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.
AND IN CONCLUSION
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.
HE RATES THE EIGHT
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