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The sensible wrx
Subaru has applied the heat of its iconic hot hatch/sedan to a station-wagon. For some, it will be back to the good old days of Subaru with the arrival of the Levorg. Effectively a wagon version of the rorty WRX – it uses the same engine and shares its front half with the iconic Subaru pocket rocket, but with a more practical wagon body – Levorg is pitched as a less lairy option for those wanting affordable performance.
It’s also not far off the size of the Liberty wagon of a decade ago, giving those who appreciated its medium size a natural alternative to an SUV.
Levorg starts at $42,990 for the GT model, which comes with dual-zone air-conditioning, smart key entry and tinted windows. Under the bonnet is a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo with 197kW and 350Nm driving through a CVT transmission; no manual is offered. As for the name, it’s an amalgamation of “Legacy” (the name given to Liberty overseas), “evolution” and “touring”.
Four is enough for porsche
It’s all change for the updated versions of Porsche’s most affordable sports cars, Boxster and Cayman. The six-cylinder engines that have defined the models are on the way out (Boxster is already on sale, while Cayman follows later in the year), with a new four-cylinder turbo replacing them. The new engines have more power and are significantly more fuel-efficient than the larger engines they replace.
Porsche has also taken the opportunity to realign the positioning of the cars; for the first time Cayman (a hard-top or coupe, pictured) is more affordable than Boxster, which has jumped in price as part of the revival.
Toyota’s sporting double
As Toyota gears up to end local manufacturing of Camry and Aurion late in 2017, it’s working to maintain interest in the pair as sales of traditional sedans continue to wane.
A minor update has brought additional equipment, with Aurion Sportivo having the most extras, including partial leather trim, LED headlights, blind-spot warning and an electric driver’s seat.
As well as the additional gear, Aurion gets mild aesthetic tweaks, such as new 17-inch wheels for the entry-level AT-X ($36,490) and black 18-inch wheels for Sportivo.
Mercedes’ new E-Class now leads the brand for technical innovation, with the latest being its Driver Assistance Package Plus, which allows hands-free steering for short periods, as well as advanced auto-braking crash avoidance.
But you pay for it. The latest E-Class starts at $89,990 for the E 200 – complete with a modest 135kW/300Nm four-cylinder engine.
More powerful four-cylinders are also part of the first of what is the 10th-generation E-Class line-up, while six-cylinder and eight-cylinder models will join later.
Rebuilding the great wall
Chinese car maker Great Wall is trying again in Australia, with hopes of greater longevity than its first attempt, which fizzled out following a legal stoush between the former importer and head office in China.
What is so far the most successful Chinese brand to enter the Australian market, Great Wall is hoping the focus on the dual-cab ute will separate it from sister brand Haval, itself struggling to gain a foothold locally.
Chinese cars have been a tough sell in Australia, with many brands failing or flailing; among them are Geely, Chery, Foton and the now Chinese-owned MG.