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What's The Alternatives/Other SUV News

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What's The Alternatives/Other SUV News

PostPosted by dave.m » Mon Dec 16, 2013 1:21 pm

Subaru XV Hybrid first drive review
Subaru’s XV Hybrid is a compact 4WD crossover with a difference, not to mention its greenest car yet
Subaru XV Hybrid first drive review
The four-cylinder 2.0-litre Boxer engine used here is unique to the UK

Image

by Autocar
15 December 2013
What is it?

This is Subaru’s first-ever production hybrid, launched in Japan earlier this year, also on sale in the US and now under evaluation for the UK.

Subaru has taken the current shape XV crossover and converted it to hybrid duty by discreetly fitting an electric motor within the car’s Lineartronic CVT transmission.

At the back, beneath the boot floor, sits a Sanyo nickel-metal hydride battery pack and inverter all as one unit.

Anyone looking to make a visual statement with the ‘Hybrid’ badge may be disappointed as to look at the XV hybrid is pretty much standard issue.

In Japan, a new ‘Plasma Green Pearl’ body colour identifies the XV Hybrid, at a glance. So does a unique set of aluminum 17-inch wheels. But that’s about it. In the back, you’re getting just the same degree of luggage space as per a conventional XV so you could say this is a new green-themed XV without compromises.

Under the bonnet lies Subaru’s iconic flat-four 2.0-litre engine, here non turbo, and lightly fettled to reduce friction. It’s tuned for 148bhp and links to Subaru’s Lineatronic CVT which gets a 6-speed manual paddleshift, too.

Also included is Subaru’s trademark Symmetrical 4WD, thus giving the XV Hybrid a unique market edge on home turf.

The motor itself is good for 14bhp and the XV Hybrid clocks 54 mpg on Japan’s economy cycle.

That’s a 20 per cent improvement over a comparable non-hybrid XV in Japan and C02 emissions also reduce from 147 to 122 g/km, making this Subaru’s greenest model yet.
What is it like?

In Japan spec, the XV hybrid seems well set up for local road conditions. That’s to say, largely urban-based driving at relatively low speeds where the motor-assist hybrid system and the electric motor in particular can do their stuff.

At the press of a button, the Subaru’s flat-four engages with that endearing whirring sound. As you drive, you find the electric motor will cut in and out unobstrusively on demand and from standstill, you can run up to 20 mph on battery power alone, up to about one mile. Naturally, stop/start is part of the package, too.

As set up for Japan, the XV hybrid is unusually refined, with very low road and mechanical noise. But there’s no specific EV mode that you can engage (as you can with a Prius) and despite the Boxer engine’s 150ps, aided by the electric motor’s 13.6 ps, the car is not that fast or dare one say it, all that exciting.

Driven gently, the XV is fine but for that sudden burst of overtaking acceleration, you really miss the lugging torque (258 lbft) of the UK’s XV Boxer diesel. Also the whining nose if the CVT on full chat is less than appealing although at the wheel, the 6-speed paddleshift is both sharp and precise.

You see, the XV Hybrid is relatively heavy, up to 150-160 kgs heavier than a comparable non hybrid XV in the home market, and heavier even than a UK XV diesel.

While Subaru isn’t quoting any performance figures, 0-60 mph feels like it would come up in around 9 secs. Top speed? Maybe 120 mph at a push, but of course performance is not what this car is all about.

Even so, it would be good to have more incisive handling and sharper feel at the wheel because in home tune, the XV Hybrid is unmistakeably soft, rolling easily on the onset of a turn and with vague over-centre feel at the wheel.

While there’s plenty of grip and traction and the XV's long travel suspension is unchanged for off-roading (ditto the high ground clearance), dynamically, it would surely need some rethink for Europe.

So does it work? Well, the hybrid technology is seamless and well packaged. Inside, the instrumentation is clear and sharp, while the multi-function display showing the continual energy flow between engine, motor and battery is endlessly fascinating.

But this gave us a 34.5mpg read-out driving through Tokyo and on the run out to Mt Fuji and back, so well down on that headline mpg rating. In round figures, there’s also a £1770 price premium for the Hybrid in Japan, so not for the first time, you have to pay extra to go green.
Should I buy one?

You can’t, not officially as yet in the UK, but in Japan, where ‘hybrid’ is a kind of the fashion, the XV Hybrid gives Subaru a belated intro into the hottest action in the market.

In the big picture, this seems something of a low-key, low-risk entry into the hybrid world on Subaru’s part. Which in a way, is fair enough as Fuji Heavy, Subaru’s parent company, is relatively small with nothing like the resources of a Toyota or Honda.

Tellingly, so far, Subaru is not selling the XV Hybrid and XV Boxer diesel side by side in the same market. On paper, the Hybrid has the better eco numbers (mpg and C02) although how well it would be suited to the cut-and-thrust of the M25 and European driving conditions versus the diesel is another matter.

Then again, with this compact crossover 4WD hybrid, and with Boxer engine power also in situ, Subaru has something unique in the market. You can definitely see the appeal.

While it might not be absolutely as state-of-the-art as the latest crop of eco cars go (no lithium-ion battery, for example), it’s nevertheless a new and welcome intro by Subaru which, as many of its cars do, is out there saying something different.

Subaru XV Hybrid

Price ¥2.782 million (£16,762 approx); 0-62 mph 9.0sec (set); Top speed 120mph (set); Economy 53.67 mpg; C02 122g/km; Kerb weight 1540kgs; Engine 4 cyls, 1995 cc, petrol hybrid; Power 148bhp at 6000 rpm (engine) 14bhp (electric motor); Torque 145lb ft at 4200 rpm; Gearbox 6-speed Lineatronic CVT

Peter Nunn


http://www.autocar.co.uk/car-review/subaru/xv/first-drives/subaru-xv-hybrid-first-drive-review
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Re: What's The Alternatives/Other SUV News

PostPosted by dave.m » Wed Dec 18, 2013 10:44 am

2014 Mitsubishi ASX 2.2 Di-D 4WD Automatic first drive review
Revised ASX is a practical and eminently sensible package that's let down by refinement and interior issues
2014 Mitsubishi ASX first drive review
The 2014 model year ASX benefits from more standard equipment and a lower price tag

Image

PrevNext

Lewis Kingston
by Lewis Kingston
17 December 2013 5:16pm
What is it?

The Mitsubishi ASX is a compact crossover that first appeared in 2010.

Originally Mitsubishi had high hopes for the ASX. It was launched into a rapidly expanding market at a competitive price and benefitted from efficient engines and decent kit levels.

The automotive market took a turn for the worse, however, and an unfavourable exchange rate led to the ASX’s pricing creeping ever upwards. Consequently the initial forecast of 8000 sales per year was quickly revised down to 3000, partly due to a lack of money to spend on advertising, resulting in the ASX being a rare sight on UK roads.

Fast-forward to 2013 and Mitsubishi is pushing the ASX back into the limelight. The company has had a successful year, reputedly becoming the UK’s fastest-growing brand with substantial increases in sales figures thanks to new dealers, new product, increased customer spending and favourable exchange rates.

So, besides now being in a position to offer more competitive pricing, Mitsubishi has also set about revising some of the issues with the original ASX. The model line-up has been simplified, the rear suspension has been tweaked, additional sound deadening material has been installed and equipment levels have been improved - for example, entry-level models now feature Bluetooth connectivity.

Most notably the ASX's powertrain line-up has been expanded this year with the addition of Mitsubishi’s own 2.3-litre diesel engine and a six-speed automatic transmission. Output is rated at an adequate 148bhp and 266lb ft, which is sent primarily to the front wheels. A switchable four-wheel drive system allows drive to be sent to the rear wheels to boost traction and stability, when necessary.

This diesel is a relatively large displacement engine for a crossover the size of the ASX, which has a footprint smaller than that of a Ford Focus. Besides granting it decent performance, with Mitsubishi claiming 0-62mph in 10.8sec, it's also acceptably efficient since it doesn’t have to work particularly hard. The claimed average fuel consumption is 48.7mpg, while its emissions are rated at 153g/km of CO2 – meaning road tax of £175 per year. Both the engine and the transmission are well proven units, having being sourced from the current Mitsubishi Outlander.

Being the most powerful and costly powertrain option, as tested here, it’s predictably offered only in range-topping ‘4’ grade models. These, however, are well equipped and come with sat-nav, climate control, a reversing camera, cruise control, parking sensors, keyless entry, front and rear fogs, privacy glass and a panoramic roof.

Opting for the range-topping model does not necessarily entail a hefty price tag. An ASX in ‘4’ 2.2 Di-D 4WD Automatic specification, claimed to be the most popular by Mitsubishi, will set you back £23,899. That compares favourably to the likes of the Hyundai ix35, Skoda Yeti, Kia Sportage or outgoing Nissan Qashqai, all of which cost around or upwards of £25,000 in a similar specification.
What is it like?

Previous iterations of the ASX were criticised for their somewhat drab interiors which featured hard plastics and poor finishes in places. The 2014 version benefits from some very slight improvements with regards to materials, but its cabin still lacks any real interest and the quality remains patchy in places - for example the glovebox sits in a partially unshrouded enclosure, with exposed wiring and ventilation channels visible behind.

These issues are unlikely to faze most buyers considering an ASX however, with the priorities being comfort and durability. Fortunately, it feels well assembled and the materials used, while not pleasingly tactile, should stand the test of time well. The instrumentation and switchgear is clear and intuitive, improving the Mitsubishi's ease of use.

Front occupants will find plenty of head- and leg-room. The rear will just about seat three adults, with a decent amount of leg-room, but those approaching or over six feet tall will find head-room somewhat lacking due to the panoramic roof's frame. Seating is generally comfortable but the front seats could do with more substantial side bolsters, in order to hold you in place more securely in corners.

An electric driver's seat and a steering wheel that adjusts for rise and reach make it easy to find a decent driving position. Visibility is generally good but substantial side and rear pillars can impede your view, although the reversing camera and large door mirrors compensate for this somewhat.

There are myriad storage points in the front cabin, including card holders in the sun visors, multiple cupholders, adequately sized door bins in the front and a useful power outlet and USB/auxiliary point in the centre cubby - but there is no storage, barring two cupholders in an armrest, in the rear cabin. The boot is reputed to hold an average but useful 442 litres of luggage with the seats up and 1193 with the seats down; there is also some underfloor storage and a rubber boot liner but - somewhat disappointingly - there is no spare wheel as standard, only a repair kit.

Out on the road the ASX proves to be a likeable car to drive. The steering is light and precise, although a little extra weight would be more reassuring in corners, and the Mitsubishi exhibits no unpleasant traits. There is plenty of grip on offer and, even when hustled across country at speed, it delivers a controlled and stable-feeling experience - exactly as you'd hope.

The ride quality is acceptable, with only rougher surfaces causing the ASX to feel a little busy, and body roll is relatively well controlled for a taller car. The ASX's brakes - discs front and rear - provide decent stopping power too, without an overly aggressive pedal response.

Predictably the 2.3-litre diesel endows the ASX with a decent performance credentials. Occasionally the ASX can be a little sluggish to step off the line, but once moving acceleration is swift, even at higher speeds. The diesel isn't the quietest of units but it's smooth, flexible and rarely leaves you wanting.

The six-speed automatic transmission does a decent job of picking the right gear at the right time, with relatively seamless changes through a range of well-selected ratios. Standard-fit paddle shifters allow for quick and painless manual selection of gears, as well as granting rapid access to a modicum of engine braking.

In standard two-wheel drive mode the 266lb ft on offer can overwhelm the Mitsubishi's front wheels, particularly in inclement conditions, but the traction control and transmission does a good job of quickly reining the ASX in.

A single button press is all it takes to switch the ASX into 4WD AUTO mode, where up to 50 per cent of the available torque can be sent to the rear axle. This improves off-the-line traction considerably, reducing wheelspin, and also lends the ASX a more confident feel when accelerating out of bends or junctions. A 4WD LOCK mode boosts the available torque to the rear axle further, if needs be.

Overall the ASX is very easy to drive, and its precise steering, tight turning circle and compact dimensions result in it being simple to manoeuvre and place on the road. The only major gripe is road noise, which intrudes notably into the cabin, even at lower speeds - but not to a degree whereby you have to raise your voice to talk to your passenger.

Most buyers are likely to average around, if not upwards of, 40mpg in the ASX. Besides being a tolerable consumption, considering the performance on offer and four-wheel-drive system, it also ensures a useful range of over 500 miles.

It's also gratifying to see that Mitsubishi's no-nonsense approach continues under the bonnet. For example the engine's oil cap, the washer fluid reservoir and other necessities are clearly marked and easily accessed.
Should I buy one?

What the ASX may lack in some areas, primarily refinement and finish, it does make up for in others. Besides being a practical, capable and efficient means of transport, it also offers up an appealing ownership proposition.

Besides a standard three-year unlimited mileage warranty and 12 year anti-corrosion guarantee, it includes a comprehensive three-year pan-European assistance package that even provides onwards transport and misfuelling cover. A fixed-priced three-year servicing scheme is offered too, although at £650 it appears to offer little in the way of true savings - but the predictability of it may be appreciated by some.

Some owners may also be slightly irked by the Mitsubishi's service intervals of 9000 miles or 12 months for the 2.3-litre diesel automatic, however, which seems a little short compared to the 1.8-litre version's more palatable 12,500-mile intervals.

The only real issue is that, for £23,175, you can buy a well-equipped 2.0-litre 4x4 Skoda Yeti with a rapid-shifting dual-clutch transmission. As well as being considerably more refined inside, it's also better to drive and finished to a higher standard.

Opt for one of the entry-level versions of the 2014 Mitsubishi ASX, however, and you'll be rewarded with a durable, reliable and competent car that will undercut many of its rivals when it comes to price and total cost of ownership. It's a safe choice too, with the ASX earning the full five-star rating in Euro NCAP crash testing.

Mitsubishi ASX 4 2.2 Di-D 4WD Automatic

Price £23,899; 0-62mph 10.8sec; Top speed 118mph; Economy 48.7mpg; CO2 153g/km; Kerb weight 1520kg; Engine 4 cyls, 2268cc, turbocharged, diesel; Power 148bhp at 3500rpm; Torque 266lb ft at 1500-2750rpm; Gearbox 6-spd automatic

http://www.autocar.co.uk/car-review/mitsubishi/asx/first-drives/2014-mitsubishi-asx-22-di-d-4wd-automatic-first-drive-review
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Re: What's The Alternatives/Other SUV News

PostPosted by dave.m » Wed Dec 18, 2013 1:20 pm

Pity we don't get some of the Toyota's that the Americans get -

http://www.autoweek.com/article/20131217/CARREVIEWS/131219928
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Re: What's The Alternatives/Other SUV News

PostPosted by Denshaw » Wed Dec 18, 2013 3:44 pm

dave.m wrote:Pity we don't get some of the Toyota's that the Americans get -

http://www.autoweek.com/article/20131217/CARREVIEWS/131219928


If we were fortunate enough to get the highlander here I'm pretty sure I would have one outside right now, with the 3.0 D4D it would be a fabulous thing.
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Re: What's The Alternatives/Other SUV News

PostPosted by DavidWilson » Wed Dec 18, 2013 3:54 pm

Denshaw wrote:
dave.m wrote:Pity we don't get some of the Toyota's that the Americans get -

http://www.autoweek.com/article/20131217/CARREVIEWS/131219928


If we were fortunate enough to get the highlander here I'm pretty sure I would have one outside right now, with the 3.0 D4D it would be a fabulous thing.


It does look good :s_smile
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Re: What's The Alternatives/Other SUV News

PostPosted by dave.m » Thu Dec 19, 2013 1:11 pm

Guy's, to save space, I will just post a link from now on.


New Honda -

http://www.autocar.co.uk/car-news/industry/quick-news-honda-vezel-sale-japan-egger-moves-italdesign
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Re: What's The Alternatives/Other SUV News

PostPosted by dave.m » Thu Dec 19, 2013 1:13 pm

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Re: What's The Alternatives/Other SUV News

PostPosted by Denshaw » Thu Dec 19, 2013 2:34 pm

The Skoda has a look of the new Jeep .
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Re: What's The Alternatives/Other SUV News

PostPosted by anchorman » Mon Dec 23, 2013 9:05 pm

You may know I have a soft spot for Kia Soul's having owned one for a spell but I am currently enjoying the new 2014 model which is due in the UK in April.

Despite the looks, there is not one panel that will exchange as the car has grown by a couple of inches. The designer wanted to keep it the same looks as the previous model which had great success in some markets, especially the US.

It is not intended to ever be a 4X4 as the floorpan will not accommodate the drivetrain. In the UK it will get carry over 1.6 diesel and petrol engines and both are available with 6 speed auto boxes.





With the seat right back where I drive, I can now sit comfortably in the back with the centre arm rest down and there is even heating to the rear footwell in this base model.



In the front, the dash is redesigned and the materials are all nice quality soft touch. There are super soft materials on the centre arm rest and the door arm rests. Simple but it makes you want to use them.



There is a super sterio with every kind of media bluetooth connection and plugs for USB/3.5mm.

The bonnet has gas struts which add to the quality feel and the engine bay is big enough to take much bigger engines than this 2.0 litre so working on the UK 1.6s should be a treat.



Toyota could take some lessons from the illuminated boot with underfoor compartment area.



AND a spacesaver wheel carried over from the previous model.



The engineering seems pretty good with claims of greater stiffness for less weight and it is so smooth and quiet to drive. You cab barely hear any road noise. What's this underneath? A stainless steel exhaust by gum.



I have to say, I'm very impressed. You can tell by the feel of the doors when opening and closing that there is an immediate feel of quality. The kit on this entry level model is extensive too so it will be interesting to see what spec comes to us in April. DON'T KNOW WHY THE PHOTOS ARE CROPPED!
Last edited by anchorman on Mon Dec 30, 2013 12:50 am, edited 2 times in total.
Reason: Fixed cropping ;) (instead of posting from Photobucket with the IMG codes, use the the 'direct' code without any tags and then apply the 'ResiZe' code (found in the ribbon tool bar above text window) where the IMG code would normally be)
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Re: What's The Alternatives/Other SUV News

PostPosted by dave.m » Mon Dec 23, 2013 9:14 pm

Cool, but got ask a question, how did you manage to smuggle that bottle of Buxton mineral
water into the plane ?
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