In neutral about Sweden’s car
I am a proud owner of two Volvos, so I’m surprised that someone in a senior position like yourself can be so arrogant as to slag off the Volvo as you did recently in the Carsguide. Sure there is a perception throughout the country about bowls hat and Volvos, but Volvo has moved on from the boxlike models. It’s negative people like you that have the mindset that the modernday Volvo is the same as the past editions. The perception a Volvo car has in the market does have one bonus, they don’t get stolen. Steve Fell, email There are some Volvo models we really like, but we have to rate them against their rivals. We’re never dismissive, but we do on occasion use humour that an owner doesn’t appreciate. We also worry about the future of Volvo under Chinese ownership.
MONARO MEA CULPA
I was surprised to read in your item including the Holden Monaro that: “The two-door coupe was born from the passion and commitment of former Holden honcho Peter Hanenberger”. I seem to remember it was Mike Simcoe and his band of great talents in Holden Design. Peter did some great and omigosh things but the birth of the coupe wasn’t one of them. Later, as managing director, he presided over the production release. Tony Hyde, email As the head of engineering at Holden during the Monaro era you obviously know more than any journalist. Thank you for the correction.
ON THE DODGE
I read Carsguide’s story on the Dodge Durango with interest. I had a look on the Dodge web site, where the top-of-the-line Durango Citadel starts at $40,995 and, with a few options costing an extra $3785, turns out to be one hell of a great buy. But that’s in the States, so it will be interesting to see how much extra we will have to pay here in Australia. David Camilleri, email We’re expecting the Durango to be less than $5000 more than an equivalent Jeep Grand Cherokee, since the two vehicles share the same mechanical platform.
DATE WITH A V8
I’m updating to a Commodore VF SS-V Redline sedan and wanted your thoughts on the car itself and also your thoughts on me adding a Walkinshaw 310 pack to the car. Have you test driven a Redline with this pack what’s your thoughts? John Ciantar, email The basic Redline is a ripper thing and it really kicks hard with the 310 pack. If this is your celebration of the last Australian car then you should go all the way.
PRADO AND JOY
Should I upgrade my 2008 Toyota Prado GXL? It was bought to pull a caravan and travel throughout Australia and it has been fantastic. It has now done 195,000km and has been serviced every 10,000km. While we occasionally go off-road we are not serious four-wheeldrivers and only go along dirt roads. Has the latest Prado had any major mechanical upgrades since mine? Jan Banks, email The latest Prado has been hit with the ugly stick, but there are some worthwhile improvements. More importantly, if you’re doing caravan trips I’d recommend a change before 200,000km.
A PLUS 45
I wrote to you about five years ago before I bought a Mitsubishi Lancer EVO X. I am now thinking of buying a Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG. How do you rate it? Tom, email We rate the A45 Carsguide’s Prestige Car of the Year. It’s fantastic fun and addresses all the shortcomings of the Evo, including the basic quality.
We’re considering buying either a Honda CR-V, Mazda CX-5, Mitsubishi Outlander, Toyota RAV4 or something along those lines. It will be used to pull a small caravan. Which would you think is the better one or do you have another suggestion? We’re looking to spend about $30,000. Geraldine, email The CX-5 diesel is the top pick on your list, but shop and drive against the Subaru Forester.