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Car Buying Tips

HOW LEXUS DEFEATED THE ‘BEST CAR IN THE WORLD’!

Lexus LS400 - one of the best
When Chris Goffey tested the Lexus LS 400 for Top Gear in 1990, he claimed that it was “petrifyingly good”. A rather appropriate turn of phrase, because the bosses at Mercedes, BMW and Jaguar must have felt a little petrified when Japan’s first global luxury car wafted into view at the 1989 Detroit Auto Show. Twenty years on, it would be easy to be a tad dismissive of the LS 400, maybe rolling out the tiresome reference to the ‘Japanese S-Class’ as...
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New RS5 Sportback – Civilised Driver’s Car

New Audi RS5
Audi's RS5 Sportback could be just the ticket! WHAT IS IT? Audi’s mid-size performance flagship, packaged in a svelte yet practical five-door body style. WHY ARE WE DRIVING IT? We’re well familiar with the coupe variant of the RS5, and the wagon version (RS4 Avant), so we were keen to see how the dynamic abilities married with the specific packaging attributes of the Sportback body. MAIN RIVALS Mercedes-AMG C63S Estate, or, if you can live without the hatch an...
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Small SUVs That Won’t Bust Your Budget

Small, well priced SUV's
 Driving pleasure can come in a variety of SUV shapes and sizes Tiny dancers: Mazda CX-3 Maxx and Toyota C-HR 2WD AUSTRALIA’S second-best-selling small SUV has much going for it – striking design, stylish interior, great seats, strong performance, quality engineering – but the Mazda CX-3’s biggest ace is choice. Nothing else in its class offers the dazzling smorgasbord of petrol, diesel, front-drive, all-wheel drive, auto and manual flavours. Sixteen all up, in fac...
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Wheels Car of the Year Winner: Volvo

Volvo car of the year
2nd year in a row for the Swedes Another year, another Volvo SUV claiming the top spot. This time round, few saw it coming. After the Jaguar I-Pace’s range and reliability issues saw it fall from contention, prime position on the COTY podium became a fiercely contested tête-à-tête between the Volvo XC40 and the Subaru Forester. It wasn’t the done deal that many initially expected. Every year at COTY there’s an initially unfancied outsider that doesn’t draw m...
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Car of the Year Finalist: Volkswagen Polo

Car of the year finalist: VW Polo
$17,990 can buy a lot of car… IT SPEAKS volumes when you’ve left a $200k Audi with 250kW in the COTY car park and the rest of the judges are wondering why the $17,990 Volkswagen Polo 70 TSI isn’t back yet. Short answer, because it’s one of the few cars here that feature a manual gearbox, it’s skinny 15-inch tyres screech hilariously around the proving ground’s Basic Durability Course and there’s a refreshing joy in finding a car this cheap so much fun. And other Polos are av...
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Car of the Year Finalist: Jaguar I-Pace

Jaguar I-Pace, electric SUV
A British electric SUV - who would have thought it, only a little while ago? WHEELS Car of the Year is well and truly entered a new era, with a British electric SUV named a finalist in 2019 at a canter. A pre-event favourite for this year’s COTY gong, the all-electric Jaguar I-Pace stunned the judges with the breadth of its ability in the first round of testing. Jaguar entered the electric vehicle fray swinging. The company celebrated its 97th birthday last ...
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Seven Seater SUV Comparison

seven seater SUV comparison
Holden have debuted a seven-seater SUV that is a valid entrant in this market. How does it compare to the incumbents? SEVENTY years ago, to the very day this issue hit the stands, a nervous General Motors unveiled the first Holden, a cream 48/215 sedan. Based on a rejected wartime Chevrolet proposal out of Detroit, it was exactly what our car-starved nation craved. Of course, the ‘FX’ and every one of its 31 locally manufactured successors have since woven themse...
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Ferrari 812 Superfast, Wow!

Ferrari 812 superfast
Ferrari have taken the fundamentals of a super GT, and added a dose of something extra THE soft pre-dawn light has gone. The dew-ridden fields are a memory, darkness expanding as we plunge further into the forest. Now the strongest illumination comes from the shift lights; red, then a bluey purple as the V12 screams towards 8900rpm. It should be glorious, though it isn’t. Wet patches lurk in the shadows, leaf litter causes the Pirellis to shudder, and there are broken branches, smas...
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Car Technology Coming Your Way

Hi tech comes to your car
Car technology from the Consumer Electronics Show recently held in the United Sates is a window into our driving, or not, future. THE WORLD’S tech heads have descended on Las Vegas for the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES), to learn more about what our future will look like. In recent years car manufacturers have shown an increase interest in the event, turning it into a de facto motor show for next-gen vehicle technologies. This year is no different, and while there are ...
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New BMW 3 Series Here in March

new BMW 3 series
Two four-cylinder models will be the trailblazers. THE FIRST examples of BMW’s lighter and more driver-focused 3 Series will arrive in Aussie showrooms this March with prices starting from $67,900. The first seventh-gen 3 Series models to be made available locally will be the 320d and 330i, both of which are powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine (with the oil-burner using twin turbos), and both gain M Sport interior and exterior treatments as standard equi...
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New Porsche 911

New Porsche 911
Porsche's icon does not change often....but when it does.... Porsche’s new 911 will arrive in Australia around April. Codenamed 992, it replaces the 991 generation of the rear-engined German icon introduced in 2012. The $265,000 S and $281,100 4S versions will lead the charge. These prices represent small increases over the current models. The 992 will bring perhaps the single greatest change in the long history of the 911. It has been engineered to accommodate a hybrid dri...
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Mercedes-Benz X-Class X250d

Mercedes-Benz X-Class X250d
Arrives with anticipation from many............. UNTIL the arrival of the X-Class this year, the 4x4 ute segment was a mostly classless zone; a safe space free of badge-cred posturing. Owners displayed their affluence via a higher model grade, or perhaps some flash aftermarket equipment. Now, with Mercedes’ three-pointed star sitting Frisbee-sized on the bluff snout of the Spanish-built X-Class, all that has changed, and on a construction site, at least, it threatens to be as divi...
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Hot Hatches Fight It Out

Hot Hatches fight it out
These mighty midgets are loads of fun....but can we pick a winner? ENGLAND’S immortal Mini Minor may have started the pocket-rocket phenomenon some six decades ago, but it’s France, Germany and Italy that have nurtured the class in the intervening years, with a bevy of belting superminis brandishing evocative badges like GTI, RS, ST, Ti and Turbo. And let’s not forget Japan’s Suzuki either, the unlikely survivor on the Australian hot-hatch scene, supplying an almost unin...
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New Audi Q8 Review

New Audi Q8 Review
Another Prestige SUV Contender Lands in Australia. WHAT IS IT? Audi’s foray into large coupe-profiled SUVs. Not only is the Q8 an all-new model to join the four-ring fellowship, it accepts the mantle from the Q7 as the flagship of the SUV line-up. Audi is attempting to plug as many gaps in its high-rider range (and nomenclature) to avoid losing sales to the rapidly burgeoning portfolios on offer wearing BMW and Mercedes badges. WHY WE’RE TESTING IT In this weird...
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Subaru Forester vs 3 Rival SUVs

Subaru Forester vs 3 Rival SUVs
New model Subaru improves the offering. YOU’RE a prospective medium-SUV buyer, lost, alone and confused in the woods, surrounded by a thicket of lookalike crossover choices. What do you do? Happily, we’re here to help, having already sorted through the good, the bad and the ugly to arrive at the cream of the crop as rivals for Subaru’s new, fifth-gen Forester, with not a dull or dreary drive in sight. The evergreen Subaru Forester has been rooted in the medium-SU...
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New Mercedes-Benz B-Class due Mid-2019

2019 MERCEDES-BENZ B200
A more spacious B-Class enjoyed by Europeans but slow to be adopted by Australians. WHAT IS IT? A-Class with altitude. Built on the same platform as Mercedes-Benz's new small hatch, the B-Class has the same wheelbase and uses identical core technologies, drivetrains included. While the B-Class's extra height increases roominess and flexibility, its proportions provide a tough challenge for the design department....  WHY WE'RE TESTING IT The inte...
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Mercedes-Benz V6 Ute Review

Mercedes-Benz V6 Ute
L Slovenia serves as our intoduction to Merc’s V6 crew-cab ute. WHAT IS IT? This is the X-Class many people have been waiting for. Mercedes-Benz launched its Navara-based dual-cab ute at the end of 2017, but this V6-powered version, called X350d, is the first to get a proper Mercedes-Benz drivetrain rather than a carry-over four-cylinder engine and gearbox from Nissan. And it’s a radically different vehicle as a result, not only to the Navara but to the four-pot...
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Jaguar I-Pace Electric SUV Review

Jaguar I-Pace Electric SUV
Jaguar steals the electric march on rivals. WHAT IS IT? Jaguar’s first electric car and an all-new, all-electric luxury SUV built on a bespoke platform that places a bank of lithium-ion batteries along its floor. WHY WE’RE TESTING IT The I-Pace has just gone on sale locally and is the first all-electric SUV from a traditional luxury car maker, giving the British brand a big head start on its predominantly German rivals. Built on a ground-up electric arch...
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2019 Mercedes GLE-Class

Mercedes GLE-Class
Merc’s all-new family all-rounder is a technological livewire WHAT IS IT? Here is Mercedes-Benz’s original – G-Class excluded – and best-selling SUV, now in its fourth-generation. What began as the M-Class in 1997 is now laden with more technology than ever before, and set to land in Oz by mid-2019 in a three-tier line-up of all-wheel-drive seven-seaters. WHY WE’RE TESTING IT The outgoing GLE has been struggling to keep its head above water against prem...
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2019 MX-5 is Even Better

Even Better MX5
Sweeter engine dominates Mazda MX-5 Upgrade. WHAT IS IT? An update of Mazda’s 4th-generation, COTY-winning sports car, focusing on improving the 2.0-litre engine, adding safety and convenience features, and tweaking a few weak spots. WHY WE’RE DRIVING IT It’s our 2016 COTY winner, and some excellent roads in the Gold Coast hinterland beckoned. Be rude to say no. MAIN RIVALS Toyota 86, Subaru BR-Z, Abarth 124 Spider THE WHEELS REVIEW THE YELLOW ...
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Audi R8 Continues to Roar

A power injection plus other niceties improve the offering.... WHAT IS IT? Audi’s mid-engined supercar gets a refresh for 2019, but no messing with the basic V10, all-wheel-drive recipe. WHY WE'RE TESTING IT It’s the last gasp of the naturally aspirated V10, and tweaks make it more powerful than ever. Can it retain its daily-driver supercar crown? MAIN RIVALS McLaren 570S, Lamborghini Huracan LP610-4, Mercedes-Benz AMG GT-R THE WHEELS REVIEW AUDI has freshened ...
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New Model RAV4 in April

New Rav 4
Not a facelift - this is a new car! WHAT IS IT? The fifth-generation of the world’s best-selling SUV (811,000 in 2017), which is now offered in hybrid form for the first time. This all-new RAV4 adopts Toyota’s TNGA (Toyota New Global Architecture) engineering philosophy and brings an aggressive, truck-like appearance. It also provides further proof of the rise-and-rise of SUVs, as the RAV4 is now America’s most popular passenger vehicle outside of pick-ups. WHY WE'RE...
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7 Seat Holden Acadia

Holden Arcadia seven seater
Acadia joins the mix in Australia's 7-seat Marketplace As the popularity of SUVs continues unabated, it is astonishing that, in a century of Australian vehicle manufacturing, Ford’s late and lamented Territory was the only one ever made here. Today, post shut-down, could the gap that the Ford’s demise has left in the Australian psyche, as well as in the seven-seater segment, be plugged by Holden. Enter the Acadia – a formidably fashioned wagon starting at a razor-sharp...
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Mercedes-AMG C43 Coupe Review 2019

Mercedes-AMG C43 coupe
The C63's restrained, all-wheel-drive sibling receives a round of tech upgrades to keep it fresh WHAT IS IT? An updated version of AMG’s entry-level C-Class, now with more power from its V6 engine and lots of small, but important, changes inside and out. WHY WE’RE TESTING IT As much as we like the V8 brawn of AMG’s hugely exciting C63, its blinkered thrill-seeking isn’t easy to live with every day. The C43, however, has dialled back the extroversion to a more liveable lev...
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Chevrolet Camaro 2019 – Pricing for Australia

Chevrolet Camaro 2019
The HSV Camaro is more expensive than the Mustang, but it will be a lot more exclusive...... THE Chevrolet Camaro will cost nearly $86K. Yep, that’s a fair bit cheaper than most estimates but let’s not lose sight of the fact that Ford’s latest Mustang GT carries a sticker price that’s $20K more affordable, at a smidge over $66K. You’re going to need to ask yourself if exclusivity and novelty is enough to bridge that gulf. Of course, HSV is bullish about the car’s prospects ...
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We Compare 7-Seat Diesel Medium SUVs

7 seater SUV comparisons
If your tribe is expanding this is the category that could easily fit the bill. THE FUN thing about Wheels Car of the Year is that you line up 22 cars and then 21 of them lose. This, in turn, means that almost all of our readers will disagree with the final choice. Every year in the wash-up from COTY, we learn that we have lost all credibility, are liberal milquetoasts and have our heads lodged in our fundaments. But 2017 was different. We were expecting the usual online shellacki...
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2019 Cheerokee

2019 Jeep Cherokee
Revamped style, bigger boot, and upgraded safety for this genuine off-roader says....look at me now! WHAT IS IT Cherokee is Jeep’s mid-size SUV. It sits above Renegade and Compass and below Grand Cherokee in the American brand’s SUV line-up. This is a refreshed version of the fifth-gen Cherokee that aims to right the styling wrongs of the polarising model launched here in 2014. Otherwise, it retains genuine off-road credibility and a V6 engine, which makes it unique in its class. ...
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2019 Subaru Forester: Points of Interest

Subaru Forester points of interest
In September first shipments arrived on our shores. 1. Everything has changed But at the same time, it’s stayed the same. Forester now sits on the Subaru Global Platform that first appeared under the current Impreza and XV, and the rest of the car has been overhauled to suit. It’s a big step forward, but Subaru hasn’t thrown the baby out with the bathwater. Much of what has made the Subaru Forester appealing in the past to a legion of buyers has carried over. It may be all-new, but ...
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New Ford Focus on Focus

Ford Focus Hatch
Euro handling and dynamics are excellent in the 4th generation Ford Focus small hatch. WHAT IS IT? The all-new fourth generation of Ford’s small hatch. WHY WE'RE TESTING IT Sales of the current third-gen Focus have trailed off to be a tiny fraction of those of segment leaders the Toyota Corolla and Mazda 3. The international launch in the south of France gave us a good indicator of this car’s chances to redress that when it arrives in Australia in November. MAIN RIVALS Mazd...
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New Mazda CX-8 Asaki vs Skoda Kodiaq Sportline 140TDI

Seven seater comparison
Seven-Seaters Head to Head It takes a solid all-round performance to make it onto the podium at Wheels Car of the Year but that’s exactly what the Skoda Kodiaq did at this year’s competition. It wasn’t quite enough to edge out the overall winner the Volvo XC60, but the Skoda’s combination of excellent practical features, compelling price and rewarding driving dynamics still rate it as one of the most versatile and best value vehicles on the market. Just a year before...
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