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YOUR SAY

Doug Croker, Butler, WA

GO AHEAD, TELL US WHAT YOU REALLY THINK

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

You failed to mention Australia’s largest state, which bats well out of its league!“

WILD WEST IS A DRIVING ROAD GOLD MINE!

IT’S ABOUT TIME you did a road trip West to broaden your horizons. The post lockdown road trips you ran in the June issue of Wheels failed to mention Australia’s largest state, Western Australia. It bats well and truly out of its league in many things, including excellent driving roads!

Having driven the lap, all 45,000km of our great nation, I can speak with authority about great drives. You will not find a better bit of tarmac than between Busselton, Margaret River, Nannup, Pemberton, Walpole, Denmark and Albany. Beautiful scenery and challenging winding roads, with romantic evening stops to down some of the best wines in the world. So come on guys, leave your comfortable eastern nests and wing your way West to the true state of excitement.

Also, your tyre test was very informative although I’d like to add one extra criteria: longevity. The Continentals on my 2017 Touareg have only done 36,000km but need replacing because they were ‘scalloped’. My driving has been gentle and on bitumen, making it the worst mileage I’ve achieved in 50 years of driving.

Doug Croker, Butler, WA

Driving nirvana and superb plonk? Prep the guest room, Doug, we’re on our way 

– Ed

SHORT & SWEET

I HAVE JUST received the latest issue (Wheels, June) in the post. Like the May issue, it’s somewhat thinner than normal. Yet, I actually like these issues more than the normal ones. I know it sounds counterintuitive, but they are more concise, easier to read overall, and hence more enjoyable. As an avid Wheels reader since the mid-1970s, I still get a kick out of getting the latest copy. I know the media landscape has changed, but long may Wheels magazine continue to produce interesting and informative articles and road tests.

James Hamilton, Sydney, NSW

A thinner mag isn’t ideal, James, though we’re squeezing more value onto every page. We’re also campaigning hard to boost our book size back to normal ASAP! 

– Ed

LEGAL BACK-UP

I WAS SURPRISED Cam Kirby’s Warranty Wars story (Wheels, May) did not mention the influence Australian Consumer Law (ACL) may have on extending motor vehicle warranties. As we [should] know, the ACL provides consumer guarantees for products purchased on or after January 1, 2011 and (1) cost up to $40,000 e.g. a small family car; or (2) cost more than $40,000 and was acquired for personal purposes, e.g. a Mercedes or BMW.

The ACL provides consumer guarantees that protect consumers against unacceptable quality [major and minor failures] that apply regardless of whether a vehicle is covered by a manufacturer’s warranty, an extended warranty, or if those warranties have expired.

So, to use Cam’s example, if a new car is “blowing transmissions at 130,000km”, four years after purchase and outside of the manufacturer’s three year warranty, so long as the vehicle wasn’t used abnormally it would be considered a major failure, and its replacement covered under ACL. So, even if BMW and Audi don’t follow Mercedes’ lead (or was it Kia’s?) they still need contingency plans for extra parts they may require.

Stuart Boyd, Concord, NSW,

ACL is a powerful thing, Stuart, but claiming it can be exhausting

– Ed

EILDON-JAMIESON

I PARTICULARLY enjoyed the test of the A45 AMG over this stretch of road (Wheels, May). It brought back memories of a dark night in April 1970. It was on the 25/26th April 1970, my father Bob, brother Beau and I ran the Lloyd Triestino Blue Ribbon Rally for the Victorian Sporting Car Club as heat two of the Australian Rally Championship. A competitive stage in this event was the (at that time not fully sealed) road from Jamieson to Eildon. Run at night, competitors were asked to complete the run in 44 minutes. An average 48mph or around 77kmh, the highest that we were allowed to set at the time.

“IT WOULD BE HARD TO LOSE LANG LANG

Only Tony Roberts/Mike Osborne (HDT Torana GTR) made the time with the next best being Mal McPherson/Robin Sharpley in a Renault R8 Gordini down one minute followed by Colin Bond/Brian Hope (HDT Monaro GTS 350) and Barry Ferguson/David Johnson (HDT Torana GTR) down two minutes. Bob Watson/Jim McAuliffe (Renault R8 Gordini), the eventual winners, dropped three minutes on this section. The Renaults were entered by Renault Australia.

Bain Simpson, email

LOTS TO PROVE

DESPITE THE SAD and emotional news about the end of Holden and the closure of its design and engineering facilities, I think it’s crucial we save the Lang Lang proving ground. Other uses could be a training area or a defensive driving track for the state government. Or perhaps a venue for youth driving initiatives, or for the CSIRO, or other car manufactures looking to evaluate cars in Australia. Our unique climate conditions and roads are still important to develop vehicles for.

The opportunity would be hard to overlook. The Federal Government could buy it and the Department of Industry should be canvassed over the issue. It would be hard to lose Lang Lang, given its history and potential.

Ashley Spencer, Cheltenham, VIC

We agree, Ashley. The PG is a great facility and deserves more than being left to rot. Our intel is Lindsay Fox is considering buying it 

– Ed

TRIPPY QUESTION

AS WE EMERGE from these COVID times the great Australian road trip will be back in vogue; but which wheels? In the ‘70s a Kombi fitted the bill, but what are today’s options for an SUV averse baby boomer gliding into retirement to take to the open road?

Which vehicle could comfortably cruise the highways, comfortably traverse The Outback’s gravel roads, capably tackle the sand at the beach or the rutted tracks to that isolated camping site, tip toe across modest creek crossings and of course be at home in the city where it will spend most of the time? A great opportunity for a timely assessment of, say, the new Audi A6 Allroad, Mercedes GLB, the ageing Volvo V90, the faithful Subaru Forester or what about the 4x4 VW California finally due in Australia late 2020?

Jonathon Lew, Donvale, VIC,

CHEAP THRILLS

REASONABLY PRICED sporty car comparisons seem to be a bit thin on the ground, so I was pleased to read there is a road test on the way comparing the Fiesta ST, Polo GTI and Suzuki Swift Sport (Wheels, July). I had a 2012 Polo GTI which was a joy to drive, unfortunately by the third year it spent more time than it should at the dealer with powertrain issues so I got nervous about keeping it after the warranty ran out.

Now I have an MX-5 and a 2015 SP25 GT, both lovely cars but I am wondering what to replace the SP25 with. The G25 GT or Cerato GT or i30 N line Premium seem to be the obvious choices. I realise they are not exactly the same but that’s the point, there are always trade-offs. I don’t suppose there any chance of a comparison?

David Salter, email

We’ve put it on the pile for future tests, David. You can also find great deals on used Mustangs et al 

– Ed

“WIN!

LETTER OF THE MONTH PRIZE

New drive routes are always appreciated. Have a year’s worth of free mags on us, Doug!

The question

IS THE SILVERADO 1500 TOO BIG FOR AUSTRALIA?

FOR

It’s much safer to tow a large caravan with one of these than the regular dualcab utes. The Silverado is actually made to tow and handle heavy loads, unlike the Hilux and Ranger.

Daniel Cantrill

AGAINST

Just try and park one, that’s your answer right there. You are flat out fitting a regular dual-cab in most parks, let alone one of these monsters! Some of them do look good, though.

Jason Fong