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So Much for Fuel Savings….

It’s no secret that a concerted effort has been made in many quarters of the automotive industry to push motorists towards more ‘sustainable’ cars that run leaner in terms of fuel consumption. Take a look at some of our favourite V8 models, which have slowly but surely been ‘downsized’ to a more efficient (turbo) four-cylinder or six-cylinder engine. Then, consider the prominence of hybrid or ‘eco-oriented’ vehicles, not necessarily here in Australia, but across the world.

However, what’s being overlooked from much of the discussion is the trend seeing more and more motorists step into SUVs all over the world. This is playing out in Australia as much as anywhere, with the segment now a clear frontrunner ahead of the once dependable passenger vehicle.

 

 

A closer look at the trend

On a global scale, it’s a trend the International Energy Agency (IEA) has taken aim at, citing the shift in buying preference as “the second-largest contributor to the increase in global CO2 emissions since 2010”. Surprisingly, that’s even more than ‘heavy’ industry, which is taken to include production of iron and steel, cement and aluminium.

The fact that SUVs, on average across all makes and models, consume more fuel than passenger cars will hardly surprise anyone. That’s long been a well-known consideration, even among many car buyers. But the broader picture, with such a shift towards ownership of SUVs, is not just offsetting ‘consumption reductions from increasingly efficient passenger cars and the growing eco fleet – it has wiped out those savings altogether.

In more specific terms, the IEA says “SUVs were responsible for all of the 3.3 million barrels a day growth in oil demand from passenger cars between 2010 and 2018, while oil use from other type of cars (excluding SUVs) declined slightly”. At their current rate of growth, SUVs could add another “2 million barrels a day in global oil demand by 2040, offsetting the savings from nearly 150 million electric cars”.

 

 

Where to from here?

These points make for an interesting outlook. On the one hand, many manufacturers are promoting their future vision for an electric and ‘efficient’ future, yet on the other hand, buying trends point to a picture where motorists are moving in a different direction. The clear absence of options in the electric SUV market further complicates the matter, with the majority of efforts to create efficient cars being angled at the passenger vehicle segment.

If we’re serious about addressing vehicle emissions, what’s the actual plan going forward? Sure, we each have our own ‘needs’ and preferences as far as the cars we drive, but what will be required to drive a collective effort to cut fuel consumption across the board?

It’s Time for more Transparency with Vehicle Reliability Data

Local car manufacturers have long been reluctant to release information about vehicle reliability, just as they were with repair data until recent developments prompted a change. While said changes are a promising sign for motorists, it’s about time something was done when it comes to vehicle reliability data. The current standards and practices just aren’t good enough. Your new vehicle is likely to be the second largest individual purchase you’ll make in your lifetime. No one wants to end up with a ‘lemon’, so it follows that manufacturers should be more open when it comes to publishing information about vehicle reliability. That is, if they genuinely value their customers loyalty.

Source: Confused.com

What’s happening right now?

From an owner’s perspective, having full and complete information is invaluable when engaging in a decision making process. It’snecessary in order to filter out options that do not align with our needs. This is something that has been recognised abroad. From the US to the UK and other parts of Europe and Asia, industry surveys with motorists surrounding vehicle reliability are common practice and the results are published for all to see.

In turn, this ensures manufacturers not only receive feedback but are compelled to embrace it – to act upon it and improve their vehicles. Tesla, one of the industry’s most-recent entrants to the motoring space, has been one of the most prominent stakeholders in accepting feedback and it goes some way to explain why their growth has been off the charts as it becomes the most-expensive, publicly-listed car brand in the world.  The company is one of the first to admit they have had several notable problems with their ‘high end’ vehicles, however, their approach is all about finding the right solution(s) to improve motorists’ driving experiences.

In Australia, only half the feedback cycle is being undertaken. Motorists are often surveyed for their thoughts on vehicle reliability, but the results are rarely if ever made public. In fact, it’s hard to know in what way this information is being used given its guarded nature. That being said, it’s widely accepted that mechanical issues have improved some way in recent years – even if we are seeing an abundance of recalls that never seem to stop – but it has generally been the car companies with global reach, under pressure from research in other territories, that ongst the frontrunners in terms of reliability.

Source: Rac.com

What’s the other side of the equation?

If there is one thing to recognise in defence of manufacturers, the human mechanics of operating a vehicle cannot always be recorded. That is, whether a driver has adequately maintained their vehicle, followed through with appropriate servicing, and ultimately how they drive their car. Now you’re probably saying these things shouldn’t matter. And they shouldn’t. But for the purpose of a direct comparison between cars and manufacturers, it’s hard to compare the likes of a HSV driven by a P-plater, with a Toyota Camry driven by a retiree.

The other element to consider is that reliability data is only one piece of the puzzle. The type of failure, as well as the cost of repairs, should also be considered. One might expect that ‘luxury’ vehicles encounter fewer reliability issues, however, if each time this vehicle requires repairs that cost three times that of a ‘regular’ sedan, what are the results really demonstrating? Furthermore, with the majority of problems these days encompassing technology problems, can these issues be compared on the same scale as that of vehicles with mechanical problems?

Nonetheless, these points shouldn’t really take away from the point that we need further disclosure around vehicle reliability. The introduction of ‘lemon laws’ in recent time is certainly beneficial, but that’s a reactive response when buyers deserve more up-front information and certainty. In fact, manufacturers owe it to motorists, particularly if they are in search of brand loyalty and a vision to improve future cars.

Best And Worst Exterior Paint Colours For Resale

We’ve all heard those jokes about people who seem to be more concerned about what colour a car is rather than its practical performance (fuel economy, towing ability, safety specs, luggage space, etc.).  We’ve also probably tossed out a flip comment about go-faster red and go-faster stripes over the years.  Paint colour seems like just a matter of personal choice and preference.  However, if you’re buying a brand new car and you know that you are going to sell it off some years down the track, then you may need to bear colour in mind, as some car paint colours are better for resale than others.

Good paint colours are popular ones that don’t go out of style quickly. This means that it’s going to be quicker and easier to sell them in five or ten years’ time because they’ll still be in style. With a bad colour – which might be a fashionable colour – it could be a bit harder to sell the car later on because potential buyers may look at it and go “eww – that’s so 2020”, which may mean that you will have to let the car go for a lower price than you may have got otherwise.

The leading authority on car paint colour is the paint manufacturer Axalta. This company has complied stats on car colours for over 60 years and has tons of resources available (the most recent free annual car stats are from 2016) and there is plenty to keep any motoring trivia enthusiast happy for hours at their website.

By a quick look at some of the material available from Axalta without wasting time down too many rabbit trails, it seems as if good car colours, in terms of resale, are like good suit colours for guys or the little black cocktail dress for gals: simple, basic classics that don’t shock or startle. Honestly, when it comes to car paint colour that hold its value, conservative is the key.

The most recent (freely available!) stats from Axalta show that the most popular car exterior paint colours worldwide (and therefore the ones that are likely to have the best resale value) are as follows:

  1. White: 37% of new cars sold in 2016 were some shade of white; white has been #1 for quite some time now
  2. Black: 18%
  3. Grey: 11%
  4. Silver: 11%
  5. Red: 6%
  6. Navy blue: 6%
  7. Beige and brown: 6% (apparently, Russian sales made up most of these)
  8. Yellow and gold: 3%
  9. Green: 1% (again, mostly Russian sales)

The most popular colour for vehicles in the Asia-Pacific region (which includes us here in Australia) has been either white, silver or grey since 1973 – and it looks like this trend isn’t going to change soon!

(If you want the latest stats, broken down by region and by body style – yes, it makes a difference –then you have to pay to get the download. I’m tempted…)

To find the least popular colours, all that some bloggers and researchers do is to flip this popularity list upside down. However, you, like me, have probably noticed that some colours don’t even feature on this list.  Because cars with unpopular colours don’t sell as well, it’s hard to compile meaningful stats on them, as it’s hard to track what isn’t selling because there’s nothing to see or record.  Nevertheless, the following have been proposed as the worst car exterior paint colours for resale.  They’re not in any particular order, but you may notice that all of them are very distinctive and associated with particular decades!

  • orange: any shade of orange; this colour is only popular with die-hard Dukes of Hazzard fans
  • turquoise: metallic turquoise in particular is soooo 1990s
  • maroon: very 1990s and dated, which is weird for a shade of red
  • green (unless you’re Russian): olive or pea green from the 1970s is especially bad, followed by the vivid treefrog greens of the early 2000s
  • brown (again, unless you’re Russian): British Leyland. Enough said
  • pink: in fact, Ferrari has banned pink from its list of possible car colours coming out of the factory door, even for superstars paying megadollars for a custom paint job (if P!nk wants a pink supercar, she has to get a Lambo, which doesn’t mind what colour you pick if you’re willing to pay).
  • purple: I don’t think I’ve ever seen a purple vehicle that wasn’t a commercial tradie vehicle in company colours that had been custom-painted

The only exception I’d make to this list is the case of British Racing Green for Jaguar.  This is a tradition and it’s such an iconic colour for Jaguar that it holds its value better than other off-the-wall unique colours.  Can you imagine a Burberry in any colour other than beige?

However, if you are in the market for a second-hand car, you can make the car colour thing work in your favour. If you believe that a good horse is never a bad colour and that the same applies to cars, then you may be able to pick up a good reliable set of wheels that’s in an unfashionable colour so is going for a fraction cheaper than something mechanically identical in a “good” colour. I’ll never forget my tradie friend who picked up a metallic rose-pink trade van at a bargain price because of its colour – he downright owned that pink van and it certainly made him stand out from his competitors with ordinary white vans. OK, you need some serious cojones to pull off a pink tradie van, but it certainly worked for my friend!

Medium AWD SUVs You Can Buy in 2020

With and even bigger range of Mid-size SUVs now available, the answer has to be ‘Why Not?’.  Getting yourself into a new medium SUV is easier than ever with some good package deals, great warranties and service packages that are comprehensive.  Got yourself a small family and like to get out on an adventure?  Here is a list of all the medium SUVs on the market offering AWD.

Alfa Romeo

Alfa Romeo Stelvio AWD

Want some style?  Alfa Romeo has got loads of ‘bravura’, ‘panache’ and ‘flair’.  Three levels of trim are available for the Stelvio and you get to choose either diesel or petrol power.  The new Alfa Romeo Stelvio is a smooth drive with great performance, handling and comfort.  Want a decent luxury SUV? How about a look at the new Stelvio?  Starting off with the Stelvio 2.0 AWD, here you get five seats, auto, petrol, 2.0-litre, 148 kW, 330 Nm, 5-star safety and around 7.0 litres/100 km.

Next comes the Stelvio 2.2 TDi AWD which is similarly priced to the previous model.  Here you get the five seats, auto, Diesel, 2.2-litre, 154 kW, 470 Nm, 5-star safety and 4.8 litres/100 km.  Style, torque and low fuel bills are a given.

Punchy and fun to drive, the Stelvio 20 Ti AWD delivers five seats, auto, petrol, 2.0-litre, 206 kW, 400 Nm, 5-star safety and 7.0 litres/100 km.

Audi

Audi Q5

Three forms of the 2020 Audi Q5 are available.  The Audi Q5 TDI Quattro 140 Sport offers five seats, auto, diesel, 2.0-litre, 140 kW, 400 Nm, 5-star safety and a 5.1 litres/100 km figure.

Next is the Audi Q5 TDI Quattro 210 Sport with five seats, auto, Diesel, 3.0-litre, 210 kW, 620 Nm, 5-star safety and 6.0 litres/100 km.  This is a phenomenally quick and satisfying SUV drive!

The most expensive new Audi Q5 with AWD is the TFSI Quattro 185 Sport model.  Here you get five seats, auto, petrol, 2.0-litre, 185 kW, 370 Nm, 5-star safety and 7.1 litres/100 km efficiency.

Steeping up to the Q5 from the Q3 means more space but without getting into massive territory.  Drive a new Audi Q5 AWD and you get the prestigious Quattro underpinnings with clever technology.  Luxury is aplenty, while the drive is always satisfying.  You’ll also love the digital driver’s display, too.

BMW

BMW X3

The BMW X3 gets into mid-size SUV territory.  The 2020 X3 is nice to look at, comfortable and practical.  Two models are available with AWD: The BMW X3 xDrive 20d AWD with five seats, an 8-speed auto, diesel power, 2.0-litre, 140 kW, 400 Nm, 5-star safety and around 5.7 litres/100 km economy.  The BMW X3 xDrive 30i AWD has five seats, an 8-speed auto, petrol, 2.0-litre, 185 kW, 350 Nm, 5-star safety and around 7.8 litres/100 km economy.

BMW X4

You also get the choice of getting yourself into the sportier BMW X4 AWD models.  The X4 has sleek lines and looks good.  Practical interiors with nice trim and easy-on-the-eye materials all come together to make the new X4 a stylish and fun drive.  The BMW X4 xDrive 20d AWD has five seats, auto, diesel, 2.0-litre, 140 kW, 400 Nm, 5-star safety and 5.8 litres/100 km fuel efficiency.

If you prefer petrol power, then the BMW X4 xDrive 30i AWD has five seats, auto, petrol, 2.0-litre, 185 kW, 400 Nm, 5-star safety and around 7.8 litres/100 km credentials.

Ford

Ford Escape

A very nice medium-size AWD Ford SUV is offered.  You are sure to find a model to suit your needs.  Safe, practical and comfortable, the 2020 Ford Escape is a trusty companion capable of carrying the small family when needed and delivering crisp handling and great engines.  Two engines power the five variants; so one is a 132 kW Diesel with 400 Nm of torque on offer and excellent fuel efficiency.  The other engine is an Ecoboost petrol-fed unit that puts out 178 kW and 344 Nm of torque.  This is a strong engine that performs very well.  All models use a smooth shifting auto gearbox and come with 5-star safety.  The models on offer include Trend, ST Line and Titanium trims.

Holden

Holden Equinox

Where Ford treads you’ll always find a Holden equivalent nearby, or maybe that should be the other way around!

Holden provides the comfortable and spacious Holden Equinox.  Well equipped, loads of options, comfortable seating, plenty of space and 5-star safety are strong Equinox features.  The LTZ-V AWD models get all the flashy equipment and are really nice vehicles to drive.  Two engines are available; the petrol model uses a 188 kW 2.0-litre engine with 353 Nm of power.  Expect around 8.4 litres/ 100 km for this one.

The other Equinox AWD engine is the 100 kW, turbo-diesel unit with 320 Nm of torque and a fuel efficiency figure around the 5.7 litres/100 km mark.

Honda

Honda CR-V

Well known and well-loved is the trusty Honda CR-V mid-size SUV.  It is one of the original first mid-size SUVs, so it’s been around for a few decades now.  Putting it right into the modern market place, the 2020 Honda CR-V AWD models are very roomy, comfortable and practical vehicles boasting loads of high-tech equipment as well as a seven-seat option.  Good strong engines and smooth power delivery make the new Honda CR-V a nice drive.  With the new Honda CR-V variants you get five/seven seats, auto, petrol, 1.5-litre, 140 kW, 240 Nm, 5-star safety and around 7.4 litres/100 km fuel efficiency.

Hyundai

Hyundai Tucson

Stylish new Hyundai Tucson models are available with AWD.  Depending on the level of trim, there will be plenty of variants to suit your needs.  Hyundai’s latest HTRAC AWD system allows toque to be delivered and distributed on demand to ensure that fuel efficiency is optimized.  If you can get yourself into the Limited versions you are loaded to the hilt with modern features that include all the high-tech features some high-end luxury cars offer.  The diesel engine is a real gem, while the petrol alternative is smooth and responsive.  1.6T AWD variants offer five seats, auto, petrol, 1.6-litre, 130 kW, 265 Nm, 5-star safety and around 7.7 litres/100 km efficiency.  2.0R AWD variants offer five seats, auto, diesel, 136 kW, 400 Nm, 5-star safety and around 6.8 litres/100 km efficiency.

Jaguar

Jaguar E-Pace

Jaguar enters the medium SUV market place with its highly desirable new range of E-Pace SUVs.  Style, luxury and driving dynamics are all part of the special E-Pace package.

E-Pace D150 has 2.0-litre diesel power, 110 kW, 380 Nm and around 5.6 litres/100 km.

E-Pace P200 has 2.0-litre petrol power, 147 kW, 340 Nm and around 8.0 litres/100 km.

E-Pace 250 has 2.0-litre petrol power, 249 kW, 365 Nm and around 7.7 litres/100 km.

E-Pace R-Dynamic D180 has 2.0-litre diesel power, 180 kW, 430 Nm and around 5.6 litres/100 km.

E-Pace R-Dynamic P250 has 2.0-litre petrol power, 184 kW, 365 Nm and around 7.7 litres/100 km.

E-Pace R-Dynamic SE P250 has 2.0-litre petrol power, 184 kW, 365 Nm and around 7.7 litres/100 km.

E-Pace R-Dynamic SE P300 has 2.0-litre petrol power, 221 kW, 400 Nm and around 8.0 litres/100 km.

All models have a nice smooth auto gearbox, 5-star safety and are impressive to drive.

Jeep

Jeep Compass

A new Jeep Compass AWD won’t break the bank but it will tame the terrain.  You are always going to look good in the new Jeep Compass which is just as happy scampering off on the school run as it is crossing a stream.  Trailhawk models a serious off-road vehicles built for exploring trails and other off-road excursions.  Inside a new Compass there is plenty of space with nice seat comfort.  Premium safety features and plenty of equipment keep the Compass at the head of the field.

Jeep Compass Limited 4WD delivers five seats, auto, petrol, 2.4-litre, 129 kW, 229 Nm, 5-star safety and around 9.7-litres/100 km efficiency.

Jeep Compass Trailhawk 4WD offers five seats, auto, petrol, 2.4-litre, 129 kW, 229 Nm, 5-star safety and around 9.8-litres/100 km efficiency.

Jeep Cherokee

The Jeep Cherokee is always a winner in the luxury medium SUV class.  Recently spruced up and making a statement, both the Limited and Trailhawk models use the same strong 3.2-litre, 200 kW, petrol-fed motor with 315 Nm of torque.  There is always plenty of power on tap, and the ride quality is smooth and comfortable.  Off-road ability is outstanding.  Plenty of space and equipment keep the drive relaxed and in control.  A roomy five seats and 5-star safety completes the desirable package.

Kia

Kia Sportage

The good looking Kia Sportage is well appointed, comfortable and nice to drive.  With tidy handling and a decent ride, the Sportage is proving popular.  Try and get into the higher spec models and you’ll be sitting in an impressively comfortable, classy medium SUV.

The Kia Sportage 2.4-litre petrol variants (EX AWD, GT-Line AWD) use the same responsive 2.4-litre motor with 135 kW and 237 Nm.  Expect around 8.5 litres/100 km fuel efficiency.

The Kia Sportage 2.0-litre diesel variants (LX AWD, LX Plus AWD, GT-Line AWD) have great power plants in the form of a 2.0-litre turbo-diesel, 136 kW, 400 Nm motor.  Excellent fuel economy sits at around 6.4 litres/100 km.

All models come with AWD, auto gearboxes and 5-star safety.

Land Rover

Land Rover Discovery Sport

Off-road kings, Land Rover, offer AWD medium SUV buyers the chance of getting into the legendary Land Rover Discovery Sport.  Premium 4×4 technology and formidable off-road prowess has the 2020 Discovery tackling tough terrain in comfort and with ease.  On-road ride and comfort is equally impressive, and engine performance is strong whatever the task.  You also get the option of having seven seats, too.  New infotainment technology and stylish interiors make travelling in a new Discovery very enjoyable.

P200 R-Dynamic S – 5 seats, auto, petrol, 2.0-litre, 147 kW, 320 Nm, 5-star safety, 7.9 l/100 km.

P250 R-Dynamic S – 7 seats, auto, petrol, 2.0-litre, 184 kW, 365 Nm, 5-star safety, 7.9 l/100 km.

D180 R-Dynamic S – 5 seats, auto, diesel, 2.0-litre, 132 kW, 430 Nm, 5-star safety, 5.6 l/100 km.

P250 R-Dynamic SE – 5+2 seats, auto, petrol, 2.0-litre, 184 kW, 365 Nm, 5-star safety, 7.9 l/100 km.

D180 R-Dynamic SE – 5+2 seats, auto, diesel, 2.0-litre, 132 kW, 430 Nm, 5-star safety, 5.7 l/100 km.

Also under the Land Rover name is the very nice Range Rover Evoque.  Style, luxury and off-road/onroad prowess makes this vehicle a premium choice.

Range Rover Evoque

P200 R-Dynamic S – 5 seats, auto, petrol, 2.0-litre, 147 kW, 340 Nm, 5-star safety, 7.7 l/100 km.

D180 R-Dynamic SE – 5 seats, auto, diesel, 2.0-litre, 132 kW, 430 Nm, 5-star safety, 5.7 l/100 km.

P250 R-Dynamic SE – 5 seats, auto, petrol, 2.0-litre, 184 kW, 365 Nm, 5-star safety, 7.9 l/100 km.

D180 R-Dynamic HSE – 5 seats, auto, diesel, 2.0-litre, 132 kW, 430 Nm, 5-star safety, 5.7 l/100 km.

P250 R-Dynamic SE – 5 seats, auto, petrol, 2.0-litre, 184 kW, 365 Nm, 5-star safety, 7.9 l/100 km.

P300 R-Dynamic HSE – 5 seats, auto, petrol, 2.0-litre, 221 kW, 400 Nm, 5-star safety, 8.1 l/100 km.

Lexus

Lexus NX

Balanced, sleek lines are part of the new 2020 Lexus NX AWD models.  It has to be one of the classier looking mid-SUVs on the road, and with Lexus’s latest hybrid technology part of the model’s line-up you can have a luxury SUV ride, comfort and space with a fuel efficiency that brings you relief at the pump.  Premium interior infotainment and technology, classy leather materials, and fit-and-finish that are second-to-none are all reasons why this is among the leading luxury SUV variants on the road.  Excellent safety features and premium space add to the quality Lexus NX package, so the deal is 5-star safety and 5-seats.  A smooth ride comfort and boasting plenty of grip all helps to make the new Lexus NX AWD SUV highly desirable.

One hybrid powertrain powers the NX 300h, NX 300h F-Sport and NX 300h Limited.  This powerplant uses a CVT Auto, a 2.5-litre petrol engine with a combined output of 145 kW, 210 Nm and a fuel efficiency of around 5.7 litres/100 km.

The 2.0-litre Turbo petrol engine boasts 175 kW and 350 Nm to give plenty of grunt.  Running with the 6-speed automatic gearbox, this set-up returns around 7.9 litres/100 km fuel usage.

Mahindra

Mahindra XUV500

Available as a highly appointed SUV, the new Mahindra XUV500 is spacious, comfortable and easy to drive.  Good turbo-diesel power and economy should appeal to plenty of people after a well appointed AWD medium SUV.

The Mahindra XUV500 AWD W10 has seven seats, auto, diesel, 2.2-litres, 103 kW, 320 Nm, 4-star safety and around 8.1 litres/100 km fuel efficiency.

Mazda

Mazda CX-5

Petrol and diesel alternatives, classy looks and a nice drive to match, the Mazda CX-5 is popular for good reason.  Hard to beat with so many pros including a competitive price makes the models in the Mazda CX-5 stable highly desirable.

The Mazda CX-5 GSX AWD Petrol and Limited AWD Petrol use the same engine, the only difference being in equipment levels.  Both are five-seater, auto, 2.5-litre petrol, 140 kW, 252 Nm, 5-star safe, 7.4 litre/100 km mid-size SUVs.

The Mazda CX-5 GSX AWD and Limited AWD Diesel variants run with a 2.2 turbo-diesel motor boasting 140 kW, 450 Nm and 5.7 litres/100 km efficiency.  These engines are some of the best in this class of vehicle.  They are strong performers and very efficient.

The Mazda CX-5 2.5 Turbo has the 170 kW petrol variant with 420 Nm of torque.  Smooth, punchy performance makes this a class act too.

Mercedes Benz

Mercedes Benz GLC

Mid-size Mercedes Benz SUVs are known as the GLC Series of vehicles.  Luxurious, desirable, classy, safe and stylish are just some of the words used to describe this nice range of medium SUVs.  Coupe styling is also on offer.  They are pricey, but then they are very good.

All models seat five in comfort and use 9-speed automatic gearboxes.  AMG models use a Speedshift gearbox.  One hybrid model is available (300 e).  Again, the GLC range of Mercedes Benz SUVs lead the way on the performance front; the AMG models deliver as much as 700 Nm from their 4.0-litre, 8-cylinder engines.

Mercedes Benz GLC models include the: 300 AWD, 300 e AWD, AMG 43 AWD, AMG 63S AWD, Coupe 300 AWD, Coupe AMG GLC 43 AWD, Coupe AMG GLC 63S AWD.

Mitsubishi

Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross

Two mid-size SUV models with AWD are available to the buyer.

The Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross AWD in XLS and VRX forms offer five seats, auto, petrol, 1.5-litres, 112 kW, 254 Nm, 5-star safety and around 7.7 litres/100 km.  The turbo engine and the very good eight step CVT are matched really well for an enjoyable drive while delivering a refined ride and comfortable transport.  Loaded with the latest infotainment and safety goodies you’ll enjoy the Eclipse Cross’s nice modern looks and classy cabins.

Mitsubishi Outlander

The Mitsubishi Outlander has been a go-to mid-size SUV for quite some time now, and with its latest offering it remains a highly competent medium SUV.  Petrol, hybrid and now a new Diesel engine give the Outlander plenty of clout.  Underpinning the Outlander is an excellent AWD system that manages slippery conditions with ease.  CVT and conventional auto gearboxes are available.

So, LS, XLS, XLS Sport and VRX versions run with a 2.4-litre, 126 kW, 224 Nm petrol powerplant that offers around 7.2 litres/100 km efficiency.  All are CVT, however you can choose the VRX with a 6-speed auto if you prefer.

With 366 Nm of torque and a very good all-round fuel efficiency of somewhere in the vicinity of 6.2 litres, the XLS and VRX can be had with this excellent turbo-diesel motor delivering 112 kW of peak power.  This makes a strong case for those on the look out for a reasonably priced diesel powered mid-size SUV.

Ready to be blown away?  Those in the know, will already be enjoying the Mitsubishi Outlander in PHEV form.  Why?  Under the hood is probably the best petrol/ev combination for any of the mid-size SUVs in 2020.  Luxurious and well appointed, the PHEV also manage to get as low as 1.9 litres/100 km! Enough said…

Nissan

Nissan X-Trail

People are loving the nice curvy styling of the latest Nissan X-Trail.  Solid dynamics, decent performance, great 4WD systems with decent off-roading potential, plenty of space, reasonable pricing and plenty of very good equipment all add up to make the new X-Trail another desirable SUV.

Nissan X-Trail 4WD variants start with the ST, step to the ST-L and then top out with the loaded Ti.  Each uses the same peppy 2.5-litre petrol with 126 kW and 226 Nm.  You can expect around 8.3 litres/100 km fuel efficiency for all the models which come with the auto gearbox as standard.  Practical roomy interiors, good luggage space, seating for five and 5-star safe, the X-Trail is to be liked.

Porsche

Porsche Macan

Porsche get into the mid-size SUV market place with a variety of premium AWD Macan models.  They demand a high price but then, like Mercedes equivalents, they are very good SUVs – more orientated towards sport/luxury than being a true off-roading SUV.  Comfortable and very sporty with great road manners for the enthusiast, the AWD Macan is pure driving pleasure.

The Porsche Macan uses a 185 kW petrol engine delivering a top speed nearing 230 km/h.  A 0-100 km/h sprint time of 6.5 seconds should be enough to have plenty of fun on the drive to work!

The Porsche Macan S uses a 260 kW petrol engine delivering a top speed nearing 254 km/h, and it has a 0-100 km/h sprint time of 5.1 seconds.

The Porsche Macan GTS uses a 280 kW petrol engine delivering a top speed nearing 261 km/h, and it has a 0-100 km/h sprint time of 4.7 seconds.

The Porsche Macan Turbo uses a 324 kW petrol engine delivering a top speed nearing 270 km/h, and it has a 0-100 km/h sprint time of 4.3 seconds.

Renault

Renault Koleos

Renault has two very decent AWD medium SUVs that are often overlooked in the masses.  Don’t forget to check out a new 2020 Koleos 4×4.  Riding on the same platform as the Nissan X-Trail you get a very good off-road system that is more than adequate for plenty of adventure.  A petrol and diesel are offered both of which are very well equipped, spacious and comfortable.  The Koleos looks smart and flowing, boasting striking LED DRLs and a classy set of alloys.

The Renault Koleos Intens/Sport 2.5 4×4 uses the responsive 2.5-litre, petrol engine with 126 kW and 226 Nm.  You should get around 8.3 litres/100 km fuel efficiency out of one of these and its linked to the smooth auto gearbox.

The Renault Koleos Intens/Sport 2.0 4×4 offers the turbo-diesel engine in auto with plenty of power (128 kW) and a hefty 380 Nm of torque.  This is the one to get if you need a Koleos for towing, but check out the 5.5 litre/100 km fuel efficiency – which you should match pretty closely.

Your new Renault Koleos comes with a comprehensive suite of 5-star safety features, and out on the open road it happily lopes along effortlessly and quietly.

Skoda

Skoda Kodiaq

For practicality, safety and style, the latest Skoda Kodiaq leads the way.  A healthy boot space, sliding and reclining rear seats, seven seats, loads of storage space and a comfortable ride, the Skoda is a perfect mid-size SUV.  A diesel and petrol option gives the buyer flexibility.  Well equipped, well built and capable off-road, the 4×4 footprint is assured and well balanced for any road surface you care to travel down.

The Kodiaq Style and the Kodiaq Sportline models are offered with a 2.0-litre petrol engine delivering 132 kW and 320 Nm.  But you can also get your Kodiaq with the superb 2.0-litre turbo-diesel packing 400 Nm of torque and 140 kW.  Both engines are linked to a smooth auto gearbox.

Subaru

Subaru Forester

Another medium SUV that’s been through plenty of generations – one of the first of its type, in fact – is the 2020 Subaru Forester.  This SUV delivers a great package in various trims that all run with the smooth 4-cylinder, 2.5-litre petrol, auto with 136 kW and 239 Nm.  You should be able to get around 7.4 litres/100 km on average.

The latest Forester remains a solid buy, built nice and strong with 5-star safety, loads of new technology and X-Mode for its AWD capability.  A good drive.

Toyota

Ever reliable, Toyota has a nice new RAV4 for sale for 2020.  Only titivated up last year, the new RAV4 is an SUV that, in hybrid format, uses the new E-Four AWD system.  Linked to the smooth and free revving 2.5-litre petrol, the combination of petrol/hybrid technology brings an excellent fuel efficient medium-size SUV to this rather large SUV segment of the market.  In hybrid form the RAV4 delivers 131 kW of power and 221 Nm of torque, perfect for everyday driving.  Fuel consumption can get as low as 4.7 litres/100 km.  You’ll find the hybrid is available for the RAV4 GX, GXL and Cruiser models.  The hybrids use a CVT gearbox for delivering power down to the AWD system.

The other engine that’s available for the Toyota RAV4 Edge AWD is the 2.5-litre Dynamic Force direct injection petrol engine which is linked to a very nice 8-speed auto.  It has a few more horses under the bonnet with 152 kW and 243 Nm at the ready.  Fuel consumption for the Edge is around 7.5 litres/100 km.

Safety is 5-star, so you get a loaded mid-size SUV with Toyota Safety Sense that includes active cruise control, a pre-collision safety system with pedestrian and cyclist detection, lane departure alert, lane trace assist, auto high beam and road sign assist.

Seating is spacious and comfortable for the long haul, while the audio and other infotainment systems are all the latest tech.  Plenty of options allow you to individualize you RAV4 to your tastes and there is even things like a panoramic roof.

Volkswagen

VW Tiguan

No more diesel options for VW’s Tiguan, however the two petrol engines deliver nice, smooth power and decent response.  One of the 2.0-litre petrol Turbo units puts out 132 kW and 320 Nm, while the other jumps to 162 kW and 350 Nm.  Allspace models add a third row of seats to make it possible to carry seven occupants including the driver.

Handy 4×4 systems make the 2020 VW Tiguan pretty good for going off-road.  5-star safety and decent fuel consumption rates all add up to making the pleasant Tiguan easy to live with and very handy to have when you want to escape for the weekend.  The Tiguan interiors are smart and well put together.

Volvo

Volvo XC60

Volvo’s XC60 slots into the mid-size SUV segment perfectly.  It is one of the most stylish medium SUVs on the market; it looks great from any angle.  You also get the Thor hammer DRLs which catch attention instantly.

Out on the road the new Volvo XC60 performs very well with plenty of power and refinement.  The ride is very comfortable, aided by the very comfortable seats.  Take it off-road and the XC60 handles pretty much anything that comes its way – without being an out-and-out bush basher.

Engines come in the form of petrol, diesel and hybrid – all of which are 2.0-litre capacity.  The hybrid is the most powerful engine, with 265 kW maximum combined output and as much as 440 Nm of torque.  The hybrid is known as the T8, and with all that power comes an amazing 2.1 litres/100 km of fuel usage –why would you want anything else?  It is pricy though…

D4 and D5 XC60 variants pack a tonne of torque from their diesel engines.

The T5 has: 5 seats, auto, petrol, 2.0-litre, 187 kW, 350 Nm, 5-star safety and 7.3 litres/100 km.

The D4 has 5 seats, auto, diesel, 2.0-litre, 140 kW, 400 Nm, 5-star safety and 5.2 litres/100 km.

The D5 R-Design has 5 seats, auto, diesel, 2.0-litre, 173 kW, 480 Nm, 5-star safety and 5.5 litres/100 km.

The T6 has: 5 seats, auto, petrol, 2.0-litre, 235 kW, 400 Nm, 5-star safety and 7.7 litres/100 km.

The T8 R-Design Hybrid has: 5 seats, auto, petrol, 2.0-litre, 265 kW, 440 Nm, 5-star safety and 2.1 litres/100 km.

 

Small SUVs You Can Buy in 2020

Judging by sales trends, the commanding popularity of owning and enjoying an SUV will continue into 2020.  So, what can you buy this year if you’re looking to get into a small SUV with AWD?  Let’s take a closer look.

Audi

Audi Q2

Audi has the sparkling little Audi Q2 AWD.  You can get this one in the Q2 TFSI 140 kW Quattro Sport mode with five seats, a 7-speed auto, petrol, 2.0-litre Turbo, 140 kW, 320 Nm, 5-star safety and with 6.4 litres/100 km fuel consumption.

For way more performance the hot little SQ2 TFSI 221 kW Quattro is stunningly quick.  Available with five seats, a 7-speed auto, petrol, 2.0-litre, 221 kW, 400 Nm, 5-star safety and around 7.4 litres/100 km fuel consumption.

Audi Q3

Audi also offers the slightly larger Audi Q3 with Quattro underpinnings and good looks.  You will enjoy the new Q3 45 TFSI with five seats, a 7-speed auto, petrol, 2.0-litre, 132 kW, 320 Nm, 5-star safety and around 6.7 litres/100 km fuel consumption.

The punchy performance of the Q3 S-Line 45 TFSI will delight.  It comes with five seats, a 7-speed auto, petrol, 2.0-litre, 169 kW, 350 Nm, 5-star safety and around 7.6 litres/100 km fuel consumption.

BMW

BMW X1

The smallest BMW SUV with AWD is found in X1 guise.  Known as the BMW x-Drive 20d 4×4 you have something quite special to get yourself around.  The Twin-Turbo diesel is a beauty with plenty of pep, great driving dynamics and low fuel usage.  It comes with five seats, an 8-speed auto, diesel, 2.0-litre, 140 kW, 400 Nm, 5-star safety and around 4.8 litres/100 km fuel consumption.

BMW X2

BMW also offer a small SUV in the form of the X2 AWD.  The X2 has low, sleek lines; however it still has SUV status.  You can get this nice looking, nice driving vehicle with five seats, an 8-speed auto, petrol, 2.0-litre, 141 kW, 280 Nm, 5-star safety and around 6.5 litres/100 km fuel consumption.

Honda

Honda HR-V AWD

The smallest Honda SUV comes in the form of the HR-V.  Available with AWD, five seats, auto, petrol, 1.5-litre, 96 kW, 155 Nm, 5-star safety and around 5.3 litres/100 km fuel consumption.  The HR-V won’t break any land speed records but it does deliver comfortable, efficient transport with loads of technology and safety features.

Hyundai

Hyundai KONA AWD

Hyundai offer their small SUV in AWD as well as in FWD.  Both the 1.6T AWD and the 1.6T Elite AWD use the same engine and underpinnings with the difference being price and equipment levels.  With a new Hyundai KONA AWD SUV you will enjoy five seats, a 7-speed DCT transmission, petrol, 1.6-litre, 130 kW, 265 Nm, 5-star safety and around 6.7 litres/100 km fuel consumption.  The KONA’s nice styling, price and drive add up to a nice experience.

Jeep

Jeep Renegade

Yes, you can get yourself a legendary Jeep as a small SUV.  Jeep’s compact SUV has all of Jeep’s 4×4 mastery with its proven technology and ruggedness always a hit.  Known as the Jeep Renegade Trailhawk; with this model you have serious off-road potential that boasts low gearing for tough terrain.  You also get five seats, an auto gearbox, petrol, 2.4-litre, 129 kW, 230 Nm, 5-star safety and a fuel consumption of around 7.5 litres/100 km.

Lexus 

Lexus UX250H

The smallest Lexus SUV with AWD comes in the form of the UX250H; and it’s a hybrid.  Sleek lines, plenty of style, loads of luxury, excellent performance and handy cabin space make the new Lexus UX250H a discerning small SUV choice.  The UX has also been designed by a female engineer who also had a hand in the CT200’s design.  This comes with five seats, an auto transmission, hybrid – petrol/electric power, 2.0-litre combustion, 135 combined kW, 190 Nm, 5-star safety and a fuel consumption around 4.7 litres/100 km.

Mazda 

Mazda CX-3 AWD

A real winner with equally nice looks and a nice drive, it’s hard to walk by a new Mazda CX-3 AWD.  Known as the CX-3 GSX AWD, you get a small SUV that has all the style as well as a comfortable interior, great technology and a fun drive.  The CX-3 AWD comes with five seats, an auto gearbox, petrol, 2.0-litre, 110 kW, 5-star safety and a fuel consumption around 6.7 litres/100 km.

Mercedes Benz

Mercedes Benz GLA AWD

As a compact SUV, the new Mercedes Benz GLA AWD versions though almost car-like do offer some SUV credentials.  It is based on the A-Class platform and is excellent – as you would expect.  It is Mercedes Benz after all!  This offer one of the nicest cabins in this class of car, particularly when you add the huge centre touchscreen and figure-hugging seats.  These are also really nice driving cars with superb performance.  If you don’t mind the higher price, then you’ll love these.

The Mercedes Benz GLA 250 4Matic has five seats, an auto gearbox, petrol, 2.0-litre, 155 kW, 350 Nm, 5-star-safety and a combined fuel consumption of around 7.0 litres/100 km.  The Mercedes Benz GLA AMG 45 4Matic is the most powerful small SUV money can buy.  It’s also the priciest!  With this model you get five seats, an auto gearbox, petrol, 2.0-litre, 280 kW, 475 Nm, 5-star safety and a combined fuel consumption of around 7.5-litres/100 km.  A 0-100 km/h dash can be performed in around five seconds.

Mitsubishi

Mitsubishi ASX AWD

Mitsubishi offers the excellent new ASX XLS AWD.  This small SUV has a very modern style and offers its power from the excellent 2.2 turbo-diesel engine.  This is a standout performer and perfectly matched for the ASX AWD version.  The 2020 ASX cabin is comfortable, stylish and safe.  You get the AWD version with five seats, auto, diesel, 2.2-litre, 112 kW, 366 Nm, 5-star safety and a 6.0 litres/100 km fuel consumption.

Nissan

Nissan Juke AWD

Nissan Juke has its small AWD model with the funkiest styling in this class.  It’s all about cool looks, style and fun with this one.  You can get the AWD Nissan Juke in Juke Turbo form which delivers a great drive, tidy handling and plenty of personality.  The Nissan Juke Turbo has five seats, auto, petrol, 1.6-litre, 140 kW, 240 Nm, 5-star safety and a punchy drive with a fuel consumption of around 7.4 litres/100 km.

Ssangyong

Ssangyong Korando AWD

Very plush and comfortable, the 2020 Ssangyong Korando looks good and is nice and practical.  Offered in AWD as the Korando 2.0 TDi it comes with a good price, five seats, auto, diesel, 2.0-litre, 129 kW, 360 Nm, 5-star safety and around 7.3 litres/100 km fuel consumption.  This is proving a popular buy around the world, and for good reason too; this is a solid, stylish, nice driving and comfortable small AWD SUV.

Subaru

Subaru XV AWD

Based on the Impreza platform, the new Subaru XV 2.0i Sport and Premium models are very handy off-road, while remaining dynamic on-road.  This is a competent, stylish small SUV that can easily scamper off road when required.  Both the Sport and Premium models come with five seats, auto, petrol, 2.0-litre, 115 kW, 196 Nm, 5-star safety and around 7.0 litres/100 km fuel economy.

Suzuki 

Suzuki Jimny 4×4

The extremely desirable and popular little Suzuki Jimny has impressed worldwide and is available in Australia with plenty of options for trim, technology and trim levels as well as manual and auto options.  These are a delightful 4×4 SUV to drive with the added benefit of being able to tackle some serious off-road terrain.  Even experienced 4WDers rave about them.  This latest model has delivered and offers plenty for the adventurer.  Manual versions are fractionally more fuel efficient, being able to return around 6.4 litres/100 km compared with auto versions which are around 6.9 litres/100 km.  Both the Suzuki Jimny Sierra and Sierra 2 Tone offer five seats, auto and manual options, petrol, 1.5-litre, 75 kW, 130 Nm and 3-star safety.

Suzuki S-Cross AWD

Suzuki’s S-Cross is really a glorified Hatchback with a higher small SUV riding stance, a peppy little engine, excellent build quality, and all at a handy price.  The AWD version is known as the Suzuki SX4 S-Cross LTD AWD, and it is nice and comfortable to drive.  It’s also nice and practical with genuine seat comfort and space.  You get five seats, auto, petrol, 1.6-litre, 88 kW, 156 Nm, 5-star safety and a 6.3 litres/100 km fuel consumption.

Suzuki Vitara AWD

With its nice styling, safety and comfort, the new Vitara is a very well-priced small SUV with great driving dynamics too boot.  It’s based on the S-Cross platform.  The latest Vitara has been pumped with high-tech safety features and also shows off its bold styling in many bright colour combinations.  You’ll have fun with this one, and the Vitara is well built too.  The Suzuki Vitara JLX AWD is the base model and offers five seats, auto, petrol, 1.6-litre, 86 kW 156 Nm, 5-star safety and 6.3 litres/100 km fuel consumption.  The Suzuki Vitara Turbo AWD and AWD 2 Tone are great fun cars to drive.  With these you get five seats, auto, petrol, 1.4-litre, 103 kW, 220 Nm, 5-star safety and 6.2 litres/100 km.

Toyota 

Finally, to wrap up the available new small SUV drives, the Toyota C-HR is superbly built, nice to look at, comfortable and has hybrid technology.  2020 has the C-HR with smoother lines and a special Toyota Safety Sense suite.  This is a reliable performer, and a small SUV drive that delivers AWD traction which is great for gravel roads as well as city streets.  The Turbo AWD, Limited AWD and Limited AWD 2 tone all offer five seats, auto, petrol, 1.2-litre, 85 kW, 185 Nm, 5-star safety and an average fuel consumption of around 6.5 litres/100 km.

As you can see there is plenty of choice in the abundant selection you’ll find in the small SUV market place.  Today’s modern technology, new materials and reliability make for enjoyable new car ownership.  You can see why plenty of people are ditching their small hatchbacks for a more solid small SUV stance.

October New Car Sales Continue To Show A Downwards Slide.

The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), the peak body for the automotive industry in Australia, has released new vehicle sales figures for the month of October 2019.

According to Tony Weber, chief executive of the FCAI, new vehicles have now seen the nineteenth consecutive month of decreasing sales in the Australian market, with October 2019 sales down 9.1% compared to October 2018. “Year to date sales of new motor vehicles in 2019 are almost 78,000 units (eight per cent) lower than the same period in 2018.“While the drought and other domestic conditions are impacting the market, our key concern is the effect over-regulation of the financial sector is having on new vehicle sales. The FCAI and our members have been concerned about the risk averse approach to lending in Australia for some time and see improved access to finance as a key to driving economic growth in 2020” Mr Weber said. “Of particular interest is the fact that sales are down across all buyer types, with private sales down 5.2 per cent compared to October 2018, business sales are down 8.2 per cent and government sales are down 7.3 per cent.”

Total sales for the month numbered 82,456 vehicles, a decrease of 8,262 vehicles, or 9.1 per cent, on October 2018. During the month, the Sports Utility Market (38,648 units) fell by 3 per cent compared to October 2018, while the Passenger Vehicle Market (23,553 units) was down 15.3 per cent, and the Light Commercial Market (17,164) decreased by 11 per cent.

The Toyota Hilux (3,516 units) was the top selling vehicle in October 2019, followed by the Ford Ranger (3,160). The Hyundai i30 (2,216) was followed by the Toyota RAV4 (2,132) and the Toyota Corolla (2,117). Toyota remained the top selling marque for the month with 16,988 sales for 20.6 per cent market share, followed by Hyundai (7,455 for 9 per cent market share), Mazda (6,370 sales for 7.7 per cent market share), Kia (5,062 sales for 6.1 per cent market share) and Ford (4,891 for 5.9 per cent market share).

Millennials, It’s Your Fault New Car Sales Are Sliding…Apparently

The sharp drop in new car sales throughout 2019 has had no shortage of publicity, particularly now that 18 consecutive months of declining figures have come through. Over that time we’ve heard from experts as to a variety of factors that have contributed to the rut.

From political uncertainty before this year’s election, to a tightening in lending regulations, a weakening economy led by subdued house prices, the effects of a drought, and believe it or not vehicle shipments contaminated by little bugs! Now you can add another ‘explanation’ to the list because millennials, it’s your fault new car sales are sliding…apparently.

 

The underlying trends

You see, the shifting trends among millennials are pointing to a change in views towards car ownership. Younger Australians are holding onto their first vehicle for a longer period of time, or otherwise putting their driver’s licence on the back burner. There is testimony from some industry insiders to suggest that millennials are less comfortable with the idea of a loan than previous generations given a tendency to spend more to stay up to date with the latest technology or to fuel travel and entertainment aspirations.

The prompts are largely coming about through the influence of technology, including the role it is playing on behavioural patterns. First and foremost, the rise of apps like Uber and Ola have reduced dependency on individual vehicle ownership, instead promoting the benefits of a flexible ride-sharing fleet. Online food and grocery services follow the same notion, where a few simple touches on a mobile phone are enough to avoid making that trip to the supermarket.

At the same time, we’re also seeing far greater levels of urban consolidation take place in our major cities. Given the significant rise in house prices since the end of the GFC, many millennials are forgoing the Australian dream to own a home. An increasingly popular choice of action is to rent in highly desirable locations, which typically translates to inner city living or convenient public transport links nearby – both reducing dependency on vehicle ownership.

Finally, vehicle subscription services and peer-to-peer car sharing are becoming more commonplace in this demographic segment as well. A variety of companies have latched onto this trend, allowing anyone to borrow a car from a friendly stranger in their neighbourhood. Who would have thought it would be possible all those years ago?

 

Is there more to it than meets the eye?

Notwithstanding the trends that are taking place, the conversation has really only started to emerge in recent months. Look a little further back however, and what you realise is that new car sales were coming off an all-time high. Quite frankly, a level that some would argue may well turn out to be a short-term peak, or an otherwise unsustainable level once evidence of a slowing economy emerged. These trends have been occurring for some time now, so should have been observed earlier on sales data.

Furthermore, many of these trends are being attributed to millennials, but they sure as heck aren’t the only ones nurturing such changes. Those who have been brought up through these technological and societal changes become an easy target to point the finger at for ‘leading the way’ so to speak, but if this was really at the heart of the matter, then a range of buying incentives should suffice among other demographics to offset this decline.

But the facts remain, we’re seeing high levels of population growth, the lowest interest rates on record, and vehicle prices as affordable as they’ve ever been before. If those initiatives aren’t getting other buyers into the market, to offset a supposed wane in interest among millennials, where does the fault really lie?

 

Ute Buyers Spoilt For Choice

2020 Ford Ranger

Most of us will know the popularity of the ute in Australia.  It’s an awesome type of vehicle for mixing work, play and family duties all together and so easily.  Some utes even scrub up so well that they look stylish enough parked up next to a luxury Mercedes, so it is little wonder as to why we’re seeing the Hilux, Ranger or even Triton being very popular new car buys.

2020 Mitsubishi Triton

Australia’s top-selling modern utes need to be able to tow big weights, carry close to 1000 kg on the tray out the back, be capable 4x4s, drive with premium levels of comfort and refinement, look cool and have the latest technology, infotainment and safety aids.  Tick all these boxes and, if you’re a new ute manufacturer, you can be sure that you’re going to get some foot traffic onto your showroom floors – which will then, hopefully, transfer into those feet driving one of your utes out of your dealership after just having sold the ute.

There are some pretty special new utes available already in Australia, but there will also be some new utes coming in the not-too-distant future.  Hyundai, with joint interest and input from sister company Kia, are poised to bring an exciting ute to Australia.  A team of experts from Hyundai recently visited Australia.  They piloted a detailed ute market research project here in Australia, while also visiting other Asian countries as well as the Middle East.  Hyundai Australia’s CEO, Mr Lee, commented that the new ute would be subject to its extensive local tuning program to tailor it to Australian conditions and consumer tastes.  It sounds like Hyundai are doing their homework very well indeed.  According to Kia Australia, the ute will be offered in a range of single-cab and double-cab body styles with both petrol and diesel engine options.

2020 Jeep Gladiator

The Jeep Gladiator is set to make an entry, and this really is a light truck/ute that imposes itself with immense on-road presence.  It’s big, bold and capable both on and off the road and, essentially, it is a Jeep Wrangler with a big tray out the back.  It will offer Sport, Sport S, Overland and Rubicon trims, and it offers two engine choices: a 3.6-litre Pentaster V6 that delivers 209 kW and 353 Nm, and a torquey 3.0-litre diesel V6 to launch a little further down the track.  The Gladiator stretches 5.54 m in length, 1.88 m wide and up to 1.90 m in height.  A 3.5 tonnes towing weight is no problem.

2020 Ram 1500

In the same vein as the Gladiator, but with even more hulk, is the new Ram 1500, a model that has been birthed out of the Ram Truck Division.  Big on grunt the Ram 1500 comes with an updated 3.0-litre turbo-diesel V6 engine which should prove more fuel efficient than previous engines.  The new engine is used in the newest Jeep Grand Cherokee and will sit above the entry-level Hemi V8 models.  Taking a look at the 184 kW and 570 Nm figures for the Grand Cherokee, the same engine in the Ram 1500 should be a thumper – providing up to 4.5-tonnes of pulling capability.  So, if you need one of the best tow vehicles then this will be one of them.

Mazda’s new BT-50 will become available next year, and it’s a ute that is being jointly developed with Isuzu.  Tough and strong with masculine looks is what has been indicated.

All the recently updated Toyota HiLux, Mitsubishi Triton, Ford Ranger, Holden Colorado, Nissan Navara, Isuzu D-Max and Mazda BT-50 are still available.  And don’t forget the powerful VW and Mercedes options that are growing in popularity as well.  Ssangyong ‘s new Musso looks the real deal and delivers on rugged reliability and affordability, and will be well worth a look if you’re about to purchase a new ute for yourself.

2020 Ssangyong Musso

Ute buyers are spoilt for choice!

Jeep Grand Cherokee Hits The Summit.

Jeep Australia has released details about a new range topping version of the Jeep Grand Cherokee. The Summit will be available from $84,450 plus on-roads. Power will be supplied via a Remote Start capable 3.0L V6 diesel with 184kW and a hefty 570Nm of torque. Transmission is an eight speed auto, with a mooted combined consumption figure of 7.0L per 100 kilometres. Oomph hits the dirt and tarmac via the Quadra-Drive and Selec-Terrain system that includes Snow, Rock, Mud, Sand, and Auto. The Quadra-Lift suspension has five preset ride height positions. Towing is rated as up to 3.5 tonnes.Outside are 20 inch wheels, and includes the Platinum Package. That includes Platinum chrome and gloss black Jeep 7-slot grille and front & rear lower fascia applique. Unique features outside include a refined front fascia with LED fog lights. The rear is also restyled and includes a pair of trapezoidal exhaust tips. Sill cladding and wheel arches, mirror caps and door handles are body coloured.

Inside are NaturaPlus leather seats, suede-like headlining, and “Summit” illuminated door sill plates. Above the passengers is the Dual-Pane glass sunroof. Harman Kardon supply a 19 speaker, 825 Watt amp, sound system, UConnect 8.4 inch Touchscreen with Digital Radio, Bluetooth Phone/Audio and Navigation, plus Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Seats front and are powered and heated, as is the tiller. Front seats are vented as well, a smart move for the Australian market. Safety features are ticked, with the basic and extras. Reverse camera partners with front & rear parking sensors, as does the Adaptive Cruise Control with Forward Collision Warning. Blind Spot Detection and Rear Cross Traffic Warning are backed by Lane Departure Warning.

Options are limited to just the Signature Leather-Wrapped Interior Package. This includes ‘Laguna’ quilted leather seats, leather wrapped upper and lower door panels, plus leather wrapped console and glovebox. Rear seat passengers can have a Blu-Ray/DVD Entertainment system.Interior noise is reduced courtesy of the acoustic rear windscreen and second row door glass. This helps to enhance the Harmon Kardon “Active Noise Cancellation” technology and is said to reduce exterior noise by up to 10dB.

Head to hthe Jeep Australia website for more.

New Direction For Global Car Sales

A recent inventory on who the top passenger car manufacturers were worldwide showed that Volkswagen, Toyota, Hyundai and GM are the three leading passenger car manufacturers in the world.  Where are most of our new cars made?  The highly competitive nature of the global vehicle production industry reveals that most of the companies are based in Europe, Japan, South Korea, and the US.  Interestingly, the world’s largest producers of automobiles are China, the US, and Japan.

With this in mind, the four biggest passenger car manufacturers in the world in 2017 were: Toyota, Volkswagen, Hyundai and General Motors.  Both Toyota and VW produced close to 10.5 million vehicles in 2017, with Toyota only just nudging out VW from the top spot.  Hyundai produced a little over 7 million while GM produced just fewer than 7 million vehicles.

Since I’ve got you interested, have a guess as to who you think would be next.  Well, another US manufacturer, Ford, takes fifth place with 6.4 million cars produced.  Nissan is next on 5.8 million, closely followed by Honda on 5.2 million.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V., known as FCA, is an Italian-American multinational corporation and is the world’s eighth largest auto maker with 4.6 million units produced.

Two French car manufacturing groups finish out the top ten.  So in at ninth and tenth respectively are Renault with 4.2 million and Groupe PSA with 3.6 million.  Groupe PSA is a French multinational manufacturer of vehicles sold under the Peugeot, Citroën, DS, Opel and Vauxhall brands.

After some really big growth in 2017, there are a few signs that the car manufacturing industry is struggling a little.  Some of the recent news has been that Ford plans to close its Bridgend plant next year.  In February, Honda said it would close its Swindon plant by 2021.  It comes as car-makers around the globe struggle with a range of challenges, and it appears that consumers are buying fewer cars.

A few possible reasons why global car sales in 2018 experienced falling demand are:

  • Because China, the world’s biggest market, has experienced a slump in demand.
  • Stricter emission controls are making the development of new cars that will meet emissions regulations a lot more difficult. The need for new technology to meet these higher standards makes it more expensive to build cars.
  • The big movement to make electric vehicles (EVs) requires new investment. While it would also be fair to say that many countries just aren’t ready with the infrastructure to handle millions of new EVs.  Global sales of battery electric cars surged by 73% in 2018 to 1.3 million units, but 1.3 million is still just a fraction of the 86 million cars sold worldwide.  China is making great strides in creating plenty of EV infrastructures.  The other difficulty with EVs is they have very limited driving range.
  • As more and more driverless cars become mainstream it is conceivable that car ownership habits may change. If one driverless car drives as safely as the next driverless car then it might be that people would be happier to share or group-rent a vehicle rather than buy one outright just for themselves.