by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
Journeys : Dec2011 Jan2012
Best Small Car Over $35,000 Lexus CT200H Prestige $39,990 Driveline : 1.8 litre; 4 cyl; CVT transmission Fuel economy: 4.1/100km; ULP Safety Features: DFSA,CA,ESC,ABS. ANCAP: GVG: What a difference 12 months makes in the Australian Automotive market, as last year’s winner, the Mini Cooper D received a price reduction and courtesy of that sweetener for prospective buyers, the Cooper D found itself in the ultra competitive Small Cars Under $35,000 category for the first time. That left the door open for a couple of new-comers to put their stamp on the class and just as the Mini Cooper D raised a few eyebrows, this year’s winner, the Lexus CT200H Prestige is sure to create some discussion. The “H” in the badge adorning the rear hatch of the Lexus stands for hybr id, and for Lexus, with hybrids available throughout their lineup, it made sense that the new baby of the stable received the hybrid treatment. The Prestige is the entry level model in the line-up, priced at $39,990, and whilst prices climb through the four model range to $55,990 for the Sports Luxury, the CT200h Prestige is the cheapest Lexus to buy by a long way. Featuring a 1.8L four cylinder petrol engine and a permanent magnet electric motor, the two combine to deliver 100kW of power and 142Nm of engine torque. It’s matched to a continuously variable transmission (CV T). The technology is well-sorted and talk of the petrol/electric hybrid system being some sort of stop gap strategy until something better comes along clearly doesn’t wash with Toyota as they have been pioneers of the technology since 2001 and they have used the same combination in their third generation Toyota Prius models launched back in 2009. Strong performance isn’t the CT200H’s forte, with the CT200H it’s more about refinement and the hybrid power-train delivers seamless power from take-off, right through its rev range, albeit at a more leisurely pace than some of the other finalists. If you feel the need, there is a sports mode that sharpens things up electronically, and the combination impressed the judges w ith an above average score for smoothness and quietness. The other on road scores for the CT200H ref lect a similar theme, measured and capable, and the chassis could easily handle the demands of a much more powerful dr ive-line combination. Best Small Car Under $35,000 Volkswagen Golf 90 TSI Trendline $27,490 Driveline: 1.4 litre; 4 cyl; 7 speed; DSG transmission Fuel economy: 6.2L/100km; PULP Safety Features: DFSA, CA, ABS, ESC, TCS ANCAP: GVG: How do you knock off an icon? That is what the makers of the other 35 cars in the competition must be thinking after the Golf continues to win in the Australia’s Best Cars Awards. To get to the pointy end of the field of cars that start at $17,000 through to those that just skim below the $35,000 ceiling in the small cars under $35,000 group, (which is one of the largest ABC categories), a vehicle manufacturer has to start with an attractive price and it needs to be scribed in a very sharp pencil. In this respect, the top three that got to the final judging were, as you would expect, pretty close in the value for money stakes. So what did give the Volkswagen Golf the w in again this year? It was its solid results in the Design and Function and On the Road areas that cemented its unassailable lead. The Golf desig n features gave it top marks for its safety and env ironment and it is a comfortable car to live in and with, which is reflected in its almost perfect scores for the comfort and ergonomics areas. The class leading starts with the seats and although firm on first contact, over the drive program they were very supportive and remained comfortable and not too soft for the whole test process. Besides being comfortable to sit in, the Golf was easy to use as all the switches were within easy reach and clearly seen and those often used items like the audio are on the same level as gauges so they are easy to focus on and at the same height as the middle of the steering wheel, so easy to reach. Volkswagen is on a roll as evidenced by the number of categories they have won in the last couple of years. One of the secrets to their success has been the handling characteristics they have been able to dial into all of their range. The Golf is the best example of that recipe as its handling and ride package was matched only in this category by the sports version of the Ford Focus, with the Golf and Focus achieving identical on road scores. Australia’s Best Cars December 2011 / January 2012 51
Oct Nov 2011
Feb March 2012