Motoring news Dec 2016

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Holden announces imported Commodore

It’s all change for Holden’s first imported Commodore, which doesn’t arrive in dealerships until February 2018. Holden has released details about the new car as they are revealed in line with its European launch, where it will be sold as an Opel Insignia.

To be produced in Germany, the new Commodore (pictured above) will not have a traditional sedan body style, instead switching to a ‘sportback’ , which has a profile similar to a sedan but the functionality of a five-door hatchback. Holden is also expected to sell a Commodore wagon, which is expected to spawn a high-riding version designed for light duty off-roading (similar in concept to Subaru’s Outback).

For the first time since the original in 1978, the Commodore will shrink in its key dimensions; compared with the Australian-made VF model that will continue until early 2018, the new Commodore will be 74 millimetres shorter and 36 millimetres narrower, although it is three millimetres taller. That width makes it more difficult for three people to cram across the rear, but for four occupants the interior space – including head and legroom – is similar to today’s Commodore.

The big improvement comes in fuel use, courtesy of a weight reduction of hundreds of kilograms. That’s partly because the new Commodore will switch to a more efficient front-drive platform and introduce four-cylinder turbo-charged engines, one petrol and one diesel.

The flagship engine will be a 3.6-litre V6 matched to an all-wheel-drive system with active traction management.

There’s also plenty of tech, including matrix LED headlights which provide smart high-beam functionality that can block out other vehicles.  Also expect a suite of active safety features, including auto braking and self steering.

BMW Seriers 5

BMW’s next big thing

The new 5 Series luxury sedan will be the most advanced BMW on the market when it arrives around March. The 5 will come with self-steering as part of its auto lane-changing functionality, as well as remote parking. It also gets auto emergency braking, something BMW had long resisted on the grounds the driver should be in control.

Despite a body that’s edged up in size – the seventh generation 5 Series is 36 millimetres longer and six millimetres wider than the car it replaces – the increased use of aluminium has seen weight drop by up to 100 kilograms. Combined with a more aerodynamically efficient design, economy use has also improved.

As well as a choice of four or six-cylinder petrol and diesel engines, the new
5 Series has the option of a plug-in hybrid drivetrain, which uses an electric motor with a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-petrol engine.

By 2018 also expect the performance flagship M5, complete with a twin-turbo V8 and an all-wheel-drive system.

VW Amarok

VW Amarok upgrade

Volkswagen is gearing up to take advantage of increasing demand in the 4x4 ute segment with a revised version of its Amarok five-seater.

As well as a styling tweak outside and a revised interior, the new Amarok comes with the option of a V6 engine, offering more grunt for those at the premium end of the market.

With 165kW and 550Nm, the 3.0-litre turbo-diesel will be the most powerful in its segment.The new diesel model will be available in two trim levels, Highline and the new Highline Plus.

Range Rover convertible

Range Rover drops its top

The first Range Rover convertible has gone on sale, priced from $84,155.

Based on the two-door version of the Evoque SUV, the Evoque Convertible has a four-seat layout with a clever folding soft-top.

The so-called Z-folding roof takes 18 seconds to flip and fold into the tail and it can be done up to 48km/h.

Skoda Kodiaq SUV

Skoda seeks new buyers

Skoda hopes its upcoming Kodiaq SUV can appeal to a new breed of buyers.

Set to challenge the likes of Toyota Kluger and Mazda CX-9 from July 2017, the seven-seater will be about $45,000 and be available with a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-petrol engine and, later, a turbo-diesel of the same capacity.

An MG pictured in front of Melbourne city

MG returns to Australia

British brand MG is making a comeback to Australia. But the return of the marque will be very different to those who remember the classic two-seat convertibles.

MG is now owned by Chinese giant SAIC Motor and the latest – MG3 and MG6 – are hatchbacks that will compete with Mazda and Toyota.