The Road Ahead : 01-Aug-2011
MAKES YOUR DAY 59 AUG/SEP 2011 THE ROAD AHEAD volkswagen polo gti KEY STATS PUT THE VW and GTi mo onikers together and the excellent Golf GT Ti will probably be the top-of-mind thougght for many. But the latest incarnation n of the Polo GTi deserves equal billing. After all, it Af ll i shares a number of technical features and the fundamental GTi philosophy with its more expensive sibling. Around $14,000 cheaper than a Golf GTi, it's well worth consideration by those after an entertaining drive. It's Golf's smaller sibling, but interestingly our measurements show cabin occupant space is little different. Golf shades it for load space in the hatch area though. Polo GTi's twin-charger engine, which uses a combination of supercharging and a turbo, offers plenty of grunt and go with frugal fuel use and reduced emis i sions. I IIt tt ne ne neve ve ver r rl l la la lak k k ck ck ck ck cks s s s s sf f f fo o fo fo fo or r r ran an n anu u u urg g rg rg g g ge en en en nttt response, despite its diminutive 1.4-litre capacity, and the standard seven-speed DSG gearbox (there's no manual) shifts swiftly, even when forced at wide-open if l throttle to shuffle back multiple ratios. Naturally, there's a manual and a sports mode too. The chassis has a nimble poised feel, there's good grip from the 40 series rubber and the steering is nicely linear and suitably sharp. Brakes are progressive and efficiently retard progress when requested. The sports suspension is 15 mm lower than the standard Polo. The front sports seats are comfortable, supportive and nicely bolstered though lumbar adjustment and cushion tilt w ould have been welcome. mini cooper 1.6 s countryman The new Countryman is the first MINI with four doors, a length over four metres and optional all-wheel drive. Being longer, wider and taller, rear occupants fare better for space, and there's a little more practical load area. Prices also get a stretch upwards. The turbo-petrol engine is responsive and feels eager to please while the optional six-speed auto delivers prompt shifts. 'Go-kart' chassis dynamics and steering, are retained. Ride on the optional 18" alloys shod with run flat tyres is hard and skittish on anything other than smooth roads. KEY STATS MLP: $49,850^ SAFETY: Dual front/side/curtain airbags, ABS, EBA, EBD, ESC, TCS, cornering brake control, front seatbelt pre- tensioners. KEY FEATURES: Airconditioning, 17" alloys, CD, sports seats, electronic differential lock control. ENGINE: 1.6-litre, turbo, direct injection petrol, 4-cyl. CRASH RATING: (Euro NCAP). volvo xc60 t5y l model in the XC60 range, released coincident with other upgrades in the 2011 range. This T5 variant slices the next model up's price by $3500 but it's front-wheel drive only rather than all-wheel drive as in other variants. Despite the T5 name, a new four-cylinder direct petrol injection engine mated to a six-speed dual-clutch gearbox provides the power. Performance should satisfy most buyers' expectations, while the DSG style gearbox is mostly smooth. Slight jerkiness on take-off and one-two shifts is detectable though. The T5 offers secure roadholding and composed ride. KEY STATS MLP: $54,150^ SAFETY: Dual front/side/curtain airbags, ABS, EBD, EBA, ESC, TCS, City Safety Active Braking System. KEY FEATURES: Climate control, 17" alloys, leather trim, electric park brake, rear park sensors, power driver's seat, integrated child booster cushions, Bluetooth, auxiliary/ USB audio inputs. ENGINE: 2.0-litre, turbo, direct injection petrol, 4-cyl. CRASH RATING: NEW CAR REVIEWS MOTORING MLP: $28,990^ (5-dr) $27,790^ (3-dr). SAFETY: Dual front/side/curtain airbags, anti-lock brakes (ABS), electronic brake distribution (EBD), emergency brake assist (EBA), electronic stability control (ESC), traction control (TCS), electronic differential lock, hill-start assist. KEY FEATURES: Airconditioning, sports suspension, 17" alloys, tyre pressure monitoring, cruise control, sports seats, MP3 compatible CD. ENGINE: 1.4-litre, twin-charger, direct injection petrol, 4-cyl. MAX. POWER: 132 kW @ 6200 rpm. MAX. TORQUE: 250 Nm @ 2000-4500. 0-100 KM/H: 8.2 sec. (as tested). 80 KM/H -- STOP: 22.6 m (as tested). FUEL (ADR FIGURE): 6.1 litres/100 km. CRASH RATING: EMISSIONS RATING: FOR: Performance, handling. AGAINST: Tyre noise, no cushion tilt or lumbar adjustment, spacesaver spare.