Motoring Minute weekly news for Saturday 11 December 2021 bringing you the latest that is new or interesting in the Australian Automotive landscape.
Toyota Opens State-Of-The-Art Product Centre at Altona Centre of Excellence
First up this week is the good news that Toyota Australia is continuing to invest in Australian innovation and expertise, opening a state-of-the-art Product Centre at its Centre of Excellence (CoE) facility in Altona, Victoria.
The new Product Centre brings together all of Toyota’s local planning, design, engineering and evaluation teams in the same facility, ensuring the world-class Australian teams will continue to design and develop unique products for the Australian and global markets.
These teams were behind such models as the HiLux Rugged X and HiLux Rogue and creating accessories that are adopted in markets around the world. The new facility at the sprawling 22-hectare CoE will allow for an unmatched level of collaboration across departments.
The Product Centre is housed inside the former powertrain manufacturing building that produced over 2.5 million locally built engines from 1978 to 2017, ensuring that Toyota’s positive impact on the local economy will continue.
Toyota has invested about $40 million for the construction of the Product Centre, forming part of the $150m overall investment in the CoE.
The CoE includes a Dealership Dojo that provides training and upskilling for dealership staff, a Centre of Education that can be used by schools, government and community groups to learn about sustainability and environmental responsibility.
Audi RS Q e-tron for the Dakar Rally
Possibly the last place you would take a heavy electric car would be the Dakar Rally, yet Audi is set to send the RS Q e-tron. With a difference though.
A look inside the Audi RS Q e-tron should remind any car fan of an airplane cockpit: screens and displays are spread across the entire width of the instrument panel. Only with their help can the driver and co-driver cover thousands of kilometers in the desert quickly and successfully.
Originally, there was a clear division of tasks in cross-country rallying: the driver drives, the co-driver navigates. These roles have long since changed: The regulations limit navigational tasks to very precise options and rules. The former paper roadbook for the track is now digital. And the Audi RS Q e-tron redistributes various functions between drivers and co-drivers with its operating concept.
Steering, accelerating and braking are the main tasks for Mattias Ekström, Stéphane Peterhansel and Carlos Sainz, who fully concentrate on the terrain. They no longer have to change gears because the electric drive with energy converter in the Audi RS Q e-tron no longer requires a manual transmission.
Centrally visible in the cockpit is the double-cranked aluminum handbrake lever. It is coupled with the innovative brake-by-wire system that combines the hydraulic brake with a recuperation system. So pulling on the handbrake helps to recover energy, as does operating the footbrake. But the essential purpose of the handbrake in rally racing is to induce a slide of the RS Q e-tron before corners. The brief locking of the rear wheels forces the car into rotation. This makes direction changes particularly agile.
It will be interesting to see the results.
ŠKODA’s 2022 Kodiaq: specification and driveaway pricing
The updated version of ŠKODA’s award winning Kodiaq SUV reaches showrooms in the coming weeks followed by brand’s halo model – the Kodiaq RS – later in the first quarter.
Kodiaq’s in 2017 arrival heralded ŠKODA’s evolution as a mainstream auto brand in Australia. It immediately won praise, a number of awards and has been the brand’s best-selling model.
The Kodiaq comes in three grades, all with four wheel drive and highly responsive turbo petrol engines and generous standard specification: Kodiaq Style, Kodiaq Sportline and, of course, Kodiaq RS. Style and Sportline feature a familiar 132kW/320Nm unit. The most marked change in this respect is the RS.
The previous Kodiaq RS ran a 2.0 litre bi-turbo diesel. The renewed version runs a 180kW/370Nm 2.0 turbo petrol driven through a 7-speed DSG transmission and all four wheels, as per ŠKODA’s Octavia RS liftback and wagon.\
|KODIAQ Style 4×4||$52,990 driveaway|
|KODIAQ SportLine 4×4||$57,990 driveaway|
|KODIAQ RS 4×4||$74,990 driveaway|
All new ŠKODAs come with a five year/unlimited kilometre warranty and choice of three- or five-year service packs.
Volkswagen Caddy people mover gets a five star ANCAP rating
The seven seat Volkswagen Caddy people mover, introduced in Australia and New Zealand earlier this year, scored well across all areas of assessment, achieving good results in the lane support system (LSS) performance, and most autonomous emergency braking (AEB) car-to-car tests. This rating applies only to the Caddy people mover variants, with the Caddy Cargo van currently unrated.
The Volkswagen Caddy people mover is fitted with a comprehensive range of safety features and technologies, including a centre airbag designed to provide added protection to front seat occupants in side impact crashes, and AEB junction assist, where the vehicle can autonomously brake to avoid crashes when turning across the path of an oncoming vehicle.
“The purpose of People Movers is to transport a large number of passengers in a family or business setting, so it’s very pleasing to see the safety and design of vehicles in this segment improving,” said ANCAP Chief Executive Officer, Carla Hoorweg.
“Volkswagen has made notable safety improvements in the new generation Caddy people mover, compared to the previous model, and should be congratulated for achieving this 5 star ANCAP safety rating.”
What have we been driving this week?
First up we have the Subaru Forester with class leading safety and dynamics. The Forester is unchallenged with AWD capability and practicality in its segment.
Secondly we have the W580 Walkinshaw Amarok. Premier Utes have been the real growth section of the Ute market and the W580 brings the excellent on road ride of the Amarok combined with suspension tuning by Walkinshaw.
Lastly we have the Genesis GV80. A luxury seven seat AWD SUV that leaves little to be desired in internal appointments all packaged in a very stylish wagon like SUV body.
This is the Motoring Minute weekly News
Im Rob Fraser
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