Last orders for Cruiser
Holden Commodore production ends in 2017 and last week you told a reader wanting a new Commodore not to delay “as they are likely to sell out”. Toyota has now advised production of the FJ Cruiser will cease in August this year, so would you offer the same advice in this case? Alternatively, is there an argument for waiting in the hope the second-hand market for late model FJs will become more attractive? Bill O’Loughlin, email It’s a different situation as the FJ is a global model but you should probably move even more quickly as Toyota Australia will have to confirm soon on its final orders. FJ owners generally have made an emotional choice so it’s unlikely the used-car values will be dropping soon.
THE RIDE STUFF
The late Bill Tuckey was a story teller with an incredible passion for cars and motorsport. He had the amazing ability to sit you alongside him when he was writing about cars. He didn’t write road tests, he wrote stories. He also had a great sense of humour and was never lost for a quick quip. Creating the Car of the Year award ensures his place in history but I will always remember the man who took me along for the ride. Mark Higgins, email
GOLF RANGE GREAT
We own a 2010 Subaru Forester and would like to downsize. We are looking at the Subaru 2.0-litre XV or the Volkswagen Golf 1.4litre turbo. What do you think? We do a lot of highway trips and we’re not sure how the Golf will perform on long runs. Is there another car we should look at? Sam O’Boyle, email My choice would definitely be the Golf, for comfort and the range and economy on the highway. The XV is all right but not great, with a tiny boot, so the VW gets The Tick.
Jeep owners write saying the love their four-wheel drives and that’s well and good but wait until they try to sell one after more than three years. Without hesitation the Toyota LandCruiser would be my favourite, hands down. They are strong, tough, reliable and you are able to get parts anywhere in Australia. Dave Miles, email The LandCruiser is bulletproof and the top choice for towing and outback travel. That also means you have to spend more to get one.
I bought a Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo diesel in February and at least, after 3700km, it has only totally failed once. After talking to a number of owners and looking at various blogs, it is clear Fiat Chrysler Australia has been the main problem, not the dealers. Fiat Chrysler builds the product and therefore should take full responsibility for all the faults the Jeeps have suffered. The big issue seems to be, when something goes wrong and parts are needed, these are near impossible to get from FCA or take weeks to arrive at the dealers. They were selling that many Jeeps a couple of years ago they forgot about customer and dealer service. As with most things however, that poor service and lack of support for their dealers has come home to roost. We all know good reputations take years to build but a bad reputation, like FCA and Jeep have, will linger for years. Peter Gregory, email Your experience has gone straight to Pat Dougherty in the big office at FCA. He’s the one working hard to turn things around.
CVT NOT A-OK
My 2015 Subaru XV is great, except for the constantly variable transmission, which I think is dangerous. On roundabouts, when nearly stopped or at low speed in town traffic it is nowhere up to the job when wanting to accelerate. I have been very close to side-on crashes at roundabouts after planting my foot and having nothing happen. I had lost all confidence in the vehicle and was about to trade it on a better performing make when, at a service, I got an update on the transmission and it improved the CVT by 200 per cent. But it still flatlines occasionally. From reports on the new Outback and Forester their CVT is fine, so perhaps the XV engine is underpowered. Chris Hannabus, email The XV is underpowered, as well as having a very dozy CVT. If you are that worried I would definitely suggest a brand swap to something with a regular automatic.
OUT OF SIGHT
I am thinking of buying a new or near-new Subaru Outback. I was wondering if you have any reports on the CVT gearbox or any other issues with them. Trevor Marmont, email I’ve just driven the latest Liberty and Forester and can report Subaru’s CVT is vastly better than past versions. The cars are also a step up in quality and refinement. I recommend getting the EyeSight safety package.
KEEPS ON KEEPING ON
In 2004 I got a new Mercedes-Benz C-Class (like the one pictured above). Two years later there was a battery recall, and a replacement was fitted free. Twelve years later, the battery hasn’t missed a beat. Is this some kind of record? Chris Adams, email Probably not a record but encouraging news for our readers who have recently complained about batteries lasting for just a few years.
My 2008 Toyota Prius has always had an annoying hesitation before starting off. I have read both CVT and stop-start running contribute but wonder if this is so? I’m about to replace the Prius and am inclined to avoid cars with either, which limits my options. Anton Breinl, email The early Prius was a bit dozy from the lights but before you defect you should try the new model, which is more lively.
KEEP ’EM AT BAY
I and many friends have great difficulty at shopping centres with SUVs parking in car spaces. When leaving a space in a normal sedan, with the high rear bodywork of an SUV, it is impossible to see an oncoming vehicle and this risks a collision. SUVs should have separate parking areas, preferably away from normal vehicles. John Kelly, email It doesn’t help that parking spaces are being downsized to fit more vehicles and boost revenue. Makers are addressing your concern with the latest cross traffic alert technology, some with auto braking, which helps SUVs. However, nothing beats turning your head to look for oncoming traffic. Alternatively, reverse into a slot so you can drive out with forward vision.