by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
The Mercury Cars Guide : April 10th 2010
Saturday, April 10, 2010 Classifieds 62 300 400 carsguide.com.au ---11 French kiss of life for Renault LONG MARCH: The 2010 Renault Megane coupe and hatch have come in from a long stretch in the wilderness. AFTER almost 10 years in the wilder- ness Renault is finally mustering its mojo. The company is planning a long-needed product offensive over the next 12 months to reverse sales and finally en- trench the importer as a fully fledged European competitor. Renault Australia managing director Rudi Koenig is blunt in his assessment of the French brand's performance in recent years, blaming a lack of product and prices. ''There are no more ex- cuses,'' he says. ''For the first time certainly within my tenure with Re- nault, we are bringing in serious product.'' When it launched back in 2000, the French carmaker boldly forecast sales of up- wards of 6000 within the first couple of years. However, sales peaked in 2002 at more than 4500 and since then have hovered below 3500 despite a $20 million ad- vertising spend in the early days to put its cars on buyers' radar. Last year it sold 2400 ve- hicles, down 24 per cent com- pared to 2008. Koenig is confident the com- pany can improve this year but is not predicting wild numbers. ''The arrival of our new vehicles this year won't do much for sales because most of them arrive late in the year,'' he says. First up is the 2010 model update for the Koleos in May, which gets satellite navigation as standard and other cosmetic updates. In June the Kangoo multi- purpose wagon arrives, fol- lowed by the Trafic van in July. The big hopes rest on the Megane hatch, which arrives in November, along with the Fluence sedan. However before the bread- and-butter hatch arrives the hot Megane RS250 hits show- rooms in September and then a Megane Coupe-cabrio in October. Koenig says Renault Aust- ralia has been able to source new cars from lower cost countries outside France. The Megane will come from Turkey and the mid-size Fluence will be built in Korea, where the Koleos is built. Renault sales peaked in its first full year on sale in 2002 when 4565 vehicles were sold. Since then sales have hovered between 2400 and 3300, and are dependent on product launches. The arrival of the Koleos has been a saviour. Last year it was responsible for almost half of total Renault sales. THE wee 1.2-litre Twingo has been ruled out for Aust- ralia. Koenig, says the economical hatch is only built in Europe, making it too costly as an import. ''We also have to be careful not to focus on too many products because we run a risk of diluting the brand,'' he says. NEIL McDONALD Flair in eye of beholder STUART MARTIN RENAULT has a low-key presence in Australia. After several re-launches it seems difficult for the French marque to get some traction in the Australian market. That s somewhat common among all three French brands here, perhaps Aust- ralians don t click with the French way. We re in a diesel Koleos Dynamique front-wheel drive, a tall, narrow-ish five- seater automatic family wagon that starts from $36,490 --- which is Commodore Sportwagon money if you re looking for a metal-per-dollar comparison. The Koleos takes some getting used to in the looks department, so the generally- conservative Australian car-buying public isn t going to flock en masse. The higher driving position will appeal to many who want the SUV panorama --- at least looking forward --- without the truck road manners. The diesel is a little chuggy but it is enthusiastic and swift, easily drifting over metropolitan speed limits before the driver is attuned to the engine noise. The driver will have to be careful with the credit-card-like ignition key, which is good and bad (I thought I d lost it twice) as it s not as bulky in your pocket as a normal key --- it can be left in your pocket as the push-button start is keyless. The cruise control has a speed-limiter function and it is a wise addition. The ride quality is good and it can turn without feeling top-heavy, but the turning circle is poor. The seats are comfortable front and rear but it s not overly spacious for width or for legroom in the rear. The near full-length sunroof has a blind but in Australian summers the climate control will be working hard most of the time, particularly for the rear passengers --- although it does have rear B-pillar vents. The test car s Bose sound system, with 3.5mm auxiliary input jack, produced a nice noise at more than acceptable volume. The features list also includes automatic headlights, rain-sensing wipers, electric fold- ing mirrors (more required for Paris than Adelaide, but handy nonetheless), rea- ch n rake leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear shifter, a trip computer, climate control with filter, a child minder mirror that is very handy and useful rear-side window sunblinds. A rugrat favourite was the aircraft-style tables on the front seatbacks --- great for books and toys. The test car also had some options, among them the aforementioned Bose seven-speaker sound system with 6-CD stacker for a reasonable $800, the panor- amic sunroof for $1890 and the Leather Pack, which adds leather upholstery, power- adjustable driver s seat, heated front seats and a rear-seat folding system for a value- for-money $2500. One of Renault s specialties is safety --- there s dual front, side and full-length curtain airbags, pretensioner-equipped front seatbelts and load-limiters on all five seatbelts, anti-whiplash front seat head restraints. If an accident occurs the Koleos automati- cally unlocks its doors and shuts down the fuel system. There is a decent boot, despite full-size spare. As a family hauler, the Renault faces opposition from similarly-priced local wagons and SUVs, many which have a bit of extra space. But if you re after French flair in an SUV- style package, the Koleos is pricey but reasonably-equipped and comfortable --- but the level of flair is in the eye of the beholder. small torque Renault Koleos 2.0 4x2 dCi Price: from $35,490. Engine: Two-litre common-rail direct-injection 16-valve turbodiesel four-cylinder with particle filter. Transmission: Six-speed automatic, front-wheel drive. Power: 110kW @ 4000rpm. Torque: 360Nm @ 2000rpm. Fuel consumption: Combined 6.9 litres/100km, on test 9.4, tank 65 litres. Emissions: 214 g/km. Suspension: MacPherson strut, anti- roll bar (front); multi-link, anti-roll (rear). Brakes: Four-wheel ventilated discs, with anti-lock, emergency brake assist and stability control systems. Dimensions: Length 4520mm, width 1855mm, height 1695mm, wheelbase 2690mm, track fr/rr 1545/1550mm, ground clearance 188mm, cargo volume450/ 1380litres, weight 1553 kg. Wheels: 17in alloys. 2001961-100410 NOBODY DOES DIESEL DEALS LIKE I DO HUGE SAVINGS • Direct injection turbo diesel • Reverse parking sensors • Power windows & mirrors • 2,300kg braked towing capacity • 'On the fly' electronic 4WD system • Awesome fuel economy, 7.8L/100km • 3 year/100,000km manufacturer's warranty with roadside assist TRADIE $24,990 DRIVE AWAY ACTYON SUV $29,990 DRIVE AWAY • Direct injection turbo diesel • 2,300kg braked towing capacity • Tray liner, electric windows and mirrors • 3 year/100,000km manufacturer's warranty with roadside assist • Coil spring suspension • Remote central locking with alarm Dave Powell Ssangyong 259-263 Main Road Derwent Park 1300 824 611 ssangyong.com.au WE DO DIESEL
March 27th 2010
April 17th 2010