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Motoring News

KIA SORENTO PLUG-IN HYBRID INTRODUCED

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KIA SORENTO PLUG-IN HYBRID INTRODUCED
Kia Sorento now comes with electric boost for the first time

KIA SORENTO PLUG-IN HYBRID INTRODUCED

By EWAN KENNEDY

The Kia Sorento Plug-in Hybrid GT-Line is a low emissions version of the big selling Korean SUV. It’s the first electrified model in the Sorento line-up with its powertrain combining a turbocharged engine with a high-capacity battery pack and high output electric motor.

KIA SORENTO PLUG-IN HYBRID INTRODUCED

Kia Sorento now comes with electric boost for the first time

With a fully charged battery pack, the powertrain enables drivers to complete shorter drives on all-electric, zero-emissions power. Thus, you can drive a Sorento out of covered carparks such as those in major shopping centres and high-rise apartments.

The fourth generation Sorento was designed from the outset to accommodate electrified powertrains.

“The Sorento PHEV promises to push boundaries as one of the most versatile, practical and spacious plug-in hybrid SUVs on the market, and with the Sorento being an award-winning package, I couldn’t think of a better time to introduce the PHEV into the line-up,” said Kia’s Chief Operating Officer, Damien Meredith.

KIA SORENTO PLUG-IN HYBRID INTRODUCED

Kia Sorento now comes with electric boost for the first time

“Along with Niro range, the Sorento PHEV is another stride in the right direction towards a greener future. With the introduction of Sorento HEV and the highly anticipated EV6 next year, Kia will be lifting the electric vehicle benchmark to an all-time high.”

Sorento PHEV’s 1.6-litre turbo-petrol engine and electric motor between them have 195kW of power and 350Nm of torque.

Energy storage is managed by a 14kWh Lithium-ion polymer battery pack located under the vehicle floor. The large battery capacity allows the PHEV to travel up to 68km on electric power alone.

With the integrated Type 2 charging socket, you can use the standard 3-pin cable supplied with the PHEV – Type 2 to Type 2 cable or the charging point’s own cable. The 10.25-inch navigation unit displays nearby charging station locations and information.

The 12.3-inch driver digital cluster providing the status of the hybrid charging system, including fuel and battery levels.

New for the fourth generation and standard on the PHEV GT-Line variant, the latest Sorento models offer enhanced all-terrain capability thanks to a new Terrain Mode. Drivers can choose from ‘Mud’, ‘Snow’ and ‘Sand’ modes.

For Kia’s General Manager of Product Planning, Roland Rivero, the fourth generation Sorento is a game-changer in the Australian market.

“The Sorento has been a great success in Australia providing five-star safety and exceptional convenience levels in its segment, and the PHEV will continue to take the story forward,” said Rivero.

“Supply limitations impacting the automotive industry as a whole, combined with Sorento’s global popularity, has steered us to offering the Sorento PHEV in only the top of the range GT-Line for now.”

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RAM 3500 LARAMIE

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RAM 3500 LARAMIE

RAM 3500 LARAMIE

By EWAN KENNEDY

RAM Trucks Australia has released its all-new RAM 3500 Laramie, completing the roll-out of the range of RAM trucks here.

RAM 3500 LARAMIE

Big truck for a big country. RAM is not exactly a sinking violet.

Following on the heels of the recent 2500 heavy-duty and earlier in 2021, the new 1500 Laramie and Limited models RAM Trucks Australia now claims to have the most comprehensive range of official, factory-authorised, fit-for-purpose full-size pick-up trucks in the country.

The all-new 3500 Laramie underwent the same wide-ranging design, homologation, and manufacture processes that both the 2500 and 1500 models passed. For reference it included 50,000 hours of pre-build development hours; 80,000km of rolling road testing; 50,000km of real-world road driving; and a 20,000km full vehicle durability test.

“The all-new 3500 completes the task we set ourselves at the start of 2021: to deliver a full range of fit-for-purpose vehicles for the Australian consumer,” says RAM Trucks Australia National Manager Jeff Barber.

RAM 3500 LARAMIE

Big truck for a big country. RAM is not exactly a sinking violet.

“The 3500 is a remarkable vehicle that cements our product offering in 2021. Only RAM Trucks Australia can deliver such a vehicle thanks to our robust and detailed planning, development, remanufacturing, and testing programme in conjunction with our local and global partners including Stellantis (formerly Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, US).”

Powered by a 6.7-litre inline-six Cummins turbo-diesel, the 3500 delivers 276 kW and 1152 Nm. It has a max braked towing capacity of up to 8.0 tonnes (Conditions apply contact RAM Trucks Australia for details).

With the same bold interior, engine, suspension, four-wheel drive system and specification, the all-new 3500 differs in its capabilities thanks to its two-stage longitudinal leaf solid axle. This allows a mammoth payload of up to 1724 kg.

With its braked towing capacity of up to 8.0 tonnes*, if you’re looking for a seriously luxurious towing vehicle nothing else comes close.

RAM Trucks Australia is the world’s only RAM-authorised manufacturer of right-hand drive RAM trucks. The relationship with RAM Trucks in the US began back in 2013 and continues to innovate to deliver a no-compromise, full-size pick-up truck that leads in durability, technology and efficiency.

All RAM Trucks Australia vehicles are international-spec vehicles, uniquely coded for the Australian market and the local build process. With over 400 locally-sourced new parts involved in its transformation journey from left- to right-hand drive, the all-new RAM 2500 sets new benchmarks in the full-size pick-up truck segment – a segment RAM Trucks Australia first created more than six years ago.

The all-new RAM 3500 starts at $162,950 plus on-road costs for Laramie Crew Cab.

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GRAND ENTRANCE BY GRANVIA

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2019 Toyota Granvia.
The Granvia shoulders the load previously taken by the Toyota Tarago people-mover.

GRAND ENTRANCE BY GRANVIA

By DEREK OGDEN

It’s ta-ta, Tarago; and a big hello to the Granvia. ‘Big’ being the operative word, for at more than five metres long, almost two metres tall, and tipping the scales at more than two-and-a-half tonnes, the new Toyota people-mover is no shrinking Violet.

While the Tarago paid its dues in the people mover market for 36 years, the Granvia takes the vehicle far beyond the friendly family transporter into the high-end hospitality and corporate buyers who appreciate style, cabin comfort and premium features.

The Granvia has six or eight seats, quality cabin and advanced safety systems that take the vehicle into modern minibus territory.

Available in two specification levels – Granvia and Granvia VX – the entry-level six-seater comes to market for $62,990, plus on-road costs, while the range-topping VX six and eight seaters share the $74,990 price tag.

All make us of the same engine, a 2.8-litre four-cylinder turbocharged diesel, mated with a six-speed automatic transmission. The six-seater flagship VX was on test.

STYLING

2019 Toyota Granvia.

The Granvia shoulders the load previously taken by the Toyota Tarago people-mover.

Forget the run-of-the-mill people movers such as the Carnival, Odyssey and assorted Mercs and VWs, Granvia has a style all of its own. The radiator sets the trend with a truck-like grille with chrome finish.

The slab sides enable sliding doors on either side to open and shut smoothly, under electric power in the VX, while large windows let in lots of light to highlight the light-coloured upholstery the test VX and give all six occupants an expansive view of the passing scenery.

A high-lift tailgate opens up to give access to the cargo area – but more of that later. Up-to-the-minute touches, including auto LED headlights, taillights, fog lamps and daytime running lights, 17-inch alloy wheels, and chrome garnishes add premium touches to proceedings.

INTERIOR

2019 Toyota Granvia.

The Granvia shoulders the load previously taken by the Toyota Tarago people-mover.

Comfort and convenience take top billing in the Granvia VX cabin. The six-seater features a spacious rear cabin with four individual captain’s chairs with armrests, reclining backrests and a sliding seat base of more than 50 cm ensuring easy access and the ability to accommodate a variety of passengers in comfort.

The four captain’s chairs, along with the driver’s seat, are all power-operated with the rear seats incorporating a power ottoman leg rest, adjustable headrest and solid armrests with all seats finished in a luxe quilted leather-accent upholstery.

Further welcome additions include keyless smart entry and start, front and rear climate control, rear sun shade blinds, nanoe dehumidifier, leather-accented / woodgrain-look steering wheel, synthetic leather / woodgrain-look door trim, front and rear, 12-volt accessory sockets and six rear USB power points.

INFOTAINMENT
A 7-inch touchscreen display takes in satellite navigation with SUNA live traffic, Bluetooth connectivity with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus 12-speaker Pioneer audio with AM / FM / digital radio and CD player.

Voice recognition and Siri Eyes Free are available and Aux and one front and six rear USB ports make up the options.

ENGINES / TRANSMISSIONS
As befits a people moving limo, the Granvia is powered by a refined 2.8-litre turbo-diesel engine that delivers 130 kW of power at 3400 rpm and 450 Nm between 1600 and 2400 rpm to the rear wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission.

Toyota says, thanks to stop / start engine system, fuel consumption is just 8 litres per 100 kilometres on the combined urban / highway cycle, while emitting 211 g/km carbon dioxide.

SAFETY
All Granvias tap into Toyota Safety Sense driver assistance features, which include pre-collision safety system with pedestrian detection (day and night) and cyclist detection (day only), high-speed active cruise control; lane departure alert; road sign assist; and automatic high beam.

Other advanced safety inclusions are blind-spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert, front and rear parking sensors, reversing camera with guidelines, panoramic view monitor, auto-dimming digital rear-view mirror and nine airbags.

DRIVING
The beefy Granvia takes up a good ‘acreage’ on the road and has a wide 12 metre turning circle, so a clear view all round is important. Front and sides are okay but it runs into trouble behind, with the plush seats blocking the majority of the rear window.

And, while entry and exit through the two automatic sliding side doors is made easier by the up to 50 cm opening, while access to the rear luggage area is a different matter. The absence of power to the liftgate makes opening and closing a hefty task.

On the move, there’s little fault to the Granvia, apart from pedestrian take-off. Things look up as the minibus stretches its legs. Wind noise intrudes at higher speeds and watch the speed on tight bends – understeer and body roll are twin traps for the unwary.

Pulling up is safely taken care of large ventilated discs on each wheel, with twin-pot callipers up front and single calliper brakes on the rear. Braking system is backed up by a range of technologies including anti-lock brakes, vehicle stability control, traction control, hill-start assist and trailer sway control.

Also on board is an electronically-controlled limited-slip diff that applies the brakes to individual wheels to ensure drive torque is delivered to the rear wheel with the most grip.

SUMMARY
I cannot see many Granvias parked in the average suburban driveway, let alone tucked away in garages. They are more likely to be on duty on premium hotel forecourts. However, for those who are loath to leave the comfort of the lounge, the VX ticks the majority of boxes.

AT A GLANCE

MODEL LINE-UP
Granvia 6-seat $62,990
Granvia 8-seat $64,990
Granvia VX 6-seat $74,990
Granvia VX 8-seat $74,990
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Toyota dealer for drive-away prices.

SPECIFICATIONS (Toyota Granvia VX 2.8L turbocharged, 4-cylinder diesel, 6sp automatic, RWD, people mover)

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): 8.0 L/100km
CO2 emissions 211 g / km

DRIVELINE: Six-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive

DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT AND CAPACITIES:
Length: 5300 mm
Wheelbase: 3210 mm
Width: 1970 mm
Height: 1990 mm
Turning Circle: 12.0 metres
Kerb Mass: 2605 kg (6 seat)
Fuel Tank Capacity: 70 litres

BRAKES:
Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Ventilated disc

STANDARD WARRANTY:
Five years / unlimited kilometres

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2022 HYUNDAI KONA N LINE

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Hyundai Kona 2021

2022 HYUNDAI KONA N LINE

By EWAN KENNEDY

Hyundai has a very strong lineup of models in its Kona series – everything from conventional petrol-engined models all the way up to a full electric. This week’s road test review car is the Kona N-Line.

It’s a sporty looking vehicle, though without the impressive performance of its big brother the more expensive Kona N Performance.

The Kona is sold in a crowded class, with its major competitors being Honda HR-V, Mazda CX-3 Mitsubishi ASX and Toyota C-HR.

STYLING

Hyundai Kona 2021

Hyundai is a cross between a hatchback and an SUV.

Kona is a cross between a hatchback and an SUV in its shape. The protection around the wheels arches adds to the SUV look. The body is stylish without going over the top.

We particularly like the interesting front shape with its high-level daytime running lights and the low-slung headlights.

The N-Line has a revised front bumper and there are side skirts. Dual exhaust tailpipes provide a tough look to drivers following you.

Ground clearance is 170mm which is higher than the typical on-road hatchback but falls well short of the 210mm in real four-wheel drives. That 170mm does add to the business-like appearance.

INTERIOR

Hyundai Kona 2021

Hyundai is a cross between a hatchback and an SUV.

There’s an upmarket look inside the Kona. We really like the practical dashboard with its large dials and an easy to see 10.5-inch centre display set at the same level as the instruments so you spend minimum time looking away from the road to check it.

There’s rather too much black inside for our tastes, but to some extent that’s broken up by the red stitches on the sports seats and the steering wheel.

INFOTAINMENT
The N-Line has an eight-speaker Harman/Kardon premium sound system. We found the setup of the speakers is just right and it provides the sort of sound.

There are interfaces for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

ENGINES / TRANSMISSIONS
The 2.0-litre naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine produces 110kW of power and 180Nm of torque, the latter at a pretty high 4500 rpm. Most drivers will seldom go as high as 4500, however there’s reasonable punch below that number.

The automatic is a continuously variable transmission to maximise performance and minimise petrol consumption. As part of the mid-life makeover the CVT replaced the six-speed conventional auto previously used. Read our opinion of this auto in the Driving section of this road test review.

SAFETY
All Kona models have received five stars from ANCAP. It has six airbags, forward collision warning, lane keeping assist and lane-following assist.

Rear occupant alert is there in case you’ve forgotten there are kids in the back seats when you get out.

DRIVING
The CVT automatic has been designed by Hyundai engineers to give it a feeling of having preset ratios, it did jar a little but we soon ceased to notice what was happening under the bonnet.

You can sort of use it as a manual by changing ‘gears’ if you feel that way inclined. After trying this we simply left if to do its own thing.

There’s less room in rear seat of the Kona than we had expected, meaning I had to move my driving seat forward a couple of notches to provide knee room for anyone behind me.

The Koreans have a long history of tuning their cars to suit Australian roads and what we Aussie drivers like in the way of handling and comfort. Kona is obviously not a sports car but does hold on nicely during cornering and gives good feedback through the steering while and your backside.

It’s a bit noisy on gravel road and there’s some bump-thump on concrete road joins such as those on our road test section on the M1 motorway between Gold Coast and Brisbane.

Fuel consumption during our test period was in the 8 to 10 litres per hundred kilometres in town and suburban driving. It fell to five to six litres per hundred on country and motorway testing.

All Hyundais have a five-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty and a lifetime capped-price-servicing plan.

SUMMING UP
The updated Hyundai Kona offers a lot of car for a pretty modest price. We feel this update is a worthwhile one and we reckon it should certainly be on your list of cars to be checked out.

AT A GLANCE

MODEL RANGE
2.0 Kona 2WD: $26,600
2.0 Active 2WD: $28,200
2.0 Elite 2WD: $31,600
2.0 Highlander 2WD: $38,000
1.6 Kona N Line AWD: $36,300
1.6 N Line Premium AWD: $42,400
EV Elite Standard Range: $54,500
EV Elite Extended Range: $60,500
EV Highlander Standard Range: $58,000
Extended Range: $64,000
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Hyundai dealer for drive-away prices.

SPECIFICATIONS (Hyundai Kona N Line 1.6-litre petrol five-door wagon)

ENGINE:
Capacity: 1.591 litres
Configuration: Four cylinders in line
Maximum Power: 146 kW @ 6000 rpm
Maximum Torque: 265 Nm @ 1600 rpm
Fuel Type: 91RON petrol
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 6.9 L/100km
CO2 Emissions: 156 g/km

DRIVELINE: Seven-speed dual clutch automatic

DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT AND CAPACITIES:
Length: 4215 mm
Wheelbase: 2600 mm
Width: 1800 mm
Height: 1560 mm
Turning Circle: 10.6 metres
Kerb Mass: 1395 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 50 litres

BRAKES:
Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Solid disc

STANDARD WARRANTY:
Five years / unlimited kilometres

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