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Peugeot and Citroën Australia Introduce Five-Year Warranty

Peugeot and Citroën Australia (PCA) will introduce a five-year, unlimited kilometre warranty with five-year roadside assist for all Peugeot and Citroën passenger vehicles. That warranty applies from the date of the first registration of the vehicle. Even better, it’s transferable should an owner decide to move their new car on to a new owner. The new warranty will commence immediately and be retrospectively applied to any MY18 vehicles already sold.

The Managing Director of Peugeot and Citroën Australia, Anouk Poelmann, said that the new warranty gives Australian’s confidence in purchasing a Peugeot or Citroën and reinforces the commitment both PCA and Groupe PSA in France have for the Australian market.

“When Peugeot and Citroën arrived in Australia – almost 80 and 100 years ago respectively, reliability and durability was the key to the brand’s early success and today that focus has not changed. From design to engineering and manufacture, efforts at all levels of the business have focused on quality, durability and reliability – and this new five-year warranty underscores our confidence in the new-generation of Peugeot and Citroën product.

Peugeot 5008

Peugeot and Citroën are some of the oldest and most storied marques in Australia and we at PCA and Groupe PSA are determined to make the next chapter one full of confidence and growth,” said Poelmann.

The program will bring together warranty, roadside assist and servicing plans under the PEUGEOT PRESTIGETM banner, while naming of the Citroën program will be launched at a later date.

H9: A Haval To Have.

Haval have unveiled the updated seven seater H9. The 2018 model comes well stocked with standard equipment in the two model range, designated Lux and Ultra, a 350Nm turbo petrol engine of two litres capacity but still no diesel…yet.Included in the updates are both power and torque increases, from 160 to 180 kW, and up from 324Nm for the torque. Haval have fitted an eight speed auto from ZF, and combined with a change to the compression ration inside the four cylinder engine, say a fuel consumption improvement of around ten percent should be expected. A drop in the time to 100 kmh from zero is also expected, down to ten seconds.The exterior sees the former three bar grille changed to a five bar design, plus the lower air intake has been massaged for better air flow. Five spoke 18 inch alloys are new. Inside there’s been a raft of changes including a new TFT display screen for the driver, which amongst other information and changes displays a digital speedo.The seats for the Lux are cloth, the Ultra gets leather plus passengers in the Ultra can enjoy Australian sunshine thanks to a full length glass roof. Safety gets upgraded, with the Lux gaining Blind Spot Monitoring, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, and Lane Departure Warning. The Ultra steps that up with a heated steering wheel, heated second row seats, and an Infinity sound system.It’s also off-road capable, with a Bosch backed All-Terrain Control System (ATCS). Haval says:

Auto: The system automatically adapts to any on- or off-road situation and is designed as a select and forget setting.
Sand: The Bosch Generation 9.0 Traction Control System allows higher engine speeds and bigger torque for maximum traction through dry sand.
Snow: Traction is adjusted for the slippery conditions prevalent in snow, utilising the high torque of the turbocharged engine and the technology of the German-engineered ZF 8-speed transmission to start in second gear to minimise slippage and maximise traction.
Mud: Operates like the snow setting, but employs the BorgWarner transfer case to sense slip in one wheel and transfer torque to the appropriate wheel for optimum drive efficiency.
4L: This setting is for the toughest conditions, or when maximum traction is required such as towing through muddy conditions. By engaging the low-range transmission, the torque of the engine is multiplied by a factor of up to 2.48.
Sport: This setting is for enthusiast driving, and ensures the ZF 8-speed transmission holds lower gears for longer before changing up. At speeds below 80 km/h, it locks out the two overdriven gears, making it ideal for urban driving conditions.

The Haval H9 is rated for 2500kg in towing and features a locking rear diff as well.Pricing is sharp; the Lux starts at $40990 and the Ultra at $44990, with driveaway pricing at launch of $41990 and $45990. Head to Haval Australia for more information and to book a test drive of the 2018 Haval H9.

Private Fleet Car Review: 2018 Citroen C4 Cactus.

Citroen is known for smart engineering, clever engineering, and its famed quirkiness. The three come together with the C4 Cactus and it’s a car with something out of the ordinary. The smooth, organic, rounded, Cactus features Airbumps. Simple in concept and execution, they’re poly-urethane pockets filled with air. Made from TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) grade Elastollan AC 55D10 HPM (High Performance Material) the bumps are intended to give extra protection in close quarter situations such as carparks.The review car was badged OneTone, signifying one all-over shade and in this case, all white. There’s another trim level called Exclusive. Pricing varies more between manual and auto than the two trim levels available. The manual and auto Exclusive are $30592 and $33373 driveaway. The OneTone manual and auto are $31107 and $33888 respectively.Motorvation is provided by the PSA Group’s 1.2L petrol engine. Peak power is 81kW. Peak torque is a surprisingly good, for the size of the engine, 205Nm. That comes in at 1500rpm and is courtesy of a low boost turbo. The auto is the PSA Group’s EAT6 transmission. It’s a torque converter style with a bit of dual clutch auto feel. Under way it’s smooth enough but was sometimes (thankfully rarely) too readily caught in the wrong cog, sending vibrations through the Cactus body as it struggled with revs and torque not being available. From standstill it engages readily when in manual mode, hesitates slightly in auto, and will swap gear swiftly and mostly smoothly, as mentioned. While it’s underway, the engine puts out that familiar three cylinder warble. It’s not unpleasant but can override conversation levels.There’s two transmissions available for the Cactus: a six speed auto as found in the review car or five speed manual. Fuel tank size is fifty litres and Citroen quotes a combined fuel economy of 5.1L/100km for the auto, 4.7L/100km for the manual. A Sports mode is available at the push of a console mounted button. Top speed is quoted as 188km/h with the zero to one hundred time quoted as 10.7 seconds for the auto but a considerably quicker 9.3 seconds for the manual. This is explained by a 105kg weight difference. The manual tips the scales at 1020kg dry, the auto at 1125kg.It’s compact too, featuring an overall length of just 4157mm. The rear houses a handy 358L cargo bay that increases to 1170L when the rear seats fold. The cloth wrapped seats themselves are comfy enough but lack suitable side support for the front row. The rear seats are slightly slabby but due to the width (1729mm overall) there’s only room for two which is comfortable enough.
Leg room at the front is superb and rear leg room is also quite good. Headroom should pose no problem unless you’re two metres plus in height.The inside has a theme. It’s something along the lines of a suitcase, with the door handles rounded and with a leather like material and the glovebox has two latches, one of which opens the glovebox, and look like those found on a suitcase. The top of the glovebox has bumps that mirror the bumps outside and the door trims are embossed with something similar. There’s power window switches for the front only and they’re not auto Up/Down. The rear windows are popout in nature, with a lever mechanism, but don’t go down at all. The dash colour is a pink hued one called Habana over fish scaled plastic, contrasting with the black plastic abutting the windscreen and the rest of the interior trim.A slightly fiddly seven inch touchscreen houses all of the controls for audio, driver settings, aircon, car information, and the like. Fiddly in that sometimes more than one press or touch is required to access something like the audio screen, or the aircon screen, which means less concentration on driving. The driver gets a sci-fi inspired display screen, with 1970s look-a-like LCD blocks It’s shows speed and fuel but no revs. Consumption and trip meters are available via the touchscreen but revs aren’t…The OneTone Cactus is unremarkable in appearance bar the colour coded bumps on the doors and front & rear. The review car was Pearlescent White with matt white (Dune) for the plastic coverings. There are strip LED driving lights above the main headlights ala Jeep Cherokee/Hyundai Kona yet somehow it manages to look better than both, possibly due to the ovoid exterior design. That same Elastollan material also coats sections of both front and rear bumpers. Up top, there’s full length roof rails. The multi-coloured Cactus looks more striking with the contrasts in colours, such as a red and black mix.Safety levels are good but not great, with Hill Start Assist, reverse camera and six airbags but there’s no kneebag for the driver. Nor are there Blind Spot alerts, Cross Traffic alerts, adaptive cruise control or autonomous braking. There is something unique, though, about the passenger airbag. It’s roof mounted, coming down like a larger pillow.

On road, the suspension provides mostly smooth but sometimes unsettled ride quality. The Cactus is all too easily sent momentarily sideways, even over those dreaded shopping centre speedbumps. It’s also floaty, rather than wafty, wallowing where it should be up/down/stop. This isn’t altogether a bad thing as it does offer a cossetting ride, with no rear perception of harshness in any way. The diamond cut and painted 17 inch alloys are shod with eco-friendly Goodyear EfficientGrip rubber at 205/50 and they do hold on tightly, exhibiting mild understeer and quietly at that.Brakes are reasonable in hauling down the Cactus and pedal feel is nothing less than adequate. The steering is the same; it’s sometimes natural, sometimes artificial, but never less than adequate in feedback. Warranty is three years or 100,000 kilometres and in early 2018 Citroen Australia were offering free servicing for three years on plate clearance models.

Here is where you can find more information: 2018 Citroen C4 Cactus

At The End Of The Drive.
Citroen’s C4 Cactus is a mixed bag. It is a good looker in a way, it’s roomy enough, will drive well enough for most, but is hampered by a somewhat fiddly ride and doesn’t really offer anything out of the ordinary apart from looks and that French quirkiness.

A Legend Returns: 2019 Jeep Cherokee Details Unveiled.

As promised in late 2017, Jeep has released in January details of the forthcoming 2018/2019 Jeep Cherokee range. Here’s the news.

Latitude, Latitude Plus, Limited, Overland, Trailhawk, will be the nameplates available for customers.

There will be three available, including a new 2.0L petrol four. It’s full of tech including a cooled exhaust gas recirculation system, C-EGR; a small scroll and low inertia turbocharger that’s mounted directly to the cylinder head for better emissions, and it’s the first time that the combined use of a twin-scroll turbocharger, C-EGR system, central direct injection and the independent liquid cooling intake of air, throttle body and turbo have been employed together. Power is rated as 270 horsepower, with torque rated at 295 lb-ft (201 kW/400 Nm).

The other two engines are the proven 3.2L Pentastar V6 and Tigershark 2.4L inline four. The V6 offers 271 horsepower and 239 lb-ft (202 kW/324 Nm) with a 4500 pound (2000 kilo) towing capacity. The 2.4L petrol Tigershark will be the standard engine for the range, with 180 horsepower and 170 lb-ft (134 kW/230 Nm).Transmission.
Standard will be a nine speed Torqueflite auto. Design and engineering work have the software updated for better driveability and better packaging for compact fitment and lightweight for extra fuel savings.

Drive Performance.
Suspension travel is huge, with the MacPherson strut able to move up to 6.7 inches, whilst the multi-link independent rear has up to 7.8 inches of travel. The front suspension is mounted to an low-alloy crossmember and is torsionally more rigid than before, plus the steering rack is actuated by a fuel saving electronic unit.The Cherokee with have three drive modes, available in selected models depending on the mode. Jeep Active Drive 1 will be available for the Latitude, Latitude Plus, Limited, and Overland, which features a redesigned rear drive module that allows seamless transitions between two and four wheel drive. Jeep Active Drive 2 goes to a two speed Power Transfer Unit (PTU). There’s low range ability that comes via locking the front and rear driveshafts and raises the suspension by an inch. A crawl ratio for serious off-roading will vary depending on the engine chosen.Jeep Active Drive Lock adds a lock feature for the rear differential for enhanced off-roading and will be standard on the Trailhawk. Selec-Terrain will be on board, covering drive modes to suit Auto, Snow, Sport, Sand/Mud and Rock. There’s some sophisticated computing power too, with up to 12 systems reading the drive conditions and working with the on-board control modules for brakes and stability, hill ascent and descent, amongst others.The Trailhawk will be able to traverse some rugged terrain with approach and departure angles of 30 and 32 degrees, a rollover angle of 23 and clear 8.7 inches of ground travel.

It’s a refreshed yet familiar look for the Cherokee. The somewhat controversial front end stays in essence, however the headlights, previously located below the driving lights set either side of the bonnet, are now integrated into the driving light cluster, whilst the headlights themselves are full LED in nature along with a strip of DRL LEDs. The taillights are also LEDS and feature a revised cluster design. The tailgate also gets a makeover, with a composite material saving weight, a relocated handgrip for easier access, and under bumper kick sensor for hands free opening.

The sheetmetal is smoother, more flowing in presence, and there’s twelve colours in the exterior palette to choose from. Blue Shade, Sting-Gray, Velvet Red, Firecracker Red, Olive Green, Hydro Blue, Light Brownstone, Granite Crystal, Billet Silver, Diamond Black Crystal, Pearl White and Bright White.

Eight airbags feature in a revamped interior that also sees the cargo area increased in size. A change in tone to the lower door panels, and a change to the weave to the upgraded fabrics sees a lighter, airier, feeling interior complemented by new high gloss piano black on the dash around the touchscreen. That has also been relocated slightly, with the result being more room for smartphone placement.The interior colour trims have had an exciting addition and one with an unexpected link: Iceland. The new Storm Blue interior was inspired by Iceland with its dark volcanos and black ash contrasted with blue skies.

Check with your local Jeep dealer for updates and availability for the 2018 Jeep Cherokee.

2018 Suzuki Swift Sport Readies For Release.

It’s been hotly anticipated since Suzuki updated its iconic Swift range for 2017 and now it’s here. The 2018 Suzuki Swift Sport, complete with 1.4L turbocharged petrol engine and six speed manual or auto, is sharply priced at $25490 or $27490.

The BOOSTERJET engine produces 103 kilowatts and 230 Nm of torque, with a quoted fuel consumption of 6.1L/100 km for a combined cycle thanks partly to a weight reduction of eighty kilos compared to the previous model. The auto will come with paddle shifts.

Ride and handling is improved, with a lower and wider stance in the chassis. The Sport will roll on 17 inch polished alloys and will turn night time to day time with LED head lights. There’s also LED daytime running lights, twin chrome tipped exhausts, and a sports body kit comprising rear diffuser, side skirts, and black honeycomb grille.

Inside there’s Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Suzuki’s user friendly seven inch touchscreen with satnav, climate control, Bluetooth and USB sounds connectivity, keyless Start/Stop, and red stitched semi-bucket seats.

The chassis has new safety engineering with TECT, Total Effective Control Technology for greater energy dissipation in the event of an impact. A five star safety rating comes courtesy of six airbags (no driver’s kneebag), stability control, autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning, and adaptive cruise control.

Outside there’s a choice of five colour choices: Pure White Pearl, Champion Yellow, Super Black Pearl, Mineral Grey and Speedy Blue.

There’s Capped Price Servicing for five years and should a customer ensure their Swift Sport is serviced under that plan, the warranty gets extended from three to five years.

The 2018 Suzuki Swift Sport is available for test drive and orders from your local Suzuki dealership or enquire through here: 2018 Suzuki Swift Sport

2017 Was A Car-razy Year For Sales In Australia

Car sales people in Australia should have cause to sit back and enjoy a cold one after VFACTS said that 1,189,116 vehicles were sold in 2017. That includes record numbers for Japanese niche filler, and a brand that really should be considered mainstream, Subaru. Korea should also celebrate as Kia saw record numbers as well.

But there’s also signs of a continuing trend that’ll have some smiling and others pensive, as 2017 marks the first year that SUVs outsold the traditional passenger car. Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) Chief Executive Tony Weber said: “2017 marks the first full year in which the sales of Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) have outstripped those of passenger cars. Australians bought 465,646 SUVs during 2017 for a 39.2 per cent share of the total market, compared with 450,012 passenger cars with a 37.8 per cent share. The shift in industry dynamic we observed last year has now become entrenched in our market. It is a growth pattern that we expect will continue.”

Even light commercial vehicles saw an increase; 2017 has that category with a market share of 19.9% in 2017, up from 18.8% in 2016.

The Toyota brand will be celebrating as both brand and a Toyota badged vehicle took the number one sales position. Toyota had a 18.2% market share and the HiLux was the winner for both 2017 and in December, selling 3949 units, just ahead of Holden‘s Astra at 3533.
Mazda, Hyundai, Holden, and Mitsubishi rounded out the top five, with Kia cracking the 50,000 mark for the first time ever and seeing 54,737 cars roll out from the showroom for ninth. Subaru claimed tenth, also with a plus 50K figure at 52,511.Ford, Volkswagen, and Nissan filled the remaining places with Ford’s Ranger at 3458 just pipping Holden’s revamped Colorado on 3222. It should be noted that the Colorado had an increase of 165.6% for December 2017 over the same period the year before. On 2807 for December 2017 was the petite Mazda3, a decrease of 10.6%. It was an upswing for the next highest selling vehicle and the gong goes to Mitsubishi‘s Triton, with 25.6% and 2645 sales.

Toyota’s evergreen Corolla had a backwards step, with a minus figure of 9.8% but still saw 2641 versions find new homes in December. With local manufacturing wrapping up, Holden still managed to see the VF series 2 Commodore into 2229 homes, a slight increase of just 4.6%. A facelift and some sharp pricing for the Mitsubishi ASX, in need of an interior overhaul, take ninth with an increase of 43.4% and 2128 sales. Tenth overall in December was Mazda‘s CX5, just behind the ASX on 2113 and a mild increase of 10.9%

Kia’s Cerato was behind the push to crack the 50K mark.With an increase of just under 43%, at 18,371 sales. Big numbers for Sportage as well, with 13,448 being sold and that’s an increase of 23.1%. The baby Picanto, itself receiving an update, dominated its category with a whopping 46.5% market share, as Carnival also dominated, with virtually half of the People Mover market under $60,000 wearing the Korean badge.December 2017 saw thirty six consecutive months of growth for the Subaru brand. Leading the way was the Forester, rolling into 12,474 new homes in 2017. The Liberty wagon based Outback was a close third, on 11,340, whilst the new for mid 2017 XV had increases of 22.6% for the year and 69.9% for December, with 10,161 and 1069 sales respectively. A slight revamp for the BRZ coupe saw an increase of 137.5% for 786 sales.It was the facelifted Impreza range that snared second place for Subaru sales in 2017, with a massive increase of 151.9% over 2016 sales and 11,903 cars saying goodbye to the showroom. Both Liberty and Outback are due for updates in 2018 and Subaru have also flagged a major revamp for the Forester which will be due in the last quarter of 2018

Car Review: 2018 Volvo XC60 T6 R-Design

It’s a nice thing, as an independent writer, to get a vehicle that has visual appeal and plenty of chops underneath. It’s even better when that car is an award winner. The 2018 spec Volvo XC60, starting at a pinch under $60K, is definitely one of those and with a range of trim levels and engines to choose from, there’s one for everyone. I spend a Christmas week with the 2018 Volvo XC60 T6 R-Design.Visually it’s almost identical to its slightly older and slightly larger sibling, the XC90. There’s the LED headlights, the “Thor’s Hammer” indicator and LED driving light strip, and a visual cue from the S90 sedan with the new horizontal add-ons for the LED tail lights. Painted in a gorgeous metallic blue, the curves are highlighted and emphasise the new 21 inch diameter alloys and Pirelli rubber.It’s an imposing vehicle to look at. The 1900+ kilo machine is 4688mm in length, an astounding 1902mm in width, and stands 1658mm tall. Yet it’s as light and nimble, via the leather clad steering wheel, as a sports car, with beautiful feedback and effortless in its movement. The R-Design tested came fitted with airbag suspension and some options as well, with the ride and handling almost without fault.The XC60 was taken on a run to the NSW South Coast and was unflustered in its dealing with the varying tarmac conditions. For the most part. Some irregularities had the stiffer springs not dealing with them and the rear would skip sideways. The rear suspension has a name guaranteed to test anyone’s tongue: integral link with transverse composite leaf. The front is much easier: double wishbone transverse link. In layman’s terms they translate to “it’s a bloody good setup and it works”.The R-Design comes with a choice of diesel, a turbocharged or turbo/supercharged engine 2.0L petrol donk (T5 and T6) or a hybrid package. The Euro V6 emissions compliant T6 has pumps out a healthy 235kW via the all wheel drive system and a very usable 400 torques between 2200 and 5400 rpm. The eight speed Adaptive Geartronic auto defies logic in its unbelievably silky smoothness, imperceptible changes, and comes with drive modes including Comfort and Dynamic.It also comes with a 71 litre fuel tank, a clever fuel usage sensor that shows the varying range depending on thirst, and here’s the black spot for the XC60. The test car never dipped below 10.0 litres consumed per 100 kilometres. This included a couple of light throttle, flat road, gentle acceleration, freeway runs.The manufacturer’s price for the R-Design is $76990. The review vehicle was fitted with a number of options and the final figure was $87180. There’s the Lifestyle Pack at $2500 with heating for the multi-adjustable leather seats (which also had cooling, yay!), a Panoramic glass sunroof and tinted rear windows. The air suspension is an option and it’s worth the $2490 simply to watch the car settle on its haunches every time you exit. An extra $350 sees the front seat power cushion extensions, with interior package of leather and aforementioned ventilation another $2950. Metallic paint is $1900.The centre-piece of the interior is the nine inch touchscreen that houses driving aids, audio and climate control, apps, display settings, and is not initially intuitive but becomes so with practice. It’s also a highly reflective coated unit that is fantastic at holding fingerprints. It’s a three screen side-swipe that shows the choice of audio including DAB which, via the $4500 optional B&W speakers sounded spot on. The whole navigation interface is voice controlled as well. The glovebox is cooled and the climate control is a four zone capable unit. The driver has a full colour 12.3 inch LCD display with the display defaulting to a map between the speed and rev counter dials. The touchscreen has a tab to adjust the dial looks including power, Glass, and Chrome.Volvo’s attention to the little things is also as admirable. There’s the knurled finish to the drive selectior know, the same finish on the Start/Stop dial in the console, which requires a simple turn to the right to start or stop. Even the windscreen wipers have an identifying feature, with a gentle mist sprayed right out of the blade mounts which allows a closer and more efficient pattern to be utilised.There’s a swag of safety aids as standard, including Blind Spot Alert, Cross Traffic Alert, Traffic Sign Recognition, a 360 degree camera setup, Adaptive Cruise Control, Pilot Assist which is a semi-autonomous driver system, Park Assist Pilot, Run-Off Road Mitigation and Lane Keeping Assist and it’s here some tweaking is needed. Irrespective of velocity the assistance is equal in force meaning a slow speed assist feels more like wrenching the tiller from the driver’s hands. There’s Hill Start Assist and Hill Descent Control and a complete suite of airbags including driver’s knee.The tail gate is power operated and is fitted with the under bumper foot sensor. This proved somewhat fiddly to use, even after a few attempts, but when it opens the rear door it allows access to 505 litres worth of cargo space, rear 12V socket, and space saving spare tyre. Rear seat passengers don’t suffer in room either, with 965mm leg room, 988mm head room, and 1408mm hip room.

It’s on the road when the ability of the T6 R-Design engine package shows its mettle. At the legal freeway limit the eight ratios see around 1700 rpm, meaning it’s not far from peak torque. Sink the slipper and the needle swings around instantly, the numbers change rapidly, and velocity is illegal very easily. Because of the superb sound insulation the XC60 has, there’s no real aural sense of what’s happening up front or outside and it’s too easy to be caught above the rated local limit, meaning the driver really needs to be aware of the numbers on screen.But if a car is going to offer such usable performance it’ll also need some useable stoppers. The XC60 delivers with brakes that can be judged to a nanometer in what they’re doing in relation to foot pressure. Nor does the R-Design’s ride quality suffer from the Pirelli P-Zero 255/40/21 tyres. It’d be fair to expect some harshness in the ride from such large tyres and a small profile, yet the suspension engineers have worked wonders in dialing in just the right amount of give for all but the most unsettled of tarmac surfaces.Settling into a freeway rhythm was easy in the R-Design. Loping along, enjoying either the DAB sounds or the music via connected smartphone, comfortable in the powered seats and being breathed upon by the climate control aircon, it’s an indisputably delightful place to be. Allowing for stops to allow rest breaks, exiting the XC60 after the five hundred kilometres or so drive had only the barest hint of fatigue settling in.

At The End Of the Drive. have awarded the XC60 their Best SUV under $80,000 and it’s obvious to see why. Although adding some of the options add to the final price, the underlying ability of the 2018 Volvo XC60 T6 R-Design, is more than able and competent. Supplemented by an excellent safety package, an immensely flexible driveline, some high tech to use, and a beautiful exterior, the only real quibble with the car provided was the thirst.

Here is where you can configure your new XC60: 2018 Volvo XC60 information

Private Fleet Car Review: 2018 Audi S5

It’s always a pleasure to have a luxury car in the driveway. It’s always a pleasure to have a sports oriented car in the driveaway. When the two mix, it’s double the pleasure. The 2018 Audi S5, with “Quattro” all wheel drive and turbo V6 packed into a lithe and sinuous body, takes that a notch or two further. With a list price of $96,200 and a final drive-away figure of $116,500, does the S5 offer luxury supercar performance at a reasonable price?The keys to the S5 are the 3.0 litre V6, eight speed tiptronic which has been updated from the previously available seven speed, and all wheel drive. Peak power is 260 kilowatts between 5400 and 6400 rpm and maximum torque of 500 Nm on tap at a billiard table flat 1370 – 4500 rev band. Helped by 255/35/19 rubber from Continental and a dry weight of 1690 kilos it’s good enough to see a 0 – 100 kph time of 4.5 seconds, with a seat of the pants feeling that’s a conservative figure. Economy will vary depending on how heavy the right foot is employed. Audi quotes 7.5L/100 km of 98RON for the combined cycle and an average of just 10.0L/100 km for the urban cycle. A worst of over 15.0L/100 km was seen and that was when testing acceleration times.It doesn’t hurt that the S5’s aerodynamics add to the rapidity of the S5. At just 0.25cD it’s one of the slipperier cars of its type. Part of this comes from a redesign to the front, with a lower and more pedestrian friendly nose that houses the signature Audi Singleframe grille. Smooth sine wave lines join the LED headlight front via the two door coupe’s subtly larger flanks to the short tail that gives up a deep if not vertically capacious 455 litres. Fold the rear seats and that’s up to 829 litres. Step inside and there’s a combination of high tech with the Heads Up Display,  12.3 inch TFT “Virtual Cockpit” dash display and variable drive modes against a stunning business club feel thanks to the sumptuously appointed diamond quilted leather seats. That’s front and rear, with the back seat occupants not forgotten in the search for comfort as Audi provides a three zone climate control system.There’s an impressively modern feel and look to the plastics, with a mostly ergonomic approach to the layout of the dash and console mounted buttons and switches. There’s a broad swathe of venting to the view of the front seat passengers which looks slightly unusual given the accepted 2 + 2 vent look everywhere else.Although the S5 is a decent 4692mm in length and has a longish 2765mm wheelbase, interior room isn’t as spacious as one would suspect. Yes, you have to duck your head to get in, and yes, rear seat leg room and head room is tight for an Oompaloompa, you can almost forgive that given the outright driveability and the comfort levels the S5 provides.The LCD screen in front of the driver is the latest word in how to do something pretty damned well. With a changeable look that gives a number of different display looks, such as full screen map, speedo and rev counter along with long and short term driving stats, it’s intuitive and easy on the eye. What isn’t is Audi’s decision to stay with a centre dash mounted screen that looks plugged into a cut-out slot. Nor does the DAB/FM/AM display show anything other than the station you’re listening to with RDS (Radio Data Service) info seemingly locked into a separate screen.Road manners come as no surprise in being benign when driven gently, tenacious when driven moderately, and superb at maximum attack. The drive modes, being Comfort, Dynamic, Individual, either sharpen or soften chassis and throttle response and, unusually, it really dos work. Too often (you hear us, Kia and Hyundai?) these electronic changes are added and seem to add nought. In the case of the Audi S5, m’lud, they do.The transmission really does offer quicker changes and using the paddle shifts there’s a blip blip blip on upshifts. Downshifts are fractionally slower…fractionally. It’s a hugely enjoyable experience and using Dynamic is great for quiet roads or track days, Comfort for cruising, and really that’s all you need. There’s also the 1587mm/1568mm front and rear track to aid in high speed and around town stability plus a tight turning circle (11.4 metres) with the steering itself a natural feeling setup lock to lock. Recalibrated suspension components in the front lend their aid to the ride quality too. The S5 brakes are just what you need and expect from the package, with a sensitive pedal telling the driver just how much retardation is happening at any given time.

On board are six airbags with the S5 missing a driver’s knee ‘bag, accident pre-sensing which did throw up some false positives, Blind Spot Warning, pre-tensioning seatbelts (which caught the Mrs unawares more than once), a pedestrian friendly “Active Bonnet” and the usual driver aids. There’s also autonomous braking on board.

To back up the S5 should anything go awry is a three year road side assistance program, three year unlimited kilometre warranty with twelve year anti-corrosion, and the option of extended warranty as well.

At The End Of The Drive.
The question was: “…does the S5 offer luxury supercar performance at a reasonable price?” Quite simply that answer is yes. 2018 Audi A5/S5 is the place to go to enquire further.

Private Fleet Car Review: 2018 Renault Captur Intens

It’s rare nowadays to find a vehicle that can be kindly described as loathed by automotive writers. Technology in the form of entertainment, engine management, transmission variants, and the like, means cars drive, perform, cosset, and are generally regarded as nothing less than good.Then there’s the revamped for 2018 Renault Captur. The Intens is the range topper and is fitted with digital radio, a turbocharged three cylinder, and dual clutch auto. Sounds good so far. But, the gap between expectations and reality for this particular vehicle is Grand Canyon sized. Priced from $22,000 to $31,590, it’s got a lot to live up to.The Captur comes with a choice of two engines and neither are what could be considered…big. There’s a 0.9L or, in the case of the Intens, a turboed 1.2L, with power and torque to match the relatively tiny motor. Peak power of 88 kW arrives at 4900 rpm, with peak twist of 190 torques at 2000 rpm. Thanks to the small size of the car itself, it’s good enough to see just on eleven seconds for the 0 to 100 kph stretch.Because it’s such a small body at just 4122 mm in length and a wheelbase of 2606 mm, the fuel thimble holds just 45 litres of 95 or 98 RON. Renault quotes a combined figure of 5.8L per 100 kilometres. We lobbed at 7.0L/100 km with a more non-suburban drive. Power and torque hit the tarmac via the front wheels only. Also, also ostensibly resembling a SUV, it’s not intended to go off-road.

Transmission: dual clutch autos are pretty good once a vehicle is in motion. It’s the getting from stopped to going that is the issue and the Captur Intens is no different. There’s no engagement of drive from Park to Drive, or Reverse to Drive and vice versa. In Drive and at a standstill, there’s easily a second before the clutches engage and that’s time enough for oncoming vehicles that were a safe distance away to not be. There’s a dial in the centre console that offers three drive modes, one of which is Expert. It didn’t appear to change the feel of the Intens at all.The interior: flat, slabby looking, hard to the touch, black plastics mix with a 1980s style monochrome dash display, truly odd button placement, and wasted design opportunities imbue a sense of WTF in driver and passenger. For example, the dial on the centre air vents didn’t move the louvres for better airflow, it closed them The small centrally mounted touchscreen also hails from the last decade and, as the radio (DAB through the optional Bose sound system) and map shared space on screen, had a Home button that was ineffective, and looked like an attempt at high tech in a low budget sci-fi movie, utterly failed to visually appeal.Even the aircon had a quirk, with a button marked aircon off, with the end result presumably meaning the aircon is on all of the time otherwise. Safety? If you want more than four airbags, flashing brake lights in an emergency stop, and Blind Spot Warning then this is not the car for you.

The cruise control switch is mounted in the centre console and isn’t a particularly noticeable one at that thanks to being the size of a thumbnail. The steering wheel has a tab for cruise control speed changes on one arm and the on/off on the other. Audio controls are hidden from view by being built into a solid block behind the tiller’s right arm.

The otherwise comfortable and leather covered seats offered heating, not cooling (seriously what will it take for Aussie spec cars to get this?) with the miniscule buttons to operate found on the outer section of the front seat section. They were also lever adjusted, a disappointment for a range topper where electric should be the norm. Also there’s enough room for the front seat passengers to stretch the legs and not quite so for the rear seat. And such is the design that if you aim for three in the rear, that may be stretching friendships.The lower front section of the console houses a small bin and both a 12V & USB socket. The Intens is push button for Start/Stop, and the fob is credit card size in length and width, close to a half centimetre in thickness, and has a slot in the console for it for no discernible reason. Well, there was one. Every time we exited the Intens and walked just a couple of metres away, the car would lock, regardless of whether the windows were open or not, and browsing the user manual offered no joy. If left in the slot you could walk away knowing the car wouldn’t lock. But the key’s in the car….Thanks again to the overall small size of the Captur, the rear cargo space looks like it would hold two bags of shopping, however the parcel shelf lifts to offer an extra amount of space. Otherwise, it’s 377 litres which expands to 1235 when the seats are folded.Outside: here, the Captur has a shining light. It’s pretty, with a svelte look in its curves from front to rear and roof to wheels. Headlights are LED, there’s a pair of globe cornering lamps, and nicely integrated tail lamps. The test car came in a black over white colour scheme, with the sills a black as well to balance it out. It’s a family design, with the Koleos and Clio sporting the same elegantly curbed look.Out on the road the handling is predictable, with a slight tendency to understeer on the 205/55/17 Kumho rubber, but needs constant attention to alleviate a preference for wandering. Otherwise, it’s well mannered enough to be considered the highlight of the Captur Intens. Considered. The rear end feels too soft compared to the front, the lack of usable torque means overtaking is not going to happen and the whole feel of the suspension feels tuned more for plush than a bent for enthusiasm.However, Renault do offer a five year unlimited kilometre warranty, a huge five years roadside assistance package, and capped price servicing for the first three scheduled services.

At The End Of The Drive.
It’s a genuine rarity that we hand back a vehicle with the sense of relief as felt with the Renault Captur Intens. It’s the automotive equivalent of a good looking politician. Looks fantastic, has the substance of a soap bubble. The gearbox, lack-lustre engine, needlessly quirky design features, lack of safety, and $32K price thanks to the Bose audio, simply don’t do enough to put forward a convincing argument to park this one in the drive.

2018 Holden Commodore Pricing Released….And It’s Good!

Since Holden announced it would be ceasing car manufacturing in Australia, there was plenty of speculation about what would replace the locally developed and engineered Commodore. That answer was given and finally, in 2018, the fully imported Commodore will be released for the Australian market. Holden has today (December 12, 2017) provided pricing details and nope, they’re nowhere near as bad as some naysayers touted, nor are the spec levels anything to be ashamed of. There’s still a Sportwagon, too.

Tech will come in the form of such things as DAB (Digital Audio Broadcast), Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Forward Collision Alert, Side Blind Zone Alert, the aforementioned 2.0-L turbo four and the adaptive all wheel drive for the V6 models, and more.

Pricing will start at a recommended retail price of $33,690, which is $1800 lower than the preceding equivalent model. That will have the 2.0-L turbo four and even better is the drive-away pricing that will be available. $35990 drive-away is what will be presented and that’s just $65 shy of $4000 cheaper.

Holden will keep the Calais and Calais V names, and these will get the V6, all wheel drive, combination as standard, along with heating AND cooling for the front seats, a massage function, wireless phone charging and leather wrapped tiller as standard.Although the evocative SS badging has been rested, with hints of a potential return, the sporty side for Commodore goes Euro, by getting the VXR badging. They’ll also get the AWD/V6, plus Brembo brakes up front, plus continuous damping technology in the suspension. Holden’s engineers have continued to take part in fine tuning that for the wide brown land market, with something like 150,000 kilometres worth of testing so far.
With thanks to Holden, here’s the good oil on the pricing and the model range.


Liftback (sedan)
LT 2.0-litre turbo * $33,690
Calais 2.0-litre turbo * $40,990
Calais-V V6 AWD $51,990
RS 2.0-litre turbo $37,290
RS V6 AWD $40,790
RS-V V6 AWD $46,990
VXR V6 AWD $55,990

LT 2.0-litre turbo * $35,890
RS 2.0-litre turbo $39,490
RS-V V6 AWD $49,190

Tourer (high-ride)
Calais Tourer V6 AWD $45,990
Calais-V Tourer V6 AWD $53,990

* diesel available – $3,000 premium


Liftback (sedan)
LT 2.0-litre turbo $35,990
RS 2.0-litre turbo $38,990
RS V6 AWD $42,490

Tourer (high-ride)
Calais Tourer V6 AWD $47,990


LT: Liftback and Sportwagon

2.0-litre turbo engine
9-speed automatic transmission
17-inch alloy wheels
Auto headlamps with LED Daytime Runnings Lights
LED tail lights
Passive Entry and Push-button Start
Remote Start
Holden Eye Forward Facing Camera
Autonomous Emergency Braking
Lane Keep Assist
Lane Departure Warning
Following Distance Indicator
Forward Collision Alert with Head-Up Warning
Advanced Park Assist (semi-automatic parking)
Rear View Camera. Front and Rear Park Assist
Rain Sensing Wipers
Holden MyLink Infotainment System with 7-inch high-resolution colour touch-screen display
Apple CarPlay® and Android® Auto phone projection
Full iPod® integration including Siri Eyes Free
Cruise Control
Leather Steering Wheel
8-way Power Driver Seat
60/40 split-folding rear seats
Spacesaver spare wheel
Diesel engine option

RS features over LT: Liftback and Sportwagon

18-inch alloy wheels
Sports body kit
Sports front seats
Side Blind Zone Alert
Rear Cross Traffic Alert
Leather sport steering wheel
Rear lip spoiler
Handsfree power tailgate (Sportwagon only)

RS-V features over RS: Liftback and Sportwagon

3.6-litre V6 AWD engine
9-speed automatic transmission
Adaptive AWD with electric LSD
Hi Per Strut Suspension
Rear Sports Fascia
Wireless phone charging
Ambient Lighting
Holden MyLink Infotainment System with 8-inch high-resolution colour touch-screen display
Apple CarPlay® and Android® Auto phone projection
Full iPod® integration including Siri Eyes Free
Embedded Satellite Navigation
8-inch colour cluster screen
Colour Head-up display
Leather appointed seat trim
Heated front seats
Sports steering wheel with paddles
Alloy pedals

VXR features over RS-V: Liftback only

20-inch alloy wheels
Selectable mode Continuous Damping Control (CDC) suspension
Brembo brakes (front)
Electric Sunroof
VXR floor mats & sill plates
Adaptive LED Matrix Headlights
360-degree camera
Adaptive cruise control
Performance leather sports seats
Ventilated front seats
Heated rear seats
Driver & Passenger seat power side bolsters
BOSE premium audio

Calais features over LT: Liftback and Tourer

18-inch alloy wheels
Leather appointed seat trim
Heated front seats
Wireless phone charging
Side Blind Zone Alert
Rear Cross Traffic Alert
Holden MyLink Infotainment System with 8-inch high-resolution colour touch-screen display
Apple CarPlay® and Android® Auto phone projection
Full iPod® integration including Siri Eyes Free
Embedded Satellite Navigation
4.2-inch colour cluster screen
3.6-litre V6 AWD engine (Tourer only)
Adaptive AWD with electric LSD (Tourer only)
High-ride suspension (Tourer only)
Handsfree power tailgate (Tourer only)

Calais-V features over Calais: Liftback and Tourer

3.6-litre V6 AWD engine
9-speed automatic transmission
Adaptive AWD with electric LSD
20-inch alloy wheels
Rear lip spoiler
Adaptive LED Matrix head lights
Electric sunroof (Liftback only)
Panoramic sunroof (Tourer only)
8-inch colour cluster screen
Colour Head-up display
360-degree camera
BOSE premium audio
Driver seat power side bolsters
Massage driver seat
Ventilated front seats
Heated rear seats
Sports steering wheel with paddles