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Archive for March, 2019

New Cars Due Shortly

Four cool new motor cars to keep your eyes out for that will become available in Australia shortly are interesting because they aren’t all that expensive, they look great and they offer some neat engine power options.

Let’s kick off with the next generation Hyundai Sonata.  Going up-market, the Sonata looks very stylish with its sleek ‘four-door coupe’ design.  If you stop and think why car manufacturers still offer a sedan in their line-up when so many more sales are made with SUV styling, it seems that there is a niche sector that still prefers a sedan over any other vehicle shape.  So, in order to capture the hearts of a stickler sedan-buyer, manufacturers are creating upmarket sedans instead of your bog-standard sedan to grab buyer’s attention.

Hyundai Sonata

Hyundai Sonata

Hyundai’s latest Sonata sedan is a premium product that has gorgeous lines, sits 30 mm lower than before, and is 25 mm wider.  The car’s short overhang, sloping roofline and low bonnet create a signature design that is appealing and head-turning.  Also head-turning is Hyundai’s “state-of-the-art lighting technology” where the ‘Hidden Lighting Lamps’ appear to be of a chromic material when switched off and then become dramatically lit-up when turned on – very cool!

Head inside the new Sonata’s cabin and the ambient mood lighting illuminates the dash and doors.  The car’s dash design is pretty, while a lower driver-focused dash, a big centre screen, a novel gear shifter, and rich leather seats give the classy upmarket interior the big tick.

The next-generation Sonata will launch in Australia in the second half of 2019, so if you like the look of it then you haven’t long to wait.

Renault Clio Interior

Moving to the exciting Renault Clio Hatch!  Inside the brand new Clio’s cabin is a rewarding high-tech cabin that is pleasantly different with its elongated central touch screen and digital driver’s display.  Seating space and comfort will be good, and on the practicality front, the Clio’s new rear has been designed to deliver a squarer boot with 391-litres of luggage carrying ability with the rear seats in place.  That’s 40-litres more than the Volkswagen Polo, and almost 60-litres more than you get in the latest Toyota Corolla ZR.

Outside, the Clio’s exterior design is really smart with an F1-blade design incorporated into the front bumper, a larger grille and more pronounced air intakes.  This Renault Clio has been tweaked and so becomes 14 mm shorter than the outgoing model and up to 30 mm lower in the roof.  This has been done in an attempt to improve the car’s aerodynamics while delivering on a much sportier, more low-profile appearance.  The new headlights are LED, with the same c-shaped graphics offered on the rest of the Renault range, while the rear lights have been revised to also include the brand’s signature ‘C’ keynote signature.  Nice chrome highlights along the side and rear of the car, along with gloss black window pillars and hidden rear door handles keep the latest Renault Clio looking very smart and attractive.

Another new Clio trim option also boasts more sporty trimmings without changing engine power, so you can opt for this one and enjoy a racier styled new Clio Hatch with a honeycomb grille, a perforated leather steering wheel and aluminium touch points about the cabin without the added expense of a more powerful engine.

Powering the new Renault Clio is a huge range of petrol, diesel and hybrid powertrains.  Renault Australia says it wants to launch the new Clio locally in 2020.

Mazda CX-30

Mazda CX-30 Interior

Mazda Australia has a new compact SUV in the form of the Mazda CX-30 which sits between the CX-3 and CX-5 sizes, and Mazda considers this new model gives them an edge in the highly-popular SUV segment, as buyers look for models that suit their particular tastes and needs.

Mazda’s current compact SUV, the CX-3, has been successful in its segment.  It’s currently the second-best seller and a more popular choice with private buyers.  Mazda Australia’s head of marketing, Alistair Doak, says there’s been some negative media coverage on the CX-3 being too small, but consumer demand and the model’s success would suggest otherwise.  He also goes on to say, “But having said that there are also some people we know that say the CX-5 is a bit too big, something in between would be even better… you see the dimension (differences) between the cars (makes for a) clear differentiator between a CX-3, CX-30, and CX-5 – which is ideal because it’s a natural story we can tell customers and we can show them the options.  And we are all about choices and having options.”

Mazda’s elegant CX lines are shapely and attractive, and this line continues with the CX-30 model which is likely to use the new range of SkyActiv-X engines.  These new engines further optimise the efficiency of the internal combustion engine and bring the benefits of a diesel engine – such as a higher compression ratio and better fuel economy over a petrol powertrain.

Kia Niro EV

Coming to Australia soon will be the latest all-electric Kia e-Niro.  The exterior changes bring new bumpers, a new quad-LED ‘ice cube’ daytime-running light design, the option of full-LED headlights, new double-arrow LED lights in the front bumper, revised LED tail-lights, a new rear bumper, and silver-painted skid plate treatment with revised reflectors and fog-lights.

New features inside the Kia e-Niro compact SUV is a soft-touch dash top, gloss black trim with silver or satin chrome highlights, an optional 10.25-inch widescreen central display with UVO Connect online apps, and an available 7.0-inch driver’s instrument display.  An 8.0-inch central touchscreen and 4.2-inch TFT instrument binnacle is standard.  Two colour packs are also now available as part of the refresh, allowing buyers to specify Red-Orange accents which extend from the contrasting stitching to the dash trims, or a Plum pack that brings plum-coloured perforated leather upholstery with warm purple stitching, plum-coloured door armrests and satin chrome dash trim.

Kia’s e-Niro will be competitively priced but still offer some fine features like Lane Following Assist (0-180km/h) for semi-autonomous driving ability, autonomous emergency braking, lane-keep assist, driver attention warning, automatic high-beam, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and intelligent speed limit warning.

The brand new Kia e-Niro will form one of the two EVs Kia Australia plans on bringing to us shortly – with the other likely to be the new-generation Kia Soul EV.

Jaguar i-Pace Wins Major Award

Jaguar’s low slung all electric five door i-Pace has become Jaguar’s first car to win the European Car Of The Year award. It’s an award that is voted upon by sixty journalists from 23 countries. The award looks technical innovation, design, performance, efficiency and value for money.
To date, the i-Pace has found over 8,000 homes with around 75% of those in Europe. There’s obviously plenty of good reasons for the car to be so popular. The driveline, for example, delivers up to 294kW and 696Nm of torque, and with a pair of electric motors working together in a near perfect weight distribution, a zero to one hundred time of 4.8 seconds is just a flex of the right ankle away.

Road manners are Jaguar’s exacting standards. Torque Vectoring by Braking is standard in the i-Pace; it’s a system that delivers controlled independent braking on the individual inside front and rear wheels to add to the turning forces acting on the car. For the driver that wants to push the i-Pace even harder, an optional airbag suspension system can be fitted. This will drop the i-Pace by ten millimetres to help aerodynamic flow at speeds over 105 km/h.
Both of these are backed up by the Coventry firm’s Adaptive Dynamics monitoring system. At up to 500 times a second, the onboard system will read input from the throttle, the actual acceleration rate, braking, and the suspension to provide a best as possible ride and handling experience. Gone a little dirty? Then the All Surface Progress Control and Low Traction Launch systems will help out in low speed driving conditions.

The power system gets looked after too. Active Vanes open and close behind the grille and front bumper air intakes to provide cooling air when required for the electrical system. Enhanced Brake Regeneration feeds kinetic energy back into the power grid almost as soon as the driver lifts their foot from the accelerator. Heavy Traffic Braking is a variable system that adds power back in city driving stop/start.
Contact Jaguar Australia for information on the 2019 Jaguar i-Pace.

BMW Says Diesel Do Just Fine For The X7.

BMW has released details of the soon to land in Australia X7. For the time being, power will come from only diesel engines, with petrol to follow later. It’ll be a two model range to start, with the BMW X7 xDrive30d starting from $119,900, and the BMW X7 M50d from $169,900. The BMW X7 xDrive30d will have a “TwinPower” twin-turbocharged inline six-cylinder diesel engine with variable turbine geometry. It’ll pack 195 kW of power and 620 Nm of torque, meaning that can reach 0-100km/h in just 7.0 seconds.The X7 M50d goes up a notch, with an uprated TwinPower quad-turbocharged inline six-cylinder diesel engine with two variable-vane turbines and two conventional turbines. There’s a more than impressive 294kW and a startling 760 torques. 0 – 100 is a very decent 5.4 seconds. Both will power down via BMW’s eight speed Steptronic transmission. This has been recalibrated to feature a wider gear ratio spread. BMW’s much vaunted xDrive will be on board. xDrive is a smart drive system that varies drive torque split between front and rear wheels to optimise traction and power efficiency. Both will also have, thanks to xDrive, a rear biased drive feel. BMW’s tuning house, M Sport, offers a differential on the rear axle to ensure a smooth power transfer in the BMW X7 M50d, maximising traction and ensuring optimum handling on all terrains. It’s available for the X30d as part of the xOffroad package.The BMW X7 xDrive30d will have 20-inch alloy light wheels as standard. The BMW X7 M50d has 22-inch M light alloy wheels for extreme road presence. Ride will come courtesy of a two-axle air suspension with automatic self-levelling. The system is smart enough that it can adjust the height of the car with the engine off and will go up or down by 40mm. There is some smart tech in the X7, it’s able to adjust the suspension for each individual wheel to achieve balance in an unevenly loaded car. More smarts come from Executive Drive Pro, and Integral Active Steering. Both will showcase exceptional cornering abilities and standout agility.Seating is flexible, as anticipated. A 40/20/40 split for the second row seats is one option, a 60/40 split is also available. Standard cargo load is 326L, and that goes to 750L when the third row is flattened. All seats down offers up 2,120L, and a powered tailgate makes rear access easy, especially with the wave of a foot underneath the rear bumper.Extra luxury comes from a panoramic glass roof, aluminuim roof rails and aluminuim window surrounds, BMW Head Up Display, 3D camera system that shows a top down/360 degree, and a 12.3 inch dash display.

Head to BMW Australia for more details and to lodge your inquiry.

Car Review: 2019 Kia Carnival Platinum Petrol

This Car Review Is About:
The 2019 model year Kia Carnival Platinum with 3.3L V6 engine. It’s also available with a torquey 2.2L diesel. The car reviewed was priced at $60,290, plus $695 for premium paint, plus on road costs.Under The Bonnet Is:
Kia’s well sorted and rorty 3.3L V6. It produces 206kW at 6,000rpm, and will twist out 336Nm at 5,200rpm. The diesel, in comparison, has 147kW, and 440Nm, with the latter on tap between 1,750rpm and 2,750rpm. Economy is rated as 10.8L of regular unleaded from the 80L tank for every 100 kilometres on the combined cycle. Urban and highway are 14.5L and 8.7L per 100 kilometres for the 2,094 kilogram machine before fuel and passengers. Towing is 2,000 kilos, braked.Transmission is also well sorted, with eight forward cogs. Although not quite as smooth overall as General Motors’ ripper nine speed, it’s not that far behind in overall refinement.On The Inside Is:
What a proper people mover should be all about. With the rise of faux people movers masquerading as SUVs, Kia’s Carnival shows them how it’s done. Two up front, three in the middle on sliding seats, and three in the rear, and still with room enough. Overall length of 5,115mm starts the party and continues with a 3,060mm wheelbase.Storage is 960L with all three rows of seats up, with 2,220L or 4,022L depending on second and third row seats being folded down. Access is via a powered tailgate or powered sliding doors, with the remote key fob opening and closing either. The rear and centre row seats aren’t quite as intuitively friendly to operate as some others, ditching a pullstrap style at the rear in favour of a more complicated handle pull and lift arrangement, with the centre a little more fussy in operation also. Front and second row seats are vented and heated, for good measure. Kia’s brochure doesn’t specifically mention head/leg/shoulder room, but there’s more than enough space for anyone not named Dwayne Johnson.

The seat material was a mix of black and light grey leather which matched the upper and lower trim colours. Rear and centre row seats have independent aircon controls and vents. Smart devices have 3 USB ports and 3 12V sockets from which to be charged from, however there is no separate wireless charge pad.Kia says there are ten cup holders, with two up front, in the centre, and two on the centre row seat back, with four more for the third row. The front and sliding doors have a bottle holder each. The centre console also has a link to the aircon system with a coolbox there.

The Kia Carnival has ditched the seven inch touchscreen for an eight inch. It houses satnav, DAB, Bluetooth streaming, and the apps for additional features via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The safety menu has a wide array of information assistance including school zone awareness and narrow roads. All can be disabled should the slightly strident voice become too overbearing.The driver gets a polished wood trim look and leather tiller, with the hub holding Kia’s standard rollers and tabs to access ound and 3.5 inch centre dash screen info. Unusually the Platinum version stays with a full analogue dial display, with that centre screen the only digital part.

Ergonomics are pretty much Kia’s normal quality, that is to say “instinctive”. Auto headlights and dusk sensing wipers are standard also. What is also standard is a 360 degree camera system, allowing a selection of views around the big machine.What About Safety?
Blind Spot Detection with Lane Change Assist, Autonomous Emergency Braking with Forward Collision Warning are standard. Rear Cross Traffic Alert adds to the overall package nicely. There are roof mounted, side mounted, and front mounted airbags but no driver’s kneebag. There are three ISOFIX mounts for child seats along with the older tether type.

The Outside Has:
Not changed for a few years now. It’s still a handsome beast, with a broad, stocky look. The exterior colours are few, with just six to choose from. Deep Chroma Blue was the provided colour, with Clear White, Panthera Metal, Silky Silver, Snow White Pearl, and Aurora Black available. Carnival Platinum rolls on easy clean chrome alloys, with 235/55/19 the dimensions and rubber from Nexen.Quad cased LED driving lights in the lower front corners along with standard LED driving lights that wrap around the headlights balance LED tail lights.

On The Road It’s:
Starting to show a little bit of age. As good and as supple the suspension is, it’s noticeably unsettled by lateral movements thanks to road expansion joints. The MacPherson strut/multi-link combo is fine in a straight line, will deal with being thrown into corners (considering the two tonne plus mass), but as long as there are no imperfections, it’s a very good gripper. It’s predictable in its handling across all sorts of driving situations, and will understeer on a nicely consistent, easily controllable, basis.

Like all weighty petrol fed cars, it needs a good poking to get moving. When a hasty departure isn’t required it will quietly purr away from the line but with the solid hint there’s mass to pull around. Amp it up and the muted snarl gets a little fiercer, a little angrier, and the metallic keen gets more noticeable as the spinning numbers get higher.The auto is mostly en pointe, but is prone to some lurching between gears, an occasional bang as the foot comes off the accelerator and momentarily has the electronics vagued out. There was some dithering between gears on light to moderate acceleration, and changes aren’t as silky smooth as expected, with minor but noticeable body movement fore and aft as they changed.

A positive is the wind resistance; with the flat, broad, sheetmetal, cross breezes would be fairly expected to move the Carnival around. In a brewing storm, perhaps, but with some stiff breezes encountered the Carnival remained stable on road.

The Warranty Is:
Kia’s seven year warranty and service costs package. First service is 15,000 kilometres or one year and is priced at $356.00. Year four is $689.00 and year six the other big one at $679.00. Check with your Kia dealer about associated services for warranty and serving issues.

At The End Of The Drive.
There is a possible update for the Carnival allegedly due in late 2019. If the facelifts to Cerato are any indication, it’ll further enhance the already not unattractive looks of the Carnival. Where it really wins is in the slowly growing “why buy a SUV when there are people movers?” movement. It’s a proper eight seater, even if row three might be a bit cramped depending on who sits there. There’s plenty of room, and tech,and plenty of street appeal.

Kia’s Carnival continues to win awards, but more importantly continues to win hearts. Here is where you can find more about the 2019 Kia Carnival.

Tesla Confirms U.S. Model 3 Milestone

Elon Musk and Tesla have announced that the much talked about Model 3 (with a still as yet unknown Australian sale date) will now be available in the United States for a barrier breaking US$35,000. A change of name has been added, and Tesla offers the Standard range and Standard Range Plus. Deliveries will start within weeks.

Tesla preempted the announcement by stopping orders, before reopening the system with the two variants being listed. The Standard Range Plus will add an extra US$2,000 to the hip pocket hit. What a buyer will get is either 355 kilometres or 386 kilometres of range, 0 to 96 km/h (0 to 60mph) of either 5.6 seconds or 5.3 seconds, and either 210 km/h or 225km/h for top speeds.
It won’t be far off the same overall size as the Model S; it’s 4694mm in length, sits on a 2875mm wheelbase, and is 1933mm wide with the wing mirrors folded. Front and rear track is 1580mm.

As has already been seen, Tesla don’t skimp on equipment. satnav, Bluetooth, 4 USB charging points, and a skin friendly tinted glass roof are listed as standard. It’ll roll on 18 inch alloys, and they’ll come with battery saving aero coverings.The interior will feature a large touchscreen mounted up high on the dash, and this will be the only screen made available for the vehicle.
Tesla have made much of their semi-autonomous driving system or Autopilot. Tick that option box and you’ll need to find an extra $3,000 in American money. A work in progress is the next level system, which purportedly offers self parking and a “Summon” system. The latter needs a smartphone app in order to operate it.

However Tesla have made a change to their bottom line by announcing they’ll be closing their current dealership network, and the estimate is that prices should drop by six percent as a result of the expected savings. Any knock on to the Australian network isn’t currently known.
Tesla Australia can be reached via the link.