As seen on:

SMH Logo News Logo

Call 1300 303 181

Makes and Models

Genesis GV80 Showcases Luxury And Technology.

Genesis, the luxury aimed sub-branch of Hyundai, has launched its first SUV. Named the GV80, with the V standing for versatility, it features a unique headlight design, a mix of aluminium and steel in construction, plus some world first comfort features.William Lee, the Executive Vice President and Global Head for Genesis, says: “GV80 represents the essence of the innovative spirit of Genesis. As we launch GV80, our first luxury flagship SUV, we simultaneously open a new chapter for Genesis.”

Hot-stamped steel is a main component of the body’s structure, whilst aluminium features in the doors, bonnet, and tail-gate. An immediate standout of the exterior is the “Quad Lamp” headlight design. “The Quad Lamp graphic will become the most recognisable, unique signature of Genesis design, as the simplest of lines communicate a distinct identity,” said Luc Donckerwolke, Chief Design Officer of Hyundai Motor Group. “Two lines will come to define Genesis.”Three design studios based in the U.S., Korea, and Germany collaborated on the design. Signature cues are the “Crest Grille”, flanked by the Quad Lamps, and something Genesis call the “G-Matrix”, a pattern in the light fixtures. There is also the Parabolic Line running along each side and complemented by lines over the wheel arches.
There’s no holding back on interior features for luxury either. Slim-line air vents provide a sense of elegance and a broad 14.5 inch touchscreen with a split-screen ability dominates the centre dash console and another simple luxury touch comes from a minimal use of hard texture switches and buttons. The appeal of soft materials extends to covering the door handles and quilted kneepads on the console sides.An electronically powered shift-by-wire dial style gear selector is housed in the elegantly designed centre console. Handwriting recognition, such as that found on smart devices, allows phone number dialling or navigation setting. There’s also a new augmented reality system that works with the navigation, with driving guidelines set over camera-fed real time driving. A front mounted camera displays an optimal driving line on the infotainment screen.
Sound deadening technology goes up a notch with the GV80 showcasing a world first. Road-Noise Active Noise Control or RANC technology uses digital signal processing and analyses road noise. By generating opposing signals within 0.002 seconds, extraneous noise is cancelled out.Another world-first technology is an active motion driver’s seat that contains seven air cells: a feature that reduces fatigue from long hours of driving. One-touch comfort control, adjustable from the front row, allows for limousine-level relaxation in the second-row seats. Heated and ventilated seats are available in the first two rows.

In addition, the GV80 is equipped with an air purification system that automatically operates according to indoor air quality, through an in-vehicle fine dust sensor. Active air purification with dual filters monitors the in-vehicle air quality in real time, and removes 99% of fine particulate matter, which maintains a clean and fresh cabin environment.

A straight six diesel will move the GV80. Peak torque, says Genesis, is 588Nm, with a peak power output of 204kW from the 3.0L capacity engine. Configured as a five seater and rolling on 19 inch diameter wheels, economy is quoted as 8.5L/100km. The Australian market sees the GV80 available with two petrol engines at launch, expected for mid-2020.
Buyers speccing an AWD model will have Multi-Terrain Control for various types of off-roading on surfaces such as Snow or Mud. Comfort in ride and handling will come from an electronically controlled suspension that will work with the front mounted cameras to adjust on the fly for better road holding.

An Advanced Driver Assistance System, ADAS, will feature some unique tech, such as SCC-ML. This is Smart Cruise Control with Machine Learning, an AI package that adapts to individual driving characteristics. The airbag count goes up to 10, with a centre-mounted airbag between the front occupants to mitigate interior impact.
There’s some extra convenience functionality such as Genesis Pay, which will be unique to the South Korean market. This works by linking a credit card to the car’s telematics and enables cashless payments via the navigation screen. Servicing is assisted by remote diagnosis technology and smartphone connectivity allows remote vehicle checking.
The Genesis website is where to find out more and register interest.

2020 Mitsubishi Pajero Sport Ready To Roll.

Mitsubishi’s progressive update of their range continues. Late in 2019 the freshened ASX was released and now the Triton-based Pajero Sport gets a makeover.

Front and centre is the addition of the now familiar shield nose. It’s a rework of the previous version and now features a reworked grille, the inwards pointing chrome highlights, and the squared off driving light clusters. By giving the front a square look it has the effect of making the Pajero Sport appear wider and more imposing. There’s also been a subtle increase to the height of the bonnet.There’s been some tickling under the bonnet as well. The standard 2.4L diesel remains but some of the internals have been upgraded. The combustion chamber and fuel injection spray system have been given extra work for better optimisation of fuel spray, lowering the diesel’s compression ratio to 15.5:1. Boost from the turbo has gone up slightly to 200MPa, with the engine delivering 133kW @ 3,500rpm, and maximum torque runs at 430Nm. That’s at 2,500rpm. Mitsubishi say throttle response should be more instant and smoother.The drive is 2WD and 4WD via Mitsubishi’s SuperSelect-11 system. 4WDLLC locks the centre diff for a more precise spread of torque to each corner, and engages the low range for off-road excursions. Inside the auto is a nifty bit of work too. It’s called Idle Neutral Control and it reduces internal energy losses caused by torque converter drag when the vehicle is stationary in Drive.

There are some subtle changes inside too. A powered tailgate will be standard and likely across all models bar GLX. It’s kick activated too, for those with full hands from shopping. Adaptive Cruise Control will be fitted to all except GLX. The floor console AC Power Outlet on the outgoing model has been moved to the rear end of the floor console to enhance user-convenience.  Up front the centre console has been modified in shape and the console forward of the shifter has been changed in profile.

In the Exceed the driver gets a new 8.0 inch full colour driver’s display. On the 8.0 inch screen in the console the all around monitor has been upgraded to show obstacles detected by the ultrasonic sensors. Smartphone connectivity has been upgraded with a “misplaced” vehicle in a carpark now able to activate the headlights remotely via smartphone. It can also show fuel consumption,  remaining driving range, Eco score, and consumption history. Apple Watch wearers can also activate the power tailgate remotely, and receive vehicle operation notifications.Safety goes up a notch with driver’s knee airbags now standard across the range, as is Forward Collision Mitigation or FCM. Lane Change Assist, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, and a modified Blind Spot Alert are now standard. The Exceed gains Ultrasonic Misacceleration Mitigation, a system that uses sensors to read around the car and stop automatically if sensors pick up an obstacle.

Outside, White Diamond and Graphite Grey metallic paint have been added.

Pricing starts at $45,900 for the entry level GLX 5 seater, with the GLS 5 seater starting from $52,490. Move up to the 7 seater GLS and there’s $53,990. Exceed starts from $59,990. The 2020 Pajero Sport range is available now.

 

 

Toyota Yaris GR: Potency Is The Middle Name.

Toyota’s city car, the Yaris, has been a solid performer for the Japanese company for some time. For 2020, Toyota has shrugged off the cardigan and given the petite little thing a heart and soul transplant. Called the Yaris GR (Gazoo Racing), it’s due mid 2020 for Australia. The basis for the Yaris GR comes from Toyota’s extensive rallying history, and there’s been substantial input from Gazoo Racing and Tommi Mäkinen Racing, meaning the GR Yaris is to be the homologation model of its next WRC racer.Power is from a three cylinder engine, complete with single scroll turbo. 192kW and 360Nm are the figures quoted, with capacity a huge (for a three potter) 1.6L. Power goes to all four corners via a six speed manual, making it the first Toyota non SUV/4WD to feature all paws being driven since the Celica GT-40 of twenty years ago. A zero to one hundred time is around 5.5 seconds, and top speed is a very decent 230kph.The engine will feature piston cooling via oil jets and the exhaust valves are larger than normal to provide better breathing. A restyled body not only provides better aero but a lighter structure, meaning a power to weight ratio of 6.7kg/kilowatt from the 1,280kg (dry) weight. That restyling features larger wheel arches to cope with the 18 inch diameter alloys that will be standard. They’ll wrap 356mm vented brake discs. Dimensions are 3,995mm for length, 1,805mm in width, and 1,465mm in height. The wheelbase is a massive, for the overall size, 2,558mm. The front track is slightly narrower than the rear, at 1,530mm v 1,560mm.A 91mm lower roofline helps the Yaris GR slice through the air more effectively, whilst the engine has been moved rearwards for a better weight distribution. Compression moulded carbon-fibre polymer and aluminuim paneling (bonnet, doors, tailgate) for the three door shape are the main contributors to the lower mass. Frameless doors help too, and add a more aggressive look to the profile. Underneath there is a new platform (Toyota’s melded the GA-8 front and GA-C rear) which allows for a wider rear track and new double-wishbone rear suspension system. The development team responsible for the Yaris GR also devised reinforcements beneath the side members to ensure the suspension’s performance potential can be realised.Performance for the drive hasn’t been overlooked. Being an all wheel drive hatch, the driveline needs something to help the front and rear work together. Toyota have a “high response coupling” that joins the two but there’s a twist in the twist. This ingenious system uses slightly different gear ratios for the front and rear axles, which are mounted on double wishbone, not torsion beam, suspension components, which allows for a theoretical range of front/rear torque balance from 100:0 (full front-wheel drive) to 0:100 (full rear-wheel drive). This flexibility gives a performance advantage over AWD on-demand systems that use twin-coupling or permanent AWD systems with a centre differential. The GR FOUR system is also considerably lighter in weight.The driver has full control over the way the drive system works. An AWD mode dial switch allows: normal mode with the base front/rear torque distribution is at 60:40; in Sport mode the balance shifts more to the rear with a 30:70 distribution to achieve a “fun-to-drive” quality on winding roads and circuits; and in Track mode the base setting is 50:50 for fast, competitive driving on circuits or special stages. In each mode, the torque balance will automatically adjust in response to the driver’s inputs, vehicle behaviour and road or track conditions.Toyota Australia’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Sean Hanley, said the GR Yaris is the latest in Toyota’s rich heritage of sports cars that include the Toyota 800, 2000GT, Celica, Supra, Corolla AE86, MR2 and 86. “The GR Yaris is an exciting well-rounded vehicle that exemplifies Toyota’s commitment to producing ever-better cars, offering compelling performance that will appeal to a broad range of enthusiasts. It is a rally car for the road that pushes vehicle performance to the limit and will enhance the image of the Toyota and Yaris brands.” he said.Pricing for Australia is yet to be finalised.

(Pictures courtesy of Toyota Australia and Motor Magazine.)

2020MY Hyundai Venue Go & Active vs Kia Seltos S & Sport+: Car Review Title Fight.

This Car Review Is About: Four cars that are the same but different. In late 2019 the Korean companies of Hyundai and Kia released their new, small, city aimed SUVs. Hyundai named theirs Venue, Kia chose Seltos.Both brands went with a four tiered structure. Hyundai has Go, Active, and Elite plus there is a Launch Edition as well. Kia has S, Sport, and Sport+ sitting under the GT-Line.

Where the two basic exterior designs are obvious in relationship, being a stubby bonnet, steeply raked windscreen, wide opening doors, and pert rears, both have their own distinctive stamp. That carries over to the interior look, engine choice, and suspension tune.

How Much Do They Cost?:
Venue Go starts from around $23,630 drive-away. The Active kicks off from $25,200. As of December 2019 Kia is offering the S at $25,990 and with a Safety Pack at $26,990. The Sport+ with 1.6L is $36,490.

Under The Bonnet Is: 1.6L non turbo fours for the Hyundais. Kia starts with a naturally aspirated 2.0L and finishes with a turbo version of the 1.6L in the Sport+ (with 2.0L an option) and GT-Line. Peak power for the 2.0L is 110kW, with the turbo four producing 130kW. Peak torque for Seltos is 180Nm and 265Nm, with the latter available from 1,500rpm to 4,500rpm. Venue’s 1.6L is 90kw and 151Nm at a high 4,850rpm.

Transmission choice for Hyundai is simple with a six speed auto or six speed manual for the Go and Active. Kia has a CVT for all variants bar Sport+ and GT-Line. There’s a dual clutch auto here instead. All Venues are 2WD. The Sport+ with 1.6L is a part time AWD.Economy figures were nearly all sub eight litres. The Sport+ saw a best of 5.4L/100km with a final figure of 7.2L/100km. The Go was similar at 5.9L and 7.4L/100km. The Active saw a best of 6.1L/100km and 7.5L/100km, whilst the S saw a best of 7.7L/100km and 8.6L/100km.

Kia quotes for the urban/combined/highway cycle 8.8L/6.8L/5.5L per 100km for the 2.0L, and 9.5L/7.6L/6.3L per 100km for the 1.6L from their 50L tank. The Venue’s figure, for the auto, 7.2L/9.5L/5.9L per 100km respectively.

Towing is rated as 800kg for the Venue automatics, 1,100kg and 1,250kg is available for the CVT and DCT in Seltos.

On The Outside It’s: A more subdued look from Hyundai, whilst Kia goes for more visual pop thanks to a front bar with fins either side of the slimline grille, and light clusters at each end that evoke Evoque thanks to the swept in wings on the top of the clusters running into the fenders . The lower quarters of the front bar have inserts for driving lights.

Hyundai’s design is quietly appealing, with the headlights, like the Seltos, set mid-height in the front bar. These wear LED driving lights as halos and are separate to the LED strip lights under the full length bonnet. The lower section of the front bar has coloured inserts.

Kia’s styling has the headlights and driving lights in one cluster, again with the main lights set at mid-height. The overall design is busy in comparison to the Venue’s design. Kia also has their trademark bonnet design with a leading edge section holding the badge.

The rear roofline separates the two as well. Venue has a thick C-130pillar and the roof leading into the tailgate. Seltos goes for more glass here, and the tailgate reaches up and into the roofline. Both have a slight upwards kink to their respective rear doors.

The colour palette shows more sparkle from Kia too. The S was a bright bronze-green called Starbright Yellow with the Sport+ a deep burgundy hued metallic red called Mars Orange. Both Hyundais had blue, with the Go a rich, almost navy blue called Intense Blue, and the Active a more aquamarine metallic. The name? “The Denim”.

Steel wheels featured on the Go and S, with alloys for the Active and Sport+. The Go rolls on 185/65/15 and Active has the same on alloys. The S with steel wheels has 205/60/16 underneath and the Sport+ 215/55/17s. 4,340mm is the length for the Seltos, which is 300mm longer than the 4,040mm Venue. Height for the Kia is 1,615mm with roofrails. Venue stands 1,592mm. Overall width is 1,800mm for the Seltos, whilst Venue is slightly narrower at 1,770mm. Ride height for the Venue is 170mm. 177mm is the clearance for the Seltos.On The Inside Is: A variety of looks. The Hyundai design team has opted for a stripped back presentation for the Go and Active. The Seltos S and Sport+ have an immediately upmarket look and feel.The Go and Active have cloth seats, and there are individual looks. The Go has white piping in an almost electrical grid sheet layout and the Active a pair of colour coded GT stripes. The Seltos S has charcoal bolsters and a herringbone grey in the middle, whilst the Sport+ has leather bolsters with a dark grey cloth weave.

Inside the Active and Go is an efficiently laid out dash design. Vents reflect the headlight surrounds with a rounded corner edge shape. There is a dull chrome look on the steering wheel’s lower section and around the dear selector. A drive mode selector is located here, whereas in the Seltos it’s further up and to the side of the selector. The Kia’s feel has more torsion in the twist, the Venue’s lacks any need to apply force. The Venue though offers traction control with Snow, Mud, and Sand, an odd thought given it’s a front wheel drive only vehicle. However the Venue’s spec sheet says there is also variable one touch indicators, at 3, 5, or 7 flashes. For safety’s sake it should be 7 and 7 only.It’s the plastics and layout that mark the Seltos as having a more upmarket look. There’s a different sheen, a different hue, a different tactility to the materials used. There’s a grab handle on the left of the gear selector, the touchscreen is the more favourable looking separate to the dash configuration, and the dash dials are a more elegant monochrome look. Even the speaker covers have a different look, with a pyramid motif for the gloss black metal.Aircon controls for the Venues are rotary dial. The Seltos S has the same, the Sport+ has push button . The Kia’s console is wider and holds push buttons for Hill Descent and Parking sensors off in the S, a diff lock and camera for the Sport+. The Go misses out on warning sensors for reverse parking at the rear, an odd oversight even with a camera as standard fitment. All four Seltos get rear parking sensors. Audio is AM/FM in the Go and Active, whilst the Seltos S is the same. It’s the orphan in the Seltos range when it comes to DAB but with Bluetooth streaming plus app compatibility, DAB streaming won’t be an issue. The Sport+ also offered a wireless charge pad.

Cargo for the Seltos is rated as 433L to 1,393L. Hyundai lists only the rear seats up figure and it’s smaller than Seltos at 355L. The Venue Go also lacks a centre console storage box, whereas both of the Seltos had it.On The Road It’s: A really matter of choice. The Kias run more tautly than the Hyundais, with the Seltos pair feeling more as if the tyres are brought into play to assist in compliance and absorption. The Hyundais have a softer tune, noticeably softer, but not so that they wallow or flop around. It’s actually at times a preferred ride to the Kias, with more give in the ride and therefore somewhat less intrusive.

The 1.6L in the Venue range is a willing and energetic unit. Given the power and torque outputs it has no right to be highly regarded, yet after having the Go and Active autos for two weeks back to back, they showed no sign of underperforming, no indication of being “the little engine that couldn’t”. AWT came away after the review periods more than impressed as the cars slowly grew on us and finished with a positive impression.

The Seltos 2.0L naturally exhibited plenty of spirit as well. It’s a powerplant that shares verve and vitality with the Hyundai’s liveliness. The extra torque provides a more useable drive experience than the still sprightly 1.6L in the Venue, naturally, and didn’t overwhelm the CVT either. The DCT and 1.6L is just as equally well behaved, and the DCT is quite well tuned in the clutch change, at standstill, from Reverse to Drive, with less of a break in transmission engagement. It also has plenty of punch when required, with that flat torque over a 3,000rpm range making highway driving and safety in overtaking efforetless.

The 1.6L Venue requires more of a heavier foot to elicit something approaching similar performance, but it never disappointed. Uphill driving was the only (barely) weakspot with manual downchanges to take advantage of the engine’s willing and revvy nature required. Brakes across the board, as was steering, could not be faulted for both cars.

What About Safety? The Seltos comes with or without a safety pack and in honesty there’s not a lot of difference. AEB (Autonomous Emergency Brake) with FCWS (Forward Collision Warning System)- Cyclist Avoidance is probably the biggest notable change. There is a slightly different Driver Attention Alert for the safety pack in the S, but the S does miss out on BSD (Blind Spot Detection) with RCTA (Rear Cross Traffic Alert) & LCA (Lane Change Assist) plus Rear Cross Traffic Alert. There are also no front sensors.

The Venue Go and Active dip out on Blind Spot Collision Warning and Rear Cross Traffic Alert. They do get the same Driver Alert Warning which beeps to advise the car ahead has moved on. Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA) – City/Urban/Interurban/Pedestrian (camera type) and Lane Keep Assist are standard though. All four had the usual safety systems including six airbags.

What About Warranty And Service? Kia’s still a class leader with a standard seven year warranty. Hyundai offers five as standard and until December 31, 2019, was offering seven for cars delivered by then. More on the servicing structure for Kia is on their website. Hyundai’s serving information is also on their website.

At The End Of The Drive. One on one, the Seltos outweighs the Venue in all areas bar one. The emotional tie factor. The Seltos has looks and driveability that appealed more yet the Venue never gave up in efforts to gain respect. It’s slightly smaller overall, doesn’t have the same engine flexibility, and could be considered somewhat dowdy to look at inside and out, yet it still gave its considerable all. Although the preference for us would be for the Seltos Sport+ (and probably the GT-Line), the Venue is by no means a loser simply because it does what it does quietly, efficiently, and and at 100%.

Subaru Joins The Hybrid Family.

Subaru has confirmed its March 2020 launch into the hybrid arena, also revealing it has already achieved significant sales success with its new technology Forester and XV Hybrid e-Boxer All-Wheel Drive (AWD) variants. The innovative Sports Utility Vehicles (SUV) feature identical petrol-electric engines that add a new dimension and choice to Subaru’s range.

XV Hybrid offers over 14% improvement in fuel efficiency over equivalent petrol variants in the urban cycle and over 7% improvement in the combined cycle, while Forester offers improvement of over 9% (compared to 2.5-litre petrol variants) in the combined cycle and over 19% in the urban cycle (when tested in accordance with ADR81/02).

Forester is already Subaru’s best-seller in Australia and the Hybrid AWD variant will launch in February priced from $39,990 (Manufacturer’s List Price), while XV Hybrid, with an exclusive new colour option called Lagoon Blue Pearl, and this will start from $35,580 MLP.

One XV Hybrid AWD variant will be available and two Foresters: Hybrid L AWD and Hybrid S AWD.

Subaru Australia Managing Director, Colin Christie, said: “While we initially see both our e-Boxer mild hybrid system models as niche options in our range, we’ve already got significant interest from fleet customers and also Subaru fans who have long indicated pent-up demand for new technology engine options. “Of course all this new technology is underpinned by our customer must-haves: fun, safety, reliability and great engineering. And we’re confident that the wonderful retained value and whole-of-life cost benefits enjoyed by other new Subarus will also carry over to our hybrids.”

Both hybrid models feature e-Boxer power, which is  a 2.0 litre horizontally opposed Boxer engine that’s linked via Motor Assist to a high voltage lithium ion battery, offering fuel economy benefits, particularly in congested city driving. The four cylinder 2.0 litre engine produces 110 Kilowatts of power at 6,000 rpm and 196 Newtonmetres of torque at 4,000 rpm and features the efficient intake/exhaust Active Valve Control System (AVCS).

The electric motor produces 12.3 kW of power and 66 Nm of torque, and is self-charging, via kinetic energy captured by regenerative braking and coasting. The direct injection petrol engine, Motor Assist and battery combination produce smooth, linear and responsive acceleration. The e-Boxer logic adjusts the power split between petrol and electric to match driving conditions.

It automatically changes between three modes: Motor Assist EV driving, Motor Assist electric (EV) + petrol engine driving, and petrol engine driving. From standstill or at low speed, the vehicle is powered by the electric motor only, for quiet, zero-emission driving. Depending upon vehicle and battery condition, it can operate in fully electric mode up to 40 km/h. When driving in fully electric mode (both forward and reverse), the Pedestrian Alert system emits a sound, to alert people in close proximity. The system operates when the vehicle speed is 24 km/h or less.

At medium speeds, combined power from both the electric and petrol engine produce responsive, linear and more fuel efficient acceleration. At high speed, the Boxer petrol engine exclusively powers the vehicle, while regenerative braking or coasting with foot off the accelerator, recharges the lithium ion battery. Depending upon driving style, the e-Boxer hybrid system can offer improved fuel consumption particularly in urban, stop-go traffic. It also eliminates the unnatural braking feel common to electric-only vehicles.

The e-Boxer hybrid system uses kinetic energy by converting it into electricity, delivered to the battery located in the sub cargo floor, together with the drive motor inverter and DC/DC converter. All are installed in a high-strength frame, with sound dampening and moisture-repelling qualities. The electric motor assist and battery pack are aligned longitudinally, with the motor located near the vehicle’s centre of gravity, while the battery and other components are above the rear axle, also contributing to low centre of gravity and optimising front/rear weight distribution.

An unobtrusive cooling system draws air from the cabin to help maintain the battery at operating temperature and to help ensure better longevity. In Forester Hybrid S, driver selectable SI-Drive,  Subaru’s powertrain performance management system, allows the driver to tailor throttle characteristics by choosing between “Intelligent” and “Sport” modes, for flexible, convenient and enjoyable driving. Subaru’s smooth and efficient Lineartronic Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) is mated to the e-Boxer system for ultra-smooth power delivery and torque.

Motor Assist enhances X-Mode off-road capability, through better low speed torque control. X-Mode makes it easier for drivers to safely navigate bad roads, slippery surfaces and steep hills, with just one switch. X-Mode’s status is indicated visually on the Multi-Function Display (MFD) screen. When X-Mode is engaged, at 40 km/h or less, status information is displayed on the MFD and instrument cluster, including Hill Descent Control and Vehicle Dynamics Control. X-Mode centralizes control of the engine, All-Wheel Drive, brakes and other critical components to help ensure safe driving even on poor surfaces. Hill Descent Control helps maintain a constant speed when the vehicle is traveling down hill.

As with the entire Subaru new vehicle range, the hybrid models are anticipated to gain a five-star rating for occupant safety. All Subaru hybrids purchased by private buyers for private use offer a five year unlimited kilometre warranty, plus an eight-year 160,000 km lithium ion battery warranty.

Subaru Hybrid Pricing: XV Hybrid AWD from $35,580 (MLP), Forester Hybrid L AWD from $39,990 (MLP), and Hybrid S AWD from $45,990 (MLP).

In other Subaru news, the brand announced it will not return to the Australian Rally Championship in 2020. After four years of participation under the Subaru do Motorsport banner, the brand has curtailed its domestic rally program while it refocuses its performance car marketing in other areas for the foreseeable future.

The team distinguished itself with a win in the 2016 Championship that made history with driver Molly Taylor becoming the youngest ever (at the time) and first female champion. The 2016-18 seasons were conducted in partnership with Les Walkden Rallying, while Orange Motorsport was the provider in 2019. Despite the end of the current program, Molly Taylor will be retained as a Subaru brand Ambassador and will participate in a variety of events including customer promotions, drive days, dealer network and staff functions.

Subaru returned to the championship in 2016 after a 10 year hiatus.

 

ANCAP Updates.

ANCAP, the Australasian New Car Assessment Program, has released some findings for a range of new vehicles. The standout performer amongst the latest batch of ratings is the updated Tesla Model X which is available from December 2019. It’s achieved a record-equaling high score of 98% for Adult Occupant Protection and 94% for Safety Assist. These scores closely follow the high scores recorded by its smaller sibling, the Model 3, earlier this year.

Full points were achieved for protection of the driver in all four of the full-scale vehicle crash tests (frontal offset, full width, side impact and oblique pole), full points were achieved for lane support and emergency lane keep functionality, and close to full points were awarded in each of the autonomous emergency braking (AEB) test scenarios.

“Tesla should be commended for providing a vehicle which offers very high levels of safety performance both in its physical protection of occupants as well as its ability to help avoid a crash through its active safety systems,” said ANCAP Chief Executive, James Goodwin.

The Audi A7 Sportback and Audi Q8 demonstrated good performance in all assessment areas. New SUV market entrant, the MG HS, also offered good all-round safety however testing revealed a higher risk of injury in side impact crash scenarios.

“Tested to our most stringent criteria, the MG HS scored well, yet concerns were noted for chest protection of the driver in the oblique pole test and head protection for older children in the side impact test.”

Hyundai’s new small SUV, the Venue, scored 4 stars limited by its less advanced safety assist systems. “The Venue fell shy of the 5 star safety standard we’ve come to expect from Hyundai with Marginal performance levels observed for its ability to avoid a rear-end impact with vehicles in front. This limited the Venue’s Safety Assist score to 62%,” Mr Goodwin said.

“The Venue is the first model to undertake Safety Assist performance testing in Australia, following the commissioning of a new test facility in regional NSW,” he added.

MY20 Jeep Wrangler models see autonomous emergency braking (AEB) and blind spot monitoring (BSM) functionality introduced as standard safety features across the Wrangler model range, with performance testing of these systems undertaken by ANCAP earlier this month.

“These upgrades are welcome, and I commend the local supplier for moving to provide Wrangler buyers in Australia and New Zealand with collision avoidance capability,” said Goodwin. “While a 3 star rating is still somewhat shy of the expected 5 stars, all upgraded models now have the ability to detect and assist with avoiding a crash with another vehicle – both in lower and higher speed scenarios.”“Unfortunately the upgraded AEB system fitted to updated models is not yet able to detect our most vulnerable road users in pedestrians and cyclists.” he said.

“Consumers should be aware that the structural deficiencies we saw with the originally-tested model such as A-pillar and cross-facia beam failure, footwell intrusion, high seatbelt loads and excessive pedal movement have not been addressed and remain a risk for occupants,”  he added. Active lane support functionality is also not available. The 3 star ANCAP safety rating applies to all 2 door and 4 door Wrangler variants supplied to the Australian and New Zealand markets built from November 2019.

The Mercedes-Benz CLA (Medium Car) was the top performer for 2019, achieving an overall weighted score of 90.2%. “Well done to the CLA for being named the standout performer,” said  Goodwin.

“It received a healthy five-star score, performing exceptionally well in the areas of Child Occupant Protection (92%) and Vulnerable Road User Protection (91%) where it achieved the highest scores of all vehicles rated this year.”

Top performers by vehicle category:

LIGHT CAR: Audi A1, 86.6%. MEDIUM SUV: Toyota RAV4, 88.6%. SMALL CAR: Mazda 3, 88.4%. LARGE SUV: Tesla Model X, 89.6%.

MEDIUM CAR: Mercedes-Benz CLA, 90.2%. UTILITY: Toyota Hilux, 89.0%. LARGE CAR: Audi A7, 86.0%.

VAN: Toyota HiAce, 87.4%. SMALL SUV: Lexus UX, 89.0%. PEOPLE MOVER: Toyota Granvia, 87.8%

Further details on each of the vehicles rated can be viewed on the ANCAP website:
www.ancap.com.au/safety-ratings

2019 Hyundai i30 N Fastback: Car Review.

This Car Review Is About: Hyundai’s foray into the hot hatch arena. It’s not quite a hatch though, with its five door liftback/coupe styling, a body shared with Kia’s Cerato range. It’s the N badge that sets it apart from its lesser brethren.How Much Does It Cost?: Hyundai’s list price is $41500 plus on roads. The website lists it as $46,133 to $49,781 drive-away, depending on seeing the Luxury Pack (as tested) inside or not.

Under The Bonnet Is: A potent 2.0L petrol fed and turbocharged four cylinder, mated to a super slick six speed manual. In N spec it’s good for 202kW and a hefty 353 torques. There is an overboost facility that provides 378Nm. “Normal” torque is available from 1,450rpm to 4,700rpm. Overboost is 1,750rpm to 4,200rpm. They’re delivered in a very linear fashion, rather than a lightning bolt kapow. It makes for an extremely flexible drivetrain.Economy around town reflects the performance aspect though, with urban assaults seeing numbers north of 10.6/100km. That’s pretty much on the money for our drive. Hyundai quotes 8.0L/100km for the combined cycle. Our lowest figure was on the highway, not unsurprisingly, and clocked 7.5L/100km. That’s still above the 6.4L/100km from Hyundai’s official figures. Final overall was 9.4L/100km. Tank size is 50L and recommended fuel is 95RON.

On The Outside It’s: A somewhat subdued look. There are red painted brake calipers with the N logo clearly visible. A small rear spoiler sits above a curvaceous rump and lights that evoke Mercedes-Benz coupe and fastbacks. The front has a discreet N in the gloss black grille which sits between a pair of swept back headlights. Underneath is a chin spoiler that is perhaps too low. Every care was taken entering and reversing from the drive and it still scraped.Wheels are 19 inches in diameter and have a distinctive spoke design. Rubber is from Pirelli, they’re P-Zero and 235/35 are in size.

Paint is metallic red and highlights the longer than the i30 hatch body. The hatch is 4,335mm with the fastback getting 4,455mm. Maximum height is 1,419mm and that’s lower than the hatch. This means a slipperier, more aerodynamic profile.On The Inside It’s: An opportunity missed to stamp the N as a sports oriented vehicle. The air vents have red piping to the surrounds and that’s largely it in comparison to the largely otherwise unremarkable interior. The steering wheel has red stitching, and there is subtle red stitching in the seats. The look is subdued and dare we say, generic with unremarkable plastics, the standard looking touchscreen interface bar the N tab, and analogue dials where a full width LCD screen would have been better optioned.

The Luxury Pack is comprehensive. Push button Start/Stop, synthetic suede and leather seats (which are bloody comfortable and supportive) that feature a subtly embossed N logo, with both the front pews and steering wheel getting heating. There is a two position memory function for the driver’s seat plus 12 way power adjustment. Both front seats have extendable squabs for extra support available as an option. A wireless charge pad for compatible smartphones is also standard. Front sensors for parking and puddle lamps are part of the package too, as is privacy glass for the rear seats. The wing mirrors are powered and auto-dip for reversing.There is no tab for the central locking. This precludes anyone outside opening the door whilst the engine is running, meaning it has to be powered off to allow someone to get in. It’s a small but noticeable niggle. However Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are standard, as is DAB audio. Curiously, the audio lacked bass, even with the equaliser moved up to full for that part of the sound stage. Mid-range and treble are clear and overtake the bass in in presence.The tiller has the drive mode switches; one for Sport/Normal/Eco, and one for the N performance package. The Sport engages the throaty rumble mode for the exhaust whereas the N selection firms up the steering and suspension, and offers a preset or customisable set of settings for exhaust, steering, engine and more via the touchscreen. Standard look is showing power, torque, turbo boost, and g-force readings, plus lap timings for track days.Inside the 436L cargo area is a brace bar to provide extra torsional rigidity. The cargo section itself opens up to 1,337L with the rear seats folded. A cargo net is standard, as is a space saver spare. A glass roof is an optionable extra. Shoulder and leg room, is fine and even rear seat leg room is good enough.On The Road It’s: A sleeper. Left in Eco and Normal mode it’s…normal. There’s a typical feel to the whole package in acceleration, noise, handling. The clutch is curiously heavier than expected and resulted in more than a few stalls. Hit the Sport mode and there’s a change of attitude. The exhaust suddenly gets more snarl, there’s an extra sense of weight to the steering, and sharper handling.

N mode lights the candle. There’s an extra depth to the anger of the exhaust and especially on up and downshifts. There’s a crackle, a sharp and hard edged note that’s evident on even light throttle. Go hard and the length and volume of the growl becomes longer thanks to some electronic assistance. Launch Control is standard and that’s activated via the disabling of the traction control system. Hold that button down, wait until a couple of lights flash to say things are happening, and then push down the clutch. Floor the throttle and somewhere around six seconds later it’s freeways speeds.There is torque steer but the electronic or “e-diff” makes a great fist of smoothing that out. Although hydralic in nature, the electron brains behind the scenes distrubute torque as per where the sensors say it should. It makes for a pretty much arrow straight line on a hard launch, and keeps both front wheels in contact with the ground. Steering is super precise and is just two turns lock to lock. This means input results in instant response. Rev-matching works on getting the engine to be in a rev range suitable for the cog selected on downshifts.

It’s slick and smooth, and gets the rumble and snarl from the rear happening. The selector itself is light, with Hyundai saying the actual feel was built in for “enthusiastic drivers”. For us, it felt accurate in throw, perhaps a little long, but also disconnected and remote from the driving experience. Braking is the complete opposite, with one of the best sensory experiences available. Think about where the pedal needed to be and it was, with instant response from the lightest of touches.

The N mode makes, as mentioned, for harder suspension. It’s noticeably different in quality and brings forth a benefit. That’s every corner, as firm as they become, being able to provide to the driver a picture of every ripple, every dent and ridge on a 20c coin without a feeling of being overly tight and taut. It’s a superbly tuned package and one honed by 500 laps of The Nurburgring. The torque spread makes for easy freeway driving, and overtaking is as simple as either squeeze and go, or drop a cog or two. There are shift lights and a shift indicator notification in the LCD screen in the driver’s binnacle.What About Safety?: There is no stinting here. The full Hyundai SafetySense package is available, with Forward Collision Avoidance, Driver Attention Warning, and Lane Keep Assist. The DAW in the liftback was overly enthusiastic, saying a break should be taken after just a few minutes worth of travel time. Quad sensors front and rear provide accurate parking measurements as does the clear view from the reverse camera which includes guideline assist. On the passive safety front there are seven airbags including the driver’s kneebag. Hill Start Assist was welcomed due to the vagaries of the clutch point.What About Warranty And Service?: Hyundai have done track day drivers a huge service here. Under most warranty guidelines, issues found to be as a result of track days aren’t covered. Hyundai disagree with that and do offer that coverage. Also, cars delivered by December 31, 2019, will have seven years warranty, instead of five. Service costs are capped (check with your Hyundai dealer) and items such as satnav updates can be done when a car is booked in for a service.

At The End Of The Drive. We must thank Hyundai Australia for the opportunity to drive the liftback version of the i30 N. It timed out well in one respect, one not made mention of This is your link for more information.until now. the car had well over twelve thousand kilometres on the clock when picked up, and there’s no doubt many of those would have been hard driven ones. No rattles, no squeaks, no unnecessary noises at all, indicating a very high level of build quality in the tolerances.

It’s an excellent all-rounder, family and enthusiast friendly, and bar the downmarket look and surprising lack of low end in the sound system, provides a wonderful environment in which to spend time in. Outside the liftback looked resplendent in red but didn’t visually yell it was an N spec. A matter of personal taste, one would suggest. This is your source for more info.

 

2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Exceed: Private Fleet Car Review.

This Car Review Is About: A lightly refreshed for 2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Exceed. There are no external changes although one would suspect a front end revamp to bring it even more into line with the edgier looks now seen on the rest of the family will come deep in 2020.Under The Bonnet Is: The familiar petrol and CVT combination. The CVT is programmed but with only six “steps” as opposed to the more common seven or eight. The diesel engine is largely unavailable save for being inside the Exceed and LS AWD. Only the entry level ES has a manual option and it seems that the PHEV is due for an upgrade in early 2020.

At 2.4L in capacity it’s right in the ballpark for petrol engine’s in this type of vehicle. Peak power of 124kW and peak torque of 220Nm arrive at 6,000rpm and 4,200rpm respectively. Maximum towing is 1,600kg (braked).Economy figures in a driving sense vary thanks to Mitsubishi’s on-the-fly measurements. Our final figure was a very good 6.3L/100km, with Mitsubishi saying 7.2L/100km for the combined. Our figure was on a highway run, with 8.5L/100km seeming the norm in suburbia. Tank size is 60L.

How Much Does It Cost?: At the time of writing, Mitsubishi are offering the petrol version at $45,790 drive-away. That includes 7 years warranty and 2 years free scheduled servicing. It’s also a substantial discount from the $43,290 plus government and dealer charges.

On The Outside It’s: Unchanged. The Outlander is the only vehicle left in the Mitsubishi fleet that doesn’t sport the jut-jawed and squared off at each end design, instead retaining the rounded and ovoid look of the past near decade, even with the shield grille look.Rubber comes from Toyo’s A24 range and were 225/55/18 in configuration. The spare is a space saver. These sit on a 2,670mm wheelbase and allow for a balanced look in the front and rear overhang for the 4,695mm total length. Our test car came clad in metallic red and contrasts nicely with the black urethane wheel arches and side mouldings. Headlights are LED for high and low beam. Rear lights are full LED also except for the fog lights.

On The Inside It’s: Largely unchanged. The highlight here is the revamped interface for the 8.0 inch touchscreen. It’s not as un-user-friendly as the Eclipse Cross but still less so than that found in the Triton. DAB audio is standard but the speaker system let’s it down. There is a bass/midrange/treble equaliser in the settings, but finding the right balance was tricky. The bass was either too boomy or at a level that lacked punch. Vocals, the midrange, lacked cut-through. Android Auto, Apple CarPLay, and Bluetooth connectivity with voice activation are standard as is satnav.Minor quibbles continued with the seats. Powered and leather they may be, but the material was flat in surface texture and lacked eyeball drawing appeal. And again the Australian need for venting in leather seats was overlooked, with heating but not cooling fitted. There was, though, a powered, not manual, lumbar adjustment, and this is great for longer driving stints.

The second row seats are 60/40 foldable, and third row the usual 50/50 split and accessed via the brilliantly simple pullstrap, providing a 1,608 litre cargo section when the powered tailgate was opened. Another minor quibble here; the rear door would self raise from either the key fob or from a driver’s located tab, but not when the exterior button itself was pressed. With the third row down, there’s a more than handy 478L available.The Outlander Exceed supplied didn’t come with a HUD, a Head Up Display. It’s worth pointing out as the Eclipse Cross Exceed does. The S-AWC or Super All Wheel Control is standard here and has Active Yaw Control included.Cabin ergonomics are largely ok however some tabs are well below the driver’s eyeline and down near the right knee. It’s worth considering relocating these purely on a safety basis. Rear seat passengers have two USB ports. All windows are one touch up and down, a seeming rarity in some cars and brands. What was noted is the update to the controls for the dual zone climate control. The Outlander has moved to a classier chromed and almost piano black look for the dials, and they’re now relocated and knurled in look.

Otherwise, the look and feel of the cabin is standard Mitsubishi. Visually it’s a mix of pleasing lines and a bone over black colour palette, with a sunroof providing the extra airiness and spaciousness for the passengers. There is also plenty of space thanks to 1,437mm shoulder room up front. the squarish front profile means 1,425mm is available for the second row. Head room is1,014mm for the front, and 944mm for the second row. Leg room front and second row is 1,039mm and 948mm.On The Road It’s: Surprisingly sluggish from a standing start, even allowing for how a CVT drains performance from a normally zippy and peppy petrol engine. And at 1,525kg is no heavyweight and just starting to fringe on a light-heavyweight compared to its competition. Acceleration, what there is of it, is less than adequate with normal foot pressure and requires a solid shove to get anything resembling velocity. It’s truly unusual and one of the worst we’ve experienced in that respect. But flip the drive selector to Sport mode and there’s an instant change in character. It’s more of the zippier and peppier car expected, with far better acceleration and dynamics.It also was very light in the steering with a lot of assistance. The ratio is variable with more front wheel movement becoming obvious as the tiller went left and right. It’s also easily affected by crosswinds and that came as a surprise too. The winds that plagued Sydney during the review period also showed how susceptible to cross-winds the Outlander was, with the broad and upright sides catching the wind and moving the SUV around. The suspension is the typical MacPherson strut, coil spring front and multi-link rear. Irrespective of the wind affected drive, it’s very easy to drive, it’s quiet, and the supple suspension is well sorted for varying road conditions. The brakes are good with just the right amount of bite per feeling of travel.

What About Safety?: It’s the supreme pizza here. Forward Collision Mitigation is standard, as is Adaptive Cruise Control. Lane Departure Warning, Blind Spot Alert, Lane Change Assist, and Rear Cross Traffic Alert are also here. Ultrasonic Misacceleration Mitigation System (UMS) is standard and more on the safety package can be found here.What About Warranty And Servicing?: As mentioned, there is a seven year warranty and two year free scheduled servicing offer available. For specific details as they’re subject to change, please contact your Mitsubishi dealer.

At The End Of The Drive. The Outlander nameplate is coming up to two decades old in Australia. It started with a Lancer based small SUV about the size of the ASX. It morphed into a larger SUV with Lancer hints before changing again into the rounded body shape we see now.

It’s served as a capable addition to the Mitsubishi family and as their largest passenger oriented car, as in not also offering dedicated off-road capability such as the Triton based Pajero Sport, it holds its own. In this case the power delivery really lacked urgency, leaving us somewhat bemused as to the disappearance of what normally seems a decent driveline. The fact that Sport mode had to be selected to engender any sense of get up and go has left us pondering why.

On the upside is decent dynamics in the ride and handling, a superb safety package, and still attractive looks. Oh, and the drive-away price is enticing too. The Mitsubishi website can tell you more.

2020 Mitsubishi Triton GLX+: Private Fleet Car Review.

This Car Review Is About: The slightly updated Mitsubishi Triton four door cab chassis in GLX+ spec. There was a couple of updates for the range and specifically for the GLX+ it received a rear diff lock as standard (also for the GLS), plus the dual cab (as tested) was given a rear air circulator. The GLX+ model comes standard now with Easy-Select 4WD. A centre console mounted dial, as seen in other Tritons, allows easy switching between 2WD and 4WD modes and offers 2H, 4H and 4L transfer case settings.Under The Bonnet Is: A 133kW, 430Nm 2.4L diesel. Peak torque arrives at 2,500 rpm but there’s mixed messages below that. There’s an indecent amount of lag before the torque curve suddenly leaps upwards. From 2,000rpm there’s a gunshot surge of torque, not a smooth progessive delivery, and it’s enough to chirp the rear rubber and that’s with the driveline’s electronic nanny activated. It also provides a towing capacity of 3,100kg.How Much Does It Cost?: Mitsubishi’s RRP for the GLX+ four door cabin body starts at $40,990 for the manual diesel version with 4WD capability. The auto is $43,490. The Triton range itself kicks off with the 4X2 GLX Cab Chassis 2.4L Man Petrol $22,490 in a single cab body. The four door Crew Cabs start at $36,290 for the 4×2 GLX ADAS Pick Up 2.4L Auto Diesel. There is a three trim level Club Cab as well. Metallic paint is a $690 option. The manual was on sales at $37,990 drive-away at the time of writing (November 2019).

On The Outside It’s: Long and white. The redesign for the Triton range sharpened up each end, with the now signature “Shield” grille and inwards angled bumper side up front, a subtle change to the curve behind the second row doors, and a less curvy shape to the tail light cluster. It’s a look that seems to define the Triton as a “bloke’s ute”. That’s backed up by a solid looking set of tyres, The Bridgestone Dueler A/T rubber has a chunky tread block and stand at 245/70/18 with the alloys an efficient six spoke design. Driving lights and indicator lamps are in the far corners of the blocky front bumper.The tray fitted is big too. It’s 1,520mm in internal length, 1,470mm in width, and 470mm in depth. cargo capacity is 950kg. At the other end are hard jet washers for the windscreen. This is an area where the finer mist style would be far more efficient.On The Inside It’s: Functional and aesthetic in a minimalist sort of way. The aircon rear air circulator is perhaps the standout, as it’s a biggish dome shaped protrusion from the roof, with a set of slats facing the windscreen. The outlets are a pair of slimline vents and each have a flap to redirect the airflow. Up front is Mitsubishi’s standard and functional dual analogue dial and LCD screen setup. The centre console in the dash has a seven inch touchscreen and is better in usage than the screen in the Eclipse Cross. It’s the slightly older GUI and it’s safe to say it’s more user friendly. There is DAB, Bluetooth, a pair of USB ports and a HDMI port as well.Seats were cloth in covering, manual in adjustment, and comfortable enough for normal day-to-day driving. It’s a charcoal and light grey colour mix, contrasting with the black and light shades in the lower and upper sections of the cabin. The tiller is height and reach adjustable as well, meaning getting the right driving position shouldn’t be an issue. There is a dull alloy look plastic on the steering wheel’s spokes, circling the airvents, and on the centre console around the gear selector.Leg and shoulder room has never been an issue in the Triton and there’s plenty of space for people of all sizes. Shoulder room is 1,430mm, leg room a handy 1,020mm up front. 970mm is the measurement for rear seats. There is also a handy little icon that shows which seatbelts haven’t been connected when the car is ready to move away.On The Road It’s: Not nearly as wayward as its underpinnings as a work ute would suggest. It’s decently comfortable, handles better than expected, and speed can be washed off with the front end scrubbing the tyres. The suspension is tight up front, a little less so for the rear, naturally, in order to cope with the expected load usage. The steering is heavy but manageably so, and there is little free-play from centre, meaning steering response is quick.Unfortunately the very good handling and ride is hobbled by horrendous turbo lag and then a punch in the back. Twist the start key, fire up, engage Drive, and hit the go pedal. There’s a real and genuine wait for anything to happen as the turbo spools up, and the revs rise. Then kapow bam wham, it’s a far too instant launch as the numbers see two thousand. This really needs a smoother and more progressive torque delivery in order to make this a more driver friendly vehicle.

The brakes are well balanced, with enough feedback on the press of the pedal to get a sense of where the foot needs to be in order to haul up the two tonnes worth of metal. There’s enough to make sure than when going into corners and dabbing the brakes to use the front end scrub as well, that the combination become instinctive and driver friendly.The Safety Package Is: Good but could be better, and work utes are getting better in an area they’ve lagged in. Forward Collision Mitigation Warning with Pedestrian Detection is standard on the GLX+ as is Lane Departure Warning. Lane Change Assist and Blind Spot Warning, plus Rear Cross Traffic Warning are missing.

And the Warranty Is: Listed as 7 years, 150,000 kilometres, and servicing is free for two years as of December 1, 2019. Four years road side assist is included.

At the End Of the Drive. For what it is, the Triton range are a sturdy, solid, and worthwhile investment. The GLX+ drives well enough but that turbo lag is a problem. Standard equipment and trim is good enough for its intended market as well. The Mitsubishi website is where you’ll find out more.

2019MY Jeep Wrangler Overland: Private Fleet Car Review

This Car Review Is About: A slightly updated version of the overhauled Jeep Wrangler range that Australia received in mid 2019. That change occurred between December 2018 and early 2019 in the manufacturing process, and it was the addition of a forward facing sensor for anti-collision technology. The range itself covers the Overland in the middle, Sport S at the beginning, the range leading Rubicon. The Overland tested was also given the coveted “Trail Rated” badge. Jeep says this means: “The new Jeep “Trail Rated” badge indicates that every Jeep 4×4 has been designed to perform in a variety of challenging off-road conditions identified by five key consumer-oriented performance categories, including Traction, Ground Clearance, Manoeuvrability, Articulation and Water Fording.”How Much Does It Cost?: The list price is $63,950 plus on road costs. That’s as of November, 2019 for the MY19 version. Check with Jeep for the 2020 spec. The Wrangler range comes in a two and four door for the Sport S and Overland.

Under The Bonnet Is: 209kW and 347Nm of 3.6L V6 Pentastar petrol engine. Only the top of the trio Rubicon has a diesel option. Transmission in the Overland is an eight speed Selec-Trac auto and there is no manual available in the range. All Jeeps have a transfer case that offers 2WD, 4WD Auto, and high and low range. Our final economy figure was 11.7L/100km which worked out to be better than Jeeps quoted 13.0L/100km for the urban cycle. Tank size is 81L. That’s for the Sport S and Overland four door body. the two door versions have a 66L tank.On The Outside It’s: Oh so familiar with the round (and LED powered) headlights, squared off guards and stance, plus that seven bar grille. The doors, roof, and windscreen are removable and foldable in the case of the front screen. The driving and rear lights (in the traditional squared off housing) are also LED for the Overland. The rear gate is different in that the bottom door opens horizontally and has to be opened first to allow access to the top door. The wheels on the Overland at 18 inches in diameter and are wrapped in Bridgestone Dueler H/T 255/70. Big, solid looking, strong plastic steps run between the front and rear wheels. The black on the review vehicle contrasted nicely with the brushed satin alloy look og the wing mirror surrounds, driving light surrounds, and subtle enhancements to the grille.

What’s somewhat surprising about the Wranglers is just how small they are. Small in the context that they’re just 4,334mm in length, and pack inside that a 2,459mm wheelbase. Height is what makes the Wrangler look bigger, especially in the deep metallic black the review car was covered in. 1,839mm is the number here, and from the front the 1,894mm is obvious. The front has a very obviously American spec front bumper, protruding forward like a caricature’s chin. There is still 35.8 degrees of approach angle however. Departure is rated as 31.2 degrees, and breakover is 20.4. Wading depth is 760mm.On The Inside It’s: Far from the spartan look and feel once reasonably expected of a dedicated off-road capable vehicle. The overland has superbly supple black McKinley leather and an embossed Overland logo. The seats are beautifully comfortable, but are manually adjusted. That’s no bad thing though. Naturally there are grab handles for the front seat passengers, and the Wrangler Overland stays true to its basic roots by having a strong cloth strap as the door’s restrainer, not a mechanical option in the hinges.

It’s a beautiful and elegant design to the dash. and a highlight is the use of “old school” rotate and flip” airvents. This simple design allows airflow to be sent to any direction by twirling a circular and slotted design. Effective and ridiculously so. Front and centre is an 8.4 inch touchscreen that is also ridiculously simple to use. Climate control, satnav, and an beautifully tuned Alpine nine speaker DAB audio system are stars, and the audio is possibly the second best for depth, clarity, and stage presence, that we’ve heard. The materials used on the Overland’s dash look and feel premium, and it instantly said “welcome to your new home”. This gets backed by a 230V socket for the back seat, plus USB and USB-C plugs, and remote starting to get the aircon up and running.For the driver, it’s a design that can only be described as smart, clever, historic, and, yes, elegant. There is an LCD screen that shows multiple forms of information, but a small section on the left is cleverly blanked into a separate display to show which actual drive mode the Wrangler is in. A Jeep logo also shows briefly on the screen. A nice little touch is the compass information built into the rear vision mirror. It shows N, S, NW etc in a simple backlit font. A not quite so nice touch is the fact all four power window switches are one touch for down, but have to be held for the upwards travel. They’re also located in the centre of the vertically oriented dash, not in the driver’s door. The front guards aren’t also visible from the driver’s seat so sometimes it’s a bit “guessworky” to gauge where the fenders are.

Build quality for the body was tight, with no squeaks, rattles, or other extraneous noises that shouldn’t have been there. That included the removable roof panels, with a flick-twist lever to lift off. But there was a glitch with the driver’s seat belt mechanism. Seatbelts have a safety mechanism, one that tightens the belt before an impact. They also have a mechanism that allows a passenger to pull the belt out to buckle in. In this car, the mechanism simply refused, on numerous occasions, to release the belt to strap in.On the Road It’s: Somewhat spongy in the ride and loose in the steering. The sponginess comes from the high profile dual purpose rubber, and the steering….well. It really could do with being tighter for our market. What also needs tightening is the tolerance for the brake pedal. It’s one of the longest we’ve had for response and grip. Long, in the sense that there’s well over an inch of travel before bite, and it goes longer down the path before grip really improves. It’s these two areas that detract, and unfortunately quite a bit, from an otherwise engaging and enjoyable drive experience. Acceleration is decent enough, and there’s a satisfying rort and snort from the engine and exhaust. The off-rad capability is access via a lever on the left of the gear selector, and it’s a simple to use system. Neutral, select, go. And there’s no doubting the agility of the Overland thanks to that Trail Rated badge.What About Safety?: It has a good package. Front and rear sensors, airbags all round, plus Rear Cross Traffic Detection and Blind Spot Monitoring. Trailer Sway Control and Forward Collision Assist are there too. Tyre Pressure Monitoring is an essential item for vehicles such as this and this proved its worth thanks to an invisible nail in one tyre. the Reverse Camera is handy and the touchscreen’s HD capability makes reversing easier due to the clarity. Unseen is the high tensile strength steel that underpins the chassis rigidity and side panel strength.And The Warranty and Service?: Jeep offer a five year warranty on their range. Servicing costs are capped and here Jeep recommends contacting a dealer for your specific pricing.At The End Of The Drive. The Jeep Wrangler Overland delighted. That in itself was unexpected, and yes, that can be seen as damning with faint praise. Loose steering and spongy ride aside, it’s a delight to drive, and the ambience of the interior makes being in it to drive an enjoyable experience. It’s a long way from the sparse and spartan interiors, and indifferent build quality of years gone by. The tech features, comfort level, and the well proven off-road ability from its heritage made the time the Wrangler spent with us thoroughly engaging and drew a wry grin from a family friend who’d bought the same model, but just prior to the Forward Collision Warning system being made available. The Jeep Wrangler range and information can be found via the Jeep website.