Sprung for speed

Herald Sun - Motoring - - ROADSIDE ASSIST -

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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

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