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Archive for June 1st, 2017

New Theme: AltoFocus

Thursday, June 1st, 2017

Today we’re happy to announce a latest further to a collection of giveaway themes: AltoFocus!

AltoFocus is a spinoff of a strange AutoFocus thesis from a few years ago. Its superb tiled layout helps artists, photobloggers, and other creatives showcase their talents.

Designed by Allan Cole, it highlights featured images in a approach that engages readers and afterwards gets out of a approach of what truly matters — your work. The grid automatically shifts and re-forms to accommodate any new post we publish, formulating an ever-changing collage of your creativity that draws visitors in while remaining purify and easy to navigate. And of course, it does this no matter a shade size.

Read some-more about a facilities on a Theme Showcase, check out the demo site, or dive right into previewing it on your blog from Appearance → Themes.

2017 Ford F-series Super Duty, Tested in Depth: The Avengers of Heavy-Duty Pickups

Thursday, June 1st, 2017

Overall Rating:

Ford’s F-series Super Duty trio—the F-250, F-350, and F-450—are a drastic group of a biggest, strongest, and many technologically modernized heavy-duty pickups around. Like a F-150, a Super Duty trucks’ physique panels are now hammered from aluminum, and they can be churned and matched among 3 cab sizes and dual bed lengths. The beast Power Stroke turbo-diesel pumps out 925 lb-ft of torque that can draw adult to 32,500 pounds in a huge F-450. High-tech gadgets true out of Tony Stark’s lab embody a cutting-edge camera complement and disdainful motorist and towing assists. Together, a Super Duty trucks form Earth’s mightiest pickup-truck lineup.

What’s New for 2017?

The Super Duty pickups are all new, with an aluminum physique and a entirely boxed steel support that is lighter and stronger. The revised Power Stroke turbo-diesel has horsepower and torque total increased to all-time highs. An adaptive-steering complement helps with low-speed maneuvering and improves high-speed control. Towing things is easier than ever with innovative options such as an in-cab trailer-tire-pressure guard and a Trailer Reverse Guidance system—multiple cameras and steering superintendence make hooking adult a join a breeze. Driver assists such as adaptive journey control, collision warning with stop support, and a blind-spot guard concordant with trailers are new, too.

Trims and Options We’d Choose

The F-350 Lariat is a Super Duty that best mixes business with pleasure. Equipped with a SuperCrew cab, a customary 6.75-foot box, a Power Stroke turbo-diesel, and four-wheel drive, it was labelled starting during $62,085—only $1175 some-more than a likewise versed F-250. The F-350 also can draw 6600 pounds some-more and binds a 1020-pound advantage in limit cargo ability compared with a likewise versed F-250. Like a tuxedo T-shirt, a Lariat is grave though prepared to party, with customary leather-trimmed front seats, dual-zone involuntary meridian control, and a 10-speaker Sony audio system. Other customary facilities include:

• Power-adjustable, exhilarated trailer-towing mirrors with LED spotlights
• 8.0-inch touchscreen Sync 3 infotainment system
• 8.0-inch customizable gauge-cluster display

To optimize a F-350’s towing capacity, we chose a 5th Wheel/Gooseneck Trailer Tow Prep package ($370) and a Tow Technology package ($1935), that includes adaptive steering, involuntary high-beam headlights, rain-sensing wipers, lane-departure warning, and a Ultimate Trailer Tow Camera system. The final cost of the F-350 was $64,390.

In Depth: 2017 Ford F-series Super Duty

2017 Toyota Prius Prime Plug-In Hybrid Mega Test: We Sample Every Version to Reach a Single Verdict

Thursday, June 1st, 2017

After many discussion, we’ve finally figured out a Toyota Prius Prime’s suggestion animal: an anteater. That prolonged snoot, a humped appearance, and those squinting headlights demeanour prepared for ant-scooping duty. Or maybe it’s some-more of a platypus. Either way, a indicate is that Toyota’s newest—and for a initial time, stylistically independent—plug-in chronicle of a Prius hybrid looks uncanny adequate to entice such comparisons. Even so, a Prime is prettier than a unchanging Prius, a automobile we’ve described as carrying been designed “by people apparently on psychotropic drugs.”

Perhaps someone slipped us a matching opiate before we motionless to exam not one 2017 Prius Prime, though all three versions of it: a entry-level Plus, a mid-level Premium, and top-of-the-line Advanced. All 3 are distant from a entire Prius hybrid by approach of a assign port, a singular styling, and a incomparable 8.8-kWh lithium-ion battery container that enables an EPA-rated 25 miles of electric-only pushing range. When a battery’s assign is depleted enough—the automobile always binds some electrons in reserve—the Prime reverts to a required hybrid mode (what a super nerdy call “charge nutritious mode”), consistent electric appetite with a bridled ire of a 95-hp 1.8-liter Atkinson-cycle inline-four gas engine.

Have It Three Ways

The Prime Plus starts during $27,985 and includes niceties such as LED headlights and taillights, exhilarated doorway mirrors, involuntary grille shutters, a 7.0-inch touchscreen with navigation, a 4.2-inch motorist information display, involuntary meridian control, exhilarated front seats, and vicinity pivotal with push-button start. That apparatus mostly creates adult for a $3625 cost reward over a frugally versed base, non-Plussed Prius. Apples-to-apples, a Prime Plus is usually $365 some-more than a likewise versed Prius hybrid, that is called a Three in Toyota parlance. This exam indication rang in during $28,380, interjection to a $395 Hypersonic Red paint.

Next adult a ladder is a $29,685 Prime Premium, that swaps out a Plus’s 7.0-inch infotainment arrangement for a large 11.6-inch, plumb oriented arrangement that mimics a built-in inscription in Tesla’s Model S and Model X. The usually other upgrades are SofTex mistake leather chair upholstery in place of cloth, proximity-key sensors for a front newcomer doorway and a box to enlarge a Plus’s one in a driver’s door, and an preliminary wireless phone-charging pad in a core console.

The top-spec Advanced asks $33,985 and adds a exhilarated steering wheel, a tone head-up display, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, parking sensors, a self-parking system, and remote controls for a HVAC system. The Advanced also is a usually Prime that includes blind-spot monitoring, nonetheless adaptive journey control, forward-collision warning, involuntary puncture braking, involuntary high-beams, and lane-departure warning with lane-keeping support are customary on all models. Next to special, extra-cost paint colors, no options are offering on any Prime.

Inside Looking Out

Even with all that, all Prius Prime interiors are some-more or reduction a same. Although a chair coverings differ, any presents a same rubberized cosmetic dashboard, soft-touch doorway panels, and four-seat layout. There’s no center chair in a rear, definition a Prime can lift usually 4 passengers, all of that during slightest suffer copiousness of space. The seats are pretty comfortable, and sightlines to a front and sides are good. Things get radical to a rear, interjection to a apart back window and winding hatchback glass, nonetheless a wavy row has tiny outcome on clarity. Peering by a rearview mirror, we competence also locate a glance of a unprotected carbon-fiber wobble along a edges of a hatch—the whole orifice is done of a high-tech things to save weight.

The Plus’s 7.0-inch touchscreen is cribbed from mainstream Toyota models and works well, with a candid menu structure and accessible hard-button shortcuts to pivotal functions, including audio, navigation, and phone, as good as honest-to-ergonomic volume and tuning knobs. The 11.6-inch touchscreen on Premium and Advanced models seems cold during first, with copiousness of arrangement space and wow factor, though eventually fails to take advantage of a promise. First of all, Toyota inexplicably practical a same half-baked navigation map graphics to this hulk screen, definition a cultured that feels antiquated on a 7.0-inch shade is simply magnified. Unlike a Plus, a Premium and a Advanced things a meridian controls into a large screen, creation adjustments some-more of a chore. Furthermore, non-navigation functions are relegated to tiny buttons on a smaller territory of a screen’s reduce half, definition many of a additional arrangement space is wasted. When a navigation map is set to full-screen mode, a meridian and audio settings are buried in a reduce corners of a screen. Toyota did fit a Prime’s touchscreen with shortcuts in a form of floating on-screen balls that spin around and yield discerning entrance to efficiency, apps, and navigation-destination menus, though they don’t redeem a setup adequate to make us pardon a frustrating operation of a capacitive-touch up/down feverishness and volume controls. The bottom Plus’s earthy knobs and meridian controls work many better.

Prime Mover

Every Prime uses a 95-hp 1.8-liter four-cylinder and dual motor/generator units (MGUs) that mix to furnish 121 horsepower. These 3 appetite sources are harnessed to a front wheels around a heavenly gearset that behaves like a invariably non-static transmission. To serve save fuel, a gas engine runs a Atkinson cycle, and retreat transformation is rubbed quite on electricity. As on a Prius hybrid, a electric motors double as generators, converting kinetic appetite (motion) into electricity that would differently be incited into feverishness by a attrition brakes, instead of being stored in a traction battery. The container lives underneath a back seats and weighs 265 pounds. It’s also of a lithium-ion accumulation in any Prime; usually some non-plug-in Prius variety use lithium-ion packs, while a rest have cheaper nickel-metal hydride units.

Toyota gives Prime owners a contend in how their machines lot out their electric and gas power. Fully assign a battery around a enclosed 120-volt wall opening horse wire (which will take a while) or a faster, 240-volt hookup (a tiny over dual hours), and a Prime defaults to EV mode during a subsequent start-up. One can select to leave it in this setting, using by a electric-only range, or pull a console symbol to switch into hybrid mode and (mostly) safety a battery’s assign for electric-only operation later. A apart symbol calls adult an EV Auto mode that lets a Prime confirm how to use a juice. In this case, a automobile operates essentially as a hybrid, though sensibly doles out stints of electric-only operation where it sees fit. Capping things off are Normal, Eco, and Power expostulate modes. The many important is Eco, that dulls acceleration to such a grade that it becomes annoying; a differences between a Normal and Power modes were negligible, however.

Performance Is a Relative Term

We tested all 3 Prius Primes to sign a outcome of a opposite trim levels’ apparatus on a vehicles’ weights and efficiency. Any movement competence change fuel economy and performance, given a contingent differently utilizes a same powertrain and battery. Consider that idea busted, as usually 28 pounds apart a bottom automobile from a top-spec version. Riding on matching tires, a 3 Primes logged scarcely matching performances during a track. The usually flaw came from a Advanced, that posted a considerably reduce skidpad hold figure than a others, an curiosity we’re chalking adult to a potentially unwashed lane surface. Thanks to a latest Prius’s eccentric back suspension, a Prime does a reasonable pursuit of shower adult highway imperfections and delivering a planted, secure feeling in corners notwithstanding a low-rolling-resistance tires. Deep potholes exhibit some constructional shimmies—no doubt a outcome of a weight-conscious construction—but for a many part, a automobile is surprisingly still and solid-feeling, a vital depart from progressing Priuses.

All 3 Primes unsuccessful to crack a 10.0-second symbol sauntering to 60 mph. We tested them in hybrid mode, in that they’re creation full power; design any to be about dual seconds slower to 60 mph in EV-only mode. Subjectively, however, a Prime feels peppier using usually on electrons, with an instant, well-spoken strike of torque off a line that’s ideal for zipping around town. When a gas engine kicks on, it is growly and grainy and creates a powertrain rival to respond to accelerator inputs, as if it’s perplexing to delayed a record down. Blame a CVT-like inlet of a transmission, that allows a engine to rev divided while it alters a expostulate ratio to build speed. This creates a undo between a indolent acceleration and a engine’s dynamic groan that creates merging with faster-moving trade feel some-more distressed than when usually a electric motors are sensitively doing a same work.

That final indicate is key, since it betrays a Prime’s many frustrating aspect: that it’s arguably a improved electric automobile than a hybrid, though it can fake to be an EV usually for about 20 miles during a time in a genuine world. Hit a highway in EV mode (the Prime can grasp 84 mph in this setting), and your operation plummets to around 12 miles. The Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid is improved to expostulate overall, looks reduction funky, has supplies for a fifth passenger, and is equally constrained when behaving as an electric car, when it offers a 53-mile operation per assign according to a EPA. We also achieved a 60-MPGe potency figure during a exam of a Volt, besting all 3 Primes’ low-50-MPGe figures. In addition, a Volt kick a Prime in a new comparison test.

Given all this, a Prime’s discount standing relations to a Volt seems some-more like discreet positioning on Toyota’s partial than an inducement in a possess right. Sure, a Prime is hardly some-more costly than a plug-less Prius counterpart, and a installed Prime Advanced is reduction than $34,000 even before any taxation incentives are factored in. The least-expensive Volt costs $110 some-more than a Prime Advanced—$6110 some-more than a bottom Plus—yet equipping it likewise to a Toyota (putting a cost around $40,000 before incentives) seems value it. Ultimately, your lifestyle, travelling distance, and entrance to assign ports will establish if you’ll select a Prime over a Volt’s vastly larger electric-only range, quicker acceleration, and improved dynamics.

Elon Musk Departs Presidential Council Over Paris Climate Change Decision

Thursday, June 1st, 2017

Tesla CEO Elon Musk will no longer be advising a President of a United States.

Now that President Trump has reliable that a U.S. is withdrawing from a Paris meridian deal, Musk has finished good on his guarantee of withdrawal President Trump’s advisory council. Yesterday, before to a preference being made, Musk tweeted “Don’t know that approach Paris will go, though I’ve finished all we can to advise directly to POTUS, by others in WH around councils, that we remain.”

Musk sat on dual apart councils underneath President Trump: a Economic Advisory Board and a Manufacturing Jobs Initiative.

SEE ALSO: Elon Musk and Uber’s CEO to Join Trump’s Advisory Council

The Paris meridian understanding intends to proviso out the use of hoary fuels while adopting purify appetite to assistance forestall tellurian warming. The preference of Trump withdrawing from a Paris meridian understanding has been met with controversy, with a U.S. fasten usually dual other nations, Nicaragua and Syria, in not holding partial in a deal.

Discuss this story on the Tesla Forum

Volkswagen woos BMW, Mercedes buyers with upscale Arteon

Thursday, June 1st, 2017

“Cars like this have until now been a domain of reward carmakers,” VW code arch executive Herbert Diess told reporters. “With a Arteon, we are perplexing to benefit a foothold in this business.”

It’s not a initial time a VW code has pushed upmarket. In 2002, it launched a executive Phaeton saloon, that was axed final Mar after never assembly VW’s strange sales aim of 20,000 cars per year.

VW aims to sell adult to 40,000 Arteons a year worldwide, Diess said, about a same as a prototype CC saloon, that ceased prolongation final October.

The Arteon is a latest instance of a post-dieselgate product renovate during a VW code to revitalise profitability that has been lagging rivals such as PSA Peugeot Citroen PEUP.PA and Toyota 7203.T.

VW will benefaction redesigned versions of a Polo subcompact, one of a all-time bestsellers, in Jun and a flagship Touareg SUV in September, after it launched an overhauled Tiguan compress SUV final year.

Research organisation IHS Markit expects a German brand’s new top-of-the-line indication to kick sales expectations easily.

Deliveries of Arteons in core markets of Europe, China and North America might some-more than double to 81,172 cars by 2025 from 39,265 subsequent year, IHS said.

By comparison, IHS expects sales of BMW’s 4-Series Gran Coupe to thrust 16 percent to 40,562 models by 2025 while it sees sales of a Mercedes CLS jumping 10 percent to 23,856 cars.

IHS says China will comment for about half of tellurian sales of a Arteon, that will be built in VW’s biggest marketplace and during a bureau in Emden, Germany.

Reporting by Andreas Cremer

Related Video:

Icon 4×4’s ’65 Ford Pickup Restomod Is Predictably Awesome [Video]

Thursday, June 1st, 2017


If you’re a fan of high-quality boutique automobiles, chances are you’ve listened of Icon 4×4. It’s a tiny organisation formed in Southern California, founded by insane talent and occasional Road Track writer Jonathan Ward. Ward has combined some flattering wild restomodded trucks in a past, yet this might only be a new favorite.

This truck, consecrated during a client’s request, entered Ward’s emporium as an scarcely purify 1965 Ford crew-cab pickup truck. Like many of Ward’s donor vehicles, this instance was rust-free and prepared to be restored.

Rather than ascent a strange framework and drivetrain, Ward’s group substituted in a whole undercarriage from a 2006 Dodge 3500 Mega Cab to take advantage of a complicated truck’s energy and comfort.

Ward and his group mutated a Dodge support to fit snugly underneath a body, and from there, they uprated each extraneous and interior square to loyal Icon standards. The 5.9-liter Cummins inline-six now creates about 700 lb-ft of torque, a outrageous ascent over a batch Ford’s output.

Those are only a vital changes, though. Ward put together an endless 25-minute video going over a whole build, down to a really final trim piece. Pull adult a chair and watch it below.

This story creatively seemed on Road Track.


Aston Martin Will 3D-Scan Owners’ Bodies for Valkyrie Seat Contours

Thursday, June 1st, 2017

Some among us will buy an Aston Martin Valkyrie simply since it is a latest, greatest, most-super thing on a scene. Others will buy it since cranking “The Immigrant Song” in an ’81 Monte Carlo has mislaid a allure. And afterwards there are those who will squeeze a Adrian Newey-designed hypercar since they’re in hunt of an LMP knowledge for a road, and that aged Dauer 962 just doesn’t cut a mustard in this day and age. (Though, to be fair, we trust a roadgoing 962 will always cut a mustard.)

Part of a complicated knowledge is that competition cars are digitally tailored to fit their drivers. In a universe of Warbucks-money sports cars, tradition seats are not uncommon. Ferrari set adult a LaFerrari’s non-adjustable chair to fit a owner. But Aston’s going a step further, pulling a page from Pininfarina’s P4/5 module book and indeed 3D-scanning a bodies of owners to mold a chair that suits a motorist down to a oddest small proportions.

Over during CNBC, Aston’s Asia-Pacific president, Patrik Nilsson, mentions a process to Uptin Saiidi during an differently rather paltry outline that doesn’t leave us any new breadcrumbs, other than that a Valkyrie clearly won’t contest with a Chirons and Koenigseggs of a universe in a top-speed war.


48-Volt Mild Hybrid System to Come Standard on All A8s

Thursday, June 1st, 2017

Set to launch on Jul 11 in Barcelona, a code new Audi A8 will underline a 48-volt “mild-hybrid” complement to urge fuel economy.

The complement is approaching to find a approach into all of Audi’s incomparable vehicles soon.

The A8 will underline a 48-volt battery and a belt driven alternator. The complement will recuperate appetite during deceleration and assistance a normal engine to propel a automobile on acceleration.

Standard on all gas and diesel A8s, a 48-volt complement will also assistance a automobile along when a engine starts after being incited off during stops or coasting. The A8 facilities a complement that allows a engine to spin off while a automobile is coasting during speeds of adult to 99 mph.

SEE ALSO: 2018 Audi A8 Spied in Production Skin

The electric expostulate section can yield adult to 16 horsepower and 45 pound-feet of torque, assisting to revoke a bucket on a engine and shortening fuel consumption.

Alexander Kruse, Audi’s conduct of amiable hybrid systems, says that a record will be accessible on a new generations of A7 and A6. Smaller cars, though, will underline a reduction absolute mild-hybrid system, regulating a required battery.

A chronicle of this story creatively seemed on Fourtitude

Discuss this story on the Audi Forum

2017 Ford Fusion: A Chameleon Tested in Depth

Thursday, June 1st, 2017

Overall Rating:

The Ford Fusion has so many accessible configurations that it many defies classification. Is it a bill family car? A sports sedan in disguise? An entry-luxury competitor? An fit hybrid? The answer is all four—and nothing of a above. By charity so many variations on a theme, a Fusion falls brief of excellence. Competitors from Honda and Mazda are boldly superior, and dedicated hybrid models such as a Toyota Prius and a Chevrolet Volt direct fewer compromises. The Fusion shone in some of a tests. It’s a handsome, efficient family sedan and a excellent choice. But a savvy customer would select an Audi for a cost of a Fusion Platinum, a Volt instead of a Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid, or a Honda Accord Sport over a Fusion SE.

What’s New for 2017?

Adaptive journey control, a rotary shifter, and involuntary stop/start are new to a Fusion this year, and Ford has revised a front and back ends. Also new are dual trim levels, Sport and Platinum. The 325-hp Sport is a quickest, many absolute mid-size family sedan on a market. The tip Platinum trim is built for comfort, not speed. It facilities quilted leather seating surfaces, a leather-trimmed dash, and customary all-wheel drive, vagrant a question: With a automobile like this, who needs a Lincoln?

Trims and Options We’d Choose

With 6 accessible engines and 11 trim levels, it can be a dizzying charge to configure a Fusion. We’d discharge a hybrid variants, that concede too many case space and performance, and skip over a Platinum and Sport models; their attracts are outweighed by Audi-adjacent prices. An SE indication with a accessible 245-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine is a happy center belligerent between a many simple Fusion and a costly near-luxury models. Add a 202A apparatus organisation for an upgraded Sync 3 audio system, exhilarated leather seats, and other goodies for combined comfort. The whole package runs $28,265 and includes:

• 10-way energy driver’s seat, 6-way energy front newcomer seat
• Proximity-key entrance with push-button start
• Sync 3 infotainment system

Choosing a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine also allows a preference of a Fusion’s all-wheel-drive system, a $2000 option.

In Depth: 2017 Ford Fusion

Best cars for comparison drivers

Thursday, June 1st, 2017

See how side guards could forestall lorry pile-up deaths

The final thing any automobile association wants is to have a repute as an “old man’s car.”

But that competence not be so bad for a bottom line, given comparison drivers are a outrageous and flourishing market. The series of comparison American drivers jumped 50% between 1999 and 2015.

So a folks over during Consumer Reports motionless to put together a list of what they cruise to be a 25 best vehicles for comparison drivers in a Jun issue. It includes mostly crossover SUVs though some sedans as well.

The 5 that stood out as a really best were a Subaru Forester, Subaru Outback, Kia Soul, Subaru Legacy and Kia Sportage. Among a other vehicles in a list were a Ford Escape, Nissan Rogue, Toyota Corolla and Hyundai Santa Fe.

People tend to over-estimate a risks acted by comparison drivers. Young drivers are still a many dangerous, by far, in terms of deadly crashes per mile, according to information collected by a magazine.

But there is an increasing risk that comes with drivers over 70. Choosing a right automobile can assistance lessen some of a hazards and discomforts of pushing while aging.

consumer reports 2016 subaru forester
The Subaru Forester ranked during a tip of Consumer Reports’ list of best cars for comparison drivers.

The repository deliberate a following factors:

Front-seat access. The right float tallness creates a large disproportion in how easy it is for drivers to get in an out of a automobile — not so low that they have to duck, though not so high that they have to stand adult to get behind a steering wheel.

Visibility. Consumer Reports automobile critics looked for vehicles in that both high and brief drivers could see simply out of a front, side and behind windows.

Controls. Good cars for comparison drivers should have easy-to-read gauges and elementary controls. That includes knobs and buttons for things like a radio and meridian control as good as rigging shifts, some of that have gotten trickier lately. In fact, there have been recalls for vehicles with treacherous gear-selectors that have led to accidents.

Headlights. Cars can vary a lot in terms of how good their headlights light adult a highway ahead. Older people can have an generally tough time saying but adequate light over adequate area.

Of course, there comes a indicate when a drivers should no longer be behind a wheel, no matter what kind of accommodations a automobile might have. The repository also recommends that families figure out how to assistance comparison members get around when pushing safely is no longer possible.