As seen on:

SMH Logo News Logo

Call 1300 303 181

Archive for February, 2021

Nissan X-Trail Updates For 2021.

Nissan has provided the X-Trail SUV with a solid list of updates for 2021, bring the mid-sized and popular machine into line with its competition.Across all trim levels, Nissan adds in Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. For the ST-L and above, Intelligent Driver Alert (IDA) is added, whilst for the ST and TS models, DAB audio, finally, has been added. One hopes the screen interface has been updated too and it seems so as they say the next-gen infotainment system for 7.0 inch touchscreens will be standard. The ST-L trim level also has new 18 inch wheels. The ST and TS level also will have voice recognition added in.The X-Trail also sees an increased safety presence and it’s extensive. Model dependent, buyers will see items such as the aforementioned IDA, plus Forward Collision Warning, Intelligent Cruise Control, Intelligent Emergency Braking and Intelligent Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection. The front (model dependent) will have an Adaptive Front Lighting System, Blind Spot Warning, and Moving Object Detection. Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Departure Intervention, and Around View Monitor, will also be seen.

ST and TS will share 17 inch alloys, idle stop/start for the diesel engines, rear view camera, and Intelligent Emergency Braking with Forward Collision Warning plus Vehicle Dynamic Control. The diesel will be a five seater only, a curious choice given the better, low revving, torque characteristics of diesels which make them far better for carrying passengers.

ST-L has a leather accented tiller and seats, with the front seats having eight and four way power adjustment for the driver and passenger. Ti takes the luxury touches even further with heated door mirrors, LED headlights with self-leveling and swiveling, rain sensing wipers, plus a motion sensing tailgate. Rear seats have heating elements as does the steering wheel, whilst a glass roof can open to share the sounds from an eight speaker Bose audio system. 19 inch alloys underpin the Ti.

Motorvation comes courtesy of a 2.0L petrol engine with 106kW and 200Nm, and 2.5L with 126kW and 226Nm. A 2.0L diesel offers 130kW and 380Nm and that’s available from 2,000rpm. Economy for that is quoted as 6.0L/100km (combined). The smaller petrol engine is quoted as 8.2L/100km (ST manual) with the 2.5L at 7.9L/100km and available in the ST, ST-L, and Ti. Tanks are 60.0L for all models.

The 2WD-only 2.0-litre powered X-TRAIL ST uses a smooth-shifting six- speed manual transmission, whereas all 2.5-litre variants (available in both 2WD and 4WD) are mated to Nissan’s Xtronic CVT with manual mode (MCVT). This transmission’s broad gear ratio coverage and low-friction design help deliver strong acceleration and fuel economy. The AWD systems have a console centre dial with 2WD, Auto (torque split on demand) and Lock.

Pricing starts from $30,665 (plus ORC) for the ST manual, $32,665 (plus ORC) for the CVT five seater and $34,265 (plus ORC) for the seven seater. These are two wheel drive only. The ST CVT AWD is an extra $400. TS AWD diesel auto starts from $37,465 plus ORC.

ST-L is two wheel drive five and seven seater, and AWD, with $38,525, $40,125, and $40,525 plus ORC. Ti is AWD only and starts from $45,965 plus ORC and includes tan leather and no extra cost.

A Class-C Update From Mercedes.

Mercedes-Benz have updated their evergreen C-Class saloon and Estate with what Gordon Wagener, the chief design officer of the Daimler group said reflected the desire to apply “sensual purity”. It’s due for release in the northern hemisphere’s summer season.

Mercedes-Benz C-Klasse, 2021 // Mercedes-Benz C-Class, 2021

The new C-Class will feature both forms of hybrid tech, being petrol and PHEV, and will run 48V technology. The battery alone will power the C-Class for up to 100 kilometres, the company says. The petrol engines will be four cylinders from what M-B call FAME (Family of Modular Engines). Along with turbocharging both the petrol and diesel engines the C-Class will have, M-B add in an ISG or integrated starter-generator. This provides low speed assistance using a 48 volt on-board electrical system that ensures functions such as gliding, boosting or energy recovery. Fast re-engagement has seamless switching from off to on when at lights or a stop sign.

Two engines with petrol will be available, one of 1.5L, the other of 2.0L. 125kW/250Nm for the C180, 150kW/300Nm for the C200 and C200 4MATIC from the 1.5L, with 190kW/400Nm for the C300 and C300 3MATIC versions. A pair of 2.0L diesels factor in, with 147kW/440Nm and 195kW/550Nm. Top speeds are limited at the upper end of the range to 250kph.

The plug-in hybrid C-Class will operate in all-electric mode in many cases thanks to an electric output of 95 kW (129 hp) and an all-electric range of around 100 kilometres. For many areas in Europe this could mean little to no ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) usage. The battery is an in-house design and built in a “pouch configuration” with 96 cells, with a total capacity of 25.4kWh. There is an internal cooling system fitted, managing heat discharge in any driving environment. The high density structure allows a charge rate of 30 minutes to full from empty using a 55kW charger. An 11kW charger is standard.

Mercedes-Benz C-Klasse, 2021 // Mercedes-Benz C-Class, 2021

Energy recovery rates can be driver controlled via rocker switches in the console across all driving modes except for Sport. Lifting the foot from the accelerator has the regenerative system act like brakes, slowing the C-Class whilst simultaneously feeding back energy to the battery. Mercedes-Benz have engineered in two additional driving modes which will enable the driver to take advantage of what the powertrain offers: BATTERY HOLD: Maintaining the charge state of the high-voltage battery is given priority, e.g. when intending to drive in a city centre or green zone later on; selection of the most suitable drive configuration by the hybrid powertrain system, depending on the driving situation and route, and ELECTRIC: Electric driving up to 140 km/h, adjustable energy recovery rate in overrun mode, adaptation of Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC for electric driving, activation of the combustion engine using a pressure point of the accelerator pedal (kick-down).

Extra tech sees optional rear-axle steering with 2.5 degrees of angle reducing a turning circle to 10.5 metres. These have the rear wheels in an opposite direction in steering at speeds up to 60kph, then align with the direct front steering above 60kph. The rear steering also effectively reduces the steering ratio to 2.1 turns lock to lock, down from 2.35.

Notable changes to both the saloon and wagon have seen increase to the overall dimensions. The previous model saloon jumps from 4,686mm to 4,751mm in length, the Estate from 4,702mm to 4,751mm. Width is up by 10mm and 20mm respectively to 1,820mm each. Both share an increased wheelbase of 2,865mm, up from 2,840mm each. Luggage capacity for the Estate ranges from 490L to 1,510L, with a slightly lower load lip, and the rears eats have a 40/20/40 split for extra versatility. A powered tailgate is standard across the range.

Australian delivery dates are yet to be confirmed.

Mercedes-Benz C-Klasse, 2021 // Mercedes-Benz C-Class, 2021

Isn’t It IONIQ…BEV And E-GMP Hyundai IONIQ5 On The Way

Hyundai have given to the world two more new automotive acronyms. BEV (battery electric vehicles) and E-GMP (Electric-Global Modular Platform) are attached to the new IONIQ5. Classed as a mid-sized SUV, it’s due in Australia sometime in Q3 (July to September) 2021.

The IONIQ 5 will have two battery pack options, either 58 kWh or 72.6 kWh, and two electric motor layouts, either with a rear motor only or with both front and rear motors. All PE variations provide outstanding range and deliver a top speed of 185 km/h.

The E-GMP platform sees Hyundai exploring design and engineering boundaries, with the base platform here providing a wheelbase of 3,000mm (100mm more than Palisade) inside an overall length of 4,635mm. The battery pack is expected to provide a driving range of up to 470km. A pair of motors will propel the IONIQ5 to 100kph in just over five seconds thanks to 225kW and 605Nm in all wheel drive mode when using the Long Range Battery. Go to the standard battery and there’s an expected 0-100 time of 6.1 seconds.

A key feature of the BEV is the ultra-fast charging, with 10% to 80% in 18 minutes of charge, and the platform will support 400V and 800V infrastructure. This also enables a range of 100km in five minutes worth of charging. A feature growing in stature, the ability to output charge, is also aboard. IONIQ 5 also provides an innovative V2L function, which allows customers to freely use or charge any electric devices, such as electric bicycles, scooters or camping equipment, serving as a charger on wheels with up to 3.6kW of power using what Hyundai called the V2L (Vehicle To Load) function. The port to connect and output will be placed under the second row seats. An external port is also fitted and can charge other devices whilst the IONIQ5 is powered down.

Thomas Schemera, Executive Vice President and Global Chief Marketing Officer, said: “IONIQ 5 will accommodate lifestyles without limits, proactively caring for customers’ needs throughout their journey. It is truly the first electric vehicle to provide a new experience with its innovative use of interior space and advanced technologies.”

Hyundai says the IONIQ5’s exterior heralds a new chapter in their design, with the vehicle equipped with Hyundai’s first clamshell hood which minimises panel gaps for optimal aerodynamics. The front bumper is defined by an eye-catching V-shape incorporating distinctive DRLs that provide an unmistakable light signature which is a bespoke IONIQ5 look. These small pixel-like clusters also appear at the rear of the vehicle. Colour choices will have nine for the exterior, three inside. Obsidian Black and Dark Pebble Gray/Dove Gray, while the optional colour pack offers Dark Teal/Dove Gray.

There are auto-retracting door handles that will provide a styling for a clean surface look, which also will increase aerodynamic efficiency. A distinctive C-pillar, derived and inspired from a previous EV concept, identifies the IONIQ5 from a distance.

Hyundai has a design brief they’ve termed Parametric Pixel and this is seen in the 20 inch diameter aero wheels. SangYup Lee, Senior Vice President and Head of Hyundai Global Design Centre, says: “A new mobility experience for the next generation – this was the mission from the first day we began this project, to look ahead towards the horizon, but stay fundamentally Hyundai,” said . “IONIQ 5 is the new definition of timeless, providing a common thread linking our past to the present and future.”

The interior has a “Living Space” theme which shows a movable centre console, the Universal island, with a travel of 140mm. Batteries are located in the floor, making for a flat surface and aiding interior space. The powered front seats have been reduced in thickness for better rear seat space. It’s a “green”car, with eco-friendly, sustainably sourced materials, such as recycled PET bottles, plant-based (bio PET) yarns and natural wool yarns, eco-processed leather with plant-based extracts, and bio paint with plant extracts used in areas such as the seats, door trim, headlining, and floor.

Interior design sees 531L of cargo space at the rear, with nearly 1,600L on offer with the second row seats folded. A front cargo area, or as it’s known, a “frunk” (front trunk).

With Remote Charging, IONIQ 5 drivers can start and stop charging with the push of a button on their smartphone app. During colder months, Remote Climate Control allows users to schedule pre-heating of IONIQ 5 while it is connected to an external power source. Not only does this ensure comfort for occupants during the drive, but it also saves battery power that would otherwise be needed to heat the vehicle on the road.

IONIQ 5’s Dynamic Voice Recognition system accepts simple voice commands to conveniently control cabin A/C, radio, hatch opening/closing, heated steering wheel, heated/cooled seats and other functions. The system can also assist with various points of interest (POI), weather status and stock market data updates.

IONIQ 5 also features a premium Bose sound system. Its eight speakers, including a subwoofer, are strategically placed throughout the vehicle for a high-quality listening experience.

IONIQ 5 will be available in selected regions starting in the first half of 2021, with Australia set to launch in Q3 2021.

Mazda Adds GT SP To CX-5 And Updates Range

Japanese car maker Mazda has released details of an update to the CX-5. This includes the GT SP model being added in. Vinesh Bhindi, the Managing Director for Mazda Australia, says: “Mazda CX-5 has been our most popular model since 2019, and we are excited to expand the brand’s new SP model line into the CX-5 range with the first-ever GT SP.”

SP is a bespoke add-in for Mazda CX-9 plus can be found in the Mazda6 sedan and wagons. For the CX-5 GT SP, there is piano black side mirror covers and black metallic 19-inch alloy wheels, black interior trim highlights and seats finished in a bespoke black Maztex and Grand Luxe Synthetic Suede upholstery. The seats and trim also feature contrasting red stitching.

Power comes from normally or turboed petrol engines that sip 91RON fuel. Other versions of the CX-5 have diesels, front wheel drive or all wheel drive, plus six speed manuals.

In the CX-5 Maxx, and Maxx Sport front-wheel drive, is a direct-injected 2.0-litre Skyactiv-G petrol engine. This features a high 13.0:1 compression ratio to maximise internal efficiency and generates 115kW at 6,000rpm. Peak torque is 200Nm at 4,000rpm. Combined-cycle fuel economy sits at 6.9L/100km for the six-speed manual Maxx as well as the six-speed automatic Maxx and Maxx Sport. Combined CO2 is 160g/km for the manual and 161g/km for the automatic.

Step up a level to the i-Activ AWD Maxx and Maxx Sport and there is the bigger 2.5-litre Skyactiv-G petrol engine. This is also the standard engine for the Touring, GT, GT SP and Akera model grades. Standard transmission is a six speed auto, with power and torque rated as 140kW at 6,000rpm and 252Nm at 4,000rpm.

The Skyactiv-D is a 2.2L unit and has a pair of turbos. This endows the engine with massive flexibility, with 450Nm of torque on tap at 2,000rpm, and peak power of 140kW. It’s available in Maxx Sport, Touring, GT and Akera models with automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. Economy is rated at 5.7L/100km. Go to the Skyactiv-G 2.5T, which is available on GT and above levels, and it produces 170kW at 5,000rpm and 420Nm available from 2,000rpm. Economy is rated at 8.2L/100km on the combined cycle.

Trim and equipment levels include the brand’s latest 10.25 inch Mazda Connect touchscreen for the Mazda CX-5 GT, GT SP and Akera models. Maxx, Maxx Sport and Touring variants will be fitted with an 8.0 inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto standard across the range. The Maxx now has 17 inch alloys, replacing the steel wheels previously fitted.

Safety packages are high with the CX-5’s five star safety rating backed up by Blind Spot Monitoring, Smart City Brake Support [Forward/Reverse] with night time pedestrian detection, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Land Departure Warning and Lane Keep Assist. Additional safety equipment includes Front LED fog lamps for Maxx Sport and above levels, front parking sensors for Touring and above, an Active Driving Display for Touring and above, plus a 360 degree monitor and adaptive LED headlights for the Akera.

Specifications start with the Maxx with 17-inch alloy wheels and 225/65 tyres, rain sensing wipers, DAB audio and Bluetooth hands-free phone/audio connection. Maxx Sport adds dual-zone climate control, paddle shift gear selection on the auto, satnav, and an auto-dimming rear vision mirror. Touring models offer heated exterior mirrors, front parking sensors, Traffic Sign Recognition, and Active Driving Display. Seating has Black Maztex and Black Grand Luxe Synthetic Suede upholstery.

GT models offer 19-inch alloy wheels with 225/55 tyres, a sunroof, powered tailgate, front seat heating with 2 position memory for the driver and 10 and 6 way power adjustment (driver and passenger), a Bose sound system, and the aforementioned 10.25 inch touchscreen. Bose provides a 10 speaker sound system.

The new GT SP adds in black metallic 19-inch alloy wheels and black exterior mirror caps, with the interior gaining black Maztex and Black Grand Luxe Synthetic Suede seat upholstery with red contrast stitching in the black leather trim. Akera spices up with a 360 degree View Monitor, Brilliant Dark 19 inch alloys, vented front pews, a heated tiller, heating on the rear seats’ outers ection and dark russet Nappa leather. The driver has a 7.0 inch TFT screen, and genuine wood trim adorns the door and dash. Paint colours include Snowflake White Pearl White Mica, Titanium Flash Mica, Eternal Blue Mica, Deep Crystal Blue Mica and Jet Black Mica plus Sonic Silver Metallic at no extra cost.

Premium metallic paints are available at $495 (MRLP) and include Machine Grey Metallic, Polymetal Grey Metallic and Soul Red Metallic. Pricing starts at $31,190 plus ORC for the Maxx Petrol Manual FWD, $33,190 plus ORC for the auto FWD whilst the AWD sees $36,190 plus ORC. Maxx Sport FWD with auto and petrol is $36,490 plus ORC and the AWD is $39,490. Diesel AWD Maxx Sport starts from $42,490 plus ORC.

Touring Petrol Auto AWD is $41,280 plus ORC, Touring Diesel Auto AWD is $44,280 plus ORC. GT Petrol Auto AWD starts from $46,990 plus ORC, petrol turbo from $46,490 plus ORC, with the diesel from $49,990 plus ORC. GT SP Petrol auto AWD from $47,490 plus OC, with the turbo version from $49,990 plus ORC. The Akera Petrol Auto AWD starts from $49,380 plus ORC, Akera Petrol Turbo Auto AWD from
$51,880 plus ORC, and Akera Diesel Auto AWD from $52,380 plus ORC.

Making Your Next Car Loan Easier

Are you in the market for a new set of wheels? Here are our top tips to remember when you apply for a car loan, things which will make your experience a whole lot smoother.

1. Be realistic when you choose your vehicle. While you might desire a nippy brand new little red sports car you’ve always dreamed of, if you are buying your first car or a family car, it’s best to be realistic. A little red convertible is not very practical as a family vehicle, and if this is your first car, you’d probably be better off with something small, economical and probably second-hand. However, if you’re hunting for a second car for fun, then you can indulge your dreams a little.

2. The more you can pay up-front, the less you have to borrow and the less interest you will have to pay. Deals involving zero deposits look very attractive, but you will end up paying more in the long run as interest accumulates. Saving up a little before you buy a car is wise for this reason and for another reason: if you have to wait a bit, you are less likely to be impulsive and get the wrong vehicle for your needs.

 


3. Plan your budget: before you sign on the dotted line, and make sure that you will be able to meet the monthly repayments. For many people, this may be the first time they actually set a budget. Don’t forget to leave a buffer just in case of an emergency.

4. Larger payments over a shorter period or smaller payments over a longer period? A shorter term for the loan means that you pay less interest, but your budget will be committed more heavily with less room to move. However, lower payments over a longer term may be more easily fitted into an existing budget, especially if you’re forced into buying a new car to get to and from work.

 


5. Ask if you are able to make additional payments on top of your regular repayments so you can pay your loan off more quickly. Some finance companies allow you to do this without any penalty. Meanwhile, others have an early repayment fee. If the company that offers the best deal does charge an early payment fee, do the maths. Is the fee lower than the interest you would have otherwise paid?

6. Don’t just buy the first car you see that fits your requirements. Shop around, do your research and do your homework. Consider all aspects of your purchase, including running costs, as well as the number of seats and the size of the car. Also think about what happens when repairs become necessary, as those costs can add up quickly.

Japanese New Model Onslaught: Mitsubishi, Nissan, Honda.

The third week of February 2021 has been a busy week for the three major Japanese car makers. Mitsubishi has unveiled the new Outlander, Honda their new HR-V, and Nissan’s shown their updated Qashqai.

Outlander.
There’s a substantially redesigned machine ready to roll out from Mitsubishi, with the Outlander gaining a more distinctive “Dynamic Shield” grille, relocated headlights, and a redesigned rear window line. There’s a new base platform, and Mitsubishi have bolted in a new 2.5L petrol engine.

The front sees the headlights lowered to the mid-section of the bumper, not unlike the designs from Hyundai in the Santa Fe. This has the leading edges of the fenders draw a visual line to the combined LED driving lights and indicators. Relocating the main lights fills out a bluffer looking front bar, and Mitsubishi says it will also aid light distribution. This also has the now familiar chromed strip that Mitsubishi employs on its SUVs brought around further to the bottom of the relocated lights.

The tailgate has a recessed panel look, said to evoke the section on the ‘gate where the now cancelled Pajero had its iconic spare wheel cover. This sits between redesigned taillights, slimmer in form, and part of a squarer look to the section, with the D-pillar a solid triangular shape.

Inside and there is a familiar yet new look to the cabin. The ambience is of a higher level than before, with the top models of a luxury orientation not seen before in Outlander. On upper models the driver has a 12.3 inch digital display, lower versions a still good-sized 7.0 inch digital screen. The main centre screen, says Mitsubishi, will be a 9.0 size depending on trim levels. Bose supply the sounds with a dual subwoofer, ten speaker, system.

Smartphones are catered for with USB-C and USB-A charge ports and a wireless pad. Passenger comfort is backed up via a seating arrangement that allows for a three row, seven seater, configuration, including a centre row that can be a two seater to allow items such as skis to be placed down the middle. Safety goes up too, with a total of 11 airbags, including a front center airbag for the driver’s seat and side airbags for the second-row seats.

Sales start in April for the North American market, with Australia due probably late in Q3.

Qashqai.
Although retaining the sharp edges in the nose of the current model, the 2021 Qashqai sees Nissan’s new design language front and centre. Distinctive U-shaped structures dominate the look, with LED lights and driving lights joining together. There is also an enlarged Nissan V-Motion grille, finished in chrome with a secondary pinstripe of satin chrome.The upper edge of the headlights commences a line that runs through to the rear, with a slope from the roof that echoes that on the Juke.

There is a restyled bumper and a look that sees the Qashqai join others by having a strong long at the lower extremities, providing a place for the aero to do its work with a vent through to the front wheel well. The doors have their own crease now, which will bring a sense of strength to the Qashqai in profile.

Physical changes see the wheelbase up by 20mm, with length up by 35mm and height by 25mm. Width has grown by 32mm which will translate to an increase in shoulder room. 20 inch wheels will also be offered. It will be available in both 2WD and AWD configurations.

Technology changes see a higher resolution 9.0 inch NissanConnect screen complete with Android and Apple smartapp compatibility plus wireless Apple CarPlay fitted. The diver’s info is a 12.3 inch screen, and Nissan have put a tactile switch into a steering wheel spoke in order to provide easy access. There is a 10.8 inch HUD fitted as well.

All-new Nissan Qashqai

Cargo space increases by 50L thanks to a redesigned rear suspension allowing a lowering of the cargo floor by 20mm. There’s been invisible yet crucial changes to the door mechanisms too, with entry and exit of the Qashqai now easier.

Perhaps the biggest news is the addition of the 1.3L DiG-T hybrid engine package. It’ll be offered in overseas markets (and as yet unconfirmed for Australia) in two power output levels. The 1.3-petrol motor will be offered with 138hp and 156hp driving either a 6-speed manual transmission, or new Xtronic gearbox for the higher output engine only. Max engine power arrives at 5500rpm, with maximum available torque of 270Nm at a convenient 1750rpm on 156hp Xtronic and high power MT variants.

ETA for Australia is yet to be announced.

All-new Nissan Qashqai

HR-V.
To be on sale in Europe in late 2021, the HR-V has been given a makeover that, dare we say it, makes it look mainstream. It joins the Qashqai in offering a hybrid drive for the first time, however specifics on that have not yet been released, nor have many other details on the car itself. The styling does perhaps point to a new direction for the venerable Japanese company.

From the rear the HR-V also aims for the new slimline design, and here there is a join line too, much like the Kias Carnival and Stinger. From the front it could, almost, be described as bland compared to the current model, and evokes hints of the Mazda SUVs with the numerous horizontals in the grille. It certainly looks much more restrained than the others in comparison.

In profile, the rear windowline is steeply raked, with the rear overhang tapering forward to a point where it appears the hingeline sits almost directly above the rear axle and this too evokes another design standard, this time from the smaller Lexus SUV range. Honda says the styling is: a distinctive SUV presence in a compact coupe-inspired design.

Interior design is stripped back, minimalist, in look. Soft touch plastics and up to date cloths raised the level closer to a premium SUV feel, along with a feeling of airiness and space is elevated by a new air diffusion system that creates a curtain of fresh air beside and above passengers, flowing from unique L-shaped vents positioned in the top corners of the dashboard.

An Australian sale date also hasn’t been released.

2021 Kia Stonic GT-Line: Car Review.

When Toyota launched the RAV4 its a fair bet that no one would have expected that car to have spawned a completely new genre of cars. The SUV is now everywhere and has been so pervasive that brands such as Bentley and Maserati also have an SUV in their garages.The latest addition to what seems to be a never ending line of variations is the city SUV. In real terms, they’re not much more than a small hatch given a centimetre or two extra ride height and perhaps some body cladding.

Kia’s new Stonic, a replacement for the boxy yet funky Soul, drops firmly into the city SUV slot. Based on the small Rio hatch, Stonic comes in a two trim level offering, Sport and GT-Line, with an engine for each.

The GT-Line has the same 1.0L turbo three cylinder now found in Rio, a seven speed dual clutch auto, and a reasonable level of equipment. Power is rated at 74kW, torque at 172Nm. There are the usual three drive modes, being Eco, Normal, and Sport. The “base” Stonic makes do with a naturally aspirated 1.4L petrol engine. It’s priced, in GT-Line trim, from $29,990 plus $595 for premium paint, as found on our metallic black coated review vehicle.Although the Stonic is barely big enough to be placed in a shopping bag, Eco is best suited for what the name suggests. Freeway and highway driving is its forte, with Sport better for leaving traffic lights, whilst Normal works its magic around the ‘burbs.

It’s a quiet and effortless cruiser, with the engine singing quietly to itself at around 1,500rpm. Go for an overtake, and the relative lack of torque is felt for the 1,227kg (dry) Stonic GT-Line, and the auto dithers a bit as it drops one, then two, perhaps three ratios.

Economy is a curious one here. At no time did we see a sub 6.0L figure, with a best of 6.4L100km seen on a freeway run. The overall final figure was 8.8L/100km. Possibly part of that was the drive defaulting to Eco, not Normal, with a sluggish rate of acceleration, and a DCT that was at times indecisive about its actions. Experimentation found the best way to get the 1200kg Stonic under way, as with most small capacity engines and a DCT, was a throttle pressure somewhere between egg shell and light.Anything more threw the DCT into a tizz, with changes that were unsure, and waiting on the computer to tell the turbo to spin up. It was a constant battle on that front, with Give Way and Stop signs seeing the kettle go off boil and having to wait a vital second or so to start percolating again.

The suspension suffers from the same problem; freeway rides were smooth and the damping out of the usual rises and falls were dispatched without issue. Low speed ride comfort was the opposite, with some bumps feeling as if the tyre was flat and the travel to hit the bumpstop was barely an inch.

There were times when that suspension tune had the Stonic GT-Line feeling skatey, with a hint of the tyres moving across the tarmac, yet never actually losing traction in the end. Driveways had the front end bang-crash, so very slow speeds were required.The styling of the Stonic heartily evokes the Rio, with its compact dimensions and kicked up C-pillar. It’s just 4,140mm in length and that’s 70mm longer than Rio, has a ground clearance of just 183mm, and stands a petite 1,520mm in height. That’s just 70mm taller than Rio. Wheelbase is 2,580mm, the same as the Rio’s.

Kia’s design team have given the Stonic its own distinctive face, with Cerato-like LED blades in the slimmer than Rio’s headlight cluster. There’s more Cerato in the front bumpers outermost inserts, whilst there’s a bespoke chin plate that houses the driving lights and a grille for a forward reading sensor. LEDs power the rear lights either side of an easy to lift tailgate. This reveals a modestly sized boot at 352L, expanding to 1,155L, while the rear seats fold to an almost but not quite level pegging with the boot floor itself. Underneath the carpet is a space saver spare. Rolling on stylish 17 inch machined and painted alloys, Kia have opted for grippy Continental ContiSport rubber at 205/55 profile. Up front and it’s faux-leather bolsters on the cloth covered pews, a rough finish to the carbon-fibre look trim across the dash, and an otherwise Kia looking cabin with a glossier than expected upper dash. This, though, may be down to the prep work at the pick-up and drop-off location. The aircon is single, not dual zone, the controls are the basic button and dial type, which doesn’t shout range topping, but they are intuitive to use. The hard press buttons below the 8.0 inch touchscreen are the same, and the DAB tuner exhibited the same excess signal loss as experienced in other Kia and Hyundai cars.For the driver its the standard pair of analogue dials and 4.3 inch info screen as seen elsewhere in Kia’s cars, plus the slightly flat bottomed tiller complete with the tabs familiar to Kia drivers. The rear seats have a single USB port to access at the rear of the centre console, with one up front along with a pair of 12V sockets, and only the driver’s window is one touch up and down. There are heating elements for the Stonic’s wing mirrors, a handy touch for some areas.Safety-wise there is Kia’s overeager Lane Keep Assist, with its staccato audio warning, Forward Collision Alert, and Blind Spot Assist. Autonomous Emergency Braking and Lane Follow Assist are also standard. Rain sensing wipers and solar glass for the main screen and side windows ease the UV rays.Behind the scenes is Kia’s seven year warranty and capped price service scheme.

At The End Of The Drive. For what the Stonic is intended for, and intended to do, it does it well enough. Clearly aimed at younger buyers, and likely the DINK crowd, it lobs into a relatively newish segment but one already visited by the likes of Audi, VW, and Mazda.

There’s internal competition from Seltos, and from sister brand Hyundai’s Kona, and Venue. In its early days as an offering, it’s the well worn “only time will tell” in how it stands up and stands out in an increasingly crowded segment.

Jeep Gladiator Update: New Model And New Pricing.

Jeep Australia has added to the Jeep Gladiator range, with the Sport S variant being brought into the line-up as an entry level machine. It’ll lob at $65,450, with the options packs priced at $2,450 (Comfort and Technology), and $2,950 (Lifestyle Adventure group) with Premium paint at $795.

Straight out of the box, the Jeep Gladiator Sport S is ready for adventure with heavy-duty Dana front and rear axles, underbody skid plates, selectable tyre fill alert and a wash-out interior. Drive is via the Selec-Trac® Active On-Demand 4×4 system, with power coming from the familiar Pentastar 3.6L V6, offering 209kW and getting grunt to each corner via an eight speed auto.

The Jeep Gladiator Sport S includes of an array of standard active safety equipment, including Forward Collision Warning Plus, Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop, Blind Spot Monitor and Rear Cross Path Detection. Comfort and convenience features include LED exterior lighting, remote proximity keyless entry, a fourth-generation UConnect 7.0” Touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, automatic headlamps, push-button start, 7.0” Driver Information Display Cluster and dual-zone climate control.

Standard interior trim is Premium Black Cloth, the UConnect system via a 7.0 inch touchscreen and smartapp compatibility, and a 7.0 inch driver’s display, whilst Alpine provides the interior sounds through nine speakers.

Outside, the alloys are 17 inch Tech Silver under black fender flares. Lighting front and rear is LED and the ubiquitous three piece Freedom hardtop is here. Safety features include Forward Collision Warning Plus, Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop, Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Path Detection, plus Parkview Rear Backup Camera and ParkSense Front/Rear Park Assist System. There is convenience via a Remote Proximity Keyless Entry and Push Button Start plus Selectable Tyre Fill Alert.Guillaume Drelon, Jeep Australia Director, Brand & Product Strategy, says: “The Jeep Gladiator Sport S creates a new entry-level price point into the Jeep Gladiator range, without compromising on safety, technology and Jeep’s renowned off-road prowess. Since its arrival in Australia, the Gladiator has been turning heads on our roads and by expanding the range to include the Sport S specification, even more Australians will be able to own the only open-air truck.” he continued.

The optional Lifestyle and Adventure package adds a Roll-up Tonneau Cover, Cargo Management Group with Trail Rail System, Lockable Rear Underseat Storage Bin, Spray-In Bedliner, Wireless Bluetooth Speaker, Auxiliary Switch Bank (4 Programmable Switches), 240-Amp Alternator and a 700-Amp Maintenance-Free Battery. The Comfort and Technology Group package can also be added to the Gladiator Sport S specification, delivering premium convenience appointments including a fourth-generation Uconnect 8.4” Touchscreen, Deep Tint Sunscreen Windows, Hard Top Headliner, Security Alarm and Remote Start System.

The 2021 Jeep Gladiator Sport S is available to order now, arriving in Dealerships from February 2021.

2021 Hyundai Palisade Highlander Diesel: Private Fleet Car Review

Hyundai have finally, for the Australian market, released their Palisade. U.S. based and sourcing the name from the States, the Palisade is the step up from the Santa Fe. There’s a choice of seven or eight seats with no price difference between the two, a petrol at 3.8L or diesel at 2.2L, and the same driveline being petrol/front wheel drive or diesel/all wheel drive with torque split on demand.Pricing starts at $65K for the petrol FWD Palisade, $69,200 for the diesel version, $77,150 for the Highlander seven/eight seater with petrol and $81,350 for the diesel. Transmission is a standard eight speed auto for both engines.

It’s the diesel that should be the preferred choice if using the Palisade for its intended purpose. 147kW and 440Nm are the numbers from the 2.2L unit, and the torque is between 1,750 rpm to 2,750 rpm. Opt for the petrol and there’s 217kW and 355Nm. That, though, is at 5,200 rpm. Kerb weights nudge two tonnes, and makes economy an equation. We finished on 9.0L/100km on a 70/30 urban/highway mix, with Hyundai’s official combined figure saying 7.3L/100km for the diesel. For the petrol, it’s 10.7L, but use it on the school runs, 14.9L/100km is what should be expected. Towing? 2,200kg, says Hyundai, for both.To fit in seven or eight people and not have knees around ears, the Palisade rolls on a wheelbase of 2,900mm. Length is 4,980mm, and for shoulder room, it’s 1,975mm wide. headroom? Even with two sunroofs, it’s 1,750mm tall overall, and has 203mm ground clearance. This is for when the off-road dial in the centre console is used to switch between tarmac and off-road when Snow, Mud, and Sand get into the 245/50/20 rubber from Bridgestone’s Dueler range.Legroom in row three is 798mm, with 959mm of headroom. Shoulder room is 1,402mm. Centre row measurements are 1,077mm/1,019mm/1545mm. Up front and leg room is 1,120mm, with head and shoulder space at 1,060mm and 1,555mm. The driver’s space sees a floating centre console, with a small amount of storage space and a couple of charge points, with a storage bin on top also housing a charge point or two. On the inner section of the front seats are a USB point each. There’s a sliding cover ahead of the console storage and a wireless charge pad, complete with an outline for any handset that’s placed there. For the centre row there’s an extra 12V socket and for the third row a pair of USB ports and four cupholders.Palisade offers a kind of crossover between Santa Fe and the Genesis with a feature in the driver’s display. Although the main dials are analogue, there is a centrally located screen of 7.0 inches in size. This takes a camera feed from either left or right when indicating. There’s a hint of Kona EV as well, with the actual drive engagement via four press buttons at the upper end of the console, rather than a dial or a lever.Both middle and third row seats are manual in movement, and in the Palisade we were supplied by Hyundai Au, the third row was folded flat and there is a separate cover to protect the rear of the seats, and simultaneously provide a large cargo bay. 704L is the measurement with the third row folded and a still goodish 311L with the third row up. The exterior is noticeably yet not overtly American. There’s the Hyundai signature grille with a solid surround and a split level look for the very distinctive driving lights. They’re a pair of C shaped units that run from the bonnet to the bottom of the headlights that are situated in their own housing. It’s an impressive look and one that went from “hmmmm” to “that’s all right” very quickly. It’s also a look that caught the attention of many, with more than a few people sidling up to either eyeball the body or ask questions.There is a C motif at the rear but not quite as visible as the front end. Roofline-wise there’s a straight line from the A-pillar to the rear ‘gate, with a thick C-pillar not unlike that of the Carnival from Kia. There is chromework that provides a visual delineation too, with the rearmost window almost a separate insert and hints at the mooted ute from Hyundai. The overall proportions are pleasing and nicely balanced visually.

Get it on road and here the big Palisade impresses. It’s been said that Hyundai haven’t put the Palisade through an Aussie tuning process. It turns out that the setup is just fine as it is thank you very much. It’s an incredibly nimble thing, the Palisade, with more of a mid-sized car feel than it deserves. The steering, for example, is set to be just under three turns from side to side. This endows the Palisade with precision unexpected in a near five metre long SUV. Handling is superb thanks to a suspension setup that is compliant as needed, hard and sporting as needed, and comfortable across the board. It’s startling that it’s so right out of the box. It’s the same with the brakes; they’re intuitive to a T, with that instinctive knowledge of where the pedal is and the force needed for the appropriate stopping distance.If there is a “room for improvement” suggestion it would be for the engine. As good a unit the 440Nm 2.2L diesel is, the Palisade is designed to carry seven or eight people and it IS a bigger machine than the Santa Fe. We noticed that with four up and a bit of extra weight, the performance level dropped. Given the intent of the Palisade, something between the 2.2L and the larger powerplants available in the Genesis range, a unit with more torque wouldn’t be a bad idea.

One aboard and there is some good performance to be had though. The eight speed autos are as slick as they come, and the 2.2L diesel pulls well enough. It’s reasonably moveable but potentially not as quick as it could be, and brings the equation back to a bigger engine or a hybrid addition for torque.

Naturally there is no shortage of safety items on board, including the camera views when indicating. These can be set to soft-touch flash at three, five, or seven intervals. Or it can be turned off. AWT feels that in the interests of safety and to follow the legal requirements in regards to providing sufficient indication, the setting should be seven only.

Rain sensing wipers are standard, the rear wiper engages automatically on reverse, and driver aids like Trailer Sway Control and Hill Descent Assist as standard add extra peace of mind. Hyundai load up with the SafetySense suite, and it’s extensive.Blind-Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist – Rear, Blind-Spot View Monitor, Driver Attention Warning, Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist with camera and radar type and including Car/Pedestrian/Cyclist detection at City/Urban/Interurban operational speeds, High Beam Assist, Lane Keeping Assist – Line/Road-Edge, Leading Vehicle Departure Alert, Lane Following Assist, Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist, Rear Occupant Alert – Advanced, Safe Exit Assist, Smart Cruise Control with Stop & Go. Phew.Warranty is five years, with unlimited kilometres, and servicing is a capped price situation that can be found via your local dealer. Hyundai also offer a pre-paid service plan.

At The End Of The Drive. The Palisade Highlander is an absolute delight to drive, and absolutely family friendly. Where it’s positioned is a strange one, in one respect. Genesis. That brand is set up as a luxury aimed market, and the diesels are bigger in size and numbers for torque. Where the Palisade wins is on price and features, and space in comparison to the slightly smaller Santa Fe. In any case, it’s an impressive vehicle and will battle only prejudice against the Korean brands in its efforts to find a place in driveways.

 

Don’t Buy a Car Without These Active Safety Features

Shopping for a new car will introduce you to a swathe of new features that you probably never even knew existed. While you may have your eyes set on a particular vehicle, it never hurts to consider your other options. So once you line up car finance, it pays to check what is in demand within the car industry these days.

From different types of performance oriented specs, to efficiency features and even amenity perks, there are wide variances from one car to the next. Arguably however, none of these come close to the importance that safety features hold. On that note, here are 5 key active safety aids that you should be on the lookout for.

Of course, you’ll also have the now-standard ABS, airbags, brakes and the like, but the following ‘active’ features are among those yet to become standard in all cars. If your next car doesn’t have all of these features, we say keep searching.

 

Autonomous Emergency Braking

Fast becoming a standard feature on many new cars, this is a potentially life-saving technology for all road users. It incorporates a range of sensors and a camera that keeps an eye on the car’s distance from other things within its proximity – typically, people and other cars, albeit objects too.

If an obstruction is detected and the car is on course to collide with it, the vehicle will sound alerts and automatically begin to brake. AEB comes in various forms of sophistication, with more recent formats of the technology working to detect cyclists and pedestrians.

Driver Fatigue Detection

Known by a few different names, driver fatigue detection technology uses sensors within the cabin to monitor the driver for signs of drowsiness. It does this by looking for any sudden movements or rapid changes in the drivers posture, which is considered a potential sign that the person may have drifted off or lost concentration.

If you love getting away for the weekend on long drives this is an essential piece of equipment and thankfully, more cars are starting to feature it, although it is usually reserved for higher spec variants in a car company’s line-up.

 

Rear cross traffic alerts

It was previously thought that a reversing camera would be sufficient to keep an eye on any hazards while reversing. The number of incidents that still take place however, suggests otherwise. After all, vision is often impaired adjacent to the rear bumper.

Rear cross traffic alerts are designed to keep an eye behind and to each side of you while reversing and alert you to any potential hazards that you could collide with. It measures and interprets the speed, distance and anticipated path other vehicles may take. The range extends to as much as 50m, so it is particularly useful when reversing from a spot where your visibility to each side of the car is limited.

 

Blind spot monitoring

As every motorist would know, sometimes that blind spot can be a major problem when changing lanes. This technology is designed to monitor adjacent lanes for vehicles and alert the driver via sound or light that a car is travelling in the adjacent lane they may wish to merge in. If you travel in peak hour traffic regularly, this could make your journey a much safer one.

 

Lane departure warning

Using a series of cameras that keep track of the lines on the road, lane departure warning will alert you if you are about to veer from your lane. If it detects this is about to happen, the car may automatically readjust its positioning so that it returns into its lane.

 

Make sure your next car has all these features, it’s better to be safe than sorry.