Home' Open Road Sydney North and North West : OR0716 Contents SUBARU OUTBACK 2.0D
WHAT WE LIKED The Outback 2.0D in CVT
auto spec now gets EyeSight technology.
It makes the most comfortable touring
car in the country even safer.
WHAT WE DIDN’T The powered tailgate
opens at a snail’s pace and the diesel
engine (110kW/350Nm) feels a bit last
decade in its performance.
MAZDA2 MAXX SEDAN
WHAT WE LIKED Looks like a ‘Mini-Me’
Mazda6. Interior finishes also have a
quality feel. Generous boot has more
room than the Mazda CX-3 hatch. Safety
tech is another highlight.
WHAT WE DIDN’T Base model Neo doesn’t
have a reversing camera. Engine can be
raucous under hard acceleration.
MAZDA6 SPORT From $32,490
WHAT WE LIKED A model refresh earlier
this year added safety technology across
the range at no extra cost. Includes blind
spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert
and autonomous braking.
WHAT WE DIDN’T Blind spot monitoring
can be a little overzealous, especially
when there are multiple turning lanes.
Things get loud over coarse bitumen, but
that’s common to most cars at this price.
OUR LATEST ROAD TESTS M
WHILE THE KOREAN-BUILT Picanto
is new to our shores, it has been on
sale in other markets for around five
years, racking up numerous awards
and accolades along the way.
To reduce stock inventory
headaches, Kia is offering just the
one model, which has an automatic
transmission. Like all Kias, the
Picanto’s features list is better than
most and includes air conditioning,
power steering, power windows with
auto up/down for the driver, keyless
entry, reverse parking sensors and
halogen daytime running lights.
The Picanto’s safety suite includes
six airbags, seatbelt pre-tensioners
and load limiters, electronic stability
control, anti-skid brakes and hill
start assistance. The Picanto has a
five-star ANCAP rating and is
covered by Kia’s class leading seven-
year, unlimited kilometre warranty.
While it’s fairly deep into its model
life, the Picanto’s interior remains
fresh and contemporary by class
standards. The major instruments
are large and easy on the eye and
the major controls are easily
identified and simple to operate. The
Picanto shows its age, however, with
no touchscreen display or Apple
Front seat comfort is a strong
point and, while the steering wheel
has no reach adjustment, most will
be satisfied with the car’s driving
DRIVEN Even midway through its model cycle, the award-winning
Picanto has the clout to shake-up Australia’s micro car market
ergonomics and vision. Rear seat
comfort isn’t as good and rear leg
room is restricted if the driver’s seat
is set for someone of average height.
With the seats upright there’s
enough storage in the rear for a
couple of small bags and, with the
rear seats folded forward, the area
increases to a respectable 605 litres.
On road, the Picanto displays all
the right attributes expected of a
micro, nicely balancing the needs of
city driving and longer trips. It has
electric power steering, which helps
reduce fuel consumption compared
to conventional hydraulic set-ups.
Kia does a great job getting steering
weighting right, with enough
assistance for parking and
navigating tight spaces, while not
unduly compromising handling
dynamics at higher speeds.
Suspension is a basic MacPherson
strut front and torsion beam rear
set-up. Soaking up the bumps on our
city drive loop adeptly, the Picanto
also felt surefooted on the back
roads around Canberra, with the
four-wheel disc brakes providing a
reassuring and consistent feel.
The Picanto will get you from A to
B as well as anything in the market
today. The lack of a modern
infotainment system may be its only
Achilles heel as it attempts to attract
the predominantly younger buyers
who shop in this class. – Tim Pomroy
BUILT TO A PRICE;
DRIVES LIKE A
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