The Vent

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Win This!


Watch out for our Letter of the Month winner Lenny Campbell, as he’ll be looking sweet with this quad-dial Pulsar watch hanging from his wrist. From the stainless-steel construction to the black multidial face, the $250 (RRP) PU2001X1 is the perfect partner in time.

Features include a date and chronograph function, along with a twoyear warranty, and it’s water resistant to 100m.


The problem with SUVs

CARS LIKE the BMW X5M, Mercedes- Benz GLE63 and the recently revealed Bentley Bentayga are dangerous. I’m not saying they are in a literal sense, every car is dangerous in some way, but they’re dangerous for what they’re doing to cars as we know them.

Great hatchbacks and wagons have already lost the battle against the SUV.

Somehow, families have overlooked the comparatively higher fuel consumption, worse handling, and longer braking distances associated with city-tractors in search of a commanding driving position.

They’ve overlooked the inconvenience when parking, reduced spatial awareness, and slower acceleration in trade for a ‘safer’ vessel.

And what performance-minded SUVs suggest to those unknowing, is that you can have your boat and turbocharge it too. That, for a good time, you don’t need to seek out a sportscar.

It suggests there’s an SUV for everybody.

And that should have us worried, because out on the road around these land tanks, I feel it really is us (small, wieldy cars) against them.

Consider this, too. With more on our roads, eventually some will want to sit higher to see over their own. So, soon, we could all be commuting to work with monster trucks beside us.

Then, when someone in an SUV is trying to control the kids in the back, they’ll accidentally squash me in my Golf GTI, because society forgot people still drove ground-dwelling hatchbacks.

Long live smaller sports vehicles.

Lenny Campbell, via email

Corporate face farce

IT SEEMS to me that car manufacturers are over-doing the ‘corporate face’ thing.

Less than 10 years ago, the differences between a Jetta, Eos, and a Passat were instantly obvious, yet each one was also recognisable as a VW. It was a good balance between individuality and familiarity. Today, there is a huge shift towards the latter. For example, look at the fronts of Maserati’s Quattroporte versus Ghibli, Range Rover Sport versus Evoque, X5 versus X6, Falcon versus Mondeo, Jetta versus Passat. Then there’s the Lexus corporate face which makes me wish I was blind.

Modern designs are often great and differences between models are there, but they’re too subtle. Have manufacturers assumed that customers want cars to look so similar? Did they just survey consumers who don’t mind being the same as everyone else?

Are they so desperate to save on design and manufacturing costs?

Jeff Bassman, via email

Yes for import rules

I’M IN Queenstown, En Zudd, and the standard of cars is so low a Commodore looks like a Bentley.

Australia’s import policy may keep prices high, but I genuinely believe it keeps a higher standard of cars on our roads over here.

Antony Benedetto, via email

Dreaming of an upgrade

GOTTA LOVE concept cars! I drooled over the Aston Martin DBX with its high stance and classically sexy Aston Martin body styling.

As I walk into my garage, I gaze fondly at my 1990 Toyota Celica (ST184), searching for some comparison between it and the Aston. It sits high off the ground, great for flying over speed bumps, but sadly no real comparison to the concept I dream about.

Another more realistic concept, possibly closer to my budget, is the Nissan IDx (Nismo version, of course). A gorgeous little street racer, but sadly not for production. Why do they like to tease us so much?

In reality, the Toyota 86 is more in the price range, but then for a little more (or maybe a lot more) I could save up for the Mustang.

I’m still dreaming, for the Celica still sits there, begging for new suspension and fresh rubber, or maybe rubber with tread on it.

Nick Basiliou, via email Nick, if the piggybank is bulging of course we’re going to recommend giving your ST184 some love. But if it’s a lost cause, the 86 or a Fiesta ST, though different driven axles, will both thrill in equal measure. As for the IDx and similar car company antics, the lid’s best left on that can of worms.

Getting all political

MAYBE IF Mr McCormack’s (October 2015, Letter Of The Month winner) union buddies didn’t oppose the China Free Trade Agreement we wouldn’t have a problem getting extra business overseas.

This agreement is a tremendous opportunity for Australia, and the automotive industry will benefit the most from it.

Claims about the CHAFTA made up by Labor and the unions are lies, I believe.

Labor Premiers and former Labor Prime Ministers support the agreement. What greater endorsement do we need for it?

If we want to continue making anything in this country, we would be served well by not voting for Labor.

Glen Kanawati, via email

Hmm, 228i or M135i?

I AM IN the market for a new vehicle and have narrowed it down to either a BMW 228i or an M135i.

I note you have them both featured in Bang For Your Bucks. Due to the fact my current

“MOTOR should be a bit more neutral about locally made things”

dual-cab is going, I need to order soon. My current driver’s car, a Toyota 86, is slow, but a great handler, hence my interest in these two. Then, also, I want to combine the dualcab and 86 in one nice car and replace it with a cheap V8 Commodore ute.

I am not interested in the BMW’s overall rankings or the other vehicles, just the comparison between the two and what the judges thought about them. I’m torn between the performance and practicality of the hatch versus the style and lesser performance of the coupe.

Graham Bresnahan, via email You’ll obviously get the judges’ comments and general spiel on both cars later this issue, Graham, which might just solve your dilemma. While the 228i has a ballsy powertrain and is satisfying enough to drive hard, performance-wise it gets pretty well smoked by the M135i – it’s a proper weapon, that thing. We’d be inclined to give up a bit of style for the extra six-cylinder grunt. And though it’s an extra $4300 plus GST and installation, the optional LSD is money well spent.

Quit it with Quantum

I KNOW you guys feel obliged to inform, but wasting pages on the Quantum dream (October, 2015)? Wow, $695K! No wonder they’ll “break even” by only selling two.

Providing 24-hour phone assistance (father or son answers?) is good, but it should be a helpline for people silly enough to buy one.

Gavin Schutte, via email Tell us all what you really think, Gavin! We tend to agree the price is a little startling, particularly given the other established supercars you can get for the same coin. But in fairness to Quantum, you’ve gotta start somewhere. Most supercar companies started off as blokes in sheds.

We’re getting laughed at

WITH THE demise of the Australian motor industry we have now become the laughing stock of the developed and undeveloped world. Americans laugh at us, the Europeans smirk, the Chinese, Japanese and other Asian countries look down upon us.

As MOTOR is now German-owned, and I have Prussian heritage, how about a series of articles on our “Australian” innovations from the beginning.

How about an article on Holden’s and Ford’s beginnings, arguably the oldest car companies in the world.

How about an article on the first documented car in the world: the “auto carriage” built in Adelaide, 1880, by Swiss engineer called Gilgen. Little is known, but he was pre-Daimler who took the Prince of Wales for a drive in the 1890 royal tour. This was before the country of Australia, it was the Colony of South Australia.

I think a nice article (or many), would be a way that maybe young people might realise we are not a bunch of numbskulls, and we’re right up there with everyone else (still are). It might get some juices and dollars flowing.

The ‘Tyranny of Distance’ is what is killing this country.

Marco Hallett, via email

Unhappy Ford fan

I DID NOT like the editorial in October issue of MOTOR magazine. Bad move.

I just ordered a new Falcon ute, and then read what the editor thinks. Probably better to be a bit more neutral about locally made things.

Raf Natan, via email So what would you say if we said the XR8 was a four-door LaFerrari, you shelled out $55K for one only to find that it’s not what we made it out to be? You’d feel snookered. We’ll continue telling it the way it is, thanks. It might encourage Ford to make a better car. d motorofficial f motor_mag