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Making Your Next Car Loan Easier

Are you in the market for a new set of wheels? Here are our top tips to remember when you apply for a car loan, things which will make your experience a whole lot smoother.

1. Be realistic when you choose your vehicle. While you might desire a nippy brand new little red sports car you’ve always dreamed of, if you are buying your first car or a family car, it’s best to be realistic. A little red convertible is not very practical as a family vehicle, and if this is your first car, you’d probably be better off with something small, economical and probably second-hand. However, if you’re hunting for a second car for fun, then you can indulge your dreams a little.

2. The more you can pay up-front, the less you have to borrow and the less interest you will have to pay. Deals involving zero deposits look very attractive, but you will end up paying more in the long run as interest accumulates. Saving up a little before you buy a car is wise for this reason and for another reason: if you have to wait a bit, you are less likely to be impulsive and get the wrong vehicle for your needs.

 


3. Plan your budget: before you sign on the dotted line, and make sure that you will be able to meet the monthly repayments. For many people, this may be the first time they actually set a budget. Don’t forget to leave a buffer just in case of an emergency.

4. Larger payments over a shorter period or smaller payments over a longer period? A shorter term for the loan means that you pay less interest, but your budget will be committed more heavily with less room to move. However, lower payments over a longer term may be more easily fitted into an existing budget, especially if you’re forced into buying a new car to get to and from work.

 


5. Ask if you are able to make additional payments on top of your regular repayments so you can pay your loan off more quickly. Some finance companies allow you to do this without any penalty. Meanwhile, others have an early repayment fee. If the company that offers the best deal does charge an early payment fee, do the maths. Is the fee lower than the interest you would have otherwise paid?

6. Don’t just buy the first car you see that fits your requirements. Shop around, do your research and do your homework. Consider all aspects of your purchase, including running costs, as well as the number of seats and the size of the car. Also think about what happens when repairs become necessary, as those costs can add up quickly.

Japanese New Model Onslaught: Mitsubishi, Nissan, Honda.

The third week of February 2021 has been a busy week for the three major Japanese car makers. Mitsubishi has unveiled the new Outlander, Honda their new HR-V, and Nissan’s shown their updated Qashqai.

Outlander.
There’s a substantially redesigned machine ready to roll out from Mitsubishi, with the Outlander gaining a more distinctive “Dynamic Shield” grille, relocated headlights, and a redesigned rear window line. There’s a new base platform, and Mitsubishi have bolted in a new 2.5L petrol engine.

The front sees the headlights lowered to the mid-section of the bumper, not unlike the designs from Hyundai in the Santa Fe. This has the leading edges of the fenders draw a visual line to the combined LED driving lights and indicators. Relocating the main lights fills out a bluffer looking front bar, and Mitsubishi says it will also aid light distribution. This also has the now familiar chromed strip that Mitsubishi employs on its SUVs brought around further to the bottom of the relocated lights.

The tailgate has a recessed panel look, said to evoke the section on the ‘gate where the now cancelled Pajero had its iconic spare wheel cover. This sits between redesigned taillights, slimmer in form, and part of a squarer look to the section, with the D-pillar a solid triangular shape.

Inside and there is a familiar yet new look to the cabin. The ambience is of a higher level than before, with the top models of a luxury orientation not seen before in Outlander. On upper models the driver has a 12.3 inch digital display, lower versions a still good-sized 7.0 inch digital screen. The main centre screen, says Mitsubishi, will be a 9.0 size depending on trim levels. Bose supply the sounds with a dual subwoofer, ten speaker, system.

Smartphones are catered for with USB-C and USB-A charge ports and a wireless pad. Passenger comfort is backed up via a seating arrangement that allows for a three row, seven seater, configuration, including a centre row that can be a two seater to allow items such as skis to be placed down the middle. Safety goes up too, with a total of 11 airbags, including a front center airbag for the driver’s seat and side airbags for the second-row seats.

Sales start in April for the North American market, with Australia due probably late in Q3.

Qashqai.
Although retaining the sharp edges in the nose of the current model, the 2021 Qashqai sees Nissan’s new design language front and centre. Distinctive U-shaped structures dominate the look, with LED lights and driving lights joining together. There is also an enlarged Nissan V-Motion grille, finished in chrome with a secondary pinstripe of satin chrome.The upper edge of the headlights commences a line that runs through to the rear, with a slope from the roof that echoes that on the Juke.

There is a restyled bumper and a look that sees the Qashqai join others by having a strong long at the lower extremities, providing a place for the aero to do its work with a vent through to the front wheel well. The doors have their own crease now, which will bring a sense of strength to the Qashqai in profile.

Physical changes see the wheelbase up by 20mm, with length up by 35mm and height by 25mm. Width has grown by 32mm which will translate to an increase in shoulder room. 20 inch wheels will also be offered. It will be available in both 2WD and AWD configurations.

Technology changes see a higher resolution 9.0 inch NissanConnect screen complete with Android and Apple smartapp compatibility plus wireless Apple CarPlay fitted. The diver’s info is a 12.3 inch screen, and Nissan have put a tactile switch into a steering wheel spoke in order to provide easy access. There is a 10.8 inch HUD fitted as well.

All-new Nissan Qashqai

Cargo space increases by 50L thanks to a redesigned rear suspension allowing a lowering of the cargo floor by 20mm. There’s been invisible yet crucial changes to the door mechanisms too, with entry and exit of the Qashqai now easier.

Perhaps the biggest news is the addition of the 1.3L DiG-T hybrid engine package. It’ll be offered in overseas markets (and as yet unconfirmed for Australia) in two power output levels. The 1.3-petrol motor will be offered with 138hp and 156hp driving either a 6-speed manual transmission, or new Xtronic gearbox for the higher output engine only. Max engine power arrives at 5500rpm, with maximum available torque of 270Nm at a convenient 1750rpm on 156hp Xtronic and high power MT variants.

ETA for Australia is yet to be announced.

All-new Nissan Qashqai

HR-V.
To be on sale in Europe in late 2021, the HR-V has been given a makeover that, dare we say it, makes it look mainstream. It joins the Qashqai in offering a hybrid drive for the first time, however specifics on that have not yet been released, nor have many other details on the car itself. The styling does perhaps point to a new direction for the venerable Japanese company.

From the rear the HR-V also aims for the new slimline design, and here there is a join line too, much like the Kias Carnival and Stinger. From the front it could, almost, be described as bland compared to the current model, and evokes hints of the Mazda SUVs with the numerous horizontals in the grille. It certainly looks much more restrained than the others in comparison.

In profile, the rear windowline is steeply raked, with the rear overhang tapering forward to a point where it appears the hingeline sits almost directly above the rear axle and this too evokes another design standard, this time from the smaller Lexus SUV range. Honda says the styling is: a distinctive SUV presence in a compact coupe-inspired design.

Interior design is stripped back, minimalist, in look. Soft touch plastics and up to date cloths raised the level closer to a premium SUV feel, along with a feeling of airiness and space is elevated by a new air diffusion system that creates a curtain of fresh air beside and above passengers, flowing from unique L-shaped vents positioned in the top corners of the dashboard.

An Australian sale date also hasn’t been released.

Jeep Gladiator Update: New Model And New Pricing.

Jeep Australia has added to the Jeep Gladiator range, with the Sport S variant being brought into the line-up as an entry level machine. It’ll lob at $65,450, with the options packs priced at $2,450 (Comfort and Technology), and $2,950 (Lifestyle Adventure group) with Premium paint at $795.

Straight out of the box, the Jeep Gladiator Sport S is ready for adventure with heavy-duty Dana front and rear axles, underbody skid plates, selectable tyre fill alert and a wash-out interior. Drive is via the Selec-Trac® Active On-Demand 4×4 system, with power coming from the familiar Pentastar 3.6L V6, offering 209kW and getting grunt to each corner via an eight speed auto.

The Jeep Gladiator Sport S includes of an array of standard active safety equipment, including Forward Collision Warning Plus, Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop, Blind Spot Monitor and Rear Cross Path Detection. Comfort and convenience features include LED exterior lighting, remote proximity keyless entry, a fourth-generation UConnect 7.0” Touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, automatic headlamps, push-button start, 7.0” Driver Information Display Cluster and dual-zone climate control.

Standard interior trim is Premium Black Cloth, the UConnect system via a 7.0 inch touchscreen and smartapp compatibility, and a 7.0 inch driver’s display, whilst Alpine provides the interior sounds through nine speakers.

Outside, the alloys are 17 inch Tech Silver under black fender flares. Lighting front and rear is LED and the ubiquitous three piece Freedom hardtop is here. Safety features include Forward Collision Warning Plus, Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop, Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Path Detection, plus Parkview Rear Backup Camera and ParkSense Front/Rear Park Assist System. There is convenience via a Remote Proximity Keyless Entry and Push Button Start plus Selectable Tyre Fill Alert.Guillaume Drelon, Jeep Australia Director, Brand & Product Strategy, says: “The Jeep Gladiator Sport S creates a new entry-level price point into the Jeep Gladiator range, without compromising on safety, technology and Jeep’s renowned off-road prowess. Since its arrival in Australia, the Gladiator has been turning heads on our roads and by expanding the range to include the Sport S specification, even more Australians will be able to own the only open-air truck.” he continued.

The optional Lifestyle and Adventure package adds a Roll-up Tonneau Cover, Cargo Management Group with Trail Rail System, Lockable Rear Underseat Storage Bin, Spray-In Bedliner, Wireless Bluetooth Speaker, Auxiliary Switch Bank (4 Programmable Switches), 240-Amp Alternator and a 700-Amp Maintenance-Free Battery. The Comfort and Technology Group package can also be added to the Gladiator Sport S specification, delivering premium convenience appointments including a fourth-generation Uconnect 8.4” Touchscreen, Deep Tint Sunscreen Windows, Hard Top Headliner, Security Alarm and Remote Start System.

The 2021 Jeep Gladiator Sport S is available to order now, arriving in Dealerships from February 2021.

Hyundai Kona Steps Further For 2021

Hyundai’s quirky Kona has been taken extra steps to continue its appeal. There’s some exterior refreshing, and the addition of the N Line name to the range. The 2021 Kona is the third new SUV in Hyundai’s ‘18 models in 18 months’ product rollout which includes the new Palisade and updated Santa Fe. There will also be a new Kona EV and a performance oriented Kona N.

Hyundai Kona 2021

“In three short years on the market, the versatile Kona has grown to become a top-seller in the class and one of our most popular models.” Hyundai Motor Company Australia Chief Executive Officer, Jun Heo said. “New 2021 Kona builds on the qualities that have drawn small-SUV buyers to the model, with an eye-catching new look, new N Line sports variants, and additional standard comfort, convenience, technology and SmartSenseTM safety features.”

The line-up introduces Kona N Line and N Line Premium, with power coming from a new engine. It’s a 146kW SmartStream 1.6 turbo unit. It drives all four corners via a DCT transmission and rides on a sports-tuned chassis with a multi-link rear suspension.

There are four models; Kona, Kona Active, Elite, and Highlander They’ll have a new SmartStream 2.0-litre petrol engine and CVT automatic pairing which will drive the front wheels. Economy is quoted as 6.2L/100km on the official combined cycle. Base Kona has 16 inch alloys. Entry level safety starts with Forward Collision Avoidance, Lane Following Assist, Smart Cruise Control, and Rear Occupant Alert. Lane Keep Assist and a Driver Attention Warning system will also be standard from the entry level up.

Standard across the range will be smartphone compatibility and a wireless charge pad, reverse camera, Hyundai’s 4.2-inch TFT colour Supervision instrument cluster display, LED DRLs, and a touchscreen of 8.0 inches in the base Kona. Below is a tyre pressure monitoring system, above are roof rails. Active has leather appointed pews, leather wrapped steering wheel and drive selector knob, rear park assist, and exterior mirrors that are heated. There are also 17 inch alloys.

Hyundai Kona 2021

Elite’s touchscreen is 10.25 inches, with audio pumping from a Harman Kardon eight speaker system. Remote start from a smart key will be standard here along with front fog lights. Safety is enhanced with Blind-Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist, Rear Cross Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist, and a Safe Exit Warning system. Exterior addons see a gloss black grille, tailgate and side garnishes, and cladding in a carbon grey.

Hyundai Kona 2021

Highlander gives the driver a 10.25 inch display and a HUD, vented and heated front seats plus powered driver’s seat, heating elements in the outboard sections of the rear seats and steering wheel, LED headlights and taillights, with 18 inch alloys and Continental rubber. Safety has a front park assist system and high beam assist added in. Beige leather is exclusive to Highlander and LED ambient lighting will feature as it will in N Line Premium.

Kona N Line has bespoke seating and cabin highlights such as red stitching and piping, plus alloy pedals.

Hyundai Kona 2021

The sporty Kona N Line introduces an all-new 146kW, 265Nm turbo engine along with a dual-clutch automatic transmission, all-wheel drive, a multi-link rear suspension arrangement and 18-inch sports alloy wheels wrapped in Continental tyres.

Building on the specification of Kona Elite, Kona N Line introduces N Line exterior additions and badging.

Inside, there are N Line sports front seats, and a unique cabin treatment featuring red stitching, piping and trim inserts, as well as alloy pedals. 2021 Kona N Line Premium brings, in addition, a 10.25-inch digital supervision instrument cluster, heated and air ventilated front seats, heated rear outboard seats and a heated steering wheel, and LED headlights, front indicators and taillights. Features found in the Highlander, a HUD, front park assist system, powered front seats, and a glass sunroof, will also be in the N Line Premium.

Hyundai Kona 2021

Outside will be a choice of seven colours: Atlas White, Dark Knight and Phantom Black, Surfy Blue and Dive in Jeju, and red shades called Ignite Flame and Pulse Red. A black roof option for Highlander and N Line Premium, with a sunroof deleted. The front end has been reshaped for the 2021 refresh, with a rounded upper leading edge, a new grille and bumper, and restyled lights.

Hyundai Kona 2021

Kona, Active, and Elite have projector headlights, with Highlander’s illuminators being multi-faceted reflector LED. The rear has a mild restyle. N Line has their own design features with a bespoke bumper, gloss black side mirror caps and, for N Line Premium, MFR LED headlights and rear lights.

2021 Kona N Line and N Line Premium are have exclusive black leather sports interior featuring red stitching and highlights.

Hyundai Kona 2021

Kona pricing is expected to start from $26,600 plus ORC. Active will start from $28,200, with Elite and Highlander from $31,600 and $38,000. $36,300 and $42,400 will be the starting prices for the N Line and N Line Premium plus ORC. Premium paint is $595, with the beige interior for Highlander a $295 option. Service intervals for the 2.0L will be 15,000km whilst the 1.6L is at every 10,000km.

Availability is currently from March 2021.

Hyundai Kona 2021

2021 Subaru Forester Sport: Private Fleet Car Review.

Subaru is the little car company that does. It quietly churns away in the background, almost like extras in a television show, hoping to be recognised by the wider audience for its efforts. And so it should be. Its WRX is the stuff of legends, the Outback is a more than capable bi-linguist, speaking tarmac and soft-roading equally, and then there’s Forester.The chunky, wagon-looking, mid-sized SUV, is a perennial favourite. In late 2020 a mild facelift was given, and a new trim, Sport, was added. Priced at a breath under $46,850 driveaway, the Forester Sport is aimed at those that like their weekends to be just that little bit dirtier but with comfort.

Power comes from Subaru’s legendary flat, or boxer, four. It’s at 2.5L in capacity, producing 136kW and 239Nm. To get those you have to see well over 4,000rpm. Drive to all four paws is courtesy of a Constant Variable Transmission, and it’s a bit old school in that it prefers the spin to around 3,500rpm and sits there as velocity increases to highway rates, rather than the now more familiar change change change. There are programmed steps and the steering column has paddle shifts to take advantage of those. Our drive cycle took in around 40% highway and we saw a creditable 7.1L/100km as our final overall figure.Outside and inside, Subaru have splashed some red-orange, on the lower sills, centre console, and air-vents. On our white example, complete with black painted 18 inch alloys, wrapped in 225/55 rubber from Bridgestone’s Dueler range, it makes for an eye-catching combination.Inside, Subaru’s fitted water repellent cloth, in varying and pleasing shades, to the seats and door trims. There are map pockets on the backs of the driver and front passenger seats. The seats are super-easy to clean and vacuum when required. The cargo section has a tough-wearing carpet top floor that lifts to expose some polystyrene that houses the jack equipment, a couple of small storage spots, and covers the full sized spare wheel. There are four cargo hooks, a 12V socket, and a tab either side to fold the rear seats easily. Capacity starts at 509L. It’s also inside where the age of the platform is showing. Compared to offerings from Korea, and the brand’s Japanese competition, there are far more hard edges, more right lower side buttons for various functions, an a lack of the now seemingly mandatory stand along touchscreen. Also, no wireless charge pad for smartphones.

Although DAB tuner equipped, the software still isn’t as good in one small area as the competition. The data service shows the full artist and song info in other cars, Subaru’s shows only the first ten characters or so. The layout though is clean and eyeball friendly.Underneath the screen is a CD player slot, and more hard press buttons for audio, map, and more. Climate control is a touch old school, with dials rather than buttons. However, when the aircons cooling was engaged, it cooled very quickly in comparison to some.

Subaru also has a driver attention monitor and this is cleverly hidden in the top section of the binnacle that houses the info screen. Look away from the straight-ahead for a second or two and warning tone sounds, and an icon flashes up on the screen ahead of the driver. There is Subaru’s X-Mode to enjoy, and it’s operated via a dial in the centre console. It’ll switch between Mud and Gravel at the flick of a wrist and back to Normal at a press.On its last major update, the rear lights changed to a C-design, and are LED lit. These match the same shaped Daytime Running Lights in the headlight clusters. Forester has always had a no nonsense stance, and the assertive looking grille, lower air intake, and black chin insert continue that. In size the wagon design hides the 1,730mm height, which provides plenty of head space and in the Sport, has a full length glass roof. The length of 4,625mm and a wheelbase of 2,670mm put it right in the ballpark for its competition. And when getting slightly mucky, 220mm of ground clearance is there.

On start-up the boxer has a metallic note before settling quickly into its sonorous flat four burble. the exhaust mutes the tone and no doubt after-market specialists can help that part of the equation. the CVT, as mentioned, is a bit old school in approach and delivery, yet doesn’t unduly hold back performance. It is called Sport, after all. There’s enough urge, as a result, on acceleration, and once in its stride, the 2.5L does a suitable job of moving the Forester around. It’s responsive to the throttle which gives it great suburban manners and on a country-style highway run, is quiet and relaxed.The suspension is beautifully setup, with damping well sorted for its own quick response, yet soft enough to waft the Sport across even mild gravelly roads without upsetting the fluidity of the chassis. On a gravel road, the X-Mode ensures a more sure footed approach and peace of mind. Subaru’s SI-Drive can also be engaged depending on the driver’s whim, and in the Sport, it’s a two-mode, not three, program, dropping the more incisive Sport Sharp.

Subaru’s safety record is virtually peerless, and their Eyesight system , with the stereoscopic cameras, have lead the way. Backed by a five year and unlimited kilometre warranty plus capped price servicing, Subaru’s Forester Sport has seven airbags including kneebag, torque vectoring, Blind Spot Monitor, Side View Monitor (with a camera fitted to the left hand side exterior mirror), Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Keep Assist (and not as intrusive as some other brands), Lead Vehicle Start Alert, and Pre-Collision avoidance systems.At The End Of The Drive.

The Forester range is popular yet, oddly, almost invisible in one respect. It’s the not the sort of vehicle one hears about from mates and family as the vehicle of choice yet when out on the road they’re apparent and in good numbers. There’s a simple and good reason for that: they’re a bloody good car. It’s verging, though, on needing an update, but for the time being is still a willing and able performer.

Car courtesy of Subaru Australia, X-Mode definition courtesy of David Bonnici at WhichCar.

Mini dumps leather – a sign of change to come?

According to an interview with Mini’s design boss, Oliver Heilmer, the beloved car brand will soon no longer be offering a leather fit-out in any of its vehicles, instead going down the route of doing away with the material and turning vegan.

His remarks cited the sustainability – or lack thereof – as part of the reason why the brand is ditching the material in its next release, despite the fact that more than half of the company’s cars sold in the UK last year featured leather interiors.

Mini will instead opt for more “sustainable” fabrics according to Heilmer, arguing “we’re totally convinced that we will have modern and high-value products without leather.”

 

Mini isn’t alone, nor first for that matter

The company isn’t the first to make the move to ditch leather. In 2019, Tesla was among the first to announce that it would only utilise vegan fabrics in the cabin of its Model 3 sedan and Model Y SUV.

Elsewhere, a host of other brands have used faux leather in place of the real thing, and among European manufacturers, there have been plans to incorporate recycled materials such as plastic bottles in an effort to embrace a sustainable focus.

Even in the massive American market, electric car start-up Fisker is a brand positioning itself for an eco and sustainability-oriented future. Its Ocean SUV that is currently in development is set to use a large array of recycled materials like regenerated nylon from fishing nets for the carpet, recycled polyester from t-shirts to act as eco-suede upholstery, not to mention tyre waste for various other components in the car.

 

 

What matters to the consumer?

It raises an interesting proposition for future new car buyers – how important are those ‘luxury’ touches that many of us have become accustomed to seeing? With this being the first in a potentially broad and all-encompassing effort to introduce other materials that are more sustainable that their existing counterparts, there could be some interesting changes on the horizon.

However, given pricing isn’t exactly an area that would be in line for a reduction as part of the eco push, would you buy a premium car and be content with fabric finishes or recycled materials being incorporated across the board?

More broadly, is Mini’s move the beginning of a wider shift among car manufacturers to do away with leather and opt alternative materials instead?

January 2021 Sales Figures Show Upwards Swing

Australia’s Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries has released the sales figures for January of 2021. A total of 79,666 vehicles were sold in January 2021 which is up by 11.1 per cent on January 2020. 71,731 vehicles were sold in that month. Every state and territory saw an increase, and following on from December 2020, with the Northern Territory seeing the highest increase of 38.7% to just 1.9% in Victoria. Private buyers contributed by having an increase of 25.4%. Business buyers decreased, but by only 1.3% whilst government and rental sales dropped by 11.2% and 12.4%.

Of note was that Holden as a brand registered zero sales.

The private sales had the passenger vehicle category down by 9.3% compared to January 2020, with SUVs rising by 17.4%. Light Commercial Vehicles jumped by 24.6%. Toyota lead the way in January 2021 with 16,819 vehicles (21.1%) with HiLux 3,913 of those. Mazda was 2nd overall on 8,508 with 10.7% market share. Hyundai saw 5,951 new vehicles sold for a 7.5% share and Kia on 5,500 units for 6.9%. Mitsubishi backed up with 5,179 units and took a market share of 6.5%.Ford’s Ranger was the 2nd highest seller behind the HiLux, moving 3,120 units, just ahead of the RAV4 with 3,066 whilst the LandCruiser sold 2,388 units. Mazda’s CX-5 had 2,081 units find new homes.

The FCAI chief executive, Tony Weber, said: “During the past three months sales had increased by 12.4 per cent compared to the corresponding period twelve months earlier. The January sales numbers are indicative of positive consumer confidence in the domestic economy. With attractive interest rates and a range of other economic indicators encouraging consumption, we hope to see this trend in new vehicle purchasing continue through 2021.”

Toyota was the leading brand in January with sales of 16,819 vehicles (21.1 per cent of the market), followed by Mazda with 8,508 (10.7 per cent), Hyundai with 5,951 (7.5 per cent), Kia with 5,500 (6.9 per cent) and Mitsubishi with 5,179 (6.5 per cent).

The Toyota Hilux was the best-selling vehicle in January 2021 with sales of 3,913 vehicles, followed by the Ford Ranger (3,120), the Toyota RAV4 (3,066), the Toyota Landcruiser (2,388) and the Mazda CX5 (2,081).

In the Micro Car segment, the Kia Picanto continued to dominate in a three car field. The Fiat Abarth and Mitsubishi Mirage are the other two, and sold 49 and 56 respectively, way off the 573 of the Picanto.In the light car category, Chinese owned MG scored gold with 859, outclassing the Suzuki Swift (562), Volkswagen Polo (526) and the Toyota Yaris (486). Moving to the Small Cars, and Toyota’s Corolla moved 2,062, Just clearing the revamped Hyundai i30 on 1,952. 3rd was a tight tussle, with the Kia Cerato emerging as the winner over the Mazda3, on 1,545 to 1,501.

Medium cars and sub-$60K, and Toyota’s big Camry blew the opposition away on 815. Subaru’s Liberty was 2nd on 183. Skoda and there Octavia took bronze on 153, ahead comfortably of the Mazda6 with 114.

Large cars and there’s really only one contender now, Kia’s Stinger on 147, 99 units ahead of the Skoda Superb.

People movers and Kia’s Carnival moved 442, thumping the Hyundai iMax and Honda Odyysey, both on 67. Moving into Sports Cars and the Mustang said hello to 361 new homes, well ahead of Mazda’s MX5 and Hyundai’s soon to be discontinued Veloster, on 53 and 45.

For the Light SUVs sector, Mazda’s CX-3 absolutely dominated with 1,344. Toyota’s new SUV based on the Yaris, the Yaris Cross, moved an impressive 541, just edging out the slightly older VW T-Cros on 494.

In the Small SUV sector, another close battle here and it was 25 units separating the Mitsubishi ASX (1,278) to the MG ZS (1,253). Hyundai’s run-out Kona was the only other to crack the 1,000 with 1,091. It’s been updated and available for sale from February.

RAV4 and Mazda CX-5 duked it out for the Medium SUV segment, with 3,066 to 2,081. 4rd was Nissan’s X-Trail on 1,593, clear of Hyundai’s Tucson on 1,206. Go large and it was Toyota’s Prado on 1,259, ahead of Kia’s recently updated Sorento on 745. Mazda’s in-betweener, the CX-8, saw 571, tying with Hyundai’s Santa Fe. In the upper large, Toyota’s LandCruiser outclassed its opponent, Nissan’s Patrol, with 1,499 to 241.

Inside the ute/pick-up segment, the HiLux in both 4×2 and 4×4 continued its dominance. In two wheel drive guise it more than doubled the Isuzu D-Max, with 823 to 406. Ford’s Ranger was 3rd on 318. In the 4WD sector it was 3,090 to Ranger’s 2,802. In 3rd was Mitsubishi’s Triton, edging the D-Max on 1,416.

Petrol is still the clear winner in preferred fuels, with just 32 PHEVs, 78 EVs, and 1,915 Hybrids moving in the Passenger segment. In the SUVs, 30,062 petrols moved in comparison to diesel with 7,811, PHEV on 126, EV on 213, and Hybrids at 3,332.

On a country of manufacturing basis, Japan was the leader at 29,275, with Korea on 11,516. Thailand and their ute/pickup manufacturing shone at 16,903, and Chinese made vehicles rose to 4,198. This puts the brands sold from Chinese manufacturing into 4th overall.

New Reasonably-Priced Cars (Commodore/Falcon Replacements)

By now you’ve probably recovered from the loss of not being able to purchase a new Falcon or Commodore in Australia.  These were lovely, big, spacious cars that could travel long distances in superb comfort.  So what other alternatives are there for the buyer looking for a new car with those ‘good-ol’ Commodore and Falcon traits?  Well, the good news is there are some potential new vehicles for you.

I’ve had a look at some of the roomier cars with decent performance, decent comfort and reasonable pricing; and when I mean reasonable pricing I mean anywhere up to $60k.  There are one-or-two vehicles on the list that are priced beyond the $60k mark, but I’ve added them because I reckon that they would still be worth considering for those of you who have a few more dollars in your back pocket.  None on the list run out to much beyond $80k.

The pricing given for each vehicle should be regarded as the estimated standard model price, so if you go for the higher-end models or want more options, then you would expect that these variants will be pricier.  Don’t forget to get in touch with our sales team at Private Fleet because often we can get you some great deals!

Alfa Romeo Giulia ($60,900)

Alfa Romeo Stelvio ($65,900)

Alfa Romeo might just have a car that fixes your Commodore or Falcon withdrawal symptoms.  The Giulia is a really nice drive, is quick and gets five-star safety. The Stelvio is the SUV version that’s superbly nice-looking and great to drive.  These two Alfas tick all the right boxes for those who are after a great driving experience and something a bit special.

Audi A5 ($71,900)

Audi A6 ($84,900)

Audi Q5 ($66,900)

Three Audis come to mind – all of which are impeccably built, comfortable and high-tech.

BMW 3 Series ($70,900)

BMW 4 Series Coupe ($71,900)

These two Beemers are worth a look.  Any of the line-up are dynamic and efficient cars to drive.  They’ve just been updated with all the latest new technology.  The sexiest car in this list might be the 2021 4-Series Coupe.

Chrysler 300 ($59,950)

Do try one of these!  Superbly comfortable and roomy, the 2021 Chrysler 300 is loaded with luxury and style.  There is heaps of smooth engine torque and plenty of performance available with the 300.  A Chrysler 300 comes with the choice of a V6 or V8 petrol engine, and the pricing is outstanding, too.

Ford Everest ($50,090)

Ford Mustang ($51,590)

Ford Ranger ($29,190)

Three Fords might do it for you.  The Mustang has loads of performance available, but it is a bit tight on rear seat space.  The Ranger is a comfortable ute that doubles as a workhorse.  The Everest is an SUV Ranger, and is lovely to drive long distance with the family and gear on-board.  The Ranger and Everest boast five-star safety, 4×4 capability and come with all the latest technology.

Genesis G70 ($59,300)

Genesis G80 ($68,900)

Here are two very underrated cars, or perhaps just not so well known.  The G70 and G80 are smooth, luxury cars built by Hyundai, and come with gobs of style, refinement and high-tech features.  They are also superb at covering long distances quickly.  Nice lookers, too!

Haval H9 ($40,990)

Thought I’d throw the new Haval H9 into the mix.  It’s a stylish, spacious, big SUV that’s loaded, safe and comfortable to drive.  Check out the price!

Honda Accord ($51,990)

Honda might be able to tempt you into the fold with their new Accord.  There are few spacious FWD sedans that can do everything as nicely as an Accord.  Comfort, new technology, new features and reliability go hand-in-hand at Honda.

Jaguar XE ($65,670)

It might be a bit small for some, but the Jaguar XE is a pleasant drive.

Jeep Grand Cherokee ($59,950)

Ride high in a well-priced Jeep that can head off-road, is big on space and can cosset you in luxury.

Kia Sorento ($45,850)

Kia Stinger ($49,550)

Kia has these two models that are as different from each other as chalk and cheese.  However, they are roomy, good performers and are packed with up-to-date features as standard.  The pricing is excellent, and the Stinger goes like a stabbed rat!

Land Rover Discovery Sport ($65,700)

This new Landie might be the right option for you.  4×4 capability, loaded with kit and stylish.

Lexus ES 300h ($62,525)

Lexus GS 300 ($74,838)

Lexus IS 300 ($61,500)

Lexus IS 300h ($64,500)

Lexus IS 350 ($66,500)

Lexus NX 300 ($57,500)

Lexus NX 300h ($60,500)

Lexus RC 300 ($67,990)

Lexus RC 350 ($70,736)

I can count nine Lexus vehicles which might be the right fit for you.  Each variant is different, so there is a high chance that one of these will meet your requirements.  Lexus vehicles are high-end Toyotas with excellent reliability, performance, luxury and style.  Five-star safety comes with each of these machines, while the RC is a quick performer.  Hybrid versions are extremely efficient.  The NX is an SUV-type vehicle.

Mazda 6 ($34,490)

Mazda BT-50 ($36,550)

Mazda CX-8 ($39,910)

Mazda CX-9 ($45,990)

Aussie people seem to like Mazdas, and one of these four versions might appeal to you.  Mazda vehicles are well-priced, safe, comfortable and reliable performers.  The CX-9 is very roomy, and the 6 comes with sedan and wagon variants.

Mercedes-Benz C-Class ($66,300)

Mercedes-Benz CLA ($62,600)

Owning a new Merc doesn’t come cheap, so I’ve added just the C-Class and CLA as an alternative.  These 2 classy cars are excellent to drive, comfortable and safe.  They might be a bit small, however.

 

Mitsubishi Pajero ($54,490)

Mitsubishi Pajero Sport ($46,990)

Don’t forget the Pajero!  The latest version is very good at touring long distances, great for towing, spacious and a 4×4 king.  All the latest technology is on-board one of these.  Again, the pricing is first-rate.

Nissan Pathfinder ($44,240)

Check out the classy new Nissan Pathfinder.  It has plenty of space for the family, has five-star safety and it rides nicely on and off the road.

Peugeot 508 ($57,490)

Peugeot 5008 ($51,990)

Two classy Peugeot variants are well worth a look.  The new 508 and 5008 are very stylish and safe, and they are possibly some of the nicest cars to look at on this short list (that’s quite long).  Seating is spacious and comfortable, and the technology and features are all up-to-the-minute.  They cover the ground effortlessly and efficiently, and they are priced very well for what they offer.

RAM 1500 ($79,950)

I thought I’d add the highly rated RAM 1500.  “NZ Four Wheel Drive” magazine has classed this as the best ute for 2021.  4×4 action is a breeze in one of these tough yet comfortable machines, and space is abundant inside the cabin and out on the deck.

Skoda Kodiaq ($46,390)

The Kodiaq is one of the most practical vehicles you can buy.  Off-road ability, space and comfort are all part of the Kodiaq’s repertoire.  It also boasts one of the biggest boots.

Ssangyong Rexton ($39,990)

Ssangyong’s are tough, reliable and practical.  The Rexton is the latest SUV 4×4 variant that has all the latest new technology, comfort and space you’ll need.  Pricing is excellent and the styling looks pretty good, especially with big alloys and fat rubber.

Subaru Levorg ($37,240)

 Subaru Outback 3.6R.

Subaru Outback ($37,440)

How about the Levorg or Outback wagons?  Safety, AWD, reliability and practicality are all found inside one of these.  There are also some quick versions of these, as well.

Toyota Camry ($28,990)

This is one of the cheapest cars on the list that starts out at under $30k.  A new Camry is very modern, practical, efficient, safe and reliable.  What more could you want?

Volkswagen Passat ($46,590)

VW has the Passat.  Essentially it’s the European version of the Toyota Camry.  These are nice to drive, a bit more luxurious and great on style.  Here is a good practical car.

Volvo S60 ($55,990)

Volvo V60 ($57,990)

Volvo XC60 ($64,990)

Three Volvos slot into the price bracket range that I’ve been looking for – each a bit different from the other – but all built on Volvo’s latest 60 platform.  They are very modern, very stylish, very comfortable and very safe.  The Volvo XC60 has AWD and some handy off-road ability, while the V60 is a classy wagon.  The S60 is the sedan version.  Performance models come with hybrid technology, and all are great long-distance tourers.

Buying Your Teenager’s First Car

Cast your mind back to your first car and how exciting that moment was. Now think about the joy that your child stands to gain when they discover new-found independence through their first car. Of course, helping a teenager secure their first car means that you are likely to be shopping for a different vehicle than the one you might drive yourself. However, that doesn’t mean you won’t have issues to consider if you’re buying this car as a gift.

 

Looking out for your teenager

Your typical teenager has no idea of the costs involved in running a vehicle. They might see you fill up petrol or take the car in for the odd repair, but as we all know, there is a lot more to it than just that. On this front, parents need to make sure their son or daughter are prepared for the costs that come with owning a car. After all, you don’t want to set them up for financial strain!

Budgeting advice can go a long way, so share any tips that you’ve learnt along the way. No matter what, don’t cave in and buy a car for your child if they don’t have an income of their own. You don’t want to get stuck as the go-to party when it comes to keeping the car in good order.

 

 

Arranging your teen’s new car

Once you have that side of things in check, you will need to decide how to purchase the car. Are you going to apply for car finance? Who is going to make the repayments, you or your teenager? Or are you going to split the repayments? How much of the purchase price of the car are you willing to fund and how much will your son or daughter need to produce?

Although there are no right or wrong answers, you do need to have all your affairs in order. If a loan is necessary to purchase the car, it may be easier for the parents (who usually have stable jobs and a better credit history) to take out the loan and arrange with the kids how they will repay the money. Mum and dad could also act as a guarantor, if necessary.

As alluded to earlier, you also need to negotiate who’s going to pay for what. There is insurance, fuel, repairs, registration and all those other ongoing costs to be taken care of. Unless you’re feeling like a charity, these bills should not automatically be taken care of by the parents.

It’s a good habit to get young adults into the habit of taking some responsibility. However, there is some room for negotiation rather than just insisting that your teen take on everything. Parents may want to take care of third-party insurance, for example. Alternatively, parents may contribute towards fuel and other running costs in exchange for getting your child to run errands using the car.

Take the time to talk it through and educate your teenager about what it means to own a car. They might decide another form of transport is more suitable until they’re in a better financial position, but unless you are open and frank in your discussions, neither of you will know for sure.

2021 Kia Stonic Readies For Release.

Kia’s curiously named Stonic is being advertised on Australian TV for sale. The brand’s answer to the Kona, Stonic will have sharp pricing, a choice of three models (Stonic S, Sport, and Stonic GT-Line) with sub-2.0L engines, and a seven speed DCT for the GT-Line. The base model has a six speed manual or auto.Pricing starts from $22,990 for the Stonic S in manual guise, with a $1,000 premium for the auto. Sport starts at $24,990 and $25,990 for manual and auto, with GT-Line from $29,990. All prices are drive-away.

The engines are a 1.4L non-turbo four, or a 1.0L three cylinder. Power and torque figures are 74kW and 133Nm for the four, 74kW and 172Nm for the turbo three. It’s front wheel drive for the four cylinder, AWD for the turbo three potter.

The standard equipment for the S includes six airbags, car/pedestrian/cyclist detection AEB, Lane Following Assist, reversing camera with dynamic parking guidelines, rear parking sensors, driver attention alert, cruise control, idle stop and go (also in Sport), wireless Apple Carplay and Android Auto (S trim only), multi-connection Bluetooth, 8-inch Multimedia touchscreen, 6-speaker sound system, 4.2-inch TFT LCD driver’s cluster, 15-inch steel wheels and auto headlights.

Step up to the Sport and there is 17-inch alloy wheels, smart key with push button start, 8-inch multimedia touchscreen with navigation, 10-year Mapcare updates with SUNA Traffic, electric folding mirrors and premium steering wheel and shifter.GT-Line adds in 17 inch alloys, idle-stop-and-go, a bespoke body package, MFR LED headlights, two tone colour or a sunroof, cloth and artificial leather seats, climate control air conditioning, privacy glass, and an electrochromic mirror.

Exterior colour choices are broad. There will be seven available for the 1.4L version, with Clear White, Silky Silver, Perennial Grey, Aurora Black Pearl, Signal Red, Mighty Yellow, and Sport Blue. The GT-Line has a choice of four exclusive two-tone treatments. There is Clear white with an Aurora Black Pearl roof, Mighty Yellow and Aurora Black Pearl roof, Sporty Blue with Aura Black Pearl Roof, and Signal Red with Aurora Black Pearl Roof. Silky Silver is not available on GT-Line. Premium paints have a $520 impost.Based on the Rio’s platform, the Stonic has had the gearbox moved forward by 28mm, and their is an increase of caster angle from 4.1 degrees to 4.6 degrees, Shock absorbers have been specified as the high performance RS-valve types. the rear shocks have been given a more upright stance, with 8.4 degrees off vertical, whilst Rio has 25 degrees.

Interior features include dual channel Bluetooth for two phones to connect for music streaming. The S has wireless connection for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto via the 8.0 inch however it’s not available on the Sport and GT-Line trims. Satnav has a 10-year Mapcare and SUNA traffic services support included.

Safety is high, of course, with camera and radar AEB across the three, with car, pedestrian, and cyclist recognition across an activation spread ranging from 5km/h to 180km/h for vehicles and 5km/h to 85km/h for pedestrian and cyclists. DAA or Driver Attention Alert is standard, along with Lane Keep Assist and Lane Following Assist. Parking Distance Warning connects to the rear sensors to monitor and alert for objects around the vehicle when reversing whilst the Rear Occupant Alert is a class leading inclusion which monitors rear door opening and closing to assist the driver about rear seat passengers when exiting the vehicle.Packaging has the Stonic at a length of 4140mm, width of 1760mm, height with roof racks 1520mm, wheelbase of 2580mm and minimum ground clearance of 165mm in S trim and 183mm for Sport and GT-Line, a maximum of 1,155L for the cargo, whilst towing is up to 1,000kg braked with the manual.

Check with your Kia dealer for a test drive.