Sprung for speed
I am considering buying the Subaru Levorg, either GT or GT-S, and wondering about which suspension to pick. The Bilstein or non-Bilstein suspension is the principal driver for me on the model and I have read the Bilstein model rides harder and is a bit more jumpy in some situations, although may feel more planted on the road. All models require 95RON fuel — should this be an issue in driving outside the major cities? Chris O’Reilly, email On the fuel question first, 95 octane is available in most places so it’s up to you on the extra cost for premium fuel, but you should calculate some numbers on your annual mileage to see whether it’s a big cost. The Bilstein-equipped car should be better for someone who is a keen driver.
SEAT OF THE PROBLEM
Re Ross Finocchiaro and the steering wheel being too low on the FG-X Falcon, I have an FG-X XR6 and I find nothing wrong with its position. As for the seat being too high, it is electrically adjustable up and down. My XR6 is a great car and I drive it with pride. Barry Nicoll, email It’s not just Ross who thinks the driving position in the Falcon is compromised, so you’re lucky if it suits you. The Carsguide team also takes pride in the Falcon and its place in Australian motoring — but none of us is happy with the Falcon seat and wheel placement.
We have had a lot of trouble with our Kia Sportage. After six months of installing different parts, the dealer believes the problem is with the Smart Key Reader module. We have been waiting and waiting for a part to arrive from Kia. Can you help? Roslyn Vernall, email Kia spokesman Kevin Hepworth reports the part has arrived from Korea and Kia hopes you’ll be much happier by week’s end.
I regularly read your section and wonder if you had any comments on the Nissan Elgrand people-mover. We have a family member who is interested in getting one of these vehicles but have some concerns as it does not appear on the Nissan vehicle list and they come from Japan as a used vehicle. Robert Tate, email An Elgrand will be a risk, even though I have a friend who owns one and is happy with it, having had no major problems. Any “grey” used import comes with an unproven history and there’s no parts or warranty back-up from Nissan Australia.
BABY ON THE WAY
You recently compared the Subaru XV with the Suzuki Vitara and Mazda CX-3. What about the Toyota C-HR. Any news on that? David Matthews, email It is being launched overseas this month and coming to Australia in the first quarter of next year. We will have a full report from the overseas launch. Based on the usual Toyota approach, it will be a serious challenger in the baby SUV class. Don’t expect it to be the cheapest in the segment — Toyota promotes it as a “premium” SUV.
Huge thanks. I’ve just heard from my dealer about the panorama roof in my Range Rover Evoque. It is booked in this week for another look after you got in touch with Jaguar Land Rover. Jenny Berry, email The thanks go to Tim Krieger and the team at JLR Australia. We have fingers crossed you get the help you need.
LET’S JUST CVT
I am getting to replacing my 2007 Mitsubishi 380 VRX and I don’t mind the look of the new Nissan Maxima. I haven’t got to the stage of test driving but have heard some favourable comments about fuel consumption, performance and comfort. I’ve never driven a car with a CVT and I have noted over time in your columns some dissatisfaction about such transmissions. Dave Franklyn, email The Maxima is fine but not a standout. It’s good for refinement and quietness but so is the Toyota Camry. Before you commit, you should test drive the Maxima against the Camry and the impressive new VW Passat.
I plan to have a good look at the Holden Acadia when it gets here in 2017. It has a good reputation in the US as a good, but not perfect, SUV. Who cares about the fuel consumption on something that big? I have a Ford ZD Falcon with, let’s say, a few extras. If I’m lucky I get 42L/100km when I push it. I just enjoy the ride and listen to that V8 burble out of the twin exhausts. We live in a lucky country, that’s for sure and I will purchase the GMC when it arrives here if we like it, even though I’m a Ford fan. Dave Miles, email We are lucky but fuel economy is a very big deal now to most people.
I am a 53-year-old professional who wants to buy a more upmarket car now that l don’t have children to ferry around. I am looking around now for a car l like but do not want to buy it for another three years as I can’t afford a new one. l have looked at Mercedes and BMWs but the price of repairs and parts puts me off. I really like the Lexus CT. Do you have any opinions on this car and are they as expensive to maintain as Benzes? Sue Holderness, email The Lexus is all right but not great, although the service back-up at the brand is generally better than the Germans.
A NEW TUNE
I would be grateful if you could expand on your recent answer to the reader seeking a “cushy limousine” small car. In addition to the Peugeot 308 suggestion, which of the mass-market small cars also offer the closest thing to limo-like luxury? Gordon Brown, email It’s important to go for the basic models, not the ones with sports tuning, and I’d suggest a test drive in the Kia Cerato and Volkswagen Golf.
Re the Mercedes-Benz pulling to the left. My Benz C250 does exactly the same thing. I have had new tyres and alignment but this has made little, if any difference. Your reader may be better off keeping the money in his pocket. Steven McCarthy, email Not good news, but thanks for passing it on.
CAMBER ... WELL?
I’ve got a 1988 Mercedes 300CE which tended to pull to the left after a wheel alignment a couple of months ago. My mechanic, who is a Benz specialist, mentioned a lot of wheel alignments are done “according to book” for Benz but the official settings don’t allow for the camber of the roads in Australia and this will tend to cause the car to pull to the left. Mark Bower, email That’s definitely worth following up.
Octane query: Subaru Levorg; Toyota C-HR, below left, shapes as a premium small SUV