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New models unveiled as Australian Motor Show opens

New models of all shapes and sizes have been unveiled at the Australian International Motor Show, which opened to the public October 15.

Taking center stage was Ford, which drew the most attention of any automaker with the global debut of its new Ford Ranger, set to be sold in 180 global markets - but not the US.

Available with three engine options (2.2 and 3.2 liter diesel, 2.5 liter petrol) and 4x2 and 4x4 drivetrains, Ford says that its new pickup truck offers more features than have ever been included with the model, including Adaptive Load Control, Trailer Sway Control, Rear Park Assist and the segment's first Rearview Camera system.

Not to be outdone, Mazda also unveiled a new pickup truck for the competitive Australian "ute" (Australian English for "utility" vehicle) market, the all-new BT-50.

Described by commentators as visually "radically different" from its predecessor, further details on specifications have not been released by Mazda, although the vehicle is set to hit roads next year.

Although the Australian Motor Show plays host to plenty of vehicles capable of tackling the country's wild outback, it's not totally dedicated to pickups.

Another car generating plenty of buzz was the new Barina Spark from Holden, set to challenge vehicles such as the Nissan Micra in the small urban market.

With a 1.2 liter engine, the five-door Barina Spark is based on Chevrolet's Spark model and comes equipped with sports body kit, alloy wheels, fog lamps and rear spoiler as standard.

The Australian International Motor Show runs October 15 - 24 in Sydney - visitors can download the official show app from http://www.motorshow.com.au/iPhoneApp.aspx