Tiguan fills the travel bill
I’ve just read your article on Car of the Year and the Volkswagen Tiguan is a very good choice indeed. My wife and I are retired, in our 60s and living in Perth. I’m in the market for a new car for short trips around Australia for five to seven weeks at a time. Our present vehicle is a 10-year-old, six-cylinder petrol Subaru Outback which has been very good to us over the years and owes us nothing. I was keen on either the new Audi A4 Allroad or the Mercedes GLC 250, both petrol, but my wife doesn’t like them or the new Outback. The Tiguan has also been on my radar, as are the yet-to-be-released Mazda CX-5 or, my preferred vehicle, the new Audi Q5. We’re in no hurry but would appreciate your thoughts. David & Val McIntosh, email The Tiguan is clearly good enough for your needs and gets The Tick. Why wait for the Q5 or pay extra just to get the badge?
Volkswagen must have paid the most this year. Aaron Young, Facebook Nobody paid anything — and the credibility of Carsguide is not for sale at any price.
I suspect somebody at Carguide severely upset Toyota. Very few cars considered and rated. But Volkswagen, however ... Ian Schilling, Facebook The Corolla Hybrid came close to a Top 10 place but would not have finished in the top three. VW’s success is not just about the Tiguan but also the Golf and Polo which won (twice, for the Golf), over the past eight years.
BASE, NOT APEX
Great result for the Tiguan. We’ve owned the previous model for six years and are looking to update to your COTY. But which specific model that won the award? Martin and Jean, email We drove the 110TSI Trendline DSG auto, from $34,490 (manual $31,990), which goes to show the basic car is a great choice and you don’t need to spend any more to get the best.
FAST FAN, NOT COOL
Our 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee 3.0-litre turbo diesel had its 60,000km service and the S49 recall fix for a gearshift park issue. Picking up the car, we were advised not to be alarmed but the engine fan would be running at high speed because of the S49 recall. There would be another recall early next year with a patch to rectify the issue. Have you heard of this as we can’t seem to find any information about the fan being affected? We can’t fault the car, it’s been great, and although there are horror stories out there we have never been left by the side of the road. It’s almost out of warranty and I fear
the fan running at high speed may cause undue wear and tear. Amy Brancatisano, email FCA spokesman Glenn Butler says: “The issue Mrs Brancatisano refers to is a potential side-effect of work carried out to address a recall and has absolutely no effect on safety, reliability or driveability of the vehicle. Because customer safety is our No.1 priority, it was important to get an initial fix to market immediately. Our information from the US is we should be in a position next month to overcome the fan noise currently presenting in Mrs Brancatisano’s vehicle, which will of course be at no cost and with minimal inconvenience to her.”
CHANGE OF FOCUS
Have you heard anything about Ford offering discounts on Kugas to existing Focus owners? I got a call from Ford direct, not a dealer, saying that they had checked the database and seen that we own a Focus. They wanted to know whether we would be interested in changing over to a Kuga with a $1000 discount. Is Ford trying to get people out of the Focus to get some problematic DSG gearboxes off the road? Grant Poole, email Ford Australia spokesman Damion Smy says the company is looking to clear Kuga stocks before the Escape’s 2017 arrival. There’s no sinister Focus motive.
Re diesel engines being the better buy for long-distance work. In my experience, some people want the performance of a diesel and fewer visits to the servo and don’t care that it’s costing a bit more overall. Then there’s the particulate filter. It needs to get up to temperature, roughly 20 minutes at freeway speeds, every week or two to burn off the particles to avoid clogging and risking engine damage. If among all the short trips you can’t fit in a decent one every week or two, you’d need to go petrol. Wayne Renfew, email You’re right on the filter but it’s only been in the very recent past that diesels have become performance models, thanks to modern turbo technology and the multiple gears in transmissions. Ask anyone who has driven an old Toyota LandCruiser.
ALL IN THE OIL
Re the CVT gearbox shudder in the Honda Jazz, I can tell you that it simply needs an oil change. I had the same problem on our 2007 Jazz which was solved immediately by the local Honda agent, free. These gearboxes react like the limited-slip differentials popular in cars of the 1970s1980s, which would shudder and even lock up if not given regular oil changes. The Jazz problem arises because the handbook calls for a regular oil change at 80,000km, but if you go to the front of the book where it addresses vehicles that do only short trips, that comes down to 20,000km. Our Jazz had done 32,000km and gave no further trouble after the oil change. Ian Thomas, email Thanks for a top tip.
Re illegal U-turns. A reader states the Australian Road Rules say it is illegal to perform a U-turn at any intersection with traffic lights in all jurisdictions of Australia except Victoria. What Australian Road Rule 40 says is that it is illegal to do so unless there is a “Uturn Permitted” sign erected. So it’s not a blanket ban. Ken Martin, email Actually, it’s a blanket ban with an exception. That exception, which is not the rule, is covered by the sign and the where-permitted caveat.
Fan fix imminent: Jeep Grand Cherokee