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GO AHEAD, TELL US WHAT YOU REALLY THINK

Adam Greenwood, Forestville, NSW

YOUR SAY

But please, keep it tight (no more than 200 words) and do include your suburb if via email: wheels@wheelsmag.com.au You can also have your say on Facebook (search for Wheels Australia), Instagram or Twitter

LETTER OF THE MONTH

When I catch myself in the shop window in my VF, it evokes a national pride… “

REFLECTING ON TRUE AUSSIE COOL

THE DEATH of Australian cars signified the death of cool. No-one has ever caught themselves in a shopfront window and thought to themselves, “Gee, how good does this sun look reflecting off my SsangYong Musso”.

Australian manufacturing brought with it a sense of refined yet bold styling that we sought out as buyers. Going back to the ever-sexy HQ Monaro, to the sharp and sophisticated styling of the FG X Falcon, we really had a knack of getting it just right. And it truly was unique to Australia.

One of the main reasons the VF Commodore (Chevy SS) failed in the States was because they found its design particularly bland and soft. Obviously, we appreciated the Commodore’s flared arches and aggressive stance, something the Americans are clearly still yet to appreciate.

So, when I catch myself in the shop window in my VF, it evokes a national pride, sense of achievement, and, most of all, sadness. As a nation, we achieved something so special with our automotive manufacturing.

I’ve only been around for 18 years, but my memories of the VT Calais, Adventra and BA Falcons remain the best yet.

Adam Greenwood, Forestville, NSW

Cool’s a pretty subjective thing, Adam, but we can’t fault your passion. And you’re not alone in lamenting the demise of our car industry 

– Ed

A-MINUS AT BEST

I HAVE BEEN following the Mercedes A-Class in the Garage section with Alex Inwood’s reports encouraging me to go and take it for a test drive. Well, I did appreciate the ride and performance and feel of the engine. However, a number of areas of disappointment quickly surfaced which I was surprised had not been mentioned in Garage. The back seat is set very low, with a short cushion offering no under-thigh support. Rear air-conditioning vents are not standard and can only be included by adding two option packages. The twin instrument screens look great when not moving but I needed my reading glasses as the font and markings are too fine and small to be legible. The top-right corner of the screen was subject to sun glare.

The glass sunroof greatly increases cabin temperatures, meaning you need to run the air-conditioning at high settings to keep cool, which increases the noise in the cabin. The dash is an unsophisticated chintzy design mishmash with so many different materials (five) and different textures (six) being used.

At $76,790 the vehicle tested must have every option package ticked, which means it falls right into C300 territory. I know which will be the better-value vehicle to own.

Robert Ius, Haberfield, NSW

Chintzy? Chintzy? Sir, I’m crushed 

– Ed

RAPID RESPONSE

WELL DONE, Wheels. Your COTY 2020 winner, the Mercedes-Benz EQC, deserves its elevated podium – and not just subjectively!

When I saw your table of 0-100km/h hard data, I was glad it exposes those that overpromise, but I was equally curious to know who actually overdelivered best. In the most objective form, that quest requires more than just absolute differences between claimed and actual times, so I promptly entered the 0-100km/h data in a spreadsheet before reading on. The result? Mercedes’ 0.4sec and 0.3sec lower times versus a claimed 5.1sec resulted in the two best figures with relative performance: 8 percent and 6 percent better than claimed. Tesla, Mazda and Toyota came in next with 5 percent, but even they lacked M-B’s consistency.

Compare that to the opposite side of the scale where Genesis underdelivered by a whopping 29 percent in the company of established brands like Volvo and VW. Reading on, I was gobsmacked after this analysis to later find that an honest Mercedes-Benz also produced this year’s winner!

“ A ROLEX DOESN’T KILL OUR PLANET

Elardus Mare, Waterford, WA

Nobody really saw the EQC victory coming. It just crept in and knocked over each of the judging criteria. It fully deserved the win as a result 

– Ed

WATCH ANALOGY IS WINDING US UP

IN RESPONSE TO Brian Wood’s analogy (Inbox, Wheels Yearbook), I’d like to say this: the difference between a Rolex and an ICE car is that the Rolex doesn’t kill our planet.

I think a Model 3 is as fun as a 3 Series. But like another letter writer, Brett Zecchini, says, our kids will decide what is hot or not in 2030.

Don’t get me wrong. I loved my SRT8 but now drive a Model S. I believe that the electrification of our mobility will ensure that we can keep running our exotics.

Art Keyner, Brisbane, QLD

CHARLIE’S ANGLES

DEAR WHEELS magazine reviewer, my name is Charlie Casey and I’m 13 years old. Mum, Dad and I are looking for a brand new car which is very reliable, economical and cheap to run. Our budget is $40,000 but it would be more ideal if the car is $30,000.

Dad and I are very tall and we need heaps of roof height. We think I will be six foot three in the future. Also, Mum wants a car which is userfriendly and appropriate for city driving.

We all want a sat-nav and a five-star safety rating. We’ll have leather trim and more luxurious features if it suits our budget.

PS: I really love reading your magazines and articles. I have four in my collection and hope to purchase more in the future.

Charlie Casey, via snail mail

The RAV4 GX 2.5 AWD Hybrid ticks many of those boxes, Charlie. But try out lots of cars before you pick 

– Ed

HEY, BIG SPENDERS

IN SELECTING the Mercedes-Benz EQC as the COTY 2020 winner, Wheels has chosen a vehicle that almost no Australians will ever be able to afford. It is about time Wheels changed the criteria around this program and looked at the 20 most popular cars sold listed in your own “The Market” pages. Selecting a vehicle that will sell a fraction of vehicles against the popular is not living in the real world, but maybe an aspirational world.

Paul Quinn, via email

COTY never has been a popularity contest, Paul. It rewards excellence, and this year the Mercedes-Benz EQC best answered the call. We’ve given the award to more expensive cars in the past, such as the Mercedes S-Class in ’81 and the Honda NSX in ‘91 

– Ed

HELP US TO HELP

AS A READER of Wheels for over 50 years, I know that on many occasions you have received requests from readers to include location details of the fabulous scenery in the magazine. You have responded along the lines that you are producing a magazine about cars and not a travel guide.

With the devastation caused by drought, fires and possibly floods, Wheels should review this policy. You help readers choose the most suitable car. You should now give them destinations to drive to and enjoy their cars, and also help the rural economies.

Dennis Daly, via email

It’s true we’re not a travel guide, Dennis, but we share your desire to support people doing it tough 

– Ed

WIN!

LETTER OF THE MONTH PRIZE

For flying the flag with such unbridled enthusiasm, Adam, take a year’s subscription to the mag on us!

APOLOGY

Ryan Story

...OF DJR TEAM PENSKE

In our 2019 Yearbook we published a comment piece by Stephen Corby concerning the CAMS inquiry into the finding against DJR Team Penske in the 2019 Bathurst 1000 Supercars Race.

In the CAMS inquiry, the stewards heard and accepted credible evidence from DJR Team Penske MD and Team Principal, Dr Story, that he did not have any direct involvement in the breach.

In commenting upon the DJR Team Penske conduct and cheating in motorsport generally, our article did not make that position clear.

Dr Story has reiterated to Wheels magazine that he was not aware of the team orders being made and was not involved in the machinations behind the contravention. Bauer Media accepts that position.

Mr Corby, Wheels and its publisher, Bauer Media, apologise to Dr Story.