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This week on Chasing Cars: long-term in a GWM ute, more Toyota delays and V8’s future questioned


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 another busy week at the Chasing Cars office and we’ve spent much of it trying to make heads or tails of the latest price and wait time fluctuations.

Tumultuous economic conditions have sent industry norms into a bit of a spin but there have been some good news stories this week such as the Volkswagen Golf receiving more safety features at no extra cost and that the new Toyota GR86 will be here within two months.

We wrapped up our thoughts on the Mazda 3 Evolve SP after six months of testing

On the review front, we renewed our commitment to budget-friendly motoring by giving our thoughts on the Toyota Corolla Hybrid and wrapped up our final thoughts on our Mazda 3 Evolve SP long-termer.

Editor Tom Baker also had a chance to have an exclusive sit-down chat with the global boss of Cupra this week, who gave us the down-low on the brand’s plans for Australia and its hopes for the future of the combustion engine. 

Toyota’s production woes

Building a car is a bit difficult when you are short on parts and materials to help it all stick together and nobody knows this better than the world’s largest car manufacturer Toyota.

Toyota shared its monthly update for its August production this week, which showed a more optimistic outlook than we’ve seen in previous months. With the popular RAV4 only set to shut down production for a single day.

Production of the RAV4 has seen significant setbacks during July

But only a few days later, Toyota issued an update confirming the remaining days of July would see further delays, bringing the total length of the RAV4 midsize SUV production shut down to 23 days across the month.

The outlook isn’t looking much better for the Land Cruiser 300 Series and Lexus LX large SUV, which is facing a production pause on a single assembly line for 11 days, a development that is unlikely to improve the extensive wait times for these vehicles in Australia.

No F-150 Raptor R for Australia

You might think it’s a bit odd that Americans were left unsatisfied with the ‘regular’ 335kW/691Nm V6-powered F-150 Raptor but for some, there is no replacement for the V8 and after a long wait, that’s exactly what they got in the Raptor R.

Ford has sourced the 521kW/868Nm supercharged V8 engine from the Mustang GT500, which is capable of launching this full-size pickup truck up and over the sand dunes at insane speeds.

2023 F-150 Raptor R exterior
Sadly the Ford F-150 Raptor R won’t be coming to Australia

Sadly though, it’s unlikely to come to our shores anytime soon, despite Ford Australia previously confirming a right-hand-drive conversion for the F-150 that will see the XLT and Lariat grades go on sale next year.

Though Aussies that still want to get their hands on a similar ute can always join the waiting list for the Ram 1500 TRX or snap up a new Ford Ranger Raptor for about half the price.

GWM Ute six-month review

After six months together with the GWM Ute, we’ve wrapped up our final thoughts on this flawed but still good value ute.

We’ve taken it on some big adventures across the Outback – which we’ve covered in a separate feature article – towed an entire Subaru Outback behind it, and compared it against the best utes in this segment on our dual-cab mega test earlier this year – so it’s safe to say our test has been comprehensive.

To its credit, we’ve seen no major issues or interior rattles despite fears over the build quality of Chinese-built utes, though in general, this is a vehicle in need of a bit more polish in most areas.

After six months of testing we gave our final thoughts on the GWM Ute Cannon X

The 120kW/400Nm 2.0-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder is the least powerful engine in this segment and you really do notice that weakness day-to-day. The suspension also needs work and for the love of god why did they put the aircon controls in the touchscreen!

However, the amount of kit you get for $45,000 driveaway is impressive with synthetic leather seats, a 10.25-inch touchscreen and a full-width digital dash all included – which makes you wonder, is it worth spending an extra $20k on a top-spec Japanese ute?

All the cars and SUVs we reviewed this week:

After six months in the driver’s seat, Nathan Ponchard gave his final thoughts on his Mazda 3 Evolve SP hatch and while it won him over with its sleek looks and zippy performance, he did find that there were some surprising drawbacks when driving it every day.

As part of my own long-term testing of the Subaru Outback, I decided to take this well-priced family wagon from Sydney to my home city of Adelaide (and back) and gave my thoughts on everything from ride comfort, to boot space to the real-world fuel efficiency.

Toyota Land Cruiser 79 Sereies single cab 2022 social
This week we reviewed the super-popular Toyota Land Cruiser 79 Series

Sources say that the Toyota Land Cruiser 70 Series has a waitlist of up to four years, so why is this back-to-basics 4WD so popular? Journalist John Law got behind the wheel of the ute variant to investigate.

The Toyota Corolla Hybrid is a well-rounded hatchback that is relatively cheap to buy and undeniably cheap to run, so what’s the catch?

Mazda offers a broad range of grades for the CX-30 small SUV but we think the entry-level Pure is all the car that most people need and explained why in our review. 

Toyota GR86 10th anniversary edition
The Toyota GR86 will go on sale in September and launch with a 10th Anniversary Edition

Other car and SUV news we covered this week: