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It’s funny what we can forget to do or check sometimes.  There was one couple who forgot to put the drain plugs back into their boat when they re-launched it at a new mooring site – oops – next morning boat submerged.  I had a friend who got ready for duck shooting and travelled for hours out to the hunting lake – oops – forgot the gun.

So take a tip here, and when it does come time to trade up the old car for a new one, don’t forget to check out all the cars that sit in your price range because there are so many options available these days.  One bracket of cars that can get overlooked is the mid-range price.  You can get some pretty nice, stylish drives around the $50k–to-$80k mark.  If you can run to this many “jolly green giants”, then you’re going to go passed most Hyundai, Ssangyong, Ford, Nissan, Toyota, and Honda cars in search of something a little more exotic.  Yes, there are even a few BMWs and the odd Audi cars you can buy for this sort of money, but what about something a little rarer and interesting?

Here is a list of cars worth a look, and believe-you-me some of these cars are very nice, high-end luxury cars with plenty of performance, comfort and safety:

Genesis G70

Genesis G80

Genesis G70 and G80 luxury sedans can be had from around $59k and $68k, respectively.  These are competing with equivalent BMW and Mercedes cars now that are fetching much higher prices than these exciting Hyundai Genesis cars.  Hyundai is the maker of the premium Genesis brand.

Infiniti Q70

Infiniti Q70 sedans are hugely entertaining drives with superb quality, looks and performance.  And at around $68k these quick, stylish RWD or AWD cars are a steal but too often overlooked.

Jaguar XE

Jaguar XF

A new Jaguar XE and XF sedan can be had for around $65 and $82k respectively.  Offering awesome handling and great engines these are eye-catching, awesome drives.

Jeep Grand Cherokee

Did you know you can own a new Jeep Grand Cherokee for around $59k!  Loads of kit, very luxurious, big on safety, and an on-road/off-road king!

Kia Stinger

Kia Stinger for around $47k!  Yes, you heard that right.  A genuinely quick car with hot looks like this could be yours.

Lexus 300h

Buy a luxury Toyota for around $60k, known as the Lexus ES 300h.  Yes, it’s a hybrid with all the very best comfort, safety, build quality and luxury that cars double the price offer you.  Oh, and it has Toyota’s premium reliability.

Land Rover Defender

Land Rover Discovery

Need a premium off-road king?  Get yourself a new Land Rover Defender for around $60k or a Land Rover Discovery for just a little bit more.

Mercedes Benz AMG A35

Mercedes Benz GLC SUV

The three point star makes an appearance even.  For around $69k a new Mercedes Benz AMG A35 can be had.  That’s “AMG” performance and hot A-Class Hatch looks with all the mod cons including the gigantic and gorgeous touchscreen dash, AWD and serious handling for less than $75k.  Wow!  Another Merc worth a look for similar poundage and kit is the Mercedes Benz GLC from around $67k.  This is an SUV with plenty of equipment that includes the glorious touchscreens.

Peugeot 508

A special and very eye-catching Peugeot 508 can be had for just $53k or thereabouts.  This special French look, special luxury and special performance is a steal at this special price.

RAM 1500

Coming in at less than $80k is a new RAM 1500.  You can’t drive by un-noticed in a vehicle as big and as mean as this.  Off-road: no problem; towing: no problem.  This vehicle means business!

Range Rover Velar

A new Range Rover Velar for less than $70k would be a stylish look.  All the 4×4 power, style and luxury is on-board this Land Rover flagship.

Tesla Model 3

Yes, you can buy a quick Tesla for this sort of dosh!  A new Tesla Model 3 can be bought in Australia for around $67k.  Oh, wouldn’t that be classy!

VW Arteon

Volkswagen makes some very nice cars, and one of these which is super stylish is called the VW Arteon.  You can own this hot looking Coupe for around $67k.  Peugeot 508 or VW Arteon for best looks?  Your choice…

VW Touareg

A new VW Touareg can be bought for around $80k.  That’s starting to get up there for money handed over, but what you get is a premium luxury SUV with loads of space, style and safety.  Off-roading and towing is no problem for one of these amazing machines.

Volvo v60

Volvo V90

Volvo XC60

Don’t forget the sexy new Volvo V60 (from $56k) and V90 (from $80k) station wagons.  So nice and so comfortable to drive, these are great machines for the family.  A new Volvo XC60 is available for around $62k, and with this model you get the Volvo comfort and style along with off-road capability.  Did I mention Volvos were safe?

What Fee Structure Should Apply to Electric Vehicles?

Although electric vehicles have yet to become a common sight on our roads, early discussions have focused on the necessary incentives to push them to the public. Now, however, as network operators begin to roll out the critical infrastructure to support the uptake of EVs, a new question is emerging. That is, what fee structure should apply to electric vehicles?

To date, the majority of EV fast charging sites have operated with a fee structure that sees users charged at a per kilowatt hour rate. This means that motorists are effectively paying by the unit of energy they will consume. Consider it a similar strategy to the per litre fee charged at petrol stations. However, more recently, some operators have also begun to implement a second fee, which is a time-based charge.

This measure stands to act as a potential barrier for the uptake of electric vehicles, with affected motorists already voicing their frustration. It should be noted as well that this was an impediment that also sparked controversy in Norway, a well-established domicile for EVs.

 

 

What are we trying to promote?

Considering electric vehicles are one of the only segments of the new car market experiencing growth – even if from a very low base – we need to be proactive in ensuring that policy and regulation is aligned with the goals we have as a community. So if we want more and more drivers to switch over to EVs from ‘inefficient’ vehicles that consume too much fuel, our fee structure needs to be in the interest of road users.

One of the biggest obstacles we currently face is a lack of transparency in pricing. When you drive up to a petrol station, you know what sort of damage your wallet will be in for. On the contrary, EV charging doesn’t involve clear pricing, nor any clarity around the structure with which an operator may apply over their network. Furthermore, if you’re only just new to the electric vehicle landscape, good luck navigating which charging sites are equipped with DC rapid charging or AC destination charging.

 

 

Making sense of it all

In the end, however, kilowatt hour rates make sense. Everyone pays the same rate, regardless of what type of electric vehicle they are driving, without discrimination between a new and old EV. While our petrol-powered vehicles are effectively price-graded based on their age – with newer vehicles more suited to dearer premium fuels – this doesn’t work against motorists driving older vehicles as time-based fees do when it comes to electric vehicles. What’s more, charging a motorist for the time that they are connected but not charging, goes against the very notion that you get what you pay for.

The speed at which electric vehicles charge is largely out of the control of motorists, with older vehicles typically constrained on account of their in-built ‘rectifier’ componentry, as well as batteries that don’t necessarily feature pre-conditioning features found in newer models. EVs running smaller batteries are also up against it due to the need to recharge their battery to a higher percentage than those with a larger battery, which generally charge at a slower rate once they hit 70-80% of their charging capacity.

What’s clear is that if we really intend to promote electric vehicles as a next-gen driving option, we need to come up with a more equitable approach to charging electric vehicle owners. This can’t feature time-based fees as it simply perpetuates a divide between drivers that share the same vision to move towards more sustainable fuel technology. Why should anyone be penalised for that?

 

2020 Mitsubishi ASX Exceed: Private Fleet Car Review.

This Car Review Is About: A recently (late 2019) updated ASX range which received the Mitsubishi shield nose, a mild refresh to the tail light cluster, and the deletion of a diesel as an option.

The Exceed sits at the top of a six tier (ES is manual or auto) range which provides one of the broadest choices available to Australian consumers for one stand-alone model.

How Much Does It Cost?: Mitsubishi have tight pricing for a diverse range. The entry point is the ES which lists at $24,990 drive-away as of February 2020. The Exceed comes in at $35,990. For that price Mitsubishi are including seven years warranty and two years free servicing.Under The Bonnet Is: Mitsubishi’s well proven 2.4L MIVEC petrol fed engine. There are no diesels and, as yet, no hybrids. Only the ES has a manual option, with a CVT being the transmission of no choice. It’s not a winner but more on that later. Peak power is 124kW, with peak twist of 222 torques available at 4,100rpm. Economy was excellent, with an around town best of a paltry 6.3L/100km. Mitsubishi’s combined figure is quoted as 7.9L/100km from a 63L tank filled with standard 91RON unleaded. Drive is now to the front wheels only.

On The Outside It’s: Lost the dumpy, squat, short jawed look and gained an assertive stance thanks to the reworked front. Apart from being resized and re-proportioned to fit the ASX, it’s identical to that seen on the rest of the family. The lower corners have a quad “ice cube” cluster with fog and indicator LEDs. With that sharper front end, it also highlights the curves in the rear which now don’t quite match the other end.

Both front fenders have a black plastic insert ringed with chrome. These sit on the join line with the doors and draw an upwards incline through the door handles to the rear window. The tailgate is manually operated, a feature that Mitsubishi should have sprung for to change to powered.

Tyres are from Bridgestone and their Ecopia range. They’re 225/55/17 and are on distinctive ten spoke alloys with black paint. The sheetmetal has a choice of eight colours, with the review vehicle in Lightning Blue.On The Inside It’s: Starting to show the base design’s age. Flat and slabby are how to describe the dashboard. Only the seats could be described as soft touch, and they’re sat on, not in. Again, the front seats are heated only, an oversight that doesn’t suit Australian summers.The driver faces a traditional two dial display with Mitsubishi’s standard colour LCD screen in between. For the Exceed, at least, a full LCD screen for a little class difference should be here.

The driver’s seat is powered for adjustment, at least. The second row fold easily and offer over 1,100 litres of cargo space. It’s here that you’ll find the subwoofer driver for the Rockford Fosgate DAB audio system. The company is a long time supplier of audio to Mitsubishi and it shows. It’s beautifully integrated and provides a sensational kick from the sub, balanced by outstanding treble and mid-range notes. The touchscreen is an 8.0 inch unit and the interface has been redesigned for a better look and use. Naturally it’s Android, Apple, and Bluetooth compatible in regards to the sounds system.Piano black surrounds the screen, as it does the gear selector and portions of the steering wheel. Auto wipers and headlights are standard also. The aircon is single zone and a pair of USB ports sit below the knurled chrome dials. The centre console houses two cupholders close to the console storage locker.

For a vehicle that fringes the small and medium SUV class, at just 4,365mm in length, it’s well packaged inside for head, shoulder, and leg room. Up front is 1,056mm with the rear seats having 921mm. Headroom is fine considering the ASX Exceed has a full glass roof. Front and rear measurements are 988mm and 934mm.

On The Road It’s: Frankly disappointing. The CVT hobbled the 2.4L to the point Sports mode was the preferred choice for driving. Sports mode should a mode to complement the normal Drive, not be the preferred standard. The Low range gear option made its presence appreciated when hitting the upwards slopes in Sydney’s Blue Mountains too, utilising the 222Nm far more efficiently than standard Drive.Left in Drive, acceleration was akin to wading knee deep in molasses whilst wearing boots and jeans. An Apollo trip to the moon and back is quicker than the ASX Exceeds time to 100. Flip the gear selector to the left and the chains are broken, the molasses is gone, and Apollo is still on the launch pad, such is the startling difference in nature. It also makes for a decent highway cruiser, quietly bubbling along and showing no signs of struggle. Corners, though….there’s little body roll but hit a road joint, an expansion joint, and suddenly the words lateral stability disappear. The front and/or rear skip violently sideways and for the unaware, it’s a moment of wondering what could happen.Braking and steering are suitable for the ASX Exceed too. There’s enough pedal pressure to tell the driver what’s going on in the stopping department whilst the steering, as light as it is, doesn’t feel artificial or over assisted.

Ride quality is also on par for expectations. It’s well tied down, finding that fine balance between absorption, suppleness, and tautness. Freeway driving has the steering requiring just the right amount of minimal input required.

What About Safety?: No problems here. Forward Collision Mitigation starts the list, Blind Spot Alert, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, and Lane Change Assist are here, along with seven airbags including driver’s knee. Front seat seatbelt pretensioners and a pair of ISOFIX seat mounts in the rear seats are also standard. A reverse camera with guidelines and rear sensors add to the package.

At The End Of the Drive. In our opinion, as much of a difference the facelift has made, it’s still, essentially, the same decade old ASX inside and it shows. It’s a massive seller for Mitsubishi, it’s fair to say, and that’s due to some very good pricing and the less than discerning tastes for a quality drive from those buyers. Given that there are similar vehicles at not much more that have a better interior and are dynamically superior, Mitsubishi should be giving thought to an improvement underneath from here on in. Find out more here.

 

Subaru Unveils Updated Impreza and Hybridised XV & Forester.

Niche filler Subaru has finally joined the hybrid family. The XV hatch and Forester now have that propulsion as an option. They’ve also updated their Impreza sedan and hatch range. For the XV there will be one variant and in hybrid form only, whilst the Forester will offer two, in L and S AWD specification.

Forester will run the familiar 2.0L horizontally opposed four, as will the XV. Transmission remains as Subaru’s quite well sorted CVT. The Hybrid system has been dubbed “e-Boxer”, with a small capacity lithium battery linked to the petrol engine in a method called Motor Assist. There will be three drive modes available: Motor Assist EV driving, Motor Assist electric (EV) + petrol engine driving, and Petrol engine driving.

In pure EV mode it can reach speeds of up to 40 km/h before switching in the petrol engine. Economy, says Subaru, is down to 6.7L/100 from the 48L tank. Fuel is 91RON. That’s down from 8.1L/100km. XV Hybrid has an improvement of around 14% improvement for the urban cycle, and upwards of 7% for the combined. Forester’s improvements are 19% and 9% compared to the previous 2.5L variants.

Power is rated as 110 Kilowatts at 6,000 rpm and 196 Nm of torque at 4,000 rpm with the electric energy part offering 12.3kW and 66Nm or torque. Naturally the electric system features regenerative braking energy harvesting. The battery is integrated into the floor and located where the spare wheel once resided. The petrol engine has Subaru’s AVCS, or Active Valve Control System. Pricing for the trio is: $35,580 for XV Hybrid AWD, $39,990 for Forester Hybrid L AWD and $45,990 for the Hybrid S. Those prices are manufacturer’s list prices.

Subaru’s X-Mode, for soft and wet weather road driving, has returned. This is again a switch operated drive mode, and will show on the driver displays to indicate its engagement. Forester Hybrid S also has Subaru’s SI Drive system, where different driving modes, Intelligent and Sport, allow for some driver tailoring. The touchscreen is 6.5 inches in L, 8.0 inches in S, and features DAB, Apple and Android apps, driver’s kneebag, and Subaru’s renowned EyeSight system.

Orders are being taken however the initial allocation has been presold, with May the current ETA for new stock.

The bodies for both have been slightly tweaked, as has the Impreza sedan and hatch. All models have been given a restyled grille, with the front bumper and fog lights changed as well, plus there are new alloy wheels. The tail lights for the hatch have been given a smokey glass appearance. Also, all Imprezas now have SI Drive.

The range remains as a four tier model. The entry level 2.0i model starts from $23,740 and $23,940 for sedan and hatch, whilst the 2.0i-L starts from $25,860 and $26,090. The 2.0i-Premium is $28,390 and $28,590 with the range topper 2.0i-S at $31,160 and $31,360. Again these are manufacturer’s list prices.

Apart from the looks there has been tweaks underneath for a better ride and handling package. Premium receives Blind Spot Monitor, Lane Change Assist, Rear Cross Traffic Alert plus Reverse Automatic Braking and Front View Monitor. The S gains front and side camera monitors, along with an auto dipping passenger side mirror when reversing.

All cars have a standard five year and unlimited kilometre warranty. Contact Subaru to book a test drive.

Medium AWD SUVs You Can Buy in 2020

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

Alfa Romeo

Alfa Romeo Stelvio AWD

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

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

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

Audi

Audi Q5

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

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

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

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

BMW

BMW X3

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

BMW X4

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

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

Ford

Ford Escape

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

Holden

Holden Equinox

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

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

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

Honda

Honda CR-V

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

Hyundai

Hyundai Tucson

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

Jaguar

Jaguar E-Pace

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jeep

Jeep Compass

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

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

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

Jeep Cherokee

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

Kia

Kia Sportage

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

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

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

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

Land Rover

Land Rover Discovery Sport

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Range Rover Evoque

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lexus

Lexus NX

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

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

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

Mahindra

Mahindra XUV500

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

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

Mazda

Mazda CX-5

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

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

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

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

Mercedes Benz

Mercedes Benz GLC

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

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

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

Mitsubishi

Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross

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

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

Mitsubishi Outlander

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

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

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

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

Nissan

Nissan X-Trail

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

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

Porsche

Porsche Macan

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

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

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

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

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

Renault

Renault Koleos

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

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

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

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

Skoda

Skoda Kodiaq

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

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

Subaru

Subaru Forester

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

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

Toyota

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

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

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

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

Volkswagen

VW Tiguan

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

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

Volvo

Volvo XC60

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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.

Are New Cars Becoming Too Easy to Steal?

As more new vehicles come to the market boasting the latest and greatest technology, manufacturers are looking to simplify the driving experience. This means getting you up and running with easier access to your car. So, what’s one of the prominent solutions?

Well, this has translated into keyless entry and push-button ignition becoming commonplace across the latest models. That’s not to say it was ever difficult to use a key, but clearly the boffins behind this technology thought that was getting all too cumbersome. So with the traditional and trusted key now looking lonely on the outer, is everything actually all fine and well?

 

The risk associated with keyless entry

Not everything may be as it seems. In some corners there is a growing chorus of industry experts suggesting that today’s new cars are becoming too easy to steal. How, you might ask, as you look quizzically down at your keyless entry remote. Well, that very device is among the design aspects that some have reasonable grounds to be concerned.

This new generation of remotes transmit wireless signals that are automatically picked up within a proximity of the vehicle. As these transmitters work in much the same way as any other device that emits a code over a certain frequency, they are not necessarily immune from interference. And while it may not sound the easiest workaround, the risk remains, a device configured to pick up and read these frequencies has the ability to mimic the remote and replicate those very codes to the same effect.

How realistic is the problem?

Sure, you can lock your car, but a keyless entry remote will continually transmit a code in anticipation that you will return to your car at some point and access the vehicle without retrieving the remote. Some manufacturers have embedded additional safety features, such as PIN-activated ignition, a motion-activated fob that is immobilised when no longer moving, or a remote that broadcasts across a wider range of frequencies.

Now if you’re thinking all this sounds highly preposterous and a convoluted way to steal a car, you may want to pause on those thoughts. Check out this field test from What Car, or this one from Which. In what is likely to be surprising news to many drivers out there, some of the market’s most premium vehicles are susceptible to being ‘stolen’ in under 30 seconds.

For now manufacturers are continuing to work on refining and improving the technology, but it’s important to understand, the latest tech does not necessarily mean the greatest tech. In the meantime, you may want to consider requesting your dealer disables that keyless entry remote, or you take to buying a Faraday Bag to shield the remote from emitting electromagnetic signals. Sometimes keeping it simple truly is better.

 

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

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

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

 

The underlying trends

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

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

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

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

 

Is there more to it than meets the eye?

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

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

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

 

New Direction For Global Car Sales

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2020 RAV4 Ready To Roar.

If you’re not a fan of SUV style vehicles, best you stop and look away now. The Toyota RAV4, celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, is widely regarded as the original SUV. 2019 has the release of a vastly updated car and range to continue the legend.

The range will include, for the RAV4’s first time, a hybrid. There will be two petrol engines, four trim levels, and 2WD or AWD variants.
The Gx range is the entry level, with GXL, Cruiser, and a solitary, and new Edge trim spec.. Here’s how the pricing structure shakes down.

GX Petrol 2WD manual: $30,640, GX Petrol 2WD CVT $32,640, GX Hybrid 2WD CVT $35,140, GX Hybrid AWD CVT $38,140;
GXL Petrol 2WD CVT $35,640, GXL Hybrid 2WD CVT $38,140, GXL Hybrid AWD CVT $41,140;
Cruiser Petrol 2WD CVT $39,140, Cruiser Hybrid 2WD CVT $41,640, Cruiser Hybrid AWD CVT $44,640 &
Edge Petrol AWD Auto $47,140The base petrol engine is a new 127kW/203Nm 2.0-litre, direct injection, four-cylinder engine that drives through Toyota’s now well-proven continuously variable transmission (CVT) with a launch gear mechanism. The GX also gets a manual with a rev-matching program. The hybrid goes a step further, with a 2.5L Atkinson Cycle powerplant. Peak oomph depends on the driven wheels. There are combined maximum outputs of 160kW for 2WD variants and 163kW for AWD versions. This also continues Toyota’s fuel efficiency drive, with just 4.7 litres/100km2 for 2WD variants and 4.8 litres/100km2 for AWD versions.There is also a nifty rear axle mounted drive system. Toyota fits an additional rear motor generator to provide power to the rear axle for the electric AWD system. Complete with a Trail mode, it enables up to 80 per cent of the total drive torque to be delivered through the rear wheels.

A new model reaches the RAV4 family. The Edge trim level also has a 2.5L petrol four, and there’s 152kW of peak power, with 243Nm of peak torque available, reaching the ground via an eight speed auto. A mechanical AWD system can split torque at up to 50:50 front to rear from a 100% front driven only delivery. The Edge trim level will also feature off-rad drive modes, being Mud and Sand, Rock and Dirt, and Snow.RAV4 has also been given an extensive makeover outside, with a stronger resemblance to the HiLux family. The exterior redesign brings a sharper look, a bolder look by moving away from the curvier outgoing model, and 17-inch,18-inch and 19-inch alloy wheels which add a visually solid and planted presence on the road. The GX starts the party with LED headlights, auto wipers, and dual exhaust pipes. Inside there’s a 4.2 inch driver’s display, 8.0 inch touchscreen with DAB audio and voice recognition, higher grade trim feel and quality than before, and improved safety features including AEB as standard.The GXL has 18 inch alloys, up from the 17s on GX, and adds privacy glass for the rear windows. A rear camera with guidance lines is added. Wireless charging up front and rear airvents get a nod as well, plus there’s five USB ports, with three for the front seat passengers. The Cruiser trim level goes to 19 inch wheels, heated front seats and a powered driver’s seat. The driver’s display gets bumped up to a 7.0 inch screen. The Edge gets more cosmetics, venting for the front seats, and a leather look material for the pews.Underpinning the slightly shorter (5mm), lower (30mm), and wider (10mm) body is the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) platform that features a 30mm longer wheelbase and wider track, that has been extended by between 25mm and 55mm. This, together with a revised front MacPherson strut and new multi-link rear suspension, gives the new RAV4 substantially improved driving dynamics, superb ride comfort, and improved handling.Safety is raised, as expected. Seven airbags including driver’s kneebag, with the Toyota Safety Sense package including AEB with pedestrian detection for day and night conditions, and daytime cyclist detection, active cruise control for the autos, lane trace assist and lane centreing, plus lane departure alert with lane keep assist.

Check with your local Toyota dealership for availability and to book a test drive.