Long-Distance Cruisers

8 min read
If you’ve been following our coverage of the London-to-Singapore AUTOVENTURETM, you may be wondering what type of vehicle to get for your long distance drive. Travelling overland requires a vehicle that is spacious, reliable and comfortable. A little performance and driveability also go a long way to making the miles go by effortlessly. Here are three you can’t go wrong with when it’s come to pack up and go.

1. RANGE ROVER SPORT HST

Racking up the miles on a trip overland means many hours on the road. It goes without saying that driving a car that offers comfort and good handling helps make the time go by easily.

The Range Rover Sport HST is just about one of the most luxurious vehicles you can pick for a trip like this. Straight off the mark, its 400PS Ingenium 3.0-litre straight-six petrol engines provide all the power you need when traversing borders and cruising those long highways to your destination. And with 550Nm of torque (HST 3.0P MHEV), it can pull you up any hill or out of troublesome situations with the greatest of ease. It also does not hurt that it can go from 0 to 100km/h in 5.9 seconds with a top speed of 225km/h.

Despite the engine’s heft, the engineers at Range Rover has created a new Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicle powertrain that underpins the new engine, bringing enhanced efficiency, with fuel economy of 9.2 litres/100km and a carbon dioxide emission rate of 213g/km. Furthermore, the set-up is based around an all-new Start-Stop system that switches off the engine when stationary and pairs engine with an electric motor. This allows the MHEV system to use the decelerating motion to regenerate and store the energy into the on-board 48V battery. The stored energy can then be redeployed through torque-assist, reducing carbon dioxide emission by reducing the workload on the engine.

Safety is key on a long drive, and the Range Rover’s suite of safety enhancements is up to the task. Owners will also benefit from traditional capability features, such as the Terrain Response system, which allows the vehicle to change and adjust vehicle settings depending on different road surfaces.

Of course, this being a Range Rover, you have all the elements that exude luxury and class. Customers will have a choice of four exterior colours: Santorini Black, Fuji White, Indus Silver and Firenze Red. And the 21-inch nine-spoke Style 9001 wheel in gloss black comes standard, contrasting nicely with the red brake.

Inside, everything points to the brand’s exquisite attention to detail — 16-way Dynamic front seats featuring an updated colour pattern with suede detailing on the steering wheel and gear lever, Satin Chrome gear shift paddles, an HST badged facia — you know that you’ll get to where you’re going in style.

PRICE  $382,999* (HST 3.0P MHEV, with COE)
ENGINE  2,966CC IN-LINE 6-CYLINDER PETROL
TRANSMISSION  AUTOMATIC 8-SPEED WITH PADDLE SHIFT
POWER  400PS
TORQUE  550NM @ 2,000–5,000RPM
0–100KM/H  5.9 SECONDS
DISTRIBUTOR  WEARNES AUTOMOTIVE PTE LTD (Tel: 6378 2626)

*Information accurate as at time of publishing.

2. SUBARU FORESTER 2.0I EYESIGHT

The ever-popular Subaru Forester is into its fifth iteration, and it has gotten better and bigger. This hard-charging, reliable and highly driveable SUV from the Japanese brand with the stars continues to offer long-drive aficionados with a vehicle that ticks all the boxes — and then some.

What’s new is that the latest version is built on Subaru’s new Global Platform, and features the unique EyeSight advanced driver-assist technology that includes automatic pre-collision braking, pre-collision throttle management, adaptive cruise control, lead vehicle start alert, lane departure, and lane sway warning.

To enhance safety, the Subaru Rear Vehicle Detection uses radar sensors installed on the rear of the vehicle to detect objects and vehicles. When a blind spot is detected, visual indicators light up to make sure the driver is aware of his or her surroundings.

Drive performance and handling have always been hallmarks of Subaru, and the all-new Forester continues this tradition. The redesigned chassis delivers less shake, less road noise, and better handling. And the X-MODE function brings driving to another level when it comes to handling difficult terrains. The car also has a hill descent control function, which modulates its speed when coming down steep slopes.

 

Handling is further improved with Active Torque Vectoring, which enables drivers to control their vehicles exactly as intended, for outstanding cornering stability and hazard avoidance. Brake force is applied to the inner wheels, distributing more torque to the outer wheels when making sharp turns.

A new direct-injection Boxer engine powers the SUV, improving horsepower while boosting fuel efficiency. A new Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) with seven-speed manual mode enhances acceleration and fuel efficiency.

On the practicality front, the Forester offers road clearance at an impressive 220mm, and has raised roof rails with added tie-down points for varied load options. Cargo space has also increased by 251 litres to 1,775 litres over the previous model.

The new Subaru Forester comes in two versions: the 2.0i-S and 2.0i-L. Both feature active cruise control, autonomous emergency braking, satellite navigation, powered tailgate, electric front seat adjustment, smart keys, LED headlights that swivel to follow the steering, and eight-inch touchscreens. The S model has 18-inch wheels and Subaru Rear Vehicle Detection.

Whichever model you choose, the Forester is arguably one of the best value-for-money mile-eater that’s primed for long-distance driving.

PRICE  $111,800 / $116,800* (2.0i-L EyeSight / 2.0i-S EyeSight, with COE)
ENGINE  1,995CC, DIRECT FUEL INJECTION, HORIZONTALLY OPPOSED, 4-CYLINDER DOHC, PETROL
TRANSMISSION  LINEARTRONIC CVT
POWER  156PS @ 6,000RPM
TORQUE  196NM @ 4,000RPM
0–100KM/H  10.3 SECONDS
DISTRIBUTOR  MOTOR IMAGE ENTERPRISES PTE LTD (Tel: 6703 8168)

*Information accurate as at time of publishing.

3. VW TOUAREG

In case you aren’t aware, the Touaregs are a nomadic tribe of Berbers in North Africa who can reputedly endure tough conditions — no wonder VW decided to name its largest model after this hardy people.

The third generation of VW’s hefty SUV comes with an update in design, innovative technologies, safety systems, handling, and craftsmanship. The carmaker’s most technologically advanced model to date, it is equally adept at handling long-distance and city driving.

You can — just by looking at it — know that this is the one vehicle that you ought to take when planning a cross-border drive. The new version is wider, longer and lower than its predecessor; most importantly, has increased its luggage capacity to a cavernous 810 litres! Despite this larger profile, the new Touareg is 106kg lighter than before, due mostly to the use of lightweight aluminium in its construction.

Drivers will not lack power while behind the wheel — the three-litre, 340PS V6 turbo petrol engine is engineered to provide power when you need it, without compromising on comfort or agility. And if you select the R-Line, this comfort enhances the air suspension, and provides auto self-levelling and height adjustment of the system to optimise the SUV’s aerodynamics.

Having a car that handles well sets your mind at ease when driving in unfamiliar territories. The new Touareg R-Line is the first VW model to offer an actively steering rear wheel axle, known as all-wheel steering. The four wheels of the car are driven at the same time depending on the driving situation for greater manoeuvrability and agility. When driven below 37km/h, the rear wheels turn at an opposing angle to the front wheels, making it especially easy to handle tight parking spaces or executing a U-turn.

Owners can choose between Atmosphere or Elegance for the interiors. Atmosphere offers a new “lounge-type” accent, where wood and natural tones are used; Elegance, on the other hand, offers an edgier “metal and matching colours” disposition.

On a long drive, several drivers may take the wheel in turn. This is where the Touareg’s seven-driver profiles option comes in useful. Settings such as the air conditioner temperature, seat height, and driving profile can be personalised at the touch of a button.

Safety is always front and centre with the Touareg, and the car offers the latest technologies available. Front Assist Function with City Emergency Brake uses a radar sensor integrated behind the Volkswagen badge on the front grille to continuously monitor the distance to vehicles ahead at speeds up to 250km/h. The Lane Assist system makes use of cameras to monitor lane markings, ensuring that the Touareg stays in its lane. Side Assist with Rear Traffic Alert uses sensors on the side of the car to monitor traffic behind. If the radar detects a vehicle in the area not visible to the driver, or that is approaching fast from behind, the driver is alerted via a visual signal in the exterior mirror.

Comfort, performance and safety are the pillars on which the new Touareg stands — it is destined to get you to where you wish to go in one piece and smiling.

 

PRICE  From $289,400* (Elegance model, with COE)
ENGINE  2,995CC, 6-CYLINDER, TSI PETROL WITH 24-VALVES, TURBOCHARGED
TRANSMISSION  8-SPEED AUTOMATIC TIPTRONIC
POWER  340PS @ 5,300–6,400RPM
TORQUE  450NM @ 1,340–5,300RPM
0–100KM/H  5.9 SECONDS
DISTRIBUTOR  VOLKSWAGEN SINGAPORE (Tel: 6474 8288)

*Information accurate as at time of publishing.