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Car magazine's "Performance Car of the Year" test took place over more than 4000km in Europe earlier this year, with competitors from eight different brands. The Ferrari 458 Italia was revealed at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2009 and has since had journalists flailing for superlatives. Victoria Police have taken delivery of the fastest and most expensive police car to earn its stripes. With a line-up of almost biblical proportions, the BT-50 has something for everyone and should continue to maintain its place in the upper echelons of Mazda's product range.How does the BT-50 stack up against the Hilux, Navara and Ranger?
The report comes as Holden contemplates building V6 Commodores in China after delivering a car industry bombshell on Wednesday by confirming Australian manufacturing would end in 2017 following a directive from GM Holden's American headquarters and a failed gamble with the Federal Government.
News Corp Australia can reveal the death sentence to the Australian-made legend has resulted in V8 Supercars secretly plotting a name change and category shake-up with the "V8'' Holden facing extinction. The sport will move away from the long-serving V8 power plant amid the biggest shake-up in Australian car manufacturing history and avoid becoming another NASCAR, which use uniform bodyshells that are nothing like a road car.
GM Holden is understood to be considering several options, including building a new platform Commodore in China, but The Daily Telegraph understands there will not be a V8 Holden on the showroom floor for the first time since the Kingswood was born in 1968. The Australian icon may also decide to follow Ford in an American muscle showdown and axe the Commodore for a Camaro to war with the Mustang, which will be a Falcon substitute for rev heads.
News Corp Australia last week revealed international racing giant Roger Penske had sent his first lieutenant to Australia with global Ford heavyweight Jamie Allison in a move that could see the Mustang and V8 Supercars spearhead a Ford led industry shake-up.
While Holden refused to reveal their master plan after a failed bid to snare public cash, News Corp Australia can confirm Holden have indicated they will remain in V8 Supercars beyond 2017 sport likely to become the brand's most important marketing platform. Whether it is a foreign made V6 Commodore, a mid-sized substitute, or an American legend, the company will need the help of V8 Supercars to sell the non-Australian substitute to their legion of Aussie fans. V8 boss James Warburton, the former TV boss, was confident Holden would continue its famous Australian motor racing legacy, even though it will be a new look war against bitter enemy Ford. With Nissan already entering the V8 Supercar series with a V6 road car, the sports move away from the V8 engine would allow further manufacturer to join the series and see a major shake-up in the sports rule. The offshore shift will leave up to 3000 Holden workers without a job by 2017 with the announcing causing uproar when Victorian Premier Denis Napthine made the announcement in State Parliament. Acting Prime Minister Warren Truss said Holden boss Mr Deveraux told him around 1.50pm the decision had been "made in Detroit" that the company would be "closing a significant part of their operation" in Australia and New Zealand by the end of 2017. Devereux has been appointed to a role in China, where many are predicting he will be part of an all new Chinese built V6 Commodore. Small cars no longer equate to poverty as they once did, today's little models are safe, perform well, and come packed with features. VW launched its fifth-generation Polo in 2010 and it again raised the bar for the hard-fought class. With its increased size came more cabin space, such that it was beginning to rival the Golf of earlier times.
The Polo follows the VW line with styling that is understated but pleasing, its lines are smooth and flowing and its proportions are well balanced. Given that it's a small car the Polo's cabin is nevertheless quite roomy with sufficient head and leg room for front passengers, and ample room for a couple in the rear.
The transmission choices are between manual gearboxes, five or six-speed depending on the model, and a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. VW's reputation has taken a hit in the last year or two with a number of problems that have affected its reliability and safety, added to which the company itself has appeared unwilling to address the issues that owners raise with their cars. Only the outcry of owners in the last few months has forced the company to get involved, and they have recalled cars for checking.
Check the service history to make sure your chosen car has been properly maintained, and check the owner's manual to see that it has been inspected under the recall. Hyundai i20 - 2010-2011 Good value-for-money, solid performance, top safety and it's reliable, check it out.
Toyota Yaris - 2010-2011 Well-built and generally reliable, but it trails on value-for-money.
Mick Fabar has gone Zero’d to hero with both green and muscle car fans with his latest custom project.
The Zero’d Falcon is rightfully one of the stars of the 2012 Australian International Motor Show and showcases how the custom crowd can still build a performance car that isn’t seen as a mobile platform of conspicuous consumption. Fabar turned to biotechnology for the engine powering his latest creation and is running a biodiesel V8 that fulfils the muscle-car credos while still being a green machine.
Even the tyres were sourced from rubber that doesn’t use distillate aromatic extract oils, while the paint base was also made from low-emission material. An Allison four-speed auto transmission powers Zero’d and the combination means the hi-performance V8 generates around 70 per cent less emissions than an equivalent petrol-powered car.
Planning for the Zero’d required almost a year of research but the build itself took only seven months and Bond University in Queensland documented every step of the process to verify the production team had a zero carbon footprint.
Malibu has a five star safety rating with all that brings and is a five seater sedan with a large boot and optional spare. It has a sporty ride with the edge going to the petrol model which has electric power steering, while the diesel has hydraulic steering. We like the look of Malibu and suggest it's almost on par with the new Commodore with which it can be (fleetingly) mistaken.
The petrol engine is economical and sings sweetly, revving out willingly and smoothly thanks in part to the locally calibrated six-speed auto.
You could shop Malibu against Commodore though that is sacrilege if you think all cars should be made here. Here's a radical thought: if Holden was to build the Malibu in Australia, put Commodore badges on it and add a bit more pep to the engines it might sell up a storm.
Australian car buyers have made it clear they no longer want large family cars, now preferring medium SUVs or small cars. Named after the famous California beachside suburb on the west coast of the USA, the Holden Malibu comes in two trim levels, CD and CDX. Malibu CDX moves up to 18-inch wheels, front foglamps, chrome highlights on the body, and LED rear lights. Coming out of the Chevrolet design centre in the United States, the Malibu had extensive input from downunder, with Australian Mike Simcoe, GM's Executive Director Design, overseeing the operation.
Holden Malibu exterior design manager, Justin Thompson, led work on the new VF Commodore and says the Malibu shares design highlights with the Holden Commodore.
The interior styling of the Malibu was the work of a team led by Yan Huang from Holden, while she was working in the United States.



All of which means that Australia is alive and healthy in the GM engineering and styling world, something that bodes well for the future of the automotive industry here.
We reviewed both engine options during our two-week road test period with the new Holden Malibu. We found that the turbo-diesel took some time to get into its stride off the mark, exhibiting more lag than is the norm these days. Importantly, the Holden Malibu rides and handles like an Australian car thanks to engineering input from Holden vehicle dynamics engineers based at the Lang Lang proving ground south west of Melbourne.
Road and engine noise were kept at bay from the passenger cabin in both cases, occupants held in well sculpted, comfortable, leather clad seats. Soft interior surfaces give the feeling of prestige, there's plenty of storage for personal items and cup holders, the largest to take a one-litre container.
The boot is huge, a real plus in a front-drive car compared to one with a differential under the floor. It has double electric slide-outs which increase the interior space and Jayco has a new range of interior layouts in high-roof models. The Optimum is now the brand's most innovative motorhome, with such luxuries as a push-button bed extender, two-tone leather furniture, optional washing machine and windows with built-in blinds. The motorhome is based on a Fiat Ducato X250 at $159,500 plus on-road costs, or an Iveco Daily 65C at $172,750 which can tow three tonne compared with the Fiat's 1200kg capacity. The Iveco also has greater carrying and seating capacities. Standard features include a barbecue, 120w solar panels, picnic table, outdoor entertainment system, extendable aluminium bed frame and satellite TV. Apart from extra luxury, Jayco has also upgraded safety on the new Optimum with a new rear-view mirror-mounted reversing screen and two rear cameras to help negotiate tight campsites. The motorhome has double electric slide-outs which increase the interior space and Jayco has a new range of interior layouts in high-roof models. The exterior of the Fiat gets a new fibreglass nose cone and both models have updated side skirts, tail light assembly and new trunk doors. That's the position of Mitsubishi Fuso, which has taken the bold step of introducing a new generation Canter with an engine 1.9-litres smaller than the one it replaces as well as an industry first dual-clutch automated transmission.
Working Wheels can confirm, after an on-road test, that it certainly has ample performance. We had a steer of the newly-introduced narrow cab model, which is 200mm narrower than the regular cab and serves as the basic entry level model.
It had a hefty steel tray on the back, but it was empty so we still don't know how the rig will perform running the 1500kg-odd payload on the back (taking into account the heft of the tray) that allows it to be driven on a car licence. The new engine is an advanced unit with a variable geometry turbo and piezo injection which allows for extremely accurate combustion (it injects four bursts of fuel for every bang) allowing it to generate 110kW and 370Nm of torque.
It copes well with several steep hills on the drive route that takes in some suburban driving and a trip to Lorne along Victoria's surf coast. Dual clutch automatics, found in more and more cars including the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo, can get a bit confused in city conditions, but the Canter's works so well I don't even think to flick it into manual mode. The gearbox also has a special creeper mode that means it can ease forward or backward at low speed like a traditional automatic, which is handy when backing up to loading bays and such.
Mitsubishi Fuso can't say how much because it varies depending on the body fitted to the truck and its usage. Our test truck did bounce around a bit, not surprisingly given it was empty, although the bumps are likely to have made more of an impression given it has a fixed driver's seat.
Mitsubishi Fuso has moved to a rack and pinion system for the steering (like a car) and the Canter steers and handles extremely well. The cabin layout is clean and practical, the plastic quality is high and there are lots of thoughtful hidey holes for all your gear and also for paperwork.
These are minor niggles though and, on the whole, the new Canter is an extremely impressive truck. You don’t have to join the army to drive an army truck, with Unimogs, Landies and Macks up for grabs.
The Australian Defence Force is overhauling its fleet and selling its old stock, including iconic Unimogs, unique Land Rovers and classic Mack rigs.
Anyone can buy the ex-military machines, which still wear camouflage paint, at a series of auctions. Batches of military vehicles will be available for the next few years as the ADF changes over its stock, and the next round of auctions will be held in several states this month. The vehicles are handled by Australian Frontline Machinery, which offers them for sale through Grays Online. Some of the machines have seen active duty in war theatres around the world, while others have done their duty on Australian soil. These 4x4 trucks are capable of climbing extreme gradients, with super high ground clearance thanks to special gear design that allows for axles to sit higher than the wheel centres. They are the most widely used military vehicle on the planet, with Turkey, Paksitan, Mexico, South Africa, Brazil, Great Britain and Indonesia all using Unimogs for defence.
These Unimogs were produced between 1985 and 1989 and the interior has a retro look, but some of the mechanicals are much the same as today’s model. Civilian Unimogs are still very, very rare in Australia, so the release of ADF models is an exciting prospect for aspiring owners. The Unimogs aren’t the only trucks available, with Mack bonneted prime movers also available. The Japanese are also represented with Mitsubishi Fuso and Hino 4x4 models also on the list. The ADF is currently replacing its Land Rover models with Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen models, so there are plenty of the old British off-road machines for sale. Inspections are being held at each location the vehicles are being held, including June 21-24 in Perth, June 21 and 22 in Brisbane, June 22-25 in Minto and June 24 in Townsville.
The 458's Car gong follows a chestful of COTY medals including those of Fifth Gear, BBC Top Gear Magazine and Auto Express. From a marketing and sales perspective there is no greater platform than V8 Supercars and the audiences we bring to any manufacturer, regardless of where the cars are built. It was longer, wider and higher than its predecessor, and with a longer wheelbase and wider track boasted a larger footprint.
There were two hatch body styles, a three-door and one with five, and two levels of equipment, the Trendline and the Comfortline, petrol and diesel engines, and manual and auto transmissions.
Inside it was nicely laid out, the fit and finish was of a high standard and the seats were comfortable and supportive. Beyond the cabin is a decent boot for a small car, and a split-fold rear seat enhances its load-carrying flexibility.
On the road the Polo's ride is smooth and comfortable, its handling is assured and responsive.


Owners regularly report rattles and squeaks on cars that are relatively new, but the big issue has centred on the dual-clutch auto.
Take the time to test-drive any car you're considering buying, have it checked by an expert experienced in the problems of the DSG transmission, and do your homework on the make and model.
It's also important to know that to get the best out of the Polo petrol engines it's necessary to use the more expensive 95-octane fuel of even higher grade 98. A focus on the future – and what his son will be building and driving when he is 16 – led Fabar to craft a 1967 Ford XR Falcon with a zero carbon footprint. Every panel, nut and bolt was recycled as the NSW hot-rod builder maximised performance while minimising his environmental impact. Custom car builders are known for going to extremes – for Fabar this meant sourcing eco-friendly gas for the traditional oxy-acetalene gear and having the workshop powered by wind and solar power. The rubbers and glass are among the few new items on the car, along with a radiator and intercooler that had to be custom-built. The diesel is not as smooth but has more torque and uses less fuel though it costs more in both grades. It's as good as anything in this class and is pitched at an affordable price with generous kit, attractive styling and pleasing engine performance.
The Holden Malibu, which is sold as a family car by Chevrolet in the USA, is a size down on the Commodore and may have turned out to be exactly what Aussies are looking for in the second decade of the 21st century. The entry level Malibu CD has 17-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, automatic headlamps, powered height-adjustable seats, an electric park brake and a seven-inch colour touch screen to access Holden's MyLink app-based infotainment system for music and satellite navigation use. Interestingly, the new Chevrolet Camaro is also a product that benefited a lot from the Holden design team. It has a strong suite of other items, including stability control, brake assist and six airbags. Sensor key and push button start give it a thoroughly modern feel the moment you approach it. This can be frustrating to driver who have come to love the response of Holden engines over the years.
Instruments and gauges were well positioned and the touch screen image was as clear as a bell. Rear seat legroom proved marginal if there were taller occupants up front, unless they were prepared to give up a notch to three in their own legroom. These are important factors in a family car and the designers should be complimented for their attention to detail.
Score one for the Malibu in the comparo with the Commodore - that is, if you're not the sort of driver who loves the added control provided by a rear-wheel-drive car. There are also new graphics and automotive-quality paintwork. Jayco's offers a 12-month warranty and roadside assist program free for three years. The biggest concern is whether opting for a smaller engine has transformed the truck into a gutless wonder. It passed several tests including making the correct changes on some hills that had completely befuddled the Eco Canter's automated transmission (which is a different unit). That and the new engine, which is also considerably lighter than before, make for some good fuel economy. All Canters have a fuel consumption calculator which is great for checking how economically you are driving.
Its independent front suspension system has been overhauled and now uses coil-over springs instead of a transverse beam.
The better specified regular cab models all have more comfortable suspension seats as standard. The only other niggle being the high-pitched screech it makes when you leave the key in the ignition and hop out of the cab for something (thanks to the immobilizer).
The vehicles can be inspected at various sites including the AFM warehouse at Minto, south of Sydney.
One of the most sought-after ex-army vehicles is the Unimog, a truck made by Mercedes-Benz that can go almost anywhere.
Unimogs were first developed after World War II as a replacement for tractors, so an emphasis was placed on traction in slippery conditions. The ADF has decided to phase out the Unimogs and will not directly replace them, although MAN has won the contract to supply new heavy trucks to the force.
The prices of the Unimogs depends on who else is bidding on the trucks, but most have sold for a bit more than $40,000. The Canter 4x4s, which are popular bases for go-anywhere motorhome projects, are fitted with either an ambulance body or a cargo body. In comparison, the 2.4-litre petrol unit positively sprinted from standstill and was much more flexible in its feel. Perhaps the idea of fitting Commodore badges on the Malibu would be scuppered for this reason alone.
Only time will tell, but in the early days Malibu is generating a reasonable amount of showroom traffic and certainly deserves to succeed.
Like all of these, it may require a manual burn from time to time when it can't manage one on the run, although we didn't need to do so on our test. While they are not the most luxurious models out there, the Land Rovers are tough, simple and easy to repair, while parts are cheap and plentiful. The Land Rovers, available with soft and hard tops, usually end up costing somewhere between $12,000 and $15,000 representing a bargain for those prepared to live with the unique paint job. The greater-than-normal number of cylinders means shorter but consistent combustion intervals and thus limited vibration and noise.The six-speed automatic transmission of the test vehicle incorporates Sequential Shift Control, which offers Normal and Performance modes plus a Manual mode that allows sequential manual shifting. In Manual mode, the driver can select gears as with a manual transmission.An electronically controlled, shift-on-the-fly transfer case enables the driver to shift between 2WD and 4WD at will via a switch close at hand on the centre console. Saving grace are sharp, bright coloured guidelines, which come to the rescue in reversing into tight spots.



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