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Archive for June, 2019

Shelby Outmuscles Dodge

The Ford Mustang Shelby GT 500 has been released, and if you’ve wanted the Superman like ability to change the earth’s rotation, this is the one for you. A handbuilt 5.2L V8, complete with super-strong forged conrods, a new water to air intercooled system that works alongside the supercharger, and appropriate electronic modifications, have laid out a powerful 566kW of grunt and an astonishing 866Nm of torque. This the end result of Ford’s quest to overcome the brilliant 527kW Dodge Hellcat. Sadly, it does look as if it won’t be available in right-hand drive.

This monster gets its oomph to the rear wheels via a dual-clutch seven speed. Changes are slow (cough) at 100 milliseconds. Reflecting what Ford believe will be the main focus of the owners, three drive modes, Road, Track, and Dragstrip. All together, the upgraded engine, transmission, and electronics should see a 0-100 time of under three seconds, a figure Ford hasn’t yet confirmed. It tops out at 290kmh, and for those using the Dragstrip mode, a quarter mile of around eleven seconds should be expected. A line-lock system for drag use is included.

In order to tame the firebreathing machine, active damper suspension is onboard, with rerated coil springs and a redesigned geometry for the suspension components. Michelin Pilot Sport 4S rubber provide the fight in the grip section and wrap around Australian made carbon-fibre 20 inch wheels, and Brembo adds in the six pot stoppers. A new front splitter is fitted and the ends have a canard design for more aero flow. Outback is a GT4 wing that loads up a near quarter-tonne of downforce at speed. Need to lose weight? the rear bench seat is a delete option.

The interior isn’t forgotten, with a full digital instrument panel, 12 speaker sound, 8.0 inch touchscreen, and Recaro buckets with race harness fittings.

If you’ve the money and the right contacts, have a chat with Ford but make it quick. Cars like this tend to sell out in a blink.

Private Fleet Car Review: 2019 Hyundai Kona Highlander Electric

This Car Review Is About: Hyundai dipping a toe into the battery powered waters of electric cars. The Korean company has the Ioniq range of petrol/hybrid/battery, whereas the Kona has no hybrid option.With a range of around 460 kilometres, it’s more than suitable for daily running around in the urban environment, and so it proved during our week-long test.

What Does It Cost?: The range of Kona Electric starts at $59,999. That’s before government charges and dealership costs. The Highlander starts in the middle $60k range, and that puts it within the ballpark of the forthcoming Tesla Model 3. The car comes with a charge cable which plugs into a standard home power socket. For an extra couple of thousand Hyundai will supply an adapter box that gets installed at home. At a rate of around7.2kW per hour of charge, it trickle charges at a rate good enough to avoid range anxiety if plugged in overnight. In the week we drove it, it was topped up just twice.On The Outside Is: A car that is possibly overdone in styling to alert people to the fact it’s an electric car. The Tesla range, for the sake of inevitable comparisons, look like a normal set of cars outside, and have a distinctive yet still normal-ish look inside.

Front and rear lower bumpers have been restyled in comparison to the standard versions. There is a ripple, wave like, motif to them, and the front looses the centrally mounted driving lights. Somewhere in the front guards are cornering lamps, barely visible unless looking for them. Our test car was clad in a two-tone metallic Ceramic Blue and Chalk White body and roof styling, with a number of exterior colours and combinations available, at a reasonable cost of under $600 for the metallic paints. The wheels are bladed five spoke items, with the blades sporting a heavily dimpled design on one half of each of the slabby five spoked design.These reflect the nose of the Kona Electric. As there is no need for a traditional cooling system, the front has the air intakes replaced with a plastic insert that draws attention to itself by virtue of these dimples. The colour highlights these quite strongly too. This nose section houses the charge port, and here Hyundai has a solid win.

Press lightly and the cover pops open. Insert the Type 2 Mennekes charger device which is found in a sturdy bag in the undercover cargo section, attach to an extension cable, a green loop lights up, and charging is underway. To remove the charger requires nought more than a push of a simple press-stud. It’s more effective and far more simple than Tesla’s overthought system.The overall look is very close to the normal Kona but the dimpled look is probably a non-necessary addition. The dimpled wheels are unnecessary too. Normal looking wheels would have toned down the “look at me, I’m electric!” look.

On The Inside: The Kona Electric interior is more sci-fi than traditional in some aspects. The seats are vented and heated, with the car provided having white leather-look material which wouldn’t be suitable for younger childre.. The steering wheel is heated, there are cup and bottle holders, and a wireless charge pad for compatible smartphones, plus a USB port or two. All normal.

Then Hyundai goes to Star Trek inspired designs for the centre console. Its a floating or split level design and not exactly easy to get items into the lower storage section. The upper level is home to four buttons for engaging the drive, a tab for the heated steering wheel, another for three drive modes (Sport/Normal/Eco), and all in a somewhat chintzy looking silver. It’s horribly overdone, visually tiring, and goes past the point of sensible in pointing out to passengers they’re in an electric car.There are some good points: the drive modes change the look of the full colour LCD screen that is located inside an analogue dial. These, at least, look sensible and appropriate. There are different colours and looks to the kinds of information being displayed. There is also a HUD or Head Up Display for safer driving. The touchscreen is slightly revamped to take advantage of the propulsion system and has sub-screens that allow for personalisation and adjustment of the drive modes.

In regards to charger points for public usage, the onboard map system has these preprogrammed. That’s a good thing as this particular kind of charge point seemed to be a little spare on the group using certain apps.On The Road It’s: Soft in the suspension. It’s a well controlled softness, but it’s soft. There’s a lot of travel in each end, with the front exhibiting more sponginess than the rear. It really does feel as if it could do with a dialing up of the stiffness with a corresponding change in dampening to provide a still progressive yet tauter setup for a better ride. Hyundai say that something like 37 different damper combinations and a number of varying spring and anti-roll-bar setups were tried. However, it must be said that the suspension has to deal with 1700 kilos or so, which includes the floor mounted battery pack. That does help with handling by providing a low centre of gravity, so that softness, although the final result of the extensive testing, may not be to everyone’s taste.

There’s an unexpectedly high amount of road noise too. There’s a sensation of wind coming in via a door left open in respect to the noise level. The ecofriendly rubber adds to the ambient noise levels also.Acceleration is decently quick with a sub eight second 0-100 time, and there’s a gauge in the dash that tells you the percentage of normal, economical, and aggressive driving. Even with our drive routinely seeing hard launches, never did that aggressive driving gauge get above 2%.

To engage Drive, one places a foot on the brake pedal, presses the normal looking Start/Stop button, then presses one of the four drive buttons to get underway. Drive, Reverse, Park, Neutral are the choices.

Actual physical engagement of the drive gear is instant here, and the system does insist upon the brake pedal being used, for example, when selecting Drive from Reverse. Here Hyundai go a little more sci-fi in the aural side. There is an eerie whine, an almost subliminal sound that has people wondering if they’re hearing it or not, as it never goes beyond the level of a faint background noise.

There is a question mark about the drive system. The car reviewed was the Highlander model, meaning it came with the HUD in the dash, heating & venting in the seats etc. However the drive system was front wheel only. This meant that the front rubber would scrabble for grip off the line in those same hard launches.

There are three drive modes, which seem redundant for an electrically powered car. They’re activated via a selection tab in the console and Hyundai do provide personalisation of each for items such as climate control and recharge via the touchscreen. Regeneration levels are also changeable via a pair of paddles behind the tiller. These same paddles allow for bringing the vehicle to a full halt if the left paddle is held.The steering itself is heavier than expected in normal driving. That’s more to say it’s not as assisted as expected, feeling more akin to the front rubber being deflated by around 20 to 30 percent. All up, though, the Kona Electric, for all of its perceived deadweight, is nimble enough, with rapid and unfussed lane changing when required, a definitive sense of weight transfer when lifting off the accelerator, and the mid range urge is enough to raise a smile. Punch it whislt using the heated seats and steering wheel though, and watch that expected range figure drop, and rapidly.

It’s otherwise a delightfully enjoyable cruiser but “suffers” from a peculiar quirk. Although the electronic brains engage the drive systems almost instantly between Drive/Reverse, from a standing start there’s a small but perceptible hesitation before the actual drive kicks in. Think of that momentary lag along the lines of a diesel’s slight intake of breath. It’s an unusual sensation however once knowing it happens all of the time, adjustments on driving style make for smooth progress.

The brakes are an integral part of the drive system and they’re just on the fine side of grabby in normal driving. Downhill descents have them gently squeeze and you can feel the retardation the regenerative system endows.

Hyundai adds extra tech in the form of the smartphone app called Hyundai Auto Link Premium SIM. By tying in with the car’s telematics you can look at driving history, driving efficiency, general battery information, plus it allows a user to book a service remotely. Items such as hazard lights, or lock/unlock can also be performed by the app.

And The Safety? As expected, Hyundai’s full range of SmartSense active safety tech is here. AEB is standard, radar collision alert, Blind Spot Alert, Lane Keep Assist, and active cruise control are all here. The actual safety rating is five star.

Warranty and Services? Service intervals are once a year of every 15,000 kilometres. That second figure is appealing for some as it means they’re more likely to do less than the 15K…For those that aren’t frightened by range anxiety, and drive it as they would a petroleum fed machine, it’s a figure easily achieved. Hyundai have also capped the first five service visits at $165. Warranty wise there is a five year standard figure and the battery pack has eight years.
At The End of the Drive.

Hyundai is part of the growing band of brothers that have joined the fully electric powered car family. It’s a technology that has history against it, and the future on its side. But there’s no need for today’s cars to be made to look like something from 200 years in the future. Aside from the Star Trek meets Jetsons looks, it’s a capable enough chariot. Pricing is something that will change for the better but for now, it’ll have to do.
Hit up Hyundai here for more info.

Say Hello To The New Baleno and Colorado.

Suzuki Australia has announced that the Baleno has been given an update and will be available in Australia late this year. The new look Baleno GL will be here from August and the Baleno GLX variant available for purchase from September 2019. Pricing will remain incredibly sharp, with the Baleno GL and with a manual transmission starting at $15,990, the auto just $1,000 more, and the auto only GLX at $18,990.

Key changes to the exterior design include a newly designed front grille, revised front and rear bumpers, whilst the 15” steel wheel hub cap and the 16” alloy wheel have received an updated look.
The updated Baleno GLX will also feature UV protection glass on the windscreen, upgraded headlight projectors from HID to LED, plus automatic headlight leveling. Metallic paint is a $500 option, and the colour range is: Fire Red, Arctic White, Granite Gray Metallic, Stargraze Blue Metallic, and Premium Silver Metallic. Interior changes are limited to a revised door trim colour plus all-new seat fabric design and colour. All engine configuration and specifications remain unchanged as per the current model.

Suzuki Australia General Manager – Automobile, Mr. Michael Pachota said the introduction of the updated Baleno will be key for Suzuki’s growth in the light car segment. “A welcome improvement has been introduced in the Series II with a sleek but aggressive sporty aesthetic, amongst other additions. The new look design successfully freshens up the Baleno and remains perfectly fit in our Suzuki model line-up for the Australian automotive market.”

He added: “Impressively, even with these improvements, current pricing is sustained and with the recent introduction of a 1.4 litre engine in the GLX variant, bringing the entire range below $18,900 RRP, will no doubt further increase our opportunity in the light car segment.”

The new look Baleno comes with Suzuki’s 5 year Capped Price Service (CPS) warranty program.

Holden have also updated one of their staples in the stable. The Colorado has a new addition and some extra features added as standard. The model designated as LSX is now the entry level to the Colorado family. Sitting at the top of the tree is the Z71 and this now hasrugged fender flares and a bash plate now standard on the flagship model. A convenient new ‘soft drop’ tailgate is also exclusive to the range topping Z71, while the mid-range LTZ 4×4 gains leather trimmed seats with the front ones now heated. The Z71 and LTZ now also receive a Duraguard spray on tub liner as standard.
“The addition of the DuraGuard tub-liner means that MY20 Z71 and LTZ Colorado are the only pick-ups that retail for under $70,000 to feature this premium technology as standard equipment,” Andre Scott, the general manager of light commercial vehicle marketing at Holden, said. Careful research has also produced factory backed accessory packs, with Mr Scott adding: “Take the Tradie pack for example. It includes a towing package, side and rear steps, a roof tray, 12V auxiliary power, floor mats, canvas seat covers, weather shields, bonnet protector and cup holders – it’s enough to make sure any jobsite is done and dusted.”
Contact Holden for availabiliy details.

Mercedes Adds The GLB To The Range.

In a possible answer to a question that no one has asked, being “just how many SUVs does the world need?”, Mercedes-Benz has introduced the seven seater GLB. It slots into a gap moreso in the alphabet than in its range by being placed between the GLA and GLC.

Mercedes say it’s the first of their compact SUV range to be offered as a seven seater. However they’re also at pains to point out that the third row should NOT be occupied by anyone over the height of 1.68m. That’s logical as virtually every seven style vehicle simply doesn’t suit taller people.Power will comes from a pair of four cylinder petrol engines or a trio of diesels. A 1.33L petrol with 120kW/250Nm can be specified alongside a 2.0L with 165kW/350Nm. Economy is quoted as 6.2L/100km to 7.4L/100km, and emissions are rated as 142/169 grams per kilometre. Transmissions are a seven or eight speed auto. The pair will see 0-100 kmh times of 9.1 seconds and 6.9 seconds respectively.

The diesels are 2.0L in capacity, will offer 110kW in two versions, and 140kW in the other. Torque figures will be 320Nm or 400Nm in the higher output engine. Consumption is said to be 5.5L/100km. All three will power down through an eight speed auto and 0-100 times will be 9.0, 9.3, and 7.6 seconds respectively.

GLB will bring some cool tech. The driving assistance systems will, thanks to improved camera and radar systems, look up to 500 m ahead and can drive partially autonomously in certain situations. These could include, for example, conveniently adapting the speed before corners, crossroads or roundabouts using the Active Distance Assist Distronic with recourse to maps and navigation data. As a new function of the Active Steering Assist, among other things, there is also the intuitive Active Lane Change Assist.

There is the Energizing comfort control system. It networks various comfort systems in the vehicle, and uses musical and lighting moods plus a number of massage settings for a wide range of feel-good programs. The Energizing Coach recommends these programs according to the situation. Then if a driver or passenger is wearing a Mercedes-Benz vivoactive 3 smartwatch or another compatible Garmin wearable is linked, personal values such as stress level or sleep quality may improve the precision of the recommendation.The intuitively operated infotainment system MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) is also here. There’s a powerful computer, brilliant screens and graphics, and the ability to personalise graphics. There is also an all-colour head-up display, navigation with augmented reality, learning-capable software, and the voice control which can be activated with “Hey Mercedes”.

The LED High Performance headlamps and Multibeam LED headlamps are available for the GLB on request. The latter allow extremely quick and precise, electronically controlled adjustment of the headlamps to suit the current traffic situation. As an option there are also front fog lamps with LED technology. They distribute the light more widely than the main headlamps and thus illuminate peripheral areas better. Their low position in the front bumper helps reduce the risk of dazzling.

4MATIC models include the Off-Road Engineering Package. In combination with Multibeam LED headlamps these models offer a special off-road light function. This makes it easier to see obstacles in rough terrain in the dark. With the off-road light the cornering light on the Multibeam LED headlamps is continuously switched on up to a speed of 50 km/h. This results in wide and bright light distribution immediately in front of the vehicle, allowing the driver to more appropriately judge their progress.Contact your local M-B dealer for more details.

Private Fleet Car Review: 2019 SsangYong Tivoli ELX

This Car Review Is About: SsangYong’s Tivoli. SsangYong is the quiet third of a three tier car making setup from Korea. Nestled well below Hyundai and Kia, SsangYong currently have a three model range, and the Tivoli is the entry level to the brand. The Tivoli itself is based on the Kia Soul and is badged as EX, ELX, and Ultimate.
The ELX is a solid mid-level competitor in a very crowded market. Being based on the quirky looking Soul isn’t a bad thing either. SsangYong’s designers have done a good job of hiding the relationship with a heavily reworked interior and exterior. There’s no hiding that steeply raked windscreen though.Power Comes From: Behind the bluff and upright schnozz that hides a diesel or petrol powerplant. Our test car had the 1.6L diesel, a slightly chattery but butter smooth item. There’s a huge 300Nm of torque on tap between 1,500rpm and 2,500rpm. Peak power is just 85kW and is available from 3,400rpm to 4,000rpm. The diesel comes in 2WD or AWD for the Ultimate, and is a six speed auto only for the oiler. Economy is, unsurprisingly, pretty good for the pert little five door. Urban driving is quoted as 7.4L/100km for the 2WD version. We saw a best of 7.6L/100km in the urban cycle. Combined is 5.5L/100km and that’s without the realms of possibility. Tank size compromises range though, at just 47-L.What’s It Cost?: The range starts at a miserly $22,990 driveaway for the EX, without premium paint. It’s $27,990 driveaway for the ELX diesel auto, with premium paint an extra $495. Outside one can choose six colours, the test car was Space Black. Inside there are three choices with black overall, brown (mocha coffee shade), and beige. The trim is on the seats and the doors.

What Does It Look Like?: Overall, the presence is restrained from the outside, innocuous even. The front end is very SsangYong family in look, with LED eyebrow driving lights in a swept back cluster design. The lower air intake surround is a horizontal “double Y” with black urethane underneath joining the front and rear. The tail end itself is a look that evokes the MINI Countryman’s styling and a bold C pillar joins the top to the bottom.It’s compact in size to look at. Length is 4,202mm, height is 1,600mm with roof rails, and overall width is 1,798mm. What these numbers mean is good interior space for the 1,480kg (dry) Tivoli.
There’s some good looks inside too. The dash is the current Euro themed arch-type sweep from door top to door top and in the black-on-black it looks ok. The dash’s look is a mix of black textured plastics. There is a faux stitched look, a hood style binnacle, and piano black centre stack.This holds the aircon controls which are soft-touch buttons. An old-school amber backlit display screen sits above a dominant fan speed dial. Unlike most other manufacturers, SsangYong haven’t gone down the path of a standalone touchscreen for the audio/satnav, with the Korean make staying with an embedded look here. Again there is no DAB and that peculiar predilection to have one radio station sound like a skipping record.The driver faces a binnacle that has bright red backlit dials. These can be changed to five other backlights such as blue and yellow for that extra bit of personalisation. A monochrome centre screen shows wheel angle when parked. This is presumably to remind a driver which way they’re pointing when getting ready to move on.
Splashes of alloy look plastic add some colour to the black trimmed option. The seats are comfortable and not heated or vented in the ELX.
There’s the usual apps for the sound system, storage spaces front and rear, and a good amount of cargo space at the rear. There is a pair of 12V sockets, one up front and one for the rear.
Safety is high. AEB is standard, as are warning systems for forward collision and lane keeping. Australia doesn’t get the Euro spec traffic sign recognition system…yet.

What’s It Go Like?
It’s a hoot to punt around. There’s the barest hint of hesitation in the diesel from a standing start. The turbo very quickly spools up and there’s a rapid, smooth, but slightly noisy launch. The engine is a real old-school chatterer under load but there is no sense of vibration is any form. The gearbox is the same. It’s super quiet, super smooth, and rarely proved indecisive in its cog-swapping.

Off the throttle the engine is whisper quiet. There is a minimal amount of road and wind noise whilst coasting, and it’s again only when the go pedal gets the ask that the engine gets noticed. Mid range urge is sensational given the size of the engine. It’s relatively effortless in how it performs when compared to bigger cars with bigger engines. Ride is on the hard side however. The 205/60/16 from Kumho provide plenty of grip but that highish sidewall doesn’t do much in the way of aiding the suspension’s absorption. The spring and damper rates are almost adequate for smaller bumps but hit a traffic calmer at anything other than walking pace and it’s kapow.The rear corners will even “cock a leg” when in tight turns or at odd angles coming in and off some driveways. The upside is how it goes on the freeways. Undulating surfaces don’t exist, stability is high in windy conditions, and the steering, adjustable via a drive mode button, is well weighted. It’s responsive and ratioed so understeer is also kept to a minimum. As a driving package it’s far better than expected.
Warranty Is? Seven years. That’s also with unlimited kilometres, from front to rear. Srvices are 12 months or 15,000 kilometres.At The End Of the Drive: It’s a real shame that this quiet achiever is due to be discontinued. Although the forthcoming Korando promises to be just as good, the Tivoli could be kept as an alternative addition, much like many Euro makers seem to offer nowadays. And it’s at a price and trim point that would be a good alternative to quite a few others. And the Tivoli has just had an addition to the range in the form of the long wheelbase XLV.

Here is how you can find out more.

EV Vs HV

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s time for the big showdown between the two rivals hoping to knock internal combustion engines off the top spot in the world of automotive power. (cue drumrolls, flashing lights blaring heavy metal music and a hyperventilating commentator).  In the green corner, we have… Electricity!  In the other green corner, we have… Hydrogen!  Which of these two mighty rivals will win the title for best engine type and come out champion and win the Green Energy title?

OK, settle down.  Deep breath and time for me to stop channelling the pro wrestling I watched the other night when I was in need of a good laugh.  Right, that’s better.  Now to continue with a discussion of whether hydrogen-powered vehicles or EVs are the best.

Of course, one has to look at all aspects of motoring to decide what’s best. What’s more, when it comes to individual decisions as to what car you want to buy and drive, your personal priorities will come into play. So, without further ado, let the contest begin…

Environmental impact and emissions: On the road from the end-user perspective, it’s a draw.  Running EVs and hydrogen doesn’t pump out pollution or greenhouse gases.  However, the way that the electricity is generated or the hydrogen gas is produced may have to be taken into account. If the widespread uptake of EVs means that power companies have to fire up otherwise disused old coal- or gas-fired generators, EVs might not be all that green.  If the power comes from hydro, wind or solar, then it’s all good.  Similarly with hydrogen: if the process of getting said hydrogen into a fuel form can be done without chewing through non-renewables or pumping out nasties, then it’s all good – and we’re working on that, as we’ve discussed in an earlier post.

Maintenance: Assuming that you can find a mechanic that can deal with EVs (there are more of these knocking around these days) and/or hydrogen vehicles (we need a nice little abbreviation for these: what about HVs?), this is another draw.  Both types of vehicle have fewer moving parts than what’s needed in an ICE (internal combustion engine) – both involve electric motors that create rotational motion directly rather than relying on a controlled explosion to push a piston that turns into rotational motion.  Fewer moving parts means less friction, which means less wear and tear.  However, to be fair, EVs and HVs haven’t been around quite as long, so we will have to wait a bit and see what happens as they get older.

Accessibility: OK, here EVs win hands down.  Charging points can be found in all sorts of places and every time I go to my favourite holiday spot, I come across a new charger where there wasn’t one before.  You can also get charging points for your home so you can charge an EV overnight.  Although our very own CSIRO are working on ways to make transportation and storage of hydrogen easier, we still don’t have very many hydrogen bowsers out there… or at least not yet.

Cost: At the moment, electricity is cheaper to get than hydrogen fuel, so this is another win for EVs.

Time: As a lot of you have already discovered, it can take quite a while to charge the battery of an EV up to full, kind of like it does with your phone or laptop. Even the very fastest superchargers take half an hour to get a battery to 100%. However, hydrogen pumps as easily as petrol or diesel, and you all know how quick that is, so HVs win here.

Range: Another very clear win for hydrogen. In 2017, the Toyota Mirai clocked up 502 km, while a test version of a Tesla picked up somewhere between 397 and 506 km.  In practice and with everyday people driving, the range of HVs tends to be a lot longer than that of EVs.

Specs:

The Telsa Roadster (due for release in 2020) boasts some specs that make all the other supercars, muscle cars and hypercars look like Granny’s little runabout: 0–62 mph (that’s about the same as 100 km/h)) in 1.9 seconds, a top speed of 250 MILES per hour and a reputed 10,000 Nm of torque according to Elon Musk.  Yes, I’m counting those zeroes as well and wondering if that’s for real.  A nice nerd has explained how this figure might be a wee bit misleading, as Tesla’s talking about wheel torque, not engine torque:

On the HV front, the Pininfarina H2 Speed racing machine claims to do the 0–62 mph sprint in 3.4 seconds and has a top speed of 300 km/h and a maximum power output (from four engines combined) of 480 kW; torque figures are hard to come by.

Actually, I would quite like to see a real head-to-head race between the Pininfarina H2 Speed and the Tesla Roadster, and not just because it would be cool to see the Tesla’s acceleration in action.  One of the things that puts me off traditional motor racing a bit is the engine noise and the smell of the fumes, but when electricity and hydrogen compete, these would be totally gone and that’s the whole point of EVs and HVs.  We can probably say now that the Tesla would win the sprint, but over a longer race, the quicker refuelling time of the H2 Speed might make up for this.

 

* Credit where credit is due.  Some of these stats and comparisons have been taken from a 2017 issue of How It Works magazine (issue 105); there have been some developments in both corners since then!

Private Fleet Car Review: 2019 Kia Cerato GT Sedan & Cerato Sport Hatch

This Car Review Is About: The latest offerings from the long running Cerato range, specifically the restyled sedan and hatch bodies, in GT and Sport trim. There is the S, Sport, Sport Plus, and GT. The S and Sport can be optioned with a Safety Pack.Under The Bonnet Is: A choice of a turbocharged 1.6L driving a seven speed dual clutch auto in the GT, against a 2.0L non-turbo and six speed standard auto for the Sport and S. The GT gets the powerhouse 150kW turbo which delivers 265Nm of twist across a flat 1,500rpm to 4,500rpm “torque curve”. The Sport has a very good 2.0L, with 112kW and 192Nm at 4,000rpm. The S is the only version with a manual six speed available.Economy for the pair is tight; the bigger engine is quoted as 7.4L/100km for the combined cycle, with the turbo 1.6L at 6.8L/100km. Our highway drives saw 5.8L/100km for the 1.6L Cerato GT sedan, the Cerato Sport hatch clocked a 6.9L/100km. Overall activity saw 7.4L/100 for the hatch as a final average on its return, with the sedan at 7.1L/100km. That’s running regular unleaded from a 50L tank.

What Do They Cost?: Kia says $32,990 plus on-roads for the GT sedan, $25,790 plus ORC for the Sport hatch, and if you opt for the Sport+, that’s $28,840 plus ORC. There are ten colours available, with the GT getting its own Sunset Orange shade. Paints classified as Metallic or Pearl are a $520 option.On The Outside Is: A choice of a sleek sedan or a sleek hatch. They’re essentially the same until the rear of the rear doors, and the hatch has a manual tail gate, a more pronounced taper to the rear roof line, and BMW-esque LED tail lights. Essentially, as the GT has a full suite of LEDs for both headlights and DRLs, whereas the Cerato Sport Plus has normal headlights and LEDs for the daytime running lights. Both ends, though, have the indicator lamps set below a driver’s line of sight, rather than being up in the head and tail light clusters.

The GT also has specific wheels and tyres. 225/40/18s with Michelin rubber wrap ten dual-spoke design alloys. The Sport has 225/45/17 alloys of a similar yet different design. The spare is a temporary sized one with a steel rim.Overall dimensions show just how big a modern small/medium sedan is. At 4,640mm in length, they’re bigger than the legendary EH Holden, which was 4,511mm. The Cerato’s height is 1,440mm except for the GT which is 5mm lower. The blocky EH stood 1,478mm. Where the classic Holden won was on weight. At 1,118kg it’s 200kg to 250kg lighter than the Ceratos.

There’s a couple of other minor differences too; the Sport Plus gets body coloured wing mirror covers, whilst the GT has high gloss black covers. Both have heating for the mirrors. The GT has twin chrome tipped exhausts, and the Sport Plus a single well pipe. There’s also a slight difference between the sedan and the hatch when it comes to opening the boot lid. There is a release button on the key fob, and a lever inside. But there is not a tab on the bootlid to open the boot. Once open there’s another design hiccup. The rear seats don’t have a shoulder mounted seat release mechanism. To flip the seats in the sedan the boot must be opened, a boot mounted lever puller for either the left or right hand seat, then it’s back to the rear seats to actually fold them down. The hatch does away with this ridiculous idea by having a boot-lid mounted tab. On the Inside Is: A surprisingly low toned interior. The GT is black upon black, having only subtle red piping on the seats and alloy look plastics around the gear selector, air vents and dash strip, central steering wheel spoke, and door handles, to break up the black. Under the driver’s foot is alloy pedals in the GT. The Sport Plus as tested had a similar look to the dash but had a lighter shade of material from the doors upwards and a charcoal/grey cloth trim to the seats. The GT’s driver holds a flat bottomed steering wheel.

Actual plastics look and feel is cheapish. There’s little, if anything, to differentiate the upper echelon cars from the base model S in this respect, plus there’s a distractingly high level of upper dash reflectivity into the windscreen. The driver’s binnacle display is fully analogue and has a monochrome display screen, not colour. Sound comes from a six speaker system in the Sport Plus, an eight speaker setup in the GT, with DAB tuners across the range plus the now almost seemingly mandatory Android Auto and Apple CarPlay plus Bluetooth.There are four cup, and four bottle, holders in the cabin. Just the driver gets a one touch up/down window switch. The GT gets a wireless smartphone charging pad and it’s a slightly tricky design. A small bump in the plastic on the left hand side will stop a phone from being charged properly if it’s not placed in the holder correctly. There’s a pair of USB ports and a single 12V socket up front as well.

As is the norm now, a touchscreen of 8.0 inches in measurement, and a simple one to use at that, is mounted up high on the dash. Default look is map and audio side by side. As is Kia’s wont, the interface is intuitive and makes using the various functions, and changing settings, fuss free.

On The Road It’s: Not quite chalk and cheese. The turbo in the GT is a firecracker, with verve, fizz, fire and brimstone, belying the 265Nm, as it feels as if there are more. The dual clutch transmission is beautifully matched and the performance potential is huge. Surprisingly, the 2.0L seemed not far off the pace in regards to response and driveability. The smaller engine is a free spirited and easily spun unit however the 2.0L in the Sport was nearly as easy going in how it moved the analogue needle around the dial. The more traditionally oriented six speed auto was nearly as slick and smooth, but simply couldn’t match the bang-bang nature of the dual-clutch in cog swapping.Get and go in both is very good, with the torque spread of the GT’s engine making for a harder run from a standing start. There’s real excitement from the driveline as a straight line run sees the freeway limit reached in what feels like just a breath. The Sport’s 2.0L pulled hard too but in a side by side comparison would be noticeably behind. The dual-clutch also exhibited a trait peculiar to this kind of transmission. Anything from a mild press of the go pedal upwards has the brains of the ‘box working fine, go a little softer, or change from Reverse to Drive, and there’s that customary pause as the brains figure out exactly what the transmission is supposed to do before actually doing so.Handling on both was neutral; the weight of the steering in both was excellent and allowed for a clean judgement of how much input was required to have the nose go where it was desired. On one particular corner the front end would run wide but only at a certain speed and was easily brought back to a controllable level with a back-off and a brush of the brakes. Highway driving has the pair change directions nimbly and the steering & engine choices, left in the default Eco mode, was never needed to be in anything other than that. The GT has a Smart mode which runs between Sport/Eco/Comfort, and effectively learns on the fly as well, helping the on board computers to adapt to an individual driving style.

Ride quality definitely tends towards the harder style yet the GT’s 18 inch rubber doesn’t crash through to the cabin at all. The Australian fettled suspension is well sorted, with work performed on the sophisticated multi-link independent system going to a specific sports tune all-round Braking is superb with the front brake discs growing in size from 280mm to 305mm, making braking a sensory experience and providing millimetre perfect judgement. The Sport lacked little here too, with its braking setup virtually on par. The Sport also has a softer ride setup, and perhaps one that more buyers would choose over the tauter GT for around-town driving.

GT stands for Grand Tourer and so it is with the sedan really showing its mettle on longer runs. The very nature of the torque deliver and the responsiveness of the seven speed DCT suits a good punt and taken westwards along the Great Western Highway, and eastwards on the freeways towards Sydney show what a beautifully setup long distance driver it is. In seventh geqar and barely off idle in cruise mode, the GT is a delight. The Sport’s sixth gear takes the rev point higher and it’s here that the slight coarseness of the 2.0L becomes apparent. It’s not harsh, just noticeable that it’s not quite as turbine smooth or quiet.Of a final note is the aural extension of the engine note into the cabin for the GT. It’s a throaty and rorty sound, not unlike a worked over flat four. But it’s a generated sound, and played via the sound system. It’s a matter of personal taste and unfortunately not one that can be deactivated.

Safety Features Are: strong, naturally. AEB or Autonomous Emergency Braking, with Pedestrian and Cyclist detection, Forward Collision Warning, and Lane Keep Assist are standard. Rear View Camera with dynamic guidelines, Driver Attention Alert Warning, front and rear parking sensors, are also standard.

What About Warranty and Service?: Standard seven years, unlimited kilometres, and capped priced servicing, as per the information here.

At The End of the Drive. Kia has come a HELLUVA long way in the twelve years since AWT was selling cars alongside the brand’s then new cars. The level of technology, safety, the designs, and the change from a non-turbo range to the inclusion of a genuine sports oriented range, such as the Cerato GT, put Kia into a stronger position in the marketplace than it was a decade ago. In an increasingly competitive sales area, the Cerato GT stands out as one to choose from a drivers’ perspective. The Sport is the one for an around town lifestyle. The sedan and hatch have further information available.

 

 

Tesla Model 3 Pricing Confirmed For Australia.

Tesla Australia has confirmed the range and pricing structure for the forthcoming Model 3.Built upon a two model range to start, the Standard Plus and Performance, the new entry level range for the electric car makers starts at $66,000 plus on-road costs and government charges. Expected 0-100 time is 5.6 seconds, and expected range from the supercharger capable Model 3 Standard Plus is 460 km. The Performance is listed as $85,000 plus charges. 0 100 is 3.4 seconds and a range of 560km. 20 inch wheels roll around red alloy calipers, with a subtle carbon fibre spoiler providing extra stability when driving in Track Mode.Five colours will be made available for the expected August launch timeframe; Solid Black, Midnight Silver Metallic, Deep Blue Metallic, Pearl White and Metallic Red multicoats. The metallics are $1,400 and the multicoats $2,100 and $2,800 respectively.

The Model 3 will also receive the over-the-air software updates. A major update is the Autopilot facility, which enables the Model 3 to effectively drive itself albeit still under active human supervision. It enables the Model 3 to to steer, accelerate and brake for other vehicles and pedestrians within its lane. The Standard Plus also gets a 12-way 12-way power adjustable, heated, front pair of seats, with premium seat material and trim, an upgraded audio system, plus standard maps & navigation. There is also centre console with storage, 4 USB ports, and docking for 2 smartphones. Entry is via the Tesla keyfob or a new smartcard system.LED fog lamps, Automatic Emergency Braking, Automatic Emergency Braking, Forward Collision Warning and Side Collision Warning will be standard. Buyers of the Model 3 Performance will receive what Tesla denote as the Premium Interior Package. Live traffic notifications with satnav maps, a 14 speaker audio system with music streaming, heated rear seats complement the standard equipment in the Standard Plus. Both cars will allow for customisable driver profiles, and everything is set up from a spare looking dashboard, dominated by a solitary touchscreen in landscape orientation.An extra feature to be released later in the year is traffic light and stop sign recognition. This will enable the Model 3 to further enhance its autonomous driving ability, and it’s forecast that the Model 3 will be able to do so in a full city environment. The Autopilot feature is also intended to allow autonomous driving in situations such as vehicle overtaking and on/off-ramp driving.

The exterior design is one familiar to anyone with a Model S. The headlights are subtly redesigned for a more wrap-around look, the roof is a solidly tinted glass item, and the rear is a more traditional boot, rather than liftback, styling.Orders for the Tesla Model 3 are now open and available via the Tesla Australia website.