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2020 Volvo S60 Momentum: Private Fleet Car Review.

This Car Review Is About: A newly added car to Volvo’s distinctive sedan range. There are three models: Momemntum, R-Design, and Inscription. Each has their own body tweaks and the R-Design has an optionable hybrid drive-train. We spent an enjoyable week with the entry level Momentum.

How Much Does It Cost?: the car supplied was in Ice White non-metallic paint. Volvo quotes the S60 Momentum as $54,990 plus on roads, and the car reviewed had the Technology Pack. This is $3,000 and includes Graphical Head-Up Display, 360 degree Camera, LED Headlights with Active Bending Lights, and Ambient Interior Lighting.Under The Bonnet Is: A turbocharged, petrol drinking, 2.0L four cylinder. It’s an AWD chassis and an eight speed auto directs drive to those four corners. 187kW and 350 Nm are the power and torque figures, with the torque on tap between 1,500 to 4,800rpm. Peak power is a typical 5,500rpm delivery and gets the S60 Momentum to 100kph in 6.4 seconds on its way to an electronically limited 240kph. Economy is quoted as 7.9L100km, and on our 70/30 urban/highway cycle we got to 8.2L/100km. The tank is 60L meaning a cruising range of over 700km is entirely possible.

On The Outside Is: An evolution of its bigger sibling, the superb S90. In profile it’s a beautifully balanced look, with the wheels having short overhangs and a cabin setting the driver slap bang in the middle of the length. The cabin itself is highlighted by the narrow window-line in comparison to the door side height, and bears a resemblance to the cabin line of Subaru’s pert Impreza sedan. The Ice White paint, by the way, is part of a palette of 13 colours. That white paint almost hides a scallop with a delineated lower section. It’s longer than it appears at 4,791mm, thanks to a height of just 1,431mm, and rolls on a wheelbase of 2,872mm. The vehicle driven had Michelin Primacy rubber on diamond cut alloys. Size was 225/50/17.

The rear lights are double “C” LEDs with bootlid inserts, sitting above a pair of chrome tipped exhausts. The front lights, as mentioned, are bending and LED powered. Naturally they include the “Thor’s Hammer” combined driving and indicator lights. The lower intake has a pair of sharply raked extensions that join the lower section of the bumper and form a surround for the small fog lights.On The Inside It’s: Got Volvo written large in luxury, features, and comfort. The Tech Pack has the aforementioned HUD and it’s intuitive to look at, as it should. The heart of the S60’s information provision is via the console touchscreen. At 9.0 inches in size and in high definition, it’s good to look at and, thanks to a simple swipe, simple to use. Sub-menus incorporate the controls for the driver’s dash (which is a full width LCD screen), the information shown in the screen, aircon settings, climate control, audio, satnav and more. It also houses a complete user manual as well.

The seats are supple with proper leather. Of course they’re heated, but again, non-vented. The driver has power operation and a dual memory position. The steering wheel is easily adjusted for reach and rake making for a very comfortable driving position. unfortunately for the rear seat passengers, there are no airvents from the rear of the centre console. There are a pair of 12V sockets and USB ports however. That centre console holds the rotary, not push, Start/Stop button and a rotating knob for the three drive modes which are Eco, Comfort, and Sport.There is no shortage of room too. The cargo area has a minimum of 392L to start with. Front leg room is huge at 1,074mm, with the rear seat 895mm. 1,425mm and 1,384mm are the shoulder room measurements and head room is also decent at 1,019mm and 945mm. Trimwise it’s full of soft touches and the Momentum has classy dark grey inserts in the dash and doors that contrasts beautifully with the alloy door handles.

What About Safety?: The driver’s dash screen shows a comprehensive list of safety features on start up. Direct from Volvo is this list: City Safety: Pedestrian, Vehicle, Large Animals and Cyclist Detection, Intersection Collision and Oncoming Mitigation with Brake Support; Steering Support; Intellisafe Assist: Adaptive cruise control including Pilot Assist, Driver Alert; Lane Keeping Aid; Adjustable Speed Limiter function; Oncoming Lane Mitigation; Intellisafe Surround: Blind Spot Information (BLIS) with Cross Traffic Alert (CTA).Front and Rear Collision Warning with mitigation support; Run-off road Mitigation; Hill start assist; Hill Descent Control; Park Assist Front and Rear; Rear Parking Camera; Rain Sensor; Drive mode with personal power steering settings; Emergency Brake Assist (EBA); Emergency Brake Light (EBL); Frontal Airbags, Side Impact Protection System (SIPS) with airbags in front seats, Inflatable Curtains and Whiplash Protection System; Belt Reminder all seats; ISO-FIX outer position rear seat; Intelligent Driver Information System (IDIS). We’d say that about covers it.
On The Road It’s:
Pure driving pleasure. Mostly. The front end is low and the plastic sheets underneath would scrape on driveways, speedbumps, five cent pieces…It’s a small niggle but a niggle nonetheless. However, the rest of the package is admirable. There’s a typical turbo lag, yes, a hesitation to engage first gear, yes, but they’re only at the beginning of the drive.

The torque comes into its own rapidly, and easily spins the eight speed auto through its ratios. The AWD and fat rubber take the torque and put it to good use, with plenty of traction. It makes curves straighten out and highway cruising as relaxed as it can be. A steering weight that is the automotive equivalent of Goldilocks’ porridge, an en pointe brake system and feel, and a ride quality that’s taut and terrific without compromising bump absorption endow the Volvo S60 Momentum with road chops to be admired. In essence, it’s a sporting sedan that doesn’t bignote or brag about its ability.Need to get past the slow driver in the wrong lane? Take a breath, you’ll need it as a press of the go pedal reels in the far distant horizon in a time measured in eyeblinks, not seconds. The numbers on the dash change rapidly. And there is never a hint of issue as the whole chassis comes together to heighten the experience. It’s as safe gold inside Fort Knox, (Goldfinger not withstanding) and has enough yahoo in it to scare a few more pricier sports cars.What About Warranty?: Five years and 100,000 kilometres is the warranty as of March 2020. Volvo also offers service plans, with the S60 starting from $1,595. This covers the first three years or 45,000 kilometres.

At The End Of The Drive. In a world seemingly overwhelmed by SUVs, Volvo, like its European counterparts, continues to offer sedans. The S60 is a standout in the sedan field, with excellent dynamics, a superb driveline, and plenty of class. It’s roomy, comfortable, and delivers what it promises. And for a buyer, that means getting a car that won’t disappoint in almost every aspect of its presence. Everything you need to know about this winner is here.

ŠKODA Electrifies With An Irish Twist.

Škoda has released details of their first electric vehicle and it’s to be a SUV. It will be called “Enyaq”. The name is derived from the Irish name ‘enya’, meaning ‘source of life’. Enya itself comes from the Irish Gaelic word ‘Eithne’, meaning ‘essence’, ‘spirit’ or ‘principle’. The ‘source of life’ symbolises the car manufacturer’s entry into the new era of electromobility and is in line with the Škoda brand’s history claim: ‘Driven by inventiveness –clever ideas since 1895’.

It’s to be built on the Volkswagen Group’s Modular Electrification Toolkit (MEB) platform and will be the first car from the brand to be built on this platform.. With its first all-electric SUV, Škoda is establishing a new nomenclature that combines the ‘E’ in reference to electromobility with the ‘Q’ that characterises the final letter of Škoda’s successful SUV family. With the new Enyaq, the Czech car manufacturer is taking another leap into the new era of electromobility in 2020.

Enyaq follows Škoda’s well-known SUV nomenclature. Like the names of Škoda’s successful SUV models Kodiac, Karoq, and Kamiq,names that have their origins in the language of the Inuit people living in northern Canada and Greenland, Škoda combines the future all-electric vehicles based on the MEB with the Irish language. The ‘E’ at the beginning of the name stands for electromobility whilst the ‘Q’ at the end creates a clear connection to the virtues of an SUV. The Škoda Enyaq is the next of the series of more than ten electric models that will be launched under the ŠKODA sub-brand by the end of 2022.

By 2025, Škoda expects all-electric vehicles and models with plug-in hybrid drives to account for 25% of sales. By 2021, the car manufacturer will have invested two billion euros in the development of electric models and a holistic, interconnected ecosystem for modern and environmentally friendly mobility solutions

Ford Adds A New Cat To The Family.

Ford has resurrected a former nameplate and given it to yet another new small SUV. The European produced Puma is currently scheduled to hit Aussie showrooms in the second half of 2020. The main family line are the small and medium sized hatched in the form of Fiesta and Focus.

It’s as yet unconfirmed as to the engine; the European specs have a 1.0L three cylinder petrol engine at the car’s launch a few months ago, with 92kW or 114kW. It’s said that diesel will be an option there and it remains to be seen if that’s optioned here. Transmission choice is likely to be a dual clutch auto that’s close to being signed off, as the current option in Europe is a six speed manual.

Room wise there’s plenty of it inside, including a cargo space able to hold 456L, and this includes a wetbox in the lower section and capable of holding up to 80L. The lifestyle aspect is strong as there is also a drain plug in the floor, meaning any wet activities can be carried out without fear of ruining the cargo section.

Although the standard equipment list for the Australian specification hasn’t yet been locked away, it does appear that the Aussie cat will get Ford’s Co-Pilot 360. This will pack in AEB, lane centering tech, adaptive cruise, traffic sign recognition, active park assistance and blind spot monitoring.

Exterior design has a somewhat startled cat headlight look, and a set of rear flanks with a strong crease line before finishing with a distinctive set of tail lights.

Keep an eye on Ford’s website for updates.

Amarok V6 Diesel Gains A Third Pedal.

Proving that some manufacturers do listen to customer feedback, Volkswagen has given its V6 diesel Amarok a third pedal. The Amarok V6 Core TDI500 4×4 Performance has 165kW between 3,250rpm and 4,500rpm, and a very decent 500Nm of torque from 1,250rpm to 3,000rpm. This means it’s good for a towed (braked) capacity of 3.0 tonnes. Payload is 1,004 kilograms.

Ryan Davies, The Director of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles Australia, Ryan Davies, said: “At every off-road, caravan and camping expo and Big Red Bash concert the team and I attend, we speak with current owners and members of the off-roading community who have begged us to bring an Amarok V6 manual to Australia. It was because of that passion that we were able to mount a case with our head office in Germany to build one and, based on Australia remaining the number one export market in the world for the V6 Amarok, we are finally able to offer this unique, Aussie-spec ‘Rok.”

It’s the addition of the six speed manual that makes the difference here. The six-speed manual gearbox is paired with a non-permanently engaged four-wheel drive system, whereas the eight speed auto has a permanent full-time 4WD setup. The part-time transfer box permits two gear stages which is the engagement of the front driven wheels and changing to the reduction speed, or low range, transmission. These are activated electronically via console mounted buttons, meaning no mechanical lever is required to get ready for muddy or off-road excursions. There is also an off-road mode, which is activated by the press of a button or automatically when 4×4 low range is engaged.  A mechanical rear-axle differential lock is fitted as standard.

Hill–descent assist limits downhill velocities by acting upon all four brakes as required, and will work at keeping the speed as constant as possible. This works best between two and thirty kilometres per hour. It will also assist in reversing situations downhill.

Inside there is heavy duty rubber coverings for the front and rear seats to help with cleaning after going off-road, The steering wheel  is leather wrapped, climate control is of the semi-automatic style, and VW’s App-Connect system is standard, The rear view camera adds an extra safety level with Park Distance Control. 17 inch wheels and LED running lights add some visual appeal, as do the extras for the Core Enduro version.

A black sports bar behind the cabin, a bonnet protector, and Enduro decals in black provide spice. Pricing is competive, with the Core 4×4 six speed manual listing at $49,590 whilst the Enduro lists at the same price. Check with your Volkswagen dealer to be sure.

 

 

BMW Has Upped The M Pure Factor.

BMW Group Australia has expanded their range by adding in four models that comes under the M Pure banner. A key factor is that value versus the standard specification has changed as there is extra features added for what is effectively the same dollar ask. They also retain the same powertrain to keep costs down. The models that have been given the extra specification cover the spectrum of the current range.

M Models have experienced startling growth for BMW Australia, with a 40% growth in 2019. Worldwide there has been a 32.2% increase for the M brand in 2019 over 2018, with 135,829 finding a new home last year.

The models that have been given the M Pure treatment are the X2 M35i, M 340i xDrive, X5 M50i, and X6 M50i. They join the M550i xDrive Pure model, which was announced late last year and will also be available from early 2020.

First up is the X2 M35i Pure and priced from $64,400, manufacturer’s list price. Standard features are extensive, and include M Sport brakes sitting inside 20inch M light alloy wheels in a double spoke style and coated in Cerium Grey. Run flat tyres are fitted. There is also the M Sport diff and front limited slip diff plus the obligatory M Suspension. There is an automatic tailgate and some good tech inside. A HUD or head up display is complemented by M Sport seats, with BMW’s Individual High-Gloss Shadow Line and BMW Individual Headliner Anthracite.

Additional equipment features are Dakota leather trim, powered and heated pews, lumbar support and BMW’s Comfort Access. Sounds come from famed audio company Harman Karmon. The extra kit is valued at $6,000.

The M340i xDrive Pure starts from $94,900. Wheels here are also Cerium Grey, double spoked, and are at 19 inches in diameter. Along with the M Sport stoppers and diff, items such as adaptive LED headlights, wireless smartphone charging, and HUD, sit alongside BMW’s Driving Assistant Professional and Parking Assistant Plus. Trim is BMW Individual Headliner Anthracite whilst the Sports Seats have Sensatec/Alcantara upholstery. The standard spec on top has BMW’s innovative Laserlight system with BMW Selective Beam up front, and auto tailgate at the rear. In between is a glass roof, Harman Kardon audio, ambient lighting to be enjoyed from the heated front seats whilst all pews get leather upholstery. The instrument panel has BMW’s Sensatec. The price here starts at $104,900, with the value overall rated as $12,400.

X5 M50i Pure sees a pricetag of $136,900 (manufacturer’s list price) with the X5 M50i at $151,900. Cerium Grey again is the chosen colour, this time on 22 inch alloys with a V shaped spoke design. Again there are the M Sport features underneath and now there is the M Sport exhaust and M Sport power steering. Suspension is the adaptive M Sport system. Inside is the Driving Assistant Professional and Parking Assistant Plus, and also the BMW Live Cockpit Professional. A panorama glass roof is fitted, and LED lighting for night driving. Trim is the BMW Individual High-Gloss Shadow Line, and ambient lighting once again adds some luxury and class. Comfort Access and wireless charging round out the list.

The extra specification in addition to the X5 M50i Pure is valued at $19,000, for a starting price is $151,900. Adaptive M Suspension Professional, includes adaptive M Suspension, Active Anti-Roll Stabilisation and Integral Active Steering are underneath, and the Laserlight/Selective Beam lights the way. Soft Close Doors start the interior additions, and there is 4 zone climate control along with heated and cooling cupholders to cope with the Australian weather extremes. Leather surrounds the BMW Individual Instrument Panel.

The final stanza in the M Pure story is the X6 M50i Pure from $140,900, with the extra equipment from $155,900. There’s the 22 inch wheels and run flats, brakes, diff, exhaust, and steering, plus the adaptive suspension. The auto tailgate is standard, as is adaptive LED headlights, Comfort Access, heated front sports seats, and the Driving Assistant Professional & Parking Assistant Plus. Internals also have wireless smartphone charging, HUD, Individual High-Gloss Shadowline, and Live Cockpit Professional.

The extras underneath cover BMW’s Adaptive M Suspension Professional, includes adaptive M Suspension, Active Anti-Roll Stabilisation, and Integral Active Steering. Naturally the Laserlight & Selective Beam front end is included, as are 4 zone climate control, heated & cooled cupholders, the leather-bound Individual Instrument Panel, soft close doors, and metallic paint.

Australia’s BMW range will expand even further in 2020, with the M8 Competition Coupé, M8 Competition Gran Coupé, X5 M Competition, X6 M Competition and M2 CS due to arrive.

Welcome To The Club: Fiat 500 Gets Update.

Fiat Australia has released details of a reinvigorated Fiat 500 line-up, with the unveiling of the new Lounge and Club variants.
The Italian city car remains true to its iconic design, refreshed with refined features and an option pack for the Club that takes the new line-up to an enhanced level of comfort across both the Lounge model and exciting new variant, the Fiat 500 Club.

Featuring the capable 51kW 1.2L powertrain, the Fiat 500 Lounge is offered in both Manual and Dualogic transmission and features 15 inch Glossy Silver Alloy Wheels as standard. Guillaume Drelon, Director, Brand & Product Strategy for Fiat, said: “We are thrilled to be able to offer additional features in the new Fiat 500 line-up that deliver a new level of sophistication. The Fiat 500 is truly a fun expression of its owner and with new technology and aesthetic refinements, it’s never looked better.”The pair share the same 1.2L engine. The Fiat 500 Club comes with Dualogic transmission and is packed with additional standard features including a Fixed Glass Sunroof, Automatic Climate Control, DAB+ and Rear Bumper with Chrome Moulding. There are some extra niceties too, with the Club also gaining 16 inch Alloy Wheels, Fog Lights, and Dusk and Rain Sensors. The Club also offers two different interior options with black fabric seats with white inserts and eye-catching bordeaux stitching, or white fabric with black inserts and white stitching. Leather can also be specified.Standard equipment for the pair is high. This includes the seven inch Uconnect Touchscreen Infotainment System with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a seven inch TFT Instrument Cluster Display, Voice Command with Bluetooth, Rear Parking Sensors, Cruise Control with Speed Limiter, Automatic Climate Control, Leather Wrapped Steering Wheel, and Daytime Running Lights with 15” Alloy Wheels on the Lounge.

The updated Fiat 500 range is on sale with the five speed manual Lounge starting from $19,250 (MSRP) through Fiat dealerships across Australia. The Club Auto starts from $23,250 (MSRP), with the Lounge and Club soft-tops starting from $25,250 and $27,250 respectively. The Fiat website can provide more information.

2020 Volvo V90 CrossCountry: Private Fleet Car Review

This Car Review Is About: The wagon or Estate or Tourer version of Volvo’s stunning S90 sedan. The CrossCountry raises the ride height from the sedan, goes all wheel drive, and adds exterior body mouldings. It’s fitted out with some lovely equipment too.How Much Does It Cost?: With no options fitted, and in metallic paint with the standard wheels & tyres, the Volvo website lists it as $91,200 driveaway.Under The Bonnet Is: A five cylinder diesel engine, with Stop/Start tech, producing 173kW and 480Nm. It’s rated as 7.2L/100km for the combined cycle. On our drive in a mainly urban setup, we averaged 7.8L/100km and it’s rated as EURO6 compliant. Tank size is 60.0L. Transmission is Volvo’s eight speed Geartronic auto driving all four paws. Volvo quotes a sub-eight second 0-100 kph time and a top whack of 235 kph from the 1,828kg (dry) machine.On The Outside It’s: Covered in a luscious Crystal White metallic, even pearlescent, paint with polycarbonate body mouldings. Rubber is 245/45/R20 with Pirelli supplying the P-Zero. The alloys are standard, with optionable 5 and 6 spoke designs on 19 inch diamond cut designs. It looks longer than the actual length of 4,939mm suggests, perhaps due to the low overall height of just 1,545mm. Wheelbase is 2,941mm. Front and rear exterior wheel to wheel is 1,879mm.The front is dominated by the glowing pair of “Thor’s Hammer” driving lights inside the slimline headlight clusters. These include the indicators as well. The bonnet is long, possibly a good third of the full length. It’s a very upright looking nose, and a pair of small aero wings sit close to the ground, just above small globes in the bottom corners of the bumper. The rear is equally dominated, this time with the signature “hockey sticks” for the lights, and here Cross Country is embossed into the upper section of the rear bumper, above an alloy look insert. The doors open wide too, making entry and exiting the V90 a painless experience.On The Inside Is: Standard sumptuous black Nappa leather pews. Two position memory for the driver’s seat. Rear seats with their own separate climate control and seat boosters for children. A powerful Bowers and Wilkins premium audio system including DAB. A powered tail gate that opens to a flat level and a capacity of 560L. It’s a long but not high cargo section though. There’s 1,026mm of head room up front, and 966mm for the rear seats. Front leg room is 1,071mm and the rear seats enjoy 911mm. What this means is that the V90 CrossCountry should fit most potential buyers. There’s certainly no shortage of a luxury feel. The Nappa leather ensures the occupants are cossetted and made to feel welcome. The aircon is touchscreen operated and is relatively simple to use. The touchscreen itself is vertically (portrait) oriented and is a swipe left or right to gain access to information on setup, apps, fuel, settings, safety features, etc. Naturally there’s Volvo’s variable LCD screen look too, with four different modes to suit the mood. For extra safety there is a 360 degree camera setup, with the only “downside” being the distortion of objects as the car gets closer to them. Drive modes are selected via the traditional knurled dial in the centre of the console. That also houses the rotate to the right Start/Stop dial. On The Road It’s: A typical diesel. Lag from a standing start before the torque explodes and launches the V90 forward easily and hurriedly. The low revving delivery of torque means that overtaking and highway acceleration is a doddle too. The eight speed self-shifter is a delight too, with a surety and confidence in its cog swapping up and down. Using manual shifting is almost redundant as a result.Handling was mostly on par, however there is understeer at low speeds and the extra ride height over the sedan and standard V90s can occasionally lend itself to a feeling of rolling slightly. However, this again appears more prominently at lower speeds. There’s plenty of grip, regardless, from the Pirelli rubber, meaning that is no issue with feeling the V90 will spear off into the undergrowth. At highway velocities, where the engine is ticking over at just 1,500rpm, the body firms and stiffens, with a very compliant ride yet feeling more tight and taut simultaneously. The steering becomes more intuitive and instinctive too, with no sense of being under or over-assisted. Whilst underway, the driver’s rear vision mirror lights up with a simple but effective compass direction. It’s placed and lit just so, with the font and brightness spot on as they’re both non-distracting yet very efficient. The Bowers & Wilkins audio system is also clear and punchy whilst underway, with bass providing a home theatre quality kick, and the dash mounted tweeter providing assistance in the changeable sound stage. The driver can select a presence where the sound is for all of the cabin or can be selected for the driver only. At any speed it’s a delight to experience.

What About Safety?: Volvo have loaded the V90 with a comprehensive safety package. Its Intellisafe System offers up Pilot Assist, a gentle lane keeping assistant. This shakes hands with the Oncoming Lane Mitigation system, that also assists in keeping the V90 in its own lane. Adaptive Cruise Control will measure the car’s distance to the one ahead and adapt to reduce or increase distance as required. Distance Alert goes hand in hand with the HUD or Head Up Display, and visually shows if the V90 has crept too close the vehicle ahead.

Airbags, naturally, abound, including one for the driver’s knees. These will come into play if the next feature isn’t successful. The Oncoming Mitigation by Braking is a Volvo safety world first that can detect if a vehicle heads straight towards your car on the wrong side of the road. If a collision can’t be avoided, it will brake your car automatically to further help reduce the effects of an impact. More about the safety features can been found here.

What About Warranty And Service?: Volvo lag here in the warranty stakes. There is a three year, not four or five or higher, warranty. That’s in comparison to the five years offered by BMW. Service costs though were slashed earlier this year, with a three year service plan for the V90 costing $3030 at the last available information.

At the End Of The Drive: Straight up, the Volvo V90 CrossCountry makes a worthy alternative to the over-saturated SUV marketplace. By offering a station wagon/tourer/estate in a luxury oriented vehicle, it provides buyers the chance to get into a vehicle that provides a more family friendly environment than a sedan yet isn’t bulky and road heavy like the bigger SUVs. It’s an easy drive, pulls like a locomotive, and is very well featured to boot. Get into your own V90 here.

Renault Adds Kadjar To The Family

Renault have added another SUV to their burgeoning range. Renault claims the Kadjar name is based on two words: Kad is inspired by quad to represent a go anywhere four wheeled vehicle, and Jar recalls the French words agile and jaillir respectively representing agility and suddenly emerging from somewhere. Okay then.Regardless, it’s based on another car with an odd name, the Qashqai from Nissan. It makes the Kadjar slightly bigger than the Captur. Pricing for the three model range (Life, Zen, Intens) starts from $29,990. Power is from a turbo 1.3L engine developed with Daimler. Peak power is 117kW (5,500rpm) and torque is a not indecent 260 torques at 1,750rpm. Economy is quoted as 6.3L/100km for the Euro6 compliant, 95RON, engine from a 50L tank. Transmission is a seven speed dual clutch auto. the Life and Zen roll on 17 inch wheels with 215/60 rubber, the Intens goes up to 19s and 225/45 tyres.

Length is 4,449mm, height is 1,607mm, and boot volume is 408L to 1,478L. The exterior is pure current Renault. C shaped LED driving lights, a fluid and organic look to the panels, and chrome highlights add bling to the front and windowline. Black urethane panels add visual appeal and a protective layer to the lower extremities. Inside is a 7.0 inch touchscreen, patterned covers for the seats, and an ergonomically focused design to the elegant sweep of the dashboard. A Bose audio system can be found in the Intens, along with electric seats. The Life and Zen are manually operated, with Zen also having manual lumbar adjustment.All three levels have a pair of 12V sockets, with the Life having a pair of USB ports up front. Zen and Intens have an extra pair for the rear. All three have voice activation, with the Life missing out on navigation. It doesn’t miss out on safety though, with front and rear sensors common across the range. However, side sensors it does miss out on. Blind Spot Warning and Lane Departure Warning are also not fitted to the Life. Intens gets hands free parking assistance as well as auto high beam. All three have auto on headlights.Renault provide a five year and unlimited kilometre warranty. Service intervals are pretty good too, just quietly, with 12 months or 30,000 kilometres. Metallic paint is a $750 option and a glass roof is $1,000.

Deposits can be taken online via the Renault website.

 

Dieselgate Over? VW To Pay Up.

Volkswagen Australia has agreed to pay up to $140,000,000 to 100,000 Australian customers after it was found to be responsible for fuel consumption figures that varied substantially from the advertised. Buyers that purchased from the Audi, Skoda, and Volkswagen stables are eligible for payments of up to $1,400. The vehicles concerned are powered by their 2.0-litre “EA189” TDI engines.

A statement released by VW Australia says: ““this is a significant step towards fully resolving the diesel lawsuits in Australia, subject to approval by the Federal Court of Australia”. A number of class actions, including one from Maurice Blackburn Lawyers, were based on the consumption figures and the resultant lowering of resale values. The settlement itself, says VW Australia, will be on a no-admissions basis. Settlements are expected to be concluded by sometime in 2020.

The lead plaintiff in this case is Alister Dalton. He’s said: “it’s pleasing there will finally be some closure and a resolution for thousands of Australians. It’s important that it forces some recognition from VW that there was a serious issue they had to face up to and deal with here in Australia regarding their vehicles.”

New Model News from Land Rover and Mini.

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

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

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

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