Out of the blue

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Readers Write -

An el­derly rel­a­tive keeps com­ment­ing on and ask­ing why so many cars have bluish head­lights. ‘‘That’s the way new car head­lights are th­ese days’’ doesn’t wash — do you have a more tech­ni­cal an­swer?

Pa­tri­cia Wool­cock, email

The gas in the globes gives the bluish tint. Most cars use halo­gen but the new high­in­ten­sity sys­tems have switched to xenon, which is brighter white for the drive but throws a blue tinge. You should pre­pare for an­other change as LEDs take over at the top end of au­to­mo­tive light­ing, al­though they should just be bright white.

CIR­CLE A WAGON Re­cently I drove through Europe in two dif­fer­ent hire cars, a Ford Fo­cus wagon and a Toy­ota Corolla wagon. I loved the small car size but also the sports wagon-sized boot. Are th­ese types of cars or sim­i­lar brands avail­able here? There seems to be no men­tion of the small wag­ons on Ford’s or Toy­ota’s web­sites. Is my only op­tion a Subaru for a small/ medium wagon? The Ford Mon­deo wagon, for ex­am­ple, seems out of my price range.

Tim Dark hill, email

In Aus­tralia, most peo­ple pre­fer com­pact SUVs such as the Ford Kuga and Toy­ota RAV4. So the Corolla and Fo­cus wag­ons don’t make it here. Hyundai does a very good i30 wagon that should suit your needs and bud­get.

LATER, RON I have dif­fi­culty un­der­stand­ing the rat­ing of the RON for petrols as listed by var­i­ous ser­vice sta­tions. When I go into Shell or Cal­tex there are ULP + Ethanol 91, ULP 95 and Pre­mium 98. But when I go into an in­de­pen­dent op­er­a­tor such as Vol­ume Plus there are ULP + Ethanol 95, ULP (no Ethanol) 95 and Pre­mium + Ethanol 100. Can you ex­plain the vari­a­tions?

War­ren Burke, email

Oil com­pa­nies blend in dif­fer­ent ways. You only need to worry about the oc­tane rat­ing and the price, as they do the same job but ethanol pro­vides a rel­a­tively cheap boost to oc­tane. GET IN EARLY I fi­nally have taken de­liv­ery of my new Hyundai i30 Elite but have some ques­tions. If I am nowhere near the 1500km mark at one month, what is the cor­rect pro­ce­dure for the first ser­vice? Can I go over that onemonth pe­riod and get the kilo­me­tres up a bit more be­fore the first ser­vice? What is the ad­van­tage of hav­ing the side mir­rors that show the cars quite a dis­tance away? Can I re­place the driver’s side mir­ror with an ‘‘or­di­nary’’ mir­ror with­out void­ing the war­ranty on the car?

Robyn Knorr, email

Don’t go too far over on the time be­cause you need to get an early check and re­solve any is­sues from de­liv­ery— check on things like paint and trim. The wide-view mir­rors take some ad­just­ment but give a bet­ter view all-round. You could change the glass with­out a ma­jor drama.

TYRE TIME I just took de­liv­ery of a new MY14 Holden Cruze SRI and was sur­prised that it has come with Con­ti­nen­tal Con­tact Sport 3 tyres rather than the Holden-de­vel­oped Poten­zas which ev­ery­one has been talk­ing about. Are you aware of a change of tyre by Holden for the Cruze and do you think I should stick with the Con­tis or pur­sue it fur­ther? Also, the Cruze came with­out rear park sen­sors, which is stan­dard across the range. I rang the dealer and they were sur­prised and will have to or­der a new bar with sen­sors. Do you know whether the bar would be painted at the fac­tory or would it be de­liv­ered to the dealer and the bar sent to the painters (you’d hope for the same colour match and qual­ity)?

Nick Athin­i­o­tis, email

All car com­pa­nies have mul­ti­ple tyre sup­pli­ers. Con­ti­nen­tal makes great tyres but you should chase the Bridge­stones. Be care­ful on the park­ing sen­sors, be­cause there could also be a wiring drama and it should be some­thing for Holden to re­solve, not a patchup at the deal­er­ship. TO MAR­KET Which seven-seater SUV would suit me? I need to re­place my 2001 Volvo V70 due to trans­mis­sion prob­lems. I have up to $30,000 to spend, need seven seats, and would like sim­i­lar boot space to the V70 as I do mar­ket stalls and carry stock, kids etc. I’m think­ing a pre-loved Hyundai Santa Fe, Holden Cap­tiva or Kia Sorento. I want some­thing that won’t guz­zle fuel.

Gabby Reis, email

The Santa Fe is the best choice and, if you travel a lot, a turbo diesel will give you the best econ­omy.

THE BIG TRIP I will re­tire in mid-2014 and my wife and I are go­ing to travel around Aus­tralia over two years. We will buy a 25-foot car­a­van — what is the best ve­hi­cle to two it? We are look­ing at the Toy­ota Land Cruiser Sa­hara, Range Rover Sports and Jeep Chero­kee. There is not a great deal of dif­fer­ence with pric­ing so that’s not an is­sue but we’re keen to get the best op­tion for us tak­ing ev­ery­thing into ac­count. We do not in­tend do­ing any off-road.

Colin Favre, email

The Land Cruiser Sa­hara is the best choice for The Big Trip, be­cause it’s a proven per­former and Toy­ota has the best back-up in the bush. You need to be sen­si­ble and that means a Land Cruiser diesel.

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