Die-hard Ford Territory fans probably won’t be totally happy with their options once the local hero disappears from the scene.
Ford is hoping SUV buyers will accept the Edge and Everest as replacements for the locally-produced Territory that stops production in October. But, as Territory buyers will soon realise, neither is a direct replacement for the car that changed Australia’s automotive landscape when it arrived in 2004.
The Edge (pictured) goes on sale in 2018 but is expected to only seat five, reducing its usefulness for families who loved Territory for its three rows of seats. Edge’s towing capacity is also expected to be at least half a tonne less than the Territory’s.
Ford hasn’t announced what drivetrains will be available, but overseas models have four-cylinder options in petrol and diesel, plus some V6 petrol models, including a turbo.
Meanwhile, the Everest family will expand to include five-seater and rear-wheel-drive variants. But that may not satisfy Territory buyers because Everest’s serious off-roader set-up compromises its on-road dynamics.
Report: Toby Hagon
Renault is gunning for a bigger slice of the mid-sized SUV pie with its second-generation Koleos. Using mechanicals of X-Trail from its alliance partner Nissan, Koleos Mk II is from $29,990 (plus on-road costs) – being produced in South Korea helps keep the price competitive.
Under the bonnet is X-Trail’s 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine linked to a CVT. All models get a reversing camera, alloy wheels, two-zone ventilation and auto wipers/lights.
While X-Trail is available with seven seats, Koleos is for now limited to a five-seat layout.
A subtler 6
Mazda has followed up its update to the 3 range with a minor tweak to the 6 mid-sizer.
Leading the charge is G-Vectoring Control, which adjusts power being delivered to the front wheels to subtly alter the weight balance, in turn improving steering accuracy and/or vehicle stability.
There’s also some more equipment across the range, including digital radio tuning and, on the more expensive GT and Atenza models, traffic sign recognition technology and heated rear seats.
Fledgling luxury brand Infiniti is downsizing with its new Q30 five-door hatchback, a crucial model aimed at younger buyers. Borrowing engines and architecture from Mercedes-Benz A-Class, Q30 comes in a choice of two four-cylinder petrol models and a diesel.
By October Infiniti will also have a light-duty off-road version called the QX30. It picks up all-wheel-drive (Q30s drive only the front wheels) and the 2.0-litre petrol engine.
Q30 is an important car in helping the Japanese brand muscle in on the territory dominated by European models.
Toyota and Subaru are readying updates to their respective 86 and BRZ models, which share basic bodies and mechanical components. Each will get revised bumpers and lights plus new materials and trims inside.
Manual versions also get a minor update to the 2.0-litre horizontally-opposed four-cylinder engine, upping power to 152kW, while the auto versions stick with the 147kW tune.
There are also minor suspension tweaks aimed at improving the rear-wheel-drive handling that has been praised for its driving enjoyment.