Trimmed and taut

Herald Sun - Motoring - - MARKETPLACE - CRAIG DUFF craig.duff@news.com.au

LOOK for the lat­i­tude in new car prices right now as com­pe­ti­tion ramps up the deals. Ve­hi­cles don’t need to be in runout mode to earn big dis­counts — a new ri­val, a dip in sales or a di­rec­tive from head of­fice to boost sales can get the sales crew trim­ming mar­gins.

Which brings us to the Mitsubishi Out­lander LS. The mid-sized SUV’s list price — be­fore dealer de­liv­ery, third party in­sur­ance and reg­is­tra­tion — is $28,490 for the man­ual front-wheel drive ver­sion. You can drive an “au­to­matic” (it’s a con­tin­u­ously vari­able trans­mis­sion) model out of the near­est show­room for $27,990 un­til Septem­ber 30.

Smart mar­ket­ing has helped the Out­lander to claim sixth place in the fe­ro­cious mid-sized SUV fight and deals like this won’t hurt.

The LS, with a 2.0-litre en­gine (110kW/ 190Nm), claims 6.7L/100km. Fea­tures in­clude re­vers­ing cam­era, 6.1-inch touch­screen, auto head­lamps and wipers, cruise con­trol and 18-inch al­loy wheels. ANCAP crash-tested the Out­lander last year, award­ing it five stars.

Skoda is look­ing to quicken the pace on Rapid Space­back sales with drive-away prices of $18,990 for the 81TSI man­ual and $21,790 for the 92TSI auto — list prices are $17,990 and $20,990 re­spec­tively.

Free five-year war­ranty and five an­nual/15,000km ser­vices sweeten the deal for those who sign up for the com­pany’s fi­nance pack­age (al­ways check the fine print). The deal runs un­til Septem­ber 30.

The man­ual is pow­ered by a 1.2-litre turbo; the dual-clutch auto har­nesses the out­puts of a turbo 1.4. Stan­dard gear in­cludes a five-inch touch­screen, cruise con­trol — and an um­brella stored un­der the front pas­sen­ger seat. ANCAP awarded five stars to the Rapid in 2014.

Ford is value-adding to the Fo­cus with solid dis­counts across the five-door hatch range — the in­cen­tive is the 20 per cent drop in year-to-date sales. The Trend is now a $24,490 drive-away propo­si­tion against a list price of $23,390; the Sport is $27,990 out the door com­pared to a listed $26,490 and the Ti­ta­nium is $33,990 (list price, $32,690).

Adding to the ap­peal is a fac­tory of­fer of $500 cash­back or three an­nual/15,000km ser­vices free.

Stan­dard kit on the Fo­cus range in­cludes an eight-inch touch­screen with sat­nav and An­droid Auto/Ap­ple CarPlay con­nec­tiv­ity, re­vers­ing cam­era and cruise con­trol. The 1.5-litre man­ual is good for a claimed 5.8L/100km in the Trend and Sport and, with the six-speed auto in the Ti­ta­nium, 6.4L.

ANCAP gave it five stars last year. The Fo­cus is one of the bet­ter small car drives.

Trimmed and taut: Mitsubishi Out­lander, main; Skoda Rapid, in­set; and Ford Fo­cus

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