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Isuzu D-Max: Reborn And Ready For 2021.

It’s been a long time coming, a decade or so, in fact. Isuzu’s durable D-Max has received its long overdue overhaul, and from the information released, it’s in a real position to take on Toyota’s recently revamped HiLux and Ford’s strong performing Ranger.

Range: There are 20 variants, starting with the D-MAX SX Single Cab Chassis 4×2 high-ride. D-MAX SX Space Cab Chassis/Ute, D-MAX SX Crew Cab Chassis/Ute follow from this. D-MAX LS-M Crew Cab Ute, D-MAX LS-U Space Cab Ute, D-MAX LS-U Crew Cab Ute, and D-MAX X-Terrain round out the list.

Engine. All models will have the same “4JJ3-TCX” 3.0L turbo-diesel. Power is upped to 140kW, and torque a very handy 450Nm between 1,600 to 2,600rpm. 400Nm is available through a broader range of 1,400 to 3,250rpm. At 1,000rpm 300Nm is available, making driving a breeze. Transmissions are a six speed manual or auto. Economy for the combined cycles, depending on the model chosen, is quoted as 7.7L to 8.0L/100km.

It’s virtually a new block. There’s a new cylinder head, aluminuim pistons, and a new crankshaft. A revised turbo, with a quicker response time, is fed though a new intake system, with delivery now improved through a new high-pressure direct injection fuel system. Pressure gets up to 250MPa, which finely atomises the fuel thanks to a new set of high efficiency injectors. The turbo is electronically controlled and has Variable Geometry Control. Isuzu’s tried and proven Diesel Particulate Diffuser (DPD) is located on the rear of the VGS Turbocharger and has been further revised to increase efficiency and reduce exhaust emissions.

21MY Isuzu D-MAX X-TERRAIN

Inside are aluminuim pistons and crowns, with the piston skirts and gudgeon pin having a coating that is as strong as diamond and drastically reduces friction as well. They’re kept in time thanks to a new stainless steel timing chain. Weighing in at a svelte 8.6kg is a new exhaust system including muffler, for a weight savings of 26% over the outgoing model.

21MY Isuzu D-MAX Diesel

Improvements, too, for the transmissions. The manual selection lever now has a “pull ring” for the reverse gear with the auto now gaining a Automatic Transmission Fluid (ATF) warmer and cooler system for swifter transitions in reaching the right operating temperatures. 4×4 models receive a new electronic actuator for transitioning from two to four wheel drive, at velocities of up to 100kph, in under a second. Weight reduction happens with the tailshaft, with a one piece aluminuim unit replacing the heavier all-steel unit.

21MY Isuzu D-MAX X-TERRAIN

Cabin. Interior trims depend on the model, with the LS-M, for example, having the ever popular “hose out” flooring. The LS-U upwards has carpet floors, and a 9.0 inch infotainment screen, up from the 7.0 inch in lower specced models, however all variants do get digital audio. Top spec X-Terrain has an eight way adjustable powered driver’s seat.

Safety is a solid improvement across the board, with Isuzu slotting in their IDAS, the Intelligent Driver Assistance System with all variants being fitted with a Hitachi stereo camera system that Isuzu says: “it can precisely detect and measure distance, size, velocity and depth of vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists and other potential obstacles around the D-MAX. ” The system comes with a TSR setup, or Traffic Sign Recognition which has been tuned for Australian conditions. It works side-by-side with the Intelligent Speed Limiter, which if or when it reads a sign for a lower limit will automatically apply a speed reduction regime.

Autonomous Emergency Braking and Forward Collision Assist are standard, as is Turn Assist. This works like AEB if the sensors detect the D-Max turning across the path of other traffic. Adaptive Cruise Control is also standard, as are eight airbags, including a driver’s and centre kneebag.

Auto-on headlights and auto-wipers are range standard, with auto dimming. The SX features conventional halogen globes, with the LS and X-Terrain having crisp bi-LED self-leveling headlamps. The pair also receive integrated LED foglamps and are paired with the turn indicator lights.

A category-rare feature is the installation of the Intuitive Flat Wiper Blades. These combine the wiper fluid dispersion system in the arms along the blades, for a quicker and more efficient clean. A new design, too, for the blades, being a more aerodynamic shape, and there is also a motor that flexes the blades periodically to dislodge accumulated dirt. These will be available on the LS-U and X-Terrain models.

21MY Isuzu D-MAX X-TERRAIN

The exterior changes are a noticeable refinement of the front end. It’s familiar yet different with a nod towards the brand’s commercial vehicle history thanks to the horizontal bars in the restyled grille. The bodywork has an assertive style with bulges on the front and rear wheel wells, a Superman-tough chin, and changes to airflow that result in a 3% reduction in drag. A broad colour palette is available to highlight the exterior changes and include: Mineral White, Basalt Black mica, Cobalt Blue mica, Mercury Silver metallic, Obsidian Grey metallic, Marble White pearl (LS-U and X-TERRAIN exclusive), Magnetic Red mica (LS-U and X-TERRAIN exclusive), Volcanic Amber metallic (X-TERRAIN exclusive).

Isuzu have backed up the new D-Max with a comprehensive warranty package called Service Plus 6-7-7. There is 6 years (or 150,000 kilometres), 7 years roadside assistance when serviced at Isuzu dealers, and 7 years capped price servicing. This lays out a full cost over those seven years of $3,373 with a maximum cost of $749 at the 90,000 kilometre mark.

Pricing starts from $32,200 for the 4×2 single cab chassis 2WD manual SX, with the 4×4 version starting from $40,200. the LS-M Crew Cab ute manual starts from $51,000 with the range topper X-Terrain at $62,900. Prices are manufacturers recommended price, with a on-sale date of September 1, 2020.

21MY Isuzu D-MAX X-TERRAIN

 

 

October Releases For Mazda BT-50 & BMW 4 Series.

Mazda’s completely overhauled their BT-50 ute and announced that sales will commence from October of 2020. Gone is the sharp and angular nose that featured and replaced with the family look that covers the brand’s SUVs. Mazda’s designers embody their vehicles with a language they call “Kodo” and this is now on the BT-50.

This features a three dimensional wing styling when viewed from the front, and there are striking

crease lines that sweep from the grille and headlights through to the wing mirrors. From the top, a line runs directly through the centre from nose to tail. The restyled bonnet covers a 3.0L diesel with 140kW and 450Nm of torque. Better economy comes from a weight reduction regime, whilst that torque enables a 3.5 tonne towing capacity and a payload of over a tonne.

Head inside and the cabin also has been refreshed, with a more family oriented feel for this commercially aimed vehicle. The seats have a higher level of support, crucial given the 4×4 capability of the BT-50, and the steering column is now telescopic as well for extra versatility. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto now feature in the enlarged touchscreen. Safety features have improved too, with Adaptive Cruise Control, Autonomous Emergency Braking, Lane Departure Warning, Blind Spot Monitor and Rear Cross Traffic Alert as standard.

Colour choices now include Gunblue Mica and Concrete Grey Mica. The blue has a deep lustre in some areas that contrast with lighter shades in the light, with the grey giving an industrial feel.

Pricing has yet to be confirmed.

October also sees BMW’s new 4 Series coupe ready for showrooms. It’s been stretched in three dimensions, had the suspension reviewed and revised, and is also slipperier through the air than the previous model.

Behind the restyled nostril grilles lie a pair of torquey 2.0L four cylinder petrol engines for the 420i and 430i models, delivering 135kW/300Nm and 190kW/400Nm respectively, and a six cylinder unit for the M440i xDrive that develops 285kW/500Nm. Transmission is an eight speed Steptronic.

Dimensional changes see the 4 Series Coupe lengthen by 130 millimetres and width increase by 27mm, and wheelbase has gone out to 41mm, to see a total length of 4,768mm, width of 1,852mm and a wheelbase of 2,851mm.

The interior has been revamped with a M-Leather steering wheel, acoustic glass for the windscreen, and a twin-screen layout for the driver and infotainment. This is the BMW Live Cockpit Professional, with a 10.25 inch control screen and a 12.3 inch driver’s display screen. A 4G SIM card allows for on-the-go access to the BMW Connected Package Professional. This allows the usage of digital services such as the BMW TeleServices and Intelligent Emergency Call,plus provides Real Time Traffic Information with hazard warning, Remote Services and Concierge Services. BMW have engineered in genuine flexibility here, with controls for the information activated via (and depending on the respective content) the iDrive controller, steering wheel buttons, voice control or BMW’s innovative gesture control.

Underneath the 4 Series lies, as standard, the standard M Sport suspension. Specifically for the 4 Series their is specially tuned lift related dampers. The Adaptive M Suspension can specified as part of an option pack.

Pricing starts from $70,900 (manufacturer’s recommended list price) for the 420i, $88,900 for the 430i, and a hefty $116,900 for the top of the range M440i xDrive

2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT: Car Review.

This Car Review Is About: A car that embodies every male stereotype when it comes to cars. Brawny, hairy chested, muscle-laden etc thanks to the powerplant and exhaust notes. There are a staggering eight variants of the Grand Cherokee and the SRT is the second from the top behind the slightly harder edged Trackhawk.

How Much Does It Cost?: List prices is $92,450 plus on road costs. Premium paint, such as the Diamond Black Crystal on our review vehicle, is $895. Using the Jeep website, it comes up with a drive-away price of $98,343.Under The Bonnet Is: 6.4L of pure joy. It’s the Hemi V8, one step down from the supercharged 6.2L V8 fitted to the Trackhawk. Running on 98 RON, it produces 344kW and 624Nm of torque at 4,100rpm. But there is a price to pay for that sheer exuberance. Our best economy figure was 12.3L/100km and that on a gentle highway run with a maximum speed of 80kph. The overall average was closer to 16.0L/100km from a 93.0L tank.

Jeep themselves quote 20.7L/100km on the urban cycle, 10.1L/100km for the highway, and 14.0/100km for the combined. the engine has fuel saving technology, effectively running as a V4 on cruise mode.

The transmission here is an eight speed auto, and apart from some staggering when cold, is as good an eight speed auto as you can get. It’s well ratioed to take advantage of the torque, and a 4.9 second sprint to 100kmh backs that up. There is launch control fitted and this dials the engine up to 1,800rpm before flinging the 2,289kg (dry) SRT to the horizon.On The Inside It’s: Packed with the bits and bobs you’d expect from a near $100K machine. There’s carbon-fibre look trim that spreads from door to door, stitched leather look trim on the dash, heated and vented seats, a heated steering wheel, aircon and USB ports for the second row seats, and a thumping Harman Kardon audio system. Front and centre is the UConnect infotainment system that doubles up on some areas with hard press buttons. It’s also home to the drive mode settings that are access from the centre console. There is a dial that provide easy access to the varying programs however it’s the 8.0 inch screen that shows the Street/Sport/Track modes for the engine, suspension, steering, and others, allowing personalisation across the board, so a driver can have Street steering, Sport suspension, and Track transmission.The seats are leather trimmed with the centre section a suede material. It’s immediately a warmer feel to the touch and for cold areas it saves that initial unwelcome cold thrill. The seats do warm quickly, as does the tiller, when activated. The centre console cup holders have blue LED lighting, and a nice convenient feature is the powered steering column. Up front is a 12V socket (one for the rear in the cargo bay) and a pair of USBs. These are hidden under a soft-touch door that’s the same alloy look material as the console.In front of the driver is a full colour LCD screen and Jeep have cleverly sectioned it off to display different kinds of information. The centre is the main dial for the rev counter and displays the launch control information. The left side shows the screen selected info graphic, the right the driven gear, top left the expected range and top right the temperature and more drive mode info. It’s a clever look and most effective, as it directs the driver’s eyes to the important info. Unusually, indication and wipers are on the same stalk, not a left and right lever setup Design wise the dash look is also easy on the eye, and the elegant “W” shape to the actual dash envelopes both front seat passengers.The second row passengers have plenty of room for legs, head, and shoulder, and having independent vents plus their own pair of USB ports emphasises the family friendly aspect of the Grand Cherokee SRT. There’s plenty of cargo space as well, 782L, with access via the standard powered tailgate. Jeep also fit a full sized spare here, thankfully. Oddly, the switch to lower the tailgate isn’t on the base of the door, like everyone else, it’s on the inside left. What this means is that any person pressing that needs to be quick to move out of the way.On The Outside It’s: Big, blocky, and imposing in the black over black colour scheme fitted. The badges are blacked out, the 295/45/20 Pirelli P-Zero rubber wrap blacked alloys, and at 4,846mm in length, it’s up there as one of the bigger SUVs. Having a height of 1,749mm means it stands tall against many and also means stepping into the Grand Cherokee SRT is easy. Wide opening doors also assist here.The bonnet has vents, nostrils, if you like. Unlike nearly everyone else, they’re functional, not merely a plastic garnish. This helps the big engine breathe at speed. The major design look hasn’t really changed in a few years so there are the same slimline headlights with integrated LED indicators, which dim the headlight running lights when activated. Underneath are a pair of LED cornering lamps.On The Road It’s: Largely dependent on which drive mode is selected. Street has a soft suspension feel, and the mass of the Grand Cherokee SRT becomes noticeable. There’s more body movement and at times it was a little stomach-queasy. Latch onto the Sport mode and immediately the big machine settles down, becomes more stable, and feels more controllable via the right foot.

That right foot is also responsible for the volume of the twin exhausts. It’s a muted, distant, rumble from start-up, although with an initial bark. Gentle driving has that subterranean rumble a constant, and it’s when the right ankle flexes in anger, that noise increases in volume and note, changing from that rumble to a full on fight between two lions. There’s a truly astounding feeling experienced as the pitch vibrates the rib cage, whilst simultaneously pinning the body back into the seats. Even with the windows up there is some serious pounding on the ears, and this brings in the hard edged snarl as revs climb.The steering wheel is on the large side, not just in the heft of the wheel but the diameter. It brings a bus-like feel to how the Grand Cherokee SRT is steered, with a more bent armed stance. It’s not uncomfortable but neither is it right for a longer armed sporting drive. This is important as the big tyres would tramline noticeably at times, with the wheel needing constant driver attention to overcome the pull of the rubber on the road.Having a variable suspension made testing them interesting. One long and flat road was home to the changes and it became obvious that the settings will appeal to different driver styles. As mentioned, Street came across as a softer and wallowy style, Sport noticeably tighter and overall our pick. Track goes tighter still and then becomes too jittery, too jarring, even on a relatively flat road. Of course, the name itself strongly hints at where its intended environment lays.Big Brembos haul down the SRT easily, and without fade constantly. The pedal has a light feel to start and progressively feels heavier as the pedal travel increases. Transmission wise, there is the SelecTrack off-road capability however there is no two speed transfer case in deference to its more tarmac oriented engineering.

Economy wise, it can be driven to a limit. On our return journey, the estimated range was 95km. The trip distance is 75km. We arrived at the changeover point with 90km expected range left and an economy of 15.6km/100km…What About Safety?: Jeep has ensured that the range lacks for nothing. Only the entry level model, Night Eagle, misses out on a driver’s kneebag, Blind Spot Monitoring, and Rear Cross path (Traffic) Detection. In a driving sense, the Night Eagle also misses out on the Adaptive Cruise Control. Otherwise, the range, including the SRT gets the full kit of safety features which includes Trailer Sway Control and Rain Brake Support.

What About Warranty And Service?: Five years or 100,000 kilometres with a 12,000 kilometres or 12 month service cycle. Capped priced servicing is $399. Roadside assistance is now standard for the lifetime of the warranty.

At The End of The Drive. Jeep is undergoing a transformation, with a recognition of issues when it comes to customer service. We’ve been on the receiving end of nothing but marvellous service due to two previous review vehicles suffering serious issues.

The Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT exhibited no issues at all. You’d expect that for a vehicle price knocking on $100K. It’s a product for a certain market, and the SRT’s heart is that big V8. It’s both the appeal and the letdown. The appeal because it’s so much fun to listen to, to experience the sheer urge and exuberance of that Hemi. The letdown is simple; that enjoyment is at a price, being how quickly the 6.4L engine can drain the tank.

However that engine shutdown feature can assist and hopefully at another time a proper highway cycle run can be driven, but we did see just how relatively efficient gentle driving could be.

The Grand Cherokee range can be explored here.

‘Automotive Mana’ and 2020 Dual-Cab Utes

The rise of the SUV is a noted phenomenon, but an equal marvel is the greater numbers of large dual-cab utes on our roads.  The popularity of the dual-cab ute in Australia shows a trend that ain’t about to end just yet.  On any given day if you take a drive down a popular road in Australia you’re sure to come across some pretty awesome super-size pick-ups.  So what makes these vehicles so attractive? And what are the better dual-cab utes one can buy?  Let’s have a look.

Let’s ‘cut to the chase’ and quickly realise that a large number of the dual-cab utes we see are driven by people with bigger egos.  To use the Maori definition ‘Mana’ offers a politer label to go with the big ute ego.  ‘Mana” means to have great authority, presence or prestige, and so if you are seen driving these massive utes, you’re likely to satisfy your larger ego with some real ‘Automotive Mana’ and add mud plugging tyres, a raised suspension, tinted windows, a snorkel and spot lights, too.  Any big ute name like Toyota Hilux, Mazda BT-50, Nissan Navara, Ford Ranger or Mitsubishi Triton can have their utes equipped with these big ticket items.

Of course, if your work requires your need to own a big, beefy dual cab ute, then all the showy looks can be forgiven. Builders, landscapers, boat builders, contractors, farmers, engineers, they all need one!  But hey, we’d all love one!

This leads me on to what makes these road behemoths so nice to own and drive.  Here’s a short list of their great traits:

  • Load carrying ability
  • Towing ability
  • Space
  • Comfort
  • Off-roading ability
  • They’re built tough
  • They’re safe
  • Automotive Mana

Here are the best new Dual-Cab utes you can buy in 2020 that offer all the bells and whistles (Note there are other models in their line-up, but these would generally be more Spartan).  All of the following models come with premium safety, 4WD capability, big towing prowess and premium luxury:

Ford Ranger: XLT, Wildtrak, Raptor, ($57–$77k)

  • 3.2 litre TurboDiesel with 147 kW and 470 Nm, 6-speed manual and 6-speed auto, 0-100 km/h approx. 10 seconds, fuel consumption approx. 9 litres/100 km
  • 2.0 litre TurboDiesel with 157 kW and 500 Nm, 10-speed automatic, 0-100 km/h approx. 10 seconds, fuel consumption approx. 8 litres/100 km

SsangYong Musso: Ultimate XLV, Ultimate Plus XLV, ($40-$44k)

  • 2.0 litre TurboDiesel with 133 kW and 420 Nm, 6-speed manual and 6-speed auto, 0-100 km/h approx. 10 seconds, fuel consumption approx. 9 litres/100 km

Toyota Hilux: SR5, Rugged, Rugged X, Rogue, ($56–$63k)

  • 2.8 litre TurboDiesel with 130 kW and 420 Nm with the 6-speed manual and 450 Nm with the 6-speed auto, 0-100 km/h approx. 11 seconds, fuel consumption approx. 8 litres/100 km

Nissan Navara: ST-X, N-Trek, N-Trek Warrior, ($54–$66k)

  • 2.3 litre TurboDiesel with 140 kW and 450 Nm, 6-speed manual and 7-speed auto, 0-100 km/h approx. 10 seconds, fuel consumption approx. 6.5–7.0 litres/100 km

Ram 1500: Express, Laramie, ($90–$100k)

  • 5.7 litre Petrol V8 with 291 kW and 556 Nm, 8-speed auto, 0-100 km/h approx. 7 seconds, fuel consumption approx. 10–13 litres/100 km

Ram 2500: ($140k)

  • 6.7 litre TurboDiesel with 276 kW and 1084 Nm, 6-speed auto, 0-100 km/h approx. 8 seconds, fuel consumption approx. 15 litres/100 km

VW Amarok: TDI420 Core Plus, Highline 550, Ultimate 580, ($52–$73k)

  • 2.0 litre TurboDiesel with 132 kW and 400 Nm with the 6-speed manual and 420 Nm with the 8-speed auto, 0-100 km/h approx. 10.5 seconds, fuel consumption approx. 7.5 litres/100 km
  • 3.0 litre TurboDiesel with 165 kW and 500 Nm, 8-speed auto, 0-100 km/h approx. 8 seconds, fuel consumption approx. 9 litres/100 km
  • 3.0 litre TurboDiesel with 190 kW and 580 Nm, 8-speed auto, 0-100 km/h approx. 8 seconds, fuel consumption approx. 9 litres/100 km

Mitsubishi Triton: GLX+, GLS, GLS Premium, GSR, ($41–$52k)

  • 2.4 litre TurboDiesel with 133 kW and 430 Nm, 6-speed manual and 6-speed auto, 0-100 km/h approx. 10 seconds, fuel consumption approx. 8 litres/100 km

Mazda BT-50: XTR, GT, Boss, ($53–$64k)

  • 3.2 litre TurboDiesel with 147 kW and 470 Nm, 6-speed manual and 6-speed auto, 0-100 km/h approx. 10 seconds, fuel consumption approx. 10 litres/100 km

Holden Colorado: LSX, LTZ, LTZ+, Z71, ($50–$58k)

  • 2.8-litre TurboDiesel with 147 kW and 440 Nm with the 5-speed manual, with 147 kW and 500 Nm with the 6-speed auto, 0-100 km/h approx. 9.5 seconds, fuel consumption approx. 9 litres/100 km

HSV Silverado: 1500 LTZ Premium Ed. ($114k)

  • 6.2 litre Petrol V8 with 313 kW and 624 Nm, 10-speed auto, 0-100 km/h approx. 5.6 seconds, fuel consumption approx. 12.5 litres/100 km

Isuzu D-Max: LSU, LST, ($49–$55k)

  • 3.0 litre TurboDiesel with 130 kW and 430 Nm, 6-speed manual and 6-speed auto, 0-100 km/h approx. 8 seconds, fuel consumption approx. 8 litres/100 km

Jeep Gladiator: Overland, Rubicon, ($76–$77k)

  • 3.6 litre Petrol V6 with 209 kW and 347 Nm, 8-speed auto, 0-100 km/h approx. 9 seconds, fuel consumption approx. 12 litres/100 km

Just for complete ‘Automotive Mana’ status, top honours would have to go to the Ram, HSV or Jeep Gladiator.

Honda CR-V Gets Ready For 2021.

Honda Australia is set to give their popular CR-V SUV range a major boost. The 2021 MY is on the way and has new styling, upgraded equipment, and extra features including Honda Sensing as standard on all variants powered by the 1.5-litre VTEC Turbo engine. The range will be mainly a five seater with two seven seaters available.The range will see upgrades such as a hands-free tailgate, wireless smartphone charge pads in some models, whilst dual zone aircon and smart-apps inside a 7.0 inch touchscreen will be standard.

Honda Sensing is the name given to the safety and driver-assist package, and it will be standard for all but the Vi, covering the two seven seat versions as well. “The inclusion of Honda Sensing as standard equipment on all CR-V grades with the 1.5-litre turbo engine, represents another step in our plan to introduce the latest intelligent driver-assist and active safety technologies right across the Honda vehicle range,” said Honda Australia Director, Mr. Stephen Collins. “By early next year, almost 70 per cent of our vehicles will feature Honda Sensing, reflecting our ongoing commitment to support the safe and comfortable driving of our customers.”Thew forthcoming CR-V brings a new method of naming the range. Honda says it will help new customers and returning clients follow the differences in model trim. The T denotes the model with a turbo engine (in essence, all but the entry level) with the new grade names for the updated CR-V range are based around the “V”: Vi, VTi, VTi X, VTi L AWD, and VTi LX AWD. These will be in a five seater configuration, with two seven seaters named VTi 7 and VTi L7.

The changes outside bring, says Honda, “a more upscale and distinctive presence”. The bumpers have been redesigned and have different accents in silver or grey depending on the model. The grille is blacked out, and the rear light lenses have been tinted for a classier look. VTi X, VTi L AWD and VTi 7 seater will have a new 18 inch alloy and the VTi LX AWD has a bespoke 19 inch in a light grey. Colourwise two new paints have been added, with a metallic Cosmic Blue and the hero colour Ignite Red. These are in addition to the existing Platinum White pearlescent, Lunar Silver metallic, Brilliant Sporty Blue metallic, Modern Steel metallic and Crystal Black pearlescent with all pearl and metallics available as a no-cost option.

For the organic components of the CR-V, they’ll have a redesigned centre console with better storage capacity and easier access to the USB ports. The VTi L7 and LX AWD will receive the charge pads. Leather trimmed seats will grace the VTi L AWD and will also be heated and power adjustable.Pricing is competitive considering the range of models. The Vi starts off at $30,490 and has a 2.0L VTEC non-turbo engine. The VTi starts the 1.5L VTEC turbo availability and has a MLP (Manufacturer’s List Price) of $33,490. The VTi 7 starts from $35,490, with the VTi X just $500 more. VTi L AWD starts from $40,490, and the VTiL 7 $43,490. The AWD VTi LX starts from $47,490.

The ETA for the 2021 CR-V is from September onwards.

Audi RS Adds Spice TO Q3 Range And Hyundai Gets Xtra Active

2020 Audi RS Q3 Sportback

Audi’s performance badge, RS, has been added to the Q3 range, as has the model’s first Sportback. Two of the most powerful Q3 derivatives have arrived in Australia to redefine the premium compact SUV segment: the all-new Audi RS Q3 and first-ever RS Q3 Sportback. Powered by a 294kW five cylinder with turbo, the pair are priced from $89,900 for the RS Q3 and $92,900 for the RS Q3 Sportback. Peak torque is spot on for the compact SUV, with 480Nm on tap and belting RS Q3 to 100kmh in 4.5 seconds. Audi’s fabled quattro AWD underpins both models via a seven speed S-tronic auto.

There will be little to ask for in the RS Q3, as 21 inch wheels, the RS Sport exhaust, a pair of RS bespoke drive modes, and an RS Sport suspension system are standard. Damper control, wheel-selective torque control, and a progressive steering ratio are also standard. Visual spice comes from a rejigged three dimensional looking grille, a bespoke blackout package, metallic paint, and matrix-LED headlights with RS specific surrounds for the indicators.

Passengers will sit in Nappa leather seats with honeycomb stitching, and stay warm or cool via three zone climate control. Cargo space has 40:20:40 split fold flexibility on sliding second row seats. Safety has a 360 degree camera, lane departure, rear cross traffic alert, and adaptive cruise plus AEB. Tech levels come in with an RS menu on a 12.3 inch screen for the virtual cockpit, a B&O 680W sound system pound tunes through 15 speakers, a wireless charge pad and smart app compatibility. 2 USB ports for both front and rear seat passengers allow charging on the go along with Audi connect plus services.

Buyers can select eight exterior colours, a matt aluminuim style package, a RS extended design package, and two service plan packages. There are three years or five years, and priced at $2,320 or $3,420.

“The all-new RS Q3 range is unique in its segment, combining its award-winning engine with exceptional design and incredible performance. The arrival of the first-ever RS Q3 Sportback extends on Audi’s high-performance portfolio range and debuts as the first vehicle to be offered within the compact SUV segment – an entirely new segment of vehicles that we are delighted to offer our customers.” said Paul Sansom, Managing Director at Audi Australia.

Deliveries start from July 24 and orders can be placed online via audi.com.au

2020 Audi RS Q3 Sportback

Hyundai’s popular Santa Fe has been given some extra oomph with the addition of the Active X. Powered by a 3.5L petrol V6 or torquey 2.2L diesel, it finds a home between the entry level Active and mid-spec Elite. Transmission is an eight speed auto driving the front wheels in the petrol, and all corners for the diesel. Pricing starts from $47,020 plus on-roads for the petrol and $50,050 plus on-roads for the diesel. Premium paint is $695, and buyers can specify for the Active X a dark beige interior at $295.
Standard features are extensive: 18 inch alloys underpin the Active X, with extra safety from front parking sensors incorporated into the standard Safety Sense system. Comfort comes from leather appointed seats, dual-zone climate control (with auto de-fog), rain sensing wipers, and cooling inside the glovebox. Puddle lamps and courtesy lights add both safety at night and visual appeal, and handy tech from folding mirrors and Smart Key access.

Exterior colours are seven, with the interior trim having a premium finish dashboard, fabric A-pillar covers and melange knit headlining. Black is also available for the interior as an option. extra value comes from a tyre pressure monitoring system, smart app compatibility, privacy glass for the rear occupants, and Smart Cruise Control with auto stop/start.
“Santa Fe Active X expands our award-winning family vehicle range, offering customers desirable features and technology at a price point that makes it unique in the large SUV market,” said Hyundai Motor Company Australia Chief Operating Officer, John Kett.

Capped price servicing applies to a 12 month or 15K drive cycle, and is $330 for the petrol for years 1,2, and 5, with $390 for years 3 and 4. The diesel is $435 for all years except year 4 at $499. The warranty is five years and unlimited kilometres. Roadside assistance is available for the first 12 months and when servicing with Hyundai, customers will also receive a 10 Year Sat Nav Update Plan, a Roadside Support Plan for up to 10 years and more.

Contact Hyundai Australia for availability and to book a test drive.

Nissan Ariya: A New Charge For 2021

Nissan is on the move, charging forward. They’ve unveiled a new electric SUV and a new logo. The sleek looking Ariya is a completely electric vehicle and Nissan says the release is part of the brand’s change: enriching people’s lives. There is a renewed vigour in the Japanese company, one that recognises that the stagnation it experienced needs to go, so a second look at the company and its strengths has been performed and both battery and SUV will be part of the language.Nissan’s CEO, Makoto Uchida confirms, with: “Combining our strengths in EVs and crossovers, it’s a showcase for Nissan’s new era of excitement and design. “We created the Nissan Ariya as an answer to the aspirations and practical needs of today’s customers.” The plan is to roll out in the next 18 months a dozen new models, and aim for a mix of EV and “e-Power” models to hit one million sales by 2023, plus bring in Nissan’s own autonomous driving tech throughout 20 countries. This backs up part of the company’s renewed look at servicing its customer base by providing the new technology in areas such as electrified cars and self-driving vehicles.Launched as a centrepiece of a digital presentation from Yokohama, the Ariya will put front and forward the restyled Nissan logo. It’s a not quite subtle yet not quite extravagant change, with links to the now former circle and cross centre label brought into a future focused design. Uchida-san said: “It defines what matters to Nissan, represents what we stand for, and embodies the essence of who we are: a passionate, innovative challenger.”With a key characteristic of fully electric vehicles being that instantaneous delivery of torque, the Ariya instantly promises easy driveability, sporting manners, and a choice for the budget. Both two and all wheel drive, called e-4orce in Nissan’s terminology, will be available, along with a pair of battery sizes at 65kWh and 90kWh. In the Ariya e-4orce, each end will have its own separate motor, a configuration that’s becoming more and more common for EVs. By providing twin motors, an EV can be better balanced for driving in areas such as torque vectoring, and handle more driving conditions such as heavily wet tarmac.

Power as such is rated as 160kW and 178kW for the Ariya 2WD’s battery pairs, with the e-4orce proffering 250kW and 290kW. the 2WD torque figures level at 300Nm whilst the all wheel drive will have 560Nm and 600NM. This will enable the two drivetrains to see 100kmh in 7.5 seconds or either 5.4 or 5.1 seconds. Top speed will see a v-max of 160kmh or 200kmh. The range expectations are currently seen as “up to” 450km or 600km for the 2WD, and 430km or 580km for the e-4orce. These are subject to verification and Japanese government sign off.And by placing the battery into the floor structure, more space is unlocked, adding even more comfort for passengers. Electric tech has extra advantages for the driver. Nissan’s ProPILOT 2.0 is their proprietary advanced driver assistance system, and brings in the ProPILOT Remote Park and e-Pedal features. Ariya will feature as standard the Safety Shield system that includes Intelligent Emergency Park, Intelligent All Around View Monitor, and Intelligent Forawrd Collision Warning. There will also be Rear Automatic Emergency Braking technology.

A form of AI in the human-machine interface allows for passengers to use a natural speaking voice for interaction with the Ariya’s on-board settings change facilities, whilst updates for software will be the ever increasing “over the air” service. Nissan’s also signed an agreement with Amazon for the Alexa voice interface to be used.The Ariya is a proper mid-sizer at 4,595mm in length and packing a wheelbase of 2,775mm. Width is 1,850mm and height a trim 1,655mm. Depending on model weight is said to be either 1,900kg or 2,200kg. Aero alloy wheels will be wrapped in 235/55/19 rubber as standard or can be optioned to be 255/45/20.

At the time of the release news, the Ariya will only be available in Europe, North America and China by the end of 2021.

Bronco Busting: Ford Resurrects A Legend.

Jeep Wrangler, watch out! Ford has brought the Bronco back to life and the Blue Oval has its sights set firmly on the iconic machine from Jeep. The 2021 Bronco will come in two or four door shapes, or, if you will, three and five door. Soft and hard tops will be available. What won’t be will be anything other than either a four cylinder or V6 petrol engine for movement. But there’s no lacking for model choice with Ford U.S. releasing seven. For the U.S. there is the entry level named, smartly, Base. Big Bend, Black Diamond, Outer Banks, Badlands are followed by a name more familiar to Australia, Wildtrak, and a limited run First Edition. Prices will start from $29,995, with Wildtrak at $50,370 whilst the First Edition starts from $60,800.

A four cylinder petrol engine and V6 will be joined by a hybrid at a later stage. For now, we see a turbocharged 2.3-litre that makes 201kW/270hp horsepower and 420Nm/310 lb-ft of torque. The other option is a twin-turbo 2.7-litre that generates 231kW/310 horses and 542Nm/400 lb-ft. Ford says these will be good enough to push the Bronco through close to three feet of water and have a ground clearance of just under 12 inches.

The Base brings a seven speed manual transmission, with a normal six plus a crawler gear for serious off-road chops. A ten speed auto can also be specced.There is a two speed and three mode transfer case as well. Standard is a hard top for the two door and a soft roof on the four. A nifty feature is a upper dash mounting point for smart phones and action cameras.Big Bend gets a little extra luxury with a leather bound steering wheel cover, heated seats, and is the first of the range to offer alloy wheels. Black Diamond aims for the off-roader with marine grade vinyl trim, seven G.O.A.T. drive modes (Goes Over Any type of Terrain) and a standard rear locker diff plus underbody bash plates. Outer Banks has LED headlights and integrated turn lamps, black alloys, powder coated tube steps and a B&O sound system for when the noise of the outdoors isn’t enough.Badlands goes up a gear with front and rear locking diffs, Bilstein monotube dampers, disconnecting stabiliser bar, and a choice of 33 or 35 inch AT rubber. Trim can be easy clean vinyl through to full leather. Wildtrak offers a Sasquatch Package that includes 35 inch rubber and 17 inch diameter black painted alloys with a beadlock function. Black roofing and grille also feature. 3,500 First Editions will be released and combine the Badlands mechanicals, Outer Banks interior, and Wildtrak looks.

Production is currently slated for the Australian autumn of 2021 however it’s not yet set for an Australian release.

BMW Updates And Hyundai Hydrogen Power.

BMW continue to roll out new or updated models at an astonishing rate in 2020. For the brand’s M Pure range, there will be another two models being added. Dubbed M135i xDrive Pure and M235i xDrive Pure, they’ll come with an extensive range of standard equipment and sharp pricing. The M135i xDrive Pure is priced at $63,990 and the M235i xDrive Pure at $67,990. This is a $5K savings in comparison to related models.

Power for both comes from BMW’s TwinPower Turbo four. 225kW and 450Nm spin an eight speed auto Sport Steptronic transmission that send grip to all four paws via the xDrive system with an LSD on the front axle. Steering column paddle shifts are standard. External style cues comes from the sharing of styling packages, wheels, and tyres.

BMW lists the M135i xDrive Pure with M Sport steering, 19 inch alloys in M spec Cerium Grey that wrap M Sport Brakes and blue calipers. Inside there is a BMW specification Head Up Display and the bespoke Driving Assistant package. There is Lane Departure Warning, Lane Change Warning, Approach Control Warning with city-braking intervention, Rear Cross Traffic Warning, Rear Collision Prevention and Speed Limit Info. There is also their Comfort Access System that features Electric Seat Adjustment, driver’s side seat memory function with the seats in Trigon black and Alcantara, and dual zone climate control. On top of that is the M135i xDrive which adds a panoramic glass roof, adaptive LED front lights and “Dakota leather upholstery, plus a thumping Harman Kardo audio system. The value here is over $6K. The same packages apply to the M235i xDrive Pure and M235i xDrive.

The stable now consists of M135i xDrive Pure and M235i xDrive Pure, the M340i xDrive Pure M550i xDrive Pure, before migrating to X2 M35i Pure, X5 M50i Pure, and X6 M50i Pure.

The two new additions will be available in the coming months.

Hydrogen is being touted by Hyundai as the next thing in vehicle power sources and the Korean company has moved swiftyly into areas outside of passenger vehicles. In a global first, Hyundai have sent to Switzerland 10 units of their hydrogen powered machine called XCIENT. This commences a roll-out which will comprise 50 units to start with. A goal of 1,600 trucks are expected to be released by 2025. Due to the tax structures in Switzerland, Hyundai chose the country with one levy, the LSVA road tax on commercial vehicles which does not apply for zero-emission trucks, as a main consideration. That nearly equalises the hauling costs per kilometre of the fuel cell truck compared to a regular diesel truck. And thanks to the green energy costs from hydropower, it counts towards the eco performance of the country.The power system has a pair of 95kW hydrogen fuel cells. Just on 32 kilos of the fluid form are stored across seven super-strong storage tanks. Hyundai specifically developed the system for the truck with the current and expected infrastructure in Switzerland, and have engineered in a range of 400 kilometres. Refuel time minimises downtime with anywhere from 8 to 20 minutes. Hyundai says that this should work in with obtaining “the optimal balance between the specific requirements” of the customer base and that refuel infrastructure. In Cheol Lee, Executive Vice President and Head of Commercial Vehicle Division at Hyundai Motor, opines: “XCIENT Fuel Cell is a present-day reality, not as a mere future drawing board project. By putting this groundbreaking vehicle on the road now, Hyundai marks a significant milestone in the history of commercial vehicles and the development of hydrogen society.”

A key attraction of the hydrogen technology is how well, like diesel, that hydrogen is admirably suited to long distance driving and the quick turn-around times required in heavy haulage. Engineering can also build engines, such as they have here, to deal with expected terrain such as the road system in a mountainous country. To that end, Hyundai is developing a unit for a tractor with a mooted range of 1,000 kilometres with markets such as the United States and Europe in mind.

The origination of the program goes back to 2019 with a joint venture named Hyundai Hydrogen Mobility, a partnership between H2 Energy in Switzerland and Hyundai. The basis for the trucks being operated will work around a lease agreement with commercial operators and on a pay-per-use agreement. This helps budget requirements as there is no immediate up-front costs.

Depending on the results, with expected high success levels, the program may be expanded to other European countries.

Mazda Launches Their First Hybrids

Mazda Australia has recently provided details of their new Skyactiv-X M-Hybrid powertrain. It will be available in August with the Mazda3 (the 2020 World Design Car of the Year) and in the CX-30 from September, with that car also a finalist in the WCOTY. It will, for the moment, be available only in the top of the range Astina, dubbed X20, for each trim level. Pricing for the Mazda3 X20 Astina starts from $40,590 with it being available in both manual and auto, and the CX-30 X20 Astina starts from $46,490. Both are before dealer delivery and government charges at the time of writing.

SkyActiv hybrid 1

The powerplant is a continuation of Mazda’s search to improve power, torque, and fuel consumption. The new engine is the world’s first mass production unit that combines compression ignition like a diesel, the torque of a diesel, and the free revving ability of a petrol nature.

Mazda has developed a proprietary ignition system. It’s called Spark Controlled Compression Ignition, or SPCCI. The engine can fire via a compression or traditional spark ignition. This is how Mazda says it works: “In SPCCI mode, a split injection process creates separate zones of fuel-air mixture inside the combustion chamber. First, a very lean fuel to air mixture is injected into the combustion chamber during the intake stroke, then a zone of atomised fuel is precisely injected directly around the spark plug during the compression stroke. The small injection of atomised fuel directly around the spark plug builds a richer core. When the spark fires, it ignites this core of fuel and air. This increases pressure in the combustion chamber to the point where the lean mixture rapidly combusts.”

SkyActiv Hybrid 2

Vinesh Bhindi, the managing director of Mazda Australia is excited by the new engine. “With every customer’s circumstances being unique, we need to offer a variety of ways to reduce vehicle emissions to suit individual needs and lifestyles. Skyactiv-X offers customers a lower emission engine option, while retaining the same joy of driving that Mazda vehicles have always offered.”

Contact your local Mazda dealer for more details.

(Pictures courtesy of Mazda)