VOLKSWAGEN POLO 1998 – 2013

Volkswagen Polo is a small car from a German giant, but hadn’t done a lot in Australia until recent years. That was chiefly because the local importer concentrated on the larger Golf and Passat models, but the somewhat dull styling of the Polo didn’t to it any favours. The all-new 2010 model improved the looks and Volkswagen Polo finally become a serious contender in the small car market in Australia although it has been recently been upstaged in the styling stakes by its smaller brother the VW up! To make… Read more

MITSUBISHI LANCER 1995 – 2012

2005 Mitsubishi Lancer wagon

  Mitsubishi Lancer is a small to medium Japanese car designed and made to a high quality, making it one of the leaders in the reliability stakes. Aimed at the conservative buyer rather than the one looking for excitement Lancer is usually driven gently and maintained correctly. Which explains why it’s well-regarded on the used-car scene. However, the Lancer MR coupe of 1997 to 2004 is a popular choice with sporting drivers due to its firmer suspension and sharper steering. If you do want real excitement, the ultra-hot Lancer Ralliart… Read more

BMW 7 SERIES 2002 – 2013

2003 BMW 7 Series

The BMW 7 Series is a large, prestigious German saloon aimed at travelling long distances while pampering its passengers with a smooth ride and near silent interior. It’s at its very best on motorways, though slightly out of place in Australia where our speed limits are set at low levels. Despite its size the BMW 7 Series is a real drivers’ cars, though, naturally, their greater mass makes them less nimble than their smaller brothers. Road grip is very high for such a big car. Steering is responsive and offers… Read more

MAZDA6 2002 – 2013

2002 Mazda6 Luxury Sports sedan

  Mazda6 was launched in Australia in August 2002 and has had sales success since day one. Probably because it was a lot more stylish than the Mazda 626 it replaced. The second generation arrived in February 2008 while the gen-three Mazda6 reached us downunder in December 2012 and again took automotive style to new levels. Mazda6 has crept up in size and the latest model is not far short of Aurion, Commodore and Falcon in its dimensions. These Mazdas have good handling, perhaps not quite to the highest European… Read more

CHRYSLER SEBRING 2007 – 2013

2007 Chrysler Sebring

The family car market in Australia is totally dominated by Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon, but from time to time other marques have a go at creating competition, usually without a great deal of success. The Ford Taurus was soundly beaten by its cousin Ford Falcon during the 1990s. Chrysler had a fair bit of success years ago with the Valiant but it faded when Mitsubishi took control of the South Australian operation. Chrysler, now under control of its head office in the USA, had another bash at the market… Read more

FORD TAURUS 1996 – 1998

Looking for something different in the family car field? Then why not examine the big Ford Taurus? It’s a radically-styled large sedan from the USA, with flowing elliptical shapes inside and out. It pushed the boundaries of family car design in its day. It was bold, brave, very new age – and a disaster in the Australian sales race. It wasn’t just the styling that killed the Taurus in the relatively conservative Australian market, arguably the biggest hurdle for the American import was our own Ford Falcon, which was selling… Read more

MITSUBISHI 380 2005 – 2008

2006 Mitsubishi 380 Series 2

The demise of the local manufacture of the Mitsubishi 380 was the result of a common ailment within the car industry – belief in your own hype. When sitting down to build the next generation Mitsubishi Magna the marketing people convinced themselves their new car was so much better than the old one that it deserved a new name. So after over 20 years of building up a great reputation for the Magna the name was dumped and replaced by a number. Mitsubishi 380 was born, staggered along for a… Read more

AUDI A3 1997 – 2012

2012 Audi A3 Sportback

Audi is often in the vanguard of vehicle design and the A3 is a classic example. Audi was the first of the iconic German makers to make the bold move of moving down into smaller, relatively affordable cars. Prior to the Audi A3 you had to find something north of $60,000 to get into one of the big make Germans. The A3 dropped the starting price to the sub-40 grand region. There were mutterings that this would devalue the prestige rating of the larger, more expensive models in the range…. Read more

BMW X3 2004 – 2012

It’s not just we Aussies and the Yanks that love their SUVs, Europeans have really been getting into them in recent years; and the big name German marques have quickly cottoned onto the boom in these handy vehicles. BMW began its SUV range with the X5 and has gradually worked its way down in size with new models X3 and finally the X1. The reduction in size was caused by the realisation by car makers that most SUV buyers aren’t interested in exploring the wilds of their respective countries, rather… Read more

VOLVO XC90 2002 – 2012

2003 Volvo xc90

The Volvo XC90 is more of a people mover than true sports utility vehicle (SUV). Which makes a lot of sense these days because very few SUV buyers fall into the ‘I dream of crossing the Simpson Desert one day’ category. As it’s aimed at the family there’s a big emphasis on space and comfort inside the large Swedish wagon. The cabin sits well forward thanks to the use of a transversely mounted engine instead of the longitudinal units used by most large SUVs; thus increasing interior length in the… Read more