Inspect the gadgets
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.