Welcome back to your weekly wrap up of car news and reviews, where we find all the bits that matter and condense them down into one easy read.
As lockdown slowly lifts in New South Wales I, like many, have managed to actually save some bucks in my time behind bars and I’m looking at the incoming line-up of cars like a dog presented with two dinner bowls.
Being a wagon-lover all my life the Subaru WRX Sportswagen certainly caught my eye this week, as did the new Lexus LX – though if I asked for a loan on one of those my bank manager would no doubt think I was having a laugh.
Thankfully we had a whole heap of info on other interesting cars to ponder over this week, from the updated Ford Focus ST with a huge 13.2-inch touchscreen to the plain but brutally effective workhorse that is the Hyundai Staria Load.
We also caught up with some bigwigs at Kia to discuss the brilliant but often frustrating ‘sleeping giant’ that is plug-in hybrids – as a whole heap get ready to touch down in Australia over next year.
Those who fancy a Land Cruiser 300 Series to cross the Sahara Desert but also want to do so while stretching out across a whole metre of legroom and sipping fine wine will finally have an option in the new Lexus LX four-wheel drive.
My favourite thing about the LX is it has never been any less capable than the Land Cruiser off road (though some may debate this) but it has certainly been a lot more comfortable – and the third generation appears to be no different.
Gone is the V8 under the bonnet and in its place is a choice of two twin-turbo V6 engines, with a 3.5-litre petrol making 305kW of power and 650Nm and a 3.3-litre diesel making 227kW/700Nm. The two options are badged the LX 600 and LX 500d respectively.
Lexus will offer a four, five and seven-seat option for the first time with the four-seater option available in the new LX VIP grade which truly lives up to its name.
The lumbering Japanese giant will also be available with a new LX F Sport grade which ditches some chrome in the front for a mesh grille and adds some more on-road friendly suspension.
No details have been confirmed for Australia just yet but expect it here at some point in 2022.
This one might have flown under the radar this week but trust me it’s very important if you like saving money.
The Haval H6 Hybrid will arrive in Australia in ‘early 2022’, whatever that means. And while we don’t have a price yet you can bet it will be a fair bit cheaper than the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid – and could even lure some buyers who are sick of those absurd wait times.
Incredibly, the H6 Hybrid is also significantly more powerful than the RAV4 Hybrid. Using a 1.5-litre turbocharged engine coupled with two electric motors to produce 179kW/530Nm.
It’s almost as good on fuel as the RAV4 as well, with a claimed consumption of 5.2L/100km when using regular unleaded fuel. Watch this space, this one is going to be big.
The Kia Sorento line-up has been joined by a new plug-in hybrid variant this week and while it looks good, short supply has restricted it to the top-spec Highlander grade only.
Kia says this is because that’s what buyers want most – fair enough – but the $14k jump from the diesel AWD Highlander to the $81,990 driveaway price of the PHEV is a bit steep for many buyers.
We’ve written and filmed a full review and within our testing, we found the Sorento PHEV can travel 60km on just electric power, which means most Aussies could quite easily complete their daily commute without using any petrol at all.
The problem is you’re going to need to plug it in every night to get the benefits and if that doesn’t tickle your fancy, but you still want to cut your fuel consumption, fear not for the self-charging Sorento Hybrid will be here before Christmas.
Over on the Chasing Cars YouTube channel it was business as usual as we honed in on some more base models to find out if you really need to spend top-dollar to get a decent car.
Kicking off the week we had a look at the five-seat Lexus RX 300 which is the entry point to the range and while there are some popular goodies luxuries like heated seats missing from the spec sheet we were quite impressed.
Next up was the base model Kia Sorento S in FWD V6 petrol guise which deputy editor Nathan Ponchard absolutely loved and even said he’d buy one himself.
At the other end of the Soteno range is the plug-in hybrid which is only available in the top-spec Highlander grade at the moment. It’s almost twice the price of the base model, but that doesn’t change the fact that this is a good car – but only for the right buyer.
Car news today: new Triton reviewed, Maserati GranCabrio unveiled, and an electric Audi TT replacement – 1 March 2024
Car news, 29 Feb ’24: Infiniti QX80 previews future Patrol look, Renault in talks to build EVs with Volkswagen, and more
Car news, 27 Feb ’24: Toyota Australia announces pricing for electric BZ4X, Renault debuts retro 5 E-Tech, and more
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