The Road Ahead : April May 2007
APR/MAY 07 69 IN THE SHOWROOM ... New releases CRV breaks cover MOTORING Baseline attack Kia has star ted 2007 by renewing its sponsorship of the Australian Open tennis tournament and plans to reverse a form slump that dropped its local ranking from 10th to 11th in 2006. This year Kia will ser ve up several new models. The factor y-owned Australian operation claims it can reverse a practice of offering cheap vehicles, low on specification and safety, by adding quality, safety features and equipment to new models. The opening shot is a facelifted Cerato, which from April will offer a safety pack comprising ABS and six airbags. Joining the Rio line-up is a 70 kW, 1.4-litre hatch for $14,990, while the 1.6-litre model will offer standard ABS. Spor tage. October brings a new K2700 light commercial. Models under discussion include diesel Magentis, Rondo and Picanto. A replacement for the discontinued Pregio van is also on the wish list. Dual personality Satria Neo's claim to fame is that it has power by Proton, and ride, handling and dynamics by spor ts car maker Lotus. The Neo is the all-new second generation of Proton's spor ty, three-door hatch. Crossing the line Small car specialist Suzuki has a new take on the crossover class. The Japanese brand's SX4 is said to combine spor ty and crossover elements and can drive all four wheels when needed. Honda's third-generation CR-V is now more car-like than ever. Although sourcing from Thailand has effectively cut the impor t tariff, Honda Australia has held prices and added equipment to its three-strong range. Standard fare includes vehicle stability control, dual-stage front airbags, side airbags, anti-lock (ABS) brakes, active front headrests and airconditioning. With a full-size spare tyre nestled under the boot floor, CR-V is now shor ter, wider and lower. Ground clearance drops by 30 mm. Design tweaks include bigger tyres across the range (225/65/ R17) and a tailgate that lifts instead of opening sideways. The 2.4-litre engine now offers an extra 7 kW and a flatter torque cur ve, mated to either a six-speed manual or five-speed automatic gearbox. Prices star t from $31,990, reach $37,490 for a mid-spec Spor t manual and culminate in a $41,990 Luxur y automatic model. Kia's new diesel doubles combo will be Sorento and Sportage, due in May and July respectively. The Korean maker will also of fer buyers a petrol 2WD Powered by a 1.6-litre engine, it comes in two models. The GX, with airconditioning, ABS, dual airbags, reverse parking sensors, CD player and alarm as standard is $18,990, while the GXR, at $20,990, gets 16-inch alloy wheels, per formance tyres, rear spoiler, fog lamps and climate control. Both prices are drive-away. An automatic transmission costs another $1,000. Drivers can opt for front-wheel drive, all-wheel drive or a computer controlled automatic setting that can var y between the two. Launched in one model only, the Z- Series SX4 offers a 2.0-litre engine, with a choice of five-speed manual or four-speed auto. Official fuel economy figures are 8.7 and 9.5 litres/100 km respectively, while prices are $24,990 or $26,990. Equipment includes six airbags, ABS, electronic brake distribution (EBD), cruise control and airconditioning. SX4 has a lap-only centre rear seatbelt and a space-saver spare tyre.
June July 2007