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The Mercury Cars Guide : May 2nd 2009
20— CARSguide Baby soft-roader styled to charm A THIRD Q-car has just been confirmed for 2011. Audi will add the babyQ3 soft-roader alongside the giant Q7 and just-launched Q5 as it goes all-out to fill every opportunity in the prestige SUV business. The Q3 will also go up against the upcoming BMW X1, which should be in showrooms around the same time. No firm details of the Q3 have been released by Audi, although it says the Cross Coupe Quattro Con- cept gives some idea of its thinking. The Cross Coupe is more car-like than either the Q7 or Q5, with a rounded five-doorwagonbodyand a coupe-style rounded roofline. The Q3 will be built in Spain and is part of an ambitious Audi plan to have40-plus individual models in its lineup by 2015. The cost of this new- model rush is more than $2 billion a year.ThenewSUVis already onthe radar for AudiAustralia but it is not yet confirmed for local sales. ‘‘There is nothing we can con- firm, except to say that it’s some- thing we’re interested in,’’ says Audi Australia’s Anna Burgdorf. ‘‘There is a good chance of seeing the Q3 in Australia, if there is the right market for it. We never make a decision for a new model without knowing it’s going to be successful. ‘‘We need the right price and the right engines and the right custom- ers to buy it.’’ Cosmetic surgery The flagship of the Audi SUV range, the V12 TDi, will bring LED running lamps to the Q7 here.The newcorporate signature, whichwas first seen on the R8 supercar and most recently on the Q5, is part of a mild tweak which will give the Q7 a INSPIRATIONS: The Audi Cross Coupe Quattro concept will extend to the little Q3 luxury SUV addition. mildly different look in the final quarter of 2009. The daytime running lamps are the only obvious change for the Q7, although it also getsanewgrille and side skirts, more aggressive flared guards and a bolder splash protec- tor under the nose. Apart from the daytime lights, the LED takeover includes tail lamps and aturn signal above the air intake. Inside, the facelift Q7 has simpli- fied dials and a new MMI system with hard-drive music storage. ‘‘We’ll get the product improve- ment in Australia around the end of the year. It will come about the same time as the Q7 V12 TDi,’’ says Anna Burgdorf. ‘‘There are some changes to the lighting package, and that will be the most obvious. It’s not a major change. It’s a visual refresh.’’ PAUL GOVER Nimble in city and the bush There are, in these times of trouble,somebright characters at the cheaperendof theSUVmarket. BruceMcMahonreports limited luggage space if all seats are used. Itmaynot be the first choice N for covering long distances week in, week out. But at $25,000 the short Vitara is worth a long look as a daily commuter—inexpen- sive to run, easy to park and still capable of a beach or bush weekend. For the Suzuki has a long and honourable four-wheel drive pedigree. It is built by a company with a long and honourable history in bolting together reliable machines. Current Vitaras are quite handsome vehicles. There are hints of a family heritage dating back to Suzuki’s first Vitara in 1988. So the three-door is familiar yet manages to look fresh (even while this latest crop of Vitaras are largely style and mechanical updates to the 2005 versions). It isano-nonsense, practical shape with just a polite hint of muscle that wont scare the grannies. It is a sensible style — if a little sexier than the five-door version — that’s practical in the scrub, tidy enough for town. That line follows through to OWa three-door Su- zuki Vitara is not for all. It is a small- ish four-seater with the cabin with decent ergo- nomics, sound system and air conditioning; instruments and controls are easily fol- lowed and there’s good room for two up front, reasonable room (and access) for two behind. With the back seats up there’s not a deal of space left in this short wheelbase ma- chine, plenty for a day at the beach but maybe not for a week away for four. It is a compact compact. These rear seats do fold up and toward the front with ease, leaving a deal of cargo space. The spare wheel sits pretty on the tailgate. While there are some minor style change, including a flash new grille, it is the addition of a2.4 litre, four-cylinder engine to the range that makes the biggest impact with the latest three-door Vitara. Allied to the five-speedman- ual gearbox, the 122kW motor is much handier than pre- vious offerings. It is helped by variable valve timing and for- ever keen to have a go. All the while fuel consump- tion is averaging out around 9 litres per 100km. This will climb a little with sustained hard slogging—up a soft sand track or through a boggy bush byway — but this engine is generally quite thrifty. And the Vitara package is quite handy when road turns to track. The transmission runs all day in four-wheel drive but there is a four-high lock with centre differential locked, then a four-low range lock for more serious work. Suzukis are always willing little off-roaders, made han- dier here with the three-doors smaller body, shorter wheel- base plus better ramp-over and departure angles com- pared with bigger wagons. It is a nimble machine, whether dodging boulders or bollards; the three-doors ad- vantage runs from tight park- ing spots to narrow bush tracks. It steers, rides and handles quite well. It is quieter than previous Vitaras, a little less edgy in the ride quality although for regular long trips the longer wheelbase five-door version would be a more comfortable option. Itmaynot turn in, corner or hang on as deftly as a Suzuki Swift but the Vitara does not disgrace itself in the traffic. It is, with that 2.4 litre engine stirred, quite a decent point- to-point vehicle on a back road. Soasaweekdayrun-around and weekend adventurer (for two) it is hard to ignore the three-door Vitara at this price. Classifieds 62 300 400 • carsguide.com.au Saturday, May 2, 2009 A COMPACT COMPACT: The Suzuki Vitara three-door really is a space-saver. small torque Suzuki GrandVitara Price:$24,990 Body: 3-doorwagon Engine: 2.4 litre, 4-cylinder Power:122kW@6000rpm Torque:225Nm@ 4000rpm Transmission: 5-speed manual Dimensions(mm):4060(l), 1810 (w), 1695 (h),200 (clearance) SCOOP PURCHASE! 08 NISSAN Tiidas 4 Hatchbacks & 2 Sedans • Automatic • Cruise control • Air conditioning • ABS brakes • Dual airbags • Remainder of new vehicle warranty †To approved business clients only, with a $2,500 deposit over five years with a 30% residual payment. Interest rate 10.50%. $16, $9.00 per day† www.djmotors.com.au firstname.lastname@example.org Easy finance available with DJ Financial Services 990 DRIVE AWAY Hobart 1a Brisbane Street,Hobart Phone: 6213 3300 Warren Amos 0417 544 829 Luke Mitchell 0408 545 146 Glenorchy 275 Main Road,Glenorchy Phone: 6213 3315 Brian Anning 0418 531 853 Chris Wakefield 0400 635 446 Allan Gebel 0428 729 659 OUTSIDE: The spare wheel sits pretty on the tailgate.
April 25th 2009
May 16th 2009