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If only governments had the wit to tax vehicles on their weight, height and breadth "
READING BYRON’S ‘redneck wonderland’ column (Wheels, May 2020) amused and horrified me in equal measure. Then I performed that treasured weekend ritual, the trek to Bunnings, where Byron’s jaundiced forecast about dual-cab utes came true!
On our left, a massive Ford Ranger. On our right, a huge Hilux. Dead ahead, a VW Amarok. So far, so bad – can’t see ahead, left or right. Over the other side of the lane, a Ram with a tow ball sticking out halfway to Surfers.
While my wife’s B250 Merc does have a reversing camera, it lacks rear cross-traffic al ert, so she slowly, blindly begins to reverse out into the traffic lane, and almost gets totalled by yet another bloated Ranger flying down the lane at about 30km/h. Though he swerved and missed, he also hurled abuse at us for daring to try to enter his ‘speedway’!
Egos are getting larger in proportion to the super-size Yankee pick-ups and dual-cabs which are the must-haves of the current Ameraussie population. If only governments had the wit to tax vehicles on their weight, height and breadth , some of those egos may shrink a bit.
Stuart Kennedy, Bli Bli, Qld
MR BYRON has obviously elevated himself to the virtue-signalling elite (Wheels, May 2020). I am sure he is very happy up there. That is fine.
What is not fine, though, is that he is looking down on the people who drive a dual-cab ute.
In his polluted wisdom, he seems to find a correlation between dual-cab utes, the prime minister and dinosaurs. Shameful.
People buy a dual-cab ute because for them it is the smart compromise and solution: workhorse during the week and a family car which can handle all the bikes, surfboards, camping and fishing gear. They love their car and they are rightly proud of it.
No, I am not a P-plater, I don’t drive a ute, and I am not prime minister, but I am sure that a large percentage of Wheels’ loyal readers feel unfairly insulted and are not happy about it.
Byron’s article was hypocritical, intolerant and wilfully demeaning. Definitely not fine!
Wilfried Goemans, Surfers Paradise, Qld
REPORTS THAT the next-gen circa 300kW Ford Focus RS has been cancelled due to the cost of complying with draconian European emissions laws is a sobering omen for the future of performance cars.
I had been eagerly anticipating the arrival of the Focus RS since the last model’s discontinuation in 2018, and with rumours that its replacement would be quicker, more frugal and possibly lighter than its predecessor, it seemed it would be an electrifying (pardon the pun) evolution of the legendary LZ model.
The last Focus RS was in a league of its own in terms of a performance car that could push 1.3G when cornering, double as a rally car or daily driver, and carry the shopping home.
And all for under $51,000. It’s a sad day when one of the last ‘manual-only’ transmission performance cars takes a bow. The Toyota Yaris GR4 can’t come soon enough!
Chris McCormack, Box Hill, Vic
“FOCUS RS WAS IN A LEAGUE OF ITS OWN
MUCH DISCUSSION has been made about the demise of drivers’ cars as a result of the adoption of electric propulsion. Moreover, there is also the continued development of autonomous driving systems which will further erode the skill and craft of driving. However, a more insidious factor in play is the rise of SUVs.
As their popularity soars, manufacturers will adjust their product mix accordingly. Already, companies renowned for their driving DNA such as Porsche and BMW are selling more SUVs than their traditional (and better handling) sedans. Despite massive improvements in SUV dynamics of late they still don’t approach the handling prowess of a well-sorted sports sedan or coupe. I fear the future of truly great handling cars may be limited.
David Leong, Canterbury, Vic
I ONLY BECAME aware last month of the demise (hopefully temporary) of the VW Passat 206 TSI, and only because your DataBank listed just a single Passat model.
I have owned an R-Line wagon of this model for about 18 months. I live in Brisbane and have completed three long trips to Adelaide, Cairns and Canberra and found this car the perfect blend of sportiness and comfort in a reasonably large car.
Your article in the April issue of Wheels, ‘Breaking the Chain’, explained the switch from the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) to Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test (WLTP), and I must assume that VW has concentrated on just one model while this process is in place.
In view of the health crisis the world is going through, we may need to gird our loins waiting for these more specialised vehicles for some time in the future.
I’m glad I own one!
Ron Hale, Newport, Qld
WITH THE CREATION of Brabham Automotive and the release of the Brabham BT62, Australia has a supercar manufacturer on a par with the likes of Ferrari, McLaren and Lamborghini. Why not create a new Australian supercar manufacturer that could be a direct competitor to Aston Martin?
Australia could build new V8-powered GT coupe luxury supercars that could compete with Aston Martin worldwide. It has the people and the talent – it just needs the right kind of Australian and international investors to come on board.
Malcolm Webster, Boronia, Vic
We hope a year’s worth of free mags will help soothe those jangled nerves, Stuart!
LAST MONTH WE ASKED YOU TO SHARE YOUR ROAD TRIP MEMORIES AND PLANS
“One of the most memorable drives is one our club took from Hobart to Queenstown – smooth, open, and enough bends to be thoroughly enjoyable. Up the road was 99 Bends coming down into Queenstown. 99 Bends ... need I say more?”
“Definitely the best road trip I’ve ever done was the Northern Territory last year. I took my Hyundai i30 for a big drive into the Outback and I cannot wait to go back and visit. I love a good winding bit of road, but a long open road is equally as good to me.”
KARL VON SANDEN
“Post iso road trip plans: I’m getting my eager little hands on a map, and heading straight to the Victorian Alps. I’ve never been, but I plan to go via the Adelaide Hills, Great Ocean Road, Melbourne, and back via the Grampians, to be specific.”