The cat sits better on the flat
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.
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
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.”
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.
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.
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