MATT CAMPBELL March 29, 2012
Toyota Prius price cut, more power for Nissan GT-R, Porsche Boxster priced, Dodge Journey updated and new model Skoda Yeti.
There has been a flurry of activity on the local automotive scene over the past two weeks.
The biggest news comes in the shape of a very small car - Toyota's new Prius C - which went on sale this week and has claimed the title of Australia's cheapest hybrid.
Priced from $23,990 plus on-road costs, the new Prius C city runabout is Australia's equally-most efficient car, with a consumption figure of just 3.9L/100km (matching the regular, bigger Prius). The Prius C is powered by a 1.5-litre petrol engine which is teamed to an electric motor and a bank of batteries which, unlike other hybrid cars, doesn't eat into rear boot space.
Toyota has also cut the price of the Prius and added more equipment.
The updated version now costs $33,990 plus on-road costs for the entry-level model, and gets a reversing camera linked to a 6.1-inch media system, an energy saving eight-speaker sound-system and daytime running lights. The top-end i-Tech model stays priced at $45,990, but gains a sunroof, 17-inch alloy wheels, a power driver's seat, 7.0-inch media screen, satnav, digital radio and leather trim.
Toyota claims the updated Prius drives better than before, with updated suspension and steering characteristics, while the interior has also been revised for better comfort.
Nissan has once again updated its manic GT-R supercar, and it's now even more powerful and even pricier.
The uber coupe now pumps out 404kW of power and 628Nm of torque from its 3.8-litre twin-turbo V6. Nissan claims it now has a smoother transmission, a stronger body, asymmetric suspension to offset the extra weight of the driver and mechanicals on the right-hand side, an updated stereo and a standard rear-view camera.
The 2012 model GT-R is priced at $170,800 plus costs.
Porsche has announced pricing for its new Boxster range.
The new model - which looks a lot like the previous version but is in-fact a ground-up rethink - will arrive in July, and pricing has risen over the previous versions.
The cheapest model is the 2.7-litre Boxster (replacing the 2.9-litre), which produces 195kW of power and 280Nm of torque. It's priced from $107,500 plus on-road costs (a jump of $1400 over the current version).
The sportier 3.4-litre Boxster S sees a minor 4kW increase to 232kW, while torque remains unchanged at 360Nm. Pricing for that model is also up slightly, to $133,800 (up $1800).
Watch the video and read about the new Boxster.
Rumours that Dodge may be reaching the end of its, er, journey in Australia have not stopped the local arm from updating its seven-seat Journey wagon.
The refreshed model ditches both the 2.7-litre petrol and 2.0-litre diesel for a more powerful 3.6-litre petrol V6 engine that pumps out a Commodore-beating 206kW and 342Nm , mated to a six-speed automatic. The fuel use is quite high at 10.4L/100km.
The Journey is available in two model lines: the SXT, which gets 17-inch alloys, smart key, a touch-screen media system with Bluetooth, voice control and a USB input and is priced from $37,500 (plus costs); and a new range-topping model, the R/T, with 19-inch alloys, leather, heated front seats, satnav, a roof-mounted media system with wireless headphones for rear-seat passengers, reversing camera and sensors, and a upgraded stereo system. It's priced from $43,500.
Skoda has filled the $9000 gap between its Yeti models with a new all-wheel-drive petrol version powered by a 1.8-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine.
The 112TSI model is identically equipped to the more expensive diesel model, with 17-inch alloy wheels, roof rails, fog lights, underbody protection, dual-zone climate control, a six-CD stacker, and auto headlights and wipers.
Pricing for the 112TSI costs $32,990 plus on-roads for the six-speed manual, while the self-shifting DSG costs $2300 more ($35,290).
Ssangyong is going to have to fight hard against newer, cheaper utes from China, but the South Korean brand hopes a more stylish look for its Actyon dual-cab ute will help it stand out against the competition.
The facelifted Actyon ute is actually the country's most efficient dual-cab, with its updated 2.0-litre turbo diesel engine using just 7.3L/100km in its most basic guise. It's also one of the country's cheapest double-cabs, with the entry-level manual 2WD Tradie model priced from just $25,272 plus on-roads. There are a number of models in the range, which is topped by the still-value-focused SPR version. It's a well-equipped, four-wheel-drive six-speed automatic model priced at $37,782 plus on-roads.
Stay tuned for more on the Ssangyong Actyon ute.
Mercedes-Benz has added a new model to its commercial van-based people-mover range.
The new Vito-based Valente eight-seat van is priced at $54,490 plus costs, and gets 17-inch alloy wheels, multi-range air-conditioning, headlight and rain sensors, Bluetooth and a leather steering wheel. It sits above the Vito Wagon (which now starts at $49,990), and well below the top-end Viano luxury van, from $70,946.