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2017 Renault Megane GT & Renault Megane Zen: Private Fleet Car Review.

Renault‘s Australian renaissance continues to build momentum, with the all new Koleos and Megane range attracting plenty of positive comment. It’s fair to say that the GT and Zen Megane cars should be on your radar, and here’s why, as Private Fleet drives the Renault Megane GT and Renault Megane Zen.The Megane is a sweet looker, with a curvy overall shape and an extra bit of sheetmetal at the rear to emphasise the profile. Both have LED running lights in a hockey stick shape, LED rear lights and the GT takes that further with LEDs powering the main front lights. It’s compact outside, at 4359 mm in length and runs on a 2670 mm wheelbase, which offers 180 mm of rear seat knee room. Shoulder room for the 1814 mm wide (mirrors folded) pair is 1441 mm up front and 1390 mm in the rear. Front and rear track are almost identical at 1591 mm and 1586 mm. It’s a slightly bigger car, this fourth generation Megane, than the previous version, with the wheelbase 29 mm longer for an increase in overall length of 57 mm.Up front there’s a duet of petrol engines, with the Zen packing a mere 1200 cc four cylinder, with 97 kilowatts and 205 Nm. The turbocharged GT has 151 kilowatts at 6000 and a hefty 280 torques at 2400 rpm from a 1.6L powerplant. Both run on standard 95RON and power down via a seven speed dual clutch auto. From the fifty litre tank, Renault quotes a combined fuel consumption figure of 5.6L/100 km and 6.0L/100 km. Around town it’s just 6.8L/100 km or 7.8L/100 km.The GT is marked as 4Control, with subtle badging on the B pillars. This makes one wonder if it’s four wheel drive; no, it’s four wheel steering, with a rear wheel steering setup adding to the amazing agility of the five door hatch. It’s engineered so it’ll turn the rear wheels in the opposite direction to the front at either 80 kph or 60 kph, depending on which drive mode you’ve selected. Above those speeds the rears will turn in the same direction as the front. Does it work? Oh yes sir, it does. So do the brakes, in that unlike too many there’s real feedback, real bite, as soon as the pedal is touched. Distances between you and the car in front can be more finely judged with a variation of pressure, not relying on something to happen with a depression of an inch or so before action happens.

With the car riding on GT specific springs, dampers, and roll bars to the rest of the range, and combining with a super responsive steering system, lends the GT a sporting prowess that isn’t at odds with its seemingly cheapish $38K price. Turn in is crisp, sharp, and understeer is relegated to the file marked “No Longer Applicable”. This is thanks to a computer system that analyses steering angle and input 100 times per second. Not only is the GT a sharp handler, it rides better than the Zen. The lower spec car has 16 inch alloys, the GT rolls on 18s. Rubber is 205/55 for the Zen and 225/40 for the GT. The GT is sometimes jittery, but rides across imperfections better than the Zen, with the Zen more prone to bump steer and road intrusions, plus just that little more float from undulations. It’s by no means a bad handler in its own right, but backed against the wall by the brawnier GT, the differences are apparent.

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Lamborghini Huracán Performante Breaks The ‘Ring’s Lap Record.

The Lamborghini Huracán Performante has already proved its extraordinary capabilities ahead of its unveiling at Geneva Motor Show next week. On 5 October 2016, the Huracán Performante set a new production car lap record of 6:52.01 min on the Nürburgring Nordschleife in Germany.

Following the day’s open sessions on the “Ring”, at 17.00 officials closed the track to other manufacturers. After official track checks this left just a
15-minute window for Lamborghini to make one attempt at the lap record with a production Huracán Performante, still in its development camouflage.

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2017 Peugeot 2008 Lands On Aussie Roads.

The French Revolution continues, with Peugeot unveiling its revamped 2008 SUV. There’s been a streamlining of the range, a change to a sole engine/transmission combination, and some trim changes. Here’s the way the range shakes down.

The engine is a turbocharged three cylinder, at 1.2 litres of capacity. That’s bolted to a Japanese sourced six speed auto and it’s this combination that will be the only engine and transmission available in a three model range. The names will be Active, Allure, and GT-Line, with the latter replacing the Outdoor that also offered a diesel and manual.peugeot-2008-suv-allure-4peugeot_2008_suv_gt_line-3The undersquare 12 valve engine will produce a peak power of 81 kilowatts at 5500 rpm, and peak torque is a healthy 205 Nm at 1500 rpm. That’s good enough to see a 0-100 kph time of 11.3 seconds for the near 1200 kilogram vehicle. Peugeot rate the fuel consumption and tested in the real world as 4.8L/100 km for the combined cycle from a 50L tank using 95RON. There’s also an adaptable drive system, with Normal, Snow, Mud etc available via a dial in the centre console.peugeot-2008-suv-allure-24peugeot-2008-suv-active-18The facelift isn’t extensive but side by side it’d be noticeable compared to the outgoing models. There’s a new grille which will be a signature look for future models. Peugeot’s design team have imbued the headlights with a feline look, with a black and chrome finish. The tail lights have been slightly revamped, with a more noticeable claw look. All cars will be fitted with roofrails, adding some extra height and topping out at 1556 mm. Ending the roof on the 4159 mm long 2008 is a roof spoiler and the range will be enhanced by a new colour, Ultimate Red.peugeot-2008-suv-active-5peugeot-2008-suv-allure-3Standard equipment will cover items such as reverse camera, parking sensors, Stop/Start, MirrorLink and Apple CarPlay. The Allure and GT-Line will also be equipped with Active City Brake and City Park, a self parking system, plus auto head lights and rain sensing wipers. The Active will roll on 16 inch alloys, with 195/60 rubber, whereas the other two go up an inch and slightly wider at 205/50/17. There’s a full sized spare but at odds with the others in 185/65/15 profile.peugeot-2008-suv-active-16peugeot-2008-suv-allure-20peugeot-2008-suv-active-21At the time of writing, the GT-Line will be made available some time after the release of the Active and Allure. What the two cars at launch will offer is comprehensive. Hill Start Assist, Emergency Brake Assist, all power windows are one touch, heated and folding door mirrors, and seven inch touchscreen. The Active dips out on satnav as standard but can option it in. Leather trim for the tiller is common but on the park brake in the Allure only. A panoramic glass roof is also an option for the Allure as are heated seats (no ventilation for the Aussie market is an oversight.) Cargo is reasonable, with 410L which increases to 917L with the seats down.peugeot-2008-suv-active-21peugeot-2008-suv-allure-21Pricing remains, understandably, sharp, at $26490 for the Active, an increase of $1000 but with extra equipment. The Allure remains the same price at $30990 and gains extra kit, and the GT-Line is slated to come in at $32990, with all prices at a Recommended Retail Price. Head to www.peugeot.com.au for details and to book a test drive.peugeot_2008_suv_gt_line-4 peugeot_2008_suv_gt_line-3

Choosing Car Seats for Children

When you initially purchase your vehicle, you might not have expectations to start a family around the corner. However, when the moment eventually arrives, and you welcome a new addition to the family, many motorists are ill-equipped to transport the family around as they don’t own a child car seat. The decision making purchase can be somewhat confusing, so we’re here to provide you with the information you’ll need to choose car seats for your children.

The two most critical factors in selecting a car seat for your child are the age and the size of your child. Accordingly, as they grow they will progress through three car seat variations. These include a rearward facing seat, a forward-facing seat, and a booster seat.

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Fact Or Fiction: Headrests Were Designed To Be Detachable

A number of you may have seen that meme buzzing around Facebook and other social media platforms letting you know that headrests were deliberately designed to be detachable so that if you are trapped inside the car and need to break a window to get out, you have a useful tool for smashing the glass.  As we’re interested in quirky facts, great designs and safety features here at Private Fleet, I thought we’d check this one out.  Is it, in fact, true that this is what the designers were thinking when they designed headrests?

OK, in a nutshell, here’s the results after a quick bit of research:

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2017 Jaguar F-Pace R-Sport: A Private Fleet Car Review

If one were to hop into the fabled time machine of H.G. Wells and travel back to the early part of the 21st century, you’d find that the letters S, U, V, were part of the alphabet and hardly seen in each other’s company. You’d also find that many luxury car makers would sniff at the idea of an all wheel drive capable vehicle being part of their stable. Note “all wheel drive”, not “four wheel drive”. Flash back to 2017 and there’s hardly a car maker of any decent size that doesn’t have an SUV. One such maker, a British brand known more for the slogan of “Grace, Pace, and Space”, has joined the SUV party albeit one with a slightly odd name.Built around the basic looks of their two seater sports car, the Jaguar F-Pace has the leaping cat well and truly poised to make a serious indentation on the SUV market share. With four standard models and one limited edition run (as of early 2017), a range of engines, and a list of options almost too big to comprehend, the Jaguar F-Pace R-Sport was the vehicle supplied to Private Fleet in February 2017.There’s a lot to like, up front, about the R-Sport. Captain of the team of likes is the monstrous 700 torques being twisted out by the diesel fuelled 3.0 litre twin turbo V6 fitted. There’s a 2.0 litre diesel as the standard with 132 kW and a not indecent 430 torques, or a supercharged 3.0 litre petrol, with 250 kW/450 Nm. Sir will take the 700 Nm, thank you. Along with the torque that’s enough to rip the cape from Superman’s shoulders, you get a surprisingly good fuel economy. Surprising because although the F-Pace looks a mid sizer, there’s a gross vehicle weight of 2570 kilograms. Jaguar quotes a combined figure of 6.0L of dino juice for every 100 kilometres driven from the 66 litre tank, 5.6L/100 km on the highway and a still better than impressive 6.9L/100 around town.Private Fleet’s time with the F-Pave R-Sport coincided with a visit to the central west NSW town of Dubbo. Some 340 kilometres from AWT HQ, a country drive with four aboard and luggage seemed an ideal way to test the mettle of the Jaguar metal. The return was 7.3L per 100 kilometres, a fair result considering the cargo inside. That also involved some necessary overtaking and it’s here where that torque comes into its own. It kicks in, as a peak figure, at just 2000 rpm, with something like ninety percent available at around 1600 rpm, and that’s about where legal highway speeds sees the engine’s revs. However, there’s some conditions here. The starting point is the eight speed auto the F-Pace has, then factor in choosing either Drive or Sports via the vertically rising dial in the centre console. THEN you have four drive modes including Dynamic Plus, accessed via two console toggle switches. Not only does it tighten up the suspension, the gearbox and engine settings are changed to provide a quicker response, a sharper response, a surge of warp speed response. It’s exhilarating and breath taking and makes for a far safer driving experience than a leisurely “I think I can” move.It’s a well packaged car, the F-Pace, with an overall length of 4731 mm, with a wheelbase of 2874 mm. Front and rear track sit well inside the overall width of 2070 mm with 1641 mm and 1654 mm. Inside there’s plenty of usable room with front headroom at 1007 mm and rear heads get 977 mm. That cargo space has a nifty trick, with the floor on one said the standard interior carpet, but when rotated 180 degrees has a firm plastic surface for items such as scooters or bike.The F-Pace also techs up with Adaptive Dynamics, which measures up to 500 times a second the driving style and body movement of the car You can then option up the Configurable Dynamics system, allowing a deeper measure of personalisation for gearbox changes, throttle mapping and steering feedback. Technology is a hallmark of Jaguar nowadays, with (optional) configurable mood lighting, keyless entry which includes waving a foot under the rear bumper to raise the powered tail gate leading to 508 litres of cargo, adaptive headlights, InControl Touch Pro (as fitted) which is a pair of widescreen oriented LCD screens at 12.3 inches for the multifunction driver’s screen and 10.2 inch console touchscreen which includes smartphone/tablet style pinch and move for the navigation.There’s famed British audiomaker Meridian onboard, with 825 watts of thumping audio along with digital radio, a CD/DVD drive, and 10 gb hard drive space for your tunes. Ahead of the driver is the (optionable) super clear, laser lit, Head Up Display, showing speed, speed zones, driven gear and even navigation. The laser tech makes it both easier to read and easier on the eye. Aircon is controlled either via the touchscreen or, smartly (and something a few other makers should take note of) via soft press tabs which are clear and beautifully legible.There’s a downside, though: the rear seat passengers get their own controls which, in the test car, seemed to control the front seats…and a major bugbear in that the superbly comfortable and looking sports style seats DON’T. HAVE. COOLING. Any and all Australian spec cars with leather seats should have ventilation. Even Renault’s Koleos Intens has ventilation. Also, the door, dash, and centre console plastics are hard, with nary a touch of give. Then there’s locating the seat’s memory buttons where, logically, the power window switches should go, and vice versa.The touchscreen has icons laid out across the bottom, allowing a quick access to a certain function, unlike manufacturers that have everything hidden inside a primary folder. It makes using the screen far easier. There’s also a screen for when you’re in full Dynamic, offering extra information such as a G-Force sensor and allows for more personalisation.Where the F-Pace R-Sport will win your heart is on the road. Let’s start with that number, 700. That torque figure makes driving in all dry conditions an absolute pleasure. Even with a light foot the torque simply reaches out and grabs the eight ratios by the neck, bending them to its need. It’s almost effortless, and wonderfully quiet inside the cabin, as the tacho swings around as does the speedometer. That’s in Eco and Normal modes. Gently push the selector down and clockwise into S, tap the drive mode button into Dynamic, sit back, press the go pedal, and feel your soul compress into a neutrino as the F-Pace gathers its thoughts for a nano-second before launching itself towards the horizon. Dynamic also firms up the steering and suspension, which has the effect of providing even more feedback and flattening the road further.Under normal conditions, the R-Sport is sure footed, adept, with each corner riding over road irregularities with minimal bodily intrusion. Sure, you’ll know what each wheel and tyre is doing, and you’ll feel the movement of the suspension as each corner works alone. Dynamic ups that feeling, with shorter travel yet an unexpected decrease in bumps and thumps. On the twisted and bent road surfaces west of Bathurst, this quality became invaluable and has an unexpected but very welcome side effect: it decreases the tiredness level of the driver. These same roads showed how well tuned the engineers have the car. Although sitting up high, as you do in an SUV, there’s no feeling of that, and you’ll feel confident in the way the car hangs on in long sweepers, unsettled and corrugated surfaces, and when the need is called for, how effective and quick the brake pedal tells you the pads are on the disc. All round, the F-Pace R-Sport stamps itself as a driver’s car.At The End Of The Drive.
The F-Pace has garnered acclaim and plaudits world wide, and with good reason. It’s a heavy-ish car, but superbly agile; the diesel is mutely powerful and will hasten the F-Pace along at indecent speed; and it’s beautiful to look at both inside and out. The technology on board is user friendly and non-confrontational, which is both appealing and amps the safety factor by not having eyes off the road for longer than neccessary.
What niggles there are, are just that. Niggles. It’s a comprehensive package and in R-Sport trim, provides a balance between economy, luxury, and room. The modern equivalent of Jaguar’s old calling phrase, perhaps?

For further information on the Jaguar F-Pace, go here: 2017 Jaguar F-Pace

Tech Talk: How Power Torques.

When car makers advertise their products, apart from price you’ll probably notice or hear xxx kilowatts. Great. Wonderful. Fantastic.

Huh?

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ACCC Addresses Car Insurance Concerns.

Stratton Finance CEO Rob Chaloner has backed the ACCC’s stance to oppose a 20 per cent cap on commissions paid to car dealers who sell add-on insurance products, arguing that a commission cap will lessen competition and ultimately harm consumers.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has issued a report named “A market that is failing consumers: The sale of add-on insurance through car dealers”

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Uh-Oh, I’ve Used the Wrong Fuel. Now What?

As humans, we’re prone to an error or two from time to time. In fact, we could hardly consider ourselves human if we were perfect and not making the odd mistake. And while it’s not common to mix up different fuel types when putting them into your vehicle, it can and does happen. After all, for those pump nozzles to be colour-coded, and even slightly different fits, someone must have realised there was a problem. However, even if you end up making this surprisingly not so uncommon mistake, you can rectify the issue and minimise the prospect of any long-term damage to your vehicle.

When petrol is inserted into diesel vehicles, the more common mix-up, the engine and fuel injector system are most prone to issues. Petrol acts as a solvent to reduce the lubrication within a diesel fuel pump, in turn creating weakness within the diesel fuel pump. Where metals make contact with each other, a lack of lubrication can mean that tiny fragments are created. The impact of these fragments can be notable as they make their way through the rest of the fuel system. Engines potentially may also be exposed to damage as a result of the extreme and ill-regulated compression of petrol fuel.

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How Not To Use A Phone While Driving

They say that driving distracted is as bad as driving drunk when it comes to reducing your reaction times and making smart driving decisions.  Some distractions are beyond our control, such as half a swarm of bees flying through the open window (not making that one up – this happened to someone I know), a screaming child or a busting bladder.  However, using the phone is something that you can control.

We all know the rules.  Handsfree is the only way that you can do this legally and safely.  Putting the phone on your lap and glancing down so nobody knows that you’re using the phone is not an option. In fact, this is probably worse than having the thing openly visible up by the steering wheel in your hand – at least that way, you have half an eye on the road even if you do risk being spotted by the cops.  When the phone is on your lap, you have to take your eyes right off the road to look at it. Bad idea.

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