Jay Leno adds 2011 Ford Mustang GT to his famous garage (+video)

May 27th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

As one of the world’s most famous ‘car men’ Jay Leno was always going to get his greedy hands on the new 2011 Ford Mustang GT. So he’s just taking delivery of the latest car to enter his enviable garage. It’s not the first Mustang in Leno’s stable — he also owns a mint 1965 Shelby GT350 that he claims is one of his favorite cars to drive. Now the newest generation 5.0 is joining it. To celebrate and share his impressions with the world Leno has filmed another episode of Jay Leno’s Garage.

You might be surprised to hear how the comedian reviews the car. He also compares the new Mustang to some high-end metal from Mercedes-Benz and BMW.

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Mitsubishi Challenger Exceed 2010 Review

May 21st, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

In the automotive world there are still some tough tasks waiting to be truly mastered. Like making a V8 engine that’s economical, or designing a cheap convertible sports car that isn’t labelled as a hairdressers ride. For Mitsubishi, the new mid-size SUV Challenger represents another difficult venture. Slotting into the range between the Outlander and the Pajero, the Challenger is designed to offer the elusive correct mix of soft roader comfort and cabin feel with fierce off road prowess. Car and SUV got into the all-new Challenger to see if it’s solved this complicated equation.

Visually the Challenger leaves no doubt about its off road aspirations with a chunky, tough look all round. Based on the Mitsubishi Triton’s tough ladder chassis it has a neutral ute-type stance and is tall (1,840mm) with a high ground clearance (220mm). Front-end styling is shared with the Triton but the top spec Challenger Exceed (as tested) receives chrome trim on its Mitsubishi family grille. Chrome and silver touches also feature surrounding the fog lamps, on the door handles and side mirrors, side steps, front scuff plate and17-inch alloys. Elsewhere exterior practicalities include a wide vertical-opening rear hatch, integrated roof rails and rear tinted glass. Overall, the Challenger’s ute underpinning give it the size and elevated stance of a serious off roader, it has a rugged high-waisted appeal that’s modern but not overly rounded or extravagant.

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FPV F6 E 2010 Review

May 21st, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Did Dirty Harry ever wear a police uniform when following leads and cracking heads? No, he wore brown sports jackets. And did James Bond ever wear a fully camouflaged jump suit when attending a cocktail party? No he didn’t. We all knew Bond had the firepower to shoot up the place, and he often did, but why signal leery intent too early. Ford Performance Vehicles isn’t usually known for styling restraint, but has followed this low-key image concept with its new F6 E model. FPV’s regular F6 turbocharged six-cylinder machine has become a success and accounts for more than 40% of all FPV sales, but the conspicuous styling hasn’t been sweet to all tastes. Enter the F6 E that offers the same thundering performance albeit wrapped up in a bespoke suit rather than a wife-beater singlet and black jeans. Car and SUV went undercover with the F6 E to investigate further.

From the outside less is more for this sleeper-styled sedan but there are still styling clues that distance it from lesser Falcon-based models. It has the same burly front and rear bumpers as its flashy F6 brother but the ‘racoon eye’ light surrounds and black rear diffuser are now colour coded.  The rear wing from the F6 has been dropped in favour of a boot lip spoiler and the 5-spoke 19-inch alloys are finished in shadow chrome. The front grille is blacked out and there are classy chrome touches on the bonnet’s front edge, boot grab bar and framing the windows. At a glance it’s a smooth looking sedan but a closer look reveals a massive intercooler hiding behind the front air dam and huge brake rotors with bright red Brembo callipers. Like a heavyweight boxer in a tuxedo, it’s impossible to completely hide the power within.

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Mitsubishi Lancer ES 2010 Review

May 14th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

There’s more than one way to create temptation among potential car customers. You can offer more features for the same price or you can tempt by offering less for a discounted price. At Car and SUV we often review high-spec, bells and whistles cars but for this road test that’s all changed and we got some seat time in the cut-price cruiser Mitsubishi Lancer ES. The ES is Mitsubishi’s base-model Lancer that has achieved an attractive price point that will give it strong appeal to fleet customers and budget conscious consumers alike. But creating true temptation is about more than saving money, especially in the hard-fought compact sedan segment. We spent a week with the Lancer ES to uncover its allure.

In terms of price the Lancer ES is scalpel sharp at undercutting its direct Japanese competition. Costing $27,990 for the manual and $29,990 for the CVT auto, the base spec Lancer is $3-5k cheaper than its rivals. The lowest model Honda Civic ($33,800) and Subaru Impreza ($32,990) can’t match the Lancer ES, while the Mazda3 ($30,895) comes closest but only in hatch form. You would have to go Korean and consider the Kia Cerato LX with its $28,990 price as the specification is higher and the Cerato is arguably as good looking.

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Subaru Outback 3.6R Premium 2010 Review

May 7th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

It does seem a touch odd that Subaru’s crossover wagon is named after a flat, dry, straight expansive centre of Australia, when it takes oppositional conditions to reveal its true strengths. But the new 2010 Outback isn’t just about using its trademark boxer engine and all wheel drive system to expertly negotiate twisting mountain passes, it has serious intent as a spacious, family-hauling all rounder. The three previous generations of Outback have developed a reputation of Swiss-army-knife practicality for the new model, so can it raise the bar even higher? Car and SUV opened up the new top-spec Outback 3.6R Premium to check if it has all the tools for success.

Sitting 70mm higher than its Legacy stable mate, the Outback casts a burly purposeful shadow. An increase in width over its predecessor helps negate the raised ride height and creates a balanced stance. A thick strip of black plastic cladding protects the bottom edges of the car and houses silver-ringed fog lamps out front. The winged grille and frowning headlights give the Outback road presence and the 17-inch 6-spoke alloys are a good match despite struggling to pack out the high wheel arches. Aesthetically, the Outback isn’t a natural beauty and has clearly been styled with the American market in mind. That said, it has a modern, clean look that’s well colour-coded and has some nice touches like tinted rear glass, integrated roof rails and subtle use of silver trim.

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Toyota Corolla Diesel 2010 Review

May 7th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

The Toyota Corolla needs little introduction, the name ‘Corolla’ is Latin for small crown and is a fitting moniker for what is undoubtedly the king of hatchbacks. Since its introduction in 1966 the Corolla has become the best selling car nameplate in the world with over 35 million sales. That’s one Corolla sold every 40 seconds, but staggering statistics aside what exactly makes this car so special? It’s not any radical styling flair or break-neck performance but instead bulletproof reliability and legendary longevity that have earned its lofty position. Now in 2010, the Corolla is offered with a variety of power train options including a new diesel motor. Car and SUV took a drive in the diesel-sipping Corolla to see if the king’s crown still shines bright.

What makes our tested Corolla special lays under the stout bonnet in the form of Toyota’s 1.4-litre turbo diesel motor. Code-named D-4D, this 4-cylinder mill puts out 66kW of power and a healthy 205Nm of torque. Armed with the diesel engine the Corolla is certainly no rocket ship but when pushed to higher revs it’s capable of decent progress. While the torque figure is impressive on paper it doesn’t translate into lashings of low-down grunt but is noticeable through the mid-range when the turbo engages. The Corolla feels at home in urban traffic and is a capable motorway cruiser but open-road overtaking requires ample space and caution.

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FPV GT-P 2010 Review

April 30th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

The recent announcement that the Falcon Wagon will be discontinued may have left some enthusiasts worried about the future of this iconic Australian model. But at the top end of the Falcon range those concerns are unnecessary as FPV continues to unleash fierce V8-powered versions of the Ford mainstay. One of the current top-dogs in the FPV kennel is the high performance GT-P that comes stacked with the latest tech Ford’s performance arm has to offer. Car and SUV had a test drive in the GT-P to take it off the leash and see if its bite matches its loud bark.

The GT-P’s bark can be first heard in the loud exterior styling that leaves no one confused about the leery nature of this modern muscle car. Finished in a trademark Ford blue hue our test vehicle didn’t feature the ‘Boss’ decals set (available as a no-cost option), but still had a bullying athletic presence. The tone is set at the front where a “power bulged” bonnet lives above frowning headlights with war-painted grey accents and a massive lower air dam. The skirting is continued down the flanks and out back a high boot spoiler, black rear diffuser and dual exhausts confirm sinister intent. GT-P badging can be found on all four sides and bright red Brembo brake calipers hide behind distinctive 19-inch alloys. The GT-P is slightly more graceful and less in your face aesthetically than its HSV rivals, but still communicates its performance credentials with a menacing purpose.

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Subaru Legacy Sport CVT 2010 Review

April 30th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Balance is a relative skill and while it’s easy for most of us to stroll down a flat road walking a tightrope is something we leave to the professionals. Creating a successful modern four-door family sedan is another balancing act with pitfalls on either side. Styling should be distinctive but not ostentatious, handling should be dynamic but the ride comfortable and the engine needs strength but to still offer decent fuel economy. Like most carmakers Subaru has at times struggled to perform the balancing act required to appeal to the masses and has instead been viewed as a niche automaker. Now for 2010 Subaru has a new model Legacy that is attempting to appease badge fans while attracting new buyers. Car and SUV spent some time with the Legacy Sedan Sport to take in the show.

What’s immediately noticeable with the 2010 Legacy is the increase in size over its predecessor. Length, height, width and wheelbase have all seen varying increases resulting in a completely new profile. A raked character-lined bonnet pushes into the arched roofline, ending out back in a short, high boot lid. A strip of chrome trim accents the roofline and matched up well with 17-inch 10-spoke alloy wheels on our tested base-model Sport. Pumped out wheel arches, a chrome grille and XL-sized light clusters finish an exterior look that’s stylishly modern but still rather generic. in fact, it shares little resemblance to the Legacys of old and is closer aligned to the Nissan Maxima. That said, it’s a handsome machine especially considering it’s the base-model and has features often reserved for higher-spec versions like front fog lamps, colour-coded side mirrors and tinted rear security glass.

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