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Tucson’s Fourth Generation Is Ready For The World

As foreshadowed in early September, the drastically facelifted Tucson range was officially unveiled on September 15. Now in its fourth generation, the world platform Hyundai Motor Company Tucson brings a short and long wheelbase to further broaden its already large customer appeal. With a timeline stretching back to 2004, and racking up over seven million sales, the new Tucson brings striking new looks and a solid set of tech.There are new engines including a pair of hybrid drive-lines, with a PHEV being one. This isn’t yet in concrete for Australia.

Thomas Schemera, Executive Vice President, Head of Product Division at Hyundai Motor Group said at the launch: “We are thrilled to introduce the all-new Tucson, the latest model in Hyundai’s SUV transformation,” said . “This exciting vehicle sets a new benchmark for innovation in its segment, delivering an impressive blend of design, technology, packaging and performance.” The new Tucson is scheduled for Korean release in September 2020, with models yet to be determined currently stated to arrive in Australia in the first half of 2021. The launch itself was held as a virtual event and shown on the company’s new social media outlet, Hyundai TV, a global contents platform and interactive application for Smart TVs.

Design: it’s what Hyundai have labelled their Sensuous Sportiness idenity. Standing front and centre, literally in this case, is the dazzling new face of the Tucson, from what is called Parametric Dynamics in Hyundai-speak. The Tucson’s body features a set of geometrically intense lines and the front end is a series of “jewel surface” units which hide the head- and driving lights. When lit, they form a boomerang-like shape that then becomes a grille defining area.
The front guards flare before tapering to a sharp point in the front doors. This draws the eyes towards the rear doors that both flare and bring a trapezoid bulge to the redesigned, twin vertical-single horizontal tail-lights. There is a chrome strip that runs from the wing mirror, following the roofline that terminates in conjunction with the newly designed rear lights, which, like the front, are only visible when lit. A subtle touch is the relocation of the Hyundai logo into the rear glass and a hidden look to the rear wiper.

For the petrol engined versions there will be seven exterior colours: White Cream, Phantom Black, Shimmering Silver, Nocturne Gray, Amazon Gray, Flame Red, and Intense Blue, six of which are new for Tucson. In the hybrid range there are White Cream, Phantom Black, Shimmering Silver, and Intense Blue, three of which are new for Tucson.

Inside: It’s a choice of cloth or leather, black or grey for the trims. The SUV’s interior environments come in black or grey tones in either cloth or leather material. Hyundai have upped the visual ante by redesigning the way the cabin looks, with ambient lighting in the top level models, new screens and a refresh of the seating.

Termed Interspace, Hyundai blends the dash with the doors, there’s a sense of more space, a pair of silver lines mimic those on the roof by running from front to rear, and those ambient lights have 64 varying shades. There are also ten levels of brightness.From the front seats, the view is of a pair of 10.25 inch touchscreens (model dependent) with split-screen navigation ability and voice recognition which can enable the new Multi-Command function that allows customers to “warm-up the car”. This covers the heating system, heated steering wheel and seat warmers all via a voice command. There is a driver’s display without a binnacle, and a refreshed look to the air-vents. Some models will have 8.0 inch screens with wireless connectivity for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay plus two phones simultaneously. Spread around the cabin is a new range of soft-touch materials that also visually add class. For the second row, a fold and dive mechanism aims for a flatter surface and an increased cargo capacity, now up to 1,095L of space.A service called Hyundai Digital Key enables drivers to use their smartphone to pair to the car and remotely lock/unlock, and start the engine and climate control from up to 27 metres away. A new feature is called car To Home, and this can allow activation, from the vehicle, of connected smart devices at home. Audio comes from multi-speaker systems thanks to Bose (model dependent). For the climate control, Hyundai looked towards the aerospace industry and used certain benchmarks for their direct and indirect ventilation processes and can indicate levels of pollution in real time in the climate control display.Engines: As mentioned, a pair of hybrids with one a PHEV, with a 1.6L engine for either, or a 2.5L direct-injection petrol engine with 141kW and 246Nm driving a slick eight speed auto. The hybrids should punch around 134kW from the petrol engine and combine with the battery for 171kW. Torque will be close to 250Nm from the petrol and offer just under 350Nm combined, and again run an eight speed auto. Hyundai have engineered in their Continuously Variable Valve Duration (CVVD) technology that manages valve opening duration for optimal power, efficiency and emissions with minimised compromise.

Vehicles fitted with Hyundai’s HTRAC all-wheel drive system have an upgrade to the driving modes. Depending of end-market, those vehicles will now have Mud, Snow, Sand along with the previously supported Eco / Comfort / Smart / Sport driving modes.
Safety: Hyundai’s broad-scope SmartSense safety package includes: Highway Driving Assist (HDA), Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA) with pedestrian detection, Lane Keeping Assist (LKA), Lane Following Assist (LFA), Blind-Spot View Monitor and Blind-Spot Collision Warning (BCW). There is also Surround View Monitor, Reverse Parking Collision-Avoidance Assist (RPCA), Remote Smart Parking Assist (RSPA), High Beam Assist (HBA) and Driver Attention Warning (DAW). Extra technology for safety comes from: Blind-Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist (BCA) with Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist (RCCA), Advanced Smart Cruise Control (SCC) with Stop and Go, and Safe Exit Warning (SEW). Tucson N Line Goes Global: Hyundai’s growing performance arm, N Line, is looking to add an N Line Tucson for the global marketplace at an as yet unspecified date.

Contact your Hyundai dealer for more details.

Big Boots Matter

Luggage Space

If size matters to you when it comes to what you can (or can’t) fit in your boot, then how much space is commonly available in popular new car buys?  The chances are you’ll want to know, so first are some of the most popular vehicles bought in Australia and their boot volume (litres).  All the vehicles listed have their rear seats in place, because we all know the greatest vehicles carry a decent amount of luggage without having to flip their rear seats flat.  There’s nothing worse than telling little Johnny that he can’t travel with his mates because the split folding rear seats have been split folded to take the school camp food!

At the end is a list of the best picks for carrying 550 litres or more behind the rear seats.  You might be surprised, or not…

Supermini

Average boot space: 340.88 litres

1/ Renault Clio – 395 litres

2/ Honda Jazz – 354 litres

3/ Volkswagen Polo – 351 litres

Audi A1 – 335 litres

Skoda Fabia – 330 litres

Hyundai i20 – 326 litres

Kia Rio – 325 litres

Peugeot 208 – 311 litres

 

Hatchbacks

Average boot space: 479.40 litres

1/ Skoda Octavia 590 litres

2/ Peugeot 308 501 litres

3/ Honda Civic 492 litres

Renault Megane 434

VW Golf 380 litres

 

Small 4-door sedan

Average boot space: 464.75 litres

1/ Honda City | 536 litres

2/ Honda Civic | 519 litres

3/ Renault Megane | 503 litres

Kia Cerato | 502 litres

Toyota Corolla | 470 litres

Hyundai Accent Sport | 465 litres

Hyundai Elantra | 458 litres

Holden Astra | 445 litres

Mazda 3 444 litres

Audi A3 | 425 litres

Mazda 2 410 litres

Mitsubishi Lancer | 400 litres

 

Medium 4-Door Sedan

Average boot space: 501.82 litres

1/ Volkswagen Passat | 586 litres

2/ Skoda Octavia | 568 litres

3/ Toyota Camry | 524 litres

Kia Optima | 510 litres

Hyundai Sonata | 510 litres

Subaru Liberty | 493 litres

BMW 3 Series | 480 litres

Mazda 6 | 474 litres

Subaru Impreza | 460 litres

Ford Mondeo | 458 litres

Honda Accord | 457 litres

 

Large 4-Door Sedan

Average boot space: 509.2 litres

1/ Skoda Superb | 625 litres

2/ Volkswagen Arteon | 563 litres

3/ Holden Commodore | 490 litres

Chrysler 300 | 462 litres

Kia Stinger | 406 litres

 

Station wagons

Average boot space: 560.9 litres

1/ Holden Sportwagon 895 litres

2/ Skoda Superb 660 litres

3/ Peugeot 308 SW 660 litres

Ford Focus SW 608 litres

VW Golf SW 605 litres

Hyundai i30 SW 602 litres

Audi A6 SW 586 litres

Volvo V70 575 litres

BMW 5-Series SW 570 litres

Jaguar XF SW 565 litres

Kia Optima SW 552 litres

Ford Mondeo 541 litres

Mercedes Benz E-Class 540 litres

Subaru Levorg 522 litres

Mazda 6 SW 522 litres

Renault Megane SW 521 litres

Subaru Outback 512 litres

Peugeot 407 430 litres

Toyota Corolla SW 392 litres

Mini Clubman SW 360 litres

 

SUVs

LIGHT SUVs

Average boot space: 346.2 litres

1/ Citroen C3 Aircross – 410 litres

2/ Holden Trax – 356 litres

3/ Hyundai Venue 355 litres

Ford EcoSport – 346 litres

Mazda CX-3 264 litres

 

SMALL SUVs

Average boot space: 385.91 litres

1/ Jeep Compass 438 litres

2/ Honda HR-V 437 litres

3/ Kia Seltos 433 litres

Nissan Qashqai 430 litres

Renault Kadjar 408 litres

Mitsubishi ASX 393 litres

Toyota C-HR 377 litres

Hyundai Kona 361 litres

Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross 341 litres

Mazda CX-30 317 litres

Subaru XV 310 litres

 

MEDIUM SUVs

Average boot space: 496.67 litres

1/ Volkswagen Tiguan 615 litres

2/ Toyota RAV4 580 litres

3/ Nissan X-Trail 565 litres

Honda CR-V 522 litres

Subaru Forester 498 litres

Hyundai Tucson 488 litres

Mitsubishi Outlander 477 litres

MG HS 463 litres

Renault Koleos 458 litres

Kia Sportage 446 litres

Mazda CX-5 442 litres

Ford Escape 406 litres

 

LARGE SUVs

Average boot space: 669.50 litres

1/ Holden Acadia 1042 litres

2/ Holden Equinox 846 litres

3/ Mazda CX-9 810 litres

Toyota LandCruiser Prado 620 litres

Hyundai Santa Fe 547 litres

Toyota Kluger 529 litres

Subaru Outback 512 litres

Ford Everest 450 litres

 

Keep in mind that most vehicles we buy now do have split folding rear seats, so when we don’t have to carry passengers we can make use of the rear seat space in exchange for carrying cargo/luggage.  Many of us don’t want to have to use the rear seat space for luggage; often the back seats are occupied with passengers anyway, so the vehicles that provide over 500 litres behind the back seats are going to be the ones that offer excellent luggage space.

If we look at averages alone, the Large SUV is easily king for luggage carrying duties. Most are seven-seater SUVs, too; but make it just the 5 seats, and they can only be a win/win combination.  The next step up would be a van!

However, both the Station Wagon and Large sedan are other excellent options for you to go to for decent luggage carrying ability.  Even the Medium Sedan offers some cars that provide excellent big boots: the Volkswagen Passat (586 litres), Skoda Octavia (568 litres) and the Toyota Camry (524 litres) are the best examples.

One thing that did surprise me was that the boot space in a small SUV isn’t much to write home about; its average for the class being a dismal 385.91 litres.  This dropped to an abysmal 346.2 litres for light SUVs.  These vehicles, and smaller are best avoided if decent boot space is what you need.

Any vehicle that can offer at least 550 litres of luggage space in the boot without having to fold down any of the rear seats is a winner for cargo carriers.  If you are looking for a vehicle (that isn’t a van) that will deliver good boot space (550 litres or more) for things like: school bags, computer equipment, sport gear, holiday luggage etc., then you’ll probably need one of the following vehicles:

Hatchback:

Skoda Octavia Hatchback

Skoda Octavia Hatchback 590 litres

Medium 4-dr Sedan:

VW Passat Sedan

Volkswagen Passat  586 litres

Skoda Octavia 568 litres

Large 4-dr Sedan

Skoda Superb Sedan/Hatch

Skoda Superb  625 litres

Volkswagen Arteon 563 litres

Station Wagon

Holden Commodore Sportwagon

Holden Sportwagon 895 litres

Skoda Superb 660 litres

Peugeot 308 660 litres

Ford Focus 608 litres

VW Golf 605 litres

Hyundai i30 602 litres

Audi A6 586 litres

Volvo V70 575 litres

BMW 5-Series 570 litres

Jaguar XF 565 litres

Kia Optima 552 litres

Medium SUV

VW Tiguan SUV

Volkswagen Tiguan 615 litres

Toyota RAV4 580 litres

Nissan X-Trail 565 litres

Large SUV

Holden Acadia 7-seater

Holden Acadia 1042 litres

Holden Equinox 846 litres

Mazda CX-9 810 litres

Toyota LandCruiser Prado 620 litres

Hyundai Santa Fe 547 litres

 

2020 Nissan Juke ST: Private Fleet Car Review.

This Car Review Is About: A substantially changed Nissan Juke. It’s the second model Australia has seen and the first wasn’t received with open arms due to its controversial styling. It’s still not pretty but in the greater context, it is a far better looking vehicle. There are four trim levels: ST (tested), ST+, ST-L, and the top of the range Ti.How Much Does It Cost?: Nissan’s website lists the range as starting from $30,490 drive-away for the ST. The range tops out at $39,490 drive-away.

Under The Bonnet Is: A three cylinder petrol engine with a turbo. Thankfully. Peak torque of 180Nm comes in at 2,400rpm and that’s barely enough to spin the seven speed dual clutch transmission. peak power is double figures at 84kW. In comparison Kia’s Picanto GT-Line has 172Nm but that’s available from 1,500rpm to 4,000rpm. The fuel tank is a decent 46.0L and economy, says Nissan, is 5.8L/100km on the combined cycle and given we’ve been seeing 6.8L/100km on our 70/30 urban/highway sprint, that seems spot on. Dry weight is 1,251kg.On The Outside It’s: A distinctively different vehicle for the second time round compared to version 1. The profile has a similar stance, with a steeply raked rear window line and hidden rear door handles, but it’s the front that has copped the biggest makeover. The distinctive mid-set headlights have been revised to reduce their prominence, and the formerly high-set driving lights that rode the fender’s ridge have been brought down to engage the top of the V grille for a far better integrated look. The rear loses the ovoid and bloated V shaped lights and now have a slimmer, more integrated, look. They’re sharper, have restyled interior designs, and go closer to matching the restyled front.On The Inside It’s: A comfortable place to be for an entry level vehicle. It’s a key start, for, umm, starters, with manual seats and no heating or venting naturally. They do have a surprising amount of lateral support and have adjustable lumbar support too. There is no DAB audio via the 8.0 inch touchscreen which again doesn’t default from the warning screen at all. It does have Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.The aircon is a bit off, as the lowest fan speed is sometimes too much in flowing air, and sometimes the coolest setting of the rotary dial is warm air, even when using the slightly redundant non-recirculating air tab. By slightly redundant, one tab to have recirculate on or off should suffice. The centre vents are three, a little unusual in count, and sit in a nicely hued grey plastic. This extends to the storage locker free centre console, which does, at least, house a pair of cup holders. At the dashboard end is a USB and 12V port pairing.

For the driver there is a colour info screen, accessed via tabs on the tiller’s left spoke. It’s friendly to both use and look at. Either side are standard looking analogue dials. It’s the same for the central dash controls; radio and aircon are dials and aside from the airflow, work as they should.Cargo space is decent enough with a lowish lip and a floor that’s under the lip itself. This isn’t terribly common for the class of vehicle as most have either a floor close to the load lip or level with it, so here it’s a pleasant change to be able to drop things down.

It’s the same with the seating and room. There’s good head, shoulder, and leg room for pretty much anyone that doesn’t play football or basketball. Leaving aside the lack of a centre console bin, there was rarely any sense of the front passengers rubbing elbows, and the rear pews, suitable for two people really, delivered no sounds of protest in regards to feeling cramped.On The Road It’s: Jeckyll and Hyde. The engine and DCT combination is abysmal. The DCT is problematic at best, with gaps that the Grand Canyon would think are huge when it comes to swapping between park, Drive, reverse. The time to re-engage is measured by calendars, not seconds. the problem is exacerbated by the time it takes for any torque to arrive on the scene when the accelerator is pressed at a Stop sign, for example. A driver could say “Beetlejuice Beetlejuice Beetlejuice” quicker than it takes for forward momentum to commence.

Once the Juke is underway and there is that characteristic three cylinder thrum, a wonderfully benign chassis is displayed. There’s a proper heft to the steering, good communication from the front wheels, almost agreeable braking feedback as well. It’s almost as if there were two different personalities for the Juke… The chassis dynamics aren’t the best in class but there isn’t a lot to dislike either. It’s decently composed in normal driving situations, with only the bigger and closer irregularities making the Juke feel uncertain on all four corners. Bump thump on speed reducers were noticeable more for the upper end of the suspension feeling softer otherwise the ride quality is of a pleasing enough level.

The best way to get the Juke rolling is with a egg-sensitive squeeze of the throttle. This tends to clamp the clutches together in a smoother manner and allows the progression of the go-pedal to engage the engine in a quicker manner. Coming into traffic from an intersection is where this method worked best, as once the car had some forward movement a harder press saw revs climb and take hold of those 180 torques. Rolling acceleration was much the same. There are two paddle son the steering column and these made a marginal improvement to how the driveline did its thing.The brakes are drum and disc, however the benefit of the Juke’s comparatively light-weight mass overcomes the ancient design of the drums. There was noticeable hints of the system feeling overwhelmed at times, with the ABS on the verge of intruding before deciding to sit back down.

A minor niggle was the Auto Stop/Start. On pickup, a fault light was displayed and using the tab to engage & disengage the feature did not remove it. However, later in the day, the system appeared to have reset as it didn’t show again.

What About Safety?: Juke in ST trim has six airbags, plus what Nissan term “Intelligent Emergency Braking” with Pedestrian and Cyclist detection. That’s elsewhere known as Autonomous Emergency Braking….Forward Collision Alert, reverse camera, Lane Departure and Blind Spot warnings are standard, as is Rear Cross Traffic Alert and rear parking sensors.

What About Warranty And Service?: Nissan offer all vehicle five years worth of 24/7 roadside assistance. That’s a good sweetener to start with. Then five years and unlimited kilometres carry the nice further. servicing costs will vary depending on vehicle however Nissan’s website has a link to allow owners to enter their VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) to provide a more concise pricing idea for the six capped price services.

At The End Of The Drive. The Juke ST suffers mostly from an under-torque delivering engine and a gearbox better suited elsewhere. Our final economy figure was still 6.8L/100km and we couldn’t help but feel that a more conventional transmission or, lawd help us, a CVT, would be better suited for the tiny 1.0L. Aside form that, it’s a decently enjoyable drive, with good handling and ride. It’s roomy enough inside for four and has the features the “younger people” would enjoy with the apps for connectivity.

Check out the Juke ST from Nissan for yourself here.

2020 Nissan Pathfinder ST-L N-Trek: Private Fleet Car Review.

This Car Review Is About: Nissan’s Pathfinder with the extra N-Trek equipment list. It adds some visual pizazz to the ST and ST-L specification which are two or all-wheel drive, with ours being the AWD ST-L version.

What Does It Cost?: In standard trim, and in V6 all wheel drive form, the Nissan website lists the standard ST-L V6 AWD spec at $64,111 drive-away. Nissan confirms the price as of September as $59,140 (recommended retail plus on road costs) and the N-Trek as $60,640 (recommended retail plus ORC) for the AWD. Opt for the 2WD version and it’s $55,640 (RRP plus ORC) for the standard and $57,140 (RRP plus ORC) for the N-Trek spec. Check with your dealer for your prices due to differing state charges.Under The Bonnet Is: Nissan’s well proven 3.5L V6 that drinks petrol at a quoted figure of 10.1L/100km on the combined cycle. With 202kW (6,400rpm) and 340Nm of torque on tap at 4,800 driving a CVT and an on-demand AWD system, we saw 12.3L/100km on our 70/30 urban to highway drive cycle. The drive system is selectable too, with Auto, a lock for 4×4, or 2WD. Left in Auto it drives the front wheels and splits to the rear as required.On The Outside It’s: Here that the N-Trek specification lies. Our vehicle was in Ivory Pearl, with Caspian Blue, Gun Metallic, Redstone, Brilliant Silver, and Diamond Black the colour options at no extra cost. N-Spec adds blackouts to the body, with a black V-grille, roof rails, door handles, mirror covers, and front and rear garnishes. The alloys are machined and black painted, and 18 inches in diameter. Continental supplies the 255/60 rubber from their CrossContact LX Sport range.

Nissan changed the exterior look some years ago, moving to a more organic looking style, which does a great job of visually minimising the big 5,042mm length. It’s tall and broad too, at 1,793mm and 1,963mm. The rear lights have a hint of Subaru’s older Liberty/Outback wagon, with a distinctive forward pointing V. Up front there’s a somewhat heavy look, with a alloy hued chin splitting the black plastic that runs from front to rear.On The Inside It’s: Showing its age in a couple of key areas. The dash colours and button layouts, plus a smallish 8.0 inch touchscreen look with no visual engagement. There is no DAB, no Android Auto, no Apple CarPlay, no smartphone charge pad. The touchscreen has the standard driver alert safety message but requires a press of the OK section to access the audio or map etc. It doesn’t automatically disengage at all, irrespective of how long it’s left.However, standard leather seats with two-step heating up front, multi-position and lumbar support electrically for the driver, tilt & fold and slide centre row, and pull-strap third row seats go someway to redressing those missing features. Centre row aircon helps for those behind the front seats, and plenty of glass to the sides plus two separate glass roof inserts provide plenty of airy sensation. The second row seats have two levers to provide a fold and slide for a completely flat load area of 2,260 litres from a start point of 461L. That centre row also feels higher than the front.The main control section on the dash is where the Pathfinder’s age is apparent; it’s busy with far too many buttons to take in at a glance. When the Pathfinder powers up and the OK button is pressed, the touchscreen’s default look is a map, and it’s something probably once seen in road map books.

The driver’s info screen is better, if not quite intuitively linked to the tabs on the steering wheel. A small recessed and not especially colourful screen shows the drive mode, economy, driver and car settings etc, but a rocker tab on the tiller that one would reasonably expect to move info around is actually the station selector for the radio.Nissan, though, have hidden away a surprise or two. The touchscreen has an apps button, and this takes you through to driver oriented info such as a G-meter, fuel flow and consumption, compass and steering orientation. It’s an odd thing given what is missing, but no less odd than having a 13 speaker premium soundsystem but no digital audio…

A CD player is fitted for those that do like their digital sounds and Bluetooth phone connection with voice recognition add some extra tech. Four 12V sockets are onboard, with three up front. The centre row faces the third zone aircon controls and a pair of USB ports.Forward vision is very good except for the 10 and 2 from the driver’s seat. The A-pillars are on the thick side and provide a blind spot that on some intersections blanked off traffic.

On The Road It’s: A rolling definition of a mixed bag. The V6 is a free revver and when spun in anger emits a decently rorty tune. The CVT is never truly terrible but there’s a sense it holds back the engine’s willingness. Off the line acceleration is ok in the sense that ok is quick enough but could be better. Underway it purrs along quietly and the CVT is geared to see under 2,000rpm at highway speeds. The ratio changes are noticeable but not excessive in their obtrusiveness to the way the Pathfinder feels whilst underway, and the CVT kicks down readily when required. There’s no manual shift option but a Sport mode, via a press button on the drive lever, is available. For the most part it’s superfluous.There’s a truly odd sense to the way the steering feels too. There’s an underlying sense of weight from torque steer, especially at parking speeds, but the steering is in need of constant attention, requiring hands-on 100% of the time. This brings, then, a sense of lightness in a truly odd contrast to that torque-steer heft. For all that, it’s by no means a hard car to steer.

Ride quality hovers somewhere around good; it’s supple enough, reasonably well tied down, but does exhibit some float at the top end of the suspension travel. It stands out by doing what it’s supposed to do but it does lack that sharpness, that crispness, as found in its competition.Most road surfaces are levelled out, sketchy surfaces tend not to duly trouble it. Perhaps some of that lack of sharpness is down to the near two tonnes (dry) mass the multi-link rear and strut front suspension deals with. By the way, it’s not intended to be anything other than a gentle soft-roader, with just 180mm of clearance underneath.

What About Safety?: There is a 360 degree camera system, for starters, Blind Spot Warning, Intelligent Cruise Control, and six airbags. Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Tyre Pressure Monitoring are also standard. Just in case, there is also second and third row occupant warnings and reminders. Rear sensors are standard, yet no front sensors are fitted.

What About Service And Warranty?: Five years, unlimited kilometres, and capped price servicing. It’s a 12 month or 10,000 kilometre cycle, with costs being $290 for the first service, $309 for the next, $458 for the third, $367 for the fourth, $314 for the fifth and $502 for the sixth.

At The End Of The Drive. The extra visuals from adding N-Trek aren’t quite enough to overcome the age of the Pathfinder, with the cluttered dash and lack of now commonly accepted features (smartapps, front sensors, for example) adding to the ticks lost collection. On the plus side is the reasonably neutral ride, the flexibility of the seating, and the seven seats themselves. It’s absolutely a family oriented, and family friendly, machine, but an update to bring it closer to its immediate competition. That’s longhand for “needs to get closer to the Koreans”.

Otherwise there are a few from Europe and a couple from Japan that can be compared, both favourably and non. From our point of view, the Pathfinder isn’t quite the winner but it’s not quite the loser. Drive one yourself at your Nissan dealership and check out the ST-L here.

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.

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.

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.

 

N Is Good: Hyundai i30 Sedan N Line & Kona EV Sets Record.

Hyundai Motor Company Australia has released details of the forthcoming (last quarter, 2020) i30 Sedan N Line. With a bespoke Australian suspension tune, the i30N Sedan N Line is a step up from the striking looking i30 sedan released globally earlier in 2020 The N Line version has its own characteristics with specific performance enhancements and design motifs. This opens the door wider to more customers. Sonata N Line will also be released soon after, complete with a 2.5L turbo four.

Power is provided by a 1.6L turbo four, driving the front wheels via a six speed manual or seven speed dual clutch auto. Peak power and torque figures are 150kW and 265Nm. Paddle shifters and drive mode selections add driving spice, and stopping is brought into play from bigger front brake rotors inside 18 inch alloys. Ride comfort comes from that Aussie tuned multi-link independent rear suspension. N Line trim looks good on the steering wheel, N Sport seats with leather trimmed bolsters, and a metal accented gear selector. Alloy pedals add more visual appeal and there is a bit of tech with wireless CarPlay and Android Auto.The i30 sedan has been given N Line styling, with side skirts, gloss black moulding on the wheel wells and wing mirrors. Hyundai says the sedan has their “Parametric Dynamics” which covers the flowing lines of the body and the assertive look on the cascade grille, complete with N Line identification Aero performance and engine cooling is funneled from arrow-look air curtains in the lower corners. The profile leads the eyes towards the finely sculpted rear which has also been refined for better aero flow. There is an integrated spoiler, chromed twin pipes, and a bespoke N Line diffuser.
Naturally there is an array of safety features including Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA), Lane Keeping Assist (LKA), Lane Following Assist (LFA), High Beam Assist (HBA), Driver Attention Warning (DAW) and Blind-Spot Collision Avoidance Assist (BCA) with Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist (RCCA).

“The new i30 Sedan N Line model will appeal to customers who favour a sporty look and spirited driving performance,” said Thomas Schemera, Executive Vice President, Head of Product Division at Hyundai Motor Group. “The expanded range will help solidify i30’s position as a leader in the small car passenger segment.”

Hyundai also set a new EV record with a trio of Kona EVs traveling, separately, over 1,000 kilometres each on a single charge. 1,018.7, 1,024.1 and 1,026.0 kilometres were the distances covered and run under strict guidelines. All vehicles used in the test were factory-spec and unmodified, equipped with standard Nexen N Fera SU1 low rolling resistance tires in the 215/55R17 size. Each vehicle’s air conditioning and entertainment systems remained off, with available power used solely for propulsion. Only the daytime running lights remained on to comply with the legal requirements for road traffic.

Each distance also represents a record in terms of 64kWh battery capacity, as the power consumption figures of 6.28, 6.25 and 6.24kWh per 100 km were well below the standard value of 14.7kWh per 100km determined by the Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP). Hyundai recently announced a new sub-brand that will be called IONIQ and dedicated to purely electric vehicles.

McLaren GT: A Legend Reinvigorated.

McLaren is a name synonymous with high speed, both on a race track and for performance luxury cars. Early 2020 and the legendary brand releases a new GT, a complete reimagining and new addition to their high performance stable.

Here’s what has been made available for the 2020 McLaren GT.

The Engine.
It’s a 4.0L twin turbo V8 with 32 valves and Variable Valve Timing. It will whistle the GT to 100kph in a blink lasting just 3.2 seconds. The 200kph mark is astonishing at 9.0 seconds, on the way to a top speed of 326kph. Peak power is 456kW. Torque is 630Nm with 95% of that available at 3,500rpm. Those velocities are thanks to a dry weight of 1,466kg. Transmission is a seven speed dual-clutch auto. Claimed consumption of fuel is a UK figure of 11.9L/100km for a combined cycle. Maximum revolutions per minute are 8,500.

The Body.
It’s an evolution of the design ethos that underpins McLaren’s road cars. The body has a base construction of a bespoke MonoCell II-T carbon fibre chassis for maximum strength but minimum weight. It’s perhaps not as wild looking as some of the range but it’s purposeful, fast whilst standing still, and belies it’s 4,683mm overall length. It looks…tidier…with a sculpted front and rear, with an integrated lip spoiler. There are large rear quarter air intakes and a pair of smaller vents on the flanks and directly above the rear wheels. A subtle crease line grows from the bottom of the front air-dam to the rear of the headlight cluster, and in profile brings to mind the McLaren boomerang motif.

2020 McLaren GT upper view

Inside the 225/35/20 (front) and 295/30/21 (rear) wheels are brakes that will haul down the McLaren GT to zero from 124mph in 417 feet, or from 62mph in 105 feet. The suspension is a bespoke double wishbone layout, with adaptive settings that also allow for ride height changes, especially when parking, from 1,213mm to 1,234mm.

It’s broad, at 2,095mm and when the forward hinged, upward lifting, doors reach their highest point, it’s 1,977mm above the tarmac. The tray is completely flat and makes for exceptional high speed stability.

There is an outstanding range of colours to choose from. The default colour is the famous McLaren Silver, however a buyer can specify from the Special range colours such as Onyx Black or Storm Grey, Amaranth Red or Namaka Blue from the Elite, then go more distinctive with Helios orange or Papaya Spark, just two from the MSO Defined range.

McLaren GT front profile

The Inside.
Rather than stamp the GT with the expected wood and leather designs to say it’s a luxury sports car, McLaren embody the functional feature ideal. With optional interior trims available, McLaren have fitted brand new seats, designed and engineered for the GT. Immaculate surface detail is obvious on the trim, and that translates to the dash and console. It’s clean, uncluttered, minimalistic, yet everything is within a fingertip’s reach, including the vertically oriented touchscreen, and knurled solid aluminum switchgear as part of option packs. Black leather and aluminum trim combine for a comfortable and eye-catching steering wheel and console look.

McLaren GT interior

There are also McLaren’s own luggage components that can be purchased which will fit the cargo compartments and complement the looks. Above the passengers is an electrochromatic glass roof that has five preset shading levels and in a roof view, runs into the glazed engine cover. This also provides the lid for a 420L luggage compartment along with 150L for the “frunk” or front trunk. Cooling for the rear compartment comes from the same air intakes that push air into the engine’s radiators.

Pricing starts from US$213,200.

McLaren GT

‘Automotive Mana’ and 2020 Dual-Cab Utes

The rise of the SUV is a noted phenomenon, but an equal marvel is the greater numbers of large dual-cab utes on our roads.  The popularity of the dual-cab ute in Australia shows a trend that ain’t about to end just yet.  On any given day if you take a drive down a popular road in Australia you’re sure to come across some pretty awesome super-size pick-ups.  So what makes these vehicles so attractive? And what are the better dual-cab utes one can buy?  Let’s have a look.

Let’s ‘cut to the chase’ and quickly realise that a large number of the dual-cab utes we see are driven by people with bigger egos.  To use the Maori definition ‘Mana’ offers a politer label to go with the big ute ego.  ‘Mana” means to have great authority, presence or prestige, and so if you are seen driving these massive utes, you’re likely to satisfy your larger ego with some real ‘Automotive Mana’ and add mud plugging tyres, a raised suspension, tinted windows, a snorkel and spot lights, too.  Any big ute name like Toyota Hilux, Mazda BT-50, Nissan Navara, Ford Ranger or Mitsubishi Triton can have their utes equipped with these big ticket items.

Of course, if your work requires your need to own a big, beefy dual cab ute, then all the showy looks can be forgiven. Builders, landscapers, boat builders, contractors, farmers, engineers, they all need one!  But hey, we’d all love one!

This leads me on to what makes these road behemoths so nice to own and drive.  Here’s a short list of their great traits:

  • Load carrying ability
  • Towing ability
  • Space
  • Comfort
  • Off-roading ability
  • They’re built tough
  • They’re safe
  • Automotive Mana

Here are the best new Dual-Cab utes you can buy in 2020 that offer all the bells and whistles (Note there are other models in their line-up, but these would generally be more Spartan).  All of the following models come with premium safety, 4WD capability, big towing prowess and premium luxury:

Ford Ranger: XLT, Wildtrak, Raptor, ($57–$77k)

  • 3.2 litre TurboDiesel with 147 kW and 470 Nm, 6-speed manual and 6-speed auto, 0-100 km/h approx. 10 seconds, fuel consumption approx. 9 litres/100 km
  • 2.0 litre TurboDiesel with 157 kW and 500 Nm, 10-speed automatic, 0-100 km/h approx. 10 seconds, fuel consumption approx. 8 litres/100 km

SsangYong Musso: Ultimate XLV, Ultimate Plus XLV, ($40-$44k)

  • 2.0 litre TurboDiesel with 133 kW and 420 Nm, 6-speed manual and 6-speed auto, 0-100 km/h approx. 10 seconds, fuel consumption approx. 9 litres/100 km

Toyota Hilux: SR5, Rugged, Rugged X, Rogue, ($56–$63k)

  • 2.8 litre TurboDiesel with 130 kW and 420 Nm with the 6-speed manual and 450 Nm with the 6-speed auto, 0-100 km/h approx. 11 seconds, fuel consumption approx. 8 litres/100 km

Nissan Navara: ST-X, N-Trek, N-Trek Warrior, ($54–$66k)

  • 2.3 litre TurboDiesel with 140 kW and 450 Nm, 6-speed manual and 7-speed auto, 0-100 km/h approx. 10 seconds, fuel consumption approx. 6.5–7.0 litres/100 km

Ram 1500: Express, Laramie, ($90–$100k)

  • 5.7 litre Petrol V8 with 291 kW and 556 Nm, 8-speed auto, 0-100 km/h approx. 7 seconds, fuel consumption approx. 10–13 litres/100 km

Ram 2500: ($140k)

  • 6.7 litre TurboDiesel with 276 kW and 1084 Nm, 6-speed auto, 0-100 km/h approx. 8 seconds, fuel consumption approx. 15 litres/100 km

VW Amarok: TDI420 Core Plus, Highline 550, Ultimate 580, ($52–$73k)

  • 2.0 litre TurboDiesel with 132 kW and 400 Nm with the 6-speed manual and 420 Nm with the 8-speed auto, 0-100 km/h approx. 10.5 seconds, fuel consumption approx. 7.5 litres/100 km
  • 3.0 litre TurboDiesel with 165 kW and 500 Nm, 8-speed auto, 0-100 km/h approx. 8 seconds, fuel consumption approx. 9 litres/100 km
  • 3.0 litre TurboDiesel with 190 kW and 580 Nm, 8-speed auto, 0-100 km/h approx. 8 seconds, fuel consumption approx. 9 litres/100 km

Mitsubishi Triton: GLX+, GLS, GLS Premium, GSR, ($41–$52k)

  • 2.4 litre TurboDiesel with 133 kW and 430 Nm, 6-speed manual and 6-speed auto, 0-100 km/h approx. 10 seconds, fuel consumption approx. 8 litres/100 km

Mazda BT-50: XTR, GT, Boss, ($53–$64k)

  • 3.2 litre TurboDiesel with 147 kW and 470 Nm, 6-speed manual and 6-speed auto, 0-100 km/h approx. 10 seconds, fuel consumption approx. 10 litres/100 km

Holden Colorado: LSX, LTZ, LTZ+, Z71, ($50–$58k)

  • 2.8-litre TurboDiesel with 147 kW and 440 Nm with the 5-speed manual, with 147 kW and 500 Nm with the 6-speed auto, 0-100 km/h approx. 9.5 seconds, fuel consumption approx. 9 litres/100 km

HSV Silverado: 1500 LTZ Premium Ed. ($114k)

  • 6.2 litre Petrol V8 with 313 kW and 624 Nm, 10-speed auto, 0-100 km/h approx. 5.6 seconds, fuel consumption approx. 12.5 litres/100 km

Isuzu D-Max: LSU, LST, ($49–$55k)

  • 3.0 litre TurboDiesel with 130 kW and 430 Nm, 6-speed manual and 6-speed auto, 0-100 km/h approx. 8 seconds, fuel consumption approx. 8 litres/100 km

Jeep Gladiator: Overland, Rubicon, ($76–$77k)

  • 3.6 litre Petrol V6 with 209 kW and 347 Nm, 8-speed auto, 0-100 km/h approx. 9 seconds, fuel consumption approx. 12 litres/100 km

Just for complete ‘Automotive Mana’ status, top honours would have to go to the Ram, HSV or Jeep Gladiator.