NO DIESEL LEXUS LX FOR AUSTRALIA
Even though a 450d is available across the dutch.
Words Sam Purcell

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Those of us with a palate so refined that the LandCruiser Sahara simply isn’t specced up enough for their tastes, but still prefer a diesel engine, will be sad to know that Australia is missing out on a diesel Lexus LX wagon.

New Zealand is getting one, along with India. It’s a 450d, using the same twin-turbo V8 diesel that the LC200 gets, instead of the 5.7-litre naturally-aspirated V8 petrol of the LX570.

The petrol engine is smooth, quiet and powerful, but cannot compete in efficiency stakes
with the oiler. Although it’s still based on the same car, the Lexus does get a significantly more flash interior.

Where the LX570 takes 7.7 seconds for the 0-100 dash, the 450d takes 8.6 seconds. It’s not a light beast, don’t forget, with a kerb weight of anywhere between 2510 and 2740kg.

 

GREAT WALL VS WALL – WALL GREAT, GREAT WALL NOT SO GREAT
Great Wall Steed scores dismally in ANCAP crash test.

The budget-oriented Great Wall Steed ute has come a cropper in the latest round of ANCAP testing, scoring a miserly two stars out of a possible five. It actually received the same score of 16.49 as the outgoing Great Wall VX240, despite rating much better in the side impact scores.

This is because the new Steed has six airbags, but according to ANCAP, the woeful final score comes down to the antiquated structural arrangement, which seems to stem from an old Isuzu/Holden Rodeo design.

Great Wall is obviously disappointed with the results, and has resolved to work on remedying the results. Considering this would probably require a complete redesign on a modern platform, we can’t see this having a short-term fix.

 

TOYOTA OFFERS ALTITUDE TO LANDCRUISERS
Limited edition models bring specs appeal, but not for long-range touring.

You can now get an Altitude model of LandCruiser or Prado that gives you a bit of extra value for money. They are based on the GXL model, and both have the diesel/automatic gearbox combo.

The 200 Series costs an extra $4630, and gives you a centre-console cooler, leather accents, and some flashes of chrome inside. You’ve also got LED ‘optitron’ gauges and a 4.2-inch MFD in your instrument cluster, which has filtered down from Lexus models.

The Prado Altitude costs an extra $5000 but nets extra goodies like a moonroof (sunroof), LED headlamps and a flash JBL sound system. It even sports a nine-inch TV screen for the kids.

The biggest changes are at the rear end: the spare wheel gets underslung, and the rear window can be separately opened. This gives you better visibility and easier access, but you now only have one fuel tank (87 litres), missing out on the 63-litre sub tank. Further decreasing appeal as a touring 4X4, you get 18in wheels instead of typical GXL 17s.

 

NISSAN NAVARA SERIES II NOW AVAILABLE
New rear suspension and minor tweaks aim to repair recent dings to Nissan’s ute reputation.

The new Navara, known as the D23 or NP300, caused quite a stir in the dual-cab market when it first landed in 2015. Not so much for the 2.3-litre, twin-turbo-diesel that replaced the 3.0-litre V6, or the ‘muscular’ new look over the older, boxy shape.

No, it was more to do with the coil-sprung rear end, which was a bit of a first in the segment. Yes, yes, internet demons, I know the SsangYong Actyon Sport had a coily rear end long before. But it’s a SsangYong, so it doesn’t count.

Anyway, the initial coil rear end that Nissan specced up was just too soft. Combined with the Navara’s flash interior, it made for a very nice, car-like ride. But the bum started misbehaving faster than a poorly raised adolescent with any load on it.

Nissan has now attempted to remedy the problem, along with making a lot of small spec changes and introducing a new spec: SL. This sits between the ST and RX models, but gives you the most powerful engine and coil-sprung rear end. In other words, Nissan did kind of get it wrong to start with, and has now improved on the recipe to make for a more competent and all-round vehicle. Stay tuned for a road test.

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