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Audi A3 Sportback 7 Audi reveals sharp new A3 Sportback due in Europe by May

Overnight Audi has revealed a snazzy-looking fourth-gen A3 in a Sportback body style. The new car was to be unveiled in the glitz and glamour of Geneva, though Coronavirus scares cancelled this year’s show.

Instead, we’ve had to make do with a live video courtesy of Audi for this, the fourth-generation A3 reveal. Audi claims the new car is more connected, sportier and better finished overall than its predecessor.

That third-gen car was starting to feel a little dated – especially that pop-up infotainment screen – and the new car will be a serious rival for a fresh-faced Mercedes-Benz A-Class, BMW 1 Series and more luxurious than a Volkswagen Golf.

Audi A3 Sportback 3
The latest A3 is much more curvaceous.

Audi design signatures rear their head on the fourth-gen A3, the hexagonal grille and typical Audi alloy wheels make appearances on this sport model.

Look a little harder and the new car is far more exciting, Audi has done away with the slab-sided profile of bygone A3s, employing eye-catching curves and surfacing along the flanks and blistered wheelarches, reminiscent of 80s rally cars.

This metallic Atoll Blue colour does wonders to show the curves off, too. The facade seems more evolution that revolution but like the Mark 8 Golf Audi asks the question why ruin something already successful?

Audi A3 Sportback 6
Little tweaks added up to a lot for the new A3.

It’s inside that the new car has leapt ahead of its predecessors, though. Audi’s MMI system – a favourite here at Chasing Cars – driven by a 10.1-inch touchscreen that is beautifully integrated into the dashboard.

The ability to display navigation, radio, audio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto in the instrument 12.3-inch digital instrument binnacle is a serious highlight.

On top of the great system itself, Audi will include extra connectivity functions with a smartphone app and an integrated Wifi hotspot for Audi connected services.

Audi A3 Sportback 5
Audi has once again killed the interior game.

And of course, the interior design already looks to be class-leading; more restrained than the overt A-Class but with greater interest than BMW’s 1 Series. We hope the quality will meet typical Audi standards.

On launch in Europe, there will be three engine options for the A3. Starting with the 110kW/250Nm 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol four ‘35TFSI’ – found in the mid-spec A1 – the engine that is most likely to make it to Australia.

A duo of diesel motors comprise the remaining options (for now), the 30TDI producing 85kW and 250Nm and the 35TDI with beefier outputs of 110kW and 340Nm. All will be available with a seven-speed dual-clutch S-Tronic gearbox and drive the front wheels.

Audi A3 Sportback 4
Under the bonnet there will be a choice of three engines.

We may receive the 35TDI, although the Aussie penchant for petrol power means the base 30TDI oil-burner will surely be left out.

We know more powerful versions will be coming later; a range-topping 40TFSI likely, as well as an all-wheel-drive S3 and manic RS3 to follow later to do battle with the Mercedes-AMG A 45.

The fourth-gen A3 is underpinned by the ubiquitous Volkswagen Group MQB platform but Audi says suspension settings have been revised. Adaptive dampers will be optional on all cars that will drop the ride height by 10mm while offering modes to suit comfort or sportier driving.

Audi A3 Sportback 1

All S line A3s will be equipped with a 15mm suspension drop and firmer spring and damper setting to provide greater road-holding ability, though this suspension will be an option on all variants.

Safety tech in the fourth-gen A3 will include brake assist, swerve assist and lane departure warning as standard. Systems such as front and rear cross-traffic alert, advanced parking tech and adaptive cruise control will be optional, where many rivals offer these systems as standard.

Detailed pricing and specification is yet to be confirmed for Australia, though we expect our models to arrive loaded up with gear with European cars will be arriving in May.

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2020 Honda Civic Hatch - 1 2020 Honda Civic hatch detailed: Safer, dearer, more orange

For 2020 Honda has updated the Civic hatch with safety tech, design tweaks and higher pricing across the range, find full pricing at the end of this article. This comes after the Civic sedan was updated earlier in 2019 with Apple CarPlay and refreshed looks.

The Civic is Honda’s longest-running nameplate. When it emerged in 1972 it caused a serious stir-up with its intelligent packaging, revvy engines and engaging dynamics.

For the latest generation, most of these USPs remain intact, though the hatch faces stiff competition from fresh-faced competitors like the Hyundai i30, stylish Mazda 3 and juggernaut Toyota Corolla.

2020 Honda Civic Hatch - 2

Level of safety features and in-car tech have seen an explosion in the last five years throughout the small-car segment and its seen manufacturers updating their models more often than ever to “keep up with the joneses”.

For 2020, that means Honda has had to up the level of standard safety tech for their mid-range VTi-L and sporty RS model with their complete Sensing safety suite, previously only available on the range-topping VTi-LX.

Honda’s Sensing package includes switchable lane-keep assist with a permanent road departure mitigation system, high and low-speed AEB, forward collision warning and adaptive cruise with stop-and-go capability. Auto high-beams are added to all models equipped with the Sensing suite.

2020 Honda Civic Hatch - 6

That means that all Civics powered by the peppy 1.5-litre turbocharged engine are now equipped with the sensing suite across sedan and hatch.

The engine remains untouched for 2020 with outputs of 127kW/220Nm with drive sent to the front wheels only via a CVT style transmission, sadly, there’s no manual available.

Inside the hatch has seen some upgrades for 2020 too, with updated materials including geometrically designed trims, instrument cluster, push-button climate control adjustment, while shortcut buttons and a volume knob have been added to the infotainment system, hooray!

2020 Honda Civic Hatch - 7

Naturally, all models are still equipped with wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability to make up for Honda’s lacklustre infotainment system.

Front and rear bumpers have been redesigned for 2020 with a more aggressive look with body-colour accents, a new front grille and a new (but non-functional) rear diffuser for the RS grade.

All the grades receive updated wheel designs too; the sporty RS gets huge 18-inch items shod in a very sticky set of Michelin Pilot Sport 4 S tyres while the VTi-L makes do with smaller 17-inch items.

2020 Honda Civic Hatch - 5

The updated styling is welcome on the 10th generation civic, not to say it looked old, but the extended black in place of chrome gives the whole car a sportier look. It may not be the best looking hatch but it certainly exudes some Japanese character.

Although the prices are up across the board, we reckon that the VTi-L and RS get more bang-for-buck in the safety department, 2020 models are on sale now.

2020 Honda Civic Hatch - 4
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2020 Audi A5 Sportback 45 TFSI grey front 2020 Audi A5: lower price, more equipment for Australia

In an effort to stimulate sales of its A5 midsize sports cars, Audi has announced a slate of changes including a reduced price on a popular petrol variant and a raft of new equipment for the A5.

The changes for the 2020 model year all relate to the A5 45 TFSI – the higher of two petrol four-cylinder grades that make up the A5 range. The 45 TFSI unit is a two-litre producing 185kW/340Nm, channelled through a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox and Audi’s Quattro all-wheel-drive system.

2020 Audi A5 Sportback 45 TFSI grey profile
This slinky five-door is the A5 Sportback body style.

The Audi A5 continues to be offered in three body styles: a traditional two-door coupe, a drop-top convertible and a more practical five-door Sportback. Two higher-performance variants sporting six-cylinder petrol engines are available higher in the Audi range – the three-litre S5 (from $114,802 driveaway) and the 2.9-litre twin-turbo RS5 ($171,140 driveaway, reviewed here).

This week’s changes see the 45 TFSI engine discounted by $2,800 across the board. The coupe and Sportback body styles will now set you back $78,900, while the convertible has seen its price similarly cut to $92,400. Driveaway pricing is yet to be confirmed.

2020 Audi A5 Sportback 45 TFSI grey rear
The 45 TFSI grade now sports S Line styling as standard.

Alongside the price cut, specification for the 45 TFSI is now more generous, with Audi claiming to have added an additional $9,000 in equipment value. The 45 TFSI now arrives dressed in sportier S Line styling by default, wearing 19-inch wheels. Inside, the driver’s seat (and external mirrors) gain memory functionality. The front pews are now heated and rear passengers pick up USB ports, and there’s a wireless smartphone charging bay.

Additional safety tech has also been added to the 45 TFSI in the form of adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go capability, lane keeping assist with steering intervention, and a 360-degree parking camera. You also now score automatic high beam and an automated parking system.

2020 Audi A5 Sportback black leather interior
A black leather interior is the default choice, but grey is also available.

Entry to the Audi A5 range continues to be the 40 TFSI base grade, which retains its current pricing of $70,100 for the coupe and Sportback ($77,443 driveaway), and $83,600 in the convertible ($92,747 driveaway). The 40 TFSI is front-wheel-drive, sporting a more conservative tune of the two-litre turbo engine, producing 140kW/320Nm.

The base car continues to sport Audi’s MMI infotainment system, with navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus the brand’s Virtual Cockpit digital driver display. All cars also receive LED headlights, full keyless entry and start, DAB digital radio, and a 180-watt stereo.

The 2020 Audi A5 45 TFSI Quattro is available in Australia now.

2020 Audi A5, S5 and RS5 Australian pricing

A5 40 TFSI coupe: $70,100 ($77,443 driveaway)

A5 40 TFSI Sportback: $70,100 ($77,443 driveaway)

A5 40 TFSI convertible: $83,600 ($92,747 driveaway)

A5 45 TFSI Quattro coupe: $78,900 (driveaway pricing TBA)

A5 45 TFSI Quattro Sportback: $78,900 (driveaway pricing TBA)

A5 45 TFSI Quattro convertible: $92,400 (driveaway pricing TBA)

S5 Quattro coupe: $104,042 ($114,802 driveaway)

S5 Quattro Sportback: $104,042 ($114,802 driveaway)

S5 Quattro convertible: $117,582 ($129,017 driveaway)

RS5 Quattro coupe: $157,700 ($171,140 driveaway)

RS5 Quattro Sportback: $157,700 ($171,140 driveaway)

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Audi A1 citycarver front end orange Audi A1 Citycarver: FWD-only cladded hatch revealed

Audi has revealed a lifted version of the yet-to-arrive second generation A1 named the Citycarver. Much like Audi Allroad models, the Citycarver will sit on mildly raised suspension, and offer a ‘robust off-road look’ – though it will not be offered with Quattro all wheel drive. 

Although the Citycarver is not yet confirmed for Australia, if it does arrive it will sit in a niche that is so far occupied by less premium, larger hatches such as the Ford Focus Active and Subaru XV (reviewed here). On the premium landscape the Citycarver would slot in below premium small SUVs such as Audi’s own Q2 (reviewed here) and the Mini Countryman (reviewed here).

Audi A1 citycarver rear end orange
Pulse Orange – it’s a punchy colour!

The Citycarver will be available in Europe in the fourth quarter of 2019 in three equipment levels, the base Advanced, Design Selection, and top model S-line. Audi is offering a myriad of customisation with the Citycarver range, with nine exterior colours, four choices of interior highlights (including mint and copper), the option of three contrasting roof panel colours, and three exterior highlight colours to choose from.

The interior is shared with the new A1 small car which means a digital instrument cluster, and 10.1 inch touchscreen is included as standard, with Audi’s excellent MMI system optional. With more standard safety kit than the regular A1 including adaptive cruise control and park assist on all models, with lane departure warning and forward collision warning standard across all A1 variants. 

Audi A1 citycarver interior orange fabric
The orange theme extends into the interior.

The A1 Citycarver is striking in its orange hero colour, muscular without looking overly tall like jacked up small cars have in the past. Audi has claimed of design cues coming across from Audi’s Q range in the form of the large octagonal honeycomb grill and LED headlights.

Like the A1 upon which it’s based, the Citycarver will be offered initially with either the 85kW/100Nm 30 TFSI triple, or more powerful 110kW/250Nm 35 TFSI four cylinder, with a 147kW 2.0 litre engine slated to arrive later on, which should make for an entertaining pocket rocket that is still exploitable on rougher roads.

Audi A1 citycarver side orange
The Citycarver rides 35mm higher than the standard second-gen A1.

The Citycarver is set apart from the regular A1 with a 35mm lift in the suspension, and presumably the car will have a more forgiving ride than the A1 it’s based on. It will depend on which wheel and tyre combination is optioned, Audi offer 16 inch or 18 inch as an option for the Citycarver. Claiming a ‘self-confident road stance’ for the Citycarver’s suspension, Audi will offer a ‘dynamic suspension tune’ as an option. 

The current popularity of SUVs and Audi’s history of Allroad models suggest there is a niche to fill with the Citycarver. It will be interesting to see if Audi bring the Citycarver downunder alongside its A1 sibling, though sources suggest it is unlikely for the time being.

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2019 Toyota Corolla two tone hatch 2020 Toyota Corolla update brings CarPlay to Australia

The twelfth-gen Toyota Corolla hatch has received its first annual update, with a suite of changes for 2020 that bundles smartphone integration, additional safety tech and an available, racier two-tone colour scheme. No pricing changes have been announced.

Arriving in November this year, Toyota will make Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring tech a standard feature of the Corolla range, senior sources have confirmed.

The Corolla will continue to be offered with a choice of 2.0-litre petrol (125kW/200Nm) or 1.8-litre petrol-electric hybrid (90kW) engines. Hopes that the Corolla would be upgraded to Europe’s punchier 132kW 2.0-litre hybrid were not met this year.

2019 Toyota Corolla two tone hatch
This new shade is called ‘Feverish Red’, seen with the new black roof option.

On the safety front, a new low-speed manoeuvre emergency braking system primarily designed for use while parking will be added to the mid-tier SX and high-spec ZR grades. The system, called Parking Support Brake, detects static objects and rear cross-traffic while the Corolla is travelling at up to 15km/h.

The new ‘colourway’ paint jobs will allow those buying the top-spec ZR to have the Corolla hatch’s roof painted black when paired with a range of colours that include a new shade of ‘Feverish’ red (replacing ‘Volcanic’ red). This two-tone scheme has been available in some markets since the new shape launched but it’s only now reached Australia.

2019 Toyota Corolla ZR hybrid dashboard side
This touchscreen will soon feature Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Inside, the ZR also picks up eight-way electric adjustment for the driver’s seat, replacing manual control.

Finally, the base Ascent Sport grade will now be optionally available with a tyre repair kit replacing the standard full-size spare wheel. If that option box is ticked boot space increases from 217 litres to 333 litres.

For those looking for a boot, a new Toyota Corolla sedan will launch later in 2019.

2019 Toyota Corolla Australian pricing (plus on-road costs)

Ascent Sport hatch petrol manual: $22,870

Ascent Sport hatch petrol CVT: $24,370

Ascent Sport hatch hybrid CVT: $25,870

SX hatch petrol CVT: $26,870

SX hatch hybrid CVT: $28,370

ZR hatch petrol CVT: $30,370

ZR hatch hybrid CVT: $31,870

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