The Road Ahead : December 2012
ROADAHEAD.COM.AU 62 THE ROAD AHEAD DEC 2012/JAN 2013 BROADLY SPEAKING, GROSS vehicle mass (GVM) is the otal vehicle mass including fixtures such as bullbars, argo, passengers, fuel etc. The maximum GVM is nominated by the vehicle manufacturer and can't legally e exceeded. Over and above legal implications, there re also potential safety and insurance issues. Exceeding nominated GVM is a problem often encountered with 4WD utes and wagons, heavily laden for work or for recreational purposes. Relatively small payload allowances in some 4WD wagons can also quickly see the GVM being exceeded. A GVM upgrade may be possible to address these issues. A number of specialist companies offer off-the-shelf certified upgrades for popular models. Upgrades must be properly engineered and carry necessary approvals from federal and state transport authorities. Appropriate documentation and vehicle modification plates are required, while vehicle registration details must reflect the new GVM. Vehicles modified and approved in one state are likely to require re-approval when transferring registration to another state. GVM increases, like any vehicle modification, have the potential to impact new vehicle warranty cover. And despite some views to the contrary, GVM upgrades on light vehicles (less than 4.5 tonne GVM) won't increase the maximum towing mass rating provided by the vehicle manufacturer. It's not possible to increase this specification. car questions Q. Can I have my NSW personalised plates on my car when I move to Queensland and register it there? State regulations don't permit personalised plates from other states to be used on Queensland registered vehicles. Similarly, Queensland personal plates can't be fitted to interstate registered vehicles. Q. Are cheap imported new cars safe? A. New cars, light commercials and SUVs must meet minimum frontal crash protection standards of ADR69. We recommend choosing only vehicles with the best safety features and at least a four-star ANCAP crash rating, preferably five stars. gvm upgrades WITH JOHN WING, RACQ TECHNICAL AND AFETY POLICY MOTORING AUSTRALIA'S BEST CARS KNOW YOUR CAR people movers hyundai i-max diesel ANOTHER WIN THIS year makes it five in a row for the Hyundai iMax. The iMax underscores what many consumers look for when the family grows and they need the capacity to haul eight people in relative comfort and, importantly, their luggage. Based on the iLoad, the iMax's commercial van roots are evident in its slab-sided design and fixed side glass, but the engineers at Hyundai have done more than just bolt in a second and third row of seats. The suspension package has been softened to improve ride quality and the iMax acquits itself on road reasonably well, as its scores affirm. Once you get behind the wheel and under way, the large van-like size seems less of an issue, and the driving position, major controls and their placement are all user-friendly. The 2.5-litre diesel engine is matched to a five-speed auto, which is not as sharp in shifting as those found in some purpose-built people movers, and the engine is a little noisy at idle. But the pair does a competent job of hauling a full load of people and their gear. Hyundai's long warranty offers piece of mind for the budget conscious, and so too does a high score for running and repair costs. MLP: $42,490. SCORES TOTAL: 1020. 2nd: Toyota Prius V, 988. 3rd: Subaru Liberty Exiga, 978. CRITERIA (OUT OF 10): VALUE FOR MONEY: Pricing 8C, Depreciation 8M, Running Costs 8H, Fuel consumption 4H, Warranty 9H, Insurance 6L, Standard features 3H. DESIGN & FUNCTION: Safety 8C, Environment 5C, Comfort 9C, Space 10C, Practicality 8C, Ergonomics 9C, Build & finish 7M. ON THE ROAD: Performance 7M, Ride 8H, Handling 6M, Braking 7H, Smoothness & quietness 7L. LEVEL OF WEIGHTING IMPORTANCE FOR EACH SCORE: L = LOW, M = MEDIUM, H = HIGH, C = CRITICAL.