In­spect the gad­gets

Herald Sun - Motoring - - CARSGUIDE CONFIDENTIAL - Twit­ter @RTMBlack­burn

THEY say com­pe­ti­tion im­proves the breed and there’s no bet­ter ex­am­ple than the au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try.

Car com­pa­nies in­vest more re­sources in the ve­hi­cles that com­pete in the most pop­u­lar seg­ments, be­cause the big sales vol­umes off­set the huge cost of de­vel­op­ing an all-new model.

That’s good news for con­sumers who want a small hatch­back or mini-SUV but bad news for buy­ers of large sedans and gen­uine of­froad­ers.

We’ve seen it with the Holden Com­modore and Ford Fal­con — dwin­dling sales meant fewer re­sources for in­vest­ment in new tech­nol­ogy and ul­ti­mately both be­gan to look dated against newer mid­size com­peti­tors.

And we’re also see­ing it with gen­uine of­froad­ers, where buy­ers can pay big bucks and still not get the tech­nol­ogy you see on small hatches and baby SUVs.

Take the Toy­ota LandCruiser we’ve tested this week.

Prices start at $76,500 for the GX, which doesn’t get a rear cam­era. Yet you can get one of those on a $14,990 Honda Jazz. At $82,000 to $87,000, the LandCruiser GXL doesn’t get front and rear park­ing sen­sors. For those you have to step up to the VX, which starts from $92,500.

And if you want a blind spot mon­i­tor or lane de­pa­ture warn­ing, you’ll need a Sa­hara, which starts at $113,500.

To put that in per­spec­tive, for an ex­tra $1030 on a $19,990 Mazda CX-3, you can get blind spot mon­i­tor­ing, rear crosstraf­fic alert and au­to­matic emer­gency brak­ing.

And Toy­ota is not alone. Audi launched an all-new TT with­out a rear cam­era, while some ver­sions of the Land Rover Dis­cov­ery don’t have cam­eras.

It used to be that the ex­pen­sive cars got all the gad­gets and good­ies but that’s no longer al­ways the case.

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