The Australian International Motor Show alternates between Melbourne and Sydney, and this year it was the latter’s turn as host, with the last time at the Darling Harbour Conference Centre for a few years as it’s being revamped. John Oxley was there and has picked out the vehicles he thinks are most relevant for New Zealand
Ford had two centres for its AIMS experience, with a large presence inside and an even bigger one outside where customers could test-drive vehicles.
However, the big news was the new Mondeo, expected here in the third quarter of next year. Built on Ford’s new global CD-segment platform, it has startlingly attractive front end styling featuring a trapezoidal grille, a power-dome bonnet and segment-first adaptive full LED headlights.
The low roofline enhances the coupe profile while retaining a spacious and practical interior. The Mondeo introduces a number of high-tech features and is the first Ford to feature headlights with LED high-beam, low-beam and signal lighting.
As with the Ford Focus and recently launched Focus ST performance hatch, the Mondeo will also be available with Ford’s Sync connectivity system, voice-activated hands-free in-car communications and entertainment system for mobile phones and digital media players.
Tthe new Mondeo also showcased Ford’s rear inflatable seatbelts, designed to reduce head, neck and chest injuries for rear-seat passengers.
The outside display showed-off the new Ford Kuga which will be available with an EcoBoost petrol engine and TDCi turbo diesel engine with six-speed automatic transmissions when it arrives next
The new model is almost 10 per cent more aerodynamic than the outgoing model.
Holden’s stand was equally busy, with the reveal of the Cruze Sportwagon, the Colorado 7, and the Malibu, all of which are destined for NZ.
The Cruze Sportwagon, expected here in the first quarter of next year, will be available in two models, a CD with the choice of a 1.8-litre petrol engine or a 2- litre turbo diesel, or a premium CDX with a 1.8-litre petrol engine.
The entire range boasts Bluetooth connectivity with voice recognition, cruise control and iPod integration with steering wheel controls as standard.
Safety features include six airbags, rear park assist, and electronic stability control including anti-lock braking system and traction control. Leather trim will be available on CDX versions.
Based on the Holden Colorado utility, the Colorado 7 is set in the same mould as the Mitsubishi Challenger, offering a tough body-on-chassis go-anywhere 4WD with space for seven people.
It has the same 2.8-litre diesel motor with six-speed auto transmission, and impressive off-road capability as the ute, and has 5-star Ancap safety credentials. There’s rear park assist and a reversing camera on all models, and a 3-ton towing capacity.
Its chassis is biased towards passenger comfort, with independent double wishbone front suspension and a five-link live axle rear suspension.
There’s part time 4WD system with low and high ratio gears, shift on the fly and limited slip differential, as well as a hill descent system.
With the second and third row seats folded it can accommodate as much as 1,830 litres of cargo. It’ll be here soon.
The Holden Malibu is the replacement for the ill-fated Korean-derived Epica, and is designed to sit between the Cruze and the Commodore in the sedan lineup.
Designed in America, the Malibu will be available with a 2.4-litre DOHC petrol engine or a 2- litre common rail turbo-diesel, both engines paired with a six-speed automatic transmission.
Hyundai concentrated on showing off sporty looking concept vehicles, but its main car of interest to fleet buyers was the i30 Tourer. It’s not yet known if this nice-looking wagon version of the popular hatchback will be coming to our shores, but we hope so.
The i30 Tourer gets either a 99kW/164Nm 1.6-litre petrol engine or 94kW/260Nm CRDi diesel, both with either a six-speed manual or six-speed. A stability programme and seven airbags are standard across the range.
Sharing the i30 hatch's 2,650mm wheelbase, the i30 Tourer adds 185mm in total length and offers 528 litres of stowage capacity with rear seats up, an increase of 150 litres over the hatch, expanding to 1,642 litres with the second row seats folded flat.
Jaguar previewed its all-new two-seater sports car in Sydney.
The F-Type is an aluminium bodied front-engined, rear-wheel drive convertible, smaller than the XK models, and powered by either a 3-litre V6 supercharged petrol engine in 254kW and 284kW outputs and a 5litre V8 supercharged petrol producing 369kW.
The range-topping F-Type V8S will reach 100km/h in around 4 seconds and has a top speed of 297km/h.
Mazda’s main thrust was the new Mazda6, which we reveal on p21, but the company also launched mildly face-lifted versions of the CX-9 and MX-5, both wearing the company’s new corporate grin.
The mechanical specification both remains largely unchanged.
Mercedes-Benz showed-off its new A-Class, with powerful engines ranging from 90kW to 155kW, and emissions from 135g/km CO2, plus a best-in-class drag coefficient of 0.27.
And Mercedes ups the safety ante, with the standard specification including, among other things, its radar-based collision prevention system and reversing camera.
All engines feature a start/stop function as standard and have a seven-speed dual clutch automatic transmission with paddle shift as standard. We’ll see the A-Class here early next year.
Mitsubishi’s main thrust in Sydney was the new Outlander, featured on p4 of this issue, but it also showed off its new small car, reviving the Mirage nameplate. It’ll be here early next year.
A small car, it’s 3,710mm long, 1,665m wide and 1,500mm high, with a tight turning circle.
It has very clean lines for a coefficient of drag of only 0.3, and is powered by an all-new 1.2-litre returning 4.6L/100km.
The three-cylinder engine produces 57kW/100Nm, and is mated to either a five-speed manual or CVT automatic, while safety systems include six airbags and ABS.
Nissan showed off its latest small car, confirming that it will return to the Pulsar name.
Longer, wider, lower than the Tiida, the roomy Pulsar range will start with a four-door sedan in early 2013, powered by a 1.8-litre engine, which has a new Xtronic CVT transmission, for smoother acceleration and a broader gear ratio range.
The Pulsar hatch, maybe including a sporty SSS variant powered by a 1.6-litre turbocharged direct injection engine, will follow later.
Rear seat occupants get 1,370mm of shoulder and 660mm of rear knee space, while safety features include four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, an electronic stability system, and front, side and curtain airbags.
Nissan also unveiled a new Patrol, also coming here.
The new eight-seater is described as a “technological tour de force”, and introduces a new platform, a radical design direction, significantly enhanced interior comfort and luxury, a powerful new 5.6-litre V8 engine with exceptional driveability, a new seven-speed automatic transmission, as well as a new All-Mode 4WD system.
One of the most important 4WDs at the show was the new Range Rover Vogue.
At first glance there’s nothing revolutionary about the design, which is instantly recognisable as a Rangie, but under the skin it’s a mass of innovation, as we outlined in our October issue.
Not least of these is a massive weight reduction of 420kg thanks to its all-aluminium body, as well as a smoother and more aerodynamic body, and better use of interior space to give 11mm extra legroom compared to the outgoing model.
There’s also a new Terrain Control system, greater wading depth, and more fuel efficient (and more powerful) engines. Expect it here early in the New Year.
The Czech brand continues to make inroads under Volkswagen ownership, and in Sydney it showcased its new Rapid hatchback, falling between the Fabia and Octavia in size, and featuring the brand’s new design language.
The Rapid will be available with two petrol engines, the entry-level engine a 77kW/175Nm 1.2-litre direct injection petrol plus a 90kW/200Nm 1.4-litre.
Roominess in its class is the Rapid’s benchmark, with a surprising amount of space despite compact exterior dimensions (4.48m long, 1.7m wide) and provides room for five occupants. The Rapid’s knee and head room are best in class, as is the boot at 530 litres (including spare wheel). It’s coming here next year.