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2019 Toyota Land Cruiser VX Diesel: Car Review.

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

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

No wireless charge pad for a smartphone but a sole USB and 12V port. Somewhat disappointingly, the centre console storage box wasn’t a coolbox nor did it seem to cool down by running the rear centre console airvents which have their air channels run alongside the box. That same centre console houses a pair of dials. One is four going to 4WD low range, the other is for the crawler mode.The cabin is roomy but cramped. Roomy because of the sheer size but cramped due to the aging layout. However a white/grey rooflining against a contrasting black lower section does make for an airy feeling, along with the large glasshouse. A sunroof helped too.Out On The Road It’s: A legendary vehicle that, when driven in varying environments, shows why it’s a legend. The timing of the review allowed us to take the VX out to the dusty central north town of Coonamble, via Mudgee and Dunedoo.

The run commenced with an easy two and a half hours to Mudgee, a beautiful and thriving town. Immediately the VX impressed with its easy going, loping, style. But it also showed the aging architecture underneath and the sloppiness of the steering on centre. The suspension gives the impression of wafting the big machine, with the Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System, fitted as standard, absorbing the varying tarmac terrains easily.North of Mudgee is the road to Dunedoo and again the VX Land Cruiser would make this an easy run. What wasn’t easy was the feeling of helplessness from seeing the dead wildlife and the sheer dryness of the countryside. This would only get worse and we headed north from the village to Mendooran and then Gilgandra. from here one can head north-east to Coonabarabran and Siding Spring Observatory in the stark Warrumbungle Ranges, or cruise north west to Coonamble.Increasingly apparent was the struggle between the farmers and Mother Nature. It’s clear that there’s water, but it’s much like a famous line from a song by America. In “A Horse With No Name” there’s a line: “The ocean is a desert with its life underground, and a perfect disguise above”….This is complemented by: “After three days in the desert fun, I was looking at a river bed, and the story it told of a river that flowed, made me sad to think it was dead.” The lines of trees that stretched away into the distance, with some of a lush green, and others of a desperate sign of hanging on, tell the story. And a constant in most areas was the tortured, parched earth either side.Coonamble itself is around 230km from the NSW/QLD border and around 80km from Pilliga, home to a bore water hot spring bath that’s been in operation since 1902. Here, too, are clear indications of how the drought has hurt the bush.

Our hosts in Coonamble were Scott and Jenny Richardson, Blue Mountains residents and living an Aussie dream by having their own pub. With Coonamble’s main businesses being based on sheep and wheat farms, there’s a lot of locals looking to quench their thirst. It also gave AWT a chance to meet and talk about life in a remote town. One of the locals, a dapper gent that had lived in the town all of his life, declared he didn’t entirely believe in climate change, and readily stated that he thought that there is something wrong with the weather as he’d never seen conditions as bad for so long.The road between Pilliga and Baradine gave us a chance to test the gravel handling capability of the Land Cruiser. Rutted, compacted, and with the big footprint of the VX needing constant monitoring, the suspension showed its mettle. Here and throughout the 1300 kilometres covered in two and a half days, the comfort level proved high, with minimum physical fatigue thanks to the way the VX simply ignored the road conditions. That loose steering feel also showed why it was loose; a light grasp on the tiller allows the front end to look after itself and required only minimal input to keep the Land Cruiser on the straight.

Baradine is directly north of the Warrumbungles and here the handling of the VX was tested. Although there’s plenty of rubber on the road, the sheer mass of the Land Cruiser showed that judicious driving was needed when it came to the turns and curves. The upper body movement would prove disconcerting and needing a mental adjustment in where braking points and steering inputs needed to coincide. Some turns marked as 75kmh needed to be driven at that speed in the VX, with others allowing a more natural flow, leaving the car to find its own way through the line from entry to apex to exit.Coonabarabran is in the same need for rain as Coonamble. Surprisingly, with the Siding Spring observatory complex just a short drive west on one of the volcanic plugs that makes up the Warrumbungles, it’s also affected by skylight from Sydney. Siding Spring is the largest astronomical complex in the country, playing host to a vast array of internationally operated sites and is the hub to the Solar System Highway. This is a virtual model of the solar system, with the inner four planets just minutes away from the mountain top, and Pluto is three hours drive away.

Heading west from Coonamble through the national park this road also tests handling and ride quality. Once on the western side of the extinct volcano, the road becomes sandy, gravelly, and has moments of tarmac as it winds its way to Coonamble. The actual drive experience varies; acceleration can be easy and gradual when needed. And that 600Nm comes into play when required too, with a surprising alacrity when pressed.Again the distinction between underground waterways, the bore water that makes up some of the water supplies, and the drier than the moon’s surface farmland, was palpable. Lonely sheep and cattle wandered almost aimlessly in vast dusty paddocks, yet, occasionally, patches of emerald green shone thanks to hard working pumps tapping the subterranean water supplies. Back in Coonamble and the signs that encouraged the locals to shop local became more and more frequent. The VX shows why the Land Cruiser is so ideally suited for this kind of drive. The torque of the engine and the gearbox’s ratios has the tacho ticking over at just 2,000 at better than highway speeds thanks to the six speed auto, and simply hauls the constant 4WD beast through the sand and gravel without a second thought. There’s no doubt that one of the transmissions that have an extra two or three cogs would help economy and drastically change the driving behaviour.

Although just six in the number of cogs thou shalt count to, it’s a slick, smooth, shifter. It’ll hold gear nicely on downhill runs, using the engine as a brake, and on acceleration, and as slow as it can be at times, shifts are mostly invisible. And sometimes the slide into sixth was perceptible but not overtly noticeable. Naturally Sports Mode is available but was not used, and neither are there paddle shifters anyway, hinting at the intended usage of the driveline.All through the drives two things shone: the muted burble of the V8 and the sheer lack of fatigue often found in other cars. Noise insulation is high, that aforementioned ride and comfort level too must contribute to the lack of weariness unexpectedly felt.

The return journey gave the VX a chance to stretch its legs and again it showed that for all of its prowess it’s still restricted in a couple of ways. It’s a big and heavy machine, and prone to diving under braking. It’s a big and heavy machine and needs to be gentled, not hustled, through quite a few corners. And that six speed auto does sometimes need an extra couple of cogs.The same trip also showed why the focus by the NSW Government and Highway patrols on speed will never reduce the road toll. On a sweeping left hand corner south of Mudgee, a two lane section with double white lines, one particular driver took it upon himself to pass a line of traffic into a blind corner. There was oncoming traffic that could be seen from the head of the queue but not from where this boofhead started from. Somehow, somehow, nothing occurred. No, he wasn’t alone in his dangerous driving, with plenty of other examples seen.At least there is a decent amount of safety kit inside the VX. There are airbags front to rear. Blind Spot Detection is standard and is Rear Cross Traffic Alert. Front parking sensors are also standard.

When it comes to servicing and warranty, a driver can book a service via the myToyota app. Toyota offer a standard five year warranty which can be extended to seven if the car is serviced at a Toyota dealership.

At The End Of the Drive. It’s been said that Australia is largely responsible for the success of the Land Cruiser, and in a drive such as this that covered suburban and deep country, it’s close to heaven for this kind of vehicle. The low revving V8 is ideal for long distance hauls, the comfort level showcases just how important fatigue reduction is, and then there is the off road ability that is almost unquestionably a leader. However it’s that same soft and wafty suspension that counts against it in some areas, economy wasn’t close to the combined figure, and that mass…..Right here is where you can find more.

 

 

2019 Toyota C-HR: Private Fleet Car Review.

This Car Review Is About: The 2019 Toyota C-HR. It can be seen as an alternative companion to the RAV4. Alternative because it’s a different option, companion becuase it’s a five door SUV that seats five. It’s a two-model range, with the Koba as the other entry. Under The Bonnet Is: A turbocharged 1.2L petrol engine. There is a manual transmission or CVT for the entry level, CVT only in the Koba. Opt for the CVT and it’s front wheel or all wheel drive for a choice. Peak power is 85kW between 5,200rpm to 5,600rpm. Torque is a bit more useable, with 185 of them between 1,500rpm and 4,000rpm. Economy is quoted as 6.3L/100km on the combined cycle. On our urban drive we saw a best of 7.4L, and a worse of 7.9L/100km. Recommended fuel is 95RON. There is no paddle shift in the base model, just the transmission selector for manual shifting.What’s It Cost?: Toyota’s website says the 2WD starts from around $30, 500 in Hornet Yellow. Head to a metallic colour and that goes to just over $31K. The AWD will start from around $34,700. You’ll get a five year and unlimited kilometre warranty. Servicing can be booked via the myToyota app.

On The Inside Is: A reasonable amount of standard equipment and safety features for the ask. It starts with something basic but useable in the shape ofI an auto dimming rear vision mirror. There are auto headlights, dual zone aircon, but no DAB in the overly boomy audio system. The 6.1inch touchscreen system has a CD to make up for the lack of digital radio, plus USB & Bluetooth connectivity. Satnav and voice activation are also standard is the ToyotaLink app function.SafetySense is the name Toyota give to their suite of driver aids, and the C-HR has Lane Departure Warning, Auto High Beam, Blind Spot Alert and Rear Cross Traffic Alert. Autonomous Emergency Braking and Active Cruise Control are standard as well, as are seven airbags.Trim material in the C-HR is black and black. This may make the interior somewhat claustrophobic for some, as there is a hunchbacked look thanks to the rear window line being steeply sloped. There is some triangular shaped embossing in the roof lining which matches the interior light above the manually operated front seats and mirrors the rear light design. For the driver there is a sense of having their own office space. the dash sweeps around from the window to the centre stack, and this faces towards the driver’s seat. Trim here is of a piano black and there’s some smartly integrated buttons for the aircon controls.On The Outside It’s: Not unpleasing but definitely one example of beauty is in the eye of the beholder. This is down to the profile. The rear roof line slopes dramatically forward from the tail lights, which can compromise interior headspace for taller people. There’s a huge roof-lip spoiler too, which in the Hornet Yellow is noticeable. The wheel arches and guard are pumped out from the body and these are defined by strong crease lines coming down from the windscreen and rear window.

Overall length is 4,360mm, with a wheelbase of 2,640mm. Height is 1,565mm and width is 1,795mm.

The rear doors have a severe upwards kink to meet the roofline which means it looks like boot space is compromised. However, there’s enough boot space to house a week’s shopping for a family of four. It’s a high floor though, meaning a bit more of a lift to get items in. The front end bears (bore) a striking resemblance to the now outgoing RAV4 and features a triangular LED driving light cluster inside the angular headlight design. Alloys are 17 inch in size and on the C-HR have a design that somehow emphasizes the spinning when underway.

On The Road It’s: One of the few vehicles with a CVT that benefits from using the “manual” part of the gear selector. Programmed with seven ratios to mimic a standard auto, it’s far more responsive to using it manually. Use the C-HR in auto and it becomes what a 1.2L engine suggests. It suggests nothing special, it suggests sluggish, needing a heavy right foot. Move the lever to the right, pull back for M1, hit the go pedal, and tip forward for upshifts, and it comes alive. Forward movement seems to have far more sizzle and pizzaz than leaving the transmission to do it all by itself. Changes are swift, crisp, and really allow the driver to take advantage of the torque delivery.The engine itself is quiet though, with no audible appeal and neither is there anything at the exhaust’s end to suggest anything exciting. No rasp, no fizz, no….well, anything.
Ride quality though is average at best. The MacPherson strut front seems indecisive; should I be soft or should I bang on bumps? The steering rack didn’t help. There would be input at the same velocities having more response than others. The trailing arm double wishbone rear end also had issues, with a harder than expected setup banging away on otherwise normally non-intrusive bumps. On the road the steering feel is numb. There’s no real sense of communication from the front and although it’s not a guess where it’s pointing proposition, it doesn’t really provide a chance to converse with the front either. The Bridgestone Dueler rubber wasn’t a fan of the wet too. The front end had noticeable push-on understeer on wet roads, meaning that throttle usage had to be carefully weighed up. The AWD mode is automatic, meaning the driver can’t select any drive mode at all. There is a graphic for the driver that’s displayed on the 4.2 inch driver’s display screen. It’s a combination G-Force and drive apportion graphic, and a hard launch shows the drive being sent to the rear wheels and easing off in conjunction with the accelerator being eased off.

At The End Of The Drive: The C-HR is, for AWT, a conundrum. It’s a vehicle that offers an alternative but at the point of being why so. The RAV4 does everything the C-HR does and now offers a hybrid. But in terms of market alternatives Toyota have to have something that competes against what Mazda, Hyundai, Nissan et al have. the problem here is that the C-HR is a case of doing nothing terribly bad, it simply doesn’t do anything outrageously special. Make up your own mind here.

Updates And Freebies For Triton, Eclipse Cross, And Colorado.

Mitsubishi has released details of its 2020 updates for the Triton, and Holden has confirmed some special servicing costs for the Colorado.

Any buyer of a Colorado that is delivered between October 1 and December 31 will receive free scheduled servicing for seven years. It covers all LS, LSX, LTZ and Z71 4×4 vehicles, and this will save owners over $3,000. This is up and over the standard five year warranty for the Colorado. This offer also applies to Holden’s seven-seat SUV’s Acadia and Trailblazer. The Triton range has been given a tickle, with the GLS and GLX+ models receiving a rear diff lock as standard. The GLS now has keyless start as standard and the double cab GLX+ now gets a air circulator for the rear seat passengers.In the driveline section, Mitsubishi’s Easy-Select 4WD is fitted to the GLX+ model. With the twist of a dial 2WD, 4WD high range and 4WD low range are made available. Move up to the GLS and GLS Premium the Super-Select 4WD-II offers 2WD and 4WD high range, plus what Mitsubishi calls 4HLc (lock up) and 4LLc (lock up in low gear). The electronics are programmed to provide Gravel, Mud/Snow, Sand, and Rock capability And when equipped with 18 inch wheel and tyres, ground clearance is 220mm. This gets added to the 31 degree approach angle, 23 degree departure angle, and “break over” angle of 25 degrees.Pricing for the Triton range starts at $22,490 4X2 GLX Cab Chassis 2.4L Man Petrol (RRP). This is the only petrol engine in the range, with the 4X2 GLX Cab Chassis 2.4L Man Diesel clocking in at $25,990. The Club Cab 4×4 GLX Cab Chassis 2.4L Man Diesel starts the second tier at $35,490, with the dual cab range starting with the 4×2 GLX ADAS Pick Up 2.4L Auto Diesel at $36, 290. before topping out with the 4×4 GLS Premium 2.4L Pick Up Auto Diesel at $51,990.

The Eclipse Cross has been given some extra fruit, especially for the LS. Here it’s been given all wheel drive and S-AWC or Super All Wheel Control. Part of the system involes AYC, Active Yaw Control, which controls the brakes and power steering to regulate torque split between the left and right. The top of the tree Exceed gains black headlining and illuminated front door trims. The limited run Black Edition, which is fitted with a front skid plate, black front bumper and radiator grille, black interior and black spoiler, is also fitted with variable auto rain-sensing windscreen wipers, dusk sensing headlamps with auto high beam, fog lamps and forward collision mitigation.

Paint options for the Black Edition are Starlight, Black, Red Diamond and Titanium. Costs are $690 for the metallic & pearlescent paints, however they’re free on Black Edition vehicles. Prestige paint is $890 or $300 on Black Edition. All models have these colour options except for the Black Edition: White, Starlight, Sterling Silver, Titanium Black, Lightning Blue, and Red Diamond. The range starts with the ES 2WD & CVT at $29,990, the LS 2WD is $31,990 with the AWD version at $34,490. the Exceed 2WD and 4WD versions are $36,690 and $39,190. The Black Edition is $31,690 and is 2WD only. All prices are RRP and exclude on-roads.

Nissan Patrol Updated for 2020

Nissan has shown off the new 2020 Nissan Patrol. There has been additions to the equipment and a reskin of the solid looking machine.

Significant changes see the Nissan “V-grille”reinterpreted for the new Patrol and it’s bracketed by a pair of boomerang LED driving lights.  This is mirrored by a similar design in the rear lights. Sequential indicators have also been added, a first for Nissan.“The Patrol is one of our longest-standing and most cherished models, with a long and proud heritage,” said Joni Paiva, regional vice president of the Africa, Middle East and India region at Nissan. The new Nissan Patrol represents the peak of luxury and ultimate capability and will continue to provide authentic experiences to its loyal customers in the Middle East and around the world.”

The interior has been given a makeover also. A redesigned centre console features dual displays which incorporate Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The leather pews are diamond-stitch quilted and have been given extra padding for that luxurious touch. There is also a hand-stitch covering on the tiller. Climate control and powered lumbar support can be optioned for the front seats. Passengers can also feel a bit more cossetted thanks to changes in the structure. Noise, vibration, and harshness, have been reduced for a higher level of comfort, plus the aircon has been improved.Nissan’s own Intelligent Mobility technologies provide a high safety standard. Blind Spot Warning, AEB with pedestrian detection, Forward Collision Warning become standard for the 2020 Patrol.

A V6 engine with 205kW and 394 Nm of torque is the entry level engine. Buyers can also choose a 5.6-litre V8 produces 298kW horsepower and 560 Nm of torque. Drive hits the tarmac and dirt with an All-Mode 4×4 system that provides different drive options depending road conditions. Hydraulic Body Motion Control, available on V8 models, ensures a more comfortable ride thanks to improved suspension and vibration reduction.

An on-sale date and pricing for Australia are yet to be confirmed.

Jeep Grand Cherokee Hits The Summit.

Jeep Australia has released details about a new range topping version of the Jeep Grand Cherokee. The Summit will be available from $84,450 plus on-roads. Power will be supplied via a Remote Start capable 3.0L V6 diesel with 184kW and a hefty 570Nm of torque. Transmission is an eight speed auto, with a mooted combined consumption figure of 7.0L per 100 kilometres. Oomph hits the dirt and tarmac via the Quadra-Drive and Selec-Terrain system that includes Snow, Rock, Mud, Sand, and Auto. The Quadra-Lift suspension has five preset ride height positions. Towing is rated as up to 3.5 tonnes.Outside are 20 inch wheels, and includes the Platinum Package. That includes Platinum chrome and gloss black Jeep 7-slot grille and front & rear lower fascia applique. Unique features outside include a refined front fascia with LED fog lights. The rear is also restyled and includes a pair of trapezoidal exhaust tips. Sill cladding and wheel arches, mirror caps and door handles are body coloured.

Inside are NaturaPlus leather seats, suede-like headlining, and “Summit” illuminated door sill plates. Above the passengers is the Dual-Pane glass sunroof. Harman Kardon supply a 19 speaker, 825 Watt amp, sound system, UConnect 8.4 inch Touchscreen with Digital Radio, Bluetooth Phone/Audio and Navigation, plus Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Seats front and are powered and heated, as is the tiller. Front seats are vented as well, a smart move for the Australian market. Safety features are ticked, with the basic and extras. Reverse camera partners with front & rear parking sensors, as does the Adaptive Cruise Control with Forward Collision Warning. Blind Spot Detection and Rear Cross Traffic Warning are backed by Lane Departure Warning.

Options are limited to just the Signature Leather-Wrapped Interior Package. This includes ‘Laguna’ quilted leather seats, leather wrapped upper and lower door panels, plus leather wrapped console and glovebox. Rear seat passengers can have a Blu-Ray/DVD Entertainment system.Interior noise is reduced courtesy of the acoustic rear windscreen and second row door glass. This helps to enhance the Harmon Kardon “Active Noise Cancellation” technology and is said to reduce exterior noise by up to 10dB.

Head to hthe Jeep Australia website for more.

New Model News from Land Rover and Mini.

Jaguar Land Rover has unveiled their new Defender. There’s a faint resemblance to the original with a three and five door shape, but it’s underneath and in construction that’s all new. At launch there will be a 90 Series and a 110 Series. There will be six levels of trim: Defender, S, SE, HSE, Defender X, and First Edition. Pricing is yet to be confirmed, with the 90 said to start from around $60, the 110 from around $70K. Accessory packs are grouped under four headings: Explorer, Adventure, Country and Urban.

The body frame is aluminuim and rated as being three times stiffer than a body on chassis design with steel body panels. The drive system offers hybrid power, plus diesel and petrol. At launch, the petrol line-up comprises a powerful six-cylinder with 297kW, featuring efficient Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicle technology. The diesel options are a pair of four-cylinder diesels, at 147kW and powerful 177kW. Ground clearance will enable a wading depth of up to 900mm. Sheer vertical front and rear designs aid in the departure and approach angles and a Wade Response program automatically adjusts the suspension. Wheel choice is varied with 12 different versions, including retro look pressed steel items.

The axles are now independent, not rigid, with air suspension an option on the 90 Series. The 110 Series will have it as standard. Seating for the 90 will be up to six, with the 110 offering more flexibility with up to seven seats. Passengers can get a glimpse of what’s around via the ClearSight Ground View technology. It shows areas usually hidden by the bonnet, directly ahead of the front wheels, on the central touchscreen. Along with the Wade program, a Configurable Terrain Response provides different driving abilities.

Deliveries are due to start for Australia in mid 2020. Another Iconic British nameplate, Mini, also released news of the Cooper SE. Powering this will be a 135kW electric engine. The three door machine will hit the 100km/h in around 7.3 seconds and has an estimated range of between 230km to 275km. Mini have chosen the smart floor mount route for the battery, meaning a low centre of gravity and this helps with handling. It also means that the interior packaging remains the same. MINI Australia General Manager Brett Waudby said: “The MINI Cooper SE Hatch marks a new era for our brand in providing our customers with a progressive mobility solution wrapped in a package that is unmistakably MINI in its look, feel and the way it drives.”

Mitsubishi Levels Up With Outlander.

Mitsubishi have released details of updates to their popular Outlander. The stylish SUV has been updated to deliver a more refined and functional vehicle with a number of specification changes across the range.

The new exterior includes a monotone 18 inch alloy wheel for the ES model, along with a black cloth trim, with piano black door and dash trims. Mid-spec LS models have a microsuede seat trim with synthetic leather bolsters, with piano black and silver pinstripe door & dash trims. The top of the range Exceed models have black leather trim, with carbon fibre design and silver pinstripe door & dash trims. Also for 2020, the Exceed incorporates the latest generation of Mitsubishi’s Super All Wheel Control (S-AWC) system with active yaw technology. This incorporates a choice of driving modes, which are Eco, Normal, Snow and now incorporates Gravel.Safety technology has been given a wave of the magic wand. The ES 2.4L model has been given Forward Collision Mitigation as standard, along with rain sensing wipers, dusk sensing headlamps and auto dimming for the rear view mirror. In the Exceed model, the Outlander is the first model in the Mitsubishi range to display speed limit information in multi-information display sourcing data from the navigation app.

Inside, the introduction of a power lumbar adjustment has improved driver comfort across the range. Redesigned second-row seats have improved cushioning, offering a more comfortable driving experience for passengers. Passengers also benefit from the introduction of an additional rear USB charging port, and improved air-conditioning controls controls.

There is also a new overhead console. It blends the sunglasses holder, seatbelt reminder and passenger airbag cut-off indicator. The Exceed has a sunroof which locks out this new addition.Derek McIlroy, Deputy Director of Marketing and Operations, said of the vehicle: “Outlander drivers are looking for an SUV they can use for their daily drive, but they can count on for their next adventure. The Outlander is equipped with excellent handling through the Super All Wheel Control (S-AWC) system, in addition to ample cargo space. This year we’ve strengthened the range by taking customer feedback and adding additional safety, comfort and infotainment features. It’s a flexible and great value SUV.”

The colour choice is extensive. Mitsubishi lists: White, Starlight, Sterling Silver, Titanium, Black, Ironbark, and Red Diamond.Pricing starts for the five seater 2.0L ES with a manual transmission at a RRP (plus government and dealership charges) of $29,490. $33,290 is the price for the ES five seater and CVT, with the LS being exclusively a seven seater. The 2WD seven seater petrol and CVT starts at $34,290, and the AWD petrol and diesel from $36,790 & $40,290. The  range topping Exceed has a petrol or diesel, and is priced from $43,290 for the petrol, and from $46,790 for the diesel. Head to the Mitsubishi website for details.

Car Review: 2019 Isuzu MU-X LS-U

This Car Review Is About: The 2019 spec Isuzu five door MU-X LS-U. It’s also available in LS-T and LS-M spec and comes in 4×2 and 4×4 driveline options. The range was given a largely cosmetic upgrade in early 2019. It’s currently available in a drive-away package (LS-U 4×4) at $50,490. Recommended retail is $52,400 plus on roads for a RRP of $57,674.Under The Bonnet Is: The rattly 3.0L that makes 130kW and a handy 430Nm of torque from 2,000 to 2,200 revs per minute. In context, that’s below the 500Nm from the 2.8L as found in the Holden Colorado…At just under 1000rpm there is 300Nm and that peak torque is on tap through a narrow rev range of just 500rpm. There’s still 350Nm available at 3,500rpm but it’s a very noisy exercise taking the engine past 3,000rpm. It’s possibly one of the noisiest diesels available in a passenger vehicle when pushed even moderately however, compared to the D-Max utes there is extra noise shielding in the engine bay and transmission tunnel. It bolts to a six speed auto with sports shift and an electronic low range locking system.Economy is quoted as 7.9L/100km for the combined, 9.5L/100km for the urban, and 6.9L/100km for the highway from a 76L tank. In our drive loop we saw a best of 7.8L/100km for the seven seater, and an overall average of 8.1L/100km. Isuzu rate the towing capacity as up to 3.5 tonnes.

On The Inside It’s: Cloth seats for the LS-U, easy pull straps for the third row seats, and a raised cargo floor with covered storage behind them. As it’s clearly based on the D-Max it’s virtually identical otherwise. There is no seat heating, no seat venting. The LS-U’s front seats are manually adjusted. Rear seat passengers have plenty of leg room, and there is a USB port for the centre row passengers at this trim level. The third row seats aren’t recommended for anyone of infant or adult size.The LS-U starts with a traditional key. Isuzu fitted the review car with rubber floor mats front and rear. Only the driver has a one touch window up/down switch in both. The centre console houses the dial for the two or four wheel drive modes, and there are two bottle/cup holders. The driver and passenger have a pull out cup holder, and each door has bottle holders. Near the driver’s knee is some switchgear including one that looked like an On/Off switch for the parking sensors.Sounds come via an 8.0 inch touchscreen, with AM/FM, Bluetooth, no Android Auto/Apple CarPlay, CD, USB and 3.5mm inputs, and even a HDMI connection hidden behind a flexible rubber tab at the bottom of the centre console stack. There is no DAB or Digital Audio Broadcast. The screen’s display is the same as the D-Max, meaning it really needs a massive overhaul. It also features the same driver alert warning note that will stay on screen for as long as the car is running if the OK tab isn’t touched. The driver faces a basic looking but functional dash, with a pair of dials bracketing a display screen that shows trip distances, economy, expected range, and the diesel particulate filter status. Australian spec cars have the right hand stalk as the indicator and the left as wipers, and each has a button at the end of the stalk to access the screen info. The wipers themselves aren’t auto nor is there an Auto headlight setting. This is an oversight in the interest of safety, as a driver can too easily not switch the lights on in situations such as dusk or when it’s raining.Actual switchgear is mostly well laid out and accessible with the minor accessories ports located at the bottom of the stack. The centre stack features Isuzu’s standard aircon controls, with a huge dial for temperature as the hub. Fan controls are on one side, mode on the other, and the dial itself shelters a small LCD screen to indicate what’s going on. The dash itself is a double scallop design, with a stitched leather look to the materials. Fit and finish is mostly ok however the leading edges of the doors have a gap of about a centimetre to the plastics wrapping the windscreen. The upper dash storage locker here at least did open without issue, unlike one found in the D-Max. Total cargo capacity is up to 1830L with the second and third row seats folded flat. With the third row only down it’s 878L.On The Outside It’s: Largely similar to the D-Max from the front to the rear of the second row doors. Here it’s the addition of a the big pillar, roof, and non-powered tailgate, with a towbar added here as well. Rubber is 255/60/18 H/T or Highway Terrain tread from Bridgestone. There are, though, front and rear parking sensors and the warning tone inside is a very high pitched screech, making it unmistakeable in intent. Headlights are self-levelling and there are LED driving lights. The lower front bumper is bespoke for the MU-X.

Out On The Road It’s: More of the same as that found in the D-Max. Steering is a little more assisted than the utes meaning turning and car parking driving is moderately easier. The rear suspension is a rigid live axle and coil springs, with the front being coil springs and gas shocks. Ride is more composed, more family friendly. The engine is the same rackety clackety noisy, just muted thanks to that extra insulation. It’s the same thrashy rattle from a start when pushed, more restrained off throttle, and almost invisible on idle and in cruise. It’s a determined load lugger too, and in no way can it be considered sporting. There’s a moment of turbo lag before the engine gets lively, and even then it’s a relaxed, don’t hurry we’ll get there, proposition.The transmission is the same in that it’s mostly smooth, will drop a cog or two for downhill runs and engine braking, but will exhibit moments of indecisive shifting as well. On a normal acceleration run it’s slurry with hints of change, will downshift after a pause when the accelerator is pushed, but it’s a leisurely progression forward.

On the upside it’s a brilliant highway cruiser. That relaxed attitude sees the legal freeway speed ticking the engine over at 1800rpm and it’s here that it’s in airplane cruise mode. You know it’s there but it’s settled into the deep thrum that eventually becomes background noise. There is some road noise and the handling shows that the mixed terrain tyres are a compromise at best on tarmac. The front end of the MU-X is prone to running wide but not as wide as the D-Max, and it’s not helped by a steering ratio that has the nose move barely from a quarter to half turn of the wheel. It’s great when off-roading where that flexibility is needed, but normal driving needs something tighter. Also, the steering isn’t as assisted as that found in the MU-X, meaning more arm effort is required.Brake pedal feel is nearly as numb as the D-Max, with perhaps a bit more initial feedback on the downward travel.

The four wheel drive system is electronic and Isuzu call it Terrain Command. Up to 100km/h the car will accept a change to 4WD high range, but for low range it must be stopped, and the transmission placed in neutral. A push of the cabin dial, a clunk as the transfer case engages, and the MU-X will be ready to get dirty. By the way, this is the only drive mode change available, there are no programs for Snow, Mud, etc. Approach angle is 30.0 degrees, with a departure angle of 22.7 degrees. Rollover angle is good too, with 22.3 degrees available.

The Level Of Safety Is: Average. The mandated safety systems are here, there are six airbags, Hill Start and Hill Descent control are here but there is no Autonomous Emergency Braking, no Blind Spot Detection, no Rear Cross Traffic Warning. However, the ABS is a properly sorted four channel system and the reverse camera is of a reasonable quality. Underneath the 4×4 capable MU-X is a sump guard plate that also covers the electrically driven transfer case.

And The Warranty Is: Now up, to counterbalance the price rise, to six years/150,000 kilometres. Roadside assistance is also six years, up from five. According to Isuzu their research says most drivers don’t go over the 20,000 kilometre mark in a year. In regards to service: the D-Max sees 12 months or 15,000 kilometre service intervals with the first service just $350. Second year service is $450, with year three $500. Make it to Year 4 it’s down to $450, then it’s $340, $1110, and year seven is $400.

At The End Of The Drive.
The MU-X is much like the Pajero Sport, the Trailblazer, the Pathfinder. All based on a ute with off-road ability, they’re clunky, agricultural, but still manage to deliver a form of comfort and there’;s the added extra flexibility of the third row seats. Isuzu is a truck maker, not a small sedan or hatch maker, and it shows. There’s value and that appeals, but for real appeal the interior and handling need a serious lift.

Isuzu has seen increased sales of the D-Max range, ahead even of its sibling by any other name, the Colorado. It’s a vehicle that really wins on price, a modicum of ok good looks, and possibly an appeal to those that don’t need what others seem to see as required. It’s an earnest, basic, no frills machine, and with pricing now backed by an extended warranty, there’s more appeal there. Those looking for a higher level of safety, a quieter driveline, and ride quality need to look elsewhere. If it still grabs your attention, go to the Isuzu website

Playing Big In A Small SUV: Kia Seltos

It’s a big market that has small(ish) SUVs selling almost as quickly as they come off the production line and Kia has revealed details of the forthcoming Seltos. There will be four specification levels: S, Sport, Sport+ and GT-Line. Kicking off at around $26K the S will have 16 inch alloy wheels. Up front will be halogen driving lights, whilst inside will be cruise control, an 8.0 inch touchscreen that will have the Apple CarPlay/Android Auto apps, whilst safety in the entry level will have Autonomous Emergency Braking, Lane Keep Assist, rear camera and sensors.

The second level Sport is slated to be sub $30K also and will roll on 17 inch alloys, plus the spare is looking to be a full sizer. Aircon is climate control, and the touchscreen goes to a HD style 10.25 inch. Kia keeps baiting the hook with the Sport+. Seats will be wrapped in cloth and faux leather and front pews, plus the tiller, will be heated. The top of the ladder GT-Line will appeal even further with a sub $40K price tag. That brings LED driving lights and their now traditional ice cube fog lights. Factor in mood lighting, venting for the front seats, and a wireless charge pad for compatible smartphones, and there’s plenty to like. All cars will have LED headlights and tail lights.
Exterior design cues harken to the outgoing Soul with a hint of Volvo XC40 in the rear window line. The traditional “tiger nose” grille is here with a new, raised, diamond look. Depending on trim, tyres will be 205/60 R16, 215/55 R17 or 235/45 R18. Paintwork is taken up a level too, with a vibrant choice of colours. Cherry Black, Snow White Pearl, Steel Gray, Gravity Gray, Mars Orange, Neptune Blue, Dark Ocean Blue and Starbright Yellow will be available in various markets and this also covers a two tone offering. Buyers can select the roof in Cherry Black, Platinum Gold or Clear White to go with the various body colours.Sizewise the Seltos nudges at a medium SUV, with 4370mm in length and overhangs of 850mm. The wheelbase, of 2,630mm, provides plenty of human friendly space inside. It’s possibly the biggest for space in its segment and that includes the bootspace of 498 litres VDA or 752 litres SAE. Front seat passengers will enjoy up to 1051mm legroom, 1409mm shoulder space, and 1017mm headroom. Basic trim will be greys and blacks, however the materials will be soft touch, and the seats will have geometric motifs. Engines will be a 1.6L turbo four with 130kW and 265Nm, a naturally aspirated 2.0L with 110kW and 180Nm, and there will be the familiar drive modes of Eco, Sport, and Normal. The smaller turbo engine will power either the front or all wheels via a seven speed dual clutch auto, with the other running a new for the brand CTR, and again front or all wheel drive. Suspension tunes were finalised here in Australia and will be a mix of torsion beam rear and MacPherson strut fronts for the two wheel drive. Multilink rears will handle the AWD versions.Expected Australian sales will commence in the fourth quarter.

SUV Favourites

SUVs are popular, and the reason for this is because they offer motorists increased safety, plenty of cargo area, and interior space is good for seating comfort.  There is plenty of SUV choice out there and, with diesel, petrol, electric and hybrid options available, a new SUV buyer has plenty to think about before making their final decision on which SUV to buy.  Ultimately, their choice will come down to their own individual preferences, their driving habits and on what they can afford to buy.  Here are some of the best SUVs you can buy new in Australia.  The list is not exhausted, but the following SUVs are popular for good reason.

Mazda is the favourite SUV for Australians.  Mazda’s popular CX series includes the small CX-3, mid-size CX-5, big CX-8 and largest CX-9 models.  They all boast nice clean design which always looks good, and their modern styling has given Mazda an edge.  Offering a wide range of SUV sizes in their line-up, Mazda has what you need when it comes to SUVs.  Mazda’s CX SUVs all drive very nicely, and are efficient, safe and reliable.  Buy one of the new Mazda CX Series vehicles and you can’t go far wrong.

We all know that Toyota is a very strong contender on all vehicle matters.  When it comes to a new Toyota SUV you know that you’re going to get a very well built vehicle that lasts the distance.  You can get yourself one of the larger well-known Land Cruiser and Prado models that boast very competent off-road ability.  However, Toyota’s SUV line-up also includes SUVs with light off-road capabilities in the form of the RAV4 and Kluger models which are surprisingly spacious and nice to drive.  For those who like the thought of owning a compact SUV, Toyota offers the chic C-HR which is beautifully stylish and funky.  The RAV4 Hybrid is going to be a hit for those who will appreciate its fuel economy and low emissions.  Again you can’t fault Toyota reliability, safety and overall value.

Mitsubishi offers the Outlander, ASX and Eclipse SUVs, and with their highly accomplished Outlander PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle).  This is definitely a brand worth looking into for your next SUV drive.  On all accounts Mitsubishi SUVs are stylish, well-equipped, safe and practical, remaining clockwork reliable for many km after purchase.

A new Subaru Forester or Outback SUV is always going to look great parked up your driveway, and they do look somewhat sleeker and even sportier than typically chunkier SUV drives.  Do check out the spunky little ‘XV’ which is sporty and characterful.  For driving satisfaction, safety and new car reliability, Subaru have for a long time been very strong.

Plenty more Kia SUVs are running on our roads, and this is for good reason.  Kia Sportage and Sorento SUVs are excellent medium-to-large SUV models that are rugged, reliable and stylish.  New Kia SUVs are very well equipped and safe SUVs to drive.  They are pleasant to drive, can tackle off-road excursions with AWD, and they remain reliable and practical SUVs throughout their ownership.

Honda give us their sleek HR-V and CR-V models which look good, remain ever-reliable, and on a practical note sing sweetly with good fuel efficiency to boot.  There are many loyal Honda fans out there, and the new SUV models are solid buys.  Buy a luxury CR-V and you’re in for a treat.  The car has plenty of smooth power, practical space, nice comfort levels and plenty of modern technology.

Nissan brings a good level of choice for new SUV buyers.  All Nissan SUV models (which include the: smaller Juke, medium-sized Qashqai and X-Trail, and the larger Pathfinder) are very stylish to drive.  Their top of the range varieties offer premium luxury and are very well-equipped.  Pathfinders and X-Trails do have some clever 4×4 drivetrains which can take you more off-road places than you might expect.

BMW appeals as a luxury SUV choice, and for good reason.  BMW ‘X’ SUVs are polished performers that do a whole lot of things very well.  Space is good, comfort good, economy can be good, and handling is very good along with performance.  With plenty of models available in the ‘X’ series the SUV buyer has loads of choice – large or small and anything in between.  And if the standard ‘X’ series variants aren’t exciting enough, you can always upgrade to the ‘M’ versions which are star performers in their field.  They boast sportier features, too.

Audi is another premium brand that is selling surprisingly well in the SUV market.  The SUV luxury brand offers an extensive range of vehicles that are known as Audi’s Q range.  Like BMW, Audi have SUVs that can be of any size – from the small Q2 right through to the big Q7 and Q8.  If you’re looking for something with more power, then Audi’s ‘S’ range may set your heart racing.  Audi tend to go out of their way to keep their buyers happy over long term ownership, too.  Stylish definitely, and if you can stretch to the bigger Audi Q7 or Q8 you’ll drive an SUV that has becoming quite a status symbol in it field.

Holden has a few interesting SUV options that are well worth a look, and the range is one of the larger line-ups currently available in Australia.  The Acadia, Equinox, Trailblazer and Trax are all available and well equipped vehicles.  Ongoing ease of servicing, a nice driving experience and overall satisfaction are what make owning a new Holden SUV a good choice.  If you can find yourself a top of the range Holden SUV then you’re going to be driving a very comfortable SUV.

Volvo has some very stylish SUV vehicles that are safe, efficient and easy to drive.  Their comfort levels and equipment are hard to beat, and they come in three flavours from the smallest sporty XC40, the mid-size XC60 and the awesome and large XC90.

Hyundai, another Korean brand, is doing really well on a global scale with an ever increasing fan base.  You’re sure to find a Hyundai SUV to suit your needs.  Three SUV models are available: the Kona, Tucson and Santa Fe.  A Hyundai SUV is stylish, easy to live with and rides and performs very well.  They are also pretty reliable machines, safe and relatively affordable considering the level of equipment offered.

Finally, Ford always has an SUV to suit your tastes.  Well made, practical performers, the Ford SUV range is comfortable and well-equipped with loads of goodies and great infotainment technology.  Small to large, the range of Ford SUVs is good.  The EcoSport, Escape, Endura and Everest will all make a fine companion that will reliably cart your family and gear around.

There are other SUVs out there that haven’t been mentioned, however, if you feel the need to put a good word in for a particular model, please feel free to do so.