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Motoring News

HYUNDAI SONATA N LINE

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Hyundai Sonata i30 N Line

HYUNDAI SONATA N LINE

Hyundai has reinvented the Sonata as a turbocharged sporty coupe.

By CHRIS RILEY

The Hyundai Sonata dates all the way back to 1989 in Australia.
Now in its eighth generation, it started life as a medium-sized four door sedan that offered family-friendly motoring for a budget $19,990.
More than 30 years later, the latest Sonata N Line, launched in December last year, has undergone a transformation — to emerge as a highly desirable turbocharged sports machine.
There’s just the one fully equipped model priced from $50,990 plus on-roads (for a white one). At the moment you can grab one for $55,654 driveaway, which includes metallic paint, normally a $595 extra.

STYLING
With the latest model Sonata N has adopted the low-slung lines of a coupe, sitting low and wide with aggressively sculpted curves.
The wide, droopy face with its bold cascading glossy black grille evokes classic Italian sports cars of yesteryear.
At the rear, an LED strip across the boot ties the LED tail lights together to create a sense of width and striking night-time appearance, with twin tailpipes integrated into each side of a diffuser-style lower treatment.
A Sports body kit, LED headlights, DRLs and tail lights, and 19-inch alloys wrapped in 245/40 Continentals complete the picture.
There’s four colour choices; White Cream, Hampton Grey, Flame Red and Midnight Black, and only white is free.
One small annoyance is the lack of an exterior boot release.

INTERIOR

Hyundai Sonata i30 N Line

Hyundai Sonata i30 N Line Interior

Inside the cabin is trimmed in an upmarket combination of suede and black Nappa leather, with decorative N Line badging.
The dash incorporates a free-standing 10.25-inch touchscreen and separate 12.3-inch configurable LCD hi-res colour instrument binnacle.
Creature comforts include heated and ventilated, power-adjustable front seats, heated outer rear seats, dual-zone climate control air conditioning and a panoramic glass sunroof.
Profiles store multiple driver preferences, for settings such as seat and side mirror positions, HUD and driving mode settings, navigation history, and active Bluetooth device and radio station settings.
Other nice touches include auto high beam, adaptive cruise control, wireless smartphone charging, Head-Up Display plus front and rear park sensors, with Surround View Monitor with Rear View Monitor and Parking Guidance.
Although upmarket, the cabin is a bit monotone and glare makes some controls hard to see.
The driver’s door handle is easy to fumble, while the handbrake switch is buried down and to the right of the wheel.
The head-up display is almost invisible with polarised sunglasses.

INFOTAINMENT
A 12-speaker Bose premium audio system surrounds the occupants with three speakers up front, three on each side and three in the rear.
The system features CenterPoint surround technology, which splits music into multiple channels, to fully immerse occupants in a surround sound experience.
The infotainment system offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, along with satellite navigation, AM/FM and digital radio, Bluetooth audio streaming and you can use voice command for text messages.

ENGINES / TRANSMISSIONS
The Smartstream 2.5-litre turbo-petrol engine delivers 213kW of power and 422Nm of torque, the latter from 1650 through to 4000 rpm. That’s more than the excellent i30 Fastback N, which is good for 206kW and 392Nm. Of course, Sonata is larger and weighs more — but you get bragging rights.
The engine is paired with a ‘wet’ eight-speed dual-clutch transmission developed specially for N vehicles, featuring shift-by-wire, push-button gear selection as well as paddle shifters.

SAFETY
Standard SmartSense technologies include Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist with Junction Turning Assist function, Driver Attention Warning and Blind-Spot Collision Avoidance-Assist systems.
It also features Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist and Lane Following Assist systems, and Smart Cruise Control with Stop & Go.

DRIVING

Hyundai Sonata i30 N Line

Hyundai Sonata i30 N Line

The addition of a turbocharger, different cylinder head and revised internals contribute to significantly better performance compared to the 142kW of the standard naturally aspirated engine in the previous model.
With 422Nm of torque, N Line has stacks of low and mid-range grunt and pulls strongly all the way to redline, with fast, snappy changes from the twin clutch transmission.
It does however display a slight hesitancy when you back off, then almost immediately hit it again. But then, you’ve got to remember that it has a twin clutch.
With launch control, the dash from 0-100km/h takes 6.2 seconds, pretty quick for a car that was once a mum and dad special.
Drive modes include normal, sport, sport+ and custom, while shifting between modes changes the look of instruments to reflect each mode.
In addition to changing the cluster, toggling through them alters the steering weight and the speed and strategy of the transmission shifts.
With a kerb weight of 1636kg, suspension is MacPherson strut front and multi-link rear, with monotube rear dampers that deliver rapid response, making the car more agile than you might expect for the size.
To bring Sonata to a stop, engineers have added larger front and rear brake calipers and discs, 345x30mm ventilated front and 325x12mm solid discs rear.
Yes, you might have picked up on the fact that active sound means the engine note is enhanced artificially, but you know what? I don’t mind. It simply makes the driving experience more engaging and that’s what really counts.
With claimed fuel consumption of 8.1L/100km we were using 9.1litres during our test period.

SUMMING UP
Is it worth it? Drive it and see what you think. Sonata N Line makes all the right noises and has all the right moves.
It will be a shame if this car does not get the attention it deserves, primarily because of the name and associated baggage.
Say Sonata to someone and it conjures images of a boring, four-door econobox. Quite frankly, they should have ditched the name to make the transformation complete.

MODEL RANGE
Hyundai Sonata N Line: $50,990
Note: This price does not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Hyundai dealer for drive-away prices.

SPECIFICATIONS (Hyundai Sonata N Line, 4-cylinder turbo petrol, 8sp automatic, FWD)

ENGINE:
SmartStream G2.5
Capacity: 2.5 litres
Configuration: In-line four
Maximum Power: 213kW @ 5800 rpm
Maximum Torque: 422 Nm @ 1650 – 4000 rpm
Fuel Type: Petrol
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 8.1L/100km
CO2 Emissions: 188g/km

DRIVELINE:
8sp Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT)

DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT AND CAPACITIES:
Length: 4900 mm
Wheelbase: 2840 mm
Width: 1860 mm
Height: 1445 mm
Turning Circle: 11.0 metres
Kerb Mass: 1636 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 60 litres

BRAKES:
Front: Ventilated disc 345mm x 30mm
Rear: Solid disc 325 x 12 mm

STANDARD WARRANTY:
Five years / unlimited kilometres

Motoring News

NEXT-GENERATION RANGE ROVER: FULL DETAILS

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NEXT-GENERATION RANGE ROVER

NEXT-GENERATION RANGE ROVER: FULL DETAILS

Very slick shape of the new Range Rover is brilliant.

By EWAN KENNEDY

The next generation of the Range Rover has been officially revealed. It won’t arrive in Australia until the middle of 2022 but extensive details have been provided.
It sits on a new modular platform called ‘MLA Flex’ for the Jaguar and Land Rover brands, and includes a variety of new and carryover powertrains.
New Range Rover’s structure is constructed from 80 per cent aluminium, along with high- and ultra high-tensile steel in certain areas for additional strength and rigidity.
The rear of the Range Rover debuts new ‘hidden-until-lit’ LED tail-lights, something Land Rover is calling a ‘world first’.

NEXT-GENERATION RANGE ROVER

NEXT-GENERATION RANGE ROVER INTERIOR

It will initially be launched with a choice of four variants: SE, HSE, Autobiography and First Edition, and four powertrains to choose from, along with a high-end and more bespoke SV variant.
The Autobiography will also be available in long-wheelbase format, with the Autobiography LWB available as a seven-seater – a first for the Range Rover model.
The range begins with the Range Rover SE, which is available with either petrol (P400) or diesel (D300) power. Both of these engines come from Jaguar Land Rover’s Ingenium family, with turbocharging, 3.0 litres capacity across six inline cylinders, and 48-volt mild hybridisation.
The P400 powertrain makes 294kW and 550Nm, while the diesel D300 makes 221kW and 650Nm, as used in the Defender, Discovery and Range Rover Sport.
Higher grades can have a 258kW/700Nm ‘D350’ diesel powertrain, as well as a new 390kW/750Nm 4.4-litre twin-turbo-petrol V8 in the P530. This replaces the 5.0-litre supercharged V8.
Plug-in hybrid Range Rover P510e and SV grades will arrive in Australia in the second half of 2022.
Like all previous generations, the 2022 Range Rover will be capable off road. It will have up to 295mm of ground clearance and 510mm of articulation through air suspension and Terrain Response 2 off-road traction control system.

NEXT-GENERATION RANGE ROVER

NEXT-GENERATION RANGE ROVER

The air suspension is joined by 48-volt active sway bars and adaptive twin-valve Bilstein dampers. The new Range Rover also features rear-wheel steering, which works to improve dynamic stability and reduce the turning circle to 11 metres.
Infotainment will be centred around a 13.1-inch curved, floating display, which includes the ability for software updates over the air for 69 individual electronic control modules.
This infotainment system uses Land Rover’s new Pivi Pro operating system, and includes Amazon Alexa voice control and Spotify music streaming functionality.
Note that this information is from a global press release and some details may not apply to Australia imports. As we receive Oz-specific details we will provide further details.
The 2022 Range Rover will arrive in Australian showrooms in June 2022 and order books are now open.

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TOYOTA HIACE VAN TAKES ON ADDED ATTRACTIONS

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TOYOTA HIACE VAN

TOYOTA HIACE VAN TAKES ON ADDED ATTRACTIONS

No standing still for Toyota’s iconic HiAce van

By DEREK OGDEN

If it ain’t broke don’t fix it: this could well be the case with the HiAce, Toyota’s iconic van, which the company stuck with for 15 years without replacing. The light commercial was around until a 2019 rebirth, now it becomes the subject of a range of upgrades.
The HiAce van, and related Commuter bus and Granvia wagon, have been boosted with added technology and comfort and convenience features while offering a streamlined choice for customers.
Long the leader in the 2.5 to 3.5 tonne van segment with sales this year increasing by 51.9 per cent, customer preference for diesel power, has led to the 3.5-litre petrol V6 for HiAce being discontinued in favour of Toyota’s tough 2.8-litre turbodiesel four-cylinder engine, mated with an automatic transmission.
New safety and security technology come with the fitment of Toyota Connected Services to all models. Inside, all benefit from upgraded features, with Granvia incorporating a higher level of luxury with rear privacy glass and carpeted front floor mats now standard.
For HiAce, a large centre console box has been added to store paperwork while Commuter GL grades gain an LED lamp inside the box to aid vision, as well as upgraded USB charging ports.
The added features adopted for HiAce come with price increases of just $990 across the range, while upgraded Granvia prices rise by less than two per cent.
Both HiAce and Granvia are covered by the five-year Toyota Warranty Advantage and seven-year Toyota Warranty Advantage Extended Engine and Driveline. On test was the HiAce GL long wheelbase automatic van, selling for $47,230, plus on-road costs.

STYLING
The bonnet-forward design has enabled the engine to be ahead of the front axle and seats compared with the previous model where the engine sat under the front seats directly above the axle. It also provides easier access to the engine bay, improved safety and greater stability and ride comfort.
The wide track gives the vehicle a planted stance, while the solid sides of the front bumper have been rounded off at the grille to improve working in tight CBD spaces.
Aerodynamics are enhanced by a raked windscreen and side mouldings, chamfered rear corners and five stabilising fins on the side of the rear lamps. French Vanilla is now the only paint choice.

INTERIOR

TOYOTA HIACE VAN

TOYOTA HIACE VAN INTERIOR

Lack of a dedicated space for clipboard storage is a drawback, a centre console storage box as standard, replacing the existing console tray. Included in the new storage box is a removable in-box tray, an A4-sized binder rack, and a moveable partition at the rear of the box that can be used as a cupholder.
Other range-wide standard equipment additions include front all-weather floor mats, 1.5-litre bottle holder and storage bin in each front door, with cup holders in the centre and on either side of the dashboard. There’s also a glovebox and spot to the left of the gearshift for small stuff.

INFOTAINMENT
The multimedia system – Toyota’s latest – can be controlled via steering-wheel controls or the touchscreen that now offers pinch, swipe and flick gesture operation.
The latter also incorporates AM / FM / DAB+ radio, USB and Aux inputs, full Bluetooth connectivity, satellite navigation with SUNA live traffic alerts, voice recognition, and Toyota Link apps including weather, fuel finder and travel times. HiAces will also come standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Other new applications include Siri eyes-free mode for iPhones and Miracast, which allows compatible smartphone screens to be duplicated onto the touchscreen. Delivering high quality audio are two front-mounted speakers.

ENGINES / TRANSMISSIONS
All versions of the HiAce and Granvia are powered by Toyota’s 2.8-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine, mated to an automatic transmission, with a six-speed manual gearbox also offered on HiAce LWB van.
The turbodiesel engine develops 130 kW and 450 Nm when teamed with the six-speed automatic, however with the manual gearbox maximum torque is 420 Nm. In the HiAce Commuter, the turbodiesel engine produces maximum outputs of 120 kW of power and 420 Nm of torque.

SAFETY

2019 Toyota HiAce SLWB Van.

The addition of Toyota Connected Services automatically generates an emergency call to Toyota’s around-the-clock emergency call centre and relay the location of the vehicle in the event of a collision that requires intervention, or if an airbag goes off.
Occupants can also manually trigger an emergency call to the call centre via an SOS button, allowing the determination of the vehicle’s location and co-ordination with emergency services.
If the vehicle is reported stolen, Toyota Connected Services can help track the vehicle’s location through the stolen vehicle tracking service.

DRIVING
The tried-and-tested diesel powerplant is muted and there’s little wind noise, leaving road rumble to intrude into the cabin. Adding loads to the cavernous cargo area puts paid to much of this unwanted driving accompaniment.
There was not much to argue with Toyota’s combined urban / highway fuel consumption figure of 8.2 litres per 100 kilometres, with the test vehicle recording 9.7 litres per 100 kilometres under city delivery duties and 6.0 litres per 100 kilometres on a highway run.
The stop / start system is one of the best encountered in any vehicle, with instantaneous fire-up from rest. For the automotive equivalent of ‘anti-vaxxers’ it can be switched off.
Driver and passenger seats are shapely, with thick cushioning for comfort and support. They are finished in quality, durable fabric. The driver’s seat offers six-way adjustment for height, slide and recline.
Payload is up to 1095 kg, while the van is rated to tow a 1500 kg braked trailer. With 1268 mm between the rear wheel arches, there’s room for two standard Aussie pallets. Total load volume is 6.2 cubic metres.
Loading through wide side doors was easy thanks to their easy slide functioning. The vertical lift tailgate – no barn doors offered – is no friend to the forklift but is a handy shelter while manual loading in wet weather.
Ride and handling on test improved with load, as you would expect from a goods hauler with rear-wheel drive. Inclines offered little limit to performance and filtering into motorway traffic presented no white-knuckle stress.
Extensive glassed areas all round and large exterior mirrors were complemented by a single window in the left side door, giving the driver confidence in overtaking, or pulling out from the kerb. A reversing camera was especially welcome in tight parking manoeuvres.

SUMMARY
While the HiAce relied for many years on its solid reputation to lead the field, Toyota has been quick to add fine touches to the latest generation of the iconic van in a bid to stave off any challenges from close rivals.

AT A GLANCE

MODEL LINE-UP
HiAce LWB van manual $44,230
HiAce LWB van automatic $46,230
HiAce LWB van 4-door auto $46,230
HiAce GL LWB van auto $47,230
HiAce Crew LWB van auto $49,230
HiAce SLWB van auto $54,230
HiAce SLWB GL van auto $55,230
HiAce SLWB Commuter bus auto $69,230
HiAce SLWB Commuter GL bus auto $72,230
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Toyota dealer for drive-away prices.

SPECIFICATIONS (Toyota HiAce GL 2.8L 4-cylinder turbodiesel, 6sp automatic, RWD van)

ENGINE:
Capacity: 2.755 litres
Configuration: Four cylinders in line
Maximum Power: 130 kW @ 3400 rpm
Maximum Torque: 450 Nm @ 1600-2400 rpm
Fuel Type: Diesel
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 8.2 L/100km
CO2 emissions 219 g / km

DRIVELINE: Six-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive

DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT AND CAPACITIES:
Length: 5265mm
Wheelbase: 3210 mm
Width: 1950 mm
Height: 1990 mm
Turning Circle: 11.0 metres
Kerb Mass: 2205 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 70 litres

BRAKES:
Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Disc

STANDARD WARRANTY:
Five years / unlimited kilometres

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Motoring News

NISSAN X-TRAIL ST+

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NISSAN X-TRAIL ST+

NISSAN X-TRAIL ST+

By EWAN KENNEDY

“Strong styling of the Nissan X-Trail has long appealed to buyers”

Nissan is celebrating 20 years of its X-Trail in Australia with a new variant, the X-Trail ST+. It adds a new step between the ST and the ST-L grades.

Available in two- or four-wheel drive, the X-Trail ST+ has new safety and technology features. It has an Around View Monitor with Moving Object Detection and satellite navigation. The ST-L and TI grades have front parking sensors for the first time.

NISSAN X-TRAIL ST+

NISSAN X-TRAIL ST+ INTERIOR

This update follows an upgrade in February 2021, which saw the X-Trail equipped with Nissan’s next-generation infotainment system, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, displayed through a new 7.0-inch touchscreen with updated graphics.

The Nissan X-Trail is available with a 2.0-litre petrol engine in manual-equipped ST grades, and with a powerful 2.5-litre petrol engine in all other variants.

The 2.0-litre petrol engine has 106kW of power and 200Nm of torque while the more powerful 2.5-litre alternative has 126kW of power and 233Nm of torque.

Nissan X-Trail’s 2.0-litre engine features Nissan’s DIG (Direct Injection Gasoline) technology and twin variable timing control to deliver strong fuel economy and torque. The 2.0-litre X-Trail ST manual consumes 8.2 litres per 100 kilometres travelled on the combined cycle.

NISSAN X-TRAIL ST+

NISSAN X-TRAIL ST+

The 2.5-litre engine is available in all grades and is officially listed at 7.9L/100km on a combined cycle in the 2WD X-Trail ST.

The 2WD-only 2.0-litre powered X-Trail ST uses a six-speed manual gearbox. All 2.5-litre models are available in 2WD or 4WD are mated to Nissan’s Xtronic CVT with manual mode.

The 4WD X-Trail comes equipped with Nissan’s Intelligent 4×4 system to deliver excellent traction in a variety of driving conditions. Controlled by the driver using a simple centre console-mounted rotary dial, Intelligent 4×4 has three settings: 2WD mode, AUTO mode and LOCK mode.

Both 2WD and 4WD variants of the X-Trail come fitted with Hill Start Assist. This automatically keeps the vehicle’s brakes applied when taking off from an incline to help prevent the driver from rolling backwards when setting off.

The 4WD X-Trail variants are equipped with Hill Descent Control, which uses the car’s ABS braking system to control the vehicle’s speed at approximately 7km/h when traversing on particularly steep downhill terrain.

“Celebrating 20 years of X-Trail in Australia is a proud moment,” says Nissan Australia MD, Adam Paterson.

“That’s two decades of fun and adventure, with more than 272,000 examples of the X-Trail welcomed into families right across the country.

“And what better way to celebrate than with the launch of an update, with an all-new grade option that delivers more of what our customers know and love about their X-Trail?

“This updated MY22 model is an evolution of the X-Trail brand, and sticks true to the Nissan principle of increasing safety and technology at every opportunity.

“With four grade levels, a choice between two- or four-wheel drive, and the option of five or seven seats, the X-Trail is one of the most versatile SUV offerings in Australia.”

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