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Private Fleet Car Review: 2019 Lexus LC 500

This Car Review Is About:
The 2019 Lexus LC 500. It’s a big, luxury oriented, coupe with stand out styling, a brawny 5.0L V8, and a fair bit of heft. There’s heft to the price too: $189,629 plus on road costs as of February 2019.Under The Bonnet Is:
A V8 of five litres capacity. It’s the same one as found in the GS F, which produces 351kW and 530 Nm. Consumption on the combined cycle is rated as 11.6L/100km. There’s a ten speed auto that hooks up to the rear wheels via a Torsen limited slip diff, and if you’re a touch green around the gills, a hybrid version is available. Transmission changes are made via paddle shifts on the steering column, and the gear selector is atypical in that it’s a rocker movement towards the right, forward for reverse, back for Drive, and Park is a P button. Back to the left where M is listed gives Manual control.On The Inside Is:
A stupidly small amount of room. It’s a BIG looking car, with 4770mm overall length, a wheelbase of 2870mm, and 1630mm track. The driver sits just aft of the mid point and has plenty of leg room forward. So does the passenger. But it’s here that the good news ends. The rear seats are great for a suitcase or a bag or two of shopping. With the front seats in a suitable position up front, the gap between rear of seat and squab is minimal. Minimal. The up side is that the powered seats self adjust for fore & aft movement when the lever to flip them forward for rear seat access is pulled up.The seats themselves are low set, meaning anyone with muscle issues may struggle to lever themselves up and out. And with a low roof height, raising the seats may compromise the noggin of taller drivers.

Then there’s the passenger section. It’s quite aligned with a single seat fighter jet in concept, with a tub and grab handles on either side. Then there’s the dash. The passenger gets little to look at directly ahead apart from a sheet of faux carbon fibre style material, and Lexus have left the LC 500 with the multi-fold design. The air-con vents are squirreled away in a niche line with just a single vent in direct centre. Sometimes it felt as if the air flow isn’t happening.Up top and centre is the Lexus display screen. It’s wide, in full colour high definition, and operated via a track pad (no mouse) in the centre console. In full daylight it’s still clearly visible. Unfortunately, in a well meant effort to add extra visual splash, there is a aluminuim strip just below it and sitting on top of the centre airvent. It catches sunlight really well, and spreads it around the cabin really well. That includes straight back into the driver’s eyes.

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Private Fleet Car Review: 2019 Lexus GS F 10 Anniversary

This Car Review Is About:
An absolute pearler of a car. The 2019 Lexus GS F is a pocket rocket and in 10th anniversary guise looks the part even more. Clad in one colour only, a matte-satin finish grey, and packing a set of blue painted brake callipers outside, backed by patches of blue suede inside, The GS F 10th Anniversary Edition has plenty of brawn to back up the looks. Price for the sleek four door starts at $155,940 plus on roads. GS stands for Grand Sedan or Grand Sport.Under The Bonnet Is:
Some serious numbers. 32 valves, four camshafts, 7100 rpm for the peak power of 351kW, and 530Nm between 4800rpm and 5600rpm. This sits inside a front track of 1555mm, with the rear almost the same at 1560mm. The overall length is hidden by the styling, with 4915mm looking less than the numbers suggest, with the wheelbase of 2850mm leaving some decent overhang.Fuel capacity is about average at 66L, with a rated combined fuel consumption figure of 11.3L for every one hundred kilometres driven. For a kerb weight of around 1865 kilograms, that’s a set of figures than can be lived with. Our real world testing in an urban environment saw figures closer to 10.0L/100km. And before you ask, no, there are no official figures for towing…

However, for a driver, and that’s exactly where this car is aimed, a DRIVER, the allure of those numbers, from a free spinning V8, with an exhaust note to die for, plus a simply stunning eight speed auto with two sports modes, means the wallet could take a thumping. Not just from the distinct possibility of a set of blue lights in the rear vision mirror, but in visiting the bowser.

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Wheels Car Of The Year Winner Is…..

2019 Volvo XC40 R-Design Launch Edition.

Self Driving Cars Set To Map The Path Says JLR

Jaguar Land Rover has partnered with an autonomous vehicle development company to develop a system that projects the direction of travel onto the road ahead of self-driving vehicles which will other road users what it is going to do next.The intelligent technology beams a series of projections onto the road to show the future intentions of the vehicle. One example is when it’s about to stop, another is a change of direction, and it’s all part of research into how people can develop their trust in autonomous technology. In the future the projections could even be used to share obstacle detection and journey updates with pedestrians.Aurrigo, a company specialising in developing autonomous vehicles, has developed autonomous pods, and the projections feature a series of lines or bars with adjustable spacing. The gaps shorten as the pod is preparing to brake before fully compressing at a stop. As the pod moves off and accelerates, the spacing between the lines extends. Upon approaching a turn, the bars fan out left or right to indicate the direction of travel.

Jaguar Land Rover’s Future Mobility division set up trials with a team of advanced engineers that were supported by cognitive psychologists, after studies showed 41 percent of drivers and pedestrians are worried about sharing the road with autonomous vehicles.Engineers recorded trust levels reported by pedestrians after seeing the projections and before. The innovative system was tested on a fabricated street scene at a Coventry facility.

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Honda Goes Seven Up For CR-V

It’s a segment that continues to grow and is becoming hotly contested. Car makers aren’t satisfied with just five seats any more, and the seven seater SUV is taking the people mover segment head on. Honda has joined the fray and now has a seven seater. It’s a somewhat clumsy name but the 2019 Honda CR-V VTi-E7 is reasonably priced at $34, 490 plus on roads. There is a more upmarket version, called CR-V VTi-L7. That empties the bank balance to the tune of $38, 990.Motorvation is from a 1.5L turbocharged petrol fed powerplant. Peak power is 140kW, and peak torque is 240Nm, on tap from 2000rpm through to 5000rpm. That’s a crucial figure considering both the transmission is a CVT driving the front wheels only, and lugging seven people requires a hefty torque figure. Fuel economy is quoted as 7.3L/100km for the combined cycle, and 9.2L/100km for the urban cycle, its most likely home on road. However, there is an extensive features list to sweeten the appeal.There is: leather appointed seating, 2nd and 3rd row aircon outlets, and dual zone climate control to suit. Rear seat passengers get dual USB ports, and audio & apps have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The driver has an eight way powered seat and gets to check out the outside via a three mode reversing camera on a seven inch display screen. The CR-V seven seater rolls on 18 inch alloys and has, thankfully, a full sized alloy spare. Just in case, Honda have opted for a tyre pressure monitoring system.Honda has an extensive range of vehicles, including the re-release of the legendary NSX, and all can be found here.

A.N.C.A.P.

All new vehicles sold in Australia and surrounding areas MUST undergo testing to determine, in a level of stars up to five, how safe that car is. The higher the number and, ostensibly, the safer the car. The Australasian New Car Assessment Program is what is used and it’s a substantial overview of what makes a car tick the boxes safety wise.

From January 1 of 2018, ANCAP changed the parameters in what they were looking for in categories. There are four key areas: Adult Occupant Protection, Child Occupant Protection, Vulnerable Road User Protection, and Safety Assist.

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Private Fleet Car Review: 2019 Lexus LX 570s

This Car Review Is About:
The 2019 model year Lexus LX 570s. The LX (Luxury Crossover) has either a diesel V8 or, in this test car, a 5.7L V8 that drinks petrol. Drinks being the operative word. The price is just over $168,000 plus on roads.Under The Bonnet Is:
A thumping 5.7L V8 with 270kW and 530Nm, with these requiring 5600rpm and 3200rpm. In anything smaller those numbers would suggest something pretty hot. However, with the LX 570s weighing in at close to 3000kg (Gross Vehicle Mass is 3350 kilograms, by the way), it means leisurely progress. It’s not sluggish, but it’s not quick. Consumption is quoted by Lexus as being 14.4L per 100 kilometres, with our test run seeing a final figure of 14.8L/100km. That’s reasonable as most of the time was in suburbia. Mind you, that’s why there are a pair of tanks fitted, at 93Lin the main and 45L for the reserve. Towing is rated at 3500kg (braked) but with the engine’s best performance at 3500rpm and over, fuel consumption would skyrocket in any case.The transmission is an eight speed auto, fitted with drive modes and a crawler mode for any off-roading. Being based on one of the world’s best four wheel drive vehicles isn’t a bad thing, but there’s a hiccup outside. We’ll cover that separately. The auto is a pearler, and was very rarely found wanting in regards to slickness and ability. It was sometimes confused as to what to do, and typically that was stopping and getting underway quickly.

On The Inside Is:
Useable amounts of space, as one can imagine inside a big machine. That’s the start. There there is a single sunroof, 11.6 inch screens on the back of the driver and passenger seats for the mid row passengers, and they have a remote control that’s found in a centre fold out that also holds the rear section aircon controls. Input via HDMI is available and that’s located at the bottom of the centre console facing the middle row passengers. Wireless headphones are included. No USB ports, a strange and oddly disquieting oversight. But, in compensation almost, the middle row seats are heated and cooled too.The rear ‘gate is a split fold affair, with the top half powered and can be switched off for manual operation. This allows access to the third row seats that are powered. In normal position they’re folded up against the sides and buttons for lowering or raising are easily accessed.The front row is a pair of powered seats, heated and vented, and as comfortable as they come. It’s almost a gentleman’s club feel, as the seats are supple, supportive, and the dash’s look is classy and up-market. The LX 570s has the mouse control for the screen and again it’s frustratingly close to being good enough. Far too often that extra one percent of pressure required had the on-screen marker go one notch too far. Other than that, the interface is typical Lexus in that it’s easy to read and follow, especially with the sub-menu system. the sound system is from Mark Levinson, with a digital tuner sounding superb. The system is well balanced and provides a clarity equal to home theatre systems.The driver has a non digital dash screen, at odds with the rest of the tech the LX 570s has. Analogue dials bracket the traditional digital screen. That’s accessed via the standard steering wheel mounted tabs and buttons. As always, that part is easy to use.A nice touch is the large centre console mounted cool box. Fed by the aircon’s cooling section, it’s big enough to hold a six pack of cans and works tremendously well in cooling items to a cold temperature. An extra touch is the wireless charging pad that is somewhat inconveniently located in a niche at the bottom of the centre stack. Although it’s big enough to hold a ‘phone with a six inch screen size it’s not quite ergonomically on song.Storage for bottles and cups is appropriate for the passenger count, with all doors and centre consoles front and rear able to provide a spot. And should passengers in the middle row feel as if they’re too close or too far away from the front seats, they too are electrically adjustable. Nor is it light on for safety. Dual front kneebags, for example, plus the front/side/curtain bags. Blind Spot Monitoring, Lane Keep Assist, Autonomous Emergency Braking with flashing tail lights are all here. Auto LED headlights, LED tail lights (they look great at night, too), and Rear Cross Traffic Alert add to the overall package nicely. Two ISOFIX mounts are there for the middle row.The Outside Has:
Lexus’ distinctive “spindle” grille up front. It’s….eye catching enough on the smaller cars, but in a redesigned pattern in gloss black on a Land Cruiser sized vehicle it’s enough to frighten small children and challenge a blue whale for sifting plankton. The LX 570s gets some additional plastics up front and rear, too, and as good an off-roader it could be, they’re positioned just where a rock or tree stump would rip them off. Even a water crossing has the potential to do some decent cosmetic damage. That goes for the side skirts as well. But one suspects that the main base for this would be in suburbia anyways. However, should a person in a rural area have one, there is no doubt that it would be more than able to cope as long as there is a reasonably clear path.

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The Least Useful Bells And Whistles On Modern Cars

You really have to hand it to the car designers and developers.  They really do a great job of putting out new models all the time and coming up with all sorts of new things.  Some of these innovations are fantastic and useful – improved battery range in EVs, increased torque alongside better fuel economy in a diesel engine, and finding more places to stash airbag. Inside the car, you have delights like chilled storage compartments where you can put your secret stash of chocolate where it won’t melt on a hot day, and comforts like heated seats.  Some of the innovations and nifty luxury features you find on cars today aren’t quite as useful.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I’m not knocking any of these things.  In fact, I quite like a few of them, especially as I’m a major sucker for anything that involves sparkly lights and LED technology. It’s just that they’re kind of pointless and not really necessary.  They definitely fall into the category of “nice to have” but if an otherwise decent new model didn’t have these features, it wouldn’t be a deal-breaker.  Kind of like having a cool print on a ski jacket – it won’t keep you any warmer than a plain jacket but it looks nice.

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Kia Is Turbocharged: Kia Picanto GT and Cerato GT

Kia’s news of late 2018 about the addition of two new turbocharged cars to the range has been confirmed. Kia Australia recently released details of the Kia Picanto GT and Kia Cerato GT.The Picanto model is almost an oddity in the Australian market, yet it has a fiercely loyal following. That dedication is sure to grow now it has a 1.0L, three cylinder petrol engine and turbo that produces 74kW and a handy 172Nm. Transmission is a five speed manual. Handling has been fettled with the MacPherson struts and torsion beam rear getting some extra attention.Springs were given a stiffer rate, the shocks a different absorption rate, with the end result even less body roll, better ride comfort, and better control. Rolling stock has been upped to 16 inch alloys, with 195/45 rubber aiding grip.But the centre piece is the revamped engine. The turbo’s wastegate is electrically controlled for more precise monitoring, re-using clean air for better efficiency. An integrated one piece exhaust manifold reduces weight, provides better component sealing, and brings down exhaust temperatures.All up, it sees a quoted combined fuel consumption of 4.8L/100km, with urban running at 6.2L/100km. Along with niceties such as Android Auto/Apple CarPlay, body work, and a revamped body structure, the ask of $17,990 is a real bargain.

The Cerato has also been given a turbo, and the hatch has been re-added to the range. In a 1.6L capacity and a $31,990 driveaway price, the extra poke and suspension work sees the Cerato sharply positioned to further increase its market share.Having 150kW is one thing, as that’s produced at 6000rpm. It’s the spread of torque, 265Nm worth, that will make it a driver’s car. That;s available between 1500 – 4500 rpm, a flat delivery across a very useable rev range. That’s powered through to the ground via the front wheels and a seven speed DCT or dual clutch transmission. Wheels are 18 inches in diameter, with 225/40Z Michelin rubber.A slightly bigger overall body has an added increase in luggage room. That’s gone up by 84L to 741L when measured using the SAE. Wheelbase, though, has remained the same. Underneath the svelte body is a redesigned subframe, with stiffness up by 16 per cent. The steering system has been reworked to further lessen that detached, artificial, feel.Contact Kia Australia via their website for further information.

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Return Of The Icon: Suzuki Jimny Is Back!

Suzuki Australia has released details of the hotly anticipated 2019 Suzuki Jimny. Packed with proper off-road cred, historic styling cues, and some good looking new cues, the fourth gen Jimny goes on sale in the final days of January.  Pricing is $23, 990 and $25, 990, with both the manual and auto on a drive-away price. Unveiled to members of the Australian motoring press at the Melbourne 4×4 training grounds, near Werribee, west of Melbourne, the Jimny was put through its paces alongside its more soft road oriented sibling, the Vitara. That car has also been given a freshen up.

Jimny will come with a five speed manual or (disappointingly, just a four speed) auto, but, pleasantly, comes with a low range transfer case. This was put to the test across a variety of surfaces, slopes, (which included a thirty degree incline), and river fording.

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