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How the Ute Has Risen to Prominence

Utes have become an integral part of Australian culture. No longer are they about getting from point A to point B, they’ve become ingrained in our day-to-day way of living, they’re dependable companions that now allow us to service our jobs and sustain a living.

 

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2020 Suzuki Swift Sport Manual: Car Review.

This Car Review Is About: The latest in the long running Swift line from Suzuki. The Sport has been placed as the crowning part of the range and for the 2020 version, has received some minor updates. They’re safety features only so the mechanical package remains untouched. That’s both a minor pity and not a bad thing.

How Much Does It Cost?: In plain Pure White Pearl, it’s $29,990 for the Manual. Metallics are $595, and the optionable two-tone scheme, as fitted to our review car, is $1,095. These are drive-away prices.

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What Can A Motorist Do During Lockdown?

Although the restrictions aren’t in place all across the country, the state of Victoria is having to cope with lockdown. We sympathise, we really do. It’s not easy and we wish you all the best.

The lockdown rules mean that you’ve only got four reasons for being in a vehicle on the roads: “to shop for food and essential goods or services; to provide care, for compassionate reasons or to seek medical treatment; to exercise or for outdoor recreation; for work or study, if you can’t do it from home” – and that’s a direct quote from the website. You are also advised to “not travel further than you need to”. This means that you probably won’t have much luck convincing the Powers That Be that driving counts as “outdoor recreation”. Of course, if you’re an essential worker, you can keep on working and driving to work (actually, that’s one of the four reasons). Enjoy the clear roads and drive safely, even if you’re exhausted.

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Nissan Ariya: A New Charge For 2021

Nissan is on the move, charging forward. They’ve unveiled a new electric SUV and a new logo. The sleek looking Ariya is a completely electric vehicle and Nissan says the release is part of the brand’s change: enriching people’s lives. There is a renewed vigour in the Japanese company, one that recognises that the stagnation it experienced needs to go, so a second look at the company and its strengths has been performed and both battery and SUV will be part of the language.Nissan’s CEO, Makoto Uchida confirms, with: “Combining our strengths in EVs and crossovers, it’s a showcase for Nissan’s new era of excitement and design. “We created the Nissan Ariya as an answer to the aspirations and practical needs of today’s customers.” The plan is to roll out in the next 18 months a dozen new models, and aim for a mix of EV and “e-Power” models to hit one million sales by 2023, plus bring in Nissan’s own autonomous driving tech throughout 20 countries. This backs up part of the company’s renewed look at servicing its customer base by providing the new technology in areas such as electrified cars and self-driving vehicles.Launched as a centrepiece of a digital presentation from Yokohama, the Ariya will put front and forward the restyled Nissan logo. It’s a not quite subtle yet not quite extravagant change, with links to the now former circle and cross centre label brought into a future focused design. Uchida-san said: “It defines what matters to Nissan, represents what we stand for, and embodies the essence of who we are: a passionate, innovative challenger.”With a key characteristic of fully electric vehicles being that instantaneous delivery of torque, the Ariya instantly promises easy driveability, sporting manners, and a choice for the budget. Both two and all wheel drive, called e-4orce in Nissan’s terminology, will be available, along with a pair of battery sizes at 65kWh and 90kWh. In the Ariya e-4orce, each end will have its own separate motor, a configuration that’s becoming more and more common for EVs. By providing twin motors, an EV can be better balanced for driving in areas such as torque vectoring, and handle more driving conditions such as heavily wet tarmac.

Power as such is rated as 160kW and 178kW for the Ariya 2WD’s battery pairs, with the e-4orce proffering 250kW and 290kW. the 2WD torque figures level at 300Nm whilst the all wheel drive will have 560Nm and 600NM. This will enable the two drivetrains to see 100kmh in 7.5 seconds or either 5.4 or 5.1 seconds. Top speed will see a v-max of 160kmh or 200kmh. The range expectations are currently seen as “up to” 450km or 600km for the 2WD, and 430km or 580km for the e-4orce. These are subject to verification and Japanese government sign off.And by placing the battery into the floor structure, more space is unlocked, adding even more comfort for passengers. Electric tech has extra advantages for the driver. Nissan’s ProPILOT 2.0 is their proprietary advanced driver assistance system, and brings in the ProPILOT Remote Park and e-Pedal features. Ariya will feature as standard the Safety Shield system that includes Intelligent Emergency Park, Intelligent All Around View Monitor, and Intelligent Forawrd Collision Warning. There will also be Rear Automatic Emergency Braking technology.

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Bronco Busting: Ford Resurrects A Legend.

Jeep Wrangler, watch out! Ford has brought the Bronco back to life and the Blue Oval has its sights set firmly on the iconic machine from Jeep. The 2021 Bronco will come in two or four door shapes, or, if you will, three and five door. Soft and hard tops will be available. What won’t be will be anything other than either a four cylinder or V6 petrol engine for movement. But there’s no lacking for model choice with Ford U.S. releasing seven. For the U.S. there is the entry level named, smartly, Base. Big Bend, Black Diamond, Outer Banks, Badlands are followed by a name more familiar to Australia, Wildtrak, and a limited run First Edition. Prices will start from $29,995, with Wildtrak at $50,370 whilst the First Edition starts from $60,800.

A four cylinder petrol engine and V6 will be joined by a hybrid at a later stage. For now, we see a turbocharged 2.3-litre that makes 201kW/270hp horsepower and 420Nm/310 lb-ft of torque. The other option is a twin-turbo 2.7-litre that generates 231kW/310 horses and 542Nm/400 lb-ft. Ford says these will be good enough to push the Bronco through close to three feet of water and have a ground clearance of just under 12 inches.

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Take 5: BMW’s Mid Size Saloon Updated.

BMW have declared 2020 to be the year of reinvigoration. The German sports luxury car maker continues to roll out uipdates in 2020 and the latest is to the mid-sized sedan, the 5 Series. The range brings the seventh generation 5 Series to market with: 520i, 530i, 530d, 530e PHEV, M550i xDrive and M550i xDrive Pure. Included on all variants will be the M Sport package. There has been changes to the fuel pressure system on the petrol engines for the 520i and 530i. They’ll have a bump from 200 bar to 350 bar for better throttle response and fuel efficiency.

Pricing for the range starts from $95,900 for the 520i 2.0L TwinPower Turbo. There is 135kW and 290Nm on tap here for a 7.8 second 0 – 100kmh time. Head to the 530i with 185kW and 350Nm for 6.1 seconds and the price is $115,900. A PHEV joins the range at $118,900 with BMW’s Synchronous Electric Motor and 2.0L TwinTurbo and packs a 215kW and 420Nm punch. 0 – 100 time is 5.9 seconds.
A six cylinder diesel for the 530d sees power at 195kW and a thumping 620Nm of torque for $125,900. The run to 100 takes 5.7 seconds. Moving into the M550i xDrive Pure and it’s a 4.4L V8 TwinPower unit with 390kW and 750Nm. At $137,900 it’s take just 3.8 seconds to reach freeway speeds. For a little extra the M550i xDrive has the same performance but ups the luxury stakes for $152,900. It’s the flagship for the M Performance line and has the fully variable xDrive AWD system. All prices are Manufacturers List Price.

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Nissan Pioneers Alternate Charging With EVs In Australia.

In an Australian first, road to vehicle charging for electric vehicles (EV) has arrived and it’s courtesy of Nissan. The shorthand is V2G, or Vehicle 2 Grid, and it’s a project that Nissan’s support of the Realising Electric Vehicle Services (REVS) project has helped bring to realisation. The project is built around 51 vehicles to be based in the Australian Capital Territory, and they’ll be part of the territory’s government fleet in a trial to measure the Leaf’s bi-directional charging ability by providing power back to an energy grid.

This will bring an energy measurement system to the fore. Known as Frequency Control Ancillary Services (FCAS), it refers to the level of energy that’s required to optimise a power grid when demand fluctuates. The Leaf comes into play, as the world’s only factory built V2G vehicle which makes the car a potential total energy solution, by ensuring the batteries don’t just store power for driving, but can also use that energy to run a home or commercial site, or to feed power back to the grid. The trial will also evaluate the ability of the Leaf to work with the base load stabilisation in both off-peak and peak. By reducing or negating that instability, it could lead to a process to eradicate blackouts from that instability.

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BMW Updates And Hyundai Hydrogen Power.

BMW continue to roll out new or updated models at an astonishing rate in 2020. For the brand’s M Pure range, there will be another two models being added. Dubbed M135i xDrive Pure and M235i xDrive Pure, they’ll come with an extensive range of standard equipment and sharp pricing. The M135i xDrive Pure is priced at $63,990 and the M235i xDrive Pure at $67,990. This is a $5K savings in comparison to related models.

Power for both comes from BMW’s TwinPower Turbo four. 225kW and 450Nm spin an eight speed auto Sport Steptronic transmission that send grip to all four paws via the xDrive system with an LSD on the front axle. Steering column paddle shifts are standard. External style cues comes from the sharing of styling packages, wheels, and tyres.

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Iconic Screen Cars That Aren’t 007’s Aston Martin

If you mention iconic screen cars or movie cars, it won’t be long until the Aston Martins driven by the various incarnations of 007 are mentioned. After all, the long-running Bond series or franchise is practically synonymous with the Aston, and there’s debate about which of the Bond cars was the coolest (with a few honourable mentions going to the aquatic Lotus in The Spy Who Loved Me). However, what about all the other movies (and TV series) that have seriously cool sets of wheels? What are some of the other iconic drives, whether they feature in motoring movies or not, that aren’t associated with Bond, James Bond?

Here’s my pick of instantly recognizable cars from the screen, big and little…

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Mazda Launches Their First Hybrids

Mazda Australia has recently provided details of their new Skyactiv-X M-Hybrid powertrain. It will be available in August with the Mazda3 (the 2020 World Design Car of the Year) and in the CX-30 from September, with that car also a finalist in the WCOTY. It will, for the moment, be available only in the top of the range Astina, dubbed X20, for each trim level. Pricing for the Mazda3 X20 Astina starts from $40,590 with it being available in both manual and auto, and the CX-30 X20 Astina starts from $46,490. Both are before dealer delivery and government charges at the time of writing.

SkyActiv hybrid 1

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