Enzymes Chew Like Pac-Man

first_imgEvidence is growing that many enzymes have moving parts.  They act like scissors, clamps and little pac-mans.  When precisely-folded chains of amino acids emerge from the ribosome, they fold into unique shapes with the aid of chaperones.  But those shapes are not static globs.  They move, say Dmitry A. Kondrashov and George N. Phillips, Jr. (U. of Wisconsin).  Writing in Structure,1 they describe some of the “molecular mastication mechanics” of these amazing machines:Computational prediction of global protein motion… suggests that enzymatic active sites tend to be placed near the hinges of the “jaws” of enzyme structures.    Proteins self-organize into exquisitely precise structures, but the actual conformation of a protein fluctuates, and almost never coincides exactly with the average structure observed via X-ray crystallography or other methods.  Mounting evidence suggests that these induced motions play specific and essential roles in protein function….   (Emphasis added in all quotes.)Proteins are so tiny, the motions are very hard to observe.  The authors describe the various techniques that try to shed light on “the central question: do these motions contribute to enzyme function?”  It appears they do:Stabilization of the transition state relative to the substrate is thought to be the key to enzymatic efficiency.  Static effects clearly play a major part via the electrostatic contribution of the positioning of polar residues.  The existence of a “dynamic effect,” however, is controversial, specifically the proposition that enzymes can channel thermal vibrational energy into modes co-directional with the reaction coordinate, thus making barrier crossing more likely.  Nevertheless, evidence is accreting to indicate a link between well-defined global motions and catalysis.After the technical jargon, they lighten up and explain this for the rest of us with some everyday comparisons: Computation of the normal modes of motion allowed the determination of the “hinges” or pivot points that separate regions of the protein moving in opposite directions, much like the end of a nutcracker.  In the vast majority of the enzymes studied, the catalytic residues were found to be located in a predicted hinge region…. This finding contributes a bioinformatic dimension to the field of functional protein dynamics and may allow improved functional annotation for the flood of newly solved protein structures.  The results also suggest an enhanced role for the global protein structure, which often has been viewed as a scaffold supporting the active site.  The study adds to the growing body of evidence that the fold determines global protein dynamics, suggesting a mechanism for allosteric signal transduction, functional impact of distant mutations, and other effects not explained by the chemistry of the active site.  In this view, enzymatic structures resemble a Pac-Man icon, with active sites located in the wedge-shaped opening, and the structure responsible for the “chewing” motion of the “mouth.”What this means is that the whole protein – all the amino acids, even those distant from the active site, are involved.  It is possible that they contribute to orienting the substrate into the active site and stabilizing it once it makes contact, like a vise grip.  Moving parts might also contribute to the release of the substrate after catalysis is complete.  The structure might strip off solvents before the substrate reaches the active site, resulting in more efficient catalysis.  Even short fragments distant from the hinge might contribute an essential part of the overall function.    Viewing enzymes as dynamic machines opens up new avenues for investigation, they envision.  The specific sequences in all the parts of the enzyme would require closer scrutiny; they might have moving parts as well.  At least, it is an idea to chew on, they conclude; “The relative importance of topology and sequence for protein dynamics and function needs to be investigated, in order to add more teeth to the masticating view of enzyme dynamics.”1Dmitry A. Kondrashov and George N. Phillips, Jr, “Molecular Mastication Mechanics,” Structure, Volume 13, Issue 6, June 2005, pages 836-837, doi:10.1016/j.str.2005.05.004.Wonderful thoughts, devoid of evolutionary speculation.  Enzymes can no longer be viewed as floating wads of amino acid gunk, and not even as rigid tools like screwdrivers and hammers.  Now, we see them as power tools: “exquisitely precise structures” with moving parts, each part contributing to the task at hand.  This means that enzymes cannot tolerate many mutations.  Previously, biochemists thought that the active site alone was the most intolerant of mutations, but if this emerging picture of dynamic action is correct, even short sequences of amino acids distant from the active site may play vital roles in the overall function.  The game is not getting any easier for the Darwinists as Pac-Man keeps chewing through their assumptions.(Visited 252 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

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Natural Wonders Can Be Useful

first_imgTo find great ideas, look to nature.  Many plants and animals are as useful as they are ornamental.  They can show the way to solve problems of great interest to humans.Mussel power:  Want an abrasion-resistant, highly-extensible coating?  PhysOrg reported that mussels are providing inspiration to materials scientists.  They build a byssus, or network of threads, that attaches to hard surfaces and absorbs the energy of crashing waves.  A cuticle on the outer surfaces of these stretchy, flexible fibers is “a biological polymer, which exhibits epoxy-like hardness, while straining up to 100% without cracking.”  The cuticle’s success depends on its careful tailoring of protein-metal chemistry and organization of cross-links at the submicron level.  All human inventors need to do is study and copy what the mussel has achieved.  “Nature has evolved an elegant solution to a problem that engineers are still struggling with; namely, how to combine the properties of abrasion resistance and high extensibility in the same material,” said Peter Fratzl, director of the biomaterials department at the Max Planck Institute for Colloids and Interfaces.  “Conceivably, this same strategy could be applied in engineered polymers and composites.”  ScienceNow has a close-up picture of the mussel fibers.Insect glue:  The caddis fly is well known to fishermen.  They are accustomed to hunting for the tube-shaped larva shelters, made of grains of sand and rock.  The larva glues those grains together with silk made of a wet adhesive that is attracting the attention of inventors.  Science Daily reported on research into the characteristics of this glue.  It could be extremely useful to invent a glue that works when wet.  Imagine trying to put on a bandage in a shower.  Surgeons often have to attach sutures to wet biological tissue.    Scientists have found that the caddis fly can work its magic with glass beads replacing sand.  The silk, they found, resembles tape more than anything else.  It fastens the beads together from the inside.  They are studying this mechanism “for the purpose of trying to copy it,” the article said.  The material properties of the silk that allow it to work underwater have something to do with the way electrical charges are arranged on the molecules.    The article ended by speculating about how these abilities evolved.  The ability to make underwater adhesives has been identified in four phyla – members of which include caddis flies, sandcastle worms, mussels and sea cucumbers.  What does that mean?  To Russell Stewart (U of Utah) it can only mean one thing: “They came to this underwater adhesion solution completely independently,” he said.  The press release added, “showing that it repeatedly evolved because of its value in helping the creatures live and thrive, Stewart says.”Sea squirt lab rat:  Science Daily said that hope for those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease may come from the lowly sea squirt.  Scientists have found that they produce the tangles and plaques characteristic of Alzheimer’s quickly.  This makes them suitable as a model organism on which new drugs can be tested in a shorter time.  The article said, for whatever it means, “as long ago as Darwin, it has been recognized that sea squirts may be our closest invertebrate relatives; in their immature, tadpole form, they resemble proper vertebrates, and they share about 80% of their genes with us.”  But does this imply we are 80% sea squirt, or 60% banana?Bee silk for aviation:  Science Daily reported on progress to imitate bee silk.  Maybe you didn’t realize that bees make silk.  Maybe you also didn’t realize that silk is useful.  Indeed they do, and indeed it is: “Possible practical uses for these silks would be tough, lightweight textiles, high-strength applications such as advanced composites for use in aviation and marine environments, and medical applications such as sutures, artificial tendons and ligaments.”  A team in Australia is working on recombining the ingredients by producing them with the genes of other organisms, so that silk fibers can be hand-drawn without the need for the bee’s silk-producing glands.  Those glands are probably as hard to work with as bee’s knees.Pitcher plant medicine:  Some day, your cabinet may not just have pitchers, but medicines inspired by the pitcher plant.  Researchers at Tel Aviv University are producing anti-fungal drugs, said Science Daily, based on the carnivorous plant’s technology.  Pitcher plants need more than just the ability to digest animal products to gain carbon and nitrogen from poor soils; “Carnivorous plants also possess a highly developed set of compounds and secondary metabolites to aid in their survival.”  It’s in those compounds, produced in special glands by the plant, where anti-fungal medicines are waiting to be discovered.    The plant has to protect itself from fungi that would steal its meal.  “To avoid sharing precious food resources with other micro-organisms such as fungi, the carnivorous plant has developed a host of agents that act as natural anti-fungal agents,” said Prof. Aviah Zilberstein of the university.  Some of these compounds, if isolated for medicine, “may avoid the evolution of new resistant infective strains.”  Secondary infections from fungi are a serious problem in hospitals.  “There is a lot of room for developing compounds from nature into new drugs,” Zilberstein said.  “The one we are working on is not toxic to humans.  Now we hope to show how this very natural product can be further developed as a means to overcome some basic problems in hospitals all over the world.”  The article noted that drinking pitcher plant liquid as an elixir has been documented in the folk medicine of India.Green fertilizer:  Nitrogen is a tough nut to crack.  The triple bonds of N2 gas usually require high amounts of energy, like lightning or the Haber process, to pull apart so that ammonia and other compounds can be produced (this is called “fixing” nitrogen).  Somehow, nitrogenase enzymes in bacteria that live in nodules attached to the roots of some plants do it with ease at room temperature.  “It sounds simple, but it is a complicated and poorly understood process,” the article said.    For thousands of years, farmers have known that legumes (including peas, beans, alfalfa and clover) can increase productivity of fallow ground when alternated with other crops.  That’s a major reason George Washington Carver urged southern farmers, whose fields were being depleted by cotton and boll weevil infestations, to grow peanuts.  Until recently, no one understood why legumes were so effective in boosting the productivity of the soil.  Science Daily reported on a discovery at Stanford that helps explain their potential.  The finding might reduce fertilizer use and help the environment.  “We have discovered a new biological process, by which leguminous plants control behavior of symbiotic bacteria,” said Stanford molecular biologist Sharon Long.  “These plants have a specialized protein processing system that generates specific protein signals.”  The scientists have identified the gene responsible for the signal.  If scientists can generate that signal in other plants, perhaps through genetic engineering or selective breeding, they might trigger more nitrogen fixation in crops without fertilizer.  World farmlands could remain more productive as population grows while simultaneously reducing pollution by nitrous oxide (a highly potent greenhouse gas) and other fertilizer byproducts.  “When you deal with a natural soil, you are dealing with a lot of complexity.  Everything we learn about what makes symbiosis work gives us a tool to understand why, sometimes, symbiosis fails,” said Long.  “Plant breeders who are trying to help develop better-adapted plants can now analyze traits such as this.  We’ve given them a new tool” – a tool that was there all along, but needs a little prying and coaxing.Energy the way plants make it:  There’s no more effective solar power plant than a plant, so why not plan to imitate plants?  PhysOrg said that’s just what scientists in France are trying to do.  Photosynthesis may become the next new source of electrical energy.  The team has found a way to convert the chemical energy from photosynthesis into electrical energy in biofuel cells.  “They thus propose a new strategy to convert solar energy into electrical energy in an environmentally-friendly and renewable manner.”    This kind of biomimetics actually employs a real plant – in this case, a cactus.  By implanting special enzyme-modified electrodes sensitive to the products of photosynthesis, the French scientists were able to generate 9 watts per square centimeter.  They could see more juice when the light was turned up.  They envision not only more efficient solar cells, but medical applications.  Similar biofuel electrodes in human skin, sensitive to glucose and oxygen in biological fluids, could power implanted medical devices autonomously, without batteries or external power sources.In each of these stories, evolution was either ignored or mentioned only in passing.  This indicates that the heavy lifting in the scientific research is being done without it.  Instead, the impetus of the research is drawn from attention to biological design.Biomimetics could well be a major player in the downfall of Darwinism.  For one thing, evolutionary theory has very little to do with biomimetics, if anything.  Saying stupid things like, “This organism figured this out 150 million years ago,” or, “Four phyla came up with this elegant solution independently,” contributes only entertainment, not substance.  For another, biomimetics is a completely positive enterprise.  Scientists don’t have to get bogged down in philosophical debates about origins.  They can get funding, work constructively, increase understanding of nature, and come up with Nobel-prize-quality discoveries that will help the world – all without Darwin.  Here is a positive alternative to evolution that relies on intelligent design assumptions.  The wealth that can be generated is enormous.  Darwin will be left in the dust as the world stampedes to biomimetic technology.  Think Michael Behe’s famous illustration as we repeat, “If you can build a better mousetrap, the world will beat a path to your door.”(Visited 10 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

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Ohio’s Crop Progress Report – July 6th, 2015

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Some sunny days last week allowed farmers to get back in their fields in Ohio, according to the USDA, NASS, Great Lakes Regional Office. There were 2.5 days suitable for fieldwork for the week ending July 5th. Heavy rains the past several weeks have kept farmers out of fields, and anxiously waiting to see how their crops would fare from the unfavorable conditions. Spraying resumed vigorously where fields were accessible in hopes of combatting the insect, disease, and weed pressures that flourished in the wet conditions. Farmers see potential for yield loss in corn and soybeans but the full extent of the damage to these crops won’t be known for some time. Lodging, scab, and vomitoxin are primary concerns for wheat. Effects on corn vary widely, depending on how early the crop was planted. The variance in growth stages complicate rescue efforts such as the application of nitrogen to replace what was lost.The full report, including crop conditionslast_img read more

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Inflicted casualties along the International Border in Jammu, says BSF

first_imgThe Border Security Force (BSF) killed an intruder and “heavily damaged” Pakistan posts “inflicting casualties” along the International Border (IB) in Jammu on Thursday.Ram Awtaar, DIG, BSF, said around 5:45 a.m. the alert troops noticed suspicious movement of two to three persons near the Nikowal border outpost in the Arnia Sector in R.S. Pora.“The intruders were challenged and fired at, resulting in the death of an infiltrator. No weapon was seized from the intruder. It seems he was a guide of the infiltrating group,” he said. He was identified as Anwar Alam, resident of Sialkot in Pakistan.The BSF also claimed to have destroyed Pakistan bunkers near Samba, where a BSF jawan was killed on Wednesday. “Our response was solid. We inflicted heavy damages. Sixteen tunnels were hit. We are ready for any challenge in the area,” said the DIG.The BSF officials said “Two Pakistani mortar positions were also destroyed on Wednesday night.”The BSF launched ‘Operation Alert’ along the over 200-km long International Border (IB) in the State “to curb the increasing movement of infiltrating militants from across the border.”Pak. alleges ceasefire violationA spokesman of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) alleged that the “Indian Army committed unprovoked ceasefire violation along working boundary in Zafarwal Sector”. He alleged innocent civilians were targeted, in which “three were injured”. He also claimed to “neutralising one Indian post”.last_img read more

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IHF and HI proceed further to resolve crisis

first_imgThe sports ministry has modified some of the clauses of its proposal to bring the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) and Hockey India (HI) under one umbrella, with the executive committee of the unified body consisting of 19 members each from both the factions.IHF president RK Shetty(left)IHF president RK Shetty and HI secretary-general Narinder Batra held a marathon meeting with joint secretary (sports) Injeti Srinivas, and the ministry has given the two factions time till Friday to consider the proposal.While the IHF and HI will have to merge together to run the sport in the country, the former will not be dissolved until the first edition of World Hockey League next year.The ministry had earlier asked the two bodies to increase the strength of executive committee to 33 to accommodate 16 members of the IHF but on Thursday.”We had a lengthy meeting with Hockey India and the sports ministry which went on from afternoon till the evening. It has been suggested that the executive committee’s strength should be raised to 38 with 19 members each from both the parties,” Shetty told Mail Today.However, for the time being, both HI and IHF will work as separate entities.Shetty said that according to the new plan, IHF will function as it has been doing and its ambitious project of the World Hockey League will also go ahead as planned.”We plan to stage the World Hockey League next year after the London Olympics and until then the IHF will not be dissolved. Although to run the game, both IHF and HI will form a unified body.advertisementThe FIH (International Hockey Federation) has also agreed that they will allow the players, who signed up with us by April this year, to play in the World Hockey League,” Shetty said.There were reports earlier that the IHF wasn’t too pleased with the proposals put forth by the ministry. However, HI had no issues with the proposal and accepted it soon after it was recommended.The proposals were the last ditch-effort by the sports ministry in order to get Indian hockey administration back on track.last_img read more

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The NPSC; Supporting and Educating Parents

first_imgThe National Parenting Support Commission’s (NPSC) Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Miss Kaysia Kerr commits to educating and supporting the parents of the nation’s children as written in their mandate.The mandate of the NPSC as stated by Kerr is to offer proactive and reactive parenting education and support. Proactive education speaks to the reception of knowledge prior to the consideration of conceiving a child whilst reactive education delves into the determinants of effective parenting by offering psychosocial support and education.In accordance to reactive parenting education, the NPSC visited the community of Line Gate, Westmoreland that was thrust in the limelight due to a video that went viral. In Line Gate, the NPSC began the parent education processes by first administering the NPSC risk assessment tool that identifies parenting modalities. Similar supports are on-going in St. Thomas in the area where the infamous machete incident took place. The parent in question has been immersed in parent education sessions through the NPSC’s established and certified parent club. Said parent has been assigned a mentor for permanent sustained support. Kerr shared that the NPSC also administers counselling and home visits which are coupled with parental education in order to supply the sustainable support that many parents need. These counselling sessions are offered to parents who are grieving from not only the death of their child but also the removal of children from the home.Presently, there are parent mentors island-wide that have been trained by the NPSC to offer support in their communities to help ensure that effective parenting practices are being encouraged and employed. Parent Places have also been erected across the island – these are spaces where parents may go to receive parent education, de-stress and foster education through play with their children, especially through the early childhood years.The NPSC will be establishing more parent places in the country beginning with one in Mt. Salem to offer support to the parents who live in the first declared ZOSO. This will be sustained by the parent mentorship programme. Forty parents across St. James have consented to 10 modules of training in effective parenting. Targeted interventions are being crafted for western Jamaica. To that end a stakeholder meeting will be held on Sunday, February 18, 2018 to explain to residents what the interventions entail based on data from our risk assessment. Another series of workshops preclude those and will be hosted this Saturday, February 17, 2018 in Hopewell, Hanover.Kerr stated that the NPSC also offers programmes to parents which are used to assist both themselves and their children in an effort to empower both parties. Such programmes include the “Stay Connected” which is aimed at parents of adolescents, helping them with supporting and advising their transitioning youth into adulthood.The NPSC is also a regulatory body that streamlines and coordinates the parenting programs in Jamaica. The National Parent Sector, a non-government organization, which also provides education to parents is being encouraged by the NPSC to submit parent programs to be assessed for accreditation to ensure that parents are receiving the best support and education services based on set standards.Currently, the ‘Parenting Responsibility and Rights Act’ is being written by the NPSC which will seek to portray definitively the rights of parents to enact their responsibilities as outlined in the ‘Child Care and Protection Act’. It will speak to holding parents accountable for carrying out their responsibilities to the child’s best interest.The NPSC is steadfast in ensuring that Jamaica’s parents are afforded the opportunity to know their responsibilities as a parent and to be afforded the necessary education to be able to carry out these responsibilities.last_img read more

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Petit slams Ozil He has been a ghost for two years

first_imgArsenal legend Emmanuel Petit accused Mesut Ozil of lacking any desire on the pitchThe former Real Madrid playmaker was brought off by manager Unai Emery at half-time in Arsenal’s 1-1 draw at Brighton on Boxing Day.And Petit has been left far from impressed by Ozil’s mentality over the past two years for the Gunners.“Arsenal were magnificent against Brighton for 30 minutes,” Petit told Paddy Power.“They played good football but, just as they did at Southampton, disappeared all of a sudden.“The quality they had been showing vanished and it became obvious what their weakest link was – the defence. The goal they conceded was awful.“Mesut Ozil was taken off at halftime. I’m a big fan of his, but he has been a ghost for two years.“Where is the Ozil who was one of the best players around, making so many assists and goals? I think he has lost his desire on the pitch, it’s not there any more.”The French World Cup winner also believes Arsenal’s defence isn’t good enough ahead of Saturday’s trip to Anfield to take on unbeaten Premier League leaders Liverpool.Petit added: “In defence they are weak, they’re average. They make individual and collective errors.Jose Mourinho is sold on Lampard succeeding at Chelsea Tomás Pavel Ibarra Meda – September 14, 2019 Jose Mourinho wanted to give his two cents on Frank Lampard’s odds as the new Chelsea FC manager, he thinks he will succeed.There really…“Sometimes you have to laugh. They injuries are not an excuse, most of the players who stepped in are internationals.“The quality they had been showing vanished (at Brighton) and it became obvious what their weakest link was – the defence.“I don’t know what’s going on with some of these players. During the long unbeaten run you thought Arsenal are back on track.“But now I look back at the number of those games in which they were lucky and, suddenly, reality returned.“They need to raise their game mentally on Saturday. I’ve seen glimpses of improvement compared to previous years but you can’t perform for just half an hour against Liverpool.“You need to be fully switched on for 90 minutes, especially away from home.“If Arsenal go to Anfield thinking they can just keep plodding away the way they have been, it’s over – they’ll leave the stadium with three or four goals against them.”Petit played for Arsenal in midfield between 1997 to 2000, where he won the Premier League and FA Cup before joining Barcelona.The Frenchman also had spells with AS Monaco and Chelsea before announcing his retirement in January 2005.last_img read more

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Torontos OVO Fest Drake Delivers Promises New Album

first_img Facebook Email News Drake and special guests triumph onstage at this year’s OVO Fest as the GRAMMY-winner teases upcoming releasesPhilip MerrillGRAMMYs Aug 8, 2017 – 4:01 pm GRAMMY.comFor the city of Toronto, and Drake fans around the world, the Aug. 7 OVO Fest was hotly anticipated — tickets had sold out in minutes — and yesterday Drake and his lineup of special guests smashed it while fans set their sights on upcoming projects he teased on stage.Promo’s for the announced lineup from OVO Sound’s artist roster — dvsn (pronounced “division”), Majid Jordan, PARTYNEXTDOOR, and Roy Wood$ — have been lighting up the Toronto skyline for weeks. Guest artists on stage last night included Cardi B, Tory Lanez, and fellow Canadian The Weeknd. Drake put The Weeknd on the spot on-stage — while apologizing, “I don’t want to do this to you on stage” — that even greater collaborations between these two Torontonians should get done. Their fans agree.As this year’s OVO Fest excitement became (another) one for the history books, Drake teased his forthcoming album, following up on March’s More Life success. With hometown pride, Drake declared, “I’m about to go back to making this new album in Toronto, just for you. I will see you next year! We’ll be bigger, we’ll be better. I go by the name of Drake, this is an OVO Sound thing for life!” On the map and steadily growing, Toronto’s cultural impact on the world music scene still feels like a newcomer. Not for long.More at Billboard, including video clips, on how Drake — having won two GRAMMYs earlier in the year — is managing this emerging sonic phenomenon that is bigger than himself.See Drake-Collaborator Rihanna’s Crop Over Fashion In Barbados Twitter Toronto’s OVO Fest: Drake Delivers, Promises New Album Drake’s OVO Fest Delivers torontos-ovo-fest-drake-delivers-promises-new-albumlast_img read more

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The best cars under 40000 in 2019

first_imgEarlier this month, we detailed our picks of the best cars, trucks and SUVs available under $30,000. But with the average new car transaction price in the US sitting around $35,000, buyers have a lot more choices for just a bit more cash than that $30K mark.To that end, we’re raising the price cap for this new list: the best cars under $40,000. That extra 10 grand opens the door for entry-level luxury cars, midsize SUVs and even long-range electric cars. Here are some of our favorites.(Note: While all of the vehicles listed here have base MSRPs under $40,000, some of them offer fully loaded trim levels that can exceed this price cap.)  2020 Hyundai Palisade review: Posh enough to make Genesis jealous 48 Photos 2020 Kia Telluride review: Kia’s new SUV has big style and bigger value 2019 Toyota AvalonI tend to like small, sporty cars. The 2019 Toyota Avalon is neither of those things, so why am I recommending it? Because it’s a fabulously well-done large sedan that’s an epic long-distance cruiser. Its looks may not be for everyone, but there’s no denying its buttery-smooth powertrain and class-above cabin that are among its many strong points.A 3.5-liter gas V6 comes standard with 301 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque, offering plenty of power. An optional hybrid model with an electrically augmented 2.5-liter four-cylinder is available for $1,000 more, but unless gas prices spike enough to make its mid-40s fuel efficiency act as a salve for its power deficit (176 horsepower, 163 pound-feet), I’d recommend sticking with the standard engine.Pricing starts at $36,480 (including destination) for a well-equipped base XLE, with top-shelf Limited models ringing up at just under $42K before options. At that end of the spectrum, you’re looking at an Avalon sufficiently luxurious enough to make you forget all about this car’s costlier Lexus ES twin. Oh, and if that’s not enough to keep you in the Toyota showroom, know this: The Avalon has an infinitely less annoying infotainment interface, plus you can fold the rear seats down.– Chris PaukertClick here to read our 2019 Toyota Avalon review.Get your local price 75 Photos 70 Photos More From Roadshow 35 Photos 2019 Genesis G70The compact sport sedan segment has long been my jam, and the most compelling entry in that field is the 2019 Genesis G70 — it even won Roadshow’s Shift Award for Vehicle of the Year. Any way you slice it, the smallest Genesis (so far) is a solid consideration with a starting price of $35,895 (including $995 for destination).The compact, rear-wheel-drive Genesis comes standard with a 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine that makes 252 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque, connected to an eight-speed automatic or an optional six-speed manual transmission. All-wheel drive is optional. A 3.3-liter, twin-turbo V6 is available, but places the G70’s price north of $40,000. Besides, most Roadshow staffers prefer the 2.0T anyway.You still get heaps of tech and driver-assistance features with the base car, including an 8-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert and automatic high-beams. If you want that level of advanced driver assistance from BMW, Mercedes or Audi, you’ll have to pay closer to $50,000.– Manuel Carrillo IIIClick here to read our 2019 Genesis G70 review.Get your local price 2019 Toyota RAV4Toyota’s RAV4 has been one of the world’s best-selling small SUVs for a reason. It’s simple, stout, well-built and priced appropriately. Now, for 2019, it looks good, too.The drivetrain options on the 2019 RAV4 may not be the most exciting in the world, but they are efficient and shouldn’t give you many problems going forward. Optional hybrid power in a compact SUV is a great selling point, too.The new RAV4, particularly in Adventure trim, is a handsome SUV that begins to look a little like its more off-road capable siblings without forcing those vehicles’ compromises on its owner. It’s a great crossover, and is more appealing than ever before.– Kyle HyattClick here to read our 2019 Toyota RAV4 review.Get your local price 52 Photos 2019 Audi Q3 sets phasers to fun 56 Photos Comments 77 Photos 27 Photos 2020 BMW M340i review: A dash of M makes everything better 29 Photos 2019 Volvo V60: A stylish, comfortable hauler 2019 Genesis G70: Korea launches an assault on the BMW 3 Series 2020 Kia TellurideI’m going with a somewhat unusual choice for this roundup, because I’ve recently spent a fair bit of time in Kia’s new Telluride and I’ve been really, really impressed. It’s remarkably good. I think it looks remarkably good, too, though it has definitely split opinion. The ride is on the leisurely side of comfortable, but it really is refined, lulling my passengers to sleep on multiple occasions. Meanwhile, the 3.8-liter V6 provides better-than-adequate power and the eight-speed transmission is responsive and unobtrusive, which is really all you can ask for in an automatic in a rig like this.You can get in a front-wheel-drive Kia Telluride for $31,690, which is affordable given all it offers. Working within our $40,000 cap, I’d step up to the feature-packed EX trim, which starts at $37,090 and includes Kia’s comprehensive Highway Driving Assist system. Another $2,000 gets you AWD, then add on the $1,045 destination fee and you’re just $135 over the $40,000 mark for a big, comfortable SUV that’s as sophisticated to drive as it is to look at.– Tim StevensClick here to read our 2020 Kia Telluride review.Get your local price 2019 Volvo XC40Subcompact luxury crossovers are oftentimes hit-or-miss affairs. Some skimp on luxury and style, while others are duds behind the wheel. Neither is true about Volvo’s XC40. If I were shopping for a small, premium SUV, it’s absolutely the one I’d buy.The XC40 starts at $33,700, and I actually like its lowest Momentum trim the best (the same spec as Roadshow’s long-term XC40 test car). Opt for the more powerful T5 engine with all-wheel drive, choose a few option packages, and you’ve got a really nicely equipped crossover for right about $40,000. LED headlights, leather seats, a 9-inch touchscreen infotainment system and a ton of active safety equipment all come standard.The XC40 impresses with its easygoing, comfortable driving dynamics, spacious interior and high-quality materials. It’s everything I love about Volvo’s larger, more expensive vehicles, all in a pint-sized package.– Steven EwingClick here to read our 2019 Volvo XC40 review.Get your local price 2019 Acura RDX is a price-conscious luxury buyer’s delight 2019 Mercedes-Benz A-ClassThe A-Class is a great entry point into the Mercedes-Benz brand. This little sedan punches way above its weight with premium materials, a peppy turbocharged engine and plenty of technology.Mercedes’ new MBUX infotainment system comes on an optional 10.25-inch touchscreen, and brings natural voice recognition to the table. Plus, I love the augmented reality overlay that’s available on the navigation. It displays navigation directions directly on top of the real-time video display from the front camera, ensuring you’ll never miss a turn. The four-cylinder turbocharged engine puts out 188 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque, which is more than adequate in the A220 sedan. A Sport mode can dial up the transmission and throttle response, while Comfort is great for daily driving. Power goes down to the front wheels through a seven-speed, dual-clutch transmission, although all-wheel drive is available for those in colder climates.Overall, the new A-Class is a truly premium car — far more so than the last-generation CLA250 ever was.– Emme HallClick here to read our 2019 Mercedes-Benz A-Class review.Get your local price 2019 Hyundai Kona ElectricEarmarking $40K opens buyers to a new generation of entry-level EVs, and one of our favorites is Hyundai’s new Kona Electric. The subcompact SUV combines generous safety and cabin tech with reasonable spaciousness, all wrapped into a city-friendly footprint and wallet-friendly budget. It starts at $37,495, but with available electric vehicle incentives, even the feature-rich Limited trim can squeeze in under $40,000.The Kona’s electric motor sends 201 horsepower and 291 pound-feet of torque to its front wheels. That’s more get-up-and-go than the turbocharged gasoline Kona, but the heavier EV is a bit slower overall. Without gear changes or revs to build, however, the nearly silent electric SUV should feel more responsive off the line and around town. Of course, the most important number is the Kona Electric’s 258-mile EPA-estimated range — that should quell most range anxiety concerns. At a DC Fast Charger, the EV can boost its battery to an 80% charge in about an hour. More common, 240-volt, Level 2 home and public stations can juice the battery with a 9.5-hour charge.– Antuan GoodwinClick here to read our 2019 Hyundai Kona Electric review.Get your local price 2019 Volvo V60I didn’t only pick the V60 because wagons are such a great blend of car-like driving pleasure and SUV-like utility. Rather, it’s because the Volvo V60 is such a wonderfully well-designed and well-packaged machine for any type of driving. It’s the perfect everyday, everything vehicle.The V60 is beautifully designed, is packed with the latest and greatest active-safety tech (albeit sometimes as paid options) and it drives with poise and maturity. With either the base, thrifty 2.0-liter turbo engine or the optional, surprisingly powerful turbo- and supercharged T6 version, the Volvo offers a nice balance of workaday civility and easy power.The Volvo V60 does sneak in under our $40,000 cap, starting at $39,895 with destination for the T5 Momentum model. But I’ll concede that it’s very, very easy to blow the budget once you start adding more features or upgrading to all-wheel drive. Still, at any price the V60 represents one of the most well-rounded entry-premium cars you can buy today.– Jake HolmesClick here to read our 2019 Volvo V60 review.Get your local price 37 Photos Best laptops for college students: We’ve got an affordable laptop for every student. Best live TV streaming services: Ditch your cable company but keep the live channels and DVR. 2019 Toyota RAV4 is the best it’s been in years 2019 Toyota Avalon puts a bold face forward Share your voice 2019 Hyundai Kona Electric rocks a familiar form 2019 Acura RDXThe third-generation Acura RDX landed for the 2019 model year, offering a number of improvements over its already solid predecessor. More appealing styling, a new turbocharged engine and Acura’s excellent SH-AWD system work together to make the RDX really interesting. Things are nicer inside, too, with a great layout of controls, some of the most comfortable seats in the business and a healthy list of tech offerings. With a base price of $38,395, including $995 for destination, it’s not a bad value for a sporty, entry-luxury crossover.A 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder powers the RDX, producing a respectable 272 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. The latter is available from just 1,600 rpm on up to 4,500 rpm for peppy acceleration from stops and out of corners, and works with a well-calibrated 10-speed automatic. Spring for the optional adaptive dampers and you’ll have a small crossover that can be entertaining to toss around, or comfortable for normal driving at the push of a button. Acura’s new True Touchpad Interface with a 10.2-inch center screen is in charge of infotainment, and it’s intuitive to use after a short get-to-know period. It’s offered with navigation, a 16-speaker ELS audio system, Wi-Fi hotspot and Apple CarPlay capabilities. For safety, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise, lane keep assist and a multiangle rearview camera come standard.– Jon WongClick here to read our 2019 Acura RDX review.Get your local price 2020 Kia Telluride hits all the high points 2019 Volvo XC40 R-Design has black exterior accents and lava on the floor 2019 Mercedes-Benz A-Class redefines entry level 13 Tags 2019 Audi Q3The 2019 Audi Q3 will land in the US later this year (summer, we’re told) packing some major improvements, and I believe that’ll give this diminutive German the edge over its competitors, many of which are very compelling.Having already sampled the Euro-spec Q3 late last year, I can attest to its prowess in the handling department. Wielding the same 228-horsepower turbo I4 as the Volkswagen Golf GTI, it should also provide enough hustle to back up an on-road demeanor that begs you to have a little fun behind the wheel.The Q3’s starting price of $35,695 including destination nets you some solid standard equipment, including a 10.25-inch gauge cluster display, a panoramic sunroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, two rows of USB ports and automatic emergency braking.– Andrew KrokClick here to read our 2019 Audi Q3 review.Get your local price Car Industrylast_img read more

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