As seen on:

SMH Logo News Logo

Call 1300 303 181

Japanese cars

2019MY Nissan X-Trail Ti: Private Fleet Car Review.

This Car Review Is About: The 2019 model year Ti spec X-Trail from Nissan. At the time of writing there is a six tier range which includes the sports themed N-Sport. The Ti sits at the second highest spot under the TL and wants for little in comparison. The car provided comes in a five seater configuration.

How Much Does It Cost?: Nissan says a drive-away price in January 2020 is $44,490 for the Ti. That’s a bargain as the recommended retail is $45,340 before any on road costs.

Under The Bonnet Is: A 2.5L petrol engine and a Constant Variable Transmission. Peak torque of 226Nm spins in at 4,400rpm, whilst top power of 126kW is there at 6,000rpm. Economy is quoted as 8.3L per 100 kilometres on the combined cycle from a 60.0L tank. We saw a best of 7.3L/100km and a final average of 8.7L/100km. Emissions are 192grams/km. Dry weight is 1,562kg.On The Outside It’s: A clear relation to the rest of the Nissan family, something some other brands should take into consideration. Every single Nissan has a relatable to another Nissan look. This starts with the deep Vee shaped nose/grille design before running to a sine wave crease-line along the side from the front to the’s rear muscular flanks. The rear lights are nicely integrated horizontally and the powered tailgate opens to a 565L cargo section. Drop the second row seats and Nissan says there’s 945L available. The Ti comes with a glass roof and incorporates a separate sunroof in this section.The styling disguises the fact it’s quite long at 4,640mm and sports a wheelbase of 2,705mm. Height is only noticeable if you stand next to it at 1,740mm. Full width is 1,820mm. Good looking 19 inch alloys are shod with 225/55 Ecopia rubber from Bridgestone.On The Inside It’s: Largely a very pleasant office. The immediate downside to the look is the drab and dull touchscreen display. It’s boring to look at, and slow to access DAB stations. the map display looks like a digital version of the now no-longer-available paper map books. That’s the downside. Otherwise there’s superbly supple cloth covered seats, which are heated front AND rear, the aforementioned glass roof, and an ergonomically laid out cabin.The driver has a one touch up/down power window, keyless start, and a very efficient climate control system at their fingertips. There’s a decent centre console bin, and a drive select dial just forward of it. This allows two or four wheel drive (on demand) and a locked 4WD for soft-roading. Auto headlights and wipers add to the convenience factor as do the integrated cop holders in the rear seat which fold down and also provide a form of armrest. There’s hints of luxury thanks to the lush carpet mats fitted and the powered tailgate has a position memory. It’ll also automatically stop if a body is detected..The dash itself is formed into an elegantly styled design, replete with soft touch materials and a stitched leather look. Button and tab placement follow a logical theme on the gently flattened “M” style layout, with a slightly flat bottomed wheel providing a little extra thigh space as well. Dull looking touchscreen design aside, it’s a pretty place to sit in and look at. That’s assisted by a beautiful Bose sound system with enough low end to please most and a nicely balanced sound stage.

On The Road It’s: A harder ride than expected. In no way was it a bad ride, far from it. There was ample absorbance and it was more the quicker return to a flat ride, and a definite feeling of tautness, that surprised early on. The car’s default drive by choice was the torque-split on demand 4WD. In the driver’s display is a graphic that shows the torque being applied front to rear and the drive is well enough set up to have the front doing most of the work without feeling as such.Steering is well balanced with just the right amount of feedback and heft to ensure an engaging drive in this respect. Where the drive fell down was in the CVT’s unwillingness to deal with an engine that has great numbers and exhibits those when using the manual change via the gear selector or paddle shifters.

Anything other than a gentle push on the accelerator resulted in a sensation of feeling mired in mud. Forward motion felt uninspiring, and indifferent, whereas using the manual options gave a definite change in the liveliness of the drive. The brakes made up for it with confidence and solid stopping time after time.What About Safety?: There’s plenty. Intelligent Cruise Control that adapts to the vehicle ahead, Autonomous Emergency Braking, and Blind Spot Warning with a small LED that lights up in the root of the wing mirror to visually advise. Intelligent Trace Control, a form of torque vectoring, is here, and it unobtrusively applies brakes to the wheels sensors feel need an additional boost, and this works cornering to assist in keeping the X-Trail on the road, rather than venturing to where it shouldn’t.

Intelligent Ride Control works with the engine and transmission, gently backing off torque when the car moves over something like a speed-bump or road ripple. This has the flow on effect of minimising pitch that passengers may feel. Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Departure Warning, and Intelligent Lane Intervention round out the safety package, with what Nissan calls their Intelligent Mobility service incorporating the Lane Intervention, Cruise Control, and Trace Control.What About Warranty And Service?: Five years worth of warranty and unlimited kilometres are a good thing to have in the back pocket. This covers five years of roadside assist and should the vehicle be onsold inside that term, the warranty rolls over with it. Service is the now familiar capped price and varies depending on which level of service is required. This was the pricing structure as of January 2020.

At The End Of The Drive. The Nissan X-Trail Ti is a very featured and equipped vehicle. It rides and handles well enough, has a very good engine but has two things that need improvement. The visually uninspiring touchscreen needs an overhaul and Nissan has plenty of places to look. The other is the CVT. It’s a real negative in what is otherwise a mechanically very well sorted drive-line. More information of the X-Trail’s extensive range and feature set can be found here.

2020 Mitsubishi Pajero Sport Ready To Roll.

Mitsubishi’s progressive update of their range continues. Late in 2019 the freshened ASX was released and now the Triton-based Pajero Sport gets a makeover.

Front and centre is the addition of the now familiar shield nose. It’s a rework of the previous version and now features a reworked grille, the inwards pointing chrome highlights, and the squared off driving light clusters. By giving the front a square look it has the effect of making the Pajero Sport appear wider and more imposing. There’s also been a subtle increase to the height of the bonnet.There’s been some tickling under the bonnet as well. The standard 2.4L diesel remains but some of the internals have been upgraded. The combustion chamber and fuel injection spray system have been given extra work for better optimisation of fuel spray, lowering the diesel’s compression ratio to 15.5:1. Boost from the turbo has gone up slightly to 200MPa, with the engine delivering 133kW @ 3,500rpm, and maximum torque runs at 430Nm. That’s at 2,500rpm. Mitsubishi say throttle response should be more instant and smoother.The drive is 2WD and 4WD via Mitsubishi’s SuperSelect-11 system. 4WDLLC locks the centre diff for a more precise spread of torque to each corner, and engages the low range for off-road excursions. Inside the auto is a nifty bit of work too. It’s called Idle Neutral Control and it reduces internal energy losses caused by torque converter drag when the vehicle is stationary in Drive.

There are some subtle changes inside too. A powered tailgate will be standard and likely across all models bar GLX. It’s kick activated too, for those with full hands from shopping. Adaptive Cruise Control will be fitted to all except GLX. The floor console AC Power Outlet on the outgoing model has been moved to the rear end of the floor console to enhance user-convenience.  Up front the centre console has been modified in shape and the console forward of the shifter has been changed in profile.

In the Exceed the driver gets a new 8.0 inch full colour driver’s display. On the 8.0 inch screen in the console the all around monitor has been upgraded to show obstacles detected by the ultrasonic sensors. Smartphone connectivity has been upgraded with a “misplaced” vehicle in a carpark now able to activate the headlights remotely via smartphone. It can also show fuel consumption,  remaining driving range, Eco score, and consumption history. Apple Watch wearers can also activate the power tailgate remotely, and receive vehicle operation notifications.Safety goes up a notch with driver’s knee airbags now standard across the range, as is Forward Collision Mitigation or FCM. Lane Change Assist, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, and a modified Blind Spot Alert are now standard. The Exceed gains Ultrasonic Misacceleration Mitigation, a system that uses sensors to read around the car and stop automatically if sensors pick up an obstacle.

Outside, White Diamond and Graphite Grey metallic paint have been added.

Pricing starts at $45,900 for the entry level GLX 5 seater, with the GLS 5 seater starting from $52,490. Move up to the 7 seater GLS and there’s $53,990. Exceed starts from $59,990. The 2020 Pajero Sport range is available now.

 

 

Subaru Joins The Hybrid Family.

Subaru has confirmed its March 2020 launch into the hybrid arena, also revealing it has already achieved significant sales success with its new technology Forester and XV Hybrid e-Boxer All-Wheel Drive (AWD) variants. The innovative Sports Utility Vehicles (SUV) feature identical petrol-electric engines that add a new dimension and choice to Subaru’s range.

XV Hybrid offers over 14% improvement in fuel efficiency over equivalent petrol variants in the urban cycle and over 7% improvement in the combined cycle, while Forester offers improvement of over 9% (compared to 2.5-litre petrol variants) in the combined cycle and over 19% in the urban cycle (when tested in accordance with ADR81/02).

Forester is already Subaru’s best-seller in Australia and the Hybrid AWD variant will launch in February priced from $39,990 (Manufacturer’s List Price), while XV Hybrid, with an exclusive new colour option called Lagoon Blue Pearl, and this will start from $35,580 MLP.

One XV Hybrid AWD variant will be available and two Foresters: Hybrid L AWD and Hybrid S AWD.

Subaru Australia Managing Director, Colin Christie, said: “While we initially see both our e-Boxer mild hybrid system models as niche options in our range, we’ve already got significant interest from fleet customers and also Subaru fans who have long indicated pent-up demand for new technology engine options. “Of course all this new technology is underpinned by our customer must-haves: fun, safety, reliability and great engineering. And we’re confident that the wonderful retained value and whole-of-life cost benefits enjoyed by other new Subarus will also carry over to our hybrids.”

Both hybrid models feature e-Boxer power, which is  a 2.0 litre horizontally opposed Boxer engine that’s linked via Motor Assist to a high voltage lithium ion battery, offering fuel economy benefits, particularly in congested city driving. The four cylinder 2.0 litre engine produces 110 Kilowatts of power at 6,000 rpm and 196 Newtonmetres of torque at 4,000 rpm and features the efficient intake/exhaust Active Valve Control System (AVCS).

The electric motor produces 12.3 kW of power and 66 Nm of torque, and is self-charging, via kinetic energy captured by regenerative braking and coasting. The direct injection petrol engine, Motor Assist and battery combination produce smooth, linear and responsive acceleration. The e-Boxer logic adjusts the power split between petrol and electric to match driving conditions.

It automatically changes between three modes: Motor Assist EV driving, Motor Assist electric (EV) + petrol engine driving, and petrol engine driving. From standstill or at low speed, the vehicle is powered by the electric motor only, for quiet, zero-emission driving. Depending upon vehicle and battery condition, it can operate in fully electric mode up to 40 km/h. When driving in fully electric mode (both forward and reverse), the Pedestrian Alert system emits a sound, to alert people in close proximity. The system operates when the vehicle speed is 24 km/h or less.

At medium speeds, combined power from both the electric and petrol engine produce responsive, linear and more fuel efficient acceleration. At high speed, the Boxer petrol engine exclusively powers the vehicle, while regenerative braking or coasting with foot off the accelerator, recharges the lithium ion battery. Depending upon driving style, the e-Boxer hybrid system can offer improved fuel consumption particularly in urban, stop-go traffic. It also eliminates the unnatural braking feel common to electric-only vehicles.

The e-Boxer hybrid system uses kinetic energy by converting it into electricity, delivered to the battery located in the sub cargo floor, together with the drive motor inverter and DC/DC converter. All are installed in a high-strength frame, with sound dampening and moisture-repelling qualities. The electric motor assist and battery pack are aligned longitudinally, with the motor located near the vehicle’s centre of gravity, while the battery and other components are above the rear axle, also contributing to low centre of gravity and optimising front/rear weight distribution.

An unobtrusive cooling system draws air from the cabin to help maintain the battery at operating temperature and to help ensure better longevity. In Forester Hybrid S, driver selectable SI-Drive,  Subaru’s powertrain performance management system, allows the driver to tailor throttle characteristics by choosing between “Intelligent” and “Sport” modes, for flexible, convenient and enjoyable driving. Subaru’s smooth and efficient Lineartronic Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) is mated to the e-Boxer system for ultra-smooth power delivery and torque.

Motor Assist enhances X-Mode off-road capability, through better low speed torque control. X-Mode makes it easier for drivers to safely navigate bad roads, slippery surfaces and steep hills, with just one switch. X-Mode’s status is indicated visually on the Multi-Function Display (MFD) screen. When X-Mode is engaged, at 40 km/h or less, status information is displayed on the MFD and instrument cluster, including Hill Descent Control and Vehicle Dynamics Control. X-Mode centralizes control of the engine, All-Wheel Drive, brakes and other critical components to help ensure safe driving even on poor surfaces. Hill Descent Control helps maintain a constant speed when the vehicle is traveling down hill.

As with the entire Subaru new vehicle range, the hybrid models are anticipated to gain a five-star rating for occupant safety. All Subaru hybrids purchased by private buyers for private use offer a five year unlimited kilometre warranty, plus an eight-year 160,000 km lithium ion battery warranty.

Subaru Hybrid Pricing: XV Hybrid AWD from $35,580 (MLP), Forester Hybrid L AWD from $39,990 (MLP), and Hybrid S AWD from $45,990 (MLP).

In other Subaru news, the brand announced it will not return to the Australian Rally Championship in 2020. After four years of participation under the Subaru do Motorsport banner, the brand has curtailed its domestic rally program while it refocuses its performance car marketing in other areas for the foreseeable future.

The team distinguished itself with a win in the 2016 Championship that made history with driver Molly Taylor becoming the youngest ever (at the time) and first female champion. The 2016-18 seasons were conducted in partnership with Les Walkden Rallying, while Orange Motorsport was the provider in 2019. Despite the end of the current program, Molly Taylor will be retained as a Subaru brand Ambassador and will participate in a variety of events including customer promotions, drive days, dealer network and staff functions.

Subaru returned to the championship in 2016 after a 10 year hiatus.

 

2020 Mitsubishi Triton GLX+: Private Fleet Car Review.

This Car Review Is About: The slightly updated Mitsubishi Triton four door cab chassis in GLX+ spec. There was a couple of updates for the range and specifically for the GLX+ it received a rear diff lock as standard (also for the GLS), plus the dual cab (as tested) was given a rear air circulator. The GLX+ model comes standard now with Easy-Select 4WD. A centre console mounted dial, as seen in other Tritons, allows easy switching between 2WD and 4WD modes and offers 2H, 4H and 4L transfer case settings.Under The Bonnet Is: A 133kW, 430Nm 2.4L diesel. Peak torque arrives at 2,500 rpm but there’s mixed messages below that. There’s an indecent amount of lag before the torque curve suddenly leaps upwards. From 2,000rpm there’s a gunshot surge of torque, not a smooth progessive delivery, and it’s enough to chirp the rear rubber and that’s with the driveline’s electronic nanny activated. It also provides a towing capacity of 3,100kg.How Much Does It Cost?: Mitsubishi’s RRP for the GLX+ four door cabin body starts at $40,990 for the manual diesel version with 4WD capability. The auto is $43,490. The Triton range itself kicks off with the 4X2 GLX Cab Chassis 2.4L Man Petrol $22,490 in a single cab body. The four door Crew Cabs start at $36,290 for the 4×2 GLX ADAS Pick Up 2.4L Auto Diesel. There is a three trim level Club Cab as well. Metallic paint is a $690 option. The manual was on sales at $37,990 drive-away at the time of writing (November 2019).

On The Outside It’s: Long and white. The redesign for the Triton range sharpened up each end, with the now signature “Shield” grille and inwards angled bumper side up front, a subtle change to the curve behind the second row doors, and a less curvy shape to the tail light cluster. It’s a look that seems to define the Triton as a “bloke’s ute”. That’s backed up by a solid looking set of tyres, The Bridgestone Dueler A/T rubber has a chunky tread block and stand at 245/70/18 with the alloys an efficient six spoke design. Driving lights and indicator lamps are in the far corners of the blocky front bumper.The tray fitted is big too. It’s 1,520mm in internal length, 1,470mm in width, and 470mm in depth. cargo capacity is 950kg. At the other end are hard jet washers for the windscreen. This is an area where the finer mist style would be far more efficient.On The Inside It’s: Functional and aesthetic in a minimalist sort of way. The aircon rear air circulator is perhaps the standout, as it’s a biggish dome shaped protrusion from the roof, with a set of slats facing the windscreen. The outlets are a pair of slimline vents and each have a flap to redirect the airflow. Up front is Mitsubishi’s standard and functional dual analogue dial and LCD screen setup. The centre console in the dash has a seven inch touchscreen and is better in usage than the screen in the Eclipse Cross. It’s the slightly older GUI and it’s safe to say it’s more user friendly. There is DAB, Bluetooth, a pair of USB ports and a HDMI port as well.Seats were cloth in covering, manual in adjustment, and comfortable enough for normal day-to-day driving. It’s a charcoal and light grey colour mix, contrasting with the black and light shades in the lower and upper sections of the cabin. The tiller is height and reach adjustable as well, meaning getting the right driving position shouldn’t be an issue. There is a dull alloy look plastic on the steering wheel’s spokes, circling the airvents, and on the centre console around the gear selector.Leg and shoulder room has never been an issue in the Triton and there’s plenty of space for people of all sizes. Shoulder room is 1,430mm, leg room a handy 1,020mm up front. 970mm is the measurement for rear seats. There is also a handy little icon that shows which seatbelts haven’t been connected when the car is ready to move away.On The Road It’s: Not nearly as wayward as its underpinnings as a work ute would suggest. It’s decently comfortable, handles better than expected, and speed can be washed off with the front end scrubbing the tyres. The suspension is tight up front, a little less so for the rear, naturally, in order to cope with the expected load usage. The steering is heavy but manageably so, and there is little free-play from centre, meaning steering response is quick.Unfortunately the very good handling and ride is hobbled by horrendous turbo lag and then a punch in the back. Twist the start key, fire up, engage Drive, and hit the go pedal. There’s a real and genuine wait for anything to happen as the turbo spools up, and the revs rise. Then kapow bam wham, it’s a far too instant launch as the numbers see two thousand. This really needs a smoother and more progressive torque delivery in order to make this a more driver friendly vehicle.

The brakes are well balanced, with enough feedback on the press of the pedal to get a sense of where the foot needs to be in order to haul up the two tonnes worth of metal. There’s enough to make sure than when going into corners and dabbing the brakes to use the front end scrub as well, that the combination become instinctive and driver friendly.The Safety Package Is: Good but could be better, and work utes are getting better in an area they’ve lagged in. Forward Collision Mitigation Warning with Pedestrian Detection is standard on the GLX+ as is Lane Departure Warning. Lane Change Assist and Blind Spot Warning, plus Rear Cross Traffic Warning are missing.

And the Warranty Is: Listed as 7 years, 150,000 kilometres, and servicing is free for two years as of December 1, 2019. Four years road side assist is included.

At the End Of the Drive. For what it is, the Triton range are a sturdy, solid, and worthwhile investment. The GLX+ drives well enough but that turbo lag is a problem. Standard equipment and trim is good enough for its intended market as well. The Mitsubishi website is where you’ll find out more.

2020 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Exceed AWD: Private Fleet Car Review

This Car Review Is About: A slight revamped version, for 2020’s Model Year, of the top of the tree Exceed from the oddly proportioned and oddly named Eclipse Cross. The range itself had minor updates, such as the LS gaining the S-AWC, or Super All Wheel Control, drive system. The Exceed has some trim changes, with revised front door trims with illumination and a black interior headlining. Mitsubishi have also joined the club when it comes to offering a “Black Edition”. This adds in a front skid plate, black front bumper and radiator grille. There is also a black interior and black spoiler. Safety goes up a step with variable auto rain-sensing windscreen wipers, dusk sensing headlamps with auto high beam, fog lamps and forward collision mitigation.

How Much Does It Cost?:
The range starts at $29,990 for the ES 2WD with CVT. The LS 2WD with CVT is $31,990, before moving to the LS AWD at $34,490. Exceed 2WD starts from $36,690 with the AWD at $ 39,190. Black Edition 2WD with CVT is listed at $31,690. These are the manufacturers list price, without government and dealer charges. At the time of writing, Mitsubishi list it on their website as $42,990 drive-away.Under The Bonnet Is: A surprisingly small “donk”. It’s just 1.5L in capacity, drinks petrol only, and there is no hybrid option currently. It does have a turbo though, and that means there’s decent torque. In fact there is 250Nm from 2,000rpm to 3,500rpm. Peak power is 110kW at a typically high 5,500rpm. Fuel is 91RON or above, with economy quoted as (combined cycle) 7.7L/100km. That’s a figure we achieved and beat in our mainly urban drive cycle, with 6.7L/100km recorded. That’s a good figure considering it’s not a big vehicle yet starts at 1,555kg before any load and fuel.Drive was put to all four paws via an eight ratio CVT. It’s one of the better examples of a CVT and possibly due to not being overwhelmed by torque so much compared to bigger capacity, higher torque, engines. There was a notable lack of slippage in comparison to some of the CVTs we’re driven recently. By the way, Mitsubishi no longer offer a diesel in the Eclipse Cross.

On the Outside It’s: Awkwardly shaped. There’s no polite way of saying otherwise. It sports the “shield” front end treatment and LED headlights, however in profile and from the rear it’s….angular and somewhat out of proportion. The 4,405mm length hides a 2,670mm wheelbase, a high 1,685mm stretch from top to bottom, and 1,805mm in width. From the rear the glass is split horizontally and right in the eyeline of the driver.That wheelbase and length have a relatively normal looking profile from the nose to the rear of the passenger door, but then there’s a vertical rear that then folds forward over a truncated cargo section of sheetmetal. It’s not really helped by a long, straight, windowline that comes from the upper corner of the headlights and terminates just over a deeper crease line that starts mid-front door. This itself finishes at the base of the rear lights that also fold forward with the metal. The wheel arches offset this by being clad in the now familiar polycarbonate.

Above the driver is a glass roof, with a fixed panel for the rear seat passengers. It’s needed as the interior trim is black on black. Underneath are a set of 225/55/18 tyres from Toyo. They’re compromise tyres, so mainly for road, not off-road. Speaking of which, approach angle is just 18.8 degrees, with a departure angle of 29.6. That’s largely thanks to the squat arse it has. Ground clearance is 175mm, so if the plan is to get hot and heavy with anything other than the occasional puddle and speed-bump, this isn’t the faux off-roader for you.On The Inside It’s: Not uncomfortable. Leather seats, heated (not vented) up front and power adjustable for the driver’s, Head Up Display, four cup and bottle holders, start the party. DAB audio/Android Auto/Apple CarPlay are on board but via a very confusing layout on the 7.0 inchtouchscreen. We’re far from technologically impaired but when a need to consult a manual to find out how to store a radio station is required…The screen is high-definition, making the 360 degree camera views crystal clear.The tiller and gear selector have leather covering as well, and the plastics have a nice soft touch under the fingertips. All four windows are one touch up/down, and ignition is Start/Stop push button. There’s alloy look plastics to provide a bit of brightness around the centre console, airvents, and dash binnacle. Contrasting gloss piano black is on the door handle surrounds and the touchscreen. Outside, the wing mirrors can be power folded and they’re also heated.

Roomwise there’s enough. 1,003mm of headroom up front, 933mm in the rear means a feeling of spaciousness. Leg room is ample too, with 1,039mm and 897mm front and rear. Again, it’s needed with the black on black trim possibly feeling a bit claustrophobic. At least a shrug of the shoulders shouldn’t upset anyone, not with 1,428mm of space up front. Somehow Mitsubishi cram in 374L to 1136L of shopping space in the back. It’s JUST enough for the family average shop. BUT the rear seats may need to be called in as an assistant.On The Road It’s: Not a sparkling performer. That’s unsurprising given the size of the powerplant and the dry weight. But it’s not a slug, as such. Rapid, no. Adequate for Nan? Utterly. But this isn’t the kind of car that Nan would look at. This is for those that will look at the ASX and deduce it’s not right for them. It’s slightly bigger in presence and being petrol only it lacks the low down punch that a good diesel, even a small one, can deliver.

The upside is that the CVT really is one of the better ones. Because the turbo eases delivery in, the constant variable transmission doesn’t have that slippage feeling so commonly found elsewhere. This translates to a better driving experience as a result. And using the manual shift imbues the Eclipse Cross Exceed with a little more dynamism, a little more verve. The S-AWC helps somewhat, with the torque being distributed front to rear as required. But it’s not heavily front wheel biased in steering feel though. It’s also not light enough that a finger twirl elicits results, with a bit of heft required to get the front wheels angling.

It’s well tied down, with a ride that sets it apart from the competition. It’s flat on all but the most unsettled tarmac, with the dampers really in control. Absorption of general road irregularities is up there with the best. There’s no pogoing, no floppiness, it’s a tightly written composition underneath and confidence inspiring as a result. When it’s wound up it’s actually a fun little machine to take into some of the lovely curvy roads in the region. When the engine’s into its stride, it handshakes beautifully with the steering and suspension to get into an almost sporting mode.

What About Safety? It’s packed. First up, there is Forward Collision Mitigation system, which works with Adaptive Cruise Control. For sideways looking there is Lane Departure Warning and Blind Spot Warning plus Lane Change Assist. Seven airbags including driver’s kneebag feature also. Rear and front safety is backed by Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Ultrasonic misacceleration Mitigation System. Supplementary safety systems have Adjustable speed limiter, Automatic High Beam, Emergency Stop Signal function, plus Emergency Brake Assist system and Hill Start Assist.Warranty And Service? Five years warranty or 100,000 kilometres is their standard. It’s good but doesn’t quite measure up against those offering the unlimited kilometres offerings from competitors. However, new 19MY and 20MY Triton go the extra mile with 7 Year / 150,000km Mitsubishi Diamond Advantage New Car Warrantywhen purchased before 31st December 2019. Mitsubishi says the capped price servicing covers: all items specified under the regular service tables for each vehicle type detailed in the service and warranty booklet, including parts, labour, oils and fluids, workshop supplies and any applicable environmental or waste oil disposal charges. Pricing can be found here.

At The End Of The Drive. The Mitsibishi Eclipse Cross range provides a solid, if unspectacular option to vehicles such as Hyundai’s Tucson, or Kia’s Sportage. It’s a quirky looker, reasonable if familiar in its unspectacular interior and dash layout, and not an uncomfortable place to be in either. It’s dependable, and drives well enough. There’s enough, as expected, room for four, plenty of safety to protect the occupants, and, difficult to follow DAB screen aside, a user friendly environment in the equipment sense.

The engine is a reasonably willing unit, and the CVT is a well sorted unit for the engine’s capabilities. As a whole, the package is good enough for those that have chosen to buy it and that’s the end result Mitsubishi would hope for. The 2020 Model Year Eclipse Cross information can tell you more.

2020 Toyota Corolla Sedan Is Here.

Toyota has released details of the forthcoming Corolla sedan. Due to be released by the end of November, the range and pricing is as follows. Ascent Sport petrol manual: $23,335, Ascent Sport petrol CVT: $24,835, Ascent Sport hybrid CVT: $26,335, SX petrol CVT: $28,235, SX hybrid CVT: $29,735, and the ZR petrol CVT: $33,635. All prices are manufacturers recommended and not inclusive of government and dealer charges.

All CVT equipped models will feature a solid safety package. Lane-trace assist with steering assist, plus lane-centring functionality and all-speed active cruise control, with the manual Ascent Sport featuring high-speed active cruise control and lane departure warning that has steering assist. Rear camera and seven airbags will be across all models, whilst the SX has Blind Spot Monitor and the ZR will received a Head Up Display. Toyota’s SafetySense package is standard. This includes autonomous emergency braking pre-collision safety system with daytime and nighttime pedestrian and daytime cyclist detection, auto high beam, and road sign assist.The Corolla Sedan will feature, for the first time, a hybrid drivetrain. This will be available on the Ascent Sport and SX versions. A new 2.0L petrol engine can be specced for all three trim levels, with a six speed manual or a CVT with ten preset manual shift points in the Ascent Sport. It will be connected to the CVT as standard in the SX and ZR. Maxiumum power is rated as 125kW and peak torque is 200Nm. 6.0L/100km and 6.5L/100km for the CVT and six speed manual respectively.

Choose the hybrid and the petrol side is a 1.8L engine and what Toyota call a e-CVT. Power is rated as 90kW. It’ll drive the front wheels, with all four corners to have low rolling resistance rubber. All up, Toyota quoted 3.5L100km. Emissions are rated as just 81g/km.

Toyota will add dusk sensing LED headlights, rear lights, and daytime running lights to all versions. Alloy wheels and climate control will be standard across the range except for the manual Ascent Sport. This will have manual aircon. For those that use them, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay will now be standard and accessible via an 8.0inch touchscreen. Bluetooth and Siri eye-free functionality will also be standard. Go hybrid and it’s a keyless Start/Stop.

The SX Corolla sedan will have a new three-spoke tiller with paddle shifters. Wireless smartphone pads are standard in the SX along with DAB and satnav. The ZR goes up a notch with a full glass roof, 18 inch alloys, and the front seats will be heated. Again, Australia misses out on venting, an oversight for our climate in summer. The driver’s seat will be 8 way power adjustable and audio is via a JBL 9 speaker system.Outside is a restyle that brings the sedan’s look closer to the needle nosed hatch, whilst the rear has been refreshed as well.

Servicing costs have been aligned with the hatch, meaning every Corolla has capped price servicing that costs just $175 per service with 12-month/15,000km intervals. Contact your Toyota dealer to book a test drive.

2020 Nissan Patrol: The Big Machine Gets A Makeover.

Nissan’s long-running competitor to the Land Cruiser, the Patrol, has been given a substantial makeover for the 2020 specification. Available to order through Nissan dealerships now, in a two model range, it’s priced from $75,990 (plus ORC) for the Nissan Patrol Ti, and the Ti-L is from $91,990 (plus ORC).

The exterior has been revised at the front and rear, and the safety levels have also been improved. The suspension has been further tweaked for a better ride, and there are now extra colours to choose from.Safety.
Standard equipment for both the Ti and Ti-L include: Intelligent Emergency Braking, Intelligent Forward Collision Warning, and Rear Cross Traffic Alert. The Ti now also has: Intelligent Cruise Control (ICC), Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Intelligent Lane Intervention, Blind Spot Warning (BSW), and Intelligent Blind Spot Intervention.

Outside.
The Ti has been given it’s own sportier looking front end treatment. The Ti-L goes for a premium, upmarket, look. The bonnet, fenders, grilles, LED lights and front bumpers have been modified for a more upright, no-nonsense stance. the headlights have a total of 52 LEDs, and there’s 44 LEDs in the rear. the rear lights are now in a stylish boomerang shaped cluster. The rear bumper has been restyled to match the solid lines of the rear, with a squarer look. Colour choices now have Moonlight White, Galaxy Gold & Hermosa Blue, which are new to the range.Inside.
Australia’s hot weather conditions require better air-conditioning and Nissan have updated the system in the Patrol for a tri-zone setup. Airflow has been improved and the rear seat passengers have been given better flow too. This means cooling will take place quicker and therefore will be more efficient. Access is via an intelligent key with remote keyless entry with push button Start/Stop, cruise control, heated door mirrors, plus 3D mapping for the sat-nav in an eight inch touchscreen.Power and Ride.
Both vehicles will have 298kW of power and 560Nm of torque from Nissan’s 5.6 litre V8 petrol engine. Drive gets to the ground via a seven-speed automatic transmission featuring manual mode and Adaptive Shift Control (ASC). There is also an electronic rear diff lock, Hill Descent Control (HDC) with on/off switch, Hill Start Assist (HAS) and an off-road monitor. The suspension tweaks have the dampers retuned for a more positive response for an increase in on-road comfort, and enhanced off-road comfort as well.

Contact your local Nissan dealer for a drive evaluation.

2019 Toyota RAV4 GLX 2WD: Private Fleet Car Review.

This Car Review Is About: The second in the RAV4 range. It’s the GLX, and in 2WD, non-hybrid, specification.How Much Does It Cost?: In this specification, Toyota lists it as near as dammit $40K drive away. That’s in plain, non-metallic white. Add that red colour (or any of the metallics) and the price goes up by around $600.

Under The Bonnet Is: A naturally aspirated 2.5L petrol fed four cylinder. It drives the front wheels only via a Constant Variable Transmission. Peak power and torque are rated as 127kW @6,600rpm, and 203Nm between 4,400 and 4,900rpm. Economy is rated as 6.5L/100km on the combined cycle. We finished on 8.2L of 91RON per 100 kilometres for our 70/30 drive cycle.On The Outside It’s: Clad in a deep burgundy metallic red. It highlights the more aggressive and bulldog jut-jawed look the update has given the RAV4. Apart from the 225/60/18 tyre and wheel combination there isn’t a lot different on the exterior to the Hybrid GL we reviewed recently (2019 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid.). There are oval shaped, not circular, exhaust tips, roof rails, and privacy glass.

On The Inside It’s: Much like the outside. There is the addition of a smartphone charging pad in the centre console, but that’s really about it. The audio system and apps are accessed via the same sized 8 inch touchscreen. Toyota has recently announced the addition of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay for those that use such items. The seat materials themselves are a solid weave and have an embossed motif. Aircon is dual zone, which the GX misses out on.The plastics lack tactility by being hard and flat, not soft touch or textured. The centre console has the same motif in the cup holders and charger as the seats plus a splash of silver. That matches the airvent surrounds and grab handles on the doors.On The Road It’s: A substantially different beast to the Hybrid. Cats are the seeming choice for some makers and smaller engines, with the other option being a dual clutch auto. Both have strength, both have weaknesses.

Here, Toyota have gone for a stepped approach for manual selection of gears. It results in a better drive experience than letting the CVT work by itself. In “normal” Drive, the CVT fitted here leans more towards the original style, with a planted right foot having the engine wail, revs climb, and no real sense of forward motion. However there are semblances of traditional self shifters with a feeling of cog swapping. Go manual and the electronic side kicks in, with faster responses to a change of gear and a more natural feeling as a consequence. But there is the related engine rev noise either way, but for drivability, the manual gear swap is the choice.Ride quality is nothing questionable, with agreeable levels of comfort, compliance, and road surface dampening. The steering is perhaps less artificial in feeling than the Hybrid, but perhaps because here it’s calibrated to deal with the two front driven wheels, not all four as the Hybrid had.

What About Safety?: This is where the model difference stands out in one aspect. The Reverse camera has active guidelines, over static lines. Otherwise, the whole range has the same safety package. Downhill Assist Control is offered only on the top of the range Edge.What About Warranty And Services?: Pretty much the same as the Hybrid. Five years standard, seven years if serviced at a Toyota dealership or approved venues following the logbook. Service costs are capped for five years.At The End Of The Drive. We couldn’t help but come away feeling a little disappointed. Visually there’s little to see the delineation between the GX and GXL, inside and out. Although CVTs have improved since their introduction a decade or so ago, they still, largely, don’t seem to heighten the drive experience to the levels they once promised. And as such, the GXL RAV4 2WD becomes an unremarkable proposition.

2019 Toyota RAV4 GX Hybrid AWD: Private Fleet Car Review.

This Car Review Is About: Toyota released a Suburban Utility Vehicle in the late 1990s. Named the RAV4, or Recreational Activity Vehicle: 4-wheel drive, it’s this car that’s to “blame” for the rise of the SUV. In mid-2019 Toyota released a new version and it’s been a substantial upgrade. For the first time the RAV4 has been given a hybrid driveline option and it’s available across three of the four model model range. There is the entry GX, then GXL, Cruiser, and up-spec Edge, the only one not available with a Hybrid.Under The Bonnet Is: Power is either a 2.0L petrol or 2.5L hybrid. The GX is the only version available with a proper gearbox, a six speed manual, otherwise there is a Constant Variable Transmission for all bar the Edge. Driveline options are two or all wheel drive for the hybrids. The Edge also has only the 2.5L petrol and comes with an eight speed auto. Economy figures are startling. The GX manual is quoted as 6.8L/100km, and 6.5L/100km for the auto. Go hybrid (as tested) and it’s quoted as 4.7L100km for the standard engine, 4.8L/100km for the hybrid. These figures are on the combined cycle using 91RON. We averaged on a purely urban cycle a brilliant 5.5L/100km from the 55L tank. Kerb weight for the hybrid GX is quoted as 1,705kg.Peak power for the standard engine is 127kW. The two and AWD hybrid system is rated as 160kW/163kW. Peak torque from the 2.0L is 203Nm. The hybrid engine quotes 221Nm from the petrol engine only, with no figure from the Toyota website showing a combined torque number.

What’s It Cost?: This is where it can be a bit messy due to the variants. In Glacier White, with 2WD and 2.0L manual, my drive-away price was just over $34,300. Tap the AWD button and the website automatically updates to 2.5L hybrid and CVT. Price jumped to $42,203…Choosing Eclipse Black and the price went to $42,821. GXL starts at $39,628 for the 2.0L auto in white. Metallic paint takes it to $40,246, then the hybrid option in black goes to $45,911.On The Inside Is: A long list of standard equipment. Playthings for the front seat passengers include DAB audio on a slightly fiddly to use eight inch touchscreen, plus Bluetooth streaming, and USB/Aux. The layout can be modified in look however the default, in a three screen layout, is to have the navigation screen as the primary or larger, allowing audio, eco, clock, etc, to be moved around in the other two smaller screens. Naturally the Toyota app system provides flexibility. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are coming… Wireless phone charging is available in the GXL upwards. The rear seat passengers have charge points and airvents, plus the subwoofer for the audio is behind the driver.In the hybrid there is a screen that shows the drive system, with the display showing power being apportioned between the wheels, battery, and petrol engine. There is also a usage page that shows distance and economy figures. The driver has a smaller info screen and this shows on-the-fly eco info amongst the usual radio, safety, and connected device information. If there’s a query about the interior it’s to do with the dash design overall. It mirrors the blocky exterior and offers no sense of cockpit or wraparound. However, there’s a nice touch with knurled rubber surrounds to a couple of the dials under the screen. The rear seats are 60/40 split-fold and cargo space is 542L. Lift the rear floor and there is a space saver spare.

On The Outside Is: Dual exhaust pipes featuring at the rear under a manually operated tailgate. The exterior is a more solidly engineered look, with a blocky, non-organic design. The front end has a bulldog-jowl stance, with the grille line on either side a downturned angle. This echoes the stance in profile, with a longish nose giving a head’s down appearance. The rear is also squared off and has plenty of angles and straight lines. The cargo section houses a space-saver spare, with a full sizer being an option. Black polycarbonate body mouldings feature on the sides and under the front & rear lights.Head inside and all four windows are dual touched powered. Heated seats don’t appear until the Cruiser nor do powered seats. The GX has 17 inch alloys and 225/65 Bridgestone Atenza rubber. Lighting is halogen fog lamps and LED Projector, dusk sensing, headlights for the Hybrid. The cluster is surrounded by LEDS and it’s a classy look. Wing mirrors are power operated and heated.

What’s It Go Like?
Like the proverbial off a shovel. Although noticeably front wheel drive in normal drive situations with a heavy feel to the filler, it makes it abundantly clear that it’s a front wheel biased setup when punched hard off the line. The traction control system has been tweaked to allow a driver to launch hard but with some front wheel scrabbling, even with those 225 width tyres. It quickly picks up the drive and sends power to the rear as needed. And it gets away quickly, with no sense of feeling weighed down. In gera acceleration is pretty good too, just quietly, with rapid picup and response from the pedal push.There is electric power only up to 20 to 25 kp/h if using a light right foot, but then brings in the petrol engine above that, or quicker for a heavier throttle input. There’s a few vibrations on engagement and these too disappear quickly. The petrol engine is muted in sound and when heard has a dulled metallic edge to its note. It’s a delightful highway cruiser and is as equally adept around the ‘burbs. Although the steering is front heavy it’s weighted enough to have the driver connected and aware of what’s going on with the MacPherson strut setup. On the highways it lightens enough to have lane changing feel natural, nimble, and confident, rather than imparting a sense of heaviness.Ride quality is fantastic. It’s supple and compliant, with well controlled damping. The trailing wishbone rear has a slightly tauter feel to deal with the 580L cargo space. This means slow speed bumps have the rear bang a bit harder but still not uncomfortably so.

Naturally the braking feel is en pointe, with instant engagement from the barest touch. It’s a natural and instinctive travel too, with the modulation as finely adjusted as you can get to read, via the foot, just where the pedal is and what it’s doing.What About Safety?: Passengers are wrapped in seven airbags, for good measure. Toyota crams its SafetySense package into the new RAV4 range and it’s a potent package. Lane Departure Alert, Blind Spot Monitoring, Lane Trace Assist with the CVT model, plus Pre-Collision with pedestrian and cyclist. Then there is Rear Cross Traffic Alert, front parking sensor alert, Road Sign Assist, Active Cruise Control, and auto high beam.At The End Of The Drive. Toyota have gone hard on the hybrid philosophy, and it’s working. There’s a high level of standard equipment and safety, a dogged, assertive look, and it’s not a bad drive. Aurally it’s as dull as dishwater, the bulldog looks may not appeal to all after coming from a more angular and sharper exterior, and the fiddly touchscreen may also not be a winner. Head to the Toyota website for more, or check the spec sheet here.

 

Japanese Makers Fire Electric Shots.

Both Nissan and Mazda have unveiled electric vehicles. Nissan’s is a test bed design and Mazda their first full production version. Nissan’s car is based on the Leaf e+ with Mazda naming theirs the MX30.

The Nissan has an all wheel drive system, with twin motors. Nissan also factors in their bespoke chassis control technology. The engines provide up to 227kW and a massive 680Nm of peak torque. The test car has a control system that adds regenerative braking to the rear motor as well as the front. Pitch and dive are minimised as a result. In addition to optimising the torque that’s spread between the front and rear, it also applies independent brake control at each of the four wheels to maximise the cornering force generated by each tyre.
Mazda’s car is an SUV as well. It’s powered by what Mazda call “e-Skyactiv system” It can be charged using AC power or rapid-charged using DC power. The system involves the battery, motor, an inverter and a DC-DC control unit. The inverter changes the DC to AC for the motors with the converter providing the charge for the onboard systems.

Mazda also engineer in a refrigerant cooling system that cools the battery pack when the temperature rises. By maintaining the best possible battery temperature even on hot days, the system helps protect the battery pack from degrading due to heat. Thin cooling tubes attached to the bottom plane of the battery module make contact with a heat exchanger. This structure contributes to realizing a compact battery pack. A sensor constantly monitors the battery’s temperature and controls the flow of coolant as needed. The result is an effective battery cooling system. There’s a single motor, mounted up front, and it will provide drive to the front or or four paws. The battery pack is rated at 35.5kWh, and has an expected range of around 200km. There is also a acceleration system called Motor Pedal. This adjusts on the fly response to throttle inputs and adjusts acceleration as well, depending on the speed the driver presses the accelerator pedal.

A key identifier for the MX-30 is the design. Not unlike the recently released 3 hatch, it features long and flowing lines, a curvaceous body, and suicide doors. It’s also green oriented, with cork and recycled plastic bottles being used in the interior trim. It’s not yet confirmed for the Australian market but it’s definitely in Mazda Au’s want list.