BMW X3 steps forward

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X3 number 3

BMW expects to have a new top seller in its range with the arrival of the third-generation X3.

While the exterior styling is very evolutionary, the interior is a vast step forward, with a colour screen (either 6.5 or 10-inch) dominating the sweeping dash.

Prices start from $68,900 for the 2.0-litre xDrive20d 140kW diesel. The 2.0-litre 185kW turbo-petrol model (xDrive30i) is $75,900, and the 195kW 3,0-litre diesel (xDrive30d) is $83,900. All models have an eight-speed automatic transmission and are all-wheel-drive. And the new 19 or 20-inch alloy wheels (depending on model) are fitted with run-flat tyres.

A rorty M40i model should arrive next year, and a higher performance M version is expected around 2019.

Alfa Romeo Stelvio
Alfa Romeo Stelvio

Alfa joins SUV race

Another month, another SUV from a brand that’s previously never played in the high-riding wagon space.

This time its Alfa Romeo with the Stelvio, a five-seat all-wheel-drive mid-sizer arriving early in 2018 to line up against the likes of BMW X3, Audi Q5 and Mercedes-Benz GLC.

To be priced from less than $70,000, Stelvio will offer petrol and diesel four-cylinder turbocharged engines.

In 2018 expect the Stelvio Quadrifoglio with a 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6.    

Hyundai Kona
Hyundai Kona

Automatic choice

Hyundai’s new Kona is priced from $24,500 and comes standard with an automatic transmission. The five-seater is among the largest in the booming small SUV category.

Base cars are front-wheel-drive and powered by a 2.0-litre petrol engine with a six-speed auto. For all-wheel-drive there’s a more powerful 1.6-litre turbo mated to a seven-speed twin-clutch auto, the package adding about $3500 to the price.

Toyota Prado
Toyota Prado

Six ix out

Toyota has tweaked its Prado with a revised look and more equipment.

The basic shape and hardware are unchanged, but a new grille and LandCruiser-inspired scalloped bonnet freshen the look from the front.

The 4.0-litre V6 engine that was taken up by only one per cent of buyers has been dropped, leaving the 2.8-litre four-pot turbo-diesel as the only offering.

And in the automatic models, towing capacity has jumped 500kg to 3000kg.

Autonomous emergency braking is now fitted to all automatic variants.

Toyota has likewise revised its HiLux, dropping the V6 to go all-diesel.

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Written by Toby Hagon
October 30, 2017