The cat sits bet­ter on the flat

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Roadside Assist -

WE have owned four mod­els from Jaguar and, apart from the Sov­er­eign, are very happy with this pres­tige Bri­tish car. We cur­rently drive a four-year-old XF and are think­ing of buy­ing the newly re­leased XE. Will this be a good swap, es­pe­cially if the smaller size makes park­ing eas­ier? In gen­eral, why do most car writ­ers rate Ger­man-made cars such as Benz and BMW higher than Jaguar? We never had any prob­lems with the mo­tor and we find all Jaguar mod­els sit much bet­ter on the road, es­pe­cially on bends. We have driven a Ger­man car to make this com­par­i­son.

Grace Fan­ning, email The XE is a classy car and, af­ter a preview drive in Europe, I think it will work for you as a down­siz­ing choice. Writ­ers rate Jaguar be­low the Ger­mans be­cause of the make’s history and qual­ity, as well as per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ences of prob­lems.

FUSS-FREE SUV

Some ad­vice please — my son is turn­ing 18 and I want to buy him an SUV or small 4WD. My bud­get is be­tween $10,000-$20,000 and he likes fish­ing and surf­ing.

John Mitris, email For some­thing fuss-free and good value on the used front, I’d sug­gest a Suzuki Grand Vi­tara. It’s classy, a good size and can han­dle some off-road work.

JEEP, NOT CHEER­FUL

I have a 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee and have found the Quadra-Lift thumps badly, par­tic­u­larly in the off-road No.2 set­ting on un­even ground — to the point I had to slow to 10km/h to stop it de­stroy­ing it­self while a Mit­subishi Tri­ton and Nissan Navara con­tin­ued on. I have spo­ken to Jeep, to be told it is not a known prob­lem — but I saw your re­sponse to another reader and you men­tioned that it was known and there was a quick fix to it.

Phil Porter, email

GRAND DE­SIGNS

I own a Jeep Grand Cherokee which I bought new in 2012. Off-road and raised to 1 or 2, it sounds as if the sus­pen­sion will tear out of its mount­ings. I’ve been at Chrysler for the past two years and they keep say­ing it’s nor­mal and refuse to do any­thing about it. I know I’m not the only one with this com­plaint.

Norm Ryan, email The sound both read­ers de­scribe dif­fers from the one in Grand Chero­kees with­out Quadra-Lift, which were the sub­ject of a change to the rear shock mounts. Jeep spokesman An­drew Chesterton says: “The noise is nor­mal when op­er­at­ing in off- road 2 as the shock ab­sorber ‘tops out’. This set­ting is only in­tended for use when avoid­ing large ob­sta­cles, not for gen­eral off-road driv­ing.”

DUAL-PUR­POSE

What is the best 4x2 du­al­cab for un­der $15,000? It will be for week­end house­hold jobs, so oc­ca­sional trailer tow­ing, and used for car pool to work at 100km a day.

Rod Pa­ton, email My per­sonal work­horse is a 2003 Toy­ota HiLux but with your big­ger bud­get I would go for a Mit­subishi Tri­ton.

AD VAL­OREM

Why doesn’t Nissan ad­ver­tise the Pa­trol? Toy­ota pro­motes the LandCruiser and Prado, Mit­subishi ad­ver­tises the Pa­jero and there is lots of Jeep advertising. Why the other big four-wheel drives and not Nissan? And, in your opin­ion, how good is the Pa­trol as an off-road 4WD?

Roger Dual, email Things are about to change af­ter a ma­jor price cut of more than $20,000 for the all-new V8 Pa­trol, which was hugely over­priced when it first hit Aus­tralia.

ALFA’S BARN­YARD

Re the Alfa 4C, I am sure they are not go­ing to like the truth about the han­dling and steer­ing on their new ugly duck­ling that you de­scribed so clearly. On another gen­eral as­pect about the new range of Al­fas, what has hap­pened in the styling depart­ment? Al­most all Al­fas through the years have looked stun­ning for their day so I can­not be­lieve that the same stylist who did the Br­era and its Spy­der cousin too could turn out such ugly lit­tle pigs as the MiTo, the Giuili­etta and now this 4C. The new Gi­u­lia looks a bit bet­ter, so let’s hope it spawns a rea­son­ably good look­ing Sprint and Spy­der.

Jim Stub­bings, email

The all-new Gi­u­lia looks great up close. It also prom­ises to drive far, far bet­ter than the 4C Spi­der I sam­pled in Italy.

THREE TO THE FORE

My wife drives a 2009 Honda Ac­cord with 63,000km. As we live in an apart­ment block she finds the car too big and the steer­ing very heavy when deal­ing with con­fined park­ing spa­ces. We need a small car with a boot that will fit a golf bag and buggy that is out of sight, or a hatch­back with a blind to hide the golf equip­ment.

Bob Reynolds, email It’s hard to be ex­act with­out see­ing the golf gear but the Mazda3 should be the right size at a good price and it def­i­nitely gets The Tick from me.

Swap meets ap­proval: A Jaguar XE will suit down­siz­ers

Trimmed: Nissan has lopped $20K from the Pa­trol

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