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Honda CR-V Gets Ready For 2021.

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

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

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

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

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

2020 Suzuki Ignis GLX: Private Fleet Car Review.

This Car Review Is About: Suzuki’s ultra-cool micro SUV, the Ignis. Reborn in 2016 from the original model of the early noughties, the sub-compact machine with hints of Swift has been given a minor visual tickle for its 2020 iteration. It’s a two trim machine with GL and GLX specifications.

How Much Does It Cost?: In Pure Pearl White, on the manual GL, it’s $18,990. The GL Auto is $19,990 in the same colour, with the GLX an auto only at $20,990. Metallics add $595 to the GL and GLX. Prices are driveaway.

Under The Bonnet Is:
Suzuki’s willing 1.2L Dualjet four potter. The 16V donk offers up 66kW at 6,000rpm and torque of120Nm at 4,400rpm. The auto is a CVT with a button activated Sport mode on the selector and a Low range fixed gear that’s ideal for hauling the 865kg (dry) machine up hill and down dale. Well, more up hill than anything. Economy from the teacup sized 32L tank is rated as 4.9L/100km on the combined cycle for the auto. On a very easy highway run, we got a best of 5.5L/100km.

It’s here we need to point out that our review car had just 26 kilometres under the tyres, so no doubt figures would look better as the drivetrain loosens up.On the Outside Is: A choice of the new additions to colour palette, with Ivory, Khaki (as seen on the review vehicle supplied by Suzuki Australia), and Black, alongside the existing Red, Grey, and White. The external amendments see a restyle front and rear bumper, and the blacked out grille has chrome limned inserts for a fresh look. The GLX has driving lights in the lower quarters of the front bar sitting under cheeky looking LED limned headlights. Wheels and tyres are 175/60/16 Bridgestone Ecopia for the GLX, 175/65/15s on the GX. The rear flanks have defining strakes, the wheel arches have a good flare (which makes us wonder if some bigger wheels would look even better) and have polyurethane black linings for contrast.

Length is just 3,700mm, with a boxy 1,660mm x 1,595mm width and height riding on a wheelbase of 2,435mm that enables a turning circle of just 9.4 metres. The SUV-like stance comes from a ride height of 180mm. The petite five door machine has an approach angle of 20 degrees and departure of 38 degrees.On The Inside Is: A basic yet tidy layout and one that admirably suits purpose. Manually operated seats, a single push for down for the driver’s window, plain but not untasteful plastic trim, and Suzuki’s nicely laid out touchscreen greet the passengers. For the driver is a simple but cool looking dual dial display and a monochrome info screen on the right. Access to this is via a tab underneath or a steering wheel button on the tilt only column. This shows consumption, clock, fuel level remaining, and also provides access to some of the basic car settings.

Audio, like the Swift Sport, is AM/FM only, however the GLX has a pair of tweeters over the GL’s rather pauper like door-only drivers.

The main seat padding is a pleasant black and white stitch with a charcoal bolstering. They’re supportive enough and on a round trip of close to 200km didn’t leave the driver feeling physically worn. The colour matches the plastics, with the lower half of the cabin in black with light gunmetal grey door grips. The dash has a bone coloured strip which complements the light grey cloth for the pillars and roof lining. Auxiliary ports sit underneath the touchscreen for 12V and USB. It’s a clean look here and mirrors what the Ignis is all about.Each door has a bottle holder, cup holders are two up front and one in the rear of the centre console, between the front seats. The rear seat folds easily to increase the cargo pocket from 264L to 516L (measured to the window) or a full 1104L if packing to the roof.On The Road It’s: A shining example of expectations being met. The Ignis is not intended to be anything other than a very good city car and it meets that purpose head on. The CVT is, for want of a better few words, not the best in smoothness, with whines, clunks, indecisive movement but it works for the Ignis. It harnesses what torque there is and uses it effectively enough. No, acceleration isn’t rapid, with a 0-100kmh time measured in days but it runs along just fine, at just under 2,000rpm, at the highway limit. There’s the initial grab at a gear, as such, with the accompanying whine and a long sliiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiide into the next ratio, such as there is.

There’s a subtle but noticeable clunk as that change happens, and a less prolonged whine this time around. A sensation of a third change and the CVT has done its job. A flattening of the right foot has a hesitation whilst the CVT thinks momentarily, then it’s noticeable change in harmonics, a slight clunk, and the Ignis sees some extra pace. It’s the same with the Sport mode; a gentle press has the S in the digital screen light up, and there’s a noticeable change in the tone of the engine and the transmission. The feeling in the drive is slightly smoother and it’s a semblance of increase in speed in the context of what the Ignis delivers otherwise.

There’s not a lot in the brakes, primarily because the Ignis doesn’t need it thanks to being so light. Vented discs up front are supported by drums with front and rear pads inside. the pedal has decent feel and it takes no time at all for a driver to get the feel of just how much pressure is needed. The steering is the same. It’s not the last word in conversational yet there’s still enough for a driver to get some good feedback from the front driven wheels.Ditto the suspension. It’s compliant enough for most road surfaces but on one particular section of road, noted for testing the absorption rates thanks to a rise in the tarmac that descends into a paved section momentarily, virtually every car will crash to the bumpstops and the Ignis is no orphan here. However it recovers quickly and doesn’t deviate from the straight-ahead, indicating that the suspension is sorted well enough.

Perhaps where a small improvement could be made is to remove the Jatz cracker thick rubber and bolt on some wider treads. There are times that the sidewalls were noticeably flexing and the chassis would squirm in sympathy as a result. It’s not an indication of the car doing anything wrong, simply dealing with physics and a tiny pawprint on the road.

What About Safety?: There are the basics here: six airbags, electronic aids such as ABS, and pretensioning seatbelts. That’s it. No autonomous emergency braking or rear cross traffic alerts etc.

What About Warranty?: Suzuki will warrant the new Ignis for five years and unlimited kilometres. Servicing costs are capped for five years or 100,000km, with year 1 at $239, years 2/3/4 at $329, then back to $239. That’s on a 12 month/15,000km cycle.At The End Of the Drive. It’s hard to quantify one key element of the Ignis GLX. As basic as it is, with a small engine, sappy CVT, and boxy looks, you’d be forgiven for overlooking it. You’d also be overlooking a car with an indefinable yet easily understood factor: it’s a fun car. Once the Ignis is up and humming it’s simple to drive, can be hustled relatively, and it feels more alive in what it’s doing than cars three times the price. One J. Clarkson, known for his opinions on matters machinery, is all for the “alive” factor of what is otherwise electricity, wires, fuel, and metal. For us, the Ignis is that and then some.

There’s no doubt some extra work would give it more life but would it dull the character? Make up your own mind by checking out the funky Ignis here.

2020 Suzuki Swift Sport Manual: Private Fleet Car Review.

This Car Review Is About: The latest in the long running Swift line from Suzuki. The Sport has been placed as the crowning part of the range and for the 2020 version, has received some minor updates. They’re safety features only so the mechanical package remains untouched. That’s both a minor pity and not a bad thing.

How Much Does It Cost?: In plain Pure White Pearl, it’s $29,990 for the Manual. Metallics are $595, and the optionable two-tone scheme, as fitted to our review car, is $1,095. These are drive-away prices.

Under The Bonnet Is: Suzuki’s quite decent 1.4L Boosterjet turbo four. 103kW (5,500rpm) and 230 torques (2,500rpm to 3,000rpm) drive the front wheels through a well sorted six speed manual. There is an auto available for those bereft of enjoyment in their life. For the hybrid followers, the European spec model has been given a 48V system, and it’s possible that variant will make its way to Australia in 2021.The manual itself is a down and to the right lockout for Reverse, with perhaps a little more notchiness in the way it moves through the gate needed. Otherwise it’s an easy shifter and well paired with the light clutch mechanism. There’s a centimetre or so of initial movement before the pickup point engages, and once in the driving mind, the shifter can be moved rapidly and with confidence. get the pickup point just right and the engine’s rev drop off is minimised, making for less of that manual “lurch” and more for a smooth progression in forward motion.

Being a small car, it gets a small tank at just 37.0L. Suzuki quotes a combined consumption figure of 6.1L/100km. It would be nice if somehow Suzuki could engineer in a change to allow for a larger tank though, as our around town cycle was close to 7.0L/100km. The dash display allows for kilometres per litre or the more common litres per 100km. The car had its setting as the former and lead to momentary consumption confusion, with the gauge showing 14.5km/L. This translates to 6.9L/100km but for the unaware it could bring in a question about the engine’s performance in that area.On The Outside It’s: Unchanged from the previous model yet there is one area that could do with a change. There is a reverse camera fitted and it’s awkwardly placed in the niche where the rear number plate is located. As such, when Reverse is engaged and the camera switches in, the top section of the view is truncated, almost like watching a movie at home and laying a towel over the top quarter.

Otherwise it’s a smart, almost handsome looking beastie, especially with the 17 inch alloys fitted and clad in grippy 195/45 rubber. The front has an assertive look with the flared housings for the driving lights, and the touches of faux carbon fibre on the chin and door sills hint visually at the sporting intent. There’s some at the rear as well, adding a nice finish to the profile.

The review car is in the optionable two-tone, with a black roof and Flame Orange main body. It’s a good looking combo and not one likely to age as quickly as other colours and combinations have.On The Inside It’s: Got a new display screen for the driver. It’s a 4.3 inch LCD and shows speed, G-force, turbo pressure, torque and power, amongst others. It’s operated via a tab on the left of the steering wheel, with the phone tabs on a separate outrigger below that. The seats were manually operated and don’t have heating or cooling. Support is good and the actually comfort level is high. Power windows have just the driver’s as a one touch up/down and this makes sense, given such a car is likely to be more occupied by just one or two.

Audio is AM/FM only though, a truly odd oversight in a vehicle set as the lead of its range. Although the Swift Sport is Bluetooth equipped, along with auxiliary inputs and smart-apps, DAB nowadays in a top ladder vehicle is expected to be a normal feature.265L is the count for the cargo space, whilst 579L is the count when the rear seats are folded. It’s not a great deal of space by any measure however the Swift has never been intended to be used as a family car. The Baleno or Vitara from Suzuki is where families would look.On The Road It’s: Widely regarded as a bundle of fun. Lightweight, low centre of gravity, a short rectangle wheelbase and track (1,510mm track front and rear, with a 2,450mm wheelbase) endow the Swift Sport with a tenacious amount of grip. As mentioned earlier, it’s also fun due to the transmission and shifter, plus the close set ratios mean the Swift Sport manual can really be rowed along with a quick dip of the left foot and wave of the left arm.

The pickup point of the clutch is towards the top of travel, and there’s only a slight amount of sponginess before the pedal takes up pressure. With a little bit of practice, getting the synchronisation of gear selection and pedal travel right means a more progressive and linear acceleration when required, less lurchiness and more utilisation of the torque also.

That torque figure is also why the economy could improve, in our opinion. The transmission is geared so 100kmh is spinning the Boosterjet at around 3,000 to 3,100rpm. Not only is it somewhat noisy, it’s above the peak torque figure and having the engine require a bigger need for fuel. A set of longer ratios from 4th to 6th, to drop 6th down to 2,500 or so, would make for a more flexible drivetrain and better economy. However, there’s no lack of poke, with a drop to 5th bringing in the torque, or simply an extension of the right foot that has noticeable if not rapid acceleration from 6th.Suspension wise it’s mixed, with a bang crash at slow speeds over some items, a measure of suppleness elsewhere, and a well tied down set at speed. The ups and downs of freeways are quietly absorbed, whereas there were times at suburban velocities a simple road marking had the Swift Sport feel as if a flat tyre had occurred and it was banging on the rim. Steering wise it’s spot on, with that just right feel and a a little extra weight as the wheel loads up left and right. Naturally braking is spot on, with minimal travel before the pads bite and a message of just how much pressure is needed for the required stopping distance.

What About Safety?: Rear parking sensors, that partially blanked off reverse camera, and the new Blind Spot and Rear Cross Traffic alerts bring the Swift Sport’s safety level up a notch. Six airbags still and there is no hill start assist for the manual. That may seem a bad thing however Suzuki’s appeal is in making cars that are ideal for new drivers, and learning a hill start with no assistance is or should still be mandatory in driving lessons. There is a Forward Collision Alert system too, and it’s pernickety at times. It would beep at teh driver as a warning (great) for a vehicle at a driver determined safe distance (not great).What About Warranty And Service?: the Suzuki website has a page where an owner can submit their car’s build details. the Swift Sport comes with a five tear warranty, and with unlimited kilometres. They’ll cover commercial applications such as ride share for up to 160,000 kilometres. Sericing is 12 monthly or 10,000 kilometres for turbo cars such as the Swift Sport, and have capped price servicing for five years or 100,000 kilometres. The first service is $239, followed by $329, $239, $429 then $239.

At The End Of the Drive: As a former car sales employee, Suzuki was a brand that AWT was heavily involved in, and alongside another Japanese brand at the particular dealership, the Swift was the preferred choice of Mums and Dads that were looking for Junior’s first car. Some migrated to the manual versions that were available after finding their feet with the auto. With the 2020 Suzuki Swift Sport now available in dealerships and available in both manual and autos, the brand continues to deliver a car with genuine appeal, good looks, a decent level of features, and good enough economy. Book your test drive here.

Nissan Ariya: A New Charge For 2021

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

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

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

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

Nissan Pioneers Alternate Charging With EVs In Australia.

In an Australian first, road to vehicle charging for electric vehicles (EV) has arrived and it’s courtesy of Nissan. The shorthand is V2G, or Vehicle 2 Grid, and it’s a project that Nissan’s support of the Realising Electric Vehicle Services (REVS) project has helped bring to realisation. The project is built around 51 vehicles to be based in the Australian Capital Territory, and they’ll be part of the territory’s government fleet in a trial to measure the Leaf’s bi-directional charging ability by providing power back to an energy grid.

This will bring an energy measurement system to the fore. Known as Frequency Control Ancillary Services (FCAS), it refers to the level of energy that’s required to optimise a power grid when demand fluctuates. The Leaf comes into play, as the world’s only factory built V2G vehicle which makes the car a potential total energy solution, by ensuring the batteries don’t just store power for driving, but can also use that energy to run a home or commercial site, or to feed power back to the grid. The trial will also evaluate the ability of the Leaf to work with the base load stabilisation in both off-peak and peak. By reducing or negating that instability, it could lead to a process to eradicate blackouts from that instability.

This trial has also been backed by ARENA, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) as part of its Advancing Renewables Program. with battery technology for high load applications improving constantly, this forward looking trial envisions a future where the battery in an EV can become a household energy solution. Like a household oriented battery, the Leaf’s 40kWh battery could assist a house by storing solar provided energy during the day and release that at night, bringing the focus to an eye on zero-cost mobility and zero-cost home energy. In that same focus is remote power access at work or elsewhere that can then be transferred to a household when the vehicle returns to a home environment. It’s then theoretically possible to have a positive offset to a household energy bill.

“As the brand with the only V2G-capable vehicle from factory on the Australian market today, we are exceptionally proud to support this project, and to introduce this technology to Australia,” says Nissan Australia Managing Director, Stephen Lester. “The Nissan LEAF not only offers an exciting EV driving experience, it goes so much further by integrating into the energy system. Nissan has been a global leader in this space, with several successful trials conducted in overseas markets, realizing it in Australia is an important milestone.”The REVS project brings together a consortium of academic, transport and electricity-system partners to deploy the V2G service, including ActewAGL, the Australian National University (ANU), JET Charge, Evoenergy, SG Fleet and Nissan.

 

(Pictures and info courtesy of Nissan Australia.)

Mazda Launches Their First Hybrids

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

SkyActiv hybrid 1

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

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

SkyActiv Hybrid 2

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

Contact your local Mazda dealer for more details.

(Pictures courtesy of Mazda)

2020 Mitsubishi ASX GSR: Private Fleet Car Review

This Car Review Is About: Mitsubishi’s ASX with a nameplate that in Mitsubishi’s history has referred to a sporting oriented vehicle. GSR was found on their hi-po Lancers and they were a little less mental than the Evo class cars. However, in ASX trim, the sporting intention has been relegated to a lairy colour on the review car and a front wheel driven chassis with the traction control dialed back a little.

How Much Does It Cost?: $30,740 is the recommended retail price. $32,490 is the drive-away price as of June 2020.

On The Outside It’s: Been given blacked out highlights to complement the Sunshine Orange paintwork. 18 inch alloys with black paint, along with the grille, door mirrors, and a subtle rear deck lid spoiler are part of the GSR’s visual appeal. It’s a combination that suits the “shield grille” treatment as it brings a more assertive look to the small SUV. The painted alloys have Bridgestone Ecopia rubber, and they’re 225/55 in profile. An identifying GSR badge is on the tailgate, and it’s the only one that says GSR.On The Inside It’s: The mostly cleanly laid out look newer Mitsubishis have. “Microsuede/Synthetic Leather Seat Trim with Red Stitching” is the description for the pews and they’re a delight. Comfortable, supportive, warm and there’s no need for electric heating. Air-conditioning is via the simple and classy dial system that Mitsubishi has employed to great effect. They sit above a pair of USB ports and a 12V socket, and below the 8.0 inch DAB equipped touchscreen.The tailgate is manually operated, opening to a 393L cargo section that expands to 1,193L with the second row seats folded. A flat loading floor and low lip make loading up a brezze, and the pair of recesses either side help for items that need a little extra security.The angular slope of the ASX’s roof doesn’t compromise interior packaging either. 963mm head room is available for the rear seats, plus 921mm leg room. They’re good numbers considering 1,000mm head room for the front seats and 1,056mm leg room.Under The Bonnet Is: A 2.4L petrol engine. No diesel, no hybrid. 123kW and 222Nm haul 1,390kg (dry) via a CVT driving the front wheels only. Consumption is quoted as 7.9L/100km for the combined cycle. Mitsubishi’s info system provides a driving average, as in it’ll change on the go, but there is not separate overall figure. We saw a worst of over 9.0L/100km and a shortened range, to a best of 6.7L/100km and a range of over 400km to go from between a half and three quarter full gauge.On The Road It’s: The front wheel driven GSR has a throttle that is open to hard work. As such it also sets up the GSR for a little bit of spirit. The rubber is partly to blame, if you will, as even a moderate amount of throttle application chirps the tyres, easily spinning them and there’s no real intrusion of the engine control nanny either. There’s nothing from the rear end though, and it comes across as being nothing more than to prop up the cargo area.

The steering has some feedback, enough to let the driver know that the front end is lively, and even manages to isolate the fact that the ASX GSR is a front wheel drive vehicle. There’s little to no noticeable torque steer, the front can be hammered quite hard and for the most part the front will stick…in a straight line. Those tyres become a weak point as the GSR will push into understeer reasonably easily and on damp roads the rubber loses grip even more readily.

The CVT is one of the better ones going, and seems to harness the 222Nm more efficiently, even under heavy throttle. There isn’t a Sport shift though, a truly odd choice for a seemingly sports-oriented style car. Yes, there are paddle shifts but…well…no Sport shift. The drive selector itself is a bit painful, having a F shaped slot mechanism and it’s not entirely intuitive in moving the lever. It got caught far too often in Neutral due to the design of the slot, and there is a low range style selection that is picked up by sliding through D to L. This is where a manual change via the paddles seems to be more appropriate.Damping is better than the Outlander PHEV tested the week before; there’s more suspension give, less reliance on the Bridgestone rubber for smaller intrusions, and a little more body lean in cornering aiding grip where it can be. This also means that road holding is improved with less tendency to feel like the tyres may momentarily lose contact on certain surfaces.

What About Safety?: Loaded for bear, is what the ASX GSR has in the safety stakes. Forward Collision Mitigation system, with Lane Departure Warning, Lane Change Assist and Blind Spot Warning. Then there is Rear Cross Traffic Alert, to finish off the main package. Auto headlights and wipers, the flashing emergency stop signalling, reverse camera and front & rear parking sensors, plus seven airbags round out the supplementary systems.

What About Warranty And Service?:
100,000 kilometres or five years, with capped price servicing details available.

At The End Of The Drive. The ASX is a competent vehicle regardless of which model you select. Versions such as this, the ASX GSR, manage to find a better level in areas such as handling and the CVT yet just miss the target by not making the gear selection a Sports style. Nor is there a console mounted Sport option.

In Sunshine Orange, along with the blackouts, it’s an eye catcher, and the paint really drinks in the sunlight giving it a true glow. It rolls along nicely, has enough squirt to please, and sells in very good numbers. Add a Sport mode that’s tweaked to suit the characteristics, and it’ll be even better. Check it out here.

Car Review: 2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Exceed PHEV.

This Car Review Is About: A vehicle from a mainstream car maker that provides a technology still all too rare. Hybrid tech of its own right is becoming widespread, however the plug-in part is still uncommon. The Outlander from Mitsubishi is an all too rare opportunity to sample an option in drivetrain tech that perhaps could become a little more common with time. In PHEV form it’s strictly a five seater too.

How Much Does It Cost?: The Outlander falls into the medium SUV category. There are three PHEV variants, being the ES and ES ADAS (higher trim levels) and the Exceed. This starts from $56,390 plus on-road costs. At the time of writing, a drive-away cost of $60,390 was advertised.Under The Bonnet Is: The opportunity to drive, theoretically, up to 54 kilometres on a battery only run thanks to a pair of electric motors, one front, one rear connected to a single speed transmission. Otherwise there is a 2.4L petrol engine that charges the battery, and backs up the electrical drive in uphill runs or when the battery is low on charge. There are two charge ports on the right rear quarter and a separate charge cable that plugs into the standard home plug outlet. When the PHEV was first released five years ago it came only with a 15A cable. Thankfully Mitsubishi listened. There is also an app that allows a driver to monitor charging progress and set charging times.The petrol engine produces 94kW and 199Nm, with the electric engine adding its own 60kW and 70kW via the front and rear mounted motors. Consumption is rated as 1.9L/100km and the tank size is 45L. Our overall figure finished on a creditable 5.8L/100km, and most of that was from charging on the go. The battery itself is of a Lithium-ion mix, with a 13.8kWh capacity, voltage of 300, and 80kW maximum output for the generator. Charging time (80%) on the DC fast charger is is 25 minutes, with seven hours on the cable for home charging.On The Inside It’s: Time for an update. We’ve reviewed three PHEVs and the Outlander platform is aging. Gracefully, yes, but aging. The ergonomics are no longer suitable and the look and feel is obviously older compared to its opposition. There’s been barely any changes since the last model and that’s minor tweaks to the centre console around the fore and aft drive selector, a rejig of the touchscreen and the way the seat material is laid over the frames.The dash is a slab, there are buttons hidden by the steering wheel including the Start/Stop and information button, and it’s all just a bit out of step with the competition. Faux grey coloured carbon-fibre is laid on the passenger side of the dash, the centre console and underneath the aircon controls. There is the usual assortment of cup and bottle holders, plus auto headlights and auto wipers.Cargo wise there is 463L of space, down slightly on the normal five seater. This is thanks to a slightly higher cargo deck that sits over the battery and houses a compartment for tyre goo in the case of a puncture, plus the plug-in charger cable and indicator box. The rear axle houses a motor also, and this contributes to the height as well. There is a 12V outlet for this area though and the rear door is powered.Five seats is what the Outlander PHEV packs, and they’re also in need of an update. This is more to the material used as padding, as there’s more a sense of sitting on, not in, the pews.
On The Outside It’s: Getting closer to the angular shape of siblings AS, Triton, and Pajero Sport. There’s still the rounded, slightly bulbous shape that’s wrapped Outlander for well over a half decade now, but the nose has the look of the rest of the team. One would expect that the next update will drop the ovoid look and bring it more into line with the others.

Wheels are high gloss alloys and of a 25 spoke design. Rubber is 225/55/18 and from the Toyo Proxes range. Access to the two charging ports is via a flap on the right rear quarter, with fuel on the left rear.On The Road It’s: A good mix of electric propulsion for, as it turned out in the real world, around 45 kilometres. The driver’s display has a graphic that shows the charge level of the battery and any regeneration charge being fed back in. It’s a push button start system and there’s a couple of faint clicks and whirrs as the system gets ready. A flick of the drive selector to the right and a fore or aft movement for Reverse of Drive, and that’s as complicated as it gets.Unless the right foot is super heavy or heading uphill, the PHEV is a purely electric vehicle. There’s virtually no noise from the drivetrain, but plenty from the rubber, even on smooth road surfaces. As the charge level drops and heads towards maybe 10%, the petrol engine kicks in and tops up charge ever so gently. On the fly a driver can press a console tab to charge or use a Save Battery mode which entails the petrol engine kicking in and out as required. The swap-in and swap-out is almost seamless, with bare hints of vibration and a dull background drone the indications of the change.

The steering is leaden, heavy, and as the drive indicators don’t show torque split, it feels as if it’s a heavily front wheel drive oriented machine. The suspension is also super tight, with most of the smaller road surface niggles absorbed by the tyre sidewalls, not the suspension. The brake is also numb, a curious sensation given the regenerative ability of the system itself.

Acceleration is somewhere between not bad and slightly leisurely. A dry weight, befoer passengers etc, of just under 1.9 tonnes would have that effect… Even when the petrol engine kicks in, it’s an easy-going, unhurried affair. The single speed transmission does a sterling job too, coping admirably with the demands of either or when it comes to switching between the two power sources.

What About Safety?: Ultrasonic misacceleration Mitigation System is standard in the Exceed, as are Blind Sport Warning, Lane Change Assist, and Rear Cross Traffic Alert. Adapative Cruise Control with a simple push button to adjust, and a 360 degree camera system are also standard. Seven is the count for airbags.

What About Warranty And Service? Warranty is five years and capped price servicing applies. Service intervals are 12 months or 15,000kms. Conditions and further details can be found here.

At The End Of The Drive. Mitsubishi deserve accolades for their PHEV push. Hyundai have the Ioniq, itself an attractive proposition with electric, hybrid, and PHEV, variants Toyota doesn’t offer a PHEV. And with a real and usable range of around 40km, the Outlander PHEV is absolutely ideal for city running, and with the occasional dip into the petrol tank by using the engine to charge on the go, an easy 60+ , more than enough for most users, it’s perfect. But expect that on any other route consumption will increase.

There are other areas of mild “concern” too. The steering has no life, the dash is really showing its age, and the exterior is now the only member of the current Mitsubishi that lacks the truly hard edged “shield grille” design. And at $60K, buyers will look towards newer and competitively priced products, irrespective of fuel savings.

Outlander PHEV details are here.

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Toyota Doubles Down On Updates: HiLux And Fortuner Facelifted.

Toyota has made some noise in the first week of June 2020 in respect to the facelifted and upgraded HiLux. Quietly though, their “forgotten” SUV, the Fortuner, has also been given a makeover and received the power/torque upgrades as well.

Fortuner.

Front and rear are where the exterior changes have come to play, and definitely moreso up front. The headlights have been given a restyling that brings them a sharper, narrower look, but also mimics the sharper and narrower styling found on Mitsubishi’s Pajero Sport. Underneath is a pair of broader airvents that first appeared on the Lexus LX570. In the middle the air intake is now a deeper Vee shape, with the whole look more like that found on HiLux from a couple of years ago. Overall, it’s a cleaner and less invisible look.

The rear brings the same bumper extensions and have hints of roundness, rather than heavy angles. The rear lights have changes in the internal look, with the top of the range Crusade gaining LEDs, whilst the rear window line remains unchanged. Unfortunately.

Behind the nosejob lies a rejigged diesel engine. Like the HiLux, there are now 150kW and 500Nm (auto only) which are increases of 20kW and 50Nm, and a change to the economy. Toyota says up to 17% is the improvement in urban driving. Towing has increased; it’s now up to 3,100kg. Inside the infotainment screen has been upped to eight inches from seven, and now has the smartphone apps as standard, as are satnav and DAB audio. The range is still a three level layout, being GX, GXL, and Crusade. Contact your local Toyota dealer for pricing and availability.HiLux.Toyota have also waved the update wand over their best selling HiLux. The engine has the same upgrades (150kW, 500Nm for auto transmissions, up to an 11% increase in economy) and the exterior also has been updated. Late August is the ETA for arrival on Aussie shores. Here’s what’s been done.

The HiLux sports a large trapezoidal grille which Toyota says “dominates the front design and incorporates more pronounced horizontal elements”. Depending on the level chosen, the surrounds will differ in look. The headlight clusters have been reconfigured for a more slimlined and edgier appearance and the upper levels will be LED lit. The lower bumper corners have a restyled look that brings a stronger “jut-jawed”, almost bulldog appearance that builds upon that seen on the RAV4. In profile though, some subtle restyling on the flanks and a creaseline for the doors has been added to join front and rear.

Inside HiLux also gets an update, including the increase to an eight inch, not seven, touchscreen that includes DAB and smartphone apps. The driver’s display now has a full colour 4.2 inch display, bringing the HiLux into line with Camry and Corolla, for example.
Motorvation comes from a 2.7L petrol, 2.4L and 2.8L diesel. 4×2 and 4×4 drive modes remain available depending on model. The three body styles of single, extra, and double cab remain as do the five trim levels: Workmate, SR, SR5, Rogue and Rugged X. Pick-up and cab-chassis options are both available.

Underneath, the HiLux range has been made over as well. The suspension has had the shock absorbers retuned and mounted to new bushings. The leaf sprung rears have been refined and provide a more comfortable ride without losing handling ability. So have the technological abilities been increased, with a new traction control feature redistributing torque in the 4×4 models when 4×2 mode is being used. The Downhill Assist Control uses sensors to provide an almost 4×4 like split of torque on demand in wet, muddy, or grassy conditions. Towing for the auto 4×4 variants is now up to 3,500 kilograms, and the 4×2 versions are upped to 2,800kg. That’s an increase of up to 300kg.

Toyota’s Sean Hanley, the Vice President for Sales and Marketing, said: “More than ever, Australia’s favourite ute will inspire go-anywhere confidence for customers who rely on it as a load-carrying and trailer-towing workhorse for doing their jobs. Equally, the latest changes will advance HiLux’s credentials among customers who demand the handling, ride comfort and convenience of an SUV.”

Although vehicle sales in Australia have declined dramatically in recent months, in May 2020 the HiLux commanded a full 25.5% share of the pickup/cab chassis market, selling 90 for each day of May. http://credit-n.ru/offers-credit-card/ren-drive-365-credit-card.html

2020 Subaru Forester Hybrid – S Hybrid & XV Hybrid – Private Fleet Car Review.

This Car Review Is About: Two new Hybrid vehicles for the Australian market, courtesy of Subaru. The Forester is the brand’s best seller, and along with the XV sees the company launch their first forays into the hybrid arena.

Each come with a varying trim range. The Forester Hybrid comes in Forester Hybrid-L and Forester Hybrid-S trim, and is available in four “normal” levels; 2.5i, 2.5i-L, 2.5i Premium, and 2.5i-S. XV is available in XV Hybrid AWD, and 2.0i, 2.0i-L AWD, 2.0i Premium AWD, and 2.0i-S AWD.

How Much Does It Cost? According to the pricing matrix on the Subaru Australia website, the entry Forester is $39,322, Forester 2.5i-L Hybrid starts at $44,731, with the 2.5i-S at $51,031 drive-away. XV kicks off at $33,546 in entry level trim, and $40,239 for the sole XV Hybrid.

Under The Bonnet Is: Where the changes lie. A 2.0L boxer four in the Forester replaces the normally fitted 2.5L The battery is located in the rear. The XV has the same layout, and also comes with a 2.0L petrol engine. The Forester and XV have a 48L tank. That’s down from the normal 63L. There are no changes to the Subaru signature all wheel drive platform otherwise.The spec sheet lists the peak power for the Forester and XV Hybrid as 110kW at 6000rpm, and 12.3kW for the electric motor. Torque is rated 196Nm at a typical 4000rpm, and 66Nm for the electric motor.

Economy for the Forester Hybrid, says Subaru, is 6.7L/100km combined, 7.5L for the urban, and 6.2L for the highway. For the Forester, we finished on 7.7L/100km. This was on a drive loop of 80% urban and a hilly backroads remaining 20%. XV Hybrid is rated as 6.5L/100km for the combined, 7.5L for the urban, 5.9L/100km for the highway and also finished on 7.7L/100km. Required fuel is 91RON. Both are heavier than their non-hybrid siblings, with the Forester at 1,603kg dry and XV at 1,536kg. Both are around 90kg heavier thanks to the battery pack.Transmission is a seven step CVT in both with manual mode. Torque vectoring is standard as well.

On The Outside It’s: Moreso a badge denoting the hybrids drive-train with E-Boxer than any wholesale changes since the cars were facelifted two years ago.Forester is much like the Outback. Both look like station wagons yet are SUV sized. Forester is 4,605mm in length, and stands an impressive 1,730mm to provide that SUV presence. It’s clever design work from Subaru in this area as compared to other brands, it simply doesn’t look like an SUV. The XV is 4,465mm, and is actually a little lower than the non-hybrid XV, standing 1,595mm, 20mm down on the roof-rail fitted non-hybrids. The XV is more a hunchbacked style visually though, thanks to the extra ride height it has over the Impreza hatch it’s based on. Ground clearance for both is 220mm. Wheelbases are almost identical, with a mere 5mm separating the pair at 2,670mm and 2,665mm respectively. Wheel and rubber combos for the two tested were 225/55/18s on the Forester S Hybrid with Bridgestone supplying the rubber. The XV has Yokohamas and 225/60/17s. There are eight paint colours for the Forester, including the deep aqua blue on the Forester Hybrid and a shade of aquamarine on the XV. It was a colour remarked upon by many as being a lovely colour.The C shaped LED lights in the front and rear clusters bring a model and brand defining look, as it’s common across the range Subaru offer. The Forester has self leveling front lights and they’re steering sensitive. The XV doesn’t get these features in Hybrid trim.

On The Inside It’s: Definably Subaru. There are the three screens, one in the dash binnacle, the touchscreen in the centre (smaller in the XV at 6.5 inches against the 8.0 screen in Forester S Hybrid), and the very useful info screen perched up high. Audio is DAB enabled however none of the information normally available such as artist and song could be accessed. The Forester had a Harman-Kardon supplied speaker system. There is also a CD player in each.

External views though, as part of the safety system, can also be accessed here, such as the left hand side when reversing and showing in crystal clear clarity the angle of the car in relation to the kerb. The steering wheel has a pair of tabs on the lower left arc, at around the seven o-clock position, and a flick back or forth is what changes the information on the dash display. The Info button on the spoke changes the info on the upper screen, and includes angles of incline, economy, and drive distribution when underway. Centre console rocker switches for the front seat heating sit close to the X-Drive control knob (chromed in the Forester, a tab in the XV) and they warm the seats quickly in the Forester. The XV has leather appointed cloth sports style seats and no heating is fitted here.

The driver’s seat is powered and has memory positioning. Leather trim is found on the Forester’s seats, cloth for the XV Hybrid. Cargo room is 509L to 1,779L in the Forester, 345L to 919L in the XV, showcasing the differing rear roof lines plus the higher cargo floor in the XV.

The dash design is classy bar one small niggle. The USB ports up front and well and truly buried in a niche that requires unnecessary fiddling to access. There’s some crouching down required in order to first sight the ports then actually insert cables. Ancillary controls for the driver are smartly laid out and visible above the driver’s right knee. There are a couple of acronyms in the pair; SRH is Steering Responsive Headlights and AVH is Auto Vehicle Hold, the braking mechanism on slopes.What About Safety?: From the Subaru website: Subaru’s Vision Assist technology featuring: Front View Monitor, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Reverse Automatic Braking, Side View Monitor. There is also the Driver Monitoring System – Driver Focus3 featuring distraction and drowsiness warning. There is an icon on the driver’s dash display and warning tones aplenty of it reads the face and feels the eyes haven’t been looking forward. airbags are seven in number.On The Road It’s: Surprising in a couple of ways. In the case of the hybrid system in the Toyota range, the cars start in a fully electric ready to go mode. The cars then will reach 20kph before the petrol engine switches in. In the case of the Forester and XV, the petrol engine is rotating from the get-go. Select Drive, gently squeeze the go pedal, and there’s plenty of urge as both battery and petrol get the cars underway.There is an EV icon in the driver’s display area, and this appears moreso when the cars are cruising on the highway, and the petrol engine is barely ticking over. There’s a fair bit of engine noise when really pushing it, such as going up hills, and this was where the Forester really suffered in economy. That smaller tank didn’t help as just after 260 kilometres covered the gauge said it was half empty. The XV had more kilometres on the petrol engine and felt noticeably perkier, looser, more spritely.

Certain sections of the acceleration curve felt more linear, less stressed than the Forester. However, no matter what, compared to the system in Toyota’s range, the petrol engines here felt more “always on”, and engage the EV system far less than Toyota’s. The Toyota setup is definitely EV up to 20kph, the Subaru setup says it should but doesn’t. Even on very light throttle pressing on the highway, the petrol engine is still engaged.

Also, the CVT isn’t bad, but there’s still that sense of energy sapping depending on how the throttle is used. Under hard acceleration there’s that constant sense of slipping however more a snese of gears changing. Lighter throttle pressing seems to have better response and more a traditional CVT feel with revs rising and motion increasing.The attached image shows Subaru’s intent. In real terms the engine package is the only difference in how they drive. The brakes have a slightly more responsive feel, the steering is quick and light to the touch, and there is little to quibble about in regards to the roadholding abilities. With the all wheel drive grip levels and torque vectoring facility, both cars can be pushed into turns and corners with plenty of confidence. On longer sweeping corners there is a distinct lack of need to constantly adjust the steering as well.

What About Safety?: Both cars have a five star rating. Both have Subaru’s much vaunted Eyesight safety system. There is a Driver Monitoring System that literally watches the driver’s face. There is facial recognition and looks for drowsiness and distraction cues. Blind Spot Monitor, Rear Cross Traffic, Reverse Braking for when sensors pick up an object in a reversal path, Forward Collision Warning (which can be a bit overly sensitive), and seven airbags round out a very solid package.

What About Warranty And Service?: Like most hybrid makers, it’s a little mixed. The main range comes with a 5 Years/Unlimited kilometres warranty period, with the Subaru New Vehicle Warranty period on high-voltage batteries for Subaru Hybrid vehicles is 8 years/160,000 kilometres, whichever comes first. It seems unlikely that drivers would do less than 160,000 over eight years.

Servicing costs for the hybrids are the same. The first checkup after one month is free, with the Forester S Hybrid and XV Hybrid on a 12 month or 12,500 kilometre cycle. The first service cost $350.25, followed by B’ Service 24 months or 25,000kms at $588.31, and then the ‘C’ Service 36 months or 37,500kms is $354.83. The final two are ‘D’ Service, 48 months or 50,000kms, $784.77 and ‘E’ Service 60 months or 62,500kms at $354.86.

At The End Of The Drive. It’s mixed feelings. Given Subaru’s own fuel consumption figures, and that we recently got 5.0L/100km from a Camry Hybrid, loaded with four adults, some baggae, and a mid sized pooch, they fall short of expectations. They’re not big cars, they’ve been driven in urban areas, yes, but with one aboard for pretty much most of the drive cycles. There is no question about the rest of the package, with the interiors largely up to the very high standard seen in Subaru vehicles, and the technology seen for some years now. But in a hybrid sense? More work to be done, we suspect. Pick your Subaru here. http://credit-n.ru/vklady.html