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Archive for May, 2020

Noisy Windscreen Wipers? What To Do.

There are certain noises in life that raise the hairs on the back of the neck. A screeching child demanding something, the sound of screeching tyres behind you, the screech in the wife’s voice as she finds your latest car parts receipt you thought you’d kept hidden…

But out driving, and suddenly that forecast rain hits earlier. You flick the wiper switch and screeeech, screeeech….back and forth and the fillings in your teeth are rattling.

How does this happen and what to do?

It’s potentially a combination of factors, but happily, it’s a short list. There are only two, three depending on how you look at it, things that are involved. One is the windscreen itself. The second and potentially third are one or both of the wiper blades.

How to approach this? Given the most likely source of the screeching is or are the blade/s, these would be the first ports of call for a visual inspection.
Lift the wiper arms up from the windscreen. Detach the blades from the arms and, using a good torch, inspect the blades themselves. Feel the blades with your fingers. Do they feel soft, malleable, easy to flick back and forth? Or are they dry, cracked, and brittle?

If any signs of a failing blade or blades are noticed, then a visit to your local car parts retail store to source new wiper blades is in order.

Once new blades are fitted and lowered, get the hose and give the windscreen a good squirt. Activate the wipers and listen. Still noisy? Then having eliminated one part of the equation, the other has to be the windscreen itself.

Specific window cleaning products do a fantastic job but what of the condition of the glass itself after the clean? Again, eyeball the window, and one method is to get that torch onto it at night and shine across the window. Look for a straight beam of light bouncing off it. If the reflection looks scatted, it’s likely the same reason we polish cars. The windscreen is likely to be pitted, scratched, and this form of damage will grab onto a wiper like a child to a lollypop. Hence the screeching later.

Depending on the condition of the glass, a treatment with IPA (iso-propyl alcohol) to further remove dirt and grime that may have become embedded and not removed by previous cleaning, may help. IPA may also be used, gently, to clean blades that are dirty but fine otherwise.   Professional services can offer a polishing of the glass and this does need to be professionally applied.

Unfortunately, the worst case scenario, but one that dramatically lifts the safety factor, is a windscreen replacement. Not only will new and smooth glass recues the friction levels and allow rainwater to run off easier, forward vision is less, far less in fact, likely to be reduced thanks to light scattering from the minute scratches.

Car parts websites have plenty of information about the right replacement blades to suit your car, and have plenty of handy tips and hints for ensuring your wiper blades are always in tip-top condition. If you’ve tried cleaning and swapping blades, and it’s worked, let us know via our feedback channels in our socials.

2020 Toyota Camry Ascent Sport Hybrid: Private Fleet Car Review.

This Car Review Is About: One of the increasing range of hybrids from Toyota. In this case, their large sedan range and the Camry Ascent Sport Hybrid, which, because the petrol engine is a four cylinder, is classified as a medium category vehicle.Under The Bonnet Is: The aforementioned four cylinder, at 2.5L in capacity, and a battery & electric motor. The petrol engine produces 131kW and 234Nm of torque, and with the electric engine, together they make for a total of 160kW and a slightly detuned 221Nm. Fuel is 95RON minimum. Transmission is Toyota’s e-CVT.

Economy is superb. We loaded up and went on a socially distanced sanctioned drive to the NSW south coast and back. The average was a wonderful 5.0L/100km, with a best at one point of 4.8L/100km. That’s with four humans, a mid sized pooch, and luggage for two days.How Much Does It Cost?: The Camry range has 4 variants, starting with the Ascent, Ascent Sport, the SX (V6 only) and topping out with the SL. The entry price for a Camry Ascent Sport Hybrid is region dependent; for our area it’s $34,435 with plain white colouring. $34,950 is what the bank balance will lose with any of the seven metallic colours including the Steel Blonde shade our test car had.

On The Outside It’s: Really a big car. Total length is knocking on the door of five metres overall. It’s also more a shortened bootlid, longer bonnet, and sits or at least looks as if it sits lower in roof height than Camrys of the last fifteen years. This measures 1,445mm. It looks sporty and aero simultaneously. It definitely has a lower clearance and combined with the softer, comfort oriented suspension tune, would invariably scrape the black polyurethane protective material exiting some very gently sloped tarmac. All due care was taken to avoid this but it was unavoidable.

The wheel and tyre combo are ten spoke alloys and Michelin Premia 215/55/17.With the redesign that the Camry received a couple of years ago, the front end became noticeably slimmer and allowed for a more assertive look. The headlights in the Camry Ascent Sport aren’t full LED but do have the LED driving lights integrated. They try to minimise the somewhat heavy handed look for the grille and bumper. The rear is taut and tight in comparison.

On The Inside It’s: Benefited from the extension in body and wheelbase (2,825mm). There’s ample legroom for the rear seat passengers even with the seats moved back to accommodate 180cm front seat occupants. Cargo space isn’t an issue, with a boot capacity of 524L belying the rear window line making it seem the boot is smaller.We’ve bemoaned the heavy nose styling, and we’ve bemoaned the heavy dash styling inside. The passenger faces a multiple of folds, four in number, and it looks horrible. The driver doesn’t quite have the same issue. There’s been a clear effort to provide a cockpit feeling, complete with chrome line that wraps a slab of black and falls away at an angle from the top, This then arrows towards the passenger. This line and angle are mirrored in the driver’s display. The two dials on either side have miniaturised versions of this hook motif.Otherwise it’s standard user friendly Toyota. The audio is app connected, there’s a DAB tuner with strong reception via the 8.0 inch screen, and the typically clean, ergonomic, layout expected from Toyota…except for that messy section the front seat passenger sees.

The driver has a powered, eight way adjustable, pew. No need for heating or cooling thanks to the cloth covering. This, by the way, is a tasteful shade of black-grey. Only the front seats have access to a USB port, and one only at that.On The Road It’s: Simple to drive. It’s a push button start after entering the cabin and being greeted with muted whiners and clicks as the computer system awakens from its slumber. Foot on the brake, hit the starter, and in typical electric hybrid mode there’s nothing to indicate anything is happening. Hit the go pedal and it’s battery power up to 20kph before the petrol cuts in. And that’s irrespective of pressing the superfluous EV MODE button in the centre console. Use that and press the accelerator as normal and the system automatically disengages the EV. Try it at speed and you’re going too fast…

Under way the system will automatically kick the petrol engine in and out of the room as driving conditions see fit. There’s only a hint of vibration from the Priceline when the petrol engine is engaged, making the transitions smooth and seamless. There is a Sport mode for the engine but that also really is superfluous.

Ride quality is on the plush side, and this isn’t entirely a bad thing. Some of the NSW back roads are on the, ahem, rough side, yet the Camry Ascent Sport tended to glide over these with only the truly coarse surfaces intruding and upsetting the suspension. There were occasional rear end skips, one or two front end bump steers, otherwise the ride was smooth and luxurious. Certainly not a sporting oriented ride.

The steering goes the other way. Driven at highway legal speeds the steering is well and truly en pointe. There’s no need for constant adjustment in corners, even in the tightening radius turns. The nose simply goes where the wheel says it wants to. It’s light enough for easy pedaling in tight areas, heavy enough to have minimal input on the road. We drove back to Sydney via Cobargo, the NSW town devastated by bushfire in the early part of 2020. Either side of this heartbreaking sight are some truly magnificent driving roads, and suitable for exploring the dynamics of a car such as the Camry. There’s ample urge from the hybrid drivetrain, the transmission is sweet and smooth, and the occasional “backlash” is when the car is at low speed and the e-CVT is a little confused as to where it needs to be, providing a small “bump” as it sorts itself out.

What is also sorting itself out is nature. The regrowth in some areas is nothing short of spectacular. The touchscreen has a display that shows energy distribution on the fly. At rest there’s no movement, naturally. Accelerate hard and the flow is from the petrol engine to the electric and battery system. Ease off as the car comes to a set of traffic lights or downhill, and the flow shows energy going into the battery. There’s also a graphic that shows the level of battery charge. What About Safety?: There’s the basic but for the Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Blind Spot Alert, you’d need to upshift to the SL. Otherwise there’s the Toyota SafetySense package. Lane Departure Alert, Pre-Collision Safety System with pedestrian detection, Automatic High Beam and All-Speed Active Cruise Control. is what you’ll find. Seven airbags are also standard.

What About Service And Warranty? Toyota says: “We’ll increase the standard guarantee on your new Hybrid battery to up to 10 years as long as you undertake your annual inspection as part of routine maintenance according to the vehicle logbook.” Check with your dealer for conditions. For the driveline: “Stick to your annual service schedule, and we’ll extend your engine and driveline warranty from five to seven years, so you can drive stress-free for longer.” Standard warranty is five years.

At The End Of The Drive. Toyota is the leader when it comes to getting the hybrid message out there. With strong rumours swirling the next LandCruiser will pack a hybrid, and the update to the fuel-thirsty Kluger will include hybrid, the Japanese company is spreading the message far and wide. The Camry Hybrid offers a a rare chance to get into an easily accessible hybrid and by being a sedan, rather than a SUV, it continues to offer that alternative. Find out more here.

Motoring Matchmaking: More For The Blokes

Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder

OK, so you’re a guy who wants to get a new car but you’re not sure what to get that will suit your situation. Your heart wants a brand new Lamborghini supercar but that’s probably not actually going to be possible with your budget… and the boot space thing might be an issue.  So what’s right for you?

Here, we return to our series where we take (stereo)typical people and set you up with a set of wheels that suits your situation down to a T. This time, we focus on guys working in essential industries. Apologies in advance, but a Lambo isn’t one of the options, even if you deserve one for all your hard work during this weird time.

The Sheep and Cattle Farmer: Dave’s day may start at dawn and sometimes goes on half the night, but you can’t say that it’s boring. A typical day involves shifting stock; checking and fixing fences, water supplies and feed levels; and ensuring that the animals stay alive for long enough to bring in a profit.  Any set of wheels owned by Dave has to be versatile enough to provide a nice shady place to eat lunch (and keep said lunch somewhere where the dogs can’t get at it); cart around dogs, sacks of feed, fencing equipment and sick sheep; and maybe carry a carcass on the roof when the shotgun has had to come into play. Given the terrain where the vehicle has to go no matter what the weather is, decent 4×4 ability and ground clearance are a must.  When the time comes to head to town, there may or may not be a trailer involved, but it’s got to be able to take a load, and that includes the kids who wanted to come for the ride or need to get to netball practice or pony club. Looks are secondary factors but Dave wouldn’t mind something that scrubs up well… but not literally, as dirt and dust prove that you’re the real deal not some wussy city boy who only plays at offroading in the weekend.

Suggested vehicles for Dave:

Ford Ranger, Mitsubishi Triton, Nissan Navara, Toyota Hilux, VW Amarok, Mazda BT-50, Mercedes Benz X-Class Ute

Mitsubishi Triton Ute

The Freight And Logistics Expert: Many years ago, Martin was a truckie but he’s now got his own trucking, freight and logistics company, and only drives the trucks if the business is getting a bit short-handed. Most of Martin’s days are spent behind the desk, negotiating contracts and doing all the thinking, negotiating and arranging parts of the job.  When it comes to heading to the office, Martin likes his comfort to make up for all those years of driving trucks with dodgy air conditioning back in the 1980s.  He also likes to drive something that looks sleek and smart – yes, it’s getting a teeny bit into show-off territory but he’s worked hard for this and he’s the boss. All the same, a little sports car just isn’t him: they’re just too low down and small, and Martin feels like he just can’t see anything properly or safely when you’re down that close to the road, a legacy of all those years of actual trucking work.

Suggested vehicles for Martin:

RAM 1500, Ford F-150, Audi Q7, BMW X5, Volvo XC90, Ford Ranger, Range Rover Sport, Mercedes Benz GLE SUV, Mercedes Benz GLS SUV, Alfa Romeo Stelvio, Porsche Cayenne, Ford Everest, BMW X6, Lexus LX 570

Audi Q7 SUV

The Healthcare Worker: As a male nurse, Tony’s popular with all the older gentlemen who feel a bit uncomfortable about having women deal with their bedpans – and he’s also popular with some of the women who appreciate a bit of eye candy when they’re in hospital.  All the same, Tony isn’t there to flirt but to work, and the work’s pretty demanding.  In fact, by the end of his shift, Tony’s wiped out.  Coffee helps but Tony knows only too well what can happen if you nod off at the wheel in a vehicle that hasn’t got a high ANCAP rating – he’s had to help deal with the results.  This means that Tony wants something with all the active and passive safety features just in case.  A good stereo for blasting some energetic music is also greatly appreciated.  Because he does a job that, in the past, was considered to be a bit girly, Tony also wants a car that’s definitely masculine in its looks rather than some dinky-wee hairdresser’s car – he doesn’t want to turn up on somebody’s gaydar by mistake, thank you very much.

Suggested vehicles for Tony:

Subaru Levorg, Holden Commodore, Ford Mondeo, Mazda 6, BMW 5-Series, Alfa Romeo Giulia, Holden Colorado, Audi A4, Audi A5, Audi A6, Hyundai Sonata, Hyundai Santa Fe, Lexus RC-F, Volvo V50, Volvo V60, Volvo S60

Volvo S60

Should I Buy Genuine or Aftermarket Car Parts?

There are a whole host of options to choose from when you are considering parts to repair your car.

The most well-known ones are genuine and aftermarket, which are perhaps the most popular choices as well. However, the other options extend to rebuilt, reconditioned, and recycled car parts. As a motorist, it’s important to know about each of them. Inevitably you will choose between these categories when you are required to carry out repairs and/or maintenance on your vehicle – or that decision will be made by a mechanic on your behalf. Let’s take a look at some of the considerations and differences.


The difference between genuine and aftermarket parts

Genuine and aftermarket car parts carry longer warranty coverage. Repairs conducted through a vehicle manufacturer or their dealer network will often utilise (new) genuine car parts. Independent repairers and mechanics will readily carry aftermarket replacements. While both are sourced new, the key difference is that genuine parts are those specified as the original equipment installed in the vehicle. They are the specific (OEM) parts listed in the vehicle’s build specifications.

Meanwhile, aftermarket car parts are those which at least conform to said specifications, and may even provide superior quality – think drive belts and coolant hoses which potentially last longer. With quality that rivals the OEM parts available, motorists often choose aftermarket parts because they can sometimes be significantly cheaper. In fact, it’s not uncommon for the parts to be manufactured by the same provider, with branding details instead carrying aftermarket branding, or scratched off altogether.


What are rebuilt and reconditioned parts?

Depending on the age of your vehicle, or the difficult associated with sourcing certain parts, it may become viable to use rebuilt or reconditioned parts. This is typically an option that mechanics will offer to motorists driving older vehicles, or classic cars, where the parts may cost a disproportionate amount compared to the value of the car. Rebuilt parts involve full disassembly, followed by remanufacturing the part to restore or include new components. Such parts are tested for conformance to manufacturers’ specifications and will typically have a generous warranty period.

Motorists often assume that reconditioned parts are the same as rebuilt parts. Although they are similar in their disassembly, their remanufacturing typically does not guarantee ongoing performance like rebuilt parts. This is because reconditioned parts are designed mostly to the extent that they will become functional once again. Nonetheless, both rebuilt and reconditioned parts can be significantly cheaper than OEM parts, and slightly cheaper than aftermarket parts.


How about recycled car parts?

Last but not least, recycled parts are from vehicles no longer in operation. They may be sourced from vehicles which were involved in a crash, no longer viable to run, scrapped, and so forth. Often favoured by DIY hobbyists who are repairing their own vehicle(s) on a budget, or owners of vehicles that have ceased production long ago, recycled parts vary considerably in their condition. As always, it’s beneficial to search for parts from a newer vehicle, or one with a lower odometer reading as its condition is likely to be better.

Cosmetic or functional parts may be attained with less concern for their condition. Performance parts, however, require greater attention to detail. They may mask hidden problems and are likely to have a shorter lifespan compared with other options mentioned earlier. In addition, they may not be covered by warranty. It’s also important to ensure the part matches your vehicle. If seeking help with installation, make sure your mechanic is comfortable installing said parts.

Even after all these years of increased regulations, and our last guide around the importance of authentic car parts, fake parts are still quite prolific. Always obtain your parts from a reputable supplier, merchant or qualified mechanic, since no dollar figure is worth your safety or that of your family.

2020 Hyundai Ioniq Premium Plug In Hybrid: Car Review.

This Car Review Is About: Hyundai’s tilt at a mainstream PHEV or plug in hybrid vehicle. It sits below the purely electric Ioniq and above the standard hybrid.

How Much Does It Cost?: The Ioniq PHEV starts at $46,734 and ranges to $52,530 driveaway. The standard hybrid has $39,084 as a starting price and tops out at $45,510 driveaway, with the fully electric version ticking a box that says $53,446 to $58,726.

The car driven, the PHEV, comes in two trim levels, being Elite and Premium. Five colours add to the mix, with Fluid Metal, Amazon Grey, Intense Blue, Polar White, and Fiery Red.

Under The Bonnet Is: A combination of a 1.6L petrol Atkinson Cycle engine producing 77kW & 147Nm, and an electric motor with 44.5kW/170Nm. The combined total is 104kW & 265Nm. The battery is rated at 8.9kWh and 360 volts. Charging timer is 2 1/4 hours using a Type 2 charger. Economy is rated as 1.1L/100km for the combined cycle but we average more like 5.0L/100km but on a more urban focused drive. The transmission fitted is a six speed dual clutch auto. The Ioniq PHEV Premium weighs 1,495 kg dry.

On The Outside It’s: A sleek looking five door hatch. It’s more a liftback in look than a “traditional ” hatch, with a shortened tail in a coupe style. In overall presence it’s around i30 in size but has little obvious physical resemblance to it. The wheels have a turbine blade design to them to help funnel air and aid aero. They’re 205/55/16 in size, with rubber from the Michelin Energy range.

Lighting front and rear is LED, with a three chevron motif at the rear. The front lights are a slimline design and bracket a familiar but different Hyundai grille. In profile it evokes the “grandfather” of hybrid hatches, the Prius.

The battery charge port is up front on the left with the fuel tank port on the left rear flank. Fuel tank capacity is 43L.

On The Inside It’s: A startling mix of high tech and basic Hyundai. For example, the buttons around the gear selector are standard Hyundai. The tiller looks the same, and comfort comes from the heated and vented front seats. The touchscreen is standard Hyundai, however it includes a cool looking display for the way the petrol and battery systems work together to distribute power.The touchscreen also displays the nearest charging stations, plus has DAB, Android and Apple apps. For the driver, the display is a full width and full colour LCD affair, and looks fantastic. It eschews the traditional speedo and tacho look for a more contemporary and modern look.Piano black plastic suits the look of the Ioniq, with the 10.25 inch touchscreen and aircon surrounds clad in it. The aircon controls themselves are more of a tactile soft touch which adds to the semi-futuristic look of the Ioniq.

On the left is the usage indicator, as in whether the engine system is charging or running on battery power. To the right is the battery and petrol levels. Front and centre is the extra information such as speed, or eco usage. There are paddle shifters on the column but these don’t change ratios, instead they change the amount of resistance for regenerating power harvested from the braking system.

Interior room is good, with space approaching the i30. 341 L is the starting size, with a maximum of 1401 L. Head room measurements are 970 mm & 951 mm respectively, with the crucial leg room distances at 1073 mm & 907 mm.

Front and rear rows each feature a pair of cupholders and each door has bottle holders, plus the rear seats have a centre armrest that folds out.

On The Road It’s: Not quite the whipcracking performance expected. The Dual Clutch Auto feels more like a CVT, a constant variable transmission, and comes across as the same when driving. There’s even no typical DCT lag when going from Drive to Reverse and back. It’s sluggish, swallowing power just as a CVT does. However, the integration of petrol and battery on the drive is seamless.

Gentle acceleration has the pair working together nicely, if slowly, whereas a hard shove of the throttle brings more life but still not as zippy as expected. In context, Toyota’s Corolla, the most logical competitor, sees a better and quicker response due to the slightly different CVT fitted. Unlike the Corolla and indeed Toyota’s hybrid system where the electric engine cuts in at 20kph even with EV Mode selected, the Ioniq’s system is more battery oriented. It really only switches to the petrol when that extra urge is needed or when the battery is well down on charge.

The petrol engine winds up easily and it’s a quiet unit to boot. Although actual drive response may seem slowish the pedal does elicit a quick response from the engine itself, making it a willing revver. The whole package is super quiet too, even on the coarser chip tarmac roads.

The Ioniq has two drive modes as such too, and both are to do with how the engines work. HEV or Hybrid are the two modes and one, HEV, charges the battery system on the go. The touchscreen display also shows the various ranges and charge levels as the Ioniq goes about its business.

Ride quality is on the taut side for the Ioniq Premium PHEV. Driven on the freeway it flattens out the usual imperfections well enough, but hit some of the road joins and it’s a bit more bang crash. It rides as if the compliance is more on the bottom end and compresses a little too quickly otherwise. The rear is a multi-link setup which for the most part ensures the grip levels are high, but it will skip occasionally on corners with road joins.

What About Safety?: Name it and it’s here, and across the range. Blind-Spot Collision Warning, Driver Attention Warning, Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA) – City/Urban/Interurban/Pedestrian, High Beam Assist, Lane Following Assist, Lane Keeping Assist – Line, Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Warning andSmart Cruise Control with Stop & Go. There is also Parking Distance Warning – Reverse (PDW-R) with 4 sensors and with guidance display, Rear View Monitor with Parking Guidance, and individual wheel tyre pressure monitoring. Airbags? Seven, thank you.

What About Warranty And Service?: Hyundai offers a pre-paid service plan. Warranty is five years and unlimited kilometres and the battery in each model has eight years or 160,000 kilometres.

At The End Of The Drive. It’s a solid if unspectacular performance from the Ioniq PHEV. It’s got enough to titillate the technical and eco minded, enough Hyundai-ish to make it relatable to the family, unlike the overblown and overdone Kona Electric, and drives well enough to not frighten people unfamiliar with the technology. But buyers of this would be familiar enough anyway. Here is where you can find out more.

VFACTS Says The Cliff Is Here, New Car Sales Plummet.

Figure released by VFACTS on May 5th show that the Australian new car market has taken a hammering from the Covid-19 lockdown. Compared to April 2019, sales are down by a massive 48.5% in new vehicle numbers, with just 38,926 units sold. in context however, it’s still a tick under 1,300 units per day. The YTD or year To date figures aren’t quite as drastic, though, with figures for April totalling 272,287 sales, down from 344,088 in 2019. This measures out as a 20.9% decline.

In brand respect, Toyota’s Corolla, Kia’s Cerato, and the Hyundai i30 took the top three places in the sub-$40K segment, with 27.3%, 19.6%, and 15.9% respectively. In the $40K and above price range, the Mercedes-Benz A-Class sold 217 for a whopping 44.1% market share. BMW’s 1-Series came second with 116 units or 22.1%, with the Audi A3 and BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe tying for 3rd, with 65 units each and 12.4%.In the medium car segment and sub-$40K, the Toyota Camry smashed the field, selling 675 units for a 74.5% share. The next was the Mazda 6, with a paltry 71/7.8%. Skoda’s Octavia just edged the outgoing Kia Optima by 5 units, 39 vs 34, for a final share of 4.3%.

BMW took the crown in the above $60K bracket, with the 3 Series moving 254 for a 43.9% share. 2nd and 3rd went to Mercedes-Benz, with the CLA-Class and C-Class. Respectively 94 and 87 found new homes, making a share of 16.3% and 15.1% each.

For the Large Sedan segment for under $70K, there were three, being the Kia Stinger, the outgoing Holden Commodore, and Skoda’s Superb. The Stinger sold 75 units for a 70.1% share, the Commodore a shadow of its former glory with just 30 and 28%, whilst the Superb was invisible with just 2 or 1.9%. There was a surprise in the over $70K bracket with the Maserati Ghibli claiming 3rd spot. 11 were sold for an 11.8% share, but it was Germany taking the crown, with the E-Class from Mercedes-Benz holding off the BMW 5 Series, with 36 and 30, for 38.7% and 32.2% each.

In the People Mover segment Kia’s aging Carnival still won hearts aplenty, with 220 units or 68.3%. The Hyundai iMax was 2nd, moving 30 units for 9.3%, just ahead of Honda’s Odyssey, for 26 and 8.1%. In the pricier $70K and above area, Toyota’s Tarago replacement, the HiAce based Granvia, battled a similarly LCV based duo from Mercedes-Benz, with the V-Class and Valente notching 9 and 7 behind the 10 for the Granvia.

Ford’s Mustang continued to dominate the Sports Car market in the sub-$80K segment. 146 or 43.5% sold, more than double the BMW 2 Series with 62/18.5%. Above $80K and it was the 4 Series from BMW, selling 50 for 31.3%. The sibling Z4 was 3rd at 16/10.0% whilst Mercedes-Benz slotted in at 2nd with their C-Class Convertible/Coupe moving 38 for a 23.8% share.

In the hotly contested SUV brackets, inside the SUV Light, Mazda’s CX-3 doubled its nearest rival, the VW T-Cross, with 394 and 188, or 38.3% and 18.3%. In the Small SUV, sub-$40K segment, Mazda again featured, with its new CX-30 2nd behind the Toyota C-HR. 480 vs 452 for a share of 14.0% and 13.2%. 3rd went to Hyundai for the Kona, pipping the Kia Seltos by just one unit, with 379 and 378, making a share of 11.1% and 11.0%. BMW nailed top spot in the above $40K, with the X1 selling 22 for a 27.2% share.

Things were much, much tighter in the Medium sub-$60K battlefield. The bulldog faced RAV4 won the day with 1,911/32.4%, ahead of the 648/11.0% Mazda CX-5. For third it was an amazing tussle, with the Subaru Forester just edging ahead at 510/8.7% over the Hyundai Tucson (494/8.4%), Nissan X-Trail and Mitsubishi Outlander (469/459 and 8.0%/7.8%) and Kia’s Sportage at 439/7.5%.

Above $60K and it was the same, with BMW’s X3 1st at 263/22.5%, and tying for 2nd with the X4 and GLC-Class from Mercedes-Benz both on 162/13.9%. Just behind was The NX from Lexus, with a 12.0% share and 140 units. In the Large SUV and under $70K, Toyota’s Prado swept all before it, with 947/25.9%. In a distant 2nd place was Izusu’s MU-X at 339/9.3%. 3rd went to Toyota and the Kluger with 313/8.6%. The BMW X5 took the crown above $70K, with 232/29.3%, ahead of the GLE-Class from Mercedes-Benz at 117/14.8% and the Lexus RX just behind at 106 units for 13.4%.

In the Upper large segment, Toyota’s soon to be replaced 200 Series LandCruiser blew away the Nissan Patrol, itself recently refreshed, at 924/86.0% vs 150/14.0%. In the same segment but at $100K and above, BMW’s X7 lead the field ahead of the GLS-Class from Mercedes-Benz and the LandRover Discovery, with 34/19.1% and 28/15.7%.

Heading into the Ute segments and Toyota’s HiLux won both the 4×2 and 4×4 sectors. In the 4×2 the HiLux was a clear leader on 456/36.9% but not quite so tight in the 4×4. Here is was 1,883 for 26.9%, ahead in this sector to the Ford Ranger on 1,419/20.0%. The D-Max 4×2 was 2nd in that class with 198/16.0, putting the Mazda BT-50 to 3rd on 147/11.9. 3rd in the 4×4 was the outgoing Holden Colorado, with 780/11.0%.

Finally, in overall sales for April 2020, Toyota was a clear leader with 10,325, ahead of Mazda (3,022) and Kia (2,492). On a YTD, it’s Toyota, Mazda, and Hyundai replacing Kia, with 60,396, 23,766, and 18,941, just under 1,000 units ahead of Kia.

2020 Hyundai iMax Elite: Private Fleet Car Review.

This Car Review Is About: The passenger version of Hyundai’s durable iLoad commercial van is called iMax. There’s a pair of normal doors up front, a pair of sliding doors on the sides, and a rear horizontally hinged door. It’s exclusively diesel and auto for the drive-train, and in the Elite has eight leather covered seats.

How Much Does It Cost?: Hyundai’s website lists the iMax Elite as $48,990 driveaway as of April 2020. That’s with a Creamy White exterior. Go for Timeless Black, Hyper Metallic, and Moonlight Cloud (silver and blue), it’s $49,685 drive-away.Under The Bonnet Is: 441Nm of torque, and they’re on tap between 2,000rpm and 2,500rpm. The auto is a super smooth five speed unit, and although seemingly needing a cog or two extra, still manages to deliver a figure of that Hyundai quotes as 8.8L/100km for the combined cycle. Otherwise they quote 11.2L/100km for the urban, and 7.3L/100km on the highway, a figure where a seven or eight speed transmission would help. Considering a starting weight of 2,135kg and a GVM (Gross Vehicle Mass) of 3,030kg, it’s a sterling effort however. Tank size is 75L. By the way, it’s a rear wheel driven beastie. Twing is rated up to 1,500kg braked.

On the Outside It’s: A van. But having four colours and not just a fridge white makes a difference. Contrasting panels low down bring a subtle two-tone experience visually. There are also 215/65/17 alloys and Hankook Ventra LT tyres, with the wheels looking more like they should be on something a little more sporting oriented. The sliding doors have pop-out, not sliding windows. Up front it’s a more modern look for the grille and headlight cluster, and there are driving lights set low down in the bumper.Overall length is 5,150mm, with width and height providing a reason why vans are described as boxy at 1,920mm and 1,925mm respectively. The sliding doors are manually operated, not powered, nor is the rear door powered. The washer fluid jets spray in three thin jets and could use more pressure.

On The Inside It’s: Not surprisingly quite roomy. Given the cubic shape of the are behind the driver and front passenger, leg, head, and shoulder room are better than adequate. Head room is 1030 / 1018 / 987 mm for the front, centre, and rear, with leg room measured as 70 – 1039 / 839 / 765 mm, with shoulder room at 1632 / 1695 / 1627 mm. The front and centre seats have a sunroof as well. There’s beige leather and plastic trim in the iMax Elite, plus there was carpet and carpet rugs over the normal linoleum style floor.

The centre row seats have the familiar front mounted pull-rod in order to slide them, and a manual handle down on the side to fold. This allows easier access to the third row seats. Behind them is over 800L of cargo space, so for a family, plenty of room for a pram, bags, shopping, etc. The driver’s dash display betrays the commercial origins, and oddly even down to not showing fuel usage nor a Trip B display. It’s a very basic speedo dial, rev counter, and fuel setup, and could really benefit from a higher class look.

Auxiliaries in the form of heat seating and venting, rear seat aircon controls, and USB port are found in the centre console, along with a pull out cup holder. There is, though, no dedicated space to hold a phone, even allowing for a shallow cavity up top. Audio via the basic Hyundai family 7.0 inch touchscreen is AM/FM only with no DAB, and again something that should be a little more upmarket by having that as standard. But there are apps for the smartphone access and Bluetooth for streaming. On The Road It’s: Very quiet, even under load. The iMax Elite hums along with little fanfare being drawn to it. It simply gets up, gets ready, gets going. It’s mightily smooth in the way it rides and handles, but the high up seating position and cargo-van softness in the suspension, plus the dual purpose tyres, mean some corners are, by necessity, taken at a slower speed that most other vehicles.

The five speed auto, even allowing for the fact it’s only a five-cogger, is superb. It is as smooth as you can get in changing ratios up and down. This applies as equally to flat highway runs as it does to climbing or descending sloping roads. There is a manual shift option via the gear selector but that was ignored purely because the ‘box does such a good job on its own.

There’s a bare minimum of turbo-lag from the get go. The maximum torque is pretty much where highway velocities have the revs rolling to provide it, which means a gentle press of the go pedal, that silken drop back a cog or two, and access to 441 torques is there. The lack of turbo-lag helps too, as it means less effort and time waiting for the engine to deliver helps in the overall driving presentation.The steering is in the Goldilocks zone; it’s not too heavy, not too light. This makes for three point turns on a suburban street, or in a loading zone much easier to deal with. It also made our excursion to a Blue Mountains lookout for a couple of photos via a gravel road as comfortable and unfussed as it should be. No bump steer, no tramlining in the gravel and mud, and a pose with Jessie and Nelson, (two local equine residents that gave the iMax Elite the hoof of approval), which was set up by reversing twenty metres or so, simple due to the just-right feel.

The brakes could do with some more bite and feedback though. There just wasn’t as much coming through from the pedal to state with certainty that the pressure being put down was gripping the discs as much as they could be. Ride quality is good enough, considering the iMax’s origins and the MacPherson strut/live five link rear axle.

What About Safety?: Hmmm….could be better. The spec sheet says side and front airbags for the driver and front passenger. It doesn’t say side/curtain airbags though. It’s rated as four stars by ANCAP. The second and third row seats all have adjustable head rest heights and the second row has ISOFIX mounts.What About Warranty And Service?: For the warranty, the Hyundai website says: If the vehicle has been used for private and domestic purposes and is not and has not been previously used for a commercial application, including but not limited to taxi, hire, rental, courier, security, driving school, tour, bus operator or emergency vehicle. Vehicles used at any time for “commercial application”, as defined in the vehicle warranty policy, are excluded. Passenger vehicles that are or have been used for a commercial application are provided with a 5 year/130,000km warranty (whichever occurs first). An iMax that is used or has been used for a commercial application is provided with a 5 year/160,000km warranty (whichever occurs first).

Servicing information may vary so contact your Hyundai dealership.

At the End Of The Drive. The old saying, “for what it is” applies to the Hyundai iMax Elite. It’s a people mover that is based on a light commercial vehicle. That needs to be taken into consideration. So, for what it is, it’s ok. It’s not possibly what it could be, but for what it is, it does well enough.Given it’s a sub-50K vehicle, a few extra touches would still have it well competitive in price and lift the overall appeal, perhaps just enough, to make a little bit more of a dent in SUVs that cost more and do much of the same role.

Check it out in more detail here.