The Road Ahead : December January 2010
visit www.roadahead.com.au/motoring MORE INFO MOTORING NEW CAR REVIEWS WWW.ROADAHEAD.COM.AU 56 THE ROAD AHEAD DEC 2009/JAN 2010 nissan 370z KEY STATS RRP: $70,999 (seven-speed auto) SAFETY: Six airbags, anti-lock brakes (ABS), electronic brake distribution (EBD), brake assist (BA), electronic stability control (ESC) and traction control (TC). KEY FEATURES: Airconditioning, central locking, power seats, 18-inch alloy wheels, satellite navigation, six-disc Bose premium sound system, leather upholstery, bluetooth capability, immobiliser, alarm. ENGINE: 3.7-litre, 24-valve, double overhead cam (DOHC) V6. POWER: 245 kW @ 7000 rpm MAX. TORQUE: 363 Nm @ 5200 rpm 0-100 Km/h: 6.1 sec 80 Km/h-STOP: 21.5 m FUEL (ADR FIGURE): 10.4 litres/100 km CRASH RATING: N/A FOR: Engaging drive, solid performance, racy styling. AGAINST: No steering reach adjustment, temporary use spare, tyre roar. ford wildtrak 4wd ute The Wildtrak is the new hero model in the upgraded and facelifted PK Ranger family. It's $3000 dearer than the XLT but offers a number of 'extras'. Our test Wildtrak's 3.0-litre diesel engine with variable- geometry turbocharger for better torque characteristics was a real ripper, feeling strong and tractable even at low revs. Transmission choice is a five-speed manual or five-speed auto. Ranger proved adept off- road. On the tarmac, handling and steering rated very well by class standards. A 3000 kg tow capacity for manuals adds appeal. Less endearing is the lack of steering reach adjustment and the 'umbrella handle' park brake. kia soul Shaped and sized a little like a mini SUV, Kia's Gen Y enticement -- the Soul -- has a (relatively) roomy interior to go with its extensive wardrobe of styling features and accessories. A week each with two of three variants -- Soul2 and top of range Soul3 -- showed the 1.6-litre diesel example with five-speed, manual gearbox to be a better drive than is 1.6-litre, petrol, four-speed, auto sibling. The former's substantially better torque improves driveability appreciably, as well as fuel consumption. But perhaps that's missing the point -- maybe the target market might be more interested in making a style statement, in which case either Soul wouldn't disappoint. KEY STATS RRP: $26,690 (Soul2 diesel manual) SAFETY: Six airbags, ESC, TC, ABS, EBD, BA, active front headrests. KEY FEATURES: 16" alloys; immobiliser; power windows and mirrors; MP3-compatible CD player; six speakers with power bass, auxiliary and USB inputs; airconditioning, choice of 11 exterior colours. ENGINE: 1.6-litre, 4-cyl., 16-valve, diesel. KEY STATS RRP: $48,990 (5-speed manual) SAFETY: Dual front and side head/ thorax airbags, ABS, EBD. KEY FEATURES: Alcantra leather trim, alarm, 18" alloys, side steps, rear bumper step, six-stack CD, sports bar, tray roller shutter and bedliner, limited slip differential, cruise control, airconditoning. ENGINE: 3.0-litre, 4-cyl., 16-valve, double overhead cam turbo-diesel. WHEN YOU'RE ON a good thing, s k stick to it, so the old saying goes. Nissan has wisely done just that with the sixth incarnation of its iconic Z car. The 370Z has a slightly smaller, lighter body with a larger, more powerful engine than the well regarded 350Z. There's good use made of space behind the low- set, racing-style seats that offer both comfort and lateral support. Economy has been boosted, with Nissan claiming an ADR combined fuel cycle figure of 10.4 litres/100 km, an improvement of some 10 percent. However, our test returned a best of 12.6. But the driving experience, not fuel frugality, is what a Z car is about and here the 370 delivers. A comprehensively revised chassis and suspension set-up with shorter and suspension set ith h wheelbase, wider track and lower centre of gravity empowers the car with a feeling of alertness and one with the road. The steering is well weighted, turn in is quick, and grip levels are right up there with European competition which is double the price. For a bona fide sports car, the ride quality is not overly harsh but the 18-inch tyres give off an annoying level of tyre noise. The 370Z is also quicker than its predecessor. Power, up by 6.5 percent, is delivered in a flow, rather than a spike, and while a torque boost of 1.4 percent might seem minor on paper, the spread is broader. Peak torque doesn't arrive until 5250 rpm, substantially improving driveability. PRICES & FEATURES CORRECT AT TIME OF PRINTING. REVIEWS BY BARRY GREEN AND JOHN EWING. RACQ CAN HELP WITH FINANCE, INSURANCE AND VEHICLE INSPECTIONS. CALL 13 1905 OR VISIT WWW.RACQ.COM.
February March 2010