The Road Ahead : June 2013
ROADAHEAD.COM.AU 56 THE ROAD AHEAD JUN/JUL 2013 MOTORING | SHOWROOM GENERATION SEVEN RAISES SMALL CAR STAKES WITH SOME 20 million already built since the mid-1970s, it should come as no surprise that VW's seventh-generation Golf arrives in Australia to again raise the benchmark in the small car stakes. Built on a completely new, modular platform, VW's strategy for future passenger vehicle design, the new Golf is slightly longer than the outgoing model, along with more passenger and load space. Substantial weight savings and new fuel-efficient engines help the new Golf achieve significant economy improvements of between eight and 16 percent, depending on the engine option. Buyers can choose from either a 90 or 103kW turbo- petrol engine, or opt for the 110kW TDI that uses just 4.9 litres/100km on the combined cycle. Start/stop technology is fitted to all engines. The range comprises the entry level 90TSI through to the Comfortline, with either manual or DSG auto transmissions, and on to the Highline variants new golf tees off fitted with the more powerful 103TSI or 110TDI engines mated to DSGs. There is improved refinement and more features and safety equipment fitted as standard, such as a 5.8-inch multi-function display unit, multi-collision avoidance braking, electronic park braking and auto-brake hold when stopped. A fatigue detection system monitors for signs of a drowsy driver and is particularly beneficial given the long distances often travelled by Queenslanders. Prices start at $21,490 plus on-road costs for the manual 90TSI petrol, through to $34,490 for the Highline diesel with DSG. Already crowned World Car of the Year, the seventh generation Golf is off to a good start. AUTOMATIC GAIN There's no doubting that the lack of an automatic transmission limited the popularity of Subaru's diesel Outback. But, after more than three years on the market, it now has one, and the expectation is that sales will increase dramatically. The new transmission is a CVT, which also has a seven- speed manual mode and paddle shifters. Significantly, it doesn't have that high revving 'slipping clutch' feel that characterises many CVTs. But plant your right foot hard and it automatically engages 'step shift control', which introduces seven, distinct shift points that make it feel more like a conventional auto than a CVT. In fact, it's quite unlike any other CVT to drive. The two new models in the range are the 2.0-litre D CVT, priced at $42,490, and the 2.0-litre D Premium CVT (pictured), $45,490, each $2500 more than the manual models. (For a longer version of this review, go to roadahead.com.au/motoring). CR-Z GETS MORE SPARK Honda's innovative and sporty hybrid, the CR-Z, has a new look and increased performance. Available now in just one variant, with a choice of CVT or six-speed manual transmission, the CR-Z is priced from $38,490. The 2013 model has received Honda's new Plus Sport (S+) button which gives the vehicle more engine and electric motor assist power. The function can be used while in Econ, Normal or Sport modes. The drivetrain has been enhanced to deliver power of 100kW and torque of 190Nm (manual transmission), while the IMA system now features a lithium ion battery. Styling revisions have also been made to the front bumper, grille design and diffuser. Two new exterior colours have been added: Northern Lights Violet and Polished Metal. POWER AND GLORY Audi has a new halo car. As range topper to the R8 range, the R8 V10 plus is powered by a 5.2-litre hand-built engine bristling with performance. It comes with its own signature colour -- Matte Sepang Blue -- and has a claimed 0-100km/h time of just 3.5 seconds. Among the plus equipment inventory are ceramic brakes, exclusive bucket seats and 19" alloy wheels, Nappa leather and Alcantara headlining. Visually, the new R8 range differs by way of a single-frame front grille, LED front headlight and rear taillight design, and revised front and rear diffuser design for enhanced aerodynamics. But the biggest change is the S tronic dual-clutch transmission, which supersedes the sometimes criticised R tronic, for no extra cost. Prices range from $279,500 for the Coupe 4.2 FSI V8 manual, up to $408,200 for the Coupe 5.2 FSI V10 plus S tronic. (For a longer version of this review, go to roadahead.com.au/motoring). PRICES QUOTED ARE MANUFACTURER'S LIST PRICES.