Drive into the sunset
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.
NO! JUST DON’T DO IT
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.
SORENTO’S THE GO
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.
DRIVEN TO A FAULT
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.
TOW WITH TOUAREG
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.
ENJOYMENT V SAFETY
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
Mercedes CLA 200