Bridal car­riage

Herald Sun - Motoring - - In Box @ Pg - PAUL GOVER CHIEF RE­PORTER

A quick query, as my fiancee is look­ing at a Hyundai Veloster be­cause she is 55 and go­ing through a midlife cri­sis. She is wor­ried about the re­cent drama with “ex­plod­ing” glass sun­roofs. Is this a big deal? The other is­sue is, would the car get too hot with the glass roof in an Aussie sum­mer? Her other op­tion is to be sane and sen­si­ble and get an i30, but should she look at any­thing else? I am the guy who loves his Sportage, thanks to you.

Ed Niemiec, email I’ve heard of one other glass sun­roof shat­ter­ing, on a BMW. Hyundai has checked sun­roofs on cars sold in Aus­tralia and, on the heat front, says it has a slid­ing blind to block out ex­ces­sive rays. So it looks like an early wed­ding present.

WAY TOO LATE

To­day I di­rect my let­ter to you, hop­ing that it may spark a re­ac­tion to help save our mo­tor in­dus­try. I have sent nu­mer­ous letters to politi­cians, union bod­ies and mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties di­rectly af­fected by the clo­sure of the car man­u­fac­tur­ing plants, news­pa­pers, busi­ness lead­ers and oth­ers. I am not in­tend­ing to deeply pur­sue this idea my­self but I hope a very ca­pa­ble in­di­vid­ual or group can pick up the ba­ton and run with it.

Jur­gen Sem­rau, email It’s over and done. Only govern­ment sup­port could have saved the three lo­cal mak­ers and Can­berra has slammed the door. We’re now in the count­down to clo­sure with no prospect of any re­ver­sal.

CIVIC SER­VANT

I was in­trigued by your com­ments in a re­cent item about the Honda Civic (pic­tured above). You de­scribe it as sub­stan­dard. I own a Honda Civic hatch — is there some­thing that I should be aware of, such as an im­mi­nent re­call or the wheels are about to fall off?

Bob Howarth, email It’s not likely to conk out but the cur­rent Civic is well be­low the stan­dard set by Civics over the past 20 years. it’s also be­low the stan­dard of its cur­rent show­room ri­vals in­clud­ing the lat­est Mazda3, Volk­swa­gen Golf, and even Toy­ota Corolla. But I’m happy that you’re happy with yours.

OUT­BACK LOOK­ING IN

I am look­ing to help my son buy a Subaru Out­back and un­der­stand that there is a new model to be re­leased next month. Do you know when it will be avail­able in Aus­tralia and whether it would be the right thing to wait for it and ben­e­fits it would have? The only prob­lem is whether his old car will last long enough, as it is ter­mi­nally ill.

Bruce Ab­bott, email I con­tacted Subaru Aus­tralia and they say the next full over­haul of the Out­back is not un­til 2015. So any change this year is likely to be an ex­tremely mi­nor “model year” up­date.

TWI­LIGHT ZONE

I re­cently bought a Holden VF Calais V and, on us­ing the

Car’s GPS for the first time on a trip, I dis­cov­ered two valu­able safety fea­tures were not dis­played — school zones and speed/red light cam­eras. Holden Cus­tomer Care told me that these fea­tures were no longer avail­able on Holden ve­hi­cles. This, I sug­gest, is a back­ward step, as this func­tion is a valu­able safety is­sue es­pe­cially school zones when trav­el­ling on trips.

Col Ne­wham, email Holden switched to an all-new in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem, MyLink, with the VF Com­modore and it does not in­clude the fea­tures you want. But Holden spokesman Kate Lons­dale says: “We’re al­ways look­ing to im­prove the sys­tem for fu­ture mod­els” with­out mak­ing any com­mit­ment.

SWEET SPOT

I’ve no­ticed com­plaints from driv­ers of diesels about poor fuel con­sump­tion. I be­lieve a lot has to do with the driv­ing tech­nique as diesels have to be driven dif­fer­ently from a petrol en­gine by us­ing a trail­ing throt­tle and keep­ing the en­gine tick­ing over where it de­liv­ers its max­i­mum torque. In my 2010 2.0‒litre diesel car, I keep to 1400rpm-1800rpm and aver­age 7.5L/ 100km around town, which drops even fur­ther on the free­ways and coun­try roads.

David Lynch, email You’re right and the same thing ap­plies to the ef­fi­ciency of petrol en­gines, which also have a sweet spot for econ­omy, al­though at much higher revs. Diesels are not as eco­nom­i­cal around town.

FAIL­URE TO TRANS­MIT

I’ve had a 2008 Ford Fal­con BF Mk3 for a few years, which I bought to tow a 2300kg car­a­van. Like ev­ery­one else I had trans­mis­sion over­heat­ing trou­bles but I bought a PWR trans­mis­sion cooler. It was easy to fit, and cheap, and we’ve just com­pleted a 4000km trip with no over­heat­ing is­sues, even at the hot time of year.

Rory, email Ford clearly has a prob­lem with these cool­ers, which we’re rais­ing di­rectly with Broad­mead­ows, but PWR does ex­cel­lent work, in­clud­ing sup­ply­ing the cool­ers for the Red Bull For­mula grand prix rac­ing cars.

KIA DE­CI­SION

Could you please tell me what you think of the Fiat Freemont? It seems to of­fer great value for money but what do you think about the fact that it is built in Mex­ico? Also, is it a safe fam­ily car, me­chan­i­cally sound, ex­pen­sive to ser­vice, and what about re­sale value? My budget is about $30,000$35,000 with seven seats, As new as pos­si­ble with as few kilo­me­tres as pos­si­ble. I’ve been con­sid­er­ing the Kia Sorento but have just dis­cov­ered the Freemont.

Gabby, email Get the Kia. The Freemont is a re­badged Chrysler and noth­ing spe­cial by any of your mea­sure­ments.

“i” HAS IT

I’m hop­ing you can of­fer your opin­ion on a good safe first car for my daugh­ter. We are look­ing for an au­to­matic, per­haps a Suzuki Swift, Hyundai I20, or Kia Rio, made 2011 or af­ter so it has all the airbags and safety fea­tures with a budget of $15,00016,000. Are they all much of a much­ness?

Tracey Loulatzis, email With that budget, you should be able to get a new i20. That’s what I would do.

RES­CUE RANGER

Can you please help me with ad­vice on the du­al­cab 4WD utes? I’m look­ing at Nis­san Navara, Ford Ranger, Toy­ota HiLux, Isuzu D-Max and VW Amarok.

Matthew Gib­bons, email The Ford Ranger (pic­tured be­low) is best be­cause it was de­signed and de­vel­oped in Aus­tralia, which means fives­tar safety and a chas­sis that works for our driv­ers and roads. The Mazda BT50, a clone of the Ranger, is cheaper be­cause it doesn’t look as tough.

Sunny as­pect: A Hyundai Veloster looks like be­ing an early wed­ding present

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