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New production cars at the 2008 Sydney Motor Show

Motor shows are a great way of checking out everyone's wares without the stress of showroom pressure tactics. Here are the affordable newbies which debuted at this year's Sydney show.

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Derek Fung

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Sydney Motor Show 2008 Motor shows are a great way of checking out everyone's wares without the stress of showroom pressure tactics. Here are the affordable newbies which debuted at this year's Sydney show.

Under the covers
Car makers generally hide their latest and greatest wares under a shiny satin sheet to keep them away from prying press eyes until just the right moment. Ford, in an effort to be fun, fresh and funky for its new Fiesta covered its new baby under a shroud of newspapers, although everyone already knew what was lurking beneath.

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Everyday cool
Instead of a bevy of models with legs longer than a politician's list of broken promises, Ford decided to drape its new baby car with flotilla of normal(ish) looking young guys and gals. With its sub-AU$16k starting price, it's conceivable that young people could even afford it.

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It's a plane, it's a car, it's a mobile phone
With sales beginning January or February next year, the Fiesta can be had in one of 11 colours. Some Fiestas, like the deep purple, have a similar interior hue as the exterior. As we've covered in previous pieces, the Fiesta's interior draws its inspiration from mobile phones. To appeal to Gen X, Y and beyond, it will come with MP3 player connectivity.

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Plug it in, plug it in
In Melbourne earlier this year Holden stole the show with its steroid fed Coupe 60 concept car. For the Sydney show, the company brought out his nerdy cousin, the Chevy Volt. Revealed to the press just under a month ago, the hybrid Volt is recharged overnight via mains power and can run about 60km on electric power alone, with the on-board petrol engine kicking in thereafter to recharge the batteries.

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Thunderstruck. It's coming to Oz
The Volt is still a few years away from being available in the States — 2010 to be more precise. Holden's big news was that it would be available from 2012 in Australia.

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Not Elvis' Cadillac
After an absence of about 70 years, Cadillac is coming back to these distant shores. The brand that's named after the French founder of Detroit will be dipping its toes in our market with its BMW 5-Series-sized CTS sedan. With its sharp creases and subtle curves it's a good looker, but it's upstaged by the CTS coupe "concept" right beside it.

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Proto-fins
Its aggressively chiselled lines imply speed and the tail-lights are like vestigial tail-fins, a nod to the brand's storied past. In an appeal to good ol' Aussie parochialism, the CTS coupe was styled by ex-Holden design chief, Mark Simcoe. The CTS coupe should be landing here in late 2009.

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A Honda for the city
Honda's City is a tall-boy, mini sedan based on the freshly minted Jazz. The car on display in Sydney is a "concept", but strip away the all too funky headlights and tail-lights, and replace the side-mounted cameras with proper wing mirrors, and you'll have the production version of the City. It's due here in January next year.

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Stylin' up
If you've been to Asia in the last couple years you may have noticed the uber-ugly current generation City. Thankfully this time around Honda has done more than tack a boot onto a Jazz before retiring for a bite of sushi, a sip of Asahi and a few chords of karaoke. Although based on the Jazz, the new City shares no exterior panels with its sibling.

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Fresh from Paris
Despite being only just revealed in Paris, Lexus had another copy of the IS250C to display in Sydney. It goes on sale in Australia in the second half of next year.

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Transformers, roll out!
Like the BMW 3-Series convertible that it's gunning for, the IS250C features a folding metal hardtop that, with the touch of a button, transforms it from big-butt coupe into big-butt open-air cruiser in 21 seconds.

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Anything you can do...
Following the lead set by Mercedes-Benz, VW has taken its humble Passat sedan, ripped out a seat, made it lower, wider and more aggressively styled. Dubbed the Passat CC for comfort coupe, the CC is due on sale early in 2009 for AU$10k more than the normal Passat.

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A new face
Kia was at pains to point out that the front of its new Cerato is going to be the new face of Kia. The car looks nice enough with its swag of hard creases, but it's probably not enough to make anyone think that the Korean brand is a style leader.

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Sick 'em Rex
It's taken a while but Subaru's Impreza and WRX sedans will be coming to Oz by December this year. The return of the sedans to the Impreza range will also be accompanied by more power and a retuned suspension set-up on all WRXes.

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Less awkward
The Impreza sedan is marginally less awkward looking than the hatch and, if you squint, you can just catch a hint of Liberty DNA in there too.

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Go on a Dodge-y journey
Dodge's new Journey straddles that fine line between being a people mover, a wagon and a pseudo-SUV. There's seating for seven as standard, and if you opt for the turbo-diesel instead of the V6 you'll get a dual-clutch transmission.

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That's better
Recent Chrysler group products (that's Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge) have earned a reputation for poor quality interiors. A Jeep Cherokee we reviewed recently had plastic so sharp it could almost cut you. We're pleased to see that Chrysler's lifted its game; the interior of the Dodge Journey is actually quite good — not Golf Mark IV levels yet, but baby steps in the right direction.

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That's Murano, not Monaro
The beautifully styled first generation Murano was a big hit for Nissan in the States but, for whatever reason, failed to fire in Australia. So Nissan's having a second bite at the cherry with the new Murano. It mixes the familiar Murano template with a few cues from the much smaller Dualis.

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It's, umm, different
Let's just say the front of the Murano is different and leave it at that.

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A rubbery swansong
We know there's a new Golf GTI around the corner, so to say farewell to the GTI that's returned the marque to its former glory, Volkswagen's giving us the Pirelli edition. Not only is this shade of eye-searing yellow available on the outside, but it graces the interior too, showing up on the leather seams.

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