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2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee - 1 2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee: More safety and entertainment

Jeep Australia has revealed an updated Grand Cherokee for 2020 with extra safety. The Night Eagle trim returns as a permanent fixture as the entry-point to the capacious Grand Cherokee.

Having been on sale with very similar underpinnings for nearly ten years, the Jeep isn’t the freshest horse in the shed. However, competitors like Ford Everest and Mitsubishi Pajero Sport are of similar age. The softer Hyundai Santa Fe also offers a decent alternative to the base model Grand Cherokee.

Thankfully, Grand Cherokee pricing has remained line-ball with 2019 data retaining a key value point for Jeep.

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We like the slightly quirky uConnect system.

It’s still one of the most purposeful looking SUVs out there. The addition of some styling pizzazz on the Night Eagle is appreciated, giving the base model muscular exterior reminiscent of more exotic variants.

Inside the Grand Cherokee is standard Jeep fare for the 2020 and clearly designed around Americans, not Europeans. It’s starting to date in there,, but the uConnect has won favour with us, even with that quirky square touchscreen.

But if you want a berserk brute of an SUV, it’s hard to go past the American offering. Some will rejoice that for 2020 the gas-guzzling 6.4-litre V8 344kW/624Nm SRT and Trackhawk’s bananas 522kW/868Nm Supercharged V8 stick around. 

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The new entry-level Night Eagle.

No other brand offers so much grunt for so little cash – $92,450 (driveaway pricing TBA) and $134,590 (driveaway pricing TBA) respectively. The Germans will offer similar lunacy with BMW’s X5 M Competition and Benz’s AMG GLE 63, but they’re nearly twice the price.

Of course, there’s more to the Grand Cherokee range than mental headline figures of the V8 models. The new base Night Eagle variant packs leather upholstery, a square 8.4-inch touchscreen, 20-inch alloy wheels, parking sensors and a 7-inch digital driver display.

Updates for 2020 are limited to more standard safety tech with AEB, lane-departure warning and auto high-beams standard.

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It’s definitely a Jeep.

Wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are included across the Grand Cherokee range now.

Two engine options are available for the Night Eagle; the 213kW/347Nm 3.6-litre ‘Pentastar’ V6 starts at a reasonable $59,950 (driveaway pricing TBA), the torquier 184kW/540Nm diesel commanding a premium at $65,950 (driveaway pricing TBA). All Grand Cherokees are four-wheel-drive and sport an eight-speed automatic gearbox.

Stepping up to the petrol-only $63,950 (driveaway pricing TBA) Limited sees the addition of Capri leather seats, premium Alpine sound system, power boot and heated steering wheel. Safety is bolstered further with adaptive cruise, rear cross-traffic alert and park assist.

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Less purposeful in white we think.

Further up the extensive Grand Cherokee range is the $72,950 (driveaway pricing TBA) S-Limited with the option of a diesel V6 or 5.7-litre V8. Additional specification includes ‘heritage’ leather seats, more aggressive body kit, SRT bonnet and dark finishes on the lights and mirrors.

For 2020 the S-Limited also gains self-levelling rear-suspension and a 220amp battery for better towing and camping performance.

Jeep’s off-road focussed $75,950 (driveaway pricing TBA) Trailhawk and $79,450 (driveaway pricing TBA) Overland and premium $85,950 (driveaway pricing TBA)  Summit variants remain unchanged for 2020.

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Urban assault in the Grand Cherokee.

However, Jeep Australia has introduced a capped-price servicing scheme for all 2020 Grand Cherokees. That means the first five years of services are capped at $399 and, yes, that even includes the supercharged Trackhawk.

If space and performance are essential attributes, then the Grand Cherokee offers an excellent value proposition. 

The extra features on the less expensive variants and capped-price servicing make the American option more desirable than ever before.

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2020 BMW x5 M and x6 M - 2 Manic X5 M and X6 M Australian Pricing locked in

Choose your fighter: wagon bodied X5 M or sleeker X6 M Competition. Regardless, Australian pricing and specification is locked in for this pair of bananas SUVs.

Our world is certainly one of extremes at the moment. These Bavarian beasts are pitched against Audi’s RS Q8 and Mercedes-Benz AMG GLE 63 while sitting in showrooms with those brands EVs: the EQC and e-Tron Sportback.

But it seems that’s the way it’s going to be. After confirming their arrival earlier this year, BMW has priced the wagon-bodied X5 M from $209,900 (driveaway pricing TBA), with the X6 M slightly dearer at $213,900 (driveaway pricing TBA).

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X6 M has a distinctive rear end

Both vehicles are powered by BMW’s 4.4-litre twin-turbo ‘hot-vee’ V8 that produces a monstrous 460kW and 750Nm in the sole Competition trim that we will receive in Australia.

The pair of M monsters also get a baffled sump and ten coolers, including dual water-to-air intercoolers to keep cool on track.

Power is sent to all four wheels via a superb ZF eight-speed automatic, where an M fettered xDrive system divvies that torque up between tyres.

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BMW’s 4.4-litre V8

Setting the full-fledged M models from M performance ‘50i’ models is the M Performance differential fitted to the rear axle of the pair of uber SUVs to optimise corner exit traction and stability.

Larger brakes feature, naturally, with 395mm cross-ventilated rotors clutched by six-piston callipers up front, with 380mm items and sliding callipers fitted at the rear.

A set of staggered (21-inch front, 22-inch rear) alloy wheels adorn both SUVs with massive 295/35 and 315/30 series tyres respectively. A serious amount of rubber is necessary given the manic outputs and near 2.3-ton kerb weights.

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That’s a nasty looking nose

All of the performance equipment means the uber SUVs should complete the standard sprint in 3.8 seconds, a touch slower than the brand’s M8 sports car.

Despite the Competition moniker the X5 M and X6 M aren’t stripped out track specials, instead, they pack plenty of equipment to keep the sweat off your brow while lapping your favourite race track.

Both cars are specified identically with the latest iDrive system run through a 12.3-inch touchscreen, wireless Apple CarPlay, merino leather-appointed seats with alcantara headliner, four-zone climate control, harman/kardon sound system, panoramic sunroof, reversing assistant, adaptive suspension and M Sport exhaust.

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Wagon body or coupe X6 – which do you prefer?

There are the obvious M addenda outside, too. Swollen guards, bulging bonnets and gaping scoops all set the M variants apart from M Performance models, the pair look seriously imposing.

We would opt for the more practical, wagon bodied X5 M but can understand the appeal of the sloping X6 M.

Options including leather colour choice, wheels, and other packs will be detailed when the air of manic SUVs are launched in Australia in March. We can’t wait to see how this swollen pair handles on our roads.

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2020 Mazda CX-8 - 1 2020 Mazda CX-8 drops entry price with Skyactiv Petrol engine

For 2020 Mazda will offer their seven-seat CX-8 SUV with a 2.5-litre Skyactiv petrol engine in the more affordable Sport variant now starting at $39,910 (driveaway pricing TBA). Full pricing appears at the end of this article.

The CX-8 gets specification tweaks across the range while retaining the excellent 2.2-litre turbo diesel supposing all-wheel-drive models.

Offering a more compact alternative to the brand’s flagship CX-9 SUV, the CX-8 must also battle the Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace, soon-to-be-updated Kia Sorento and Hyundai Santa Fe.

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Borrowed from the brand’s smaller CX-30, the 2.5-litre Skyactiv engine will offer identical power outputs of 140kW and 252Nm, though unlike turbocharged competitors that peak torque won’t be on offer until the engine is spinning at 4,000RPM.

Naturally, the 2.2-litre diesel engine will continue for 2020. Peak power is identical at 140kW, but the turbo diesel promises a 450Nm gob of torque at just 2,000RPM which should suit the lazy character of the large SUV.

Although the 2.5 petrol offers a more affordable, traditional Mazda experience we would still opt for the diesel with that greater lump of torque.

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This year’s entry variant is now called the Sport and is equipped with 17-inch alloy wheels, the option of front-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive (for an extra $7,000), GVC Plus, 8-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, leather-wrapped steering wheel, satellite navigation and a black cloth interior.

Safety equipment is generous with Mazda’s full suite of active systems standard. The tech includes blind-spot monitoring, high-speed AEB, adaptive cruise control, reversing camera and rear cross-traffic alert.

Stepping up to the $46,590 (driveaway pricing TBA) Touring grade you can still select either a petrol or diesel powertrain. The equipment list swells with LED foglights, power-adjustable front seats, front parking sensors and a rear armrest.

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Mazda’s $57,900 (driveaway pricing TBA) CX-8 GT is available exclusively with the 2.2-litre diesel, though all-wheel-drive is optional (add $4,000). Additional tech includes larger 19-inch alloy wheels, premium Bose stereo, heated and electrically adjustable front seats with memory function, panoramic sunroof and power boot-lid.

A range-topping $61,440 (driveaway pricing TBA) Asaki variant mirrors the GT’s powertrain options with AWD adding $4,000. A 7-inch digital instrument display, adaptive LED headlights, heated steering wheel, heated and ventilated Nappa leather seats, wood trim and ambient lighting top off the specification list.

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Mazda claims that they have addressed the high road noise concerns for the 2020 CX-8 with additional sound deadening in the roof.

Although entry is now more affordable CX-8 pricing has risen across the board. It’s still an SUV that offers good value, though, especially at the new, lower end of the price spectrum.

Mazda CX-8 2020 Pricing

All prices are before on road costs.
Mazda CX-8 Sport Petrol FWD $39,910 (new model)
Mazda CX-8 Sport Diesel AWD $46,910 (down $1,000)
Mazda CX-8 Touring Petrol FWD $46,590 (new model)
Mazda CX-8 Touring Diesel AWD $53,590 (new model)
Mazda CX-8 GT Diesel FWD $57,900 (new model)
Mazda CX-8 GT Diesel AWD $61,900 (new model)
Mazda CX-8 Asaki Diesel FWD $61,440 (new model)
Mazda CX-8 Asaki Diesel FWD $65,440 (up $2,350)

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2020 Kia Sorento - 1 Kia details new Sorento: Hybrid unlikely for Australia

Kia Motors have revealed key details of the all-new Sorento ahead of its debut at the 2020 Geneva Motor Show. It’s confirmed the large SUV will get a hybrid powertrain, but it won’t be coming to Australia.

The large SUV will go up against its fellow Korean rival the Hyundai Santa Fe along with the Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace and Mazda CX-9.

Kia has confirmed the Sorento will sit on an all-new monocoque platform which has grown in length by 10mm, with a generous 35mm added to the wheelbase to offer greater occupant comfort.

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Kia’s new, longer Sorento

Along with details of engine and platform specifications, Kia has also issued full images of the new Sorento and we reckon it looks pretty sharp.

No concessions were made on the large SUV front with Kia purposefully designing the Sorento to “look longer”. The new shape is also more purposeful than the outgoing car, and has adopted Kia’s signature ‘tiger-nose’ grille design.

A more lavish interior will be included, too, potentially moving the Sorento further upmarket. It’s pictured here in a striking mix of black and tan leather with a 10.25-inch touchscreen nestled into a classy centre stack.

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Tan interior. We like.

Digital instruments will make an appearance on a 12.3-inch readout ahead of the driver.

So far, so good, the next generation of Sorento is shaping up to be a formidable beast. But what exactly will power the new SUV?

Globally there will be several engines available including some tasty hybrid tech. However, Australia sees only a limited range with an updated 2.2-litre ‘Smartstream’ turbo-diesel with 149kW and 440Nm, while the 3.5-litre petrol V6 will carry over and produce 206kW and 336Nm.

2020 Kia Sorento - 2
A new suite of compact engines will be available, but not in Australia.

European and Korean Sorentos will be available with an all-new turbocharged hybrid powertrain comprised of a 1.6-litre four-cylinder supplemented by a 44.2kW electric motor for combined outputs of 169kW and 350Nm.

Markets outside Australia will also be presented with the option of a more powerful 2.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine generating 207kW and 421Nm.

Sadly, the small and slow-moving Australian market will do without these exciting propulsion options, though we hope to see greener options – including the promised plug-in hybrid – arrive at a later date.

2020 Kia Sorento - 4

Given Hyundai’s current push in Australia with green cars – such as updated Ioniq and Kona Electric – and strong sales of Toyota’s hybrid range, it seems peculiar that Kia is reluctant to send their new hybridised SUV Downunder.

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2020 Toyota Landcruiser horizon - 2 Toyota Land Cruiser Horizon celebrates 60 years, end of the V8

With Toyota confirming the next-gen Land Cruiser 300 Series will be available exclusively with hybrid power, the brand has announced the Horizon – a limited edition send-off for the current 200 Series 4×4, limited to just 400 units.

Toyota’s off-roaders have been renowned worldwide for their rugged reliable nature; from the workhorse Hilux to the 200 Series Land Cruiser, they’re used by those going properly bush.

It’s understandable, then, that there has been some backlash from enthusiasts about moving away from the proven V8 diesel in the coming 300 Series Land Cruiser.

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After all, Toyota’s biggest competitor – the Nissan Patrol – has just been refreshed and retained that car’s gas-guzzling V8.

Coinciding with the last year of the turbo-diesel V8 is the 60th Anniversary of the Land Cruiser in Australia the Horizon simultaneously celebrates this vehicle’s long service on our shores.

As the send-off variant, the Horizon will put the current 4.5-litre twin-turbo oil-burner to use under that vast bonnet with switchable four-wheel-drive modes and, of course, low-range for the six-speed automatic transmission.

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Outside, the Horizon is treated to some identifiable extras that include a black headlight backing, 18-inch alloy wheels, dark finish grille insert and smoked foglight surrounds.

Together the exterior tweaks add up to a vehicle with a touch more class than a standard Sahara and will set the Horizon apart on the roads (or trails).

It’s not just the exterior that gets tweaked, inside the Land Cruiser Horizon receives bespoke leather-appointed seats with Land Cruiser embossing, unique door-card stitching and black interior headliner as well as a heated leather-accented steering wheel.

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Naturally, this special edition gets plenty of safety tech even in this old-school 4×4, with city-speed AWB with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, rear cross-traffic alert, parking sensors and rear-view camera all standard fare.

Additionally, expect to find a panoramic sunroof, LED headlights, side-steps, a premium audio system, rear-seat DVD players, satellite navigation and four-zone climate control inside this behemoth.

The Horizon is limited to just 400 units here in Australia but you’ll have to be quick to snap one up; at $129,900 (driveaway pricing TBA) it’s surprisingly good value considering the extra kit. A standard Land Cruiser Sahara starts at $123,590 ($132,644 driveaway).

It’s a fitting way to send off one of the strongest serving V8 engines at Toyota, and we’re certain the new petrol-electric hybrid Land Cruiser 300 will have its work cut out trying to better this powertrain when it arrives later this year.

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