The Road Ahead : April 2013
ROADAHEAD.COM.AU THE ROAD AHEAD APR/MAY 2013 58 MOTORING | USED CAR REPORT toyota kluger, 2007-2012 CROSSOVER-STYLE SUVs like Kluger are popular for their blend of practical and lifestyle attributes. They successfully blur the boundaries between family wagon, light-duty off-roader and, in many cases, seven- seat people movers. The 'ideal soccer mum's car', as one former Kluger owner observed. The new model released in 2007 was roomier, better equipped and more powerful than the previous model. A front-wheel-drive version also joined the full-time all-wheel-drive models. Cosmetic changes and equipment revisions, including a split-fold backrest feature for third-row seats, occurred in late 2010. There are three grades in 2WD and AWD versions: KX-R, KX-S and Grande. The base model could be had with five or seven seats, while all others are seven seats. Third row seats are better suited to children though, and luggage space with seven seats in use isn't great, but better than many. All models have seven airbags, know your car: vital fluids For many car owners, checking and servicing of the brake fluid in their vehicle rarely, if ever, warrants a thought. Given that it's responsible for reliably transferring the effort applied to the pedal by the driver to the brake system components that stop the car, it really is one of the vehicle's vital fluids. The fluid level should be checked regularly -- consult your owner's handbook for how to do this. A need for regular top-ups could indicate a problem that requires professional examination. Regular fluid changes are specified by the manufacturer, too, typically around 40,000km or two years. Brake fluid deteriorates over time as it absorbs moisture from the atmosphere, which lowers its boiling point. The brakes may work adequately under normal moderate use. Under heavy or sustained use though, it may cause the fluid to boil and the brakes to unexpectedly fail. The moisture will also cause corrosion of expensive-to-replace brake components. This affinity for moisture, the technical term is 'hygroscopic', also means that you should only use fluid from a freshly opened sealed container for top up or filling. And don't leave the cap off the container or the master cylinder reservoir longer than necessary. car questions Q. Is it legal to fit seat-covers on my car seats that are side airbag equipped? The covers are marked as 'airbag compatible'. A. As far as we know, there are no specific laws covering this. However, more general provisions in regulations mean you should comply with what the vehicle maker specifies. So check with them first and follow their advice, rather than accept the seat-cover maker's or retailer's advice. Q. The bonnet on my car won't stay up. There's no support rod, only two long cylindrical things that extend out to hold it up. How can this be fixed? A. Like many cars, your vehicle has gas struts to support the bonnet. High pressure gas in the cylinder should support the bonnet weight. It will need new struts (genuine or aftermarket), or the existing ones re-gassed/repaired by a company that specialises in this. including a driver's knee bag, stability/ traction control, alloy wheels and a reversing camera. From 2007, Kluger scores a five-star ANCAP crash rating. The Lexus-derived 3.5-litre V6 is smooth, churns out 201kW and is mated to a five-speed auto box. Performance is solid, though it lacks low-down torque. A thirst for fuel, especially in city driving, is a common complaint. Unlike some rivals, there's no diesel version. Kluger rides comfortably, though handling tends to be rather wallowy and lacks driver involvement. All- wheel-drive models are up to light-duty off-roading only, rather than serious adventures. Reliability is a Toyota strength, but previous careful scheduled servicing will still be important to avoid buying trouble, so check service records. Check for wear and tear of interior trims resulting from family taxi duties too. UNDER THE PUMP: Kluger will use between 8.7 litres and 15.6 litres of fuel every 100km, depending on model and driving conditions. PRICE RANGE: From $25,200 to $63,300, depending on year and model. COMPETITIORS: Ford Territory 2007- 2012, Mazda CX9 2007-2012, Volvo XC90 2007-2012. WITH JOHN EWING, RACQ TECHNICAL RESEARCHER NEED HELP? RACQ CAN HELP WITH CAR LOANS (CALL 1300 361 316), VEHICLE INSPECTIONS (CALL 13 1905) AND INSURANCE (CALL 13 1905).