The Road Ahead : December 2011
WWW.ROADAHEAD.COM.AU 46 THE ROAD AHEAD DEC 2011/JAN 2012 M OTORING AUSTRALIA'S BEST CARS large cars under $60,000 ford fg falcon ecolpi xt THE WAY FORD has successfully equipped its new Falcon EcoLPI to perform like a petrol car while still offering the advantages of LPG contributed strongly to its victory this year. Traditional vapour LPG systems turn liquefied gas into vapour form before feeding it into the engine via a venturi in the throttle body. In the EcoLPI Falcon, the liquid phase injection system takes the LPG in liquid state all the way to the injectors. Ford said this means the LPG can be injected into the intake ports in a more precise and controlled manner, which delivers better fuel economy, reduced CO2 emissions and greater engine performance. EcoLPI utilises Ford's tried and true 4.0-litre, in-line six-cylinder engine. What will surprise some is that the LPG- fed powerplant has slightly more power and torque than the petrol version. It makes a healthy 198 kW and 409 Nm, which compares to the petrol's 195 kW and 391 Nm. Of course, the EcoLPI is also considerably more powerful and efficient than its E-Gas predecessor. The EcoLPI's electronic stability control and traction control systems are up to the task, even in extremely slippery conditions. MLP: $42,790. large over $60,000 audi a6 3.0 tdi quattro THE NEW, SEVENTH-generation A6 showcases plenty of Audi's technological innovation and engineering skills. As befits luxury models, standard features and safety scores are equal best-in-class. For those looking for additional creature comforts and more advanced safety and driver assistance features, options are plentiful but, as is typical of the class, venturing there isn't for the faint-hearted with some wallet-wilting prices. The V6 turbo-diesel is now lighter and punches out an extra 4 kW. Claimed torque is a muscular 500 Nm. A smooth, slick-shifting, seven-speed, dual clutch transmission is standard, instead of the previous six-speed auto. Buyers are becoming increasingly attracted to modern generation diesels with their refined and fuel miserly ways and Audi's 3.0-litre TDI doesn't disappoint on either count, making it an ideal fit for this executive express. Ride quality is important in this class and the A6 proves composed and comfortable, albeit not quite a match for the supple cosseting ways of the class-leading XF Jaguar. Handling-wise though, it's the Audi A6 with its nose in front. MLP: $116,500. SCORES TOTAL: 1098. 2nd: Skoda Superb 118 TSI Ambition, 1082. 3rd: Peugeot 508 Allure, 1038. CRITERIA (OUT OF 10): VALUE FOR MONEY: Pricing 7H, Depreciation 5H, Running costs 10H, Fuel consumption 9H, Warranty 4H, Insurance 6L, Standard features 3H. DESIGN & FUNCTION: Safety 9C, Environment 7C, Comfort 9C, Space 8C, Practicality 7H, Ergonomics 8M, Build & finish 7H. ON THE ROAD: Performance 9H, Ride 9H, Handling 8H, Braking 8H, Smoothness & quietness 9M. SCORES TOTAL: 1048. 2nd: BMW 520d, 1036. 3rd: Jaguar XF S Luxury, 1002. CRITERIA (OUT OF 10): VALUE FOR MONEY: Pricing 3M, Depreciation 2M, Running costs 7L, Fuel consumption 9M, Warranty 5L, Insurance 5L, Standard features 8H. DESIGN & FUNCTION: Safety 10C, Environment 7C, Comfort 8C, Space 8H, Practicality 8M, Ergonomics 8C, Build & finish 9C. ON THE ROAD: Performance 9H, Ride 8C, Handling 9H, Braking 8H, Smoothness & quietness 9C. LEVEL OF WEIGHTED IMPORTANCE FOR EACH SCORE: L=LOW,M=MEDIUM,H=HIGH,C=CRITICAL.
February March 2012