The Road Ahead : June July 2012
QUEENSLAND'S LARGEST CLUB 63 JUN/JUL 2012 THE ROAD AHEAD nissan maxima 350 ti KEY STATS NISSAN'S J32 MAXIMA now offers extra goodies, though buyers won't need to shell out extra cash to own one with list prices remaining static. The range-leading 350 Ti, already good value with a generous standard equipment list, now gives drivers improved vision courtesy of adaptive front lighting. Drivers can also switch on a new side- view camera to show the passenger side front of the car in the navigation system screen. It's handy in situations such as parking bays. Another addition is a rear sunshade that rises at the flick of a switch and automatically retracts when reverse is selected, to avoid impairing vision. Our test car was pleasant to live with, but hardly the vehicle to inspire more demanding drivers. The all-alloy 3.5-litre engine has a sweet, refined feel to it and provides robust performance, albeit on minimum 95 RON premium unleaded. The Xtronic CVT auto is pretty seamless and rarely needs to wring maximum revs from the engine, thanks to the V6's useful torque. Handling and steering are sufficiently competent, and in the main should satisfy the target audience. Keener drivers (us included) will find the dynamics a little dull and ponderous, though. Maxima's chassis is biased for a supple, comfortable ride, complementing the lounge chair feel of the front seats. The foot operated park brake doesn't win our applause. kia optima si It's onwards and upwards for Kia with a lower-priced Si version of the Optima sedan now joining the highly- specified Platinum model. It's still pretty well kitted out, but a $6500 lower price tag means a number of niceties have vanished. Value, stylish looks inside and out, spaciousness and long warranty remain positives. And to say the Si is still a decent drive and pleasant all-round package would be underselling it. With 17" alloys and 55 series tyres in lieu of the Platinum's 18" wheels and wider, lower profile rubber, the ride felt slightly smoother than our recollections of the latter. KEY STATS MLP: $30,490 SAFET Y: DFSCA, ABS, EBD, BA, ESC, TC, rear-view camera, rear park- sensors, hill-start assist control, active front headrests. KEY FEATURES: Climate control, 17" alloys, MP3 compatible CD with aux/USB, bluetooth, auto- dim interior mirror, auto headlamps. ENGINE: 2.4-litre, direct injection petrol, 4-cyl. ANCAP CRASH RATING: toyota camry atara sl The new, seventh generation of Toyota's perennially popular mid- size sedan, Camry, argues its case for buyer consideration better than any previous incarnation. The new 2.5-litre petrol engine offers more power and torque, and with lower official fuel consumption, than the old model's 2.4-litre. On the road, it combines well with the new six-speed auto, delivering surprisingly responsive performance and much enhanced refinement. Ride and handling also show marked improvement. Standard equipment on the SL is plentiful and, like the full model range, includes seven airbags. KEY STATS MLP: $39,990 SAFETY: DFSCA, driver's knee airbag, ABS, EBD, BA, ESC, TC, rear-view camera, rear park sensors, blind-spot monitor. KEY FEATURES: Climate control, 17" alloys, leather, touch-screen sat nav, premium audio/digital radio, media inputs, sports suspension, power front seats, bluetooth. ENGINE: 2.5-litre, petrol 4-cyl. ANCAP CRASH RATING: NEW CAR REVIEWS MOTORING MLP: $46,990 SAF E T Y: Dual front/side/curtain airbags (DFSCA), anti-lock brakes (ABS), brake assist (BA), electronic brake distribution (EBD), electronic stability control (ESC), traction control (TC), front active headrests. KEY FEATURES: Dual front climate- control airconditioning, 17" alloys, leather, sunroof, touch-screen navigation, Bose six-stack CD audio. ENGINE: 3.5-litre, petrol V6. MAX. POWER: 185 kW @ 6000 rpm. MAX. TORQUE: 326 Nm @ 4400 rpm. 0-100 KM/H: 7.4 sec. (average, as tested). 80 KM/H-STOP: 25.2 m (as above). FUEL (ADR FIGURE): 10.2 litres/100 km. ANCAP CRASH RATING: N/A. EMISSIONS RATING: FOR: Price, equipment, performance. AGAINST: Handling, foot-operated park brake, requires premium fuel.
April May 2012
August 1st 2012