category_outlined / Cars & Motorcycles

Wheels Summer 2016

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.

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6 Issues


access_time4 min.
editor’s letter

Any Holden exec reading the comments would be wondering if they’d made a terrible mistake The uproar was so in favour of retiring the nameplate with the death of local manufacturing, just as Ford did with the Falcon, that I pity any Holden exec who read the comments. After a brief lie down, they’d be wondering if they’d made a terrible, terrible mistake. And they should. Keeping the Commodore name is a risk. A big one. Never in its 38-year history has Holden’s icon faced such a seismic shift in philosophy. No V8. No manual. No rear-wheel drive. And forget fitting three burly blokes across the back for a trip across the Nullarbor. When the new German Commodore hits Aussie roads in February 2018, it’ll be smaller, narrower and less spacious in the…

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electric charge

JAGUAR, a brand once seen as old-fashioned, is set to take on electrifying upstart Tesla with the launch of its stunning I-Pace EV. Chief designer Ian Callum claims he wasn’t even considering Tesla’s Model X when he began work on the top-secret, epoch-shifting I-Pace, which he admits marks the beginning of the end of the famous Jaguar V8 roar. “When we were designing it, we had no idea what the Model X looked like,” Callum said. “I try not to get influenced by anything. I would suggest Tesla is probably more influenced by Jaguar.” Callum says the I-Pace – a stunning piece of design inside and out that was launched in Los Angeles as a concept but is basically production ready and will go on sale in 2018 – is just the first…

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AMG super-saloon Mercedes-AMG is rumoured to be developing a four-door version of its GT for a 2017 reveal as part of the company’s 50th anniversary celebrations. Expected to be called the GT 4, AMG’s fast four-door will be powered by the same twin-turbo V8 from the current line-up of two-door GTs, with power bumped to almost 450kW. The GT 4 is expected to reach showrooms by 2019, when it will accompany the already announced R50 hypercar, which will feature Mercedes’ F1 V6 hybrid powertrain. Grange farewelled HSV has rolled out its last Grange – the first Commodore-based model to sign off ahead of next year’s Holden factory closure. The November 4 announcement was made with a single photo posted on social media depicting the last Grange, number 2465, with the team that put…

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holden crosses over

COMMONALITY The planned Holden seven-seater will share mechanical components with the AWD version of the next Commodore LOW-RIDER Opel uses the CUV moniker because its vehicles are designed to be more like a car to drive A SEVEN-seat Opel SUV developed on the same E2XX architecture that will underpin the next-generation Holden Commodore looks very likely to head our way by 2020. The new model – one of three yet-to-be-revealed crossovers in Opel’s pipeline – will help flesh out a planned 24 new models from Holden by 2020. The SUV is shaping up to be very different to the high-riding, all-wheel-drive wagon version of the Opel Insignia dubbed the Country Tourer, which will become part of the first imported Commodore line-up in 2018. It’s one of at least three ‘crossover utility vehicles’ (as Opel dubs them) under…

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barely holden on

DESPITE the promise of fresh SUV metal, Holden’s a already record low market share could be eroded further once it stops local manufacturing in late 2017. Holden’s current sales mix comprises 46 percent Australian-made, and its success in staving off a sales hit once the locally produced Commodore and Cruze disappear will hinge on an influx of new models – Holden promises 24 new arrivals or replacements by 2020. However, convincing buyers the imported alternative is better is a big call, and one unprecedented in the Australian automotive industry. When Mitsubishi (in 2008) and Nissan (in 1992) stopped manufacturing, their locally built cars were either low-volume or based on easily replaced global models. And their brand image didn’t rely on being Aussie-made. Holden chairman Mark Bernhard (left) acknowledges there are enormous challenges but…

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high-rider assault

ALFA Romeo and Mazda have both revealed fresh new metal in the battle for mid-size SUV supremacy, as SUVs look poised to overtake passenger cars as Australia’s highest-selling segment. Sales of high-riding SUVs have boomed over the past decade, the segment having increased 139 percent since 2006. The biggest growth comes from mid-size SUVs, up 18.2 percent this year alone, and that’s where the new Alfa Romeo Stelvio and second-gen Mazda CX-5 will play when they land in Australia in 2017. The two models spearhead a wave of new mid-size SUVs set to hit our shores (see breakout). While the CX-5 is aimed firmly at stealing customers away from more ‘traditional’ passenger cars to SUVs, Alfa Romeo’s all-new Stelvio SUV, is pointed directly at higher-end buyers. “SUVs are very popular with Australian consumers, and…