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Motoring News

HONDA CR-V VTi-L7 FWD

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HONDA CR-V VTi-L7 FWD

By CHRIS RILEY

 CR-V . . . if it aint busted dont fix it.

It was a case of Deja-vu.

Subtle styling changes, especially those at the front, give the Honda CR-V a more aggressive look. But inside it all looks so familiar – same layout, same instruments and same infotainment screen.

Prices for CR-V start at $35,300 for the 2.0-litre Vi. The rest of the range gets a more powerful 1.5-litre turbo-petrol engine, starting at $38,300 for the VTi or $40,300 for the VTi-7 with seven seats.

Then there’s the VTi-X at $41,200, followed by the subject of our test, the seven-seat VTi-L7 – for $48,700. But then you have to factor in all-wheel drive, with two all-wheel drive models: VTi-L at $45,500 or the VT-LX at $53,200.

STYLING

The biggest changes are at the front of the car with its blacked-out grille and broader, more aggressive styling. The rear lights look the same but the rear bumper and apron have been redesigned, with oval tailpipes this time, and there’s a new wheel design that looks suspiciously like the previous one.

All models get LED lights front and back, LED fog lights, as well as LED daytime running lights, with ambient lighting inside.

INTERIOR

Inside it all looks pretty much the same, apart from wireless charge pad.

Standard kit in the VTi L7 includes leather trim, dual zone climate control with rear air vents (including vents for the third row).

The front seats are also heated and the driver’s seat has eight-way power adjustment with two seat memories.

Other features include smart keyless entry with push button start, automatic walk-away door locking; hands-free power tailgate; electric parking brake; 10 cup or bottle holders; auto lights and wipers; front and rear parking sensors; active cornering lights; auto headlights with high beam support and a panoramic sunroof.

ENGINES / TRANSMISSIONS

The 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine produces 140 kW of power at 5600 rpm and 240 Nm of torque from 2000 to 5000 rpm.

It’s paired with a CVT-style continuously variable transmission with paddle shifters, and drive to the front wheels.

INFOTAINMENT

Infotainment consists of a 7.0-inch touchscreen, eight-speaker audio, active noise control, built-in satnav, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, AM/FM radio, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity and a wireless phone charger.

There’s also one 12-volt outlet in the centre console and four USB ports. Oddly, although the VTi L7 gets built-in satnav, DAB digital radio is absent for some reason.

SAFETY

Safety is rated at five stars and extends to six airbags (including full length curtains), driver attention monitor, LaneWatch passenger side camera, plus a multi-angle reversing camera with guidelines and three modes: normal, wide, top-down.

Child restraint anchorages consist of three top tethers, two boot floor tethers and two IsoFix points.

The Honda sensing safety system comprises Adaptive Cruise Control with Low-Speed Follow; Forward Collision Warning; Collision Mitigation Braking System; Lane Departure Warning; Road Departure Mitigation System and Lane Keeping Assist System.

DRIVING

The cabin is roomy, comfortable and quiet, and the engine doesn’t make its presence known unless you really get up it.

One of the big drawcards of the CR-V and Hondas in general is the well sorted ergonomics of the cabin, with its large, easy to read and operate controls. The central touchscreen, although it looks huge, is mainly framework, disguising a now smallish 7.0-inch display.

The turbo-petrol engine provides plenty of punch and a wide spread of torque, delivered from a low 2000 revs makes it an easy car to drive. car. But as we discovered previously, to harness the full potential of the engine, a firm right foot is required.

Ride quality is middle of the road and perhaps a little too soft, with too much body roll for our liking. But in reality, who is going to start chucking it around.

Steering is light and the brakes overly sensitive.

In a seven-seater, you’ll like the “conversation” mirror too, which enables the driver to see those in the back. Though it’s potentially dangerous if the driver takes their attention off the road to look in the mirror.

In a vehicle that is a little over 4.6 metres in length, the two third-row seats are suitable for small children only.

Trailer Stability Assist is standard and the Honda CR-V can tow a 1500kg braked trailer.

Rated at 7.3L/100km, the CVT really does what it is supposed to do, finding the optimal point between power and economy. We in fact got the claimed 7.3 L/100km from the 57-litre tank after 665km of mixed driving, broken by a bout of Covid19.

SUMMING UP

Sure, CR-V hasn’t changed much, but there’s no point in making change just for the sake of change. As the old saying goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

The CR-V ticks a lot of boxes and does what it does very well, with little fuss, and that’s really all you want from a car. Apart from some minor cosmetic changes, the main difference is in the addition of the Honda Sensing safety system which also brings adaptive cruise control.

Honda CR-V is covered by a 5-year unlimited kilometre warranty and 5-year roadside assistance, with service due every 10,000km or 12 months.

RATINGS:

Looks: 7.5/10

Performance: 7.5/10

Safety: 8/10

Thirst: 8/10

Practicality: 8/10

Comfort: 7.5/10

Tech: 7.5/10

Value: 8/10

Overall: 7.8/10

AT A GLANCE

MODEL RANGE:

CR-V 2.0 Vi 2WD: $35,300

CR-V 1.5 VTi 2WD: $38,300

CR-V 1.5 VTi 7 2WD: $40,300

CR-V 1.5 VTi X 2WD: $41,200

CR-V 1.5 VTi L7 2WD: $48,700

CR-V 1.5 VTi L AWD: $45,500

CR-V 1.5 VTi LX AWD: $53,200

Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Honda dealer for drive-away prices.

SPECIFICATIONS:

Honda CR-V VTi L7 seven-seat 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol five-door wagon

ENGINE:

Capacity: 1.498 litres

Configuration: Four cylinders in line

Maximum Power: 140 kW @ 5600 rpm

Maximum Torque: 240 Nm @ 2000-5000 rpm

Fuel Type: Standard unleaded petrol

Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 7.3 L/100km

CO2 Emissions: 166 g/km

DRIVELINE:

Continuously variable transmission, front wheel-drive

DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT AND CAPACITIES:

Length: 4635 mm

Wheelbase: 2660 mm

Width: 1855 mm

Height: 1679 mm

Turning Circle: 11.0 metres

Kerb Mass: 1642 kg

Fuel Tank Capacity: 57 litres

BRAKES:

Front: Ventilated disc

Rear: Solid disc

STANDARD WARRANTY:

Five years / unlimited kilometres

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Nissan Keeps All Options Open for Qashqai SUV: Petrol, Hybrid, and Electric

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Nissan Keeps All Options Open for Qashqai SUV: Petrol, Hybrid, and Electric

 

By Jeff Gibbs

Nissan is set to maintain a versatile approach for its Qashqai SUV, continuing to offer petrol, hybrid, and electric powertrains to cater to varying market demands. While the next-generation all-electric Qashqai is on the horizon, Australia is likely to continue with petrol and e-Power options for the time being.

Continued Production of All Powertrains

Nissan’s Sunderland plant in the UK will keep producing the Qashqai for global markets, complemented by production in Dalian, China, for the local market with partner Dongfeng. The Sunderland facility supplies Qashqais to over 100 countries, including Australia. Speaking to Australian media, Nissan’s Senior Vice-President and Chief Planning Officer for the AMIEO (Africa, Middle East, India, Europe, and Oceania) region, Francois Bailly, confirmed that the electric Qashqai will not replace existing models but will be produced concurrently to meet diverse market needs.

Electrification Strategy and Market Adaptation

Bailly emphasized the variability in market readiness for electrification. “The markets around the world are so diverse, there’s a speed of electrification that we could imagine different technologies at the same time in different markets,” he said. However, he did not confirm the all-electric Qashqai for Australia specifically, noting the growing but still relatively low EV market share in the region.

Current and Future Qashqai Offerings in Australia

In Australia, the Qashqai is available with two powertrain options:

  • A 110kW/250Nm 1.3-litre turbo-petrol engine.
  • A 140kW/330Nm e-Power range-extender hybrid, which pairs a 1.5-litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine with an electric motor driving the front wheels.

For emissions-restricted markets like Europe, the Sunderland factory also builds a mild-hybrid version.

The facelifted Qashqai, expected to arrive in Australian showrooms by the end of the year, will likely retain the current powertrain options. It will feature updated exterior styling, improved cabin materials, and a new Google-powered infotainment system, although the latter is yet to be confirmed for Australia.

Investment and Production Plans

To prepare for the new all-electric Qashqai, Nissan has invested an additional £30 million ($AU57.7 million) in the Sunderland plant to accommodate the installation of heavy battery packs and high-voltage components. The Qashqai EV will share the production line with the internal combustion engine and e-Power hybrid versions, as well as the Juke small SUV and the upcoming new-generation Leaf crossover. This strategy allows for a seamless transition from the current Qashqai to the new models, ensuring continuous production of the popular SUV.

In conclusion, Nissan’s multipronged approach with the Qashqai ensures that the SUV remains adaptable to market trends and consumer needs, offering a blend of petrol, hybrid, and electric options. This flexibility positions the Qashqai to effectively meet the demands of diverse global markets, including Australia.

 

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Cadillac’s Future Sedans: Embracing Electric Power

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Cadillac’s Future Sedans: Embracing Electric Power

 

By Jeff Gibbs

Cadillac, the luxury arm of General Motors (GM), has reaffirmed its commitment to sedans, hinting at a future where these models could be electric. This revelation was made by Mike Simcoe, GM’s Vice President of Global Design, during a recent media roundtable. Simcoe, an Australian and former design boss of Holden, emphasized that while SUVs dominate the market, sedans remain a vital part of Cadillac’s future, potentially powered by batteries.

A New Generation of Sedans

Despite the industry’s heavy lean towards SUVs, Cadillac is preparing to introduce a new generation of sedans. These models will be a key part of Cadillac’s lineup in the coming years, according to Simcoe. “We will certainly have a sedan in the portfolio at some point in the future,” he confirmed. This statement underscores Cadillac’s intention to diversify its offerings beyond the ubiquitous SUV trend.

The Celestiq: Cadillac’s Luxury Electric Sedan

Cadillac already offers the Celestiq, an electric vehicle that it refers to as a sedan. However, the Celestiq, priced at $US340,000 ($AU520,000), is designed to compete with ultra-luxury brands like Rolls-Royce and Bentley. This places it out of reach for most consumers, signaling Cadillac’s ambition to produce more affordable electric sedans that can cater to a broader market segment.

The Need for Affordable Electric Sedans

Simcoe indicated that while the luxury market appreciates high-end electric sedans like the Celestiq, there is a significant opportunity for more affordable electric sedans within Cadillac’s lineup. He remarked on the dominance of SUVs, calling them a “necessary evil” due to their market prevalence and practicality. However, Simcoe pointed out that many consumers, particularly those with higher disposable incomes, still desire a second vehicle that isn’t an SUV. This opens the door for sedans, especially those that are electrically powered.

Current Sedan Offerings and Performance Models

At present, Cadillac’s sedan lineup in North America includes the CT4 and CT5. These models, particularly their performance variants, are powered by twin-turbo V6 and supercharged V8 engines, aiming to rival BMW’s M3 and M5. These sedans showcase Cadillac’s commitment to performance and luxury, a tradition it aims to continue even as it shifts towards electric powertrains.

Cadillac’s Return to Australia and Electric Future

In a significant move, Cadillac announced its return to the Australian market in late 2024. This return is marked by an exclusive offering of electric vehicles, aligning with the global shift towards sustainable transportation. While Cadillac previously committed to transitioning to an all-electric lineup by 2030, recent updates indicate that petrol-powered models will continue to be manufactured into the new decade. This dual approach allows Cadillac to cater to diverse market needs while progressing towards a greener future.

Conclusion

Cadillac’s reaffirmation of its commitment to sedans, coupled with its strategic pivot towards electric vehicles, highlights the brand’s adaptive and forward-thinking approach. By continuing to innovate in the sedan segment and introducing more accessible electric models, Cadillac aims to maintain its legacy of luxury and performance. As the automotive industry evolves, Cadillac’s blend of tradition and innovation positions it well to meet the demands of modern consumers and sustain its competitive edge in the luxury market.

 

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BYD Sets Third Australian Sales Record in Four Months

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BYD Sets Third Australian Sales Record in Four Months

 

By Jeff Gibbs

In a significant achievement, BYD has set its third Australian sales record in four months, with close to 2000 electric vehicles sold last month. The momentum is set to increase further with the introduction of a new range of hybrid cars.

Record-Breaking Sales Record Performance

BYD’s sales in Australia continue to soar, driven by the growing demand for Chinese-branded cars. The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) reported that 1914 BYD electric vehicles were sold in May 2024, marking a 32% increase compared to May of the previous year. This remarkable performance underscores BYD’s rapid expansion and acceptance in the Australian market.

Upcoming Hybrid Models

The boost in BYD sales is expected to be further amplified by the upcoming launch of a new range of plug-in hybrid vehicles. This range includes a family SUV, the Sealion 6, and a utility vehicle (ute), both of which were announced last month. Although deliveries of the Sealion 6 plug-in hybrid SUV have not yet started, anticipation is high, and its introduction is expected to drive sales even higher.

Top Sellers and Market Dynamics

In May 2024, the majority of BYD’s reported sales were electric vehicles, with the Seal sedan leading the pack at 1002 units sold. This was followed by the Atto 3 with 737 units, despite a year-on-year decline of 49%, and the Dolphin with 175 units. BYD’s previous best monthly sales were recorded in March 2024 with 1622 deliveries, and in February 2024 with 1549 vehicles.

Despite BYD’s impressive performance, Tesla remains a formidable competitor, delivering nearly twice as many cars as BYD in May 2024, totaling 3567 vehicles. However, BYD’s sales trajectory is notable, with a 67% increase over the first five months of 2024 compared to the same period in the previous year. This growth positions BYD to potentially surpass 20,000 deliveries by the end of the year, though this falls short of their goal to double sales year-on-year.

Rapid Market Penetration

BYD’s rapid market penetration is unprecedented for a new automotive brand in Australia. It took BYD just one year and seven months to report more than 1900 new vehicles sold in a month. In contrast, other emerging brands such as MG, LDV, and GWM took significantly longer to achieve the same milestone, highlighting BYD’s exceptional growth rate.

Industry-Wide Trends

The rise in electric vehicle deliveries in Australia is part of a broader trend. Year-to-date, electric car sales have increased by 26.8%, totalling 40,636 vehicles. This follows a temporary dip in April 2024, the first since the pandemic. Electric vehicles accounted for 8% of new vehicle sales in May 2024, reflecting their growing popularity.

Similarly, plug-in hybrid sales have surged by 118% year-to-date, reaching 6099 deliveries. Although starting from a lower base, this growth indicates a strong interest in hybrid technology among Australian consumers.

China’s Position in the Market

China remains the third-largest source of new motor vehicles sold in Australia, trailing only Japan and Thailand. This places China ahead of other major automotive exporters like South Korea, Germany, and the United States. Sales of Chinese-made vehicles have risen by 7.9% year-to-date compared to the same period last year, further solidifying China’s role in the Australian automotive market.

Conclusion

BYD’s continued success and rapid growth in the Australian market illustrate a significant shift in consumer preferences towards electric and hybrid vehicles. With new models on the horizon and a strong sales trajectory, BYD is well-positioned to capitalize on the growing demand for environmentally friendly transportation options. This momentum not only sets a new benchmark for emerging automotive brands but also contributes to the broader adoption of sustainable technologies in Australia.

 

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