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5 Clever Car Tricks for Winter

How to prevent an icy windshield, quickly thaw a frozen lock, and more.

Icy windshields messing with your morning?

Who likes scraping off ice—especially when you're in a hurry? Save yourself the trouble and rub a raw onion half on your windows and windshield the night before a big freeze; this strange little car trick will keep frost from forming on the glass. Another way to avoid ice? Cover your windshield with rubber bath mats.

Wiper blades frozen to your windshield?

Soak a soft cloth with full-strength rubbing alcohol and wipe each blade. The alcohol will keep the blades from sticking to the window so they'll function properly even on the coldest day of the year.

Car door lock covered in ice?

There are a couple ways to quickly unfreeze your lock so you can get in your car. One trick: heat your car key with a match or lighter, then gently push the heated key into the lock to melt the ice as you apply pressure. Another option is to take a regular drinking straw and blow directly onto the frozen lock. The heat from your breath should melt the ice in no time.

Foggy windshields blocking your view?

Cold months often mean constantly being plagued with fogged up windshields and windows, a dangerous condition if you're on the road. To quickly clear fog without leaving a smudgy mess behind, keep a chalkboard eraser in your car. Alternatively, rolling down the window and letting some fresh air in will quickly defog windows. 

Icy side mirrors?

To prevent ice from forming on side mirrors, cover them the night before with plastic bags secured with rubber bands or clothespins. When you remove the bags in the morning, the mirrors will be ice-free.


AFL Players Raise Funds for Grassroots Footy

The last weekend in June, AFL players aimed, literally, to make Toyota pay dearly with the carmaker donating $500 to grassroots football clubs for every goal scored in four televised matches.

Straight shooting is likely to cost Toyota tens of thousands of dollars as each six-pointer by an AFL player in the nominated games will earn the $500 bonus for their nominated junior club.

The cash-for-goals incentive is part of Toyota's Good for Footy program, which has helped hundreds of local clubs develop better facilities, improve coaching, purchase new equipment and attract more players.

Good for Footy - a key part of Toyota's sponsorship of the AFL - has channelled more than $4 million since 2008 to community Aussie Rules clubs, benefiting players from the suburbs to the bush, from juniors to seniors, all cultures and every ability.

Noted goal-kickers expected to add to their junior club funds include the competition's leading scorer Lance Franklin (36 goals in 2017), Essendon's Joe Daniher and Adelaide's Eddie Betts (34 each) and Richmond's Jack Riewoldt (31).

Roughead will be hoping to increase his 510 career goals by a substantial margin, swelling the coffers of his junior Victorian club, the Leongatha Parrots, where three generations of his family have kick-started their football careers.

"Every player at Hawthorn - and I'm sure all the other clubs - will be going their hardest to give their junior clubs a decent kick-along, so it wouldn't surprise me to see the backlines pushing forward and trying to kick goals," Roughead said.

"If the eight sides score just 12 goals each, that will result a bonus of $48,000 - and I'm sure we can all do better for the grassroots clubs and players who are the lifeblood of this great game," he said.
The special Good for Footy round is in addition to the Toyota Good for Footy Raffle that last year raised $574,000 with all proceeds going to local clubs.

Sales of tickets for this year's raffle end on July 12 with prizes including the Toyota RAV4.


Suzuki Ignis Makes The Shortlist

CarAdvice writers are often asked by friends and family, which car is best for me?

Most buyers can identify the top three non-negotiable factors that will guide their purchase decision. But… where to from there?

In this write up, Carsguide look for a car that is up to $20,000, sporty, room for a surfboard and P-plate friendly and our own Ignis makes the list!

The verdict - You may fit a surfboard in this little SUV if you were prepared to give up the front passenger seat… but if not, whack a set of genuine accessory roof racks on and you’re in business.

The Suzuki Ignis is a newcomer to the market and the top spec GLX can be had for $19,990 driveway with a 1.2-litre petrol engine that produces 66kW and 120Nm, teamed with a continuously variable transmission. It’s light, nimble on its 16-inch alloy wheels, and is quite a bit of fun to drive.

Standard equipment includes a touchscreen with satellite navigation, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, rear-view camera, Bluetooth, cruise control, leather steering wheel, HID headlights with LED daytime running lights, climate control and keyless start.

Suzuki also offer a three-year/100,000km warranty.


All-new Renault Megane Wagon & Sedan hit our shores

Following on from the arrival of the new Megane hatch in September 2016, the Megane family continues to grow, with addition of a wagon and sedan body style, now available.

Unveiled at the 2016 Geneva International Motor Show, the Megane wagon is both elegant and sporty and features an intuitive, modular interior and large cargo capacity. The Megane sedan completes the line-up. Its four door body design delivers a stylish vehicle with refined features. The Megane wagon and sedan represent a strong offering for the Megane nameplate and perfectly complement the Megane hatch.

Test drive the all new Megane Wagon and sedan at the dealership today. You will be impressed!


2017 Nissan Pathfinder Review ST AWD Review

The 2017 Nissan Pathfinder ST offers a budget-friendly seven-seater worthy of consideration if you've got a big crew you need to move.

There are plenty of choices out there for buyers after a seven-seat SUV, and the Nissan Pathfinder is one of the most popular ones.

Now, with the introduction of the 2017 Nissan Pathfinder line-up – which has seen a big mid-life update with a new look, revised drivetrain and strong pricing – the new range will undoubtedly remain a popular choice for customers in a segment that includes some thoroughly impressive options, like the Mazda CX-9, Kia Sorento and Hyundai Santa Fe.

The updated Pathfinder range sports a new appearance, with revised headlights, a new grille and bumper, new wheel designs and colours, and different looking tail-lights, too.

The base model ST variant is priced from just $41,990 plus on-road costs for the front-drive model through to $45,490 for the all-wheel-drive version that we have here (Nissan lists it at $49,797 drive-away). 

It comes well specified for that expenditure, with 18-inch alloy wheels with Continental tyres, rear privacy glass, a rear-view camera and rear parking sensors, a new 8.0-inch touchscreen media unit with two USB ports, push-button start and keyless entry, and the driver’s seat has electric adjustment. To keep things cool – or warm – there’s three-zone climate control.

It’s worth considering that only the ST misses out on Nissan's suite of active safety technology – if you choose the ST-L or Ti models, you get autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, rear cross-traffic alert and a surround-view camera system – and you can’t option it on an entry grade car. That may or may not be a big consideration for you, depending on your feelings about safety kit. But, rest assured, there is airbag protection for all outboard passengers, with seven airbags fitted (dual front, front side, full-length curtain and driver’s knee).

Our ST has the 3.5-litre V6 engine. There’s a hybrid model with a 2.5-litre four-cylinder supercharged engine, which adds $2500 to the price of the base model ST 2WD, and it’s available in ST guise with front-drive only. If you want AWD you need to spend up big on the ST-L ($60,690).

The 3.5-litre six-cylinder petrol engine has seen a power bump of 12kW and 15Nm, with totals of 202kW and 340Nm. The difference is hardly what you’d call profound, but it offers strong response when you get on the throttle from the traffic lights. This V6-CVT pairing is a peach, one of the best drivetrains in the class. While the engine is vocal when you do give it a bit of stick, the response on offer outweighs it. Plus, it doesn't sound too bad.

Because the Pathfinder is aimed at the US market, there is no diesel option, thus it strays from the Pathfinder’s roots. It used to be a hardcore off-roader, based off the Navara platform, with diesel as its mainstay. But this version, which launched in 2013, has always been petrol only, with hybrid as its alternative drivetrain.

That’s not to say that the Pathfinder is as soft as it appears. There’s a switch-on-the-fly four-wheel-drive system that is one of the simplest examples of that technology on the market. There are three settings: 2WD for running around town or on the highway, Auto mode which will adjust the torque distribution depending on the surface conditions – handy if it’s raining – and Lock four-wheel-drive mode for more serious terrain.

The update saw Nissan make adjustments to the suspension and steering components of the Pathfinder, with a quicker steering rack and a firmer suspension tune – and the big SUV is all the better for it. The body control is better than it was – previously if you went over a series of bumps, paved or not, the Pathfinder could wallow and wobble, but now it feels more tied down and more controlled and comfortable as a result. The steering is better, too – it doesn’t feel quite as woolly on centre as it did previously. When you choose Auto, or in particular, Lock modes, the steering is very heavy at low speeds, and the turning circle is large.

The 3.5-litre V6 model has a tow capacity of 2700 kilograms (for a braked trailer, or 750kg for un-braked trailers), which is strong for this type of SUV. But that’s yet another reason not to buy the hybrid, which has just 1650kg capacity. There’s a tow mode button, too, which adjusts the behaviour of the gearbox to make hauling feel like easier work.

This is a large vehicle, stretching more than five metres long and spanning close to two metres wide, and Nissan reckons the Pathfinder has seven ‘adult-sized’ seats. We agree.

Space for adults in the back is among the best in class. There’s a huge amount of space in the second row, and that seat slides to allow access to the back row. There’s a fold and tumble mechanism to make it easier to get in to the third row, and even for awkward adults like me it’s an easy task. If you adjust the seats to suit a six-footer in the third row, there’s still adequate legroom and headroom all around. Toe-room is a bit tight in both rows, but vision from all three rows is great.

In summary the Pathfinder is hugely practical, comfortable and powerful, and if you’re a fan of any of those things and don’t insist upon a diesel engine, you should probably put it on your seven-seater short-list! Test drive it today.

New-Generation Toyota Camry Preview

New-Generation Toyota Camry Preview

Toyota Australia will launch an all-new premium Camry in November featuring dynamic design and performance credentials, including new direct-injection hybrid and V6 powertrains.

The eighth-generation Camry is built on a new platform that underpins more evocative styling, sportier handling and agility, improved ride comfort and advanced technologies.

This lightweight and high-strength structure improves torsional rigidity by 30 per cent, enabling Toyota to apply its engineering and design strengths for a more dynamic character with added emotional appeal in the way Camry looks, feels and drives.

Other "firsts" for Camry include LED headlamps, double-wishbone rear suspension and an electric parking brake as well as available 19-inch alloy wheels, 10-inch colour head-up display, 8-inch touch-screen audio display and 7-inch multi-information display in the instrument cluster.

Toyota's advanced safety suite is standard, including a pre-collision system with autonomous emergency braking, all-speed active cruise control, lane departure alert with steering assist, automatic high beam, a reversing camera and seven airbags. Select variants will also come with blind spot monitor and rear cross-traffic alert.

Toyota Australia's executive director sales and marketing Tony Cramb said new Camry's creators have produced a more refined, athletic image while injecting a fun driving experience with rapid acceleration, crisp handling and enhanced ride comfort.

"Driving enthusiasts in particular will appreciate the next-generation hybrid Camry that is engineered to provide spirited performance and driving enjoyment along with impressive gains to fuel efficiency," Mr Cramb said.

"At the same time, Camry retains the proven, dependable and safe reputation that has made it Australia's top-selling mid-size car for almost a quarter of a century," 
he said.

Two new powertrains with direct-injection engine technology will be available on the next-generation Camry, in addition to a four-cylinder petrol with revised six-speed automatic transmission.

The latest Toyota Hybrid System provides spirited performance and driving enjoyment as well as significantly improved fuel economy. It features new sequential shift technology that provides access to six ratios via the shift lever or available paddle shifters.

The system combines an all-new 2.5-litre in-line four-cylinder D-4S direct-injection petrol engine with lighter, smaller and more efficient hybrid components. Normal, Eco and Sport driving modes can be engaged even in electric-only (EV) operation.

A new Auto Glide Control system acts like a neutral gear to help improve fuel efficiency while ensuring smooth engine braking when coasting, such as towards a red light.

Hybrid system combined output is 155kW with overall fuel economy expected to be below 4.5 litres/100km1.

The 2018 model-year Camry is also available with a new 3.5-litre V6 engine with 
D-4S direct injection, paired with a new eight-speed direct-shift automatic transmission.

With an efficient 11.8:1 compression ratio and able to utilise both the Otto and Atkinson cycles for optimum performance and efficiency, the V6 has expected power and torque figures around 222kW @ 6,600 rpm and 356Nm @ 4,700 rpm.

Further aiding performance is new fully independent double-wishbone rear suspension system that contributes to responsive handling, precise steering control and comfort.

Camry's premium styling features a dynamic silhouette with deeply sculpted character lines, an extended roofline and a longer, wider stance with lower bonnet and roof lines that reflect the car's lower centre of gravity. Interior space has been maintained by lowering the occupants' hip points and therefore seating positions.

There are two different front masks, each featuring a two-piece grille with an upper section that accommodates a commanding Toyota emblem. The sporty version adopts large side intakes and a powerfully expressive gloss black mesh grille. 
All models are equipped with LED headlights, DRLs and taillights.

Camry will offer greater distinction between grades including 17, 18 and 19-inch alloy wheels. Sports grades will also be fitted with an aggressive body kit.

A high-quality cabin features a sporty cockpit for the driver and a sense of openness and freedom for passengers. Interior surfaces employ premium soft-touch materials with an advanced mixture of tones and hues to enhance passenger comfort and visual satisfaction.

Re-engineered seats offer improved refinement, ergonomics and comfort with detailed stitching that reflects the high level of craftsmanship throughout the vehicle.

Through TNGA, the Camry now has an ideal driving position for the driver, allowing for better concentration on the road ahead while helping to reduce fatigue. 
These changes, along with a lower beltline, redesigned instrument panel and thinner windscreen pillars, improve visibility and therefore safety.

Luggage space is improved with a gain of 30 litres in hybrid variants due to relocating the hybrid battery from the boot to beneath the rear seat, which also aids driving characteristics.