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Coping With Car Clutter

You might be scrupulous about washing the outside of your car, and possibly waxing it as well, but what about the inside of the car? If you’re the typical Aussie driver, whether you’re doing the daily commute or the school run, or if you’re a tradie, consultant or sales rep who’s always on the road, it’s all too easy to let the inside of your vehicle get a bit on the cluttered side.

In-car clutter takes a range of forms, from obvious mess and rubbish that you’re going to get around to cleaning up one of these days, through to that spare jumper or raincoat you stashed in the luggage compartment of your hatchback (and another spare raincoat and a puffer jacket and…). And there’s everything else that you’ve put in the glovebox or the centre console because it might be useful at some point.

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Greeted With Raptorous Applause: Ford Ranger Raptor

Anticipation can lead to either joy or disappointment. When it comes to the long anticipated Ford Performance Vehicles Ranger Raptor, so far it’s looking more of the former. Here’s what we know.

Engine: a 2.0L diesel provides peak power of 157kW and 500Nm (1750 – 2000 rpm)and means the Raptor will have plenty of bite, thanks to a bi-turbo system that will drink from a 80L tank. It’s EURO V compliant at 212 gr/km, will be offering a 8.2L/100 km fuel economy for the combined cycle, and see a top speed of 170 km/h. with a 0-100 km/h time of just over ten seconds. Good figures from a 2.3 tonne machine before fuel and passengers. The transmission is a ten speed (yes, ten speed) automatic with ratios picked to ensure quicker shifts and to be as close as possible to the right gear for the throttle setting. It’s good enough for a 2500 kilo towing (braked) figure.Chassis: 283mm of ground clearance, a broader track than the standard Ranger at 1710mm front and rear, and 285/70/17 wheels & BF Goodrich All Terrain rubber, specially made for Raptor, combine with composite material front fenders and a bumper with integrated LED fog lamps to provide an assertive on and off road presence. Turning circle is a tight 12.9 metres. The load tray is 1743mm in length and 1560mm in width on a 5398mm long body. Maximum width is2180mm with the mirrors out.Inside: a bespoke interior with blue stitching, leather highlights and “technical suede” for extra lateral grip, a rejigged look to the instrument bezel, and perforated leather sections on the steering wheel make for a classy cabin environment.Ride and Drive: There’s a Terrain Management System, TMS, which includes a Baja mode. This sharpens up the engine and transmission and blunts the intrusion of the traction control to give a driver a real off-road experience. It’s a pair of Macpherson struts up front and Ford’s tried and true Watts linkage at the rear.Brakes: Plenty of swept area on the discs means plenty of stopping power.332mm x 32mm up front and 332mm x 24mm at the rear meet a 54mm caliper. They’re bolted to Position Sensitive Dampers that provide, at full extension and compression, a higher level of rebound force. Mid range damping force is specifically tuned for comfort during normal driving.

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2018 Kia Picanto GT-Line

What do you do to improve your baby city car? New wheels, some exterior garnishes, additional lighting and a cool exterior colour. What don’t you do to improve your baby city car? Give it more grunt and change the gearbox is what. And that’s exactly what you’ll find with Kia‘s otherwise good looking Picanto GT-Line. Quite frankly it’s a wasted opportunity from the Korean car maker. We’ll cover that off later in more detail.What you do get is the standard 1.25L petrol fed four, a four speed auto, 62 kilowatts and 122 torques at 4000 rpm. Fuel economy is, naturally, great at 5.8L/100 km of normal unleaded for the combined cycle from its 35L thimble. Consider, too, a dry weight of 995 kilos before passengers etc. Kia’s rationalised the Picanto range to a simple two model choice, the S and the GT-Line. If you’re after a manual the S is the only choice. Price for the GT-Line is super keen at $17,290. Metallic paint is a further $520, taking the test car’s price to $17,810.It’s a squarish, boxy, yet not unappealing design, especially when clad in the silver grey the test car has. Called Titanium Silver it’s more of a gunmetal grey hue, and highlighted by red stripes at the bottom of the doors, red rimmed grilles for the airvents and the lower section is splashed with silver around the globe driving lights. The grille itself is full black and the angle of the grille combines with the laid back styling of the headlights (with LED driving lights) to provide an almost Stormtrooper look. At the rear the neon light look tail lights complements the twin pipe exhaust. It’s a cool and funky look.Kia has upped the 14 inch alloys to classy looking eight spoke 16 inchers. Rubber is from Nexen and are 195/45. As a package they look fantastic. Going further is the grip level. For a vehicle that’s a long way off from being a sports car it has some of the most tenacious grip you’ll find under $30K. AWT’s Blue Mountains lair is close to some truly good roads for handling and ride testing. On one particular road, a specific one lane and one direction (downhill) road, the slightly too light steering nevertheless responds to input cleanly and succinctly. Cramming a 2400mm wheelbase inside an overall length of 3595mm helps, as does the low centre of gravity. It’s a throttle steerer too; come into a turn and back off, let the car make its own way and feel the nose run slightly wide. Throttle up and the nose settles, straightens, and all is good with the world. Body roll is negligible and direction changes are executed quickly, Braking from the 254mm and 236mm front and rear discs is rapid, stable, and quick.Ride quality from the Macpherson strut front and torsion beam rear is delightful for the most part. It does lend towards the taut and tight side and that could also be attributed to the lower profile rubber. Yet it’s never uncomfortable in normal and everyday usage. Hit some ruts or ripples and it’s here that the Picanto GL-Line gets flustered. The short travel suspension will kick back at the chassis and the car will, momentarily, become unsettled. On the flat it’s composed and will provide a comfortable enough ride but with any undulations may get a little choppy thanks to the short wheelbase.It’s on overtaking or uphill climbs that the drive-line shows its Achilles heel. Kia seems to be the only car maker that has stayed with a transmission so archaic and out of step with the industry. For both versions of the Picanto, as much as many loath them, a CVT would be a better option. For the GT-Line, and emphasis on the GT, a turbo engine such as those found in the Suzuki range or even Kia’s own tech would be a better option. Although our test drive finished on a commendable 6.6L/100 km, an extra cog or two would help that and make the Picanto a far more enjoyable car to drive.Inside, too, could do with a lift. Although there’s piano black door inserts with hints of red striping, and red highlights on the driver and passenger seats, the rest of the cabin, complete with Cadillac tail-light inspired air vents, lacks real cache compared to the opposition. Considering its size there’s adequate room up front, barely enough for the rear seats, and a 255L cargo space over a space saver tyre that’s fine for two people shopping wise. All good however the standard all black theme would greatly benefit from strategically placed dabs of colour.However, there’s an Audi style touchscreen mounted on the upper dash edge. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are on board but satnav isn’t, meaning you’ll need the smartphone connection for guidance. It’s AM/FM only, so misses out on DAB. The 7 inch screen is clean and user friendly, as is the driver’s view. Simple and unfussed designs work best and here Kia has nailed that. Two dials, speed, engine revs, fuel level and engine temperature. Simple. A centred monochrome info screen with information made available via tabs on the steering wheel. Simple.Small in size the Picanto GT-Line may be but it doesn’t lack for tech. AEB or Autonomous Emergency Braking is standard, as are Euro style flashing tail lights for the ESS or Emergency Stop Signal. Add in six airbags, vehicle stability management, Forward Collision Warning, and it’s pretty well covered. It does miss out on Blind Spot Alert and Rear Cross Traffic Alert though, but rear sensors are on board. This is all backed by Kia’s standard seven year warranty and fixed price servicing that will cost just $2552 over seven years.


At The End Of The Drive.

The Kia Picanto and the 2018 Kia Picanto GT-Line represent astounding value. Consider a RRP of $17,810 plus on roads, a decent set of safety features, and that could be better than it is fuel economy, and it’s a walk up start for anyone looking for a city car that’s a good looker, a sweet handler, and will have enough room for a average shop for one or two people. Our shop for four filled the boot and required only a bag or two to be relocated to the back seat.Kia’s Picanto is a very good car, but a real need for change in the engine and transmission would make it better. Yes, it’s economical but could be better. Drive one and make up your own mind or have a look here 2018 Kia Picanto info to find out more.

German Odds And Ends: VW Crafter Van & Audi TT

They’re the lifeblood of the small courier driver business, of the larger postal delivery services. LCVs or Light Commercial Vehicles come in various shapes and forms, including the van. There’s plenty to choose from and Volkswagen has just made that choice even more difficult.

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Women and Auto Design

Honda/Acura NSX

The chances are your car was designed by a man, but with more women becoming involved in the automotive industry we might well wonder whether our car was designed by a man or a woman?  This is an interesting question that many of us have likely never given much thought to.  We all love a nice looking, nice driving car, so I wonder how many women are involved in the automotive design industry that we don’t know about.  Really, there are very few clues that would reveal a car designer’s gender.

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Private Fleet Car Review: 2018 Jeep Compass Limited

Jeep. It’s a name that’s synonymous with unbreakable cars, uncompromising off road ability, and being uniquely American. Well, once. Any Jeep labelled TrailHawk is still uncompromising in its ability to deal with mud, snow, sand, gravel, as easily as the tarmac, but not all Jeeps are unbreakable and not all Jeeps are American. I reviewed a Jeep a couple of years that refused to play ball. It was a time when quality control wasn’t part of the first sentence in how to build one. Thankfully it seems those times are well and truly past as our Indian built 2018 Jeep Compass Limited with 2.4L petrol fed “Tigershark” engine proved.The time the Compass Limited spent with us coincided with a trip that would ultimately cover 1150 kilometres. This would start at AWT’s Blue Mountains based HQ, south via Goulbourn and Queanbeyan, east of Canberra, to Cooma before overnighting at the Aalberg Chalet. Mine hosts were Ulla and Lindsay, an engaging and effervescent couple, providing an atmosphere of welcome and warmth. From there a few hours at Thredbo for ski lessons for my junior staffers, before a drive along the “Barry Way” via Dalgety, the Boco wind farm, and the parched depths of the NSW plains before our eastward bounds journey had us in Bega for one night. From there is was north through Narooma, Ulladulla, and Nowra, diverting through the gorgeous Kangaroo Valley and marveling at the once ocean floor cliffs before rejoining the Hume on our way home.The Compass sits above the Renegade and below the Cherokee in Jeep’s substantial range. A choice of four trim levels are available, with Sport, Longitude, Limited, and TrailHawk on offer. The Compass Liited has a 2.4L petrol engine named Tigershark, or the preferred for long distance haulage diesel. The petrol engine has 129kW, 229 Nm, and a nine speed CVT auto. Fuel consumption is quoted as 9.7L/100km on a combined cycle from the 60 litre tank and 7.4L/100 for the highway. AWT’s best figure was 8.6L/100km on a purely highway driven cycle. This was with four up and the cargo area filled with three bags/travel cases. The petrol Limited’s weight is 1503 kilograms dry.Our journey starts with an eastwards bound run from the lower Blue Mountains to one of Sydney’s orbital freeways, The M7 takes drivers south towards the city bound M5 or the Canberra and beyond Hume. What’s immediately noticeable is suspension tune. It leans towards the harder side of compliance, and there’s an initial feeling that tyres were at the wrong pressure. That didn’t turn out to be the situation. What was also becoming clear was the lack of torque at low revs. On the flatter country roads it would purr along in a quiet, unfussed, manner. Thew CVT changes smoothly, unobtrusively. Heading towards Goulbourn, around two hours drive south of Sydney. there’s some good long gradients that test cars and with that peak torque available at 3900 rpm it needs a hefty shove on the go pedal to get the engine and transmission to drop back enough to get close to that rev point. Forward motion slows appreciably and in order to keep safety up for traffic flow, more pedal is needed.Downhill runs have the CVT finding itself in a cog and holding that, using the engine as a braking device. This would be ideal in a hybrid to charge batteries but it’s disconcerting in the Compass as it holds revs in the upper range. There’s a little more effort than expected to move the gear selector left to engage manual shift mode and override the computer’s selection choice. The movement isn’t silky smooth either. The same applies to the indicator stalk, mounted on the left hand side of the steering column in this case. There’s a plasticky click to engage but there’s an upside. Just about every other car maker has a soft touch program that indicates just three times. the Compass Limited’s blinker count is five.As the journey progresses south what also becomes noticeable is the lack of real road safety shown by far too many other drivers. NSW and the ACT have a myopic focus on speed as to why people crash. By the time a stop at Lake George, twenty or so minutes north of Canberra is undertaken, the amount of vehicles successfully completing a safe lane change is one. That’s the Jeep.The all purpose rubber fitted, Bridgestone‘s Turanza, with a 225/55/18 profile isn’t a fan of the rougher road surfaces and transmits that to the cabin via the MacPherson strut front and Chapman front rear. Get onto the smooth blacktop and the noise level drops dramatically and the ride becomes far more enjoyable too. Queanbeyan and it’s an 80 kp/h limit. The Compass Limited exercises her brakes here more than anywhere, with traffic lights and roundabouts working together to not make a fluid traffic flow possible. Unexpectedly the initial feeling of the seats being hard and lacking in support is slowly being disproved, with no real sensation of seat cushion related fatigue. The storage nook based under the passenger seat cushion is handy too.

Outside temperatures vary along the way. Countering that is the Jeep’s electric seats (quick, thankfully) and dual controlled climate control. There’s dial or icons on the eight inch touchscreen which are well laid out, simple to use, and efficiently effective. Economy has stabilised at 8.6L/100 and a pitstop for a break and top up has been undertaken. Mid afternoon has Cooma through the front windscreen. We’re in a convoy that includes an Audi Q7 and Ford Territory, driven by people that have no sense of road manners or safety. One overtaking lane has a Range Rover and Corolla ahead of the Jeep, with the Corolla inexplicably moving right, forcing the Rangie to brake momentarily before scooting past the left side of the Toyota. This has allowed us to do the same as the Corolla is clearly struggling. However again that lack of low rev torque is appreciable but the cams come on song at around 3500, and there’s a noticeable in the Jeep’s behaviour. It’s needed as the Q7 ranges up behind the Corolla before a sudden non indicated dart left to take up position a foot shy of the Compass. The merge lane to one lane is here and all of a sudden the Territory is almost buried in the Corolla’s rear, with the driver having no apparent sense of when to brake appropriately. The Jeep’s overall drive and safety package have been tested and passed.

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Private Fleet Car Review: 2018 Holden Equinox LT Diesel.

This review is a little different in that the difference between the Holden Equinox LT petrol we’ve reviewed and the Holden Equinox LT diesel is….the engine. And gearbox. Apart from that, there literally is nothing different about the car inside or out. Same interior trim, same annoying Stop/Start tech that canNOT be switched off manually, same reasonably attractive exterior. The link to that review is here: 2018 Holden Equinox LS Plus and LT petrol
What the diesel offers is a 1.6L capacity engine, with a six speed auto transmission only. The current RRP is $39,990 and that’s a three thousand dollar difference over the equivalent petrol version. Standard warranty is five years but Holden were offering a seven year package.

Peak power is 100kW, with peak torque being a very good (for the size of the engine) 320Nm.  That’s a narrow maxium torque range, from 2000 to just 2250 rpm. Fuel consumption for the 1.6L in LT trim is a thrifty 5.6L/100 kilometres on the combined cycle. Go to the heavier LTZ & LTZ-V and that goes to 5.7L/100km or 5.9L/100 km. The six speed auto is also a standard auto, in that it’s a torque converter style, not a dual clutch or CVT. It’s an interesting drive setup; the traction control appears to have been formulated to allow some front wheel drive slip. Give the go pedal a good prod from stand still and there’s a noticeable scrabbling for grip for a second or two before the tyres hook up. Actual forward motion is deceptively quick. There’s a mild thrum from the front, which indicates there’s plenty of noise insulation and there is. There’s sheets fitted to the wheel arch and firewall, plus there’s a form of active noise cancellation too.The transmission selector is the same mechanism as found on the nine speed, with a rocker + and – switch for manual shifting. Like most well sorted electronic autos, there’s little to be gained in normal driving conditions by using the manual change. From a standing start and a low throttle application, the six speeder rarely disappointed. The diesel itself is throttle responsive, with a free spinning nature up to around 4000 rpm. Our real world drive, covering both urban and highway, saw a final fuel consumption figure of 6.1L/100 with a 75/25 urban leaning driving style.

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2019 Kia Sportage Has Arrived.

Korean car maker Kia has given its Sportage mid sized SUV a mid life makeover. There’s some exterior enhancements, interior updates, and changes to the safety packages.
Safety: Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) and Lane Keep Assist (LKA) are now standard across the range. Diesel transmission: an eight speed auto is standard for any diesel engined model.
The Si has as standard: ABS, ESC, Downhill Brake Control, Hill Start Assist, reverse parking sensors, rear view camera with dynamic guidelines, Lane Keeping Assist, AEB with Forward Collision Warning, High Beam Assist, 3-point ELR seatbelts in all positions, six airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners and load limiters, and impact sensing auto door unlocking. Also standard on the Si is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, engine immobilizer, remote central locking, 6-way adjustable driver’s seat, 6-speaker audio unit, cloth trim seats, rain sensing wipers, cruise control, power windows front and rear, Bluetooth functionality, 2.0-litre MPi engine or 2.0-litre CRDi engine, 6-speed automatic on petrol and 8-speed on diesel and 17-inch alloys with 225/60 R17 tyres.Next up is the Si Premium. Satnav is standard, as are front parking sensors, LED DRLs, 225/55/18 rubber and alloys, DAB and an eight inch touchscreen, plus ten years worth of SUNA satnav. SLi adds a tyre pressure monitoring system, powered driver’s seat that’s adjustable for ten ways, and LED rear lights. The GT-Line ups the ante even further with Blind Spot Detection, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, 8-way power front passenger seat, Intelligent Parking Assist System, LED fog lights, GT-Line sports pack (bumpers, side sill and grille), panoramic sunroof, flat-bottomed sports wheel with gear-shift paddles, wireless phone charging, heated and ventilated front seats, hands-free power tailgate, Advanced Smart Cruise Control, 19-inch alloys with 245/45 R19 rubber and LED headlights with auto levelling.Exterior design changes have the rear lights tidied to provide a more integrated look and better brake light visibility. LED lamps up front for the GT-Line provide a better lighting spread, plus the bezels for the fog lights in the Si and Si Premium have been sharpened for a more assertive road presence. Even the wheels have been changed in design for a new, fresh, look.
Interior room has been increased with a 30mm lengthening of the wheelbase. Overall length has moved to 4485mm, an increase of 45mm, with headroom and legroom increasing by up to 19mm. A subtle lowering of the bonnet’s leading edge adds to raising pedestrian safety levels.Underneath are changes that aren’t easily seen but will be noticed on road. Revised and relocated suspension components. The suspension bushes have been moved, wheel bearings have been stiffened, as have the bushings. The rear suspension cross member was also uprated to reduce vibration input to the cabin and the whole rear subframe has been mounted on uprated and isolated bushings.
Motorvation is courtesy of a 2.0L petrol four with 114kW and 192Nm of torque, 2.4L petrol with 135kW & 237Nm. The diesel is 2.2L of capacity with 136kW and a thumping 400Nm of torque.Pricewise: Si 2.0-litre petrol: $29,990. Si 2.0-litre diesel: $35,390. Si Premium Petrol: $32,290 (D/A $31,990). Si Premium diesel $37,690 (D/A $37,390).
SLi 2.0-litre petrol: $36,790. SLi 2.0-litre diesel: $42,190. GT-Line 2.4-litre petrol: $44,790. GT-Line 2.0-litre diesel: $47,690.  Head to the Kia website

2019 Hyundai Santa Fe Is On The Way.

Hyundai‘s big SUV, the Santa Fe, has received a substantial makeover and it’s heading our way. The sheetmetal has been completely reworked, safety standards have been lifted, and overall ride & build quality has been improved. The Active petrol starts from $43,000, with the diesel at $46,000. The Elite kicks off at $54,000, and Highlander at $60,500, with these being the manufacturer’s list price. Here’s what we’ll be getting.Santa Fe comes in three trim levels: Active, Elite, and Highlander. The Active offers a choice of a 138kW 2.4L petrol and six speed auto or a revamped 440Nm diesel and eight speed auto that’s new to the Korean brand and gears can be paddle shift selected. The petrol’s peak torque of 241Nm is available at 4000 rpm. The diesel offers the peak amount from 1750 to 2750 rpm. Economy for the petrol is quoted as a reasonable 9.3L/100km on a combined cycle. The Elite and Highlander are specced with the EURO 5 compliant diesel and is quoted as 7.5L/100km for the combined. The exterior has been sharpened and flattened all around. Design cues from the Kona are strong, with the signature Cascading Grille, which is in a carbon effect finish on Elite and Highlander, split level lighting system being balanced via reprofiled tail lights which are LED lit in the Highlander. In between is a reprofiled body including a strengthened look to the wheel arches. Overhang at the rear has increased, and the overall length has gone up too. It’s an increase of 70mm to 4770mm and wheelbase size is also up, to 2765mm. Hyundai has also relocated the wing mirrors to the door panels. Height and width are impressive at 1680mm and 1890mm. Drive is courtesy of the HTRAC AWD system which is standard in all three and ride is thanks to revamped MacPherson struts and multilink rear. The HTRAC system comes in three drive modes, Comfort, Sport, and Eco, with torque being apportioned front or rear depending on which mode is selected. Sport has up to 50% shifted rearwards, Comfort up to 35%, and Eco goes to the front wheels. The rear has been stiffened and components realigned to provide more travel. Suspension rates have been further adapted for Australian roads so the Santa Fe will sit more comfortably on the road yet will follow contours precisely. Weight has been saved by utilising aluminuim for the front steering knuckles and rear carrier mountings for a total of 3.6kg and 5.6kg for each side.Safety has gone up a notch or two also. The physical structure of the Santa Fe has been improved with fifteen percent more high tensile steel and fifteen hot stamped components, up from six. Then there’s the standard list of equipment. Forward Collision Avoidance Assist (FCA) with pedestrian and cyclist detection (with autonomous application), Smart Cruise Control (SCC) with Stop and Go, Blind Spot Collision Avoidance Assist (BCA)Rear Cross Traffic Collision Avoidance Assist (RCCA), Driver Attention Warning (DAW), High Beam Assist (HBA), Lane Keeping Assist (LKA) are in all three.A couple of other nifty features are auto opening tailgates for the Elite and Highlander when the Smart Key is detected, and there’s a “Walk In” feature for the second row of seats that folds them flat, allowing easier rear seat access. The sound system in the Elite and Highlander is a ten speaker setup courtesy of Infinity. Highlander also features a smartphone charging pad for compatible items.

Head to Hyundai’s website for more information.

Private Fleet Car Review: Suzuki Vitara S Turbo All-Grip.

It’s been some time between drives with Suzuki’s cool and funky Vitara. A recent catch-up with the turbocharged petrol fed S Turbo All-Grip, one built in November 2016 and close to ten thousand kilometres on it gave us a chance to see how they’ve held together.Sizewise the Vitara is a compact machine, with an overall length of just 4175mm. However clever packaging sees a wheelbase of 2500mm squeezed in. Breadth and height is decent too, at 1775mm and 1610mm. Up front is a 1.4L BoosterJet four, complete with 103kW and 220 torques from 1500 to 4000 revs. Transmission is a six speed auto and a torque split system to divert oomph from the front to the rear on demand.Having said that there is a drive mode selector button inside for Sports and Sand/Snow which lights up on the monochrome centre dash display. The switchover is seamless but the transmission was prone to stuttering and hesitation when cold. There’s a win for economy though, with a thousand kilometre week finishing on 6.1L of 95RON being consumed per one hundred kilometres. That’s from a 47 litre tank and pretty much on the money with Suzuki claiming a 6.2L/100 km for the combined cycle.Acceleration is pretty good, with that level of torque matching the light weight (1235 kg plus fuel and passengers). It’ll quickly and quietly drop a cog or two on demand and roll forward at speed easily enough. Overtaking then also becomes a simple matter of flexing the right ankle, and thanks again to its light weight, stopping is a brezze. Time and again the brakes would haul up the All-Grip with less than usual pressure but it helps when the pedal travel is intuitive and pressured well enough.It’s still the edgy yet slightly boxy shape that was available in the noughties, if perhaps somewhat more upright and squared off at either end. The front end sports LED driving lights in the lwoer quarters but also has globe lit driving lights that come on and override the LEDs when a switch on the indicator stalk is used. Hmm….The grille itself is a series of hexagons but it’s a solid sheet, meaning air is drawn in only through the lower extremities.Rubber is not off road suitable, even though the Vitara is, ostensibly, capable of light off-roading. They’re 17 inch Continentals with a 215/55 profile, wrapping five spoke black alloys. Dry weather grip is superb but in the wet weather they combined with the MacPherson strut front & torsion beam rear to feel skittish. The coil springs fitted to the Vitara S Turbo All-Grib are tuned for a more sports oriented ride, with a small amount of compliance dialed in to give comfort initially. As such the whole package needed dialing back on accelerator and steering input on Sydney’s greasy roads, just to be sure.Ride and handling is well sorted otherwise. It’s comfortable, if a touch taut. Bang crash is minimal on catseyes, speed reducing bumps in shopping centres, and the bigger road based bumps. Unsettled surfaces have the Vitara All-Grip unflustered and the suspension tune allows the dips and wallows to be flattened out with nary an intrusion felt past a momentary bump. Turn-in is precise and feedback is natural from the front.Inside is a compact but non-claustrophobic workspace. There’s splashes of colour such as the red ringed speedo and tacho displays matched by the simple twist and open airvents, a metallic grey insert on the passenger’s side of the dash, and alloy plastic touches on the tiller and gear selector. The radio is AM/FM only in this one, but partners with Apple CarPlay and voice command to provide interactivity. Satnav is standard across the Vitara range.Safety is high with seven airbags including a kneebag, with a full suite of traction control systems. Autonomous Emergency Braking isn’t fitted but remember that this car was built a year and a half ago from the review date. ISOFIX seat restraint points are standard. Hill Hold Control is also fitted to all autos and Hill Descent Control is available for the All-Grip. There’s parking sensors, rain sensing wipers and reverse camera as well.

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