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AUSTRALIA’S GUIDE TO UTES, VANS, LIGHT TRUCKS & PEOPLE MOVERS

www.deliverymagazine.com.au ISSUE 39 DEC/JAN 2012 RRP: $7.95

Delivery Magazine is an AFMA Strategic Alliance Partner

MAZDA V FORD BATTLE OF THE BEST UTE


LAUNCH

Ford launches the Ranger, with Australia the first recipient in a gloBal programme 12

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READY, AIM, FIRE! It’s the largest vehicle research and development programme ever undertaken in the Southern Hemisphere”.

That’s the message coming loud and strong from the Ford Ranger development team as Delivery Magazine joined the company engineers and Ford chairman, Bob Graziano, for a two-day introduction to the first member of the Ranger fleet, a 3.2-litre, five-cylinder, diesel-engined crew-cab. While Bob Graziano refused to be drawn on the overall cost of investment, industry sources suggest that a development of this scale puts the bottom line well over the one billion dollar mark. Such is the significance of the project to Ford in Australia and, indeed, the Ford family worldwide. In what is an obvious first for ute buyers, the new Ranger was developed by Ford with its research and development team based in Melbourne. While Australian ute buyers have become used to buying Japanese designed and engineered utes that are built in Thailand, in the case of the Ranger, the only common denominator is that it too is built in Thailand. So, in case you were wondering, this is certainly not yet another Japanese designed ute that’s built for the Asian market. The advantages that result from the Australian development of the Ranger become more obvious the longer you spend with the vehicle. It shows in the overall design and specification, you feel it in the seats and interior spaciousness, and you enjoy it when behind the wheel for the performance, ride and handling. Is it good? You bet! Let’s start with an overview of the range before getting into the inner details of its development. Australia is the first market to receive the Ranger as it goes on sale to a total of 180 markets throughout the world.

With Single Cab, Super Cab and Dual Cab versions there are three engine options, two diesels and one petrol. The first models available for sale will be powered by the largest capacity diesel, a Ford Duratorq TDCi 3.2-litre, and the first body style to be rolled out will be the Double Cab 4x4 XL and XLT. As the factory in Thailand, which is a 50/50 joint venture with Mazda, ramps up production, we’ll be seeing the remaining models coming on line from early 2012 and complete by mid 2012. When running at full capacity, the Thailand factory will be capable of producing 275,000 units per year, with product output jointly split between the Ford Ranger and the Mazda BT-50, but with an undoubted bias in favour of Ford when it comes to total numbers. This is an increase over previous production capabilities that had peaked at 175,000 units. The factory additionally produces the Ford Fiesta, also exported to Australia. In time, Ford will add additional production capability as it brings on line its factories in Pretoria, South Africa, to supply that continent’s requirements, and also its factory in Argentina to supply the South American market. The manual gearboxes are manufactured in China, a joint venture between Ford and Getrag, with the automatic transmissions being Ford’s inhouse SR6R80 unit, manufactured in Livonia, Michigan. The Ranger launch plays a major role in Ford’s comeback from the general financial malaise that afflicted all US car manufacturers and using Ford’s design team in Melbourne is a classic example of how vehicle development, these days, is truly a global business. The team of engineers and designers, based in Melbourne, are part of a total group of 500 engineers involved, and are about as global as the intended market for the vehicle, with Americans, English, Australians, Germans and Irish technicians working together and linking the computer power in Australia with that of the main research division in Dearborn, Michigan.

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FEATURE

KOREAN

CATC

SsangYong’s ute intentions set up the way forward for its future

So, with a chequered history of being Korean, part German, part Chinese and now part Indian, SsangYong can now plan its future with a new degree of assurance, and is able to concentrate on making its mark on the Australian industry. There are still plenty of Musso utes around on our roads, and they’ve established a relatively strong reputation. The Actyon Sports was introduced onto the Australian market in May 2007, in both 2WD and 4WD form, and immediately outperformed many of the utes from its competitors through offering a three-star ANCAP rating, which could easily be expected to extend to a four-star approval rating. This was a direct threat to established brands, some of which, at that time, were recording two-star ratings.

Although the life expectancy of the Actyon Sports Ute has about six months left to run before being replaced by a totally new model, Delivery took the opportunity to revisit the Actyon Sports Ute to bring our readers up to date on its advantages, especially in view of some probable keen pricing in the short-term as the importer readies itself for the new model.

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ith Korean car companies, Hyundai and Kia, powering ahead in terms of acceptance in the Australian market, it’s only logical to expect SsangYong to want a slice of the action, especially now the company has an assured future. It wasn’t always that definite the company would survive, and, despite being one of Korea’s oldest vehicle manufacturers, SsangYong has experienced many challenges over the past six decades. SsangYong is re-establishing itself with new products and an assured future, thanks to a majority stakeholding acquired in November 2010 by Indian trading giant, Mahindra & Mahindra. The SsangYong origins actually date back to 1954, but the company name wasn’t used until 1986. Then, two years later, the company signed an agreement with Mercedes-Benz for the transfer of engine technology and the development of light commercial vehicles. The launch of the SsangYong Musso in 1990, and other light commercials along with advanced diesel engines and the original Korando in 1993, led to the release for the Australian market in 1994 of a range that included the Musso, Musso Sport and Korando, initially distributed by Mercedes Benz.

The company was acquired by Daewoo in 1998, and its products were rebadged as Daewoo until 2000, when Daewoo went into receivership. SsangYong, with its stronger basis in the SUV business and better prospects on global markets, was spun off as a separate entity, and, in 2004, a controlling 51 percent stake in SsangYong was acquired by Chinese carmaker SAIC. This agreement remained in place until the Korean maker was placed in bankruptcy protection in early 2009. 18 DELIVERY ISSUE 39

With four-wheel disc brakes and ABS anti-lock brakes, the Actyon Sports’ rear suspension is by way of coil springs, rather than the almost standard fare of leaf springs as fitted to its competitors. Coil springs may not be the best suited to extremely high loads, or overloading, but for those carrying less than maximum payload, the gain in ride quality and comfort is certainly measurable. Power-assisted rack and pinion steering also enables it to steer with better precision than the traditional Japanese makes that still fit recirculating ball steering box designs.


KOREAN CATCH

Even though it’s coming close to its replacement time on our market, the Actyon Sports still holds its own in the market, especially when compared with more recent Chinese entrants.

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LAUNCH

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ewly released, jointly-developed Ford Ranger and Mazda BT-50 utes are set to tackle the traditional ute-market leaders in Australia: Toyota and Nissan. Allan Whiting checked out the new BT-50, on and off road, and reckons the newcomers have an excellent chance of knocking over the current volume sellers.

The outgoing BT-50 had part of the required package for market share improvement, boasting the most potent four-cylinder diesel engine in the ute class. However, it powered re-skinned bodywork that was tad on the small side, and the chassis had a torsion bar suspended front end that didn’t really work in concert with an over stiff set of rear leaves. It wasn’t a bad package for a ute, but Ford/ Mazda knew that more would be required in the near future: more people space and cargo volume; more refinement; more performance and more presence.

“I wanted to create a completely different kind of pickup – one with the personality of a passenger car.” With the new BT-50, Kobayashi-san’s design team may just have done it.

The Aussie BT-50 Lineup As with the outgoing model, the new BT-50 is based around three cab styles: Single, Dual Cab and Freestyle (with forwardopening rear doors and no obstructive B-pillar). The launch model is the Dual Cab, while Freestyle models are due in early December and Single Cabs in early 2012. All are longer, wider and higher than before, with no carryover components from the previous range. A new box-section ladder frame that’s taller, wider and thicker than before mounts a double-wishbone, coil-sprung front end with rack and pinion

In the words of Takasuke Kobayashi, the Mazda BT-50 Programme Manager, who attended the Australian launch: “The current BT-50 looks good, drives well and has tremendous functionality, but, with the new BT-50, I wanted to move into uncharted territory.

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UTE WARS steering. An underslung rear axle design with bias-mounted shock absorbers continues, but with longer springs and stronger brackets and shackles. Brand new four- and five-cylinder, turbo-intercooled diesels have been developed, and six-speed manual and automatic transmissions are offered. The 3.2-litre five-cylinder produces claimed maximum power of 147 kW at 3000 rpm, with peak torque of 470 Nm in the 1750-2500 rpm band. Claimed fuel consumption is 8.4 l/100 km (4x2s) and 8.9 l/100 km (4x4s).

The BT-50 4x4 package adds shift-on-the-fly 4x4 selection, dial-selectable low-range gearing and hill descent control, and an electronically lockable rear differential.

The 2.2-litre four is fitted to 4x2s only, and puts out 110 kW at 3700 rpm, with peak torque of 375 Nm at 1500-2500 rpm. Claimed fuel consumption is an eco-friendly 7.6 l/100 km. More grunt, improved chassis dynamics and car-level electronic aids ensure that the new BT-50 easily outperforms and out-handles its predecessor.

Standard kit on 4x2 and 4x4 models includes ABS with disc/ drum EBD brakes, traction control, dynamic stability control, emergency brake assist and hill start assist. The dynamic stability control system incorporates roll stability control, trailer sway control, and adapts to suit different payloads. Incidentally, drum rear brakes are retained because they provide a more powerful parking brake than the tiny drum-indisc units fitted to 4x4 wagons.

Three equipment levels are offered: XT, XTR and GT. XT is far from being a ‘poverty pack’, with aircon, power windows and mirrors, remote central locking, Bluetooth, steering wheel cruise control and audio controls, trip computer, USB input, six speakers (in all but Single Cabs), and front and curtain airbags. Mazda expects an NCAP rating of five stars for all variants when local testing is completed. XTRs score carpet, aluminium 17-inch wheels instead of steel 16s, 265/65 rubber in lieu of 215/70s, front fog lamps, dual-zone aircon in Freestyle and Dual Cabs, chromed rear step bumper, ambient temperature gauge, leather wrapped knob and steering wheel, satnav, height and lumbar adjustable driver’s seat and a high-mount stop light.

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Mazda and Ford take on the big boys Words by Allan Whiting

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LAUNCH

D

espite the level of competition in the commercial segment, Mitsubishi’s second bestselling vehicle (behind the Lancer) is the utilitarian Triton. Accounting for a total 218,000 sales in Australia, it’s with little surprise that Mitsubishi has announced Model Year 12 (MY12) changes to the Triton that further cement its reputation as a trusty, reliable and well priced workhorse.

Two new models make their debut with the MY12 changes: the 4x2 top-spec GLX-R Double Cab, and the 4x4 GL-R Club Cab. With 4x2 commercial utes contributing to around 35 percent of the segment’s sales, it’s clear that some consumers who are after a ute don’t have a specific need for one with four-wheel-drive. In light of this, the 4x2 GLX-R Double Cab offers a wealth of features without the added weight of a four-wheel-drive system. Pricing starts from $44,490 for the five-speed automatic 4x2 GLX-R Double Cab. 4x2 GL-R and GLX-R models now come with 245 mm wide rear tyres, providing extra stability on the road and better grip for towing. Towing capacity for the GLX-R is also up on the 4x2 diesel’s 2500 kg, offering an impressive 3000 kg, around 750 kg more than the Toyota HiLux. The new 4x4 GL-R Club Cab is based on the GLX and comes packed with added kit to make it a more liveable working environment. Extra features include a leather wrapped steering wheel and gear shifter knob, 16-inch alloy wheels, sports bar, rear and side steps, inner carpet floor and front and rear body kit. 4x4 GL-R Club Cab pricing starts from $41,990 and is only available with a five-speed manual transmission.

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Mitsubishi was the first commercial ute manufacturer to offer stability control to the Australian market, in 2009, and it has followed suit by making Active Stability Control (ASC) standard across the Triton range (except GL 4x2). All Triton models now also come standard with front and rear door impact bars and child restraint points. Trade vehicles have been out of touch with modern safety features for far too long, it’s great to see manufacturers finally seeing the light. Other specification changes to 4x2 MY12 GL and GLX Triton Single Cabs includes sport seats, height adjustable driver’s seat, floor-mounted console with lid, and vinyl flooring. The 4x2 Triton GL remains powered by a 2.4-litre petrol fourcylinder engine producing 94 kW and 194 Nm of torque, and it consumes a combined 10.9 l/100 km. Those after a diesel engine in 4x2 guise can choose either a 2.5-litre four-cylinder turbocharged diesel engine (GLX and GL-R) producing 100 kW and 314 Nm of torque, or a Hi Power 2.5-litre four-cylinder turbocharged diesel engine that produces 131 kW and 350 Nm of torque (GLX-R only). Fuel consumption is rated at a combined 8.2 l/100 km (diesel fivespeed manual), or 8.6 l/100 km and 9.6 l/100 km, respectively, for the four-speed automatic and five-speed automatic diesel and Hi Power diesel. Changes to the 4x4 range start with the GLX Single Cab picking up sport seats, height adjustable driver’s seat, floormounted console with lid, vinyl flooring, 16-inch steel wheels, and front fender flares. Increased tyre width and 16-inch steel wheels are coupled with an uprated 3000 kg towing capacity on GLX Club Cab.


TRITON TIME 4x4 Triton variants stick with the Hi Power 2.5-litre, fourcylinder, turbocharged diesel engine that produces 131 kW and 400 Nm of torque in five-speed manual form and 131 kW and 350 Nm in five-speed automatic and four-speed automatic form. Combined fuel consumption for manual variants varies between 8.3 and 8.6 l/100 km (dependent upon model) for manual versions and 9.3-9.6 l/100 km for those with automatic transmissions. When speaking to Delivery about the MY12 Triton revisions, Mitsubishi Motors Australia President and CEO, Genichiro Nishina said, “The Triton range caters for every customer, whether they need a rugged workhorse, a comfortable family vehicle or a combination of both. “Mitsubishi is confident that sales for the versatile and tough utility will continue to grow with the release of the two new models.“ To really test the Triton’s ability, Mitsubishi organised an offroad circuit at the 4WD Adventure Park, Murrumbateman. The off-road circuit offered a mix of rough, rocky terrain and steep inclines and declines (up to 25 degrees at some points). The Triton’s low-range four-wheel-drive mode was engaged with the centre differential locked for the duration of the offroad course. It started with a section of very jagged and loose

rock that tested the Triton’s ride quality over rough surfaces. The cabin feels greatly isolated from the activity around and underneath the car. Leaf spring rear and double wishbone front suspension offers an excellent compromise between load haulage and ride comfort, soaking up the constant bashing of large rocks and uneven surfaces. One of the most challenging aspects of the off-road course was a 25-degree climb with undulations and exposed rocks. This type of surface and incline not only tests a four-wheeldrive’s ground clearance, but also its ability to accurately shuffle torque between the front and rear axles. When used in combination with Mitsubishi All Terrain Technology (MATT), the electronics are able to act as a virtual locked differential by limiting slippage at wheels when they have little or no contact with the road surface. The Triton passed the off-road circuit with flying colours. Once on boost, the torque delivery of the Hi Power diesel engine, while off-road, is highly respectable. An area that could do with improvement is off-the-line performance. When it’s at speed, the Triton offers excellent driveability and smooth torque delivery – the real issue is getting off the line in a hurry. There is a considerable amount of turbocharger lag before the Triton gets up and running, meaning that some forethought is required when getting in and out of intersections, in a hurry, from a standing start. Mitsubishi offers the Triton with an impressive 10-year powertrain warranty and five-year new car warranty, along with fixed-price servicing and five years roadside assistance. It’s considerably more than the competition, but watch the fine print, as the powertrain warranty is limited to 160,000 km and the new car warranty to 130,000 km.

TRITON

Paul Maric looks at whether the latest updates for Mitsubishi’s ute can keep it competitive

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FEATURE

Europe ON LINE I The Frankfurt Motor Show

highlights what’s coming our way t’s always slightly annoying that Europe gets the new releases first, and those of us in Australia have to sometimes wait up to six months for the upgrades and new models to filter through. But when you include the difference in demand that’s created by the far higher populations in the European markets, any delays quickly acquire their own justification.

This year’s Frankfurt Motor Show market was primarily centred on passenger cars, and, in particular, the great strides being made in hybrid and electric vehicle design. But that’s not to say that all the action was confined to the car market. Vans and light commercials also got their fair share of glory, with Volkswagen one of the major recipients. For Volkswagen, the attention centred on three models, the Multivan, Caddy and Amarok. To promote its advanced fuel consumption technology, Volkswagen focused on the Multivan BlueMotion. Thanks to a fuel consumption figure of just 6.4 l/100 km, this is the most fuel-efficient Multivan ever. BlueMotion Technology is available with the 84 kW TDI and the 62 kW TDI in other T-Series models, and it reduces fuel consumption by 0.5 l/ 100 km, and lowers CO2 emissions by

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13 grams. Within this model series, BlueMotion Technology is gradually being rolled out to other engine and transmission variants. Starting in early 2012, BlueMotion Technology will also be offered for the first time in combination with a DSG dual-clutch transmission and the 2.0 TDI with 103 kW (140 PS) on all T-Series models. In its home country, there are various distinguishing features as a result of unique trim levels, but, in our review, we’ll confine ourselves to discussing just what is involved with the mechanical specification in order to achieve these projected fuel economy improvements. The 84 kW 2.0-litre TDI engine consumes 0.9 litres less diesel per 100 km than the current 75 kW standard model. Maximum torque of 250 Newton-metres is available from just 1,500 rpm. The average fuel consumption of just 6.4 l/100 km equates to CO2 emissions of 169 g/km (24 grams less). This was made possible by combining the high-torque commonrail four-cylinder engines with a Stop/Start system, battery regeneration, tyres with particularly low rolling resistance and special aerodynamic measures. The Stop/Start system works in a very uncomplicated way. The Multivan BlueMotion driver approaches a red light, slows to a stop, shifts to neutral and takes his or her foot off the clutch. This immediately turns the engine off. The ‘Stop/Start’ indicator now appears on the multi-function display. As soon as the traffic light turns green and the driver puts his foot on the clutch, the engine automatically starts, the ‘Stop/Start’ indicator goes out, the driver puts the vehicle into gear and drives on. There is nothing else the driver has to do. The Stop/ Start system thus makes an appreciable contribution to cutting fuel consumption. Battery regeneration helps to utilise the energy expended in driving as efficiently as possible. During coasting and braking phases of the Multivan BlueMotion – i.e. whenever the driver releases the accelerator pedal or brakes – the system elevates the voltage of the alternator and this electricity is used to intensively charge the vehicle’s battery.


EUROPE ON LINE Thanks to this alternator control, and the fact that the battery is thus always optimally charged, the alternator’s voltage can be reduced – for example, during acceleration or when constantly maintaining the desired speed. This reduces engine load, which in turn lowers consumption. Battery regeneration requires special software for the energy management system and modified engine controller software. 1982 saw the launch of the Caddy on the European market, then still as a pick-up based on the Golf Mk1. Thirty years later, the Caddy is now an established major player in the compact and urban delivery van market, with over 1.45 million units sold to date. The Caddy Special Edition 30 model is a near-production concept vehicle developed to mark the 30th anniversary of the Caddy range. Based on the successful Multivan Edition 25, its distinctive appearance includes a gleaming black roof, black 17-inch alloys, and high-end interior features. The special model shown at the IAA was powered by the high performance version of the 2.0-litre TDI engine that delivers 125 kW and 250 Nm with DSG, making this the most powerful Caddy ever and capable of a top speed of 196 km/h. The interior, in either five-seat or seven-seat configuration, has a sporty, high quality design, with seats in Alcantara upholstery, multi-function steering wheel, leather-trimmed gear stick and handbrake lever, semi-automatic (Climatic) climate control, and tinted windows combining to create a pleasant ambience.

Caddy continues to grow in range and opportunity for merging deliveries and people moving duties.

The Caddy Edition 30 is available with four different engine specifications, and the option of a short wheelbase, as a car, or as a panel van for commercial use. The diesel (TDI) produces 75 to 125 kW and as a petrol (TSI) version with 77 kW. The Amarok, when it was launched, set new standards in its class and put most of the other ute manufacturers into immediate panic mode as they worked out a strategy that could allow them to compete with what was effectively a radical new design concept for this segment of the market. Currently only available in our market as a crew-cab version with a 2.0-litre diesel and a six-speed manual gearbox, it was only ever a matter of time before two additional advances would join the model for sale. The first is the availability of an automatic transmissions, the second is the option of a singlecab version. At this stage, the single-cab version hasn’t yet surfaced, although the current rumour mill has it that its launch is scheduled for early next year. But, with an eye on attracting a whole additional group of buyers that don’t like changing gear, the Frankfurt Show enabled Volkswagen to preview its new automatic transmission, a full fluid design with eight ratios. Although Volkswagen has pushed its DSG automated manual transmission throughout its car and on-road light commercial products, the company engineers knew, from the start of the Amarok development programme, that the DSG would never be acceptable for severe off-road application. For that particular and very specific sector it was going to have to find a fully fluid automatic transmission. The Multivan Edition 25 has a distinctive appearance that includes a sleek black roof, sporty black 17-inch alloys and high-end interior.

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PROFILE

OzHarvest The right way to supply assistance to charities across Australia includes operating Mercedes-Benz Sprinters

R

onni Kahn is an amazing woman. Within the Sydney, Canberra, Newcastle, Adelaide and Brisbane areas, the not for profit organisation she heads and founded, called OzHarvest is responsible for supplying the equivalent of 10,000-13,000 meals every day from food that would otherwise go to waste! Back in 2004, the year that OzHarvest was founded, the association distributed 13,000 meals to six different charities in its first month. And by Christmas this year, that number will have grown to 10,000,000 meals, now supplied nationally. If you’ve ever wondered what happened to the left over food from buffets and banquets, here’s just one solution. Ronni’s career as an Event Producer was probably an ideal background to starting the OzHarvest operation. As a not for profit association, OzHarvest collects excess food each day that’s surplus to requirements at hotels, cafés, delicatessens, supermarkets and many other food outlets. Caterers, hoteliers, wholesalers, retailers and restaurant owners all telephone OzHarvest to arrange the collection of leftover food that’s surplus to need but prior to its best by date. Every day, the OzHarvest fleet of refrigerated vehicles, driven by drivers trained in food rescue, collect this perfectly good food and distribute it to local charities that in turn feed those in need. As Ronni Kahn explained, it’s a win/win situation - to both the food donors who hate seeing good food go to waste as well as to the recipients in the charities that receive this food. At the same time, it’s also a huge bonus for the environment, reducing waste and landfill and helping to serve the community at the same time. Ronni explains that OzHarvest is, in all essence, a transport and logistics company. When she founded OzHarvest she wanted to make a difference. Today, that difference has escalated to the provision of food equating to 330,000 meals per month, distributed to a total of 352 charities across Australia. Through networking with colleagues, work associates, corporations and major suppliers, OzHarvest has built up an enviable group support network of corporate assistance that extends from food manufacturers through to other transport providers and transport specialists. “We are particularly grateful to our corporate sponsors and these include the MacQuarie Group Foundation, GE Money, Goodman+, the Cross City Tunnel, Pickles Auctions, the Linfox Group, the Paul Newman Foundation, the Thyne Reid Foundation and many others as well as private donors. “We are also particularly proud to have the assistance of the Mercedes-Benz Sydney Van Centre at Alexandria from whom we have just taken delivery of two new refrigerated MercedesBenz Sprinter vans.

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“Dealer principal Paul Betar suggested the Sprinter would be ideal for our needs and they couldn’t be more perfect. Fitted with insulated and refrigerated interiors, we have now taken delivery of two new Sprinters with automatic transmissions. “The Sprinter has the capacity we need to expand and will form the basis of our fleet growth in future from the current level of 15 vehicles in service,” said Ronni. The operation could never survive without the assistance of major corporations such as transport giant LinFox that provides all vehicle servicing requirements, Vittoria Coffee that provides fuel costs and other benefactors that provide office space or equipment, financial assistance and equipment. Even the T.V, show Masterchef enlists the aid of OzHarvest to collect surplus food after each day’s filming. In conjunction with the provision of the ten millionth meal provided in Australia, OzHarvest is inviting members of the public to send in their favourite recipe from leftovers. The winning submissions will be collated for publication in the OzHarvest Cookbook, Ten Million Meals, which will be marketed in aid of the association in 2012. OzHarvest is also the instigator of “nest”, Nutrition Education, Sustenance Training. “It’s our aim to teach Australians in need how to nurture themselves with wholesome, nutritious food, cost effectively and easily,” said Ronni. “Our course will teach local communities and upskill chefs, cooks, kitchenhands and volunteers working in the charitable agencies that provide meals to the homeless and disadvantaged,” she added. The Motoring Matters Magazine is proud to support OzHarvest. Companies and individuals can donate online, telephone or mail a cheque. You can also buy a certificate for the family and friends. Every dollar that OzHharvest receives provides a meal to someone in need. All deductions over $2 are tax deductible. Contact info@ozharvest.org or www.ozharvest.org for further details.


OZ HARVEST

Ronni Kahn, Founder of the OzHarvest charity with one of the organisation’s new Mercedes-Benz Sprinters.

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UPER S FEATURE

SIZE ME

Iveco’s 50C18 is big, beautiful and great to drive. Chris Mullett reports

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n our last issue, we looked at the IVECO ECODaily at the lighter end of the market, and came away thinking that, with its 1,500 kg payload, this all-round performer could be the ideal answer to anyone wanting a van that drives like a car but remains as tough as a truck. Thanks to a full chassis, the ECODaily range has the edge on all other van makers that rely on monocoque construction. If you like a traditional chassis, then you’ll already appreciate the reasons why IVECO may be the right answer for your transport needs. This time around, we’ve headed straight up to the top end of the ECODaily range, with our road test on the 50C18. To find out just what you get for your money, read on.

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The 50C18 gives buyers a sort of big and bigger choice, thanks to two wheelbase options of 3,300 mm or 3,950 mm. While the interior width of the cargo area stays identical at 1,800 mm, the length increases from 3,520 mm out to 4,560 mm and the interior height extends from 1,900 mm up to 2,100 mm. In terms of overall length, the dimensions are either 5,997 mm or 7,012 mm. This is one big van, and you start to realise that you are in proper truck territory when you start to turn your seven-metre long van around and find you need anything up to 15-metres to end up pointing in the opposite direction. The advantage, of course, is that you have an incredible amount of usable, interior cargo space.


SUPER SIZE ME

Cargo space is one thing, payload and GVM or GCM (Gross Vehicle Mass or Gross Combined Mass) is something totally different. In the 50C18, the payload ranges from 2060 kg (with an optional increase to 2,765 kg) for the shortest wheelbase, but decreases, as you extend the body and wheelbase, to 1,885 kg (again optionally up to 2,590 kg, dependent on State Regs) for the longest wheelbase version. At this rating, the GVM is under 4,500 kg, and is actually set at 4,495 kg to negate the need for a specific light-truck driver’s licence.

Getting the load in and out of the cargo area, of either wheelbase, is accomplished through large, barn-type, rear doors that open to offer a width of 1,540 mm, and a height variation, dependent on where the roof is, that extends from 1,780 mm up to 1,990 mm. The side sliding door remains a standard size, at 1,250 mm width and with a height of 1,780 mm. You get a choice of two diesel engines, one of which is greener in its attributes and offers lower exhaust emissions. Both are 3.0-litre, four-cylinder, direct-injected diesel engines, which are intercooled, and turbocharged using a variable geometry turbocharger. Both engines feature a cast iron engine block with an aluminium cylinder head, and utilise common-rail fuel injection and exhaust gas recirculation to keep emissions low.

It is, however, possible to take advantage of the higher GCM, as, at this weight rating, it remains an option to tow a braked trailer weighing up to 3,500 kg. Now perhaps you can see why having a chassis makes such a difference. None of the monocoque construction vans on the market can offer this level of towing alternative.

The more environmentally conscious engine produces marginally lower power outputs (130 kW against 124 kW at 3,000-3,500 rpm) but shares the same torque rating of 400 Nm between 1,250-3,000 rpm. Transmission choices are identical for both engines, with either a six-speed manual or six-speed Automated Manual Transmission (AMT) being available.

If your driver has a truck licence, it opens further possibilities, and by purchasing the 70C17 EEV, you can raise your GVM to 7,000 kg and take advantage of a payload increase to 4,140 kg, while retaining the option of towing a braked trailer weighing up to 3,500 kg.

With disc brakes all round, there are no complaints about stopping power, and the ride and comfort levels are also suitably impressive. Buyers do get a suspension choice for the rear of the van, with an optional electronically controlled air suspension (ECAS), which replaces a parabolic spring

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TESTED

MUM BUS Marvel

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How can we get excited about a Mum Bus? Try the Kia Carnival and find out. Chris Mullett reports

ou could be forgiven for thinking that transporting kids to soccer on Saturdays, or collecting the neighbourhood tribe as part of a transport roster system, would be both boring and annoying.

The range of vehicles suitable for transporting children has traditionally not provided a memorable driving experience. In reality, this shows the basic requirements can become not only difficult, they can lead to tears, both on the part of the children and sometimes for the mum or dad at the wheel. Then along came Kia. It’s Carnival admittedly does look very much like a Mum Bus, and, while that might put off some potential buyers, remember that versatility is something you are going to need, and it’s a key element in the Carnival’s success. Also on the must have list when you go Mum Bus shopping is the need for space, ease of access and egress, and, hopefully, some form of driving pleasure in a world dominated by airbags, seat belts and shopping. The Carnival from Kia comes with an impressive tag, as it’s Australia’s most popular people mover under $55,000. Consider the alternative options of mega-large four-wheeldrives, wagons with limited or tricky access into a final row of seats, or panel vans with additional rows of seats – then look at the interior of the latest Carnival. You’ll be most agreeably surprised.

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High quality pile carpeting and leather seats take you into a new comfort zone, and with individual bucket front seats that are more like captain’s chairs, there’s a surprisingly high degree of comfort. And, as we found at Delivery magazine during a drive of the latest version, there’s greater appeal to this eight-seat passenger shifter than you might think – especially if you need to add versatility to your vehicle purchase. There’s a distinctly different face to the Carnival for those that run a small business where you need to move packages and freight. And if you like to enjoy a higher comfort level than that provided by the average van, you might also like to consider the Carnival in the role of delivery or courier vehicle. The seats are quick release throughout the centre rows, but, as these seats are each individual rather than a bench, it’s possible to fold each one forwards, or, at the click of a catch, remove each or all of the seats in the centre row completely. The rearmost row is also particularly clever. With the seats in the upright position, there’s a deep cargo well behind them, which is accessed through the rear tailgate. This deep space extends across the complete width of the rear of the vehicle and has to be the best place yet invented in a car to hold the weekly shopping.


MUM BUS MARVEL

But, if you don’t need the rear seat row, the seats themselves fold into the well and the seat backs then become flat on the floor, giving a typical wagon or estate car flat load area. The latest Carnival has just received an upgrade resulting in four long-wheelbase models, Bluetooth across the range, and the introduction to the line up of the “R-series” CRDi turbo diesel engine. The model range has been reduced slightly, with the shortwheelbase Carnival S cut from the range and now replaced by a long-wheelbase Grand Carnival S model. The Grand Carnival Si, SLi and Platinum remain. “Carnival is a signature model in our range,” said Kia Motors Australia Chief Operating Officer, Tony Barlow. “It is a good value proposition, which is why one in three new people movers under $55,000 sold so far this year have been Kia Carnivals. “The latest refresh has allowed us to add new technologies to the existing long list of features, and maintain Grand Carnival’s position as a great value people mover”. The most noteworthy change to the entry-level Grand Carnival S is the replacement of the 2.7-litre petrol engine with the more powerful and more efficient 3.5-litre V6 DOHC powerplant with continuous variable valve timing. Buyers of the Grand Carnival Si, SLi and Platinum models will have a choice of either the 3.5-litre petrol or Kia’s latest 4-cylinder, 2.2-litre CRDi R-series diesel engine. The R-series diesel offers improved power and greater efficiency than the 2.9-litre predecessor and is the driving force behind Kia’s Sorento and Sportage. The 2.2-litre R-series diesel produces an impressive 143 kW of power and a massive 429 Nm of torque. Torque is up 86 Nm, or 25 percent, while fuel consumption improves by 3.7 percent compared to its predecessor.

The new diesel is quiet, refined, fuel efficient and when teamed with a six-speed automatic transmission the result is exceptionally good.

The entire range has now received the transmission upgrade, with both the petrol and diesel engines matched to Kia’s six-speed automatic transmission. Compared to the five-speed, the six-speed automatic has 62 fewer parts, and is 41 mm shorter and 12 kg lighter – making it one of the most compact and efficient six-speed transmissions available. New to the line up is the addition of Bluetooth functionality with remote audio controls located on the steering wheel. Buyers of the Si model, and above, will benefit from the standard fitment of roof rails, power third row windows, rear air conditioning controls, interior metal finish, and heated outside mirrors. The Si model has also received sporty looking 16-inch alloy wheels. Safety continues to be a priority across the eight-seater range, with ABS and ESC with traction control standard throughout. Front, side and curtain airbags, and side door impact beams also offer peace of mind for passengers in all four models.

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TESTED In a politically correct world, that would mean a local small tipper operator, using drivers with car licences, would always be running his fleet well under its maximum payload potential. The reality, of course, is that payloads stay at maximum, and it’s the driver that takes the risk of being sent over the local weighbridge to check on gross weights and overall compliance of their licence classification. Mitsubishi Fuso actually starts its Canter light truck range with a purpose-built cab-chassis that has a GVM of just 3,510 kg. This little cabover is aimed straight at couriers who overstress a typical ute, and, with a lightweight aluminium dropside tray, it will achieve a payload of 1,500-1,800 kg (dependent on body weight), within overall length dimensions that certainly make it competitive, also providing a larger tray bed area. Featuring the same new 3.0-litre, four-cylinder diesel as its larger siblings, the Canter 413 has a highly attractive spec of independent front suspension, rack and pinion steering, and a cab that can seat two passengers at a slight squeeze – certainly ahead of a single cab ute on interior space.

Style and design has taken a big step forwards with its the new Fuso.

T

he light truck tipper market has produced some great little workers through the years, originally dominated by the Daihatsu Delta, complete with hungry boards, that regularly carried a payload that probably equalled its actual GVM. Now there’s a new addition to the crew, with Mitsubishi Fuso reworking the appeal of its light truck Canter range. At a GVM of 4,500 kg, the cut-off point for car licence holders driving light trucks, before they need to acquire a light truck licence, has always been something of a joke. We see trucks with GVMs of 5,500-6,500 kg downrated on the compliance plate to under 4,500 kg, but still sporting exactly the same running gear.

The engine itself is a strong and willing performer. With a variable geometry turbocharger and air to air intercooler, it produces 96 kW at 3,050-3,500 rpm and peak torque of 300 Nm rated from 1,300-3,050 rpm. Featuring a flat torque curve, this new Enhanced Environmentally Friendly engine (EEV) exceeds the Euro 5 emission requirements, reducing smoke output by 70 percent, lowering hydrocarbon emissions by 46 percent in steady state cycles (highway / constant speed), lowering Particulate Matter (PM) by 33 percent and reducing carbon monoxide (CO) in transient cycles (metro stop/start) by 25 percent. There are two options when it comes to transmissions. The first is a standard six-speed manual gearbox, but the second is a six-speed, dual clutch, automated manual transmission that Fuso calls the Duonic.

TIP

Automated manual gearboxes are increasing in popularity for several reasons. The initial production cost is less than a full fluid automatic, and there are certain advantages of parts commonality as the gearbox is basically identical with a manual version. All that usually changes is the addition of an automated shift mechanism on the top of the gearbox housing. What differs, though, with the Duonic, is that as an AMT it uses a twin-clutch

TIME

Fuso’s new Canter tipper shows its nippiness around town 76

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TIP TIME design that introduces very fast gear shifting, keeping the engine on peak power and torque levels and certainly aiding acceleration and fuel economy.

from a reprogramming of the same 3.0-litre, EEV diesel. There’s also a choice of two wheelbases –2,800 mm and 3,400 mm.

At this entry-level, the Canter 413 comes with the “City” cab, which, in reality, is a new name for the narrow cab. There’s plenty of room in the cabin, which, although dimensionally remaining the same as the pervious cab, now has a reworked interior that has resulted in increased space, especially in the all important driver to dashboard area. There’s plenty of storage, with cup holders in the centre of the dash and a shelf above the windscreen, but it’s tricky trying to locate a 2.0-litre bottle somewhere, as the door pockets are too narrow and only good for small items.

Common to both the City cab and the wide cab version is the independent front suspension and rack and pinion steering, but the driver here, for the wide cab, only gets a sprung suspension seat to iron out the bumps in their favour a little more effectively. Electrically, this range is operating on a standard 12-Volt system, and there are some safety inclusions such as SRS airbags for both the driver and the left-hand seat passenger. The braking system remains a full hydraulic set-up, but does include disc brakes on both the front and rear axles, and a transmission mounted park brake. There’s also an engine exhaust brake included.

Taking the City cab option means the overall body or tray width comes in at 2.2 metres, rather than the 2.5 metres of tray width that is enabled through buying the wide cab version. This provides additional usable space when compared with a standard ute. The combination of the 3.0-litre EEV engine and the rapid shifting Duonic transmission is a great match, and this little town truck will easily rocket around the city earning its living. It spins on the proverbial dime, with a very tight turning circle of 9.8 metres, and drivers trying to slot it into very tight parking slots will really find this a lot easier than a ute, thanks to the cabover front end. Don’t expect it to shoot into underground carparks universally though, as the overall height requirement is still around the 2.1-metre level, dependent on the body fitted. With coil sprung, independent front suspension, this is a little cabover that actually offers driver comfort and doesn’t bounce over every pothole. The rack and pinion steering is also a major improvement over the standard steering boxes of Japanese light trucks that feel about as lifeless as a dead haddock in the Sydney fish market.

GVMs for the 515, in either wide cab of City cab, come in at 4,500 kg with GCMs of 8,000 kg, and it’s worth delving into the service requirements as the maintenance intervals are now extended out to 30,000 km periods, a major advance on the previous 10,000 km intervals. There’s a tipper version of the Canter 515 that comes with a strongly made, all-steel tipper body with steel dropsides and an automatic release tailgate. Once again, there are two cab choices. The City cab version comes with a GVM of 4,500 kg, but the independent front suspension and rack and pinion steering gets replaced by a multi-leaf spring pack and conventional steering box. The braking system stays with discs front and rear, but the driver once again gets a fixed seat. The 515 wide cab driver gets a sprung suspension seat, and also gets to experience the multi-leaf steel springs, returning to a beam front axle and conventional steering box.

If we’ve got any observation to make here, we’d suggest Mitsubishi Fuso extends the options list downwards and includes the driver’s suspension seat from the Canter 515 wide cab in place of the fixed seat of the 413. Admittedly, the front suspension with IFS is much better than a beam axle, but, when there’s an additional improvement just waiting to be bolted in, it’s a shame it’s not available. When you move up the weight range to the Canter 515, you can stay with the City cab or option up into the wide cab. Either way, you gain a little more power at 110 kW and 370 Nm, which results

Easy to use its going to earn its keep in local nursery work.

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