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SUV Favourites

SUVs are popular, and the reason for this is because they offer motorists increased safety, plenty of cargo area, and interior space is good for seating comfort.  There is plenty of SUV choice out there and, with diesel, petrol, electric and hybrid options available, a new SUV buyer has plenty to think about before making their final decision on which SUV to buy.  Ultimately, their choice will come down to their own individual preferences, their driving habits and on what they can afford to buy.  Here are some of the best SUVs you can buy new in Australia.  The list is not exhausted, but the following SUVs are popular for good reason.

Mazda is the favourite SUV for Australians.  Mazda’s popular CX series includes the small CX-3, mid-size CX-5, big CX-8 and largest CX-9 models.  They all boast nice clean design which always looks good, and their modern styling has given Mazda an edge.  Offering a wide range of SUV sizes in their line-up, Mazda has what you need when it comes to SUVs.  Mazda’s CX SUVs all drive very nicely, and are efficient, safe and reliable.  Buy one of the new Mazda CX Series vehicles and you can’t go far wrong.

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Mitsubishi Global Reveal: 2020 Pajero Sport.

Mitsubishi has unveiled the new look Pajero Sport. Formerly known as Challenger here in Australia, the Pajero Sport for 2020 is scheduled for “early 2020” as a release for the Australian market. Pricing is yet to be confirmed.It will be powered by the same 2.4L MIVEC diesel and power down via an eight speed auto. Exterior design cues see the Pajero Sport dipping further into the “shield” look up front, with effectively a transfer of the Triton nose over to the Pajero Sport, with the driving lights in each corner a little larger. The much maligned teardrop rear lights have been shortened in length, stopping above the rear bumper with a reprofiled bumper featuring reflectors. The rear tailgate is powered on the upper level models and has a handsfree (read: kick operated) release system. Sitting above the rear door is a wind deflector.Inside sees a new digital dashboard instrument cluster in full colour. The centre screen is also in colour and at 8.0 inches in diameter. Mitsubishi also now offer an option for some functions that is a smartphone based app. The Mitsubishi Remote Control can send a note to advise the driver that doors were left unlocked, for example, and the tailgate can be raised or lowered. In addition, the tailgate reservation system can be preset by smartphone anywhere, which enables the driver to open or close the tailgate automatically when they approach or leave the vehicle. This is Bluetooth operated.
There has been an upgrade to the interior trim with extra padding to door and dash, a revamped console, and a storage tray that’s accessible from more angles. USB power ports are now backed up by a AC socket for the rear of the centre console.
Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Lane Change Assist are now standard outside, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto added to the touchscreen system. Pricing and spec for the Australian market will be released later.

Warning Signs I’d Like To See On The Dashboard

Modern cars and even not-so-modern cars have warning signs on the dashboard that light up like Christmas trees at the slightest provocation.  However, unlike Christmas trees or fairy lights, the emotion experienced when one sees a dashboard warning light twinkling away isn’t one of joy but more like one of “Oh, heck!” to put it politely.

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Car Review: 2019 Isuzu D-Max LS-T X-Runner & LS-U

This Car Review Is About: The 2019 spec Isuzu four door D-Max utes in LS-T and LS-U trim. The range was given a largely cosmetic upgrade in early 2019. The LS-T was fitted out in the limited edition X-Runner kit. The LS-U in standard trim is $45,990 driveaway and the X-Runner is $54,990 driveaway. Isuzu have increased the prices through the range, with the LS-T in non-X-Runner trim up by $1,000 to $51,990. The LS-U also came fitted with a lockable roller tonneau, snorkel air intake, and a “roo-bar” with LED spotlights. The LS-T has restyled wheels and gains, along with the LS-U, Highway Terrain or H/T tyres, as opposed to the All Terrain or A/T as previously fitted. These have had the effect of affecting handling. The roof rails and the lower strakes to the grille are now black, and the side steps are subtly different.Under The Bonnet Is: The rackety clackety 3.0L that makes 130kW and a thumping 430Nm of torque. In context, that’s below the 500Nm from a slightly smaller engine as found in the Holden Colorado…At just under 1000rpm there is 300Nm and that peak torque is on tap through a narrow rev range of just 500rpm. There’s still 350Nm available at 3,500rpm but it’s a very noisy exercise taking the engine past 3,000rpm. It’s possibly one of the noisiest diesels available in a passenger vehicle when pushed even moderately. It bolts to a six speed auto with sports shift and an electronic low range locking system.Economy is quoted as 7.9L/100km for the combined, 9.5L/100km for the urban, and 6.9L/100km for the highway from a 76L tank. We tested the X-Runner on a drive loop to Thredbo, Bega, and return, covering just over 1260 kilometres. Economy stayed at around 8.0L/100km throughout the whole trip, a decent figure considering the weight of the ute (1930kg dry) and the extra 300 kilos of passengers and baggage. Isuzu rate the towing capacity as up to 3.5 tonnes.On The Inside It’s: Cloth seats for the LS-U, leather appointed for the LS-T. There is no seat heating, no seat venting. The LS-U’s front seats are manually adjusted, with some electric motion for the driver in the LS-T. Rear seat passengers have plenty of leg room, and there is a USB port for the rear passengers at this trim level. The LS-T is a push button starter, with a traditional key for the LS-U. Both cars came fitted with rubber floor mats front and rear. Only the driver has a one touch window up/down switch in both. The centre console houses the dial for the two or four wheel drive modes, and there are two bottle/cup holders. The driver and passenger have a pull out cup holder, and each door has bottle holders.Sounds come via an 8.0 inch touchscreen, with AM/FM, Bluetooth, no Android Auto/Apple CarPlay, CD, USB and 3.5mm inputs, and even a HDMI connection. There is no DAB or Digital Audio Broadcast. The screen’s display is in dire need of a redesign and revamp, with one of THE most outdated looks seen in a passenger oriented vehicle. It’s lacking in visual appeal on every single screen. Hit the non-Auto headlights and there is no adjustment for the screen for day or night time driving. It also has a driver alert warning on engine startup and annoyingly will NOT switch off after a delay.The driver faces a basic looking but functional dash, with a pair of dials bracketing a display screen that shows trip distances, economy, expected range, and the diesel particulate filter status. Australian spec cars have the right hand stalk as the indicator and the left as wipers, and each has a button at the end of the stalk to access the screen info. The wipers themselves aren’t auto nor is there an Auto headlight setting. This is an oversight in the interest of safety, as a driver can too easily not switch the lights on.Actual switchgear is reasonably well laid out and accessible. The centre stack features Isuzu’s standard aircon controls, with a huge dial for temperature as the hub. Fan controls are on one side, mode on the other, and the dial itself shelters a small LCD screen to indicate what’s going on. the dash itself is a double scallop design, with a stitched leather look to the materials. Fit and finish is mostly ok however the leading edges of the doors have a gap of about a centimetre to the plastics wrapping the windscreen. There is a centre of dash storage locker that Isuzu don’t seem to have found a fix for in regards to the latch. It repeatedly failed to open.On The Outside It’s: similar but different. the X-Runner came in pearl white and has blackouts and logos spread over the metal. The nose has a bright red Isuzu as do the centre caps for the 255/60/R18 rubber and wheels. The LS-U has 255/65/17s. There are sidesteps here also on both and only the LS-U gets rear parking sensors. The LS-T had a lockable roller tonneau, a standard rollbar, and came fitted with a heavy duty steel roo-bar complete with LED spotlights. Otherwise it’s the same blocky profile with a wedgy looking nose.The rear of the LS-U had a lockable metal cover. It’s a roller mechanism which, on this particular vehicle, failed to allow itself to be pushed back. Something in the lock mechanism appeared to have jammed and although the key and button would allow a push and turn, the cover itself refused to move. the X-Runner LS-T has no cover fitted to the test car but there are tie down hooks, which came in handy for the long drive.The cargo section is 1,552mm in length in the four door utes. A maximum width of 1,530mm is here also and allows just over 1,000 kilos of payload.

Out On The Road It’s: Rackety clackety noisy. Think of being in a passenger jet on take-off where it’s fire and brimstone. Get to cruise altitude and it’s quieter. Landing where it’s off-throttle and there’s the background idle. That’s the 3.0L in a nutshell. It’s a determined load lugger too, and in no way can it be considered sporting. There’s a moment of turbo lag before the engine gets lively, and even then it’s a relaxed, don’t hurry we’ll get there, proposition.The transmission is mostly smooth, will drop a cog or two for downhill runs and engine braking, but will exhibit moments of indecisive shifting as well. On a normal acceleration run it’s slurry with hints of change, will downshift after a pause when the accelerator is pushed, but it’s a leisurely progression forward.

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Corvette Goes For A Mid-Engined Sting.

General Motors have confirmed details and American pricing for its forthcoming 2020 Corvette Stingray. It’s a mid-engined machine and will kick off at under USD$60,000. The engine configuration puts it into the same sphere as Ferrari, McLaren, and Lamborghini. Importantly, it will be produced in factory fitted right hand drive, and is due to start production later this year.The engine is the same sized “donk” as before, at 6.2L. It’ll be naturally aspirated, and with an optional performance exhaust will pump 495 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque. In Aussie numbers that’s just shy of 370kW and 637Nm. Without that exhaust horsepower and torque drop by five each respectively. Expected weight is around 1530 kilos before fuel and passengers.

The engine is dry sumped, meaning a smaller oil pan. It also means, for the track day drivers, more consistent oil pressure as there’s far less oil to slosh around in a traditional oil pan. As it means a lower engine height as it sits behind the driver and passenger, it could mean a supercharger for later on…Transmission will be an eight speed dual clutch auto. Sadly, for the traditionalists, the manual transmission is no more, however the DCT will have paddle shifts as a semi-consolation prize. Expected 0-62mph/100kmh time is expected to be under three seconds.Of course, the big talking point will be the relocation of the powerplant. Not only has it given the exterior a sleeker design, it’s given the engineers a new platform to work on for handling. Mark Reuss, the former head of Holden, said: “The traditional front-engine vehicle reached its limits of performance, necessitating the new layout. In terms of comfort and fun, it still looks and feels like a Corvette, but drives better than any vehicle in Corvette history.” Each corner has coil-over suspension with the stiffer chassis. Those going for the option list can specify struts with what GM calls adjustable spring perches. Get the spanner out and this means adjustable ride height and stiffness.GM also offers Magnetic Ride 4.0, a system where magnets and a specific liquid work together to provide an adjustable ride height. There’s even a GPS enabled nose lift setup, where kerbs or speedhumps will hit the GPS and lift the nose to provide safe clearance. If you check the Z51 option box you’ll also get Pilot Sport 4S tyres over the 245/35/R19 front and massive 305/30/20 rear wheels, but Michelin ALS all-seasons will have to do for the bottom spec. Seat spec offers three choices: the comfortable GT1, the sportier GT2 or the track-focused and carbon-backed Competition Sport.Outside is different yet familiar. A choice of 12 colours will be available to coat the redesigned body. That body leaves little doubt where some of the inspiration has come from. Massive air intakes on the flanks, a 3.2mm glass pane to showcase the engine, a sharper and more angular nose cone with strakes underneath the headlights. Oh, and don’t forget the removeable roof sections. There’s also room in the rear behind the engine and up front in what is called a “frunk” or front trunk, for some bags. The relocated engine pushes the seats and cabin forward, leading to a lower roofline that tapers off at a more slender angle.

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Little Maintenance Jobs You Need To Do Right Now

You’re probably quite good at taking care of the big things when it comes to servicing your vehicle, such as keeping up with the regular services and the oil changes and the like. You definitely know not to run out of fuel – or battery charge, depending on whether your drive of choice is an EV or an ICE.  I hope you’re in the habit of checking the oil and the water regularly to keep an eye on things.  Back when I got my first car, my dad told me that oil and water ought to be checked once a week, which seems a bit over the top now, but I guess that my first car, like yours, was an old thing that’s probably a real collector’s item by now (wonder what happened to it once I sold it).

However, there are probably some little jobs that you don’t really think about doing quite so regularly.  There certainly aren’t little red, green or orange lights that light up your dashboard like a Christmas tree for them, with a few exceptions in some models.  But they still need to be done to make sure that you drive safely.  I know that I need to take care of some of them on my recently acquired Toyota Camry , as the previous owner had neglected to do so.  In fact, I probably ought to go and do them as soon as I’ve finished writing this.

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50-11: Man’s Greatest Small Step.

“Houston. Tranquillity Base here. The Eagle has landed.”

“Roger Tranquillity, we copy you on the ground, you got a bunch of guys here about to turn blue, we’re breathing again, thanks a lot.”

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Bentley Unveils A Future Showcase In EXP 100 GT

When it comes to finding a car maker to put forward a concept car for the future that’s packed with technology, and luxury, then Bentley is the company to do so. Its recent unveiling of the EXP 100 GT provides us with a look at what they feel a Grand Tourer for the year 2035 could look like, and was built to be part of the marque’s centennial celebrations.It’s motorvated by a fully electric powertrain. Bentley say the 1,105 pound-feet or 1,500 Newton metre engines will propel the 1,900 kilogram/4,188 pound, 5.8 metre long, machine to 62mph/100kmh in 2.5 seconds. Range is said to be 435 miles or 700 kilometres on a single, full, charge. A fast charging system gets 80% in with a timeframe of 15 minutes. It’s also future ready as there is a built in provision for a hydrogen fuel cell power pack.Outside it’s pure Bentley. A long, lithe, low slung coupe styling starts with the trademark Bentley “eyes”, a pair of LED powered headlights bracketing a massive mesh grille, apparently comprised of 6,000 LED lights. It draws the eye to the signature Bentley “Flying B” before running along its length, seeing the sculpted aero design, the massive pair of upwards hinging doors, and the sleek fastback rear with deep red coloured LEDs for the tail lights. Although wheel size doesn’t appear to be stated, the Active Aero wheels look to be of a minimum of 22 inches in diameter.It’s a big car in width too. Measuring 7.9 feet across, the interior gives a new definition to sumptuous. Recycled 5000 year old wood with copper inlays, aluminum, leather (of course) and high quality wool house a series of fiber optic cables to bring light and life to the massive interior. That interior also features a rather unique and definably ecological bent. Called Air Curation, it has the ability to filter out road smog, but allow through the scents of a forest, a rain shower, and the like to the 2+2 seating configuration. Those seats are perhaps the most comfortable available. With weaving utilising the Trapunto Method that goes back to the 14th Century, and ecologically sustainable cloth sources, created from vegetable materials and wine skin waste, the whole process minimises wastes and eliminates waste water as a result. There is an extra ultrta-luxury touch, with hand cut crystal elements from Cumbria Crystal. Each piece located in the centre consoles for front and rear seats took between 10 to 18 days of painstaking mastercraftsmenship to create. One houses the cars Artificial Intelligence module, and it’s voice activated for five driving modes. One is called Cocoon, and recycles purified air and opaques the glass roof and windows.There is no price available for the Bentley EXP 100 GT. It’s a one off and built to be a concept only. But Bentley being Bentley, there would be no doubt at all of seeing some of these elements incorporated into their forthcoming cars in the short term future. Part of the intent was to showcase Bentley’s “Sustainable Innovation” look to the future. Bentley’s director of design, Stefan Sielaff, notes. “Like those iconic Bentleys of the past, this car connects with its passengers’ emotions and helps them experience and safeguard the memories of the really extraordinary journeys they take.”

BMW Ups The X6.

BMW is unveiling a new edition of the X6 Sports Activity Coupe. The new BMW X6 is available from launch in xLine and M Sport model variants as an alternative to standard specification. There’s been an exterior restyle and increase in size. The new BMW X6 has grown by 26 millimetres in length compared to the model it replaces, and is now 4,935 mm. It’s grown by 15 mm in width to 2,004 mm and sits lower by 6mm at 1,696 mm. The wheelbase has also increased, and is now 2,975mm, up by 42mm.The line-up of engines available for the new BMW X6 from launch includes two petrol units and a pair of diesel variants from the latest generation. The model line-up is spearheaded by a BMW M model with a newly developed 390 kW V8 petrol engine. The BMW X6 M50i quotes fuel consumption combined as 10.7–10.4 l/100 km with CO2 emissions rated as 243–237 g/km.

There is the BMW X6 M50d which is frugal at a combined: 7.2–6.9 l/100 km. CO2 emissions combined are 190–181 g/km, whilst peak power is 294 kW from the six-cylinder in-line diesel engine which packs a quartet of turbochargers.

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HSV SportsCat Ready To Pounce.

Four wheel drive four door utes are amongst the biggest sellers in the Aussie market but it’s not an easy job to make them look tough and ready for an all-in brawl. HSV somehow manages to pull that off with their warmed over version of the Colorado. Packing a 147kW/500Nm diesel (with auto transmission), the SportsCat is more than a “whack on a sticker pack” effort. It’s now into its Series2 offering and it looks the goods, visibly and underneath. It’s available in two spec levels, SportsCat V and SportsCat SV.
Engineered to pound the ground, and hard, SportsCat has uprated frontsprings, stiffened to cope with 110 Newtons per millimetre of impact stress. This translates to far less body roll and movement when getting serious or even taking it easy on the freeway. The rerated suspension also has the front raised by 25mm, increasing the travel available and increasing ground clearance. HSV also call upon SupaShock Suspension to help in the ride and handling.
Connected to six-spoke 18 x 10 wheels wrapped in specially developed Cooper tyres, the dampers from SupaShock, available as factory fitted options, are larger diameter items. By reducing losses of response to friction they are more quickly able to adapt to the ever changing needs of on and off-road driving. Factor in a HSV engineered decoupling bar for the rear axle anti-roll bars, which increases stability at speed by controlling the roll attitude of the rear end, it activates when the SportsCat’s drive system is put into 4WD Low. It’s standard on the SportsCat SV and optionable on the SportsCat V.

Stopping power comes courtesy of the AP racing package. as fitted to the HSV GTS-R, it features four pistons callipers, 362mm x 32mm front rotors to haul down the big machine. These are standard on the SportsCat SV, optionable on the SportsCat V.
Inside and upfront, SportsCat features a reworked interior, including six position adjustable electric seats for driver and passenger. There is specific HSV trim on the dash, doors, and on the steering wheel. The seats are bespoke HSV, with embossed headrests, leather, and Windsor Suede. Outside HSV have a optionable sailplane for the roll-over bar.
Tech and safety are in the form of Remote Start, Front and Rear Park Assist,Forward Collision Alert, Lane Departure Warning, and seven airbags including driver’s kneebag. Towing is rated as up to 3.5 tonnes. These are backed by a five year, unlimited kilometre warranty and roadside assist package.

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