg-e with AWD. The XC90 is the only real three-row crossover that made this best gas mileage SUVs list.

2020 Volvo XC60 PHEV — 57 mpg-e

With impressive technology that delivers good fuel economy for almost the same amount of power as the 2.0-liter turbo and supercharged engine, the 2020 Volvo XC60 shines on many fronts already. Making things even better, the XC60 PHEV is rated at 57 mpg-e combined, and the EPA estimates you’ll be spending about $1,500 a year in fuel, to boot.

2020 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV — 74 mpg-e

Although you don’t really see many Mitsubishi models ranking highly on any best-of lists, the Outlander PHEV makes the cut here as one of the most efficient SUVs available thanks to its 74 mpg-e rating. The EPA says you’ll spend about $1,200 per year in gas. That’s not a lot and is especially impressive given how much car you’re getting in the interior and cargo space departments.

2020 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid — 40 mpg

We like the idea of more power, less gas. And that’s exactly what the 2020 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid delivers. Available only with AWD, the RAV4 Hybrid delivers 40 mpg combined and is one of the most fuel efficient SUVs on the market. And let’s not forget about the upcoming RAV4 Prime plug-in hybrid, which will boast 302 hp and a Toyota-estimated 90 mpg-e combined.

2020 Ford Escape Hybrid — 41 mpg

With Ford making the 2020 Escape more carlike in order to leave room for the new off-road Bronco models that are in the offing, the hybrid crossover delivers 41 and 40 mpg combined in front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive, respectively. Regardless of which traction option you choose, the Escape Hybrid offers fantastic mpg for a compact crossover.

2020 Lexus UX 250h — 42 mpg

The Lexus UX 250h entry-level SUV is not only a looker, it’s also one of the most fuel efficient SUVs you can get today. With 42 mpg combined, this small, FWD crossover will set you back about $900 for a year’s worth of gas. But if you live in or near snowy places, the 2020 Lexus UX 250h AWD can be another option that delivers good fuel economy (39 mpg combined).

2020 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid — 90 mpg-e

With 90 mpg-e and 35 mpg combined, the Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid is one of the most fuel efficient crossovers you can buy today. And like every Subaru, AWD is standard. According to the EPA, you’ll be spending roughly $950 a year in gas. Not only does the Crosstrek Hybrid get excellent fuel economy, it’s also a pretty fun SUV to drive.

2020 Kia Niro — 105 mpg-e

Whether you’re looking for a plug-in hybrid or regular hybrid, the Kia Niro is the most fuel efficient SUV out there. The crossover is available in different variants that can deliver up to 105 mpg-e for the plug-in hybrid model, or up to 50 mpg combined for the regular hybrid.

Best gas mileage SUVs
  1. Hyundai Venue — 32 mpg
  2. Nissan Kicks — 33 mpg
  3. Volvo XC90 PHEV — 55 mpg-e
  4. Volvo XC60 PHEV — 57 mpg-e
  5. Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV — 74 mpg-e
  6. Toyota RAV4 Hybrid — 40 mpg
  7. Ford Escape Hybrid — 41 mpg
  8. Lexus UX 250h — 42 mpg
  9. Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid — 90 mpg-e
  10. Kia Niro — 105 mpg-e

The post SUVs With the Best Gas Mileage on Sale Now appeared first on MotorTrend.

Categories: Property

2020 Kia Telluride vs. 2020 Toyota Highlander: 3-Row SUV Comparison

Motortrend News Feed - Mon, 02/24/2020 - 09:00

Kia’s new marketing slogan—“Tough Never Quits”—might smell like something dreamed up in a Madison Avenue boardroom, but there’s some truth to that when it comes to the brand. For the past decade, Kia has tried to build a three-row SUV that appeals to the average American. Its first attempt, the Kia Borrego, was too big and inefficient. Its next attempt, the second-generation Kia Sorento, was a touch too small. With its third effort, the 2020 Kia Telluride, the South Korean automaker has hit it out of the park by earning our 2020 SUV of the Year award.

While Kia has been been struggling to figure out what it is Americans want in a three-row SUV, Toyota has been building it since 2004, when the Highlander gained an optional third row. Since then, the Highlander has gained a standard third-row seat, a hybrid powertrain option, and it’s gone on to become one of the best-selling vehicles in the segment. It even led the segment in sales last year, which is quite impressive considering it was the lame duck third-generation model.

With the new fourth-generation 2020 Highlander finally on the road, we were curious to see if it could hold off the upstart Telluride, or if there was a realignment at play in the three-row family SUV segment. We’re hoping that weeks spent poking around inside and driving the Highlander and Telluride back to back could help us determine which is the better family SUV.

In the tale of the tape, both the Highlander and Telluride are pretty well matched. Both are V-6 powered, equipped with all-wheel drive, and just about the same size. The new Highlander, styled like a 12/10ths RAV4, rides on Toyota’s highly regarded modular TNGA platform, which underpins everything from the aforementioned RAV4 to the Prius. Under its hood sits a 3.5-liter V-6 making 295 hp and 263 lb-ft of torque paired with an eight-speed automatic. The mill powers either the front wheels, or, like in our Highlander XLE tester, all four wheels. (A 240-hp Highlander Hybrid is also available.) Inside, the Highlander offers room for up to eight when equipped (like our tester) with the second-row bench seat, or seven with captain’s chairs. Pricing starts at $34,600 for a Highlander L and tops out at $46,850 for a Highlander Platinum. Our well-equipped but midgrade Highlander XLE stickers for $42,320.

Whereas Toyota styled the Highlander in the same vein as its best-selling RAV4, Kia made the Telluride look like nothing else in its lineup. The Telluride is a high-water mark in the segment in design and has an unmistakable presence, sitting on its 20-inch wheels with the confidence of a Ram HD and the swagger of a Cadillac Escalade. Built on a beefed-up version of the Sorento’s platform, the Telluride sports Hyundai and Kia’s corporate 3.8-liter V-6 under its hood. It produces 291 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque and is paired with an eight-speed automatic. Like the Highlander, front-wheel drive is standard, but our tester came with optional all-wheel drive. Both seven- and eight-seat layouts are available. Although Kia undercuts the Highlander on pricing trim for trim (prices start at $31,890 for a Telluride S and top out at $41,790 for a Telluride SX), our fully optioned seven-seat Telluride SX tester stickered for $46,910.

SUVs in this segment are always about compromise—usually in terms of styling, efficiency, or driving dynamics—but the one nonnegotiable across the board is the interior. To be useful to the most members of the family as possible, this mobile living room needs to be comfortable and spacious, easy to use, built to withstand years of abuse, and tech-friendly.

The Highlander makes a great first impression. The up-sized RAV4 design works well, with clear, easy-to-read screens and a convenient shelf integrated into the dashboard that offers plenty of room for wallets, keys, and charging phones. “The interior feels nicely upgraded from the old version; worth the money you’re paying, especially at $42,000,” editor-in-chief Mark Rechtin said.

As thoughtful as that shelf is, though, our extended time in the Highlander revealed some pretty glaring misses. For starters, there’s the driver’s (and passenger) seats. Although they’re comfortable and supportive, they’re both mounted so far inboard that the driver’s left (and passenger’s right) elbow will never be able to rest on the door-mounted armrest. Instead, both driver and passenger will have to lean on the under-padded center console armrest. Just as well, I suppose, because your hand will then be closer to the radio tuning knob, which, as associate online editor Nick Yekikian put it, is “in another county.”

These, uh, quirks, could be forgiven if the back-seat package were exceptional, but the Highlander doesn’t deliver there, either. Despite an increase in cargo volume behind the third row compared with the previous-generation Highlander (16.0 cubic feet versus 21.0 for the Kia), the new model has one of the smallest back-seat packages in the segment, which may be a deal-breaker if you find yourself needing to regularly use the third row. Although access to the third row is pretty easy—the second-row bench slides and tilts easily—space is nearly nonexistent. Unlike many vehicles in this segment, there’s no way an average-sized adult—let alone any child over the age of 9—could sit comfortably for any meaningful length of time in the Highlander’s third row. The second-row bench is far more human-friendly, with an amount of head- and legroom that ought to keep those over 6 feet tall happy. Second-row amenities are limited to two cupholders mounted in the fold-down armrest, HVAC controls and vents, and two USB ports down by your feet.

Overall, the Highlander’s cabin is a mixed bag, but entering the Telluride is like getting upgraded from economy to business class. “This interior stands out from the get-go,” MotorTrend en Español managing editor Miguel Cortina said. “The design and attention to detail, from the stitching on the seats to the wood on the dashboard, makes this interior look sharp.”

Even ignoring the material quality difference between the disparate Telluride and Highlander trims, the Telluride comes out on top. Its fundamental design is exceptional. Up front there’s a massive, easy-to-use infotainment screen, meaty grab handles, and plenty of storage cubbies. Not to mention comfortable bucket seats. The Telluride’s second and third rows are also far superior to the Highlander’s. The second-row captain’s chairs have more leg- and shoulder room than the Toyota (though a touch less headroom due to our tester’s panoramic sunroof), plus plenty of amenities, including four cupholders, HVAC vents and controls, AC and 12-volt outlets, and clever front-seat-back-mounted USB ports for charging.

The Telluride’s third-row space, though far from segment-leading, is nonetheless superior to the Highlander, too. Accessed either by tripping up the aisle over a large step (bad) or pressing a seat-back button that instantly topples the captain’s chair and slides it forward (good), the third row is pre-teen-friendly, with acceptable amounts of foot-, leg-, and knee room, though the headroom would be a bit pinched for taller occupants. Kia optimistically includes three seat belts in the third-row bench, but seating three across in this row rises to the level of cruel and unusual punishment in 49 of 50 states.

For many buyers in this segment, acceleration, braking, and handling likely fall toward the bottom of the priority list, but I’d argue that how a three-row family SUV drives is just as important as how roomy it is. Not only does a more engaging drive keep the driver alert, entertained, and off their phone while slogging to work, practice, or school, but a vehicle with superior dynamic capabilities allows you to confidently get your loved ones where they need to go safely.

To that end, the Highlander is a miss. Its biggest issues are its engine and transmission. Continuing a long, frustrating tradition for Toyota, the Highlander’s V-6 makes the majority of its 295 hp almost at redline—a space on the tach that few customers would ever dare explore—while its eight-speed automatic’s tall gearing and tendency to get into eighth gear as quickly as possible further frustrates acceleration.

The Highlander doesn’t steer or handle any better than it accelerates. Steering feel is numb and vague, leading to lots of frequent corrections as you navigate winding roads. Toyota’s pillow-soft suspension tuning isolates passengers from most of the rough stuff going on underneath, but it’s prone to roll hard in corners and float over bumps, prompting some comparisons to Toyota’s Sienna minivan.

The Telluride, though not faultless, is the far superior drive of the two. The most impressive part about it is how well balanced it feels. Its suspension is firm without being punishing; it handles smartly, with good feedback and feel; and there’s none of the tail-wagging-the-dog sensation that so many of the front-drive-based vehicles in this segment exhibit. Despite being nowhere near a sporty SUV, the Kia nevertheless manages to be confidence-inspiring on a good road.

The Telluride’s weak spot, if we’re nitpicking, is under its hood. Like the Highlander, it doesn’t make much power off the line, though it thankfully comes on much earlier than it does in the Toyota. Kia’s eight-speed automatic helps make the most of the V-6’s powerband by shifting quickly and smartly, maximizing the amount of time the engine spends in its sweet spot.

The only ground the Telluride leaves for the Highlander is in official EPA fuel economy estimates. The Highlander is rated at 20/27/23 mpg city/highway/combined, whereas the Telluride nets 19/24/21 mpg. But as the saying goes, “Your mileage may vary.” On our 135-mile evaluation loop, the Kia returned 19.7 mpg; the Toyota scored 18.1 mpg. You can credit the difference to the Kia’s superior engine and transmission tuning.

Often in a comparison test we’re left weighing pros and cons, comparing test numbers, and arguing over notes, but that just isn’t the case this time. The Toyota Highlander might have been the best-selling three-row SUV in the U.S. last year, but the new one simply doesn’t move the needle far enough forward to compete with the new kid on the block. It’s neither particularly well packaged nor pleasant to drive. It is, however, well priced for the features you get, and its optional hybrid powertrain—one of only two in the segment—could be appealing to more forward-looking buyers.

As for the Kia Telluride, Cortina put it best. “It seems like Kia took a look at the whole segment, noted what worked and didn’t work, and created the Telluride.” The Telluride is both better to drive and better to ride in. It’s roomier, better-built, and all-in-all a better family SUV. Few others in this segment take a more holistic approach to the three-row SUV than Kia. It might have taken Kia some time to figure out just what Americans want in a three-row, but, by golly, it’s finally nailed it.

2020 Kia Telluride SX V6 AWD 2020 Toyota Highlander XLE AWD DRIVETRAIN LAYOUT Front-engine, AWD Front-engine, AWD ENGINE TYPE Atkinson-cycle 60-deg V-6, alum block/heads Atkinson-cycle 60-deg V-6, alum block/heads VALVETRAIN DOHC, 4 valves/cyl DOHC, 4 valves/cyl DISPLACEMENT 230.6 cu in/3,778 cc 210.9 cu in/3,456 cc COMPRESSION RATIO 13.0:1 11.8:1 POWER (SAE NET) 291 hp @ 6,000 rpm 295 hp @ 6,600 rpm TORQUE (SAE NET) 262 lb-ft @ 5,200 rpm 263 lb-ft @ 4,700 rpm REDLINE 6,500 rpm 6,750 rpm WEIGHT TO POWER 15.5 lb/hp 14.9 lb/hp TRANSMISSION 8-speed automatic 8-speed automatic AXLE/FINAL-DRIVE RATIO 3.65:1/2.36:1 3.00:1/2.02:1 SUSPENSION, FRONT; REAR Struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar; multilink, coil springs, anti-roll bar Struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar; multilink, coil springs, anti-roll bar STEERING RATIO 15.6:1 14.2:1 TURNS LOCK-TO-LOCK 2.9 2.8 BRAKES, F; R 13.4-in vented disc; 12.0-in disc, ABS 13.3-in vented disc; 13.3-in disc, ABS WHEELS 7.5 x 20-in, cast aluminum 8.0 x 18-in cast aluminum TIRES 245/50R20 102V (M+S) Michelin Primacy Tour A/S 235/65R18 106V (M+S) Bridgestone Alenza Sport A/S DIMENSIONS WHEELBASE 114.2 in 112.2 in TRACK, F/R 67.2/67.6 in 65.3/65.4 in LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 196.9 x 78.3 x 68.9 in 194.9 x 76.0 x 68.1 in GROUND CLEARANCE 8.0 in 8.0 in APPRCH/DEPART ANGLE 17.0/20.9 deg 17.9/23.0 deg TURNING CIRCLE 38.8 ft 37.4 ft CURB WEIGHT 4,510 lb 4,398 lb WEIGHT DIST, F/R 55/45% 54/46% TOWING CAPACITY 5,000 lb 5,000 lb SEATING CAPACITY 7 8 HEADROOM, F/M/R 39.5/38.8/37.8 in 38.4/39.4/36.1 in LEGROOM, F/M/R 44.1/42.4/31.4 in 40.4/41.0/27.7 in SHOULDER ROOM, F/M/R 61.6/59.9/55.3 in 59.0/58.7/55.0 in CARGO VOLUME BEH F/M/R 87.0/46.0/21.0 cu ft 84.3/48.4/16.0 cu ft TEST DATA ACCELERATION TO MPH 0-30 2.5 sec 2.5 sec 0-40 3.9 4.0 0-50 5.2 5.4 0-60 7.2 7.2 0-70 9.3 9.6 0-80 11.5 12.1 0-90 14.5 14.9 0-100 17.7 19.1 PASSING, 45-65 MPH 3.7 3.7 QUARTER MILE 15.4 sec @ 92.9 mph 15.6 sec @ 91.5 mph BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 118 ft 116 ft LATERAL ACCELERATION 0.80 g (avg) 0.82 g (avg) MT FIGURE EIGHT 27.3 sec @ 0.63 g (avg) 27.4 sec @ 0.63 g (avg) TOP-GEAR REVS @ 60 MPH 1,600 rpm 1,400 rpm CONSUMER INFO BASE PRICE $44,960 $42,320 PRICE AS TESTED $47,585 $42,320 STABILITY/TRACTION CONTROL Yes/Yes Yes/Yes AIRBAGS 6: Dual front, front side, f/m/r curtain 8: Dual front, front side, driver knee, front-pass thigh, f/m/r curtain BASIC WARRANTY 5 yrs/60,000 miles 3 yrs/36,000 miles POWERTRAIN WARRANTY 10 yrs/100,000 miles 5 yrs/60,000 miles ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE 5 yrs/60,000 miles 2 yrs/Unlimited miles FUEL CAPACITY 18.8 gal 17.9 gal 5 x 25-MI LOOP, VEH. REPORTED* 19.7 mpg 18.1 mpg REAL MPG, CITY/HWY/COMB 18.6/31.0/22.7 mpg 20.3/30.6/23.9 mpg EPA CITY/HWY/COMB ECON 19/24/21 mpg 20/27/23 mpg ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY 177/140 kW-hrs/100 miles 169/125 kW-hrs/100 miles CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 0.93 lb/mile 0.86 lb/mile RECOMMENDED FUEL Unleaded regular Unleaded regular *Onboard trip computer averages

The post 2020 Kia Telluride vs. 2020 Toyota Highlander: 3-Row SUV Comparison appeared first on MotorTrend.

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Is it Possible to Make a Jaguar XK120 Look More Beautiful?

Motortrend News Feed - Mon, 02/24/2020 - 09:00

When former Jaguar design boss Ian Callum sends you an email suggesting you check out a customized 1950s Jaguar, you make sure you do. Callum, now running his own design shop where he’s putting the finishing touches on a re-imagined version of the Aston Martin Vanquish he designed 20 years ago, is a man of impeccable taste when it comes to both gorgeous road cars and cool customs. And this 1953 Jaguar XK120 Fixed Head Coupe reworked by Australian customizer Justin Hills ticks both boxes. It’s gorgeous and cool.

Hills, owner of Hills & Co Customs in Taree, New South Wales, knows how to build a stunning custom. His 1960 Dodge Phoenix Atom was judged World’s Most Beautiful Custom at the 2013 Sacramento Autorama. The car was later sold to a collector in Texas. The XK120 follows a similar theme. It’s clean and low-slung, with subtle yet fiendishly complex sheet metal changes that retain the essential character of the original design while adding a dramatic elegance.

The first cut is the deepest. Justin initially chopped about two inches from the roof to lower it and then kept cutting bit by bit until he liked the way it looked. As the windshield posts were aligned to the new height, this effectively moved the roof forward by about 3.5 inches. “This gave me two options,” Justin says. “I could cut across the center of the roof from one side to the other and fill the gap, or let the roof go forward and make a longer panel between trunk lid and roof. That was the easy option, but I knew I had to take the hard one, as it would keep the car visually balanced and not looking like it has all moved forward.”

The front fenders have been cut and rolled to get more of the coach-built Bugatti look Hills was after, and the rear fenders are welded to the body, the seams lead filled for a smooth, clean look. New fender skirts were also fabricated to suit the more streamlined look and to cover the rear wheels. Fender skirts, an iconic XK120 design element, were originally only available on cars with steel wheels, as there was insufficient clearance between the skirt and the knockoff hubs on cars with the optional wire wheels.

Inside, the car features original style Connolly leather and 100 percent wool carpet as used in original XK120s. The high-quality trim work was done by Trik Trim in Forster, New South Wales.

It’s a Jaguar under the hood, but not quite the way Jaguar founder Sir William Lyons would remember it. Instead of the legendary XK straight six, Hills’ car is powered by a hand-built, hot-rodded Jaguar V-12. The engine has been slightly de-stroked and fitted with custom-made pistons and rods. A small diameter flywheel from British pre-84 Jaguar performance specialist Rob Beere Racing, with offset starter and a 7.25-inch twin plate Tilton clutch, has helped reduce the rotating masses weight by about 50 percent. The fuel injection system and linkages were custom made by Hills and his team.

“It now revs with ease to 8200 rpm,” Hills says of the modded V12, which is as beautifully finished and gorgeous to look at as the exterior, “and is punching out 460 hp.”

The engine drives through a Toyota Supra R154 five-speed manual transmission, upgraded with heavy duty thrust washers and then back to a limited slip differential in a Jaguar XK150 housing. Air shocks in the front and rear allow the car to be dropped right to the ground, and brakes are disc all round.

Justin’s XK120 FHC won the David Brabham award at the inaugural Sydney Harbour Concours d’Elegance in March last year, and it has since appeared at The Quail during Monterey Car Week and at the Salon Prive Concours d’Elegance at Blenheim Palace in the UK. And late last year, it was on display inside the new Jaguar design studio in Gaydon. Ian Callum’s successor at Jaguar, Julian Thompson, is a fan of the car, too.

The post Is it Possible to Make a Jaguar XK120 Look More Beautiful? appeared first on MotorTrend.

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