Take it easy and save
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