Australian car reviews round up

Road testing cars from Subaru, Holden, Audi, VW, Volvo, Lexus and more

Reviews of the latest cars all summed up in one feature article.

Ford Focus ST (2015) review: Absolutely mental styling, engine, handling

The ST has come a long way from the modest gene pool of Ford’s Focus. Its lines are sharper and more masculine, its bonnet bulges and the hexagonal grille of its front makes it look as though it is grinding its teeth.

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Ford Focus ST (2015) slideshow (+18 Photos)

Playing chicken with a Tesla Model S

Tesla’s approach to the automobile is a reimagining. The company’s Model S has a boot at the back and another at the front. The motor is electric and it can send 270 kilowatts of power to the rear wheels. There is no petrol engine. This is not a hybrid. It is an all electric car capable of matching a V8 on power and without any of the pollution.

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A whirlwind view of Tesla's Model S 85 electric car

Audi TT (2015) review: A smarter take on the sports coupe

Audi’s take on a bare-boned sports coupe remains luxurious. Clever electronics and some original thinking has helped the company eliminate redundant features and keep the weight down.

The Mk3 Audi TT has a shape that is more aggressive. The headlights no longer frown downwards, but are angularly cut and lead into a wide front grille. A low profile and flared wheel arches sell the illusion the petite TT has serious performance DNA.

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Audi TT gallery

Mazda 6 Sport review (2015): Fun for the family

FIVE fully grown men sat in the Mazda 6 an hour into a drive. “There’s so much room in here,” one said. We’ll call him Adam, because that’s what his parents call him.

The drive was largely uneventful. The weather was 19-degrees en route to Terrey Hills in NSW, music was playing and conversation was the usual jest expected from men foregoing civility.

This could only take place in an accommodating car, one comfortable and well equipped...

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Mazda 6 Sport gallery (13 photos)

Subaru Liberty 3.6R

The Liberty is the beneficiary of a steep price drop following the Japanese Free Trade Agreement. The range-topping 3.6R is 25 per cent cheaper at $41,990, though the introductory 2.5i starts from $29,990. To think a car as familial in character as the Liberty could be so aggressive on price.

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Subaru Liberty 3.6R slideshow (18 photos)

VW Scirocco R

No diesel or hybrid engines come with the Scirocco R. This is a car focussed on performance and it makes no apology for wanting to show people a good time. Two versions are on sale in Australia, with a 6-speed manual starting from $51,236 and a DSG alternative priced from $53,863.

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VW Scirocco R Gallery (15 photos)

Volvo V40 R-Design

The R-Design variant of Volvo's V40 T5 aims to tick all of the responsible boxes parents would hold in high regard, and then still leave them smiling come weekend road trips….

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Volvo V40 T5 R-Design gallery (18 photos)

Lexus IS300h

Traditional hybrids look whimsically futuristic or generically bland. The IS 300h differs by bringing all of the appeal of a sports sedan to the recipe. It might not be the real deal, but it does mean you’ll have a good looking ride and still spend less time at the petrol bowser.

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Lexus IS 300h F Sport (17 photos)

Lexus RC350

Few cars ooze the kind of presence characterising the Lexus RC 350. It is all lines. Sharp lines dice its front lamps, and soft lines arch the spine of its roof. The shape is simple, with a large bonnet, two doors and a small boot, but the details are intricate. There’s a gaping grille up front, other-worldly 19-inch mags and even fins punctuating two exhausts. The effect is a sophisticated take on the performance car shape.

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Lexus RC 350 Sports Gallery

Subaru WRX Premium CVT

The walk towards a WRX is marked by caution and jubilation because it doesn’t look like any other dreary five seater. It looks aggressive. A bonnet scoop harvests air for cooling at the front, four exhausts punctuate a rear diffuser and in between are 18-inch alloys coloured in the shade of night.

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Subaru WRX STi Premium CVT gallery (23 Photos)

Subaru BRZ

Subaru’s BRZ is a modern twist on the classic sports car. The body is low and long, it has a naturally aspirated engine and the power goes to the rear wheels. This is a car for people who want to enjoy driving, and it is a car most can afford.

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Subaru BRZ slideshow (20 photos)

Volvo S60 D4

The Volvo S60 is an alternative to the mainstream luxury-sports sedans from BMW and Mercedes. The 5-seater is offered in a range of turbocharged petrol engine configurations, ranging from a 132kw 4-cylinder to an inline-6 producing 257kw.

Another engine is found in the S60 D4, which is the model reviewed by Good Gear Guide . It is powered by a turbocharged 4-cylinder diesel engine that has a civilised power output of 133kw and a reputation for above-average economy.

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Volvo S60 D4 (2014) gallery

Infiniti Q50 2.0t S Premium

Infiniti is to Nissan what Lexus is to Toyota, a premium car brand showcasing Nissan’s best technologies. Anyone sceptical of a ‘luxury Nissan’ should consider the feat the company achieved in the performance market with the GTR.

The Infiniti tested by Good Gear Guide is the Q50 2.0t S Premium. Powering the luxurious 5 seater sedan is a 2.0 litre 4-cylinder engine that employs a turbo to produce 155kw. The engine revs out at 6400rpm, delivers the power through a 7-speed automatic gearbox and will reach 100 kilometres per hour from a standstill in 7.3 seconds.

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Gallery: Infiniti Q50 2.0t S Premium (11 photos)

Holden Commodore SS Storm Edition

Driving a V8 Commodore is about as Australian as it gets. The rumble, burble and gargle of the engine is behind one of Australia’s great pastimes, the V8 supercars, and it has helped birth national icons from the late Peter Brock to Mark Skaife.

Today’s rendition of the V8 engine could be the last in a long line of Commodores. Most car companies are shifting to turbocharged 4-cylinder engines because they’re economical. Holden remains tight lipped on whether it will manufacture V8 engines after 2016.

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Audi S3 Sportsback

Plenty of hatchbacks prance around wanting to be as roomy as a sedan. The secret behind the Audi S3 is that it is a full sized sedan, comfortably seating five and powered by a no-nonsense engine, only it models a convenient ‘sportsback’ for a boot.

Audi Australia entrusted us with an S3 for the week and, although deadlines and commitments bogged us down, we made the most of the car on a weekend road trip.

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Tags Volvo V40 R-DesignSubaru Liberty 3.6RVW Scirocco R

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Tony Ibrahim

Tony Ibrahim

Good Gear Guide


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