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Wednesday, 20 Nov 2013

Australia's Best Car Awards fall short on answers for those who tow

Land Rover Discovery 4 TDV6
Land Rover Discovery 4 TDV6

The Australia's Best Cars website reports that the Land Rover Discovery 4 TDV6 took its narrowest victory ever in last year’s Australia’s Best Cars program in the All Terrain 4WD category. The $75,469 (Indicative Drive Away) Discovery took home an Australia’s Best Cars trophy for a record ninth time this year (2013).

The Discovery won by a larger points margin than in 2012, but once again the 2nd placed Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo 3 litre V6 turbo, diesel auto hit its competition right between the eyes, the Australia's Best Cars Website says.

The Jeep Grand Cherokee has a new, fuel efficient eight-speed transmission, and new two-wheel-drive option.

At $55,800 drive away for the entry level Laredo model with a 3.0-litre V6 diesel, the Grand Cherokee was $19,669 cheaper than its closest rival in this year’s Australia’s Best Cars Awards.

Opt for the 3.6-litre petrol V6 version with two wheel drive, and the price comes down to around $45,000 drive away. As a result the Grand Cherokee scored particularly well for its pricing in this year’s ABC Awards. Its low price also meant it was well ahead of the pack for its low depreciation.
Jeep Grand Cherokee
Jeep Grand Cherokee

Dual Cab Utilities (DCUs) have been included in Australia’s Best Cars rankings for  the first time this year, due to steadily growing popularity.

GoSeeAustralia believes that to inform Australian buyers who plan their vehicle purchase to haul caravans, boats, horse floats and trailers the Australia's Best Cars category criteria should report outcomes from the point of view of those who tow in the relevant categories among the 15 evaluated.

While the judges criteria includes additions for 4x4 Dual Cab Utes which evaluate rated towing and payload there seems to be nothing in place to report on Gross Combined Mass (GCM) and the vehicles ability to function within the manufacturer's warranty specifications while towing. GoSeeAustralia believes this should include maximum axle loadings set by the vehicle maker.

This applies particularly to Best All-Terrain 4 Wheel Drive and Best 4x4 Dual Cab Ute. It is from these areas that a significant number of vehicles which will be used for towing are chosen.

In the case of the Land Rover Discovery 4 TDV6, Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo 3 litre V6 turbo 8-speed diesel auto and the Toyota Landcruiser Prado GXL 3l turbo 4 cyl 5-speed auto which placed 1, 2 and 3 in the All-Terrain 4WD category there are warranty issues when towing which set them apart.

For example whether or not the vehicle maker will honour warranty if towing safety aids like Weight Distribution Hitches (WDH) are used. Land Rover, Toyota and Jeep have significantly different positions on warranty when their vehicles are put to work towing. GoSee believes that leading vehicles in the All-Terrain 4WD and Best 4x4 Dual Cab Ute categories attract buyers who value specifications which reflect safety, strength, controlled power, weight, carrying and towing capacity and warranty which includes towing with equipment the vehicle owner prefers.

Fords 4x4 Dual Cab Ute category winner is a case in point. Ford does not recommend a Weight Distribution Hitch be used when towing with the Ranger XL 3.2 diesel auto. Auto or manual is another point to ponder when chosing a working vehicle. Across makers, auto and manual and options within model ranges it is essential to check specs.

ABC says - Ranger’s hill climbing power when loaded, smart 4WD including switchable low range, and long wheelbase stability make it an ideal vehicle for towing. It has a 3,500 kg rated towing capability and includes electronic trailer sway control as standard, ABC says.
VW Amarok with GSA Blue Sky caravan
VW Amarok with GSA Blue Sky caravan

With the 3rd placegetter in the ABC 4x4 Dual Cab Ute category ABC says Volkswagens Amarok Highline TD1420 is the most civilised example of the type. It has the biggest load tray in the class.

Its 8-speed auto transmission makes a surprise packet of the small 2 litre diesel engine, but ground clearance and heavy load performance fall short of the competition.

In the SUV $45,000 to $65,000 category Ford's 2.7 litre turbo 4 cyl 6-speed auto diesel Territory took third place. This is the vehicle with which Ford could have captured the  Australian family SUV market had they fitted the diesel option earlier. It is a bigger wagon. ABC says the 2.7 litre turbo-diesel engine’s strong mid-range torque provides flexible performance for everyday driving and makes it a good towing vehicle.

Heads up again on model choice buyers the 2WD version has a maximum rated towing capacity of 2,300 kg.

Ford Territory is available in two-wheel-drive (2WD) form as well as four-wheel-drive (4WD) configuration.

Territory’s top-selling variant is the base model TX version 2WD, with the 2.7 litre turbo-diesel engine and a six-speed automatic transmission. Choosing the 2WD model limits the vehicle’s off-road ability but for many buyers the cost saving is well worth it as they have no intention of venturing down bush tracks, ABC says. $47,408 (Indicative drive away).

Editors Note: From GSA Forums General  Dec 7 2012: Auto Clubs Australias Best Cars Awards not about tow tugs
Posted By:Garth 
The Auto Clubs Australia's Best Cars Awards, out now, are  not about value for dollar tow tugs. The category is All Terrain 4WD. The Land Rover Discovery 4 SDV6 SE wins for the 8th time in a row on its carefully calculated all-terrain merits.
It costs $84,300. This does not include on-road costs. Total points 1100 from the highly skilled judges for the Disco.
The news for people who tow is the Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo CRD 5dr diesel. It is runner-up. It costs $50,000 before on-road costs. Saving $34,300 on the Disco before on-roads.
The JGC scored 1082 possible points. The judges gave it a 9 on price. The Disco rated 5.
Both the Disco and the Jeep are rated to tow 3500kg. Jeep warranty says 350kg on the towball maximum. Jeep is  open to Weight Distribution equipment. Land Rover is not.
Both the Disco and the Jeep lay down serious torque 600Nm and 550Nm respectively. (Editors Note 2012, early 2013 figures). 
The star in the east number for Jeep is the judges rating on depreciation. 9 for the Jeep 6 for the Disco.
The other highs for the Jeep are all 9's - safety, performance, handling. These line-up with the Disco which true to its  off-road brilliance gets a pair of 10's for engine gearing/traction and clearance articulation. Garth.
Editors note: Vehicles are ranked for depreciation cost in dollars, based on Glass's Predicted Future Values.
The judges (2012) are Ernest Litera and Greg Hill (RACV) John Ewing, Barry Green and Patrica Ewing (RACQ), Tim Pomroy and Trent Nikolic (NRMA) Darren Moody and Lindy George (RACT), Mark Borlace chief judge and Andrew Clark (RAASA) and Alex Forrest (RACWA). 
Acknowledgement - With the help of our generous sponsor Northstar Jeep, in Kippa-Ring, Queensland on the Redcliffe Peninsula GoSeeAustralia has  put together this Information Article. Sponsors cover the cost of staff time researching stories.  

 It is through sponsors like this that GSA and GSNZ and their information library  have remained  free to users for the last 10 years. 

Northstar Motor Group is one of South East Queensland's largest Chrysler, Jeep, and Dodge dealers. They were awarded the Fiat Chrysler Northern Metro Dealer of the Year for 2012. Northstar traces its history back over 40 years when Alistair Stewart and Mal Wright Chrysler kicked off in Margate, another Redcliffe Suburb. Through owners Bob and Suzi Aldons, Northstar has grown to be one of the largest privately owned companies in the area, but hasn't lost sight of the importance of being a community member.
Northstar Motor Group sells Chrysler Dodge, Isuzu Ute, Volkswagen, Alfa Romeo Fiat, Mahindra, Used Cars and importantly for this story Jeep.

These Information Articles from the GoSee Free library also relate to the Jeep Grand Cherokee. GoSeeAustralia has two Grand Cherokee Laredo  4x4 3L diesels among its tow tugs. GSA has a top of the  range Jeep Overland 8-speed diesel on order. We expect  to take delivery in  February. The Overland will take on the role of our reliable Canberra based Toyota Sahara 100 series diesel auto.

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For more information
contact: Garth Morrison
Editor Go See Australia and Go See New Zealand Directory

Northstar Jeep

Your Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo has 3,500kg towing capacity. Ideal for your caravan, boat, trailer or horse float.

Jeep, Second Award winner in 2013 Australian Best Cars Award All Terrain 4WD category.

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