The Road Ahead : June 2013
QUEENSLAND'S LARGEST CLUB 55 JUN/JUL 2013 THE ROAD AHEAD USED CAR REVIEW | MOTORING ILLUSTRATION BY RON MONNIER KNOW YOUR CAR WITH JOHN EWING RACQ TECHNICAL RESEARCHER TOW ROPE USE TOWING A CAR with a tow-rope, often as a means of recovering a broken-down vehicle, was reasonably common in years past. It's still legal, subject to meeting road regulation requirements, but it's not something we generally recommend. Exceptions might be moving vehicles a very short distance at low speed, either for safety reasons or where restricted access (such as some carparks) means other preferred towing options can't be immediately employed. Depending on vehicle design, particularly the driveline, and the nature of the breakdown, serious vehicle damage could result from this type of towing. Many vehicles these days will require tilt-tray towing. Also, there are significant safety risks. This could include a lack of power assistance to steering and brakes on the towed vehicle. Remember, relevant road rules specify the towed vehicle's brakes and steering must be in working order and the vehicle can only be towed if safe to do so. Queensland Road Rules (216, 294, and 295) also specify certain requirements for the drivers of the vehicles, lighting requirements, distances between vehicles, and use of warning flags/ lights on tow lines. Vehicle towing mass limits for the vehicle performing the tow also apply. CAR QUESTIONS Q. Can I use a child restraint here in Australia that I brought with me from overseas? A. If the restraint isn't manufactured and tested to comply with Australian Standard 1754, it can't legally be used in Australia. A compliant restraint will always carry the Australian Standards mark. Q. I've seen an Adblue bowser at my local service station. Is this a new type of fuel? A. Adblue isn't a new fuel. It's an aqueous urea solution used only in certain diesel vehicles fitted with a system that injects it into the exhaust upstream of a special catalytic convertor, thereby reducing emissions of oxides of nitrogen. The Adblue tank (separate from the fuel tank) requires topping up periodically. SUBARU HAS DEVELOPED a loyal following, with the brand's 'boxer' engines and symmetrical all-wheel- drive helping differentiate it from the herd. The third generation Impreza offers practical and comfortable family motoring with high levels of safety, attributes that should ensure popularity with used buyers too. Launched in late 2007 in five-door hatch guise only, sedan versions were released 12 months on. Naturally- aspirated models came in three specifications -- the entry level R, mid- range RX and premium RS. The sporty turbo-charged WRX (not reviewed here) rounded out the range. There was an equipment upgrade in 2010. Safety features were above average with six airbags, anti-lock brakes, electronic brakeforce distribution and electronic stability control standard on all variants. Enhanced grip levels thanks to constant all-wheel-drive are reassuring, particularly on wet tarmac and gravel roads. A five-star ANCAP crash rating boosts credentials, too. Impreza is easy to drive with light controls and steering, stable sure-footed road holding and good ride comfort, superior to its predecessor. Body roll through corners is apparent, though. Performance from the 2.0-litre 'flat-four' engine is adequate, though low-down grunt will be found wanting. The engine needs to be worked to give its best. It's heavier on fuel than some competitors and premium fuel is recommended. The five-speed manual is the better gearbox choice as the subaru impreza r, rx, rs, 2007-2012 optional auto was a little off the pace with only four speeds. Check for proper servicing, including the timing belt, due at 125,000km or five years. Engine oil use, up to a litre per 2000km, is considered 'normal'. Check manual and auto gearbox operation, for worn or shuddering clutches, and general suspension wear, too. Parts and service costs can be a bit higher than average. A spacesaver spare is standard fit. UNDER THE PUMP: Impreza will use between 7.0 and 11.9 litres of premium 95 fuel every 100km, depending on model and driving conditions. PRICE RANGE: From $12,200 to $26,900, depending on year and model. COMPETITIORS: Mazda3, Mitsubishi Lancer, Ford Focus.