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Archive for November, 2019

2020 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Exceed AWD: Private Fleet Car Review

This Car Review Is About: A slight revamped version, for 2020’s Model Year, of the top of the tree Exceed from the oddly proportioned and oddly named Eclipse Cross. The range itself had minor updates, such as the LS gaining the S-AWC, or Super All Wheel Control, drive system. The Exceed has some trim changes, with revised front door trims with illumination and a black interior headlining. Mitsubishi have also joined the club when it comes to offering a “Black Edition”. This adds in a front skid plate, black front bumper and radiator grille. There is also a black interior and black spoiler. Safety goes up a step with variable auto rain-sensing windscreen wipers, dusk sensing headlamps with auto high beam, fog lamps and forward collision mitigation.

How Much Does It Cost?:
The range starts at $29,990 for the ES 2WD with CVT. The LS 2WD with CVT is $31,990, before moving to the LS AWD at $34,490. Exceed 2WD starts from $36,690 with the AWD at $ 39,190. Black Edition 2WD with CVT is listed at $31,690. These are the manufacturers list price, without government and dealer charges. At the time of writing, Mitsubishi list it on their website as $42,990 drive-away.Under The Bonnet Is: A surprisingly small “donk”. It’s just 1.5L in capacity, drinks petrol only, and there is no hybrid option currently. It does have a turbo though, and that means there’s decent torque. In fact there is 250Nm from 2,000rpm to 3,500rpm. Peak power is 110kW at a typically high 5,500rpm. Fuel is 91RON or above, with economy quoted as (combined cycle) 7.7L/100km. That’s a figure we achieved and beat in our mainly urban drive cycle, with 6.7L/100km recorded. That’s a good figure considering it’s not a big vehicle yet starts at 1,555kg before any load and fuel.Drive was put to all four paws via an eight ratio CVT. It’s one of the better examples of a CVT and possibly due to not being overwhelmed by torque so much compared to bigger capacity, higher torque, engines. There was a notable lack of slippage in comparison to some of the CVTs we’re driven recently. By the way, Mitsubishi no longer offer a diesel in the Eclipse Cross.

On the Outside It’s: Awkwardly shaped. There’s no polite way of saying otherwise. It sports the “shield” front end treatment and LED headlights, however in profile and from the rear it’s….angular and somewhat out of proportion. The 4,405mm length hides a 2,670mm wheelbase, a high 1,685mm stretch from top to bottom, and 1,805mm in width. From the rear the glass is split horizontally and right in the eyeline of the driver.That wheelbase and length have a relatively normal looking profile from the nose to the rear of the passenger door, but then there’s a vertical rear that then folds forward over a truncated cargo section of sheetmetal. It’s not really helped by a long, straight, windowline that comes from the upper corner of the headlights and terminates just over a deeper crease line that starts mid-front door. This itself finishes at the base of the rear lights that also fold forward with the metal. The wheel arches offset this by being clad in the now familiar polycarbonate.

Above the driver is a glass roof, with a fixed panel for the rear seat passengers. It’s needed as the interior trim is black on black. Underneath are a set of 225/55/18 tyres from Toyo. They’re compromise tyres, so mainly for road, not off-road. Speaking of which, approach angle is just 18.8 degrees, with a departure angle of 29.6. That’s largely thanks to the squat arse it has. Ground clearance is 175mm, so if the plan is to get hot and heavy with anything other than the occasional puddle and speed-bump, this isn’t the faux off-roader for you.On The Inside It’s: Not uncomfortable. Leather seats, heated (not vented) up front and power adjustable for the driver’s, Head Up Display, four cup and bottle holders, start the party. DAB audio/Android Auto/Apple CarPlay are on board but via a very confusing layout on the 7.0 inchtouchscreen. We’re far from technologically impaired but when a need to consult a manual to find out how to store a radio station is required…The screen is high-definition, making the 360 degree camera views crystal clear.The tiller and gear selector have leather covering as well, and the plastics have a nice soft touch under the fingertips. All four windows are one touch up/down, and ignition is Start/Stop push button. There’s alloy look plastics to provide a bit of brightness around the centre console, airvents, and dash binnacle. Contrasting gloss piano black is on the door handle surrounds and the touchscreen. Outside, the wing mirrors can be power folded and they’re also heated.

Roomwise there’s enough. 1,003mm of headroom up front, 933mm in the rear means a feeling of spaciousness. Leg room is ample too, with 1,039mm and 897mm front and rear. Again, it’s needed with the black on black trim possibly feeling a bit claustrophobic. At least a shrug of the shoulders shouldn’t upset anyone, not with 1,428mm of space up front. Somehow Mitsubishi cram in 374L to 1136L of shopping space in the back. It’s JUST enough for the family average shop. BUT the rear seats may need to be called in as an assistant.On The Road It’s: Not a sparkling performer. That’s unsurprising given the size of the powerplant and the dry weight. But it’s not a slug, as such. Rapid, no. Adequate for Nan? Utterly. But this isn’t the kind of car that Nan would look at. This is for those that will look at the ASX and deduce it’s not right for them. It’s slightly bigger in presence and being petrol only it lacks the low down punch that a good diesel, even a small one, can deliver.

The upside is that the CVT really is one of the better ones. Because the turbo eases delivery in, the constant variable transmission doesn’t have that slippage feeling so commonly found elsewhere. This translates to a better driving experience as a result. And using the manual shift imbues the Eclipse Cross Exceed with a little more dynamism, a little more verve. The S-AWC helps somewhat, with the torque being distributed front to rear as required. But it’s not heavily front wheel biased in steering feel though. It’s also not light enough that a finger twirl elicits results, with a bit of heft required to get the front wheels angling.

It’s well tied down, with a ride that sets it apart from the competition. It’s flat on all but the most unsettled tarmac, with the dampers really in control. Absorption of general road irregularities is up there with the best. There’s no pogoing, no floppiness, it’s a tightly written composition underneath and confidence inspiring as a result. When it’s wound up it’s actually a fun little machine to take into some of the lovely curvy roads in the region. When the engine’s into its stride, it handshakes beautifully with the steering and suspension to get into an almost sporting mode.

What About Safety? It’s packed. First up, there is Forward Collision Mitigation system, which works with Adaptive Cruise Control. For sideways looking there is Lane Departure Warning and Blind Spot Warning plus Lane Change Assist. Seven airbags including driver’s kneebag feature also. Rear and front safety is backed by Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Ultrasonic misacceleration Mitigation System. Supplementary safety systems have Adjustable speed limiter, Automatic High Beam, Emergency Stop Signal function, plus Emergency Brake Assist system and Hill Start Assist.Warranty And Service? Five years warranty or 100,000 kilometres is their standard. It’s good but doesn’t quite measure up against those offering the unlimited kilometres offerings from competitors. However, new 19MY and 20MY Triton go the extra mile with 7 Year / 150,000km Mitsubishi Diamond Advantage New Car Warrantywhen purchased before 31st December 2019. Mitsubishi says the capped price servicing covers: all items specified under the regular service tables for each vehicle type detailed in the service and warranty booklet, including parts, labour, oils and fluids, workshop supplies and any applicable environmental or waste oil disposal charges. Pricing can be found here.

At The End Of The Drive. The Mitsibishi Eclipse Cross range provides a solid, if unspectacular option to vehicles such as Hyundai’s Tucson, or Kia’s Sportage. It’s a quirky looker, reasonable if familiar in its unspectacular interior and dash layout, and not an uncomfortable place to be in either. It’s dependable, and drives well enough. There’s enough, as expected, room for four, plenty of safety to protect the occupants, and, difficult to follow DAB screen aside, a user friendly environment in the equipment sense.

The engine is a reasonably willing unit, and the CVT is a well sorted unit for the engine’s capabilities. As a whole, the package is good enough for those that have chosen to buy it and that’s the end result Mitsubishi would hope for. The 2020 Model Year Eclipse Cross information can tell you more.

Should Dash Cams Become Compulsory?

We’ve previously documented the rise of dash cams, which are now a common sight on our roads. After all, technology plays an ever increasing role in addressing the day-to-day aspects of our lives, so it was only natural this would transition to our commuting habits as well. Who can look past the various online communities that have sprung up around the country with a hotbed of dash cam footage for every curious observer to take in?

Now however, it would seem the fanfare for dash cams has extended further, with many drivers calling for the equipment to become compulsory. Whereas these items were once considered a luxury, their affordability has now made them an accessible option for the majority of motorists.

 

 

What do motorists have to say?

In a recent survey by Smiths Lawyers, nearly three quarters (72%) of respondents are calling for dash cams to be a permanent fixture. To clarify, these motorists are advocating for the cameras to be recording at all times. Perhaps more pertinently, around 40% of drivers are in favour of dash cams being fitted to all vehicles, while a slightly smaller portion (34%) feel that the equipment should become a compulsory fitted device in all new vehicles sold across Australia.

You’re probably thinking that many of these respondents are those who already own a dash cam, instead trying to justify the measure to other motorists. Surprisingly however, just 26% of those surveyed own a dash cam, far less than the number calling for their roll-out. Leading the way in this area are Queensland drivers (30%), slightly ahead of those from NSW (26%) and Victoria (22%).

In what is perhaps the most interesting observation to come from the study, there were some particularly stark differences in opinion among different age groups. While elderly drivers aged over 65 were prominent advocates of compulsory dash cams – with 40% of respondents in favour – and nearly half of respondents aged 18-24 also backing the technology, it was one other group that took an unlikely stand. Among 25-34 year olds, 38% of respondents were against the notion of dash cams becoming mandatory.

 

 

Where we are at in terms of mandating dash cams

With drivers seemingly in support of mandating dash cams, are we actually likely to see the move go ahead? The utilisation of dash cams have made incident investigation a more effortless process for insurance purposes, helping drivers prove their claims and reducing burden on the courts. Arguably, there has even been an increase in driver awareness and education as a result of dash cams. But while there may be merit on an individual level, the notion of a mass roll-out has other considerations.

The primary obstacle is that government and manufacturers have not signalled any indication to mandate the technology in new cars. On the one hand, depending on how the data were to be stored, an integrated solution could give rise to privacy concerns. But beyond that, it’s an added cost that would be hard to pass through via higher car prices. Not only is it easy for drivers to access external dash cams, but the cost to auto-makers would still be high enough to eat into their margins when apportioned over a high volume of cars. For theses reasons, don’t expect a change in legislation any time soon.

2020 Toyota Corolla Sedan Is Here.

Toyota has released details of the forthcoming Corolla sedan. Due to be released by the end of November, the range and pricing is as follows. Ascent Sport petrol manual: $23,335, Ascent Sport petrol CVT: $24,835, Ascent Sport hybrid CVT: $26,335, SX petrol CVT: $28,235, SX hybrid CVT: $29,735, and the ZR petrol CVT: $33,635. All prices are manufacturers recommended and not inclusive of government and dealer charges.

All CVT equipped models will feature a solid safety package. Lane-trace assist with steering assist, plus lane-centring functionality and all-speed active cruise control, with the manual Ascent Sport featuring high-speed active cruise control and lane departure warning that has steering assist. Rear camera and seven airbags will be across all models, whilst the SX has Blind Spot Monitor and the ZR will received a Head Up Display. Toyota’s SafetySense package is standard. This includes autonomous emergency braking pre-collision safety system with daytime and nighttime pedestrian and daytime cyclist detection, auto high beam, and road sign assist.The Corolla Sedan will feature, for the first time, a hybrid drivetrain. This will be available on the Ascent Sport and SX versions. A new 2.0L petrol engine can be specced for all three trim levels, with a six speed manual or a CVT with ten preset manual shift points in the Ascent Sport. It will be connected to the CVT as standard in the SX and ZR. Maxiumum power is rated as 125kW and peak torque is 200Nm. 6.0L/100km and 6.5L/100km for the CVT and six speed manual respectively.

Choose the hybrid and the petrol side is a 1.8L engine and what Toyota call a e-CVT. Power is rated as 90kW. It’ll drive the front wheels, with all four corners to have low rolling resistance rubber. All up, Toyota quoted 3.5L100km. Emissions are rated as just 81g/km.

Toyota will add dusk sensing LED headlights, rear lights, and daytime running lights to all versions. Alloy wheels and climate control will be standard across the range except for the manual Ascent Sport. This will have manual aircon. For those that use them, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay will now be standard and accessible via an 8.0inch touchscreen. Bluetooth and Siri eye-free functionality will also be standard. Go hybrid and it’s a keyless Start/Stop.

The SX Corolla sedan will have a new three-spoke tiller with paddle shifters. Wireless smartphone pads are standard in the SX along with DAB and satnav. The ZR goes up a notch with a full glass roof, 18 inch alloys, and the front seats will be heated. Again, Australia misses out on venting, an oversight for our climate in summer. The driver’s seat will be 8 way power adjustable and audio is via a JBL 9 speaker system.Outside is a restyle that brings the sedan’s look closer to the needle nosed hatch, whilst the rear has been refreshed as well.

Servicing costs have been aligned with the hatch, meaning every Corolla has capped price servicing that costs just $175 per service with 12-month/15,000km intervals. Contact your Toyota dealer to book a test drive.

2020 Nissan Patrol: The Big Machine Gets A Makeover.

Nissan’s long-running competitor to the Land Cruiser, the Patrol, has been given a substantial makeover for the 2020 specification. Available to order through Nissan dealerships now, in a two model range, it’s priced from $75,990 (plus ORC) for the Nissan Patrol Ti, and the Ti-L is from $91,990 (plus ORC).

The exterior has been revised at the front and rear, and the safety levels have also been improved. The suspension has been further tweaked for a better ride, and there are now extra colours to choose from.Safety.
Standard equipment for both the Ti and Ti-L include: Intelligent Emergency Braking, Intelligent Forward Collision Warning, and Rear Cross Traffic Alert. The Ti now also has: Intelligent Cruise Control (ICC), Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Intelligent Lane Intervention, Blind Spot Warning (BSW), and Intelligent Blind Spot Intervention.

Outside.
The Ti has been given it’s own sportier looking front end treatment. The Ti-L goes for a premium, upmarket, look. The bonnet, fenders, grilles, LED lights and front bumpers have been modified for a more upright, no-nonsense stance. the headlights have a total of 52 LEDs, and there’s 44 LEDs in the rear. the rear lights are now in a stylish boomerang shaped cluster. The rear bumper has been restyled to match the solid lines of the rear, with a squarer look. Colour choices now have Moonlight White, Galaxy Gold & Hermosa Blue, which are new to the range.Inside.
Australia’s hot weather conditions require better air-conditioning and Nissan have updated the system in the Patrol for a tri-zone setup. Airflow has been improved and the rear seat passengers have been given better flow too. This means cooling will take place quicker and therefore will be more efficient. Access is via an intelligent key with remote keyless entry with push button Start/Stop, cruise control, heated door mirrors, plus 3D mapping for the sat-nav in an eight inch touchscreen.Power and Ride.
Both vehicles will have 298kW of power and 560Nm of torque from Nissan’s 5.6 litre V8 petrol engine. Drive gets to the ground via a seven-speed automatic transmission featuring manual mode and Adaptive Shift Control (ASC). There is also an electronic rear diff lock, Hill Descent Control (HDC) with on/off switch, Hill Start Assist (HAS) and an off-road monitor. The suspension tweaks have the dampers retuned for a more positive response for an increase in on-road comfort, and enhanced off-road comfort as well.

Contact your local Nissan dealer for a drive evaluation.

Car Review: 2020 Kia Stinger 200S

This Car Review Is About: The now entry level model to a realigned in 2019 Stinger range. There is the 200S, the same 2.0L engine in GT-Line spec, them two mainstream 3.3L V6 models called 330S and GT, and a limited edition. The 200S features a mildly restyled interior and exterior to differentiate it from the others.

How Much Does It Cost?: Kia’s Website lists the Stinger 200S four location as a not inconsiderable $50,490 driveaway. However that is around $1,250 under the list price plus charges.Under The Bonnet Is: Kia’s well sorted 2.0L turbo petrol four cylinder engine that powers the rear wheels via an eight speed auto. Peak power is 182kW at 6,200rpm, with peak torque of 353Nm available between 1,400rpm and 4,000rpm. There is Launch Control fitted to the smooth eight speeder too. Consumption for the urban cycle is rated as a whopping 12.7L/100km, a big bugbear in the Kia engine range. Combined is rated as a more reasonable 8.8L, and on the highway consumption drops by nearly half to see 6.5L/100km from the 60.0L tank. Our final figure was 9.3L/100km.On The Outside It’s: Subtly restyled in one key area. Kia’s cleverly used the same shape of the headlight cluster and has a main, circular, light to the outside and this dips downwards to where the LED indicators are in the GT-Line versions. The shape of the bumper is subtly restyled as is the shape of the air intake. The wheels are of a lower-spec but have a still nice to look at…look. Size is 225/45/18 and rubber is Continental ContiSportContact.

The body is otherwise identical with quad exhausts, the pair of faux bonnet vents, the Maserati-esque LED tail lights. Kia’s design team really got the exterior right when the car was first released two years ago. Paint was Silky Silver and is listed as a standard colour.On The Inside: The main difference here is the introduction of a smaller touchscreen on the upper dash. It’s a 7.0inch screen, down one inch from the screen available in the rest of the range. Satnav is standard, as is DAB audio through a six speaker, not 15 speaker, audio system. Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, Bluetooth streaming are also standard in the 200S. A pair of 12V and USB ports are standard.

The driver faces a simple 3.5 inch monochrome display (same in the 330S), not the better looking 7.0 inch found in the GTs. It’s not un-userfriendly, it just looks…dull. But there is leather pews, electric adjustment, paddle shifters, a drive mode selector in the console, and a pack of driver information options in the touchscreen menus. Drive itself is a shift-by-wire rocker selector.On the Road It’s: Noticeably affected by the 1,700kg dry weight. Although peak torque comes on stream at low revs and is available through a broad rev range, that weight holds back performance and clearly contributes to that pretty average urban consumption. It takes a heavier right foot to get the 200S up to speed, but when on the highway it shows its other side. The Stinger is a superb tourer, and in our previous reviews has shown that the long distances between towns suits the Stinger’s character perfectly.Handling and ride in the 200S are just as good too, with nothing found wanting in these two departments. The steering weight is a tick on the heavy side, with a slight numbness on centre, but these are minor quibbles in an otherwise well sorted and well proven package. Even with the 1,800kgs plus it packs, it’s nimble, rapid in response, and lacks initial feedback only in braking too.
What About Safety?: The only thing the 200S (and 300S) misses out on of note is front parking sensors. A 360 degree camera view isn’t provided but that’s not a biggie. In the exterior stakes Blind Spot Detection and Rear Cross Traffic Alert are also deleted. Otherwise it’s on spec with AEB (Autonomous Emergency Braking) with FCWS (Forward Collision Warning System) and Lane Keep Assist, plus pedestrian oriented Active Hood Lift Assist on board.What Is The Warranty And Service?: Warranty is 7 years, and unlimited kilometres. For servicing Kia says: we’ve capped the maximum price you will pay for the first seven scheduled services (fourteen for T-GDI petrol turbo models) for up to 7 years or 105,000kms (excluding Kia Stinger and MY 19 and onwards petrol turbo models) and for Kia Stinger and MY 19 and onwards petrol turbo models for up to 7 years or 70,000kms, whichever comes first.At The End Of The Drive: There’s a faint sense of disquiet in driving the turbo four powered Stinger. But it’s the only game in Kia-town now that the underrated Optima has been dropped from the range when it comes to a largish sedan body. That disquiet is knowing the Stinger is aimed at the performance oriented driver yet a fuel consumption of over 12.0L per 100 kilometres in its normal environment will hurt, and that’s due to its bulk. Kia should either find a weight reduction regime of bump the 2.0L up in capacity. Would the increase in size tradeoff work though in providing more performance?

More on the Stinger 200S is here.

How To Be A Polite Driver

You’ll hear a lot of people complaining about the rudeness of other drivers – the hoon who cut you off, the moron who nearly opened the car door right into you as you drove past, etc. etc. I could rant for ages about examples of plain old rudeness on the roads. So could you, I dare say. However, instead of simply having a grizzle about the level of rudeness on the roads, let’s flip the script. If more and more of us concentrated on being polite drivers with good on-road manners, then the happier we’ll all be.

Yes, I’m going to sound like your mother in this post and I’m going to remind you about good manners. However, I’m allowed to, as I might be old enough to be your mother (if you’re under 25). As for the rest of us, we could all do with a reminder, couldn’t we?

Courtesy To Other Drivers

  • Don’t be in such a rush to be first or ahead of everybody else. It’s barely going to save you a second on your commute, so why bother taking a risk as well as being annoying to others? This means that you don’t push in and cut people off.
  • Stay alert at the lights. Nobody likes being behind that person who checks their phone at a red light (which is, incidentally, illegal) who fails to see the light change to green for a couple of seconds. Stay alert, leave that phone alone and be ready to move.
  • Let people in. If the traffic’s busy and you’ve come to a standstill, and you see someone waiting at the exit from the supermarket, let them in before you take off. This is done by a simple wave of the hand and a smile. It’s also a very human thing to do, as this sort of courtesy is something that an autonomous car can’t do.
  • Wave and smile if someone does something nice like letting you in. This is how you say thank you in an urban driving setting.
  • On the open road, if you can’t go at the full road speed for some reason, pull over onto the shoulder of the road to let people go past.
  • Thank slower drivers who pull over to let you past by tooting the horn cheerfully and waving.
  • Dip your lights in plenty of time rather than playing Headlight Chicken at night. This is good for safety as well as courtesy, as having two dazzled drivers for the sake of pride is stupid and dangerous.
  • If you have been going at just below the speed limit most of the time, don’t suddenly speed up to full speed or more when you get to the parts of the road that have passing lanes provided, forcing those who want to go faster to really put their foot down to possibly a dangerous degree.
  • Stay in your lane, even when the traffic is slow, rather than hopping from one to another. If you wouldn’t do it in the supermarket or in the queue for the loo during half-time at the rugby, don’t do it on the road.
  • Even if you have a fantastic sound system, you don’t need to let the world know about it by turning it up to full blast and winding the windows down. Not everybody shares your taste in music. The only exception is if you’re a contractor and you have your vehicle parked off the road where you’re working, and you want to listen while you work.
  • On rural roads where the traffic is sparse, wave, nod or raise a finger (no, not THAT finger) to salute oncoming drivers.
  • Use your indicators. Enough said.

Courtesy To Other Road Users

  • Check for cyclists before opening your car doors.
  • Wait until pedestrians are completely off the crossing before you move off (this is the law as well as good manners).
  • Give cyclists plenty of room, especially if they’re coping with a hill or a stiff headwind or even a blisteringly hot day. Refrain from honking your horn at them if the road is narrow and they’re doing all they can – just wait until you have enough space to pass.
  • Stop for animals on the roads, from ducklings to kangaroos.
  • Be sensitive around horses, as they are wired instinctively to run away from things that make loud roaring noises at them. This means that you don’t rev your engine, honk your horn or shout at them.
  • Stay out of the bike lane. It is there to keep cyclists from holding motorized traffic up, not as an extra turning lane or passing lane.

Courtesy To Passengers

  • Open the door for whoever’s in the front passenger seat. Traditionally, the guy is the driver and the lady is the passenger, but these days, the rule should be that whoever has the keys should unlock and open for the person without, regardless of how many X chromosomes each one has.
  • Wait until everybody has made their seatbelt click before moving off.
  • Your car might be able to corner hard, but your passengers do not have the steering wheel to hold onto. Don’t throw your passengers around; save the rally driver behaviour for when you are alone or actually in a rally.
  • Ensure that the music volume and temperature are comfortable for everybody (dual zone climate control is a wonderful invention).
  • Refrain from making snarky or belittling comments about other road users. Double that if your passengers are children. This rule also applies to those other road users known as cops.

Other Situations Where Courtesy Is Important

  • If you are ticketed, accept it as a fair cop, no matter what the reason is. Don’t rage at the cop or the parking warden, who is simply doing his/her job and might hate being assigned to this duty as much as you hate being ticketed. Take it on the chin and take that ticket. Refrain from throwing an adult tantrum about it at your passengers once the uniformed figure has gone – it’s not their fault. It’s your fault, so suck it up, buttercup.
  • Revving your engine loudly so that all the world can hear it is bad manners. Small exceptions can be made if you have a beautifully tuned V8 or V12 (or any other exhaust system that’s been tweaked to produce that deep, throaty growl). This motoring music often draws a smile from fellow motoring enthusiasts. Even so, don’t overdo it, especially late at night.
  • Avoid back seat driving. You may give directions if requested to or call the driver to attention if he/she hasn’t noticed that the truck ahead has slammed on the brakes or if the light has changed. However, nobody needs a full-time driving instructor once they’re off their learner’s licence and even P-platers don’t need nonstop instructions.
  • If you’ve got a very nice sports car (or a well-kept old classic) that attracts attention, don’t get disgruntled about people taking selfies with it, snapping pictures of it or asking questions about it. Bask in the adulation – this is part of the pleasure of owning something rare and beautiful.

 

Are New Cars Becoming Too Easy to Steal?

As more new vehicles come to the market boasting the latest and greatest technology, manufacturers are looking to simplify the driving experience. This means getting you up and running with easier access to your car. So, what’s one of the prominent solutions?

Well, this has translated into keyless entry and push-button ignition becoming commonplace across the latest models. That’s not to say it was ever difficult to use a key, but clearly the boffins behind this technology thought that was getting all too cumbersome. So with the traditional and trusted key now looking lonely on the outer, is everything actually all fine and well?

 

The risk associated with keyless entry

Not everything may be as it seems. In some corners there is a growing chorus of industry experts suggesting that today’s new cars are becoming too easy to steal. How, you might ask, as you look quizzically down at your keyless entry remote. Well, that very device is among the design aspects that some have reasonable grounds to be concerned.

This new generation of remotes transmit wireless signals that are automatically picked up within a proximity of the vehicle. As these transmitters work in much the same way as any other device that emits a code over a certain frequency, they are not necessarily immune from interference. And while it may not sound the easiest workaround, the risk remains, a device configured to pick up and read these frequencies has the ability to mimic the remote and replicate those very codes to the same effect.

How realistic is the problem?

Sure, you can lock your car, but a keyless entry remote will continually transmit a code in anticipation that you will return to your car at some point and access the vehicle without retrieving the remote. Some manufacturers have embedded additional safety features, such as PIN-activated ignition, a motion-activated fob that is immobilised when no longer moving, or a remote that broadcasts across a wider range of frequencies.

Now if you’re thinking all this sounds highly preposterous and a convoluted way to steal a car, you may want to pause on those thoughts. Check out this field test from What Car, or this one from Which. In what is likely to be surprising news to many drivers out there, some of the market’s most premium vehicles are susceptible to being ‘stolen’ in under 30 seconds.

For now manufacturers are continuing to work on refining and improving the technology, but it’s important to understand, the latest tech does not necessarily mean the greatest tech. In the meantime, you may want to consider requesting your dealer disables that keyless entry remote, or you take to buying a Faraday Bag to shield the remote from emitting electromagnetic signals. Sometimes keeping it simple truly is better.

 

October New Car Sales Continue To Show A Downwards Slide.

The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), the peak body for the automotive industry in Australia, has released new vehicle sales figures for the month of October 2019.

According to Tony Weber, chief executive of the FCAI, new vehicles have now seen the nineteenth consecutive month of decreasing sales in the Australian market, with October 2019 sales down 9.1% compared to October 2018. “Year to date sales of new motor vehicles in 2019 are almost 78,000 units (eight per cent) lower than the same period in 2018.“While the drought and other domestic conditions are impacting the market, our key concern is the effect over-regulation of the financial sector is having on new vehicle sales. The FCAI and our members have been concerned about the risk averse approach to lending in Australia for some time and see improved access to finance as a key to driving economic growth in 2020” Mr Weber said. “Of particular interest is the fact that sales are down across all buyer types, with private sales down 5.2 per cent compared to October 2018, business sales are down 8.2 per cent and government sales are down 7.3 per cent.”

Total sales for the month numbered 82,456 vehicles, a decrease of 8,262 vehicles, or 9.1 per cent, on October 2018. During the month, the Sports Utility Market (38,648 units) fell by 3 per cent compared to October 2018, while the Passenger Vehicle Market (23,553 units) was down 15.3 per cent, and the Light Commercial Market (17,164) decreased by 11 per cent.

The Toyota Hilux (3,516 units) was the top selling vehicle in October 2019, followed by the Ford Ranger (3,160). The Hyundai i30 (2,216) was followed by the Toyota RAV4 (2,132) and the Toyota Corolla (2,117). Toyota remained the top selling marque for the month with 16,988 sales for 20.6 per cent market share, followed by Hyundai (7,455 for 9 per cent market share), Mazda (6,370 sales for 7.7 per cent market share), Kia (5,062 sales for 6.1 per cent market share) and Ford (4,891 for 5.9 per cent market share).

2020 Volvo V90 CrossCountry: Private Fleet Car Review

This Car Review Is About: The wagon or Estate or Tourer version of Volvo’s stunning S90 sedan. The CrossCountry raises the ride height from the sedan, goes all wheel drive, and adds exterior body mouldings. It’s fitted out with some lovely equipment too.How Much Does It Cost?: With no options fitted, and in metallic paint with the standard wheels & tyres, the Volvo website lists it as $91,200 driveaway.Under The Bonnet Is: A five cylinder diesel engine, with Stop/Start tech, producing 173kW and 480Nm. It’s rated as 7.2L/100km for the combined cycle. On our drive in a mainly urban setup, we averaged 7.8L/100km and it’s rated as EURO6 compliant. Tank size is 60.0L. Transmission is Volvo’s eight speed Geartronic auto driving all four paws. Volvo quotes a sub-eight second 0-100 kph time and a top whack of 235 kph from the 1,828kg (dry) machine.On The Outside It’s: Covered in a luscious Crystal White metallic, even pearlescent, paint with polycarbonate body mouldings. Rubber is 245/45/R20 with Pirelli supplying the P-Zero. The alloys are standard, with optionable 5 and 6 spoke designs on 19 inch diamond cut designs. It looks longer than the actual length of 4,939mm suggests, perhaps due to the low overall height of just 1,545mm. Wheelbase is 2,941mm. Front and rear exterior wheel to wheel is 1,879mm.The front is dominated by the glowing pair of “Thor’s Hammer” driving lights inside the slimline headlight clusters. These include the indicators as well. The bonnet is long, possibly a good third of the full length. It’s a very upright looking nose, and a pair of small aero wings sit close to the ground, just above small globes in the bottom corners of the bumper. The rear is equally dominated, this time with the signature “hockey sticks” for the lights, and here Cross Country is embossed into the upper section of the rear bumper, above an alloy look insert. The doors open wide too, making entry and exiting the V90 a painless experience.On The Inside Is: Standard sumptuous black Nappa leather pews. Two position memory for the driver’s seat. Rear seats with their own separate climate control and seat boosters for children. A powerful Bowers and Wilkins premium audio system including DAB. A powered tail gate that opens to a flat level and a capacity of 560L. It’s a long but not high cargo section though. There’s 1,026mm of head room up front, and 966mm for the rear seats. Front leg room is 1,071mm and the rear seats enjoy 911mm. What this means is that the V90 CrossCountry should fit most potential buyers. There’s certainly no shortage of a luxury feel. The Nappa leather ensures the occupants are cossetted and made to feel welcome. The aircon is touchscreen operated and is relatively simple to use. The touchscreen itself is vertically (portrait) oriented and is a swipe left or right to gain access to information on setup, apps, fuel, settings, safety features, etc. Naturally there’s Volvo’s variable LCD screen look too, with four different modes to suit the mood. For extra safety there is a 360 degree camera setup, with the only “downside” being the distortion of objects as the car gets closer to them. Drive modes are selected via the traditional knurled dial in the centre of the console. That also houses the rotate to the right Start/Stop dial. On The Road It’s: A typical diesel. Lag from a standing start before the torque explodes and launches the V90 forward easily and hurriedly. The low revving delivery of torque means that overtaking and highway acceleration is a doddle too. The eight speed self-shifter is a delight too, with a surety and confidence in its cog swapping up and down. Using manual shifting is almost redundant as a result.Handling was mostly on par, however there is understeer at low speeds and the extra ride height over the sedan and standard V90s can occasionally lend itself to a feeling of rolling slightly. However, this again appears more prominently at lower speeds. There’s plenty of grip, regardless, from the Pirelli rubber, meaning that is no issue with feeling the V90 will spear off into the undergrowth. At highway velocities, where the engine is ticking over at just 1,500rpm, the body firms and stiffens, with a very compliant ride yet feeling more tight and taut simultaneously. The steering becomes more intuitive and instinctive too, with no sense of being under or over-assisted. Whilst underway, the driver’s rear vision mirror lights up with a simple but effective compass direction. It’s placed and lit just so, with the font and brightness spot on as they’re both non-distracting yet very efficient. The Bowers & Wilkins audio system is also clear and punchy whilst underway, with bass providing a home theatre quality kick, and the dash mounted tweeter providing assistance in the changeable sound stage. The driver can select a presence where the sound is for all of the cabin or can be selected for the driver only. At any speed it’s a delight to experience.

What About Safety?: Volvo have loaded the V90 with a comprehensive safety package. Its Intellisafe System offers up Pilot Assist, a gentle lane keeping assistant. This shakes hands with the Oncoming Lane Mitigation system, that also assists in keeping the V90 in its own lane. Adaptive Cruise Control will measure the car’s distance to the one ahead and adapt to reduce or increase distance as required. Distance Alert goes hand in hand with the HUD or Head Up Display, and visually shows if the V90 has crept too close the vehicle ahead.

Airbags, naturally, abound, including one for the driver’s knees. These will come into play if the next feature isn’t successful. The Oncoming Mitigation by Braking is a Volvo safety world first that can detect if a vehicle heads straight towards your car on the wrong side of the road. If a collision can’t be avoided, it will brake your car automatically to further help reduce the effects of an impact. More about the safety features can been found here.

What About Warranty And Service?: Volvo lag here in the warranty stakes. There is a three year, not four or five or higher, warranty. That’s in comparison to the five years offered by BMW. Service costs though were slashed earlier this year, with a three year service plan for the V90 costing $3030 at the last available information.

At the End Of The Drive: Straight up, the Volvo V90 CrossCountry makes a worthy alternative to the over-saturated SUV marketplace. By offering a station wagon/tourer/estate in a luxury oriented vehicle, it provides buyers the chance to get into a vehicle that provides a more family friendly environment than a sedan yet isn’t bulky and road heavy like the bigger SUVs. It’s an easy drive, pulls like a locomotive, and is very well featured to boot. Get into your own V90 here.

2019 Tesla Model 3 Performance: Private Fleet Car Review.

This Car Review Is About: The Tesla Model 3’s middle specification car. There is the “entry level” Standard Plus, the car tested called the Performance, and the Long Range AWD to top the range.What Does It Cost?: The Performance has a starting price of $93,900. There are the usual government and delivery charges on top. Our review car came in a lovely multi-layered Pearl White, There are four other metallic colours and they are a $1,500 cost option. It’s also almost completely ready to drive autonomously with the “Autopilot” facility as standard. the full self drive is $8,500. All up, the review car prices out at just under $120,000.

On The Inside It’s:A mix of stark minimalism, hi-tech, and whimsy, with plenty of comfort. The Performance has the Premium Interior which is sumptuous black leather clad seats that are heated and powered for plenty of positioning options. There’s the same wood strip for the dash and the 15 inch landscape oriented touchscreen that has Google well and truly as its heart. This controls everything the car does; from steering wheel and mirror adjustment to tracking vehicles around the Model 3, from providing audio options such as TuneIn and Spotify (with the first year’s subscription free if you don’t already have it) to providing hilarity from the “Gas Emissions” tab in a entertainment submenu, and will even allow a name to be given to the car. The whimsy inside Tesla is highlighted by the “caraoke” option. You read that right. It’s exactly what you suspect and is intended to be used when the car is stationary. We can attest it will provide access when the car is stopped, but will play whilst underway. There is also access to Netflix, YouTube, and Tesla instructional videos.

The touchscreen is, oddly, the weak link in the chain.It’s a solid sheet of glass with a metal surround. As such, it becomes a heat sink and on warmer days readily absorbs heat to the point the bare finger gets singed. Perhaps a vent behind the screen or an embedded loop would do the trick.

When not barbecuing fingers, it’s a high resolution display, with the default being a monochromed look Google maps, with the option of displaying the satellite image, and the graphics that the car’s cameras and ultrasonic sensors read to show surrounding vehicles. The lower section has icons for menus, which then bring up the audio options, the entertainment options, the settings for the vehicles. Compared to the Standard Plus, the entertainment goes up a notch, with Netflix, YouTube, and Tesla instructional videos being made available.The steering wheel is devoid of anything bar two roller dials and the Tesla logo, and the dials manipulate some of the information provided via the touchscreen.One of the small yet user friendly things about Tesla is how the doors are operate. Here there are small tabs on the top of the door grip which are pressed to release the doors. And unlike the pricier Model S and Model X, there is no remote key fob with which to remotely open the doors. Everything is operated via a smartphone app. This remotely opens the charge flap, releases the charge cable, can summon the car, or prestart the air-conditioning system which includes dog mode. This allows those that wish to keep Poochie cool and stay in the car to do so, plus it flashes up on the screen a note to advise of this function being operated. Should the car need to be moved without the owner, a Concierge card is provided.

There is also the sound system. There are 14 speakers spread around the cabin, with the front setup not unlike a soundbar for a TV. It’s loud, punchy, clear as crystal. It’s that attention to detail that really appeals. USB ports? Four, thank you. Embedded information about charge locations? Indeed. Safety features? Lacks for nothing.On The Outside It’s: A condensed version of the larger Model S. Slimmer in all dimensions, and sitting slightly lower than the Standard Plus, it nonetheless has a very strong family look to the other two models, not unexpectedly. The windows, profile, the lines that join front and rear, a line over the hip, are all common for the Model 3, Model S, and Model X. The Model S and X have similar looking headlights, whereas the Model 3 goes its own way with a design that evokes Porsche. At the rear the tail lights are essentially identical. Michelin supply the Pilot Sport tyres and are 235/35/ZR20. Wheels on the car supplied were subtle looking alloys in a ten spoke design. Dry weight is not unexpectedly hefty. It’s 1,847 kilos. Boot capacity is 542L and of course there’s “frunk”. This is the front trunk, also accessed via the smartphone app, and provides extra space up front.Out On The Road It’s: Delightful in many ways. It’s rapid, in both standing start and overtaking. Intoxicating, endearing, stupid grin inducing rapid. But it’s this sheer muscle car power that makes it safer than people expect. Think coming up a merge lane to a freeway and the car that is oncoming behind you has the room to move right but doesn’t. A quick check of available space, a gentle press on the go pedal, and tomorrow is in front of you. Tesla quote 3.4 seconds for the sprint from standstill to 100. There is absolutely no reason to disbelieve that at all.

The starting procedure is simple. Foot on the brake, pull the right side steering column lever downwards and check that D is highlighted on the touchscreen. Floor the pedal. Take a breath because you’ll need it as suddenly your spine is somewhere in the back of the seat’s padding.Energy harvesting can add a bit more to the expected range, as the brakes have two settings. The standard is more than enough and in some situations mitigates needing the foot to hit the brake pedal, such is the power of the system. In some circumstances it’s enough to bring the car to a stop by itself and on a downhill run will grab the brakes and slow the car here solidly.

There’s also little to quibble about when it comes to the ride quality too. It’s up there with some of the better suspension combinations for suppleness, confidence building, and strikes an ideal balance between grip, sportiness, and dialing out intrusive road imperfections.A key selling point is the ability to drive autonomously. Most of our drive was done manually, and more so to fully enjoy the ability of the Model 3. To engage the self-drive, the car must first be able to clearly read the roadside markings and will show a grey steering wheel on the screen. A couple of gentle tugs on the right hand lever and this should then make that icon blue, indicating self-drive is engaged. Under no circumstances should the hands be fully removed from the wheel.

The steering on its own is spot on. It’s beautifully weighted, has only minimal feeling of being artificially being assisted, and is ratioed for two turns lock to lock.

At The End of the Drive. The Performance should be the pick over the Standard Plus for those that like to fully exploit a car’s abilities. The extra urge from the twin motors, the extra range, and perhaps even the extra entertainment features for some, make the Tesla Model 3 Performance a winner. Sure, it’s $120k in price but currently there are no other fully electric cars that come close to delivering what this car can: an all round powerhouse Performance.