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SUV

2020 Audi Q3 Sportback Ready To Roll.

Audi’s vast range of vehicles is about to expand. The Q3 Sportback, a small-medium SUV that features a strong coupe styling, is on its way. Pricing is sharp and it will be, to start, a two model range. The Q3 Sportback 35 TFSI S line with a 1.4L turbo four that produces 110kW and 250Nm will kick off at $49,900, whilst the Launch Edition will start from $56,450. These are manufacturers list price and do not include dealer or government charges.

Styling tweaks see the Sportback longer and lower than the standard Q3. Audi quietly nods to its Quattro heritage with the body having larger wheel arch “blisters”. The S Line and Launch Edition will roll on 19 inch alloys. The powerplant itself pairs up with a slick six speed S-Tronic auto, putting drive to the front wjheels in the S Line. It’s not a rocket ship though, with a 0-100 time of 9.3 seconds. Economy is quoted as 7.3 litres per 100km whilst emissions are 167 grams per km. A bigger engine and an extra cog will feature in the Q3 40 S-Line model. 132kW will come from a 2.0L engine, driving all four corners via a seven speed S-Tronic.

The Launch Edition is will include additional features, such as metallic paint as standard, privacy glass, and a black exterior styling package. The folding wing mirrors are heated too. Inside there’s a bespoke sound system, auto dimming rear vision mirror, plus LED colour lighting, heated front pews with powered lumbar support, and a 360 degree camera system. Safety features will include Adaptive Cruise Assist, along with active lane assist and emergency assist.

ANCAP have awarded the Q3 Sportback a five star rating, as Autonomous Emergency Braking or AEB, with cyclist and pedestrian detection is on board, as are lane departure warning, lane change warning, rear cross-traffic assist, tyre pressure monitors, and hill descent control. Six airbags will be fitted with no driver’s kneebag as part of the package. Naturally technology is a major part of the Q3 Sportback, just like its sibling. The Audi “Virtual Cockpit” will star for the driver, as will MMI navigation and MMI touchscreen. DAB audio provides the sounds and Audi’s voice control is tuned to be a natural language style for better usage.

Both USB-A and USB-C ports will feature for front and rear seats, and connectivity in the form of wireless Apple CarPlay, a smartphone charge pad and a handy dual Bluetooth connectivity is standard. Audi Connect Plus provides real time traffic info, petrol station fuel pricing, parking space availability at listed stations, and even weather updates.

Drivers with a sporting bent will be well pleased thanks to a fettling of the steering plus selected driving modes for a variety of driving situations. Audi drive select allows driving characteristics to be altered with a selection of various modes through the MMI controls.

Although it’s of a coupe styling, rear room isn’t compromised. The 530 litres of cargo space is the same as the non-coupe Q3. 40:20:40 split fold and sliding second row seats allow up to 1400L as required.

Paul Sansom, Managing Director of Audi Australia, says: “The very first Q3 Sportback expands Audi’s presence in the premium compact SUV segment. In a single generation, the Audi Q3 established itself as the benchmark in its class, underlined by its enduring popularity throughout its lifetime. The new model is stronger in every conceivable area, and the very first Q3 Sportback offers an even more expressive alternative for buyers. The growing share of the premium compact SUV segment shows no sign of slowing down, and so the Q3 Sportback is absolutely the right car at the right time for the Australian market.”

Deliveries for Australia are expected to start in March of 2020.

Medium AWD SUVs You Can Buy in 2020

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

Alfa Romeo

Alfa Romeo Stelvio AWD

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

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

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

Audi

Audi Q5

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

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

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

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

BMW

BMW X3

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

BMW X4

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

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

Ford

Ford Escape

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

Holden

Holden Equinox

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

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

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

Honda

Honda CR-V

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

Hyundai

Hyundai Tucson

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

Jaguar

Jaguar E-Pace

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jeep

Jeep Compass

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

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

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

Jeep Cherokee

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

Kia

Kia Sportage

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

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

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

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

Land Rover

Land Rover Discovery Sport

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Range Rover Evoque

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lexus

Lexus NX

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

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

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

Mahindra

Mahindra XUV500

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

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

Mazda

Mazda CX-5

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

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

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

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

Mercedes Benz

Mercedes Benz GLC

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

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

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

Mitsubishi

Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross

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

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

Mitsubishi Outlander

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

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

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

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

Nissan

Nissan X-Trail

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

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

Porsche

Porsche Macan

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

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

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

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

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

Renault

Renault Koleos

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

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

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

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

Skoda

Skoda Kodiaq

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

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

Subaru

Subaru Forester

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

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

Toyota

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

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

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

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

Volkswagen

VW Tiguan

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

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

Volvo

Volvo XC60

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Small SUVs You Can Buy in 2020

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

Audi

Audi Q2

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

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

Audi Q3

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

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

BMW

BMW X1

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

BMW X2

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

Honda

Honda HR-V AWD

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

Hyundai

Hyundai KONA AWD

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

Jeep

Jeep Renegade

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

Lexus 

Lexus UX250H

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

Mazda 

Mazda CX-3 AWD

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

Mercedes Benz

Mercedes Benz GLA AWD

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

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

Mitsubishi

Mitsubishi ASX AWD

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

Nissan

Nissan Juke AWD

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

Ssangyong

Ssangyong Korando AWD

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

Subaru

Subaru XV AWD

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

Suzuki 

Suzuki Jimny 4×4

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

Suzuki S-Cross AWD

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

Suzuki Vitara AWD

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

Toyota 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2020 Mitsubishi Pajero Sport Ready To Roll.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

ANCAP Updates.

ANCAP, the Australasian New Car Assessment Program, has released some findings for a range of new vehicles. The standout performer amongst the latest batch of ratings is the updated Tesla Model X which is available from December 2019. It’s achieved a record-equaling high score of 98% for Adult Occupant Protection and 94% for Safety Assist. These scores closely follow the high scores recorded by its smaller sibling, the Model 3, earlier this year.

Full points were achieved for protection of the driver in all four of the full-scale vehicle crash tests (frontal offset, full width, side impact and oblique pole), full points were achieved for lane support and emergency lane keep functionality, and close to full points were awarded in each of the autonomous emergency braking (AEB) test scenarios.

“Tesla should be commended for providing a vehicle which offers very high levels of safety performance both in its physical protection of occupants as well as its ability to help avoid a crash through its active safety systems,” said ANCAP Chief Executive, James Goodwin.

The Audi A7 Sportback and Audi Q8 demonstrated good performance in all assessment areas. New SUV market entrant, the MG HS, also offered good all-round safety however testing revealed a higher risk of injury in side impact crash scenarios.

“Tested to our most stringent criteria, the MG HS scored well, yet concerns were noted for chest protection of the driver in the oblique pole test and head protection for older children in the side impact test.”

Hyundai’s new small SUV, the Venue, scored 4 stars limited by its less advanced safety assist systems. “The Venue fell shy of the 5 star safety standard we’ve come to expect from Hyundai with Marginal performance levels observed for its ability to avoid a rear-end impact with vehicles in front. This limited the Venue’s Safety Assist score to 62%,” Mr Goodwin said.

“The Venue is the first model to undertake Safety Assist performance testing in Australia, following the commissioning of a new test facility in regional NSW,” he added.

MY20 Jeep Wrangler models see autonomous emergency braking (AEB) and blind spot monitoring (BSM) functionality introduced as standard safety features across the Wrangler model range, with performance testing of these systems undertaken by ANCAP earlier this month.

“These upgrades are welcome, and I commend the local supplier for moving to provide Wrangler buyers in Australia and New Zealand with collision avoidance capability,” said Goodwin. “While a 3 star rating is still somewhat shy of the expected 5 stars, all upgraded models now have the ability to detect and assist with avoiding a crash with another vehicle – both in lower and higher speed scenarios.”“Unfortunately the upgraded AEB system fitted to updated models is not yet able to detect our most vulnerable road users in pedestrians and cyclists.” he said.

“Consumers should be aware that the structural deficiencies we saw with the originally-tested model such as A-pillar and cross-facia beam failure, footwell intrusion, high seatbelt loads and excessive pedal movement have not been addressed and remain a risk for occupants,”  he added. Active lane support functionality is also not available. The 3 star ANCAP safety rating applies to all 2 door and 4 door Wrangler variants supplied to the Australian and New Zealand markets built from November 2019.

The Mercedes-Benz CLA (Medium Car) was the top performer for 2019, achieving an overall weighted score of 90.2%. “Well done to the CLA for being named the standout performer,” said  Goodwin.

“It received a healthy five-star score, performing exceptionally well in the areas of Child Occupant Protection (92%) and Vulnerable Road User Protection (91%) where it achieved the highest scores of all vehicles rated this year.”

Top performers by vehicle category:

LIGHT CAR: Audi A1, 86.6%. MEDIUM SUV: Toyota RAV4, 88.6%. SMALL CAR: Mazda 3, 88.4%. LARGE SUV: Tesla Model X, 89.6%.

MEDIUM CAR: Mercedes-Benz CLA, 90.2%. UTILITY: Toyota Hilux, 89.0%. LARGE CAR: Audi A7, 86.0%.

VAN: Toyota HiAce, 87.4%. SMALL SUV: Lexus UX, 89.0%. PEOPLE MOVER: Toyota Granvia, 87.8%

Further details on each of the vehicles rated can be viewed on the ANCAP website:
www.ancap.com.au/safety-ratings

2019MY Jeep Wrangler Overland: Private Fleet Car Review

This Car Review Is About: A slightly updated version of the overhauled Jeep Wrangler range that Australia received in mid 2019. That change occurred between December 2018 and early 2019 in the manufacturing process, and it was the addition of a forward facing sensor for anti-collision technology. The range itself covers the Overland in the middle, Sport S at the beginning, the range leading Rubicon. The Overland tested was also given the coveted “Trail Rated” badge. Jeep says this means: “The new Jeep “Trail Rated” badge indicates that every Jeep 4×4 has been designed to perform in a variety of challenging off-road conditions identified by five key consumer-oriented performance categories, including Traction, Ground Clearance, Manoeuvrability, Articulation and Water Fording.”How Much Does It Cost?: The list price is $63,950 plus on road costs. That’s as of November, 2019 for the MY19 version. Check with Jeep for the 2020 spec. The Wrangler range comes in a two and four door for the Sport S and Overland.

Under The Bonnet Is: 209kW and 347Nm of 3.6L V6 Pentastar petrol engine. Only the top of the trio Rubicon has a diesel option. Transmission in the Overland is an eight speed Selec-Trac auto and there is no manual available in the range. All Jeeps have a transfer case that offers 2WD, 4WD Auto, and high and low range. Our final economy figure was 11.7L/100km which worked out to be better than Jeeps quoted 13.0L/100km for the urban cycle. Tank size is 81L. That’s for the Sport S and Overland four door body. the two door versions have a 66L tank.On The Outside It’s: Oh so familiar with the round (and LED powered) headlights, squared off guards and stance, plus that seven bar grille. The doors, roof, and windscreen are removable and foldable in the case of the front screen. The driving and rear lights (in the traditional squared off housing) are also LED for the Overland. The rear gate is different in that the bottom door opens horizontally and has to be opened first to allow access to the top door. The wheels on the Overland at 18 inches in diameter and are wrapped in Bridgestone Dueler H/T 255/70. Big, solid looking, strong plastic steps run between the front and rear wheels. The black on the review vehicle contrasted nicely with the brushed satin alloy look og the wing mirror surrounds, driving light surrounds, and subtle enhancements to the grille.

What’s somewhat surprising about the Wranglers is just how small they are. Small in the context that they’re just 4,334mm in length, and pack inside that a 2,459mm wheelbase. Height is what makes the Wrangler look bigger, especially in the deep metallic black the review car was covered in. 1,839mm is the number here, and from the front the 1,894mm is obvious. The front has a very obviously American spec front bumper, protruding forward like a caricature’s chin. There is still 35.8 degrees of approach angle however. Departure is rated as 31.2 degrees, and breakover is 20.4. Wading depth is 760mm.On The Inside It’s: Far from the spartan look and feel once reasonably expected of a dedicated off-road capable vehicle. The overland has superbly supple black McKinley leather and an embossed Overland logo. The seats are beautifully comfortable, but are manually adjusted. That’s no bad thing though. Naturally there are grab handles for the front seat passengers, and the Wrangler Overland stays true to its basic roots by having a strong cloth strap as the door’s restrainer, not a mechanical option in the hinges.

It’s a beautiful and elegant design to the dash. and a highlight is the use of “old school” rotate and flip” airvents. This simple design allows airflow to be sent to any direction by twirling a circular and slotted design. Effective and ridiculously so. Front and centre is an 8.4 inch touchscreen that is also ridiculously simple to use. Climate control, satnav, and an beautifully tuned Alpine nine speaker DAB audio system are stars, and the audio is possibly the second best for depth, clarity, and stage presence, that we’ve heard. The materials used on the Overland’s dash look and feel premium, and it instantly said “welcome to your new home”. This gets backed by a 230V socket for the back seat, plus USB and USB-C plugs, and remote starting to get the aircon up and running.For the driver, it’s a design that can only be described as smart, clever, historic, and, yes, elegant. There is an LCD screen that shows multiple forms of information, but a small section on the left is cleverly blanked into a separate display to show which actual drive mode the Wrangler is in. A Jeep logo also shows briefly on the screen. A nice little touch is the compass information built into the rear vision mirror. It shows N, S, NW etc in a simple backlit font. A not quite so nice touch is the fact all four power window switches are one touch for down, but have to be held for the upwards travel. They’re also located in the centre of the vertically oriented dash, not in the driver’s door. The front guards aren’t also visible from the driver’s seat so sometimes it’s a bit “guessworky” to gauge where the fenders are.

Build quality for the body was tight, with no squeaks, rattles, or other extraneous noises that shouldn’t have been there. That included the removable roof panels, with a flick-twist lever to lift off. But there was a glitch with the driver’s seat belt mechanism. Seatbelts have a safety mechanism, one that tightens the belt before an impact. They also have a mechanism that allows a passenger to pull the belt out to buckle in. In this car, the mechanism simply refused, on numerous occasions, to release the belt to strap in.On the Road It’s: Somewhat spongy in the ride and loose in the steering. The sponginess comes from the high profile dual purpose rubber, and the steering….well. It really could do with being tighter for our market. What also needs tightening is the tolerance for the brake pedal. It’s one of the longest we’ve had for response and grip. Long, in the sense that there’s well over an inch of travel before bite, and it goes longer down the path before grip really improves. It’s these two areas that detract, and unfortunately quite a bit, from an otherwise engaging and enjoyable drive experience. Acceleration is decent enough, and there’s a satisfying rort and snort from the engine and exhaust. The off-rad capability is access via a lever on the left of the gear selector, and it’s a simple to use system. Neutral, select, go. And there’s no doubting the agility of the Overland thanks to that Trail Rated badge.What About Safety?: It has a good package. Front and rear sensors, airbags all round, plus Rear Cross Traffic Detection and Blind Spot Monitoring. Trailer Sway Control and Forward Collision Assist are there too. Tyre Pressure Monitoring is an essential item for vehicles such as this and this proved its worth thanks to an invisible nail in one tyre. the Reverse Camera is handy and the touchscreen’s HD capability makes reversing easier due to the clarity. Unseen is the high tensile strength steel that underpins the chassis rigidity and side panel strength.And The Warranty and Service?: Jeep offer a five year warranty on their range. Servicing costs are capped and here Jeep recommends contacting a dealer for your specific pricing.At The End Of The Drive. The Jeep Wrangler Overland delighted. That in itself was unexpected, and yes, that can be seen as damning with faint praise. Loose steering and spongy ride aside, it’s a delight to drive, and the ambience of the interior makes being in it to drive an enjoyable experience. It’s a long way from the sparse and spartan interiors, and indifferent build quality of years gone by. The tech features, comfort level, and the well proven off-road ability from its heritage made the time the Wrangler spent with us thoroughly engaging and drew a wry grin from a family friend who’d bought the same model, but just prior to the Forward Collision Warning system being made available. The Jeep Wrangler range and information can be found via the Jeep website.

Hiccups And Glory: Tesla Cybertruck Revealed.

Mid afternoon Friday 22nd November (Sydney time) and Tesla has unveiled a surprise.

Called the Cybertruck it’s fair to say it’s unlike anything seen from any manufacturer, both in looks, and in specification.Tesla says: it will have a range of 500+ miles, and will see a zero to 96kph (60mph) time of around 2.9 seconds. The body is made from a sledgehammer resistant “Ultra-Hard 30x Cold-Rolled Steel”. The window glass is also intended to be shatter and impact resistant as evidenced by a few ball-drop demonstrations. Somewhat embarrassingly, a short range throw of a small steel ball like that used in the drop test broke the supposedly shatterproof glass in the vehicle shown.The cargo section is big enough to house an electric ATV, also shown during the launch, and has a payload capacity of up to 3,500 pounds or 1,587 kilos. There is 6.5 feet of length in the bay and there are extendable ramps and a charging point built in. An estimated 100 cubic feet of storage space is available inside the sci-fi looking wedge shape. There is also room for six adults and a 17 inch touchscreen to access the vehicle’s main controls.The ramp that allows cargo access showed the flexibility of the suspension with up to four inches of travel. The drivetrain will be a rear mounted engine, front and rear, and a triple motor configuration. The exterior is striking, to say the least, with a distinctive wedge shape and eye-catching LED strips front and rear. And in an alloy sheen reminiscent of a De Lorean, it should be an all-weather capable vehicle.
Pricing is slated to start at around $40,000USD.

2020 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Exceed AWD: Private Fleet Car Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2020 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.