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The Mercury Cars Guide : June 27th 2009
20— Classifieds 62 300 400 • carsguide.com.au Saturday, June 27, 2009 On and off the road to success Mitsubishiand LandRover are the big winners in Overlander magazine’s prized annual 4WDawards announcedlast week, writes Fraser Stronach U NLIKE Overlander magazine’s 4WD of the Year award, which only looks at vehicles that are new or signif- icantly revised in that year, these annual accolades look at all the 4WDs on the market. Long-time champions domi- nate these awards, but some- times even long-time champs are forced to step aside. The awards cover a wide variety of segments, and Mitsu- bishi’s Pajero Di-D has won the Best Value for Money award. The turbo-diesel Pajero has had a mortgage on this categ- ory for four years, but this year’s winning Pajero is not the same Pajero that has won in the past years. In fact, it is a considerably better Pajero thanks to a raft of changes that came with the NT model intro- duced at the end of last year. Most significantly, the NT Pajero received a heavily re- vised engine,anewgearboxand various measures to improve noise controlandgeneral refine- OVERALL CHAMPION: The Land Rover Discovery 3 TDV6. Picture: OVERLANDER MAGAZINE. ment.Thechanges were enough to see the new Pajero take out Overlander’s 2008 4WD Of The Year award, and see it run extremely close to knocking the Prado out as the winner of the Best Medium Wagon (Diesel) category in these awards. In the end the Prado held on to that crown simply because it is happier and more comfort- able off-road than the Pajero, even though the Pajero is a far better on-road prospect than the Prado, with sharper handling and stronger performance. In fact, the NT Pajero’s 147kW/441Nm four-cylinder diesel engine is one of the highlights of the package. Like its predecessors it is still a tad on the noisy side, but it offers strong performance combined with frugal fuel use. The engine’s willing perfor- mance is matched by a chassis that offers the sort of high- speed dynamics most Japanese 4WDs can only dream about. You can put that down to the fact that the Pajero has fully independent suspension and a rigid monocoque body, and Mitsubishi’s wealth of experi- ence in events such as the Paris-Dakar Rally. At the same time the Pajero is still capable off-road, thanks in part to a traction control system. The overall winning 4WD and the Best Large Wagon (Diesel) was the Land Rover Discovery 3 TDV6. Land Rover’s brilliant Dis- covery 3 TDV6 has ruled over these awards since it was first released in late 2004. It actually arrived a little to late for the 2004 awards, but was named 4WD Of The Year in that year and has been the Best Overall and Best Large Wagon (Diesel) winner ever since. Over those years the maga- zine’s experts have driven the Discovery 3 under all sorts of conditions and against a wide range of vehicles in numerous comparison tests. They say it has stood the test of time. No doubt the D3’s enduring success comes down to the fact that Ford (the then new owner of Land Rover) put vast amounts of money on the table to get the new Discovery right. VALUE FOR MONEY: The new improved Pajero. Ford wanted the D3 to be a winner and there was nowayit was going to let budget con- straints compromise the end result. The centrepiece of the D3 is the TDV6 engine, a 2.7-litre V6 turbo diesel jointly developed by Ford and Peugeot. Despite its relatively modest140kWand the D3’s portly 2.5 tonnes, this engine performs effortlessly and frugally, all helped in its work by the slick six-speed automatic. If there is a limit to what the V6 can do, it comes with high-speed overtaking. On the road the D3 also offers crisp and sharp handling that defies both its weight and the fact that it is also so capable off- road. The only proviso here is that D3’s full off-road potential is only realised when the optional ($1050) locking rear diff is fitted. Adding to the D3’s appeal is a cabin that is still the bench- mark in terms of space and functionality among large4WD wagons. ?Get the July issue of Over- lander to find out about the Hummer Destination of the Year. the winners Overall and largewagon (diesel): Land Rover Discovery 3TDV6 Best value for money: Mitsubishi Pajero Di-D Best largewagon (petrol): Toyota LandCruiser200Series Mediumwagon(diesel) and runner-up best overall: Toyota LandCruiser Prado D-4D Bestmediumwagon (petrol): Toyota LandCruiser PradoV64.0L Best small wagon: Suzuki Grand Vitara DDiS Best ute (diesel): Mitsubishi Triton Di-D DoubleCab Best ute (petrol): Nissan NavaraD404.0LV6Dual Cab Best luxury: Range Rover VogueTDV8 Best off road: Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Mercedes G-Class ready to shed its fatigues T HEAustralia Defence Forces indirectly helped convince Mercedes-Benz Australia that its military G-wagon should shed its fatigues and become a civilian. The company is expected to sign off soon on reintroducing the slab- sided off-roader next year. The G-Class, or Galendewagen, is described as almost indestruct- ible, has been at the forefront of peace-keeping duties with the Uni- ted Nations and is little changed since it was launched in 1979. Mercedes-Benz is already sup- plying 1200 right-hand drive mili- tary versions to the ADF, worth $350 million, replacing the force’s Land Rovers.According to Mercedes-Benz Australia spokes- man David McCarthy, relatively little compliance work needs to be done to build a civilian version. ‘‘We know what needs to be done to make it comply,’’ he said. Emissions work, crash testing and some Australian Design Rules certification will be involved. But as the engines in the G-wagon appear in other Benz vehicles, much of the work is already done. Apart from selling a small num- ber locally, McCarthy said there wasalso interest from South Africa and the UK for right-hand drive versions. ‘‘Look, we’re not talking huge numbers here though,’’ he said. ‘‘If Mercedes-Benz could sell be- tween 100 and 200 a year locally we’d be very happy ‘‘The G-wagon would be small volume, but there is a demand for it.’’ McCarthy said there may be some confusion with the other ‘‘G’’ cars like the GLK and GL-Class, but the G-wagon was in a class of its own. ‘‘It is a very distinct vehicle and car.’’ ‘‘The two V8s would be by customer order only,’’ McCarthy said. ‘‘We see the diesel as the volume Currently the G-wagon is avail- able in Europe in three body styles, short station wagon, long station wagon and cabriolet. Mercedes-Benz Australia sold about 150 of the off-roaders here between 1982 and 1989 as its answer to the luxury Range Rover. However, its utilitarian look, spartan interior and high cost worked against it. To celebrate its 30th birthday, YES SIR: The Mercedes-Benz G-Class wagon is about to go civilian. I don’t think there would be any crossover with some of our other models.’’ Three models are planned: the G 350 CDI, V6 diesel; a 5.5-litre, V8 G 500; and a range-topping G55 AMG V8. The diesel develops 165kW/ 540Nm; the V8 285kW/530Nm; and the AMG version pumps out 373kW/700Nm. the legendary wagon recently got a modest makeover inside, but the car’s rugged exterior remains largely as it was when the first examples came out of the Graz factory in Austria in 1979. More than 200,000 have been built and sold globally. NEIL McDONALD DRIVE AWAY A NEAR NEW NISSAN TODAY! 08 NISSAN Tiidas Choice of colours,auto & manual • Manual/automatic • Air conditioning • Cruise control (auto only) MANUAL $15, • ABS brakes • Dual airbags 490 • Balance of new car warranty DRIVE AWAY AUTOMATIC $16, †To approved business clients only, with a $2,500 deposit over five years with a 30% residual payment. Interest rate 10.50%. 490 DRIVE AWAY $8.00 per day† Manual from www.djmotors.com.au email@example.com Easy finance available with DJ Financial Services 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
June 20th 2009
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