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2023 Kia EV6 GT

2023 Kia EV6 GT

Kia’s new powerhouse 

Price: $111,311

ANCAP Safety Rating: Not Yet Rated

Warranty: Seven-year warranty with unlimited kilometres, and seven-year 150,000km (whichever occurs first) battery warranty

Kia as a brand has come a long way in the past few years, and now it’s asking more than $100,000 for a vehicle – the most expensive car the Korean manufacturer has sold in Australia. While the price might deter some, customers are lining up for more than six months to get behind the wheel of Kia’s latest offering, the EV6 GT.

Sitting in the EV6 GT, you’ll notice it has the space and functionality of a large hatchback. Take it for a spin and it’s quickly clear it has the performance of a supercar and the head-turning looks to match. 

All this comes at half the price of a European sports car, plus it has a whole suite of tech. This includes intelligent headlights that turn off individual LEDs to reduce the risk of dazzling oncoming motorists. The driver is also kept well-informed with vital driving data via a heads-up display, while the rest of the information is fed through two 12.3-inch digital screens. 

The EV6 GT is a fully electric vehicle (EV) and has a 77.4kWh battery, which gives it a stated range of about 424km. In day-to-day terms, this is approximately 350km. The EV6 GT will accept either 400-volt or 800-volt fast chargers, which Kia says gives an 80 per cent charge in about 70 minutes.

The GT is distinguished by its unique sports-style front seats, which are not overly comfortable as they’ve been designed to accommodate a race helmet for track days. All EV6 models have a 5-star ANCAP safety rating except the GT. ANCAP couldn’t give the GT a rating because the modified seat design is too much of a deviation from the standard variants. The GT also stands out with its bright-green brake  callipers, which sit inside the 21-inch alloy wheels. The skateboard-style architecture provides a flat floor in the cabin and good rear-seat space.

On the road, the GT can accelerate to highway speeds in just 3.5 seconds. A push of the green GT button on the steering wheel supplies the maximum 430kW and 740Nm to the axles. The dual motor with adjustable regeneration almost provides one pedal operation, so there’s little need to use the brakes. During severe regeneration, Kia claims a charge rate back to the battery of 150kW from both motors. The battery is nearly half a tonne and low in the skateboard platform, giving the GT a low centre of gravity. This helps with the car’s handling, which is further assisted by the three-mode semi-active suspension.

Fast, functional and packed with technology, the EV6 GT is in keeping with the Kia tradition of value for money while also signalling the car manufacturer as a design and EV leader.

2023 Hyundai IONIQ6

2023 Hyundai IONIQ6 

Charge ahead in the Hyundai IONIQ 6 

Price: $89,030

ANCAP Safety Rating: 5 Stars

Warranty: Five-year warranty with unlimited kilometres, and eight-year battery warranty

Distinctive sweeping lines, state-of-the-art technology, and impressive performance mean Hyundai’s flagship electric vehicle (EV), the IONIQ 6, stands out from the crowd.

The IONIQ 6 is offered in three trims, with rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive powertrains paired with a 77.4kWh battery. For this review, we tested the mid-range IONIQ 6 TECHNIQ AWD. At $89,000 it doesn’t beat the Tesla 3 for value, but it’s stylish and has all the latest EV charging tech and performance. The higher price also means it’s ineligible for the State Government’s $3000 rebate and three years of free registration.

Its sleek, streamlined body features a curved and low-slung roofline. A downside is less room when getting in and out of the car. The IONIQ 6 has projector-type LED headlights, LED taillights and 20-inch alloy wheels. Another fancy feature is 
flush-fitting door handles that pop out when the car is unlocked. The flat rear floor allows ample leg room for backseat passengers, but headroom is compromised thanks to the battery underneath. This design also means the boot area is quite small.

The transmission selector is simple to use, but being located on the steering column, it takes some getting used to. The technology in the IONIQ 6 receives upgrades or fixes via Hyundai’s Bluelink system and EV-specific connected services so you won’t need to visit the dealership for software updates.

The 12.3-inch digital virtual instrument cluster and the 12.3-inch multimedia navigation unit are standout features. Standard convenience features include a wireless smartphone charger and a head-up display.

The bright dash trim looks good, but it reflects on the windscreen, which can be annoying. A handy feature is the internal power outlet beneath the rear seats, for charging 240-volt electric devices or appliances up to 15 amps. An outside outlet enables you to charge items such as e-bikes or even power your campsite.

At two tonnes when empty, the IONIQ 6 is a wide and heavy car, but Hyundai has altered the suspension to better suit Aussie conditions. Although this makes the suspension slightly firm, it’s still quite nimble.

Hyundai’s stated range for the IONIQ 6 is up to 614km and it can charge from 10 to 80 per cent in as little as 18 minutes. Smart regenerative
braking allows you to drive with one pedal and this can be adjusted via paddle shifters mounted on the steering wheel.

The IONIQ 6 has plenty to offer if you’re in the market for an EV.

2023 Subaru Crosstrek

2023 Subaru Crosstrek

A car for outdoorsy types 

Price: $45,985 (driveaway)

ANCAP Safety Rating: Not Yet Rated

Warranty: Five-year warranty with unlimited kilometres

Subaru has a reputation built on safety and all-wheel drive capability. The Japanese manufacturer’s vehicles can go where proper SUVs should – be it bitumen, sand, mud or snow – yet they’re small enough to park easily in the city. Rising from the ashes of the previous XV is the all-new Crosstrek, continuing Subaru’s tradition of being the car for those living a real outdoor lifestyle.

The Crosstrek is reasonable value, with good equipment levels at a competitive price. We tested the S model, which is the most expensive non-hybrid model in the range. The S has impressive features, including push-start ignition, dusk-sensing LED headlights, roof rails, power-folding door mirrors and LED daytime running lights. Inside the cabin, you’ll find heated front seats, electric lumbar support for the driver, satellite navigation and an electric sunroof.

It also comes with the latest generation EyeSight Driver Assist system, which has an improved stereo camera and a new wide-angle monocular camera. On top of that, the Crosstrek also has speed sign recognition and lane centering function. Subarus have always been a bit thirsty and the Crosstrek is no different, using 7.2 litres of fuel per 100km.

 Part SUV, part hatch, the Crosstrek is bigger than the outgoing XV, although the rear seat and boot are just adequate. The absence of rear air vents is another shortcoming. Inside there’s a dash-mounted portrait screen, as well as easy-to-use traditional dials and switches. The wireless phone charger is useful, but the hard plastic means phones slip and slide.

Crosstrek has the same DNA as other Subaru vehicles. This includes the quiet rumbling sound of the direct injection two-litre boxer engine. On the road, the Crosstrek soaks up undulations without much fuss like the generations of Subarus before it.

The just-adequate power is delivered via the Lineartronic transmission, which has an eight-speed paddle-shift manual mode Subaru calls a step-less CVT. Subaru promises this offers less wear and tear and improved economy. The Japanese car manufacturer’s iconic symmetrical all-wheel drive system delivers a great balance of SUV capability on bitumen and the 220mm ground clearance makes it competent off-road.

Crosstrek has a handy 1.4-tonne towing capacity, and its compactness makes it easy to park. It’s a minor detail, but the thick steering wheel gives a sense of solidness to the driver. 

In a crowded small SUV market, the Crosstrek’s combination of impressive equipment levels, all-round capability and safety kit gives it a clear point of difference for those who want a vehicle for the great outdoors.

2016 Mitsubishi ASX LS

2016 Mitsubishi ASX LS

A well-rounded SUV

Used-Car Price Range: $16,500 to $20,900

ANCAP Safety Rating: 5 stars when new (current Used Car Safety Rating of 3 stars)

Warranty: No longer under warranty

The ASX has been one of the mainstays of the Mitsubishi range for more than a decade and there are still plenty on the second-hand market. Mitsubishi calls this car its Active Sports Crossover and with a few facelifts over the years, it’s been  
reinvented and remained a popular choice.

The 2016 ASX had a reputation for being a good value small SUV when new, and it’s no different on the used-car market. The 
ASX’s popularity also means there are many to choose from at your local used-car dealer. In its day, the ASX offered standard features such as cruise control, a reversing camera, rear parking sensors, and a colour touchscreen for controlling infotainment functions. It was also wired for sound and had an iPod and MP3 compatible audio system, with AM/FM and digital radio, CD player, USB input, and Bluetooth connectivity for phone calls and audio streaming.

When new, the 2016 ASX came with a five-year warranty, so most things should have been fixed during the past seven years if it was serviced regularly by a Mitsubishi dealer. Check the service history if you’re looking to buy a used ASX. 

The original ASX platform started in 2010 so the 2016 model was still a new car on an ageing platform, but the same generous space, enhanced with 60/40 split-fold rear seats, has been a common theme. Even when new, the interior design was a bit dated but fundamentally it still works, although the seats
don’t provide much lateral support when cornering. Functionally, the ASX also has a handy 1.3-tonne towing capacity for when you need to hitch a trailer.

The 2016 ASX is a good first car for novice drivers given it includes features such as hill-start assist, which controls the brakes automatically to help drivers take off from a standstill on uphill slopes. It also has lifesaving electronic stability control (ESC) to give drivers more control in an emergency and help avoid crashes. The petrol engine, front-wheel drive ASX has a ride and handling package that will suit most driving conditions. The two-litre petrol engine comes with a five-speed manual gearbox or a CVT automatic. The flaring noise and unusual acceleration maybe annoying to some people so make sure you take any car you’re thinking of buying on a long test drive.

If you need a no-fuss, reliable, proven and roomy small SUV then the two-wheel drive Mitsubishi ASX LS is a well-rounded car that’s affordable in the used car market.

Looking to buy a car?

Explore the advantages of salary packaging and novated leasing. With salary packaging, you can enjoy tax benefits by deducting car expenses from your pre-tax income. Novated leasing takes it a step further, allowing you to lease a car using a portion of your salary.