AMONG the SUVs dominating the biennial Beijing motor show this weekend are new models that will make their way, in some shape or form, to Australia.
Leading the pack is the Renault Koleos, which should arrive in local dealerships before the end of the year. The Koleos pushes upmarket with a bigger body, better interior bling and more active driving aids — the global launch highlights its autonomous emergency braking, lane departure alert, reversing camera and auto high and low-beams.
A new portrait-oriented digital display controls the likes of infotainment, active cruise control and auto parking. In top-spec models, the driver can customise the graphics on the instrument display screen.
The Koleos is based on the Nissan X-Trail platform and local versions are expected to mirror the existing line-up with all-wheel drive matched to petrol or diesel four-cylinder engines. Ground clearance of 213mm and grab handles on the windscreen pillars hint the new Koleos is capable of mild off-road excursions.
The facelifted Lexus IS, due next year, has had a reasonable spit and polish inside and out. The nose now features a more raked-back spindle grille flanked by a pair of massive air intakes intended to emphasise the compact sedan’s “sportier, more aggressive appearance”.
Other changes include pinching the crease on the sedan’s side, accentuating the L-shaped rear light cluster and adding new wheel designs.
The Volkswagen T-Prime Concept GTE plug-in hybrid is a thinly disguised Touareg.
The IS goes big on the inside with a 10.3-inch infotainment screen replacing the previous seven-inch version. Audio and aircon controls are more tactile and the cupholders can fit ever-growing smartphones.
Drivetrains carry over: sparky 2.0-litre twin-scroll turbo four in the IS 200t, hybrid IS 300h and, for outright urge, the 3.5-litre V6 in the IS 350.
The Touareg’s growth spurt has been triggered by the mid-sized Tiguan’s own expansion, as well as long-wheelbase versions in some markets.
VW’s renewed push for hybrid motoring means it’s fitted with 185kW/370Nm 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo in tandem with a 100kW/350Nm electric motor. The combined outputs are 280kW/700Nm.
The company claims a 0-100km/h time of 6.0 seconds.
The 14.1kWh lithium-ion battery pack sits under the cargo floor and VW says the concept is good for 50km and a combined Euro-cycle fuel use of 2.7L/100km.
Inside there’s a digital driver’s display dubbed the “Active Info Display” and a 15-inch infotainment screen dominates the dash.