As seen on:

SMH Logo News Logo

Call 1300 303 181

Archive for December, 2020

2020 Peugeot Partner 130 LCV: Private Fleet Car Review

This Car Review Is About: One of the three variants of Peugeot’s “little” Light Commercial Vehicle range. There are a diesel four or petrol three cylinder with differing torque & power, and two body sizes to look at. Oh, the petrol comes with manual or auto.

How Much Does It Cost?: $31,490 in basic white plus on road costs is what the 130 version we tested starts at. The lower power output 110 starts from $25,990 plus ORC. The diesel, exclusively a long body, starts from $30,490 plus ORC.

Under The Bonnet Is: 96kW and 230 torques for the higher spec, 1.2L, three cylinder petrol. The other offers 81kW and 205Nm, with the 1.6L diesel churning out 68kW and restricted to the same torque figure as the 130. Peugeot’s spec sheet says 7.3L/100km for the urban, 5.7L and 6.3L for the highway and combined cycles. We finished on an overall 8.2L/100km with our best seen as 5.2L/100km on a good freeway run.On The Outside It’s: Well, a small, light commercial vehicle. Fridge white in colour, there are strong familial hints, such as the bluff nose, fin shaped headlight insert, and smooth, ovoid shapes in the sheetmetal. The vehicle supplied has the long body, with dual sliding doors, one per side. The rear door is split vertically and at a 60/40 percentage. The left side opens first, with a small lever mid-height for the second door. There are bump strips spread over each door and sit under a matching in shape crease-line in the metal.

At the top of the rear doors is a plastic housing that holds a digital camera. This works for both the reverse drive and supplies the image to the rear vision display. Yup. The doors are solid metal, therefore a camera is needed to show rear vision. It’s slightly painful to use as it must be engaged every time the ignition is switched on.Wheels are steel, and measure 15 inches in diameter. Michelin supply the commercial style 205/60 Energy Saver rubber.

Dimensions vary from 4,403mm to 4,753mm for the overall length, with 2,785mm to 2,975mm in wheelbase. Overall height sees the Partner stand at 1,880mm.

On The Inside It’s: A typical commercial vehicle with hard plastics, nooks and crannies, and one key difference. The rear vision mirror isn’t a mirror, as mentioned. It’s a low-res LCD screen that displays the image the camera, located above the sheet-metal clad rear doors, shows both rearward and to the left. It’s not an auto-on item either, requiring manual activation every time the ignition is switched on.

There are two buttons, one to show the rear view, the other to show just the left hand view. This is more for reversing in areas where a kerb would be. It’s not great in usage, and blurry in just about every detail with the lack of resolution making a vehicle even a few metres behind indistinctive.The seats are cloth covered and it’s a hard wearing material with a nice feel and two tone look. The passengers seats are a 1.5 split, not really suitable for two but bigger than normal for one. Peugeot says the design has a lifting outbound passenger seat folding middle with mobile office table and storage. The tiller is akin to the sporting style seen in other Peugeot vehicles, with a flat bottom and contoured for better grip.

A pair of glove boxes sit in front of the passenger, and above both is a mesh look to a cabin wide cargo shelf. Cargo itself behind the seats is separated by a solid barrier of black plastic with a small window at the top. There is a capacity of a tonne, and the rear doors are wide enough to slide in a pallet. If required, the lower section of the barrier can be detached to allow a slightly longer load to creep through and under the seats.

Between the wheel arches is 1,229mm of space, with a total load height of 1,243mm. Actual capacity maxes at 3.8 cubic metres, and maximum length on the long wheelbase is 3,090mm with the cabin extension. Otherwise, it’s 1,817mm for the cargo section, complete with black cladding. Six tie-down points are standard.Convenience wise the audio and touchscreen system is basic in look, however does feature Apple and Android apps, but no digital radio. A single USB port is located to the bottom right. The upper console has a pair of cupholders.

On The Road It’s: A lot of fun to drive. Yes, that shouldn’t be said in the same sentence as light commercial vehicle, however there is something ethereally charming about these little three cylinder engines. Ignition is key operated, drive is selected via a dial in the console, situated below the cup holders. It initially seemed a bit more miss than hit, yet quickly became intuitive. The Partner features an electronic parking brake and this is less intuitive in disengaging.

It feels quick to get underway, however the speedo dial disagrees to a point. It’s reasonably flexible, this three cylinder and eight speed auto, with the gears changing swiftly and smoothly as required, whilst the peak torque taps out at 1,750rpm, making around town and highway driving as easily employed as possible. There is that typical three cylinder thrum underway, that slightly off-kilter but not unpleasant engine note as revs rise and fall. It pulls well from idle, spins easily to over 4,000rpm, and occasionally would chirp the front tyres from a hard launch.

Suspension wise it’s also quite decent, providing ample backup to the relatively narrow Michelin rubber. Quick steering also chimes in, with only minor effort required in lane changing to three point turns. Discs front and rear haul up the 1,366kg (kerb weight) van easily.Naturally, though, it’s a drum when it comes to road noise. The tyres don’t dial out much of the tarmac surface rumble, and it’s readily transmitted to the cargo area when empty. We did get a chance to load it up at one point, and road noise was noticeably reduced.

What About Safety?: It’s basic. There is Forward Collision Alert, Lane Departure Warning, and Video Autonomous Emergency Braking. Airbags are driver, passenger, and front side curtain airbags. Interestingly but smartly, Peugeot also package in road traffic sign recognition.What About Warranty And Service?: It’s 5 years or 200,000 kilometres for their light commercials. First service is $441, second jumps to $685, with third dropping to $517. Fourth jumps to $698, with fifth service down to $454. Intervals are yearly, or more likely, every 15,000 kilometres.

At The End Of The Drive. It’s a more than adequate light commercial van and ideally suited for local courier style runs, flower or cake deliveries, and the like. The ample cargo capacity for its size, the dual opening doors on the sides, and the wide opening rears also bring plenty of flexibility.

The drivetrain is sprightly and usable across all driving situations, and certainly economic enough for most daily drivers. Ride quality unladen is ok, and improves both in handling and road noise with a bit of weight inside. It’s well priced, but the downside of that low-res rear vision counts against it. Check it out here.

 

New 2021 Cars To Save Up For and Buy

Keeping my ear to the ground and spying on what new cars are coming to Australia next year has revealed a decent line-up of cars that should peak interest, grab the attention and generally convince a new-car buyer to hold off their purchasing till one of these arrives.  Let’s get straight down to business and take a look together:

Audi RS Q8 2021

A new Audi RS Q8 is coming in October boasting a whopping 441 kW and 800 Nm.  Hot performance is matched by AWD grip, and the interior is high-spec and gorgeous.  Being a luxury-performance SUV from Audi, the price will be in excess of $200k.

Audi A3 2021

Audi also will offer the new A3 Hatch alongside a new A3 Sedan.  These two small cars will have all the latest gadgets, and will be powered by an excellent 1.4-litre TFSI turbo-petrol engine.  The 4-cylinder is good for 110 kW and 250 Nm.  Linked to an eight-speed torque-converter automatic, the new car will be zippy and very efficient.  The A3 line-up wouldn’t be complete without the S3, and in 2021 we will see the new S3 Hatch and Sedan boasting a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine with 228 kW, 400 Nm and AWD: Excitement!

BMW 4 Series 2021

BMW gets a new 4 Series next year.  The car’s styling is gorgeous, while the interior features nice materials and new, better technology.  The base model 420i is good for 135 kW of power and 300 Nm of torque.  The 430i packs a healthy 190 kW and 400 Nm. And the M440i xDrive uses a 3.0-litre turbocharged inline 6-cylinder petrol engine with 285 kW of power and a very strong 500 Nm of torque.  All this power is put down via an eight-speed automatic and AWD.

Fiat 500 EV 2021

A brand new and cute Fiat 500 EV will potentially make it to our shores in 2021.  Powering the wee Fiat 500 is a 42 kWh lithium-ion battery pack that gives the car a 320km – 400 km range.  This might be the perfect little urban runabout, with premium style and fun being at the forefront of the car’s design.

Ford Escape 2021

Ford boasts the entry of the new Ford Escape which can also be had as a PHEV model.  The new Escape is really nice, practical and good to look at.  It’s a comfy SUV with plenty of grunt and excellent fuel efficiency.  The standard engine is the turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder that produces 183 kW and 387 Nm through an excellent eight-speed automatic transmission.  This engine is available throughout the range and can be had in FWD or AWD modes.  The 2021 Ford Escape PHEV uses a naturally-aspirated 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine linked with an electric motor and a 14.4 kWh lithium-ion battery.  The combined output is 167 kW.  The Escape PHEV is good (it needs to be) and goes up against the successful Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV as well as the new Volvo XC40 hybrid.

Genesis G80 2021

If you’re on the lookout for a new luxury sedan, then hang about for the latest Hyundai Genesis G80.  This is quite a car with all the jaw-dropping looks to rival a Beemer 7 Series or Mercedes S-Class.  A 2.5-litre turbo or 3.5-litre turbo petrol are the options, and both can be linked to RWD or AWD options.  Smooth, quiet performance is likely to be matched with excellent reliability.  The recent J.D. Power U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study looked at any problems experienced by owners of 3-year-old vehicles, and they found that the 2020 Genesis G80 was named the most dependable midsize premium car with the lowest rate of reported problems over time.

Great Wall Ute

A new Great Wall Ute has just become available, and it’s a nice package.  The range consists of the Cannon, the Cannon-L and the range-topping Cannon-X.  The new Great Wall Ute will come with the strong new 2.0-litre turbo-diesel 4-cylinder engine producing 120 kW of power and 400 Nm of torque.  It will be offered with a choice of a six-speed manual or a ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic transmission, and it will also be able to pull a braked trailer of 2250 kg.  This is similar in size to a Ford Ranger, Nissan Navara or Toyota Hilux, except it will be cheaper to buy.

Hyundai Sonata 2021

We’ve got the classy looking new Hyundai Sonata Sedan.  This has to be arguably the best looking mid-to-large sedan on the market.  N-Line Sonatas are particularly good-looking and boast 19-inch alloy wheels, a boot-lid spoiler, unique bumpers, blacked out accents, a quad-tipped exhaust and a rear diffuser.  The N-Line isn’t short on power either, with the new 213 kW/422 Nm 2.5-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol more than capable of dancing a jig.  It’s also mated to an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox, which can see the car through to 100 km/h from a standstill in a mere 5.3 seconds.

Hyundai Pallisade 2021

Hyundai’s new seven-seater Pallisade looks immense – which it is.  This is a large luxury SUV with all the comfort of an S-Class.  In Australia, we will get a petrol and a diesel option – which is excellent.  The 3.8-litre V6 petrol is up for 217 kW of power and 355 Nm of torque.  It’s mated to a very smooth eight-speed automatic transmission.  The 2.2-litre turbo-diesel makes 147 kW and 440 Nm via its eight-speed automatic and AWD set-up.  Diesel Pallisades are very efficient for such a big bruising SUV, and both engines are really good towing units.

Hyundai Tucson 2021

Hyundai also boast the arrival of the new Tucson with its nice streamlined looks.  The Tucson has proven pretty popular in Australia, so with the new base engine a naturally-aspirated 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol, a turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol and a 2.0-litre turbo-diesel unit the options for power, the new medium comfortable SUV is set to build on current success story.

Hyundai iMax vans are very good and there will be a new one of these available by the end of 2021.

Kia Carnival 2021

Soon, you will be able to get into a new Kia Carnival, and with seven, eight or 11 seat configurations, this is a comfy and practical people mover.  The new Carnival has to be one of the spunkiest looking people movers on the market; in a market which has seen the Honda Odyssey having the better styling over recent times.  The new Carnival has it all: luxury, comfort, technology, safety; it’s all there.

LDV T60 Ute 2021

A new LDV T60 will grace our roads next year.  This is a good-looking, hard-working ute with good mechanicals, decent output and nice comfort and tech.  It will come with the rugged turbo-diesel, which offers 120 kW and 375 Nm, ensuring frugal, dependable transport.  The T60 has some pretty funky styling, boasting a seriously big grille, slim-line head lights, and a front DRL that runs the width of the ute.

Mercedes Benz S-Class 2021

An all-new Mercedes Benz S-Class is on the horizon.  Expect the best and nothing less.

Mitsubishi Outlander 2021

Awards for most futuristic car might be going to the brand new 2021 Mitsubishi Outlander.  The range-topping Outlander PHEV is expected to feature a larger battery than the current plug-in hybrid model, while the other engines are likely to be new, also.

Nissan X-Trail 2021

I’ve always been a fan of the X-Trail’s ability in all areas, and now the new Nissan X-Trail is upon us with a design that has been pleasantly tweaked, and offering more technology in the classy package.  Inside the new model, it’s packed with a new infotainment system with a 10.8-inch colour head-up display, a 12.3-inch digital dashboard, and a 9.0-inch touchscreen.  Wireless Apple CarPlay is included, along with wireless phone charging.  Nissan will also offer a full ProPilot suite of active safety assists on this model that will make this one of the safest in its class.  The AWD system packs a new electro-hydraulic clutch, which is designed to more accurately and quickly shuffle the power load around the wheels when slippage is detected.

Renault Captur 2021

Renault’s classy small Captur SUV is worth the wait.  Power will come from a 1.3-litre turbocharged petrol engine that is mated with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.  Output is rated at 117 kW of power and there is a healthy 260 Nm of torque.  Practicality and comfort is good inside a new Captur, which has a two-tier boot that holds up to 536 litres of luggage, and the split/folding rear seats can also be slid forward and back as needed.

Skoda Octavia 2021

A sleek new Skoda Octavia impresses with its low-slung lines available in sedan or wagon styling.  I personally love the shape of the wagon, with its long roofline and nicely filled out haunches.  The Skoda Ocatvia RS will be powered by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged engine making 180 kW and 370 Nm.  A locking front differential and dual-clutch transmission will be standard.  An efficient 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol four will likely run the rest of the Octavias.  Skoda Octavias have always been at the forefront of space and practicality.

Subaru Outback 2021

A brand new Subaru Outback is coming! This is a brilliant SUV/Wagon built for tackling the rough as well as the smooth.  The five-seater sits on a new modular Subaru Global Platform that is stiffer, boosting handling prowess and safety credentials.  The exterior styling looks good, while the cabin is new and stylish.  An 11.6-inch portrait-oriented centre touchscreen looks and functions really nicely.  So, there’s a 2.5-litre naturally aspirated Boxer petrol engine that hauls nice and smooth and will be standard across the range.  Also, a new 2.4-litre turbo unit with 190 kW of power replaces the six-cylinder option. This is a swift runner with great handling.  All models will be offered with the symmetrical AWD system, and they’ll use a CVT with eight stepped ratios.

Subaru Levorg 2021

A new Subaru Levorg is also about to run out on stage.  To start with, the Subaru Levorg will be powered exclusively by a 1.8-litre turbocharged four-cylinder boxer engine with 130 kW of power between 5200 and 5600 rpm, and 300 Nm of torque between 1600 and 3600 rpm.  All-wheel drive is, of course, standard, as is a CVT.  A punchier big Turbo model will, no doubt, become available later on.

Toyota Kluger 2021

The new Toyota Kluger looks really good for the buyer looking to upgrade their old SUV.  An electrified version of this comfy and stylish seven-seat SUV will make the running costs even better.  The new Kluger hybrid blends a 2.5-litre petrol engine with two electric motors and a compact battery, delivering a maximum 179 kW output to the capable AWD system.  If you’re after petrol alone, then the 3.5-litre V6 offers a throaty 218 kW and strong performance.  FWD or AWD options are available, both of which run with a smooth eight-speed automatic transmission.  Drive one of these, and you can see why so many people like-and-buy Klugers.

Volkswagen Golf 2021

Volkswagen has their popular new Golf on sale soon; and a new Golf always looks nice parked up the driveway.

Apple Eyeing its own Electric Vehicle

In news that is sure to cause a stir in the automotive world, tech giant Apple has its eyes fixed on a foray into the new car industry…and it might not be all that far away. Well, that’s if you believe the rumours.

For a while now, Apple has reportedly been working on plans to design and develop its own electric vehicle. Codenamed Project Titan, this week, Reuters news agency has put a timeline on that project, and they’re pencilling in 2024 as the year that Apple might be looking to launch.

What’s more, Apple is looking to get innovative when it comes to fuel technology, with the mega-tech firm also said to be creating its own battery technology, which would rely on lithium iron phosphate and a “monocell” design that frees up space inside the battery to fit more active material for longer range.

Where is Apple at?

The project has been in an on-and-off again state for some time now, first mentioned in 2014, and subject to redundancies just last year. However, behind the scenes, it is understood the company is focused on a passenger vehicle for the consumer segment of the market, whereas some of its rivals like Waymo are pitching driverless vehicle concepts as means of a broader P2P or business solution.

Naturally, the company has avoided providing any commentary on the matter, which is hardly a surprising feat. When you consider the extent of resources that Tesla required before it was finally able to generate some momentum with its electric vehicles, then it’s only par the course that Apple is keeping mum about the whole situation. The company does have shareholders to answer to, as well.

 

 

With details as illusive as possible at this stage, it’s also not known whether Apple will look to tackle the manufacturing component of the project itself. While iPhones are a very different proposition, Apple already outsources its manufacturing process for what might be considered a more ‘simple’ device, even if that item is considered its flagship product. Would it be any different for cars? Probably not. The company doesn’t have the expertise nor the economies of scale for car production.

At the same time, however, if plans to develop a series of electric cars fall through, our bet is that the tech behemoth is sure to pioneer some sort of driving technology that it will look to sell to manufacturers all over the world. In fact, that may well be the ultimate outcome despite this week’s rumours suggesting otherwise.

 

Do you see Apple coming to market with its own car in as little as four years? Would you have high hopes for it?

2021 Genesis GV80 3.0L: Private Fleet Car Review.

This Car Review Is About: A new entrant, one of three in its family, to the “luxo” SUV marketplace. Genesis has had the G80 and G70 sedans for sometime, and in late mid-2020 released the GV80, with the GV70 unveiled in November.

The GV80 has three engine choices, a single transmission, and varying electronics & trim aligned with the engines. There is a 2.5L four with front or all wheel drive, a 3.0L straight six with diesel fuel and AWD, or a petrol fed 3.5L V6 also with an AWD system.

What Does It Cost?: The range starts at $90,600 plus on-roads, with the 3.0L starting from $103,600 (plus ORC) and tops out at $108,600 (plus ORC). Genesis have gone to a fixed price, non-negotiable system, and that may deter some. However, when buying a house, the price generally tends upwards, not downwards…

The Luxury Pack that was featured in our review vehicle is $10,000. It’s an extensive list of features that are included and really add extra value overall. For the driver there is a device that scans the face and provides a Forward Attention Warning service. A self parking and parking assistance package is part of it, with forward and reverse parallel and perpendicular parking assistance.

RANC or Road Active Noise Cancellation makes the cabin an incredibly quiet place to be. That can be enjoyed for the 18 way powered driver’s seat that includes Pelvic Stretching and bolsters that close in on the sides of the driver in Sports mode or heavy acceleration. It’s a seven seater and the third row seats are powered, moving at the touch of a button, including a recline feature.

The doors are soft close and the tail gate door is powered, as expected. The driver has a super clear high definition 112.3 inch display including a three dimensional effect look that has to be seen in the flesh to reveal. Multi-zone climate control with rear seat controls is standard in the Luxury package too. The centre row has heating in the outboard sections.

All seats have ultra-soft Nappa leather with “G-Matrix” diamond quilting sewn in.

Under The Bonnet Is: A return of history, in one context. German manufacturers have stayed with the tried and true straight six for a reason, and Genesis clearly thought that the addition of one to the range was worthwhile. And it is.

Being an oiler, it’s not about the peak power (204kW), but the peak torque and where that comes in for the engine’s rev range. In this case there are a hefty 588Nm of torque, available from an easy going 1,500rpm through to 3,000rpm, not far off the roll-off to the peak power’s 3,800rpm.Economy for the big GV80 (2,267kg before passengers and fuel) improved during our drive. It started close to 10.0L/100km and finished dead on 8.0L/100km on our 70/30 drive cycle. Genesis quotes a hefty 12.0L/100km on the urban, 7.0L/100km for the highway, with 8.8L/100km for the combined.

On The Outside It’s: Familiar yet different. There are hints of other brands, noticeably from Germany, however it’s also distinctively its own vehicle. It’s shorter than it appears, with the styling making it longer than 4,945mm. Height is imposing at 1,715mm, with overall width of 1,975mm seeming a big handling ask. But no.

The vehicle supplied came with the Luxury Pack which includes a largely gloss-free white paint. This beautifully highlights the chromed Genesis “Crest” shield grille, the double row LED headlights and tail lights, plus the chromed side strips and piano black inserts in the front and rear bumpers. The rear door is powered and accessed via, smartly, a small press-tab in the wiper motor housing.

Along each flank rests two creaselines, one from front to rear from the bonnet line, the other covering the front and rear wheel arches separated by the doors. There are two vents mirroring the front and rear lights at the rear of the front guards. The rear windowline is distinctive, with a triangle finish to the D-pillar.Wheels are 22 inch alloys with a multispoke design. Grip is courtesy of 265/40 Michelin tyres.

On The Inside It’s: A place to stretch the legs and shoulders in utter comfort. Beige leather in the test car with diamond padding, electrically adjustable for all three rows, and beige suede style material on the roof are absolutely sumptuous. There are two separate sunroofs to bring in light from above.

The rear and centre row seats have individual electric controls. These raise and lower on command, and include the headrest folding on the rear row. The centre row can be moved fore and aft, and can move to a position to allow ingress and egress for the rear seaters. They are a little on the slow side for our taste, however there is a safety factor to consider for that speed.Cargo space with the third row seats down is huge at 727L. This increases to 2,144L with the second row folded.

The driver has a classy looking two-spoke two-tone leather bound steering wheel, also with electric adjustment, along with a two position seat memory setting.

For the driver there is a dash that is fully digital plus it has an extra cool feature. Aligned with a sensor strip that monitors the driver’s eyeline, the display has a 3D effect. It’s quite an unusual sight, seeing a flat screen suddenly blur for a flicker of a moment before providing a true 3D depth. For those that have an issue with it, it can be switched off. The driver also has a HUD display. A user friendly feature here is either the left or right dial change to the outside view when the indicator stalk is employed. the screen has a high pixel count so it works perfectly with the quality of the lenses used.In the middle of the upper section of the black and beige trimmed dash is a wider than widescreen touchscreen. Touchscreen, in this case, is a bit loose, as it’s set too far back in the dash and blocks off the centre-dash speaker. By the way, as good as the Lexicon sound system is, not having A-pillar mounted tweeters drags down the soundstage, as high frequency signals are directional in nature, and the door mounted units fire straight into the legs of the driver and passenger.In the centre console is a crystal look rotary drive selector dial, and a larger silver ringed white opaque circle. The silver ring is the default interface for much of what the touchscreen would do, and embedded in the menu options is a tutorial on how to use the opaque circle for items such as entering in an address for navigation. It works, but not excessively well. At the bottom left is the tarmac or terrain drive selector. With a push it switches between tarmac or soft-roading (Mud, Snow, Sand), and a twist changes the desired drive mode, with a commensurate change of the look of the digital driver’s screen.To the left is a cupholder insert, with a hinged door that folds to the right. Easy for the passenger, not so for the driver. However, a nice touch is the woodgrain trim here, and the sliding door at the far end of the console that reveals a wireless charge pad. It’s inclined to around 50 degrees, and aligned horizontally too, making for easier placing and removal. The whole centre console is a floating design though, and largely unusable as the squabs come up to almost the lower section of the top of the console.In between this and the touchscreen is a haptic feedback screen to operate the climate control. Again, it’s good but just a little fiddly for the section for fan speed, requiring a little more precision than necessary to adjust the horizontally aligned stripe. It’s backlit and only visible when the ignition is on.

On The Road It’s: Quicker than the seat of the pants will suggest. The linear torque delivery and free revving 3.0L six will launch the big GV80 at a velocity that feels rapid but not indecently so until you eyeball the numbers. The superb noise isolation mutes a lot of the aural feedback the brain would normally use as a guideline here, so when the numbers are changing at a rate the brain says otherwise to, it comes as a bit of a shock, and a relief to know that it’s working better than expected. We mentioned how quiet the cabin is earlier. Acoustic glass reduces road noise so the driver can enjoy the experinece at a higher level.

Bearing in mind the mass of the GV80, it’s a superb handler with: Genesis Adaptive Control Suspension (GACS) – including; Road Preview-Electronic Control Suspension (Preview-ECS) & Dynamic
Stability Damping Control (DSDC), says the specification sheet. In normal driving this has the rear of the GV80 slightly wallowy, with that just little bit too much softness for our tastes in the rear. The front is more tied down. Move to Sport and the suspension tightens up but not to the point that it’s excessively hard. The car’s driveline can be customised, so the engine can be in Comfort mode for, let’s say highway country driving, but the suspension and steering in Sport, to suit the driver’s taste and road conditions.

Braking is en pointe, with 360mm by 30mm discs up front with twin caliper pads, single calipers at the rear. The pedal measurement for just how much pressure is required is amongst the most intuitive we’ve experienced, and we were able to judge to a pinpoint, stopping distances.

Steering and there are hints of understeer in certain driving circumstances, with one particular corner a great test, at suburban speeds, of who much steering is required versus how far the nose naturally drifts wide or stays on line. Here we found the GV80’s front end requiring only a whiff of extra turn to have the nose where we wanted it to be.

In day to day driving over the seeming too-short week, the GV80 delivered on its promise of a luxury SUV, with the ability to street brawl. It’s an easy park that belies the size, has a beautifully sorted drive and handling setup, and delighted from ignition on to off.

What About Safety?: Standard safety features are extensive, again, as you’d expect. Blind-Spot Collision Avoidance-Assist with Rear/Side vision, Blind-Spot View Monitor, Driver Attention Warning that also includes Leading Vehicle Departure Alert. This beeps gently at the driver to advise the car ahead has moved on from a stop sign or traffic light.

Forward Collision Avoidance Assistance which brings in Car/Pedestrian/Cyclist detection, Junction Turning/Junction Crossing function, plus Rear Cross Traffic Collision Avoidance Assist, Lane-Change Oncoming/Lane-Change Side function, Evasive Steering Assist function, High Beam Assist and Lane Following Assist. The front seats have pretensioning belts. Ten airbags are fitted with a front centre side airbag, thorax and pelvic airbags for the front passengers, and thorax bags for the second row.

What About Warranty And Service?: Industry standard here at five years and unlimited kilometres for the warranty and that includes 24/7 roadside assistance and courtesy vehicle when being serviced. Servicing is performed at a dedicated centre however Genesis will arrange, at a distance of up to 70 kilometres from the main centre, to pick up and return to your place of work or at home. Genesis connected services are coming and information is available online.

At The End Of The Drive. Genesis have delivered a smack in the face to the established brands that provide luxury SUVs. The addition of the somewhat quirky looking GV70 bolsters their offerings in comparison to BMW or Audi or Mercedes with their more extensive range. As a package, the GV80 is what a cricket team needs in a test: a solid and dogged opener, with the ability to lay a foundation that the rest of the team can build upon.

With our week behind the wheel we feel that the GV80, in the specification tested, is a classic opening stand. There is a lot to like and it’s almost perfect straight out of the box. Almost. But the “negatives” such as they are, do very little to dull the shine of what the GV80 offers. And that’s a competitive, price appealing, high driver enjoyment level, raise of the middle finger to other brands and those that sneer at Korean offerings.

 

Driving the Hours of Darkness

One of my favourite times for driving is at night or in the early morning; and by early morning I mean well before ‘sparrow’s fart’.  The roads are mostly empty and everything is quiet and serene.  It is possible to travel during the hours of darkness and quite quickly cover the ground.  Here are some definite advantages of travelling by night, with a few of the disadvantages thrown in as well.

First of all there is nothing quite like the fresh, cool air that you get during nightfall.  A lot of the wildlife has settled for the night and the night air has a pristine smell that I love.  When you get out and stretch and take a break during the night drive, the air is always satisfying and refreshing – but just as long as it’s not a frog strangling gulley washer!  You can hear the silence with only the odd chirp or bark, squeak or rustle of wind filling the air.  Just after midnight, the roads are mostly empty and it can be an ideal time to drive.  You will get the odd long haul truck unit doing the intercity run, but on the whole, I find driving at night to be pretty relaxing.

Who doesn’t like getting places faster?  At night, driving with very few other vehicles on the road means that you can keep up a steadier speed at higher velocity which allows you to cover the ground in a shorter amount of time.  You can hit the speed limit and stay at it for longer.  This is a win-win because it also links in with fuel efficiency, which I’ll touch on later.

Not having the sun about means the night air is cooler, which is a phenomenon that’s rather nice in a hot sunny country by-day – like it is in Australia.  Your air-conditioning requirements are not quite so demanding, therefore avoiding the need to pump through gallons of cool fresh air at maximum levels in order to keep cool inside the car.  You also have less heat streaming in through the closed windows and onto your skin, another nice feature about night driving.  Sun strike is not a problem, either.

If you are getting from A to B quicker at night, then it is obvious that the lack of traffic will mean that the drive will be more fuel efficient.  Because there are fewer cars on the road, your speed is even and you avoid the stop and go motion of other cars around you.  There actions and choices slow you down, and the more of these the slower you go as they the weave in and out of your lane and generally make life more stressful. Because you’re avoiding other cars by travelling at night, you are going to get better fuel efficiency.  A steady higher speed is good for economy.  Putting a lighter load on the air-conditioning system by driving at night in the cooler air is also good for fuel economy.  More economic, cooler, more relaxed, quicker and more fuel efficient at night: now who doesn’t like that?

When you do need to refuel at a gas station, getting fuel at night is a breeze, with nobody around other than the sleepy cashier.  And there are even no cashiers at card-only fuel stations.

As with most things, there can be a downside to night driving.  Yes, you could get sleepy when driving during the hours that you’re normally in bed.  Not many shops open; and should you want to stop for a sleep, then most motels are closed up by 9/10 pm.  Kangaroos and other larger creatures still wander, shuffle or bounce onto the road from seemingly out of nowhere in the dark.  They can even do this in daylight, mind you…

Driving at night is/or can be fun and enjoyable.  I personally enjoy it but realise that it’s not for everyone.  After I have done a long haul at night, I do tend to take things pretty cruisy the next day, while ensuring I get a great night’s sleep the following night.  I sense a few roadies coming on; it is the festive season, after all.

2021 Suzuki Swift GLX Turbo: Private Fleet Car Review

This Car Review Is About: A update to a member of the always popular Swift range. The GLX Turbo, in this case, gets a little extra equipment as part of the Series 2 refresh. For now, it’s also the top of the three tier range as the Suzuki Swift Sport takes a hiatus.How Much Does It Cost?: $25,410 drive-away is what you’ll see as a sticker price. That’s up from the Series 1 price of $22,990 two years ago.

Under The Bonnet Is?: A perky 1.0 litre three cylinder engine, which is good for 82kW and 160Nm from 1,500rpm to 4,000rpm.Transmission is a six speed auto only sadly, and it feels a bit like a dual clutch, but isn’t.

Fuel capacity is 37.0L, with consumption, says Suzuki at 5.1L/100km on the combined cycle. We averaged 6.6L/100km on our 70/30 split.

On The Outside It’s: A mix of 16-inch alloys (common across the three models), dusk-sensing LED headlights, reversing camera, and a body shape that lacks the sharper edged look of the previous model. The headlight design became more of an amorphous blob in the redesign a couple of years ago, whilst the rear lights followed the lead of Baleno and became smaller but stood out and away from the body.

A visual clue for the change from Series 1 to Series 2 update is a chrome bar running horizontally in the grille. The alloys also have been changed slightly.

On The Inside It’s: Featuring cruise control, cloth on the seats, and a reach & rake adjustable steering wheel column. The 7.0 inch touchscreen is the same four quarter starting look seen across the Suzuki family, with no DAB in the audio system. There are smartphone apps though, and the GLX gets an extra pair of speakers over the Navigator and Navigator Plus, making for six all up. For the driver, a 4.3 inch full colour screen shows varying sorts of info, including fuel consumption, speed, and a g-force meter for good measure.Suzuki have always managed to package a small car well, so there’s adequate head and leg room for most, however the sheer size of the Swift means boot space is on the small side at 265L, moving to 576L with seats folded.What About Safety?: A substantial increase for the Series 2. AEB is now standard and works over a broader velocity range. Blind Spot Monitoring and Rear Cross Traffic Alert are now standard. Forward Collision Warning, Lane Keep Assist and Lane Departure Warning are backed up by six airbags and the usual ABS and stability controls.

On The Road It’s: Point and squirt in nature. The three cylinder doesn’t take much to spool up and get the Swift GLX Turbo humming. The transmission hooks up quickly, taking the torque of the little engine that can, translating it quickly and easily to drive. It’s smooth, slick, efficient, and the engine revels in being a free-spinner.

The transmission selector has a hiccup in its design though. It’s s straight through selector, from Park to Drive, and then Manual. There isn’t a lockout or a sideways move to engage, meaning more than once Manual was inadvertently selected and we’re left wondering momentarily why the gears hadn’t changed.The suspension is typical for a small car. There’s very little real suspension travel, having the Swift GLX Turbo bottoming out on the bumpstops too easily. There is barely enough compliance for a truly comfortable ride, with the shock absorbers tuned to dial out the pogo style up and down on undulations more so than “normal” road conditions.

Twirl the steering wheel and there’s enough resistance to provide a sense of sportiness at low speed, and it lightens up, but not too much at freeway velocities. Same for the brakes, as the GLX Turbo has discs all around rather than disc and drum. The pedal has just the right amount of pushback and feedback for the size of the car.What About Warranty And Service?: The Suzuki website has a page where an owner can submit their car’s build details. The Swift Sport comes with a five tear warranty, and with unlimited kilometres. They’ll cover commercial applications such as ride share for up to 160,000 kilometres.

Servicing is 12 monthly or 10,000 kilometres for turbo cars, and Suzuki have capped price servicing for five years or 100,000 kilometres. The first service is $239, followed by $329, $239, $429 then $239.

At The End Of The Drive. In comparison, we drove the Suzuki Sport in mid 2020, and you can see that here.
The GLX Turbo really isn’t that different in spirit and nature, so it remains to be seen if the Swift Sport itself will return in some way. For now though, the 2021 Suzuki Swift GLX Turbo is the current king of the castle in the Swift family.

Do I Need Extended Warranty Cover?

Part of the car purchasing process is deciding how to best take care of your car. Not only by arranging the appropriate level of insurance, but through warranty coverage as well. And while manufacturers typically include a fixed warranty period at the start of each new car’s life, faults sometimes emerge over time and can fall outside this period.

If you purchase a new vehicle from a dealership, the dealer may try sell you an extended warranty. This is designed to cover the cost of repairing mechanical or electrical defects in the years after the original warranty period.

In recent times, more and more car manufacturers like Toyota, Nissan, Kia and Hyundai are offering new car buyers a longer warranty period on their new purchase, so do you really need extended warranty? Before you rush to sign the dotted line, make sure you have taken into account the following points of attention.

 

What does extended warranty cover?

Always investigate precisely what the extended warranty will cover. It is normal for different levels of coverage based on a sliding scale of costs, so understand which car components are covered – and more importantly, which parts are not covered.

Remember, no form of extended warranty will cover against wear and tear, recalls, neglect, as well as criminal or unauthorised activity. Also look closely at the policy start date and any specific requirements to maintain coverage.

You might be paying extra for coverage under a particular policy that offers little to no additional protection, or offers limited compensation as far as protecting parts more likely to need replacing than others. You should assess whether the standard manufacturer’s warranty is adequate, or whether an extended warranty policy is more appropriate.

 

What are your plans with the vehicle?

Think about how you will use the vehicle and what your longer-term vision entails for the car. Some people purchase a vehicle as a temporary asset on their way to upgrading it later.

If this sounds like you, look closely at whether you will realise any benefit on top of the standard manufacturer’s warranty. On the other hand, if you think this new car will be your pride and joy for a long time to come, extended warranty could mitigate future repair risks, especially if the car is generally considered expensive to repair.

Second-hand car buyers may also sign up for extended warranty, which offers some protection given they don’t have visibility into the history of the car. That said, the age of the car will have an influence on the coverage available and the monetary compensation accessible if repairs are necessary.

 

Who is providing the extended warranty and at what cost?

Insurers are the end providers of extended warranty, with the service often referred to as an extended warranty insurance. Be wary of any products that are not insurance policies, particularly ‘discretionary’ warranties. Don’t hesitate to research the provider to ensure that they are of good standing and reputation – there should be plenty of feedback and commentary available online.

From a cost perspective, consider whether the additional expense might deliver sufficient value to make it a worthwhile expense. Not every extended warranty provider will allow transfers to another provider, and cancellation policies – if you were to sell the car, or be involved in a write-off – differ significantly.

Finally, if the extended warranty will be included into your car loan, do not overlook the additional interest expenses this will burden you with until repaid.

Tips For Keeping Your Car in Great Shape

Our cars are made up of some pretty amazing components.  They’ve been designed to last for a long time within a set of parameters by which most of us can adhere to.  Turn the key, and the engine fires up; travel for at least 10,000 km before most new cars need a service; they can take a certain number of people from A-to-B and back again in comfort for years without a hitch; they’ll soak up the bumps we find on a typical road for over 100,000 km before suspension components require replacement.  The cars we drive are pretty well-built; and they need to be, especially as they are often one of the most expensive items that we buy (more than once) over the extent of our lifetime.

Here are some tips to help make your car last for longer:

Wash Your Car

Did you know that one of the toughest substances for your car’s paintwork is bird poop?  If you let this sit on your car’s paintwork for over a week in the sun, it’ll start to work into the paint layers and cause discolouration and marks to appear on those spots.  To a lesser extent tree sap will affect paint surfaces, but it’s also a real pain to get off if it’s been left to bake on for any lengthy period.  So washing your car regularly and polishing it up with a good coat of wax will help your paintwork last much longer and look much nicer.

Avoid Lots of Revs When Cold

Revving your engine a lot when the car engine is cold after it’s been sitting for a long period (like overnight) is a sure way to shorten the engine’s life span.  The oil in your car’s engine is necessary to prevent wear between moving parts, and the problem with revving when the engine is cold is that lubrication doesn’t work as well when the car is cold. The solution is an easy one, and one which is backed by manufacturer recommendations, and that is to always allow your engine to warm up for at least 10-to-15 seconds before starting off.  This allows the oil to get pumped up from out of the sump and to start circulating through the engine components.  The next thing is to avoid fast and heavy acceleration for at least a minute or so, while the engine has that time to warm up.  If you follow these guidelines, then, as the automotive engineers suggest, your car will last many, many thousands of km longer.

Don’t Shift Into Drive When Moving

Most of us drive automatic vehicles these days, and it’s just so easy to flick the car into drive after backing out of a driveway or parking spot while the vehicle is still rolling backward.  This bad habit puts the transmission components under stress and will shorten the life of your gearbox.  Always bring the car to a complete stop before selecting gear and driving off.

Don’t Ignore Servicing and Oil Changes

Do keep an eye on the oil level on your dipstick.  Keep your oil topped up on the dipstick and change it according to your owner’s manual recommendations.  Most modern cars, if well-maintained, won’t even need top ups between services.  However, it is always good to check the oil level and to top up accordingly.  Make sure the oil filter gets changed when the oil is changed too.  Oil changes are part of the servicing requirements and, quite simply, it’s cheap maintenance and cheap insurance for your engine.

Do Avoid the Potholes and Big Bumps

All the suspension components, particularly at the front-end of your car, are precisely aligned.  When this alignment is disrupted by hitting a big pothole or large speedbump at speed, the misalignment afterwards causes major wear on the steering gear and other moving parts, accelerating the wear and the need for replacement.

Water Keeps It Cool

If you’re getting your car serviced on time, then the mechanic will know when each new lubricant and fluid change is due, including the radiator coolant.  However, if you’re doing a lot of the servicing yourself, then one of the items that’s easy to overlook is the changing of the radiator coolant.  The coolant that you put in your car does more than just cool the engine down.  The water should be mixed with antifreeze so that the coolant doesn’t freeze inside the pipes but also to prevent corrosion in the depths of the engine.  A good antifreeze has special corrosion inhibitors in it to stop any galvanic corrosion from occurring.

And there you have it; some handy tips for the holiday season ahead of us.  It might also be a good idea to get your vehicle serviced before you tackle any big roadie, especially if the service is due anytime soon.

Holden History To Go On Tour.

With Holden soon to be all but a part of history as a brand, one final roll of the dice sees a tour of some of the company’s heritage collection vehicles to visit car museums around Australia.
The Managing Director for GM Australia and New Zealand, Marc Ebolo, said over 80 vehicles and 30 engines will be available: “There has been considerable speculation with regards to what was going to happen to these iconic pieces of automotive heritage, and I’m pleased to reveal we are displaying our vehicle collection in Australia. We have never thought about sending it overseas. The vehicles which make up this multi-million dollar collection have been loaned to a variety of museums and will go on display in the very near future. This will be the first time the entire collection of Holden production and concept vehicles has been released simultaneously for public viewing.”

The last half-decade has seen a select group of Holden enthusiasts made up of largely retired souls in Victoria and South Australia cataloguing the collection, working to preserve the historic aspect of the cars and mechanicals, memorabilia, plus print and photo materiel. Some of the items are close to one hundred years old and have been treated with courtesy and respect in order to help tell the story of Holden.The display will start with the saddlery origins in the late 1800s, through to the 48-215 and beyond. “GM is sincerely grateful for the work our Holden Heritage Group of retiree volunteers has done to sort, digitise and safely store many thousands of items relating to Holden’s rich manufacturing and iconic brand history.” said Mr Ebolo. “We are planning to launch a Holden Heritage Collection website next year which will provide enthusiasts with information about the collection, as well as details of where to view the vehicles.”
Assistance was sought from the National Museum of Australia, interested groups and museums, plus the Commonwealth Office for the Arts and the History Trust of South Australia, and Museums Victoria. The idea was to map out a plan best suited to the preservation of the items and how to make it as accessible as possible to visitors and enthusiasts.

The current schedule has the History Trust of SA’s National Motor Museum in Birdwood, South Australia, the state in which Holden began as a saddlery in 1859, as the first location to make the display available. A short list of some of the vehicles includes the Holden Number 1 as unveiled by the then Prime Minister Ben Chifley in 1948, along with the beautiful concept car, “Hurricane” in 1969, and the one millionth Holden, an EJ.

The planning process was comprehensive, with an Advisory Committee formed specifically for the project. The chairman is the Director of the National Museum, Dr Mathew Trinca AM, and the committee was formally announced by the Federal Minister for the Arts, the Hon. Paul Fletcher MP.

“We more than anybody recognise how important this collection is to Australia and particularly to the people who have worked at Holden and owned Holden cars. We greatly appreciate Minister Fletcher’s interest in the Holden collection and the work and valuable advice of Dr Mathew Trinca, the National, Victorian and South Australian museums and interest groups and the Commonwealth Office for the Arts, on how to best preserve our heritage collection in Australia. We hope that with the opening of state borders and as Australians go on holidays, they will visit the various museums where these wonderful Holden cars will be displayed.” said Mr Ebolo.

2021 Isuzu D-Max X-Terrain: Private Fleet Car Review.

This Car Review Is About: Isuzu’s substantially overhauled D-Max, specifically the 4×4 capable and top of the range X-Terrain. It heads a solid list of 4×2, 4×4, cab chassis, extended cab, and four door utes, all with the same 3.0L diesel and six cogger manual or autos. Info on the range and engine updates can be found here.How Much Does It Cost?: At the time of writing, Isuzu have a drive-away price tag of $58,990. Then there is the extensive list, over fifty, of options available.

Under The Bonnet Is: A revamped 3.0L diesel and six speed auto, driving a switchable two or four wheel drive system, with low range and a locking rear differential. Peak power is 140kW, but it’s the peak torque of 450Nm from 1,600rpm to 2,600rpm that does the important stuff.

Economy was good with our final figure of 9.7L/100km on our 70/30 urban to highway split close to the quoted figures from Isuzu, as the pure urban figure is 9.8L/100km, and highway 6.9L/100km. Isuzu’s combined figure is 8.0L/100km from a 76.0L tank. Towing capacity, by the way, is 3.5 tonnes. Dry weight is 2,30kg with a payload of 970kg.On The Inside It’s: A considerable step up from the previous model. There’s a more luxurious feel, a better look, yet some noticeable omissions.

Our time with the X-Terrain coincided with Sydney’s notoriously fickle late spring weather. Temperatures varied by twenty degrees Celsius, so the absence of heating and venting for the leather appointed seats was striking. However, they’ve been redesigned so there’s more sense of sitting in, not on, and the support level laterally goes up as a result. However, only the driver’s seat is powered for adjustability.

There is also no smartphone charge pad, only the driver’s windows switch is one touch, and the DAB tuner’s sensitivity isn’t the best going, with dropouts in areas no other vehicle we’ve tested and packing a DAB tuner having similar issues. Touchscreen size is 9.0 inches and Isuzu say it’s a pixel heavy count, at 144 pixels per square inch. The touchscreen interface for the audio needs polishing, as does the home screen look. It’s somewhat irksome that Isuzu has gone to a lot of trouble to “rebuild” the D-Max yet some basics have been overlooked. This is a top of the range vehicle, but yet…On the upside is the app connectivity and dash display design. It’s unlike virtually everyone else in look, yet it’s easy to read, and easy to use thanks to the steering wheel tabs that scroll information on a full colour LCD screen. The analogue dials are also clearly read, as are the no-nonsense tabs in a strip below the touchscreen. An added pair of pluses are the rain sensing wipers and auto headlights.

The dash itself has angles built into the soft-touch plastics that evoke the angles of the exterior of the D-Max. This includes the creaseline from the left air vent down and across the double glovebox design, with an upper and lower split. There’s a lidded storage locker on the upper dash that has been improved, in the sense the locker mechanism works all the time, every time. The very handy cup holders that pop out from under the left and right air vents remain.Drive is selected via a basic looking pistol grip lever, surrounded by piano black that echoes the material surrounding the touchscreen. The steering column is rake and reach adjustable. Leg room for the front seats is 1,075mm, with the rear seats in the four door ute at 905mm. 1,460mm shoulder room is what is found up front, meaning comfort levels in this aspect are high. Having rear seat air vents and a USB socket, plus a coat or shopping bag hook on the back of the front passenger seat raises the ante too.On The Outside It’s: Clad in a brilliant Cobalt Blue (on the test car), and there are three bespoke colours (two shared with the LS-U) including Volcanic Amber specifically for the X-Terrain. The most noticeable change from the previous model has been the enlargement of the grille which now extends further downwards, and the horizontals which have been flipped 180 degrees. The end plates now look more like teeth, adding an aggressive look.

Headlight design sees a slimming down of the design, and it brings a more assertive look, somehow evoking an eagle or a hawk. The rear lights also have been reprofiled, with a sharper overall look. The aggressive styling continues with strakes in the housing for the driving lights. On the test car was a lockable and rolling tray cover with the rear bumper, fitted with a towbar, having three steps to access the tray.

A stylish rollbar flows back from the roofline, and in a graphite grey plastic (with red highlights) it matches the roofrails and a pair of lower rear quarter aero-foils. Sidesteps and and wheel arch flares finish the package.Rolling stock sees black painted alloys wrapped in Bridgestone Dueller H/T rubber. They’re a good size at 265/60/18. The X-Terrain itself is a good size, measuring a full 5,365mm in total length, 1,785mm in height, and a broad 1,870mm on a 1,570mm track. Wheelbase is up too, from 3,095mm to 3,125mm. Wading depth is now up to 800mm thanks to a redesigned engine bay air intake.

On The Road It’s: A little underwhelming in one respect. There’s noticeable understeer in 2WD, the Duellers lose just enough grip to squeal as they push wide too. The auto suits the engine’s characteristics much better than the six speed manual we tested in the SX recently.

Being a diesel, it does mean that the torque delivery at low revs means it’s an unstressed, easy going, highway spinner. That breathlessness comes in more for suburban driving, especially when pulling away from a set of traffic lights and trying to clear traffic. It’s not the zippiest of engine and gearbox combinations, nor is it the quietest, feeling a little lacklustre in comparison to, say, a Kia Sorento 2.2L and eight speed, which has a similar overall weight. Move away from a suburban stop sign and it pulls cleanly and effortlessly away for the speed zone as the throttle sensor keeps revs lower than accelerating from the aforementioned lights..

The auto is smooth, with up and downshifts mostly invisible. Downhill runs had the transmission holding gear, and again mostly worked well enough, changing up when a human also would have made the change.

Ride quality, considering it’s a commercial oriented vehicle, isn’t horrible. It’s well tied down for the most part, with nicely controlled rebound from the rear leaf sprung suspension, and a well balanced, tauter, double wishbone front end, in comparison. Steering weight is well matched to the ride too, with enough effort required to move the new electronically assisted steering to not feel over-light and thus lose steering feel.

Being four wheel drive capable, there are some big numbers for the angles. Get off road and an approach angle of 30.5 degrees, a departure of 24.2 degrees, and a breakover of 23.8 degrees make for some exceptionally capable dirt eating.Something that stood out, and not entirely in a positive way, was the determination of what the Forward Collision Warning system felt to be a dangerous situation. There’s some recalibration to be done ans it would alert the driver to an object ahead however the brake was already being employed. At other times it would read an object that was turning left or right and therefore no longer a potential issue.

What About Safety?: There are now eight airbags throughout the cabin. In between the front pews is a centre mounted airbag, a segment first. A reverse camera is standard, along with parking sensors at either end. AEB is programmed for speeds above 10kph and has pedestrian & cyclist detection. Lane Keep Assist is standard and works best for speeds between 60 to 130. Forward-collision warning, lane-keeping assistance, lane-departure warning, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert are also fitted.

What About Warranty And Service?: Isuzu’s warranty offers six years or 150,000km, plus they’ll lob in seven years of roadside assistance provided services are done at the dealerships. Service intervals on the new D-Max remain 15,000km or 12 months, covered initially by a seven-year capped-price servicing program. This totals $3374 over that period, with the most expensive service (at 90,000km) costing $749.

At The End Of The Drive. It’s a much improved machine that Isuzu has given the marketplace, and the results are already flowing, with sales of the 4×4 version over 1,500 in November 2020. It takes on the HiLux and Ranger, and outsold the Triton too.

It’s a better looker, the interior has a more upmarket feel, but it still needs some more polishing in a couple of areas for features seen in other marques but not here, such as heating/venting for the seats, or perhaps offering electrical adjustment for the front passenger seat, not just the driver’s. As an overall package, it’s a better option that before, and the coming months will tell the tale sales wise. It looks the part, and pricewise it is poised to take aim at the two above it quite nicely.