As seen on:

SMH Logo News Logo

Call 1300 303 181

Buy A New Car

Peugeot 3008 GT-Line: Private Fleet Car Review.

This Car Review Is About: Peugeot’s rather cute 3008 mid-sizer SUV. There are three trim levels, being the Allure, GT-Line, and GT, a slightly odd naming choice.

What Does It Cost?: The GT-Line is one a drive-away special, at $49,990 plus an extras pack which includes a glass roof and special leather seats. The Allure and GT are also on a drive-away special. $39,990 for the Allure and $55,990 and the GT also includes the extras.

Under The Bonnet Is: A 1.6L turbo 95RON petrol four for the Allure and GT-Line, with a 2.0L diesel for the GT. Transmission for the GT-Line is Peugeot’s EAT-6 auto, a reworking of the torque converter style that feels like a dual-clutch transmission.Spin the engine out to 6,000 revs and peak power is 121kW. Peak twist comes in at just 1,400rpm, and there are 240 torques to play with. The Efficient Automatic Transmission six speed is a bit of a handful at zero velocity, just like a DCT, however is pretty usable when up and running.

Economy for the 1.6L four varies quite a bit. 9.8L per 100km for the city cycle, 5.3L for the highway, equaling an average for the combined of 7.0L/100km. We finished at 8.5L/100km for our mainly suburban cycle which really shows out the positives and negatives of a car’s drivetrain.On The Outside It’s: Not as big as it looks. It’s compact in length at just 4,447mm in length yet the curvy styling makes it look longer. Height is 1,624mm allowing for good headroom inside, and width is 1,826mm sans mirrors. The wheels are good looking machined alloys and grey painted with Michelin rubber for an overall size of 205/55/19.There is a powered tail-gate with a low loading lip making loading a week’s groceries a doddle, black polyurethane from front to rear, and a front end splashed with chrome for the grille & driving light surrounds. There’s also a strip above the moulding that links the front and rear doors. There is an alloy look plate for the chin of the front end. the headlights are slimline and feature the shark-fin insert Peugeot’s stylists have chosen to identify their SUVs. This is also the start of a strong line that draws the eye downwards to the alloy chin. It’s almost the same at the rear, with a signature triple “claw” look in the rights. It’s not unfair to say the 3008 is a pretty car with plenty of Gallic flair, yet it was invisible to many, with barely a head turned here and there. What does is the clearly define puddle lamp logo at night.On The Inside It’s: A true delight visually. The seats that come as part of the extras pack are jet black, white stitched, and have a thick diamond design. There are memory settings for the driver’s seat, and venting on a separate switch as the heating switches are up on the dash. Here also are switches, looking like aviation style activators, for the audio, navigation, vehicle settings etc, and they’re sinfully easy to operate. Front and centre is the 8.0 inch touchscreen, the hub for most of the 3008 GT-Line’s functions including aircon. It’s perhaps here that manual controls as an adjunct wouldn’t go astray as trying to adjust on the move is, like all touchscreens, a distraction. Audio is DAB equipped and the quality is superb.Peugeot go for that French chic look with a grey, almost denim feel, material that sweeps from the ends of the dash into the doors. The upper section draws a line that rolls around from one door to the other and encompasses the base of the windscreen. Right down the centre is a classy looking chromed strip that forms a “c” and also delineates the passenger’s section from the driver’s. It’s a scrumptious interior, it looks and feels fantastic, A visual feast is had in the driver’s binnacle and Peugeot call this the i-cockpit. This full colour 12.3 inch diameter screen can show a number of different displays, such as a pair of traditional dials (lit in a glorious golden bronze) or virtually nothing, and plenty in between. The smaller main touchscreen is the same, with a very tidy layout and doubling up on some of the features the tabs below activate. The centre console has a deep bin, accessed via bifold doors, plus the cup holders are illuminated in a soft blue light. This also lights up the rim of the glass roof. Unlike the dash display, which has the differing looks, the blue is the only colour available.

Passenger space in the rear is more than adequate for leg and head room, whereas shoulder room is ideal for two adults, three being a tad squeezy. However two ISOFIX brackets make for no problems for the family. Aircon vents are a nice touch too are are the rubber studded alloy pedals and the slightly awkwardly located smartphone charge pad.The cargo space is decent enough for most people at 591L, and increases to 1,670L with seats folded. Underneath the cargo floor is a space saver spare. There’s some extra cargo space here if needed but more for smaller items.On The Road It’s: A very enjoyable drive, but. That “but” is the DCT feel to the transmission. The drive selector is a pistol-grip style with a button on the right hand side to unlock before a rocker back or forth for Drive or Reverses. park is electronic and situated on the far top end. From Start the transmission takes a few moments to engage when moving from Drive to Reverse, and vice versa. Coupled with the turbo lag it’s not always the best combination, especially when trying to get across an intersection.

Highway driving through the gears shows that it’s a slick, swift, smooth, and quiet change, but also leaves the driver wondering why the eight speed hasn’t been fitted for better economy. Manual changing is available via the paddle shifts on the column, and Sports mode is typical in that it does little more than hold gears longer. There’s a typically linear turbo response, with an easy progression forward, and only occasionally does it feel that 240Nm wasn’t enough. It’s no sink you into the seat rush, but it’s not a sports intended SUV either. Steering is rapid in response, with only a hint of numbness on centre. Having the smaller wheel brings in its own feeling, with a sense of a lesser need to expend energy, but without losing that sense of touch as well.

It’s the same with the suspension. It’s not quite as well tuned as the RAV4, for example, but nor is it excessively soft or lacking in composure. It absorbs most normal road irregularities well enough, and rebounds a little more than one would expect. Not that it ever threatened to lose a modicum of composure, however, but in the ride stakes it’s been left behind by the latest as this is a design nudging four years old in a retail sense.However it doesn’t mean that some aspects of the 3008 GT-Line’s tech should be ignored. It was one of the first to have traffic sign recognition and its GPS tie-in with speed-zones was 100% in a location and change of limit sense. The reverse camera was crisp in detail, with the screen showing plenty of definition and without the “fish eye” distortion seen elsewhere. One touch windows have a “pinch” function, that automatically lowers a raising window if the pressure sensor detects and arm/leg/head where it shouldn’t be.

What About Safety?: The screen also shows a 360 degree camera view, parking assistance is standard as are front and rear sensors. Blind Spot Alert, AEB with camera and radar sensing, auto high beam On/Off, and Lane Departure are standard also. Airbag wise it lacks only a driver’s kneebag. On the road the sensors also indicate the forward distance alert, ensuring a driver is visually aware that they may be just that little too close to the leading vehicle.

What About Warranty And Service?: Five years is the warranty, along with unlimited kilometres. Servicing is 12 monthly in cycle, or 20,000 kilometres for the 3008. The pricing as of August 2020 was $471 for the first major service, $786 for service 2, $471 for service 3, $799 for service 4, and $484 for service 5. Prices were obtained here.

At The End Of The Drive. Peugeot has had a strong presence at times here in Australia, and at others it seems to slip under the radar. The 3008 is one that deserves a little more love as it’s a stunner inside and out, especially with that black seat trim. pricing has always been a hiccup, and even at just on $50K it may be easily overlooked. That would be a disservice as there is plenty of value with areas such as the safety system being of a high level, the sheer feel of the cockpit, the soft ambient lighting that adds class, and the (for the most part) easy to live with drive-train. Book a test drive here.

2020 Suzuki Ignis GLX: Private Fleet Car Review.

This Car Review Is About: Suzuki’s ultra-cool micro SUV, the Ignis. Reborn in 2016 from the original model of the early noughties, the sub-compact machine with hints of Swift has been given a minor visual tickle for its 2020 iteration. It’s a two trim machine with GL and GLX specifications.

How Much Does It Cost?: In Pure Pearl White, on the manual GL, it’s $18,990. The GL Auto is $19,990 in the same colour, with the GLX an auto only at $20,990. Metallics add $595 to the GL and GLX. Prices are driveaway.

Under The Bonnet Is:
Suzuki’s willing 1.2L Dualjet four potter. The 16V donk offers up 66kW at 6,000rpm and torque of120Nm at 4,400rpm. The auto is a CVT with a button activated Sport mode on the selector and a Low range fixed gear that’s ideal for hauling the 865kg (dry) machine up hill and down dale. Well, more up hill than anything. Economy from the teacup sized 32L tank is rated as 4.9L/100km on the combined cycle for the auto. On a very easy highway run, we got a best of 5.5L/100km.

It’s here we need to point out that our review car had just 26 kilometres under the tyres, so no doubt figures would look better as the drivetrain loosens up.On the Outside Is: A choice of the new additions to colour palette, with Ivory, Khaki (as seen on the review vehicle supplied by Suzuki Australia), and Black, alongside the existing Red, Grey, and White. The external amendments see a restyle front and rear bumper, and the blacked out grille has chrome limned inserts for a fresh look. The GLX has driving lights in the lower quarters of the front bar sitting under cheeky looking LED limned headlights. Wheels and tyres are 175/60/16 Bridgestone Ecopia for the GLX, 175/65/15s on the GX. The rear flanks have defining strakes, the wheel arches have a good flare (which makes us wonder if some bigger wheels would look even better) and have polyurethane black linings for contrast.

Length is just 3,700mm, with a boxy 1,660mm x 1,595mm width and height riding on a wheelbase of 2,435mm that enables a turning circle of just 9.4 metres. The SUV-like stance comes from a ride height of 180mm. The petite five door machine has an approach angle of 20 degrees and departure of 38 degrees.On The Inside Is: A basic yet tidy layout and one that admirably suits purpose. Manually operated seats, a single push for down for the driver’s window, plain but not untasteful plastic trim, and Suzuki’s nicely laid out touchscreen greet the passengers. For the driver is a simple but cool looking dual dial display and a monochrome info screen on the right. Access to this is via a tab underneath or a steering wheel button on the tilt only column. This shows consumption, clock, fuel level remaining, and also provides access to some of the basic car settings.

Audio, like the Swift Sport, is AM/FM only, however the GLX has a pair of tweeters over the GL’s rather pauper like door-only drivers.

The main seat padding is a pleasant black and white stitch with a charcoal bolstering. They’re supportive enough and on a round trip of close to 200km didn’t leave the driver feeling physically worn. The colour matches the plastics, with the lower half of the cabin in black with light gunmetal grey door grips. The dash has a bone coloured strip which complements the light grey cloth for the pillars and roof lining. Auxiliary ports sit underneath the touchscreen for 12V and USB. It’s a clean look here and mirrors what the Ignis is all about.Each door has a bottle holder, cup holders are two up front and one in the rear of the centre console, between the front seats. The rear seat folds easily to increase the cargo pocket from 264L to 516L (measured to the window) or a full 1104L if packing to the roof.On The Road It’s: A shining example of expectations being met. The Ignis is not intended to be anything other than a very good city car and it meets that purpose head on. The CVT is, for want of a better few words, not the best in smoothness, with whines, clunks, indecisive movement but it works for the Ignis. It harnesses what torque there is and uses it effectively enough. No, acceleration isn’t rapid, with a 0-100kmh time measured in days but it runs along just fine, at just under 2,000rpm, at the highway limit. There’s the initial grab at a gear, as such, with the accompanying whine and a long sliiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiide into the next ratio, such as there is.

There’s a subtle but noticeable clunk as that change happens, and a less prolonged whine this time around. A sensation of a third change and the CVT has done its job. A flattening of the right foot has a hesitation whilst the CVT thinks momentarily, then it’s noticeable change in harmonics, a slight clunk, and the Ignis sees some extra pace. It’s the same with the Sport mode; a gentle press has the S in the digital screen light up, and there’s a noticeable change in the tone of the engine and the transmission. The feeling in the drive is slightly smoother and it’s a semblance of increase in speed in the context of what the Ignis delivers otherwise.

There’s not a lot in the brakes, primarily because the Ignis doesn’t need it thanks to being so light. Vented discs up front are supported by drums with front and rear pads inside. the pedal has decent feel and it takes no time at all for a driver to get the feel of just how much pressure is needed. The steering is the same. It’s not the last word in conversational yet there’s still enough for a driver to get some good feedback from the front driven wheels.Ditto the suspension. It’s compliant enough for most road surfaces but on one particular section of road, noted for testing the absorption rates thanks to a rise in the tarmac that descends into a paved section momentarily, virtually every car will crash to the bumpstops and the Ignis is no orphan here. However it recovers quickly and doesn’t deviate from the straight-ahead, indicating that the suspension is sorted well enough.

Perhaps where a small improvement could be made is to remove the Jatz cracker thick rubber and bolt on some wider treads. There are times that the sidewalls were noticeably flexing and the chassis would squirm in sympathy as a result. It’s not an indication of the car doing anything wrong, simply dealing with physics and a tiny pawprint on the road.

What About Safety?: There are the basics here: six airbags, electronic aids such as ABS, and pretensioning seatbelts. That’s it. No autonomous emergency braking or rear cross traffic alerts etc.

What About Warranty?: Suzuki will warrant the new Ignis for five years and unlimited kilometres. Servicing costs are capped for five years or 100,000km, with year 1 at $239, years 2/3/4 at $329, then back to $239. That’s on a 12 month/15,000km cycle.At The End Of the Drive. It’s hard to quantify one key element of the Ignis GLX. As basic as it is, with a small engine, sappy CVT, and boxy looks, you’d be forgiven for overlooking it. You’d also be overlooking a car with an indefinable yet easily understood factor: it’s a fun car. Once the Ignis is up and humming it’s simple to drive, can be hustled relatively, and it feels more alive in what it’s doing than cars three times the price. One J. Clarkson, known for his opinions on matters machinery, is all for the “alive” factor of what is otherwise electricity, wires, fuel, and metal. For us, the Ignis is that and then some.

There’s no doubt some extra work would give it more life but would it dull the character? Make up your own mind by checking out the funky Ignis here.

Audi RS Adds Spice TO Q3 Range And Hyundai Gets Xtra Active

2020 Audi RS Q3 Sportback

Audi’s performance badge, RS, has been added to the Q3 range, as has the model’s first Sportback. Two of the most powerful Q3 derivatives have arrived in Australia to redefine the premium compact SUV segment: the all-new Audi RS Q3 and first-ever RS Q3 Sportback. Powered by a 294kW five cylinder with turbo, the pair are priced from $89,900 for the RS Q3 and $92,900 for the RS Q3 Sportback. Peak torque is spot on for the compact SUV, with 480Nm on tap and belting RS Q3 to 100kmh in 4.5 seconds. Audi’s fabled quattro AWD underpins both models via a seven speed S-tronic auto.

There will be little to ask for in the RS Q3, as 21 inch wheels, the RS Sport exhaust, a pair of RS bespoke drive modes, and an RS Sport suspension system are standard. Damper control, wheel-selective torque control, and a progressive steering ratio are also standard. Visual spice comes from a rejigged three dimensional looking grille, a bespoke blackout package, metallic paint, and matrix-LED headlights with RS specific surrounds for the indicators.

Passengers will sit in Nappa leather seats with honeycomb stitching, and stay warm or cool via three zone climate control. Cargo space has 40:20:40 split fold flexibility on sliding second row seats. Safety has a 360 degree camera, lane departure, rear cross traffic alert, and adaptive cruise plus AEB. Tech levels come in with an RS menu on a 12.3 inch screen for the virtual cockpit, a B&O 680W sound system pound tunes through 15 speakers, a wireless charge pad and smart app compatibility. 2 USB ports for both front and rear seat passengers allow charging on the go along with Audi connect plus services.

Buyers can select eight exterior colours, a matt aluminuim style package, a RS extended design package, and two service plan packages. There are three years or five years, and priced at $2,320 or $3,420.

“The all-new RS Q3 range is unique in its segment, combining its award-winning engine with exceptional design and incredible performance. The arrival of the first-ever RS Q3 Sportback extends on Audi’s high-performance portfolio range and debuts as the first vehicle to be offered within the compact SUV segment – an entirely new segment of vehicles that we are delighted to offer our customers.” said Paul Sansom, Managing Director at Audi Australia.

Deliveries start from July 24 and orders can be placed online via audi.com.au

2020 Audi RS Q3 Sportback

Hyundai’s popular Santa Fe has been given some extra oomph with the addition of the Active X. Powered by a 3.5L petrol V6 or torquey 2.2L diesel, it finds a home between the entry level Active and mid-spec Elite. Transmission is an eight speed auto driving the front wheels in the petrol, and all corners for the diesel. Pricing starts from $47,020 plus on-roads for the petrol and $50,050 plus on-roads for the diesel. Premium paint is $695, and buyers can specify for the Active X a dark beige interior at $295.
Standard features are extensive: 18 inch alloys underpin the Active X, with extra safety from front parking sensors incorporated into the standard Safety Sense system. Comfort comes from leather appointed seats, dual-zone climate control (with auto de-fog), rain sensing wipers, and cooling inside the glovebox. Puddle lamps and courtesy lights add both safety at night and visual appeal, and handy tech from folding mirrors and Smart Key access.

Exterior colours are seven, with the interior trim having a premium finish dashboard, fabric A-pillar covers and melange knit headlining. Black is also available for the interior as an option. extra value comes from a tyre pressure monitoring system, smart app compatibility, privacy glass for the rear occupants, and Smart Cruise Control with auto stop/start.
“Santa Fe Active X expands our award-winning family vehicle range, offering customers desirable features and technology at a price point that makes it unique in the large SUV market,” said Hyundai Motor Company Australia Chief Operating Officer, John Kett.

Capped price servicing applies to a 12 month or 15K drive cycle, and is $330 for the petrol for years 1,2, and 5, with $390 for years 3 and 4. The diesel is $435 for all years except year 4 at $499. The warranty is five years and unlimited kilometres. Roadside assistance is available for the first 12 months and when servicing with Hyundai, customers will also receive a 10 Year Sat Nav Update Plan, a Roadside Support Plan for up to 10 years and more.

Contact Hyundai Australia for availability and to book a test drive.

Three Myths When Buying a New Car

Buying a new car, especially your first, is always an exciting experience. After all, it’s the start of a journey that will no doubt bring you numerous memories over time. However, the process can be clouded with conflicting input from various sources, not to mention the arduous task of finding that perfect car, yet alone negotiating it down to a fair price. But if there is something to be concerned about, it’s these three new car buying myths.

 

 

Negotiating the sticker price down gives you the best outcome

While a lower sticker price is nothing to sneeze at, it shouldn’t be the sole focus of your efforts to secure the best outcome. The price may have been inflated to begin with, thus making it look like you’re scoring a bargain from your negotiating efforts, or there may be additional costs elsewhere.

Some of these extra expenses include the cost of finance, which a dealer may even require you to take out through them in order to qualify for the ‘lower’ sticker price. In some instances this finance will be subject to a higher interest rate, other fees and charges to establish the loan, or even penalty fees should you wish to repay the car loan early. Especially in recent times, with new car sales down drastically, you have more scope than ever to get the bargain that works for you, not the dealer.

 

0% interest free loans mean the lowest total cost

Much like the above point about not focusing exclusively on a car with the lowest sticker price, you should also look carefully into any advertised promises of 0% interest free loans. This time, the dealer may be making a premium on the sticker price of the car, which could be inflated compared to other sellers so as to help them retain their margins.

If you read the fine print, you may also notice that the interest free period is for a certain time, after which you could be exposed to high costs that add up over the long-run. In either case, the total cost of the car could exceed that found elsewhere.

 

You won’t be able to pick up a great value deal at a dealership

While dealerships offer certain protections, many motorists have found it difficult to deal with pushy salespeople and struggle to come away with a bargain. However, even for those who struggle with the negotiation process, ex-demonstrator models that have low kilometres recorded are a great option – especially when the dealer  gets anxious to clear the vehicle.

One of the emerging themes last year was a reduction in the number of ex-demo cars available, so be quick if you find one! Also, don’t fall for the myth that a rainy day will help you score a bargain from a ‘desperate’ dealer. Your best bet is at the end of the month, around Christmas, or at the end of the financial year. These periods are tried and tested for scoring a bargain.

2020 Suzuki Swift Sport Manual: Car Review.

This Car Review Is About: The latest in the long running Swift line from Suzuki. The Sport has been placed as the crowning part of the range and for the 2020 version, has received some minor updates. They’re safety features only so the mechanical package remains untouched. That’s both a minor pity and not a bad thing.

How Much Does It Cost?: In plain Pure White Pearl, it’s $29,990 for the Manual. Metallics are $595, and the optionable two-tone scheme, as fitted to our review car, is $1,095. These are drive-away prices.

Under The Bonnet Is: Suzuki’s quite decent 1.4L Boosterjet turbo four. 103kW (5,500rpm) and 230 torques (2,500rpm to 3,000rpm) drive the front wheels through a well sorted six speed manual. There is an auto available for those bereft of enjoyment in their life. For the hybrid followers, the European spec model has been given a 48V system, and it’s possible that variant will make its way to Australia in 2021.The manual itself is a down and to the right lockout for Reverse, with perhaps a little more notchiness in the way it moves through the gate needed. Otherwise it’s an easy shifter and well paired with the light clutch mechanism. There’s a centimetre or so of initial movement before the pickup point engages, and once in the driving mind, the shifter can be moved rapidly and with confidence. get the pickup point just right and the engine’s rev drop off is minimised, making for less of that manual “lurch” and more for a smooth progression in forward motion.

Being a small car, it gets a small tank at just 37.0L. Suzuki quotes a combined consumption figure of 6.1L/100km. It would be nice if somehow Suzuki could engineer in a change to allow for a larger tank though, as our around town cycle was close to 7.0L/100km. The dash display allows for kilometres per litre or the more common litres per 100km. The car had its setting as the former and lead to momentary consumption confusion, with the gauge showing 14.5km/L. This translates to 6.9L/100km but for the unaware it could bring in a question about the engine’s performance in that area.On The Outside It’s: Unchanged from the previous model yet there is one area that could do with a change. There is a reverse camera fitted and it’s awkwardly placed in the niche where the rear number plate is located. As such, when Reverse is engaged and the camera switches in, the top section of the view is truncated, almost like watching a movie at home and laying a towel over the top quarter.

Otherwise it’s a smart, almost handsome looking beastie, especially with the 17 inch alloys fitted and clad in grippy 195/45 rubber. The front has an assertive look with the flared housings for the driving lights, and the touches of faux carbon fibre on the chin and door sills hint visually at the sporting intent. There’s some at the rear as well, adding a nice finish to the profile.

The review car is in the optionable two-tone, with a black roof and Flame Orange main body. It’s a good looking combo and not one likely to age as quickly as other colours and combinations have.On The Inside It’s: Got a new display screen for the driver. It’s a 4.3 inch LCD and shows speed, G-force, turbo pressure, torque and power, amongst others. It’s operated via a tab on the left of the steering wheel, with the phone tabs on a separate outrigger below that. The seats were manually operated and don’t have heating or cooling. Support is good and the actually comfort level is high. Power windows have just the driver’s as a one touch up/down and this makes sense, given such a car is likely to be more occupied by just one or two.

Audio is AM/FM only though, a truly odd oversight in a vehicle set as the lead of its range. Although the Swift Sport is Bluetooth equipped, along with auxiliary inputs and smart-apps, DAB nowadays in a top ladder vehicle is expected to be a normal feature.265L is the count for the cargo space, whilst 579L is the count when the rear seats are folded. It’s not a great deal of space by any measure however the Swift has never been intended to be used as a family car. The Baleno or Vitara from Suzuki is where families would look.On The Road It’s: Widely regarded as a bundle of fun. Lightweight, low centre of gravity, a short rectangle wheelbase and track (1,510mm track front and rear, with a 2,450mm wheelbase) endow the Swift Sport with a tenacious amount of grip. As mentioned earlier, it’s also fun due to the transmission and shifter, plus the close set ratios mean the Swift Sport manual can really be rowed along with a quick dip of the left foot and wave of the left arm.

The pickup point of the clutch is towards the top of travel, and there’s only a slight amount of sponginess before the pedal takes up pressure. With a little bit of practice, getting the synchronisation of gear selection and pedal travel right means a more progressive and linear acceleration when required, less lurchiness and more utilisation of the torque also.

That torque figure is also why the economy could improve, in our opinion. The transmission is geared so 100kmh is spinning the Boosterjet at around 3,000 to 3,100rpm. Not only is it somewhat noisy, it’s above the peak torque figure and having the engine require a bigger need for fuel. A set of longer ratios from 4th to 6th, to drop 6th down to 2,500 or so, would make for a more flexible drivetrain and better economy. However, there’s no lack of poke, with a drop to 5th bringing in the torque, or simply an extension of the right foot that has noticeable if not rapid acceleration from 6th.Suspension wise it’s mixed, with a bang crash at slow speeds over some items, a measure of suppleness elsewhere, and a well tied down set at speed. The ups and downs of freeways are quietly absorbed, whereas there were times at suburban velocities a simple road marking had the Swift Sport feel as if a flat tyre had occurred and it was banging on the rim. Steering wise it’s spot on, with that just right feel and a a little extra weight as the wheel loads up left and right. Naturally braking is spot on, with minimal travel before the pads bite and a message of just how much pressure is needed for the required stopping distance.

What About Safety?: Rear parking sensors, that partially blanked off reverse camera, and the new Blind Spot and Rear Cross Traffic alerts bring the Swift Sport’s safety level up a notch. Six airbags still and there is no hill start assist for the manual. That may seem a bad thing however Suzuki’s appeal is in making cars that are ideal for new drivers, and learning a hill start with no assistance is or should still be mandatory in driving lessons. There is a Forward Collision Alert system too, and it’s pernickety at times. It would beep at teh driver as a warning (great) for a vehicle at a driver determined safe distance (not great).What About Warranty And Service?: the Suzuki website has a page where an owner can submit their car’s build details. the Swift Sport comes with a five tear warranty, and with unlimited kilometres. They’ll cover commercial applications such as ride share for up to 160,000 kilometres. Sericing is 12 monthly or 10,000 kilometres for turbo cars such as the Swift Sport, and have capped price servicing for five years or 100,000 kilometres. The first service is $239, followed by $329, $239, $429 then $239.

At The End Of the Drive: As a former car sales employee, Suzuki was a brand that AWT was heavily involved in, and alongside another Japanese brand at the particular dealership, the Swift was the preferred choice of Mums and Dads that were looking for Junior’s first car. Some migrated to the manual versions that were available after finding their feet with the auto. With the 2020 Suzuki Swift Sport now available in dealerships and available in both manual and autos, the brand continues to deliver a car with genuine appeal, good looks, a decent level of features, and good enough economy. Book your test drive here.

Bronco Busting: Ford Resurrects A Legend.

Jeep Wrangler, watch out! Ford has brought the Bronco back to life and the Blue Oval has its sights set firmly on the iconic machine from Jeep. The 2021 Bronco will come in two or four door shapes, or, if you will, three and five door. Soft and hard tops will be available. What won’t be will be anything other than either a four cylinder or V6 petrol engine for movement. But there’s no lacking for model choice with Ford U.S. releasing seven. For the U.S. there is the entry level named, smartly, Base. Big Bend, Black Diamond, Outer Banks, Badlands are followed by a name more familiar to Australia, Wildtrak, and a limited run First Edition. Prices will start from $29,995, with Wildtrak at $50,370 whilst the First Edition starts from $60,800.

A four cylinder petrol engine and V6 will be joined by a hybrid at a later stage. For now, we see a turbocharged 2.3-litre that makes 201kW/270hp horsepower and 420Nm/310 lb-ft of torque. The other option is a twin-turbo 2.7-litre that generates 231kW/310 horses and 542Nm/400 lb-ft. Ford says these will be good enough to push the Bronco through close to three feet of water and have a ground clearance of just under 12 inches.

The Base brings a seven speed manual transmission, with a normal six plus a crawler gear for serious off-road chops. A ten speed auto can also be specced.There is a two speed and three mode transfer case as well. Standard is a hard top for the two door and a soft roof on the four. A nifty feature is a upper dash mounting point for smart phones and action cameras.Big Bend gets a little extra luxury with a leather bound steering wheel cover, heated seats, and is the first of the range to offer alloy wheels. Black Diamond aims for the off-roader with marine grade vinyl trim, seven G.O.A.T. drive modes (Goes Over Any type of Terrain) and a standard rear locker diff plus underbody bash plates. Outer Banks has LED headlights and integrated turn lamps, black alloys, powder coated tube steps and a B&O sound system for when the noise of the outdoors isn’t enough.Badlands goes up a gear with front and rear locking diffs, Bilstein monotube dampers, disconnecting stabiliser bar, and a choice of 33 or 35 inch AT rubber. Trim can be easy clean vinyl through to full leather. Wildtrak offers a Sasquatch Package that includes 35 inch rubber and 17 inch diameter black painted alloys with a beadlock function. Black roofing and grille also feature. 3,500 First Editions will be released and combine the Badlands mechanicals, Outer Banks interior, and Wildtrak looks.

Production is currently slated for the Australian autumn of 2021 however it’s not yet set for an Australian release.

Take 5: BMW’s Mid Size Saloon Updated.

BMW have declared 2020 to be the year of reinvigoration. The German sports luxury car maker continues to roll out uipdates in 2020 and the latest is to the mid-sized sedan, the 5 Series. The range brings the seventh generation 5 Series to market with: 520i, 530i, 530d, 530e PHEV, M550i xDrive and M550i xDrive Pure. Included on all variants will be the M Sport package. There has been changes to the fuel pressure system on the petrol engines for the 520i and 530i. They’ll have a bump from 200 bar to 350 bar for better throttle response and fuel efficiency.

Pricing for the range starts from $95,900 for the 520i 2.0L TwinPower Turbo. There is 135kW and 290Nm on tap here for a 7.8 second 0 – 100kmh time. Head to the 530i with 185kW and 350Nm for 6.1 seconds and the price is $115,900. A PHEV joins the range at $118,900 with BMW’s Synchronous Electric Motor and 2.0L TwinTurbo and packs a 215kW and 420Nm punch. 0 – 100 time is 5.9 seconds.
A six cylinder diesel for the 530d sees power at 195kW and a thumping 620Nm of torque for $125,900. The run to 100 takes 5.7 seconds. Moving into the M550i xDrive Pure and it’s a 4.4L V8 TwinPower unit with 390kW and 750Nm. At $137,900 it’s take just 3.8 seconds to reach freeway speeds. For a little extra the M550i xDrive has the same performance but ups the luxury stakes for $152,900. It’s the flagship for the M Performance line and has the fully variable xDrive AWD system. All prices are Manufacturers List Price.

The PHEV has the electric engine integrated with the gearbox and the package can be switched between petrol, hybrid, or electric only for propulsion. When driven in petrol-only mode, the 530e produces 135kW and 300Nm, while the electric motor offers standalone outputs of 80kW and 265Nm. Battery range is around 67km. BMW adds an XtraBoost function. It bumps peak power to 215kW for up to ten seconds when “vigourous acceleration” is required. It’s a standard fitment and engages when the Driving Experience Control’s Sports mode is selected and the drive selector moves to M/S.
Standard trim in the 520i includes the M Sport package, with the exterior features such as 19 inch alloys and Adaptive LED headlights adding visual pull with Dakota Leather trim, Parking Assistant Plus, and Head Up Display are part of the interior features. The 530i adds a Harman Kardon 16 speaker hifi, front heated seats, and automatic tailgate. The M550i xDrive sees 20 inch alloys and M Performance tuning. handling and drive has the M Sport diff and Adaptive M Suspension Professional. A luxury touch is the soft close for the doors and a leather coated instrument panel. Forward vision is courtesy of BMW’s Laserlight system.

That’s available as an option on the BMW 520i, 530i, 530d and 530e, while the BMW M5 Competition donates the M Multifunctional Seats are optionable for all models. Visual spark for the 520i is available with high gloss red M Sport brakes, and a zero dollar option for the rest of the range. A different form of visual appeal can be optioned as well, with the Drive Recorder that uses the surround cameras to provide up to 40 seconds worth of video.
Bend the ear of your local BMW dealer for a test drive when the range is released.

Nissan Pioneers Alternate Charging With EVs In Australia.

In an Australian first, road to vehicle charging for electric vehicles (EV) has arrived and it’s courtesy of Nissan. The shorthand is V2G, or Vehicle 2 Grid, and it’s a project that Nissan’s support of the Realising Electric Vehicle Services (REVS) project has helped bring to realisation. The project is built around 51 vehicles to be based in the Australian Capital Territory, and they’ll be part of the territory’s government fleet in a trial to measure the Leaf’s bi-directional charging ability by providing power back to an energy grid.

This will bring an energy measurement system to the fore. Known as Frequency Control Ancillary Services (FCAS), it refers to the level of energy that’s required to optimise a power grid when demand fluctuates. The Leaf comes into play, as the world’s only factory built V2G vehicle which makes the car a potential total energy solution, by ensuring the batteries don’t just store power for driving, but can also use that energy to run a home or commercial site, or to feed power back to the grid. The trial will also evaluate the ability of the Leaf to work with the base load stabilisation in both off-peak and peak. By reducing or negating that instability, it could lead to a process to eradicate blackouts from that instability.

This trial has also been backed by ARENA, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) as part of its Advancing Renewables Program. with battery technology for high load applications improving constantly, this forward looking trial envisions a future where the battery in an EV can become a household energy solution. Like a household oriented battery, the Leaf’s 40kWh battery could assist a house by storing solar provided energy during the day and release that at night, bringing the focus to an eye on zero-cost mobility and zero-cost home energy. In that same focus is remote power access at work or elsewhere that can then be transferred to a household when the vehicle returns to a home environment. It’s then theoretically possible to have a positive offset to a household energy bill.

“As the brand with the only V2G-capable vehicle from factory on the Australian market today, we are exceptionally proud to support this project, and to introduce this technology to Australia,” says Nissan Australia Managing Director, Stephen Lester. “The Nissan LEAF not only offers an exciting EV driving experience, it goes so much further by integrating into the energy system. Nissan has been a global leader in this space, with several successful trials conducted in overseas markets, realizing it in Australia is an important milestone.”The REVS project brings together a consortium of academic, transport and electricity-system partners to deploy the V2G service, including ActewAGL, the Australian National University (ANU), JET Charge, Evoenergy, SG Fleet and Nissan.

 

(Pictures and info courtesy of Nissan Australia.)

Mercedes-Benz GLB Ready To Roll For Australia.

Mercedes-Benz has released to the Australian market the GLB. For the brand, it’s the first compact vehicle they manufacture to include a third row of seats. There’s enough space, by the way, for anyone up to 1.68 metres to suit the rear two seats. Conveniences such as a pair of drink holders, storage, and USB ports will be fitted, plus the seats will fold flush with the GLB’s cargo floor. These can be accessed by a 40:20:40 split fold centre row that moves by up to 140mm.

There will be three models available, the GLB 200, GLB 250, and GLB 45 Matic. Both the Mercedes-Benz GLB 200 and the GLB 250 4MATIC are available to order now. Deliveries are expect for July as a starting point. The manufacturer’s list prices are: GLB 200 from $59,900 (MRLP) and GLB 250 4MATIC from $73,900 (MRLP). The Mercedes-AMG GLB 35 4 MATIC will be priced at $88,900 (MRLP) when it arrives in Australia later this year.The Mercedes-Benz GLB 200 sees 120kW and 250Nm from a direct injection turbocharged 1.3L four cylinder. A dual clutch automatic with seven ratios sends drive to the front wheels. The GLB 250 amps that with a 2.0L engine that produces 165kW and 350Nm. Transmission is the 8G-DCT eight-speed auto, and grip comes from the 4MATIC all wheel drive system.

AMG step in for the GLB 35 4MATIC and have waved their wand over the 2.0L petrol engine. 225 kW and 400 Nm power down via AMG’s SPEEDSHIFT DCT eight-speed auto with their Dynamic Select drive system. There will also be the AMG exhaust system, their bespoke braking system, plus their Sports suspension called Ride Control with electronically controlled damping. AMG’s power steering with speed sensitive adjustment is also on board.Mercedes-Benz have their highly regarded MBUX multimedia system as standard and the front seat occupants will be able to access infotainment via a pair of side by side 10.25 inch screens. Keyless entry, remote tailgate and engine start, the THERMOTRONIC climate control system, and “Comfort” seats will be standard. The door sills will be internally illuminated, and again convenience is standard thanks to satnav, smartapps including the Mercedes-Benz Me Control app and a charge pad, auto wipers, 19 inch alloys, and aluminuim roof rails. PARKTRONIC parking assist is backed up in the safety stakes with Blind Spot assist, Lane Keep Assist, and Traffic Sign Assist. Active Brake Assist with semi-autonomous braking is standard as are nine airbags.

The GLB 250 factors in a sunroof, powered memory front seats with heating, twin spoke 19 inch alloys and an adjustable suspension. Steering is aligned with the all wheel drive system with Sports Direct-Steer, and even a form of off-road suspension. Downhill Speed Regulation and the cornering lamps come into play as well, with the lights on each lower corner coming into play at speeds of up to 50kph. There are a few extra touches for the GLB 35 4MATIC, such as an AMG steering wheel with Nappa leather, Lugano leather on the seats, brushed stainless steel AMG foot pedals, and Carbon Structure interior trim. Outside is AMG’s Night Package trim, 20 inch diameter five spoke alloys, AMG body additions and dark tinted rear window glass.
The arrival of the GLB brings to six the number of models in the Mercedes-Benz compact car portfolio, which includes the A-Class hatch and sedan, B-Class, CLA Coupé and GLA compact SUV. Says Britta Seeger, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, responsible for Mercedes-Benz Cars Sales: “Every third Mercedes-Benz is now an SUV, every fourth a compact car. So a compact SUV such as the GLB blends all the success factors of our two highest-volume segments.”

Hot Hatch Heaven

Behind the thriving popularity of buying SUVs, there is a lesser but feistier group of people who love buying and driving a Hot Hatch.  They are a loyal group of drivers who love the raw speed and excitement that a Hot Hatch drive provides – along with a bit of practicality on the side mind you.  The mind-set of a Hot Hatcher is that ‘if my need is to own a hatchback, then let me get a hot one’.

Honda Civic Type R

In Australia one of the most popular Hot Hatch cars of recent times has been the super little Honda Civic Type R.  It has even been given a Performance Car of the Year award, while also making a great argument for itself as being one of the best ‘Bang For Your Bucks’ experiences you can buy on four wheels.  With 228 kW and 400 Nm the latest Type R Civic is very quick and makes short work of most of its rivals.  It constantly feels quicker than anything, except maybe an AMG or Audi RS equivalent, on a backroad or windy race track.  Boot space is also 420 litres, which is more than enough for most people’s shopping trip.

Renault Megane RS

Renault has sold plenty of new RS Megane Hot Hatchbacks, and at times more than the Type R.  The Renault Megane RS offers a range that includes the availability of both manual and automatic transmissions, along with two chassis options.  Good on road comfort, the power from the 205 kW/390 Nm 1.8-litre turbo four is strong, and with launch control it keeps running quick naught-to-naughty times.  Brembo brakes work marvellously to haul in crazy speeds, and the four-wheel steering has immense grip and control.  With all this performance you still get great practicality.

Hyundai i30N

More popular among Australian Hot Hatch buyers has been the potent and very well sorted Hyundai i30N.  You’ve got to love the i30N’s fun factor bolstered by the banging and popping exhaust notes!

Volkswagen Golf GTi

But, arguably, the most preferred Hot Hatch to buy, at least in Australia, has been the immensely satisfying VW Golf GTi.  The thing is just so quick, it’s engaging and easy to drive, and it also has a real luxurious feel to the quality interior.  For those that can afford it, the VW GTi still delivers a comprehensive package.

I could add that Peugeot has a GTi Hot Hatch, so too Ford in the form of its Focus ST and Subaru in its WRX, and the…..  But you might like to add your few cents to the conversation or even disagree with my overall jurisdiction on the matter.

However, if you are thinking about owning a new performance hot hatch in 2020, then the afore mentioned ones are a few of the best you can buy that are cheaper than a real quick Mercedes Benz A45 AMG, or Audi RS3.

Audi RS3

 

Mercedes Benz A45 AMG