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Archive for February, 2019

Mazda3 Hatch And Sedan Go Uncluttered For 2019.

Mazda has gone deep into its Kodo: Soul of Motion design language for its forthcoming Next-Gen Mazda3. For sedan and hatch, Mazda3 has been given a complete reskin and separately. There are just two panels that are shared between them. A standout in the hatch design is the striking and solid C pillar that wraps around from the lowest section of the rear bumper to form a seamless curve through to the A pillar.The sedan is a beautifully sculpted exhibition of smooth, flowing, almost waterfall like, sheetmetal in contrast and perhaps does a better job of defining Kodo. Low slung, it empahasises muscular haunches and wide, sporty profile.

Mazda have given the hatch a little extra to help it stand out further. It’s coated in a unique body colour offering called Polymetal Grey Metallic. This gives glossy smoothness over the hard appearance of metal.

Mazda calls the connection between car and driver Jinba-Ittai. It’s a “less is more” mantra from the Japanese company, with a simple and elegantly laid out cabin that “centres” the driver.The instrument cluster has three meters, and along with the angle of the steering wheel and aircon vents, create a symmetry for the driver’s location. The redesigned dash also repositions the climate control panel, passenger vents, and ancilliary controls for a better, more efficient, usage pattern.Information pertinent to driving is now more clearly displayed, thanks to a redesign of Mazda’s Human Machine Interface (HMI). Now standard equipment, the newly added TFT LCD meter, windscreen projected Active Driving Display and the larger 8.8-inch infotainment display are streamlined in their presentation of information and fonts are unified, effectively reducing driver distraction by ease of comprehension.Mazda call their entertainment system Mazda Connect, and it’s been improved for faster performance, and smoother, more human friendly, operation. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay have been added as standard equipment.

More human centric focus has been put upon the centre console, with a redesign making for more room, and by placing the gear selector forward and higher, that becomes a more natural “fall to hand” item. Sounds comes from either an eight speaker or Bose twelve speaker system.Mazda went hard on improving the ambience of the Mazda3, with a new process for the laying of gloss black lacquer for the gear selector surround adding extra depth, and even a new weave for the cloth, plus a new styling for the leather seats.Safety goes to a new level with Front Cross Traffic Alert, a driver monitoring camera, Mazda Radar Cruise Control, Smart Brake Support, Lane Keep Assist, and Lane Departure Warning, plus a driver’s knee airbag as standard. Higher tensile strength steel is used in the chassis manufacturing, with an increase of 27% of what’s called 980MPa steel.

Ride quality will improved from a rejigged suspension. Overall weight has been reduced, with a lighter sprung mass meaning sharper response in handling. Improved MacPherson struts and a new torsion beam rear add to the package.

The 2.0L and 2.5L engines have been massaged, with optimised intake ports and piston shape, split fuel injection, a coolant control valve and cylinder deactivation for the 2.5L to deliver higher levels of dynamic performance, fuel economy and environmental friendliness.The 2.0L engine offers 114kW at 6,000rpm and 200Nm of torque at 4,000rpm. The 2.5L has a maximum power output of 139kW at 6,000rpm and 252Nm of torque at 4,000rpm. The Skyactiv-X system features a world first. It’s the usage of a new combustion method. It’s called Spark Controlled Compression Ignition (SPCCI) and which gives the superior initial response and powerful torque of a diesel engine, combined with the faithful linear response to rapid accelerator pedal action and free-revving performance of a petrol engine.

Available in the second quarter of 2019 the pricing starts from $24,990 for the G20 Pure with manual transmission. The top-grade G25 Astina now starts at $36,990 for the manual variant. The Polymetal Grey Metallic is an option at $495. Contact your Mazda dealer for more information.

Private Fleet Car Review: 2019 Holden Acadia LTZ-V

This Car Review Is About:
The 2019 model year Holden Acadia LTZ-V. The engine of choice is a 3.6L petrol V6, and the transmission is a nine speed automatic. There are three levels, being the LT, LTZ, and LTZ-V, with two or all wheel drive. Prices start from $42,990 driveaway with the top range a substantial $67,990. That’s for 2018 plated cars.Under The Bonnet Is:
The more or less same driveline as found in the unfairly maligned Commodore. A V6, petrol fed, of a 3.6L capacity. That drives the front wheels via a truly superb nine speed automatic. Consumption is rated as 8.9L per 100 kilometres on a combined cycle. We finished on 11.2L/100km on a mainly urban cycle. Peak power is 231 kilowatts, with peak twist of 367Nm coming in at 5000rpm. Make a note of those figures.

It’s a keyless start, as expected. The engine itself is almost noiseless from inside, both on idle and underway in normal driving. Like all engines, push it and you’ll hear it. Even then it’s not the most aurally engaging engine going.Being the AWD version means a selector dial is fitted in the rather staid looking centre console. Choices are Snow, Towing, and the ubiquitous Sport. Sport was trialled and discarded as being needed rarely.

A potentially handy item is Remote Start. Lock the car using the key fob, hold the tab that has a circle with an arrow cursor icon, and the Acadia starts up. Great if it’s been hot or cold and the aircon has been set appropriately prior to starting.

On The Inside Is:
Boredom. Plenty of average looking plastic, a squeaky centre console near the driver’s right knee, unappealing faux wood inlays, and seven seats. All windows are powered but, disappointingly for a top tier vehicle, only the driver’s window is one touch up/down. Where the driver and passenger knees rest in the console are the switches for heating and, blessedly, venting for the leather seats up front. Centre row passengers get a pair of USB ports, the front seats a wireless charge pad for compatible smart phones and a USB port plus 12V socket. Cold? Use the steering wheel’s heating function.Rear seat access is via a powered tailgate with selectable opening positions or via the tiltafold centre row seats. The centre row have a one touch lever to move the seats forward and folding at the same time. Cargo is 292L with the third row in place, and that goes to a much more user friendly 1042L when they’re folded. Lay the centre row down and that virtually doubles to 2102L.

Although the rear seats are the much easier to deal with pull strap style, where a strap gets pulled and the seat easily swings up or easily pushed down, there doesn’t appear to be as much room laterally as Holden’s own Trailblazer. All seats in the review vehicle were a simple mix of black leather and white stitching.The touchscreen is simple to read however the digital audio broadcast tuner had hiccups. Sometimes on start it would instantly show stations, on others it would would be as if it were in a permanent loop scanning. It does come with the Apple CarPlay and Android Auto pairing. Speakers are from Bose and they sounded as if the DAB signal was a compressed FM sound. Some DAB units offer a separate FM tuner to a DAB tuner, others combine the two. Even with sound adjustment the system simply couldn’t get the same depth as similar systems in other brands.A HUD wasn’t offered, but GM’s vibrating seat and strip of red lights for collision warnings were fitted as standard. Other standard equipment as fitted is a reverse camera, satnav, and a pair of sunroofs. One would have been fine, with either a roof mounted screen or seat back screens more appropriate for a top tier vehicle. On the upside is a rear seat reminder and a traffic sign recognition system for the satnav.

Things such as the centre console, a narrow one at that, seemed too high for the left arm and too forward with the overhang almost fully blocking the drive selector dial, and the indicator and wiper stalks seemed at a too high angle off the steering column, and the A pillar is more an AA pillar. At least the indicator and wiper columns are Aussie configured with right hand for the flashers.Actual leg room was suitable for front and centre, with really tall people probably the only ones that would find the third row an issue. Shoulder room was the same, in that the front and centre rows would accommodate adults well enough but the third row was moderately ok. And it’s those last two words that define the interior of the LTZ-V. It’s moderately ok. There isn’t anything that stands out, and it’s not unappealing. It’s simply ok.The Outside Has:
A very American look. A bluff Superman like chin with a black grille above it which replaces the over the top GMC bling, slightly unfocused eyes as headlights with eyebrows that run back into the leading edges of the fenders, and fat hips over the rear wheel arches. In profile it seems as if there are three distinctly different designs. The rear has a separate window box to the centre, and then the front from the A pillar is seemingly unrelated to the rest. The A pillar is huge, way too huge for genuinely safe three quarter forward vision.Rolling stock stands out, with 20 inch allys on 235/55 Continental Cross Control rubber. Overall length is deceptive; it looks long but not as long as the 4979 mm length it is. Wheelbase is 2857 mm. There are eight colours to choose from with Mineral Black, Blue Steel, and Nitrate Silver amongst them, and potentially a better colour choice than the Dark Shadow that faded the Acadia into obscurity. A couple of splashes of chrome and rectangle shaped exhaust tips give the LTZ-V a little more visual difference to the other two models.On The Road It’s:
A weird mix. Off the line, from a standing start, the front driver rubber will easily chirp with no more than a gentle push of the go pedal. But thanks to its bulk, that’s about as exciting as it gets. That peak torque needs a lot of spin to really be effective in pulling the front wheel drive machine around, and as good as the gearbox is in utilising the torque, there simply needs to be either more of it, or have it come in lower. There is actually an easy fix for that, though, and it’s a one word answer. DIESEL. Yup, there is no oiler in the range and that’s thanks to the country of origin.Underway it’s super quiet, refined, and smooth in its operation. Go for an overtake and again that dearth of torque become apparent. The same applies for anything remotely uphill, and soon the cogs are nine, eight, seven…..

Although Holden’s own engineers have worked on the suspension tunes of the Acadia range, with “FlexRide” dampers on the LTZ-V, it’s more an American floaty, wafty, spongy ride, even with the big rubber. On the up side, it never bottomed out in the suspension travel, but the plastic strip on the chin did scrape too often on mediocre intrusions. Rebound is well controlled, it’s simply a matter of feeling the springs are too soft up and down.Handling is, well, like the interior. It’s ok. Response is not slow, and it’s not sports car rapid either. The latter isn’t surprising, of course, but the front end could do with a quicker how d’ye do when the tiller is twirled. Body roll is experienced but is also not as bad as expected.

Another weak spot is the way the brakes respond. Or, correctly, don’t respond. There’s dead air for the first inch or so, it seems, then a not spongy but not hard travel and retardation is simply too slow for a vehicle that weights around the two tonne plus mark.

What About Safety?
Autonomous Emergency Braking, bundled with pedestrian and cyclist detection, starts the list. The LTZ-V has a higher sensitivity when kit ncomes to reading the road ahead that the LT and LTZ. Blind Spot Alert is standard, Rear Cross Traffic Alert is standard, and Lane Keep Assist and Lane Departure Warning are also standard. A driver’s kneebag, along with front, side, and curtain airbags complement the five standard and two ISOFIX seat mounts. Pack in 360 degree camera views, semi assisted parking, and front sensors, and the Acadia LTZ-V wants for nothing in regards to keeping the internals safe.

The Warranty Is:
Five years or unlimited kilometres, with 5 years roadside assist if serviced at Holden dealerships. Website has a capped price quotation system.At The End Of The Drive.
For a car that is intended to be Holden’s saviour, it falls short of lighting the candle. Having an interior plastics look that is outweighed by entry level cars half its price, no diesel, a lack of genuine tech appeal, a softish ride that may not be to the liking of potential buyers and a rear cargo that simply doesn’t look as wide as Holden’s other seven seater (which comes with a diesel and is therefore more suitable for purpose), plus an exterior unrelated to anything else in the family, means the 2019 Holden Acadia LTZ-V has a very sharp stick with which to push stuff uphill. It does nothing bad, but it simply does nothing special.

Here is where you can find out more.

Should You Buy Your Teen A Safe Car?

I recently came across a couple of articles that had been inspired by some research put out by the British Medical Journal’s Injury Prevention* .  This research looked at the type, size and style of cars driven by teenagers who were killed in car accidents over 2008–2012, and ended with a recommendation that “Parents should consider safety when choosing vehicles for their teenagers.”  Automotive bloggers seemed to break out with the advice that parents should buy cars for their teenagers that had absolutely every safety feature, active and passive, under the sun.

Now, I am the parent of teenagers and young adults, both of whom drive.  I know that heartwrenching feeling when you know that your beloved son or daughter is heading out solo onto the roads, where horrible things can happen.  I’ve also had two of those phone calls that begin “Hi Mum, I’m all right but the car…”  (In both these cases, the car in question was owned by the teenager in question.)  I would be the last person to be reckless and to advocate putting your teenager in a tinny little piece of aluminium. Nevertheless, I’ve got one or two issues with those articles that other automotive bloggers have put out.

First of all, let’s look at that assumption that the parents are going to buy the car for the teenager – and the best thing is that you buy them one of the latest models with all the gadgets.  My reaction to this was “What?”  I don’t know what circles you move in, but even among the more well-heeled of my friends and acquaintances, very few of them, if any, are going to go out and plonk down a sum with five digits for a brand new SUV that will have the teenager’s name on the ownership papers although Mum and Dad are the ones forking out.  Do people actually do that?

Society is seeing a few problems coming from young adults entering the workforce with the idea that they can get the latest, best and most expensive without having to work for it, also known as an entitlement mentality.  My teenagers won’t and didn’t get something expensive of their very own without having to work for it and pay for it.  This was my first issue with a lot of those other articles out there.

Buying a car for the family that’s a new one and that’s got the right safety features, that’s another story, however.  I know that in our family, we did indeed go and purchase a big 4×4 with good safety features that our teenagers could learn to drive on.  However, the purchase of this car came with a little speech that stressed the following points:

  • The car in question is ours, not the teenagers’.
  • Use of the car is a privilege, not a right.
  • With privilege comes responsibility, such as keeping to the conditions of your provisional licence and paying for your own fuel.

Other families might like to add other things to this speech if following this course of action, such as expectations regarding running errands. You don’t want your teenager to turn out a spoilt brat who expects everything to be handed to him/her on a plate, so this sort of set-up is necessary.  Even if you are paying for the car for your teenager or young adult, they should contribute in some way so that they understand the value of that vehicle and treat it with respect (especially in the matter of things like servicing, changing the oil, etc.).

There will, of course, come the time when your teenager or young adult wants a car of their very own with their names on the papers.  Exactly what happens here will depend on your individual family and your circumstances.  Some parents buy the new car for their teen or young adult outright – usually something second-hand.  Others provide the funds for said car from the First National Bank of Mum and Dad with no interest.  Others leave their teen or young adult to make his or her own way, which is what my parents did.  I used bike, foot and public transport all through my tertiary education years, then once I was out in the big wide world of work, I took care of my own transportation needs.

If your teen or young adult (there really needs to be a word for your sons and daughters when they reach this stage of life – let’s refer to them as “young drivers”) is buying his or her own vehicle, it is very likely that this will not be one of the newest vehicles on the market for the simple reason that on the salary that one gets when leaving home and entering the workforce isn’t going to be enough to handle the repayments.  This leads to my second problem with those articles that recommend that parents buy a car with all the active and passive safety gear for their teenagers.

You see, during the early years of driving, you’re developing habits that might stick with you for life or at least a very long time.  If your car has blind spot monitoring, your young driver might get a bit slack about doing a head-check to make sure nothing’s in the blind spot.  If the car has front and rear parking sensors or cameras, your young driver might rely on these completely for parallel parking and not know how to do this manoeuvre relying on just the mirrors (double this in the case of parking assistance).  If your young driver learns how to drive on a car that “does it all for you”, then what’s going to happen when he or she purchases their own vehicle that doesn’t have said features?  Your young driver won’t know how to drive without all the aids, and that really is an accident waiting for happen and, in the long run, is more of a hazard.

So what’s a concerned parent to do?  How do you help your young driver not only stay safe but also learn how to be a good and skilful driver?

Let’s take a look at the original research again.  This research found that the majority of teenagers in question who were fatally injured were driving smaller cars – little hatchbacks.  Now, let’s face some facts: firstly, younger drivers are more likely to crash than older, more experienced ones (that’s biology and psychology); second, in a collision, a smaller car is going to come off worse than a larger one (that’s physics).  Straight away, this lets you know that if you’re helping your young driver choose a car in any way, from buying it outright to merely offering advice, then steering your teenager towards a larger vehicle such as an SUV, ute or stationwagon is a safer option.  There are the issues of fuel costs to consider, but there are some frugal SUVs out there.

The other thing that the research article found was that the teenagers who were killed on the roads tended to be driving vehicles that didn’t have certain features: ESC (stability control), airbags (especially side airbags) and side impact protection.  No mention of blind spot monitoring, cameras, autonomous braking or lane keeping assistance.  Just basic safety features that you’ll find in most vehicles from before 2006.  Even marques that aim for straightforward simplicity such as Great Wall  have these.

And that’s a relief in several ways.  It’s good to know that it’s not that hard to ensure that your young driver is behind the wheel of something safe – something safe comes in the form of a vehicle that’s sizeable and has basic safety features such as ESC, side impact protection and airbags.  And it’s really not hard to find a vehicle like this.  It’s also good to know that putting your young driver into a safe vehicle doesn’t end up producing long-term problems with drivers who haven’t learned how to drive without assistance but who own cars that don’t provide that assistance.

Of course, if you are not quite in the “parents of teenagers” stage but the years of having a learner driver in the family are looming, then maybe it’s time that you looked at your family vehicle and possibly upgraded to a nice new car (that will have your name on it!) so that you’re ready for those years.

 

*McCartt AT, Teoh ER. Type, size and age of vehicles driven by teenage drivers killed in crashes during 2008–2012. Injury Prevention 2015;21:133–136.

HiAce Goes Out Of The Box.

Toyota’s venerable HiAce light commercial van has gone from a smooth, ovoid, mid sized van to a boxy and bigger version. Although not in the same capacity range as a Sprinter from Mercedes-Benz of a Trafic from Renault, its more compact size has allowed thousands of people to become a courier delivery driver, a taxi, or a people mover.Due for a mid 2019 release, the latest version has had one very noticeable design change. Gone is the long standing blunt nose, finally replaced with a semi-bonneted design. This has the end effect of engineers providing a stiffer chassis that offers an improvement in straight line performance and stability. Manoeuvrability from a range of more pliant suspensions is an extra bonus with new MacPherson struts being part of the uprated suspension system. The rear has newly designed leaf springs, with an increase of length of 200 mm adding an extra 30 mm of travel for a more compliant ride.Seating will range from a two seater version on a long wheelbase (LWB) and super long wheel base (SLWB), a five seater LWB van, and a super long wheelbase (SLWB) 12 seater commuter van.

Motorvation has changed as well. There will be two new engines – a 2.8-litre four-cylinder turbocharged diesel or a 3.5-litre naturally aspirated petrol poweplant, both available with six-speed manual or automatic transmissions. Confirmation of power, torque, and consumption will be made available closer to the release date.A hallmark of the HiAce has been its cargo carrying ability and has been maintained at a maximum of 6.2 cubic metres for the lLWB wheel base and 9.3 cubic metres for the SLWB thanks to the redesign that offers clever packaging which increases internal width by 215mm and height by 5mm without altering overall exterior width. The SLWB two-seat van is capable of accommodating Australian standard pallets (1165mm x 1165mm) through its wider sliding side doors. Inside will be a range of mounting points to help secure cargo.

Sean Hanley, Toyota Australia’s vice president of sales & marketing, says: “Importantly, we anticipate even better whole-of-life costs with excellent reliability and resale value along with minimal downtime and affordable maintenance. The semi-bonnet design makes it significantly easier and quicker to replace parts such as the oil and air filters, battery, and coolant. In addition to being highly capable right off the showroom floor, all-new HiAce has been designed to offer immense flexibility through conversions and customisation to meet varied business and personal needs.”

The expected safety rating is five stars, thanks again to the redesigned chassis, and with up to nine airbags being fitted depending on version. Pre-collision warning with cyclist and pedestrian detection, autonomous emergency braking, and reversing camera are complemented by a digital rear view camera that can be fitted as an option.

Extra design features make the new HiAce just that little bit more human friendly too. The doors have a lower edge and sit over a wider step for easier access. The window glass is larger for better vision and a lower beltline means better side vision.Pricing for the 2019 Toyota HiAce is yet to be confirmed.

In Praise Of Old-School Windows

I’d find myself rather pushed to find a car that’s new onto the market that doesn’t have fast glass or automatic windows or whatever else you want to call them. You know the ones: the ones that have a little button, one on each door for the appropriate window, which gets pushed one way to make the window go up and the other way to make the window go down.  There’s usually an array of similar buttons on the door of the driver’s seat, which controls all of the windows in one handy place.  And if you push the button in the right way, it whizzes all the way up or down in one go.

If you remember electric windows when they first came out, they were very, very cool.  The early types, however, had some snags, especially if you had small bored children (or slightly older bored children) in the back seat. If you weren’t careful, small children could operate the buttons and put the windows down all the way, letting freezing cold blasts of air into the cabin of the car and allowing the possibility of precious objects being dangled outside of the window and eventually dropped, requiring sudden halts and U-turns to retrieve Teddy after Teddy had had a flying lesson.  The other snag was that small fingers could get pinched very easily as the window closed.  Not so small fingers could get pinched as well.  This happened to me and gave me a very painful insight into what the Medieval torture device known as the thumbscrew felt like.  Had a black thumbnail that couldn’t be covered properly by polish for at least a week.

These problems were overcome by a few simple tweaks.  The problem of small children opening windows was overcome by the driver’s side override button that shut off the other buttons, meaning that Mum or Dad was the one who controlled the level of the rear windows.  The other important development was the introduction of a pinch-sensitive mechanism that detected if something was stopping the window going all the way up and wouldn’t keep trying to squeeze all the way home.  These stopped fingers getting pinched but this mechanism is no good at all for long hair that’s been blowing in the wind or for silk scarves.  Believe me, suddenly discovering that your hair is trapped in the closed window when you try turning your head is pretty painful, though not quite in the league of the old thumbscrews without pinch sensitivity.

So all’s well, right?  Modern automatic windows are safe and convenient, aren’t they?  So why am I hankering for the old-school windows that wound down with a handle?

The first thing that I miss about them is their precision.  You see, when you had to wind it up or down manually, you could stop at the precise point where you wanted.  OK, this was a pain when you wanted to go all the way from fully up to fully down – which is what fast glass is good at doing – but there are times when you just want a little bit of window open.  Getting it exactly right so that you can let a bit of ventilation into the car while you nip into the supermarket but without offering an invitation to sneak thieves was pretty easy with manual windows but it can get frustrating with fast glass.  You poke the button and it moves down to about three centimetres from where you want it, then you poke the button again and the window flies all the way down to the bottom.  Then the reverse happens when you try to ease the window up again to stop at the right place.  It probably takes a couple of goes until you get it right.  Similar things happen when you want to do things like let enough fresh air in but not so much that a gale buffets the people in the back seat or you can’t hear what the other people in the car are saying.  This really makes me wonder if it’s really worth having a mechanism that goes from top to bottom in one hit after all.

Next comes the fact that automatic windows work by electricity, not by magic. This means that in order to make the windows up or down, the key needs to be in the ignition so the car knows that it’s all systems go.  If you are in a parked car and want to put the windows down to stop them fogging up (oh, put that dirty imagination away – I’m talking about waiting in the car while your kids are at football practice on a freezing cold day) then you have to switch everything on to do this.  It gets even more annoying when you find that you’ve left the back window wide open and you’ve just locked the door. OK, even with old-school cars, you had to unlock the door (which you could do by reaching through said window if there wasn’t any central locking) and wind up the window but now you have to unlock, put the key back into the ignition and then put the windows up.  Then as soon as you’ve dealt with that and locked back up again, you realise that there’s another window open…

The driver’s window lock switch can also be a nuisance at times.  They are wonderful things when your children are small because you don’t want Teddy to have flying lessons, the interior to receive an Antarctic blast and the mechanism to be worn out as the windows go up and down and up and down during a traffic jam.  However, if your rear passengers are teens or adults, the window lock is a pain.  Uncle Alfie in the back seat has just let off after a meal of cabbage and pickled onions, and by the time Uncle has tried to surreptitiously let the fart out of the cabin, discovered that the window mechanism is locked and asked “Excuse me, can you open my window?  I just farted,” it’s too late and the car cabin will smell of Eau De Uncle Alfie’s Fart for the next hour.  It’s kind of like leaving the kiddie locks on the doors and is rather insulting to the adult passenger in question.

The other thing that really makes me hanker for old-school windows is when I drive along roads that have a sharp drop-off into water or deep water below a bridge.  You see, if your car goes into deep water, you only have a very, very small window of time to open the windows before water hits the electrics and the fast glass won’t budge.  In this case, you have to try breaking the window, which is easier said than done, as car windows are tougher than, say, your windows at home.  The windscreen is especially tough, so don’t even try this.  (They say that the edges of the window are easiest to break and that at a pinch, you can use the metal spikes of a removable headrest to do this).  Manually operated windows keep on winding in water, so breaking the glass isn’t necessary.  I’m getting the heebie-jeebies just thinking about this, as having the car going into deep water is one of my worst nightmares.  Just so you know (and to remind myself), here’s what to do if it happens to you:

Lastly, if you or someone in your family is into doing their own car repairs whenever possible, it’s a darn sight easier to repair a manual window mechanism, as this is a screwdriver-type job.  With an automatic window, you’ll need to know something about electrics and wiring things up, which most of us don’t, so it’s down to the local mechanic you go!

Besides, what on earth do younger people who have seldom seen manual windows do if they want to mime opening a car window during a game of charades or when playing theatre sports?

Safe and happy driving, especially near deep water!

AEB. What Is Autonomous Emergency Braking?

A recent announcement that says Australia has signed off to have all vehicle brought to the country fitted with Autonomous Emergency Braking has some far reaching implications for how people drive and the potential for lives to be saved. But what exactly is AEB?

Autonomous: the system acts independently of the driver to avoid or mitigate the accident.
Emergency: the system will intervene only in a critical situation.
Braking: the system tries to avoid the accident by applying the brakes.

Most AEB systems use radar, a pair of cameras and/or lidar-based technology to identify potential collision partners ahead of the car. This information is combined with what the car knows of its own travel speed thanks to internal sensors and direction of travel to determine whether or not a critical or potentially dangerous situation is developing. If a potential collision is detected, AEB systems generally, though not exclusively, first try to avoid the impact by warning the driver that action is needed.

This could be in the form of a visual warning such as dashboard mounted flashing lights, or physical warnings. If no action is taken and a collision is still expected, the system will then apply the brakes. Some systems apply full braking force, others may be more subtle in application. Either way, the intention is to reduce the speed with which the potential collision takes place. Some systems deactivate as soon as they detect avoidance action being taken by the driver. However, some vehicles provide false positives, where the system reads an object not in the path of the vehicle as a collision potential.

But wait, there’s more. Most early systems were configured to warn of larger objects such as cars. Developments have seen these being finessed into providing pedestrian warning as well, a boon considering the semeing rise of those under the thrall of smartphones and screen time as they walk blithely unaware into the path of oncoming traffic.

The aforementioned agreement now means that it won’t be just passenger vehicles such as a sedan or wagon being fitted with AEB, it means that SUVs and vehicles such as 4WD capable utility vehicles must also receive the upgrade. ANCAP and Euro NCAP found in 2015 that the inclusion of AEB led to a 38 per cent reduction in rear-end crashes at low speed. That will change under UN requirements which set strict minimum standards requiring vehicles to be able to take action from speeds up to 60km/h, and come to complete stop when traveling at 30km/h or less. Therefore the expectation is that the percentage will increase. However the technology will not stop one crucial part of the driving equation occuring: the idiot that believes road rules don’t apply to them.

Jaguar Land Rover Six Straightens Up

Jaguar Land Rover is expanding its Ingenium engine family with a new six-cylinder petrol engine designed and engineered in-house, and manufactured at its £1 billion Engine Manufacturing Centre (EMC) in Wolverhampton, UK.

The 3.0-litre straight six cylinder petrol engine, which will debut in 2020, is available in 265kW and 294kW versions with a torque capable of up to 495 and 550Nm, is more responsive and better balanced than the outgoing V6 petrol.

It features a unique combination of an electric supercharger to deliver immediate response supported by a twin scroll turbocharger and Continuous Variable Valve Lift, which boosts power and help the engine to breathe with maximum efficiency.These performance-boosting technologies, combined with Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicle (MHEV) technology, optimises performance, fuel economy and reduces emissions. The MHEV 48V system uses a small integrated electric motor to harvest energy lost during deceleration, and then intelligently redeploys it to assist the engine to maximise efficiency.

The in-line six-cylinder petrol engine is 20% more fuel efficient than the V6 petrol engine it replaces and is fitted with a Gasoline Particulate Filter, reducing particulate emissions by up to 75%.

Nick Rogers, Executive Director of Product Engineering said: “From the outset we always intended Ingenium to be a full family. That is why we chose to engineer our own flexible engine architecture to meet our bespoke needs, allowing Jaguar Land Rover to adapt and stay ahead of changes in regulation and technology. This second wave of engines, with a Mild Hybrid 48V system and performance-boosting technologies, is engineered to be cleaner and more efficient than ever before.”

The new Ingenium engine has been designed and developed in-house and will be manufactured at Jaguar Land Rover’s £1 billion EMC in Wolverhampton, alongside the current four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines.The 200,000 sqm site is a ‘zero waste to landfill’ facility with everything used being recovered and recycled. Jaguar Land Rover sources 100% renewable electricity for its UK facilities and over 21,000 photovoltaic panels are installed on the roof of the EMC plant, allowing it to generate up to 30% of the site’s energy.

The EMC is fitted with state-of-the-art equipment featuring precision manufacturing technology, including machinery that can work to tolerances of three microns (a human hair is 50 microns).

In addition to being committed to delivering clean diesel and petrol engines, Jaguar Land Rover is investing in electrification with next-generation Electric Drive Units (EDU) starting production at the EMC from 2020.

JLR wants to enable customers to make an informed decision on the best Ingenium engine technology for how and where they drive, whether that is fully electric, hybrid, petrol or diesel.

The company’s latest diesel and petrol cars are amongst the cleanest in the world and meet the new regulated laboratory and real world tests (WLTP and RDE). They are EU6 compliant and can be driven anywhere, and are, for example, exempt from London’s Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) daily charge, which applies from April 2019.

Fiat Goes Rare With 500C Spiaggina ’58 Edition.

Rare indeed will be the Fiat 500C Spiaggina ’58 Edition, as just 30 units will be be released. Priced from $25,990 (manufacturers list price) the car pays tribute to the 500 Jolly Spiaggina, the first special series of the Fiat 500 which was on sale in the late 1950s through to the mid 1960s. It was the embodiment of ” La Dolce Vita”, with its quirky styling, 22 horsepower engine, and doorless body.The 2019 version will feature both manual and auto transmissions, and will come with $3000 worth of extras at no cost. Outside will be the brilliant Volare Blue body colour, 16 inch white painted wheels in a classic and vintage look, and a white “beauty line”.Splashes of chrome add extra “bling” on the bonnet, mirror covers, and inserts in the bumpers. Bespoke Spiaggina branding is part of the look, with a rear quarter badge, plus “500” logos shown inside the compact yet comfortable cabin. Extra airiness comes courtesy of the beige fabric folding roof.The design itself is based on a concept car which featured no roof, a roll bar, and no rear seat.Power for the 2019 version is rated as 51kW from Fiat’s peppy 1.2L engine. The manual is a five speed, with the auto also a five speed. That option will be priced at $27, 490 (manufacturer’s list price). A seven inch Uconnect touchscreen will be standard, as will Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, climate control, and rear parking sensors.

Fiat Australia has the car on sale as of February 12, 2019. Contact them here.

BMW Unveils 1 Series M140i Finale Edition

Rear wheel drive and a front mounted engine has been a BMW hallmark for decades. The 1 series hatch has been a comparitively new part of the configuration’s history for the iconic German brand, and with the model’s end in sight, the company has signed off on the Finale package for the 2019 BMW 1 Series M140i.

The Finale package on its own is worth $3000, and with the M140i priced at $62,990, it’s a reasonable ask. Here’s what the spec list, built on an already well specified car, looks like.

M branded alloys of 18 inch diameters in 436 M Orbit Grey will underpin the Finale, whilst on top is a glass sunroof. At each end are darkened lights with the front end getting a high gloss blackout look that complements the black chrome tail pipes. Bespoke badging sets off the colour work outside. An extra tech piece is added in the form a smartphone charging pad.

Motorvation is from the 250kW, 500Nm, straight six engine of 3.0L capacity. Hooked up to an eight speed auto there’s enough grunt to see one hundred klicks in 4.6 seconds. Fuel consumption is rated as 7.1L for every one hundred kilometres driven. And the standard equipment list is pretty good too. Blue painted calipers hold the M Sports brakes, there are adaptive LED headlights with BMW Selective Beam, and Adaptive M Suspension.

There is BMW’s Navigation System Professional with the built-in 8.8-inch display, plus BMW ConnectedDrive system which can be enjoyed from the seats complete with Leather Dakota upholstery, along with BMW’s Comfort Access System.

Contact your BMW dealer for more details.

 

2019 Jeep Wrangler Getting Ready To Roll In Oz!

The 2019 Jeep Wrangler range is on its way to Australia, with a current expected date of early April being when showrooms will have them on the floor. Starting price is set as $48,950 with on road costs to be added.The range starts with the Jeep Wrangler Sport S, followed by the Overland, and Rubicon. The Sport S and Overland will have a choice of two or four doors, and Rubicon a choice of two engines in four door configuration only.4×4 capability will be standard on all models, with the Rock-Trac 4×4 System fitted to the Rubicon, and Selec-Trac 4×4 System available on all other models. Power will come from Jeep’s 3.6-litre Pentastar V6 Petrol Engine which will be bolted to the new TorqueFlite 8 cogger automatic transmission. Stop-Start (ESS) technology is standard also. A diesel will be available for the Wrangler Rubicon, with the option to specify a 2.2L MultiJet II Turbo Diesel engine. It’ll pump 146kW of power and 347Nm of torque.

Safety features are extensive: Auto Emergency Braking (AEB) kicks off the list, with Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop, Blind-Spot Monitoring and Rear Cross Path detection complementing ParkView Rear Backup Camera with Dynamic Grid Lines. Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and Electronic Roll Mitigation (ERM) add to the well specified package.Inside the Jeep Wrangler has a 7.0” Uconnect touch screen display housing the fourth-generation Uconnect system. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto will be available as standard in the Sport S, and an 8.4-inch display standard on all other variants.

Outside, LED headlamps and tail lamps also feature as standard on the Overland and Rubicon. The grille and windscreen have been given a slight tilt, the bonnet has venting, and the C-pillar has been reprofiled. Wind noise has been reduced and a whopping 13% increase in fuel efficiency has been provided as a result.Sport S will roll on 17 inch wheels, and passengers will enjoy an eight speaker sound system. Towing capacity varies between the two and foor door chassis for all models, with 1,497kg and 2,495kg capabilities. The Overland goes to 18 inch wheels and will feature bespoke interior trim. The hard top roof is removable and features Jeep’s “Freedom Panels”. Alpine provide the sounds via a 9 speaker audio system and 8.4 inch touchscreen. Rubicon goes further with a Front Stabiliser Bar Disconnect system for when down and dirty driving is the go, and will roll on 17 inch alloys with dedicated off-road spec rubber from BF Goodrich. The steel front bar is designed to allow a winch to be fitted without issue. To complement all of the range, over 130 MOPAR accessories can be optioned.Guillaume Drelon, Head of Jeep Brand at FCA Australia, said: “The all-new Wrangler may have evolved, but its core DNA remains unchanged, making this the most capable production SUV on the planet. The Jeep Wrangler sets a precedence by offering renewed levels of style, advanced technology and safety features while remaining true to its rich heritage.”

Contact your local Jeep dealer to organise a test drive.