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Journeys : Dec Jan 2010
Best All-terrain 4WD Land Rover Discovery 4 SE TDV6, $81,990 Driveline: 3.0-litre V6 twin-turbo diesel, 6-speed auto Fuel economy: 9.3L/100km, diesel Safety features: DFSA, CA, ESC, TCS, ABS, EBA, EBD ANCAP: n/a (previous model 4 stars) GVG: The new Land Rover Discovery 4 has followed the back-to-back winning ways of its series 3 predecessor and in the process sets a record for Australia's Best Cars. It's now five wins in a row for the Disco, with Subaru's Forester the only other five-time winner (although not in consecutive years). Discovery 4 brings a number of improvements, some incremental and others major, plus fresh looks inside and out. It was no real surprise therefore that it kicked mud in the faces of heavy-duty class finalists Toyota LandCruiser and Mitsubishi Pajero. The new Disco proved more than ever that being engineered to tackle serious off-road treks doesn't have to come at the expense of comfort, refinement, performance and adept road manners. The previous series 2.7-litre turbo- diesel engine always punched above its weight and continues in the series 4 base model. This winning model features a brilliant new 3.0-litre sequential twin-turbo diesel. Power is up 29% and torque 36% to a stump-pulling 600Nm. On or off-road, this responsive engine impresses for its smooth, effortless performance. The new diesel also brings significant improvement to fuel economy and lower CO2 emissions. It also gets special tweaks compared with the Jaguar version to better suit its duty as an off-roader. The petrol engine in the range is a naturally aspirated direct-injection 5.0-litre. As the premium version, it gains plenty of extra gear over the 3.0-litre diesel but adds nearly $45,000 to the pricetag. Discovery's already enviable scores for handling, ride and braking all get a boost this year thanks to revised steering and suspension and larger brakes. Ride and handling precision are far ahead of what would usually be expected of a large all-terrain vehicle. Not so enviable are scores for running and repair costs and depreciation, while warranty and pricing hover near mid-field. But Discovery 4 TDV6 SE gives buyers a substantial standard equipment list and class-leading scores for safety and security. Like the series 3, it includes standard seating for seven with curtain head airbag protection also included for row-three passengers. The diesel mis-fuelling protection device fitted into the filler neck helps prevent expensive-to-rectify lapses of concentration at the fuel bowser. Land Rover's Terrain Response system with programs to suit virtually any terrain has been refined in the new model, improving off-road prowess. Height-adjustable air suspension and an improved hill-descent-control system aid off-road progress too. Heavy hauling ability adds to the Land Rover's appeal with a 3500kg (braked) towing capacity and the addition of a new towing aid, Trailer Stability Assist. When selected, the system can detect trailer sway and inter vene to help bring towing back under control. For its versatility and excellent blend of on-road sophistication with the ability to accomplish go-anywhere off-road adventures, it once again was impossible to go past the Land Rover Discovery TDV6 SE. 2nd -- Toyota Landcruiser GXL d 3rd -- Mitsubishi Pajero GLS Best Luxury 4WD Audi Q5, $71,900 Drivetrain: 3.0-litre, V6, 7-speed auto Fuel economy: 7.5L/100km, diesel Safety features: DFSA, CA, ABS, TCS, ESC ANCAP: GVG: Audi Q5 is the latest in the trend for large luxury 4WDs to inspire more compact siblings, and straight off both the petrol and diesel variants have walked up to an impressive win over some very solid competition. The lux ury 4WD category of 2009 had 29 competitors. Each year it becomes harder to separate the top-ranked vehicles as many have similar features, similar capabilities both on and off road and are more carlike to drive, making the distinctions even more blur red. The Q5 scored strongly across all sections, with maximum points for fuel economy in the diesel version. But it was its best-in-class overall effort, in the way it has been designed and its inherent functionality, that cemented the win. It also matched the seasoned BMW X5 on the bitumen, which is where these vehicle are bound to live. Often built on the foundations of the more-serious all-terrain 4WDs, these luxury models are surprisingly capable of perfor ming the big off-road trip of a lifetime if needed. But they are classy enough to drop at valet parking at the swankiest of hotels. Like its big brother Q7, the Q5 is well-kitted for its occupants, with triple- zone air-conditioning to ensure all are well looked after, leather seats, six- stack CD with steering wheel controls, along with stability control, traction control and ABS. And although a good safety performance is almost a given in this market, the suite of airbags for all passengers gets it a five-star ANCAP rating and a top mark of 10 in the Australia's Best Cars scoresheet. The Q5 is available in four specification levels, with the 3.0-litre diesel and 3.2-litre V6 petrol in this class. All have Audi's quattro all-wheel-drive system and with the 7 speed S-tronic transmission fitted, drivers are able to choose normal D(drive) or S(sport) modes selection on the lever, changing the characteristics of the transmission to suit their desired style. As new models are released each year, the benchmark continues to be raised and such is the case of Audi Q5. While BMW X5 has been a past winner for two years, this new vehicle has proven to be the strongest performer overall. Both Q5 petrol and diesel variants are some of the better-priced cars in the category. Those in the luxury car market are a bit canny with their money. They like to know they are getting a respectable brand of car keys to swing in front of their friends but they still want value for money and the Q5s deliver it. 2nd -- BMW X5 x-drive 30d 3rd -- Volvo xc60 T6 December 09 / January 10 43
October November 2009
Feb March 2010