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Archive for September, 2020

Peugeot Sport Engineering: 508 Goes Hybrid.

Peugeot is undergoing a quiet evolution. Their stunning 508 sedan/coupe and wagon has been given the hybrid tick and along with the engine change comes a name change. Peugeot Sport Engineered is the monicker to be given to the range.The drivetrain that will be slotted into the Peugeot 508 Sport Engineered is a 147kW/300Nm 1.6L turbo four and a pair of electric motors. There is 81kW for the front, 83kW for the rear, making the vehicle a proper all wheel drive and being driven by 265kW and 520 Nm. Packaging sees the cargo space for both body styles unchanged. The transmission is an eight speed auto. Sink the slipper and 100kph comes up in 5.2 seconds, and the top speed is an electronically limited 250kph. Need some overtaking ability? 80kph to 120kph is seen in just three seconds.

The plug-in hybrid’s system sees an 11.5kWh battery fitted and using a standard 240V house socket should be charged in around seven hours. Factor in a 32A wallbox and that drops down to under two hours, or install a 16A plug system and that’s a good average of around 4 hours or less.Utilising the urge comes down to choosing from one of five drive modes. Sport takes a fully charged battery, and adjusts the dampers, engine, and transmission into the most energetic drive modes. Electric is a pure battery drive and offers a range of just over 40 kilometres, whilst disabling the 1.6-T at velocities of up to 140kph. Comfort is what the name suggests, with a cushy, plush ride, Hybrid uses both battery and petrol for an optimal drive, with the all-wheel drive mode more for those slipperier roads. Ride is helped by those adaptive dampers, a track change of 24mm front and 12mm rear, with 380mm font discs being slowed by four piston pads. 20 inch alloys hold on to Michelin Pilot Sport 4S rubber.

Defining the look of the 508 Sport Engineered is an upgraded interior featuring Peugeot’s ubiquitous flat-bottomed tiller, the beautiful i-cockpit with 12.3 inch LCD screen, a premium audio setup from Focal, and a 10.0 inch main touchscreen. Leather “comfort-fit” seats with a 3D looking mesh cosset the passengers and the driver keep an eye on info via a HUD. Safety will include AEB, Lane Departure Warning, and night vision cameras.There is a bespoke grille, a redesigned front bumper with new air scoops in the lower corners, blackened exhaust tips, a rear diffuser and winglets front and rear. Selenium Grey, Pearl White, and Perla Nera Black will be the colours available.

Peugeot Australia has not yet confirmed availability for Australia but a spokesman said local availability is being looked at.

An Automated Way of Life

Instead of a person performing tasks like accelerating, braking, turning or changing lanes, an autonomous vehicle uses its sophisticated vehicle computer system to calculate, monitor and perform these everyday driving tasks itself.  Australian governments are working together to make sure that automated/autonomous vehicles can be legally and safely used when they are available for purchase in Australia.  Already today, some new cars have automated features such as self-parking, active cruise control or lane-keep assist.  These features assist the driver with driving, but a licensed human driver is still in control of the car.  Over the next few decades vehicles will likely become increasingly automated, and eventually a human will not need to drive a car at all.  Think of the road network of the future being a giant computer programme that is performing the road transport requirements for the people.

Whether we like it or not, the onset of automated vehicles is upon us.  In fact, in America, automatic road trains/trucks to get goods from one depot to the next is already reality.  Several companies, including Aurora, Daimler, and Embark Trucks, are competing for a slice of the future of self-driving freight trucks.  Waymo is also expanding its own self-driving trucking routes throughout the American Southwest and Texas, following previous tests in Arizona, California, Michigan, and Georgia. This long-haul automated trucking works well in America, and it could be key for Australian trucking companies in the near future.  While most of the current use has been on iron ore and coal mines, the roll-out of autonomous fleets in Australia is spreading.  Newmont, Australia recently announced plans to make the Boddington mine the world’s first open-pit gold mine with an autonomous haul truck fleet.

So maybe the order of automation roll-out might be trucks first along with public transport, and then private vehicles to follow?  The implementation of autonomous vehicles isn’t a cheap dream.  Understandably, the level of research and development, as costly as it is, is so important to ensure all road users remain safe in-and around an autonomous vehicle.  The sort of research and development needed for safety reasons costs loads of money, and this (as always), along with the requirement of actually keeping people safe while implementing the use of autonomous vehicles, are the real brakes on the realization of the dream for complete global autonomous vehicles.  But is that just the tip of the iceberg?

Autonomous vehicles obtain emerging technologies that can potentially disrupt cities, economies, infrastructure and the way we do life together.  Add those truths into the mix and we can see what a phenomenally expensive, chaotic and disruptive new technology this is, but the actuality of total autonomous transport could be astounding!  Not something that’s everyone’s cup of tea but definitely worthy of at least partial implementation.  Maybe that’s the way it is going to be introduced, subtly and gradually over time so people can get used to paying for it as well as using it.

Is there a Cooling Off Period when Buying a Dealer Car?

Although you may put in countless hours scoping out your next car, it’s easy to have reservations or concerns once you’ve gone ahead with the purchase. It might not necessarily be a case of buyer’s remorse, but it could be that the reality of your personal situation reminds you the car just isn’t right for you.

However, what rights do you have if you’ve taken out a loan to acquire the car? Sometimes, a buyer has the right to return a car to the dealer within a stipulated period, and without penalty. This right, known as the cooling off period, will vary considerably depending on the state where the car was bought, and whether in fact it is a second-hand vehicle or not.

 

 

Locations without a cooling off period

First things first, let’s get out of the way the locations where buyers do not have protection via a cooling off period. This includes Western Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory. Once you have signed the document, and receive acceptance, there is no recourse to return the car should you change your mind. The only exception to this is any specific clause included in the contract by which you both agree to such a provision, or via court order. In WA, the contract can be cancelled if the seller has not formally told you they have accepted your contract, even if it is already signed.

Queensland

Purchasing a new car does not provide the owner with the right to a cooling off period. In contrast, a second hand car bought through a licensed dealer offers a cooling off period until close of business the following work day. To retain this right, the car cannot be driven from the dealer’s premises, except for inspection or a test drive.

New South Wales

While commercial vehicles are not covered by a cooling off period, the stipulation applies to all other new and used cars. The duration is one business day. Should you choose to exercise this right, you must notify the dealer in writing and pay the lower of $250, or 2% of the vehicle purchase price.

South Australia

The only cars covered by this provision are those attained second-hand, or ex-demo, from a dealer. Written notice must be provided within two business days to cancel the contract and car loan. If a deposit was provided, the dealer may retain the lower of $100, or 2% of the contract value.

Victoria

Both new and second-hand vehicles are covered by a three (business) day cooling off period. If cancelling the sale, you must write to the dealer to let them know. If it is a new car, you will be liable for the greater between $400, or 2% of the purchase value. This is lower if the deal was made off-site. Second-hand vehicles cannot leave the caryard for delivery in this period, or else your right is waived. The dealer may retain a lower amount if you cancel the sale of a second-hand car, which is the greater between $100, or 1% of the purchase price.

Sonata N-Line Unveiled, Mazda Locks Down BT-50 Pricing.

Proving that sedans are still available and there for those that don’t want or need an SUV, Hyundai Motor Company recently revealed the racy design of its highly anticipated 2021 Sonata N Line. It’s a good looking machine and in N-Line specification it ups the appearance ante.Hyundai have a term for their design identity: Sensuous Sportiness. N-Line looks such as the signature grille and bold front fascia, three air intakes and N Line badging, N-Line side skirts, and 19 inch alloys define the N-Line itself. A bespoke N-Line rear diffuser is fitted that houses a pair of exhaust tips underneath a blacked-out bumper.

SangYup Lee, Head of the Hyundai Global Design Centre, said: “The 2021 Sonata N Line will attract more customers to both the rock solid Sonata lineup and our increasingly popular N Line sub-brand. Sonata N Line will appeal to customers who desire sporty styling in a sedan package.”The new Sonata N Line expands Hyundai’s midsize sedan lineup following the launch of Sonata in 2019. N Line provides an attractive entry point to N Brand and gives the new Sonata nameplate a high-performance look, broadening its appeal.Mazda, meanwhile, have provided confirmation of Australian pricing for the recently released and updated BT-50. Not sporting the Mazda corporate look, the BT-50 starts at $44,090 plus On Road Costs (ORC) for the 4×2 XT dual-cab chassis. All versions are a dual-cab design, with the XTR and GT the other two trim models. There are combinations of manual and auto, with the 4×2 available in the XT as mentioned plus the dual-cab pickup for the XT and XTR. These price at $45,490 and $49,470.The 4×4 models start with the BT-50 XT dual-cab chassis manual. $49,360 plus ORC is the starting rate before moving to the auto version at $51,860 plus ORC. From here it’s pickups with the XT manual and auto from $50,760 and $53,260. The XTR starts from $54,710 and $57,210 before topping out with the GT at $56,990 and $59,990 and again all with ORC to be added.

Brand-New Mazda BT-50 customers benefit from a comprehensive five-year, unlimited kilometre warranty plus complimentary roadside assist for the warranty’s duration whilst servicing is at 12 months or 15,000 kilometres.

The new BT-50 has a 450Nm/140kW turbo-diesel four of 3.0L capacity, with the torque on tap from 1,600rpm to 2,600rpm. Consumption is rated as 7.7L/100km (combined) for the six speed auto 4×2 dual-cab pickups and 4×4 manuals. 4×4 Dual Cab Pickup and 4X2 Dual Cab Chassis models with the six speed autos will see slightly more consumption at 8.0L/100km.

Safety and basic equipment are of a high standard in the XT, with 17 inch alloys, LED headlights, Cruise and Adaptive Cruise for the manual and auto versions, DAB with Android and Apple apps, and a rear seat USB. Safety has Autonomous Emergency Braking, Emergency Lane Keeping – Overtaking, Lane Departure Warning and Lane Departure Prevention, as standard. XTR has 18 inch alloys, self leveling LEDs, leather seats and gearknob, and satnav via the 9.0 inch touchscreen. GT has 19 inch alloys, heated wing mirrors, heated front seats, and a powered driver’s seat. Front parking sensors and an engine remote start feature add to the value. All are rated as 3.5 tonnes towing and over 1,000kg payload.

 

2020 MG HS Essence: Private Fleet Car Review

This Car Review Is About: The top of the range Essence from the mid-sized HS range. There are three trim levels starting with Vibe before moving to Excite. The HS is currently the biggest vehicle available from MG, with the smaller ZS (which includes an EV) and the petite MG3 filling out the range.

What Does It Cost?: In 2020 spec the range starts from $30,990 for the Vibe, $34,990 for the Excite, and $38,990 for the Essence. As of September 2020 there was a special edition Essence Anfield available at $40,690. Metallic paint is a $700 option.

Under The Bonnet Is: A turbocharged 1.5L four banger powering the front wheels via a seven speed dual-clutch transmission. Peak power of 119kW comes in at 5,600rpm, however peak toque of 250Nm arrives at a high 4,400rpm. That poses some drive problems. Economy isn’t horrible but could be better from the 55L tank. We finished on 8.6L/100km, with MG’s figures quoting 7.3L/100km for the combined and a rather high 9.2L/100km for the urban. Get out onto the highway and that drops, says MG, to 6.2L/100km.On The Outside It’s: Quite a looker with flowing lines, a curvaceous body, and Euro style blinkers. It’s a bluff nose yet not so that it’s unappealing. Overall it’s an appealing and attractive package. Wheels and tyres are appropriately sized at 235/50/18s with Michelin supplying the grippy Premacy 3ST rubber.

MG gave the HS a makeover earlier this year. Its given the whole vehicle a more 8ntegratwd appearance and one that somehow ties it in with its competitors. For example, front bumper mounted driving lights are fitted and more noticeable, the bluntness of the front end has been lessened, and those aforementioned curves really do bring visual goodness.On The Inside It’s: Very well specced in Essence trim. Both front seats are power operated, a true rarity. There is heating but no ventilation however for them. The driver’s display is a clever mix of analogue and LCD screen, with all four main information sources, being fuel, speed, rev counter, and temperature looking as if two integrated dials thanks to the smart design.

Mood lighting greets the passengers and this can be changed via the 10.1 inch touchscreen for a choice of 64 hues. The lights themselves appear in a strip across the dash and in the door handle recesses.The centre console houses a sliding vent switch that can provide, or not, cooling air for a small drink container. The gear selector is ergonomically placed however it’s a long travel from Park to Drive, a small but noticeable issue not found in most cars.

The touchscreen defaults to Audio, Navigation, and Climate Control sectors. There seems to be a trend against DAB as the Essence, the top of the line, doesn’t have it. That’s a shame as the overall sound presentation is very good.A niggle is the screen showing the current air-conditioning status in its own small sector at the top of screen. Touching this elicits zero response, with a push of the Home button, one of a half dozen or so located underneath and of a chromed hard plastic, required to show the default screens then select the climate control. However, a step or two can be saved as there are two temperature tabs which bypass the need for a Home button press, but tapping the screen’s own separate sector would be quicker.

Fit, finish, and the actual look are of an overall high standard with pleasing lines and soft touch materials. for convenience there are a pair of USBs for the rear seats, and a pair plus a 12V socket up front under a sliding cover.For the cargo area, access is via a powered tailgate that reveals a lip level floor. This is, unfortunately, at a fair height meaning a little more effort is required to load a weekly shop. Total capacity starts at 463L and tops out at 1,287L.

On The Road It’s: Where the MG HS Essence loses its lustre. Dual clutch transmissions work best with engines that have a broad torque spread. 250Nm from a 1.5L engine isn’t unreasonable but arriving at a high rev point, coupled with a large turbo, had the HS Essence confounded and out of sorts more often than not.

There’s the typical gap between Reverse and Drive as the cogs audibly move, and coming to a Stop sign has the gap between stopping and re-engaging Drive blow out to a sizeable and at times unsafe timespan. Hit the accelerator hard and then lift, and the transmission doesn’t change gear in response. It hangs on to the first or second ratio, and then when using the accelerator again, the transmission lost its nerve and simply didn’t know which ratio to look for.

The package is then at its best at highway and freely speeds. Noise insulation is high, with only the tyres noticeable in the audio sense. Overtaking acceleration isn’t fantastic and again its that ramp up to 4,400rpm for peak torque that intrudes. Having said that, it is a smooth and linear progression, its just not a rapid one. A dry weight of around 1,520kg also tips its hat to the cause.The brakes are the same; there’s bite but not quite as much as expected, with a need to press the pedal earlier than in other cars. That’s not to say they don’t work, there isn’t the sense of as much retardation for the same amount of pressure.

The steering, in a way, can also be held up to the same level. It’s very well weighted, there is the appropriate amount of heft and response yet there were times the front tyres gave the impression of scrubbing, or tucking under the wheels, in some conditions.

Freeway ride quality is great, but slow speed ride was 180 degrees from the expectation. Over smaller road bumps such as shopping centre speed restrictions, there was too much stiffness, and in the polar opposite, too much softness and wallowing when a more taut setup would have been expected.An interesting addition is the Super Sport button, a bright red look-at-me button located in the inner five o-clock part of the steering wheel.

What About Safety?: MG fits the HS Essence with a good safety package including one that more or less failed. There is Lane Keep Assist and a Lane Centre function. Day two and the HS flashed up on the dash a warning that it had failed. Yet, manual activation had the steering wheel vibrating as it should but the centreing facility was AWOL. Extra safet in the Essence is a 360 degree camera that activates when the brakes come into play and speed drops to around 20kph. The screen then shows two different views and these can be changed, whilst stopped, via the screen.Adaptive Cruise Control is standard across the range, as is Forward Collision Warning and AEB. Airbags number six and should the Essence get involved in a scrape, there is auto door unlock. Intelligent Headlamp Control reads the lights at night and will auto high beam if required.

What About Warranty And Service?: It’s good. Seven years warranty, with unlimited kilometres. That’s a rarity still in the marketplace. The MG website doesn’t indicate the service interval or costs think yearly or 10,000 kilometres. Capped price servicing doesn’t appear, yet, to be the sweetener.

At The End Of The Drive. In a way, the MG HS Essence is somewhat the antithesis of the porridge for Goldilocks. It’s not “just right”. The good news is that it’s not far from it. It’s not badly priced, for starters. It’s certainly not unattractive. It’s a good looker inside, and is well featured to a point. But to use that terribly well worn phrase: “at the end of the day”, it’s a car that gets driven and that’s the weak point. The suspension is arse about, and the way the driveline works wasn’t, for us, something we could live with.

Yet, for all that, the driveline isn’t far from being where it needs to be, and that’s good news for the brand. More on the HS range can be found here.

How To Identify A Boy Racer Car

We might loudly proclaim that we hate them and that they’re annoying, but deep down inside any serious motorist, very well hidden indeed, is a wee bit of a boy racer. Just a little bit of one.  Otherwise, why would we be so drawn to high-performance vehicles with motors that roar and purr?

All the same, few of us over the age of 35 would really admit to being a boy racer, especially if we happen to be girls. We keep that part of us well hidden and only let it out in small doses occasionally.  We drive sensible family vehicles.  If we do get to the point where the budget allows us to plonk down our hard-earned cash on a high-performance vehicle, we prefer something that combines true performance with understated style. Others of us, of course, simply own the whole boy racer image and want a proper boy racer car that looks the part. Or, more precisely, the sort of vehicle that a boy racer car aims to imitate.

The true boy racer car isn’t quite the same as a high-performance machine. To really qualify as a boy racer car, one has to take a fairly sporty number that doesn’t cost the earth (Nissan Skylines and Subaru Imprezas used to be fairly popular but there are others) and then modify it like crazy. Not just any modifications, either. If you tinker with and tune the engine to boost its performance, what you can end up with is a “sleeper” – a vehicle that might look ordinary but isn’t. Boy racer modifications are all about attention-grabbing looks… and sounds. It’s about making heads turn, especially the heads of younger drivers. It’s the motoring equivalent of pouring on half a bottle of aftershave in an attempt to impress the ladies (note: we’re not going to be that impressed).

These vehicles are referred to in the US as “ricer cars”, which is a gender-neutral term. However, I have a suspicion that this may be a slight racial slur, as I have no idea what these cars have to do with rice, apart from the fact that the cars that usually get these modifications tend to be of Japanese origin, though not always. I’ve seen pictures of some BMWs, Fords and Holdens pimped up like crazy. So “boy racer car” is what I’m going to have to call them – I mention the term only so you can have fun Googling bad examples.

To be a true boy racer car, at least three of the following modifications ought to be present:

  • Dramatically lowered suspension. This seems to be the only actual mechanical fine-tuning done to a boy racer car, as the aim is to improve the handling and make the ride a bit stiffer just like a real sports car. The rule seems to be that the lower it is, the cooler it is. Just don’t take it so low that you can’t clear the kerb or speed bump.
  • After-market spoilers. If done well, a good after-market spoiler will give extra grip and improve the on-road performance. It’s a matter of aerodynamics. However, the stereotypical boy racer hasn’t quite got it into his (it’s usually his, rather than her) head that it’s not how big it is but how it’s applied that counts. What you’ll end up seeing on a boy racer car is a massive spoiler. Sigmund Freud wouldn’t be in the least bit surprised…
  • Other body kit. If you can’t actually lower the suspension, make the car look lower by adding side and front skirts.
  • Fancy paint jobs. Go-faster racing stripes and decals are just the start. The idea is to look something like a professional racing car but without actually having any sponsors. There seem to be two main schools of thought in the paint jobs of boy racer cars. One goes for the racing car look, with longitudinal stripes and chequered flags. The other type goes for bright custom colours, often neon green, purple, hot pink and similar gaudy shades.
  • Aftermarket alloys. OK, this one isn’t unique to boy racer cars and it is possible to put on alloys that look tasteful and add a bit of personality. However, if the alloy wheel is enormous and/or brightly coloured, it’s definitely getting into boy racer territory.
  • Tinted windows. Not just subtle tinted windows or tinting that comes from the factory so that you aren’t dazzled with glare on a bright sunny day. We’re talking about stick-on tinting from your local automotive supplies shop so dark that you can barely see who’s in the car.
  • Bonnet blowers. While these have a serious purpose if the vehicle in question has been given an engine upgrade and needs to be cooled more efficiently, in a true boy racer car, it’s for looks. Again, the mentality seems to be that the bigger the better. Never mind that something that big is going to interfere with the aerodynamics.
  • Loud exhausts. Nothing says “performance” like an exhaust that roars and screams like an animal. This feature is found on classier vehicles as well. Jaguar designers, for example, are known to carefully tune the note of the exhaust so that it evokes the perfect visceral response. Boy racer cars, however, don’t have quite the same type of finesse and just go for decibels.
  • Even louder stereos. If they can’t go fast enough around town to bring the noise of the exhaust into play, then the stereo is the way to catch people’s attention from at least a block away or two. The stereos have enough bass to make the ground shake and the vehicle vibrate visibly to the point where onlookers wonder if it will make the ridiculously big spoiler held on with superglue fall off.

If you think I’ve missed any of the key characteristics, then add your suggestions in the comments below!

To Repair or Not to Repair, That is the Question

Sometimes it’s hard to let go and move onto a new vehicle. Whether it’s an emotional attachment to our pride and joy, or the belief that a new car is less attainable and will end up costing us more – we often like to give ourselves a reason to resist change. But while these may be factors we care to consider, the more pertinent questions we should be looking into are how the numbers stack up, and what our personal circumstances are.

The easiest way to consider this is to separately assess the here and now, from the future. When it comes to the here and now, you need to consider the up–front costs associated with purchasing a new vehicle. This obviously includes tangible elements, but also intangible factors too.

 

Weighing up a new car

Starting with the obvious, to fund your purchase it is likely you will either need to trade in your existing vehicle, supplement it with savings or finance, or take out a loan for the entirety of the car’s price.

This introduces potential cash flow strains, as to get the best possible financial outcome, it’s better to pay off as much of the initial purchase cost as possible. The downside means you will be left with less disposable expenditure if you make a larger up–front payment.

Looking at a lengthier timespan, you’re facing interest repayments, maintenance, repairs, registration and insurance costs. Besides that, there are operational costs concerning fuel efficiency. To help form a comparison, you’ll want to break these expenses into weekly, monthly and annual prices for the ownership of your vehicle.

 

Choosing to repair your current car

On the other side of the ledger, you’re operating a car that does not involve an initial cost. But while there may not be up–front costs involved, ongoing operational expenses are likely to cost significantly more than a new vehicle.

You have to keep in mind that an existing or used car, particularly an old one, is usually more prone to repairs or maintenance even if in good condition. And when such maintenance or repairs are undertaken, parts may be far dearer considering their scarcity, or you may need to replace more parts considering their life span could be surpassed.

An existing car is also more likely to be less fuel efficient than newer models. There is a greater chance you will pay more to fuel your current car. If you have repayments due, you should also assess these so that you’re including all relevant costs.

One thing that does generally work in favour of existing cars is that insurance is likely to be cheaper, although this is just a rule of thumb as opposed to a certainty. New cars are also stung by a huge depreciation expense which, depending on your circumstances, could be beneficial as a business owner using the car for taxable business purposes.

 

What else to consider?

Keep in mind a couple other things. With old vehicles more likely to break down, what impact will this have on other aspects of your life? How will you get around while you don’t have access to a vehicle? Could it impede family matters such as taking the kids to school, or dropping a spouse off at work? There may also be features that are less safe compared with today’s cars because of technological advancements.

In deciding, you may wish to adopt a particular line of thought – if the repairs or operating expenditure for an existing vehicle surpass the car’s market value, or the financing of a new vehicle, or even the repayments due on the current vehicle over the course of a year, move on and purchase a new car.

If on the other hand things are still running well, and relatively affordable, or you’re in a position where you can’t afford to outlay a large initial capital cost, keep on top of maintenance to defer the decision.

2020 Nissan X-Trail Ti AWD: Private Fleet Car Review.

This Car Review Is About: Nissan’s competent mid-sized entry, the X-Trail, into a very crowded SUV sector. It’s a six model range, with ST, ST-L, TS, N-Sport, Ti, and TL…which makes for a slightly confusing way of naming your product from bottom to top. We drive the second from the top Ti.
How Much Does It Cost?: As of mid September 2020 Nissan lists the ST as $28,990, the ST-L from $28,490, and the TS from $40,357. N-Sport starts from $42,876, Ti from $44,490 before topping out at $52,456 for the TL. These prices are drive-away. Premium paints are a $695 option.

Under The Bonnet Is: A 2.5L petrol engine for the Ti and TL. Otherwise, for models below, it’s a 2.0L petrol for the manual 2WD ST & TS or 2.0L diesel for all models bar ST-L. Power for the petrol 2.5L is 126kW and maximum torque is 226Nm and at 4,400rpm. Nissan quotes economy as 8.3L per 100 kilometres on a combined cycle. Fuel tank size is a standard 60L.
On the Outside It’s: A distinctively styled Nissan family SUV. Grab a picture of both the Qashqai and Pathfinder, enlarge and shrink to the same size as that of a X-Trail, and you’d be genuinely hard pressed at first glance to tell the difference. There’s that signature V grille and LED driving light design up front, the sine wave line from bow to stern, the nicely balanced proportions of bonnet to body, and the arrow-head line for the leading edge of the rear lights. Ti runs 225/55/19 alloys and rubber, with the tyres an all-weather pattern from Bridgestone’s Ecopia range.One of the issues we have with the X-Trail, and it’s by no means alone in this, is the location and size of the headlight indicator lamps. They’re tiny, and buried deep within the middle of the join between the lights and the running lights. There are flashing LEDs in the wing mirror covers however they’re not terribly bright nor easily seen from some angles.

Another niggle is the placement of the button to open the powered tailgate. Most companies logically and sensibly have a tab in the same recess as the number plate. Nissan opted for a separate, and lower in the door, placement. It means a person needs to bend more but also, because it’s not the logical place, more often than not the numberplate recess was reached for first.

On The Inside It’s: A tidier look than the very busy Pathfinder. The centre stack immediately pulls attention due to the far cleaner layout. Nissan include a CD player here and in the X-Trail it sits above the 8.0 inch touchscreen. There are tabs around the outside but underneath is only the aircon control cluster. Tidier it is but still perhaps a little fussy when looking for something quickly. The screen’s layout is dated, terribly dated, and needs an overhaul ASAP.

In contrast, the dash design is a gentle curve and separates driver from passenger nicely as each end runs smoothly into the door trims. The whole cabin ambience is cool without being understated.Audio is DAB equipped, and the usual smartapps apply. Oddly, Nissan have also included links to Google and facebook, and although we didn’t connect to them, we’d hope these only activate when parked. A nice touch in counterpoint was the separate heating circuit for the rear seat, a rare and welcome addition.Leg, head, and shoulder room is better than adequate for four, even with the full length glass roof, but typically a bit squeezy for the second row if looking to get five aboard. Behind the second row is a decent cargo bay with 565L available and increasing to 945L with the second row flattened.There’s are rain-sensing wipers, second row air vents and USBs, plus a 12V socket for the second row passengers.

On The Road It’s: Good enough for most people and this comes from a well sorted driveline combination. Although CVTs do feel as if they sap power and torque, the X-Trail’s pairing is one that doesn’t feel as draining as others. There’s plenty of get up and go, mid-range acceleration is quick enough, and unlike the Pathfinder, when the console mounted drive dial selects 4WD, there’s both a noticeable change and an indicator light on the dash shows 4WD is engaged. There’s the barest hint of torque steer in 2WD but in all wheel drive mode that disappears and there’s a proper sense of weight attached to the rear wheels.It’s a push button Start/Stop system in the Ti. Once the 2.5L is up and spinning, Drive is engaged by a short throw lever, there’s the faintest of clunks, and the accelerator sees the 1,562kg (dry) Ti get underway smoothly. The transmission has the typical CVT wavering at times and is at its best at freeway speeds. That goes for the suspension which is beautifully tuned for more comfort that sporting in the handling, yet and be driven hard without qualms. It damps nicely, initial compliance runs into somewhere between taut and giving, and rarely felt unsettled. Speed-sensitive steering worked the same; there’s lightness when needed, heft when required, and made parking a doddle.

An unexpected feature is the Intelligent Engine Braking system. Downhill runs and the CVT acts as a brake, finding a gear and holding it to ensure no unwanted acceleration. A blip of the throttle overcomes it easily however it mostly needs no human intervention.

What About Safety?: Plenty to like, as expected. Forward Collision Warning and AEB with pedestrian detection but not cyclist. Blind Spot Alert, Rear Cross Traffic, Lane Departure Warning and Rear Park Assist sensors make the Ti a pretty safe bet.

What About Warranty And Service?: Standard five years and unlimited ks, roadside assist for 24/7 for5 years. Servicing is capped price for the first six and prices can be found by using your vehicle’s VIN.

At The End Of the Drive. The 2020 Nissan X-Trail Ti delivers by doing exactly what is asked of it and doing so without raising an eyebrow. It drives well enough, handles well enough, it’s not unattractive and has a high level of safety. Downlights are the tawdry touchscreen look and those almost invisible indicator flashers in the front. And in Ti spec, it’s not an outrageous hit to the bank balance for what is delivered. Head here to find out more.

 

What to Consider Before Looking at Ex-Demo Vehicles?

Any time one steps into the market in search of a new car, it would be remiss to think that the best deal is certain to be a new vehicle. In fact, ex-demonstrator cars have a particularly solid reputation when it comes to great value. But if you really want to stretch your money further, it pays to know a little more about the ins and outs of ex-demo vehicles. Let’s take a closer look.

 

What is an ex-demonstrator car?

An ex-demonstrator car is a vehicle from the dealer’s showroom that has been used as a test car among prospective new car buyers. Beyond that, it may have also been loaned out to a potential customer so they can spend a bit of time familiarising themselves with the vehicle over a weekend before deciding whether it fits their needs or not.

Quite often, manufacturers may agree to assign dealers ex-demonstrator cars from a popular series for their own use. Whatever the case, the allure of an ex-demo car is that it is almost brand new, with less than 5000km on the odometer and generally not more than a couple months old.

 

What sort of savings can I expect from an ex-demo car?

It’s one of the first things that comes to everyone’s mind when they think of ex-demo cars – big savings! And while that can certainly be the case, the savings on any specific car will depend on a number of factors. Among these, none is more pertinent than the model of the vehicle in question.

Some popular models are earmarked as vehicles that a dealer may want to move on quickly, particularly if they have abundant stock. Furthermore, the price of the vehicle will dictate the extent of any discount that could be offered. There is only so much you can strip away from the retail price before the dealer knows they will have other buyers enter the showroom.

But beyond that, you also need to take into consideration the condition of the car, as well as just how many kilometres it has got through. The idea of being able to save thousands is not out of the question, provided all these factors align favourably for a buyer.

 

Is there anything to be aware of when buying an ex-demo vehicle?

Whether it be general tips to get ahead, or points to be wary, take heed of these things before you commit to purchase an ex-demonstrator vehicle:

  • Ensure that the car’s warranty coverage starts the day you buy the vehicle (e. not before)
  • Inspect the vehicle closely for any damage or unreasonable signs of wear – this extends beyond the exterior, as many people will have stepped inside the car
  • Buying a car towards the end of its demonstrator period (i.e. 2-3 months) will afford you the best timing to negotiate a lower price
  • Once made available, ex-demo cars often sell quite quickly, so have your vehicle finance lined up
  • Inspect all paperwork closely to verify that the registration is being transferred as well

Tucson’s Fourth Generation Is Ready For The World

As foreshadowed in early September, the drastically facelifted Tucson range was officially unveiled on September 15. Now in its fourth generation, the world platform Hyundai Motor Company Tucson brings a short and long wheelbase to further broaden its already large customer appeal. With a timeline stretching back to 2004, and racking up over seven million sales, the new Tucson brings striking new looks and a solid set of tech.There are new engines including a pair of hybrid drive-lines, with a PHEV being one. This isn’t yet in concrete for Australia.

Thomas Schemera, Executive Vice President, Head of Product Division at Hyundai Motor Group said at the launch: “We are thrilled to introduce the all-new Tucson, the latest model in Hyundai’s SUV transformation,” said . “This exciting vehicle sets a new benchmark for innovation in its segment, delivering an impressive blend of design, technology, packaging and performance.” The new Tucson is scheduled for Korean release in September 2020, with models yet to be determined currently stated to arrive in Australia in the first half of 2021. The launch itself was held as a virtual event and shown on the company’s new social media outlet, Hyundai TV, a global contents platform and interactive application for Smart TVs.

Design: it’s what Hyundai have labelled their Sensuous Sportiness idenity. Standing front and centre, literally in this case, is the dazzling new face of the Tucson, from what is called Parametric Dynamics in Hyundai-speak. The Tucson’s body features a set of geometrically intense lines and the front end is a series of “jewel surface” units which hide the head- and driving lights. When lit, they form a boomerang-like shape that then becomes a grille defining area.
The front guards flare before tapering to a sharp point in the front doors. This draws the eyes towards the rear doors that both flare and bring a trapezoid bulge to the redesigned, twin vertical-single horizontal tail-lights. There is a chrome strip that runs from the wing mirror, following the roofline that terminates in conjunction with the newly designed rear lights, which, like the front, are only visible when lit. A subtle touch is the relocation of the Hyundai logo into the rear glass and a hidden look to the rear wiper.

For the petrol engined versions there will be seven exterior colours: White Cream, Phantom Black, Shimmering Silver, Nocturne Gray, Amazon Gray, Flame Red, and Intense Blue, six of which are new for Tucson. In the hybrid range there are White Cream, Phantom Black, Shimmering Silver, and Intense Blue, three of which are new for Tucson.

Inside: It’s a choice of cloth or leather, black or grey for the trims. The SUV’s interior environments come in black or grey tones in either cloth or leather material. Hyundai have upped the visual ante by redesigning the way the cabin looks, with ambient lighting in the top level models, new screens and a refresh of the seating.

Termed Interspace, Hyundai blends the dash with the doors, there’s a sense of more space, a pair of silver lines mimic those on the roof by running from front to rear, and those ambient lights have 64 varying shades. There are also ten levels of brightness.From the front seats, the view is of a pair of 10.25 inch touchscreens (model dependent) with split-screen navigation ability and voice recognition which can enable the new Multi-Command function that allows customers to “warm-up the car”. This covers the heating system, heated steering wheel and seat warmers all via a voice command. There is a driver’s display without a binnacle, and a refreshed look to the air-vents. Some models will have 8.0 inch screens with wireless connectivity for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay plus two phones simultaneously. Spread around the cabin is a new range of soft-touch materials that also visually add class. For the second row, a fold and dive mechanism aims for a flatter surface and an increased cargo capacity, now up to 1,095L of space.A service called Hyundai Digital Key enables drivers to use their smartphone to pair to the car and remotely lock/unlock, and start the engine and climate control from up to 27 metres away. A new feature is called car To Home, and this can allow activation, from the vehicle, of connected smart devices at home. Audio comes from multi-speaker systems thanks to Bose (model dependent). For the climate control, Hyundai looked towards the aerospace industry and used certain benchmarks for their direct and indirect ventilation processes and can indicate levels of pollution in real time in the climate control display.Engines: As mentioned, a pair of hybrids with one a PHEV, with a 1.6L engine for either, or a 2.5L direct-injection petrol engine with 141kW and 246Nm driving a slick eight speed auto. The hybrids should punch around 134kW from the petrol engine and combine with the battery for 171kW. Torque will be close to 250Nm from the petrol and offer just under 350Nm combined, and again run an eight speed auto. Hyundai have engineered in their Continuously Variable Valve Duration (CVVD) technology that manages valve opening duration for optimal power, efficiency and emissions with minimised compromise.

Vehicles fitted with Hyundai’s HTRAC all-wheel drive system have an upgrade to the driving modes. Depending of end-market, those vehicles will now have Mud, Snow, Sand along with the previously supported Eco / Comfort / Smart / Sport driving modes.
Safety: Hyundai’s broad-scope SmartSense safety package includes: Highway Driving Assist (HDA), Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA) with pedestrian detection, Lane Keeping Assist (LKA), Lane Following Assist (LFA), Blind-Spot View Monitor and Blind-Spot Collision Warning (BCW). There is also Surround View Monitor, Reverse Parking Collision-Avoidance Assist (RPCA), Remote Smart Parking Assist (RSPA), High Beam Assist (HBA) and Driver Attention Warning (DAW). Extra technology for safety comes from: Blind-Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist (BCA) with Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist (RCCA), Advanced Smart Cruise Control (SCC) with Stop and Go, and Safe Exit Warning (SEW). Tucson N Line Goes Global: Hyundai’s growing performance arm, N Line, is looking to add an N Line Tucson for the global marketplace at an as yet unspecified date.

Contact your Hyundai dealer for more details.