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Car reviews (brief)

Discussion in 'The Pub' started by ibast, Jun 16, 2009.

  1. One of the perks of my job is I get to drive a number of different hire cars and pool cars. This gives me a chance to sample cars in the real world rather than just a 5 minute jaunt around the block. So I thought I’d give a few sentence on some of the cars I’ve driven lately.

    My perspective is I’m on the look-out for our next fam car, which I will buy second hand (few years old).

    Toyota Klewger (spelled Kluger) 2wd.
    Just like an Aurion that has discovered meat pies. That’s actually a little harsh because in many respects it is superior to the Aurion. You are left in no doubt, however, it is a front wheel drive and, as such, I would buy the 4wd version even though I’m not into that scene. Surprisingly good on fuel.

    Toyota Tarago. Toyota bland and a van. Toyota bland and a van. Sorry I can’t get past that.

    Holden Rodeo “crewcabâ€. Don’t kid yourself, this is a work ute. It is harsh on anything but the smoothest surface. Like all crewcabs it’s not as practical as you imagine. If you are going to buy one as a fam car you should know it is not going to be a pleasant experience.

    BF Falcon. Just like a BA only better. The BA is a good car with faults. The faults are much less obvious on the BF. It also feels like a more taut car all round. If you are after a Falc, get one of these over a BA. Their unjust devaluation makes them a good buy a few years old.

    BF XR6 (NZ)/BA XR6. After the BF drive I was left wondering why you would bother with the XR6 over the XT. I do remember thinking the BA XR6 I drove a few years ago was noticeably sportier than the XT. So I’m a bit confused. I guess you’ll have to try for yourself. If you want a manual the decision will be made for you. You may also fair better with the XR6 on resale.

    Holden Statesman (WL I think). I was keen to try and open minded about this car as I wouldn’t mind my next car being a bit plusher on the inside. I was left wondering why anyone would pay more than about $5k over a standard commodore. It is definitely not a European standard luxury car.

    Toyota Prardow (spelled Prado). I was pleasantly surprised by this car. It drove like a sedan with only mild understeer. It was comfortable enough and had a good engine (diesel)/gearbox package. The only disappointment was the fuel economy. I would have expected better form a diesel driven mainly on country roads. I was about the same as the petrol Klewger and that was driven much more in traffic.

    VX commodore (executive)
    . Imagine a VS that doesn’t sound like it is going to throw a piston through an engine casing. That is about it. To me the VS series never improved over its life span and I always found the original too sloppy.

    Subaru Liberty Wagon. Heavy and gutless down low. Asthmatic up high. Maybe the turbo models make sense, but the NA models don’t (I drove an Outback for a week and it was the same).

    FG XR6. Australian car companies have been claiming European quality cars since the mid 80s. This is first car I’ve driven where it is true. I haven’t driven the latest series of Commodore. A bit harsh for fam use, but that’s about right for a sports sedan.

    Toyota Aurion. This car is proof there is a limit to how much torque you can put through the front wheels of a car. It is genuinely dangerous. It’s a shame, because this is the best engine/gearbox package I’ve driven (for urban purposes). It’s the first Auto I’ve driven where I couldn’t see why you’d want a manual. None-the-less the car is a dog. Bland Toyota in all other respects.

    I’m sure there is one or two I have forgotten. If you want me to expand on any of these let me know.
  2. I've ridden in all the Aurion models and didn't think they were too horrible.

    ... mind you, my view on them is "If these were RWD, they'd sell like hot cakes!"

    On the front-wheel drive thing, I drove the last model Mazda 3 MPS and found it to be a disgusting little car. Apparently the new one is much better; but it was ridiculous.
    I see so many comments on the net by people who own them, convincing themselves they love them and they are a great handling car. Frickin' idiots. Pig of a thing, barely held on the road by a computer.

    The 6 MPS was an absolute dream to drive, though.
  3. I've had the pleasure of driving the Toyota Aurion and 2009 Ford Falcon XT as rental cars for the last three weeks.

    Toyota Aurion - The late, great, Colin Chapman was probably onto something when he said that 200hp was the most that could be put through the front wheels of a car... I like the crisp clarity of the instrument cluster; no risk of information overload there. Handling is sportier than the Falcon, remarkably nimble for an FWD family car, but the ride comfort leaves no doubt whatsoever that there is a swaybar the size of a telegraph pole stiffening up the rear suspension.

    To be honest, I found the Aurion hilarious fun. 200kW is way too much power for an FWD, but who cares.

    Falcon XT - Pudgy, with slow-to-respond automatic transmission. Remarkably quick, if you put the foot down and you happen to win the built-in "power lotto" game. Sometimes you have more power than you asked for! Sometimes you plant your foot in Performance Mode and you get no power at all. Every attempt at accelerating is an exciting game of chance!

    More fun tp drive with stability control turned off, because the stability control never lets the car achieve 'neutral' handling when cornering. Stability control causes scary fishtails when the wheels spin up in a straight line - fishtails which don't occur when stability control is turned off. Huh.

    Dashboard and instrument cluster are severe information overload, with two MFDs and all the analog instruments and a billion idiot lights and text readouts and secondary and tertiary information waaaaaaaaagh.
  4. Agree about the dashboard. Completley the opposite to the BA series. Way too complex. The actual instrument cluster on the XR6 is quite tacky.

    Sounds like you may have had a faulty fly-by-wire system or a engine/gearbox management system that wasn't learning properly.

    I had faulty fly-by-wire systems on the Tarago and the Klewger I drove. The Klewger was quite dangerous and I could see pedestrians being run over if it is a fault common to all cars. It would cause the car to leap forward on feathered throttle at low speed.
  5. While I haven't driven any of these new cars, I would like to bring this to people's attention. Which one is going to break first??

    Going by my experience with my toyota vienta 2000 as my first (and still current) car, the Toyota will out last them all.
  6. Toyota's don't really last an eternity. It just feels like it when you own one.
  7. Our fam car is the first model Kluger bought five years ago - a demo Grande, so saved around $10K and got a very comfortable car now with 80,00kms. Grande's suspension is more road orientated (compared to the base models) and nearly Camry like :p Everything has been bulletproof and extra seats starting to get a bit cramped for our youngest at 12

    Territory not as good a ride, but optional Ghia Turbo :cool:
  8. This was a good idea for a thread!

    Toyota Corolla 1.8 ('03) - Not a bad little car, gutsy little 1.8L engine (if a little buzzy), although when paired with an auto the fun is diminished significantly. Cool white backlit gauges, but doesn't really match with the other controls at night. Steering wheel is one size too big. The car does most things ok, but nothing great. Finish is good, however like most Japanese cars the panels seem really thin and dent easily. We had ours for almost 6 years/ 100,000km's and except for a small issue with the brakes never had a problem.

    Toyota Aurion ('06) - Everyone has pretty much covered this car. Nice smooth, quiet ride, so it's and excellent freeway car. Good fit and finish throughout the car, but I hate gated shifters, just makes it more complex than it needs to be. I hate the pedal operated parking brake more, it's clumsy and reminds me of Lincoln Town Cars

    Volkswagen Golf (MK5) 2.0 TDI - Haven't had the car long, but so far I really enjoy driving it. It feels much more planted and stable than the Toyota's we have had. Fit and finish is better than the Toyota's, and the blue and red backlighting is neat. The diesel is a fun power plant, surprisingly smooth and quiet, with gobs of torque for quick getaways. The DSG makes fluid and smooth shifts in auto, sport just raises the point at which shifts are made (a bit pointless in a diesel) and Manual shifts in a couple tenths of a second. The dual clutch system means the computer slips the clutch, so it feels a bit weird at first. We got almost 800km from a tank, and that was mostly city driving so very impressed.
  9. Nissan March Superturbo '89 Handling and ride typical of a 80's era hatchback, lots of glass makes the cabin open and airy. Sporty comfy seats, decent brakes and smooth gearbox. Turbocharged and supercharged with less litre capacity than your average motorbike and juice bottle, but faster than your average 6 banger. Hardly any left, and no spares to be found.

  10. My old parson bought a Prado some years ago, and sold it with over 200,000kms on the clock, and only because he wanted something new

    My daughter has a Vienta V6 manual with 230,000kms on it and all that is wrong is that the seats need re-springing

    I drove a 4cyl Camry Wagon to 285,000kms before the lease called for a new one. The ONLY thing that ever went wrong was a crook driver's side electric window jigger.

    Any talk of Toyotas not lasting is prejudice, not fact
  11. Ford Falcons are the the cheapest car to service and are the best value for money without doubt :grin:
  12. The SR5 Hilux is better than all these vehicles, in every facet.
    A faultless machine, and yes, I've driven every vehicle ibast has mentioned.
  13. Except for the cost of servicing, the cost of tyres, comfort, and the list goes on. Whats more they handle like a pea in a bucket. An off road machine and that is where they should be.... OFF THE ROAD :LOL:
  14. :shock: Thats quiet a bold statement. :)
  15. Well, I've just notched 90,000kms on my 7/08 build (my third), and have no issues that you mention.
    Probably traveled more kms in these, than you have traveled in the last 15 years.
  16. Timing belt is now due for you..........Whats more is that you missed the point. :eek: No timing belt for Falcons :grin:
  17. Ya driving open country miles, with a few trips to the city.

    Unless you want to use vehicle regularly off road, then there are way too many options ahead of the Hilux

    Here's the latest comparo of dual cabs, and FWIW, like the look of the new Triton

  18. 2002 Corolla Conquest hatch (auto): I did 44,000 km between mid 2002 and early 2007 in it. It did what it was meant to and that was to be reliable and not cost too much to own/run. All that went wrong with it in the time I owned it was that the rear number plate light blew around the time of its second service and was replaced. I traded it with its original tyres which had about 5,000 km left in them. Its a 1.8 L and doesn't have too much go. You have to plan when you overtake. It spins up to $1.20 well enough with your foot to the boards then hits a wall. On my drive to Melbourne in 2006 I found that its definitely not one to tour in. About 5 or 6 hours is the limit for me in one of those before body parts start going numb. Its suspension is bouncy, it understeers like no tomorrow when pushed and ploughs straight ahead in the wet. There's no way you'd want to try and swerve with one unless you have ESP.

    2007 XR8 ute (manual): My mate told me it pushed him back into the seat big time. I didn't notice as much since I was holding onto the steering wheel. The windows were wound down and the stereo turned off to listen to the exhaust note. Its a Falcon with a 5.4L V8 that pushes it along nicely. The engine spins up pretty quickly above about 3,000 rpm and it caught me out by hitting the rev limiter. Its pretty quick - about the same as the 2007 WRX... but chews more juice in doing the job and doesn't handle as well. This is my opinion from a 20 minute drive.

    2007 Subaru Liberty 2.5i sedan (manual): I've done 40,000 km in this to date from April 2007. Its been reliable and economical, is way more comfortable than a Corolla, has a decent finish, instrument cluster and other standard inclusions. Its other competitors have some extra inclusions/toys on the inside (like stereo controls on the steering wheel and the Jetta had reverse parking sensors) but the AWD was what I was after (sunroof and full size alloy spare as standard were good things too).

    It has enough go but is by no means fast. It needs 2,000 rpm or greater to accelerate well enough. It is happy to go around in 5th at 60 km/h as well. It goes similar to a manual Corolla but doesn't hit its wall until about $1.40. Its a better tourer and I only started getting a bit sore after doing 7.5 straight hours behind the wheel in my last long trip. Range on the highway is about 850km for 60L (the trip computer said 920 km to empty - tank size is 65 L). That's a bad thing in a way because I don't like to stop until I have to fill up. The suspension is on the firm side and handling is good - not much body roll. I swerved on the Monash in the wet once and it tracked where it was meant to go. The Potenzas it came with are pretty good and look like they'll last to about 50,000 km. When pushed hard it understeers a bit. It can take standard unleaded but I put 98 in it because it runs better that way and has a bit more go compared to 91.

    I now wish I'd paid the extra for a GT SpecB considering how much I'm going to lose to my ex. It wouldn't be there to lose if I'd bought it nor would I be looking at possibly changing the 2.5i.

    2009 WRX hatch (manual): It is way better than the MY07 rex I test drove in 2007 in every way. The interior looks a lot better than before. The interior was what stopped me from splashing out the cash for a new one in 2007 because it reminded me of a late 1990s Laser. Now its almost up to that of my Liberty but not quite there. You really want the leather seat and sunroof option if you get one though. The gear ratios are close and first is a lot taller than on my Liberty (interpretation: I stalled it taking off the first time). It has a firm ride and holds the road well. Acceleration is rapid once the turbo kicks in around 2,750 rpm and the engine spins freely from there. It can tour around as placidly as my Liberty or can get a move on. Its pretty quiet and I was a little disappointed that I could barely hear the turbo whistle nor a pop-off at the gear change. I'm likely to get one of these in the near future. I loved it.

    2009 VW Golf GTi hatch (DSG): I test drove one today at the recommendation of my friend with an R32 (there are no manuals around nearby. The new model is coming later this year so they're getting rid of stock). It is refined, well put together, has all the gadgets you'd want and drives nicely. Its interior is a step up from the Subaru. The six speed DSG gearbox is so smooth and changes really quickly and delivers power beautifully. I tried using the paddle shift on the steering wheel but decided to let it do it itself as it drove better in auto form. The car is quiet, maybe a little too quiet for my liking when getting a move on. You get up to speed in no time and it does it without a fuss. It sits assuredly on the road and its suspension is a touch softer than the WRX - probably about the same as my Liberty. I never tested out the ESP but did test the traction control. I gave it a bit taking off from the lights, felt the front shift left a little, saw the traction control light light up / flash on the dash, felt the left front grip and the right front slip, saw the flashing light some more, felt total grip and got out of there quickly. Its a nice car and has been voted as the best in the category overall on Drive. Its not as quick as the WRX but is more refined and looks a better package on the inside. I never got to push it around corners quickly so don't know whether or not it understeers big time. My friend with the R32 says the GTi doesn't.

    One thing that stood out was its brakes. Touch them and they bite hard (which is a good thing I suppose even though they are touchy)! It engine brakes and changes down gears on deceleration as well to assist in braking. I only had a 20 minute drive in the GTi. Its pretty good and more luxurious than the Subaru and probably a better buy in terms of everyday driving.... but I still want a rex more than a GTi. :)

    Next two on the list are the manual VE SV6 and FG XR6 utes to try (hard to find manual utes). A ute will see me park for free at work (as will a bike) in Brisbane whereas a sedan won't (stupid ATO and their rules about having a commercial car park within 1 km of work and being within a few km of the CBD). The utes are about $12k cheaper than the rex (which means I should be able to get an SV6 and a decent GSX-R750, Street Triple or new Hornet 600 as well for the same price as a rex), can take a bike in the tray and the SV6 is supposed to handle pretty well too. I guess I'll find out. Its going to be great doing the same with bikes when I can. :grin:
  19. Go the VE lol
  20. Nissan Tiida 2007 (6 speed manual) - had it for just under 2 years, just clicked over 50,000 km, including a return trip to Melbourne from Brisbane. It's not a massively sporty or exciting car, nor a great handling one, but it has never skipped a beat at all, and it has a heap of space in the boot and in the back seat for a small car. Our daughter is about 5'10", so enough room in the back seat was crucial, and we're very happy with it.

    Bottom line, bikes are always going to pee all over cars in terms of excitement, so get a cheap vanilla car for when you need to bring home a week's shopping and ride the rest of the time! :p