The Road Ahead : December 2010
MAKES YOUR DAY 51 DEC 2010/JAN 2011 THE ROAD AHEAD AUSTRALIA'S BEST CARS MOTORING suv over $40,000 kia sorento sli KIA SORENTO SLI diesel drove into the winners' circle this year, thanks to a robust argument in Design and Function and an improved showing in On the Road to complement some already impressive numbers in Value for Money. As with most offerings with a third row of fold-flat seats, Sorento is better suited to children or the more vertically challenged, although head and legroom is commendable. With the third row in use, cargo space is understandably compromised. Fold down the third row, however, and Sorento has the solution to most load-carrying challenges. Well equipped with standard features, Sorento has rear ventilation for back seat passengers, a full-size alloy spare and, as mentioned, extra seating capacity. Three child restraint mounts are fitted. While satisfactory around town, the ride feels underdone when smooth hot mix gives way to coarse chip. Handling is another area that Kia will hopefully sharpen up. Peak power of 145 kW arrives at 3800 rpm while Sorento with auto transmission enjoys 14 Nm more torque than its manual sibling (436 Nm versus 422 Nm, both between 1800 and 2500 rpm), so the 2.2-litre CRD turbo four-cylinder is punchy enough and commendably quiet. MLP: $45,990. luxury suv over $60,000 bmw x5 xdrive 30d SINCE AUSTRALIA'S BEST Cars awards started more than a decade ago, the BMW X5 has grabbed half of the wins in the Luxury SUV category, and in 2010 it is yet another title for the new diesel variant. This is a category dominated by European manufacturers, particularly the German car companies. It is here that a winner needs to score well across the range, and X5 did just that. Although it did not achieve a perfect score of 10 in any one area, X5 rated consistently high in most criteria to usurp some quality opposition. Powered by an award-winning 3.0-litre turbo-diesel with new eight-speed auto transmission, X5 seamlessly delivers prodigious torque of 540 Nm in a well- behaved manner. This, coupled with car- like handling, engenders the feeling of a tight and tidy package. Not many in this class will go everywhere that dedicated all-terrain four-wheel-drives will, but off road X5 did a lot of things well, helped by its good ground clearance and some electric assistance in the downhill sections. With comfort levels that are class- leading, all occupants enjoy leather seating and climate-control air- conditioning and are protected by high levels of safety. MLP: $92,100. SCORES TOTAL: 710. 2nd: Subaru Outback Premium, 700. 3rd: Hyundai Santa Fe Elite, 693. CRITERIA (OUT OF 10): VALUE FOR MONEY: Pricing 8 H, Depreciation 7 M, Running costs 10 H, Fuel consumption 7 C, Warranty 8 M, Insurance 6 L, Standard features 6 H. DESIGN & FUNCTION: Safety 9 C, Environment 6 C, Comfort 9 H, Space 8 M, Practicality 8 H, Ergonomics 8 H, Build & finish 8 H. ON THE ROAD: Performance 7 M, Ride 7 M, Handling 6 H, Braking 7 H, Smoothness/quietness 8 M, Off Road Ability 9 M. SCORES TOTAL: 793. 2nd: Range Rover Sport TDV6, 759. 3rd: Audi Q5 2.0 Tdi Quattro, 756. CRITERIA (OUT OF 10): VALUE FOR MONEY: Pricing 8 M, Depreciation 7 H, Running costs 7 L, Fuel consumption 7 M, Warranty 5 L, Insurance 6 L, Standard features 6 C. DESIGN & FUNCTION: Safety 9 C, Environment 7 C, Comfort 9 C, Space 8 H, Practicality 8 H, Ergonomics 8 H, Build 8 C. ON THE ROAD: Performance 9 H, Ride 8 C, Handling 9 H, Braking 9 H, Smoothness/quietness 8 H, Off Road Ability 8 M. visit www.australiasbestcars.com.au MORE INFO LEVEL OF WEIGHTED IMPORTANCE FOR EACH SCORE: L=LOW,M=MEDIUM,H=HIGH,C=CRITICAL.