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Lexus Australia beats rivals on after-sales service

Some interesting findings have come out of the latest survey of Australian luxury car owners, though it was Lexus that once again claimed the highest percentage of happy customers.
The J.D. Power 2017 Australia Customer Service Index (Luxury) Study was released this afternoon and shows that on a 1000-point scale it was Lexus (869) that scored highest, ahead of Mercedes-Benz (852).
Related: Lexus to offer five-seat LX 570
Those two marques were the only brands above the industry average (842).
Audi (840) and BMW (835) weren’t too far off the pace in third and fourth respectively.
The study looks at five factors (listed in order of importance): service quality; vehicle pick-up; service advisor; service initiation; and service facility.
Some of the interesting findings included an increasing shift to customers booking their vehicles for service via websites, though this method ranked lowest for satisfaction among the car owners polled.
Calling for a booking and doing it in-person were the more favoured methods.
It was also found that satisfaction increases when service advisors repeat requests to customers to ensure understanding.
And the explanation and communication of costs remains a critical ingredient in keeping customers happy.
Overall satisfaction among customers who receive explanations from the service advisor and pay what they expect is higher than among those who receive no explanation while also paying as expected.
While offering alternative transport is appreciated.
J.D. Power finding that among customers who required transportation after dropping their vehicles off for service, overall satisfaction is highest among the 32% who were offered a free loan vehicle.
And, for the first time since 2014, the percentage of customers saying that work was done right first time has declined across the luxury segment (93.5% in 2017 vs. 95.0% in 2016).
Related: Australia to get three-row Lexus RX SUV
Stay up to date with the latest Lexus News at behindthewheel.com.au.
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WEBCO Mitsubishi Pajero shocks recalled

Mitsubishi Pajero owners who recently replaced their front shock absorbers are being urged to ensure their vehicle isn’t affected by this recall.
Being overseen by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), the recall involves WEBCO shock absorbers.
Related: Safety system issue sparks Jeep Cherokee recall
The suspect parts fit the front suspension of Mitsubishi Pajero (MY 2000 onward) vehicles, carry the Part Number: SS3040, and were sold in Australia between the 20th of June 2017 and the 24th of November 2017.
The recall notice advises that in certain circumstances, the shock absorber could fail and cause potential separation of suspension components.
What are the hazards?
If the shock absorber fails while the vehicle is in motion, there is a risk of loss of control of the vehicle, posing a potential accident hazard to the driver and other road users.
What should affected Pajero owners do?
Consumers who have the affected shock absorbers should immediately stop using them and contact Just Suspension by phone on 02 8809 8136 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm AEST) or email sales@justsuspension.com.au to receive a set of replacement shock absorbers or a full refund of the purchase price.
Related: ACCC overseeing recall of Car Towing Strap
Stay up to date with the latest vehicle recalls at behindthewheel.com.au.
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Bentley Continental GT most popular supercar of 2017

Here’s a great list of cars to keep handy, just in case your lotto numbers come up!
JBR Capital are providers of high-end vehicle finance, they’ve just named the top 10 most popular supercar models that they’ve provided loans on over the past year.
Related: Details on 2018 Bentley Continental GT released
And it’s the big Bentley, the Continental GT, that has proven the most popular supercar says Darren Selig, Executive Chairman at JBR Capital.
“Bentley has produced beautiful, powerful cars for almost a century.
“The second-generation Continental GT brings traditional Bentley performance and refinement right up to date with a glorious 4.0 litre V8 engine – preferred to the less charismatic W12 powerplant.
“This car tops the list as the most popular car amongst our high net worth clients, and you need only spend a short time in the car to see why.
“The interior is stylish and refined while the exterior is far from ostentatious. It whispers luxury and success, rather than shouts it.”
JBR Capital Most Financed Supercars 2017:

Bentley Continental GT
McLaren 570S
Ferrari 458
Audi R8
Lamborghini Gallardo
Tesla Model S
Aston Martin V8 Vantage
Porsche 911 GT3
Maserati GranTurismo S
Mercedes SLS AMG

Related: Bentley Bentayga goes diesel
Stay up to date with the latest Bentley News at behindthewheel.com.au.
Which car would you pick out of that bunch? Let us know your favourite in the comments section below.
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Australia-only Audi R8 special edition confirmed

An Audi R8 is a pretty special car, but now there’s a chance to get a very limited-edition version into your car collection.
Audi has confirmed it will create a special, quite exclusive, version of the R8 for Australia-only – the R8 V10 plus Neuburg Edition.
Related: 2018 Audi RS 3 Sportback arrives in Australia
Just 10 cars, all individually numbered, will be built and imported into Australia.
Named after the Audi Sport headquarters in Neuburg, Germany, prices start from $402,500.
Making the car the special edition vehicle that it is, Audi has added:

20” alloy wheels in Anthracite gloss black
Gloss carbon engine covers
Titanium black exterior package
Black Nappa leather interior with red diamond pattern stitching
Gloss carbon interior Inlays

There’s a choice of four exterior colours – Tango red, Mythos black, Suzuka grey and Daytona grey.
While the lucky 10 who take delivery of an R8 Neuburg Edition will also receive an exclusive, bespoke gift pack that includes Bang & Olufsen H6 headphones and a Samsung Galaxy Tab.
Related: Audi Q2 range welcomes new turbo-petrol engine
Stay up to date with the latest Audi News at behindthewheel.com.au.
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Honda Civic Type R claims another title

Our own Peter Barnwell recently declared the Honda Civic Type R as the best front-wheel drive hot hatch he has ever driven.
That’s not a bad recommendation given Barney has been reviewing cars for more decades than he would like to admit!
Related: Honda unveils EV concepts
The new Honda offering has picked up a swag of awards including TopGear Car of the Year, and was also recently named Motor Authority ‘Top Performance Car’ for 2017.
Now comes another accolade – Digital Trends ‘Best Car of 2017‘.
The U.S. technology news site recognized the Civic Type R for its power and handling, along with its everyday usability and affordability…
Whether you put the Type R to work on windy back roads or on the track, it communicates its limits confidently, as you to inch closer and closer to the edge without too much worry.
When it’s not playing track toy, the Type R is still a Civic, so you have a comfortable amount of space that can house four passengers, as well as usable available cargo space behind the rear hatch.
Related: Electrification for all Honda cars in two years (in Europe)
Stay up to date with the latest Honda News at behindthewheel.com.au.
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2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk lands in Australia

Jeep has confirmed the keenly-anticipated Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk is now available at Australian dealerships.
Prices start from a hefty $134,900 and while that might seem a lot of money for a Jeep this vehicle seems to have more than the performance credentials to justify the price tag.
Related: Safety system issue sparks Jeep Cherokee recall
Arriving in Australia just as the traditional high-performance V8 sedans start to disappear, Jeep Australia is hopeful of winning some traditional Ford and Holden buyers over with the head-turning new offering.
You would think that even the biggest V8 fan would be excited by the prospect of getting behind the wheel of the Trackhawk.
Under the bonnet is a stonking great 6.2 litre Hemi V8 that produces a whopping 522kW of power and 868Nm of torque.
Jeep say their new Grand Cherokee variant is the quickest full-size SUV in the world with a 0-100km/h sprint time of just 3.7 seconds.
And so far it has proven popular – the 62 Trackhawks that arrived as part of Australia’s first allocation have already been snapped up.
Jeep boss, Steve Zanlunghi tells us there really is nothing quite like it available in Australia.
“The Grand Cherokee Trackhawk not only sets new standards in the Australian SUV market, but the overall performance car market,”
“In terms of value for money in the performance segment, it will be difficult to find anything else that comes close.”
The new Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk lands in conjunction with a new-generation Jeep Compass as the U.S. SUV/off-roader brand looks to getting sales moving north again in Australia.
Related: 2018 Jeep Wrangler specs confirmed
Stay up to date with all the latest Jeep News at behindthewheel.com.au.
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Maserati Levante tweaked for 2018

Maserati dealerships in Australia are now taking delivery of the 2018 version of the Levante SUV.
The big news is the Australian arrival of the new twin-turbo V6 petrol version – the Maserati Levante S.
Related: Maserati to go electric in two years
We got along to the Australian launch of that new version of the inaugural Maserati SUV and you can check out that review here.
Also coming to the 2018 Maserati Levante is a new electric steering system.
Replacing the previous mechanical power steering, Maserati say going electric helps take strain off the engine and that means better fuel economy and performance.
The electric power steering system is also lighter.
There’s also new driver aids, including lane keep assist, auto dipping headlights, active blind-spot assist and highway assist.
That last feature helps keep you within your lane at highway speeds.
Maserati quick to point out too that most of theses aids can be switched off should you not require them, and if you do switch them off they stay off until you go into the settings and turn them back on.
And another handy new feature that Levante boasts is traffic sign recognition.
The system scans road signs and then displays that speed in the driver info screen – if you’re breaking the limit it will flash at you.
Lastly, Maserati has also introduced new model variants – GranSport and GranLusso, these allow Levante buyers to choose the look and feel of their new luxury SUV that better suits their taste.
For example, GranSport gets black exterior highlights and sportier seats, the GranLusso boast chrome highlights on the body and piano black interior highlights in the cabin.
The 2018 Maserati Levante S range is priced from $139,990.
Related: 2018 Maserati Ghibli revealed in China
Stay up to date with all the latest Maserati News at behindthewheel.com.au.
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2018 Jeep Compass arrives in Australia

There’s another player coming into the small SUV race with Jeep launching the new-generation Jeep Compass into Australia.
Now positioned as a global model, the five-seat Jeep SUV for right-hand drive markets is built in India and arrives locally at the front of a line of new/updated Jeep products coming our way.
Related: Safety system issue sparks Jeep Cherokee recall
We got along to an event welcoming the new-generation Compass to Australia, but are yet to have a drive.
What we can confirm is that the model sits between the existing Jeep Renegade and the larger Jeep Cherokee and prices kick off from $28,850.
There will be four model grades offered to Aussie SUV buyers – Sport, Longitude, Limited (as seen in the photos) and Trailhawk.
Standard features in the entry-level model include:

129kW/229Nm 2.4 litre ‘Tigershark’ petrol engine
Six-speed manual transmission
17″ alloy wheels
Reverse camera
Digital radio
Electric park brake

A six-speed auto transmission is an additional $1,900.
The Longitude adds a few other convenience features such as auto headlights and wipers, and the standard fitment of the auto transmission.
Stepping up to the Compass Limited nets you the option of the 125kW/350Nm 2.0 litre ‘MultiJet’ diesel engine.
The offering also boasts a nine-speed auto transmission and all-wheel drive, along with:

Leather Seats
Heated/power adjustable front seats
18″ Alloy Wheels
Larger touchscreen
Sat-Nav
Apple CarPlay/Android Auto
Push-button ignition
Front and rear parking sensors

Lastly, as is the case with other Jeep offerings, the diesel-powered Compass Trailhawk is the off-road focused version and gains:

Low-range 4×4 system
Off-Road Suspension
Raised Ride Height
Unique Front and Rear Facia
Red Recovery Hooks
Hill Descent Control
Underbody Skid Plates
Full Size Spare Wheel
All Weather Floor Mats

Interestingly, autonomous emergency braking and features like adaptive cruise control aren’t offered as standard in any of the model grades.
Those features can instead be added only to the Limited and Trailhawk as part of an optional $2,450 accessories pack.
2018 Jeep Compass Pricing:

Compass Sport Manual – from $28,850
Compass Sport Auto – from $30,750
Compass Longitude – from $30,750
Compass Limited Petrol – from $41,250
Compass Limited Diesel – from $43,750
Compass Trailhawk – from $44,750

Related: 2018 Jeep Wrangler specs confirmed
Stay up to date with all the latest Jeep News at behindthewheel.com.au.
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Safety system issue sparks Jeep Cherokee recall

Owners of some Jeep Cherokee SUVs sold in Australia are being contacted by Fiat Chrysler Australia (FCA) in regards to a recall confirmed this afternoon.
The recall is being overseen by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and affects KK series 2012-13 Jeep Cherokee SUVs.
Related: Jeep begins long climb back in Australia
Is your Jeep being recalled? Check your VIN here.
The recall notice advises that an internal failure in the Occupant Restraint Controller (ORC) may result in the inability to deploy an Active Headrest (AHR) function during certain rear-end crashes.
What are the hazards?
The Occupant Restraint Controller (ORC) on the vehicle may cause an airbag warning lamp to illuminate due to an internal failure in the ORC.
This may result in the inability to deploy the Active Headrest (AHR) function.
The inability to deploy the AHR function during certain rear-end crashes may increase the risk of injury to front seat occupants during such rear- end crashes.
What should owners do?
FCA will notify owners by sending a courtesy letter, until replacement parts become available.
Once the replacement parts become available, owners will receive a second letter advising to schedule a service booking with their nearest Chrysler Jeep Dodge repair centre, who will inspect the ORC and replace it if necessary.
Related: 2018 Jeep Wrangler specs confirmed
Stay up to date with the latest Jeep News at behindthewheel.com.au.
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Jeep begins long climb back in Australia

It’s been a horror few years for Jeep in Australia, but there looks to be some better times ahead for the off-road focused brand in our market.
Plagued by scandal, questions over quality and reliability, growing competition in the SUV space, and a lack of fresh product, Jeep sales has slumped over the past 12 months.
Related: Fiat Chrysler backs The Smith Family
The latest VFACTS report shows Jeep sales in Australia are down a whopping 35.6% in 2017.
Behind the Wheel was invited to attend a media event in Melbourne last night where we got a look at some of the new Jeep products coming our way in 2018.
These include the about to arrive new-generation Jeep Compass (details embargoed until 5pm this afternoon) and 527kW Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk.
Through 2018 we will also see updated versions of the Cherokee and Renegade and late next-year the new-generation Jeep Wrangler will land.
Asked about the rocky recent past, Jeep Australia CEO Steve Zanlunghi said he couldn’t change any of that, but he said he was feeling good about the future.
“We have laid a lot of good foundations for the future this year, including the five-year Jeep warranty announced back in February.
“Our Australian after-sales customer service satisfaction levels are also at record highs,”
“So, we’ve laid the foundations for our product onslaught that is coming in 2018.”
Related: 2018 Jeep Wrangler specs confirmed
Stay up to date with all the latest Jeep News at behindthewheel.com.au.
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