NISSAN X-TRAIL ST+

It’s been way too long since I last drove a Nissan X-Trail. After they introduced the CVT transmission, I kinda lost interest. But somewhere along the way, I’m happy to say, the X-Trail got its mojo back — the latest one ain’t half bad. And, with an all-new model about to lob, my timing was perfect because now I can’t wait to see where they’ve gone with it. Prices for X-Trail start from $30,665 for the five-seat ST manual with a 2.0-litre engine. Standard kit includes cloth trim, manual adjust… Read more

CRUISER WITH LOCAL HISTORY IN THE LAND OF OZ

The Land Cruiser (aka LandCruiser) wagon first chiseled its way into the Australian psyche during the development of the Snowy Mountains Hydro Electric Scheme in the 1950s. Now, 60 years later, the latest version of the iconic Toyota 4×4, the 300 Series, hangs on firmly to its exalted position in the pantheon of the large off-roader, paralleling a Henry Moore statue in the art world. There’s still a local link, with the owners of the upper-end variants able to take advantage of Toyota’s Multi-Terrain Select system, which was developed Down… Read more

FORD ESCAPE ST-LINE PHEV

Ford’s new Escape is the first Ford of any kind to be sold in Australia with any form of electrification. Ford is working hard at reducing future vehicle emissions in many ways. Among these will be the addition of electric power to all models, in the form of standard and plug-in petrol/electric hybrids — as well as pure electric EVs. The front-wheel drive Escape PHEV comes only in the ST-Line spec level, priced at $53,440 plus on-road costs. In comparison, the petrol-only ST-Line sells for $38,490   STYLING Ford Escape… Read more

VOLVO XC40 RECHARGE PURE ELECTRIC TWIN

Recharge is the fully electric version of Volvo’s XC40 small-medium SUV. Until recently there was just the one electric model, but now you get to choose from two. One has a single electric motor, the other comes with two of them — or ‘twin’ motors as they are known. STYLING Volvo XC40’s exterior styling is chunky, compact and functional. The wheels are standouts. A blanked-out radiator grille signifies this is the fully electric version of the small SUV, in other words – no cooling required. Although designed to seat five,… Read more

MANUAL LABOUR DOWN MEMORY LANE

Remember when car ignition keys alone turned the engine on and off, gearboxes were manually operated, clutch pedals were prodded and windows wound up and down by hand? I recently did a spot of travel back in time in the Yaris Ascent Sport, the compact hatchback from Toyota. With its eschewing of such modern automated aids, the Yaris Ascent Sport manual, I presume for economic advantages, really is a hands-on vehicle. At $22,130, plus on-road costs, the car is the entry level to the Yaris line and the only variant… Read more

H6 HYBRID IS HAVAL’S FIRST STEP TO AN ELECTRIC FUTURE

Chinese manufacturer, Great Wall Motors, has joined the electrification movement with the release of a petrol/ electric hybrid version of its Haval H6 mid-sized SUV. It comes to Australia in a single variant based on the top-spec petrol Ultra model with a high level of safety equipment and technology, priced very-competitively at $44,990 driveaway. STYLING The H6 Hybrid has a distinctly different frontal styling than the other models in the range and, to our eyes at least, it makes a significant difference. Two body-coloured side panels extend the grille to… Read more

VOLVO S60 B5 INSCRIPTION

It’s not quite the 374kW beast that we drove in Sweden a few years ago, but it’s a Volvo S60 nevertheless. These days that means a rather sedate 183kW executive sedan that doesn’t use much fuel because it’s a hybrid. The S60 remains a practical alternative to the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class, for those not keen on German fare — and interestingly, it’s now built in the United States. Inscription is Volvo’s mid-spec grade in terms of equipment, sitting between the Momentum and sporty R-Design grades…. Read more

HONDA CR-VTi L7 REVIEW

Honda CR-V VTi L7 is a seven-seat SUV that is one of many models within the comprehensive range. It’s aimed at those who need to carry plenty of people, often including children either on everyday running about, though it’s the sort of vehicle that can be used on holiday trips as well. Keep in mind that if you do carry seven the luggage capacity is severely limited. Check for yourself be taking the family along while you are choosing which SUV you’re going to buy and making sure how they… Read more

HAVAL JOLION IS WELL-EQUIPPED AND GREAT VALUE

The growth in sales of Chinese vehicles continues to gain momentum. While the SAIC subsidiary, MG Motor, is leading the way with its big-selling SUVs the original breakthrough was made a decade ago with the Great Wall company targeting the tradie market with cheap workhorse utilities of questionable safety quality. Great Wall, now be re-branded as GWM, continues in the ute market with improved quality, but has now entered the booming SUV market with a three-vehicle range: the large H9, mid-sized H6 and the small-medium Jolion. Jolion comes with four… Read more

DARK WARRIOR SHOWS ITS TRUE COLOURS

On the outside it’s dark, some might say foreboding, but this masks the true nature of the new Nissan pickup, for the Navara PRO-4X Warrior, to give it its full title, is engineered for tough going off road and comfort while cruising the bitumen. This is all down to the continued input of Aussie automotive product development and engineering consultancy Premcar, in which the pickup’s off-road improvements were tested on regular road surfaces to ensure the everyday ride and handling were not compromised. Enhancements in wheel, tyre and suspension come… Read more