2021 Jeep Wrangler pricing and specs detailed: Ford Bronco-rivalling off-road SUV jumps up in cost
Jeep Australia has increased pricing across its 2021 Wrangler line-up by $800...
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You’ve delayed the inevitable for too long.
It’s been over three long years now since the last Holden Commodore came off the Elizabeth production line in Adelaide, four orbits of the sun since the demise of the Ford Falcon and nearly five for the only SUV ever made here, Ford’s Territory.
If you were lucky enough to get in and buy one, it would have been a bittersweet ownership experience knowing that, eventually, you’ll need to replace the irreplaceable.
You can go on still driving your beloved Aussie icon of course, but as everyday commuters, they’re getting on a bit, with increased maintenance, decreased safety and clunky old multimedia systems. Sadly, nothing lasts forever.
But don’t worry, because we’re here to help, with our top suggestions on what new alternatives out there come closest to the spirit of our forever lost but never forgotten car industry.
Each possesses something akin to our homegrown classics because, folks, that’s what even the newest Australian-made car is nowadays… so the time is now to put that VF V8 in mothballs and move on with something new.
If you’re familiar with the current Kluger… the new one only looks like a gentle evolution.
Out from June, the ground-up fourth-generation redesign is shaping up to be a revolution, adopting the vaunted Toyota New Global Architecture platform that provides more space, greater refinement, better rigidity and improved handling and ride characteristics than previous iterations.
And don’t you know it? These are all attributes that made the late and lamented Territory one of Australia’s all-time greats for both passengers and keener drivers alike.
But wait – hasn’t the same thing applied to the current Mazda CX-9 since late 2016? Yes, it has. However, the latter is turbo-petrol only, meaning that if you are after the frugality of the Territory TDCi turbo-diesel, you’d be plum out of luck.
Enter the MY22 Kluger, with its new hybrid powertrain that combines three electric motors (two of which drive the rear wheels) with a 142kW/242Nm 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, for a total system output of 184kW. Dubbed e-Four AWD (for all-wheel drive), it slashes consumption from 8.7 litres per 100km in the standard 3.5-litre V6 to just 5.6L/100km.
Throw all that in with advanced driver-assist safety tech, and that’s worth trading up from your old Territory diesel.
Remember how you could have bought a brand-new SS sedan for $50K back in 2017 and now you’re kicking yourself for not doing it? We reckon the same might apply with the Chrysler 300 SRT, which starts from $77K now that the stripped-down Core is no more.
Yes, the Canadian-built four-door sedan is in its 11th year of production and counting – so it actually predates the VF Commodore – but we’re still talking about a 6.4-litre HEMI V8 delivering 350kW of power and 637Nm of torque to the rear wheels, for a 0-100 time of around 4.5 seconds on the way to a 282km/h top speed.
Distinctive, timeless and – let’s face it, divisive – styling and sound German-American engineering courtesy of (older) Mercedes-Benz E-Class and S-Class suspension designs further add to the Chrysler’s appeal. And thankfully you’ll find modern driver-assist safety and multimedia connectivity kit included, so it will at least seem newer than your SS.
What we’re saying is that – with the exception of German luxury sports sedans costing twice as much like the BMW M550i and Mercedes E53 AMG – it isn’t possible to buy a family-friendly high-performance V8 sedan like the 300 SRT. Certainly not for this money.
Time to retire that VF SS into a barn for a rainy day and let rip in a Chrysler 300. It won’t last much longer you know.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again.
Commodore production was closing shop, Falcon was already gone and nobody on the planet was pleading for a 3.3-litre twin-turbo V6 rear-driver capable of sub-5.0s performance, yet there it was… and here it still is.
If it lost the Kia logo and instead wore an Audi S7 or Mercedes CLS badge the world would be going gaga, but instead the 4.8-metre-long by 1.9m wide liftback that shares many of its oily bits with the Genesis G70 languishes in the fringes. Even the Stinger’s interior – which underwent an update in 2020 – feels special.
Like the Blue Oval’s Falcon XR6 Turbo before it, the Stinger V6TT has a blue-collar appeal about the way it can deftly out-manoeuvre much more expensive European and Japanese machinery, yet is still large, practical and affordable enough to function as the sole family car. Throw in a seven-year warranty and you might as well add sensible to the equation, too.
No other car has as-yet come closest to being a spiritual replacement for the Falcon and Commodore as the Stinger. It’s an accolade we’ll never tire of repeating.
Yet the driving force behind both these vehicles are remarkably similar, and the end result is unique in the world for both vehicles.
Back in the late 2000s, Ford Australia won the contract to design and develop the T6 medium pick-up truck for the world. With thousands of designers and engineers working for years on the project, it busted the boundaries of what a truck can look, feel and drive like. That a decade on, the Ranger remains best in its class in areas of dynamics, driveability and refinement is testament to the ingenuity of the Broadmeadows-based team.
OK, a Thai-built 157kW/500Nm 2.0-litre twin-turbo four-pot diesel in a body-on-frame truck wearing rear leaf spring suspension is a world away from an Aussie-made 210kW/350Nm 3.6-litre V6 petrol with a monocoque body and independent rear end. But they both feel most at home on our roads.
Even if the new wave of SUV-based utes like the Honda Ridgeline, Hyundai Santa Cruz and Ford Maverick make it to Australia, our indigenous Ranger is the closest we’ll have to a Holden (or Falcon) ute.
The final-ever Australian vehicle. And don’t forget – Ford Australia was first in the world with a VF-like ute back in 1934.
By all measures the Holden Sportswagon was a great success.
Developed as a design-driven adjunct to the 2006 VE sedan range rather than a longer-wheelbase carryall with a very specific fleet-car focus, it was tasked with accounting for 15 per cent of total sales but often breached 40 per cent.
That’s because buyers loved the sleek, solid and muscular proportions that also offered the five-door practicality of a wagon. The clue was in the name. The entry-level Commodore Evoke was an especially compelling proposition, with sub-$40K pricing and a beautifully presented interior that was far richer than its modest station in life suggested.
But the just-released and fully-redesigned Skoda Octavia 110TSI wagon possesses some of that value, can-do spirit of the Evoke Sportwagon, from its modest yet punchy 110kW/250Nm 1.4-litre turbo/eight-speed torque-converter auto powertrain, to its inviting, comfy interior that happens to offer acres of family practicality.
The Holden Caprice was a dying breed way before the VF-based WN launched in 2013, with its only real competitor – the Ford Fairlane that inspired the series back in the late 1960s – discontinued some half a decade earlier.
The original (in Australia) Hyundai Genesis 3.8 started off as a compelling alternative in 2014, with similar pricing and a whole-lot more spec, but it’s since shot towards $100K as the restyled G80, leaving the door wide open for rivals to snare the chauffer companies, hotel airport run business and posh taxi market.
Enter the latest Kia Carnival. This is literally one out of the box, with handsome, ultra-modern design, a higher-than-normal seating position that emulates many SUVs (it shares much of the same undercarriage with the Kia Sorento and Hyundai Palisade) and absolutely acres of space and convenience inside, while ensconced in comfy seats and high-quality interior architecture. Especially in loaded, salubrious Platinum grade.
In other words, the evolution of what was once known as the big luxury limo.
Happily, the Carnival also happens to be a great drive, with the choice of ample V6 power or the economy of a turbo-diesel, as well as light yet accurate steering and a soft ride.
What really gets the Kia over the line for us, however, is its brash visual attitude and elegant clothes. The Caprice for the 2020s is right here.