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car buyer

5 Year+ Wait for V12 Ferrari 812

Ferrari V12
Thinking of ordering a Ferrari 812 Superfast? - don’t bother. The company has revealed demand for its new $610,000 V12 flagship is so high that it has enough orders to account for its entire five year life-cycle, plus 50 percent. Ferrari Australia CEO Herbert Appleroth told Wheels Ferrari’s situation of record demand fighting limited supply is now “beyond funny” and is investigating ways to address the issue, which isn’t only spawning multi-year wait times but seeing many customers...
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The Fiat Abarth 124 Spider in Japan

Fiat Abarth 124 Spider
Is the Fiat 124 an MX-5 Copy? Italian Mazda makes Japanese sit up and take notice. I’m at the wheel of a bright blue Fiat Abarth 124 Spider and next to me, squashed unceremoniously into the passenger seat, his expansive 180kg frame spilling into my side of the intimate cabin, sits a mostly naked and very sweaty sumo. This is central Tokyo on a baking 32-degree day and, as I reverse our car down a narrow one-way street towards a tiny Italian restaurant, I realise we’re causing a ...
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A Driver’s Car Comparison

A Driver's Car Comparison
What Fun! ‘A celebration of 2016’s most wanted’ was the brief, and on the face of it you can see why. The Ford Focus RS, BMW M2 Pure and Porsche 718 Boxster S don’t look like natural cross-shopping candidates, the Porsche costing almost three times the price of the Focus, but at some point between the Wheels office and the hills surrounding Eildon, the brief went out the window. Things became competitive ... a driver's car comparison was called for. Some commonalities first...
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Car Brands Best Reputations

best car brands
Mazda comes out on top! A trio of Australia’s favourite carmakers are keeping company among the top 15 most reputable businesses on red dirt, as identified by the annual AMR Corporate Reputation Index. Mazda was the highest ranked car brand sitting overall in position two of the top 60, Toyota was close behind in fourth place, while Hyundai rounded out the three most trusted car brands in 15th place. All three earned recognition as ‘Strong’ performers among 26 organisations tha...
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2017 Civic Hatch Here Now!

Honda Civic Hatch
 The new Civic, launched here in sedan form just under a year ago. The hatch has arrived to stand alongside it's brother in Australian showrooms. WHAT IS IT For the past two generations, the Honda Civic hatch has been more of a half-brother to the Civic sedan than a direct relative. Based on Jazz underpinnings and built in the UK, it was literally a world apart from its Thai-sourced sedan contemporary. But now, in its tenth-generation, the Civic range is back to ...
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New Mazda CX-3 Review 2017

Mazda CX3
Evolution, not Revolution, is the way forward. WHAT IS IT? Launched in 2015, Australia’s best-selling small SUV and has just received an update that lacks aesthetic changes but addresses the CX-3’s few weaknesses, including ride refinement and road noise. WHY WE’RE TESTING IT The Mazda 2-based crossover ticked a lot of boxes when launched in 2015 and deserved its place at the top of its segment. But two years is a long time in the SUV world and newcomers such as the Toyota C-...
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Driver’s Car Comparison

S4 vs AMG C43
 CM3 and C63 too rich for you? Never fear, we've got the answer!. When it comes to powerful luxury sedans, just how much do you really lose by stepping down to the circa-$100K zone? Do the Audi S4 quattro and Mercedes-AMG C43 4matic sit forever in the shadow of the heavier-hitting Alfa Romeo Giulia QV, BMW M3 and Mercedes-AMG C63, or are they plenty of car for most people, most of the time? It’s handy that the S4 and C43 have ample design distinctions both inside and out, because...
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SUV Comparison – CX-5 v Tiguan v Forester

SUV Comparison - CX-5 v Tiguan v Forester
A sales heavyweight battle for the mid-size SUV's. The quest by manufacturers to take a slice of the most popular segment of the fastest growing vehicle type in the country has delivered carparks full of mediocrity - for years.  It’s especially pertinent when you look at the fantastic options on offer in the family sedan and wagon market: Volkswagen Passat or Mazda 6 anyone?The dramatic drop in sales of medium and large sedans certainly has nothing to do with their breadth of ability.But th...
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Alfa v BMW vs AMG Road Test

QV vs M3 vs C63
QV vs M3 vs C63 .......Interesting! I attempt to hold station with a well-driven Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio. The Italian car is all sinew and suppleness, as if gently pressed to the road’s ruts, compressions and decreasing radius corners by a benign celestial hand. The Mercedes-AMG C63 S I’m driving instead adopts a different philosophy, attempting to bludgeon Australia’s impertinent topography into submission through sheer surfeit of Newton metres; hopping, kicking, shunting and w...
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Top of the Range Colorado vs Range

Colorado vs Range
Crew Cab 4X4 Utes are bought by many Australians as work and play combos. Range-topping dual-cab utes with delusions of passenger-car grandeur – trying to be all things to all people is a hard thing to master. The original ’48 Holden did it. Roomy enough for six, light enough to be both lively and fuel-efficient, yet strong enough to tackle much of what the unpaved Aussie Outback could throw at it, the monocoque-bodied ‘humpy’ Holden was a bit like Hugh Jackman dressed in an Akub...
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Toyota FT-4X: Funky SUV

Toyota FT-4X
Toyota is looking for a gap in the small SUV segment. Based on the underpinnings of the C-HR small SUV, the FT-4X amps up the off-road ability and chunky design with an FJ Cruiser-inspired look, right down to the nose that eschews the Toyota stylised badge for one that spells out the brand across the badge. Created following weeks of interviews with “outdoorsy millennials” from the San Francisco Bay area, the FT-4X has low-range gearing and a mechanical four-wheel drive system (inste...
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New A-Class Mercedes Concept

A Class Mercedes concept
Shanghai Motor Show reveals an all new style. Concept A is an appetiser for the A-Class sedan expected to join the MFA family as part of the platform's second-gen roll-out, which will start with the updated A-Class hatch later this year. Its deliberately minimal styling approach features a side profile notably free of the tucked and folded body lines seen on other Benz models, following the example set by the recently launched E-Class Coupe. “The time of creases is over,” said...
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BMW 340i M Performance Review 2017

BMW 340i M
  Would you consider an "almost" M3 to save $$$$$s? It’s a quandary. After all, the M3 is a highly-accomplished and incredibly focused sports sedan, but that’s perhaps its greatest issue. To some, it may be too focused. So, could a roided-up BMW 340i M  step in as a more street-friendly (and budget-friendly) package? BMW’s M Performance catalogue may provide the answer. WHAT IS IT? A regular ol’ BMW 340i sedan, except enhanced with a range of dealer-fit go-fast products from BMW’s ...
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World’s Fastest SUV

Quick SUV
THE Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk is definitely on steroids! Boasting a 527kW/874Nm supercharged 6.2-litre V8, the Trackhawk will be even more powerful than the 430kW/760Nm twin-turbo 5.5-litre V8 under the bonnet of the Mercedes-AMG GLE63 S. It will also hand the quick German a serve of humble pie, sprinting from 0-100km/h in just 3.6 seconds, a whole 0.6sec quicker than the Benz. The 2.2-tonne beast will also hit  top speed of 290km/h for one very memorable school run. Stopp...
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Tesla Model S P100D: Melbourne to Sydney

Tesla road trip
Road trips are an Australian fact of life. How does Tesla fare? An electric vehicle is still a car, and as such, the ability to go on a road trip in one is a natural prerequisite. It’s fitting then, that the first day of our Tesla ownership test would see the big saloon staring down a 900 kilometre "blast" from Melbourne to Sydney, before completing the return trip a week later. For electric vehicles such as the BMW i3, or Nissan Leaf, this would prove to be a large, timely hurdle...
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Are Some Car Brands in Australia Endangered?

Endangered species sign
We have 55 car brands to choose from, some say that is too many for a market the size of Australia. But that number could soon drop, with some brands struggling to gain traction and others experiencing dramatic sales drops in what is a fast-evolving market swinging persistently towards SUVs, and also developing a ravenous appetite for premium/luxury. Are we oversupplied? Industry experts have long referred to the Australian market as one of the most competitive in the world. Accordin...
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Show Darlings from Geneva Motor Show

Honda Civic
The nine cars you can afford to buy As usual Geneva was full of eye candy concept cars, but there was plenty of near production or close to cars, to whet the appetite! International auto expos such as the Geneva Motor Show are great fun to attend. As one of the bigger events on the calendar, Geneva rarely disappoints car fans thanks to a reliable flow of high-end, mega-dollar supercars and wild concepts gracing the show floor each year. This year’s show was no different, but mix...
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SUV’s Outsold Passenger Vehicles in February

SUVs in Australia are the top selling passenger type for the first time. The sales numbers for February 2017 reveal a dramatic 12.2 percent drop in sales of sedans, hatches and wagons, contributing to an overall 7.7 percent slide in a new-car market that’s bounced from record to record in recent years. Even sales of SUVs dropped when compared with the record February 2016 result, but there was enough interest in the growing range to keep sales ahead of the more traditional passenger ...
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Great Drives for Little Money

Toyota 86
Sub $40,000 cars to make you smile. Holden Astra RS-V From: $30,740 The sporty range-topping Holden Astra is powered by a 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol engine that pushes out 147kW. It’s quick off the mark, particularly in Sport mode, which adjusts engine tune, suspension and electronic steering for even better handling. The steering has been tuned for Australian conditions and the new chassis provides excellent body control. It comes with a choice of six-speed manual o...
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Isuzu D-Max Ups the Offering

Improvements are Significant ISUZU’S facelifted D-Max one-tonne ute range has arrived in Australia with a cleaner, gruntier new engine coupled to six-speed manual or automatic transmissions in place of the old five-speed units. More standard equipment, additional noise and vibration deadening, subtly updated styling and, for the first time, a capped-price servicing offer also come with the update. Behind the restyled bonnet, front bumper, radiator grille and headlights is a heavily revise...
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MX-5 Safety Rating

Mazda MX5 RF
ANCAP Rates Mazda MX-5 Hardtop - 5 Stars MAZDA’S just-launched MX-5 RF retractable hardtop has been awarded the same five-star safety rating as its drop-top twin. The hardtop version of Mazda’s popular sportscar rolled in to Australian showrooms last month, offered in base and GT guises, priced from $38,550 plus on-road costs and topping out at $45,890. The Australasian New Car Assessment Program has transferred the same five-star rating and score on the RF as the rag-top model, with both...
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2017 Porsche 911 GTS Review

Porsche Carrera GTS
Porsche 911 Carrera GTS WHAT IS IT? Another variation on the current 991.2 version of the iconic 911 sports car. What makes the GTS different is a dash of added power (and noise), extra distance between the rear wheels, a fraction less ground clearance and lashings of Alcantara inside. This specification is to be offered in Coupe, Cabriolet and Targa bodies.WHY WE’RE TESTING IT To find out, some way ahead of the GTS’s Australian launch, if this is a worthy addition to the already length...
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Diesel Engines Days are Numbered

the end of diesel?
Volkswagen didn't help, but are not to Blame The company’s emissions-cheating scandal has certainly gathered headlines, and earned it a pants-down walloping in the U.S., but the truth is that compression-ignition’s death warrant had been signed long before VW got busted. A decade from now diesel is going to look like a blip, the result of some collective European hysteria and – undoubtedly – the wrong answer to the question it was intended to solve. Europe’s love affair with oil-garg...
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Car of the Year

Mazda CX9 winner
 Mazda CX9 Selected By Wheels Staff A People Mover from Japan takes out Top Prize THE road grime has settled on the proving ground pounding and countless road kilometres at the core of Wheels’ prestigious Car of the Year award, yet the embers of fiery debate are still aglow. We have a winner: the 2017 Wheels Car of the Year is the Mazda CX-9. This, the eighth win for the fearless Japanese brand, makes Mazda the second most successful maker in COTY’s 54-year history, behind Hold...
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New Toyota Kluger

New Toyota Kluger model
Some noteworthy improvements for 2017 TELL ME ABOUT THIS CAR Since its launch in Australia three years ago, the third-generation Toyota Kluger has been a big seller in Australia because of its size, packaging, pricing, ease of operation, and brand reputation for reliability and resale. With the MY17 facelift, the company builds on that with small but important updates to the V6 powertrain to improve both performance and economy, including an all-new eight-speed automatic transmission, ...
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New Mazda MX-5 RF Hardtop

New Mazda MX5
 Mazda MX5 Retractable Fastback A classier, more universally appealing version of Mazda’s revered and accessible sports car manages to keep the faith. WHAT IS IT? Mazda’s brilliant ragtop roadster range has diversified and grown to include the Mazda MX-5 Retractable Fastback (RF), Mazda’s second attempt at a folding hard-top for its iconic sports car, but with a greater focus on coupe aesthetics and maturity. WHY WE’RE TESTING IT Mazda worked off the flab and went back to basics with it...
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long distance driving tips
BOREDOM IS DANGEROUS - PARTICULARLY WHEN DRIVING ALONE HERE’S FIVE IDEAS to help while away the time on your next long-distance, solo driving mission: Phone a friend – remember phone calls? They’re what we used to do before instant messaging. A good chat can make hours seem like minutes, and if it’s not working out you can always make out that you’re driving into a mobile phone blackspot; Listen to an audiobook – a good story is a good story, regardless of whether it’s on the printe...
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Car washing tips
JUST TWICE A MONTH WASHING KEEPS YOUR CAR LOOKING GREAT ... WASHING YOUR CAR shouldn’t be a chore. It’s about preserving your investment. More than just being about a bucket a sponge there are a whole heap of myths around car washing that need busting, like the one about using dishwashing liquid to wash your car… but the tips first. It’s good practice to avoid washing your car in full sun if possible. Growing up in Bathurst, where the summers were/are scorching hot, I would leave my ca...
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Traffic Lights
We have been subjected to traffic lights with no synchronisation for so long in Brisbane and the Gold Coast Surely the cost of syncing is justified For years we have heard politicians, special interest groups, and ecological protagonists carry on about air pollution. We also have road traffic conditions broadcast every day by the media, commented on by politicians, slammed by motorist groups, and whinged about by motorists. Oil/petrol prices aren't getting any cheaper, neither is car servici...
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New Commodore Sneak Peek

2018 Holden Commodore
German built GM Opel for Australia The next-generation Commodore will be built in Germany on GM’s E2XX platform, and based around a European engineered and designed Opel Insignia mid-size car. The idea of a European model replacing the Aussie built version isn’t a new one: the first signs that the next Commodore would not have ground-up local design and development emerged in early 2014 as Holden started planning its replacement for the current car’s Zeta-based, Aussie engineered and deve...
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