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Archive for December, 2017

Car Review: 2018 Volvo XC60 T6 R-Design

It’s a nice thing, as an independent writer, to get a vehicle that has visual appeal and plenty of chops underneath. It’s even better when that car is an award winner. The 2018 spec Volvo XC60, starting at a pinch under $60K, is definitely one of those and with a range of trim levels and engines to choose from, there’s one for everyone. I spend a Christmas week with the 2018 Volvo XC60 T6 R-Design.Visually it’s almost identical to its slightly older and slightly larger sibling, the XC90. There’s the LED headlights, the “Thor’s Hammer” indicator and LED driving light strip, and a visual cue from the S90 sedan with the new horizontal add-ons for the LED tail lights. Painted in a gorgeous metallic blue, the curves are highlighted and emphasise the new 21 inch diameter alloys and Pirelli rubber.It’s an imposing vehicle to look at. The 1900+ kilo machine is 4688mm in length, an astounding 1902mm in width, and stands 1658mm tall. Yet it’s as light and nimble, via the leather clad steering wheel, as a sports car, with beautiful feedback and effortless in its movement. The R-Design tested came fitted with airbag suspension and some options as well, with the ride and handling almost without fault.The XC60 was taken on a run to the NSW South Coast and was unflustered in its dealing with the varying tarmac conditions. For the most part. Some irregularities had the stiffer springs not dealing with them and the rear would skip sideways. The rear suspension has a name guaranteed to test anyone’s tongue: integral link with transverse composite leaf. The front is much easier: double wishbone transverse link. In layman’s terms they translate to “it’s a bloody good setup and it works”.The R-Design comes with a choice of diesel, a turbocharged or turbo/supercharged engine 2.0L petrol donk (T5 and T6) or a hybrid package. The Euro V6 emissions compliant T6 has pumps out a healthy 235kW via the all wheel drive system and a very usable 400 torques between 2200 and 5400 rpm. The eight speed Adaptive Geartronic auto defies logic in its unbelievably silky smoothness, imperceptible changes, and comes with drive modes including Comfort and Dynamic.It also comes with a 71 litre fuel tank, a clever fuel usage sensor that shows the varying range depending on thirst, and here’s the black spot for the XC60. The test car never dipped below 10.0 litres consumed per 100 kilometres. This included a couple of light throttle, flat road, gentle acceleration, freeway runs.The manufacturer’s price for the R-Design is $76990. The review vehicle was fitted with a number of options and the final figure was $87180. There’s the Lifestyle Pack at $2500 with heating for the multi-adjustable leather seats (which also had cooling, yay!), a Panoramic glass sunroof and tinted rear windows. The air suspension is an option and it’s worth the $2490 simply to watch the car settle on its haunches every time you exit. An extra $350 sees the front seat power cushion extensions, with interior package of leather and aforementioned ventilation another $2950. Metallic paint is $1900.The centre-piece of the interior is the nine inch touchscreen that houses driving aids, audio and climate control, apps, display settings, and is not initially intuitive but becomes so with practice. It’s also a highly reflective coated unit that is fantastic at holding fingerprints. It’s a three screen side-swipe that shows the choice of audio including DAB which, via the $4500 optional B&W speakers sounded spot on. The whole navigation interface is voice controlled as well. The glovebox is cooled and the climate control is a four zone capable unit. The driver has a full colour 12.3 inch LCD display with the display defaulting to a map between the speed and rev counter dials. The touchscreen has a tab to adjust the dial looks including power, Glass, and Chrome.Volvo’s attention to the little things is also as admirable. There’s the knurled finish to the drive selectior know, the same finish on the Start/Stop dial in the console, which requires a simple turn to the right to start or stop. Even the windscreen wipers have an identifying feature, with a gentle mist sprayed right out of the blade mounts which allows a closer and more efficient pattern to be utilised.There’s a swag of safety aids as standard, including Blind Spot Alert, Cross Traffic Alert, Traffic Sign Recognition, a 360 degree camera setup, Adaptive Cruise Control, Pilot Assist which is a semi-autonomous driver system, Park Assist Pilot, Run-Off Road Mitigation and Lane Keeping Assist and it’s here some tweaking is needed. Irrespective of velocity the assistance is equal in force meaning a slow speed assist feels more like wrenching the tiller from the driver’s hands. There’s Hill Start Assist and Hill Descent Control and a complete suite of airbags including driver’s knee.The tail gate is power operated and is fitted with the under bumper foot sensor. This proved somewhat fiddly to use, even after a few attempts, but when it opens the rear door it allows access to 505 litres worth of cargo space, rear 12V socket, and space saving spare tyre. Rear seat passengers don’t suffer in room either, with 965mm leg room, 988mm head room, and 1408mm hip room.

It’s on the road when the ability of the T6 R-Design engine package shows its mettle. At the legal freeway limit the eight ratios see around 1700 rpm, meaning it’s not far from peak torque. Sink the slipper and the needle swings around instantly, the numbers change rapidly, and velocity is illegal very easily. Because of the superb sound insulation the XC60 has, there’s no real aural sense of what’s happening up front or outside and it’s too easy to be caught above the rated local limit, meaning the driver really needs to be aware of the numbers on screen.But if a car is going to offer such usable performance it’ll also need some useable stoppers. The XC60 delivers with brakes that can be judged to a nanometer in what they’re doing in relation to foot pressure. Nor does the R-Design’s ride quality suffer from the Pirelli P-Zero 255/40/21 tyres. It’d be fair to expect some harshness in the ride from such large tyres and a small profile, yet the suspension engineers have worked wonders in dialing in just the right amount of give for all but the most unsettled of tarmac surfaces.Settling into a freeway rhythm was easy in the R-Design. Loping along, enjoying either the DAB sounds or the music via connected smartphone, comfortable in the powered seats and being breathed upon by the climate control aircon, it’s an indisputably delightful place to be. Allowing for stops to allow rest breaks, exiting the XC60 after the five hundred kilometres or so drive had only the barest hint of fatigue settling in.

At The End Of the Drive.
drive.com.au have awarded the XC60 their Best SUV under $80,000 and it’s obvious to see why. Although adding some of the options add to the final price, the underlying ability of the 2018 Volvo XC60 T6 R-Design, is more than able and competent. Supplemented by an excellent safety package, an immensely flexible driveline, some high tech to use, and a beautiful exterior, the only real quibble with the car provided was the thirst.

Here is where you can configure your new XC60: 2018 Volvo XC60 information

Be Coming Home After Christmas

It’s just five days until Christmas 2017 at the time of writing. It’s a time where we relax, maybe have a break from work, and we go driving just that little bit more. However we’re also told that this is a dangerous time of year to be on the roads and perhaps there’s some validity in that. Here’s some things you can do to help make our roads just that little bit safer.

Indicate.
This is constantly seen as the number one irritant to drivers in just about every survey about what annoys drivers. But why then are so many cars seen to have “broken indicators” or, as some cynically put it, “have run out of indicator fluid”? Cars are designed and engineered so the basics of driving are a fingertip away, and indicator stalks, be they on the left or right hand side of the steering column, are such.
Indicators are not optionable extras, nor are they difficult to use. If you’re changing lanes, indicate. If you’re merging, indicate. If you’re in a roundabout, indicate. And this doesn’t mean just a cursory flicker or two. Current laws state that “sufficient indication must be given”. Far too many drivers think one/two/three is enough. You should be indicating before leaving your lane and finishing indicating once the whole of your vehicle is the new lane. “NSW Roundabout indication rules” and “Top 10 misunderstood road rules
Roundabouts require you to to indicate as well, especially with three lane roundabouts. Let’s say the roundabout is a Y shape and you’re going left; it’s simple, you indicate left. If you’re going right, you indicate right to go in and then indicate left when exiting. That’s the law.

Headlights.
If you’re out and about and cars are coming toward you with headlights on, there’s a fair bet there’s a good reason why. Most cars today are built with either an auto headlight on function or with LED DRLs fitted. DRL stands for Daytime Running Lights and are in no way intended to be a replacement for headlights. When your car starts and these come on, it also doesn’t mean the lights at the back come on either. When you activate your headlights, then your taillights will come on, and it’s a great idea to do so if you have a dark metallic or silver car and the weather is rainy or clouded over. It REALLY does make your car so much more visible and so much more safer.

Passing the vehicle ahead.
Planning for a lane change isn’t hard. As a driver you should be looking ahead more than to the rear, and too often vehicles are seen almost touching the rear of the car ahead before they suddenly swoop left or right, and again generally without indicating. A well prepared driver should be able to judge the of the traffic and be able to switch lanes smoothly. One simple yet safety improving reason is: what happens if the vehicle you’re getting close to suddenly brakes hard? Bang, you’re in their rear.

Looking ahead also helps with vehicle behaviour; if one car only swerves, well, maybe it’s a tired driver, but if a succession of cars suddenly do it’s a possible indicator there’s something untoward on the road, like a pothole or something that’s fallen off a vehicle. Keep an eye out and be in no doubt.

Red lights/amber lights/green lights.
Cynics would say there’s a lot of colour blind people on our roads, thinking amber means speed up and jump the red. MOST intersections are researched and have their traffic light timing adjusted for traffic flow, with the change from green to amber to red set and a predetermined interval. There’s a set distance that is allowed for along with time in order for drivers to utilise the amber light for its intended use: to slow down and stop safely.

Distractions.
It seems unbelievable that having earphones in whilst driving is still not illegal as it isolates you from an important part of driving; the aural connection to what’s happening outside the car. Sure we can up the volume of the audio system but by having earphones in you’re actually locking out more of the ambient sound.
Kids are always a “good” distraction and we’re certainly not about to tell you how to deal with your children but it’s worth reminding you.
Also, bugs, cigarettes, drinks, and the like need to be considered. And please! if you have bluetooth in your vehicle for calls and audio streaming, use that rather than using your hands.

Car Maintenance.
Tyre pressures and tread depth, windscreen wiper fluid and radiator fluid levels, oil levels, all of these are easily checked before taking your car out. Tyre pressures are marked on the sidewall or on a sticker mounted somewhere inside your vehicle. Tread depth is easily identified visually and a bald tyre is simply no good on a wet road. If the tread looks more worn on one side than the other then a visit to your local tyre shop is recommended. Windscreen wiper fluid is specially formulated so good old Windex as a replacement is not recommended. Oils too are specific to certain types of car (petrol v diesel generally) but an older engine may also need a different oil compared to the new Mustang your Lotto winnings have bought you.

How does the dash look? Is it dusty? Does the touchscreen have fingerprints all over it? Give these a clean before heading out as these can sometimes catch the eye at the wrong moment.

Don’t. Drive. Tired.
It’s far too easy to misjudge your own endurance levels when it comes to long distance driving. Sure, we can sit inside our car for an hour plus in peak hour traffic but we don’t cover the same distance as Sydney to Canberra, Perth to Geraldton, Melbourne to Albury. Sometimes long drives are taken on Boxing day or New Year’s Day, and the body hasn’t recovered from a belly full, be it alcohol or a good roast. Studies show that Microsleeps are a major contributor to crashes, so keep fluid levels, like a sports drink or water, available.

BA.
That’s Bad Attitude. And it sucks. Road rage incidents are full of bad attitude and generally because someone can’t be bothered following the road rules because they don’t they the law applies to them. Tailgating, lane hogging, pulling in front of someone and suddenly braking, and so on are fine examples of BA. If you have BA, stay away.

Speeding.
Finally, the big one. Speeding in and of itself is not dangerous, otherwsie our roads would be populated by ghosts. It’s when combined with tiredness, alcohol, inattention, a bad attitude, mistiming the traffic lights, worn tyres, that excess velocity over distance causes the heartbreak it does.

Use your mirrors, look at the traffic ahead, look for the one or two vehicles that seem to be travelling a whole lot quicker than they should be and do your safest change of lane to get out of the way. Because unless you think WW2 was a fantastic comedy, you don’t want to be that person to answer a knock on the door and see two sombre looking members of the constabulary about to tell you a loved one has died at the hands (wheels?) of someone else driving badly.

Please, do have a safe Christmas for 2017, a wonderful New Year’s as we move to 2018 so we can all be coming home after Christmas.

Private Fleet Car(?) Review: Santa’s Sleigh

At this time of the year, one particular vehicle is commented on, illustrated and watched for (on Google’s Santa Tracker, for example). It has come to my attention that we haven’t reviewed this vehicle yet for Private Fleet.  Unfortunately, it won’t be available through our car reviews page, as it’s an extremely limited edition vehicle and pricing information isn’t available. Nevertheless, because this is the Christmas edition of the Private Fleet blog, let us now present you with the official Private Fleet review of Santa’s Sleigh.

Make and Model: Santa Sleigh, Yuletide Saturnalia variant.

Years manufactured: First reviewed in 1821, then modified in 1823 by Clement Clarke Moore’s “Twas the Night Before Christmas”.  Updated in 1939 to include Rudolph. Prior to this, Santa’s transportation of choice has included a white horse (possibly eight-legged). The sleigh concept was apparently imported from Finland – obviously some winter rally driving expertise went into the development of this vehicle.

Top speed: According to an article originally published in Spy magazine that worked out the physics of Santa’s Sleigh, the top speed required by Santa’s Sleigh is 650 miles per second, which is about 3000 times the speed of sound. As the sleigh operates silently without sonic booms, we suspect that the sleigh makes use of hyperspace and multiple dimensions to cover the necessary distance.

It is not known if any other vehicle can match this speed, although it was once given some stiff competition by Six White Boomers (snow white boomers) who raced Santa Claus through the blazing sun on his Australian run. It is thought that these may be used as his hot weather equivalent for Outback use.

Engine: The very best in German engineering, the Dasher-Dancer-Prancer-Vixen-Comet-Cupid-Donner-Blitzen-Rudolph unit is laid out in a V configuration.  The actual power output of this unit is uncertain, as the power equation requires us to know the weight, which is unknown and also is linked to gravitational force acting on mass, and the sleigh may have anitgravity features. The power requirements of interdimensional or hyperspace physics are also uncertain. Torque is not applicable, as this refers to rotational acceleration; as a sleigh uses runners rather than wheels, the acceleration – which is considerable – is linear rather than rotational.  The 0–100 km/h time is phenomenal and is probably measured in nanoseconds.

Fuel type:  Runs exclusively on biofuels, mostly carrots, with refuelling stations provided along with milk and cookies (or mince pies and sherry, depending on the household) down many chimneys.  Emissions are also environmentally friendly and while they contain some greenhouse gases in the form of methane, the majority can be used for compost or can be broken down by algae for biodiesel (as invented by Rudolf Diesel – a relative of the other Rudolph?). We presume that the compost is used to grow carrots, possibly enhanced by fairy dust and magic.

Seating: One main seat is provided for a driver, although smaller passenger seats may be installed for elf assistants.  A pinhead may also be provided for angels to dance on, as angelic beings are multidimensional and multiple entities are thus able to occupy the same unit of space-time (so that’s how the interdimensional capacity of the sleigh is worked!).

Lights: Bioluminescence provides the main lighting system.  Fairy dust and candles may also provide auxiliary lighting. The most notable feature of the lighting system is the Rudolph front fog light, a nose so bright and you could even say it glows. The Rudolph feature is illegal in most countries, which do not allow red lights on the front of vehicles.  We can therefore assume that the North Polar road regulations are different from those of the rest of the world; the importance of red in the total ensemble also suggests this.

Off Road Ability: The off-road ability of Santa’s sleigh is second to none.  Not only are sleighs and reindeer superbly suited to winter driving conditions without the need for snow chains, Santa’s Sleigh can go further off the road the most vehicles.  According to the original reviewer, Clement, “when they meet with an obstacle, [they] mount to the sky”.  Flight capacity is an essential feature of this vehicle, so ground clearance is, theoretically, infinite.

Cargo Capacity: The cargo capacity that is usually depicted as being located to the rear of the sleigh and is styled to resemble a sack probably also makes use of hyperspaces and interdimensionality.  According to the Spy magazine review, Santa delivers to 378 million children (this figure doesn’t include Buddhist, Hindu or Muslim children, who have their own traditions and figures).  Quick experimentation with a sturdy hiking sock and a couple of small beer bottles reveals that the typical stocking contains approximately 1 litre, giving the sleigh a cargo capacity of at least 378 million litres.

Safety Features: The braking system allows the sleigh to go to a complete standstill from Mach 3000 almost instantaneously.  As the sleigh appears to use multiple dimensions and appears to be weightless, it is possible that an antigravity function is at work and the braking ability is achieved by suddenly switching this off so the force of gravity can slow the sleigh to a standstill.  It is no wonder that the driver comes with side and front airbags installed.

Sound System:  Similar to other wintertime forms of transportation involving animals with a bouncing gait, music is provided by small bells attached to the harness: jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way.

Driver Assistance: Some navigation appears to be provided by the Rudolph package, which was specifically asked to guide the sleigh one foggy Christmas Eve.  Stop-go functionality, off-road ability and possibly steering are completely voice activated:

More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

 

“Now Dasher! Now, Dancer! Now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! On, on Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! To the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”

 

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of toys, and St Nicholas too.

The sleigh also seems to have automatic parking ability.  Reindeer are capable of seeing light in ultraviolet spectrum that humans cannot see and each reindeer has a 310° field of vision; detecting signals in the remaining rear 50° degrees is handled by the ears, which are capable of tilting in any direction.  Possibly, the elf assistants also provide rear sensor ability.

It is probably just as well that all these driver aids are provided, given the British, Irish and Australian trend of leaving alcoholic beverages out for the famous and presumably immortal driver.  These units of alcohol are probably not off-set by the milk and cookies provide in the US.  Even given the noted bodyweight of Santa Claus, the amount of alcohol would probably put him well over the legal limit in all countries, probably excepting the North Pole.  However, as only one accident has been recorded involving Santa Claus (involving Elmo and Patsy’s grandma, who was reported to have been drinking too much egg-nog and to have forgotten her medication when she got run over by a reindeer), the sleigh operates at full speed and with perfect safe handling year after year, so the driver assistance and collision avoidance ability of the sleigh must be superb and flawless.

Have a safe Christmas and New Year season, everybody.  And for goodness’ sake, leave the high speeds and driving under the influence to Santa.  His vehicle is built handle it.  Yours isn’t.

Private Fleet Car Review: 2018 Audi S5

It’s always a pleasure to have a luxury car in the driveway. It’s always a pleasure to have a sports oriented car in the driveaway. When the two mix, it’s double the pleasure. The 2018 Audi S5, with “Quattro” all wheel drive and turbo V6 packed into a lithe and sinuous body, takes that a notch or two further. With a list price of $96,200 and a final drive-away figure of $116,500, does the S5 offer luxury supercar performance at a reasonable price?The keys to the S5 are the 3.0 litre V6, eight speed tiptronic which has been updated from the previously available seven speed, and all wheel drive. Peak power is 260 kilowatts between 5400 and 6400 rpm and maximum torque of 500 Nm on tap at a billiard table flat 1370 – 4500 rev band. Helped by 255/35/19 rubber from Continental and a dry weight of 1690 kilos it’s good enough to see a 0 – 100 kph time of 4.5 seconds, with a seat of the pants feeling that’s a conservative figure. Economy will vary depending on how heavy the right foot is employed. Audi quotes 7.5L/100 km of 98RON for the combined cycle and an average of just 10.0L/100 km for the urban cycle. A worst of over 15.0L/100 km was seen and that was when testing acceleration times.It doesn’t hurt that the S5’s aerodynamics add to the rapidity of the S5. At just 0.25cD it’s one of the slipperier cars of its type. Part of this comes from a redesign to the front, with a lower and more pedestrian friendly nose that houses the signature Audi Singleframe grille. Smooth sine wave lines join the LED headlight front via the two door coupe’s subtly larger flanks to the short tail that gives up a deep if not vertically capacious 455 litres. Fold the rear seats and that’s up to 829 litres. Step inside and there’s a combination of high tech with the Heads Up Display,  12.3 inch TFT “Virtual Cockpit” dash display and variable drive modes against a stunning business club feel thanks to the sumptuously appointed diamond quilted leather seats. That’s front and rear, with the back seat occupants not forgotten in the search for comfort as Audi provides a three zone climate control system.There’s an impressively modern feel and look to the plastics, with a mostly ergonomic approach to the layout of the dash and console mounted buttons and switches. There’s a broad swathe of venting to the view of the front seat passengers which looks slightly unusual given the accepted 2 + 2 vent look everywhere else.Although the S5 is a decent 4692mm in length and has a longish 2765mm wheelbase, interior room isn’t as spacious as one would suspect. Yes, you have to duck your head to get in, and yes, rear seat leg room and head room is tight for an Oompaloompa, you can almost forgive that given the outright driveability and the comfort levels the S5 provides.The LCD screen in front of the driver is the latest word in how to do something pretty damned well. With a changeable look that gives a number of different display looks, such as full screen map, speedo and rev counter along with long and short term driving stats, it’s intuitive and easy on the eye. What isn’t is Audi’s decision to stay with a centre dash mounted screen that looks plugged into a cut-out slot. Nor does the DAB/FM/AM display show anything other than the station you’re listening to with RDS (Radio Data Service) info seemingly locked into a separate screen.Road manners come as no surprise in being benign when driven gently, tenacious when driven moderately, and superb at maximum attack. The drive modes, being Comfort, Dynamic, Individual, either sharpen or soften chassis and throttle response and, unusually, it really dos work. Too often (you hear us, Kia and Hyundai?) these electronic changes are added and seem to add nought. In the case of the Audi S5, m’lud, they do.The transmission really does offer quicker changes and using the paddle shifts there’s a blip blip blip on upshifts. Downshifts are fractionally slower…fractionally. It’s a hugely enjoyable experience and using Dynamic is great for quiet roads or track days, Comfort for cruising, and really that’s all you need. There’s also the 1587mm/1568mm front and rear track to aid in high speed and around town stability plus a tight turning circle (11.4 metres) with the steering itself a natural feeling setup lock to lock. Recalibrated suspension components in the front lend their aid to the ride quality too. The S5 brakes are just what you need and expect from the package, with a sensitive pedal telling the driver just how much retardation is happening at any given time.

On board are six airbags with the S5 missing a driver’s knee ‘bag, accident pre-sensing which did throw up some false positives, Blind Spot Warning, pre-tensioning seatbelts (which caught the Mrs unawares more than once), a pedestrian friendly “Active Bonnet” and the usual driver aids. There’s also autonomous braking on board.

To back up the S5 should anything go awry is a three year road side assistance program, three year unlimited kilometre warranty with twelve year anti-corrosion, and the option of extended warranty as well.

At The End Of The Drive.
The question was: “…does the S5 offer luxury supercar performance at a reasonable price?” Quite simply that answer is yes. 2018 Audi A5/S5 is the place to go to enquire further.

Private Fleet Car Review: 2018 Renault Captur Intens

It’s rare nowadays to find a vehicle that can be kindly described as loathed by automotive writers. Technology in the form of entertainment, engine management, transmission variants, and the like, means cars drive, perform, cosset, and are generally regarded as nothing less than good.Then there’s the revamped for 2018 Renault Captur. The Intens is the range topper and is fitted with digital radio, a turbocharged three cylinder, and dual clutch auto. Sounds good so far. But, the gap between expectations and reality for this particular vehicle is Grand Canyon sized. Priced from $22,000 to $31,590, it’s got a lot to live up to.The Captur comes with a choice of two engines and neither are what could be considered…big. There’s a 0.9L or, in the case of the Intens, a turboed 1.2L, with power and torque to match the relatively tiny motor. Peak power of 88 kW arrives at 4900 rpm, with peak twist of 190 torques at 2000 rpm. Thanks to the small size of the car itself, it’s good enough to see just on eleven seconds for the 0 to 100 kph stretch.Because it’s such a small body at just 4122 mm in length and a wheelbase of 2606 mm, the fuel thimble holds just 45 litres of 95 or 98 RON. Renault quotes a combined figure of 5.8L per 100 kilometres. We lobbed at 7.0L/100 km with a more non-suburban drive. Power and torque hit the tarmac via the front wheels only. Also, also ostensibly resembling a SUV, it’s not intended to go off-road.

Transmission: dual clutch autos are pretty good once a vehicle is in motion. It’s the getting from stopped to going that is the issue and the Captur Intens is no different. There’s no engagement of drive from Park to Drive, or Reverse to Drive and vice versa. In Drive and at a standstill, there’s easily a second before the clutches engage and that’s time enough for oncoming vehicles that were a safe distance away to not be. There’s a dial in the centre console that offers three drive modes, one of which is Expert. It didn’t appear to change the feel of the Intens at all.The interior: flat, slabby looking, hard to the touch, black plastics mix with a 1980s style monochrome dash display, truly odd button placement, and wasted design opportunities imbue a sense of WTF in driver and passenger. For example, the dial on the centre air vents didn’t move the louvres for better airflow, it closed them The small centrally mounted touchscreen also hails from the last decade and, as the radio (DAB through the optional Bose sound system) and map shared space on screen, had a Home button that was ineffective, and looked like an attempt at high tech in a low budget sci-fi movie, utterly failed to visually appeal.Even the aircon had a quirk, with a button marked aircon off, with the end result presumably meaning the aircon is on all of the time otherwise. Safety? If you want more than four airbags, flashing brake lights in an emergency stop, and Blind Spot Warning then this is not the car for you.

The cruise control switch is mounted in the centre console and isn’t a particularly noticeable one at that thanks to being the size of a thumbnail. The steering wheel has a tab for cruise control speed changes on one arm and the on/off on the other. Audio controls are hidden from view by being built into a solid block behind the tiller’s right arm.

The otherwise comfortable and leather covered seats offered heating, not cooling (seriously what will it take for Aussie spec cars to get this?) with the miniscule buttons to operate found on the outer section of the front seat section. They were also lever adjusted, a disappointment for a range topper where electric should be the norm. Also there’s enough room for the front seat passengers to stretch the legs and not quite so for the rear seat. And such is the design that if you aim for three in the rear, that may be stretching friendships.The lower front section of the console houses a small bin and both a 12V & USB socket. The Intens is push button for Start/Stop, and the fob is credit card size in length and width, close to a half centimetre in thickness, and has a slot in the console for it for no discernible reason. Well, there was one. Every time we exited the Intens and walked just a couple of metres away, the car would lock, regardless of whether the windows were open or not, and browsing the user manual offered no joy. If left in the slot you could walk away knowing the car wouldn’t lock. But the key’s in the car….Thanks again to the overall small size of the Captur, the rear cargo space looks like it would hold two bags of shopping, however the parcel shelf lifts to offer an extra amount of space. Otherwise, it’s 377 litres which expands to 1235 when the seats are folded.Outside: here, the Captur has a shining light. It’s pretty, with a svelte look in its curves from front to rear and roof to wheels. Headlights are LED, there’s a pair of globe cornering lamps, and nicely integrated tail lamps. The test car came in a black over white colour scheme, with the sills a black as well to balance it out. It’s a family design, with the Koleos and Clio sporting the same elegantly curbed look.Out on the road the handling is predictable, with a slight tendency to understeer on the 205/55/17 Kumho rubber, but needs constant attention to alleviate a preference for wandering. Otherwise, it’s well mannered enough to be considered the highlight of the Captur Intens. Considered. The rear end feels too soft compared to the front, the lack of usable torque means overtaking is not going to happen and the whole feel of the suspension feels tuned more for plush than a bent for enthusiasm.However, Renault do offer a five year unlimited kilometre warranty, a huge five years roadside assistance package, and capped price servicing for the first three scheduled services.

At The End Of The Drive.
It’s a genuine rarity that we hand back a vehicle with the sense of relief as felt with the Renault Captur Intens. It’s the automotive equivalent of a good looking politician. Looks fantastic, has the substance of a soap bubble. The gearbox, lack-lustre engine, needlessly quirky design features, lack of safety, and $32K price thanks to the Bose audio, simply don’t do enough to put forward a convincing argument to park this one in the drive.

2018 Holden Commodore Pricing Released….And It’s Good!

Since Holden announced it would be ceasing car manufacturing in Australia, there was plenty of speculation about what would replace the locally developed and engineered Commodore. That answer was given and finally, in 2018, the fully imported Commodore will be released for the Australian market. Holden has today (December 12, 2017) provided pricing details and nope, they’re nowhere near as bad as some naysayers touted, nor are the spec levels anything to be ashamed of. There’s still a Sportwagon, too.

Tech will come in the form of such things as DAB (Digital Audio Broadcast), Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Forward Collision Alert, Side Blind Zone Alert, the aforementioned 2.0-L turbo four and the adaptive all wheel drive for the V6 models, and more.

Pricing will start at a recommended retail price of $33,690, which is $1800 lower than the preceding equivalent model. That will have the 2.0-L turbo four and even better is the drive-away pricing that will be available. $35990 drive-away is what will be presented and that’s just $65 shy of $4000 cheaper.

Holden will keep the Calais and Calais V names, and these will get the V6, all wheel drive, combination as standard, along with heating AND cooling for the front seats, a massage function, wireless phone charging and leather wrapped tiller as standard.Although the evocative SS badging has been rested, with hints of a potential return, the sporty side for Commodore goes Euro, by getting the VXR badging. They’ll also get the AWD/V6, plus Brembo brakes up front, plus continuous damping technology in the suspension. Holden’s engineers have continued to take part in fine tuning that for the wide brown land market, with something like 150,000 kilometres worth of testing so far.
With thanks to Holden, here’s the good oil on the pricing and the model range.

2018 HOLDEN COMMODORE PRICING – RRP

Liftback (sedan)
LT 2.0-litre turbo * $33,690
Calais 2.0-litre turbo * $40,990
Calais-V V6 AWD $51,990
RS 2.0-litre turbo $37,290
RS V6 AWD $40,790
RS-V V6 AWD $46,990
VXR V6 AWD $55,990

Sportwagon
LT 2.0-litre turbo * $35,890
RS 2.0-litre turbo $39,490
RS-V V6 AWD $49,190

Tourer (high-ride)
Calais Tourer V6 AWD $45,990
Calais-V Tourer V6 AWD $53,990

* diesel available – $3,000 premium

2018 HOLDEN COMMODORE PRICING – DRIVEAWAY PRICING

Liftback (sedan)
LT 2.0-litre turbo $35,990
RS 2.0-litre turbo $38,990
RS V6 AWD $42,490

Tourer (high-ride)
Calais Tourer V6 AWD $47,990

2018 HOLDEN COMMODORE FEATURE HIGHLIGHTS

LT: Liftback and Sportwagon

2.0-litre turbo engine
9-speed automatic transmission
17-inch alloy wheels
Auto headlamps with LED Daytime Runnings Lights
LED tail lights
Passive Entry and Push-button Start
Remote Start
Holden Eye Forward Facing Camera
Autonomous Emergency Braking
Lane Keep Assist
Lane Departure Warning
Following Distance Indicator
Forward Collision Alert with Head-Up Warning
Advanced Park Assist (semi-automatic parking)
Rear View Camera. Front and Rear Park Assist
Rain Sensing Wipers
Holden MyLink Infotainment System with 7-inch high-resolution colour touch-screen display
Apple CarPlay® and Android® Auto phone projection
Full iPod® integration including Siri Eyes Free
Cruise Control
Leather Steering Wheel
8-way Power Driver Seat
60/40 split-folding rear seats
Spacesaver spare wheel
Diesel engine option

RS features over LT: Liftback and Sportwagon

18-inch alloy wheels
Sports body kit
Sports front seats
Side Blind Zone Alert
Rear Cross Traffic Alert
Leather sport steering wheel
Rear lip spoiler
Handsfree power tailgate (Sportwagon only)

RS-V features over RS: Liftback and Sportwagon

3.6-litre V6 AWD engine
9-speed automatic transmission
Adaptive AWD with electric LSD
Hi Per Strut Suspension
Rear Sports Fascia
Wireless phone charging
Ambient Lighting
Holden MyLink Infotainment System with 8-inch high-resolution colour touch-screen display
Apple CarPlay® and Android® Auto phone projection
Full iPod® integration including Siri Eyes Free
Embedded Satellite Navigation
DAB+
8-inch colour cluster screen
Colour Head-up display
Leather appointed seat trim
Heated front seats
Sports steering wheel with paddles
Alloy pedals

VXR features over RS-V: Liftback only

20-inch alloy wheels
Selectable mode Continuous Damping Control (CDC) suspension
Brembo brakes (front)
Electric Sunroof
VXR floor mats & sill plates
Adaptive LED Matrix Headlights
360-degree camera
Adaptive cruise control
Performance leather sports seats
Ventilated front seats
Heated rear seats
Driver & Passenger seat power side bolsters
BOSE premium audio

Calais features over LT: Liftback and Tourer

18-inch alloy wheels
Leather appointed seat trim
Heated front seats
Wireless phone charging
Side Blind Zone Alert
Rear Cross Traffic Alert
Holden MyLink Infotainment System with 8-inch high-resolution colour touch-screen display
Apple CarPlay® and Android® Auto phone projection
Full iPod® integration including Siri Eyes Free
Embedded Satellite Navigation
DAB+
4.2-inch colour cluster screen
3.6-litre V6 AWD engine (Tourer only)
Adaptive AWD with electric LSD (Tourer only)
High-ride suspension (Tourer only)
Handsfree power tailgate (Tourer only)

Calais-V features over Calais: Liftback and Tourer

3.6-litre V6 AWD engine
9-speed automatic transmission
Adaptive AWD with electric LSD
20-inch alloy wheels
Rear lip spoiler
Adaptive LED Matrix head lights
Electric sunroof (Liftback only)
Panoramic sunroof (Tourer only)
8-inch colour cluster screen
Colour Head-up display
360-degree camera
BOSE premium audio
Driver seat power side bolsters
Massage driver seat
Ventilated front seats
Heated rear seats
Sports steering wheel with paddles

Are You Naughty Or Nice Behind The Wheel?

Even if it’s a very, very long time since you believed in the white-bearded guy in the red suit who makes a list and checks it twice, you’re never too old to stop caring about whether you’re naughty or nice.  Especially when you’re behind the wheel of a car.

There’s something about being enclosed in a bubble of metal and glass that makes you feel isolated and in your own little world where you don’t have to worry about others.  However, this is an illusion or possibly a delusion.  It’s not just that we can see you picking your nose or singing badly when you’ve stopped at the red lights.  Even when you’re driving, good manners – being nice – are important.  You certainly aren’t the only driver on the road.

It’s especially important to be polite to each other on the road at this time of year, and not because you want to be on Santa’s Nice list rather than the Naughty list.  There tend to be more people on the roads for a number of reasons.  There are those who are doing a Chris Rea and driving home for Christmas.  There are those who are heading out Christmas shopping.  It’s school holidays, so the Mums and Dads who haven’t knocked off for their Christmas break need to get kids over to Grandma’s or the babysitter’s place and then get to work… and Grandma/the babysitter decides that a trip to the park or the swimming pool complex or the movies is the best form of entertainment for that day.  Those who are old enough to still have school holidays and are old enough to have a licence are also out and about on the roads.  Add in hot summer temperatures and less-than-stellar air conditioning and you have a situation where tempers are likely to get a little frayed.

In this situation, relaxing and having good manners on the road will help us all get where we need to and want to go without straying into the road rage or stress zone.

Situation:  You need to change lanes and a gap has suddenly opened up beside you.

Naughty Behaviour: Duck immediately into the next lane, after checking the blind spot over your shoulder (even checking it twice) and/or making the most of the blind spot assistance package in your nice new car.

Nice Behaviour: Indicating as you do that quick check before you change lanes.  It isn’t hard, people!

Situation: You’re in a queue of traffic and notice a car at the exit from a car park waiting for a gap.

Naughty Behaviour: Keep on going, serene in the belief that the traffic lights will arrange for a gap for that person, and that the Give Way rules were invented for a reason.

Nice Behaviour:  Slow down, let a gap open and wave the person waiting into the stream of traffic.  It only costs you a few seconds.  Incidentally, this is the sort of thing that driverless cars can’t cope with: they can’t handle the multitude of ways that people wave other drivers (and pedestrians and bikes) through into gaps.

If you are the person who has been let into the stream of traffic, acknowledge this with a wave and a smile.  It’s polite to say thank you (someone ought to invent a thank you indicator).

Situation: Someone cuts into the gap in the lane in front of you without indicating, forcing you to step on the brakes (or activating the collision avoidance system).

Naughty Behaviour:  Lean on the horn, shake fists, swear and pull fingers.  Tailgate them.

Nice Behaviour: Do nothing except grumble a bit, then get on with your driving.

Situation: Someone with an L plate or even a P plate takes their time at a roundabout and doesn’t take a gap that you know was perfectly safe.

Naughty Behaviour: Honk at them, tailgate, shake fists, yell insults, etc.

Nice Behaviour: Be patient.  The whole point of those L and P plates is to indicate to the rest of the world that this driver isn’t experienced and might not do things the way you would because it takes time to learn these things. Driving is kind of like handwriting and what we do for the first year or so tends to be a bit wonky.  It’s also possible that the driver of that car has seen something that you, being further back in the stream of the traffic, haven’t, like an oncoming ambulance with the sirens and lights going.  Or a line of baby ducks crossing the road.

Situation:  The light has turned orange ahead of you.

Naughty Behaviour: Speed up so you can get through it safely.

Nice Behaviour: Slow down and stop, as long as you can do this safely.  This is one of the basic road rules and the Naughty behaviour is Naughty in the eyes of the cops as well as your fellow drivers (and pedestrians).

Situation:  You’re cruising a bit slower than the speed limit, possibly because you like to take it easy around the corners.  The road straightens up and the car behind you gets close and looks like it could overtake you.

Naughty Behaviour:  Speed up and go at the full open road limit so the other driver either has to give up on the idea of overtaking you or has to really floor it to get past you (some vehicles are better at doing this than others).

Nice Behaviour: Either keep on at your slightly slower cruising speed or else pull over to the side (if you can) to let the other driver overtake safely.  It’s not a race, after all!

In all situations, the best things that you can do are the same things that you do with face-to-face interactions: say thank you (hand signal: wave), say sorry (hand signal: wave), be patient with other people and do unto others as you’d have them do to you.

Mahindra Pik-Up Gets Update for 2018.

Some brands in Australia’s car industry seem to sail under the radar. Sometimes that’s a good thing as it gives the canny and investigative buyer a chance to stand out from the crowd. There’s also a sense of brand loyalty amongst those that do buy, and so it is with Mahindra. The Indian based conglomerate has released an update to the sturdy Pik-Up two and four door ute, covering the drivetrain, exterior and interior, and safety. The trim levels are named S6 and S10.
Drivetrain.
It’s a two body range, the dual cab and single cab (and S6 and S10 for both), with two and four wheel drive available for both. That’s available via a six speed manual attached to a small but grunty Euro V compliant diesel. The capacity is 2.2 litres, and peak power is 103 kilowatts. The important name and number is torque and there’s 330 of them, between 1600 to 2800. That’s smart engineering as it means driveability is enhanced in a real world situation.

In the 4WD versions, it’s a Borg-Warner transfer case putting that torque to the dirt through all four paws plus there’s an Eaton system that will lock the rear diff if slippage is detected.. Tank size is a massive 80 litres, not far off the Jeep Grand Cherokee’s 93L. Economy for the four door is quoted as 8.8L/100 km. There is a single cab due in 2018, with economy slated to be 0.2L/100km better. Towing is rated as 2500 kilograms, braked.Interior.
There’s the visible and invisible. Mahindra have upped the safety stakes, with ABS, collapsible steering column, Electronic Brake Distribution, front airbags as standard. For the family, there’s ISOFIX seat anchor points also as standard. Visibly there’s a six-inch touchscreen in the S10 (CD/MP3 campatoble head unit for the S6)which displays the reverse camera, along with cruise control and satnav, climate control, auto headlights and wipers. The driver’s dash display receives a 3D effect on the analogue dials for better visualisation. There’s an upright design to the dash itself, ensuring plenty of leg room for the driver and passenger, as do the rear sear passengers thanks to some well thought out packaging.Exterior.
The Pik-Up has always had a solid, bluff, look, and this stays. However, the S10 gets a classy mix of black chrome grille with subtle chrome highlights, a reshaped lower air intake for better engine breathing and aerodynamics, with both grille and intake receiving a visual update thanks to black mesh, and a subtle increase to the Mahindra badge.
There’s LED driving lights for the completely restyled headlights in the S10 and restyled foglights as well. Tyres will be P245/75 R16.Release Information and Pricing.
As of December 2017, there will be the 4×4 S6 single cab chassis at $26,990 driveaway. A 4×2 version will be available in early 2018 at $21,990. The 4×4 S6 dual cab will come with either a cab chassis or factory fitted “well side tub” at $26,490 and $29,990 respectively. The S10 trim level and tub takes it to $31,990. There’s a huge range of options available such as snorkel, tow ball set-up, and winch compatible steel bill bars, with more to come in 2018.

Colours are limited to a four choice palette: Napoli Black, Arctic White, Red Rage and De-sat Silver. Warranty is five years or 100,000 kilometres and also includes five years roadside assistance.
For more information on the 2018 Mahindra Pik-Up range, head here: Mahindra Australia

Goldilocks Goodyear* And The Three Tyre Pressure Bears

 

Getting the tyre pressure right is a bit of a Goldilocks process – it can’t be too hard or too soft, but has to be just right.  If you don’t get it right, it could result in an accident that leaves you looking like you have indeed had an encounter with three grouchy, hungry grizzly bears. Or it could turn your vehicle into a beast with one heck of an appetite for fuel. (On a complete sidetrack, wouldn’t Ursus or the word for Bear in some other language make a great name for a 4×4?)

The most common scenario is that you end up with Mama Bear’s tyres: too soft.  This is because valves aren’t perfect and slow leaks happen over time, what with little air molecules being sneaky.  Ideally, we ought to check our tyre pressure monthly but not many of us actually do this (and that’s me at the front of the queue for the confessional!).

The problem with too-soft Mama Bear tyres is that they bulge out.  This leads to two problems.  Firstly, because the walls of the tyre weren’t designed to balloon out like that, you’re increasing the chance of the tyre going boom on you.  Yes – underinflation and being too soft is what increases the chance of getting a blowout, not being too hard.

The second problem of having too-soft Mama Bear tyres that bulge out is because this increases the area of tyre contacting the road.  A moment’s thought will tell you that this has to be better for grip, right?  Well, yes.  It does increase the amount of grip between the tyre and the road surface, and that’s just the problem.  This means increased friction, and this means that your car has to work harder to get up to the speed you want to.  Remember what it was like when you were a kid and your bike tyre started getting a leak so you had to pedal that much harder when the tyre was flat?  Well, the same thing happens when your car tyres are flat (or your trailer tyres for that matter).  What this adds up to is terrible, terrible fuel economy.  If you’ve wondered why you don’t get the same fuel economy as the stats in the car ads say you should, this is one of the reasons why (the other reasons are because the vehicles are tested minus any load at all and in the lab where there’s no crosswinds or headwinds).

OK, so having the tyres too soft is a bad thing.  However, is there such a thing as being too hard?

As Goldilocks would tell us, yes, tyres can be too hard.  Papa Bear tyres might not increase your chance of a blowout the same way that Mama Bear tyres do, in spite of what the cartoons tell us. Papa Bear tyres are dangerous in another way.  Because they make the bottom of the tyre narrower and more convex, there’s less of the tyre touching the road.  This means less friction.

Less friction, of course, means less grip around corners and greatly increased braking time.  If it’s wet, then proportionally less water can be channelled out of the way, so the friction decreases even further.  Let’s stop and think about the implications of that for a moment, but not for too long.  The results certainly won’t be pretty, especially if speed is involved.  It’s a wonder that the cops don’t have random tyre pressure checks the same way they do random breath testing and random speed checks.  Oops, maybe I shouldn’t have written that – I might give them new ideas and new ways to milk our wallets.

So how do you get those nice Baby Bear tyres that aren’t too hard or too soft but just right, where you’ve got enough friction to make the car handle well but not so much that your car guzzles petrol?

The answer, of course, is to check your tyre pressure regularly.  Some say that you should even check the pressure every time you fill up with fuel, but this may be going a bit too far.  Maybe.  Most modern vehicles are very, very nice to us and have tyre pressure monitors installed and provide us with an alert when the pressure strays out of the Goldilocks Zone.

OK, so how do you know what pressure you should inflate your tyres to?  The answer to that is usually provided very kindly by the car manufacturers, either in the owner’s manual or on the door pillars (either on the driver’s or the passenger’s side).  In my Volvo  S70, the info is in the manual.  In my Nissan  Terrano, the information is on a sticker on the door pillar on the driver’s side… unfortunately in Japanese where it hasn’t totally faded away.  Curses and naught words!  Fortunately in situations like this, you can use online tools and good old Google to help you out (here’s one possibility: http://www.tyre-pressures.com/).

Tyre pressure, like porridge, can’t be taken too hot.  However, there is no such thing as too cold when it comes to measuring tyre pressure.   This is because heat makes the rubber a bit softer and the air inside take up a wee bit more space.

When you check the tyre pressure, you need to be sure that you use the right units.  Car tyre pressure is one of the few things that we still like to think about in Imperial units rather than metric (the others are height and the birth weight of babies).  The Imperial unit is pounds per square inch (psi) but the metric equivalent is kiloPascals (kPA).  The conversion formula is 1 psi = 6.8947 kPA, so if you use the wrong unit, you’ll either be underinflated or overinflated by sixfold.

Of course, getting Baby Bear tyres isn’t as simple as that.  If you’ve got a heavier than normal load in your vehicle, this will press down on the tyres so they bulge out and get a Mama Bear tyre profile and will therefore act like a Mama Bear tyre.  This really adds up to a beast with a big appetite, as the engine doesn’t just have to cope with the extra load, it also has to cope with the extra friction if you don’t increase the tyre pressure.  And don’t forget to make like Johnny Farnham and take the pressure down once you’ve dropped off the load!  Oh yes – and make sure that your tyres aren’t too worn or getting the pressure right won’t do diddly-squat.

To make things even more interesting, if you’re into off-roading, you need to adjust the tyre pressure according to the surface you’re driving on.  In sand, for example, you need the extra friction, so Mama Bear might be able to help you out if you get stuck.

Catch you later – I’m off to check the tyre pressure in both cars.

* This is not the name of a blonde model in the Goodyear equivalent of the Pirelli calendar.

Car Review: 2018 Mitsubishi ASX XLS Diesel AWD

Mitsubishi has a long and proud history with off road capable vehicles and continues that with the ASX range. Private Fleet spends time with the top of the range 2018 Mitsubishi ASX XLS, complete with the same 2.2L diesel as found in the Outlander, and seven speed CVT plus a six speed manual lower in the range.The range itself also offers a petrol 2.0-litre engine, and will power down via the front wheels or come with an all wheel drive system. It’s a mid-sized five seater, in the same bracket as theToyota RAV4. Mitsubishi is offering driveaway pricing deals at the time of writing, with the range starting at an easy on the wallet $24,990 for the LS 2WD petrol. Our test car is priced from $39,990.The engine is good for 110kW, and 360Nm between 1500 to 2750 rpm, making normal driving as easy as blinking. The CVT is well sorted, taking the right foor command and turning it into forward motion easily. The torque allows quick acceleration however doesn’t seem to be as comfortable with overtaking as Suzuki’s Vitara. Economy is good too, with a final figure of 5.9 litres of diesel consumed per 100 kilometres.

Inside, the ASX clearly shows its family oriented design, with leather accented cloth seats, digital radio, a sliding cloth screen for the full length glass roof, plenty of bottle and cup holders, USB charging ports BUT dips out on rear seat air vents and ventilation for the from seats, an almost unforgivable oversight for the Australian market. The plastics are hard to the touch, needing a more modern feel with padding and a softer feel where padding isn’t required. Also, the ovoid design of the console is now showing its age, needing a move to a more human encompassing design. However, cargo room is also looking good, with room for shopping, bags for the weekend way and suchlike, with 393L available with the rear seats up and increasing to to 1143L with the seats folded. Being a compact car in overall length, rear leg room is slightly compromised, with anyone from 180 cm and up maybe feeling a little cramped, but there’s plenty of head and shoulder room, front and rear.Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are available, as are DAB/AM/FM (no CD) as is Bluetooth streaming via the 7.0-inch touchscreen. But the reliance on the two smartphone apps means no built in sat nav, even though GPS, showing the coordinates but no navigation, is there. And currently the apps have to be accessed via the phones being connected with cables, a somewhat clunky method and untidy as well.Being the top of the range means loading up with plenty of safety features and the ASX XLS gets the supreme pizza, with Forward Collision Mitigation, Lane Departure Warning, and Euro style flashing brake lights for the Emergency Stop System. Autonomous Emergency Braking is not yet fitted to the range however. A reverse camera is standard across the range, as are the ISOFIX child seat mounts and pretensioning seatbelts, Hill Start Assist, and seven airbags including driver’s kneebag.

Back to the driving habits and it’s a typical diesel; floor it and it’ll hesitate as the turbo spools up before kicking the tyres into action. Breathe the right foot over the throttle and you can watch the numbers change quickly and quietly. Economy is rated as 6.0L/100km on a combined cycle from a 60-litre tank and with the ASX being a middleweight, at 1540kg before fuel and passengers, there’s a useable torque to weight ratio. As a result it’ll get off the line, even with the CVT, with a solid rush.When it comes to dimensions, there’s a 2670mm wheelbase hiding inside that compact body, meaning you’ll get a sure footed handling and composed ride in combination with the struts and multi-link suspension. Rubber is from Bridgestone, and they’re 225/55/18s. Exterior styling owes much, like the original Outlander, to the Lancer sedan, with the ASX sporting the same sharp edged, bluff prow. At each corner up front are almost vertical LED driving lights and there’s splashes of chrome. It’s assertive and appealing.The ASX is easy to live with on road, with the steering being light, but attached enough so you don’t find you’re missing out on contact with what’s happening up front. Point and shoot style is how the ASX XLS works and the flexibility of the peak torque makes city driving an absolute doddle. The CVT has no manual mode available via the gear selector, so if you use the paddle shifters you’ll need to quickly slide into Neutral and back out (NOT recommended) to bring it back to Drive, or, when stopped, pulling both paddles back until it re-engages Drive. Although the AWD system is front wheel drive biased, the AWD button mounted in the centre console will direct drive to the rear on demand. If you wish to utilise all of that torque for towing, the ASX XLS will do so up to 1400 kilograms.At The End Of The Drive.
The ASX has received a nip and a tuck here and there over its life however it’s now, like its “doner” car, showing signs of age. Yes, it’s still comfortable and roomy enough for a family of four however the dash design and plastics now lag behind competitors. It’s a fantastic city oriented car with a frugal, punchy, diesel but the value of the Mitsubishi ASX XLS is also beginning to be questionable. In no way is it a bad car, it’s just now not as good as other choices.
Here is where you can get more information: 2018 Mitsubishi ASX range