Take it easy and save

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Readers Write -

I en­joyed read­ing about Jamie Whin­cup’s re­laxed driv­ing style in the V8 Su­per­cars. I al­ways ap­pre­ci­ate the lessons I learned rid­ing a bi­cy­cle in city traf­fic, es­pe­cially how to plan ahead for lights to turn green. It saved my en­ergy back then, petrol th­ese days. Driv­ing a man­ual prob­a­bly helps make a driver more aware of the road but that is prob­a­bly a lost bat­tle th­ese days.

RobVines, email Yes, with more than 70 per cent of cars de­liv­ered be­ing self-shift­ing, the days of the old-style man­ual look num­bered. TALK THE STALK Just a com­ment on Pro­tons. You men­tioned th­ese cars were devel­oped for Malaysia but I am not so sure that’s the case. I bought a small Pro­ton Saga 1.3 to use as a shop­ping buggy for the odd time I spend in Malaysia. The car’s fine for the pur­pose, with a huge boot. It’s done 13,000km in three years. What bugs me is that they stuck in a steer­ing col­umn meant for left­hand drive, with the stalks on the wrong side for in­di­ca­tors and so on. I am­con­sis­tently flick­ing the wipers when I want to in­di­cate a turn and when I come back two weeks later to my beau­ti­ful Toy­ota HiLux in Mel­bourne I find my­self do­ing the re­verse for a few days. It’s not a big is­sue if it’s the only car one drives, but pesky if one uses more than one car. At least Mercedes-Benz got around the prob­lem with our Vito van, which has only one stalk.

John Eliezer, email We were talk­ing about Pro­tons with tiny en­gines, cab­ins de­signed for lit­tle peo­ple and qual­ity that’s way short of Korean or Ja­panese cars. RAV4: TELLMEM­ORE I’ve been wait­ing for more info on the new Toy­ota RAV4. You make a point of say­ing ‘‘the spare is un­der the floor at the rear’’ but fail to make clear if it’s a full-sized spare, as is the one mounted on the rear door of the cur­rent models. You also say noth­ing about the diesel op­tion, which has been sug­gested as a re­place­ment for the V6. I ama sat­is­fied owner of a RAV4 V6, par­tic­u­larly for its tow­ing ca­pa­bil­ity. I’d con­sider trad­ing it for a new diesel if it had sim­i­lar power, torque and rat­ing for tow­ing, plus a full­size spare.

AndyPalm, email Toy­ota has been avoid­ing diesel en­gines here, putting the em­pha­sis on hy­brids. No one is con­firm­ing it but we ex­pect a diesel RAV in 2014. NOT SO GREAT WALL My 21-year-old son bought a new Great Wall V240 ute two years ago with loads of ex­tras, as he thought it would be best to buy a new car with a war­ranty rather than a se­cond­hand one since he is an ap­pren­tice and needs a re­li­able car. Ba­si­cally, he is bit­terly dis­ap­pointed with it. He ap­pre­ci­ates it is a cheaper ve­hi­cle but he has had a few prob­lems with the car and none have been ac­cepted as war­ranty claims. First, he had a clutch re­placed within 12 months and was ad­vised not to re­place it with a gen­uine clutch as the non-gen­uine item was harder wear­ing. No war­ranty claim. Sec­ond, he had an is­sue with a loud thud noise ev­ery time he went over a bump with pas­sen­gers. He was told the shock ab­sorbers were worn. Again, no war­ranty claim. A few weeks ago in a rou­tine ser­vice he asked why he had rust spots spread­ing un­der the paint work. The dealer said this was caused by stone chips and not cov­ered by war­ranty. The dealer has since stopped sell­ing Great Wall cars.

Martin Cata­nia, email We con­tacted the Great Wall dis­trib­u­tor, who is promis­ing ac­tion. But a clutch is con­sid­ered wear and tear. PICKAPLATINUM We have a Toy­ota Kluger and are look­ing at get­ting Hyundai Santa Fe High­lander or Kia Sorento Plat­inum. Or should we get an­other Kluger? Diesel or petrol? We have three kids so we need a seven-seater but we don’t really tow any­thing.

Michelle Bar­ron, email We had the Sorento in our Car Of The Year judg­ing and would rec­om­mend it. The Kia is also bet­ter value than the Kluger.

Steady as she goes: V8 champ Jamie Whin­cup

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