Pulling your (super)leggera
The clue is supposed to be in the name, yet the Aston Martin DBS Superleggera weighs a good 400kg more than the Mclaren 570S in the same issue (21 November). That’s more than five extra passengers! Vivian Bush Beverley, East Yorkshire
Cruising for a bruising
I enjoyed John Evans’ article on buying a used Toyota Land Cruiser (21 November), but may I advise caution? In my experience, they are not as tough as their reputation suggests.
My first Land Cruiser was a Colorado, purchased nearly new, and it went for 150,000 miles (including towing) without fault. It felt well built too. Its successor was a 120 LC3 diesel auto. It did not feel as well built. Around 120,000 miles passed without major incident, but then the big bills started. Among other things, it needed new injectors (hugely expensive), a rear handbrake mechanism, new brake calipers (twice), various major pieces of front suspension because seals had perished and damaged the bearings – and, worst of all, when driving down the M5, I had a complete catastrophic brake failure resulting in replacement of the braking system (and a state of terror on my part!). This was a lookedafter car regularly serviced by Toyota, but still cost me thousands in repairs.
Don’t buy one of these without a thorough expert inspection. Sadly, I have lost my faith in Land Cruisers. Alex Ralton Chippenham, Wiltshire
Light on reality
Ben Adams has rather let his enthusiasm for electric cars cloud his thinking if he believes a 250kg fourseat car is a possibility! (Your Views, 21 November.)
Comparing e-bikes and electric cars is a pointless exercise, not least because there are no regulations requiring an e-bike to be crashed into a wall at more than 30mph without killing its rider! Also, e-bikes are ‘pedal assist’, but an electric
car needs to be wholly powered by its battery pack – a considerable weight penalty. Then there is the small matter of lighting, weather protection, safety systems and heating, and the weight of the glass alone would make the 250kg target weight an impossibility. I think it will be a real achievement for anyone to manufacture a feasible electric car weighing less than 1000kg.
Finally, if Ben believes £25,000 is genuinely affordable for everyone, he hasn’t understood the real reasons for Dacia’s ever increasing market share. Duncan Finlayson Via email
Where did it all go wrong?
Recently when I worked out how much I could afford in order to buy a new car, I discovered it was £20,000. So I bought a used VW Touareg.
I marvel that there are so many very expensive cars on the road. I see queues of Range Rovers at school sports matches and on my commute, not to mention all the supercars. But what really confounds me is that the most prosaic family cars typically cost well over £40,000.
Who are the legions of people who can afford them and where have I gone wrong? It’s very depressing. Giles Hamilton London
Strife begins at £40k
The letter published on 21 November from Paul Large resonated with me. I also purchased an Audi S3 last year with an eye to balancing desired specification and performance against the £40,000 tax threshold. My choice was influenced by the points raised by your correspondent and I was surprised by the absence of attention to the tax threshold by dealers and manufacturers’ sales or marketing departments.
I could not escape the opinion that marketing departments have missed a trick through failure to ensure that attractive combinations of extras are incorporated into designated models priced at £39,999. All astute motorists will avoid buying an extra that tips a car into the penalising tax band. David Mcchesney Ballycarry, Carrickfergus
That tanned alien look
In your test of the Aston Martin DBS (21 November), you state “the triaxial quilting [of the leather] looks the part”. No, it does not. It looks like they skinned and tanned a Doctor Who alien. It’s horrible. The orange trim colour is also wrong. Did you only test it in dull weather, as I’d be surprised if the dash top did not reflect in the screen? Thankfully, the leather quilting and colour are options.
Although I could live with the ‘alien’ leather as I would not see it when sat on it, the steering wheel would be a deal-buster unless they offered a proper round wheel. Thankfully, they have not fitted pointless privacy glass. Tim Grundey Inverurie
Don’t glaze over
Politicians of every hue tell us that choice is good. But when I am
looking for a mid-market SUV, the importers seem oblivious to consumer sovereignty in one area of specification, namely glazing.
Unless you elect to go for ‘poverty spec’, sun-protection glass seems to be a ‘no delete’ option. Salesmen look baffled that anyone would want a vehicle without it, even when I explain that I’m not expecting money off. Some say it is impossible to procure the vehicle with standard glazing, while others talk of six-month delays in the build queue. The brochures patronise the consumer with nonsense about the health-giving properties and heightened safety of having drug-dealer windows fitted, but the photographers understand the incongruity of asymmetrical glazing since most of the marketing material seems to airbrush out such features.
Despite my cynicism about consumer choice, this is one area where the importers need to recognise that sales are being lost due to their mistaken belief that Uk-based SUV buyers don’t deserve the option to choose the glass fitted to their new cars. Robert Bishopp Whitesmith, East Sussex
Your Alpine 110 vs Mclaren 570S feature was a good read (21 November), and few would question the spectacular entrance the Alpine has made to the motoring world. You conclude that both are enjoyable and accessible, as opposed to more circuit-focused vanity machines.
Interesting. So how would Porsche’s 911 T fare against these two? It sits somewhere in the middle with six cylinders and around 370bhp – about 100 more than the Alpine, but 200 shy of the Mclaren.
Porsche allegedly raided the parts bin so the 911 T would be a roadfocused car compared with a 911 GT3 RS, and it is also much less powerful and less expensive than a 911 GTS.
So, is the 911 T another – relatively unknown – offering that could be a kindred spirit to these two heroes? Philip Lunn Tunbridge Wells
911 T: in same esteemed company as Alpine 110 and Mclaren 570S?
Land Cruiser: Alex was out of his depth
Wheel, colour and pattern offend Tim