As seen on:

SMH Logo News Logo

Call 1300 303 181

SUV

2020 Nissan Patrol: The Big Machine Gets A Makeover.

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

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

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

Contact your local Nissan dealer for a drive evaluation.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Updates And Freebies For Triton, Eclipse Cross, And Colorado.

Mitsubishi has released details of its 2020 updates for the Triton, and Holden has confirmed some special servicing costs for the Colorado.

Any buyer of a Colorado that is delivered between October 1 and December 31 will receive free scheduled servicing for seven years. It covers all LS, LSX, LTZ and Z71 4×4 vehicles, and this will save owners over $3,000. This is up and over the standard five year warranty for the Colorado. This offer also applies to Holden’s seven-seat SUV’s Acadia and Trailblazer. The Triton range has been given a tickle, with the GLS and GLX+ models receiving a rear diff lock as standard. The GLS now has keyless start as standard and the double cab GLX+ now gets a air circulator for the rear seat passengers.In the driveline section, Mitsubishi’s Easy-Select 4WD is fitted to the GLX+ model. With the twist of a dial 2WD, 4WD high range and 4WD low range are made available. Move up to the GLS and GLS Premium the Super-Select 4WD-II offers 2WD and 4WD high range, plus what Mitsubishi calls 4HLc (lock up) and 4LLc (lock up in low gear). The electronics are programmed to provide Gravel, Mud/Snow, Sand, and Rock capability And when equipped with 18 inch wheel and tyres, ground clearance is 220mm. This gets added to the 31 degree approach angle, 23 degree departure angle, and “break over” angle of 25 degrees.Pricing for the Triton range starts at $22,490 4X2 GLX Cab Chassis 2.4L Man Petrol (RRP). This is the only petrol engine in the range, with the 4X2 GLX Cab Chassis 2.4L Man Diesel clocking in at $25,990. The Club Cab 4×4 GLX Cab Chassis 2.4L Man Diesel starts the second tier at $35,490, with the dual cab range starting with the 4×2 GLX ADAS Pick Up 2.4L Auto Diesel at $36, 290. before topping out with the 4×4 GLS Premium 2.4L Pick Up Auto Diesel at $51,990.

The Eclipse Cross has been given some extra fruit, especially for the LS. Here it’s been given all wheel drive and S-AWC or Super All Wheel Control. Part of the system involes AYC, Active Yaw Control, which controls the brakes and power steering to regulate torque split between the left and right. The top of the tree Exceed gains black headlining and illuminated front door trims. The limited run Black Edition, which is fitted with a front skid plate, black front bumper and radiator grille, black interior and black spoiler, is also fitted with variable auto rain-sensing windscreen wipers, dusk sensing headlamps with auto high beam, fog lamps and forward collision mitigation.

Paint options for the Black Edition are Starlight, Black, Red Diamond and Titanium. Costs are $690 for the metallic & pearlescent paints, however they’re free on Black Edition vehicles. Prestige paint is $890 or $300 on Black Edition. All models have these colour options except for the Black Edition: White, Starlight, Sterling Silver, Titanium Black, Lightning Blue, and Red Diamond. The range starts with the ES 2WD & CVT at $29,990, the LS 2WD is $31,990 with the AWD version at $34,490. the Exceed 2WD and 4WD versions are $36,690 and $39,190. The Black Edition is $31,690 and is 2WD only. All prices are RRP and exclude on-roads.

Hyundai Has A New Venue.

Hyundai’s bold new Venue SUV marks a fresh entry point to the Hyundai range. It’s available very soon and will have a starting price from $19,990 (Manufacturer’s list price). Venue will become the Hyundai SUV entry point to a broad small car range, offering the road presence and interior space of an SUV, combined with the parking ease, economy, and manoeuvrability of a light car.

A three-grade line-up provides a new Venue to suit every customer, each with a flexible and economical 90kW, 151Nm 1.6-litre engine, front-wheel drive, and a choice of six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmissions depending on the model grade. A two-stage variable intake system is fitted and designed to maximise low-end torque and drivability. The three grades are: Go, Active, and Elite.

The Venue Go auto starts from $21,990 plus costs. The Active starts from $21,490 for the manual, and the auto steps up at $23,490. Elite kicks off from $25,490, and metallic paint is a $495 option.

Hyundai’s SmartSense safety suite is standard in every Venue, and incorporates Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist, Lane Keeping Assist, Driver Attention Warning, High Beam Assist and tyre-pressure monitoring. The range-opening Venue Go also features dusk-sensing headlights, hill-assist control system, cruise control and six airbags. Headlining an array of standard equipment in new Venue is an 8.0-inch touchscreen multimedia unit featuring Bluetooth streaming, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as a reversing camera.

The Venue Active adds Rear Parking Distance Warning (PDW-R) system, LED daytime running lights, powered folding exterior mirrors with LED side repeaters, alloy wheels, and leather appointed steering wheel and gear knob. Stepping up to the Venue Elite, customers also get Blind-Spot Collision Warning (BCW) and Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Warning (RCCW) systems, climate control, LED taillights, 17-inch alloy wheels, and a distinctive two-tone roof.

A Drive Mode system in Venue automatic variants allows customers to choose a powertrain setting that best suits their driving style. In addition, an all-new Traction Mode system offers unique traction control calibrations suited to snow, mud or sand driving. Venue benefits from a comprehensive Australian-specific chassis tune that delivers playful dynamics together with ride sophistication that is more commonly associated with larger vehicles. Exhaustive suspension testing and tuning by Australian engineers took place both at the Hyundai Namyang Research and Development Centre in Korea as well as a range of harsh and challenging Australian roads.

Venue applies Hyundai’s signature cascading grille and stacked headlight design to convey a bold road presence. Exaggerated wheel-arches build on the frontal styling to create a squat and athletic stance that is enhanced by strong character lines. An intuitive, practical and robust interior design complements Venue’s rugged exterior image. The cabin is headlined by a large tablet-style 8.0-inch multimedia display, and provides a sophisticated ambience through the use of black, grey and denim-coloured interior trim combinations. Venue provides the high level of practicality that SUV buyers demand, with an abundance of clever solutions that help maximise the use of interior space, and allow a generous 355-litre luggage space.

“The new Venue is ahead of the curve, offering customers a high level of value in a practical and well-equipped compact SUV. As our new range-entry model, the Venue combines the rugged looks and practical benefits of an SUV and a light car, with advanced safety technology at an attractive price point,”  said Hyundai Motor Company Australia Chief Executive Officer, JW Lee said.

Head to Hyundai’s website for more information.

 

 

Playing Big In A Small SUV: Kia Seltos

It’s a big market that has small(ish) SUVs selling almost as quickly as they come off the production line and Kia has revealed details of the forthcoming Seltos. There will be four specification levels: S, Sport, Sport+ and GT-Line. Kicking off at around $26K the S will have 16 inch alloy wheels. Up front will be halogen driving lights, whilst inside will be cruise control, an 8.0 inch touchscreen that will have the Apple CarPlay/Android Auto apps, whilst safety in the entry level will have Autonomous Emergency Braking, Lane Keep Assist, rear camera and sensors.

The second level Sport is slated to be sub $30K also and will roll on 17 inch alloys, plus the spare is looking to be a full sizer. Aircon is climate control, and the touchscreen goes to a HD style 10.25 inch. Kia keeps baiting the hook with the Sport+. Seats will be wrapped in cloth and faux leather and front pews, plus the tiller, will be heated. The top of the ladder GT-Line will appeal even further with a sub $40K price tag. That brings LED driving lights and their now traditional ice cube fog lights. Factor in mood lighting, venting for the front seats, and a wireless charge pad for compatible smartphones, and there’s plenty to like. All cars will have LED headlights and tail lights.
Exterior design cues harken to the outgoing Soul with a hint of Volvo XC40 in the rear window line. The traditional “tiger nose” grille is here with a new, raised, diamond look. Depending on trim, tyres will be 205/60 R16, 215/55 R17 or 235/45 R18. Paintwork is taken up a level too, with a vibrant choice of colours. Cherry Black, Snow White Pearl, Steel Gray, Gravity Gray, Mars Orange, Neptune Blue, Dark Ocean Blue and Starbright Yellow will be available in various markets and this also covers a two tone offering. Buyers can select the roof in Cherry Black, Platinum Gold or Clear White to go with the various body colours.Sizewise the Seltos nudges at a medium SUV, with 4370mm in length and overhangs of 850mm. The wheelbase, of 2,630mm, provides plenty of human friendly space inside. It’s possibly the biggest for space in its segment and that includes the bootspace of 498 litres VDA or 752 litres SAE. Front seat passengers will enjoy up to 1051mm legroom, 1409mm shoulder space, and 1017mm headroom. Basic trim will be greys and blacks, however the materials will be soft touch, and the seats will have geometric motifs. Engines will be a 1.6L turbo four with 130kW and 265Nm, a naturally aspirated 2.0L with 110kW and 180Nm, and there will be the familiar drive modes of Eco, Sport, and Normal. The smaller turbo engine will power either the front or all wheels via a seven speed dual clutch auto, with the other running a new for the brand CTR, and again front or all wheel drive. Suspension tunes were finalised here in Australia and will be a mix of torsion beam rear and MacPherson strut fronts for the two wheel drive. Multilink rears will handle the AWD versions.Expected Australian sales will commence in the fourth quarter.

SUV Favourites

SUVs are popular, and the reason for this is because they offer motorists increased safety, plenty of cargo area, and interior space is good for seating comfort.  There is plenty of SUV choice out there and, with diesel, petrol, electric and hybrid options available, a new SUV buyer has plenty to think about before making their final decision on which SUV to buy.  Ultimately, their choice will come down to their own individual preferences, their driving habits and on what they can afford to buy.  Here are some of the best SUVs you can buy new in Australia.  The list is not exhausted, but the following SUVs are popular for good reason.

Mazda is the favourite SUV for Australians.  Mazda’s popular CX series includes the small CX-3, mid-size CX-5, big CX-8 and largest CX-9 models.  They all boast nice clean design which always looks good, and their modern styling has given Mazda an edge.  Offering a wide range of SUV sizes in their line-up, Mazda has what you need when it comes to SUVs.  Mazda’s CX SUVs all drive very nicely, and are efficient, safe and reliable.  Buy one of the new Mazda CX Series vehicles and you can’t go far wrong.

We all know that Toyota is a very strong contender on all vehicle matters.  When it comes to a new Toyota SUV you know that you’re going to get a very well built vehicle that lasts the distance.  You can get yourself one of the larger well-known Land Cruiser and Prado models that boast very competent off-road ability.  However, Toyota’s SUV line-up also includes SUVs with light off-road capabilities in the form of the RAV4 and Kluger models which are surprisingly spacious and nice to drive.  For those who like the thought of owning a compact SUV, Toyota offers the chic C-HR which is beautifully stylish and funky.  The RAV4 Hybrid is going to be a hit for those who will appreciate its fuel economy and low emissions.  Again you can’t fault Toyota reliability, safety and overall value.

Mitsubishi offers the Outlander, ASX and Eclipse SUVs, and with their highly accomplished Outlander PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle).  This is definitely a brand worth looking into for your next SUV drive.  On all accounts Mitsubishi SUVs are stylish, well-equipped, safe and practical, remaining clockwork reliable for many km after purchase.

A new Subaru Forester or Outback SUV is always going to look great parked up your driveway, and they do look somewhat sleeker and even sportier than typically chunkier SUV drives.  Do check out the spunky little ‘XV’ which is sporty and characterful.  For driving satisfaction, safety and new car reliability, Subaru have for a long time been very strong.

Plenty more Kia SUVs are running on our roads, and this is for good reason.  Kia Sportage and Sorento SUVs are excellent medium-to-large SUV models that are rugged, reliable and stylish.  New Kia SUVs are very well equipped and safe SUVs to drive.  They are pleasant to drive, can tackle off-road excursions with AWD, and they remain reliable and practical SUVs throughout their ownership.

Honda give us their sleek HR-V and CR-V models which look good, remain ever-reliable, and on a practical note sing sweetly with good fuel efficiency to boot.  There are many loyal Honda fans out there, and the new SUV models are solid buys.  Buy a luxury CR-V and you’re in for a treat.  The car has plenty of smooth power, practical space, nice comfort levels and plenty of modern technology.

Nissan brings a good level of choice for new SUV buyers.  All Nissan SUV models (which include the: smaller Juke, medium-sized Qashqai and X-Trail, and the larger Pathfinder) are very stylish to drive.  Their top of the range varieties offer premium luxury and are very well-equipped.  Pathfinders and X-Trails do have some clever 4×4 drivetrains which can take you more off-road places than you might expect.

BMW appeals as a luxury SUV choice, and for good reason.  BMW ‘X’ SUVs are polished performers that do a whole lot of things very well.  Space is good, comfort good, economy can be good, and handling is very good along with performance.  With plenty of models available in the ‘X’ series the SUV buyer has loads of choice – large or small and anything in between.  And if the standard ‘X’ series variants aren’t exciting enough, you can always upgrade to the ‘M’ versions which are star performers in their field.  They boast sportier features, too.

Audi is another premium brand that is selling surprisingly well in the SUV market.  The SUV luxury brand offers an extensive range of vehicles that are known as Audi’s Q range.  Like BMW, Audi have SUVs that can be of any size – from the small Q2 right through to the big Q7 and Q8.  If you’re looking for something with more power, then Audi’s ‘S’ range may set your heart racing.  Audi tend to go out of their way to keep their buyers happy over long term ownership, too.  Stylish definitely, and if you can stretch to the bigger Audi Q7 or Q8 you’ll drive an SUV that has becoming quite a status symbol in it field.

Holden has a few interesting SUV options that are well worth a look, and the range is one of the larger line-ups currently available in Australia.  The Acadia, Equinox, Trailblazer and Trax are all available and well equipped vehicles.  Ongoing ease of servicing, a nice driving experience and overall satisfaction are what make owning a new Holden SUV a good choice.  If you can find yourself a top of the range Holden SUV then you’re going to be driving a very comfortable SUV.

Volvo has some very stylish SUV vehicles that are safe, efficient and easy to drive.  Their comfort levels and equipment are hard to beat, and they come in three flavours from the smallest sporty XC40, the mid-size XC60 and the awesome and large XC90.

Hyundai, another Korean brand, is doing really well on a global scale with an ever increasing fan base.  You’re sure to find a Hyundai SUV to suit your needs.  Three SUV models are available: the Kona, Tucson and Santa Fe.  A Hyundai SUV is stylish, easy to live with and rides and performs very well.  They are also pretty reliable machines, safe and relatively affordable considering the level of equipment offered.

Finally, Ford always has an SUV to suit your tastes.  Well made, practical performers, the Ford SUV range is comfortable and well-equipped with loads of goodies and great infotainment technology.  Small to large, the range of Ford SUVs is good.  The EcoSport, Escape, Endura and Everest will all make a fine companion that will reliably cart your family and gear around.

There are other SUVs out there that haven’t been mentioned, however, if you feel the need to put a good word in for a particular model, please feel free to do so.

BMW Ups The X6.

BMW is unveiling a new edition of the X6 Sports Activity Coupe. The new BMW X6 is available from launch in xLine and M Sport model variants as an alternative to standard specification. There’s been an exterior restyle and increase in size. The new BMW X6 has grown by 26 millimetres in length compared to the model it replaces, and is now 4,935 mm. It’s grown by 15 mm in width to 2,004 mm and sits lower by 6mm at 1,696 mm. The wheelbase has also increased, and is now 2,975mm, up by 42mm.The line-up of engines available for the new BMW X6 from launch includes two petrol units and a pair of diesel variants from the latest generation. The model line-up is spearheaded by a BMW M model with a newly developed 390 kW V8 petrol engine. The BMW X6 M50i quotes fuel consumption combined as 10.7–10.4 l/100 km with CO2 emissions rated as 243–237 g/km.

There is the BMW X6 M50d which is frugal at a combined: 7.2–6.9 l/100 km. CO2 emissions combined are 190–181 g/km, whilst peak power is 294 kW from the six-cylinder in-line diesel engine which packs a quartet of turbochargers.

The BMW X6 xDrive40i  has a straight-six petrol unit with an output of 250 kW. Fuel consumption for the engine is rated as 8.6–8.0 l/100 km for the combined cycle. CO2 emissions combined are 197–181 g/km. The BMW X6 xDrive30d rates fuel consumption on the combined cycle as 6.6–6.1 l/100 km and CO2 emissions combined as 172–159 g/km from a six-cylinder in-line diesel with 195 kW.

All variants of the new BMW X6 fulfil the requirements of the EU6d-TEMP emissions standard. The M Sport exhaust system fitted as standard on both M models is also available as an option for the other versions of the BMW X6 or as part of the M Sport package, and gives the car an unmistakable and emotionally rich aural presence. Standard transmission is an eight speed Steptronic and a torque-split system divides between front and rear on demand. Normal drive sees the power sent to the rear wheels and bias is also rear wheeled in dynamic driving environments. Opt for the M Sport spec and an electronically M differential lock is fitted to the rear axle or in the xOffroad package.BMW’s signature kidney grille is front and centre, with the outermost edges nudging the headlights. BMW also now offer the grille with backlighting.  The illumination is activated by opening or closing the car, but the driver can switch it on and off manually too. This lighting function for the kidney grille is also available while driving.

Laserlight LED headlights are optionable. When fitted, a BMW Laserlight spotlight with Selective Beam optimises the high beam function and ensures a non-dazzling drive for oncoming traffic. Range is up to 500 metres. When activated, BMW Laserlight can be identified by the blue x-shaped elements inside the signature BMW twin headlights.

The new X6 rolls on 19 inch alloys which are standard. 20 to 22 inches are optionable.  The BMW X6 M50i and BMW X6 M50d come with 21-inch light-alloy wheels as standard.

Suspension is in the form of a double-wishbone front axle and five-link rear axle. BMW says this gives them the tools for a dynamic drive and ride comfort on the road, plus unshakable traction off the beaten track. BMW’s bespoke Dynamic Damper Control is included as standard. There is also the Adaptive M suspension Professional with active roll stabilisation and Integral Active Steering. It’s said to endow the car with exceptionally agile and dynamic driving qualities. Air suspension for the front and rear axles have automatic self-leveling. Height adjustment of up to 80 millimetres is part of the air suspension. For those bold enough to hit the dirt, BMW also offer an off-road package is available for all model variants. But the X6 M50i and X6 M50d are counted out on this option. The off-road package provides extra progress in Snow, Sand, Rock, and Gravel driven areas. Inside is the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant. Say “Hey, BMW” and the digital assistant will respond to the enquiry. There is also personalisation available in the form of providing a name for the assistant. Extra tech is in the shape of a 12.3 inch fully digital LCD screen for the high-resolution instrument cluster and Control Display.

Naturally there is plenty of safety tech too. Standard specification includes Cruise Control with braking function and the Collision and Pedestrian Warning with City Braking. Cyclist detection is included. Active Cruise Control with Stop/Go is also standard. The Driving Assistant professional includes the Evasion Assistant which is another component of the Driving Assistant Professional.  Rear collision warning, road priority warning and wrong-way driving warning systems, crossing traffic warning, Lane Change Warning and the Emergency Stop Assistant are also standard. Contact BMW Australia for a test drive here

 

Hyundai’s Tucson Refreshed And Updated.

Hyundai Australia has released details of the 2020 refresh for the Tucson range. There is a four trim level choice and that’s courtesy of the addition of the Active entry level model. Active X, Elite, and Highlander are the others. There are upgrades to the safety systems, exterior and interior updates, and minor changes to pricing.

Active and Active X can be specced with a six speed manual transmission and are priced at $29,290 and $32,290, or with a six speed auto will be $31,790 and $34,790 respectively. Power comes from a 2.0L petrol engine, and prices are before government and dealership charges. Tucson Elite dips out on the manual but can be ordered with the 2.0L and auto for $37,850.

Move up to the 1.6L turbo four, seven speed dual clutch auto, and all wheel drive system, and Elite & Highlander price out at $40,850 and $46,500 respectively. Turn to the oiler, and that’s a 2.0L capacity unit driving all wheels through an eight speed auto. Hyundai offer that in all grades and prices are $37,090, $40,090, $43,150, $48,800 respectively. Premium paint is a $595 option and to call upon the nicely styled beige interior is $295.Safety is upgraded courtesy of a rear park assist system being added to the Active. Hyundai’s SmartSense package is standard here and in the Active X which includes Driver Alert Warning, Forward Collision Avoidance Assist with a City/Urban camera system, Forward Collision Warning and Rear Park Assist. Alloy wheels are standard across all four models with the Active and Active X getting 17s and 18s respectively. The Active has a driver’s window up/down on-touch switch in addition.

The Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist, (FCA) in City/Urban works from a windshield-mounted camera reading the road ahead. Should it “feel” that a collision is possible, the Forward Collision Warning System will make a noise and show a signal in the driver’s information cluster. It’s a system that works between 8 kmh and up to 180kmh. Forward Collision Avoidance Avoidance Assist – City Urban pairs up with FCW to hit the stop pedal automatically if the system judges no human intervention after an alert. This works between 8kmh and 65kmh. Elite and Highlander gain radar sensors to complement the camera and Hyundai extend the name to City/Urban/Interurban/Pedestrian. At speeds of between 10kmh and 80kmh the package brings the car to a complete halt.

Specification levels increase in sophistication as the range moves from Active to Highlander. Items such as rear camera, DAB audio, and Android Auto/Apple CarPlay are common throughout. Active X has leather appointed seats, for example, and some electrically powered adjustment for the driver’s seat. The Tucson Elite has a cooling system for the glovebox, rain sensing wipers, and puddle lamps. The Highlander has a powered tailgate, and a wireless charging pad, plus bending LED headlights.
All models have the very handy Hyundai AutoLink, with the Highlander available via a SIM based connection. The other three connect via Bluetooth. This provides information such as driving analysis, driving history, contact with Hyundai dealers to book a service, and in the Highlander, real time weather updates, remote access to start/stop, and remote access to the climate control system, amongst other features. Hyundai also entice owners to have their Tucson serviced at a Hyundai dealership by including a ten year satnav upgrade plan and a ten year roadside assist plan.
Contact your dealer for a test drive.

Private Fleet Car Review: Holden Trax LS Turbo

This Car Review Is About: the Holden Barina based SUV called the Trax. This review is on the LS spec with turbo engine. It’s part of a three trim level range (LS, LT, LTZ) with all but one the 1.4L turbo. The range starts with a LS and 1.8L and is priced at $23,990 plus on roads. At the time of writing the LS 1.4L was available at $24,490 driveaway.The Engine Produces: 103kW and 200Nm, plus a figure of 6.7L per 100 kilometres (combined) from a 53L tank filled with 91RON. Our final figure in an urban drive was 8.3L/100km. Drive is through the front wheels and a six speed auto.On The Inside It’s: a reasonably comfortable place to be. Cloth seats are snug and although fully manual are easy to adjust. The doors open wide enough to make getting onto the seats a doddle too. Because it’s a compact machine, at 4,264mm long and a 2,555mm wheelbase, leg room for the rear seat is adequate at 907mm, not startling and dependent on the front pews not being occupied by taller people. Front leg room is fine for all but the the giants, at 1037mm. Shoulder and hip room is also adequate and front seat head room is great at 1,005mm. The Trax helps the front seat passengers by not having a centre console storage bin, just a standard cup holder style.Barina origins mean the dash is the asymmetrical look found in that car. There’s a old-style looking LCD screen to the right, the speedometer dial in the centre, and the fuel and rev counter on the left. It’s a simple looking unit and as a result offers nothing more than what you see, except for the LCD’s switchable info screens operated from the right hand side of the tiller.The dash itself is Euro styled, with the current sweep around in an arch from door to door running at the base of the windscreen. It’s a finer looking plastic and visually more appealing than that found in the Arcadia. Faux alloy rims the air vents at each end, forms a U-loop for the centre display and vents, and highlights the steering wheel arms and centre stack verticals. The aircon controls in the LS are dials, meaning the temperature can be adjusted finitely but airflow isn’t as finely controlled. These sit above a small nook that has USB/3.5mm/12V sockets.

Audio is AM/FM only, with no DAB, which is increasingly seen in the Trax’s opposition. Smartphone mirroring in the form of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are here.On the Ouside: It’s a strong resemblance to the Barina, if more a breathe in and hold look. It’s ovoid in the overall design, with curves everywhere especially on the front and rear flanks. 215/60/17 tyres and wheels underpin those curves. Up front are integrated LED driving lights that curl nicely around the outsides of the clusters. Driving lights are in their own housings at each corner of the lower front bumper. Out back is a manual tail gate, with an opening to just enough room to get a week’s shopping into, with 387L expanding to 1270L with the 60/40 rear pews folded.

Tail lights are a triple layered affair and blend nicely with the bulbous rear guards. There’s also a resemblance, in a way, to the Trailblazer and Colorado up front, and nothing at all in respect to the Equinox and Acadia. There are eight colours to choose from, including the Absolute Red the test car was painted in.

On The Road It’s: Missing something. It’s not a big machine, and the 1.4L isn’t an outright powerhouse, but 200NMm comes on stream at 1,850Nm. Performance, what there is of it, is blunted, muted, initially First impressions were that the tyres were under-pressured, dragging back the LS Trax. It simply didn’t feel as lively, as exuberant, as it should have. It takes a while to feel as if there’s something living under the bonnet. Get to around 1/3rd travel of the go-pedal and once the revs are above 2,000 the hidden life of the engine is revealed.

Suspension is short travel and tight, to the point the Trax would cock a rear corner in certain situations. None of those were at anything more than 10kmh, thankfully. It’s an odd sensation but it pointed towards the ride and handling the Trax LS had. Smooth on smooth roads, jiggly and unsettled on unsettled roads, tracks straight and true otherwise. The front is a tad softer than the rear though and this helps in the front end’s tracking nicely. It’s a slightly numb steering feel, prone to understeer, but it’s predictable, controllable, telegraphing just where the pert nose will go with no chance of misinformation being sent to the driver.What also isn’t sent to the driver is the Acadia’s vibrating seat platform should the onboard sensors detect anything the system deems worthy of sending a signal to the vibrating seat. That’s a long way of saying that the driver is better equipped to deal with driving situations in front of them because they’re not momentarily distracted by a seat going crazy beneath them.

Steering is well weighted and the brakes are also well balanced, with extra bite over the 1.8L that comes with drum rears. the turbo four has discs.

What About Safety?: No AEB, and the LTZ is the only one that gets Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Blind Spot Alert. all three do get a lo-res reverse camera, six airbags, and the mandated driver aids and Hill Start Assist.

The Warranty Is: Five years/unlimited kilometres, with three years free scheduled servicing.At The End of the Drive.
The Holden Trax is apparently due for an update in 2020. It needs it and needs it badly. Not because it’s an unpleasant car, far from it. However when up against cars in the same sphere, it’s immediately dated. Holden’s Traxis available here.