Archive for: ‘August 2018’

Which seven-seat SUV should I buy?

08/08/2018 Posted by admin

The dilemma
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Giorgio drives a Holden Captiva diesel seven-seater but is finding it a little ordinary and short on cabin width. He’s looking to buy another seven-seat SUV but doesn’t know whether to go new or used, or whether he should stick with a diesel. He wants something with strong safety, Bluetooth and an iPod-friendly stereo.

The budget

Less than $40,000

The shortlist

The pickings aren’t especially rich if you want a new seven-seat SUV, don’t want a Captiva and absolutely must not broach the $40,000 mark.

Mazda’s CX-9 is closer to a $45,000 proposition even in base Classic form, while the cheapest Ford Territories and Toyota’s Klugers squeeze in by only $10, which might be cutting things a little fine here.

Hyundai and Kia, however, have both just launched new seven-seat SUVs that offer a little more breathing space on the budget front while satisfying our key requirements.

Switch focus to the used market and there’s much more choice. You could get a good Japanese contender in upper-level form with a low odometer count or – if you’re not scared off by higher than average maintenance costs – an older prestige European. Or you could target our third entrant here.

2011-on Ford Territory TDCi, from $29,250*

The Territory isn’t as niggle-free as Asian alternatives and – despite a serious overhaul in 2011 – its presentation is a little passe. A style leader it most definitely is not.

But it also has many strengths, like a sprawling, versatile seven-seat cabin and brilliantly agile, comfortable road manners. Strong, refined TDCi diesels are thriftier than petrols and therefore more desirable.

At this budget Giorgio might struggle to land a topline Titanium but a mid-range TS with a low odo count is a possibility and even base TXs satisfy his basic toy/safety-gear needs. Unless he has a serious dirt-driving agenda, rear-drive models are preferable to their all-wheel-drive brethren.

Read Drive’s Ford Territory reviews:

Seven-seat SUV road-test comparison

Hyundai Santa Fe Active, from $36,990

This Hyundai is a brand new design and looks it with its svelte exterior and contemporary, high-quality cabin ambience.

It also has much-improved on-road credentials compared to its predecessor, as well as competitive petrol/diesel four-cylinder drivetrains. All models also get seven airbags, a reversing camera, Bluetooth, iPod-friendly stereo and five-year warranty.

Great value even on the base Active is a good thing because an auto adds $2000 and more lavish models test the budget (so do gutsier, thriftier diesels, which start at $39,990). He shouldn’t expect it to match the Ford for on-road finesse, either, or be quite as roomy or easy to see out of.

Read Drive’s Hyundai Santa Fe reviews:

Hyundai Santa Fe first drive

Kia Sorento Si, from $37,490

The newly updated Sorento is in many ways its Santa Fe cousin by another name but they are not exactly the same beast.

The Kia is a little costlier in base Si 2WD petrol form but you get a gutsy V6 and standard auto. AWD diesels (running the same drivetrain as the Hyundai) start that bit cheaper at $38,990, though that price applies only to the manual version.

Other differences? The Kia, despite its facelift, doesn’t look or feel quite as modern as the Santa Fe and base Si models don’t get a reversing camera. But for space, safety, quality, warranty coverage and on-road ability there’s not a lot to separate them.

Read Drive’s Kia Sorento reviews:

Kia Sorento first drive

Drive recommends

The Territory drives like an upmarket SUV and its refined diesel V6 enhances its on-road superiority here. If that kind of experience is important to you then trading some new-car smell (and some style) in order to get this sweet-driving, highly versatile package is worth considering.

More buyers, though, are likely to put a greater value on the Korean cars’ new-car security, long warranties and stronger reliability prospects.

Take that easy-ownership philosophy to the extreme and the Hyundai – with its more economical four-cylinder petrol engine – has the edge, and it also brings more style and a standard reversing camera.

Assuming Giorgio isn’t willing to live with potentially hefty petrol V6 fuel bills or a manual gearbox in order to get the diesel (in which case the Kia can’t be counted out), the Santa Fe is the obvious choice.

* Values are estimates provided by Glass’s Guide for private sale based on an entry-level model averaging up to 20,000 kilometre per annum and in a well-maintained condition relative to its age. Like Drive南京夜網.au on Facebook Follow Drive南京夜網.au on Twitter @Drivecomau

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What used supercar should I buy?

08/08/2018 Posted by admin

The dilemma
Nanjing Night Net

Sean is trying decide between a used Porsche 911 (from 2005 on) and Aston Martin DB9. He wants to know the pros and cons of each and is willing to consider another upper-crust sports car if it has a back seat.

The budget

Up to $150,000

The shortlist

We can’t fault the inclusion of any 911 in any serious driver’s shortlist and the DB9, while an altogether different proposition, is also justifiably hard to ignore at this budget. Which is best will come down to where your priorities lie.

Other options? A current-gen Jaguar XKR Coupe is a possibility and probably a fractionally better all-rounder than the Aston. But it’s not as exclusive as that car or as good to drive as the Porsche, nor does it have a significant advantage to really set it apart.

That’s not a problem for our chosen contender, which possesses a real point of difference in this segment and bags of desirability as well.

2005-on Aston Martin DB9

You only have to look at a DB9 to understand its appeal. It’s absolutely gorgeous from every angle and the fact you don’t see them everyday just adds to its visual power.

The Aston’s cabin mixes traditional British wood/leather themes with modern, contemporary design and feels just as special as the exterior.

Sitting back and listening to the 6.0-litre V12 howling like an animal is undeniably one of motoring’s great experiences.

But the DB9 isn’t as punchy down low as you might expect, it lacks a proper manual option and isn’t as agile or ultimately as satisfying as a 911 through the bends. Don’t expect any more back-seat space than the Porsche or its reliability prospects to be as solid.

Read Drive’s Aston Martin DB9 reviews:

Aston Martin DB9 vs Porsche 911 Carrera S road-test comparison

2007-on Maserati GranTurismo, from $111,420*

Unlike the DB9 and 911 this Maserati can comfortably accommodate adults in the back. It’s also the pick of the trio for boot space.

You wouldn’t call it boring, though. Its styling isn’t as pretty as the Aston but it’s similarly dramatic and the lush leather-clad cabin has a real sense of occasion. So, too, do the spine-tingling tones and surging top end of the 4.2-litre V8.

As with the Aston, though, the Maserati isn’t exceptionally responsive at low revs and lacks a manual option. As the name suggests it’s more a grand-tourer than hard-core sports car, so lacks the sheer agility and involvement of a 911. It’s unlikely to be as trouble-free or durable, either.

Read Drive’s Maserati GranTurismo reviews:

Maserati GranTurismo road test?

2005-12 Porsche 911, from $74,250*

The obvious question to answer is which 911 because there are plenty of 997-series models (sold between 2005 and last year) on offer.

Keen drivers should sidestep all-wheel-drive 4 and soft-top versions for S models, which got a gruntier 3.8-litre flat six, switchable suspension and other stuff that enhanced the 911’s hard-core driving abilities. If you must have an auto, a 2009 update with the PDK double-clutch auto is much better than earlier regular-auto models but will probably involve lowering your sights to a base Carrera.

Regardless, you can expect serious performance, serious handling, a great sound, a user-friendly cabin that’s easier to see out of than most sports cars and stronger reliability prospects than its rivals. Just don’t expect a lot of peace and quiet, or much in the way of a back seat and boot.

Read Drive’s Porsche 911 reviews:

Porsche 911 Carrera road testPorsche 911 Carrera S road testAston Martin DB9 vs Porsche 911 Carrera S road-test comparison

Drive recommends

The DB9 is so lovely to look at we can totally understand those buyers who just won’t be able to resist. But it’s just not as satisfying to drive as a 911 and it doesn’t really do anything on the practicality and reliability fronts to make up for it.

Indeed, the reasons not to put your money with the 911 are few and far between. Maybe you can’t stand its looks, and in that circumstance both the Aston and Maserati can be called on the deliver the required street cred and appeal. Maybe you want more than a cramped back seat, in which case the GranTurismo will make a lot of sense.

Otherwise, the Porsche delivers a mix of thrills, everyday useability and dependability that can’t be faulted.

* Values are estimates provided by Glass’s Guide for private sale based on an entry-level model averaging up to 20,000km per annum and in a well-maintained condition relevant to its age.

# No valuation data available Like Drive南京夜網.au on Facebook Follow Drive南京夜網.au on Twitter @Drivecomau

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V8s shortchanged in Abu Dhabi

08/08/2018 Posted by admin

The action at Abu Dhabi.I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed we won’t have longer races in Abu Dhabi this week.
Nanjing Night Net

Especially since our teams travelled 12,000km to get to the United Arab Emirates.

The V8 Supercar races here are shorter than usual because we are a support category for Sunday’s Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix.

We understand the need to fit around the F1 schedule, but it’s still disappointing we will have less than 200km of racing in a crucial round at the “business end” of our championship.

This round offers a maximum 300 championship points, the same as the other 14, but they have more racing; from 320km at Hidden Valley near Darwin up to 1000 at Bathurst.

We had 400km of racing on our previous visits to the Yas Marina Circuit in the past two years.

This week there are three 66km, 12-lap races with no compulsory pit stops. We have two races on Saturday, and the other is on Sunday before the F1 event.

It’s good to be join up with F1 because of the extra exposure for our category, but hopefully we can have longer races next time.

Jamie Whincup leads the championship by 218 points, and the title now appears his to lose.

There are a maximum 900 points available in the final three rounds, but I can’t see Whincup being headed unless he or Team Vodafone have major problems.

All Whincup has to do to claim the title is keep finishing races and scoring consistent points. Race wins are not essential for him.

Ford Performance Racing’s Mark Winterbottom is second in the points, but doesn’t win enough — he hasn’t won a race since May.

Craig Lowndes, who is third, would be more of a threat if he wasn’t Whincup’s teammate.

That’s because Lowndes has been affected by the “double-stacking” that happens when teams make pitstops for two cars under safety car conditions.

Teams have one pit boom, and the second driver in the queue inevitably loses track positions while waiting for his teammate to complete tyre changes and refuelling.

My only race win since joining the Holden Racing Team was in Abu Dhabi in 2011, but that was on a 4.5km track layout while this year we will drive on the same 5.5km circuit as the F1 cars.

I drove the full 5.5km track in a Formula 3 open-wheeler in 2011, and it has a longer straight and a tight hairpin than the layout we previously raced on.

The track is wide and smooth, with large long run-offs. It has long-radius corners that tighten up, a feature of F1 circuits designed by Hermann Tilke.

This circuit opened in 2009 and cost $1.5-billion to build. It is located on Yas Island and the complex includes air-conditioned pits, a hotel, business precinct, theme park, residential areas, and even a beach!

I flew out of Australia on Tuesday, a few days after race cars and team equipment were dispatched by aircraft. These long flights can be boring, but I don’t complain because it’s something you have to do if you want to race cars for a living.

It’s no secret the HRT is having a difficult season, with both Garth Tander and I yet to win a race.

But there has been an HRT car in the top five in every race since the Sandown 500. The improved results follow changes to the front of our Commodores which give us more “feel”, and we hope to be competitive this weekend.

Championship Points (after round 12): Jamie Whincup (Holden) 3060; Mark Winterbottom (Ford) 2842; Craig Lowndes (Holden) 2815; Will Davison (Ford) 2503; Shane Van Gisbergen (Ford) 2182; Tim Slade (Ford) 2085; Garth Tander (Holden) 2030; David Reynolds (Ford) 1746; James Courtney (Holden) 1725; Lee Holdsworth (Ford) 1719.

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NAB rules out fire sale of UK business

08/08/2018 Posted by admin

NAB result cruelled by UK troublesBig four banks still booming despite NAB dentAdele Ferguson: NAB the perennial underperformer
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National Australia Bank chief Cameron Clyne has ruled out a “fire sale” of the bank’s loss making UK business, saying such a move would trigger deep shareholder losses.

Nor would there be any quick fixes to the UK, which remains NAB’s biggest challenge amid sluggish economic growth.

Problems in the UK underscored NAB’s disappointing 22 per cent drop in full year net profit to $4.08 billion, unveiled this morning.

Weighing down the result were hefty restructuring charges related to the UK business, which also reported a $213 million loss for the year.

The move comes as NAB takes a more downbeat view on the outlook of the Australian economy, suggesting the federal government’s growth forecasts of 3 per cent for each of the next two years is optimistic.

Just 2.5% growth this year

NAB is tipping the Australian economy will grow at 2.5 per cent this financial year and 2.8 per cent for financial 2014.

Still, it was the UK, namely NAB’s Clydesdale Bank which remains the “biggest challenge” for the lender, Mr Clyne said, adding he was disappointed with the UK loss.

“UK economic conditions have been particularly challenging, giving rise to increased loan losses – particularly in the commercial real estate portfolio,” he told an analyst briefing.

“The UK remains our biggest challenge, while data last week suggest the UK ended the recession during the September quarter, we remain very cautious on the outlook.”

He noted growth in the quarter had a one-off boost from the Olympics.

“The weak economic backdrop has contributed to further falls in property prices, particularly commercial real estate outside of London,” he said.

Fire sale ‘not in interest’ of investors

“Unfortunately there is no quick fix solution in the UK and believe me when I say we’ve been looking. The restructure we announced to the UK in April was the right response and will take time before that business will generate acceptable returns,” he said.

“A fire sale – even if possible would not be in the interest of our shareholders,” he said.

He pointed to the collapse earlier this month of efforts by Spanish bank Santander in its attempt to buy a branch network from Royal Bank of Scotland. This was a timely reminder that buyers of branch networks face significant technology and integration challenges, he said.

“This is why I have not pursued it.”

He said efforts to cut costs and exit commercial property lending in the UK has positioned Clydesdale to benefit from any economic recovery.

Clydesdale is “not immune from the economic environment, but is on a path to better returns with lower risk”.

‘Multiple speed’ economy

Meanwhile Mr Clyne said the Australian economy remained relatively strong but he said it was operating at “multiple speeds”.

Indeed, Australia was showing “significant divergence in conditions and very different levels of activity across sectors and states”.

NAB chief financial officer Mark Joiner said a $250 million top-up in provisioning across the bank’s balance sheet had been aimed at covering potential UK losses. It was to also to help protect from a slowing Australian economy.

“Our view of the Australian economy is weaker than federal government’s. We see issues on the Australian front,” Mr Joiner also told the briefing.

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McGuire criticises priority pick system

08/08/2018 Posted by admin

Collingwood president Eddie McGuire has criticised the AFL’s priority pick system, saying it was “flawed” and that it drew clubs to the “wrong place”.
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Speaking on Triple M radio, McGuire said that Melbourne, currently being investigated by the AFL for tanking,? would have been a “laughing stock” had it not lost games in order to get a priority pick.

”One thing we’ve got to be careful with on this is 20/20 hindsight morality. And that is that at the time, Melbourne, had they won five games, they would have been the laughing stock of the football world for giving up a priority pick,” he said.

“Remember that everybody looked at Richmond as if they were the greatest shower of idiots, of all time, when Jordan McMahon kicked that goal to beat Melbourne, because they missed out, remember that?”

McGuire said that clubs shouldn’t be blamed for attempting to gain a priority pick when the AFL had put the lure there in the first place.

“You can’t blame the cat for swallowing the cream when you put the cream in front of it,” he said.

“There were enough people who know the game well enough who said to the AFL, don’t do this because it’s just going to draw people to the wrong place.”

McGuire said that playing younger players and resting older, injured players when a team has nothing left to play for is a legitimate coaching decision.

“In 1999, which was my first year as president of the Collingwood Football Club, Tony Shaw was celebrated for his generosity of spirit in playing the kids and blooding them for the next year, in the second half of the year, even though his career as coach was over,” McGuire said.

“There were no priority picks back then, so it’s a legitimate tactic when your season is over to put people in – no use flogging a bloke who needs a knee operation through August, through the cold wet months, when there’s nothing to win.”

Former Melbourne president Paul Gardner agreed that there was a problem with the priority pick system.

”Go down the bottom, don’t win a game and, by the way, you’ll get a priority pick. It’s a delicious irony, isn’t it?”

Gardner, replaced as president by Jim Stynes partway through 2008, said there was no suggestion of tanking when he was at the club.

But if it was found to have occurred in 2009, Gardner’s view is that it would be counterproductive to punish the entire club.

”I don’t see why the club should be fined for what individuals have committed,” Gardner said.

”I can’t see the Tour de France throwing out the US Postal team.

”If people have chosen to go down a certain path, if people in a position of power have chosen that path, I would have thought they’re the ones that need to be brought to account.”

He said if a club copped a heavy sanction, it would only lead to them eventually needing more draft assistance.

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