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This week on Chasing Cars: Ford axes Fiesta, Lexus RZ450e confirmed for Australia and Toyota fast forwards EV development


Welcome back to your weekly wrap up of car news and reviews, where we find all the best stories of the week and condense them down into one easy read

It’s been a week.

We’ve mourned a real loss with the Ford Fiesta officially killed off globally and almost in the same breath, we’ve seen a huge range of EVs either launched locally or locked in for the Australian market.

Change can be good, but it can also hurt – something about breaking a few eggs to make an omelet. 

Volvo C40 2023 fjord blue driving
More and more electric vehicles are making their way to Australia

Don’t get us wrong though, we love an EV. It’s why we’ve paid specific attention to the latest offerings from both Volvo and Genesis this week and covered the important industry movements which took place this week. 

But if you still love the roar of a combustion engine we’ve got something for you too, including a comparison between the Audi RS3 and Mercedes-AMG A45 S to determine which is the ultimate hyper hatch – plus explainers on what hybrid SUV to buy and cheap first cars you should consider. 

Ford Fiesta discontinued

After 46 years on sale, Ford Europe confirmed this week that it would be discontinuing the Fiesta as buyer tastes continue to shift away from small hatchbacks and towards SUVs.

Launched in 1976, the Fiesta nameplate wasn’t introduced to Australia until 2004 but it quickly gained popularity with the fun ST models, which was the only grade on sale locally in recent years.

Ford Fiesta sixth gen front end
The Ford Fiesta will soon leave the global stage after 46 years on sale

It comes after Ford Australia confirmed that it would discontinue both the Fiesta and Focus ST at the end of the year.

Thankfully, rivals such as the Volkswagen Polo remain available in this segment and the MG 3 has shown there is still strong sales in the small hatch segment – but only at the right price.

Lexus RZ450e coming to Australia

After much ‘will they won’t they’ speculation, Lexus has confirmed it will bring the RZ450e midsize SUV to Australia in the middle of 2023, becoming the first dedicated electric vehicle sold locally under the brand. 

2023 Lexus RZ450e side
Yet another luxury EV has been locked in for Australia. Pictured is the 2023 Lexus RZ450e

Sitting on the same e-TNGA platform as the upcoming Toyota BZ4X, the Lexus will likely offer a driving range of up to 450km, enough to rival the likes of the Tesla Model Y and Mercedes-Benz GLC in Australia.

Offering a coupe-style body and a funky ‘yoke’ style steering wheel, the RZ450e is determined to set itself apart from the rest of its combustion-powered siblings, and will offer Lexus buyers a larger alternative to the fully-electric UX300e.

Toyota speeds up EV development

A report released by Reuters this week has indicated that Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) has made drastic cuts to some of its future EV projects, in a possible attempt to concentrate its focus and speed up the development of other EVs.

Toyota BZ4X 2022 charging at station
Toyota is said to be fast-tracking its development of some important EVs

It’s believed that TMC has been surprised by the speed of which electric vehicles have become popular, after receiving considerable criticism for its slow introduction of the new technology.

Toyota could even abandon its e-TNGA platform underpinning the BZ4X midsize SUV, according to the report, and instead design an entirely new underpinnings though this would take considerable time.

All the cars and SUVs we reviewed this week:

You might not immediately recognise the Genesis Electrified GV70 as a fully-electric vehicle but perhaps that’s the point, as deputy editor Curt Dupriez found out in his evaluation. We’ve published a review in both written and video forms. 

Volvo’s new C40 is a coupe-shaped take on the XC40 with a fully-electric powertrain. We found the Swedish marque’s first dedicated EV model really shined in terms of design and drivability though its everyday comfort left a bit to be desired with its often harsh ride. 

Genesis Electrified GV70 2023 driving front
Genesis has released its ‘Electrified’ version of the GV70

With the arrival of the new-generation Audi RS3, the throne of the ultimate hyper hatch is now in question so we matched it up against the Mercedes-AMG A45 S to see which is truly the best. 

The W205 generation, Mercedes-AMG C63 truly made its mark in Australia thanks in no small part to its V8 engine, which will be replaced with a four-pot next year with the arrival of the new hybrid generation. So we decided to give this dignified German brute the send off it deserves. 

Small, affordable city cars are falling out of fashion in recent times but that doesn’t mean they aren’t worth a look, as we were reminded of this week when reviewing the Kia Rio in the entry-level S grade. 

2024 Lotus Eletre front 3/4
Lotus’s first SUV is here, it’s called the Eletre

Other car and SUV news we covered this week: