As seen on:

SMH Logo News Logo

Call 1300 303 181

Understanding Your Air Conditioning

The weather is starting to get at least a bit warmer, and it’s about time that we started thinking about summer and about summer motoring.  For most of us, especially if we’re in the hotter parts of Australia, having air conditioning that works well is an absolute must if you want to stay sane during the daily commute during the heat of summer – or while on your holiday road trip.

Making sure that your air conditioning is in good working order becomes a bit easier if you understand how it works.  It might seem that it works by magic – you switch it on and cool, refreshing air blows out of the vents – but of course, it doesn’t.  Unless you don’t ride to work on a car but on a flying carpet or on a broomstick Harry Potter style.

Click Here to Read More

2019 Ford Mustang EcoBoost Ready For Your Driveway.

Ford‘s 2019 Mustang range has had the EcoBoost engine added and it comes with extra spice. Sitting alongside the grunty 5.0L GT, the EcoBoost offers more torque than the previously available version. There’s also a new, optional, ten speed auto with paddle shift, extra safety features such as Autonomous Emergency Braking, the updated exterior, and a B&O sound system with 12 speakers with a total power of 1000 Watts. Warranty is now up to five years.
The fuel injected alloy engine with twin scroll turbo produces 224kW and a ripping 441 Nm of torque. That compares favourably on a kW/Nm per litre factor when looking at the 5.0L’s figures of 339kW and 556Nm. Standard transmission is a six speed auto. The turbo has been tuned to deliver a beautifully smooth torque curve which enhances the overall driveability. Strength and durability comes from forged conrods, lightweight pistons with steel rings, and variable valve timing for better upper end performance.
The interior features a new 12.4 inch instrument cluster that is heavily customisable thanks to a large involvement from ex games developers. Three modes are available, being Normal, Sport, and Track with adjustable layouts and colours. A new memory function, Mustang MyMode, allows a driver to set drive settings, steering preferences, and exhaust note preferences. A brand new active exhaust features four distinct modes, being Normal, Track, Sport, and Quiet. An electronic control system enables the note to suit the drive mode and rev range, and there is even Track Apps to allow the recording of data for analysis.Ride and handling prowess has been upped thanks to new shock absorbers, and a new cross-axis joint for the rear suspension provides a higher level of lateral stiffness for extra stability. Redesigned stabiliser bars also factor in the increased handling capability. Magnetic damping has now been provided as an option. With an adjustment speed of up to 1000 times a second, the Ford MagneRide suspension was previously available in the Shelby GT350.
More tech for the Mustang EcoBoost comes from the Ford DAT, or Driver Assist Technology. Pedestrian Detection technology partners with Autonomous Emergency Braking, Adaptive Cruise Control, plus Lane Departure Warning and Lane Keeping Assist. Auto high beam and auto levelling headlights are also on board. Ford’s renowned SYNC3 interface is standard on the EcoBoost and features Emergency Assist which will dial emergency services should the car’s telematics detect a crash has occurred. There’s an eight inch full colour display, reverse camera, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

The EcoBoost will be available in the two body shapes, Convertible and Fastback, complete with reprofiled bonnet and grille for a harder. edgier, look. LED headlights are standard across the Mustang range, along with tri-bar daytime running lights. The LED taillights feature a revamped design, as do the bumpers, and there are black painted 19 inch alloys. Brembo supply the brakes. Inside the materials have been updated for a higher quality look and feel, with a new “spun alloy” llok for the dash panel.
Complete with a five year warranty the 2019 Mustang range starts from $49,990 (manufacturer’s list price) for the Fastback manual, $52,990 (MLP) for the Fastback auto, with $59,490 being the MLP for the EcoBoost convertible auto. The 2019 Mustang range including the EcoBoost is available from Ford dealers now.

Hyundai and Caltex Offer Fuel Savings

In a time where fuel costs seem uncontrollable in their rise, Hyundai and Caltex have come together to offer a deal where a an app-coupon will save four cents per litre at up to 120 litres per day. The combination works with 665 Caltex service stations offering the discount to buyers and drivers of selected Hyundai vehicles from October 15, 2018.

Hyundai Auto Link Bluetooth and Hyundai Auto Link Premium are required and the current generation i30, Kona, Tucson, and Santa Fe should have these fitted. For customers who wish to claim the fuel discount, it is as simple as downloading or updating their Hyundai Auto Link app, logging in using MyHyundai, and presenting the QR code (available in the Coupon section) at a participating Caltex service stations. The app itself will locate the nearest participating Caltex station by opening the Hyundai Auto Link app and tapping on the Caltex icon.

Click Here to Read More

MG Circles The Octagon With The NBL.

MG Motor Australia has pulled off what could be the world’s first motor and round ball sports coup. Australia’s National Basketball League, or NBL, has partnered with MG to to reveal an octagonal shaped key on court.

Regular basketball players will be aware of the centre section of the court being a circle, as is the scoring zone, or key, in front of the baskets. But for 28 games throughout the forthcoming 2018/2019 season, sponsored by Hungry Jacks, the key will be replaced by the distinctive MG Motor octagon.
The octagonal key debuted during the season tip-off in New Zealand, seeing the first octagonal on Thursday 11 October. Australia saw it in a game between the NSW based Illawarra Hawks, and the Victorian Melbourne United. Another early release was seen between the Sydney Kings and Adelaide‘s 36er’s. Neither team from NSW were victorious.

Click Here to Read More

Alpine A110 Ready To “Peak” Interest.

Automotive history is littered with names that have disappeared and then, to the joy of the hardcore, been resurrected. In rallying circles the name “Alpine” is synonymous with elegance and good looks, and the brand’s name has been given an injection here in Australia with the release of the Australian Premiere Edition Alpine A110. A recommended retail starting price of $97,000 comes along with it and for the money there’s a pack of standard kit.

Click Here to Read More

Peugeot Goes Touring With The 508.

Peugeot continues its renaissance with the announcement of the revamped 508 range and the addition of the Tourer variant. This is currently scheduled for a release in the second half of 2019. The Tourer will be released along with the “Fastback” and is based on a brand new from the wheels up design. Known as the EMP2, or Efficient Modular Platform 2, the design enables Peugeot to strip up to 70 kilograms from the mass of the Tourer. It also features a more compact design, a reduced height, yet without compromising interior packaging. There’s a sharper, edgier design, and the interior has also been given an update which will feature the third version of Peugeot’s i-Cockpit.

Motorvation will come from a new driveline combination; for Australia there’ll be a newly designed Aisin eight speed auto and will be paired with a 1.6L petrol engine producing 168kW. A slightly less powerful version, with 135kW, will also be available and paired with the same auto. This will be seen in the Fastback and sedan versions at launch. Built into a chassis that will be at around 1420kg, it means a better power to weight ratio than most of the competitors the vehicles will be up against. Variants fitted with the 169kW engine will boast an 8.41kg/kW power-to-weight ratio while 133kW variants will also be competitive with a 10.67kg/kW power-to-weight ratio.

Click Here to Read More

Mercedes-Benz A-Class On The Way For 2019.

Mercedes-Benz is due to release an updated A-Class range before the end of the year and it’s set to receive a healthy boost with the introduction of the new A 250 4MATIC. Available for a limited time, the A 250 4MATIC arrives with the same generous levels of standard equipment as the A 200, but adds more power and all-wheel drive traction. The new A 250 4MATIC will be available from all authorised Mercedes-Benz dealerships in November 2018 and is priced from $49,500 (Manufacturer’s Retail List Price)

The M 260 four-cylinder engine in the new A 250 4MATIC is essentially a further development of the previous M 270. It will produce 165 kW of power and 350 Nm of torque. Combined with the standard 7G-DCT dual clutch transmission, the A 250 4MATIC is able to sprint from 0 to 100 km/h in just 6.2 seconds. Combined fuel consumption is 6.6L per 100 km.

Click Here to Read More

Private Fleet Car Review: 2019 Lexus RX-450h

Take a mid to large sized SUV, add a smattering of real leather, toss in a pinch of hybrid technology attached to a 3.5L V6, and pin on a badge that says L. Voila, it’s the 2019 Lexus RX-450h. It comes with a choice of non-hybrid or hybrid V6, a turbo 2.0L, and either five or seven seats. Private Fleet has the hybrid and showcased it at a superb location, Dryridge Estate, in the Megalong Valley, on the western fringes of the Blue Mountains.The RX 450h mates a pair of electric motors to the petrol engine. That’s good for 230 kW to power all four wheels on demand with a torque split system. Peak torque for the 2270 kilogram (dry) machine is a somewhat surprising 335Nm at a high 4600 rpm. It feels as if there should should be more though. Transmission is a CVT and for the most part it’s hard to pick it as being one. A dial in the centre console allows the driver to choose different drive modes, and picking Sports/Sports+ changes the left hand LCD dial in the driver’s binnacle from a hybrid information screen to a tachometer. And although it’s a heavy machine with a load on, at just under three tonnes, economy is very good. Lexus quotes a better than impressive 6.0L/100 kilometres on the combined cycle, a figure that we didn’t finish all that far away from in a real world, lifestyle, testing drive.The Lexus RX-450h, for the most part, was driven in the environment it’s most likely to be seen: around town. Here it copes admirably, with the comfortable interior featuring rear seat climate control, superbly padded real leather pews front and rear, powered rear seats, and a power tail gate. There’s a full length glass roof which was at odds with the junior members of the review team preferring the Toyota Kluger Grande’s sunroof and blu-ray player. The actual dash design is the somewhat heavy horizontal layer look that Lexus favours, with most switch-gear easily seen from the driver’s seat. The trip/odometer are hidden behind the right hand tiller spoke, and the Start/Stop button behind the left hand side. The trim in the RX-450h supplied was black and chocolate plastic, counterbalanced by cream leather with a distinctively different feel to machine made leather.There’s the traditional Lexus multi-function controller in the centre console that allows the front seat passengers to access an array of information such as the audio, climate control, and Lexus information, which requires a smartphone to be paired in order to deliver the info. This pops up on a 12.3 inch widescreen display high on the dash, ensuring it’s at eye level and provides a better measure of safety, rather than looking downwards. There is also a relatively bland looking HUD or Head Up Display. A Mark Levinson audio system with DVD-Audio capability and DAB tuner is installed, and it’s worth the time to set it up for your preferred style of audio. Unusually, a Time-Shift function is added, where a user can rewind live audio thanks to a small hard drive running streaming storage. All windows are one touch up/down, and a soft touch at that. There’s a better quality material for the windows themselves to run on, with an almost silent mechanism as a result. Wireless smartphone charging is gradually making its way into more cars and it’s here too, albeit hidden in an awkward forward position ahead of the cup holders.Ride and drive is a mixed bag. The steering can feel heavy when it’s just the front wheels being driven, but lightens in proportion as drive gets shunted rearward. Lateral stability is high with only the occasional rear end hop/skip over unsettled surfaces in corners. It’s the suspension that raises and eyebrow sometimes, with a feeling that the tune, although compliant, has the body feeling as if its moving around more than anticipated and this happens at the top of the suspension, almost like a mattress with a pole and springs supporting it at each corner.. There’s more pogoing than expected but does damp itself quickly enough.

Turn-in is easily controlled via throttle application. There’s little predisposition to a nose heavy attitude in corners but on the rare occasion there was a tendency to run wide, a gentle lift of the go-pedal would tuck the front back in before a judicious squeeze would have the car settle into the desired arc. The excellent brakes also help, with a brush of the pedal enough to feel the mass of the RX-450h respond in kind, and certainly assisted in the run out to the spectacular views from Dryridge Estate. Naturally they feed kinetic energy back into the hybrid system and it can be a little mesmerising watching the dash display with arrows feeding in and out of the various car driveline components..This small vineyard, Dryridge Estate, is at the southern end of the road leading from Blackheath, a small village on the way out to Lithgow and Bathurst as one drives from Sydney. Located on the escarpment of the massive Megalong Valley, a former sea canyon, the drive starts with a series of tight and downhill oriented turns through a fern lined and barely sunshine lit set turns that will test and delight the enthusiastic driver. That’s presuming one isn’t caught behind another driver that brakes every couple of seconds. They specialise in small and intimate gatherings, provide a wonderful variety of cheeses to sample, and of course their own produce. The fact that the background should entice car companies to host launches there is a bonus.Once at valley level the forest and ferns disappear, with a broad valley floor offering uninterrupted views of the canyon walls. It’s about a twenty minute drive from the highway to Dryridge, with a couple of kilometres worth of unsealed road taking you to the estate. Facing eastwards the estate then allows driver and passenger a chance to stop and drink in the stunning view. The RX-450h was neutral and easily controlled on the downhill run, with the brakes recharging the hybrid’s battery along the way. On the flat the V6 opens up and emits a throaty roar under acceleration, and the steering seems to loosen up, almost as if it realises that it’s time to relax and back off on assisting, yet keeps in touch with the driver.On the gravel that softer upper end travel comes into its own, with that absorption level flattening out the corrugations found on the way in and back out. Heading back to the highway brings with it a similar yet different feeling. Being front wheel drive oriented there’s a subtle shift in chassis feel thanks to the now uphill run. The nose is a little harder, tighter, as each flex of the right foot has the front tyres biting into the tarmac. The torque split feels more noticeable as it pushes the rear along into the turns uphill and makes for a more nimble and exhilarating package. The multi-purpose Dunlop SP Sport Maxx rubber provide a decent enough grip across both types of surfaces and at 235/55/20 provide a huge footprint too.

If there’s a signature for the Lexus range it’s the exterior design. It’s better than fair to say that Lexus has a unique styling ethic and it’s unlike any other luxury oriented maker. There’s a plethora of lines and angles and very few true curves outside of the wheel arch and behind the passenger doors. The sedan range, all of the SUVs, and even the Land Cruiser based big beastie have a strong family design ethic, particularly at the front end. There’s the distinctive hour glass grille, slimline tapered headlights, and in the RX there are a pair of triangular clusters holding the halogen driving lights. The overall presence is one of a standout on the roads.

Click Here to Read More

How To Clean Car Seats

Hello, I’ve left tons of hair and drool over your upholstery. What you gonna do about it, boss?

In my post last week, I discussed the advantages and the disadvantages of the different seat upholstery materials.  In that post, I mentioned the ease of cleaning as a factor that might be the deciding one for you

Click Here to Read More

Cloth Versus Leather

There are two main choices these days when it comes to what the interior designers of new cars put on the seats: cloth and leather. Leather is definitely the material of choice for luxury cars, but if you ever find yourself in a situation where one of the key differences between two variants is what’s on the seats, is it really worth it going for the leather just because it’s posher?  If you’re into keeping up with the Joneses, then this one’s a no-brainer – you go for the more expensive one with the leather – but what if you’re a bit cannier with your cash?

Thankfully, the days of vinyl have gone, so that’s not an option. Those of us who are old enough to remember vinyl seats or who have ridden in classics with this type of upholstery know perfectly well why vinyl seats aren’t found in modern vehicles.  About the only good thing you could say about vinyl was that it was easy to clean. It was slippery when cold or if you had long trousers on. In hot weather and for those wearing shorts, vinyl became sticky but not like spilt jam – more like clingfilm on steroids grabbing bare skin.  It also got really hot on a summer day – add in the hot seat belt buckle on old-style seatbelts and you got your very own personal torture chamber.  I’m shuddering with the memory.

Click Here to Read More