NT News - Motoring - - NEWS - By NEIL McDON­ALD

ON­SUMERS are the big win­ners of lower im­port tar­iffs and 2010 model up­grades. As im­porters rush to slashed prices and pass on the 5 per cent im­port tar­iff drop oth­ers are putting more equip­ment into their cars.

Buy­ers can save as lit­tle as a few hun­dred dol­lars on a pop­u­lar hatch or as much as $5500 on some four-wheel-drives be­cause of the tar­iff drop.

Leather, elec­tronic sta­bil­ity con­trol and cur­tain airbags — pre­vi­ously op­tions on many cars — are now be­com­ing more wide­spread.

Suzuki is lead­ing the way with a new price bench­mark for its Alto and Swift.

The Alto now breaks the $12,000 price bar­rier with the GL man­ual now $11,790, a $700 re­duc­tion.

But for this month it is avail­able for $12,490 drive­away.

The GLX is $12,490, $2000 less than when it first went on sale last year.

It is avail­able for $12,990 drive­away and comes with anti-skid brakes, elec­tronic sta­bil­ity con­trol, six airbags and al­loys and driv­ing lights.

C‘‘Let’s see the Kore­ans match that,’’ Suzuki Aus­tralia gen­eral man­ager Tony Dev­ers said. The en­try Swift now starts at $16,290, $500 less than it was last year. A Swift au­to­matic is $17,990.

Join­ing Suzuki are Peu­geot and Chrysler while Subaru has opted for a drive­away price for its Im­preza R sedan.

Be­fore the re­cent lim­ited drive­away of­fer, the Im­preza R’s price var­ied be­tween $26,400 and $27,164 na­tion­ally. The new price is $24,990. Subaru Aus­tralia manag­ing di­rec­tor Nick Se­nior said the com­pany was ap­ply­ing the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment’s duty re­duc­tion in two ways.

‘‘Via in­creased equip­ment and spec­i­fi­ca­tion lev­els on our new­est mod­els, in­clud­ing Lib­erty and Out­back, and through tac­ti­cal drive­away pric­ing pro­grams, such as with Im­preza R,’’ he said.

Nis­san has boosted equip­ment on its X-Trail mod­els for a mod­est lift in prices.

Honda has al­ready passed on tar­iff cuts of be­tween $1500 and $3000 on its Ja­panese and UK im­ports.

But it has also now up­graded its Thai-built Civic range.

Cur­tain airbags are stan­dard on the VTi sedan while the VTi-L gets 10-spoke 16-inch al­loys.

The Civic 1.8 VTi now starts at $22,900, ris­ing to $34,490 for the Hy­brid.

Chrysler has clipped Dodge Jour­ney and Jeep Chero­kee Lim­ited prices.

The Jour­ney SXT is $36,990, a sav­ing of $1000 while the R/T mod­els are $3500 cheaper.

The Jeep Chero­kee is $37,990 for the 3.7-litre V6, a sav­ing of $2500 while the 2.8-litre tur­bod­iesel is $44,990, a sav­ing of $5500.

Peu­geot Au­to­mo­biles Aus­tralia cut prices by up to $2200 to co­in­cide with the ad­di­tion of elec­tronic sta­bil­ity con­trol as stan­dard on all its passenger ve­hi­cles.

Even the new 4007 four-wheel-drive has ben­e­fited.

It now starts from $44,990, a sav­ing of $1000 for the ST 2.2-litre HDi man­ual.

Peu­geot light com­mer­cials have also been re­duced be­tween $600 and $2600.

LEFT: Subaru has opted for a drive­away price for its Im­preza R sedan

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