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50-11: Man’s Greatest Small Step.

“Houston. Tranquillity Base here. The Eagle has landed.”

“Roger Tranquillity, we copy you on the ground, you got a bunch of guys here about to turn blue, we’re breathing again, thanks a lot.”

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Bentley Unveils A Future Showcase In EXP 100 GT

When it comes to finding a car maker to put forward a concept car for the future that’s packed with technology, and luxury, then Bentley is the company to do so. Its recent unveiling of the EXP 100 GT provides us with a look at what they feel a Grand Tourer for the year 2035 could look like, and was built to be part of the marque’s centennial celebrations.It’s motorvated by a fully electric powertrain. Bentley say the 1,105 pound-feet or 1,500 Newton metre engines will propel the 1,900 kilogram/4,188 pound, 5.8 metre long, machine to 62mph/100kmh in 2.5 seconds. Range is said to be 435 miles or 700 kilometres on a single, full, charge. A fast charging system gets 80% in with a timeframe of 15 minutes. It’s also future ready as there is a built in provision for a hydrogen fuel cell power pack.Outside it’s pure Bentley. A long, lithe, low slung coupe styling starts with the trademark Bentley “eyes”, a pair of LED powered headlights bracketing a massive mesh grille, apparently comprised of 6,000 LED lights. It draws the eye to the signature Bentley “Flying B” before running along its length, seeing the sculpted aero design, the massive pair of upwards hinging doors, and the sleek fastback rear with deep red coloured LEDs for the tail lights. Although wheel size doesn’t appear to be stated, the Active Aero wheels look to be of a minimum of 22 inches in diameter.It’s a big car in width too. Measuring 7.9 feet across, the interior gives a new definition to sumptuous. Recycled 5000 year old wood with copper inlays, aluminum, leather (of course) and high quality wool house a series of fiber optic cables to bring light and life to the massive interior. That interior also features a rather unique and definably ecological bent. Called Air Curation, it has the ability to filter out road smog, but allow through the scents of a forest, a rain shower, and the like to the 2+2 seating configuration. Those seats are perhaps the most comfortable available. With weaving utilising the Trapunto Method that goes back to the 14th Century, and ecologically sustainable cloth sources, created from vegetable materials and wine skin waste, the whole process minimises wastes and eliminates waste water as a result. There is an extra ultrta-luxury touch, with hand cut crystal elements from Cumbria Crystal. Each piece located in the centre consoles for front and rear seats took between 10 to 18 days of painstaking mastercraftsmenship to create. One houses the cars Artificial Intelligence module, and it’s voice activated for five driving modes. One is called Cocoon, and recycles purified air and opaques the glass roof and windows.There is no price available for the Bentley EXP 100 GT. It’s a one off and built to be a concept only. But Bentley being Bentley, there would be no doubt at all of seeing some of these elements incorporated into their forthcoming cars in the short term future. Part of the intent was to showcase Bentley’s “Sustainable Innovation” look to the future. Bentley’s director of design, Stefan Sielaff, notes. “Like those iconic Bentleys of the past, this car connects with its passengers’ emotions and helps them experience and safeguard the memories of the really extraordinary journeys they take.”

BMW Ups The X6.

BMW is unveiling a new edition of the X6 Sports Activity Coupe. The new BMW X6 is available from launch in xLine and M Sport model variants as an alternative to standard specification. There’s been an exterior restyle and increase in size. The new BMW X6 has grown by 26 millimetres in length compared to the model it replaces, and is now 4,935 mm. It’s grown by 15 mm in width to 2,004 mm and sits lower by 6mm at 1,696 mm. The wheelbase has also increased, and is now 2,975mm, up by 42mm.The line-up of engines available for the new BMW X6 from launch includes two petrol units and a pair of diesel variants from the latest generation. The model line-up is spearheaded by a BMW M model with a newly developed 390 kW V8 petrol engine. The BMW X6 M50i quotes fuel consumption combined as 10.7–10.4 l/100 km with CO2 emissions rated as 243–237 g/km.

There is the BMW X6 M50d which is frugal at a combined: 7.2–6.9 l/100 km. CO2 emissions combined are 190–181 g/km, whilst peak power is 294 kW from the six-cylinder in-line diesel engine which packs a quartet of turbochargers.

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HSV SportsCat Ready To Pounce.

Four wheel drive four door utes are amongst the biggest sellers in the Aussie market but it’s not an easy job to make them look tough and ready for an all-in brawl. HSV somehow manages to pull that off with their warmed over version of the Colorado. Packing a 147kW/500Nm diesel (with auto transmission), the SportsCat is more than a “whack on a sticker pack” effort. It’s now into its Series2 offering and it looks the goods, visibly and underneath. It’s available in two spec levels, SportsCat V and SportsCat SV.
Engineered to pound the ground, and hard, SportsCat has uprated frontsprings, stiffened to cope with 110 Newtons per millimetre of impact stress. This translates to far less body roll and movement when getting serious or even taking it easy on the freeway. The rerated suspension also has the front raised by 25mm, increasing the travel available and increasing ground clearance. HSV also call upon SupaShock Suspension to help in the ride and handling.
Connected to six-spoke 18 x 10 wheels wrapped in specially developed Cooper tyres, the dampers from SupaShock, available as factory fitted options, are larger diameter items. By reducing losses of response to friction they are more quickly able to adapt to the ever changing needs of on and off-road driving. Factor in a HSV engineered decoupling bar for the rear axle anti-roll bars, which increases stability at speed by controlling the roll attitude of the rear end, it activates when the SportsCat’s drive system is put into 4WD Low. It’s standard on the SportsCat SV and optionable on the SportsCat V.

Stopping power comes courtesy of the AP racing package. as fitted to the HSV GTS-R, it features four pistons callipers, 362mm x 32mm front rotors to haul down the big machine. These are standard on the SportsCat SV, optionable on the SportsCat V.
Inside and upfront, SportsCat features a reworked interior, including six position adjustable electric seats for driver and passenger. There is specific HSV trim on the dash, doors, and on the steering wheel. The seats are bespoke HSV, with embossed headrests, leather, and Windsor Suede. Outside HSV have a optionable sailplane for the roll-over bar.
Tech and safety are in the form of Remote Start, Front and Rear Park Assist,Forward Collision Alert, Lane Departure Warning, and seven airbags including driver’s kneebag. Towing is rated as up to 3.5 tonnes. These are backed by a five year, unlimited kilometre warranty and roadside assist package.

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Private Fleet Car Review: 2019 Hyundai iLoad Crew Van Liftback.

This Car Review Is About: a vehicle that doubles nicely as a passenger and commercial transport vehicle. The Hyundai iLoad is the cargo transport version of the dedicated passenger van called iMax. It comes with or without the passenger configuration. Or, if you will, the iMax is the passenger version of the iLoad…What Does It Cost: At the time of writing, Hyundai were listing the iLoad Crew at just over $48K driveaway. That includes a five year warranty or 160,000 kilometres, free first service, and 12 months of roadside assist up front. There is a 15,000 kilometre/12 month service schedule.

Under The Bonnet Is: A 2.5L diesel and five speed auto for the iLoad Crew as tested. Peak torque is a whopping 441Nm however the PEAK figure is available through a very narrow rev band of 2,000 rpm through to 2,250rpm. There’s no lack of urge available under that 2,000rpm though. Economy is quoted as 8.8L per 100km for the combined cycle.On The Inside It’s: A comfortable place to be. The two rows of cloth covered seats are separated from the 2,215L of cargo space by a fairly rigid barrier but was still prone to a squeak or two. The front seats are a 2+1 configuration, with the centre section featuring a folding backrest that doubles as a tray and cup holder. The driver has a one touch powered window for Down only, and for up it needs to be held. The windows in the sliding doors for the rear passengers are fold out and not that far either.Instrumentation is basic but functional here. The driver has a fully analogue needle set of dials and a basic but again functional monochrome LCD screen in the centre. This shows trip, odometer, and expected range, but we didn’t see a litres per kilometre display though. Headlights have an Auto on switch, the tiller houses the basic audio and cruise controls, and the wiper controls on the left are just a fingertip away during the rainy season.The dash console itself has a split level storage on the passenger side, a small nook in the centre for USB and 3.5mm auxiliary, a small pull out drawer lower down and a 12V socket.

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Hyundai’s Tucson Refreshed And Updated.

Hyundai Australia has released details of the 2020 refresh for the Tucson range. There is a four trim level choice and that’s courtesy of the addition of the Active entry level model. Active X, Elite, and Highlander are the others. There are upgrades to the safety systems, exterior and interior updates, and minor changes to pricing.

Active and Active X can be specced with a six speed manual transmission and are priced at $29,290 and $32,290, or with a six speed auto will be $31,790 and $34,790 respectively. Power comes from a 2.0L petrol engine, and prices are before government and dealership charges. Tucson Elite dips out on the manual but can be ordered with the 2.0L and auto for $37,850.

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Private Fleet Car Review: 2019 Kia Sorento GT-Line Diesel.

This Car Review Is About: A big, comfortable, and very well equipped vehicle from Kia. The top of the range Sorento GT-Line is a diesel powered seven seater that lacks for very little to appeal to those needing a SUV that isn’t intended to be an off-roader. The Sorento range is powered by either a 3.5L V6 or a 2.2L diesel.Under The Bonnet Is: A 2.2L diesel for the GT-Line. It’s a quiet chatterer thanks to a mix of refinement and noise insulation in the engine bay and under the aluminuim bonnet. 147kW is available at 3,800rpm, and a whopping 441Nm of torque on tap between 1,750 rpm and 2,750 rpm. It’s a great long distance hauler, with an easy, loping attitude thanks to a freeway speed ticking the engine over at around 1,500 rpm. Kia quote 6.1L/100km for the highway cycle and this was bettered, albeit by 0.1L/100km. Overall economy, driven mainly in the urban jungle, finished at 8.2L/100km, with Kia’s urban cycle quoted as 9.2L/100km. Transmission is an eight speed auto putting that power and torque down via the front wheels, with torque split to the rear on demand. There is also a diff-lock for the rare excursions into a bit of mud or dirt.What Does It Cost?: $58,990 plus on road costs and metallic paint. That’s just $595. Capped price servicing applies for the seven years of warranty, with a yearly service or 15,000 kilometres. the most expensive service is year 4 at $684. At the time of writing Kia are doing runout deals for the Sorento range.On The Inside It’s: A seven seater with the third row the delightfully simple pull-strap design. A gentle tug, a pull of the strap backwards to lift the seats, or a tug and gentle push to lower them, and it’s something nearly all makers now use. The centre row is bordering on ideal for three adults, it’s certainly fine for two growing children. The left seat is set up to be slid to allow entry for the rear seats, and both centre seats are sliding & folding. The driver has an eight way powered seat, with the front pews heated, vented, and the driver having a heated tiller. Leather seats are a bit cold to touch in the cooler climes however the heaters take the edge off, but the rate of heating could be improved for a more rapid response.The dash is typical Kia but starting to show its age in one area. Manufacturers have moved to the touchscreen being raised up in its own plinth. This is for safety as it’s closer to the driver’s eyeline and not looking downwards. The screen here is super clean, intuitive, and is DAB/Android Auto/Apple CarPlay compatible. The DAB tuner has the same issues as the other Kias tested recently, with inconsistent signal acquisition and dropout. The plastics in the Sorento are of an almost leather look and have a fine grained finish to them. Open the front doors and Sorento glows a soft red at night in the sills.The dash display itself lacks a HUD but the dial for the speed is fully digital. It also shows which drive mode the driver has selected from the four available: Smart, Eco, Normal, and Sport. A centre screen section shows info such as range, driving distance, trip meter and economy.Auto headlights, rain sensing wipers, auto-dimming rear vision mirror, rear camera and guidelines, plus 360 degree camera are part of the interior fitment and everything is precisely laid out, showing Kia is well on top of the human engagement part of interior design. The Sorento also comes with a full length glass roof.On the Outside: It’s refinement, refinement, refinement. Compared to a Sorento design of, say, a dozen years ago, it’s recognisable as part of the family but obviously a modern design in its own right. It’s a two box design, with a bonnet that dips towards the imposing Schreyer “Tiger Nose” grille, whilst the body behind the windscreen has a smooth silhouette with a slightly odd angle for the rear window/tailgate. The tail gate is powered, of course.

There are LED driving lights, LED tail lights, LED headlights and are self levelling. Kia calls them Dynamic Bending Lights. It’s a big vehicle with a physically imposing presence too. Length is 4,800mm, width is 1,890mm, height is 1,690mm with roof rails. Wheelbase is 2,780mm and virtually joined by the GT-Line’s sidesteps. But with just 185mm of ground clearance it’s certainly not anything other than a soft-roader.Wheels for the GT-Line Sorento are 19 inch alloys and wrapped in 235/55 rubber from Kumho. Thankfully Kia also fit a full sized spare here, not the restrictive space saver spare.What About Safety?: Kia load the GT-Line with the supreme pizza, free drink, and free delivery, it’s that packed. All Sorentos have the mandated electronic aids such as stability control, traction control, and the like. Kia also add the Euro inspired Emergency Stop Signal which flash the indicators when the brake pedal is pressed harder than normal. AEB and Forward Collision Warning is standard through the range as is Lane Keep Assist and Driver Attention Alert, which would, annoyingly, tell a driver to have a break after just thirty minutes of driving.

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Sales Are Down Again For The Aussie Market.

The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, or FCAI, has released the June 2019 vehicle sales figures for Australia’s once thriving market. What it reveals is a pointer to the rest of the economy, with sales down overall by 9.6 percent. Compared to the same time in 2018, it’s even more drastic, at 18.5 percent lower for the passenger car segment at 33,864 sales.

June 2019 saw 117,817 sales in total, with SUVs and Light Commercial vehicles down to 53,509 and 26,372 respectively. These two segments saw drops of 4.7 and 7.0 percent each. The market leader in June was Toyota with 21,200 sales, followed by Mazda on 10,806, Hyundai with 10,001, Mitsubishi at 8,891, and Kia with 7,200. However it’s good news for one particular brand, with four entries inside the top ten.

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Give Me A Brake

Imagine that you’re driving along a typical suburban street.  A movement to the side catches your eye and you spot somebody’s dog off the leash madly rushing full tilt down a driveway, barking madly at the cat across the road.  Next thing you know, Doggo is rushing into the road.  Without thinking, your right foot darts off the accelerator and hard onto the brake.  Your car screeches to a standstill, stopping short of that lunatic of a dog and shoving you hard against your seatbelt.  You growl something about idiotic animals and people who can’t control their dogs, then keep on going, barely thinking about the mechanical miracle that has just taken place.

Brakes. We take them for granted, especially after we’ve been driving for a few years.  However, they are super-important for safety.  Imagine what it would be like without them.  You might have had a small taste of this sort of thing as a child if you screamed downhill on a scooter or skateboard (or, in my case, a bike with worn-out brake pads) – that feeling of being out of control and knowing that gravity will accelerate you faster and that there’s no way of checking or slowing that thing down.

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Private Fleet Car Review: Holden Trax LS Turbo

This Car Review Is About: the Holden Barina based SUV called the Trax. This review is on the LS spec with turbo engine. It’s part of a three trim level range (LS, LT, LTZ) with all but one the 1.4L turbo. The range starts with a LS and 1.8L and is priced at $23,990 plus on roads. At the time of writing the LS 1.4L was available at $24,490 driveaway.The Engine Produces: 103kW and 200Nm, plus a figure of 6.7L per 100 kilometres (combined) from a 53L tank filled with 91RON. Our final figure in an urban drive was 8.3L/100km. Drive is through the front wheels and a six speed auto.On The Inside It’s: a reasonably comfortable place to be. Cloth seats are snug and although fully manual are easy to adjust. The doors open wide enough to make getting onto the seats a doddle too. Because it’s a compact machine, at 4,264mm long and a 2,555mm wheelbase, leg room for the rear seat is adequate at 907mm, not startling and dependent on the front pews not being occupied by taller people. Front leg room is fine for all but the the giants, at 1037mm. Shoulder and hip room is also adequate and front seat head room is great at 1,005mm. The Trax helps the front seat passengers by not having a centre console storage bin, just a standard cup holder style.Barina origins mean the dash is the asymmetrical look found in that car. There’s a old-style looking LCD screen to the right, the speedometer dial in the centre, and the fuel and rev counter on the left. It’s a simple looking unit and as a result offers nothing more than what you see, except for the LCD’s switchable info screens operated from the right hand side of the tiller.The dash itself is Euro styled, with the current sweep around in an arch from door to door running at the base of the windscreen. It’s a finer looking plastic and visually more appealing than that found in the Arcadia. Faux alloy rims the air vents at each end, forms a U-loop for the centre display and vents, and highlights the steering wheel arms and centre stack verticals. The aircon controls in the LS are dials, meaning the temperature can be adjusted finitely but airflow isn’t as finely controlled. These sit above a small nook that has USB/3.5mm/12V sockets.

Audio is AM/FM only, with no DAB, which is increasingly seen in the Trax’s opposition. Smartphone mirroring in the form of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are here.On the Ouside: It’s a strong resemblance to the Barina, if more a breathe in and hold look. It’s ovoid in the overall design, with curves everywhere especially on the front and rear flanks. 215/60/17 tyres and wheels underpin those curves. Up front are integrated LED driving lights that curl nicely around the outsides of the clusters. Driving lights are in their own housings at each corner of the lower front bumper. Out back is a manual tail gate, with an opening to just enough room to get a week’s shopping into, with 387L expanding to 1270L with the 60/40 rear pews folded.

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