Our last in a series of articles about the “Australia’s Best Car 2016” awards. This week we look at the award-winning 4×4 vehicle in its class.
Best Sports Car in Australia under $50K
The line-up of vehicles consisted of affordable hatches, coupe, and sedans and the overall winner in the best car in Australia for under $50,000 price bracket was the Ford Focus ST.
The competition in this field was quite fierce and the Ford Focus grabbed third place in the ABC awards in 2013. A hatch with power plant muscle at 184kW & 360Nm put through its front-wheel-drive axle.
Ford has stepped up the vehicle, improving the front suspension, driver input signals, and steering. Furthermore, the interior improvements are more insightful and user-friendly with the touchscreen satellite navigation while the active xenon front headlights compliment the exterior of this car.
Features of the Ford Focus model we reviewed include:
• The SYNC 2 system – See video here of the Sync 3 system.
• The MyKey system offers restrictions you can programme, ideal when sharing your vehicle with younger drivers,
• The ST is designed with fuel consumption in mind as it has a low weight ratio.
• As you slide into this sporty car, it has sporty first-class seats for comfort and support.
The vehicle has a very sporty interior and exterior as well as six speed manual transmission and 2.0L engine.
The five-door manual Ford Focus ST has priced at $43,037 Driveaway and competing vehicles in this class include the Renault Megane RS265 3 door manual model priced at $48,000 and Ford Fiesta ST 3 door, manual at $29,463 (driveaway).
Best Sports Car in Australia from $50K – $100K
The Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG is the overall winner in this class for all the right reasons – it has impressive performance statistics with sporty features. The Mercedes A45 AMG has a 2.0-litre engine producing a maximum 280kW of power with a little extra 25Nm of torque bringing it up to 475Nm.
The vehicle’s powerful engine is claimed to do 0–100km/h time of just 4.2 seconds and stands out when matched with its larger cousins
. What is the secret – the secret is in how the powers transferred to the pavement with the 7-speed dual clutch transmission and 4MATIC all-wheel-drive. It has a kerb weight of 1480kg and the best in its class.
With a touch of a button, you control the transmission, suspension, engine, air-conditioning and steering. There is sport or individual modes gears. The cars designed with wheel-mounted paddle shifters for rapid-fire gear changes keeping the torque.
Take the Mercedes out on the open road and once returning to the city use the comfort setting for a softer mode of driving. It has a sporty interior treated with carbon-fibre finishes for the right ambience.
Notable vehicle features include:
• The large colour display screen,
• Roof-mounted rear spoiler with larger front splitter,
• It has a powerful 12-speaker sound system,
• Electric front seats with memory,
• A full LED lighting with HDD navigation
The Mercedes is priced at $84,841 driveway at the time of writing. Similar style vehicles worth comparing to the merc include – BMW M235i, which is a two door automatic priced at $85,187 and Holden Insignia VXR being a four door automatic priced at $56, 634 – prices listed at driveaway.
Best 4 x 4 Dual CAB Utes in Australia for under $100K
A bit of an oddball category to be including in this article after talking about sports vehicles is the 4 x 4 in the sports range. The vehicle we want to mention is the Toyota Hilux SR5, which won the Australia’s Best Car’s award for “Best 4×4 Dual Cab Ute” category.
Toyota’s Hilux has been around for more than a decade and has improved significantly with the current model having 2.8L 4cyl turbo diesel engine and much-improved performance and fuel consumption.
The vehicle delivers 450Nm of torque and has an upgraded 6spd unit with a fuel consumption to 8.5L/100km. The Hilux drives smooth and quiet when seated in the cabin. The interior is modern and finished with quality material. Dominating the centre console is a touchscreen multimedia system with sat-nav, iPod and Bluetooth connectivity.
The Toyota Hilux SR5 includes climate control and smart key with a tilt-and-reach-adjustable steering allowing you to drive comfortably. The suspensions beefed-up offering you the best off-road driving; it has more wheel articulation, larger disc brakes, bigger dampers, and excellent body protection.
The only lack is a strong pull when compared to the Ranger/BT-50 but offers you a five-star ANCAP safety rating with electronic stability control, seven airbags, and a driver knee airbag. The driveaway price of the vehicle at the time of writing was $60,641. Other 4×4’s worth comparing to the Hilux is the Ford Ranger XLT 3.2 which is a four door automatic at $61, 515 and the Mazda BT-50 XTR, which is also a four door automatic priced at $56,321 – both at driveaway prices.