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Motoring News

MITSUBISHI ECLIPSE CROSS EXCEED PHEV

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MITSUBISHI ECLIPSE CROSS EXCEED PHEV

By CHRIS RILEY

PHEV . . . there’s a lot to get your head around.

Mitsubishi’s Eclipse Cross PHEV is a member of what we like to think of as the 100km club.

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It’s a fairly exclusive club because it costs a lot to get into and the benefits are at best fleeting.

Based on the same powertrain as the Outlander PHEV, with both petrol and electric motors, claimed fuel consumption for the Eclipse Cross PHEV is a tiny 1.9L/100km.

That’s an impressive figure, but the reality is to achieve this figure the vehicle needs to be recharged each and every 100km – otherwise the final figure is sure to be considerably higher.

Basically, the battery provides 45km of petrol-free travel. After that, the petrol engine is on its own – at least until the battery has been recharged. Get the picture?

STYLING

With seating for five occupants, Eclipse Cross sits between ASX and Outlander in terms of size.

There are three plug-in hybrid versions from which to choose: ES, Aspire and Exceed.

Prices start from $47,290 for ES, $51,240 for Aspire and $55,990 for top of the line Exceed.

The latter, the subject of our review, is a big ask with a price that is $12,500 more than the equivalent turbocharged petrol model.

All PHEVs come with an auto and all three are underpinned by all-wheel drive.

Standard kit includes cloth trim, two-zone climate air conditioning, 18-inch alloys, push button start, LED daytime lights, cruise control and rear parking sensors.

Aspire adds suede and synthetic leather trim, heated front seats, power-adjust driver’s seat, LED headlights, front parking sensors, along with adaptive cruise control, 360-degree camera, blind spot warning, lane change assist and rear cross traffic alert.

Exceed adds full leather, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, power-adjust passenger seat, built-in navigation, head-up display and a double sunroof – plus an ultrasonic mis-acceleration mitigation system.

The PHEV received some minor updates earlier this year, including the addition of a power operated tailgate and V2L (the ability to power external equipment, with a 240 volt three-point power socket in the boot).

For a car with a focus on technology, however, it lacks wireless phone charging, the latest USB-C ports or a 12-volt socket in the cargo area. Ditto missing rear air vents.

Eclipse Cross PHEV is covered by a 10-year / 200,000 km warranty – provided that it’s always serviced at a Mitsubishi dealership. Otherwise, it’s five years and 100,000 km.

Battery warranty is eight year and 160,000 km.

INFOTAINMENT

Infotainment comprises an 8.0-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth with voice control, AM/FM and DAB+ digital radio, wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and an eight-speaker, Mitsubishi-branded sound system.

ENGINES / TRANSMISSIONS

The powertrain comprises a 2.4-litre petrol engine with two electric motors, one for the front and one for the rear axle, and a 13.8 kWh battery.

The engine produces 94kW of power and 199Nm of torque, while the electric motors deliver 60kW/137Nm and 70kW/195Nm respectively.

A combined figure is not provided, but throttle response is sharp thanks to the instant torque from the electric motors.

Drive is to all four wheels through a single-speed transmission and is remarkably smooth.

SAFETY

Standard safety includes seven airbags, rear view camera, automatic emergency braking and lane departure warning, plus an ultrasonic mis-acceleration mitigation system.

The latter reduces the chance and severity of hitting obstacles when the driver mistakenly presses the accelerator when stationary or at speeds of up to 10km/h.

DRIVING

Eclipse has grown a little in size since launch.

It now offers a pleasant, comfortable environment, with more rear legroom and a larger boot.

The cool two-piece rear window has been replaced with a more conventional and probably cheaper one-piece unit.

A revised instrument cluster displays engine speed as well as EV charge levels and battery use — but no digital speedo.

For that, in the Exceed at least, there’s a flip-up, plastic-style head-up display panel that  deploys above the dash.

The front seats and steering wheel are heated, but cooling would have been a better option given our climate.

Although larger overall, plug-in hybrid versions have a smaller boot than the standard model because of the space occupied by the battery pack.

While the spare wheel has been replaced by a tyre repair kit.

The PHEV system is ‘EV-biased’ and prioritises EV Mode wherever possible, but can deploy Series or Parallel Hybrid modes when required.

In EV Mode (available from 0–135km/h), the PHEV is powered by the front and rear electric drive motors, drawing current from the battery.

In Series Hybrid Mode (available from 0-70km/h), the car continues to use the battery to power the front and rear motors, while the petrol engine is engaged to run the generator to charge the battery while driving.

This mode is also automatically activated when the driver wants maximum acceleration, or for example when driving uphill or when battery charge is low.

In this mode, the vehicle will attempt to revert to EV Mode as often as possible for maximum efficiency and minimum emissions.

In Parallel Hybrid Mode (available above 70km/h), the PHEV operates like a traditional hybrid.

This means the petrol engine drives the front wheels in tandem with the front electric motor via the multi-mode front transaxle, while the rear electric motor drives the rear wheels.

Once again, the vehicle is configured to revert to EV Mode or Series Hybrid Mode whenever possible.

Regenerative braking is available in all three modes and can be adjusted via paddles on the steering wheel. There are five steps that add drag when you take your foot off the throttle, sending energy back to the battery.

But, unlike other vehicles of this kind, you still need to apply the brakes.

It all might sound a bit complicated, but there’s no need to worry because the car takes care of everything — everything that is apart from charging.

The PHEV has AC Type 2 and DC CHAdeMO style input sockets.

Using the supplied cable and a regular 10A powerpoint it takes 7 hours to fully charge.

It’s also supplied with a second cable for faster Mode 3 charging using a wall charger which takes 4 hours, while 0-80 per cent with a full-blown commercial DC charger takes 25 minutes.

The Mitsubishi Remote Control app allows drivers to plan and activate battery charging remotely via the app, to take advantage of off-peak electricity tariffs.

Mitsubishi claims 55km of electric range, but that’s under the old NEDC standard. Under the newer, more stringent WLTP system, it’s actually 45km — but 55 sounds better.

Basically, if you live in the ‘burbs, Mitsubishi claims the electric range is sufficient to pop into the city and back without needing to recharge. We reckon it’s a costly option and a lot of mucking around for little in return.

The cynical might suggest it has more to do with satisfying emissions requirements than delivering real world benefits.

At the same time, because it’s a plug-in hybrid, you don’t need to worry about being stranded. When the juice runs out, the petrol engine kicks in.

Hybrid questions aside, the PHEV is a heavy car and this has implications for the ride and handling.

There are five drive modes: tarmac, snow, gravel, normal or economy.

Normal or Eco are what most urban motorists will use, while Tarmac is in effect a sport mode in which the car becomes tauter, sportier and more responsive.

The ride is harsher on anything apart from smooth bitumen, even though they’ve done a bit of work on the rear suspension.

You feel all the little imperfections and the car can take longer than normal to settle as it continues to bounce up and down on the suspension.

That weight means and the fact the car sits relatively high also means it has a tendency to run wide in corners, with squeal hard braking and lift-off oversteer when braking late and hard into corners.

The steering lacks any sort of feel. In fact, you can waggle the steering wheel (technical term) from side to side with little or no effect on the direction of travel.

It’s like trying to change direction in the billy carts we used to build as kids in the backyard with wood pinched from building sites.

A sports car it is not.

With a 45-litre tank, it takes regular 91 unleaded.

We took the PHEV for a run down the coast over the Easter long weekend and unfortunately did not have access to a powerpoint to recharge the battery.

We were getting 6.8L/100km after 780km, bearing in mind that trip computers in Mitsubishis are prone to reset no matter what you do

Power consumption was 16.2kWh/100km, while 47 per cent of our time was spent in EV mode. No sure how this can be, as we never recharged the battery after the initial charge was depleted.

This compares with 7.7L/100km for the 1.5-litre turbocharged all-wheel drive version of the car.

SUMMING UP

The Eclipse Cross PHEV Exceed is a likeable enough car, but for $12,500 more than the regular model, it needs to be more than that.

For this kind of money, you can get into MG’s new ZS EV Long Range, a fully electric SUV with 440km of range that does not require charging as frequently.

While buyers might be coming around to the benefits of EVs, they have demonstrated a reluctance to pay the outrageous prices that manufacturers are demanding for them.

New technology is always expensive, but the technology is mature now and pricing needs to start reflecting this fact.

RATINGS:

Looks: 7.5/10

Performance: 7/10

Safety: 8/10

Thirst: 8/10

Practicality: 6/10

Comfort: 7/10

Tech: 8/10

Value: 6/10

Overall: 7.2/10

AT A GLANCE

MODEL RANGE
Eclipse Cross PHEV ES AWD: $46,490
Eclipse Cross PHEV Aspire AWD: $50,490
Eclipse Cross PHEV Exceed: $54,490
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Mitsubishi dealer for drive-away prices.

SPECIFICATIONS (Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross PHEV Exceed five-door wagon)

PETROL ENGINE:
Capacity: 2.4 litres
Configuration: Four cylinders inline, Atkinson cycle
Maximum Power: 94 kW @ 4500 rpm
Maximum Torque: 199 Nm @ 4500 rpm

ELECTRIC MOTORS:
Front electric motor: 60 kW/137 Nm
Rear electric motor: 70 kW/195 Nm
Fuel Type: Standard unleaded petrol
Battery capacity: 13.8kWh

Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 1.9L/100km
CO2 Emissions: 43g/km

DRIVELINE: Single Speed Transmission reduction gear, all-wheel drive

DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT AND CAPACITIES:
Length: 4545 mm
Wheelbase: 2670 mm
Width: 1805 mm
Height: 1685 mm
Turning Circle: 10.8 metres
Kerb Mass: 1895 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 45 litres

BRAKES:
Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Solid disc

STANDARD WARRANTY:
10 years/200,000km (when serviced with Mitsubishi)
Battery 8 years/160,000km

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2025 Porsche 911 Hybrid production starts

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2025 Porsche 911 Hybrid production starts

 

By Jeff Gibbs

Production of the highly anticipated Porsche 911 hybrid has commenced following an extensive testing phase, with the German automaker boasting that it surpasses its petrol-only counterpart in terms of speed.

Scheduled for its global debut in Europe on May 28, 2024, Porsche has already revealed impressive performance metrics for the 911 hybrid. Clocking a blistering lap time of 7:16.934 minutes around the demanding Nurburgring Nordschleife race circuit, the hybrid variant outpaces its predecessor by a significant 8.7 seconds. While Porsche has not specified the exact model of the previous 911 being referenced, it’s evident that the hybrid iteration is geared towards performance, more akin to the Carrera or Carrera S variants rather than the track-focused GT3 RS.

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Renowned as a benchmark for automotive prowess, the Nurburgring Nordschleife presents a challenging 20.8-kilometer layout, featuring a diverse range of corners and surfaces. This exceptional lap time underscores the 911 hybrid’s dynamic capabilities and positions it as a formidable force on both road and track.

While Australian availability has yet to be confirmed, Porsche first hinted at the development of a hybrid 911 with the introduction of the eighth-generation ‘992’ model in 2019. As part of a mid-life facelift for the current lineup, the hybrid variant is slated for release in 2025, aligning with Porsche’s ambitious target of electrifying over half of its new vehicle sales by 2025 and achieving 80% electric sales by 2030.

Details regarding pricing, trim levels, and nomenclature for the 911 hybrid remain undisclosed. However, speculations suggest it may adopt the moniker “Porsche 911 t-Hybrid,” following the trademark registration of ‘t-Hybrid’ by the company. Notably, the hybrid powertrain may depart from Porsche’s signature flat-six engines, potentially incorporating a four-cylinder petrol engine supplemented by electric propulsion.

Drawing inspiration from Porsche’s illustrious motorsport heritage, particularly its successful 919 endurance racing program, the 911 hybrid is anticipated to channel the technological advancements and performance prowess demonstrated by its racing counterparts. Although not designated as a plug-in hybrid, akin to the Porsche 918 hypercar, the 911 hybrid is poised to leverage insights gleaned from Porsche’s current LMDh endurance racing program.

With their endurance racers already clinching victories in prominent events like the World Endurance Championship and IMSA series, the 911 hybrid promises to be a game-changer in the realm of high-performance electrified vehicles.

 

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Hyundai Launches New Santa Fe Hybrid in Australia: Rivalling Toyota Kluger and Kia Sorento

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Hyundai Launches New Santa Fe Hybrid in Australia: Rivalling Toyota Kluger and Kia Sorento

 

By Jeff Gibbs

Hyundai has unveiled its latest offering in the family SUV market with the 2024 Santa Fe, a seven-seat hybrid vehicle designed to compete directly with the Toyota Kluger Hybrid and Kia Sorento. This new model introduces significant enhancements and a variety of options tailored to meet diverse consumer needs and preferences.

Model Range and Pricing

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The new Santa Fe comes in three distinct grades: the base Santa Fe, the mid-tier Elite, and the top-of-the-line Calligraphy. The entry-level front-wheel-drive Santa Fe starts at $55,500 before on-road costs, marking a nearly $10,000 increase from its predecessor. Customers looking for enhanced stability can opt for all-wheel drive for an additional $3,000. The Elite variant, priced at $65,000, includes all-wheel drive as standard, while the range-topping Calligraphy is available from $75,000 and offers both seven- and six-seat configurations.

Power and Efficiency

Each model in the lineup features a hybrid powertrain that combines a 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine with an electric motor, delivering a total output of 172kW and 367Nm of torque. This setup achieves an impressive fuel efficiency of 5.6 litres per 100km, matching the fuel consumption of its main competitor, the Toyota Kluger.

Design and Features

The 2024 Santa Fe boasts a bold, boxy silhouette reminiscent of classic Land Rovers, enhanced by dynamic H-shaped headlights and a distinctive light bar across the front grille. Standard features on the base model include 20-inch alloy wheels, LED lighting, and rear privacy glass. Inside, the vehicle sports dual 12.3-inch digital displays for multimedia and driver instruments, cloth seats, and comprehensive safety features including 10 airbags and a suite of active driver aids.

Technology and Comfort

The Santa Fe is equipped with Hyundai’s Bluelink app, offering over-the-air update capabilities and smartphone mirroring, along with a wireless device charger. All-wheel-drive variants benefit from multiple driving modes such as Snow, Mud, and Sand, enhancing the SUV’s versatility across different terrains.

The Elite trim upgrades the interior with synthetic leather-wrapped seats, a heated steering wheel, power-adjustable driver’s seat, and an additional wireless device charger. It also replaces the standard six-speaker stereo with a premium Bose sound system for an enriched audio experience.

Calligraphy models elevate luxury with Nappa leather upholstery, a sunroof, power adjustments for the front passenger seat, and a head-up display that projects essential driving information directly onto the windshield.

For added convenience and health safety, the Calligraphy variant includes a UV-C sterilisation tray located in the dashboard above the glove box, capable of sanitising items in just 10 minutes.

Conclusion

Hyundai’s 2024 Santa Fe positions itself as a strong contender in the competitive hybrid SUV market in Australia, blending performance, luxury, and advanced technology to cater to the modern family’s needs. With its comprehensive features and competitive pricing, the Santa Fe is set to challenge established rivals and appeal to a broad audience seeking a reliable, stylish, and efficient family vehicle.

 

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Genesis Australia Poised to Enter High-Performance Market with Magma Sub-Brand

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Genesis Australia Poised to Enter High-Performance Market with Magma Sub-Brand

 

By Jeff Gibbs

Genesis Australia is eagerly positioning itself to launch its new Magma performance sub-brand, aiming to compete directly with established high-performance divisions like Mercedes-AMG, BMW M, and Audi Sport. The Magma brand, unveiled at the New York motor show in March 2024, signifies Genesis’ commitment to performance models, starting with the G80 sedan in Middle Eastern markets.

While plans for the Australian launch remain preliminary, Justin Douglass, the head of Genesis Australia, expressed strong interest in bringing Magma to the local market, known for its appetite for high-performance vehicles. “The Magma range seems to resonate well with what we anticipate the market will welcome. We’re excited about the potential of introducing it here once available,” Douglass remarked.

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In Australia, performance models form a significant part of car sales, with AMG variants constituting about 28% of Mercedes-Benz’s overall sales in 2023, or approximately 6,808 units. Similarly, BMW M’s sales surged by 19.7% in 2023, with about 6,664 units sold, underscoring the market’s robust demand for high-performance cars.

Genesis aims to develop a high-performance Magma model for each vehicle in its current lineup, potentially introducing six models based on the G70, G80, G90, GV60, GV70, and GV80. However, the G90 large sedan, not available in right-hand drive, will likely be excluded from the Australian market, leaving five potential models for introduction.

Among these, the GV60 electric vehicle is a frontrunner to debut the Magma sub-brand in Australia. A concept version was showcased in New York featuring distinctive orange paintwork and performance enhancements. The GV60 Magma concept not only promises a more aggressive styling but also improved electric motor technology, offering a glimpse into the potential capabilities of a production model, which might parallel the mechanically related Hyundai Ioniq 5 N with its 448kW/740Nm output, significantly more powerful than the current top GV60 Performance Lux variant.

 

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