On a con­stant high

The Courier-Mail - Motoring - - Launch Pad -

Looks can be de­cep­tive and in the case of the 2017 XV, here in a cou­ple of weeks, they are. The wagon-styled SUV has a new chas­sis and re­vised driv­e­train, even though it looks the same and the spec sheet still says 2.0-litre en­gine paired with a con­tin­u­ously vari­able trans­mis­sion. Es­sen­tially a high-rid­ing Im­preza with some plas­tic cladding, the XV uses a more pow­er­ful and fuel ef­fi­cient ver­sion of the flat-four en­gine. The CVT has seven pre­set “gears” in man­ual mode (a gen­uine man­ual isn’t avail­able). All but the base model pick up Subaru’s ac­tive driv­ing aids, though only the $35,240 S vari­ant gets blindspot and lane de­par­ture warn­ings and rear cross-traf­fic as­sist. An­droid/Ap­ple phone mir­ror­ing is stan­dard across the range. The XV has 220mm of ground clear­ance, an off-road driv­ing mode and elec­tronic park­ing brake. Ser­vice in­ter­vals are 12 months/12,500km and Subaru says ser­vice costs over three years have been re­duced from $2125 to $1298. As the suc­ces­sor to the LFA su­per­car, the LC500 as­sumes the man­tle of per­for­mance flag­ship for the pres­tige Ja­panese brand. The V8 coupe is said to hit 100km/h in 4.5 sec­onds and, given only 100 cars have been al­lo­cated for Aus­tralia, it is ex­pected to sell out fast. The more ex­pen­sive hy­brid LC500h marks Lexus’s first use of a lithium-ion bat­tery pack, giv­ing the car a pack­ag­ing and power ad­van­tage over the nickel-metal hy­dride bat­ter­ies used un­til now. Its petrol V6 (220kW/248Nm) is abet­ted by elec­tric out­put of 132kW/ 300Nm. Add $15,000 for the en­hance­ment pack” and bol­ster the LC with all-wheel steer­ing, vari­able ra­tio steer­ing rack, car­bon-fi­bre roof and scuff plates, pow­ered front sports seats and leather up­hol­stery. A lim­ited-slip diff is stan­dard on the LC500 but part of the pack for the 500h. Pric­ing has yet to be an­nounced but the LC500 is tipped to start about $190,000 be­fore on-roads. The four-door As­tra is in deal­er­ships mid-month. Pric­ing hasn’t been an­nounced but Holden is ex­pected to match its ri­vals and charge sim­i­lar pric­ing for the sedan and hatch ver­sions, trans­lat­ing to a circa $21,490 start­ing price. Given the hatch is seen as the sportier vari­ant, the sedan may even be marginally cheaper. The Korean-built sedan will sell in three trim lev­els. Top-spec cars will have for­ward col­li­sion warn­ing and blind-spot alert, though none will have au­ton­o­mous emer­gency brak­ing. Its 1.4-litre turbo en­gine will be paired with a sixspeed man­ual or an op­tional six-speed auto in the base LS; higher-spec mod­els will ex­clu­sively use the auto. De­fault gear in­cludes re­vers­ing cam­era, park­ing sen­sors, six airbags and An­droid/Ap­ple phone mir­ror­ing. Holden has tweaked the steer­ing, sus­pen­sion and sta­bil­ity con­trol soft­ware to han­dle lo­cal roads and early re­ports in­di­cate the As­tra will com­fort­ably han­dle most con­di­tions.

Subaru XV, main; Lexus LC 500, be­low left; Holden As­tra

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