Subaru reveals new XV

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Subaru has revealed its new XV, once again based on the Impreza hatchback. As with the recently arrived new Impreza, it picks up a vastly improved interior and sharper exterior styling.

Due in June, the XV also gets Subaru’s X-Mode system, which adds some electronic smarts to Subaru’s all-wheel-drive system for better traction in slippery conditions.

Speaking of which, expect Subaru to pump up the off-road attributes of its smallest SUV. Whereas most rivals aren’t even available with an all-wheel-drive system, the Impreza has high ground clearance as part of claimed decent off-road ability.

As with the Impreza, pricing may inch up slightly from the current $26,740 start. Also expect the EyeSight auto braking system on some models, as well as a new rear auto braking function that could detect pedestrians and other objects.

Mazda CX-5

CX-5 take two

Mazda has expanded its CX-5 range with a Touring model as part of the second generation that’s just gone on sale.

The Touring slots into the middle of the five-grade lineup and puts fake leather and suede trim in a more upmarket interior.

Kicking off from $28,690 (an $800 increase) is the Maxx, then the Maxx Sport, while for those wanting real leather there’s the GT and Akera, the latter now slotting in under $50,000.

Under the bonnet are mildly tweaked versions of the previous engines, a 2.0-litre four-cylinder for 2WD models, and 2.5-litre petrol or 2.2-litre diesel four-cylinder versions for all-wheel-drives.

Range Rover Velar

New model for Range Rover

Just when you thought Range Rover had the market covered with its trio of models, along comes another one. Unveiled at the recent Geneva motor show, the Velar will slot between the Evoque and Range Rover Sport with a sleek five-seat body based on the underpinnings of the F-Pace from sister brand Jaguar.

New tech includes “matrix-laser” headlights, flush door handles that electronically slide out of the doors and copper detailing on the exterior.

As well as four-cylinder petrol and diesel options, there’s a supercharged V6 engine that’s good for 280kW.

To be priced from $70,300, the Velar arrives in Australia late in 2017.

Honda Civic Type R

Honda’s Civic duty

It’s all growth for Honda’s compact Civic, which isn’t so compact any more.

The recently arrived Civic hatchback finally gives Honda proper coverage in the small car segment where hatches outsell sedans. It is sourced from the same Thai factory as the sedan, so the body styles line up on price with the exception of the RS (the hatch is $500 more).

Honda is also gearing up for the arrival of the Type R (pictured), the flagship hot hatch that picks up a new 235kW 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-petrol engine. Somehow with the Type R, Honda has managed to inject more aggression and lines into the already angular Civic shape.

It’s expected in October for around $50,000.

Toyota C-HR

Toyota shrinks the SUV

C-HR is Toyota’s first entry into the booming small SUV segment. It brings a high level of active safety features, including auto emergency braking up to 80km/h (systems on affordable cars are usually limited to about 40km/h).

There’s also parking sensors at either end, a rear camera, auto wipers and dual-zone air-conditioning.

As with Toyota’s other six SUVs, C-HR is available with all-wheel-drive for added traction on gravel or snow.

However, whereas some small SUVs are priced closer to $20,000, Toyota has taken the high ground with a $26,990 starting price for the manual 1.2-litre turbo-charged base model.

Nissan Pathfinder

Pathfinder’s new look

Nissan’s seven-seat Pathfinder has been facelifted with a new bonnet, grille, headlights and bumpers.

It’s still the only SUV in its class with a hybrid option, which pairs a four-cylinder supercharged engine with an electric motor to produce an unchanged 188kW and 330Nm.

A new direct-injection fuel system on the 3.5-litre V6 raises outputs to 202kW and 340Nm while also reducing fuel use marginally.

Nissan has also slightly stiffened the suspension to sharpen responses for a better drive.


April’s Motoring News outlined Jeep’s plans to increase its warranty to five years. It incorrectly stated the longer warranty would apply to owners of 2015 and 2016 models. The free five-year warranty only applies to 2015 and 2016 models sold after 1 February 2017, and all 2017 models.

Written by Toby Hagon
April 18, 2017