Wheels April 2021

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

in this issue

3 min

THIS MONTH I found myself driving Australia’s best-selling new vehicle, the Toyota Hilux, and not to immediately throw shade on it, but I couldn’t help but wonder why it’s so popular. I’m probably better off talking about dual-cab utes in general, but last year it was the Hilux that topped the new vehicle sales charts in Australia with 45,176 units. In second position, Ford sold 40,973 Rangers. The Mitsubishi Triton slotted in seventh (18,136 sales), meaning three dual-cabs were among the top 10 favoured vehicles of the nation. Indeed, that has been the case every year since 2016. Now, people who own these vehicles love them, and I think that’s excellent. And if I may proffer further praise of the humble dual-cab, it does serve a good purpose. It’s a workhorse with…

3 min
hyundai’s retro ev

IT’S RARE WHEN a new model is unveiled with styling so loyal to the show-car concept that came before it, but Hyundai has managed just that with the Ioniq 5 electric car due for release here in the third quarter of 2021. The Ioniq 5 follows the 2019 debut of a ‘modern retro’ concept known as the 45 – a tribute to the Giorgetto Giugiaro-penned 1974 Pony Coupe Concept that loosely previewed the important but decidedly more pedestrian 1975 Pony hatch. The 45 concept was anything but dull, and Hyundai has bravely retained its essence and key design details in the production car. It brings the same boxy and angular lines that were common to most models in the Pony’s day, while adding bold character lines and details for futuristic flair. Importantly,…

1 min
the hottest ev yet?

PORSCHE’S DROP-DEAD GORGEOUS Taycan Cross Turismo is a 460kW all-wheel drive electric rally wagon headed to a dirt road near you soon. Stuttgart will offer Australia two all-wheel drive powertrain options of its all-electric, jacked-up wagon, a 360kW 4S and the aforementioned Turbo with 0-100km/h potential of 3.3sec (on bitumen, of course). Adjustable ride height with a Gravel mode will also make the features list when this plug-in bruiser hits our shores, Porsche stinging you $201,000 for the 4S and $271,200 for the Turbo. Porsche at least throws in the Performance Plus battery as standard, a $11,590 option on the four-door Taycan. Range is a claimed 388-452km for both. Available in Oz from the third quarter.…

2 min
aussie evs at snail’s pace

THE ELECTRIC VEHICLE COUNCIL (EVC) has lashed out at government inaction on EV incentives and infrastructure in Australia, with data showing we are way behind in adoption rates while other markets around the world go gangbusters. New sales figures collated by the EVC reveal there were 6900 battery electric vehicles sold in Australia in 2020 – up only 2.7 percent on 2019 – and accounted for just 0.7 percent of the total new-car market last year. As a percentage of all cars sold, Australian EV sales lag behind the rest of the world by a large margin. EV market share in Europe increased from 3.8 percent in 2019 to 10.2 percent in 2020, while in the United Kingdom they leapt from a 3.1 percent market share to 10.7 percent last year. In…

1 min
ford invests $12m in australian design studio

FORD HAS GIVEN its Melbourne design studio a $12 million makeover and intends to invest another $2.3 million in new studio technology before the end of this year. The redesign continues Ford’s ongoing investment in Australia, where more than 2500 of the company’s engineers, designers, technical and automotive specialists work on Ford vehicles destined for Australian and global markets. Ford remains Australia’s largest automotive employer and spends $500 million a year on R&D. The Broadmeadows facility will continue as the lead design studio for the Ranger pick-up and Everest SUV, but will also contribute to designs of global-market cars under design director Max Wolff. The latest works, the first since the 1970s, doubled the studio’s footprint to offer a brighter, well-lit facility.…

3 min
maybach builds a bentayga rival

“Its interior is less swish SUV; more luxo Learjet” MERCEDES-Maybach’s first SUV will come to Australia, topping Benz’s SUV family with a generous slather of luxury… but at a steep price. The Mercedes-Maybach GLS600 takes the already-opulent GLS and elevates its levels of luxury to the extent that its interior is less ‘swish SUV’ and more ‘luxo Learjet’ to take on the likes of the Bentley Bentayga and Aston Martin DBX. The recommended list price is $358,300, with the GLS600 expected to arrive in August this year. Of course, on-road costs and options will see that price head further north. The next most expensive variant in the GLS range, AMG’s 63 S, is more than $100K cheaper at $255,700, while being more powerful (450kW) in keeping with the AMG ethos. The GLS600 also…