category_outlined / Cars & Motorcycles

Wheels February 2018

Wheels is Australia’s original motoring magazine. Launched in 1953, we’ve been trusted by generations of Australians to provide entertaining and forthright opinions on the good, the bad and the ugly of new and used cars. A world-class car mag with a formidable international reputation, Wheels covers the full gamut of cars – from sports cars to four-wheel-drives, economy to family cars – but it also covers the people, personalities and the power plays behind one of the world’s most dynamic industries.

Bauer Media Pty Ltd
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6 Issues


access_time3 min.
editor’s letter

I left Detroit with the nagging thought that the show may be slipping towards irrelevance Without understanding why, just seeing the stands, the glittering show cars and the thronging masses of people seemed to satisfy some deep primal desire. The crowd was no matter; after all, these were people like us. And how quickly a queue moves when the promise of sitting in and actually touching a Ferrari, Porsche or the latest Australian concept lies at the other end. Magical, truly. And that’s just the miserly Australian motorshow, which no longer exists of course. Venture overseas to attend one of the marquee shows like Geneva, Tokyo or Paris and you’ll happen upon an entirely new level of scale and extravagance. Frankfurt, for example, covers such a vast collection of halls that a…

access_time6 min.
desert stormer

IF YOUR idea of off-roading is bumping along at 5km/h with a spotter walking in front, Ford’s Ranger Raptor is likely to come as a bit of a culture shock. “We’ve designed this vehicle to go up to 170km/h or thereabouts off road,” says Damien Ross, the Chief Program Engineer for the Raptor. Taking that as a key design parameter for the Raptor, everything has been worked back from there: engine, suspension, brakes, and body have all had the essence of Dakar truck-style capability worked into them. The arrival of the Ranger Raptor couldn’t have been better timed. Although there has been rumblings about tightening domestic tax loopholes that have undoubtedly boosted sales of dual-cab utes, manufacturers have realised that there’s headroom in this market for premium products. While most of…

access_time7 min.
the china syndrome

CHINA looms over the global automotive industry like the Death Star over some tiny moon sucked, like so many others, into a slavish orbit by the pull of its wealth. Media coverage of the car industry might focus on electric and autonomous vehicles – EVs and AVs – but China remains the real story. China is the world’s largest consumer of cars by a huge and growing margin. And like the Death Star and Darth Vader, one person is in charge. The world’s biggest car market is not a free market but a command economy. President Xi Jinping (or one of his minions) can and occasionally does dent the huge growth and profits the Western carmakers have seen in China with the stroke of a pen and the imposition of a…

access_time4 min.
2018 detroit stars

Ford fires double-barrelled Bullitt Ford’s Mustang Bullitt limited edition came as no great surprise when it was revealed in Detroit. The Blue Oval has offered the nostalgic special version of the Mustang in two previous generations and a couple of recent spy shots appeared to suggest it was chambering a third McQueen tribute. What we didn’t see coming was one of the two original Mustangs that McQueen drove in the 1968 Bullitt feature film rolling out alongside it. The original stunt vehicle resurfaced in 2017 but the hero car displayed has been squirrelled away by a private owner since 2014. Hyundai reaches terminal Veloster Hyundai continues the rollout of its high-performance N-brand with the second-gen Veloster given the Namyang treatment. Sharing the i30 N’s 2.0-litre turbo four-pot and 202kW/353Nm, the lightweight Veloster N…

access_time2 min.

What is it? An evolution of the traditional vehicle braking system that has remained fundamentally unchanged for decades. Multiple system components are consolidated into a single unit for weight saving and faster brake response times. Alfa Romeo is the first manufacturer to adopt the system, dubbed Integrated Brake System (IBS), in its Giulia mid-sized sedan. Bosch is also developing a similar system it calls iBooster. How does it work? A traditional system requires a master cylinder, vacuum servo and pump for boosting brake force, and an ESC controller, but the Continental solution replaces the vacuum booster’s role with an integrated hydraulic pump and reduces system complexity to just one component. Like a traditional master cylinder system, the brake pedal is still directly connected to the MK C1 unit for fail-safe redundancy. Instead of the…

access_time2 min.
market place

HIGHLIGHTS Australia closed the books on 2017 with another record year of vehicle sales: 1,189,116 of them. Helping Holden’s surprise rise to No.2 on the charts in December was the Equinox SUV, its 679 sales enough to give the Captiva 5 replacement eighth place in the mid-size SUV segment on debut. Mitsubishi carved up the price of its Pajero Sport in December, dragging the Ford Everest (417 sales) and Holden Trailblazer (382) rival into the top 20. LOWLIGHTS Passenger-car sales were down almost 1.3 percent in 2017 compared with 2016, meaning it was mainly the heat in light-commercial vehicles – think Toyota Hilux and Ford Ranger – that earned us our record result. The now fully imported Toyota Camry’s sales were cut in half in December compared with the previous month.…