It sounds sus­pect


I can’t be­lieve that you would not give the Porsche Boxster 718 a tick be­cause the ex­haust did not make the right noise. You are bet­ter than that, mate, to give an opin­ion on one of the most impressive sports cars on the planet. If I were the CEO of the com­pany, you would not drive an­other Porsche again. They need pos­i­tive opin­ions on all their ve­hi­cles not stu­pid­ity. Dave Miles, email We’re paid by the read­ers not the car com­pa­nies, and have a zero com­mit­ment to giv­ing them pos­i­tive opin­ions. It’s a fact that many peo­ple, world­wide, are com­plain­ing about the ex­haust noise in the Boxster. We also crit­i­cised the Nis­san GT-R and a re­cent update in­cludes fixes for most of our com­plaints.


In your Subaru Im­preza re­view you re­ferred to the com­ing Subaru Global Plat­form. I have asked my lo­cal Subaru dealer if there is a timetable for rolling out plat­form up­dates to some ex­ist­ing mod­els such as the Out­back, Levorg and WRX. The re­sponse was: “Prob­a­bly three to four years at the ear­li­est.” This seems a very long time and a lost op­por­tu­nity as well as very long wait for the Subaru future. I’m look­ing closely at buy­ing a Levorg GL-S but won’t if the global plat­form will come in 2017-18. Can you clar­ify when Subaru will roll out the plat­form? David Malone, email The SGP pro­gram is topse­cret and only for all-new mod­els, not up­dates. The only con­firmed model to fol­low the Im­preza is the XV in 2017. The Levorg is very un­likely be­fore late 2018, at the ear­li­est.


Volk­swa­gen has lied and cheated hun­dreds, if not thou­sands, of Aus­tralian own­ers, tried to cover up the DSG trans­mis­sion prob­lems sev­eral years ago and is now en­gaged in le­gal mat­ters all over the world for pro­mot­ing or fal­si­fy­ing emis­sion fig­ures. They’ve been ter­ri­ble with me in my case. They’ve been ter­ri­ble in many, many other cases. I was just wiped off as an in­con­ve­nience. I can’t un­der­stand why the brand is con­tin­u­ally pro­moted as you’ve done in the story on the Pas­sat. The RACV has run pos­i­tive ar­ti­cles about some VW prod­ucts. I feel they should be avoided and taught a les­son. No more pos­i­tive ar­ti­cles. They can’t get away with their ac­tions. Chris Aulse­brooke, email Our job is to re­view the cars, which are good. We’re well aware of the emis­sions mess, which we have reported ex­ten­sively from a con­sumer point of view. The Aus­tralian sit­u­a­tion dif­fers from the US and Europe and the fi­nal out­come is still be­ing de­cided. We have of­ten cau­tioned peo­ple about the long-term own­er­ship of VWs, par­tic­u­larly af­ter the DSG fi­asco in Aus­tralia.


Your item on the VW Pas­sat speaks of a great qual­ity car. Safety doesn’t seem to be a ma­jor fea­ture in it, how­ever, in my opin­ion. Can you please ad­vise how many airbags there are? Surely they’re more im­por­tant than lane-keep as­sist? Paula Mitchell, email The Pas­sat has seven airbags. But they are pas­sive safety items, to pro­tect oc­cu­pants in a crash, rather than ac­tive safety gear such as lane­keep­ing that can help to avoid a crash.


Driver­less car man­u­fac­tur­ers are de­vis­ing crash avoid­ance tech­nol­ogy to recog­nise large an­i­mals such as horses and cows. But I’m wait­ing for the first driver­less car tests in the An­gle­sea area to see how they cope with the chal­lenge of be­ing bom­barded by kan­ga­roos. They may not be as large as farm an­i­mals or moose but they are solid, they hur­tle along at great speed and they dodge and zigzag. So there’s speed, plus an er­ratic ap­proach path to­wards a ve­hi­cle that is not easy to pre­dict. Me­thinks the elec­tronic sens­ing de­vices will have trou­ble try­ing to fig­ure out all of that, and then re­act at the speed of light. Is re­search be­ing done in Aus­tralia on de­tec­tion and avoid­ance of our unique an­i­mals such as kan­ga­roos and wom­bats? Melva Stott, email There is zero chance of Aus­tralia-spe­cific de­vel­op­ment work, as even GM and Ford had to rely on their lo­cal di­vi­sions to de­velop crash-test dum­mies based on the kan­ga­roo. And they were re­ally only fo­cused on the Com­modore and Fal­con.


I think Ger­ald Hen­nessy’s prob­lem of his sat­nav screen dim­ming when his head­lights are on can be solved by fit­ting some af­ter­mar­ket day­light run­ning lights wired to op­er­ate any time he starts his car. Greg John­stone, email That’s a good piece of lat­eral think­ing.


A cou­ple of months ago you tested the Mazda3 SP25 Astina and that led us to the car we bought two weeks later. We found your con­clu­sions spot-on. I also did not fancy the au­to­matic brak­ing or lane keep­ing as­sist so I set­tled for the au­to­matic GT model. As you found, the im­proved sus­pen­sion tweaks had tamed the ride and, de­spite the 18-inch wheels and 45pro­file tyres, the ride is great. It seems quiet enough on the road, as far as our coarse chipped bi­tu­men per­mits, and the rough S-bend which un­set­tles the Toy­ota 86 GT is taken with aplomb. I am an ad­mirer of your re­ports gen­er­ally and am a lit­tle be­mused when you give opin­ions based on many re­ports, yet some­one finds that they have a cousin with one of the mod­els which you have reported as de­fi­cient, and his has never had a prob­lem. Hannes Jur­mann, email That’s great feedback on all fronts and I’m sure the chief en­gi­neer of the Mazda3 will be read­ing your com­ments in Ja­pan this week.


With all the bad news sto­ries go­ing around, here’s a good news story for a change. A big shout-out to Chrysler Aus­tralia for as­sist­ing me with an is­sue with my Voy­ager. Thank you for your con­sid­er­a­tion and un­der­stand­ing in my time of need. Well done. Bayne Floyd, email It’s good to hear di­rectly that the prom­ises from Fiat Chrysler on cus­tomer ser­vice are not just hot air.


I have a 2011 diesel Ter­ri­tory with 85,000km. It has de­vel­oped a tick­ing noise from the front of the en­gine. I took it to the lo­cal Ford dealer who di­ag­nosed a faulty tim­ing belt, which is not due to be changed un­til 160,000km, and was quoted $1400 for the work. I asked if Ford would pay for the parts as I had a good ser­vice his­tory but was told “I don’t like your chances” by the ser­vice agent. I wasn’t very im­pressed with the re­sponse so I con­tacted the Ford Cus­tomer Re­la­tion­ship Cen­tre and ex­plained the sit­u­a­tion. I was as­signed a case man­ager who con­tacted me the fol­low­ing day and said Ford would cover the en­tire amount. It has re­newed my faith in cus­tomer ser­vice, which has been some­what lack­ing in the au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try. Wayne Pearse, email Two good news sto­ries in a sin­gle edi­tion. Great stuff.


As a Ford man I’ve owned five Fair­monts in 35 years. The 1993 EB was the best to drive but it also had the worst en­gine — its 4.0-litre six went through four head gas­kets in five years. The only al­ter­na­tive Ford op­tion within my price range was the im­ported Wind­sor V8, which I bought in 1999 AU Fair­mont guise. How ironic that Ford first im­ported this V8 in 1968 then re­placed it with the lo­cally made Cleve­land V8 in 1972. Soon the oil cri­sis hit and 1979 saw off its last Aussie V8. In fuel econ­omy, my V8 com­pares favourably with the six-cylin­der. It has su­pe­rior low-end torque and I no longer drive with one eye on the tem­per­a­ture gauge. One pon­ders the wis­dom of the mo­tor­ing sages in the 1970s who sang their dirges at the grave of the V8. Ken Is­mail, email So that makes three. I’m guess­ing you’ll be wear­ing a black arm­band on Oc­to­ber 7 when Broad­mead­ows closes and the Fal­con ex­its. And it is truly ironic Holden con­tin­ues to sell as many V8s as it makes. Other brands such as Mercedes-Benz also are com­mit­ted to the bent-eight, made ef­fi­cient with mod­ern en­gine-man­age­ment com­put­ers and the likes of stop-start.

Dis­cor­dant note: Porsche Boxster; left, VW Pas­sat

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