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Are Skinny Lanes the Solution to Congestion on our Roads?

There’s no escaping it, our roads are congested across the country. It’s a nightmare for all of us. After all, nobody takes joy being stuck in traffic. It extends our commute and leaves us with less time for the things we actually want to do. We should be wondering, what’s being done about it?

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Toyota Updates: New Yaris and Corolla Hatch for 2020.

After a break of a few years, Toyota’s baby car, the Yaris, has been given a substantial makeover. In a both surprising, and unsurprising move, there’s a solid resemblance to the recently released Supra. There are muscular guards, a sharpened look to the nose, and more room thanks to an increased wheelbase of 50mm. 40mm of height reduction adds more to the sporting look as do new LED lights front and rear. Adding to the looks are two new powertrains. Both are 1.5L in size, with one being a three cylinder and the other a hybrid. The new 1.5-litre is big for a three-cylinder, Named “Dynamic Force”, the petrol engine is coupled with a direct-shift CVT with mechanical launch gear. This helps get a car with CVT off the line quicker and easier. Toyota also fit their new-generation hybrid system with an Atkinson-Cycle version of the engine and a high-density lithium-ion battery. It’s a new system for Toyota and can trace its roots to what is already found in cars such as Camry and Corolla. There’s been some solid refinement work put into this. Toyota say that thermal efficiency runs at 40% and improved internal friction, plus reduced energy losses.The tried and proven MacPherson struts system underpins the front front section of the new Yaris. The rear is a refined version of the previous torsion beam setup. This should help in improved dynamics and reduce body roll. Internal reinforcements, in areas such as the cowl, rear pillar, transmission tunnel, and inside the rear structure and rear wheelhouse, along with a stiffer dashboard panel will add to the stiffness and stability factor.Toyota has gone minimalistic, too, with an increase of spaciousness thanks to a paring back of the space used by the trim and equipment. The inside is refreshed, with a new 10-inch Head Up Display the centrepiece. Naturally there are screens for the driver’s binnacle and the centre console. Safety goes up a notch too, with an advanced version of pre-collision safety. The latest system can potentially prevent crashes at intersections by detecting oncoming vehicles as well as pedestrians crossing the road.

Toyota have also provided some updates to the Corolla hatch. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are now standard. The SX and ZR versions have been given Rear Cross Traffic Alert plus what Toyota calls “Parking Support Brake”. It’s a low speed function, working at velocities of up to 15 kilometres per hour, and uses the car’s sensors to read static and mobile traffic at the rear. The ZR’s seats are now eight way powered, and also now have lumbar support. Outside is a new two-tone paint option, with a black roof being made available to order alongside the colours for the main body which includes a new Feverish Red shade.

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4 Essential Driving Apps

As Australians come to depend on their mobile phones for just about everything we do, developers have sought to capitalise on that trend by extending it to our daily mobility and driving. With apps covering the spectrum from navigation to parking, safety, entertainment and saving money – there is usually a solution for whatever you are searching.

While restrictions obviously prevent us from using our phones behind the wheel – and definitely don’t do this – we still have so many ingenious apps to choose from. But which ones deliver the most bang for your buck? Here we take a look at 4 essential driving apps.

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Mercedes-AMG says GT Up!

Updates have been given to the premium range of two door Mercedes-AMG vehicles. In coupe and convertible forms, the Mercedes-AMG range are positioned as the premium versions of premium cars. Pricing reflects this too. The Mercedes-AMG GT S Coupé starts the range at $311,142 (MRLP, Manufacturers Recommended List price), with the Mercedes-AMG GT C Coupé at $329,843, Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster $355,242, and Mercedes-AMG GT R Coupé $361,042.Power is supplied via a 4.0L V8, complete with a pair of turbos, with the GT S delivering 384kW. The GT C and GT R respectively have 410kW and 430kW. Torque runs at 670Nm, 680Nm, and 700Nm, between 1,900rpm (GT S)/2,200rpm to 5,500rpm. Economy is quoted as 9.5L/100km for the GT S, 11.5L/100km and 11.4L/100km for the GT C and GT R respectively. Top speeds max out at 310kmm to 318kmh.

Equipment has been given a wave of the magic wand. Drivers will enjoy a new centre console that has AMG Drive Unit controls placed in a stylised V8 arrangement plus there are display buttons to select the drive programs and control dynamic functions. A bespoke AMG Performance steering wheel now has a rotary controller for quick switching between drive modes, and an additional controller allows the driver to nominate two performance shortcuts. These can be toggled during performance driving without a need for the driver to take their eyes off what lies ahead.The driver faces a fully customisable digital instrument cluster of 12.3 inches in size. There is a 10.25 inch media display, with the leading smartphone apps. Vision is improved up front courtesy of a camera and Traffic Sign Assist pairs with it. Illumination is courtesy of new LED headlights, whilst updated alloy wheels and paint colours add to the on-road presence. The addition of the MercedesMe Connect system allows the driver to control key functions plus view relevant vehicle data and service information via a linked smartphone.Comfort and luxury are standard, with powered and heated Nappa leather seats sat underneath a sunroof. The tiller is clad in Nappa and microfibre, whilst sounds come from a 640W Burrmester system. Drive safety is in the form of the Distronic cruise control whilst sporting drivers can track progress via the AMG Track Pace system. This leads to a drivetrain underpinned by AMG’s Ride Control Suspension and electronic limited slip diff, and AMG’s high-performance composite braking system inside 19 and 20 inch alloys. A retractable aerofoil sits over a hands-free operating system for the boot in the GT S. The GT R coupe has a carbon fibre roof and a static aerofoil. The GT C Roadster goes for a fabric soft-top roof and keeps occupants warm with the bespoke Airscarf system.
The vehicles should be in dealerships in the next few weeks.

Luxury For Sale With F1 Relationship: RBR Edition Aston Martin At Pickles.

Noted Auction house, Pickles, sometimes has cars available that have we would-be wannabe lotto winners salivating and wondering why the numbers didn’t drop for us. One of the latest is a 2017 Red Bull Racing Edition Aston Martin Vantage V8. One of just 17 made available for the Australian market, it’s clad in the iconic Red Bull colours of deep Mariana Blue, with contrasting bright yellow and red accents such as the brake callipers and air intake inserts, with Red Bull Racing embroidered headrests, and features scuff plates by a Formula One driver as special additions.

Power is provided by a 4.7L V8, with a reasonable 321kW of power and 490Nm of torque. They’re put to the ground via a six speed manual and driving the rear wheels. And with a kerb weight of around 1600kg, a zero to one hundred time of 4.8 seconds is possible. The exhaust system in these cars was given a bi-modal switch, allowing a deeper, more grumble oriented note throughout the rev range.

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Ford Mustang R-Spec.

When it comes to high performance engines, Australia can stand up and be counted. Ford Australia has unveiled its supercharged V8 Mustang R-Spec. The car has been developed in collaboration with Melbourne-based Herrod Motorsport, owned and run by Rob Herrod. His specialist group is the largest Ford Performance parts supplier in the southern hemisphere.

Power is not specified but guesstimates hover around 522kW, with torque somewhere in the region of 830Nm. Those figures are based on the similar American specification. Standard figures are 339kW and 556Nm. It will be sold exclusively as a six-speed manual.

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Things You Need To Know About Hydrogen As A Fuel

In the quest to achieve more sustainable motoring, there are three main players: biofuels (i.e. producing petrol and diesel that will run in conventional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles from renewable sources rather than fossil fuels), electric vehicles (we’ve heard heaps about these) and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (HFCV).  Electrical vehicles seem to be the hottest of the hot at the moment and they grab quite a lot of the attention from the media and from the government.  To take one hot off the press example, they’ve just given the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for this year to the guys who invented the rechargeable lithium-ion battery, even though this tech has been around for a fair few years now and first got onto the market in 1991.

However, let’s not completely overlook the other two members of the sustainability team. If you asked me to take my pick of the three, I’d go for HFCVs. This is because it gives the best of both worlds: the zero-exhaust factor of EVs and the ease of refuelling of ICE vehicles.

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2019 Toyota Land Cruiser VX Diesel: Car Review.

This Car Review Is About: The current FJ200 Toyota Land Cruiser in VX specification. There are four models: GX, GXL, VX, and Sahara.Under The Bonnet Is: A hefty 4.5L diesel fed V8 and six speed auto. Peak power is 200kW @3,600rpm, and a whopping 600Nm of torque between 1,600rpm to 2,600rpm. The torque is needed as the dry weight is over 2,700kilograms, with a Gross Vehicle Mass of 3,350kg. Toyota fits two fuel tanks, a primary of 93L and a sub-tank of 45L. Economy is quoted as 9.5L/100km on the combined cycle. Our final figure, after a country drive loop of 1,300km, was way off at 11.5L/100km.What Does It Cost?: The GX in plain white starts from around $84,600 for our location. The Toyota website allows for a suburb by suburb pricing comparison. The VX comes up with a starting price of $107,600 and that’s with a folding pair of third row seats. In Silver Pearl, as tested, it’s $108,106.

On The Outside It’s:Big. And heavy. Bumper to bumper it’s 4,990mm in length and rolls on a 2,850mm wheelbase. Height is 1,970mm and overall width is 1,980mm. Stoppers are family pizza in size at 354mm front and rear for VX and Sahara. Rubber is from Dunlop and the Grand Trek tyres are 285/60/18. These were given a solid workout.With talk of an update to the body being released somewhere around 2021, and the current body based back in 2007, it’s a familiar look. Subtle curves to the flanks, a rounded nose with self-leveling headlights sitting above a chromed strip, that itself sits above a set of LED driving lights. In between is a massive air intake lined with three horizontal strips. Out back is a horizontally split non-powered tailgate and some eye-catching lights. There was also a towbar fitted and Toyota says there is a 3.5 tonne towing capacity.On The Inside:The VX is showing its age. Faux black leather seats look fine but up front there didn’t appear to be venting or heating controls for the powered seats nor is there memory seating. There is a 4 zone climate control system, however, with rear seat vents and centre row passenger access for temperature and fan speeds. Rear seats are flip to the side, not down into the floor, which means there is some cargo room accessible but not as much as there could be.The dash for the driver is full analogue for the dials (easy to read) and does feature the now ubiquitous info screen operated via the tiller tabs. To the left is a 9 inch touchscreen with access to climate control, navigation, Toyota apps, AM/FM/DAB, and a CD plus Bluetooth. There are 9 speakers and it’s an impressive system.

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Who’s Hugh? An Aussie On The Rise Barters For The Future.

Go-karting is one of the avenues that many high level drivers have used to enter motorsport. Be they a V8 Supercar driver or in the F1 family, karting is in the bloodline of many. One of the high profile Australians in motorsport, Daniel Ricciardo, started in karting.There’s a “new kid on the block” in the form of Hugh Barter. Aged 13, Barter already has close to a decade’s worth of karting experience, and is looking to drive in the upper echelons of motorsport. Hugh was admitted to the AWC Motorsport Academy earlier this year. The academy has joined with former V8 Supercars driver Marcus Ambrose to help train and coach the “next generation” of drivers.

Hugh’s path to the academy has included the Rotax Pro Tour. 2019 sees him in his second year in the Junior Max class, a category recognised around the globe for junior drivers. The tour kicked off in Port Melbourne and proved to be a challenge first up. Round 2 of the tour and Round 1 of the Australian Kart Championship in Ipswich, Queensland, showed promise in each of the heats however mechanical issues arose and took Barter out of contention in most of the heats. These hiccups has Hugh start in 11th in the round’s final race, and it all came together with the chequered flag seeing Hugh across the line in 1st.

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Will Driving Faster Really Get You There Quicker?

(Warning – contains maths!)

It seems ingrained in our human mentality.  If you go faster, you get there more quickly, right? After all, we’ve all seen this in childhood.  When you walked to school, let’s say it usually took you 15 minutes. I am possibly showing my age here with the assumption that you walked 15 minutes to school – although a 15-minute walk is pretty reasonable and there’s no reason why kids these days (that’s really showing my age) can’t do it as well.  Anyway, back to the topic.  When you were a kid walking to school, if you realized that you’d forgotten your homework and had to double back for it, you pretty soon found out that if you jogged or ran, you’d still make it to the school gate before the bell rang.

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