The Road Ahead : December January 2008
Holden VE Commodore V6 Omega ute Citroen C4 HDI EGS W Eos Convertible 2.0 TDi Holden's big spend to develop the new Commodore ute has delivered significant improvements in practicality, safety and on-road manners, even in the Omega, the lone tool-of-trade model in an other wise spor ty line-up. Omega's standard safety features include dual airbags, anti-lock brakes, electronic brake distribution, brake assist and electronic stability control. This blue-collar hero equipped with four-speed auto proved ver y car-like. Ride quality impressed, as did its steering adeptness and braking. But just like the VE sedans, the thick 'A' pillars block vision. Substantially increased cabin stowage space behind the seats, including arrangements for storing the tonneau cover, a polyethylene tray liner with load restraint-bar slots and space-enough between wheel wells for a 1200 x 1800 building sheet, enhance practicality. John Ewing VW's coupe-conver tible features a five-piece, folding metal roof with tilting and sliding glass sunroof. A clever but complex electro- hydraulic system transforms Eos from coupe to conver tible or vice versa in 25 seconds. The turbo-diesel engine is strong and willing, thanks to generous torque spread across the mid range. At times, it feels a little hesitant when pulling off the line. The optional six-speed DSG gearbox, arguably the best self-shifting manual in the business, offers quick shifts and sound ratios. A mostly comfor table ride is marred by some thump at low speeds. With a taut body and meaty steering, Eos offers nimble and secure handling. There's useable seating for four, though rear seat shape and space limitations reduce its appeal for extended use. John Ewing Automation is supposed to make life easier, but in the case of the Electronic Gearbox System (EGS) in the C4, it makes you queasy. This six-speed, clutchless gearbox, which can be manually changed by steering wheel paddles or the gearknob, or driven as an automatic, probably won't appeal to either fan base. Engineers have failed to master the automatic changes in these 'boxes, meaning a lurch between changes unless you back off the accelerator. Even when driving it as a manual, it's hard to be smooth. Although gear changes are quick and EGS offers better economy than a manual, it's not enough. The rest of the package is basic C4 diesel: safe, well equipped, frugal, firm, a decent handler and too many instruments.Chris Bishop PRICE: $30,990 ENGINE: 1.6-litre turbo-diesel POWER: 80 kW @ 4000 rpm TORQUE: 240-260 Nm @ 1750 rpm 0-100 km/h: 11.3 secs 80 km/h-STOP: 24.2 m FUEL (ADR FIGURE): 4.5 litres/100 km FOR: Economy, safety, equipment. PRICE: $30,990 (with airconditioning) ENGINE: 3.6-litre, Alloytec V6 POWER: 180 kW @ 6000 rpm (auto) TORQUE: 330 Nm @ 2600 rpm (auto) 0-100 km/h: 8.8 secs 80 km/h-STOP: 25.2 m FUEL (ADR FIGURE): 11.3 litres/100 km (pre- production model) FOR: Space, practicality, safety, road manners. AGAINST: Vision-blocking 'A' pillars. PRICE: $50,290 (with DSG) ENGINE: 2.0-litre, 4-cyl., turbo-diesel POWER: 103 kW @ 4000 TORQUE: 320 Nm @ 1750-2500 rpm 0-100 km/h: 9.9 secs 80 km/h-STOP: 24 m FUEL (ADR FIGURE): 6.0 litres/100 km FOR: Per formance, fuel economy, build, safety. AGAINST: Rear seats, option prices, space-saver spare. MOTORING PRICES & FEATURES CORRECT AT TIME OF PRINTING. SEE RACQ.COM/NEWCARS FOR MORE NEW CAR REVIEWS. S DRIVE TIME 54 DEC 07/JAN 08 Turn to page 60 for our in-depth feature on Australia's Best Cars.
October November 2007
February March 2008