Web Wombat - the original Australian search engine
You are here: Home / Motoring / News & Reports / Letters
Motoring Menu
Premium Links

Web Wombat Search
Advanced Search
Submit a Site
Search 30 million+ Australian web pages:
Try out our new Web Wombat advanced search (click here)
Road Tests

Letters Page - Archive

Email The Motoring Channel


Where on earth are you hiding the really important stuff like vehicle dimensions? Certainly not in the road test.

Wayne H.

Editor's Note: Hmm... I'll assume you're talking about the new FG Falcon, so we'll get some stats up for you this week. Generally speaking it's a larger car in every dimension - width, height, length.


I am considering buying either an '02-'03 Lexus LS430 with 70k+ or maybe for roughly similar money a new Honda Legend - which incidentally seems a little derivative of the Lexus in the area of cabin layout and features.

What are your thoughts?

John B.

Editor's Note: Thanks for the email John. I think it depends a little bit on what kind of person you are. The Honda Legend is very well engineered and will provide you with as much - if not more - refinement than a 5-year old Lexus LS V8. However if you're after a something that conveys your status, the Legend can blend into the crowd a bit, while the Lexus has a more imposing character. Personally I'd go for the Honda myself because it's AWD, but neither option will cause headaches.


"If you bought the first generation 350Z, should you upgrade to this newer model? I'm not 100 per cent sure about that one, but I'm leaning towards a yes." 

I'm in a dilemma similar to your comment above, I have a 2003 Nissan 350Z manual and can't talk myself into the extra $30k for basically the same car. The only week link on original 350 was air intake and exhaust with that done I keep the torque, increase power and loose a few rev's on new car. 

Life's hard!!!

- Richard S. 


Great Lancer review! Can I ask in your opinion is it cheaper buying the ES and then upgrading privately with the $4k? Same question if you buy the VR and spending the extra money to modify it yourself? By yourself I still mean pay a private auto shop to do the job. Will you get more that way OR is it better to just pay for the higher model and get the original from the dealer? 


- D.F.

Editor's Note: Thanks for the email. It all depends on what you're wanting from your transport. If you're planning on never selling it again and keeping it forever (or at least ten years or so) you could probably have more fun shopping for parts on Ebay and then paying an auto shop to do the labour. However, modifying cars generally reduces their resale value, especially popular makes, like Corolla, Mazda3 and of course the Lancer. If it's just a short term purchase you're probably better off just getting the VR. 


In regards to your article on the Web called "Road Test: Pontiac Trans Am".

It made mention of how good the right-hand drive steering conversion was. A friend of mine has bought a '78 Trans Am and the right hand drive conversion for it is down right dangerous. Would you know how to get in contact with the person or company that did the right hand drive conversion for the car in your article?

Many thanks,

- Brett Deneen

Editor's Note: The Trans Am we tested had an exceptionally good conversion - virtually flawless - and I'll get in touch with the owner to find out if he can help. From memory it was a mate of his who did the conversion, but I'll mail you back with details when possible.


Well, I've owned a Mini Cooper S for a few years now and I love it. This new Mi.To from Alfa Romeo, well I have to applaud the Italian company. I like the design and the switchable chassis settings are something that would appeal to me as someone who likes to drive cars for fun and satisfaction, not just for transport.

However, I'm ready not ready to drop my Mini just yet. I think the new Alfa will take time to build appeal and if it's not coming for another 15 months that means more sales to the Fiat 500 and Mini Cooper. More competition is a good thing I think, as it will drive Mini to make better cars.

K. Andrews


I'm also sufficiently old to remember Romsey Quints (his column was titled 'Of cars and men' if I recall) but the real reason for my post is that I need to contact John Maroulis who posted on 28/2 as I now own the Welsor Clubman he drove in 'unsorted' form at Bathurst.

Rob Kilpatrick


Just had a squizz at your piece on the new XR8 Falcon and I'm very keen on testing and buying the only V8 Falcon in the range. I like the new FG design too. Subdued is good in my opinion.

The new SAM exhaust system with the bypass valve will be insane. I've heard a Jag XK8 go past my work and you can hear the sound change from a quiet thrum to a completely raw, wide open blat. So, when can I get one?


Editor's Note: Ford played the gathered media a "recording" of the XR8's engine note during the initial powertrain and chassis briefing and it sounded pretty raucous. I think the new XR8 - and especially the XR8 Ute - could be big drawcards for FoMoCo in Australia. As for the FG Falcon's on sale date, "May" is about as accurate as we can get at this stage. Stay tuned for our first hands on test in April.


My [Audi] TT 2.0-litre manual arrives in a couple of weeks. I'm looking to have it chipped - 188kW and 340Nm, along with H@R suspension (20mm lower). 

Good move or not? It's the new "S" line and I believe it will be one of the first in the country.


Bruce Williams

Editor's Note: Being an enthusiast myself, I'd say go for it. With 188kW the TT will be an absolute machine, as the standard 147kW version does the 0-100km/h in 6.4 seconds. You'd be looking at well under 6.0 seconds if you can keep the wheelspin at bay. As the for the suspension I don't reckon you'd need it, particularly if you get the magnetic ride option. The car is pretty firm as is. The only issue with all these mods is that it'll probably cost more to service in the long run, it may not be quite as reliable and resale values generally suffer when you move cars away from stock-standard. But in terms of driver enjoyment, it sounds like a potent setup.


I like that Holden [Coupe 60]. Isn't it fu*** beautiful and beasty? That car is as hot as a red pepper!! I just don't know what the hell that bloody Ford is doing?? It [Falcon] should be in the rubbish bin.



A very fair assessment Feann. My family and I spent a week in France last year with just such a [VW Passat] wagon and I have to say that it is one of the most impressive vehicles that I have driven. The turbo-d was completely unfussed with a load of five people (3 adults, 2 teenagers) plus 6 weeks worth of luggage and the manual 6-speed transmission was a delight, with a ratio for just about every road and traffic situation. 

On the motorways in particular the car really came into its own and covered distance with ease. Even though this was a rental vehicle it came with all the trimmings; leather, climate control etc. It certainly showed up my old Aussie 6-cylinder sedan which struggles with a similar load. It's a real shame that VW Australia won't import the manual transmission as it really compliments the whole notion of the sports wagon.




Have just picked up a VZ Berlina a month ago. It has an overactive rear parking sensor. Is there any simple way I can adjust this or do I have to take it to a dealer to adjust it? The almost constant sound while reversing is unbearable.

Thanking you in advance,

Rebecca Gyles

Editor's Note: I'm pretty sure most proximity sensors - both factory and aftermarket - are software/hardware controlled so you would most likely need to take it to your dealer or an auto electrician to remedy it. You should probably check to see if the sensors (small circles on the rear bumper) are unblemished and don't have any foreign matter on them either which can sometimes upset them.


Do you have any plans on reviewing the BMW 3 series range?  I notice a distinct lack of BMW reviews on your site.


Editor's Note: We do have plans to test the BMW 3 Series range, but whether those plans reach fruition is not clear. BMW has a small press fleet in Australia but hopefully we'll be testing a 335i in the coming months.


On your article on the Astra Diesel you had some criticism of the steering when used in a sporting manner. Well, if you study the controls you will find a "sports" button, which adjusts engine performance and steering feel for just that situation. 


Editor's Note: Thanks for the email Andrew. I was aware of the button but if memory serves it was more of a gimmick than a real world chassis changer.


That Turbo Mitsu Sportback with automated twin clutch transmission would definitely be on my next car list! Could drive it to work in heavy traffic, put stuff in it on weekends etc.

It would give the Ford XR5 Turbo a fright especially if it arrives here in AWD form.

A lot of these so-called hot hatches are hopeless in the rain. The Sportback would at least have traction. 


Editor's Note: Thanks for the email Klaza, and I think your views reflect those of an increasing number of car buyers. The new Lancer Sportback Ralliart, as it will be called, will indeed be 4WD and will be coming to Australia and could be priced at around $45,000. It'll have about 175kW which should ensure that it can play ball with the WRX hatch. Rest assured we'll give it the once over in the Road Test section when it arrives (hopefully  sooner rather than later!).


This was a great read on a very impressive vehicle (VW Golf R32). I am old enough to remember Romsey Quints (Sports Car World). This was comparable. I also know what it is like to drive a Lotus Super 7, Lotus Elan (138mph down Conrod at 8,000rpm in top!) Hustler SC1 and a very unsorted Welsor around Bathurst when it was a goat track.

Wombat made the R32 sound like much more fun!! I want one.

- J. Maroulis


I own a 2001 Subaru WRX wagon, and I seriously doubt the new Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart Wagon will be able to compete. Subaru has had years perfecting the turbo AWD wagon, and the boxer engine is better unit than a plain old inline four. I predict it will be expensive and will underperform.

- Jim

Editor's Note: Thanks for the email Jim. In terms of exterior design the Lancer wagon will compete strongly with the 2008 WRX hatch. Have you seen the new Impreza hatch? The performance issue is moot until the Lancer Ralliart wagon launches, but Mitsubishi did in fact build a load-lugging Evolution IX wagon that was only sold in Japan, so it does have a small amount of experience with turbo AWD wagons.


Hello. RE: Motoring Section, Mitsubishi Lancer First Drive

You mention in your First Drive of the Mitsubishi Lancer that the tyre noise is a bit of a problem, "... which should be easily remedied". Sorry for what may be a basic question, but how would you propose that the tyre noise can be reduced? 

Has this got anything to do with changing the Yokohama tyres which you mention earlier on in the review as possibly being responsible for some of the tyre noise?



Editor's Note: Thanks for the mail Philip, and you are quite correct - changing the tyres would certainly change the acoustic properties. The car could also have done with more acoustic damping in the cabin too, but this was only a minor issue and when the radio is on it's less noticeable again.


I have just recently purchased a brand new TL Focus Ghia Hatch, (December 2007 Build) on the 30th January 2008, after driving a Tickford enhanced Ford vehicle for the past 8 years. 

The focus comes with all the goodies required. Even though I have only travelled 300kms, I can honestly say it has a very strong feeling and is a comfortable car to drive. The auto isn't too bad either. 

Fuel economy is very very good having travelled to Melbourne from Geelong twice in that time. What can I say except try one first, as I was about to purchase a new Mazda SP23 and from what I've heard the Focus drives better.

Adrian Small


Hi - just found this site and am really pleased to have done so! I have a 1996 VW Golf GL. It has a power window (driver) problem.

Creaking noise to begin with then the window only goes half way up. Then no power at all, and then repeats itself. VW offer to fix it, but it's expensive. I wonder if any other part can be put in, ie. motor, regulator, etc.

Appreciate your reply. Thankyou. Oh, and whom can you suggest to do the job in Brisbane.


Editor's Note: Thanks for email and glad you like the site. Other than going to VW to fix it, I do know that it can be done in your garage, though I'm not so savvy with the electronic and motorised parts myself as to explain how. Sorry about that. A friend of mine had a 1984 Audi 80 with a similar issue and managed to fix it. Turned out to be worn wiring rather than a busted motor or regulator.


G'day. Was just looking through my Royal Auto mag and see a write up on the new Mazda 2. Nice enough looking car,  but what's with the drum brakes on the back?

Last time I looked at the calendar I saw year 2008. Our 1989 Laser Ghia has four wheel disc brakes. Surely it couldn't cost that much more to put discs on the rear? 

- T. Kettner


Hi, thanks for the 380 review. 

I am a male 6'5" - that is 198 cm. 

I am trying to decide on whether to buy a second hand Mitsubishi 380 or a Ford B.A. The 380's driver's head room is better than the Ford's B.A. don't you think?

Would you recommend the 380 over the Ford for someone like myself who is very tall?

Thank you,

- Shawn

Editor's Note: Hello Shawn. I tend to agree there. Both vehicles have a fairly similar amount of head room, but the Mitsubishi 380 seems to have a roomy perception to the cabin I reckon.


Regarding the article on the Melbourne F1 Grand Prix not sticking around - good riddance. Waste of money, waste of time. I hope it goes to Russia like Bernie says.

- M. Crest


Thanks for the very in depth Lancer review. I will definitely be taking one of these for a test drive soon!

- Flakemore


Hello Wombat staff.

I have been looking to replace my 1999 Toyota Corolla for a while now. Not that it has done anything wrong, it's been a dream to run but not to drive.

With a budget of $20,000 what car would you think would suit me? My priorities are space, reliability, and decent performance.

A second hand Mitsubishi 380 sounds real good with the 5 year warranty and I think I can get a 2005 model for under $20k. Anyway let me know what you think as it would be much appreciated.



Editor's Note: G'day Mike. It's sad to see that the Mitsubishi 380 has been effectively wiped out after the closure of the South Australian plant, but the fact of the matter is that the 380 is one of the best large Aussie cars in my mind. The engine is one of its strong suits so performance is taken care of while interior space is excellent too. Take one for a test if you can, and I reckon you'll be impressed. Other options include the Falcon, Commodore, and possibly the Nissan Maxima if you can find an affordable one.


Re: Road Test: Mazda6 Luxury Sports, 13/12/05.

Do you know why do they not put rear air conditioning vents in these 'luxury' cars, and can they be put in? I have found the rear passengers can not feel it from the front.


Editor's Note: Thanks for the email Ingrid. More and more new cars are featuring vents for rear seat passengers. Most are centrally mounted in the footwell, but the Ford Mondeo for instance has adjustable rear vents in the B-pillars which is pretty cool (no pun intended).



I would like to purchase a Ford Focus diesel. Do you know when the 2008 model will be released in Australia? I had no reply from Ford.



Editor's Note: The 2007 Ford Focus diesel models are on sale. Ford hasn't yet indicated when the 2008 models will be coming into the country, which are expected to be mechanically similar except for dual clutch gearboxes.


Hi again. I just wanted to say about Holden V8s, that the normal SS have L98 V8 engines, not LS2s. LS2 V8 have 298kW to 307kW and 540Nm and 550Nm, and hasn't been detuned.

L98 V8 engines were specially built for Holden V8 Commodores and Luxury models. It's a common Mistake, because of being the LS2 is more popular and more spoken of, and their both in the GM LS V8 range...

Maybe in the future Commodore will have an LS2, because if the L98 having only a 270kW and 530Nm spec.

Anyway great website. I really like reading your articles and great journalists too!


Editor's Note: Thanks for the email Lachlan. I always thought that Holden referred to its 6.0-litre V8s as the LS2 engine. Looking back at a few press releases Holden calls the SS Commodore's engine the "6.0-litre Generation IV V8", so you're quite right.


RE: Mercedes-Benz 2009 edition SL350 Roadster. The new design isn't revolutionary, but I can see where Mercedes is going with it. The headlights are different to older models' that had the fried egg theme, but the design will mellow over time. Just like the new BMW 7 Series came out it was trashed by the press - but its now one of the best selling 7 Series ever. 

I've driven the new BMW 6 Series convertible, but I'd buy one of these new Merc SL's over the BMW. They're just better cars.

- John


Hi there. Nice website, good reviews, and nice images on the news stories. I wanted to add my 2-cents to the large car debate. Ford's new Falcon is coming out soon and Holden's Commodore has been out for a while, but I reckon unless they can secure long term export markets or add diesel/hybrid or even small turbo engines to the mix (like the new Ford Explorer), they're doomed.

Fuel economy is now the single biggest motivating factor for a lot of new car buyers, and the big cars don't cut it. The Mitsubishi 380 is pretty much hanging by a thread, and the Aurion only exists because the Falcon and Commodore do.

Ryan P.

Editor's Note: Interesting take Ryan, and I agree with some of your comments there. Ford will unveil the new Falcon at the 2008 Melbourne International Motor Show in late Feb, and there's a lot of people hoping for something truly dynamic that reduces fuel consumption. Ford is being very secretive leading up to the new Falcon launch and hasn't even revealed the designation yet (BH?), but as soon as we get the info, we'll get it published.


Howdy. Just want to know if you have tested/reviewed the Toyota Trooper V8 diesel?

Hoo roo,

- Dan

Editor's Note: Hi Dan. We have no plans to test the Toyota Trooper V8 diesel, though a colleague drove one recently and said it was one of the most capable 4WDs he's ever driven. A little bit expensive, but virtually unstoppable. We are however testing the Landcruiser 200 series (with the V8 diesel) in a couple of months.


The new BMW M3 Convertible will never look as good as the old 3.2-litre version that came before it. The E46 models will always be the truest and purist of the M3 family. The roof on the new model looks stupid as well. You can see all the joins for the 3-piece roof and it looks incomplete and not very elegant. 

I'd get a Jaguar rag top instead.

- Mex


Nice review of the Ford Mondeo but you didn't comment on the ability of the air-con to cope with Aussie summer conditions. Is it up to scratch or is it the normal puny Euro standard?

- John B.

Editor's Note: The Mondeo has pretty decent air-conditioning - I'd give it a 6.5 out of ten. Adequate and better than a lot of Euro air-con systems, but on a 40° day it'll struggle.


Good to see you guys back and kicking in 2008 and loving the Detroit 2008 coverage. Just want to make a comment on the new Volkswagen Passat CC coupe - awesome design. 

The exterior of the car looks sensational, and I can't wait until they launch it here.

Sean B.

Editor's Note: Thanks for the email, and we're glad you like the coverage. I just got off the phone with Volkswagen Australia's PR chief and he said that they're already in discussions with their German counterparts to bring the slinky new 4-door Passat coupe here. "We're very positive the car will come to Australia," he said, adding that it would provide a key halo effect for the Passat range. As for the time frame, it could even arrive here before years end.


RE: Volkswagen Passat CC. The design is appealing and if it was priced well I'd consider it, but it's a complete copy of the Mercedes-Benz CLS. 

The Benz still looks better. The tail lights on the Passat CC need work too. They look out of place on the car.

- Jen


After owning Subaru WRX's, I decided to purchase an XR5 Ford Focus... 

What can I say? Apart from the emission of all wheel drive, the car rocks. Performance is smoother and punchy, ride is sensational and the seating spectacular.Bye bye Rexxie.

- J. Barnes


Hi. I have a 2007 Captiva 2.0 LTZ Diesel and I'm not getting the claimed 6.8l/100km on the highway or the 8.8l/100km urban fuel consumption. I've checked the vehicle over the past 3000kms and I always seem to get between 10.1l/100km and 10.4l/100km for my combine fuel cycle (70km highway and 30km urban) per day. 

What is wrong because the vehicle consumes about 2 litres more per 100km than what was claimed. My driving is between 80km/h and 110km/h.

Please advise.

- Andy Joseph (South Africa)

Editor's Note: Thanks for the email Andy. It could be a number of things here, and when we tested a similar 2.0-litre diesel Captiva we didn't record fuel consumption below 10L/100km. Some of the factors that can adversely impact fuel consumption include the quality of fuel you purchase, you're driving style, the quality of the roads, how many people or how much luggage you have in the car. There is also the possibility that the manufacturers claims were somewhat optimistic.


We are trying to decide which station wagon, Holden or Ford, would tow a 17-foot caravan best.

- Andy & Pam

Editor's Note: If you're going for the 6-cylinder models, I'd say the Ford Falcon would be the better for towing mainly because it has a lot more torque and displacement. You could also opt for the 6-speed automatic in the Falcon which the 6-cylinder Commodore doesn't have, which will 'learn' your driving patterns and would useful when towing.


Are the new Mustangs gonna be in Australia?


Editor's Note: Ford's PR people were initially unavailable for comment, but realistically I doubt the Mustang will be coming to Australia as it would potentially hurt FPV sales. When we get official word I'll update this response so check back when you can. Update: Ford Australia confirmed it - no Mustangs for Australia.


Holden are recalling 86,000 commodores - maybe they should be doing the same with Captiva petrol versions and replacing the catalytic converters - I hear they smell worse than a high school chemistry sulphur experiment.

- Phil


Excellent comparison review you did on the Mitsubishi Grandis vs Honda Odyssey. Can you suggest which later model Odyssey comes with a 6-cylinder (a little more 'grunt'), and 2 & 3 row seats fold down? Have actually been comparing with the Tarago, however Tarago may be a little expensive.

- Julia H.

Editor's Note: Thanks for the email Julia, and there was a V6 option on the previous Honda Odyssey that output around 150kW of power and was known for its grunt. That model was sold in Japan and Australia between 1999 and 2004, and you can probably find one in the used car classifieds if you don't mind doing the elbow work.


You say that the [Holden] 6.0-litre is "stone age V8 rust" - it's all aluminium alloy construction! And then you rate the SV6 equal or higher against individual criteria; and yet you give an overall rating that is higher in the V8 version ......what gives ?

Otherwise a good read.


- R.B.

Editor's Note: Thanks for the email R.B. Though it sounds negative, I wasn't so much calling the LS2 V8 engine stone aged rust, but highlighting the fact that a stone aged engine (no matter its source) of 6.0-litres will almost always beat out the most advanced nat atmo 3.6 bent six. It was more a note that you can't beat outright capacity, rather than a slap in the face for the LS2.



In this review of the Hyundai i30, you make no comment on the road noise at highway speeds. I test drove the new Corolla versus i30 diesel this last weekend and the distinct difference was the Corolla was a more refined driving experience with lower road noise, better handling dynamics and a more precise steering handling feel with a nicer more modern interior cabin experience.

You haven't done the i30 diesel review yet? The i30 diesel defies gravity being cheaper to buy than Corolla and 25% cheaper to run on fuel. It has an acceleration surge that (puts a smile on your face) the Corolla just can't match. 

Tough call. The i30D is maybe a guys car :) ? Toyota should get brownie points for making the Corolla so much better than the previous model - and hey when are they bringing their diesel version onto the stage?


- Dennis P.

Editor's Note: G'day Dennis. We haven't yet tested the Hyundai i30 diesel, but my colleagues from other publications reckon it's a pretty sweet machine. In terms of road noise, the i30 model we tested has different sized wheels and tyres to the diesel version you drove, which can often have a profound effect on tyre noise. There is a diesel version of the new Toyota Corolla (2.0-litre) available in South Africa at the moment, but don't expect it to arrive here anytime soon as demand for the petrol version is still very strong.


I was reading about the new Ford Focus RS and I was wondering if you reckon I should wait for the RS, or get the Focus XR5 Turbo right now? I like the idea of AWD and the cool new look Focus RS, but I also want a new car pretty soon.

- Jimmy

Editor's Note: I'd say get a Ford Focus XR5 Turbo, because you'll be waiting until at least 2009 for the car to come out in Europe. And then there's the question of when it comes to Australia, if at all. Could be 2010 if it's popular in Europe (and it will be).


Hello again Web Wombats. I'm a Holden and HSV fan, and do like some of the other cars that GM offers.

I just wanted to ask, would the 2009 Chevy Camaro make it to Australia, either as a Holden (not rebadged with Chevy badge), or rebadged as a Holden (return of the Monaro)? Will Chevy come to Australia just like Dodge did?


- Lachlan 

PS. Great article about the HSV Maloo.

Editor's Note: Hi Lachlan. The Camaro is currently only being built in left-hand drive configurations which would mean Australia misses out. But there has been plenty of talk that Holden wants to sell a small number of them here, and now that Cadillac is coming in 2008, the case for the Camaro may improve. If Chevrolet did create right-hand drive Camaro's, they'd most likely stay badged as a Chevy. There has been further talk however that the new Camaro could be used as a base for the next generation Holden Monaro. Watch this space...


I have read your test results on the Suzuki SX4, before and after I bought the car. 

I have had it for 5000 kilometres so far and all that I can add to your findings is: 1) The front pillars make it a little difficult going around round-abouts for vision and 2) the indicators sometimes do not reset, due to not having to turn wheel too much to turn the corner (also they are too quiet so if they don't reset it can be a hazard. And 3) the fuel tank is a little small, but after reading lots of forums I understand that is as big as they can put in it, due the rear transmission.

I have an auto and the fuel consumption is just a little higher (9.1L/100km). But over all it is a fantastic car and would highly recommend it for anyone that wants a car for all seasons/reasons.

- Rex Hill


Mate, regular reader of the articles, but lost all respect with praising the Proton.

- ProtonAreCrap

Mathew Salzone's Note: While the Proton does not compare with the usual range of cars we review, it did in my opinion have something special about it. I did enjoy the simplicity of the car and was very impressed with the handling. However I do agree that Proton have already dug their own grave with cheap interiors, reliability issues and cutting corners in all the wrong places. Thanks for writing in and we love to hear all your opinions.


Re: The "review" of the Proton Satria GT.

What a crap review! The reviewer says he loves it despite rubbish QA, poor design, a slug of a motor, ancient engineering, poor safety and mundane interior. No reference to competitors' standards, fuel efficiency, resale...
And the grammar is appalling. Who wrote this fan-boy garbage?

- Trophies

Mathew Salzone's Note: I can see that you didn't enjoy my first review here at Web Wombat. The Proton definitely had flaws in most areas, but the handling alone won me over in the end - as is spelled out in my review. I am slightly bias as I own this car and race it competitively in hillclimbs in Victoria. Ask most other people using it currently in the production car championship and they will say the same. Thanks for you email, and if you would like more information on the GTI I would be happy to forward it to you.


Could you do an article on the VE HSV Maloo R8? It was released last month and it was avoided, so please if you have the time, could we see more of the HSV side of Holden.


- Lachlan

Editor's Note: Consider it done. If you don't see it on the front page, try a refresh. Also, we'll be testing the ute in February 2008 as well, so we'll give you our independent analysis on Australia's most powerful ute.


Re Golf RaVe 270 Concept Wagon:

I wish VW would sell the Golf Wagon in Oz. The Passat wagon is too expensive and has crap seats compared to the Golf.

Would be even better if the 198kW engine was available. Though I'd be quite happy with 170kW and peak torque at lower RPM. I wonder what a twin charged 2.0L would be like?


- Klaza

Editor's Note: If Volkswagen did end up twin charging a 2.0-litre engine, it'd be off chops! If the 1.4-litre twin charged (turbo + supercharged) version in its first generation can develop 125kW, then you'd have to think a 2.0-litre version could make more than 200kW without trying. From what we gathered at the TSI launch however, the VW people in Germany said they'd probably only take twin charging to 1.8-litres at the most (and something about 'watch out' for the next gen Polo GTI).


Hi Guys,

Is there any chance the 2008 Honda Accord Coupe is coming down to our shores?

- Brian (Melbourne)

Editor's Note: Nah, not really Brian. The car is pretty much tailored for the North American market (left-hand drive only) and though Honda's Accord models sell very strongly here in Oz, I'm not sure there'd be a business case for importing it.



I am really interested in the Renault Clio 182 Cup (and loved your review) but have read numerous stories regarding their reliability.

I have nutted my purchase down to either the 182 (winning by miles), XR4 and 2004 Astra SRI Turbo.

I really like the Clio but after hearing about the frequent electrical problems I am worried that the costs of maintenance/running for the car will be high. Are the costs for servicing this particular car high given its relative rarity in Australia? Also; would most of the problems be stamped out with a second hand purchase (the one I am looking at has done about 30,000km), or would they be more frequent?

Any advice is much appreciated.


- Steve

Editor's Note: Thanks for the letter Steve. Electrical problems in general can be a right-royal pain in the arse in modern motor cars because often it takes months of trial and error to figure out which solenoid is a dud or whether there's frayed wiring somewhere. Software glitches aside, this can involve things like removing the dashboard and generally tooling around for hours. I'd suggest finding a Clio club in Australia (or abroad) and asking the members what they've experienced. Could be nothing more than rumours at the end of it all.


Your test of the Santa Fe and Grand Vitara didn't impress. The Vitara does not have a rear diff lock - at least not by the accepted definition. A diff lock locks the torque split 50% to each rear wheel - it does away with the differential action in the diff.

The Grand Vitara has a limited slip diff - this type of diff has shims or clutch packs that help to transfer the drive when one wheel experiences a loss of traction. LSD's are only around 40% effective at best, and will not transfer any drive (as you found) if one of the wheels are off the ground. This can be overcome by lightly riding the brakes whilst also using the accellerator, this loads the diff and allows some of the torque that was just spinning away in the airborne wheel to the wheel that is on the ground.

Before you ascribe features to a vehicle (suggesting a diff lock in the rear axle), you should first do your research.  Before testing offroad vehicles and denigrating their abilities, you should first do a basic 4x4 course to know how to get the best from that vehicle and its features.

- Marc Lagalle

Editor's Note: Thanks for the email Marc. We relied on information supplied by Suzuki in regards to the LSD/Diff lock confusion, so thanks for clearing that up. We'll never trust the tech specs again...


Not too sure how you achieved that range in the VE Commodore Ute comparison test.  

See text here: "The above figures are Holden's claims, and after driving the vehicles for a week we recorded similar figures (11.8 and 14.6L/100km respectively). We covered just over 700km in the SS Ute with one tank of fuel, while the SV6 managed more than 800km. Both models have the same 73 litre fuel tank."

If the V8 Ute chews juice at the rate of 14.6L per hundred k's, and supposedly covered 700km before needing fuel, then the fuel tank would need to hold 102.2 litres (assuming all the fuel was usable) to achieve that. The SV6 at 11.8L per hundred would need a 94.4 litre tank to achieve 800km's.

Even if every drop of the 73 litres were usable, a 700km range in the V8 would suggest a fuel consumption of 10.43l/100.  The V6 with a range of 800km's, a consumption figure of 9.13l/100km. Were these figures achieved on the highway?

- Marc Lagalle

Editor's Note: Marc, you're quite right about needing a 102.2 litre fuel to reach 700km if the car used 14.6L/100km all the time. But the SS Ute doesn't use 14.6L/100km all the time. It can achieve much lower figures on the highway and on normal roads if driven frugally and whacked into 6th gear at lower speeds. If I was specifically asked to get the best possible mileage out of the new Holden V8 ute, I reckon I could probably do better than 700km. I can smell a challenge!


I have a 2005 Holden Astra (AH) sedan 5-speed manual. When changing gears first to second there is an annoying hesitation each time. I have heard  this happens to some of these cars and want to know if anyone else has this problem and maybe what to do about it?

My local GM dealer doesn't seem too interested in the problem.

Keep up the good work,

- Charlie


Disagree with Barry about the Audi SUV convertible concept car. Typecasting people as "idiots and losers" because of the type of they drive shows ignorance and intolerance. I think the idea of a convertible SUV has merit. We are led to believe that out of all the SUVs sold, only a tiny percentage use them off-road so why not give people what they want?

- S. Goff


Dear Sir,

Could you please tell me what the name of the song and the woman singing it in the new Volvo S40 commercial being shown in Australia now?

Best Regards,

- Rachel Busse

Editor's Note: We had to ask Volvo this one, and they said the song is called 'Wish You Were Here' by Andy Sharpe.


Hey guys,

I'm in the market for a new car and it has to be a diesel. My contesters are either the Astra or the Focus, manual models.

Now I don't know which one is better, I am yet to test-drive either. I currently own a MY07 Astra Coupe and the 1.8l engine lacks the power. The chassis is great but from what I hear the Focus has a better chassis.

I'd like your opinion on how these two stack up. Also, is there any indication on when the facelifted Focus will be arriving on AU shores?


- Nermin

Editor's Note: G'day Nermin, and yes you heard right. The Focus has a better chassis. In my opinion it's the most balanced and rewarding small car chassis on the market, though in terms of acceleration I think the Holden Astra diesel (manual) has a bit more poke. Both are very good cars though, so you won't be disappointed whichever path you tread. 

As for the facelifted Focus, I think it's expected to hit Europe in early-to-mid 2008. I spoke to one of Ford's people at the recent Focus Coupe Cabriolet launch about that same issue - when's it coming to Oz? - and the response was a 'maybe 2008'.


Okay, I agree with your staff writers that Audi designs some world-beating cars and the R8 blows my mind, but this 4x4 SUV convertible is a joke. Who would buy this? Who would drive it? Idiots and losers, that's who. I think Audi's recent success has blurred its vision.


- 16/11/2007

Thankyou for going to the effort of reviewing the Santa Fe & Vitara off road in the mud. It was very informative and helps give me more confidence in my Santa Fe's ability. 


J.L. Worley

Editor's Note: No worries. I remember that road test fondly - it was a lot of fun and we got the cars bogged once or twice, pushing them a little too far at times. But we were very surprised just how well the Hyundai performed in the slippery, muddy conditions with road-based tyres. Could have used more ride height though.


We owned, serviced and loved our '73 VW Beetle. Lost track how many times around the clock the KMs we drove. But all things must come to an end, due to age and my size I began to experience cramp due to the lack of space. We decided to sell - car was still running well, front disc brakes and very little rust etc. Our choice was a brand new VW Polo 1.9 Diesel TDI. 

My first ever brand new car. Fantastic to drive, much more room than the Beetle and a water bottle holder. But from day one noticed an unpleasant whine in the transmission, eventually, after many weeks, a brand new transmission was fitted (diff & gearbox).

We still have the same noise with a new gearbox at 60K and with an increased whine at 82K. However, returning car four times and everyone acknowledging the noise, we were told this was not excessive and nothing to worry about and that "they are a bit noisy! No new gear box this time."

We are not happy as I am in contact with two friends who own an identical car with out this FAULT. I am, according to VW, the only one they know of experiencing this FAULT.

My question is, are there any other VW owners out there with this model experiencing what I think is diff whine? I believe this is a relatively new 'box designed heavier to suit the diesel motor. I'm unable to find much about it. Reverse gear jammed on us for a few days, because of a faulty rev light switch?? Only one rev light, the beetle sported two, giving an excellent light.

Whatever happened to advanced  technology - sometimes it really is going backwards. To do with money?

- Mike L.

Editor's Note: Thanks for the letter Mike, and sounds like you had a good thing with the Beetle. Shame about the tranny whine though. Anyone else heard of this issue? Let us know and we'll publish it here.


Hi, I want to convert my 2006 Mitsubishi Lancer to LPG but am having trouble finding a company that can provide a conversion kit for this type of car. If there is anyone out there who could help me?



Just had a look at the high res photo of the Lamborghini Murcielago by IMSA, and I think it's a mild improvement over the LP640 Murch. The factory standard Lambo Murch is so appealing that it's hard to make it better, but this German mob have made a fair go of it. But the wheels are terrible.

- Drak


I am impressed. Whoever gets to test ride these cars does know how to write well. I believe it would be difficult to get so much info into a report and still keep it interesting and even (good grief) slightly humorous. Well I laughed anyway.

Well done. I have now been converted from the Colt and will go investigate the Swift.

- Maria


In response to the following question about the new Ford Mondeo height and ease of entry compared to the Falcon, I have just ordered the new Ford Mondeo TDCI after reading Web Wombat's informative review on it and I currently own a BF Mk II Falcon so I feel well qualified to answer this question. 

The Mondeo is MUCH easier to enter and exit from all doors and is a little more spacious behind the wheel as I can have the seat more upright that I can in the Falcon. Being large as well as 6'2" tall, I don't believe anyone would want for better access or room.

- John Edmondson (Melbourne)

Editor's Note: Thanks for the letter John, much appreciated. And I think that answers your question PB.


Hi, I have just been reading up on the Toyota Matrix and at the end of the article it says that the release date in Australia will be late 2002. Should this read late 2007 or 2008?

- Rebel

Hi, do you know if the 2007/2008 Toyota Matrix will ever be imported to Australia? 

- Pepita

Editor's Note: Thanks for the letters folks. The article written in 2001 about the Toyota Matrix said "The release date of the MATRiX in Australia has not yet been released, but expect it in late 2002" and this never happened. Unfortunately the vehicle is not and will not be sold in Australia. If you really want one, you could import it from the States or Japan, but this would involve lots of time and some money.


We are enjoying reading the Road Tests and they are fantastic, better than Wheels Mag.

BUT we heave one big favor to ask, could you guys test a Pajero SWB 3-door diesel and petrol if possible since everybody is testing 5-door hope. 

Hope you can help.


Editor's Note: Glad you like the reviews, and we should be able to test a Pajero SWB 3-door model from Mitsubishi. With a bit of luck we could have a review done in a few months, so stay tuned and we'll do our best to get the low down on the 3-door Paj. Update: We've booked one for late December, so hopefully early 2008 we'll have the road test for you. It's an automatic diesel model.


To Feann Torr, RE: the new Mondeo.

Can you give me some idea of the front seat heights, in regards ease of entry and exit for less flexible people? We have a Territory which offers easy seat access, whereas we find the Falcon too low.

So do you have to get as low as with a Falcon?

- PB

Editor's Note: Thanks for the letter PB. To be 100% sure, we'd have to put the Mondeo side by side with the Falcon, but from our first drive I'd say they're fairly close in terms of front seat height. Headroom in the Mondeo was quite good, suggesting a slightly lower seat/higher roof. At the same token, they do have adjustable seat heights which could help out. In terms of getting in and out of the Mondeo, I'm 6'1" tall and had no trouble at all, but I'd suggest heading down to the dealership to give their demo cars a run through.


Your Lexus IS250 (Road Test) review states that the Lexus IS350 will be "coming soon" - has that been confirmed? And if so, what dates, if any, have been set.


- Anthony

Editor's Note: Hello Anthony. Damien made the comments in his review in mid 2006 when Lexus hadn't yet finalised the new range. For the time being, we know that the IS350 will not be coming to Australia in the short term. On the upside, Lexus will be importing the IS-F (think IS500!) from Japan, which is powered by a searing 5.0-litre V8 engine. Check this link for more info.


Enjoyed reading the article on the Australian Motor Show. The Insider's Guide was a good read, informative, but a little strange. I'm most interested in the Bufori sports cars. Can you give me some details?


- Paul Sanderson

Editor's Note: The best way to find out more on Bufori, which has only a small number of cars coming to Australia, is to go to their Aussie website: Bufori.com.au.


Hi guys.

I'm looking at a new car purchase next year and was considering the VW Golf GTI DSG but was also interested in the 1.4 VW Golf GT TSI DSG. As you have driven both (and I haven't yet), in your opinion which one is the better buy?

Also, could you please explain the difference between normal headlights and bi-xenon headlights. Do you think it is good value to pay the extra dollars demanded for the bi-xenon headlights? Many thanks, please keep up the excellent website, I always enjoy reading your unbiased and informative car reviews.


- GD

Editor's Note: You know, I'm leaning towards the 1.4 Golf GT TSI. It's not quite a quick, but that 1.4-litre twin charged engine is just the business, and can be frugal too. It's cheaper, and is a better buy in my mind. The chassis setups are almost identical (except for brakes), so the main difference between the two is engine performance. 

To your second question, bi-xenon headlights. Yes I think they're worth the dollars. Bi-xenon means two xenon headlights (one on each side - it's a bit of a wank really). They throw a much brighter, whiter and more penetrating light onto the road. Xenon headlights work with inert xenon gas instead of argon, or halogen gases, or any of the other stable gases that mingle well with electricity. They do get hot though. If the price isn't too exorbitant I'd always recommend them.


Hi, I want to know the price to buy new V8 motor from the 2007 BMW M3. It's a 4.0-litre V8 that achieves peak power of 309kW. Would it come complete extractors and exhaust and gearbox? I have 1985 BMW 318i E30 (4-cylinder) and I plan to remove the motor to fit new V8 from 2007 BMW M3. Can the V8 can fit it? Or do I need to modify the chassis mounts? 


-  John

Editor's Note: Thanks for the email John, and I'm not 100% sure BMW sells the engines to private customers. They do often sell engines, including the M division motors, to supercar makers but that's usually in bulk numbers, not a one off. To get that engine you may have to buy the car, though you may get lucky and find a repairable V8 from a wrecked M3 on Ebay. As for slotting the 4.0-litre V8 into the engine bay of an E30 318i, I think you would need to do some major modifications to engine/chassis mounts. And I wonder whether the chassis would twist under acceleration too... Either way, good luck with your project.


Hi there. I was just reading the road test for the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VI. Under the section regarding brakes, the column states the car has 17-inch discs at the front and 16-inch at the back. I'm pretty certain this is not true. Most sources agree the Evo has approx. 322mm front discs, which is approx 13 inch. Just thought you might want to change it.


- John

Editor's Note: Thanks for the heads up John. I remember writing that road test in late 2003 - easily one of the most amazing cars I've ever driven. I think the 17-inch figure may have been radius instead of diameter or something like that, but the change has been made, and thanks again for the pointer.


Looking at your website for your reviews of cars but can't find any that compare two cars like the Subaru Forester X and the Mitsubishi Outlander LS. These are the basic models my wife wants to know about and l hope you can help her - we know both are good but which is the best one?


- Dan

Editor's Note: I'm leaning towards the Mitsubishi Dan. Design, functionality and quality have all come a long way in the new model, and you can get the Outlander with a CVT which is far more efficient than a standard automatic, and it's also got a fuss-free switchable AWD system. Resale wise and Subaru will probably hold its value better so if it's only a short-term buy the Subaru could be the wiser choice. I'd suggest going to your local dealerships and test driving them both to get a better idea of what is suitable.


Hi my name is Geoff and I live and work in Western Australia.

I am trying to find a contact and a location to have a vehicle tested for maximum top speed. I drive a 2.5-litre diesel 4WD and have been mistakenly booked for speeding at 154km/h. I have elected to have this matter dealt with in a court and wish to produce documented evidence of the vehicles performance, or lack of it, as part of my defense. 

I am 50 years old and own a communications business. I drive an average of 50000km per year with my business and socially. In your road tests I see you mention top speed and I need to know who to contact to perform such tests.

Geoff Porter.

Editor's Note: Thanks for the email Geoff. The top speed figures we sometimes quote on our road tests are generally sourced from the manufacturer. Your best move would be to contact Nissan Australia's head office in Victoria ([03] 9797-4111), and explain to them your situation. They may have a senior engineer on hand who knows, but they should be able to help you out in some way or another with the query. The only other way may be to commission the services of a mechanic or an engineer to perform the test on your vehicle on an off-street drag strip.


I am just going to comment on a road test Feann Torr and Chris Shumack did on the Holden SSV vs Ford XR6T. I've read over it a couple of times and added up the scores in each category and the Holden finishes 1.5 points ahead of the Falcon but apparently the Ford is the better car (that's what is written). 

How and why is the Falcon the better car? You guys either can't add up properly or you are just Ford biased.

- Shaun.

Editor's Note: Hello Shaun. I've never been brilliant at mathematics myself, but that's not the issue here. Simply put, we never base the overall score in a head to head road test on the total figures from the four different sections (drive, engine, interior, exterior). Though the Commodore was better in some respects and may have totalled a higher score, the Falcon was the better vehicle overall. Call it the X-factor if you like

Also, your allegation that we're Ford biased has no merit. Chris owns a VY Holden Commodore SS and he loves it, and I've got a Japanese motorbike. And no, Ford doesn't wire money into our Swedish bank accounts either. Using your logic we're also Holden biased, because we gave the entry-level Holden the beans in this Commodore vs Falcon road test.


Could you help me word a letter to ask my boss for a payrise? I'm an NRMA road side service man and have not had a pay rise for over 18 months.



Editor's Note: That's a real doosra Bernie, probably the toughest letter we've ever been sent. To be honest, I'm terrible at imploring my seniors to give me better conditions and pay. I know it sounds like a cop out, but I'm not the best person to ask. I'm loathe to offer any advice for fear of hurting your chances... However, check out this article one of my Web Wombat colleagues wrote for the Careers Channel here.


Time to reintroduce an updated Leyland P76. Pity you cater for the French...  No miles per hour,  feet, inches. It's imperial for the UK.

- Julia (UK).

Editor's Note: Were you drunk when you wrote this? Seriously though, the Leyland P76 wasn't the worst can on the road in 1973, but neither was it the best. Sure, you could fit a 44 gallon drum in the boot, which was great for the mafioso and other organised crime syndicates, but for whatever reason (perhaps its nickname: 'Cheese Wedge'?) it never sold the numbers to compete with the Holden Kingswood and Ford Falcon. As for an updated version of the P76, well, I can't see it happening. There's still a cult following for the original though - check out LeylandP76.com.


Good website. I always enjoy reading your tests and reports.

- J. Harris.

Editor's Note: Cheers mate, and thanks for your support.


Hi Web Wombat ppl,

Is it just me, or is the new Honda Accord Tourer Concept: Euro Wagon just a rebadged current model SAAB 9-3? Check this picture against the Saab.

On a different subject, I've emailed Pontiac and they have no plans to make an RHD version of the Solstice, _sigh_, a car from the US of A that I actually would have wanted.

Brett D.

Editor's Note: It could be you Brett. No, only joshing. There are similarities between the cars, and the wider, lower Accord certainly has an even more European flavour to it. It'll be interesting to see how different the production version of the new Honda Accord Euro will be when it's launched early next year at the 2008 Geneva Motor Show.


Just thinking of purchasing a value for money family car. Am considering the common four: 380, Falcon, Commodore and the Aurion. Which one would be the best best all rounder in terms of fuel efficiency, reliability, and dynamics. 



Editor's Note: Tough call mike. That's the million dollar question really. Well, I'm just going to say that if reliability and fuel economy are numero uno, I'd go with the Toyota Aurion. It's rides nicely, but dynamically it's a dog and the engine feels weaker than the others. Such is life. The Mitsubishi 380 is the most underrated car of the bunch and easily matches the Falcon and Commodore in most benchmarks. It's just a shame there's a huge cloud hanging over Mitsubishi's local operations at the moment. As for the Falcon and Commodore, I'd say the Commodore is probably a better all-rounder, but it does drink more fuel than the Falcon. Furthermore, if you wait another seven or eight months Ford will deliver an all-new Falcon. At the same time, you'll be able to get a cut-price BF MkII Falcon soon as Ford tries to eliminate old stock before the new model arrives. Hope it helps Mike.


Nice review on the Mark II Falcon XR6 Turbo. Agree with most points you made but as a very content owner of the XR my only criticism is the printout on the speedo. You need coke bottle glasses to see the numbers on it. One other nagging point is the tiptronic set up of changing gears: it's arse about. My wife's Mitsubishi VRX version of the tiptronic is perfect.

- F. Varga.

Editor's Note: Yeah, fair call that one. The number do kind of go upside down towards 6000rpm. As for the tiptronic, I have to disagree. I reckon that the setup of pulling back on the gear stick to change up a gear is more intuitive. When you've got acceleration pushing into you, it seems more logical in my mind to click the gearshifter in the same direction as these forces, rather than fight against them. To each his own.



I have purchased Outlander 2007 model. Fuel consumption is shocking. 

1: for the first 10 min the fuel consumption is 25L/100km to 30L/100km.  
2: for the next 30 min the fuel consumption is 15L/100km to 18L/100km.
3: After that if I am still driving fuel consumption is 10L/100km to 12L/100km.

On high ways i get around 9.5L/100km to 10.5L/100km.

Is this what we are excepting ? I have no records of getting 5.8L/100km.

Can you help me with fuel consumption?

- A. Jay.

Editor's Note: Something could be awry A. Jay. The 2.4-litre engine hooked up with the CVT should return much better fuel economy than that. 10L/100km on the freeway is shocking. We've driven Ford XR6 Turbos that return better than that. Our test model Outlander sat on roughly 6.0L/100km on the freeway after about 10 minutes of driving at 100km/h with cruise control. How many kilometres are on the clock? The engine may need time to bed in, and the way you drive a brand-new car from when it had zero kilometres on the odometer can have implications as to its long term character. It may be worth talking to your Mitsubishi dealer about it.


Hi, I am seriously thinking about buying an Astra SRi Turbo coupe. Am I making a mistake? Or do I go for it? I've read mixed reviews and now am a bit confused.

Pamela W.

Editor's Note: It's a very good car the Astra SRi Turbo, one of the quickest hot hatches in it's price bracket. It inherits everything that was good about its donor car, the Astra, and I don't think that if you bought one you'd be making a mistake. It may not be the best hot hatch through a corner, true, but in terms of straight line speed it's hard to beat. It's also one of the most striking to look at with it's dynamic coupe styling. I'd give the Ford XR5 Turbo a look as well, but if you have you're heart set on the Astra I'd say go for it.


Re: Audi RS4 review.

I recently bought one and I can't get enough of it... It is worth every cent that I paid (2nd hand $40k off new car price!) and definitely the best car I have ever owned. Great article, agree with all your comments.

- David M.


Hi. Searching the net for specs on the Colt i found ur page. About 14 weeks ago i bought a 2007 [Suzuki] Swift and my mum has just picked up her year old [Mitsubishi] LS Colt. We had a bit of a laugh that you guys compared the two. i see that the Ralliart Colt is turbo'd and i know the sports swift isn't... I have a Z series Swift how hard is it to turbo if money is not an issue... i'm looking at hotting up the swift to be one of its kind... do u have any advice for me?

Turbo Gurl

Editor's Note: Thanks for the email Turbo. If money is not an issue, it won't be hard to get your Suzuki Swift modified with a turbocharged and intercooled system. You just need to choose the right mod shop or specialised mechanic. A good place to start would be ModYourCar.com.au. Though they only sell products, they should be able to guide you in the right direction.


Why in road test of Golf 1.4 TSI is there some hesitation in low revs?



Editor's Note: Thanks for the email Eli, and neither our quick drive nor the full review of the Golf 1.4 GT stated that there was hesitation at low revs. The Volkswagen is responsive at low revs. In his review Peter wrote: "The supercharger and turbo increased the driving fun with oodles of torque from low engine revs right to the top end." Hope it clears things up.


I've just mailed VW Australia asking them whether they're thinking about importing the new Golf Variant wagon. They replied that "Volkswagen Australia have no short term plans to import the Golf Estate Wagon and make it available to the Australian market". 

I note that in May 2007 VW Australia were thinking about importing the car to Australia by mid 2008 but this looks like they've decided not to. What's your take on this because in my case it probably means I'm not going to wait to look at one but buy something else in the meantime.

J. Neve

Editor's Note: My take is that Volkswagen would be more likely to release the Jetta wagon in Australia in the next couple of years, but again they've got to make a good business case for any new model they launch, and small wagons aren't huge sellers in Australia. You mention you'll probably look to buy something else in the meantime, and the Holden Astra wagon and other similar models would be a good place to start.


Hi. I am thinking of buying a Dodge Nitro SXT Diesel. What is your opinion of this car?

The thing that attracts me is the style. I just love the shape.

I also love the shape of the Jeep Commander. I love American styling, the square shape cars. The Jeep Commander is a bit big for a single person so I will stick to wanting to buy a Dodge Nitro SXT Diesel but would like an opinion. The cars styling is just awesome, that hot front grille...



Editor's Note: Thanks for the email Arek. I'm not head over heels in love with the Nitro design, but I do think it's refreshing, and one that really stands out on Australian roads. I like the fact that it's original and daring more than anything else. It's an all-American design to be sure, and Dodge/Chrysler seems to be getting good mileage from these squared-off designs. The diesel is the pick of the litter too, but don't expect class-leading off-road abilities.


In July 2005 I bought a new BA2 XR8 Falcon Ute. I noticed from the first time I drove it there was a minor vibration in the rear of the vehicle. I accepted it as being a normal situation for a ute. However, at the first service the dealer rotated the wheels & from that point on I had a severe vibration. 

After balancing the wheels a couple of times without any improvement it was discovered whilst on the balancing machine that the mag wheel was actually out of round. Initially the dealer (Nova Ford Caboolture Qld) claimed that I had damaged the wheel by running over a gutter. As I knew this to be untrue I vigorously persevered for them to replace the wheel at no cost to me. Eventually their service manager admitted that some wheels were indeed out of round due to manufacturing problems & they replaced the wheel at no cost to me apart from severe stress & much of my time. 

Another problem I have encountered is that if I do 3 cold starts consecutively (drive the vehicle out of the garage & wash it & then drive it back in) the next time you try to start it the engine floods & is almost impossible to start. The first time this occurred I had to call the RACQ for assistance. The RACQ person knew immediately what to do as he said it was a common problem with BA Falcons. He just floored the accelerator & sat on the starter motor & after about 2 or 3 minutes it fired up producing a cloud of black smoke. This has happened a second time in exactly the same circumstances. Obviously cranking over the engine for such a long period is going to be detrimental to the starter motor & battery. I have referred this problem to the Ford Co. and they claim it is a normal situation. I certainly don't agree that it is a normal situation. I am making this information available to alert current owners & potential owners as to these problems with BA Ford Falcons. 

Also, if anyone is aware of a solution to this flooding problem I would appreciate them advising me.

Thank you.

John Rowley 


So, just reading over your report on the new XR6. I am in the market to purchase one, just wondering if there's a lot of difference in the '05 model to the new 6-speed auto?? Is there better fuel efficiency in the new 6-speed? Which one would you recommend? 


Editor's Note: The 6-speed auto is a world-class transmission, and the 4.0-litre inline 6-cylinder engine is a willing accomplice. I'd suggest taking one for a test drive to see for yourself. If you're not in too much of a hurry though, I would recommend you hang on until early 2008 when Ford releases the next generation Falcon which will have even more refinement.


Tyre wear on Nissan Murano: have you had any complaints as I only got 20,000km from my set. 


Editor's Note: None as yet - yours is the first. But that does seem a touch low, especially as the Murano isn't grotesquely overweight at 1.8 tonnes (about the same as a V8 Falcon). 


New Mazda6 - don't like it. The current design works, but the new model looks like every other next generation car. Very forgettable...



In regards to the new Mazda6 design, it's terrific. Spot on. If only Mazda's designers worked for Volkswagen, they'd have some great cars. I like the elegance in the design, but there's style there too, and I think this will be another huge seller for Mazda. When can I drive one?



Editor's Note: I agree Pete. Though we only have the one front-end photo to go by (at the time of writing), it represents a very stylish new design, one that could spark a whole new level of interest in the medium car segment. With Ford's Mondeo on the way to Oz later in the year, it'll be up against some tough competition too. There are no firm release dates at present, but may arrive in Australia as soon as late 2008.


I ride a scooter to work four times a week, 10km each way, and often I find the attitude of car drivers (especially 4WD and SUVs) to be hostile. I've rarely done anything unpredictable and as you know scooters are not slow off the line, so I can't be accused with holding up traffic. 

I sometimes wonder if cars should be banned from Australian cities and their surrounds, or at least given a congestion/pollution tax like some European cities. I'm doing the right thing by reducing pollution and traffic with a motor scooter as my commuter transport, but I sometimes feel victimised because of it.



I refer your BMW 130i review.

Which set of engine power/torque stats is correct?

Max Power: 195kW @ 7800rpm
Max Torque: 315Nm @ 5500rpm

or this

"... developing a super fit 195kW of power, which hits the skids @ 6600rpm. That's a very high power peak, yet the engine's maximum torque of 315Nm is on tap from just 2750rpm, which is remarkably low."


Editor's Note: Thanks for the email Wyvernest, and that was what we refer to as a f**k-up in the weblishing industry. The 7800rpm engine speed figure was wrong, essentially a typo. If you do a shift+refresh on the page, it should show the correct figures now.


Hi, I've just read your article about the [Civic] Jap Spec Type R and I must say, it's astonishing! But since its not coming to our shores, I was wondering if its possible to import one in? If it is, would getting it registered and insured a problem?


- Sky

P.S keep up the good work guys.

Editor's Note: Thanks for the kudos Sky. If you have the time and money and don't mind filling in pages of forms, then you could import one. Registration wouldn't be a huge issue as Japanese regulations aren't wildly different from our own, though insurance may be steep as it's an import. I've just had a dip in the Australian-spec Civic Type R, and I would urge you to take a test drive of the local version before considering an import as it's a very lively performer.


I have had my Ford GT-P Falcon since April 2005. I read all of the reviews before I bought it and as far as engine performance and comfort go I have not been disappointed. The drive line however is another story - I seem to have a lot of lash through the drive line which makes it almost impossible to change gear with out a clunk coming from the drive train. 

The car has 40,000kms on it now and Sunshine Ford at Southport on the Gold Coast still have not been able to sort it out. Another shocking experience I have had is that I have just been informed by Sunshine Ford that I need to spend $4,500 on my brakes because they are worn out. The discs are beyond minimum thickness and the pads are worn. This represents in excess of $1000/10,000kms. 

I guarantee if my representative at Sunshine Ford had of explained that to me before I bought it I would have opted for something a little less costly to maintain.

Any way enough of my whinging. Web Wombat is a great site with heaps of informative reviews and stuff. Keep up the good work.


Mick Sheldon


Re: Updated Ford Focus.

Why can't Ford put a 2.3 in it? Mazda do. And also a decent 6-speed auto. Maybe a Volkswagen DSG style gearbox would be even better.

So many good small cars...sadly either with no auto or last century's crap 4-speed autos.



Can't agree with the scooters thing. I've driven to work everyday for the last 14 years, the same route, and since scooters have started invading the roads in the last two years I have had to have my wits about me. They just pop out of nowhere and more than once I've had to lock the brakes to avoid destroying one. I'm now looking at new cars with proximity sensors on the front, rear, and sides. Any recommendations?

Chris. T

Editor's Note: Hi Chris, and thanks for the email. Though there are a number of new cars with proximity senors front, rear and sides - and most of them are prestige cars (Audi, BMW etc). From experience the Lexus GS range has some of the most sensitive proxo sensors going round and would be a good place to start looking.


About the scooters in the city: is a single person on a scooter more of a nuisance than a single person in a massive V8 4WD?



Do you know the date that the new Mondeo is coming?


Editor's Note: Hello Tom. The Ford Mondeo will be coming to Australian dealerships before the year is up. The company line is still "late 2007". We're betting late November, just in time for Christmas.


Please tell Feann that his facts are wrong in the below article - the supercharger is not electrically driven. It is driven off the crank and has an electro-magnetic clutch.



Editor's Note: Thanks for the note Craig. Yes, I was wrong in the TSI write-up, which was a typo that I made and then failed to pick up on. The changes have been made to correct the issue. It should now read "mechanically" instead of "electrically" (driven supercharger). If it doesn't, try a shift+refresh on the pages.


Scooters a menace?! An annoyance maybe, but how about trucks?? Scooters don't scare me - trucks terrify me! Take a leaf from the European book, they should be precluded from frequenting the overtaking lanes. By LAW. What do the police do on the road in Australia these days apart from issuing speeding tickets? Nothing. Not one thing. It disgusts me.

They've neglected the real concerns of drivers and driver safety and now are doomed fall from grace in the eyes of the Australian public. Pathetic revenue raising flunkies...

Stanley T.


Read your article on the scooter 'scourge' and the survey results don't lie. A lot of people see them for what they are. Scooters and motorbikes are a menace on our roads, which is proven by the higher fatality rate among the motorcyclists. Ban 'em all - they're a nuisance!

P.D. Jamieson

Editor's Note: What a great idea Mr Jamieson. Let's ban two-wheeled transport because they're a nuisance. Shall we ban car pooling as well because you don't like to listen to Kenny G unless you're alone? Let's ignore how two-wheeled transport reduces congestion and C02 emissions, and instead just legislate to appease the irrational and unreasonable minority.


Okay, on the scooter topic? I don't ride a scooter, I've only ever driven cars with automatic transmissions. I really don't like seeing scooters zip up through gaps in the traffic. When I've been sitting in a queue of cars for several minutes, it seems like a scam. Why should I wait in line while this cheap little moped drives past?


Editor's Note: Totally agree with you there. You shouldn't have to wait in line. But because of our increasing car population and stagnating road infrastructure, the situation is going to get worse before it gets better.


'Bout time Ford shut the Geelong engine plant. Just look at BMW or Mercedes - they sell cars right across the world and use the same engines in all models. Even Holden exports it's alloytec V6 all over the place. It's only tradition that has kept Ford's inline 6-cylinder engine going. Now it's not 'green' enough and gets the scrap.

I know that the Falcon is Australia-only (that'll change in time), but using an engine that has no export markets was always going to die a slow and messy death. I'm shocked that it's surviving until 2010! Get your Falcon XR6 Turbo's quick, because once they're gone, they're gone forever!!


Editor's Note: Interesting point Stav. Ford had to face the facts - sales of locally made product are dropping and imports are rising. It's a case of making a difficult decision today, and surviving tomorrow. Interestingly, the XR6 Turbo could well exist beyond 2010 if Ford decides to add forced induction to the new Duratec V6. You can bet there'll be some lobbying by the Ford faithful if the Blue Oval decides to ditch the iconic turbo model when the V6 replaces the I6.


It's a sad thing to hear Ford shutting down it's engine factory. The inline 6-cylinder engine will be missed - I've owned several Falcons over more than three decades and I've found the 6-cylinder to be a real workhorse and good for towing. I just hope the new V6 from the across the pond will be up to the task.




I have just read your report on the new Nissan X-Trail, very interesting. But could you tell me if it has telescopic reach on the steering wheel?



Editor's Note: Thanks for the email Reg. The new X-Trail has has tilt adjustment only for the tiller - no telescoping unfortunately...


Read the new Honda CR-V review, nice work. Now, I have a question: I'm in the market for a new compact AWD at around $35k on the road, but I'm torn. I don't like the new look of the CR-V, but the fuel economy keeps me interested. Honda has a reputation for solid build quality, but I want something less girly parked in the drive-way. What do you reckon?

- Jason P. (South Australia)

Editor's Note: Jason, if fuel efficiency and build-quality are most important to you, I'd suggest giving the Mitsubishi Outlander a dip. Mitsubishi's build quality has improved greatly in past few years, and thanks to its CVT it can reach some very impressive fuel economy targets. I'd suggest taking the Outlander for a test drive and perhaps the Toyota RAV4 as well.


Hi Peter.

I have just finished reading your road test regarding the Golf GT, and was wondering if you could enlighten me on a few issues.

I am thinking about updating my 2.7 V6 Hyundai Sonata with something that offers more spirited performance, but I would also like this vehicle to provide a comfortable and quiet ride over country roads as my present car. 

I would like to avoid buying another large car to achieve this combination of sporty performance and a comfortable ride. My previous car was a TS Astra, which had a slightly firm ride, which was completely acceptable on most roads except for a few country roads that produced a continually nobbled ride with some suspension noise. This became wearisome after a while. 

If the Volkswagen GT provided a firm, but comfortable and quiet ride, this would be great. Please let me know what you think, and maybe make a few suggestions or alternatives etc.


Shane Chislett (Craigieburn, Vic)

Peter Maniatis' Note: Hi Shane. The Golf certainly provides a good ride and definitely refined enough that it offers plenty of comfort as well. It sits very neatly on the highway has plenty of get up and go for both city and open road performance. It's a refined car - but probably won't offer as much compliance on bumpy country roads as your current car. It has a similar suspension setup to the Golf GTI: fairly stiff and sporty. Your best bet - and I would recommend this to any punter - is to take the Golf GT for a test drive - make sure you get a 30 minute or longer spin - preferably on a freeway (or tollway) somewhere. Would be very worthwhile.


We have a late 2005 TX Territory with 6-speed sequential transmission, and I agree with all of your comments, however I was disappointed that no update on economy has been achieved with the newer Territory models. Our AWD model with 3rd row seats is an exceptional vehicle, but a larger fuel tank to provide a better range is our only complaint.

- Y.F & G.P


I was driving to work the other day and this huge group of cyclists were totally blocking both inbound lanes - about 50 or 60 of them. I know the Tour de France is on and everyone likes to get into it and that, but it pissed me off not being able to pass these guys who were doing maybe 30 or 35km/h in a 70km/h zone.



Just read the news page and saw the Porsche Panamera development shots. I have 996-type Porsche 911 Carrera, which was once criticised as being an unfashionable design. But this new "Panamera" is atrocious.

I've no doubt Porsche will sell many of these new GTs, because BMWs and Mercedes are all too common these days. Yet if these photos are representative of the final design, the Porsche stylists should be shot.

E. Pampling

Editor's Note: I actually thought the car looked half-decent, if a bit long and ungainly. The final design is likely to change somewhat (especially if Porsche's top brass reads this) but overall I think what you see is what you're going to get.


Good read on the new Ford Focus first drive. I'm very keen to buy a diesel small car and my short list was the Peugeot 307 diesel and the Astra diesel. The 1.9-litre Golf was on there too because it was cheap, but it outputs 77kW and I want a bit more power than that for cruising. My question - does the Focus really stack up?



Editor's Note: Thanks for the email Patrick, and yes, it does stack up. It handles very nicely, is easy to drive, and it's got on the best gearboxes in the business. If you're after the full 100kW/320Nm whack for some spirited driving, the Focus won't disappoint. I'd suggest test driving it first, and if you haven't already take the Astra for a spin because it's also very good.


Hi. I am looking at replacement my current Mazda SP23 sedan with one of the following hatches:

- Golf GTi
- Focus XR5
- Mazda3 MPS
- HSV Astra VXR

I travel 40,000 kms per year. Could you please let me know the estimated running costs for these vehicles. I have heard the Golf and Focus can get expensive to maintain when they travel over 100,000 kms. I'm thinking the Mazda may be the cheapest to own in the long term.

Thank you,

- Craig

Editor's Note: If running costs are the most important factor, either the Astra-based HSV VXR or the Mazda3 would be the pick. There aren't huge differences between these three turbocharged models in terms of yearly running costs, but bear in mind that the Focus XR5 Turbo has no cruise control, which could be a drawback if you're doing lots of highway driving.


Just read your test report on the diesel Pathfinder. I bought an STL and find this vehicle perfect for my requirements, probably the best vehicle I have ever owned. The vehicle consistently uses 8.5L/100kms, the steering is precise and the ride is great. Prior to the Pathfinder I had a 2004 patrol which was a good vehicle but a bit too truck like for me.


- Mike


Hi there. I have just read the information on your web site and am interested in finding out some more.

Is there a government recommended gas converter? And what paper work is necessary to make a claim back from the government?

Lydia Mcphie

Editor's Note: Thanks for the letter Lydia. From memory I think you need a receipt from the installer, and also an invoice of some sort. Give the AusIndustry Hotline a call and they'll be able to provide you with the relevant information: their number is 13 28 46.


Road Test: Holden Astra CDTi Diesel:

I have owned one of these (manual) for 6 months now. This is one of the first reviews where I have seen the reviewer get what this car is about. No whining about cup-holders etc. Plenty of space given to the driving experience :)

Great review. 


- Scott


I want to know more about the Camaro Concept car - where can I get one, how much are they, how can I put in an order? That car is absolutely beautiful. I rang Holden but they don't know anything yet, I thought you might be able to help me out?


Editor's Note: Thanks for the letter Raquel; the Chevrolet Camaro will begin production in the USA (based on the Holden-developed Zeta platform) in late 2008. It will go on sale in North America from in the first half of 2009 and will available with both V6 and V8 engines. You can't yet put in an order for the car, and it's still unclear whether the car will come to Australia.


Hi. I have a [Subaru] B4 and have been interested in the Subaru B4 Blitzin rear spoiler, but am struggling to find one up to the point of coming across this web site which shows pics of a B4 Blitzin in silver. Please could you put me in contact with some one who imports this style spoiler from Australia. 

Many thanks,

- DM Lazarus

Editor's Note: We've sent your email to Subaru Australia, and hopefully they can help out. More: Subaru's product manager (accessories) responded and said they don't stock the spoiler.


To the Editor, Motoring Channel:

I can't understand why you would question someones opinion of the new Belgium-made Astra SRi Turbo up against the other hot hatches he has test driven. He loves the Astra, he owns and lives with it and says it is the best for his money. Do you own one to say they are better for your money? You have to experience rather simply test driving. 

I used to own a VW Golf GTi. Got rid of it and virtually dumped the over-rated brand. Great at test drive and reviews but owning one of these South African rattle box's was a so disappointing. I like motoring journo car reviews and your website is okay but rather make a decision to buy based on an owner's review.

I will never get a South African made German engineered car ever again. Quality control is the problem. Where is the new Golf GT made? In South Africa also, Mexico or Brazil or some third world country and still charge full sale price?

- SR165

Editor's Note: Thanks for the email and your opinions are duly noted. Yes, test driving a car for seven or ten days is not the same as owning a car and experiencing all the travails that go with it, but the cars we test often have quite a few kilometres on the clocks, have been thrashed to within inches of their lives (often on the race track) and sometimes show this wear and tear. I questioned one readers opinion of the SRI because it's not as good as its rivals, plain and simple.


When are you going to update the letters page?

- TK-Max

Editor's Note: We update today! I've been overseas for a little while, but we're now firing on all cylinders again. I thought about letting some of the other Motoring Channel crew answer the letters, but they're a rough bunch... It may have gotten nasty.


I've read that Audi will stop producing the RS 4. Any credence to this news?

- Stan

Editor's Note: G'day Stan. Yes there is credence to the news. The RS 4 will be no more when the RS 6 arrives half-way through 2008. Audi has a standard practice of only building one RS model at a time, and the RS 4 was only supposed to have a two year production run. When the RS 6 arrives, the RS 4 is expected to cease production.


Hi. Loved your write up on the Golf GTI!! Any news on the GT (TSI) coming to our shores as yet?

It writes up very well overseas.

- Ed

Editor's Note: I received your email this morning, right after returning from the GT launch in Queensland. Curious timing. So yes, we had our first drive yesterday and you can read about it here. Believe the hype too - the TSI technology is pretty spiffy, and the sheer power that the tiny 1.4-litre engine makes is took me by surprise. Though Volkswagen was very cagey about upcoming TSI engines, here's hoping they build a 1.6 or a 1.8-litre version. It'd be mad like a cut snake.


I'd like to find out if anyone else is disappointed with the true fuel economy figures for the 2007 2.0L Honda Civic Sport Auto.  Have just purchased one and it is averaging 11.3L/100km - not the 8L/100km as claimed by Honda.

The service department has told me to wait till 5000 kilometers as it should improve. I have a Nissan X.Trail 2.5L and I get 9L/100km for it and a 1.8L Mazda3 that gets 7.6L/100km. So I am disappointed and shocked at the Civic. Does anyone ever check the manufacturers claims?


- Bernard

Editor's Note: Thanks for the email Bernard, and that 11.3L/100km sounds more like something you'd get driving a 6-cylinder car. Some engines do need to bed in properly before they can achieve their optimum fuel efficiency levels, but that sounds a bit iffy. We often record average fuel consumption figures well above the manufacturer's claims when testing new cars, but this is usually because we're testing performance limits which often involves frequent throttle inputs. If you're getting solid numbers from your other vehicles I can assume you're no lead foot, so if you don't get any improvement in fuel economy in another couple of thousand kays, I would suggest thatit could be an engine or fuel delivery/blockage issue and worth speaking to your dealer and service  department. As to the manufacturers claims we generally find they're optimistic, but never by 3 whole litres per 100km.



Thanks for the information on the R32. Sounds like it is a great car.

In your opinion, is it the best buy at around $60k drive away? Compared to the coming Audi S3? I am considering to purchase the R32, and it is going to be my first new car. Though I am not sure whether there are better options.Thoughts?


- Vince

Editor's Note: Thanks for your letter Vince, and unfortunately I cannot comment on the new Audi S3 as we haven't tested it yet. According to the official numbers it will slightly quicker than the Volkswagen Golf R32 due to its highly strung turbo 4-cylinder engine (which is lighter than the R32's V6), but Australian pricing isn't available yet and it may end up costing more than $60k. Audi's S models are pretty slick machines in most respects, but I reckon if you test drive the Golf R32 you may be hooked as it's an impressive performance car and involving to drive.


Feann, good review, and I like the HSV Clubsport but I just don't need to cart all that bulk and weight around. I'm desperate for a rationally priced sports sedan that I can use as a family car and enjoy a measure of performance driving. 

If only we could get something like the 4.5 litre V8 Nissan here in Australia! Incidentally, get your articles proof read before publishing. Silly errors spoil the read. Otherwise, well done.


- Alan Harrison

Editor's Note: Thanks for your comments Alan, and I guess if you wanted less weight but similar performance you could try something like the FPV Typhoon. Though it's not that much lighter. If you've got $65k to spend, it may be worth having a look at the FPV F6 Typhoon. Otherwise, you're looking at a lot more money if you wanted an 8-cylinder 5 Series BMW or similarly sized family sports sedan.


I hate it when morons clog up two or three lane roads by sitting just under the speed limit in the right lane. I'm finding it's happening more and more and they just won't budge no matter how many times you flash your lights and toot your horn. What ever happened to 'keeping left unless overtaking'? 

What are your thoughts on this blight on the Australian driving public?

- Michael (An Irritated Driver)

Editor's Note: Fair call Michael, and I tend to agree with you on this topic (and that's why I also ride a motorbike - you don't have to put up with the traffic congestion or the inconsiderate driving of idiots meandering along in the overtaking lanes). Having this year spent some time driving in England and Wales, where trucks and lorries have to stay to the left lanes and almost everybody adheres to the 'keep left unless overtaking' rule, everything works swimmingly. I think that because their roads are much more congested it forces drivers to be more courteous and more aware of their fellow drivers, but another reason why two and three lane roads operate more smoothly in the UK is that the Police enforce the 'keep left unless overtaking' rule. In Australia they don't. I reckon it'd make a huge difference if the coppers were more proactive in this area and fine people for doing the wrong thing.


Hey. It has been bothering me a lot these past few days that my friend who owns a 2005 Nissan Maxima says it would kick my car the 2006 Mercedes E350's butt. I was just wondering your thoughts about these two cars going at it, who would be the victor.


- Shahzebb K

Editor's Note: Thanks for the email Shahzebb and I haven't driven the E350 with its 200kW V6 engine, so I can't comment with any authority. On pure numbers (which are often a poor guide) the E350 has more power from its 3.5-litre V6 than the Nissan, but the Nissan is lighter. Then again, the Nissan is front-wheel drive, the Mercedes is rear-wheel drive... We don't condone street racing, so I'd instead suggest you ring up your local drag racing centre or race facility and book in some time to see who is the quicker in a straight line. My money's on the Merc.


I'm commenting on the review of the Astra CDTi turbo diesel.

I got one of those cars for my b'day, and the review is sooo true... It's an awesome little car :-)

I love it to bits ... and yet it's so powerful :D

- Matt


What is the timing belt change interval on the new 1.8-litre engine [on the new Holden Astra]? The draw back with the old 1.8ltr/2.0ltr turbo motors is the cam timing belt has to be replaced every 60,000km at the cost of around $800, ridiculous in this modern age. 

Having owned a couple of Astra's, if Holden haven't fixed the timing belt change issue I wouldn't buy one.

- Tony R.

Editor's Note: I spoke to Holden today and they said that the service costs for the Astra's Z18XE - the older engine you talk about - are basically the same for the newer Z18XER. Holden's spokesman stated: "However the camshaft timing belt, tensioner, idler and roller get replaced at 150,000km for the Z18XER rather than 90,000km for the Z18XE. The 2.0L turbo gets the same work at 120,000km." Hope this helps.


I read your article about the new VE Commodore SS vs XR6Turbo. You mentioned that there was no ESP fitted to the Turbo, what year was the model? All the BF XR8/Turbo Falcons have driver assist, electronic brake force and traction control as standard. Also side airbags are now included from last reports. 

I also feel the XR6T would have gotten a better score if it was a different colour.  Great read and nice to see a 4 year old car still holding it against the new VE.

P.S. I drive the BF Typhoon F6 with the ZF and it is the best car I have ever owned.

- Malcolm H.

Editor's Note: G'day Malcolm, and you're correct - the XR6T does have DSC (dynamic stability control) and the review now reflects this. The original mistake was made when we looked at the spec sheet for the standard XR6, rather than the XR6T, which doesn't get DSC. My bad. As to the garish toxic vomit colour, it didn't impinge on the score but it did make our eyes bleed...


Hi wombat staff. Wondering if you are planning to do a review on the Porsche Boxster or Boxster S in the near future (pardon me if you have already). 

- S. Demon

Editor's Note: Thanks for the email Mr Demon, and though we're not on the Boxster's trail, we are looking at road testing the coupe version, the Cayman.


Hi, Do you know of any LPG conversions done to 3.5 or 4.0 V6 Nissan engines (quad valve heads)? Quite a lot of 3.3 Nissan V6s have been converted - but has anyone converted a 3.5 or 4.0 and put any miles on it?


- I. Travis


LPG Rebate: Does this rebate apply to people getting diesels to run partly on LP gas? Everything I have heard on the subject so far has only applied to petrol vehicles. I am keen to get it done but would not do it without the full subsidy.


- Paul

Editor's Note: Paul, I'm pretty sure the rebate applies to diesel engines as well as petrol engines who want to convert to LPG. We recently ran a story about a new LPG system for diesel engines, and its makers claim it's eligible for the full $2,000 rebate. The people at the AusIndustry Hotline are pretty cluey on this sort of stuff and everything related to the LPG rebate - their number is 13 28 46.


I just want to talk about the badge comments. For me some of the Euro cars don't have the quality of Japanese cars. All French cars (Peugeot 207, 307, Citroen C2, C3, Renault Clio with the exception of the Megane) have serious quality issues. 

Even VW, BMW and Audi lead the charts in problems with quality. I can't deny that VW, BMW and Audi are great cars but you can do the research and find that a lot of people are complaining about quality.

Japan cars lead the pack with less quality problems, and Mercedes Benz is the only Euro car in the top 10. My point is, I'd prefer a Japanese car over a Peugeot 207, VW Golf, Renault Clio, etc.


- Dina


I have to agree with Mr Noske about the seemingly shortsightedness of Nissan about their not importing the Skyline range. 

The model approaches the upper luxury range of vehicles as it does in the US as the Infinity (where the reviews and sales are quite good and also profitable for Nissan). The 2007 model is not yet on the Australian 'grey' import list and the lack of cruise control on the Japanese models (presumably reflecting the lack of suitable freeways in Japan) would be a drawback for some buyers. 

It is indeed a very capable and well-equipped vehicle, which, in my opinion, could sell a lot more then the current Maxima range (which is also a nice car). The new Maxima, in essence, differs only in the rear/front drive department as both have the new CVT transmission as fitted to the Murano. Would be interesting to see the price structure if it were imported! 

At roughly (AUD)$40,000 for the top model in Japan, even if it came in here for say $50K, it would be a really good buy.

- Dave Rogers


I read your article on the Ford XR6 Turbo versus the Commodore SS V that came out recently (5 April 07). I just wanted to point out two errors:

1) The Ford XR6 Turbo has Dynamic Stability Control as standard (which is equivalent to ESP). Lack of ESP should not be listed as a 'con' for the Ford in the comparison table.

2) In the article you say that the Ford brakes are the "Performance upgrade brakes". In fact Performance brakes are are the standard brakes for the Turbo and XR8.

You might want to publish these corrections which may make the Ford an even clearer winner.

All the best,

- Walker

Editor's Note: Thanks for the email Walker, and you are quite right - the Falcon XR6 Turbo does indeed get DSC. I think the mistake got made when we looked at the spec sheet for the standard XR6, rather than the XR6T, the former of which doesn't get DSC. I've made the changes to the review - do a shift-refresh and the change will now be reflected in the article.


Interesting road test on the Santa Fe and Suzuki Grand Vitara, what a choice! I'd like to spend an extra $10,000 on the Suzuki and see the difference. Wait 'til you can get into the seven seat Suzuki [XL-7] and then compare.

- Stockwell


Hello, I just purchased a new 2007 [Golf] GTI. From what all reports say it is electronically limited to 130mph [209km/h]. But just recently I was able to open mine way beyond that. Is that a bit strange?

- Jacob Eady

Editor's Note: Thanks for the email. I don't quite remember how far we pushed both Golf GTI models we tested - in terms of top speed - and as far as I was aware there was no speed limit on the Australian GTI models.


I just want to comment on your reviews of the current model Commodores against the current Falcons.

I want to know how you could possibly think that the interior of the Commodores could be better than that of the Falcon? I have been driving both cars for work and the Commodore feels like a cheap, badly made rip off of the Falcon interior. Furthermore, the new Commodore's rear end feels like it is made up of jelly and bailing twine and doesn't give any confidence in the cars ability to handle the road, especially at speeds of around 100km/h and even moreso on bumpy roads. 

All in all, I think that even the base model Falcon is a much better car than the top of the range Commodore. I will still keep my mind open for the new Grange when I get the chance to drive it though. I have been a Holden fan for a long time but I think the new car is just a huge disappointment, especially considering how much money was spent on development.


- Jacob Mannik

Editor's Note: Thanks for the email Jacob. Comparing the Commodore interior with the Falcon's interior wasn't difficult. Granted, the Falcon still has slightly better dash plastics and the seats are plenty comfy, but I stand by my words - the Commodore has the slightly better interior for the time being. The centre console is more modern, as are most of the controls, and easier to decipher. You say the Commodore feels cheap - but both vehicles have their shortcomings, there are plenty of flimsy bits on the Falcon too. Both cars are manufactured to come under a certain price (especially entry-level models) and this means the quality is not going to be of Mercedes-Benz standards. Handling wise, and I personally wouldn't say the Holden's rear end is made up of jelly, but I understand where you're coming from. The Falcon has a superior rear suspension system, and this is an area that Holden needs to keep working on and refining.


Just looking at the article on the differences between the LS1 and LS2 V8 engines. The last of the LS1s also had throttle by wire (I have a WL statesman), so it is not unique to the 6.0-litre motor. I haven't tried a 6.0-litre yet, but I know that the WL drove a lot better than earlier LS1s I tried in terms of low down power and driveability.

- Saaz


Re: VE SS-V and XR6-T comparison. 

Firstly, let me congratulate you on your quality review and comparison between the VE SS V and BF XR6 T. I do have an issue though. 

Why did you compare the SS-V to the XR6T? It doesn't really make that much sense, especially given the existence of the XR8. Sure, the XR6T is superior to the XR8, but I don't think that justifies a fairly skewed comparison. They are quite different cars. If the answer to my question is in fact due to the XR6T's superiority over the XR8, then I think the XR8 should have still be used in the comparison.

In my view, the XR8 should have been used instead of the XR6T, and be fairly penalised in its shortcomings.

Nonetheless, good work on the site.


- Kanishka

Editor's Note: Thanks for the email Kanishka. We decided to go with the XR6 Turbo over the XR8 for a number of reasons. Firstly, scheduling. The car you want to road test isn't always available at the time of the comparo, but more importantly in my mind, I just wanted the best of the best in this comparison, and those two cars are the XR6 Turbo and the SS V.


In your article on the IS250 Lexus, you conclude that the IS 350 will be coming. Does Web Wombat have more information on this, as at March 2007, Lexus 'has no plans', but perhaps they have told the media something different?!

Your article on the IS 250 was very useful and enjoyable - thanks Web Wombat.

- C. Patton

Editor's Note: Mr Patton, you are quite right. The car is not scheduled for an Australian release at the time of writing - but when Damien wrote the review in mid 2006 it was expected to come here. Clearly Lexus has not seen nor felt the need to import the more powerful V6 model into Australia, which is a bit of a shame as the new IS Series is a very good car, and a little more power would make it a real BMW 330i rival.


I am in the process of purchasing an HSV R8 after having a Mercedes C350 then trading up to an E350.

The C350, in less than 4 months, had the steering pump, the steering rack replaced, the gearbox recoded several times and the valve bank replaced. After all this they still could not fix the problems.

We upgraded to an E350 with a reasonable replacement price as it was German made, not South African. For over 12 months we had this vehicle, after which we left it at the dealer and requested a new car. The following was required: gear box valve bank replaced, gearbox recoded several times, gearbox stripped and checked, lefthand control unit replaced, air conditioning dash control unit replaced (air conditioning failed), then the car was put on truck as the gearbox was smoking and the engine failure light came on.

During this period we had a loan car for 3.5 months. After discussing this with several persons that own these types of vehicles this is not so uncommon. Therefore it just goes to prove that twice the price, twice the problem. I have exact dates of all these problems and emails to back all these statements. They also advised by email they would upgrade the car at $8,000 but when it came to the crunch it turned out to be $23,000 extra.

Also, be aware that all these details were sent to motor magazines and road services and no one wants to comment, but see how many will comment if it was a Ford or Holden. So here I come HSV.

- M. Argor


I enjoyed reading through many of your car reviews, much better reviews than most. I'm interested to know if you may be reviewing a Suzuki SX4 anytime soon?

- Rowan

Editor's Note: Thanks for the email Rowan, and yes, we've got the SX4 (manual) booked for late May, so we'll definitely be publishing a review of that one. And from what we've heard, it's a pretty decent little motor. 


As a true blue Ford lover I now own an Astra SRi Turbo. I've driven all the cars you mentioned and I found the Astra to be the best of all. You put the back window as a con if you can't see - get a camera. I can't find fault with the car and let me tell you as a die-hard blue blood Ford lover I tried. At 250km/h in 5th it still wants to go. It will do me.

- Leon

Editor's Note: G'day Leon. The turbo Holden Astra is one of the faster hot hatches in a straight line, and it looks awesome, but for my money there are better hot hatches out there. Cornering isn't it's strong suit (compared to its rivals), and for mine this is an important factor as to whether a car rates well or not. Interestingly, did you try the Megane turbo? I've recently had a dip in the Renault RS Megane 225 and it's pretty damned impressive, so we'll give you the low down on that one soon.


The Pathfinder review is extensive and correct. I have new model Pathfinder, petrol V6, and when in 4x4 mode its wheels get jammed while reversing and turning at at the same time. Straight reversing in 4x4 has no problem.

Is there any technical issue or vehicle has problem?


- Harry

Editor's Note: Sounds like a 4WD lock mode. If so, the car is locking the centre or front differential, which basically means that all four wheels/left and right wheels spin at the same speed. If this is so, then turning the steering wheel and trying to apply drive will result in jamming, as you say, and possibly even damage to the differential if you push too hard. Check your car's manual - it shouldtell you what precautions need to be taken when engaging the different 4WD modes.


I recently bought a VE SV6 Commodore it has been a really disappointing experience.

It has been in the holden garage constantly since purchase: rattling, new strut, new hand brake; and it still rattles. All this before 5000km. Its a billion dollar blunder - this is my review of the billion dollar baby. Holden also want it back for two more days to see if they can fix it but they are not sure if they can. All I wanted was what I thought I paid for: a nice sports car, not a rattling bucket.

- S.V. Lane 


VE Commodore SS vs Falcon XR6 Turbo: you said a while back you would do this comparo.

I'd like to see the result. Have driven both. The VE V8 sound from its quad pipes is addictive, but XR6 Turbo is more tractable for city driving with more torque low down in rev range and would be a better daily city driver.

The VE V8 is similar to my VY V8, and its performance can really only be appreciated at highway speeds. E.g. 80-180km/h acceleration is staggering but useless in a country with speed limits and token enforcement aimed solely at revenue raising.

- Mumbo

Editor's Note: G'day Mumbo. Yep, the review is still on track (update: it's now live), and will be published in April, so stay tuned for that one. We tested both cars in a number of different situations and you're right about the XR6 Turbo being more tractable - whipping up peak torque at just 2000rpm will do that.


Hi, I currently own a 2001 Astra TS sedan (manual), which has just done 100,000km. 

I purchased the car two years ago privately. Recently the car began running very roughly and stutters during gear change. I took it to the dealer and learned the clutch needed replacing and the gearbox required rebuilding (4th and 5th gears were gone). This cost me well over $4,000. The dealer told me it was due to my way of driving that caused these problems. But I never drove the car hard or to the point that could damage the gearbox. 

I understand that the clutch could wear and tear over time but how can the gearbox be damaged so much? Is this a common problem on Astras?

Thanks in advance. Regards,

- Ray

Editor's Note: Thanks for the email Ray, and though I can't help you with 2001 Astras and their idiosyncrasies, I do have a theory about this one: perhaps it was shagged by the bloke you bought it from? He could have smashed the gearbox  day in and day out, and now it's finally starting to give. Anyone else have any issues with Astra  gearboxes? Let us know.


Comment on review of Mitsubishi Grandis/Honda Odyssey.

You say the seating is easier to manage in the Grandis. It is - unless, like us, you get a car that has a fundamental problem with the headrests on the rear seats, a problem that the dealership and manufacturer seem unable to rectify.

Poor customer service from both has made us come to regret our purchase.

- L. Monford (UK)



The reports are very good... However you need to learn to spell or use the spell checker more often.

I find that Holden spent two billion dollars getting this car to the showroom, and it's not in front of Falcon in fuel consumption. WHY? It's a lower cc engine but a heavier vehicle and so strains a lot.

If Holden stretched it's wheelbase more to Falcon's standard and placed the engine further back into the car more to Falcon's standard it would be better. Oh, and it's [Commodore] not really in front. It's just the driver or Holden pressure to give it an almost even vote. It [Falcon] should have romped in by a proverbial mile.

No I am not a Ford man. I drive value for money Nissan! But keep up the good attempts and if in doubt go drive a Maxima: it's good. I use a Pathfinder to pull the Whittley.

- H. Zero

Editor's Note: Thanks for the email H. Zero. Interesting views on the Commodore there, and in regards to the Maxima, we've actually driven two of them, and both reviews can be found here: Nissan Maxima (2006); Nissan Maxima (2005). The Nissan Maxima is a very good car, but it's front-wheel drive proposition, and that's a big no-no for a lot of traditional large sedan buyers in Australia.


I've bought seventeen Evo 8s and I'm still not happy with the car. I'll try one more time and buy another one. Who knows? I may end up liking it.

- Mojo Nero

Editor's Note: What?! Seventeen? That's a lot of cars. After two or three I think I would have tried the Subaru WRX STI or perhaps a BMW 130i.


Hello, great work on the car reviews. I am looking for a small car at the moment and your reviews have been in depth, great to read and very useful to me. 

Keep up the great work. 


- Michael


To the twerp that wrote about the Clubsport, you are a dickhead mate. Rather than write about HSV's you should spend more time on the gay and lesbian Mardi Gras.

- T. Johnson

Editor's Note: Do I detect a hint of distaste in your email? You didn't like the review, huh... Fair enough. You could have said why, though. I don't mind being criticised for my work, but you need to tell me what exactly you didn't like, so I can then make improvements in the future. Instead you just insult me, which isn't very kind. Okay, how's this Mr Johnson - if you write a decent review on the Clubsport I'll publish it here on the Motoring Channel, and then I'll write you an email about what I think of your writing, only I'll give you clear examples of the pros and cons. Deal? 


We have owned an 2003 Honda Civic GLi with a 5-speed manual: it's the biggest POS (piece of shit) I have ever owned. We have had a long list of problems with this POS, some of which are oil use of 500ml per 1000km, and when you decelerate with a slightly open throttle, as you do in traffic, the car jerks and surges like a mongrel.

Honda say it's a characteristic of the car. Sorry - POS. Apparently it's a characteristic of the manuals only, and I have heard of Corolla's doing the same. I have also been told that it's part of the emission control, to get the cars into the country. 

My question is this: does anyone else out there have the same problem? And why are these types of problems not picked up during tests by magazines and the like. I for one will never buy another Honda.

- T. Kettner


I have read an article by Feann Torr on Nissan Patrol - very good article. I am struggling at the moment - do not know what to choose for the next 4x4. I have Pajero 2, but it is already 10 years old and 200,000km on the clock. Can not decide between Pajero 4 DiD and Patrol. I am driving weekends, and often off road. Not sure that Pajero will be reliable with the amount of electronics. What would you recommend?

Kind regards from snowy Russia,

- Vladimir

Editor's Note: Thanks for the email Vladimir - and I you have the honour of being the first Russian to send us a letter. Okay, we've tested the new Pajero (review soon!), and it's remarkably good off-road, with good ground clearance and decent approach/departure angles. However, you are correct in thinking the Patrol is more low-tech, and if you are looking for a workhorse that would spend a lot of time off-road I think the Patrol would be a better choice as it's more rugged.


Dear Web Wombat staff,

I love your motoring reports and have been waiting for a Ford XR6 Turbo vs Holden VE SS review, which I believe you have said you are going to do. I was just wondering if this review was coming up or if you have no plans at to do it. 

Keep up the good work guys. 

Yours sincerely,

- Matthew Else

Editor's Note: G'day Matthew, and yes, we are going to publish this comparo - and it's quite an interesting battle this one. Very different from the entry-level Commodore vs Falcon comparo we filed. As to the time frame, we should have it live in April.


Hi there. This is a good comparo [Ford Falcon XT vs Holden Commodore Omega] but you underestimate the VE - the steering is up with the Euro car makers. Plus the power is 180kW not 175kW. 


- Little Fitzy

Editor's Note: Thanks for the email Little Fitzy. I still think the VE's steering is not as good as its main Australian rival's, and as for being up there with the BMW's and what not, I have to disagree. But this a subjective thing; I like Belgian beer, and you may not. Each to their own. As for the power output, the model we tested was the LPG version, which when running on liquefied petroleum gas outputs 175kW and 325Nm of torque. The 180kW and 330Nm figures are for the petrol-only Commodore Omega models.


We have had our Peugeot 307 auto diesel for six months and it is a real pleasure to drive. Fuel consumption on a trip is 4.7lt/100 and overall since new 6.1 lt/100. The trip computer keeps all these figures for us.

I am at present looking into buying the 1.6 diesel for a run around as well.


- Ken Faye


I wish to express my disappointment in my new Nissan Pathfinder 2006 model; the vehicle constantly blows heavy black smoke from the exhaust. I have on numerous occasions sent it back to the dealer I purchased the vehicle from and they inform me nothing is wrong and this is normal.

I must point out it is that bad that I have been pulled over by police and advised of excessive smoke. I would be interested to know if any other owners have this problem. The vehicle has done this since purchase and the dealer still fogs me off. I have been behind other Pathfinders and have not noticed any smoke at all.


- T. Conti


Are you sure you can use regular unleaded on the Maxima Ti-L? I am buying a 2004 model and have been told to only use premium. 


- Frank

Editor's Note: Guess what... I screwed up. In the review it correctly states to use 95 RON petrol, which is premium, not regular as it says in brackets. My mistake. Regular unleaded is usually around 91 RON, and this is too low for the 3.5-litre Nissan V6 engine.


Re: The Ford Territory review. 

How does it tow? Is it suitable for heavy towing, or is it just a show pony?

- Kim

Editor's Note: Depends which model you buy. Even the standard Territory has a decent 383Nm of torque, and if you tick the box with the with the genuine Ford heavy duty towpack and load levelling kit, Ford reckons it'll haul a braked trailer loaded to 2300kg. But if towing is your main reason for buying a Territory, I'd go with the Turbo version, which kicks out 480Nm at very low engine speeds. It's no show pony, but if you've got truly monstrous loads I'd suggest looking at diesel powered 4x4s.


I am the proud owner of a Nissan Pathfinder R51 ST-L. Yes, I love my Pathy. I picked up the vehicle in gleaming metallic silver, no paint issues whatsoever, and find that in 6-speed manual 2.5-litre diesel form I get just under 800km around town and 980kms on highway. At almost 2.5 ton I think that's incredible. These are exact figures as I have 46720km on my vehicle already in this time. 

As I am a real estate agent, driving in traffic everyday the performance of my vehicle still astounds me not to mention others, especially at the lights. My question after all my rambling is: does anyone know what Nissan is doing to rectify the fuel gauge issue? Calibration seems to be out... a lot! The fuel light comes on even when I have 20 litres left in the tank. 

I know an 80 litre tank isn't large by any means, however I don't think this is right. When questioning my dealer (the second one I have had to attend after the first one tried to to charge $120 for Castrol Magnatec!) they replied that "it's currently under investigation and there is no fix a this time".

Love the product, not the service.

Kind regards,

- John Johnston (QLD)


Hi. Are there any bright colours available for the Suzuki Swift - if not, then why not? I find that the visibility of a car is one of the major selling points with me. I avoid greys, silvers, blacks and even whites. What other colours are there please.

I am considering trading a larger car ( Camry) to a smaller car as I feel that economically and environmentally it is the wise and sensible move for the future.


- Susie Young (Brisbane).

Editor's Note: Thanks for email Susie, and sadly you're out of luck with the standard Suzuki Swift models. There's a metallic orange colour, but it ain't that bright, and the only other colours are white and silver that stand out. However, if you don't mind spending a bit more cash, you could go for the 1.6-litre Swift Sport, which is offered in a very strong yellow colour that's just about as bright as you can get.


Hi. Great job in your motoring reviews fellas - the most honest and real world performance reviews I've read. Right up there with Jeremy Clarkson.

I write regarding the Golf GTI (Mk5). I've just run in my DSG '07 model... And wanted to let you know that the '07 model now has launch control enabled in the DSG software (previous models' engine management was not enabled, although it's built into the DSG software).

Simply turn off ESP, and use Sport mode on the DSG. Launch control (LC) then allows the engine to rev freely, left foot braking, to 3000rpm. Then off the brakes for the perfect launch (also raises the cut out by 500rpm in LC mode). This is not in the VW literature, so thought it worthy for you to try it out and then have Web Wombat update the GTI review. I'd like to see how much quicker to 100km/h the GTI is with LC mode. I've read 6.3 seconds in vwmag.com.


- Lozza

Editor's Note: Thanks for the email Lozza, and some interesting news that GTI owners will be sure to appreciate. I remember driving the VW Jetta with the 2.0T FSI engine and DSG, which featured launch control, so it makes sense for the GTI with the same power core to benefit as well. Another car with launch control is the VW Golf R32, which takes off very strongly, but I must add that with both the Jetta and the R32, I had some trouble getting the launch system to work effectively. I got the feeling the engine prefers to be warmed up before it will work properly. I'll give VW a buzz and see if I can wangle another GTI, so stay tuned.


Great to read this about the IS200 that I have just bought, really great! But the thing you said about the brake lights... Hmm maybe that's why people buy Lexus light for their styled cars?

- Lasse (Denmark)


Are Ford ever going to put the 6-speed gearbox on a rear-wheel drive version of the Territory?

- S. Campbell

Editor's Note: It's not likely. This is something I've often thought about too but at this stage, only the AWD versions are offered with the 6-speed automatic gearbox, and it doesn't look like changing due to the extra cost involved.


Report on engine noise.... We have a new B Class 200 CDI: do they all have an annoying rattle when driving through each gear??? The Mercedes mechanic was deaf, so was of no help. Is this what we have to accept after so much hype about this new B Class?


Editor's Note: That doesn't sound good. Do the rattles occur all the time, or only when accelerating? If so, it could just be a slightly loose panel somewhere that a bit of sealer would probably fix. Though ripping apart a Mercedes dashboard may not be a wise idea... Perhaps your best bet is to go to another Mercedes mechanic and get a second opinion.


I have just purchased an IS 250 [Lexus] and was wondering if you knew how to override the safety feature on the Sat Nav - Bluetooth etc., which won't let you use it while driving?

- Andrew

Editor's Note: Some Lexus IS 250 are locked out of viewing some systems, for 'safety' reasons, as parts of the Nav system are deemed distracting. From memory I think it was European and Australian models of the car that are afflicted, while owners of the car in the USA don't have to put up with this issue. I believe you can cut a few wires if you're up to scratch with electronic engineering, but this can also cause the Sat Nav to glitch. It may be worth sitting down and having a chat with your Lexus service manager next time you take your car in, and if he cannot remedy the problem with US software, you may have to put up with the safety feature.


Hi. I'm a fan of performance cars and the proud owner of a Nissan Silvia S15 (APS stage 2 mod). One thing I still don't get is why Nissan dumped such a great, sexy and well designed car? Why not continue to fine tune and improve it, such as throw in an outrageous new GTR engine, giving the Silvia the ball-tearing power it deserved.

To dump such a great and successful car, Nissan's management must have had rocks in their heads. I have driven many different cars over the years from Porsche, HSV to WRX, but still whenever I took the Silvia out for a little fang on the twisty end of the Great Ocean Road, it alway gives me a smile along the way :) 

This car has the serious stuff for going fast and going bold. To Nissan I say please bring back the Silvia with a fat dong.

- S. Eagle

Editor's Note: Unfortunately I never had the pleasure of driving the Silvia S15, also known as the Nissan 200SX in Australia, but from what I've heard they are great drivers cars, with the rear-wheel drive layout another viable option if you want a turbo fast-four without the AWD setup of the WRX or Evo. Will Nissan bring the Silvia back? Such a decision would have to go through Renault first, and the odds are not good, so that fat dong you're after may never materialise. There were rumours that the Foria concept pointed to a new 'affordable' turbo sports coupe, but there's been little news on it recently.


Hi. Which car do you prefer - the Honda Legend or the Volvo S80 3.2 AWD?

The Volvo has much more interior space and feels bigger - any preferences in your view? 

Many thanks,

- Ron

Editor's Note: I haven't driven the Volvo S80 yet, but I have driven the Honda Legend, and I can tell you that it's a very fine automobile with huge amounts of room and lots of power from its 3.5-litre V6. The Honda is about the size of a Commodore - very roomy - but I couldn't preference one in the other's stead. However, word on the street is that the Volvo is a very good car, and will probably retain more positive resale values. You're best bet is to test drive both cars and also to fire off as many questions as you can think of to the respective dealers/salespeople.


I am considering having my BA Falcon (2004) converted to dual fuel, but have had many conflicting stories, RE: its suitability to run on gas. Can you tell me if it is in fact suitable?

- T.P.

Editor's Note: As far as I'm aware the BA Ford Falcon is suitable for LPG conversion. There are tens of thousands of BA Falcon taxis getting around Australia that get thrashed from dawn until dusk, and some of these clock up more than half a million kilometres. If you're not feeling good about it, talk to an official Ford dealer/mechanic about it - they should be able to inform you of any issues there may be.


Hi Ed.

What's the deal with Nissan Australia these days? In the rare event we hear from them, it seems to be only when they are confirming a new Nissan isn't coming here or is still being considered for sale here - there seems to be a lack of decision-making happening at this company, Micra being a prime example (18 months have gone and still no firm confirmation it's going on-sale). 

Also, why has their been no medium car in their range over the past 10 years or so? And then there's the uncompetitive, fugly and ridiculously named Tiida - Nissan's 21st century 120Y. Nissan sales in Australia will only keep falling while this continues.

- C.B.

Editor's Note: Thanks for the email C.B., and I must say that I too have been puzzling over why the Micra never came out in Australia. It would have given the Japanese marque a Toyota Yaris rival, and word on the street is that it's a great little car. On the flip side, the GT-R will be coming here next year, so that's something to look forward to at least.


Hello Motoring Channel,

I am in the market for a new car. Firstly, I have read the reviews on the Typhoon F6 and Mazda6 MPS (I know I am comparing apples to oranges!) and found them very helpful - you make it such a hard decision! Taking out fuel consumption as an issue what would you suggest out of the two performance wise and is there any other reviews in the ball park of these two types that you suggest to read and how do they stack up against them?

Thanks for your time,

- Michael

P.S. I am leaning towards the F6

Editor's Note: Thanks for the letter Michael, and I'd say go for the F6, definitely. Especially if fuel consumption isn't an issue. The Mazda6 MPS is a good performance car, but not quite as sharp as the F6 Typhoon, and not quite as rewarding to drive. However, with the price difference in mind, it may be worth giving the Japanese car a test drive, just to be sure.


One comment on the Ford/Holden review: when noting Ford's lack of design review you have to remember that this is a Mk II and not the next model. Holden does exactly the same thing with its series II/III. It is purely a refinement and not a rebuild.
Ford did their rebuild with the BA and minor upgrades with the BF.

- Kevin


Hi. What's better: Golf GTI or Mazda3 MPS or Ford XR5? How about resale values?

- A. Vinesh

Editor's Note: What's better? That's a difficult question. If you asked which was quicker, we could identify the Mazda3 MPS straight away. Price wise? The Ford Focus XR5 is the cheapest. As for best resale? The Golf GTI. Hope it helps.


I am having trouble with the air conditioning unit in my 2001 Mazda Tribute 6-cylinder and would be happy to hear from anyone who may have experienced troubles with their Mazda.

- P.A.


Hello. I read your article and viewed the pics on the new Nissan GT-R coming out in 2008 in the US. It is a sharp new addition to their line. But at the $85,000 price range there is a lot of entrenched competition. Place a Porsche Cayman S next to it and, even though I'm a Nissan fan, I'll take the mid-engine Cayman S over the GT-R any day of the week and save $25K to boot!

- Alan Pullem

Editor's Note: The price for the new GT-R will be much higher than the 350Z, and this may well take it into Porsche territory as you suggest. That said, the performance of this new car will be focus of plenty of discussion, and the word on the street suggests that the high price will be well worth it, with possible 8-cylinder power driving all four wheels. Will be a Porsche killer though? Nissan hopes so, but let's wait and see...


Hey guys. Re: your article on VW Jetta (July 06).

I purchased my new TFSI Jetta in Feb 2006, one of the first in Sydney, black with beige leather and all the options. Unfortunately after 18,000km and six trips back to dealer for a range of warranty problems, mainly electronic sensors, and strutmounts and injectors and megatronics unit in gearbox (yes that's what they replace when the car can't decide on 1st or neutral when in traffic).

As expected I'm not flushed with excitement with my Jetta at times, but after trips to Melbourne often and via Semore and Yea, if you know the road, the problems disappear (at least until the next dash light comes on).

Not sure if you get feed back from owners but here's mine and I love the car regardless.


- Alan

Editor's Note: Thanks for the feedback on the car Alan, and as yet I've not heard problems occurring with the strutmounts. Interesting. How do you drive it? To within inches of it's life? I know a guy who bought one with and the DSG gearbox in his TFSI Jetta died because he slammed it too hard for too long. He does drive rather forcefully, and he used the launch control a lot (you turn ESP off, put the gearbox in 'S' sports mode, push the brake pedal and the throttle together), and I think that shagged it pretty good.


I just wanted to comment on your review of the Ford Fiesta Zetec. I just wanted to offer you some feedback on the Zetec from an owner about the quality of Ford's service on this car. After being forced to wait eight weeks for delivery (after being promised a car could be found in a fortnight or so), we were delivered a Zetec in which the CD player did not work.

It took four trips to the dealer, for the first three trips we were falsely assured the problem was fixed each time, the fourth was to get the serial number, we were told a new CD player would have to be brought from Europe, taking approximately 3 weeks. After three weeks we called Ford to find no action had been taken. A week later we have finally been told that Ford Europe has no correct CD players, and no ETA on when they will have more from the CD player manufacturer.

We have had a car now for months with no CD player, and now we have been told it will be an indefinite wait till it is fixed. All with the inconvenience of five trips to the dealer to get it fixed. I do not know what is going on at Ford these days, but beware, once they have your money they could not care less about customer service.

I'd appreciate it if you would warn other consumers that Ford Australia will sell you the European car without any ability to support the vehicle locally. Your review was an important source of information for us before buying, and we definitely would not have bought from Ford had we known!

- M. Richards


Just in reply to your Ralliart Colt versus Swift Sport review, I read in your article that you said the rear seats in the Ralliart are small. This must mean that you did not find the adjustable lever? The rear seats in the Ralliart Colt actually slide forwards and backwards, making the boot room and leg room smaller or larger.

My girlfriend sat behind me in the passenger seat and said her comfort and room was matched with my old 2004 Mazda2 (large rear - very roomy). They slide backwards a significant amount and I was actually really impressed with the amount of room in it.

Bit of a bummer you weren't that impressed, I'm considering one at the moment, but I will be doing some modifications. What do you think it needs? Lowering a tad?

Anyway, thanks,

- Nick

Editor's Note: Every now and then we screw up, and here we screwed up. I didn't realise there was a lever that allowed the rear seats of the Colt to move fore and aft, so I must also apologise to Ong Chen Yee. Sorry about that. It wasn't so much that we weren't impressed with the Ralliart Colt - have you read Chris Shumack's review? - but that the Swift Sport was so much more affordable and somewhat more rewarding to drive. As for modifications, I'd put bigger rims on it and wider tyres for more grip, and yeah, I'd lower it too, which would improve its centre of gravity and handling balance. If money wasn't a big issue, I'd also chip the engine and add a freer flowing exhaust to coax a few more kilowatts from the engine.


Could you please advise if I will be eligible for the $1,000 rebate if I buy a used car through a Ford dealership that has been fitted by the company "gas research" who are a very well known company and LPG supplier. The car is second hand and is both dual fuel fitted.


-  Rob Rainey

Editor's Note: That's a good question Rob, and one that I don't know the answer to. From memory I think the $1,000 rebate is for new cars only. I reckon the people at the AusIndustry Hotline will be able to help: try calling them on 13 28 46.


Hello, I'm considering having a gas fuel system installed on my 2002 Nissan Pathfinder Ti. The main questions I have: 

1) If installed under the vehicle, will this significantly reduce the clearance height of the undercarriage? 

2) Options for relocating the spare tyre? 

3) Size of tank? 

4) Any recommendations on the subject or of any any installers in Canberra (preferred) or Sydney?

Also if anyone knows of a website where I can obtain some info on this subject, this would be handy too! 

Thanks in advance,

- Trev

Editor's Note: G'day Trev. In answer to question one, I'm pretty sure that you're ground clearance won't change dramatically, but approach and departure angles may be reduced slightly with the addition of a 70 litre LPG tank. Question two: relocating the spare tyre - whack it on the roof! As for recommended installers, I can't help you there. Last time I went to a mechanic was... About five years ago when I owned an immaculate 1979 XC Ford Falcon.


RE: The letter sent on the 10/11/06 to the Motoring Channel.

Greetings, I have a 2005 Mazda6 2.0L (Elegant model) and I live in South Africa. My car has to date had the clutch replaced 4 times, which ultimately puts me on my 5th clutch. 

According to some information which I recently discovered, the problem could be related to the flywheel and is something which is not looked at, as the technicians are not 100% aware of this. According to the head of warranties at Ford Motor Company South Africa it is possible that the flywheel becomes damaged and needs to be replaced.

- E.H.C

Editor's Note: Thanks for the response to the question E.H.C, and hopefully that sheds some light on the issue for Cameron's high clutch burn rate.


I have the 2003 Volkswagen Golf 1.6-litre petrol manual model, white colour, and would have traded to the new model, but for the appearance changes making the car look Japanese in the headlight area, and also in the tail lights. I don't understand the idea of LED lights being round in another shape of housing - it would be better to have the led option filling the shape of the housing.

That said, I think the appearance of the car is fine in certain colours. For example, the dark metallic grey looks great. In the lighter colours, the large expanse of bumper plastic in black looks incongruent and once again Japanese.

Regarding your review, I think you might have pointed out that the lack of power isn't always caused by it being a 1.6 as such, but perhaps caused by meeting pollution control standards, which tends to take power.

Had I my time again, I would get the less fuel efficient 2.0-litre model, as I find people tend to not tolerate slowly accelerating cars. In Australia I mean. In parts of Europe, I'm sure it would be a different experience.

- Phil Colquitt


Hi. Just read your test on the BF XR8 utility. Take delivery this week with options that you suggested - 18-inch wheels, hardtop, Momo, leather.

You made mention of an exhaust upgrade and a chip. Do you have any suggestions as to who is supplying the chip and who fits the exhausts. Any thoughts on cost??

- Bernie

Editor's Note: Bernie, hope your ute is treating you well. In terms of the exhausts and chips, I'm not quite sure exact prices, but you should be able to get a chip for a few hundred dollars, though the exhaust will be more. Generally speaking, you get what you pay for, so if you got the cheap, you may be disappointed. Go to CAPA's website and check their tuning shop pages - they have plenty of Ford tuners that should be able to help you out, and CAPA does a lot of supercharging stuff too.


Hi. I am interested in Accord Euro Luxury. However, I found a lot of people complain about "drifting to right". Here is the link to the forum. It seems that the problem happens on 17-inch wheels with stock tyres (Bridgestone RE040).

Some of these people have done everything that you can imagine (eg. contact dealer, contact Honda Australia, rotate tyres, wheel alignment, etc.)

My questions are:
- Are you aware about this problem or have you heard someone tell you about this?
- Does this mean that the tyre or Accord Euro Luxury (or both) are crap?
- Is that right that high-performance low profile tyre doesn't last very long? (eg. it won't last up to 60k - 70k kms)

I am now in doubt about buying an Accord Euro Luxury. Probably should buy the standard Euro. What do you think?

Thanks for your attention,

- Rusmin

Editor's Note: Thanks for the email Rusmin, and that's the first I've heard about it. It could be something impossibly difficult to rectify, such as the engine is slightly heavier on the right side of the car. I didn't experience this problem on the Accord Euro models I tested, but I have experienced it once or twice on other cars, though only mildly. It could be a tyre problem, but I doubt it - the Bridgestone RE040s are pretty good rubbers. In answer to your second question, I don't think the Accord Euro Luxury or the tyres are crap and these could be isolated cases. And yes, you're quite correct, high performance tyres with low profiles have less longevity than everyday tyres. There's less rubber there, and often there made of a softer compound to improve grip, plus there's a lot more power being exerted on them as they're normally fitted to high power cars. I have a friend who owns a 2002 HSV GTS, and he has to change his rear tyres every 15,000kms (though he is a burnout fiend).


I was wondering if anyone knows somewhere in Sydney that is able to do a LPG conversion on a 1997 Subaru Impreza RX Hatch (automatic)? I live on the Northern Beaches.


- Simon


I am thinking about buying the Ford Territory TS. I was wrapped in this vehicle until I read some bad reports on the Internet. A lot were suggesting stay right away from this car.What is your opinion on the TS?

- D. Sutherland

Editor's Note: Oh, the Internet. The source of all evil according to some... We've spent lots of time in various Territory models here at the Motoring Channel, and generally speaking they are good cars. I'm not impressed with fuel economy - something a diesel engine would remedy - but otherwise there's not a great deal to complain about. If someone was suggesting to 'stay right away from this car' I would be checking this persons credentials (does he/she work for Holden?). The Territory is a good car, represented by class-leading sales every month, and numerous accolades to boot. We reckon it's a solid car, but I'd suggest making up your own mind by taking one for a test drive.


Re: Ralliart Colt versus Swift Sport. First of all, I think the review is seriously flawed. The rear seat space of the Swift Sport is so small compared to the Ralliart Colt. Being a new Ralliart Colt owner and for someone who seriously considered the Swift Sport before, I have sat in both numerous of times.

Also, if the reviewer actually knew how to do a math calculation, he/she would have known that the Ralliart Colt ends up with a higher average scores.

- Ong Chen Yee

Editor's Note: Thanks for the email Ong. I think you're being a little unfair by branding the review "seriously flawed" by suggesting the rear seat room description is wrong. Even if Paul did make this cock-up, I don't think the review would become "seriously flawed" as a result. If he called the car 4WD when it is clearly not, maybe then.

And I must disagree with your position on rear seat room. I helped Paul conduct the comparo (which was great fun, I must admit) and the rear seat room in the Colt is less than the Swift. Of course, this also depends on how far back you push the front seats, but generally speaking the Colt had less room. We had the cars sitting there side by side in a parking lot and compared them as directly as is humanly possible.

Also, the overall score of any car we review is not always the total sum of the four sections. A car could score four out of five in all four sub-sections (drive, engine, exterior, interior) but may only get a 3.5/5 overall score. Sometimes there are nuances in a car that cannot be quantified in these sections - such as price - yet make a large bearing on how the car scores overall.


Do you plan on doing a review of the HSV Astra VXR any time soon?


- Lewis

Editor's Note: Thanks for the email Lewis, and at this stage we have not booked the HSV Astra VXR in for a road test. We have requested the new HSV GTS with its magnetic ride control for a review in 2007, so we'll try and get the VXR on the books as well. 


Hi Ed, 

I read with interest your comment that the MY07 WRX will be limited to cosmetic changes. That surprises me just a tad. If your report is correct, I hope that Subaru changes their mind.

Given that the likes of the Ford XR5 and the Mazda 3 MPS have heaps of kilowatts and 6-speed gear boxes, I've been expecting Subaru to increase WRX power and add a 6th gear. A sixth gear would be quite handy for open road touring and fuel economy, the latter being a focal point for many buyers in the current environment.

- Peter H.

Editor's Note: You make a good point about an extra cog in the gearbox Peter, as it would improve open road fuel economy on the turbocharged Impreza WRX models. I spoke to Subaru's Melbourne PR representatives and they told me the MY07 would get minor cosmetic changes, but no mechanical upgrades. The STI model has a 6-speed gearbox, but it costs an extra $17,000 and forgoes a smoother ride for a more performance oriented suspension set up.


I was just inquiring if the Lamborghini Murcielago LP640 was A) coming to Australia and B) if so, is it street legal - can it be registered? Look forward to your reply. 


- Carl

Editor's Note: Thanks for the email Carl. There's already a handful of these cars getting around in Australia, having been imported via official channels (such as Lamborghini dealerships), and yes, they are street legal. They cost $658,883 plus on road costs, and I reckon that insurance may cost a bit extra, too.


Hi all. I bought a Mazda 3 Maxx Sport for my wife. Since new, I found the air-conditioning was inadequate on hot days; the air temperature is not cool at all. We owned other cars such as the Toyota Camry, Ford laser, Magna and Falcon, and we never experienced this.

The vehicle had been back to the dealer two times and it is still the same. Wonder if any of Mazda's people discovered this?

- C.B.


Can someone please tell me why the new Skyline is not brought into Australia?  Given our love of rear wheel drive cars why would this not be a success? Nissan has a prime chance to be a mainstream competitor again with this car and get away from being a low-volume niche player in Australia.

- T. Noske

Editor's Note: Unfortunately I cannot answer your question Mr. Noske. But can relate to you on this - I really like the new Skyline, and the new 231kW V6 engine powering the rear wheels sounds like a very nice piece of kit. There's always the option of a grey import if you're desperate for one of these beauties, but all the red tape that goes with private car importation can be wearing.


To the Editor: about your comment on 4WD fuel economy. 

Please stop filling people's heads with rubbish, it gets too many people on the bandwagon. There are thirsty 4WDs and cars surprisingly! Print some real figures so people can make up their own minds. I bought a 1991 patrol to convert to gas at $4,100 before the rebate. I still think its worth helping the environment. 14.0L per 100kms is good for a brick.

- Tiffbat

Editor's Note: Thanks for the email, and I disagree that I'm filling people's heads with rubbish. I like 4WDs, I enjoy heading down fire tracks in the bush and whatnot, but do you seriously believe that it's not just a little bit excessive to see a single 75kg human using a gas-guzzling 2300kg vehicle driving through the city in peak hour traffic? Using so much metal and weight and engine power to shift one human is excessive and environmentally irresponsible in my opinion.

In 40 years time, we may look back on such instances with a sense of irony - who knows? Maybe I am completely wrong, but I'm not knocking 4WDs. I believe car pooling is a far more sensible option -- for all types of passenger cars, not just 4WDs.


Hi. I've read Peter's review and I'm pleased with it, as on Wednesday Nov 1st my husband and I took delivery of a gorgeous harvest yellow Nissan Tiida. I must say it took me a little bit to get used to it after driving a Nissan Skyline for nine years, but it's getting easier everyday. We got the auto, so I am happy that you like that over the manual. Anyway, all is going well we shall be happy to keep her for a very long time.


- Anne Warren

Editor's Note: Thanks for the email Anne, and we've had a lot of emails about the new Tiida - and everyone seems to be talking quite positively of their purchases. Perhaps Nissan's small car will go on to create a legacy like the Pulsar before it...


I had a Golf IV GTI (2003) for about three years. This model, like the new ones, are made in South Africa. Problems started from day one. Rattles, loose screws and bolts, bonnet out of alignment, side mirror adjusting by itself...strange, noisy wipers, coughing engine and more.

$40,000 for a so called prestige car? Hopefully the new models are better screwed together, but no thanks. Not for me. I now prefer my German engineered cars made much closer to Germany.

- S.R.


Regarding the LPG conversion Government grant: Yes it is completely discriminatory. Not only in regard to the new cars receiving a higher grant, but why are vehicles subject to a salary sacrifice arrangement ineligible, particularly when they are used for private use only??

I have just been financially disadvantaged by $400, a non refundable deposit, as I have only just found out that this is the case. Without the grant, the cost of the conversion is prohibitive. Absolutely disgraceful!

- Deje


Just read your review of the Volkswagen TFSI Jetta.

I think you have understated the power of this car. I also have a Gen III V8 Calais in the family and when comparing the takeoff speeds, the Jetta rips the V8 from  0-60 or 70km/h. The torque down low is more than impressive. I am a 100% V8 man myself, but this car is fast, very fast. Very humbling experience.

Also, the DSG gearbox does get lost sometimes, this is why they give you the sports mode and Tiptronic. The S mode leaves the gear in one or two gears below D letting you have a crack whenever you need. Tiptronic is a breeze, when cornering it is much more highly recommended. Choose the gear before or during the corner, let the box do its work, come out the other side pumping!

The Suspension has also been put as a con on your review, the suspension is perfect! Well I guess I am used to Holden's but it's not jiggly at all, well maybe a bit, but its solid as.

By the way, where is the test drive review of one of the new VEs? I have been hanging out for a proper unbiased Wombat review. 


- Grant

Editor's Note: Thanks for the email Grant. I agree with you that the TFSI Jetta is quick - and the DSG makes it even more decisive at forcing it's 280Nm of torque through the front wheels - but I'm afraid I have to disagree with you on the suspension front. It's ride is far too rigid for something that's being advertised as a vehicle with luxury aspirations. Don't get me wrong, I love the fact that it's taught enough to hold a very tight line through a corner, but I remember feeling many of the bumps and lumps in the road coming through my seat when driven over less-than-perfect roads.

In regards to the VE issue, we're testing our first model as I type, the Omega, and I'll be aiming to have the review published by the end of the month. I've driven it for a few days now, and I quite like it. But I've yet to coax it through some tight corners, so we'll see if the updated suspension system was worth the wait.


After a year of research, test driving nearly every brand under the sun, discussions with critics and the like I am down to a simple two car equation...

Buy a Honda Accord Euro Luxury (auto) next month for $46k driveaway, or wait until March '07 and get a Lexus IS250 Prestige Auto for $60k driveaway (with optional sunroof). 

I've spoken with both dealers seriously, and have gone meticulously over both vehicles. Both are probably their class leaders, but I'm probably comparing apples and oranges here a bit. Of course the heart says Lexus, the head says Honda. I guess my question is, is the IS250 a $14k better car than the Honda? 

Friends are telling me to go Lexus, family are saying Honda. Any ideas?


- Cam

Editor's Note: G'day Cam, and thanks for the letter. In answer to the question "is the IS250 a $14k better car than the Honda?", no it's not. The Honda is a brilliant vehicle and has enough performance to keep the Lexus honest. The new IS250 from Lexus is a great vehicle and you'll feel more important when driving it, but in my opinion the only area it beats the Honda is in its rear-wheel drive layout and luxury aspects. Though the Honda is a rather prestigious-looking vehicle, inside and out, the Lexus will make a bigger impression and, for some drivers, such badge value is priceless. The Lexus may hold it's resale value better and is a more involving drive, but I'd go with the Honda.


I have to agree with your write up of the 380 VRX. My family hired this car from Sale (Victoria) for a trip to Albury via Mt Hotham and found it a great and responsive car to drive with plenty of grip and power (just ask the Beemer driver who finally pulled over to let us pass after mauling his bumper for 10km, and then proceeded to fade in to the distance). 

We hired an auto model and found the transmission excellent to use in sports mode. The car used on average over the 1300km 8.6L/100km. Everyone looking for a sports sedan should drive one of these before making up their mind.

- Gary Jessup (Newborough)

Editor's Note: It's unfortunate that the 380 is selling so poorly at the moment in Australia, as it's one of the most enjoyable-to-drive FWD large sedans on the market. I'm glad to hear someone else say it, so thanks for the email Gary.


As someone who bought his car #1 after reading your Accord Euro reviews and is now looking to replace the motorbike with a #2 car, I read your Civic Hybrid '06 review with great interest. One thing that should be noted is that ESP (or VSA, DSC or however you choose to skin the cat) has been excluded from the Australian version. It is standard in the European version. 

I find this quite disappointing, and I feel that Honda Australia deserves to cop some flak for it.


- Jorgen


I agree with your [Holden Commodore SS] review. I have an '05 SS. The brakes are shocking. They've done 18,000km and have been machined already - going to upgrade or sell it. Still thinking.


- Ajay


To Motoring Channel,

I am on to my third clutch in a 2002 Mazda6 Luxury Sport - the last one only lasting 16mths/30,000km. While the dealer assures me, in the nicest possible way, that it must be the way I drive it, I am afraid I just don't get it.... I know I drive just fine, this is the only manual car I have had with this clutch burn rate.

Am I the only one with this issue or are there a few other Mazda6 clutch issues floating round?


- Cameron

Editor's Note: G'day Cameron, and thanks for the email. That's an interesting issue you've got there. Unfortunately I cannot shed any light on this issue, but perhaps there's some readers out there who drive manual Mazda6s that may or may not have experienced similar issues?


Thanks for your interesting road test of the Pajero. Do you think the 3.2-litre diesel is strong enough to pull a 16' to 18' off road caravan? I'm looking for a 4WD for this purpose.


- Alan

Editor's Note: Hi there Alan. I reckon that the diesel Pajero could do it - it's got a strong diesel motor - but bear in mind that the vehicle can only tow a maximum of 2,500kg with a braked trailer, and 750kg with an unbraked trailer.


Hello. I have spent considerable time trying to find a 7-seater vehicle where the third row splits (this allows you to use half your boot space and still seat one child). This vehicle must be AWD and able to tow a van. Territory and Kluger do not split their third row seats. 

The new Captiva has a very narrow second row seat. The Honda MDX is the closest car but is $70k+ on the road... Has anyone got any official pricing on the new Subaru Tribeca yet?

- Stuart

Editor's Note: Thanks for the mail Stuart, and you've got a few choices. The Subaru Tribeca range begins at $53,990, though the most affordable 7-seater model asks $55,990. Alternatively there is the Hyundai Santa Fe - petrol and diesel - that has twin folding 6th and 7th rear seats, and the upcoming Citroen C4 Picasso is another cleverly packaged 7-seater that may do the trick. Hope it helps.


Re: Nissan Tiida.

Bought the base model manual sedan version a month ago. Traded a (much loved)1990 Telstar Ghia which had done 380,000kms (hence the upgrade).

We purchased this car as a shopping trolley for my wife's 50th and needed room for two growing kids, $15950 + on road from Yarra Valley Motors.

I'm happy with car, but centre lap sash would be good. Also the engine is flexible enough not to warrant 6-speeds, and there's a tendency to change up too often/too soon. I find the engine slightly noisy at highway speeds but this may reduce as the car runs in. Basically happy with the "package", very good fuel economy and driveability. Great second car.

- Roger Harris


I have just read your reviews on the Lexus GS450h (Road Test) and the Sydney Motor Show. I was really impressed with the level of detail about all aspects of the Lexus and the unbiased (Holden & Fords are the only good cars in Australia!!) account of the Show.  Both were very informative articles. Love your work.

- Greg


G'day there.  Just wondering what you think about the decision to upgrade a 2001 Corolla Ultima with just over 50,000kms to a 2006 Astra Diesel CDTi.


- Ellie

Editor's Note: I've driven the Astra diesel, and I reckon it's a great car, and I believe you'd be making a wise decision to change from petrol to diesel in this instance. And the new Astra is a nice car too - just don't choose the automatic diesel model. It's nasty compared to the manual version. Or at least test drive both the manual and auto models before you decide, because there's a huge difference.


I booked my car in for gas conversion next month but a friend has mentioned an interesting point. We have read the government will pay back up to $2000 - so does this mean I may only get $500 dollars back as I have an older car?? The gas conversion garage has told me I will be getting $2000 back, which means it would only cost me $300. But is this a sales pitch - will we all get stung when the rebates actually come back to us?

- Kath

Editor's Note: Hello Kath. As far as I'm aware, the Feds won't scrimp on rebates. If your conversion cost more than $2,000, you should get that much back. Give the AusIndustry Hotline a call if you're concerned, as they're well-versed in all things related to the LPG grants scheme - 13 28 46.


I like your reviews. Very helpful and insightful. Well structured and comprehensive presentation of the subject matter. On another note, any ideas on if and when VW may bring in to Australia the V6 2.5-litre Diesel Passat?

- Grant

Editor's Note: Thanks for the email Grant. At present the only diesel Passat you can get in Australia is the 103kW, 320Nm 2.0-litre diesel (with DSG). There is very little chance that a larger diesel may come to Australia in the Passat, as in Europe there aren't many diesels on offer above this size. Audi, which is owned by VW, uses a 3.0-litre twin turbo in some models, and this could become an option, but would probably cost too much to make a decent business case. 


I get sick to death of hearing about the "Australian built" GM V6 in the Alfa 3.2. Read the Alfa Website information on the 3.2 engine. The engine leaves Australia as an unfinished rough caste block only and all the other bits (heads, pistons, rods, cams assembly, etc.) and the engineering part of it are designed and produced by Alfa.

- Nos


Thankyou for this intelligent and thoughtful web page. After having spent hours on the Internet looking for information about the Hyundai Santa Fe's off road abilities, I finally found everything that I needed in one well planned and executed set of tests and subsequent write ups. Kudos indeed.

-  Robert F. Arentz



Can anyone help me with any age restrictions on cars for the LPG rebate? I have an HX 1977 Kingswood wagon which falls into the category of an old car that the government wants to get off the road due to pollution. Can these old cars receive the rebate or is there a limit to the car age, i.e 1986 when unleaded became mandatory?


- Tom

Editor's Note: You've completely stumped me Tom, but that's a bloody good question nevertheless. Okay, I've done a bit of research and it turns out there are no barriers on the age, make or model of car that are eligible for the LPG subsidy. There are four restrictions though:

  1. Vehicle must be for private use

  2. Vehicle must less than 3.5 tonnes

  3. Vehicle must be registered

  4. Vehicle must not be on novated lease or salary sacrifice

Your '77 Kingswood will be eligible for the rebate, but there are plenty of particulars that must be adhered to in order to collect the rebate. One of these is that you need two supporting documents to prove the LPG conversion. An invoice and your car registration papers will suffice, and the Government reckons the invoice must read "Paid in Full" with a nil balance at the bottom. Processing the application forms and making sure the documentation is correct takes about 10 working days, and payment will usually be received soon after that. Hope it helps.


I'm in the market to buy a small/medium 4X4, which is 3-4 years old and low kms. Thinking of either Mazda Tribute, Ford Escape or Nissan X-Trail. Maybe also Rav4.

Today I looked at and test drove a Ford Escape Limited, V6 with all extras (from dealer yard). The vehicle looks and drives great, as far as I can say, but I'm not so savvy when it comes to 4X4s. Seems to be a very good deal as well.

A Mechanic friend mentioned that the Escape model had a few problems, but wasn't sure what they were, I can't find info on that either. Would anyone know what the problems pertain to? 

Could I get an opinion on which of the above mentioned 4X4's would be the safest, best performance car? I don't need it to bash around the bush, just driving it in the hills and city. I really would appreciate some opinions and comments.

Thank you very kindly,

- Angela

Editor's Note: Thanks for the mail Angela, and in response to your first question I've not heard of any major problems. Then again, second hand cars are not my forte - perhaps another reader has experienced troubles? The second question in regards to what would be the safest and best performing, it'd be a toss-up between the Mazda Tribute V6 and Ford Escape V6. Both models are built on the same underpinning platform but the Mazda is the more spirited performer. The Nissan X-Trail shouldn't be ignored either - I'd give one a test drive to get a feel for it. It is a 4-cylindervehicle, but what slight performance you would lose to the 6-cylinder models would be a gain in fuel efficiency.


Hi There,

Thank you for the [Territory] review! Do you know if Ford has any plans underway to address the Territory's fuel efficiency problem by introducing a LPG gas system that can be retro fitted?


- Reid.

Editor's Note: G'day Reid. No word from Ford (yet) on official LPG systems for the Territory. You could get a third party such as a local LPG mechanic to do the conversion, and then you'd be eligible for the rebate scheme too. Check out this website for details on what Territory LPG conversion involves.


Your motoring website is excellent. It has plenty of good information, and for as long as I can remember the website has never been down. Good work.

- Wyatt Chu


That is the best car in the world. The people don't know what they're talking about because I have a GT-R Skyline and is the best car and fastest car in the world. Thank you.


Nena B.

Editor's Note: Interesting email Nena. I think many people would disagree with you on your idea that the GT-R Skyline (R34 I'm assuming) is the 'best' and 'fastest', such as Ferrari drivers, and maybe Porsche drivers. Fact: it's not the fastest production car in the world. And as for the best car in the world, it's all subjective and is in the eye of the beholder, but thanks for your thoughts. 


Hello, can you please tell me when the LPG Conversion Rebate of up to $2,000 comes into effect? I paid $2,500 to have my Landcruiser 4WD put on gas in February this year. Can I make any claim?

Thank you,

- Liesel

Editor's Note: Thanks for the email Liesel. I hate to be bringer of bad news, but the rebate only applies to conversions done on or after the 14th of August 2006. Feel free to the AusIndustry Hotline a call, as they are knowledgable on all things related to the LPG grants scheme - 13 28 46.


I own a new Nissan Pathfinder 2.5-litre turbo diesel and am generally pleased with my purchase. However the engine (I suspect turbo) has a faint but annoying high pitched vibration noise from anywhere between 1500 - 2000rpm when accelerating under load, uphill etc.

A few months ago a fellow Pathfinder owner approached me in a car park and told me of his experience with a dodgy turbo on his car. He explained that he had actually got Nissan Australia to confirm that there was a problem with the turbo impellers on these model engines.

Does anyone else out there have any info on this issue as my local dealership where I purchased the car "can't hear a thing".


- Doon


Keep up the great reviews guys. Are you going to review the new VE Holden Commodores and SS range soon? I would value your opinion RE: all the hype.

- Greg

Editor's Note: Thanks for the plaudit Greg, and yes, we've got some new VE Commodore models booked in for road testing before year's end, and they include the SS V, Calais V and entry-level Omega at this stage. I've still not driven one, but am quite excited about giving the SS V a good thrashing, and with any luck we'll be lining them up against Ford's new MkII BF Falcon for some good old fashioned comparo action.


The LPG subsidy plan is discriminatory because not all car owners can access it.

I cannot because my car is not 'suitable for conversion' according to the two conversion companies in Hobart. The car in question is a 2.0-litre VW Golf. Apparently equipment is not available for this car.

The Government should be making other options available to those that cant use the LPG scheme ... i.e. subsidised petrol and/or subsidised ethanol/petrol.

The situation is similar to the HIBIS broadband subsidy scheme: Telstra was obliged to provide ISDN service to those that could not get Broadband, and if they could not provide ISDN, consumers were eligible for the full satellite subsidy.So we have a precedent for anti discrimination rules.

- M.T.


I think the Federal Government's offer to motorists to convert to LPG is a bit unfair to the motorists who have already converted to LPG way before this offer. I have been using LPG for twenty years now, and there are a lot of others too. Therefore we should get something in return.

Kind Regards,

- Garry


Have read bits of people's letters, particularly about Gas Conversions.

I find the whole gas conversion quite inequitable. Firstly, you have to have a petrol guzzling car to get any benefit, cost and space wise (imagine a gas tank in a Corolla or similar). Whatever happened to buying smarter, and focussing on smaller or mid-sized cars? Also, diesel would be a better option but no rebate for that!

Some of us that are being smart, like the person buying the CDX Astra wagon (the same size as a '63 EJ Holden wagon - used for families back then), which ticks more boxes.

I too have ordered a CDX Astra wagon, and was told a similar story from the dealer - although Nov/Dec delivery, not Jan/Feb. It will depend on your options - that person has probably requested a manual, or a rarer colour as the editors suggested. There are some dealers with stock, especially autos. The good news is, that waiting until then you'll get a MY07 version, so resale value and options will be better.

- Dergy

Editor's Note: Thanks for the letter Dergy. You make some interesting points about the LPG subsidy plan set up by the Government, and we can only hope that the policy-makers and politicians out there have a read of this letters page to see what the people they have pledged to represent really think about it. Time will reveal whether this LPG plan has succeeded in reducing car emissions and costs to motorists, or whether it was simply a waste of millions of tax dollars.


RE: your Saad 9-3 Aero review; perhaps you should comment on the ever downward spiralling re-sale value of the car as GM try to buy market share and reduce their prices. I have had 36 independent faults and two re-calls with my Saab Aero in 3 years; both City Saab and Saab Australia say this is "within normal limits" and are impossible to deal with. Endless trips back to the dealer. They refuse to acknowledge that it is a lemon -- perhaps this is their expected standard??

- Sloany

Editor's Note: Thanks for your thoughts Sloany, and it sounds like your Saab had a few glitches. Thirty six faults? I don't like the sound of that, and by the tone of your letter neither do you. I've passed the letter on to Saab and they said they'd look in to it. Hope it helps.


I feel that we will be paying for the gas rebate in the way of increased gas prices. I have a gas car and have seen how the gas price went up at the same rate as petrol, and since then the petrol has come down yet I still see the gas price remain at the higher cost.

Why has petrol come down to $1.10 per litre and gas is still $0.59c per litre. I am convinced that gas users are subsidising this new gas scheme.

- VRX 35


If greenhouse gas emissions are the focus of our Government's LPG conversion scheme, why are business and fleet cars (like taxis) excluded from susidies, knowing that a private family car runs approximately 300 kilometres per week, and a taxi does about 2000km?

- Luca


Hi, I am just about to buy my first new car and am wondering if anyone can tell me why the long wait? I am getting a Holden Astra CDX Wagon. The dealer has told me it will be built in Germany in October and arrive in Australia in January or February. Are there only shipments at certain times of the year? Friends of mine had to wait 3 months for their Corolla Levin wagon, but 5 months for mine seems a long time.


- Michelle

Editor's Note: Thanks for the email Michelle, and though I'm no sailor, as I understand it there are some gaps between container ships between Europe and Australia. Or rather, they don't run as often as you'd think. Five months does seem like a long time however, but often this can happen with models that are finished in rare colours, or have special accessories. I'd quiz your dealer for more information on the subject, but you may just have to play the waiting game unfortunately.


Hi there, I have been sourcing information on the opportunity to convert my car to LPG and have decided I would greatly benefit from it. But no one seems to even be able to even give me a rough estimate when the rebate is returned once its paid and fitted? Could you tell me?

Kind Regards,

- John Costello

Editor's Note: Thanks for the email John, and the simple answer is that I have no idea how long it takes for the rebates to arrive. I could hazard a guess, but that wouldn't help anyone and may give you false expectations. Only the bean counters in government departments know when you're rebate will be delivered.


Dear Web Wombat Motoring,

I had inquiry into the LPG car gas conversions about the subsidies: does the subsidy cover family cars or only the one? I.E. husband's and wife's car. I am hoping that I will get a reply, as I am anxious to find out.


- Whitemagic

Editor's Note: G'day Whitemagic. The $2,000 LPG rebate is a "one car per person" scheme according to the government's spokespeople, so yes, both your wife's and your car will be eligible for the rebate if you apply separately. If you need more info on the LPG grants, try calling this hotline: 13 28 46.


You should not be fooled with German Engineering made in an outsourced factory. Impressive at test drive and until 2,000km then problems start. I had a MY03 Golf IV GTI (made in South Africa same as new model) for almost three years and it turned into a rattle box with over 12 warranty visits in the first 2 years. It only had 19,000km when I traded it and basically dumped the VW brand. Now I prefer my German engineered car made closer to Germany.


- S.R.

Editor's Note: Thanks for the email, and you make a valid point. Unfortunately not all cars are equal, and because we only get to test the vehicles for around seven days, it's hard to make longterm judgements on their reliability or longevity. We drive 'em, and if they perform well we say so. Furthermore, every car and motorcycle that rolls of a production line is far from identical. I remember seeing dyno tests for two brand new, never used VY Commodores and one developed 7kW more power than the other. Sometimes it's a 'luck of the draw' thing and unfortunately there are lemons out there.


I do a lot of country kms, and are one of the few not brainwashed by the "big country needs a big car" garbage. I currently drive a Daihatsu Sirion (awesome car but getting old at 7 years and 250,000kms) and was looking to replace it with something more comfortable and economical.

I had in mind Fiat Grand Punto 1.3TDI, Citroen C4 Tdi or Polo TDI, and am interested in your opinion.


- Lagalles

Editor's Note: Thanks for the email Lagalles, and it sounds like you've taken good care of your Sirion. Seven years and 250,000kms? Very impressive. As for something newer, senior writer Damien Tomlinson has had hands-on experiences with the diesel Polo, and neither he nor Peter Maniatis nor myself has tested the Fiat or the Citroen. The Polo is a rather tidy little performer, with impressive straight-line speed and incredible economy - and according to Damien is quicker than Polo GTI. I've not heard much about the Fiat Grand Punto, but the C4 is supposed to be a very neat vehicle, with a long list of standard features and a solid diesel mill. I'd recommend calling up your Citroen and VW dealers and organising a test drive, then you'll be able to gauge which one best suits your needs. Hope it helps.


Hello. I have somewhat of a dilemma and I was hoping that you fellas at Web Wombat would be able to help me out. The decision I have lies between the Ford Focus Zetec and the Honda Civic VTi.

As a Ford employee I can get the Zetec for $22,500 + on-road costs. Which car would you recommend I get?

I am in my twenties and I appreciate a dynamic drive but I also want serenity at times. I want the car to be the best all-rounder possible. I am looking at a manual transmission.


- N.M.

Editor's Note: You want the best all-rounder possible? I'd be leaning towards the Zetec Focus if I were you, because the price is very peachy, and performance wise the Zetec comes out on top, and is more adept at cornering. It can also offer serenity if you need it, and though I have nothing against the Civic - it's a very fine automobile - I reckon that for less than $23k on the road the Zetec makes a lot of sense. Hope it helps.


I've just read the report on the new Dodge Charger SRT8 Super Bee. Please Chrysler Australia - import this vehicle. I will buy it, I don't care how much! I have to beg just build me a Super Bee please.


- Steven

Editor's Note: I'm sure Chrysler's reading, but they've previously said that the Charger won't make it to Australia unless demand in other right-hand drive countries increases.


The new LPG grant is a welcome opportunity, this is early days so the information is still not available. My concern is of the initial cost of the gas conversion to my older car. I am on a disability payment and rely heavily on my car for day to day activities, thus I will not have a spare $2,000 to make the conversion. Catch 22 or is there a way of getting out of this loop?

- Pat M.

Editor's Note: The only way to get the LPG conversion rebate is to provide a receipt of the conversion work along with an application form, so in your case it is indeed a catch 22. This is a really unfortunate situation and many in the media have labelled the scheme as discriminatory, and your situation - sadly - is a case in point. I'd suggest writing a letter to Prime Minister John Howard outlining your concerns.


I am looking to purchase the new VE Commodore SS or the BF XR6 Turbo. I have owned a previous XR6T in which I was unhappy with quality issues that you do not expect in a $45k car. I still liked the power and comfort from the XR6T.

What would you suggest?

- Melvie

Editor's Note: Thanks for the letter Melvie, and it sounds like you're ready to move away from Ford due to the quality levels. If money is not an issue for you, the new SS VE Commodore would be a great car to test drive. The new VE architecture involves improved suspension and will offer similar levels of comfort to the XR6 Turbo, but with more power and Euro looks. Of course, if petrol costs are an issue I'd suggest sticking with the Ford Falcon, as a 6.0-litre V8 will almost always be thirstier than a 4.0-litre turbo L6. If you can wait until October, you can also get a BF MkII Falcon XR6 Turbo, which will hopefully address some of the quality issues you experienced. Hope it helps.


I am happy with the LPG deal. But do you get the money before or after installation?

- Enu

Editor's Note: To get the $2,000 rebate from the government you have to pay for the conversion yourself, and then fill in an application form and together with the receipt for the conversion work, you can collect your tax-free grant at a Centrelink or Medicare office. Any conversion done on or after the 14th of August 2006 is eligible for the rebate.

However, the rebates cannot be collected until October the 1st, 2006, and the application forms won't be available until September, and they too can be collected at Centrelink or Medicare shop fronts.

There's also a number you can call if you have any questions: AusIndustry Hotline - 13 28 46.


I'd just like to write in about the new HSV range. As an owner and fan of an E-Series Falcon I was amazed to see that HSV has taken the bold step (and stepped on many toes no doubt) to use the words "E-Series" for its new VE range.

I mean, do we now have to let these guys into the E-Series club?

- Nic

Editor's Note: Well spotted Nic, and it could be another move by HSV/GM Holden to raise the hackles on the backs of Ford owners and to keep the Holden vs Ford conflict alive and well. As for the E-Series club, well, it could end in tears...


In relation to the LPG article in the Motoring section:

The LPG rebate offered by the federal government is a red herring. They are offering the subsidy now, but what will happen in 2011 when the fuel excise is applied to LPG as well, all these LPG vehicles on the road will assist in filling the government coffers. Is this rebate scheme merely an investment in future government revenue?

Where is the research funding for the development of Bio-diesel?

Diesel cars are not the noisy, smelly creatures they used to be, with European manufactures like Mercedes-Benz manufacturing impressive performance cars that run on diesel. Diesel is also cheaper and more environmentally friendly to produce with a less complex refinery process, not to mention the greater distances that can be travelled on one tank of diesel as compared to ULP. As far as I am aware diesel engines can run on bio-diesel blends with no or minimal conversion.

What could be better than driving around in a car that smells like your local fish and chip shop?

- B. Beggs

Editor's Note: You make a good point about the LPG excise arriving in 2011 Mr Beggs, and one that many drivers will find troubling. The second point you makes about diesel and bio-diesel cars is also a valid one, as diesel cars are becoming increasingly popular in Australia, with some models just as efficient as the small sized Toyota and Honda hybrid models on the market. The next few years are going to be very interesting indeed...

More: From the month of July in 2011, an excise on LPG will begin. Users will begin paying an extra 2.5 cents a litre, which will be added annually for five years, totalling a rise of 12.5 cents more per litre after this time.


Could you please amend your review of the Ford Focus XR5 Turbo. In the area of cons is listed 'No ESP'. The XR5 Turbo comes standard with ESP and being such an important safety feature could mislead people.

- Sneaky

Editor's Note: Okay Sneaky, fair call, I'll change the listing - my mistake. Technically speaking the Focus has no ESP, but it's all in name. DSC, or dynamic stability control, does pretty much the same thing as ESP, and apologies to anyone who may have been mislead.


Having just bought a new TK Barina I was a tad horrified to learn they are simply Daewoos re-badged, but after reading Peter Maniatis' (4/6/06) review I am a bit more at ease, as he suggests they are not too bad after all. I read another article on a different web site in which the person was virtually saying it is rubbish, etc. etc., so I believe you have a big element of luck with cars new or old, so if you have any more info on this vehicle I would be happy to hear.

- A. Melling


In Perth we have a number of hydrogen powered buses that have been in service since 2004. You can watch the steam come out of their roofs as they're driving - and no noxious emissions! I'm wondering why car makers don't yet sell these hydrogen engines? This whole thing about them being volatile and about to explode at any moment would seem to be bull twang as these big buses have been going for years. What's the go? When can I get myself a hydrogen car??

- Gonzo

Editor's Note: Good question Gonzo, and the rising price of oil and diminishing supplies is solidifying the case for alternative fuel types in cars. After all, when Earth's oil supplies run out, there'll still be millions of kilometres of road stretching across the globe, so it would prove sensible to make use of this infrastructure. The hydrogen issue is a very complex one and not easily answered. I'm not fully versed in the intricacies, but here's my take: The biggest issue at the moment is not the hydrogen engines themselves - they are indeed a reality and Ford has even started building them at one of its engine plants in North America - the issue is the fuel. Or more precisely its containment.

There are two types of hydrogen propulsion systems to consider: fuel-cell stacks, that mix hydrogen with oxygen to make electricity and power electric motors, and the traditional internal combustion engine, with pistons and crankshafts and whatnot that's powered by hydrogen. The biggest problem scientists face with hydrogen is that it is a gas at normal temperatures this makes storage a right royal pain in the bum, and we'd need massive tanks to travel a short distance. Compressing it is one answer, as is to liquefy it, but the latter takes a lot of energy, and liquid hydrogen has a temperature of -253ºC so storage tanks tend to be heavy and expensive.

Creating the equivalent of a petrol station (a hydrogen filling station) to store massive amounts of compressed hydrogen gas or liquid hydrogen will be difficult, as will the transportation and transferral of the stuff. And in a long winded way, I guess that partly explains why you won't be driving a relatively affordable hydrogen powered car yet.

If anyone else would like to write in and comment on this topic, we'd love to hear it -- or to tell me if my explanation is flawed.


I am considering buying a four-wheel drive so that I could travel with ease and peace of mind. I am not looking at doing serious off roading but if needed would the Ford Territory have any dramas?

- Barry Jones

Editor's Note: Thanks for the mail Barry, and the Ford Territory doesn't have as much ground clearance as something like the Toyota Landcruiser, but if you chose the AWD version you'd find that it can tackle low level 4WD tracks with ease. If you're not doing serious off roading, I reckon the Territory would be fine.


Hi. Re: your review of the Mazda 6 sports hatch 13/12/05. You quoted price as $40.910. Is that plus on road, dealer costs etc? Only recently I went to check the car out and was quoted something like $47,000.


- Frank (Perth, WA)

Editor's Note: All the car prices we quote on the road tests are before all the on road costs, statutory charges and all those extra costs. $47k sounds a bit steep for stamp duty and the other associated costs... Maybe the dealer slipped in a few extras? Hope it helps.


Hi, just replying to the Pathfinder review: I own a R51 ST-L turbo diesel auto.

Good Points; Fuel economy is as stated on windscreen around the 10L/100km around town and some highway driving and down to around 8L/100km on highway. The motor is great, the car is comfortable to drive around town and over long distances is even better. Have fitted a P-BOX to it from Steinbauer and picked up around 18% increase in power, which is really noticeable, without a real change in economy.

Bad Points; Poor paintwork. Ours is a metallic silver and has particles in the paintwork throughout the vehicle. The transmission has a shudder when in top gear and about to change down at low revs (you need to put your boot into it to get it to change and not shudder). The side pillar (drivers side) makes it hard to look to your right when pulling out of a side street. Nissan has said they will re-spray the vehicle but I'm not happy about having my new vehicle stripped down, painted, smelling like a panel shop and put back together, as they never go back the same.

After several trips back to Nissan they admitted they have a problem with the auto transmissions but don't have an answer. I don't have one good word to say about Nissan's customer service and would suggest you have a good look over any Pathfinder you choose to purchase before handing over any money.


- Stewart Talbot (NSW)

Editor's Note: Your letter certainly made for interesting reading Stewart, and I'm sure Nissan will take heed of the issues you pointed out. Since the Nissan turnaround in the last few years, after Renault took over in 1999, costs were cut in many areas to make the company profitable once again, and this could explain the drop in quality. We were quite impressed with the Pathy, giving it three and a half wombats, but as we don't get long-term testers, it's hard to gage their long term viability, so thanks again for the letter, it's much appreciated. You make an interesting point about the P-Box from Steinbauer as well, which electronically alters the fuel injection system. I've heard the little gadgets are quite reputable and Steinbauer seems to be making lots of friends with the modules, and your comments appear to back these up.


Three weeks ago I bought the Lexus IS250 Prestige with a moon roof. Whilst I think it is a beautiful car I am having awful difficulty getting used to driving it. I have always had a large sedan and I guess this car is completely different. I wonder if I am babying it - it seems to be slow off the mark. Should I drive it hard on take off - what do you suggest?


- Del

Editor's Note: Thanks for the mail Del, and the IS250 is far from slow, it's 8.4 second 0-100km/h time means it can be stirred into action quite rapidly. I'm assuming you're driving the automatic model, which is a bit slower than the manual and could explain it's slow-ish take off. If you're in a hurry, give it a boot full, for sure, but in and around the city it's really not worth it, as you'll drink lots of fuel and probably end up stopping soon after as the next traffic light looms.

I often use an octane booster in my motorbike (about $15 or $20 at the petrol station) which makes a big difference, and seeing as the Lexus IS250 has a high 12.0:1 compression ratio you could try that as well and it may make a small improvement, but be aware that when you stop using it, you'll probably feel the difference.


Re: the VW Jetta review by Feann Torr. What an excellent review! I'm just about to take delivery of the FSI 2.0 in a week or so and can't wait!


- Eric


The new VE Commodore has landed. From the photos, it's not a vast change from the previous model and that's probably a good marketing move. There are hints of the Vectra in its styling. A handsome looking car.

But the question on mine and likely many others' lips is, will there be a diesel engine? With GM producing 19 new engines and gearboxes for 2007, surely there's a diesel in there somewhere??

- Philip

Editor's Note: Thanks for your thoughts Philip, and that's indeed a valid question. Holden hasn't addressed the fuel consumption issue with the new VE, despite it's billion dollar investment. There is talk of a dual fuel LPG version of the VE Commodore coming soon, but it seems as though both Ford and GM Holden are not yet ready to drop an oil burner into their large cars, which is quite odd considering the surge in popularity they're experiencing in Oz. I have a sneaking suspicion that Holden will develop a diesel motor for the Commodore part-way through the VE's life cycle, and if Holden does, Ford's hand will be forced as well.


Hi Feann, I enjoyed reading your article on the Jetta FSI Turbo. I have noticed the Golf 2.0 FSI rides on 65 series tyres, whereas the Jetta 2.0 FSI's are 55. Does the difference in tyres give the standard Jetta a firmer ride and maybe transmit more tyre noise into the cabin? And is there any differences on the road between these two models.

I would appreciate your comments. Ta,

- Shane Chislett

Editor's Note: Shane, interesting question, and one that's got me scratching my bonce in deep thought. To be perfectly honest, I don't remember either of the naturally aspirated 2.0-litre Volkswagen's making much tyre noise when cruising - they were rather quiet on the road. I think the Jetta may be a tad firmer in terms of ride, but its much of a muchness really.


I can't decide between a 2006 R1SP or an Aprillia RSV 1000 R. I owed an '04 R1 and loved it, but sold it for family reasons. Now it's time for a new bike and I'm trying to compare them. Does the R1 have 180 BREAK horsepower or standard engine horsepower, if not BHP then could you please let me now.

- Peter

Editor's Note:The R1SP model would be my choice because I'm a bit of a closet Yammy fan (even though I ride a CBR6). That said, I remember talking to the guys at Peter Stevens a few months ago about the R1SP and they reckoned that the 30 or so models that were imported here from Japan were all spoken for. If you can find one, get it, as it'll hold its value better than than the standard Yamaha YZF R1. As for the 180 break horsepower, all R1s get this engine, but the R1SP is quicker because it's lighter than its donor vehicle. As for the RSV 1000 R, you can't go wrong with the Italian stuff really. It might be more expensive, but the street cred they have over Japanese bikes is significant, and they're plenty quick too. Hope it helps.


Dear Ed,

Saw your comment about jumping into the SRi Turbo for the weekend. Wondered what your thoughts were? I'd been tossing up between this and the XR5, but opted for the SRi after driving them both. Nothing wrong with the XR5, but the SRi was more of a complete package - in terms of looks (sexy as), equipment (an amazing array of standard equip for a car in this price bracket) and performance (I've just come out of a 200SX s15 and this is just as punchy). Re: rear window - was an initial concern, but the amazing side mirrors more than make up for this.

- Glenn

Editor's Note: Glenn, my thoughts on the SRi Turbo are generally positive, as you may discover in the upcoming review. Agreed - the look is very stylish, and sitting on those massive 18-inch wheels certainly turns heads, as does the coupe-ish profile. Performance wise, the Holden has less power than Ford's XR5, but is about 36kg lighter. Straight line acceleration is fairly similar between the two, but the XR5 has a meatier mid-range, whereas the Astra performs best closer to its redline. I think the ultimate decision for most buyers will come down to brand loyalty, but like you said, equipment levels and looks will also play a part.


Have you road tested the new Ford Focus Turbo? I would apreciate a copy of the report and your comparison aganist the WRX and Golf GTI.

I understand there is a new WRX coming out in Nov 2006. Kindly confirm.

I currently drive a 1999 WRX (since new) travelled 96K and with trouble free motoring. I am reviewing what new car I would like to purchase. I am 59 and still enjoy driving a manual.


- Des Cusack

Editor's Note: Des, I have driven the Focus, and the review will be published soon, but I can say that it's a very, very accomplished vehicle that raises the bar in the hot hatch segment. It's not quite WRX quick, but it's not far off, and I preferred it to the Golf GTI. To answer your other queries, there will be an MY07 Subaru Impreza model arriving later in the year, but changes will be minimal, to areas like interior trim, and possibly new alloy wheels. The exterior will be the same as the current MY06 models and it will be mechanically the same as well. It's well giving one a test drive, and until then, here's the current 2006 model (MY06) WRX review.


V6 or L4?

Hi there, I love your motoring site, it offers plenty of information and feedback. I currently drive a Mazda3 however I have a new addition to the family and find very had to fit everything in the car especially when travelling down to Canberra. I'm a bit confused; the petrol prices these days are concerning and I just don't know whether to buy a Lancer wagon VRX or a Mitsubishi 380. They are both good cars but the V6 consumption worries me. At the same time I would like some power behind the wheels.

What would you recommend?


- Ben

Editor's Note: Thanks for the mail Ben. I would recommend the Lancer wagon VRX. The new models have the larger 2.4-litre engine, and the increased torque levels give the car a surprising amount of shunt. They have smaller engines and a lighter kerb weight than the 380, and if fuel consumption is crucial to you, the Lancer would be a better option.


Hi. I was wondering why can't auto makers dramatically reduce the weight of modern cars? This would reduce fuel comsumption greatly. The FJ Holden was made of very heavy metal panels (virtually no plastic) and weighed about 1000kgs.

Todays cars are mostly plastic and a Ford Fairmont weighs nearly 1800kgs. 4X4s are even worse. Why??

- John McRae

Editor's Note: One of the biggest differences between cars that were around between in the '60s and '70s and today's vehicles is the technology. Your FJ Holden is indeed very light compared to today's large cars, but FJ was basically a frame, sheet metal, some seats, an engine and some wheels. Today, cars come with DSC, ABS, ESP, airbags, electric windows and mirrors, 400 watt 11 speaker CD stereos, heated leather seats with 16-way electric adjustments, DVD players, and the list goes on. It's the technology that adds a lot of weight, but there are other factors. Large capacity engine - a 6.0-litre Holden V8 for instance - are often incredibly heavy, and you almost never a see a new model that's smaller than its precursor. Even small cars are getting larger.

Furthermore, most modern cars are incorporating more and more plastic bodywork in lieu of metal, yet they aren't getting lighter, and the metals that are being used are getting thinner and lighter. Even so, the above points and improving occupant protection (side intrusion beams, reinforced members etc) tend to add to the weight of cars. Simply put, the cars of yesteryear were incredibly simple, with few features, whereas today people expect to get electric windows and proximity parking sensors, and that adds weight.


What's the verdict - XR5 vs Golf GTI? The Ford's cheaper, but is the Golf better?

Both quick, agile. The Golf has better anti corrosion warranty (I don't have a garage). Which one is likely to be more reliable/stay in one piece longer?

- John Soumprou

Editor's Note: Good question John, and one that many people want answered. To put it bluntly, the XR5. That's my quick 'personal' opinion. The Focus XR5 is cheaper, a quicker car through a corner with a more lustrous engine, which I'll detail in the road test soon. I like the look better, and it sounds ace, so that's why I'm opting for the XR5. Sadly for those people wanting a definite winner, it's not as simple as that, as both cars are incredibly good, separated by a Persian cats whisker. Agreed, the Golf has slightly better build quality and if you don't have a garage I'd say go with the Volkswagen, and it will probably retain its value better as well, and also drinks less fuel. But for sheer thrills, I'm leaning towards the Ford. Hope it helps.


Hi! Enjoyed reading your reviews of the the Astra CD Coupe and SRi Turbo. I've just got the CDX Coupe - a real joy to drive, love the comfy heated leather 8-way adjustable seats, 6-stacker CD in dash system and 16-inch alloys. The interior is soothingly low-key and minimalist, though some of the dash controls are set too low. It hasn't got the front fog lights and curtain airbags that the latest CDX has, but no big deal. Poor rear visibility is a small price to pay for sleek coupe style.

I think it's the best/sexiest coupe/hot hatch style, right up there with the Alfa Romeo Brera and forthcoming Audi Shooting Brake. And honestly, it looks way better than the Ford Focus. Got a creaky steering wheel issue after 6600 kms but other than that, build quality is high and definitely better than the previous Polish-built model. Wish my budget extended to the Astra SRi Turbo and the soon to be released HSV VRX, but the CDX drives fine on the 92kW offered by the 1.8-litre engine. The 16-inch wheels provide good roadholding and extra stability when cornering at speed. Had some problems initially getting used to the drive by wire electronic throttle - learnt to rev harder when starting from first gear.

Anyway, love your reviews, so keep it up!

- Nat

Editor's Note: Thanks for the plaudit Nat, and glad you like the reviews we publish. As for the new Astra SRi Turbo, I picked a black one up yesterday, and I must say it looks very stylish. I agree with your comments on the coupe's sleek look (and with 18-inch wheels and a bodykit it looks stunning!) and I have to say that your comment on the view out the rear being "poor" is understating it a bit. It's like looking through a keyhole... It's a very quick car nevertheless. But is it better than the Focus XR5 Turbo and the VW Golf GTI? I should know by about Sunday arvo once I've fanged it a bit more, so stay tuned.


The report on the diesel ST Nissan Patrol was most interesting. However, can you please advise if there will be a road test on the ST-L 4.0-litre petrol Pathfinder in the near future? I will be looking to purchase a "Pathy" in approx. 12 months time and have started to do my homework.

I will also be towing a 17'6" caravan weighing approx 1650kg. Provided it is feasible, I will be intending to convert the vehicle to LPG.


- Wayne Jordan

Editor's Note: Glad you liked the road test Wayne, but sadly we're not looking at reviewing the petrol version of the Pathfinder at this stage. That said, I have been in a friend's petrol-powered Pathy and it's got mumbo, no doubt about that. It's quicker than the 2.5-litre diesel model, but I actually preferred the beefy bottom end of the diesel engine more. Even so, the petrol model would have no trouble towing a 1650kg caravan, though you may lose a touch of power when converting it to LPG.


Hi, I'm looking for a replacement for my 2003 Ford Escape XLS V6. The current state of fuel prices is making driving my car an expensive task.So far I'm down to a short list of the Holden Astra CDX, Mazda3 Maxx and the next generation Hyundai Elantra.

What do you think? I'm open to any suggestions.

I live about 12km out of town, and have to make about two return trips a day. The 12km trip into town is a highway, but I do quite a deal of city driving as well.


- Deb

Editor's Note: G'day Deb, and thanks for the email. I'd warrant there's plenty of people in your situation who are considering trading their current vehicle for something more frugal. Of the three you mention, the Astra jumps out at me, largely because it's the only one of the three I've driven, but despite the unfortunate bias, it is a very nice car to drive, and kindly on the hip pocket too. Though we haven't tested it yet (we will soon), the new Astra diesel would be well worth checking out, as would a number of other small diesel offerings, such as the VW Golf and Peugeot 307. Diesel-powered small cars are becoming increasingly popular with private buyers, and I would strongly suggest you test drive one of them alongside the petrol-powered models you are considering, as you may be surprised by their refinement.


RE: the Lexus IS250. It's a fine thing to drive, but what's the point of a 4-seater which will not accommodate two adults in the back for anything more than a shopping trip? And ditto the GS300, with zero rear headroom.

When are you testing the Alfa 159, said also to be the best thing in this price range in o/s tests?

- Robin

Editor's Note: Thanks for the letter Robin, and you make a good point. There's not a great deal of room back there in the IS250, but the same goes for almost all other vehicles in its class. If you're planning on driving big people around, it'd best to get something longer, such as a 5 Series BMW or E-Class Merc. As for an Alfa Romeo 159 road test, we've not booked anything yet.


Loved the detailed Ford Territory report! It would be great to know if there is any info on the towing ability/capacity of the 2WD to tow an 1800kg boat.

Many Thanks,

- Gerald Glover

Editor's Note: Hi Gerald, and thanks for the email. The 2WD Territory can tow a 750kg trailer without brakes, and if your trailer has a braking system, this rises to 1600kg. However, you should be able to tow your boat with a braked trailer and Ford's optional heavy duty towpack and load levelling kit, which enables a very useful 2300kg braked trailer.


Hi there. I recently took delivery of a TK Barina and I love it. I've owned heaps of cars of various shapes and sizes and this is the best "entry" level vehicle I've ever had. The many articles that I've read are less than flattering and many of the criticisms are absurd.

The buyers of this genuine bargain are not particularly interested in it's technology or lack there-of. I wanted a safe, economical and reliable car, able to take me to work and propel me along paved highways at the speed limit. I generally do not have passengers although I have spent 600 highway kilometres in it with two adult and one child passenger. One rear seat had to be sacrificed as we had two large suitcases, and the remainder of the back seat was a little squashed, but the car did everything asked of it.

Your article described the car very fairly, and I think it competes very well with the other entry level vehicles. The reason I picked the TK were in agreement with your findings, however I doubt that disc brakes would provide any advantage over drum rear brakes, in this case. I did pay extra for ABS, by the way.


- Daniel Harcourt


I have had two Subaru WRX's in the past six years and am now considering the XR5 Focus as an alternative, as the lease on my current MY03 expires in approximately two weeks. But I do wonder whether or not the DSC system in the XR5 along with the lack of all paw grip will honestly allow it to be as good in the handling department as the new WRX with it's all-paw ability. Can you please offer your thoughts on this even though they have not had a back to back comparo yet?

- Derek, Launceston

Editor's Note: Thanks for the email Derek, and having driven both the MY06 WRX and the new XR5 I can say that the WRX would offer better grip. But not by a country mile. Though the turbocharged 5-cylinder Focus lacks AWD, it comes with fatter tyres and feels very secure on the road, giving the driver loads of confidence. During the launch we drove through hail storms and some really shitty weather, and none of the XR5's slipped off the road. When it was dry, I pushed fairly hard and the DSC only kicked in once, which says a lot about the chassis balance. Your best bet is to test drive one of the XR5's, but that could be easier said than done, as most of the Australian deliveries are being snapped up by enthusiastic buyers fairly quickly.


I concur with everything said in the [380 VRX] review, although not sure I understand rear end squat. I drive the first release VRX and am very happy with it. Prior to this I had a BA II XR6. The 380 is much better from the drivers perspective. Yes you would expect a sports car to be lower profile. The tyres on the XR6 were more impressive, and even the Aurion, yet to be released will have the market accepted rear wing.

Another niggly thing to me is the rear boot access. It might carry a lot, but will have to limit the dimensions of the cases you try and fit in. Another feature I particularly liked about the XR6 was the automatic light sensors which would turn the headlights on when lighting was too dim. But did I already say, it drives better than my XR6?

Not mentioned in the review is that this is the only one of the three referred to which has climate control as standard. Also I don't know if this is unique or not but the computer screen in the middle console can be used to programme certain preferences e.g. single or double click to unlock all the doors; sound or no sound, as in other security systems, and even how long you want the lights to remain on for after turning the engine off, amongst other options.

The 380 has also been recognised as Australia's most secure locally manufactured car. The 380 scored 74.5 to clearly beat Commodore with 59.5, Falcon with 57.5, Nissan Maxima with 51.5, Camry with 58.0 and Avalon with 57.0.

Thanks for the site. It is very good.

- David S.

Editor's Note: Thanks for the email David. You make a lot of good points about the 380, which in my opinion is an underrated car. Okay, so by rear end squat I mean that the car's rear drops down, and the car's front end pitches up as the car accelerates hard. Put the 380 in first gear, dial in about 3500rpm and ease out the clutch, as you quickly feed in full throttle. Our test car's rear end tended to 'squat' whenever we took off quickly.


Dear Damien,

I've just tested the Audi A3 2.0 FSI because they didn't have the 2.0T FSI quattro. I was wondering what it was like? The 2.0 was good for a small car (I have a 1994, 5.0-litre Statesman) but the handling was great for just a FWD car. The size and therefore the safety for my wife and son worry me. Should it?

Any other info on the A3 or A4 1.8T quattro's would be greatly appreciated.


- Stephen Royds

Senior Writer's Note: The Europeans are kicking goals all over the market, combining style, quality, safety and refinement, and they're progressing on the all-important cost factor as well. This is putting pressure on the Asian brands as people realise that a "car for the missus" doesn't have to be a Corolla or a Rio.

The A3 is a beaut little car, but there is a sizeable difference between the FWD and quattro models, so I would urge you to try one out. There will be a cost premium for the all-wheel-drive system, so do your sums. As far as safety goes, a quick airbag count should put your mind at ease. These cars have lots of passive safety systems, such as emergency braking assistance, ABS etc, so if - heaven forbid - your wife prangs it, she'll be a lot safer in the Audi than many others. My recommendation? Buy with confidence.


Re: current Nissan Pathfinder, would you consider it an appropriate vehicle for towing say a Jayco Destiny (Outback option) Pop Top van over a two to three year stint, principally on made (though often unsealed) roads, Australia wide.

For ease of use, we are looking at the Auto diesel version.


- Neil Bevege

Editors Note: Neil, thankyou very much for your enquiry. In my opinion the current Nissan Pathfinder is a very capable four-wheel drive and would be the sort of vehicle that would be more than adequate for your three year trek. The auto diesel version would be my first option as well - it's a very willing performer with loads of bottom end torque. I don't think you'll be disappointed with the PathFinder.


The Nissan GT-R looks like an ugly Mustang. Why take an elegant automobile like the G35 and stuff it with steroids? Just lean it out....keep it subtle and add horsepower.

- Porsche

Editors Note: Thanks for the email, and you make a valid point. Honestly though, Nissan could probably use a 1964 Cedric body shell and the GT-R would still sell like hotcakes, such is it's reputation. We hear that Carlos Ghosn (Nissan's head honcho) is a big fan of the Motoring Channel, so there's a good chance he'll read this and heed the advice of the people who intend on purchasing what should rival the Porsche 911.


Have looked at the Aurion Sportivo concept and I love it. I hope it becomes a reality with a supercharged V6 with AWD. Toyota really needs to get out of the 'cardigan' image with a sports sedan that can make its mark against the XR6 Falcon and similar cars.

I can seriously see the new Aurion is going to squash the 380 into the ground. Sure the 380 is a nice car but no one really wants them.

- Dec


Nice work on the Audi S4 - good review. I doubt I'll ever get to own one of those fancy-schmancy cars, but I got a good mental idea of what it's like. Keep up the slick work people!

- Smithy


Who knows how the Aurion Toyota will turn out but people are hard on the Avalon... I found it limousine-luxurious to drive, quick, so quiet, comfortable. The only fault was a degree of instability on corrugations and accelerating while cornering.

I'm hoping the Aurion will have some of the great qualities of the Avalon.

- Reb


Hiya, it's Kayley here, I'm a 19 year old chick whom of which owns a 1976 Holden Torana and I love it - not as much as your new Torana. It's great. I love it!

- Kayley


I've just found your excellent website. Congratulations on layout and content.

I thought I would share with your readers some important information that may save a life. If new tyres are bought in pairs, they must be fitted to the rear for safety reasons. Whatever your tyre dealer might tell you, insist that your new tyres are fitted to the rear.

From Michelin's website: Where do I install new tires if I only buy two?

If you're replacing only two tires, be sure to have them installed on your vehicle's rear axle. New tires will provide better grip than your half-worn tires and when they are installed on the rear that helps reduce the potential for your vehicle to fishtail or hydroplane in wet conditions.

There is an interesting clip on this page. Thank you.

- Chester


The new Toyota Aurion looks a very fine vehicle - its specifications show it to be equally impressive and it will kill off the reasonable Mitsubishi 380. However I doubt it will be a volume seller: the trend is against large cars. Toyota should have concentrated on the new, much better looking Camry and included a 3.5-litre V6.


- Martin Copelin


I drive a proper 4WD and will stay with it as these present vehicles cannot survive off road or out of the metropolitan areas. I challange your test drivers to a week with me at the wheel and them in the passenger seat, I do not think it would survive the first trip as I can gaurantee hitting at least one large kangaroo. That would be the end of that vehicle as it does not appear to have any frontal impact protection for the vehicle and how about chassis rails, are there any?

A detailed technical reply is what I an requesting , not some academic waffle about safety.

- Unique

Editors Note: Thanks for the email. I understand you want a detailed technical reply, but it's rather difficult when you have left out some critical details - such as the 4WD vehicle you are talking about. When it comes to kangaroos though, I agree they're tough marsupials (nothing on wombats though). My brother hit one riding his Yamaha 600 Fazer from Sydney to Melbourne and it destroyed the bike. And his foot.


Does any one know what Nissan Australia is up to?

Nissan Australia has introduced several new cars (Murano, Tiida, Pathfinder, New Navara) in the last couple of months. In spite of these new models Nissan sales in Australia have been on the back foot. Murano and Pathfinder have been quite successful in the US with Americans not getting enough. But are these cars really expected to give Nissan the volume it needs to achieve the top importer position? No, I can't understand how Nissan would expect this.

The only small car Tiida has done well in Japan. But in Australia Tiida sales have been at only 50% of targets set by Nissan. But when you look at the Tiida models offered to Australia, it appears Nissan has done some serious cost cutting and to keep up their profit margin. For example The Tiida Q (top of the line) offers drum brakes - something that has become obsolete over time.. I compare this to my 2003 Corolla (basic model) that offers disk brakes on all four wheels. Also the tyres on Tiida look shockingly ugly and there is no climate control in Tiida Q - the models sold in Japan do.

Nissan seems to have forgotten their built brand when it relied to Pulsars to drive its sales in the past.

Looks like Nissan sales in spite of all new models will slip below Honda - goes to show we want value for money.

- Fayaz


The Toyota Aurion will finally kill the dud Mitsubishi 380.

- Lee


Any chance you guys are going to do a review of the BMW K1200R? I'm interested to see how this machine goes. Looks bloody awesome if you ask me.

- Scott

Editors Note: G'day Scott. Unfortunately we're not reviewing motorbikes at this stage, but it's something we've always wanted to do at the Motoring Channel (and to pit a few bikes vs cars too!). As for the K1200R, it's a big departure for the usually conservative BMW brand, with a radical street bike style and a pumping 120kW engine.


Please ask Nissan why they advertise the 350Z as 287hp on the fly [wheel]. It's supposed to have 238hp at the wheels, but it tool headers, exhaust, cats, and a cold air intake, all new, just to get 230hp at the rear wheels. What a rip.

- Fire


I really like the new Aurion Sportivo concept as it has extra grunt, new look and a new name. I own a 2005 model Camry Sportivo V6 and its really fun to drive. But the only disadvantage about the driving feel and power is the car being front wheel drive.

I really hope that the new Aurion Sportivo turns out to be rear wheel drive as they are talking about challenging Ford and Holden performance vehicles. Having 250kW+ engine with a front wheel drive would create lots of torque steer and also create a disaster in sales and opinions. I hope it is rear wheel drive and provides a 6-speed manual.

- Burak


'Phoon review: very informative, detailed and well written. You answered all the questions for me: I had a 285 HSV and didn't think it was a responsible car (too much fuel) and I now have the [XR6] turbo six - my first Ford. It's great, just needs a bit more power and better suspension, but is amazing how fast it is in 3rd gear and has instant acceleration as well ... Conquered an HSV last week on the highway: from 100k I was three lengths in front and still in 3rd at 170k.

- Alan


Hello, just writing in to say that this article (Road Test: FPV F6 Typhoon, 22/Feb/2006) has been one of the best I have read about the Typhoon ('Phoon) yet! Good job. One thing that wasn't realised during the testing is that this vehicle comes already with 245 (40/ZR18) tyres and not the 235s commented on in the article. Maybe it was all the wheelspin that made the writer believe that they were smaller! Anyway, would love to hear more feedback on this vehicle with future tests.

Go the Phoon! (Oh, if you hadn't realised by now I already own one, a 6-speed manual. Great fun to drive!)

Kind regards,

- George Banos

Editors Note: Glad you liked the review George - I thoroughly enjoyed reviewing it. I always find it surprising to see what the local Aussie marques are doing these days. 550Nm? That's big league torque and no mistake and would give many European V8s a good run. As for the tyre issue, you're quite right - my mistake. But I still reckon it needs more grip at the rear, either via stickier or wider tyres (or even both).


Hi. The Honda Accord Euro Road Test was really well written and in just about every way, I think highly accurate. However there is one thing that continually irks me with your Road Tests on Japanese Cars, and that is the comment that "the Plastics are very good but not quite up to the best European cars".

My experience as a person who has owned European cars and examined most of the late European car interiors is that the plastics are of fairly poor quality (have you see the latest BMW's?) and that Honda and Subaru in particular have far superior quality to any of the European cars that I have seen.

European Brands in many cases offer superior feel through the steering and a bit more character, but they have a long way to go before they can match the Japanese for quality. Otherwise - good Road Test.


- Mark

Editors Note: Fair call Mark - and I agree that some of the new BMW's do leave a little to be desired in the dash plastics department. At the same token, I stand by my comments. I believe that Vehicle's built by Audi - and some of the French marques too - make use of better quality interior materials than the majority of the Japanese automakers.


Your recent review on the Golf GTi failed to point out the 11 month waiting list, this was originally 6 months when I ordered. Not only has this put a sour note on it all but I am left pondering how you could rate this car so highly when no one is able to get one for so long.

- Rudolph


Your recent review on the Golf GTi failed to point out the 11 month waiting list, this was originally 6 months when I ordered. Not only has this put a sour note on it all but I am left pondering how you could rate this car so highly when no one is able to get one for so long.

I was left standing jaw to the ground when they told me my new car was so far out of reach. I instead settled for the Sportline [Golf] which I now regret. The Climate control is plagued with problems, the car was less-than-new when purchased and VW Australia sold a similar car to the one I ordered as a second hand item to one of the dealers now offering it for less than the car I had ordered originally.

Not happy at all.

I am going back to Holden or Mini as soon as I can sort out the bodywork issues on this new car of mine.

- Rudolph


Sorry Denzil (Denzil Bourne, 13/2/06), those "rickshaws" don't wallow around on the road and send you to sleep while driving. The "sporty" suspension setup of the current Camry Sportivo can't hope to match with its Falcon and Commodore siblings. Nose diving, pitching and rolling through corners isn't awfully inspiring. And that interior! Pretty horrible...

I hope Toyota Oz's coming efforts are a bit more pleasing to the eye and touch than their previous ones; if the American Avalon is anything to go by, I think that the Aurion may be a nice car to drive however.

- Kanishka Bandara


You asked for comments on the Aurion - from my perpective it looks very promising: well proportioned, clean and modern with no jarring angles (like the present Camry). I agree the sportivo has hints of the XR8 - a good looking car from most angles - but more modern as you would expect, especially from the side.

With Toyota quality, the superb new V6 and 6-speed auto, well-sorted local suspension and lots of goodies, it should be more than a match for the Commodore and Falcon, although we all know rusted on Falcodore fans would buy a rickshaw with a Holden or Ford badge before a Toyota.

However, if it looks good (unlike the Avalon) and it is good (like the underated Avalon but better in every sense) it should do well over time. I will be looking very closely when my lease runs out at the end of this year.

- Denzil Bourne


I've had a Zetec [Focus] for two months and no problem. It's wonderfull from inside and out. I love the extra power in traffic, but it's a really magic car as soon you push it - no delay in power.

- Pat


Is there any way to make my 2004 F4i look like a 600RR? Can I buy the plastic and tail pipe and bolt it on or do I have to get a shop to do it. I like the lines better and the pipe but want to keep my bike 'cause its paid for...

- Donic

Editors Note: Thanks for the letter, and I have to admit that I looked into the same issue with my carburetted 1999 Honda CBR600F4 a few years ago. It is "doable" according to some of the aftermarket guys I spoke to, but it will be a pain in the ass and probably cost you a pretty penny. And yeah, unless you're good at plastic welding, you'd probably need to go to a garage to get it done.


What is Honda Australia thinking? I have read that the new 2006 European styled Civic will not be coming to Australia. The European Civic would sell like hotcakes in Australia. The US-styled model will not - it's bland.

The Accord Euro is a perfect example: look at the sales success of the Euro compared to the unattractive US styled Accord. Australians also prefer the Japanese built Hondas over the Thai cars (even if they are cheaper). Bring the European styled, Japanese-built Civic to Australia.

- John McRae

Editors Note: Thanks for the email John, and I should point out that the European-styled Civic is in fact built in England, not Japan. I spoke to the guys at Honda this morning and they say that the Euro Civic is being considered for Australia, but is unlikely to make it here in the short term future as it would cost the consumer about $35,000 at this stage in time.


Was very interested to read Damien's critique of the Ti Nissan (28/04/05). I have the Ti-L model and am disappointed with the amount of "textured plastic" in the interior also. I have replied to Nissan's PR company's survey of new Nissan owners and commented that leather should have been included on the top interior door moulds.

I have not heard back from them and find this disconcerting as some reply should be expected such as "we have passed your concern on to the company."

Also, I have found it very poor PR for Nissan not to have a "Contact Us" link on their website to hear directly from those concerned motorists who have criticisms or bouquets to deliver. Perhaps Damien may be able to let me know why the Maxima has a reputation of poor trade-in value.


- Graham Barry

Senior Writer's Note: Thanks for your letter. Unfortunately I fear the concerns you have are becoming more and more prevalent in modern cars, especially in competitive segments. As for resale values, they are usually relative to new-car sales, i.e. if a car isn't popular in showrooms, that will be reflected in demand in the second-hand market. Oversupply can also dampen resale performance, and this is the case for cars servicing the fleet and car-rental markets (Commodores, Falcons etc).


Do you plan to test drive the Lexus IS250? I would really like to see how it handles compared to the BMW 3 series.

- Anonymous

Editor's Note: Thanks for the email Anon, and yes, Damo will be driving the IS250 next month, so we should have some real world impressions for you sometime in March.


Hi, my name is Craig Lefebour, and I am your biggest fan. I am in love with the Lancer Evolution VII to the IX. My dad bought a Lancer 2004, ES (GSR) look a like. And i just love it, he said that he will give it to me for my 21st birthday, and in replace I have to buy him a car. So I am on the look out for a car. Please help me as I think the Outlander will suit him.

Thank you for your time.

- Craig Lefebour

Editor's Note: Thanks for dropping us a line Craig, and I'm with you on the Evo thing - I reckon they're incredible performance cars too. Interesting story: we were to take delivery of an Evo IX a few weeks ago, but somehow the gearbox lost 6th gear. Anyway, we'll be reviewing it soon enough, and as for your father's replacement car, the Outlander is an underrated vehicle and would fit the bill quite nicely. Hyundai's new Tuscon could be a worth a look too - maybe organise a test drive with your dealer and see what you think.


Recently Holden added the TT36 Torana to their show room at Fishermens Bend [Melbourne]. I've fallen in love and nearly run off the road each day I pass on my way to work. I can't take my eyes off that beauty.

My heart races, mongrel stirs and brow sweats. I'd sell my left nut and virgin sister to own that car. Holden, what are you waiting for? Your customers are like hungry wolves. Start pumping out that mad sexy machine and you'll have them howling.

- Noah


What, no Camry reviews? You appear overcome with talking up the second rate offerings from Ford and Holden.

A Toyota V6 from the eighties is a far sweeter engine than anything produced by the above over three decades: wake up and drive a real value for the buck reliable performance car.

- Gerry

Senior Writer's Note: I made reference to a Camry in my review of the Audi A8. The Camry is far and away the ugliest car in the family segment, and it generally can't compete with the other V6s in the market, except on economy. Probably.


Comment on Nissan Maxima:
I have recently purchased (21/12/05) an ST-L. I agree with the review there is too much hard plastic, especially the grey on the back of the front leather seats. At least make it black. Carpets also.

The pockets in the rear of the front seats are useless, as is the sunglass holder as curved sunglasses will not fit in. Not enough storage pockets and not large enough.

The brushed aluminium on the dash reflects sunlight into the drivers and passengers eyes when travelling in the middle of the day. Transmission kicks down too readily on cruise control, and it needs fog light protectors. I had one broken on second day ($357.00 ea)

- Wayne


I would like to know what sort of price one should pay for an '05 plated XT Forester. They don't seem to want to do much dealing, is this normal for Subaru? Is it a good thing?

- Magga

Editor's Note: Subaru dealers are rumoured to be tight operators - and I suppose they can afford to be in some respects. Their vehicles have a high desirability rating. I remember when my mother bought a Forester a few years ago and she thought that she was a real wheeler-dealer. She ended up getting virtually no saving.


Hi Feann,

Your note about being low in the pecking order for test cars back on Nov 2, 2005, underestimates your sites reputation and pulling-power. If I was a car manufacturer, Web Wombat would be very high on my list of reviewers.

I for one find your reviews on par or superior in terms of information (trusted opinions especially) and photos to what I read in the newspapers and established motor magazines like Wheels (one of my other favourites) and Motor.

When I was researching for my next car and got the Ford BF XR6 Turbo, the Internet was my primary source of information, in particular your two BA XR6T reviews. Then came motor mags and finally, having honed in on what I wanted, test drives came next because they took the most effort carry out.

So, Internet is king as far as I'm concerned. Thanks for your advice over the years!


- Gary Yuen

Editor's Note: Top stuff Gary - we really appreciate it. Glad you like our words, and hopefully 2006 will be yet another great year for all involved. Thanks again!


Thank you for the very comprehensive [Golf GTI] review.

I have a Golf GTI with satellite navigation on order. I have heard that the satellite navigation does not come with maps for the country areas, only for major cities (eg. Sydney). Could you please let me know if this is correct, and if so, who the supplier of the system is so that I can make enquiries about updates for the maps.

- Harry

Editor's Note: Thanks for the letter Harry. You are correct in hearing that the original software wasn't up to scratch in the country. VW says that it's digital maps did display major roads through rural areas, but didn't have the detail when compared to city areas.

VW has introduced new software/maps in Golf models (including the GTI) that we're led to believe should cover the entirety of the Australian continent in detail, rural areas and all. If you have a GTI on order, you should get the updated software, but it would pay to call your dealer and double check nevertheless. Hope it helps.


I live north Carolina, USA. I found your article on the new Ford Ute V-8 to be very informing. I've been a lover of this style vehicle since we had the Ford Ranchero here. I only wish we could buy the Ford Ute in the USA.

I currently own a 1995 Mustang GT coupe with a 5.0-litre engine. Lots of go in that engine and especially in that car. I have added a cold air induction system, a larger throttle body and mass air meter, off road X-pipe, and no catalytic converters, as required on newer vehicles here in the states for vehicle inspections. More fun than a person can have!!

In addition we are able to see the series McLeod's Daughters (2003 episodes) on the WE satellite channel. I always enjoy seeing the Ford utes in action.

- A.C

Editor's Note: Thanks for the email and it's great to hear from our American readers, who make up about 15% of our overall readership. I've always been of the opinion that Aussie V8 utes would strike a chord with American drivers, so it was quite interesting to read your letter.


Just wanted to say that I have just fallen in love with the Holden TT36 Torana hatch concept car! I want one!! I want to know when they are gonna make them available to the general public - probably never... I would happily go into debt for something as beautiful as that!! Just thought I would let you know how I feel!!

- Cathy

Editor's Note: Thanks for the letter Cathy, and it's always good to get feedback on what you guys like the best. Methinks that the TT36 concept may be relegated to 'dream car' for a while yet, but you never know your luck in the big city...


Hi, I am a fan of Feann Torr's reviews and I'd really like him to do a review of the new BF XR6T and BF F6 Typhoon side by side. On Ford forum www.fordxr6turbo.com the guys are continuously wondering whether they should go the T or the 'Phoon and whether the extra $$$ are worth it. Me personally, I'm just keen to read lurid Feann's motorscript about the T because I recently took up a Silhouette BF XR6T and absolutely love it.


- Gary Yuen

Editor's Note: Gary, thanks for the letter - and cheers for the plaudit. We're testing an F6 'Phoon in the new year and we'll look into organising an XR6T at the same time, as it's the kind of test everyone here (read: those passionate about performance cars) would love to see. Hopefully we'll have the goods in the new year, but it'll be our first F6 reviews as well, so either way it should be an interesting test. The new look aero bodykit the F6 Typhoon looks very nice, and the boosted power sounds good too - but is it worth the extra $14k? We'll find out soon.


In regards to review: Road Test: BF Ford Falcon, 20/10/2005.

(1a) The review mentioned that one of the "Cons" is fuel economy. Do you have any fuel figures for the Ford BF XR6 mated with ZF 6 speed auto?

(1b) Official Ford figure is 10.2L per 100km - which looks pretty good to me (can it be believed?).

(2) I've been looking at upgrading to a Mazda6 Classic, Honda Accord-Euro and now Ford BF XR6 with ZF 6-speed auto.

(3) Extra room in the Ford is good.

The 6-speed auto is smooth (only had a short test drive). Ford runs on ULP (others require PULP). Seats seem roomy / comfortable.

Thanks in advance,

- Phill

Editor's Note: Thanks for mail Phill. In answer to your questions: 1a) The fuel consumption figures during our first drive of the various models are not representative of everyday driving but (1b) the 10.2L/100km is to be believed. The new 6-speed offers particularly good fuel economy, even in the V8 models. (2+3) All three cars you list there are highly competent, and though the two Japanese models are smaller inside and out and aren't as quick as the Falc, they offer better fuel economy. If these three cars are your final choices, I think you'll be very pleased with whichever decision you make - neither of them are stinkers.


The distance from my home to work is 32 kilometres (64km return), and with the completion of the Craigieburn bypass (due in a couple of months), approximately 85% of the distance to work will be done at highway speeds. I was wandering what the fuel economy would be for the new Falcon Fairmont Ghia 6- or 8-cylinder with the new automatic 6-speed gearbox.

I've read reports that the gearing is quite high in top gear, but I have only seen the combined fuel results. Since most of my driving will be at highway speeds, the larger engines might be near as economical as a 4-cylinder, which would be revving much higher at highway speeds etc. If this is the case, I might be seriously looking at upgrading to a large car rather than a smaller car.

I was hoping you or your readers may be able to help with the following situation.


- Shane Chislett (Craigieburn)



I recently (March 2005) bought an XR6T 6-speed manual mainly because it met most of my requirements but also because of the praise that was bestowed upon it by the motoring fraternity. However, I am amazed that nobody has reported on the inherent problem the vehicle (manual) has with "coasting fuel shut-off" and the "variable cam timing" problems.

The net result of these so called "Characteristics" causes the vehicle to exhibit a surging effect when travelling on certain downhill (moderate) gradients, particularly when in cruise control. I would appreciate if you could inform me if you have experienced anything like this with the BA MkII you test drove, if not, then may be something to look out for when next to hop into the BF XR6T.


- David Connolly

Editor's Note: Thanks for mail David, and in the BA MkII I must say that I was not confronted with this problem. We've spoken to a few people who made mention of the issue, and will be testing the BF XR6T (6-speed auto) before Christmas, so I'll be sure to keep my senses alert for any such surging effects, and I'll attempt to quiz the Ford white coats heads too. Thanks again for the heads up.

Editor's Note #2: Turns out we're getting the XR6 nat-atmo, not the turbo, so we'll have to wait until 2006 before we can verify the surging effect. My mistake.


After reading the Audi S8 V10 article, all I can say is wow! I am in love with it! Audi's great looks and a Lamborghini engine: what a great combination. I'd sell my soul for one.

- TP


G'day again, (as this is the second time I've emailed a comment on your Wombat motoring page).

I've just read your story on the German police Porsche and noted the link to a web page for anyone who can read German. There is a google link that translates complete pages for those of us who are "language challenged" (like me). The hyper link below is the result of using the translator.


Keep up the great work on the motoring page for us rev-heads.


- Dave


Please, please, please, please, please, please, please Holden put the Torana TT36 into production - I want that car, I need that car. It's sexy, sleek and perfect 4 me.



Editor's Note: Thanks for the letter April. We've had plenty of mail regarding the TT36, the majority of which has been very positive. There hasn't been much talk of the car recently, but dropping large car sales in Australia could force Holden's hand into building a homegrown medium-sizer along the lines of the Torana.


Loved the review on the new MkII Falcon XR6 Turbo. Just one question though - didn't the new XR6 turbo gain 5kW and 20Nm with the revised euro III emission standards and increase to 245kW and 470Nm?

Keep up the good work!

- Luke G.

Editor's Note: Mr. G, thanks for the letter. We always appreciate the feedback. The BA MkII Falcon got a slight increase in power, but it's the brand-new BF model (the 2006 if you like) that gets the big hike in power (245kW/480Nm), and we're eagerly awaiting our test car in December, so with any luck we'll have a insightful review for you before the years up.


Hi, Just read your reviews of the Clio Sport Cup and Golf GTI DSG. Can't decide which one to buy? What would you choose if you had the choice?

I have to commute a total of 100 kilometres per day to work and back, not too many traffic lights, but plenty of winding B-quality back roads. I travel from Montrose to Thomastown via Mooroolbark, Croydon, Ringwood East, Warrandyte, Research, Eltham, Greensborough, Bundoora etc...

Any thoughts would be appreciated, and fuel economy is important also. I currently own a manual 330ci BMW which averages an amazing 9.5 litres per 100km on this daily journey. However, I'm looking for something smaller, lighter and more fun.

Many thanks,

- John

Editor's Note: Because you're currently driving a Beemer, I'd suggest the Golf straight off the bat. It's a bit quicker in a straight line, probably not so agile through the corners as the little Renault, but if you jumped from your 330ci into Clio you may be left feeling a little dejected, while the Golf GTI has a more luxurious interior and a bit more room as well. Both cars run specially tuned 2.0-litre engines yet the Clio is more fuel efficient of the two as it weighs a lot less. Hope it helps.


Who can convert new Corvette cars from left to right hand drive here?


- John Webster

Editor's Note: Thanks for the email John. Tough ask, that one, but there are a number of places that could help you, or at least point you in the right direction. First, try Corvette Queensland (http://www.corvette.com.au/). They have a pretty comprehensive outfit, while corvette.net.au appear to convert older 'Vettes to RHD, but may know someone who can help. Good luck mate.


The Golf GTI is fantastic. I just took delivery of a DSG and will never look back.

- Jay



Thank you for the VZ Calais review - I currently own a phantom mica V6 VZ Calais and I love it. Now, in regard to one of the letters talking about the BF Fairmont Ghia: I just have to say, and I will say it very kindly, get your head out of the sand.

I use to own a BA Futura and it was a nice enough car but the fuel economy stank like a dead skunk. I find my Calais just as quiet and refined as the current Falcons and the fuel economy is very good. Although the lack of rear window wiper is a worry. The VZ crap? Sounds like one of the readers is biased with Ford.

- Web


This isnt exactly a newly released car. How about a test of the BF Fairmont Ghia and Falcons. They have just been released. The Falcon has more power, torque, is more refined, more frugal, quieter than the VZ Calais you are test driving and which was released about a year ago.

C'mon, I visit Web Wombat for unbiased reading, not like the crap about the VZ Calais.

- Nik

Editor's Note: The reason some of our road tests are not published immediately on the launch of the vehicles in question is that there is a certain pecking order in the Australian motoring media circles, and being a relative newcomer to the scene, and an online entity, we're at the bottom of this pecking order. We're also pretty lazy, so that contributes a bit.


In regard to your road test of the VZ Calais, I have a few issues.

When discussing the cons of the car, the writer complained about the lack of a rear windscreen wiper and the dash being not being different enough to other Commodore variants.

First, I see no reason to complain about the Calais not being fitted with a rear windscreen wiper. This is not something normally fitted on a sedan. I do not know of a 4-door sedan that actually has a rear wiper. Hatchbacks and wagons have them, and that's all very fine, but sedans just don't, and that should not be used to detract from the car.

As for the dash, it is in fact quite different to other Commodore variants. The Executive and Acclaim has a much more plain layout. The Calais' dash has a different (and more elegant) font; the needles are chrome; the rings of the gauges are chrome, and there are 3 reasonably sized screens on the dash as opposed to the single on one on other Commodore variants. Overall, it's far more elegant.

The Executive and Acclaim have very plain and basic layouts, and the S and SS has a more endearing, sporting layout with the gauges being colour coded with the exterior colour. The only car that shares the dash with the Calais is the Berlina. Also, you may note that the Statesman/Caprice has a different dash layout as well.

- Anonymous

Editor's Note: Thanks for the email - you make some valid points there. I told Peter about the critical mail we've been getting about his Calais review, and he wrote some replies, which I cannot reproduce here for reasons of propriety.


Hi there. I have read with interest the car review Feann Torr did on the VW Golf GTI with DSG transmission on 22/07/05. Are you able to inform me if the DSG transmission in the GTI is the same or similar to the DSG transmission in the Audi A3 Sportback Damien Tomlinson reviewed on the 15/06/05?

Damien gave the Audi DSG Transmission a glowing review but as I cannot afford the $74K price tag for the Audi. I am looking at the VW Golf GTI with DSG transmission. Your response would be appreciated and keep up the good work on your great website!

- Rob Grieve

Editor's Note: Thanks for the letter Rob. Audi was purchased by VW in the 1970s and since then the companies have been sharing more parts to cut costs - and yes the DSG is a shared component, so the DSG you get in the Audi A3 Sportback is the much the same as the device as found in the Golf GTI.


Just wondering if you know much about the special Mitsubishi Evo IX (it was black with extra bodybits, different wheels huge exhaust) that was a the Sydney Motor Show? I only had a quick glance and forgot to go back before I left.

- Nrd

Editor's Note: What you saw at the 2005 AIAS was an Evo IX tricked up with specialised Ralliart upgrades from the works rally team, which span cosmetic, chassis and powertrain components. For people thinking about buying an Evo IX (we're getting our hands on one in early 2006) there are specially appointed Ralliart/Mitsubishi dealers who can help out in this respect. Some of these items can be seen on the Ralliart website. Hope it helps.


Comment on the new Mitsu 380.

When is Mitsubishi getting the balls to build a proper RWD car? Okay, they offer the AWD in the late Magna and apparently they are not going to offer AWD in the new 380. Come on Mitsu, if you really want to fit in between Holden and Ford build some RWD muscle cars.


Editor's Note: There's often idle chatter about Mitsubishi Australia dropping a great big V8 engine into one of its locally built vehicles and entering the V8 Supercars championship (highly unlikely at this stage, and something Ford and Holden would be keen to quash anyway), but at the moment the company's Australian fortunes hang on whether or not the 380 is a success. Perhaps Mitsubishi doesn't have the balls to build a proper RWD, but at the moment it's a more a case of having the cash, rather than the cojones.


Hi Feann. Well I have to say the Nissan GT-R Proto looks pretty damn awesome to me. When Nissan showed off the GT-R Concept at the 2001 Tokyo Motor Show I thought it had great promise, but the Proto makes it look quite ugly and awkward in comparison.

The only possible criticism I could have of the design is the large black grill and air intake at the front which looks a little cheap and plastic. Apart from that I can't wait until 2007 when Godzilla is once more unleashed. What are your thoughts Feann?

- Ant

Editor's Note: Thanks for the letter Ant, and my thoughts? I pretty much agree with you. That front section with its matte-like finish does look a little cheap. I really like the slim headlight clusters though, and rear end is traditional yet tough. The side profile appeals to me a lot too, simply because it harks back to the older R33 and R34 Skyline GT-Rs, and further removes itself from the 350Z shape. It's also good to see Nissan/Renault boss Carlos Ghosn sticking to his word about releasing a global performance super coupe. Can't wait to drive it!


Hi. You're one of the lucky few who've actually managed to test drive the Golf GTi! My name is on the waiting list and it should be coming in within a month or so.

I wanted to know your specific views about the DSG. You said it was slick, but that you still preferred the feel of the manual. Did the DSG make you feel like you weren't entirely in control of the car? Did it ever override your gear selection (e.g. because of over-revving)? I've only been able to test drive a DSG in a diesel VW - and I was sorely disappointed - but given that the diesel is a much lower revver it's difficult to tell how it might feel in the GTI.

At this stage, I've ordered a manual... It's not important that I'm the fastest away from the lights. My driving pleasure will be in taking this car out on the Great Ocean Road and through the Dandenongs. So if it's driving pleasure only that you're after, would you stick with a manual with the GTI?

Thanks in advance,

- Cameron

Editor's Note: Yes, we've tested both the DSG and the 6-speed manual model GTI, and I have to say I prefer the old-fashioned gearbox with the clutch pedal. You're right about the DSG being quicker - it's shifts are lightning quick and it will be faster away from the traffic lights than the manual, but I felt much more in control in the manual model round corners, and that's more important to me than straight line speed. The DSG will hold gears if you ask it to, but for driving pleasure it's got to be the manual.



Loved your very comprehensive review on the XR6 turbo - well done. I own a 2004 HSV R8 and was beaten off the lights by a XR6 Turbo. Does this surprise you? Is the Ford the better/quicker car?

Look forward to your expert opinion.


- Greg Malham

Editor's Note: Glad you liked the review - I enjoyed reviewing it! It doesn't surprise me greatly that an XR6 Turbo beat an '04 Clubbie, as you need look no further than the XR6 Turbos torque peak @ 2000rpm: that's incredibly low and it's no wonder that the turbo Ford is fast becoming the Aussie performance sedan of choice. Of course, many owners have taken to tuning their XR6Ts for more torque, so who knows what your traffic light nemesis could have been packing?

As to being a better car - it depends. The HSV-tuned suspension and the Commodore's lighter weight would probably give it an edge through corners, so if straight line speed isn't important as the car's agility, one could conclude that a 2004 Clubsport R8 is better than a stock standard Falcon XR6T. It's all very subjective. Some drivers may prefer the feel of the heavier Ford at the end of the day.


Hi. I just bought a GTI Golf 5 and it is damn amazing - I look for the smallest excuse to take it for quick spin. The review is exactly how I would describe it.

- Marcus N. (South Africa)


Commenting on the recent advertisement aired on Channel 10 for the Holden Astra. I am horrified that such a thing would be allowed to be shown on TV at all, let alone at this early hour. Disgusting and offensive.

- Handtique

Editor's Note: You must be referring to the Holden Astra ads where the car's owners do their chores in the nude. Generally the Holden marketing people do a bang up job advertising their products to specific buyers, but this is one exercise we've heard quite a few complaints about.


I would just like to say that the guy who writes your motoring reviews is a legend. He can truly explain each and every car in words. Please pass this on to him.


- Max Kangur


A comment in response to mike Bond's (12/09) criticism of the "380" name for the new Mitsubishi. I understand that Mitsubishi did some serious market polling to test response to the 380 tag and other suggested names. The 380 had a very high acceptance level.

I didn't like too much of it either at first, but had a rethink in realising that both BMW and Mercedes have been doing it successfully for ever. BMW's 525, 323, etc and Merc with 180, 230, 500 and so on.

Mike asks, "what if they change the engine size?" Same applies - change the 380 to whatever fits the new engine. Again BMW and Merc have used this policy for years. If it works for them .... 'nuf said.

- Martin Valentine


E30 325i: Does one get a supercharger to bolt on or a turbo?

Thank you,

- Def (South Africa)

Editor's Note: Supercharger all the way. They're more often than not more expensive to setup, but provide for a zero-lag power boost pretty much from standstill, as there's no compressor/turbine that needs to spool up like in a turbo system. Could shag your engine quicker than normal, but forced induction is big fun.


Read your review of the SV6 Commodore, and agree with you comments; I recently purchased a new SV6 (Auto), find it to be a very good vehicle. It revs a little hard at times, very good fuel economy (10.4L/100km): would look at same motor in Crewman or Adventra for next vehicle. I like the SS but it's too fuel hungry.

- West Shooter


Your comparison of the Odyssey and Grandis overlooks a glaring ommission in the Honda: only a lap belt in the 2nd row centre seat. This is both unbelievable and unforgiveable in a MPV. No amount of airbags, ABS etc can make up for the lack of this most basic of safety features. Would you put your child in a lap belt?

- Rholland


Mitsubishi 380 is just plain slack. What do they do if they change the engine size. They should have had a SA name like Barossa 380, Adelaide 380 or Flinders 380. I like the name Mitsubishi Barossa 380. Still some over paid marketing graduate has done their job and used a computer program to select the name. It may be better built but not better named.

- Mike Bond


Good article, but I think you've misprinted the RPM at 100kms - should it be 2750, rather than 3750?

- Mick Kraus

Editor's Note: I thought it looked a little odd at the time. But my notes indicate that was the engine speed. And you can't argue with vague notes scrawled on a napkin, can you? Seriously though, I use a voice recorder when testing cars, and I can remember thinking the same thing "That looks a bit rich".


Just read your review on the Ford Focus. Great article.

Just wondering though, does the focus really rev at 3750rpm at 100 km per hour. That amount of revs seems quite high. Is the gearing really that short?

I look forward to your response and look forward to your opinion when you road test the Nissan Murano.


- Swavek

Editor's Note: Glad you liked the article. The tachometer read just under 3800rpm in 5th gear at 100km/h, this is true. It does seem a little short at first glance, but when you're in the thing it's quiet at that engine speed, and fuel consumption is pretty good too if you whack it on cruise control. Here's the gear ratios for the 5-speed manual model:

1st: 3.40
2nd: 2.14
3rd: 1.45
4th: 1.03
5th: 0.80
Final drive ratio: 4.06


My comments on the Monaro: well I cannot say much about it, but as for the 2005 Pontiac GTO that was built by the great people at Holden, I just purchased the GTO and it is one spectacular car all around. Comfort, styling and most of all performance. I'd have to say the best part is it smokes the Ford Mustang and that's great.

My hat's off to all the people at Holden.

- DamYankee (America)


A comment on FPV Falcon V8:

I'm sure it's a nice car but I will never buy an 1800kg vehicle that is so anti-social in its drinking habits. There are plenty of exciting cars half a ton lighter and two to three times more economical.

Its 2005, we're running out of oil and you guys should use your leverage to educate us!

- S. Crocker


I'm looking to purchase a new Honda Euro or new model 5 cylinder Passat. What is your opinion?


- Brendan

Editor's Note: Tough call Brendan. We've tested the Honda Accord Euro (twice) and firmly believe it's one of the best mid-sized cars in Australia. It's well built, and reliability? Second to none. Period. We've tested the Passat, but not in its V5 form. The Veedubs have better interiors and the V5 engines are quite powerful for their capacity, but the Passat is more expensive to service. If I was in your position I'd go for the Honda, but neither are bad cars.


Just bringing back the Magna subject, does anyone find it odd that a pretty much completely camouflaged 380 was running around, that looks a lot like its Galant brother?

Maybe Mitsubishi is trying to throw the journos off.....

"You are all very strange people. Saying that nicely I wouldn't touch nething (sic) to do with Europe cars, I hate 4cyl (WRX) aswel as skylines, they r crap. Whoever said Torana aren't good must have serious problems! GM were smokin some good shit wen they made Toranas.

P.S. Fords R Gay.

As for Bob here..... Well, hasn't someone been under a rock for a while?

- Rider


It doesn't matter what Mitsubishi call their new car - as long as it's not as dingo ugly as the last Magna, and it's not front wheel drive. If it's either of those, they might as well book in at Centrelink right now.

- Ace 600


I have searched everywhere for a report on the XR6 Turbo MkII with 6-speed box. Thankyou.


As an owner, December 2002 XR6T, slush box, I list the issues as i see them.

1. weight & fuel consumption.
2. Soft dampers, float over bumps
3. delay in gear change "adaptive mode"
4. rear dampers worn out at 46,000km
5. absence of a foot rest for driver


If Ford
A) reduce weight by 100kg,
B) install a drivers foot rest,
C) get some decent Bilstein dampers,

Then I would again buy an XR6T as it is a great touring car as well as local run-about.


- D. Barrett

Editor's Note: Very interesting insights Mr Barrett. We really have a lot of respect for the XR6T here at the Motoring Channel, but one thing we can't always evaluate in our seven day road tests are the longterm durability and reliability aspects of these cars, so thanks again for your findings.


My daughter and I selected the new Mitsubishi Colt for its safety (apart from all its other obvious attractions). Most reviewers do not mention that it was designed at a time when Mercedes was a shareholder in Mitsubishi. Therefore it has the safety cell of the Smart Four Four.

The higher specced model has window airbags in addition to two front puffers. We looked at Honda and Mazda but were taken with the newness of the Colt. I'm amazed how many editorial mentions the Mazda2 gets for safety when the Colt is never even mentioned.

All-power to the former's PR people. The Colt is proving agile and economical and I feel quite content having my kid out there in this hybrid Jap/German saftey capsule.

- Doug


Hi. Just reading your article on the Torana TT36 and was quite impressed with the information you researched and provided. As an owner of a A9X I can see the similarities between the cars, however I'm disappointed that they are trying to make a 4-door (family) car out of a coupe -- one of its greatest claims to fame was Brockies' win at Bathurst by 6 laps to the second car in 76/77... in an A9X.

The A9X or LX/SS Toranas are to this day one of the greatest muscle cars to ever grace our roads with their presence. For G.M. to add shocking white to the interior is as you say, shocking to the eye.. (even for a concept car) love the sport gages/pedals etc - true to the predecessor. As for the motor (Holden DO it again!!) what a beauty - tweak that puppie up a little and the ol' XR8s might, I say might, be able to keep up. The look of the car in general is awesome but is lacking a traditional good solid kit and needs to be lowered slightly. The paint? Well ummmm, for my lady maybe, but then, I don't think she'd like it either.

Holden do you need a paint analyst, I'd be glad to help..

All in all great car but I feel it still needs work before they have the right to label it as a Torana (meaning "to fly"), especially the next A9X. Well that's about it. Just had to have my say on this one team. Anyway great site keep up the goodwork.

- Zhon Delamon


Hi, I love this pink Torana and I really want one, so please make it avaliable!!! I garuntee I would buy one if they where sold here!!! Yummy!!!! Pink is Gr8!!!

- Nikki

Editor's Note: We'll let Holden know how you feel - and who knows, maybe it will get built one day if there's enough demand.


I think that the name should have remaied Magna; whatever the car name it will not make it more succesfull unless they come up with something good. And if it looks anything like the American Galant, Australian's will just walk on by.

- Beno


You are all very strange people. Saying that nicely I wouldn't touch nething (sic) to do with Europe cars, I hate 4cyl (WRX) aswel as skylines, they r crap. Whoever said Torana aren't good must have serious problems! GM were smokin some good shit wen they made Toranas.

P.S. Fords R Gay.

- Bob


'380' isn't too bad of a name for the new 'Magna', however to me it reminds me of Peugeot and also what happens in the future if they develop a new engine that is a different capacity? Will Mitsubishi have to change the name to match?

- Nrd80


380 Mitsubishi? Great idea for what will be a great car, with engineering excellence.

- Anna Wilson


Mr. Phillips [Mitsubishi Australia CEO] and his marketing department need to be replaced. They have always had excellent product but their marketing has always been a dissarray.

The 380 name is definitely the wrong choice and Australians wont adapt to it, Galant or another name would have been better. Furthermore, brands with numerical names have historically failed. Unfortunately this will certainly put the nail in the coffin for Mitsubishi Australia.

- Dark Blue


That was a great review on the MKII GT. Well written and a joy to read. I go to Warnambool every month in my GT -- guess which road i'm taking next month?

- GT Kat


The name for the new Mitsubishi Magna replacement is rather uncreative. Although at the same times it reminds me of the Mercedes Benz 380 and it's very close to the branding of the BMW 3 series. Sorry but I find the name 380 not that great - they could of come up with something better and a bit more individual for a new car.

- Homer


'380' sounds fine to me! In line with Europe and Mazda. Though they should consider the number system for the full local range if all gos well; 380 also lends its self to 380ss, 380gt or 380sst for turbo and so on.

Well done Mitsubishi.

- Jim Colligan


What a great article on the Grandis and Odyssey - my wife and I are just in process of chosing a new car with 2 kids at school and another on the way. I'm concerned that both these cars have 4-cycinders - do they really have enough power?

- John (Armidale, Vic)

Editor's Note: They both have what I'd call 'satisfactory' amounts of power, but I think their respective gearboxes do a very good job of making the most our of the 120-odd kilowatts. Take either one for test drive and find some steep hills to get a good idea of how well they pull.


I'm not happy at all with this new Dodge Charger. 4 doors? Okay... being a 2 door fastback was one of the old Chargers characteristics, and this just goes against that. This is just sedan of the Magnum, and the exact equal to a 300C, why has DaimlerChrysler built 2 of the same car?

They should have built a Coupe to be in competition with the Pontiac GTO and Ford Mustang.

But on to worse things, anyone seen that Ford Fairlane Concept made by Ford America? What the hell is that!?! There's already a Fairlane still here in Australia, and that thing is an SUV!

I think buyers should design a car.

- B1ancardi



Just read your article on the WR1. I took delivery of mine Sept '04 and have had an amazing experience over the last few months.

It is a truly great car that can be lived with on a day to day basis as shown by the 8000+ miles I have clocked so far! BTW, those front fogs are driving lamps and do they light the road up!

- Alan (England)


RE: Torana TT36 concept. Love it. Love it. 'Bout time an Aussie 6 was brought to the arena. The interior needs work but overall it's awesome.


- E Wells AU


Hi. Refering to this link, "Ethanol has corrosive properties". That's not true. But Methanol has corrosive properties.

In Sweden we use 5% Ethanol in all gasoline. In next year probably 10%. We have also many flexifuel cars (Ford Focus) using E85 (85% Ethanol).

Personly I have converted my gasoline car to run on E85. There's no broblem at all using E85. It reduces the emmisions of fossil CO2 by 75 per cent. My car is a Skoda Felicia from year 2000. Don't know if you have that car model down under.


- Peter Lind (Sweden)


The Mitsubishi Evo VIII MR FQ400 looks like it would be more than a handful. Just don't let those foolish teenagers take one out. Though I like the 'sharks teeth' styling cue, are they large enough to create a vortex? Methinks they create more drool than anything else.

Love the site.


- Terry (UK)


I've recently replaced the tyres on my 2001 Astra CD with a set of 4 Toyo Transas Teo tyres, and I want to share what an improvement these tyres have made compared to my original Dunlop SP Sports (195 x 60 x 15 inches).

The Toyo Teo tyres were similarly priced compared to the replacement Goodyears. Not only does my car handle
better than it did before, but these new tyres have reduced the previous road / tyre noise, enhanced steering feel and the ride is now much smoother & comfortable. I didn't believe tyres alone could make this much difference. My car now feels a lot more refined and tracks arrow straight on freeways and country roads travelling at 100/110km/h.


- Shane Chislett


This is just one big BITCH session. I don't like the editor, and I think that Kanishka has some gender confusion.

Holdens are the Best, the new alloy tech V6 would kick any reject any day.

- Chris Death


With regards to your roadtest of the Lexus IS 200. Let's be serious - this is an overpriced 2.0-litre purporting to be a "sports" model (albeit with luxury trimmings). It makes the BMW 318 look like a road rocket. With a 0-100 time of 11.2 seconds it's no wonder it "sticks to the road" - it's probably gone to sleep!!!

The problem with this model Lexus (and to almost the same extent) the Europeans - BMW 318 and Mercedes C180 - they simply don't have enough power to challenge their "superb" handling. Even "tongue in cheek" you could hardly describe any of them as "sporty" - more a cheaper way of getting Joe Average into a "name brand".

I like the road test of the Caprice which I felt was impartial and honest.

- Ray


RE: 'Paul' and his shame: Clearly this fool with the name Paul has little/no knowledge of motoring or motor vehicles.

He/she is clearly one of those people who think that a BMW or some other German marque (or even Asian) means the whole world. One reply I can almost guarantee from 'Paul' is these cars have "better" build quality.

I'll just wait for someone to say it before I break their hearts and crush any brain matter left with the all-conquering truth. It is definitely time that people like 'Paul' wake up and support home grown heroes. When it comes to performance vehicles, cars pumped out by HSV can wallop most Euros for a fraction of the price. It would be un-Australian to not support the underdog, who has risen to more expensive cars' levels.

Wake up! The only thing rubbish is your brain Paul!

- Kanishka Bandara


To Boof Patterson's letter to the Motoring section (19/11/04), perhaps you should check your facts before embarking on a vituperative diatribe about Mitsubishi Magnas.

Did you know that they are made in Australia? Engines, transmissions, bodies, everything?

If you have actually driven a recent model Magna, you would probably find they are an excellent touring vehicle - smooth, powerful, quiet, comfortable, economical. That's right, they are economical. I have been driving mine up and down the Pacific Goat Track and getting 8.0L/100km. Magnas are far better than the dinosaur technology that (until very recently) plagued the other local brands. Good to see them catch up, but it took an awful long time.

- Arcadian Raider



Firstly, Kanishka Bandara (16/11/04) made some strong comments on the the quality of Australian roads. I tend to agree. Australian roads are crap compared with European and even American. I would think Australia would have used our European counterpart's engineering to help our roads become roads, not a series of potholes.

Secondly I would like say to all those rejects (Regular Euro and Jap Crap Tossers) out there leave the poor Aussie cars alone. This issue was first addressed to me by Letter to the Editor in Motor Magazine (September Issue, 2004) stating the Bull S*** Aussie cars are left with.

The Japanese car brands strike hard to enter Aussie markets advertising their new tech, when Aussie cars have it anyway and Euro did it first. Magna (quadtech and other stuff) has been rated one of the worst cars to drive even with the all wheel drive.

Come on Australia, support your car.

- Boof Patterson


HA HA HA HA!!!!! I have never laughed so hard so pathetic Holden fans make me sick I hate your crappy review so there I am sending this email in disgust.

You young holden fans are weird 'Oh look at me I'm a holden fan lardy da da'

Yours in disgust,

- Paul

Editor's Note: Though I appreciate your grammatical aptitude Paul, I wonder which "crappy review" in particular you are talking about? You give no reason for such 'crappiness' and I was hoping we could clarify that. Good or bad - we appreciate our readers opinions.


This is just another act of bureaucracy from the Bracks government.

As a 15 year-old, my comments regarding motoring and motor vehicles often go unfounded or ignored by others, but I hope WebWombat can change that.

For decades and decades, the Australian Government, but moreover the Victorian Government, has been continually covering up its complete stupidity. The previous, and indeed the current licensing system simply teaches how to move a one and a half tonne piece of metal, glass and plastic along a thing they call road. This has spanned Australia's motoring history and now the Government has to try and fix it.

Steve Bracks you complete fool, wake up to the world around you! I can go on forever giving you reasons why the roads are such a mess with blood of young drivers, and indeed general people.

What this moron of a premier has to do is to transfer funds from his ever-so-precious speed cameras and put it into driver training. Many people are worried about not exceeding the speed limit by 2 km/h that they forget about the task at hand.

Bracks should take a visit to the local newsagency and pick up a copy of Motor and Wheels magazine and hear the outcries of such fellow motoring enthusiasts.

Steve Bracks keeps putting band-aid over Band-Aid He cannot fix the problem; he's simply not smart or practical enough. He's jeopardised Victorian lives. Now he's on his way to jeopardising its economy, Australia's booming motor industry, and the Australian economy.

Ol' Bracks needs to find terra firma...speed cameras don't save lives, driver training does. When I'm learning to drive, I will make sure that I will be doing exactly that...learning to DRIVE.

Yours Sincerely,

- Kanishka Bandara


This limit on speedos was done in the U.S. a number of years ago - 85mph. It was done to promote fuel economy. It has been discontinued.

We must promote driver education, not just lame knee-jerk reactions such as limiting speedos that will miraculously stop the speeding and road deaths.

- Andrew


Bracks is clueless. Every one of his "safety" campaigns are knee-jerk reactions with little or no thought. People will still go over 130 if they feel like it, they just won't know how much faster there going, is that any safer?

Lowering speeds has had no effect on injuries and death rates, all it's achieved is creating a larger speed difference between individual cars, some who follow the speed and others that ignore it. Under Bracks, all blame has fallen on car drivers, when a pedestrian is killed they are usually somewhere they shouldn't be, the road.

Lets scrap speed cameras and install J-walking cameras, put some responsibility on pedestrians. Bracks has tried to punish motorists in every way possible, as long as it's easy and makes easy money, but has done nothing to raise the bar on driver or pedestrian education, or motorist attitudes.

'Till bracks is thrown out there will be more lives lost and more knee-jerk policies and "safety" revenue raised by the Victorian government.

- Dexter R.


Once again a politician tries to place the blame for car accidents on something other than poor driver education. Getting a license in Australia requires little more than passing the written test.

In some countries (Germany for example) getting a license requires that you understand principles such as defensive driving, first aid, car maintenance etc. and this basically ensures that you understand the responsibility that comes with owning a vehicle.

In the wrong hands a car is a deadly machine and unfortunately many people simply do not understand this, which is why we have so many unsafe cars and drivers on the road. It's not that they are bad people it's just they don't understand the damage that can be done to other people due to their ignorance.

Steve Bracks suggestion is merely another attempt at a band-aid remedy to a much bigger problem which could only be addressed with a total overhaul of the licensing and registration processes.

- Chris Skinner


Hey. Name's Andrew, I'm 17 and just finishing high school. I've recently heard about this idea of speedos only displaying speeds of up to 130km/h for safety reasons.

I just have to say that this is the most absurd idea I think I've heard for quite some time. This will not reduce speeding offences. The vehicles will still be able to obtain speeds well over 130km/h. There is no evidence nor reason to prove that this method would work. It is simply ridiculous.

The only method that could actually stop speeding offences is to manufacture cars that do not exceed 100km/h. We all know this is not possible however, as manufacturers would lose too much money. Also because it would still allow drivers to drive at 100km/h through 60 zones.

I strongly believe that this idea will not take off, but if implemented, would have no effect whatsoever.


- Andrew


Editors note: I asked Jason Laird from (General Motors) Holden about the impact of the Victorian Government's speedometer limiting proposal:

Holden would be happy to implement any strategies that will improve road safety. However, these strategies would obviously need to based on scientific merit. Holden is not aware of any research that indicates maximum speed marking on speedo influences driving behaviour.

There are several reasons why speedometers are marked in their current format -

Parts of the Northern Territory have no speed limit
There are different speed limits in each State and Territory
Some vehicles are used for track days
Export markets - 36,000 cars last year
Imported vehicles, especially from Europe

There is also the issue of consistency because there are already millions of cars on our roads. This does not mean for a second that any manufacturer is encouraging people to act outside the law, nor does it mean that any of these issues are insurmountable in themselves. However, there are many circumstances where vehicles may be driven at speeds in excess of 100km/h.

As an aside, Holden is currently working with Monash University to explore the driving behaviours of three different groups - inexperienced, experienced and old drivers - to investigate causes of accidents.

- Jason Laird (National Manager Media Relations, Holden Ltd)


How stupid to retrict speedo meters to 130km/h. Who would want that? Why don't they just ban cars off the roads? If one has the money to afford a Porsche or an Aston Martin, I don't see why they would want one of those cars to be limited to 130km/h.

I reckon then that Australia should only sell 3-cylinder cars that can barely reach 100km/h.

Or simply ban all cars from our roads...

- Fekture


Do you know if VW will bring in a Passat TDi wagon? If so, when? What about pricing? Start digging please and add your "pressure" to the pack so this far away little land actually does get an fair go at some decent motors.

- Keith P.

Editor's Note: Volkswagen's people say they can't rule it out, but that it's best not to hold your breath. Though we road tested the TDi Passat sedan, even this vehicle is not yet available to Australian buyers. However, if VW Australia sells truck loads of its new diesel powered Golfs and demand for the increasingly advanced oil burners builds, the chances of a TDi Passat wagon coming here will improve with the new model cycle. But again, don't hold your breath.


I would appreciate other reader's comments on the new Honda Accord, mid-to-large size BMWs and the latest Toyota Camry.

Is it just me or are these slab-sided monsters some of the ugliest cars ever produced? It appears that they haven't been removed from their packing crates. Their glass areas have been reduced adding to the box-like appearance. Is this change for changes sake? It certainly can't have any aerodynamic efficiency! Appreciate any comments.

- Ray M.


Hi. I've just purchased a new VZ Monaro CV8 (Devil Yellow). I'm normally a Holden Calais man, but, after driving the new Calais V6 and V8 and the SV6 I tried out the new Monaro. All the other cars are completely tame by comparison.

With the shortened gear ratios, the manual CV8 is absolutely explosive off the line. The sound from the twin exhausts is fantastic. Looking over the bonnet with the new raised scoops you can fantasise that you're driving a Ferrari or some other Euro exotica.

The manual shift takes some getting used to, but the engine has so much torque that you can accelerate in any gear (including sixth). Brakes are excellent. If you don't mind a bit less boot space because of the new exhaust/fuel tank placement, you will be mightily impressed...try 0-100 in the five second bracket and standing quarters in high 13s. I'm thinking of having my numberplates read "HOON".

- Ray M.


Well I don't know what the Holden Design team was smoking when it [Torana] was designed, but jeez. It really should be back to the drawing board. BIG BIG thumbs down from me. AND I AM A RED AS RED HOLDEN FAN!!!

- Dirty


Holden TT36 - change the interior for something more masculine, add a five speed auto, replace the glass top with a sun roof and make available more colour options than hot pink and I'd buy one tomorrow!!

- DB


I was at the ['04 Australian] Motor Show yesterday and there were over 100 people looking at the Holden Torana TT36 at anytime so I think it should be made into a production car.

- Andy

Editor's Note: We've listened to many people's opinions on the new Torana hatch recently, and while some agree with you, saying they'd buy a TT36 on the spot, there is a large contigent of people who think it's visually too close to the Commodore, and not small enough to be a Torana.


Just commenting on how incredible the Ford Focus Vignale concept is! Any chance it will be coming to America?
I'm a 26 yr. old computer engineer with IBM and I think I speak for many young professionals when I say that the vehicle would be a major player here.


- Robert Sawyer

Editor's Note: The buzz that Ford's new concept has been generating recently will go a long way towards the green lighting of the concept for production, but the concept was more for European markets. It's not out of the question for the American market altogether, and when we have the details, we'll fill you in.


G'day rev heads. Just writing because today I came across an alarming article in Melbourne-based newspaper The Age about a 4x4 driver who obviously couldn't control his rage. It's pretty scary, check it out:

A Perth man alleged to have mounted a footpath in a four-wheel drive to deliberately knock down six pedestrians has been charged. The 22 year-old from suburban Scarborough was charged with causing grievous bodily harm after the incident in Doubleview early on Saturday morning, police said.
Police will allege the man was driving a white Mitsubishi Pajero four-wheel drive, when it mounted the footpath and struck six of 12 people walking along at the time.
A 17-year-old youth remains critically ill in QEII Medical Centre following the incident. The five others struck suffered injuries of varying degrees, police said. The 22 year-old is due to appear in the East Perth magistrates court today.

- Concerned 'car' driver


I recently upgraded my 2001 model Subaru Forester to one of the new 3.2-litre diesel Mitsubishi Pajero's - and I'm most impressed with it, particularly the fuel consumption and the ease at which it tows my beloved caravan.

I didn't go for the $70,000 model you guys tested, but I'm very impressed with its performance and the way it drives. I must say that I don't agree with Feann and Peter's assertions both about the rearward vision and lacklustre dashboard however.

The rearward vision is fine - large side mirrors can be angled to remove most of the low blind spot, and the dashboard is much better than these flashy digital jobs car companies are coming out with nowadays. Besides that gripe, I enjoy the site - keep up the good work fellas!

- Adam S.


Being a Ford Man I have to admit, Holden's got it right with the Monaro.

How can anyone hate it? It looks good and muscular like an XR falc. And the light blue colour looks great, reminds me of Ford's off-yellow colour (Citric Acid) which I reckon is HOT! It's standout colours like these that makes a car a head-turner.

If there was something to criticise about then it would definitely have to be the interior, looks too Commodorey, with so much buttons it's just not user-friendly (though aesthetically, it looks awesome, except for the centre console where the power window buttons and transmission are, looks cheap in that area), and what's with the extra tacho's? Does this car have turbo or somethin??

Overall if I had the money then I would definitely buy it, ride quality and dynamics shouldn't be bad, but why the heck should that matter when you'll be getting yourself a chick magnet?
Now if only Ford made a coupe....

- Franz


Do I like the look of the new Monaro? No. But that doesn't mean cutting some holes in the bonnet is a bad idea, even if it doesn't do anything.

The Monaro's getting a bit long in the tooth and needed a distinctive freshen up to keep the interest alive. Holden might lose buyers looking for a sub $100k coupe who see the scoops as a bit offensive, but will gain others who want the Monaro and nothing else. Either way, the two door Commo is living on borrowed time.

- Roy


From pictures on websites and magazines, the new Audi A4 does not seem to be a nice looking car; maybe it looks better in the flesh.

That huge front grill is atrocious. It reminds me of those semi-trailer trucks or those caterpillar tractors. I think the big grill and air-dam on the VY commodore works better. The A4 looks good from the side, however the rear looks like a Corolla.

- Eric


I'm surprised I havent heard more fuss about Holden's latest advertising for the VZ [Commodore]. I thought I was seeing another ad along the lines of the 'hoon crashes silver falcon ute' safety campaing, but NO, it was for the SV6 - all about power, speed and young blokes showing off to younger passengers.

After the initial 'test-bed revving, slathering young revhead' ad that was all about power, power, power and going for it - it makes me wonder what happened to the regulations on car makers encouraging dangerous behaviour in their attempts to sell cars?

Thanks for your time.

- Justin Stent


The new 3 Series is a mess.

I own a 2002 330ci and was going to buy an M3 next year. I still will, except now it will be a 2004 year. They will see the most successful car ever built and sold in America by BMW disolve into nothing. This E 90 looks like a Hyundai, cheap and ugly.

- Jeff


I reckon the new VZ Dunnydore is easy on the eye, but that's it. It's still miles off the BA Falcon.

So HSV's gonna get a 6.0-litre V8 soon - so what? Ford will still crank out more power from its more advanced 5.4-litre Boss V8. And what happens in five years time or whenever the hell it is when emissions have to be cut - is HSV gonna bring out a 7.0-litre V8? Ha!

Anyone who's driven one of Ford's V8s will know just how awesome they are.

I just don't understand why they [Holden] sell more cars than Ford. And don't tell me "Because they're better" because they're not. I've not driven the new VZ, but if the 8-cylinder VY is anything to go by, it's got nothin' on the Falc.

- Brian 'Ford' Franklin

< Back
Shopping for...
Visit The Mall

Latest Games

Home | About Us | Advertise | Submit Site | Contact Us | Privacy | Terms of Use | Hot Links | OnlineNewspapers

Copyright © 1995-2016 WebWombat Pty Ltd. All rights reserved