Drive into the sunset

Herald Sun - Motoring - - ROADSIDE ASSIST -

I like the look of the Mercedes-Benz CLA in sedan and wagon ver­sion, par­tic­u­larly the rip­pled bon­net and the sedan’s tail lights look great at night. It might be just the car to see me out af­ter my dear old 1995 C220. At my time of life there is lit­tle more to love other than cars and a nice wine. Is the base en­gine in the CLA pow­er­ful enough for that car? I tour a lot. John D, email The ba­sic CLA has 115kW and, more im­por­tantly, 250Nm. For a non-sporty driver, helped by a seven-speed dou­ble-clutch gear­box, that should be more than enough.


I’d like your thoughts on buy­ing a Fiat Freemont. We are af­ter a seven-seater for about $30,000 and were think­ing of a Freemont with 2.4-litre petrol en­gine and au­to­matic trans­mis­sion. An­drew John­ston, email Please don’t do that, even though it’s cheap. The Freemont, re­ally a Dodge Jour­ney in a Fiat cloak, is not re­motely a Cars­guide favourite. Bet­ter to spend ex­tra and get a Hyundai Santa Fe.


I have or­ders from my wife to buy a seven-seater. Can you point me in the right di­rec­tion? She she likes the Ford Ter­ri­tory Plat­inum and the Dodge Jour­ney Black­top edi­tion (ba­si­cally all the op­tions and blacked out de­tails). I’m open to ad­vice on what is best in the class. Matt Garner, email Def­i­nitely not the Jour­ney; the Ter­ri­tory is solid and good value; but my cur­rent favourite in the class is the Kia Sorento. It gets The Tick and is well worth the ex­tra, even though the start­ing price of $40,990 is well be­yond the $33,500 base of the Jour­ney.


Is it nor­mal for a me­chanic to take a car home hop­ing it breaks down on the way so he can an­a­lyse what caused it to do so? That’s what is hap­pen­ing with my Holden Cruze. I thought with the cars of to­day it could be done with a com­puter. Paul Paris, email If there is no er­ror code show­ing on the com­puter — and that’s com­mon — you’re prob­a­bly get­ting bet­ter ser­vice if they’re pre­pared to drive it in search of the fault in­stead of wait­ing for it to break down.


I need a large car that will tow. I’m keen to buy a large diesel SUV, about three years old. I’ve been con­sid­er­ing a BMW X5, VW Touareg or Range Rover. I’ve been in a Rangie Sport and liked the com­fort and ride but I en­joy Ger­man pre­ci­sion and re­li­a­bil­ity. Greg Kite, email For max­i­mum space and tow rat­ing you should def­i­nitely be go­ing for the Touareg V6 TDI. It will do both your jobs with a 3500kg tow rat­ing and 280kg ball weight.


I am look­ing to change my cur­rent 2010 BMW X5. I have looked at the new Range Rover Sport and also new BMW X5. What would you rec­om­mend? Mark Bas­man, email Range Rover does not have a great rep­u­ta­tion for re­li­a­bil­ity or re­sale but the Sport is a great drive. So the X5 is the safe choice but the Range Rover is likely to give you more en­joy­ment.


Re the VW Amaroks on Cape York. In the early 1970s I was on min­eral ex­plo­ration and sur­vey­ing in Cape York with Al­can on baux­ite ex­plo­ration and GHD for sur­vey­ing. Many of the sur­vey pegs and lines you see north of the Wen­lock River are mine. I hes­i­tate to say they bred them tougher then but dur­ing my work up north I saw a VW Bee­tle make the jour­ney. One Holden sedan and at least one or two on push­bikes also did it. Cross­ing the Wen­lock, there was a sharp left turn on the south bank, then a drive about 20-30 me­tres down river, then a sharp right where the rip­ples on the wa­ter sur­face in­di­cated a drop off to drive straight ahead to the north bank. One time one of our crew also dropped a wheel over the edge. We had just re­cov­ered the ve­hi­cle when the Ley­land Broth­ers turned up. We dropped it back in and re­cov­ered it again so they could film it. Chris Vardanega, email I loved the great work of

Rest-of-re­tire­ment car:

Mercedes CLA 200

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