Stamp duty for cars explained
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Be honest now, what's the most exciting part of this special time of year for you? The balmy nights? Santa's imminent arrival? Your NYE festivities? A summer holiday to the beach?
Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong. The best and most exciting part of any year's end is that we're about to welcome another batch of fresh new cars that will be touching down in Australia over the next 12 months.
From best-selling small cars to premium players and the long-awaited arrival of Tesla's affordable EV, there is a heap of cool stuff on its way to our shores, and so to help you navigate the year ahead, we've highlighted what you can expect from five of the most important new 2019 models.
The arrival of a new Mazda 3 is an understandably big deal in Australia, where the Japanese brand's small car is routinely one of our best-selling vehicles.
To put its immense popularity into some sort of perspective, the out-going car is on the cusp of being replaced, and it will still finish the year as the brand's best-selling model, shifting a whopping 28,780 units between January and November - around 5000 more sales than the brand's also very popular CX-5.
So yes, a new one is a very big deal for the brand, and its executives must surely be hoping the new and swooping model that was revealed at the 2018 LA Auto Show will prove every bit as popular when it arrives around June 2019.
There are plenty of headline items here, but let's start with the obvious; it looks fairly different to the car it replaces. The new 3 utilises a Phase II version of Mazda's long-standing Kodo design language; a sleek and swooping new design in both hatch and sedan guise (though the two look very different) that looks more premium than perhaps any Mazda to have gone before it.
The first cars to arrive are expected to be fitted with a choice of two petrol engines - a 2.0- or 2.5-litre option - while the two diesel engines offered overseas are unlikely to make it to our shores.
But the most exciting engine option will follow those first cars to Australia a little later in 2019, with the new 3 to feature Mazda's 'Skyactiv-X' technology; a super-clever petrol engine which uses diesel-style compression ignition and a supercharger to reduce fuel use by as much as 30 per cent, while boosting torque by between 10 and 30 per cent.
It's too early to talk pricing or specification details, but we'd expect to see both climb slightly from their current levels.
For car kids of the 1990s, few nameplates stir so many memories as the iconic Toyota Supra; a fire-breathing coupe that (especially in twin-turbo form) offered supercar performance at a fraction of the price.
Toyota killed it off in the early 2000s (instead embracing a less exciting line-up), but the nameplate will at last make its triumphant return to Australia next year.
Jointly developed with the BMW Z4 (essentially the convertible version of the hardtop-only Toyota) the fastest Supra makes use of the German brand’s awesome turbocharged 3.0-litre six-cylinder engine, paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. It is a fabulous engine, and Toyota has said to expect more than 220kW/450Nm and a sub-5.0 second sprint from 0-100km/h.
Weirdly, we’ve already driven the Supra, and yet we haven’t actually seen what it will look like, with Toyota insisting on wrapping all of its prototypes in complicated camouflage ahead of an official unveiling at the Detroit Auto Show in January.
We do know to expect a very BMW-flavoured interior design (including the switchgear and multimedia set-up), while outside, the two-door, two-seat coupe has gone for a squatting-on-its-haunches style with super-muscular bulges above the rear tyres. But the most obvious styling touch you notice is the contours of its bubble-domed roof.
Expect the Supra to arrive towards to the back end of 2019.
A new BMW 3 Series has always been a big deal, but there’s perhaps been none so important as this all-new 2019 version that will arrive in Australia from March 2019.
The reason? BMW has lost ground to arch-rival Mercedes’ very accomplished C-Class, and so has poured everything it’s got into ensuring this new version reclaims the premium mid-size crown.
While BMW will launch the 3 Series with two (the 330i and 320d) four-cylinder engine variants, the most exciting variant - so far - is hands-down the fire-breathing M340i xDrive, which pairs a potent six-cylinder engine with all-wheel drive (a first for Oz).
That car scores a six-cylinder petrol engine, firing 275kW/500Nm toward the tyres, resulting in a sprint from 0-100km/h of just 4.4 seconds. That’s mighty quick. The outgoing M3 needs 4.1 seconds to get there.
While it might not look all that different, this car rides on a new modular platform (the same as that underpinning the 5 Series) and as a result, is 76mm longer than the car it replaces (now 4709mm), 16mm wider (now 1827mm), and it rides on a 2851mm wheelbase (41mm longer).
Overall body rigidity is increased by up to 50 per cent in some areas, and it's lighter and more aerodynamic than the car it replaces. All of which is Very Good News.
The looooong wait for Tesla’s first mainstream EV to arrive in Australia is almost over, with the Silicon Valley car brand finally launching its Model 3 in Oz in 2019.
Well, we hope. Certainly right-hand drive production is scheduled to kick off around the middle of next year, and it is expected to arrive here by the middle of 2019. We won’t walk the production-issues ground again here, but suffice it to say the company is pretty familiar with delays and missed deadlines, so we’ll have to wait and see whether the 3 does arrive before year’s end.
If it does, the many Australians who have already plonked down deposits will surely be celebrating, and if its international success is anything to go by, the traditional premium players will be nervous.
The headline act, of course, is its price. While the Models S and X are prohibitively expensive, the 3 is promising cut-price EV motoring for the masses, with pricing starting at $35,000 USD, which translates to around $50k (before on-road costs) for the cheapest version in a straight currency conversion.
Now, it must be said that Tesla is currently focused on producing the higher-spec, and thus more expensive, versions, but we’ll drill down on the cheapest model here.
That car will give you a promised 530km range, a 0-100km/h sprint of just over 5.6 seconds and a flying top speed of around 210km/h. Healthy numbers, to be sure.
Inside, expect a huge 15-inch tablet-style screen that controls all the major functions, as well as dual-zone climate control, standard nav, voice control, and Wi-Fi and mobile data capability for over-the-air updates.
There’s LED lighting, a small army of exterior cameras and radars, and - if it matches the S and X in Australia - a staggering eight-year warranty.
Australia’s top-selling small hatchback will get a newly shaped sibling, with Toyota confirming the next-generation Corolla sedan should arrive in Australia before the end of 2019.
While international markets will get hybrid, prestige and a performance-focused Levin versions, Toyota in Australia has so far kept mum on what we should expect.
We do know, though, that the new Corolla hatch line-up provides plenty of hints on exactly what to expect from the sedan version. So the Corolla sedan will share its siblings' Toyota’s New Global Architecture (TNGA), which has legitimately transformed the brand's small car from spongy and underwhelming to a genuine hoot to drive. We'd also expect Toyota’s all-new 2.0-litre petrol engine, as well as a 1.8-litre petrol-electric hybrid version.
As reported here before, you can expect a mirror-image of the hatchback's interior, which is no bad thing, as well as a choice between a six-speed manual or CVT auto.