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

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

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

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

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

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

 

2020 MG HS Essence: Private Fleet Car Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To Repair or Not to Repair, That is the Question

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

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

 

Weighing up a new car

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

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

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

 

Choosing to repair your current car

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

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

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

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

 

What else to consider?

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

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

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

What to Consider Before Looking at Ex-Demo Vehicles?

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

 

What is an ex-demonstrator car?

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Tucson’s Fourth Generation Is Ready For The World

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Contact your Hyundai dealer for more details.

Kia Confirms Sorento Details For Australia.

Kia has officially unveiled the forthcoming 2021MY Sorento. To be available in a four trim model range and coming with either a 3.5L V6 petrol engine or a refined 2.2L diesel, with an auto for the petrol and a DCT (dual clutch transmission) for the diesel, the Sorento has been sharpened, redesigned, and upgraded across the board. It’s also the first new Kia to be built upon the brand’s ‘N3’ SUV platform.

The four levels are: S, Sport, Sport +, and GT-Line. The petrol engine will drive the front wheels, the diesel will be powering all four corners. The petrol engine will deliver 200kW and 332Nm, with the diesel spinning Kia’s new wet-clutch DCT. Power from the 2.2L engine is 148kW and delivers torque of 440Nm. The engine itself now has a alloy head and this reduces weight by close to 20kg.

Pricing starts from $45,850 RRP and $46,990 drive-away for the 2WD petrol S. The Sport starts from $48,470 RRP and $49,990 drive-away with the Sport+ at $52,850 RRP and $54,390 drive-away. The GT-Line Petrol sees $60,070 RRP and $61,990 drive-away. Premium paint is a $695 option.

For the diesels in the same trim levels, Kia says the S will start from $48,850 RRP and $49,990. The Sport starts at $51,470 RRP and drive-away at $52,990. In Sport+ trim it’s $55,850 RRP and $57,390 drive-away. GT-Line is $63,070 RRP and $64,990 drive-away. To be built at the Hwasung plant in Korea, the Sorento will come with Kia’s 7-Year unlimited kilometre Warranty, 7-Year Capped Price Service, and 7-Year Roadside Assist.“The outgoing Sorento was a game-changer in the Australian market with previously untapped safety and convenience levels in the segment _ and the all-new model continues to take that story forward,” Kia Motors Australia Chief Operating Officer Damien Meredith said. “Across the four trim levels we believe the Sorento will meet the needs, and exceed the expectations, of anyone shopping in the seven-seat SUV market.” Mr Meredith said that Sorento’s evolution over the last 18 years echoes that of the Kia brand as a whole. “While the car was initially launched in 2002 as a utilitarian body on frame all-terrain vehicle, it quickly evolved into a more luxurious monocoque construction and now, in its fourth generation, Sorento has been transformed into something once again more desirable.”

The exterior design cues start with the signature “tiger grille” and the headlights have a “tiger eye LED DRL. Much like the recently revealed Carnival, lines draw the eye to the headlight design which further creates a tiger face impression. The lower air intake has been revised too, with a more rectangular shape, and again similar to Carnival has wing shaped air curtains to funnel air. Restyled tail lights do away with the formerly horizontally oriented design, and now have a pair of vertically strips with an uppermost angle-forward design that echoes the rear window’s trailing edge.As is common with updates, there has been a change in size. Width is up by 10mm to 1,900mm. Length is up by the same to 4,810mm however the front and rear overhangs have been subtly reduced which makes the Sorento look longer. In between is a wheelbase that’s up by 35mm to 2,815mm.

The new model is 1900mm wide, 10mm wider than the third-generation Sorento. In profile, the proportions of the Sorento are subtly adapted to make it appear longer. The new model is 10mm longer than its predecessor (now 4810mm), yet it features shorter front and rear overhangs. The additional length is found in the wheelbase (a result of the Sorento’s new platform), which has grown by 35mm to 2815mm. The A-pillar has been pushed back by 30mm and leads to a 10mm taller roofline. New styling cues are found with the shark-fin on the C-pillar and the completely redesigned tail lights. The model’s name is emblazoned across the tailgate. Colourwise the new Sorento will offer seven exterior paint finishes with Clear White the standard, plus six Premiums: Mineral Blue (New Colour), Snow White Pearl, Steel Grey, Silky Silver, Aurora Black and Gravity Blue. All trims will have a full-size spare in 17-inch, 18-inch, 19-inch or 20-inch depending on trim level.

The interior also has had the wand waved. The GT-Line will have mood lighting in the door trim and from underneath the dashboard, and will have a pair of digital displays which at 12.3 inch (GT-Line) and 10.25 inch (Sport, Sport+ and GT-Line, 8.0 in S) that will control most of the car’s functions. The layout will provide an almost ultra-widescreen experience. Capacitive touch buttons on the screen sides will provide the control options. Trim materials across the range have been revised with embossed black cloth, leather appointed black cloth and black quilted Nappa leather appointed seats being available depending on the model chosen.Increasing the wheelbase sees cargo and passenger carrying ability increased with 616L growing to 2,011L with all seats folded. With the third row raised there is still 187L available, an increase of 32% compared to the previous model. Controls for the rear seat passengers see a soft touch button to fold the second row. These also have a sliding increase of 45mm for extra access. Third row passengers have an armrest that has increased by 100mm and incorporate a smartphone tray and cupholder.

Ride and handling will be improved in the new 2021 Sorento; the increased wheelbase partners with a 4% tighter bodyshell (made from steel and aluminuim for strength and weight reduction) for increased rigidity and reduced body vibration. Geometry changes to the suspension have increased road-holding and for those that enjoy some off-road action, a new Terrain mode for the diesel engines, operated via a rotary dial in the centre console, provide better traction in Snow, Mud, and Sand.Convenience features include Bluetooth pairing for two phones, three USB ports up front and two for second row passengers (Sport and GT-Line), plus 12V sockets for the third row passengers. Sport+ and GT-Line offer an extra pair of USBs. GT-Line will have a HUD or Head Up Display and a 12 speaker Bose system for pure sounds. The other three models will have six speaker sound.

For safety Kia’s Advanced Driver Assist System, ADAS, includes Kia’s Autonomous Emergency Braking technology with pedestrian, cyclist and vehicle detection. This also detects oncoming traffic when making a turn at a junction. The Sorento is also available with Blind-spot View Monitor (GT-Line only), Surround View Monitor (GT-Line) and Blind-spot Collision-avoid Assist, Advanced Smart Cruise Control, Lane Following Assist and Driver Attention Warning. Kia’s ‘level two’ autonomous driving technology, Lane Following Assist (LFA), controls acceleration, braking and steering depending on the vehicles in front. LFA operates between speeds of 0 and 180 kph, using camera and radar sensors to maintain a safe distance from the car in front, while monitoring road markings to keep the Sorento in the centre of its lane.The new Sorento also features a Rear View Monitor (RVM) with Reverse Parking Collision-Avoidance Assist (PCA) (GT-Line only), and Rear Cross-traffic Collision-avoidance Assist (RCCA). In addition, it is also the first Kia available with the company’s new Remote Smart Parking Assist (RSPA) (GT-Line only), which enables drivers to move their car autonomously out of a front-and-back parking space remotely with their key fob. This is designed to make it easier for passengers to get in and out of the car in tight parking spaces or if another driver parks too close to access any of the doors.

RSPA brakes the Sorento automatically if it detects another car, cyclist or pedestrian behind the vehicle or crossing behind it. The Sorento’s Safe Exit Assist feature also prevents rear doors from opening if the vehicle detects a hazard approaching from behind, such as a cyclist or another vehicle. Advanced driver assistance systems with new Remote Smart Parking Assist

There are seven airbags which includes a centre airbag but not a kneebag. There is also Kia’s Multi-collision Brake System, a crash mitigation system that engages the brakes when the system’s airbags have been deployed, further adding safety from other potential impacts.

The 2021 Sorento is available for test drives at Kia dealerships.

2020 Nissan Juke ST: Private Fleet Car Review.

This Car Review Is About: A substantially changed Nissan Juke. It’s the second model Australia has seen and the first wasn’t received with open arms due to its controversial styling. It’s still not pretty but in the greater context, it is a far better looking vehicle. There are four trim levels: ST (tested), ST+, ST-L, and the top of the range Ti.How Much Does It Cost?: Nissan’s website lists the range as starting from $30,490 drive-away for the ST. The range tops out at $39,490 drive-away.

Under The Bonnet Is: A three cylinder petrol engine with a turbo. Thankfully. Peak torque of 180Nm comes in at 2,400rpm and that’s barely enough to spin the seven speed dual clutch transmission. peak power is double figures at 84kW. In comparison Kia’s Picanto GT-Line has 172Nm but that’s available from 1,500rpm to 4,000rpm. The fuel tank is a decent 46.0L and economy, says Nissan, is 5.8L/100km on the combined cycle and given we’ve been seeing 6.8L/100km on our 70/30 urban/highway sprint, that seems spot on. Dry weight is 1,251kg.On The Outside It’s: A distinctively different vehicle for the second time round compared to version 1. The profile has a similar stance, with a steeply raked rear window line and hidden rear door handles, but it’s the front that has copped the biggest makeover. The distinctive mid-set headlights have been revised to reduce their prominence, and the formerly high-set driving lights that rode the fender’s ridge have been brought down to engage the top of the V grille for a far better integrated look. The rear loses the ovoid and bloated V shaped lights and now have a slimmer, more integrated, look. They’re sharper, have restyled interior designs, and go closer to matching the restyled front.On The Inside It’s: A comfortable place to be for an entry level vehicle. It’s a key start, for, umm, starters, with manual seats and no heating or venting naturally. They do have a surprising amount of lateral support and have adjustable lumbar support too. There is no DAB audio via the 8.0 inch touchscreen which again doesn’t default from the warning screen at all. It does have Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.The aircon is a bit off, as the lowest fan speed is sometimes too much in flowing air, and sometimes the coolest setting of the rotary dial is warm air, even when using the slightly redundant non-recirculating air tab. By slightly redundant, one tab to have recirculate on or off should suffice. The centre vents are three, a little unusual in count, and sit in a nicely hued grey plastic. This extends to the storage locker free centre console, which does, at least, house a pair of cup holders. At the dashboard end is a USB and 12V port pairing.

For the driver there is a colour info screen, accessed via tabs on the tiller’s left spoke. It’s friendly to both use and look at. Either side are standard looking analogue dials. It’s the same for the central dash controls; radio and aircon are dials and aside from the airflow, work as they should.Cargo space is decent enough with a lowish lip and a floor that’s under the lip itself. This isn’t terribly common for the class of vehicle as most have either a floor close to the load lip or level with it, so here it’s a pleasant change to be able to drop things down.

It’s the same with the seating and room. There’s good head, shoulder, and leg room for pretty much anyone that doesn’t play football or basketball. Leaving aside the lack of a centre console bin, there was rarely any sense of the front passengers rubbing elbows, and the rear pews, suitable for two people really, delivered no sounds of protest in regards to feeling cramped.On The Road It’s: Jeckyll and Hyde. The engine and DCT combination is abysmal. The DCT is problematic at best, with gaps that the Grand Canyon would think are huge when it comes to swapping between park, Drive, reverse. The time to re-engage is measured by calendars, not seconds. the problem is exacerbated by the time it takes for any torque to arrive on the scene when the accelerator is pressed at a Stop sign, for example. A driver could say “Beetlejuice Beetlejuice Beetlejuice” quicker than it takes for forward momentum to commence.

Once the Juke is underway and there is that characteristic three cylinder thrum, a wonderfully benign chassis is displayed. There’s a proper heft to the steering, good communication from the front wheels, almost agreeable braking feedback as well. It’s almost as if there were two different personalities for the Juke… The chassis dynamics aren’t the best in class but there isn’t a lot to dislike either. It’s decently composed in normal driving situations, with only the bigger and closer irregularities making the Juke feel uncertain on all four corners. Bump thump on speed reducers were noticeable more for the upper end of the suspension feeling softer otherwise the ride quality is of a pleasing enough level.

The best way to get the Juke rolling is with a egg-sensitive squeeze of the throttle. This tends to clamp the clutches together in a smoother manner and allows the progression of the go-pedal to engage the engine in a quicker manner. Coming into traffic from an intersection is where this method worked best, as once the car had some forward movement a harder press saw revs climb and take hold of those 180 torques. Rolling acceleration was much the same. There are two paddle son the steering column and these made a marginal improvement to how the driveline did its thing.The brakes are drum and disc, however the benefit of the Juke’s comparatively light-weight mass overcomes the ancient design of the drums. There was noticeable hints of the system feeling overwhelmed at times, with the ABS on the verge of intruding before deciding to sit back down.

A minor niggle was the Auto Stop/Start. On pickup, a fault light was displayed and using the tab to engage & disengage the feature did not remove it. However, later in the day, the system appeared to have reset as it didn’t show again.

What About Safety?: Juke in ST trim has six airbags, plus what Nissan term “Intelligent Emergency Braking” with Pedestrian and Cyclist detection. That’s elsewhere known as Autonomous Emergency Braking….Forward Collision Alert, reverse camera, Lane Departure and Blind Spot warnings are standard, as is Rear Cross Traffic Alert and rear parking sensors.

What About Warranty And Service?: Nissan offer all vehicle five years worth of 24/7 roadside assistance. That’s a good sweetener to start with. Then five years and unlimited kilometres carry the nice further. servicing costs will vary depending on vehicle however Nissan’s website has a link to allow owners to enter their VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) to provide a more concise pricing idea for the six capped price services.

At The End Of The Drive. The Juke ST suffers mostly from an under-torque delivering engine and a gearbox better suited elsewhere. Our final economy figure was still 6.8L/100km and we couldn’t help but feel that a more conventional transmission or, lawd help us, a CVT, would be better suited for the tiny 1.0L. Aside form that, it’s a decently enjoyable drive, with good handling and ride. It’s roomy enough inside for four and has the features the “younger people” would enjoy with the apps for connectivity.

Check out the Juke ST from Nissan for yourself here.

Australian Car Sales Continue Downwards Trend.

Australia’s Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries has released the latest sales figures for 2020, and not unexpectedly, it shows that the nation’s new car buying habits are continuing to be affected by the pandemic.

August for this year saw 60,986 new vehicle sales. That’s 24,647 or 28.8% less than August of 2019, and includes one fewer selling day or approximately 831 vehicle sales. or -28.8% on August 2019 (85,633) vehicle sales. August 2020 had one less selling day (25.8) than August 2019 and this resulted in a decrease of 831.5 vehicle sales per day. In the Passenger Vehicle segment, August had a reduction of 11,035 for a 42.8% decrease, whilst the Sports Utility segment went backwards by 6,652 or 17.0% compared to August 2019. This month also marked the first time a Hybrid vehicle saw the number 1 spot, with the Toyota RAV4 topping the charts.Last year’s August figures had 1,049 hybrid SUV sales, with this year notching 4,809 sales. In a Year To Date measurement, it’s 20,566 against just 5,205 for 2019. The PHEV or Plug-in Hybrid EV sector also grew, with 74 in August 2020 against 63 for the corresponding moth last year.

The RAV4 range dominated sales on its own, with 24,768 sales YTD and 4,825 for August. In second place was Mazda’s CX5, with 13,830 and 1,884 respectively. The RAV4’s increase represents a YTD percentage increase of 140.5 and a monthly percentage increase of 55.4.

For the 4×4 pick-up sector, Ford’s Ranger outsold the Mitsubishi Triton and Toyota HiLux in August. 2,718 were sold, over 1,278 for the Triton and 936 for the Hilux. On a YTD basis the Ranger was barely ahead of the HiLux, with the figures showing 22,923 over 20,263 whilst Triton’s YTD figures were 10,914.

The RAV4 contributed to Toyota topping the sales charts for August, with 12,449 sales. Mazda took the silver on 6,921 sales whilst the Korean duo took it to the wire. Hyundai notched 4,525 sales, Kia with 4,521 sales, and just shaded Mitsubishi with 4,308 sales. In the Small car segment Corolla just edged the i30, with 1,464 over 1,429, with Kia’s Cerato in third on 1,264. There was a surprise in the Light Cars $25K+ segment, with the Chinese owned MG brand selling 654 MG3s, ahead of Kia’s Rio on 445. The Camry absolute blitzed the under $60K medium segment with 910, whilst the Skoda Octavia stole second over the Mazda6, with 182 to 174.For the Large Car segment in both the under and over $70K bracket, Kia’s Stinger swept all before it with 178, triple that of the Mercedes-E-Class on 53. Kia also dominated the People Mover category, with the soon to be updated Carnival seeing 284 sales. Hyundai’s iMax was a distant second at 72. the Sports cars segment had the Mustang continue its winning way in both under and over $80, with 147 new sales, nearly doubling both the Hyundai Veloster (78) and Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe/Convertible (75).

Breaking down the Passenger Car segment has Toyota on 2,700, nudging Kia at 2,515. Hyundai took third with 1,776.

2020 Nissan Pathfinder ST-L N-Trek: Private Fleet Car Review.

This Car Review Is About: Nissan’s Pathfinder with the extra N-Trek equipment list. It adds some visual pizazz to the ST and ST-L specification which are two or all-wheel drive, with ours being the AWD ST-L version.

What Does It Cost?: In standard trim, and in V6 all wheel drive form, the Nissan website lists the standard ST-L V6 AWD spec at $64,111 drive-away. Nissan confirms the price as of September as $59,140 (recommended retail plus on road costs) and the N-Trek as $60,640 (recommended retail plus ORC) for the AWD. Opt for the 2WD version and it’s $55,640 (RRP plus ORC) for the standard and $57,140 (RRP plus ORC) for the N-Trek spec. Check with your dealer for your prices due to differing state charges.Under The Bonnet Is: Nissan’s well proven 3.5L V6 that drinks petrol at a quoted figure of 10.1L/100km on the combined cycle. With 202kW (6,400rpm) and 340Nm of torque on tap at 4,800 driving a CVT and an on-demand AWD system, we saw 12.3L/100km on our 70/30 urban to highway drive cycle. The drive system is selectable too, with Auto, a lock for 4×4, or 2WD. Left in Auto it drives the front wheels and splits to the rear as required.On The Outside It’s: Here that the N-Trek specification lies. Our vehicle was in Ivory Pearl, with Caspian Blue, Gun Metallic, Redstone, Brilliant Silver, and Diamond Black the colour options at no extra cost. N-Spec adds blackouts to the body, with a black V-grille, roof rails, door handles, mirror covers, and front and rear garnishes. The alloys are machined and black painted, and 18 inches in diameter. Continental supplies the 255/60 rubber from their CrossContact LX Sport range.

Nissan changed the exterior look some years ago, moving to a more organic looking style, which does a great job of visually minimising the big 5,042mm length. It’s tall and broad too, at 1,793mm and 1,963mm. The rear lights have a hint of Subaru’s older Liberty/Outback wagon, with a distinctive forward pointing V. Up front there’s a somewhat heavy look, with a alloy hued chin splitting the black plastic that runs from front to rear.On The Inside It’s: Showing its age in a couple of key areas. The dash colours and button layouts, plus a smallish 8.0 inch touchscreen look with no visual engagement. There is no DAB, no Android Auto, no Apple CarPlay, no smartphone charge pad. The touchscreen has the standard driver alert safety message but requires a press of the OK section to access the audio or map etc. It doesn’t automatically disengage at all, irrespective of how long it’s left.However, standard leather seats with two-step heating up front, multi-position and lumbar support electrically for the driver, tilt & fold and slide centre row, and pull-strap third row seats go someway to redressing those missing features. Centre row aircon helps for those behind the front seats, and plenty of glass to the sides plus two separate glass roof inserts provide plenty of airy sensation. The second row seats have two levers to provide a fold and slide for a completely flat load area of 2,260 litres from a start point of 461L. That centre row also feels higher than the front.The main control section on the dash is where the Pathfinder’s age is apparent; it’s busy with far too many buttons to take in at a glance. When the Pathfinder powers up and the OK button is pressed, the touchscreen’s default look is a map, and it’s something probably once seen in road map books.

The driver’s info screen is better, if not quite intuitively linked to the tabs on the steering wheel. A small recessed and not especially colourful screen shows the drive mode, economy, driver and car settings etc, but a rocker tab on the tiller that one would reasonably expect to move info around is actually the station selector for the radio.Nissan, though, have hidden away a surprise or two. The touchscreen has an apps button, and this takes you through to driver oriented info such as a G-meter, fuel flow and consumption, compass and steering orientation. It’s an odd thing given what is missing, but no less odd than having a 13 speaker premium soundsystem but no digital audio…

A CD player is fitted for those that do like their digital sounds and Bluetooth phone connection with voice recognition add some extra tech. Four 12V sockets are onboard, with three up front. The centre row faces the third zone aircon controls and a pair of USB ports.Forward vision is very good except for the 10 and 2 from the driver’s seat. The A-pillars are on the thick side and provide a blind spot that on some intersections blanked off traffic.

On The Road It’s: A rolling definition of a mixed bag. The V6 is a free revver and when spun in anger emits a decently rorty tune. The CVT is never truly terrible but there’s a sense it holds back the engine’s willingness. Off the line acceleration is ok in the sense that ok is quick enough but could be better. Underway it purrs along quietly and the CVT is geared to see under 2,000rpm at highway speeds. The ratio changes are noticeable but not excessive in their obtrusiveness to the way the Pathfinder feels whilst underway, and the CVT kicks down readily when required. There’s no manual shift option but a Sport mode, via a press button on the drive lever, is available. For the most part it’s superfluous.There’s a truly odd sense to the way the steering feels too. There’s an underlying sense of weight from torque steer, especially at parking speeds, but the steering is in need of constant attention, requiring hands-on 100% of the time. This brings, then, a sense of lightness in a truly odd contrast to that torque-steer heft. For all that, it’s by no means a hard car to steer.

Ride quality hovers somewhere around good; it’s supple enough, reasonably well tied down, but does exhibit some float at the top end of the suspension travel. It stands out by doing what it’s supposed to do but it does lack that sharpness, that crispness, as found in its competition.Most road surfaces are levelled out, sketchy surfaces tend not to duly trouble it. Perhaps some of that lack of sharpness is down to the near two tonnes (dry) mass the multi-link rear and strut front suspension deals with. By the way, it’s not intended to be anything other than a gentle soft-roader, with just 180mm of clearance underneath.

What About Safety?: There is a 360 degree camera system, for starters, Blind Spot Warning, Intelligent Cruise Control, and six airbags. Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Tyre Pressure Monitoring are also standard. Just in case, there is also second and third row occupant warnings and reminders. Rear sensors are standard, yet no front sensors are fitted.

What About Service And Warranty?: Five years, unlimited kilometres, and capped price servicing. It’s a 12 month or 10,000 kilometre cycle, with costs being $290 for the first service, $309 for the next, $458 for the third, $367 for the fourth, $314 for the fifth and $502 for the sixth.

At The End Of The Drive. The extra visuals from adding N-Trek aren’t quite enough to overcome the age of the Pathfinder, with the cluttered dash and lack of now commonly accepted features (smartapps, front sensors, for example) adding to the ticks lost collection. On the plus side is the reasonably neutral ride, the flexibility of the seating, and the seven seats themselves. It’s absolutely a family oriented, and family friendly, machine, but an update to bring it closer to its immediate competition. That’s longhand for “needs to get closer to the Koreans”.

Otherwise there are a few from Europe and a couple from Japan that can be compared, both favourably and non. From our point of view, the Pathfinder isn’t quite the winner but it’s not quite the loser. Drive one yourself at your Nissan dealership and check out the ST-L here.

How to Minimise Depreciation on Your Next Car

Unless you’re holding onto a prized vintage collectable, it’s a fact of life that every car begins to depreciate as soon as it has left the showroom floor. On the one hand, it’s a bit of a sickening feeling, knowing the car you purchased only minutes ago has already plummeted in value. However, that’s the nature of the game, and it does get you going! Not to mention, this is what allows you to score a bargain in the second hand market.

Nonetheless, everyday cars will continue to lose value up until the point where they have little to no resale value. But it pays to know that each individual car depreciates at a different rate. A lot of this is inherent, based on the model of the car itself, but knowing certain things before you purchase your next vehicle can help you minimise depreciation.

Pay attention to supply and demand

The rate of depreciation on a vehicle, and ultimately a car’s resale value, is influenced by the level of supply and demand for that particular make and model. Vehicle models with a good reputation for build quality, low operating costs, and critical safety features will fare better over the long run. A vehicle lacking in each of these areas will depreciate at a faster rate, especially if it is superseded by a newer model. On this point, be wary if you’re buying a run out model from last year!

 

Colour makes a difference

It might seem hard to believe, but the colour of your vehicle can have an impact on its depreciation. More conservative and traditional colours like white, silver and black tend to hold their value better, whereas ‘bold’ and striking colours alienate potential buyers and result in higher levels of depreciation. Also, stay away from any customised paint jobs that involve patterns or shapes.

Keep on top of maintenance

Maintaining your vehicle will go some way to mitigate the extent of depreciation. Buyers of second hand vehicles, including dealerships, favour vehicles which have been kept in good condition. Such buyers may even pay a premium – or at least not view the issue as another reason to squeeze you on the resale price. Keep a record of all the receipts and/or log book documentation for maintenance and repairs. Make sure the car is clean and free from any damage or unpleasant odours. First impressions count!

 

Mind your distance

The more kilometres you’ve managed to rack up on the odometer, the more the car will reduce in value. As the odometer reading increases, potential buyers will be concerned they inevitably need to make repairs, particularly major repairs. Again, if you’ve kept records of any maintenance efforts, this could help. Moreover, avoid putting the engine through more kilometres than you absolutely need to.

 

Research methodically

There are two particular areas of research you should look into. In both instances, you will want to do this before purchasing your next vehicle. First, look into the reliability of the vehicle in question. This might include reviews, or general perceptions among the market. Next, review the general resale value for the make and model, since history is usually a pretty useful indicator here. Certain makes and models, especially vehicles that are not fuel efficient, are quite simply unpopular. Therefore, it helps to have all the information in front of you.