The Road Ahead : June 2013
ROADAHEAD.COM.AU 48 MOTORING | DRIVE NEWS THE ROAD AHEAD JUN/JUL 2013 The Road Ahead, along with other state auto clubs, was invited to compete in the Mazda MX-5 Media Challenge out of Canberra that also attracted a contingent of Russian drivers and their coach. For our first-hand account of the event, go to roadahead.com.au/motoring. FAQS ABOUT ROAD RULES WITH RACQ'S TECHNICAL & SAFETY POLICY DEPT CHANGING LANES Q: On a multi-lane road, can I drive across a continuous line to change lanes? A. No. The Queensland Road Rules state that a driver on a multi-lane road must not move from one marked lane to another marked lane by crossing a continuous line separating the lanes. This applies unless the driver is avoiding an obstruction, obeying a traffic control device, moving into, or out of, a special purpose lane that they are permitted to drive in, or they need to drive in both lanes to enter an intersection or roundabout in a vehicle 7.5m or longer displaying 'do not overtake turning vehicle' signs. Q: It gets dark earlier in winter. When should I be switching on my vehicle's headlights? A: According to the Queensland Road Rules, a driver must not drive at night or in hazardous weather conditions causing reduced visibility unless their vehicle's headlights, tail lights and number plate light are switched on. Under the road rules, 'night' means the period of time between sunset and sunrise. This varies during the year. Also remember to always check that your lights are switched on when leaving well-lit areas at night time, e.g. service stations. TICK THE SAFETY AND GREEN BOXES WHEN BUYING AN SUV ECO DRIVING WITH RACQ'S PUBLIC POLICY DEPARTMENT Australians love their Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs), and with good reason. Combining the benefits of a high driving position and vehicle versatility makes the modern SUV a popular choice for the family vehicle. From time to time, however, SUVs get singled out for attack, based on a perception they are unsafe and environmental vandals. Fortunately, manufacturers have responded to the demand for safe and more efficient SUVs that still provide style and comfort. There are now multiple choices available for those who want five-star ANCAP safety and low fuel use. The key is to do the research so you know how to buy safe and green, with best-in-class fuel consumption. ANCAP safety ratings can be found at ancap.com.au. Aim for five stars wherever possible. Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions ratings are available on the car label and on the green vehicle guide (GVG) website greenvehicleguide.gov.au. One example is the Mazda CX-5 Maxx Sport, pictured, which comes as a two-wheel drive SUV with a six-speed auto, and uses 6.4 litres/100km in petrol. It has a commendable 4.5 star GVG rating. All-wheel-drive (AWD) versions are also available. For those wanting some extra off-road capability, the AWD Volkswagen Tiguan 103 TDi is worth considering. Diesel engines offer improved fuel consumption and engine torque, but tend to emit more pollutants which generally lowers their GVG ratings compared to petrol equivalents. There is also a hybrid SUV available now in Australia. The five-star GVG-rated Lexus RX450h Sports Luxury produces spectacular fuel economy, low CO2 emissions and a pin-drop quiet ride. Volvo is also promising plug-in hybrid technology, starting with the V60 D6 plug-in diesel hybrid wagon. With claimed fuel consumption of just 1.9 litres/100km and CO2 emissions of just 95g/km, the pure hybrid mode will allow the car to travel up to 50km on its battery before the turbo-diesel engine kicks in. Check the reviews of popular models of SUVs in the Australia's Best Cars magazine at RACQ branches or from newsagents. Produced by the nation's motoring clubs, including the RACQ, the judges use a rigorous and documented testing process. australiasbestcars.com.au BEATING AROUND THE BUSH MAZDA MX-5 MEDIA CHALLENGE SPECIALLY FOR STOP/START RACQ BATTERIES TO CATER FOR the growing number of vehicles with 'start- stop' fuel and emission saving operation, RACQ Batteries will be stocking replacement Enhanced Flooded Batteries (EFB). EFB use a non-woven cover around the positive plate, which provides a low contact pressure, thereby reducing the loss of active material. This gives the EFB enhanced cycling abilities and improved charge acceptance by recovering energy more quickly during driving. For more information, call 13 1111 or go to racq.com/batteries.