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Latest News

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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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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Ferrari F40 Bonfire!

Ferrari Bonfire
Jon Hunt, British billionaire, was not happy last month as his Ferrari F40 flamed out. One of just eight such cars built, the F40 was on its way to Maranello to pick up Hunt’s latest vehicle, a LaFerrari Aperta. There was little to laugh about as the F40 display car from the 1987 Frankfurt Motor Show went up in smoke. This car was the sixth of the F40 prototypes that were used by the factory for testing, each with an individual purpose or application. Original Michelotto build sheet...
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State speed limits increased – US state that is….

State speed limits increased in Michigan
MICHIGAN will increase speed limits on over 2000km of roads next month because drivers already travel faster than the current limits. The Detroit Free Press reported overnight that almost 1000km of the state’s rural roads would bump the speed limit from 70 mph to 75 mph – the Aussie equivalent of ditching 110km/h in favour of 120km/h – while a further 1400km would have its speed limits raised from the equivalent of 90km/h to 105km/h. THE FIRST OF THE SPEED SIGN CHANGES WILL START TO ...
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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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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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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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Are Spies Hacking Your Car?

CIA spies hacking your car?
The CIA allegedly tried hacking into cars’ computers. America’s main spy agency allegedly tried hacking into cars’ vehicle control systems to carry out “nearly undetectable assassinations”. While the latest dump from Wikileaks provides plenty of cheap laughs about just how unerringly geeky and un-James Bond actual modern spies are (they named the program they developed to allow them to listen to people through their Samsung TVs “Weeping Angel”, after some scary statues on Dr Who), it...
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Is 2017 Daniel Ricciardo’s?

Daniel Ricciardo
Could Daniel Ricciardo become the first Australian Formula One World Champion since Alan Jones in 1980? He’s got the dream drive, with Red Bull Racing likely to benefit from the sport’s technical regulation revamp that will see this year’s cars between 3-6 seconds a lap faster. The team’s chief technical officer, Adrian Newey, is the most successful designer in F1 history with 10 championship-winning cars to his name. He’s got that searing qualifying pace, as demonstrated with his ra...
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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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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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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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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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Is Diesel a Good Idea?

Is diesel a good idea?
Cars with diesel motors are selling less in Australia! However, the Dieselgate emissions scandal and the advent of clean and fuel efficient electric vehicles, hybrids and small turbocharged petrol engines have seen the tide turn against oil burners, which some major cities around the world announcing they’ll be banned within a decade. So is it still worth buying a diesel car in Australia? The short answer is yes, if appropriate. Diesel has its pros and cons, but it’s too soon fo...
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AdBlue Additive

Adblue additive
 Adblue additive for diesel engines is being used in more cars and trucks today?   WHAT IS ADBLUE? AdBlue is the marketing term for a fluid used in the catalytic convertor fitted to the exhaust systems of some diesel cars. It is injected into the exhaust gases and burnt at very high temperatures to break down harmful nitrogen oxides.  Some diesel engines need AdBlue to help them meet tough Euro 6 emissions standards that regulate what level of harmful emissions can come out o...
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Fun Cars

Mini - a fun car
5 Fun Cars Under $40K The under $40,000 (+ on roads) budget can present really likeable driver's cars. Here's our top 5. Shopping south of the $40k barrier excludes most of the tastier hot hatches like Renault’s Megane RS265, the Peugeot 308 GTi 250 and that perennial favourite, the Volkswagen Golf GTI, but there’s still plenty of fast n’ fun choices to select from. Those choices range from the $21,390 Holden Barina RS to the $40,000 Abarth 595 Competizione, with cars as diverse as th...
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New Maserati 4 Door

Maserati Quattroporte
A Starting Price of $210k.....WOW! Revved up: The top-spec Maserati Quattroporte GTS is now split into two variants, the GranSport and GranLusso. MASERATI has revealed Australian pricing and specification for its large luxury Quattroporte sedan, with the range kicking off from $210,000 before on-roads for the base level Turbo Diesel model and topping out at $349,990 BOCs for the twin-turbo V8 GTS GranLusso. The mid-life refresh for the model released in 2014 also introduces two new trim lev...
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Roads to Thrill

Seven Mile Bridge
10 of The World's Most Spectacular Drives If Ever you get the Chance - these Roads will Delight.............. 1. THE GREAT OCEAN ROAD, AUSTRALIA One of Australia’s most famous tourist roads, the Great Ocean Road is on the National Heritage List. The 243km stretch of coastal road connects Torquay and Allansford in Victoria. From war memorials to landmarks such as the Twelve Apostles, this road is a popular destination and can be traffic-mayhem on weekends. 2. HIGHWAY 1, BIG SU...
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A Mercedes-Benz Ute?

Mercedes Benz Ute
  2018 Mercedes-Benz X Class Concept Utes Revealed The Worksite Will Never be the Same MERCEDES-Benz has pulled the covers off a pair of exciting concept vehicles in Stockholm, Sweden, that give the first clues to what its forthcoming entry into the popular one-tonne ute class will look like. To be known as the X Class, the new ute, or pick-up depending on your preference, will go into production late in 2017 for an Australian launch in the first quarter of 2018. Australia has b...
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Fiat Abarth 124

Fiat Abarth 124
  MX-5 Brother Has The Goods STYLING is such an impossibly subjective element of a car that it is often not worth dwelling on for a review, but in the case of the new Abarth 124 Spider its looks are the first key point of differentiation from the Mazda MX-5 with which it shares much of its construction. Beauty is, without doubt, in the eye of the beholder, but there are a number of observations one can make here without fear of conflict, including the Abarth’s traditional approach, whi...
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Ford Hennessey Velociraptor

In Your Face Hennessey Velociraptor Six-wheels, 450kW and Attitude! Texan tuning company Hennessey has announced it will be build this special performance version of America’s Ford F-150 Raptor pick-up truck, and would have been a shoo-in for our recent article on the rise of high-performance utes. An extra, third axle increases the number of wheels by 50 per cent, with both rear axles featuring locking diffs to aid off-road driving. The suspension is also modified and there...
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