A FABULOUS tribute from Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth to the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras
- 5.0-litre V8 anchors the all-new Ford Mustang lineup with power and torque fit for the iconic brand
- New 2.3-litre EcoBoost® brings turbocharging to Mustang with exceptional power and torque and projected class-leading fuel efficiency
- Manual transmissions provide smoother shifting, automatic transmissions feature steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters
SYDNEY, Australia., Dec. 5, 2013 – The all-new Ford Mustang offers a choice of engines available with either manual or automatic transmissions that make it a great all-around performer no matter how you mix and match.
Less is more, EcoBoost comes to Mustang
The new 2.3-litre EcoBoost engine brings turbocharging to the Mustang powertrain lineup. Designed to meet the needs of drivers looking for outstanding performance and fuel efficiency, this EcoBoost engine has been developed specifically for Mustang. The intake manifold and turbocharger housing are optimized to provide better breathing and higher output in Mustang.
With a projected 227kW @ 5550 rpm (US spec) and 407Nm of torque(US spec), this EcoBoost engine fits the bill for a true Mustang powerplant.
“This EcoBoost engine delivers the healthy output that Mustang drivers expect regardless of the speed,” said Scott Makowksi, EcoBoost powertrain engineering manager. “This EcoBoost engine might be small in displacement, but it delivers where a Mustang driver expects it with a broad, flat torque curve and great driveability under any conditions.”
The newest member of Ford’s global family of EcoBoost engines, the 2.3-litre continues to take advantage of state-of-the-art technologies including direct fuel injection, twin independent variable camshaft timing and turbocharging to produce big-engine power and torque with improved fuel efficiency.
This is the first Ford engine to utilize a low-inertia twin-scroll turbocharger that provides quicker boost response while enabling lower emissions and improved efficiency. The cylinder head features an integrated exhaust manifold that separates the inner and outer pairs of cylinders into each inlet passage to the turbo.
Keeping the exhaust pulses separated from the next cylinder in the firing order eliminates mixing losses and maximizes pulse energy to the turbine wheel. The result is quicker torque delivery when the driver needs it for passing maneuvers and similar performance to a twin-turbocharger configuration.
The separated exhaust ports also enable the exhaust valves to stay open longer for reduced pumping losses that improve specific fuel consumption by about 1 percent.
With more than 227kW and 407Nm of torque pumped out from such a small engine, in a car where drivers are more inclined to use it, ensuring durability was critical. Enhancements to the Mustang EcoBoost engine to withstand the added stresses include:
- Forged-steel crankshaft
- Piston-cooling jets
- Steel piston ring carriers
- Premium bearing materials
- Upgraded valve seat materials
- Forged-steel connecting rods
- High-pressure die-cast aluminum cylinder block with ladder-frame bearing caps
- Deep-sump, die-cast aluminum oil pan
The beating heart of a pony
No Ford Mustang engine lineup would be complete without a great V8 engine at its core. The 5.0-litre V8 powers into a new generation with a host of upgrades that enable it to breathe better, especially at higher engine speeds. Many of these changes are derived from the lessons learned in developing the special edition 2013 Mustang Boss 302.
Getting air into the cylinders and exhaust out is the key to generating more power and torque from any engine, and that has been the focus of development on the V8, which features:
- Larger intake valves
- Larger exhaust valves
- Revised intake camshafts
- Revised exhaust camshafts
- Stiffer valve springs – ensures that the valves close completely at high rpm
- New cylinder-head casting – revised ports that provide a straighter path to the valves for less-restrictive intake and exhaust flow; combustion chamber modifications accommodate larger valves
- Sinter forged connecting rods – lighter and more durable for high-rpm operation
- Redesigned piston tops – deeper cutouts clear the new larger valves
- Rebalanced forged crankshaft – supports higher-rpm operation
These upgrades are projected to generate more than 313kW @ 6500 rpm and 529Nm of torque (US spec).
A new intake manifold includes charge motion control valves to partially close off port flow at lower engine speeds. This increases the air charge tumble and swirl for improved air-fuel mixing. This results in better fuel economy, idle stability and lower emissions.
The variable camshaft timing on the intake side now has a greater range of adjustment available thanks to mid-lock phasers. This enables better optimized control of the valve timing over a broader range of engine speeds and loads for improved fuel economy and emissions
More than most drivers, Mustang owners like to take control and shift for themselves. Whether they select a fully manual gearbox or the updated automatic transmission, the experience will be better than in any previous pony.
The Getrag manual has a new shift linkage design for shorter throws and improved precision. The shift lever is now positioned closer to the driver and away from the cup-holders so the driver has a clear path for shifting.
Mustang blends outstanding all-around performance and everyday usability. Drivers who prefer to let the car handle the shifting during their daily work run, but still want to take control when the roads get twisty, will appreciate the new steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles with rev-matching downshifts that are now standard with the Select-Shift six-speed automatic transmission.
The automatic also features a redesigned case with cast-in ribs that help make it stiffer and reduce the weight. Internally clutches have been optimized and operating temperature has been increased to reduce friction. The output shaft is now supported by a ball-bearing that enables a top speed of 249 kph for Mustang GT.
With a choice of powertrains to match driving styles and lifestyles, the new Mustang has contemporary technology under the hood to match its modern design and remain quintessentially Mustang.
OK, I’m finally getting a chance to make another post. I have temporarily relocated to Mountain View, CA and have been up to my eyeballs in work, both ‘real’ work and research work. It’s nice to get back to this blog.
Cars do not belong in cities. A standard American sedan can comfortably hold 4+ adults w/ luggage, can travel in excess of 100 miles per hour, and can travel 300+ miles at a time without stopping to refuel. These are all great things if you are traveling long distances between cities. If you are going by yourself to pickup your dry cleaning, then cars are insanely over-engineered for the task. It’s like hammering in a nail with a diesel-powered pile driver. To achieve all these feats (high capacity, high speed, and long range driving), cars must be large and powered by fossil fuels. So when you get a few hundred (or thousand) cars squeezed onto narrow city streets, you are left with snarled traffic and stifling smog.
Even if you ignore the pollution, cars simply take up too much space. Next time you are stuck in traffic behind what seems like a million cars, try to imagine if all those cars where replaced by pedestrians or bike riders. Suddenly, the congestion is gone.
60 Cars, 60 Bike Riders, and 60 Bus Passengers in Munster, Germany.
But why am I complaining about traffic? Traffic only affects those stuck in it, right? Once all cars go electric, essentially eliminating inter-city air pollution, then there will be no more problems for pedestrians, right? Wrong!! Probably the biggest problem with cars in cities is that they require huge amounts of land for storage (a.k.a. parking). Here is a photo of Midtown Atlanta between 5th street and 12th street. This is one of the densest and most pedestrian-friendly ares in the entire state of Georgia. The red blocks indicate parcels of land that are 100% dedicated to car storage.
Red Squares Indicate Land that is 100% Dedicated to Parking in Midtown Atlanta
Dedicating all this land to car storage basically reduces the density by about half, doubles the average distance between locations, and reduces walkability. Throw in the 16-lane interstate and the 45+ mph traffic on most of these streets, it becomes exceedingly hard to believe that this is one of the most walkable areas in the entire state. Such is life for pedestrians in a car-dominated city.
It wasn’t always this way. Atlanta, like all cities, used to be walkable and people actually lived IN the city instead of commuting 50 miles every day. But as more people moved away from the city, the more Atlanta had to become like a suburb, being retrofitted to handle all the automobile infrastructure required by a million 40 hour-a-week temporary citizens. The result of this retrofit is a wasteland of asphalt and isolated neighborhoods, a slow decimation that has rolled along since the innovation of the automobile.
Contrary to how it may sound, I do not want to rid the earth of cars. I just want to use them smarter. Do you really need a 2-ton vehicle to pickup your dry-cleaning? Probably not. Although I do see the appeal in loading a family of 6 into an SUV and traveling to Florida for vacation. That is a totally reasonable use of an automobile. What I really want is clean, walkable, safe, affordable, and family-friendly cities and towns. In a strange way, I kind of want to live in Mayberry.
In the next post, I promise to discuss a few ideas that may get us a little closer to this goal
Isn’t she pretty? When I first saw the CRZ in concept drawings, I wondered if something that looked as jaw droppingly delicious would ever make it into production and if it did, would it be any good. The problem with most hybrids and electric cars is their ability induce most people to lapse into a coma with their mind-numbing dullness. I first saw the CRZ in the carpark under Honda’s Sydney office. I knew then there was something special waiting for me even though I wasn’t due to drive her for several weeks.
Doesn’t this shot look like Sound of Music?
Then the day arrived. It’s was with much anticipation that I clutched desperately at the keys which would either confirm or dash my hopes of a week spent in ecstasy. I usually spend a little time walking around the car when I’m getting into something brand new, but I couldn’t resist the urge to jump in and get going. Most hybrids have a CVT autos so we can deduce they have add something essential to the function of stop/start. Stop/start is the ability of a car to stop the engine when the vehicle comes to a halt, and start it in an instant when it’s time to move off again without the driver having a big panic attack. Imagine looking like a complete tit when your shiny new piece of technology utterly fails to proceed (a Rolls Royce term for breaking down) and you’re holding up the peak hour traffic. After a few kilometres I got used to the fact that there aren’t any gears and that’s because there are no gears. The poor little engine screams its head off when you sink your boot in when you do give it some wellie but she sure takes off. Most hybrids have a distinct lack of excitement in the performance department, CR-Z however has no such anxiety. That’s not to say that the 91kw output is in hot-hatch territory either. Our distinctly un-scientific 0-100 runs measured about 8.5 seconds which some will say is a trifle ordinary for a car meant to be a performance model. It feels faster when you’re behind the wheel and that great sporty engine note is drifting into the cabin.
There are definite signs of Honda-ness about the styling. The highset rear end of the wedge houses a split rear window with an annoying bar across the lower section. Because of the angle of the window this bar is exactly in the middle of your field of vision from the drivers’ seat. The Honda people assured me it wouldn’t be in my way, but it is. The odd thing is you get used to it. It doesn’t disappear by any means but it does seem much less intrusive after a few hundred k’s.
Of course if you don’t like wedge shaped cars then you’ll need to move on, there’ll be nothing for you to see here. If you like wedges then you’re in luck. The LED’s across the headlights look great in the day time but it’s the rear treatment I think is particularly successful. The band of glass between the lights gives a glimpse of the traffic coming up on you from behind but from the inside the rear view appears to be much smaller. Is it me, or does the rear vaguely resemble the other Hybrid from Honda, the Insight? Just in front of the shark fin the glass continues onto the panoramic roof . The roof doesn’t open fully although the internal sunshade can be retracted if you fancy a bit of a tan. On a hotter day the heat can be a bit relentless so for my money the sunshade stays firmly shut.
While giving a nod to the fab sporty Hondas of the past, the CRZ looks thoroughly cutting edge. It’s about as far from European same-ism dull-as-dishwater-family-hot-hatch as it’s possible to get. Sticking a leather seat and revved up engine in a family hatch does not make it interesting, it just makes it fast, the CR-Z is interesting from the word go.
The Luxury is chock-a-block full goodies. The cabin is snug to say the least and the back seat is only fit for extra David Jones bags, no humans need apply. We managed to squeeze one of the boys into the back seat but he immediately turned into Mrs Grundy and whinged solidly for 15 kilometres. Even a moderately tall driver leaves only enough room between the back and front seats for a magazine to be passed easily between. No, I think you’re better off thinking of CR-Z as a 2 seater with a nicely padded parcel shelf.
Honda decided a “teenaged gamer” inspired dashboard would give the hybrid a touch of youthful appeal, and it works spectacularly well. There are elements of fun such as the pale blue LED lit lines which run across the dials and can only be there for decoration and I love it for that. The lower left LCD can be scrolled through to display various modes of information but most mesmerising is the power usage diagram. It reminds me of the Starship Voyager showing ships’ functions. Most hybrids do it but CR-Z does it surrounded by enough LED’s to put Vegas to shame. It can be quite hypnotic and as fun to watch as the Satnav is. On the subject of Satnav, unlike many infotainment systems, the CRZ uses one which isn’t fully integrated into the cars’ systems. It includes a DVD player so much fun to be had for your passenger on a long trip. Sadly we don’t have street names mentioned in the voice instructions. Very few systems manage it and it’s something I would have thought would be ubiquitous by now. Rather cleverly, the system flashes a 3d graphic if on multi lane roads to ensure you take exactly the correct route. It’s a thoughtful touch which helps when you’re faced with 6 or 7 lanes in each direction as you are the north end of the Harbour bridge.
The infotainment module which includes bluetooth streaming is easy to come to terms with. I like a friendly system which doesn’t require an advanced degree in electronics to make simple functions happen. Pairing your phone is straight forward and using the Music Streaming is as simple as selecting your device. It will start playing wherever you left off and pause/fwd/rwd can be done from the screen but changing albums or playlists has to be done from the device itself. I also used the voice dial in the phone rather than trying to get the contact list stored on-board. This is something you could fiddle with given time but I simply don’t have the hutzpah to be bothered trying. The speedo seems to be in the form of an HUD (headsup display) in the centre dial right in front of the 3-colour lightshow, but I defy you to fathom how it works. Green for sensible driving, blue for normal driving and red for “I don’t give a rats about the environment” driving which in my opinion only further tempts you to leave it in sports mode.
On a non-technology note, the interior has real metal highlights. This makes a pleasant change from the plastic tat usually served up in sub-50k cars and most of the rubbish EuroTrash hatches. The leather is good quality and the front seats are well padded to ensure you don’t slide too violently in corners.
All in all, a comfy cabin if a little on the cosy side, with the dash well laid out in an xbox/WII/PSP kind of way. Honda’s quality and eye for detail proudly exhibited in a cutting edge show of thoroughly modern auto design.
I love it.
This is where most hybrids fall flat on their faces. They have the performance of a kitchen sponge and the handling of a blancmange. If we must have electric power steering it may as well be sharp, and the CR-Z is that. Parking speeds provide oodles of boost but on the road you just point your nose and the car follows. The ride is firm but not uncomfortably so and the handling is brilliant for a hybrid. It can get pernickety if you meet a bump in a tight corner though it never loses grip which is quite important in a car meant to be thrown into corners with gay abandon.
The combined power amounts to a modest 91KWs. Normally you don’t associate 91KWs with hot-hatch performance and our decidedly un-scientific 0-100 test indicated 8 secs to 100 kph which sounds leisurely but felt much quicker behind the wheel. We are told to expect 4.3 l/100k combined but as is usually the case with claimed fuel figures we were not able to get within cooee of it.
As per usual the Grand Pacific Drive test yielded a rewarding afternoons’ entertainment. Most folk will prefer the “sports” option, where everything comes to life just as much as being in “economy” causes more than a little gloom to descend on the proceedings. I confess most CVT’s leave much to be desired. Because there are no gears as such the poor engine screams its tits off but doesn’t change tone as the speed picks up. Imagine you’re at a set of lights and your engine has switched itself off, so there you are with only your inner thoughts for company. You will eventually wonder if the flame will re-light when the time comes but by the time your foot has moved from brake to accelerator the engine has leapt into life and bobs-your-uncle. You press your Nike into the carpet and the old girl shoots forward and you’re away. About 8 seconds later you’re at 100kph. The torque is helped no end with the assistance of the electric motor. Electric motors have an inherent torque which helps CR-Z get a wriggle-along.
I know it’s not rare these days but the inclusion of auto headlights and wipers is is welcome and for a change work extremely well. The other touch I loved was at my usual vantage point high above the boiling surf and jagged rocks, I was able to reach into the glove box and pull out a coke chilled by a sensibly placed air cond outlet. How cool is that? I’m sorry, it had to be said.
I’d describe the drive as stimulating and thoroughly enjoyable and even, quite unusual for a hybrid, engaging. I love it for all its quirks.
Hybrids have a well-deserved reputation as being dull dull dull. CR-Z is not that. It has killer looks, a great interior and drives like a proper sports car. If pressed you can shove an extra person in the rear for a quick airport run, something you can’t do in a two seat car. The handling is fab and the performance great especially for a hybrid. The Luxury is a trifle on the pricey side at around 44k but after a week in the saddle I was sad to see it go and I have never said that about a hybrid.
I loved it and would recommend it without so much as a skerrick of hesitation. We have the 6 speed manual in a few weeks to round off the duo. It’s the only manual hybrid on the market and if it’s only half as good as the CVT we are in for a treat.
$34,750 – $40, 790 PLUS GOV AND DEALER CHARGES
Federal Minister for Transport and Infrastructure, the Hon. Anthony Albanese MP, the Lord Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore MP and the Ambassador for the United States of America, his Excellency Jeffrey Bleich were handed the keys for the first drive of Holden’s revolutionary vehicle.
An advocate for more sustainable transport in Sydney, Lord Mayor Clover Moore was one of the first members of the public to get behind the wheel today.
“Electric cars are a practical form of transport and are better for the environment,” the Lord Mayor said.
The Holden Volt represents a fundamental change not just for Holden, but for the entire Australian automotive industry.
The world’s first Extended Range Electric Vehicle (EREV), Volt spells the end of range anxiety for electric vehicles and begins a new era of technological leadership for Holden.
With its cutting-edge drivetrain, Volt is capable of up to 80km of pure electric driving from its lithium-ion battery – allowing the majority of Australians to complete their daily commute without visiting the petrol station.
That means emissions free motoring, a greatly reduced carbon footprint and at approximately $2.50 to fully recharge the Volt, it also means significantly reduced running costs.
Complementing the battery is a 1.4-litre petrol engine that acts as a generator, that when required recharges the Volt’s battery as you drive. With this unique range-extending mode, Volt is capable of more than 500km before recharging or refuelling is needed.
Holden Chairman and Managing Director Mike Devereux said the Holden Volt would be a game changer for Holden and the wider automotive industry in this country.
“Volt is the no compromise electric car. It’s electric when you want it and petrol when you need it,” he said.
“It’s among the most technologically advanced cars on the road anywhere in the world and spearheads Holden’s push to become a leader in technology and sustainable motoring.
“Volt will make driving more economical, more environmentally-friendly and will fundamentally change the way Australia thinks about alternative transport solutions.
“This is the start of something big for Holden and Australia.”
Volt can be recharged easily and seamlessly at any standard household power point, and a full charge takes approximately four hours with the 240V charge station – significantly less than most electric cars currently on the market. If a power socket isn’t convenient, Volt can simply be refueled with petrol and more than 500km of additional range is available.
Surely speed cameras are among the most hated objects on the planet. Whether point-to-point, fixed or mobile cameras, they are seen to be nothing more than revenue raisers for the local authorities.
Police and government say no, it is a mater of safety. “We’re trying to change driver behaviour” they say, but a recent audit in New South Wales shows that driver behaviour has not changed. Road limits in some areas do not make sense, the cameras are not in black spots where deaths had occurred.
As you see here in Cleveland St in Sydney (pictured above in 2008), a dead straight ultra-wide 4 lane road is limited to 50kph. One complaint is shambolic mess of signage, it would be hard for you to read all of these signs while turning across one of the city’s main arterial roads which has 80kph and 60kph limits. The roads are similar widths and carry similar traffic. Cleveland St also joins 4 major roads together (all of which are 60kph and is a corridor from the west to the east and netted 7 million in fines in 2007. Note the 50kph sign had been damaged in this photo. It’s no wonder the majority of those fined were doing 60kph or thereabouts.
This is not surprising since all the 50kph limits were meant to be on “local roads”, that’s side roads to you and me. Evidently most motorists would think the same and drive at what they think is the limit because, as you see here, the true speed is difficult to spot. With more than a dozen signs in this small area, driving in becoming a game of chance.
Some governments claim that cameras have indeed reduced deaths. In a recent interview with the roads minister, a reporter asked if the road toll had come down, he replied yes. When asked if cameras had been the reason, he said there was no doubt that there was a correlation. He was asked if modern cars were safer than old cars, He said yes. The reporter then asked how he knew the road toll was related to the speed cameras and not safer cars, and he blithered about for a bit then said ,”Studies show,” but the reported wasn’t to be deterred. “Minister, where are your figures which show the decline in road deaths per capita was due to cameras and not safer cars?” The minister asked for the next question.
One thing that we can say for sure is that revenue is going up every year yet there are fewer and fewer police on the roads. If they were really serious about reducing deaths, they would use the revenue to increase police numbers.
People driving in the fast when they aren’t going fast!
You know the ones. They sit in the fast lane without seeming to notice who or what is around them. Invariably it is one of those tiny city cars, or an old rust-bucket. We want to shunt them out of the way but that’s just not done is it? There are laws against it but do you know of anyone who has been booked with it? I don’t and I bet you don’t either.
We’re counting down to one so leave comments if you have a driving pet hate!
Panty-Wettingly Sensational, the VW Golf GTd (around $39,900 plus on roads)
I have been waiting an age to get my mitts on this tasty little morsel and I was not going to waste a second of precious time with it. The GTd is the newest of the Golf Mark 6 models. The 2.0l Turbo Diesel gives a decent 125 kw of power and huge 350 nm of torque. I couldn’t wait to jump onboard and go for a really long thrash, errr, a calm and gentle road trip from Sydney to Brisbane. The GTi has long been the favourite of sports car lovers so the diesel could have gone horribly wrong, but VW must have done their homework because the GTd is every bit as much a star as the stunning GTi.
The huge 17” wheels have the merest smear of rubber so it sits very low especially at the front. The diesel model is lower than the petrol sister and the grille doesn’t have the red highlights but other than that, there is little difference. It has a solid look of quality with good panel fit and faultless paint. The side mirrors have enormous LED blinker lamps in them which can be seen from the moon when flashing. It is a very handsome 5 door hatch (in the test car but is also available with 3 doors). VW have avoided my pet hate of having headlamps the size of a small suns wandering half way up the bonnet. It looks ghastly. Instead Golf has a neat set of headlamps, including an awesome set of high beams and daytime running lights with clear lenses round back on the tail lights. To sum up the outside, it HOT!
As with the outside, there is a feeling of quality. And in a nod to GT Golfs of the past, there are touches of chrome and aluminium on the pedals and dashboard and black and white tartan on the seats. The instruments are clear and easy to read and everything is well laid out and easy to use. I always think if you can jump into a car and drive it without having to read the user guide, which usually looks like “War and Peace”, it’s a well designed piece of engineering. I did miss the phone interface which these days is more of a safety issue than a luxury. The cruise control was super easy as was the touch screen radio/media interface. The dual zone climate control was a simple set-and-forget affair with no need for endless phaffing about. I have to mention the seating. When you say “racing seats”, you think of the back breaking no-give-hard-as-nails seats that leave your kidneys battered and your discs ruptured. Not in this car where loads of thought went into the different types of bums that they will have to accommodate. 2 hour rest breaks don’t seem necessary (but take them anyway). They hug firmly so that should you pull 3 g’s in a corner you won’t finish up with your face smeared on the side windows. They are covered in the GT tartan and the whole cabin is a melange of muted monotones in greys and black with only a smidge of red on the dials and radio screen.
There are auxiliary buttons on the steering wheel and column mounted stalks for some functions which mean no taking your hands off the wheel and your eyes off the road. Everything is in full sight and is easily read, so no need to consult the oracle when you want to crank up the volume or change the multi function display. With everything squared off and the fun red trim, there is a slight retro thing going on which just adds to the ambience. I love it.
The Drive, a Road trip Syd-Bris
Diesels have come a long way since the gutless, rattly, soot-belching suet puddings of 20 years ago. Apart from a little extra noise under the bonnet, there is little to give the game away until you’re refilling at the pump. On the 2,000 k round trip, the whole package performed faultlessly and was a joy to behold and we easily achieved the claimed 5.5 l/100k so went 1,000 k’s on a single tank. Not too shabby eh?
The test car had the super-slick 6 speed manual which was a bunch of fun especially in the mountains but the DSG semi auto is also very good. Although the clutch took a bit of getting used to, it was very rewarding with each change lifting the nose slightly. The clutch, like the steering, has an odd vague feel but takes only a jiff to master. You might find that you snuff the life out of the motor until you do master the feel, so make sure you turn the key all the way off before you try and restart or you might find yourself on the harbour bridge in peak hour feeling like a bit of a knob because you can’t fire the old girl up. The electric steering, although hugely responsive and direct, provides bugger all road feel. But, once you trust the engineering, the car goes exactly where you point it every time, even when driving a little too enthusiastically on deserted mountain roads.
The real surprise was the engine itself. Under hard acceleration, there was a pleasing growl right up to the bit where all diesel engines reach the ‘flat spot”. At red line, it simply stops accelerating and you think you have broken something. It’s off putting at first, but jump a cog and she is good to go. It feels very much faster than the 8.2 seconds to 100 kph, but maybe that’s just the rosey glasses which I refused to leave at home.
Corners come up fast but the fat tyres stick like glue and the electronics make sure you don’t go spearing off into the underbrush every five minutes. I remember riding in a Peugeot GTi 180 that nearly broke my back in several places. The good handling was achieved by making the ride so hard there was little give in the suspension or the seats. The only cushioning was in your back, but in contrast, the Golf ride is more like a luxury sedan. It is supple and soft yet in corners is firm and reassuring and just gagging for more. Bumps and potholes were soaked up and even roughest sections of the goat track (the Pacific Highway) felt more like a gentle massage from a nubile wench.
There is waterfall lighting in the form of little red LEDs in the over head console and handy footwall lamps. The AUX inputs for your iPhone/Ipod/MP3 player has no inbuilt controls unless you go for the full monty when you order your car then the touch screen will do the lot. I thought I would also mention that like all Euro cars, your highway Etag will only work in the little painted area at the top of your windscreen because of the stuff in the glass interferes with radio waves.
The auto lights and wipers worked very well and got a thorough workout. My only nitpicking gripe would have been the lack of GPS and Bluetooth, but my portable device sorted all that out.
Likes: There is not enough space, or time, to go into the complete list of likes so just let’s say “Everything”
Dislikes: the lack of GPS and Bluetooth but that is just nitpicking.
The conclusion surely must start with the phrase,” OMFG”. If this car was a drag queen, her name would me Miss Sue Perb. I would be ticking the boxes for park assist sensors and GPS/Bluetooth which are worth the extra money. This is, without a doubt, the best sports car under $50k and might just be the best car period for under $50k. Some of you may have seen the ad on the tellie for the standard diesel golf. For a change, the product exactly matched the advertising. It will leave a smile on your face which is worth every penny VW are asking. To buy better, would mean spending almost 3 times the money. Yes Veedubs are expensive, but think of the money you will save not needing any other form of entertainment.
If it sounds like I am a walking advert for the GTd, I apologise, DO I BUGGER! There simply is not a better drive for this price, unless of course you’re considering a Golf GTi…
Other cars in the same price bracket
Peugeot 308 Diesel, Holden Commodore, Mazda 6, Honda Accord Euro to name but a few.
General Car Buying Tips
As always we try and impart a few pearls to steer you in the right direction. The sales staff will point out the features of the vehicle so take a brochure to remember what you’ve been shown. It is always worthwhile doing a quick online search to find any known faults or other issues. Perhaps you may fall across a great deal. Importantly, know your options. Is it the car you really want? I was once told that only full sized spare tyres were safe and that steering wheel buttons set off airbags, so you have to use your nut. If something sounds like bollocks, it probably is.