Reviews (The New Cars)
So now I'm just left with the new ones to check out and see which ones are worth shortlisting.
@LilRedRhyder - 17’ Omega Archer GT
The Omega Archer GT was the only proper little hatchback on the list. The demo model came in a rather unflattering green colour and presented a fairly conventional design. The styling seemed a bit hit and miss with the front and tail looking like they were designed by different studios. There were plenty of lashing of chrome trim here and there. Unexpectedly it has a transverse 1.8L V6 naturally aspirated. Paired with a 7-speed dual clutch transmission. Insides it’s fully equipped with all the modern gear. Now to drive it’s really easy the well engineered suspension handles the ride well enough. It returns an excellent fuel economy of 6.3 litres per 100 km matching the Kunai. But the more I drove it the more the comparison with Kunai popped up. They were both as easy to drive and about as sporty too. While the entry from Cavallera wasn’t quite as safe being the older car it was a lot cheaper not only to purchase but servicing put it ahead. So sadly the Archer GT wasn’t quite the fit for me. I guess that’s why the four cylinders have mostly supplanted the V6 in the class.
@abg7 - 17’ AMP Oswego V Turbo
Now an entry from AMP, the Oswego V Turbo. This large blue coupe is a bit of strange beast. It's not really edgy enough to be a proper sports car but then it's a bit too impractical to be anything else. I mean it’s got nearly as much room as the others but it’s harder to use with the big doors. To drive it was less impressive than the rest so far but still above the Volken. But behind that rather conventional styling is a fairly sporty design. With 0-100 km/h in just over 5 seconds. But the inside is well built and laid out but no leather or anything fancy. It’s much the same as the exterior. Sure it has all the gadgets and is plenty safe. The inline turbo six provides a smooth balanced drive offering impressive fuel economy of just under 8 litres per 100 km while still providing 270 kW of power. But in the end the heart and soul of the car was missing. It felt like someone collected all the elements of the perfect sports car and threw them on this without once hint of passion or soul. It actually ended up feeling like an unholy mix of Monaro and XR6T Falcon. Something that’s a bit too bogan friendly for my liking. So I bid farewell to the Oswego V Turbo...after giving it a ceremonial burnout send off. Let’s just hope the dealers don’t find out about that one!
@titleguy1 - 17’ Kimura Auriga KRS Auto
Well I had fond memories of my last Kimura so I decided I’d pay the dealers a visit. While their sleek little coupe would be the natural successor to my Auburn. I don’t think it’d look right and the misses wouldn’t be happy with it either. So instead I gravitated to the Auriga midsize. They have plenty of options but the liftback is such a great mix. Sleek sedan looks with all utility of a hatchback. While Kimura have always had great styling. Some the older sedans and regular cars like many asian brands tended to look a bit bland. Well that’s no longer the case everything in the lineup looks so damn sporty it’s hard to tend which ones suppose to be the economy car anymore. The Auriga has a really upmarket and sporty design yet it’s practical enough to fly under the radio with the misses...I mean most cars look the same to her anyway but somehow they can tell if you get the ‘wrong’ one. Following the industry trends it’s a turbo four under the hood. Not that you’d know since it’s just lump of plastic covering over everything. God knows how many sensors and such is under the hood. Thankfully Kimura have a pretty good capped price servicing, warranty, and roadside assist. The engine is good for 217 kW and boosts the Auriga to 100 km/h in 6.8 seconds, while still returning around 7.93 litres per 100 km. Inside the sporty theme continues it’s all well put together and very plush and premium leather with sporty highlights. The let down is the infotainment system which is ok but not as fast or larger as many of the competition. Still it works pretty well and it’s good all the other goodies. The transmission is a eight speed auto with two overdrives and shift great even the manual mode provides some fun. It’s an impressive package so I’ll have to shortlist the Auriga.
@gridghost - 17’ Scarab Nova S
The ATCC winning Scandinavian brand brings a nordic version of a commodore meets german saloon. It’s almost a tad bland but yet distinctive enough to know it’s got that certain Scarab look and clean efficient lines. Instead of that boring sedan design it’s gone for the much nicer liftback setup. Insides it’s like an ikea kitchen of airy light wood panels and supple tan leathers to hug you in place. Under the hood it’s Euro sized 3.5 litre turbocharged V8 through an all wheel drive system. Which gives it a very reassuring stability and grip especially on this rainy day. Power is plentiful and imidate giving a relaxed cruising experience but then when you need or want it the power is always there. Overtaking or taking the old pacific highway it can handle it all with ease. It’s a very nice packages that even returns a acceptable level of fuel economy at just under ten litres per 100km. Overall it’s going to have to be shortlisted.
@JohnWaldock - 17’ JHW Ensoniq
The JW Ensoniq is another large coupe design similar to the AMP Oswego. This however comes in nice deep red and plenty of chrome trim. I’m not mad on the front light design but the rest looks nice enough. Inside it’s a great premium felt with leather all the extras. In fact that’s a trend with this car the feel is always reaching for the top shelf. Under the hood is a very new DOHC Turbocharged V6 producing 159 kW matched with a 7 speed double clutch unit. It’s a classic RWD layout. Amazingly JHW have chosen a supercar levels of engineering with Pushrod rear suspension matched with active springs and dampers. Which provide a cloudlike ride. It’s a cruiser not a racer with 0-100 km/h in 6.3 seconds which is perfectly fine all while returning a nice 7.34 litres per 100 km. But the two door layout and expensively expensive suspension. While it’s not as expensive in total costs as others it doesn’t offer the striking looks, standout performance or value that others have managed and thus by no fault of its own the Ensoniq falls from the list.
@Leonardo9613 - 17’ Bonham Chaucer 3.0 Elegance
Ah the first entry from Brits. Sure at one point it seemed like all hope was lost for the British automotive brand (not that we can talk here as all we’ve got is a few crazy niche brands left) But The British brands finally seemed to find their place in the premium/luxury field. The latest Bonham vehicles look great. While you can certainly see influence it’s from all the right places to it goes down well as wholly original piece. In typical old world style it mixes the latest in advanced suspension and other mumbo jumbo with the most classic of layouts. A rear wheel drive inline six such an elegant solution although over here it generally brings the less upmarket association to a Falcon taxi than 5 Series. Step inside the Chaucer and you’ll find that high quality British design alive and well. The leather trim provides a very premium feel matched with great infotainment system that is clear and crisp. All options and safety both active and passive are here. Bonham have done their homework. Under the hood is the aforementioned inline six enjoyably naturally aspirated here. Putting out a claimed 181 kW this is matched up with a very modern eight speed automatic gearbox. It’s good for 0-100 km/h in 7.0 seconds dead. While returning around 8.34 litres per 100 km. The gears are well spaced with two overdrives and it’s very sleek gearbox with simulated manual shift mode providing a somewhat enjoyable imitation of the real thing when you turn off onto a back road. The suspension helps when you get there with a very clever adaptive dampers and clearly locally tuned setup providing the right balance. Overall I’ll be shortlisting the Bonham.
@DeusExMackia - 17’ Erin Merna 180Vox Touring
The next entry is another British brand, but not just any but the very same makers of my old car! I couldn’t pass up a chance to see what the latest Erin Merna was like and see how much had changed since the 80s. Well the new model is a revolution in styling, while the old one was of its time the years were not kind and it felt distinctively 1980s with that sharp edged boxy shape...inside and out. All that has been replaced with a sleek and clean design of the modern Erin design language. Inside it’s clear Erin have kept that classic interior design language too. It’s very well appointed and extremely well put together with leather seats, woodgrain trim, plenty of safety although the infotainment system isn’t quite as sleek as other units. Under the hood it’s Erin’s turbo four pumping out 142 kW matched up with a six speed manual box. It’s good for 0-100 km/h in just under eight seconds. While returning 7.13 litres per 100 km. The gearbox has great shift and gears are nicely spaced allowing you to really use all the power of the engine. But dive into the corners and you’ll find the fairly standard suspension is well setup and really give you confidence. Beside the odd camber it’s all good. Overall I’ll have to shortlist the Merna.
@koolkei - 17’ Komodo Odoru L
The next entry is a solid performer great value and fuel economy. Cheapest overall so far and still compare well to the Kimura although clearly lacking the finer details and pretending to be a liftback while actually a sedan. Not sure what the weird stacked asymmetrical exhaust is about but so many of these Japanese brands these days are just desperate to lose their ‘bland’ image they’ll do anything to be seen as ‘edgy’ or ‘quirky’. Inside it’s very high class for the budget it’s impressive to keep such a premium leather trimmed interior. Great safety both active and passive too and they didn’t even cut corners on the infotainment either. Under the hood it’s the modern set up a great turbo four banger making 155 kW paired to a 6 speed auto. Interestingly the Odoru L uses a fully aluminum body panels to save weight helping it achieve a 0-100 km/h run in just 7.7 seconds along with an impressive 6.56 litres per 100km. While it’s not as sporty as plenty of others the gearbox and suspension have been nicely tuned to make the most of the car. Overall it makes a very strong impression and I’ll have to shortlist it.
@TR8R - 17’ First Order Automotive Cruzer GT Lux
The next entry is a luxury sedan! Yes the First Order Automotive Cruzer GT Lux sent me a deep teal coloured compact sedan. I’m not sure I like the long tail shape but the front offers a very imposing luxury image for such a small sedan. Now the Cruzer is an example of taking everything to the next level. Inside it blows the rest away with a amazingly refined and plush luxury leather, real wood grain, electric everything, more speakers and infotainment than I could poke a stick at and even cool digital gauges and HUD! Oddly though safety is only up to an average standard so clearly First Order had to cut the budget somewhere. Under the hood is much to my astonishment a fully magnesium block for an inline six producing 182 kW this is paired with a sleek six speed dual clutch setup. This allows a 0-100 km/h in just under six seconds while returning a little over 7 litres per 100 km. This thing is a breeze to drive and still somehow perhaps it’s the semi active dampers and sway bars but still feels quite sporty in bends even carrying all this luxury. But once you settle down on the highway it just glides along. Now all this should be enough to carry it through to the finish but I worry about the expense of servicing let alone fixing that magnesium block and the race exhaust it’s just all to mismatched with the character of the car. It doesn’t know what it’s suppose to be I just need daily not some mix of a rolls royce and race car.
@Mikonp7 - 17’ Ecamobile Kaenguru
Now the Ecamobile Kaenguru was the only vehicle that seemed to offer a choice of replacing all my rides. But it started at a disadvantage with its umm...distinctive looks. To top it off the fuel economy is only marginally better than the Senshi I’ve already got and I only use that for short trims. If I had to commute daily with this thing I’d be putting some stress on the budget. While it comes with an impressive list of features and is so massive it’s got tons of room for everyone. The cabin provides a very comfy ride even on unsealed roads and fire trails. But I don’t know call me old fashion but this whole luxury twin cab ute things just feels a bit weird. While there is plenty of room in the bed. It can’t match the versatility of a tray top. The final blow was the overall pricing. It’s very expensive to buy and paying that much for a ute that will just be beat up doesn’t seem right. So sadly the Ecamobile had to go.
@phale - 17’ Adenine Valence Touring
The next who could pass up a chance to try out the latest from Adenine? They always top the charts in reviews for value for money. Who knows how they do it? Well the Valence is nice looking sedan. Yeah that’s right despite the looks and what is clearly a liftback/hatch tail. Adenine insist on calling it a sedan. Personally I think someone should call the services because it’s criminal misuse of categories going on in the automotive industry. The Germans are by far the worse calling all those massive SUVs ‘sports activity coupe’. But I digress. We’re getting off track. Now back to the Valence Touring. Well it an attractive ‘sedan’ and has some character with those subtle indicators on the front. While it doesn’t strike me like the Kimura I’d be happy to own it. Where it really shines is under the hood and inside. Wow, Adenine didn’t hold back. They call it a premium vehicle but it much as well be a luxury car. Sure the plush leather seats might not have the comfort or adjustment of a luxury sedan. But the rest is legit! The kids will love me it’s only got two seats back there but they’ve got screens, electric everything you name it. Upfront so much stuff I don’t even know what half of it does even a bloody HUD! Safety is top notch as you’d expect from Adenine they are always doing well on the ANCAP five stars. It shows the Americans can really take it to the rest now. This AWD sedans even has a fancy diff and clever suspension. So at the touch of dial it’s go from a cloud over these awful Sydney streets to stiff as race car. Amazing what they can do these days. Power comes from a the industry standard a 2.0L Turbo Four packing around 185 kW and that means it’s good for 0-to speeding ticket in 6.5 seconds. That’s sports car fast from my day. All while returning just under 7 litres per 100 km. It’s so easy to drive too. But all this magical tech and great performance comes at a cost. It’s more expensive than the comparable Erin, Kimura and Komodo. Nonetheless I’ll have to shortlist this.
@Dorifto_Dorito - 17’ OAM Traveller Gen 5
Talk about value for money! I nearly missed this one going through all the new brochures but OAM make a very impressive value proposition. Packaged in a rather smart looking liftback with those distinctive grill mounted indicators. Now personally I think those extra indicators seems a bit out of place with the otherwise chic and clean design. But maybe it was some type of regulation issue? Ah well doesn’t bother me that much. The rest of the design is quite nice with some aggressive vents down the side. Inside well it’s a standard layout and nothing too over the top but that’s fine it seems comfortable enough. Plenty of safety which is nice. The Traveller is powered by a modern DOHC V6 putting out 136 kW pair with a classic six speed manual in a RWD setup. This allows it to shift to 100 km/h in just over eight seconds. While still returning around 6.61 litres per 100km. It’s not that fast but it’s adequate gearing lacks an overdrive which is a bit of shame for the highway driving. The suspension is clever has a selection of options on using the adaptive dampers and semi active sway bars. But all of the setting still felt like the ride was a little harsh. In the end I don’t think it quite fits for me. It’s a shame because I actually really like it and think if they address the issue with the next facelift they’ll be onto a winner.