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To Repair or Not to Repair, That is the Question

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

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

 

Weighing up a new car

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

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

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

 

Choosing to repair your current car

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

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

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

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

 

What else to consider?

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

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

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

2020 Nissan X-Trail Ti AWD: Private Fleet Car Review.

This Car Review Is About: Nissan’s competent mid-sized entry, the X-Trail, into a very crowded SUV sector. It’s a six model range, with ST, ST-L, TS, N-Sport, Ti, and TL…which makes for a slightly confusing way of naming your product from bottom to top. We drive the second from the top Ti.
How Much Does It Cost?: As of mid September 2020 Nissan lists the ST as $28,990, the ST-L from $28,490, and the TS from $40,357. N-Sport starts from $42,876, Ti from $44,490 before topping out at $52,456 for the TL. These prices are drive-away. Premium paints are a $695 option.

Under The Bonnet Is: A 2.5L petrol engine for the Ti and TL. Otherwise, for models below, it’s a 2.0L petrol for the manual 2WD ST & TS or 2.0L diesel for all models bar ST-L. Power for the petrol 2.5L is 126kW and maximum torque is 226Nm and at 4,400rpm. Nissan quotes economy as 8.3L per 100 kilometres on a combined cycle. Fuel tank size is a standard 60L.
On the Outside It’s: A distinctively styled Nissan family SUV. Grab a picture of both the Qashqai and Pathfinder, enlarge and shrink to the same size as that of a X-Trail, and you’d be genuinely hard pressed at first glance to tell the difference. There’s that signature V grille and LED driving light design up front, the sine wave line from bow to stern, the nicely balanced proportions of bonnet to body, and the arrow-head line for the leading edge of the rear lights. Ti runs 225/55/19 alloys and rubber, with the tyres an all-weather pattern from Bridgestone’s Ecopia range.One of the issues we have with the X-Trail, and it’s by no means alone in this, is the location and size of the headlight indicator lamps. They’re tiny, and buried deep within the middle of the join between the lights and the running lights. There are flashing LEDs in the wing mirror covers however they’re not terribly bright nor easily seen from some angles.

Another niggle is the placement of the button to open the powered tailgate. Most companies logically and sensibly have a tab in the same recess as the number plate. Nissan opted for a separate, and lower in the door, placement. It means a person needs to bend more but also, because it’s not the logical place, more often than not the numberplate recess was reached for first.

On The Inside It’s: A tidier look than the very busy Pathfinder. The centre stack immediately pulls attention due to the far cleaner layout. Nissan include a CD player here and in the X-Trail it sits above the 8.0 inch touchscreen. There are tabs around the outside but underneath is only the aircon control cluster. Tidier it is but still perhaps a little fussy when looking for something quickly. The screen’s layout is dated, terribly dated, and needs an overhaul ASAP.

In contrast, the dash design is a gentle curve and separates driver from passenger nicely as each end runs smoothly into the door trims. The whole cabin ambience is cool without being understated.Audio is DAB equipped, and the usual smartapps apply. Oddly, Nissan have also included links to Google and facebook, and although we didn’t connect to them, we’d hope these only activate when parked. A nice touch in counterpoint was the separate heating circuit for the rear seat, a rare and welcome addition.Leg, head, and shoulder room is better than adequate for four, even with the full length glass roof, but typically a bit squeezy for the second row if looking to get five aboard. Behind the second row is a decent cargo bay with 565L available and increasing to 945L with the second row flattened.There’s are rain-sensing wipers, second row air vents and USBs, plus a 12V socket for the second row passengers.

On The Road It’s: Good enough for most people and this comes from a well sorted driveline combination. Although CVTs do feel as if they sap power and torque, the X-Trail’s pairing is one that doesn’t feel as draining as others. There’s plenty of get up and go, mid-range acceleration is quick enough, and unlike the Pathfinder, when the console mounted drive dial selects 4WD, there’s both a noticeable change and an indicator light on the dash shows 4WD is engaged. There’s the barest hint of torque steer in 2WD but in all wheel drive mode that disappears and there’s a proper sense of weight attached to the rear wheels.It’s a push button Start/Stop system in the Ti. Once the 2.5L is up and spinning, Drive is engaged by a short throw lever, there’s the faintest of clunks, and the accelerator sees the 1,562kg (dry) Ti get underway smoothly. The transmission has the typical CVT wavering at times and is at its best at freeway speeds. That goes for the suspension which is beautifully tuned for more comfort that sporting in the handling, yet and be driven hard without qualms. It damps nicely, initial compliance runs into somewhere between taut and giving, and rarely felt unsettled. Speed-sensitive steering worked the same; there’s lightness when needed, heft when required, and made parking a doddle.

An unexpected feature is the Intelligent Engine Braking system. Downhill runs and the CVT acts as a brake, finding a gear and holding it to ensure no unwanted acceleration. A blip of the throttle overcomes it easily however it mostly needs no human intervention.

What About Safety?: Plenty to like, as expected. Forward Collision Warning and AEB with pedestrian detection but not cyclist. Blind Spot Alert, Rear Cross Traffic, Lane Departure Warning and Rear Park Assist sensors make the Ti a pretty safe bet.

What About Warranty And Service?: Standard five years and unlimited ks, roadside assist for 24/7 for5 years. Servicing is capped price for the first six and prices can be found by using your vehicle’s VIN.

At The End Of the Drive. The 2020 Nissan X-Trail Ti delivers by doing exactly what is asked of it and doing so without raising an eyebrow. It drives well enough, handles well enough, it’s not unattractive and has a high level of safety. Downlights are the tawdry touchscreen look and those almost invisible indicator flashers in the front. And in Ti spec, it’s not an outrageous hit to the bank balance for what is delivered. Head here to find out more.

 

2020 Nissan Juke ST: Private Fleet Car Review.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Check out the Juke ST from Nissan for yourself here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to Minimise Depreciation on Your Next Car

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

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

Pay attention to supply and demand

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

 

Colour makes a difference

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

Keep on top of maintenance

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

 

Mind your distance

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

 

Research methodically

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

Last Ford GT cars Very Special

Ford GT HE

If you’ve got a load of money to spend on a supercar and want something really different and special, then why not go for the latest and last-to-be-built Ford GT supercars.  The Ford GT remains the only American supercar to ever win at Le Mans.  This beat Ferrari at its own game, and now the Ford Performance division has announced a very special Heritage Edition (HE) that has been inspired by the original model’s first long distance win at the 1966 Daytona 24 Hour Continental race.

The new Ford GT Heritage Edition adds some styling cues that are taken from the winning formula at Le Mans in 1966.  It is a model developed as a tribute to the winner of the 1966 Daytona 24 Hour Continental race, which was captured in the 2019 film “Ford v Ferrari”.  The HE features a striking Frozen White exterior paint job with an exposed carbon fibre hood.  Shod with great looking one-piece Heritage Gold 20-inch forged aluminium wheels and red Brembo monobloc brake callipers, you have a an eye-catching combination to what is still one of the most desirable supercars on the planet.

Inside the Ford GT HE is black Alcantara material wrapping the instrument panel, headliner and steering wheel rim, while red paddle shifters and Alcantara performance seats add intense contrast and a special experience.

Ford GT HE

You can also get the Ford GT with even less unsprung weight, where there’s the option of 20-inch exposed carbon fibre wheels.  You can also get the monobloc brake calipers lacquered in black with Brembo lettering in red – nice!

Adding the special Studio Collection package gives you a Ford GT that offers added exclusivity and design enhancements, which you can add to the newest Ford GT supercar.  Boasting an all-new graphics package that highlights key styling elements, such as functional cooling ducts, and other unique exterior graphics that have been designed by the Ford Performance and Ford GT manufacturer, ‘Multimatic’.  These clever design cues combine the combination of stripes and accents over the sexy GT exterior that invoke the emotion of speed as well as drawing your eye to some of the most prominent features of the classic GT style.

Just forty examples of the Studio Collection package will be built across the 2021 and 2022 model years, so to be one of the coolest Supercar drivers on the planet be in quick and don’t miss out!

Sadly, these will be the last new Ford GT supercar models to be produced, with production scheduled to wrap up in 2022.

Just for your information: the latest RWD, 7-speed automatic Ford GT comes with a twin-turbo, 3.5-litre V6 engine developing a whopping 482 kW of power at 6250 rpm and 746 Nm of torque at 5900 rpm.  That’s enough energy to catapult you from 0-100 km/h in around 3.8 seconds, 0-200 km/h in 12.3 seconds, see you through the quarter mile in 11.8 seconds and on to a top speed of 330 km/h.

The raucous sound of the engine is sublime, the RWD handling spot on, and it’s so easy to fall in love with one.  Buy one now, and the car is sure to appreciate in value – especially with this last run of GT cars, and their acquired exclusivity.

Ford GT HE

2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT: Car Review.

This Car Review Is About: A car that embodies every male stereotype when it comes to cars. Brawny, hairy chested, muscle-laden etc thanks to the powerplant and exhaust notes. There are a staggering eight variants of the Grand Cherokee and the SRT is the second from the top behind the slightly harder edged Trackhawk.

How Much Does It Cost?: List prices is $92,450 plus on road costs. Premium paint, such as the Diamond Black Crystal on our review vehicle, is $895. Using the Jeep website, it comes up with a drive-away price of $98,343.Under The Bonnet Is: 6.4L of pure joy. It’s the Hemi V8, one step down from the supercharged 6.2L V8 fitted to the Trackhawk. Running on 98 RON, it produces 344kW and 624Nm of torque at 4,100rpm. But there is a price to pay for that sheer exuberance. Our best economy figure was 12.3L/100km and that on a gentle highway run with a maximum speed of 80kph. The overall average was closer to 16.0L/100km from a 93.0L tank.

Jeep themselves quote 20.7L/100km on the urban cycle, 10.1L/100km for the highway, and 14.0/100km for the combined. the engine has fuel saving technology, effectively running as a V4 on cruise mode.

The transmission here is an eight speed auto, and apart from some staggering when cold, is as good an eight speed auto as you can get. It’s well ratioed to take advantage of the torque, and a 4.9 second sprint to 100kmh backs that up. There is launch control fitted and this dials the engine up to 1,800rpm before flinging the 2,289kg (dry) SRT to the horizon.On The Inside It’s: Packed with the bits and bobs you’d expect from a near $100K machine. There’s carbon-fibre look trim that spreads from door to door, stitched leather look trim on the dash, heated and vented seats, a heated steering wheel, aircon and USB ports for the second row seats, and a thumping Harman Kardon audio system. Front and centre is the UConnect infotainment system that doubles up on some areas with hard press buttons. It’s also home to the drive mode settings that are access from the centre console. There is a dial that provide easy access to the varying programs however it’s the 8.0 inch screen that shows the Street/Sport/Track modes for the engine, suspension, steering, and others, allowing personalisation across the board, so a driver can have Street steering, Sport suspension, and Track transmission.The seats are leather trimmed with the centre section a suede material. It’s immediately a warmer feel to the touch and for cold areas it saves that initial unwelcome cold thrill. The seats do warm quickly, as does the tiller, when activated. The centre console cup holders have blue LED lighting, and a nice convenient feature is the powered steering column. Up front is a 12V socket (one for the rear in the cargo bay) and a pair of USBs. These are hidden under a soft-touch door that’s the same alloy look material as the console.In front of the driver is a full colour LCD screen and Jeep have cleverly sectioned it off to display different kinds of information. The centre is the main dial for the rev counter and displays the launch control information. The left side shows the screen selected info graphic, the right the driven gear, top left the expected range and top right the temperature and more drive mode info. It’s a clever look and most effective, as it directs the driver’s eyes to the important info. Unusually, indication and wipers are on the same stalk, not a left and right lever setup Design wise the dash look is also easy on the eye, and the elegant “W” shape to the actual dash envelopes both front seat passengers.The second row passengers have plenty of room for legs, head, and shoulder, and having independent vents plus their own pair of USB ports emphasises the family friendly aspect of the Grand Cherokee SRT. There’s plenty of cargo space as well, 782L, with access via the standard powered tailgate. Jeep also fit a full sized spare here, thankfully. Oddly, the switch to lower the tailgate isn’t on the base of the door, like everyone else, it’s on the inside left. What this means is that any person pressing that needs to be quick to move out of the way.On The Outside It’s: Big, blocky, and imposing in the black over black colour scheme fitted. The badges are blacked out, the 295/45/20 Pirelli P-Zero rubber wrap blacked alloys, and at 4,846mm in length, it’s up there as one of the bigger SUVs. Having a height of 1,749mm means it stands tall against many and also means stepping into the Grand Cherokee SRT is easy. Wide opening doors also assist here.The bonnet has vents, nostrils, if you like. Unlike nearly everyone else, they’re functional, not merely a plastic garnish. This helps the big engine breathe at speed. The major design look hasn’t really changed in a few years so there are the same slimline headlights with integrated LED indicators, which dim the headlight running lights when activated. Underneath are a pair of LED cornering lamps.On The Road It’s: Largely dependent on which drive mode is selected. Street has a soft suspension feel, and the mass of the Grand Cherokee SRT becomes noticeable. There’s more body movement and at times it was a little stomach-queasy. Latch onto the Sport mode and immediately the big machine settles down, becomes more stable, and feels more controllable via the right foot.

That right foot is also responsible for the volume of the twin exhausts. It’s a muted, distant, rumble from start-up, although with an initial bark. Gentle driving has that subterranean rumble a constant, and it’s when the right ankle flexes in anger, that noise increases in volume and note, changing from that rumble to a full on fight between two lions. There’s a truly astounding feeling experienced as the pitch vibrates the rib cage, whilst simultaneously pinning the body back into the seats. Even with the windows up there is some serious pounding on the ears, and this brings in the hard edged snarl as revs climb.The steering wheel is on the large side, not just in the heft of the wheel but the diameter. It brings a bus-like feel to how the Grand Cherokee SRT is steered, with a more bent armed stance. It’s not uncomfortable but neither is it right for a longer armed sporting drive. This is important as the big tyres would tramline noticeably at times, with the wheel needing constant driver attention to overcome the pull of the rubber on the road.Having a variable suspension made testing them interesting. One long and flat road was home to the changes and it became obvious that the settings will appeal to different driver styles. As mentioned, Street came across as a softer and wallowy style, Sport noticeably tighter and overall our pick. Track goes tighter still and then becomes too jittery, too jarring, even on a relatively flat road. Of course, the name itself strongly hints at where its intended environment lays.Big Brembos haul down the SRT easily, and without fade constantly. The pedal has a light feel to start and progressively feels heavier as the pedal travel increases. Transmission wise, there is the SelecTrack off-road capability however there is no two speed transfer case in deference to its more tarmac oriented engineering.

Economy wise, it can be driven to a limit. On our return journey, the estimated range was 95km. The trip distance is 75km. We arrived at the changeover point with 90km expected range left and an economy of 15.6km/100km…What About Safety?: Jeep has ensured that the range lacks for nothing. Only the entry level model, Night Eagle, misses out on a driver’s kneebag, Blind Spot Monitoring, and Rear Cross path (Traffic) Detection. In a driving sense, the Night Eagle also misses out on the Adaptive Cruise Control. Otherwise, the range, including the SRT gets the full kit of safety features which includes Trailer Sway Control and Rain Brake Support.

What About Warranty And Service?: Five years or 100,000 kilometres with a 12,000 kilometres or 12 month service cycle. Capped priced servicing is $399. Roadside assistance is now standard for the lifetime of the warranty.

At The End of The Drive. Jeep is undergoing a transformation, with a recognition of issues when it comes to customer service. We’ve been on the receiving end of nothing but marvellous service due to two previous review vehicles suffering serious issues.

The Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT exhibited no issues at all. You’d expect that for a vehicle price knocking on $100K. It’s a product for a certain market, and the SRT’s heart is that big V8. It’s both the appeal and the letdown. The appeal because it’s so much fun to listen to, to experience the sheer urge and exuberance of that Hemi. The letdown is simple; that enjoyment is at a price, being how quickly the 6.4L engine can drain the tank.

However that engine shutdown feature can assist and hopefully at another time a proper highway cycle run can be driven, but we did see just how relatively efficient gentle driving could be.

The Grand Cherokee range can be explored here.

Peugeot 3008 GT-Line: Private Fleet Car Review.

This Car Review Is About: Peugeot’s rather cute 3008 mid-sizer SUV. There are three trim levels, being the Allure, GT-Line, and GT, a slightly odd naming choice.

What Does It Cost?: The GT-Line is one a drive-away special, at $49,990 plus an extras pack which includes a glass roof and special leather seats. The Allure and GT are also on a drive-away special. $39,990 for the Allure and $55,990 and the GT also includes the extras.

Under The Bonnet Is: A 1.6L turbo 95RON petrol four for the Allure and GT-Line, with a 2.0L diesel for the GT. Transmission for the GT-Line is Peugeot’s EAT-6 auto, a reworking of the torque converter style that feels like a dual-clutch transmission.Spin the engine out to 6,000 revs and peak power is 121kW. Peak twist comes in at just 1,400rpm, and there are 240 torques to play with. The Efficient Automatic Transmission six speed is a bit of a handful at zero velocity, just like a DCT, however is pretty usable when up and running.

Economy for the 1.6L four varies quite a bit. 9.8L per 100km for the city cycle, 5.3L for the highway, equaling an average for the combined of 7.0L/100km. We finished at 8.5L/100km for our mainly suburban cycle which really shows out the positives and negatives of a car’s drivetrain.On The Outside It’s: Not as big as it looks. It’s compact in length at just 4,447mm in length yet the curvy styling makes it look longer. Height is 1,624mm allowing for good headroom inside, and width is 1,826mm sans mirrors. The wheels are good looking machined alloys and grey painted with Michelin rubber for an overall size of 205/55/19.There is a powered tail-gate with a low loading lip making loading a week’s groceries a doddle, black polyurethane from front to rear, and a front end splashed with chrome for the grille & driving light surrounds. There’s also a strip above the moulding that links the front and rear doors. There is an alloy look plate for the chin of the front end. the headlights are slimline and feature the shark-fin insert Peugeot’s stylists have chosen to identify their SUVs. This is also the start of a strong line that draws the eye downwards to the alloy chin. It’s almost the same at the rear, with a signature triple “claw” look in the rights. It’s not unfair to say the 3008 is a pretty car with plenty of Gallic flair, yet it was invisible to many, with barely a head turned here and there. What does is the clearly define puddle lamp logo at night.On The Inside It’s: A true delight visually. The seats that come as part of the extras pack are jet black, white stitched, and have a thick diamond design. There are memory settings for the driver’s seat, and venting on a separate switch as the heating switches are up on the dash. Here also are switches, looking like aviation style activators, for the audio, navigation, vehicle settings etc, and they’re sinfully easy to operate. Front and centre is the 8.0 inch touchscreen, the hub for most of the 3008 GT-Line’s functions including aircon. It’s perhaps here that manual controls as an adjunct wouldn’t go astray as trying to adjust on the move is, like all touchscreens, a distraction. Audio is DAB equipped and the quality is superb.Peugeot go for that French chic look with a grey, almost denim feel, material that sweeps from the ends of the dash into the doors. The upper section draws a line that rolls around from one door to the other and encompasses the base of the windscreen. Right down the centre is a classy looking chromed strip that forms a “c” and also delineates the passenger’s section from the driver’s. It’s a scrumptious interior, it looks and feels fantastic, A visual feast is had in the driver’s binnacle and Peugeot call this the i-cockpit. This full colour 12.3 inch diameter screen can show a number of different displays, such as a pair of traditional dials (lit in a glorious golden bronze) or virtually nothing, and plenty in between. The smaller main touchscreen is the same, with a very tidy layout and doubling up on some of the features the tabs below activate. The centre console has a deep bin, accessed via bifold doors, plus the cup holders are illuminated in a soft blue light. This also lights up the rim of the glass roof. Unlike the dash display, which has the differing looks, the blue is the only colour available.

Passenger space in the rear is more than adequate for leg and head room, whereas shoulder room is ideal for two adults, three being a tad squeezy. However two ISOFIX brackets make for no problems for the family. Aircon vents are a nice touch too are are the rubber studded alloy pedals and the slightly awkwardly located smartphone charge pad.The cargo space is decent enough for most people at 591L, and increases to 1,670L with seats folded. Underneath the cargo floor is a space saver spare. There’s some extra cargo space here if needed but more for smaller items.On The Road It’s: A very enjoyable drive, but. That “but” is the DCT feel to the transmission. The drive selector is a pistol-grip style with a button on the right hand side to unlock before a rocker back or forth for Drive or Reverses. park is electronic and situated on the far top end. From Start the transmission takes a few moments to engage when moving from Drive to Reverse, and vice versa. Coupled with the turbo lag it’s not always the best combination, especially when trying to get across an intersection.

Highway driving through the gears shows that it’s a slick, swift, smooth, and quiet change, but also leaves the driver wondering why the eight speed hasn’t been fitted for better economy. Manual changing is available via the paddle shifts on the column, and Sports mode is typical in that it does little more than hold gears longer. There’s a typically linear turbo response, with an easy progression forward, and only occasionally does it feel that 240Nm wasn’t enough. It’s no sink you into the seat rush, but it’s not a sports intended SUV either. Steering is rapid in response, with only a hint of numbness on centre. Having the smaller wheel brings in its own feeling, with a sense of a lesser need to expend energy, but without losing that sense of touch as well.

It’s the same with the suspension. It’s not quite as well tuned as the RAV4, for example, but nor is it excessively soft or lacking in composure. It absorbs most normal road irregularities well enough, and rebounds a little more than one would expect. Not that it ever threatened to lose a modicum of composure, however, but in the ride stakes it’s been left behind by the latest as this is a design nudging four years old in a retail sense.However it doesn’t mean that some aspects of the 3008 GT-Line’s tech should be ignored. It was one of the first to have traffic sign recognition and its GPS tie-in with speed-zones was 100% in a location and change of limit sense. The reverse camera was crisp in detail, with the screen showing plenty of definition and without the “fish eye” distortion seen elsewhere. One touch windows have a “pinch” function, that automatically lowers a raising window if the pressure sensor detects and arm/leg/head where it shouldn’t be.

What About Safety?: The screen also shows a 360 degree camera view, parking assistance is standard as are front and rear sensors. Blind Spot Alert, AEB with camera and radar sensing, auto high beam On/Off, and Lane Departure are standard also. Airbag wise it lacks only a driver’s kneebag. On the road the sensors also indicate the forward distance alert, ensuring a driver is visually aware that they may be just that little too close to the leading vehicle.

What About Warranty And Service?: Five years is the warranty, along with unlimited kilometres. Servicing is 12 monthly in cycle, or 20,000 kilometres for the 3008. The pricing as of August 2020 was $471 for the first major service, $786 for service 2, $471 for service 3, $799 for service 4, and $484 for service 5. Prices were obtained here.

At The End Of The Drive. Peugeot has had a strong presence at times here in Australia, and at others it seems to slip under the radar. The 3008 is one that deserves a little more love as it’s a stunner inside and out, especially with that black seat trim. pricing has always been a hiccup, and even at just on $50K it may be easily overlooked. That would be a disservice as there is plenty of value with areas such as the safety system being of a high level, the sheer feel of the cockpit, the soft ambient lighting that adds class, and the (for the most part) easy to live with drive-train. Book a test drive here.

‘Automotive Mana’ and 2020 Dual-Cab Utes

The rise of the SUV is a noted phenomenon, but an equal marvel is the greater numbers of large dual-cab utes on our roads.  The popularity of the dual-cab ute in Australia shows a trend that ain’t about to end just yet.  On any given day if you take a drive down a popular road in Australia you’re sure to come across some pretty awesome super-size pick-ups.  So what makes these vehicles so attractive? And what are the better dual-cab utes one can buy?  Let’s have a look.

Let’s ‘cut to the chase’ and quickly realise that a large number of the dual-cab utes we see are driven by people with bigger egos.  To use the Maori definition ‘Mana’ offers a politer label to go with the big ute ego.  ‘Mana” means to have great authority, presence or prestige, and so if you are seen driving these massive utes, you’re likely to satisfy your larger ego with some real ‘Automotive Mana’ and add mud plugging tyres, a raised suspension, tinted windows, a snorkel and spot lights, too.  Any big ute name like Toyota Hilux, Mazda BT-50, Nissan Navara, Ford Ranger or Mitsubishi Triton can have their utes equipped with these big ticket items.

Of course, if your work requires your need to own a big, beefy dual cab ute, then all the showy looks can be forgiven. Builders, landscapers, boat builders, contractors, farmers, engineers, they all need one!  But hey, we’d all love one!

This leads me on to what makes these road behemoths so nice to own and drive.  Here’s a short list of their great traits:

  • Load carrying ability
  • Towing ability
  • Space
  • Comfort
  • Off-roading ability
  • They’re built tough
  • They’re safe
  • Automotive Mana

Here are the best new Dual-Cab utes you can buy in 2020 that offer all the bells and whistles (Note there are other models in their line-up, but these would generally be more Spartan).  All of the following models come with premium safety, 4WD capability, big towing prowess and premium luxury:

Ford Ranger: XLT, Wildtrak, Raptor, ($57–$77k)

  • 3.2 litre TurboDiesel with 147 kW and 470 Nm, 6-speed manual and 6-speed auto, 0-100 km/h approx. 10 seconds, fuel consumption approx. 9 litres/100 km
  • 2.0 litre TurboDiesel with 157 kW and 500 Nm, 10-speed automatic, 0-100 km/h approx. 10 seconds, fuel consumption approx. 8 litres/100 km

SsangYong Musso: Ultimate XLV, Ultimate Plus XLV, ($40-$44k)

  • 2.0 litre TurboDiesel with 133 kW and 420 Nm, 6-speed manual and 6-speed auto, 0-100 km/h approx. 10 seconds, fuel consumption approx. 9 litres/100 km

Toyota Hilux: SR5, Rugged, Rugged X, Rogue, ($56–$63k)

  • 2.8 litre TurboDiesel with 130 kW and 420 Nm with the 6-speed manual and 450 Nm with the 6-speed auto, 0-100 km/h approx. 11 seconds, fuel consumption approx. 8 litres/100 km

Nissan Navara: ST-X, N-Trek, N-Trek Warrior, ($54–$66k)

  • 2.3 litre TurboDiesel with 140 kW and 450 Nm, 6-speed manual and 7-speed auto, 0-100 km/h approx. 10 seconds, fuel consumption approx. 6.5–7.0 litres/100 km

Ram 1500: Express, Laramie, ($90–$100k)

  • 5.7 litre Petrol V8 with 291 kW and 556 Nm, 8-speed auto, 0-100 km/h approx. 7 seconds, fuel consumption approx. 10–13 litres/100 km

Ram 2500: ($140k)

  • 6.7 litre TurboDiesel with 276 kW and 1084 Nm, 6-speed auto, 0-100 km/h approx. 8 seconds, fuel consumption approx. 15 litres/100 km

VW Amarok: TDI420 Core Plus, Highline 550, Ultimate 580, ($52–$73k)

  • 2.0 litre TurboDiesel with 132 kW and 400 Nm with the 6-speed manual and 420 Nm with the 8-speed auto, 0-100 km/h approx. 10.5 seconds, fuel consumption approx. 7.5 litres/100 km
  • 3.0 litre TurboDiesel with 165 kW and 500 Nm, 8-speed auto, 0-100 km/h approx. 8 seconds, fuel consumption approx. 9 litres/100 km
  • 3.0 litre TurboDiesel with 190 kW and 580 Nm, 8-speed auto, 0-100 km/h approx. 8 seconds, fuel consumption approx. 9 litres/100 km

Mitsubishi Triton: GLX+, GLS, GLS Premium, GSR, ($41–$52k)

  • 2.4 litre TurboDiesel with 133 kW and 430 Nm, 6-speed manual and 6-speed auto, 0-100 km/h approx. 10 seconds, fuel consumption approx. 8 litres/100 km

Mazda BT-50: XTR, GT, Boss, ($53–$64k)

  • 3.2 litre TurboDiesel with 147 kW and 470 Nm, 6-speed manual and 6-speed auto, 0-100 km/h approx. 10 seconds, fuel consumption approx. 10 litres/100 km

Holden Colorado: LSX, LTZ, LTZ+, Z71, ($50–$58k)

  • 2.8-litre TurboDiesel with 147 kW and 440 Nm with the 5-speed manual, with 147 kW and 500 Nm with the 6-speed auto, 0-100 km/h approx. 9.5 seconds, fuel consumption approx. 9 litres/100 km

HSV Silverado: 1500 LTZ Premium Ed. ($114k)

  • 6.2 litre Petrol V8 with 313 kW and 624 Nm, 10-speed auto, 0-100 km/h approx. 5.6 seconds, fuel consumption approx. 12.5 litres/100 km

Isuzu D-Max: LSU, LST, ($49–$55k)

  • 3.0 litre TurboDiesel with 130 kW and 430 Nm, 6-speed manual and 6-speed auto, 0-100 km/h approx. 8 seconds, fuel consumption approx. 8 litres/100 km

Jeep Gladiator: Overland, Rubicon, ($76–$77k)

  • 3.6 litre Petrol V6 with 209 kW and 347 Nm, 8-speed auto, 0-100 km/h approx. 9 seconds, fuel consumption approx. 12 litres/100 km

Just for complete ‘Automotive Mana’ status, top honours would have to go to the Ram, HSV or Jeep Gladiator.

Bronco Busting: Ford Resurrects A Legend.

Jeep Wrangler, watch out! Ford has brought the Bronco back to life and the Blue Oval has its sights set firmly on the iconic machine from Jeep. The 2021 Bronco will come in two or four door shapes, or, if you will, three and five door. Soft and hard tops will be available. What won’t be will be anything other than either a four cylinder or V6 petrol engine for movement. But there’s no lacking for model choice with Ford U.S. releasing seven. For the U.S. there is the entry level named, smartly, Base. Big Bend, Black Diamond, Outer Banks, Badlands are followed by a name more familiar to Australia, Wildtrak, and a limited run First Edition. Prices will start from $29,995, with Wildtrak at $50,370 whilst the First Edition starts from $60,800.

A four cylinder petrol engine and V6 will be joined by a hybrid at a later stage. For now, we see a turbocharged 2.3-litre that makes 201kW/270hp horsepower and 420Nm/310 lb-ft of torque. The other option is a twin-turbo 2.7-litre that generates 231kW/310 horses and 542Nm/400 lb-ft. Ford says these will be good enough to push the Bronco through close to three feet of water and have a ground clearance of just under 12 inches.

The Base brings a seven speed manual transmission, with a normal six plus a crawler gear for serious off-road chops. A ten speed auto can also be specced.There is a two speed and three mode transfer case as well. Standard is a hard top for the two door and a soft roof on the four. A nifty feature is a upper dash mounting point for smart phones and action cameras.Big Bend gets a little extra luxury with a leather bound steering wheel cover, heated seats, and is the first of the range to offer alloy wheels. Black Diamond aims for the off-roader with marine grade vinyl trim, seven G.O.A.T. drive modes (Goes Over Any type of Terrain) and a standard rear locker diff plus underbody bash plates. Outer Banks has LED headlights and integrated turn lamps, black alloys, powder coated tube steps and a B&O sound system for when the noise of the outdoors isn’t enough.Badlands goes up a gear with front and rear locking diffs, Bilstein monotube dampers, disconnecting stabiliser bar, and a choice of 33 or 35 inch AT rubber. Trim can be easy clean vinyl through to full leather. Wildtrak offers a Sasquatch Package that includes 35 inch rubber and 17 inch diameter black painted alloys with a beadlock function. Black roofing and grille also feature. 3,500 First Editions will be released and combine the Badlands mechanicals, Outer Banks interior, and Wildtrak looks.

Production is currently slated for the Australian autumn of 2021 however it’s not yet set for an Australian release.