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The Mercury Cars Guide : July 18th 2009
12— Classifieds 62 300 400 • carsguide.com.au Saturday, July 18, 2009 Toyota’s second-half fightback Toyota Australia hasbeenquiet through the first half of2009andsufferedasignificant sales hit, but plans to hit backupto Decemberwitharush ofnewmodelsand value-added dealsonits CorollaandCamry. PaulGoverreports A VALUE-FIRST three-door Toyota Prado will spear- head a second-half show- room push by Australia’s best-selling car brand. ‘‘We’ve got facelifts for the Camry and Aurion, we have special editions for RAV, Corolla and Yaris, we have technical changes on HiLux, HiAce and 70-Series, and we have a new- generation Prado,’’ says Toyota Aus- tralia’s head of sales and marketing, Dave Buttner. ‘‘And we have VSC (electronic sta- bility control) coming on the Corolla hatch, with the sedan to follow next year.’’ Buttner admits Toyota has been hit harder than most by its showroom rivals but is confident Toyota will have the ammunition it needs to recover. ‘‘To maintain stimulation in the marketplace you need to be offering new opportunites,’’ he says. ‘‘This gives us an opportunity to revitalise and keep our products fresh for consumers. If you stand still you run the risk of being uncompetitive against your rivals.’’ He rejects any talk of a panic move and says the 2009 plan was set before the start of the year. ‘‘All of this was in place. There is nothing new in this plan,’’ he says. ‘‘Each year in the first quarter we decide what third-quarter limited edi- tion models we have.’’ Technical changes are on the draw- ing board for two years. Looking at the potential for each of the newcomers, Buttner says the three-door Prado is key as the com- pany’s family-focused four-wheel drive is given a complete renewal as part of the change to the 200-Series Land- Cruiser family. ‘‘It’s the first time we’ve had a three- door,’’ he says. ‘‘It’s an exciting new entrant for us and gives us a new price point. ‘‘We expect it to be a strong seller. We think it will appeal to a slightly different buyer. ‘‘When you look at the next- generation Pradothat’savery exciting product for us. ‘‘The specification down the track is absolutely sensational. We know peo- ple are waiting for it.Weexpect that to give us a big boost in the last quarter.’’ Buttner believes Australian sales have bottomed after the sharp down- turn in the final months of 2008 and is hopeful of a revival until the end of this year. NEW MARKET: The existing five-door Prado will also come in a three-door model. ‘‘I think the industry for the second half will be stronger than the first half. ‘‘There are signs that private buyers are returning to the marketplace. ‘‘There is no doubt that some of the governmentstimulus is being spenton consumer goods. ‘‘We’re not walking away from our 850,000 forecast for the year. May and June were very strong. The first six months for most manufactuers was slower than we have experienced for quite some time, but our order bank is back to where it was in March last year. ‘‘We believe with our marketing campaigns we’ll be able to drive showroom traffic.’’ Family wagon with added beast Wagonsare never pit in the ‘‘cool’’ category, but thenewMazda6diesel wagonmaychange that opinion. Stuart Martin reports T HERE are those who screw there noses up at diesel medium pas- senger cars and pas- senger wagons. Throw a diesel donk into a family wagon and some threat- en to slip into a coma. Nolonger is there a reason to do so, as a number of brands have put svelte, swift and sexy diesel wagons on the market. Alfa Romeo has its 159 Sport- wagon (perhaps the only one with any sex appeal), there is Citroen’s C5, Skoda has its Octavia, Peugeot has the 407, VW offers up the Passat and Mazda has brought it’s Zoom- Zoom take to the battleground. The five-door wagon is pow- ered by a 2.2-litre common-rail direct-injection 16-valve DOHC four-cylinder has a variable geometry turbo but is only available as a six-speed man- ual, and the lack of an automat ic will probably penalise the sales figures. But despite its rather hum- drum segment and the run- down of its family-centric fea- tures, it’s a lively vehicle. The 6 range was lauded for its great road manners and the diesel wagon is no exception. The ride comfort is good but it doesn’t preclude the 6 wagon from showing some talent for corners. It’s not going to frighten an RX8 or an MX-5 for outright ability in the bends, but the sportscar drivers wouldn’t want to be dawdling if they don’t want to be embarrassed. In-gear urge is good, particu- larly after the turbo lag just above idle disappears—in fact it’s quickly forgotten as 400Nm of torque quickly makes its presence felt from 1800rpm. The surge remains until 3000rpm and 136kW of peak power arrives 500rpm later, offering power delivery charac- teristics through the midrange and top-end that won’t have you pining for a petrol model. Even though the petrol wa- gon tips the scales 113kg less than the diesel, it offers just 125kW and 226Nm — 11-fewer kiloWatts, a massive 174-fewer Newton-metres — and uses almost three more litres for every 100km travelled. It’s still a little chuggy when coldandat idle but nothing that would deter a purchase — that’s likely to beanaversion to gunky diesel pumps. The cabin is more than capa- ble of taking the family and its trappings, with useful centre console storage, although four tall adults might find legroom a bit of a squeeze for the two in the back. Parents and a couple of ru- grats are not going to have any issues with space or comfort. The driver is generally well WAGON-TASTIC: The Mazda6 diesel wagon is not the same-old boring wagon. catered for, with the exception of the central display atop the dashboard, which is controlled by a series of wheel-mounted buttons, but the processes are counter-intuitive - the new Mazda3’s system is far better and hopefully will be adopted by the 6. Aside from that, the bulk of the 6’s controls are easy to use. The rear loadspace is also useful, with a clever cargo blind and net system that offers protection from prying eyes and loose luggage without being difficult to access. The net works in a conven- tional manner but the cargo screen is connected to the tailgate and lifts easily out of the way—a definite plus with this family load-lugger. Were it not for the need to drag occupied horse floats — which requires a LandCruiser — the 6 wagon is a frugal and effective family wagon. small torque Mazda 6 diesel wagon Price:From$37,940. Engine: 2.2-litre 16-valve DOHCinter-cooledcommon- rail direct-injection turbo diesel four-cylinder. Transmission: Six-speed manual, front-wheel drive. Power:136kWat3500rpm. Torque:400Nmbetween 1800and3000rpm. Performance:0-100km/hin 8.5 seconds. Fuel consumption: Six litres/ 100km,ontest 7.1 litres/ 100km,tank64litres. Emissions: 159g/km. Suspension: Double wishbones (front); multi-link (rear). Brakes: Four-wheel discs, front ventilated, with stability andanti-lock systems. Dimensions: Length4765mm, width1795mm,height 1490mm,wheelbase2725mm, track fr/rr1550mm,cargo volume 519/1751(VDAto the roof) litres, weight 1620kg. Wheels: 17-inch alloys. In its class: ?AlfaRomeo159JTD Sportwagon,from$55,990. ?CitroenC5Tourer,from $55,990. ?SkodaOctaviaTDIwagon, from$35,990. ?Peugeot407STHDi,from $49,190. ?VolkswagenPassat 103TDIwagon,from $44,990.
July 11th 2009
July 25th 2009