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Archive for August, 2020

Are You Too Old To Drive?

I think it was Oscar Wilde who said that youth is wasted on the young.  It might not be quite so widely talked about, but there are some benefits to not being as young as you used to be. All the same, there’s no denying that even if you have truckloads of experience as a driver and can remember the days when it wasn’t compulsory for passengers to wear seatbelts and when having automatic windows was posh, the time may come when the old body lets you down and won’t react the way it used to do.  There is a reason why medical tests are compulsory for those over 75 every year and two-yearly practical driving tests are needed for those aged over 85 if you want to stay on a normal driver’s licence. It’s kind of like getting a roadie test but for the driver rather than a vehicle.

However, although I know plenty of people in the age bracket who don’t seem to show many signs of their age apart from a few wrinkles and grey hair, there are others who start showing a few signs of slowing down before they hit the 75-year mark.  My mum, for example, decided to pull back on the driving for safety reasons because she felt that her reactions were getting too slow to drive in the city, although this was “just a case of getting older and nothing to worry about” even though she was well short of 75 years old (it turned out to be early onset Parkinson’s but that’s another story and I’m glad to report she’s doing well on medication).

To be able to drive safely, what do you need to be able to do? What does it take to have what it takes? I came across a set of questions that older drivers can ask themselves to help assess how fit they are to drive.  Do any of these ten questions ring true for you? If you answer yes to a lot of them, then maybe it’s time you had a chat with your doctor about driving and medical tests. Sometimes, a few exercises and a new pair of glasses may help – although sometimes, it won’t.

  1. Is getting your seatbelt on a pain and does it take you several attempts at the best of times?
  2. Do you have trouble turning the steering wheel (and you’ve got power steering in the car and you’re not driving an old classic without it)?
  3. Is it hard to do head-checks (looking over your shoulder to check the blind spot)?
  4. Does driving on even short trips tire you out more easily?
  5. Do you have a few problems picking out things like road markings, kerbs, median strips, other cars and pedestrians?
  6. Do you have problems remembering who gives way?
  7. Does your mind wander while you’re driving? Here, we’re not talking about briefly running over the options for dinner or your to-do list at the traffic lights, or idly pursuing a train of thought on a long empty country road (we all do this), but going completely away with the pixies in the middle of the city or to the point that you suddenly come to and haven’t got a clue where you are.
  8. Do you get honked at a lot by other drivers? OK, everyone gets drivers tooting at them from time to time, but if it happens a lot, especially at traffic lights or intersections, then it’s possibly the case that you’re a bit slower to react that you used to be (it’s not the case that Young People These Days are more impatient, especially when the Young Person who just honked at you is a tradie in his 40s).
  9. Is reversing or parallel parking difficult, even if it’s been easy for you in the past?
  10. Have you picked up some wretched condition like heart problems, stroke, early-stage dementia, etc.?

The good news is that if your hearing is going a bit (all those rock concerts back in the 1970s and a lifetime of working with power tools make for great memories but worse hearing), this shouldn’t stop you from driving, as most hazards have a strong visual component, and even things like police and fire sirens usually come with lights as well.

For older drivers, it’s possible to get a modified licence so you can keep driving but only under certain conditions. You might want to put yourself under your own personal restrictions if you found yourself answering Yes to a lot of the questions above. A modified licence is rather like the grown-up version of the provisional licence and restricts you to driving only in certain circumstances. With a modified licence, the conditions will vary depending on your situation. For example, your modified licence may allow you to drive only short distances (e.g. to town and back, rather than interstate to see the grandkids).  Modified licences allow you to stay active and independent but without putting yourself (and others) at risk.

Conditions you may wish to put on yourself rather than official restrictions and conditions under a modified licence could include not driving alone, only taking familiar routes, not driving at night or not driving in bad weather, and avoiding driving at times when you know you get sleepy (e.g. the middle of the afternoon on a hot day).

Having a new vehicle with modern driver aids such as blind spot alerts, reverse parking sensors and autonomous emergency braking may help you stay on the road for longer. However, if you upgrade your vehicle to something with such features, make sure you take some time when you’re not actually driving anywhere to get familiar with all the buttons, symbols, beeps and knobs. And remember that as is the case with most things in life, you need to use those driving skills so you don’t lose them!

2020 Peugeot Expert SWB Diesel Auto: Private Fleet Car Review.

This Car Review Is About: Peugeot’s short wheelbase Expert van, also known as Standard. There is a long wheelbase version too. Diesel is the sole fuel source and the long wheelbase is auto only. Other than the basic white, there are four other exterior colours including Platinum Grey, Aluminuim Grey, Perla Nera Black, and Flame Red.

How Much Does It Cost?: Peugeot list this at $50,490 driveaway right now, but it’s worth checking the website and using your postcode to ensure your locality gives you the right price.

Under The Bonnet Is: A EURO5 2.0L diesel for the automatic SWB Expert. Peak power and torque are 110kW and a very handy 370Nm which is on tap from 2,000rpm. The auto is Peugeot’s EAT6 however we did see in the driver’s binnacle display a D7…There is a 1.6L and manual combination also available for the Standard. The auto is smooth and at times the only notice of change in ratio is the flicker of the tachometer’s needle.

Economy was 7.8L/100km from the 69L tank, with the Expert being driven unladen, and with under 1,000 kilometres on the clock. That’s not far from Peugeot’s own 7.3L/100km official figures. We should also point out that the naming system Peugeot uses (115, 150 etc) is for the horsepower, not kiloWatts.

On The Outside It’s: White, for the most part, and boxy, for the most part. Should one opt for the other colours, it’s a $690 option. The front is Peugeot’s family look including the fin insert in the headlight clusters, and it’s that nose that saves the Expert from being a box on wheels. There is also a solid black bumper with driving lights, with the rear sporting a small black bumper. Small black strips fit into creases on the flanks of the doors. Each end has parking sensors.

Wheels are steel and at 16 inches in diameter not as big as expected. Rubber is from Michelin’s Agilis range at 215/65 in profile. Each side has a lightweight feeling sliding door, and the rear doors are barn-doors. In profile it looks much shorter than its 4,959mm overall length.On The Inside It’s: More car-like than van-like bar a couple of van necessities. There is a storage nook up on the top of the dash, and a pair in the front of it. Dials are analogue, the touchscreen features Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as there is no DAB, and it’s all rather quite nice to engage with.For the driver there is an unexpected feature: paddle shifts. Drive is engaged via a dial, not a lever, and a small button marked M allows for the paddle shifts to be used. Yes, they’re effective. Seating is for three, and comfortable with cloth coverings. The plastics are an easy on the eye mix of greys and blacks. Inside the cargo area is enough space for 5.8 cubic metres of cargo, with a height of 1,640mm, a length of 2,512mm, and width of 1,636mm. Peugeot says overall cargo weight is 1,300 kilograms. There is also what Peugeot calls a Moduwork module that’s located under the passenger’s seat, with an insulated storage box. Tiedown hooks aplenty are available including in the footwell for the passengers. For convenience there are also three 12V sockets. The spare is a full sized unit also. On The Road It’s: Also very car-like in ride and handling. The steering has a variable ratio for easy parking and enough heft for highway driving to feel cruising is its nature rather than a commercial vehicle. Although the rubber is specified for the type of vehicle the Expert is, there’s no shortage of grip and plenty of compliance across the varying road services. Getting into undercover parking is also easy thanks to the height overall and that superb steering feedback at most speeds, however it can feel a little twitchy at times. With 3.5 turns lock to lock it can be lived with.Getting underway is quick, with a twist of the key seeing the 2.0L diesel spring into life almost instantly. There’s plenty of go from there, and interestingly the diesel doesn’t exhibit any noticeable turbo lag. From a standing start or on the highway, the right foot is totally in command. Rolling acceleration is smooth in a linear fashion without being shove in the back in nature. It makes for a lovely driving style and of course would ease that potential for seeing cargo being suddenly shoved backwards.Actual ride quality is tuned, naturally, towards the commercial side of things but it really is surprisingly car-like in nature. McPherson struts are up front, and oblique wishbones hold up the rear, with absorption and rebound very quick in response and disappearing.What About Safety?: Again, it’s heading towards a passenger car with Video enable Autonomous Emergency Braking, Forward Collision Warning, and Blind Spot Alert. Driver Attention Warning and Speed Recognition are standard also. Airbags cover driver, passenger, side, and curtain areas.

What About Service And Warranty?: A very good five years or 200,000 kilometres for warranty of light commercial vehicles. Capped price servicing applies and is distance dependent.

At The End of the Drive. Peugeot, like many of its competitors, has cottoned onto the fact that endowing a van with car-like qualities is a good thing. This shows with the slowly increasing number of LCVs that can be purchased as a passenger van in some way.

The Expert is a very good ride in any case, with the tractability of the engine, that super slick auto, passenger car ride quality, and a non-van look to the dashboard itself. For those that like their vanilla with a bit of spice, the Peugeot Expert should be om the list. Check out the 2020 Peugeot Expert for yourself.

How to Minimise Depreciation on Your Next Car

Unless you’re holding onto a prized vintage collectable, it’s a fact of life that every car begins to depreciate as soon as it has left the showroom floor. On the one hand, it’s a bit of a sickening feeling, knowing the car you purchased only minutes ago has already plummeted in value. However, that’s the nature of the game, and it does get you going! Not to mention, this is what allows you to score a bargain in the second hand market.

Nonetheless, everyday cars will continue to lose value up until the point where they have little to no resale value. But it pays to know that each individual car depreciates at a different rate. A lot of this is inherent, based on the model of the car itself, but knowing certain things before you purchase your next vehicle can help you minimise depreciation.

Pay attention to supply and demand

The rate of depreciation on a vehicle, and ultimately a car’s resale value, is influenced by the level of supply and demand for that particular make and model. Vehicle models with a good reputation for build quality, low operating costs, and critical safety features will fare better over the long run. A vehicle lacking in each of these areas will depreciate at a faster rate, especially if it is superseded by a newer model. On this point, be wary if you’re buying a run out model from last year!

 

Colour makes a difference

It might seem hard to believe, but the colour of your vehicle can have an impact on its depreciation. More conservative and traditional colours like white, silver and black tend to hold their value better, whereas ‘bold’ and striking colours alienate potential buyers and result in higher levels of depreciation. Also, stay away from any customised paint jobs that involve patterns or shapes.

Keep on top of maintenance

Maintaining your vehicle will go some way to mitigate the extent of depreciation. Buyers of second hand vehicles, including dealerships, favour vehicles which have been kept in good condition. Such buyers may even pay a premium – or at least not view the issue as another reason to squeeze you on the resale price. Keep a record of all the receipts and/or log book documentation for maintenance and repairs. Make sure the car is clean and free from any damage or unpleasant odours. First impressions count!

 

Mind your distance

The more kilometres you’ve managed to rack up on the odometer, the more the car will reduce in value. As the odometer reading increases, potential buyers will be concerned they inevitably need to make repairs, particularly major repairs. Again, if you’ve kept records of any maintenance efforts, this could help. Moreover, avoid putting the engine through more kilometres than you absolutely need to.

 

Research methodically

There are two particular areas of research you should look into. In both instances, you will want to do this before purchasing your next vehicle. First, look into the reliability of the vehicle in question. This might include reviews, or general perceptions among the market. Next, review the general resale value for the make and model, since history is usually a pretty useful indicator here. Certain makes and models, especially vehicles that are not fuel efficient, are quite simply unpopular. Therefore, it helps to have all the information in front of you.

Safe and Not-so-safe Cars

With good safety credentials being an important factor with any new car purchase, it was interesting to find out that a few new cars didn’t perform as well as I’d expected they may.  The tests were carried out over the 2018-and-2019 period by the team at the Euro NCAP facility.  The following are four of the worst 2018/2019/2020 cars you’d want to crash in.  Then come the best current cars you’d want to be in if you were involved in a serious crash.

NOT SO GOOD:

Jeep’s Renegade 4×4 SUV, in the frontal crash test, showed it as being a bit weak in offering good support during the frontal impact.  Your neck is an important part of your body, and it was evident that the systems weren’t quite up to speed.  Also the pole test found the car’s structure to be weak in protecting the front seat occupant.  Poor whiplash protection during a rear collision, and weak protection during the side pole test showed the Jeep Cherokee as being a bit light.  This was its reason for scoring just the four out of five stars.

Sadly, the small Suzuki Jimny 4×4 only scored a three-star crash testing result.   The structure isn’t up to the task of keeping its occupants safe in pole tests and frontal crash tests.  Even the airbag didn’t have the pressure to prevent the dummy bumping its head on the steering wheel –ouch!

A big surprise came my way when I discovered that the Jeep Wrangler scored just a one-star out-of-five for overall safety capability during the crash tests carried out by the Euro NCAP team.  The windscreen pillars and the footwall structures reached their full limit of protection – due to their serious deformation patterns when put through the frontal impact test.  You wouldn’t want to be going faster than 40 mph!

Least safe is the Fiat Panda.  It didn’t score any stars of the five available.  Enough said!

 

VERY GOOD:

Euro NCAP calculate the best vehicles from their weighted sum of the scores in Adult Occupant, Child Occupant, Pedestrian and Safety Assist assessments for every car tested.  According to Euro NCAP, the best-of-the-best in 2019 happened to be the:

Supermini: Audi A1 and Renault Clio

Small family car: Mercedes-Benz CLA and Mazda3.

Large family car: Tesla Model 3, BMW 3-Series and Skoda Octavia.

Small Off-Road/MPV: Subaru Forester

Hybrid and Electric: Tesla Model 3

Larger off-road: Tesla Model X and SEAT Tarraco – which shares its DNA with the Volkswagen Tiguan and Skoda Kodiaq.

There are some nice cars in the list above.  It’s great to see Subaru still delivering the goods along with the German marques.  Looks like Tesla has their cars well sorted, as well.

2020 Hyundai Santa Fe Active-X Diesel: Private Fleet Car Review

This Car Review Is About: The newly added, to the Santa Fe range, Active-X trim level. It brings the Santa Fe into line with its smaller sibling, Tucson. There’s one transmission, two engines, and four trim levels now, being Active, Active-X, Elite, and Highlander.

How Much Does It Cost?: It’s a bit more than expected, at $47,020 plus on-road costs for the petrol fed 3.5L V6, and $50,050 plus on-road costs for the 2.2L diesel. That’s a increase of $3,030 compared to the Active but $5,050 cheaper than the mid-range Elite.

Under The Bonnet Is: Hyundai’s familiar 2.2L oiler, driving the front and rear wheels via a mostly on-song eight speed auto. 147kW is the peak power, however the numbers to look at are 440Nm from that comparatively small engine. Compare that to the 336Nm at higher revs inside the 3.5L petrol V6 and immediately there’s a sense of why the diesel is, on paper, a better choice.The diesel has a starting weight of close to 2,000 kilos yet returns an economy figure of 8.6L/100km on our 70/30 urban to highway test. Hyundai quote 9.9L/100km for the urban cycle and 7.5L/100km on the combined from the 71.0L tank. Towing is rated at 2,000 kilos braked.

On The Inside It’s: A seven seater with the delightfully easy pull-strap system for the third row. The driver’s seat is manual lever arch in movement, not powered. For the Active-X, the extra trim means leather bolstering for the seats with black or dark beige being available. There is privacy glass at the rear. Being a Santa Fe, interior room is no issue. There is 995mm of head room for the centre folding row and 917mm for the third row. Leg room is 1,048mm to 1,120mm up front, and a whopping 1,001mm for the centre. The rear has 741mm. These are courtesy of the wheelbase of 2,765mm. 547L to 1,625L is the cargo space available. Thankfully, Hyundai fit a full sized spare wheel too.There is no DAB nor satnav natively, relying on smartphone connectivity to provide those. However a nice touch is the vented glove-box, rain sensing wipers, push button start, and auto headlights. The dash itself is a pair of deep scallops with a switchable binnacle design for right and land hand drive markets and this sits above a dark grey, diamond shape embossed, strip that runs from either side. There’s soft touch material for the rook lining and pillars. the front seats have seat pockets for the centre row passengers, who also gain a pair of charging sockets and airvents, including a roof mounted outlet.On The Outside It’s: Got a satin chrome finish to the door handles, courtesy light at night, and 10 spoke, dual blade, turbine style wheels of 18 inches in diameter. Hankook supplies the rubber at 235/60 from their Ventus range. Folding mirrors hide puddle lamps as well. The exterior is now around two years old, with the eyebrow LED driving lights that many people believe are headlights and use them that way at night. The actual headlights have been dropped further down to bracket the Hyundai grille in their own recessed section. A strong feature line joins the upper edge of the driving lights with the tail lights. Indicators here are down in the lower bumper rather than at a safer, eye-height level inside the tail lights.What About Safety?: It is typical Hyundai, meaning there is virtually nothing missing. Under their SmartSense banner, the Santa Fe Active-X has forward collision avoidance and autonomous emergency braking, blind-spot assist, driver attention warning, high beam assist, lane keep assist, rear cross-traffic collision avoidance, rear occupant alert, and adaptive cruise control with stop-go. So if you manage to crash this you’ve stamped yourself as special, and not in a good sense. There is also a rear view camera with guidelines on the screen, tyre pressuring monitoring (across the range) and six airbags.What About Warranty And Servicing?: Warranty is standard at five years and unlimited kilometres. Servicing is variable and comes under a couple of options.

On The Road It’s: Mostly benign and easy to drive. The torque of the 2.2L is light-switch variable from a standing start, and requires both a gentle foot and an understanding of how some engines go from mild to wild. That peak torque is available between 1,750 to 2,750 rpm and it comes into play very quickly. What this means is a gentle squeeze of the go-pedal is required, otherwise it’s the more typical, and still annoying, deep breath then kapow as the torque suddenly arrives, rather than a more linear delivery. That’s the bad news.

Otherwise it’s as easy to drive as can be imagined. The eight speed auto surges, or “flares” in conjunction with the engine revs initially but is otherwise fluid, smooth, quick to react. the engine is a free-revver, allowing for bare flexing of the right ankle to see overtaking done easily, or simply waft along in relative quiet. Rolling acceleration is pin your ears back quick too, with the eight speed auto silently responding to the demand and dropping down through the cogs easily before climbing back up with the same sense of quiet.

Steering can feel heavy, which is strange given it’s quick in having just 2.5 turns from lock to lock. Heavy, though, only at very low speeds; get the Santa fe Active-X up and running and it lightens up slightly, with still a sense of weight in the effort.

Naturally there are drive modes and we drove ours mostly in Smart, the learning mode that adapts the transmission and engine package to suit the driving style. Otherwise there are also Sport, Comfort, Eco, which are preprogrammed and can be very handy depending on the intended drive route. The suspension itself seems more attuned to Sport with the MacPherson strut front and multi-link rear feeling quite taut. It easily absorbs the smaller yumps and bumps before tightening up, decreasing rebound and floatiness.The brakes bite well however the vented front discs are just 320mm. This brings in that fine line of measuring the speed against the rate of slowing, as more than once the brain said the effort was spot on yet the gap to the vehicle in front was closing quicker than expected.

At The End Of the Drive. The Active-X is that ideal gap-filler and also adds extra appeal to the Santa Fe. The spec level seems to fit the younger family that are tech-savvy by using teh smartphone compatibility for audio and navigation, but not necessarily chasing some of the upper luxury features. By having the seven seats, with the completely flat folding third row, it provides them that flexibility for the family as well.

 

What Should I Consider if I Buy a Car Interstate?

In the overwhelming majority of cases, we’re comfortable purchasing a car that we can drive away on the spot. There are undoubted benefits as far as convenience, negotiating power, cost savings and dealing with any issues. However, sometimes a deal may come along that is too hard to pass up. You look closely, but you realise the seller is interstate. What are your options? Is it worth the hassle, or should you consider refocusing your search on something closer to home? Let’s take a look.

 

 

Inspection arrangements are more complex

Most car buyers appreciate the peace of mind that comes with inspecting a car in person. The complication of being in a different state however, is obvious enough. If you’re not prepared to head over and inspect the vehicle, then your options are limited. You are also taking a large risk. Avoid this, no matter the cost savings. You may consider the option of engaging a friend, buying agent, or arranging for a third-party inspection service.

Arranging transport is costly

It’s no secret that our capital cities are very far apart. So as far as transporting a car from interstate goes, your expenses are going to add up very quickly. There are dedicated freight companies who can collect and deliver the car, however this service is not cheap. Make sure you obtain several quotes. If you arrange to head interstate and drive the car back, you will need to budget for flight expenses, fuel as well as considerable time and possibly even accommodation. These days you may also engage a third-party driver to courier the car, although this doesn’t always sit comfortably with some car buyers.

 

 

Conduct appropriate background checks

Before you pull the trigger and purchase an interstate car, make sure you review the national PPSR registry and records with the roads authority in the state where it is located. You will want to ensure the car is not stolen, written-off or under finance, as well as review its general sales and odometer history. You will need the vehicle identification number (VIN) before you start. Don’t rely on the seller. It’s important that you see this for yourself, or have a trusted contact who can verify the car’s VIN in person.

 

Registration and insurance processes are different

If the car is already registered, you will not be able to transfer it directly from the existing owner in one state, to your name and address in a different state. Therefore, sellers usually cancel local registration. However, there is a 14 day window after a change in ownership in which any interstate registration must be transferred over if it is not cancelled. If the registration is cancelled, or it is a new car that is unregistered, you may apply for a temporary unregistered vehicle permit to drive the vehicle home. Keep in mind, once you try to register the vehicle in your home state, it must be certified as roadworthy. Each state has different standards regarding this. Insurance matters also differ by state, so it not only pays to check with the relevant roads authority, but your insurer as well.

2021 Kia Carnival Comes Forth.

Kia has unveiled its long awaited fourth generation Carnival. Standing out in a SUV dominated landscape, the new Carnival has been given a handsome looking makeover.Kia’s signature is the “Tiger Nose” grille and this now extends widthwise via the front lights to further dominate the bluff nose. Slimmer headlights incorporate LED Daytime Running Lights at either end. The Carnival will feature a full tail-width light bar, similar to the look as shown on the Korean release Stinger. It loses weight visually for the rear of the Carnival.

Depending on specification, Carnival will have 17, 18, or 19 inch alloys. Eight colours for the skin will be available, and a “floating island” roof is a stand out, thanks to blacked-out A And B pillars, along with the new signature for the C pillar, a fin that abuts the rear of the sliding door.

Kia have shortened the front overhang, and moved the A pillar rearward to give a longer bonnet to the popular people mover. The chin has the familiar black urethane airdam.The chassis is new and provides better interior packaging, enhancing and providing a more useful interior. Kia calls the philosophy “Spatial Talents”, with a futuristic feel including a wider panoramic screen dash and haptic feedback tabs. The drive selector is now at a more “fall to hand” position at the centre console’s base.

Interior room improves thanks to an increase in the wheelbase, up to 3,090mm. Width is up slightly, by 10mm to 1,995mm. In length, an extra 40mm has been added for a full 5,155mm. This adds 30mm to the rear overhang and increases room for both cargo and third row passengers.

With the middle and rear rows laid flat, cargo is up to a class leading 2,095L. With the third row up there is a huge 627L. Loading items in is now easier with a lip drop of 26mm.For the driver is a 12.3 inch digital display, along with a 12.3 inch infotainment screen. The two are linked by one piece of glass for a seamless, future inspired, look. Voice recognition tech is on-board with both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. In a market dependent sense, Kia Live will allow for information such as live traffic updates, weather updates, remote destination provision, and potentially even parking information.

An unusual feature is the Rear Passenger View & Talk. This allows the driver to keep their view ahead whilst using a small camera and microphone to check on and converse with the passengers behind them. The rear seat passengers also may be able to operate the infotainment system.The SmartFob provides a higher measure of hands-free operation for the powered sliding doors and tailgate with a presence sensor opening or closing the doors if read for three seconds. A safety feature embedded in the Carnival’s extensive package is SEA, Safe Exit Assistance. Sensors will monitor traffic and stop the sliding doors from opening if traffic is detected. This is aimed at the family users with smaller children eager to disembark. HDA, Highway Driving Assist, is Kia’s Level 2 autonomous driving technology. This brings the Carnival into a different level of safety, with a front view camera and radar reading forward traffic and adjusting braking, acceleration, and steering if required.

A new safety system is Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist (RCCA) and this works by automatically braking the Carnival if sensors detect oncoming rear traffic. Other features such as Lane Following Assist (LFA); Highway Driving Assist (HDA); and Surround View Monitor (SVM) will be available on a market dependent basis.

Power will come from either a 216kW/355Nm petrol V6, a 200kW/332Nm petrol V6, or the grungy 2.2L diesel with 148kW and 440Nm. The latter will already be familiar to many, and has also been given a makeover with new injectors, balance shafts, and a different exhaust system for better emissions. Transmissions will be the very good eight speed auto across the board. Underneath are completely revamped front and rear suspension components with a new IRS and a new “skeletal cross member” up front. This provides a better geometry to improve ride and sharpen handling. Liquid filled suspension bushes further improve ride quality. The body is comprised of different styles of steel, adding flexibility where required, strength where required.

No pricing has been as yet released for the Australian market, with sales expected sometime in Q4 of 2020.

 

Isuzu D-Max: Reborn And Ready For 2021.

It’s been a long time coming, a decade or so, in fact. Isuzu’s durable D-Max has received its long overdue overhaul, and from the information released, it’s in a real position to take on Toyota’s recently revamped HiLux and Ford’s strong performing Ranger.

Range: There are 20 variants, starting with the D-MAX SX Single Cab Chassis 4×2 high-ride. D-MAX SX Space Cab Chassis/Ute, D-MAX SX Crew Cab Chassis/Ute follow from this. D-MAX LS-M Crew Cab Ute, D-MAX LS-U Space Cab Ute, D-MAX LS-U Crew Cab Ute, and D-MAX X-Terrain round out the list.

Engine. All models will have the same “4JJ3-TCX” 3.0L turbo-diesel. Power is upped to 140kW, and torque a very handy 450Nm between 1,600 to 2,600rpm. 400Nm is available through a broader range of 1,400 to 3,250rpm. At 1,000rpm 300Nm is available, making driving a breeze. Transmissions are a six speed manual or auto. Economy for the combined cycles, depending on the model chosen, is quoted as 7.7L to 8.0L/100km.

It’s virtually a new block. There’s a new cylinder head, aluminuim pistons, and a new crankshaft. A revised turbo, with a quicker response time, is fed though a new intake system, with delivery now improved through a new high-pressure direct injection fuel system. Pressure gets up to 250MPa, which finely atomises the fuel thanks to a new set of high efficiency injectors. The turbo is electronically controlled and has Variable Geometry Control. Isuzu’s tried and proven Diesel Particulate Diffuser (DPD) is located on the rear of the VGS Turbocharger and has been further revised to increase efficiency and reduce exhaust emissions.

21MY Isuzu D-MAX X-TERRAIN

Inside are aluminuim pistons and crowns, with the piston skirts and gudgeon pin having a coating that is as strong as diamond and drastically reduces friction as well. They’re kept in time thanks to a new stainless steel timing chain. Weighing in at a svelte 8.6kg is a new exhaust system including muffler, for a weight savings of 26% over the outgoing model.

21MY Isuzu D-MAX Diesel

Improvements, too, for the transmissions. The manual selection lever now has a “pull ring” for the reverse gear with the auto now gaining a Automatic Transmission Fluid (ATF) warmer and cooler system for swifter transitions in reaching the right operating temperatures. 4×4 models receive a new electronic actuator for transitioning from two to four wheel drive, at velocities of up to 100kph, in under a second. Weight reduction happens with the tailshaft, with a one piece aluminuim unit replacing the heavier all-steel unit.

21MY Isuzu D-MAX X-TERRAIN

Cabin. Interior trims depend on the model, with the LS-M, for example, having the ever popular “hose out” flooring. The LS-U upwards has carpet floors, and a 9.0 inch infotainment screen, up from the 7.0 inch in lower specced models, however all variants do get digital audio. Top spec X-Terrain has an eight way adjustable powered driver’s seat.

Safety is a solid improvement across the board, with Isuzu slotting in their IDAS, the Intelligent Driver Assistance System with all variants being fitted with a Hitachi stereo camera system that Isuzu says: “it can precisely detect and measure distance, size, velocity and depth of vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists and other potential obstacles around the D-MAX. ” The system comes with a TSR setup, or Traffic Sign Recognition which has been tuned for Australian conditions. It works side-by-side with the Intelligent Speed Limiter, which if or when it reads a sign for a lower limit will automatically apply a speed reduction regime.

Autonomous Emergency Braking and Forward Collision Assist are standard, as is Turn Assist. This works like AEB if the sensors detect the D-Max turning across the path of other traffic. Adaptive Cruise Control is also standard, as are eight airbags, including a driver’s and centre kneebag.

Auto-on headlights and auto-wipers are range standard, with auto dimming. The SX features conventional halogen globes, with the LS and X-Terrain having crisp bi-LED self-leveling headlamps. The pair also receive integrated LED foglamps and are paired with the turn indicator lights.

A category-rare feature is the installation of the Intuitive Flat Wiper Blades. These combine the wiper fluid dispersion system in the arms along the blades, for a quicker and more efficient clean. A new design, too, for the blades, being a more aerodynamic shape, and there is also a motor that flexes the blades periodically to dislodge accumulated dirt. These will be available on the LS-U and X-Terrain models.

21MY Isuzu D-MAX X-TERRAIN

The exterior changes are a noticeable refinement of the front end. It’s familiar yet different with a nod towards the brand’s commercial vehicle history thanks to the horizontal bars in the restyled grille. The bodywork has an assertive style with bulges on the front and rear wheel wells, a Superman-tough chin, and changes to airflow that result in a 3% reduction in drag. A broad colour palette is available to highlight the exterior changes and include: Mineral White, Basalt Black mica, Cobalt Blue mica, Mercury Silver metallic, Obsidian Grey metallic, Marble White pearl (LS-U and X-TERRAIN exclusive), Magnetic Red mica (LS-U and X-TERRAIN exclusive), Volcanic Amber metallic (X-TERRAIN exclusive).

Isuzu have backed up the new D-Max with a comprehensive warranty package called Service Plus 6-7-7. There is 6 years (or 150,000 kilometres), 7 years roadside assistance when serviced at Isuzu dealers, and 7 years capped price servicing. This lays out a full cost over those seven years of $3,373 with a maximum cost of $749 at the 90,000 kilometre mark.

Pricing starts from $32,200 for the 4×2 single cab chassis 2WD manual SX, with the 4×4 version starting from $40,200. the LS-M Crew Cab ute manual starts from $51,000 with the range topper X-Terrain at $62,900. Prices are manufacturers recommended price, with a on-sale date of September 1, 2020.

21MY Isuzu D-MAX X-TERRAIN

 

 

October Releases For Mazda BT-50 & BMW 4 Series.

Mazda’s completely overhauled their BT-50 ute and announced that sales will commence from October of 2020. Gone is the sharp and angular nose that featured and replaced with the family look that covers the brand’s SUVs. Mazda’s designers embody their vehicles with a language they call “Kodo” and this is now on the BT-50.

This features a three dimensional wing styling when viewed from the front, and there are striking

crease lines that sweep from the grille and headlights through to the wing mirrors. From the top, a line runs directly through the centre from nose to tail. The restyled bonnet covers a 3.0L diesel with 140kW and 450Nm of torque. Better economy comes from a weight reduction regime, whilst that torque enables a 3.5 tonne towing capacity and a payload of over a tonne.

Head inside and the cabin also has been refreshed, with a more family oriented feel for this commercially aimed vehicle. The seats have a higher level of support, crucial given the 4×4 capability of the BT-50, and the steering column is now telescopic as well for extra versatility. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto now feature in the enlarged touchscreen. Safety features have improved too, with Adaptive Cruise Control, Autonomous Emergency Braking, Lane Departure Warning, Blind Spot Monitor and Rear Cross Traffic Alert as standard.

Colour choices now include Gunblue Mica and Concrete Grey Mica. The blue has a deep lustre in some areas that contrast with lighter shades in the light, with the grey giving an industrial feel.

Pricing has yet to be confirmed.

October also sees BMW’s new 4 Series coupe ready for showrooms. It’s been stretched in three dimensions, had the suspension reviewed and revised, and is also slipperier through the air than the previous model.

Behind the restyled nostril grilles lie a pair of torquey 2.0L four cylinder petrol engines for the 420i and 430i models, delivering 135kW/300Nm and 190kW/400Nm respectively, and a six cylinder unit for the M440i xDrive that develops 285kW/500Nm. Transmission is an eight speed Steptronic.

Dimensional changes see the 4 Series Coupe lengthen by 130 millimetres and width increase by 27mm, and wheelbase has gone out to 41mm, to see a total length of 4,768mm, width of 1,852mm and a wheelbase of 2,851mm.

The interior has been revamped with a M-Leather steering wheel, acoustic glass for the windscreen, and a twin-screen layout for the driver and infotainment. This is the BMW Live Cockpit Professional, with a 10.25 inch control screen and a 12.3 inch driver’s display screen. A 4G SIM card allows for on-the-go access to the BMW Connected Package Professional. This allows the usage of digital services such as the BMW TeleServices and Intelligent Emergency Call,plus provides Real Time Traffic Information with hazard warning, Remote Services and Concierge Services. BMW have engineered in genuine flexibility here, with controls for the information activated via (and depending on the respective content) the iDrive controller, steering wheel buttons, voice control or BMW’s innovative gesture control.

Underneath the 4 Series lies, as standard, the standard M Sport suspension. Specifically for the 4 Series their is specially tuned lift related dampers. The Adaptive M Suspension can specified as part of an option pack.

Pricing starts from $70,900 (manufacturer’s recommended list price) for the 420i, $88,900 for the 430i, and a hefty $116,900 for the top of the range M440i xDrive

Last Ford GT cars Very Special

Ford GT HE

If you’ve got a load of money to spend on a supercar and want something really different and special, then why not go for the latest and last-to-be-built Ford GT supercars.  The Ford GT remains the only American supercar to ever win at Le Mans.  This beat Ferrari at its own game, and now the Ford Performance division has announced a very special Heritage Edition (HE) that has been inspired by the original model’s first long distance win at the 1966 Daytona 24 Hour Continental race.

The new Ford GT Heritage Edition adds some styling cues that are taken from the winning formula at Le Mans in 1966.  It is a model developed as a tribute to the winner of the 1966 Daytona 24 Hour Continental race, which was captured in the 2019 film “Ford v Ferrari”.  The HE features a striking Frozen White exterior paint job with an exposed carbon fibre hood.  Shod with great looking one-piece Heritage Gold 20-inch forged aluminium wheels and red Brembo monobloc brake callipers, you have a an eye-catching combination to what is still one of the most desirable supercars on the planet.

Inside the Ford GT HE is black Alcantara material wrapping the instrument panel, headliner and steering wheel rim, while red paddle shifters and Alcantara performance seats add intense contrast and a special experience.

Ford GT HE

You can also get the Ford GT with even less unsprung weight, where there’s the option of 20-inch exposed carbon fibre wheels.  You can also get the monobloc brake calipers lacquered in black with Brembo lettering in red – nice!

Adding the special Studio Collection package gives you a Ford GT that offers added exclusivity and design enhancements, which you can add to the newest Ford GT supercar.  Boasting an all-new graphics package that highlights key styling elements, such as functional cooling ducts, and other unique exterior graphics that have been designed by the Ford Performance and Ford GT manufacturer, ‘Multimatic’.  These clever design cues combine the combination of stripes and accents over the sexy GT exterior that invoke the emotion of speed as well as drawing your eye to some of the most prominent features of the classic GT style.

Just forty examples of the Studio Collection package will be built across the 2021 and 2022 model years, so to be one of the coolest Supercar drivers on the planet be in quick and don’t miss out!

Sadly, these will be the last new Ford GT supercar models to be produced, with production scheduled to wrap up in 2022.

Just for your information: the latest RWD, 7-speed automatic Ford GT comes with a twin-turbo, 3.5-litre V6 engine developing a whopping 482 kW of power at 6250 rpm and 746 Nm of torque at 5900 rpm.  That’s enough energy to catapult you from 0-100 km/h in around 3.8 seconds, 0-200 km/h in 12.3 seconds, see you through the quarter mile in 11.8 seconds and on to a top speed of 330 km/h.

The raucous sound of the engine is sublime, the RWD handling spot on, and it’s so easy to fall in love with one.  Buy one now, and the car is sure to appreciate in value – especially with this last run of GT cars, and their acquired exclusivity.

Ford GT HE