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Archive for May, 2019

Car Review: 2019 Hyundai Kona Iron Man Edition.

This Car Review Is About: Hyundai’s funky little SUV called the Kona. They’ve gone a little rogue here and given the world a limited edition, 400 vehicle, “Iron Man” version, complete with body styling that evokes the Iron Man look, and a couple of nifty interior changes too. It’s powered by the 1.6L turbo engine, has a seven speed dual clutch auto, and puts drive mainly to the front but will split torque to the rear on demand.

What Does It Cost?: Hyundai list it as $39,990 plus on road costs. That’s $990 more than the Highlander with the same engine spec.And What Do I get For That?: There is some visual highlights for the Iron Man Edition. Inside there is a Tony Stark signature on the rippled plastic in front of the passenger, a Stark Industries style logo for the top of the gear selector and in the driver binnacle dials. There is a Head Up Display fitted and it plays a stylised graphic on engine start. The seats have an Iron Man head and Stark Industries logo embossed into the faux leather and the doors shine a Iron Man head puddle lamp. Outside is a bit more. There is Iron Man badging aplenty, with the front of the headlight holder having it embossed into the plastic, an Iron Man centre wheel cap, the Marvel logo on the bonnet which has also been redesigned in shape, plus the letterbox slot above the main grille has a red insert with Iron Man here. There is an Iron Man badge on the front flanks and the guards have been pumped with extra cladding.The bottom of the doors have the brilliant metallic red from the Iron Man suit with the silver inlays, and the exhaust tips in the lower rear bumper have a similar motif. the tail lights are full LED and the rear gate has Iron Man on the grab handle. The LED driving lights have a similar look to aspects of the Iron Man suit and the roof, also in red, has a dark grey Iron Man logo which complements the dark grey semi-matte coating for the body and the Stark Industries logo on the rear doors.On the Inside Is: a mix of Highlander trim and lower trim level looks. Although the seats are perforated they are not vented nor heated. The centre console around the gear selector lacks the buttons found in the Highlander and has red piping highlights. It does carry over the drive mode for Sport/Eco/Comfort, and has a lock system for the AWD. The vents have red piping highlights also and the actual aircon controls are the same as Highlander’s. There are the usual audio and smartphone connections via the Android Auto and Apple CarPlay apps and USB, but the Highlander’s wireless charge pad is deleted. The driver’s seat is powered and there is memory seating. As mentioned before there is a HUD. Internal measurements are identical to the rest of the range.

Where Hyundai could have lifted the interior look is on the dash. The plastics could have been replaced by a higher tech look, perhaps a silver sheen material reflecting that found outside and on the Iron Man suit itself.

On the Outside Is: As also mentioned, some distinctive changes to the body work. Hankook supplies the 235/45 tyres on the multispoke alloys that have red plates attached. The LED driving lights are subtly restyled from the Kona range and the view from the front also shows the lower air intake is different to the rest in the range. The colour scheme is distinctive, of course, and the paint is the type that is best wiped down and certainly not suitable for polishing.

On the Road It’s: Happily far better to drive than the 2.0L with six speed auto. It’s a 1.6L turbo four that’s essentially the same as that found in the firecracker Kia Cerato GT. There is 130kW of peak power, and that’s at 5,500rpm. Peak torque of 265Nm is available between 1,500rpm and 4,500rpm. The seven speed dual clutch auto is mostly a delight to have along with the 1.6L turbo. It lights up from the press of the go pedal at standstill, is super responsive from 2000rpm onwards, and can be as economical as 5.5L per 100km on the freeway.

We finished on an overall average of 7.1L/100km in a mainly urban drive cycle. That’s decent as Hyundai quote 8.0L/100km for the urban drive, 6.0L/100km for the highway, and an overall combined figure of 6.7L/100km. Dry weight is 1,507kg at its heaviest, with a gross vehicle curb weight of just under 1,950kg. The DCT’s glitch is standard for just about any gearbox of its type. Select Reverse, and it engages, roll out to a stop and select Drive.

It’s here that indecision strikes and there’s that pause between engaging and forward motion. It also strikes when coming to a give way sign, and it disengages, waits….and waits….and waits, before the clutches bite. Otherwise it’s super smooth, slick, and rarely did anything other than delight.

 

The AWD system is biased towards the front wheels and one of the driver’s screen display options is showing how much torque is split to the rear. In the Iron Man Edition it’s coloured blue, lights up a set of six or seven bars when in front wheel drive. Plant the hoof and there are four or five bars for the rear wheel wheels that really only show a couple on tarmac drive conditions. When Sport mode is selected it’s more a matter of longer gear holding and slightly crisper changes.

Steering feel is light but not to the point of losing touch with the front. There is quite a bit of communication and the ratio feels tight, possibly thanks to the AWD system providing more bite. Directional changes are rapid, composed, and the suspension is almost spot on. The front end “crashed” over a couple of speed bumps but it’s otherwise urban suitable. The brakes are a delight, too, with instant feedback and one of the best progressive feedback stories available. A driver can precisely judge just how much pressure is required at any point on its travel from top to the end. Disc sizes are up from the 2.0L Kona, at 305mm and 284mm.What About Safety?: Well there is no problem here. It’s standard Hyundai in that there is little, if anything, missing from the SafetySense package. The mandated systems such as ABS etc are here but it’s the extras that are also becoming more and more common as standard that Hyundai fits. Forward Collision Warning with cyclist and pedestrian detection, Blind Spot Alert, Lane Keep Assist, Rear Cross Traffic Alert are standard here, along with four sensors for parking front and rear. There are six airbags, with the driver’s kneebag seen in other brands not seen here. Tyre pressure monitoring, pre-tensioning seatbelts, ISOFIX child seat mounts, and emergency flashing brake lights are also standard.And Warranty and Service?: Standard five years/unlimited kilometres with Hyundai’s Lifetime service plan including free first service at 1,500 kilometres, roadside assistance, and satnav upgrade plan as well.

At the End Of the Drive.
Bodywork and interior trim changes aside, the 1.6L turbo, DCT, and all wheel drive system mark the Kona Iron Man Edition as as much fun as any other Kona with the same engine. What makes the Iron Man Edition stand out is the distinctive body colour, the body mouldings, and the badging. Primary and high school runs get fingers pointing, with one high school lad coming over to the car, running his fingers over the front quarter badge and declaring: “man, that is the shit, this is so cool!” Passengers in other cars on the road would nudge the driver and point, and there was always a smile to be seen.

Absolutely it could also be seen as a somewhat cynical marketing exercise but it shows that one car company hasn’t completely lost something society needs more of: a sense of humour. Here is where you’ll find out more.

Niki Lauda.

Speed, we are told, is a dangerous thing to deal with. It is, therefore, a true oddity that so few Formula 1 drivers, people that are amongst the fastest drivers in the world, die. It then makes the passing of a driver, current or past, all the more poignant and tragic.Just days before the 2019 F1 race at Monaco, possibly the most picturesque location in the F1 calendar, Niki Lauda, well up there with Brabham, Schumacher, Fangio, and of course Hunt, passed away from complications following lung surgery in 2018, the flu earlier this year, and kidney dialysis. The Austrian born Lauda was, tragically, best known for his unexpected survival from a crash at the 1976 German F1 Grand Prix. His car exploded, trapping him in the cockpit, with rescuers taking close to a minute to extricate the badly burned driver from the cabin. Lauda said of the crash that it ripped his helmet from his head, leading to the horrific scars he bore. Taken to hospital he was not expected to survive, with last rites performed. Somehow, he was out out of bed and competing just 42 days later and would go on to win again.Lauda celebrated his 70th birthday in February of 2019. Born in Vienna, Austria, Lauda found his calling in motorsport and by 1971 was racing in Formula 2. Sadly, his family, a wealthy one with his grandfather being a Viennese industrialist, saw his racing as unworthy of the name, leaving Lauda with little option but to cease contact with them. Progress came in the form of bank loans and willing assistance from The March team in 1972, before a change to the BRM team in 1973. This team was also in the doldrums, looking at collapse.

His then co-driver at BRM, Clay Regazzoni, left BRM to join Ferrari for 1974. This would prove fateful for Lauda. The great Enzo Ferrari had asked Regazzoni of his opinion of Lauda. The response was so favourable that Ferrari hired the Austrian. He quickly found form with a second place in his debut race. He would win the Spanish GP a few races later but reliability issues aw Ferrari’s lightning start fizzle.  1975 started slowly with no wins for the first four races then it all clicked for Lauda and the team. Driving the Ferrari 312T Lauda would win four of the next five GPs. he would also bag his first world championship after a win at Monza and Ferrari would also take out the constructors championship that year.

His rivalry and friendship with other drivers was growing, particularly with James Hunt. The pair had raced each other from 1973 and although their seemed a fractious relationship, there was strong mutual respect. That respect would be shown by Lauda after his Nurburgring crash, with Hunt winning the 1976 championship by a solitary point. Lauda had receovered to a point where he was able to race again, however his burns had left him with surgery required to rebuild his eyelids. The final race of the season, in Japan, was beset by heavy rain. Lauda had declared, just as he had before his Nurburgring crash, that safety should be the number one proviso. He raced just one lap before retiring, which gave his friend and rival Hunt the chance to win, which he did. Hunt’s energetic lifestyle was at odds with Lauda’s way of life, yet their respect was such that when Hunt passed away, Lauda said: “When I heard he’d died age 45 of a heart attack I wasn’t surprised, I was just sad.”

Lauda would go on to be a successful businessman, founding an airline, plus he was called upon by the Ferrari F1 team to be a consultant. In 2012 he would be employed by Mercedes F1 as a non-executive chairman and would be involved in having the team sign Lewis Hamilton. At the 2019 Monaco F1 GP, he was remembered in various ways.Rest In Peace, Niki Lauda.

Getting It Right In A Roundabout Way.

Using an indicator seems to be the ONE major issue that the overwhelming majority of Australian drivers have. Pulling away from a curb, merging lanes, entering and exiting roundabouts, the little bit of flash seems to elude drivers on Aussie roads.
From the NSW Roads and Maritime Services website are the following regulations for indicating at a traditional four point roundabout.
Turning left: On your approach to a roundabout you must select the left lane, signal left, stay in the left lane to exit.

Going straight ahead: Do not signal when approaching the roundabout but always signal left before exiting a roundabout.
You may approach the roundabout from either left or right lanes (unless there are road markings with other instructions), drive in the same lane through the roundabout and exit in the same lane.

Turning right: On your approach, to a roundabout you must select the right lane, signal right, stay in the right lane and signal left before exiting into the right lane.

Making a U-turn: When you use the roundabout to make a U-turn on your approach signal right from the right lane, stay in the right lane, but signal left before exiting into the right lane.

Exiting a roundabout: If practical, you must always signal left when exiting a roundabout.

In many areas of Australia a three point roundabout can be found. It’s here that one part of the where to indicate equation isn’t really pushed as a safety measure. Once listed as a “complex roundabout” the regulations are to indicate in which direction you wish to go to then indicate left to exit, especially if making a major direction change as per the design.  Here, though, the overwhelming majority of drivers coming into the roundabout from the right hand side and wish to continue to the left, do NOT, as per the regulations signal their intentions. Quite a few do not indicate from the lower left to the top left, nor from the lower left to the right hand side.

From the W.A Government’s site when it comes to merging: Always use your indicator to signal your intentions to other drivers when merging; Keep a safe distance between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you and take turns to merge if there are long lines of merging traffic; You need to match the legal speed of the road you’re merging into. Again this part of the road safety argument is forgotten.  Finally, when parents that have themselves not had a driving lesson in ten twenty, thirty or more years and have accumulated a lifetime of bad driving habits are in a car with a L plater, and fail to have them adhere to the same basic laws, then our roads will continue to not see the zero level our governments purport to seek.

The Legend Returns: Toyota Supra Prices Confirmed.

It’s a good thing when rumours persist and become fact. So it is with the Toyota Supra, reborn for the 21st Century. Toyota Australia has confirmed the release and the associated dollars required. There will be two trim levels, GT and GTS, and initially will be available via a process of online reservations via this link: https://www.toyota.com.au/all-new-supra. The online on-sale date is June 19.

Starting price for the new Supra, powered by a 500Nm/250kW BMW-sourced straight six, is $84,900 plus on road costs for the GT. The GTS starts at $94,900. The online order process is due to one simple reason: allocation for Australia for the next twelve months is just 300 units.The website will use a random allocation process for fairness in regards to the online expressions of interest, with 100 customers initially getting the green light from the thousands already lodged with dealers. Sean Hanley, Toyota’s vice president of sales and of marketing says: “”The new centralised online sales process handled by a dedicated Supra concierge will ensure we keep customers updated at every step of the way and provide a bespoke and very personal experience, which is fitting for a vehicle of the Supra’s calibre.”
Those selected will received a follow up phone call from a dedicated Toyota Supra representative to advise them of their successful registration. From here they’ll be taken through a process to finalise the order, with first deliveries currently scheduled for September. For those that miss out, there will be repeat ballots and they’ll be timed to be released with forthcoming vehicle availability.

The car itself is looking to be a well featured and potent machine. The BMW six is a twin scroll unit, driving the rear wheels, and power goes through a launch mode enable eight speed auto. Expected zero to license losing time is 4.4 seconds. Adaptive suspension and an active diff will add to the sporting prowess.Toyota’s Safety Sense system is standard. Pre-collision sensing with pedestrian and cyclist detection, active cruise control, lane departure warning, and traffic sign recognition are a big part of the bundle. Seven airbags, blind spot monitor, and rear cross traffic alert are also standard.

The GT has 18 inch alloys, with the GTS going to 19s. A Head Up Display, 12 speaker JBL sound system, and a higher level of braking get added to the GTS. Common equipment is a wireless charging pad, eight way powered front seats for the driver and passenger which will be clad in leather accented trim. The GTS will also have a pair of $2,500 options, being a full Alcantara trim, and a GTS specific gret paint. The exterior colours themselves were put to a naming vote. With a likelihood of many Supras seeing track action, the names reflect motorsport’s finest. Fuji White, Suzuka Silver, Goodwood Grey, Monza Red, Silverstone Yellow, Le Mans Blue, and Bathurst Black will be the options.
Sean Hanley says of the Supra: “I am certain anyone who experiences it will appreciate the engineering, passion and precision that has gone into building what we believe is one of the best value, most engaging drivers’ cars on sale in the world today.”

 

Car Review: 2019 Hyundai Kona Highlander & 2019 Hyundai Tucson Elite.Private Fleet

This Car Review Is About: A pair of SUVs from Korean goliath, Hyundai. It’s great to have to Hyundai back in the garage, and the two cars reviewed, Kona and Tucson, show the direction of one section of the car market. The Kona was the highest trim level, the Highlander, with the Tucson a mid level trim, the Elite. Kona comes in four trim levels with the conventional, non-electric, powertrain. There is Kona Go, Kona Active, Kona Elite, and Kona Highlander. There is also the limited edition “Iron Man” version. Tucson is Go, Active X, Elite, Special Edition, and Highlander.

Under The Bonnet Is: A choice of turbo or non-turbo engine. The Highlander spec Kona came with the Atkinson cycle 2.0L that drives the front wheels, the turbo is AWD. 110kW and 180Nm are the peak power and torque outputs, at 6,200rpm and 4,500rpm. The Elite came with the same capacity engine and front driven wheels, but slightly uprated in regards to power and torque, at 122kW and 205Nm, which are available at 6,200rpm and 4,000rpm. Tucson also has the 1.6L/AWD, and adds AWD to a 2.0L diesel.Both cars run E10 compatible fuel systems and are EURO 5 compliant. Transmission for the 2WD Kona is a six speed auto, as is the Tucson. The Elite Tucson is available with the diesel and 1.6L petrol, which gain an eight speed auto and seven speed dual clutch auto respectively.Consumption for the Kona is rated as 7.2L/100km for the combined, 9.7L/100km for the city, and just 5.8L/100km on the highway cycle. In 2.0L and 6 speed auto trim, the Tucson has 7.9L/100km combined, 11.0L/100km in the city cycle, and a reasonable 6.1L/100km for the highway. Weights are 1,290kg (dry) to 1,383kg for the Kona, with Tucson ranging from 1,490kg (dry) to 1,590kg.

On The Inside Is: A really funky interior for the Kona Highlander, a restrained and functional interior for the Tucson. Highlander spec for the Kona sees the body colour added to the piping on the seats, colour coordinated seatbelts, the air-vent surrounds, and gear selector surround. As the test car came in a colour called Lime Twist it makes for a very eye-catching look.The Tucson Elite review car had mocha coloured seats and an otherwise standard looking interior. There are notable similarities between the two in respect to the layout of the dash, and a couple of of differences. The Tucson, for example, has two separate buttons for fresh and recirculating, whereas the Kona uses one. The Kona also goes for a Head Up Display, accompanied by a slight buzz as it rises monolithically out of the top of the driver’s binnacle. The actual dash designs are different; the Kona is at odds with the sharp and edgy exterior design by having a flowing, organic, dash. The Tucson is a more traditional look, with a flatter profile and has air vents at either end that are reminiscent of an American classic car’s rear end.Kona Highlander has dials for both fan speed and temperature, Tucson Elite has a separate pair of tabs for fan speed, and two dials for individual front seat temperatures. Naturally the Kona offers venting and heating for the front seats but the Elite offers neither., even with perforations in the seat materials. Kona Highlander has a wireless smartphone charge pad, two USB ports up front, with Tucson Elite having a sole USB port front and rear.Headroom is identical, at 1,005mm up front, and virtually the same at 961mm for the Kona, 963mm for Tucson in the rear. Front seat legroom is lineball with Kona scoring 1,054mm for the front, Tucson 1,053mm in the front, with the shorter overall Kona losing out in the rear leg room stakes. It’s 880mm to 970mm. Shoulder room for the Kona is 1,410mm/1,385mm front and rear, whilst the Tucson has 1,450mm/1,410mm. Load up the rear and the Kona has 361L/1,143L to the Tucson’s 488L/1,478L. Both have steering wheel controls for audio, dash screen information, Bluetooth phone connection and voice activation, with both looking virtually identical. the driver’s displays are the same, and the upper centre dash for both is where the touchscreens for audio, satnav, and more are found. There are minimal design differences between the two, and both have screens that are a delight to use in their looks, simplicity of usage, and layout. Both have the almost mandatory apps including Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and DAB audio.

On The Outside It’s: Revolution and evolution. The Kona is one of the new breed of small SUVs that are supplementing the medium and large SUV segments. The marketing for the Kona is aimed at the younger demographic and the design of the Kona itself is of an appeal to the same. Kona eschews the traditional front end design of upper mounted headlights and replaces them with LED daytime running lights. the headlights themselves are mid mounted, with the lower centre air intake featuring conventionally powered lights, with cornering lamps also up front. The rear has LEDs in the Highlander, with separate clusters for the reverse and indicators. Tucson is in its second generation and has been given a refinement front and rear. The LED DRL strips are now set as “eyebrows” to the headlights, rather than being located in the lower front quarters. The grille and headlights are reprofiled, there are new wheel designs, and the rear has been subtly reprofiled from the originals slightly bulbous shape, and the horizontal line in the lower third of the rear door has been deleted. Both have the durable black polyurethane body mouldings for soft-roading protection and visual appeal.

Rubber for the Highlander is 235/45 on 18 inch alloys, with the tyres from Hankook. The Tucson is slightly smaller in width at 225/55/18, with Kumho the supplier here.

On The Road It’s: A bit chalk and cheese. Although the Highlander is no heavyweight, the high rev point for the peak torque means off-the-line mojo isn’t great with the 2.0L non-turbo. Patience is required and any move from a stop sign before going into oncoming traffic needs to be well judged. Rolling acceleration isn’t fantastic but it’s nice enough and builds in a linear fashion.

The Tucson Elite is more spritely, more responsive from the start. Although it was the non-turbo engine, the performance was definitely more engaging and sparkling. Peak torque is higher in numbers and lower in the rev range, so the cogs can deliver the torque more efficiently, it seems.

Both exhibit well mannered on-road credentials. The Highlander is harder in the suspension, with a notably tighter ride across all tarmac surfaces. Steering initially felt like twisting a thick rubber rope, the Tucson lighter and easier to deal with daily. The Kona eventually felt as much of an extension as the Tucson. Braking in both was balanced, progressive, and although not instant in response from a press of the pedal, could be judged perfectly as the pedal went down.

The Tucson had an opportunity to show off its soft-road ability with a long drive in a national park and on gravel roads. Up front, the ABS calibration definitely errs towards a tarmac bias. Some of the roads are just wide enough to allow two vehicles to pass at low speed safely, and occasionally the Tucson’s stopping ability into a certain section was called upon. There was no lack of control, the car went straight ahead, and once or twice the pressure was such to engage the emergency flashers.

On the rutted surfaces the suspension was tuned well enough that body control was solid. There was little noise intrusion, and the suspension transmitted little of the jiggles through. The front end felt connected to the front and even when provoked somehow managed to keep understeer to a minimum.

The Safety Systems Are: Quite solid in both. The Hyundai SafetySense package in the Kona Highlander is shared with Kona Elite, and included Forward Collision Alert with Pedestrian and Car avoidance, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Lanbe Keep Assist, and six airbags. In Tucson trim, the Elite gets these but they’re an option below. The Lane Keep Assist is perhaps a bit aggressive, with a non-subtle tugging of the wheel in the driver’s hands as it works to centralise the cars in a lane. And The Warranty Is: Five years/unlimited kilometres is the current Hyundai package. 12 months worth of roadside assistance is included at purchase, the first service is free. Hyundai also offer a Lifetime Service Plan, and your local Hyundai dealer can explain how that works in more detail. There is also the Hyundai AutoLink app, and it looks pretty cool to play with. It’s a multi-function monitor system that transfers info from the car to a smartphone, allowing tyre pressure checks, fuel and battery status, even driving time.

At The End Of The Drive. The growth of the SUV market seems almost unstoppable. Here, a major world player offers a small and medium sized option, with the Santa Fe at the top of the tree. The Kona and its marketing seem to be ideal for a clientele in the 20-30 year old demographic, and potentially a sing;e or couple with no children. The Tucson goes towards the mid 20s and upwards, and with one child at least.

Neither are horrible to live with and certainly the Kona became easier to understand in how to drive it as the week progressed. the Tucson, in comparison, was like strapping on a familiar set of boots, partly because I was involved in the original model’s launch program. The fact that the room up front is identical and really not that much different for the rear seat speaks volumes for the overall design and packaging of the Kona.

On a tech level the Kona Highlander has the HUD to offer, and for those that don’t wish to use it there is a switch that lowers the screen. Dynamically the Tucson comes out as the winner, but a trim-for-trim comparison would provide a more apt comparison. In either respect, Hyundai kicks goals as a car brand to aspire to, and the “N” series of i30 is certainly highly regarded.
2019 Hyundai Tucson range and 2019 Hyundai Kona range info is available in more detail via these two links.

Isn’t It Ioniq, Part 2.

Hyundai recently released details of upgrades to its electric and hybrid small car, the Ioniq. It’s available as a hybrid, a plug in hybrid, and full battery pack power system.
The fully electric version has had the battery capacity upgraded, which brings with it a range increase. It’s up from 28.0kWh to 38.3kWh, with a new mooted top range of 294km. Power and torque are rated as 100kW and 294Nm. The on-board charger has also been uprated, with an increase to 7.2kW from 6.6kW. This enable a charge to 80% from empty in approximately 54 minutes.

Ioniq Hybrid has been given a 32kW/170Nm permanent magnet motor for the rear axle, with partial power from a 1.56kWh made from a lithium-ion-polymer battery. The PHEV delivers 44.5kW, with peak torque of 170Nm. The battery pack is a 8.9kWh lithium-ion-polymer battery and backs up the 1.6L direct injection petrol engine. 103.6kW and 265Nm are the combined capacities, says Hyundai. Pure electric mode allows a top speed of 120kmh and up to 52km of battery only range. Transmission is a single speed for the Electric, a six speed dual clutch for the other two.

They also receive a regenerative energy system, and a new Eco DAS, or Eco Driving Assist System, which lowers energy usage and fuel consumption when areas such as intersections are being approached and speed is reduced. This works alongside PEMS, the Predictive Energy Management System, that oversees the battery recharge and discharge rates. This is specific to up and down hill roads, and adjusts the drive system on the fly, integrating the petrol engine and recharge system as required.
Safety has been uprated too. Pedestrian Detection and Cyclist Detection is standard now and packaged with Front Collision Warning and Avoidance Assist. Lane Keep Assist and High Beam Assist are also standard. A cool option is Lane Following Assist; this keeps the Ioniq in the centre of a lane in just about all forms of traffic situations, plus partners with Intelligent Speed Limit Warning to read street signs.

For the tech-heads, Hyundai have their Hyundai Blue Link, a connected to car system which uses smart device technology to allow remote access, check charge levels, and set air-conditioning. An update adds eCall, an emergency backup system that will contact emergency services if airbags have been set off or a specific emergency button inside the cabin has been pressed.

Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are on-board as standard, and accessed via a 10.25 inch display screen. An extra and welcome piece of tech is the ability to connect two Bluetooth enabled devices for music streaming. This sits above a redesigned centre console stack, with a redesigned aircon panel and upgraded finish. The IONIQ Electric’s standard high-resolution 7-inch LCD console display (optional for hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions) has been improved with mood lighting to visualise the different drive mode themes. To round off the improved modern interior design, blue ambient lighting has been applied across the passenger-side lower dashboard and the centre console.
Outside the Ioniq has also been freshened. A refurbished grille design with a mesh-type look starts the party for the Hybrid and PHEV. The electric version has a closed grille and this has an updated pattern. The bumper up front and rear panels have been updated as well, with new running lights, colours, and LED powered front and rear lights. Wheels are 16 inch for PHEV and Electric, 15 or 17 for the hybrid.

With thanks to Trevor and Chris at eftm.com.au, here’s their long-term review of the current Ioniq: Hyundai Ioniq at EFTM

Hyundai says the updated Ioniq range will be available in the second half of 2019.

Eight Is Still Not Enough For BMW

BMW has released details of the forcthcoming 8 Series coupe and convertible as the brand continues to renew its extensive range. The 8 Series features the BMW M850i xDrive Coupe with an Australian price of $272,900, and the BMW M850i xDrive Convertible, priced at $281,900. Prices include LCT but not on-road charges.
Power comes from a 4.4L twin turbo V8. 390 is the number of kilowatts, and they’re found between 5,500rpm and 6,000rpm. But it’s the impressive 750Nm of torque that tells a better story. Maximum twist is available from 1,800rpm and goes all the way through to 4,600rpm. This will launch the 850i Coupe to 100kmh in 3.7 seconds, with the slightly heavier Convertible just 0.2seconds slower. The torque comes from the inside-vee location of the twin-scroll turbos, with that location providing a better, quicker, response time. Aiding the beast up front is an eight speed auto with ratios well spaced to take advantage of the liners power and torque delivery. Matched to a manual change option of paddle shifts, BMW fits their brilliant “ConnectedShift” system which reads the road ahead and pre-empts a driver’s change of gears and adjusts the transmission automatically to suit the oncoming road.
A very tech-laden feature in the 8 series is the BMW Live Cockpit Professional. It’s a hi-res and customisable 12.3-inch instrument cluster that sits behind the steering wheel, with a 10.25-inch Control Display mounted in the centre of the vehicle.

Additional BMW Live Cockpit Professional features include adaptive navigation, a 20gb hard drive, two USB ports for type A and type C connections, Bluetooth and wireless charging. A Head Up Display is included and at 16 per cent larger than before, provides the driver with valuable feedback, enhancing safety and the driving experience.
This configurable system includes details of vehicle speed, Speed Limit Info, Check Control messages, detailed route guidance information, driving assistance information, and infotainment lists. Shifting the Drive Experience Control switch to SPORT or SPORT+ brings additional information, with engine revolutions and a shift indicator displayed.
The BMW Operating System 7.0 connects the driver’s displays with the infotainment system, enabling the overlay of information from the Control Display onto the instrument cluster.

A new feature, and one sure to make its way through to other marques, is the Digital Key. Near Field Communication (NFC) technology allows the new BMW 8 Series to be locked and unlocked from a smartphone. The smartphone simply has to be held up to the door handle to open the vehicle and, once inside, the engine can be started as soon as the phone has been placed in the Wireless Charging tray. Available via the BMW Connected App, the Digital Key also offers plenty of human flexibility, as the driver can share it with up to five other people.

Carbon fibre plays a bigger role than before in the chassis.Called “BMW Carbon Core centre transmission tunnel”, it reduces weight and adds rigidity, allowing optimised suspension geometry and improving both ride and handling characteristics. Front suspension is a double wishbone setup, and it’s specifically designed to separate the steering function from the damping force.and a five-link rear uses bi-elastic mountings and houses a load-bearing rear strut to further enhance rigidity and response.
Should one choose the soft top, the BMW 8 Series Convertible roof operates automatically via the touch of a button. It completes the opening or closing motion in only 15 seconds and can be activated at speeds of up to 50km/h.

Check with your BMW dealer for more details.
(Information courtesy of BMW Australia.)

2020 RAV4 Ready To Roar.

If you’re not a fan of SUV style vehicles, best you stop and look away now. The Toyota RAV4, celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, is widely regarded as the original SUV. 2019 has the release of a vastly updated car and range to continue the legend.

The range will include, for the RAV4’s first time, a hybrid. There will be two petrol engines, four trim levels, and 2WD or AWD variants.
The Gx range is the entry level, with GXL, Cruiser, and a solitary, and new Edge trim spec.. Here’s how the pricing structure shakes down.

GX Petrol 2WD manual: $30,640, GX Petrol 2WD CVT $32,640, GX Hybrid 2WD CVT $35,140, GX Hybrid AWD CVT $38,140;
GXL Petrol 2WD CVT $35,640, GXL Hybrid 2WD CVT $38,140, GXL Hybrid AWD CVT $41,140;
Cruiser Petrol 2WD CVT $39,140, Cruiser Hybrid 2WD CVT $41,640, Cruiser Hybrid AWD CVT $44,640 &
Edge Petrol AWD Auto $47,140The base petrol engine is a new 127kW/203Nm 2.0-litre, direct injection, four-cylinder engine that drives through Toyota’s now well-proven continuously variable transmission (CVT) with a launch gear mechanism. The GX also gets a manual with a rev-matching program. The hybrid goes a step further, with a 2.5L Atkinson Cycle powerplant. Peak oomph depends on the driven wheels. There are combined maximum outputs of 160kW for 2WD variants and 163kW for AWD versions. This also continues Toyota’s fuel efficiency drive, with just 4.7 litres/100km2 for 2WD variants and 4.8 litres/100km2 for AWD versions.There is also a nifty rear axle mounted drive system. Toyota fits an additional rear motor generator to provide power to the rear axle for the electric AWD system. Complete with a Trail mode, it enables up to 80 per cent of the total drive torque to be delivered through the rear wheels.

A new model reaches the RAV4 family. The Edge trim level also has a 2.5L petrol four, and there’s 152kW of peak power, with 243Nm of peak torque available, reaching the ground via an eight speed auto. A mechanical AWD system can split torque at up to 50:50 front to rear from a 100% front driven only delivery. The Edge trim level will also feature off-rad drive modes, being Mud and Sand, Rock and Dirt, and Snow.RAV4 has also been given an extensive makeover outside, with a stronger resemblance to the HiLux family. The exterior redesign brings a sharper look, a bolder look by moving away from the curvier outgoing model, and 17-inch,18-inch and 19-inch alloy wheels which add a visually solid and planted presence on the road. The GX starts the party with LED headlights, auto wipers, and dual exhaust pipes. Inside there’s a 4.2 inch driver’s display, 8.0 inch touchscreen with DAB audio and voice recognition, higher grade trim feel and quality than before, and improved safety features including AEB as standard.The GXL has 18 inch alloys, up from the 17s on GX, and adds privacy glass for the rear windows. A rear camera with guidance lines is added. Wireless charging up front and rear airvents get a nod as well, plus there’s five USB ports, with three for the front seat passengers. The Cruiser trim level goes to 19 inch wheels, heated front seats and a powered driver’s seat. The driver’s display gets bumped up to a 7.0 inch screen. The Edge gets more cosmetics, venting for the front seats, and a leather look material for the pews.Underpinning the slightly shorter (5mm), lower (30mm), and wider (10mm) body is the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) platform that features a 30mm longer wheelbase and wider track, that has been extended by between 25mm and 55mm. This, together with a revised front MacPherson strut and new multi-link rear suspension, gives the new RAV4 substantially improved driving dynamics, superb ride comfort, and improved handling.Safety is raised, as expected. Seven airbags including driver’s kneebag, with the Toyota Safety Sense package including AEB with pedestrian detection for day and night conditions, and daytime cyclist detection, active cruise control for the autos, lane trace assist and lane centreing, plus lane departure alert with lane keep assist.

Check with your local Toyota dealership for availability and to book a test drive.

Car Review: 2019 SsangYong Musso Ultimate.

This Car Review Is About:
SsangYong continuing their Australian (and world wide) rebirth with the Musso. A four door ute, based on the Rexton SUV, the Musso is a two or four wheel drive machine. It’s reasonably well priced and reasonably well configured in the 4×4 Ultimate spec as tested at $39,990 driveaway. The range itself starts at $30,490 for the EX manual, $32,490 for the auto EX, and $35,990 for the ELX spec in auto.

Under The Bonnet Is:
A well mannered 2.2L diesel, and the aforementioned six speed auto. Peak torque is 400Nm and available from 1400rpm through to 2800rpm. Peak power is 133kW at a high for a diesel 4000rpm. Urban driving sees consumption hovering between 10.0 and 11.0 litres per 100km, and AWT finished on 10.7L/100km in a purely urban drive. Although the tank is 75-L, and dry weight is around 2060kg, that’s a hefty drink and needs work.Unlike the Rexton tested recently the Musso breathes better from a standing start, lacking the lag so woefully found in the Rexton. As a result the drive factor is immediately better, safer, more enjoyable. Transmission is a six speed auto and again, like the body and interior, pretty much what is found in the Rexton. This means mostly smooth changes, the occasional stutter depending on drive speed and throttle input, and the same on-the-fly drive modes as well, accessed via a cabin-mounted dial. It’s a package that will benefit from further development and refinement but is also pretty good straight out of the box.On The Outside It’s:
The nose and doors of the Musso before a somewhat truncated looking tray. Ostensibly it would be in competition with Ranger, HiLux, Colorado, D-Max, Triton, but also stands out as being the only ute from the three Korean car makers. The first and second sections of the Musso hint at the spaciousness outside, it’s the tray that “holds back” the Musso from really being in the same cargo space as the others. By no means though is it non-user friendly.

It’s fitted, in the test car, with a poly0urethane liner and also comes with tie down points. There also looks like a power point for something like a power generator. It’s certainly big enough for a pair of mountain bikes, and perhaps a couple of mini bikes. Full sized trail bikes make find it a squeeze though.Overall length is 5095mm. That puts it in the same size bracket (over five metres) as the rest but is still noticeable shorter. Although the wheelbase is huge at 3100mm, the rear wheels are closer to the cabin than the others, and the rear overhang of 1105mm is bigger than it looks in the flesh. That applies to the front overhang of 890mm, with reality making that figure look excessive.The wheels fitted to the review vehicle were 20 inch chromed alloys, with rubber of 255/50 from Nexen, Although good lookers and easy to clean, it raised the question of suitability for any dedicated off-road work. What does look good, although it does add to the look of a shortened tray, is the shroud at the forward end of the cargo space.

Headlights have LED running lights, and the front end has a design that SsangYong poetically says evokes a bird’s wings. It may do, but what it definitely is is inoffensive. Not unhandsome, and certainly a light-year away from the oddly styled model from some years ago.On The Inside Is:
A cabin that has largely dark grey to black overtones. The seats are dark grey/black leather (with the fronts heated), the dash is mostly black, the floor is black, most of the door trim is black. There is a splash of dull alloy chrome in the doors that spring from the dash-wide strip, and they house the tweeters in the non-DAB equipped, but very good sounding….sound system. It’s the same layout and look on this screen as seen in the Rexton and that’s a good thing. DAB would be nice as Hyundai has it fitted in their cars now…..There is also the same very handy 360 degree camera system too.However in this car the reverse parking sensors didn’t seem to be engaging correctly, and in the audio system one station, and one station only, seemed to be almost like a slightly dodgy CD, with a skip here and there. It wasn’t the station as confirmed by checking other audio sources simultaneously. It does have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto though, as per the spec found in Rexton.

Being a worker’s aimed ute, it’s not clad in the same gorgeous, diamond quilted, black upon black leather, which in a way is a disappointment. It would have given the Musso that extra stand-out point of difference. As it is that dark grey-black colour scheme looks ok, it just lacks the class that an ostensibly top tier vehicle could have.Instrumentation is as per Rexton. Cleanly laid out it makes for less time scanning for the right button to tip. It does lack the amount of buttons for operation of ancillary items as seen in the Rexton but it doesn’t lack for style or presence either.

Front and rear leg room, plus shoulder, hip, and head room are spot on for four adults, and possibly five at a pinch. There is certainly no issue in getting two children in there.

What About Safety?
No problems here. Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Blind Spot Alert, and Lane Change Assist are standard. Autonomous Emergency Braking, like nearly every company, isn’t here. The usual swag of driver aids such as Hill Descent Control, are here. Six airbags excluding driver’s knee are also standard.

On The Road It’s:
Mucho better in one key area than the Rexton. As stated, it’s better off the line, with a real lack of that inhale and go found in the Rexton. It’s more responsive, more willing, and it’s across the rev range too in comparison to the Rexton. It shares the same mechanical feel, the same lacking in damping steering column, which isn’t a good thing.

The Musso isn’t a lightweight but there is more spring in its step, a better sense of urgency and alacrity. Under steam, a gentle prod has the two tonne plus Musso reacting quickly, with a real sprightliness, and it makes overtaking much more safer. The whole driving experience in this area is appreciably more enjoyable, but it’s let down in return by the ride.

It’s stiff in comparison to the Rexton, which is understandable. However it’s stiff in comparison to its competition, and there’s a distinct sense of unhappiness as it hits unsettled surfaces, the road expansion joints, and it skips noticeably from these influences. Up front it’s more settled and composed, yet still more stiffly sprung than the Rexton. And that mechanical metal-on-metal steering takes some of the life out of the front end too. Brakes? Better than Rexton but still needing a good shove sometimes for a comfortable stoppage.

And The Warranty Is:
Again, it’s a good one. Seven years, unlimited kilometres, seven years roadside help, and a strong service structure. It matches Kia, its bigger Korean sibling in this respect.

At The End Of The Drive.
The 2019 spec SsangYong Musso Limited is a curious machine. It’s roomy, grunty, not unattractive, but it’s lacking in presence and some needed road manners. It’s got a good feature set but in top whack misses out on a couple of niceties and refinement as found in its competition. And although the price is good enough to appeal, the brand still suffers heavily from its previous incarnation. That, in itself, is the biggest stumbling block for SsangYong. SsangYong car range is where you can find details on the reborn SsangYong brand.

 

Sleek And Sporty: Rimac Concept 1 and Rimac Concept 2.

Rimac is one of a number of new brands that is looking towards a purely electrically powered future for cars. Rimac itself has seemingly snuck under the radar, with its most notable achievement to date being the destruction of a car at the hands of a British car show host…

Rimac Automobili is based in Croatia and was founded in 2009 by Mate Rimac. He says that his original idea was to start with the proverbial blank sheet and grow an automotive design business from what started as a hobby. The dream was to build the world’s first fully eklectric sports car, and the kicker was having a petrol powered car’s engine that Rimac was racing expire, allowing he and his team to convert it to a fully battery powered system. As many components weren’t available “off the shelf” Rimac and co had to develop the parts themselves. They now hold 24 individual patents.Concept 1 was spawned from a series of cars being converted from petrol to electric. The success of the conversions had the owners of the converted cars spread the word of the company’s work. From here, Rimac was able to realise part of his dream and drew up plans for what would become the Rimac Concept 1.

Franfurt’s 2011 car show saw the first public showing of the Concept 1, and was greeted with largely positive reviews. At a cost of around USD$980,000, just 88 would be built. Rimac Concept 1 features a quartet of electric motors, with an output of 913kW/1224hp, and 1600Nm/1180lb-ft for torque. In a lightweight body of carbon fibre, the 90 kWh motors launch the Concept 1 to 100kmh/62mph in 2.6 seconds. It’ll see the double ton in 6.2 seconds and will crack the quarter mile in 9.9 seconds.

Range for the Rimac Concept 1 has also been increased as as the team further developed the car. Original range estimates hovered around the 200 mile mark, with current best world figures now around the 310 miles distance.Owners receive the Rimac All Wheel Torque Vectoring System, which distributes torque between all four paws on demand and depending on driver’s setup choices. The interior is bespoke leather and handmade trim.

The Rimac Concept 2 takes the original and expands and improves upon it in almost every area, including price. With expected first deliveries schedule for 2020 as the car undergoes testing and homologation, the current expected hit to the wallet is just under Eu1.8,000,000 or a tick over USD$2,000,000.

Rimac has really “upped the ante” for the Concept 2. Top speed? 415kmh/258mph. Power? 1408kW/1888hp. 100kmh/62mph time? 1.85 seconds. Range? 647km/402 miles. It’s been touted as being able to twice lap the fabled Nurburgring twice with no drop in overall performance. And charge time is said to be up to 80% in around a half hour.Autonomous driving is on board and is at a Level 4 standard. Eight cameras, 12 ultrasonic sensors, lidar, and six radar sensors will go a long way to ensuring Level 4 driving for the owner. Extra smart tech comes in the form of facial recognition to unlock the butterfly wing doors that form an integral part of the super slippery body. Built of carbon fibre also, the chassis and body house the battery pack, mounted low for better weight distribution, centre of gravity, and handling. Weight is estimated though to still be around 1930kg/4300lb. There’s nary a hard edge to be seen on the Rimac Concept 2’s body, with sleek lines, plenty of aero influences, and a huge rear wing, necessary if Sir is to travel at 200mph.

The drive system is similar to the Concept 1, with full torque vectoring, and the ability to switch between front wheel, rear wheel, all wheel drive modes on the fly. The driver’s display screen can overlay driving lines to show an almost arcade game like look if the system senses that the car is being driven in the appropriate environment.

Just 150 examples are to be made and it’s said that all examples have been pre-sold.