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2021 5 Series LCI - 3 Updated 2021 BMW 5 Series revealed, coming to Aus in October

BMW has revealed a life-cycle-impulse update for the G30 5 Series with added tech and electrification, while addressing some styling concerns we had with the classic bavarian bruiser.

Namely, the updated and far sleeker light-fittings which suit the 5 Series’ classic low and wide proportions.

While SUVs may be the cool thing, the 5 Series still has its place in the market – the police certainly appreciate them. You could, of course, opt for an X5, but the usual german suspects like the Audi A6 and Mercedes E-Class make up the 5 Series’ list of classic foes.

A Chasing Cars approved interior combo.

Updates to the 5 Series continue inside; all models are garnered with leather sports steering wheels while wireless Android Auto joins untethered Apple CarPlay as standard fit as does BMW’s 12.3-inch digital driver display.

However, the overall interior design is much the same. A good thing for die-hard BMW fans and user-friendliness but it lacks the wow-factor of competitors.

As mentioned, here at Chasing Cars we always enjoyed the G30 5 Series’ classic saloon lines. And thankfully the design gurus at BMW addressed the old bulbous light fittings with cleaner and lighter LED signatures that suit the shape much better.

We’ll take a Touring, thanks.

The LCI 5 Series also gets the option of BMW’s tremendous Laser Lights.

One feature that we’ll wait to judge in the flesh are the updated Kidney Grilles which have swollen – again – both in length and width. A natural progression for the Bavarian brand but one we wish would stop.

2021 5 Series LCI - 4
Verde Ermes features in the press package. A return to colours? We hope so.

Just the other day at the office we were lamenting the boring colour choices on offer these days. Not so any more it seems. BMW has pictured this most conservative car in Verde Ermes. Quite an overt selection lifted from the Bavarian’s array of Individual colours.

Perhaps it’s a little too much, but hopefully, some BMW classics like Boston Green will return to the standard colour palette to replace the myriad greys and whites.

Front and rear bumpers were tweaked slightly; the M Sport items look particularly good in our eyes with more generous vent openings. Trapezoidal tailpipes are standard across every variant, too.

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New Air Performance alloy wheels are an option on the updated 5 Series.

A new set of alloys adorn the G30s pictured here, BMW calls them Air Performance wheels, and we reckon they look good.

Drivetrains are mostly unchanged, the beefy M550i xDrive sits atop the Australian range, the twin-turbo V8 churning out 390kW and 750Nm to all four wheels.

There are two other petrol drivetrains confirmed for Australia, presumably the base model 520i with a turbocharged four-cylinder producing 135kW/290Nm and the more powerful 530i with 185kW/350Nm.

2021 5 Series LCI - 2
The 530e plug-in hybrid is probably the smartest choice, we’d probably have the diesel ‘six.

A sole diesel power plant will arrive, too, most likely the turbocharged six-cylinder 530d – a real peach – with outputs of 195kW/620Nm.

But the biggest news is the arrival of the 530e PHEV which teams a turbo four-cylinder engine with electric motors. Usually 135kW of power, the 530e makes 215kW for up to 10 seconds of overboost.

That’s 30kW more than the old 530e, but we’re unsure whether the 62km electric-only range will be improved. Regardless, it’s probably the most sensible 5 Series you can get.

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Don’t forget to charge your 5 Series….

Sadly we doubt the classic 540i will make it to Australia after the turbo six was quietly axed for 2020.

BMW has not priced the updated 5 Series for Australia yet. However, with the current economic situation, we presume there will be a price bump over the current 5 Series when the updated car arrives in October this year.

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2020 Yaris Cross - 1 2021 Yaris Cross revealed: mini SUV confirmed for Australia

Toyota has unveiled an all-new light SUV, the Yaris Cross, and confirmed the car for the Australian market. Like Toyota’s other SUVs, this diminutive crossover will offer buyers a choice of conventional petrol and hybrid powertrains.

As the name suggests, the Yaris Cross is built on the same platform as the Yaris city-car, Toyota’s TNGA-B platform, the same that underpins the Yaris GR.

The new car will be a Yaris-sized SUV to sit below the C-HR in Toyota’s range which also includes the perennial favourite Rav4 and larger Kluger.

2020 Yaris Cross - 3
More shrunken Rav4 than C-HR sibling.

Toyota had intentions to reveal this new model at the 2020 Geneva Motor Show, though after the pandemic cancelled that show, it was unveiled in an online press conference.

Toyota has borrowed design language for the Yaris Cross from the much larger Rav4 instead of the quirky C-HR. The rear three-quarter is particularly so, that trapezoidal boot-lid and squared-off arches scream mini-Rav4.

In photos, at least, we like the way the new Yaris Cross looks. Chunky and funky and it does well not to reference its humble Yaris city-car beginnings.

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It might not be beautiful, but we like the way it looks.

Inside, though, the Cross can’t escape its Yaris roots, but that isn’t a bad thing. While not as swish as Mazda’s CX-3 on the inside, the Yaris Cross looks to be well laid-out.

We particularly like the design of the steering wheel, and we’re sure there will be a quality feeling inside the little Toyota.

On that note, the Cross benefits from a 30mm suspension raise and the added option of an all-wheel-drive system. It’s also physically larger inside, Toyota claims an increase of 90mm in height and 20mm in width over the Yaris it’s based on.

2020 Yaris Cross - 2
A well laid out interior. Will it be spacious?

Compared to the existing Corolla and C-HR, the Yaris Cross is 200mm shorter and around 30mm narrower, however, and at 1,560mm, it sits a mere 5mm shorter than the C-HR.

Depending on packaging, that may mean the Yaris Cross boasts a more capacious boot that the larger and, we presume, more expensive Corolla.

The extra interior space will be welcomed, and the higher-set driving position is what draws buyers away from hatchbacks in droves. Those SUV loving droves equate to 480,000 Australian sales last year, with Toyota claiming one-sixth (80,000) of those.

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Pictured is the hybrid Yaris Cross.

Shared platforms equate to shared powertrains, and the Yaris Cross borrows the petrol 1.5-litre three-cylinder engine from its Yaris counterpart. Outputs are 88kW, and 145Nm produced high in the rev-range and will drive the front wheels only.

There will be an all-wheel-drive, like the Yaris GR you might say, though it isn’t the same system. Until slip is detected, the drive is sent exclusively to the front wheels like the Haldex-style unit found in Volkswagens. 

A hybrid powertrain will be on offer, combining the 1.5-litre engine (although in Atkinson-cycle configuration) producing 66kW and 120Nm combined with a 59kW electric motor powering the rear axle.

Toyota says the funky Yaris Cross could arrive in Australia as early as late 2020. We’ll have more information on price and exact specification as that date approaches.

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2020 Hyundai i30 sedan - 2 Hyundai i30 Sedan: Elantra replacement gets hybrid, not for Aus

After last month’s reveal of the facelifted i30 hatch and wagon, Hyundai has detailed a four-door, booted variant of the ever-popular small car – now dubbed the i30 Sedan – to replace the Elantra in Australia. 

There will be a hybrid powertrain available in the United States, but it isn’t confirmed for Australia, yet. If the i30 Sedan wants to see off the venerable Toyota Corolla, we reckon it would make sense to consider the Hybrid for Australia.

Dropping the Elantra nameplate in favour of i30 Sedan makes sense to us, it will be less confusing in dealerships and reflects what Honda has done with the Civic, Subaru the Impreza and Toyota with the Corolla.

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The bold styling looks great, we reckon.

Hyundai has gone bold for the new i30 Sedan, the front end displays a similar ‘parametric-jewel-pattern grille’ to the recently revealed i30 Hatch, but that’s about it.

Down the sides of the Sedan, you’ll spot some heavy creases and aggressive body lines finishing in an angular rear deck reminiscent of BMW’s i4 concept.

Hyundai reckons it’s the proportions that give the i30 Sedan its good looks at nearly 50mm longer and 40mm broader than a Corolla Sedan; it should make for excellent interior comfort, too.

2020 Hyundai i30 sedan - 4
we’re a fan of this new four-spoke steering wheel

 Inside there are some upmarket features, too, the cool four-spoke steering wheel, slick-looking gearknob and attractive centre-stack look more genesis than Hyundai.

Inside there are even more luxe touches, with a selection of 64 ambient lighting colours, a generous 10.25-inch touchscreen and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality.

For the US market, two engines will be available at launch; an Atkinson cycle two-litre four-cylinder with measly outputs of 109kW at 6,200RM and 179Nm at 4,500RPM.

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And the shifter which reminds us of 90s German limos.

A CVT automatic gearbox sends power to the front wheels. We’ll wait until we’ve driven the car before commenting, but it doesn’t sound like a luxurious combination. 

A hybrid will be available, too (but not for us Aussies), combining a 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine with a 1.32kWh battery – very close to the 1.4kWh unit in a Corolla Hybrid – driving a 32kW motor.

Combined outputs will be 103kW and an impressive 264Nm of torque; that instant torque from the electric motor should make it feel nippier than the numbers suggest, too. Oddly, the i30 Sedan will use a six-speed dual-clutch gearbox in place of a more conventional CVT.

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Under the bonnet – Sadly Aus won’t be getting the hybrid, yet...

While a hybrid i30 Sedan may not be the most exciting vehicle to everyone, it does signal the Korean brand’s push to normalise the electrification of their vehicles as they fit the powertrain from the quirky Ioniq to more and more vehicles in the range.

Australian specification has not been detailed yet, but the US market i30 Sedan base variants get an eight-inch touchscreen, rear-view camera, forward collision detection, lane-keep assist, driver monitoring and high-beam assist.

Optional goodies – which we presume will be available on upper-trim Australian variants. These goodies include wireless smartphone charging, a digital driver display, larger 10.25-inch touchscreen, premium Bose Soundsystem, adaptive cruise control, rear cross-traffic alert, blind-spot monitoring and Hyundai’s Autolink connectivity system.

2020 Hyundai i30 sedan - 6
We know it says Elantra, it’ll be called the i30 sedan here, though.

The i30 Sedan should arrive in Australia following the launch of the updated hatch in the second half of 2020; we hope Hyundai Australia can secure some hybrid vehicles for our market, too.

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2020 Kia Sorento - 1 Kia teases Sorento ahead of Geneva, hybrid likely

Kia has teased several concept images of the fourth generation Sorento, with the production version set to debut at this year’s Geneva Motor Show in March. 

Kia’s full-size SUV should provide a fresh option in the school-run arms race against the Hyundai Santa Fe, Skoda Kodiaq and Tiguan Allspace.

Of course, Kia will still offer the Carnival for those who prefer absolute practicality over the SUV image’s extra cool-points.

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The rear-end of the Sorento

With Hyundai and Kia sharing technology, we presume the new Sorento will sit on similar underpinnings as the quietly achieving Hyundai Santa Fe.

As for drivetrains Kia has confirmed that there will be a hybrid option available, but little more than that.

We reckon the new Sorento will be available with choice though; either two or all-wheel-drive configurations, perhaps the 3.5-litre aspirated petrol V6 or diesel 2.2-litre turbocharged four-cylinder that the brand already has access to.

Depending on price-point the Sorento may even borrow the three-litre turbocharged diesel V6 slated for the Genesis GV80.

2020 Genesis GV80 - 1
Will the Sorento score this diesel?

Kia promises there will be advanced driver assistance systems and plenty of connectivity when the Sorento comes to market.

The concept images look a little like Hyundai’s Santa Fe, especially from the rear, but that’s as much down to packaging and SUV trends than anything else.

Kia hasn’t shied away from a slab-sided SUV shape though, from the images it looks like it will be an imposing vehicle on the road.

An angular, squared-off grille insert unashamedly adorns the car’s snout. From the front, the Sorento looks remarkably like the brand’s compact SUV, the Seltos. Perhaps the new front end will be the BMW kidney grille for Kia in the coming years.

2020 Kia Seltos grey front end
That grille looks rather familiar.

On the topic of future brand identity, it’s something that the Korean trifecta – Kia, Hyundai and Genesis – need to get on top of.

Genesis is already pitched as a luxury brand and their latest foray into that segment – the opulent GV80 SUV – has truly cemented that place.

But Kia and Hyundai haven’t carved their niches quite so sharply. There was some idea that Kia would be a more affordable arm of Hyundai, but the brutish Stinger rather threw that cat amongst the pigeons.

Perhaps the new Sorento will go some way to correcting this by offering a more comprehensive value package than the seven-seat Hyundai Santa Fe can.

Of course, we’ll have to wait until March for forthcoming details and specification confirmation.

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Toyota Yaris Hybrid 2020 red Mega-frugal Toyota Yaris Hybrid locked in for Australia

Toyota Australia today confirmed that the new-generation Yaris hybrid hatch – a vehicle rated to use just 3.3L/100km of petrol – has been locked in for an Australian launch this year.

The fourth-generation Yaris was revealed in October, but strong predicted demand in Europe for the hybrid-electric version meant that it was unclear whether Australian buyers would be offered the fuel-sipping technology.

Those hurdles having been cleared, however, an Australian launch date for the hybrid has been locked in for May this year – with the Yaris hybrid set to take the mantle of Australia’s most frugal combustion vehicle.

The Yaris Hybrid pinches that title from Toyota’s own Prius C hatch, which the brand says will be discontinued upon the release of the new Yaris. The hybrid version of the Yaris will follow the release of the new 1.5-litre petrol-only variant in the coming months.

Toyota Yaris Hybrid 2020 red
Toyota’s better-looking new Yaris, pictured here in hybrid form.

Like its larger siblings in the Toyota range – the Corolla, C-HR and RAV4 – the new Yaris sits on Toyota’s rigid TNGA chassis. Longer and lower, the new Yaris should sport markedly improved driving dynamics when compared with the outgoing third-generation car, which we reviewed here.

Interior quality is also set to improve in the new car, with a more attractive cabin bundling a large central touchscreen with a partially digital instrument cluster – while a 10-inch head-up display will be an option.

Joining the petrol and hybrid Yaris options later in 2020 will be Toyota’s new halo hot hatch – the Yaris GR – though the very serious Gazoo Racing edition of the Yaris is actually a bespoke vehicle under the skin, sharing only a name with the garden variety iterations.

Pricing has not yet been announced on any iteration from the 2020 Yaris trio.

Toyota Yaris Hybrid 2020 badge
The Yaris hybrid will drink just 3.3L/100km of petrol.
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