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Archive for November, 2019

Are PHEVs Set for a Boost?

Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, or PHEV for short, have been pushed to motorists as a more ‘sustainable’ driving option. Boasting an on-board engine and generator that can power a rechargeable battery, advocates have argued that they offer emissions benefits and potentially lower operating costs for drivers.

Not everyone remains convinced however. Popularity for PHEVs has largely meandered along in recent years, despite this growing push for ‘eco-friendly’ driving. Although the category is starting to account for a larger proportion of electric passenger cars, if you ask many motorists, one of the prominent concerns for the technology has been limited driving distances (range).

In what could be welcome news for some, one development may see an improvement in this area.

 

ZF EVplus concept

The ZF EVplus concept was unveiled at this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show, incorporated within a BMW 330e. Having stripped the existing 7.6kWh battery, ZF installed a 35kWh replacement unit to provide power to the vehicle.

As you might guess, this corresponds with a decent bump up in power, but also a marked increase in the vehicle’s driving range when placed in all-electric driving mode. The jump takes it from approximately 30km range to more than 100km, which is a sizeable improvement, particularly considering this incorporates real-world operating conditions.

This new driving range is said to exceed the sort of performance milestones achieved by some of the latest competitors, including the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, as well as other electric models from the Mercedes-Benz and BMW stables.

 

 

Will it make driving more practical?

This is ultimately the million dollar question. Although 100km might not sound like an extensive driving range, let’s not forget this is when the car operates as an electric vehicle. PHEVs still have an internal combustion engine that can work as required, which is not the case for fully battery electric vehicles (BEVs). On top of that, most drivers don’t actually commute these sort of distances each and every day, or at least without an opportunity that they might be able to plug in the vehicle to top up its range.

So with either option to fall back on, for most motorists, some would say the concerns are overblown, and driven by behavioural conditioning. That is, we’ve become accustomed to driving the way we do, so we’re reluctant to change that to other methods.

This sort of development opens the way for a new era of PHEVs to enter the market in the not too distant future. However, the key obstacle for manufacturers’ lies with breaking through perceptions, and creating affordable PHEVs. If motorists cannot understand nor appreciate the appeal and attractiveness of PHEVs, then it is naïve to think that such cars can command the price premium they currently do.

Tech Torque: What Is An Electric Water Pump?

Life sometimes gives us questions to ponder. Why is the sky blue, are The Rolling Stones a better band than The Beatles, should I have pineapple on a pizza, and what is an electric water pump?
Unlike the others, the answer to what is an electric water pump is surprisingly simple to divine.

An electric water pump, or EWP, is a mechanical device, powered by electricity, and pumps water. There. Sounds simple. But wait, there’s more. One immediate benefit of an EWP is in the name, the electric bit.

Because it utilizes that amazing and invisible power, an EWP isn’t reliant on the spinning of a crankshaft, the rise and fall of conrods, and the pulsing of injectors. They work as long as there is juice in the battery. This means that if a car or truck or bus has been running for a while and the ignition gets switched off, a control device can keep the EWP running afterwards. This is especially crucial in automotive high load areas or in motorsport.Consider a drift car, running a high revving petrol engine and fitted with a turbo. A talented driver can pound a drift car around a circuit and the engine will be constantly working hard. The driver gets to the end of their run and switches off. A mechanical water pump them immediately stops working. This means cooling fluid is no longer pushed through the engine internals and through the radiator. This can lead to severe damage to the engine and potentially the radiator as well.

Another benefit of an EWP is the constant pressure and flow rate. An easy comparison is a child’s toy fan. Blow gently upon the vanes and it’ll spin slowly. Give it a good huff and it’ll spin hard before winding down. That’s a mechanical water pump, rising and falling with engine revolutions.

An EWP suffers not from this, and EWPs from an Australian company called Davies, Craig, with flow rates of up to 150 litres per minute, will CONSTANTLY deliver flow, as they’re not dependent on a crankshaft and belt to spin. And because they’re electrically powered they’re not sapping energy from a mechanical system. This means less strain, better fuel economy, and longer lasting mechanical parts. And they’re a lot smaller, which means less weight, better efficiency, and can be mounted in certain positions to help tidy up an engine bay. Digital controllers can assist here. These allow fine tuning of how an EWP works, including running a pump after a car’s engine has been switched off.Along with moving a cooling fluid through a radiator and engine, moving air across the vanes of a radiator, or heat exchanger, is crucial to keeping an engine as cool as possible.
Cars come with a belt driven fan, and those belts are attached to pulleys which are attached to the engine. Quite a few designs have a mechanically driven fan attached to the nose of the mechanically driven water pump. The fan has a kind of clutch that allows the fan to spin up to speed or spin down to a stop by itself.

In a cooling sense, these fans are only effective if the engine is running. And due to their source of power, they’ll not be as energy or fuel efficient, plus they’ll sometimes not be as aerodynamically efficient due to the design of the fan blade, their location in respect to the radiator, or lacking a shroud to assist in directing airflow. When it comes to electric fans for cars, or thermatic fans, there’s a different range of possibilities to explore. Because they’re powered by the vehicle’s electrical system, they’re far more energy or fuel efficient. A digital controller can be fitted to allow the fan to be on all of the time, only when needed, or to run after an engine is powered off.

A driver can choose to fit one fan or, two fans, and in an upstream (ahead of the radiator) and/or downstream (between the radiator and engine) configuration. If going for a two fan, upstream/downstream configuration, it’s recommended to have one fan on one side of the radiator (left or right) and the other in the opposing side. Let’s say one fan is on the engine’s side and mounted ahead of the driver, therefore the other would be on the headlights’ side and ahead of the passenger.

When it comes to finding and fitting the right electric fan or fans to suit your particular car, there are a couple of areas to look at. The thickness of the radiator is the first point of call. This is due to the amount of airflow required to pull or push air through the vanes. Then there is the shape of the radiator itself. As a rule, one large electric fan will do as good, or a better, job than two smaller ones. However, a wider than taller radiator may negate a single fan fitment, therefore two smaller diameter fans can be mounted side by side. It’s here that the research teams have provided a different solution. Davies, Craig electric fans for cars are built to have reversible blades and hubs.

When it comes to the design of the blades themselves, these are shaped to be both more aerodynamically efficient (reducing drag) and less likely to vibrate and cause supersonic shock. This is literally where the ends of the blades reach a velocity approaching the speed of sound, and therefore, not unlike many WW2 fighter planes that crashed due to the phenomenon not being understood, shake uncontrollably.The blade design A Davies, Craig uses has them straight out from the hub, and by curving the struts that are inside the shroud housing, airflow is increased and airflow noise is decreased. Also, when it comes to the tips of the blades, we’ve looked at the aerospace industry and the work put into the winglets on the ends of the wings on aircraft. Those stubby little winglets decrease air turbulence and balance air pressure as the tips rotate past the shroud. And because not every engine is the same, Davies, Craig offers six different fan diameters, from 8 inches to a whopping 16 inches. This means that there will be one or two electric fans, at least, that will be ideal for your engine and radiator size. Couple these with their extensive range of digital controllers and there is a package that will do a lot to be far better than an existing mechanically driven package.

What the New Mandatory Data Sharing Law Means for Motorists

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) recently took aim at car manufacturers. This time it wasn’t in relation to any specific mechanical controversies like the Dieselgate saga. Instead, it was about the after-purchase period concerning maintenance and repairs, where a lack of data sharing with independent mechanics has been said to ‘hurt’ everyday motorists. 

 

How did we get here?

Before we try to make sense of it all, let’s take a step back to a few years ago. In 2014, auto-makers agreed to a voluntary system where data sharing would be placed in the hands of manufacturers. Provisions were put in place that were designed to help independent mechanics access computer codes and calibration data among other information.

However, the voluntary nature of this program meant there were no formal obligations or requirements to comply with the intended aim of the program. More recently, in 2018, the Federal Government paved the way for a more structured approach to data sharing. Despite the matter being earmarked as part of ‘priority’ sector reform, it was largely overlooked amid more pressing issues until late last month when the Australian Government announced a mandatory data sharing law.

 

Why did it take so long?

For most of this discussion period, car manufacturers have continually expressed concerns about the idea of being compelled to comply with data sharing requirements. As such, you can imagine they were firmly opposed to any measure that would force them to provide your local independent mechanic with technical information about their vehicles.

Representatives regularly cited safety reasons for their reluctance to share data with independent mechanics. One of the key concerns was providing independent mechanics with access to complex information that may prompt them to undertake repairs beyond the scope of their training, or where they may otherwise be without the appropriate tools.

 

What impact might the new law have?

Independent mechanics have pointed to the increased sophistication in today’s cars to reinforce the need to access vehicle data. Jobs that were once a simple and easy fix in years gone by, have become increasingly complex if you believe the words of many independent mechanics.

In the eyes of the ACCC, this means motorists have been getting a raw deal on their servicing and repair costs. They estimate that drivers have been paying as much as $1 billion per year more than necessary on account of independent mechanics not having access to data that would make their jobs easier.

Meanwhile, in backing the call for greater data sharing, the Australian Automotive Aftermarkets Association (AAAA) noted that the US and European markets have established programs in place to facilitate data sharing. In the US alone, these measures are estimated to save motorists US$26 billion per year. It appears the government has the notion of consumer savings in its sights, which could help drivers save a pretty penny. However, will it prove wise to dismiss manufacturers concerns?

2019MY Jeep Wrangler Overland: Private Fleet Car Review

This Car Review Is About: A slightly updated version of the overhauled Jeep Wrangler range that Australia received in mid 2019. That change occurred between December 2018 and early 2019 in the manufacturing process, and it was the addition of a forward facing sensor for anti-collision technology. The range itself covers the Overland in the middle, Sport S at the beginning, the range leading Rubicon. The Overland tested was also given the coveted “Trail Rated” badge. Jeep says this means: “The new Jeep “Trail Rated” badge indicates that every Jeep 4×4 has been designed to perform in a variety of challenging off-road conditions identified by five key consumer-oriented performance categories, including Traction, Ground Clearance, Manoeuvrability, Articulation and Water Fording.”How Much Does It Cost?: The list price is $63,950 plus on road costs. That’s as of November, 2019 for the MY19 version. Check with Jeep for the 2020 spec. The Wrangler range comes in a two and four door for the Sport S and Overland.

Under The Bonnet Is: 209kW and 347Nm of 3.6L V6 Pentastar petrol engine. Only the top of the trio Rubicon has a diesel option. Transmission in the Overland is an eight speed Selec-Trac auto and there is no manual available in the range. All Jeeps have a transfer case that offers 2WD, 4WD Auto, and high and low range. Our final economy figure was 11.7L/100km which worked out to be better than Jeeps quoted 13.0L/100km for the urban cycle. Tank size is 81L. That’s for the Sport S and Overland four door body. the two door versions have a 66L tank.On The Outside It’s: Oh so familiar with the round (and LED powered) headlights, squared off guards and stance, plus that seven bar grille. The doors, roof, and windscreen are removable and foldable in the case of the front screen. The driving and rear lights (in the traditional squared off housing) are also LED for the Overland. The rear gate is different in that the bottom door opens horizontally and has to be opened first to allow access to the top door. The wheels on the Overland at 18 inches in diameter and are wrapped in Bridgestone Dueler H/T 255/70. Big, solid looking, strong plastic steps run between the front and rear wheels. The black on the review vehicle contrasted nicely with the brushed satin alloy look og the wing mirror surrounds, driving light surrounds, and subtle enhancements to the grille.

What’s somewhat surprising about the Wranglers is just how small they are. Small in the context that they’re just 4,334mm in length, and pack inside that a 2,459mm wheelbase. Height is what makes the Wrangler look bigger, especially in the deep metallic black the review car was covered in. 1,839mm is the number here, and from the front the 1,894mm is obvious. The front has a very obviously American spec front bumper, protruding forward like a caricature’s chin. There is still 35.8 degrees of approach angle however. Departure is rated as 31.2 degrees, and breakover is 20.4. Wading depth is 760mm.On The Inside It’s: Far from the spartan look and feel once reasonably expected of a dedicated off-road capable vehicle. The overland has superbly supple black McKinley leather and an embossed Overland logo. The seats are beautifully comfortable, but are manually adjusted. That’s no bad thing though. Naturally there are grab handles for the front seat passengers, and the Wrangler Overland stays true to its basic roots by having a strong cloth strap as the door’s restrainer, not a mechanical option in the hinges.

It’s a beautiful and elegant design to the dash. and a highlight is the use of “old school” rotate and flip” airvents. This simple design allows airflow to be sent to any direction by twirling a circular and slotted design. Effective and ridiculously so. Front and centre is an 8.4 inch touchscreen that is also ridiculously simple to use. Climate control, satnav, and an beautifully tuned Alpine nine speaker DAB audio system are stars, and the audio is possibly the second best for depth, clarity, and stage presence, that we’ve heard. The materials used on the Overland’s dash look and feel premium, and it instantly said “welcome to your new home”. This gets backed by a 230V socket for the back seat, plus USB and USB-C plugs, and remote starting to get the aircon up and running.For the driver, it’s a design that can only be described as smart, clever, historic, and, yes, elegant. There is an LCD screen that shows multiple forms of information, but a small section on the left is cleverly blanked into a separate display to show which actual drive mode the Wrangler is in. A Jeep logo also shows briefly on the screen. A nice little touch is the compass information built into the rear vision mirror. It shows N, S, NW etc in a simple backlit font. A not quite so nice touch is the fact all four power window switches are one touch for down, but have to be held for the upwards travel. They’re also located in the centre of the vertically oriented dash, not in the driver’s door. The front guards aren’t also visible from the driver’s seat so sometimes it’s a bit “guessworky” to gauge where the fenders are.

Build quality for the body was tight, with no squeaks, rattles, or other extraneous noises that shouldn’t have been there. That included the removable roof panels, with a flick-twist lever to lift off. But there was a glitch with the driver’s seat belt mechanism. Seatbelts have a safety mechanism, one that tightens the belt before an impact. They also have a mechanism that allows a passenger to pull the belt out to buckle in. In this car, the mechanism simply refused, on numerous occasions, to release the belt to strap in.On the Road It’s: Somewhat spongy in the ride and loose in the steering. The sponginess comes from the high profile dual purpose rubber, and the steering….well. It really could do with being tighter for our market. What also needs tightening is the tolerance for the brake pedal. It’s one of the longest we’ve had for response and grip. Long, in the sense that there’s well over an inch of travel before bite, and it goes longer down the path before grip really improves. It’s these two areas that detract, and unfortunately quite a bit, from an otherwise engaging and enjoyable drive experience. Acceleration is decent enough, and there’s a satisfying rort and snort from the engine and exhaust. The off-rad capability is access via a lever on the left of the gear selector, and it’s a simple to use system. Neutral, select, go. And there’s no doubting the agility of the Overland thanks to that Trail Rated badge.What About Safety?: It has a good package. Front and rear sensors, airbags all round, plus Rear Cross Traffic Detection and Blind Spot Monitoring. Trailer Sway Control and Forward Collision Assist are there too. Tyre Pressure Monitoring is an essential item for vehicles such as this and this proved its worth thanks to an invisible nail in one tyre. the Reverse Camera is handy and the touchscreen’s HD capability makes reversing easier due to the clarity. Unseen is the high tensile strength steel that underpins the chassis rigidity and side panel strength.And The Warranty and Service?: Jeep offer a five year warranty on their range. Servicing costs are capped and here Jeep recommends contacting a dealer for your specific pricing.At The End Of The Drive. The Jeep Wrangler Overland delighted. That in itself was unexpected, and yes, that can be seen as damning with faint praise. Loose steering and spongy ride aside, it’s a delight to drive, and the ambience of the interior makes being in it to drive an enjoyable experience. It’s a long way from the sparse and spartan interiors, and indifferent build quality of years gone by. The tech features, comfort level, and the well proven off-road ability from its heritage made the time the Wrangler spent with us thoroughly engaging and drew a wry grin from a family friend who’d bought the same model, but just prior to the Forward Collision Warning system being made available. The Jeep Wrangler range and information can be found via the Jeep website.

Hiccups And Glory: Tesla Cybertruck Revealed.

Mid afternoon Friday 22nd November (Sydney time) and Tesla has unveiled a surprise.

Called the Cybertruck it’s fair to say it’s unlike anything seen from any manufacturer, both in looks, and in specification.Tesla says: it will have a range of 500+ miles, and will see a zero to 96kph (60mph) time of around 2.9 seconds. The body is made from a sledgehammer resistant “Ultra-Hard 30x Cold-Rolled Steel”. The window glass is also intended to be shatter and impact resistant as evidenced by a few ball-drop demonstrations. Somewhat embarrassingly, a short range throw of a small steel ball like that used in the drop test broke the supposedly shatterproof glass in the vehicle shown.The cargo section is big enough to house an electric ATV, also shown during the launch, and has a payload capacity of up to 3,500 pounds or 1,587 kilos. There is 6.5 feet of length in the bay and there are extendable ramps and a charging point built in. An estimated 100 cubic feet of storage space is available inside the sci-fi looking wedge shape. There is also room for six adults and a 17 inch touchscreen to access the vehicle’s main controls.The ramp that allows cargo access showed the flexibility of the suspension with up to four inches of travel. The drivetrain will be a rear mounted engine, front and rear, and a triple motor configuration. The exterior is striking, to say the least, with a distinctive wedge shape and eye-catching LED strips front and rear. And in an alloy sheen reminiscent of a De Lorean, it should be an all-weather capable vehicle.
Pricing is slated to start at around $40,000USD.

2020 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Exceed AWD: Private Fleet Car Review

This Car Review Is About: A slight revamped version, for 2020’s Model Year, of the top of the tree Exceed from the oddly proportioned and oddly named Eclipse Cross. The range itself had minor updates, such as the LS gaining the S-AWC, or Super All Wheel Control, drive system. The Exceed has some trim changes, with revised front door trims with illumination and a black interior headlining. Mitsubishi have also joined the club when it comes to offering a “Black Edition”. This adds in a front skid plate, black front bumper and radiator grille. There is also a black interior and black spoiler. Safety goes up a step with variable auto rain-sensing windscreen wipers, dusk sensing headlamps with auto high beam, fog lamps and forward collision mitigation.

How Much Does It Cost?:
The range starts at $29,990 for the ES 2WD with CVT. The LS 2WD with CVT is $31,990, before moving to the LS AWD at $34,490. Exceed 2WD starts from $36,690 with the AWD at $ 39,190. Black Edition 2WD with CVT is listed at $31,690. These are the manufacturers list price, without government and dealer charges. At the time of writing, Mitsubishi list it on their website as $42,990 drive-away.Under The Bonnet Is: A surprisingly small “donk”. It’s just 1.5L in capacity, drinks petrol only, and there is no hybrid option currently. It does have a turbo though, and that means there’s decent torque. In fact there is 250Nm from 2,000rpm to 3,500rpm. Peak power is 110kW at a typically high 5,500rpm. Fuel is 91RON or above, with economy quoted as (combined cycle) 7.7L/100km. That’s a figure we achieved and beat in our mainly urban drive cycle, with 6.7L/100km recorded. That’s a good figure considering it’s not a big vehicle yet starts at 1,555kg before any load and fuel.Drive was put to all four paws via an eight ratio CVT. It’s one of the better examples of a CVT and possibly due to not being overwhelmed by torque so much compared to bigger capacity, higher torque, engines. There was a notable lack of slippage in comparison to some of the CVTs we’re driven recently. By the way, Mitsubishi no longer offer a diesel in the Eclipse Cross.

On the Outside It’s: Awkwardly shaped. There’s no polite way of saying otherwise. It sports the “shield” front end treatment and LED headlights, however in profile and from the rear it’s….angular and somewhat out of proportion. The 4,405mm length hides a 2,670mm wheelbase, a high 1,685mm stretch from top to bottom, and 1,805mm in width. From the rear the glass is split horizontally and right in the eyeline of the driver.That wheelbase and length have a relatively normal looking profile from the nose to the rear of the passenger door, but then there’s a vertical rear that then folds forward over a truncated cargo section of sheetmetal. It’s not really helped by a long, straight, windowline that comes from the upper corner of the headlights and terminates just over a deeper crease line that starts mid-front door. This itself finishes at the base of the rear lights that also fold forward with the metal. The wheel arches offset this by being clad in the now familiar polycarbonate.

Above the driver is a glass roof, with a fixed panel for the rear seat passengers. It’s needed as the interior trim is black on black. Underneath are a set of 225/55/18 tyres from Toyo. They’re compromise tyres, so mainly for road, not off-road. Speaking of which, approach angle is just 18.8 degrees, with a departure angle of 29.6. That’s largely thanks to the squat arse it has. Ground clearance is 175mm, so if the plan is to get hot and heavy with anything other than the occasional puddle and speed-bump, this isn’t the faux off-roader for you.On The Inside It’s: Not uncomfortable. Leather seats, heated (not vented) up front and power adjustable for the driver’s, Head Up Display, four cup and bottle holders, start the party. DAB audio/Android Auto/Apple CarPlay are on board but via a very confusing layout on the 7.0 inchtouchscreen. We’re far from technologically impaired but when a need to consult a manual to find out how to store a radio station is required…The screen is high-definition, making the 360 degree camera views crystal clear.The tiller and gear selector have leather covering as well, and the plastics have a nice soft touch under the fingertips. All four windows are one touch up/down, and ignition is Start/Stop push button. There’s alloy look plastics to provide a bit of brightness around the centre console, airvents, and dash binnacle. Contrasting gloss piano black is on the door handle surrounds and the touchscreen. Outside, the wing mirrors can be power folded and they’re also heated.

Roomwise there’s enough. 1,003mm of headroom up front, 933mm in the rear means a feeling of spaciousness. Leg room is ample too, with 1,039mm and 897mm front and rear. Again, it’s needed with the black on black trim possibly feeling a bit claustrophobic. At least a shrug of the shoulders shouldn’t upset anyone, not with 1,428mm of space up front. Somehow Mitsubishi cram in 374L to 1136L of shopping space in the back. It’s JUST enough for the family average shop. BUT the rear seats may need to be called in as an assistant.On The Road It’s: Not a sparkling performer. That’s unsurprising given the size of the powerplant and the dry weight. But it’s not a slug, as such. Rapid, no. Adequate for Nan? Utterly. But this isn’t the kind of car that Nan would look at. This is for those that will look at the ASX and deduce it’s not right for them. It’s slightly bigger in presence and being petrol only it lacks the low down punch that a good diesel, even a small one, can deliver.

The upside is that the CVT really is one of the better ones. Because the turbo eases delivery in, the constant variable transmission doesn’t have that slippage feeling so commonly found elsewhere. This translates to a better driving experience as a result. And using the manual shift imbues the Eclipse Cross Exceed with a little more dynamism, a little more verve. The S-AWC helps somewhat, with the torque being distributed front to rear as required. But it’s not heavily front wheel biased in steering feel though. It’s also not light enough that a finger twirl elicits results, with a bit of heft required to get the front wheels angling.

It’s well tied down, with a ride that sets it apart from the competition. It’s flat on all but the most unsettled tarmac, with the dampers really in control. Absorption of general road irregularities is up there with the best. There’s no pogoing, no floppiness, it’s a tightly written composition underneath and confidence inspiring as a result. When it’s wound up it’s actually a fun little machine to take into some of the lovely curvy roads in the region. When the engine’s into its stride, it handshakes beautifully with the steering and suspension to get into an almost sporting mode.

What About Safety? It’s packed. First up, there is Forward Collision Mitigation system, which works with Adaptive Cruise Control. For sideways looking there is Lane Departure Warning and Blind Spot Warning plus Lane Change Assist. Seven airbags including driver’s kneebag feature also. Rear and front safety is backed by Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Ultrasonic misacceleration Mitigation System. Supplementary safety systems have Adjustable speed limiter, Automatic High Beam, Emergency Stop Signal function, plus Emergency Brake Assist system and Hill Start Assist.Warranty And Service? Five years warranty or 100,000 kilometres is their standard. It’s good but doesn’t quite measure up against those offering the unlimited kilometres offerings from competitors. However, new 19MY and 20MY Triton go the extra mile with 7 Year / 150,000km Mitsubishi Diamond Advantage New Car Warrantywhen purchased before 31st December 2019. Mitsubishi says the capped price servicing covers: all items specified under the regular service tables for each vehicle type detailed in the service and warranty booklet, including parts, labour, oils and fluids, workshop supplies and any applicable environmental or waste oil disposal charges. Pricing can be found here.

At The End Of The Drive. The Mitsibishi Eclipse Cross range provides a solid, if unspectacular option to vehicles such as Hyundai’s Tucson, or Kia’s Sportage. It’s a quirky looker, reasonable if familiar in its unspectacular interior and dash layout, and not an uncomfortable place to be in either. It’s dependable, and drives well enough. There’s enough, as expected, room for four, plenty of safety to protect the occupants, and, difficult to follow DAB screen aside, a user friendly environment in the equipment sense.

The engine is a reasonably willing unit, and the CVT is a well sorted unit for the engine’s capabilities. As a whole, the package is good enough for those that have chosen to buy it and that’s the end result Mitsubishi would hope for. The 2020 Model Year Eclipse Cross information can tell you more.

Should Dash Cams Become Compulsory?

We’ve previously documented the rise of dash cams, which are now a common sight on our roads. After all, technology plays an ever increasing role in addressing the day-to-day aspects of our lives, so it was only natural this would transition to our commuting habits as well. Who can look past the various online communities that have sprung up around the country with a hotbed of dash cam footage for every curious observer to take in?

Now however, it would seem the fanfare for dash cams has extended further, with many drivers calling for the equipment to become compulsory. Whereas these items were once considered a luxury, their affordability has now made them an accessible option for the majority of motorists.

 

 

What do motorists have to say?

In a recent survey by Smiths Lawyers, nearly three quarters (72%) of respondents are calling for dash cams to be a permanent fixture. To clarify, these motorists are advocating for the cameras to be recording at all times. Perhaps more pertinently, around 40% of drivers are in favour of dash cams being fitted to all vehicles, while a slightly smaller portion (34%) feel that the equipment should become a compulsory fitted device in all new vehicles sold across Australia.

You’re probably thinking that many of these respondents are those who already own a dash cam, instead trying to justify the measure to other motorists. Surprisingly however, just 26% of those surveyed own a dash cam, far less than the number calling for their roll-out. Leading the way in this area are Queensland drivers (30%), slightly ahead of those from NSW (26%) and Victoria (22%).

In what is perhaps the most interesting observation to come from the study, there were some particularly stark differences in opinion among different age groups. While elderly drivers aged over 65 were prominent advocates of compulsory dash cams – with 40% of respondents in favour – and nearly half of respondents aged 18-24 also backing the technology, it was one other group that took an unlikely stand. Among 25-34 year olds, 38% of respondents were against the notion of dash cams becoming mandatory.

 

 

Where we are at in terms of mandating dash cams

With drivers seemingly in support of mandating dash cams, are we actually likely to see the move go ahead? The utilisation of dash cams have made incident investigation a more effortless process for insurance purposes, helping drivers prove their claims and reducing burden on the courts. Arguably, there has even been an increase in driver awareness and education as a result of dash cams. But while there may be merit on an individual level, the notion of a mass roll-out has other considerations.

The primary obstacle is that government and manufacturers have not signalled any indication to mandate the technology in new cars. On the one hand, depending on how the data were to be stored, an integrated solution could give rise to privacy concerns. But beyond that, it’s an added cost that would be hard to pass through via higher car prices. Not only is it easy for drivers to access external dash cams, but the cost to auto-makers would still be high enough to eat into their margins when apportioned over a high volume of cars. For theses reasons, don’t expect a change in legislation any time soon.

2020 Toyota Corolla Sedan Is Here.

Toyota has released details of the forthcoming Corolla sedan. Due to be released by the end of November, the range and pricing is as follows. Ascent Sport petrol manual: $23,335, Ascent Sport petrol CVT: $24,835, Ascent Sport hybrid CVT: $26,335, SX petrol CVT: $28,235, SX hybrid CVT: $29,735, and the ZR petrol CVT: $33,635. All prices are manufacturers recommended and not inclusive of government and dealer charges.

All CVT equipped models will feature a solid safety package. Lane-trace assist with steering assist, plus lane-centring functionality and all-speed active cruise control, with the manual Ascent Sport featuring high-speed active cruise control and lane departure warning that has steering assist. Rear camera and seven airbags will be across all models, whilst the SX has Blind Spot Monitor and the ZR will received a Head Up Display. Toyota’s SafetySense package is standard. This includes autonomous emergency braking pre-collision safety system with daytime and nighttime pedestrian and daytime cyclist detection, auto high beam, and road sign assist.The Corolla Sedan will feature, for the first time, a hybrid drivetrain. This will be available on the Ascent Sport and SX versions. A new 2.0L petrol engine can be specced for all three trim levels, with a six speed manual or a CVT with ten preset manual shift points in the Ascent Sport. It will be connected to the CVT as standard in the SX and ZR. Maxiumum power is rated as 125kW and peak torque is 200Nm. 6.0L/100km and 6.5L/100km for the CVT and six speed manual respectively.

Choose the hybrid and the petrol side is a 1.8L engine and what Toyota call a e-CVT. Power is rated as 90kW. It’ll drive the front wheels, with all four corners to have low rolling resistance rubber. All up, Toyota quoted 3.5L100km. Emissions are rated as just 81g/km.

Toyota will add dusk sensing LED headlights, rear lights, and daytime running lights to all versions. Alloy wheels and climate control will be standard across the range except for the manual Ascent Sport. This will have manual aircon. For those that use them, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay will now be standard and accessible via an 8.0inch touchscreen. Bluetooth and Siri eye-free functionality will also be standard. Go hybrid and it’s a keyless Start/Stop.

The SX Corolla sedan will have a new three-spoke tiller with paddle shifters. Wireless smartphone pads are standard in the SX along with DAB and satnav. The ZR goes up a notch with a full glass roof, 18 inch alloys, and the front seats will be heated. Again, Australia misses out on venting, an oversight for our climate in summer. The driver’s seat will be 8 way power adjustable and audio is via a JBL 9 speaker system.Outside is a restyle that brings the sedan’s look closer to the needle nosed hatch, whilst the rear has been refreshed as well.

Servicing costs have been aligned with the hatch, meaning every Corolla has capped price servicing that costs just $175 per service with 12-month/15,000km intervals. Contact your Toyota dealer to book a test drive.

2020 Nissan Patrol: The Big Machine Gets A Makeover.

Nissan’s long-running competitor to the Land Cruiser, the Patrol, has been given a substantial makeover for the 2020 specification. Available to order through Nissan dealerships now, in a two model range, it’s priced from $75,990 (plus ORC) for the Nissan Patrol Ti, and the Ti-L is from $91,990 (plus ORC).

The exterior has been revised at the front and rear, and the safety levels have also been improved. The suspension has been further tweaked for a better ride, and there are now extra colours to choose from.Safety.
Standard equipment for both the Ti and Ti-L include: Intelligent Emergency Braking, Intelligent Forward Collision Warning, and Rear Cross Traffic Alert. The Ti now also has: Intelligent Cruise Control (ICC), Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Intelligent Lane Intervention, Blind Spot Warning (BSW), and Intelligent Blind Spot Intervention.

Outside.
The Ti has been given it’s own sportier looking front end treatment. The Ti-L goes for a premium, upmarket, look. The bonnet, fenders, grilles, LED lights and front bumpers have been modified for a more upright, no-nonsense stance. the headlights have a total of 52 LEDs, and there’s 44 LEDs in the rear. the rear lights are now in a stylish boomerang shaped cluster. The rear bumper has been restyled to match the solid lines of the rear, with a squarer look. Colour choices now have Moonlight White, Galaxy Gold & Hermosa Blue, which are new to the range.Inside.
Australia’s hot weather conditions require better air-conditioning and Nissan have updated the system in the Patrol for a tri-zone setup. Airflow has been improved and the rear seat passengers have been given better flow too. This means cooling will take place quicker and therefore will be more efficient. Access is via an intelligent key with remote keyless entry with push button Start/Stop, cruise control, heated door mirrors, plus 3D mapping for the sat-nav in an eight inch touchscreen.Power and Ride.
Both vehicles will have 298kW of power and 560Nm of torque from Nissan’s 5.6 litre V8 petrol engine. Drive gets to the ground via a seven-speed automatic transmission featuring manual mode and Adaptive Shift Control (ASC). There is also an electronic rear diff lock, Hill Descent Control (HDC) with on/off switch, Hill Start Assist (HAS) and an off-road monitor. The suspension tweaks have the dampers retuned for a more positive response for an increase in on-road comfort, and enhanced off-road comfort as well.

Contact your local Nissan dealer for a drive evaluation.

Car Review: 2020 Kia Stinger 200S

This Car Review Is About: The now entry level model to a realigned in 2019 Stinger range. There is the 200S, the same 2.0L engine in GT-Line spec, them two mainstream 3.3L V6 models called 330S and GT, and a limited edition. The 200S features a mildly restyled interior and exterior to differentiate it from the others.

How Much Does It Cost?: Kia’s Website lists the Stinger 200S four location as a not inconsiderable $50,490 driveaway. However that is around $1,250 under the list price plus charges.Under The Bonnet Is: Kia’s well sorted 2.0L turbo petrol four cylinder engine that powers the rear wheels via an eight speed auto. Peak power is 182kW at 6,200rpm, with peak torque of 353Nm available between 1,400rpm and 4,000rpm. There is Launch Control fitted to the smooth eight speeder too. Consumption for the urban cycle is rated as a whopping 12.7L/100km, a big bugbear in the Kia engine range. Combined is rated as a more reasonable 8.8L, and on the highway consumption drops by nearly half to see 6.5L/100km from the 60.0L tank. Our final figure was 9.3L/100km.On The Outside It’s: Subtly restyled in one key area. Kia’s cleverly used the same shape of the headlight cluster and has a main, circular, light to the outside and this dips downwards to where the LED indicators are in the GT-Line versions. The shape of the bumper is subtly restyled as is the shape of the air intake. The wheels are of a lower-spec but have a still nice to look at…look. Size is 225/45/18 and rubber is Continental ContiSportContact.

The body is otherwise identical with quad exhausts, the pair of faux bonnet vents, the Maserati-esque LED tail lights. Kia’s design team really got the exterior right when the car was first released two years ago. Paint was Silky Silver and is listed as a standard colour.On The Inside: The main difference here is the introduction of a smaller touchscreen on the upper dash. It’s a 7.0inch screen, down one inch from the screen available in the rest of the range. Satnav is standard, as is DAB audio through a six speaker, not 15 speaker, audio system. Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, Bluetooth streaming are also standard in the 200S. A pair of 12V and USB ports are standard.

The driver faces a simple 3.5 inch monochrome display (same in the 330S), not the better looking 7.0 inch found in the GTs. It’s not un-userfriendly, it just looks…dull. But there is leather pews, electric adjustment, paddle shifters, a drive mode selector in the console, and a pack of driver information options in the touchscreen menus. Drive itself is a shift-by-wire rocker selector.On the Road It’s: Noticeably affected by the 1,700kg dry weight. Although peak torque comes on stream at low revs and is available through a broad rev range, that weight holds back performance and clearly contributes to that pretty average urban consumption. It takes a heavier right foot to get the 200S up to speed, but when on the highway it shows its other side. The Stinger is a superb tourer, and in our previous reviews has shown that the long distances between towns suits the Stinger’s character perfectly.Handling and ride in the 200S are just as good too, with nothing found wanting in these two departments. The steering weight is a tick on the heavy side, with a slight numbness on centre, but these are minor quibbles in an otherwise well sorted and well proven package. Even with the 1,800kgs plus it packs, it’s nimble, rapid in response, and lacks initial feedback only in braking too.
What About Safety?: The only thing the 200S (and 300S) misses out on of note is front parking sensors. A 360 degree camera view isn’t provided but that’s not a biggie. In the exterior stakes Blind Spot Detection and Rear Cross Traffic Alert are also deleted. Otherwise it’s on spec with AEB (Autonomous Emergency Braking) with FCWS (Forward Collision Warning System) and Lane Keep Assist, plus pedestrian oriented Active Hood Lift Assist on board.What Is The Warranty And Service?: Warranty is 7 years, and unlimited kilometres. For servicing Kia says: we’ve capped the maximum price you will pay for the first seven scheduled services (fourteen for T-GDI petrol turbo models) for up to 7 years or 105,000kms (excluding Kia Stinger and MY 19 and onwards petrol turbo models) and for Kia Stinger and MY 19 and onwards petrol turbo models for up to 7 years or 70,000kms, whichever comes first.At The End Of The Drive: There’s a faint sense of disquiet in driving the turbo four powered Stinger. But it’s the only game in Kia-town now that the underrated Optima has been dropped from the range when it comes to a largish sedan body. That disquiet is knowing the Stinger is aimed at the performance oriented driver yet a fuel consumption of over 12.0L per 100 kilometres in its normal environment will hurt, and that’s due to its bulk. Kia should either find a weight reduction regime of bump the 2.0L up in capacity. Would the increase in size tradeoff work though in providing more performance?

More on the Stinger 200S is here.