Late last year, shortly before Christmas, the Federal Government released three draft proposals that seek to improve the fuel efficiency of Australian vehicles. As part of the proposed measures designed to make our vehicles cleaner, an overhaul in standards would seek to align local regulations with those found in Europe. Currently, Australia is ranked last among 35 OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) nations for petrol quality.
While being touted as a move that could eliminate 65 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions before 2030, and also potentially affording motorists’ savings upwards of $500 per year in fuel costs, not everyone is cheering the news.
With seeing the New Year in auto enthusiasts can get a bit of a spring in their step as they anticipate the new models of car that will be on sale. This year we’ll be seeing numerous new models for sale in Australia. Here’s the ‘’heads-up’’ for what’s coming.
The first quarter of 2017 will see the arrival of the Alfa Romeo Giulia, Audi S4 sedan and S4 Avant wagon, Mazda MX-5 RF, Mercedes Benz AMG E43, Mercedes-Benz E350e, Nissan GT-R Nismo, Skoda Superb Sportline, Toyota C-HR, Holden limited-edition Commodores, Holden Trax, Kia Rio, Suzuki Ignis, Maserati Levante, Porsche 911 GTS, the new BMW 5 Series and the Toyota Yaris facelift.
Jaguar’s F-Type caused a stir when it was released and now it’s set to do the same with a world first in video technology. Here’s what they have to say.
“Every F-TYPE now features the Touch Pro infotainment system. Its super-fast responses, intuitive tablet-style operation, intelligent navigation functions such as Share ETA and online services such as real-time traffic and live weather reports make every journey more rewarding and put a world of information at the driver’s fingertips.
Ford’s forthcoming Escape brings that nameplate full circle, replacing the Kuga which replaced the Escape. It’s part of Ford’s global naming strategy but also brings a kit bag full of technology. Here’s the lowdown on the 2017 Escape.When compared with the current Ford Kuga model, the Escape will have a sharper recommended Manufacturer’s List Price (‘MLP’) of $28,490* for the entry level model, a new front-wheel drive 1.5-litre Trend model further heightening appeal. The Escape range offers families a suite of advanced Driver Assist Technologies (DAT). Seven airbags, Dynamic Stability Control, Rollover Mitigation, Reverse Camera and sensors will be standard on every Escape. SYNC® 3^ – Ford’s all-new communications and entertainment system – featuring faster performance, intuitive smartphone-like full-colour touchscreen with Apple CarPlay#, Android Auto# compatibility and embedded sat-nav is standard across the range.Key changes for Escape over the Ford Kuga include:
- Refreshed design inside and out for a distinctive look.
- Improved specification including paddle-shifters on auto Escape, building on the fun-to-drive ethos.
- Improved fuel economy for 2.0-litre models thanks to automatic start/stop as standard, reducing running costs.
- New FWD 1.5-litre Escape Trend fills the gap in Ford’s line-up, providing a variant that almost one-third of customers in this segment choose.
- Sharper starting MLP of $28,490.
The new Escape features Ford’s latest design language for a bold and sporty look that is shared with fellow Ford SUVs, including the global Ford Edge. A large upper trapezoidal two-bar grille and a smaller lower grille are flanked by sleek new headlamps incorporating Daytime Running Lights, complemented by stylish fog lamps.
Toyota has further boosted the safety technology for its Corolla hatch with three new leading-edge technologies available across the range.
The package – pre-collision safety system with forward collision warning and autonomous emergency braking, lane departure alert and automatic high beam – is now standard equipment on the top-of-the range $30,0201 ZR hatch.
As Holden, the Australian arm of global giant General Motors, winds down in respect to local manufacturing, there’ll be a simultaneous increase in the vehicles being sourced from outside the island continent. The Colorado, a name with a definitive nod to the Americas, is and has been for some years, one of those vehicles. There’s a three model range, built around the cab chassis, space cab and crew cab, with various trim levels and a mix of two and four wheel drive.We normally spends a week with a car, however due to the Christmas break for 2016, had the Holden Colorado LTZ with 2.8L Duramax diesel for just under three. This included a return trip to the cheese capital of south eastern Australia, Bega, via both the coastal and inland routes.
Immediately noticeable is the sheer size of the Colorado; at five point three metres long, it offers plenty of leg room for humans in both front and rear cabin sections (1072 mm front, 872 mm in the rear) thanks to a huge 3096 mm wheelbase and 1800 mm overall height, enough shoulder room for three adults in reasonable comfort in the rear with 1472 mm, and a good sized tray complete with a simple to operate tonneau cover. The test car was coated in dirt and scratch highlighting metallic black.A redesigned front end graces the 2017 spec models, removing the droopy eye look that tied the Colorado to the Malibu and, to a lesser extent, the Commodore. A smaller headlight cluster raises the nose visually, with the heavier two bar grille also replaced with a simpler, slimmer, and more elegant design. Slimline LED daytime running lights complete the picture. From the rear and in profile, there’s little to differentiate between this and the previous, excepting the sensors front and rear.Inside, it’s a mix of standard Holden switchgear, reasonably comfortable seats (the powered fronts could use more side support and can be optioned for heating in the LTZ but, stupidly, not cooling), some questionable locations for a couple of essential pull tabs, an eight inch MyLink touchscreen (models below have seven inches) of good design with Android and Apple Carplay, a multifunction monochrome driver’s display, and, surprisingly, a forward collision alert system. Holden’s website says there’s DAB fitted as well. Rear seat passengers get their own 12V socket and you can count on Bluetooth streaming for sounds. There’s even pressure equalising windows, in that they drop automatically when you open the door and raise by themselves when closing.Up front is the Isuzu sourced 2.8 litre Duramax diesel, coupled to a wide ratio six speed auto and electronic four wheel drive system. That’s operated via a centre console mounted dial. When bolted to the auto, there’s a peak torque figure of 500. That’s reduced to 440 Nm when the six speed manual is added in and both figures come in at just 2000 rpm. Peak power is a healthy 147 kilowatts and that’s at 3600 revs. After something close to 1700 kilometres of driving, the economy was 8.8 litres of dinosaur juice being consumed for every 100 kilometres covered, with Holden quoting one litre below that for the combined cycle from the 76 litre tank. That’s some good figures to look at, given the 2100+ kg weight of the LTZ before you insert people and cargo.
A talking point of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit event before the doors have been thrown open, the new Kia Stinger has been confirmed for Australia.
The sleek, powerful rear-wheel drive GT fastback sports sedan is expected to make it into Australian showrooms by the end of the third quarter this year.
Well, happy New Year to all you readers out there! I hope you’ve had a good break away from work and didn’t have any close encounters on the road. It’s a shame that they always spoil holidays by announcing the road toll for the season in just about every news snippet. Guess it’s horrible for the relatives of those involved in the crashes but the rest of us don’t really need to be reminded continually.
They’re fond of telling us that speed was a factor in those crashes. However, thanks to something that I spent time watching with the family online during quiet bits of the holiday period, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not just speed per se that causes serious injuries and the like. OK, it is a factor and most of us who did high school physics remember that the forces involved in something travelling at 30 km/h are lower than the forces involved in something travelling at 100 km/h. But there must be other things at play.
Volvo are advertising that they one of the fastest growing luxury car makers. There is no doubt at all that they are well and truly on the march upwards when it comes to their luxury aspirations and they’re also bringing along their Polestar compatriots for the ride. But how does the Volvo V40 D4 Inscription with Polestar enhancements work?
When one thinks of a luxury car, they’ll think of features, comfort, and perhaps the word “cossetting”. They may even tie that word to the ride quality and handling, where one may “waft” along, with the road seemingly endlessly flat and without bumps.
This is not what the V40 D4 Inscription Polestar Enhanced delivers. It rides on wonderful looking 19 inch alloys, shod with superb Pirelli 235/35 rubber. Herein lies the problem. Combine ultra low profile tyres with sporting suspension (Polestar adds bespoke coils and shocks) and the result is a rock hard ride that magnifies every crevice and expands every pebble. Harsh is one word that can be used. Comfort can not, nor can cossetting. Then there’s the steering rack ratio; it’s en pointe when out on the road, but try a three point turn and it feels as if there’s something blocking the rack either side.
As the year approaches an end, several contentious issues appear set to spill over into 2017. Notwithstanding the farewell to Ford and Holden’s contributions to the manufacturing scene, the ACCC played a central role this quarter in defining a future framework applicable for all industry stakeholders.