DIY: the only way to drive
Congratulations on expressing your dislike for the gradual automation of driving (‘‘No way, I’ll drive myself’’ by Paul Gover). A great article. I learned to drive when the only real safety measures were seat belts and your ability. My late father instilled in me the need to ‘‘feel’’ the car and always anticipate road conditions, vehicles around and ahead of you. These lessons have never been forgotten. The bottom line in driving will always be if the learner has an affinity with driving a vehicle. Sadly we see today many drivers who don’t. Coupled with this is the perceived belief that technology will save me and we see on a daily basis that many drivers have abrogated their responsibility to technology. Maybe there should be mandatory 10 hours driving a narrow-wheeled, drum-braked car on a circuit to teach new drivers the art of feeling or driving by the seat of their pants before they commence lessons in a new buzz box.
Guy Huntley, email
TRAINING 101 I agree 100 per cent with your column and I feel that driver aids should be banned. The answer is to train drivers properly, not desensitise the driving experience. If everyone knew an ounce of car control and were tested on it, fatalities would diminish. In addition, regular testing would remind folks of the responsibility they bear on the road. There was a double fatality (last week) in country Victoria as the result of two people running off the road into a tree. Roadside speed cameras wouldn’t have been much use but, undoubtedly, speed is to blame. The logical extension of this thought bubble from government is simple: If they had stayed at home they would have been fine.
Alexander Corne, email
It’s good to know our readers also care about the real roots of road safety.
DATE’S UP I looked at the Mazda3 yesterday and found that all Mazdas have those spacesaver tyres. That puts me off for a start. But can I ask you the difference between the build date and the compliance date on a car?
The build date is the actual day the car came down the production line, the compliance date is the day it was certified for sale in Australia. The difference is very important as the build date is the car’s birthday and the one used for resale calculations.
CRUISER CONTROL I am tossing up whether to buy the Jeep Cherokee Overlander or the Land Cruiser Sahara to pull a van which weighs over three tonnes to travel around Australia. We travel on a lot of rough, outback roads
Helen O’Keefe, email
For that job we’d only get a Toyota Land Cruiser. It’s proven over decades in the outback and Toyota has the best service back-up in the bush.
MIRROR CLEARER I have bought a Hyundai i30 and it has the convex mirrors. I was wondering if you know where you can get normal mirrors for these as I am having so much trouble with them.
Glenice O’Meara, email You can probably get it changed at a local glass shop. Hyundai will only have convex glass replacements.
JEEP’S CHEAPER Just wanted to know about the current-model Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8. After looking at the specifications comparable to the Benz ML63 and BMWX5M, it’s a fair bit cheaper and has a fair amount of options. I believe the current Grand Cherokee is the first one you would recommend.
Dim Riz, email Jeep made a steep change on quality and refinement with the latest Grand Cherokee and the SRT8 is a hoot to drive. It’s not as refined as the German SUVs but is way cheaper.
TO THE SWIFT I’ve started looking for small cars for my daughter. She likes the Yaris, Swift and Micra, four doors and has a budget of about $10,000. Which of these would you recommend or is there another we should be looking at?
Graeme Lowry, email We would go for the Swift, which is a top car and not as costly as a used Toyota. The Micra is economical but a class smaller and you will feel happier with her in the Suzuki.
Fun to drive: The Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8