Holden now has the 2016 European car of the year in its local stables. A starting price of just $21,990 gets you into one of the most technology-packed cars in its price bracket — turbo engines and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto across the entire range, and on the top RS-V you also get Holden's first forward-facing, traffic-sensing camera and some very very cool headlights.
There aren't that many cars that you can buy brand new that feel fun. There are even fewer that feel fun for every single second that you're driving them. Even fewer again aren't purpose-built sports cars and can be bought by normal people with normal car-buying budgets. The Ford Focus RS, based on that humble Focus hatch, is the hottest hot hatch that you can spend your money on, and it's a masterpiece.
Today, Tesla starts selling the Model X in Australia. It's a $130,000-plus all-electric SUV that seats up to seven adults in comfort, can travel nearly 550km on a single charge, and can accelerate up to 100km/h in just over 3 seconds. Like the Model S, you can charge it for free at Tesla's network of Superchargers.
Where the Model S was based around a relatively simple concept, though — a luxurious car built around a huge battery and electric motors — the Model X integrates that technology into every door and panel. It's one of the most complicated cars you can buy, and you'll start seeing it on Australian roads soon.
The new Honda NSX, when it hits our shores early next year, will be the first hybrid supercar released in Australia. And, yes, it makes sense to emphasise the hybrid part — while it can be an all-out supercar that cracks 0-100km/h in under three seconds and storms on to 300km/h with change to spare, it can also creep around town on electricity alone, eerily quiet. Oh, and you'll pay $420,000 for the privilege.
It’s a rare occasion when you’re invited to enter the cockpit of a McLaren — which we took with open arms — but imagine testing three of McLaren’s latest supercars in the one day? Yeah. We peed a little. Sadly, Sydney’s roads are notoriously bad for driving at speeds above 50km/h. With a little clever pre-planning from McLaren’s team driver Luke O’Neill though, we found some of the best secluded roads available to this man and his three machines.
I grew up out bush, where if you drove a four-wheel drive it was because you went four-wheel driving. You, know, where you actually need one. Given my background, I'll admit to having judged those drivers; extra large latte in hand, barely visible behind the bulk of their giant steering wheel squeezing through peak hour traffic, Timmy and five friends in the back beneath a mountain of sports equipment.
If curves could kill then consider the Giulia Quadrifoglio (QV) one deadly Italian. It’s beautiful, it’s angular, it’s aggressive, but most importantly it doesn’t feel like a carbon copy of the other mid-sized sedans in its class. It’s unique in all the right places with little touches which give it the ‘don’t mess with me, I’ll blow your doors off’ vibe — The very vibe you want to give off when dropping the kids off at school.
Toyota has built a new Prius that it says is not only incredibly efficient with the way it uses petrol, but is also fun to drive. It's not exactly a balls-to-the-wall race car, but it is fun — in its own way — especially if you like challenging yourself to save fuel.
Volvo's newest car is also the first vehicle built under the company's new Chinese ownership. The reinvented XC90 may cost a cool $90,000 — that's a full $20,000 more than the model it replaces — but it packs in some of the most advanced in-car technology in its class. As a big, seven-seater SUV it's built for families, and it keeps that reassurance of Volvo's impeccable track record with some smart autonomous braking features and excellent overall safety. Inside, you're ringed by LCD panels and touchscreens — it's more like a rolling command center than it is a regular four-wheel drive.
The Mustang is an iconic car. In Australia, we've rarely seen it outside of films like Bullitt, Gone In 60 Seconds and the new Need For Speed — the last locally delivered model was the relatively unpopular 2001 4.6-litre, and companies like Performax charge upwards of $100,000 for right-hand-drive conversions of US-delivered variants. Now, in 2016, the first made-for-Australia version of the Ford Mustang is here — it's launching this week, starting at under $46,000.
Bicycles are great. They're compact, quiet, and convenient — as long as you have a helmet, you can jump on and go anywhere, and you're only limited by the energy in your legs. That's just about the only limiting factor of bikes — the muscles of the humans riding them. But electric bikes? Now that's another story.
A Ural sidecar isn't like any other vehicle. The design dates back to pre-WWII technology sharing between the Nazis and Soviet Union, and the bikes are still made in the same factory that was located out of enemy bombers' range during the war, way out on the Siberian steppe. This is what they're like to ride today.
I spent a day in a $750,000 Rolls-Royce motor car, and now I think I have ruined the experience of sitting in and driving just about any other vehicle. This is what three quarters of one million dollars, about the price of an average Sydney apartment, will buy you in outright motoring bliss.
The first thing you need to know about Taipei is that it's hot. Well, more humid, really. The second thing you need to know is that if you don't have a scooter, you're a nobody. That's why all the hype in Taipei right now is around a scooter company called Gogoro and its first pilot store in the city centre: it's cool as ice, and riding around on one is like putting a Tesla between your legs.
I was really excited when Google announced Android Auto last year. I spend a lot of time driving, and it sounded way safer and more convenient than sticking my phone to the dash. Eleven months later, I finally got to take it for a spin. The TL;DR version? I want it in my car, like, now. I bet you'd like it too.
Car sharing is a great thing. If you're a member of your chosen cartel, you can book a convenient car with a moment's notice, tap your smart credit card on the windscreen reader to activate your booking, and then drive around like you own it. While GoGet and GreenShareCar are multi-city services, Flexicar is car sharing specifically for Melbournites.
An Aussie company called Gyrotech imports a range of electric scooters, including the O-Chic that Luke loved. But for those who are looking for something that can tackle the great outdoors, the Airwheel X8 is the ultimate, if challenging, electric scooter.