The Road Ahead : February 2013
ROADAHEAD.COM.AU THE ROAD AHEAD FEB/MAR 2013 48 entry, heated/folding external mirrors. Other dislikes: Low(er) residuals, A-pillar hard to see around, near- costliest insurance. MITSUBISHI ASX Inclusion of an optional $995 safety pack tipped our test car just over the Sportage's price at $29,235, but for that you get a chrome exhaust, info display unit with reversing camera interface, and rear park sensors. Factor in equal- best residuals, a warranty that nearly matches Kia and fixed price servicing that helps result in the lowest projected running costs ($2070) and equal-lowest insurance costs ($769) and the ASX puts up a compelling value for money argument. Through changes to the link-ratio of the accelerator pedal opening and torque output, the CVT is noticeably smoother than previously. And fine tuning of the power steering and rear shock absorber settings have been made to improve the ride and handling, though here the ASX is no match for the XV. While not bristling with power (110 kW), the ASX is reasonably torquey (197 Nm) and, with the lowest weight on test to haul (1385 kg), gets along nicely. It topped the 0-100 km/h and 60-100 km/h times and finished runner-up over the standing 400 m and from 50-80 km/h. Our test returned an average fuel consumption of 8.4 litres/100 km, 0.5 outside the ADR average. Other likes: Knee airbag, climate- control airconditioning, keyless entry, hill start assist, folding external mirrors, alarm. Other dislikes: Spacesaver spare, tyre rumble over coarse surfaces, lack of steering feel, short on interior space. SUBARU XV 2.0-I Even at a glance, the XV stands out in this crowd, looking more like a station wagon rather than something out of the ubiquitous SUV box, and nicely-balanced driving dynamics match its stance. Although it has the highest ground clearance (220 mm), the XV handles the twisty going better than the opposition and gives up a compliant and comfy ride at the same time. Its Symmetrical AWD system raises the traction and grip level, and provides the capability to go where the others fear to tread. Like the ASX, the XV is no powerhouse but, the second lightest of the group, makes the most of its 110 kW and 196 Nm. Evidence the quickest standing 400 m time (18.0 seconds) and next-to-best times from 0-80 km/h and 0-100 m. It also topped our emergency brake testing (80 km/h-stop) with an average of 24.8 m. The XV backed up its claim to best ADR figure of 7.0 litres/100 km with a return of 7.9 (thriftiest on test), no doubt assisted by its start/stop fuel-saving technology and well-calibrated CVT. A downside? Space, and value for money. The cargo area is nowhere as spacious as the Honda and Kia and the most expensive price tag and projected running costs (nearly $5000) make the hip-pocket nerve twitch. Residuals, however, are up there with the Mitsubishi and Honda as the best. Other likes: Knee airbag, climate- control airconditioning, front fog lamps, tilt front headrests, Datadot theft recovery ID, tool kit, rearview camera, roof rails, body kit, hill start assist, paddle gearshift, voice control. Other dislikes: Temporary steel spare, console and transmission tunnel intrusion into rear compartment. SUZUKI GRAND VITARA LUXURY Although a 2WD variant was released only last August, the Grand Vitara range has been around for some time now -- and it shows. Driven back-to-back over several days in this company, the Suzuki feels a generation older. In many cars, rear-wheel-drive usually makes for a sportier, more rewarding drive than front-wheel-drive, but not so the 2WD Grand Vitara. It's hard to pick any discernable dynamic difference; the steering is too light and quick off centre and the ride unresolved over rougher surfaces. Its four-speed auto seems a little old hat compared to the five and six-speed units and CVTs of the others and, no doubt, contributes to the heaviest ADR fuel average of 9.5 litres/100 km, a figure we were 0.4 over on test. Having the biggest engine (2.4-litres) MOTORING | ROAD TEST IMAGES: MITSUBISHI ASX, HONDA CR-V, KIA SPORTAGE.