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2020 Toyota Kluger Revealed.

Toyota has released details of the forthcoming Kluger. It stays with a petrol engine, doesn’t add a diesel, but does go to a hybrid drivetrain. The petrol V6 engine, at 3.5L and recently updated to provide 220kW, will be bolted to an eight-speed auto while the hybrid benefits from a new generation 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine matched to a hybrid powertrain.

This is shared with the current Camry range. A torque split system in the all wheel drive versions will have a mainly front drive bias, but can send up to 50% of torque to the rear as required. A torque vectoring system will add extra agility, with splits between left and right as well as front to rear.Overall, the Kluger looks familiar but is virtually a new design from the ground up. It’s slipperier which means wind and road noise should be lowered, plus a more aerodynamic shape should add extra kilometres of range per litre of fuel. The design is part of the Toyota New Generation global Architecture, or TNGA.

It will be longer by 60mm than the soon to be superseded model, allowing better access to the second and third row seats, and increasing room all around. This includes an extra 30mm slide length for the second row seats. There will be plenty of safety tech on board to protect the occupants as well.Autonomous emergency braking, radar cruise control, lane-keeping assistance, blind spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert and speed-sign recognition are expected to be standard equipment. Also expected is a 12.3 inch touchscreen, and it’s fair to expect that Android Auto and Apple CarPlay will be embedded. Outside is a slimmer, more streamlined body and will roll on 20 inch wheels for the first time.

Released at the 2019 New York Motor Show, details of on-sale date and price for Australia are yet to be confirmed.

 

 

Jeep Readies For Battle With The Gladiator.

Jeep has unveiled its four door ute. Named Gladiator, it’s a Wrangler clone from the front until the beginning of the tray. From here it gets big. 5.5 metres big. The tray itself has a unique imprint which is part of the aim to have it seen as a lifestyle vehicle, not a “tradie’s ute”. For the family oriented, a dirt bike imprint in the front of the tray says straight away it’s for fun, not work. Backing that up is the set of four tie down points to help strap in the two wheelers.

Jeep have also ensured that when the going gets tough, it’s up to the task. The body underneath is steel, ensuring there is plenty of strength. The lower sides of the Gladiator are alloy.

Power will come from the 3.6L V6 petrol, and eventually a 3.0L diesel. Drive to the ground will pass through an eight speed auto with six speed manuals available overseas. Both engines will have ESS, Engine Stop Start, and the petrol engine will pump out 212kW. Peak torque should be around 350Nm. The diesel’s peak torque should be nudging 600Nm. Grunt gets to the dirt or tarmac via front and rear lockable diffs and sway bars with electronic disengagement. These go with a design line from Jeep: fit a 1.5m long tub, serious off-road chops, and carry a full sized spare wheel underneath the tray. That’s a hefty part of the brief, that last part, as in Rubicon spec the wheel’s overall diameter is 35 inches. And being Wrangler based, a removeable roof and doors, along with a folding forward front screen comes as part of the package.

Inside it’s standard Jeep, with a squared, blocky, design ethos. An infotainment screen of 7.0 inches or 8.4 inches will provide smartphone access and mirroring, and in the Rubicon will show pitch angles, plus a front facing camera shows the driver the forthcoming trail. This can be of importance as the length of the Gladiator means that agility may not be up to the standard shorter vehicles have. However, the Gladiator will have a ride setup at the rear that’s been adapted from the even bigger RAM1500, meaning that the jiggly ride a shorter wheelbase car may exhibit should be pretty much dialled out. Want to go “swimming”? The Gladiator will ford up to 30 inches.

The Gladiator is expected to have Autonomous Emergency Braking and adaptive cruise control, along with blind spot and rear cross traffic alerts. Warranty should be five years

Estimated prices are somewhere around $55K as a starter with a current estimated top whack of around $80k. Naturally these are subject to change. Register at Jeep Australia’s website for upcoming information.

 

Labor Says 50% Electric Cars By 2030….Can It Be Done?

In what could be a crucial first shot for the environmentalists vote in an upcoming Australian Federal election, Labor leader Bill Shorten has stated a couple of goals need to be achieved in respect to electric vehicles. The goals themselves are simple to read.

By 2030 half of all new vehicle sales are to be of the electric variety. By 2025 half of the Australian government’s fleet are to be electric. A change to the taxation structure for businesses needs to be implemented, in that an allowable deduction of 20% for depreciation for private fleet EVs of a cost of over $20,000.

 

Sounds relatively simple. However, the devil is in the detail. There are self-interest groups such as the Australian Institute of Petroleum. There are the pricing issues of EVs versus petrol/diesel/hybrid cars. Then there are the human factors such as “range anxiety”, a lack of knowledge of where charging points are, and even a push-back against the technology itself. There are elements of distrust to be overcome also, and yet there are a couple of fair questions, such as the cost of a replacement EV battery, and the ecological impact of dissecting and recycling (if possible) the battery’s elements.

Charge Points.
https://www.drivezero.com.au/electric-car-charging-stations/ is one of many sites to use but the end result is that maps do show just how accessible a charge point is, and this site also shows state by state and the kind of plugs available.

Cost.
It is, absolutely no doubt, a barrier. It’s been raised over and over again and although a brand or two can be pointed to as being “exxy”, in real terms an EV is far cheaper than what they potentially could be. But then there is the actual CHARGE cost. WhichCar editor David Bonnici provided some figures in late 2018, saying: the new Nissan Leaf consumes 10kWh/100km. If you’re paying 0.28c per kWh (an average price during peak periods within Victoria) it will cost you $2.80 (10kW x 0.28) to charge it enough to travel 100km. The Leaf has a claimed 400km range, which means a full charge will cost you $11.20 ($2.80 x 4).

When plasma TVs then LCD TVs were introduced, their costs were seen as stupidly prohibited, with rumours at the time of release of a TV network, being an early adopter, paying $30K for a 42 inch plasma. Plasma has gone the way of the dodo and now 8K tv is on its way, which will spur the production of 8K content, even as DVD still, somehow, manages to hang on. The screens have come down in cost and by huge margins. In screen size and in quality those have gone up. The point here is that technology has a habit of dropping in real price terms for the level of tech being offered. There is simply no reason to expect EVs to reverse that trend and the Tesla Model 3 is an example of that.

Then: The Jaguar I-Pace on the other hand is rated at 19kWh/100km, which means it costs $5.32 for a 100km trip and $25.53 for a full charge to travel its claimed 480km range. Considering the ridiculous fluctuation in unleaded petrol prices, which at the time of writing are around $1.40 for E10, that charge cost isn’t so hard to deal with.

Charge Time:
The timeframe for a partial or empty to full charge is also coming down, with better battery charging technology making substantial differences. The Nissan Leaf, for example has varying rates depending on source. Starting from a depleted battery, about 20 hours at 110-120V (depending on amperage), approximately 7 hours at 208-240V (depending on amperage) and about 30 minutes at 480V (quick-charging station).

Tesla’s solar powered and battery fueled supercharger stations offer a different setup. The supercharging stations charge with up to 135 kW of power distributed between two cars with a maximum of 120 kW per car. They take about 20 minutes to charge to 50%, 40 minutes to charge to 80%, and 75 minutes to 100% on the original 85 kWh Model S.

Summation:
This article was NOT intended to be an in-depth industry look. It was intended to provide a general overview at what is involved in the EV business. It is not intended to be an endorsement or dis-endorsement of a Labor policy. There is and will continue to be misinformation and misunderstanding and lack of knowledge of where to go for a charge but that information is readily available as fact.

The answer to the question posed is yes. It can be done. There are a few VERY important factors to be overcome, such as infrastructure, information provision, and perceived cost. And then there is the perception of how a purely electric vehicle drives.

That’s simple. Go and drive one. Companies have vehicles for demonstration. And there really is no better demonstration of one brand’s ability than this (with thanks to our friends at CarAdvice): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6eGhjhx8O9M

Car Review: 2019 Lexus UX 2.0L & 2.0L Hybrid.

This Car Review Is About:
The “baby” Lexus UX (Urban cross-over)SUV. It slots into a small to mid-sized SUV bracket. There are two engine choices and three trim levels in the range; a 2.0L, and two hybrids designated 250h. There is Luxury, F-Sport, and Sports Luxury, and the hybrids have two different drive-trains. One is front wheel drive, the other is all wheel drive. Both have a 2.0L petrol engine alongside the hybrid system with the AWD having a small, separate, motor for the rear wheels, called the E-Four system. Peak power is rated as 126kW in the non-hybrid, and 107kW in the hybrid according to the brochure, but the website says 131kW for the hybrids as a combined figure. Torque is 205Nm for the non-hybrid, the hybrid 202Nm, with the hybrid’s torque said to be on tap between 4400rpm to 5200rpm for the petrol engine. Economy is rated as 5.8L/100km for the standard version, and 4.5L or 4.7L per 100km for the 2WD and AWD, from the 47L or 43L tanks. Transmissions are the new D-CVT, with a fixed first gear for better acceleration for the non-hybrid and a ten speed CVT for the hybrids. Prices are a little complicated:

Both the UX 200 and hybrid 2WD can be specced in Luxury, Sports Luxury, and F Sport form. The aforementioned AWD is not available in Luxury spec.

According to the Lexus website the driveaway starting prices are around $50,900 for the entry level, $54,600 for the 2WD, and $68,300 for the all wheel drive but the various trim levels don’t seem to be able to be factored in. But…without driveaway pricing the list looks like this. UX 200 Luxury kicks off at $44,450, $53,000 for the Sports Luxury, then $53,450 for the Sports Luxury. Then in the hybrid engine family it starts at $47,950 for the 2WD Luxury, $56,500 for the Sports Luxury and $56,950 for F Sport. Go nuts for the AWD pair and it’s $61,000 for the Sports Luxury and $61,450 for the F Sports.

There there are the option packs. Luxury Pack 1 is $1,550 which includes Hands-free power tailgate, wireless charger, alloy scuff plates, headlamp washer, rear privacy glass, cornering lamp. Pack 2 is $4,050 which is Pack 1 plus a moonroof. The F Sport moonroof is $2500. Then there is the $5600 F Sport Enhancement Pack. This lobs in the moonroof, a punchy 13-speaker Mark Levinson hifi (with all models having a built in DVD player), head-up display, panoramic view monitor and smart key card. THEN there is the $3500 Sports Luxury enhancement pack which adds moonroof, head-up display and smart key card. Got all that? Good.

On The Inside Is:
A car built on the Lexus Global Architecture C platform, which includes the Corolla hybrid and C-HR. It’s a mostly well packaged setup. Front seat leg/head/shoulder room is fine. However rear seat leg room can potentially be compromised. The UX has memory seating and the driver’s seat automatically slides back, and at full stretch is pretty close to the rear seat. Once moved forward, rear seat leg room becomes ok, but not fantastic. Both front seats are heated and vented. The seats front and rear sit inside a 2640mm wheelbase, and that’s inside the overall 4495mm length.Lexus offers a range of interior colours for the materials, with the two cars tested coming with F-Sport White with black accents, and F-Sport Flared Red. The actual materials depend on which trim level has been specified. There is a heightened sense of quality and appeal to the hybrid’s interior trim, with the standard version looking plain and cheap in some areas of the dash.It’s largely a standard Lexus look, with the widescreen information display, analogue dial clock, and console mounted trackpad. It’s still never fully intuitive even with settings to adjust the sensitivity. The UX features a slightly different look to the section south of the trackpad, with four separate tabs to access the radio, stations, and more. The driver’s display has the moving dial that slides left and right, and depending on which orientation it’s in, allows different sporting information such as tyre pressures or a “g-sensor” to show how the UX is moved around. Sports Drive modes are accessed from the binnacle mounted rotary dial. The drive selector is a traditional T-bar style. Wireless smartphone charging is standard also as is a powered steering column.

At the rear is a kick activated tailgate. This reveals a high cargo floor, meaning a little extra work is required to place luggage or shopping. As a result of the height, overall capacity is moderate, with 330L an average between the variations. Only the entry level gets a spare, and it’s a space saver at that.Audio comes from a Lexus bespoke system or Mark Levinson system, with DAB, Bluetooth, and an in-dash DVD player. Punchy, clear, beautiful.

On The Outside Is:An edgy, angular mix, with the Lexus spindle grille front and centre. A striking feature of the UX’s rear is the mix of full body width tail light and aerodynamically positive light clusters. In fact, the whole body is edgy to assist air flow up and over, and along the sculpted sides. However, the rear indicators aren’t what we’ve seen on other Lexus vehicles, with a broad sweep from inside to out. These are normal flashers and small to the eye at that. Front lights are self-levelling LEDs, and have the eponymous L shaped LED driving lights.In profile a low roof line emphasises the height of the nose section and not quite semi-circle wheel arches that flow gracefully into the wing mirrors up front and mirror the aero of the tail light cluster. 17 and 18 inch alloys with dark gunmetal paint contrasted with the Celestial Blue and White Nova colours as supplied. Rubber is from Dunlop, 225/50 on 18s for the F-Sport and Sports Luxury, and 215/60/17s for the Luxury.On The Road It’s:
Two different kinds of cheeses, as opposed to chalk and cheese. The standard 2.0L launches hard, the hybrid launches harder. Considering kerb weights starting at 1490kg through to just under 1700kg, the feel is good. Both CVTs act like CVTs on a light throttle, and move towards more traditional auto changes with a heavier foot. The steering is a variable ratio setup and works best at slow speeds such as parking in carparks. Oddly, it also feels as if the turning centrepoint is almost underneath the driver’s seat.

The standard UX is softer in the rear than the hybrid provided, and both exhibited the same rear end lateral skip on the sweeping right hnader that has an expansion joint running across. Call it bump steer for the rear. It’s a MacPherson strut front and trailing wishbone rear, by the way. On the flat roads it’s stable, comfortable, well damped in both, and only on the worst of the coarse chip covered tarmacs did tyre noise make its way through.

Brakes felt marginally better in the hybrid, not unexpectedly, and the dash in the hybrid has the traditional energy expenditure/recovery display to give the driver an idea.

The Safety Systems Are:
Lacking for nothing. AEB, Forward Collision Alert, Blind Sport Alert, Parking Assist, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Radar Active Cruise Control, Substantial. Lexus call the umbrella package Lexus Safety System +. Items like auto headlights, wipers, and tyre pressure warning are also standard.And The Warranty Is:
Starting to fall behind. Standard warranty is just four years, and considering Toyota recently moved to five it’s not unreasonable to presume Lexus will do the same…eventually.

At The End Of The Drive.
They make for a nice pair of cars but even with a pair of ISOFIX child seat mounts, AWT can’t shake the niggling feeling that Lexus has set the UX to be the entry level to the Lexus SUV range. There is barely enough room for older primary school aged children in the rear seats and the layout of the cargo space speaks the same story.

Hyundai Kona Electric Is Revealed.

Hyundai Australia has teased and drip-fed information about the fully electric Kona, and now have provided a full overview. There are two crucial points in the information, with the first being the expected usable range from a full charge. That’s 449km. The second is the retail price. That’s $59,990 plus on road and government costs.80% charge from zero can be reached in as little as 54 minutes when plugged into a 100kWh charger, otherwise will take longer from the more easily accessible charging stations and from a home based charger. A 50kWh charger will take 75 minutes to reach 80% whilst the onboard 7.2kWh charger will take over nine hours using a domestic current setup.Power and torque from the 64kWh battery powered motor is substantial. It’s rated at 150kW, and 395Nm of torque. They’re good enough to get the Kona Electric to 100km/h in 7.6 seconds. Drive is via a single gear style transmission, and the Kona Electric has a regenerative system that can be adjusted on the fly via the paddle shifters. Smart technology allows the driver to bring the vehicle to a stop simply by holding the left paddle.There will be two model levels, the Elite and Highlander. Both will have the same drivetrain. Both will feature the same high specification safety package as well. Called SmartSense it features Forward Collision Avoidance Assist, Forward Collision Warning, Smart Cruise Control with a Stop and Go function, and a Driver Attention Warning to alert drivers of potential fatigue.

Lane Keep Assist, Blind Sport Collision Warning and Rear Cross Traffic Collision Warning will also be standard. Also standard will be DAB+ pumping through an eight speaker Infinity system, Apple CarPLay and Android Auto, Bluetooth connectivity, and accessed via an 8.0 inch touchscreen. Highlander gains wireless charging for compatible smartphones, a glass roof, powered front seats with venting and heating, and a heated tiller. Extra tech comes in the forms of a Head Up Display, High Beam Assist, LED lighting front and rear, and a frontal park assist system. Hyundai Auto Link, a smart app, allows owners to stay in contact and monitor their car. A SIM module is required for the Kona Electric.The exterior has some discernible changes compared to its petrol powered sibling, notably the closed in front end. The rear bumper has been reprofiled for better airflow, and the rear lower lights have been given a change too. Wheels will be 17 inches in diameter. A choice of six colours (metallic is a $595 option), Galactic Grey and Phantom Black, Ceramic Blue, Pulse Red, Lake Silver and Chalk White, come with choices (depending on exterior colour) of interior trim. and a no cost two-tone body & roof option on Highlander will be made available.

Ride quality should be on point, thanks to the local engineering and development team. An independent multi-link rear and MacPherson strut front have been fettled to suit the weight and balance of the battery powered Kona. 15 front and 22 rear suspension designs were looked at, along with six spring and damper combinations.Andrew Tuitahi, the Hyundai Motor Company Australia Senior Manager of Product Planning said:“The low centre of mass brings lots of benefits that seem obvious, but also many challenges that were new to us. This demanded different damper design and spring choices, to the end that Kona Electric shares very little in its ride and handling package with its petrol-powered sibling.”“The Kona Electric powertrain and weight distribution required a very different approach to tuning compared with the conventionally engined Kona, and naturally defined a different brief.” He also said: “The powertrain is so silky-smooth and quiet, we felt that it demanded a smooth and quiet ride quality to match. In meeting our standard for comfort and dynamic ability, the vehicle we have ended up with is full of character and charm.”

Here and there are aspects of weight saving, such as the alloy front control arms, Advanced High Strength Steel (10% lighter and twice as rigid as normal mild steel), plus adhesives to back up welding points.

Servicing is every 15,000 kilometres and comes with a fixed $165 cost. The abttery comes with a 8 year or 160,000 kilometre warranty. Contact your Hyundai dealer for more details.

Kia Drops Optima, Hyundai Unveils Sister Sonata.

Kia Australia has announced that the under-performing Optima is to be dropped from the Australian lineup. With the medium car segment shrinking and Optima moving just 54 units in January and February of 2019, the handsome and stylish front wheel drive machine is destined to be deleted as a sales choice by year’s end. However, as good a car as it is with a superb ride and sharp handling, the fact that the sales of the bigger Stinger have increased, and with close to 2000 units moved last year, but just eight percent of those being the sparkling turbo four as found in the Optima, the Optima’s future is clouded.

Kia itself has declared its electric intent, with the Soul looking to move to a purely electric platform. The petrol version’s sales has collapsed, and rather than continue with either the petrol or hybrid versions, as another small SUV is planned for Australia, Kia Australia will trial the Soul as a battery powered option only. Kia has also waved goodbye to the almost invisible Rondo.The newly updated Cerato hatch and sedan have grown in size, and by becoming closer overall to the Optima, and now packing turbo engines in the GT options, have given buyers a choice largely no longer taken up in the medium sedan segment.Kia’s majority shareholder owner, Hyundai, has unveiled their new Sonata though. Sister car to the Optima, the 2020 Sonata debuts a new design and features a more coupe styling. The rear features lights that do more than nod towards a Swedish influence, whilst the new nose has strong influences from the European mainland makers. Inside Hyundai have moved towards the Japanese and European high dash mounted screen as seen in Audi and Lexus, for two examples.Overall height is down by 30mm, whilst overall width is up by 25mm. This gives the 2020 Sonate a sleeker and more purposeful stance on road. That’s helped by a longer body and wheelbase of 45mm and 35mm respectively.

The current expected release date is in late 2019.

Car Review: 2018MY Toyota Prado GXL

This Car Review Is About:
A vehicle from Toyota that I had not driven before. With such an extensive range of vehicles from Toyota, the Prado was the one that has eluded the review section. Unless if you count the FJ Cruiser, which was loosely based on the Prado. We tested the GXL spec Prado, the second level of four, with the model receiving a light freshen up in mid 2018 that changed one key feature….Under The Bonnet Is:
A diesel engine of 2.8L capacity. The 4.0L petrol V6 is long gone. Transmission is a choice of six speeds, with a manual or self shifter. It’s a permanent four wheel drive, with a simple choice of high or low range. The test vehicle has the auto, making great use of the 450Nm and 130kW. Toyota quotes a combined fuel consumption figure of 8.0L per 100 kilometres. Our mainly urban cycle finished on a reasonable 10.8L/100km. That’s from a 2,325kg plus fuel and cargo machine. Towing for the auto is rated up to 3,000kg braked, 2,500kg braked for the manual.On The Inside Is:
Clear evidence of a design that is some years old now. Seven seats aside, it’s the look and feel from the driver’s seat that tells the story of how easy it is to update an exterior, and not so for the inside.Plastics have a slightly tired look and feel, the centre dash stack has an outdated silver hue, and the overall design is a number of squares and rectangles, lacking the wraparound style now more commonly seen. The seats are of a smooth vinyl/leather look in the test car, with leather accented seats listed as optional for the GXL. Also optional (and fitted to the test car) are heated and vented facilities. These are operated via dials in the centre console.The centre stack is, aside from the silver hue, ergonomic in layout. The lower section has a soft touch lid that sits above the 4WD high and low range dial and the tabs for the centre and rear locking differentials. Up top is an eight inch touchscreen with AM/FM, no DAB for the GXL, and Bluetooth streaming. Satnav is standard. The driver’s dash dials are analogue in the GXL, and the centre 3.5 inch screen is typical Toyota.Centre and rear seats are comfortable enough and easily moved when required. Toyota goes with the best way to move the rear seats and that’s with the tried and proven pull strap system. The right hand side vertically hinged door provides easy access to the rear section but it’s also here that Prado suffers by not being a dedicated people mover. With the third row up storage is just 120L. With them folded it’s a more reasonable 480L, then 1833L with the centre row down. The rears eats also have their own aircon controls, making for a three zone system.On The Outside Is:
A strong family resemblance to the Land Cruiser is engineered in thanks to a smoother look. The front and rear design do away with the edges and, as a result, with a more smoother and rounded look, looks more like the Land Cruiser than before. The LED driving lights and slimline headlights also bring more of the family look.The biggest change to the design, one that seems almost invisible before the head slap is the removal of the tail gate mounted spare wheel. It’s now located under the rear seats, underneath the car itself. Aesthetically it looks better but it reduces the mass on the door and makes it easier to operate. The door itself has a horizontally hinged glass door for access if required.The overall Prado design hasn’t changed since the very first model. High riding, a blunt & bluff nose, a solid looking glasshouse, and a kink to the rear window & door line. Rubber is big as well, with Dunlop AT20 Grand Trek 265/60 tyres on classic 6 spoke 17 inch alloys.On The Road It’s:
Somewhat rubbery in the steering, but that seems to be more along the lines of allowing for off-road action. That 450Nm is between 1600 to 2400rpm for the auto, and makes for effortless driving in virtually all conditions. Off the line is a moment of hesitation, then the turbo kicks in and the torque does its job.Braking is responsive and needs to be with the bulk of the Prado. The pedal bites easily and is delicious in its feedback through the travel, amuch needed sensation and again related to the mass. There is some body roll at highway speeds and moving lane to lane, otherwise it’s minimal.Off road the Prado got to show off its much vaunted ability. And in no way did it develop in a driver any sense of disappointment thanks to the double wishbone front/4 link rear suspension. Up and down rocky, gravelly, muddy roads, though deep washaways and soft surfaces, the Prado’s legendary prowess was well and truly displayed. Put into low range, with diff locks and hill descent control engaged, it crawled liked a seasoned soldier through a tactical course. Grip was confident, assured, composed, with the slightly soft steering now showing why. With the front wheels moving around, it allows a more intuitive control when off road. And when engaging low range, it brings up on the driver’s dash a clinometer, showing side and fore and aft angles. Approach angles of 30.4 and 23.5 degrees make for largely easy access in and out.The Safety Systems Are:
Substantial. The automatic gets a hefty dose of safety. Under the name of Toyota Safety Sense the GXL has Lane Departure Alert, Pre-Collision Warning with pedestrian alert, auto high beam, and Active Cruise Control. The GXL has rear sensors but dips out on front sensors as standard. Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Blind Spot Monitor are also not on the GXL, but standard on VX and Kakadu.

And The Warranty Is:
Very good. Every new Toyota bought after January 1, 2019, has a standard five year warranty. Unlimited kilometres is part of the package and Toyota ups the ante by offering a full seven years if the Prado is serviced as per the vehicle’s logbook requirements. Servicing is $240 including GST for the first six services for three years or 60,000 kilometres.At The End Of The Drive.
The 2019 Toyota Prado GXL is a Toyota four wheel drive through and through. The off-road ability is undoubted, and on road it’s decent enough. Outside it’s benefiting from a stronger family resemblance to the 200 Series Land Cruiser but it’s inside that the packaging will benefit from an update.

Regardless, after AWT’s first drive, it didn’t disappoint. Go and find your inner Prado here.

Mazda3 Hatch And Sedan Go Uncluttered For 2019.

Mazda has gone deep into its Kodo: Soul of Motion design language for its forthcoming Next-Gen Mazda3. For sedan and hatch, Mazda3 has been given a complete reskin and separately. There are just two panels that are shared between them. A standout in the hatch design is the striking and solid C pillar that wraps around from the lowest section of the rear bumper to form a seamless curve through to the A pillar.The sedan is a beautifully sculpted exhibition of smooth, flowing, almost waterfall like, sheetmetal in contrast and perhaps does a better job of defining Kodo. Low slung, it empahasises muscular haunches and wide, sporty profile.

Mazda have given the hatch a little extra to help it stand out further. It’s coated in a unique body colour offering called Polymetal Grey Metallic. This gives glossy smoothness over the hard appearance of metal.

Mazda calls the connection between car and driver Jinba-Ittai. It’s a “less is more” mantra from the Japanese company, with a simple and elegantly laid out cabin that “centres” the driver.The instrument cluster has three meters, and along with the angle of the steering wheel and aircon vents, create a symmetry for the driver’s location. The redesigned dash also repositions the climate control panel, passenger vents, and ancilliary controls for a better, more efficient, usage pattern.Information pertinent to driving is now more clearly displayed, thanks to a redesign of Mazda’s Human Machine Interface (HMI). Now standard equipment, the newly added TFT LCD meter, windscreen projected Active Driving Display and the larger 8.8-inch infotainment display are streamlined in their presentation of information and fonts are unified, effectively reducing driver distraction by ease of comprehension.Mazda call their entertainment system Mazda Connect, and it’s been improved for faster performance, and smoother, more human friendly, operation. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay have been added as standard equipment.

More human centric focus has been put upon the centre console, with a redesign making for more room, and by placing the gear selector forward and higher, that becomes a more natural “fall to hand” item. Sounds comes from either an eight speaker or Bose twelve speaker system.Mazda went hard on improving the ambience of the Mazda3, with a new process for the laying of gloss black lacquer for the gear selector surround adding extra depth, and even a new weave for the cloth, plus a new styling for the leather seats.Safety goes to a new level with Front Cross Traffic Alert, a driver monitoring camera, Mazda Radar Cruise Control, Smart Brake Support, Lane Keep Assist, and Lane Departure Warning, plus a driver’s knee airbag as standard. Higher tensile strength steel is used in the chassis manufacturing, with an increase of 27% of what’s called 980MPa steel.

Ride quality will improved from a rejigged suspension. Overall weight has been reduced, with a lighter sprung mass meaning sharper response in handling. Improved MacPherson struts and a new torsion beam rear add to the package.

The 2.0L and 2.5L engines have been massaged, with optimised intake ports and piston shape, split fuel injection, a coolant control valve and cylinder deactivation for the 2.5L to deliver higher levels of dynamic performance, fuel economy and environmental friendliness.The 2.0L engine offers 114kW at 6,000rpm and 200Nm of torque at 4,000rpm. The 2.5L has a maximum power output of 139kW at 6,000rpm and 252Nm of torque at 4,000rpm. The Skyactiv-X system features a world first. It’s the usage of a new combustion method. It’s called Spark Controlled Compression Ignition (SPCCI) and which gives the superior initial response and powerful torque of a diesel engine, combined with the faithful linear response to rapid accelerator pedal action and free-revving performance of a petrol engine.

Available in the second quarter of 2019 the pricing starts from $24,990 for the G20 Pure with manual transmission. The top-grade G25 Astina now starts at $36,990 for the manual variant. The Polymetal Grey Metallic is an option at $495. Contact your Mazda dealer for more information.

HiAce Goes Out Of The Box.

Toyota’s venerable HiAce light commercial van has gone from a smooth, ovoid, mid sized van to a boxy and bigger version. Although not in the same capacity range as a Sprinter from Mercedes-Benz of a Trafic from Renault, its more compact size has allowed thousands of people to become a courier delivery driver, a taxi, or a people mover.Due for a mid 2019 release, the latest version has had one very noticeable design change. Gone is the long standing blunt nose, finally replaced with a semi-bonneted design. This has the end effect of engineers providing a stiffer chassis that offers an improvement in straight line performance and stability. Manoeuvrability from a range of more pliant suspensions is an extra bonus with new MacPherson struts being part of the uprated suspension system. The rear has newly designed leaf springs, with an increase of length of 200 mm adding an extra 30 mm of travel for a more compliant ride.Seating will range from a two seater version on a long wheelbase (LWB) and super long wheel base (SLWB), a five seater LWB van, and a super long wheelbase (SLWB) 12 seater commuter van.

Motorvation has changed as well. There will be two new engines – a 2.8-litre four-cylinder turbocharged diesel or a 3.5-litre naturally aspirated petrol poweplant, both available with six-speed manual or automatic transmissions. Confirmation of power, torque, and consumption will be made available closer to the release date.A hallmark of the HiAce has been its cargo carrying ability and has been maintained at a maximum of 6.2 cubic metres for the lLWB wheel base and 9.3 cubic metres for the SLWB thanks to the redesign that offers clever packaging which increases internal width by 215mm and height by 5mm without altering overall exterior width. The SLWB two-seat van is capable of accommodating Australian standard pallets (1165mm x 1165mm) through its wider sliding side doors. Inside will be a range of mounting points to help secure cargo.

Sean Hanley, Toyota Australia’s vice president of sales & marketing, says: “Importantly, we anticipate even better whole-of-life costs with excellent reliability and resale value along with minimal downtime and affordable maintenance. The semi-bonnet design makes it significantly easier and quicker to replace parts such as the oil and air filters, battery, and coolant. In addition to being highly capable right off the showroom floor, all-new HiAce has been designed to offer immense flexibility through conversions and customisation to meet varied business and personal needs.”

The expected safety rating is five stars, thanks again to the redesigned chassis, and with up to nine airbags being fitted depending on version. Pre-collision warning with cyclist and pedestrian detection, autonomous emergency braking, and reversing camera are complemented by a digital rear view camera that can be fitted as an option.

Extra design features make the new HiAce just that little bit more human friendly too. The doors have a lower edge and sit over a wider step for easier access. The window glass is larger for better vision and a lower beltline means better side vision.Pricing for the 2019 Toyota HiAce is yet to be confirmed.

AEB. What Is Autonomous Emergency Braking?

A recent announcement that says Australia has signed off to have all vehicle brought to the country fitted with Autonomous Emergency Braking has some far reaching implications for how people drive and the potential for lives to be saved. But what exactly is AEB?

Autonomous: the system acts independently of the driver to avoid or mitigate the accident.
Emergency: the system will intervene only in a critical situation.
Braking: the system tries to avoid the accident by applying the brakes.

Most AEB systems use radar, a pair of cameras and/or lidar-based technology to identify potential collision partners ahead of the car. This information is combined with what the car knows of its own travel speed thanks to internal sensors and direction of travel to determine whether or not a critical or potentially dangerous situation is developing. If a potential collision is detected, AEB systems generally, though not exclusively, first try to avoid the impact by warning the driver that action is needed.

This could be in the form of a visual warning such as dashboard mounted flashing lights, or physical warnings. If no action is taken and a collision is still expected, the system will then apply the brakes. Some systems apply full braking force, others may be more subtle in application. Either way, the intention is to reduce the speed with which the potential collision takes place. Some systems deactivate as soon as they detect avoidance action being taken by the driver. However, some vehicles provide false positives, where the system reads an object not in the path of the vehicle as a collision potential.

But wait, there’s more. Most early systems were configured to warn of larger objects such as cars. Developments have seen these being finessed into providing pedestrian warning as well, a boon considering the semeing rise of those under the thrall of smartphones and screen time as they walk blithely unaware into the path of oncoming traffic.

The aforementioned agreement now means that it won’t be just passenger vehicles such as a sedan or wagon being fitted with AEB, it means that SUVs and vehicles such as 4WD capable utility vehicles must also receive the upgrade. ANCAP and Euro NCAP found in 2015 that the inclusion of AEB led to a 38 per cent reduction in rear-end crashes at low speed. That will change under UN requirements which set strict minimum standards requiring vehicles to be able to take action from speeds up to 60km/h, and come to complete stop when traveling at 30km/h or less. Therefore the expectation is that the percentage will increase. However the technology will not stop one crucial part of the driving equation occuring: the idiot that believes road rules don’t apply to them.