Hyundai Kona Hits Aussie Roads.

Hyundai has joined the burgeoning small SUV family with the addition of the Kona, a sharp looking machine with a front end that is sure to raise eyebrows. New Kona will be available in three trim levels, Kona Active, Kona Elite and Kona Highlander, with an optional safety pack for Active (‘Active with Safety Pack’).

Engine.
You’ll have a choice of a 2.0-litre, 110 kilowatt/180 Nm naturally-aspirated, four-cylinder engine with conventional six-speed automatic and front-wheel-drive, or a 1.6-litre Turbo-GDI with 130 kW/265 Nm between 1500 to 4500 rpm with seven-speed dual-cutch transmission (DCT) and all-wheel-drive.

The 2.0L engine accelerates the front-wheel-drive Kona from standstill to 100km/h in 10 seconds flat. The ‘Gamma’ 1.6 T-GDi has 18% more power and 47% more torque than the 2.0 litre MPi engine, giving a 7.9 second 0-100km/h time.
The turbo engine is mated to Hyundai’s efficient and responsive seven-speed, dual-clutch transmission (DCT) which combines the fuel efficiency of a manual transmission with the ease and convenience of an automatic. Economy is quoted as 7.2L and 6.7L per 100 kilometres.

Body.
Kona will offer nine body colour choices and two roof colours. The rear echoes the Tucson and Santa Fe (and the front of the Kona) whilst the front has hints of Jeep Cherokee thanks to LED driving lights at the bonnet line, headlines in a slightly unusually shaped cluster at mid grille and globe driving lights centrally located at the bottom of the front bar. Profile wise it’s a long bonneted look, flared guards, a curved rear, with the driver pretty much centrally located. Hyundai have used an innovative manufacturing process, with AHSS or Advanced High Strength Steel, making the body more rigid yet 10 perent light than using conventional steel panels. There’s also metal adhesive, 114 metres of it, to supplement conventional building processes.

Dimensions.
It’s compact, for sure, at 4165 mm in length, 1800 mm in width, 1565 mm in height, and rides on a wheelbase of 2600 mm. Ground clearance is a minimum of 170 mm. Although it’s smallish, Hyundai have put some TARDIS inside, with front shoulder room of 1410 mm, leg room of 1054 mm, and head room of 1005 mm. Rear seat passengers will have no issues either. Boot space is a minimum of 361 litres.

Equipment and Suspension.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are on board, Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA) with Pedestrian Detection, plus Drive Mode Select is available on both automatic and DCT variants, the function letting drivers choose between ‘Comfort’, ‘Eco’ and ‘Sport’ modes. Blind Spot Colliosion Warning is active up to thirty kph, and there’s Rear Cross Traffic Collision Warning. On board will also be a Lane Keeping Assist package with Departure Warning.
Underneath there’s the tried and proven MacPherson strut front suspension, and a torsion beam or multi-link rear depending on using front wheel or all awheel drive. There’s also a variety of suspension tunes depending on which variant you buy. During testing, 13 and 29 front and rear shock absorbers for the all wheel drive system, and 13 & 29 for the front wheel drive, two different stabiliser bars, and three & two spring sets were trialled to provide the best balanced deemed suitable for both country and city driving.

Pricing.
Current pricing is set to start at $27000.

 

 

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Car Review: 2018 Holden Astra LS/LT/LT-Z Sedan

It’s back to the future for Holden as the Astra nameplate on a sedan resurfaces with the sedans developed in Europe and built in Korea. The name replaces the Cruze, itself a resurrection of a previously used nomenclature. We’ve had the European sourced Astra hatch for a while and there’s also a new wagon version on the way. A Wheel Thing spends time with the mid-spec LT, top spec LT-Z, and entry level LS (there’s also a LS+), all fitted with the same engine and transmission combination.Up front, and the sole choice for a powerplant in the Astra sedan, is a 1.4L petrol engine, complete with turbo and good for 110 kilowatts. There’s 240 torques available between 2000 to 4000 rpm, with an extra five if you go for the six speed manual which is available in the LS only. Recommended go-go juice for the 52 litre tank is 91RON, of which it’ll drink at over eight litres per one hundred kilometres in an urban environment. On the freeway AWT saw a best of 6.3 in the LS and 7.1L/100 km in the LT-Z. Holden’s Astra sedan brochure doesn’t appear to specify weight, however elsewhere it’s quoted as being just under 1300 kilograms.The engine itself is a willing revver, especially so when the torque is on tap…for the most part. What was noticeable was the lag between a hard prod of the go-pedal, the change down a cog or two, and the resulting leap forward. In tighter Sydney traffic when a quick response was needed in changing lanes, that hesitation could potentially result in a safe move not being as safe as it should be. Also, in the LS, a noticeable whine, an unusual note at that, was audible and not found in the LT or LT-Z. Otherwise, once warmed up, the six speed auto had invisible gear changes up and down on a flat road, and downshifted nicely, holding gears, on the bigger downward slopes out west.It’s a trim, lithe, almost handsome car to look at though. It’s a longish 4665 mm in length and hides a boot of good depth and breadth at 465 litres. The rear deck lid does have old school hinges that swing down into the boot space though. The boot on the LT and LT-Z gain a small, discreet, lip spoiler as well. It’s also broad, with over 1800 mm in total width, and stands 1457 mm tall. What this gives you is 1003 mm front headroom, 1068 mm legroom, 1394 mm shoulder room, and in the rear 1350 mm shoulder room. 939 mm and 951 mm are the numbers in the rear for leg and head room.Up front, the three are virtually identical, bar chrome strips in the lower corners of the front bar for the LT/LT-Z. The headlights are LED DRL backed from the LS+ upwards and provide quite a decent spread of light. The headlight surrounds themselves gleam in the sunlight and add a solid measure of presence to the look. Wheels wise they’re all alloys, with a 16/17/18 inch and appropriate tyre size to match. There’s 205/55/16, 225/45/17, and 225/40/18s. And each of these contribute to the ride quality to the differing models…The LS is undoubtably the most plush, soft, of the three, but by no means does it lack grip when pushed. The rubber on the LS is from Hankook, the LT and LT-Z have Kumho Ecsta. Both brands provide more than enough grip and even occasionally chirp when when hard acceleration is given and both brands do provide a rumble, a somewhat intrusive rumble, on the coarser chip tarmac in Sydney. The LT and LT-Z also benefit from the fettling the Australia engineers have given, with a firmer and more sporting ride, less rebound but a small measure of more harshness.All three are brilliant freeway cruisers but it’s around town that the suspension tune really shines. In the varied road conditions that Sydney throws up, from table flat to mildly pockmarked to rutted and broken tarmac, all three dealt with them adroitly and with the words “sure footed” writ large. Only occasionally would the LT-Z, with the stiffest feel, skip and that was more so on the more ragged undulations that some corners have. There’s plenty of conversation from the steering wheel vinyl in the LS, leather in the LT/LT-Z), with an almost tactile amount of constant feedback through to the driver.Speaking of steering, the design of the wheel itself has your hands feeling as if they’re sitting between ten & two and eleven & one. The horizontal spokes sit just that little too high for a totally comfortable feel. You’ll also dip out on electric seats, even in the LT-Z, however there is more manual adjustment than in the LS. Across the range you’ll get auto headlights (which have an overly sensitive sensor), parking sensors, reverse camera, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, along with a seven inch and eight inch touchscreen for LS and the LT models.

Digital radio is also on board the LT and LT-Z to take advantage of the quite decent speakers on board. Also available in the LT and LT-Z are parking assist and with front parking sensors, Blind Spot Alert, auto headlights with tunnel detection, whilst the LS+ joins the party with Lane Keep Assist, following distance indicator, and Forward Collision Alert. However, window wise, only the LT-Z gets auto up and down for the driver’s window.Trim wise it’s cloth seats or machine made leather, soft-ish touch plastic on the dash, a grey coloured surround for the touchscreen and a frankly boring look for that in the LS, versus a higher sense of appeal and presence in the LT/LT-Z with chrome and piano black. Aircon in the LS is dialled in whereas the others get dials but with LEDs in the centre to show temperature and add more visual pizzaz. There’s a colour info screen in the LT and LT-Z’s driver binnacle which mirrors that seen in the touchscreen. Both look fantastic and appeal greatly. The LS? Standard monochrome. There’s clearly a high level of quality in the build being based on a Korean sourced sedan, but inside the Astra sedan does lack visual appeal, even though it’s not a physically unpleasant place to be.At The End Of The Drive.
At the time of writing, just a few days before Holden ceases manufacturing, the company had announced a seven year warranty being made available for the Astra range. However, there are terms and conditions so please speak to your local Holden dealership. Also, again at the time of writing (October 2017), the LS Astra sedan was being offered from $20990 driveaway if you choose the manual. Pick the self shifter it’s from $21990. The LS+ auto is from $23490 with the LT and LT-Z from $26290 and $30290 respectively. Again, please check with your local dealer. Those prices include stamp duty, 12 months rego and compulsory third party insurance, by the way.

All three (of the four trim levels available) cars tested did not disappoint; the LT-Z for AWT would be the pick, if only for the more sporting feel of the ride, the higher trim level and the fact that DAB is included, as it is below this model. But as a model range intended to effectively assist in kickstarting the importation model for Holden from October 2017 onwards, it’s somehow slipped under the radar. And that, so far, is a shame because it’s a very capable vehicle and more than worthy of continuing the legacy of the Holden Astra name.
Here’s where to go for inforamtion: 2018 Holden Astra range

Car Review: 2017 Great Wall Steed Diesel 4×4 Ute.

Great Wall first landed in Australia in 2009. It was a range full of petrol engines and manual transmissions and sharp pricing. However, quality was questionable and it wasn’t long before the brand was withdrawn. Fast forward a few years and the Great Wall brand features three variants in a four door crew cab design, a petrol or diesel 4×2 and a diesel 4×4, priced from $29990, driveaway. A Wheel Thing trials the 2017 Great Wall Steed 4×4 diesel to see if things have improved.Engines wise it’s a choice of a 2.4L petrol or 2.0L diesel, as tested. Both come with a manual, being a five cogger for the petrol and six for the oiler. The transmission itself in the Steed is typical manual; a reasonably light throw, a tad notchy, a sensible gate so you’re not hunting for the slot and there’s a simple push button based high/low range system. It is, however, mated to a living definition of time travel, backwards time travel. Great Wall quotes 110 kilowatts of power and a lowish 310 Nm of torque between 1800 to 2800 revs from the two litre engine… that’s substantially less than a good portion of its competitors.In order to get the Steed underway, a little slip of the clutch and a judicious prod of the go pedal are required, needing around 2000 revs to move it along with something approaching acceleration. It genuinely feels like an old school diesel, with nothing below 2000 and a cliff fall once you see 4000 rpm. It’s breathless, ragged, lacks urge and is defintely old school with the rattle. It also means that some uphill runs require constant downchanging, providing some good exercise for the left arm. However, on the freeway, the gearing means that it will happily pootle along right in the torque band.
It’s frighteningly thirsty though, with a final consumption figure of 9.7 litres of dinosaur juice being ingested for every 100 kilometres driven. That’s not great even allowing for the 1740 kilogram weight.The steering is also…unusual. What’s called lock to lock describes the process of winding the steering wheel from one side through to straight ahead to the other side. The Great Wall Steed is something close to five turns. What this means is a turning circle a battleship would be embarrassed to show and some serious arm work to engender directional changes. A half turn sees minimal left or right movement and you need, as a result, to wind on more lock to really see anything happen.Ride quality from the double wishbone front and leaf spring rear is also iffish. The Steed is too hard when it needs to be softer, and too soft when a firm and taut ride is needed. It’ll skip sideways too easily, thumps over the small metal speed bumps in shopping centres, crashes on the front when going over the bigger speed bumps, and just doesn’t seem to track straight and true on the freeway. In all, it’s a somewhat frustrating drive and ride experience.Outside it is handsome enough, with a number of positive comments from passers-by and colleagues. In profile it’s clear the car has been sourced from an Isuzu desgn, with the nose cone being given a thorough massage to ensure a clear GW identification. There’s a solid grille with five horizontal bars, a pair of LED driving lights inserted in each far corner of the bumper assembly, headlights not unlike that found in Holden’s Colorado, indicators in the wing mirrors and sitting in the middle of the 3200 mm wheelbase a pair of sidesteps. The rear bumper stands proud of the rear bodywork and adds a bit of extra length to the overall 5345 mm. There’s an approach angle for the alloy section in the front bumper of 25 degrees and a handy 21 degrees departure angle. Towing? 2000 kilos, braked.Tyres are 235/70/16 from Giti and are of a semi off-road capable tread design. They may also contribute to the skittishness of the Steed’s handling. What may also contribute is the one tonne cargo carrying capacity tray was unladen throughout the review period. It’s an almost square tray at 1545 mm long and 1460 mm wide and there’s 480 mm of depth. The test car came fitted with an alloy roll bar as well plus the tray was lined with a polyurethane liner and fitted with tie down points.Inside is where the Steed picks up some points. The slightly flat and slabby leather seats are heated, with the driver gaining simple electrical controls to adjust their pew. The overall presence is pleasant enough, with a basic but legible monochrome info screen between the uncomplicated dials; a touchscreen that is ssslllloooowwww to load the navigation system and looks peculiarly Asian in layout and colour scheme. Audio is standard AM/FM with Bluetooth and auxiliary inputs but you can watch DVDs….actual audio quality was ok, with a slightly boomy bass at levels that would normally sound tight and punchy. The rest of the dash and console is uncomplicated, ergonomically friendly, and of a pleasing enough quality throughout the cabin to appeal to most in the market.Safetywise the Steed features a reverse camera, which didn’t always engage, six ‘bags, pretensioning seat belts, stability control, hill start assist (which holds the brakes momentarily) and, surprisingly, tyre pressure monitoring. Blind spot monitoring, lane keeping alerts and the like aren’t available. However it still rates not terribly well for the ANCAP scoring, with a two from a possible five ponts when lasted tested. Warranty is a standard three years or one hundred thousand kilometres, and servicing starts at six months or five thousand kilometres. It’ll then move to 12 months or fifteen thousand after the first service.

At The End Of the Drive.
The 2017 Great Wall Steed, on its own, would be an ok vehicle for a private buyer or even a fleet buyer. However it needs more to really be a consideration, more as in refinement of the steering ratio, more in the torque, more in the fettling of the ride. It’s inside that the Great Wall Steed scores ponts, along with a not unattractive exterior. However, if price is a consideration, as it was in 2009 when A Wheel Thing worked at a dealership that sold Great Wall, then 30K driveaway will dull the headache.
Here’s where you can find out more: 2017 Great Wall Steed diesel crew cab 4×4

Car Review: 2017 Suzuki S-Cross Turbo Prestige.

Suzuki continues to cement its position as a leader in the small car market by giving us an updated 2017 Suzuki SX-4 S-Cross. Although it sports a sort of SUV look, it’s not. It’s front wheel drive only, powered by a ripper petrol fuelled turbo four. Like it so far? A Wheel Thing does.There’s three trim levels, simply named GL, Turbo, and Suzuki S-Cross Turbo Prestige. The test car, the Prestige, gets the same 1.4 litre turbo engine as the Turbo, however the GL is the outgoing model. Just need to clarify that…

Anyways, there’s a simple question the S-Cross Turbo poses. Is it any good? Most of the time a simple question has a simple answer and so it is with this car. Yes.First up, there’s that belter of an engine. 1.4L. 16 valves. Turbocharged. 103 kilowatts. Torque: 220 of them between 1500 to 4000. Transmission: six pseed auto. Potency level? High. This combination is superb. It reacts to a breath on the go pedal, the gearbox is crisp, shifts quickly and without fuss, and even with traction control on, will happily and merrily chirp the front driven 215/55/17 Continental tyres.

It’s a corker as it’s always on, meaning turbo lag is virtually non existent and its willingness to spin around to and past the red line is unbelieveable. The transmission also works well with the engine on downhill running, holding gear as you come down the slopes. Consumption in a mainly urban environment finshed on 6.7L per 100 km from the 1170 kilogram plus fuel (47 litre) and passenger vehicle.It’s a ripper handler too, with beautifully weighted steering connecting the driver to the road and providing plenty of feedback. The ride quality also is near nigh perfect with a supple mix of sporting and absorption offering an ideal combination of tautness and comfort from the McPherson strut/torsion beam suspension.Tip it into a tightening radius corner and the body will lean but ever so slightly, whilst the tiller requires minimal input to adjust to the curver coming in on itself. Pound it across the sunken and raised sections of various tarmac roads and you’ll feel a small bump before it passes and the chassis settles rapidly. Brake wise it’s spot on, with feedback straight away and a progressive travel allowing a driver to judge just….when…more or less pressure was needed.Suzuki have also performed a stunning piece of engineering upon the S-Cross, managing to squeeze apartment sized room inside a shoebox. The S-Cross is a mere 4300 mm in length, stands tallish at 1585 mm and spans 1785 mm horizontally. Inside that overall length is a 2600 mm wheelbase, ensuring ample leg, shoulder, and head room for four people, although three up in the rear seat is a touch squeezy. Luggage space is also huge at 430L to 1269L, including a double tray storage plus there’s the usual assortment of bottle and cup holders.The interior design is now familiar and standard Suzuki; there’s the four quarter touchscreen with Navigation, Apps, radio (no digital tuner though…) and Phone plus voice activation, traditional and eminently usable dials for the aircon, blue backlit driver’s binnacle dials and a simple to read and use monochrome screen between them. The dash and console design is a curvy design, flowing around into the doors in a clear swoop and with airvents/gear selector surround/door trim highlighted in alloy look plastic. The manually adjusted seats seats are heated (not cooled) and are a comfortable mix of leather and cloth. Of course the rear seats are 60/40 in split and foldable to allow access to that capacious and well trimmed boot. If there’s a negative it’s a small but persistent one. The setbelt straps in the height adjustable locaters were double strapped, as in both front and rear were reachable to pull over and it was the rear strap, not front, that kept getting grabbed.Outside it’s unrecognisable from the original SX4 of 2007 and noticeably different from the superceded model The tail lights have been subtly but obviously refreshed however it’s the bluffer, more “no nonsense” front end that has the 2017 S-Cross standing out. Although the headlight cluster (LED projector on the Prestige) looks almost the same, they’re a touch more angular and feature dusk sensing in the Prestige. It’s the stand out proud reprofiled nose, with an assertive chrome grille, polyurethane black running from the centre to the rear along the flanks and with a splash of metal chrome around the globe lit DRLs. There’s a crease line and stance not unlike Ford’s Escape, a 180 mm ride height, and hi-vis polished alloys to finish the visual appeal.Safety is high, as usual, with reverse camara, sensors front and rear, Hill Hold Control, 2 ISOFIX points, seven airbags including knee, electronic driver aids, even an auto dimming rear vision mirror. Servicing is capped for up to 5 Years / 100,000km and you’ll get a 100,000 km or three year warranty.

At The End Of The Drive.
Suzuki have pretty much stamped themselves leaders of the small car builders. There’s a new Jimny on the way as well to further fuel the fire of desire for this slightly quirky but nonetheless enjoyable brand from Japan. The 2017 Suzuki S-Cross Prestige Turbo builds upon their revamped range and is a genuine contender for best in class. Find out more about this pearler, here: 2017 Suzuki S-Cross Turbo Prestige

Car Review: 2018 Peugeot 3008 GT.

There have been times when a car maker undertakes a wholesale change to a vehicle and receives deafening silence. This is certainly not the case with Peugeot’s revamped 3008 range. How’s winning the European Car of the Year Award for 2017 sound? To find out if it is worth the fuss, A Wheel Thing goes one on one with the range topping Peugeot 3008 GT diesel.Clad in a pearl paint called Ultimate Red (a $1050 option), the 3008 GT comes with a 2.0L diesel and EAT6 (Efficient Automatic Transmission six speed) gearbox. The test vehicle starts at $49490 and was fitted with a strongly patterned leather seat trim ($2700), Electronic Tailgate (with foot operation) plus Panoramic Sunroof ($2500) for a RRP of $55740.

Sizewise it fits nicely into the mid sized SUV family. It’s a compact 4447 mm long, rides on a 2675 mm wheelbase, and has an overall width of just under 1900 mm. What this buys you is over 1450 mm of hip and shoulder room for the front seat passengers, and just a few mm less for the rear seats. There’s also plenty of leg room as well; what this all means for a buyer is an astonishing amount of comfort and freedom whilst being cosseted by the superbly padded and supportive seats. The pattern is, as one wag mentioned, the same as what you’d find being worn by a Game of Thrones character…not that that’s a bad thing.The front seats are heated and warm up quickly, but not quickly enough on a cold Sydney day. However, like so many leather seats, they’re not ventilated for cooling, and get somewhat sticky and uncomfortable on a warm day. That’s about the only negative on the seats as they look absolutely sensational with the thick quilted weave pattern and stitching. The front seats are, as you’d expect for a top of the tree model, electrically operated and have thigh extensions, and the second row seats are 60/40 split fold for the 591L/1670L rear cargo section.The office space is a wonderful place to be when it comes to driving the 3008 GT. The diesel pumps out a handy peak of 133 kilowatts at 3750 and an immensely useable 400 Nm of peak torque at 2000 rpm. Peugeot quotes a 0-100 kph time of 8.9 seconds, but the pucker-metre says quicker. Economy is quoted as 7.0L/100 km combined, with AWT seeing closer to 8.0L/100 km in an urban oriented drive. The dry weight of the 3008 GT helps, being 1371 kilos. Compare that to a couple of direct competitors such as the CX-5 2.5L at 1565 kg or Hyundai’s Tucson 1.6L turbo, with 1683 kilos…There’s enough on tap to have, in spite of the electronic nanny systems cars have nowadays, a chirp from the front driven Continental ContiSportContact 235/50/19 rubber. Rolling acceleration is truly an experience and that 400 Nm really shows its mettle plus you’ll find yourself quickly on the high side of the legal limit if you’re not watching the numbers. The transmission, once it hooks up, is superb. It’ll grab the torque and power and shove that through the ratios to the driven wheels without a hiccup.

Note the caveat there: “once it hooks up”. The EAT6 gearbox exhibits the worst characteristics of a DCT (Dual Clutch Transmission) when cold and at idling speeds. There’s gaps between selecting Drive and Reverse when barely rolling, and a gap in actually engaging Drive from Reverse whilst in Reverse. It’s possibly the only part of the 3008, however, that doesn’t work that well. The gear selection lever itself is fighter jet inspired as there’s an electronic tab on the top to select Park and a separate tab for Reverse/Neutral/Drive via the right hand side of the lever.

Also noteworthy is that there was no AWD option available for the GT. The reason for this is surprisingly simple: market research indicated that the higher echelon models such as the GT would rarely, if ever, see anything other than tarmac, in opposition to the entry level models, which research indicated would be more likely for some soft-roading.It’s appropriate that Peugeot have used a jet style like gear selector, as the cabin itself for the front seat duo is deliberate in having a cockpit like feel (and it’s literally called the i-Cockpit) for the driver and a clear delineation between that and the passenger seat. The centre console rises nicely on the passenger side and sweeps upwards and around to the right towards the steering column. Along the way it houses a number of switches in two horizontal rows, marking one line out for the heated seats and front & rear window defrosting and the other specifically for the audio, navigation, Blutooth, apps and such.

The trim itself is a beautiful mix of alloy look plastic, subtly textured matt black plastic, and alcantara splitting the dash horizontally. The upper section has a leather like material and houses both the touchscreen and the driver’s display, a wonderfully engineered full colour LCD screen. There’s a roller dial on the steering wheel, (itself a work of art) which is set BELOW the screen and works well ergonomically by the way, that allows you to choose different preprogrammed looks to the screen. It’s elegant, classy, and simply gorgeous to look at. As is, by the way, the LED mood lighting and the wing mirror puddle lamp.There is a slight downside to all of this and unfortunately it’s front and centre visually. Where the touchscreen sits in the dash it looks rather like a super sharp knife has been used to cut out a slot and the screen’s been dropped in. No it doesn’t look all that good and detracts somewhat from the otherwise gentleman’s club atmosphere the cabin has. The touchscreen has a hidden attraction though. Poke it (gently) with three fingers and the embedded programming reads that as a “page back”. Another delight was the inclusion of digital radio, and it is a punchy, clear, well setup sound system.However, there’s plenty of other tech to play with such as the wireless charging plate in its own little nook directly underneath the tabs. You’ll also have lane departure warning, a 360 degree camera setup on board as well, providing an extra peace of mind and safety element, plus Active Safety Brake and Distance Alert System when using cruise control (and it flashes up on the driver’s screen when nosing up towards traffic ahead of you). The foot operrated tailgate is simple in concept. The idea is to wave your foot (either one, it’s not fussy) underneath the rear bumper where a sensor reads the movement and pops the door upwards. In practice it was finicky and not always successful.Transmission hiccups aside, the 3008 GT is, perhaps, the best riding mid sized SUV you can get. Imagine, if you will, those nineteen inch wheels and 50 series rubber being able to follow every bump and lump, every ripple and corrugation, every undulation, and transmit those through to you in the cabin BUT not make that ride unduly harsh or painful but rather a fluid, almost liquid, experience. The light weight helps in the agility stakes too, meaning there’s less mass to move in directional changes (and haul up under brakes). There’s little to no road noise transmitted to the passengers, but the feeling of control, of comfort, of being swept along on a magic carpet. The steering ratio is spot on, meaning there’s no wasted movement in the way the wheel turns and relates to the front wheels. It’s beautifully weighted and is neither over or under assisted.

Outside the 3008 has been given a complete makeover from the 3007. It’s still rounded and ovoid but now with a more angular, edgy appearance, especially at the front and in profile around the C pillar. There’s even subtle differences between the GT and the others in the range. Here you get a more prominent “claw” motif in the tail lights, which themselves stand proud of the sheetmetal. The rear quarter is now a slightly busy looking mix of lines and angles, with the D pillar or tail gate blacked out between the chrome hip line and alloy look roof like (part of the paint option pack).There’s a solid line of black polyurethane from the rear to front, wrapping the wheel arches but doesn’t cover the seam line of the body underneath the doors. The front is assertive, bluff and upright, with the “chin” an alloy look and the lower right extremity open to cool the radiators fitted behind. Even the LED headlights are angular with a strongly defined “shark fin” design element to broaden the visual appeal.Warranty wise Peugeot offers three years or 100000 kilometres which does lag behind competitors now offering five or even seven years. However the included roadside assist is ahead of the game by offering that as three years, not one. There’s even a specialised capped price servicing program in place here:Peugeot Capped Price Service Program

At The End Of The Drive.
There are those, unfortunately, that will swear on the grave of their grandmother’s budgie’s second cousin that SUVs still have no right to be on our roads and we should go back to station wagons if we want to move people around. The 3008 GT and its brethren stand up for those that say the SUV has a worthy place in the automotive market. Winning a COTY award and being the first ever SUV to do speaks volumes for what really is a sensational car. It’s a cracker drive, a great handler, and a bucketload of fun. Check it out for yourself here: 2018 Peugeot 3008

A Wheel Thing TV: A Wheel Thing TV reviews the Peugeot 3008 GT

Car Review: 2017 Nissan Navara Dual Cab ST-X.

It’s a hearty “welcome back” from A Wheel Thing to Nissan and what a vehicle to get things up and running. The grunty and luxuriously appointed 2017 Nissan Navara ST-X dual cab ute graced the driveway for a week.The heartbeat of the Navara dual cab range is the immensely flexible and torquey 2.3 litre diesel available across the range. Depending on which specification you buy you’ll have either a 120 kW or 140 kW variant, such as the ST-X does, but you’ll also get either 403 Nm or 450 Nm between 1500-2500. It tapers off gently from that peak and acceleration in a rolling situation is stupendous. It’s geared to sit at around 1800 rpm or so for the highway and when required, will spin easily through the rev range and get you towards the horizon rapidly.  You’ll never feel as if the engine is going to run out of urge and with the (optional, as fitted) seven speed auto, it’s a seamless, ongoing, never ending wave with only the flick of the tacho really giving you any indication of what’s happening underneath.What’s even more startling about the performance is the bulk the engine must pull around. Kerb weight is just thirty kilos shy of two tonnes, and Nissan quotes a gross mass of 2.9 tonnes. However, such is the all-round ability of the engine and driveline you’d not know of the weight. To top the icing with a cherry is the fuel economy from the sizable 80 litre tank. Nissan quotes 7.0L/100 kilometres on the combined cycle, AWT finished just north of that at 8.1L/100.The transmission in the ST-X is a high and low range four wheel drive capable setup, tied to the seven speed auto. Capable being the operative word here as low range mud eating is a doddle. All but one Navara dual cab variant (the RX) has a leaf spring rear, with the others being loaded up with an S-Link rear. Combined with the standard double wishbone front, the ST-X will crawl over and through just about any surface in high and low four wheel drive. The low gear ratios allow the engine to provide peak torque during the drive, ensuring the engine is on song during off road excursions.On tarmac ride quality is pretty damned good too. It’s a touch more taut at the rear but is tied down, compliant and only occasionally jiggly. Thanks to the tough suspension requirements it’s flat, composed, irons out most irregularities but there’s a dark side. At anything other than walking pace it’ll nose wide in corners. There’s no lack of grip as such, just a propensity for the front end’s steering to not be quite as tightly wound as perhaps it should be. Otherwise it’s a ride that you can live with, and enjoy. Highway and freeway dips and rises feel as if they have the ST-X as part of the surface, as there’s no discernible suspension travel, rather a sensation of following the curvatures. There’s some free play in the steering for cornering at speed, with load felt just slightly off centre.Enjoy it you can whilst sitting in the cabin. ST-X has a nickname: “ute in a suit”; there’s leather seats front and rear, with heating for the front. Great in winter but no ventilation on leather seats during an Aussie summer is not a good idea…and there are times where cloth is preferred such as a cold morning. Oddly, for a top of the range vehicle, only the driver’s window has an auto or one touch Up/Down as well. There’s a leather trimmed tiller, plenty of storage nooks including a tray in the top of the dash (with 12V socket), and chromed and bronzed silver accented highlights throughout.The dash dials are clean to read and separated by a colour info screen, the touchscreen and associated buttons are ergonomically friendly, there’s plugs for the audio and 12V accessories , and a simple to use dial for the four wheel drive system. You’ll have Bluetooth phone and streaming compatibility, a single CD player, plus cruise control. Safety comes in the form of the electronic aids such as Hill Start Assist, Hill Descent Control, seven airbags including driver’s knee, and seatbelt pre-tensioning, making the Navara ST-X as safe as possible.There’s ample room front and rear for the family, for head and shoulders and, importantly, leg room. What you don’t get room for, which the ST-X has in common with every vehicle of its type, is room for shopping. Yes, you do have a tray that will excel at holding tools or whitegoods or hardware, but utes aren’t really ideal for family shopping…unless you’re a family of one and your shopping is tinned food and liquid refreshment.But little of that will count when you drive the ST-X. It’s an imposing beast, with an overall length of 5255 mm, stands at 1840 mm sans roof rails and will spread itself across 1850 mm. The wheelbase is a decent 3150 mm, one of the bigger wheelbases around, and contributes to the straight line stability of the vehicle. There’s decent front and rear overhangs too, allowing approach and departure angles of over 32 and 26 degrees when off roading. And underneath, the chassis is designed to work with the engine and transmission to allow up to 3500 kilograms worth of towing with a brake equipped trailer.Looks wise the Navara range for 2017 has been sharpened up a little; the front end is more angular, more asserrtive. There’s side steps on the ST-X, and meaty Toyo A25 255/60/18 rubber on either end. There’s a reverse camera integrated into the tail gate handle as well, linking to the touchscreen inside and provides a high definition image. There’s roof rails, a chromed roll bar mounted over the tray, a polyurethane tub lining, tie down points, which makes the overall presence high on the assertive “I’ll take this chair, mate”.At The End Of The Drive.
The Navara nameplate has always been a strong performer for Nissan. And even with the rise of the SUV the Navara continues to make an impact on a tough market. With competition from Volkswagen (Amarok), Mitsubishi (Triton), Ford (Ranger), Holden (Colorado), Isuzu (D-Max), just to name a few, the Navara has held onto a good market share. The ST-X especially is one that is worthy of looking at as a top of the ladder entry. As a work ute, it’s well and truly suitable, especially for areas that require a dedicated four wheel drive system. Wear a suit? Just as capable.

As a daily driver, the willing engine, smooth gearbox, and sheer driveability make it a no brainer. It’s compliant, comfortable, easy to move around despite the size and certainly has one of the more responsive throttles around. The 2017 Nissan Navara ST-X is certainly a solid contender in a very crowded market place.Check out the details of the range here: 2017 Nissan Navara dual cab range

2018 Kia Stinger Details Released.

It’s a highly anticipated and hotly debated subject encapsulated in two words: Kia Stinger. Kia’s been drip teasing information in the lead up to the official launch in September of 2017 and we now know more about what this car has to offer the Australian motoring public, in three trim levels.

Engine & Tranmission: It’s a development of Kia’s lusty 3.3L V6. Complete with a twin turbo set you’ll see a peak power of 272 kilowatts, torque is a stump pulling 510 Nm, and a quoted zero to one hundred time of 4.9 seconds with a Launch Control function on board as standard. Transmission is an eight speed auto and here’s the part that’s bugged a number of Aussies: it powers down via the rear, not front, wheels. Anchors are from Brembo, with 350 mm discs and quad pistons up front, 340 mm and dual piston stoppers at the rear.

Tyres: the entry level S model gets Continental ContiSport Contact 5 rubber, 225/45 on 18 inch alloys. The next step is the Si, with 19-inch alloys wrapped in 225/40R profile front tyres and 255/35R19 rears. The top of the range GT spec tyres have not yet been finalised.

Trim Spec: With safety a primary concern, the Stinger S packs a full suite of active and passive safety, featuring anti-lock braking with emergency brakeforce distribution and brake assist, Electronic Stability Control and traction control, Vehicle Stability Management, hill assist, rear view camera with dynamic parking guidelines, rear cross traffic alert, active hood pedestrian protection, LED daylight running lights and three child restraint points (two ISOFIX).

On the passive safety front there are seven airbags including a driver’s side knee bag, front seatbelt pre-tensioners and load limiters. The driver enjoys 8-way adjustment for the artificial leather sports seating while the front seat passenger can adjust their seating six ways to find the optimum comfort position.
Cruise control with steering wheel mounted controls is standard, along with 3.5-inch mono instrument cluster, two 12V power outlets and two USB charging points.
The entertainment system boasts six speakers, a 7-inch touch screen control centre with satellite navigation, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth compatibility and music streaming.

The Si “takes it up a notch” withgetting more technology in the form of Autonomous Emergency Braking with Forward Collision Warning, Lane Keeping Assist, Driver Attention Alert, front parking sensors, and rain-sensing wipers.
On the comfort and convenience front the Si gains Advanced Smart Cruise Control, while in line with the S there are four cup holders and four bottle holders, a centre console storage box and front seat pockets but the Si adds an under floor luggage tray and a luggage net. The entertainment system features an 8-inch touch screen and nine speakers which includes two under seat woofers (nice for a subtle massage….).

The Supreme pizza, garlic bread, drink, and free delivery package for the GT is impressive. How about a HUD (Head Up Display), 360 degree cameras, High Beam Assist, Dynamic Bending Lights for the LED auto levelling headlights, and Blind Spot Detection. Outside there’s electrochromatic door mirrors, sunroof, and two specific GT colours (Aurora Black and a pearl Snow White).

Inside the seats get beautiful GT embossed Nappa leather covered powered seats, with lumbar support, bolster adjuster, and under thigh extender. Instrumention goes up to a full colour seven inch TFT screen, whilst the pedals get alloy trim as standard. Wireless phone charging comes on board, as does suede trim for the roof and pillars. Need your fillings removed and ear wax shaken loose? The entertainment system takes a major step up with a premium 15-speaker Harman/Kardon system (eight speakers, four tweeters, centre speaker and two subwoofers powered by an external amplifier).

It really has divided the motoring public in Australia yet every motoring publication has rated the $48990 S, $55990 Si, and $59990 GT as being incredible value and an excellent car to drive. http://www.kia.com.au will have the link for you to book a test drive and source more information.