Lexus lowers design bar
We don’t want lower cars. The Lexus ES300 designer heard ‘‘space and comfort’’, then buggered this up by making his own interpretation lower and rigid. Comfort involves getting in and out of the car, which designers seem to disregard. Every household, or at least neighbour, has one SUV so Lexus buyers already know the in-out ease of higher-riding cars. They also know their yacht club driveway has speed mountains and their shopping centre car park has its own obstacles of dips, ramps, metal hump-overs, sharp high kerbs and, worst of all, the kerb-stop concrete sleeper. Citroen did it in 1956 with height-adjustable suspension. I suggest Lexus decides on all-fluid suspension, then it could embrace speed-controlled ride height. When parked and up to 20km/h, the car is always at high clearance. Beyond that, ride height reduces as speed increases.
Shane Quinn, email
You might not like lower cars but a lot of people do. And Lexus is trying to get younger people into its cars, not just retirees.
GOLF HAZARD With all that going on with the VW Golf do you think it’s still a safe car? Or should I be holding off at the moment?
We still think Golf Mark VII is a brilliant car but caution against anything built earlier with a DSG.
GOLF HAZARD PART II I am days out from buying a used Golf Mark VI, a 118TSI, so should I be concerned about the news? I thought all the DSG issues had been ironed out in this model.
Clearly, and sadly, that’s not the case. We get emails almost daily from unhappy Golf owners, particularly DSG drivers. But Volkswagen Group Australia boss John White, says:
For 60 years the safety and peace of mind has been our highest priority and we stand by the quality of our cars. We are
Nathan Fernandes, email taking seriously all reports of drivers who have experienced problems with their vehicles and we have put in place measures to provide customers with peace of mind.’’
FUEL AND FRANK I have been using 98 octane fuel in my Ford Performance Vehicles F6 but do you think 95 would be OK?
We believe all FPV cars are fine on 95, although the company says its torque figures are obtained using 98 and that points to a performance benefit with the higher-octane fuel.
PARISH PUMP I have just returned from a trip to Canada. The available petrol was 87, 89 and 91 octane and all the European cars seemed quite happy. Can you advise if their petrol is even crappier than ours or is it rated on a different scale?
There are two ways to measure fuel— using the Research Octane Number and Motor Octane Number. MON numbers are typically 8-10 points lower than theRON figures used in Australia. As for the European cars, it’s a lot cooler in Canada and that affects the fuel requirements.
ROAR OF APPROVAL Re the Nissan Altima that will be coming to Australia. I have driven Maximas for the past 13 years but was hoping you could give me some advice on choosing from the VF Commodore Calais, Mazda6 and Altima. In which order would you put them? I am leaning towards the new Commodore.
Rob Reid, email
We have yet to drive the Altima but it will need to be massively good to trump the Red Lion’s VF. For us, it’s Commodore No.1 on your list.
DOESN’T COMPUTE I recently bought a new Ford Focus which came with an incar GPS system. When using the system it became apparent the maps were quite out of
We have been told about many companies with similarly dated information in their satnav systems, which the manufacturers say is down to the delay in updating the information in a way that’s compatible with their inbuilt devices. The likes of Navman, TomTom and Garmin do it so much quicker.
JEEP THRILLS I am waiting for news on the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee. Some clients have been waiting for 10 months.
Rob Bradbery, email
Jeep spokeswoman Karla Leach tells Carsguide: The first arrivals are this month, ready for the launch in early July. In the coming weeks we will be releasing detailed pricing, specs for the refreshed model range, and be able to confirm arrival dates with customers.’’
‘‘ I have a 2001 Subaru Outback Limited and in 12 years it has never let me down and everything still works perfectly. It has 140,000km and never needs to top up the oil between services. Apart from scheduled service items, the only things that have needed replacement in the past few years have been hydraulic steering pump, water pump, radiator and air conditioning regas. The vehicle has done a few long trips one to Cooktown and one to Perth.
Steve Clark, email
That’s one to Subaru. date. I removed the SD map card from my car and, based on the dates on the files on the card, it appears the maps would be about November 2010. This means the maps would be at least two years old on a brandnew car. Is it common for GPS suppliers to use maps so far out of date? Is there any other way of getting updates? I would also suggest anyone buying a new car with GPS should ask the dealer about the ages of the maps and how often updates are released.