The Road Ahead : October 2012
ROADAHEAD.COM.AU 58 THE ROAD AHEAD OCT/NOV 2012 MOTORING NEW CAR REVIEWS ^PRICES ARE MANUFACTURERS' LIST PRICES (MLP) AND DO NOT INCLUDE STATUTORY AND DELIVERY CHARGES. PRICES & FEATURES CORRECT AT TIME OF PRINTING. REVIEWS BY BARRY GREEN AND JOHN EWING. KEY STATS The new three series BMW offers appealing affordability, with the entry level 318d diesel and 320i petrol listing for less than $60,000. Both undercut starting money for rival Mercedes C-Class. Our test 320i was fitted with the $3152 Sportline option pack. Ambience lighting, interior and exterior trim detail upgrades, leather trim sport steering wheel, double-spoke 17" alloys (alternative pattern, size and tyres same as standard), and MW Sport aluminium sill finishers are included in the pack. Also Sportline inclusions, the Dakota leather trim sports seats with adjustable width bolsters for the front passengers, comfort and support occupants admirably. Performance from the new engine with its twin-scroll turbo is more impressive than mere numbers suggest. The engine, with its wide spread of torque and refined delivery free of turbo-lag, is mated to a new eight-speed auto that's its perfect partner. The EcoPro drivetrain control and stop-start system help deliver good fuel economy, too. Ride comfort is now tolerably comfortable, even on the standard runflat tyres, which is more than can be said of some of the brand's offerings. The 320i offers accurate steering and sporty handling to please more demanding drivers, though the improved ride quality appears to have come at some reduction in the car's overall dynamic focus. The new 320i proved a very easy and pleasant car to live with bmw 320i sedan KEY STATS Honda recently gave its petrol/electric hybrid small car segment hatch, the Insight, a touch of the styling wand. The mild makeover includes a new front grille and bumper design, while at the rear visibility has been improved (albeit only partly) with a thinner tailgate spoiler. Interior enhancements extend to a front console box and armrest, refined gauges and meter panel as well as redesigned front headrests and seat material. But there's more ... Headroom in the back seats has also been increased by 20 mm through redesigning the hatch lining and seats. And low-rolling resistance tyres have been fitted to redesigned alloy wheels to help improve fuel economy by 6.5 percent, earning Insight an ADR figure of 4.3 litres/100 km (combined urban/extra urban) and a 5.5 percent reduction in CO2 emissions to 103 g/km. Around town, Insight is smooth and quiet, if a little anonymous. A light throttle response and comfy ride make it easy to live with, and cargo space is good for a small car. There are plenty of eco driving aids to help pursue the reward of that aforementioned thrifty fuel economy. Drive with disregard, though, and consumption can blow out. As we have found often when testing a petrol/ electric hybrid, this is a car that does ideology more convincingly than real world ownership. honda insight vti-l MLP: $33,490 SAFETY: Dual front/side/curtain airbags, anti-lock brakes, electronic brakeforce distribution, brake assist, electronic stability and traction control. KEY FEATURES: Bluetooth, climate- control, reversing camera, 16" alloys, satellite navigation with traffic updates, Eco Drive Assist, auto stop/start. ENGINE: 1.3-litre, inline 4-cyl with Integrated Motor Assist. MAX. POWER: 72 kW @ 5800 rpm (petrol + electric). MAX. TORQUE: 167 Nm @ 1000-1700 rpm (petrol + electric). O-100 KM/H: N/A. 0-80 KM/H: N/A. FUEL (ADR FIGURE): 4.3 litres/100 km. ANCAP SAFETY RATING: EMISSIONS RATING: FOR: 'Green' efficiency, comfy commuter. AGAINST: Relative price, impaired rear visibility. MLP: $57,600 (auto) SAFETY: Dual front/side/curtain airbags, anti-lock brakes, electronic brake distribution, brake assist, dynamic stability/traction control. KEY FEATURES: Dual front climate control, cruise control with braking function, 17" alloys, keyless start, front/ rear park sensors, auto-dim mirror, power seat adjustment, CD, bluetooth, leather trim. ENGINE: 2.0-litre, turbo petrol 4-cyl. MAX. POWER: 135 kW @ 5000 rpm. MAX. TORQUE: 270 Nm @ 1250-4500 rpm. 0-100 KM/H: N/A. 80 KM/H-STOP: N/A. FUEL (ADR FIGURE): 6.0 litres/100 km. ANCAP CRASH RATING: EMISSIONS RATING: FOR: Performance, powertrain refinement, fuel economy, ride quality. AGAINST: Seating limitations centre rear, sat-nav not standard.
August 1st 2012