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Archive for December, 2018

The Electric Cat Wins EV Award

Infrastructure is expanding, understanding of the technology is increasing, and more brands are getting into the electric car field. Once renowned for sports cars and luxury cars, Jaguar is one of those companies. Their new i-Pace has recently been named Top Gear Magazine’s Electric Vehicle of the year, with the car racking up 19 awards in 2018.

It’s powered by a pair of bespoke electric engines that develop 400 horsepower and 696Nm of torque. 0-100 time is 4.5 seconds thanks to its all wheel drive and lightweight architecture. Getting the car underway with a drained battery takes just 40 minutes to an 80% charge level at a charging station, or, like virtually all buyers would do, a home charger will do that overnight. Expected range is 470 kilometres, enough to travel from Sydney to Canberra comfortably and take advantage of the charging stations there.

Available in Australia from $119,000 plus on roads, the i-Pace will also have the Touch Pro Duo infotainment system, capable of over-the-air software updates, and uses artificial intelligence to adapt to a driver’s personal preferences, ensuring driving and infotainment settings are matched to each individual using the car.

The legendary Ian Callum, Jaguar’s Director of Design, said: “We’re delighted to see the I-PACE named EV of the Year by BBC TopGear Magazine.

“As our first all-electric Jaguar we set out with a goal to make the I-PACE the world’s most desirable electric vehicle and recognition like this clearly shows that we are achieving it.”

Contact Jaguar for more details here.

 

Yellow Or Blue: The Question That Exposed Dangerous Drivers

This picture, put into circulation by the Royal Automobile Club of Queensland, asked what really should have been a simple question to answer. Of the four cars pictured, which has the right of way?

Surprisingly, an overwhelming amount of respondents to the question, shared by us also, said the blue car.  Straight away this raises an issue that should have the politicians and heads of traffic police investigating better driver education and training.

Of the four cars, one is behind another and therefore is immediately out of the equation. The car it’s behind is at a Give Way sign, and must remain stationary until other cars have passed through. The blue car is crossing a clearly marked delineation on the road’s surface. Road regulations state that any crossing of such a marked line,including at roundabouts, merge lanes, and intersections such as this, require indication.

This leaves the yellow car, following the road as marked by the dotted centre line, as the first car to go through. The RACQ themselves published this: “The give way sign at this intersection makes the path the yellow vehicle is on the continuing road, which curves to the right. The red and orange vehicles are facing a give way sign and must give way to all other traffic. Therefore the yellow vehicle goes first, the blue vehicle goes second as it is effectively turning right off the continuing road and the red and orange vehicles follow.”

Responses to this ranged from: “ Yellow, Blue, Red, But why is Blue indicating right? There is no right turn” to “There should be a give way sign at the t-section and not where it’s currently placed.”

Questions were raised about the road design and markings: “The marks on the road mean nothing . It clearly states in the road rules all vehicles must give way to the vehicle on your right. As there is no give way sign, stop sign or arrows on road, apart from the red car with give way sign. So it is blue ,yellow and red.” It’s this kind of response that should also raise red flags with road designers.

Many queried why the blue car was indicating. The Queensland government’s official stance on this is:” When you change lanes, you must give way to any vehicle in the lane you are moving into. This rule applies even if your lane is ending and you have to cross a lane line. “ These are from the NSW Roads and Maritime Services website and clearly show the same regulations that should be adhered to. And in one succinct sentence: ” Generally if you’re turning across another vehicle’s path, you must give way.” At all times, any lane change, be it as shown here, or at merge lanes, or at roundabouts, indicators MUST be used.

Finally, it seems that governments really do need to rethink their road safety plan if something such as this, in a hypothetical sense, potentially translates to a real world situation. If so, it means many drivers in the blue cars would be held responsible for the crash.

Car Review: 2019 Peugeot 3008 Allure.

Peugeot’s 2018 3008, an award winning vehicle, is a second generation, extensively reworked version of the 3008 and facelifts released originally in 2008, with the second generation from 2016. We test the 2019 spec Peugeot 3008 Allure, priced at just under $41K plus on road costs.Power is supplied by a torquey 1.6L petrol engine, with 1400 revs seeing 240Nm being available thanks to a low pressure turbo. With 6000 rpm on the tacho, peak power is 121kW. Transmission is a six speed DCT. Peugeot quotes combined fuel economy as 7.0 & 7.3L per 100 kilometres, with city cycle driving as 9.8L & 10.1L per 100 kilometres. The two figures are quoted due to the Grip Control being off or on. Grip Control is a choice of drive modes for differing surfaces, and activated via a dial in the forward centre console.The actual driving experience varies from slightly frustrating to a lot of fun. Frustrating because of the delay in engagement from park to reverse to Drive, to grin inducing pull from low revs as the 3008 Allure sets sail. The changes are crisp, swift, smooth, in hte transmission when under way and manually changing does sharpen them further.

The Allure is a stylish machine, with the underpinnings a new platform called EMP2 that allows a superb ride and handling package. Steering, for example, is razor sharp in its responsiveness off centre, with a quarter turn or so having the nose swing round quickly. At speed the variable ratio steering lightens up and there’s less effort required to work.The ride on the 18 inch alloys, with 225/55 Continentals as the rubber, is beautifully tuned and balanced. There’s a suppleness that’s rare to find in anything other than mid to high end luxury cars, with an initial give that is followed by a progressive compression that stops before the bump-stops in all but the heaviest push over larger speed-bumps.

Out on the freeway it’s absorbent to a fault, dialling out irregularities and undulations as easily as it rides over the unsettled gravel and broken surfaces. It’s beyond superb and in its class a genuine leader. The passengers feel minimal movement and what there is comes through smoothly and calmly. Weighing in at just under 1400kg before fuel and cargo, the relatively lightweight 3008 moves easily from lane to lane when required, and does so without noticeable body roll.

The Peugeot 3008 range is front wheel drive biased, and for the most part isn’t noticeable as such. It’s really only, and typical of front wheel drive cars, when the loud pedal is punched hard that something resembling torque steer is noticeable.

Peugeot, being a French brand, isn’t adverse to a mix of style and quirks, with the latter good and not so. Certainly it’s stylish. The boxy design has enough lines, brightwork, and additions to the exterior to move it away from similarly styled machines. Although just the second level in the 3008 range, it comes with a powered tail gate and kick-activation. Inside it had a smartphone wireless charger. Gear selection is via a pilot style lever, with a button on the right to unlock and rock back and forth for Drive, Reverse, Neutral. Park is a simple push on the top, and Sports mode enables manual changing via the selector or paddles.It also features the i-Cockpit, a full colour 12.3 inch LCD screen housed in a binnacle above the sightline of the top of the steering wheel. It’s clear and easy on the eye, will change colour at the turn of the drive mode switch, but either the top or bottom of the screen gets blanked by the tiller. At odds with the charger pad and powered tail gate is no power for the cloth and leather seats. As comfortable pews as they are, to offer the two others but not electric seats is a strange decision. Another oddity is locating the bonnet opener in the left hand door’s forward meeting point, directly under the hinges. Bearing in mind a left hand drive market, hiding it away when the door is closed is one thing, elegance in design is another.

Ergonomics are otherwise very good, with controls for the aircon and radio (including DAB) found via plastic vertically oriented switches that act as starting points for the very well equipped touchscreen. The cockpit itself is defineably a setup oriented towards a driver and passenger separation, with the centre console gently rising and curling towards the right hand seat under the centre air-vents and eight inch touchscreen.The materials themselves, a mix of soft plastics and an almost light denim style material, on the console and dash are pleasant to look at and feel. A lovely extra touch is the soft glow of ambient lighting in the cabin, the centre console cup holders, around the binnacle, and in the doors. Sound and apps wise, the DAB audio punches well, and screen mirroring along with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay is standard.The exterior is sweetly shaped, especially for a relative smallish 4447mm length. The nose is a very bluff and upright chrome affair that sits over a broad horizontal set of four intakes and a alloy look chin. Intense LED driving lights eyebrow the normal headlights, with a signature “fin” motif in the design of the cluster.Our test car came clad in the lustrous metallic red paint with black roof, called Metallic Copper and Neon Black, highlighted by chrome strips. Tail lights are the familiar Peugeot claw. The lower extremities are black polycarbonate and the rear bumper gets a chrome strip running full width. As stated, a stylish package.

Finally, the Allure wraps up the good looks and lovely ride with a decent set of safety aids. Airbags all round, Autonomous Emergency Braking, Blind Spot Detection, Adaptive Cruise Control…not all of which are standard but can be optioned on the Allure.

Peugeot look after the 3008 with a five year warranty, a 12 year corrosion warranty, and a 24/7 roadside assistance package.

At The End of The Drive.
The Peugeot 3008 range is an award winner for the right reasons. It’s a superb handler, a very good drive, adds features at a good price, and brings the typical Gallic quirks. It’s roomy enough for four with no problems, has a good level of standard kit, is frugal enough in the real world and….well, it just does what it does at a high level all round. Check the 2019 Peugeot 3008 Allure out here.

The Right Car For Your Dog Part 2

OK, in my previous post on this topic, I covered the legal stuff to do with taking dogs in cars.  Now we get to the fun bit: what sort of vehicle suits your furry friend.  Or friends, as the case may be.

When I first started thinking about matching dogs to cars, I just about wrote sedans (saloons) off from the start.  After all, you don’t really want a dog on the back seat standing up where it can snuffle down the back of your neck while you’re driving.  Nor do you want to have scratchy doggy paws on lovely Nappa leather seats, because that would wreck them (the seat upholstery, I mean, not the paws!).  However, I remember taking the Staffordshire Bull Terrier we used to have (RIP, old fellow!) in a sedan without any trouble.  He was quite happy curling up in the footwell for most trips and didn’t try to sit on people’s laps (unlike the current bitzer).  During longer trips, we also put him in one of those doggy carrying crates that sat nicely between my two children in the back seat of the sedan we had back then (probably a Ford Fairmont), which had the added advantage of stopping them hitting each other during long trips.  What’s more, if you do have a sedan with leather seats in your possession already when you acquire a new puppy, there’s no need to sell the car – you can put down a nice blanket or doggy bed for Fido to occupy during the trip.

If you do decide that a sedan is the best for you, then I really do recommend one of those doggy carrying crates.  They do stop your dog deciding to stretch his or her legs by bouncing all around the place inside the cabin on a long journey, and you can fit a snack for your dog in there.  They’re also easier to clean in the case of little accidents – meaning accidents of the canine kind, not car accidents.

It’s obvious where the dog will ride if you have a hatchback, station wagon, 4×4 or ute. But it’s not quite as simple as that.  There is a certain style that one has to consider and it’s nice if you can find a harmonious match between the dog(s) and the vehicle.  You don’t see poodles or Chihuahuas standing on the deck of a ute (safely leashed, of course), bouncing up and down and yapping squeaky yaps at everybody going past.  Jack Russell terriers and fox terriers maybe.  But not poodles or Chihuahuas – or anything else small and fluffy (e.g. Bichons) or super-glamorous (Afghan hounds). The sort of dog that looks right on the back of a Toyota Hilux  or a Nissan Navara  is something rugged and tough and suggestive of the great outdoors – a farm dog (which aren’t an official Kennel Club breed but we all know what they look like) or a Dobermann or even a Labrador.  Conversely, although a Great Dane might fit in the back of a little hatchback – if the back seats are folded flat – this is going to be just too much dog in one car.  Besides, where are you going to put any passengers or your shopping where they won’t get slobbered on?

To give you an idea of how this works, here’s a list of the 10 most popular breeds in Australia (2017 statistics – the figures aren’t out for 2018 yet) matched the most appropriate general vehicle type:

Labrador Retriever:  Your Labs are medium-large dogs and although they can fit in the back of a hatchback or across the back seat, they look best in something larger.  It’s a cliché, but the suburban family SUV or MPV is a good match for the suburban family pooch.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier: A smaller dog that fits cosily into the back of even a 3-door hatch but doesn’t look weird tied on the deck of a ute, so a Staffie suits all vehicle types. However, as a short-coated dog that’s a big softy in spite of the tough looks, a Staffie would prefer to be inside the vehicle on a rainy day.  A hatchback suits a Staffie just fine.

French Bulldog:  Compact, French and a little bit quirky.  I have just described one of the smaller Peugeots but it applies to the dog as well.  A match made in… France.

German Shepherd: A big tough dog that is probably just about smart enough to drive the car.  Something with lots of space would do the job – maybe a nice long station wagon or a 4×4.  Put a German Shepherd in the back of a white Commodore or Falcon and you might get mistaken for a K-9 cop.

Border Collie:  Working collies go on the back of grubby farm utes.  Show-type border collies are better suited to something classy with a hint of the outdoors – say, a Range Rover.

Golden Retriever: See Labrador.  However, as this has longer hair, best to keep it out of the back seat of the MPV or any humans who later ride in these seats will be forever trying to get the dog hairs out of their clothes.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel: Another breed that looks loopy on the back of a ute and is so small that it will get lost in the interior of a big 4×4.  They love to snuggle up, so if the little hatchback is too small for you, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (big name for little dog) will be happy in a basket in a sedan.

American Staffordshire Bull Terrier (Amstaff): Like the regular Staffie but bigger, like all things American.  A muscle dog like the Amstaff looks best in a muscle car like your HSV or FPV.

Miniature Schnauzer:  A toy dog with a bit more fizz to it than a Cavalier etc., so not the sedan this time.  Go for the hatchback of any type or the station wagon.

Rottweiler: Go big.  This breed can cause serious damage to a little hatchback if it decides to jump onto the bonnet.  A station wagon at the very least; a 4×4 is even better but your Rotty will settle for an SUV.  Rotties were originally bred for pulling carts as well as herding cattle, so make sure your SUV has enough towing power that it can pull more than the dog.