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Journeys : Dec10 Jan11
December 2010 / January 2011 43 Best Mid-Size Car over $50k BMW 320d Lifestyle $59,100 Driveline: 2.0 litre; 4cyl; 6 speed auto Fuel economy: 5.3L/100km; Diesel Safety Features: DFSA, HAB, ABS, TCS, ESC ANCAP: ★★★★★ GVG: ★★★★ In 2010, 11 out of the 15 Australia’s Best Car’s w inners are powered by diesel engines. The winner of this category, the BMW 320d, is a great example of maximising performance while minimising consumption. The BMW 320d Lifestyle is a 2010 makeover of an already- popular model in the Ger man manufacturer’s lineup. The key feature of our winner is the enhanced 2.0 -litre turbo- diesel engine, which delivers 135kW of power, providing strength and purpose in its performance. In fact the 320d rated the highest of the finalists for performance. The small capacity of the engine does not prevent the 320d from delivering impressive low and mid-range torque. The engine was the most responsive and flexible to drive through all the challenging tests the proving ground prov ided. The car is well-served by the automatic gearbox’s ratios and smooth, sw ift shifts. It doesn’t hunt and the engine’s sizeable torque means the six-speed transmission doesn’t have to change up or down as frequently. The 320d boasts a taut European ride, good steering and precise, communicative handling. The judges awarded the car w ith a pair of nines for performance and handling. The 320d also scored two nines for ergonomics and build and finish quality, which are considered trademarks of the Bavarian brand. Slide into the driver’s seat and you will instantly recognise the brand promise of ‘the ultimate driving machine’. Even in this entr y-level offering, the vehicle gives the dr iver an instant feeling of being at one w ith the car. Comfort is not forsaken when performance is required, with the BMW having a good ride and handling compromise. The price still gives a lot of car for the money required to get a vehicle that wears the BMW badge. Most drivers of the 320d will not be left wanting more kit, as there is plenty to be getting on with, including the ver y useable and practical iDrive system. The 320d reinforces BMW’s sports DNA. The rear-wheel-drive sedan boasts class-leading ride and handling w rapped in a stylish, comfortable package. Best Large Car under $60k Skoda Superb 125TDI Ambition Wagon $43,990 Driveline: 2.0 litre; 4 cyl; 6 speed; DSG transmission Fuel economy: 6.6L/100km; Diesel Safety Features:DFSA HAB KA SRAB ABS TCS ESC EBD BA ANCAP: ★★★★★ GVG: ★★★★ To say this class is incomparable w ith last year is an absolute understatement. A European four-cylinder turbo-diesel wagon winning what has traditionally been the domain of the big Aussie family sedan is an ABC first. Victor y by the Superb is clear evidence that a family car doesn’t need six cylinders, nor does it have to be petrol-powered. The world has changed. This is the family car category, so space is the big question. The Superb Wagon is a viable alternative in terms of space. Front seat passengers can move their seats back as far as they like and the back seat passengers won’t have a care in the world. Rear seat legroom is almost limousine-like. While overall rear seat w idth doesn’t quite match Falcon, three teenagers w ill still fit w ith relative comfort. Rear seat entry and exit also eclipse the opposition. The wagon has 633 litres of luggage area, expanding to 1865 litres with the rear seats folded. The V W-sourced 125kW turbo-diesel engine provides effortless cruising and is perfectly matched to the six- speed DSG transmission. There is enough punch w ith the 350Nm of torque to allow you to overtake on the open roads with a minimum of fuss. Official economy figures for the Superb are 6.6L/100km. There was a feeling among the judges that the wagon would suffer with increased internal noise, but the ear-meter, later backed up by decibel readings, confirmed the Superb to be at least the equal of its rivals for on-road noise. If it was let down anywhere in this area, it was the clatter of the diesel engine at lower speeds, but it was never intrusive. In the critical area of safety, Superb scores a perfect 10. Nine airbags, ESC, ABS, EBD and BA provide a five-star safety rating, with two out of three stars for the all-important pedestrian protection rating. Build and finish quality is typical of what you would expect from the V W-Audi group. The Superb has prevailed this year over some quality, locally-built opposition – and I’m sure they won’t be sitting on their hands during the next year in an effort to lead the pack in 2011.
Oct Nov 2010
Feb March 2011