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Veloster Gets New Suit for 2020.

Hyundai’s 3 door sports hatch, the Veloster, has been largely untouched since it was released. For 2020 the pert little machine has been given a new set of clothes inside and out. Safety has been upgraded and there are new engines to punt as well.A three model range is the situation here. There is the entry level, the Turbo, and Turbo Premium. The middle and top have the 1.6L engine, delivering 150kW/265Nm with the entry level a 2.0L Atkinson Cycle engine with 110kW/180Nm. That powers down via a 6 speed manual or auto, with the Turbos either 6 speed manuals or 7 speed dual clutch autos. Prices start from $29,490 plus on roads for the Veloster, $35,490 plus ORCs for the Turbo and $38,990 for the Premium. Metallic paint is a $595 option and two tone is $1,000.Standard kit is impressive. The range opens with 6 airbags, tyre pressure monitoring, Forward Collision Avoidance with City camera, Lane Keep Assist, Parking Distance Warning – Reverse, auto headlights, a 7 inch touchscreen with Android Auto/Apple CarPlay, 18 inch alloys and Michelin rubber. Sports gauges in a digital format are in the driver’s dash and there’s the usual drive mode options. The Turbo is fitted with Pedestrian Detection camera and radar, Blind Spot Collision Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Warning, and Smart Cruise Control. LED lights feature front and rear, and there are a set of sports oriented body parts, and cloth/leather seats. Michelin features again on 18 inch black gloss alloys. The Premium has a Head Up Display, heated tiller, rain sensing wipers, full glass roof, and a wireless charge pad for compatible smartphones plus an eight speaker audio system from Infinity.
The bonnet has been lengthened and the roofline has been given a sharper angle, plus the wheel arches have been reprofiled. As usual, Australian imput has been used for the chassis tune to work with the extra body rigidity and refined independent multi-link suspension. The power steering system has a quicker-ratio and Torque Vectoring Control.

Hyundai offer a five year unlimited kilometres warranty, 12 months roadside assistance, a free first service, and a 10 year service & satnav upgrade if servicing the vehicle through Hyundai dealerships. Head to the Hyundai website for details.

Hyundai Has A New Venue.

Hyundai’s bold new Venue SUV marks a fresh entry point to the Hyundai range. It’s available very soon and will have a starting price from $19,990 (Manufacturer’s list price). Venue will become the Hyundai SUV entry point to a broad small car range, offering the road presence and interior space of an SUV, combined with the parking ease, economy, and manoeuvrability of a light car.

A three-grade line-up provides a new Venue to suit every customer, each with a flexible and economical 90kW, 151Nm 1.6-litre engine, front-wheel drive, and a choice of six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmissions depending on the model grade. A two-stage variable intake system is fitted and designed to maximise low-end torque and drivability. The three grades are: Go, Active, and Elite.

The Venue Go auto starts from $21,990 plus costs. The Active starts from $21,490 for the manual, and the auto steps up at $23,490. Elite kicks off from $25,490, and metallic paint is a $495 option.

Hyundai’s SmartSense safety suite is standard in every Venue, and incorporates Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist, Lane Keeping Assist, Driver Attention Warning, High Beam Assist and tyre-pressure monitoring. The range-opening Venue Go also features dusk-sensing headlights, hill-assist control system, cruise control and six airbags. Headlining an array of standard equipment in new Venue is an 8.0-inch touchscreen multimedia unit featuring Bluetooth streaming, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as a reversing camera.

The Venue Active adds Rear Parking Distance Warning (PDW-R) system, LED daytime running lights, powered folding exterior mirrors with LED side repeaters, alloy wheels, and leather appointed steering wheel and gear knob. Stepping up to the Venue Elite, customers also get Blind-Spot Collision Warning (BCW) and Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Warning (RCCW) systems, climate control, LED taillights, 17-inch alloy wheels, and a distinctive two-tone roof.

A Drive Mode system in Venue automatic variants allows customers to choose a powertrain setting that best suits their driving style. In addition, an all-new Traction Mode system offers unique traction control calibrations suited to snow, mud or sand driving. Venue benefits from a comprehensive Australian-specific chassis tune that delivers playful dynamics together with ride sophistication that is more commonly associated with larger vehicles. Exhaustive suspension testing and tuning by Australian engineers took place both at the Hyundai Namyang Research and Development Centre in Korea as well as a range of harsh and challenging Australian roads.

Venue applies Hyundai’s signature cascading grille and stacked headlight design to convey a bold road presence. Exaggerated wheel-arches build on the frontal styling to create a squat and athletic stance that is enhanced by strong character lines. An intuitive, practical and robust interior design complements Venue’s rugged exterior image. The cabin is headlined by a large tablet-style 8.0-inch multimedia display, and provides a sophisticated ambience through the use of black, grey and denim-coloured interior trim combinations. Venue provides the high level of practicality that SUV buyers demand, with an abundance of clever solutions that help maximise the use of interior space, and allow a generous 355-litre luggage space.

“The new Venue is ahead of the curve, offering customers a high level of value in a practical and well-equipped compact SUV. As our new range-entry model, the Venue combines the rugged looks and practical benefits of an SUV and a light car, with advanced safety technology at an attractive price point,”  said Hyundai Motor Company Australia Chief Executive Officer, JW Lee said.

Head to Hyundai’s website for more information.

 

 

Private Fleet Car Review: 2019 Kia Picanto GT

This Car Review Is About: The 2019 Kia Picanto GT. It’s the pert and perky little five door hatch, with minor and tastefully styled body add-ons, an energetic powerplant, and a fun factor that’s off the scale. It’s a screaming bargain at just $17,990 driveaway.Under The Bonnet Is: A zippy and free spinning three cylinder petrol engine with a real warble when it’s spinning up. There are 74kW available at 4,500rpm, and a very useful 172Nm from 1,500rpm to 4,000rpm. Power heads to the front wheels via a five speed manual. Boost and bang for the milk-bottle sized engine comes from a turbocharger that adds plenty of sizzle. The dry weight of the Picanto GT is just 1,007kg, which means that the power and torque, plus the five speed, don’t need to work hard to provide the spark.

Tank size is just 35L for the standard unleaded fuel. Economy, says Kia, is 4.8L per 100km for the combined. In the urban cycle, its far more likely home, it’s 6.2L/100km. Get it onto the freeways and that drops to 4.0L/100km. We finished on 6.4L/100km on our mainly urban test cycle.On The Outside It’s: The same little block of Picanto that’s been available for a few years but now with extra grin. There are colour highlights from inserts outside and in, new wheels, front bar additions with driving lights and extra air intakes, whilst the rear gets the cool “neon” light look at night plus a twin exhaust and a diffuser style add-on. Nexen supplies the 195/45 N Blue Plus rubber to wrap the 16 inch eight spoke alloys. The review car came clad in Aurora Black, with the GT also having Clear White, Signal Red, and Titanium Silver.

On The Inside It’s: Comfortable and familiar, yet carries a bit more cachet. There are red leather highlights on the front seats, alloy pedals with rubber strips for extra foot grip, and red backlighting for the switchgear. There’s some brightwork on the tiller and piano black for the console stack. Seats are manually adjusted but with the not-quite-as user friendly levers rather than the dials which are MUCH more user friendly. Luggage space is 255L with the rear seats up, 1,055L with seats down. It’s JUST enough, if packed correctly, to carry a decent weekly family shop but if it’s a really decent shop, then the space behind the front seats will need to be used.Space itself is more than adequate for a couple, but go more than three then the Picanto’s 3,595mm length and 2,400mm wheelbase come into play. Thankfully the front seat room is enough for all but basketball players so pulled forward the rear leg room becomes tenable. Shoulder room is a bit cosy thanks to the 1,595mm and headroom is fine even with a 1,485mm height.Storage comes in the form of two cup holders in the centre console, bottle holders for the front doors, a coat hook and net hooks in the cargo area. Sounds are from a non-DAB equipped audio system but Bluetooth streaming is standard. Sound quality isn’t as good as it could be either, with depth and punch not on the same level as other systems found in Kias. Apple and Android apps are standard as well. That’s a good thing for those that use them as satnav is not standard.What About Safety?: Covered. Sort of…AEB (Autonomous Emergency Braking) with FCWS (Forward Collision Warning System) leads the party, backed up by a reverse camera and rear parking sensors. LED driving lights up front add visual safety and add to the visual presence and the headlights are Auto on. BUT, and it’s a big but, no Rear Cross Traffic Alert, no Blind Spot Alert, no Lane Keep Assist, no front sensors, hold back the Picanto GT in crucial areas.

On The Road It’s: An absolute bundle of fun. The engine is a cracker and the gearbox is well specced for cogs. The clutch is light and really could do with more feedback as to where the pedal is in travel and where the plates are in gripping. Once the driver has worked that out though, practice gets the pickup point and shifts to launch just right. However the spring loading for the gear selector is also light and a touch vague in where the lever goes. The gate is close so a slide from second to third feels like it’s in the same line, and there isn’t enough definition in the shifter’s movement to properly advise where the lever’s going.

ONCE everything is worked out, the little engine that could, does. It’s got a real warmth to the sound, yes, but the appeal is in how it pulls the Picanto GT , in how it allows tractability in gentle around town driving or getting serious on the freeway. It’s geared for easy going driving, but also some get up and go squirt as required. The turbo kicks in at just under 2,000 and on the freeway that gearing allows a push of the pedal to see the Picanto GT rocket forward. It’s accompanied by a thrum, a not unpleasant rumble from the three cylinder donk, which is muted when not being pressed.Off the line it’s easy to feel pressed back into the seat easily when driving in anger. There is some real urge in this tiny engine and it’s something a driver can exploit and enjoy. Bang the gear selector from first to second to third and the GT simply rolls on inexorably, seamless in its acceleration. Throw out the picks and the lightweight car slows quickly and confidently.And thanks to the slightly bigger footprint, and the grippier tyres, hard-arsed cornering can be exploited and enjoyed too. Under power the Picanto GT can be punted into turns that would see the speedo read 20, 30 km/h slower (depending on the corner’s radius and driving conditions) whilst taking advantage of the engine on boost.

Ride quality is good but not great. The rear end is prone to a little skipping around on the roads that have the expansion joints and the whole car will crash bang on missing road sections. It’s a suspension that is flat and taut but not supple enough to dial these out.

What About Warranty?:
There is Kia’s 7 years warranty as standard. That’s with unlimited kilometres. Roadside assist is for 12 months initially however if the Picanto GT is brought to Kia for servicing then that extends to 7 years coverage also. Servicing is capped price and for every 15,000 kilometres or annually, whichever occurs first.At The End Of The Drive. The Kia Picanto GT is an embodiment of the words “pocket rocket”. That 172Nm of torque is so useable in a small car, and somehow manages to stay engaging even when loaded with two adults, a ten year old, and shopping. It’s the gear selector and clutch that blunts the engine’s sharpness as these really could do with tightening up. Ride quality is also not quite en’ pointe as there’s a lack of the absorption needed in the upper end of the travel.

The lack of DAB isn’t crucial but FM sounded dull. If a GT designation is to indicate a top of the tree model, then add a top of the tree audio setup. Make up your own mind by going here.

 

CarReview: 2019 Genesis G70 2.0L Turbo

This Car Review Is About: The revamped and relaunched as a two car range, Genesis. No it’s not the Phil Collins version. It’s the rejig of the 3.8L V6 first seen a half decade ago, now called G80. And now there’s a BMW hunting smaller version, the G70. This comes in three trim levels and two engine choices, being 2.0T, 2.0T Sport, and 2.0T Ultimate or with the 3.3L V6 as found in the Stinger.How Much Will It Cost?: There’s a sticker price of $58K plus on roads for the entry level, $62K for the Sport, and a hefty $71K for the Ultimate in four cylinder guise. The Genesis website says $65,533 driveaway, or with sunroof $68,158. In Sport and Ultimate trim it’s $69,733/$72,760 and $76,978.

Under The Bonnet Is: The same potent turbo 2.0L as found elsewhere in the Hyundai and Kia families. It’s a 180kW/353Nm turbocharged 2.0L four cylinder. This is mounted “north-south” and drives the rear rubber via a slick eight speed auto. Otherwise there’s a 3.3L V6 effectively lifted from Kia’s underappreciated Stinger. Economy is rated as 9.0L per 100km for the combined cycle in the Sport, 8.7L in the standard 2.0L Our average around town barely moved from 8.7L/100km, and that was enjoying some of the fruits of the spirited engine.On The Inside It’s: Pretty nice in this entry level trim spec. Leather seats, heated, not vented (sigh) are comfortable, supportive underneath and around the abdomen and electrically powered for both sides. There isn’t memory seating though. The top level has a diamond quilted leather trim option for the seats. There’s a sunroof, of course ($2500 as an option), and mood lighting in the housing around the switches for the interior lights. If there’s an option to change the colour it wasn’t readily found. All models have a remote key for entry and exit, and it’s cleverly designed to fit in between the spring loaded supports inside the cup/bottle holders in the console.In the traditional styled centre console is a rocker gear selector, a drive mode dial, and a nook with wireless charging for smartphones, plus USB and 12V sockets. The charge pad is a tad fiddly and requires precise placement of the handset in order to initiate charging. The touchscreen is a 8.0 inch with a familiar look. As a result it’s super easy to use and to read. Satnav is standard and SUNA updates are included. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are embedded. Sound is via DAB and Bluetooth streaming. The 9 speaker output is beautifully balanced, crisp, and with plenty of balance in the bottom end.Paddle shifts are standard and work well with the smart transmission, which has rev matching technology when it comes to the cog swaps. There are five drive modes which are activated via a dial near the gear selector. Custom, Comfort, Eco, Sport, Smart, are the choices and each change the colour of backlight in the driver’s dash LCD screen. They also bring up a graphic on the main 8.0 inch centre screen which show a layout of the car and highlights areas with different colours. Embedded in the sub-menus here is the option to change the steering and transmission between Comfort and Sports.The rear seats are not excessively spacious in regards to leg room. Even with an average height driver the rear of the front seat is just a few inches from the squab of the rear seat, and they just don’t look as if there is real comfort for anyone of certain sizes. That’s due to a shortened wheelbase that, although it endows the G70 with great handling, then compromises for a proper 2+2 or 2+3. It also compromises boot space, with the BMW/M-B-esque end holding 330L. The spare is a space saver, not a full-sizer.What About Safety? There’s nothing left out in real terms. A console mounted tab for 360 degree camera was fitted in the review car, and the actual feature is standard in the Ultimate. Forward Collision Avoidance with pedestrian alert is standard, as is Lane Keep Assist with steering assist. The actual assist is aggressive and overly so in how it works to keep a car in between the lines. Rear Cross Traffic and Blind Spot Alert are also standard, as are a full suite of airbags including driver’s knee.On The Outside It’s: Low, slinky, full of sensual curves, and obvious who it’s looking to hunt down. It’s a long, long, bonnet on the 4,685mm G70, with lines and shapes that evoke BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and thanks to the badge, had a number of school yard car-spotters saying Aston Martin. It’s fair to say that the deep electric blue metallic paint is eye-catching, and on the school run had plenty of eyes on stalks swivelling to follow its progress. Even on the highway and residential roads the unfamiliar shape and badge had people stop or watching from inside their own car, eager to try and get a glimpse of the svelte lines. It’s a four coupe, almost, in profile, and the bootlid is a stubby, truncated affair with a built-in spoiler design. The grille on the Sport is a classy, black coated, diamond mesh design. On the front flanks is a chromed, boomerang shaped insert, and there is pressure relieving vents ahead and behind.The tail lights are LED and there’s even a hint of Mustang in the three vertical stripes when lit. There are puddle lamps in the wing mirrors that shine the Genesis logo, and the headlights and indicators are high intensity bi-LED and full LED respectively.Out On the Road It’s: Engaging. Wonderfully so. Dialing up any of the drive modes from another brings small but perceptible changes in the G70’s behaviour. In Sports mode for the steering it’s razor sharp, though process sharp in its reaction to steering wheel input, and adds a discernible heft to how it feels as it’s turned. Eco dulls the engine and transmission down to a smooth, slurry,easy going feel. Sport goes the other way, tightening up the responses for a crisper, sharper, experience.

But even Sport doesn’t completely dial out the unexpected. There is turbo lag, that gap between hitting the pedal and the engine lighting the candle. Once fired up via the push Start/Drop button, the motor settles into a ready for action mode. It’s sometimes too eager, like an energetic puppy, pulling at the transmission in its willingness to move. Get to a stop sign, the engine spins down. Go pedal pressed and there’s a hesitation as the electronics engage and the turbo finds boost once 2000rpm is seen on the tacho as the G70 gets underway.

On song, the 2.0L turbo pulls nicely in all driving areas. Having the eight speeds to choose from, along with the rev matching tech, means it’s hardly ever found wanting for response in throttle applications. Feather it into a twisting mountain road and the tacho blips and flickers as the engine and gearbox work side by side in keeping the revs where they need to be. Cruise on the highway and it’s inaudible. Plant the hoof and there’s a sharp intake of breath before a cog or two is swapped and it launches forward. In Sports mode there is a rumble fed through the audio system to add to the experience.Ride quality is never anything less than very good. The taut rear end will skip around, the steering in Sports mode is razor sharp in its response time. The suspension is a delight. Its compliant to a fault, dealing with the usual lumps and bumps without issue, even dialling out the dreaded shopping centre speed reducers without qualm. Road noise on harsher tarmac from the 265/45/18 tyres was surprisingly intrusive. Smoother roads were much quieter. There are 18s on the entry level, black painted alloys on the Sports, and bespoke Ultimates in 19 inch diameters for the top level. the Sport has Michelin Pilot Sport 225/40/19s and stopping power comes from renowned brake company, Brembo. These are super effective, hauling up the G70 time after time with pin point precision thanks to one of the best calibrated brake pedals going.

And The Warranty Is: For five years. There is free servicing for those five years too, along with the Genesis ownership experience, and 24/7 roadside assist. There is also a free service for drop-off/pickup when booking the car in for service if the owner is inside a 70km circle of a Genesis Studio. In Sydney, currently there is only one and it’s in the city itself.

At The End Of the Drive.
There are a couple of things holding the Genesis up from making its mark in the Aussie automotive landscape. Chief amongst the list is the brand recognition. When Genesis launched with the 3.8L V6 version, it was seen with a small measure of respect, a larger measure of disdain, and quickly fell into the hands of hire-car companies. Only Hyundai can explain why. Right now, with a presence that’s still virtually invisible, the marketing team needs to get behind it and let people know it exists.The next hump is the bias that Australians have when it comes to cars from Korea. Inexplicably, there is still a stigma attached to both brands, even with the superb quality and outright clout the cars have. Hyundai’s N class, for example, showcases real-world ability against class leaders like the Golf GTi. The Stinger has shown that a V6 powered rear wheel drive sedan has punch. The i30, the Highlander, the Santa Fe are plentiful on road, but still have that upturned nose and sniff of derision to cope with. And that’s unfair as Korea makes the best selling Samsung and LG TVs, phones, home appliances…

For a Genesis rebirth, there’s work to be done. Find out more, here.

Playing Big In A Small SUV: Kia Seltos

It’s a big market that has small(ish) SUVs selling almost as quickly as they come off the production line and Kia has revealed details of the forthcoming Seltos. There will be four specification levels: S, Sport, Sport+ and GT-Line. Kicking off at around $26K the S will have 16 inch alloy wheels. Up front will be halogen driving lights, whilst inside will be cruise control, an 8.0 inch touchscreen that will have the Apple CarPlay/Android Auto apps, whilst safety in the entry level will have Autonomous Emergency Braking, Lane Keep Assist, rear camera and sensors.

The second level Sport is slated to be sub $30K also and will roll on 17 inch alloys, plus the spare is looking to be a full sizer. Aircon is climate control, and the touchscreen goes to a HD style 10.25 inch. Kia keeps baiting the hook with the Sport+. Seats will be wrapped in cloth and faux leather and front pews, plus the tiller, will be heated. The top of the ladder GT-Line will appeal even further with a sub $40K price tag. That brings LED driving lights and their now traditional ice cube fog lights. Factor in mood lighting, venting for the front seats, and a wireless charge pad for compatible smartphones, and there’s plenty to like. All cars will have LED headlights and tail lights.
Exterior design cues harken to the outgoing Soul with a hint of Volvo XC40 in the rear window line. The traditional “tiger nose” grille is here with a new, raised, diamond look. Depending on trim, tyres will be 205/60 R16, 215/55 R17 or 235/45 R18. Paintwork is taken up a level too, with a vibrant choice of colours. Cherry Black, Snow White Pearl, Steel Gray, Gravity Gray, Mars Orange, Neptune Blue, Dark Ocean Blue and Starbright Yellow will be available in various markets and this also covers a two tone offering. Buyers can select the roof in Cherry Black, Platinum Gold or Clear White to go with the various body colours.Sizewise the Seltos nudges at a medium SUV, with 4370mm in length and overhangs of 850mm. The wheelbase, of 2,630mm, provides plenty of human friendly space inside. It’s possibly the biggest for space in its segment and that includes the bootspace of 498 litres VDA or 752 litres SAE. Front seat passengers will enjoy up to 1051mm legroom, 1409mm shoulder space, and 1017mm headroom. Basic trim will be greys and blacks, however the materials will be soft touch, and the seats will have geometric motifs. Engines will be a 1.6L turbo four with 130kW and 265Nm, a naturally aspirated 2.0L with 110kW and 180Nm, and there will be the familiar drive modes of Eco, Sport, and Normal. The smaller turbo engine will power either the front or all wheels via a seven speed dual clutch auto, with the other running a new for the brand CTR, and again front or all wheel drive. Suspension tunes were finalised here in Australia and will be a mix of torsion beam rear and MacPherson strut fronts for the two wheel drive. Multilink rears will handle the AWD versions.Expected Australian sales will commence in the fourth quarter.

Private Fleet Car Review: 2019 Hyundai iLoad Crew Van Liftback.

This Car Review Is About: a vehicle that doubles nicely as a passenger and commercial transport vehicle. The Hyundai iLoad is the cargo transport version of the dedicated passenger van called iMax. It comes with or without the passenger configuration. Or, if you will, the iMax is the passenger version of the iLoad…What Does It Cost: At the time of writing, Hyundai were listing the iLoad Crew at just over $48K driveaway. That includes a five year warranty or 160,000 kilometres, free first service, and 12 months of roadside assist up front. There is a 15,000 kilometre/12 month service schedule.

Under The Bonnet Is: A 2.5L diesel and five speed auto for the iLoad Crew as tested. Peak torque is a whopping 441Nm however the PEAK figure is available through a very narrow rev band of 2,000 rpm through to 2,250rpm. There’s no lack of urge available under that 2,000rpm though. Economy is quoted as 8.8L per 100km for the combined cycle.On The Inside It’s: A comfortable place to be. The two rows of cloth covered seats are separated from the 2,215L of cargo space by a fairly rigid barrier but was still prone to a squeak or two. The front seats are a 2+1 configuration, with the centre section featuring a folding backrest that doubles as a tray and cup holder. The driver has a one touch powered window for Down only, and for up it needs to be held. The windows in the sliding doors for the rear passengers are fold out and not that far either.Instrumentation is basic but functional here. The driver has a fully analogue needle set of dials and a basic but again functional monochrome LCD screen in the centre. This shows trip, odometer, and expected range, but we didn’t see a litres per kilometre display though. Headlights have an Auto on switch, the tiller houses the basic audio and cruise controls, and the wiper controls on the left are just a fingertip away during the rainy season.The dash console itself has a split level storage on the passenger side, a small nook in the centre for USB and 3.5mm auxiliary, a small pull out drawer lower down and a 12V socket.

The centre dash touchscreen is the same in that it’s basic to look at, works exactly as designed, and offers little in the way of fripperies. Audio is “old school” AM and FM, lacks DAB, but does have app access for Android Auto and Apple Carplay.The cargo section came lined with protective sheeting and cargo tie-down hooks.On The Outside It’s: received a mild facelift at the front compared to the original, slightly goggle-eyed, front. The headlights top line blends sweetly into the bottom of teh bonnet/top of the blacked-out grille. The rear is largely unchanged and there are no rear parking sensors.

The front brings the iLoad more into line with Kia’s Carnival with a more traditional passenger car and bonneted look. Headlights are more horizontally aligned and squared off, and this particular vehicle came with a nudge bar and super bright LED light bar. A tow bar was fitted at the rear. The rear gate isn’t powered but is easy enough to lift.Wheels and rubber were steel (with the review car having black painted alloys actually, wrapped in Hankook tyres) and 215/70/16 in size for the standard set, plus the spare is a full sizer.

Out On The Road It’s: A very pleasant drive. 100kmh to 110kmh sees revs at just under 1800rpm to 2000rpm. The commercial vehicle style rubber didn’t cope excessively well with the damp and wet conditions experienced during the review period.
On a flat road they would break traction, and on an uphill oriented curve would spin rather easily and bring in the traction control. As a result, some of the driving had to be dialled down in one particular section of a mountainous and curvy road. Front end grip wasn’t confidence inspiring and the taut, cargo carrying, rear end would feel on the verge of breaking away.

The steering was responsive on the softer front end, with the merest twitch seeing the nose respond.

However, a quarter turn was needed to see any real broadening of the movement, and even at around 40kmh into a reasonably easy left or right hander, depending on direction of travel, would understeer and require a foot lift, a dab of the brakes, before hitting the go pedal.

Actual off the line response was wonderful, with virtually no discernable turbo lag from the torque 2.5L engine, meaning dry road hookup was swift and without fuss. There is manual shifting but the ‘box is good enough to not really need it. It’s also a little more sensitive than others in that the brake pedal had to be firmly held in order for the gear selector button to depress.
There was a real sense of refinement to the driveline too. A muted engine noise, super crisp changes in the five speed auto, and almost instant throttle response were dampened, at times, by the road noise from the tyres and body.

At The End Of The Drive.
Although it’s effectively a commercial vehicle that just happens to seat six, there’s just enough to make it a very enjoyable family car if the iMax is out of the budget range. Proper passenger tyres, usage of the smartphone apps, and perhaps some custom built container spaces for shopping in the rear, and there’s a people mover hiding in plain sight.

The engine and gearbox make for a great pairing, and it’s not thirsty by any measure. Check it out at the Hyundai website

Hyundai’s Tucson Refreshed And Updated.

Hyundai Australia has released details of the 2020 refresh for the Tucson range. There is a four trim level choice and that’s courtesy of the addition of the Active entry level model. Active X, Elite, and Highlander are the others. There are upgrades to the safety systems, exterior and interior updates, and minor changes to pricing.

Active and Active X can be specced with a six speed manual transmission and are priced at $29,290 and $32,290, or with a six speed auto will be $31,790 and $34,790 respectively. Power comes from a 2.0L petrol engine, and prices are before government and dealership charges. Tucson Elite dips out on the manual but can be ordered with the 2.0L and auto for $37,850.

Move up to the 1.6L turbo four, seven speed dual clutch auto, and all wheel drive system, and Elite & Highlander price out at $40,850 and $46,500 respectively. Turn to the oiler, and that’s a 2.0L capacity unit driving all wheels through an eight speed auto. Hyundai offer that in all grades and prices are $37,090, $40,090, $43,150, $48,800 respectively. Premium paint is a $595 option and to call upon the nicely styled beige interior is $295.Safety is upgraded courtesy of a rear park assist system being added to the Active. Hyundai’s SmartSense package is standard here and in the Active X which includes Driver Alert Warning, Forward Collision Avoidance Assist with a City/Urban camera system, Forward Collision Warning and Rear Park Assist. Alloy wheels are standard across all four models with the Active and Active X getting 17s and 18s respectively. The Active has a driver’s window up/down on-touch switch in addition.

The Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist, (FCA) in City/Urban works from a windshield-mounted camera reading the road ahead. Should it “feel” that a collision is possible, the Forward Collision Warning System will make a noise and show a signal in the driver’s information cluster. It’s a system that works between 8 kmh and up to 180kmh. Forward Collision Avoidance Avoidance Assist – City Urban pairs up with FCW to hit the stop pedal automatically if the system judges no human intervention after an alert. This works between 8kmh and 65kmh. Elite and Highlander gain radar sensors to complement the camera and Hyundai extend the name to City/Urban/Interurban/Pedestrian. At speeds of between 10kmh and 80kmh the package brings the car to a complete halt.

Specification levels increase in sophistication as the range moves from Active to Highlander. Items such as rear camera, DAB audio, and Android Auto/Apple CarPlay are common throughout. Active X has leather appointed seats, for example, and some electrically powered adjustment for the driver’s seat. The Tucson Elite has a cooling system for the glovebox, rain sensing wipers, and puddle lamps. The Highlander has a powered tailgate, and a wireless charging pad, plus bending LED headlights.
All models have the very handy Hyundai AutoLink, with the Highlander available via a SIM based connection. The other three connect via Bluetooth. This provides information such as driving analysis, driving history, contact with Hyundai dealers to book a service, and in the Highlander, real time weather updates, remote access to start/stop, and remote access to the climate control system, amongst other features. Hyundai also entice owners to have their Tucson serviced at a Hyundai dealership by including a ten year satnav upgrade plan and a ten year roadside assist plan.
Contact your dealer for a test drive.

Private Fleet Car Review: 2019 Kia Sorento GT-Line Diesel.

This Car Review Is About: A big, comfortable, and very well equipped vehicle from Kia. The top of the range Sorento GT-Line is a diesel powered seven seater that lacks for very little to appeal to those needing a SUV that isn’t intended to be an off-roader. The Sorento range is powered by either a 3.5L V6 or a 2.2L diesel.Under The Bonnet Is: A 2.2L diesel for the GT-Line. It’s a quiet chatterer thanks to a mix of refinement and noise insulation in the engine bay and under the aluminuim bonnet. 147kW is available at 3,800rpm, and a whopping 441Nm of torque on tap between 1,750 rpm and 2,750 rpm. It’s a great long distance hauler, with an easy, loping attitude thanks to a freeway speed ticking the engine over at around 1,500 rpm. Kia quote 6.1L/100km for the highway cycle and this was bettered, albeit by 0.1L/100km. Overall economy, driven mainly in the urban jungle, finished at 8.2L/100km, with Kia’s urban cycle quoted as 9.2L/100km. Transmission is an eight speed auto putting that power and torque down via the front wheels, with torque split to the rear on demand. There is also a diff-lock for the rare excursions into a bit of mud or dirt.What Does It Cost?: $58,990 plus on road costs and metallic paint. That’s just $595. Capped price servicing applies for the seven years of warranty, with a yearly service or 15,000 kilometres. the most expensive service is year 4 at $684. At the time of writing Kia are doing runout deals for the Sorento range.On The Inside It’s: A seven seater with the third row the delightfully simple pull-strap design. A gentle tug, a pull of the strap backwards to lift the seats, or a tug and gentle push to lower them, and it’s something nearly all makers now use. The centre row is bordering on ideal for three adults, it’s certainly fine for two growing children. The left seat is set up to be slid to allow entry for the rear seats, and both centre seats are sliding & folding. The driver has an eight way powered seat, with the front pews heated, vented, and the driver having a heated tiller. Leather seats are a bit cold to touch in the cooler climes however the heaters take the edge off, but the rate of heating could be improved for a more rapid response.The dash is typical Kia but starting to show its age in one area. Manufacturers have moved to the touchscreen being raised up in its own plinth. This is for safety as it’s closer to the driver’s eyeline and not looking downwards. The screen here is super clean, intuitive, and is DAB/Android Auto/Apple CarPlay compatible. The DAB tuner has the same issues as the other Kias tested recently, with inconsistent signal acquisition and dropout. The plastics in the Sorento are of an almost leather look and have a fine grained finish to them. Open the front doors and Sorento glows a soft red at night in the sills.The dash display itself lacks a HUD but the dial for the speed is fully digital. It also shows which drive mode the driver has selected from the four available: Smart, Eco, Normal, and Sport. A centre screen section shows info such as range, driving distance, trip meter and economy.Auto headlights, rain sensing wipers, auto-dimming rear vision mirror, rear camera and guidelines, plus 360 degree camera are part of the interior fitment and everything is precisely laid out, showing Kia is well on top of the human engagement part of interior design. The Sorento also comes with a full length glass roof.On the Outside: It’s refinement, refinement, refinement. Compared to a Sorento design of, say, a dozen years ago, it’s recognisable as part of the family but obviously a modern design in its own right. It’s a two box design, with a bonnet that dips towards the imposing Schreyer “Tiger Nose” grille, whilst the body behind the windscreen has a smooth silhouette with a slightly odd angle for the rear window/tailgate. The tail gate is powered, of course.

There are LED driving lights, LED tail lights, LED headlights and are self levelling. Kia calls them Dynamic Bending Lights. It’s a big vehicle with a physically imposing presence too. Length is 4,800mm, width is 1,890mm, height is 1,690mm with roof rails. Wheelbase is 2,780mm and virtually joined by the GT-Line’s sidesteps. But with just 185mm of ground clearance it’s certainly not anything other than a soft-roader.Wheels for the GT-Line Sorento are 19 inch alloys and wrapped in 235/55 rubber from Kumho. Thankfully Kia also fit a full sized spare here, not the restrictive space saver spare.What About Safety?: Kia load the GT-Line with the supreme pizza, free drink, and free delivery, it’s that packed. All Sorentos have the mandated electronic aids such as stability control, traction control, and the like. Kia also add the Euro inspired Emergency Stop Signal which flash the indicators when the brake pedal is pressed harder than normal. AEB and Forward Collision Warning is standard through the range as is Lane Keep Assist and Driver Attention Alert, which would, annoyingly, tell a driver to have a break after just thirty minutes of driving.

Where the GT-Line goes further is Blind Spot Detection and Rear Cross Traffic Alert. Where it doesn’t go further is by having six airbags, not a driver’s knee airbag.

Out On The Road It’s:
a superbly relaxed highway cruiser. That low revving engine and where the torque figure comes in makes for a low stressed package. It’s mostly a responsive engine to, mostly. Unusually, the engine in the review car showed measurable turbo lag and in the scheme of things it was a considerable amount. Start the car, move along to a junction, wait to clear traffic, press the pedal and…..there’s a yawning gap before it suddenly sprints forward, rather than moving away in a linera fashion. That linear fashion is shown though when under way, where the response is spot on.

Roll downhill and the transmission will quietly downshift with barely any physical sensation at all. There’s a flicker of the needle on the rev counter, a slight change to the muted chatter from up front, and the engine is well within its useable torque range. In the highway cycle and with the throttle feathered, there’s hardly any indication of the engine working, with the tacho sitting at around 1,500rpm. Give the go pedal a nudge and the chatter goes up in volume but is not intrusive. Road noise, though, on the coarser chip surfaces, was.

Handling is predictable, wit the front end tending toward a hint of understeer in normal driving. Back off the throttle and it’s easily controllable, bringing the nose back in nicely. The steering itself is well balanced but a touch numb, leaving the driver feeling a touch isolated from what’s happening. Go for the stop pedal and there’s more communication here, with a centimetres of dead travel before a progressive descent where the right foot can judge exactly how much pressure to apply.The suspension is well sorted, naturally, with a flat ride, minimal body roll, and dampers that bring the chassis to a controilled state swiftly. Go hard into a corner and the body remains unflustered, poised, and under hard braking there is is dive, but again it’s minimal. The ride overall is supple, compliant, and makes those shopping centre carparks a minor annoyance.

At the End Of the Drive.
Kia’s Sorento is the sister vehicle to Hyundai’s Santa Fe, and the Sorento, as good as it is, is now showing its age inside. Kia’s DAB tuner supplier also needs some work, as other companies have far better tuners. However it’s still fantastic value, a great drive, well featured, and economical. It does look as if a new Sorento isn’t far off as Kia are doing run-out deals at the moment. Head here for more info: 2019 Kia Sorento range

Private Fleet Car Review: Holden Trax LS Turbo

This Car Review Is About: the Holden Barina based SUV called the Trax. This review is on the LS spec with turbo engine. It’s part of a three trim level range (LS, LT, LTZ) with all but one the 1.4L turbo. The range starts with a LS and 1.8L and is priced at $23,990 plus on roads. At the time of writing the LS 1.4L was available at $24,490 driveaway.The Engine Produces: 103kW and 200Nm, plus a figure of 6.7L per 100 kilometres (combined) from a 53L tank filled with 91RON. Our final figure in an urban drive was 8.3L/100km. Drive is through the front wheels and a six speed auto.On The Inside It’s: a reasonably comfortable place to be. Cloth seats are snug and although fully manual are easy to adjust. The doors open wide enough to make getting onto the seats a doddle too. Because it’s a compact machine, at 4,264mm long and a 2,555mm wheelbase, leg room for the rear seat is adequate at 907mm, not startling and dependent on the front pews not being occupied by taller people. Front leg room is fine for all but the the giants, at 1037mm. Shoulder and hip room is also adequate and front seat head room is great at 1,005mm. The Trax helps the front seat passengers by not having a centre console storage bin, just a standard cup holder style.Barina origins mean the dash is the asymmetrical look found in that car. There’s a old-style looking LCD screen to the right, the speedometer dial in the centre, and the fuel and rev counter on the left. It’s a simple looking unit and as a result offers nothing more than what you see, except for the LCD’s switchable info screens operated from the right hand side of the tiller.The dash itself is Euro styled, with the current sweep around in an arch from door to door running at the base of the windscreen. It’s a finer looking plastic and visually more appealing than that found in the Arcadia. Faux alloy rims the air vents at each end, forms a U-loop for the centre display and vents, and highlights the steering wheel arms and centre stack verticals. The aircon controls in the LS are dials, meaning the temperature can be adjusted finitely but airflow isn’t as finely controlled. These sit above a small nook that has USB/3.5mm/12V sockets.

Audio is AM/FM only, with no DAB, which is increasingly seen in the Trax’s opposition. Smartphone mirroring in the form of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are here.On the Ouside: It’s a strong resemblance to the Barina, if more a breathe in and hold look. It’s ovoid in the overall design, with curves everywhere especially on the front and rear flanks. 215/60/17 tyres and wheels underpin those curves. Up front are integrated LED driving lights that curl nicely around the outsides of the clusters. Driving lights are in their own housings at each corner of the lower front bumper. Out back is a manual tail gate, with an opening to just enough room to get a week’s shopping into, with 387L expanding to 1270L with the 60/40 rear pews folded.

Tail lights are a triple layered affair and blend nicely with the bulbous rear guards. There’s also a resemblance, in a way, to the Trailblazer and Colorado up front, and nothing at all in respect to the Equinox and Acadia. There are eight colours to choose from, including the Absolute Red the test car was painted in.

On The Road It’s: Missing something. It’s not a big machine, and the 1.4L isn’t an outright powerhouse, but 200NMm comes on stream at 1,850Nm. Performance, what there is of it, is blunted, muted, initially First impressions were that the tyres were under-pressured, dragging back the LS Trax. It simply didn’t feel as lively, as exuberant, as it should have. It takes a while to feel as if there’s something living under the bonnet. Get to around 1/3rd travel of the go-pedal and once the revs are above 2,000 the hidden life of the engine is revealed.

Suspension is short travel and tight, to the point the Trax would cock a rear corner in certain situations. None of those were at anything more than 10kmh, thankfully. It’s an odd sensation but it pointed towards the ride and handling the Trax LS had. Smooth on smooth roads, jiggly and unsettled on unsettled roads, tracks straight and true otherwise. The front is a tad softer than the rear though and this helps in the front end’s tracking nicely. It’s a slightly numb steering feel, prone to understeer, but it’s predictable, controllable, telegraphing just where the pert nose will go with no chance of misinformation being sent to the driver.What also isn’t sent to the driver is the Acadia’s vibrating seat platform should the onboard sensors detect anything the system deems worthy of sending a signal to the vibrating seat. That’s a long way of saying that the driver is better equipped to deal with driving situations in front of them because they’re not momentarily distracted by a seat going crazy beneath them.

Steering is well weighted and the brakes are also well balanced, with extra bite over the 1.8L that comes with drum rears. the turbo four has discs.

What About Safety?: No AEB, and the LTZ is the only one that gets Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Blind Spot Alert. all three do get a lo-res reverse camera, six airbags, and the mandated driver aids and Hill Start Assist.

The Warranty Is: Five years/unlimited kilometres, with three years free scheduled servicing.At The End of the Drive.
The Holden Trax is apparently due for an update in 2020. It needs it and needs it badly. Not because it’s an unpleasant car, far from it. However when up against cars in the same sphere, it’s immediately dated. Holden’s Traxis available here.

 

Genesis: Reborn.

Hyundai has relaunched its sub-brand, Genesis. There are two models, the G70 and G80, and Sydney city now has a storefront in Pitt Street where prospective customers can visit and view. The G70 comes with a choice of two engines and three model grades, the G80 in 3.8 and 3.8 Ultimate.
The G70 offers a 2.0L turbo four, and comes in 2.0T, 2.0T Sport, and the top of the line 2.0T Ultimate, with 179kW and 353Nm. There is a V6 version too, with the 3.3-litre twin-turbo powerplant in 3.3T Sport, ultra-luxurious 3.3T Ultimate, and the 3.3T Ultimate Sport, which combines the features of Ultimate with Sport styling. Transmission is an eight speed auto, spun by a 272kW/510Nm 3.3L V6.
Pricing for the G70 starts at $59,300 and there’s an astounding amount of standard equipment for the price. Along with the Australian fettled suspension, there’s the Genesis Active Safety Control driver assistance system and Genesis Connected Services, hands free boot opening and an instrument cluster with a 7.0 inch digital display. The front seats are heated and powered for 12-way adjustment, the infotainment system is accessed via an 8.0 inch screen, and features Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, plus DAB. There is also a wireless charge pad for compatible smartphones.
Level up to the Sport and Brembo comes on board for the stoppers. Up front will be four pistons and the rear has two. They’ll be inside 19 inch alloys and rubber comes from Michelin. The Ultimate has vented front seats with 16 positions, Nappa leather, memory positions for the driver’s pew, heating for the steering wheel which is on a powered column, and sections of the rear seats. Extra tech in the form of a HUD, 360 degree viewing, a powerful 15 speaker sound system from Harman Kardon, and adaptive headlights. G70 3.3T variants feature Genesis Adaptive Control Suspension, a Variable Gear Ratio steering rack, and Dynamic Torque Vectoring Control.
The bigger G80 starts at $68,900. The Genesis Adaptive Control Suspension is standard, along with nine airbags and the Genesis Active Safety Control suite. A 9.2 inch high definition touchscreen pumps sounds through a 17 speaker Lexicon by Harman system, and will have the wireless charge pad, surround view monitor, LED headlights, a driver’s seat with memory positioning and powered steering column and the Genesis Connected Services setup. 19 inch wheels are standard on the $88,900 Ultimate. Nappa leather is inside, and both front and rears seats are heated/vented. Access to the interior is via soft-close powered doors. The tiller is heated and the driver also has a HUD. Ignition is kicked off by a Smart Key card. Spend an extra $4,000 and both inside and out gains enhancements. The standard G80 also offers a panoramic sunroof as a $3,000 option.
Power for the G8 is courtesy of a 3.8L V6 pumping 232kW and 397Nm. Drive modes are Normal, Eco, Sport, and Snow. Transmission is an eight speed auto. The Genesis Adaptive Control Suspension or GACS incorporates Dynamic Stability Damping Control (DSDC) and Electronic Control Suspension (ECS) which has dampers continually reading the road and adjusting up to 100 times per second the compression and rebound settings.
Warranty is five years, unlimited kilometres, with five year 24/7 roadside assist, a complimentary service offering of five year/50,000 kilometres, five years map updates, and five years subscription to the Genesis Connected Services. There is a new offering in regards to ordering and delivery. The Genesis To You service brings: A test-drive home-delivery service, industry-first online build and order with haggle-free, fixed pricing plus a concierge pick-up and delivery for scheduled servicing, with a complimentary courtesy car. There is a personalised handover service on delivery. Head to The Genesis website for info.