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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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